I lived in Chile in 2008 and 2009 and lived off of the CBC Radio 3 Podcast. It was Grant Lawrence and Craig Norris that kept me in touch with the newest Canadian music. There are certain songs that I’ll always associate with driving through the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile, like Maybe Smith‘s You Would Never Survive The Winters In This Province. A little over a year ago the R3-30 and Radio 3 podcasts were cancelled due to CBC budget cuts. I spent about 5 months of this year outside of Canada and it was during that time that I realized how much I missed them. Sure, I could stream the Radio 3 feed at the office in Canada, but on long drives through the Andes or in remote camps with spotty satellite internet, this was impossible. Nonetheless, I tried to listen as often as I could and catch up on the R3-30 weekly countdowns when I was near a good internet connection. But that wasn’t always possible. Now that the year is almost over, I thought I’d list my favourite songs of the year.
#10 – Electric Youth – Innocence – Perhaps best known for their contribution to the Drive soundtrack, this is still in the same vein, which is alright in my books.
#9 – Hunting – Everything Will Be Okay – I love the laid back melody with its simple, sweet message that sounds like it’s to be delivered just before you go to sleep.
#8 – It Doesn’t Last – Ruffled Feathers – I like the arrangements in this song. Although not as strong as 2012’s Blueprints for Our Failed Revolution, it’s still pretty good.
#7 – Diamond Bones – Something like Summer – Whenever I see simple performance style videos like this, it makes me want to pick up the guitar and make music. They make writing pop songs look so easy, which, of course, it isn’t.
#6 – Alvvays – Marry me Archie- The Alvvays self titled album is my second favourite album of the year. I love their lo-fi sound, I didn’t think it could hold up over an entire album, but that speaks to the strength of the songs.
#5 – Topless Gay Love Tekno Party – My 5 – This sounds like it could be the theme song for a cellphone commercial (and I was away long enough, it could’ve been), but it’s still fun.
#4 Stars – From the Night – My favourite album of the year. I wasn’t expecting such a good album so soon after The North, but this possibly their best album yet. Stars just get better with age.
#3 – Start Again – Operators – When I lived in Chile 6 years ago, I thought that Wolf Parade were destined for great things, but it wasn’t to be. They split and out of the ashes came The Handsome Furs, not as great, but they only lasted a few more years. Now Dan Boeckner is making music with Operators, which is a good thing.
#2 – Owen Pallett – The Riverbed – This and the next song sound unlike anything else I heard this year. The tension builds in an interesting way because of the violin lead and I like the Gran Torino style video too.
#1 – Tanya Tagaq – Caribou – I absolutely LOVE this cover from the Polaris Prize winning album Animism. It gives the Pixies song a tribal, yet anthemic, beat and the throat singing technique implemented during ending ‘Repent’ makes it even more primal than Black Francis’ in the original, which makes the contrast with chorus of ‘Cariboooo’, even sweeter. Excellent stuff.