Coast to Coast to Coast (Baffled Octopi) 25 Best Canadian Songs of 2022

by Mark Anthony Brennan

25. “Blue Juniper” by The Sylvia Platters

Abbotsford/Vancouver band The Sylvia Platters hit a career height with this ’60s sunshine rock-inspired gem.

24. “In Between the Bars” by Krill Williams

A breezy breath of shoegaze air from the brilliant Krill Williams from Calgary.

23. “Box of Glass (ft. Zara Marie)” by Nigel Young

The quirkiness of this track, featuring vocals by Zara Marie, will pull you in, so enjoy the slacker/psych ride.


The raw, angry sounds of London’s MVLL CRIMES are a fun blast.

21. “Late Night Streamer” by Bad Pop

The band formerly known as Hot Panda weave low-key, slightly warped magic.

20. “Motorbrains” by Ultra Mega

The Winnipeg band’s endearing and hilarious recollection of a childhood menace known as Motorbrains.

19. “SUNAUVVA” by Beatrice Deer

Beatrice Deer’s track bristles with originality and energy.

18. “Sarajevo” by Eamon McGrath

A gripping epic about the city of Sarajevo.

17. “Gentle on My Mind” by GODFREE

Country EDM? Check out Montreal producer GODFREE’s take on an old Glen Campbell song.

16. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by TRUTH

Nanaimo’s Monica McGregor (aka TRUTH) renders a sparse but highly imaginative take on a movie classic.

15. “Tourist Town” by JP Lancaster & Jared Jackel’s Bad Vibrations

This tune strikes a wonderful balance between Lancaster’s cool, jazzy vibes and Jackel’s warped psychedelic leanings.

14. “Pull Me Up” by dumb

An ingeniously crafted tune that captures the slacker soul of Vancouver.

13. “Never Been” by Darkometro

A gorgeous tune with eternal grace, from the new duo Darkometro.

12. “Hail Mary (ft. Rasheed Chappell)” by Sargeant X Comrade

A startlingly original work of contemporary R&B, from Calgary’s Yolanda Sargeant with producer Comrade.

11. “Tyrants Palace” by Dead Tired

A stupendous riff highlights this joyride of growling menace.

10. “Mirror” by Russell Louder

Russell again brings their magical touch to experimental dance music.

9. “I Don’t Think We Can Be Friends” by TOVI

Rebecca Emms (aka TOVI) with an electronic blast fuelled with trip-hop angst.

8. “Two Faced” by Megamall

Vancouver garage band Megamall hit a grungy/emo sweet spot.

7. “Chattels” by Brava Kilo & Annie Sumi

A charming tune which is deliberated jumbled to represent the chaos created when goods were confiscated from prisoners at Internment Camps for Japanese/Canadians during WW II.

6. “High Five” by Abby Sage

A lysergic folk groove with an enticing kick.

5. “Teeth Agape” by Tanya Tagaq

Tagaq visceral growled vocals combined with exciting electronics makes for a cinematic experience.

4. “The Weeping Man” by By Divine Right

This beautiful track by the Toronto art rockers is mournful and ethereal.

3. “Chemical Emotion” by JEEN.

Absolutely spellbinding work of pop-rock from singer-songwriter JEEN.

2. “Set yourself free” by AUS!Funkt

Killer rhythms power this post-punk call to the masses.

1. “Walking Feels Slow” by Eliza Niemi

A soft folk charmer with a delightfully eccentric delivery.


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

Interview with The Moneygoround

Interview by Mark Anthony Brennan

I chatted with Dennis Ellsworth, vocalist and primary songwriter with The Moneygoround, a new band from Charlottetown, PEI. Their debut album is called ‘Cruisin’ and Swingin’ with The Moneygoround’.

MB:  You have a solo career, so why The Moneygoround?

DE:  I wanted to have something that wasn’t all driven my me. I’m still writing the songs but we put them all together as a band. I wanted people to share in the creativity. The people in The Moneygoround I’ve recorded with in the past as session musicians. I just had a brainwave one day and thought that all of these people together would make an amazing band. 

MB:  There’s a real ‘60s vibe going on in ‘Cruisin’ and Swingin’ with The Moneygoround’. Was that deliberate, or is that just the music you naturally play?

