Monday, November 3rd, 2008
The Hottest Bands In Canada 2008
listentofeist.comThis past Friday, I (Heart) Music posted the results of his fourth annual, “Hottest Bands In Canada” poll – the ultra-unscientific survey of online Canadian music types wherein we submit a ranked list of the Canadian acts that we deem the “hottest” by whatever definition of the word we wish to use.
Though I managed to get my list in just under the wire, on account of being ultra-busy and distracted the last few weeks, I don’t know if I gave it the utmost amount of thought that I might have otherwise. But going over my picks again, I’m fairly comfortable with the my blend of realistic and idealistic though after seeing the final list, I’m reminded of a lot of acts that I perhaps should have given more consideration. But what can you do. Listed below are my 10 picks along with the blurbs that I submitted alongside. The bracketed number is the artist’s actual ranking on the final list.
Obviously I’m not as in touch with the Canuck zeitgeist as perhaps I should be. I was a little more in sync with the top ten last year, whereas this year I seem to be pretty firmly ensconced in the bottom half of the list or so. I realize that if I were a little more objective about things, then acts like Fucked Up and Crystal Castles should have been given credit for making waves around the world, but whatever.
1. Feist (15) – We’re a long way removed from The Reminder but anything Feist does, including her first arena tour, still makes headlines. Objectively and quantitatively speaking, she remains the hottest musical thing with a Canadian passport.
Video: Feist – “1 2 3 4″
2. Basia Bulat (13) – 2007 was very good to Basia Bulat with Oh My Darling receiving critical acclaim in Europe and Canada – 2008 was just as good, as the record did just as well in the US and garnered a Polaris nomination. The fairy tale just keeps on going.
3. Woodpigeon (-) – This Calgary collective probably falls more under the category of “ought to be hot but aren’t”, releasing record after record of gleaming folk-pop that is making small, but definite waves in Europe and landing the band tours with the likes of Calexico and Iron & Wine. Big things coming. I hope.
5. The Rural Alberta Advantage (19) – This Toronto trio’s Hometowns record is an absolute jewel, and yet almost no one has heard it. But I am, just for a moment, pretend it’s a just world and include them anyways.
6. Shad (9) – Though he didn’t win the Polaris, it can be argued that Shad – helped out by his spot-on, ultra-viral video for “The Old Prince Still Lives At Home” – benefitted the most from the exposure gained by the nomination. Hell, he got me listening to hip-hop – that is no mean feat.
7. Land Of Talk (21) – Finally, after long last, released their debut full-length and while it’s not the kick upside the head that Applause Cheer Boo Hiss was, it’s still a worthy effort. But factor in that Liz Powell is the newest Broken Social Scene chanteuse and that Land Of Talk is opening up for BSS on their North American tour…
8. Two Hours Traffic (18) – Utterly relentless touring machines and purveyors of note-perfect power pop. It’s amazing that a band from such a wintry country can so perfectly capture the spirit of Summer.
9. Bruce Peninsula (5) – The first recorded fruits of this Toronto collective have shown that the otherworldy power of their live shows can indeed be captured on tape, which means that soon they’ll no longer be just the secret of those who’ve seen them perform.
MySpace: Bruce Peninsula
I’m sure some would like to use this poll as a mid-year barometer for next year’s Polaris Music Prize noms but considering the sample group for this was a lot smaller and narrower, that’s probably reaching a bit. And speaking of the Polaris, the gala ceremony from September will be broadcast on CityTV across the country this Saturday night, November 8, at 7PM local time. Considering I missed out on most of the show, I’d like to see this… but I don’t have cable. So I will miss it again. But at least I know how it ends.
Feist – my number one but the list’s number fifteen – has been making the most of her return to Toronto this past week. There was a pair of secret club shows , one at the Rivoli and one at the Cameron House, a relatively intimate gig at Massey Hall on Saturday night and tonight, her big show at the Air Canada Centre. And it was just announced that November 25 will bring a deluxe edition of The Reminder, featuring a bonus disc of remixes, all the album’s videos (The Toronto Star has an interview with the director of them all) and the cover of Kenny and Dolly’s “Islands In The Stream” with Constantines – and for everyone who bought the album a year and a half ago when it was released, the bonus goods will be available for sale digitally on their own.
The D’Urbervilles, who come in at #17 on the list, have announced a two-night stand at the Tiger Bar that they’ve playfully named “Rock Em Sock Em 1 and 2″ on December 12 and 13th. Night one will feature The D’Urbs along with Katie Stelmanis (also of band #5, Bruce Peninsula) and Mantler while on night two, they’ll welcome Bocce and Slow Hand Mortem as their guests.
Woodpigeon rated highly on my list, but evidently not many others’. I prefer to think of myself as simply being that much ahead of the curve instead of being out of touch. Just wait. Noize Makes Enemies talked to frontman Mark Hamilton about the origins of their first album Songbook, which was just released in the UK.
The Bicycles will release their new album Oh No It’s Love on Tuesday,
the same day they play a release party at Lee’s Palace and an in-store at Soundscapes at 7PM the instore at Soundscapes is on Tuesday at 7PM, the Lee’s gig is on Saturday. Sorry for the confusion, which appears to have been mostly mine.
Whilst on the topic of hottest things in a respective geographical area, I was pleased to see that NOW named this site as “Best Music Website” in this year’s “Best Of Toronto” issue – not just for the kudos, but because in the six-plus years I’ve been doing this, I think this is just the second time the magazine has acknowledged my existence. Not that I’m keeping score or anything.
NPR enumerates their musical love of Canada.