POP Montreal was just bananas this year. There was so much to see: parties and weird late nights out with the camera. I am only now, after nearly 5 days, keeping anything like normal hours.

The week started off with a party over at POP central— place was packed when I rolled up on the late side of 7. There were bare lights strung above everyone’s heads downstairs, which made it all a little overt. I headed upstairs where the sub 60 bass was coming from. On the top landing it was dark and I turned the corner right into the last tune of the Young Paris set. I was feeling it, so I stuck around at the jam for a minute afterword and talked about RUN NDG t-shirts with some random guy.

I’d gotten the press lanyard by then, and Flynt Flossy was playing later. Had to go connect with my people for the show, right!? (Read a review of the Turquoise Jeep showcase.)

On Thursday night, I went and checked out that LOC-NAR set at Casa del Popolo. I took Chose Bottine with me — his niece (Tess) plays keys in various projects including LOC-NAR. Now having done a preview of the band already based on my interpretations of their recordings, I was very interested in checking out their set. I was intrigued by the lo-fi style and the strange time signatures. Secondly, this band had a bit of a buzz. Lotsa cool people involved.

The place was packed so I cut hard for the front row so I could photo the group, kind of hard to get balanced for a shot, though! I found Chose Bottine again and just sunk into listening as a musician. The band is really tight, and I don’t mean tight in 4/4 time either. Tonally and energetically this band moves from pop to metallic in a single composition very fluidly. I was also struck by how progressive the tunes were. Nothing dull about how these guys proceed.

Chose Bottine and I were quite impressed. Go check out LOC-NAR live.

Woke up for school feeling like that translucent piece of egg in the pan—

Went downtown Friday night to catch Yoni Wolf. Got totally sidetracked by a few tribespeople and ended up somewhere else. I arrived extremely late and somewhat unbalanced! La Vitrola was bumping with that strange Why? hip hop flavour. No one is as weird on the mic as Yoni Wolf. You got to check him out if you’re unaware. Werd.

The week was wild, the parties were lush and surreal. And I for one sacrificed a few brain cells. But yo! What a job, and what a magical time with my friends covering these acts from Montreal and abroad. The Unicorns closed the week and they get their own article. Shabang!

Photo by Susan Moss courtesy of POP Montreal.

The Unicorns

Like how much more epic of a close could POP Montreal come to? I myself had been up for 40 straight hours and was dressed to the nines, Ray Bans way past dark, you feel me!? I went downtown early with my best friend and chilled out in the ConU ghetto. Epic clouds at sunset. We were excited, plus it’s one of her favorite bands of all time. The girl had a super rare Unicorns shirt on— I felt a great sense of accomplishment just getting there and being awake!

So we got to Metropolis half way through the Light Fires set. I’ve written about Light Fires before— she’s dressed in drag and she kicks ass. Totally at peace up on the stage with nothing but high-hipped cut-offs, a halter top, pumps and her ipod. Light Fires makes really catchy beats and her stage presence is palpable, her witty quips and sex appeal on heavy display. We went and stood right beside the backstage exit, which is about 20 feet back from the stage. I was not getting in that pit, would have died. Between sets, Light Fires came out and I stopped her to say that the show was banging. Such a nice person. Do check out her jams.

Light FiresThe Unicorns, man! They came out in all their glory, still good looking and still tight as a cornrow. They had this cheesy loop of 90s screen savers being projected behind them. I’ve since had a conversation where someone said they weren’t feeling the backdrop, but I feel like it was in keeping with the band’s sardonic aesthetic.

There were a lot of people in the place at the start of their set. Because the band is “from” Montreal, and because they hadn’t played here in more than 10 years, the crowd was full of anticipation and even a thread of anxiety. Like, what if this band I’ve kept on a pedestal all these years shits the bed right now?

The sheets stayed good though. Everyone in this three piece sings and everyone excluding the drummer plays bass, keys, guitar. I love seeing a band of multi-instrumentalists, the trading off between songs, just the ability to own more than one instrument on stage is something for which I have a great respect. In no way did they disappoint. Although the set wasn’t long, it was full of bangers from the Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? album.

Nothing misplaced sonically. There is this observation, though— I could tell that they had rehearsed the shit out of this performance, they knew exactly what they were about. But I also felt a kind of rigidity to their renderings of the tracks, that waver of variation or improvisation wasn’t really coming through and that’s because they probably don’t jam every week, right!?

