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

Photo: Courtesy of Regenerate Industries

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.

Photo: Courtesy of Big Hassle

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.

Photo: Courtesy of Fabric

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.

Photo: Hilary Leftik/Courtesy of Merge Records

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.

Photo: Courtesy of Subpop

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.

Photo: Eva Vermandel/Courtesy of Southern Records

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.

The Great Rock North: A User’s Guide to Canada’s […]