Entries tagged with: pop montreal

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by Bill Pearis

Pop Montreal HQ (via @popmontreal)
sound-source

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

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)
sound-source

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)
All Star Pop Group

Brooklyn singer-songwriter Doe Paoro opens for My Brightest Diamond at Bowery Ballroom tonight (9/25). Tickets for that show are still available.

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...

Continue reading "new Field Report, Doe Paoro tonight, Elliot Moss, Volcano Choir & other Bon Iver related news"

Pop vs Jock 2012 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
Pop vs Jock

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.

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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...

Continue reading "Mozart's Sister released debut album, playing NYC after Canadian tour w/ PS I Love You (dates, streams)"

Unicorns

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.

Continue reading "The Unicorns reissuing 'Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?,' share Daniel Johnston cover, playing Pop Montreal"

Pop Montreal

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...

Continue reading "Pop Montreal initial 2014 lineup: Ty Segall, Panda Bear, Trust, Twin Shadow, Why?, Shonen Knife, PS I Love You & more"

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

METZ & 'Songs of Darkness' @ Pop Montreal 2013
Pop Montreal Day 5
Pop Montreal Day 5

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...

Continue reading "Pop Montreal Day 5: Royal Canoe, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Patrick Watson's Songs of Darkness, METZ, more"

by Dominick Mastrangelo

Shuggie Otis / Pat Jordache / Brendan Canning
Pop Montreal Day 4
Pop Montreal Day 4
Pop Montreal Day 4

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...

Continue reading "Pop Montreal Day 4: Yellowman and Josey Wales, Brendan Canning, Pat Jordache, Secret Sun, Shuggie Otis & more"

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan & Angel Olsen - Pop Montreal Day 3
Pop Montreal Day 3
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...

Continue reading "Pop Montreal Day 3: How Sad, Valleys, Angel Olsen, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Leif Vollebekk & more (pics)"

by Dominick Mastrangelo

Dodos / Braids @ Pop Montreal 9/26/2013
Dodos
Pop Montreal Day 2

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.

I also caught Viet Cong, the new band from some of the members of the defunct Women, and more on that soon. Pics from Day 1 are here. More pics from Day 2 below...

Continue reading "POP Montreal Day 2 in pics: The Dodos, Braids, Suuns, Patrick Watson & more"

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

DIANA at POP Montreal 2013
Pop Montreal Day 1

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...

Continue reading "POP Montreal underway (pics from the DIANA, Empress Of and Mori show)"

The Gories at The Bell House in 2012 (more by Jason House)
The Gories

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...

Continue reading "Northside shows at Brooklyn Bowl on sale: Mac DeMarco, White Fence, The Gories, Sinkane, Born Ruffians & more"

Valleys

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.

Continue reading "Valleys sign to Kanine, playing NYC next week for CMJ"

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

Grizzly Bear / Purity Ring
Grizzly Bear
Purity Ring

POP Montreal wrapped up on Sunday (9/23) and BV photographer Dominick Mastrangelo was there and captured shots of Grizzly Bear, Purity Ring, Woodpigeon (aka Mark Hamilton solo), Lucky Dragons, Brazilian Money, and "Where the River Got the Water Remix," a dance piece featuring dancer Hanako Hoshimi-Caines and singer/songwriter Katie Moore.

It was a hometown show for Montreal's Purity Ring, and doubled as the last date on their tour with Evian Christ and Headaches, which had hit NYC the two days prior (9/21 at Bowery Ballroom and 9/22 at MHOW).

Grizzly Bear's show was part of their ongoing tour which hit NYC the next night (9/24) at Radio City.

Pictures of POP Montreal from Friday (9/21) are HERE, Saturday (9/22) are HERE, and more from Sunday are below.

Continue reading "POP Montreal 2012 -- Sunday pics (Grizzly Bear, Purity Ring, Woodpigeon Lucky Dragons, Brazilian Money & more)"

words by Kelly Pratt, new photos by Bryan Murray

If you're just joining us, also check out part 1 and part 2. Part 3 begins here...

