Andrew Burke

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Quick Advice on Canadian Indie Music
Posted on: 2009-05-25

A British friend of mine asked me to recommend some Canadian (ideally Halifax-based) Indie Rock music to bring back to the U.K. for his sister. Here's what I sent him, which other people might find interesting. Canadian hipsters will find this boring and obvious (and seriously question my taste), and people from elsewhere might not recognize any of the names, but I thought it would be worth sharing.

The links in this post are to the Canadian iTunes Music Store or to Amazon - (no I'm not making any money on these links) but you should be able to search for these easily enough.

The founders of the "Halifax Scene" would be Sloan. They have many albums - one that I like is "Between the Bridges", a continuous flow of catchy 70s-style guitar pop pastiche.

More recent Halifax artists would include Joel Plaskett - he has a new triple album out called "Three", but his previous album, as The Joel Plaskett Emergency, called "Ashtray Rock" is probably a better option - and Holy Fuck, who have two albums, "Holy Fuck" and "LP" (but they're better seen live).

Canada is making some good 80s style New New Wave: Metric, who sound a bit like Blondie with more paranoid anxiety, have a new album out called "Fantasies" and it has at least two good tracks on it. There is also Tokyo Police Club, whose most recent album is "Elephant Shell".

If your sister likes early-80s-sounding music, try some authentic Canadian New Wave artists such as The Spoons, whose lush "Arias & Symphonies" from 1982 is still one of my favourite albums (not to be confused with 'Spoon' who are completely different) or the Payola$ or Platinum Blonde.

Quality songwriting can be found from Stars ("Set Yourself on Fire" and "Sad Robots"), the Weakerthans ("Reunion Tour", "Reconstruction Site") and Tegan and Sara ("The Con" is their latest and "So Jealous" is also good).

For something completely different there's the upbeat hip-hop of Somali refugee K'Naan, whose first album "Dusty Foot Philosopher" is a bit better in my opinion than the more slick follow-up "Troubadour" although they're both pretty good. Edmonton rapper Cadence Weapon ("Afterparty Babies") was already popular among the super-hip in the UK but that was about a year ago so it may not matter anymore.

Bend Sinister make artsy power pop like a giddy mix of early 70s Queen, Boston, Elton John, Supertramp, and Genesis - I really like it, but it might not be for all tastes.

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