Entries tagged with: Pop Montreal
by Bill Pearis
photo by Brendan George Ko
Besnard Lakes will release a new album, A Coliseum Complex Museum, on January 22, 2016 via Jagjaguwar. The first single "Golden Lion," pardon the pun, roars into the night in the band's signature style -- big. It was one of the new songs they played as part of the special 17-piece lineup at Pop Montreal and you can watch that performance, and check out the studio version too, below. "Golden Lion" comes out as a 12" single on November 13.
A limited edition pre-order version of A Coliseum Complex Museum is available in white vinyl and a metal sigil hand-crafted by the band's Olga Goreas:
I made 11 sigils after my dad passed away almost four years ago. Each sigil has a particular meaning and there are 11 of them because he died in November of 2011 and numerologically speaking, 11 represents a rebuilding of sorts. In a way, our last album was about endings and this album is about beginning again.Album tracklist, artwork, song steams, and a list of European tour dates, below...
by Bill Pearis
The Cribs w/ Lee Ranaldo / Doldrums @ Pop Montreal 9/19/2015
After three days of perfect weather (this is my first time in Montreal where it was hot) we got rain on Saturday (9/19), which was also the most walking around I've done all week. Things started fairly early for an afternoon "picnic" thrown by Arbutus Records at 820Plaza which is a DIY performance space/record store/zen garden in what was an old auto garage. A pretty cool space. There was free beer (Kronenbourg 1664 seems to be the free beer of choice in Montreal), grilled stuff and performances from Devon Welsh (before I got there), She-Devils (who I'd seen on Thursday), Better Person (very "Careless Whispers" style '80s soul ballads) and surprise guests Doldrums. With his brother Daniel's band Moon King elsewhere, Airick Woodhead had a different Doldrums lineup than when they toured in the spring, and he tried out a few new songs in between cuts from this year's underrated The Air Conditioned Nightmare.
After the picnic, I went to check out new venue Mothlight that just had its first event a few days ago; DIY-ish with legit aspirations. Upstairs with no air conditioning, Mothlight was insanely hot and I sweated out most of the free beer I'd had earlier. The band formerly known as Viet Cong were supposed to have been the surprise performer, but someone in the band was sick so they did not play. Both the band's Mike Wallace and Matt Flegel were there, though, and the latter's brother, Andrew Flegel, was playing drums in Blanka who did play. Blanka's icy, synthy postpunk brought the temperature down to still-too-hot. You can check out their just-released their six-song debut, below. Also playing were the noisy/loud Ashley Soft and you can stream a couple of their songs as well.
After a much-needed dinner break, I headed over to Theatre Fairmount for the Arts & Crafts showcase. The Cribs were headlining, their first time in Montreal in a while apparently, and delivered a lot of favorites (it has been a long time since I've heard them do "You Were Always the One") and, as a special treat, brought out Lee Ranaldo for "Be Safe" in which recites a spoken word piece. (They do it live usually with a video of Lee playing in the background). Video is below. I always forget how much I like The Cribs. Fun set.
Before the Jarman brothers' whoa-oh-ing, we got sets from kraut/baroque/psych trio Absolutely Free (terrific), Win Win (a little more guitar-y than I remembered their new album being), River Tiber (downtempo laptop-y R&B), and new Arts & Crafts signings Charlotte Day Wilson. The Cribs and River Tiber both play Brooklyn's Music Hall of Williamsburg on Tuesday (9/22) and tickets are still available.
Tonight (9/20) is the final day of Pop Montreal with, among lots of other shows, a closing night party that has a Smiths cover band, The Smiffs, that features members of Suuns. You can read Pop Montreal recaps of day 1 HERE, day 2 HERE, and day 3 HERE. A few more iPhone pics from day 4, below.
by Bill Pearis
The Besnard Lakes @ Pop Montreal 9/18/2015
I try not to throw the word "epic" around much as a person who writes about music but that pretty much describes The Besnard Lakes' Pop Montreal performance Friday night at Rialto Hall. A special event, years in the dreaming, the Montreal quintet expanded performed "The Besnard Lakes are the 17-piece Band -- a one-time-only Pop show, featuring string and horn sections, backup singers, two drummers, a vibraphone player and three guitarsts (who, for one song were all playing with E-Bows). Besnard Lakes' sound is already widescreen, this was Cinemascope.
