“alyth organizer shellbearing” by Trigger Warning x S. Wurm

Noisy and exciting, “alyth organizer shellbearing” is a fantastic slice of dark electronica, with throbbing beats and disturbing industrial noise.

 

Baffled Octopi/Coast to Coast to Coast Top 25 Canadian Songs of 2019

by Mark Anthony Brennan

Baffleed 2019

 

 

25. “Cosmic Joke” by Crashing into Things
Electrifying psych-garage from Victoria.

 

 

24. “Sweet Little Thing” by Radiant Baby
Completely over-the-top saccharin-sweet electro-pop. Try to resist.

 

 

23. “Féminin Masculin” by Bleu Nuit
Doom and excitement, melded into a post-rock whole.

 

 

22. “Treasures of the Blind” by Braintree
Artsy garage with a killer arrangement.

 

 

21. “I’ve Been Waiting for This Moment” by Slut Prophet
Raw punk, served up with delicious wit.

 

 

20. “Hegemony” by Usse
Usse use a minimalist approach to create a menacing and edgy atmosphere.

 

 

19. “Sophie’s Dad” by Kamikaze Nurse
Noisy and melodic. Relentless and meandering. KC Wei and company are a band of contrasts.

 

 

18. “Nice Song (ft. Eliza Niemi)” by WLMRT
With the addition of Eliza Niemi (Mauno), WLMRT make a nice song. Uh-oh.

 

 

17. “Witch” by Man Meat
Sludge-heavy and razor sharp, from the Saskatoon power trio.

 

 

16. “Jim Says It’s OK If I Die” by TETRIX
Perhaps even more creepy than last year’s “Drugs in the Water”.

 

 

15. “Mostly Ocean” by Graftician
Soulful calm in an exotic landscape.

 

 

14. “It’s a Cruel World!” by FLOOR CRY
Hauntingly beautiful single from Winnipeg’s Felicia Sekundiak (aka Floor Cry).

 

 

13. “I Feel Unholy” by PROPERTY
There is something quite holy in the performance of “I Feel Unholy”.

 

 

12. “The Heaviness” by PAPAL VISIT
A bubbling pot of angst, dread and fear, but it’s a delicious stew.

 

 

11. “Dead of Night” by Orville Peck
Cowboy theme music for a David Lynch movie.

 

 

10. “FATAL” by DEBBY FRIDAY
A frightening collision of rock, hip-hop and electronic, thanks to the fearless Debby Friday.

 

 

9. “Amelia” by Sleeepy Dog
A countrified slacker tune about a dude whose girlfriend gets kidnapped by some guys he’s in trouble with. Poor Amelia.

 

 

8. “Money” by Polly Dactic
Bordering on glammish horror rock, but the gravity of the post-punk atmosphere makes the evil more sincere.

 

 

7. “Big Mouth” by Necking
The bounce of punk-pop, but with the kick-to-the-balls of hardcore.

 

 

6. “Candy BB” by Crystal Eyes
A dreamy track from Erin Jenkins (Crystal Eyes) that has a sense of endlessness.

 

 

5. “Hung Ron” by Cowbo Morsche
This track is so quirky that it seems literally warped.

 

 

4. “Rod Crowhop” by STOiK
Alarming beats and industrial grinds set an ominous tone in this exciting blend of traditional indigenous and modern electronic.

 

 

3. “Freeloader Feast” by Deliluh
Art punky approach, with an edgy down beat and an angular vocal delivery that’s unnerving.

 

2. “V” by Swim Team
The amazing trio known as Swim Team mesmerize us with an instrumental (mostly) that builds subtly and slowly.

 

 

 

1. “Shelley Duvall in 3 Women” by Greys
The Toronto-based band create a brooding base of uneasy grunge, with rising spires of gloomy elegance.

Baffled Octopi/Coast to Coast to Coast Top 25 Canadian Albums of 2019

by Mark Anthony Brennan

whoop-szo

 
25. “Allo Futur” by Claude l’Anthrope
Claude Sophie Périard indulges in delicious beats.

 

24. “DRI HIEV” by DRI HIEV
DRi HIEV’s debut full-length is packed with cleverly arranged industrial beats and noise.

 

23. “Honey” by lungbutter
Art-punk meets doom/sludge. It’s like thick, tasty molasses.

 

22. “Dark Beings” by LAL
Both dark and bubbly, this neo-soul/electronic album is slinky and satisfying.

 

21. “Salt” by Blessed
Blessed proves they are one of the premier alternative bands around. A poised album, with both warmth and edginess.

 
20. “Above All Else” by redress
Victoria experimental artist scores big with minimalist electronics and highly personal vocals.

 

19. “Dear Bongo” by Motherhood
Fredericton’s Motherhood manage to make a cohesive statement, despite pulling out everything from doom rock to electronica and artsy punk.

