Entries tagged with: beast
Will Sheff & Roky Erickson
"Welcome to Montreal -- how do you like the Weather?" - Martin Cesar, Think About Life.
After three lovely days of sunny, mild weather, the skies went grey and cold for the last day of SXSW, Saturday, March 20th, with temperatures dropping to around 45 degrees. Almost no one seemed prepared for it, judging by the throngs of under-dressed shivering all over town. With a lot of the Austin venues being outdoor, it especially hurt. Our final party of a very busy week of parties was a free badge-less official SXSW event that we did with the M for Montreal folks, at the two-stage Galaxy Room (formerly Radio Room & Bourbon Rocks). The main stage was outside -- under a tent, which helped just a little -- and while temperatures were low, spirits were high and it was maybe the most fun I had all week.
My favorite set of the day came early. Think About Life are so much fun live, so much genuine positivity, it's hard to be in a bad mood with them on stage. An instant hangover cure. I think this was the first time a lot of the audience had ever seen them play, if the number of people who asked me who they were was any indication. At one point singer Martin Cesar left the stage as if their set was over, only to appear in the middle of the crowd dancing, hyping people up. That they didn't do "Johanna" is my only complaint. NYers can see them on April 27 when Think About Life play Mercury Lounge. It's part of a fairly extensive U.S. tour, do go see them.
I was also super-pumped to see The Besnard Lakes whose new album The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night is pretty fantastic. Specifically, I wanted to hear its epic opener, "Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent," and have it knock me back. Like a lot of Montreal bands, The Besnard Lakes' line-up ebbs and flows. Theirs does so around the core of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas. I've seen them seven strong before, but here they were a lean mean quartet and did not disappoint. They're on tour in May, including a 5/28 show at Bowery Ballroom.
Another set I knew would be fun was Montreal's Duchess Says who played one of our CMJ day parties last year. While their more aggressive take on Devo-style protopunk is fun, it's all about singer Annie Claude who looks very cute and innocent... until the music starts. She shrieks, jumps in the audience, tackles people, pulls them to the floor, and causes general mayhem. It's more mischief than menace though. There are lots of other singers who do similar things, but never anything quite like her. After you've seen them once, part of the fun is watching other people experience them for the first time. The inside room was packed to the gills (it was warmer there). My favorite part of the show had her sitting down in the middle of the audience, methodically pulling people down with her, draping their arms over her into a giant pile of people. There's video at the bottom of this post.
The other major highlight for me was Roky Erickson with Okkervill River. I'd never seen him before and this was certainly a great live introduction to someone whose music I've loved for a long time. Will Sheff produced Roky's new album (first in 14 years) and Okkervill was his backing band on it, so the set was tight, rocking and just sounded fantastic. Roky was in great form too, and we got a few 13th Floor Elevators nuggets in there, as well as "Starry Eyes," one of my favorites of his solo material. They tour in May including a show at Webster Hall.
And there was lots more: the great Wye Oak kicked off the party with a lovely set despite cold fingers; Jason Collett was a class act with superbly-crafted country-pop (see video of his set below); Crystal Antlers filled in for BEAST who couldn't make it; Andrew WK was in full Meatloaf mode with a set of piano ballads; Plants and Animals were lush and harmony-laden; metal legends Voivod showed they've still got it; and a percussion-heavy set from L.A.'s Local Natives was probably the biggest draw of the day -- they were excellent.
Somehow I entirely missed sets by Holy Fuck (who I heard were great) and Suckers (who I've seen before many times here in NYC). A last minute addition, Nardwuar was there too, providing funny, heavily-researched band introductions as only he can. It was a great, if cold, day. Stay tuned for his video interview of Will and Roky.
Thanks to everyone who helped put this all together, and to our sponsors. More pictures and videos from the whole day below...
Nebula @ a BV CMJ show (more by Paul Birman)
Though we otherwise had an amazing day party at Emo's on Wednesday, I was hit with some unfortunate news around 2pm. GZA wasn't making it due to "issues at Newark Airport". Scheduled to go on at 4:30pm after The Black Angels and before Fucked Up, we scrambled to come up with a solution. Not sure we could pull off a hip hop replacement, BV-SXSW veterans Deer Tick seemed like they might rush in and fill the slot, but that ended up not being a reality so, partially due to the advice of the venue, we decided to just extend the sets of the other bands including Titus Andronicus. I then got a text that Wu-Tang affiliates Killah Priest and 9th Prince were in town to perform with Gza and could still make it over. Too late to really do their own full set, Damian from Fucked Up was more than happy to let the two rappers on stage a few minutes into Fucked Up's set (with Fucked Up as their backing band). Paying tribute to ODB, the mini surprise performance was great and quickly made me forget that we had to tell a packed house that one of the headliners wasn't playing after all. Check out a video clip from it below.
