Arts & EventsBEST OF OTTAWA 2018: Bands and Musicians

BEST OF OTTAWA 2018: Bands and Musicians

BEST OF OTTAWA 2018: Bands and Musicians

After over 20-years writing about life in Ottawa, we think we have
a pretty good idea of the best of what this city has to offer.
In this weekly summer series, we’ll share our picks with you - 
our top hotels, live music venues, local brews,
bands and more. Check, share and discuss
#OLMBest every week!

By: Kat Walcott and Andre Gagne

Photo credit: Andre Gagne

The Peptides

The Peptides have made quite a name for themselves in Ottawa over the past couple of years! With their brightly-coloured style and performances, they are like a Warhol painting come-to-life! They won OLM’s CoverME! Contest in 2017, and continue to light up the capital with performances at tons of local festivals and organizations like Bluesfest, the NAC and much more. Their upcoming album Galápagos Vol. 1 drops later this month and we can’t wait!

Photo credit: James Park Photography

Cody Coyote

Cody Coyote has been making big waves in the Ottawa music scene over the past couple years and it’s for good reason. The Ottawa-raised rapper is known for his powerful lyrics that spotlight issues such as racism, violence and reconciliation which all hit close to home for him as a member of the Matachewan First Nations. If you're able to catch one of Cody’s performances at one of the many local music fests he participates in, you'll be blown away by his passion and talent.

Photo credit: BlakDenim


If you have a varied music pallette that ranges from soul to rock, BlakDenim is a band that should be on your radar. This talented quintet merges soul, R&B, hip-hop, rap and rock to create a sound that is both modern and classic. Their punchy vocals and melodies are sure to have you on your feet! We recommend their exciting music video for their song “WTFU” to get a taste of their unique and groovy style.

Photo credit: Jim Bryson

Jim Bryson

One time founding member of the band Punchbuggy, Bryson went solo in 2000 for his debut album The Occasionals and has been gifting the Ottawa music scene with awesome melodies ever since. He blends folk and indie rock with deep lyricism for his solo releases but seems just as comfortable riding shotgun to artists like The Weakerthans and The Tragically Hip. His most recent EP, Tired Of Waiting, came out just last month and is already getting rave reviews.

Photo credit: The Tackies

The Tackies

The Tackies may be young, but they pack a punch. These four guys bring a unique quirk and style that is so refreshing to the Ottawa music scene. Their sound is very fresh, but also has a familiar feel to it, reminiscent of bands from the 90s and early 2000s. This merge of new and throwback sounds, their great personalities, and their loud and exciting live shows make them stand out from the crowd. Check out their song “Beach Party,” which we just cannot get out of our heads!

Photo credit: Matt Barnes Photography via A Tribe Called Red

A Tribe Called Red

This duo, made up of DJs 2oolman and Bear Witness, fuses Indigenous music with electronica, reggae and dubstep beats to create what has become a critically-acclaimed, Juno Award-winning sound. They are not only renowned locally, but have also made waves internationally, performing at notable music fests and clubs all over the world. Along with their groundbreaking contributions in music, the duo is also very socially active – advocating for First Nations causes and protest movements like Idle No More.

Photo credit: Kelleylee Evans

Kellylee Evans

This accomplished Juno Award-winning jazz vocalist is also one hell of a fighter. After being struck by lightning in 2013–yes, you read that right–the singer returned to the music scene in 2015 with her album Come On and has been on the road since. Evans’ soulful vocals hit you to the core and is nothing but pure genius. If you want to see her live, which we HIGHLY recommend, don’t miss her performance at the Ottawa Swing Dance Society next month!

Photo credit: New Swears

New Swears

Take punk rock, electrocute it, put it in a blender, mix in some power pop chunks, hit MASH and wait ‘til your appliance explodes. Serve what remains leaking down the walls of your kitchen and you got some tasty New Swears! These guys are known for their chaotic live shows that make you feel like you’ve been through the thrasher. Take a listen to their latest release, double digital single Illuminati Knights/Happy Birthday, to see what we mean!

Photo credit: Jen Squires

Amanda Rheaume

Métis musician Amanda Rheaume blends folk, country and pop to create a sound that is distinctively hers. The JUNO-nominated songstress writes from the heart and is known for her powerful and emotional storytelling. Rheaume is also an activist - she spearheaded the breast cancer program Babes4Breasts and is involved in local charities like the Boys and Girls Clubs of Ottawa. One of Rheaume’s most notable moments was her 2016 single “Red Dress” featuring Chantal Kreviazuk which paid homage to the over 1000 missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.

Photo credit: Annihilator


They’ve been around for over three decades, and they aren’t stopping! Annihilator are not only local legends, but global legends. They are the highest selling metal band in Canada, with album sales surpassing over 3 million copies, and have performed all over the world from America to Israel. If you’ve never had the chance to see them perform live, it’s surely a treat. Get your devil horns up and head banging on because these guys are all about loudness, power and thrashing!

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