Photograph by Eric Kayne

For the past six years, fellow Canadian music blog i(heart)music has polled Canadian music writers, bloggers, and photographers to publish its annual Hottest Bands in Canada list, summarizing, well, Canadian bands that are hot. This consensus building seems to have worked as top honours in past years were given to critically fawned-over acts such as the Rural Alberta Advantage, Chad VanGaalen, and Feist.

Since the only two rules stated are that bands submitted must be Canadian, however one defines that, and that they be hot, however one defines that, I put together my own criteria for my top 10 submission. I gauged the quality of the band’s recorded output, in most cases their album release, along with the quality I saw and reverence I perceived towards the act’s live show. I also took into consideration if I think they’ve entered or stayed at the height of their careers, and if we can expect big things to come. Most of all, this list answers the completely subjective question of which bands I found most exciting in 2010.

For more of a scientific consensus, check out the full list and for reviews throughout the year of pretty much every Canadian album of the moment, be sure to check out i(heart)music’s feature section.

10. Basia Bulat

Canada’s folk sweetheart continues to bring her orchestrated indie pop to the masses with the steady touring of her second album, Heart of My Own. A talented songwriter with a keen ear for classic melodies, Bulat has garnered a following larger than anticipated for her humble personality.

Photograph by Andy Wilsher

09. Crystal Castles

Unfortunately vindicating the Hype Machine-fueled industry of endless remixes, it’s nonetheless difficult to ignore the gritty glitch-riddled world created by electronic producer Ethan Kath, accompanied by his muse Alice Glass, which is lifted to new heights, or sunk to gloomy new lows, on the duo’s second self-titled disc. Also of note is the endorsement of the Cure’s Robert Smith who guests on the upcoming single version of ‘Not in Love’.

08. Diamond Rings

Skyrocketing to blog fame following the release of the his first single ‘All Yr Songs’ with the help of Pitchfork’s Ryan Schreiber, it’s easy to mistake Diamond Rings as just another buzz band. Listening to John O’Regan’s just-released debut solo album, Special Affections, it’s clear that his glam electro-pop side project from the D’Urbervilles is going to outlast any initial reaction to its gimmick.

Photograph by Andy Mueller

07. Japandroids

Few would blame Japandroids for a quiet 2010 following their breakout year with the release of the unanimously adored Post-Nothing. Instead, they released the excellent No Singles compiling their early EPs, started an ongoing series of 7’’ singles which has yet to disappoint, and melted the faces of concert and festival-goers across the globe. Don’t expect them to turn it down anytime soon.

Photograph by Chris Marshall

06. Zeus

Toronto’s Zeus, formerly known as Jason Collett’s backing band Dark Horse, step out from the chorus, delivering an album of character-driven rootsy power pop, Say Us. With three members sharing songwriting duties and none taking the permanent spotlight as lead singer, the formula is complete for a raucous live show.

Photograph by Vanessa Heins

05. PS I Love You

Often compared to Japandroids for their raging two-man guitar and drums setup, PS I Love You are no followers, even outdoing Japandroids at times on their debut album, Meet Me at the Muster Station, with Paul Sarnier’s searing guitar solos and the overall weirdness of his vocal delivery and lyrics. Thankfully, they’ve also stimulated an overdue interest in Kingston’s music scene.

Photograph by Danielle St. Laurent

04. Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene have now cemented themselves as Toronto’s greatest rock band. Unsure what direction to take their epic sound following classic albums You Forget It in People and their self-titled third, Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning, and the gang enlisted post-rock icon John McEntire to produce the self-conscious Forgiveness Rock Record, to great effect.

03. Shad

It may be hard to believe, but one of the most exciting performers in rap today isn’t from an American metropolis like New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago, but instead London, Ontario, Canada. Refreshingly literate, unabashedly talented, rappers should take heed, because when the club-crossover motivations and auto tune manipulations that are distracting hip hop finally fall out of fashion, Shad’s substantive rhymes will still be flowing.

02. Caribou

Recording as a one-man band in your home studio allows you to evolve your music in any direction you choose. Dan Snaith’s music is constantly weaving through dream pop and electronic genres, but never before has Caribou’s sound been as succinct as the metallic disco he creates on his fifth album, Swim.

Photograph by Eric Kayne

01. Arcade Fire

Nobody does indie rock spectacle like Arcade Fire. There was the Terry Gilliam-directed live YouTube webcast of their Madison Square Garden show, then the innovative Wilderness of Downtown music video which had all the kids talking. Oh yeah, and the music was great too. This is what being a rock star looks like in the internet age.

Hottest Canadian Bands of 2010

10. Basia Bulat
09. Crystal Castles
08. Diamond Rings
07. Japandroids
06. Zeus
05. PS I Love You
04. Broken Social Scene
03. Shad
02. Caribou
01. Arcade Fire

Tags: Arcade Fire, Basia Bulat, Broken Social Scene, Caribou, Crystal Castles, Diamond Rings, Japandroids, PS I Love You, Shad, Zeus

— , November 10, 2010    6 Comments
Comments:

More like everyone put Arcade Fire as their #1.
Here is my Top 10 http://photogmusic.com/?p=10363

Ming Wu, November 10, 2010

What’s wrong with a little hypem inspired dance party?

I was wondering when Shad would get Indie enough to show up on CVC….

— UrbanHauteBourgeois, November 12, 2010

Nothing wrong with a little hypem inspired dance party, something wrong with a big hypem inspired music library.

— Daniel Hernandez, November 15, 2010

“CaVa Cool and i(heart)music both weigh in on the hottest Canadian bands of 2010, only 10 years after people stopped using the word “hot”. Good lists though.”

http://mrshuffleupagus.blogspot.com/2010/11/boss-stuff-on-interwebs-wednesday-links_24.html

Mr. Shuffleupagus, November 24, 2010

Whats wrong with you people where three days grace where breaking benjamin where are the good bands
p.s. If i saw justin beaver i’d kill you all

— [BoA] Best of awesome, April 26, 2011

Fascinating.

— Daniel Hernandez, May 4, 2011
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