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THUMP's Top Canadian Up-and-Comers 2014

Ready for this list eh?
December 19, 2014, 3:45am

Yesterday, we revealed our Top Canadian Artists of 2014. Today, we're shedding light on the musicians you may not have been exposed to yet. Musicians that don't care about their position on Hypem or that they were booked in a four-star hotel instead of a five-star. These artists are in it for the love of the music, and we expect them to excel in 2015.

15. Noo-Bap

Last year, Noo-Bap released an album titled クラウド移?• (?•ルアルバム). This year, he decided to make things relatively easier to Google by naming his latest album ???-??? - ???????????????????? ??. Like I said, it's relatively easier.

Excellence of the album aside, the Montreal beatmaker went on to perform at Piknic, run a successful weekly called MELT MTL with friend Nick Wisdom and Cozy, and release a slew of remixes for the likes of Illa J and The Celestics.


(Photo via Facebook/Boris Halas)

14. Lnrdcroy

Lnrdcroy's MUCH LESS NORMAL was our favourite release of the year from Vancouver imprint 1080p. Introspective, mellow, and thought-out, it made liberal use of old Roland and Yamaha gear, as well as producer Leon Campbell's deep love of ambient techno. After a follow-up EP on Pacific Rhythm, Lnrdcroy's inclusion in this list was a no-brainer.

(Photo via Facebook/1080p)

13. Justin James

2014 saw Justin James leap to the forefront of Toronto's techno scene. Though light on releases this year, his label refused, was the exact opposite. Justin's performances were far from scarce, with credits to shows like ENTER.LA at Escape to a seasoned performer in Ibiza. Here's looking forward to even bigger things in 2015.

(Photo via Facebook)

12. Pender Street Steppers

Pender Street Steppers do not have a Facebook fan page. Their label, Mood Hut, does not have a Facebook fan page. They will never ask you to follow them on Twitter, and they will never cease to impress us. Earlier this year, they were one of only six acts invited to perform at Boiler Room's first and only Vancouver taping where, in typical fashion, they didn't ask people to turn up, throw their hands in the air, or clap along. EDC could learn a lot from PSS.

(Photo via Facebook/Evening Standard)

11. Nick Wisdom

Nick Wisdom has appeared on THUMP several times over the past year for one simple reason: his music is really, really fucking good. Over the past twelve months, he produced a monumental amount of music and attracted the attention of everyone from ASL Singles Club to Bastard Jazz. His funk-infused beatmaking immediately puts a smile on your face and is inspired heavily by the work of the late J Dilla. When he announced a series of upcoming collaborations with Dilla's younger brother, Illa J, our first though was "it's about damn time."

(Photo via Facebook)


10. Rook Milo

Rook Milo, BB Meels, DJ 2Slo, Mccolm. This Vancouver producer goes by many names, but his music is as consistent and true to itself as the best out there. Rook Milo impressed us this year with his debut EP, two enormous remixes, and his entirely unique approach to bringing the hip-hop and electronic worlds together.

(Photo via Facebook/MMVIII)

9. Harrison

The following things remind us of erratic Toronto producer, Harrison:

1. Having your NES stop working and blowing in the cartridge,
2. Taking your dog for a walk and watching it slip on the ice, and
3. Heating something up in the microwave and opening the door at 00:00 before it has a chance to beep.

He has experimented with a variety of styles over the past year, but you can be rest assured that when you see his songs on your SoundCloud, they'll be funky, colourful, and immensely original.

(Photo via Facebook/Shane Parent)

8. Young Braised

Young Braised is the only rapper to make this list, and does so due to the enormous credibility of his production. That's not to say that his vocal work isn't impressive as well, but how often do you see rappers release their music on IDM labels?

(Photo via Facebook/Jacee Juhasz)

7. Ekali

Nathan Shaw aka Ekali was one of a very, very short list of producers invited to perform at RBMA Tokyo this fall. Not bad for a musician who also plays in one of Canada's most loved indie bands, Said The Whale. His music is expressive, emotive, sincere, and draws on a variety of styles for inspiration. R&B, electronica, and ambience all find their way masterfully into his work. The Vancouverite has recently signed to The Agency Group, so don't be surprised if you find him playing in a city near you in a few months.

(Photo via Facebook)


6. Nathan Barato

In the past few months, Nathan Barato has received serious nods from Hot Creations, Huxley, Hot Since 82, Stereo Nightclub, and Cajual Records to name a few. This Toronto house denizen has been one of our absolute favourites to see climb through the ranks in Toronto, and we can't wait to hear more and more of his lush rhythms in the near future.

(Photo via Facebook)

5. Blue Hawaii

Blue Hawaii are Montreal to a tee. Intelligent, creative, and subdued, the duo have developed a blend of airy lyricism and ambient production that's an absolute joy to behold. The Arbutus Records-signed pair have been called on to perform by both Boiler Room and Lucky Me, and it doesn't take long on their SoundCloud to understand why.

(Photo via Facebook)

4. Tommy Kruise

In his home town of Montreal, Tommy Kruise's name is spoken in hushed tones. Even as far away as Austin, Texas during SXSW this year, the Montreal producer maintained an air of reverence about him scarely observed in other musicians. When he took the stage, it was clear why. His mastery of instrumental hip-hop, trap, and R&B is unrivalled in his city and brings an air of authority to any musicians he collaborates with.

(Photo via Facebook/Alex Geoffrion "Tron")


ANDRU is the point at which trap, festival-ready sounds, and pop intersect. His music is unpretentious and immediately engaging, making it equally easy to share with die-hard electronic fans and newcomers alike. After putting out upwards of 20 releases in 2014, it's clear that this mysterious producer has nothing but musical domination on his mind in the new year.

(Photo via Facebook)


2. Tennyson

Edmonton-bred and Ryan Hemsworth-approved, brother sister duo Tennyson won over countless hearts with their debut on Secret Songs, "You're Cute." Their music is, like that of many Secret Songs artists, emotional to its core. It's difficult to pin down just one trait about the two that make them so appealing; maybe it's their whimsical composition or maybe it's the fact that a group this unique came from Alberta's northernmost (and worst) major city. Whichever it is, we can be rest assured that "Lay-by," "For You," and "You're Cute" are just the beginning.

(Photo via Facebook)

1. The Celestics

Rumors surrounding Kaytranada's side-project with little brother and rapper, Louie P, had been buzzing throughout Canada's music scene for some time before its debut. With the release of Supreme Laziness (their first full-length album on HW&W Recordings) though, the world found out that the pairing was far better than anyone could have imagined.

The Celestics take our #1 spot for their undeniable ability to bring the rap and electronic communities together. Rap fans, drawn in by Louie P's verses, found something to admire in Kaytranada. Die-hard electronic fans, eager to sample anything that Kaytranada has his hands in, were reminded by Louie P that the rap world wasn't nearly as unagreeable as they thought.

We expect big things from The Celestics in the coming months, and look forward to being with them every step of the way.

(Photo via Facebook/Christian B-A)

Words by Ziad Ramley: @ZiadRamley