Canada’s Best Tracks of 2015

Cœur de pirate

It’s been almost ten years since Béatrice Martin started her solo career. But with each new release she’s getting better both as a songwriter and a singer and, deservedly, more popular.

Last year, the 26-years-old Montreal-based artist gave us her third solo effort, “Roses”. Apart from new musical inspirations (more hooks and more beats), it has been also provoked by the birth of Béatrice’s child.

The unforgettable single, “Oublie-moi” (“Carry On”), has been recorded in collaboration with the Swedish producer Bjorn Yttling. Bringing together piano, synths, strings, and Béatrice’s trademark melodies, it resulted in one of the most spectacular songs of the last year.

Cœur de pirate on Facebook, Twitter, www.

Daniel Caesar

A showcase of Toronto’s great music talents, “Paradise” combines Daniel Caesar touching vocals with ambiguous arrangements by BADBADNOTGOOD who seem undecided whether to make a hip-hop track, refurbish one of jazz standards, or go all soul.

This superb single comes off Caesar’s acclaimed recent EP titled “Pilgrim’s Paradise“, which came out quite late last year but caused an immediate stir not only in the (new) R&B world.

“Welcome to your paradise / Lay in your bed, reap what you sow,” he sings, and we all know he’s talking about his not-so-distant future. He might not know about it yet, but we do.

Daniel Caesar on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter.

Dilly Dally

Started as a school band, the post/whatever grunge quartet Dilly Dally has become one of the Toronto’s most captivating bands over the last few years and their long-awaited debut album “Sore” has deservedly brought multiple exclamations of delight and amazement.

One of the early singles heralding their bigger brother, “Desire” takes just 3:35, but it’s a perfect summary of Dilly Dally’s energy and a showcase of the singer and guitarist Katie Monks’ unmistakable personality.

“It’s about a huge sexual release, but it’s also about fantasies, youth, and purity,” Monks said about this track. We’re not sure if this explanation actually makes sense, but the song – and the album – really do.

Dilly Dally on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Emilie & Ogden
“What Happened”

“What Happened” strikes a perfect balance between catchy and quirky. It’s a song that appears all nice and cute on the surface, yet sometimes disturbingly so. Just like the accompanying video.

Elimie & Ogden is a creation of Emilie Kahn, a Montreal-based songwriter, and her 38-string harp called Ogden. As the name suggests, it’s not a typical solo project nor a proper duo, rather a human-object assemblage based on an intimate relationship and intertwined agencies of a musician and her instrument.

The synergy can be heard in the sublime harmonies and confident performance throughout Elimie & Ogden’s critically acclaimed debut album, “10 000”, which is certainly one of the Canadian releases of 2015 you need to hear.

Emilie & Ogden on Facebook, TwitterInstagramwww.

Fanny Bloom
“Sammy Sammy”

Québécoise singer-songwriter Fanny Grosjean started her solo career four years ago with the release of “Apprentie guerrière”, which was followed in 2014 by her second full-length “Pan”.

“It’s not just a pop singer on the album. It’s me, my piano and my own lyrics,” she said about her record. “Pan” combines musical awareness (she’s been clasically trained) with direct emotionality you’d expect from a young singer-songwriter.

Released in March last year, the video “Sammy Sammy” is a great example of her complex sound. While Fanny’s mainstream inspirations are obvious, she is too good a composer to apply any kind of categorization to her music.

Fanny Bloom on Twitter, Facebook, www.

“Soaked In Gold”

One of Montreal’s biggest new talents, Geoffroy has quickly developed a very distinct (and modern) sound even though his inspirations are more than common for his generation of songwriters-producers around the world.

Although it’s just over 11 minutes of music, his new EP “Soaked in Gold” proves he’s not only a skilled composer and singer, but also a versatile arranger who’s debut full-length might be a big suprise to anyone who hasn’t heard about him yet.

In the meantime, the eponymous track off this recent mini-album seems to have everything it should have to become an instant viral hit. And to an extent it’s happening, but let’s keep spreading the word.

Geoffroy on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.

Les sœurs Boulay
“Fais-moi un show de boucane”

Les Soeurs Boulay are indeed, as their name indicates, sisters. Raised in rural Quebec, but living now in Montreal, Mélanie and Stéphanie played together since they were little kids.

Their debut album came out just two years ago on acclaimed Montreal label Grosse Boite (home of Coeur de Pirate and Canailees among others), and recently they released a follow-up, “4488 de l’Amour”.

From the very beginning you can here a change in the duo’s sound. It’s become more complex and less obvious, happiness and beauty mix with sadness and melancholy, bringing a new quality to the Quebec scene.

