Going by music trends of the past decade or so, it might be easy to assume that rock music lost its balls. In the era of raves, DJs, and auto-tune, it might look on the surface that somewhere in the 2000s, mainstream rock was cruelly and senselessly neutered by Nickleback-shaped scissors; but, dear reader, that assumption couldn't be farther from the truth. Enter Arkells
, a rock band from Hamilton, Ontario who is on a mission to bring back fresh, high-energy, no-bullshit rock and roll back to the mainstream.
Forming in 2008, Arkellsfeaturing Max Kerman on vocals/guitar, Mike DeAngelis on guitar, Nick Dika on bass, Anthony Carone on keys, and Tim Oxford drumscame about during an indie-rock resurgence in Canada, but unlike most of their punk-oriented counterparts, they also craft rock music with more classic and pop tendencies along with punk's raw aesthetic. Their ability and willingness to explore multiple genres and put them in context of a rock-band format is what makes Arkells stand out from the pack and break through the local rock scenes to reach much larger audiences. In fact, Kerman, the main songwriter, generally prefers Drake, Kanye West, and top 40 radio hits than current rock music, and those unusual sources of inspiration help make Arkells so much more than a typical rock band. At our Bands and Brews live show last month (which we'll be premiering for you all next week), Arkells stunned the audience their hard-hitting music, Kerman's witty lyricism, and their balls-to-the-wall insane showmanship. We're psyched to show you their performance real soon (like we said...next week!), but in the meantime, we wanted to tell you a little more about why this band is so freaking awesome.
After the releases of 2011's Michigan Left
and 2014's High Noon
, Arkells gained some national attention in their Canadian home turf, and the fruits of their labor began rolling in from there. Soon, the band earned themselves four Juno awards, a gold record for High Noon
, and was the most popular band on Canadian alt-rock radio in 2015. If there's a better way to stick it to the "rock is dead" trolls out there than that, I sure as hell can't come up with anything. With these kinds of accomplishments, it's obvious that Arkells' music isn't anything to snuff at. "Book Club," a highly popular cut from Michigan Left
, is a bright, guitar-driven track all about not fitting in and relying on both your friends and a good book to escape from it all for a while. From High Noon
, "Come to Light" is a high-octane foot stomper pretty much made to blast on your car radio if you find yourself driving over 90mph. Their most well-known track, "Leather Jacket" is a catchy-as-hell tune about those in our lives who make it hard to love them, but we love them all the same.
Never one to follow the pack, Arkells is embracing their hip-hop and pop influences even more, while still preserving their gutsy rocker energy, on their upcoming record, Morning Report
. The band offered a couple previews of the album during their performance, including the hilariously biting critique on stuck-up privileged kids, "Private School," and the upbeat crowd-pleaser about, as Kerman put it, "an old Communist guy named Pete," "A Little Rain." Be sure to check back in when we unleash Arkell's monstrous performance to the world, and look out for Morning Report, out August 5.