Arkells are a Canadian rock band, formed in Hamilton, Ontario. In 2006, they signed with Dine Alone Records, and have since signed with Universal Records Canada and Last Gang Records. They are managed by Last Gang Management. They have released four albums, two EPs and a number of singles that have charted in Canada. The band has won multiple Juno Awards, including one for their album High Noon in 2015.
The band is named after Arkell Street in the Westdale neighbourhood of Hamilton, near McMaster University, where they lived and would practice their music. All five original band members attended McMaster where lead singer Max Kerman graduated with an honours BA in Political Science. Kerman met guitarist Mike DeAngelis at a McMaster Welcome Week event where the two discovered they had an identical taste in music.
Arkells' debut album Jackson Square was released 28 October 2008 on Dine Alone Records. In late 2008, Arkells toured Canada as opening act for Matt Mays & El Torpedo. Later that year, on November 22, they performed the halftime show at the Vanier Cup in their hometown. In early 2009 they toured with Waking Eyes across Canada. Arkells were featured on Aux.tv's Alt Sessions where they performed their full EP.
In October, 2009, Arkells won a favourite new artist CASBY Award (short for Canadian Artists Selected by You) from Toronto radio station 102.1 The Edge at a ceremony and concert at Toronto's Kool Haus. The band also performed at the event.
They made headlines while playing a set at Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto after the 2010 Much Music Video Awards, when rapper Shad and pop singer Kesha joined them onstage to freestyle and sing along during a cover of Ms. Jackson by Outkast.
In 2011 the band wrote and recorded their second album Michigan Left, which was released on October 18 of that year. The first single, "Whistleblower", was released to iTunes on July 5, 2011. "Whistleblower" has also been used as the Intro Music to the 2011-2012 Calgary Hitmen hockey team and featured in EA Sports NHL 13 video game. The band also released a second song, "Kiss Cam", in July.
In 2012 Arkells won the 2012 Juno Award for Group of the Year. The band has become known for performing spontaneous Motown cover sets, most recently at Canada House during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics, and while stranded in St. John's Newfoundland. In September 2012, the band played Jian Ghomeshi's "1982" book launch in Toronto. The band has also started a tradition of sending fans signed postcards and free downloads at Christmas.
On April 7, 2014, Arkells released the first track, "Never Thought That This Would Happen", from their third album, which was produced by Tony Hoffer (Beck, The Kooks, M83). One month later, on May 13, the band released the album's first single "Come to Light", and confirmed the title of the record would be High Noon. The record was released on Dine Alone/Universal Records, August 5, 2014.
Arkells have toured extensively, including tours in the United States with Lights, Tokyo Police Club, The Postelles, X Ambassadors, and Lydia; European touring with Billy Talent, Augustines, British Sea Power, and Anti-Flag as well as Canadian touring with Metric, the Tragically Hip, Hollerado, and Sam Roberts.
Arkells began teasing new material from their forthcoming album on tour in the spring of 2016. The fourth album, Morning Report, was released on August 5, 2016. The first single, "Private School", debuted on May 6, 2016, and charted at number 1 that summer. The video features cameos from Lights, Dave Monks of Tokyo Police Club and Steve Jocz (formerly of Sum 41), who also directed the video.
The Arkells song "Round and Round" was featured in the soundtrack of the EA Sports game NHL 17.
At the Juno Awards of 2017, Arkells were nominated for Juno Award for Group of the Year and the Juno Award for Rock Album of the Year. They performed their viral hit "Drake's Dad" live on the television broadcast.
Arkells released a new single on April 7, 2017, entitled "Knocking at the Door". The track shot to number 1 on the Canadian ALT charts, where it spent 14 weeks at #1. It also became their first #1 Active Rock single. They performed the track live that summer on the 2017 NHL Awards in Las Vegas and the 2017 iHeartRadio MMVAs in Toronto. In the summer of 2017, the band toured the festival circuit, playing Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival,Osheaga Festival, and Sasquatch! Music Festival. Later in the year, the track cracked the US ALT chart, peaking at #39.
Arkells prominently feature political motivations in their music. Examples include "Knocking at the Door," which was written about The Women's March on Washington; "The Ballad of Hugo Chavez" about the Venezuelan President as a political prisoner; and "Whistleblower" about journalists blowing the whistle and exposing truth behind closed doors.
The band has also spoken about their diverse musical influences from Top 40 to Motown.
|Release date||Title||Chart positions||Label|
|2008||Deadlines EP (digital re-issue)||--||Dine Alone Records|
|October 28, 2008||Jackson Square||--|
|October 18, 2011||Michigan Left||5||Universal Music Canada|
|August 5, 2014||High Noon||3||Universal Music Canada / Dine Alone Records|
|October 25, 2015||Study Music EP||55|
|August 5, 2016||Morning Report||3||Universal Music Canada / Last Gang Records|
|Year||Song||Peak Chart Positions||Album|
|2008||"Oh, the Boss Is Coming!"||--||4||8||Jackson Square|
|2009||"Ballad of Hugo Chvez"||--||12||12|
|"Ticats are Hummin'"||--||--||--||non-album single|
|2014||"Come to Light"||81||2||2||High Noon|
|"Never Thought That This Would Happen"||--||--||46|
|2016||"Private School"||--||1||4||Morning Report|
|"My Heart's Always Yours"||--||3||4|
|2017||"Knocking at the Door"||--[A]||1||1||Morning Report (Deluxe)|
|2018||"People's Champ"||--||2||3||non-album single|
|"--" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|