Heard Before the Herd: Week of July 6, 2012

Heard Before the Herd is your disconnect from the radio, playing seemingly the same song on repeat without end. Plus, it’s a chance to discover up-and-coming Canadian talent that should definitely have a place on your iPod…

From his roots as a DJ and composer, Dan Snaith, a.k.a. Caribou, has all of the warm, booming beats YPs would need for a summer soundtrack. He formally studied mathematics, which is also probably why he has been able to blend club music with pop-centred bones and heavy lyrics. Hear the fluidity on his latest record, the aptly-titled Swim, and be sure to check him out on tour with Radiohead this summer. 

Though his stage name, Bahamas, defines his breezy tunes, we can’t help but think Afie Jurvanen is equally as awesome. After Bahamas joined Brushfire Records and labelmates Jack Johnson, G. Love and Matt Costa, he received nods from Canadian music elite – and received nominations for both a Juno Award and a Polaris Music Prize. He also started out as a guitarist for Feist and other local acts, further proof of our YP mantra: that everyone has to start somewhere. Listen to “Caught Me Thinking,” which also gets bonus points for representing the Blue Jays. 

The name Woodpigeon was chosen by the band’s lead singer, Mark Hamilton, because when written in cursive, it resembles a roller coaster. And the sweeping loops and orchestral folk-pop are no different. Since 2005, Hamilton sometimes performs alongside other band members, but he’s remained the principle behind Woodpigeon and has collaborated with other roots musicians such as Iron & Wine, Broken Social Scene and Grizzly Bear. What is it with folk singer-songwriters and awe-inspiring beards? Recommended track: “For Paolo.” 

The Hidden Cameras  
Toronto-based pop group The Hidden Cameras has an ever-changing lineup of up to 13 musicians, which is likely why their loose, bright danceable albums have a wide range. From joyful pop to gritty electro rock, lead singer Joel Gibb is influenced by classical German music. Not surprisingly, The Hidden Cameras are gaining serious cred on the international stage. Must-hear track: “Awoo.” 

Joel Plaskett Emergency 
East coast rockers Joel Plaskett Emergency can be considered the modern day Canadian version of the Beatles (you know, without the whole bigger-than-Jesus selfdom). With sweeping melodies and sprawling harmonies, it’s clear that their hook-heavy records are as catchy as they are warm and fuzzy. Lyrically, Joel Plaskett’s wit and verve gives deeper meaning to traditional love songs, such as “Fashionable People.” Because all we need is love, right? 

Photo: Bahamas