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Photo by Pierre Bourgault

While it’s no secret that the headliners of any festival are the biggest draw, it’s always fun to check out the smaller stages and maybe make some musical discoveries. The vibe at the smaller stages can be more intimate, less crowded and sometimes you’ll get lucky and the see “the next big thing” before they break out a month from now.

At a festival the size of Osheaga there’s a very good chance you haven’t heard of all of the bands on the lineup. If you’re the type to go to the festival earlier in the day to check out some of the lesser known acts it can be pretty daunting to figure out just where to go.

All week we’ve been talking to a few local artists from Quebec that would all make excellent choices (Men I Trust, CRi, Beat Market, Heartstreets, Le Couleur).

And now, here are a few more picks to check out that you might be less familiar with:

Blaenavon:

I’m not going to lie, I have no idea how to pronounce the name of this band (it’s also the name of a town in Wales which means my best guess might still be way off). However, what I can tell you is that if you are a fan of mod sounding English alternative indie rock you are probably going to love Blaenavon.

The 80’s influence is evident in their music videos and I found myself instantly reminded of The Cure (in a good way) with enough of a more modern vibe to make them their own distinct sound.

Embrace your inner teenager in an 80s movie that was just broken up with by their high school crush.

Check out Blaenavon at Scène de la Vallée Vans Fri, August 4, 2:05 PM > 2:45 PM

Angel Olsen:

Not actually a lost relative of the Olsen Twins; Angel Olsen brings the tried and true indie folk esthetic of a strong female vocalist to Osheaga. In the addition to the more “traditional”, softer vocals of the genre (Olsen’s vocals are hauntingly melodic), she can shift into a gritty high gear when called for to really add to the emotional resonance of a track.

The last year or so seems to mark a bit of growth for Olsen, recent tracks have had her integrating more synthetic sounds to her previous guitar-centric sound.

Plus I’m a sucker for anyone who has roller skating in their music videos.

Check out Angel Olsen at Scène de la Rivière Virgin Mobile Fri, August 4, 2:45 PM > 3:25 PM

Temples:

Here’s a little story about me and Temples. I use Google Play Music as my main source of streaming music. They’ve got an algorithm or something that recommends new music based on your listening tastes. Now, my musical choices are all over the map. It’s not that uncommon for me to switch from Run The Jewels, over to Brian Eno and then over to some classic blues like Buddy Guy.

Despite all this, the algorithm sometimes really “gets” me. Last march when the latest Temples album “Volcano” dropped the app was like “hey Keith, you should really listen to this”.  And after listening to the opening track “Certainty” I was pretty appreciative of the advanced programming it took to make that recommendation.

If I had to draw a comparison to another band I would probably land closest to another Osheaga band: MGMT. Both bands have a similar psychedelic sound with dreamy, trippy vocals.

(Side note: while writing this article I accidentally had 3 tabs open all playing different tracks from Temples and my mind is now blown)

Temples will be playing Scène de la Vallée Vans Sat, August 5, 3:25 PM > 4:10 PM

Whitney:

Have you ever been longboarding down the coast of Huntington Beach in California at sunrise? No? Just me? Well, even though they’re from Chicago, the music of Whitney would make an excellent soundtrack to that experience.

Mellow, laid back guitar riffs just seem to be a perfect fit for the summertime. The fact that Whitney lists 7 members on their Wikipedia page is an indication of the full sound they achieve on almost every track. A small orchestra worth of instruments seem to combine on each song effortlessly.

If it does happen to be raining on Sunday, be sure to check out Whitney and at least it will sound like you’re in the sunshine.

Whitney will be playing at Scène de la Vallée Vans Sun, August 6, 3:25 PM > 4:10 PM

Foxygen:

Speaking of bands that sound like summertime, Foxygen will also be a great act to catch at Osheaga. Also, they’re actually from California. Maybe should have saved that longboarding thing.

Foxygen’s brand of indie rock borders on the psychedelic, much like Montreal’s own Mac De Marco. Their music evokes just enough nostalgia for classic song writing to sound familiar while at the same time it’s self-aware enough to let us in on the joke that the music is somewhere in between tribute and parody.

Also, despite the fact that their past differences seem to be behind them, it wasn’t so long ago that the band was seemingly in a perpetual cycle of breaking up and getting back together. So maybe it’s best to catch them while you can.

Foxygen take the stage at Scène Verte Sonnet Sun, August 6, 7:20 PM > 8:20 PM 

There’s still time to get passes to Osheaga. More info HERE.

Keith does all sorts of things here on 9to5.cc, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.

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