2018! What a year it’s been! We’ve had so many exciting things come across our collective desks that it was tough to narrow down a “best” anything, but we’re happy to present to you BeatRoute Magazine’s Best of 2018, BC edition. Happy holidays and see you in the new year!
Special thank you to the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Taylor Swift Edition Instant Camera. Without it we wouldn’t have been able to capture all of these glorious holiday shots that are accompanying each post. Our theme this year was “cocktail party with an edge” and we’d like to think TSwift was right there with us, personally signing every photo we took.
Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want
This noisey af band embraces the nuances of what a punishing hardcore band should sound like. Be afraid, but face your fears and you just might get what you want. (Runners up: Pusha T – Daytona, Amen Dunes – Freedom)
Ought – “These Three Things”
Three things. What are they? I don’t know, you decide. Everyone has needs. These “post-punks” from Montreal have a sound that is delectably nuanced and this track was my 2018 anthem.
BEST LIVE SHOW
Idles – October 4 @ Rickshaw Theatre
Idles are a band that needs to exist right now and they played their Vancouver debut with purpose, living up to all the hype. Socially conscious punk rock out of Bristol, if you have not fucked with this band yet please start.
Since this was a Spike Lee “joint” and marijuana is now legal in Canada, I naturally pressured myself to eat a weed candy before I put this on and it was amazing. From what I remember, this movie hits hard on many levels with the right amount of irony at play. There was this one dance scene that really stuck with me that diffused such a terrible awkward moment I would never otherwise be able to experience as a white male, but I really felt it at that moment. Or maybe it was just the candy.
I’ve never been one for drinking games but my bandmates and I were on tour on the east coast and I learned how to play hockey in a way I’ve never known before one night in an abandoned Ocean City, MD after eating a pile of crabs.
Brockhampton – Iridescence
The members of self-proclaimed boy band Brockhampton put in work to get where they are, having dropped four full-length albums since early 2017. Iridescence is bold and in-your-face, with moments of sweetness, romance, and clarity, and the unabashed lyrics about being gay don’t hurt either. (Runners up: Mac Miller – Swimming, Anderson .Paak – Oxnard)
Aminé – “Campfire” (ft. Injury Reserve)
It’s upbeat and fun, with clever lyrics delivered in a charming deadpan. Plus, the music video includes a debate on the pronunciation of “rural.” What more could you a?
BEST LIVE SHOW
Jorja Smith – April 28 @ Biltmore Cabaret
Jorja Smith is a goddess, and no matter where she plays the experience is going to be an ethereal one. But to see her at such an intimate venue where she was standing just feet away from the small crowd and her voice completely filled the space, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’ll never forget. Plus, she covered Frank Ocean’s “Lost,” so…
Sorry to Bother You
I always love a critique of capitalism, and Sorry to Bother You does this in a way that also comments on race, class and morality. All of this is wrapped up in completely absurd, over-the-top scenarios that blur the lines between the real world and some dystopian (very near) future, with a nice little comedic cherry on top.
It’s not so much one moment, but 2018 introduced me to a handful of new people that have become some of the most important in my life. Super grateful for all of my wonderful friends, so thanks for that, 2018.
Prince – Piano and A Microphone (1983)
It’s still hard to believe Prince is gone. This album was discovered as a cassette tape at his Paisley Park estate and is his first posthumous release. It’s a one-take recording of both released and unreleased songs, just him and his piano, providing a rare peek into the mind of a genius.
(Runners up: Hanson – String Theory, Leon Bridges – Good Thing)
Hanson – “Reaching for the Sky (Part 1)”
I always thought Hanson’s harmonies would be perfectly accompanied by a symphony orchestra. This year, my favourite band ever released an album that did just that. The arrangements on this particular song are simple yet wonderfully grand, led by piano and supported by swelling strings. Taylor’s voice is hauntingly beautiful, as he sings about chasing after dreams. “Part 2” is just as poignant.
BEST LIVE SHOW
John Fogerty – July 15 @ Abbotsford Centre
Fogerty’s voice hasn’t lost a bit of its famous rasp and, damn, can he still play a guitar. He played all the CCR hits with sincere joy and passion, and even had a New Orleans-style big brass band blast through the aisles. It was an amazing show in the purest way.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
I haven’t watched many new movies this year, but this one stands out. I think most of us have some sort of childhood memory associated with Mr. Rogers, and it was both compelling and deeply moving to learn more about the kind man who we all thought we knew.
Swimming in cenotes in Mexico with my love.
