Entries tagged with: Canada
As mentioned, Still Corners' new album, Strange Pleasures, is out next month (5/4) on Sub Pop. Reduced to a duo of core members Greg Hughes and Tessa Murray, the band embrace synthesizers which gives their sound an Air-y feel. The band are playing Toronto's NXNE Festival in June and will stop in NYC on their way there, playing Glasslands on June 12. Tickets to that show go on sale Friday (4/5) at noon.
Still Corners are one of many new additions to 2013 of NXNE which happens at various Toronto venues from June 10 - 16. All Still Corners dates are listed, along with the updated NXNE lineup, below...
Feist accepts Polaris Prize money (via BrooklynVegan Instagram)
BV photographer Dominick Mastrangelo headed straight from Pop Montreal to Toronto today to witness the 2012 Polaris Prize gala where Feist was just announced as this year's big Canadian winner (for her album "Metals"). She beat Cadence Weapon, Cold Specks, Drake, Kathleen Edwards, Fucked Up, Grimes, Handsome Furs, Japandroids, and Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, many of whom performed at the awards show tonight. Stay tuned for more pictures from that (and for the rest of our Pop Montreal coverage coming soon too).
Update: a much closer-up picture of the above scene, members of Arcade Fire included, below...
photos by Zach Pollack, words by Parker Langvardt
Nardwuar w/ Andrew WK // Reigning Sound
We started the second night of the festival at National Music Centre, catching about a song and a half of a Vancouver band called Beekeeper. Their enthusiastic frontman invited the audience on stage for the last song, which began with a Latin rhythm and eventually took a turn toward psychedelic punk.
Next was We Are The City of Kelowna, British Columbia. Their set was rhythmic and dynamic, touching on many different genres like jazz, math rock, blues and R&B. They also brought some glitchy drumming into a new, keyboard-oriented song that they played. It was less conventional than the rest of their set, but still fit in well.
When Nardwuar took the stage with his band The Evaporators, he asked for more vocals in the monitor and then asked the audience, "Monitors. What does that remind you of?" After some responses from the audience, he went through a weird little association game with Titus Andronicus ("Tittus Andromedus" and other mispronunciations), who got their name from the boat that fought the Monitor in the Civil War. In Nardwuar's words, "A plus B equals C!" He mentioned up former New York governor Mario Cuomo and a Canadian gas station called Domo to start a chant of "Mario Cuomo works at Domo," which developed into the first song with a quick keyboard part from Nardwuar and a continuous drum beat. The second song started with some bizarre sumo grunts and jumps, which he made several audience members do with him until they formed a weird grunting conga line of sorts. They covered "Barney Rubble is My Double" by a Calgary band called The Hot Nasties, and performed an original song about blowing up a rock in a river called "Ripple Rock." The Evaporators simple pop-punk is made hilarious by Nardwuar's actions, weird inflections, and ridiculous choruses. He asked the audience to suspend him in the air, lying face down with a helmet on, with more fans holding his keyboard in front of him. When he asked for one more guy to help him out, he was joined by Sled Island co-curator Andrew W.K., who performed "Party Hard" with The Evaporators along with several other songs.
We made our way over to Republik, where we caught the end of Sled Island veterans Legs' set. Vocalist Allie Sheldan sang strongly with a raspy voice over some western-sounding guitar. They ended with a somber bluesy song called "I've Got a Sadness in My Heart."
Next was a Winnipeg powerpop duo called Cannon Bros, who had a touch of garage rock in their sound. Then we caught the upbeat pop rock of Calgary quartet Feel Alright, who blended reverby surf pop with a country edge. And then finally, a much anticipated set from Reigning Sound, whose rock and roll vibes made for a killer show.
Afterwards, we ventured over to Dickens to catch Hot Snakes, but after waiting in line for a half hour they declined to let anyone else in the venue for the sold-out show. Hot Snakes played Orion Fest in Atlantic City a few days later.
More pictures from Sled Island day 2 are below. Coverage of day 3 is coming soon...
Joe's final tweet...
He also appears to have posted a suicide note on his blog, titled, "If This Was Your Last Day Alive What Would You Do?" The post includes a list of things he regrets ("my inability to conquer my alcoholism"), things he would have liked to have seen happen in his life ("living in Paris or New York again"), predictions for 2012 ("sales of Mayan Calendars up for 2012, drop for 2013"), and the things he is proud of (his time at SNL and "writing the first draft of Wayne’s World with Mike Myers"). At 3 a.m. on December 24th, he Tweeted a link to the post, adding, "Godbye." He then Tweeted a link to this video, and lastly, at 3:53 a.m., he wrote: "When people tell you to "dream" to make my life better I'd say 99.9% of them have never been beaten and robbed."RIP Joe
Arcade Fire @ ACL Live on Saturday (more by Tim Griffin)
"There's only going to be one outcome of the Polaris Music Prize gala on Monday night: either the Arcade Fire wins or the Arcade Fire loses.And Arcade Fire it is...
If the acclaimed Montreal ensemble wins, it will be the first time in the award's six-year history that the Polaris grand jury's choice of victor lines up with mainstream tastes. The album for which the Arcade Fire is nominated this year, The Suburbs, hit No. 1 in a number of countries on both sides of the Atlantic when it was released in August of last year, including Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., and it's already got Album of the Year honours at the Grammy Awards and the Juno Awards to its credit. It represents one of those rare moments when critical acclaim, massive popularity and the approval of music-industry insiders are not mutually exclusive but have united in a perfect storm of near-universal acceptance.
If the Arcade Fire loses, expect Polaris foes to get their knives out again and accuse the award of being an exclusive, anti-populist, indier-than-thou club for arty obscurantists with little commercial appeal."
Other nominees this year were Austra, Destroyer, Timber Timbre, The Weeknd, and Braids who are co-headlining the BrooklynVegan official CMJ showcase at MHOW this year (tickets are on sale).
DOWNLOAD: Austra - "Spellwork" (MNDR Nighttime Remix) (MP3)
Austra at Santos (more by Vincent Cornelli)
2011's short list of nominees for Canada's Polaris Music Prize were announced. They include a mix of indie veterans, grammy-winners, a sax player who has played with those grammy winners, and some new kids on the block like the super buzzy The Weeknd whose resume includes working with Drake. Full nominee list is below.
One of the artists, Austra, will release a remix EP to follow-up their latest release Feel it Break. The remix collection, entitled SPARKLE will be released digitally on July 26th and on wax on August 23rd. The release features remix contributions from MNDR, Mark Pistel, and Planningtorock with the digital collection having an additional four bonus remixes. Preorder it at Domino, and download/stream one track, "Spellwork (MNDR Nighttime Remix)" above/below.
Reminder, look for Austra to play a FREE show on July 14th supporting tUnE-yArDs at Pier 54 in NYC. They'll also be on hand to support Cold Cave at Bowery Ballroom on August 6th (tickets). Cold Cave also plays NYC next week, at Knitting Factory with Cult of Youth on July 12th (tickets).
Braids, also nominated, recently announced a ton of tour dates.
Austra song stream and dates and the Polaris Music Prize nominees are below.
As previously mentioned, Joe's Pub is closing for renovations. Tonight, 7/1, is the final night of the club as we know it now, and they'll be hosting Canada Day bashes "featuring the Great Canadian Songbook" at both 6:30 and 9:00 pm...
produced and emcee'd by Jeff Breithaupt and featuring a stellar international line-up, including Tyley Ross (East Village Opera Company, The Who's Tommy), Greg Naughton (The Sweet Remains), singer-songwriters Jamie Leonhart, Joe Hurley, Anthony da Costa, and Kate Schutt, cabaret spitfire Shelley McPherson, Tony Salvatore (BETTY, Pleasuredog), Shannon Connolly (Lez Zeppelin), and chanteuses Lezlie Harrison, Melissa Stylianou, and Victoria Cave (Brooklyn Rundfunk Orkestrata, Cabaret, Steely Dan), all backed by the all-star "Workin' for the Weekend House Band" led by Music Director Peter Kiesewalter (Brooklyn Roadfunk Orkestrata, East Village Opera Company). Join the evening's sparkling cast as they lay down unforgettable versions of all your favorite Canuck anthems. From Cohen to Cockburn, Joni to Gino, Lightfoot to Lighthouse, Rufus to Raffi, Burton to Bryan, Nelly to Neil, you never know whose songs you might hear. Think you know The Great Canadian Songbook? You Ain't [Heard] Nothin' Yet.As you can see on Joe's schedule, nothing else is going on at Joe's Pub this month, but they do have one of those Cooper Square Hotel shows happening.
The Joe's Pub shows are also the only place we could find that was actually celebrating Canada Day this year. There is a show in Prospect Park but it's not about Canada (it's reggae band Steel Pulse).
What did we miss?
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: PS I Love You - Facelove (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: PS I Love You - 2012 (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Suuns - Arena (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Suuns - Up Past the Nursery (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The High Dials - Chinese Boxes (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Elephant Stone - I am Blind (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: No Joy - Headless (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Parallels - Find the Fire (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Hot Panda - Mindlessnesslessness (MP3)
There's never any shortage of Canadians at CMJ but this year... there seems like more than usual. So lets get to it.
On Thursday (10/21) The M for Montreal folks are back for a second year at Arlene's Grocery with eight diverse bands (not all from MTL) they deem worthy of seeing. The band with the most buzz coming into CMJ is probably Kingston, Ontario PS I Love You who play at 9PM. For a duo, these guys have a pretty giant sound, and their debut LP, Meet Me at Muster Station, recently got a 8.1 on Pitchfork. You can download two tracks from it at the top of this post. PS I Love You are playing five shows this week ( 20th - 23rd) and all dates are at the bottom of this post.
Capping the evening at 1AM are Acadian hip hop group Radio Radio whose album Belmundo Regal was up for this year's prestigious Polaris Prize. (They lost to Karkwa.) You can listen to the whole record via a widget at the bottom of this post. They are, I'm pretty sure, the only act to rap in the Chiac dialect, which is kind of the French Canadian equivalent of Spanglish. I saw them two years ago in Montreal and they were super fun -- even though I had no idea what they were saying. If you have no Last Show tonight, definitely head over to Arlene's Grocery. It's their only CMJ show.
Also playing the M for Montreal show: our good friends The Luyas who will also play our free day party on Friday (their only other show); Red Mass who bring a touch of theatrics to their Damned-esque garage punk; the low fi garagey folk of Uncle Bad Touch (who get the JEFF the Brotherhood Seal of Approval); Vancouver duo The Pack A.D.; and laid back folk-soul-hiphop group Random Recipe (check out their LP widget at the bottom of this post).
If you show up at 6PM you'll be treated to a little pre show action: dream pop outfit Braids and free poutine, the official drunk food of Montreal (though not vegan). Set times for the whole night are at the bottom of this post. Braids play six times this week and all of their shows are listed at the bottom as well.
The biggest bummer about this show is it happens at the same time as the official BrooklynVegan Showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg. But you can get a taste of Montreal at our show as Suuns are playing at 8:45 PM. You can download two Suuns tracks at the top of this post. If you dig shoegaze, Krautrock, or Clinic, you don't wanna miss this band. I caught them at Mercury Lounge over the summer and was impressed. If you can't make our show but still wanna see Suuns, they also play later Thursday (11:45 PM) at Pianos as part of the Secretly Canadian showcase. Those are their only two shows during CMJ week.
There are more Montreal bands here this week too. One of my favorites, The High Dials, play on Saturday (10/23) at the 269 Bar at 11PM. Their new album, Anthems for Doomed Youth, is another great offering of jangly psychedlia, shoegazy guitars and sunny harmonies. You can download "Chinese Boxes" from it at the top of this post.
You may remember that The High Dials used to have a sitar player who left after the band's first album. That guy, Rishi Dhir, now has his own group, Elephant Stone, whose album The Seven Seas, was up for the 2009 Polaris Prize. Elephant Stone play the Trash Bar on Thursday (10/21, 10PM). If you can't see them then, Elephant Stone will be back in NYC in November.
More Montreal action: No Joy, who split their time between L.A. and MTL and will have your eardrums bleeding from their awesome, sludgy shoegaze. They play seven CMJ week shows, including the BV day party on Saturday (10/23) at Public Assembly. (Official announcement soon.) After CMJ, No Joy head out with Vivian Girls offshoot La Sera (who plays a bunch her own CMJ shows) -- all dates are at the bottom of this post.
Folk band The Barr Brothers play two shows tonight tonight (10/19): Cameo Gallery at 7:30PM and then The Rock Shop at 11PM. They also play tomorrow (10/20, 7PM) at Rockwood Music Hall.
Time, space and sanity doesn't permit me to go through every single Canadian act here for CMJ, but here's a few more of note:
Much-buzzed, glammy, glitzy Diamond Rings plays six CMJ week shows, starting with tomorrow night's (10/20) killer Stereogum/Popgun party at Santos, that also includes Wild Nothing, Tamaryn, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., now-revealed headliner The Drums, and more. (Only $5 with RSVP.) All Diamond Rings CMJ dates, including an Underground Press/Distiller day party at Knitting Factory on Thursday, are at the bottom of this post.
Toronto synth-disco duo Parallels play two shows on Wednesday (10/20): Backstage (formerly the Annex) at 1opm and then 11:45PM at The Bell House (that's gonna be cutting it close). Check out their track "Find the Fire" at the top of this post.
Edmonton, Alberta's cute, frenetic indiepop foursome Hot Panda play two shows on Wednesday (10/20): a day show at Fontanas (2:40PM) and then that night at the Trash Bar (11PM). Check out "Mindlessnesslessness" from the band's new album, How Come I'm Dead? at the top of this post.
Two Hours Traffic hail from Prince Edward Island and traffik (sorry) in Weezer-ish power pop. They play the R Bar on Saturday (10/23) at 9PM.
And Woodhands, from Toronto, will bring their somewhat nerdy, definitely catchy snyth rock to The Bell House for a midnight set.
Tour dates, some flyers, videos, album widgets and other stuff are below.
by Bill Pearis
Making good use of those year-long visas, Montreal trio Parlovr are heading back down to the States next week for a short North East tour, with two stops here in NYC: Wednesday, July 21 for an early show at Mercury Lounge and and Friday, July 23 at Knitting Factory. Both show are with fellow Montreal act Suuns. (More on them further down this post.)
Parlovr's 2008 debut just got a belated stateside release -- download "Pen to the Paper" at the top of this post -- and the band are about to head back into the studio for its follow-up. As I've said before, they're an entertaining live band. Here's what I wrote from last year's M for Montreal:
The band's self-titled, self-released 2008 album does not do them justice, making them sound like a Wolf Parade Jr. Live, Parlovr are way more energetic, fun and melodic -- though it may have also had something to do with a fair amount of new material in their set. Singers Louis Jackson and Alex Cooper semi face each other from opposite sides of the stage rocking back and forth like manic Drinking Birds, flipping their '90s skate rat hair around, while mountain man drummer Jeremy MacCuish holds down the beat. They clearly enjoy playing, and it's a lot of fun to watch too.Be sure to watch Parlovr's two new Takeaway shows which are at the bottom of this post. One of them features an unexpected run-in with a Montreal councilman, the outcome of which probably wouldn't happen in NYC.
After their U.S. jaunt, Parlovr will head back to Montreal, where they'll play a free warm-up party for the Osheaga Festival on July 29 at Cafe Campus that is being sponsored by Brooklyn Vegan, M for Montreal, Canadian music mag Exclaim and Blue Skies Turn Black. The 2010 Osheaga Festival is July 31 and August 1, with Arcade Fire, Weezer, Pavement, The National and Metric among the bands playing.
Meanwhile, Suuns will continue on in the U.S. after their dates with Parlovr. The band, who until just a couple month ago were known as Zeroes, will hit the road, opening for some of the dates on Land of Talk's fall tour. (Their portion of the tour will end before Land of Talk plays Bowery on November 6 though.) The band's EP, Zeroes, is quite good, sounding a little bit like Clinic -- dark and claustrophobic but also capable of going epic, as on "Arena" which you can download at the top of this post. This will be a good double-bill.
Those two Parlovr takeaway shows, flyers and tour dates for both Parlovr and Suuns are after the jump.
Roberto Panetta poses w/ Arcade Fire in Sherbrooke
"Arcade Fire might have been trying out new material in an out-of-the-way venue, but there was nothing tentative about their take-no-prisoners show in Sherbrooke, Quebec, [Monday] night. Following up on a surprise Montreal show Friday night in front of only 75 invitees, the group held court in the 1,200-capacity Granada Theatre with a drenched-shirt set that had adoring fans hoarse from singing and sore from clapping in time. It was the first of two sold-out shows -- they [returned Tuesday night] -- in the Eastern townships community, which is populated by 200,000 people and located about 90 miles east of Montreal.Arcade Fire played new songs at the above-mentioned three Canadian shows in the past week. Their next currently scheduled show is June 30th, and they hit Madison Square Garden in NYC on August 4th. Tickets for that show are "on sale soon" according to ArcadeFire.com, but the Ticketmaster American Express presale begins at 10am TODAY (6/9). General sale starts Saturday at 9am (6/12).
"We're going to play some new songs tonight," Win Butler said from the stage three numbers into the set. "Hope that's OK."" [Rolling Stone]
The 6/9 & 6/12 on-sales are consistent with what I posted before, so look for the fanclub pre-sale to begin on 6/10. Videos from the Canadian shows and all three setlists, below...
Arcade Fire @ Mercury Lounge, 2004 (more)
Arcade Fire have been fairly quiet about their forthcoming, third album. Small tidbits have leaked out, like the fact producer Markus Dravs is working on it and that it is complete. Similarly, their summer tour dates are mostly unannounced, though Lollapalooza will be one stop. Now the band's website has been updated with a list of mainly-European summer shows. Three are in North America - Lollapalooza on August 8th, Montreal's Osheaga Festival on July 31st (the closest to NYC), and the Ottawa Bluesfest (July 6-18). The other headliners at Ottawa's massive annual fest include The B-52s, The Swell Season, The Flaming Lips, Passion Pit, Iron Maiden, Rush, Kevin Costner & Modern West, and Weezer. The full lineup is below.
In other Arcade Fire news, they're reportedly working with Spike Jonze on a short film.
"the only bits of information I've been able to uncover from official sources is that the project is another short film. It seems like Spike isn't off his short film kick just yet (if you haven't already, check out his robot love story I'm Here and We Were Once a Fairytale starring Kanye West). I also learned that the film is a collaboration with the band Arcade Fire. You might recall that Spike used Arcade Fire's "Wake Up," from their 2004 album Funeral, in the trailer for Where The Wild Things Are. No word on the length or what the official title might be. Thanks to /Film reader Sam for the tip."We also just realized that Arcade Fire band member Sarah Neufeld has been a member of the Luyas, who are in town for shows, since 2009. She only gets to play with the Luyas when she's not working with Arcade Fire though. She'll play at their private show tonight (4/21), but not at any of the other shows that the band plays this week (Glasslands, Sycamore, Webster Hall & one more TBA!). Sarah also plays in Bell Orchestre with Richard Perry of Arcade Fire, Stefan Schneider of the Luyas, and Pietro Amato of the Luyas (who is also in Torngat and sometimes Arcade Fire). Another sometimes Arcade Fire member, Owen Pallett, plays Webster Hall on Thursday with The Luyas.
All current Arcade Fire tour dates and the full Ottawa Bluesfest lineup are below...
DOOM? (NOW Toronto)
Hoping to curb the melodrama, Toronto promoters REMG offered Mos fans who didn't enter the Kool Haus refunds and sent patrons a message that they'd be checking Dumile's identification to ensure that the real DOOM would take the stage. How fucked up does all of this sound? Wait, it gets slightly more awesome...Tonight's DOOM / Mos Def show scheduled to take place at Nokia Theatre in NYC was cancelled (maybe DOOM just knew it was going to snow).
...DOOM was scheduled to go on at 10 p.m. after an excellent selection of classic and new hip-hop joints by DJ duo, the Mixtape Massacre. Somewhere around ten, a camo-decked organizer informed the crowd that DOOM was at the airport and on his way to the Kool Haus after clearing customs and that he'd be onstage in 45 minutes. The crowd booed and shuffled off into different corners of the room.
An hour passed, another "It's actually DOOM and he's on his way" announcement was made, while an inordinate number of young thugs passed out or seized up on the ground, high on drugs, drink, and at least some restlessness. As the stage was peppered with beer cans and debris from an increasingly hostile, all-ages crowd, the DJs cleared the way, while Raekwon's Only Built for Cuban Linx... Part II blasted through the sound system. This might have been fine if the ignorant soundman wasn't playing it through a partially plugged-in iPod, creating some kind screeching, noise experiment of a record that further infuriated fans, particularly after he realized his mistake and jarringly plugged it in properly. Jesus Christ.
Some time around 12:15 a.m., a fake DOOM barged onstage to the sound of Madvillain's "Accordion," laughing through what was presumably a joke. Middle fingers and boos soon turned to cheers as another DOOM -- the real DOOM? -- followed behind and completed the song. After bantering with the suddenly forgiving crowd and playing older chestnuts and newer songs, DOOM seemed to have the show in control. Then a half hour in, a curious tech issue occurred, DJ Superstar Dave Dar left the stage, DOOM soon followed and everything ground to a halt -- except for many members of the audience who left the show. [Exclaim]
The Thermals have added a second NYC show to their upcoming tour. In addition to their already-announced April 20th show at Brooklyn Bowl, they'll play again at the same venue on April 21st. Tickets go on sale Thursday, February 25th at noon (and tickets are still on sale for the first night too).
The Thermals' new record and Kill Rock Stars debut, now officially called Personal Life, is still quite a ways off, with a release date of September 7th. A bit sooner, the band is planning, (like Fucked Up) a Record Store Day 7-inch split with the Cribs, which'll include new song "Separate." And a few weeks ago, the band dropped a brief pre-Olympics ode, titled "Canada," that was inspired, so the story goes, by a bad gig in Buffalo (and we're guessing the inevitable dinner at Mighty Taco). Stream that track, available on iTunes, below along with their their updated tour dates...
photos by Benjamin Lozovsky, words by Andrew Frisicano
Devo will be performing at the Olympic medal ceremony tonight (2/22) in Whistler, BC, at 10:30pm. They aren't the only band to play the daily ceremonies - Feist and Stars and Wilco already performed and there is still a full schedule of performances through Feb. 27th (The Roots and Burton Cummings both play on February 25).
The Akron band will be putting new song "Fresh" up on its website as a free download after their performance. The site is currently hosting a "color study," which is a survey that asks you to match colors with various scenarios ("What color is this neglected step-child's hair?" is one). It's part of a larger market/faux marketing campaign by the band that's connected to their forthcoming album. They'll also be unveiling new costumes and songs at the Olympic performance.
After conferring with Warner Bros. Records and Mother LA we have decided to permit Devo to debut some new songs and a new look at their Olympics concert. We couldn't have wished for a better testing ground from such a fantastically diverse crowd.A video from Devo Inc.'s COO is below.
Shortly there after Devo will have the opportunity to adjust their set and songs driven by the Olympics crowd input so they can present a truly "kick ass" show (pardon me) as they say, at Coachella. Their desert show will also coincide with the pre-release of new, focus group approved songs from their forthcoming 12 song CD.
There's one problem however. Right now, Devo is committed to more songs than the new release allows. Word from on high is that songs must be removed from the new CD. 12 is the target number. Help DEVO Inc. and its corporate partners to determine the outcome of the album by participating in the proven system of focus-group testing at the Devolution tent. Your involvement is essential and will grant you a free Energy Dome for your efforts.
Devo played two shows at Irving Plaza on November 20th and 21st. The second night they performed Freedom of Choice in full, photographed here. The first night was Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! , which is pictured in this post. More pictures, videos and dates are below...
photos by Ryan Muir
Happy Holidays! I take on more than I can handle. That results in a lot of unposted content. In the name of catching up, while also taking it easy during this final week of the year, here's some of that lost material.
Destroyer played Pop Montreal this year. More pictures from his set, below...
photos by Ryan Muir
Happy Holidays! I take on more than I can handle. That results in a lot of unposted content. In the name of catching up, while also taking it easy during this final week of the year, here's some of that lost material.
Canadian music writer and rapper Canadian Weapon played Pop Montreal this year. More pictures from his set, below...
The final event in the three-day M for Montreal festival/conference was Saturday night's M for Metropolis (11/21), showcasing artists who are genuinely huge in their home city. It took place in the Metropolis Theater and unlike the other more showcase-like nights, this one was clearly aimed at local fans who did indeed pack the 2500 capacity venue. I avoid venues this size like the plague (I have yet to step foot into NYC's Terminal 5) and happily took my seat with the other "international delegates" in the balcony where there were great sight lines to the action, but from that distance you don't exactly get into the show. (Though I think I was more into it than the nearby row of Canadian journalists who all had their laptops set up at the show presumably to take notes - I saw more than a couple checking Facebook.) Add to that the more mainstream nature of some acts (minus a certain Polaris-winning, profanely-named headliner), the Metropolis show was a bit of an anticlimax for me.
Montreal feels like they've got their own French-Canadian equivalents to every popular English language band (or at least genre). For example, show opener Xavier Caféïne filled the "Francophone Foo Fighters/Green Day" slot and Misstress Barbara was the pop/dance act of the night -- though I can't imagine her American equivalent covering a Leonard Cohen song like she did.
Melissa Auf der Maur was up next. In America, she's mainly known as the bassist for Hole (and then Darcy's replacement in Smashing Pumpkins) but in her hometown of Montreal she is rock royalty and a successful solo artist. The crowd was going crazy for her as she worked the stage and pulled out all the classic Rock Moves. She played songs from her 2004 solo debut and a bunch of from its follow-up, due sometime next year.
Things got more interesting -- for me -- from there. I like Malajube who I've seen a lot - a bunch of times around when they toured for their first album, but probably not since 2007. Always in small venues. So I don't know whether it was the size of the stage and the light show, or whether the band has really stepped it up, but Malajube sounded positively epic at Metropolis. I'm not so familiar with their new album, but they are definitely working with a bigger sonic palate these days. And they can definitely pull off playing venues this size (at least with crowds like this). It was a nice jolt to my system, which was a bit bogged down from a heavy meal right before the show.
The coolest thing of the night had to have been Champion and his G-Strings. Nothing livens up a DJ set like having him conduct five guitarists during his set, kind of like a techno Glenn Branca. (OK, it's nothing like that.) Champion has been a Montreal superstar for a while and the crowd was going absolutely mental the whole set. Even with the whole guitars angle, it's still weird to see crowd surfing for a dance act. I'm not sure Champion will achieve this kind of success in America, but I could see him winning over a late night Coachella crowd.
Champion finished his set... and half the crowd split before headliners Fucked Up took the stage. They were definitely the odd band out on this bill, and not just because they were from Toronto. "We're gonna ruin the party!" declared Pink Eyes right before he jumped down onto the floor where he spent the rest of show prowling the crowd, wrapping himself in his mic cord, bonding with moshers and scaring the unprepared stragglers who hadn't left already. Not your normal show for Fucked Up, but awesome in its own way.
A few more pictures below...
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Géraldine - Toi Dans Mes Bras (MP3)
"We sing in English too... just not today," said Automelodi singer Arnaud Lazlaud at the start of their set at Cafe Campus. Kind of the theme of the day, as it was all francophone bands for this Saturday afternoon M for Montreal showcase (11/21). Some might dislike having to watch six bands in a row singing in a language they don't understand, but I actually liked a lot of it.
When you think of French pop, striped shirts, berets, ukuleles and accordions might come to mind. That style is alive and well and still popular in Montreal and we got two bands of just that sort on the bill. Caracol was a little more on the folky/American side, but the songs were jaunty and they could really play. Quirkier were La Patère Rose who were kind of a hipper version of the chanson stereotype. Charming and tiny singer Fanny Bloom is a real pistol and played an accordion nearly as big as her. They even busted out some choreographed dance moves. I could see either of these bands going over gangbusters at NYC's Joe's Pub.
For a day show, the joint was packed (the main room was probably 300 capacity) and was mostly Montreal locals, many of whom were there to see La Patère Rose and Marie-Pierre Arthur who was probably my favorite straight-up (albiet in French) rock act of the whole weekend. She's sort of Montreal's version of Nicole Atkins, mainstream but not in a bad way, a very good songwriter and a skilled musician. I left humming more than a few of her songs.
Things took a left turn after that. Automelodi have a sound that would've been a perfect fit on Mute Records in 1980, or maybe a lost track from that BIPP: French Synth Wave comp): chilly synths, heavily-treated guitars, melodramatic singing. I think singing in French actually helped here, giving an air of mystery to the proceedings. As far as this sort of pastiche style goes, they do it really really well -- and did a good job for them playing at three in the afternoon -- with some very catchy songs. Their debut EP is available via their MySpace, and the band have signed with Brooklyn's home of darkwave/post wave, Wierd Records. They already made their NYC debut at one of their parties at Home Sweet Home in October.
In a similar, if decidedly more idiosyncratic vein was Géraldine which is both the name of the band and of its singer. I'd met Géraldine the day before and she couldn't have been sweeter, telling me about her music through broken English and an endearing laugh. "We wear ski masks," she said. "We use Godspeed's old practice space and they left the masks in there, so we decided to use them." So there they were in ski masks, with Géraldine singing into a pedestal fan while playing it with a violin bow. The crowd laughed nervously. Things got a little more normal after that, as most of her songs, while definitely on the arty side, have hooks and melodies. And despite the ski mask, her charm still comes through. You can download a track at the top of this post.
Headlining the francophone event were hodgepodge funk act Orange Orange. Don Hamel was in Gatineau (who played M last year) and has retained much of that band's schtick, including a variety of old cheapy Casios (including the much-loved Rapmaster) and using an old telephone receiver as a microphone. But Orange Orange drop most of the hip hop aspects of Gatineau in favor of musicality and sex appeal, the latter coming mainly from Sabrina Sabotage. Like many Montreal acts, they put a lot of thought into the performance. I'm not sure I'd listen to the record very often but I'd go see them play again.
While there were plenty of electronic acts at the fest, there was no hip hop. We got a nice dose of it at last year's event (Gatineau and Radio Radio) and I missed it -- whether it would have been in English or French (Cadence Weapon did make two guest appearances this year, but sang at both.) I'm not convinced the French language and rock music work so well together, but it pairs perfectly with a good rapper. Maybe next year.
Saturday night coming soon. A few more pictures from Saturday day, and video of Automelodie, are below...
by Bill Pearis
Last year when I went to M for Montreal, I didn't know any of the bands going in, which made it sort of exciting, with no preconceived notions from hype or un-hype. This time, though, I had heard many of the bands at M, as well as having seen a handful of them before. At Friday's sélection officielle at club Just Pour Rire (10/20), I'd seen half of the bands before, and the other half I'd given at least a cursory listen.
The best surprise of the night was electronic trio Le Matos who are kind of Montreal's Simian Mobile Disco, and tore the place up with a blinding set of squelchy techno. I mean blinding literally: surrounded by a ring of versatile "light pillars" (my term) you could barely see the musicians. Most of my pictures were either a giant block of bright color or completely black thanks to the strobes. If you've seen SMD's live set, it was definitely influenced by that but Le Matos took it full circle. While their music feels a little 2007, but in the moment, at maximum volume and with that light show, it was kind of awesome and the crowd was eating it up like so much sugary cereal. They are getting a lot of remix work, so look out for these guys next year.
My favorite non-surprise was probably Parlovr who I caught at CMJ about a month ago and was impressed by then. Even more so now. The band's self-titled, self-released 2008 album does not do them justice, making them sound like a Wolf Parade Jr. Live, Parlovr are way more energetic, fun and melodic -- though it may have also had something to do with a fair amount of new material in their set. Singers Louis Jackson and Alex Cooper semi face each other from opposite sides of the stage rocking back and forth like manic Drinking Birds, flipping their '90s skate rat hair around, while mountain man drummer Jeremy MacCuish holds down the beat. They clearly enjoy playing, and it's a lot of fun to watch too. New album due early next year apparently.
Also impressive live are Toronto's DD/MM/YYYY who have clearly gotten much tighter than the last time I saw them (Don Pedro's, like three years ago). It's proggy-mathy, but bordering on chaos too. I'm not that crazy about their records -- a little too much going on at one time for my poppier tastes -- but I'd go see them again, no question.
The rest of the evening's bands were a little underwhelming. Silly Kissers didn't wear mime makeup this time (like they did at CMJ) which is a definite plus, but I really don't think they are "export ready." Which is not a dis. Their low fi, cutesy (sometimes charming) version of '80s synthpop would be more at home at a house party rather than with the fancy lights at Juste Pour Rire -- though a special appearance from Cadence Weapon (his second of the fest) added cred.
The night ended with a "surprise" performance by BEAST, which wasn't that much of a surprise as one of M's organizers is their manager, but it was a welcome finish to Friday. Like Think About Life, seeing BEAST in front of an adoring Montreal crowd is a completely different experience from seeing them in skeptical New York. This was my fourth time seeing them (previously, most recently at the Brooklyn Vegan day party during CMJ), and though their set has pretty much remained the same since this time last year, they do it so well. singer Betti Bonifassi has such magnetism - it's still fun. And the crowd was going crazy for them. They brought down the house.
