As a blogger, my favourite thing to do is create best of lists at the end of each year. It is a great chance to look back on the year that was, maybe remember a few albums or songs you had sort of forgotten. The next section of our “Best of 2010″ section looks at the top 20 Canadian albums of the year. For this list I only looked at full length albums released in 2010 (not EPs) by bands based in or from Canada.
15 Owen Pallett – Heartland
“The album follows the story of a farmer, Lewis, in the fictional world of Spectrum. The journey is full of exciting sonic landscapes as Pallett bombards the listeners senses with a variety of orchestral pop sounds. On first listen the album was a little underwhelming, but after a few more listens the beauty of the album really came out of the woodwork. It is interesting to listen to how Pallett combines the sounds of classical music with indie pop and electronic sounds. While the album may not pick up the Polaris this year, Pallett has continued to prove that he is one of Canada’s most innovative musicians.”
Favourites: Keep the Dog Quiet, Oh Heartland Up Yours, Lewis Takes Off His Shirt
14 Diamond Rings – Special Affections
“John O doesn’t rely on one particular instrument or sound to propel the album. While guitars are present on the album, they never really take a front seat. Instead simple drum loops and atmospheric synths fill out the background as his vocals take the front seat. For example opening track Play By Heart consists of nothing but simple piano notes surrounded by dreamy atmospheric synths and percussion. Distorted fuzzy guitars finally kick in on the track “Wait & See” but take a back seat to the drum machine sounding beat throughout the track. The single “Something Else” does start off with some heavier guitar riffs, but once again it is the drum loops and vocals that shine through on the track. Themes of love and of recognition of faults are all present on this album. Overall the album is something that is easily accessible with it’s catchy beats and vocals, but it also has substance to it. It isn’t just the same sound repeated on every track, but rather a dynamic adventure in sound and image.”
Favourites: Wait & See, Give It Up, Something Else
13 The Mountains & The Trees – I Made This For You
On this album, Jon Janes isn’t pushing the envelope by any means, but there is no need to. With this album he shows he knows his niche. The album is full of songs about his personal experiences with the people in his life and his travels around the world. These tales are delivered in a story telling song writing fashion that makes it easy to visualize what is being told or put yourself in the shoes of the narratives and characters of the songs. This album is the perfect companion for traveling or one of those days where you just need to quench your thirst for folk.
Favourites: Minimum Wage Lovers, More & More & More, Fear of Ghosts
12 Hannah Georgas – This Is Good
The declaration that “this is good” is not a pretentious claim by an established artist, but rather the name of an album by one of Canada’s best up and coming artists that is in fact pretty darn good. Hannah Georgas delivers a mixture of songs that have that perfect balance of slower storytelling ballads and songs with a little sass and spunk. Songs like Bang Bang You’re Dead are fun and catchy while a song like Thick Skin is a little more haunting and chilling. The future is bright for this talented young Vancouver artists.
Favourites: This Is Good, Chit Chat, Bang Bang You’re Dead
11 Zeus – Say Us
“37.5 minutes of straight up rock and roll is what you get when you put Zeus’s debut album Say Uson. Influenced by the sounds of Halifax bands Sloan and Thrush Hermit as well as a desire to create the sounds of 60s rock, Zeus have dropped an album that lives up to the Greek god they are named after. Poppy keys, fuzzy guitars, straight forward vocals and harmonies are present on almost every song. The first single Marching Through Your Head features these sounds making it one of the catchiest pop rock songs of they year thus far. If you are looking for something high on classic 60s rock sounds and low on challenging and confusing experimentation, the look no further than Say Us.” While some of my initial excitement for this album has faded, it still is a fun album to come back to and listen to.
Favourites: Kindergarten, I Know, The Sound of You