Canada's Greatest Supergroups
Published Dec 04, 2019The Canadian music world is full of broken social scenes of famous friends and all-star collaborators. Here are some of the best — see if you can spot every appearance from Chris Murphy.
The latest addition to Canada's supergroup canon is Anyway Gang (pictured above), a pop rock combo featuring Sloan's Chris Murphy, Tokyo Police Club's Dave Monks, Hollerado's Menno Versteeg and Sam Roberts. The group, who describe their songs as "three chords maximum," released their self-titled debut album on November 29. As an extra layer in the group's supergroup cred, the album came out on Royal Mountain Records — the label co-run by Versteeg.
The Big Dirty Band
Formed specifically for 2006's Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, this multi-generational hard rock group featured members of Rush, Big Wreck, Three Days Grace, Die Mannequin and the Tea Party. Their only official release is a cover of "I Fought the Law." Rock on!
Broken Social Scene
Toronto super-collective Broken Social Scene add up to even more than the sum of their parts — which is really something, considering that the lineup includes (or has included) Feist, Emily Haines (Metric), Kevin Drew (K.C. Accidental), Brendan Canning (Cookie Duster/By Divine Right), Amy Millan (Stars) and a pile of other incredibly talented contributors.
Edwin from I Mother Earth leads '90s Can-rock supergroup Crash Karma, which also features the Tea Party's Jeff Burrows and former Our Lady Peace member Mike Turner. They haven't released an album since 2013's Rock Musique Deluxe, although their social media updates in the last couple years have hinted at a possible reunion.
Originally known as Hunter, this Moneen/Alexisonfire offshoot became Cunter due to a legal threat over the name. Lewd as it is, the name fits their abrasive, confrontational brand of punk rock. They put out a handful of fast and ferocious releases earlier this decade, but haven't been heard from much since 2013.
Rock trio Mounties have the most comically Canadian name imaginable, which is appropriate given their all-Canuck lineup, which features Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat/Fur Trade), Ryan Dahle (Limblifter/Age of Electric) and Hawksley Workman. Cary Pratt (Prairie Cat) and Parker Bossley (Gay Nineties/Hot Hot Heat/Fur Trade) help out live.
Naturally Born Strangers
Toronto collaborators Rich Kidd, Tona and Adam Bomb united for a debut as Naturally Born Strangers in late 2013, and it wasn't until 2015 that the same album earned them a Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year. We're still waiting for the followup.
The New Pornographers
Even with Destroyer's Dan Bejar sitting out the last couple albums, Vancouver-founded collective the New Pornographers still pack plenty of star power, thanks to notable solo songwriters Neko Case, A.C. Newman and Kathryn Calder. Their album In the Morse Code of Brake Lights arrived this fall.
Northern Touch All-Stars
A spinoff of Rascalz alongside Kardinal Offishall, Checkmate, Thrust and Choclair, Northern Touch All-Stars only ever released one song. That 1998 single, "Northern Touch," remains a landmark in the history of Canadian hip-hop.
Between Haviah Mighty's award-winning solo career, Keysha Freshh's recent solo turn, Field Trip, and Lex Leosis's busy touring schedule — plus former member pHoenix Pagliacci's recent R&B turn with TRP.P —Toronto hip-hop crew the Sorority were on their way to supergroup status before recently splitting up. "It's with a bittersweet feeling in our hearts that we have all decided to focus our energies on our individual careers," they said in a statement.
Trans-Canada Highwaymen is another one from Sloan's Chris Murphy — this one featuring former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page, Odds guitarist Craig Northey and the Pursuit of Happiness leader Moe Berg. They haven't actually released any original material, but their touring set features highlights from their respective catalogues.
Okay, one last one from Sloan's Chris Murphy. For TUNS, he linked up with a couple of fellow Halifax artists — Mike O'Neill of the Inbreds and Matt Murphy of the Super Friendz. Their 2016 self-titled debut channelled a classic murderecords power-pop sound in all of its harmony-drenched, '60s-inspired glory.
Luke Doucet is a guitar master who fronted Veal, released a string of solo albums and played in Sarah McLachlan's band; Melissa McClelland released a string of singer-songwriter albums in the '00s. Together as folk-rock duo Whitehorse, the married couple have found Juno-winning success. They've released four official LPs, plus a Christmas album and some EPs — most recently this year's The Northern South Vol. 2.