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Canadian Bands that make me happy

Currently I’m in Austin for SXSW. Now I’m here for the tech/film week (by week I mean day and half) so I’m missing the music week, which is of course tragic! So I was inspired to drop a little knowledge on some awesome ass Canadian bands. Some of them you’ll know, or if not, then I am super duper excited to show you guys some great north shiiiiiiiiiiit. Here we go!!! (In Mario Kart Voice)

Lately I have been back on a UUUUUGE Dallas Green kick. Or City and Colour. (I really love the U in colour. I hate that my phone autocorrects it. GARBAGE!!!) Whatever you may know this delightful little Canadian songbird by, he’s fantastic. I think most people probably know him right? Do you? If not, then thank sweet baby jesus you’re here now!

In general I think Canada really knows how to crank its legs up and produce some awesome talent in so many capacities. People always say that dummy phrase “must be something in the water…hahaahahhKlkjhslkhsfhsh” Whatever. But I think we all just have more time on your hands to entertain ourselves and hone our skills on adorable tiny little stages and then BAM!!! hellllloooooo America! (And then we start dropping the U’s in our favourite words)

Starting obviously with Dallas Green. City and Colour. Rose Ave (his collab with Pink…it’s awesome). He’s such a great songwriter. His voice is a buttery angelic melody maker. And like, he has cool tattoos. Here’s one of my faves by him

Also lately this has been a seriousness jam

NEIL YOUNG – he is one of my all time favorites. I saw him in concert for the first time last year with Jenny Lewis in Vegas and it tore my face up. He is literally one of the best song writers in the entire universe. And a huge world rights activist to boot. Depending on how young you might be or what part of the world you live in, if you don’t know Neil Young, download Harvest Moon and get a start there. But my favourite album by him is On The Beach…so without further ado…

BEDOUIN SOUNDCLASH – this is a band that has a pretty cool sound considering they’re from Toronto. They always sounded very beach to me. And one time I interviewed them in a really bad segment on my old show from approx. 35 years ago. But I still listen to them sometimes when I’m on planes floating in space. It can be good mellow music and some jams to speed it up a little bit.

Bryan Adams!!! You know from the Robin Hood soundtrack and also the first man aside from Paul Molitor that i thought had it goingggggg onnnnnn. I apparently had weird tastes in men as a child. Is that a weird sentence to type? I think yes, but….honesty. Brief side story: one time around 7 my dad brought me to a Bryan Adams concert, we were in seats near side stage and we had a hell of a view. Sadly my beer was empty, but as a child I was willing to let this slide. So Bryan Adams is on stage just performing the hell out of “Run To You”…and I was very positive that we made eye contact and HE WINKED AT ME!!!!! Me, assuming I had a lot to offer the world as a potential wife at 7, lets round up to 8 bc this story is getting weird…thought we just eyeball-y agreed that love was destined to keep us together. And then a week later some BA guitar picks showed up at my dad’s house. I knew he would find me again!!! (another side story: my dad works in the music industry and has many a musical hookup…so clearly a guitar tech had sent some of these to our house, Bryan Adams for sure never saw my miniature baby head in the crowd…) Anyways eventually I moved onto learning all of Joey Lawrence’s albums and then graduated to Bush. I now listen to the same 5 bands over and over. Here is my ex lover’s music:

Arcade Fire. Need I really say more? Such an artsy fartsy band that basically the world over wants to release all of their emotions to, and rightfully so. Montreal is avant garde.

Metric. Honestly it kinda took me a second to really come around to Metric. But that was also like 8 years ago. Emily Haines is a bad bitch, and for that ,we thank you Metric.

Matthew Good Band. Oh baby!! He just released Underdogs and Beautiful Midnight on vinyl which I ordered as soon as my brother told me. They arrived to the house and me forgetting I’m the only Canadian in the house I remembered my boyfriend would have no idea what this greatness was. I proceeded to play it loudly anyways. He’s gotta learn somehow. This was the background music in my house growing up a lot because my brother, Erik,  was obsessed and even wore fake no sense glasses like Matt Good wayyyyyyy before hipsters ever got on that bandwagon.

Blue Rodeo – OG country hunks. Striking chords and tugging hugging heart strings! (I’m such a nerd, but this song is great!! I don’t care what anyone says!! Suck it! Suck it! Suck it!!)

K-os knows things. WE need to know these things!

Kardinal Offishall – this song was no joke. NO JOKE!!!!

Oh and this – Choclair – the other song was more of a joke than this one and I am very serious about Cardinal Offishall. So spin your ears up some truth.

OLP!!!! Our Lady Peace! (Man it’s like I started this blog post thinking I was in control, when really my YouTube playlist just keeps building and I’m up to my eyeballs in CanCon. I can’t step away. I never get to randomly hear these songs on 102.1 the Edge anymore)

Alessia Cara – let’s throw in a new one for good measure huh? Memory Lane to now – this girl’s song Here was always in my head and then way late in the game i found out she’s Canadian. Let’s pour a Molson out for my homie.

And Drake


I obviously forgot a bunch, but off the top of my head these are the jems I wanted to leave right here for you guys to sift through!! Who did I forget?  What were the bands you grew up to?



