When you think Canadian Road trip, what’s your soundtrack? There are the obvious picks from home-grown greats like The Hip, Rush, Neil Young, perhaps a little Morissette for good measure…Indeed, when it comes to tunes that pair well with tarmac, Canada certainly isn’t shorthanded. Now, I’ve already written about Canada’s top ten road trips, so I could make up a road trip playlist that includes every big hit from famous bands that emerged in the North like some thoughtless pedestrian blogger. Or, of course, I could instead create a different mix of Canadian bands/songs that are equally as deserving of your car stereo (but more unexpectedly so).
Yeah, I’ll do with the latter.
Stars: Take Me to the Riot
We’ll start with the well-known Canadian pop-rock collective Stars and their enegetic single Take Me to the Riot. This diverse music machine from Toronto and Montreal will soon have you chanting ‘take me to the beer store!’ or ‘take me to the in-laws! (but sedate me first!)’ or ‘take me…..just take me anywhere goddamnit!’. Turn it up or get out.
Hey Rosetta!: Seeds
Newfies: people born for road trips and road trip tunes. This example is no different. The eclectic rockers from St.John’s have created yet another piece we can enjoy cranked loud behind the wheel. This song was actually written about being on the road. How the hell can you ask for anything more perfect?
Land of Talk: Quarry Hymns
You need to vary your roadtrip playlist. While the above two selections say ‘DRIVE, motherfucker, DRIVE!’ this one in particular be all like ‘drive, but relax yourself. Be the car. Breathe it in. Flow with the road. Eat a fruit salad. Pee in the cornfield.’ Allow lead singer Elizabeth Powell to sooth that travellin’ bug and transcend into a world of open air and ridiculously expensive gas stations in the middle of nowhere. This is a hymn for the road-weary.
The Strumbellas – I Ain’t Tryin’ to Die
We’re in need some serious country infusion here, but not the ‘I shot my horse in the leg’ kind of country music. Nay – only the indie country delivered by six-piece folk band The Strumbellas. Nothing really makes more sense on a roadtrip than some good ol’ foot stompin’ yee-haws and a “Hallelujah” for freedom. Tis a toast to the road; just not when we’re driving.
*The Strumbellas are so awesomely indie I couldn’t find a video of this song. Instead, here’s a link to the Soundcloud version of I Ain’t Tryin to Die.
Great Lake Swimmers – Your Rocky Spine
An ode to Canadian landscape, tastefully likening it to a sexy ass woman. That’s what you get with Great Lake Swimmers – polite, articulate…but master seducers nonetheless. Originally from the small town of Wainfleet, Ontario, the Swimmers continue to crank out melodic folk rock that was built for the travelling person.
The Arcade Fire: Keep the Car Running
Ah, another under-celebrated Canadian great: The Arcade Fire. Other than producing songs that are just epic, the Fire continue to embrace their astonishing creative scope by producing music that fits all kinds of descriptions and categories. It goes with the territory when you have a million different musicians in one band who are all riding on a neverending rainbow of innovation. This time around, you’ll want keep your car (and its stereo) running. Loudly.
Tokyo Police Club: Favourite Food
Road trips are perfect opportunities to take a trip down memory lane, and Tokyo Police Club offers you a perfect mental vehicle. This group of youngsters from Newmarket have grown recent notoriety for their fast-pased, post punk style with catchy riffs and light-hearted lyrics. “Favourite Food”, originally released on their first LP entitled Champ, is a departure from the aforementioned formula, but a perfect piece for the road.
The Weakerthans: One Great City!
Road trips are for seeing the unseen and escaping life in the smog dome. Winnipeg natives The Weakerthans are all too accustomed to the daily routine, perfectly summarizing life in the city with their working-class antithesis One Great City!. Insert ‘Winnipeg’ with your home town, hop in a car and let the Weakerthans sail you out of the concrete jungle and into open air.