We were thoroughly impressed. The end was cool in that they did three encores that were one chord strums then a walk off stage. Just when the crowd was getting antsy, they took the stage with I was born a Unicorn. My friend turned back smiling and I knew that we were having a moment. That’s what it’s about. Yeah, the band was good, and generally the shows I cover are sharp and enjoyable. It’s all about living the magic, touching that feeling of being infinite intimately?

So, yeah— it got mystical, perhaps fittingly. We did make it to our respective homes, and God knows I needed serious nutrition and sleep— just so you know I’d do it all again if I could. That’s my take. Keep it flavourful, till next time. Peace.

Photos by Susan Moss courtesy of POP Montreal.

It’s always a thrill to watch Ty Segall perform. A truly talented, earnest West-Coaster who churns out guitar-driven psychedelic tunes more often than some of us change our sheets, he deserves every bit of praise he gets. Not only does Segall live up to the hype, but every time I see him live (this weekend marked the fourth), he surpasses himself and somehow steps it up a notch. As the venues get bigger, so do his power and devotion grow.

The night started off with The Nymphets, a band I’ve heard tons about but have never gotten around to seeing. The trio is comprised of a brother and sister on guitar and drums, respectively, and a friend on bass. Hailing from Montreal, they’ve toured extensively since their beginnings a decade ago, opening for bands like Jay Reatard and CPC Gangbangs.

The Nymphets for Forget the Box

They warmed the crowd right up tearing through some hard, fast tunes at a feverish pace. Their particular brand of punk is infused with a late 70’s/early 80’s British influence, veering from sweet to frenetic punk à la Buzzcocks in one quick, swift beat. Their set ended with a tune sung by drummer Johanna Heldebro, her voice jumpy due to her drumming, a perfectly intentional decision that illustrated the Nymphets’ frenzied sound and style so accurately. Thoroughly enjoyable, wholly appropriate, and I think the guitarist might have winked at me.

La Luz’s Damp Face EP has been on repeat at my place all summer, the perfect soundtrack to accompany a mending heart. It’s hazy, dreamy, and makes me wanna slow dance, my head tightly nuzzled in a dude’s shoulder, while we sway side to side.

The band only got together a year ago in Seattle, and already they’re making waves. Their surf-inspired brand of rock’n’roll has a dreamy, hypnotic quality, and though the mood they evoke is one of longing, it’s anything but desperate –it’s steady; it’s patient; it’s knowing. Their music is worthy of any spaghetti western worth its salt. Somewhere, someplace, Franco Nero is cracking a shit-eating grin.

Onstage, the girls are magnetic. Singer Shana Cleveland’s intimidating gaze and her twang-y guitar licks commanded our undivided attention. The girls are skilled, and have a fresh take on a style so familiar it could easily bore – but their grasp of it is so fierce, they make it their own.

La Luz Pop MTL

I had no doubt the band would hook the crowd, with a sound reminiscent of a cowboy disappearing into the distant sunset at the end of a searing hot day in the desert, but I was struck by their complicity with one another. The girls share a connection that is rare for a band who’ve been together such a short time. They’re a playful bunch who were evidently having as good a time as anyone else – keyboarding Alice Sandahl even took a stage dive towards the end of their set – and were obviously stoked to be opening up for Ty Segall.

A cowboy eventually rolled onto the stage to present Ty Segall Band, claiming they’d recently escaped an alien abduction. Though the veracity of this story is questionable, it’s undeniable that Ty Segall is one of the most talented contemporary musicians, across all popular genres (in my opinion, this isn’t even up for debate). His style is heavily influenced by a variety of genres, yet is inimitable. His shows are raucous, and this time was no different.

The band pumped out song after song from their most recent album, Manipulator, with a couple of throwbacks to Twins and Slaughterhouse. Their energy bordered on unhealthy: drummer Emily Rose Epstein pounded her kit like a maniac, carefree yet focused, while Ty and the boys forcefully tore their instruments to bits with force. Highlights included an all-too-brief reminder of the greatness that is the Rocky Horror Picture Show, jumping from “Science Fiction Double Feature” to “Time Warp” and onto “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me” in a hot minute.

The band demonstrated their true allegiance to punk ethos when Ty stopped playing mid-song (as the rest of his band continued) to disapprovingly stare down a security guard trying to get rid of a kid who was stage-diving, and motioned for him to get off the stage while shaking his head, then picking up in the middle of the song. The crowd went ballistic, with kids stage-diving and body-surfing throughout the entire set, and a large pit going. As is the band’s habit, the encore featured a cover, Motörhead’s (or Hawkwind’s, Ty’s favourite band) “Motörhead” this time, ending with “Girlfriend” off Melted, a personal favourite.

