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Best Montreal Albums of the Decade: #15 - #11

Posted by Jer / December 16, 2010

Best of the Decade Album Mash Up #15 - #11We're back for more of our "Best Montréal Albums of the Decade" series. Today we feature albums #15-#11. If you missed the last few days of posts, here's #25-#21, #20-#16 albums and the introduction. (Album mash-up images created by Andrés Canella)

On est de retour avec notre décompte des 25 meilleurs albums montréalais de la dernière décennie. Voici #15-#11. N'oubliez pas de regarder la liste pour #25-#21, #20-#16 et l'introduction de cette série. (Mash-up des images d'albums créé par Andrés Canella).

Bran Van 3000 - Discosis #15Bran Van 3000 - Discosis (2001)
In a list made up of predominantly indie fare, there's only one group that could represent the burgeoning millennium club scene in Montréal as well as the multicultural feel of our cosmopolitan city: Bran Van 3000. And while their debut, Glee, is a terrific first album, it also belongs to the 90s. In 2001, BV3000 released Discosis, a hefty mix-tape of disco, club, pop and rap headed by DJ James Di Salvio. Collaborating with funk king Curtis Mayfield, local weirdo Jean Leloup, Jamaican Eek-A-Mouse, old-school rapper Big Daddy Kane and others, Discosis is brimming with unique sounding hits: the disco track "Astounded", "Go Shoppin" and "Senegal" to name a few. By the time you get to the slow-sounding "Predictable", you realize the album is anything but. To top it all off, and cementing its position on this list, there is an ode to our city: "Montréal".(Andrés Canella)

Avec pas d'casque - Dans la nature jusqu'au cou #14Avec pas d'casque - Dans la nature jusqu'au cou (2008)
J'ai découvert les pièces de cet album en assistant à mon premier concert du groupe, au bientôt défunt Cabaret Juste pour Rire. En spectacle, Avec pas d'casque sait nous transporter dans leur univers de country-folk mélancolique tout doux. Ce qui est encore plus remarquable d'Avec pas d'casque, c'est que depuis leurs débuts en 2004, le groupe est resté indépendant et autoproduit. Autrefois un duo, Stéphane Lafleur et Joël Vaudreuil se sont armés d'un bassiste, Nicolas Moussette, et ont fait paraitre en 2008 leur troisième album, Dans la nature jusqu'au cou. Plus touffu, moins déprimant mais tout aussi réconfortant, ce troisième effort semble être le fruit d'une nouvelle maturité musicale. On y découvre de nouveaux instruments et arrangements, on admire les belles illustrations de Vaudreuil et on retrouve la somptueuse poésie de Lafleur « Si tu mets le doigt sur c'qui t'abîme Peut-être que j'irai y mettre mon poing / L'espoir est le genre de e lumière qu'il faut changer souvent ». Encore aujourd'hui, Dans la nature jusqu'au cou est un incontournable pour les amateurs de folk francophone.(Valerie Bourdages)

Miracle Fortress - Five Roses #13Miracle Fortress - Five Roses (2007)
What was it about 2007 in Montréal? That year, half of the Polaris-prize nominees came from this city. Sure, Miracle Fortress was long shot (up against Arcade Fire, Patrick Watson, Dears and the self-proclaimed darkhorses, The Besnard Lakes), but there is no question Five Roses deserved its spot on the shortlist. The album drips with catchy pop hooks and bright guitars. Gems like "Hold Your Secret to Your Heart" and the title track show how what happens when you take a summer-y beach-boys sound and re-process it through contemporary studio wizardry. Since Miracle Fortress is the project of Graham Van Pelt of Think About Life, the initial reaction is to compare the two. But where Think About Life are like a drunken sweaty and ragged frat party, Miracle Fortress offers more measured and unassuming introspection. For a debut album, it's unbelievably mature. It's wise beyond its years and it gets better with each listen. It's a reminder that even the understated stuff coming out of the city in 2007 was incredibly good. (Jeremy Morris)

Clues - Clues #12Clues - Clues (2009)
I really don't think this record landed in the Montreal indie music pool with a huge splash. It was more like a svelte dive into deep, deep waters. The album is a balance between where the band members came from and where they (at least some of them) ended up: Arcade Fire and Unicorns leading to Hidden Words, so the music ranges from dance-y rock to soft, slightly synth-y ballads. It was probably just a stepping-stone for Alden Penner on his way to the Baha'i faith and the spiritual melodies of Hidden Words. Some say Clues (or the 'mythical' unicorns) is where the musicians topped out, but have a little compassion, and have an ear, because once you dive into the indie music water it's hard to make as big a second splash without getting out of the pool, freezing for a second, and cannonballing back in.(Amie Watson)

Land of Talk - Some Are Lakes #11Land of Talk - Some Are Lakes (2008)
I'm always amazed when albums can shift seamlessly from one emotion to another (e.g. happy to sad, hurt to anger). When done well, it feels like you're right there with the band on the same journey as they are. Some Are Lakes is one of those albums. Produced by Bon Iver (a.k.a. Justin Vernon), the album oscillates between tender quiet thoughts and seething dark ones. Land of Talk lead singer Liz Powell's voice is heartbreaking. It's as piercing as a stare but it always sounds just on the verge of cracking. The crunchy guitar and bass riffs that back her up add even more edge to the band's sound. The distorted intro to "Corner Phone" literally scares me for the first 20 seconds and the duelling guitars and strings towards the end "Yuppie Flu" induce claustrophobia. But this feeling of menace is mixed with gorgeous moments of calm and clarity. "It's Okay" is truly touching and has one of the most well-written choruses I've heard in years. "Troubled" is a bilingual ballad; the album's quiet and slow good-bye that lets you know this emotional trip is over, for now. (Jeremy Morris)

Check back here tomorrow for #15-#11 of the best Montréal albums of the last decade. In case you missed them, here are #25-#21, #20-#16, and the introduction



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