10 Awesome Canadian Alt-Rock Songs from the 90s That You’ve Probably Forgotten

Over the weekend, BuzzFeed has this list of 38 alt-rock songs from the 90s that we probably haven’t heard for years. I’m going to counter that with 10 Canadian songs from the same era that have gone AWOL.


1. Crash Vegas: “Inside Out” (1990)

Technically, this single came out in the waning months of 1989, but the album from whence it came was released in February 1990. That’s good enough for me.


2.  Nine Big Dogs:  “Dougie’s Lament” (1991)

One of the reasons I love going through my vinyl collection with you record by record is that I rediscover releases that haven’t been off the shelf for years. This is a perfect example. Nine Big Dogs were from St. Catharines and were together for about two years. In 1991, they released an album entitled Bite which featured this track called “Dougie’s Lament” written by singer Alex Bako, a former student at the TV Broadcasting program at Mohawk College. Bite did make it to CD, but it along with the vinyl has long been deleted. 


3.  Songs of Freedom:  “Call Me” (1992)

A single from their second album.  There was one more record after that, but it didn’t equal what the band did with their first two records.



4. I Mother Earth: “Not Quite Sonic” (1993)

I think I’ve had this song on every retro playlist I’ve made for every iPod/iPhone I’ve ever owned.


5.  Pure:  “Denial” (1994)

After being discovered at the Music West conference in Vancouver, they had a run of good luck that continued for the bulk of the decade.  This is from their 1994 release, Generation 6-Pack.


6.  Delerium: “Flowers Become Screens” (1994)

A gorgeous, floaty song from a side project of Front Line Assembly and an album entitled Semantic Spaces. The single is Kristy Thirsk from The Rose Chronicles.


7.  Slowburn:  “Whatever” (1996)

They got off to such a fast start with their self-titled debut album, but broke up before they could do anything else.


8.  Sandbox:  “Curious” (1997)

The band that featured the guy who we’d later know as Bubbles on The Trailer Park Boys.  Seriously. You can look it up.


9. Pluto:  “The Goodbye Girls” (1998)

Yet another band from Vancouver.  They survived through three albums, including Shake Hands with the Future, from which this single came.


10. Thrush Hermit: “The Day We Hit the Coast” (1999)

AKA the band that once featured Joel Plaskett.


Any other lost gems you’d like to add?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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