Saturday, December 20, 2008

Is Canada now better at rock music than the USA?

From Intelligent Life: "Canada Rocks":
Chances are that few will have been more taken aback by Canadian music’s triumphs than Canadians themselves. Their pop culture encompasses a trait largely unknown south of the border: self-deprecation. Then again, for a long time, Canadian music fans have had plenty to be self-deprecating about. It’s four decades since a generation of Canadian titans—Neil Young, The Band, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen—last emerged; and their achievements ultimately did more to bolster American folk-rock than to create a durable identity for Canadian pop.

Since then, wave after wave of excitement and innovation—punk, post-punk, indie, hip-hop, house, techno, grunge—has surged back and forth between America and Britain. Generations of Canadian hipsters have gazed enviously at those two countries, and groaned in embarrassment as their compatriots instead embraced progressive rock and its geeky offshoots. Asked to name a globally successful and recognisably Canadian band, until recently most non-Canadians might have cited Rush, the stupendously overblown pomp-rockers. Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, Alanis Morissette, Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne and Nickelback have conducted their blockbusting careers as undercover Americans.

But just as it did for British pop in the early 1960s, all that outward scrutiny, that eager consumption by ambitious, dissatisfied youngsters of the fresh and thrilling from abroad rather than the second-rate and derivative at home, is paying dividends. There is no particular Canadian sound. Even as media ubiquity shrinks our world, the sheer geographical vastness of Canada makes such a thing improbable. What we are seeing—and hearing—is a new-found confidence. Canadian acts at last have the wherewithal to make music without a sense of obligation or apology; and without the ingrained assumption that a Canadian artist must either pander to the United States or settle for being at best a local hero. Pound for pound, no other country’s music scene is punching harder.
Entire article.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Here comes 2009!

The coming year is poised to be a good one. A short-list of some anticipated releases include:
  • ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
  • Alexisonfire
  • Andrew Bird
  • Animal Collective
  • Antony and the Johnsons
  • Broken Social Scene
  • Deftones
  • Doves
  • Great Lake Swimmers
  • Isis
  • John Frusciante
  • Linkin Park
  • M. Ward
  • Mastodon
  • Modest Mouse
  • Muse
  • Neko Case
  • Placebo
  • Queens of the Stone Age
  • Radiohead
  • Rush
  • Sigur Ros
  • Sufjan Stevens
  • The Shins
  • The Strokes
  • The White Stripes
  • U2

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Best albums of 2008

Before we get started with 2009, here's my ranking of 2008's top albums.