My only gripe is that I wish the set had lasted longer – I could watch these guys play for hours. I left the show feeling like a teenager, speechless and in awe. It’s almost difficult to describe the excitement, both from the crowd and the band, and I feel sorry for those who missed this: you really had to be there.

* photos by Bianca Lecompte (click on first image to open gallery)

Ty Segall POP MontrealTy Segall POP Montreal

Hey yo POP Montreal— treat me like a pirate and give me that booty. That’s the hook for Flossy’s new single. The guy is on some next level shit right now. I strolled down the wet Plateau streets with the freshest girl I know to catch the Turquoise Jeep set at Club Lambi. I was ready for whatever, like who goes to see Flynt Flossy, right!?

We chilled in the alleyway for a bit, took some flicks and got faded. Pure trap bass was just slamming in the building. Shaydakiss and A-Rock took turns spinning the opening set— they had snifters on the table beside the ones and twos, the place was crunk up. There were some pretty fly dancers on the floor, this one dude was leaning back way under the limbo stick. A throng of girls in AA tights were dipping that shit low too! I don’t know if you’re up on what Flossy’s been doing since Turquoise Jeep, his label, started dropping albums back in 2010—

The sexualization of women is rampant and there’s a super cheesy aesthetic to the lyrical content. These guys that form the Turquoise Jeep crew, Whatchyamacallit and Yung Humma and Flynt Flossy are constantly rapping about sordid encounters with live women. Sounds like a train wreck, no? But yo, trust me, these tracks are so stupid that it’s actually funny. The tracks almost feel like parody. Now, I don’t think Flossy’s as self-aware and pointed as Ween. But there is a shrewdness to embodying something you’re making fun of, marketing it and taking it on tour. Plus, the beats really bang.

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At one point each of the members chose a girl from the audience and had them come up on stage— But yo! These girls got mad lap dances, dudes were grinding all up on these poor girls’ faces. Flossy’s turned the place out. I’m not saying none of those ladies enjoyed it though. The show was just live with strange outfits and dank beats, after an hour I had to dip and walk the streets— photos in the after-rain are so reflective.

If you don’t bump Flynt Flossy once a week just to get low and laugh then you slipping. And also peep that video for “Treat Me Like A Pirate”. It’s all American Appeal and thick gals wining as the beat rolls out.

flynt flossy

Werd.

Photos by Jesse Anger.

I cannot impart to you how dope this band is. If you don’t have these guys in your rotation you need to get them in it right now. The Unicorns are a Montreal trio, well they came from out west; but recorded and lived here during the height of their buzz. It’s Nick Diamonds, Alden Ginger and drummer J’aime Tambeur. These dudes put out one of the best tricky lo-fi indie pop albums you ever heard:

They disbanded after a super stressful tour in 2004. But the impression left by their releases is far reaching— these guys are one of the sickest underground groups to ever come out of MTL, and honestly probably Canada.

After the break-up some members went on with different projects. One of these is Islands. Another gem of an act. I can’t say enough about the musicianship of the players in these bands:

These guys in The Unicorns are on some next level shit: wild syncopated drums that are rusty and ragged or quiet as smoke, always a new variation.

This progressive tendency plays out in every composition, and that’s why every tune is fresh as hell. The tracks move but are sad and plaintive and pretty. It’s worth mentioning, too, that all the band members can sing and write. I’m not exactly sure on the band’s process, but whoever’s behind the words has some sharp pen game.

So, yeah! They got back together quite recently and are slated to play this year’s POP festival! Like Wha?— I’m so going to that. Sep. 21, 8:30 at Metropolis. Check me there if you’re D…

LOC-NAR sound like they’ve been up for days, surviving on a strange combination of substance and Pizza. These guys have termed their take on weird garage psy-pop ‘slackcore’. It don’t get more lo-fi than this— lot’s of space and pacing in these compositions that sound like they’ve been recorded through a tin can on a string.

LOC-NAR is a 5-piece based out of Montreal’s own Plateau. Four of the five band members are Ontarians— Arthur Rossignol is on percussion, Tess Roby on keys and vocals, Andrew McConnell on lead guitar and vocals, Max Murphy on the bass and vocals and New Hampshire import, Jono Currier, also on git and vocals. These guys hooked up through various programs at Concordia University and this project has lots of juice and has produced some good tracks already.

LOC NAR 3

It’s worth noting that everyone is this band is in another band, which is interesting in that it sheds some light on the inner workings of a fertile little pocket of artists here in the city. This is no summiting genius alone talking to God(s) – this is a collective interested in exchanging ideas and influences, and through this exploration producing art.

As far as process goes, it’s McConnell who’s bringing in most of the bare bones skeletons, which the other members flesh out with their own flavour. I talked to McConnell about the nuance of being the catalyst, if he felt any pressure, or if he relished the control… He answered neither of these questions, which is a good thing because almost any answer would have been douchey. Instead, McConnell stressed the idea that LOC-NAR was very much a coming together of friends, and that they have a collective approach to writing and the creative process. It’s a mash-up, and all the more interesting because of it.

Last year they released an EP, Sink of Mayo, which you can listen to via their Bandcamp. Then they put out a couple of singles on compilations. This year they released Sink of Mayo B-sides on tape. Plus in the next while they’ll be dropping a new EP, Hotter Water. This group is getting it in hard in Montreal right now. If you’re down with lo-fi production and fresh tricky lyrics, give these links a spin. And if you don’t catch the inference of the band name you’re slipping right now. W#RD.

LOC-NAR perform as part of POP Montreal Friday, September 19 with 36?, Krill, Brazilian Money and Kurvi Tasch at Casa del Popolo. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., $10 at the door.

* photos by Ellen Belshaw for LOC-NAR

FRIDAY, AUGUST 22

Passovah Summer Festival: Inside Touch + Saxsyndrum + Athens & more @ Piccolo Rialto

The third edition of the annual summer festival presented by local promoters Passovah Productions takes place this weekend. The cool thing about Passovah’s summer festival is that most of the shows are pay-what-you-can. Passovah co-founder Noah Bick thinks it’s important to include as many people as possible and the PWYC model ensures that no one is turned away. (Read an interview we did last year with Bick.)

This is my Passovah pick of the night, largely due to electronic synthpop duo Saxsyndrum. Alternately, take your pick of shows at Casa del Popolo or a special edition of Le Marché des possibles in collaboration with POP Montreal.

Doors open at 7 p.m., PWYC ($5 – $25 suggested).

Bummer + No Bones + Greys + The Dirty Nil @ Turbo Haus

Show starts at 8 p.m., $10 at the door or $12 with a copy of Steal the Nights, new 7″ by Bummer.

Alvarius B. & Sam Shalabi @ La Vitrola

Alvarius B. is the alias of revered underground musician Alan Bishop. Bishop will be joined by another seminal figure of the underground scene: guitarist and oud player extraordinaire Sam Shalabi (Shalabi Effect, Land of Kush).

Show starts at 8:30 p.m., $12 at the door or in advance online.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 23

Cepheid Flux + Alison Bayre + D.A.I.S.Y. @ 1180 Saint-Antoine

Show starts at 8:30 p.m., free.

Sam Shalabi & Alan Bishop @ 185 Van Horne

Show starts at 9 p.m.

Cousins X Passovah feat. Compton Chic + Phil Sparkz + Hua Li @ Club Lambi

Show starts at 9 p.m., PWYC ($5 – $25 suggested).

SUNDAY, AUGUST 24

Passovah Summer Festival: Philemon Cimon + Nancy Pants + Daniel Isaiah + Technical Kidman & more @ Piccolo Rialto

Doors open at 7 p.m., PWYC ($5 – $25 suggested).

thisquietarmy + Tignor + Turnquist + Hellenica @ La Vitrola

Show starts at 8 p.m., $8 at the door.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27

A Tribe Called Red + AroarA + Pierre Kwenders + Masala DJs @ Place Émilie-Gamelin

Wednesday POP Montreal will be announcing their complete lineup for the 2014 edition. To celebrate, they’re throwing a mega outdoor party with free live music, a beer garden and food trucks.

Show starts at 5 p.m., free.

Dress up and go see these shows this week!

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31

Ed Banger Records 10 Year Anniversary: Justice + Breakbot + Busy P @ Metropolis

French electronic music label Ed Banger is celebrating its 10 years of existence with a massive world tour featuring some of the best artists on the label. Show starts at 10 p.m. and runs until 3 a.m.

Bearmace + Jesus Horse @ TRH Bar

If electro is not your thing, head over to TRH Bar at 3699 St-Laurent for the excellent thrashy punk outfit Bearmace. At $2, this show is the steal of the week!

Witching Hour Events presents Halloween Magic Costume Dance Party @ Cabaret du Mile End

The first-ever Witching Hour Event will feature three short band sets by Nirvana tribute band April Hate, NooM and Death Proof as well as DJ sets and a crafts bazaar.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1

POP Montreal Halloween Massacre: Each Other + Renegades of Funk + WZaarD + Filthy Haanz @ Industries Nomad

The event features Each Other (“the shitty Beatles”), RATM cover band Renegades of Funk, WZaarD, and Filthy Haanz, as well as DJs and surprises.

Halloween in the Satosphere: Poirier + Prison Garde + Jake Williams @ S.A.T.

This yearly event makes the most of the Société des arts technologiques’ domed screen. Music courtesy of DJs Poirier, Prison Garde and the UK’s Jake Williams.

Dia de los Muertos @ Crobar

If you want a Halloween party full of thrills and chills that will give you the biggest bang for your buck, it’s Crobar’s Dia de los Muertos event. It features a really long and diverse list of attractions including food, a bake sale, psychic readings, traditional Halloween and Day of the Dead games, a costume contest (prizes include a bottle of real mead and Crystal Skull Vodka), a snake charmer, knife juggling, piñatas, a traditional Day of the Dead altar, a burlesque show, and, believe it or not, more. Activities from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. are free, $10 cover charge after 9. Check the link above for a detailed schedule.

Montreal-based Colin Stetson is a bass saxophone player, who has been a touring member of Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre, and Bon Iver.  He has released several solo albums as well. While the albums are definitely worth listening to, seeing his music live is an experience that cannot be matched.

I had heard a lot about his live show before POP, so I was anxious to see it in person. I had high hopes, and he exceeded my expectations. On stage with nothing but himself and his saxophones, Stetson engulfed the audience at the Rialto with seemingly impossible sounds and melodies.

It’s clear that Stetson puts a lot of thought into the music he makes, every move carefully calculated in order to produce the exact sound he is trying to convey. And he does not make it look easy. Part of the experience that could not possibly be portrayed on the album is seeing him on stage, red-faced, pouring himself into his music.

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You can see how much he puts into his work, and it makes the experience that much more worthwhile. Essentially, if you get the chance to see him, go. Even if you’ve never heard his music, you will be blown away.

Photos by Susan Moss for POP Montreal

This year, POP Montreal boasts over 300 bands covering the entire spectrum of musical genres. The heavier genres often get ignored and are usually vastly underrepresented at music festivals of this scale. But fans of metal, punk and other forms of heavy music can find plenty of acts to suit their tastes.

BEARMACE – BEARMACE + Koko + Petty Sweat + GODS + Caves
Sep. 27, 9 p.m. @ Barfly

Bearmace

This Montreal band’s sound is made up of drop-tuned, chunky bass riffs reminiscent of 90s punk. BEARMACE are thrashy but melodic enough to keep things interesting.

El Salvador – El Salvador + Kurvi Tasch + Girls In Uniform + No Magic + Charlotte Day Wilson
Sep. 25, 8 p.m. @ Casa del Popolo

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If you’re looking for some truly bizarre shit, this one’s for you. Lots of bands get labeled as experimental but these guys put most of them to shame. Like good drugs that sometimes turn on you, El Salvador’s music will take you for a ride. Good trip or bad, it’s the experience that matters in the end.

The BCASA – The BCASA + Loose Pistons + Adam Strangler + Wilderling
Sep. 25, 9:30 p.m. @ O Patro Vys

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If you like your punk rock obnoxious and slightly juvenile, this is great stuff. Twangy guitars and vocals reminiscent of early NOFX. Wondering about the weird abbreviated name? They used to be called The Bill Cosby Anarchist Society of America. But you know, legal stuff.

Portugal. The Man – Portugal. The Man + How Sad :: SOLD OUT ::
Sep. 26, 9 p.m. @ Theatre Corona Virgin Mobile

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This band doesn’t need any more attention than they already have (besides, the show is sold out) but this list would absolutely not be complete without them.

METZ – METZ + CRABE + Fist City + Evan Dubinsky (DJ set)
Sep. 29, 11 p.m. @ Église POP Little Burgundy :: Salle Little Burgundy

The best of the fests closes with an appropriately noisy punk rock party courtesy of these Toronto natives. Stop crying over Portugal. The Man being sold out and console yourself with METZ.

Honourable mentions: CRABE, Ponctuation, Crosss, Jesuslesfilles

These acts have had their share of hype this year. But buzz is not a bad word when it comes to these highly acclaimed must-see musical acts at this year’s POP Montreal.

BRAIDS – Q with Jian Ghomeshi + BRAIDS + Patrick Watson
Sep. 26, 7 p.m. @ L’Olympia

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Acclaimed Montreal-based band Braids released their first album Native Speaker in early 2011 and I pretty much haven’t stopped listening to it since. Lead singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s voice is mesmerizing, especially when combined with the dream-like melodies the band is known for. Their second album Flourish//Perish was released in August. It has a more introspective, mature feel as opposed to the sort of in-your-face lyrics and melodies of Native Speaker, but the music is as captivating as ever and I can’t wait to see it brought to life on stage.