While you can stream that new album in its entirety here, “Fais-moi un show de boucane” is certainly a highlight of the record, but one of many.

Les sœurs Boulay on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Mas Ysa

If you find Mas Ysa’s music difficult if not impossible to categorize, just realise he is a Montreal native who spent his early years in São Paulo, studied in Ohio (while getting serious music education), and then chose New York City as his headquarters.

To further complicate things, Thomas Arsenault – as that’s his real name – filmed the video for this gorgeous single (off his first full-length album, “Seraph”) in Hawaii together with the director Kris Moyes.

Although the 32-year-old artist visited some of Hawaii’s most spectacular corners, don’t expect any typical landscapes. Rather a cathartic experience delivered by one of the most intriguing songwriters to have come out of the Canadian scene in the recent years.

Mas Ysa on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

“Sleeping Alone”

Her eponymous debut EP was released just last year, but Mieke is already a well-experienced musician (and a model) with such diverse experiences as singing in a choir, studying piano and writing tens if not hundreds of original songs.

“Sleeping Alone” is the highlight of the 4-track “Mieke” EP. The 25-year-old singer-songwriter (based in Toronto) wrote it as a cure for painful breakups after long-time relationships.

While the song certainly deserves even more attention than it’s received yet, Mieke seems to have the right attitude about her career. She’s convinced keeping the quality of her material will result, sooner or later, in even more people paying attention, and yes, we fully agree.

Mieke on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Milk & Bone
“Coconut Water”

Montreal-based duo Milk & Bone finally released their debut album, “Little Mourning“, in March last year and almost instantly became one of our favourite new Canadian music projects. And not only ours.

Laurence Lafond-Beaulne (24) and Camille Poliquin (22) combine thoroughly modern sound and bass-based tension-bulding with beautiful vocals, outstanding songwriting and, more and more with every new song, something “true and raw”.

This spring they’ll be touring Canada and the US. Their superb single “Coconut Water” should convince you that you can’t miss them if they come around your neighbourhood. As for the rest of the world – just keep your fingers crossed.

Milk & Bone on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, www.

Philémon Cimon
“Les femmes comme des montagnes”

Filled with outstanding melodies, rich arrangements and unmistakable voice of Philémon Cimon, a new album from the Montreal-based artist is a perfect cure for this time of year’s needs.

There’s much of classic songwriting inspirations among 11-track that make up “Les femmes comme des montagnes“, but you’ll quickly also notice there’s been a lot of jazz in Cimon’s music education, and possibly some musicals as well.

All of this makes an enjoyable album from the first listen, but every new spin will show you something new in the (French) lyrics, rich arrangements, and Cimon’s distinctive vocals. All of this making one of the best Québécoise releases of the last year.

Philémon Cimon on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Purity Ring

The moment Purity Ring’s new album “Another Eternity” came out in March last year we knew it would end up in most best-of-2015 lists. And it cannot miss this one either.

The duo of Megan James (voices) and Corin Roddick (instruments) released the video for one of album’s many highlights, “heartsigh”, just before Christmas. Apart from Purity Ring themselves, it features 2,5k LED lights delivered by the British art group Squidsoup.

As the band declared, “It was an honest collaboration that combined the ideas of the band with the talents of the directors, dancers and crew”.

Purity Ring on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud.

The Weather Station
“Shy Women

Tamara Lindeman surprises you every time you think you know where she’s going to. Low-key acoustic track? Just wait for the keys. Big chorus? Those exuberant strings will soon disappear. But they’ll come back later.

Lindeman is one of the most thoughtful musicians we might have here right now. And if you add her composing talent and beautiful voice to that, checking out her recent album “Loyalty” seems like an obligation for all who appreciate great songwriting.

Recorded in France, it’s her third and probably the best album yet. But then again: we shouldn’t even think we know what her next step might be. Let’s just hope it comes soon.

The Weather Station on Facebook, Instagram, www.

We Are the City
“Kiss Me, Honey”

In November, the Vancouver-based trio We Are the City released their new 8-track album “Above Club“, giving us lots of great material to listen to while waiting for the new year.

Their mix of indie rock, pop and progressive influences transcends styles and decades. A great example of this distinct genre mixture, “Kiss Me, Honey” is the closing track off this new record – although it’s the first they finished – and one of this album’s highlights. As well as one of the best singles we heard in 2015.

It’s big, it’s catchy, it’s fresh, but somehow sounds classic the very first moment you hear it. And it’s hard to believe this fine vocal line is something Cayne McKenzie improvised in the studio.

We Are the City on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, www.