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CBC Radio 3's 50 essential tracks of the '90s

Andrea Gin

Depending on what kind of music you were into, the ‘90s can bring back memories of a lot of different things: the arrival of grunge, the exhaustion of all-night raves, the explosion of Britpop and/or the plethora of boy bands that are probably now best forgotten. Even though the decade predated the beginnings of CBC Radio 3, it was vitally important to the music we play, as it was a time when Canadian indie bands started to take over the airwaves.

Many of the "foundation" artists we play on our station today are offshoots of bands that started in the ‘90s: Joel Plaskett, Sarah Harmer, John K. Samson, Carl Newman and Julie Doiron all began their music careers in the ‘90s in indie rock bands. Others like Sloan, Hayden, the Sadies and By Divine Right are still going strong today.

We also remember bands like Pluto, 13 Engines Local Rabbits and Plumtree, who are all now sadly broken up, but a huge part of the Radio 3 playlist when we hit the air in the early 2000s.

In the spirit of celebrating our roots, we decided to put together a list of what we consider to be the 50 essential Canadian indie tracks of the ‘90s. Caution: listening to this stream might bring back extreme nostalgia for plaid flannel shirts, mixtapes and possibly your youth.

  1.  The Weakerthans, 'Letter of Resignation' from the album Fallow
  2. Thrush Hermit. 'From the Back of the Film' from the album Clayton Park
  3. cub, 'My Flaming Red Bobsled' from the album Come Out Come Out
  4. Weeping Tile, 'Cold Snap' from the album Cold Snap
  5. Pluto, 'Thirsty' from the album Cool Way to Feel
  6. Jale, 'Ali' from the album So Wound
  7. Zumpano, 'The Party Rages On' from the album Look What the Rookie Did
  8. 13 Engines, 'King of Saturday Night' from the album A Blur to Me Now
  9. Local Rabbits, 'Stomp Your British Knights Down' from the album Basic Concept
  10. The Inbreds, 'Any Sense Of Time' from the album Kombinator
  11. Lowest of the Low, 'Henry Needs a New Pair of Shoes' from the album Shakespeare My Butt
  12. Limblifter, 'Vicious' from the album Limblifter
  13. Hardship Post, 'Watchin You' from the album Somebody Spoke
  14. King Cobb Steelie, 'Slump' from the album Project Twinkle 
  15. Change Of Heart, 'Little Kingdoms' from the album Steelteeth
  16. Rheostatics, 'Record Body Count' from the album Melville
  17. Sloan, 'Coax Me' from the album Twice Removed
  18. Mystery Machine, 'Wake Up Pill' from the album Headfirst Into Everything
  19. Blinker the Star, 'Below the Sliding Doors' from the album August Everywhere
  20. The Flashing Lights, 'Where the Change Is' from the album Where the Change Is
  21. Gob, 'You're Too Cool' from the album Too Late... No Friends
  22. Huevos Rancheros, 'Secret Recipe' from the album Dig In!
  23. Eric's Trip, 'Anytime You Want' from the album Love Tara
  24. Tristan Psionic, 'Divided' from the album TPA Flight 028
  25. Plumtree, 'Tropical' from the album Mass Teen Fainting
  26. The Super Friendz, '10lbs.' from the album Mock Up, Scale Down
  27. BUM, 'Your Disciple' from the album Wanna Smash Sensation
  28. Choclair, 'Let's Ride' from the album Ice Cold
  29. Hip Club Groove, 'Shootin the gift' from the album Trailer Park Hiphop
  30. Moev, 'In & Out' from the album Head Down
  31. Bran Van 3000, 'Couch Surfer' from the album Glee
  32. Sons Of Freedom, 'You're No Good' from the album Gump
  33. Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, 'Be My Witness' from the album Shy Folk
  34. By Divine Right, 'Come for a Ride' from the album Bless This Mess
  35. Hayden, 'Bad As They Seem' from the album Everything I Long For
  36. The Sadies, 'I Tried Not To'
  37. Feist, 'Cool to Love Your Family' from the album Monarch Lay Your Jewelled Head Down
  38. The Grapes Of Wrath, 'You May Be Right' from the album These Days
  39. Blurtonia, 'Perfect Crime' from the album Blurtonia
  40. Forbidden Dimension, 'A Cold & Lonely Evil' from the album Widow's Walk
  41. Danko Jones, 'Bounce' from the album My Love is Bold ep
  42. Elevator, 'Why I Didn't Like August 93' from the album Parts 1-3
  43. Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, 'Peas Porridge Rock' from the album Sport Fishin'
  44. Furnaceface, 'About to Drown' from the album Just Buy It
  45. The Smalls, 'My Dear Little Angle' from the album My Dear Little Angle
  46. Jerry Jerry & the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra, 'Venus' from the album The Sound and the Jerry
  47. Jr. Gone Wild, 'I Don't Know About All That' from the album Too dumb to Quit
  48. Skydiggers, 'I Will Give You Everything' from the album Skydiggers
  49. Men Without Hats, 'Sideways' from the album Sideways
  50. The Pursuit Of Happiness, 'Two Girls in One' from the album When We Ruled: The Best of The Pursuit of Happiness