The Year in Review

It has been an amazing year in Canadian music, both on a commercial and a "music nerd" level. Canadian bands have put out some of the most well received albums of the year. At this year's CMJ festival (basically the who's who of college rock), Canadian bands stole the spot light.

Perhaps the most talked about Canadian band is the Arcade Fire. This Montreal band exploded from relative anonymity to the most talked about band in the US. Their debut album, Funeral, is popping up on every critics best of list and with good reason. Powerful vocals, amazing arrangements and a plethora of instruments all combine to make one of the most exciting bands playing today. Amazingly, the live performances are even better than the album (the amazing cover of Naive Melody is becoming one of the most traded songs on the Internet.

The Arcade Fire was not the only Canadian band getting great press. A.C. Newman's solo album, The Slow Wonder, implemented the strong hooks New Pornographer fans have come to expect, but he doesn't force his songs into that mold. This album, start to finish, is a treat, and for those fans thinking no Neko will = no fun... Meet Sara Wheeler.

Speaking of Neko, her newest album - Tigers Have Spoken - is also receiving great reviews. Anyone who has seen Neko live knows her performances are cover heavy, but her unique spin on them,and her powerful voice make then her own. This live album will help show why Neko continues to sell out shows.

K-os - The Joyful Rebellion - Quick, turn the radio on. Find a station. It could be a rock, hip hop, or reggae station. Chances are you will hear a cut from K-OS's new album. With the infectious Cure sampled bass line of Crabbuckit, K-OS finally got some of the air play he deserved. His music draw on his influences, which are more diverse than most people in the game. Classic hip hop, 80's synth, reggae, pop music and the notorious G.O.D. all find their way into his work. This album is so good I can't even complain about Sam Roberts on "Dirty Water in my Bong".

Several Canadian bands have released albums that I wish I could write about, this is a blog, not a Best of '04 music review book. For any fans of Canadian music, check out:
  • The Stars - Set Yourself on Fire - beautiful pop music with new wave flavor. A stronger, more focused release than Heart.
  • Death From Above 1979 -You're a Woman, I'm a Machine - Looking for a break from the programmed beats and pop? This noise rock album will get you rocking. They are a two-piece, which usually only plays out well if you are charging 2 buck for some KFC, but any fans of the Hot Snakes will love the crunching noise these two deliver.
  • Tegan and Sara - So Jealous - No longer trying ot be the next Ani, the Twins move away from teenage angst and deliver an album on stronger pop songs. Many people are claiming the album is more radio friendly, but I think the songs are just more mature and much more fun to listen to.
  • Junior Boys - Last Exit - Treading on the success of the Postal Service, this album electro pop album delivers song after song of danceable goodness.
  • Camouflage Nights - Camouflage Nights in the Summer - Rob (Tigre) Benvie & Ian (Murray Johnson) McGettigan are back. Dropping the rock and discovering a love for the 808, sex rhymes, and programmed beats, Camouflage Nights delivers a Beckish Midnight Vultures style record that might teach the indie kids to dance again.

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