Entries tagged with: M for Montreal
Club Soda photos by Bruno Destombes; words by Bill Pearis
Duchess Says / Chocolat @ BV M for Montreal showcase 11/21/2015
Pure insanity. This is how you end a festival. Duchess Says singer Annie-Claude is a bit like a gremlin, spreading gleeful mayhem wherever she goes. Saturday night, headlining the BrooklynVegan M for Montreal showcase and post-Grimes fesival closing party at Club Soda, she and Duchess Says dialed it up to the max and the audience were her willing playthings. She walked atop them, parted them like the red sea, had them all sit down on the floor as she tormented fans individually, invited them up on stage for a mid-set dance party (and onstage crowd-surfing!) and generally had us wondering "what's next?" the whole show. I have seen Duchess Says many times over the last seven years and this was by far the most bonkers, awesome and flat-out fun show of theirs I've witnessed.
While Annie Claude is the focal point, the band's music -- warped synthpunk -- is what helps power things. Popular in their hometown, Duchess Says are virtually unknown everywhere else. That may change, however, as a handful of new songs were catchy as hell and sung in English. Not that you really need to understand what she's singing -- one of their best-known songs, "Tenen Non Neu," has her basically yelling "bleep bloop" noises along with the synthesizers -- but it does give English-speakers some thing to hold onto. And at a tornado of a show like this, that can be helpful.
I realize I am biased as this was BV's show, but this all-Montreal lineup was without a doubt my favorite show at this year's M for Montreal. Also on the bill were Chocolat, band who initially seem like just a very good psych-garage band but are soon defying pigeonholing with every song. There are delicate harmonies, motorik krautrock rhythms, and proggy chord changes. They are also crazy loud. And crazy good.
Before that: Country, a duo comprised of infamous Montreal gadabout and restauranteur Beaver Shepard, plus a guitarist/keyboardist in (very little) bondage gear. Serious is not a word you'd associate with this project -- this band screams "we don't give a fuck" -- but they've actually got some really good songs which, perhaps do to Shepard's singing style, kinda sound like the Cure. Fun, if weird.
Another duo, Organ Mood opened the night with a multimedia set. Christophe Lamarche, who is Chocolat's keyboard player, handled most of the music which was made with a mix of analogue synths and MCPs, ranging from Tangerine Dream style textural washes to Giorgio Moroder-esque arpeggiated disco; Mathieu Jacques handled the visuals via four overhead projectors where he swapped out illustrations, color overlays and some real-time drawing. It was a fascinating, very cool start to what was an awesome, eclectic, very Montreal evening. Photographs from the BV showcase (minus Organ Mood, unfortunately) are in this post.
Bronswick / Paupière
Earlier in the day, was another very Montreal event -- the annual M for Montreal Francophone showcase at Cafe Campus. Most of the other English-speaking "delegates" at M are not so interested in all this overt Frenchiness, and this definitely hosts some of the stinkiest fromage of the fest, but there are always a couple gems. This year I can recommend three: Bronswick, a duo who were like Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin but on a 1980 synthwave tip; Safia Nolin, whose powerful voice and jazz-tinged folk broke through language barriers; and another synthpop act, Paupière, featuring We Are Wolves drummer Pierre-Luc Bégin, two other singer/keyboardists and a rather chic look. Very cool.
Recap of M for Montreal day 1 is here, day 2 is here, day 3 is here, and pics from Grimes' day for 4 performance are here. Streams of Bronswick's debut EP, Safia Nolin's new album, Limoilou, and a Paupière single, plus more pics from the BV M for Montreal showcase, below..
photos by Bruno Destombes; words by Bill Pearis
Grimes @ Metropolis, Montreal 11/21/2015
M for Montreal always concludes their week of festivities with a big show at the gorgeous Metropolis Theatre. This year's was maybe their biggest yet with very au courant hometown hero Grimes, who had just released her acclaimed new album Art Angels. The absolutely adoring crowd was determined to have the time of their lives and hung on Claire Boucher's every move, shrieking when she picked up the mike or did just about anything else. With a team of dancers dressed in dayglo black light outfits, plus smoke machines and lots of lasers it was quite the spectacle. Despite having a walking cast on her right leg, Claire really gave it her all and seemed to be having a good time (perhaps finally over that flu that dogged her recent NYC appearances). No Aristophanes for this show but she did invite some of her friends onstage to dance to "REALiTi."
Like at the NYC shows, Nicole Dollanganger opened the show, and as Andrew described, it was a bit incongruous to see her flanked by two very metal looking dudes. Her guitarist also played the kickdrum, as well as a crash cymbal with the head of his guitar (which is a little funny to watch from an otherwise deadly serious-looking dude, lets be honest). Chelsea Wolfe is indeed an apt comparison and while it's not really my thing, it still mostly worked. The audience was definitely into it.
Saturday night also featured the official BrooklynVegan M for Montreal showcase with Duchess Says, Chocolat and more. Pics and writeup from that are coming soon. Meanwhile, more photos from Grimes and Nicole Dollanganger at Metropolis, below...
by Bill Pearis
The Dears / She-Devils / Yonatan Gat @ M for Montreal 11/20/2015
Friday of M for Montreal is when it goes from being an industry-centric confab to a full-blown, multi-venue music festival. Things started, for me, with a closing cocktail at Montreal's Phi Center that also featured a performance from Charlotte Cardin, a former contestant of Canada's The Voice who is probably better known currently as a model. I must admit I was not expecting much but with a delivery not unlike Amy Winehouse and an unassuming piano-pop style, she was pretty good. And at 20, she's got a lot of time to get better. A nice surprise.
Following the cocktail party, I got dinner then headed over to Theatre Fairmount to catch The Dears who were doing the anthemic, widescreen thing in Montreal for half a decade before Arcade Fire hit the scene. There was a period of time (2004-2005) where I was fairly obsessed with them, and I've always had a soft spot for their bombast even when they made less-than-stellar albums. But their new one, Times Infinity Vol 1, is their best in a while and they were really in top form on Friday, and didn't hold back on the older favorites, either. "You and I Are a Gang of Losers" and "Hate Then Love" (both from 2006's Gang of Losers) still tingle the spine and new cuts like "I Used to Pray for the Heavens to Fall" fit in great alongside.
From there I headed over to Casa Del Popolo for a showcase that was presented by Baby's All Right and featured a bunch of Arbutus-related bands, including She-Devils (much better than their M set on Wednesday), Moon King (really good, as usual), Alex Calder (who went on past my bedtime), and more. I also popped across the street to catch Yonatan Gat at La Sala Rossa where he and his band were, as usual, set up on the floor and pretty much making fans of everyone in the room. His style of instrumental magic could be very reductively called surf-rock, but apart from some guitar lines, their highly improvisational style is not really anything like that. You can experience it in NYC on Tuesday (11/24) at Knitting Factory with Pill and The Yin Yangs (tickets).
by Bill Pearis
Jazz Cartier @ M for Montreal 11/19/2015
A lot of Montreal feels like it was frozen in amber in 1981, when the autumnal earth tone palette of the '70s was beginning to give way to the shiny new decade ahead. The sign for Café Cléopâtre, an "adult entertainment" venue on Saint Laurent, with oddly drawn nude caricatures, definitely feels lost in time...or forgotten. A strip club on the lower floor, the upstairs is a cabaret venue that usually hosts drag revues. As far as places like this go, this is what you want: leather banquets, red lighting, with seamy details like an ancient (but still in use) change machine by the bathrooms. A very tall man in a tux, who seemed like he'd been at Café Cléopâtre as long as everything else in there, stood silent by the coat check which was also run by someone who also seemed like a fixture of the place.
Thursday night (11/19) this was host to M for Montreal's hip hop showcase, featuring a bill of Canadian rappers and its regular clientele by mainly industry folk. This was one of the two "official selection" shows happening that night. The main attraction was Toronto's Jazz Cartier who is getting a lot of attention lately and even if you know almost nothing about current hip hop (that would be me), you have probably heard him called "the new Drake." I cannot speak to whether that is the case or not, but Cartier was definitely the best act of the night, with an undeniable charisma and confidence. He was also the only rapper to have an actual DJ, and there was a large cluster of very excited fans up front who knew every word.
Jazz Cartier's mixtape Marauding in Paradise dropped back in April, he just released new track "I Know," this week, and will be touring the West Coast before the end of the year. He also plays again at M for Montreal tonight (11/20) at the large-scale Metropolis. All dates are listed, along with streams of the mixtape and new track, below.
The actual headliners for the night were Montreal's six-strong Dead Obies who call themselves "post rap" and rhyme in "Franglais" meaning I caught the occasional shouted word. I actually think the French language lends itself very well to hip hop, and sounds good even if I don't understand what they are actually saying. They are fun, if bro-ish, and definitely have a big following in Montreal.
The other acts on the bill were Montreal's Wasiu, who released the MTLiens mixtape a few months ago, and multi-cultural Saskatchewan crew Queen City Stoopkids who were a little green had endless enthusiasm.
The other M for Montreal official selection was at Club Soda, which is directly across the street from Café Cléopâtre, and hosted three Montreal indie bands: Foreign Diplomats (dancepunk, which seems to be eternally popular in MTL, here with a trombonist); established folk-pop act Plants & Animals (accomplished if overly smooth for my taste); and Francophone artist Louis Jean-Cormier.
For the weekend, M for Montreal becomes more of a traditional multi-venue festival with shows all over the city, including The Dears, Montreal vets We Are Wolves, Moon King, Hudson Mohawke, Night Beats, Foxxtrott and more.
You can read about M for Montreal day 1 here and stay tuned for more coverage.
by Bill Pearis
Dilly Dally / CRI / Milk & Bone @ M for Montreal 11/18/2015
The 10th edition of M for Montreal is currently underway, bringing in a couple hundred mostly Canadian acts to this four-day event that's part industry confab and part music festival. I'm a pretty seasoned M-goer at this point and enjoy the approach they bring. They first couple days are more for the international "delegates" (writers, promoters, bookers, music supervisors, etc) and feature one showcase a night with selected artists for us to see.
Wednesday night was the kickoff event which happened at the Rialto in the Mile End neighborhood. (Pro tip: it's right around the corner from Montreal's two most famous 24-hr bagel places: Fairmount and Saint Viateur.) The Rialto is kinda like NYC's Webster Hall, with a big main hall and two smaller venues also inside and M took over all three stages with 11 bands. Rialto Hall featured more mainstream acts like duo Milk & Bone who are kind of like First Aid Kit meets Chvrches, and whoa-oh-y folk pop band The Franklin Electric. It was a sold-out hometown crowd for this one.
The other stages, which were only for M delegates, were a little more interesting. Upstairs at Theare Rialto was electronic duo CRI, Toronto dubstep singer Kai (who has collaborated with Diplo), and Jesse Mac Cormack whose lineup was three bassists and a drummer but managed a wide range of moody sounds out of that.
Downstairs at Piccolo Rialto was the late show with a good lineup of bands, all of which BV has covered: Doldrums, She-Devils, Calvin Love, Dilly Dally and Doomsquad. I missed Doldrums, who didn't start till after 1:30 AM (I've seen them a couple times this year anyway), but caught everyone else. Doomsquad, who toured as part of Fucked Up's "Zodiac" lineup, were pretty interesting, more electronic than I was expecting from their at-times Talking Heads-ish recordings. Tribal, energetic, and entertaining. Dilly Dally (who just played Brooklyn) were great as usual with their Pixies-ish indie rock; Calvin Love brought highly textured Miami Vice style rock with tons of style; and She-Devils, who now have some recordings to listen to, maintain a detached cool that fits their retro-sampled music.
Tonight's M lineup includes an all R&B/hip hop showcase in an infamous strip club including a set from Toronto's Jazz Cartier, who's already gotten a bunch of Drake comparisons (actually, someone, when looking looking through my M program last night, told me "oh he's, the new Drake."). We shall see. The rest of the fest features Grimes (who just played two NYC shows), The Dears, Yonatan Gat, Moon King, Hudson Mohawke, Night Beats, a bunch of Francophone artists, and the BrooklynVegan presented show on Saturday (11/21) with Duchess Says and Chocolat.
by Bill Pearis
Seattle trio Night Beats will release their third album, Who Sold My Generation, on January 28, 2016 on Heavenly Recordings. The record was recorded on 2" analogue tape and co-produced by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's Robert Levon Been (who also plays bass on the record). Night Beats have always been, for me, one of the more interesting bands making garage-psych today, with a strong (old) R&B influence and this new one adds some krauty, motorik elements to their sound which works really well. We've got the premiere of the driving, groovy new single "Power Child." Listen below.
Night Beats only shows are a couple in Canada this weekend. They'll play the M for Montreal fest on Friday (11/20) with Oh No! Yoko, Birds of Paradise and Surf Dads, and then on Saturday (11/21) they'll play Toronto's Night Owl Festival with Mexican Slang, LA Witch, Hooded Fang, B-17, and Fill Spectre.
by Bill Pearis
photo: Duchess Says @ M for Montreal 2013 (more by Maximillian G. San Juan)
The 10th edition of M for Montreal happens next week (November 18 - 21) and among the many options is the BrooklynVegan showcase Saturday, November 21 at Club Soda with Duchess Says, Chocolat, Country and Organ Mood. That show is being co-presented by Heavy Trip, Blue Skies Turn Black, and CMJ and tickets are on sale now. If you're going to be in Montreal, we'd love to see you there.
Electro-punks Duchess Says have played BV showcases at SXSW, CMJ and M in years past and they remain one of the most fun, in-your-face live bands in Montreal. (To say that singer Annie-Claude is a livewire is a bit of an understatement.) This year they released a split single with likeminded Belgians Le Prince Harry featuring three new songs and you can stream that below.
Chocolat were in NYC not too long ago for CMJ and I caught them at Cake Shop. While what they do can be distilled to "psych-garage," that really doesn't do them justice. One minute they're all heaviness and in-the-red levels, but then out of nowhere will come otherworldly harmonies, gossamer glam or krautrock grooviness. They do it all well and it all works together. You can stream their underrated 2014 album Tss Tss below...but they're even better live.
Fronted by artist and cult restauranteur Beaver Shepard, duo Country make what they call "sleaze-wave" which they then further describe as "My Bloody Valentine mixed with Dance Dance Revolution." You can stream Country's 2014 album, Failure, below.
Another duo, Organ Mood, open the night. Heavy on vibey, soundscapey synths (they are a well-named band), Organ Mood also invite an unusual level of interaction with the crowd, inviting folks up on stage to manipulate their equipment. They released Comme si nous étions déjà libres ("As If We Were Already Free") this year and you can stream that below.
There are lots of other M for Montreal shows over its four days (Grimes, The Dears, She Devils, among them) and the full lineup is here. Flyer for the BV M4M showcase is below.
photo: Dilly Dally @ BVCMJ 10/17/2015 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
M for Montreal's 10th edition happens November 18 - 21. As in years past the first two days are more industry-oriented with single shows each night and then Friday and Saturday turn into a full-blown festival all over Montreal. The full lineup and schedule is now out and includes Doldrums, Calvin Love, Duchess Says, Chocolat (who just played CMJ), Plants and Animals, We Are Wolves, Yonatan Gat, She-Devils (who open for Majical Cloudz in Brooklyn tonight) and lots more. The join previously announced M performers Grimes, Dilly Dally, The Dears, and more. Badges and individual show tickets are on sale and full list of 2015 M for Montreal performers is below.
by Bill Pearis
Montreal-based garage pop duo The Muscadettes released the Side A EP this past spring, and they're ready to follow it up with the Side B EP on November 6 via PaperCup Music. We've got the premiere of one of its tracks, "Stray Cats," which is one of the band's dreamier songs. (Also its lead guitar line reminds me of the horn charts on "Apache" by Incredible Bongo Band. But I digress.) You can stream it and another track from Side B, below.
The Muscadettes are playing M for Montreal's annual Friday CMJ showcase at Arlene's Grocery (10/16, 11 PM set) with Solids, Chocolat, Nancy Pants, Look Vibrant, Elliot Maginot (and free poutine at 7 PM). They've also got a couple other CMJ shows: Tuesday, October 13 at Rockwood Music Hall (5 PM set) with Lucy & La Mer, The Walking Sticks and Oh, Cassius; and then they'll also play Elvis Guesthouse on Saturday, October 17 (4:30 PM set) for the free PaperCup day party with Racoon Fighter, Little Racer, Suburban Living, The Teen Age, and Weekender.
CMJ show flyers and song streams, below...
Montreal, Quebec hosts a lot of festivals. This weekend is Pop Montreal (BV will be there, stay tuned for coverage) and in November it's the M for Montreal 2015 edition from November 18-21. M leans a little bit towards industry conference for the first two days before turning into a full-blown fest at venues all over Montreal for the Friday and Saturday finish. For their big 10 edition, Grimes will headline the annual fest-closing show at Metropolis November 21 with tourmate Nicole Dollanganger and more TBA. Other artists already announced include The Dears (who just announced a NYC show), Dilly Dally, Yukon Blonde, Hey Rosetta!, Doomsquad, and more.
Most of the M for Montreal 2015 artists are still to be announced but badges and individual show tickets are on sale now. The initial lineup is listed below. Stay tuned for more, and for the lineup of M For Montreal's annual CMJ show, which is happening again this year at Arlene's Grocery in October.
by Bill Pearis
Montreal trio Le Couleur take elements of disco, electro and francophone styles, add a bit of glitter and voila: an appealing, danceable sound. The group have a couple records out already, most recently 2013's Voyage Love, and will be back with a new EP, titled Dolce Desir, in February. (Pre-order it now.) The single from it, "Concerto Rock," is out this week and is a sleek little groover, part Giorgio Moroder, part Francoise Hardy. The video, directed by Ganesh Baron Aloir and Julien Manaud, makes its premiere in this post and you can watch it below.
Heat @ Union Pool during CMJ (more by Amanda Hatfield)
M for Montreal was just here for CMJ, hosting a nine-hour showcase on Friday (10/24) at Arlene's Grocery with Lydia Ainsworth, HEAT, Homeshake, The Muscadettes and more. If you went, how was it? Those artists and a lot more will also be playing the ninth edition of the actual M for Montreal festival which happens in the Quebec city from November 19-22. Like the last few years, the first two days of M are more of an industry event with only "official selection" showcases, including performances by Operators, BADBADNOTGOOD, Ainsworth, July Talk, HEAT and more. Then on the weekend it moves into proper festival mode with shows all over the city and bands from all over the world, including Thee Oh Sees, Wrekmeister Harmonies, Toro Y Moi side project Les Sins, The Blind Shake, Nils Frahm, PyPy, Moon King, and lots more.
by Bill Pearis
Lydia Ainsworth is based in Toronto these days but has spent time in both Montreal and New York City as a music student. It was while at NYU that she began delving into pop music. She spent two years working on her debut album, Right from Real, which was just released on Arbutus, home of Grimes. Being on the same label and also making electronic-y music, Ainsworth has gotten compared to Claire Boucher, but beyond superficial similarities, their music is pretty different. (Purity Ring is closer, as is, at times, Enya.) Right to Real shows off her composer / arranger skills (it's cinematic stuff), as well as her versatile voice. But you wouldn't put it on at a club -- though a couple songs are ripe for remixing. You can stream some of it below.
Ainsworth will be here for CMJ and she's currently got six shows lined up:
Thursday October 23rd @ Baby's All Right | Gorilla Vs. Bear showcaseLineups for the shows are listed below.
Friday October 24th @ Pianos | Planetary Radio day party FREE
Friday October 24th @ Arlene's Grocery | M For Montreal showcase
Friday October 24th @ Glasslands | Popgun showcase
Saturday October 25th @ Death by Audio | Arbutus Records showcase
Sunday October 26th @ Babycastles | Cardinal PR day show
The M for Montreal show, their annual CMJ poutine party, also features Homeshake, The Posterz, Solids, Heat, Lisa Leblac, Vesuvio Solo, The Muscadettes and a l l i e. That's not the only show the M folks are doing this year. On Tuesday, October 21 at Baby's All Right at midnight (so technically 10/22 morning) M4M will throw a late-night party with Honey, Homeshake, Calvin Love, The Mystery Lights, and OJ Pimpson. It goes till the wee hours and is FREE.
Speaking of Arbutus, the Montreal label is also throwing a free day party with Cascine Records on October 25 at Wythe Hotel's rooftop Ides bar with DJ sets from TOPS, Blue Hawaii, Erika Spring, No Excuses, and Wildarms. Cascine and Arbutus will also have a special show on Newtown Radio on October 20 from 9 - 11 PM.
CMJ lineups for shows mentioned above, as well as flyers and Lydia Ainsworth's partial album stream, below.
photos by Maximillian G. San Juan / M for Montreal; words by Bill Pearis
Duchess Says @ Cabaret Underworld, 11/22/2013
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...
photos by Ellie Pritts; words by Bill Pearis
Mac DeMarco @ Club Soda, MTL 11/23/2013
Mac DeMarco and his band played the 2013 M for Montreal twice last week. First, as Walter TV, where Mac just plays bass, with Pierce McGarry on vocals and guitar. Then on Saturday night, he headlined (and sold out) the 1000-capacity Club Soda. Both shows were completely bananas, featuring constant stage diving and crowd surfing, male nudity and other shenanigans. (Club Soda also got impromptu covers "Takin' Care of Business," "Message in a Bottle," "Enter Sandman," and "Stairway to Heaven" in addition to Mac-penned favorites.) Pictures from Club Soda are in this post.
After a tour of Asia and Australia, Mac's Walter TV buds are moving to Los Angeles to be a band full-time while Mac is living in Brooklyn for a while. His third album, due out next year on Captured Tracks, is in the can. We might get a taste of LP#3 here in NYC when Mac DeMarco plays a solo set at Brooklyn Night Bazaar on January 10, with Delicate Steve, Hunters and C/T domo Mike Sniper on DJ duty. Like all Brooklyn Night Bazaar shows, it's free.
That's part of a weekend presented by Panache Booking. The next night (1/11) features Imperial Teen, Dot Wiggin Band, Arp, and Juan Wauters.
by Bill Pearis
TOPS / Foxtrott @ M for Montreal 11/21/2013
Day 2 of M for Montreal featured five bands in their evening "official selection" which was again held at Casa Del Popolo and La Sala Rossa which are across the street from each other on St. Laurent Blvd. The night started strong with Foxtrott, aka Marie-Hélène L. Delorme, whose Shields EP is full of extremely catchy, quirky dancepop. (Stream it below, it's good.) For her live performance she was backed by a French horn (though a different one than she had at CMJ) which at times seemed to take the part that a guitar might've. We got a few new songs that I thought were as good as anything on the EP. Her music, I think, would work well in a more fleshed out band line-up but she held her own well. A live video of Foxtrott at Pop Montreal is below too.
Over at Sala Rossa it was TOPS who I've seen a number of times (they were at CMJ too), including when they used to be called Silly Kissers. They've grown a lot as a band -- and are now signed to Arbutus (aka Grimes' label) -- and have quite a few solid songs, many of which have an early '80s Fleetwood Mac vibe to them. There is also a dimestore quality to them which is kind of charming, but I wondered what they might sound like with fuller arrangements.
Back at Casa, it was MTL duo Solar Year whose ethereal brand of electronic music is icy with vocals that work like an instrument more than something where lyrics are important. They played against slow-motion projections of some palatial estate -- shades of Matthew Barney's Cremaster -- and, for it being as chilled-out as it was, I thought they were great. Their new album, Waverly, came out over the summer and you can stream it at Rdio.
Next was Odonis Odonis at Sala Rossa, who I've also seen a few times but am very into their gothy, post-punk garage which they play at maximum volume. While it's easy to describe them as I did in the last sentence, they don't exactly sound like anybody else and get better every time I see them. Great set.
After that was Toronto's Born Ruffians but I snuck out to catch UK band Temples over at Cafe Campus where I made it in time for half their set. Armed with 12-string guitars and Mark Bolan hair, I am a sucker for this sort of Byrdsy/Kinksy/glammy type of Britpop and on singles "Shelter Song" and "Keep in the Dark" they do it very well. The band just announced their debut album, Sun Structures, will be out in February and you can stream their new single "Mesmerize" below. Their first North American tour has them in NYC next week: Bowery Ballroom on November 25. (tickets) and Union Pool on November 26. (tickets)
My Thursday afternoon was also spent at Cafe Campus where its two stages were showcasing more commercially-minded pop -- some veering into Michael Buble territory -- the best of which was definitely Groenland whose music was on the orchestral side with strings and horns and a singer who played a ukulele and sounded more than a little like Adele.
Tonight (11/22), M for Montreal expands into M Fest with shows all over the city. That includes the BrooklynVegan co-presented show with We Are Wolves, Duchess Says and Solids at Cabaret Underworld, which is sold out.
by Bill Pearis
Murray Lightburn @ M for Montreal 11/20/2013
Here I am again at M for Montreal, the now eight annual edition that is part music festival and part industry conference. Right now it is more of the latter, with "international delegates" (of which I am one) in from around the world attending panel discussions, sanctioned schmoozathons and seeing the night's "official selection" of bands. Over the weekend it becomes M Fest and more resembles CMJ or Pop Montreal, with bands playing at a variety of clubs across the city.
Last night six bands played in the "official selection" at Casa Del Popolo and La Sala Rossa which is right across the street. The night started at Casa with Dusted, a new-ish project from Holy Fuck's Brian Borcherdt and drummer Leon Taheny. With Dusted, Borcherdt trades electronics for a more traditional rock format. Though the setup usually means bluesy garage, Dusted are much more atmospheric and emotive. The set started a little rocky, but the duo found their footing and the last couple songs were quite good. You can stream Dusted's debut album, Total Dust, below.
Shuffling over to Sala Rossa, it was very new, very young MTL band Seoul, who I was told had formed just a few months ago and had played less than 10 shows total. Dominick had caught them at Pop Montreal last month and told me they were good and I might like them and I did. "I hear there are a lot of people in from out of town," the keyboardist told the crowd. "Just like a bar mitzvah. Please enjoy our special day." Young they may be, but they really seemed to have it together, making airy, crystaline pop that was funky and soulful in an '80s kind of way. Wild Nothing is an obvious current comparison but my mind drifted to actual Reagan-era Prefab Sprout and The Blue Nile. You can stream "Stay With Us," the only song they've offered up the public so far, below.
Back at Casa, it was Black Atlass, aka Montreal based Alex Fleming who is a neo-R&B crooner, a la Sampha, Sam Smith, or The XX. The performance was just Fleming and a guy providing the beats, and I liked the production work in general (it's on the lo-fi side, but never what I'd call murky) but am not a fan of shows like this and it takes someone with supercharisma to pull it off. Black Atlass' video for "Paris" is below.
I don't know if I'd call what Majical Cloudz singer Devon Welsh has "supercharisma" but his performance style is utterly magnetic and had the liquored-up crowd of industry folk hushed for their entire set. Welsh's performance style almost borders on spoken word, punctuating accented sylables with a downward stab of his clenched fist, and sometimes stomping, not so much for percussion as emotion. Intense. Check out photos from Majical Cloudz recent set at Glasslands here.
In between those two, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan played over at La Sala Rossa and, having seen them twice last month during CMJ, I will admit to being checked out a little. But I do like what they do. The evening ended, officially, with a theatrical performance from Murray Lightburn who has fronted The Dears since before Montreal became a "thing." Lightburn's first solo album, MASS:LIGHT, came out earlier this year and while the songs are his typical anthemic style, musically its pretty much a synthpop album.
For the show, his only backing was two singers wearing masks and angel wings, with jingle bells on staff as occasional percussion. Lightburn, meanwhile, was all in black wearing an eyepatch with a light on it. With a carefully lit stage, he was cast in silhouette the whole time. At one point he knelt by the monitors, and someone wearing a pig mask came out and draped a cloak over him. It was at this point I thought "oh boy this is going to get good" hoping things would go full Phantom of the Paradise, but that was as kooky as the night got. If you're going to have something like that happen, personally I feel like you gotta follow-through and gleefully drive the train off the rails. That said, Lightburn does possess that supercharisma gene, and his voice remains a weapon of choice.
Thursday's official selection includes Born Ruffians, Odonis Odonis and Solar Year -- and I'll be spending the afternoon watching a bunch of bands I know zilcho about, which can be exciting -- so look forward to a report on that (and more of my signature blurry iPhone pics) to come.
Streams and videos from Dusted, Seoul, Black Atlas and Murray Lightburn, below...
by Bill Pearis
Wlalter TV @ M for Montreal - 11/20/13
The eighth annual M for Montreal is currently underway in Montreal, having begun yesterday (11/20). After the first night's official music showcase ended, there was an afterparty at Casa which featured a completely off-the-rails set by Walter TV which basically is Mac DeMarco and his band in another configuration, with Pierce McGarry on vocals and guitar. This was a party crowd and I'm pretty sure their was no time during their wild set where there wasn't someone crowd surfing or someone about to stage dive. The night ended with a sing-along-cover of Jane's Addiction's "Jane Says." Check out our full review of M for Montreal day 1.
Walter TV are set to release a new album called BLESSED at some point in the near future, which will follow 2012's APPETITE cassette. They just made a video for "Paranormal Witness" off of the upcoming album, which you can watch, along with a stream of APPETITE and a video from that release, below...
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...
photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis
YT//ST / Foxxtrott @ Arlene's Grocery 10/29/2013
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...
by Bill Pearis
Our friends at M for Montreal will be down for CMJ again for their showcase which, as in years past, happens at Arlene's Grocery on October 18 with Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, TOPS, Pat Jordache, CAMP, Kandle, A K U A and Foxtrott. Tickets are $10 at the door, or you can get in with a CMJ badge or Evening Showcase Pass (based on capacity, of course).
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, who formed in Montreal but now reside in Toronto, are probably the best-known band on the bill, and will release their new album, UZU, on October 29. The multi-hyphenate band are better known for their theatrical live shows which you should witness if you can. They're on
late at 1 AM. UPDATE: YT//ST are now playing at 10 PM. They play 285 Kent at 1 AM later that night (see below).
YT//ST are also playing at least two other shows during CMJ: the Panache showcase at Knitting Factory on October 16 with Jacco Gardner, Saint Rich, U.S. GIrls, Slim Twig, and Arp (tickets); and the unofficial Pitchfork show with Speedy Ortiz, Priests, Joanna Gruesome, Perfect Pussy, Eleanor Friedberger (solo), and Courtney Barnett (tickets). (Currently both P4K and M have Y//ST's settimes as 1 AM, some shifting will likely happen at Arlene's.) After CMJ, they'll play Basilica Hudson on Halloween, which sounds like a pretty good time, too.
TOPS played CMJ last year and are working on the follow-up to 2012's Tender Opposites which came out on Arbutus Records (Grimes, Doldrums, Blue Hawaii). You can stream that, in all it's lite R&B indiepop splendour, below.
It's been almost two years since Pat Jordache last played NYC and they've undergone a somewhat radical reinvention since then into dark postpunk territory, though not your average influences, pulling from Jah Wobble style dub, and mid-'80s 4AD (to my ears at least). You can stream their three digital singles from this year below ("O.M.O." is excellent). You can also catch Pat Jordache at Silent Barn on October 17 with CAMP (who also play the M showcase) and Chicago's J Fernandez. More info on that show here.
Pat also plays in CAMP, who share a similar vibe, with some slinky funk -- complete with '80s-style watery bass, -- on their track "Little Boy Blue," which reminds me of, um, Kajagoogoo. (In a good way? Maybe Japan is a more palatable comparison.) You can stream it below.
Kandle is Kandle Osborne whose father, Ben, is the singer of long-running extremely popular (in Canada) Canadian band 54-40. Sam Golberg of Broken Social Scene produced her debut EP (streamable below) and plays in her live band.
A K U A spent time recently as one of Solange's backup singers and, recently, has been collaborating with Twin Shadow drummer Andy Bauer, the results of which can be heard on this year's One's Company EP, which you can stream some of below.
As for Foxtrott, that is the name Marie-Hélène L. Delorme records under. Her music is definitely dance pop but don't look to compare her to other one-named Montreal singers -- it draws from a variety of global influences and is pretty good. Judge for yourself: a few tracks are streamable below.
As M for Montreal has done every year, the night starts off with a "poutine party" that is free and open to the public. During that time (5 - 7 PM) there are a couple Francophone acts playing, Quebec city rapper Webster and VioleTT Pi.
Song streams, videos, and the M for Montreal showcase schedule below...
photos by David Andrako
We already posted pictures of the Mikal Cronin/Shannon & the Clams show from day 3 (6/15) of Toronto festival NXNE, and that same day we also caught Mikal on the annual M for Montreal / Panache Bruise Cruise during NXNE with Toronto locals Odonis Odonis, Montreal's We Are Wolves, and rapper Fat Tony (who also played Yonge-Dundas Square). PIctures from that Bruise Cruise are in this post.
Mikal Cronin is currently in NYC and will be playing live at the Pitchfork offices at 3 PM today (6/19) which will be webcast live. WATCH IT BELOW.
Coachella 2013 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
Multi venue UK festival The Great Escape began today (5/15). The big lineup includes Brooklyn's Parquet Courts, Phosphorescent, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, a keynote speech by Billy Bragg, a set by Mikal Cronin who is one of ten acts this year that NME says you have to see, and much more. Head to Brighthelm Center on 5/16 for a show BrooklynVegan is co-presenting with M For Montreal with AA Wallace, Husky Rescue, Blue Hawaii, How to Dress Well, Phantom and Cloud Boat. The flyer for that is below.
In other festival news, Sasquatch is right around the corner, Lollapalooza has announced set times, Bonnaroo announced theirs earlier this month, Austin City Limits recently announced their lineup, Governors Ball recently announced the schedule and is basically sold out, GoogaMooga is this weekend in Prospect Park, and FYF Fest, which recently announced its lineup, goes on sale Thursday.
Our Great Escape flyer is below...
by Bill Pearis
PyPy at Club Lambi, 11/16/2012
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
by Bill Pearis
Kid Koala @ Le SAT, 11/16/2012
In addition to all the other shows during M for Montreal 2012, we were treated to a Friday afternoon performance by Kid Koala at Le SAT. We were handed wireless headphones on the way in and were invited stretch out against long, inflatable tube/cushions that were made just for this performance which was mainly to promote his children's book (and accompanying album), Space Cadet (which he toured earlier this year). Kid Koala (aka Eric San) performed in the middle with a camera on the decks which was projected on three screens around him. He played songs (including a new track with Damon Albarn and Dan the Automator), told stories, read from his book and even donned a Koala suit for his contribution to Yo Gabba Gabba. There were also games and other audience participation moments. It felt more like we were hanging with him in his basement than at a show, and he was an affable host.
Kid Koala is gearing up to tour another project, his new record 12 Bit Blues, and that will hit NYC on November 21 at Music Hall of Williamsburg and tickets are still available.. Like the Space Cadet tour, it's a multimedia extravaganza and promises puppets, dancing girls, robots, a giant cardboard turntable and more (but no headphones, for the audience at least).
A list of all tour dates, along with a full album stream of 12 Bit Blues is below.