Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Who are these guys?

So the Juno Award nominations came out today and wow am I ever oblivious about the state of the Canadian music industry.

It's not just the sheer volume of crap music like Celine Dion, Nickelback and Hedley that's nominated. It's the sheer volume of acts I've never heard of before in my life that's flooring me. I'm used to this level of obliviousness when looking at the nominees for the East Coast Music Awards, but for the Junos? I look at the Fan Choice Award - which means you should be dealing with a massively popular act, right? - and there's a group called The Lost Fingers. Never heard of them. Album of the year has The Lost Fingers and Sylvian Cossette. Nope.

Artist of the year has City and Colour and Serena Ryder. No clue. New artist of the year is a clean sweep as I've never heard any of those acts.

Now, I'm used to a certain level of obliviousness these day as to what is popular in music. I don't listen to radio stations. I download albums that look like they might be interesting to me after I read enough reviews so that I feel like I've got a handle on what the album is like and then I'll give it a whirl.

But going through the list was baffling because I was sure I listened to some good Canadian music in 2008. Didn't Hawksley Workman have a really good album out? Matt May and El Torpedo produced a rock masterpiece. Ron Sexsmith and Kathleen Edwards had good records out. Not career highlights, but still solid stuff. Am I losing my shit?

But nope, I'm not losing my shit. There they are - in Adult Alternative Album of the Year or Rock Album of the Year. Wedged between the announcements for Country Recording for the Year and Vocal Jazz Album of the Year. They've been tossed into the Juno ghetto of "Music we have categories for, but likely won't announce during the TV broadcast."

I would ordinarily view this as one of I'm certain many to come "Oh my God, I am getting old moments" except Celine Dion is nominated. Odd thing about Dion, I've never met anyone who admits to liking her music. And yet she sells millions and keeps getting Juno nods. So there must be an underground for it somewhere. Celine Dion, the crystal meth of Canadian music. Oddly, they both can have a similar impact on your teeth. Little known fact.

I guess there's two ways to look at the Junos. The first is that I'm apparently completely out of touch with what is popular in Canadian music these days, make my peace with it and continue to live a happy life listening to stuff I actually like as opposed to what the music industry is trying to force down my throat. Or I could go and sample some of the nominees that I haven't heard of before. I might find something I like. Which is always fun.

However, given the volume of known crap there (Nickelback, Hedley, Dion) it's a process that I will explore very carefully.

The Last Five
1. There's an arc - Hey Rosetta!
2. Nashville - Liz Phair
3. Rich kid blues - The Raconteurs
4. Leather (live) - Tori Amos*
5. The piano has been drinking (not me) - Tom Waits


Ferry Tales said...

I've only ever met one person who admitted to liking Celine Dion, and he wasn't from Canada.

jen said...

City and Colour is just one dude, Dallas Green, he is also the good singer from Alexis on Fire...you probably know him from there. One of his newer songs has the lead singer from the Tragically Hip co-singing, it's a pretty awesome song "sleeping sickness". He is awesome. No idea who the other girl is.

Bob Izumi Jr. said...

It's nice to see the Junos have decided to copy the Grammys by honouring artists who suck.

The Polaris is the only relevant music award in Canada.

And also, what is with the international album category? AC/DC, Metallica AND Guns 'n Roses? Are they serious? Or did they just let the guy at the gas station pick ?

And Hedley, as I have written, is proof that god hates us and wants us to suffer.

That said, Tanya Tagaq is nominated for aboriginal album and Black Mountain's excellent In The Future, which will destroy everything within a three-block radius (give or take) is up for an award. So that's good.

Bad: What about the Constantines? They put out a kickass record this year too.

And I must cheerfully disagree with Jen and suggest that screamy guy is the "good" singer in Alexisonfire.

I should have made this a post on my own blog. Oh well.

Amy said...

I agree with Jen, City and Colour is great. And Serena Ryder has one song I LOVE. While poppy and typical of a female folk/pop artist, it is catchy and touching in my opinion. Weak in the Knees? I think may be the name of it? You might like it. YouTube it....

Ditto on the Hedley sucking thing too.

Kirsten said...

Yeah, there's a lot of crapass mainstream nominations, but I'm thrilled to see Beast in there, because that album is AWESOME and I'm hooked on it. Go. Now. http://www.myspace.com/beastsound

towniebastard said...

The problem with the Junos is I don't think they've ever figured out what they're supposed to be. Do they reward the most financially successful acts? the ones who get the most air play or the ones who critics love? I'm sure there is a criteria somewhere, but their selections always look like a mess.

I agree, the Polaris award is beginning to look more and more important, especially with the Junos looking looking stupider and more out of it.

So, I need to track down City and Colour, Black Mountain and Beast.

And Neko Case has a new record coming out next month, thank God. My recent new music acquisitions have not wowed me.