The Definitive Guide to Forgotten Canadian Alternative

Let’s pour out a cold tall glass of maple syrup for all the Canadian bands that at one point were poised to be superstars, but have since faded from our collective skies. Here’s a pretty thorough list of one-time hitmakers from this great country.

Tier 1:

They’re not actually “forgotten”. In fact most of these bands are still household names, but strictly in a nostalgic sense. They had solid careers and didn’t vanish so much as they grew irrelevant and broke up or went on indefinite hiatuses.

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The Sound: Nickelrock

The Big Songs: “Wasting My Time”, “Deny”

The Big Years: 2001-2002

Wha Happened?: A Chad Kroeger approved Nickelclone, they scored a few big radio hits when “active rock” was still a thing. They had another hit in “Taking my Life Away”, but then were relegated to strictly hard rock charts as that scene took a back seat to indie alt. Lead singer Dallas Smith is a country singer now. Fellow Kroeger lumps Theory of a Deadman are still going and surprisingly popular.

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Nelly Furtado

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The Sound: Hippie Pop, then Mainstream Pop

The Big Songs: “I’m Like A Bird”, “Maneater”

The Big Years: 2001, 2006

Wha Happened?: There just wasn’t enough setting Furtado apart from all the other starlets vying for the spotlight, even with her complete reinvention. She tried to make yet another comeback with the song “Hoops” a few years back to no luck. She probably still has a lot of money.

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Prozzak

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The Sound: Cartoon pop

The Big Songs: “Strange Disease”, “Sucks to Be You”

The Big Years: 1999-2000

Wha Happened?: Canada’s Gorillaz?? No, not quite as artisan. More like Canada’s Jem & The Holograms. They were all the rage for a year and a bit, then went away, then came back super serious and majorly depressed in 2006, then went away again. The two guys are still in the music industry, and recently did a reunion show.

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Bif Naked

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The Sound: Sometimes rock, sometimes pop

The Big Songs: “Spaceman”, “I Love Myself Today”

The Big Years: Early 2000s

Wha Happened?: Jumped around from genre to genre, scored big in 2001, then sporadically appeared a few times in the 2000s. I think the last I heard of her was around 2011. Not sure if she still does music.

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Edwin

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The Sound: Solo artist rock

The Big Songs: “Alive”, “Trippin'”

The Big Years: 1999-2000

Wha Happened?: Edwin left I Mother Earth and did a few slightly less angry albums, sometimes going as “Edwin & The Pressure”. He also bartended in Toronto for a while. Not sure which career he is focusing on at the moment.

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Die Mannequin

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The Sound: Motorcycle pop

The Big Songs: “Do It or Die”, “Bad Medicine”

The Big Years: 2009-2010

Wha Happened?: They are still around, surprisingly, given lead singer Care Failure’s antics. They’ve honed their sound to be a little more electronic but can still be played in tattoo and leather shops around town.

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Econoline Crush

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The Sound: Industrial alternative

The Big Songs: “You Don’t Know What It’s Like”, “All That You Are”

The Big Years: 1997- 2001

Wha Happened?: After a slew of smaller radio singles, they broke through with their two big hits listed above. Then they went quiet around 2002. Lead singer Trevor Hurst released a solo album, the band re-appeared in 2008 with a new album, then quiet again.

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The Watchmen

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The Sound: Alternative

The Big Songs: “Stereo”, “Absolutely Anytime”

The Big Years: Late 90s, Early 2000s

Wha Happened?: Became a legacy act. They’re still regularly played on rock format radio.

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Bedouin Soundclash

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The Sound: Campfire reggae

The Big Songs: “When the Night Hears My Song”, “Walls Fall Down”

The Big Years: 2005, 2008

Wha Happened?: ??? It’s a mystery. They had regular airplay, a stable of singles, and then singer Jay Malinowski did some solo stuff and the band abruptly stopped after 2010. It’s a shame because they were the right fit for today’s scene and could have done some interesting work if they’d branched out their sound.

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Neverending White Lights

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The Sound: Sadcore alternative feat. guest singers

The Big Songs: “The Grace”

The Big Years: 2006

Wha Happened?: Main guy Daniel Victor is incredibly lazy and just sits around complaining on Twitter all the time. He also kind of lost the plot on the most recent record in 2011, with like 2 guest singers for the whole record. Dude, the entire conceit of your project was to have a different well-known singer on each track.

