Entries tagged with: Little Scream
photos by Dominick Mastrangelo
METZ & 'Songs of Darkness' @ Pop Montreal 2013
Back before Montreal was in NYC for CMJ, NYC was in Montreal for the annual Pop Montreal festival which we began by seeing DIANA and Empress Of followed by The Dodos, Braids, Suuns, Patrick Watson & more. After that came How Sad, Valleys, Angel Olsen, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Leif Vollebekk & more, and then Yellowman and Josey Wales, Brendan Canning, Pat Jordache, Secret Sun, Shuggie Otis & more. Day four went like this...
The final day of Pop Montreal was a light one. Everyone's sleep-deprived, yawns are everywhere and honestly, I don't know if I've been this exhausted at SXSW. The after parties at the church go well into the night. Such was the dancehall celebration the night before with Yellowman and Josey Wales and Sunday would prove to be the same as METZ closed out the festival, taking the stage well, well after midnight.
Before that though, there were still some tasty things on the menu and the day included one last trip to Divan Orange for Royal Canoe, and Fire/Works, and brunch.
I saw Royal Canoe open for of Montreal at Savannah Stopover earlier this year and was excited to catch their set but slow moving buses and traffic along Avenue de Parc - courtesy of a Canadian Football League game at McGill Stadium and a separate protest in Jeanne-Mance Park against the pending Charter of Quebec Values bill - meant I would only catch their last two songs. Still the sextet - who, like many bands at Pop, have a new record out (called Today We're Believers) - sounded great with two drummers, catchy hooks and enough good time rock-pop to get people moving mid-afternoon on a Sunday.
Then Fire/Works, the Montreal duo of Jonathan Peters and David Lagacé, followed with a much quieter set of folky songs.
A quick trip to Pop Quarters to unload my last drink ticket and then it was off to the Rialto for Patrick Watson's Songs of Darkness. Going well over two hours, the night was full of haunting, dark songs featuring a rotating cast of Montreal artists including Laurel Sprengelmeyer (Little Scream,) AroarA featuring Andrew Whiteman (Apostle of Hustle) and Ariel Engle, Leif Vollebekk, Lil' Andy and a lot more.
My first introduction to Watson was his Sacred Sunday on the last day of Pop in 2010 and this followed the same artist rotation policy as Songs of Darkness. It was one of the highlights of that festival and this performance at the Rialto was easily one of the highlights of my 2013 Pop. I kind of wish they were recording these performances cause they were all stellar.
I left at the two-hour mark to make my way to Cabaret Mile End for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. It was my first time seeing them since 2006 and I really enjoyed their set. They've weathered being indie/blogosphere darlings and have lost a few members along the way, but the band has a new EP out and the Mile End crowd was ready to dance to old favorites like "Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth" and "Satan Said Dance."
From there I headed over to Casa Del Popolo where the Best of the Festival was going on and caught another set by Thus:Owls which was nice but following the gorgeous backdrop/sunset the night before, plus growing exhaustion on my part, their set came off a little underwhelming.
A quick stop for poutine and then over to the final show of the festival: METZ. I first saw METZ at Il Motore during Pop 2012 (a few weeks before they played the BV-Non-CMJ day party) when a guy thrashed his head so hard he hit the monitor and was bleeding during their entire set. Talk about making a lasting impression.
They took the stage at 2am and as the mosh pit grew in numbers with each song, lead singer Alex Edkins eventually passed down the only rule of the night during a very short break between songs: "If somebody falls down, pick them back up, kiss them on the cheek and pat them on the ass."
From there it was one song after another - barely a chance to catch your breath between songs they came so fast - the band thrashing about on stage, fans being passed over one another, a dash for the stage to springboard back into the crowd, and a lot of moshing.
It was the home stretch and with a flagging group of festival attendees, METZ duly fired us up and hauled us across the finish line.
