In my ears: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You (Big Thief), Big Time (Angel Olsen), And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow (Weyes Blood), Pre Pleasure (Julia Jacklin) + revisiting: High in the Minuses (Charlotte Cornfield), Case/Lang/Viers, Wednesday Morning 3A.M. (Simon/Garfunkel).
Live Music: I was lucky to catch these four intimate shows at Sourwood (my place of work) — JOYFULTALK & Cousins (December), Michael Feuerstack in the heat of summer, and Jon McKiel (trio) and Nico Paulo (solo) in October. All totally captivating, all had us wrapped us around their fingers.
Reading: The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, Jon Claytor’s graphic memoir Take the Long Way Home
On the screen: White Lotus S2, The Bear
Snacks of the year: mochi, momos, tajin on apple slices, halloumi (cheese of the year), lime Carlota, Sal’s pizza (MVP).
2022 was the year of:
– swimming as daily therapy
– hanging with my best bud kodak
– recording new music with my dearest bandmates
– listening to coco by coco, staying mellow blows by eliza niemi, ideas of space by tess roby, juma by isaac vallentin, image langage by félicia atkinson
– reading a lot but the standouts were ceremony by leslie marmon silko, the overstory by richard powers, new works by sheila heti and heather o’neill, and the incredible book the warmth of other suns by isabel wilkerson
– touring the radio love concert
– how cbc could not stop talking about the gd freedom convoy
– how I got covid the day before I was supposed to fly to sxsw
– saying hello to a new / old volvo and saying goodbye to the saab
– making things happen with the Side Door fam
– song club with Cassie Josephine
– being involved in the best festival, everyseeker
– Tank and the Bangas on the waterfront
– my haunting experience at Elizabeth Bishop House
– driving around in hurricane fiona
– Sarah Harmer secret show at the marquee
But mostly I remember the love and endless support from my friends, who looked after me (and continue to do so) during an emotional year, for personal reasons, so I would like to extend the deepest gratitude to my chosen family, thank you for taking care of me, and let this be a reminder to all of you out there to check in with your loved ones who may be going through a hard time may you all have a restful season ahead surrounded by the things and people that make you feel good.
Billy Woods x Messiah Musik – Church
Billy Woods – Aethiopes
Shabason & Krgovich – At Scaramouche
Moon Mullins – Water Your Flowers
SUSS – SUSS
Bitchin Bajas – Bajascillators
Tim Bernardes – Mil Coisas Invisíveis
Andrew Tuttle – Fleeting Adventure
Matthew Specktor – Always Crashing in the Same Car
Natalie Bakopoulos – Scorpionfish
Rebecca Watson – Little Scratch
China Mieville – The City & The City
Nadifa Mohamed – The Fortune Men
Olivia Manning – The Balkan Trilogy
Tom O’Neill – Chaos
Frank Stanford – The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You
Olivier Assayas – Summer Hours
Claude Chabrol – Masques
Lili Horvát – Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time
Roasted Tomato and Butter Bean Stew
Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs & Broccoli
Smoky Beans & Greens on Toast
Instant Pot Chicken Phở
15 minute vegan creamy tomato soup
Green Chicken Chili
The Greenpoint Cocktail (underrated manhattan variant)
The New York Flip (I prefer rye or a complex rum to bourbon but delicious any way you make it)
Aldous Harding – Warm Chris
Warm, yet Chrissy
Alvvays – Blue Rev
What can I say? Everyone is right.
Julia Jacklin – Pre Pleasure
Personal and heavy
Angel Olsen – Big Time
My only peeve is that it’s a double 45rpm record, but there’s no way she could have known that the 45 setting on my turntable doesn’t work.
Joe Rainey- NiinetaI
saw him supporting Tortoise
Jenny Hval – Classic Objects
I Think You Should Leave
Love will prevail.
State Let’s Flats
Awkward at best.
Sweet and painful.
So touching. So excellent.
Kate Berlant: Cinnamon in the Wind
Don’t Suck, Don’t Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt – Kristen Hersh
Heartbreaker of a memoir of her time spent with the great and difficult Vic Chesnutt.
The Sentence – Lousie Erdrich
A mundanely fantastical storybook.
Nina Simone’s Gum – Warren Ellis
A kind of veiled memoir that is ruggedly beautiful.
