Vancouver Music Appreciation: 4 Great Bands You Need to Listen to

What do you imagine when you think of Vancouver? A day on the slopes at Grouse Mountain? Perhaps the array of multi-cultural food? People jogging in their lululemon gear around the seawall? Seagulls stealing food out of the hands of innocent tourists on Granville Island?

It seems like there are many memorable things about Vancouver, but for some reason, the music scene doesn’t seem to be one of them.

Why is that?

It does seem strange, considering our proximity to Seattle, which was booming with popular bands during the 90’s, most well-known of them all being Nirvana. Even to this, day, when you think of Seattle, images of the grunge scene come to mind.

Even other cities and regions in our own country, although geographically further away, had a distinct music scene: The Halifax pop explosion of the 90’s (Sloan, Jale, Erics Trip), or the weird yet strangely synergistic amalgamation of synth pop and punk in 80’s Montreal (Men without hats, Doughboys, the Nils).

Sure, Vancouver has had a lot of great bands over the years, but because there wasn’t ever really a specific “scene” out here, so many of them have gone unnoticed, under-appreciated, or just plain forgotten.

As someone who has grown to love the local music in Vancouver, I think it’s important to grow a stronger musical culture, and that means spreading the word about some of the best bands from the city, both past and present.

So, here is my list of 4 bands from Vancouver you need to listen to:

1. Said the Whale

Said The Whale

Established in 2007 and still going strong, this group is the quintessential Vancouver/BC indie pop band. They literally have songs about the city and other places in the province. Not just one, multiple. Some of their song titles are “The banks of the English Bay,” “B.C. Orienteering, and “Gambier Island Green.” This is a band that loves their town, and has no problem paying homage to it.

2. Ludic


Ludic is a fairly new band, having started in 2017 with Brothers Max and Rhett Cunningham and former Calpurnia guitarist Ayla Tesler-Mabe. It’s hard to pinpoint their sound exactly, but on spotify they describe themselves as “alien Motown.” Suffice to say, it’s some pretty funky stuff that will get you grooving. After two years of steadily releasing singles, they put their debut EP “Grown?” out in May of this year. I have a feeling these guys will be big one day, so you better go to one of their shows now so you can rub it in peoples faces in the future.

3. The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes Of Wrath

A bit of a throwback for this one. Technically, the Grapes of Wrath were originally from Kelowna, but relocated to Vancouver once their music started to take off in the late 80’s/early 90’s. I wasn’t even born when they were popular, but I started listening to their music 5 or 6 years ago and I’m surprised that more people don’t remember them. They had a few popular songs, including “All the things I wasn’t,” “You may be Right,” and “Peace of Mind,” and overall, their albums were really well put together and had that very iconic 80’s jangle to them. And who doesn’t love some jangle?

4. The New Pornographers

The New Pornographers

Don’t let the name of this band put you off. Formed in 1996 and releasing their first album “Mass Romantic” in 2000, these guys are practically Vancouver music veterans. They have a very interesting brand of quirky, off-kilter pop music that is extremely memorable. There is no mistaking them for anyone else. Plus, they’ve been mentioned on Gilmore Girls, so you know it’s good.

What do you think? Who else would you add to this list?


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