Albums of the Year 2013

1. Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rivals
2. Lady Gaga – Artpop
3. Kanye West – Yeezus
4. Carcass – Surgical Steel
5. Daft Punk – Random Access Memory

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Nirvana – “Serve the Servants” live

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The Clash – “Clampdown”

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David Bowie – “Where Are We Now?”

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Albums of the Year 2012

1. Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror
2. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
3. The XX – Coexist
4. Rush – Clockwork Angels
5. Hot Chip – In Our Heads

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Top 10 Rocksmith DLC 2012

10. “Good Times” – Chic

A very simple song but incredibly fun to play and groove along to. I also like how it’s basically funk 101 with the simple chord progressions allowing me to focus on my picking hand technique. Oh and the bass line is off the charts.

9. “Synchronicity II” – The Police

When I first read that this was going to be available I couldn’t really recall the guitar part. So learning to play the song revealed some interesting and new techniques for getting different sounds out of a guitar and how they could all fit together. Doesn’t hurt that this is my all-time favourite Police song. I have more appreciation for Andy Summers as well.

8. “Whipping Post” – The Allman Brothers Band

I think this came out the same week as the bass expansion pack which made perfect sense since this is one of the most fun bass lines to play in all of Rocksmith. To be able to harness such a powerful song is an amazing feeling. The groove in the verse is hypnotic and playing the opening riff makes me feel like a boss.

7. “YYZ” – Rush

I’m pretty sloppy when I play this but it’s still awesome as hell. I would never call this song not difficult but getting the gist of it ain’t too bad and being able to keep up with it is unbelievable for me. Flat out fun.

6. “Tom Sawyer” – Rush

Moving Pictures was my favourite album when I was 9 years old so it doesn’t get more nostalgic for me than this. Belting out those iconic opening chords for the first time brought a tear to my eye.

5. “Killer Queen” – Queen

The Queen pack gave me a huge appreciation for Brian May’s guitar work. His playing is so precise and tasty. The guitar solo in particular is just lovely to play and the bass part is fun as the backbone of the song. John Deacon has a new fan as well.

4. “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen

This one took a little bit of time to really jazz me. When it came out the bass expansion pack hadn’t so I was stuck with the guitar part which is only about half the song if that. It’s pretty great but there was a lot of not playing. The bass parta adds just enough for me and the early parts are simple to sing along with which is really what makes this rank high with me. Hitting some of those bass and vocals notes at the same time is sublime and gives me shivers. This is my Rocksmith guilty pleasure.

3. “Born Under a Bad Sign” – Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan

I thought, “cool Stevie Ray Vaughn!” when I first saw this song available but after a few weeks I started to become a little more interested in this Albert King guy, and started playing exclusively his part. This is the song that made me realize I love the blues. Before that it was just “yeah, whatever the blues is important I guess” but this song was a revelation for me. Then King stole my heart when I found out he’s a fellow lefty.

2. “Barracuda” - Heart

I was very familiar with this song from classic rock radio and never really liked it much but downloaded it anyway because it’s heavy. But soon the song possessed me and I was playing it over and over and more than any other song. As many times as I’d heard it before I didn’t realize just how heavy it was until I learned how to play it. And It was the first song that gave me true rockstar moments as I’d hit familiar riffs and melodies. The part near the end with the tidy little drum roll always gets me.

1. “Headlong Flight” – Rush

I wouldn’t have believed that my favourite song to play from the killer Rush 6-pack would be the new one. I’d only heard it a few times before even. Still, after a couple of run throughs I fell in love with everything about it. How can you not put on a smile during the big crunchy chorus? This is the track I can most easily lose myself in and find myself doing involuntary guitar-fu. I LOVE playing this song. I give the nod to the guitar version but it’s really a toss up.

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Corrosion of Conformity live @ Mavericks, Ottawa, ON

“Deliverance”

“Hungry Child”

“Technocracy”

This was a good show but I almost got kicked out for moshing. Normally moshing is tolerated at this venue but there were only 2 or 3 of us that were into it for whatever reason. It was weird. I mean COC… how can you not mosh to this music? So the crowd and the club kind of put a damper on this one. Too bad as this was a rare opportunity to see 3/4 of the original lineup in an intimate setting. At least I got some video out of it. Enjoy.

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nero – “Medicated”

nero play “Medicated” on Saturday, October 27th, 2012 at Mavericks bar in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

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Sleigh Bells – Demons

I’m stoked that they made a video for “Demons” but it’s a disappointing clip. This is the kind of video I’d make for the song if I had to. I am not a video director.

I’ll be seeing them again at Bluesfest after catching their opening slot for the Chili Peppers back in April. I was fortunate to score floor tickets in the 8th row, centre, from the public on-sale. The thing with on-sales today is that you hardly ever get your best option for seats on first try. So there’s always a risk of getting greedy and passing up a class of seating you might not get back. Whatever, great seats, a disinterested crowd, still stood and rocked out. It was like having the band in my living room. It was the best show I’d seen in years.

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Dick Clark Is Dead

At one point Dick Clark seemed like an untouchable icon. He became famous for never looking old until he did. I was surprised that he died and that he was only 82. I feel nothing more than the grim realization of mortality. I wrote a song about Dee Dee Ramone whose refrain always seems appropriate at times like this:

Growing old stopped being fun,
All my idols are dead and done,
I lift my glass and raise a toast,
We’re listening to a band of ghosts

Dee Dee Is Dead

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