Canada, our neighbor to the north, breeds entertainers. Historically, the primary export has been comedians, such as Jim Carrey, Tommy Chong, Scott Thompson, Mike Myers and plenty of other "Saturday Night Live" alums. A more recent -- and consistently interesting -- product is "CBC Radio 3," a podcast showcasing the nation's independent music scene. Every Friday, Grant Lawrence hosts an hour's worth of music spliced together with cheeky artist interviews and news updates. Brief cultural exchanges also occur, such as explaining the appeal of poutine (cheese curds served with French fries and gravy) and hockey talk.
Most tracks fall under the indie-rock umbrella, though each episode offers a few hip-hop, reggae, electronica or Canadiana (like Americana) tracks. The biggest names that appear are A.C. Newman and the New Pornographers, the Arcade Fire, now-defunct Death From Above 1979 and Tegan & Sara. Most artists, however, aren't nearly as established (even in Canada) and upload unreleased tracks onto NewMusicCanada.com to be considered for the podcast. Naturally, all tracks won't please everyone, so this podcast cleverly features chapters that allow listeners to skip over tracks they hate or flip back to tracks they like. The chapters also display band and song info on the iPod screen (this feature works differently with other devices). 5 stars