While I can’t really argue with at least half of the top ten—including the top four (Feist, Arcade Fire, Miracle Fortress, Sunset Rubdown)—the rest of the rockist list explains the homogeneity of the Canadian blogosphere, who appear to like nothing better than two-guitars-bass-drums. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just that, like this year’s Polaris crop, I think we’re capable of much more.
Other curiosities: Neil Young? Seriously? The Top 100 Canadian Albums book is one thing, but what does he have to do with 2007?
Speaking of which, does Wolf Parade deserve to be here when they were on hiatus all year—and Handsome Furs and Sunset Rubdown take up two spots in the top ten already?
Finally, does Vancouver really suck so hard that the New Pornographers are the only band here from Canada’s third largest city? For that matter, Calgarian expat Chad Van Gaalen and one half of the Weakerthans are the only other Western Canadians here.
While it’s nice to see obscure acts like Woodhands, The Luyas and The Great Bloomers make the list, only three of my own final ten picks made the list.
Here’s the ballot I submitted.
1. Bruce Peninsula. Interview here.
2. Mark Davis. Review here.
3. Miracle Fortress. Interview here by Helen Spitzer. Blurb here.
4. The Acorn. Exclaim cover story here. Interviews here.
5. Ghislain Poirier. Older article here.
6. Arcade Fire. Review here. Interviews are here. I recently fell in love with Neon Bible—for the first time, really, as I was wrapped up in high expectations and an interview whirlwind at the time of its release. I feel like I finally have the distance to appreciate it now.
7. Secret Mommy. Interview forthcoming.
8. Thunderheist. A live review is somewhere in here. Denise Benson explains it all for you here.
9. Apostle of Hustle. Review here and here. Hopefully an interview is forthcoming.
10. Holy Fuck. Cover story (not by me) in Exclaim here.
I don’t think these are very obscure to anyone who follows Canadian music closely, except my #1 choice: Toronto’s most promising band but a local phenomenon only, which was placed strategically, to no avail. But then again, as this exercise and others continue to prove, maybe no one really follows Canadian music closely unless sunny pop songs are involved.
I mean, seriously: don’t these rockists have the time of day for the tower of power that is Holy Fuck? Haven’t the preponderance of Toronto and Montreal bloggers on this jury had a chance to see Thunderheist live yet? Am I the only person in (eastern) Canada who thinks those two Mark Davis albums are overflowing with songs that Johnny Cash wishes he was alive to record? Has anyone out there even heard Secret Mommy? Does Ghislain Poirier’s absence mean that no one on the jury can dance?
For what it’s worth, here are the other 10 acts that made my long list. This time, a whopping four of them made the Top 33.
Buck 65. Review here.
Julie Doiron. Interview here.
Great Lake Swimmers. Interview here.
Immaculate Machine. Most improved players.
Les Amis au Pakistan. Out-of-nowhere surprise.
Lightning Dust. Reviewed here.
Paul Macleod. Waiting to review this—Paul, are you ever going to play Toronto??!!
Joel Plaskett. Interview here.
Shad. Helen Spitzer writes about him here.
Weakerthans. Interview forthcoming.
You Say Party We Say Die.
I could have easily dropped another 10 or 20 names of people I love dearly, but for whatever entirely arbitrary reason I decided they were “hotter” last year. I don’t know, I mean WTF—who are we here, Paris Hilton?
Finally, what does it mean when this 36-year-old grumpy old blogger—I’m guessing I’m the most aged on the jury—feels that my younger peers are too conservative?
More on lists very shortly…
But in the meantime, congrats to Dave Bidini on his new book Around the World in 57 1/2 Gigs, which was launched last night at the Paddock. We spoke a bit about it--as well as the process of retiring the Rheostatics--about a year ago here. Based on the excerpt he read last night--about playing with a Azerbaijani Chernobyl survivor on piano and a Zambian heckler in a Finnish bar--it's a very juicy read.
I'm sad, however, that he didn't decide to go with one of his initial promo ideas, which was to read the book in its entirety in the storefront window of Pages on Queen Street.
[Sunday morning update, from Mr. Bidini:
MB: The reading gig is on.Next Saturday, Pages, 12-6 pm. In the window. I'm going to sweat, grow hoarse and melt.]