You know how you’ve listened to Grimes, Kaytranada, and Bieber's album a couple of times and reckon you’re a bit of whizz when it comes to Canadian music? Yeah, you’re not. There’s a whole world of untapped musicians streaming out of America’s number one emigration spot - if you could quit with Drizzy for just one god damn second. Not sure where to start? We’ve helpfully rounded up the best Canuck musicians in the world, right now, this very second, so you can get listening.
Cœur de Pirate
Think Christine and the Queens – all lovely French singing and rapping – but sweeter, and more seductive. Beatrice Martin, better known as Cœur de pirate (that’s "Pirate Heart" for those who dropped French GCSE) hails from Quebec, but is huge in France. Karl Lagerfield, the man who isn’t impressed by Adele, loves her. And, after the shootings in Orlando, she wrote an open letter coming out as queer. ShortList saw her live at Quebec’s City Summer Festival back in July and can safely say she’s utterly captivating: something about the honeyed, husky voice mixed in with catchy pop-tinged indie. One to watch, we assure you.
The latest breakthrough duo from OVO Sound (founded by Drake), you might already be familiar with their smooth, soulful RnB dealings. Think the Weeknd, but slower and more much leaves-you-feeling-tingly-all-over. Nineteen85 adds his minimalistic touch to each track, while singer Daniel Daley cranks up silky vocals, and together they’ve been opening for Drake and Future’s Summer Sixteen Tour all summer. Start with the remixes: the latest his Frank Ocean’s Godspeed, but there’s also Aaliyah’s One in a Million and Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On. If that’s not enough, an album, Ology, dropped earlier this month. Give it a listen and let the throbbing RnB wash over you.
Half Moon Run
If you’re into psychedelic indie rock – a la Tame Impala, or Jagwar Ma – then you’ll like Half Moon Run. They’ve had two albums, the first (Dark Eyes) was released in the UK two years ago, the second (Sun Leads On Me) was out in 2015. Both were weird, wonderful records that have massively slipped under the radar. Next time its 5am, you’re at a party and someone passes you the aux cable – stick these guys on. You won’t blow people’s minds, but you will gradually wow them with epic Sixties prog rock.
Clairmont the Second
Clairmont the Second is his real name, believe it or not. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, correct, but he’s done more by the age of 18 than you’ll ever do. That’s not to say you’re rubbish, rather Clairmont is quite brilliant. People have dubbed him Toronto’s ‘next big hip-hop hope’ and with his latest album, Quest For Milk and Honey, he’s certainly proving them right. It’s 13 tracks of jazzy, gospel-tinged production with Clairmont rapping on everything from spirituality to growing up in West side Toronto. For fans of Chance the Rapper (though Clairmont, as a self-confessed Chance fanboy, hates the comparison).
Milk and Bone
This Montreal duo (Camille Poliquin and Laurence Lafond-Beaulne) make hauntingly eerie electro pop. It’s slow, and a bit seductive, but that’s not by accident – they write all their songs on Lafond-Beaulne’s ukulele and build on them, bit by bit, till you’ve got a song crawling, quietly, till it’s climax. It’s all really rather lush, despite them singing about cheating on their respective partners. If you’re into Purity Ring, James Blake and/or BANKS – you’ll love these two.
For tickets to Festival D’Ete de Quebec (Quebec’s Summer Festival) in July 2017 visit infofestival.com