Despite word that they would play their forthcoming album in full, it was a career-spanning, nearly two-hour set hit most of their albums' highlights ("Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent" was the only thing they didn't play that I really wanted to hear). It was very hot in Rialto Hall, with sweat pouring down frontman Jace Lacek's face as he noted it took a lot of sweat to make it happen, too, but "right now this is fucking fun." The whole show was recorded and shot with plans for release "if we don't fuck it up," joked Lacek. They didn't. Setlist is below. The Besnard Lakes will open a few shows for Ride this week, including their Tuesday (9/122) show at Irving Plaza (tickets).
It was a busy Friday night at Pop, with other options including Viet Cong, whose show was widely rumored at the fest to be the last time they'd use that name, as well as Godflesh, Motorhead, and Giorgio Moroder. (Downstairs at Rialto Hall lobby, Owen Pallett was guest-chef at Pop's pop-up restaurant, and his menu included Monte Cristo sandwiches, Scotch eggs, veggie burgers and more. I didn't try anything.) I stuck to smaller bands, catching Ruth Garbus (sister of tUnE-yArDs' Merrill) at Casa Del Poplo. Her music is more winsome, charming folk whose jazzy chords reminded me just a little of sunshine pop band The Free Design. While there I also caught a few songs by quirky and slightly obtuse singer Jib Kidder, and then went across the street to La Sala Rossa to catch soulful young band Un Blonde. After The Besnard Lakes I managed to catch the tail-end of Toronto's doomy Crosss who were closing out the night at Club Lambi. I finished my night watching a bit of Grease 2 (dubbed in French) on my hotel while downing my sixth (seventh?) Montreal bagel of the week, before crashing out.
Saturday at Pop Montreal: a record fair, some unofficial day parties and at night: Built to Spill, Babes in Toyland, Stars of the Lid, The Cribs, Nick Diamonds, Absolutely Free and lots, lots more. A few more iPhone pics from Friday night, below.
UPDATE: They're changing it.
photo: Viet Cong at Pitchfork Fest 2015 (more by James Richards IV)
We all know people -- all of them white, mostly straight men -- who are either indifferent or ask the same thing: "What about Joy Division?"Following that piece being published, an article on Yahoo suggested that Viet Cong's album should win the Polaris Prized based on the music, but it shouldn't win unless they change their name. An article on Chart Attack says it's rumored that they actually might:
Well, what about Joy Division? The late '70s British post-punk band named themselves after camps that held Jewish women who were used as sex slaves by Nazi soldiers. After their lead singer died, the existing members formed the band New Order, a reference to Hitler's political ideologies. In an interview with Israeli news outlet Haaretz earlier this year, founding member of both bands, Bernard Sumner, described how they just liked the way it sounded. He admitted, "Now, in my more mature years, I probably wouldn't pick it, because I know it would offend and hurt people, but back then, I was very young and well, selfish. Calling ourselves Joy Division was a bit mischievous."
The bands Gang of Four, Black Pussy, British India and Slaves are equally unacceptable names. All these bands are comprised of white men who have named themselves after something to which they have no tangible emotional or socio-political connection. All these bands chose their names because they felt it gave them an edge and liked the sound of it. (There's also no small amount of irony in using the "historical precedent" argument of previous offensive band names in the face of the real historical precedent of war, violence and extreme loss.)
This week's hot CanCon rumour, grapevine gossip and telephone game is that Calgary band Viet Cong will change their name at the gala for the 2015 Polaris Prize, for which they've been shortlisted, this coming Monday.No official word from Viet Cong yet. Stay tuned.
Viet Cong are currently on tour with Greys and they play a POP Montreal show tonight (9/18). BV's own Bill Pearis is currently at POP and he says a lot of people are bringing up Viet Cong's rumored name change. If you haven't yet, check out Bill's recaps of day 1 and day 2 of the fest.
by Bill Pearis
Empress Of / Last Lizard @ Pop Montreal 9/17/2015
For the second day 2 of Pop Montreal (9/19) I made a concerted effort to see bands I had a) never seen before b) was unfamiliar with. It turned out pretty well. After hitting the Puces POP craft fair and briefly catching Toronto garage rockers Goodbye Honolulu at Divan Orange (very Hives-esque), I spent the first half of Thursday night at the Fixture Records showcase at La Vitrola. The Montreal label released a Sheer Agony cassette a couple years ago, and also Moss Lime who I liked. Neither of those bands played, but it was enough to trust I might like whoever else played. First up was Mavo, who are a bit like Sheer Agony -- nervy guitar pop -- who apparently haven't played live in two years. They were good, and I hope Mavo are "back."
