February 28, 2015

Canadian Musician 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.

The Cardboard Crowns

The Cardboard Crowns

What: Ska
Where: Ottawa, ON
Visit: www.thecardboardcrowns.com

With a balanced mix of ska, reggae, and punk rock, Toronto band The Cardboard Crowns offer something for a wide array of listeners, with lofty themes of social injustice set to infectious beats that boast a passion for life.

The current line-up of the group was solidi ed in 2009, and since then the band has been forging a buzz-worthy name for themselves. The Cardboard Crowns released their debut album, Global Citizen, in October 2014. The nine-track album leads o with “Pulling Teeth,” a thoughtful slice of a rock anthem before moving into high-energy, ska-influenced territory on “Global Citizen” and “Sun and The Stars.”

The Cardboard Crowns’ world-class sound adheres tightly to the well-established tradition of upbeat ska music while also pushing it forward with a unique voice.

Hats Off

Pyramids On Mars

Pyramids On Mars

What: Rock
Where: Hamilton, ON
Visit: www.pyramidsonmars.com

Although the music of Hamilton’s Pyramids On Mars takes on a heavy influence from guitar great Joe Satriani, guitarist Kevin Estrella also infuses his output with progressive and electronic elements, lending an otherworldly feel to the band’s debut album.

The more progressive elements of Rush can be heard interwoven into Pyramids on Mars’  music, keeping the listener engaged with time signature changes and virtuoso playing anchored in interesting melodies. This has earned them airplay in markets ranging from Canada and the U.S. to Brazil, the Netherlands, and the U.K. If anything, it is taking the road less travelled – in this case, guitar-driven, instrumental music – that helps Pyramids On Mars stand out from the plethora of other groups vying for a piece of the prog rock pie.

Battle for Rome

Amelie Patterson

Amelie Patterson

What: Folk, Blues
Where: Banff , AB
Visit: www.ameliepattersonmusic.com

Amelie Patterson is a Western Canadian singer-songwriter whose music traverses territories from blues to folk to rock.

A native of Canada’s Rocky Mountains, she learned to play guitar around the intimate con nes of the camp re, no doubt helping lend a gritty, soulful tinge to her music. Most impressive is her ability to tailor her vocals to the accompanying music. On tracks such as “Don’t Ask Me” and “Lights Down Low,” Patterson’s vocal approach is delicate, matching the accompanying cello and violin while she proves equally capable of cutting loose on songs like “Mirage.”

Patterson recently completed a six-week music residency at the Ban Centre for the Arts and has also participated in the VIA Rail Artist on Board program. She may very well be one of the next big things to come out of Canada.

Dont’ Ask



What: Pop punk
Where: Laval, QC
Visit: www.facebook.com/AmasicOfficial

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.

Double Helix


What: Jazz
Where: North Vancouver, BC
Visit: www.facebook.com/doublehelixjazz

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.

Sigrid 3

Max Tell


What: Children’s Music
Where: White Rock, BC
Visit: www.maxtell.ca

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.

Crazy Crazy Zoo Song

Olivia Wik


What: Country
Where: Edmonton, AB
Visit: www.oliviawik.com

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.

Olivia Wik – Firework

Rory Taillon & The Old Souls


What: Blues/rock
Where: Oshawa, ON
Visit: www.rorytaillon.com

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.


The Perms

What: Pop/rock
Where: Winnipeg, MB
Visit: www.theperms.com
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.

The Perms – The Parent Thing



What: Hip-Hop, Pop

Where: Hamilton, ON

Visit: www.koltonlynch.com 

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.

Can You Be Mine