Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
The hottest bands in Canada 2010
FacebookA bit of a “wow” moment last night when I went archive digging and found that I Heart Music had been running his “Hottest Bands In Canada” poll for five years running already, making the 2010 edition – unveiled last week – the sixth one. An impressive feat that I’d like to salute Matthew for before proceeding. Okay, done.
As always, Matt put out the call to an assortment of Canadian and Canuckophile music writers and bloggers to submit their top ten acts with Canadian passports that they would declare to be “the hottest” by whatever standard they chose to use, the rankings weighted and enumerated and the top 33 artists tallied. Not nearly as mysterious or intensive as the Polaris process, but a good barometer of what folks are talking about approximately midway through that prize’s eligibility period. And, more importantly, it allows me to use my already-written ballot as the basis for a post, thus freeing up more time to watch television. Everybody wins. And off we go.
1. Arcade Fire – It was almost a scientifically controlled experiment with the three biggest indie bands in Canada releasing new albums in the span of three months, and as much attention as the New Pornographers and Broken Social Scene records got, it was nothing compared to the appetite for The Suburbs. Arcade Fire = hottest band in Canada. QED.
2. K’Naan – There’s not much bigger stage than the World Cup and the only thing better than having your song used as its official anthem is having it be a song that remains uplifting even after being played a billion times over a month. K’Naan did this.
Video: K’Naan – “Waving Flag”
3. Diamond Rings – No one expected a D’Urbervilles solo project to get the attention that it did, but over the past year John O’Reagan’s electro-glam alter ego has become a bona fide phenomenon and his debut album Special Affections has somehow managed to live up to the hype.
4. Karkwa – In terms of increased profile over the last year, no one can top Karkwa because before they surprised many by taking this year’s Polaris Music Prize, most of English Canada had never even heard of them. Can’t say that anymore.
Video: Karkwa – “Le pyromane”
5. Shad – The downside of being the presumptive best record in Canada for months and then not winning – for the second time – is perhaps being cast ast the Susan Lucci of the Polaris Prize. The upside is that TSOL was called the best record in Canada for months, and people heard it – the praise and the album. Not a bad consolation prize.
6. Dan Mangan – Though some may argue that there’s nothing really special about Mangan’s everyman singer-songwriter, they can’t argue that there’s few who work or social network as hard as Mangan and its paid off in a huge and loyal fanbase.
7. Land Of Talk – After a few false starts, Land Of Talk’s new record Cloak & Cipher should allow them to drop the “next” from their perpetual “next big thing” status, though if their career stays true to form they’ll blow up via the slow burn.
8. Metric – They’ve always had their eyes set on the big time and what with getting tapped to record the new Twilight theme song and playing multi-night stands at theatres and outdoor amphitheatres, they might well have finally gotten there.
Video: Metric – “Black Sheep”
9. Broken Social Scene
This slot could have gone to any of BSS, Wolf Parade, Stars, New Pornographers or any other Canadian A-list band who released a solid but hardly game-changing record. But BSS managed to get a Polaris short-list spot out of theirs, so circle gets the square.
10. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Relatively quiet in 2010, but deserving of a mention if just for topping last year’s poll; their second album is in the can and there’s been enough touring to remind people of why they love this band so.
Toronto’s Hooded Fang, who scored the #23 spot on the poll despite having just released their debut Album, will be promoting said record with an in-store at Sonic Boom this Saturday, November 13, at 6PM and then following an Ontario tour through November, play a hometown release show for the record at The Drake on December 9.
Elliott Brood and The Sadies may not have been ranked, but that won’t stop them from continuing their New Year’s Eve traditions by ringing in 2011 at Lee’s Palace and The Horseshoe, respectively. Tickets for the Elliott Brood show are $20 in advance, Sadies ticket info forthcoming.
And though Feist is unsurprisingly nowhere to be found on the list – not releasing an album in three years does temper one’s hotness – expect her to be back at or near the top next year, as she’s getting back into action. Starting with the release of the Look At What The Light Did Now documentary film, which is coming out as a DVD/CD package on December 7 but will be screening at The Royal Ontario Museum on November 21, followed by a Q&A with Miss Leslie herself. Limited tickets are $20, on sale now.
Trailer: Look At What The Light Did Now