This was a fantastic year for Canadian music, and picking just five albums was more challenging for 2017 than recent years.
That‘s a good complaint, and one I‘ll take any year.
Early this year, I was eagerly awaiting a new album from Japandroids, and rumours were buzzing around about a new Arcade Fire album — two new albums from a couple of my favourite bands.
So, how did it all land in my eyes? Here‘s my personal list of top Canadian albums from 2017.
5: Chad VanGaalen‘s Light Information
A surprise to me late this year was the rediscovery of Chad VanGaalen, someone I hadn‘t paid enough attention to over the past few years. I was doing some deep digging through my iTunes library one night and came upon a couple of his older albums.
After a trip down memory lane with some of my favourite songs of his, I decided to see what I missed from him.
Lo and behold, he had just released a new album Light Information. I bought the album on the spot and it quickly became a favourite of mine.
4. Antisocialites from Alvvays
If you were a fan of Alvvays after their self-titled debut album in 2014 then you‘ll love this year‘s Antisocialites sophomore record. The band‘s second release really picks up where they left off three years ago.
Expect punk beats and dance jams dominated with Molly Rankin‘s soothing vocals. Bands often look to explore a different sound on a second album, and that‘s usually because they still don‘t have a defining sound.
I think Alvvays was well ahead of most bands with their debut album, so change wasn‘t needed on the new record — they have their sound and it works.
3. Barr Brothers with Queens of the Breakers
The Barr Brothers are one of Canada‘s best-kept secrets. I mean, people know this Montreal-based folk rock group, but more people should know about them.
Lyrically this album is just as sound as the musicianship. If there‘s one album to gamble on this year — it‘s this one.
2. Wolf Parade‘s Cry Cry Cry
Any year that sees a new Wolf Parade album is a year worth talking about for me. Cry Cry Cry is a solid rock album, and any of Wolf Parade fans should be pleased with this reunion.
It‘s nothing far from what fans have loved about the band in the past, and they really picked up where they left off after Expo 86 in 2010.
1. Arcade Fire‘s Everything Now
Not everyone will agree with me on this as my No. 1 pick. Many Arcade Fire loyalists, including myself, think this album sounded confused and never really had a good flow when listening from start to finish.
But, this album was played a lot on my watch and it delivered some great tunes, including title track Everything Now. From the first time I heard that song, to a hundred times later, it still wakes me up and makes me want to dance.
Overall, not Arcade Fire‘s best album but the one I enjoyed the most this year.
Some other notables
St. John‘s indie rockers Roundelay just released a new album There Just Might Be Enough Time. I grew up in the St. John‘s music scene with these guys and couldn‘t believe the news when they announced this album. It‘s so refreshing to see life from the N.L. music scene that I thought died 10 years ago. Well done, Roundelay.
I listened to Drake‘s Passionfruit constantly this summer. So there‘s that.
The new album from Japandriods was exciting, but never really delivered the wall of noise that I love about them. Still worth checking out, though.