Sunday, June 27, 2010

Top Canadian Bands You May Not Know

Hey Everyone!

So today, its not so much news, but one of my rants and raves about issues related to music. Today's topic: The Canadian Music Scene. This post is inspired by the MMVAs (Much Music Video Awards) which is currently airing as a rerun on my television. I didnt have much of a chance to watch this when it first aired live because I dont have cable at my house, but now that I'm at my mother's house between shitfs, I decided to give it a go. I respect the way that they are helping Canadian artists out, its great! My only issue: I find that people have a very narrow, limited view of Canada's Music industry.

As a Canadian, I am definitely proud of our exports... including those in the entertainment industry. Over the years, Canada has provided the world with some absolutely phenomenal talent... and yes, though many of them may move to the US, that doesnt change their maple leaf roots. I bet some of them still eat ketchup chips, insist on real maple syrop and believe in beer with an actual alcohol content. All that aside, my goal in this post is to remind everyone that Canadian music DOES NOT start and end with Justin Beiber. The kid may be this generation's Aaron Carter, but he is not the embodiment of this side of the border. So here is MY personal list of fiftenn amazing Canadian bands that you may or may not already be familiar with. All these bands are the combination of fantastic musicianship, raw talent, and creativity. Lets get started! In no specific order...

15) Theset
This five piece alternative rock band hails from Victoria, BC. What draws me to these guys is their live show... high energy, lots of passion, and purely Canadian. Love it. If you dont believe me, take note that this powerhouse band has played with the likes of Metric and Sebastian Granger, a couple amazing Canadian artists. If you love live music like I do, definitely look these guys up.

Their MYSPACE page has some great songs on it, I really like Already Know for what its worth!

14) Spiral Beach
This unique group comes to us from one of Canada's more well known cities, Toronto ON. This is pop with a serious edge... its definitely a bit darker than what you might expect. Lots of interesting instrumentation, powerful female and male vocalists, and a very unique sound that you wont soon forget.

Check out their website HERE!

13) Arkells
I saw these guys play a couple years ago and they did an amazing job. Hadnt heard much beyond some hype up until that point, but I'm really glad I checked them out. Love the gritty vocals, simple but effective melodies... it all comes together in a great package with these guys! You may even recognize a couple of their tracks from radio and TV. Trust me on this one, this band is amazing.

Check them out HERE

12) Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker
Are there even words for these guys? Never forget the first show I saw them play... they made a smoothie on stage as part of their set. Pricelessly entertaining and memorable: everything a show should be! Their blend of hip hop, indie and rock is completely unique and purely Canadian. They are one of those bands that make me proud to hail from the great white north.

Check them out at their Myspace page HERE

11) You Say Party
Tragedy struck this band merely months ago when they lost their drummer, but I am still very impressed by their career span, and I love their work. I've only seen them play once and it was incredibly brief, but I remember it being one of the most fun sets I have ever witnessed. Watching them play, you'll be screming PARTY at the top of your lungs!

Check out their music HERE

10) Stars
This Canadian indie group has just made it to the ten year mark, and they have already solidified their place in this music scene. Lets face it, any group attached to the Broken Social Scene name is destined to be touched with gold. They're heading out on tour soon so be sure to check them out if they make a stop near you!

Check out their Myspace page HERE

9) Attack In Black
This band is a bit tricky... let me explain. They are EXTREMELY talented, yes. That is a given. They make great music, I certainly wont argue that. BUT I have seen alcohol pretty much destroy my opinion of their performance. See, I have seen them a few times. The problem is, they reallllly lack in the consistancy area, and its ALL dependent on how much they have had to drink before. I really like them, but I actually fell asleep once when I saw them open at an arena show because I was so lack luster with the performance. I have high hopes for these guys. I really do. They have some serious potential, and their album got rave reviews... I just hope that next time I see them, its soberISH.

Hear their Music HERE

8) Wintersleep
These Halifax natives came together in 2001, and they're only just getting the recognition they deserve. I mean, lets be honest, its been a couple years now since Weighty Ghost dominated Canadian airwaves and its STILL stuck in my head! With all of the music I listen to, thats a pretty impressive achievement haha. "Are you some kind of medicine man? Cut the demons out of my head, You cant kill something thats already dead, Just leave my soul alone."