 

18. “V” by Swim Team
Vancouver trio like to play improv-style, but they always seem to have complete control of their avant-pop/experimental garage sound.

 

17. “Stillness and Stars 2” by Stillness and Stars
Prog rock never sounded as fresh and relevant as this.

 

16. “Pity Party” by Slut Prophet
Noisy and wild punk, with a wicked, sly sense of humour.

 

15. “Every House Has a Light On” by TETRIX
TETRIX combine throw-back accordion with current doom-laden psych.

 

14. “Le jardin des mémoires” by Bleu Nuit
Post-punk in attitude but catchy and engaging in its delivery.

 

13. “Have You Met Elliott?” by Hélène Barbier
Have You Heard Hélène Barbier? If not you are missing out on her quirky vocals and sly (sometimes dark) arrangements.

 

12. “Foreign Bodies” by Sunglaciers
Shoegazey, melodic, gritty and edgy. All smoothly delivered by Sunglaciers.

 

11. “The Same But By Different Means” by Yves Jarvis
Formerly known as Un Blond, Jarvis continues to expand his musical universe with transcendent coolness.

 

10. “A Gaze Among Them” by B I G | B R A V E
Experimental posr-rock with heavy emphasis on thundering percussion and bass.

 

9. “Significant Changes” by Jayda G
Intricate textures and intriguing beats are rife on this electronic/house/soul release.

 

8. “Metamorphonic” by Bombnivores
This Halifax duo crank out coolly modern, slick and groove-based music.

 

7. “The Strange One” by MNGWA
This Vancouver collective serve up feisty world music like you’ve never heard. Exciting and multicultural, with impressive progressive touches.

 
6. “C’est ça” by Fly Pan Am
Fly Pan Am are veterans, but ‘C’est ça’ beats the pants pants off any contemporaries in the realm of avant/post-rock.

 
5. “Flowers for S” by Usse
With a solid foot in free-form jazz, Usse come up with the most impressive experimental/electronic album of the year.

 
4. “Primitive Feelings” (Parts I & II) by The High Dials
A delightful and clever blend of styles that makes for a trippy, cool, exciting, and groovy ride.

 
3. “Age Hasn’t Spoiled You” by Greys
Waves of grungy noise punctuated with islands of relative calm. This is, however, a highly focused album with fierce intensity.

 
2. “When I say to you Black Lightning” by Common Holly
Brigitte Naggar’s sophomore effort varies from folk to slinky rock and never lets up on emotional content.

 
1. “Warrior Down” by WHOOP-Szo
The Guelph band reaches new heights (and depths) on this concept album. The emotional power pushes through the heavy weight of their devastating music.

Baffled Octopi/Coast to Coast to Coast Top 25 Canadian EP’s of 2019

by Mark Anthony Brennan

death drive

 

 

 

25. “X” by Bratboy
The name change from BB to Bratboy doesn’t disguise the fact that this is really cool dark surf,

24. “Instrumental EP” by hansmole
hansmole proves she’s just as formidable without vocals.

23. “Salade​-​Secte” by LOOK SACRÉ
LOOK SACRÉ master the art of gloom pop. Uplifting and depressing, in equal measures.

23. “Dirt Fight” by Man Meat
A nasty slice of post-punk, with hardcore viciousness.

21. “Where a City Once Drowned: The Bethlehem Tapes Vol. II” by Clara Engel
Engel is without doubt a Canadian treasure. Personal, artistic, mesmerizing, and, oh, so cool.

20. “A new American Classic” by Shirley & the Pyramids
Aron Zacharias has an almost uncanny ability to create engaging shoe-gazey psych.

19. “3 Songs for the Road” by HARSH
Gritty punk with a feminist/queer bent is damn fine with us.

18. “Spero’s” by Sleeepy Dog
A unique blend of garage rock and americana. Only a Vancouver band could pull this off.

17. “Toothsayer” by Tanya Tagaq
One of Canada’s prominent experimental artists entraces once again.

16. “Whatever” by L CON
Lisa Conways continues to produce intimate music on a fascinating palette.

15. “Open Up and Bleed” by Flatbed
Nanaimo’s masters of hardcore noise strike again. It’s like short blasts of pain that bring pleasure.

14. “Smaller Than Death” by Crashing Into Things
Edgy and disturbing, but what fun psych-drenched romp.

13. “Mes Amis” by BLVD NOIR
Instrumental forays into dub, jazz, house and you name it.

12. “Oath of Intent” by Deliluh
Toronto’s Deliluh manage to be as free-form and artsy as hell, and still be engaging.

11. “H2BH” by PROPERTY
Newfoundland’s Property strike a lovely balance between the music’s angularity and the breeziness of Sarah Harris’ vocals.

10. “Cut Your Teeth” by Necking
In a false pop package, this is some killer punk. Pretty hard to resist.

9. “Dip’n’Dot” by Purlicue
Purlicue expand their musical range to fantastic effect.

