The Year in Canadian Rock

Liam Colle, Adrien Begrand and Erik Leijon

The sound of this decade is being cobbled together by witch doctor rock collectives in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. So please excuse the intensity, we are ecstatic. And as our enthusiasm spreads so does the range of talent. And as the novelty inevitably wears off, what will remain is a shitload of great bands.

The Year in Canadian Rock
After suffering the stings and narrows of Loverboy and Bryan Adams, then Sum 41 and Nickleback, Canadians can finally take pride in non-embarrassing domestic talent. All at once, international audiences and critics have awoken to the stirring sounds of this unassuming nation of coureurs des bois. In 2003 and 2004 people wondered, "shit, what's going on up there?" — and now, in 2005, that promise is being backed up. The new era in rock music begins in Canada. Forget post-punk revisionism and the New York City sound of the early '00s. The sound of this decade is being cobbled together by witch doctor rock collectives in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. So please excuse the intensity, we are ecstatic. And as our enthusiasm spreads so does the range of talent. And as the novelty inevitably wears off, what will remain is a shitload of great bands.

The Best Live in Canada...
Liam Colle
In the wake of last year's awesome breakthrough, Canadian artists sustained an impressive assault throughout 2005. The following five bands, a massive at least 30 strong, brought their best on the stage.

FIVE > Wolf Parade
Forget the hype — when they aren't fucking up, their live show is maniacal and completely absorbing.

FOUR > The New Pornographers
This year Destroyer and Neko Case joined the live show, and the unreal vocal games and powerful songs were unstoppable.

THREE > The Deadly Snakes
Toronto's resident band of carpenters matches the depth of their songwriting with a legitimately fierce rock show.

TWO > Constantines
It's not a lie when they say, "you have to see them live." Blood, sweat, and fears erased. They're the biggest band in the world in the world I want to live in.

ONE > Arcade Fire
Have some respect. They can even play the shit out of an award show. Their live show is transcendent and attendance is mandatory.

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Five reasons why Montreal Kicked Ass in 2005
Erik Leijon
So you're probably sick of hearing about it already. But there's no denying this city's profusion of interesting music. From the garage riot rock of the Sunday Sinners and Demon's Claw to the arty noise of Belle Orchestre or We Are Wolves, Montreal is unleashing some serious might in the rock world. And now in handy list form is some rationale for the asskickingness. Take a number.

FIVE > Band Names
Sure there are plenty of "the" based names, but what about AIDSWolf, or CPC Gangbangs? There were a lot of wolf-based names, and wolves are cool animals. French band names like Malajube are also great since nobody in Toronto can pronounce them properly.

FOUR > Chromeo
Is there any album that will cause as much ass-shaking as She's in Control? Unlikely. Also of note, the video for "Needy Girl" is the greatest bit of Quebec filmmaking since the original Elvis Gratton.

THREE > Hype Without Actual Music
Islands, the new project from ex-Unicorns J'aime Tambeur and Nick Diamonds have yet to release an album, or even secure a record deal in America. Considering the press they've already gathered, you'd think they found the cure for Avian flu.

TWO > La Belle Ville's First Family
The Wainright/McGarrigle gene pool is so musically potent, right now the family dog is prepping his own collection of neo-psychedelic folk. Everybody has already fallen in love with Rufus; Kate and Anne are still music's best sister act, and Louden is... well... brooding as always. But this year we were introduced to Rufus's sister Martha, who gave us a stellar debut.

ONE > Pop Montreal
Not the most organized festival, but there's no criticizing the amazing collection of bands at this year's festival. In a city with probably too many festivals as it is, Pop Montreal is emerging as a favourite. Give it a couple of years and maybe it will eclipse F1 weekend? OK, probably not.

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Photo courtesy of Matador Records

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