Kelly Pratt @ Pop Montreal (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
David Byrne

Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Boston, on to NY

On this tour, we are exceptionally lucky to be playing some of North America's most beautiful theaters. The Chicago Theatre is perhaps my favorite. Built in the early 1920's, it was initially used primarily as a movie theater. In 1986, it was massively restored and repurposed as a music venue. I find myself thinking of a memorable collection of photographs that document a number of abandoned theaters across the US. Many of these are beautiful rooms, but because of a variety of reasons (including urban population shifts and the rise of home video in the 1980's) they were deserted and are in various states of decay today. The shows in Chicago and Toronto go very well. We are at a point now where we can perform the show without having to concentrate on every little detail, thereby allowing us to focus more on the overall musical and visual impact (and the beautiful venues we are playing in).

We arrive in Montreal the morning after Toronto to play the Eglise St-Jean-Baptiste as part of the Pop Montreal festival. The church is majestically cavernous: there are huge chandeliers and two imposing organs. I head over to the Arcade Fire studio where David has just finished rehearsing some covers for the halftime show of the their yearly charity basketball game POP vs. Jock. As I walk in Regine is practicing some jock jams on organ for the in-game entertainment.

Halftime show (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
David Byrne

During our sound check DB suggests that Daniel use one of the organs for the St. Vincent encore, "The Party," and also that, during that song, we put all the horns in the crowd. Luckily we have front-of-house engineer Pete Keppler on tour. He manages to make us sound great no matter what venue we are in, or what new ideas we throw into the mix. In Montreal we get what might be our best audience response yet, setting the bar very high for the rest of the tour.

The next day we all head to Boston for a day off. Most of us end up getting tickets to see Grizzly Bear at the Orpheum where we are playing the following night. [Like at Radio City] Their set draws heavily from their new album, which takes them further into psychedelic territory. The visuals are particularly breathtaking, accentuated by 12 or so hanging lanterns that rise and sink throughout the show. A few late games of pool later we head back to the hotel to rest.

After another very fun show we depart Boston for a day off in NY. First Beacon Theatre show tonight!

---

Beacon Theater tonight is their first of three NYC shows on the tour. Tickets are available for tonight and tomorrow at Beacon Theater, and for the Saturday show at Williamsburg Park.

The photos you see above are from other recent BrooklynVegan posts. An original set that accompanies this post, by Bryan Murray, can be seen below...

Continue reading "On the Road with David Byrne & St. Vincent (part 3)"

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

Win Butler schooling on the bball court
Pop Vs. Jock
Pop Vs. Jock

POP Montreal continued on Saturday (9/22) and BV photographer Dominick Mastrangelo was on the scene and got shots of The Sadies, "Shut Up and Eat Your Ballads" (Leif Vollebek and friends Michael Feuerstack, Laurel Sprengelmeyer of Little Scream, and Brad Barr covering Tom Waits), and Rags to Radio. He also stopped by the Pop vs. Jock basketball game which saw members of Arcade Fire and The Strokes playing basketball with other celebrities like actor Martin Starr (Freaks & Geeks, Party Down), pro basketball player Luke Bonner, and more.

David Byrne, who played a POP Montreal show with St. Vincent a day earlier (9/21) (they start their NYC-run of three shows tonight), performed at the game's halftime show. During his set, he was joined by Arcade Fire's Win and Will Butler and The Strokes' Nikolai Fraiture to perform covers of ? and the Mysterians' "96 Tears" and KC and the Sunshine Band's "That's the Way (I Like It)." You can watch a video of the latter below.

More pictures from Friday (9/21) are HERE. Pics from Sunday (9/23) are coming soon and more from Saturday are below.

Continue reading "POP Montreal Saturday pics -- The Sadies, Pop vs Jock (where Arcade Fire & Strokes members & David Byrne played) & more"

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

Win Butler schooling on the bball court
Pop Vs. Jock
Pop Vs. Jock

POP Montreal continued on Saturday (9/22) and BV photographer Dominick Mastrangelo was on the scene and got shots of The Sadies, "Shut Up and Eat Your Ballads" (Leif Vollebek and friends Michael Feuerstack, Laurel Sprengelmeyer of Little Scream, and Brad Barr covering Tom Waits), and Rags to Radio. He also stopped by the Pop vs. Jock basketball game which saw members of Arcade Fire and The Strokes playing basketball with other celebrities like actor Martin Starr (Freaks & Geeks, Party Down), pro basketball player Luke Bonner, and more.