 

Mozart’s Sister – The-Dream + Mozart’s Sister + Team Rockit
Sep. 27, 8 p.m. @ L’Olympia

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When I first saw Mozart’s Sister live two years ago, I knew nothing about her. That quickly changed. Her energetic electro-pop songs combined with her fun and engaging personality won me over instantly. Her song “Single Status” from 2011’s Dear Fear has become my go-to song when I’m feeling overwhelmed and need a strong boost of energy. I’ve seen her twice again since that first time and I can guarantee that if you’re not a fan now, you will be by the end of the show.

 

Local Natives – Local Natives + Wild Nothing + Seoul
Sep. 27, 8 p.m. @ Metropolis :: Salle Dose.ca

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Local Natives are a four-piece indie rock band from Los Angeles, California. Their second album Hummingbird was released in January 2013. It is a lot more dark and emotionally-charged than their first album, Gorilla Manor, from 2009. This could be in part due to the departure of their bass guitarist Andy Hamm between the two albums. It is clear that the remaining members have grown and the things they experienced in the years between albums are reflected in them.

POP Montreal is back in full force for its twelfth edition. On my end, I’ve not recovered from the summer of festivals yet – and neither has my wallet. This year, I’m going to shows that I know for sure I’ll love, as well as those few artists that have managed to get my adventurous nature to rise up from its lingering hangover. Hair of the dog it is and off to what will surely be another magnetic auditory POP Montreal experience.

A K U A – Michael Rault + A K U A + Milk Lines + Pierre Kwenders + Nom de Plume (DJ Set)
Sep. 28, 9:30 p.m. @ Divan Orange :: Salle CISM 

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Mining the artists section of the POP website, I came upon A K U A’s tunes and was intrigued. Although the music video doesn’t do it for me, the tracks found on A K U A’s site promise something decidedly rich and textural. A K U A is a newcomer to the music scene in some respects but she’s already opened for names like Solange and Katy B and performed at an impressive number of music festivals already. A K U A’s tunes are compelling soundscapes that come to life with her raw, soulful vocals. She is my pick for new artist to explore (for those on a tight budget) for this POP edition.

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Les Soeurs Boulay – Les Soeurs Boulay + Michael Feuerstack + Safia Nolin
Sep. 29, 7:00 p.m. @ Studio Breakglass présenté par SiriusXM

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Folk music plucks my heart strings – that’s the kind of music that plays the most often in my nest. I’m glad to see Les Soeurs Boulay as part of the POP Montreal line up. Their soft-spoken poetic story songs fill hearts with wonder, nostalgia, and musical hugs. These two sisters from Gaspésie recorded their first EP in 2012 and have already captured the attention of the province and beyond receiving the prize for New Artist with the Most Potential at the GAMIQ (Gala alternatif de la musique indépendante du Québec). Full disclosure: writing this blurb, I couldn’t help myself and bought their first album, Le poids des confettis, and am now happily eating my chicken soup wrapped in a blanket listening to lovely harmonies renewing my love of the French language. Favourite tracks: ‘Ôte-moi mon linge’, ‘Cul de sac’, and ‘Par le chignon du cou.’


The This Many Boyfriends Club –
Dent May + Dead Gaze + She Divides + The This Many Boyfriends Club
Sep. 28, 8:00 p.m. @ Cagibi

Speaking of warming one’s heart, The This Many Boyfriends Club is a local band which I had the pleasure of interviewing about a year ago. They describe their music as “torture-pop, dandy-punk, frock ‘n’ roll, and heavy petal”. There’s also some twee in the mix. These pals have been working hard on a new album, Die or Get Rich Trying, recorded through CJLO’s artist in residency program and to be released this month. The This Many Boyfriends Club is the kind of band that I find myself the most interested in in terms of music journalism. There is a raw love of music, a DIY spirit, and a community-building ethos to what they do. I totally dig that. Plus, their rhythm section fucking rocks.

How Sad – Portugal. The Man + How Sad :: SOLD OUT
Sep. 26, 9:00 p.m. @ Théâtre Corona Virgin Mobile

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I recently interviewed How Sad for their EP Launch show, which was a total blast. Indian Summer is a five song EP that weaves together sadness and happiness using synth pop melodies, bummed out lyrics, and catchy hooks skillfully. Having soaked up sunlight listening to previously released tracks, new anthem ‘Hot Blur’ took me by surprise and had me spontaneously breaking into my best awkward dance moves. There’s something undeniably tongue-in-cheek about Indian Summer. Put on your dancing shoes, grab some friends, and get ready for a memorable night indeed.

 

Moonface – Moonface + Caroline Keating
Sep. 29, 8:30 p.m. @ Ukrainian Federation :: Salle St. Ambroise

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I just recently heard about Moonface from Josh Séguin of Two-Year Carnival. Yeah, I know, I’m behind the times (I got lost in my old Keaton Henson albums for a while there). Now that I’ve been initiated to Spencer Krug’s solo piano project, I’m beyond stoked to see that Moonface is playing this year’s POP Montreal. Even more so now that I know that Caroline Keating is opening. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Keaton a couple times over the last few years. Over the years, her songs have become a fixture of the soundtrack to Montreal’s passing seasons. This line up is this piano-driven song lover’s dream come true. Most likely it will be yours too.

Honorable Mentions: Cinéma L’Amour, Braids, DJ Noah Bick, Emma Frank Quartet, Corinna Rose, Sarah Jane Scouten and SUUNS

Audio Blood afternoon soiree

Audio Blood afternoon soiree

Forgetthebox.net and Audio Blood collaborated to bring you a delightful musical afternoon at Divan Orange at this year’s POP Montreal featuring Lakes of Canada, Gabrielle Papillon & The Mighty Oak, Revelstoke, Cai.ro, Sandman Viper Command, Amos The Transparent, Dinosaur Bones, and Paper Lions.

If you missed it… too bad for you!

Actually we’re pretty nice, and so we’ve put together a little video recap of the afternoon. Enjoy!

 

Video: Chris Zacchia

Editing: Emily Campbell

Paper Lions

Dinosaur bones
Dinosaur Bones

The music started early for me on the second day of POP Montreal. Day one was still hanging around when I left my house in the form of a hangover and some pretty intense sleep deprivation. But coffee procured and the will to party intact, I made it to Forget the Box and Audio Blood’s afternoon soiree at Divan Orange.

Revelstoke
Revelstoke

The first band onstage when I staggered in from the sunny afternoon was a one-man act called Revelstoke. A scruffy young guy with a perfectly-waxed moustache, Revelstoke is relaxed enough on the stage to experiment with sound and to banter with the crowd. He works with looping machines to layer together lines from his guitar, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, and assorted percussive bits and bobs. I personally have a soft spot for loopers, and so was smiling almost as soon as I stepped inside.

As the set wore on, I was not disappointed. He harmonizes with himself, scrapes a bow across his guitar strings, and the lyrics to his songs are poetic without being over-the-top—sweet and simple. He also, despite being from the Tdot, made an effort to sing a few lines in French and the result was charming. I’m happy to’ve made this discovery; Revelstoke was a folksy treat for my hungover ears.

 

Cairo
Cai.ro

Cai.ro performed for us that afternoon as well, but as a two piece instead of their usual six. The two onstage nonetheless rocked some tight harmonies and a surprisingly dense sound for being just two guitars. I’m not sure what they sound like as a six piece, but I think it’s safe to say that if you’re a fan of Fleet Foxes you’ll find something to enjoy in Cai.ro’s stylings.

Sandman viper command-012
Sandman Viper Command

The afternoon began to fade into early evening and progressively harder bands began to take the stage at Divan. The four-piece Sandman Viper Command dished out some of their driving garage-rock. It had me tapping my toes even as it pummelled my poor headachey brain. Had they been playing at a later time, to a possibly more drink-filled crowd, Sandman definitely would have had a full dancefloor, but in the chill early evening, most of us just bopped our heads appreciatively.

amos the transparent
Amos the Transparent

The cabaret continued with Amos the Transparent’s ‘90s-style rock, full of good grooves and interesting changeups, and then Dinosaur Bones with their throbbing, somewhat spacey style, built on effective rhythm switches and soulful singing.

Paper Lions finished off the night. This four-piece boasts an upbeat, almost Vampire Weekend-like vibe, with songs that are easy to bop to. All four members sing, the music has some engaging stops and starts, and can sometimes sound almost like ‘60s pop-rock. They also have a great energy onstage as they played a mix of their old and new songs. They just released their second album (ep?) which you can check out called At Long Creek.

Paper Lions
Paper Lions

With Paper Lion’s rock came the realization that the second night of Pop was officially underway, and there was a long night of shows ahead. Trading coffee for beer, and after thanking the performers that made this show possible, we hit the streets for round two of this five-round fight!

