Alright punks! Gather round and giddie up, it’s time for the Ottawa Explosion Weekend Round Up! Time to hear about 10 stellar acts you should definitely not miss this year at Ottawa’s premiere independent music festival. Evan McKay, gives you 10 must see acts in no particular order! Ready? Too bad, it’s go time!




Holy heck! These guys are awesome. Even beyond their name and sweet tunes about seeing cuties at backyard BBQs, BBQT brings it! Singing fun, relatable and funny as heck songs that cause anyone within earshot to shake their booty. BBQT also features guitarist Jack Bielli, formerly of Montreal band Ashley’s (RIP), one of the first bands that got me into local music when I was just a youngin’ four years ago! Bright, bouncy ,and beautiful, BBQT are the band of your teenage daydreams, sitting on the beach, sippin’ a Pepsi.


The White Wires



Speaking of fun and dancey, let’s talk about The White Wires! As someone who missed out on earlier parts of Ottawa’s music scene, getting to see these folks play is stupid exciting! Upbeat garage power pop for moving your itty bitty feeties! Featuring Ian Manhire on guitar and vocals, Ottawa Peach Kelli Pop’s Allie Hanlon on drums, and Ottawa Explosion’s own Luke Martin on bass. These guys are Ottawa legends and I’m stoked to see them!





Have you ever wanted to relive your glorious pop-punk days without the Warped Tour, sunburn or dehydration? I have and I’ve found the solution—Martha! Coming out of Pity Me, UK (great town name!) Martha carries with them the pop-punk energy of 2010 along with incredible wit and humour. Just watch one of their music videos and you will immediately fall in love with this band. Martha is a shot of pure serotonin and the cure for the summer blues, all while reveling in the discomfort and agony of everyday life.


Blood Beach


First off, what a killer name! Blood Beach makes me imagine quite a lot of messed up scenarios but most of all Blood Beach makes me want to head bang. The Newfoundland/ Halifax trio conjures up some pretty rad punk tunes in the style of DIY. Blood Beach is stripped down and energetic, producing Riot Grrrl vibes with a touch of hardcore. Vocalist and guitarist Taylor Furey comes at the listener hard and with reason.


Crossed Wires


Also coming out of the Halifax DIY scene is Crossed Wires! You may know them from the split EP they did with local punx Creep Wave (also playing OXW) in which they cover the Daria and Friends theme songs respectively. Understated, ferocious, and smart. Crossed Wires are simultaneously the sound of your Seasonal Affective Disorder and your summer jams. They’ll have you jumping in no time and leaving you with the hopefulness that you too can start a band.


Hit Bargain


Let’s focus on something a little less Canadian now. Hit Bargain is a rad art punk band coming out of L.A. and already making waves with their LP Potential Maximizer. Their live sets are a force to be reckoned with. The band did this series of shows in which frontwomen Nora Singh stood on the face and body of a known trampling fetishist whilst performing (I’ll let you Google that one). Hit Bargain are something I haven’t seen before but really need to check out. See you in the pit!




Possibly named after the Winona Ryder flick, Montreal post-punk outfit Heathers are dope! They’ve just released their second full length effort late May and it is good—grungey and moody and shoegazey. Their new album Midnight is a Place let’s you drift away within your own mind, opening spaces for you to explore and sink into fuzzy tranquility. They’ll be playing the June 15 show at Black Squirrel along with local all stars Lake Urmia. Not a show to miss!




Here is someone I’m really excited to check out, Ziibiwan! They are an Anishinaabe electronic artist and producer from Toronto and their beats are hype! Hip-hop and trap inspired, Ziibiwan makes ethereal soundscapes with hard backing beats. Signed to RPM records, a platform for Indigenous music makers across Turtle island and beyond, Ziibiwan has had the chance to open for acts like A Tribe Called Red and recently played at SXSW. Check out their new 6-track EP Time Limits for a taste of what’s to come.




I love all forms of DIY music and Sneaks embodies the core of that type of music. Sneaks, or Eva Moolchan, uses nothing but a drum machine, bass, and her vocals to create entrancing pop music caught in an electro-chrome coloured future. Sneaks excites me because they’re hard to classify. Not quite post-punk, not quite electronic, but somewhere in the middle. Sneaks is the future, found in the present, reflecting on the past.




Last, but not least, I’m stoked for Sparklesaurus. I’ve been fawning over this Ottawa four-some since I first started getting into the local music scene. They’re poppy and glittery and fun and never apologetic. Sparklesaurus is a sprinkle covered soft serve cone with raspberry drizzle dripping off the sides. They’ve just released their first self-titled album on Record Centre Records and it’s rad-asaurus (bad joke, sorry). Come for the glitter, stay for the lo-fi dream pop!


– Check the complete lineup and schedule from OXW here: