This is a musicblog. Every weekday we post a couple of mp3s and write about them. Songs are only kept online for a short time. This is a page from our archives and thus the mp3s linked to may not longer be available. Visit our front page for new songs and words.

September 28, 2012


Dazzletine - "Here Come the Babes"

We crept up at dawn, the dew on our clothes, on the grass, in the air. What a time for war, dawn. Dawn has always been the saddest, most pointless time of day, it's all atmosphere and no goal. But now, dawn would be forever ruined. We crept up knowing the sun would be shining like hot gold by the time we were trough with our attack. And attack we did. We permeated their membranous defenses, breaking the skin of their spirit, they'd been waiting days for us to come. The blood that was flowing went from trickle to torrent, the way flesh goes from resisting to simply giving in, open to all impact. And we tasted victory's soft center.

[the whole record is really good, Buy for $6]

Posted by Dan at 9:45 PM | Comments (1)

September 27, 2012


Paper doll pope

Adam Torres - "Mountain River". The man sets up his easel near the green river, by the wagging willows, under the blue sky, and he gets to painting. It is difficult work. His plan is not to capture the scenery, the sunlight, the lazy breeze: just to paint a square of water, running river water, as it passes by. He spends the first hour smearing colours on his palette, blending them, choosing a hundred hues. Then he stares hard at the water, and begins to paint, and stares hard again, and he can't get over the small thin fear that if he stares too hard at the river he is going to tumble all the way in. [bandcamp]

YELLOWTEETH - "Temporary Father". Mint, vodka, responsibility, nostalgia, fatherhood, hockey cards, Sandy Denny, cranberries, back-hoes, challah, roof-slate, moxy, the downtown core: just throw it in the blender. [buy]

(image source)

Posted by Sean at 10:29 AM | Comments (2)

September 25, 2012

The Claw

The Dirty Nil - "Hate Is A Stone"

Life in The Claw. A beautiful small town with five thin mountains surrounding it. They curve up and away from the town center, forming what look exactly like five clawed fingers. The town sits in what would be the palm. My house is on the point where the curved thumb-fold hits the main straight-line fold. Right in that wrinkle, on a dirt cul-de-sac that's full of abandoned strollers and big-wheels. I walk the streets, people say it's too big to be without a car but I don't care, and I think about how close we are to the precipice. You see, there's an old story about The Claw, that if the town, as a whole, does too many bad things, that the fingers, the mountains, will just close up and the ground will make a fist, and we'll all come out the sides like goo. Of course not too many people believe this story, I'm not sure if I believe it myself, but sometimes I wonder. Like the way you can do something wrong when you're not even trying, it just comes so natural you don't even notice. Like a dog doesn't care about a haircut, we just think it looks nice, you know? And if there's a way of looking at it that we're one sin away. One unreturned text message, one step on the back of someone's heel while they're walking, one making someone feel left out, away from the whole thing just being closed up and squished to death. I wish there were a jumbotron, a skywriter, heck a website, where they put the score up there, how close we are, how many chances we have left. [PWYC]

Posted by Dan at 6:00 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2012


Lady Stardust

The Luyas - "Lady Stardust (David Bowie cover)". The Luyas find Lady Stardust in a very different club. The drinks are ice cold. The posters on the wall are melting. There is still a disco ball, slowly spinning, and grass is growing on the dance floor, and Marc Bolan is in the green room, dozing. We are somewhere on the coast of France and the open entrance leads out onto the beach, where black waves softly crash. If you want you can stand near the door and you will hear both the music and the surf, overlapping, or else you can stand near the bar and hear only the clink of glasses, the shout of conversation, a different mingling.

[We are delighted to be premiering this dreaming David Bowie cover, part of Paper Bag Records' free new Ziggy Stardust comp. A dozen reinterpretations of the Thin White Duke, by artists including Young Galaxy, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, PS I Love You, Born Ruffians and Austra w CFCF.

All of this is because Paper Bag is turning 10; if you live in Toronto you should buy tickets for this week's marvellous #PBR10 concerts, featuring most of the label's current acts.

Pre-order the Luyas' glittering new album, Animator. (Previously.)]

(image source)

Posted by Sean at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2012

The Drowning Machine


Swan Lake - "Warlock Psychologist"


Better to be armoured than to be pure. Ask the fly smashed on the windshield, wings sagging in the rushing air: "Would you rather have flown in such a way as to never have been hit by the windshield of a bus, or would you rather be ready for when the bus hits you?" I have reprogrammed my body, through vitamin balancing and surgery, to be able to handle the shit we call food and the poison we call air. I can drink oil, crude, refined, ready to burn, I can drink it all. And when I pass it through my body, I won't go into detail, I render it useless as a resource, it will not burn for fuel. In order to keep the world from burning up like the surface of Venus, at least millions of years before its time, we must leave megatons of oil unused. And instead of ask a junkie to simply ignore the mountain of drugs sitting beside him, or buried beneath his house, and to instead eat a raw vegan sandwich, I have taken it upon myself to destroy it. I will hang suspended on a harness, in a mine, where the newly unusable oil can pass through me back into the earth, and I will drink every last drop. It will take years, even after I'm dead funnel it through my reprogrammed organs. It's at least something I can do. And perhaps others will join. #crudedrinkers #theswallowproject #blackpiss

[Buy] [image]

Posted by Dan at 12:51 PM | Comments (1)

September 20, 2012


Nap Eyes - "White Disciple". I do not always understand the Acolyte's parables. I meet him by the fountain, where the water gathers; he sits on the stone bench, I sit in the dirt. It is this way every week. But I do not always understand his parables. Sometimes the stories are very clear: the parable of the peach, the parable of the king with two palaces. Allegories that I can apply to my life and its living. Yet other parables I do not understand. How am I to bring the lesson of the ivy with me, when I go to work? How am I to remember what the first dog said, when I am washing the dishes? I try to be good, I try to be righteous, but I have come to realize that I don't go to see the Acolyte for his wisdom: I meet him every week because I love his stories. I love the way he paints an image or foreshadows a twist. I love the way he uses short words and big ones. I love the way he described the blue priest's hair: Like a blackberries in a bowl. When I am going to work in the record shop, washing a skinny plate, these pictures dance in my memory. It's like listening to a song. Sometimes it drifts on by. Sometimes you are listening and not-listening at the same time, your heart learning the drumskip, guitar-lick, while your mind flicks like a dime. [go get the rest of the Four More Songs EP, by Halifax's splendid and exceptional Nap Eyes]

Posted by Sean at 4:56 PM | Comments (2)

September 18, 2012

Too Late

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Maps"

Without you I am unmoored. I am adrift, my life a drift. Like eyes closed on the highway, the car hits a bend, seems to tilt and never quite go back to level. A plane that dips and seems to suddenly ignore the horizon. There is energy that slides, is pulled, straight out of the center of my chest, right where you used to lay your head, and powers the television long enough to read the lyrics. My tarred, dark heart still loves you, my light heart smiles, scarred. A stiff upper lip while the lower one quivers. I don't want you back, I just want back what you took, which, unfortunately, is you.

