Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Redemption Song

I feel the overpowering urge to redeem myself after my last post. I'm worried that you judge me based on the musical skeletons in my closet. Shut up; you have them, too. I know you've hummed along to Miley Cyrus at least once. I'm on to you.

But still, I did make claims about my music savvy that really should be qualified with actual examples. Besides having a frighteningly long list of rubbish in my iTunes playlist, I think that it's balanced with some really great music. Here is my Top 10 list of my musical discoveries and re-discoveries of 2009 (and yes, I may be a few years behind):

[ clockwise: Dirty Projectors, Kate Nash, Modernaire, Sia, Plants and Animals, Arkells ]
  1. Sia - This Australian pop singer/songwriter has been on the music radar for a while (just not mine), and was made famous by her song that said goodbye to Six Feet Under in its final episode's closing scene. I loved that song at the time. Fast forward to my trip to LA this past summer, and I am introduced to Sia, who is busy recording her newest album right next door to Alex and the boys. Still, I do not make the connection. I kicked myself when I pieced it all together back home in Canada. I checked out her latest album (Some People Have Real Problems). Awesome! I am a fan. Check out: Little Black Sandals and Academia (duet with Beck!). She comes to Toronto April 28th... do I have a plus 1?
  2. Library Voices - I found this 10-piece Regina, SK indie pop band by accident while poking through blogs to find something to do on a Saturday. BlogTO blurbed them, and I was compelled enough to check out the myspace. I promptly purchased two tracks from the iTunes store and added them to our wedding playlist. So far they only have an EP, and I am tapping my nails in anticipation for what's next.
  3. Arkells - Formerly Charlemagne, these boys changed their name due to a dispute with a US-based band by the same name. How politely Canadian! I saw them perform under their old name, many times alongside Sweet Thing at divey Toronto bars. They were a good band. Now, they're great. What's in a name, indeed. Their first full-length album is light years beyond their 2006 performances at the Silver Dollar. Sweet Thing opened for the Arkells on the Ontario leg of their latest tour, and I was lucky enough to see three performances. They're even better live, and the infectious songs on Jackson Square had everyone signing along, show after show.
  4. Kate Nash - Another artist I overlooked, and missed the chance to see live. She's one of my favourites now, but 2 years ago, when Sweet Thing was invited to open for her, I didn't bother to stick around for the main act. Foundations is catchy and her lyrics (as always) are brilliant and cheeky. Think of her as a way, way more talented and seriously underrated version of Lily Allen.
  5. Plants and Animals - We saw that they were nominated for a Juno last year, but we hadn't heard of them at the time. Since Alex somehow has a say in the results of the Junos (via an online password to a voting site), we sat down to make our picks together. Music industry perks, I suppose. We researched artists we'd never heard of, and Plants and Animals was the only name that stuck. Bye Bye Bye is so clearly Queen-inspired - it's fantastic!
  6. The Dirty Projectors - I'll credit this one to the band (via Alex) who listened to this group non-stop while in LA. I immediately loved them, and Alex explained that the obscure sound was a result of unusual timing. I'm not exactly adept at describing music and why i like/dislike it, but Alex is helping. Some of their songs are, admittedly, tough to digest due to the odd timing, but others, like Stillness is the Move are so gorgeously intricate.
  7. Modernaire - UK Electro-Pop band, introduced to me by my friend Alexis' roommate Steve (who I credit with alot of my new music discoveries). Haunting and danceable.
  8. Miike Snow - Via Alex again, a relatively new discovery and I am really digging this band, They come to Toronto in April, and I am there. Check out Animal.
  9. Bruce Springsteen - A re-discovery. I obviously grew up with his small town American working man's anthems flooding the radios, but didn't quite appreciate them. Alex, a huge fan, has turned me on to the true genius of this man. We both love Seeger Sessions, a folk-country departure from his Born in the USA days, but still just as amazing.
  10. Van Morrison - (another re-discovery) Sweet Thing is named for one of his songs, and the boys credit him as an influence. With the exception of Brown Eyed Girl - a high-school dance favourite - I hadn't paid much attention. With Alex's influence, I have recently stood up to notice. Totally soulful. Love: Moondance and Gloria
"Fly out into space. Listen to the music the Earth, the planets, the universes are making." - Yoko Ono (from twitter.com/yokoono)


  1. Sure, sure- but did you know Martha and the Muffins has a brand new album out?

  2. HA! That is so funny! I just wrote a blog about it, then read your comment. :)