Posted September 21, 2006 by Mike Mineo in Features

Canada: the band, not the country


The stereotype for bands named after countries or continents has gained common ground in the past few decades. From David Sylvian’s Japan to Europe’s “The Final Countdown”, it would seem that bands who name themselves like this tend to primarily exist as 80s synth groups, many of them not originating from the country they’re named after. Meet Canada. No, they aren’t from Canada, but actually from Michigan. They don’t play cheesily catchy synth music either, but rather, rich folk that is driven by a mixture of several guitar styles, classic strings, and varied percussion (that includes clapping, maracas, and traditional snares). Canada is on the large side, consisting of seven members who each individually have the talent to diversify themselves from the others, all while mixing their unique tastes together to make a wildly imaginative sound. I guess I could compare them to a folkier Arcade Fire, but that might be an understatement. Maybe their press release does them the best justice, saying their sound is as if “The Arcade Fire shows up at Sufjan’s cabin with blankets and board games.” Hah. Who doesn’t love hipster analogies?

Their debut album, This Cursed House, was recorded last winter and was released on Tuesday. I’m particulary fond of ‘Record Function’ and ‘Beige Stationwagon’. The two may be one of the better folk-pop songs I’ve heard this year. The mixture of strings and brass towards the end of ‘Beige Stationwagon’ is one example of the band’s excellent musical synchronization, while ‘Record Function’ holds together an irresistable chorus that all seven members of the band seem to be responsible for. It should only be a matter of time before Canada gets some more recognition, as This Cursed House is one of the most memorable debuts of 2006. They’re currently on tour in the Midwest, with several East Coast dates next month.

Canada – Record Function



Canada – Beige Stationwagon



Canada – Hexenhaus



Official Web Site



And for the hell of it… bands who love their geography:

Japan – The Art Of Parties


Japan – Still Life In Mobile Homes


Europe – The Final Countdown


New London Fire – Someone Like You


The Russian Futurists – Hurtin’ 4 Certain


Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine. Send your music to [email protected].