Lapvona – Ottessa Moshfegh
Moving in a way I could barely relate to.
Here are a few of my favourites from this year:
Podcast; Weird Studies
This is the podcast of Pierre-Yves Martel’s brother J.F. and Phil Ford. Pierre-Yves supplies the music and just put out an album to go with it. Great podcast, great album. Listened to it on a long solo trip home from PEI. Top episode for me is on the Tower card from the tarot.
Had the pleasure of playing a bunch of gigs with Martha Wainwright this fall and her voice totally blew me away. It’s especially clear what a powerhouse she is when she covers Piaf. Found this concert of her from a few years back doing Piaf:
Discovered and really got into Paradoxe, piano and electronics duo when I played Festival Image Sonore in France.
Got to play and create a new show with Kaoru Watanabe and this was my favourite video of the year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gEPv_GvzJc&ab_channel=KaoruWatanabe
And lastly, it’s not from this year but I just like it during the holidays. It’s an old anime video for my koto teachers doing Bach.
Things I loved this year:
Haru Nemuri at POP Montreal – I haven’t been more happy at a show this year
Thanya Iyer live at L’Entrepôt77 – Thanya in big band form is magic
FUJI|||||||||||TA live at POP Montreal – Mystery that took me a lot to recover from
Shirley Hurt live at the Monarch – One of the best singers I’ve heard live, watch out
Eric Chenaux live at the PHI Centre – Maybe the chillest shredder?
Aldous Harding at the Rialto Theatre – Class, quirk and strut
Eliza Niemi live at Sala Rossa – At the height of her powers, where will she go next?
Jon Mckiel live at Sappyfest – I will never not smile from ear-to-ear at a Jon show
Valmy live at Sappyfest – A big big hug, from the stage to the pew
Elis e Tom – Inútil Paisagem – The perfect concoction of simplicity, elegance and headiness
Evan Wright – Turn The Other Way – One of my biggest discoveries, all of his songs hit me in the deepest way
Maglore – Jogue Tudo Fora – Can’t wait to play this at your party
Ichiko Aoba – Dawn in the Adan (live at Bunkamura Orchard Hall, Tokyo, 2021) – Obsessed with the flute moments
Bedouine – It Wasn’t Me – The first time I heard this I almost cried in front of Lauren & Fez driving away from Hillside Festival
Marina Allen – Or Else – I put this on whenever I needed a bit of direction, some incredible lyrics btw
Jeff Parker – Go Away – A celebration and protest in one
Madison Cunningham – Who Are You Now? – Riff modulation city
Pino Palladino & Blake Mills – Notes With Attachments – Time for a tone nap
The Spinners – Heavy On the Sunshine – Song of my summer, found this record in a free bin outside Phonopolls
Nina Simone – He Needs Me – Oof, can you say true romance?
Broadcast – MIchael A Grammar – I danced to this in the dark
Tim Bernandes – Talvez – A true beauty, listen and you’ll love
infinite bisous – Charnwood – Lay down and relax for a second
Miles Davis – In A Silent Way – Thanks Nick, glad I finally got to this. It’s bliss baby
Bill Frisell – The Pioneers – There is no bass on this track and I love it, shocker. Therein lies Bill’s genius
Paul McCartney – So Bad – Cutest love song, even cuter music video with Linda and Ringo
Talk Talk – New Grass – Peak emotional sparness, play it again
Helloooo! Here are the jams that got me going, made me smile and truly moved me 2022.
Charli XCX – Move Me
Khruangbin – Evan Finds The Third RoomTess Roby – Ideas of SpacePony Girl – King of the Country Club
Edible Flowers by Monica Nelson
The Will to Change & All About Love by Bell Hooks
Bit by Bit by Evan J Cartwright
Gemini Rights by Steve Lacy
SIM SIM SIM by Bala Desejo
One Year by Colin Blunstone
Tapestry by Carole King
You Don’t Mess Around With Jim by Jim Croce
<Atrás/Além> by O Terno
// Movies & TV
Bones and All by Luca Guadagnino
The Banshees of Inisherin by Martin Mcdonagh
Drive My Car by Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Station Eleven on HBO
The Anthropocene Reviewed by Johns Green
This Jungian Life
Techno dance parties
Sleepovers with friends
Snorkelling out of Beachy Cove
Sense of community
Blueberry picking alone
Driving around Newfoundland
It’s been a roller-coaster of events and emotions, I’m just thankful I can do the work I do and I’m extremely grateful for everyone in my life, just wishing the best for everyone.
