Montreal band Ought announced their breakup last November while frontman/guitarist Tim Darcy and bassist Ben Stidworthy simultaneously announced they'd formed a new band, Cola, with U.S. Girls drummer Evan Cartwright. "What started as stripped-down open D songwriting with a CR-78 soon became a full album and new band," the band said. "We wanted to see how far we could stretch our compositions with just drums, one guitar, one bass, and one voice."  Where Ought were all nerves and angst -- very Talking Heads -- Cola sound relaxed and natural. There are still some angular guitars, bouncing basslines and crazy rhythms, but Cola's debut album, Deep in View, sounds like the songs just flowed out of them. If you haven't given the album a spin yet, you can do so below.

We asked Cola if they would tell us about their favorite records of the year and Ben, Tim and Evan each picked their favorites, including Sam Gendel, Yves Jarvis, Badge Epoque Ensemble & LAMMPING, and more. Check out their list and commentary below.


Ben Stidworthy:

The Zug - Yves Jarvis
The Zug is another hit record from the multigenerational generation talent Yves Jarvis. Each action-beamed track is a small world built from textures and moods like staring into a mirror ten feet under the sea. I've listened to Yves for almost a decade and will always await his next move.

Evan Cartwright:

Cat's Cradle - Germaine Liu
A collection of pieces from Toronto experimental percussionist Germaine Liu. A dazzling pallet rendered from household objects.

blueblue - Sam Gendel
A yummy, smooth, jazzy suite. Each song corresponds to a pattern within a style of Japanese embroidery called sashiko.

Tim Darcy:

Clouds Of Joy: Chance of Reign - Badge Epoque Ensemble & LAMMPING
A collab between Badge Epoque Ensemble and LAMMPING, both out of Toronto. BEE's modern refresh on classic library music and celestial-jazz-adjacent tones is rich fodder for sampling and remixing. MCs Boldy James, Roshin, O.C. & Theo3 all lay down some very serious verses on the non-instrumental tracks.

Love & Harmony - Karl Blau
I came late to Karl Blau, after his offering of classic-covers-cum-alt-americana, Introducing... His voice has a captivating dose of world-weary sincerity and yet remains playful in that kind of 'friend in the living room' way. There are some lovely, thoughtful production choices on this album. Alt singer-songwriter stuff can sometimes be either too straight-up or trying too hard to be 'out there' to counteract the sincerity (or something?). It really only works when the songwriter presents their authentically weird and poetic self, a feeling I get from listening to Blau.

Mondays at the Enfield Tennis Academy - Jeff Parker
What can I say? Jeff Parker and the rest of this quartet (Anna Butters, Josh Johnson, Jay Bellerose) are amazing. I saw them play in Los Angeles earlier this year and it was one of the best sets I've seen in a good while. They have some higher-realm chemistry together and this record captures the grooves and outre experimentation of the live show well.


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