Members of David in the Dark share their favourite New Brunswick albums of 2016.
2016 was a pretty inspiring year for New Brunswick music. Over the past twelve months we’ve been fortunate to hear a wealth of new music from well-established performers like Ross Neilsen, Chris Colepaugh, Hard Charger, and Jessica Rhaye to name but a varied few. We’ve witnessed several Fredericton acts put their best foot forward, a resurgence in new and exciting music coming out of Saint John and continue to be inspired by the extensive and boundless creative epicenter that is Moncton.
In lieu of a standard Top 10 Albums of 2016 feature, we thought we’d reach out to the members of one New Brunswick band and ask them to talk about their favourite New Brunswick albums of the year. For this feature we’ve asked the members of Fredericton’s David in the Dark to share what they enjoyed most about the year in music.
Big thanks to Stefan Westner, Evan LeBlanc, Kevin Belyea, Dylan Ward and Jane Blanchard for taking the time to reflect on the past twelve months of New Brunswick music. And be sure to check out their own 2016 barn-burner, Fire, the band’s debut full length release.
Cedric Noel – A Few Pieces of Repetition
In a year chalk full of brilliant local releases, how do you pick just one to cap off 2016?
LAPS’ devastatingly fresh debut, Motherhood’s latest scrappy number Baby Teeth, and The Waking Night’s Vena Cava have all been consistently blasting through my speakers with enough regularity to constitute a year-defining release. While taking a journey back through the spread of 2016 though, the one that ultimately stood out for me is a less brazen piece of the musical tapestry. Cedric Noel’s A Few Pieces of Repetition was quietly released in August, but the tone of the record suits the melancholy of early Winter just as well as the last days of Summer. Many of the songs will strike chords of recognition for anyone who spent the past few years taking in shows throughout Eastern Canada, as Cedric has been both prolific in his performances and his releases. The airy, light touch on production and classic Cedric tone-wash ambience underscore the feeling of reflection that is the basis for this collection of pop songs. The gentle soaring of the opener Awake and especially the overwhelmingly sad song Ribbon bring to mind long drives and sun sets and the quiet contemplation that goes hand in hand with both. Perhaps that is why this album stood out to me as I was casting back through the soundtrack of the year, and reflecting on all it has been. – Stefan Westner
Les Hay Babies – La 4ieme Dimension
Acadie with Flying Vees. Les Hay Babies added synths and lush chorus tones to their sound. They are a killer live band and La 4ieme Dimension adds even more gnarly tunes to their repertoire. Next time Les Hay Babies, or any of the projects they are part of (Tampa / Laura Sauvage) come to town, do yourself a favor and get down to it. Et comme toujours c’est en chiac. – Kevin Belyea
Mayors – Offers
Offers is just a bunch of hits. I feel like in a few year’s time, I’m gonna listen to it and think the same thing I do now when I listen to The Killers’ first record; “This is just an album of singles”. The thing that gets me with this record are the arrangements and how Mayors is able to keep things fresh with each song. Lots of synths, voiceovers, acoustic guitars, mad claps, all that studio/production magic. They really run with the idea of this is a record, so let’s make a cool record, and I love it. It makes listening to the entire album really enjoyable. Clean your tub, and listen to the whole thing. 5 #$BP’s outta 5. – Dylan Ward
I waited all year for this release and was not disappointed when it came out in November. I think I was so excited because the guys in the band are local legends in the music scene. They are super fun to be around, and their live show performances are top notch. You just want them to have a great release. Every song on the album is listenable – front to back. The songs are catchy, the melodies are great, and the production stands up against some of the best around. All in all, a great record. Best part about it is that it’s still brand new and I haven’t overplayed it yet, so I get to keep listening! Thanks, Mayors for a great album. – Evan LeBlanc
Cellarghost – In The Whiteout
As we descend deeper into the winter months, I find myself listening to Cellarghost’s In The Whiteout more and more. Since its release in June 2016, it has been a steady staple in any New Brunswick music collection. Cellarghost have been making their mark as one of the best up and coming post-punk bands in the country. Carter Boyle’s lyrics are thoughtful, evocative, rich in imagery and truly beautiful. All 12 songs on In The Whiteout stand out on their own, but come together beautifully as one. Some personal favourites; Cinders, In The Dark and Wilderness. This record reminds me so much of the East Coast, from the fog horn on Scissors to the lyrics of Black Money. Their collaboration with artist Bennie Allain for their album artwork was such a perfect fit. Cellarghost has managed to blur the lines between beautiful ballads, anthemic rock, and pummelling post-rock. How do they do it? I’m not sure, but I’m glad they do. – Jane Blanchard