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Treble Charger

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The Sound: Canada’s Third Eye Blind

The Big Songs: “American Psycho”, “Red”, “Ever She Flows”

The Big Years: 1997-2000

Wha Happened?: ??? There was supposed to be a reunion but I guess Greig Nori doesn’t want to do it any more cuz he wants to judge more MuchMusic bands on TV.

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Simple Plan

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The Sound: The poppiest of punk/whinecore

The Big Songs: “I’m Just a Kid” “Untitled”

The Big Years: 2002-2005

Wha Happened?: They’re still around somewhere, doing stuff with Natasha Bedingfield. As expected, they now have fancy keyboards and beats in their music.

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The Headstones

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The Sound: Alterna-punk
The Big Songs: “Settle”, “Cubically Contained”
The Big Years: Late 90’s – 2002
Wha Happened?: Probably doing reunion shows here and there. Lead singer Hugh Dillon is also an actor as seen on Blue Flashlight or whatever the Canadian cop show was called.

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Tier 2:

These bands are really a product of their time. They had big hits, maybe even two or three from their big album. They may have even had follow-up hits from an album a few years later, but those were usually forgettable efforts only played on the radio as contractually obligated CANCON filler. Some of them are actually still active, but far from the public eye.

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 illScarlett

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The Sound: Alternative Ska

The Big Songs: “Heaters”, “One-A”, “Nothing Special”

The Big Years: 2006-2007

Wha Happened?: They did pretty ok! They spawned a whole ska scene in Toronto with many imitators, but then just sort of went away at the turn of the decade.

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Joydrop

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The Sound: Bif Naked 2.0

The Big Songs: “Sometimes Wanna Die”, “Beautiful Like You”

The Big Years: Late 90’s, early 2000’s

Wha Happened?: Faded out once the garage rock revival cleared out the last alt-rock survivors.

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Crash Test Dummies

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The Sound: Mmmasochist-core

The Big Songs: “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”

The Big Years: 1994

Wha Happened?: To be fair, people who knew about these guys have probably not forgotten them and their aggressively boring songs. If you were to convert boredom into an audible sound, it would be this guy’s voice. Fortunately they were relegated to one-hit wonder status and Barenaked Ladies took up the mantle of quirky alternative Canadian band.

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The Trews

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The Sound: East Coast Rock

The Big Songs: “Not Ready to Go” “Tired of Waiting”

The Big Years: 2004

Wha Happened?: Probably considered “classic rock” now, playing a mid-size venue near you. Grab a beer.

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Danko Jones

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The Sound: Gigolo rock

The Big Songs: “Bounce”

The Big Years: 2000

Wha Happened?: A few comeback attempts, but the “brown panther” seems to be out of the picture.

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Hawksley Workman

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The Sound: Bono-voiced troubadour

The Big Songs: “Striptease” “Jealous of Your Cigarette”

The Big Years: 2000

Wha Happened?: Was big in the early 2000s, then released a few more albums, then started playing in…

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Mounties

The Sound: Hawksley Workman + Hot Hot Heat + one of the Dahle brothers

The Big Songs: “Headphones”

The Big Years: 2014

Wha Happened?: Everyone went back to their other bands.

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Mobile

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The Sound: 80s post punk revival

The Big Songs: “Out of My Head”

The Big Years: 2006

Wha Happened?: They got out of people’s heads. Singer Mat Joly has a solo project.

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Hostage Life

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The Sound: “Totally legit punk”

The Big Songs: “This Song Was Written By A Committee”

The Big Years: 2008

Wha Happened?: Punk is dead 🙁

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The Salads

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The Sound: Hey dude, totally fun party time rock! Yeah!

The Big Songs: “Get Loose”

The Big Years: 2003

Wha Happened?: Will play a party if they get a slice of the pizza.

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The Lowest of the Low

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The Sound: So 90s.

The Big Songs: “Salesman Cheats and Liars”

The Big Years: The 90s.

Wha Happened?: The 90s ended. Ron Hawkins did a side project called The Rusty Nails.

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Holly McNarland

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The Sound: mature angst

The Big Songs: “Numb”, “Do You Get High?”

