Haters gonna hate and raters gonna rate. Last week the CBC Music posted a list of "The 50 Greatest Canadian albums of the 90s" and it's a mess. A Beautiful Mess, like the Thelonious Monster tape I bought in the West Edmonton Mall when I was 15*. Or something. Look, I like that there was a lot of room for personal favourites on the list and some kind of effort was made to include stuff that wasn't necessarily good or important or popular or whatever.
I dunno, I Twittered the crap out of that list with my typical half-assed outrage, but that failed to mollify. Those tweets are collected here. As all good revolutionaries know, it is not enough to smash the system, you have to build a better submarine sandwich too.
So here are 25 albums off the top of my head that are AT LEAST AS GOOD OR IMPORTANT OR GOOD-LOOKING as Chixdiggit's self-titled LP, number 50 on CBC's list.
SOME NOTES ON METHODOLOGY: I didn't put a lot of thought into this. I avoided duplication with the CBC list not just of bands, but of artists, because that would just be boring. I didn't put any consideration at all into the order I'm listing albums. I'm not necessarily following MAPL guidelines. My picks are heavily biased toward guitar-based indie rock, because that's what I mainly listened to as a teenager.
Leonard Cohen - THE FUTURE
This album was a big deal. Still is in some circles. It won a Juno, goddamnit.
the smalls – TO EACH A ZONE
This cassette was in the glovebox of every rusted-out Toyota Corolla you ever hotboxed in outside an all ages show at the old Students' Union.
Stompin’ Tom - BELIEVE IN YOUR COUNTRY
This was a big comeback album and tour for STC and I remember seeing the t-shirt worn by jocks, hicks, and punks in my high school (which was small & progressive enough that the jocks were hicks, the hicks were punks, and the punks were jocks).
Tristan Psionic - TPA FLIGHT 028
This record was the cornerstone in the foundation of Sonic Unyon records, a hugely important record label that was shockingly underrepresented on CBC's list. It's shockingly overrepresented here. SO SUE ME.
SIANspheric – SOMNIUM
V/A - BLOODBATH AT THE CHINESE DISCO
This 1994 Calgary scene report is absolutely essential. They should give it out with Happy Meals. And, yeah, Chixdiggit is on it, so I'm not just picking on them.
Shallow North Dakota - AUTO BODY CRUSHER
Noize from Sonic Unyon.
Kittens - TIGER COMET
More noize from Sonic Unyon.
Terri Clark - HOW I FEEL
Terri Clark is no joke. Only the CBC would put Paul Brandt on their list but not Terri Clark. Ezra is right.
Bran Van 3000 - GLEE
This is another album whose absence calls into question the integrity of CBC's list.
Jean LeLoup - LE DÔME
We used to live across the street from a Quebecois family who would occasionally gather on their front porch and sing "I Lost My Baby" together. I loved those people and I'm sorry we moved.
Lhasa - LA LLORONA
Seriously. The fact that CBC doesn't have anyone willing to go to the wall for Lhasa is disturbing.
Rush - ROLL THE BONES
Chris loved this record. We listened to it a lot when we used to hang out in his basement and play Mario World and get ripped or something like that.
Bob Wiseman – MORE WORK SONGS FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES
If your freelance pool doesn't include any Bob Wiseman superfans, you need a new freelance pool. (see also, Lhasa)
Change of Heart – SMILE
Any band who opened for the Tragically Hip should've automatically made the list. C'mon.
13 Engines – A BLUR TO ME NOW
These guys were like Canada's answer to the Hoodoo Gurus.
Tricky Woo – SOMETIMES I CRY
Wild & woolly Montreal garage rock. Outside of, I dunno, the smalls, who were just always playing shows, I might've seen Tricky Woo more than any other non-Regina band. A personal favourite.
Voivod – ANGEL RAT
Honestly, I don't know. Nothingface is the Voivod album you need, but it came out in late 1989 and rules are rules. This is the one after Nothingface. Probably pretty good. Sorry, metalheads.
Al Tuck & No Action – BRAVE LAST DAYS
I used to see "Al Tuck & No Action" written about in the Sonic Unyon newsletter and I'd think, "I don't know anything about these guys, but with a name like that, I like them already." Lives up to the hype.
Furnaceface – JUST BUY IT
I haven't listened to this, or even thought about it that much, in 20 years, so I don't even want to guess as to posterity's verdict, but I bet it sounds exactly like 1992.
Bruce McCulloch – SHAME BASED MAN
Oh Susanna – JOHNSTOWN
This album, hey, this album. You gotta hear it.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – RAGGED GLORY
COLUMBIA HOUSE 4EVER.
Sons of Freedom - GUMP
What you really want (and you can have it) is SoF's first album. But this one matters too.
Primrods, the - UNRELEASED GEFFEN ALBUM
What's that, Emmet? Are you saying that an unreleased album that almost no one has ever heard or heard of is more important or significant that some Chixdiggit record? YOU BET I AM.
That's it. Leave me alone. Ya bug me.
UPDATE: Important stuff I missed:
Submission Hold - WAITING FOR ANOTHER MONKEY TO THROW THE FIRST BRICK Legendary Vancouver anarcho-punks who gave it all up to run ultra-marathons and wear Birkenstocks and read post-Apocalyptic YA lit and generally be lovely, wonderful people.
King Cobb Steelie - JUNIOR RELAXER
This is, like, entry-level shit, man. CanRock for beginners.
Snow - 12 INCHES OF SNOW
To put this album in perspective, Snow is the same age as Rob Ford.
Mitsou - LE YAYA
If you don't know, you do now.
Michie Mee & L.A. Luv - JAMAICAN FUNK CANADIAN STYLE
Whenever I entertain international visitors at my salon, they always express shock that there's no denomination of Canadian currency with Michie Mee on it.