In other cancellation news, Human Eye still lists four Austin shows on his MySpace, but I'm told they are all cancelled including the one scheduled for the BrooklynVegan Anso Presents show happening at Spider House Cafe today (3/18). Turbo Fruits will take their place. See you there at noon!
When you have 91 bands playing shows at a festival as hectic as SXSW (and that doesn't count Monday's NYC gig where we had
five four more), I guess cancellations are somewhat to be expected. And there's more. I found out this morning that Beast didn't make it out of Canada. The good news? Crystal Antlers, who we also hosted two CMJs in a row, will take their place on our BV/M For Montreal bill.
Not done yet. Tee Pee band Nebula broke up, thus changing their plan to head to Austin to play five shows. Naturally one of those shows was a BV (Attitude Adjustment at Red 7). Replacement still TBA, and assuming the break up sticks, full tour (March 27th at Pianos included) cancellation still TBA too
Get to BrooklynVegan.com/SXSW to see our entire schedule. Killah Priest video below...
I've been announcing individual bands on this party before now. Finally we have the full exciting lineup!
You know M For Montreal as the Canadian festival we've visited for two years in a row. Their yearly festival showcases bands from their home city in their home city, and they take that show on the road each year to both CMJ in NYC and SXSW in Austin (we already announced their official 2010 night showcase).
Being that we are such huge fans of so many Montreal bands, I thought it would be a great idea see if they wanted do a party together... and here we are. The lineup mixes some of our favorite Montreal bands with some or our other favorite Canadian (like Jason Collett of Broken Social Scene) and non-Canadian bands (like Andrew WK).
We have 13 bands total, a DJ set by another band, free ice cream from the Ice Cream Man (some of which is vegan), free vegan food courtesy of Austin's own Daily Juice and other surprises (drink specials on this particular party are pending). We're also proud to announce that KEXP is the official radio sponsor of all BV day parties this year. You'll find them, video cameras in hand, at many of our day parties throughout the week including this one. Those in attendance at this show will also have a chance to check out and win a pair of Nudie Jeans (another one of our kind sponsors).
Also unlike any other BV day party, this one is officially part of SXSW. That does NOT mean you need a badge. NO BADGES REQUIRED for this free show, but you will find the party listed on SXSW.com (and you can add it to your schedule on there). Full lineup with set times below...
Think About Life @ Arlene's CMJ 2009 (more by Chris La Putt)
Speaking of Canada, Montreal's Think About Life just finished up a run of February shows in Europe. Stateside, they have plenty of shows coming up, including SXSW in Austin where you can catch them at the official M For Montreal showcase at Paradise on Thursday, March 18th. The full lineup for that show:
La Patère Rose @ 8:00 p.m.M For Montreal's nighttime showase is not to be confused with the M For Montreal & BrooklynVegan daytime showcase that is happening at Galaxy Room (formerly Radio Room) on Saturday, March 20th featuring Roky Erickson backed by Okkervil River, Andrew WK, and more (Montreal and non-Canadian) bands TBA.
The Lovely Feathers @ 9:00 p.m.
Parlovr @ 10:00 p.m.
Beast @ 11:00 p.m.
Think About Life @ 12:00 a.m.
We Are Wolves @ 1:00 a.m.
In total Think About Life will be on the North American Road from March 12th through April 30th, making two NYC stops along the way. They play Mercury Lounge on Tuesday, April 27th. Tickets are on sale now. Two days earlier they will be one of the band's at this year's WBAR-B-Q on Sunday, April 25th at Barnard College. Last year's WBAR-B-Q was played by Gang Gang Dance, Free Blood and more.
The two tracks above from their 2009 record Family. All tour dates and the video for their future-disco epic "Sweet Sixteen" are below...
by Bill Pearis
It's another jam-packed week of shows. In addition to Taken By Trees, El Perro Del Mar and The Soundtrack of our Lives, here's some of the ones I'm excited about.
tonight (2/16): New Cantora Records signees Bear Hands play The Studio at Webster Hall. You can download the band's percussion-heavy new single "What a Drag" for free from their website if you're willing to give them your email address. You can also watch the video at the bottom of this post.
