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Old 97's

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Viet Cong

!earshot charts - top 200 of 2015 -

Every year is a good year, it seems, in Canadian music. For 2015 we had some familiar and perennial favourites, some fresh new favourites and even a dose of controversy. More than 7000 releases charted on campus/community radio stations this year. Fortunately, more than 1500 deejays at stations across the land sorted through it all and played the best they could find on their programs throughout the year. We have added it all up to bring you the collective wisdom and airplay of all those music lovers in the Top 200 of 2015. Make sure to check out the specialty charts too: Electronic, Hip Hop, International, Jazz, Loud and Folk, Roots & Blues. Edited by Magnus Thyvold

1 Viet Cong Viet Cong Can Con
Viet Cong - (Flemish Eye)
htt @VietCongtheBand

Rising from an extensive musical resume, including involvement in Chad Vangaalen, Ghostkeeper, Azeda Booth, and most notably, Women, one of Calgary’s biggest buzz-bands from 5 years ago, came Viet Cong. Work in that variety of previous projects prepared the four members for the success of their debut self-titled full-length album on Flemish Eye this year, if a seven-song release can be considered such. Media seemed not to mind the brevity as the band managed to garner coveted Pitchfork ‘Best New Music’ recognition, a Polaris Prize shortlist nomination, and numerous #1 Earshot Top 50 appearances. The controversy that arose due to their choice of band name likely only brought more ears upon their noisy brand of post-punk, since it didn’t seem to greatly affect their busy schedule of international touring and festival appearances. Announcing that they will be changing their name, their final tour under this title is set to take place in early 2016 after a year of incredible hype.
By Sean Warkentine

Viet Cong's self-titled debut record was one of the most interesting stories this year. I interviewed Viet Cong for my show, The Interview Show, at the beginning of 2015 just before they released their debut record. Back then, Viet Cong was a new project which had risen out of the ashes of Calgary's Women, a band that had imploded onstage in a fistfight in Victoria, but the guys in Viet Cong were hopeful that a powerful self-titled record would be a new start for these dedicated musicians. 

The debut record found both positive reactions from passionate post-punk fans AND controversy. The record received many great reviews from indie publications like Pitchfork and The Guardian and the record even made Canada's prestigious 2015 Polaris Prize short list. However members of Vietnamese and Vietnamese-American communities were offended by the band name and this led to shows being cancelled. In September, the members of Viet Cong vowed to change their name to avoid any more pain. 2016 should be even more exciting for the band formerly named Viet Cong as everyone waits for the rebirth. 
By Scott Wood.

Viet Cong talks to Erin Flynn for !earshot in March 2015: Viet Cong - Band on the Run

One of the reasons Viet Cong is #1 for 2015 is the dominance they showed on the first part of the year. They charted on more stations and charted higher than any other artist by a wide margin. It wasn't even close for weeks and weeks.
All chart appearances for Viet Cong
9 weeks at #1 (January 20 to March 17, 2014)

2 Purity Ring Can Con
Another Eternity - (Last Gang) @PURITY_RING

Purity Ring made a big splash with their debut Shrines released in 2012 so expections lwerer high when a new album was announced for 2015. The duo of Megan James (vocals) and Corin Roddick (instrumentals) did not disappoint when Another Eternity arrived in February. Working together in-person in Edmonton rather than collaborating long-distance as they did for Shrines has yielded a sound that is warmer and more human with the new record. Purity Ring have shown with their growth and development that they are a force to be reckoned with. Lucky us!
By Magnus Thyvold

Purity Ring - Another Eternity review by Steve Marlow
All chart appearances for Another Eternity
7 weeks at #1
Top 50 (March 24 to May 5, 2015)
7 weeks at #1 Electronic (March 24 to May 5, 2015)


Braids Braids Can Con
Deep in the Iris - (Flemish Eye) @braidsmusic

When Calgary-raised, Montreal-based BRAIDS debuted in 2011 with Native Speaker, critics described them as "Animal Collective at their most hormonally charged". The band returned with a second record in 2013, Flourish // Perish. I talked to the band during this time. The group had gone through a painful reduction from a four piece to a three piece, yet had stepped forward in a new direction.

