The Best Canadian Indie Music

by Dan - first posted February 15, 2011

For all those out there who have heard about the great Canadian indie scene and want to find out more…here’s a few prominent bands I highly recommend…

The Weakerthans

This four piece ensemble is as much an epitome to Canadiana as the chesterfield, frostbite and Sunday morn curling tourneys. Yes…the last 0f which they wrote a song about. From what I hear these guys are all about odes and anthems to the joyfully somber, quieter, more domestic aspects of life. They put together musical portraits of the little unnoticed things that define living in one of the most Canadian places on earth, Regina from which they hail. You might also have heard one of their songs which is in the perspective of a house cat. The Weakerthans, when you want a slice of home they are a definite must. Hear Them

Death from Above 1979

Long since thought as dead but from what I’ve heard along the grape wine is that these guys got back together to do Cochella.  They are wildly bold and original to say the least. It’s not exactly neo-sinth, punk nor rawk, it is it’s own perfect thing.  This bass ‘n’ drums duo from east Toronto showcase their creation in a maddening intense show and utterly blows apart the most intimate venues of the GTA. Their LP You’re a Woman I’m a Machine is a work of raw rhythms with eccentrically explosive riffs that bridge the span from electro funk to surf rock. Now…take what I described and accompany it to lyrics that would appeal to the sexual libido of a nineteen year old and you would have yourself Death From Above ‘79. Behold!  Hear Them


On those long trips up to cottage country on a mid summer’s eve, when you run out of things to talk about with the company in the car and you just stare into the passing landscape… Wintersleep is the band you are or should be listening to. Their dizzying rhythms are set to a beat that is cheery yet mellow. The lead singer’s voice almost takes on a narrative tone to each song it let’s your imagination go. This Halifax band also has many side projects you just might have heard of such as Holy Fuck. Wintersleep often come by my home town of Hamilton so be sure to drop by and check them out.  Hear Them

The New Pornographers

After seeing one their outrageous music vids, I was thinking the New Pornographers is nothing but compilation of drag queen anthems. And it is…sort of.  This music’s gender is defiantly in question. Their sound is ecstatic as it is colorfully vibrant, elated as it is delightfully humorous. This Vancouver band makes great drinking and or karaoke songs that everyone can enjoy, wait…they actually have a song about alcoholism! Or at least the slow descent into it.  So If you digg’em then you’re in luck because these guys have just announced an April tour…be sure to let your inhibitions go and have a listen.  Hear Them


Ok. If you like Indietronica; the cutting edge of electronic music or better yet if you like bands like Boards of Canada then you will love this one guy named Caribou. He also goes by the stage name of Manitoba. This one man ‘band’ is from Dundas, Ontario, a sleepy little suburb of my wee home town of Hamilton. Gee what a small world!…. Caribou recently released an album in 2010 entitled Swim. Most of it is instrumental and I imagine  it’s the type of stuff Buddhist monks listen to when writing C++ code which I’m positive there are ones out there. Caribou really is a piece of psychedelic genius. Hear Them

The Arcade Fire

Finally if you like Montreal, Violins and French… then you will love  the Arcade Fire. They are among the key bands in the North American baroque indie scene. They have two albums out currently, Funeral and Neon Bible. Both are a natural soundtrack that you can play to your own familial problems, to the artful accompaniment of their violins of course. They announced a third album to be available in the summer. Hopefully it is somewhat along the same lines as the previous works. The Arcade Fire has also been invited to play the 2011 Grammy awards.  This is one of their older videos from the days when MuchMusic still played GOOD music.

So what do you think? Let me know what your favorite indie Artists are in the comments! Hear Them