It was maybe just coincidence that the next band, Freelove Fenner, came on stage to the sounds of Broadcast's "The Booklovers" but it was a pretty fitting intro. The trio are chilly, at times clinical, with sonic debt to minimal early-'80s postpunk like Young Marble Giants or Kleenex/Liliput. (They're also a bit like current UK band The Drink. And, yes, Broadcast too.) You can listen to their 2013 album, Do Not Affect a Breezy Manner, below. The band's next album will be released by Brooklyn's Bayonet Records.
Next was duo Chevalier Avant Garde who make slightly gothy synthpop, though it's more on the "romantic" side of goth. And definitely "pop" as even though I was hearing it for the first time, more than a couple songs stuck with me. If I had brought one of the 11 free canvas totes I've gotten in the last two days instead of leaving them all in my hotel room, I would've bought their album Resurrection Machine. (Stream it below.) They used a bunch of '80s-era step drum machines and some big crazy sequencer as backing -- I always want a live drummer, but they were still enjoyable live.
A lot of folks were at the Fixture showcase for Last Lizard, the new project from Dirty Beaches' Alex Zhang Hungtai. It was him on sax and a drummer, with some cool projections, and was fully in free jazz territory. But his silhouette against footage of a highway at night was still in David Lynch territory.
The headliner at La Vitrola was Homeshake, whose new album Midnight Snack is out today. I left before they went on but folks in NYC can catch Homeshake at Baby's All Right on October 6 (tickets) and frontman Peter Sagar plays a solo show at Elvis Guesthouse the day before (10/5, tickets). You can stream Midnight Snack below.
I left because I was heading over to Piccolo Little Burgundy for the late-night Pop Montreal aftershow. Little Burgundy happens in a different space every year at Pop, this year being in the basement of big venue Rialto. (It is kind of like Webster Hall's Marlin Room.) The first act was new Montreal duo She-Devils who were a bit like U.S. Girls in that there is a post-retro vibe, using a lot of (I think) '50s and '60s samples, repurposed into something very now. It's not girl group sounds, though, it's more of a early rock n' roll or surf vibe put through a red neon filter. It is very much to my taste and I dug them a lot. They don't have any music out yet, but they'll play NYC next month opening for Majical Cloudz at National Sawdust on October 21 (tickets).
Then it was Empress Of, whose terrific, at times Bjork-y debut album, Me, came out earlier this month. Backed by drummer and a keyboardist playing some big analog synths, Lorely Rodriguez (who is Empress Of) had the crowd in her pocket from the start and played Me in full. I genuinely thought she was great. Braids played after, but it was 2 AM and I was wiped, and headed out.
Tonight (9/18) Besnard Lakes will be performing as a 17-piece "orchestra" and debuting their forthcoming album in full, which I'm excited about. (You can also catch them in regular, non-orchestra line-up opening some dates for Ride.) Pop Montreal Day 1 report is HERE and a few more day 2 iPhone pics from below...
by Bill Pearis
Ultimate Painting / OBN IIIs @ Pop Montreal 9/16/2015
The 2015 edition of Pop Montreal began on Wednesday (9/16) with shows happening at most, if not all, of the Quebec City's venues. A bit like SXSW in form, Pop is one of the friendlier festivals you can go to and, while offering acts from around the world, Montreal (and Canada) is still the focus. You also get a real sense of "scene" here: bands all seem to know each other, go to each other's shows, and are generally supportive of each other (at least that's the vibe I get). Win Butler of Arcade Fire was hanging out at last night's kickoff cocktail party and BBQ at Pop's HQ (which was free and open to anyone) and seemingly the only people gawking were out-of-towners like me. Arcade Fire's tour documentary The Reflektor Tapes premieres at Pop Montreal tonight (9/17).
With five days of shows ahead of me, I eased into Day 1. First act to play, which was during the cocktail party, was Montreal's Foxtrott who makes quirky, danceable pop and was previewing songs from her debut album for One Little Indian, out November 6. (She's played M for Montreal and CMJ before.) Using a french horn for bass parts and clattering percussion, it was a fitting start to the fest. You can check out the video for her single "Driven," below.
After dinner at Foodlab, which is atop the Le SAT art/performance space, I headed up to Le Sala Rossa and Casa de Popolo, two clubs owned by the same folks that are on opposite sides of Saint-Laurent. At Sala, I caught Ultimate Painting who sounded great but whose short set focused more on their debut than the just-out Green Lanes. (They play NYC on Friday.) After that I stuck around to catch Toronto band Weaves who are fronted by the charismatic belter Jasmyn Burke. Their sound is kind of all over the place, but they were fun.