BRAIDS returned this year with the more confident third release Deep In the Iris. Songs like "Miniskirt" prove the band (Raphaelle Standell-Preston, Austin Tufts and Taylor Smith) is now fearless enough to release a single dealing with objectification, the male gaze and female empowerment.
By Scott Wood

All chart appearances for Deep in the Iris
10 weeks at #1 Electronic (May 12 to July 7, 2015)
8 weeks at #1 Top 50 (May 19 to June 30, 2015)


Yukon Blonde Can Con
On Blonde - (Dine Alone) @YukonBlonde

When I first met Vancouver's Yukon Blonde back in 2013, they were an indie rock band who made music that would be perfect for a sunset after a hot summer day at the lake cottage. They told me about how they had once been known as Alphababy, but a name change had proven to be a game changer for the band. 

Fast forward to this summer when Yukon Blonde released their latest record On Blonde. Their single "Saturday Night" was embraced by both PBR drinkers and Molson Canadian drinkers--meaning this former indie band is ready to conquer mainstream radio. 
By Scott Wood

All chart appearaces for On Blonde
6 weeks at #1 (July 14 to August 11, 2015)


Faith Healer Can Con
Cosmic Troubles - (Mint) @FayeThealer

What does it take to make a great album of gentle 60s sounding pop songs? Start by being among the prolific circle of artists in the Edmonton music scene and by possessing a mild interest in the mystical. Perhaps play guitar in a few other bands --Tee-Tahs and Punk Explosion would do fine. After you’ve created a solo album with that circle of artists, including Renny Wilson and Doug Hoyer, under your own name, titled Brother Loyola, the trick then is to sign to Mint Records under the title Faith Healer. Work with Renny Wilson again to create an album of light and catchy tunes. Call it Cosmic Troubles. If you do that, you’ll be well on your way. Jessica Jalbert, the main creative force behind Faith Healer, became a favorite this year due to the albums substantial doses of psych pop, garage rock, and French pop. With its lovely and jangly guitar-pop sensibilities, it easily caught ears by making regular appearances on Earshot charts for most of the year following its March release.
By Sean Warkentine

Faith Healer - Cosmic Troubles reviewed by Steve Marlow
All chart appearances for Cosmic Troubles
Highest Rank #2 (May 5,May 19 &,June 23, 2015)


Destroyer Can Con
Poison Season - (Merge)

Poison Season is Destroyer's 11th studio album since 1996. Destroyer is Vancouver's Dan Behar and the loose and changing group of bandmates. The sound is dominated by Behar's unique and idiosyncratic singing and songwriting style. His songs are unmistakable, even when they show up in the middle of a New Pornographers record. Even as Poison Season spent most of September and October at the top of the !earshot Top 50, you could see Dan Behar dropping off his young daughter at school most mornings in Vancouver. This is how it goes when you have reached the level of respect and admiration that Destroyer has acheived. Pitchfork gushes, radio deejays can't get enough, attention is paid regardless of how he spends his time. It is a good place to be. It must be great for him, but it is certainly great for us.
By Magnus Thyvold

All Chart Appearnaces for Poison Season
6 weeks ar #1 (September 30 to October 20, 2015)

7 Whitehorse Can Con
Leave No Bridge Unburned- (Six Shooter) @WeAreWhitehorse

Whitehorse, the folk-rock band started in 2011 by successful solo artists (and husband and wife) Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland, has produced two EPs and three studio albums, basically one per year.  Their latest release, Leave No Bridge Unburned, was released  by Six Shooter Records on February 17, 2015. They have already announced another EP for early 2016 release. Leave No Bridge Unburned was long-listed for the 2015 Polaris Prize, their previous release The Fate Of The World Depends On This Kiss was shortlisted for the 2013 Polaris.

