[Right from the outset I am going to beg forgiveness from all of those Canadian women out there whose name I am about to fail to mention. Sorry. Really. You deserve recognition, but I can only name so many, which I do so to be representational, not exhaustive.]
We Canadians are so self-effacing that we rarely take the time to congratulate ourselves on our accomplishments. Here’s another example: When it comes to the independent music scene, 2014 was a field day for female performers in Canada. In fact, I would go so far as to say that female artists were over-represented last year, and our musical tapestry is all the richer for it.
Let’s start with that admittedly ill-defined field that we refer to as “singer-songwriter”. What better example is there of Canadian creativity than Valery Gore’s indie electropop masterpiece ‘Idols in the Dark Heart’ (Ride the Tempo’s favourite album of the year)? Well (in response to my own question) how about Lydia Ainsworth’s enchanting ‘Right from Real’ or Elizabeth Shepherd’s jazzy and urbane ‘The Signal’? Or how about those who bridged some chasms: Tanya Tagaq, whose terrifying and bold ‘Animism’ thrust Inuit culture into popular consciousness? The Sands (Julie McGeer/Peggy Lee), who made sophisticated esoterica readily accessible and listenable with ‘Beast to Bone’? Cold Specks (Al Spx) with her album ‘Neuroplasticity’ which bridged the space between contemporary R&B and indie pop/rock?
Women also kicked ass last year in the realm of punk/garage/hardcore. The mostly female band White Lung (sorry Kenneth) were responsible for what was arguably the best hardcore release last year, ‘Deep Fantasy’. And there were a myriad of other female or mostly female bands out there, including Vancouver’s lié, Calgary’s Hag Face and Edmonton’s The Lad Mags.
Then there were the numerous female-fronted bands, such as the wonderfully creative Weaves (Jasmyn Burke), the indie darlings Alvvays (Molly Rankin) and psychobilly lunatics The Creepshow (Kenda Legaspi). And all of this is just the tip of the iceberg because there were literally hundreds of female musicians in Canadian independent music last year serving in every capacity you can think of. Consider, for example, Leigh Dotey (drums for Cousins), Sandy Miranda (bass for Fucked Up) or Kathryn Calder (keys/vocals for The New Pornographers).
When I look back on my favourite music of 2014 I realize more and more how it was dominated by women. Right on, my sisters. Keep the faith.