"Put it all in quotes," said Chumley, carrying a box that read "kitchen". Heather thought about putting it all in quotes, italicizing it. Maybe attributing it to some impossible source. Veronica Lodge. The Dalai Lama. Alanis. "Why?" she asked, while making a mental note: shower curtain. "Well, if you're feeling self conscious about it. Plus, it'd be funny." Chumley didn't work very hard in the moving process, but Heather was thankful that he was around.

Sam was smartly dressed, a fitted fall coat and trim slacks. A victor's dress. He found the note, without italics, without quotes, signed sincerely. And the effect it had on him, what Heather wanted so desperately to see, was rather disappointingly internal, he looked as if he had just swallowed a multivitamin. In fairness, a potent multivitamin, one that might come from a $12.00 bottle. [buy]

Posted by Dan at 10:31 AM | Comments (1)


Snailhouse - "Don't Go Anywhere". It is an easy thing to say I miss you. They are three easy words, and the phrase even has a certain figurative elegance. I am missing you: I am incomplete, unwhole. Tu me manques, the French say, You are missing from me. But let's be honest. I miss you is a nothing as dilute as old lemonwater. There are no shadings in it. And when I say to you I miss you, I mean this in a hundred different lights. [buy]

Posted by Sean at 1:37 AM | Comments (3)

September 15, 2012

All Beginning


Dan Deacon - "USA III: Rail"

In this version, we will help each other. [Buy]

Posted by Dan at 3:02 PM | Comments (1)

September 13, 2012


Pop Montreal 2012

And like so... pop! The city is wrestling between summer & fall and suddenly Pop Montreal has arrived, riding in on a dappled pony. One of the finest festivals in all the world: a week of wonderful concerts, brave billings, late parties, brilliant films, social clashes and illuminating discussion. As I've said before: Our SXSW, our ATP, hundreds of artists piling into venues across the city, from churches to concert-halls, conjuring rackets. Gigs are complimented by films, dance-parties, dozens of free talks, events, barbecues, craft-fairs and froo-fra. Tis brillig and the slithy toves are gyring and gimbling, mark my words.

After years of doing Pop, I feel the important thing is to seek out the most extra-ordinary moments. Pay attention to that word, extra-ordinary. Not just whatever the present hotness is, slipping through town on its North American tour: but the least pedestrian of concerts - one-offs, rare bookings, special settings, or perfect mixed bills. And don't run around so much that you don't have any fun.

I've noticed two shifts in this year's Pop programme, one bad and one good: first, while there remain dozens and dozens of cheap $10 shows, the festival also has several concerts costing well over $30. This is to mitigate risk - Pop's low-ticket-price policy meant that in years past, some incredible shows (Fever Ray, Burt Bacharach) also lost money. But I think the emphasis on low prices was one of the festival's proudest flags. So I was sorry (and a little aghast) to see that shows by Grizzly Bear, David Byrne & St Vincent, Gotye and Chairlift (and maybe more) cresting into the $40s and $50s. The other development is much less fraught: Pop's migrating north. Instead of being pushed toward the downtown Quartier des Spectacles, again this year Pop is looking toward Little Italy. Venues like the Eglise Pop, (the grotto that is) Brasserie Beaubien and even the shift from le National to La Tulipe are, to me a, rebuke of the Quartier. And they're using the gorgeous Parc de la Petite Italie for their free outdoor gigs - a nice change from Parc des Amériques.

This Guide
As always, this Guide is my guide to Pop. It's not a universal guide. It is personal, subjective, honest. I recommend the things I love, the things I am curious about. And I leave out the things - even if they're highly touted - for which I'd have to fake excitement. Take everything with seas of salt.

I made similar guides in 2008 and 2009, 2010, 2011, and in 2008 also wrote up my experiences for McSweeney's.

If you're a visitor to Montreal, please take advantage of the city's Bixi bike rental system. Please also look at the sidebar on the right, where Said the Gramophone has some local recommendations (they're mostly restaurants).

How to Use This Guide
I suggest you flip between this guide and the official printed Pop program, which is full of band descriptions. (You can also build a schedule via the festival's website, but I find paper helpful: you can write on it.)

Pop HQ
If I refer to Pop HQ, I am referring to their registration/box-office/symposium/gallery space at L'ancienne École des beaux-arts de Montréal, located at 3450 St-Urbain, corner of Sherbrooke.

Tickets and Passes
Lots of Pop is completely free. There are afternoon concerts, art openings, barbecues, installations, record and craft fairs, as well as workshops, lectures and conversations between artists. Symposium - the name for Pop's "conference" component - is very often my favourite part of the whole festival: all these remarkable events - hilarious and interesting conversations, demos, jams, with some of the fest's biggest artists. Symposium programming is tragically underattended: don't miss it.

Unlike the old days, when you could browse the whole festival for about $80, these are the ticket options in 2012:

  1. Buy tickets. Most Pop concerts are like any other concerts, year-round: you can buy tickets at the door, online, or at the record shops listed here. Almost everything's cheaper if you buy it in advance. Setting aside the free shows, most gigs cost between $10 and $25 (though this year's Pop has some of its most-expensive shows ever - a troubling trend), which includes the headliner and up to three openers. Buying tickets is really the simplest way to do Pop - figure out the concerts you want to see, buy the ticket, show up. For $10 you can also get a one-day Pop Hopper upgrade to any ticket. This pass lets you drop in on most of the night's other gigs. (See below.) Please note: Pop Hopper upgrades require planning. You can only buy them when buying tickets online, or by dropping by Pop HQ, 12pm-8pm.

