Bandpicked: Fresh Snow pick the 10 least shit things about 2016

16 September, 2016 — by Christopher Ratcliff0

Bandpicked is a regular feature where our very favourite bands and artists pick their own very favourite pop culture stuff, from scariest horror movies to favourite 80s wrestlers.

This week: Toronto-based instrumental four-piece Fresh Snow pick the least shit things they’ve discovered in 2016.


I don’t need to tell you what an awful year it’s been – Bowie, Brexit, Breadxit – and it just keeps getting worse, so perhaps more so than ever we need to remember the good things about 2016. Yeah, yeah, like family, friends and pets and shit, of course, but also other brilliant new stuff too… like Fresh Snow’s excellent album ONE.

Fresh Snow are a quartet of multi-instrumentalists based in Toronto who are the absolute masters of hook-laden noise that will make your knees quake and your ass shake. ONE is their recent follow-up to the Polaris nominated I and as well as it being an incredibly captivating and genre-busting winner, it’s also one of the best things about 2016. Therefore Fresh Snow are the perfect band to ask about their own favourite things cheering them up in this shitty, shitty year.

Here’s Brad Davis (guitar/keys) and Tim Condon (keys/guitar) on their current favourite electronic albums, books, vegetarian restaurants, UK sitcoms and sampler software(!?).

The Avalanches – Wildflower

I haven’t had this much fun listening to an album for a long time (perhaps Since I Left You?) and I think this new Avalanches album actually tops their last. The biggest highlight for me is the Beatles sample of ‘Come Together’, sung by some school kids at Kew High School in Melbourne, on the song ‘The Noisy Eater’. It’s genius how it’s placed in the chorus – one of the greatest sample uses I’ve ever heard – I have no idea how they would have thought of doing this.

While living in Melbourne, I lived near this school, so it always makes me smile when I hear it, thinking of the Avalanches going in and recording something that must have seemed so random at the time, but now in the context of the song is so essential. (And that orchestral sample that follows the second chorus is equally as clever). Plus the album has Jonathan Donahue all over it, and their trademark horse sounds! [Tim]

Ben Lukas Boysen – Spells

2016 has been an incredible year for great music (Radiohead, ANOHNI, Jherek Bischoff, Mark Pritchard, Avalanches, Ian William Craig etc etc!) and Ben Lukas Boysen’s album Spells has been a huge highlight for me.

Anything coming out on Erased Tapes right now is worth buying sound unheard, and this is one of their absolute best (especially when paired with anything by A Winged Victory For The Sullen). Equal parts melancholic, yet triumphant, it has a great deal of space (at times reminding me of the first album by A Silver Mt Zion, which is equally as confident in its stateliness) and is a warm companion going into fall. Very special. [Tim]

Boring Girls (A Novel) by Sara Taylor

I’m about halfway through Boring Girls and I am really enjoying it. It’s about cool girls, being an awkward teenager, heavy metal, and murder. That is pretty much everything you need in a book. [Brad]

boring girls cover

Masa Harina Flour

I am really getting into making my own corn tortillas and pupusas. I love the smell of the flour and water mixing together. It is hard to consider buying store bought tortillas after you have made your own. I love the entire process. [Brad]


Peep Show

It’s rare for a television show to share equal billing with my favorite bands for importance in my life, but Jez, Mark and Super Hans are among good company!

My wife and I re-visit the entire show (sadly only 54 episodes) at least 2-3 times a year – the depraved and psychologically debilitating relationship between Mark and Jez does one’s heart good. When introducing friends to this show, I start with the episodes ‘Shrooming’ or ‘Wedding’ – watching someone’s face for the first time as they react to watching Jez desperately trying not to urinate in a Church on a possible wedding day is something you don’t get to experience in a friendship too often! [Tim]

Teenage Fanclub – Here

This album came out the same day as our new record (Sep 9th) but the similarities to our bands pretty much end there. Their knack for melody and harmony is out of this world. Some of the best guitar pop ever made has come out of Scotland and Teenage Fanclub remain one of the most consistent bands of all time. They aren’t the world’s most prolific band so a new album is always a cause for celebration. [Brad]


The For Carnation – The For Carnation

This may not be a popular sentiment, or perhaps shared by many, but I think The For Carnation is the superior band to Slint. The comparison is based on sharing numerous members, in particular Brian McMahan and at times/ appearances by Dave Pajo, Britt Walford and Todd Cook. As fall slowly comes in, and Toronto gets cooler, I find myself returning to their self titled album more and more – the decayed menace and stillness permeates the mood left by summer leaving, and the cool night air starting to hang more and more.

I saw them in Toronto in 2000 at Lee’s Palace, and their set seemed like slow motion musical somnambulism; the tempo seemed to be even slower than on the LP, and McMahan was almost resting his head on the keys as he played, slumped over and singing. Almost a decade later I would be somewhat shocked upon discovering that TFC’er Bobb Bruno was in Best Coast. That’s some range of musical expression – from the darkest corners of the mind through to the most summery of days. [Tim]

Tofu Ribs

I have been trying to perfect a bbq rib made out of tofu with sugar cane as the bone substitute. I had never made my own dry rub or bbq sauce until this summer and I think am getting the hang of it. Now that the fall is approaching I need to double my efforts. [Brad]

Tofu Ribs

Toronto’s best vegetarian joints

While unfortunately I live nowhere near Brad in order to benefit from his culinary adventures, I visit One Love (BBQ Tofu!), Bloomers (Nanaimo Bar!) and Through Being Cool regularly, to try and make up for this. [Tim]

one love toronto

Omnisphere 2 & Iris 2

Without getting too anoraky, Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2 and iZotope’s Iris 2 have both given me a huge amount of musical excitement this year, as well as an equal amount of musical headaches!

Iris 2, which is part sampler and part spectral synth, allows sounds that have few current references, although at times it’s reminded me of Fennesz + Sakamoto, Labradford or Merzbow, which are all good things.

Exciting that some developers are looking at more unusual ideas to convey emotion. Omnisphere 2 is equally as good, especially when skipping the oscillators and importing your own samples for re-synthesis – so many directions that can be taken. [Tim]

Fresh Snow’s ONE is out now and you can order it via Hand Drawn Dracula.

Fresh Snow pick the 10 least shit things about 2016
Fresh Snow pick the 10 least shit things about 2016
This week: Toronto-based instrumental four-piece Fresh Snow pick the least shit things they've discovered in 2016.
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