Photos by Chris Zacchia

For more photos from the show check out ForgetTheBox on FB.

Gang Gang Dance

Gang Gang Dance
Gang Gang Dance

After a few hours of hitting shows on the opening night of POP Montreal, Forget the Box ended up at the Église Pop to see the Manhattan experimental rockers Gang Gang Dance close off the first night of Pop!

Technical Kidman
Technical Kidman

Weird and distorted, Gang Gang sound was well-matched by locals Technical Kidman and Maxime Robin, and the bizarre interlude of stand-up comedy by Title TK.

Though their set was surprisingly short (less than an hour), we were still able to take in Gang Gang’s distinctive style, all percussive and synth-heavy. Singer Lizzi Bougatsos battered a set of electric drums while singing and wailing through walls of distortion in an almost Bjork-like fashion. Gang Gang was a six piece that night, if you count the one person—maybe “prop” would be more appropriate– who spent most of the show standing in the middle of the band holding flowers in front of his face. Artsy and a little surreal, Gang Gang’s unique, reeling worldbeat rhythms had the hardcore fans in the front dancing and cheering.

Gang Gang Dance
Gang Gang Dance

However, there have, since the show, been some concerns about the show and the venue itself. Gang Gang’s lightshow wasn’t perfectly projected, and the short duration of their set was definitely a letdown. The tight pack at the foot of the stage seemed mostly thrilled, though, and that energy was severely lacking at most the other sets I visited that night. In fact, I’ve never gone to so many shows in one night where so few people were dancing. Maybe it’s a question of perspective and priorities (it’s always a question of perspective and priorities), but it’s a buzzkill for me to be at a show where most people are standing around with their arms crossed. Short set aside, lighting problems aside, I was happy to see the night ending with a crowd that seemed sloppy and excited.

Who knows what accounts for the general lack of enthusiasm I saw on the first night, but I can happily report that day two more than made up for it! Stay tuned for more, and keep Popping out!

Photos by Chris Zacchia

For all our photos check out Forgetthebox on Facebook.

Diamond rings POP MOntreal

Diamond rings POP MOntreal
Diamond Rings

It can be difficult trying to recall all of the details of a packed night in a post-POP haze, but Diamond Rings’ sparkly, energetic performance undeniably stood out from all the low-fi indie bands this year. With a festival as large and widespread as Pop Montreal, you can end up in a lot of overcrowded, dimly lit bars, but it felt like a real show at La Tulipe, complete with neon lights, disco balls and room to dance – all of which are essential for front man John O’Regan’s catchy electro-pop songs and his loosely choreographed dance moves. Diamond Rings has recently grown to include members of Miracle Fortress, but you may not even have noticed them dressed in black behind O’Regan, who was wearing all white and glittering eye make-up.

Diamond rings
Diamond rings

Even though his dance beats are filled out and amplified with the support of a live band, it’s still essentially a one-man show that’s as glamorous and vibrant as he is. His androgynous style and deep vocals are similar to David Bowie’s but his music seems to serve as his personal emotional outlet.

He introduced a variety of songs from his latest album, Special Affections including the 80’s inspired “I’m Just Me” which breaks into a pulsing club anthem and he grabbed a guitar for the indie rock jams “Something Else” and “Runaway Love”.

Before the show, I had really only been exposed to a sampling of his remixes, but I was happy to finally experience some of his spectacular originals.

Properly energized for the evening, we moved on to Wild Nothing‘s sold out show at Il Motore. Jack Tatum with his four-piece band released “Paradise” and “Shadow” from their new album, Nocturne over the summer and they made their way onto so many indie stations, blogs and summer playlists that I was subconciously hooked by the time the album was finally released in late August.

Wild Nothing
Wild Nothing

It’s the dreamy guitars and drawn out buildups that made “Paradise” a refreshing midsummer track that fit perfectly into beach days and night drives. Now that we’ve all had a chance to warm up to the rest of the album for a few weeks, it seems like Nocturne and its unmistakable 80’s sound is going to be on heavy rotation for awhile.

They opened with “Shadow,” the charging first song on the album with heavy drums and swirling synths. “Midnight Song” and “Nocturne” are beautifully layered with softly echoing guitars, but when played live, the melodic guitars become the focus and the result is mezmerizing. “Rheya” also stood out with dreamy, lingering effects that added to the haunting quality of the song.

In terms of stage presence, Jack Tatum actually seemed a little uneasy on stage – a glaring contrast between the shows that night, but the band sounds fantastic live and is well worth checking out!

Photos by Chris Zacchia

For all our photos check out Forgetthebox on Facebook.