Music Industry

“Rock Isn’t Dead. It Just Moved to Canada.”

It’s always nice to get some American notice and approval, innit? This is from

Where else can you go, if not New York? As the early-aughts New York revival faded to static, the center of gravity in indie rock reverted to its default provincial location: somewhere in the countryside, but not too far away. Suburbs and campuses have always been the genre’s traditional spawning grounds: Even in the New York scene, schools provided a vital space for potential band members to coalesce. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs formed at Oberlin; an NYU philosophy course assisted in the creation of Interpol. The Strokes? Put in touch through a set of elite private high schools, plus NYU. Ultimately, though, the heart of indie music has traditionally resided outside New York. After the early-aughts rock boom went bust, that heart moved all the way out of America.

It wasn’t as if Canadian musicians hadn’t been making an impact south of their border for some time: Leonard Cohen, Celine Dion, Alanis Morissette, Nickelback, Sum 41, and Avril Lavigne are just some of the Maple Leaf artists who had found adoring fans and reaped enormous profits Stateside. Canadian indie rock, though — that was a new thing for Americans. The New Pornographers, Metric, Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, the Weakerthans, Japandroids — the relative familiarity of their sound to American ears helped conceal the fact that, collectively, their success amounted to a full-on invasion. Though never announced as such, this (peaceful) offensive met little resistance. One early sign of their ascension came with Arcade Fire’s Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album in 2006. Decisive victory would have to wait a few more years — until the same band won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2011.

What was so different about the Canadians?

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 38019 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on ““Rock Isn’t Dead. It Just Moved to Canada.”

  • Maybe but I’m not really convinced. I’ll have to give it some thought which means I shouldn’t have commented yet. Doh!


Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.