It seems southern-Ontario natives Brandyn James Aikins and Daniel Brandon Allen have come a long way in the four years or so since they started Indian Handcrafts. They independently released a self-titled album in 2011 which got the attention of Cathy Pellow, the founder of prestigious Los Angeles-based record label Sargent House.

She hooked them up with producer Toshi Kasai – who has worked with the Melvins and Big Business, two bands that have had an influence on Aikins and Allen – to record their label debut, Civil Disobedience for Losers. The Melvins’ Buzz Osborne, Coady Willis and Dale Crover even had a hand in contributing to the current Indian Handcrafts album, recording and providing guitar and drum parts.

Aikin (left) and Allen with Buzz Osborne (centre) of the Melvins. Photo by producer Toshi Kasai.
Aikin (left) and Allen with Buzz Osborne (centre) of the Melvins. Photo by producer Toshi Kasai.

This past year, Indian Handcrafts were featured in a post on MTV Hive of eight new bands that influence the Melvins.

“It was kind of those situations, and I don’t like to use this analogy, but a ‘pinch me’ kind of thing,” Allen said, “I thought it was a joke at first.”

It’s easy to see how Indian Handcrafts ended up on such a list. They possess a ferocious energy that is immediately apparent on Civil Disobedience for Losers and is amplified ten-fold during their live performances. The band manages to sound louder than other bands that are made up of more members and can pull their own weight when playing alongside heavy-hitters like Red Fang and Cancer Bats, who they shared the stage with last night at Cabaret Mile End.

Things are definitely different now that Indian Handcrafts are signed to Sargent House.

“We get to play better shows. We definitely feel more co-dependent, more clingy,” Allen joked.

“They’ve helped us out a lot,” Aikin added.

Not to mention they are now part of a family of bands that consistently put out highly-acclaimed records. Sargent House is home to an impressive roster of artists including Russian Circles, Fang Island, Boris, And So I Watch You From Afar, Natives and Omar Rodriguez Lopez.

“We like a lot of bands on the label,” they said. “So when you’re playing with them, you’re nervous but also very happy and grateful because they make you step your game up.”

Check out these photos of their October performance at Il Motore. Photos by Bianca David.

You won’t regret seeing these shows this week.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12

Lonely Animals + Watch For Wolves + In Beliefs + Atsuko Chiba @ Il Motore

If you haven’t heard Atsuko Chiba’s new album yet (released last week), you should probably not waste any time and do it now. They are one of the most exciting new bands in Montreal’s experimental heavy music scene. Their live shows are completely entrancing and offer that little extra something that can’t be experienced just listening to the recording.

Doors at 8 p.m., tickets cost $8.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13

Indie Montreal Happy Hour Christmas Party w/ Beat Market @ Divan Orange

Our good friends over at Indie Montreal are throwing a happy hour Christmas party featuring the retro-electro stylings of Montreal duo Beat Market.

Doors at 5 p.m., free.

Cancer Bats + Red Fang + Indian Handcrafts + The Shrine @ Cabaret Mile End

Indian Handcrafts’ latest album Civil Disobedience For Losers is my favourite new discovery of the year. Seeing them play to an almost empty room last time they came to Montreal was a special experience. This time, they get to be part of a truly solid lineup, including fellow Sargent House label mates Red Fang and heavy-hitting musical veterans Cancer Bats.

Doors at 8 p.m., tickets cost $25.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15

Artsy Chicks + Cal Folger Day + Archery Guild @ Le Cagibi

This show has your weekly dose of psychedelia. The Artsy Chicks are a brand new Montreal band (they started this past spring) but they’ve already recorded a full-length album. They also come with an elaborate back-story that includes the theft of something called the Power Stone and an oncoming war.

Doors at 9 p.m.

Don’t miss these shows this week!

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10

Goblin + Secret Chiefs 3 @ Le National

Legendary Italian prog-rock band Goblin is coming to Montreal for the first time EVER. That’s pretty remarkable considering they’ve been around since the early 70s.

Goblin rose to fame in 1975 after scoring Dario Argento’s film Profondo Rosso. They quickly became synonymous with the great Italian horror films of the late 70s and 80s, providing soundtracks to films like George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, Lucio Fulci’s City of the Living Dead and Zombi 2 and other films by Argento including the 1977 masterpiece Suspiria.

Openers Secret Chiefs 3 are legendary in their own right. Band mastermind Trey Spruance is the former guitarist of Mr. Bungle and Faith No More.

