Entries tagged with: Montreal
Win Butler & Future Islands -- 9/2 in Montreal (photo by Mikey B Rishwain)
Future Islands' tour with Operators brought them to Metropolis in Arcade Fire's home city of Montreal tonight (9/2). Arcade Fire played their fair share of covers, sometimes with special guests, on their own recent tour. Keeping that spirit alive, AF frontman Win Butler himself surprised the Future Islands audience when he nonchalantly walked on stage to start singing FI hit "Seasons (Waiting on You)" with the band. Watch a clip below...
By Ian Chainey
Ruining Lives cover art
Long-running metallers Prong will be going on tour this year. A long tour. A really long tour. Starting in July, Tommy Victor and his two compatriots will start their epic trek in Italy and will loop around the European festival circuit. Then they'll fly back to the US with an occasional co-headlining slate with vet thrashers Overkill. To wrap things up, Overkill and Prong will do another Euro run, ending up in the Netherlands. Total number of dates: 64. Total number of days: 116. Total haul: So much Frequent Flyer swag. Check out the full list of dates below.
Prong have kept surprisingly busy since reforming in 2002 after an initial run from 1986 to 1997 that saw the band break out thanks to post-thrash classic and request-line favorite "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck." The outfit started life as something of a crossover act before finding the groove and machine precision of industrial. Unfortunately, over their career, they've been something of a revolving door when it comes to membership. Still, they've had their share of impressive musicians including Paul Raven (Killing Joke), Ted Parsons (Swans), and Troy Gregory (Flotsam and Jetsam). Current bassist Jason Christopher joined the group in 2012 and Arturo "Art" Cruz in 2014. But, through it all, singer/guitarist Tommy Victor has been the lone Prong constant while splitting time as Danzig's shredder. No word if Victor will be handling six-string duties for the reformed Samhain at Riot Fest.
On September 30, Prong will hit Gramercy Theatre in NYC sans Overkill. Ticket details are TBA for that one, but tickets are on sale for the show they play with Overkill at Starland Ballroom in NJ three days earlier.
In August, Overkill join Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, D.R.I., Exodus, Municipal Waste, Body Count (who also have a Gramercy Theatre show coming up), Voivod, Hatebreed, Madball, Fucked Up and many more for the three day "Heavy Montreal" festival. Get yourself to Canada.
All Prong dates along with a cut from Prong's newest album Ruining Lives and a few classics appear below.
Hank Wood & the Hammerheads
Montreal punk/hardcore festival Varning is returning for its seventh year from November 7-9 at MTL venue Katacombes. A bunch of NYC bands will be there, like Hank Wood & the Hammerheads, Nuclear Spring, La Misma and more, plus Sweden's Institution, Portland's Criminal Damage, San Francisco's Ruleta Rusa (ex-Born/Dead and Peligro Social whose last show was Varning VI), Boston bands Bloodkrow Butcher and Koward, and many more. Full lineup and flyer below. Advance tickets will be available through 10/28 via paypal with the firstname.lastname@example.org email address. More info here.
A number of those bands have NYC shows coming up ahead of the fest too. Nuclear Spring don't at the moment, but related band Failed States are playing with two Bloodkrow Butcher-related bands, The Combat Zone and Lude Boys, on Friday (10/25) at Fitness (1196 Myrtle Ave). NYC's MIssionary and dark W Mass mid-tempo punks Longings are on the bill too.
The actual Bloodkrow Butcher team up with Ruleta Rusa and La Misma, plus two Canadian bands that aren't billed for this year's Varning Fest -- Montreal's Omegas and Toronto's S.H.I.T. -- for a show at Acheron on November 2. Tickets for that show are on sale now.
The super-fun, Farfisa-loving punks Hank Wood & the Hammerheads team up with Koward and NYC goths Anasazi for a show on November 7 at 538 Johnson.
And speaking of Anasazi, they play another local show on 11/20 at Acheron with Green Beret, Condition, Rank and The Three Muskateers (mem. of Perdition and Nomad). Tickets for that show are on sale now.
Full Varning lineup and flyer, along with some live videos and streams, below...
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...
Shuggie Otis / Pat Jordache / Brendan Canning
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. Day four went like this...
The penultimate day of Pop Montreal started a bit slower as the late nights started bleeding into early mornings and getting out of bed became harder and harder. The goal was to be at Little Italy Park for Pat Jordache and I made it just in time for them to take the stage. I enjoyed their set (you can catch them in NYC courtesy of M For Montreal at Arlene's Grocery). The BBQ and kids fair going on at the back end of the park, supplied a festive atmosphere as kids ran about in front of the stage covered in face paint.
I'd heard good things about Jessy Lanza - whose debut record, Pull My Hair Back, will certainly find her being compared to fellow electronic, synthpop countrywoman, Grimes - so I headed to Divan Orange to catch her set. I was pleasantly surprised in that her sound moves in warmer synth textures, providing a nice backdrop for breathy voice.
The goal was to head back to the hotel to regroup for the night but I tagged along to the Ubisoft rooftop performance featuring Swedish-Canadian band, Thus:Owls, and Montreal's Secret Sun. What started as a lark turned into two of the most pleasant surprises of my Pop.
Backed by a spectacular view of Montreal - and the full-swing, fall foliage of Mont Royal - Secret Sun, the duo of Anne-Marie Campbell and Simon Landry, crafted lush and languid alternative pop songs that were simply spellbinding. Campbell has one of those beguiling, siren-like voices that effortlessly moves from high to low and back again. (Check out the song "Stay Still" from their excellent Cold Coast EP.) The sold-out, rooftop audience was rapt as the sun set and out in the distance, Mont Royal slipped into darkness.
Thus:Owls, a full, five-piece band wrapped around core husband and wife duo Erika and Simon Angell, were every bit as impressive, spinning experimental chamber pop through a cinemascope. The song "White Night" from their new sophomore LP, Harbours, was stuck in my head the rest of the weekend.
