2012 has been the strongest year in memory for Canadian electronic pop. Established artists started new electronic projects, amazing new talents appeared seemingly out of nowhere, and one of our shining stars became a superstar recognized the world over. Canada is clearly at the epicenter of the zeitgeist – it’s a testament to the unbelievable talent in this country that we have 100 songs to present to you as the best of the year, and STILL had to exclude so many excellent tracks.
Montreal and Toronto may still have the most representatives of any Canadian city, but dark electro is thriving everywhere, from Halifax to Calgary, Ottawa to Vancouver, and exciting new hotbeds appearing in London, Ontario, and Grande Prairie, Alberta. We’re not too exclusively nationalist here at Silent Shout, so border states (minus NYC) appear too, with artists from Minneapolis, Seattle, and Brattleboro, Vermont making our list.
A huge thank you to all our readers, the folks who attend our events, and the bands that make brilliant music across this land for making 2012 an unforgettable year for us. Here’s to an even bigger 2013 for Canadian electronic music.
50. Kashka – Vichada
44. DKMD – Androide
37. Grapes Godly – I Can’t Remember
There has been so much amazing music made this year. Most of these albums have been on constant repeat at the Silent Shout office since we heard them. If you’ve been following the blog all year our love for these records won’t surprise you. If you haven’t, we can’t wait for you to hear them! There shouldn’t be so much damn agreement in the critical world. We don’t need multiple lists of the same 50 albums in a slightly different order.
11. Hot & Cold – Border Area – Bandcamp
3. Blanche Blanche Blanche – Wink with Both Eyes – Stream
So, due to some massive oversight, we were not asked to be judges in this year’s Polaris Prize. That, or the ballot was lost in the mail. We need to ensure that Canadian electro music is properly represented, so in an effort to influence the judges’ decision, we have made our top five albums eligible to win this year.
Handsome Furs – Sound Kaptial
Handsome Furs – Memories of the Future
Tenderness – The Axe is Ready at the Tree
Tenderness – We Lay Our Broken World in Sorrow at Your Feet
And the winner is:
Toronto newcomers Tenderness have made a really neat album! A sprawling, omnivorous kind of album that covers so many bases, and is so full of ideas it’s almost impossible to take it all in on the first, or even the second listen. The opening track, Below Me, encapsulates the record’s eclecticism, beginning with an extended burst of evolving white noise that gives way to a big reverby 808 clap and a morose vocal that glides over sparse synths and rolling waves of warped samples. The bracing Too Wonderful is another standout, veering into a sort of sedate spastic-jazz punk reminiscent of Linder Sterling and Ludus, driven by the layered saxophone skronking of Brodie West, veteran of Toronto improvisational jazz group Drumheller, and an infectious half-sung vocal melody. It’s the kind of record that demands repeat listens, if only to figure out how they made it work so well in the first place.
The Axe Is Ready At The Tree is available to stream or download on their bandcamp. Here’s hoping we hear more from these guys in the not so distant future.