2016 will forever be remembered as the brutish year that waded through the music industry with a scythe and a heavy hand. It took from us the likes of David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Prince, Sharon Jones, two thirds of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, George Michael, Glenn Frey, Merle Haggard, Maurice White, and Leon Russell. It’s the sort of year that future generations will look back on and ask, “Did it seriously start because somebody shot a gorilla?” We’ll pat them on their little heads and tell them to finish eating their soylent, while we continue to stare uncomfortably into the abyss that our lives will have become.
The year wasn’t a complete loss though. Trying times tend to produce great art, and 2016 was practically a meat grinder of unease. The Maritime’s music industry thrived, perhaps spurred with the knowledge that any song could be their last. Our headphones runneth over. The following list is a direct indication of that. Through scientific means and deliberation we’ve been able to compose them into an order that can be described much the same way I explained my musical preferences to my parents back in high school: “You probably wouldn’t get it anyway.” Enjoy the best that 2016 had to offer.
#30 David R Elliott – Some Kinda Nerve
David R Elliott slow jams his way through a this song that’s half lament, half love song, carrying it off with the sort of stripped down poignance that David R has mastered.
#29 Ten Strings And A Goat Skin – Coal Not Dole
Bunch of lads from Prince Edward Island singing a sad song about coal miners. Worked just fine for Anne Murray.
#28 Classified – Work Away ft. David Myles
Halifax rapper Classified and David Myles put out a song this year about the plight of many Maritimers who have little choice but look elsewhere for work. Dedicated to those who suffered from the wild fires of Fort McMurray.
#27 Beauts – Wash/Waves
Halifax’s Beaut’s post-punk anthem repeats ‘don’t wipe off your blade’ and gives us hope for whatever slaughter the summer of 2017 brings. Silver linings.
#26 City Natives – Maria
City Natives made a big splash this year with their fourth album Nomadic, and Maria is a big track asking us, ‘what are we going to do with Maria?’ in a way you know Julie Andrews doesn’t have answers for.
#25 Dylan Menzie – Talk To Me
Dylan Menzie is a name that keeps coming up again and again. From Prince Edward Island, his single ‘Kenya’ got a lot of attention, but ‘Talk To Me’ is still the one that grabs us.
#24 Barrowdowns – Landlocked
Want to name your band after a Lord of the Rings reference, show up to all of our favourite festivals, and fiddle away to some haunting vocals? Yeah, we could get hooked on that.
#23 Dark For Dark – Blue Morning
From Dark For Dark’s very solid album All Dressed comes this track that might be considered relaxed if it didn’t encompass so much. There’s a story here, but told in under four minutes it feels like a whole day given in an abridged format. Get lost in it.
#22 Matt Steele – Responsible Man
Matt Steele wants to be responsible for how you feel, and provided you wanted that to mean in the mood to dance, he’s nailed it. Bonus points for more cowbell.
#21 Hello Delaware – Black Cherries
Possibly Halifax’s catchiest band right now, Hello Delaware wants you to know about a couple of their lesser vices that they’re a little sick of.