    It's important to note that the festival's smaller gigs are ineligible for a Pop Hopper upgrade. Anything that costs less than $10 cannot be upgraded. So if you want to see a string of little shows, buy a ticket for a big one and upgrade that.

  2. Pop Hopper Day Passes.These $33 passes are for people who wish to skim and graze between shows, rather than seeing any one line-up in particular. Buy them here or at Pop HQ, 12pm-8pm. Pop Hopper passes don't guarantee access - most concerts have a certain allotment of Pop Hoppers they will allow in, and some gigs won't allow any Pop Hoppers at all. If you want to visit multiple venues in one night, it's usually a better deal to buy the ticket for the concert you really want to see, then spring for the $10 Pop Hopper upgrade (see above).

  3. Super Pass. For $402.41, do more or less whatever the hell you want.

Recommendations over several days
Besides the concerts, films and Symposium events, Pop has a couple more important segments. Most importantly there's Art Pop, with visual arts exhibitions which are mostly on all week. This year my program highlights are these: The Art of The Suburbs, looking at the creative process for Caroline Robert's and Vincent Morisset's work with Arcade Fire, including sketches and digital gizmos;

Do your holiday shopping early: Pop's massive, excellent art&craft fair, Puces Pop, takes place Saturday and Sunday in the basement of St-Michel church (St-Viateur @ St-Urbain). Those days there's also a record fair a few blocks away, in the basement of the Ukrainian Federation. Finally, if you're a parent, do look into the often-overlooked Kids Pop.

Recommendations day by day
Every day, I break things down as follows:

What I'm doing:Instructions for following me around! But there are gazillions of Pop shows, much more than any one person can do; depending on your tastes and budget, there's lots more to recommend.

Anchor your evening:

The ticketed shows that deserve your doubloons, usually including several acts.


The night's other best sets, for those with slimmer wallets, industry passes, Pop Hoppers, or a sense of adventure.

Roll the dice:

The day's foremost curiosities and gambles - could-be treasures and maybe-flops.

And then a list of the day's highlights, as far as I can tell. It's important to note I am not listing entire bills - just my highlights. So check the program for full set-times.

I highly recommend everything on these lists, but everything listed in bold is CAN'T MISS.

This list has been made using the Pop's updated online schedule of September 12. All dates/times are as best as I know.

UPDATE 14/9: Saturday's Exploded Folk show (Adam & Amethysts, Gym Deer, James Irwin, etc) has been moved from Tour Prisme to La Plante.

UPDATE 18/9: Revised set time (and added mp3) for Mélanie Boulay.

UPDATE 19/9: Added general information on Sunday's Lhasa tribute.

UPDATE 21/9: Added time/info for Peaches musical and Phonopolis instore. Also Leif Vollebekk's Tom Waits show will feature Little Scream, Brad Barr, Adam Kinner, Michael Feuerstack and more.

Wednesday, September 19

What I'm doing:I'm going to start Pop 2012 with some blah blah blah: some of the smartest people in Montreal music, on a panel at 4:45pm. I might try to catch the Rodriguez doc, Searching for Sugar Man (trailer), which has been on my list for a while; after that it's almost certainly the amazing Fixture Records showcase at Brasserie Beaubien: the eerie quiet of Brave Radar (mp3), the loose garage-pop of MAVO (mp3), Freelove Fenner's gangly guitars (mp3): these are great things. But I don't want to miss the Moment, either, at O Patro Vys: songs by James Irwin (mp3) and Nick Scribner (mp3) with a wild, spectral band - really great stuff.

Anchor your evening:

Three choices if you want to spend the whole night in one place:
  • Fixture Records' pop experimentalism at Brasserie Beaubien (see above);
  • A great folk show at O Patro Vys: Mussaver and Neil Holyoke (mp3) are standouts;
  • Or else you can't really go wrong with Diamond Rings and Stars, for free, in a lovely venue.
Roam:If you want to duck and weave, try Mélanie Boulay (one half of les Soeurs Boulay mp3), apparently with free smoked meat, Stereolab's Laetitia Sadler (mp3), or the funky bump of Antibalas (who knew they were still kicking?!). And any Fugazi fan should hightail it to Howard Bilerman's talk with Guy Picciotto, at 6:30pm.

Roll the dice:

There is nothing dicier than a comedy show, but Comedy Pop has some of the city's most bona fide hilarios. And man I'd love to be at that Mr Muthafuckin' eXquire concert, with a cup of whiskey sour.

16h45 - Radical Re-Imagination of Music in Canada panel (Tim Hecker, Mozart's Sister, Ian, &c) [Pop HQ - free]
18h30 - Howard Bilerman talks to Guy Picciotto [Pop HQ - free]
19h30 - Mélanie Boulay (& gratis smoked meat/beer) [Commission des Liqueurs - free]
20h00 - Searching for Sugar Man film [PHI Centre - free]
20h00 - Diamond Rings [La Tulipe - free]
20h00 - Holy Oak [O Patro Vys - $10]
20h30 - Brave Radar [Brasserie Beaubien - $10]
20h30 - Comedy Pop early show (Deanne Smith, Peter Radomski, Kirsten Rasmussen) [Playhouse - $10]
21h00 - Antibalas [Corona - $18]
21h15 - MAVO [Brasserie Beaubien - $10]
21h30 - Cobra & Vulture [Divan Orange - $15]
21h00 - Stars [La Tulipe - free]
22h00 - Freelove Fenner [Brasserie Beaubien - $10]
22h00 - Laetitia Sadler [Ukrainian Federation - $15]
22h00 - Mussaver [O Patro Vys - $10]
23h00 - Wild Nothing [Il Motore - $13]
23h00 - Mr Muthafuckin' eXquire [Mission Santa Cruz - free]
23h00 - Comedy Pop late show (Deanne Smith, Peter Radomski, Kirsten Rasmussen) [Playhouse - $10]
23h30 - Deerhoof [Cabaret du Mile End - $20]
00h00 - The Moment [O Patro Vys - $10]
00h15 - Chevalier Avant Garde [Brasserie Beaubien - $10]
02h00 - Gang Gang Dance [Eglise Pop - $20]

Thursday, September 20

What I'm doing:A wonderful string of free shows on this Thursday afternoon: Canailles' (mp3) raucous take on trad quebec folk, Parlovr's mischievous guitar pop (mp3), Mozart's Sister's tense r&b (mp3), Born Ruffians' minimal art-rock (mp3) - all good. Wish I could take in the marvellous bill at the Ukrainian Federation but it's a night divided: I'll head to Breakglass for what will certainly be a special show, Young Galaxy (mp3), up close & intimate (hopefully previewing some of their new material - what I've heard is outstanding). After that I'll go see the bare folk of Weather Station (mp3), who I adore, followed by the ringing rawk'n'roll of either Hot Snakes (mp3) or PS I Love You (mp3).