The Big Years: 1998-2002

Wha Happened?: People stopped being sad.

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The Odds

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The Sound: More sardonic version of Lowest of the Low

The Big Songs: “Eat My Brain”, “Someone Who’s Cool”

The Big Years: Mid-late 90’s

Wha Happened?:  The 90’s like, totally ended dude.

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Hollerado

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The Sound: Jangly, whimsical pop-rock about life written by hipsters for non-hipsters.

The Big Songs: “Juliette”

The Big Years: 2010

Wha Happened?:  Zellers went out of business so there were no commercials left for Hollerado to score.

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Pilate/Pilot Speed

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The Sound: Indie alternative

The Big Songs: “Into Your Hideout”

The Big Years: 2004, 2006

Wha Happened?: They had to change their name, the albums got progressively more and more boring and now lead singer Todd Clark is getting royalties from writing the song in the Good Life Fitness commercials.

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Gob

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The Sound: Pop-punk

The Big Songs: “I Hear You Calling”, “For the Moment”, “Ming Tran”

The Big Years: 1999-2003

Wha Happened?: Simple Plan took over the scene. There was a more aggressive record in 2008 but it’s been quiet on the Gob-front ever since.

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Stabilo

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The Sound: Pop Rock

The Big Songs: “Everybody”, “Flawed Design”

The Big Years: 2004, 2006

Wha Happened?: Nothing, really. They had their hits…and that was it.

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By Divine Right

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The Sound: Pre-hipster hip rock

The Big Songs: “Come For a Ride”

The Big Years: 1999

Wha Happened?: Stuck around for a while, then slowly went away, then 10 years later there was a comeback. They had a song a few years back called “Past the Stars”.

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Joel Plaskett Emergency

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The Sound: CBC-core

The Big Songs: All of Them.

The Big Years: All of Them.

Wha Happened?: Joel Plaskett is a name that every Canadian has heard. He has played everywhere and has been around since Confederation. He is known by all and yet……what is he known for? I know he plays Canada Day concerts every year but I don’t know any of his songs or what he looks like. I just know that I am supposed to know who he is.

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Limblifter

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The Sound: Big Shiny Tunes alternative

The Big Songs: “Tinfoil” “Ariel Vs. Lotus” “Screwed it Up”

The Big Years: The 90’s

Wha Happened?:  I’m still not entirely sure of the Dahle family tree, but I know that the band splintered and there were like 100 side projects, one of which is listed next.

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The Age of Electric

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The Sound: Limblifter 2.0 Original Limblifter

The Big Songs: “Remote Control”, “I Don’t Mind”

The Big Years: 1997

Wha Happened?: Whoa guys, I just found out that Age of Electric was the original and that Limblifter was in fact the side project!!! Mind = Blown. Whoa.

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Wide Mouth Mason

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The Sound: Prairie Rock

The Big Songs: “My Old Self”

The Big Years: Late 90’s

Wha Happened?: Video countdowns that required CanCon and the Columbia House discount record catalogue stopped existing and so vanished WMM’s only means of visibility.

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Champion

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The Sound: Dark electro-rock

The Big Songs: “No Heaven”

The Big Years: 2006

Wha Happened?: It’s a mystery. The guitar conductor dropped another album in 2009 and then hints about another one, but he never really resurfaced.

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Wintersleep

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The Sound: Post punk actually, but then folk rock for the radio in order to make $$$

The Big Songs: “Weighty Ghost”

The Big Years: 2008

Wha Happened?: There was a side project called Contrived, but not much since 2008. Apparently there is a new album coming out soon.

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Hey Rosetta!

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The Sound: Some kind of alternative

The Big Songs: “Welcome”

The Big Years: 2011

Wha Happened?: The biggest Canadian band you’ve never heard of. Massive following keeps them afloat and apparently they are still releasing music.

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Feist

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The Sound: iPod commercial-core

The Big Songs: “1234”

The Big Years: 2007

Wha Happened?: Technically she’s still a household name in indie households (apartments in Kensington or The Annex) but iPod commercials (and iPods) are a thing of the past and her drab 2012 album didn’t retain any followers gained from the 2007 hit single.

