West Coast Boyz! (Or East if you so desire)


I might just be another one of those nutcase conspiracy theorists who come up with crazy ideas like that George W. was elected by a secret plan laid out by the ultra-conservative cheese lobby (we don’t want France’s namby-pamby gourmet cheeses forcing hearty Wisconsin cheese out of the market, do we?), but I think I smell another East-Coast, West Coast gang war in the music industry. Only this time, its not going to be competing rap labels who will be popping caps at each other, but rather those art-schooling, clarenet-playing indie-rockers who will be involved in this decades turf wars—and not just any indie rockers, Canadian indie rockers.

That’s right. Over the past few years, I have been studying the patterns closely and have come to realize that the Canadian indie rock scene is sharply divided into two main camps, roughly divided by their latitudes. These factions involve bands that intermingle frequently, forming new bands together and collaborating on albums, but rarely, if ever does a band member from one coast play together with a member from the other. This, in my humble opinion is a recipe for an eventual turf war that has the potential to leave Canada without many of its most prized musicians (no, not Avril Lavige).

So who are in these gangs? Well, the head of the East Coast is none other than Broken Social Scene. I mean, when there are 20+ members in a rock band, you know there is going to be trouble. Other affiliated groups include, to name a few: Feist, Metric, Apostle of Hustle, Do Make Say Think, Valley of the Giants, Stars, Emily Haines, Memphis, The Most Serene Republic, Jason Collet, Amy Milan and The Dears. Notice how members of these bands seem to intermingle. Yet, have you ever heard of Amy Milan play with The New Pornographers, who just happen to be the ringleaders of her West Coast rivals? Oh no, the New Pornos are too busy gallivanting about with the likes of Destroyer, Neko Case, Wolf Parade, Frog Eyes, Sunset Rubdown, Hot Hot Heat, Swan Lake, Bell Orchastre, and The Arcade Fire. Again, these bands intermingle and have a sound quite distinct from the East’s social scene.

Now, it’s possible that these two factions will learn to co-exist peacefully, but I’m willing to bet if the Pornos ever walks out of a Vancouver bar late at night and sees Kevin Drew (of BSS) hangin’ in their turf, there is going to be some major violence erupting, indie-rock style.

Oh, and if anyone cares about my two cents, I’d put my money on Broken Social Scene emerging victorious, mostly because of their seemingly infinite line-up, but also because I think Emily Haines will be two much for the Pornos to handle. Sorry guys.