And for the last time, Canadian Content Machine takes a look at all the Canadian bands playing in Montreal’s Osheaga Festival in August. For the past installments, we have been looking at artists that call the big two cities of Montreal and Toronto their home. You can find our earlier installments here:
For our final part in this series, we are looking everywhere else in true sea to sea fashion, from the Pacific to the Prairies to the Atlantic. Let’s kick off the last part by heading west to Vancouver, B.C., where we will find…
…Bear Mountain, and no, we are not talking about the lovely local scenery of Lotus Land. Here is a group that describes themselves as a “triangle dance band from the future”, which fits in well with their geometric-shape-as-head motif. Also an apt description of their sound–a dreamy take on alternative rock that sounds organically futuristic. It’s the kind of music you listen to as you look up at the stars on a clear, Canadian summer night and wonder about the universe. I mean, just take a look at their website–canoes, the backwoods, and SPACE!
The band released their debut XO last year, and will soon start recording their next album in Toronto. So if you’re catching their set at Osheaga, expect to hear some new material.
Okay, so I may be cheating a little bit here. Technically, Cyril Hahn, producer wunderkid, was born and raised in Bern, Switzerland. But he is also currently calling Vancouver his home of homes; Cyril first came to Vancity for his studies, but like any good artist he abandoned them in favour of making music. So he earns a spot on this list, and one well-warranted.
Cyril is known for his deft hand in spinning smash pop threads into subdued, chillout pieces of electronica. Indeed, his breakout came with his utter transformation of Destiny Child’s “Say My Name”, turning the R&B staple into something that feels wholesomely different. Stay attached to Cyril’s SoundCloud as he is quite the prolific one, and while his remixes continue to gather 1 million+ views on Youtube, you should also check out his original hits like the crystalline “Perfect Form”.
Our easternmost band on this list, Hey Rosetta! hails all the way from St. John’s, Newfoundland. Perhaps spending your time on The Rock leads to one being introspective and appreciative of life, because those are the feelings put across by the music from this six-piece. It is no wonder they named themselves after a stone famous for its communicative properties–the band richly translates their sound through a nurtured balance of melodies and and rhythms. Their lyrics are plaintive and intimate while the instrumentation is joyous and optimistic, leading to a quality sound that has already attracted plenty of listeners.
While frontman Tim Baker and the band have been a little quiet the past while, it is for good reason. Their fourth studio release is being worked on as we speak, and so this August you will likely catch a couple of new tunes at their Osheaga set.
Matt Mays is only in his early 30s, but he has already garnered a lifetime’s work of music behind him. This Cole Harbour native has been performing since before the new millennium dawned, first coming to prominence as a member of the East Coast band The Guthries. Mays immediately made a mark, and when the fabled group disbanded (too soon) in 2002, the decade was left open for the bohemian rocker to stampede through.
He has since done tons for the Maritime music scene, including collaborations with Quebec counterpart Sam Roberts, and forming his own mini-legendary outfit known as Matt Mays & El Torpedo. You may remember that group back in 2005, when their hit “Cocaine Cowgirl” saturated Canadian airwaves.
Mays has now gone full solo; his last album, Coyote, was released in 2012. The starry-eyed high-schooler that joined The Guthries has now grown into the been-there done-that vet with thousands of live shows under his belt, so when you take in his set at Osheaga, you’re taking in years of hardworn Nova Scotian rock.
A band that we’ve covered previously, Winnipeg’s Royal Canoe is just the act you may need if you’re looking to unwind on a sunny Montreal day and just have fun. This indie/electronic band runs six in person all by way of Manitoba, and utilizes guitar, drums, vocoder, synths, violin and whatever else you can make a sound out of. Each member does more than play their part as they skit from instrument to instrument, all in the aim of putting on a performance you will likely never have experienced before.
Where does all this extreme variety come from? As the band cites, it could stem from the dynamic prairie seasons that swing from the blissful blue summers to the harsh, relentless winters. The title of their 2013 release Today We’re Believers may make more sense when you look at it from the perspective of Winnipeggers, experiencing above-zero temperatures for the first time after a seemingly immortal winter cycle. Winter is coming? Not anymore, and as flowers blossom and summer grows nearer, Royal Canoe lends just the perfect sort of fantastism to soundtrack your 2014.
This madness carries over to their live sets too, so get into the swing of things and join Royal Canoe when they play their set at Osheaga.
The final act to close out our entire series on each and every Canadian band at Osheaga, and who better to do so than Halifax’s Ryan Hemsworth? This young DJ and producer had already done his part when he released his debut Guilt Trips last year on distinguished indie label Last Gang Records. The album was a smash success, highlighted with Hemsworth’s recent win at the 2014 Juno Awards in the category of “Electronic Album of the Year”.
So as the year moves forward, expect more acclaim for Hemsworth and more deliciously offbeat tracks to be released. With a penchant for snazzy R&B samples and spazzy 16-bit bursts, expect this fine fellow to make his mark this summer in Montreal.
Well, that completes our list! Hope you enjoyed taking a look and having a listen of all the Canadian Content that will be playing at this summer’s Osheaga festival! Let us know what you think of these acts in the comments below.
Check out more in Osheaga 2014: The Canadian Bands!
Author: Nathan Christie