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FeFe Dobson

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The Sound: Avril 2.0

The Big Songs: “Bye Bye Boyfriend”, “Take Me Away”

The Big Years: 2003

Wha Happened?: Didn’t really build a big enough fanbase in the rock world, faded out for a while before re-emerging as a popstar. Now is available for any events MuchMusic needs talent for. “Oh shoot do we have anyone for New Year’s Eve?” “Just call FeFe and Shawn Desman!”

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Tier 3:

These artists are perhaps the best representatives of what this list is all about. They were legitimately big solely in one year, hyped by media outlets as the “next big thing”. They had one big album, and usually just one big song- but it was a song that everyone knew. They were ready to take on the world…and then they didn’t. They’re still remembered, but not by many. Until you play that one big song of theirs, and then everyone’s like “OH THOSE GUYS”.

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Custom

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The Sound: Sketchy uncle rock

The Big Songs: “Hey Mister”, “Beat Me”

The Big Years: 2002

Wha Happened?: I think most people just expected him to be a one-off joke and then he had some weird angry political song and then disappeared forever.

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Shocore

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The Sound: Trashy metal disco

The Big Songs: “Bonecracker”

The Big Years: 2001

Wha Happened: They had a song called “Bonecracker”. Did you really think anything else would happen for them? (ps bonecracker is such a jam tho)

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Out of Your Mouth

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The Sound: Canadian nu-metal

The Big Songs: “Music”

The Big Years: 2004

Wha Happened?: They got all the mileage they could out of their Madonna cover and then politely went away. I know they had a feud with Social Code too?

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Social Code

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The Sound: For angsty Canadian teens

The Big Songs: “Beautiful”, “Bomb Hands”

The Big Years: 2005

Wha Happened?: They arrived too late to the emo scene. My Chemical Romance ultimately took their spot.

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The Black Halos

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The Sound: Punkorama punk

The Big Songs: “Some Things Never Fall”

The Big Years: 2001

Wha Happened?: Too many punks in the pit, they got lost in the shuffle.

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Boy

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The Sound: B-List Sam Roberts

The Big Songs: “Same Old Song”, “Up in this Town”

The Big Years: 2004-2005

Wha Happened?: Real Sam Roberts was enough for the Canadian populace.

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Jakalope

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The Sound: Trent Reznor-curated pop group/Canada’s answer to Evanescence

The Big Songs: “Pretty Life”, “Feel It”

The Big Years: 2004

Wha Happened?: Original singer was replaced, interest in the project waned.

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The Waking Eyes

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The Sound: The garagiest of garage rock

The Big Songs: “Watch Your Money”

The Big Years: 2004

Wha Happened?: They arrived at the tail-end of garage rock and couldn’t capitalize on it. Had a minor hit in “All Empires Fall” in 2008, but then gone.

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Evans Blue

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The Sound: Too late nu-metal

The Big Songs: “Cold (But I’m Still Here)”

The Big Years: 2006

Wha Happened?: Honestly, it was surprising that they gained any traction at all. They arrived a year after nu metal was dead and buried and yet had a pretty big radio hit. There was another album in 2007, then the singer left the group and side projects ensued.

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Attack in Black

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The Sound: Some kind of folk alternative i think

The Big Songs: “Young Leaves”

The Big Years: 2007

Wha Happened?: The singer’s voice really hindered any sort of future the band might have. Nothing big since 2007.

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Not By Choice

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The Sound: Back-up Sum 41

The Big Songs: “Standing All Alone”, “Now That You Are Leaving”

The Big Years: 2002

Wha Happened?: Eventually replaced by another Sum 41 clone.

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Operation MD

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The Sound: i dunno punk i guess/ Sum 41 side-project

The Big Songs: “Sayonara”

The Big Years: 2008

Wha Happened?: So this was a guy from Sum 41, so I guess he went back to them, but then I think he left again. In any case, this band basically only had the one song.

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Zuckerbaby

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The Sound: 90’s alternative

The Big Songs: “Andromeda”, “Overexposure”

The Big Years: Late 90’s

Wha Happened?: Bye bye 90’s. But they opened for Wide Mouth Mason recently!

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Serial Joe

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The Sound: Mistake-core

The Big Songs: “Mistake”

The Big Years: 1999

Wha Happened?: Canada’s Silverchair, the young prodigies had a few more minor hits after “Mistake” but the rock star life was not for them. The lead singer, whom everyone seemed to know at one point in their life, is now working as a technician for Bell.

