Written by Jonelle Mandseth
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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])
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.