Across the street at Casa, I caught Montreal's Girl Arm who make skronky/angular noise somewhat reminiscent of Jawbox or Shudder to Think. Not bad. Stream their 2014 EP below. Then it was Austin's awesome OBN IIIs, who had played NYC the night before, and whose new album Worth a Lot of Money revels in Thin Lizzy-style big riffs. Main man Orville Bateman Neeley III plays guitar in the band these days, and I do miss when he was a pure frontman, jumping into the crowd and messing with people, but damn if they didn't sound great. I then went around the corner to the famed Fairmont Bagels for a late-night snack and called it a night.
In addition to all the music, Pop Montreal has symposiums, more movies, and even a pop-up restaurant where Owen Pallet will be cooking on Friday. Stay tuned for more coverage of Pop Montreal, and a few more of my fuzzy iphone pics are below.
by Bill Pearis
photo by Tess Roby
Montreal's Sheer Agony made a strong splash with the debut 7" back in 2012 that showed off their brand of mutant powerpop that owed more than a little to Chris Stamey and his work on those first two dB's albums. Then apart from the occasional tour and local Montreal shows, we didn't hear much from them. Happily they were hard at work on their debut album, cheekily titled Masterpiece, which will be out October 30 via Couple Skate (part of Captured Tracks' Omnian Music umbrella).
It was worth the wait, 13 tracks of killer pop in half an hour, absolutely crammed with hooks and nary a wasted second. If you like The dB's or The Soft Boys or Sex Clark Five (or New Pornographers), you'll definitely want to check out first single "I Have A Dream" the video for which appears in this post. Directed by Peter Woodford (of fellow MTL band Freelove Fenner) and features a dirty cop looking to bust up a DIY show but ends up having a very rock n' roll night. Shot at actual Montreal DIY spot The Drones Club, also look out for a cameo from Peter Segar of Homeshake as "The Bartender." Watch below.
Sheer Agony just wrapped up a North American tour with Homeshake which didn't hit NYC. The band will be here, however, for CMJ and currently have two shows on their schedule: the Bayonet/Couple Skate showcase on October 13 at Baby's All Right with Frankie Cosmos, Laced and Mega Bog (tickets on sale 9/11 at noon); and then the Panache showcase that happens October 14 at Knitting Factory with Ezra Furman, Juan Wauters, Drinks, Slim Twig, The Babe Rainbow and Gramma's Boyfriend (tickets). Sheer Agony also play Pop Montreal on September 19.
The 2015 edition of Pop Montreal is coming up in less than a month (September 16 - 20) and festival organizers have recently made a few additions to the already robust lineup. Perhaps most interesting is that Pop's film fest will have the world premiere of director Kahlil Joseph' Arcade Fire documentary The Reflektor Tapes which promises:
The film recontextualizes the album experience, transporting the viewer into a kaleidoscopic sonic and visual landscape. It charts the band's creative journey as they lay foundations for the album in Jamaica, record in Montreal and play an impromptu gig at a Haitian hotel on the first night of Carnival, before bringing their breathtaking live show to packed arenas in Los Angeles and London. The Reflektor Tapes blends never-before-seen personal interviews and moments captured by the band to dazzling effect, and features 15 minutes of exclusive unseen footage, filmed only for cinema audiences.That is just ahead of the film's North American September 23 release date. It will be playing in NYC at Sunshine Cinema, BowTie Cinema Chelsea 9, East 86th St Cinema 4 in Manhattan and Williamsburg Cinema in Brooklyn. and tickets are on sale now for many of those screenings. You can watch the trailer for that below.
The full music lineup has been finalized and new additions include Seattle garage rock legends The Sonics, Doldrums, UK band All We Are, Prison Garde (the latest moniker of electronic musician Vaughn Robert Squire aka Sixtoo) and more. Other artists playing this year's Pop Montreal include Built to Spill, Giorgio Moroder, The Cribs, Mikal Cronin, Godflesh, Will Butler, Babes in Toyland, Thurston Moore, Stars of the Lid, Cannibal Ox, Besnard Lakes (performing as a 17-piece "orchestra"), Viet Cont, The Orb, and more.
There are also lots of panel discussions and lectures happening via the Pop Symposium, including one with Canadian songwriter Andy Kim (the man behind The Archies' "Sugar Sugar" and other bubblegum hits),
Festival passes and day passes are still available. Full Pop Montreal music and film lineups are listed below.
by Bill Pearis
photo: The Besnard Lakes @ Rough Trade (more by Greg Cristman)
Montreal's The Besnard Lakes have been tapped to open for part of Ride's fall tour, starting with two NYC-area shows: September 22 at Irving Plaza (tickets) and September 23 at Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ (tickets). They will not open for Ride at the 9/21 Irving Plaza show.
One thing we've always wanted to do is to perform live for you an entirely faithful rendition of our songs as they exist on the albums. This means all the strings, horns, keys, guitars, percussion, vibraphone, backing vocals, etc. you know and love will be performed as they were recorded. Featuring friends from all over the Montreal music scene. Come freak out with us.That sounds pretty awesome. Besnard Lakes Pop Montreal show happens September 18 at Rialto Hall, so if you're heading to the fest that's one show you won't want to miss. I should say, the current five-piece lineup of Besnard Lakes already sound pretty enormous -- their Rough Trade show back in January was fantastic.
When they played the Rough Trade show, frontman Jace Lacek said they were hoping to have something new out by the end of 2015. Stay tuned. All tour dates are listed below.
photo: Viet Cong @ London Field Day Fest 2015 (more by Rachel Juarez-Carr)
Pop Montreal has just announced its second round of artists added to the festival's 2015 lineup. That includes Viet Cong, The Orb, Micachu & the Shapes, The Besnard Lakes, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Lee Ranaldo, Albert Hammond Jr, Empress Of and more. They join such previously announced artists as Built to Spill, Giorgio Moroder, The Cribs, Mikal Cronin, Godflesh, and Will Butler. All new additions to Pop Montreal's lineup are listed below.
The 2015 Pop Montreal Festival happens September 16-20 at venues all over the Quebec city. Discounted festival passes and day passes are currently available.
Mykki Blanco recently announced that he'd no longer be rapping, but that doesn't mean he's not performing at all. Not long ago, he gave a spoken word performance called Baby Steps: How to heal yourself from everyday Psychic Poisons or Repentance for Dummies, and uploaded video along with the following statement:
Most people are familiar with my work in rap music and so may not be aware of my background in theater, acting and writing.You can watch the performance below. No word yet what exactly Mykki's future performances will be, but he did just schedule a free NYC show happening August 22 at Riis Park Beach Bazaar, the Rockaway Beach location that the Brooklyn Night Bazaar people are now booking. Other artists TBA for that show.
Last summer I participated in a writing residency at Galeria zé dos bois in Lisbon Portugal. Most of my theatrical and spoken performances have been very ephemeral, connected to either larger events or apart of lectures and panel discussions and have not been filmed. But I am happy to share with you here in its entirety my solo performance.
Mykki's old friend from the rap days, Le1f, also announced a new NYC show today. He plays the POP Montreal Northside Festival showcase happening June 14 at Brooklyn Bowl with Princess Nokia and DJ HVAD. Tickets for that show are on sale now, and you can also try to get in with a Northside badge.
Le1f's most recent single is a remix of Nicki Minaj's "Truffle Butter." Listen to that, with the Mykki Blanco videos, below...
The 14th annual Pop Montreal festival will take place September 16 - 20, 2015 at venues all over the Quebec City. The initial lineup of bands has just been announced and includes Built to Spill, Giorgio Moroder, The Cribs, Mikal Cronin, Godflesh, Will Butler, Babes in Toyland, Thurston Moore, Stars of the Lid, Cannibal Ox and more. Festival passes will be available soon. Check out the initial Pop Montreal 2015 lineup below...
by Bill Pearis
Pop Montreal HQ (via @popmontreal)
Pop Montreal happened last week at venues all over the Quebec city. I've been to M for Montreal many times, but this year was my first Pop and it was a pretty fun time. One thing you notice almost straight away is that unlike some festivals, this one clearly feels like it is for its home city first and foremost. Luckily, Montrealers are a friendly sort of folk. There were a handful of "international" acts (Ty Segall, Twin Shadow, Suzanne Vega), but the lion's share of the music was Canadian and specifically from Quebec. And there are no shortage of bands and artists in Montreal. I saw a bunch of them.
The festival works basically like SXSW, you get a badge which allows you in to all the participating venues (most in the city). Unlike SXSW however, said venues are not all conveniently located on or around a six-block stretch. There are patches of venues clustered around, but if you're trying to take advantage of your badge's club-hopping abilities, it involves hoofing it or cabs. I found myself on Saint Laurent a lot, which has La Sala Rosa, Casa del Popolo, Divan Orange, and a few others right around each other. There aren't a lot of day parties like you get at SXSW and CMJ, but plenty of late-night afterparty action.
I missed the basketball game and Steve Albini cooking class, but across five days, many Cadence Weapon sightings and the single worst hangover I've ever experienced, these were some of the Pop Montreal musical highlights:
The Unicorns @ Metropolis (9/21): Reforming at Arcade Fire's behest, Montreal cult band Unicorns played their final home show on the last night of Pop. It really is a different experience seeing them in their hometown. They did two single-note band hit encores as a joke before finally leaving the place with "I Was Born (a Unicorn)."
Light Fires @ Balattou (via)
Light Fires @ Ballattou (9/17): Toronto cross-dressing synthpop solo act Light Fires opened for Unicorns at Metropolis but I also caught her the first night of the fest at Ballattou, which clearly used to be a strip club. The seedy atmosphere fit Light Fires' vibe well, which was part Hedwig and part Erasure. (Her record's pretty good.) I stuck around afterwards for LA Foster who used to be in Mozart's Sister but now makes her own synth-n-B on her own.
Choses Sauvages @ Club Lambi (9/19) I don't think I've gone to Montreal and not seen a Francophone dancerock band, and this trip it was Choses Sauvages who were playing another place that seemed like it used to have exotic dancing. The French language works well for this kind of funky disco and the band goes the extra mile in the live department, hamming it up just enough.
TOPS @ Sala Rossa (9/19): TOPS are one of the more popular rising bands in Montreal and I'd seen them play a few times already (plus their old band Silly Kissers), but they've come a long way even in the last year. Jane Penny's confidence as a frontperson has grown and guitarist David Carriere's playing is Steely Dan clean. Hearing them do "Way to Be Loved" live was maybe the highlight of the fest. They'll be in NYC soon with Wampire, and for CMJ as well. Moon King opened and also just seem to get better.
Holy Data @ Divan Orange (via @brooklynvegan)
Holy Data @ Divan Orange (9/20): Featuring ex-members of Sunset Rubdown and Parlovr, with a fair amount of synths and effected guitars, Holy Data make a swirling, occasionally muscular brand of dreampop. You can check out a couple demos on their soundcloud.
Monomyth @ L'Escogriffe (9/18) Hailing from Halifax, NS and having all four members write and sing, I couldn't help but compare them a bit to Sloan. But Monomyth sound nothing like them though. Like Sloan, the styles of the songs vary wildly depending on who's singing (one of them clearly went through a jam band phase). But the songs are uniformly terrific, ranging from powerpop to warbly indiepop. Also, I really like L'Escogriffe's down-n-dirty rock vibe. Their new album, Saturnalia Regalia, came out this summer on Mint (stream it via Spotify)
Pat Jordache @ Pop HQ (9/20): I've seen Pat play a few times, and it's always a different lineup of the band. Here they were a three piece (no drummer) but their sound has gotten darker and groovier. Liquid bass, ala Japan or early Brian Eno, with appropriately gothy (but not too) vocals. We're due for some new music from Pat Jordache soon, keep an eye out.
The Muscadettes @ L'Escogriffe (9/20): Shouty two-piece (plus drummer live) who are here to have fun and make sure everyone else does too. Heaps of attitude and the songs loads of fun. Currently working on their debut album, you can check out a single here.
SEOUL @ The Plant (9/20): In addition to official shows, I also went to a Pop Montreal fashion show (weird/cool), and on Sunday checked out DIY space The Plant that reminded me of RIP Brooklyn spots Dead Herring and the old Silent Barn. Someone brought bagels from St. Viateur and you could help yourself, and between bands folks hung out behind the building where the railroad passed by every so often. SEOUL, who make airy pop that would sound at home on a Prefab Sprout album, are good Sunday afternoon hangout (hangover) music. They'll be in NYC for CMJ too.
Pop Montreal has announced dates for next year: September 16 - 20.
Pop All Star Band @ Pop Montreal 2014 (via jackpineco)
Doe Paoro is now on the road with My Brightest Diamond, but recently finished a string of dates with Bon Iver's friends Sylvan Esso which started right after Doe opened for Bon Iver drummer S. Carey (and Califone) at Le Poisson Rouge. Doe released an EP called Ink on the Walls in April. It was produced at Bon Iver's studio by S. Carey and BJ Burton (who also produced Bon Iver's group Volcano Choir and Bon Iver/Gayngs related project Poliça). Note: Bon Iver, S. Carey, Gayngs, Polica, Sylvan Esso, Volcano Choir and Doe all share a management team (and a love for autotune). Doe is also playing CMJ.
S. Carey returns to NYC to open for American Football and Owen in October.
Volcano Choir have a new video for "Tiderays". Watch below.
Meanwhile, Bon Iver-esque NY, electro-singer-songwriter Elliot Moss (who also shares a manager with Bon Iver) just opened for Nada Surf at Rough Trade and has three more NYC shows scheduled in October: School Night at Brooklyn Bowl, CMJ at Rough Trade w/ Cold War Kids, and MHOW on 10/25 opening for Digitalism. One of his songs is embedded below.
Field Report, the project of Justin Vernon's old DeYarmond Edison bandmate Chris Porterfield, just shared the title track from his new album "Marigolden". Listen (via AV Club), below. Catch Field Report live on tour throughout the fall, starting at Bowery Electric in NYC on 9/30 (tickets). All dates are also listed again below.
Finally, we told you about the all star basketball game that was going down at Pop Montreal last week.That also resulted in a halftime show by the 'Pop All Star Band' - a "supergroup featuring Arcade Fire's Win and Will Butler, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, and The Strokes' Nikolai Fraiture" (and A-Trak). They covered Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" and The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army." Watch the videos with all the other stuff below...
Pop vs Jock 2012 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
Arcade Fire singer Win Butler's annual charity basketball game, Pop vs Jock, will go down in conjunction with Pop Montreal once again this year. The game takes place on September 20 at the McGill University Sports Centre, and includes Win along with fellow Pop vs Jock alumni Will Butler (his brother, also of Arcade Fire), Nikolai Fraiture (The Strokes), and newcomer Justin Vernon (Bon Iver). Former NBA player Brent Barry and current player Matt Bonner round out the lineup as well. Tickets are on sale now, and proceeds will go to DJ Sports Club, a charity offering sports and education programs to Montreal youth.
Arcade Fire were just in NYC for a three night run at Barclays Center.
Mozart's Sister, the solo project from Caila Thompson-Hannant (Think About Life, Shapes & Sizes), just released her debut, Being, via Paper Bag last month. A mix of mid-'90s dance and R&B influences, Calia definitely brings her own strong personality to the album. You can listen to the whole thing via Rdio and check out a video and track stream below.
Calia and her band are about to head out on a Canadian tour with PS I Love You (who were just in NYC this past weekend with Frog Eyes), wrapping up with shows at next month's Pop Montreal festival. After that, Mozart's Sister will be in NYC in October, playing The Studio @ Webster Hall on October 28. Tickets for that show are on sale now. That's just after CMJ, so perhaps Calia will be here for that as well? All current dates are listed, along with streams, below...
Canadian lo-fi pop faves The Unicorns are officially reuniting this year, and as announced, will be opening five dates on Arcade Fire's tour including two in California and all three NYC shows (one of which also includes Television). They've since added a Pop Montreal show, and will also now be reissuing their classic 2003 LP, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?.
The reissue will be out via the band's own Caterpillar Records on August 26, and it can be pre-ordered over at Amazon now. The reissue features bonus material, including a cover of cult songwriter Daniel Johnston's "Rocket Ship" that they recorded right before breaking up in 2004. You can stream that one now, with the tracklist, below.
The 2014 Edition of Pop Montreal happens September 17 - 21 at various clubs all over the Canadian city. The initial lineup of this year's fest includes Ty Segall, Panda Bear, Trust, Twin Shadow, Why?, PS I Love You, La Luz, Ought, Shonen Knife, Suzanne Vega and more. Early Bird Passes are on sale now.
Check out the full initial list of 2014 Pop Montreal performers, plus a teaser video, 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...
Dodos / Braids @ Pop Montreal 9/26/2013
With the first day of POP Montreal always being a lighter day, Thursday (9/26) started things rolling toward the weekend and busier schedules with way too much to see in way too many parts of the city.
I freed up the early part of my evening by jumping at the chance to photograph the Patrick Watson and Braids soundchecks at L'Olympia ahead of their live broadcast performances and interviews with Jian Ghomeshi later that night for Q music. The restrictions for shooting the actual broadcast left little opportunity to get anything decent so, having shot both bands before, I found myself at a very empty O'Lympia in the middle of the afternoon.
