Without a doubt, 2011 has been a great year for Montreal-by-way-of-Calgary art-indie-rockers Braids. Their debut album, Native Speaker, landed them on the shortlist for the Polaris Music Prize, a metric butt-ton of year-end lists, and accolades from blogs to the New York Times. It was a really good year to be in Braids.
Beginning band-life as a batch of high school friends in Calgary, Alberta, their first EP, Set Pieces, was released under the moniker of the Neighborhood Council. The name was abandoned when the quartet left the prairies for the halls of McGill University in Montreal, rechristening themselves Braids and immersing themselves in their adopted hometown’s vibrant music community. Signing with Flemish Eye, the label founded by Chad VanGaalen and home to bands like Women and Health, the group unleashed the inventive Native Speaker on a cold, dark nation in mid-January of this year. And the rest has been pretty rad.
The band’s playlist consists of a selection tracks from their favourite albums of the year, with the exception of Born Gold and Morgan Greenwood, who flew a little too under the radar to be available on the streaming service this year. But otherwise, this is Braids’ picks for the best music of 2011, a group to which they most certainly belong themselves.