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Breaking Artist: Caribou

August 22, 2007 9:03 AM ET

Who: Dan Snaith, a Canadian-born electro-pop visionary who used to perform under the name Manitoba.

Sounds Like: Folktronica on acid. Caribou's latest album, Andorra, hits like an unearthed gem from the heyday of psychedelic rock with layers of chiming bells, warped strings and trippy flute loops.

Three Things You Should Know:
1. Snaith was forced to ditch his Manitoba moniker when Dictators frontman Handsome Dick Manitoba sued him for trademark infringement.
2. Snaith is scary smart: His father, mother, and sister all hold degrees in mathematics, and multi-instrumentalist Snaith graduated from London's Imperial College with a doctorate in algebraic number theory. He sees a shared abstractness between math and music: "It's all about playing around with ideas until you have a breakthrough," he explains.
3. The name Caibou emerged during an acid trip Snaith indulged in somewhere in the middle of the Canadian prairies. "It was just miles of nothing," Snaith recalls. "So we stopped the van, sat in a field and took some acid." During his adventure, a bear appeared to him and told him to change his name to Caribou.

Get It: Andorra came out this week on Merge Records, and the band will embark on a large-scale tour in the fall, which hits the U.S. in October and November.

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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