10 best Canadian rock bands of all time

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What’s the first thing you imagine when you think of Canada? Well, speaking very stereotypically, it could be frozen wide-mouthed tundra, rugged loggers, Putin, or unfailing politeness. Further down this list would likely be a thriving music scene.

But Canada’s rock and roll credentials have long been established. They might be best known for their solo performers – Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Snow (OK, maybe not him), but they’re no slouch when it comes to amazing bands, too. From old-school roots rockers to virtuoso metal to the indie bands pushing the boat today, the great white north has produced more than its fair share of incredible acts.

To make an awkward comparison, it’s reminiscent of the relationship between the English and Scottish groups – unlike the populations of the United States and Canada, the people above the border outperformed, to say the least.

These 10 groups only scratch the surface of the wide range of music that the good people of Canada have produced over the years, but to some extent they illustrate the level of quality that the country has to offer.

The world always needs a great, sincere rock band, and for the first (and most artistically successful) part of their careers, Arcade Fire was producing some of the most awe-inspiring and breathtaking music to date.

2004’s Funeral remains one of the greatest indie debut albums of all time. The material was curious, drawing inspiration from world music but imbued with a vibrant modernity. The numbers the band was bragging about burst into the speakers on words like “Wake Up” and a perfect call and response from the “Rebellion (Lies)” festival.

Neon Bible and The Suburbs continued the group’s success, with the former experimenting more with form on the whispered title track and the rowdy “Intervention.” The latter passed the sound on to the general public; they achieved their clear destiny of headlining festivals and began to win Grammies and the like.

The double album Reflektor laid bare the band’s grand ambition, and if their most recent album – by far their worst – wasn’t a worthy addition to the canon, it’s not for lack of trying. They will reinvent themselves and be back bigger – and hopefully better – than ever.


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