More pictures from the final day, below...
photos by Dominick Mastrangelo
Win Butler schooling on the bball court
POP Montreal continued on Saturday (9/22) and BV photographer Dominick Mastrangelo was on the scene and got shots of The Sadies, "Shut Up and Eat Your Ballads" (Leif Vollebek and friends Michael Feuerstack, Laurel Sprengelmeyer of Little Scream, and Brad Barr covering Tom Waits), and Rags to Radio. He also stopped by the Pop vs. Jock basketball game which saw members of Arcade Fire and The Strokes playing basketball with other celebrities like actor Martin Starr (Freaks & Geeks, Party Down), pro basketball player Luke Bonner, and more.
David Byrne, who played a POP Montreal show with St. Vincent a day earlier (9/21) (they start their NYC-run of three shows tonight), performed at the game's halftime show. During his set, he was joined by Arcade Fire's Win and Will Butler and The Strokes' Nikolai Fraiture to perform covers of ? and the Mysterians' "96 Tears" and KC and the Sunshine Band's "That's the Way (I Like It)." You can watch a video of the latter below.
More pictures from Friday (9/21) are HERE. Pics from Sunday (9/23) are coming soon and more from Saturday are below.
photos by Toby Tenenbaum
Beirut at Central Park Summerstage - 8/29/12
Beirut brought their tour to NYC for a show at Central Park Summerstage last night (8/29) with Little Scream. Pictures from that show are in this post. Beirut will continue their tour this weekend with FYF Fest, which will kick off a west coast run for the band that also includes MusicFestNW, before they head over to Europe later next month.
More pics and a couple videos from last night's show are below.
photos by Bryan Bruchman
Little Scream @ the Rock Shop
Little Scream's performance on Friday was a show and not-telling of everything one might want to believe about art--that somehow one individual's pain or interiority can be translated into something relatable, even into existential comfort. It might have been the end of the tour in one sense, but in another there's relish in the pause. Sprengelmeyer said she's immediately ready to get working on another album. Now will be the anticipation of flipping over the golden record to hear what's on the other side. [L Mag]Little Scream concluded her tour in NYC at The Rock Shop last week (12/2) with The Hoof and the Heel and Doug Keith, after also playing Pianos on 11/29. More pictures from that show are below.
Little Scream, whose debut album ended up on NPR's year end list, also recently performed a cover of The Velvet Underground's "Jesus" for The A.V. Club's Holiday Undercover series. You can watch a video of that below. She'll tour the US and Canada again this March, though no east coast dates have been announced.
More pics, video, and all dates below...
yMusic at Castle Clinton in July (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Six-piece ensemble yMusic released their debut LP this past September, Beautiful Mechanical, with compositions by Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond (whose new album yMusic played on), Annie Clark, Son Lux, and others. They'll celebrate the album with a record release show in NYC on Sunday (12/4) at Rockwood Music Hall. Tickets are on sale now.
yMusic are also play the Ecstatic Music Festival with album collaborator Son Lux (Ryan Lott) and Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry on February 8 at Merkin Concert Hall. Tickets are still available. Stream the Son Lux-composed track "Beautiful Mechanical" off yMusic's album here.
Speaking of Richard Parry, he was spotted in the audience of the Little Scream show the other day at Pianos. He also happened to co-produce the new Little Scream record (which he also contributed to musically). Maybe he'll be there at The Rock Shop in Brooklyn tonight (12/2) too.
My Brightest Diamond also has an upcoming show at Merkin Concert Hall, but hers is part of New York Guitar Festival. She plays on January 17, performing an original score for Buster Keaton's silent film Balloonatic, aliong with Keller WilliamsRedhooker, who will both also be performing scores of Keaton films. Tickets are still available. Shara is also one of the performers for David Lang's Making Music piece, along with Bryce Dessner of The National, Owen Pallett, Nico Muhly and others, which is being presented at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall on January 27. Tickets are on sale now.
All dates below...
Little Scream at MHOW in May (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Montreal singer/songwriter Little Scream (aka Laurel Sprengelmeyer) recently finished up some North American dates with BOBBY. She won't be there when BOBBY play Mercury Lounge this Saturday (12/3) (tickets), but Laurel and her band have their own short run of dates which include two NYC shows this week. She plays Pianos on Tuesday (11/29) with Rain Machine (Kyp Malone) and Akua and The Rock Shop on Friday (12/2) with The Hoof & The Heel and Doug Keith. Tickets for the Pianos show and the Rock Shop show are on sale now.
Little Scream filmed a Take Away Show for La Blogotheque this past September. Check out the video of that along with all dates below...
photos by BBG
BOBBY @ Knitting Factory
BOBBY, now officially with NO MOUNTAIN MAN MEMBERS ANYMORE (there's a new very able front-woman), played the BrooklynVegan/Knitting Factory/Partisan Records day party during CMJ one week ago today (on 10/20), one of two CMJ appearances for the band who played their official showcase at Fat Baby the night before. With those in the rearview, BOBBY will begin a proper tour on 10/30 in Pittsburgh. After a Halloween show with Royal Bangs in Ohio, they heads West to play a string of dates with Little Scream. In December they're back east again for a short tour that hits Mercury Lounge in NYC on 12/3. Tickets for that one are currently on AmEx presale, and go on regular sale at noon tomorrow (10/21).
All tour dates and a second set of pictures from Knitting Factory (first set here), below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield
The Antlers @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
"Anchored by Michael Lerner's drumming, the group used a familiar, slow-building approach, eventually making full use of loud/soft dynamics. Initially hushed songs metamorphosed into gripping, intensely executed exercises in rock catharsis. The haunting "Kettering" was one example, a suitably brooding number off Hospice, the Antlers' debut album (essentially a solo Silberman song cycle concerning a terminally ill patient's drawn-out death).Not long after performing their new album in its entirety for free at Knitting Factory (on 5/5), The Antlers brought their tour with Little Scream back home to NYC for sold out shows at both Music Hall of Williamsburg (5/19) and Bowery Ballroom (5/20). The Antlers played most of the new album and threw in a few cuts off Hospice too at the recent shows. The full set list, the rest of their tour dates (the next one is Sasquatch) and more pictures from the MHOW show, below...
Now a full band, the Antlers still deal on their new album with dark themes, albeit more generalized. "Putting the Dog to Sleep," which closed out their regular set at [Philadelphia's First Unitarian Church] (and concludes Burst Apart), makes clever use of mournful metaphor over a lilting, classic pop-song beat." [Philadelphia Inquirer]
The second annual Hopscotch Festival will go down in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, across 12 different venues with over 135 bands, from September 8th through 10th. The lineup this year runs the gamut of independent music... from traditional indie staples (The Flaming Lips, Guided By Voices, Superchunk) to southern-inflected rock (Drive-By Truckers) to noise (Prurient) to hip hop (Beans) to garage (Jeff The Brotherhood) to funk (Budos Band) to metal (Krallice), and everywhere in between (Swans, Rhys Chatham, etc etc). Tickets are currently on sale. Full lineup is below.
Hopscotch happens almost three months after Guided By Voices play a Brooklyn Northside Festival show in McCarren Park (tickets) which is one day after Beirut plays a Northside Festival show on the same McCarren Park stage with... Sharon Van Etten (though she may have been accidentally announced at one point, they officially kept her placement on the bill under wraps until after Saturday's Music Hall of Williamsburg show). Tickets for Beirut/SVE are still on sale, and another opener will be added too.
Hopscotch lineup below...
Little Scream @ a BV Day Party @ SXSW (more by Amanda Hatfield)
TV on the Radio's (new album and) Brooklyn show date has arrived, and though they're not listing any opener, I think there might be a surprise tonight at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Not a surprise at all is that Light Asylum is opening for TVOTR at RCMH on Wednesday. Tickets for that larger show are still on sale. AND, we have TWO PAIRS of tickets you can win to see the band headline Radio City. Want them? Details on how to win are below (all of TVOTR's dates are down there too).
Jesper Of Junior Senior DJs before The Go! Team play their set at Brooklyn Bowl on Saturday (their second of two NYC shows which are part of a short tour). That show is also sold out, though the venue says, "WE WILL HAVE A LIMITED AMOUNT OF ADMISSIONS TO RELEASE ON THE NIGHT OF THE SHOW STARTING AT 11:00 PM. ALL ADMISSIONS AT THE DOOR ARE FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE AND WILL BE $12, CASH ONLY."
Speaking of opening bands playing shows in Williamsburg on Saturday night, Little Scream is NOT. Sadly, at some point after it was announced, Little Scream dropped off the last six dates of Sharon Van Etten's tour to instead play some dates with Jose Gonzalez in Europe. Don't worry, everyone's still friends. BV Zach was actually at their final show together the other day at Lincoln Hall in Chicago, and he told me...
Little Scream announced that it was their last show on tour with Sharon Van Etten, and that it has been an honor to work with her. Little Scream consists of two strong female singers (playing guitar and violin respectively), plus an also guitar-toting drummer. Their sound referenced the likes of Andrew Bird-esque violin plucking, interwoven with streams of freak folk and choral arrangements. Later during Sharon's encore, all of Little Scream returned to the stage to take part in a cover of Fine Young Cannibals' "She Drives Me Crazy".The good news is that Little Scream will make it back to NYC while on tour with The Antlers.
She Keeps Bees, not to be confused with Sea of Bees (I was actually confused until I wrote that sentence), have replaced Little Scream on the Brooklyn Bill. Megafaun also play that Brooklyn show and amazingly tickets are still available.
Adventure (by Tim)
Braids (by Tim)
As discussed and/or pictured HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE, we threw a free, three stage party with M For Montreal at Swan Dive and Barbarella in Austin on Saturday, March 19, 2011.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by, to all the bands who played and to Ramesh for DJing. Sorry to Bass Drum of Death for not getting to play due to some confusion. Thanks to the cast of Workaholics for stopping by and for doing some hosting (catch their show on Comedy Central now!). Thanks also to Izzoz, Sensible Portions, Honest Tea, VegAustin, Raw Revolution, NadaMoo, Firefly Vodka, Line 6, Korg, Vox, Blackstar, Nudie Jeans, and ASCAP. Thanks to everyone else that helped and to anyone I forgot.
A whole bunch more pictures from the whole day are below...
The Antlers @ The Parish
One of the highlights of my day on Thursday at SXSW was the NPR showcase at The Parish. Though I didn't arrive in time to see Colin Stetson or tUnE-yArDs (I saw the latter the following day), I stuck around for the rest of the line-up, including the grand finale: The Antlers, who, as advertised, played their unreleased upcoming album (Burst Apart) in its entirety for the first time in public. But more on that later.
I arrived to the sounds of Malian singer Khaira Arby, who Jon Pareles of the New York Times later confessed to me was his go-to recommendation for the festival. I don't typically see much world music, but there's no denying Arby's effortless ability to captivate the audience with her rich vocals and rhythmic percussion.
The Joy Formidable @ the Parish
Up next were The Joy Formidable/ I confess it was hard to get past singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan's wild stare, but if anything, the sheer intensity of her gaze was well suited to the tough indie rock strains of the London-based trio.
The energy level in the room continued to climb as Wild Flag took the stage. Not only does singer/guitarist Carrie Brownstein have a dedicated fan base thanks to her past band - Sleater-Kinney, she also received quite a warm welcome from NPR Music's Stephen Thompson due largely to the time she spent blogging and contributing to the site. This familiarity imbibed an otherwise strictly rock performance with a genuine warmth that made for a compelling combination on stage. Though their current musical project is young, these veteran lady rockers put on a triumphant and confident performance. Of course, it helps that the remaining three band members (Mary Timony, Rebecca Cole, and Janet Weiss) each have quite an impressive musical ability (and resume), themselves.
Wild Flag @ The Parish
Next came the part of the showcase that I was most anticipating - the preview of Burst Apart. After the Antlers' 2009 release, the cinematic and harrowing concept album Hospice, I was eager to hear what course they would take in their follow-up. Apparently, one of the biggest challenges the band faced leading up to the show was figuring out how to effectively translate all of the layers and effects found in the studio recording into a live setting. Being unfamiliar with the material, it's hard to tell if they achieved this goal.
I enjoyed the chance to hear the new material without having read any spoilers online, but at first listen, it seems that Burst Apart does not boast the same kind of sparse, sweeping intensity and catharsis that distinguished Hospice... but maybe that's a good thing.
In an interview with Pitchfork a few months ago, chief singer/songwriter Pete Silberman confessed:
For a while, I thought the next logical step from Hospice was to make some very sad, post-Hospice concept record. But thinking in those terms started to feel really manipulative and gimmicky. So I just let go of that idea and, from that point on, I was much happier. In a lot of ways, this album is an easier record to listen to than Hospice; you can put it on and not feel like it has to be a severe emotional experience. It might be. But it could also be on in the background.Like Hospice, portions of the new album seem to project a dark kind of resignation to pain, sickness, and heartbreak. But in addition to the darker songs, it ended in a surprisingly hopeful, (albeit Gothic) vein as Silberman sang, "I'm not going to die alone. I stitched the stuff up so to close up the hole" in a particularly Hospice-like song.
Burst Apart will be releaesd by Frenchkiss Records on May 10th. The Antlers will head out on tour a week later with stops at both Music Hall of Williamsburg (May 19th) and Bowery Ballroom (May 20th). Both shows and much of the tour is with Little Scream who meanwhile is on tour with Sharon Van Etten. Tickets for both NYC shows go on AmEx presale Wednesday at noon, and then general sale Friday at the same time.
All tour dates and more pictures from the NPR show at the Parish, below...
If you've been following along, you know that this is finally the NINTH and FINAL BrooklynVegan SXSW 2011 show announcement! This one happens on Saturday, March 19th in Austin, at both Swan Dive and Barbarella (they connect). It runs from noon-6pm and is 100% free. We are doing it with our friends from M For Montreal and it looks like this:
STAGE 1 (SWAN DIVE)I'm ready to fall over.
12:00 PM New Moods
01:00 PM Oh Land
2:00 PM Austra
3:00 PM Little Scream
4:00 PM Owen Pallett
5:00 PM Braids
STAGE 2 (Barbarella main stage)
12:00 PM Baths
1:00 PM Misteur Valaire
2:00 PM !!!
3:00 PM Trail of Dead
4:00 PM Mount Kimbie
5:00 PM Daedelus
HOSTED BY: the cast of Workaholics
DJs: Ramesh (of Voxtrot) & 70's Bush
STAGE 3 (Barbarella small stage)
12:00 PM Bass Drum of Death
12:45 PM Adventure
1:30 PM Versus
2:30 PM Malajube
3:15 PM Suuns
4:00 PM Weekend
5:00 PM PS I Love You
And this party will also have:
- FREE vegan Izzoz breakfast tacos while supplies last!
- lots of FREE snacks courtesy of Sensible Portions!
- a lot of FREE Honest Tea!
- FREE Raw Revolution bars to eat.
- FREE vegan ice cream from NadaMoo
- FREE Firefly Vodka cocktails all day (while supplies last.)
- more FREE DRINKS TBA.
- Our official microphone sponsor Line 6.
- and our backline sponsors Korg, Vox & Blackstar.
- our sponsor Nudie Jeans.
- and to ASCAP for sponsoring too.
To celebrate the BrooklynVegan + M for Montreal party, Nudie Jeans is also giving away 5 pairs of jeans (one pair for each day leading up to the party). For your chance to win, friend Nudie Jeans on facebook and send an email titled BROOKLYN VEGAN to firstname.lastname@example.org. For those at the party, we'll also be raffling off more Nudie Jeans you can win while you're there.
We're also happy to announce that, for the second year in a row, we'll be partnering with our friends at VegAustin to host a vegan bake sale for charity at the party. All proceeds will be donated to Compassion Over Killing.
Check out the flyer and stuff below...
today in NYC
* Whiplash @ UCB
* Chicha Libre @ Barbes
* Eszter Balint @ Barbes
* Federico Aubele @ Joe's Pub
* The Godfathers @ Santos Party House
* Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen @ Littlefield
* The Syd Straw Heartwreck Show @ Southpaw
* Abe Vigoda (Radio Happy Hour) @ Le Poisson Rouge
* Tony Scherr Trio, Norman Vladimir @ The Living Room
* Theophilus London, PO PO, New Look @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* 3rd Annual Anti V-day Riot Gurrl Cover Band Show @ Death By Audio
* Controlled Bleeding, Syphilitic Lust, Occultation, Skull @ Lit Lounge
* Vieux Farka Toure, Ramble Tamble, Invisible Familiars, Very Fresh @ Zebulon
* Jim Campilongo Electric Trio, Stephan Crump, Tony Mason @ The Living Room
* Kyp Malone Valentine's Day Party w/ Chica Vas, Hiro Kone, Grey Gersten @ Glasslands
* Genghis Barbie, Stumblebum Brass Band, Raya Brass Band, Frank London @ Mercury Lounge
The Spiderman musical is having a rough time. In related news, the dude who plays Spiderman is in the band Carney who are playing Bowery Ballroom tonight. Acutally all of Carney play in the musical that was written by U2 who Carney are opening for, along with Arcade Fire, at their show in New Brunswick, Canada on July 30, 2011.
Arcade Fire won "Album of the Year" at the Grammys.
LCD Soundsystem are on the Colbert Report tonight.
A video of Little Scream playing "The Heron and The Fox", below...
Video of Cee-Lo's Grammy performance below...
DOWNLOAD: Little Scream "The Heron and the Fox" (MP3)
Sharon Van Etten at Bowery Ballroom (more by Jessica Amaya)
Sharon Van Etten just headlined Bowery Ballroom recently and will return to play another hometown show at the about-equally-sized Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on 4/16 with Little Scream. Tickets go on AMEX presale Wednesday, 1/19, at noon, and then on regular sale 48 hours later.
The new date comes toward the end of Sharon's recently announced tour with Montreal's Little Scream who has some more good news of her own. The Golden Record, which we previously discussed, will be released by Secretly Canadian on April 15th! Co-produced with Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre), the LP features appearances from multiple guest stars including Parry, Becky Foon (A Silver Mt. Zion), Patty McGee (Stars), Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre), and Aaron Dessner (The National), who lends his talents to the lead single "The Heron and the Fox" available for download above.
Little Scream's signing news comes not long after fellow Montreal band The Luyas announced that they would be releasing their album via the same label family (The Luyas signed to Dead Oceans).
All Little Scream dates below...
Land of Talk
Living in Brooklyn, it's all too easy to get swept up in the thriving local music scene. After all, bands seem to be coming into existence faster than bedbugs in Bushwick. But Saturday night at the Bowery Ballroom featured tunes from another exciting musical oasis: Montreal, the home of all three of the evening's artists.
First on the bill was Little Scream, the captivating project of singer-songwriter Laurel Sprengelmeyer. Even her sparkly black leggings were outshone by her innovative songs, which seemed to constantly switch tempo and require a different series of emotions to pull off. She may have been alone on stage, but Sprengelmeyer's ferocious foot tapping took on the feel of a bass line, and her presence was easily impressive enough to fill the space.
Up next was the CMJ veterans Suuns. Unlike many of their musical peers, the guys from Suuns do not completely cocoon their music in reverb, distortion, and effects (though these things do have an undeniable presence in their music). Instead, guitar riffs and synth lines are provided with ample breathing room and remain distinct. Suuns may be feel repetitive to some but their music is a well-executed exercise in minimalism.
Suuns were not the main act, but its members seemed to get in the most stage time since Land of Talk's Lizzie Powell borrowed multiple Suuns members for help during her set, relying especially on Joe Yarmush on bass.
Of course, the spotlight was unmistakably on Powell... and her short, white lacey dress. With her pleasant (and dare I say wholesome?) voice, Powell could have easily forged a career at the top of the adult contemporary charts, but instead, she chose to use her voice and her songwriting skills for good. The combination of Powell's pensive melancholic lyrics and assertive guitar riffs is arresting. Here's a woman who seems to be equally comfortable with bearing her soul and shredding - often within the same song.
After allegedly playing a bajillion times at the Mercury Lounge, Powell repeatedly conveyed her excitement to be playing at the Bowery Ballroom. "I feel like I'm graduating," she joked at one point. "I'm dressed for the occasion," she said.
After concluding their initial set with a rowdier number, Powell prompted a change of pace for the encore upon seeing a pocket of fans start to dance/trample their fellow concert-goers.
Look alive, Brooklyn. Montreal is bringing the A game.
More pictures and Land of Talk's setlist from the show, below...
words and photos by Dominick Mastrangelo
The Notman House had the grill up and running and the speakers loud enough I could clearly hear the first band of the day, Edmonton's The Whitsundays, in my room at the Opus Hotel across the street. People lined up for free pulled pork and/or lentil sandwiches, sipped beer, listened to the Edmonton quartet's opening set (a solid, catchy blend of garage rock/pop) or milled about the house. It was an eclectic mix of people with little kids running around with their faces painted and even greeting people as they made their way up the Notman House front steps. It felt like a party which the weather managed to kill off on Thursday and Friday.
Stuck around for a really entertaining set by another Edmonton band, Hot Panda, before catching the bus (free bus pass was a godsend) to catch Think About Life and Diamond Rings at Divan Orange. I walked up to see people hanging out and then caught a glimpse of the sheet of paper stuck to the door. "Sold Out," it read. Or, since it was a free day party 'at capacity' was more apt. So, I hung around in hopes of getting in, not nearly as disappointed as some of those around me who were clearly crushed by that white sheet of paper.
Think About Life played before Diamond Rings, and it cleared out a bit after their set. Diamond Rings is the solo project of John O'Regan of the D'Urbervilles, and he shows a lot of promise. Synths, guitar and processed beats via laptop made for some simple, yet agreeable, dance numbers. Though his own dance moves were cringe-inducing.
The evening part of the program looked to be a long one with Deerhoof announced via Twitter as the 2am Loft Party headliner at Espace Reunion. It started off at Cabaret Mile End and the news that Doveman, who was slotted in between Mary Margaret O'Hara and Little Scream, was unable to make it out of New York and canceled. Instead, Little Scream's short but enchanting opening set complete with string accompaniment gave way to replacement act Becky Foon + Howl which was Little Scream, Becky Foon on cello Jess Robertson on violin and other members. But I opted to dash up Parc to another Cabaret, Playhouse, to see what was happening there. The official Pop Schedule said I was supposed to be catching Secretary City, but instead I found a seven-piece collective, Olenka and The Autumn Lovers, who were supposed to play Thursday but their van broke down on the way in from London, Ontario. The pleasant surprises to this point were few and far between but Olenka and Co. were the biggest. A solid dose of folk, chamber pop and Americana (can you call it that if they're Canadian?) wrapped in Eastern European themes (there's certainly a bit of Beirut in their sound) through Olenka Krakus's memories of Communist Poland.
Mary Margaret O'Hara
Then it was back to Mile End for Mary Margaret O'Hara. In the past 10 years you could probably count her number of public performances on two hands, with fingers left over. Whirling in with her band 20 minutes before they took the stage, everything was left to chance; even the setlist, which was drawn from a hat by O'Hara and audience members. Clearly uncomfortable on stage, O'Hara flittered about, cracked jokes, forgot lyrics and made others up as she went. Her voice was clear and powerful, and despite only releasing one proper record in the late eighties (Miss America), she is still roundly adored. Hers was one of the highlights of the festival, including a beautiful remembrance of Vic Chesnutt that led into "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." (vid below) It was emotional stuff and when Little Scream came out right after to do a free improv piece, she was wiping away tears. "I don't think I can sing," she said, "I'm crying too much."
Reluctantly, I left to make my way up to Espace Reunion and caught the last couple of songs by Buke & Gass and worked my way to the front for Deerhoof who despite going on at 2am were up for it and so was the audience. During the rowdier numbers, and between drummer Greg Saunier's awkward attempts to banter in French, the crowd surfed and repeatedly tumbled on to the stage with even a few people deciding to just sit on the stage in front of the band. When I left at 3am (after devouring some incredibly good tacos) they were still going, but with one day remaining the only thing I could think about was my hotel bed.
More pictures from the whole day, and a few videos, below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield
Marnie Stern shredding
"[A the Rock Shop, Marnie Stern] told us she's started a new blog called the Vagina Monoblog, which, jesus, she really has. She instigated a drinking game, even, where each time she mentioned her or your or anyone else's lady-part, it was bottoms up for everyone. "No wonder you like her so much," I heard one woman say to her very much in-the-bag male companion.Marnie Stern played the sold out Rock Shop (10/5) last night with support from Little Scream and The Forms. The show was a lone date in celebration of Marnie's now-released self-titled LP, and not part of her larger US tour that kicks off in Philly on 10/25 (after CMJ) and runs until mid November before Marnie hits the road in Europe.
But of course there are many reasons to like her so much, not the least of which is the very good self-titled album she released yesterday. It's a sprawling, noisy affair that's immediately mesmerizing for its displays of technical proficiency, but it grows more and more likable with each listen, too, as you realize it's the first time her vocal melodies actually qualify as melodies. It adds an element of playfulness to an album that's otherwise just relentlessly pummeling." [L Mag]
During CMJ, Marnie will play at least two NYC shows. Marnie is also on the bill of the just-mentioned Stereogum/PopGun show happening at Santos on 10/20, and Marnie is playing a TBA BrooklynVegan party too. Stay tuned for more details.
All Marnie Stern tour dates, with more pictures from the Rock Shop, including the Marnie Stern setlist, below...
Just when you thought Montreal was tapped out on its music talent, along comes Little Scream. Singer-songwriter Laurel Sprengelmeyer aka Little Scream (who bears a striking resemblance to a young Susan Sarandon), just finished up The Golden Record, her first studio album, co-produced by Richard Reed Parry of the Arcade Fire and Belle Orchestre.
The album was recorded in Montreal and New York, in the home studios of Parry and Aaron Dessner of the National. Both artists contributed to the album, with Parry playing on multiple tracks. Additional guest musicians include Mike Fueurstack (Snailhouse), Becky Foon (Silver M. Zion), Patty McGee (Stars) and Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire, Belle Orchestre).
The Golden Record (named after the 1977 Voyager space shuttle time capsule recording) is filled with stunning vocals and a beautiful use of reverb on songs such as "Your Radio." There are influences that span from the genre of folk on "Black Cloud," to the classical "Boatman." The heavy intro on "Cannons" bears the mark of Parry's work that can be heard in the Arcade Fire, but is unique at the same time. I was hooked right away with the soothing sounds of "Amahl," the album opener (a tribute to the Menotti opera that bears the same name), and the ballad that is "The Heron and the Fox."
There is good news for fans. Little Scream is on tour, playing this Saturday at the Pop Montreal Festival and the following Tuesday, 10/5, at Brooklyn's the Rock Shop. Tickets are still on sale for the Brooklyn show which is being headlined by Marnie Stern and also includes a set by the Forms.
LS is really excited to be playing the Pop Montreal Festival with Mary Margaret O'Hara, saying "she's kind of one of the reasons I play music." This set will also include guest musicians Becky Foon and Jess Robertson, and as previously noted, Doveman is also on that bill.
A limited run of CD's will be available at live shows, starting at the end of October. An official album release is slated for next spring. For a preview of The Golden Record, you can listen to new tunes at www.listn.to/littlescream and at her MySpace.
All tour dates and a Vincent Moon-directed Take Away Show, with pictures Ryan Muir took while that Take Away Show was being recorded at Pop Montreal last year, below...