While this year’s line-up at Osheaga is heavy on the electronic and hip hop acts, there are still plenty of bands for those of you who want to rock out. And personally, while it’s nice to have the mix, sometimes you just want to rock out.

Here my picks for the best indie rock performers playing Osheaga this year:

Real Estate

Indie pop sensations Real Estate have found themselves at a crossroads with their last LP, with longtime lead guitarist Matt Mondanile leaving the band, but still have the chops to take it all the way.

In Mind (2017), their fourth studio album and one recorded in the absence of Mondanile, shows the band is still very viable. With this album taking them in new directions, the future looks for Real Estate.

Sunday, August 4, 4:30pm @ National Bank Stage

Mac Demarco

I was supposed to avoid writing about the headliners, and let’s face it Mac Demarco is a headliner even if he isn’t the top bill. He has played shows in front of tens of thousands, spawned a resurgence in semi-psychedelic lo-fi sound (and many have tired to copy his trademark sound), and he smokes the king of all cigarettes, Viceroy.

His lo-fi sound started in Mile End but has now reached the four quadrants of the world. And boy has it been one long strange trip.

He’s known for being an oddball and goofing around on stage, so expect to see some serious antics! But his unique sound gives him the tight niche of laid back slacker rock that is just very compelling and very good.

Sunday, August 5, 5:15pm @ Bell Alt TV River Stage

Teke:: Teke

The eclectic coming together of musicians from well-known Montreal bands (Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra, Boogat, Pawa) created Japanese-influenced post-punk psychorockers Teke:: Teke.

If you yen for some traditional Japaneese  surf rock infusion then this might be the band for you.

Friday, August 2 3:45 @ Perrier Tree Stage


Montreal Art rock band Braids will take the stage a year after winning the Juno for Best Alternative Rock group.

They got me with their 80s electronic beats over Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s vocals, which can be pretty haunting at times especially when infused with some pretty interesting vocal effects.

Sunday, August 4th, 1pm @ Honda Valley Stage

Kurt Vile and the Violators

I’ve been a fan of Kurt Vile ever since the first time I saw him play at Casa del Popolo. He was alone at the time playing his guitar with crazy pedal effects and his sweet nasal voice. Sufficed to say, I was pretty impressed.

His lo-fi sound and voice fills the psychedelia of his songs with wry, sardonic lyrics. His last album Lotta Sea Lice, co-written with Courtney Barnette, was truly inspiring and now he’ll be on stage with the Violators, a band that adds overall emphasis to his unique style.

Friday August 2, 8:15pm @ Honda Valley Stage

We Are Monroe

If you really need to rock out at Osheaga this year then check out Montreal’s own We Are Monroe. They are part classic rock with a new twist Their singer brings a great voice in the singing style of The Black Keys complimented by some terrific backup guitar.

Friday August 2, 2:20pm @ Perrier Tree Stage


Part metal, part rock, this band knows how to riff out an amazingly catchy song. They flew under the radar for a long time until Rolling Stone magazine called them one of the top 10 artists you need to know.

Now, with their new album out Hear Me Out (2019), they are set to go on tour with The Who later this year. Catch them while you can.

Saturday, August 3, 8:40pm @ Perier Stage

Osheaga runs Friday August 2nd to Sunday August 4th at Parc Jean-Drapeau. Tickets available through Osheaga.com

Featured Image Courtesy of Laura Fedele/WFUV


Go see some shows this week.


Dekoder + Dethfox + Show of Bedlam + USA Out Of Vietnam @ Casa del Popolo

Show starts at 8 p.m., $10.

The Faggots + Manipulated Outcome + Animal Ethics + Society’s Ills @ TRH-Bar

Show starts at 9 p.m., $5.


Wye Oak + Braids @ Il Motore

Doors open at 8 p.m., $15 in advance via Blue Skies Turn Black or $17 at the door.

White Hills + The This Many Boyfriends Club @ Casa del Popolo

Doors open at 8 p.m, $8 in advance via Blue Skies Turn Black or $10 at the door.

Deathhammer + Occult Burial + Abyssed @ La Vitrola

Show starts at 9 p.m., $12 in advance via Blackdot Presents or $15 at the door.


King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard + Comet Control + UUBBUURRUU @ Cabaret Playhouse

Doors open at 8 p.m., $10 in advance via Blue Skies Turn Black or $13 at the door.

The Artsy Chicks + Feefawfum + Palm Trees @ Piccolo Rialto

Show starts at 9 p.m., $5 at the door.

These acts have had their share of hype this year. But buzz is not a bad word when it comes to these highly acclaimed must-see musical acts at this year’s POP Montreal.

BRAIDS – Q with Jian Ghomeshi + BRAIDS + Patrick Watson
Sep. 26, 7 p.m. @ L’Olympia


Acclaimed Montreal-based band Braids released their first album Native Speaker in early 2011 and I pretty much haven’t stopped listening to it since. Lead singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s voice is mesmerizing, especially when combined with the dream-like melodies the band is known for. Their second album Flourish//Perish was released in August. It has a more introspective, mature feel as opposed to the sort of in-your-face lyrics and melodies of Native Speaker, but the music is as captivating as ever and I can’t wait to see it brought to life on stage.


Mozart’s Sister – The-Dream + Mozart’s Sister + Team Rockit
Sep. 27, 8 p.m. @ L’Olympia


When I first saw Mozart’s Sister live two years ago, I knew nothing about her. That quickly changed. Her energetic electro-pop songs combined with her fun and engaging personality won me over instantly. Her song “Single Status” from 2011’s Dear Fear has become my go-to song when I’m feeling overwhelmed and need a strong boost of energy. I’ve seen her twice again since that first time and I can guarantee that if you’re not a fan now, you will be by the end of the show.


Local Natives – Local Natives + Wild Nothing + Seoul
Sep. 27, 8 p.m. @ Metropolis :: Salle Dose.ca


Local Natives are a four-piece indie rock band from Los Angeles, California. Their second album Hummingbird was released in January 2013. It is a lot more dark and emotionally-charged than their first album, Gorilla Manor, from 2009. This could be in part due to the departure of their bass guitarist Andy Hamm between the two albums. It is clear that the remaining members have grown and the things they experienced in the years between albums are reflected in them.


“I think when you realize you have something really special, a connection with people, you kind of do whatever it takes to keep that together.” Austin Tufts said as he explained how Braids made the move from Calgary to Montreal five years ago.

When their debut album Native Speaker hit the airwaves in 2011 with its intriguing and enthralling sound, it firmly established Braids on the radar as one of Canada’s most pertinent noisemakers. In light of the recent release of their sophomore album, Flourish//Perish, I had the pleasure of having a candid chat with Austin Tufts, whom along with Taylor Smith and Raphaelle Standell-Preston make up the influential trio.

“Starting the group was really fun. It was during a period in Calgary where things were really exciting,” Tufts recounted, diving into the journey that has led Braids to Flourish//Perish. Two bands, Azeda Booth and Women, were ripping up the local scene. Azeda Booth took people under their wings, becoming sort of “dads” on the local scene, and they along with Women and gave Braids guidance and encouragement to keep doing what they were doing. Eventually, Braids and these local groups became quite close. Around the same time, a bunch of workshops and seminars led by someone from CJSW, the local college radio, addressed topics like how to expose one’s music to a Canadian audience, booking tours across the country, and how to get radio DJs to finally listen to your music. These workshops attracted a whole group of people excited about launching their careers and boosted Braids determination and strong DIY work ethic.


Their second year playing Calgary festival Sled Island, where local talent is featured alongside international acts, Braids were invited to open for Deerhunter. The experience was beyond expectations, Tufts described, “We got a standing ovation led by Bradford Cox. It was the biggest surprise of our lives.” Cox offered to put them in touch with Animal Collective, a band that Braids really liked and whose influence is tangible on Native Speaker. Although they were asked to tour with Deerhunter, their university acceptances beckoned and they declined. They did however, play two more shows with Deerhunter one in Montreal and one in Toronto.

“At that point, seeing somebody that we looked up to care so much about what we were doing was a huge affirmation,” Tufts recalled.

It was during their Montreal show that The Neighbourhood Council announced that they were re-naming themselves ‘Braids’. Like many bands, the question of a band name had been on the agenda for some time: “Braids came from the way that we write music is very collective, woven, and intertwined. We are very good friends and a very tightly woven community of four people and now three people. There’s something very special about the connection that we have.”

For those unfamiliar with Braids, they evoke a melange of Radio Head, Her Space Holiday, Bjork, Psapp, Lampshade, Animal Collective, Panda Bear, and Lali Puna. Flourish//Perish boasts a markedly different sound than its predecessor. The lyrics penned by Standell-Preston speak to more difficult and ambiguous emotions. Indeed, her singing and words have become altogether more poetic in this record. Braids has moved towards the synaptic using loops expertly and leaving behind the youthful exuberance of Native Speaker. Standout tracks include ‘Victoria’, ‘Girl’, and ‘December’.

Whereas Native Speaker was recorded by the group itself in Taylor’s parents garage in Calgary and in their back room in Montreal. Flourish//Perish was recorded by the band themselves again in a studio set up in their garage and at the new PHI center. Most of the songwriting for Flourish//Perish was done using a computer:

“There were parts of it that were really tough and parts of it that were really beautiful. Having the ability to just listen, being as much a producer as a player. It exercised different sides of my musicality,” Tufts spoke to this new process.


“One of the key transitions on this new record, is being more comfortable with ourselves as musicians […] Because we are a lot more comfortable on our instruments, we were able to do two things: capture most of the takes within the first five takes that also enabled us to preserve the raw emotion,” Tufts elaborated, “We’ve grown a lot since Native Speaker and embraced the more emotional side of things rather than trying to be super technically proficient.”

In terms of musical inspiration for Flourish//Perish, Tufts named Radiohead’s Kid A and The King of Limbs, Portishead’s Third, Massive Attack’s Tear Drops, James Blake, Max Cooper, Burial, and Pantha Du Prince.

As Braids is already preparing for their third album, Tufts said he’s been listening to more played music (versus simulated) like Little Dragon’s Ritual Union, Disclosure, a lot more R’n’B and soulful music, The Portico Quartet, Bonobo’s KEXP session and back to Radiohead.

“Something I’ve been thinking about for a long time is how Flourish//Perish is very cerebral. Next time, I want to write something that’s a bit more raw again. We’ve been experimenting a lot with new songs already which we’ll be playing on this next tour,” Tufts explained.

Recently, Braids signed with Arbutus Records, a local record company, for the State-wide release of Flourish//Perish. Despite having received different offers for their sophomore album, Braids decided to choose working with friends:  “We are very young, and very early in our career still, we are not the kind of band that’s just going to write one record, get famous, and cruise,” Tufts explained, “We want to be working with our friends, in conjunction with people whose careers we believe in, we want to help grow the label and we really believe strongly in the community that it stands for.”

Catch Braids on November 2, 2013 at the SAT (Société des Arts Technologiques) in Montreal. 

Check out braidsmusic.com for their new album Flourish//Perish.