Also tonight (2/16), Beast kick off what is now a run of three NYC shows. As we pointed out earlier today, "Beast are at the Living Room tonight. They play the Cameo tomorrow night late...and they've added an early set at the Mercury Lounge on Wednesday, where the show is with Fight Like Apes, Honor By August, Stationary Set and Tryptics."
This week is last of Savoir Adore's February Thursdays residency at Cake Shop and we've got a pair of tickets up for grabs. Just email BVCONTESTS@HOTMAIL.COM and we'll pick a winner at random. In addition to Savoir Adore (have I mentioned their album made my Best of 2009 list?), it's another good group of openers. The Bloodsugars make '80s-inspired widescreen pop that at times sounds uncannily like Prefab Sprout -- and good Prefab Sprout, not "hot dog jumping frog Albequerque" Prefab Sprout. Which is to say these folks know their way around big pop hooks, and are kind of a perfect match with Savoir Adore. You can download "Light at the End of the Tunnel" from last year's underrated I Can't Go On, I'll Go On at the top of this post.
Also on Thursday (2/18), Dan Black is in town at Mercury Lounge. There's a new version of Dan's single "Symphonies" that features Kid Cudi, and you can watch the new video for it at the bottom of this post.
Bear in Heaven @ Mercury Lounge in January (more by Kyle Dean Reinford)
A few more shows. Bear in Heaven, who were just great at Mercury Lounge a couple weeks back, play Glasslands on Friday night (2/19) with Secret Machines. What I like about them live is that you can tell they all really enjoying being in Bear in Heaven and playing these songs. They're just a lot of fun to watch, and they're pretty tight too with a drummer beats the shit out of his instrument.
Secret Machines are headlining, a band I haven't seen play in some time but have always liked. They've got a trippy, string-heavy new single, "Like I Can," that you can listen to on their website. Also playing what sounds like a full evening are electro rock quintet Mon Khmer, Noveller and Papa.
Saturday (2/20) marks the end of The Beets/Beach Fossils/Christmas Island tour where they'll play Music Hall of Williamsburg along with German Measels and headliners Crystal Stilts who I still haven't managed to catch since Frankie Rose left the drummer's chair.
Dum Dum Girls
Speaking of Frankie, she'll be pulling double duty Sunday night at Mercury Lounge where her own bandThe Outs will open for Dum Dum Girls (she's their drummer). DDG's debut album for Sub Pop is about six weeks away but you can download the album's first single, "Jail La La," at the top of this post. (It's out on 7" today with a nice cover of the Stones' "Play With Fire" on the flip.) I'm usually not one for re-recording songs that have already been released, but I actually think this recording is spruces things up just enough without unraveling their reverby gauze. After heading to London for a few shows, Dum Dum Girls will be back for SXSW and then will go on tour with Girls in April. All dates are at the bottom of this post.
Frankie & the Outs are really coming along as a band too, and thought they were fantastic at Monster Island this past weekend. The vocal harmonies in particular are the band's strong point, with a bit of soul in there too actually, kind of like some late-'60s girl rockers. I'd love to hear them cover The Kelly Affair/Carry Nation's "Sweet Talking Candy Man" from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. But maybe that's just me.
Also playing are Dum Dum Girls' Sub Pop labelmates Happy Birthday, whose super-catchy song "Girls FM" is downloadable at the top of this post. It's power pop, but kind of gritty/garagy and makes me anxious to hear more.
That's it for this week. Flyers, videos and tour dates after the jump...
by Bill Pearis
Montreal's "trip-rock" BEAST return to NYC for two shows next week: they play The Living Room on Tuesday (2/16) and a late show at Cameo Gallery on Wednesday (2/17). This will be the band's first shows here since CMJ, where you may have seen them play at the Brooklyn Vegan Saturday day party. As I've said before, BEAST need to be seen live, as singer Betti Bonifassi has a magnetic prescence, not to mention some killer pipes, and they're just a lot of fun. The tight confines of Cameo (where they'll play after regular Wed comedy night Big Terriffic) should be especially good.
BEAST were nominated for a Grammy this year for their buzzy video for "Mr. Hurricane" which was directed by Benjamin Steiger Levine (who also directed the amazing clip for Socalled's "You Are Never Alone") and, of course, lost to "Boom Boom Pow." The band will also be at SXSW this year, so look out for them there too.
