Monday, November 1, 2010

10 Hottest Canadian Acts of '10

This is a list of the artists that topped my list for 2010, which of course required too much trimming and more than a bit of twitter participation. Compiled for i(heart)music's annual Top 100 list, which should be released within the next week. The list is in descending order.

Who were your top 10 in '10?

10. K’naan - The only reason K’naan is not number 1 on this list is because his album was released in Canada in early 2009, where it’s already had its run. But with “Wavin’ Flag” as the official Coca-Cola anthem of the World Cup, as well as getting major airplay during the 2010 Olympics, it’s hard to deny the influence and massive growth this Somali-Canadian emcee has had on the international market this past year.

9. Hannah Georgas - After being declared best new artist for the CBC Radio 3 Bucky Awards in 2009, Georgas has only built on that buzz by releasing an excellent debut full-length This Is Good, touring cross-Canada numerously and representing BC for the latest CBC Radio 2 SongQuest. Not to mention she’s been heralded as the new Feist.

8. Hollerado - I mean, you’ve seen this video, right? These four childhood friends also put on one of my favourite festival shows of this past year.

7. Black Mountain - If you don’t think the Vancouver psych stoner rock outfit deserves to be on this list, you probably haven’t heard their latest Wilderness Heart yet. Amber Webber’s warble deserves to be on this list by itself.

6. Broken Social Scene - A hotly anticipated album, a movie, international tour dates, and a slimmer but no less potent line-up all happened during 2010. Broken Social Scene is an institution in Canadian music and is far from running out of steam.

5. Dan Mangan - Vancouver’s own bearded bard has done a great (dis)service in the eyes of humankind by getting (sold out) audiences across Canada to pre-emptively declare allegiance to our robot overlords.

4. The Wooden Sky - The winner of North by East West’s Shadow Polaris Prize for 2010, Wooden Sky’s latest sleepy and haunting release If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone. truly epitomizes the power of the album format. I’m still kicking myself for having missed their latest cross-Canada tour with Yukon Blonde.

3. Diamond Rings - I’m smitten with John O.’s solo project, who has met raving critical acclaim way before he’s released his debut album Special Affections. This is what I wrote a little while back about Diamond Rings: “his persona, which is captured in its nascent stages in the ‘All Yr Songs’ video, is one of unabashed and colourfully exuberant androgyny. In a culture where androgyny is often portrayed as sex-less and dominated by masculine females, the lanky O'Regan dances confidently with both the guys and gals, looking every bit as comfortable in a basketball jersey or a pair of zebra print tights. The ‘Baby One More Time’-esque dance moves in ‘Show Me Your Stuff’ warrants viewing in contemporary gender studies classes for its unashamed celebration of the kinetic male body.” In a word, wow.

2. Shad - The Vancouver-based rapper hailing originally from London, Ontario drops insightful and spiritual tracks delivered with a sharp tongue and mischievous glint to his eye. Shad has recently been named Canada’s best rapper by the National Post. Whether you agree with that designation or not, Shad has had an undeniably successful year, seeing his third album TSOL short-listed for the Polaris Music Prize and touring with fellow heavyweights K’naan and K-Os.

1. Arcade Fire - 2010 was the year of the Montreal octet. Whenever they went out to the corner store to buy a jug of milk, it became top news on Pitchfork. With the release of their third highly anticipated full-length, The Suburbs, AF has officially secured their title as the biggest indie band in the world, including sold out arena shows across North America and having their show at Madison Square Garden broadcasted live via YouTube.

Not a part of the list, although they were definitely hot for this past year, is my vote for Unluckiest Canadian Act of 2010 - Library Voices.