Luke and Melissa each have a fairly large body of recorded material from previous band and solo work, which is useful to show that sometimes it is true, the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts. The combination of the strengths of these two, Luke's guitar playing and Melissa's voice (and the fact that even second best in this group is better than most), means that whatever they take on, whether a cover or an original, is not him or her but distinctively them. Their must-see live show showcases their multi-instrumental talents as they utilize looping pedals and other technology to bring all or most of the studio sound to a duo performance. 
By Arbie Fru

Highest Rank: #2 Top 50 (March 10, 17 & 24, 2015)
5 weeks at #1 Folk/Roots/Blues (March 10 to April 7, 2015)

8 B.A. JohnstonCan Con
Shit Sucks- (Mammoth Cave) @bajohnston

It was an interesting year in some indie circles, which, amidst a swirl of support via the #ShortlistBA outcry, highlighted industry bias against musical comedy albums. While there’s rarely anything really new to say about the more than a decade long career of B.A. Johnston, one of the hardest working artists in the nation, he did succeed in completing his nine hundred and ninety-ninth and his one thousandth cross-Canada tours this year while supporting his latest album, Shit Sucks. If you’ve ever listened to a B.A. Johnston album, you know what to expect: a synthpop dance number, a rapid-fire strumming acoustic song, the same with an indie rock backing band, and plenty of laughs all the way through. Though his mother has had to settle with a son that was merely long-listed for the 2015 Polaris Prize, she should be proud of the Stompin’ Tom-quality of Canadiana he continues to espouse and gain acknowledgement for, all while creating these atop lines that get into your head and stay there.
By Sean Warkentine

All chart appearances for Shit Sucks
Highest Rank: #2 (March 10, 2015)

9 Joel Plaskett Can Con
The Park Avenue Sobriety Test- (Pheromone Recordings) @joelplaskett

Who doesn't like Joel Plaskett? The Park Avenue Sobriety Test seemed to land with less buzz than previous efforts. Despite, never holding the #1 spot, The Park Avenue Sobriety Test cruised near the top of the Top 30 for weeks on end, peaking at #2 several times. For this record, Plaskett took a back to basics approach " Most of the album was cut in November live off  the floor in my studio with The Emergency or with some other players, with six to seven players at once on live vocal takes." he said in an interview with !earshot from April 2015. "That was fun and half the record was done that way." Plaskett is a powerhouse and every recent record has made the year-end Top 10 including a #1 ranking in 2009. He may not be a household name in Canada but he is a Canadian teasure.
By Magnus Thyvold

All chart appearances for The Park Avenue Sobriety Test
Highest Rank: #2 (April 7, 14, 21 and May 12, 2015)

II - (Sub Pop) @METZtheband

Toronto’s chaotic trio, METZ, formed in 2007 and began releasing 7” peeks at their music in 2009. They were suddenly/finally scooped up by Sub Pop records in 2012 to release thier first noise-rock full-length album, which was released later that year to much acclaim. The self-titled album reflected the more punk elements of grunge and resulted in a 2013 Polaris Prize nomination. Performing worldwide over the next couple years, they toured with the good company of bands like Fucked Up, Cloud Nothings, and Titus Andronicus. A physical release from Lids this year, a project featuring METZ guitarist and vocalist, Alex Edkins, alongside members of Holy Fuck and Constantines, has also given a slightly more stripped-down noisy electronic-rock sound to embrace. Perhaps to compensate for the relative softness of this sideproject, it eventually brought about the second METZ full-length, II, and while it didn’t break any new ground per se, it gave fans exactly what they liked about the former with even more raw intensity, creating a second winner in their discography.
By Sean Warkentine

All chart appearances for METZ - II
Highest Rank: #2 (May 26, June 2 & 9, 2015)

Asterisk (*) denotes Canadian artists. All !earshot charts in this issue reflect actual airplay on campus/community stations from January to December 2015. Charts are weighted according to broadcast range and market size. To view older charts from as far back as 1999, go to our charts main page.

top 200 >> 51 to 100 >>101 to 150 >>151 to200 | electronic | hip hop | international | jazz | loud | folk/roots/blues | main charts page

