by carl wilson

With Glowing Hearts

Matt over at I Heart Music solicited nominees from all the bloggas for "hottest" Canadian bands of 2005, with the interpretation of "hot" left up to the nominator. I sent him a list of 10 but it really should be a list of about 20, with a 16-way tie for fifth, and still leaving a lot out. The ranking criterion is simply how much mental space each of these bands occupied for me in 2005:

1. Final Fantasy
2. Republic of Safety
3. Jon Rae & the River
4. Destroyer + Frog Eyes (Notorious Lightning ep)
5. Drumheller, Ninja High School, Veda Hille, Joel Plaskett, They Shoot Horses Don't They, Venetian Snares, Tim Hecker, No Dynamics, The New Pornographers, Martha Wainwright, Chad Van Gaalen, Arcade Fire, Holy Fuck, The Creeping Nobodies, Hank or SS Cardiacs or maybe the Phonemes, CCMC.

Matt's poll was topped by the Arcade Fire, with Broken Social Scene kicking and screaming in second place. It's probably true, as Aaron's comments suggest, that this is a "cat person" versus "dog person" kind of choice. And, as always, the dog people are Wrong.

I suppose this is a sign that Top 10 list season is about to rain down upon us.

| Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, November 22 at 01:15 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (20)



jon-rae and river are the best band ever.

Posted by no name on December 5, 2005 01:13 PM



(....not that it's bad to a "nancy boy"... or a "nancy girl" or nancy drew... monsieur bystander)

Posted by the selfs (again) on November 24, 2005 08:55 PM



you forgot the selfs.


P.S. They aren't Nancy Boys... who knows what they/ we are.

Posted by the selfs on November 24, 2005 08:54 PM



Mr Zoilus,

I wasn't objecting to your list specifically, but to the more general enthroning of BSS and Arcade Fire and the rest. Not to mention the New Pornographers, who are the new Pursuit of Happiness. (Both of whom wrote their best song right off the bat.)

Your list is definitely more interesting than the one you link to. And no, there's no homophobia in my used of the term "nancy boy," just as there's no latent Marxism in my use of the term "middle class." I saw Final Fantasy open for Deep Dark United last year and was impressed. If anything, I think a lot of these bands are too straight, musically and philosophically. I don't even mind AF and BSS and the rest of it, it just sounds so tame. Everything sounds a little too ready for campus radio.

I think I'm just tired of the "eight musicians and fourteen tambourine players with big smiles" thing that's going on right now. I'm still not quite over my disappointment that Starvin Hungry never made it (at least as an all-Milchem duo).

(Uh, Matthew, I think I excepted Feist in my original post. She's like Shania Twain - you can like her or not, but you don't fuck with her.)

Posted by Canadian Bystander on November 23, 2005 05:02 PM



I have no idea where you'd find the stuff. But she, Peaches and Gonzales used to do their thing over in Europe for a few years...maybe she appears on some Peaches albums?

Posted by matthew on November 23, 2005 10:12 AM



"Feist used to rap as Bitch Lap-lap"

umm.. what now? can I hear?

Posted by andrew on November 23, 2005 01:53 AM



There are certainly some acts on the final list that are easier to take than others...but, as Carl implies, Final Fantasy's album has its fair share of unnerving moments. Beyond that...Feist used to rap as Bitch Lap-lap, DFA79 and Black Mountain can be as heavy as anyone out there, Martha Wainwright's voice is as intense as anyone's, Frog Eyes is...well, Frog Eyes. Saying that they're all "middle-class nancy boys" and cuddly shows a lack of understanding of most bands on the list.

Posted by matthew on November 23, 2005 12:20 AM



Well, actually, Mr. Bystander, the artist at my no. 1 spot is actually GAY, (and not necessarily middle-class), and given that you're throwing around words like "nancy boy," I'd say that indicates some level of "unease." And even putting that aside, I think there's quite a bit that's uncuddly and more challenging about his work if you're paying attention.

The lead singer of No. 2 is a woman with a good share of fierceness. No. 3, brought up in a traditionalist right-wing Christian household. And I suspect you're not that familiar with Frog Eyes (who are pretty much exactly at Black Francis levels of nerve), Tim Hecker, No Dynamics, Venetian Snares, etc.

Not to say that the point about middle-classness and indie rock is wrong, and it's worth discussing, but the "cuddly" thing is a generalization too far.

Posted by zoilus on November 23, 2005 12:02 AM



But hasn't anyone noted the fact that all of these hipdy-hoo new Canadian bands are middle-class nancy boys? K-OS included (but Feist excepted, perhaps)?

