23 Canadian bands AUX readers hope will reunite
by Mark Teo
September 3, 2013
Last week, when we published a story about defunct Canadian bands we miss, we asked our readers a simple question: Which Canadian bands do you want to reunite?
We received a ton of responses backing bands that span the country. For this list, we knowingly skipped out on active bands, such as I Mother Earth (even if they are Edwin-less), Big Sugar, and Bunchoffuckinggoofs. (Who recently toured out West, and are Kensington Market regulars in their hometown of Toronto.) So, without further ado, here are 24 broken-up bands that you, dear sweet AUX readers, hope will reunite.
Make sure to tell us which bands we’ve missed out on in the comments section, on Facebook, or on Twitter!
1. 13 Engines
Along with bands like Montreal’s The Doughboys, 13 Engines were one of Canada’s first dominant alt-rock bands; “Smoke and Ashes,” above, comes from 1993’s Perpetual Motion Machine, the band’s biggest commercial success. Aas a collective, they’ve been dormant since 1997, but their bandleader, John Critchley, now helms Toronto’s Green Door Studios.
It’s only been a year since Alexisonfire’s breakup, but among our readers—who frequently namedropped Dallas, George, Wade and co. on Facebook—they are among the most missed. Nonetheless, their aggressively scatterbrained music, which emerged from Ontario’s early ’00s heavy music scene alongside acts like Abandoned Hearts Club, has fractured into other projects: Dallas Green’s wooing the arena set in City and Colour, while Wade McNeil continues as the singer of punk acts like Gallows and Black Lungs.
3. Agriculture Club
With their rough-around-the-edges take on classic rock and country, was there any band that sounded more Calgarian than Agriculture Club? They even wrote a song about Old Style Pilsner, the province’s answer to Pabst Blue Ribbon. Made hip by the Fubar films, the iconic beer has finally made its way into the clutches of Ontario’s creative class—a fact that would equally delight and disgust the boys in Agriculture Club.
4. Attack in Black
It began as a Strike Anywhere ripoff, but Welland, ON’s Attack in Black were best remembered for Marriage, which evolved the band into folkier directions, and Curve of the Earth, an ambitious (if occasionally listless) album that had each band member pulling the project in different directions. Today, Attack in Black’s members continue to produce—Daniel Romano now rocks rhinestone suits and plays pitch-perfect ’50s country, Spencer Burton plays minimalist folk under the Grey Kingdom moniker, and apple-cheeked bassist Ian Kehoe experiments with college rock in Marine Dreams, who are due for a new LP this fall. All projects are excellent—even if they barely resemble AIB.
5. Black Halos
Black Halos—who, at their peak, cut an LP with Sub Pop which included the hilarious-titled “Bombs Not Food”—broke up in 2008. Too bad, really. Their take on timeless, rock ‘n’ roll inflected glam punk wouldn’t sound out of place in 2013, especially with the rise of grimy punk labels like Ottawa’s Hosehead and Bruised Tongue.
In the ’90s, there were few Canadian labels as dominant as Sonic Unyon—thanks, in part, to beloved acts like Chore. Playing a brand of sprawling, occasionally heavy second-wave emo, they’d fit in well with Revelation’s cardigan-rocking period—they rode the aggressive-placid line nearly as well as, say, Texas is the Reason.
7. Deadly Snakes
Deadly Snakes were a legendary Toronto band associated with some of the city’s biggest cultural institutions: It’s hard to think about Wavelength, or the re-emergence of the Silver Dollar, or legendary promoter Dan Burke without mentioning the Snakes. Andre Ethier is the band’s most recognizable member, and he continues with his art and solo recording career. (And his Dylan-owing track, “Pride of Egypt,” remains an understated Canadian classic.)
8. Despised Icon
Emerging from Quebec’s heavily respected death metal scene—and evidently influenced by Montreal’s adoration of tough-as-nails hardcore—Despised Icon would become one of the world’s most beloved deathcore acts. Equally technical and breakdown-savvy—uh, we mean BR0000000T4L—they cut LPs for industry heavies in Relapse and Century Media, before calling it quits in 2010. The above track is surely a nod to Day of Mourning, a hard-as-heck Toronto straight edge band.
9. Eric’s Trip
OK, Eric’s Trip were an untouchable addition to Canada’s art-damaged indie rock canon. But how much do we really miss them, considering that Julie Doiron still makes incredible records, Rick White runs Blue Fog records, and they helped develop Sackville into a thriving arts hub? Eric’s Trip have done just as much disbanded as they have as a collective.
