For those who are unaware, I’ve just returned from 10 months in North America. The majority of which was spent living and studying in Vancouver. Whilst I was there, I spent the majority of my time immersing myself in the local music scene. I wrote for Discorder magazine and hosted a show on CiTR. The radio show not only showcased the best British music but also the most exciting new music I discovered in Canada. Having had some time to reflect, I now want to share with you the cream of the crop, so to speak, of what I discovered
So yeah, here goes, my favourite Canadian artists that I discovered this year (obviously there’s lots of other acts that I’ve missed out, feel free to get in touch if you’d like some more names to check out):
Kicking things off with a legend of the Vancouver scene, who’s been involved with various great Vancouver based projects over the last 10 years. She released her debut solo LP in early May, a delicate, soft and moving record. She has a gift for making softness sound grand and overwhelming. Fun fact: Shadow is not actually a pseudonym, per say, as it’s her middle name.
2) Dead Soft
One of my friends was assured by a friendly local (a common find in Canada) that if she does one thing in Vancouver it should be to see Dead Soft. As in his words, “I’ve seen a lot of bands, but only Dead Soft have ever made me get up on my feet and want to dance.” Couldn’t have sold them better myself.
This wonderfully noisy 4-piece hail from Toronto. Led by Katie Monks powerful vocals and Liz Ball’s enormous riffs they create a brand of alternative rock that has already gone worldwide. Their debut Sore, was met with critical acclaim so be sure to look out for them at a festival this summer.
Dumb by name, dumb by nature. These four lads from Vancouver revel in stupidity, but through the anarchy comes a post-punk sound that has bags of potential. I wrote a review of their first full length release, Beach Church, for Discorder which you can read here.
This Vancouver-based artist was the first musician which I read about in Discorder shortly after arriving back in September. She was the cover-star talking about her debut album Zongs. Her unique brand of synth pop has been stuck under my skin ever since. I’ll whisper this, but quite possibly the best music I found in Vancouver …
I caught these guys supporting Chastity Belt (another wonderful band from Seattle, check them out here) at one of the first shows I went to in Vancouver. I was blown away by their incredible musicianship and ability to write catchy pop songs. I was lucky enough to write a review of a few of their songs for Discorder as well (have a read here) and now they’ve quoted it on their bandcamp page supporting their debut album, Who Will Read Your Mind. I promise I’m not paid to promote them …
I don’t like to use the word unique too often when describing music as I think it’s grossly overused. However, these two Vancouverite’s have crafted such a distinctive sound that it warrants the description. Their debut release, CRUX EP, is a mesmerising listen that you will not forget in a hurry.
You’d think when you go and see a band as weird and wonderful as The Garden all you can think about after the show would be those two ridiculous twins. The Prettys were tasked with the challenge of supporting that band and came out, not only, with their heads held high but having put on on a show to rival The Garden. They play alternative rock with a sax undertone – it just oozes fun.They have featured in the debates over Vancouver’s best band ever since.
Supermoon are a bit of cult, over-night success in Van City. Four girls who make pop-punk with lyrics that are as instantly relatable as they are witty. I was also lucky enough to review their recent epic double 7″, Playland, for Discorder, which you can read here.
10) TV Ugly
Sharing members with Dumb, Supermoon and others who aren’t on this list, TV Ugly have no shortage of talent. Their DIY post-punk is on point and this excellent review from a good friend of mine, Caleb Fanshawe, articulates everything that makes this band and their debut EP, UCLA Yankee Cola, special.
Math-rock is probably one of my favourite genres, so it was no surprise when I saw WF perfectly capturing everything that makes math-rock amazing I fell in love. Their Yacht Rock EP, is possibly my favourite (and definitely most played) release from the whole year in Canada. If you ignore their penchant for stupid song names, I have no doubt you’ll develop similar feelings of adoration for these four Vancouver locals.
I think it’s time we all moved to Canada. I’m going back as soon as I can …