Listen to their music HERE

7) Controller.Controller
Probably one of the better known Canadian bands. An indie group with a bit of a techno edge, they make some really fantastic music... kind of dark, but still dancey with the beats and rhythms used.

Check out their Music HERE

6) Dragonette
Love Dragonette. Yet another one of those bands who have become quite the hometown favorites in these parts- seems like every show they play in the area is packed and hyped up to no end... and its easy to see why! The synth-pop trio have dominated the Canadian airwaves with radio friendly dance tracks like "I Get Around" which made it onto the Canadian Billboard chart. Between Martina's flawless voice, their signature creative genre bending sound and ability to kickstart dance parties from coast to coast, there is an endless list of reasons as to why this band is on the Canadian radar.

Listen to Dragonette HERE

5) Final Fantasy (aka Owen Pallett)
Owen is also a Toronto native... and absolutely brilliant, just like a handful of others on the list. Man, thats one talented city. What is perhaps most amazing about Pallett is the fact that he is clearly in it for the pure, simple love of music. He is known to donate a lot of the money to great causes. Struggling musicians, Doctors Without Borders... thats pretty cool. This violinist is one of a kind. Live shows get rave reviews and he even won the highly valued Polaris Music Prize. His work with numerous artists and solo ensure him a place on my list of valued Canadian musicians.

Give Owen and his work a listen HERE

4) Jesse Labelle:
Yes, a personal favorite of mine. This guy used to play a regular one man, one guitar show at a bar in my hometown before he hit it big- so its possible I'm in a bit bias. That dazzling smile, those heartfelt lyrics, and those impressive guitar solos probably encourage that bias JUST a little haha. Anyways, the Toronto native is remarkably talented and his cd is filled with beautifully written, catchy pop tunes that I can definitely see making a mark on the charts in the near future! Definitely check him out

Check out Jesse's music HERE... definitely listen to Dont Leave Now if you want a good idea of this boy's flawless voice

3) Saint Alvia
Formerly, Saint Alvia Cartel, the group formed back in 2005 uniting members of other bands like Jersey and Boys Night Out. Whats always great about bands coming together like that is the diverse influences that are often drawn out. The dynamic can make for a very distinct style that can never be duplicated. In this case... something punk/reggae/ska-esque. Magic. Give it a listen, its pretty fantastic, especially if you're looking for some summer tracks.

Listen to Saint Alvia HERE

2) Woodhands
More Toronto! This electro-indie pop duo is another example of the incredible things that happen when musicians from different backgrounds come together. Synth player Dan Werb had worked in bands from the Vancouver and Montreal scenes before teaming up with drummer Paul Banwatt. What ensued their collabortion? Pure Magic! This is what happens when punk meets sophisticated techno beats and catchy synth melodies. Hard to believe this is all the doing of two guys and a producer... thats what I call talent. Enjoy!

Check out Woodhands HERE

1) Broken Social Scene
Perhaps the most multi-faceted Canadian band in existence. This indie powerhouse contains a varrying number of band members who are involved in projects of their own outside the group. Members include well known musicians like Feist, Emily Haines (Metric) and Jason Tait. Now lets be honest here... with a lineup consisting of some of Canada's most amazing indie talent- HOW CAN YOU GO WRONG? Its just not possible for this to end badly. Melding ideas from some of the most brillian indie voices in the country is only going to result in a surge of intense Canadian pride. DEFINITELY check them out and prepare to be left speechless.

Listen to some amazing Canadian music by Broken Social Scene HERE

And thats it folks, some awesome Canadian tunes to make you think twice about the great white north. Let me know what you think, eh?
Rock On!
-Girl At The Rock Show


  1. A lot of great bands in this list. USS are awesome! We played a couple shows with them a while back. If you've never seen them live, do so!! Human Kebab is like an 8 year old ADHD kid who replaced his Ritalin with meth-amphetamines when he's on stage. Always great live shows, especially for a two-man band.

    Much Love!
    Suburban Sunrise

  2. how about tegan and sara? they are no 1 in my list! they make great music and their lyrics are just amazing.