Terre de nos Aieux

Posted: October 4, 2010 in Canadian Music, New Music
Tags: , , , ,
Oh Canada. Having been born and raised in this fantastic country, I have been exposed to some great music. And no, I’m not referring to Shania Twain or Simple Plan. I’m talking about bands that are popular amongst us Canadians (exemplified by several Juno nods), but haven’t made it really big – yet. The following are amongst my favourite Canadians and if you haven’t had a chance to check them out, please do, you will not be disappointed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         First off is Metric. Fronted by Emily Haines, who not only sings, but also plays guitar and a mean synthesizer, they have taken music to a whole other level. Their earlier stuff, circa 2003-2006, was raw, loud and edgy (“Glass Ceiling”, off 2005’s Live It Out is fantastic). When they released their 2009 album Fantasies, that’s when all hell broke loose and people started paying attention: I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve listened to it. It’s a combination of beautiful lyrics sung by an even more beautiful voice (I swear, Haines actually sounds like an angel), along with an incredibly unique sound all wrapped up in one perfect package. This disc feels like a more mature version of the earlier albums, and has brought Metric right into the spotlight (their songs are now appearing on movie soundtracks and TV shows). Fantasies has produced so many singles, including “Sick Muse” with lines like “Watch out/Cupid stuck me with a sickness/Pull your little arrow out/And let me live my life”. I’ve had the distinct privilege of seeing them live and what blew me away the most was how ridiculously talented Emily Haines is live – she’s fun and made it all seem effortless (can she be any cooler??).

Next we have The Arcade Fire. Here’s a band based out of Montreal, lead by lead singers Win Butler and Regine Chassagne, who also happen to be married. Their first release was Funeral in 2004 and critics fell in love right away. Their sound is as original as you can get, using all kinds of instruments, including violin, cello, xylophone, accordion and harp. They’re like an entire marching band with each instrument contributing its own flavour and bringing an anthemic quality to their music. Regine has a pretty voice (though she’s no Emily Haines) and Win’s voice is hauntingly beautiful (best depicted on “Oceans of Noise” off of 2007’s Neon Bible). Every album they put it out is better than the previous, with their latest, Suburbs, being no exception. A 16-track production with its first single, “Ready to Start” sporting lines like “I would rather be wrong/Than live in the shadows of your song/My mind is open wide/And now I’m ready to start”, should be everyone’s break-up anthem. Their live show is also quite the production – with all the different instruments and musicians it creates an almost orchestra-like effect and immediately draws you in – you couldn’t avoid it even if you tried. Have a listen.

Last but not least, City and Colour. This band first caught my attention with their first album in 2005 entitled, Sometimes. A soulful venture into relationships and break-ups and all the confusion that accompanies them. Lead singer/songwriter Dallas Green has such a soft and honest voice full of passion that you can actually feel his emotions in everything he sings. The track “Comin’ Home” expresses Dallas’s feelings about a broken relationship: “I never thought you could leave me/I figured I was the one/But I understand your sadness/So I guess I should just hold my tongue“; and is one of my all-time favourites. Their second album released in 2008, Bring My Your Love, was a much happier album and when he puts his heart and soul into his lyrics and singing, you want to be the girl he’s singing to (in reality it’s his wife Leah Miller, ex-MuchMusic VJ, current hostess of So You Think You Can Dance Canada). Their live show is very simple, a guy, his acoustic guitar (and occasionally a harmonica) and his band. Now call me a sucker, but there’s something incredibly sexy about a guy pouring his heart out with an acoustic guitar. Gives me chills. If you ever have a chance to see them perform, you will understand.

Canadians tend not to brag about themselves like Americans do, we tend to bring a little humbleness to the table. I don’t know what it is, maybe some leftover pride from this year’s Olympics, but I feel like everyone needs to know about these bands (and so many more) that this country has to offer. After all, Canadian music rocks.

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