After that it was on to the Rialto to see 70's R&B, blues legend Shuggie Otis, who sounded great though it would have been nicer to have done away with the cabaret tables and let the crowd right up to the stage to watch his guitar playing at closer proximity.
I made a quick stop at Rhodo's to catch Montreal band, Seoul, who someone tipped to me as the next big thing. I was told that nobody would be there because, "nobody knows about them," yet I arrived to a packed house that went "one in one out" right after I walked through the door. Their brand of dream-pop instantly evoked Wild Nothing, Soft Black and Washed Out. The girls up close were swooning all over the young four-piece in that way teenage girls with rock star crushes do. Their song "Stay With Us" is woozy and warm enough to soundtrack your autumn.
From there it was on to Casa Del Popolo to see Broken Social Scene's Brendan Canning. I've been a fan of most of the BSS satellites, both group and solo-related, and enjoyed Canning's Something for All of Us. His new record, You Gots 2 Chill, is decidedly low-key and his set was reflective of that as many of the songs lingered in with instrumental intros, quietly sung lyrics, followed by a meandering jam session on the back end with many of the songs just fizzing out altogether.
Canning's set was stark contrast to the bombast and good-time dance party that ended my Saturday as Dancehall legends, Yellowman and Josey Wales, teamed up to pass the mic for nearly three hours. Even though I'd been anticipating this show since I saw it on the schedule - being a big Yellowman fan - the length of their set was a little ambitious as the duo outlasted many of the people at the after party. (Wales returned by himself to the stage and went on 'riding riddims' deep into the night.)
With a day full of great music in my head and a hint of daylight in the sky, there was only one thing left to do - go get a bagel. A warm, sesame, Fairmount bagel in hand (sorry St-Viateur), I hopped a cab back to the hotel for some much-needed sleep.
More pictures below...
photos by Dominick Mastrangelo
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan & Angel Olsen - Pop Montreal Day 3
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. Day three continued like this...
Pristine, cloudless blue skies, temperatures in the 70's . . . Indian summer in Montreal. It's officially the best weather I've experienced in any of my three trips to Pop Montreal. All five days would be exactly like this. How appropriate, then, that I would see How Sad at Friday's Passovah-sponsored day party at Divan Orange, as their new EP is entitled Indian Summer. Their infectious, buoyant pop, including the title track, was a lot of fun and as people got off work for the weekend and filled up the space. The end of their set was almost full-on dance party.
The earlier part of the afternoon at Divan featured Valleys, Mori, Michael Feuerstack, The Highest Order and more. Valleys impressed as did Mori, who I saw two nights earlier opening for DIANA on the first day of the festival. The hushed folk of Michael Feuerstack provided a welcome pause between the louder full-band sets performing on either side of him.
Rewinding a bit, my afternoon started at Little Italy Park with a nice set by Toronto's GROUNDERS (who are in NYC for CMJ) followed by the rootsy pop of Katie Moore.
For the evening part of the program I opted to catch several artists I'd seen before (though I skipped Local Natives, Wild Nothing, and Majical Cloudz).
First off was the trancy, glitchy Solar Year who I saw open for Julia Holter and Tim Hecker at last year's Pop, followed by 2012 Polaris Prize-nominated Yamantaka//Sonic Titan (who play a BrooklynVegan CMJ day party TODAY - 10/18). Dressed in a strictly adhered black, white, red color scheme their sound overpowered the tiny Breakglass Recording Studio (much like it probably will at Arlene's Grocery tonight.) These were epic, theatrical songs that are meant for bigger venues. The floor-level stage meant nobody within the first several feet of the sold-out show could see the band or the handmade, cardboard props that were placed about the stage.
I ducked out halfway through their set to get over to the Ukrainian Federation for Angel Olsen and Leif Vollebekk. Angel's set was a predictably assured performance. I've seen four of her shows - all at Glasslands - so it was great to hear that arresting voice of hers echo about the much bigger Federation venue, one of my favorites in Montreal.
And then it was Leif's turn. He was my big discovery at my first Pop in 2010 and I was happy to see him headlining his own festival slot this year.
He and his band, which featured brass and strings, worked through material from his new record, "North Americana." Gorgeous versions of "From the Fourth" and "A Wildfire Took Down Rosenberg" were lump-in-the-throat moments and his cover of The Killers' "Read My Mind" made the original sound very ordinary.
Begging off the late-night portion of the festival (because there was scant chance of anything else topping the previous few hours) I went in search of food with some new friends. And, being so close, we ended up at the excellent burger joint, Nouveau Palais, where the DJs were spinning classic hip-hop. Three excellent days in Montreal down with two still to come.
More pictures from Day Three, below...
photos by Toby Tenenbaum
Beck / Explosions in the Sky / Tricky
Tasty textures, rocking drum fills, and a dazzling light show were just three of the reasons why Texan post-rockers Explosions in the Sky performed what was likely the best set Osheaga 2013 had seen thus far. Beginning and ending as a quintet, with three guitars, one bassist, and a drummer, the instrumental rockers proved they didn't need vocals to drive their lengthy songs, with all the guitarists playing clear, calculated riffs to provide ample sources of melody.Montreal's 2013 Osheaga Festival continued on Saturday (8/3), after kicking off a day earlier. We caught Beck, Explosions in the Sky, Tegan & Sara, Tricky, Stars, and more, which you can check out pictures of in this post. Other bands that played (who we didn't get shots of) include Bob Mould, The Breeders, Angel Haze, Wild Nothing, Deap Vally, and more.
During the middle of the set, touring bassist Carlos Torres stepped offstage, and guitarist Michael James picked up the bass for some fast and furious picking. The songs were seven- to ten-minute-long soundscapes that shifted and evolved, never getting stale, and the band navigated through any changes expertly. The band members engaged in no banter between songs, instead allowing the denouement of one song to slowly transform into the intro of the next, but the visual spectacle was present in the form of the lights, bursts of colour that accentuated the music. [Exclaim]
Check out pictures of day 1. More of day 2, below...
photos by Toby Tenenbaum
Beach House / Vampire Weekend / crowdsurfer
"I think it's dark and it looks like rain." One out of two, Bob. If ever an Osheaga headliner would thrive under stormy skies, it's the Cure, but the downpour forecast earlier in the week never arrived. Just as well -- this was Robert Smith at his most crowd-pleasing.While Lollapalooza was going down in Chicago over the weekend, Montreal was getting its own three-day festival, Osheaga. The fest had many of the same artists at Lollapalooza, with day 1 giving us sets from The Cure, Beach House, Vampire Weekend, Alt-J, DIIV and more, in addition to sets from artists who didn't play Lollapalooza, like The Gaslight Anthem, Ellie Goulding, and more. Pictures of day 1 are in this post.
The set list was calibrated for a festival audience: a generous delegation from Disintegration, early appearances by In Between Days and Just Like Heaven, and an overall tone that didn't leave much room for crying jags. The chirpy Mint Car and Doing the Unstuck ("let's get happy") bracketed the beloved-by-some Friday I'm in Love, comically botched by Smith after he said: "Sometimes, very occasionally, we'll play this song. This is the right night." [Montreal Gazette]
Like with Lollapalooza (and other upcoming shows), Death Grips were scheduled to play the fest but cancelled.
Update: Day 2 pics are up now. More day 1 pictures below...
"Seeing Sun Araw live feels as much like a dream as reality, and high energy never came easy. It felt a bit like drowning in codeine syrup, you struggle at first, and then eventually realize it feels better to be in the syrup than out of it.LA's Sun Araw (aka Cameron Stallone) will kick of a FULL BAND tour of the East Coast on June 2nd at the Mutek Festival in Montreal, followed by a string of dates, a few in the NYC-area included. On June 3rd Stallone will DJ Coco66. The occasion is the NYC debut of Sun Araw's own LA-based party WHERES YR CHILD - "A dub/italo/dance party rooted in the traditions of cosmic LA." Sex Worker/Psychic Reality, and Todd Pendu are all also on that bill and tickets are on sale. The following day (6/4), the Sun Araw Band will play live for the first time in NYC (Sun Araw has only played solo in the past), in Brooklyn at 285 Kent with M Geddes Gengras, Matthewdavid, and D'Eon. Then after a quick trip down to Baltimore to play Ottobar, Hoboken club Maxwell's will host the band on 6/7 with M. Geddes Gengras and Deep Magic (tickets). All dates are listed below.
Cameron really pulls out the tropical nature of SoCal in his music, and almost gives you the impression of sleepwalking through a luau. This is especially strange because he originally hails from Austin, TX, which is anything but tropical.
His music feels a bit like you're searching for some sort of hidden revelation amongst some ancient ruins on a desert island, among many other conjurations your mind will develop while being sunk into the vibes." [Sub-Radar]
Sun Araw will be previewing material from a forthcoming LP entitled Ancient Romans, and the band currently has multiple releases up for sale at their webstore, including a pair of recent cassette releases Sadistic Candle and Hold The Phone. For those of you who are curious as to what Hold The Phone is like, here's a preview.
HOLD THE PHONE is mustard and ketchup on a deviled egg.Are we clear? If not, head to their store and stream samples from the cassettes and other releases.
HOLD THE PHONE is your dad whistling at a 16-year-old girl.
HOLD THE PHONE is yin all dressed up in yang clothes.
HOLD THE PHONE is Woodstock yelling at Snoopy.
HOLD THE PHONE is Cameron Stallones and Barret Avner.
HOLD THE PHONE is two boys talkin'.
Matthewdavid, who will play the 6/4 285 Kent show, is also on board to support Gaslamp Killer at Knitting Factory on 5/28 (tickets). Matthewdavid recently released a collaborative cassette with Sun Araw, which is now sold out. They also played a show together at the Smell in LA last night (5/5). LA Record helped promote it by having the two artists compile a mixtape of YouTube videos.
Annual electro festival Mutek goes down in Montreal this year from June 1-5, and features multiple notables like Amon Tobin, Four Tet, ARP, Sun Araw and dozens of others. Tickets are currently on sale. The lineup is below. We haven't been since 2009 and miss it.
And you can prepare for the fun TONIGHT (5/6) in NYC! Public Assembly will host "The Bunker: Mutek BK Preview" with performances from Akufen, Stephen Beaupre, Vincent Lemieux, Kangding Ray, Safety Scissors, and Sutekh in two rooms starting at 10PM. Tickets are still available.
Dates, the Mutek 2011 lineup and more, below...
by Bill Pearis
Montreal's Grimes are swinging through town in the next week on their way down to SXSW, playing Silent Barn on Monday (3/7). Did anyone go see Grimes when they were here last October? The pseudonymn of artist Claire Boucher, Grimes latest, Halafaxa, is still a "pay what you want" download from their label's website. Ethereal, occasionally dub-infected and danceable, Halafaxa should appeal to fans of Delorean and Sally Shapiro (or even old 4AD bands like This Mortal Coil or Dif Juz). Definitely worth a click. You can download "Devon" from it at the top of the this post to give you a taste.
If you're heading to Austin this year, Grimes is playing a bunch of times during the week, including Tuesday, March 15's M for Mikey Montreal showcase that also features Esben & the Witch, Delicate Steve, Diamond Rings and Dominique Young Unique... as well as a second official showcase on Saturday (3/19) where she plays with Montreal neighbors Braids who are playing the BrooklynVegan/M For Montreal party at Swan Dive/Barbarella that same day (more details TBA soon!). All tour dates are below.
