25. “The Void” by Layten Kramer
Layten hits just the right balance between musical sweetness and lyrical gravity.
24. “The Stranger Inside” by NEW VOGUE
NEW VOGUE tap into throw-back post-punk eeriness, but sound thoroughly modern doing it
23. “Just an Echo” Virtues and Failings
A majestic ’80s-style ode from the mysterious Virtues and Failings.
22. “Tattoo of My Face” by Phono Pony
Originally released in 2017 but featured in 2018’s ‘Monkey Paw’. Killer.
21. “Tammy Faye” by Nicole Dollanganger
Cue the Tammy Wynette and running mascara.
20. “Distancing” by Twist
Title track from an album chock-full of dark americana. “Twist” has a distinctive ’80s alt feel.
19. “Kiss Me in a Casket” by Wallgrin
Tegan Wahlgren is almost scary she’s so talented. “Kiss Me in a Casket” is a fine example of her avant pop/classical/experimental musings.
18. “Sharon” by Purlicue
Punk pop delight about a nasty spat with Sharon (she’s a bitch).
17. “The Kids Came By and Burned Down the Scene” by Astral Swans
Matthew Swan’s quirky, dark style is never better in evidence than here.
16. “No Shame Sister” by Claude l’Anthrope
An anthem of defiance in the face of society’s gender-polarity mindset. From the year’s best album, ‘Cuntrol+Z’.
15. “Swingin’ that hamma” by The Dialect
A strange little earworm from the reclusive The Dialect (Winnie Richards and Willy Mink).
14. “In My Head” by Ivy. the Pulse
Simple, rhythmic and beautiful from Ivy. the Pulse.
13. “Texas” by Jennifer Castle
Evocative, bittersweet. From the excellent ‘Angels of Death’.
12. “Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down/Tango” (live) by Tremblers of Sevens
Recorded at Harpo’s upstairs lounge. In honour of the great Harry Dean Stanton. RIP. If you don’t get goosebumps when the drums kick in you just might be dead.
11. “Abyss” by Still Fools
Blistering blues-rock with some kick-ass harmonica.
10. “Normal People” by Fucked Up
Fucked Up pretty well demonstrate what they are about in 2018 all in one song. “Normal People” is a cool ride, featuring a multitude of vocal styles from Damian Abraham.
9. “Jesus + Miriam Forever” (ft. Nadia Pacey) by Drama Queen Martyr
Saskatoon’s Shawn Mackenzie teams up with Nadia Pacey (Konig) for a lovely and simple tune about wanting to date Jesus.
8. “Chest” by Frigs
Uncomfortable in its context, “Chest” nevertheless wins over with its visceral pull.
7. “Take Me Home” by Beautiful, California
Kyle Reiach is from Burlington, not California, but his music is beautiful indeed.
6. “False Creek” by Cursed Arrows
An emotionally powerful tune from Jackie Stanley, Ryan Stanley and Scott Gray.
5. “No Ordinary Wave” by Le Plaisir
The Edmonton duo of Amelia Aspen and Doug Organ just kill it with some feisty and gutsy electropop.
4. “Sand Witches” by Ivory Towers
How does Quinne Rodgers make experimental electronica sound so sparkly and appealing? Just listen.
3. “Pretty Penny” by Hello Blue Roses
Hello Blue Roses’ americana style is given a dark Concrete Blonde lens courtesy of Sydney Hermant’s harrowing vocal style.
2. “Drugs in the Water” by TETRIX
A murky combination of subtle percussion, distressed vocals and …. accordion.
1. “Muscle Memory” by DenMother
Sparse instrumentation heightens the intimacy of the lyrics, expressed in hushed but solid statements by Fredericton’s Sabarah Pilon.
(Baffled Octopi = Mark Anthony Brennan)