We’ve long loved Tigerwing, the Windsor-based alternate-dimension pop star; her dark and deliciously down-tempo synths are solidly in line with our tastes, always and forever. She’s starting the year with a song that starts a little sinisterly in the distance, before swelling toward a smoldering chorus about being left behind by someone chasing excitement over genuine affection. There’s apparently much more to come before we escape this cold, cold winter, a fact that’s certainly warming our hearts.

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Austra – Future Politics

Canadian electronic pop legend-in-process Austra‘s much-anticipated third album Future Politics is coming out January 20, the precise day that a certain President-Elect becomes Actual President, and although it couldn’t have been planned that way, Katie Stelmanis’s latest vision seems utterly perfect for the times. Perhaps that’s because she’s always stayed true to a certain technologically-minded electro-capitalist critique which has long pervaded her music, since even before she took on the Austra mantle. This album was produced and mixed entirely by Stelmanis herself, so it’s possibly as direct a musical statement as one can get on the times – a single artist, trying to grapple with the global economic, informational, and cultural flows that shape our lives unseen.

2016? We’re never going back there. There’s only one way: future politics.

You can pre-order Future Politics now from Austra’s Bandcamp. It’s probably gonna be amazing if this and previous single “Utopia” are any indication.

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Top 40 Songs of 2016: 20-1

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20.

Awash with layers upon layers of amazing synths, and a consistently bumping kick drum, this is EVJ at his most pure-pop.

19.

“Heaven,” one of the stand-out tracks on the phenomenal Monolith, marks Michele Nox’s full arrival as Canada’s preeminent ambient pop songwriter.

18.

Another bold departure for the Toronto duo, one which sees them fully embracing their pop tendencies.

17.

Bronswick make sultry, chilled-out synthpop that remains relevant by not just relying on tropes, but a smooth interplay between the two of them.

16.

Scott Hardware (formerly Ken Park) gave us so many treats in 2016 but the melancholy bounce of “Black Humour” warms our dark hearts, ever so slightly. Inventive, but deeply emotional, electronic pop.

15.

A perfectly produced deep groove, another in Femminielli’s tradition of epic arpeggiated disco tracks, with a characteristic spoken vocal, in French, of course.

14.

“Elle et Lui” is a midtempo mysterious synthpop jam that’s not as syrupy-slow as first single “Cinq Heures,” but just as darkly evocative.

13.

Odonis Odonis have doubled down on their electronic experimentation and gone in a decidedly more industrial direction on their latest single. Odes to Skinny Puppy abound, from the distorted vocals, the weird choral vocal sample, to the almost-clipping drums.

12.

From the droning floor tom drum rumble to the dark and aggressive synth lines building up to the strobing chorus – it’s clear Syv De Blare’s first single is meant to be listened on the loudest sound system you can muster.

11.

“Stepper” accentuates the house and R&B influences on Loji’s sound, and reminds of Southern Ontario electronic pop heroes Junior Boys in the best possible way.

10.

Feeling sad? Orlando Gloom can relate. This clever and brilliantly executed exploration of negative emotions comes with breezy, upbeat synths and a comforting vocal tone that can transport your troubles away for a while.

9.

“Form Of Space”, its latest single, delivers intense, burning horns over a sparse drum machine groove, with an extradimensional sequenced bass bursting in and out of the track.

8.

Toronto’s smooth-pop champs deliver a funky, but deeply contemplative jam, one so melodic that every note feels like the hook.

7.

A dark, cold-as-ice sequenced synth over spare, hard-hitting drums features Davidson’s characteristically detached voice making observations and cutting commentary above the beat.

6.

High BPM rave-like beats, April Aliermo’s sing-songy rapping, Daniel Lee’s signature baritone and fucking weirdo coolness.

5.

Probably the strongest single to date from the Toronto electronic psychedelic explorers, expanding their sound into deeper, darker, and even more dramatic places.

4.

Airy vocal delivery, interlocking layers of drum machine beats with analog synth melodies, and a very relaxed, cool-temperatured atmosphere.

3.

A pop music gem, with much of the band’s signature style intact: creepiness abounding, layer upon layer of amazing vocal production all set to backdrop of amazing synth programming and production.

2.

The return of Jef Ellise Barbara is always something worth celebrating, but especially with this: an early 80s-infused funky soft rock/funk song sung in two languages.

1.

Featuring a monstrous beat with a big booming bass, it’s the most exciting danceably dark electro-R&B track we’ve heard all year.


Top 40 of 2016 Playlist

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