By Calvin Leung
Thousands of musicians each year enter the music industry hoping in 20 years they will be remembered fondly as their generations The Beatles or Led Zeppelin. While many lose their relevance before they had a chance to release the second record, there are a fine few in the Canadian music industry that will remain influential in years to come.
Calgary native Leslie Feist has been releasing music for over two decades. Her self-released debut Monarch was released in 1999 and immediately captured the attention of the Toronto underground music scene. The music featured a blend of genres such as; trip hop, indie rock, folk and jazz. It was a sound she further developed with her 2004 label debut Let It Die, which featured her signature song “Mushaboom.” The album went on to win the public vote for the Heritage Prize in the 1996-2005 category at the 2017 Polaris Music Prize.
Her third record The Reminder propelled her to the spotlight, with the song “1234” becoming a top 10 hit in the USA. The hit won Feist her first Grammy nomination, while her fourth album Metals saw her musical direction shift to one of overdub-laden, art rock-inspired indie pop.
Feist’s musical direction shifted once again on her most recent effort Pleasure, with the music now more reminiscent of Billy Bragg styled folk punk than her older efforts.
British singer James Blake’s lead single off his self-titled 2011 debut album is a cover of Feist’s “The Limit to Your Love”, a cover that to this day remains his highest charting single in his native country U.K.
She’s also part of the Canadian collective Broken Social Scene, which has also released some of the best received indie rock records in Canada over the past decade.
With 11 Juno Awards and a Polaris Music Prize to her name, Feist’s influence can already be seen as one that is cemented.
Arcade Fire was formed in Montreal by singer Win Butler, who over time recruited numerous members before settling on a final lineup with; Richard Reed Perry, Tim Kingsbury, Jeremy Gara, William Butler and Régine Chassange.
Like Feist, Arcade Fire has released five studio albums to date, with their debut record Funeral being named by Pitchfork as the second-best album of the 2000s, and the 151st greatest album of all time by Rolling Stones magazine. Even early on the band found themselves compared to greats such as R.E.M. and Radiohead.
Their second album Neon Bible was released in 2007 to the praise of critics. The band followed up the album with The Suburbs in 2010, which won album of the year at the Grammy Awards in 2011, making them the first band signed to an indie record label to win the award.
Their two latest releases Reflektor and Everything Now saw the band move towards a dance-rock direction inspired by bands like LCD Soundsystem, with Reflektor produced by LCD Soundsystem’s frontman James Murphy. The title track off Reflektor gave the band their first top 100 hit in the USA.
Famous fans and admirers of the band include David Bowie and Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine, with the former famously inviting the band in 2005 to perform with him in a live TV special and later providing backing vocals for their song “Reflektor.”
With all the albums they have currently released, Arcade Fire has already proven themselves to be one of the most influential acts of the 2000s, and without any incidents, one of the greatest bands of all time.
Toronto-based dream pop band Alvvays (pronounced always) has released two records, a self-titled record in 2014 and Antisocialites in 2017.
The band’s ability to become their generations Cocteau Twins is one based on current promise. While their debut proved to be a solid jangle pop/indie album, there was a fear that Alvvays will simply be a lesser Beach House or Angel Olsen.
However, Antisocialites proved otherwise, with them incorporating genres such as post-punk and shoegazing in their music. The album removed them from the tween pop scene and ascended them to the same level as other young, critically acclaimed indie acts such as Car Seat Headrest and Mitski.
Their latest effort began to draw in fans and collaborators from some of indie music’s forefathers, such as Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake.
Whether the Toronto Stars Ben Rayner’s clickbait-esque article, “Toronto’s Alvvays is too good to ignore” is pure hyperbole or one of pure truth is to be seen. The band has the potential become Gen Z’s Interpol or the Strokes.
An artists’ influence in the world of music will constantly debated throughout the end of time. People are still arguing to this very day whether The Beatles or the Rolling Stones were the better band. Despite so, everyone will agree both bands were great and the three acts mentioned above make a good case to include themselves in the same sentiment.
No matter what genre you are looking for, the future of music is already here and it’s Canadian.