Canada is famous for various reasons. Alongside its scenery, various landmarks, ice hockey, and maple syrup, The Great White North has produced its fair share of musical exports. From Nickleback to Justin Bieber to Drake to Rush, Canada’s music output has stretched into many genres. Amongst them is pop-punk. Most notably Sum 41 and Simple Plan have been carrying the maple leaf flag for over 20 years. Whereas Like Pacific and Seaway are some of the more recent success stories to emerge.
In brief, the pop-punk genre and the Canadian music scene are thriving, and one standout band is July Crowd. Hailing from Prince George, British Columbia, the trio of Dom Walters (vocals and guitar), Niko Stivanakis (bass), and Nic Faller (drums), initially bonded over their desire to escape retail jobs, jamming to Goldfinger and blink-182 covers. Their 2021 debut EP, ‘Roses & Adderall,’ delivered five infectious skate pop-punk tracks.
This summer, they returned with ‘Seat of Your Pants’, blending introspective emo elements with lively and summery hooks, all while proudly embracing their pop-punk identity. For example, recent single and EP opener, ‘Intentions’, wouldn’t sound out of place on a 2000s Warped Tour compilation. Likewise, ‘All Gone Wrong’ and ‘PissTake’ flourish with their bold hooks. Whereas ‘The Same Way’ goes down a more reflective route.
Clearly, they’re a band who aren’t ashamed to be classed as “pop-punk”, so we thought we’d ask July Crowd vocalist and guitarist Dom Walters to tip us off about some of their fellow countrymen. So read on to discover 5 unsigned Canadian pop-punk bands.
Southern Ontario’s Hey Slugger has been on our radar since they reached out to us in the very early days of our band. (or maybe we reached out to them first? I can’t remember haha!) We love the music they’ve been making, and their song ‘Ring The Bell’ from January of this year has been in our rotation since it came out!
I’m a sucker for pastel-colour guitars, and the music video totally satisfied my pop-punk-pastel-colour cravings. Also, if you didn’t notice the drum rug, you need to watch it again. So rad. This band reminds me a lot of Equal Vision Records’ Sleep On It, and I’m all about it.
Just what I love to hear from a band with a heavier pop-punk approach, All Honestly are from Nova Scotia, and they nail ‘just pop enough’ choruses, but with an arrangement that begs for moshing, headbanging, or whatever other form of energy expulsion.
These guys rock; if they weren’t on the other side of the country, we’d have been jumping around like lunatics at their live show by now.
Last year’s ‘White Noise‘ is the track we picked to feature; a rocking song with a concise video theme and good lyrics. Their debut EP, especially the song ’33 Years’ is a must-listen too!
Ready Steady Steroid
I don’t like to play favourites, but we’ve probably been rocking to Barrie, Ontario’s Ready Steady Steroids the longest. While so many of the unsigned bands we liked when we started have fizzled out, quit, or moved on, these guys have been a staple of consistency.
Our favourite song from them by far has been ‘Sanity’ from 2021, but we find ourselves constantly excited for the next new thing from these pop-punkers. While we chose to feature one of their oldest videos (mostly because it’s so freaking funny), their new song ‘Inglorious’ has blown us away; finding the “why can’t we all just be happy” line stuck in my head since the song came out.
The timing couldn’t be better for us to discover this band from Montreal. SUCKERPUNCH! (Don’t mix them up with the other 20 similar-named acts on Spotify) are rocking Canada’s East, and it seems we’re late to the game. Sorry for sleeping on you, SUCKERPUNCH!
This seems like a perfect opportunity to show off their brand new song ‘Game Time‘ from August, since it’s already our favourite. The mix and vocal tones are killer on this track. Lyric content is fantastic too, just a really well-written song! Here’s to (MTL’s) hometown hero!
Summerled may seem like the underdogs of the list, but this duo has a passion for classic pop punk like we have never seen! We discovered them in 2021 with their song ‘Kinda Strange’. Definitely the more pop-side of pop punk, these guys share similarities with our favourite singalong 2000’s stuff like Busted, Bowling For Soup, and New Found Glory! Bright and sunny pop punk, just the way we liked it.
We have a lot of love for our west coast band buddies all around BC and AB (Alberta), but with our favourite pop-punkers on indie or major Labels, we couldn’t include anyone on the west. If you’re reading this, help us get in touch with more independent pop-punk bands on the west coast!
‘Seat of Your Pants’ by July Crowd is out now.