The "Mr. Hurricane" video and all BEAST tour dates are below.
"[A Grammy] definitely doesn't hold as much credence in the indie world," said Amy Phillips, news editor of online music tastemaker and news site Pitchfork.com.
Though the Grammys occasionally have bestowed their highest reward on albums that pretty much everybody agrees are great - such as OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, in 2004, or The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, in 1998 - the Recording Academy's choices usually don't match those of the music press.The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards air at 8PM ET/PT tonight (1/31).
(And that's as true this year as ever, despite the academy's efforts to get hipper and younger. After wins in the last two years by Herbie Hancock and the duo of Robert Plant and Alison Kruass, there's a notable absence of geezer entries in the top categories this year.)
That's because the critical consensus of what makes for good pop music in 2010 has coalesced around indie bands - all of them at least partly based in Brooklyn - such as Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors and, most of all, Animal Collective, which won the Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics' poll, published earlier this month.
You won't find any of those bands up for any Grammy Awards. But you will find all of them on 2009's Top 10 list from Pitchfork, the online music magazine whose 1-to-10 scoring system - down to scientifically precise decimal points - is taken as gospel in the indie universe. (Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion garnered a world-beating 9.6.)
As Chuck Eddy skeptically pointed out in his essay accompanying the Pazz & Jop poll, eight of the Pitchfork Top 10 also made the P&J Top 10, suggesting that "indie-rock is suddenly better than everything put together." [Philadelphia Inquirer]
The Ting Tings, Silversun Pickups, and MGMT all appear in the Grammy's Best New Artist category. David Byrne & Brian Eno, Death Cab For Cutie, Depeche Mode, Phoenix, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs are all up for Best Alternative Music Album (the latter two also made the top 10 albums list in Pazz & Jop).
UPDATE: Phoenix won it.
"I'm sure Lady Gaga will do something amazing, and I can't wait to see that," said Pitchfork's Phillips. "That's really good, but the awards themselves don't seem to be relevant.As previously also pointed out, Beast, Neko Case (also a Pazz & Jop Top 10er), Imogen Heap, Kings of Leon and Wilco have also been nominated. If Wilco win, it won't be the first time. They talked about their last Grammy win on stage at a show. Video from that, along with other videos and the full list of nominees below...
"I think what people don't really realize is that it's all industry people voting for themselves. The fact is that it's taken so seriously, and it really shouldn't be." [Omaha World-Record]
Beast @ CMJ 2009 (more by Chris La Putt)
Lady Gaga was nominated five times. Considering her rocket to fame over the last year, many were expecting more for her. But at least the contests are going to be really interesting: Beyoncé, [Taylor] Swift and Lady Gaga are going head to head in three of the most important categories: album, record and song of the year. Will one of them sweep, or will the lady vote be split?Neko Case, Imogen Heap, Phoenix, Silversun Pickups, David Byrne, Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs are some of the other familiar names in the list of Grammy nominees this year. As Ben Sisario in the NY Times alludes, the nominations are a complete joke and predictable... but fun to look at anyway. Nobody expects Animal Collective to get picked, despite their soon-to-be status of being one of the highly rated artists of the year (and decade maybe).
One of the usual complaints about the Grammys is that it over-rewards older, established, familiar acts at the expense of newer, fresher ones. MGMT, the Brooklyn synth-rock duo, was nominated for best new artist, a big coup although not unexpected. But some of the shoulda-been names that have been circulated and Tweeted: Grizzly Bear, another acclaimed Brooklyn group; Regina Spektor, a young New York songwriter who started in the underground and has found some mainstream popularity; Diane Birch, a young soul-style singer, just the revivalist type the Grammys usually adore; and the Decemberists, an alt-folk-rock band from Portland, Ore., that released an ambitious concept album this year. [NY Times]
One surprise (for me anyway) came this year in the video category. Montreal's Beast were nominated for "Mr. Hurricane". That video with a list of some of the other nominees, below...
by Bill Pearis
Last year when I went to M for Montreal, I didn't know any of the bands going in, which made it sort of exciting, with no preconceived notions from hype or un-hype. This time, though, I had heard many of the bands at M, as well as having seen a handful of them before. At Friday's sélection officielle at club Just Pour Rire (10/20), I'd seen half of the bands before, and the other half I'd given at least a cursory listen.
