Happy New Year, ‘Binners! Here’s hoping you had a nice holiday, and/or are continuing to have one. Whether you’re still on holiday, or are contemplating having to go back to work, a few new tunes couldn’t hurt either way, right?

Well, then. Here you go; a number of tunes from the best minds in pop music with whom perhaps you’re not altogether familiar. But, you can solve that by perusing the tunes below, clicking ‘play’, and perhaps discovering the best music you’ve heard all year – so far!

Snow Fairy
image: katmary

Fill your boots!

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1.”Helios” by Raleigh

Kicking things off is Calgary’s Raleigh, most certainly one of my favourite Canadian bands. I got to interview them a couple of years ago when they put out their debut. This one is the lead track off of their sumptuous follow up, Sun Grenades and Grenadine Skies.

2. “Fall Of The Summer Heart” by The Foreign Films

Art-pop vehicle The Foreign Films led by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Bill Majoros will follow up 2007’s Distant Star, after a number of stellar EPs. Look out for that later in the year. In the meantime, this track is practically an EP all in one; a multi-layered series of songs within a song inspired after a tour of the UK.

3. “Butane Brain” by The Almighty Rhombus

Dark and angular, yet also bright and poppy all at once, here’s my favourite track as taken from Sudbury Ontario’s The Almighty Rhombus’ Lucid Living full-length. Light it up!


4. “6 Year Vignettes” by Vast Robot Armies

Sumptuous, ambitious and slightly on the proggy side if I might be so bold, Vast Robot Armies (under the creative direction of songwriter Jason Thompson) evoke a sort of Porcupine Tree-esque approach to bold, and epic scale music that still hits the pop spot. This track is taken from the most recent full-length, Goodnight Myopia.


5. “Fortunate Boy” by Dave Rave

Dave Rave is a local legend on the Southern Ontario music scene and beyond, having exercised his capacity for pop music of all kinds of sub-categories, including a stint in punk-pop daddies Teenage Head. As a departure from that sound, this track hits on a late-70s singer-songwriter feel with jazzy flourishes, taken from his most recent release Memphis Midnight.


6. “Button” by Colornoise

But, maybe all of these gentle, radio-friendly pop hooks need to be tempered with something more avant-garde. This band from Costa Rica delivers all of that, but keeps the hooks blended in quite nicely, thanks.


7. “Origin of Water” by Nheap

If soundtrack-y Sylvian/Sakamoto-influenced instrumental pop turns your crank, then this will help you start the year off right. This track is taken from Italy’s Massimo Discepoli, aka Nheap’s, latest record Flying In The Silence.


8. “A Freckle In Time” by The Sunshine Dreamers

If sunshiny psych (from the Mid-West!) is your favourite way to begin a new year, then what are you waiting for? This is the closing track to The Sunshine Dreamers’ record Good Morning Afternoon. Get your lysergic pop fix!


9. “Wasted” by Dog Day

Transporting yourself back to that classic late ’70s punk sound is easily done with this track from Halifax, Nova Scotia; Dog Day. It was offered as a free track from the band’s recent record Fade Out.


10. “Spaceship X” by Sun Stone Revolvers

If Apocalyptic Pop isn’t a genre, it’s possible that Toronto’s Sun Stone Revolvers have just invented it with this track as taken from the album after which it’s named – Spaceship X.

11. “1994” by Ben McKenzie

When you’re starting a new year, sometimes you need an anthem. Ben McKenzie’s “1994” may be that anthem, easily suitable twenty years into the future in 2014 (is it twenty years already? How did that happen?). This track is taken from his most recent EP Stand Down Son.

12. “Grand Tracadie” by Newsmen

Toronto’s Newsmen have managed to create effervescent power-pop meets art rock by mixing in a level of complexity that doesn’t interfere with its pop appeal. No small feat! This is their most recent single.

13. “The Tourists” by Clockwork Noise

A new year can be uncertain, and events can change direction at any time for ill, but also for good. So, here’s a soundtrack to all that in the closing song from the album Whethermachine,  a pop-hook laden noise-rock feast if there ever was one by Ireland’s Clockwork Noise.

14. “The Family Tree” by Unconditional Arms

Under the name Unconditional Arms, post-rock composer Jeffery Wright created an album of soundscapes in honour of his newborn son Owen (born in August of 2013) appropriately entitled Kinship . Instrumental, and emotionally evocative, this track also manages to sing with a pop music spirit.

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And there  you have it, Good People; a veritable smorgasbord  of musical delights to help you kick off your 2014. Which one’s your favourite? Tell me all about it in the comments section!

Otherwise, thanks for staying tuned! More to come all year long!

Enjoy!

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