Mac Miller – Swimming If you were like me, you were convinced Mac was still Best Day Ever Mac Miller, but Swimming displays Mac’s maturity and willingness to explore a variety of genres in an extremely emotional and introspective album. Swimming will forever be criminally underrated and should have been the beginning of something special in his career, not the ending. (Runners up: The Weeknd – My Darkest Melancholy, Travis Scott – Astroworld)
Sheck Wes – “Mo Bamba
Travis Scott’s protégé, Sheck Wes’s debut single has been one of the most catchy, fun songs of the year. What other songs have made floors collapse this year?
BEST LIVE SHOW
Jorja Smith – April 28 @ the Biltmore
Playing a venue that was way too small for this rising star made the English singer’s Vancouver show feel very intimate and special. Won’t ever see her in a venue that small again but will remember it forever.
Sorry to Bother You In a time where every fucking movie is a remake, Sorry to Bother You is an original yet hilarious satirical view on capitalism, while taking on a wide range of issues from race, gender and entertainment.
Being in School. After years of dealing with the stress and abuse of the restaurant industry, I quit and went to school for graphic design. Becoming more than just a photographer and starting my creative career has got me excited for 2019 and beyond.
Low – Double Negative
If you told me at the beginning of the year that Low would release my favourite album, I’d have been shocked but here it is. It’s probably cliché at this point to talk about how it embodies the apocalyptic vibe of the times, but that really does feel right. Its noisy beauty just seems right. Indie rock’s not dead. (Runners up: IDLES – Joy As An Act of Resistant, Jpegmafia – Veteran)
Deafheaven – “Honeycomb”
Hipster black metal with poppy hooks and Dinosaur Jr. inspired guitar solos. It’s wonderful, super long and probably a weird choice for best song, but I listened to it more than anything else. Every listen is mini-catharsis. (Could also have chosen “Rage Against the Miami Sound Machine” by NEEDS but since I appear very briefly in the video I didn’t want to appear biased.)
BEST LIVE SHOW
Phoebe Bridgers – April 25 @ The Cobalt
This was my last show at the Cobalt and Phoebe Bridgers’ music makes me cry. Won’t lie, I cried when “Funeral” played. Added bonus of a Japandroids cover.
Sorry To Bother You
Boots Riley made a surreal leftist dark future comedy. If that doesn’t sell you, I’m not sure what to say. It strikes close to home as I work in a call centre.
Someone close to me worked up the courage to come out, and it’s wonderful seeing them blossom fully into who they were meant to be.
Travis Scott – Astroworld
This album just slaps SO hard. IT’S LIT! (Runners up: Lykke Li – So Sad, So Sexy, Pusha T – Daytona)
J.I.D. – “Off Deez” ft. J. Cole)
This is maybe J. Cole’s best verse ever on maybe the best rap album of 2018, with maybe the best album cover of 2018, covered by the face of one of the hottest guys of all time (Leo) so of course I picked this.
BEST LIVE SHOW
Beach House – August 12 @ The Orpheum
I love Beach House but had never seen them. Hearing their melodic classics with their new loud sound in a venue like the Orpheum was a fantastic concert in a year of fantastic concerts.
This was a tough choice. There were great indie films like Beast, Hereditary and Mandy. At TIFF, films like First Man and Widows blew me away. I think it was Joel Edgerton’s skill at taking a story that could have been so easily black and white and painting each character with complexities and nuance that led me pick this film. Boy Erased is the true story of a young man forced into conversion therapy and his relationship with his devout family. This is a poignant, important film that is also helping the movement to close these evil and outdated facilities forever.
At TIFF when Ryan Gosling stepped out of the car and I was like three feet away from him for 5.7 seconds.
Ought – Room Inside The World
Ought draw nostalgic comfort from an uncertain era with moments of ’80s new wave, the darkness of the Cure and a voice reminiscent of an early Morrissey. I fell in love with the sudden tempo changes, catchy melodies and poetic lyrics. (Honorable mentions: Kamasi Washington – Heaven and Earth, Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Sex & Food)
Ought – “Disaffectation”
BEST LIVE SHOW
Beach House – August 12 @ Orpheum Theatre
I’m unsure if it was the psychedelic visuals, Victoria Legrand’s dreamy voice or the fact I hadn’t seen them since peering through the fence at 15 after my fake ID was rejected.
What You Gonna Do When the World’s On Fire?
The story of a community of black people in the American South during the summer 2017, when a string of brutal killings of black men sent shockwaves throughout the country. It highlighted the American black experience, with rawness I’ve never seen, really showing me how different my experience as a mixed-race black woman in Canada is. I was left speechless, moved by the black and white film cinematics and moved by the powerful storytelling.
Nothing compares to interviewing my longtime idol and style icon, Dita Von Teese. We were supposed to only have 15 minutes for the interview, and it turned into nearly an hour of us talking about vintage fashion, old cars and music. People often say you should never meet your idols for fear of being let down, but after speaking with Dita my respect for what she has done as a business worman only increased. That is an interview I know I will cherish for my whole life.
