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

by Mark Anthony Brennan

25. “Susans” by Susans

A delightful collection of harsh, art-punk mayhem from a crazy group from London, Ontario.

24. “We Found This” by Gloin

So-called “death rock” from Gloin is actually some dark, swirling post-punk with an experimental edge.

23. “Forget Your Own Face” by Black Dresses

Despite being abrasive, the noisy, industrial pop of Black Dresses (Devi McCallion and Ada Rook) is ultimately endearing.

22. “Ghost Woman” by Ghost Woman

In a year of excellent psych-rock, the western Canadian based group Ghost Woman rank highly with their self-titled album of blues-rock inflected psychedelia.

21. “Water & Tools” by Jairus Sharif

A startling album in its originality and execution, ‘Water and Tools’ is a wild trip through experimental hip-hop and free-jazz.

20. “Something’s Gotta Give!” by The John Denver Airport Conspiracy

The JDAC offer up track after track of exquisite garage-pysch, complete with some Grateful Dead-style instrumental excursions.

19. “LP1” by GODFREE

Montreal producer GODFREE brings in a host of collaborators on his album of irresistible beats, delivered with tongue-in-cheek charm.

18. “Recalibrate” by Eccodek

This album of electronic world music from Eccodek is both playful and meticulous in its execution.

17. “Lemons” by Fake Palms

Fake Palms (Michael le Riche) hits new heights in an exciting collection of angular post-punk.

16. “Five Fathom Hole” by PAPAL VISIT

A staggering 25 tracks (all short, however) of PAPAL VISIT’s inimitable lo-fi garage rock.

15. “Heaven’s Mini Mart” by Troll Dolly

A work of delicate beauty and intricate detail from Vancouver’s Troll Dolly (aka Jen Yakamovich).

14. “The Zug” by Yves Jarvis

Yves Jarvis has always had a fiercely creative mind, and ‘The Zug’ is chock-full of his wild creations.

13. “Say Laura” by Eric Chenaux

Canadian artist residing in France, Eric Chenaux unleashes five tracks of highly inventive jazz, folk and beyond.

12. “Chiac Disco” by Lisa LeBlanc

A highly spirited album that explores the realm between disco and chiac (a Creole variety of Acadian French).

11. “Fluxus Pop” by Rip Pop Mutant

A gem of distorted, warped pop from Alexander Ortiz & Adrian Popovich (aka Rip Pop Mutant).

10. “(Self Titled)” by Sam Jr.

A terrific collection of doomy, fuzzed-out psychedelia.

9. “Panis Angelicus” by Ultra Mega

Canadian slacker spoken-word from Winnipeg that is bound to appeal to the true Canuck in all of us.

8. “Who Would Hold You If the Sky Betrayed Us?” by Thus Owls

 An ambitious work of experimental jazz/rock with elaborate and intricate arrangements from the duo of Erika and Simon Angell.

7. “Twenty Twenty Twenty Twenty One” by Spencer Krug

Veteran Spencer Krug concocts a variety of exotic beats to go along with his strange lyrics and mournful, but engaging, vocals.

6. “Staying Mellow Blows” by Eliza Niemi

Singer-songwriter Eliza Niemi shares her personal musings over sparse arrangements, with the ultimate reward found in the details.

5. “Tracer” by JEEN.

A shimmering, sparkling explosion of clever pop-rock from Toronto’s JEEN.

4. “The Elephant in the Room” by Sargeant X Comrade

Sly, slick and groovy experimental R&B, from Calgary’s Yolanda Sargeant and producer Comrade.

3. “Turn to Rust” by AUS!Funkt

An anthemic post-punk/disco ride. Dance music for the disaffected.

2. “Tongues” by Tanya Tagaq

Tagaq combines the visceral thrall of the wilderness with modern experimental instrumentation. Mind boggling.

1. “I Keep Floating Away” by TOVI

Rebecca Emms’ album of dark, rhythmic trip-hop takes the cake. Excellent songwriting and production throughout.


Irregular Dreams’ Best Songs of May

These are our favourite ten songs right now:

“Honey – Push On (ft. Mir Kat & Sara Rose)” by Nathan Harris

“Room in the Desert” by GRAE

“Maybe I Should Luv Somebody Else” by Young Guv

“All Fucking Weekend” by Sophia Bel

“Sweet Face (ft. Tess Parks)” by Sam Jr

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

“Breaking Dishes” by Kyla Charter

“Brexit At Tiffany’s” by Tess Parks

“Brilliant Things” by Subterranean Lovers

“Take It To The Grave” by Joyfultalk

Music to Your Ears: 5 Albums You Simply Must Hear

Reviews by Mark Anthony Brennan

‘Sweet Rose Green Winter Desk Top Tell This Side Autumn Of The Fighter Hot In A Cool Way’ by Heaven for Real

Halifax’s Heaven for Real hit that sweet spot , balancing light airiness with art-punkish angularity.

