Review – “2013” – Canadian Music

Reviewed by Jack Derricourt


I’ve been writing for Grayowl for a couple of months now. It’s been a wild ride, full of unheard masterpieces and well-listened-classics-in-wait.

I thought that, since my blogpeers are all recollecting their favourite moments from the sonic sphere of 2013, I might as well try my hand at something similar. A word of caution, this list is incomplete, devoid of a numerical hierarchy, and is mostly just a testament to the wonderful creativity of our national music scene. Long live the Great, Weird White North!

Neil Young announces concerts in support of Northern Alberta band

I’m always wary to call Neil entirely ours. Too many of his big records are American-made, and I often doubt his allegiance. But, as he proved with the announcement of January’s concerts in support of the Athabasca Chipewyan band, his heart is in the right place this time. The profit from the four January shows with Diana Krall will go entirely to the band — that’s a lot of much-needed funding for the group’s escalating legal battles with Shell Canada.

The Ketamines second record

Before my move out to Toronto, I stood in the Las Vegas-lookalike of Victoria’s Copper Owl bar, bearing witness to the Ketamines and their riotous collection of material. It took me a bit of time to get my hands on the new release, You Can’t Serve Two Masters, but now that I’ve got it, I couldn’t imagine my life without it. The diverse assemblages put together by the band under the heading of “pop music” are fantastic. Stuff every stocking you can with a tape, cd, or LP of this album!

Planet Creature Christmas single

While the track may have been crafted back in 2010 for a UK Christmas compilation, Toronto’s Planet Creature posted “Jingle Bells (Surf’s Up)” on their bandcamp just in time for this year’s sleighing and drinking season – think of it as a time-sensitive reissue. It’s an entirely joyous holiday affair by one of my new favourites. The bass plays wild games in the back of the track, while the syth carries on a staccato form for the rest of the “Jingle Bells, Batman smells” playfulness to cosy up to. This band knows how to bring the Christmas ruckus with irreverence.

Polaris award and the reception speech

I don’t have much to add to the endless text surrounding Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s win of the Polaris trophy and triumph this year. I think they did a great thing by turning eyes towards issues, especially the lack of support for truly independent music in this country. They thumbed their noses at the in-crowd of the Canadian Art Automaton, and for that, I am thankful.

And so it goes. Happy Holidays to you wonderful readers and listeners alike – and remember: don’t drink and sleigh.

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