The best surprise of the night was electronic trio Le Matos who are kind of Montreal's Simian Mobile Disco, and tore the place up with a blinding set of squelchy techno. I mean blinding literally: surrounded by a ring of versatile "light pillars" (my term) you could barely see the musicians. Most of my pictures were either a giant block of bright color or completely black thanks to the strobes. If you've seen SMD's live set, it was definitely influenced by that but Le Matos took it full circle. While their music feels a little 2007, but in the moment, at maximum volume and with that light show, it was kind of awesome and the crowd was eating it up like so much sugary cereal. They are getting a lot of remix work, so look out for these guys next year.
My favorite non-surprise was probably Parlovr who I caught at CMJ about a month ago and was impressed by then. Even more so now. 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. New album due early next year apparently.
Also impressive live are Toronto's DD/MM/YYYY who have clearly gotten much tighter than the last time I saw them (Don Pedro's, like three years ago). It's proggy-mathy, but bordering on chaos too. I'm not that crazy about their records -- a little too much going on at one time for my poppier tastes -- but I'd go see them again, no question.
The rest of the evening's bands were a little underwhelming. Silly Kissers didn't wear mime makeup this time (like they did at CMJ) which is a definite plus, but I really don't think they are "export ready." Which is not a dis. Their low fi, cutesy (sometimes charming) version of '80s synthpop would be more at home at a house party rather than with the fancy lights at Juste Pour Rire -- though a special appearance from Cadence Weapon (his second of the fest) added cred.
The night ended with a "surprise" performance by BEAST, which wasn't that much of a surprise as one of M's organizers is their manager, but it was a welcome finish to Friday. Like Think About Life, seeing BEAST in front of an adoring Montreal crowd is a completely different experience from seeing them in skeptical New York. This was my fourth time seeing them (previously, most recently at the Brooklyn Vegan day party during CMJ), and though their set has pretty much remained the same since this time last year, they do it so well. singer Betti Bonifassi has such magnetism - it's still fun. And the crowd was going crazy for them. They brought down the house.
The previous night's review and pics are HERE. More pictures from night two, and video of Parlovr's performance are below...
I said it a few time throughout CMJ week this year: Montreal just tries harder. I'm not saying the city's artists make better albums than everyone else, but as far as giving their all on stage, band-for-band, Montreal groups are much more likely to entertain you than one from another city. Maybe that's just the one's they're sending us, but there was plenty of evidence to support this theory during CMJ 2009, and no place more concentrated than at the M for Montreal showcase at Arlene's Grocery on Wednesday (10/21) where there were six of the city's bands on display.
The night started early with a sampling on Montreal's most famous drunk food, poutine, and a set by up-and comers Parlovr (pronounced "parlour," if you're wondering) who made an impressive, shouty racket. The manic trio feature two guitarists (one of whom also plays keyboards) who take turns on vocals and flipping their hair around, while their bearded drummer walloped away.
Silly Kissers had most NYers in the audience looking around uncomfortably -- we're not used to synthpop bands who wear mime make-up -- and maybe here's a MTL band trying a bit too hard in that department but their songs were kinda catchy and a group of girls in front of me were dancing nonstop and singing along.
Then came BEAST who took most of the crowd by surprise, and won most of them over by the end of their set. As I said before, singer Betti Bonafassi is a magnetic performer, and when she sings off-mike for the opening of "Ashtray," the power of her voice becomes instantly apparent. The rest of the band are no slouches either. Drummer and co-songwriter Jean-Phi Goncalves occasionally picks up a megaphone and starts rapping in French, guitarist Serge Pelletier lays down Morricone-like leads, and it's hard to miss Jonathan Dauphinais' instrument -- a bass/keyboard combo that looks to have been fused together MacGuyver-style. (BEAST also played a great early set three days later at our Saturday day party at Pianos.)
By the time Think About Life took the stage, Arlene's Grocery was packed and the crowd was ready for fun. As good as they were playing a very, very early opening set at the Brooklyn Vegan showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg the night before, the band clearly is fueled by the audience and the crowd was eating it up. It was easily one of the top five sets I saw at CMJ this year. It doesn't hurt that their new album, Family, is awesome -- loaded with stick-in-your-head jams, including "Sweet Sixteen" and "Young Hearts." Also, adding singer Caila Thompson-Hannant (of Shapes & Sizes) gives frontman Martin Cesar someone to play off of, which just makes them all the more fun.
