Our Favourite Fives from 2023: January 2024

Hey Dominionation,

To kick off 2024, we figured why not dwell in the past a tiny bit? If you’ve seen this post here then you already know our collective favourite EPs and albums that were released last year, but what about our favourite songs from 2023? Please enjoy getting to know some of our contributors from their hand-picked favourites below, and maybe find a new favourite song while you’re at it!

Jim’s Favourite Five

  1. La Force – “condition of us”
    There are songs you like, songs you love, and songs that take control of your soul and force you to feel in ways that are foreign and strange and scary and sexy and leave you transformed after hearing them. “condition of us” moved through these three phases over the last year for me.
  2. Scott Orr – “Still” “Still” is just a little slip of a song, but somehow in less than two minutes and under and with only six words total in his lyrics, Scott Orr captures the very essence of being alive in the moment.
  3. Peace Flag Ensemble – “Waiting is My Favourite Colour” There’s isn’t a clunker among the songs on Peace Flag Ensemble’s Astral Plains, but the aching sax on “Waiting is My Favourite Colour” does it for me in such a big way. Anticipation never sounded so pretty and so desolate all at once.
  4. ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT – “The Sons and Daughters of Poor Eternal” Utterly epic and uplifting. Favourite lyric of the year: “A fucking regal shuffle and drag a broken cigarette / determined to rise and find the other ones after the morning’s long dusk.”
  5. des hume – “Promising Boy” and OH, BERLIN – “Who’s Gonna Love You Now?” Two very different songs that both satisfy my pop cravings. One is sugary sweet on my tongue while the other always leaves me with a salty aftertaste that makes me crave more (but I’m gonna make you guess which does which). If listening to music were akin to eating calories, I’d weigh over 500 pounds from just these two tracks alone.

Weadee’s Favourite Five

  1. Half Moon Run – “You Can Let Go” I absolutely love a big earnest build in a song and while I will never forgive Half Moon Run for selling out their Toronto show before I could get tickets, “You Can Let Go” came very close to making up for it. The song immediately had my heart.
  2. Kicksie – “You’re On” Full of fun fast chords and warm vocals, Kicksie never fails to deliver the happiest emo-pop twinged songs possible and “You’re On” is just that. The song is unbelievably catchy and the perfect blend of earnest, sincere emo that keeps you coming back.
  3. Great Lake Swimmers – “I Tried To Reach You” Perfect for easy listening when the world seems to heavy to bear, Great Lake Swimmers constantly soothes the aches buried deep within my heart. “I Tried To Reach You” was one of the most tender songs filled with even softer lyrics.
  4. Packs – “Dishwater” At any given point of 2023, if you asked me what song was stuck in my head I probably would’ve said this one.
  5. Faith Healer – “Another Fool” Need I say more than the lyric “I’m not talking about you / I mean another fool” to explain my love for this song?

Alyssa’s Favourite Five

  1. Galanthus – “Edge Runner” Galanthus, whom my band has been lucky enough to share a stage with, is one of those bands that constantly reinvents themselves. “Edge Runner”, along with the self-titled EP they released in 2023 is chock full of texture, instrumental storytelling, and delectable melodies that are sure to get stuck in your head. If you’re ever in Toronto when they are playing, I would recommend going even if it’s just to witness Elorm use a pedal board that is almost longer than I am tall.
  2. Avery Dakin – “Lost and Found” It’s safe to say that my music tastes sit more on the heavy side, but sometimes I surprise myself by latching onto an artist that is the complete opposite. Bloom, an album released earlier in 2023 by Avery Dakin, captured my metal-loving heart and warmed it all the way through. I enjoyed it right away, but as time went on I found myself seeking out “Lost and Found” so very often. This is the best track for sleepless nights when you’re stuck staring at the darken ceiling.
  3. Ka Lok – “Heavy Villainy” I have recently been finding myself attracted to music that reminds me of highschool. “Heavy Villainy” reminds me of the days I wished I was a main character, but lines like “I don’t want to waste another year” and “I’m still learning” really appeals to where I am as an adult—though I believe my context is a bit different.
  4. OH, BERLIN – “How’s New York” (reprise) Jim (Di Gioia) already mentioned OH, BERLIN in his list, so I’ll make this short and sweet: this reprise of “How’s New York” appeals to me for the same reasons that “Lost and Found” by Avery Dakin and “Heavy Villainy” by Ka Lok do. It’s full of warming tones, and just hits right for where I am in life right now.
  5. Almyr Jules – “Outside” This is another song I’m surprised I latched onto in 2023. It was released early in the year, but I only picked up on it in the later months. It’s not very often that an entire song gets stuck in my head, but from the start with the bouncing guitar, the melodies in the chorus, and the funky bass all throughout, it’s addictive. I adore a song that tells a story too, so this song really tickles my brain in all the right ways.

Em’s Favourite Five

  1. Fucked Up – “Cops” On “Cops”, Fucked Up tackle the prevalence of police brutality and the rampant corruption found within both the public and private law enforcement sectors in Canada with timely lyrics full of outrage and disgust over energetic, in-your-face, hardcore punk. The song ends with the desperate plea of “save us from the police” which highlights the fear of a volatile institution and also serves as a reminder that the only people we can count on to keep us safe is one another. “Cops” will not only make you want to mosh, it will also make you think.
  2. Jetsam – “new collosus” Jetsam open “new colossus” with a spoken excerpt from the writings of Voltairine de Cleyre (which were quoted by Emma Goldman) and they build on the contemplative atmosphere with deep, resonating bass, a steady drumbeat, and bright cymbals before exploding into wonderfully chaotic powerviolence, complete with amazingly powerful harsh vocals. Every time I listen to this song, I am in awe of how every element is expertly crafted to provide catharsis.
  3. Wampums – “All My Love” Wampums have truly infused all their love into this song. Every time I listen to it I’m blown away by how much it feels like a hug. There is a warmth in every note of the delicate instrumentation and soft vocals that envelops me and makes me feel like everything will be alright.
  4. La Sécurité – “Hot Topic” “Hot Topic” is full of delightful synths, gloriously weird time signatures, vocals that oscillate between defiant spoken word and ethereal singing, and tons of punk spirit. In just under four minutes La Sécurité put on a masterclass in the art of not taking anybody’s shit and celebrating bodily autonomy. This is one of my favourite songs to put on when I need a boost of confidence and it never fails to get me dancing.
  5. Alien Boys – “Night Mayor” This song is melodic punk perfection with infectious vocal melodies that are impossible not to sing along with, lyrics full of social commentary that pulls no punches, and excellent instrumentation. I was made aware of Alien Boys earlier this year and I’ve had The Weight of It All on repeat ever since.

Mac’s Favourite Five

  1. bernice – “Are You Breathing”
  2. Faith Healer – “Grind”
  3. Bry Webb – “Outbound Only, No Return”
  4. Uh huh – “Good, You?”
  5. Kicksie – “Boyfriend”
The Flower That Knew