Top 10 Songs from Toronto bands in 2011

The Top 10 Songs from Toronto bands in 2011

Rounding up the best songs from Toronto bands in 2011 reminds me that 1) the year has gone by in a flash and 2) it was a rewarding period for its abundance of notable local releases and memorable songs. We've narrowed it down as best we could, so without further ado, let's see who takes the the big glazed ham for this year's top 10 songs from Toronto bands.

10. The Rural Alberta Advantage - "Stamp" / Buy

"Stamp" brings you back to Hometowns as each band-mate showcases what they do best: The tragic wail of Nils Edenloff's voice and guitar, Amy Cole's chorus shouts and jumping keyboard punches, Paul Banwatt's wrist-breaking and explosive drumming.

9. Sandro Perri - "Changes" / Buy

Sandro Perri keeps you guessing in "Changes", a fitting title for a track that's hard to discern. But the song's expansion from one sound aesthetic to the next is what makes it so good and playful.

8. Drake - "Marvin's Room" / Buy

It's easy to get lost in "Marvin's Room", in its off-kilter and woozy atmospherics. Drake spearheads the track with quiet and breathless takes.

7. Bry Webb - "Undertaker" / Buy

"Undertaker" by Ex-Constantines front-man Bry Webb is an arresting, enduring ode. Webb sings with an old soul, his voice well-worn like aged wood amidst a thicket of mournful horns. "I will be standing by," he sings, comforting any stranger who listens.

6. Jennifer Castle - "Poor As Him" / Buy

"Poor As Him" has the soul of country and blues and the fuzz and reverb of surf-rock. Jennifer Castle sings with grace and power, offering her all as her voice quivers the last syllable of each word. It's enough to make any hill, valley or mountain shake and crumble.

5. Fucked Up - "Queen of Hearts" / Buy

"Queen of Hearts" (featuring Madeline Follin of Cults) opens the love story between David and Veronica in Fucked Up's 18-track rock-opera LP David Comes to Life. The anthemic shout-fest ascends with layers of multiple guitars, arcing to break the sky open - but not your heart.

4. Timber Timbre - "Too Old To Die Young" Buy

"Too Old to Die Young" is lush and rapturous, slowly building for a grand finale when Mika Posen's violin blooms into a lulling symphony as it joins Taylor Kirk's last cry for redemption.

3. Feist - "Anti-Pioneer" / Buy

The slow strum of guitar, the slackened drums, the gentle breeze of brass and the opening lyric, "Start with colours / They always get away with attitude" are familiar details that make "Anti-Pioneer" instantly recognizable to those who have followed Feist for the last decade. It's a song Feist has worked, reworked and carried with her for a while, and it's a fitting tune to celebrate her past and present.

2. The Weeknd - "House of Balloons" / Free

Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd) seduces with this R&B mid-tempo-jam, sampling Siouxsie and the Banshees and finding the right words to make his burning desire sound euphoric.

1. Austra - "Lose It" / Buy

This year's top song goes to Austra for her dreamy dance song, "Lose It". Shimmery electro and twinkling synths shake you, but Katie Stelmanis' majestic falsetto hooks capture you - a lustrous operatic masterpiece even Jay-Z approved of.

Honourable Mentions

Sloan - "Unkind"
One Hundred Dollars - "Black Gold"
Daniel Romano - "Time Forgot (To Change My Heart)"
Snowblink - "Ambergris"
PS I Love You & Diamond Rings - "Leftovers"

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