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11 Bands You Will Only Remember If You Were A Canadian 90’s Kid

Or, a strange nostalgic trip through my awkward 90's youth with videos.

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1. Moist

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Was it just me or did every Canadian adolescent girl experience her sexual awakening the first time she ever saw Moist front man David Usher? That soft bouncy hair, those slightly androgynous features, that manic glint in his eye as he as he sang about all things sexual and violent. Not going to lie, I loved Moist so much as a teen that I pre-ordered their most recent album this month.

2. Alanis Morissette

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Alanis was my power icon of the 90’s. While I liked the Spice Girls, and could totally get on board with their message, it was Alanis who truly made me reach out and grasp girl power for the first time. She was young, she was angry, she was shedding her good girl image, and taking a chunk out of every man who had ever wronged her, and I am pretty sure I was in love with her. Jagged Little Pill remains iconic in my memories of the 90's and my go-to album for getting through a breakup.

3. Odds

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I remember Odds vividly because they inadvertently taught me the definition of “heterosexual” as a kid. They also caused me to believe for quite a long time that being heterosexual was a deficiency in one’s brain. Listening to this song as an adult brings back a flood of confused memories about my sexuality, trying to sort out David Usher’s apparent lack of gender, and wondering if I had brain damage or not.

4. The Killjoys

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The Killjoys were the perfect band for feeding my pre-pubescent angst. I used to play musical chicken with my dad and listen to “Today I Hate Everyone” on my Walkman and pretend to be apathetic about the world while he tried to see how loud he had to crank Led Zeppelin on our stereo before it drowned out the music coming from my headphones. It was a game everyone lost because my mom would storm down the stairs and we’d both be stuck listening to Neil Diamond for the rest of the day.

5. Northern Pikes

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While this Saskatoon-based band was active in the late 80’s, their two (arguably) biggest hits She Ain’t Pretty and Girl With A Problem came out in 1990 and I remember them being everywhere! I played them so much on one family road trip my dad threw the cassette out the window and backed over it with his truck. In 2005 they released an album with Survivorman’s Les Stroud, which is one of the weirdest collaborations I’ve ever seen.

6. Meredith Brooks

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Orphan Black recently gave Meredith Brooks’ hit a boost again, but back in the day this song was the one of my go-to jams for feeling like an empowered woman (it didn’t hurt that my mom let me get away with saying “bitch” as long as it was in the context of the song either) and one of the first songs I tried to learn when I pitifully tried to pick up the guitar as a young teen.

7. Wild Strawberries

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When I was a kid I used to obsessively tape Hit List off of YTV (Not the one with the weird pink blow up furniture, but the one hosted by Tarzan Dan). To this day I have an entire crate of VHS tapes in my parent’s basement that probably contain every episode of Hit List ever aired. At the time I think I was probably after Backstreet Boys videos but it was later after many, many re-watchings that I discovered the Wild Strawberries from these tapes and they have remained one of my favourite bands ever since. So, thank you Tarzan Dan, wherever you are.

8. I Mother Earth

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I Mother Earth to me will always be one of those timeless Canadian bands like Our Lady Peace, Sloan, or The Barenaked Ladies: you turn on the radio and they are still all over the place! But for some reason no one seems to remember I Mother Earth. It could be because Edwin’s solo career was so awkward (remember "Hang 10") that, as a nation, we wanted to forget them very quickly.

9. Gandharvas

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This band used to be called The Droogs and I always kind of wished they had stuck with that because, as a kid, Gandharvas is incredibly difficult to say. There was a whole year where if anyone was watching MuchMusic, “Downtime” was practically the only video ever aired. This band was especially a big deal for me because they were from my hometown and my best friend once saw the lead singer, Paul Jago, at the mall (and he told her she was pretty).

10. Wide Mouth Mason

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As I teen I was inexplicably in love with Jamie Kennedy, and I used to think he and Shaun Verreault of Wide Mouth Mason were the same person. This was before you could just freely Google whatever you wanted whenever you wanted, so I lived in this ignorance, obsessively listening to this band and watching The Jamie Kennedy Experiment back to back. I know better now (I also know better than to still have a crush on Jamie Kennedy) but that doesn’t change the fact that Wide Mouth Mason made some classic 90’s jams that still hold up today.

11. Bran Van 3000

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I don’t know about elsewhere in the world but this one hit wonder took Canada BY STORM. This song was everywhere and still gets thrown on at retro nights across the nation. Though we were just some small town Canadian girls, this song made us aspire to be young carefree slackers in LA. Little known fact: this band once toured in Bob Dylan’s tour bus.

What was your favourite Canadian 90's Jam?

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