Osheaga is over, and with the the end of one of the most anticipated festivals of the summer, Montreal seems to have settled down before the hectic frenzy of back-to-school season. But while most international bands have returned to their homes, sometimes an ocean away, much of the talent at the eighth installment of Osheaga included up-and-coming local acts whose work you will likely be able to follow closely and see in concert throughout the school year. Here’s our list of four Montreal bands to keep on your radar:
1. Jimmy Hunt
One of this year’s few francophone Osheaga acts, Jimmy Hunt kept festivalgoers dancing with an energetic performance that showcased his impressive vocal range and his ability to make both soulful shoegaze tunes as well as lively pop-rock. The Quebec City native has been gaining traction in the national folk scene, with recent nominations for the SOCAN Songwriting Prize and the 2014 Polaris Music Prize. Though Hunt’s arrangements are fundamentally simple, he manages to keep an upbeat energy on live shows that is both intriguing and refreshing.
The scorching early afternoon sun couldn’t keep people from dancing to Kaytranada’s smooth hip hop and lounge beats. The Montreal DJ and producer brought his atmospheric and electronic beats to the Piknic Electronik stage of Osheaga, including a funky tribute to Michael Jackson. Kaytranada, who made a name for himself by posting his music for free on streaming sites and recently signed with renowned UK label XL Recordings, has been rising in the electronic scene, giving fans a chance to simultaneously watch him gain fame and experience his music .
3. Joëlle Saint-Pierre
Joëlle Saint-Pierre’s Osheaga debut highlighted her training as a classical percussionist, mixing the francophone singer-songwriter’s mellow vibraphone arrangements with her soothing vocals. Saint-Pierre’s music, reminiscent of Coeur de Pirate, translates to an intimate, calming live acoustic act and perfectly manicured recordings. Stay tuned for her upcoming album, due to be released sometime before the end of 2014.
4. Half Moon Run
After playing festival stages such as Lollapalooza and Glastonbury in 2013 and Governors Ball earlier this summer, as well as touring with Mumford and Sons, the members of Half Moon Run are no stranger to performing for large, enthusiastic crowds. Still, coming home to Montreal infused their show with the energy of playing in the city where their musical journey took off. Playing the main stage of Osheaga just a few hours before the headliners, the trio played a heartfelt set to an eager crowd of longtime fans. The band has announced that it plans to spend the next few months dedicating itself to a new album still in the works, so live appearances may become sparse once it submerges itself in the recording process.