8. “2” by Virtues & Failings
The mysterious Virtues & Failings again mine the motherlode of high gothic post-punk.

7. “Alive Inside” by Braintree
Intriguing artsy trio produce music that’s as catchy as it is strange.

6. “Beat My Distance” by Anemone
Chloe Soldevila and company paint broad brushes of colourful psych-pop/kosmische.

5. “WLMRT Forever” by WLMRT
Noisy, discordant and abrasive. Add “clever” in there and you get the idea.

4. “Mandarins” by Graftician
From the mind of Roxanne Nesbitt comes something strange, soulful and deeply rewarding.

3. “Altering the Timeline” by PIQSIQ
Sisters Kayley Inuksuk Mackay and Tiffany Kuliktana Ayalik (of Quantum Tangle) create ethereal beauty.

2. “Half Nermal” by Polly Dactic
Wild, unpredictable and dark. Also deviously delicious.

1. “Death Drive” by Debby Friday
Electronic hip-hop with serious hardcore heaviness. A form of Messiah.

 

Album Reviews: The High Dials/Slut Prophet/Sunglaciers/Whoop-szo/Debby Friday

Reviews by Mark Anthony Brennan




‘Primitive Feelings’ Volumes 1 and 2  by The High Dials

(Montreal)primitive

Will psych rock ever end? With The High Dials we certainly hope not. The Montreal band takes the dreamiest, hippy-dippy music from the late ‘60s and adds a cool modern, urban flair. “City of Gold”, for example, has a slinky rhythm and a refreshing breezy feel, while “Fear of Heights” features ethereal vocals along with a fat bass-line that owes more to funk than anything else. Even the tracks that come closest to a “true” classic sound (e.g. the Kinks-influenced “Employment and Enjoyment”) have elements of modern soul and even shoegaze.

‘Primitive Feelings’ Volumes 1 and 2 is a delightful and clever blend of styles that makes for a trippy, cool, exciting, and groovy ride.

Killer Track: “My Dream Addiction”

 




‘Pity Party’ by Slut Prophet

(Calgary)slut prphet

Despite being noisy and lo-fi, ‘Pity Party’ isn’t just another blast of punk from the prairies. Witness “Cyclops”, a 9 minute-plus epic of subdued, bass-heavy post-rock meanderings, while “Jesse’s Song” could be a lively pop song if it wasn’t for the weird downbeats and off-notes.    

Gutsy and angry, yes, but the record has a street-prophet lyricism that shines brighter. On the opening track (“I’ve Been Waiting for This Moment”) we are treated to a story about a woman who believes her dentist is in love with her. Well, he does allow her to suck his fingers, which is kind of a f’d up thing to do if you’re not love with someone, isn’t it?

Killer Track:  “I’ve Been Waiting for This Moment”




‘Foreign Bodies’ by Sunglaciers

(Calgary)sunglaciers

Shoegaze ain’t dead, Sunglaciers have just taken it and bent it to their will. There are indeed washes of guitar and subdued vocals, but the Calgary band are more celebratory in their delivery. Tracks like “Through the Screen” are lively, garage-rockers but they inevitable end up in one of Sunglaciers’ great jams.

However, even in their sweetest moments, such as on “Blood”, there are disconcerting edges. It all makes for a highly satisfying package.

Killer Track:  “Dream Fever”




‘Warrior Down’  by Whoop-szo

(Guelph)whoop

The cover of ‘Warrior Down’ has a photo of band member Adam Sturgeon’s grandfather, as the album deals extensively with Sturgeon’s life as an Anishinaabe-Canadian (including the closing track “Cut Your Hair”, which addresses his grandfather’s experience in the residential school system).

This background lends gravitas to the proceedings, but it’s not as if Whoop-szo needs it. After all, they revel in noisy, almost bombastic, rock and ‘Warrior Down’ is no exception. The opening of “Gerry” comes down on you like a ton of discordant bricks, and no amount of melody in the song can dig you out. Even when they “lighten up” (ha!), such as at the opening of the tracks “2CB” and “Long Braided Hair” it isn’t long before the deluge begins.

Killer Track:  “2CB”





‘Death Drive’ 
by Debby Friday

(Vancouver)debby frida

After last year’s ‘Bitchpunk’ it was hard to imagine Debby Friday upping her game, and yet she did. ‘Death Drive’ is more powerful, more harrowing and more creative.

Her beats and rhythms are unrecognizable as any musical genre — they are simply devastating. “Tear the Veil” opens things up with post-punk gloominess and unnerving vocals by Friday (aren’t they always?), while “Fatal” has an icy, industrial beat. Perhaps craziest of all is “Good and Evil” with its drum’n’bass motif messed over with insane guitar bursts and angry yelling.

‘Death Drive’ is one of the boldest (and frightening) statements in Canadian music this year.

Killer Track:  “Good and Evil”