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NSMZ's Best Songs of 2022

by Scott Roos and Will Yannacoulias

The Radiant bassist Evan Knouse (photo by Deanna Roos/Deanna Roos Photography)

"9 a.m." - The Radiant

"Pop imbibed, groovy, heavy and progressive, with '9 AM' The Radiant serve up a potent cocktail of what they do best. Combine that with the tongue in cheek verses and a hook laden chorus and you've got one of the best tracks of 2022." -Scott Roos


"The Mission" - Wishbook


It's all about the vibe with Wishbook's debut single. Chill and dreamy with an eerie edge, the song weaves through Doors territory, with jazzy drums and Zoe Saladena's lush, shimmering guitar providing the accompaniment to Steve Leidal's gentle keys and sleepy vocals. This Regina duo has released two wonderful singles and we can't wait to hear more. -Will Yannacoulias


"Love Sails" - Seven Mile Sun

"'Love Sails' is a straight ahead rock treatise featuring the crash/bash, Bonham-esque drumming of Kimberley Stevens, the precise bass playing of Joanne Genest (you probably have clocks in your house less accurate than Genest's sense of time on her instrument), and the shredtastic guitar stylings of Kevin Stevens. Layer Kevin's vocals over top and you have the building blocks of one of Saskatchewan's top flight rock acts demonstrating what they do best." -Scott Roos


"Patchwork"- Dump Babes


Though it wasn't one of the singles from the Dump Babe's sophomore album niya kîminîcâkan, "Patchwork" was definitely my favourite song. The closing track is deceptively simple, with the tick-tock percussion, chiming guitars and Aurora Wolfe's sad, sweet vocals lulling the listener. The song blooms like a flower in the last minute as the drums and additional instruments kick in, cresting like a wave as the last notes of the record fade away. Perfect end to a powerful album.- Will Yannacoulias


"10 Bucks" - Katelyn Lehner

"P.A. expat Katelyn Lehner weaves together her most convincing bid to write a next level pop country anthem with '10 Bucks'. It's a two stepping, fist pumping, song that would strongly encourage even the harshest critics of the genre to put on their cowboy boots, fasten their belt buckles, dust off the cowboy hat and drive their pick-up trucks to the nearest boot scootin' establishment. Everything about '10 Bucks' screams 'tried and true' which, for Lehner, is likely her main goal right now." -Scott Roos


"Another Blank Page"- Roughsleeper


The Fixed Frequency Records compilations are a gift that just keep on giving; "Another Blank Page" from Regina's Roughsleeper is the latest in a list of great tunes I wouldn't have ever heard if not for Fixed. This song is a thick slice of sugar-sweet pop-punk/emo perfection, with the big guitars, tight harmonies and unforgettable melodies, but none of the cliches or cheesiness the genre so easily slips into. Just a great song, perfectly executed by a great band. -Will Yannacoulias


"Hellbent" - The Hourhand

"'Hellbent', the latest single from Regina classic rock revivalists The Hourhand, is a track torn straight from the much weathered pages of a 70's rock hits tablature book. It's a tip of the cap to their influences to be sure, but also a strong statement from the blues/rock trio that they will be in it to win everything in 2023." -Scott Roos


"Pick Me Up"- Lancelot Knight

"Pick Me Up" is a perfect example of a good song made great in the delivery. Knight sings this heartbreak number with a jaunty, cool playfulness that suggests he'll be on the rebound in no time. An unforgettable old fashioned shuffle with just enough twang, this song has me actually looking forward to the next time I get dumped. -Will Yannacoulias


"Borj and Penelope" - The Local Group

"More of a spoken word piece than a 'song' per se, 'Borj and Penelope' is an oft requested set piece for Saskatoon bluegrass insurgents The Local Group. Dead set on rewriting the bluegrass rulebook, their quirky, outside the box approach to subject material is on full display here as vocalist/banjo picker Jaxon Lalonde weaves a tail of the changing seasons as metaphor for the cyclical inevitability of life, the universe and everything." -Scott Roos


