Coast to Coast to Coast (Baffled Octopi) 25 Best Canadian Short Albums/EPs of 2022

by Mark Anthony Brennan

25. ‘Dislocation’ by danes

The abrasive rumbling of Vancouver’s danes does not detract from the post-rock artistry at work, in fact it enhances it.

24. ‘Attention Span’ by hundredmillionthousand

A dazzling, eclectic mix from Edmonton experimental composer Noel Fanaeian.

23. ‘Stonedhenge’ by DRUG SAUNA

Calgary stoner duo DRUG SAUNA play doom metal at a funeral’s pace.

22. ‘Both Feet in the World, At Least I Can Stand‘ by Laura Hickli

Hickli’s artful chamber pop is delightful in unexpected ways.

21. ‘The Fool‘ by Krill Williams

Krill Williams’ innate quirkiness draws you into their dreamy, bedroom goodness.

20. ‘185 on the Corner’ by Paul Jacobs

More woozy, psych-pop from Montreal’s Paul Jacobs.

19. ‘nutty grotto’ by divorcer

Crazy unconventional song structures make this outing by divorcer a post-punk pop treat.

18. ‘Private Lives’ by Private Lives

Composed of members of Pale Lips, Lonely Parade and Priors, Private Lives hits the sweet spot between jangling post-punk and experimental noise rock.

17. ‘Sham Family’ by Sham Family

Things go from direct in-your-face rock to the downright strange on this debut from Sham Family.

16. ‘Visibly Choked’ by Visibly Choked

Refreshingly inventive art-punk, occasionally melodic and occasionally abrasive.

15. ‘Le voyage de M. Lonely dans la lune’ by Elephant Stone

Elephant Stone sing in French in this delightful psych-rock adventure.

14. ‘Joyful Joyful’ by Joyful Joyful

Cormac Culkeen and Dave Grenon (aka Joyful Joyful) gift us this combination of unique soaring vocals and electronic drone.

13. ‘Tired and Unwell at Pandora’s Box’ by SoyJoy

An intimate recording of SoyJoy’s idiosyncratic confessional strange-folk.

12. ‘I’ve Never Met a Stranger’ by Picastro

Veterans Picastro still entrance us with their off-beat charm.

11. ‘In Mind’ by TRUTH

Lo-fi and personal recording of Monica McGregor’s spacey, sparse creations.

10. ‘Honest Injun’ by TJ Felix

A wild collection of experimental basement numbers reflecting on growing up Indigenous.

9. ‘Hey’ by Diamondtown

Nova Scotia supergroup Diamondtown lay down an impeccable EP of shimmering psych-folk.

8. ‘Spellbook’ by Michael Slumber

Wandering through Michael Slumber’s spell-binding songs is a trippy experience.

7. ‘Hard Flirt’ by Yessica Woahneil & Danny Kidd

An irresistible collection of low-key folk-punk musings.

6. ‘Stars We Lost’ by Lammping

In a year of great psych-rock, ‘Stars We Lost’, delivered with unbridled exuberance, takes the cake.

5. Escape from Lizard City’ by Megamall

Playful punk-pop with aggressive undertones in a dazzling debut.

4. ‘Psych Pedal’ by Bad Pop

A dreamy wooziness pervades this frenetic headlong drive into the realm of post-everything.

3. ‘Hard to be a God’ by Whitney K.

It sounds awfully vain, but with this collection of quirky, off-beat ballads, the shoes fits.

2. ‘Mal Casual’ by Jared Jackel’s Bad Vibrations

Nothing but good vibrations in these psychedelic cowboy blues.


Hardcore punk with an artsy edge thanks to clever lyrical statements, sometimes spoken, sometimes sung, sometimes screamed.


Irregular Dreams’ Best Songs of the Month: December

Our ten favourite tracks right now:

“High Five” by Abby Sage

“All the Queen’s Men” by Private Lives

“New Kind of Summer of Love” by Spencer Krug

“Power” by Broken Egg

“North Battleford” by Bright Boy

“The Mute” by DA’AT

“Pull Me Up” by Dumb

“High Road” by Diamondtown

“Waste of Crime” by American Lips

“9 to 5” to Joyeria

Review: “Life Goes On” by Diamondtown

Review by Jackie Stanley

Rifting, gliding. Forever forgetting what we’ve so often been told. There are nuances to both depression and joy: subtle inflections of voice and shifting of weight both physical, and metaphysical.

KC Spidle is no stranger to dark subject matter. Since his days as a drummer in The Hold, Made In The World, and Dog Day right through his seamless debut as a solo songwriter via Husband & Knife and half of the duo Air/Fire (which also featured longtime collaborator and studio genius Evan Cardwell). From the ballsy yet wankless slow-punk of Bad Vibrations (again with Cardwell) through to his newest record, Life Goes On, Spidle tells it like it is. Not the parts we all know, necessarily. The things we leave unsaid; the tiny moments of weakness and defeat that might – in less adept hands – leave us feeling broken. He writes and sings them without shame, pairing them with amiable guitars, relentlessly listenable backing beats and ambient room sounds.

Realism abounds. Something always feels familiar, and enticing. Beckoning. Lyrics about devil’s dust, stealing shit, and hitting the deep end are delivered with a dulcimer ease that makes us want to listen. This album comes closer to the untouchable Elliott Smith than anything else Spidle has done, and it does so quietly. Unassuming. Just following its gut. Uplifting even as it deals with boggy feelings stuck down in the dreadful mire. Like ancestral spirit moths to a flame, those of us who’ve felt some pain – who’ve seen some shit – lock into this songwriting as soon as it alights.

There’s an era-less, genre-elusive appeal to this record. Album based rock, sure. Gothic easy listening, perhaps. A healthy masculinity – elusive in Western culture since the fall of partnership-based societies of millennia past – weaves its way through every note. The confessional lyrics offer a subconscious critique of the paternalistic, hierarchy based culture in which we presently find ourselves. Is there a way back out? Back up into the harmonious clouds?

Egos by the wayside, slapback delay, and jovially present reverb on everything. Clever moments of vocal panning and a relentless vintage drum machine that serves as a perfect symbol for the weathered artists behind this record. Confident in their own skins, determined to tell the whole truth, consistently, no matter how long it takes. They’re in no hurry, and neither are we by the time we’ve listened all the way through. We can tell something has shifted in our consciousness, ever-so-slightly. We feel gently renewed.

Chris Thompson (Eric’s Trip, The Memories Attack, Moonsocket) joins Diamondtown in their latest incarnation. We can’t wait to hear what this ‘town sounds like next.