Osheaga, the popular music festival which comes rolling into Montreal every August, is upon us yet again. Anyone who’s taken a gander at the schedule is likely pumped for all the major acts showing up; who wouldn’t want to see Blondie, Florence and the Machine, or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs perform?

And while I’ll definitely be checking out those shows, what I’m more interested in is discovering new bands I’ve never heard of before. Now they might be old news to you young hip folks, but here are five bands this 30-something is excited to hear for the first time:

Birds of Bellwoods

This folk-pop quartet from Toronto has been building solid buzz ever since their award-winning EP The Fifth. These actor/musicians apparently really bring their A-game to their stage performances.

One blogger praised the band by declaring “When all four members of Birds of Bellwoods step up to the mic, something amazing happens. Their voices play off each other and the audience is reminded of all the beauty in the world left to fight for.”

I’ll find out on Friday if they live up to the hype!

Julien Baker

A quick YouTube search of this American singer/songwriter from Memphis shows that I’m definitely late to the game in discovering her music: Her video Appointments has a million views and her NPR Tiny Desk Concert performance has over two million.

Baker’s debut album Sprained Ankle in 2015 was on all sorts of year-end best lists from NPR Music to New York Magazine’s Vulture. From what I’ve listened to so far, she sounds like the perfect music to play when you’re relaxing at home and need a good cathartic cry.

Milk and Bone

One of the joys of living in Montreal is we have a plethora of musicians creating amazing art. One of the downfalls is there’s so much to take in sometimes you miss out on awesome bands like Milk and Bone! But thank goodness I get to finally see this dreamy electro pop duo which hails from my hometown.

Alex Lahey

This Australian indie-rocker has been making a name for herself ever since her 2016 single You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me, one of the catchiest songs about rejection ever released. Her music immediately makes me nostalgic for the pop-punk days of my youth, when I’d jump head first into a mosh pit at Foufones Electroniques. I may not hit the pit anymore (seriously, i’m in my 30s), but I will be there from the back, eagerly cheering her show on.

The Beaches

This all-female glam rock band from Toronto immediately caught my attention with their undeniable style. (I’m a sucker for a well put together 60s look). And taking a look at their music on YouTube showed that the band isn’t all style and no substance. Their tracks Money and T-Shirt are catchy rock songs I could easily see playing at my next party.

* The 2018 edition of Osheaga runs August 3rd, 4th and 5th. Tickets available at osheaga.com

** Featured image of The Beaches courtesy Osheaga/Evenko

Aight, let’s get this in —  five days from today I’ll be twerking the shit outta some lamppost on the Osheaga grounds while dazed festival goers gawk and snicker, but fuck ‘em, I got a press pass!

There are a lot of fresh acts on Friday and in truth I’d only heard of something like half of them. We all know Outkast and Skrillex and yeah, I won’t really be on their jock… Unless Outkast does the entire ATLiens album start to finish, in which case I will recite every lyric in perfect time while sobbing in ecstasy.

The line-up for Friday is heavily electronic, or at least beat driven. I’m cool with that because my boy Flume is playing. I don’t know him but he’s my boy, know what I mean? Drum and bass wizards Chase and Status will be dope, super UK vibes, fast wubbing, jungle drum lines.

And ODESZA, a couple of chill-looking cats out of Seattle with their silky smooth take on pop beat making. Should be good.

And then the acid rapper, Chance. This guy is pretty lyrical. I grew up on 90’s hip hop so the bar is mad high but he’s got a 7.5 — that’s probably like a 9 in terms of the new school. I hope he’s obviously on acid; that would be a trip to see. (Plus, from what I hear there’s lots of good acid around.)

Finally, I selected The Beaches, a girl band that actually plays instruments. They have a certain verve, which I find alluring. They remind me of Veruca Salt for millennials.

I’m pumped to be covering this year’s opening day. I’ve never been to Osheaga and in the past, I have not been its biggest fan— I was just jaded by lack of funds, I guess. For real, though, if Outkast goes into ‘13th Floor (Growing Old)’ I’m gonna lose my shit hard. I’ll keep you posted, and check out some of the hyperlinks, don’t be a hater.


Photo by Chris Zacchia.