Best of the Year (so far)

by Mark Anthony Brennan

Just as summer comes to an end we present our top picks of the year-to-date (Mark’s choices).

TOP 3 ALBUMS 2022:

Tanya Tagaq “Tongues”

TOVI “I Keep Floating Away”

AUS!Funkt “Turn To Rust”

Top 3 EPs 2022:

Megamall “Escape From Lizard City”

Krill Williams “The Fool”

Yessica Woahneil & Danny Kidd “Hard Flirt”

Top 5 Tracks 2022:

“Mirror” by Russell Louder

“Walking Feels Slow” by Eliza Niemi

“Tyrants Palace” by Dead Tired

“Two Faced” by Megamall

“Teeth Agape” by Tanya Tagaq


Album Review: “Tongues” by Tanya Tagaq

Review by Mark Anthony Brennan

Tongues‘ is yet another example of how Tanya Tagaq is a master of synthesizing the organic, earthy sounds of her indigenous heritage with avant-garde electronic music. Her resulting concoctions are not only startling in their daring edginess, but also exhilarating in their expression of the human spirit. 

On “Colonizer” a darkwave rhythm burbles angrily as it is pitted against an incessant, relentless beat, reflecting the fierceness that is required in the face of a hostile environment, both natural and societal. Eerie electronic strings dance throughout “Tongues” and a synth-bass dive-bombs in repeated attacks, while Tagaq rails in spoken-word at the attempts to eradicate native language (“You can’t have my tongue”). Her guttural throat-singing is a visceral expression of anger and defiance.

The track that in many ways sums it all up is “Teeth Agape”, in which we are placed in the mind of a predator (wolf) fighting for survival. The wolf’s struggle in a bleak landscape can be considered a metaphor for the predicament of native Canadians battling structural unfairness in a society created by European invaders. Tagaq’s spoken-word and throat expressions form an organic response to the cold, digital beat, as she warns, “Touch my children/And my teeth welcome your windpipe”.

Even as she explores the fringes of modern electronic music, Tagaq provides raw excitement that is liberating and cathartic for us all. 

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.