Rank Artist Title Label
1 Viet Cong * Viet Cong Flemish Eye
2 Purity Ring * Another Eternity Last Gang
3 Braids * Deep In The Iris Flemish Eye
4 Yukon Blonde * On Blonde Dine Alone
5 Faith Healer * Cosmic Troubles Mint
6 Destroyer * Poison Season Merge
7 Whitehorse * Leave No Bridge Unburned Six Shooter
8 B.A. Johnston * Shit Sucks Mammoth Cave
9 Joel Plaskett * The Park Avenue Sobriety Test Pheromone Recordings
10 METZ * II Sub Pop
11 Suuns & Jerusalem in my Heart * Suuns & Jerusalem in my heart Secret City
12 Alabama Shakes Sound & Color ATO
13 Ought * Sun Coming Down Constellation
14 Freak Heat Waves * Bonnie's State of Mind Hockey Dad
15 The Weather Station * Loyalty Paradise Of Bachelors
16 U.S. Girls * Half Free 4AD
17 Humans * Noontide Hybridity Music
18 Mac DeMarco * Another One Captured Tracks
19 Dilly Dally * Sore Buzz
20 Siskiyou * Nervous Constellation
21 Great Lake Swimmers * A Forest of Arms Nettwerk
22 Moon * Moon Bruised Tongue
23 Lindi Ortega * Faded Gloryville The Grand Tour
24 BadBadNotGood & Ghostface Killah Sour Soul Lex
25 Dan Mangan + Blacksmith* Club Meds Arts & Crafts
26 Patrick Watson * Love Songs For Robots Secret City
27 Tough Age * I Get The Feeling Central Mint
28 Buffy Sainte-Marie * Power In The Blood True North
29 Samantha Savage Smith * Fine Lines Pipe & Hat
30 Belle And Sebastian Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance Matador
31 Sleater-Kinney No Cities To Love Sub Pop
32 Metric * Pagans in Vegas Universal
33 Father John Misty I Love You, Honeybear Sub Pop
34 Godspeed You! Black Emperor * Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress Constellation
35 Courtney Barnett Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit Mom + Pop
36 Kappa Chow * Collected Output Self-Released
37 Tame Impala Currents Interscope
38 Seoul * I Become A Shade Last Gang
39 Frog Eyes * Pickpocket's Locket Paper Bag
40 Fountain * Fountain II Self-Released
41 Crosss * Lo Telephone Explosion
42 Grounders * Grounders Nevado
43 Kathryn Calder * Kathryn Calder File Under: Music (FU:M)
44 Twin River * Should the light go out Light Organ
45 Moon King * Secret Life Last Gang
46 Jamie xx In Colour Young Turks
47 Kurt Vile b'lieve i'm goin down Matador
48 Modest Mouse Strangers To Ourselves Epic
49 Old Man Luedecke * Domestic Eccentric True North
50 Mauno * Rough Master Self-Released

top 200 >> 51 to 100 >>101 to 150 >>151 to200 | electronic | hip hop | international | jazz | loud | folk/roots/blues | main charts page

