The Re-emergence of Toronto’s Indie Scene

The ‘00s were a vitally important decade for indie music in Toronto. Bands such as Metric, Broken Social Scene, Death From Above 1979, and Crystal Castles were at the top of their game and really put the city on the map as a musical force to be reckoned with. But in recent years, with the exception of Death From Above 1979, who released a killer new record entitled The Physical World in 2014, many of those bands have fallen off the radar. Crystal Castles disbanded in 2014, Broken Social Scene continues to be on an indefinite hiatus, and Metric have been keeping a low profile since the release of their 2012 album Synthetica.

To anyone not in-the-know it might seem like Toronto’s music scene isn’t as vibrant as it once was, but thankfully, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Our city may not be getting as much media attention as it once did thanks to the critical and commercial success of the previously aforementioned bands, but that doesn’t mean that we have stopped creating quality art.

Here is a sampling of some of the best and most exciting underground acts that Toronto currently has to offer.

New Fries

New Fries started in 2013 by musicians Anni Spadafora, Jenny Gitman, and Tim Fagan. The three of them released an EP called They, I but shortly thereafter scrapped those songs and put out another offering entitled Fresh Face Forward courtesy of Pleasance Records in2014. New Fries plays a spastic, experimental brand of post-punk that has been described as “challenging” and “radically directionless” by media outlets. As Anni Spadafora herself confirmed in a recent interview with Impose Magazine, “It is directionless and that’s the point; the songs are meant to sound incomplete.”
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The Beverleys

The Beverleys are an all-female punk/grunge band hailing from Toronto’s west end. They’ve been a staple in the Toronto punk scene for the past few years and with good reason. Their music is engaging, energetic, and, above all, loud. You can hear a range of influences in their sound from ‘90s alternative bands like Sonic Youth and Nirvana to old school punk bands like The Ramones and The Stooges. Some might call it derivative, and perhaps it is, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not good. The Beverleys deliver a kind of raw, high-energy punk rock performance that will never go out of style, with plenty of distortion-heavy guitars, pummelling drums, and raspy vocals.
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Those familiar with the work of Anna Mayberry will probably know her best as a member of industrial/noise band HSY, but she also has a solo side project that is a radical departure from the cacophony of her main band. Recording under the name ANAMAI, Mayberry creates a dark, atmospheric style of experimental folk that makes for perfect bedtime music. Highly recommended for fans of Julianna Barwick or Grouper.
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Mexican Slang

Mexican Slang started out as a solo project of singer Annabelle Lee, who wrote and recorded most of the material herself in her home with nothing more than a computer and a guitar. Eventually the project grew into a three-piece band, and a record deal with Buzz Records (the label which is home to a roster of other fantastic Toronto bands such as Greys, Weaves, and Odonis Odonis) soon followed. Stylistically, the band plays music that is equal parts haunting, gritty and raw, bringing together lo-fi garage punk with the ethereal sounds of 80s goth bands such as Siouxsie and the Banshees and Cocteau Twins. Their latest single, “Fever,” ditches the lo-fi sound but still maintains the intensity of their previous material. Be sure to check them out when the play S.H.I.B.G.B.S in Toronto on March 28.
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