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Well folks, this will be no surprise to those who frequent the Random Nation weekly, but here are my picks for 2011. It’s been a good, no a great year for music.

Wicked local stuff coming out and hitting waves, notice for the amazing underground scenes throughout Canada due to some hard working and notable new labels and some incredible musicians pushing hard and putting out incredible music. Hard to narrow it down, but with a humble bow I present to you the listener/reader my top 11 pics for 2011.

11. Ketamine’s The Ketamines

10. The Flaming Lips with Prefuse 73 – The Flaming Lips 2011

9. St. Vincent’s Stranger Mercy 

Upon greater thought, I am going to replace this with Feist’s Metals. Too solid of an album to leave off and has upstaged the wonderful Annie Clark in many of my radio playlists.

 

8. Explosions in the Sky’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

 

7. Shotgun Jimmie‘s Transistor Sister

6. Adele‘s 21

5. Battles’ Gloss Drop

 

4. The Decemberist’s The King is Dead

 

3. Jay Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne

2. TV on the Radio’s 9 Types of Light

 

(amazing hour long vid to accompany the album)

1. Florence and the Machine’s Ceremonials

 

Extra special mention to the (Lethbridge based) Mammoth Cave’s Bloodstains Across… series for introducing some fine bands from across Canada to many a grateful set of ears and working so hard to serve music lovin’ folks worldwide.

Today it was reported that venerable and inspiring director John Hughes passed away at the tender age of 59.

Growing up, I discovered Fleetwood Mac and John Hughes movies at approximately the same time. I believe that somehow one led to the other. Molly Ringwald became my idol and Sixteen Candles my 2am go-to. Lindsay Buckingham and Matthew Broderick were tied for ultimate dreamboat in my 13year old eyes. Everything I know about dancing was learned in the dance montage after that scene they cut always for TV in The Breakfast Club.

If CTV ran a 48 hour John Hughes marathon, I would call in sick to work. No tribute I can offer is big enough so please do not think of this show as a tribute, just a small token of affection.

Artist – Album – Track   *=Canadian

King Khan and the Shrines – What Is?! – Welfare Bread

*Animal Names – Oh Yes You Better Do – Rolling Paper Airplanes

Japandriods – Post – Nothing – Wet Hair

*The Famines – The Famines double disc 7inch – Gimme Some Numbers

The Breeders – Head to Toe – Freed Pig

Cymbals Eat Guitars – Likely There Are Mountains – Some Trees (Marriot Moon)

Joan of Arc – Flowers – The Garden of Cartoon Exclamations

*Sunparlour Players – Wave North – Wood Dress

Gianthand – Coming Home – The Beast

*Black Mold – Snow Blindness Crystal Antz – Finally Someone Invented a Teleporter.

Boogie Broader – Pizza Hero – Sparks

Lacking in ready creative writing ideas, let’s just get straight to the point.

Artists – Album – Track  * = Canadian

Talbot Tagora – Lessons in the woods or a city – Track 6 (no track titles…)

Yacht – See Mystery Lights – Physic City (New album, tracks can be heard on their myspace)

*Archivist – Learning to Live on Poison – Jagwagger

Cat Power – The Covers Record – Wild is the Wind

Theo Angell – Tenebrae – A Crime from the Vine

*Mark Templeton – Inland – Sam

*Bruce Peninsula – A Mountain is a Mouth  – Steamroller (My second favourite Canadian “supergroup”, guess which one is my first…)

*The Ostrich – The Ostrich 7inch – Medication

*Endangered Ape – Ape Shall Not Kill Ape – White of my Eyes

These guys are broken up, which is sad. Their last show (for now…) is happening August 15th, in Lethbridge Alberta at Henotic. It’s going to be quite the send off and as proved at Calgary’s Nobunny show, Lethbridge embodies the true meaning of Rock&Roll.

*Wicked Awesomes – Cannot figure out their album art….

*Fraser and DeBolt – Fraser and DeBolt with Ian Guenther – Gypsy Solitaire

Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks – Buckets of Rain

*Giant Hand – Coming Home – The Villagers Hate This Village

Connie Converse – How Sad, How Lonely – The Clover Saloon

Rad Owen Cook Nobunny vid

Maybe a slight exaggeration So, whats up with the weather in Alberta lately?    Amirite?

Speaking of freaks, check out Weird Music Canada. Its better than Pitchfork, but then again so is everything. Seriously though, Canadian music blog that stays true to its roots and to its name. Worth an RSS add.

Speaking of storms, my buds Myelin Sheaths are f’ing blowing up, or at least nicely settled in a forest green rising hot air balloon destined for success. To think, soon I’ll be living with these rock stars. Better start practicing doing blow off illegal sex trade workers. Updated: Weird Canada did a rad post on the released album.

Speaking of doing blow off illegal sex trade workers, next radio program is TONIGHT (ohmygawd) 7pm-8pmMST on 88.5fm in the Edmonton area or worldwide here.

From the mouth of babes:

Like all garage bands do, Endangered Ape are calling it quits.

We have three shows left – July 30 at The Hydeaway in Edmonton / July 31 at Broken City (NOBUNNY!), and then a going-away extravaganza on August 15 at Henotic featuring old friends and new friends, as well as The Famines, Sharp Ends (and surprise guests?). Try to make it pals…

Who knows what the future has in store though right?