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Major Maker

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The Sound: Candy commercial music

The Big Songs: “Rollercoaster”

The Big Years Month: August 2007

Wha Happened?: TV stopped airing the commercial.

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Junkhouse

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The Sound: Boring 90’s Pearl Jam knock-off

The Big Songs: “Shine”

The Big Years: 1999

Wha Happened?: It was just a matter of time until they shined. And then it was just a matter of more time until they faded away.

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Kazzer

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The Sound: Car commercial-core

The Big Songs: “Pedal to the Metal”

The Big Years: 2003

Wha Happened?: He went away for a while, then came back as….

Redlight King

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The Sound: More mature car commercial-core

The Big Songs: “Old Man”

The Big Years: 2011

Wha Happened?: Twice a one-hit wonder!! That’s kind of neat. He’s the Canadian Cee Lo Green.

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KO

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The Sound: Canadian Everlast

The Big Songs: “Capable”

The Big Years: 2010

Wha Happened?: Well hopefully he ended up ok.

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the pack AD

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The Sound: power rock duo

The Big Songs: “Sirens”

The Big Years: 2012

Wha Happened?: Rock radio stopped paying attention to them for some reason. Still around though.

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Wild Strawberries

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The Sound: Canada’s Cranberries

The Big Songs: “Crying Shame”, “Bet You Think I’m Lonely”

The Big Years: mid-90’s

Wha Happened?: They really were a product of their time, singer-songwriter alternative that could only exist in the 1990s. They’ve released a few albums since then but they’ve been very sporadic.

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stereos

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The Sound: electro-emo

The Big Songs: “Summer Girl”

The Big Years: 2009

Wha Happened?: Ok so there was Stereos, Hedley, Marianas Trench, Faber Drive, Down With Webster…obviously someone had to lose in the sell-out war, and it was these guys.

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The Marble Index

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The Sound: Garage rock

The Big Songs: “I Believe”, “Not So Bright”

The Big Years: 2004

Wha Happened?: Buried under the glut of all the other garage bands flooding the market at the time.

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Elias

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The Sound: generic-way-past-due-date alternative rock

The Big Songs: “All We Want”

The Big Years: 2009

Wha Happened?: What happened was they didn’t show up to an interview I was doing with them so I don’t care what they did after 2009.

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Tier 4:

These artists didn’t really make it. They were about to! They were on the cusp of success, and it eluded them just by a little bit. They may have charted on regional charts, but for various reasons they missed out on the bigger scene and are now just footnotes in Canadian music history.

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Spiral Beach

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The Sound: OoOoO very unique, artsy special music

The Big Songs: “Made of Stone”

The Big Years: 2008

Wha Happened?: They tried to be a new Broken Social Scene but they were JUST TOO quirky and intelligent for us the listeners and so they refused to grace us with more music, oh NO!

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Emm Gryner

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The Sound: Lillith Fair-core

The Big Songs: “Summerlong”

The Big Years: 1998

Wha Happened?: Overshadowed by Sarah McLachlan, Esthero, Holly McNarland, et al. She did a song with astronaut Chris Hadfield in 2014 though.

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Andy Stochansky

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The Sound: Canadian Everclear

The Big Songs: “Wonderful”, “Stutter”

The Big Years: 2002

Wha Happened?: After years of working in Ani DiFranco’s shadow he finally released a successful solo album…but then failed to write a successful follow-up.

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Doctor

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The Sound: Too-late alternative

The Big Songs: “What Makes You Think He’s Lucky?”

The Big Years: 2004

Wha Happened?: Singer Daniel Greaves went back to Watchmen reunions.

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Copyright

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The Sound: Theatrical alternative

The Big Songs: “Rock Machine”, “Transfiguration”

The Big Years: 1998

Wha Happened?: I’m sure one of the CBC channels still plays them from time to time.

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Jersey

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The Sound: punk. just punk.

The Big Songs: “Generation Genocide”

The Big Years: 2003

Wha Happened?: Punks got eyeliner and keyboards.

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Mudmen

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The Sound: bagpipe-core/lad-core

The Big Songs: “Saturday”

The Big Years: 2002

Wha Happened?: Still played at Celtic bars every Saturday night.

