In no particular order.
Owen Pallett- Heartland
This album had me from the moment I pressed play. Pallett is a master of making an orchestra accessible to all listeners. Throw in extremely intelligent lyrics and a concept of a town called Spectrum and an ultra-violent farmer called Lewis and you have a great album.
This one came unexpectedly to me but it is one album that I have had on repeat before. This Calgary band plays short bursts of blues-rock that often take all kinds of unpredictable turns, making it a record you can play over and over again without getting bored.
It Kills- It Kills
Another total surprise. This trio is based in Halifax and has created a very weird and unique sound that, as I said in my review of this album, is reminiscent of an apocalypse. They could be described as instrumental but that wouldn’t quite work- they could be called orchestral, but that also wouldn’t work.
The Reckoners- …And The Sky Opened Up
While technically an EP and not a full-length album, this is completely deserving of its spot on my top ten. This Vancouver duo is pretty new to the music scene but sing as though they’ve been traversing the roads for decades. Brilliant folk and infinitely catchy.
Winter Gloves- All Red
The Montreal electro-pop outfit has not fallen to sophomore slump on their second LP. This collection is bursting with energy and all songs fall under three-and-a-half minutes. This could be on repeat all night if you’re not careful.
Boxer the Horse- Would You Please
This record sounds like a record that could have been made many years ago. But the youth and vigor behind their crazy keyboard solos and guitars make this album worth a listen.
Diamond Rings- Special Affections
This is just pure pop goodness. John O’Regan of the D’Urbervilles knows what he’s doing with his brilliant lyrics and insanely catchy melodies. There’s a reason that a buzz is growing around him.
Dan Snaith won the Polaris Prize for his previous album Andorra and obviously the jury had no problem nominating Swim for the prize either. The music is as fluid as the album title implies, with each electronic song fitting nicely with each other.
Arcade Fire- The Suburbs
This is probably not a surprise to anyone- our favourite Montreal baroque-pop outfit is back in full force and sporting a more joyous sound than their previous album, Neon Bible. It’s sixteen songs and an hour long- well worth every minute.
Only Woodhands can get away with so much wordplay. Besides the album title there is also a song called “Coolchazine.” What does that mean, anyways? The album itself is full of danceable electronic goodness that is sure to bolster any party you’re planning.