Like most Canucks, I don’t know a whole lot about Francophone music. I know there are many good bands, but beyond Malajube and a few others, Quebec’s music scene remains a mystery to me.
But, it shouldn’t. A lot of francophone music is much better than what’s coming out of the rest of Canada.
Take Karkwa and Radio Radio, two Montreal-based acts who are short listed for this year’s Polaris Music Prize. I hadn’t heard of them until they were discussed on the Polaris message board — a place where the prize’s 198 jurists discuss music.
Karkwa have actually been around for 12 years and have won a host of awards since releasing a debut disc in 2003. They’ve released four albums since then, and their latest is a collection of infectious indie pop that moves from dreamy atmospherics to more straight ahead rock.
As good as they are, every Canadian needs to hear Radio Radio. They’re a dance pop rap act that’s so saccharine it’s almost cheesy, and the lyrics, which move seamlessly from English to French, are hilarious. 9 Piece Luggage Set is one of the catchiest songs I’ve heard all year and it’s weird hearing those three English word repeated over and over again while the rest of the lyrics are French.
Both bands are worthy of a Polaris nod, but even if they don’t win we’ll still be better off. Not only will more people hear these discs, but maybe the Canadian music scene can finally start including everyone who plays music in this country.
The Audio Files by Bryan Borzykowski, METRO CANADA, July 13, 2010