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The Saint Alvia Cartel

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The Sound: laid-back, man

The Big Songs: “Don’t Wanna Wait Forever”

The Big Years: 2008

Wha Happened?: one song then bye

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Panic & The Rebel Emergency

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The Sound: laid-back, man

The Big Songs: “Wander Far Away”

The Big Years: 2008

Wha Happened?: one song then bye

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The Miniatures

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The Sound: Garage/post-punk

The Big Songs: “Dragonfly”, “Dead Flowers”

The Big Years: 2004, 2006

Wha Happened?: they just didn’t follow-up, man.

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Headstrong

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The Sound: Not the TRAPT song, but close enough

The Big Songs: “Adriana”

The Big Years: 2002

Wha Happened?: They fought over their band name with another band and then they were no more.

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Ron Hawkins & The Rusty Nails

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The Sound: Punk version of Lowest of the Low

The Big Songs: “Bite Down Hard”

The Big Years: 2000

Wha Happened?: I dunno! They had the one song.

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King Cobb Steelie

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The Sound: electronica

The Big Songs: “Home”, “Below the Stars”

The Big Years: 2000

Wha Happened?: They released an instrumental album in 2004 and then went away. I’m pretty sure lead singer Kevan Byrne is a big shot in the media industry now.

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Tin Foil Phoenix

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The Sound: NOT Nickelback

The Big Songs: “Neapolitan”, “Ms. Genova”

The Big Years: 2004

Wha Happened?: A big fuss was made over the fact that they were signed to 604 records but DID NOT sound like Nickelback. It was basically their elevator pitch. But then they just didn’t make any more music so…ok?

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Jet Set Satellite

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The Sound: grrr angry hard rock

The Big Songs: “Best Way to Die”, “Baby Cool Your Jets”

The Big Years: 2001

Wha Happened?: Label issues, band issues, failure to capitalize on success of debut record, diminishing returns, probably broke up.

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Projet Orange

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The Sound: generique french alternative

The Big Songs: “Tell All Your Friends”

The Big Years: 2004

Wha Happened?: Oui oui, zey deed not last past un album.

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The Dears

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The Sound: swoony indie rock

The Big Songs: “Lost in the Plot”

The Big Years: 2003

Wha Happened?: They were supposed to be the next big thing, everyone was going nuts for them!! Then they released like ten horrible albums in a row. Not even kidding. But they are still together, making music for CBC Channel 8.

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Boys Night Out

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The Sound: punk, emo

The Big Songs: “Waking”

The Big Years: 2005

Wha Happened?: They hung around the local livejournal punk scene for a while, not sure if they are still mending broken hearts today.

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Sandbox

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The Sound: Late 90s alternative.

The Big Songs: “Curious”

The Big Years: 1998

Wha Happened?: People were no longer curious about them. Is this the band with the glasses guy from Trailer Park Boys in it?

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See Spot Run

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The Sound: Hear Spot rip off Spacehog

The Big Songs: “Weightless”

The Big Years: 2000? 2001?

Wha Happened?: People realized the song was an unabashed rip-off of Spacehog’s “In the Meantime”.

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Crowned King

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The Sound: ska-emo

The Big Songs: “Don’t Wanna Go”

The Big Years: 2003

Wha Happened?: Pretty sure they waited three years just to make a music video…not a good move.

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The Junction

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The Sound: whimsical jangly Toronto

The Big Songs: “My Love Was There”

The Big Years: 2008-2010

Wha Happened?: Eventually, like all the other Tokyo Police Club clones, they fell off the map.

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Beast

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The Sound: confident alt-pop

The Big Songs: “Mr. Hurricane”

The Big Years: 2008

Wha Happened?: Didn’t catch on. Surprise! Should have stayed singing for Champion, it would have been good for the both of you.

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Dinosaur Bones

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The Sound: another jangly tokyo police club clone

The Big Songs: “NYE”

The Big Years: 2011

Wha Happened?: Well one of the jangly whimsical indie rock bands had to be completely forgotten, it just happened to be these guys… and Plants & Animals…and Still Life Still.

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hHead

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The Sound: amateur hour alternative

The Big Songs: “Collide”

The Big Years: 1992-1994

Wha Happened?: Brendan Canning got super artsy and started Canada’s premier noise collective, Broken Social Scene.

