Many of these will appear on the grand "Best Albums of 2011" list later this month:
20. The Good Hunters- Love You Baby
The debut from the Hamilton band is a raucous country-rock tour de force.
19. Hooded Fang- Tosta Mista
Toronto's surprise Polaris nominees come back quickly with a fun-filled loose record.
18. Ohbijou- Metal Meets
Lush and gorgeous, it's very easy to lose yourself within this album.
Chilly Gonzales- The Unspeakable Chilly Gonzales
While he doesn't always take himself seriously, the Feist producer definitely has the musical chops to create some incredibly interesting music.
16. Classified- Handshakes and Middle Fingers
The only hip hop entry comes from a man who's rhymes are often goofy or childish, but they still work for me.
15. One Hundred Dollars- Songs Of Man
Twangy rock has rarely been as haunting and ghostly. One Hundred Dollars are a real update on Cowboy Junkies.
14. Dog Is Blue- Tortoise
Folk rock gets a bad rap, often from me. One listen to this warm, catchy duo will help lighten your heart.
13. Timber Timbre- Creep On Creepin' On
I have to admit, before this album I thought listening to Timber Timbre was about as exciting as watching my lawn grow. It takes a special record to change my opinion this dramatically.
12. Good Lovelies- Let The Rain Fall
A throwback to '40s and '50s USO acts, it's an absolute delight.
Coeur de Pirate- Blonde
Loungy, smokey, sultry, French. Perfect for a naughty night.
10. Bella Clava- Holy Crow
Never bashful, Bella Clava are more refined and confident on this in-your-face record.
9. Gabrielle Papillon- The Currency of Poetry
If you can make folk music inviting and pleasant to listen to then you've really accomplished something. Thanks Gabrielle.
8. Ben Caplan & the Casual Smokers- In the Time of Great Remembering
Halifax's Caplan made a record that both Tom Waits AND Nick Cave would be proud of.
7. Library Voices- Summer of Lust
Knocking down hooks like bowling pins, I'm not sure what else I can say about this wonderful band.
6. Fucked Up- David Comes To Life
Fucked Up follow-up their Polaris-winning album with a concept record for the ages.
5. Little Foot Long Foot- Oh, Hell
Adding twang to their blues-rock attack did wonders for this Toronto band.
4. Imaginary Cities- Temporary Resident
Their combination of melody, energy, and hooks were enough to land an opening slot for The Pixies.
3. Kalle Mattson- Anchors
The second full length from this Sault Ste Marie folk-rock outfit is more expansive in arrangements and sharper in lyrics and imagery than the first. It helps that they are so likable on stage you just WANT them to do well.
2. Whitehorse- Whitehorse
The musical couple of Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland combine for an album that can nothing short of stunning.
1. Lindi Ortega- Little Red BootsOrtega has it all in her alt country album: razor-sharp lyrics, clever turns-of-phrase, a voice that's both beautiful and powerful, and hooks galore. A deserving #1.
Honourable mentions: Al Tuck, Nathaniel Sutton, Charge Of The Light Brigade, Mother Mother, JF Robitaille, Carmen Townsend, The Darcys, Louise Burns, Elliott Brood