At this point I had to exit, but there was also We Are Wolves and Malajube, followed by the awesome mayhem that is Duchess Says, who also played our Thursday day party at Pianos. By the looks of these photos, and from reading people's Twitter feeds, Duchess Says' show at Arlene's was wild (when people wrote they "destroyed" Arlene's, it was more literal than most "killed it" CMJ tweets). The band clearly won over the Pianos crowd too (NY Times included) and anyone who has been within 20 feet of singer Annie-Claude in performance mode will never forget it.
Video of Parlovr, Think About Life and Duchess Says, plus lots more pictures from the M for Montreal showcase (and one set from Pianos), after the jump...
BEAST @ Arlene's Grocery
I'm pleased to announce a late addition to the Brooklyn Vegan / Bowery Presents day party tomorrow at Pianos: Montreal's BEAST, who will kick off the day's festivities at 12:30pm. They played a knockout set at the M for Montreal showcase at Arlene's Grocery on Wednesday. Singer Betti Bonafissi is a magnetic performer, with a powerhouse set of pipes and the kind of swagger you can't fake. Her voice pairs well with the band's harder-edged update of '90s trip hop. I like their record, but they are something else live.
Montreal's Think About Life were the third of six acts at CMJ's "M" for Montreal showcase at Manhattan's Arlene's Grocery Wednesday, but they could have carried the entire night on their own. The four-piece dance act arrived on stage after an increasingly vibrant and upbeat performance by Beast, led by Béatrice Bonifassi, the voice of 'The Triplets of Belleville,' who seemed to be revving up the crowd for the party that was to come. [Spinner]BV photographer Ryan Muir was there (though the pictures in this post are by Chris La Putt), and he said Beast was the best CMJ set he had seen so far up until that point.
If you can't make our day party on Saturday, BEAST are also playing tonight (10/23, 7:30 PM) at The Studio at Webster Hall, and tomorrow night (10/24, Midnight) at The Living Room. Definitely try and catch them.
We're also happy to say that in addition to all the great bands -- Cymbals Eat Guitars, Deastro, The Wheel, Surf City, Pete & the Pirates, Smith Westerns among them -- and the free Miller and Vitamin Water, we're also going to have free bloody marys while supplies last before and during BEAST's set (approx 12-1). So get there early, stay late... we'll see you tomorrow.
The rest of the pictures from the M for Montreal show, and the entire schedule for the Brooklyn Vegan / Bowery Presents day party follows...
by Bill Pearis
We already mentioned that Montreal's Think About Life will be in town this week playing Tuesday night's BrooklynVegan showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg and the M for Montreal night at Arlene's Grocery on Wednesday (10/21). Also playing the M4M show are electro-punks Duchess Says, whose only other show this week will be the BrooklynVegan day party on Thursday (10/22) at Pianos. Full line-up for that show will be announced soon.
Duchess Says were probably the wildest band I saw at last year's M for Montreal festival, due almost entirely to spitfire singer Annie-Claude. She is a woman possessed onstage, wild-eyed and not afraid to leap into the crowd... or drag the crowd onstage. They are loved in their hometown -- the show I saw, the crowd was going completely mental -- but they haven't toured that much in America so it's a real treat to have them here this week, and to have them at our day party.
If you want to get a good cross-section of the Montreal scene, and aren't scared of seeing some bands who sing in French, you should definitely hit up Arlene's Grocery Wednesday night which has an excellent line-up. In addition to Think About Life and Duchess Says, the M for Montreal showcase features: "trip rock" duo BEAST, whose singer Betty Bonifassi provided the vocals for Triplets of Belleville. As I wrote after seeing them, she's got one of Those Voices (Shirley Bassey comes to mind) - smoky, world-wear, yet powerful, enough to cause the hair on the back of your neck to stand at attention. BEAST are playing four shows during CMJ, and all dates are below.
Also playing: Up-and-comers Parlovr play shouty, anthemic indie rock not entirely unlike Wolf Parade and they apparently wowed audiences at this year's Pop Montreal; Malajube who did very well for themselves when they played CMJ in 2006; MTL scene veterans We Are Wolves; and the electropop sounds of Silly Kissers.