Rank Artist Title Label
51 The Souljazz Orchestra * Resistance Do Right! Music
52 Fist City * Everything is a Mess Transgressive
53 Hey Rosetta! * Second Sight Sonic
54 No Aloha * No Problemo Poncho Records
55 Panda Bear Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper Domino
56 Teen Daze * Morning World Paper Bag
57 Majical Cloudz * Are You Alone? Arts & Crafts
58 Ariel Pink pom pom 4AD
59 The High Dials * In The A.M. Wilds Self-Released
60 Jose Gonzalez Vestiges & Claws Mute
62 Unknown Mortal Orchestra Multi-Love Jagjaguwar
63 Leon Bridges Coming Home Columbia
64 Hag Face * R.I.P. Psychic Handshake
65 Beach House Depression Cherry Sub Pop
66 Grimes * Art Angels 4AD
67 Doldrums * The Air Conditioned Nightmare Sub Pop
68 Young Rival * Interior Light Paper Bag
69 Jerusalem In My Heart * If He Dies, If If If If If If Constellation
70 Colin Stetson And Sarah Neufeld* Never Were The Way She Was Constellation
71 Caribou * Our Love Merge
72 Milk & Bone * Little Mourning Bonsound
73 Coeur De Pirate * Roses Dare To Care
74 The Decemberists What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World Capitol
75 Weed * Running Back Lefse
76 The Golden Dogs * 3 1/2 Self-Released
77 Rah Rah * Vessels Hidden Pony
78 Fake Tears * Nightshifting Mint
79 Sufjan Stevens Carrie & Lowell Asthmatic Kitty
80 New Order Music Complete Mute
81 Hot Chip Why Make Sense? Domino
82 Nancy Pants * Total Self-Released
83 C and C Surf Factory * Garage City Six Shooter
84 Wilco Star Wars dBpm
85 Slim Twig * Thanks For Stickin' With Twig DFA
86 Ryan Hemsworth * Alone for the First Time Last Gang
87 Ben Caplan * Birds With Broken Wings Coalition Music
88 Babysitter * Babysitter Psychic Handshake
89 The Elwins * Play for Keeps Hidden Pony
90 Various * Native North America: Aboriginal Folk, Rock & Country 1966-1985 (Vol.1) Light In The Attic
91 Tough Age * Plays Cub's Hot Dog Day Mint
92 The Dodos Individ Dine Alone
93 The Sheepdogs * Future Nostalgia Warner (WEA)
94 A Tribe Called Red * Suplex Pirates Blend
95 Yo La Tengo Stuff Like That There Matador
96 Esmerine * Lost Voices Constellation
97 The Acorn * Vieux Loup Paper Bag
98 Del Bel * Del Bel Missed Connection
99 Deerhunter Fading Frontier 4AD
100 Telstar Drugs * Sonatine Egg Paper Factory

top 200 >> 51 to 100 >>101 to 150 >>151 to200 | electronic | hip hop | international | jazz | loud | folk/roots/blues | main charts page

Rank Artist Title Label
101 Basic Nature * Circles and Lines Dub Ditch Picnic
102 City And Colour * If I Should Go Before You Dine Alone
103 Pharis & Jason Romero * A Wanderer I'll Stay Lula
104 Heat * Rooms Kitsune
105 Slow Down Molasses * Burnt Black Cars Culvert
106 Human Music * Sup Dub Ditch Picnic
107 Shamir Ratchet XL Recordings
108 David Gogo * Vicksburg Call Cordova Bay
109 Michael Feuerstack * The Forgettable Truth Forward Music Group
110 Leaf Rapids * Lucky Stars Black Hen
111 Ibeyi Ibeyi XL Recordings
112 Jenn Grant * Compostela Outside Music
113 Bjork Vulnicura One Little Indian
114 Renny Wilson * Punk Explosion/Extension Mint
115 D'Angelo and the Vanguard Black Messiah RCA
116 No Joy * More Faithful Arts & Crafts
117 Nap Eyes * Whine of the Mystic (2015) You've Changed
118 k-os * Can't Fly Without Gravity Dine Alone
119 Danko Jones * Fire Music New Damage
120 ttwwrrss * ttwwrrss_2 Maisonneuve
121 King Khan & BBQ Show * Bad News Boys In The Red
122 Metric * The Shade EP Metric Music International
123 Will Butler * Policy Merge
124 Toro Y Moi What For? Columbia
125 KEN mode * Success New Damage
126 Corb Lund * Things That Can't Be Undone New West
127 Ratatat Magnifique XL Recordings
128 Waxahatchee Ivy Tripp Merge
129 Amelia Curran * They Promised You Mercy Six Shooter
130 Adrian Teacher and The Subs* Sorta Hafta Self-Released
131 Thee Oh Sees Mutilator Defeated Castle Face
132 Black Spruce Bog * Confluence Self-Released
133 Blonde Elvis * On Vanity Pleasance
134 Ponctuation * La r�alit� nous suffit Bonsound
135 M&M Meats * Runner's Love Transistor 66
136 TV On The Radio Seeds Harvest
137 Death From Above 1979 * The Physical World Last Gang
138 El Vy Return To The Moon 4AD
139 Speedy Ortiz Foil Deer Carpark
140 The Good Lovelies * Burn The Plan Six Shooter
141 Protomartyr The Agent Intellect Hardly Art
142 Stars * No One Is Lost ATO
143 HILOTRONS * To Trip With Terpsichore Self-Released
144 Battles La Di Da Di Warp
145 Anamai * Sallows Buzz
146 Daniel Romano * If I've Only One Time Askin' New West
147 LeE HARVeY OsMOND * Beautiful Scars Latent
148 Rain Over St. Ambrose * Still Waking Up Acadian Embassy
149 The Soul Motivators * Free to Believe Do Right! Music
150 Elliott BROOD * Work and Love Paper Bag