DE:  After we had the songs pulled together we identified a few key influences, and so we decided to implement those into the production. At the time I was writing specifically in that world because it was what I was listening to a lot of. The album cover is inspired by surf records and the back of the album is inspired by old blue note jazz records. So aesthetically it’s throwing a few other stones. But the music came out that way and we were able to capitalize on that and bring some of our knowledge of that music into the studio in a production sense. It was partially intentional and partially happy accident.

MB:  When you’re songwriting do you want to create a certain sound or just let whatever comes out come out?

DE:  Usually the latter. I don’t usually try to write a specific thing. I let it be organic — I don’t try to force one style. I like to let the creativity flow in a way that allows for open doors. I don’t want to pigeon-hole myself.

MB:  You guys worked with Joel Plaskett [as producer]. How did that come about?

DE:  Joel’s a friend of mine. We made a record together in 2017 called ‘Thing’s Change’. I thought the best studio on the East Coast to make a record live off the floor has got to be Joel Plaskett’s studio in Dartmouth. I sent him a couple of the tunes and he said “Yeah, absolutely, let’s do another one”. We did it fairly fast, although we did a lot of pre-production over the summer and were sending files back and forth to Joel. I’d had conversations with him about the aesthetics of the music, the sonics and where we were going with it. So that he understood, because we only gave ourselves four days in the studio to record the whole album. Joel was a good fit for this project — it got us a record right out of the gate. It was the right way to introduce our band.

We’re looking forward to getting out and playing shows to support the album. We’re already working on some new songs. We’re a very fast-working band. 

MB:  Is it difficult touring when you’re based in Prince Edward Island?

DE:  No, it’s not too hard. I mean it’s a long drive once you want to leave the East Coast. It’s a 20-hour drive to Toronto, but there are places in between. But we haven’t even really put the work in here yet. We just got together for a summer and put a record out. We’ve only played two or three shows. So we’ve been easing our way in, but we’re eager to play more gigs. 

MB:  OK, so who do think is going to win the Stanley Cup?

DE:  I really wanted the Oilers to win, but Colorado kicked the crap out of them. I dunno, Colorado is strong but I’d really love the Rangers to win.

Irregular Dreams’ Best Songs of June

These are our ten favourite tunes right now:

“Mirror” by Russell Louder

“Be Nice to Everyone You Meet” by The Moneygoround

“No Sun” by The Dog Indiana

“Wet Streets” by FICMARO

“Tu as tellement changé (ft. Les Deuxluxes)” by Larynx

“White Noise” by Dried Out

“Bath With Friends” by Dump Babes

“La poudre aux yeux” by Lisa LeBlanc

“Solipsism” by Dual Nature

“Impress Your Neighbours” by Susans

Music to Your Ears: 5 Albums You Gotta Hear

Reviews by Mark Anthony Brennan

‘Cruisin’ and Swingin’ with The Moneygoround’ by The Moneygoround

The name The Moneygoround is in reference to a Kinks’ song, and what this band from PEI shares with that illustrious British outfit is the love of heartwarming pop and strong songwriting. However, with their slightly countrified air, The Moneygoround have more in common with groups on this side of the Atlantic, drawing comparisons to the likes of Wilco and Blue Rodeo.

The music on ‘Cruisin’ and Swingin’ with The Moneygoround’ is as comfortable as well-worn slippers, but it is the clever construction and sense of style that keeps your attention. Most of the tracks are mid-tempo ear-worms, like “1971 Bootleg Dub” and its 1970s throwback style and lyrical references. These songs are nicely crafted, with interesting touches like the slow bridge in “Wait and See”. There are also some gorgeous ballads, like “Peaceful” and “Sparrow on a Windowsill”. But The Moneygoround really hit their stride on numbers where they go all out in a ‘60s frenzy, such as “Very Cherry” and the woozy psych-pop “Be Nice to Everyone You Meet”.

Despite the fact that southern guitars twang and reverberate throughout ‘Cruisin’ and Swingin’ with The Moneygoround’ , this is far, far from country music — it is, rather, that style of pop that was forged in the 1960s but is now timeless.

‘Dungeon Master’ by Gus Englehorn

Montreal-based Gus Englehorn is an eccentric artist with an absurdist bent. The closest comparison I can come up with is The Pixies, but even they were not as unpredictable and wildly volatile as this.