David Byrne, who played a POP Montreal show with St. Vincent a day earlier (9/21) (they start their NYC-run of three shows tonight), performed at the game's halftime show. During his set, he was joined by Arcade Fire's Win and Will Butler and The Strokes' Nikolai Fraiture to perform covers of ? and the Mysterians' "96 Tears" and KC and the Sunshine Band's "That's the Way (I Like It)." You can watch a video of the latter below.

More pictures from Friday (9/21) are HERE. Pics from Sunday (9/23) are coming soon and more from Saturday are below.

Continue reading "POP Montreal Saturday pics -- The Sadies, Pop vs Jock (where Arcade Fire & Strokes members & David Byrne played) & more"

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

St. Vincent / Julia Holter
David Byrne and St. Vincent
Julia Holter

When it came down to it, [Annie] Clark's voice was the star. Though [David] Byrne, a shock of white, was the one the thousands came to worship - and it's hard to deny the unadulterated joy hearing of "This Must Be the Place" and "Burning Down the House" in such a pristine setting - it was Clark who made the deepest impact. Free of reverbed guitar heroics and floating above a cloud of brass, her rendition of "The Party" during the evening's second encore was a revelation. Drawing from the gigantic church's natural resonance (not to mention its massive pipe organ), the song began with the brass band walked down the aisles as Clark appeared onstage alone, spinning a macabre rhapsody till its eventual sonic denouement.

Closer "Road to Nowhere" wasn't too shabby either. [National Post]

POP Montreal returned to Montreal for its tenth annual year this past week with countless artists across multiple venues in the city. Like CMJ and SXSW, there are so many good options at POP Montreal -- newcomers and old favorites alike -- that it's impossible to catch everyone. While we were there on Friday (9/21), we caught David Byrne & St. Vincent (who are on a tour which hits NYC three times this week -- have you checked out Kelly Pratt's tour diary with David and Annie?), French electronic artist Bertrand Burgalat (who plans to make his way to NYC for CMJ), Julia Holter, Solar Year, and recent Sub Pop-signees METZ (who have also been on the road a lot, and will be back in NYC for CMJ and again on their November tour).

POP Montreal pictures from Saturday (9/22) and Sunday (9/23) are coming soon. More pics from Friday are below.

Continue reading "POP Montreal -- Friday pics (David Byrne & St. Vincent, Julia Holter, Bertrand Burgalat, METZ & Solar Year)"

by Bill Pearis

Win Butler at 'POP vs Jock' 2011
Win Butler

I remember as a kid, the Jaycees chapter in my hometown put on a "donkey basketball" game at the Junior High gymnasium and local "celebrites" (politicians, radio DJs, probably teachers) played. Donkeys are stubborn, as you know, and these non-atheletes fell off their animals pretty much every time they threw or caught the ball, and most times in between. It was HILARIOUS. And it went to a good cause.

While there are (thankfully) no donkeys involved, folks attending this year's Pop Montreal fest (Sept. 19 - 22) can see a bunch of fairly famous indie rock types (plus a couple ringers) wheeze down the court for "POP vs Jock : Charity Basketball Game" which happens on September 22 at McGill University Sports Centre.

The Arcade Fire's Win (6'4") and William Butler will lead Team Pop which includes Martin Starr (Freaks & Geeks, Party Down), Nikolai Fraiture of The Strokes, actual pro basketball player Luke Bonner and others; Team Jock will be members of the McGill Redman and Concordia Stingers. Soundtracking the game will be Kid Koala, Régine Chassagne, with a halftime show featuring David Byrne & Moment Factory. They did this last year too.

Tickets are $20 (for regular folks) or $1500 for corporate donations and can be purchased here.

DOWNLOAD: The Soft Moon Vs. John Foxx & the Maths - Evidence (MP3)

Cold Showers
Cold Showers

Cold Showers are teaming up with fellow gloomy synth-loving Californians The Soft Moon for a September tour that includes a NYC stop at Glasslands on 9/20. Tickets to that show are on sale now. Right after that show, both bands will head north across the Canadian border for Pop Montreal. Tour dates for both bands are listed below.

Cold Showers, who played one of our Hotel Vegan day shows during SXSW this year, have a new 7" single on Art Fag Recordings and you can stream that below.

Meanwhile, The Soft Moon recently released a collaborative, one-sided 7" with onetime Ultravox singer John Foxx which you can download at the top of this post. The band have finished recording their second album for Captured Tracks the release date for which is TBD.

The Glasslands show also features APSE side project ERAAS, who just played a show at Glasslands with Telepathe and Feathers.

Continue reading "Cold Showers and The Soft Moon released new singles (stream), touring together (dates), playing Glasslands"

POP Montreal

POP Montreal is returning to Montreal this year from September 19 - 23. The initial lineup was revealed and it includes Grizzly Bear, Gang Gang Dance, David Byrne, Tim Hecker, Julia Holter, I Break Horses, Hot Snakes, Dirty Three, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, Cate Le Bon, Bertrand Burgulat (!), and more. The full initial lineup is listed below and many more announcements to come. Early Bird tickets are on sale until June 30, when regular sale begins.

Meanwhile, Montreal will be getting the Ohsheaga Festival even sooner.

Initial POP Montreal lineup below...

Continue reading "POP Montreal initial 2012 lineup revealed (Grizzly Bear, Gang Gang Dance, David Byrne, Tim Hecker, Hot Snakes & more)"

by Bill Pearis

Forest Fire
Forest Fire

Thursday, we're in the thick of it now and maybe some of us are already frazzled. Which might explain why this picks post is shorter than yesterday's. Also, we're starting to see a lot of the same bands, so see this as a reminder as to what's happening where. This isn't comprehensive, just what I personally recommend. I've tried to include set times at the bottom of this post for all parties mentioned.

Hopefully you're going to stop by the BV Day Party at Kniting Factory which has Yellow OstrichStill CornersHundred VisionsForest FireBOBBY, Main Attrakionz and the just added We Were Promised Jetpacks. Yellow Ostrich kicks things off at 12:30, hope you can make it down. There's free PBR & HobNob Wine too for those over 21.

Miracle Fortress
Miracle Fortress

You can make a day of it in Williamsburg, and we wouldn't grudge you for venue hopping. Public Assembly's got the Pop Montreal party today, with Miracle Fortress, Pat Jordache, Teen Daze, Tops, Tonstartssbandht, and Touchy Mob... plus food courtesy Mile End. Maybe some Montreal-style bagels?

Radical Dads
Radical Dads

Over at Bruar Falls it's the Camper's Rule Records party, with Radical Dads (if you're from out of town, one of my favorite new local bands), plus Fort Lean, Backords, Beat People, Easter Vomit, Yanqui, and Moonmen On the Moon, Man. Plus, you're running out of chances to hang out at Bruar Falls... it closes at the end of the month.

The Suzan
The Suzan

And at The Woods, there's a cool afternoon/early-evening party being thrown by the folks at all-girl-drummer zine Tom Tom, with a great line-up of bands that, yes, all feature ladies behind the kit. There's Baybee Teeth, Coasting, TEEN, The Suzan, Pearl & the Beard, Brute Heart and Satellite Sky. $5 cover for this one. Let's hope the sound has improved from last year's CMJ-week shows, which was a joke.

Of course it's hard to deny the allure of the Lower East Side, what with five or so clubs all within a block or two of each other, making for very easy show-hopping. The two best are on the same Ludlow Block. At Cake Shop, NYC Taper has indie rawkers Mr. Dream, the widescreen pop of Savoir Adore, the dreamy/dusty sounds of Widowspeak, superior psych group White Fence, the dark anthemecism of Hoop Dreams, plus Prussia and Teletextile.

And at Pianos,I Guess I'm Floating and Tell All Your Friends PR have two floors of fun, with a few Canadians (Grimes, Parlovr, Doldrums), one Australian (Little Red), dance music (Beat Connection, Body Language) and lots more. Full schedule is below.

Okay, those are my daytime choices of choice. Flyers and set times, some for shows not mentioned above, are below.

Continue reading "CMJ 2011 - Bill's Thursday daytime picks (BV day party, Miracle Fortress & other Canadians, Radical Dads, The Suzan & more)"

words and photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

Patrick Watson's Sacred Sunday
Patrick Watson's Sacred Sunday at Pop Montreal 2010

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...