Anchor your evening:

They have lined up something wonderful at the UK Fed: Dirty Three (mp3), legends of instrumental music (with my favourite drummer in the whole world, Jim White); AroarA, who are Ariel Engle and Andrew Whiteman, previewing an LP of dirty, sensuous folk; and the local post-rock outfit Ferrishweel. A steal at $22.


A great night for wandering the city: Adam Kinner (mp3) plays solitary, careful, wondering saxophone (and sometimes sings). Reversing Falls (mp3) have two drum-sets and a full racket. Cousins (mp3) and Caves are past Said the Gramophone nods. Alaclair Ensemble (mp3) are francophone Quebec's best hip-hop crew. And Fiver (mp3) is Simone Schmidt ($100, Deloro), who shoots people dead with her two-eyed stare.

Roll the dice:

Maybe (maybe) Fanfare Ciocârlia are the real deal, with their gypsy racket. World Provider (mp3) mashing up with Philippe Blanchard will be great and technicolour. Metz kicked my head in at Sappyfest. And above all there's Sweet Nothing, Andi State's impressionist film on Suuns (mp3), followed by a performance from the band.

13h00 - Canailles [Parc de la Petite Italie - free]
14h00 - Gypsy music workshop with Fanfare Ciocarlia [Pop HQ - free]
14h00 - Parlovr [Parc de la Petite Italie - free]
15h00 - Get Paid panel (Pitchfork, French Kiss Recs, SOCAN &c) [Pop HQ - free]
17h00 - Mozart's Sister [Parc de la Petite Italie - free]
18h00 - Born Ruffians [Parc de la Petite Italie - free]
19h00 - Young Galaxy [Breakglass Studios - $12]
20h00 - Fanfare Ciocârlia [Rialto - $25]
20h00 - Ferrishweel [Ukrainian Federation - $22]
20h30 - Adam Kinner [Casa del Popolo - $10]
20h45 - AroarA [Ukrainian Federation - $22]
20h45 - Elite Gymnastics [Club Soda - sold out]
21h00 - Reversing Falls [Divan Orange - $10]
21h00 - Sweet Nothing (Suuns documentary, followed by concert) [John the Evangelist Church - $10]
21h00 - Turning (Charles Atlas/Antony Hegarty doc) [Pop HQ - $8]
21h30 - Dirty Three [Ukrainian Federation - $22]
21h30 - Grimes [Club Soda - sold out]
21h45 - Canailles [Rialto - $25]
22h00 - Weather Station [Brasserie Beaubien - $10]
22h00 - Cousins [CFC - $10]
22h00 - Caves [L'Esco - $10]
23h00 - Parlovr [Divan Orange - $10]
23h00 - Metz [Mission Santa Cruz - free]
23h00 - World Provider vs Philippe Blanchard [Eglise Pop - $20]
23h30 - Fiver [Brasserie Beaubien - $10]
00h00 - PS I Love You [Divan Orange - $10]
00h00 - Hot Snakes [Mission Santa Cruz - free]
00h00 - Alaclair Ensemble [Sala Rossa - $16]
01h00 - CTZNSHP [Divan Orange - $10]
01h00 - Dusted [CFC - $10]
01h45 - Peaches DJ set [Eglise Pop - $20]

Friday, September 21

What I'm doing:I will not miss The Sin and the Swoon, Montreal's best (and sweetest) country act. But after that, this is a night of crisis: three shows I wish I could see, spending the whole night.

Anchor your evening:

Sophie's choice:
  • At John the Evangelist Church, perfect programming: Julia Holter (mp3) - who makes ghost songs, full of play & sunlight & echo - and Montreal's own Tim Hecker (mp3), maker of noise, summoning sounds from a pipe organ. This will be a blurred, grateful storm.
  • At the Rialto, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan (mp3) are debuting their first opera, with months of rehearsals & set-building & song. This is all-new music from arguably the country's most exciting band - original, heavy, psychedelic, and serious contenders for the 2012 Polaris prize.
  • At Divan Orange, for just $10, so many of my favourite groups in the whole country: Adam & the Amethysts' flickering flashlight (mp3), Shotgun Jimmie's proud electric announcements (mp3), shiny rock'n'roll from Baby Eagle (mp3), Yellow Teeth's weird scorched punk (mp3), and the Mouthbreathers (mp3), grinning and stupefied, who played my favourite set of this year's SappyFest. Actually the whole night has been programmed by Sappy, and it shows: true and unlying rock'n'roll, (what might be for you) a collection of superb discoveries.
Roam:Besnard Lakes at their home studio, Breakglass, doing your head in; Snowblink's glimmery folk (mp3); Born Ruffians (mp3), in tiny Casa, invoking quick will'o'wisps; Charlottetown's English Words (formerly Smothered In Hugs), who have released a killer new single (mp3); and, well, you probably won't go wrong watching David Byrne and St Vincent (mp3), even if $49 seems pretty rough.

Roll the dice:

Lil B (mp3) is pretty much the definition of "roll the dice": an unfliching iconoclast, deep as lakes, who may or may not be able to put on the best show of Pop.

14h00 - The Sin and the Swoon [Divan Orange - free]
14h00 - Caves [Parc de la Petite Italie - free]
16h30 - Adam & the Amethysts / Snowblink [Phonopolis instore - free]
17h00 - Rah Rah [Parc de la Petite Italie - free]
17h30 - Jimmy "Bo" Horne talks to Cadence Weapon [Pop HQ - free]
19h00 - Zammuto [Quai Jacques Cartier - $54]
19h45 - Chairlift [Quai Jacques Cartier - $54]
20h30 - Mouthbreathers [Divan Orange - $10]
20h30 - Gotye [Quai Jacques Cartier - $54]
21h00 - Auroratones, experimental musical shorts [Pop HQ - $8]
21h00 - David Byrne & St Vincent [Eglist St-Jean-Baptiste - $49]
21h00 - Peaches Christ Superstar (with Gonzales) [Ukrainian Federation - $15]
21h30 - Julia Holter [John The Evangelist Church - $15]
21h30 - YELLOW TEETH [Divan Orange - $10]
21h30 - Army Girls [Casa del Popolo - $15]
21h30 - English Words [O Patro Vys - $10]
22h00 - Yamantaka//Sonic Titan musical [Rialto - $15]
22h00 - Besnard Lakes [Breakglass Studios - $12]
22h00 - Lunice [Club Soda - $28]
22h00 - Gonjasufi [Foufounes - $15]
22h30 - Tim Hecker [John The Evangelist Church - $15]
22h30 - Baby Eagle & the Proud Mothers [Divan Orange - $10]
23h00 - Doldrums [Mission Santa Cruz - free]
23h00 - Snowblink [Club Lambi - $10]
23h00 - Lil B [Club Soda - $28]
23h30 - Adam & the Amethysts [Divan Orange - $10]
00h00 - Austra [Mission Santa Cruz - free]
00h30 - Born Ruffians [Casa del Popolo - $15]
00h30 - Shotgun Jimmie [Divan Orange - $10]
02h00 - A Tribe Called Red [Eglise Pop - $10]

Saturday, September 22

What I'm doing:I may give charity my $20 to see musicians and athletes play basketball: it was pretty fun last year, and this year there's the added exclamation mark of David Byrne at halftime. What's certain is that I will catch up with D Byrne and W Butler at 8pm, when I'm introducing their talk (and David's book launch) at the Ukrainian Federation). Maybe I'll see you there? Later, I'll head to the amazing Exploded Folk Showcase at Tour Prisme La Plante - Gym, Deer (mp3) is one of the best things I discovered via StG this year, making his Montreal debut alongside some of the city's best songwriters: Adam Waito (mp3), James Irwin (mp3), Katherine Peacock. And then I need to see American Idol alum Jacob Lusk, performing a set of R Kelly covers at Sala, backed by locals from Pat Jordache, Mozart's Sister, Jef Barbara & the Unicorns, because this is the definition of extra-ordinary.

Anchor your evening:

The aforementioned Exploded Folk Showcase is amazing bang-for-buck. If you like arty r&b, Akua and Lusk will also be marvellous. Dark country lovers, get thee to the Cabaret for the journeymen Sadies + Sin and the Swoon.


I'm a big fan of Black Atlass' sinister R&B (mp3), and especially the electronica from Ryan Hemsworth (mp3), out of Halifax: both play the Belmont. Esther Grey (mp3) and Molly Sweeney (mp3) play strong, frayed folk. So excited to see that Cotton Mouth (mp3) are making a return: fierce synth-pop, for fans of Wolf Parade. And of course Mozart's Sister (mp3), deservedly buzzy (just wish she wasn't playing with Jimmy "Bo" Horne, by whom I am unmoved). Also: I've heard very good things about the Uprising film.

Roll the dice:

People who have seen him live won't shut up about Rich Aucoin - and Divan Orange is a small venue by his standards. And I love Leif Vollebekk (mp3): he is hosting a Tom Waits covers night with Little Scream, Michael Feuerstack, Brad Barr and more.

11h45 - Audio engineering panel (Howard Bilerman, Mke Sniper, Martin Bisi, &c) [Pop HQ - free]
13h30 - Tour Better panel (bookers, promoters, PR) [Pop HQ - free]
14h00 - Pop vs Jock [McGill Sports Centre - $20]
16h15 - Jeanette Lee talks to Vivien Goldman [Pop HQ - free]
18h00 - Avec pas d'casque [Ubisoft Rooftop - sold out]
18h30 - Uprising: Hip Hop and the lA Riots [Pop HQ - $8]
20h00 - David Byrne talks to Win Butler [Ukrainian Federation - $15]
20h30 - Daniel Isaiah [Rialto - $25]
20h30 - Mussaver [Tour Prisme La Plante - $10]
23h30? - Black Atlass [Belmont - $10]
21h00 - Christopher Smith [O Patro Vys - ?]
21h30 - Cotton Mouth [Casa del Popolo - $10]
21h30 - Gym, Deer [Tour Prisme La Plante - $10]
21h30 - The Sin and the Swoon [Cabaret Mile End - $17]
21h45 - The Belle Game [O Patro Vys - ?]
22h00 - a k u a [Sala Rossa - $20]
22h00 - Leif Vollebekk & friends (Tom Waits covers) [Breakglass Studios - $15]
22h00 - Esther Grey [Cagibi - $10]
22h30 - James Irwin [Tour Prisme La Plante - $10]
23h00 - Molly Sweeney [Cagibi - $10]
23h30 - Adam & the Amethysts [Tour Prisme La Plante - $10]
23h30 - The Sadies [Cabaret Mile End - $17]
23h30 - Olenka and the Autumn Lovers [Petit Campus - $10]
23h30 - Big K.R.I.T. [Club Soda - $25]
23h30 - Radio Radio [SAT - $20]
23h45 - Jacob Lusk & the R Kelly All-Stars [Sala Rossa - $20]
00h00 - Rich Aucoin [Divan Orange - $12]
00h00 - The Omen: Midnight Mass [John the Evangelist Church - $10]
00h00 - Andre Williams [Cabaret du Mile End - $17]
01h00? - Ryan Hemsworth [Belmont - $10]
01h00 - Mozart's Sister [Eglise Pop - $20]
01h00 - Zoobombs [Club Lambi - $10]

Sunday, September 23

What I'm doing:After a visit to Puces Pop and the Record Fair, hard to pick the highlights on Pop's final day. You can't really go wrong. Grizzly Bear (mp3) are one of my favourite a-list indie bands, and I love Woodpigeon (mp3) too. But ultimately I will probably go for the things that I will not see any other day, just rolling into town: a re-mounting of Where the River Got the Water, a magic-realist dance show led by Hanako Hoshimi Caines, with music by Katie Moore (mp3) & friends (and co-written by James Irwin). Or else the feat of a set that's promised by Lucky Dragons, recently profiled in WIRED. (Then I will go see Sun Araw's dazzled noise (mp3) and Nicky Da B getting low, because this is an insane and fuckin' rad combo.) Oh and I love the look of that 3pm New Media panel, not because of the topic but because of the panelists: the incredible Vincent Morisset (Arcade Fire, Bla Bla, Sigur Rós' INNI) & Damian Taylor (Björk's Biophilia, etc).

