I asked Montreal resident "BrooklynVegan Mike" if he could give is a quick preview of some of the bands from Montreal that are traveling to Austin for SXSW this year. Here's what he came up with....
Montreal has created an environment of great, imaginative music. We have our own indie music showcase and outdoor music festival, and are the artistic capital of Canada (despite what Toronto might tell you). Faster then you can say poutine, the city has erupted on to the indie stage with a flurry of good bands. Many of them (along with all of indie-dom) are descending to Austin for South by Southwest. We all know the big names, so I've been asked to comment on some of the lesser known bands being produced by my corner of the great white north. Here is a rundown of a few of the (unsung) Montreal bands worth checking out at SXSW.
DOWNLOAD: Patrick Watson - Luscious Life (MP3)
Patrick Watson has been plugging along for a few years, releasing their brand of soft, electronically subtle folk. Vocally sounds like the love child of Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley and makes no effort to hide it. Of all the Montreal bands playing SXSW this year, they have the biggest chance at the dreaded "crossover" appeal. He could become your mom's favorite artist (has been featured a couple times on "Grey's Anatomy"). Fall in love now before it gets played out everywhere.
DOWNLOAD: Miracle Fortress - This Thing About You (MP3)
Spearheaded by Graham Van Pelt of Think About Life, Miracle Fortress is a departure from the keyboard party punk of his "day job," but not by as much as you would think. It's a more spaced-out affair, with Van Pelt exploring the sounds he creates with a psych-pop bent and a healthy dose of delay. If Think About Life is the ecstasy rush, Miracle Fortress is the comedown.
DOWNLOAD: Land of Talk - Speak to Me Bones (MP3)
A sign you are unheralded in your own hometown; when the local culture press anoints you next big thing status AFTER the national media does. Such is the cross Land of Talk has to bear. At Osheaga they stole fans from the Bell Orchestre set - no small feat (Arcade Fire are GODS here). A power-trio that merges early Cat Power with Sonic Youth in a straight forward style, just don't tell them that. They should have a full album later this year, but Boo Hiss Cheer Applause is a great introduction. We've talked a lot about them here, so you should be familiar with them by now. If you haven't, what's wrong with you?
DOWNLOAD: Creature - Pop Culture (MP3)
Montreal dance-punk at its finest. Long before The Arcade Fire and The Stills came out of here, Montreal had a well known DJ/House scene. Creature bridges the gap between those two genres. They get better with every beer.
DOWNLOAD: We Are Wolves - La Nature (MP3)
We are Wolves' myspace photo shows a dizzying array of keyboards. I believe that summarizes them quite nicely. They remind me a lot of Add (N) to X, but with a more aggressive, dancey flavor like DFA79. They played a fantastic set on the Osheaga second stage this past summer. You will sweat, a lot.
DOWNLOAD: Pawa Up First - Detour (MP3)
Orginally the home recordings of local artist Serge Pelletier, the fleshed out band Pawa Up First shoots you back to 1995 when Trip-Hop ruled and Brighton was the chillest place on Earth. An amalgam of Gainsbourg, salsa, and hip-hop beats, they are one of the more dynamic bands from Montreal in quite a while.
LISTEN: Plaster @ MySpace
A really fun, inventive electronic trio with a big underground following in the city. For as enticing as their album is, Plaster's live show is supposed to be a spectacle unto itself - always a tough ticket when they are playing. Check out their site just to mess around and deconstruct their tracks. Making their way to a car commercial near you.
LISTEN: Krista L.L. Muir @ MySpace
The former "Lederhosen Lucil", her music incorporates sparse ukulele with her chilling vocals multitracked, creating a warm, but unsettling atmosphere. Peep the track "Libra Encore" for the best example of this. I have never Krista L.L. Muir live but would be curious to see if she can pull off the feeling her recordings elicit.
DOWNLOAD: Malajube - Etienne D'Aout (MP3)
Malajube are finally making some noise in the U.S. after being the hottest band in Montreal for some time. Like Land of Talk, you've heard plenty about them around here.
DOWNLOAD: Call Me Poupee - Singapore Slang (MP3)
With a sound that recalls early Blonde Redhead (including vocals, which channel Kazu Makino) through a spaghetti western prism...Call Me Poupee . There is a kitsch factor that might hinder them from garnering mass appeal, but the record is fantastic and their Osheaga performance showed they can handle a large audience. For fans of Ennio Morricone, spy records, and the first Goldfrapp record.
Well dressed group making garage-inflected power pop, Les Breastfeeders are part of a growing number of French-language Montreal bands that are making a name outside of the city. Imagine The Banana Splits covering The Kinks.
this post brought to you by BrooklynVegan Mike