Michael Barclay

Michael Barclay is a copy editor at Maclean’s and a freelance music writer. He’s been nominated for a National Magazine Award, blogs at Radio Free Canuckistan, is a juror for the Polaris Prize, and is co-author of the acclaimed Canadian music history book 'Have Not Been the Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985-1995' (ECW, 2001; revised 2011).
Gord Downie and Josh Finlayson perform “Secret Path” together in 2016. (Lindsay Duncan/Eldie Photography)

Gord Downie returns, not for the last time

The vaults are opening, ‘like an old friend checking in,’ on Downie’s extraordinarily productive final years. ‘Away Is Mine,’ a new solo album, is another gift.


How long after smoking marijuana should I wait to drive?

The easy answer is: Don’t toke and drive. Just don’t.


The secret music career of legendary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin

Prolific even into her eighties, the documentarian has also been harbouring musical gifts that few knew about—until now, with a reissue of her stunning 1988 album

Chinook salmon

The decline of the Chinook salmon threatens a whole way of life

Adam Weymouth tracked the journey of the Chinook salmon by canoe—all 3,000 km of it—and returned with a new respect for the North.


Gord Downie wasn’t just a rock star—he was a real poet, too

Downie’s lyrics leapt out of radio playlists ‘because his use of language was so evocative, so rich with meaning and allusion’


Remembering the life and legacy of Gord Downie (1964 – 2017)

The frontman of The Tragically Hip was an indelible presence on the Canadian cultural landscape


Ahead by a year: Remembering the Hip’s last show

‘It was a communal experience of religious proportions.’ Canada’s musical luminaries remember the Tragically Hip’s final show.


The Polaris Music Prize 2017 longlist, by the numbers

Michael Barclay breaks down the diverse longlist of the 2017 Polaris Prize


Under the covers: How Tragically Hip cover bands are paying tribute

One year ago, the announcement that Gord Downie had incurable brain cancer rocked the world—and the rock bands that cover the Hip


The live album isn’t dead yet. But it’s close.

As Sleater-Kinney releases a new live album, Michael Barclay looks at what makes the best ones so good—and why they’ve largely grown obsolete


West coast, best coast: The return of Japandroids

Four years after their breakout album, Vancouver rock duo Japandroids are back to strike a chord for their stratifying city


Can the xx mark a new spot?

The xx became adored for their intimate sound. What will happen when they loudly shift away from their defining quiet?