"Make It Right" - Nick Faye

In truth, any of the five songs from Nick Faye's wonderful Gettin' Better EP could have made this list. "Make It Right" is lyrically a perfect showing of the smart, sensitive, subtle songwriter behind Faye's oversized glasses, easy smile and tongue-in-cheek videos. Musically "Make It Right" is a guitar-first rock song that moves effortlessly between loud and driving, soft and spacious. Faye's vocals are weighty, at times singing with an edge of quiet desperation or a hint of aching twang. -Will Yannacoulias


"Good Things" - Chris James Vasseur

"Saskatoon based folk troubadour Chris James Vasseur weaves together an instrumentally Dylan-esque, pop bubblegum, song nodding it's head with a sideways smirk in the direction of the narrative stylings and vocalizations of Kristopherson. It's kind of like a less existential 'Sunday Morning Coming Down' vibe and it works." -Scott Roos


"Sicker Than A Dog"- OpenMind

https://open.spotify.com/track/3QGosEBbmloSYqa9JdBCRP?si=I0ywdUPbSb6S-IeOQ0ONPQ


I don't listen to a lot of rap music but I couldn't help myself, when I first heard "Sicker Than A Dog" last summer I listened to it over and over. The beat with the jazzy trumpet and stand-up bass samples sets the perfect mood for OpenMind's deep, gravelly voice to deliver clever rhymes in a machine-gun staccato. Cocky, smart and cool. -Will Yannacoulias


"Flowers in a Wasteland" - Velours

"Velours is a true anomaly in the Saskatchewan music scene. With her eclectic, meaty stew of 70's punk rock, 90's grunge, and 80's pop, she's managed to find her niche quickly to the point that our province can no longer contain her as she prepares to move to Toronto in January. 'Flowers in a Wasteland", then, is her swansong and it's a perfect, if not even an unintentional metaphor of her departure, flying in the face of all who choose to read between the lines." -Scott Roos


"Francis"- Marissa Burwell

Marissa Burwell's Bittersweet is a heavy, contemplative album filled with slow, poignant songs. The odd duck on the otherwise weighty, heartfelt record is the simple, sweet "Francis". A simple beat and meandering jangly guitar providing the canvas upon which Burwell paints her layered vocals, playful bright melodies sung in a hushed, intimate murmur. "Francis" is a treat for those of us who grew up sighing while listening to R.E.M and 10,000 Maniacs. -Will Yannacoulias


"The Reason"- Dara Schindelka

"Part musical theatre, part Tori Amos quirk, Dara Schindelka weaves together a gut-wrenching, alarming personal tale with 'The Reason' that, if you can zero in on the subtext, you understand all too well. There's a lot of layers to Schindelka as a songwriter. On her record Saturn Returns there's a sense of joy, humour, playfulness and sentimentality a plenty, but her real gift is her ability to fully emote tragedy. This ability is on full display with 'The Reason'." -Scott Roos


"Get Along"- The Great Fuss

Retro, fuzzy and fun, The Great Fuss opened their 2022 album Late Quakes with the single "Get Along", an impressive 60's rock inspired wall of sound. One-man-band Pete Oldridge jumps from drums, guitar, bass and organ to multitrack his vocals and layer harmonies. The song has a satisfyingly complex arrangement, with a swirling half-tempo bridge and a jarring stop-and-start pre chorus, but all the layered psychedelia is in service to what amounts to a catchy, cool little rock & roll song. Good stuff. -Will Yannacoulias


"Jaylyn's Song" - Berk Jodoin

"Berk Jodoin delivers a powerful statement on youth suicide in 'Jaylyn's Song'. Much of what Jodoin sings about are hard truths meant to underscore real issues in Saskatchewan. This track is no exception. Right now, Jodoin, who calls Leader his home, is a voice crying out in the wilderness. Here's to hoping that his voice will continue to be heard and that more will join in with him in bringing these tough subjects to light in 2023." -Scott Roos

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