1 REQUIRED LISTENING (Do Right!) By far the year's best survey of this city's fast-rising musical talent -- Brassmunk, Nick Holder, Ivana Santilli, Quartertones, Circle Research, Moonstarr, Shawn Hewitt -- currently bubbling up from the underground. This is the sound of young Toronto. www.dorightmusic.com
2 THE DEADLY SNAKES Ode To Joy (In the Red) Three times lucky for the Deadly Snakes as Ode To Joy combines the best bits of their two prior garage blasts into one mighty soul shakedown party. Amen.
3 fembots Small Town Murder Scene (Paper Bag) Eschewing the self-conscious stoner whimsy of 2000's Mucho Cuidado in favour of authentic, unironic twang, laid-back duo Brian Poirier and Dave MacKinnon craft a stunning album of crumbling murder ballads and ghost-town narratives. The quirky eclecticism remains, but it's merely the cherry gracing the Bots' beautiful melodies.
4 two-minute miracles Volume III: The Silence Of Animals (Teenage USA) The man behind many of Toronto's best indie rock albums steps in front of the mike to deliver another volume of tiny perfect pop tunes. Part Elliott Smith late-night confessions, part Spoons-style silvery minimalism, Miracle worker Andy Magoffin's innovative genre-jumping nuggets prove the third time's a charm.
5 the constantines Shine A Light (Three Gut) After blowing the Rapture off the Opera House stage, the mighty Constantines followed up with the kick-ass Shine A Light disc for an encore, and together with Broken Social Scene they made Toronto seem like the new Detroit to trucker-capped hipsters across the U.S.
6 k-os Heaven Only Knows Remix/Superstar Pt. Zero (White) The underground MC breaks into the UK with these two broken-beat-inspired remixes, but it's the video for Heaven Only Knows, with our man copping the look of Beat Street-era breakers on Eglinton and a vintage Wailers TV performance, that hits hardest. Even better, he now says he's actually begun work on record number two.
7 ARCEE Mixedwell (Fifty-Fourth) All the crucial vinyl cuts by Real Freqs' MC Arcee -- including the killer Stripes and the Jake One joint Pseudoism -- stylishly mixed for party-rockin' kicks by Lil' Jaz. Nice one.
8 Jim Guthrie Now More Than Ever (Three Gut) The Three Gut flagship artist realizes his full potential with this understated set of elegant string-drenched lullabies that match sincere, wide-eyed pathos with gorgeous, casually complex songwriting. Now more than ever, Guthrie's got it.
9 ANDREW COLLINS & MARC ROY Likewise (sytesounds.com) Crazy Strings and Foggy Hogtown Boys pickin' pals Andrew Collins and Marc Roy show off their considerable chops on this dazzling duets session.
10 Matthew barber Means And Ends (Paper Bag) Singer/songwriter arrives from Hamilton with long-distance love(lorn) tunes that span spiderweb acoustic folk, slithery blues rock and twangy autumnal pop. With a knack for hooks and phrasing, wiser-than-his-years Barber finds the perfect balance between bitter and sweet.