magazine showcases unsigned Canadian acts in our Showcase section. We publish this section online to help further promote Canadian artists.
To have your band considered for Showcase, go to www.sonicbids.com/cmshowcase.
What: Pop punk
Where: Laval, QC
For a group that has only existed since 2013, Quebec-based pop-punk band Amasic has already racked up an impressive list of achievements.
Since releasing their debut EP, The Things We Say, in March 2014, the group has performed dates on the Vans Warped Tour while also playing a number of summer festivals throughout Quebec and Ontario.
Amasic has received support from a number of high-profile groups, including fellow Quebecrooted pop-punk outfit Simple Plan, with whom they have already shared stages. The group was also given the opportunity to pen a trio of songs with Simple Plan members Pierre Bouvier, Chuck Comeau, and Sebastien Lefebvre.
Amasic’s music videos for their tracks “All For Myself,” “Another Night,” and “You’re A Freak” have seen extensive airtime on MusiquePlus in their home province and the three have also accumulated more than a combined 330,000 views on YouTube.
Given how impressive their resume is for a new and independent act, the sky could be the limit for Amasic moving forward.
Where: North Vancouver, BC
It only takes a few seconds of a typical track from British Columbia jazz guitar duo Double Helix for members Tony and Peter Chotem to stun listeners with their impressive instrumental prowess.
It was their father, Neil Chotem – an accomplished Montreal composer and musician in his own right – who instilled in the brothers the importance of originality and who also encouraged their development both as players and as composers.
That education seems to have served the brothers Chotem well as their versatility takes centre stage on bluesy tracks like “Bluesoph,” while other songs such as “Mermel’s Moment” and “Sigrid” are relatively straightforward jazz numbers that showcase some impressive chops.
The duo keeps themselves busy as active members of the thriving Vancouver jazz scene. Following performances in Salt Lake City and at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Double Helix embarked on a Canadian tour that saw them touch down in many cities in Central and Western Canada. Expect more progress from this pair in the near future.
What: Children’s Music
Where: White Rock, BC
With more than a quarter century of songwriting and performance experience under his belt, it should surprise few that British Columbian children’s entertainer Max Tell has amassed such a loyal following.
Aside from festival appearances throughout North America, South America, Asia, and Australia, Max has also received recognition in six different international songwriting competitions.
Among his achievements, “The Kid Who Hid His Head In A Box” placed second in the Royal City Literary Arts Society’s Write-On Contest this year while “Cat In My Hoody” was both a 2012 Great American Song Contest award winner and a runner-up for the 2013 Australian Songwriters Association Contest. In 2010, “Cow In The Cowitchen” was a semi-finalist in CBC’s Canada Writes Competition. Max was also one of three Canadian storytellers selected for the TD Canadian Children’s Book Tour in 2013.
Max Tell’s ability to connect with children is undeniable. It is simply a matter of time before he joins the ranks of other illustrious children’s entertainers cherished by those of all ages.
Where: Edmonton, AB
For an artist that hasn’t even reached age 20 yet, Edmonton’s Olivia Wik is making mighty big waves in the Canadian country music industry.
Having performed at the Canadian Country Music Awards, the Calgary Stampede, and the Big Valley Jamboree, Wik is quickly becoming an in-demand sensation. She has written no less than 100 songs with 40 different songwriters in the last three years and had two of those (“Alberta Pride” and “Taste The Sun”) used in the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Off The Beaten Palate. More recently, Wik helped write the title track for Be Yourself, the Every Woman Organization compilation CD, alongside notable figures Dan Hill and Sophie Serafino.
A three-time Alberta Country Music Award nominee and a 2014 Edmonton Music Award nominee, we believe that it won’t be long before national accolades begin rolling in for this talented songwriter.
Where: Oshawa, ON
Despite being only 25 years old, Rory Taillon has all the qualities of an old soul. Offering up a compelling mix of the blues with generous amounts of rock and roll and some Jimi Hendrix influence thrown in for good measure, his unique approach to music helps to truly set him apart.
Released last September, Taillon’s full-length debut, It’s Not Black & White, is the follow-up effort to his 2012 EP Closure and eschews big production values and recording studio tricks in favour of an organic, personal approach to music. That same honesty and transparency extends to the lyrical themes of the seven-song effort.
Deeper than that, however, the album’s title refers to Taillon’s belief that people don’t often see the grey areas that can exist on any variety of topics. It is that social awareness that makes for such a compelling listen, proving that Rory Taillon & The Old Souls will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future.
Where: Winnipeg, MB
Irresistible pop melodies are the order of the day with Manitoba trio The Perms, a group that is anything but new to the Canadian music landscape. Formed in 1998, the group released their sixth independent album, The Aberdeen EP, earlier this year.