(via Paul Lawton and Evan van Reekum)

These folks have done a lot in the last year and a half to get the Lethbridge music scene on the map and to encourage new and local bands to get out there and play bigger, badder scenes.

Plus, E Ape is just straight up rad music.

Go to thier last few shows, grab some limited edition merch and buy thier music. You will regret your life if you don’t.

Next program date:

Wednesday, July 29th. 3pm-5pm MST @ 88.5fm or ww.cjsr.com

Unrelated:

Tonight’s agenda:

Edmonton’s own, Alena Menera

Montreal darlings, The Lovely Feathers

Both at the Hideaway. Check it.

p.s. I finally saw the video for that “3oh3” song, and I am almost 100% sure that it must be a joke. Even funnier and is possible more insulting, the spoofs (they are spoofs right?! I really don’t think I understand kids these days).

Last night Edmonton, Alberta was rocked by a massive thunderstorm. Growing up in Southern Alberta, Tornado warnings were never something that realistically concerned me. Last night, whole different story…

A playlist inspired by the epic and raw power of nature:

Artist – Album – Track Title * = Canadian

John Coltrane – Sun Ship – Attaining

Regina Spektor – Far – Blue Lips

*Years – Years – The Major Lift (possibly a Cohen reference, though no supporting evident found…)

*Still Life – Pastel EP – Aid

*Stars – Heart – Time Can Never Kill the True Heart

*Sunset Rubdown – Dragonslayer – Idiot Heart

*Zeus – Sounds Like Zeus – That’s All

*Richard Laviolette and the Hollow Hooves – Aging Recycling Plant – Sincerely, Liza (Bucket Song)

*Sunparlour Players – Hymns for the Happy – Dyin’ Today

*Do Make Say Think – Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn – Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

Sigur Ros – () – Untitled #4 (aka. The Nothing Song, in English)

The National – Boxer – Racing Like a Pro

Jose Gonzalzez – In Our Nature – Cycling Trivialities

*Broken Social Scene – Bee Hives – Lover’s Spit

*Junior Boys – The the Morning EP – In the Morning

Thom Yorke – Ciao My Shining Star: the songs of Mark Mulcahy – All for the Best

*No Age – Eraser 7inch – Eraser

*The Subjects – With the Ease Grace Precision Cleverness of Human Beings – Icicles

*The Constantines – Constantines/Fiest 7inch split – Trans Canada

*Endangered Ape – – Future Kings

*The Famines – from their yet-to-be released 7inch.

*Katie Stelmanis (also of Bruce Peninsula) – Join Us – Join Us

Two minds are always better than one, amirite?

Changing formats, giving up some control, I have officially become part of a radio two-some on Edmonton’s CJSR.

No program name, no DJ names. Just two radio kids exploring the mysteries of the world….

This weeks exploration:

Artist – Album – Track Title   * = Canadian

*Ladyhawk – Ladyhawk LP – Boy, You’ve Got Another Thing Coming

*The Most Serene Republic – Underwater Cinematographer – Proposition 61

The Decemberists – 5 Songs – I Don’t Mind

Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac Live LP – It’s Not That Funny

*Axis of Conversation – All We Make is Enemies – All We Make is Enemies

*Do Make Say Think – Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secert Hymn – Outer, Inner and Secret.

Son Volt – American Central Bust – Down to the Wire

Talking Heads – Little Creatures – Road to Nowhere

*The Lovely Feathers – Fad – Fantasy of the Lot

Thom York – The Eraser – The Eraser

Next program:

Sunday 19th, 2009 2pm – 4pm MST on CJSR 88.5 or THE INTERNET

Ever noticed how “really great make out music” is synonymous for the “really great make out music” you dug at 17. Further proof, making out reaches its peak of awesome at 17 and goes steady from there.

Its been a while since I posted, so quick and dirty run down of things music wise:

1. Polaris announced their 2009 short list. Overall, pretty solid choices. Personally, I’m pulling for Fucked Up’s “The Chemistry of Common Life” or VanGaalen’s “Soft Airplanes”. I still have mixed feelings about Polaris, but all in all they do a good job of grabbing genuinely good albums as well as those that are top requests or buys.

2. Jay Reatard is picking fights over Twitter.

3. This Jenny Lewis video does not suck.

4. Back on radio, sporadic visits on CJSR’s airwaves. Be posting program sets pretty soon. For some reason Aaron Levin keeps throwing these radio intern types at me every time I step into the booth. I am molding the future of CJSR.

5. Previewed the new Famines release. IT IS RAD. 7inch release parties in Calgary (with Meisha and the Spanks, Puberty and Myelin Sheaths) at the Palomino and Edmonton at the Hideaway, well worth checking it out and getting yourself a copy. Limited pressings, even less than the last one and with the buzz they have and sheer Whyte ave clout, they will likely go fast.

6. Check out this new music blog, NxEW. Good and diverse contributors from across Canada with genuine passion for music. Solid.

7. The new “it thing” in Lethbridge, the Myelin Sheaths are getting ready to record and release their first 7inch with Hozac Records. Pretty awesome, right? Don’t forget though, Lethbridge has more then one good band…. in fact there are even more than 3! Long story short, don’t forget about the ones you loved before and ones that are yet too com.

8. ‘Tis the season to get festivaled!

9. Edmonton has really amazing shows. All the time. ie. Black Francis playing The Starlight Room on the 8th of August. (Good event listing found on-line @ Vue)

10. Dinosaur Jr. video. (via @akolade/futureshock)