Photograph by Meqo Sam Cecil

Welcome back to Ca Va Cool’s countdown of the 20 Best Canadian Albums of the 2000s. By now you’ve read the first half of our list which included everything from cult favourites to mainstream hits which truly answered the question “Old world underground, where are you now?”. The conclusion of our list offers you ten undeniable, bonafide, outright classics of Canadian indie. These albums showed that Canada was host to some of the most vibrant musical movements on the planet and for the first time, instead of borrowed nostalgia from our parents’ record collections, this was the music we lived. These are the albums which made us sing, dance, rock out, think, love, and pick up instruments to do it all again. It’s been one hell of the decade, here are the Best Canadian Albums of the 2000s.

Death from Above 1979

10. Death from Above 1979You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine (Last Gang, 2004)

When I first listened to You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine, I wasn’t sure what it was. It was kind of like metal and kind of like dance music, but it was surely like nothing I had heard before. It was a breath of fresh air in the Toronto scene which captured such a diverse group of listeners. You could dig this album if you liked rock, punk, dance, metal, just about anything that could be sold in an alternative section of a mainstream music store. ‘Romantic Rights’ even got its fair share of play on MuchMusic. I was hopeful to see what would come next from the duo, which unfortunately would be a statement from bass player Jesse Keeler saying that they’ve called it quits. The two members now have their own separate projects, where appropriately one makes dance music (MSTRKRFT), and one makes rock music (Sebastien Grainger and The Mountains). — Kyle Sikorsi

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— , December 11, 2009    22 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 Stills

I know I’ve been mentioning the Stills quite a bit recently, but last night’s show at Call the Office here in London was the best show I’ve been to in awhile. Good tunes, good friends, good atmosphere. What more can you ask for?

I didn’t catch the opening acts, but it was clear who the audience came to see this Thursday night, and the Stills triumphantly took the stage, complete with glowsticks on their microphones that seemed determined to ruin every one of my cell phone pictures. They opened with Don’t Talk Down, the first song from their new album and from then on the approach was less talk, more rock. Aside from the occasional political quip between songs, the band played a seamless set heavily loaded on Logic Will Break Your Heart and Oceans Will Rise, giving the fans what they wanted. The only conspicuous absence was Love and Death, considering that’s one of their more popular numbers. In my experience, London crowds aren’t known for their enthusiasm, but the crowd was positively bursting with energy, at least the sector I was in. Come to think of it, I never really saw how full the bar actually was during the show, but it felt packed.

I also appreciated the co-frontman vibe that Tim and Dave seem to exude. Whereas the Without Feathers-era seemed to be Dave stepping out from the drumkit to take hold of the band, there now seems to be a happy medium that allows both to share the spotlight. Vocals have shifted back to Tim, for the most part. As always, bassist Olivier Corbeil was a joy to watch, wandering around the stage, causing a ruckus and joyfully singing along. The show surpassed the last time I saw them (three years ago) in nearly every way. Negative cool points go to one of the opening bands. Upon the show’s conclusion, as people were headed out into the night, they blocked the exit trying to sell their album (at a possibly discounted price, no less.) It reeked of desperation.

Setlist
Don’t Talk Down
Lola Stars and Stripes
Being Here
Snow In California
Destroyer
Of Montreal
Snakecharming the Masses
Still in Love Song
Panic
Eastern Europe
In the Beginning
Rooiboos/Palm Wine Drinkard

Encore
Gender Bombs
Hands on Fire
Changes Are No Good

The Stills – Eastern Europe

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— , September 26, 2008    Comments Off on The Stills: Call the Office

Chad VanGaalen

Since the summer of dial-up has long ended, I’ve managed to catch up on the music I’ve missed. The following is a series of scatter-shot thoughts on the things I’ve been listening to lately.

Chad Vangaalen has a new album out called Soft Airplane; it is rather excellent. I remember seeing him sometime last year. I walked out of the show somewhat unsatisfied, not due to a lack of a good performance, moreso because I wasn’t ready for it to be over. Plus some dude had a seizure, which may have cast a pall over the whole event. We got a wicked Gameboy solo though. A lot of the songs played that night seem to have made it onto this album, which explains the lack of familiarity then.

Chad VanGaalen – Willow Tree

For whatever reason, my only prior exposure to Tegan and Sara has been to Monday, Monday, Monday, as well as Walking With A Ghost, famously covered by the White Stripes. I don’t exactly remember the circumstances, but somehow I ended up getting their last three albums, which have made up most of my listening in the past 48 hours. Back In Your Head in particular has been monopolizing my iPod. I feel bad for skipping out on their London show last year.

Tegan and Sara – Back In Your Head

Mates of State’s Re-Arrange Us is as reliable as ever, but I’m sure you knew that. Perhaps a little slower than previous albums, and with piano this time around. Help Help and Now are getting a lot of play from me.

Mates of State – Now

Brendan Canning’s Something for All of Us… has managed to get a substantial bit of attention from me, far more than Kevin Drew’s album, which I found terribly boring. Love is New is my choice track.

Brendan Canning – Love is New

As predicted, The Stills have redeemed themselves. While not surpassing Logic, Oceans Will Rise has brightly outshone Without Feathers and can be considered a return to form, at least by me. And hey, Tim’s back on lead vocals! I’m seeing them in a week, hopefully they continue to impress.

The Stills – Snow in California

Bloc Party sprung Intimacy on us a couple of weeks ago. After hearing it, I responded with a resounding meh. Maybe they’ve been overexposed in the last little while, as I’m having trouble telling songs apart. To be fair, that problem also existed with the last half of A Weekend in the City. I keep reading about the innovation on this album, and if that means the electro-glitch which is Mercury, which I still contend is terrible, or adding a choir as on Zephyrus, I could do without it. Perhaps like AWITC, this is a grower, but right now I’m just turned off. At least Talons is pretty OK.

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— , September 17, 2008    3 Comments

The Stills’ 3rd album, Oceans Will Rise, is on its way this August, and the first single, ‘Being Here,’ has made its way onto the interweb. After Dave Hamelin assumed the majority of vocal duties on Without Feathers, it’s refreshing to hear Tim Fletcher’s voice taking centre stage again. Hopefully that trend continues on the new album. Though Without Feathers grew on me somewhat, it still doesn’t hold a candle to Logic Will Break Your Heart. The song harkens back to those days with the soaring guitars and whatnot. I like this.

Hypemachine Link: The Stills – Being Here

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— , June 1, 2008    2 Comments