Is there a single one that is genuinely unnerving and uncuddly?

I'm not talking GG Allin - they're not even up to Black Francis levels of unease...

Posted by Canadian Bystander on November 22, 2005 11:41 PM



Mike, I agree wholeheartedly. And I recently cajoled Andy Lloyd (of Spitfires & Mayflowers) to consider a Jay+Andy pop duet. He's receptive, now I have to work on Jay. THAT would make my personal 2006 Hot List.

Posted by beth on November 22, 2005 11:14 PM



Sloan have their place as the 'elder' statesman, so to speak, of the indie rock community. I'll always love 'em and I have no doubt that they can(and will) release more fantastic music(I'm always hoping for a Ferguson-lead pop masterpiece to surface). But they weren't HOT in 2005. They were around, played shows(even made it to Coachella) but they didn't really do anything that excited me too much. Even the two new songs on their greatest hits compilation "A Sides Win" were just par for the course.

Posted by mike on November 22, 2005 11:07 PM



I'm still irked that Sloan didn't make the list, Matt. (I'm kidding, I highly doubt anyone voted for them but me. Although I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who's mental space was occupied by Joel Plaskett this year.) Still, this glaring "omission" is forgiven by the fact that Owen Pallett ranked so highly. Bravo.

The BSS/AF division is an interesting thought. Even more interesting, I find, is watching the next generation of fledgeling Toronto bands that are poised to step into near-BSS-legend status by virtue of their creativity + inbred interconnectivity (and I mean that in a GOOD way - this city is so ripe with talent). And I'm sure there will be divisions & feuding in the next generation, too.

Posted by beth on November 22, 2005 09:06 PM




Posted by dogonwheels on November 22, 2005 08:03 PM



my own list would be topped by the deadly snakes and sunday sinners.

Posted by marco on November 22, 2005 07:00 PM



I have to say I've really taken to the Constantines latest album. Interestingly, a very stupid review of their album dared to ask "How many Canadian bands do we need?", as if there would only be room enough for a certain amount!?!

Posted by Chris on November 22, 2005 03:53 PM



I like both bands too, but I have to admit that when I was compiling the lists, I was rooting for Arcade Fire over BSS.

Actually, I was really pulling for Wolf Parade, but their third ended up being quite distant (in fact, had Final Fantasy made any more lists, he would've been in third)...

Thanks again for taking part!

Posted by matthew on November 22, 2005 03:03 PM



I don't have any particular fondness for BSS as a band, since the one gig I saw by them (and Ms Feist) was totally uninteresting. (My musical crush is on Dave Newfeld.) And I do have a fondness for the Arcade Fire since, well, Win and Regine are friends.

So I guess I do like one rather more than the other, but music's not sports, you know? I think both of their work is fantastic, and see their aesthetics as pretty complimentary. Like you say, "there are some obvious musical [differences]" between the bands. But I don't think that means anything. It's not like people who like The New Pornographers are positioned as antithetical to those who like the Fiery Furnaces.

This was my ballot - I guess I'll post it again on StG in the morning, since I'm vain. It was set up to favour the people I didn't think would get votes, and who deserved them, but as with you Carl there were tons of acts I didn't get to mention. (Thankfully, most of them - Jon-Rae and the River, Stars, - made it in without my help.)

1. The Cay
2. Final Fantasy
3. Sunset Rubdown
4. Avril Lavigne
5. Destroyer
6. Frog Eyes
7. Wolf Parade
8. P:ano
9. Arcade Fire
10. Julie Doiron

Posted by Sean on November 22, 2005 02:36 PM



Sean - Well, it's probably more wishful thinking from music scribes for a fan-feud to add a dash of colour contrast to the mostly pink-cottoncandy-happy canuck indie boom. But I do find that people seem generally to prefer one over the other. For instance, you're a much bigger fan of the AF than of the BSS, no? I think there are some obvious musical reasons why the two bands may not attract exactly the same people.

Ryan - That's certainly a position that would hold up in court. I decided to be more flighty and mood-of-the-moment with my list, because otherwise my Destroyer-is-no.-1 habits would become too stultifyingly predictable. I'm already pretty sure Mr. Bejar will reclaim that status for me in 2006, so why not mix things up a bit?

Posted by zoilus on November 22, 2005 02:11 PM



In my list, Messrs Bejar and Mercer are always at the top, current album in circulation or no.

Posted by ryan on November 22, 2005 01:49 PM



i totally don't understand the arcade fire vs BSS thing that aaron and you talk about, except as a goof on how big each band is.

Posted by Sean on November 22, 2005 01:29 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson