Entries tagged with: Duchess Says

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by Bill Pearis

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PyPy, the Montreal underground supergroup fronted by Duchess Says' Annie-Claude and Red Mass/CPC Gangbangs' Choyce, release their debut album, Pagan Day, next week (2/11) via Slovenly / Black Gladiator. The album is manically schizo, darting from overblown Stooges-style punk to funky post-punk to crazed paranoid freakouts. It's a lot of fun, and pretty hook-filled too. We're premiering a stream of the entire album -- check it out below.

PyPy will also be embarking on their East Coast tour soon and they've added a few dates since our last post. In NYC, they'll also play Death by Audio on February 27 in addition to the previously announced Cake Shop show on Febraury 28. The DbA show also has Maica Mia, which features Mauro of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Cyanide Tooth.

Go see them if they're in a city near you -- Annie Claude is a pistol/troublemaker live, which is always makes for a good nervous time. All PyPy tour dates are listed, along with the album stream, below.

Continue reading "stream PyPy's 'Pagan Day' album ++ updated tour dates"

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February will see the release of Pagan Day, the debut album from PyPy, a Montreal underground supergroup of sorts with Choyce of Red Mass/CPC Gangbangs and Annie-Claude of Duchess Says, plus other members of both those bands. The album veers like a drunk driver from wild, speed-fueled acid rock to ESG style grooves -- and it's pretty unlike either of PyPy's parent bands. You can stream three tracks from Pagan Day below.

I caught PyPy at M for Montreal 2012 and wrote this:

The band formed when Duchess Says and Red Mass shared rehearsal space and some of each decided to jam, the band features both wild-eyed redhead Annie-Claude and Red Mass' Choyce on vocals/guitar, neither of whom shy from the spotlight. No surprise, Annie-Claude dominated the proceedings but here she's in relatively restrained mode, meaning she's still going crazy but not totally in-your-face...a blast to watch
PyPy will be touring in February, mostly in Canada, but they'll be in NYC on February 28 at Cake Shop. Perhaps they'll add another show while here?

Dates and streams are below...

Continue reading "PyPy (mems of Duchess Says and CPC Gangbangs) ready debut LP, playing shows in February (dates, streams)"

photos by Maximillian G. San Juan / M for Montreal; words by Bill Pearis

Duchess Says @ Cabaret Underworld, 11/22/2013
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M for Montreal and Brooklyn Vegan have partnered for shows/parties at CMJ, SXSW, The Great Escape and more, but this was the first year we actually presented a show at M for Montreal. The fest, now in its eighth year, happened over the weekend and our show (co-presented with CMJ) happened at the grungy Cabaret Underworld on Friday (11/22) with an all-Montreal line-up of We are Wolves, Duchess Says and Solids.

I've seen electropunks Duchess Says a number of times over the years, though mostly with US crowds in half-filled rooms where mischievous dynamo singer Annie-Claude heads into to the crowd to mess with people who don't know what to expect. This show, everyone at the way-sold-out Underworld knew what to expect and were ready to pay Annie-Claude's insanity in kind. This was easily one of the most sweaty, bonkers shows for me in recent memory (mind you I don't go to that many shows with bonkers potential anymore). I don't think there was any point where someone wasn't aloft. Except for when Annie-Claude had everyone hunch down on the floor and she covered the crowd with a giant piece of blue paper.

Openers Solids, newly signed to Fat Possum, had the crowd going too, providing their own light show in the form of two painter lights -- one hanging over the band, the other over the crowd. Both were swatted at and swinging for most of the set. They get compared to Japandroids a lot -- similar two-piece setup -- but Solids lean a little more indie rock. They're also little less intense, but just as loud and I thought their set was pretty terrific.

After the intensity of Duchess Says' set, I fought my way to the back of Underworld and never made it back up close for We Are Wolves set -- which was a little theatrical, with masks and props to go along with their gothy, synth leanings. But the crowd was into it.

You can read recaps of M for Montreal day 1 HERE and day 2 HERE, plus check out a few photos from Mac DeMarco's closing-night set HERE. More pics of Duchess Says and Solids (none of We Are Wolves, unfortunately) below...

Continue reading "Duchess Says and Solids played BV-presented M for Montreal showcase (pics)"

Solids

Montreal band Solids released their debut LP, Blame Confusion, last month in Canada. (You can stream it below.) For those looking to physical procure a copy in America, the duo just announced that they've signed with Fat Possum who will release the record stateside on February 8.

Folks in the Northeast can see them live this week on their tour with Native. That tour hits NYC on Wednesday (11/13) at Saint Vitus with locals Bennio Qwerty playing as well. Tickets are still available.

Next week the band will be back in Montreal where they'll be part of the 2013 M for Montreal. Specifically they'll be playing Cabaret Underworld on November 22 with Duchess Says and We Are Wolves, a show that BrooklynVegan is presenting with CMJ. If you're in Montreal that night, do come! Tickets are still available.

All tour dates are listed, along with the steams, below...

Continue reading "Solids sign to Fat Possum, are in NYC this week, and playing BV-presented show at the 2013 M for Montreal fest"

photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis

YT//ST / Foxxtrott @ Arlene's Grocery 10/29/2013
CMJ M for Montreal - Arlene's Grocery
CMJ M for Montreal - Arlene's Grocery

The 2013 M for Montreal happens at various clubs across its namesake city from November 20 - 23. Like last year, in addition to it's industry conference/showcase side earlier in the week, the Friday and Saturday shows are part of M Fest which like a smaller scale CMJ or Pop Montreal with over 75 bands playing over those two days. This year's bands include Mac DeMarco, Born Ruffians, The Dears' Murray Lightburn, Thundercat, Thus:Owls, Laura Mvula, Young Galaxy, Pat Jordache, A Wilhelm Scream, Grand Analog, High Dials, Damien Robitaille, The Damn Truth, Kandle and more.

After partnering with the M folks at CMJ, SXSW and other festivals, BrooklynVegan will be co-presenting (with CMJ) our first show at the actual M for Montreal with We Are Wolves, Duchess Says (who've played M/BV shows at CMJ and SXSW) and Solids (who we've written about) at Cabaret Underworld on November 22. This will be the first time in ages that We Are Wolves and Duchess Says shared a bill together in Montreal. Tickets are on sale now, and the poster for that show is below.

You can check out the full M for Montreal line-up below and tickets for some of the other shows are on sale too. We'll be there the whole week so look for coverage then.

Some of the artists playing this year's fest were down for CMJ a couple weeks ago, playing the official M for Montreal showcase which happened at Arlene's Grocery on October 18. Our photographer was there for Yamantaka // Sonic Titan (who played our party earlier in the day), and A K U A, plus Kandle (who played last year's M) and Foxtrott (who we've written about), both of whom will play M for Montreal. Pictures from their sets are in this post. Later in the night there were sets from Pat Jordache and related soft rock project CAMP, and others.

Full list of M for Montreal 2013 peformers, the flyer for the BV presented show, and more pics from the M4M CMJ showcase, below...

Continue reading "M For Montreal did CMJ (pics), announces 2013 Montreal fest lineup (BV presented show included)"

by Bill Pearis

PyPy at Club Lambi, 11/16/2012
PyPy

Freedom...horrible freedom! One thing M for Montreal, part festival part industry conference, was previously known for was its tightly-controlled schedule. There was one show a night with two stages and attendees saw all the bands, no overlap. And while this was still the case for the first two nights of the 2012 edition, Friday and Saturday saw the launch of the M Fest which had shows at about ten different venues each night. So for the first time in the five years I've attended this fest I had to make up my own mind about what to see.

Cousins at Club Lambi, 11/16/2012
Cousins

I was going to start the night at Sala Rossa with D'Eon but when I got to the club the schedule had been pushed an hour due to Sun Airway canceling their appearance later in the line-up. So, I headed down Saint Laurent to Club Lambi, a place that felt more like a nightclub than a rock venue, complete with "mandatory coatcheck." First band was Halifax, NS duo Cousins who make garage-y pop with an emphasis on the latter. A little rough around the edges but enthusiastic and they've got some good songs. You can stream their album, The Palm at the End of the Mind, below.

Yardlets at Club Lambi, 11/16/2012
Yardlets

Next up were Yardlets which features vocalists/guitarists Sam Goldberg (who spent time in Broken Social Scene) and Montreal scene vet Jeff Edwards. Backlit with strips of blinding light, Yardlets tore out of the gate and never looked back, playing balls-to-the-wall rock n' roll that could be the soundtrack for a trucker's pill-fueled 72nd hour of being awake. ("Ace of Spades" being played on warped vinyl is a good reference point.) DFA 1979's Sebastian Grangier plays drums on the record (em>Middle Ages is streamable below) but not live, but his replacement seemed just as pummeling. The aural equivalent to a shot of tequila and just what I needed to jump-start the night.

PyPy at Club Lambi, 11/16/2012
PyPy

Though, honestly, if Yardlets hadn't played, certainly PyPy would've had the same effect. The band formed when Duchess Says and Red Mass shared rehearsal space and some of each decided to jam, the band features both wild-eyed redhead Annie-Claude and Red Mass' Choyce on vocals/guitar, neither of whom shy from the spotlight. No surprise Annie-Claude dominated the proceedings but here she's in relatively restrained mode, meaning she's still going crazy but not totally in-your-face. She even played guitar on one song. Musically, PyPy (yes, pronounced peepee) are almost '60s style acid rock, a lot of soloing and riffs, not so much memorable tunes. But a blast to watch.

USA Out of Vietnam at L'Esco, 11/16/2012
USA Out of Vietnam

From here we cabbed it over to L'Esco for some heavier sounds via MTL hardcore act Dig it Up and the more mathy USA Out of Vietnam and bearded frontman Jonathan Cummins (formerly of Doughboys and Bionic) greeted the crowd thusly: "Hi we're Grimes. We've changed our sound a little and we hope you like our new direction." Their music is not my thing, but I like their attitude.

Pat Jordache, somewhere in Montreal, 11/16/2012
Pat Jordache

From here we headed to an afterparty at some DIY space I don't know the name of to catch a very late night (3:30 AM) set from Pat Jordache who played almost exclusively new material. While the PA wasn't doing the band a whole lot of favors, you could still get a feel for Pat's new musical direction, rhythm-heavy post-punk with watery bass and saxaphone that tipped its had toward Eno-era Talking Heads (or The Higsons or Pigbag). I was struggling to keep my eyes open at that point but the new material is very promising (and I liked 2011's Future Songs too). While the album won't be out till next year, Pat just dropped "steps (DAMAGED GOODS)" as an appepitizer and it is very tasty indeed. You can stream it below.

Yan Wagner at Cafe Campus, 11/16/2012
Yan Wagner

Next up that night... sleep. But earlier I did check out some bands at Cafe Campus during the day, the highlight of which was Parisian electronic artist Yan Wagner (who also played CMJ this year). While his mike-and-samplers setup didn't make for the most exciting live show, his style of electropop falls squarely between Depeche Mode and OMD which pretty much guarantees I'll like. And I did.

After that we were treated to a "headphone concert" by Kid Koala at Le SAT which was a very fun, relaxing way to ease into the evening and you can read about here. You can also read accounts of M for Montreal Day 1 here and Day 2 here. Streams are below.

Continue reading "M for Montreal 2012: day 3 review (Pat Jordache, PyPy, Yardlets, Cousins + more)"

by Bill Pearis

Featureless ghost

The seventh annual M for Montreal festival happens next week (November 14 - 17) in its namesake Canadian city. Previous years, M4M has featured mainly Montreal (and other parts of Canada) artists, being showcased to a group of "international delgates" (talent buyers, journalists, music supervisors, tour agenents and other industry types) in a tightly controlled set of shows, this year's fest expands its scope with nearly 100 performer at 16 venues, giving it more of an actual festival feel than an industry conference that has music showcases the public could by tickets to.

The line-up is much more global this year as well, with musicians from France, Iceland and, for the first time, the United States playing alongside bands from all over Canada. Artists playing the 2012 edition include Death Grips, Of Monsters and Men, Mac DeMarco, Suuns, Mykki Blanco, Sun Airway, A Place To Bury Strangers, Cadence Weapon, Memoryhouse, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Bleeding Rainbow and Blue Hawaii. Full list of performers is below and daily schedule is here and advance tickets to shows and panel discussions are available.

Like in years past (2011, 2010, 2009, 2008), I'll be heading up for the M fest, and will be reporting the goings-on.

If you want a taste of Montreal this week in NYC, beyond the snow we're currently experiencing, Montreal rapper Cadence Weapon plays Glasslands on Friday (11/9) with Fat Tony. Tickets are still available. Cadence Weapon tour dates are listed below.

Continue reading "2012 M for Montreal Festival: full line-up (Death Grips, A Place to Bury Strangers, Of Monsters & Men, Mac DeMarco + more)"

photos by Chris La Putt; words by Bill Pearis

Duchess Says / The Blind Shake at Public Assembly, 8/23/2012
Duchess Says
The Blind Shake

A lot of bands have a frontperson who attracts the lion share of the attention, but there are few groups where "you can't take your eyes off her" is as much a warning as it is a statement. The second or third time Duchess Says singer Annie-Claude went into the audience, she was armed with a Sharpie and I thought, "oh boy here we go." But apart from drawing a couple Xs on our photographer Chris La Putt's arm, she kept the cap on the pen but it served as an audience/band detente. Stay off your phones or else.

I have seen the squelchy Montreal electro-punks Duchess Says play to packed houses with a swarming pit and to half-full rooms full of confused/terrorized audience-members. (Public Assembly leaned toward the latter last night [8/23].) Annie-Claude never lets things get boring either way, whether it's pulling you by the shirt, putting the mic in your face or holding eye contact for an uncomfortable amount of time. Last night, it included a breather. For their most popular song, "Black Flag," she had the whole crowd sit on the floor as she prowled around the room. But it's more mischevious than menacing. And a lot of fun too as long as you're paying attention.

Duchess Says' tourmates for this rare Stateside run are Minneapolis trio The Blind Shake who were really terrific last night. Dressed in matching outfits that had them looking like extras from a post-apocalyptic dystopian b-movie, brothers Mike and Jim Blaha kicked out out ferocious krautpunk with a dose of early '80s Dead Kennedys twang with pile-driving drummer Jim Roper crushing his kit. These guys pack a serious whallop (Also: somebody put them on a tour with METZ, stat!). You can stream their 2011 album Seriousness below.

NYC will have a couple more chances to see The Blind Shake in October: they play Cake Shop on 10/10 and Death By Audio on 10/11. Meanwhile, their tour with Duchess Says rolls on, playing Columbus, OH tonight.

All tour dates are at the bottom of this post, along The Blind Shake album stream and more pictures from last night's Public Assembly show (including openers The Wiccans who were not the Austin punk band of the same name).

Continue reading "Duchess Says and The Blind Shake played Public Assembly (pics, review); The Blind Shake will be back in October"

by Bill Pearis

Duchess Says at BVSXSW 2010 (more by Tim Griffin)
Duchess Says

If you're looking to put a little excitement into your showgoing life, you might want to hit Public Assembly on Thursday, August 23 to catch Montreal electropunks Duchess Says who are playing with Minneapolis' The Blind Shake (who also play Brookyn Fireproof the day before [8/22]). Advance tickets for the Public Assembly show are on sale.

Going to see Duchess Says is an interactive experience, due entirely to firebrand singer Annie-Claude whose onstage persona recalls Linda Blair in The Exorcist... in a fun way, and minus the vomit. Duchess Says' appearance at Pianos during CMJ 2009 (and Austin during SXSW 2010) are amongst the most memorable BV festival day show performances I've personally witnessed:

Another set I knew would be fun was Montreal's Duchess Says who played one of our CMJ day parties last year. While their more aggressive take on Devo-style protopunk is fun, it's all about singer Annie Claude who looks very cute and innocent... until the music starts. She shrieks, jumps in the audience, tackles people, pulls them to the floor, and causes general mayhem. It's more mischief than menace though. There are lots of other singers who do similar things, but never anything quite like her. After you've seen them once, part of the fun is watching other people experience them for the first time.
The band were supposed to have been in the States for the Hopscotch Festival but have since pulled out of that but will also play Chicago on August 26 at City Build with The Blind Shake. The band's latest album is In a Fung Day T, which came out last fall, which you can stream via a Spotify player below, along with a list of all The Blind Shake dates.

Continue reading "Duchess Says canceled Hopscotch Fest appearance, but are playing other US shows (Public Assembly included)"

sledisland

The 2012 edition of Calgary, Alberta festival Sled Island is set to take place from June 20-23 at venues throughout the city. This year includes over 200 bands performing at 30 venues plus a large comedy schedule, film screenings, and art shows.

Sled Island 2012 will once again use outdoor venue Olympic Plaza as its main stage, featuring performances by Feist, The Hold Steady, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, The Dudes, Shabazz Palaces, Parlovr, and others.

Acts including Russian Circles, Hot Snakes, The Antlers, Boris, Thurston Moore, Willis Earl Beal, Trust, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Terry Malts, Neil Hamburger, How To Dress Well, The Evaporators (aka Nardwuar's band), DJ Jonathan Toubin, Hannibal Buress, Andrew W.K., Tim Heidecker, Archers of Loaf, and many more will be performing at various bars and venues. Check out the full lineup at the bottom of this post.

Festival passes, individual tickets for some clubs shows, and tickets for the Olympic Plaza events only are all on sale. The full festival schedule iwill be announced in June.

Full lineup and 2012 festival trailer below...

Continue reading "Feist, Stephen Malkmus, The Hold Steady and lots more playing Calgary's Sled Island Festival (full line-up)"

Built to Spill at BV SXSW 2012 (more by Ryan Barkan)
Built to Spill
hopscotch

The Hopscotch festival in Raleigh, North Carolina will celebrate its third year from Sept. 6-8, 2012 in downtown Raleigh, with 175 bands in 15 venues. The initial lineup, released today, runs the gamut from traditional indie favorites to punk to noise music to hip hop to noisy black metal and all stops in between, featuring performances from Built to Spill, sunn 0))), The Roots, The Jesus & Mary Chain (who played SXSW), Liars (who have a show coming up at Webster Hall), Baroness, Deerhoof, Death Grips (who play NYC soon and have new material on the way), Danny Brown (who was at Coachella and plays Prospect Park soon), Pallbearer (who play an exclusive East Coast Show soon), Screaming Females (who recently played NYC and are on tour now), Thee Oh Sees, The Spits (who just played NYC twice), Tenement, The Mountain Goats (two sets, one of which will be an all metal-covers set!) and so many more.

(and now we know the Jesus & Mary Chain are coming back soon)

Tickets are on sale. The full lineup and flyer (update: and a few more announced J&MC dates) are below...

Continue reading "Hopscotch lineup announced; Jesus & Mary Chain will be in NC in September; John Darnielle to do metal covers set "

By Bill Pearis

One could argue (and we did, in our story on the band in the January-February issue!) that Fucked Up's rock opera David Comes to Life was uniquely resonant upon its June release because of the emotional synchronicity between an album that spilled forth with such an appropriately chaotic narrative and a year in which tumultuous disarray became the norm. But good lord, David Comes to Life could've been sung in backwards Tagalog and it still would've made perfect sense in 2011. That's the power of a gang of punks playing with Olympian levels of passion and purpose. [SPIN]
SPIN publishes it's year-end issue next week, naming Fucked Up's David Comes to Life as 2011's best album. The top ten also includes EMA, Wild Flag, PJ Harvey, Lykke Li and more. The entire SPIN Top 50 Albums of 2011 is at the bottom of this post.

As you hopefully know, Fucked Up will be performing this Friday (12/16) at the BV-curated night of this weekend's Brooklyn Night Bazaar, a full evening of music that also includes Dom, Big Troubles, Caged Animals, Radical Dads, as well as Frankie Rose spinning tunes. Tickets are only $10 and still available.

There's a lot more Fucked Up news actually. Tonight (11/12) the band will be guests on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations Holiday Special, which also features Christoper Walken, Norah Jones and a lot of extremely non-vegan cooking (though the Vegan Black Metal Chef is also a guest). Maybe Fucked Up will play in Bourdain's fridge, like Das Racist did on last year's Holiday Special.

Next Tuesday (12/20) in the band's hometown of Toronto, Fucked Up will perform David Comes to Life in its entirety, with proceeds going to charity. (PS I Love You, The Sadies and Quest for Fire also perform.)

Fucked Up are also releasing a split Christmas single with Sloan, with proceeds benefiting the COUNTERfit Harm Reduction Program and the Barriere Lake Legal Defense Fund. Fucked Up's side is their take on "Jingle Bells," while Sloan tackle "The 12 Days of Christmas" (which is streamable below). Only 500 are being printed -- maybe they'll be some at the merch table this Friday?

The band have also announced the release of 2012's annual Chinese New Year single, "Year of the Tiger," which is out February 21. The 15-minute track features guest vocals from Austra, Duchess Says' Annie-Claude and Jim Jarmusch, which Matador claims is "MAYBE THE BEST THING FUCKED UP HAVE EVER RECORDED" but being their record label they're prone to such proclamations. But maybe it is.

Click through for a just-released video of "Turn the Season" plus video of the band performing "The Other Shoe" on Canada's George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight show, as well as the entire rundown of SPIN mag's Top 50 Albums of 2011...

Continue reading "Fucked Up named Album of 2011 by SPIN, on 'No Reservations' tonight, playing Brooklyn Friday, releasing Christmas single w/ Sloan & 'Year of the Tiger' single"

by Bill Pearis

Concrete Knives

The first night of M for Montreal was a light one. Especially after Duchess Says had to cancel, due to singer Annie-Claude cracking a rib last week after a particularly spirited performance at the record release party for the band's new album In a Fung Day T. (And anyone who's seen Duchess Says knows she's already pretty damn spirited.) Get well soon Annie-Claude!

So we got four bands at club Cafe Campus. Two of them were from France, brought to us by magazine Les Inrockuptibles. Concrete Knives are from Caen, France and make a kind of energetic dance music that is maybe the indie equivilant of the mullet: party in the back (disco rhythm section) business in the front (fuzzed out rock guitars). Ok that doesn't really work either, Concrete Knives are basically a party everywhere and singer Adriene Lepretre is skilled at an early age in the art of working a crowd. (And jumping into one.) Some of the songs are a little samey, but they're young and have a lot of promise.

Anoraak
Anoraak

The other French band was Anoraak who have toured the states a few times. As they've become more of a real band and less of a studio project, their sound has changed too with the more overt Italo disco influences being drowned out by the guitars and drums. It's still very '80s but live Anoraak are closer to Friendly Fires these days, by way of the Drive soundtrack. Pretty good.

CLAASS

Wearing actual anoraks were Montreal's CLAASS (featuring a couple members of We Are Wolves) who played the first M for Montreal I attended in 2008. Fog machines and amplifiers were set to 11 as the band cranked out pulsing, gothy dance music poised somewhere in between gothy minimal wave and house music. Standout song "Run" was kind of soulful too in a TV on the Radio kind of way. My favorite band (and the crowd's too) of the night.

Creature

The night ended with Creature who were also on the dancey side of things and had style, skill and energy to spare but it was a little slick for my tastes and definitely lacked in the song department. Maybe in a couple years.

Three more days of M to go. A few more pictures are below

Continue reading "M for Montreal 2011 -- night 1 in pics & review (Concrete Knives, Anoraak, CLAASS, Creature)"

by Bill Pearis

Duchess Says

Batten the hatches: Duchess Says return with their second album, In a Fung Day T!, which is out Tuesday (10/11) on Alien8Recordings. There's a widget at the bottom of this post where you can download "Time to Reiterate" for the cost of your email address. It's a good "we're back" statement that hits you in the head immediately with a shriek from the dynamo that is singer Annie-Claude. The song itself has a post-punk vibe somewhere between Gang of Four and Tubeway Army.

It's been three years since the synth heavy Montreal art punks released their debut, Anthologie des 3 Perchoirs, and in the time since they've been wowing/frightening/confusing audiences with their wild live shows. Duchess Says have played BrooklynVegan day parties at CMJ 2009 and SXSW 2010 and here's what I wrote about their performance in Austin:

It's all about singer Annie Claude who looks very cute and innocent... until the music starts. She shrieks, jumps in the audience, tackles people, pulls them to the floor, and causes general mayhem. It's more mischief than menace though. There are lots of other singers who do similar things, but never anything quite like her. After you've seen them once, part of the fun is watching other people experience them for the first time. The inside room was packed to the gills. My favorite part of the show had her sitting down in the middle of the audience, methodically pulling people down with her, draping their arms over her into a giant pile of people.
New album should mean new tour but so far Duchess Says only have a few Montreal dates lined up, which are below along with album art and that download widget.

Continue reading "Duchess Says returning with new album "

words by Bill Pearis & (most of the) photos by Tim Griffin

Will Sheff & Roky Erickson
Roky Ericson with Okkervil River

"Welcome to Montreal -- how do you like the Weather?" - Martin Cesar, Think About Life.

After three lovely days of sunny, mild weather, the skies went grey and cold for the last day of SXSW, Saturday, March 20th, with temperatures dropping to around 45 degrees. Almost no one seemed prepared for it, judging by the throngs of under-dressed shivering all over town. With a lot of the Austin venues being outdoor, it especially hurt.  Our final party of a very busy week of parties was a free badge-less official SXSW event that we did with the M for Montreal folks, at the two-stage Galaxy Room (formerly Radio Room & Bourbon Rocks). The main stage was outside -- under a tent, which helped just a little -- and while temperatures were low, spirits were high and it was maybe the most fun I had all week.

My favorite set of the day came early. Think About Life are so much fun live, so much genuine positivity, it's hard to be in a bad mood with them on stage. An instant hangover cure. I think this was the first time a lot of the audience had ever seen them play, if the number of people who asked me who they were was any indication. At one point singer Martin Cesar left the stage as if their set was over, only to appear in the middle of the crowd dancing, hyping people up. That they didn't do "Johanna" is my only complaint. NYers can see them on April 27 when Think About Life play Mercury Lounge. It's part of a fairly extensive U.S. tour, do go see them.

I was also super-pumped to see The Besnard Lakes whose new album The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night is pretty fantastic. Specifically, I wanted to hear its epic opener, "Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent," and have it knock me back. Like a lot of Montreal bands, The Besnard Lakes' line-up ebbs and flows. Theirs does so around the core of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas. I've seen them seven strong before, but here they were a lean mean quartet and did not disappoint. They're on tour in May, including a 5/28 show at Bowery Ballroom.

Duchess Says
Duchess Says

Another set I knew would be fun was Montreal's Duchess Says who played one of our CMJ day parties last year. While their more aggressive take on Devo-style protopunk is fun, it's all about singer Annie Claude who looks very cute and innocent... until the music starts. She shrieks, jumps in the audience, tackles people, pulls them to the floor,  and causes general mayhem. It's more mischief than menace though. There are lots of other singers who do similar things, but never anything quite like her. After you've seen them once, part of the fun is watching other people experience them for the first time. The inside room was packed to the gills (it was warmer there). My favorite part of the show had her sitting down in the middle of the audience, methodically pulling people down with her, draping their arms over her into a giant pile of people. There's video at the bottom of this post.

The other major highlight for me was Roky Erickson with Okkervill River. I'd never seen him before and this was certainly a great live introduction to someone whose music I've loved for a long time. Will Sheff produced Roky's new album (first in 14 years) and Okkervill was his backing band on it, so the set was tight, rocking and just sounded fantastic. Roky was in great form too, and we got a few 13th Floor Elevators nuggets in there, as well as "Starry Eyes," one of my favorites of his solo material. They tour in May including a show at Webster Hall.

And there was lots more: the great Wye Oak kicked off the party with a lovely set despite cold fingers; Jason Collett was a class act with superbly-crafted country-pop (see video of his set below); Crystal Antlers filled in for BEAST who couldn't make it; Andrew WK was in full Meatloaf mode with a set of piano ballads; Plants and Animals were lush and harmony-laden; metal legends Voivod showed they've still got it; and a percussion-heavy set from L.A.'s Local Natives was probably the biggest draw of the day -- they were excellent.

Local Natives
Local Natives

Somehow I entirely missed sets by Holy Fuck (who I heard were great) and Suckers (who I've seen before many times here in NYC). A last minute addition, Nardwuar was there too, providing funny, heavily-researched band introductions as only he can. It was a great, if cold, day. Stay tuned for his video interview of Will and Roky.

Thanks to everyone who helped put this all together, and to our sponsors. More pictures and videos from the whole day below...

Continue reading "Roky Erickson/Okkervil River, Local Natives, Think About Life, Duchess Says, others @ Galaxy Room (BV/MfM day party) - pics"

Galaxy Room

I've been announcing individual bands on this party before now. Finally we have the full exciting lineup!

You know M For Montreal as the Canadian festival we've visited for two years in a row. Their yearly festival showcases bands from their home city in their home city, and they take that show on the road each year to both CMJ in NYC and SXSW in Austin (we already announced their official 2010 night showcase).

Being that we are such huge fans of so many Montreal bands, I thought it would be a great idea see if they wanted do a party together... and here we are. The lineup mixes some of our favorite Montreal bands with some or our other favorite Canadian (like Jason Collett of Broken Social Scene) and non-Canadian bands (like Andrew WK).

We have 13 bands total, a DJ set by another band, free ice cream from the Ice Cream Man (some of which is vegan), free vegan food courtesy of Austin's own Daily Juice and other surprises (drink specials on this particular party are pending). We're also proud to announce that KEXP is the official radio sponsor of all BV day parties this year. You'll find them, video cameras in hand, at many of our day parties throughout the week including this one. Those in attendance at this show will also have a chance to check out and win a pair of Nudie Jeans (another one of our kind sponsors).

Also unlike any other BV day party, this one is officially part of SXSW. That does NOT mean you need a badge. NO BADGES REQUIRED for this free show, but you will find the party listed on SXSW.com (and you can add it to your schedule on there). Full lineup with set times below...

Continue reading "BrooklynVegan & M for Montreal free SXSW day party lineup (Roky Erickson, Andrew WK, Voivod, Holy Fuck, Local Natives, other bands, free food & more)"

words by Bill Pearis, photos by Chris La Putt

Parlovr
Parlovr

I said it a few time throughout CMJ week this year: Montreal just tries harder. I'm not saying the city's artists make better albums than everyone else, but as far as giving their all on stage, band-for-band, Montreal groups are much more likely to entertain you than one from another city. Maybe that's just the one's they're sending us, but there was plenty of evidence to support this theory during CMJ 2009, and no place more concentrated than at the M for Montreal showcase at Arlene's Grocery on Wednesday (10/21) where there were six of the city's bands on display.

The night started early with a sampling on Montreal's most famous drunk food, poutine, and a set by up-and comers Parlovr (pronounced "parlour," if you're wondering) who made an impressive, shouty racket. The manic trio feature two guitarists (one of whom also plays keyboards) who take turns on vocals and flipping their hair around, while their bearded drummer walloped away.

Silly Kissers
Silly Kissers

Silly Kissers had most NYers in the audience looking around uncomfortably -- we're not used to synthpop bands who wear mime make-up -- and maybe here's a MTL band trying a bit too hard in that department but their songs were kinda catchy and a group of girls in front of me were dancing nonstop and singing along.

Then came BEAST who took most of the crowd by surprise, and won most of them over by the end of their set. As I said before, singer Betti Bonafassi is a magnetic performer, and when she sings off-mike for the opening of "Ashtray," the power of her voice becomes instantly apparent. The rest of the band are no slouches either. Drummer and co-songwriter Jean-Phi Goncalves occasionally picks up a megaphone and starts rapping in French, guitarist Serge Pelletier lays down Morricone-like leads, and it's hard to miss Jonathan Dauphinais' instrument -- a bass/keyboard combo that looks to have been fused together MacGuyver-style. (BEAST also played a great early set three days later at our Saturday day party at Pianos.)

By the time Think About Life took the stage, Arlene's Grocery was packed and the crowd was ready for fun. As good as they were playing a very, very early opening set at the Brooklyn Vegan showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg the night before, the band clearly is fueled by the audience and the crowd was eating it up. It was easily one of the top five sets I saw at CMJ this year. It doesn't hurt that their new album, Family, is awesome -- loaded with stick-in-your-head jams, including "Sweet Sixteen" and "Young Hearts." Also, adding singer Caila Thompson-Hannant (of Shapes & Sizes) gives frontman Martin Cesar someone to play off of, which just makes them all the more fun.

Duchess Says
Dutchess Says

At this point I had to exit, but there was also We Are Wolves and Malajube, followed by the awesome mayhem that is Duchess Says, who also played our Thursday day party at Pianos. By the looks of these photos, and from reading people's Twitter feeds, Duchess Says' show at Arlene's was wild (when people wrote they "destroyed" Arlene's, it was more literal than most "killed it" CMJ tweets). The band clearly won over the Pianos crowd too (NY Times included) and anyone who has been within 20 feet of singer Annie-Claude in performance mode will never forget it.

Video of Parlovr, Think About Life and Duchess Says, plus lots more pictures from the M for Montreal showcase (and one set from Pianos), after the jump...

Continue reading "M for Montreal @ CMJ 2009 - pics (Think About Life, Duchess Says, Parlovr, Beast, Malajube, We are Wolves, Silly Kissers)"

sorry it took me so long to get a post up on this...

Pianos

DOWNSTAIRS
12:00 Moonbabies
12:45 A Classic Education
01:30 TBA Sky Larkin
02:15 Surfer Blood
03:00 Lovvers
03:45 Duchess Says
04:30 JEFF the Brotherhood

UPSTAIRS
01:00 Freelance Whales
01:45 Rebecca Schiffman
02:30 Peggy Sue
03:15 Chris Denny
04:00 Holly Miranda
04:45 Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
05:30 Alec Ounsworth (CYHSY)

14 bands. 100% FREE. At Pianos on the Lower East Side (158 Ludlow Street, New York City). Free Miller beer so get there early. Free Vitamin Water so get there early too. No badges or money necessary. See you there, and then see you in the same exact place with lots more free bands with the same free drinks on Saturday.

And in between those two, see you at Fontana's on Friday.

Moonbabies, on at noon, are making a rare appearance from their home in Sweden. This day party is in addition to their other two previously-announced CMJ shows.

You can also catch Duchess Says today (10/21) at the M For Montreal showcase at Arlene's Grocery.

More later. If I type any more this post will be even more late. Duchess Says and Rebecca Shiffman video below...

Continue reading "free BrooklynVegan day show - Thursday @ Pianos -------------------- 14 bands, free drinks, good times"

by Bill Pearis

Duchess Says
Duchess Says
Duchess Says

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
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...

Continue reading "Duchess Says, The High Dials, Malajube & other bands from Montreal (coming to CMJ, touring)"

photos by Ryan Muir

DOWNLOAD: Think About Life - Johanna (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Think About Life - Havin My Baby (MP3)

Think About Life

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...

Continue reading "Think About Life released album (MP3), played Pop Montreal (pics), playing CMJ (dates), added to BV CMJ show @ MHOW"

DOWNLOAD: Vivian Girls - Blind Spot (Daisy Chain cover) (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Can't Hear My Eyes (MP3)

Haunted Graffiti

"On paper it wouldn't really seem like these two bands, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (pictured above) and Vivian Girls, would have that much in common, but the two bands have struck up a friendship that has resulted in a 13 date tour this spring, which will end with both bands making their first appearances at Coachella. Both bands have other upcoming tour dates, Vivian Girls will open a string of dates for M. Ward, including an appearance at The Apollo, and will be playing SXSW. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti will tour in March with Canadians Duchess Says and have a couple one-off shows in LA with Animal Collective and Gang Gang Dance." [PR]
The Ariel Pink / Vivian Girls tour kicks off at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on April 2nd. Tickets for that show go on Am Ex presale on Wednesday at noon, and then regular sale Friday. All tour dates below...

Continue reading "Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti & Vivian Girls - 2009 tour dates"

by Bill Pearis

Red Mass
Red Mass

Day one, Day two, Day three (Saturday)...The final day of M for Montreal featured two separate showcases. The closing night event, at the 2000-capicity Metropolis, featured the best of 2007's fest, including electropunks We Are Wolves and the Vegas-y, Franco-pop of Pierre Lapointe.

The daytime showcase was much more fun, held at the legendary Montreal punk/metal club Foufounes Électriques. Metal - steel, iron, aluminum - was everywhere, and the whole place seems to be welded together. Definitely the most rock n' roll venue of the festival. So, as you'd expect, we got two Franco Canadian hip hop groups, as well as easily the most chart-friendly act of the week. All good in their own way, just a bit of an odd juxtaposition.

Luckily, we also got Red Mass, who spit, pissed, shit and sweated rock n' roll. Certainly the most badass group to feature a clarinet player. Made up of members of infamous garage rock collective CPC Gangbangs, clad in crimson and about ten strong, Red Mass came off like a Brian Jonestown Massacre fueled by speed, The Sonics, MC5 and the Damned instead of the Velvets, Syd Barrett and narcotics. And instead of Joel Gion, Red Mass' percussionist wore only a Speedo and gold paint. King Khan and Mark Sultan (BBQ) are among those they list under "musicians & artists [that] have participated in the Mass".

"This is gonna be a bloody mess," singer Choyce told the crowd, though he obviously meant that as a positive. One guitarist stood on a speaker on one side of the stage, and the gold dude played cowbell and tambourine from the other. In the middle were crammed five or six on the tiny stage, with a few more standing on the floor. Did I mention this was their first-ever show? They barreled though about six songs and with so much onstage mayhem that I sort of felt punch-drunk by the end. It was the only performance of the week I wish had gone on longer.

Gatineau
gatineau

Red Mass guitarist Giselle Webber (who seems to be in every third band in Montreal) also made an appearance during Gatineau's set. I don't know this for sure, but I'm going to go out on a limb and declare them to be the only hip hop band to feature a harpsichord player. (A drummer is probably more common, if just at Showbiz Pizza.) Gatineau's self-titled album won Hip Hop Album of the Year at this year's GAMIQ awards. Didn't understand a word, yet...awesome.

Even less people understood fellow rappers Radio Radio who looked as if they jumped off the pages of Vice. The four-piece hail from Moncton, New Brunswick where the Chiac dialect, a mix of Acadian French and English, is spoken and is pretty much impenetrable to most of Canada. Whatever they were saying, it sounded good.

The other act of the afternoon was Colin Munroe who became a bit of a YouTube sensation with his cover of Kanye West's "I Want Those Flashing Lights." He writes his own stuff too, having made his album by himself in his bedroom or something. Munroe attempted to it all himself, playing drums and keyboards and singing, with a little help from a guitarist. Not really my thing, but he's clearly talented, and his radio-friendly pop that reminded me a bit of the New Radicals' Greg Alexander. If he doesn't make it as a solo artist, I have a feeling he's going to have a career as a songwriter. Look out Linda Perry!

More pictures and some videos below...

Continue reading "Bill reports from M for Montreal, Night Three (Red Mass)"

by Bill Pearis

Duchess Says
Duchess Says

M for Montreal is one of the Canadian city's many, many festivals (music or otherwise) - this one showcasing local bands they have dubbed "export-ready." (A few Toronto bands were invited too.) Festival bookers, music supervisors for TV, film and advertising, journalists and tastemakers were invited to town to check out the talent. While clearly more industry-oriented than most festivals, it's really well done: each night of the festival is on two stages within one club, so no overlap, no downtime. You see all the bands.

The first (11/20) night's highlight was definitely Duchess Says who are clearly loved in Montreal. Their electro-punk sound is fun, but they're absolutely electrified by frenzied singer singer Annie-Claude who more than once jumped into the sizable pit before pulling the pit onstage for a dance-party. She's a pistol!

The other notable act for me was The National Parcs, an environment-friendly hip hop/electronic/soul group who get their beats from homemade field recordings: we're talking the sound of banging rocks, babbling brooks, digging in the dirt...etc. And while I wasn't blown away by the songs, their stage show, which also shows off their considerable filmmaking skills, is a knockout multi-media experience.

Also played Night One: the hockey-loving, French-Canadian lumberjack punk of Les Dales Hawerchuk; Toronto's Sweet Thing, who were somewhere between The Killers and Muse; Pas Chic Chic injected a healthy dose of Kraut into their icy, Francophilic sound (of the first night, the group I'll likely listen to the most); and the sultry Lioness who brought a gothy romance to the night's proceedings.

Appologies to Kyle, Ryan, and the rest of the BV photographers for my point-and-shoot pics. More of them below...

Continue reading "Bill reports from M for Montreal, Night One (Duchess Says)"

by BrooklynVegan Mike

DOWNLOAD: Duchess Says - Ccut Up (MP3)

Osheaga (Vero.b)
Osheaga

Osheaga, the outdoor music festival in Montreal, celebrated its third birthday this weekend with a bevy of local acts, some emerging talent, and great live performers. Day one (Sunday August 3rd) of the festival was also one of the most hectic musical days in recent [Montreal] memory. The week long Francophone music festival, FrancoFolies, concluded the same day with a performance by former Osheaga artist Malajube, and Wolf Parade (another former Osheaga performer) finished a tour downtown with their first Montreal performance since the release of At Mount Zoomer....

Continue reading "Osheaga 2008 - day 1 (a review with pics & videos)"