The High Dials
Not playing that night but also from Montreal and also playing CMJ are The High Dials whose most recent album, Moon Country, made my Best Albums of 2008 list. If you're unfamiliar, they make country-tinged '60s-ish psych-rock, with great harmonies and occasional doses of druggy drone. The High Dials are playing two NYC shows this week, both on Saturday (10/24). First at Lit (10:15) and then at Arlene's Grocery (12:30). They are fantastic live, you should definitely clear some space for these guys. They're also playing a few East Coast coast while down in America, too, and those dates are below.
And while I'm talking about Canada and Arlene's Grocery, Thursday (10/22) is this year's Canadian Blast which has hard rockers Priestess, the anthemic alt-rock of Jets Overhead, funk-soul mashup Grand Analog, hip hop act Classified and youngsters Spiral Beach.
Tour dates, flyers and videos after the jump...
by Andrew Frisicano
The 4th edition of the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival will take place in Montreal's Parc Jean-Drapeau on August 1st and 2nd. Osheaga is proud to announce that the headliners for this year's edition are the multi-platinum selling band Coldplay on Saturday, August 1st and hip-hop pioneers Beastie Boys on Sunday, August 2nd....Osheaga is one of only two North American festival appearances that Coldplay will make this year.The other North American festival is All Points West, which takes place the same weekend in NJ, and also has the Beastie Boys, Lykke Li, Arctic Monkeys, Crystal Castles, the Ting Tings, Elbow, and Kitty Daisy and Lewis in common with the Canadians.
Also playing the Osheaga Fest will be The Roots (who played APW last year, and...), who, because of their Jimmy Fallon gig, are mostly sticking to NYC-area gigs this year. They will also play the outdoor fest of their own in Philly over the summer.
This year will mark the fourth year for the Osheaga Festival. BV Mike was there last year: Day 1 and Day 2, and in 2007 too. The 2008 festival was also when Iggy & the Stooges - with Mike Watt - got their equipment stolen.
Tickets for the festival go on sale Friday, April 3rd at noon. More info and full (initial?) line-up below...
by Bill Pearis
The second night of M for Montreal was easily the best of the fest, with no bands I didn't like and three or four who were pretty incredible. Like the previous night, we were herded between the two performance rooms at Juste Pour Rire which is normally a comedy club, (Just for Laughs is the translation if you're French is like mine) but actually had great sound and lighting.
Judging by audience reaction alone, of which there were many locals in attendance, Beast were the most loved of the night - kind of impressive as the band only played their first live show in March. Some have called Beast "trip rock" which sort of works - you can definitely draw comparisons to Portishead or even Moloko, but they are heavier and louder. Most of the adoration, deservedly, goes to singer Betty Bonifassi, who was the main singing voice in the movie Triplets of Belleville, and who has one of Those Voices (Shirley Bassey comes to mind) - smoky, world-wear, yet powerful, enough to cause the hair on the back of your neck to stand at attention.
I also really liked Arkells who are from Hamilton, Ontario and who sounded to me like '80s heartland rock - both the Bruce Springsteen / Bob Seeger, and Replacements / Soul Asylum varieties. No pretension, just ridiculously catchy songs - I've been singing the chorus of their song "John Lennon" in my head ever since Friday.
Also on the bill: Chinatown, who were sort of a melding of The Strokes and traditional French pop with very catchy songs (in French); The night featured two new signings to Paper Bag Records (home of Tokyo Police Club and The Acorn), Winter Gloves and Woodhands. Montreal's Winter Gloves play keyboard-oriented indie rock a la TPC or Passion Pit and were definitely local favorites. Toronto keyboard-drums duo, Woodhands, were the only band to feature a laser show and were there to make you dance. You may have caught them when they played Studio B in Brooklyn with Crystal Castles.
The night's "official selection" ended with CLAASS, which is two-thirds of We Are Wolves plus a DJ friend on keyboards, have loads of style -- dressing like they were in a '40s noir film and shrouded in smoke machines. They pump out the kind of dance music I haven't heard since the heyday of Wax Trax! It's pastiche, but they do it well and I have a soft spot for this kind of stuff.
Next came the after-party which was free and open to the public. The place immediately flooded with kids, there to see Misteur Valaire, who I'd never heard of before, but are obviously massively popular in Montreal. Shout Out Out Out Out are the easiest comparison, but it's more musically varied (they're all trained jazz musicians apparently), more of a seamless dance party. Their album, which is available for free on their website, sounds more like the kind of club music you'd hear in Asian-fusion restaurants (but better) and absolutely does not do justice to their amazing live show. Hopefully they'll be bringing it across the border soon.
More pictures below...