An authoritative, unprecedented account of how in the early 2000s Canadian music finally became cool
Hearts on Fire is about the creative explosion in Canadian music of the early 2000s, which captured the world’s attention in entirely new ways. The Canadian wave didn’t just sweep over one genre or one city, it stretched from coast to coast, affecting large bands and solo performers, rock bands and DJs, and it connected to international scenes by capitalizing on new technology and old-school DIY methods.
Arcade Fire, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Feist, Tegan and Sara, Alexisonfire: those were just the tip of the iceberg. This is also the story of hippie chicks, turntablists, poetic punks, absurdist pranksters, queer orchestras, obtuse wordsmiths, electronic psychedelic jazz, power-pop supergroups, sexually bold electro queens, cowboys who used to play speed metal, garage rock evangelists, classically trained solo violinists, and the hip-hop scene that preceded Drake. This is Canada like it had never sounded before. This is the Canada that soundtracked the dawn of a new century.
Featuring more than 100 exclusive interviews and two decades of research, Hearts on Fire is the music book every Canadian music fan will want on their shelf.
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Michael Barclay is the author of the 2018 national bestseller The Never-Ending Present: The Story of Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip. He is also a co-author of Have Not Been the Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985–95, to which this book could be considered a sequel. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Published: April 2022
Dimensions: 6 x 9 in.
“Hearts on Fire is a love letter to a seminal time in our country’s collective music history sometimes forgotten. At nearly 600 pages, ample space is devoted to revealing the rich sonic landscapes these artists created and painting a vivid picture of their divergent paths to success.” — Toronto Star
“A thorough and intriguing history made no less appealing by its length. For pop music historians and fans, particularly of Canadian bands from 2000 to 2005, whether they know it or not.” — Library Journal
“Barclay’s personal connection to many of the artists, as well as important moments such as the recording sessions for Arcade Fire’s Funeral and Broken Social Scene’s You Forgot It In People, bring the stories to life as no other writer could, making Hearts On Fire the definitive account of the era.” — FYI Music News
“This book is catnip for me. There is no Arkells if not for so many of the artists chronicled here. I was a teenager when I started going to clubs to see all of these acts, and it informed so much of the way I think about being in a band. This era of Canadian music is revered in my mind, so it is amazing to have the curtain pulled back to reveal the goals, temperaments, and egos of my heroes. A must-read for anyone who wants to celebrate the golden age of Canadian indie rock music.” — Max Kerman, Arkells
“Sets out the when, why, how and magnitude of the change, with reams of granular details and an eye for practicalities.” — Maclean’s
“Barclay is a real reporter, a social historian, a friend to many of these bands, and he explains the social and technological changes (Pro Tools; tour subsidies; cheap-ass rent in post-referendum Montreal) that made it feasible for a generation of artists to reach the world from Canada. Each of his books takes a part of our history seriously that you didn’t even realize you were allowed to take seriously. I couldn’t be happier to commend Hearts on Fire to your attention.” — Paul Wells Newsletter