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The Scene In Six Sounds: Canada

The Stills

The Stills

Despite being the butt of many musical jokes (see Bryan Adams, Nickelback and Celine Dion), Canada is something of a musical hub right now. In fact, you’ll find many of the world’s most fashionable bands in residence, wowing critics more and more by the day. While Canada’s superstars might not have taken the world by storm in terms of sheer sales volume, the critics have rarely been more loved up, and the array of forward thinking acts lead by the incredible Arcade Fire is ever growing, our James Hendicott reports, as always, in six songs.


Arcade Fire: An iconic 21st-century indie band, Arcade Fire is a double Grammy nominated, atmospheric indie act who’ve taken the world by storm since releasing their massive selling 2004 debut Funeral. Follow up Neon Bible fell slightly short of Funeral’s mammoth heights, but only slightly. Arty, inventive and more interesting than pretty much anything else in the genre, it’s difficult to make an argument against Arcade Fire, who seem to turn everything they touch to gold. Expect to see them on your magazine’s cover for years to come.

You Say Party! We Say Die!: Melodramatic and fashionable, and that’s just the name. British Columbian dance punk stars YSP! WSD! formed when a bunch of bikers realized riding through the snow in a Canadian winter wasn’t too clever, and decided to make some music instead. Three albums later and they’re regular cover stars in their hometown, and join Arcade Fire in collecting legions of hype from the likes of NME Magazine. The band has an impressive social outlook, too, investing time and money into charitable projects in between albums. After all, it’s all about the love.

The Stills: Having opened for Paul McCartney in 2008, The Stills — ex art students from Quebec — are on a local support slot high, having added Kings Of Leon to their list of stage mates recently, and performed to a massive 270,000 capacity crowd alongside Sir Paul. Having won multiple Junos (Canadian Music Awards), The Stills are on their third album, and are making an impact on the up and coming Heat charts Stateside. Arty rock music to keep and eye on, then.

Death From Above 1979: One of the most media friendly Canadian bands of recent times, Death From Above 1979 (ludicrous name and all) like to play jokes on journalists, and have variously said in interviews that they met in a prison, a gay bar and a pirate ship. With the name causing controversy, DFA1979 nevertheless let their music do the talking. Sometimes.

Handsome Furs: Montreal electro stars Handsome Furs named their first album after controversial table guarding tactics in pricey Moscow fashion spots. ‘Face Control’ is the art of paying a fortune for a ‘reserved’ seat only to be turned away anyway as the bouncers don’t like the look of you. Fortunately their music doesn’t follow the same inspiration, and references the likes of New Order in their modern twist on 80s beat-rock.

Metric: New wave’s new stars have traveled almost as much as they’ve made music, having variously based themselves in Montreal, Toronto, New York, London and LA over the last few years. Two Canadian top five singles and a penchant for varied and original instrumentation have played their role in making Metric stars, while October saw their latest EP get a release of only 30 days, before being taken off the shelves again. No doubt it’s now collecting a small fortune on eBay.
Tune in next week, same time, same place, for a new local playlist from James Hendicott. To read more of his musings on music and other topics visit hendicottwriting.com.
photo of the Still by Louie Etienne Doré via myspace.com/thestills

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