This week’s installation is jam-packed with Canadian talent. In fact, I was tempted to make a fully-Canadian list, but there’s one song by an American that’s been in my head and my headphones all week long. So, without further ado, here’s this week’s edition of the Friday Five.
1. Young Galaxy – “New Summer”
Young Galaxy is a Montreal-based band that emerged in 2006. They have a lovely, driving synthpop sound that hooked my interest in 2013. There are several tunes that I absolutely adore, but I chose the song “New Summer” to highlight today, because hey, it’s a new summer (or at least it’s trying to be summer, though nighttime temps in my neck of the woods are still in the 30s and 40s).
2. DIANA – “Strange Attraction”
Also a band heavy on the synthpop sound, DIANA released their first album in 2013. I saw them perform at the Wolfe Island Music Fest that year (who didn’t I see that year?), and really loved their tunes. They’re more dreamy, 80s synth, which isn’t usually my thing, but I was drawn to Carmen Elle’s vocals. I’d actually been following her career for a while before I got into DIANA, enjoying the music she made with her other band, Army Girls (which I’ve posted for #3). They were recording fairly recently, so I’m hoping for their second album to be announced pretty soon.
3. Army Girls – “My Kin”
This two-piece Toronto band consists of Carmen Elle and Andy Smith. They began working together in 2010 and released an EP in 2011. Since then, they haven’t released a lot, but they play out every once in a while. Their sound is nothing like Carmen’s other project, DIANA; this is just guitar (her father builds incredible custom guitars) and drums, and has the driving sound that I love in a rock band.
4. PS I Love You – “Get Over”
I love Kingston, Ontario. I’ve traveled many places, but the limestone city is still my favorite place in the entire world. It’s a small city by most standards, nestled against Lake Ontario, just over the border. But it’s also the jumping off place for so much Canadian talent. The Tragically Hip, the Arrogant Worms, Weeping Tile, Sarah Harmer, and PS I Love You. Even though PS I Love You isn’t based in Kingston anymore, it’s where they got their start. And this video shows so much of Kingston that it always tugs at my heartstrings to watch it. These two have a killer sound, and every album has been stellar.
5. Sufjan Stevens – “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.”
Only Sufjan Stevens could write a song about a serial killer and make it absolutely beautiful. I’ve been listening to “Illinois” for the past two weeks, and this is the one song that gets stuck in my head. It’s gorgeous, as is all of Sufjan’s music, and it shows what a tremendous talent he has to take such a horrific subject and turn it into something exquisite.