The word ‘eclectic’ is thrown around a lot in music writing but Secret Chiefs 3 draw inspiration from an all–encompassing range of sources including 60s surf rock, Middle Eastern and Asian folk music, death metal, soundtracks from Western genre films by Ennio Morricone, electronic music… The list goes on but you get the idea.

Montreal Psych Fest [October 10 to 13] @ various venues

Thursday also marks the start of the 2nd annual Montreal Psych Fest with a party and show at Barfly.

The festival celebrates psychedelic music in all its forms, from sunny 60s-influenced psychedelic pop, to more progressive, experimental sounds. Festival preview coming soon!

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12

Indian Handcrafts + Jimmy Target & The Triggers

This is your chance to catch the two Ontario natives behind Indian Handcrafts at such a small venue before it’s too late to do so. Their popularity has been rising exponentially since their first full-length release just a year ago. They’re signed to Sargent House, which has a reputation for turning out high-quality, influential acts like Russian Circles and Red Fang.

Just by listening to their record, Civil Disobedience for Losers, you can tell they come from frozen lands. The album is the perfect soundtrack for driving your beat-up clunker across dangerously icy Canadian highways during a blizzard in the middle of the night.

OBEY THE BRAVE

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Formed in January 2012, this Canadian band boasts former members of established metalcore acts Despised Icon and Blind Witness. Their debut album Young Blood displays a no-frills, straightforward approach in a genre that is flooded with bands trying to do too many fancy things. Simple and unpretentious but packs a mean punch.

Obey The Brave play Saturday, August 10 at 1 p.m. on the Molson Canadian stage. 

WITHIN THE RUINS

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This is a good example of a band doing lots of fancy things but in a well-executed manner. Their 6th release to date, Elite, was released earlier this year. It features rapidly changing tempos and a machine-gun stop-and-go style built on solid melodies.

Within The Ruins play Saturday, August 10 at 2 p.m. on the Galaxie stage. 

SICK OF IT ALL

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Yes, this is the legendary NYC hardcore band. Many of the bands playing Heavy MTL owe it all to these pioneers of heavy music. Although they celebrated their 25th anniversary as a band in 2011, Sick Of It All show no signs of slowing down and are working on a new record, no release date as of yet.

Sick Of It All play Saturday, August 10 at 3:30 p.m. on the Jägermeister stage. 

OCEANO

oceano

This is dark, relentless deathcore at its most frightening. The members of this band do not eat food and breathe air to stay alive like the rest of us. They sustain themselves on pure rage and aggression. Possibly the most violent pit you’ll see all day.

Oceano play Saturday, August 10 at 5 p.m. on the Galaxie stage. 

OF TEMPLES

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They beat out over 200 applicants and 20 qualifiers for one of two winning spots at this year’s En route vers Heavy MTL, a battle of the bands that takes place over several months leading up to the festival. They effortlessly blend the traditional heavy riffs and fast drumming with electronic elements reminiscent of bands like Between the Buried and Me.

Of Temples play Sunday, August 11 at 1 p.m. on the Galaxie stage. 

FINNTROLL

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This Finnish band’s music immediately makes me think of Taco Bell’s Fries Supreme: excessive, unnecessary, drowning in cheese but comforting and irresistible in its own special way.

Finntroll play Sunday, August 11 at 2:30 p.m. on the Molson Canadian stage. 

MASTODON

mastodon

There is nothing to say about Mastodon that hasn’t already been said. They are one of the most original bands making heavy music today. Their music pushes boundaries not only in terms of playing style but also in their wacky lyrical concepts and mind-bending album art. Their live shows are a total-body experience incorporating all the senses.

Mastodon play Sunday, August 11 at 7:15 p.m. on the Molson Canadian stage.

INDIAN HANDCRAFTS

ih

The Ontario band released their first album not even a year ago but there’s already an international buzz around them. They are signed to Sargent House, home of Rodriguez Lopez Productions and bands like Boris, Fang Island, and Russian Circles. Indian Handcrafts are spacey, sludgey garage rock mixed with operatic, screechy guitars and a punk flavour reminiscent of Dead Kennedys.

Indian Handcrafts play Sunday, August 11 at 3 p.m. on the Galaxie stage. 

Featured photo by Susan Moss for Heavy MTL. For a complete schedule and ticket info, visit the Heavy MTL website