My top 3 albums are:
Little Simz – No Thank You
Khruangbin & Leon Bridges – Texas Moon
Steve Lacy – Gemini Rights
Movie: Everything, Everywhere, All at Once
My favourite YouTube channel of 2022 was Generation Hope.
They’re like ostensibly these motivational/life affirming videos but they’re morally abject and just so so strange. This is apparently an entire genre of video I didn’t know about until this year. They’re all stuff like “Wife Cheats on Disabled Solider” or “Rich Student Attacks Homeless Man” and run of the like “what happened next will shock you” premise. Hundreds of thousands of people watch these and comment on them.
My favourite movie last year was The Banshees of Inisherin.
Joshua Van Tassel
SAULT – 11
Hatis Noit – Aura
Beyonce – Renaissance
Bjork – Sonic Symbolism Podcast
Kim Fu – Known Monsters of The 21st Century
Marlon James – Black Leopard Red Wolf
Kate Folk – Out There
Haruki Murakami – Novelist as a Vocation
Matty Grace (Century Egg)
In no particular order:
Signals Midwest – Dent
Martha – Please Don’t Take Me Back
Schedule 1 – Schedule 1
Book Buddies – Best Before
Puffer – Live and Die in the City
Spite House – Spite House
Elway – The Best of All Possible Worlds
UZU – UZU
UZU – Pils Session #17
Peeve – Demo
Hot Water Music – Feel The Void
Outtacontroller – Come Alive
Private Lives – Private Lives
Beach Bunny – Emotional Creature
Tristan Grant (Wolf Castle)
Here’s 10 songs I loved this year:
1. The Heart Part 5 by Kendrick Lamar – Devastating, emotional, stupendous.
2. Be Sweet by Japanese Breakfast – Makes me feel mysterious and chic.
3. Mystery Girl by I Rein for Rein – Japanese City pop was the soundtrack for when I cooked supper almost every night.
4. Dans L’jus by Lisa LeBlanc – 11/10 Song. As someone who grew up in French Immersion this reconnected me with the french language.
5. This Hell by Rina Sawayama – A chorus I can’t shake, one of my fav artists of the last few years.
6. Legit by Nas – Masterclass in sampling and flow. Nas is still hitting it out of the park 30+ years in and it’s convinced me he might just be the greatest rapper of that generation.
7. One Whole Me by Dev Lemons – This hook is so damn CATCHY. Good example of current music trends and where pop is headed.
8. Oh Caroline by The 1975 – We’re making 80s pop stew, Genesis broth, Lionel Ritchie seasoning and sprinkle in bits of Toto, Level 42 and Steve Winwood.
9. Perfect Man by Shinhwa – Korean *NSYNC, this song proves there was a western influence in the emerging K-Pop scene in the early 2000s. It feels like discovering a long lost 2000s jam that can easily go toe-to-toe with the Backstreet Boys and any boy band of the era.
10. Yeah by Mac Miller – A bonus track tagged onto the re-release of his mixtape “Faces” this song is a showstopper. Coulda been a Bond theme.
MOTOMAMI – Rosalía
This album meant everything to me this year. Of the moment, futuristic and an instant classic all at once.
Bones and All dir Luca Guadagnino
Banshees of Inisherin dir Martin McDonagh
Aftersun dir Charlotte Wells
Lovers Rock (from the Small Axe Anthology) dir Steve McQueen
Fire of Love dir Sara Dosa
Tár dir Todd Fields
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On dir Dean Fleischer Camp
EO dir Jerzy Skolimowski
Triangle of Sadness dir Ruben Östlund
Everything Everywhere All at Once dir Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
NOPE dir Jordan Peele
White Lotus – Season 2
I was skeptical about the need for a second season but I should have trusted Mike White’s writing & vision. I ended up liking it even more than the first season.
It’s so rare to see something that feels like a wholly original concept. It’s a bit of a slow burn but is a compelling, layered-onion of story.
Atlanta – Seasons 3 & 4
Absolutely brilliant. Each episode feels like a short film.
