Homegrown Goods: Calgary’s Next Big Bands

With a solid mix of rock, punk and electronic sounds swelling in different pockets of Calgary, there’s no shortage of homegrown acts worth checking out. Here, a primer on some local up-and-comers you can catch before they get too big.

If you’re into the Arctic Monkeys then check out the Fast Romantics (pictured above). Named by Spin as a contender to be the world’s next great rock band, these boys play accessible Brit-rock that’s chock full of catchy pop hooks and sing-along choruses.

If you’re down with Joy Division, you’ll dig the Sharp Ends‘ buzz saw riffs and crazy live-show antics. The quartet has just released a seven-inch record on the Chicago-based HoZac Records that is getting a lot of play on campus radio.

Somewhere between Neil Young and Elliott Smith sit the lush melodies of Chad VanGaalen. The singer-songwriter started off busking and has since skyrocketed to indie mini-stardom with his three self-recorded albums, released internationally by Sub Pop Records.

Stray Cats‘ blend of country and rock might be the best reference for The Smokin’ 45s, a singular rockabilly band that puts on raucous concerts, complete with stand-up drummer and stand-up bassist.

The influence of Sigur Ros is evident in the swelling atmospheric music of Azeda Booth. Calgary’s best-kept electronic secret (but not for long), this trio carefully layers bizarre vocal melodies on top of their intricately structured sonic soundscapes.

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