Englehorn uses lo-fi wonky garage as a base for his music, but goes off on strange spurts of changing timing and yelping in his child-like voice. That only gives you a general idea because his palette changes from track to track. “Sunset Strip” has a vaguely post-punk, ominous vibe, whereas “Run Rabbit Run” is countrified folk, although with a constantly changing tempo, and “Tarantula” spins a slinky grunge vibe crossed with ‘60s garage rock. “Exercise My Demons” has an almost normal pop construction, but Englehorn even makes this one strange with lines that are rapidly repeated over and over (e.g. “Young and dumb and”).

The music on ‘Dungeon Master’ is unhinged, as if Englehorn is recklessly careening with no known destination in mind. However, if you sit back and digest it all, it makes for a satisfying listen. 

‘Joyful Joyful’ by Joyful Joyful

Cormac Culkeen and Dave Grenon make limited use of instruments in their ambient music, making ‘Joyful Joyful’ an exercise in minimalism, with human voices recreating the sounds of contemplative nature.

The album opens with a field recording of nature, while human humming drones in the background. The melody, sung in a high register, truly sounds like birds flying high in the air. The magic continues on the next track, “Marrow”, with rhythmic spurts of singing set against a backdrop of chanting. The closing track, “Sebaldus”, is an epic, as a low human hum evokes a desolate Canadian winter, while electronically altered singing expresses the hope of spring to come.

In a fast-paced world of five-second video clips it is heartening to hear a slow-burn celebration of humanity in nature, with all of its subtle complexities. 

‘Familiar Science’ by Joyfultalk

The colourfully inventive mind of Jay Crocker comes up with another wonderful album of weird experimentation.

Although Joyfultalk’s music is heavily jazz-influenced it is not jazz per se, but more of an amalgam of progressive rock, electronica and avant-pop. “Body Stone” may feature fusion-style guitar but at its base it’s an eerie electronic number, and “Ballad in 9” has some sweet saxophone but it’s set against a ghostly ambient background. Crocker is actually not tied to any genre, but just creates breezy, cool melodies with abandon. The kaleidoscopic compositions are brilliantly brought to life by great performances on saxophone, guitar, bass, keys and most especially drums (check out the highly textured and ever-shifting percussion on “Take It To The Grave”).

Although it is adventurous in spirit, ‘Familiar Science‘ is accessible to most ears with its fluidity and charm. It is a bold statement in avant-jazz nevertheless.

‘Niloo’ by Niloo

Niloo (Farahzadeh) was formerly with the duo Looelle but now makes her solo debut with the album simply titled ‘Niloo’.

This is a very low-key affair, with subtle instrumentation that does not detract from the main attraction, which is Niloo’s sweet vocals. As she swoops her pipes over songs of past relationships and maturing into adulthood, one is reminded of ‘90s singer-songwriters, such as Sarah McLachlan and Beth Orton. The music sits in that middle ground between dream pop, confessional folk and indie, but there is nothing middle-of-the-road about Niloo’s performance as her wavering tones command you to pay attention to the emotion in her delivery.

‘Niloo’ is a cosy, personal affair, as if you are listening to a close friend, even though Niloo’s talent makes her worthy of universal acclaim. 

Briefly with Russell Louder….

by Mark Anthony Brennan

We asked Charlottetown, PEI artist Russell Louder what it is that makes a “Russell Louder” song?

There’s nothing that I’m trying to sound like. The minute I try to make something sound like something is when the creativity dies, or it just becomes a mediocre version of what I’m trying to create or imitate. It’s a lot more exciting if I just let it happen. If I just play, like play. There is a time for a critical ear to check what you’ve just created because they’re not all going to be a masterpiece. It’s not always an incredible, emotional revelation. Sometimes I create total crap, but I can look back on it and maybe I’ll find a piece of something within it that later I can use for something else.

When I started recording I released stuff under an alias. That was really experimental, instrumental stuff. It was a character I had created. I’ve developed a new relationship with my music now. I’m starting to develop a much more conceptual relationship with what is “Russell Louder” and what fantasy I am living out. If I create something that doesn’t necessarily fit under the “Russell Louder” umbrella it can fit under the umbrella of another fantasy that I might have later.