Photograph by Anna M. Campbell

As Ca Va Cool concludes its fifth year and the arbitrary music-ranking period of 2011 comes to a close, the gang assembled (virtually) once again to bring you our twenty favourite albums of the year. The bottom half of our list features riot grrrls old and new, an R&B resurrection, and, interestingly, most of the Philadelphia rock scene. Stay tuned for the conclusion of our list with the ten best albums of 2011, when we get around to it.

20. The Rural Alberta Advantage Departing

Arriving in the dead of winter early this year, Departing lived up to high expectations by not really departing at all from the rock ‘n’ nostalgia formula that powered the Rural Alberta Advantage’s 2009 debut Hometowns. A new batch of crafty songs from Nils Edenloff continues to blur the line between homesickness and heartbreak; Paul Banwatt’s manic beats continue to provide the gasoline. Feeling more and more comfortable in their shoes as a dedicated three-piece ensemble, Edenloff, Banwatt, and keyboardist Amy Cole focus on what they’re best at: compelling, unpretentious indie-folk drawn through the emotional mesh of all that we must leave behind. Plus some kickass drums. — Josh Penslar

Continue Reading ‘Best Albums of 2011’ Feature List »

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— , December 19, 2011    1 Comment

This year’s mixtape is ready for you to download. The two disc set is packed with 2008 favourites from all of our writers.

Download: The Ca Va Cool Mixtape 2008 – Disc 1

01. She & Him – Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?
02. Hot Chip – Ready for the Floor
03. Chad VanGaalen – TMNT Mask
04. Bloc Party – Signs
05. Mystery Jets – Young Love feat. Laura Marling
06. TV on the Radio – Family Tree
07. DeVotchKa – Transliterator
08. Wilco w/ Fleet Foxes – I Shall Be Released
09. Wolf Parade – Soldier’s Grin
10. M83 – Graveyard Girl
11. Albert Hammond, Jr. – GfC
12. Vampire Weekend – Walcott
13. Brendan Canning – Churches Under the Stairs
14. Cut Copy – Lights and Music
15. Los Campesinos! – This Is How You Spell…

Download: The Ca Va Cool Mixtape 2008 – Disc 2

01. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
02. Passion Pit – Sleepyhead
03. Born Ruffians – Little Garçon
04. The Clips – Space Kidz
05. The Radio Dept. – Freddie and the Trojan Horse
06. Bon Iver – Re: Stacks
07. Lykke Li – Dance Dance Dance
08. Portishead – Machine Gun
09. No Age – Eraser
10. Plants and Animals – New Kind of Love
11. Bodies of Water – Gold, Tan, Peach, and Grey
12. Fleet Foxes – Oliver James
13. Deerhunter – Never Stops
14. Santogold – Creator
15. Beast – Ashtray

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— , December 24, 2008    4 Comments

Lykke Li

The year isn’t even done and already I want to make ammendments to my list. For instance, no Air France. What gives? It’s not perfect, not even close, but hopefully the rest of the albums will please the ears. There’s a lot of obvious albums here which you don’t need me to tell you to listen to, but they have to be included because they’re amazing. If you missed the first half of the list, you can check it out here. Without further ado, I give you the conclusion of my Top 20 releases of 2008:

10 | Lykke LiYouth Novels

Sweden’s newest indie starlet/semi-superstar, Lykke Li, starts off the top 10. I had a taste of how this album was going to be at the end of last year with the single “Little Bit” and she really delivered. Equal parts easy listening and indie dance, this album manages to be accessible pop and adventurous at the same time. This had to come from Sweden.

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— , December 19, 2008    6 Comments

Born Ruffians

The year’s not over yet, but now is as good a time as any to look back on the past 12 11 months of music and highlight the stuff that shone the brightest for me this year. After a huge star-power filled 2007 that brought out releases from some of my favourite bands like Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Spoon, and Interpol, 2008 was largely a blank slate for me. Outside of the new Death Cab for Cutie album, I wasn’t particularly anticipating anything, so the void was filled with a variety of releases from bands both new and old I discovered throughout the year. Mind you, I’ve likely missed out on a lot so far, so consider this list fairly fluid. Without further ado, the best of what I’ve heard in ’08.

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— , December 2, 2008    4 Comments

The year is more than half done and there’s been far too many posts that I’ve been meaning to write but never got around to. Here’s a bunch of songs Ca Va Cool didn’t mention that it probably should have:

DeVotchKa – “Transliterator”

You probably heard DeVotchKa on the soundtrack to Little Miss Sunshine, and if you haven’t, get on that. Their new album, A Mad & Faithful Telling, takes their gypsy/folk/rock style to dizzy new heights.

Cajun Dance Party – “The Race”

There was a time when good british guitar bands came in handfuls. Now they’re few and far between, but it’s nice to know that there’s still bands like Cajun Dance Party releasing some classic guitar pop.

Caesars – “Boo Boo Goo Goo”

These guys are way too good to just be known as the band that had one of their songs in an iPod ad, even if it was the best iPod ad. Their new album, Strawberry Weed, and it’s first single prove that they can pump out more hits.

Dizzee Rascal feat. Calvin Harris – “Dance Wiv Me”

This video is absolutely ridiculous. I can’t take the song seriously, but I still love it. After seeing Dizzee Rascal at the Rogers Picnic in Toronto, I found out how much fun he is live, even when performing to a crowd that has never heard of him at 2 in the afternoon. Who likes to rock the party?

M83 – “Graveyard Girl”

I’ve coined this “hardcore pop music”. Anthony Gonzalez has created another pseudo-shoegaze (because of the almost absent guitars) masterpiece with the help of his computer on Saturdays = Youth.

No Age – “Eraser”

I could care less that this duo is part of the apparently somewhat important punk rock / noise pop / experimental music scene living at The Smell in downtown Los Angeles, but this song rocks.

Scarlett Johansson – “Falling Down”

She may not be a very good actress, but her movies are good. She may not be able to sing, but this album is great. This is mostly due to the very atmospheric and melodic production by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio, and the starlet may have had something to do with it too. I just like it, so sue me.

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— , August 7, 2008    3 Comments