The Perms’ latest collection is a shining example of power-pop at its near-finest. The group seemingly has an abundance of sing-along worthy choruses and glorious guitar-driven melodies at the ready, reminiscent of scene stalwarts like Sloan and Redd Kross. Earlier this year, the band cut a Breaking Bad-inspired video for their track “The Parent Thing,” an ironic contradiction given the seriousness of the original show stacked up against the song’s upbeat, sunny disposition.
In addition to maintaining an ever-busy performance schedule, The Perms have also performed at a host of Canadian music festivals including CMW and NXNE and enjoyed extensive runs throughout Europe. If there is any justice in the world, The Perms’ tenacity, perseverance, and commitment to their vision will pay off in spades some day soon.
What: Hip-Hop, Pop
Where: Hamilton, ON
If you had to use one word to sum up the music of Hamilton, ON’s Kolton Lynch, it would be “world class.” Okay, so that’s two words. You got us. But a more accurate description could not be found.
Lynch’s radio-friendly songs are in the same vein as certifi ed platinum hit-makers like Jason Derulo or Canada’s own Drake. Yet for the infl uence that those two artists may have on his work, Lynch stands out as an original. He writes uplifting, infectious dance anthems that radiate energy, most recently heard on his Red Lipstick EP which was released this past Valentine’s Day as a “name your price” download on Bandcamp.
Just 10 days following its initial release, his video for “Sun Goes Down” had racked up more than 50,000 views on YouTube – an impressive feat for any artist, let alone one that is still climbing the ladder of the Canadian music industry. Lynch has also shared the stage with the likes of Joell Ortiz, Karl Wolf, and Danny Fernandes, just to name a few.
If he’s able to maintain this momentum, there’s no reason Kolton Lynch can’t be Canada’s next big international breakout artist.
What: EDM, Hip-Hop
Where: Waterloo, ON
Comprised of brothers Jules and Jakey, Dog Bus has already showed an immense amount of promise despite the relatively young ages of its core members. Formed in 2006, the Dog Bus siblings have also branched out into other areas of the entertainment world, including having formed a production partnership and DJ team.
With instrumental help from Mercedes and Phoenix Arn-Horn from pop-rock trio Courage My Love, Dog Bus just released their album Booty Seizure, a collection of self-produced tracks that also features guest production from the likes of James Robertson (Down With Webster) and Tino Zolfo (Carly Rae Jepsen). Their song “Cherry Lipstick” has been featured on the hit television show Degrassi: The Next Generation.
Dog Bus has brought the infectious feel of its recordings to the live stage, setting off high-energy dance parties with the help of a full backing band. They have performed at prestigious Canadian music festivals including North by Northeast, Canadian Music Week, and Pop Montreal and supported acts like Dragonette, Sean Kingston, and Marianas Trench.
As the group refuses to adhere to traditional ideals of music, they are bravely cutting their own path – and at an impressive pace to boot.
What: Folk, Pop
Where: Montreal, QC
A native of Newfoundland that is currently “wandering the world,” Jeremy Murphy weaves intricate tales with his music.
The gentle approach that Murphy takes to songwriting is arguably his best quality. Although he might not be reinventing the wheel with respect to the music he creates, there is an earnest honesty inherent in his songs, making them all the more endearing.
Nowhere is this more evident than on the 11 confessional-style songs featured on his sophomore collection, Some Form of Afterthought. Released this past May, the album fi nds Murphy backed by minimal instrumentation and proudly bearing the infl uence of songwriting greats like Bob Dylan and, in more contemporary terms, Canada’s own Ron Sexsmith in his DNA.
The long lost art of storytelling via music is something that Murphy may not singularly revive but there is little question that this musician knows his way around a song.
What: Pop Rock
Where: St. John’s, NL
RocketRocketShip’s distinct sound is rooted in rock and roll, but thanks to some catchy pop hooks, they’ve had little trouble finding a home on a variety of Canadian radio stations coast to coast. Performing with the likes of Marianas Trench, Down With Webster, Arkells, and Faber Drive probably hasn’t hurt their profile, either.
Their debut single, “Back Where I Belong,” taken from their 2012 LP Your Best Kept Secret, set the stage nicely for the subsequent release of the single “Here’s To Us” approximately a year later. The latter track quickly found a home on satellite radio, Hot AC, AC, Rock, Top 40, and College radio stations right across the country.
Their impressive work eithic is not going unnoticed. In addition to showcases during last year’s East Coast Music Week, the group also scored four nominations at the 2013 Music NL Awards, taking home the prize for Pop/Rock Group of the Year.
Their next effort, Shake It Off, is expected to drop later this year, and fans of hooky pop rock done right should keep an ear out for it.