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Hayden

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The Sound: Angry grungy folk man

The Big Songs: “In September”

The Big Years: 1995

Wha Happened?: I think he became a less angry folk singer or something.

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Glueleg

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The Sound: cheesy rap rock

The Big Songs: “Pistons”

The Big Years: 1998

Wha Happened?: they were too cheesy to survive and melted in a puddle of melted cheese.

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Kittie

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The Sound: GiRl KoRn

The Big Songs: “Brackish”

The Big Years: 2001

Wha Happened?: They were all the rage with the goth girls at the mall. But then those girls grew up.

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Rusty

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The Sound: some sort of sub-par post-grunge imitator

The Big Songs: “Misogyny”, “Wake Me”

The Big Years: 90’s

Wha Happened?: Thankfully forgotten.

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Scratching Post

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The Sound: Canadian Veruca Salt

The Big Songs: “Bloodflame”

The Big Years: 199something

Wha Happened?: There can only be one Veruca Salt. Sidenote: They played Mike Bullard’s short-lived late night show. So much Canadian in one sentence!

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Thousand Foot Krutch

Phenomenon

The Sound: First, nu metal, then…???

The Big Songs: “Phenomenon”, “Rawkfist”

The Big Years: 2004

Wha Happened?: Honestly, I’m not sure. They were a Christian nu metal band that somehow managed to not only survive the decade, but played the decidedly hipster Wayhome Festival in 2015. Kudos?

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Ashley MacIsaac

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The Sound: Fiddle-dee-dee experimental

The Big Songs: “Sleepy Maggie”

The Big Years: 1997

Wha Happened?: Went crazy at a rave in 1999, then went bankrupt. Probably still fiddling away somewhere.

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Project Wyze

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The Sound: Juggalos of the north

The Big Songs: “Room to Breathe”

The Big Years: 2001

Wha Happened?: Unfortunately the demand for Insane Clown Posse style groups isn’t as strong here in Canada so this menacing, spooky rap group didn’t last very long. A side project called Dead Celebrity Status didn’t do well either. Shoulda slapped on the face paint and moved south.

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Robin Black and the Intergalactic Rockstars

The Sound: Bar room glam rock

The Big Songs: “So Sick of You”

The Big Years: 2002

Wha Happened?: Too late for the 80’s, too early for the 80’s revival, Robin Black and pals wanted to be famous really really bad but it just didn’t work out. He’s an MMA commentator now though, so good for him.

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State of Shock

The Sound: Theory of a Deadman 2.0

The Big Songs: “Best I Ever Had”, “Money Honey”

The Big Years: 2007

Wha Happened?: A copy of a copy of a copy of a copy…I think Canadians were satisfied with one Theory of a Deadman.

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JJ and the Pillars

The Sound: Mumford and Sons go punk

The Big Songs: “The Wolves”

The Big Years: 2014

Wha Happened?: JJ kept doing cover songs on Instagram instead of working on new music.

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Tier 5:

These guys aren’t even footnotes. They’re blips. For some, that’s a pity, as they could have been great. For others, it’s a bullet we dodged collectively. Whatever their talent level, these bands are legitimately forgotten by nearly everyone in the world, including the bands themselves.


Andrew F

The Sound: Privilege-core

The Big Song: “The End”

The Big Year: 2008

Wha Happened?: Andrew Franks managed to game the system and had his rich parents bankroll his reckless whining on iTunes, causing him to enter the top 10 songs chart. Then real people actually heard the music and abandoned him quickly. Now plays in a less-sad band called The Ashley Hundred.

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Blush

The Sound: Straight up nu-metal

The Big Songs: “Word From the Wise”

The Big Years: 2003

Wha Happened?: Wow finding these guys on the internet is really hard. I have no idea what their deal was, only that they apparently existed at one point.

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Scott B Sympathy

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The Sound: Smart-rock

The Big Song: “Drinking With The Poet”

The Big Year: 1993

Wha Happened?: Overshadowed by the Rheostatics. Played with other traditional rock outfits in the Toronto scene for a while. Current whereabouts unknown.

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Hail The Villain

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The Sound: Neckbeard rock

The Big Song: “Take Back the Fear”

The Big Year: 2010

Wha Happened?: Divine intervention prevented any more damage from being done to the public’s ears; the comic book gimmick didn’t take.

