MAPL is a CRTC-regulated system that dictates 35% of music played on the radio must be Canadian. This set-up is great if you are into Nickleback or Celine Dion, but has not been much help to the artists listed below. And before the hipsters say it, they did indeed know about these bands before you.

Death From Above 1979 – Toronto

To have death, you must have life and this band gives life to every one of their songs. The bass ‘n drum duo broke up mid-2006, only to reunite January 4, 2011. Their dance/punk rock sound is popular in Europe, but the band has not had a hit here in North America—despite their origin. When you give them a listen, though, maybe strap on a bike helmet – this is a sound that kicks your ass all over the place.

Hawksley Workman – Toronto

Every one of Ryan Corrigan’s songs will have you questioning why you have not heard it until now. Nine albums deep, his music features everything from upbeat to emotional glam rock songs. Warning: this music may cause songs to stick in your head, constant humming, disappointment in other music, muscle-aching smiles and, if your music erection last longer than four hours, breaks are recommended.

The Unicorns – Montreal

“I was born a unicorn; I could’ve sworn you believed in me, then how come all of the other unicorns are dead.” The style is baroque pop, and you know what they say: “If it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it.” Despite its amazing sound and some commercial success, the band is no longer together but as the lyrics suggest, maybe it is because no one believed in them. The Unicorns’ three albums of buried treasure are proof that a beautiful thing called The Unicorns did exist.

Protest the Hero – Whitby

Happy Go Lucky was their original name after forming in 1999 at the young age of 10. Since then, band members have remained the same and with their debut EP they changed their name to Protest the Hero. Their progressive metal songs are original, ever changing and a necessary addition to any music collection.

MSTRKRFT – Toronto

No vowels, no mainstream, no bullshit. The electro-punk duo, featuring a member from Death From Above 1979, holds two albums and hours of remixes. Metric’s Monster Hospital is a prime example of how their remixes improve a tune and add a whole new dimension. Crank the bass and blare.

Die Mannequin – Toronto

Care Failure is the front woman and unique ingredient to this glam punk sound. With sexy, cigarette-stained vocals, this music is like no other and the band’s hard image has earned them a spot opening for Marilyn Manson. Their flavor is not as sweet as Canadian maple syrup, but they are bound to stick to you.

Do Make Say Think – Toronto

On those busy days, do you ever get sick of hearing the sound of your professor, your roommates or your friends’ voices? Well, put in your ear buds and listen to the voiceless sound of what could easily be the soundtrack for Toronto. The experimental/instrumental rock will not make you cry, smile or even think, but instead, simply exist. I listen, therefore, I am.