The Weirder, The Better: A Celebration Of Weird Canada

By Elena Gritzan

Weird Canada is the best thing to have happened to Canadian music. If you have never heard of this blog and wonder how it could be an essential contributor to our musical culture, that is exactly the point of it: coverage and support of the unknown.

Started by Aaron Levin in May of 2009, Weird Canada is a website devoted to discovery and diversity. Its stated mission is: “to highlight the emerging and boundary-pushing musical adventures taking place in Canada, with a focus on regional peculiarities”.  This translates into almost daily features on obscure bands from anywhere in the country. This is what sets Weird Canada apart from the thousands of music blogs out there–dedication to uncovering and supporting hidden gems of talent.

I am pretty into Canadian music: I listen to CBC Radio 3 religiously and am no stranger to Toronto’s concert scene. Yet I can still count on Weird Canada to introduce me to bands I have never heard of before, genres I have never considered listening to, and music scenes of cities I have never been to. Listening to random tracks on the front page can be a hit and miss exercise. Sometimes what you hear will offend you, surprise you, or make you wonder if it is even music. But you will inevitably find at least one band that just clicks. They will not sound like the top 40 artists you hear on the radio, not even like the indie darlings praised by Pitchfork or the CBC. What they will be is special, and acquired tastes often have a way of becoming favourites.

All an album needs to be featured on the site is to have been released in a physical format by a Canadian artist. This emphasis on music as a physical entity reveals the site’s goal to promote music as something to be treasured–this is mirrored in their approach to reviews. A post on Weird Canada is not a critique; it is the enthusiastic sharing of a musical discovery from one music fan to another. What is the point of spending time talking about music that you do not like? Use that time instead to discover your future favourite band.

In its two years of existence, Weird Canada has grown past its humble beginnings as a small music blog. It hosts its own festival (Wyrd Fest features two stages and a continuous flow of music from a wide variety of bands), releases exclusive seven inch records, and was recognized by the CBC as the “Best Music Website in Canada” through their Searchlight 2011 contest.

You have probably been taking the music around you for granted. The best music you have ever heard could be right in your backyard, whether you live in Toronto or a small town.  So take some inspiration from Weird Canada and take a risk,  give an artist you have  never heard of a try, go see a show in the bar down the street, and listen to everything you can get your hands on.

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