breakout toronto bands 2017

10 Toronto bands ready to break out in 2017

Toronto bands ready to break out in 2017 are near and dear to my heart: local acts that are busting boundaries, redefining traditions, and bringing the sounds of our city to receptive ears in the neighbourhood and beyond.

Here are my picks for 10 Toronto bands ready to break out in 2017.

New Fries

This band has been wowing audiences for a few years now with their frenetic energy, wild changes in structure, elastic lines and fun presence. Their most recent album, “More,” has weird and cool tracks with little shout-outs to Toronto like “Gertrude Stein Greeting Card from Pape/Danforth.”

Lido Pimienta

This multi-disciplinary artist is also making a name for herself in galleries and on stage. Building a loyal following for years now, 2017 seems like the time when a wider audience will discover her work. Unapologetically writing from the heart about her culture and the issues that matter to her, her dynamic dance moves alone on stage set a room on fire.


This rangy band’s name sounds like a philosophical blurt (but is probably an amazing X-Files reference), which is kind of the sound of this dreamy electronic group. They recently incorporated guitar and sax as an organic layer over top of the sensual vocals, subtle samples and drum machines and released a trippy video for “Death Valley.”


I saw this band open for Julie Doiron at Menalon Restaurant this summer, a unique concert to be sure. The night was hot and the floor was back-achingly slanted, but this minimal group made up of just a nylon-string guitarist, drummer, and a couple sweet female backup singers cooled things right down with songs like “Always the Same Bed” and “Love is the Eternal Weight” from Summon Up a Monkey King, out this year.


Playing combo art/music exhibition show Long Winter for the first time this year, this garagey four-piece will steal your heart and maybe a couple of your beers. A single was recently released featuring slow jam “Heaven” and bouncy indie track “Sweater Song” with promises of a full album on the way.


This band actually hails from Hamilton, but they play here often and their concept warrants rapt attention. A sort of Olivia Newton John acid trip, members switch off singing lead and doing hyperactive dance moves, with alternately robotic and feminine vocals alternating over heavy drums and electronic sounds.


A one-woman act, this artist also played Long Winter at Polish Combatants’ Hall this year, playing her own meandering but intriguing beats and also providing an under layer for a rapper to flow over. Both are equally captivating, and with an energetic, unique style and unique transitions this electronic artist is one to watch.

Crooked House Road

Far more on the folksy side of things, this female-dominated act has been playing all over town and put out an album. Tradition meets sass with molten vocals over top of a thrumming bedrock of a folk band. If you’re a fan of local musicals like Chasse-Galerie, you’ll be happy to know cast member Shaina Silver-Baird sings for this band.

Zoe Sky Jordan

Sweet, pure melodies sung by this vocalist soar overtop of simple rock instrumentals, reminding me a little of a nascent Sarah Harmer. The super chill vibe and sultry murmur of these pop tunes will have you nodding your head as you sip your craft beer.


Delicate beats and a slight eighties vibe are trademark for this under-the-radar Toronto beatmaker. This artist probably won’t be low-flying for long, with sexy lounge tracks that get hips moving and parties started.

Know of a Toronto artist or band ready to blow up in 2017? Let us know in the comments.

Lead photo by

Rob Nelson via Lido Pimienta's Facebook page

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