50. Dog Day – Night Group (2007)
This great Halifax band has released two stellar albums this decade and their first just narrowly beat out their second for placement on the list. Night Group is a glorious feast of post-punk hooks but with only a touch of post-punk moodiness and atmosphere. In it’s place is a kind of too-cool-to-bother-getting-excited version of colorful indie-pop.
49. Constantines – Tournament Of Hearts (2005)
An incredible live band goes into the studio and decides to take its time with more challenging arrangements and song-structures and the result is one of their greatest albums, the incredible Tournament Of Hearts. They didn’t have to make an album like this, but they did, and we’re all the better for it.
48. The Weakerthans – Reconstruction Site (2003)
The Weakerthans haven’t aged all that well in recent years, mainly because they refuse to age or change at all in any way. Every single Weakerthans album is full of the same hyperliterate lyrics and the same standard late 90s college radio indie-rock/pop changes, but it’s hard for me to say that I really dislike any of them, or that I don’t enjoy listening to them a least a little. When Reconstruction Site came out it was a bonafide instant-classic and it would be unfair of me to deny it a place on this list, even if it’s just for the line, “And you might roll your eyes at this/But I’m so glad that you exist.”
47. Wolf Parade – At Mt. Zoomer (2008)
Okay, so it wasn’t as good as Apologies… because 1) Isaac Brock didn’t produce it, 2) it contained none of the brilliant social commentary of its predecessor. But it was still a Wolf Parade album and the songs were still pretty damn good. I mean how can you not enjoy the beautiful clash of the titans that is Dan Boekner’s shredded vocal chords and messy guitar vs. Spencer Krug’s yelps and his spacey keyboards? It’s not possible. And though none of the songs were classics like “Shine A Light” or “I’ll Believe In Anything”, just try not enjoying the eerie “California Dreamer” or getting into the swampy groove of “Fine Young Cannibals”. Just try.
46. Gonzales – Solo Piano
The nice Jewish boy who moved to Berlin to rap but then came back only to make a load of cash producing Feist’s last two albums decides to make an album of…solo piano compositions. Gonzales is nothing if not an artist who follows his own ridiculous muse wherever it takes him (his last album was a 70s soft-rock throwback). But the man is ridiculously talented, there’s no way to spin that otherwise. Solo Piano is an amazingly pleasant surprise, as Gonzales plays a collection of original compositions that wouldn’t be out of place played at a fancy cocktail party, but for some reason, probably also ended up on a lot of hipsters’ iPods because of the man’s rep. But regardless of who’s listening to it, I think it would be hard to deny that Solo Piano is a beautiful album.
45. Hylozoists – La Nouvelle Gauche
C’est un travail de geniu avec la zylophone. Un album tres bien, tres bien. Mais mon francais n’est bien 🙁 This Toronto group led by the incredible Paul Aucoin (Rich Aucoin’s brother for my Halifax readers) sounds at times like Pink Floyd crossed with Stereolab if they just really, really liked zylophone. Great stuff.