Anchor your evening:

See above. Go see Where the River Got the Water; go see Grizzly Bear (mp3) and the superb weird pop of Unknown Mortal Orchestra (mp3); go see Lucky Dragons' high-tech experiment; go have your head done in by Sun Araw (mp3) and Nicky da B.


Not a fan of Patrick Wolf (mp3) but I'd love to catch Woodpigeon (mp3) at L'Astral (it's a lovely room). Or, if it's not sold out, Purity Ring (mp3) will be a special hometown show; they don't play very often.

Roll the dice:

If you go see Deep End (trailer), at the Trylon, you will watch the movie standing inside the Trylon's swimming pool. Yes, soaking wet. Violent, vintage, one-of-a-kind.

12h - Managers' panel [Pop HQ - free]
13h15 - Future of Opera panel (Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, Opera Montreal & c) [Pop HQ - free]
15h00 - New Media and Music panel (Vincent Morisset, Damian Taylor &c) [Pop HQ - free]
15h30 - Skolimowski's Deep End (1970), screened in a (filled) swimming pool [Trylon pool - $10]
15h00 - Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet film [Pop HQ - $8]
16h00 - Where the River Got the Water [Remix] (dance show with Katie Moore & co) [Ukrainian Federation - $10]
17h00 - Lucky Dragons [PHI Centre - $15]
18h00 - Lhasa de Sela tribute [Park at St Urbain/Van Horne - free]

20h00 - Unknown Mortal Orchestra [Olympia - $40]
20h00 - Woodpigeon [L'Astral - $23]
21h00 - Grizzly Bear [Olympia - $40]

22h30 - Purity Ring [La Tulipe - $15]
01h00 - Sun Araw [Eglise Pop - $12]
02h00 - Nicky Da B [Eglise Pop - $12]

And that's all! I will try to keep this guide updated with new developments, cancellations, surprise shows, etc. Follow me on Twitter to stay up to the minute. And I'm sure I've missed tons of great things - leave your tips in the comments!

Posted by Sean at 12:48 PM | Comments (2)

September 11, 2012

So Fly I Got Arachnaphobia


Lil Wayne - "Burn"

Lil Wayne's perfect songs are full-on assaults. Attacks coming from every direction, repeatedly, relentlessly. Like a trick of perspective, a telephoto lens that shows one menacing black SUV on the heat-blurred horizon, that suddenly and punishingly splits into four when the rest pull out from behind. It's like being force-fed time bombs that are set to explode just as the regular bullets hit you all at once. It's Party Cubism. [Free]

Posted by Dan at 1:48 AM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2012


Girl From Ipanema, by Mike Hughes

Trails and Ways - "Nunca". Wear a riff as a fashion accessory: a badge, a collar, a single earring. Stick it on your skateboard, skim. This song's riff is like a sparkle that finds its way to your face, beside your eye; it stays there; people say, "There is a sparkle on your face, beside your eye." Whatever happened to those sliding sparkling beads on the spokes of every bicycle? Ten thousand years from now, beachcombers will find them on the beach, washed up by the surf. [bandcamp / Trails and Ways also covered Miguel]


  • M60: the Montreal 60 Second Film Festival runs this week, Thursday to Saturday. This is the city's tiniest film festival - a community cavalcade that I help organize every year. 2012 is M60's fifth anniversary, and we are celebrating with dozens of one-minute movies on the theme FAUX PAS. Each film was made over the course of one month this summer. I hope you'll come: $8 for 85 movies, you can't do much better than that.

  • For those who enjoyed the music of Old Believer, posted here before, please consider donating to his recording campaign.

    (photograph by Michael Hughes)

    Posted by Sean at 1:14 PM | Comments (0)
  • September 9, 2012



    Les Soeurs Boulay - "Lola en Confiture" [bandcamp]
    Avec pas d'casque - "La journée qui s'en vient est flambant neuve" [bandcamp]

    I drove to Rouyn-Noranda. No, I didn't drive; they drove. I was a passenger. A giant Jean-Legaré rental van, loaded up in the early AM, then out onto the road, where there were solemn lampposts and jerking jeeps, a gang of us passengers and one fine driver. You could tell he was fine because he wore glasses only when he was behind the wheel. It gives him the affect of a chauffeur-professor. This is something you can rely on.

    Rouyn-Noranda is almost eight hours northwest of Montreal, in a part of Quebec called Abitibi-Témiscamingue. To get there you drive through miles of pine forest and barbell-shaped lakes, past weird factories and half-mowed lots. You have to stop for lunch at Grand Remous because there is nowhere else to eat in the five hours between there and Rouyn-Noranda, unless you stop at D-----, and those who have been before to the Festival de Musique Émergente know that you should not eat at the place in D-----.

    Nobody calls the Festival de Musique Émergente "the Festival de Musique Émergente". They do not call it "the festival of emergant music" either. This is backwoods Quebec, this is Abitibi-Témiscamingue. They call it "le FME". Le-FME, said quick, like it's "L'EFME". Like it's "l'oeuf M.E.," which could be the name of a local breakfast diner. In Rouyn-Noranda, as in every place, breakfast menus are filled with puns about eggs, les oeufs, and also with every possible permutation of egg, pancake, french toast, bacon, ham and sausage.

    Rouyn-Noranda is a copper town. They built it in the 1930s, Hazel told me. I think the conversation went like this: We found copper. Better build a town. Really they built two town, Rouyn and Noranda, that have now been smelted together. This is a city of cement and lakes, with wide shopping streets and young churches, winding residential roads that are very dark, at night, and feel somehow like the American south. At the top of the city is a vast refinery, a plant of billowing turrets and clanging machinery, and because most of Rouyn-Noranda works there the clanging and billowing is quietly ignored, passed-by, like the goliath in the kitchen that you keep tiptoeing past.