58 Comments on “Canadian Bands that make me happy”

  1. Awesome selection, Renee!! I also grew up to listening to Bryan Adams!! He’s amazing. Westlife-my fav boy band ever! And Bonjovi-you can’t go wrong with that man =)

  2. What about the Guess Who, Ocean, Glass Tiger, Deborah Cox, Anne Murray, Rush, Celine Dion, Sarah McLaughlin, Gordon Lightfoot?

    1. yeas Glass Tiger!! my dad took me to see them at Nathan Philips Sq one year for new years!! haha and I have appeared in 2 Anne Murray christmas specials as a kid haha…with some siiiiiick crimped hair

  3. Our Lady Peace have broken my heart on more than one occasion. Honestly Canada delivers the goods with music. I have some 90’s britrock road tales thatd probably amuse you. Music is life.

  4. I have to add Simple Plan, Michael Bublé, Theory of a Deadman, Nelly Furtado, LIGHTS, Alanis Morissette, Shania Twain, The Weeknd… My goal in life is to someday become an honorary Canadian. (America is overrated)

  5. The only Canadian artists I know are the ones who made it to the States, but I LOVE Kathleen Edwards, and I hate that she’s quit making music (only temporarily, I hope). Back to Me is still one of my favorite albums.

    Carly Rae Jepsen really isn’t bad either. Several really good pop songs on her latest album.

  6. Please check out Cassandra Wilson’s cover of “Harvest Moon”. It will make you love the song even more.
    Thanks for the introduction to City and Colour. Adding the “u” is cool with me because I always spell “theatre” with the “re”.
    No list of Canadian music greats would be thoroughly complete without Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot and Corey Hart. Yes – Corey Hart. He had some great singles in the 80’s.

  7. Always the Spice Girls – everyone had a favourite. I went mainstream with Baby Spice, who was yours?!

    I haven’t heard that Cardinal Offishall song in YEARS! Thanks for the throwback gurrlll

    Right now, ‘The 1975’ are blowing my mind. I recommend listening to their new one ‘The Sound’. It’ll be stuck in your head for dayssss. Also Zara Larsson is love. I’m especially hooked on the beat on ‘Never Forget You’!

  8. Great choices. I discovered Dallas Green and all his greatness about a year ago and have been obsessed with all his his music since. City and Colour is definitely one of my go-tos.

  9. Mine was guns and roses metalica Neal young my mom loved listining to and so did I what they call oldies like Elvis I liked Elvis to the beach boys I listend to some of princes songs sooo amazing the beetle boys I think i spelled that right and zz top and all sorts of country music so mine was a lil bit of everything I listend to

  10. Our Lady Peace!!! Brings back memories. Summed up my teenage years. The Birthday Massacre, awesome band also.
    Grew up listening to the Smith’s, Queen, the beautiful south and Bon Jovi

  11. Hey Renee….I have to admit i dont know these Canadian bands…..they are definitely new to me lol. However since I agree with some of ur choices (i.e byran adams….Neil young)…I’m sure I’ll end up loving every band you listed…lol
    Anyway thanks for posting. I sooo look forward to it every week you have no clue.
    As a matter of fact…lol…..I actually put off some” boom boom “time with my man just to read this blog. (No offense to him….this was v important!!!)so soon as the notification popped up….I was soon reading about the Matthew good band and Dallas Green!!! Rotfl….lmao….
    Thanks much!

  12. Renee you a taste of music i like these songs. BTW i NEVER knew Drake was Canadian. i like K-os crabbuckit it a good song 🙂

  13. Hedley, Marianas Trench, Nickleback and Avril Lavigne are some of my favorite Canadians. I love how Marianas Trench albums tell a story. Canada definitely has a lot to offer talent wise!

  14. Those songs are righteous! TWO THUMBS UP!

    To tell you the truth, I don’t have a favorite Canadian band, but I love Drake. He’s from Toronto, too!

    : )

  15. Renee! I just want to say that I am now on a continuous listening spree of City and Colour. For that, I thankyou lady. ✌💙

  16. I love love love Metric! Have you ever heard the cover of Black Sheep from Scott Pilgrim vs the World (also a kick ass movie that you need to see if you haven’t already!) ? They’re on my bucket list of must see in concert someday 🙂 great selection of bands, thanks for sharing!

