Archive for October, 2009

My Hottest Canadian Bands of 2009 List

Another year in the bank and another collection of Matt Pollesel’s compilation of the Hottest Canadian Bands of 2009 on If you didn’t know Matt does this yearly from a selection of bloggers, websites – basically a whole collaboration – props to Matt for all the hard work and getting a lot of our lazy butts to write lists (one being me).

Before I give you my submitted list, I try to stay objective on this list. It doesn’t reflect my personal tastes per se. I did include a band I love too much (The Rest) and an artist I think people will miss (CFCF – he’ll be huge maybe not among bloggers but definitely on the internet).

10. Fucked Up
A Polaris Prize win should help increase the profile of this hardcore band. The truth is that while the Polaris Prize was a massive victory for the band, they had a really good 2008 and winning the prize probably reflects that.

Son The Father by Fucked Up
(Number 2 on the actual list)

9. Diamond Rings
I know only one song by Diamond Rings and it’s a good one. It also helps that video has gotten quite a bit of attention *cough* Pitchfork *cough*.

All Yr Songs by Diamond Rings

(Number 20 on the actual list)

If this list was done in November or December, I really believe CFCF would be much higher with his album having been released on October 26. He may be known for his remixes of Crystal Castles and Health but I’m going out on a limb that he’s going to be well known a month or two from now (got to try to be timeless).

Triceratops (CFCF Remix) by Health

7. Handsome Furs
Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry released another solid album in my opinion and should be up here. While comparisons to bandmate Spencer Krug likely downplay their contribution to Canadian, it’s hard to ignore the positive reviews that Face Control has received.

Nyet Spasiba by Handsome Furs
(Number 3 on the actual list)

6. Bruce Peninsula
Bruce Peninsula’s A Mountain Is A Mouth is an odd affair but equally amazing. I’m glad that so many have recognize how awesome they are.

Steamroller by Bruce Peninsula
(Number 8 on the actual list)

5. Destroyer
Bay of Pigs for song of the year? It’d be hard to argue against a near 14 minute track.

Bay Of Pigs by Destroyer (warning: HUGE FILE)
(Unranked on the list?)

4. Japandroids
Japandroids’ Post Nothing may have seemed like a cocky name for an album title but they definitely followed through. They absolutely killed in regards to press, receiving great critical acclaim.

I Quit Girls by Japandroids
(Number 4 on the actual list)

3. The Rest
I’ve been on The Rest’s bandwagon for the whole year as their album; Everyone All At Once blew me away and is one of my favourite albums of 2009. While they haven’t struck it big in terms of the press they’ve received, bloggers from all over the world have praised this album.

With Every Heartbeat by The Rest (Robyn Cover)

2. Sunset Rubdown
Sunset Rubdown is follow up Random Spirit Lover with Dragonslayer an album that was much more accessible yet still of a very high quality. (And they are one of my favorite bands hands down).

Apollo and The Buffalo and Anna Anna Anna Oh by Sunset Rubdown

(Number 18 on the actual list)

1. Rural Alberta Advantage
Stephen Harper tried to score cool points with us by having them on his iPod. As much as I still wouldn’t vote for the conservatives, that’s pretty damn cool for the RAA. The RAA weren’t eligible to even be nominated for the Polaris Music Prize but if they had, I’m pretty certain they would’ve been a top contender.

(Number 1 on the actual list)
Ballad of the RAA by The Rural Alberta Advantage

My honorable mention: Julie Doiron, Faunts and Said The Whale and more… (I probably would’ve fiddled with it a bit more had I given myself for a chance to think about it).

Julian Casablancas – 11th Dimension

“Your faith has got to be greater than your fear.”

Do NOT watch videos of Julian Casablancas on Conan O’Brien. “11th Dimension” came out a month or two ago, but after watching the live performance, I realized the need to share is much greater than previously thought. On Conan, Julian Casablancas’ performance was either, not up to par, or not what I expected. However, I didn’t feel like my expectations were too high for the front man of The Strokes. Bottom line, just listen to the song.

Now going solo, Julian Casablancas
delivers his first single wonderfully for our ears. Although his visit to Conan was not in the least bit interesting, the play count of the song on my iTunes would beg to differ. Such a snappy synthetic sound the song begins with, continuing with Casablancas’ voice relaying us information about his life on the frozen surface of a fireball. I couldn’t tell you what this song means, except that is has meaning. Lines about faith and forgiveness tell the listener exactly how to live their life, with such persuasion and passion. Only such a voice could convince you to “forgive them, even if they are not sorry.” He teaches even about faith, and fear, in the most impressive yet uplifting voice. Lyrically the song may sound like a description of a ballad maybe, but “11th Dimension” in fact is quite the danceable song if anything. Such a strong and catchy background instrumental maintains the attention caught, while Casablancas’ voice and lyrics creates the deeper meaning to the song.
The full album, “Phrazes for the Young,” is due to be released on the second of November.

