While listening to Dagdrøm, I began thinking of the big stink Josiah Hughes and Mark Teo created in this here publication with the article “Canadian Music is Boring.” Their argument that the Canadian Music Machine is “addicted to mediocrity, to nepotism, to a stagnating Can-rock fraternity” had me thinking about how virtually everyone in this fair nation, for the most part, have been sleeping on Nadja for basically their entire 10-year life.
An argument can be made that it’s simply Nadja’s prowess as envelope pushers and experimental fetishists that have caused the neglect, but in a world where Godspeed You! Black Emperor are recognized as self-sustaining, musically innovative (anti)heroes, Nadja should be paralleled. Their music is equally as uncompromising and challenging, cathartic and inspiring.
Dagdrøm is the first album from the Toronto duo in two years. Now based in Berlin, Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff, along with the Jesus Lizard’s Mac McNeilly on live drums, appear to be making headway in converting their music for the masses.
Of course, a subgenre like “doomgaze” can only reach a certain level of listenability, especially when four songs clock in at 48 minutes. But the one-sheet isn’t wrong in claiming the album has “a more straightforward ‘rock’ sound and compositional style” aligned closer to their most accessible release to date, the covers album When I See the Sun Always Shines on TV.
I’ll probably always think of Nadja as Canada’s answer to Jesu, but I don’t mean that as a slight. Baker is as prolific and diverse on all fronts as Justin K. Broadrick, and at their best, both bands have a corresponding sound and aesthetic. It leaves me wondering why one is revered as a genius, while the other is virtually unknown outside of the noise community. Let’s all blame Canada once more.