The Skinny Editor
Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino
Arctic Monkeys have a charming ability to constantly evolve. Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino feels ahead of its time, blending sounds of the distant past with a futuristic atmosphere. The lyrical storytelling is also sharp, unique and inspires clear imagination of an otherworldly place full of interesting characters. (Runners Up: Ministry – Amerikkkant, Windhand – Eternal Return)
Windhand – “Grey Garden”
Produced by Jack Endino, the man most famous for helping create “grunge rock,” “Grey Garden” is a droningly heavy tune that mixes psychedelia with doom metal. Windhand is one of the heaviest clean-vocal female-fronted groups in the market. The music video for this song is like a terrifying acid trip.
Courtney Barnett – October 10 @ the Vogue Theatre
Courtney Barnett seduced her audience with a plethora of sounds and lighting schemes that played with your emotions. Things jumped from deadpan-depressive to manically aggressive, utilizing a Cobain-esque stage presence atop melodramatic pop-tunes with guitar-tones far grittier than what can be found in her recordings.
Drew Michael’s HBO debut blurs the line between stand-up comedy and experimental art film. We witness a dramatized relationship unravel, the story is intercut with Michael offering comedic bits of extremely dark humour in the form of expressive monologues. No audience, just Drew in an empty room introspectively doing his thought-provoking routine as the main-story progresses. It’s a hilarious, enthralling, unique piece that is just as much a comedy special as it is alluring cinema.
Getting a text message from Zakk Wylde
Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch
Trent Reznor channeling David Bowie on “God Break Down the Door.” (Runners up: The Black Queen – Infinite Games, A Perfect Circle – Eat the Elephant)
The Aces – “Last One”
Discovered this band opening up for COIN at the Biltmore, and DAMN these girls can rock. They recorded this single in both English and Spanish, I can’t decide which version I like more!
BEST LIVE SHOW
Desert Daze Caravan (DIIV)- May 12 @ Commodore Ballroom
DIIV was the middle band of the night. I had never heard their music before the show, but seeing them live blew my mind. I now listen to them every day.
Strap in for another Gaspar Noe’s psychedelic thriller. This movie made me feel like I was on drugs, I got so nauseous during one of the violent scenes that I had to step out of the theatre for some water. But I went right back in for more. I need to see this film again.
Stepping into AKhob, James Turrell light installation in Las Vegas .
Local Music Editor
Noname – Room 25
Noname’s follow up to her groundbreaking debut album, Telefone, is a fully realized body of work. Noname seamlessly combines vulnerable spoken word, sultry bars and complex musicality. (Runners Up: Kali Uchis- “Isolation”, J Mascis- Elastic Days)
Kali Uchis (ft. Tyler the Creator and Bootsy Collins) – “After the Storm”
This single from Uchis’ imcomparable debut, Isolation, is instantaneously addictive and an excellent introduction of the young singer into the world. It features hip-hop marvel Tyler the Creator, who adds a raspy edge, and funk legend Bootsy Collins, who elevates the track into a timeless opus.
BEST LIVE SHOW
Broken Social Scene – August 3 @ Pickathon
Broken Social Scene performed a spectacular set at the beautiful Woods Stage to a visibly emotional audience. Strangers were hugging, no phones were out, it was as if time stood still and I will never forget that concert.
A Stupid and Futile Gesture
The David Wain portrayal of National Lampoon’s co-founder Doug Kenny (played by Will Forte) is as funny as it is heartbreaking. The creative biopic is an untold story, told very well.
Travelling to Mexico City for my 30th birthday. I fell in love with the eclectic and bustling city draped in art.
Social Media Editor
Yves Tumor: Safe in the Hands of Love:
This record has a little bit for everyone. There are some pop bangers lurking within like “Lifetime,” but other songs like “Hope in Suffering” are colossal, distorted nightmares. I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed every single glorious second of this record’s catchy, often spooky contents. (Serpentwithfeet – Soil, Low – Double Negative)
Jeremy Dutcher – “Mehcinut”
Mehcinut is a recreation of a traditional song by the Wolastoq First Nation. The song is full to the brim of emotion, and even cuts out in the middle while a sample of the original wax cylinder recording from 1907 plays overtop.
BEST LIVE SHOW:
Amen Dunes – August 23 @ Imperial
This movie is terrifying! But at the same time is also a considered exploration of emotions. So you get to think critically about the human condition while you piss your pants!
Playing our first show at the ANZA club with my band Watersports over the summer. It was our first gig as a four piece and everyone loved it!