After a brief stop at the POP Quarters for the media mixer it was off to the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art to see Suuns who I had last seen open for The Antlers at Webster Hall a couple years back. The sold out show featured projections of the band in duplicate. It took a song or so to realize that what we were watching wasn't live video but previously recorded live takes that were synced with each song and slightly off. The band sounded great and the extended back end of "Edie's Dream" was pulsingly hypnotic.
I left after that and made my way up Saint Laurent to catch The Dodos at Sala Rossa. When I arrived the venue was already on a one in, one out policy as Cousins finished up their set. The Dodos played a bunch of songs from their new album, Carrier, as well as a few older songs. The house lights came up after the first encore but with the crowd shouting for one more song the band obliged. "When you put it like that," said drummer Logan Kroeber, before the band launched into "The Season" to close out the set.
photos by Dominick Mastrangelo
DIANA at POP Montreal 2013
POP Montreal is currently underway with many artists playing across multiple Montreal venues. The festival kicked off on Wednesday (9/25) and it continues through this Sunday (9/29). On the first day of the fest, we caught a headlining show by DIANA (who just toured opening for Austra) with Brooklyn art pop musician Empress Of and Mori at Sala Rossa. Pictures from that show are in this post.
Still to come at POP Montreal are shows from Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Local Natives, The-Dream, Born Gold, Majical Cloudz, Whitehorse, Dent May, Shuggie Otis, Brendan Canning, Cakes Da Killa, Killer Mike, and more. Browse the full schedule at their website. Stay tuned for more POP Montreal coverage.
More pictures below...
The Gories at The Bell House in 2012 (more by Jason House)
As mentioned, Mac DeMarco and White Fence will be playing the Panache Northside showcase at Brooklyn Bowl on June 13. That show now also includes Walter TV. Tickets for that show are on sale now. Show flyer below.
White Fence also play another Northside show the next day at Knitting Factory (tickets). Mac DeMarco has a ton of other upcoming dates too, all of which are listed below.
Brooklyn Bowl is hosting other Northside shows too, including one of Questlove's weekly Bowl Train parties as a late show after the Panache showcase (tickets).
The following night (6/14), the venue will be headlined by Sinkane with Xenia Rubinos playing as well.. Tickets for that show are on sale now. Sinkane has other upcoming dates, including another NYC-area show happening on June 16 at Maxwell's (tickets) which is also with Xenia Rubinos. All dates are listed below.
That same night, Bond Music Group are doing their showcase as a late show (doors: 11:30 PM) with Chrome Canyon, Computer Magic, AVAN LAVA (DJ), and Chateau Marmont. Tickets for that one are on sale.
Then, on the Saturday (6/15) of Northside, New York Night Train are doing their showcase, which includes an early show with The Gories and Daddy Long Legs; and a late show with Jonathan Toubin doing his Soul Clap & Dance-Off party with guest DJ Mick Collins (of the Gories and Dirtbombs). Tickets for the early show and the late show are on sale now. Show flyer below.
Finally, on June 16, POP Montreal is doing a show with Born Ruffians, The Spinto Band, and Turf War. Tickets for that show are on sale.
You can also get into any of these shows with your Northside Badge. All Mac DeMarco and Sinkane dates are listed, along with show flyers, below...
It's been about two years since we last heard from Montreal's Valleys who apparently have had a rethink since then. The band (Matilda Perks and Marc St Louis) have dropped the folky elements of their music but kept the ethereal atmophere, adding layers of analog synths to their sound. Valleys new album will be out early next year on Kanine but NYC folk can hear their new sound next week during CMJ. They'll play the Kanine Records day party on Friday at Cameo (10/19, 6 PM) and then Saturday (10/20) afteroon (1:15 PM) at the Pop Montreal day party which is also at Cameo. So if you can tear yourselves away from one of our day parties at Public Assembly those same days (right down N. 6th St.), do stop by and check them out.
The Kanine showcase also has Beach Day, Bleeding Rainbow, Eternal Summers, Zambri, Moon King and Roommates (featuring mems of Surfer Blood and Pop Etc.). The show is free and open to the public and flyer for the show is below.
The Pop Montreal day party line-up also free and open to the public and features Goose Hut, Mozart's Sister, Blue Hawaii, and Solar Year and the flyer for that show is below too.