The lure of the green monkey music project pulled me into the undertow yet again recently, this time asking for six songs (as representative of six albums) from within the past five years that one simply must have in their collection.
I guess I sort of missed the criteria about them needing to be songs/albums that people would be unfamiliar with, as I surely could have picked more obscure must-haves, had I put my mind to it. But I did decide to go with exclusively Canadian music, so that should help ratchet up the obscurity factor a wee bit. And I stand by my assertion that you must have these albums in your collection or you will lead a sad meaningless existence.
There are some pretty great songs on the master list that Splotchy and his talented guest host, Allen Lulu, have compiled with a little help from their bloggy friends. I urge you to go here to to download all the unheard goodness. And while you are scooping up some great new songs, allow me to tell you exactly why you need to shop Canadian. It is International Record Store Day today, after all:
Chad VanGaalen - Cries of the Dead [album: Soft Airplane, 2008]
This homeboy just keeps getting better and better. He makes his own instruments, from which he wrestles a wonderfully unique sound. His last album was shortlisted for a Polaris Prize and it wasn't half as good as this one (although still damn fine). I'm going out on a limb here and saying if Soft Airplane does not at least get short-listed this year, I will have lost all faith in the taste of music pundits in this country.
the Constantines - Hotline Operator [album: Tournament of Hearts, 2005]
With this album, the hardest working band in Canada has softened their hard-driving sound just a little, and allowed a little more complexity into the music, which works oh so nicely with that driving beat. Fantastic band to see play live, you will get rock god sweat on you.
Brian Borcherdt - Means of Escape [album: Coyotes, 2008]
You think you know Brian Borcherdt? Sure he's a member of the insanely good electronica band Holy Fuck, but he also has an incredible new solo EP which is the polar opposite - very moody, filled with fractured fragile beauty. In this clip, he's going to play you a little music as well as take you record shopping.
Final Fantasy - This is the Dream of Win and Regine [album: Has a Good Home, 2005]
Owen Pallett (aka Final Fantasy) is one of the most consistently creative musicians in this country. His album, He Poos Clouds, won the inaugural Polaris Prize, and it's grand too, but this earlier album has my heart. He is simply an incredible talent, very sassy, and so pretty.
Jon-Rae & the River - Just One More [album: Knows What You Need, 2006]
Sadly, this band is no longer together. They won my Best New Discovery of the Fest award at the 2007 Calgary Folk Festival, and were renowned for their rollicking shows, filled with rock, soul, country, motown, gospel. Former frontman, Jon-Rae Fletcher now has a solo album, Oh Maria, which I am going to try to find for IRS day, and I actually wrote a profile on him for BC Musician Magazine a couple of months ago. You can read it here, if you are interested. This clip is actually for the song Roll, but it's a helluva good 'un, too.
Elliott Brood - Fingers & Tongues [album: Mountain Meadows, 2008]
These purveyors of death country are my all-time favourite festival band. They'll frequently go out and dance among the audience or invite people onstage to sing and dance. And they are totally nice dudes who graciously answer their own emails. Had it not been for the religious experience of seeing Radiohead last year, the Elliott Brood concert at the Warehouse would easily have won my Concert of the Year nod.
Enjoy some fine new tunes, and support your local independent record store today.