I often have difficulty wrapping my head around how many talented musicians there are in Vancouver alone. It seems unfair to cut out any of them for the sake of a year-end best-of list, but as I compiled names for my first draft, I realized I was just listing most of the releases I could think of. So I begrudgingly accepted that I needed to reign myself in a bit. 10 is always a pleasantly square number; for this purpose, it’s not too big, not too small. Regrettably, a lot of fantastic records fell to the wayside, especially as I eased my decision-making by only including LPs.
To avoid more choosing, I’ve presented my top picks for best Vancouver albums of 2014 in the fairest way possible: alphabetical order.
If you feel we’ve missed something, want to suggest honourable mentions, flat out disagree with our picks, or want to second our choices, let us know with a shout on Twitter at @VancouverWeekly. Or if you don’t feel like going anywhere, drop us a line in our comment section below.
B-Lines – Opening Band
Hockey Dad Records
Listen: “Nervous Laughter”
B-Lines waste no time spraying manic energy all over the place on their latest album, Opening Band. A driving chord speeds from zero to 10 at the press of “play,” flying over rumbling drums as singer Ryan Dyck spits lyrics about finding humour in all the wrong things on “Nervous Laughter”. This song in combination with the “LP”‘s eight other rapid-fire tracks barely cracks 15 minutes. But B-Lines deserve a round of applause: they actually wrote a song over two minutes long. The title-track, which caps off the band’s snotty blitzkrieg, runs three minutes 28 seconds – pretty impressive for Dyck & co. who flaunt their slacker-ambitions. B-Lines are self-aware of, comfortable with, and damn near proud of their obscure fate. And at least they can look on the bright side: “You can get away with a lot when no one shows up,” Dyck points out on “Opening Band”. He predicts, almost in the same breath: “We’ll fail obnoxiously and fade into obscurity.” Don’t wait to stumble across B-Lines in the dollar bin.