Continue reading "Pop Montreal 2010 - Day 5 in pics & review (Patrick Watson's Sacred Sunday, Film School & more)"

words by Rachel Kowal, photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

Scout Niblett in Montreal
Scout Niblett at Pop Montreal 2010

When Emil Amos, the man behind Holy Sons, walked on stage at the Mercury Lounge in NYC on October 6th, the room was still sparsely populated. It was early - just 7:00, but there was little time to waste. The venue had booked back to back shows.

Amos began his show accompanied by just his electric guitar. After playing his first song, he surveyed the crowd. "I don't know if I've actually been to an early show," he admitted in between sips of whiskey and tea. "So if you feel weird, that's totally fine."

Holy Sons falls mostly under the classification of lo-fi/folk. At times, Amos' voice is reminiscent of Will Oldham's (whom both he and Scout have collaborated with). But his music also features moody and aggressive instrumental pushes, as if Amos didn't quite shake his interest in the hardcore scene of the early 90s.

After a few songs, Amos scanned the room. Upon seeing his band mates, he casually offered them an invitation to join him on stage, bringing the number of performers up to four. Throughout their performance, people slowly filtered in and lurked in the shadows in the back of the room.

When Holy Sons had concluded their short set, Scout (Emma) Niblett left her post in the audience and walked over to affectionately greet Emil with a kiss before continuing with her set up process. In everything from her music to her very appearance, Niblett embodies a compelling mix of casual innocence and I-could-kick-your-ass-if-I-wanted-to confidence. This night, she wore an over-sized army surplus jacket of sorts, offset by touches of femininity - a bright red flower tucked behind her ear and rings on nearly every finger.

After carefully positioning the mic and laying out a notebook containing a hand-written set list, Scout Niblett took a seat behind the drum kit with her guitar hanging around her neck, which allowed her the freedom of moving between the two instruments whenever the mood struck. Like Holy Sons, she played the first few songs of her set solo.

In a characteristically bold and candid move, she turned to the audience. "Any questions?" She waited a few beats for a response. "I always ask if anyone has any just in case." Upon hearing nothing, she played one more song solo (this time at the front mic) before signaling wildly to Dan Wilson to join her on drums.

Scout Niblett's music is marked by furious highs and delicate lows, and she navigates between the two like a restless, overenthusiastic child choosing between new toys on Christmas. There aren't many people who could get away with singing the line, "We're all gonna die" with such a perfect balance of sweet and sinister.

With Wilson's support on drums, Niblett turned up the distortion and things got gritty. Though there is definitely a special intensity to her solo performance, Niblett and Wilson make quite a team on stage. At the conclusion of each song, Wilson watched the singer intently, trying to time the last drum beat with the moment her foot tapped the pedal.

Midway through the set, she paused to take in requests. This time instead of being met with silence, the audience responded by shouting out a number of conflicting song titles. "OK. We'll try to fit some in," she said, reflecting on her options. She settled with one of the first requests made, "Wolfie."

Then, as if remembering she was on a tight schedule, she addressed the sound guy after a few songs. "How much time do we have?" "You've got time for a couple more." She reflected on her set list. "Did I do that Beloved song? No? Shit! That ruined everything," she exclaimed, stomping her foot in mock outrage. To the delight of the modestly sized but clearly dedicated audience (a couple of people apparently drove down from Canada), she launched into "Nevada" with such fervor that she was nearly shrieking the lyrics. Of course, she still managed to smirk through the strain.

"OK, so this is the last one," she said, prompting disappointment and denial from the crowd. Immediately upon wrapping her last song ("Do You Want to Be Burried with My People"), Niblett only had time to offer a brief word of thanks before the house lights and music came back on and severed any hope for an encore.

--

Emma and Emil also played a show one night earlier at Knitting Factory in Brooklyn (videos below), and a show two nights before that in Montreal for Pop Montreal (pictures in this post) (hopefully those Canadian fans were able to catch that show too). All mentioned gigs were part of a short tour for the couple that has now concluded, though Scout is still on tour.

Holy Sons' new album Survivalist Tales is out via Partisan Records today (10/12). Grab that.

All upcoming dates, a couple more pictures of Scout from the Montreal show, videos from Knitting Factory and Scout's Mercury Lounge setlist, below...