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Miller Stain Limit

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The Sound: Late 90’s rock

The Big Songs: “Cellophane”

The Big Years: 1999

Wha Happened?: The year 2000.

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The Full Nine

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The Sound: Garage rock

The Big Songs: “Not Over”

The Big Years: 2002

Wha Happened?: They stayed in the garage because of legal issues with Disney and it was, in fact, over.

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Templar

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The Sound: Snowboarding montage music

The Big Songs: “The Need”

The Big Years: 2000

Wha Happened?: Finding their material on the internet was hard enough, as they are incredibly obscure. I have no idea what happened to them but I can only assume they didn’t make it through the great rap-rock extinction event of 2004.

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High Holy Days

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The Sound: Canadian Creed

The Big Songs: “All My Real Friends”

The Big Years: 2004

Wha Happened?: I suppose Canadians weren’t too thrilled with a Canadian version of Creed.

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Breach of Trust

The Sound: Northern Saskatchewan hard rock

The Big Songs: “Bad Trip”

The Big Years: 2004

Wha Happened?: They disappeared back into the mysterious snow storm they came from.

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Creature

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The Sound: garbage pop

The Big Songs: N/A

The Big Years: N/A

Wha Happened?: People confused them with Beast, who were already obscure enough.

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Hexes and Ohs

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The Sound: Canadian Matt & Kim

The Big Songs: “H-h-highschool”

The Big Years: N/A

Wha Happened?: ?

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Driver

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The Sound: Her-laughing-at-him-core

The Big Songs: “She Laughed At Me”

The Big Years: 2005

Wha Happened?: She laughed at them.

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Crush Luther

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The Sound: White boy reggae

The Big Songs: “City Girl”

The Big Years: 2005

Wha Happened?: They just didn’t break out like they were supposed to. Producer Darrin Pfeiffer (of Goldfinger fame) was supposed to make them stars but due to some circumstances it just didn’t happen.

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Flashlight Brown

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The Sound: generic pop punk

The Big Songs: “Patricia”

The Big Years: 2003

Wha Happened?: I’ll tell you what happened. They were pimped mercilessly on the radio by DJ Barry Taylor for months and failed to catch on because people just. didn’t. like. them. Fortunately we never had to hear them after that.

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C’mon

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The Sound: Trews 2.0

The Big Songs: “Desperate Hearts”

The Big Years: 2005

Wha Happened?: Despite being featured on the soundtrack of the hit Hollywood movie The Covenant, I don’t think they lasted very long.

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Crystal Pistol

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The Sound: Dirty, sleazy rock n’ roll (their words, not mine!)

The Big Songs: “Rockstar”

The Big Years: 2005

Wha Happened?: Probably still on the hair metal bar circuit.

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Static in Stereo

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The Sound: Failed side project alternative rock

The Big Songs: “Before My Time”

The Big Years: 2001

Wha Happened?: They couldn’t replicate Limblifter’s success.

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Rides Again

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The Sound: Neckbeard rock

The Big Song: “Infected”

The Big Year: 2008

Wha Happened?: Hard rock was already commercially dead at the point these guys came around, and choosing a name that sounds like “Rise Against” didn’t help them stand out.

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Memory Bank

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The Sound: Soaring post-punk revival

The Big Songs: “Bleed Like a Hero”

The Big Years: —

Wha Happened?: I heard their song once on the radio and then never heard about them again ever.

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Staggered Crossing

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The Sound: Rock rock

The Big Songs: “Further Again”

The Big Years: 2001

Wha Happened?:  Well according to last.fm they are huge superstars and are touring with Pearl Jam and are really great and are gonna be big any minute now so, good luck with that I guess?

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Thrush Hermit

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The Sound: Pre-Trews Trews

The Big Songs: ???

The Big Years: 1998?

Wha Happened?: I dunno?

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Change of Heart

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The Sound: i have no idea

The Big Songs: still don’t know

The Big Years: don’t know

Wha Happened?: why are these guys on my list? i don’t know anything about them.

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The Barstool Prophets

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The Sound: asfafrubeuib etbenw8er w

The Big Songs:nwbyr wernw8ruwoeiwwe

The Big Years:14187498326

Wha Happened?: please no more bands