If we had to pick one band from Canada keeping the scene alive, it would have to be Silverstein. No question. The post-hardcore band show no signs of slowing down after 10 albums over the course of two full decades and have influenced countless other people to start a career in music. Here’s to 20 more years!
Bearings are one of the younger bands in the scene to come out of Canada recently, and Told is stoked that their fanbase is growing daily. The country had a lull with younger bands in the Warped Tour world getting out there, and Bearings found a way to suspend said interlude in great fashion. Their sincere blend of pop punk and passion should be heard by fans of State Champs, the Story So Far and Neck Deep.
Told and many other Canadians are still perplexed as to why Billy Talent, a band who seemingly kill it everywhere across the globe, are still relatively unknown in the states. Still, Billy Talent have been able to make aggressive and unconventional music extremely massive on many other continents. Surprisingly, singer Benjamin Kowalewicz manages to make his unconventional vocals super accessible on the radio. That’s quite a cool feat, and it proves that as long as the music is good, it can be successful.
Told remarked that Cancer Bats are among his oldest friends in the industry, and Silverstein have toured with them all over the world. Honestly, we wouldn’t need any other bands to join that tour package. It’s remarkable that they have such a consistent catalog and truly live by an ethical DIY punk-rock existence. And what’s more, they branched out from the heavy world and released a new acoustic EP in 2020. The Bats certainly know how to keep their loyal audience on their respective toes.
At this point, Comeback Kid are Canadian hardcore legends who get even better with age. One of the more revered heavy bands on this list, we believe that they could always use more fans to join their illustrious army. Need further convincing? See Comeback Kid live when it’s safe to do so. Told remarked that they sound amazing from any stage in rural Alberta, Canada to New Zealand because they’re such a musical force.
Another band who represent the Canadian heavy music world in one of the brightest ways, Counterparts have been holding the flag for melodic hardcore for quite some time. Told says at this point, Counterparts have almost created their own genre with all of the copycats floating around. Quite a flattering compliment (with a not-so-subtle dig). On another note, you should follow singer Brendan Murphy‘s hilarious Twitter account right now. He’s definitely one of the funnier frontmen in the scene.
Courage My Love
Courage My Love are one of the cooler acts on this list, and the Arn-Horn twins (Mercedes and Phoenix) and Brandon Lockwood have been plugging away at their blend of pop punk and synthwave for years now. Told spoke very highly of the power trio, as he feels like he watched them grow up, reinvent themselves and come into their own as musicians and performers.
The Dirty Nil
Told loves how the Dirty Nil live and die by rock ‘n’ roll: They plug in their guitars, turn their amps up really loud and truly don’t give a fuck. Check out their 2021 LP, Fuck Art, right now if you don’t believe him. Their bravado and brash behavior taste extra sweet in this politically correct climate. Told especially misses their sweaty and raucous live shows during this pandemic, and the Dirty Nil are on his shortlist for bands that he needs to see immediately after the world gets back in order.
The band have changed a lot since their early ska-punk days, and now the Flatliners are one of the premier punk-rock bands in Canada. It’s hard to evolve so graciously that your fanbase does so with you. Such a consistent and incredible band. Anyway, in addition to the Flatliners, vocalist/guitarist Chris Cresswell also moonlights in Hot Water Music. This punk-rock resume is hard to beat, and we all yearn for another Flatliners release ASAP.
In addition to being featured as a guitar soloist on “Bad Habits,” the opening track of Silverstein’s 2020 full-length, A Beautiful Place To Drown, Aaron Marshall moonlights as the lone official member of progressive instrumentalist group Intervals. Told says a band sans vocals doesn’t have to be something that your dad listens to and is proud that Intervals represent the Great White North so effectively and valiantly. Hey, some punk rockers can play their instruments really well.
When LIGHTS was just coming into her own, she was featured on “The End,” the epic final track on Silverstein’s 2009 opus concept LP, A Shipwreck In The Sand. Nearly 12 years after her perfect feature, she’s grown into one of Canada’s biggest talents. Told thinks LIGHTS is a musical force with so much talent and so much to give, and he’s proud that she carries the Canadian flag up high.
Pure Noise Records brought the world Bearings but also delivered another solid young pop-punk band, Like Pacific. In addition to standing out on their own accord, frontman Jordan Black provided vocals on the new version of “Already Dead” from Silverstein’s newest release, Redux II. Told would like the world to know that Black is quite hilarious in the best ways as well. Overall, Like Pacific are an underrated band in a sea of other underrated acts.
