Cadence Weapon, Final Fantasy

While every kid in the Montreal and Toronto indie-gentsia eye-rolled their way through the extended jerk-off that les Américains had over the Arcade Fire, other (and weirder) acts from the sticky web of Canada's music scene were being groomed to fulfill the U.S. appetite for fresh cultural offerings. Among them, still semi-secrets (except, of course, to our notable Denton-based production company Spune), are Cadence Weapon and Final Fantasy. The former is Rollie Pemberton, a fluid and adroit music critic–cum–indie hip-hop idol, wanted everywhere for remixes. The latter is Owen Pallett, a roaming strings-for-hire reed of a beautiful gay nerd. Pemberton is off-center and purposefully awkward, a chillingly dynamic rapper. Pallett essentially sings and plays violin, often bowing into a sampler and then singing and playing over the loop. The music is clever and morbid, but he inventively incorporates elements like projected shadows and Mariah Carey covers into his set. Both men are confrontationally singular and scarily cool. Can we handle it, America?

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Kate Carraway