Also playing the Silent Barn show and touring with Grimes down to Austin is Toronto artist Doldrums, aka Eric Asher who some of you may remember from the band Spiral Beach (they opened for Sloan at Bowery Ballroom back in 2007). Doldrums shows are a mix of live performance, samples and distorted video projections and his new single "Euphoria" is out now on Toronto label We Are Busy Bodies and you can watch the video for it below. You can also check out Doldrums track "Parrot Talk" at the top of this post.
Doldrums play SXSW as well, including the official We Are Busy Bodies showcase on Thursday, March 17 with Japanther, Zoobombs and Neon Windbreaker. All Grimes/Doldrums tourdates are below.
DOWNLOAD: Jesuslesfilles - Fous Le Camp (MP3)
The final day of M for Montreal had two showcases, both of which seemed programmed more to locals more than the "international delegates" like myself. Mainly because much of it was en Français.
First up was an all-Francophone afternoon. This might sound like drag to some, but I see it as a window to a world most Americans don't really know exists. And while a lot of it is heavy on the fromage, there's always a discovery to be made here. The only band that seems likely to make a dent below the border was Jesuslesfilles, who make a racket somewhere between the Pixies and early Dandy Warhols. Garagey, but not the blown-out levels kind, and the songs are very catchy even with the language barrier. Check out "Fous Le Camp" at the top of this post. It's from their excellent self-released album, Une Belle Table, which you can download in its entirety for free at their Bandcamp page. There's also video of them performing at the bottom of this post.
I also really, really liked Les Surveillantes, an incredibly charming, nerdy folk quartet from Saint-Boniface, Manitoba. Huddled around two microphones, and looking like French-Canadian Quakers, they sang about girls, apathy and science. "La Racine Carree du Couer" ("The Square Root of the Heart") was kind of about all three. Though all their songs were in French, their very funny between-song banter filled in the blanks for Anglo-monolingual folk in the audience. One of my favorite performances all week.
The rest of the Francophile showcase was a little more glitzy. Damien Robataille worked his inner Tom Jones for a crowd of excited ladies, one of whom threw a bra onstage. Tongue-in-cheek, yes, but sorta not at the same time. Montreal seems to like a little panache in their rock. We also got Yann Perreau, whose 2009 album was nominated for a Juno and epitomizes Francophile rock: indebted to Leonard Cohen, with a little Vegas and a little analogue electronic edge. And in his case, a little dub too. He was good.
Alex Nevsky seemed like a younger, blander version of Perreau, which I guess makes sense as Yann produced his new album. Nevsky and his band's flowered shirts were the most memorable thing about them. Monogrenade made anthemic, somewhat pompous rock that reminded me a bit of Parisian talent Benjamin Biolay but not as good. They had a cellist. And Geneviève Toupin crafted airy, ethereal pop not unlike Beth Orton.
Later that night was the big M for Metropolis show at the Metropolis theater, one of the nicest bigger (around 2500 capacity) venues I've ever been to. Great sightlines, sound, and lots of bars. It puts Hammerstein, Roseland and Terminal 5 to shame. The line-up here is of bands who are genuinely popular in Montreal, but it's equally schizophrenic as the other bills this week, a little something for everyone.
La Patere Rose, who also played last year's M, opens the show. She's very French, from the striped shirt to the accordion. There's also a little dance music vibe thrown into the chanson mix, as well as choreography. Very cute.
Up next was Pascale Picard Band who was so bland and forgettable I have to look up their name every time I try and reference them. If they ever made a French-Canadian remake of Dawson's Creek, Pascale Picard Band would likely be on the soundtrack.
Waking us up after that was Priestess, who -- unlike Dance Laury Dance earlier in the week -- brought some serious hard rock to M for Montreal. Though I was hoping for more mayhem. No pit, just some mild thrashing from the crowd. The band were tight and giving it their all though.
Next were The Dears whose sound is clearly designed for a big venue like Metropolis. They sounded properly epic, but played a set that was heavy on the new album, Degeneration Street, which no one has actually heard yet. (Not out till February). Maybe I don't understand how these things work, but I think if you're playing a big show like this, a festival crowd, cram your set with hits and play the best song from the new album. (That would be "Omega Dog" in this case.) Instead we only got the great "Lost in the Plot." Lost opportunity if you ask me.
Then we got the real entertainment of the night: Misteur Valaire, who I saw two years previously at M, and have become Montreal megastars. They're kind of the city's Hot Chip, in that they look like members of a high school AV club but make serious club music. Jazz trained, these guys are great musicians and have the crowd going mental the whole time. There's also costume changes and boy band style choreography.
What they don't have, however, are very many catchy songs which is where the Hot Chip comparison kind of falls apart. But in the moment, they are a one-stop dance party. But they'll need more hooks if they want to really translate to American audiences. That said, if you want to get a head start -- I think they'll be at SXSW 2011 -- you can download their album for free at their website.
The crowd kept dancing for Poirer, one of the hottest DJ/Producers in Montreal but at that point I was entirely wiped from four days of French-Canadian hospitality, music and general excess.
Videos of Jesuslesfilles and Les Surveillantes, plus some more pics, après le saut:
by Bill Pearis
There was a smattering of band performances throughout the day Friday -- anywhere they could cram them it felt like at times -- before the night's "official selection." Honestly, I wasn't really psyched at seeing a band at 2 in the afternoon when I'd rather go record shopping or, say, getting lunch but Newfoundland's Hey Rosetta! turned out to be worth the detour. "We're usually a lot louder than this," singer Tim Baker admitted, but the less-electric approach to this performance made it kind of special. Hushed vocals, strings and soaring choruses... the band's sweeping orchestrated sound definitely held our attention. The band's last album made the Polaris 2008 shortlist and their third album, Seeds, will be out in February 2011.
A couple hours later we were taken to the the Chapel historique du Bon-Pasteur for an event called M for Martini where we were plied with said drinks while watching four more intimate-style performances, including the Dylan-esque Courtney Wing, all-girl country band Ladies of the Canyon, and the art folk of Lief Vollebekk.
The only band to really leave an impression on me was Ensemble, the brainchild of Oliveir Alary whose baroque sound is akin to early Broadcast or '60s cult band The United States of America. We only get three songs -- including a brilliant reworking of UB40's 1980 single "Food for Thought" -- and they're maybe the only band of the week whose set I wanted to be longer. Ensemble's new album, Excerpts, is out early next year but you can download its first single, "D'Avalanches," for free if you give them your email address.
After a very heavy, very French meal we headed back to Just Pour Rire (which apparently is closing soon) for what was probably the single-best night of music at M for Montreal. The evening began with Molly Rankin who is descended from Canadian Rock Royalty. (The Rankin Family were folk megastars in the '90s. No those words aren't mutually exclusive. It's Canada.) Backed by members of The Stills, her music is charming, clever, heart-on-the-sleeve pop. A nice way to start the night.
Next up were The Barr Brothers. Andrew and Brad are both also in The Slip but under the family name they are much folkier, but still experimental. Usually when I see an acoustic guitar and a harmonica stand, I'm looking for the exit but they really knocked me back. Brad Barr entered the stage tugging on a string on his acoustic guitar as if he'd broken one on the way out. It was actually a loop of wire, filament, something that worked like a bow, giving the guitar a woozy, somnambulant quality. The band also has a full-time harpist. Most of their set is on the quiet side, but they go full-on Who for one song. One of the best surprises of the fest.
Shuffling over to Just Pour Rire's other stage, we then saw Metz, who kept getting compared to Fucked Up but that seemed more because they're also from Toronto and are making in-your-face noise punk. To my ears it's more the kind of noise you got from Amphetamine Reptile in the '90s. They are loud and spazzy and sludgy and pretty awesome. Check out an MP3 at the top of this post and there's video from their M set at the bottom.
Continuing on, Valleys were next who've played Brooklyn enough times (and I've written about them plenty already) that I should've already seen them but this was my first time. Their debut album was kind of Saddle Creek-y methadone folk kind of stuff, really good, but they have evolved into something louder, more sinister since then. Intense, even without percussion, but when they do break out the drums it's like scream therapy. Check out "Ordinary Dream" from their new Stoner EP which is out now on Semprini.
This flowed nicely into Suuns' set (pronounced "Soons"), definitely the most well-recieved of the night. This was my third time seeing them -- they played the official BV showcase at CMJ you may remember -- and they just get better every time. Singer Ben Shemie is a pretty intesnse frontman, especially when the band locks into a Kraut-y groovy. He bends over, laying into his guitar and leaves the planet.
Final act of the night was Random Recipe who are kind of folk, kind of hip hop, and definitely popular with Montreal locals. Their single "Shipwreck" is okay but overall I don't really get why the crowd is going so wild. I ask a local who shares my indifference. His answer: "Montreal is a really weird place."
More pictures from the whole day and the Metz video below...
by Bill Pearis
Thursday night was the first "official" day of M for Montreal (Wednesday was the unofficial start), which had us back at club Just Pour Rire, shuttling between its two stages for a diverse evening of music. From a programming standpoint, maybe a little too diverse. But it is one of the unique aspects of this fest, forced exposure.
The night began with the britpoppy psychedelia of Elephant Stone. Front man Rishi Dhir, who played in High Dials for a while, traded between bass, guitar and sitar, the latter of which is the band's most immediately distinguishing feature. Their songs are good too -- jangly psychedelic pop -- but it's certainly a trip to see Dhir sitting crosslegged on a platform playing this massive, cool intstrument. It's a nice, mellow start to the evening.
Next up was Marco Calliari, an Itallian Tom Colicchio (a musician too) lookalike who spent part of the '90s in thrash metal band Anonymous but now plays Italian folk music not too far off in style from, say, The Gypsy Kings. Calliari is an exuberant performer and his band is tight, but he's out of place of this otherwise electrified line-up. Also out of place: singer-songwriter Jason Bajada who was pleasant enough but didn't leave much of an impression.
Most everyone seemed in agreement that PS I Love You were the best band of the night. The duo from Kingston, Ontario are an indie Mutt and Jeff, kind of like the Pixies with a new wave back-end. Yelper-guitarist Paul Salnier actually pulls triple duty live, playing bass parts too via a Moog bass pedal setup which is pretty cool. Drummer Ben Nelson plays heavy on the high hat a la New Order's Stephen Morris which gives their songs danceability. Their record, Meet Me at the Muster Station, is good but live PS I Love You are a force. As previously mentioned, they're touring and playing NYC next week with Holiday Shores (12/03 at The Rock Shop, then Pianos the next night). Go see 'em.
Bad sound marred the set from Black Feelings who I could tell I'd really like given proper circumstances. Like their name implies, the trio grind out dense, foreboding post punk (PiL, Big Black). They are intense live, but it was like the sound guy forgot to turn the fader up on the guitars and the mix was muddy in general. Not so on last year's self-titled debut (out on Alien8 Recordings, also home to Think About Life, Duchess Says and others). They're also the kind of band better suited to grungy DIY spaces than fancier venues like this one.
Ditto that to Aids Wolf who are a defiantly acquired taste, even for those with adventurous palates. Entirely out of their element, the confrontational art-noise group settle into freakout mode that sound, to casual ears, entirely improvised a la Throbbing Gristle. (Anyone who's heard their records and then seen them live knows these three are insanely tight, serious musicians.) Chloe Lum spends most of the show with the microphone in her mouth. They are not boring but a little goes a long way and most of the room cleared out well before their set finishes. I'm told Gene Simmons, one of my fellow "international delegates" for the weekend, really dug them.
With the "official selection" finished for the night came the afterparty entertainment: Quebec City's Dance Laury Dance. who seemed super-psyched to have Simmons in the house. (He watched sitting from the balcony, like a mafia don, nodding approvingly.) Clad in denim and leather and testosterone, DLD are like Wolverine: The Band, with a sound and schtick somewhere between Motorhead and The Darkness. Ridiculous, but entertaining. Not that much irony here, either. The songs are a little more than riffs and slogans, which is fine, but when the band covered AC/DC their lack of potent hooks became apparent. Still, for pure rawk spectacle overload, they're something all right.
Still to come: Reports from Friday and Saturday. More blurry photos taken by me are below, along with PS I Love You tour dates and a Dance Laury Dance music video.
photos by Chris La Putt
Red Mass @ CMJ 2010
M For Montreal, the annual mini Montreal music festival that invites "delegates" from all over the world to come experience Montreal music for a few days is kicking off today, 11/17. And like in 2008 and 2009, Bill Pearis will be up there reporting back.
Some of the artists he'll be seeing in Canada this week, like PS I Love You, AIDS Wolf and Braids, were just in NYC for CMJ. Some weren't, like Gene Simmons (no, not an ironically named band, but that's what I assumed at first) (like he would let that band exist).
The 'M For Montreal' CMJ showcase this year took place at Arlene's Grocery in NYC on Thursday, October 21st. That lineup consisted of Braids, The Luyas (whose only other show was one of our day parties), Uncle Bad Touch, PS I Love You, Random Recipe, Red Mass (who Bill first caught at M For Montreal in 2009), The Pack AD, and Radio Radio. Chris stopped by for the last three bands. His pictures, and a poster for the actual fest in Canada, 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
Patrick Watson's Sacred Sunday
The afternoon of day 5, the final day, at Pop Montreal 2010 (catch up with day 1, day 2, day 3, and day 4) was a toss up between children's entertainer, Fred Penner and friends, or Patrick Watson's Sacred Sunday. With promises of pieces by Arvo Pärt and Bach and artists like Socalled and Brad Barr (from the Slip) along with Patrick Watson in a venue like Ukrainian Federation, it was an easy sell.
I walked into Pärt's "Fratres for String Quartet" and stayed until the end. In between it was an eclectic mix of religious and not-quite-religious songs with a rotating cast of performers. Watson's piano arrangement of "The Lord's Prayer" was beautiful as was Barr leading a re-worked version of Bach's "St. Matthew's Passion". Josh Dolgin of Socalled remembered Lhasa with a Kurt Weill cover. (Mary Margaret O'Hara mentioned Lhasa on Saturday night and it's clear not just by the tributes but in conversations over the course of the festival she is deeply missed by those she touched in the city she called home.) The event closed with everyone involved joining Watson for a rousing, uplifting version of "Old Time Religion." For even the most nonreligious it was hard not to be moved as people clapped, and Watson encouraged the audience with his megaphone. Early on, Socalled's Katie Moore said at the start or her version of "Satisfied Mind" something to the effect that all good religious songs should make you feel good about yourself. Well, the Ukrainian Federation was packed and as the "congregation" filed out there was no shortage of people, even a full 30 minutes after the event, walking - some even skipping - away singing the chorus to "Old Time Religion" and feeling very good about themselves.
I'd like to say that the festival ended on a high note, and maybe if I wasn't airport bound at 3:30am, it would have. Then I would have made it to the closing party headlined by Big Freedia at Espace Reunion. But the logistics were too great to overcome so my festival would come to an end at Casa del Popolo for Film School, Depreciation Guild and if I could swing it, Scout Niblett across the boulevard at Sala Rossa. Not entirely excited about what I had heard from Montreal's Receivers, I arrived an hour late, just in time for... Receivers. The entire show was pushed back as Film School were delayed at the border. So, Receivers were on and the venue was full but even live they failed to impress. It was uninspired shoegaze and the most underwhelming set of the festival. Depreciation Guild were next and when one of the band members said to the in-over-his-head sound guy, "We've lost all power on stage," things looked to get even worse. The power was eventually recovered, but clearly things were not right as band members continued to ask for more vocals. The Brooklyn band soldiered on and were tight and energetic but on a Sunday night, and late at that, the crowd had thinned and gave little back.
I skipped over to Sala Rossa, presented to me as the 'Bowery Ballroom of Montreal', to catch some of Scout Niblett. She was already into her set and had the crowd fully cast. Her hushed, sparse vocals gave way to vicious guitar and heavy metal-drumming on "Hot To Death" and everything felt more sinister with the velvet red background and decor. The evening looked to be turning.
However, by the time I got back to Casa del Popolo I imagined Film School would already be on, but they were still pulling everything together and apparently having more sound issues. By the time they started it was well over an hour from their original start time and the crowd had thinned a bit more. They started strong and sounded good until Greg Bertens' mic went out during the second song. A verbal back and forth with the sound guy, who looked shattered at this point, culminated in Bretens, no doubt frustrated from the delays at the border and scurrying to get to the venue, telling him he should just "leave the board." They played the song over with the mic working this time and carried on but the vocals were still way down and it marred what had the potential to be a great set. And what should have been a positive end to a very enjoyable festival.
Until next year. More pictures from Sunday, and a video from the Patrick Watson church show, 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...
by Bill Pearis
Making good use of those year-long visas, Montreal trio Parlovr are heading back down to the States next week for a short North East tour, with two stops here in NYC: Wednesday, July 21 for an early show at Mercury Lounge and and Friday, July 23 at Knitting Factory. Both show are with fellow Montreal act Suuns. (More on them further down this post.)
Parlovr's 2008 debut just got a belated stateside release -- download "Pen to the Paper" at the top of this post -- and the band are about to head back into the studio for its follow-up. As I've said before, they're an entertaining live band. Here's what I wrote from last year's M for Montreal:
The band's self-titled, self-released 2008 album does not do them justice, making them sound like a Wolf Parade Jr. Live, Parlovr are way more energetic, fun and melodic -- though it may have also had something to do with a fair amount of new material in their set. Singers Louis Jackson and Alex Cooper semi face each other from opposite sides of the stage rocking back and forth like manic Drinking Birds, flipping their '90s skate rat hair around, while mountain man drummer Jeremy MacCuish holds down the beat. They clearly enjoy playing, and it's a lot of fun to watch too.Be sure to watch Parlovr's two new Takeaway shows which are at the bottom of this post. One of them features an unexpected run-in with a Montreal councilman, the outcome of which probably wouldn't happen in NYC.
After their U.S. jaunt, Parlovr will head back to Montreal, where they'll play a free warm-up party for the Osheaga Festival on July 29 at Cafe Campus that is being sponsored by Brooklyn Vegan, M for Montreal, Canadian music mag Exclaim and Blue Skies Turn Black. The 2010 Osheaga Festival is July 31 and August 1, with Arcade Fire, Weezer, Pavement, The National and Metric among the bands playing.
Meanwhile, Suuns will continue on in the U.S. after their dates with Parlovr. The band, who until just a couple month ago were known as Zeroes, will hit the road, opening for some of the dates on Land of Talk's fall tour. (Their portion of the tour will end before Land of Talk plays Bowery on November 6 though.) The band's EP, Zeroes, is quite good, sounding a little bit like Clinic -- dark and claustrophobic but also capable of going epic, as on "Arena" which you can download at the top of this post. This will be a good double-bill.
Those two Parlovr takeaway shows, flyers and tour dates for both Parlovr and Suuns are after the jump.
Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson & John Zorn @ the Stone in 2008 (wallyg)
Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and John Zorn faced a furious crowd on Friday night, playing cacophonous music to a cacophony of boos at the Montreal International Jazz festival. Fans expecting Sweet Jane or Walk On the Wild Side were instead met by the skronk and skree of Reed's more recent free-jazz work, infuriating sections of the crowd. As audience members hollered their complaints, Zorn responded. "If you don't think it's music, then get the fuck outta here." Then the walk-outs began. [Guardian UK] (via)More than 1,000 people turned out for a night of Reed/Anderson/Zorn improv on July 2nd (a week ago today). Some booed, heckled, walked out, asked (and got) a refund, and went home to complain about it on the internet (other people stayed, some maybe even enjoyed it). A very short clip of the concert is below.
A similar show that took place at The Stone in 2008 is for sale in John Zorn's shop as a live CD. All funds raised from its sale go to benefit the non-profit club. John Zorn next plays the Stone on July 30th.
John Zorn will make an appearance at the New Museum on July 13th, and John, Lou and Laurie, as well as Faith No More's Mike Patton, will be getting together again for a show at the NYC Opera in 2011.
Video from the Montreal concert and a press conference from earlier in the day are below...
DOWNLOAD: Arcade Fire - The Suburbs (extended Longueuil walk version) (MP3)
Arcade Fire @ Longueuil, Montreal, June 9th
Montreal band Arcade Fire thrilled nearly 10,000 fans with a free concert Wednesday night in a South Shore shopping mall parking lot.The Arcade Fire continued their run of "secret"/free/short-notice Canadian shows with a free gig last night (Wednesday, June 9th) in a Montreal suburb. They posted directions on their website (something like four hours before the show), and an mp3 and video to listen to/watch on your walk from the train station. That long version of their song "The Suburbs" is posted above.
Band members crowded together on a rented stage assembled at the outer edge of the Place Longueuil parking lot, a stone's throw from the Jacques-Cartier Bridge.
They played a mix of new and old songs, including Rococo and Modern Man, two recently released tracks from their upcoming album Suburbs.
The crowd also heard older hits like Neighbourhoods #1 (Tunnels), Rebellion, Intervention and Haiti.
The short show wrapped at 9:30 p.m. with a two-song encore (Keep the Car Running and Wake Up ).
Quebec police were highly visible at the show, with officers directing hordes of concert-goers through the maze of overpasses that surround the shopping centre. [CBC]
The band also announced that they'll be playing a pair of shows at Toronto's Danforth Music Hall on Friday, June 11th and Saturday, June 12th. Tickets for those will be on sale noon the day of each show at the venue's box office.
Their big August 4th show at Madison Square Garden with Spoon is currently on AmEx presale. General sale starts Saturday at 9am (6/12), AND their ArcadeFire.com presale is on sale now. (It started at 10am - right before then it said "off sale" since some time early this morning. Yesterday it said something like "not on sale yet").
Videos (new & old songs) & the setlist from the 6/9 Montreal show are below...
Roberto Panetta poses w/ Arcade Fire in Sherbrooke
"Arcade Fire might have been trying out new material in an out-of-the-way venue, but there was nothing tentative about their take-no-prisoners show in Sherbrooke, Quebec, [Monday] night. Following up on a surprise Montreal show Friday night in front of only 75 invitees, the group held court in the 1,200-capacity Granada Theatre with a drenched-shirt set that had adoring fans hoarse from singing and sore from clapping in time. It was the first of two sold-out shows -- they [returned Tuesday night] -- in the Eastern townships community, which is populated by 200,000 people and located about 90 miles east of Montreal.Arcade Fire played new songs at the above-mentioned three Canadian shows in the past week. Their next currently scheduled show is June 30th, and they hit Madison Square Garden in NYC on August 4th. Tickets for that show are "on sale soon" according to ArcadeFire.com, but the Ticketmaster American Express presale begins at 10am TODAY (6/9). General sale starts Saturday at 9am (6/12).
"We're going to play some new songs tonight," Win Butler said from the stage three numbers into the set. "Hope that's OK."" [Rolling Stone]
The 6/9 & 6/12 on-sales are consistent with what I posted before, so look for the fanclub pre-sale to begin on 6/10. Videos from the Canadian shows and all three setlists, below...
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Braids - Lemonade (MP3)
Montreal's Braids will be in NYC next week, playing Knitting Factory on Tuesday May 25 with Depreciation Guild (whose very good second album Spirit Youth is out this week) and Wild Nothing (their debut, Gemini, which is also quite good, is out that day), and then an early show at Mercury Lounge on May 27 (no advance tickets) with fellow Montreal residents The Luyas who just can't seem to stay away from our city now that they've broken their NYC cherry (they were here the other day to play a 20 minute set at the National's High Violet Annex). Is there a cheap bus that we should know about?. There's also going to be a "secret loft show" (maybe like The Luyas one last month) on May 26 that we'll have info on next week.
Both Depreciation Guild and The Luyas are good pairings for Braids (not to be confused with '90s emo band Braid) whose sound is both ethereal and expansive, that reminds me a bit of being in a half-awake, dreamlike state. It's lovely stuff.
The band's debut, Native Speakers, is finished and awaiting a release date but in the meantime you can download "Lemonade" from it at the top of this post. There's also a lovely Vincent Moon directed Take Away show of Braids doing "Lemonade" further down this post.
Braids are currently playing a few dates with Holly Miranda (another apt pairing) before the shows next week here in New York.
Videos and dates below...
words & photos by Sarahana
Headliner Owen Pallett (no longer called Final Fantasy like he was when he played Webster Hall in December) joined opening act The Luyas for a few songs. Luyas singer Jessie Stein, who has an inviting demeanor, commented on Owen's shirt, "That looks like an 80's mom's shirt." It was a black top with some patterns sprawled around the neckline and printed in gold. He replied that it looked pretty manly. Jessie shared a story about how she and Owen used to be roommates (and then neighbors) when she was about 21; Owen would go down to practice and listen to bands like Animal Collective and Devendra Banhart, and Jessie would think "This stuff is never going to fly".
Extra Life was heavy music with a prominently featured violin, which added refined tragedy to raw anger. You could say Shakespeare meets goth, dorky meets scary. Unlike The Luyas and Owen Pallett, who are both from Canada, these guys are from Brooklyn. Front man Charlie Looker should definitely play Bartleby in a movie.
Owen Pallett's set was spectacular. He played several old songs solo, and had an additional musician, Thomas Gill, play percussion and guitar with him on new ones. Thomas is a talent on his own, which was most obvious when he helped Owen sing the chorus on the last song, a cover of Mariah Carey's "Sweet Fantasy".
Extra Life's next show is May 9th at Cake Shop with Queening and Larkin Grimm ("Also in May, Planaria will release a split 12" single with Larkin Grimm, featuring the Extra Life cover of R Kelly's "Your Body's Callin'" and two new exclusive tracks from Larkin.").
The Luyas played a 'secret' show in Brooklyn one night earlier with sometime-Luya Sarah Neufeld of the Arcade Fire. Sarah did not join the band at Webster Hall, and she won't be with them tonight (4/23) at Sycamore.
Owen (who played as a member of Arcade Fire at Webster Hall in 2005) played Coachella over the weekend and now continues on tour. More pictures from last night at Webster Hall, with Owen's setlist, below...
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: The Luyas - Tiny Head (MP3)
The other highlight for me Thursday night was getting to see The Luyas who are really unlike anything else going right now. They almost defy easy description. The closest I came up with was "Joanna Newsom fronting Mercury Rev" which at least gets you near the right ballpark. Singer (and member of Miracle Fortress when Graham isn't playing solo) Jessie Stein's voice has a child-like quality to it, and the band can go from intimate to epic and joyous within a song. There's unusual instrumentation too -- Pietro Amato's french horn is integral to their sound, and Stein is the only person other than the Liars' Aaron Hemphill that I've seen play a Moodswinger. All these disparate elements shouldn't work together, but they do... and gorgeously. The Luya's 2007 debut, Faker Death, is good but the new material they played last night was even better. The band's new album is due in early 2010 and could be a real stunner.That quote was from when I saw The Luyas at M for Montreal last October. Finally, New York is getting its first chance to see then, this week, with four shows: Wednesday, April 21 in a loft (a "secret show"); Thursday, April 22 at Webster Hall opening for Owen Pallett; Friday, April 23 at the Sycamore; and Sunday, April 25 at Glasslands which also has fellow Montreal band Parlovr, who just finished a tour with We Are Wolves, on the bill (who are excellent in their own right).
While they haven't set a date for their new album, The Luyas' second album is finished and will be out hopefully sooner than later. Check out "Tiny Head" from it above and you can also hear new tracks "Canary" and "Moodslayer" via their MySpace. You can also check out an extended Take Away Session at the bottom of this post (filmed around the band's most recent Pop Montreal appearance), along with all upcoming tour dates. They really are something special live, so you might want to make room on your schedule this week to see them...
Plants and Animals' sophomore album, La La Land, will be released April 20th on Secret City Records. The band has much in the works leading up to this release - a striking new video for the new single "The Mama Papa," several shows at SXSW, and a complete North American tour which will take the band through all the major cities and beyond.Plants and Animals randomly play NYC this evening (3/10), but it's as opener for Broken Bells at Music Hall of Williamsburg, a show that sold out instantly. Don't have a ticket? Don't worry there are more chances to see them over the next few months, especially if you're going to SXSW where they have six shows scheduled including the BrooklynVegan/M For Montreal show at Galaxy Room. Then in April, one day after the release of their album (one track is streaming at the label's website) they kick of a tour that keeps them on the road until June 9th when they play Bowery Ballroom (no tickets yet). All dates and that new video with cover art and tracklist, below...