Fleishman Is in Trouble
A show we were considering not finishing after an episode or two but the whole thing ended up being worth it for the 7th episode, “Me-Time”, alone. It destroyed me in ways we can talk about in person some day.
Big Thief @ Massey Hall
I will be forever grateful that this was my first big show since covid began. It felt safe and was full of love.
Hentai – Rosalia. Anything Rosalia, really.
Life According to Rachel – Madison Cunningham (perfect for crying in the car)
Hey, Who Really Cares – Linda Perhacs
Mull River Shuffle – Rankins
New SZA obviously
Kiki’s Delivery Service soundtrack
Lots of Dorothy Ashby
My Brilliant Friend
I learned how to read a knitting pattern. This has been a great source of relaxing joy for me.
I’ve made many many balaclava.
Tim Crabtree (Paper Beat Scissors)
Favourite album: Brad Barr – The Winter Mission
Improvised solo guitar (acoustic, electric, twelve string and requinto). Guitar is so often just a support to something else, but on this album Brad makes it everything. The breadth and depth of sound, the textures he gets from the guitar just fill me up, and there’s a lyricism to the melodies that feel as personal as a voice. Please listen on headphones, or cranked loudly (away from other noise) so you can let the detail wash over you.
Favourite Track: Your Dad’s Awake
Björk – Fossora – track – Ancestress
Sessa – Estrela Acesa -track – Cançao da Cura
Jake Nicoll – Pool House – track – Someone has Been Here Before
Alvvays – Blue Rev – track – Many Mirrors
The Smile – A Light for Attracting Attention – track – You Will Never Work in Television Again
Milton Nascimento – the Town Hall, NYC
It was supposedly his last tour ever (he just turned 80) so I headed to New York to hear his voice (maybe my favourite ever human voice) while I still could. It was bittersweet, with the band (including Esperanza Spalding, no-less) and the audience (standing ovations, sing-alongs, and the lights going up after EVERY song) carrying most of the show with only small glimpses of Milton. Oh ye, Spike Lee was there, too!
Eric Chenaux – PHI Centre, Montréal
I’ve loved Eric’s music for years, and have been lucky to study (briefly) under his otherworldly, yet somehow completely this-worldly presence, but I’ve never seen him live until this year. His music is all about improvisation, so the recorded version can only ever nod to what is possible live. The show was transcendent, the experience of him singing a single phrase over and over and over while soloing underneath for what must have been ten minutes on There They Were was incredible. See him play where you can!
Ichiko Aoba – Barbican, London
Although my left ear was completely plugged with wax the quiet power of Ichiko Aoba’s voice, guitar and a small chamber ensemble were enough to carry me away. Two songs from this concert were just uploaded by the artist to Youtube.
Favourite track of the year:
Maro – Saudade, Saudade (a Eurovision entry, for cripes’ sake!) – but it’s the rehearsal video recorded in a chilly church, with a choir of guitars and voices in support, that made for my favourite musical moment of the year.
Other standout tracks:
Widowspeak – Everything is Simple (could listen to the guitar jam out on the end of this track for hours)
Bibi Club – Femme Lady
Harry Styles – As it Was, I mean, cmon!
Other favourite things of the year:
* Bingeing Scandinavian TV (though nothing’s topped The Killing (Danish version), yet)
* The “makes” in “If it Makes You Happy” by Sheryl Crow (one of the greatest moments in recorded musical history)
* Keeping on with the weekly livestreams (we’re 3 years in and this week I convinced Mike Feuerstack to play in my bathtub): https://youtu.be/mnd_-pQL2BE
* Making a playlist of everything I’ve ever liked, making sure to include anything, however (mildly) embarrassing I might find it, because it’s for me to listen to when I don’t know what to listen to, and now it’s for you, too! I’m adding to it all the time and it’s presently 26hours long… https://open.spotify.com/playlist/63HogCKQtKwkhmDw4Xzba5?si=c10a3e3eaf674e66
Here are some things that piqued my interest over the past year:
Albums – Space 1.8 by Nala Sinephro + A Better Ghost by Jeremy Cunningham, Dustin Laurenzi & Paul Bryan +
Songs – Silly Games by Janet Kay +
Hommage à M. Cusson Pour H. Hoek by Album + Unproud Warrior by Cass McCombs + Welcome to Hell by Black Midi
Movies & TV – Prey + The Menu + Shangri-La