Canada Day 2010 – An Appreciation of Modern Canadian Music

Happy Canada Day to the folks up north!  In honor of this holiday, let’s take a look at some of my favorite Canadian music.

Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” by Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire is simply a brilliant group, and they’ve managed to only build their great reputation in recent years.  While we all look forward to Suburbs (their upcoming album), it’s always great to take a look back at some of their past work.  While all the “Neighborhood” songs are great, #3 stands out as both lout and stark.  It has a great beat but still manages to sound foreign after all these years.  It’s a great release from our northern neighbors, a wonderful treat from their musical culture.

Shine a Light” by Wolf Parade

Wolf Parade has become a more acquired taste with each new album, leaving Apologies to the Queen Mary as both their best and most accessible work.  But here is perhaps the most melodic and enjoyable song from the band.  Yes, there are these connections to Modest Mouse, but this is a real Canadian indie classic.  A driving rhythm, catchy guitars and synth work all add up to an awesome song.

Chase Scene” by Broken Social Scene

The newest BSS album (this year’s Forgiveness Rock Record) strikes a strange balance.  It is at once a great collection of stand-alone songs and a phenomenal suite of music that works together.  Using that first characteristic, “Chase Scene” stands as one of the most epic pieces of music in the past few years.  The whole thing just grows, adding guitars, strings, drums, voices, bigger-and-deeper drums, powerful striking strings, and then those horns.  Oh man the horns.  When the whole thing reaches a simultaneous end and climax that high note of the brass is just amazing.  I hope these awesome Canadians keep making music for a long time.

Cinnamon Girl” by Neil Young

And then something a bit different, for those who may have forgotten that Canada produced great music before the time of indie rock.  Neil Young has forged an epic reputation for great guitar work, ranging from blues-rock to folk.  “Cinnamon Girl” finds Young in a harder rock setting, working his vocals and guitar along the brilliant groove.  Beyond just being a fun track to hear, this song makes a regular appearance for me in various road trip playlists.

Moral of the story here?  Go listen to more Canadian music!  Well, until the 4th of July, anyway.  A USA-based post to come on Sunday.