top 200 >> 51 to 100 >>101 to 150 >>151 to200 | electronic | hip hop | international | jazz | loud | folk/roots/blues | main charts page

Rank Artist Title Label
151 The Dears * Times Infinity, Vol. One Dangerbird
152 Cairo * A History Of Reasons MapleMusic Recordings
153 Born Ruffians * Ruff Paper Bag
154 Emilie & Ogden * 10 000 Secret City
155 Last Ex * Last Ex Constellation
156 The Noble Thiefs * It's Tough To Be The Bad Guy Pipe & Hat
157 Chairs * Drawn Into Mazes Kinnta
158 Moss Lime * Zoo Du Quebec Telephone Explosion
159 SC Mira * Waiting Room Baby Pipe and Hat
160 Health Death Magic Fiction
161 Gregory Pepper And His Problems* Chorus! Chorus! Chorus! Fake Four Inc.
162 Scattered Clouds * The First Empire E Tron Records
163 Deerhoof La Isla Bonita Polyvinyl
164 Dan Deacon Gliss Riffer Domino
165 Dark Glasses * Dark Glasses Gary Cassettes
166 Moss Lime * July First Fixture
167 The Young Novelists * Made Us Strangers Self-Released
168 A Place To Bury Strangers Transfixiation Dead Oceans
169 Napalmpom * The Unconditional Love Of... Shake!
170 Mikal Cronin MCIII Merge
171 The New Pornographers * Brill Bruisers Last Gang
172 TV Freaks * Bad Luck Charms Deranged
173 The Backhomes * Tidalwave Self-Released
174 Language Arts * Able Island MapleMusic Recordings
175 Viet Cong * Continental Shelf Self-Released
176 Towanda * Black Sheep EP Self-Released
177 Sun K * Northern Lies MapleMusic Recordings
178 Curtis Nowosad * Dialectics Cellar Live
179 The Long Distance Runners * Elements Self-Released
180 AM Static * A Life Well Lived Self-Released
181 Gypsophilia * Night Swimming Forward Music Group
182 Beirut No No No 4AD
183 Vogue Dots * Mauka Indica
184 La Luz Weirdo Shrine Hardly Art
185 Gang Signs * Geist File Under: Music (FU:M)
186 Ghost Twin * Here We Are In The Night Dub Ditch Picnic
187 Calvin Love * Super Future Arts & Crafts
188 Colin Linden * Rich In Love Stony Plain
189 Century Palm * Century Palm Mammoth Cave
190 Terra Lightfoot * Every Time My Mind Runs Wild Sonic Unyon
191 Death Cab For Cutie Kintsugi Atlantic
192 Alvvays * Alvvays Royal Mountain
193 Best Coast California Nights Virgin
194 Conduct * Fear And Desire Pubic Tone Records
195 Grey Lands * Right Arm Paper Bag
196 The New Wild * The New Wild Self-Released
197 Steph Copeland * Public Panic Self-Released
198 Hayden * Hey Love Arts & Crafts
199 Beach House Thank Your Lucky Stars Sub Pop
200 Petunia * Free as the Wind Self-Released


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