Canada is just north of here. We should commonly refer to it as Scott Pilgrim land simply because there is not very many valuable things from Canada. Sure we get maple syrup, hockey and cheaper and easier to attain drugs from the country but we also get French people. Not a lot of people are very fond of French in general. And if what I hear is true even the French hate themselves. So today we get to do a list just for Canadian alternative bands. Also don’t get mad because RUSH isn’t on this list. I hate RUSH. I get they are talented but I can’t stand Geddy Lee or anything about that band. They are progressive rock, this is Alternative rock. I apologize if your favorite mounties ain’t on this list.
Similar American Bands: Titus Andronicus, Cymbals Eat Guitars
The Japandroids hail from Vancouver. The home of the NHL’s Canucks franchise. They bring the aggressive sounding garage indie sounding style the ears of your hip American listener. People like my pal Mike Pop will try to make themselves sound cool and interesting by saying which Japandroid song he likes most, mainly by mentioning the least known song and then saying something along the lines of “oh you haven’t heard of them? Well they are Canadian.”
Similar American Bands: of Montreal
A mixture of indie and indie pop make the Montreal based band a nice fit in this list. The upbeat sound mixed in with rather chill and mellow sounds to even electronic sounds also help them stand out. You listen to the front man and you won’t believe he’s Canadian. The sound though harkens through more poppy sounding and more normal Of Montreal tracks that aren’t making you trip balls.
11. Wolf Parade
Similar American Bands: Titus Andronicus, The National
These British Columbians are on an indefinite hiatus after a mere three studio albums. With varying sounds that are generally considered indie the band does have some experimental sounds to them. In trying to stay fresh the band eventually lost the respect for each other or something like that. Maybe it has something to do with being from Canada and all the bands that are similar to you are Canadian. Maybe just maybe they were too indie for their own good.
10. Broken Social Scene
Similar American Artists: Beach House, Grizzly Bear
Finding an American band that sounds anything like the Toronto band is rather difficult. Seems they have nothing but north of the border taste. With an indie sound that sometimes can be difficult to stomach at times the band changes up their sound from aggressive post-rock to a more modern mellow indie vibe. Strange people up north.
Similar American Bands: Silver Jews, The Walkmen
In the 1990’s one Vancouver native began to work on indie/folky sound that would become Destroyer. The vocals are so obvious if you know the band, if you have heard one if not two songs from him then you can easily figure out the rest of the vocal stylings. With a new album that just dropped back in January this man is out there throwing his Canadian sensibilities out at you all over the place. This is good mellow lay back music most of the time though so it isn’t bad.
08. Final Fantasy
Similar American Bands: Sufjian Stevens, Andrew Bird
While the moniker is retired Owen Pallett now continues a solo career. Many people thought that this was going to be you know the Japanese people playing “One Winged Angel” over and over again while fat goth girls fondle their oversized clits. Nope. This is an indie band that’s more similar to Arcade Fire than any of the American bands that it is slightly similar to. How many bands in America use a violin as a main instrument? That’s just unamerican!
07. Hot Hot Heat
Similar American Bands: The Bravery, OK Go, We Are Scientists
Take a more New York sounding band and place them in BC and then you get the aptly named Hot Hot Heat. With a more aggressive sounding indie feel to them the band racks up catchy choruses with powerful hooks and riffs. Using the term indie to define them though might not be the most appropriate label but they sure have more in common with their American counterparts than their Canadian mates.
Similar American Bands: Rilo Kiley, Ra Ra Riot
Indie pop bands are so in right now. Stars just happens to be freaking awesome, especially on the one album they did featuring the above song. Mellow guitars and soft pianos light the way for these guys to take America by storm, well not really cuz they are Canadian and Canadians don’t really get as much rights as maybe they should. Soothing lyrics and haunting melodies may or may not be something that might make you think they are from the New York or Seattle music scene.
05. The New Pornographers
Similar American Bands: Spoon, Ted Leo, The Decemberists
Indie, folk, pop, alternative. What label can you throw at these eccentric sounding band? I am not quite sure. They have a sound that is hard to describe. From their few albums one like me can say it’s good shit. It really is. The most recent album is really good, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like you know The National’s album, but hey gut these Canucks some slack.
04. Tegan and Sara
Similar American Bands: Kaki King, An Horse
Twins you say! Twins Basil! Lesbians too. Wow before you hear their folk/pop/new wave style of music you are already very intrigued by what these two lovely women have to offer. Their music is soothing but can also bite off your head. Solid hooks and well written lyrics make you wonder what they would be doing had they not been you know…different.
03. Tokyo Police Club
Similar American Bands: Ra Ra Riot, Surfer Blood, Matt and Kim
With an awesomely unique sound to them TPC has a great pop/indie feel to them that makes them stand out from the rest of the list. I know that doesn’t really say much for a band to say they are unique and as a journalist one should never use that word but TPC is awesome. They have a distinct vocal range that almost anyone can notice. Shame that they are not American because they might have been a national treasure of American Indie Rock Ways.
Similar American Bands: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Rilo Kiley
Metric and their female lead achieved super fame recently when alt rock radio stations everywhere over played their single “Gold, Guns, and Girls” at least once an hour. The 2009 album Fantasies is fucking awesome and should not be overlooked. Even ask Andrew McMahon, the California surfer boy from Something Corporate. He loves that album but who can blame him. Electronic, alternative, indie, some words that are thrown out there that describe Emily Haines and her counterparts that are known as Metric. Good shit man good shit.
01. Arcade Fire
Similar American Bands: The National, Interpol
After winning the Grammy for best album of 2010 they win best Canadian Alt Band. With an awesome sound and multiple members the band rocks the charts with their latest album The Suburbs now don’t get me wrong Funeral and Neon Bible were great amazing albums as well. These guys already sell out Madison Square Garden before winning the Grammy. Now they have people asking who teh fuck are Arcade Fire, and they generally spell Arcade Fire wrong….