It was a pretty one-note alternative music scene in 2002. Garage rock had taken off and mop hairdos were all over the magazines and MTV. It was all the The bands with the rocking and the rollicking riffs and the coarse snarls. Nu metal was in its twilight phase, with just over two years before it was abruptly extinguished. Emo, indie rock, and post-punk revivalist acts were popping up sporadically but hadn’t established a firm footing in the spotlight yet. Pop-punk came and went in waves but the two biggest Blink albums were in the rearview mirror.
[Barenaked Ladies voice] It’s been…
…six years since I wrote up this fairly thorough but not quite full list of Canadian alternative bands that have all but disappeared from the mainstream conversation, both domestically and internationally. I’ve returned to do a similar piece on bands that have rightfully earned their place in alternative rock history in this country.
Now, a disclaimer. I fully and entirely admit I’m not as well-versed in classic Canadian rock. You will not find Rush or Goddo or Honeymoon Suite here. Nor will you find new wavers like The Spoons or Gowan, despite them falling under the “alternative” umbrella. This post is reserved for the big names in alternative rock from the 90s, the 00s, and the 10s, though it may occasionally include a handful progenitors that originated in the 80s.
Now, a second disclaimer, I realize that I may sometimes come across as dismissive or harsh when I write. I apologize for this and assure you that I enjoy almost the entire catalogues of all these artists, and it will be very obvious when I specifically do not like one. Otherwise you can assume that I listen to them regularly, and when speaking about their popularity am doing it only from a commercial standpoint, not a personal one.
I listened to the new Lady Gaga song. The one written for the new Top Gun movie. Once, twice, three times. I then took pause, and decided to listen to it again completely divorced from my ultra-critical brain.
Canadian rock-centred radio stations have a tendency to fixate on a few core artists, often times local artists. The duty to support homegrown acts has become an embedded feature in modern rock radio.
You can’t force yourself to like something, whether for the benefit of others or as a personal need.