In early 96, a CD compilation called "Eat This" was released, featuring 10 Island artists. All of the artists are independant, some of them have already broken up (a common occurrence with any indie project), and the styles are varied. From Strawberry's "Only Son", which sounds a lot like the Cranberries (in a good way), to the LOWD sounds of Tolerance and Supercar. In between are the Dire Straights-inspired James Phillips, Watchmen fans (only grittier) Adam's Eve, and a handful of Tragically Hip wannabes. This is a great CD, and anyone interested in hearing Island music other than country and the like should pick it up. However, despite what the spin doctors want you to believe, its lineup is does not represent the general Island indie scene. Most of the bands sound like they've been signed to a major label already. Which is good for them, but there's so much more. There is a thriving underground scene that wants nothing to do with clean production and coverage in the Guardian. They're making music for the sake of music, and asking nothing in return. Among them are ed who, the Plan, Ewoks, Headgear, Toothpaste/Dentifrice, Watchmaker, and Permabuzz. These are the bands that you won't see at the ECMA showcases, but you should get a chance to see them whenever you can.
So basically, we have country, celtic and traditional. We also have bar rock and top 40. And we have a smattering of punk, metal, grunge and many things that defy labels. The first 2 categories are easily accessible (just check out listings each issue of the Buzz). The third may take some time to fully explore, but it's well worth the effort. Multi-band moshes (and sets at talent shows) are gaining speed, and PEI's indie scene is (finally) thriving.
Update: Eat This Too!, the follow-up compilation is coming soon. Also, one of the bands on Eat This!, Adam's Eve, is no longer together... Dyno-mites has formed in their wake, and are much grittier and more real.