Before the city became known for its shockingly good garage scene (and METZ), Ottawa had Furnaceface, a post-grunge indie troupe that experimented with punk and power pop conventions. They also brought the lulz, as evidenced by tracks like “If You Love Her (Would You Buy Her a Gun),” “Mall Culture Superstar,” “2 Punks, A Dad, and a Snowboard,” and “Nice Suit… Asshole.”
The greatest thing about the Gandharvas? The fact that singer Paul Jago sounded just like Perry Farrell.
Inepsy developed into one of Montreal’s all-time greatest punk bands—no small feat, considering the city’s well-documented love of the genre. While the band was initially associated with crusty / UK 82 circles, they eventually moved onto different British influences—namely, they became Canada’s answer to Motorhead. No, really. Just listen to “Born For the Road” above. Lemmy’s tearing up, guys.
Though Sonic Unyon’s best remembered for their mopey indie rock, they weren’t afraid to dig around in Canada’s noisier corners. Kittens were one of the label’s bright lights—as a child, I remember searching high and low for Doberman—and they represented Winnipeg’s noisy, metallic scene, which would eventually birth acts like the AUX-approved KEN Mode, Swallowing Shit, and more.
14. Organized Rhyme
“Check the O.R.” is a perenially underrated jam by Organized Rhyme, featuring the now-underrated Tom Green. Things haven’t been the same since Freddy Got Fingered, a stroke of loboto genius that was, sadly, a commercial flop. Daddy, would you like some sausage?
15. Philosopher Kings
It’s true what they say. Plato, in The Republic, said that his ideal state would be managed by a group of soft-rockers from Thornhill, ON.
By our less-than-scientific estimates, half our readers were repulsed by Prozzak, half considered them an inalienable part of their youth. As for us, we’re still amazed that a virtual Eurodance band consisting of two cartoon characters—Simon and Milo—could even exist. Man, the ’90s, amirite?
Remember when technical pop-punk was the de facto soundtrack to skateboarding? That’s when Reset, a nimble Montreal pop-punk band, ruled the skate vid-sphere, singing songs about girls, girls, and environmental degradation. Members of Reset continue on as part of Simple Plan, so if you ever see Pierre, make sure to ask him if he thinks that global warming is a myth perpetuated by corrupt scientists and the liberal media, K?
18. Strapping Young Lad
Two words: Devin Townsend.
Because let’s be honest: Is there any band in Canadian music that plays soft-serve, boy band-esque R&B? Please come back, Sky.
20. The Smalls
They don’t make bands like Edmonton’s The Smalls anymore: led by the elastic, eccentric vocals of Mike Caldwell, they played sprightly punk rock infused with thrash, jazz, and country. (They are kin to SNFU, though fans of early Mike Patton could easily find a lot to like here.) Notably, bassist Corb Lund still carries the musical torch, though he’s moved onto a successful career in cowboy country.
Triumph were once a power trio who led Canada’s forays into hard rock, and it’s easy to see why: Check out this vid and its triumphantly huge singalongs.
David Usher has hinted that his carnal, coitus-scented alt rock act, Moist, will be reuniting. And were we the betting type, we’d wager that their reunion show will feature towel-optional steam rooms and aphrodisiac hors d’oeuvre platters, adorned with raw chocolate, yohimbe root essence, and rhinoceros horn. Usher will emerge to a pulsating throng of flesh—by that, we mean his fans—wearing nothing but a loincloth and a Venetian Carnival bird mask, and as soon as the opening notes to “Resurrection” hit, the scene will look like something straight outta Eyes Wide Shut.
Zuckerybaby had plenty of close ties to other Western Canadian alt-rock greats—Limblifter/Age of Electric’s Ryan Dahle purportedly filled in for the band’s drummer, while Todd Kerns helped pen some of their songs. Accordingly, theirs was a blend of high-gloss alternative, perhaps closer to Age of Electric than to Limblifter. And beyond “Overexposure” (above), “Adromeda” is one of the hugest tracks of the late ’90s.
CORRECTION: We listed Death From Above on this list originally; they are currently playing shows.
Tags: Music, Cancon, Lists, News, 13 engines, Agriculture Club, Alexisonfire, Attack in Black, Black Halos, canrock, Deadly Snakes, Death From Above 1979, Despised Icon, Moist, Organized Rhyme, Philosopher Kings, Prozzak, triumph, Zuckerbaby