“Tell This Side”, for example, has a stop-start punctuation but it is heavenly soft in the vocal delivery. “Autumn of the Fighter”, which makes good use of Dorothea Paas’ voice, has an ‘80s jangle to it, plus some amazing guitar sonics. “Hot In A Cool Way” is so quirky that it touches on psych-pop. Still, the stand-out track has to be “Sweet Rose”, simply because it’s clever melody is so memorable.

Extra marks for the unique album title (simply the names of all six tracks), although it’s not clear whether this is cleverness or simply indicative of the band’s slackerism. 

‘Hard Flirt’ by Yessica Woahneil & Danny Kidd

Two bright lights in London, Ontario vibrant music scene collaborate on an understated gem.

The 4-track EP ‘Hard Flirt’ is lo-fi and low-key, however that does not mean it lacks in creative energy. With just their guitars and voices the pair make a meal of tracks like “Not my problem, Not my fault”, a wonderful vocal interplay, contrasting Yessica Woahneil’s highly defined pitch with the deeper rumble of Danny Kidd’s reply. “Marlboro Lites” has one guitar doing a menacing growl while the other twangs in Spanish folk fashion, and features Woahneil’s spoken word refrain to Kidd’s grungy main vocals. 

The EP’s crown jewel, however, is the delightful “Your Scarf Smelled”.  With its guitar-strummed punctuation and electronically-induced warble in the voices of both singers, the tune is a mesmerizing ear-worm, demonstrating how artistic originality can win you over no matter how subtle the delivery.

‘Anxious Avoidant’ by Sophia Bel

After wowing us with the EPs ‘Princess of the Dead’ Volumes I and II, Sophia Bel now proves with her first full-length album that she is, in fact, a Queen. A Pixie Queen, that is. 

She playfully channels the carefree punk-pop of the early 2000s (whatever that fucking decade is called), but does so with such quirky weirdness as to make it a genre of her own. Even as she is reflecting on past relationships (“You’re Not Real, You’re Just a Ghost”, “Everything I Touch Falls Apart”, etc.) her delivery is so coy, with a girlish innocence, that the mood feels buoyant. That’s not to say that the songs can’t be heartfelt, as tunes like “Lonely After Curfew” and “Just Like a Glove” can be achingly beautiful. However, it’s wonky tracks like “All Fucking Weekend” that really score, with its warped sense of melody and screaming pixie-punk crescendo.

When it comes to ‘Anxious Avoidant’ you should show up for Bel’s endearing charm, but stay for her subversive strangeness.

‘Stars We Lost’ by Lammping

Toronto’s Lammping don’t seem to mind being called a psychedelic rock band, but frankly the descriptor “experimental” would seem more fitting as they explore a variety of styles. 

After an impressive guitar intro, “Everlasting Moor” settles (a relative term here) into more of a psych-garage groove. Just as you are getting used to that the next track, “Never Phoenix”, ventures into ‘70s pop territory, except with a weird jazz-rock twist. By the time you get to the country-rock vibes of “Home of Shadows” you’ve come to expect the unexpected from this talented crew. Sure enough, the EP ends on a trippy, hippie note with “Beyond the Veil”.

The group packs a lot of value into a short EP, which just shouts out for more of the same (or more of “not the same”, in this case). 

‘(Self Titled)’ by Sam Jr

Sounding nothing like his old band, Broken Social Scene, Sam Goldberg Jr explores psychedelia as simply Sam Jr. And what a fuzzed-out, swirl of a ride it is.

Goldberg favours the more gothic, sludgy side of psych-rock, such as on the stoner tune “World Bangin’ On My Door”. Things are slightly more up-tempo on tracks like “Na Na Na Na”, which is awash in wah-wah guitar and distorted vocals, and “You Lock The Door I Broke The Window” with its Bowie-esque saxophone. A real highlight is the trippy, glam-rock number “Sweet Face”, featuring backing vocals by the great Tess Parks.

Oh yeah, extra marks for such an original title. Again, we’re not sure whether it’s intentionally funny or just an example of Goldberg’s “who gives a fuck” attitude.