The previous night's review and pics are HERE. More pictures from night two, and video of Parlovr's performance are below...
by Bill Pearis
M for Montreal is an interesting festival, at times more like a conference or summer camp or one of those all-inclusive resorts -- but with better music. There are about 40 "international delegates" (of which I am one) who basically spend the whole weekend together, going to panel discussions, cocktail hours, dinners and, of course the nightly shows. It's not like SXSW or CMJ where there are 30 shows happening at the same time - we delegates see every band at M for Montreal.
Take opening night's (11.19) Selection Officielle at Juste Pour Rire. The venue is used mainly as a comedy club, but they have shows there too with a great soundsystem and, as You Say Party! We Say Die! singer Krista Leowen noted, "fancy lights" which have made it possible for me to take at least one non-embarrassing picture of each band with my crappy point-and-shoot. (Again, apologies to BV's many awesome real photographers.) Juste Pour Rire has two rooms -- the Bowery-sized Cabaret and the slightly smaller Studio, and while one band was playing in one space, the next band sets up, so there's little or no downtime between bands, apart from the time it takes to herd the audience from one place to the other.
While being industry-oriented, M for Montreal is open to the public and tickets to individual events are cheap. ($12.75 for individual nights.) And the public does come -- the place was packed and going bananas for Think About Life's headlining set. Having seen TAL a bunch of times in New York (including at the BV official CMJ showcase this year), even shows like the fairly off-the-hook one at Arlene's Grocery during CMJ last month -- it just doesn't compare to watching them with a hometown crowd. This line-up is still pretty new. Drummer and founding member Matt Shane left the band in October to go back to school, with Greg Napier taking over. More significantly, the band added a second singer, Caila Thompson-Hannant of Shapes and Sizes, to the fold, and she and Martin Cesar have great chemistry.
The band played almost all of their great new album, Family, which is slowly starting to catch on down here in America. Pitchfork may be going gaga for "Having My Baby", but the Montreal crowd knew there are even better songs on the album. "Johanna," "Young Hearts" and "Set You on Fire" all had the crowd bouncing off the walls, some of which the band trotted out a horn section for, but it was Family's "Sweet Sixteen" that sent them over the edge. Though maybe that had something to do with special guest vocalist Cadence Weapon who clearly knew all the words. Think About Life may or may not make you think about life, but they will make you forget your troubles while they're playing.
Shad @ Pianos in CMJ 2008 (more by Kyle Dean Reinford)
Fam.Canadian rapper/musician Shad (aka Shadrach Kabango) will in fact play his first headlining NYC show (the birthplace referenced above) on Wednesday, November 4th at Pianos. Tickets are on sale.
This is Shad's FIRST headlining show in the birthplace of Hip Hop Culture. If you're in the city, come hang. If you know people who are in the city, let'em know.
At last year's CMJ, Shad made his first NYC appearance (the second, a day later, was a Brooklyn Vegan showcase). At the BV gig (a major highlight of the day), Shad came equipped with a guitar and a DJ - alternately, he sometimes plays backed by a band. He was also nominated for 2008's Polaris Prize for his record The Old Prince.
Check out Shad's laid-back, old-school-inspired style for yourself in the videos below...
The Pistola Press: What was it like working with The Antlers on Hospice? Your part on 'Thirteen' is beautiful. It fits so well with the album, it's fantastic.The interview that snippet is from was posted in September. Hospice was re-released by Frenchkiss in August. Sharon's debut solo album, Because I Was in Love, was released in May.
Sharon Van Etten: I feel really lucky to have been a part of it. Peter (Silberman) is a genius. The first time I heard his voice, I thought "this is someone I want to know". I only sang what belonged there. He did all the writing. It IS a beautiful record. I am so proud of those guys! They deserve all the praise in the world.
The Antlers help kick off CMJ with a performance tonight, 10/20, at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn (the BV showcase to be exact). After CMJ they head out on the road before returning to NYC and playing their own headlining show at Bowery Ballroom in December. Opening that December 15th Bowery show will be their friend and collaborator Sharon Van Etten, who is currently on the road with Rain Machine (aka Kyp Malone from TV on the Radio), but will be back this Saturday (10/24) in time to play a free afternoon show at Pianos before opening for Rain Machine at Bowery Ballroom that night.
I asked Peter Silberman and Sharon Van Etten if they'd be interested in asking each other some questions. They went for it. This is what they said....
Sharon: Where are you right now?
Peter: I'm home
Sharon: You're home, that must be nice.
Peter: Its nice but we're leaving on Friday as you might know. I'm in the process of process of making coffee and trying to learn to use a French Press because I'm not very good at it.
Sharon: A French Press is where it's at!
Peter: I know but my roommates keep breaking them. Apparently the glass is really easy to break so I'm really worried every time I make coffee I'm going to break it. Where are you now?
Find out where she is, and much, much more, below...
by Bill Pearis
We already mentioned that Montreal's Think About Life will be in town this week playing Tuesday night's BrooklynVegan showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg and the M for Montreal night at Arlene's Grocery on Wednesday (10/21). Also playing the M4M show are electro-punks Duchess Says, whose only other show this week will be the BrooklynVegan day party on Thursday (10/22) at Pianos. Full line-up for that show will be announced soon.
Duchess Says were probably the wildest band I saw at last year's M for Montreal festival, due almost entirely to spitfire singer Annie-Claude. She is a woman possessed onstage, wild-eyed and not afraid to leap into the crowd... or drag the crowd onstage. They are loved in their hometown -- the show I saw, the crowd was going completely mental -- but they haven't toured that much in America so it's a real treat to have them here this week, and to have them at our day party.
