Butterbones – Walha

Butterbones - WalhaJordan “Butterbones” Soles, Derek Janzen’s collaborator in Wand, is no stranger to blustery folk-pop experimentation, the type that draws a nervous line from spirit to sound. This small migratory cadre of Peace Country / Victoria artists have sculpted a sound more and more their own with each release. Walha marks a new high for Butterbones. It is the first markedly Victoria based effort, as opposed to the Grande Prairie locus of previous recordings. Those listeners convinced that geography imbues music with a particular flavour will be tempted to identify in Walha the muggy damp of Victoria. Territory aside, the songs here are further developed and more ponderous in their texture than past efforts. The result is a record with a honed complexity that begs multiple listens. Wind it up and watch it go!

ARGUE JOB’S BEST OF 2012

With great difficulty I limited this list to only 20 Canadian entries, all of which have corresponding arguejob.com posts from sometime this year. It was another brilliant year for Canadian music. Thanks for reading, friends of our radio show, The Ongoing Argument, and friends of Argue Job the Blog.

The other contributors may put together their own lists too, which we will of course host here, so keep your eye out for that!

*Ordering by numbered rank is as obscene as it is arbitrary, in this writer’s opinion. These top 20 picks for 2012 are simply alphabetized. Click to be taken to the review and the full streaming album.

Balacade – Malaise Era

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Christian Hansen – C’mon Arizona

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Ghibli – Rare Pleasures

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Jordan Klassen – Kindness EP

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Khyber Compilation Volume II

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Knots – White River of White Lies

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Little Chords – Afterlife

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Matthew A. Wilkinson – Post-Namers

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Mike Tod & The Buffalo Lake Kid – Live

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Needles//Pins – 12:34

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OUTTACONTROLLER – Don’t Play Dumb

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Paul Stewart – Permanence

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Renny Wilson – “Sugarglider

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Teapot Hill – Night Night Rock

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The Strumbellas – My Father, The Hunter

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The Utilities – Flint

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Tops – Tender Opposites

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Travis Bretzer – Making Love

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Tyler Butler – Violence

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You’ll Never Get To Heaven – S/T

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From Elsewhere:
Devon Sproule – I Love You, Go Easy
Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city
Little Wings – Black Grass
Mount Eerie – Clear Moon
Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It

Record-I-missed-when-it-came-out-but-couldn’t-stop-listening-to-all-year:
Dog Day – Night Group

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Freak Heat Waves – s/t

https://i1.wp.com/f0.bcbits.com/z/28/39/283942799-1.jpgThis was an unexpected gem if ever there was one. From the netherest reaches of our Western boundary–fair Victoria–comes this euphonic patchwork of an album, earnestly quilting together an honest structure from what sounds like different albums of roughly the same genre: a mix tape from a cool older brother who never existed. Like a patchwork quilt, however, the self-titled Freak Heat Waves exists as a single entity, a document that varies from song to song just enough to be deliciously different from itself, but not so much that it doesn’t make sense. There is a distinct voice here–even in the instrumental tracks–that hearkens to everything good about this side of the musical coin they’re mining: noise, post-punk, shoegaze and beyond. The single word song titles bring to mind Joy Division at their darkest, and when those beautiful, sweeping guitar arpeggios kick in, you can’t help but be reminded of the now legendary Women. Indeed, perhaps it’s the silenced voice of the all-too-late Chris Reimer, in the producer’s chair, that we can hear as the thread stitching the album together. Have a listen and be reminded of yourself.