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Listen – Being a * totally * non-biased, Canada-based website comprised of numerous Canadian writers, it’s acceptable for us to feel that some of our small-time Canuck rock heroes aren’t getting the international attention they might deserve. Whether it’s alternative, hardcore or another of its never-ending list of forms – Canadian bands are doing rock right, and not just in the big league.

Sure, you can find Arcade Fire, Our Lady Peace, or Sum 41 on almost anyone’s playlist, but that’s about as Canada-friendly as it gets. To aid in expanding Canadian rock international knowledge, we’ve compiled a group of our favourite, lesser-known Canadian rock bands from multiple genres. So give ‘em a listen, find your groove, and provide them with the love we think they deserve.

Seaway (Pop Punk)

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Reigning from Oakville, Ontario, Seaway might just be among some of the best pop punk bands on the rise. Currently touring with Four Year Strong, they’re definitely ones to keep an eye on if upbeat pop punk is your thing. Bonus? They just released a new album titled Vacation – but for now, we’re recommending “Your Best Friend” off of EP All In My Head.

Arkells (Alternative Rock)Image result for arkells press photo

If Canada’s alt-rock community had a band mascot, Hamilton, Ontario’s Arkells would be it. Basically a national treasure across Canadian radio waves, Arkells are the dudes that nearly all of Canada will be caught singing along to. However, their international rep is lacking – especially considering their shows outside of their home country are often full of current Canadian fans. Not to let this be a turn-off, though. If more people listened to sophomore album High Noon, Arkells would be playing to international fans at international levels.

PUP (Punk Rock, Alternative, Pop Punk)

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If punk (in any form) is your thing, then PUP are right up your alley. Their spin on the genre is somewhat scratchy, sometimes happy and extremely catchy. The best part, though? If you’re tired of moshing alone in your bedroom, PUP are almost always on tour. Go get sucker-punched, then come home and play their new music video/video game hybrid for “Old Wounds”. You’re welcome.

Silverstein (Post-Hardcore, Hardcore Punk)

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If there’s any band in this article to really be giving a listen to, it’s Silverstein. Despite their debut over 17 years ago, it seems as though they’re constantly on the rise. Having just hopped off a tour with Good Charlotte and then releasing their eighth album, Dead Reflection, the Burlington, Ontario natives begin Phase I of their world headline tour in Cologne, Germany on September 29. Stops include countries such as Germany, the U.K, the United States, and Canada – only on the first leg. Song recommendations? Single “A Midwestern State of Emergency” isn’t one to miss.

Scenic Route to Alaska (Alternative, Indie)

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Arguably the smallest of the Canadian rockers we think deserve more credit, Scenic Route to Alaska hail from the western metropolis of Edmonton, Alberta. Although many of their fans seem to be from their hometown, this hasn’t stopped the band from touring across Canada and making a name for themselves. If you’re into alternative rock and mellow vibes, we suggest checking these guys out. Start with single “Love Keeps”.

Safe to Say (Hardcore? Alternative? Pop Punk? [Just Take Our Word For It])

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Did we save the best for last? Quite possibly – Ontario’s Safe to Say are really bringing the art of rock forward with EP Hiding Games and album Down In The Dark. They gained most of their ‘rep for Hiding Games, released in 2015, and when Down In The Dark was released just last year, it didn’t appear to receive the same love. The reasoning for this, we do not know because in our minds, it’s a piece of artistic gold.

There ‘ya have it, 6 bands proving the Canadian rock scene needs more attention. These guys, of course, aren’t the only Canadian bands we think deserve more listens – but it’s something to get you started.

Did you enjoy any of the bands we recommended? Are we missing your favourite(s)? Let us know! 

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Simple Plan is currently celebrating the 15th anniversary of their first record, No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls, but this Tuesday at the House of Blues in Cleveland they did more than help fans relive their younger years.
Judging by the number of hands that went up when Pierre Bouvier asked who had never seen them before, last Tuesday was many people’s first Simple Plan concert. That realization was weird at first for me – someone who’s had her fair share of watching, talking to and taking pictures with all of the members – and for the band, who kept reminding the public how nostalgic it was to play songs written over 15 years ago.
The show was sold out and the house was already packed when Seaway took the stage. Their short set managed to engage the audience with their own songs (“Best Mistake” and “Freak” being highlights) and covers (not one person could help but sing along to Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom”). The second band on the bill, Set It Off, felt less like an opener. Fans sang along to vocalist Cody Carson, enthralled by the band’s dynamic on stage. However, as much as some people knew the lyrics, their songs were too new and fresh for the night.

Simple Plan in Cleveland. Photo by Natasha Heinz.

There wasn’t much suspense on the set list. They played the album top to bottom, from “I’d Do Anything” to “Perfect“, including the Japanese bonus track “Grow Up” (in which they sing about listening Good Charlotte, Sum 41, blink-182, and MxPx is his room). The band still plays most singles on current tours, so the real delight was in songs such as “Meet You There“, “One Day“, and “My Alien“. There’s a probability those tracks were long-forgotten, but fans knew the lyrics to every one of the verses. It makes sense: No Pads was released in 2002, well before Youtube or Spotify. This was a time when people bought records and listened all the way through them. The CD – an act, physical CD – probably played on the stereos in their rooms, their cars and their walkmen.

As a 25-year-old, it is really hard to relate to lyrics such as “I’m just a kid and life is a nightmare” or verses that whine about parents not letting you go out. However, these are the first songs I heard from a band that define a great part of my teenage years. This show reminded me why I fell in love with this band in the first place. It assured me that I’ll keep listening to every single song they put out, going to shows and singing along to every word. Judging by the number of people who raised their hands when Pierre asked who’d come back to their concert next time, I’m not the only one.

Have you been to any shows on this tour? Can you believe this album is 15 YEARS OLD!?

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