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Sloan’s Jay Ferguson tells us his Top 10 of 2016 ++ plus listen to Sloan’s new Christmas single

Sloan (Jay Ferguson second from left)
Sloan (Jay Ferguson second from left)

Sloan‘s new Christmas 7″ is out now, featuring two new original songs: Chris Murphy turns in “Kids Come Back Again at Christmas” and Jay Ferguson contributes “December 25″ on the flip. While “Kids Come Back at Christmas” is a very good modern holiday song, with a nice sentiment, “December 25″ is a great Sloan song, period; a wistful, piano-driven number really only nods to Christmas in the title. You can stream both sides below.

Meanwhile, Jay from Sloan has given us hit Top 10 of 2016, a mix of albums and singles, including The Lemon Twigs, The Avalanches, Chris Murphy’s other band, TUNS, and more. Check out his list with commentary, below.

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Jay from Sloan’s Top 10 of 2016

1. The Lemon TwigsDo Hollywood
What were you doing when you were 17 years old? Personally, I was likely still trying to master “Pinball Wizard” on acoustic guitar, so I certainly wasn’t making music as good as these teen brothers from Long Island. It’s encouraging (and kinda rare) to hear albums like this made by young people who can actually pull off the combo of great melodies, excellent singing and creative arrangements – distilling previous generations of music and creating a new paradigm. Some vintage influences (McCartney, late 60’s eccentric Beach Boys, Bowie, Sparks?) show through here and there, but the songs stand on their own regardless. Jonathan Rado does a fine job capturing it all, but I’d also be curious to hear them with a full on Roy Thomas Baker-style budget. Thanks to the top brass of BrooklynVegan for hipping me to these cats last year. Good stuff. Album of the year, I’d say.

2. Jay Arner – II
The melodies are lush and there’s an even broader use of the synthesizer here than this multi-instrumentalist’s debut. Some might claim it’s excessive. I might say “relax!”. Excellent modern record. Unforgettable songs with smooth vocals, conveniently jammed in under a half hour for your commute. Full disclosure: Jay’s our friend, and he asked me to say “this rocks”. Fuller disclosure: He asked me about the Bee Gees not long ago, so I’m curious where that will lead.

3. BartHolomew
Local Toronto band. Sorta sound like no one else. Since I’m trying to describe them with the written word, I’m going to ask you to think of a prog version of The Byrds. The two words King and Crimson also often get bandied about. Outrageous arrangements and mint harmonies that they somehow pull off in a live setting like a bunch of session veterans.

4. The AvalanchesWildflower
Worth the 16 year wait? Yes. If this is a party record, then I’m the guy knocking at the door with the tux, denim cowboy hat and a bag of chips.
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5. Foxygen – “America”
Van Dyke Parks just looked over his shoulder for the first time.

6. TUNS – s/t
At the risk of an act of undisguised nepotism, I’ll say 1/3 proprietor Chris Murphy is a crafty songwriter, and he didn’t even tell me to write that. Matt “Stills” Murphy and and Mike “Crosby” O’Neill hold up their corners of the tent, too. Thumbs aloft.
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7. The Last Shadow Puppets – “Miracle Aligner”
Very, very grand. If someone asked you what a chandelier sounds like, this would be the answer. Alex Turner continues good work.
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8. Rolling Stones – “Little Rain”
I honestly stand by the notion that this band of 70+ year olds, by nature of their existence alone, is actually forging new ground (but I might need a few thousand words to argue), even by looking backwards and making a record in 3 days. This song sounds like it was left behind in the basement at Villa Nellecote ’72. Great-grandfather Mick forever, y’know?
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9. The Junior LeagueAlso Rans
My New Orleans by-way-of Long Island compadre, Joe Adragna, has made—perhaps—his best LP. In fine voice throughout, it makes me wonder what a record of him fronting a melancholic orchestra would sound like. He’s prolific enough to get around to it by the time this year is out.

10. Partner – “The “Ellen” Page”
OK, so this came out towards the end of 2015, but I wanted to highlight this musical nod to my Halifax Grammar School alma mater co-attendee, Ellen Page. Worth it for the guitar solo alone. If you like your Breeders with the hammer of Nirvana, then their eventual debut LP will likely slay you.
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