Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 3:41 p.m.
O, Canada. For a nation with a smaller population than the state of California, you've produced some pretty rad bands. So, in honor of Canada Day--when Canada earned its independence from Britain by asking politely--here are five awesome Canadian bands to check out. Whee!
The kings of eastern Canadian power-pop (a much more bustling scene than you might guess), Sloan has been around for nearly two decades, most recently putting out last year's
. Enjoy here the unbearably catchy "Who Taught You To Live Like That," from 2006's
Never Hear the End of It
STARS Quebec has yielded some fine indie rock in recent years--Metric, the Arcade Fire. Stars were formed in Toronto but currently based in Montreal, so they count. Basically, they make some of the prettiest songs you'll ever hear. "Your Ex-Lover is Dead," from 2004's Set Yourself on Fire, is such a song. And if you get a chance, try poutine. It's seriously so good (no matter how gross it may sound).
CLUES Speaking of Montreal (haha, "Of Montreal"), Clues were formed from the ashes of that city's the Unicorns, with Alden Penner joining up with Brendan Reed--a member of the Arcade Fire circa Funeral (though Reed himself was born in America, he's worked with enough Canadians that he should at least qualify for dual citizenship). If you missed their performance last month at Detroit Bar (or simply want to kinda re-live it), here's "Rembered Severed Head" from their self-titled debut.
DIE MANNEQUIN Just so you don't think all Canada produces is quirky pop (though they are so, so good at that!). Death From Above 1979 came from Canada, after all, and that band's Jesse F. Keeler has worked with the similarly rough-edged Die Mannequin on their 2006 How to Kill EP. (Lots of dying and death and killing there.) And here's some more, the Toronto trio's track "Do It or Die."
IMMACULATE MACHINE You probably know the New Pornographers, and one of the latest (well, as of 2005) additions to that already large band is Kathryn Calder, the niece of lead dude Carl Newman. But Calder is in another (similarly) band, Immaculate Machine, that just released a new record (their fourth), High on Jackson Hill, a couple of months ago. This is "Sound the Alarms" from that very record, and don't forget that the New Pornographers are going to be at the Hollywood Bowl this Sunday, July 5, in the somewhat unenviable position of opening up for Death Cab for Cutie and the LA Philharmonic.