If you want to get a good cross-section of the Montreal scene, and aren't scared of seeing some bands who sing in French, you should definitely hit up Arlene's Grocery Wednesday night which has an excellent line-up. In addition to Think About Life and Duchess Says, the M for Montreal showcase features: "trip rock" duo BEAST, whose singer Betty Bonifassi provided the vocals for Triplets of Belleville. As I wrote after seeing them, she's got one of Those Voices (Shirley Bassey comes to mind) - smoky, world-wear, yet powerful, enough to cause the hair on the back of your neck to stand at attention. BEAST are playing four shows during CMJ, and all dates are below.
Also playing: Up-and-comers Parlovr play shouty, anthemic indie rock not entirely unlike Wolf Parade and they apparently wowed audiences at this year's Pop Montreal; Malajube who did very well for themselves when they played CMJ in 2006; MTL scene veterans We Are Wolves; and the electropop sounds of Silly Kissers.
The High Dials
Not playing that night but also from Montreal and also playing CMJ are The High Dials whose most recent album, Moon Country, made my Best Albums of 2008 list. If you're unfamiliar, they make country-tinged '60s-ish psych-rock, with great harmonies and occasional doses of druggy drone. The High Dials are playing two NYC shows this week, both on Saturday (10/24). First at Lit (10:15) and then at Arlene's Grocery (12:30). They are fantastic live, you should definitely clear some space for these guys. They're also playing a few East Coast coast while down in America, too, and those dates are below.
And while I'm talking about Canada and Arlene's Grocery, Thursday (10/22) is this year's Canadian Blast which has hard rockers Priestess, the anthemic alt-rock of Jets Overhead, funk-soul mashup Grand Analog, hip hop act Classified and youngsters Spiral Beach.
Tour dates, flyers and videos after the jump...
photos by Ryan Muir
Some things' strengths rest in the laurels of relative secrecy, allowing them to develop without the burden of public scrutiny or following. The opposite of the former statement applies to Think About Life, who Saturday night - or should I say, Sunday morning [at Pop Montreal] - proved yet again that they have the sharpest, most energetic, intensely electrifying, incredibly infectious live show this side of Parc Avenue during their late night spectacle at Pop Montreal's Espace Reunion. Toss in the fact that it was Martin Cesar's birthday, some unexpected (albeit extremely low-budget) pyrotechnics, and a strange character with his hand up a plastic owl's behind into the grand scheme of things, and you've got yourself an indomitable, impenetrable, unadulterated party on hand. Ripping through a raucous set that included old standbys such as "Cyanide," "Paul Cries," and "What The Future Might Be," as well as new fan favourites "Sofa-bed," "Havin' My Baby," and "Sweet Sixteen," alongside some exceptional samples courtesy of the likes of Lil Wayne and Biz Markie, the band (who were flanked by all its former members) stirred the crowd into an impassioned frenzy. Knocking knees, rubbing elbows, the mass below danced, bounced, even crowdsurfed through the impelling set, all the while glazed in a thick layer of perspiration. I could numerically gauge my enjoyment of Think About Life's performance by counting all of the bruises on my ankles and then dividing them over ten, but that would just be gratuitous." [the neighbours]Think About Life's awesome new album Family got a US release last week (10/13) on Alien8 Recordings (the label put the disc out in Canada way back in May). Two vidoes off the new record are below ("Sweet Sixteen" and "Wizzzard") while a pair of MP3s (the first two of the album in fact) are posted above. More pictures from the above-described Pop Montreal set (from earlier this month), also below.
TAL will be in NYC for CMJ, but as usual their scheduled visit was short and random, and very easy to miss. To attempt to remedy that situation, I asked them to join the bill of the BrooklynVegan CMJ showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Tuesday night. They accepted! They go on at 7pm sharp, before the Walter Schreifels set which is before the Wheel which is before Laura Marling which is before The Antlers which is before Fanfarlo (who SPIN says you should hear). Tickets are still on sale. Get there early!
Music Hall of Williamsburg is also where Think About Life played last time they came to town (with Ponytail and Real Estate).
Think About Life's only other, and previously scheduled, 2009 CMJ show is Wednesday, October 21st at Arlene's Grocery. That's the awesome M for Montreal showcase (flyer below) with fellow Canucks Duchess Says, Malajube, We are Wolves and Beast. More about this lineup later, along with a more-official announcement about Duchess Says being added to the free BrooklynVegan party happening at Pianos on Thursday (10/22) (not to be confused with the Dutchess and the Duke who are playing a BV CMJ show too).
And that's actually the second Canadian showcase at Arlene's in two days. The next night (10/22) the LES venue hosts "Canadian Blast!" with Priestess, Jets Overhead, Classified, Grand Analog and Spiral Beach.
After CMJ, Think About Life has a November Canadian tour with You Say Party We Say Die, but not until after TAL member Graham Van Pelt's band Miracle Fortress goes on a short tour with Liam Finn That trip includes a Bell House show on November 4th. Tickets are still on sale.
Think About Life played more than one show at Pop Montreal. In addition to the above-described showcase, they did a private taping for Canadian TV (to be broadcast Nov 4). Like he was for Tune Yards' La Blogoteque Take Away Show session, Ryan Muir was in attendance. Those pictures also below.
All of those pictures from Pop Montreal, more new album details, some videos, and all tour dates, below...
Sufjan Stevens, Yo La Tengo, Fever Ray, Os Mutantes, Butthole Surfers, Lee Fields & The Expressions, Jay Reatard, Micachu & The Shapes, Clues, Slim Twig, Think About Life, Cadence Weapon, Sam Shalabi's Egyptian Light Orchestra, Japandroids, The Do , Lullaybe Arkestra, Duchess Says, Dragonette, Joel Plaskett, Kid Koala Presents: The Slew, Ariane Moffatt, Young Galaxy, Aids Wolf, Tanlines + MorePop Montreal, the CMJ/SXSW of Montreal, starts today.