We polled our crew and asked for a list of things that inspired them over the last year. What came back obviously skews toward music but also includes insight from the contributors. The results are diverse, though there is always room for improvement, and we try to shine a light on some self-released and DIY.

If you were ever curious of our tastes, here they are:

Joshua Van Tassel

Bjork – Utopia
Bjork is at a point where the only references I have for comparing her music is her own music. This album is challenging in terms of content and duration, beautiful and super inspiring

Ennaga Vision – self titled
Completely unpredictable and weird, sounds like what 2 aliens from different homewards would play at a mating ceremony

Outre Tempo – Electronic and Contemporary Music From Brazil – 1978 -1992
I can’t tell what decade some of these songs come from, could be the future and the dates on the cover are a misprint. Tough to say. But it’s fresh and really fun.

Moses Sumney – Aromanticism

Dan Misha Goldman

Frank Ocean – Blonde
Alt J – Relaxer
Common Holly – Playing House
Feist – Pleasure
Juana Molina – Halo
Laurindo Almeida and Salli Terri – Bachianas Braziliene #5
Lena Platonos – Sun Masks

Charles Austin (Isador)

Mama’s Broke
I found this duo to be really good, I had nothing to do with anything they recorded… they remind me of Gillian Welch and Clarence Ashley. They have ties to Halifax but are fairly nomadic I gather.

Tim Crabtree

From 2017:

Feist – Pleasure
Bing & Ruth – No Home of the Mind
SZA – Ctrl
Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me
The National – Sleep Well Beast
Jon McKiel – Memorial Ten Count
Land of Talk – Life After Youth
Richard Dawson – Peasant

Not from 2017, but I’ve been listening to a lot this year:

Milton Nascimento – Milton
PM Dawn – Jesus Wept

Michelle Yorke

Bedouine – (self titled)
This one fell in my lap in the final month of the year & took ahold of me instantly. I fell hard and fast. Simple, quiet, effortless and stunning. She’s has managed to make a classic album on her first try. A gem. Just trust me.

Carla Dal Forno – You Know What It’s Like
Dark, gloomy, atmospheric heaven…this is what it’s like inside my brain.

Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
Just wanted to give this little album a shout out. I kid but I would be remiss not to include it since it’s my most played album if the year and I’m still not sick of it. Every track is 👌

SZA – Ctrl
To put it simply, this record fulfilled all of my r&b needs and I’m picky so that is saying a lot.

Robbie Grunwald (DoubleTooth)

Rival Consoles
Totally inspiring music made in a small space with few tools. Sounds amazing! A good place to start is Odyssey and Howl.

Floating Points
Started as a solo idm project and has blossomed into a dark psychedelic jammy explosion.

Anderson .paak
Do I need to say anything about this guy?

Jay Crocker

Jlin – Black Origami
Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – The Kid
Irreversible Entanglements – Irreversible Entanglements
Chik White – Stranger Calls to Land

Michael Feuerstack

Ora Cogan – Crickets
Kind of familiar and totally unexpected all at the same time. Dark and bright, magical and real.

Baxter Dury
The grooves are cool, and you never know what he’s going to say! Gives me a weird feeling.

Allen Toussaint
I was late to this party. I knew who he was, and I knew he was a heavy figure, but I really only dug into it this year, and it’s been really good.

Jesca Hoop – Memories Are Now
This record is lovable, annoying, complex and comforting. Kind of like spending time alone.

I really love this band, especially live. 2017 seems to have been a really good year for them. Here’s to more in 2018.

Other cool stuff that happened in 2017:

– Willie Thrasher on the Golden Bus at SappyFest
– got to see Zadie Smith read and speak and she did not disappoint
– awkward hotel breakfast next to Billy Bragg where I didn’t really want to talk, but then wigged myself out because the more I did not talk, the more it seemed like I should say something. When I finally spoke, one particular type of awkwardness supplanted another. He came to check out the Luyas later – apparently thought it was neat.

Michael Belyea

Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet – Jersey

Kyle Cunjak

some albums I loved in 2017:

Laura Marling – Semper Femina (More Alarming Records)
SZA – Ctrl (Top Dawg / RCA)
Leif Vollebekk – Twin Solitude (Secret City)
Tony Allen – The Source (Decca France)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Sketches of Brunswick East ft. Mild High Club (ATO)
Mocky – How To Hit What And How Hard (The Moxtape Vol. IV) (Heavy Sheet)
Luke Temple – A Hand Through The Cellar Door (Secretly Canadian)

some songs I loved in 2017:

Jon McKiel – Unknown Source (You’ve Changed) //
Hand Habits – Flower Glass (Woodsist)
Frank Ocean – Chanel (Blonded)
Kendrick Lamar – YAH. (Top Dawg)
Daniel Caesar – Japanese Denim / Get You (Daniel Caesar)
Ryan Driver – It Must Be Dark Tonight ft. The Weather Station (Tin Angel)
Un Blonde – Nerve For The Ages (Anti)
Merganzer – Mirror Maze (self-released)

some musical things I loved in 2017:

Noname’s Tiny Desk Concert
Nate Smith’s drumming


Turn Into Vapour is a summation of everything the Halifax indie scene can offer. The lyrics are smart but unselfconscious, the music ambitious without burying the pop hooks and the production clean but retaining a raw edge. Early standouts include “Got Caught” and “Allyson Got Robbed” with its memorable refrain, “get your goddamn hands of off my girl.”  – The Coast

I don’t remember how exactly we met Sleepless Nights but I do remember feeling as though they were family the moment we saw them perform. They quickly became our Halifax allies and we saw a lot of each other in the early aughts. So when they were getting ready to release their next record I’m not even sure if anyone made a formal offer/request, it was just (correctly) assumed that Forward would help release it.

Listen to Turn Into Vapour

From singer/guitarist/producer Aaron Wallace:

I wish I could remember more about the making of Turn Into Vapour but when I see pictures from that time I feel good. We had a great workspace where I could stay up all night and work on dumb recording ideas. I put 100s of hours experimenting with sound for this record. I recorded anyone who came by and if no one was around I just played whatever was to be recorded myself. This was done around the same time as the Jamz EP and you can hear some similar sounds.

Listening to it now I always think I could remix this and do such a better job but the hard drive it’s on went missing in action. It’s probably for the best though. I’d rather it be a document of where we were at than go down the same road as the Zappas and Pink Floyds and deliver a characterless septaphonic HD 23.6 disc box set.

From drummer Josh Pothier:

My main memory of Turn Into Vapour was recording the drums one drum at a time – I would sit at the kit and Aaron would mic the kick and mute the snare and toms with blankets or pillows. Then we’d do the snare and mute the kick & toms, and so on. This was so each drum would sound as clean as possible with no bleed or overtones from other drums. We didn’t have a full scale recording facility, we had a converted shed-studio and some mics that I think Aaron had actually built himself. The whole thing was a DIY operation and to me it gives those songs some extra character.