Friday, July 1, 2016

Top Ten Awesome Canadian Indie Albums to Listen to this Canada Day

Hello, all you wonderful people!

I woke up this morning thinking, "Hey, it's statutory holiday. I should take the day off!" haha juuuuust kidding. Most people who are self-employed will tell you the calendar doesn't dictate days off.

No, what I really woke up thinking was, "Hey, it's Canada Day. I should do a blog post about my Canadian books!" One could argue that all my books are Canadian, by virtue of my being Canadian, but some books are more Canadian than others.

But you know what? I'm tired of talking about my books. Last night I was chatting with Sweet about how I've failed (as a business) to capitalize on Pride Month. I am a queer author. I'm in the perfect position to be like "rah rah Pride, buy my books!" but you know what? Every business does that now. Sweet said I should consider it a good thing when I see rainbows in every storefront, because it's spreading awareness (even if those rainbows are just there to pad the bottom line).

I'm too cynical for my own good.

Okay, so I went off on a bit of a tangent there. Let's rope me in and get back to Canada Day. If you're really interested in reading books of mine that are especially Canadian (in setting as well as tone), I would recommend The Other Side of Ruth or Anonymous

However, I want to focus on Canadian music today. I've heard readers say that a book has saved their life. A book has never saved my life, but music has on many occasions. When I have a little extra money to spare, you know what I buy? Okay, cheese. But aside from cheese: music and art.

And there's so much great Canadian Indie music out there. I made a list, off the top of my head, of albums I love and listen to frequently. This is by no means a scientific top ten list. Anything that comes directly from my brain has little bearing on reality.

So, here we go! In no particular order, because this is not a real top ten list...

Tanya Tagaq
I have a funny story about Tagaq, who is a kick-ass Inuit throat-singer: my aunt went to see her perform last year, largely on my recommendation (because a Tagaq performance is a life-changing experience), and she came back kind of in shock because there's legitimately no way to prepare yourself for Tagaq's brand of gritty, nasty gorgeousness. Sometimes you're like, "Am I watching someone have a really intense orgasm or give birth to a planet?" And the answer is BOTH. Tagaq's albums are spectacular, but nothing beats seeing her live. I especially recommend her reclamation of Nanook of the North. It's a feat of endurance like you wouldn't believe.

Cold Specks
This is an artist who actually reminds me of one of my sisters, and here's why: when Cold Specks started singing professionally, she did not tell her family. They found out she'd released a record when her sister went to the movies and the album was advertised on screen. Busted!
I'm eagerly awaiting her next release, which will focus on her Somali roots.

Mother Mother
I can't get enough of this group. I own three of their albums and three is not enough. I listen to them ALL THE TIME. Like if you see me on the bus and I've got headphones in, there's a 90% chance I'm listening to Mother Mother.

Owen Pallett
Heartland is more an experience than an album. It's like listening to an opera. I don't mean that in an off-putting way. A lot of people aren't into opera, I know. I'm not saying it SOUNDS like an opera, necessarily, although the orchestration is mind-blowing... oh, just give it a listen.

Rufus Wainwright
Does he count as indie? Probably not. I don't care. It's my list and I'll do what I want to. Rufus is like candy. You can't listen to just one song. You want another and another, until you're on this sugar high you can't come down from. Here's another singer you want to see in concert, because he's such a diva and such a ditz, and his voice is so spectacular you'll wonder if he's really human or if he's got a bionic harp in his throat.

You'll notice I've given you a video instead of an album cover for k-os. That because... do you ever watch a music video and go, "What the hell has that got to do with anything?"  Someone had an artistic vision that had nothing to do with the song itself. That's annoying, and that's NOT the case with k-os's videos. For me, they always build on my understanding of the song. (btw I only found out what a crab bucket was a couple weeks ago. Apparently if you put crabs in a bucket, if one crab tries to escape the other crabs will pull it back down. If I can't escape, no one can.)

Chilly Gonzales
Gorgeous piano music from an eccentric dude. I think he broke a Guinness World Record by playing piano for 24 hours straight? Guess I could look that up, but it's a holiday and I'm feeling pretty lazy.

I just like 'em.

Speaking of opera, the singer you're going to hear on this album (whose name I don't remember off the top of my head) is a classically-trained opera singer. I think she even went to my Alma Mater, the University of Toronto, but I could be making that up. Atmospheric sounds, here. Coooool.

A Tribe Called Red
I leave you with this new single, Stadium Pow-Wow, from A Tribe Called Red. The video was just released a couple weeks ago. Enjoy!

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