Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Shut-Ins Guide to the Hottest Canadian Bands, 2008

So, Matthew at I(heart)music asked me to participate in his yearly ‘Hottest Canadian Bands’ poll which was… well, flattering. After getting over the initial flattery, I had a little trouble dealing with the idea of determining how ‘hot’ bands were. I mean, it was kind of hard for me to wrap my head around Chad VanGaalen, for example, being considered ‘hot’. Because really, for me, a middle aged dude singing about death and playing a banjo doesn’t really embody hotness. There was a little bit of an impass, some pacing, and basically what I decided was to take ‘Hottest Canadian Bands’ and replace it with ‘Bands I like a lot more this year’. And, because I really haven’t made it out to all that many shows – something I’m hoping will change in the next month or so – I’m really just basing my list on what I’ve read and heard. So, you might say this is a Shut-In’s Guide to the best bands of 2008 (with minimal commentary).

Honorable Mentions:

Jon McKiel - As I mentioned previously, I haven't heard the full album, but I really like a couple of the singles.

Entire Cities - I thought Deep River was excellent, but haven't really heard anything about them since the album came out.

Plants and Animals - Honestly, I just didn't like Parc Avenue as much as a lot of people. Its good, as far as psych-hippie-jam-band rock goes, but its just not really my bag.

.......... drum roll please .............

10. The Rural Alberta Advantage (Toronto, On)
They were new to me this year, enjoyed seeing them in London earlier this spring. The only thing they've got going against them is that Liz really doesn't like them - I think she finds the vocals a little whiny - and so they don't get much play at home...

9. The Acorn (Ottawa, On)
No new albums, but for some reason I've went back and listened to one of their first EPs Tin Fist about 7 Thousand times this year. It was the CD my dad and I listened to the most while up in Northern Michigan at the end of the summer. Oh, and there's also a live album as of Sept. that I've yet to hear, but, if its anything like their live show (which it should be since its a collection of live songs) it'll be great.

8. Tokyo Police Club (Toronto, On)

I think I said everything I needed to say in my last post...

7. Woodhands (Toronto, On)

Best song of the year: 'Dancer'. And, if either the Star Wars or Chocolate Rain kid still need a date for their prom they have approximately 6 months to lock this down...

6. Hayden (Toronto?, On)

Not exactly a spring chicken, but he's still my favourite. Also, I haven't forgot about In Field & Town, which I think is his best album since ... I can't really choose among his albums. Suffice to say if he had a little more of an exuberant personality he'd probably be a little higher, but for Hayden it seems like its been a pretty standard year.

5. Born Ruffians (Toronto, On)

I thought Red, Yellow & Blue was a fun, energetic album and they've been playing a lot of shows. Plus, they just seem like a band that should be on a list like this...

4. The Black Hat Brigade (Brampton, On)

I said when I first posted about the BHB's first EP that I thought it was better than anything by Wolf Parade (the band they are most compared to), and after WP's At Mount Zoomer I think I feel that way even more. Given that the dudes in BHB are young (I'm pretty sure) I think this makes them more exciting, and more - dare I say - hotter? They are a band that, given their proximity to Toronto, I'm determined and likely to see them sometime before Christmas.

3. The Golden Hands Before God (Montreal, QC via Windsor, On)

To me, the problem with rock music is typically bands end up falling into the generic 'garage rock' - where they end up sounding like Nickleback - or 'classic rock' where they end up trying to sound like (the Stones, AC/DC, Guess Who, etc.), and they fail miserably. Its really hard to say which is worse, and in either event, things don't really work out well for anyone. Somehow, and I say this because the Besnard Lakes are the only other 'classic' sounding new rock group that I enjoy, the GHBG have put out an EP that evokes the classics, but sounds unique and, also, awesome. For anyone who is even kind of into any rock their EP Here is the one to hear this year (really sorry about both the pun and the rhyming... believe me when I say it was completely unintentional).

2. Shad K (London, On)

Because, even though The Old Prince was last year it has become one of my most listened to, and favourite, rap records. And, I feel like, even though Canadian MCs don't ever seem to 'last very long' (i.e. I've heard nothing from K-Os, K'naan, etc. in ages) I've got a sense that Shad could stick around and really become the corner stone of a 'conscious' Canadian hip-hop movement.

1. Chad VanGaalen (Calgary, USA)

Unless someone else comes out with something completely mind blowing, he has, in my opinion, the album of the year (not just Canadian) hands down. My comments on his album here.


The Yeti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Yeti said...

Kardinal Offishall - not for sale?!

just because he's a bit more mainstream, doesn't mean he doesn't still spit hot fya and represent the t.o


The R.O.B. said...

Didn't even cross my mind... I guess I don't run in Kardi's circles, or really any circles where gun noises (jamaican or otherwise) are made...

I've got a record store trip planned for tomorrow, and I'll check it out...

Allan said...

If needed I can send you the Jon McKiel record.

historyjen said...

And here's my list...

See you at a show sometime?