Continue reading "Scout Niblett & Holy Sons played 2 NYC shows, Pop Montreal (pics, video, review, setlist) "

words and photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

Deerhoof
Deerhoof at Pop Montreal 2010

No rain, a bit of sun (if only briefly) and finally a day party outside to start Day Four (Saturday) of Pop Montreal (catch up with day 1, day 2 and day 3).

The Notman House had the grill up and running and the speakers loud enough I could clearly hear the first band of the day, Edmonton's The Whitsundays, in my room at the Opus Hotel across the street. People lined up for free pulled pork and/or lentil sandwiches, sipped beer, listened to the Edmonton quartet's opening set (a solid, catchy blend of garage rock/pop) or milled about the house. It was an eclectic mix of people with little kids running around with their faces painted and even greeting people as they made their way up the Notman House front steps. It felt like a party which the weather managed to kill off on Thursday and Friday.

Stuck around for a really entertaining set by another Edmonton band, Hot Panda, before catching the bus (free bus pass was a godsend) to catch Think About Life and Diamond Rings at Divan Orange. I walked up to see people hanging out and then caught a glimpse of the sheet of paper stuck to the door. "Sold Out," it read. Or, since it was a free day party 'at capacity' was more apt. So, I hung around in hopes of getting in, not nearly as disappointed as some of those around me who were clearly crushed by that white sheet of paper.

Think About Life played before Diamond Rings, and it cleared out a bit after their set. Diamond Rings is the solo project of John O'Regan of the D'Urbervilles, and he shows a lot of promise. Synths, guitar and processed beats via laptop made for some simple, yet agreeable, dance numbers. Though his own dance moves were cringe-inducing.

The evening part of the program looked to be a long one with Deerhoof announced via Twitter as the 2am Loft Party headliner at Espace Reunion. It started off at Cabaret Mile End and the news that Doveman, who was slotted in between Mary Margaret O'Hara and Little Scream, was unable to make it out of New York and canceled. Instead, Little Scream's short but enchanting opening set complete with string accompaniment gave way to replacement act Becky Foon + Howl which was Little Scream, Becky Foon on cello Jess Robertson on violin and other members. But I opted to dash up Parc to another Cabaret, Playhouse, to see what was happening there. The official Pop Schedule said I was supposed to be catching Secretary City, but instead I found a seven-piece collective, Olenka and The Autumn Lovers, who were supposed to play Thursday but their van broke down on the way in from London, Ontario. The pleasant surprises to this point were few and far between but Olenka and Co. were the biggest. A solid dose of folk, chamber pop and Americana (can you call it that if they're Canadian?) wrapped in Eastern European themes (there's certainly a bit of Beirut in their sound) through Olenka Krakus's memories of Communist Poland.

Mary Margaret O'Hara
Mary Margaret O'Hara at Pop Montreal 2010

Then it was back to Mile End for Mary Margaret O'Hara. In the past 10 years you could probably count her number of public performances on two hands, with fingers left over. Whirling in with her band 20 minutes before they took the stage, everything was left to chance; even the setlist, which was drawn from a hat by O'Hara and audience members. Clearly uncomfortable on stage, O'Hara flittered about, cracked jokes, forgot lyrics and made others up as she went. Her voice was clear and powerful, and despite only releasing one proper record in the late eighties (Miss America), she is still roundly adored. Hers was one of the highlights of the festival, including a beautiful remembrance of Vic Chesnutt that led into "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." (vid below) It was emotional stuff and when Little Scream came out right after to do a free improv piece, she was wiping away tears. "I don't think I can sing," she said, "I'm crying too much."

Reluctantly, I left to make my way up to Espace Reunion and caught the last couple of songs by Buke & Gass and worked my way to the front for Deerhoof who despite going on at 2am were up for it and so was the audience. During the rowdier numbers, and between drummer Greg Saunier's awkward attempts to banter in French, the crowd surfed and repeatedly tumbled on to the stage with even a few people deciding to just sit on the stage in front of the band. When I left at 3am (after devouring some incredibly good tacos) they were still going, but with one day remaining the only thing I could think about was my hotel bed.

More pictures from the whole day, and a few videos, below...

Continue reading "Pop Montreal 2010 - Day 4 in pics & review (Mary Margaret O'Hara, Deerhoof, Diamind Rings, Little Scream & more)"

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