Heard Before the Herd: Week of June 21, 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…

1. Hooded Fang 
Broken Social Scene defined a distinctive sound that belonged only to Toronto — and fuzzy-electro-garage rockers, Hooded Fang, have continued the legacy. Tosta Mista, their sophomore album and follow-up to their debut, Album, helped earn them Polaris Prize nominations and a cult following. Punctuated by sweeping vocal harmonies and breezy orchestrations, they’ve perfected their 60’s groovy surf-rock. Not to mention they score major cool points for choosing a band name which gives props to the classic YP childhood books by Mordecai Richler. Warning, their song “Clap” will have you longing for a late-night sweaty beach party. 

2. Young Empires 
They may have only been formed in 2010, but Toronto threesome, Young Empires has the potential to explode on to the danceable pop-rock scene and join the ranks of Foster the People and The Naked and Famous. And for obvious reasons, we Young Professionals have a soft spot for their choice of band name. The threesome boast upbeat and energetic electro tunes coupled with heavy and contemplative vocals — making for one seriously cathartic debut EP, “Wake All My Youth.” Must-hear track: “White Doves.” 

3. Boxer the Horse 
East coast rockers Boxer the Horse has been steadily gaining fans across Canada. Their garage-rock, combined with pop-driven vocals, landed them a Best New Band title from CBC Radio 3. Comparable to The Strokes and The New Pornographers, their latest record, French Residency pays homage to the lo-fi fuzz rock of the 80’s and 90’s. Check out their video for “Rattle Your Cage” here

4. Woodhands  
The neo-glam-rock revival was led by Woodhands, formed by twosome Paul Banwatt (also monster drummer for The Rural Alberta Advantage) and Dan Werb. Though there may only be two of them, Banwatt kicking drums and Werb on synth machines and vocals makes for massive sound. Their sound is summed up in their title, Woodhands, which suggest organic elements behind the heavily synthesized electronic tunes. See why the keytar is the coolest instrument ever. 

5. PS I Love You 
If you haven’t heard of PS I Love You by now, you’re probably the only YP who hasn’t. Their latest record, Death Dreams, received high praises from the Canadian music elites. Grittier and darker than their first, it doesn’t surprise us that the new record was named for Paul Saulnier (whose voice resembles Clap You Hands Say Yeah’s frontman, Alec Ounsworth) recurring dreams about his own death. Check out the duo’s softer side with their acoustic version of “Facelove.” 

Photo: Boxer the Horse