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The 20 best Canadian albums from 2005
By
Emma Godmere

Published

January 13, 2015

Genres

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What were you listening to 10 years ago?

Chances are, you were tucking into songs from these same albums we've pulled from not-too-distant memory. 2005 was a spectacular year for Canadian music, as Wolf ParadeCadence WeaponK'naanBlack MountainFinal Fantasy (known today as Owen Pallett), and You Say Party! We Say Die! (now simply known as You Say Party) all made waves with well received debut full-length albums. 

Listen to some of our favourite picks from 20 standout Canadian albums turning 10 this year by checking out the gallery above — and maybe you, too, will be transported back to the decade previous. (Did you know that it was 2005 when YouTube first became a thing? Can you even remember a time without YouTube?!)

Black Mountain, Black Mountain (released Jan. 18, 2005)

The debut album from these Vancouver psych-rockers drummed up enough buzz and support to help the band snag the opportunity to open for Coldplay during select dates on their 2005 Twisted Logic tour.

Final Fantasy, Has a Good Home (released Feb. 12, 2005)

According to Owen Pallett, his full-length debut solo album as Final Fantasy was recorded in a matter of days: "We started recording on December 26th and we started selling them on January 9th."

Joel Plaskett, La De Da (released Feb. 23, 2005)

The Halifax troubadour's second solo album without the Emergency was recorded for free by the Arizona-based, fan/studio engineer Bob Hoag. Plaskett wrote most of the new material for the record as he drove down to Phoenix.

Kathleen Edwards, Back to Me (released March 1, 2005)

The Ottawa native came close to naming her sophomore record Nostalgia, but instead took the title from her memorable kiss-off track. 

Caribou, The Milk of Human Kindness (released April 18, 2005)

Following a legal-threat-induced name change, Dan Snaith released his first album as Caribou (having previously done so under the moniker "Manitoba"). This 2005 Krautrock-influenced release motivated Snaith to tour across the globe, playing more than 140 shows in support of the album. 

K'naan, The Dusty Foot Philosopher (released June 7, 2005)

This celebrated studio debut from the Somali-Canadian artist scored a 2006 Juno for rap recording of the year, and was included in The Guardian's list of 1,000 albums to hear before you die.

Christine Fellows, Paper Anniversary (released June 14, 2005)

The Globe and Mail highlighted one particularly glowing review of Fellows's third album, from songwriter John Darnielle of U.S. band the Mountain Goats: "Christine Fellows is writing better songs than anybody else. Everybody else is actually quite pathetic next to her." Sounds about right.

Two Hours Traffic, S/T (released Aug. 16, 2005)

This Joel Plaskett-produced debut from the now (so sadly) defunct P.E.I. pop-rockers earned them industry cred with a 2006 East Coast Music Award win, and indie cred when the track "Limelight" was used on an episode of The O.C.

Immaculate Machine, Ones and Zeros (released Sept. 6, 2005)

Another band that has since called it quits, Immaculate Machine impressed with its sophomore album — the band's first to be released through Vancouver indie label Mint Records — and later translated the entire album into French.

New Pornographers, Twin Cinema (released Aug. 23, 2005)

The Vancouver supergroup's third album received significant critical praise, a Polaris Music Prize short list nomination and spots on several year-end best-of lists. And yes, "Use It" ended up being George Stroumboulopoulos's theme music for years on The Hour.

You Say Party! We Say Die!, Hit the Floor! (released Sept. 13, 2005)

While it took until 2006 for the Abbotsford, B.C., band to really gain steam across the continent and even pick up some buzz overseas, their 2005 debut established them as the dance-punk band to watch. (Upon the 2010 passing of drummer Devon Clifford, the band officially shortened their name to "You Say Party.")

Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary (released Sept. 27, 2005)

The since broken-up Montreal group’s celebrated debut got its name from a mischievous mishap aboard the actual ship, the Queen Mary. According to Dan Boeckner, the band and some friends carved an Ouija board into an old oak dining table and subsequently threw the table overboard. The troublemakers were swiftly kicked off the boat.

Metric, Live it Out (released Sept. 27, 2005)

The second studio release from the Toronto quartet was shortlisted for the 2006 Polaris Music Prize, nominated for alternative album of the year at the Junos that same year and later went platinum — their first record to do so.

Elliott Brood, Ambassador (released Oct. 1, 2005)

Another strong debut, and another Juno nominee: alt-country trio Elliott Brood burst onto the scene with a Juno nod for roots and traditional album album of the year (by a group) and built up their hardcore following after touring across the country multiple times in support of the album.

Broken Social Scene, S/T (released Oct. 11, 2005)

The third album from the Toronto-centric collective included such regular members as Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning, Feist and Amy Millan, but also welcomed contributions from k-os, Jason Tait of the Weakerthans and Murray Lightburn of the Dears. The record scooped up the 2006 Juno for alternative album of the year and later went gold in Canada.

Great Lake Swimmers, Bodies and Minds (released Oct. 11, 2005)

Frontman Tony Dekker chose another remote location to record his second Great Lake Swimmers album, returning to an old church, on the beach, near where he grew up. But despite the isolated setting, the Swimmers' sound grew this time around as Dekker included more musicians and more layers in this release, setting up a sound fans would come to know and love over the next decade.

The Deadly Snakes, Porcella (released Oct. 26, 2005)

Toronto garage-rock heroes the Deadly Snakes released their last album together to great fanfare: lead single "Gore Veil" made our very own list of the best songs of 2005, coming in at number five. While the album was born out of a reportedly difficult creative time between bandmates, the record was ultimately well liked by critics and was shortlisted for the 2006 Polaris Music Prize.

Bend Sinister, Through the Broken City (released Nov. 8, 2005)

Vancouver-based (and Kelowna-originated) indie rock group Bend Sinister may have had greater success waiting for them in future years, but their 2005 debut set them on the course for piano-driven rock greatness: Through the Broken City was the first of their full-length recordings to include keys and frontman Dan Moxon's vocals. 

Sarah Harmer, I'm a Mountain (released Nov. 15, 2005)

Sarah Harmer's fourth LP marked a departure for the Burlington, Ontario-raised singer-songwriter: she switched her focus to folk and bluegrass, using fiddles, mandolins and acoustic guitars to create a record worthy of three Juno nominations and a spot on the Polaris Prize short list for 2006.

Cadence Weapon, Breaking Kayfabe (released Nov. 28, 2005)

Future Edmonton poet laureate Rollie Pemberton, better known as Cadence Weapon, released his debut rap record to positive reviews both at home and abroad, scoring a 2006 Polaris Prize nomination to boot. Two years later, the record would see a boost in popularity and appreciation following a U.S. release on celebrated punk label Epitaph Records.