    I had hoped that the locals of Rouyn-Noranda would show their metallic affiliation in some way: wearing copper bangles, copper belt-buckles, copper eyeglass-frames or perhaps copper shoes. They did not do this. The locals of Rouyn-Noranda looked, more or less, like the locals of any Quebecois small town. Among the girls who worked at my hotel, there seemed to be a fashion for feather earrings. Mostly I found the people were just notable for their kindness. They were so friendly, so kind, even moreso than at the other small festivals I have attended - Dawson City, SappyFest, the Home Game in Anstruther. After we rolled into town in our Jean Légaré van, spilled out with empty Gatorade bottles and granola-bar-wrappers, I borrowed a bicycle from Rouyn-Noranda's free bicycle shack. I also borrowed a helmet and a little lock. Anyone could break the lock and steal my bike; no one did. One night my swinging hoodie got caught in the bicycle and I skidded to a halt and within five seconds a young woman was kneeling beside me, trying to prise it free. These are not examples of exceptional kindness, superlative friendliness. But they mean something small: that no one stole my bike, that the woman stuck her tiny fingers into the knitted gritty chain.

    In Quebec, le FME is an institution. Now celebrating its tenth anniversary - just a little younger than Pop Montreal - it is principally a showcase for francophone music from Québec, with a little bit of francophone music from abroad, and some English-speaking Canadian acts. For the average maudit hipster anglais from Montreal the familiar acts at FME 2012 were: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Feist, Timber Timbre and Plants & Animals. Those are four bands. Even for those like me, who try to keep an ear open to what's going on in the other solitude, le FME is a festival of discovery. Quebec has an incredible domestic music industry - its own tour network and star system, proportionately much healthier than anywhere else in Canada. Hit albums are made, sold, exported, without receiving any notice from English Canada. Here, dozens of European bookers and label reps were flown in to check out the talent. And a handful of anglo journalists, mostly from Ontario and the UK, curious and frequently intoxicated, wandering from show to show and often without much of a sense of what they were about to hear.

    The festival was much bigger than I expected: twice the audience of Sappy, although maybe half the number of performers. There is a large outdoor stage, a few co-opted taverns, and a couple of mid-size concert halls. A Subway, a Tim Hortons, two Chinese buffets. A 24-hour diner, La Morasse (The Swamp), advertising (erroneously) "the best poutine in the world". On that first night I passed through the gigantic glowing F, M & E, at the entrance to the outdoor stage, and gawped at all the people: Look at them all. I thought. They were drinking Boréale beer from plastic mugs. The log-cabin bar also sold oysters and pulled-pork sandwiches. The throngs were there to see a woman I did not recognize: she had an acoustic guitar and a cheery yowl. With a crack band she played clompy country-folk, then an abysmal, embarrassing classic rock cover. I nudged a friend; "Who is this?" Lisa LeBlanc they told me, 22 years old. She is a huge star, her debut has just gone gold. The Rosaireville Taylor Swift, I guess. She seemed nice. I was bored. I wandered off.

    The weekend was full of wanderings off. In a funny way this is always the pleasure of a festival: much more than with an ordinary concert, you can cut & run & go searching for something else. On that Thursday night I saw middling sets by the melancholy pop-band Half Moon Run, and then my beloved Acadian rappers Radio Radio, whose show had some of the froth and none of the fizz of their best recorded work. Timber Timbre were as they ever are: spooky, tasteful, dulled, exciting, somehow derivative of themselves. As soon as a song starts I am waiting for it to end, looking forward to the beginning of the next song, that subtle changing. Later in the weekend I cut and run from shows by Fanny Bloom and Kandle, because they were terrible; from Ladylike Lily, Marie-Pierre Arthur, and Louis-Jean Cormier, because they were competent but lustreless; from Jean-Pierre Ferland, the 10th anniversary headliner, who performed from a stage that floated upon a lake, because I did not know any of his songs. Thousands poured in for that free gig, with collapsible chairs, taking in the schmaltzy sounds & schmaltzy sunset. Ferland, one of Quebec's great chansonniers, is 78. He was small, charismatic, professional, in a captain's jacket. His band played charismatic, professional soft rock - music, if you catch my drift, that should have unmoored from the stage and glided away on a yacht.

    On the other hand, I did not wander off from les Soeurs Boulay. I stood in a swletering sauna of a room and peered between shoulders to see two girls sharing a single microphone, grimacing at the strength of their drinks, singing harmonies like two strong winds. At first this sort of old-fashioned music seems all about the singing: just the angles that two voices can fall against each-other, recalling Gaspesien coastline, Scottish glen, Appalachian hill-top. But les Soeurs Boulay are doing more than pretty pastiche - they are writing songs, earnest songs, young as raspberries. The music is romantic, wistful, heart-on-sleeve, full of references to email and the Montreal subway - and this is exactly what it should be, from two 20-somethings who share a microphone and sing like winds. Standing in Rouyn-Noranda's Trèfle Noire, "Mappemonde" was sad & sappy & also the best unrequited-love-song that I have heard in, well... a very long time. This soft stuff is as necessary as laundry on a line. (The Boylays were also stupefyingly charismatic - hilarious, mischievous, confident. I would have colluded with them for hours.)

    Another discovery was Julien Sagot, Karkwa's keyboardist, whose set was one-third excellent. While Sagot's record had left me cold, there was a stubborn weirdness to some of what he did at le Paramount. He mumbled, undersang, tossed away lines of terse impressionism. The band around him let-fly psychedelic splendours. When it got too jammy it was like a boring Pink Floyd; when it clicked it was like an opiate Serge Gainsbourg. I also liked Bernard Adamus, whose gravelly shout is all ersatz Tom Waitz. And yet backed by his fierce brass band, Adamus had a little Jon Spencer in him, too. For a little while, at least, it was thrilling.

