By Emma Silvers
By Gary Moskowitz
By Alee Karim
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Derek Opperman
By Emma Silvers
By Alee Karim
They love snow. They hate hype. They all play in each other's bands -- sorry, "collectives" -- in the hipster enclaves of Toronto, Montreal, and beyond. And they have kingmaker music site Pitchforkmedia.com on speed dial. They are the heralded rock bands of Canada, our neighbor to the north and the world's latest music hot spot. And because these frostbacks keep swinging through the Bay Area, you'll need this handy guide to the fastest-rising stars of the bunch:
Last Album: The surprise (not least to the band) breakout You Forgot It in People(2002).
Known For: Jumping from post-rock instrumentals to overdriven rockers that suck the air out of your lungs -- and then right when the music gets going, the band goes back to sounding like the Sea and Cake.
How Big Are These Guys?: Pitchfork's out-of-nowhere stellar review (the site's first of many for the bands on this list) gave this Toronto posse's You Forgot Ita huge boost, and hopes run high for the self-titled follow-up, even though its original title was Windsurfing Nation.
Fun Fact: Aside from the core founders, Broken Social Scene has no fixed membership but maintains ties to half the bands in Canada, like Stars, Feist, Apostles of Hustle, and more. Refer to the Web site for the group's self-started label, www.arts-crafts.ca/bss/tree.html, for the interactive family tree.
Signs of Slumping?: Album No. 3 comes out in October, and it's a winner, more unified and ferocious than You Forgot It. Even more guests -- including rapper K-OS -- piled into the studio to lend a hand on it, upgrading the band's status from "collective" to "horde."
In Their Own Words: Kevin Drew describing the new album to Pitchfork: "Raw fucking puke and love," and, "At the end of the day it's just music made by people who don't own a filtering system."
S.F. Dates:Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the Grand (www.anotherplanetent.com).
Last Album: Funeral(2004).
Known For: Writing rock anthems about dead family members.
How Big Are These Guys?: By now your mom knows this band: The quintet stole the show at Lollapalooza '05 and landed an opening slot on U2's tour. But the indie crowd has worshipped the Arcade Fire since last summer, to the point that enthusiastic fans swapped -- and Pitchfork even reviewed -- a Christmas EP that the real members didn't even play on.
Fun Fact: Singer and keyboardist Régine Chassagne's family came from Haiti, but moved to Quebec in the '60s. Her great-uncle served as an ambassador for Haiti -- and he was also a political activist who trained with Fidel Castro. Take that, M.I.A.!
Signs of Slumping?: Not really. In concert the band is as vibrant as ever. But the ballad it recorded for Six Feet Under, "Cold Wind," was a disappointingly twangy little downer -- and how do you top a debut like Funeral?
In Their Own Words: Richard Reed Parry, speaking to Prefixmagazine: "People were like, 'Oh my God! How do you feel about the hype? Do you think there's a backlash now?' We were like, 'A backlash? We put out our record four days ago and you're asking whether we've noticed a backlash?'"
S.F. Dates:Sunday, Sept. 18, at the Warfield (www.bgp.com).
Last Album: Two self-released EPs.
How Big Are These Guys?: Sub Pop signed Wolf Parade and sent the act on tour with the like-sounding Modest Mouse, after which it almost broke up, blew off the label, and wouldn't take any calls for a year. But this fall the band is back. Anticipation runs high for the debut album, and Wolf Parade just grabbed the guitarist from Hot Hot Heat for its next tour, which is a little like stealing the high school quarterback's girlfriend -- when you're 25 and live in a basement.
Fun Fact: Every year, theremin, synth, and noise guy Hadji Bakura spends two months in a bug-infested part of British Columbia, planting trees.
Signs of Slumping?: Hell no. Apologies to the Queen Mary -- due out Tuesday, Sept. 27 -- trumps both of the EPs and suggests the band will live up to the hype.
In Their Own Words: Dan Boeckner, from an interview with blogger Jeremy Brendan: "We're just a bunch of drunks. We're all from Victoria. Victoria is kind of the Australia of Canada. It's a really weird isolated island community and people out there like to get fucked up."
S.F. Dates:Sunday, Sept. 18, at the Warfield, opening for the Arcade Fire.
Last Album: Let It Die(2004).
Known For: A sultry croak that makes her sound perpetually 10 seconds away from orgasm.
How Big Is She?: Leslie Feist became the scene's leading chanteuse as a solo artist and a founding affiliate of Broken Social Scene. She's now bubbling up internationally -- starting in France, her new home -- after a collaboration with Massive Attack and an invitation to tour with Bright Eyes.