Julian Casablancas – 11th Dimension
The Strokes – Reptilia

Elin Palmer – Postcards Review

Elin Palmer is a Swedish singer songwriter who’s previous work includes playing time with the Lee Lewis Harlots. She’s played with Busia Bulat, M. Ward and The Fray in the past. She’s a seasoned musician who’s been around the block so to speak.

I was interested in her work after hearing a handful of tracks on her album, Postcards. Elin Palmer has a nice voice siding with great classical influenced folk. It’s nice to here all these instruments including the Nyckelharpa. It gives the music as interesting taste. With two tracks sung in her native language, she uses her heritage to further emphasize how great of a singer she is. It’s hard to say how good she is lyrically, I’m not sold that it’s the greatest in the world but it definitely doesn’t bother me,

The album from top to bottom is very sound with many weak spots. I think that’s where it ultimately fails to achieve great success is that it’s too sound. While the songs aren’t similar I just can’t seem to pick up sections where this album has its moments. It’s good music, tons of great classical influenced stuff but I can’t help but be a little more bored then I should be. It’s definitely safe music and while there’s nothing wrong with that, I feel like Elin Palmer’s Postcard doesn’t captivate me like I feel like Elin Palmer should.

For now, I’ll keep my eyes on Elin Palmer. She definitely has some good qualities that can’t be ignored and she should just keep moving forward. Perhaps more risks and more of a personality might do wonders but then again what do I know?

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Still an above average album with talent shining more then anything.

Postcard by Elin Palmer
Balloons by Elin Palmer

Kristeen Young – Music for Strippers, Hookers and The Odd On-Looker

The piano is a bit of a weird instrument when you think about it. It has a lot of range, and a lot potential but it is kind of rare for someone to do something different. Sure Ben Folds messes around with it a bit, but it is still just boils down to a blending of genres. However there is one person doing some interesting stuff with it and that is Kristeen Young.

Kristeen Young is an experimental group made up of Kristeen Young on piano and Baby Jef White on drums. What stands out Kristeen Young from other piano plays is her amazing use of dissonance. She plays the notes that shouldn’t go together in any way but makes it work beautifully. It doesn’t seem like she is fallowing any kind of rule what so ever but it makes some awesome music. Her latest album Music for Strippers, Hookers and The Odd-onlooker does this beautifully does everything wrong perfectly right. The album will blend notes from all over the keyboard to make an amazing mix.

The piano isn’t the only great part of the album, Baby Jef white has keeps it going with an awesome steady drive using over powering drums. This combined with the spastic piano playing makes for an amazing wall of sound. This is all over top of Kristeen’s awesome vocals, sounding a lot like Kate Bush or Tori Amos at times. Her voice is extremely powerful and booming and just adds to the awesome mix. The Lyrics are pretty good as well, although a little hard to make out at times, with some fairly heavy Morrissey like themes in them.

Overall this album isn’t really like anything I’ve heard in a long time. I know I might say that a lot but really it is completely different. It’s not like some albums that are different that are only a blend of two groups this is something completely different and extremely awesome. It may not be for everyone but everyone should still at least give it a listen.
Kristeen Young – Son Of Man
Kristeen Young – Everybody Wants Me To Cry
Kristeen Young – You Must Love Me

Rae Spoon and Alexandre Decoupigny : U Bahn MP3

To say I liked Rae Spoon‘s Superioryouareinferior is an understatement. I loved that album and still currently listen to it every now and then. Anyway while reading some fellow blogs, specifically Canadian music blogging friends, Herohill and Quick Before It Melts posted this and while I have yet to hear the full release… Rae Spoon teamed up with German Alexandre Decoupigny an electronica artist to create something pretty cool. What Are You Waiting For? Or Worauf Wartest Du? is definitely an album on my to check out list.

Perhaps not far from Spoon’s work, Decoupigny and Spoon create music that builds off of Rae Spoon’s outworldly vocals while Decoupigny adds in subtleties with loops and soft yet effective sounds. Decoupigny adds in spoken word in German on this track. Sonically the track is really good even if it’s minimal, it just feels like music that works with Spoon rather then against him. Which in my opinion is important as music in the opposite direction takes over the vocals.

While I can’t understand any of the German, well I definitely don’t know what U Bahn is (U course according to Babelfish – I thought it could be a U turn? Or perhaps a U Road?) they both make it sound like a wonderful language. Good song.

U Bahn by Rae Spoon and Alexandre Decoupigny

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