Thursday, November 2nd, 2006
So on Tuesday I Heart Music unveiled the results of this year’s “33 Hottest Bands In Canada” poll of Canuck bloggers and online media types. The criteria for the poll was simple – the bands had to be Canadian and they had to have had a “really good 2006″. How I chose to interpret those requirements was entirely up to me.
I had to think on the second criteria for a bit – you may recall that I was/am still smarting from my epically lame experience trying to pick nominees for the Polaris Music Prize earlier this year. With this in mind, I decided to ignore who was actually having a good year in terms of things like critical acclaim, record sales, public exposure, whatever, and pick the 10 bands/artists that got me personally excited about cheering for the home team this year. It could have been because of an album, a song, a live performance, whatever – all they had to be, really, was new to me and have gotten my attention.
Only five of my picks made the final list, which is probably about what I expected. I don’t know why, but I had expected there to be more unfamiliar names on the list – you know, in keeping with my general inability to keep an ear to the ground. But no, I’ve actually heard most of the artists on the final list and even have informed opinions about most of them. How about that? But here’s my list as submitted to Matthew last week along with whatever pithy annotations I could come up with at the time. Most of the others who participated have done the same on their own respective sites so if you want to see their lists and rationales, just click through the participant list in the I Heart Music post. And also note that you can now see the full list of all other nominees, many with linked audio samples. Nice.
- Land Of Talk – Applause Cheer Boo Hiss is one of the best things I’ve heard by anyone from anywhere in any year.
- Ohbijou – Fresh-faced and -sounding, yet already incredibly polished, this chamber-pop mini-orchestra has boundless potential.
- The Airfields – Breaks your heart into little pieces and then breaks those pieces into smaller pieces.
- Destroyer – I’m a latecomer to this party but I finally get it.
- My Dad Vs Yours – Thank you, Matt, for the term “post-pop”.
- The Coast – Their glistening pop is Toronto’s Anglophilia done right.
- The Acorn – “Blankets”. All you need to hear.
- Malajube – No idea what they’re saying but sounds great regardless.
- The Diableros – Sugar-laced soul coated in delicious white noise.
- Final Fantasy – 100 Canadian music critics can’t be wrong! Still warming to the record but breathtaking live.
And what are my selections up to? Land Of Talk are in town November 16 and 17 opening for The Dears at Lee’s Palace while Ohbijou supports their two November 18 shows (all-ages matinee, licensed evening show). Ohbijou are also at the Boat on November 27. The Airfields are currently… kicking around. Some signs of life but not too much to report. Dan “Destroyer” Bejar is currently occupied with his Swan Lake project, My Dad Vs Yours just wrapped a fairly tour-intensive October and The Coast are rereleasing their excellent self-titled EP on Tuesday and celebrate with a party/show at the Ukula store on November 9. The Acorn will release their new album Tin Fist in late November/early December, Malajube headline a show at Lee’s Palace on November 25, The Diableros are touring across Canada later this month and Final Fantasy performs at the North York Central Library on Saturday as part of the Blocks party.
Just in time for their big-ass party in NYC, CMJ has posted a two-piece article about the differences between indie labels and majors. In part one, they compare and contrast the life lessons of Harvey Danger and Rollerskate Skinny/Favourite Sons. Part two talks to some indie label reps about the current industry landscape and how bands like Be Your Own Pet and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are taking advantage.
One band that’s got a fair bit to say on the above topic are The Decemberists, in town on Monday night at the Kool Haus. Chris Funk talks Capitol expectations to Philadelphia Weekly while Colin Meloy address same (amongst other topics) for NOW and The Toronto Star and Nate Query for MP3.com. eye, on the other hand, skirts the topic completely preferring to talk about Robyn Hitchcock.
One of the great things about the return of zombie WOXY is the return of their Lounge Acts studio sessions – currently up, Frank Black, who incidentally calls rumours of a new Pixies album “Bulls–t”. And he actually pronounced the hyphens – both of them.