At this point, we can’t talk about 2017 without getting angry. So, if you don’t mind, let’s just skip it. Thankfully, there was some good to come out of the year, particularly in the category of music. We’ve heard some great music from veteran songwriters, new artists making their mark and some bands (we’re talking about you, Partner) launching themselves to international stardom.
Here’s what we liked this year in a quantifiable format that will, no doubt, offend some people. Enjoy!
Braden Lam – Into The Light
Braden Lam’s track ‘Into The Light’ is the first single off his EP of the same title. It focuses on celebrating Lam’s relocation to Halifax and the challenges of finding an appreciation for his new home.
Walrus – Later Days
Walrus’s ‘Later Days,’ released in July, sets a hazy psychedelic tone for their debut album Family Hangover. The echoey vocals are reminiscent of Arcade Fire and the slow guitar riffs give a classic psychedelic-folk feel.
The Mike Bochoff Band – Glory
The Mike Bochoff Band’s ‘Glory,’ released in November, is fun and light-hearted, and shows a more personal side of the band. The song points out for us that the most surefire way to attain greatness might just be to defeat your friends in a Showcase Showdown.
Floodland – Tangled
Floodland’s single ‘Tangled,’ off their album Static Walls released in September, deals with the troubles of being tangled up with someone you shouldn’t be. It’s about knowing that things will turn out exactly the same every time, but just not being able to help yourself.
Ria Mae – Bend
Ria Mae’s ‘Bend’ explores the nitty-gritty back and forth of untangling from a complicated relationship—the kind that leaves you questioning whether you’re doing the right thing or not.
Two Deaths – Don’t Water Down The Gun
‘Don’t Water Down the Gun’ by Two Deaths is a slow-paced, simple, and melodic tune. Released in November, this track’s calm feel will help you escape your everyday stressors.
Owen Steel – Weird Looks
Released in February, Owen Steel’s ‘Weird Looks’ is posed as a riddle; it’s intended to leave one scratching their heads, but not without a few clues to unravel it on their own. It’s a playful commentary on the current state of society, certain inequalities, and our tendency as a species to approach things in a backward manner.
Port Cities – Astronauts
‘Astronaut,’ off of Port Cities’ self-titled album is a slow ballad full of wistful mourning for the loss of childhood wonder. Released in February, ‘Astronaut’ captures the weary acceptance of real world responsibilities.
Kylie Fox – Alberta
Kylie Fox’s ‘Alberta’ is a familiar tale for Maritimers about leaving your home to move out west, all for the sake of making a living. The song is sung with a raw expressiveness to her voice that, while not perfectly clean, adds a playfulness and a sincerity to her storytelling.
Gabrielle Papillon – Deep in the Earth
‘Deep In The Earth’ off Gabrielle Papillon’s album Keep the Fire stands out as an immediate hit. The instrumentation gives a wonderful depth that’s beyond what you hear in the string accents repeated ad nauseam that modern pop music likes to substitute for respectable hooks.
Brookside Mall – Preservation
Released in April, Brookside Mall’s ‘Preservation’ dwells on the memories of an old relationship, but with a bit of an optimistic tone. It hints at a final acceptance of this change both through the lyrics and the song’s mixture of upbeat and mournful melodies.
Strongboy – Steady
‘Steady’ by Strongboy bringings us the sounds from the weird ‘60s wave of peace and love paired with ‘90s dreamy Shoe Gaze/Indy Pop Rock. It gently wakes you and takes your hand on a warm walk through the park or a sleepy haze to the first pot of coffee. Either way, it’s genuinely there with you.
The Hypochondriacs – Just Like Before
The Hypochondriacs’ ‘Just Like Before’ is about being trapped in a cycle of loss; it’s getting hung up on someone who you used to be in love with, and maybe you still are, but feeling the blow of depression that comes from watching them make the mistake of leaving. The trick is, there is no ‘just like before’.
The Brood – Munchies
Off of the October release of their album Transistor, The Brood’s ‘Munchies’ sounds like the celebrity chef theme song crafted by Frank Zappa over a funky disco Hall & Oates track.
Murder Murder – Sharecropper’s Son
Murder Murder’s ‘Sharecropper’s Son’ is a calm, bluegrassy-folk jam that gets into a deep groove anyone can vibe with. This song is also the opening track off their album Wicked Lines & Veines released in September.
Jon Mckiel – Brothers
In Jon McKiel’s ‘Brothers’, we get a glimpse into how travelling back to Mckiel’s childhood home seems like dusting off a set of old memories. While you may not always want to pull every box out, there are always a few you need to at least push out of the way.
Alvvays – In Undertow
This hodgepodge of east coast island ex-pats have made a huge splash over the last couple years, particularly with their big hit ‘Archie, Marry Me’ from their self-titled 2014 release . ‘In Undertow’ is the first single from their follow-up album, Antisocialites, and is essential a song about being socially adrift.
Matt Mays – NYC Girls
Matt Mays’s ‘NYC Girls’ is a playful track with one of those big choruses that Mays never fails to provide. This dance-worthy track is on his new album Once Upon a Hell of a Time, released in October.
Steve Haley – Bowling Lanes
Steve Haley’s ‘Bowling Lanes’ is a jangling, asymmetric crescendo with vocals are homey and affecting, like a Neil Young with a sweet-spot for subdued melody.
Gun Jr. – Loose Cannon
What began as a solo project took a turn for the noisy when Jordan Doucet’s work got co-opted by the members of Gun Jr. The Halifax based punk band dived head first into something that growls with distortion without losing its lyricism. It’s loud and we love it.