    Feist played an extraordinary main-stage set, feral and technicolour, transforming songs from her last three records. She swung at her electric guitar, playing scorching solos, with a band that could have laid a forest fire or launched a flying saucer. Whereas "Mushaboom" became an spacey, almost tropical jam, "My Moon My Man" exploded with vicious energy, lust & destruction, so unfaithful in sound. I have long felt that Leslie Feist is underrated, among critics: her albums are much messier than her reputation, or her acoustic radio sessions, suggest. Fuck a tour where she sings pretty numbers with the girls from Mountain Man: give me this drangin' stürm.

    Plants and Animals were also fiercer than expected. It was as if the rockers' nerves had frayed; it made me like their music more. The same sinning songs of late-night toss & turn - but the energy was sharp, tense. Partly because it was past one in the morning. The band didn't crack any real smiles. They just pounded their fists against their strings, cast a pall, clanged. Not angry but stern, disappointed, fooled once & not again.

    The best set of the weekend was a show I saw twice: Avec pas d'casque, playing 5 à 7 in a little club. On both afternoons I duly lined up, squeezed in, solo, to see one of the best bands in Canada - and the best French band I know. Strange, clomping folk music - circular songs, with wheeling verses, streaked in unexpected colours. Recalling Smog, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Animal Collective, and also, in lyricism, the Silver Jews. Singer Stéphane Lafleur shot slings of desire and resignation, persistence and wrath, with each line clad in dream. We hung on every word: I watched listeners mouth along with the lyrics, or shout them, in noisy choruses, and when the music was in danger of staying too close to the ground the bandmembers picked up kazoos, or yelled wordless refrains, reminding us that their songs are not precious little cameos: they are space gardens, rhinestone bouquets, the weirdest Jarmusch moments. (And always full of elastic quebecois slang: the most beautiful language in the world.)

    Yet still it was the set by Godspeed You! Black Emperor that would be at the centre of the weekend. How could it not be? It was as if a small-god had come into town: an old, wise secret, clad in black. They played at midnight. By their standards, it was a tiny show, around 300 people, in a converted church whose spire had grown FME antlers. All weekend, the talk of Godspeed: Do you have a ticket? Do you have a ticket? Like a comet was coming through; you see it or you don't. So it was beautiful when Godspeed took the stage as they always do, in darkness, coming in one by one, some of them from the crowd, just passing through with bowed heads, and you remember these are just working musicians, labourers, who will pick up mallets and sticks and electric machines, and that is all.

    There was a thrum in the crowd and when Godspeed began to play the thrum became larger, lower, stormcloud coming in. Projected film flickered to life behind them. Noise. There were images of line & paper, that old message HOPE, a refinery whipped by coppery winds. I looked away and down and closed my eyes. It was very late at night and darkness was creeping in, from the corners and from the floor. Roaring feedback swept and cleared my mind. A violin traced sparking shapes. I closed my eyes and fell asleep and woke and the room was filled with smoke, this music so patient and infinitely strong. I looked at the stage and there was it was like a creature was resting there, crouched, vast and living, black as ash, with folded wings. They say giants liver under hills, and dragons in caverns, and bands in rolling Nightliners.

    The next morning we had eggs and toast and I bought a little jar of wild spruce shoots, which I would bring home, with other things.

    Posted by Sean at 12:33 PM | Comments (2)

    September 7, 2012

    Inchoate Us

    ESG - "You Make No Sense"

    "We're not here to answer accusations about who came up with the idea or who is to blame for it's not working exactly according to our expectations. The whole department was behind the idea of Muppet Cops. It was a unanimous decision brought about by the department in conjunction with the province, there were many many signatories in this process. Muppet Cops still sounds like a good idea to me. But it's obvious now that there were unforeseen problems with the procedure. Too much power. We thought they'd be cute and they just became tyrants. We've never had so many police killings, and never more brutal. Officers are still speculating as to why that is. Some think it's because the Muppets are operated from underneath, so while this was formerly a figure of authority, it became a kind of super-authority because even the officers where subordinate to their whims. Some think it's the transfer of authority into a character, one that is separate from human ethics and morals, that allows it to be 'set free' in a sense and operate outside of human decency. Others, and if you've ever used one you wouldn't dismiss this option, feel the Muppets themselves are possessed by some sort of demon force. Needless to say, we'll be canceling the Muppet Cops program immediately, and will do everything in our power to bring the twelve escaped Muppet Cops in as quickly as possible and bring them to the justice they so desperately deserve. May God help anyone that runs into them out there."


    Posted by Dan at 12:21 PM | Comments (1)

    September 4, 2012

    But Now The Sun Always Shines


    Sharon Van Etten - "Leonard"

    We are only sad because all those ideas need to be thrown out. What a waste, all this human-shaped furniture. Now we get hot walls, and hot roofs, and those will bring new ideas. They will not look like ticker-tape and mirrorballs and empty bars and ice. They will not taste like watermelon and fall leaves and proud old houses. They will look like new things, at first storm shelters and illegal food, but soon ocean homes and wind travel. Raise a glass to the in-between, because it will never be seen again. [Buy]


    Posted by Dan at 5:11 PM | Comments (0)

    September 3, 2012


    Bears looking guilty

    Bankrobber - "Soon". When you woke up you couldn't remember if you had sent the email or not. Had you sent it? HAD YOU SENT IT?! Then you checked: You had sent it. There was nothing to do now but wait and see what happened. You felt like you had just planted ten seeds, waiting to see if they'd sprout. You felt like a voter slipping a ballot into a ballot box. Outside the window, all the clouds seemed to be colluding. Your neighbour had erected a weathervane on his front lawn; it was spinning. A dog strolled by, acting like the king of the world. You sat on your couch and thought, Well I know for sure this couch is soft. You laughed at yourself. When I am counting the things I know I start with the softness of the couch. You checked your computer to see if he had answered. He had not. You went out onto your front step, where the photographers were waiting. Flashbulbs popped. Someone approached you, deferential, pinning to your chest this country's greatest cultural honour. It glimmered in the cloudy light. Are you sure you had woken up? You didn't want a fucking medal but you couldn't tell them that. You couldn't tell them that you just wanted to rush away from all the hoopla and check again if he had answered. Then the world ended.

    [Bankrobber make wild, whirly music. They are not much internetted but you can friend them on Facebook or find more here]

    Posted by Sean at 10:15 PM | Comments (1)