When you’re an influential musician, people tend to ask you what you’ve been listening to lately. Here at 5 for 20, we’re just as keen to find out what records loom large in our favourite artists’ memory banks. So, we’re asking folks for their top five records of the last 20 years.
Former Constantines singer/guitarist Bry Webb hits the Prairies this week for shows in Edmonton (June 14), Saskatoon (June 15), Regina (June 16) and Winnipeg (June 17), all in support of his beautiful 2011 solo album, Provider. Like other participants before him, he was too enthused to stick to the parameters of 5 for 20.
"How about 20 for 5," he jokes. "There are thousands of albums that I love from the last 20 years, but now, more than ever, I'm excited and overwhelmed (in the best way) by the sounds that people are making and releasing. I really owe a lot of this to Weird Canada, and to all of the music geniuses at CFRU, the community station I work for in Guelph, Ontario. Because 5 for 20 was too hard, here's my top 20 for the last five years."
The Golden Hour by Marisa Anderson (2011)
My favourite guitar player. Marisa Anderson seems to have the entire history of the guitar in her hands.
Public Strain by Women (2010)
This album has been in my van since it came out. There aren't that many bands who are so incredible live and so imaginative in the studio. Chad VanGaalen brought out the best in them here.
Boyhood EP by Boyhood (2011)
This is my album of the summer, and one of my favourite band names of late. This EP from Ottawa's Boyhood is like an evening bike ride through downtown. Come play in Guelph!
Complete Mythology by Syl Johnson (2010)
A staggering six-LP collection from the Numero Group, offering 81 incredible songs by a Chicago legend.
"Dial Tone" by Teledrome (2011)
These guys have only put out a few songs on Bandcamp, but I've been obsessed with this one for a while. Party on.
Love and Curses by the Reigning Sound (2009)
Greg Cartwright is a songwriting hero of mine. All of his music, from the Oblivians to the Reigning Sound, is killer. Just really great rock and roll. Home For Orphans is an incredible collection, too.
Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds, Ghanaian Blues 1968-81 by various artists (Reissue 2009)
All of the Soundway reissues are mind-blowing, but this is my favourite. A five-LP set with beautiful liner notes and some of the coolest band photos you'll ever see. From hard-hitting social commentary to joyful social music, this is a wild collection.
Castlemusic by Jennifer Castle (2011)
Jennifer Castle is a force of nature. This is a masterpiece.
Hymn by Tonstartssbandht (2011)
Home recording at its best. This band of two brothers is so prolific and inspiring. I want the song "Hymn Eola" played at my funeral.
The Palm at the End of the Mind by Cousins (2012)
Maybe the best rock and roll record of this year. Makes me want to go skateboarding in a pool.
The Paisley Orchard by Actual Water (2012)
Another wonder shared by Weird Canada. It's a jangly garage pop sound collage, full of good beats and 12-string electric guitars.
Diaper Island by Chad VanGaalen (2011)
Best dad album ever. The best song of 2011 was either "Sara" or "Freedom for a Policeman."
Lipa Kodi Yi City Council (Mississippi Records, 2007)
Everything on Mississippi is great. They've sorted out their publishing business, I'm told, and that's a relief. This compilation is out of print, I think, but if you can find it, it contains some of the most beautiful music the world has ever produced.
The Complete Collected Singles 2008-2011 by the Famines (2012)
Best punk band in action today. Some day people will look at this duo in the same light as NoMeansNo.
Spaced Out by the Ketamines (2012)
Another modern classic from Mammoth Cave Recording Co. I play this outside the door of my son's room at about 3 a.m. every night.
No Time For Dreaming by Charles Bradley (2011)
The finest soul album of the last 30 years. Heartbreaking and renewing at the same time.
Black Grass by Little Wings (2011)
My second favourite songwriter of all time: Kyle Field. All of his albums are wonderful. This is the darkest one he's done, and it still makes me want to go surfing. I love him. Also, please check out Light Green Leaves.
Danger by Lijadu Sisters (Reissue 2012)
Maybe reissues are cheating a bit, but so what, right? This is a powerful record by two identical twin sisters, recorded in Nigeria in 1976. Nigerian Afro-beat, reggae, South-African pop and disco all play into an album of heavy social-political commentary.
Ida Con Snock by Michael Hurley (2009)
Michael Hurley is my favourite songwriter of all time. He released his first album, First Songs, on Folkways in 1964, and he's still making wonderfully idiosyncratic stoner folk music today. This album was recorded with the great New York band Ida, and features newer renditions of old Hurley gems, some traditional ballads and a few new songs. Sweetness.
Toward the Low Sun by Dirty Three (2012)
Three of my favourite musicians in one band. This is their first new album in five years, and the first with Drag City, one of the greatest record labels, ever. I listen to Dirty Three whenever I'm driving through the Prairies. Moving and expansive music.
Bry Webb performing his song "Asa":
5 for 20: Dan Griffin of Arkells
idée fixe records
5 for 20: Parlovr
Wrath of Khanna: The Breakfast Club with Bry Webb!
5 for 20: The Dudes
5 for 20: Eleanor Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces
5 for 20: Baby Eagle
5 for 20: Tamara Lindeman of the Weather Station
5 for 20: Warren Ellis of the Dirty Three
5 for 20: Lynn Perko Truell of Imperial Teen
on Jun 13, 2012