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The Great Rock North: A User’s Guide to Canada’s Brave New Indie Scene

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Arcade Fire
The Sound Bizarre-yet-poignant lyrics set to urgent melodies.
à La . . . Talking Heads, David Byrne.
Canadian Bona Fides Judicious snatches of accordion, together with opaque lyrics, induce a slight Robbie Robertson flashback.
Parlez-Vous Français? Un peu.
World-Domination Plan The band’s debut album, Funeral, is in stores now; the group returns to New York to play two shows—at Webster Hall and Irving Plaza—in early February.



Les Georges Leningrad
The Sound Spastic no-wave vocals screech over propulsive beats, plus outrageous costumes.
à La . . . ESG, early B-52’s.
Canadian Bona Fides Band members dress like extras in a David Cronenberg film. Plus, they have accordions, too.
Parlez-Vous Français? De temps en temps.
World-Domination Plan Following the recent release of its sophomore album, Sur Les Traces de Black Eskimo, the band will tour the U.S. in February.



Wolf Parade
The Sound Quirky, synthy post-punk with poppy, infectious choruses.
à La . . . Interpol, Joy Division, David Bowie.
Canadian Bona Fides The noise-addicted offspring that Janis Joplin and Leonard Cohen never had.
Parlez-Vous Français? Non.
World-Domination Plan As the band readies its full-length debut, the hotly coveted EPs that fueled its original Canadian indie cred are being prepared for rerelease. New York gigs anticipated in March.



Akufen
The Sound Skittish samples form oddball patterns over smooth house grooves.
à La . . . Daft Punk, Aphex Twin.
Canadian Bona Fides Name doubles as a cheaply obtained off-brand prescription drug.
Parlez-Vous Français? Un peu.
World-Domination Plan His most recent album, Musique Pour 3 Femmes Enceintes (recorded under his real name, Marc LeClair), hits stores in March, and he’s currently in the studio working on his next, due out in fall 2005.



Godspeed You Black Emperor!
The Sound Emotional chamber rock made with strings, horns, and found samples.
à La . . . Mogwai, Sigur Rós.
Canadian Bona Fides Aloof yet oddly influential—not unlike Peter Jennings.
Parlez-Vous Français? Non.
World-Domination Plan The publicity-averse band is on hiatus, but three of the four members just returned from touring Europe as a side project that still sports the all-important recondite name Silver Mt. Zion.



The Dears
The Sound Lugubrious, Brit-poppy indie rock.
à La . . . Spoon, Serge Gainsbourg, the Smiths.
Canadian Bona Fides Mild-mannered but hypnotic; what part of Canada does this not describe?
Parlez-Vous Français? Rarement.
World-Domination Plan After an upcoming gig at the Mercury Lounge, on January 15, the Dears embark on a massive European tour.



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