Got the mainstream music blues? Sick of Bieber fever? This country’s underground music scene is oozing with new and notable talented musicians. Herewith, five under-the-radar bands that should be on every YP’s iPod.
1. The Rural Alberta Advantage
This threesome may hail from Toronto, but their true muse lies in the western provinces – hence their name. Their sound is a marriage between folk and indie-rock, punctuated by drummer Paul Banwatts (who is also one half of electro dance group, Woodhands) and the sweet vocals of Nils Edenloff and Amy Cole. Though their lyrics might be pretty heavy and deep, their punchy beats and acoustic riffs will have YPs bouncing along to any of their songs. And any band which can sing about both the summers in the Rockies and Alberta’s miners working during the oil boom are true storytellers – and isn’t what we want to hear with our artists? Check out their video for “Muscle Relaxants” here. Road trip out west, anyone?
2. Yukon Blonde
These B.C. natives have been on tour non-stop since their self-titled debut album was released in 2010. That means that their new album, Tiger Talk, was pretty much written in their van and recorded while on tour. The YP curse (living out of a suitcase) worked in their favour, as the energetic and power-pop group have done it again. Their sophomore album sounds like a modern-day Kinks album, littered with vocal harmonies which make it almost impossible not to sing along, even if you don’t know the words. You’ll want to turn your speakers up for this one. Stream their entire new album here.
3. Half Moon Run
This Montreal-based group exploded after their performance at Canadian Music Week in Toronto last year, and after touring with fellow MTLers Plants and Animals, these guys are definitely ones to watch. It’s only been a few months since they released their debut album, Dark Eyes, which might sound like a hybrid between Radiohead and The Vines. But these guys are in a league of their own, and have mesmerized audiences at their live shows, which has also secured them a European tour. Their massive sound is pulled off by just the three, with Dylan Phillips playing drums and keys simultaneously, and Connor Molander and Devon Portielje jumping back and forth between guitar, keys, percussion and vocals for one seriously psychedelic sound. Check it out here.
4. Winter Gloves (pictured)
Montreal can do no wrong (read: where you’ll find the best poutine in the country), and music is no different. Another MTL-based band, Winter Gloves, who have been riding on the success of their sophomore album, All Red, should be the hipster anthem. Really, any band who incorporates the xylophone and jingle bells into their synth-electro-pop music deserve some serious street cred. Did we mention their albums are only $5 from Paper Bag Records? These guys are experimentalists to the core, and have even brought back the glockenspiel to house party beats. Listen to “Ending Soon” here. Warning: cute kid overload.
5. Cookie Duster
Last week, we looked at Eight and a Half, the gritty project from former Broken Social Scene drummer Justin Peroff. Well, his fellow BSS alumni, Brendan Canning, has revived his pre-BSS band, Cookie Duster. As if the band’s name wasn’t enough to get you hooked (or grow a moustache), their sunny and danceable rock takes us back to when us YPs were at the height of adolescence in the 90s. Earlier this week, Cookie Duster released When Flying Was Easy, their first album in over a decade. If the single is any indication of what is to come, we’re itching to see what’s next.