You all must know by now that Marianas Trench vocalist/guitarist Josh Ramsay is a songwriting machine who co-wrote and produced Carly Rae Jepsen’s smash single “Call Me Maybe.” Outside of the States and especially in Canada, Marianas Trench are a huge and noteworthy act in their own right. They effectively evolved from the pop-punk scene into a powerful symphonic rock band (with unparalleled vocals). Told feels that the band always deliver quality music in whatever genre they decide to write and yearns for you to wake up if you’ve been sleeping on ‘em.
Eastern Canada doesn’t get enough public love, and it’s a vastly underrepresented region of the country. Told wanted to give a shoutout the Motorleague (who took their name from a Propagandhi song, more on them later) from that area, who mastered a midtempo punk-rock sound. He feels that while they could be a mainstream act due to how polished they are, the Motorleague hold their own attitude- and vibe-wise in the underground.
Napoleon are one of the newer bands on this list, and Toronto should be proud of these up-and-comers. They’re quite heavy in an original fashion, and Told says they’re not really hardcore or metalcore. Which means you should listen for yourself if you want to put them into a category or on a playlist. Speaking of Told, he sings on an upcoming track from the band, and they’re also managed by Scott Middleton from Cancer Bats.
We told you that we’d get to Propagandhi. Told says the band are probably his most important musical influence because they practice what they preach without hypocrisy. In fact, Told wore one of their T-shirts while we made this piece. Without the band, many listeners would never know about specific socio-political issues, and Told himself wouldn’t have stopped eating meat. To put it simply, every time they put out an album, the punk-rock world takes notice.
Protest The Hero
Protest The Hero just ooze talent on every instrument, and vocalist Rody Walker is on a different level of insanity altogether. The band defy convention and have been doing things their own way for quite a while. Told still feels that their sonic influence needs more recognition globally because they’ve inspired so many musicians to get more technical and compelled so many already technically proficient musicians to hone their crafts even further.
It’s pretty great to see how big PUP have gotten throughout the years, but we don’t think they’ve peaked in popularity just yet. Lots of groups claim the Toronto area but live in the suburbs—PUP aren’t that band. They perform gritty rock ‘n’ roll, and they do it on their own terms. Told loves their entire catalog and can’t wait for a follow-up to their 2020 EP, This Place Sucks Ass.
Told says Rarity are a perfect example of a young band killing it right now, and he wants the entire world to know about them. If you’re searching for emotional songs executed in an intelligent fashion, look no further. Their newest LP, The Longest Lonesome on New Damage Records, is Told’s favorite release from the five-piece, and he hopes that it builds a strong following so they can properly support it live.
Sometimes isolation brings about discovery. Told just learned about the amazing Respire over the pandemic, and he now believes that they’re one of the best heavy bands who are bringing black-metal influences into the scene. Many pundits agree with good reasoning, as their 2020 release, Black Line, was a part of many end-of-year lists. Still, they could always use more press, so we’re happy to shout them out here.
You likely know about Seaway, but does your mom go to the gym with the band’s singer’s mom? In Told’s case, vocalist Ryan Locke’s mother works out at the same place as his mom. If that’s not enough juice for you to check them out, their evolving blend of pop punk and pop rock should be. The band’s musical journey has yet to stop, and their 2020 LP, Big Vibe, is just that.
Told is more excited about Spiritbox’s future than most bands in existence and believes that they could explode in 2021. Basically, he cannot wait for a full-length and loves every single that the band have released thus far. The act comprises husband and wife duo Courtney LaPlante and Michael Stringer (both formerly of the chaotically original iwrestledabearonce), along with bassist Bill Crook. Victoria, British Columbia is an isolated island to create art, and LaPlante proved that separation was a strong factor in her mastering vocals as a singer and screamer.
Stasis are another act from British Columbia (Kelowna, to be exact), who are bringing a super-cool hardcore vibe to the scene while keeping it sonically modern. If you love Counterparts, Being As An Ocean or Verse, check them out right now. Told feels that the band’s artwork is super on point as well and deserves more recognition. Their newest EP, A Garden For All To See, is a three-song jaunt, and we certainly give it more than three stars.
We Were Sharks
Told wanted to close this list with a shoutout to fellow Victory Records alumni We Were Sharks, who have been grinding away in a catchy fashion for quite some time now. “Pop punk straight out of Ottawa” isn’t a tagline that many read often, but it perfectly describes this fun group. Silverstein’s guitarist Paul Marc Rousseau helped produce and co-write their last LP, Lost Touch, and we can’t wait to hear more songs soon.