  17. Love this post!!! My first concert was Blue Rodeo, Dallas Green is from St. Catharines and his video for ‘Save Your Scissors’ is basically him driving around town and having a gig at L3 on James Street. Also my friend Nick played the drums on ‘Fragile Bird’ :). Aaaaaand….I’m so psyched, going to see Metric next Tuesday night!!! It’s going to be epic 🙂

  18. As a fellow canadian, yes we have aloooooooottttt of musical talent, here are a few of my favorites.
    1.) Reign wolf – a young talent from Saskatchewan, I am waiting for a full album to come out. I saw him open for Black Sabbath and he blew my mind. Like Hendrix and Led Zeppelin had musical offspring. So talented. He has stuff on YouTube.
    2.) Chiliwack, the 80’s I grew up with, love all their music. And still have not made it to a show when they come to town. One word… Yessssssss!
    3.) Never ending White Lights, great musical collaboration.
    4.) Toronto talented ladies of the 80’s, hubby got to see them, I got stuck home with tonsillitis 🙄
    5.) Walk Off The Earth – started with videos on line, a group of incredibly talented people, well worth a listen or a watch online, they harmonize amazingly well, as well as play instruments that are not featured in mainstream music.
    There are so many more but this is who I am listening to right now.
    I have one other suggestion but it’s way off the beaten path… Thanks to my dad…. The album is call Doctor Bad Breath “the tourin two step”. Now I am not sure if it’s Canadian? It is a parody album of old school country or …something? It’s on iTunes , I laugh so hard when I listen to it I end up crying a bit. It is not for kids, tho I know I listened to it as a kid.( certainly more understanding of the context now). They call it explicit, but it’s seventies explicit!? Hard to explain… You definitely need a weird sense of humour to appreciate it😜
    I hope everyone gets a chance to listen to all the talented musicians and enjoy! If I get time I will post some other eclectic mixes of talent from Canada ( I listen to almost all genres 😋) Cheers! Happy listening!!!

  19. Omg I thought Bryan Adams was British lol ‘durrrr’

    I’m from London born in 1983
    All I remember from the 80s were

    New kids on the block

    But coming into the 90s
    It was Spice Girls all the way for me. It was my first CD I bought. Then S club 7 and another group which is similar to S club 7 where called STEPS. Not sure they were popular in US or Canada . This is one of their songs. It’s soo cheesy looking at it now

    Later in the 90s my music taste started to grow up a bit

    The Verve
    Take That

    But now I’ve gone the reverse way. I’m not ashamed to say it but I’m a HUGE One Direction fan! haha don’t judge x

  20. What about The Weeknd? I just love him. Actually I don’t have a favourite artist, ’cause I always try to know as much music as possible. I love different music genres, from pop to rock and so on: it can be awkward but I listen from One Direction to Michael Jackson 😉

  21. Besides your book review this is my favorite post! After all, music is just mini-books set to tunes, right? Thanks for sharing your wonderful, eclectic playlist.

  22. For starters, you never mentioned Tegan and Sara!! They share the same birthday as you too. How could you forget them Rene?! Ha. I seriously consider you listen to their new album when it drops this summer on June 3. Oh and of course the man, the myth, the legend.. The greatest one hit wonder recording artist in history, Corey Hart. 😎

  23. Thanks for sharing Renee! Love seeing a lot of bands on your list that I grew up with, too! Music is the best. 🎶 Love your blog!

  24. American here. I have followed Bif Naked (Vancouver) for the better part of 20 years. She rocks!

    Oh and every time I see Drake, all I can think of is his Degrassi days!

  25. If you’re looking for something new and folky (not quite sure if that’s a word but whatever haha), try giving Brothers Born a listen! It’s funny because one of the guys is originally a bass player for a very heavy metal band (Killswitch Engage) who I’ve seen in concert a number of times and when I saw him perform in this band, it was at a little hole-in-the-wall type place in Brooklyn called The Living Room. Let me tell you, to see this guy sitting with an acoustic guitar and singing, not screaming, into a mic…I was totally blown away! I had to buy their vinyl that night. Here’s one of their tracks:
    The rest of their album is on there too. Let me know what you think!

  26. Renee this was a good list. City and Colour is definitely awesome, all the bands you mentioned are awesome. Someone talked about walk off the earth, they are an amazing band. There is so much talent that comes out of our great country. Glad to see you always remember where you came from. I am happy you are yet another great Canadian success story, I am positive that your star will just keep getting bigger.

  27. Simple Plan is one of my faves also love me some Nickleback & Hedley. Love Drake, Alessia Cara’s song was always in my head

  28. Would I be showing my age if I said how much I dig some good old Neil Young? Such a great track! Very introspective. Thanks for the reminder, Renee!

    I try to stream some Canadian radio stations. But they keep changing formats. On a clear day I can get some of the Cobourg channels across the lake here.

  29. Take a listen to a Canadian band now trying to make it in Austin, Texas…. Black Pistol Fire. Very under the radar!

  30. Timber Timbre is one of my faves. Saw them three times in 2014. Kinda hard to describe but so wonderful.
    Also Purity Ring.

  31. My favorite Canadian band hands down is Ladyhawk (not to be confused with ladyhawke)
    Look up the album Shots on Spotify it’s fantastic.

  32. What about Hot Hot Heat? I still love Bandages, might go and listen to that now. Or at the other end of the spectrum how about a bit of Leonard Cohen

  33. I was introduced to a band called Stabilo Boss many years ago. BC band but had a lot of talent and a great sound. I was always bummed they never broke out completely!

  34. I do find the lack of the Canadian Supergroup which has been with us for over 3 decades disturbing, where’s the BnL love?!?

  35. Hey Reene just a suggestion for ya, Thousand Foot Krutch ahmazing band. If you would let me know what you think? Thanks a bunch.

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