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 30, 2015

Truth is out there.

(photo source)

Dura - "Cochineale"

[Out on October 13th. Pre-Order]

So there is water on Mars apparently, and there was Super Moon Eclipse a couple of days ago. I saw a little bit but i mostly was looking at all the people staring at sky pointing on the street like a sci-fi movie. It was little bit surreal. i also saw a guy riding unicycle carrying some groceries a couple of weeks ago. It was also surreal. But it's Montreal.

I wonder in my life time if I will get to meet Aliens. What would I say? Will we be able to communicate? Will they look like us? Will they look like in the movies? Will they look like clones of each other? I don't want to offend them by mistaking one of them for another like mild racism. I hope it is somewhat easy to see into their eyes. I dont want them to look like monsters with saliva and body fluids dripping from their body. If they looked like that I would never invite them to my dinner parties. What a mess. Will they be so smart that we can't even carry on conversations? What about small talk? If I say something like, "What do you think about the movie, Independence Day?" Is that the same as someone asking me if I like Jackie Chan? I really hope they don't come to earth to kill us all. Hope they are just doing research. I don't mind if they put implants on me, like GPS or something as long as they pay me. I really hope they don't tell me "it's great exposure " or "you can intern with us for free, it's great experience." Maybe they will want to settle on earth. Some of them might join Tinder and get laid, get hurt, get married, get wasted. Maybe earth will become a hot destination for spring break for aliens.

I really hope we find out.

Posted by Mitz at 7:34 PM | Comments (1)

September 29, 2015

I'm Stuck in the Past and He's Stuck on His Four Track

Pciture of a pixie-ish young troubadour from the cover of her first EP

Mary Lou Lord - "His Indie World"

My worst boyfriend ever had the best music collection of anyone I ever dated. It was the silver lining of his otherwise miserable cloud. Fortunately, the relationship was short-lived, but the music endured. Mary Lou Lord's self titled 1995 EP on Kill Rock Stars was one of the CDs I stole from him when I finally fled our overheated one room apartment and skipped town. Fittingly, it is a short, melancholy album full of songs about love gone wrong and life not meeting up with one's expectations. It does not need to be any longer than eight songs because those eight songs are perfect.

If anyone ever wants to know what it is like to be a heart broken indie folk singer in the mid nineties, let this collection serve as their textbook. Listening again this week, I was hard pressed to pick one track over another and amazed by how well the material holds up. In the end I have to choose "His Indie World" over all others. It is a funny, smirky, masterfully written time capsule of nineties era indie rock name dropping, that barely conceals the heartfelt sentiment underneath. It's nearly impossible to find this EP anymore, which makes me even happier about my 1998 thievery. Sometimes doing the wrong thing is the right thing.


Posted by Jennifer Whiteford at 1:57 PM | Comments (2)

September 28, 2015



CHVRCHES - "Empty Threat".

CHVRCHES' songs like long columns of jewels, staggered gems, dotted lines on a night-black road, gleaming headlights on invisible hills, cats' eyes, cats'-eyes, one harvest moon and another harvest moon and did you know eclipses occur in sequence, regular sequence, once every xx months. These songs like long columns of jewels, staggered gems. Sometimes life is happening at regular speed and then at other times it seems faster, accelerated; and after a few hours or days you realize it has not accelerated, it has always been like this, that it has not got any faster but just become syncopated, re-rhythmed, subdivided by a new hope, a new feeling, new lights in your mind's sky. Subdivide a song and it becomes two songs; or it remains a single song ghosted on itself, a mirror.


(Björk photo source since forgotten)

Posted by Sean at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2015

Not That Good at Breathing In

Courtney Barnett - "Avant Gardener"

Last year around this time, I had this job as a receptionist at a massage therapy clinic. The place was a kind of pseudo-spa whose overall vibe hovered somewhere between utility and luxury; it was small, just a few rooms, not super-fancy, but also not the kind of place you'd ever go if you didn't have health insurance. It was up on the second floor of a storefront, above a place that sold fancy hearing aids, in a sleepy/bougie part of town not far from where I lived. My bosses were these two women, a mother and a daughter, who had opened the clinic together for wildly different reasons - the daughter because it had always been her dream, and the mother because she was bored and unhappy and had a lot of money.

I got to know the mother pretty well - let's call her A. - not because she really worked there, but because she'd come in and sit next to me at the front desk on days when she didn't have anything else to do, complaining about all the people in the world who were trying to trick her out of her money or her dignity. She was from the most frustrating and depressing subspecies of day-job boss - the kind of person it would be very easy to feel heart-piercing sympathy for if you did not also rely on them for orders and a paycheque. There was another receptionist too; C., a girl with the breathiest calm I'd ever encountered, who wrote self-help books in her off-hours and whose every spoken word felt edged with a faint glow of quiet strength and spiritual purity even when she was just asking if you could take out the garbage or whatever. Her hair was perfect, and every patient who came in melted at her hi, welcome, and next to her I looked and felt like a tornado or a house destroyed by one. You cannot complain to a person who speaks in pure light about how much your contractor wanted to charge you to knock out a wall - your words will just burn up in their atmosphere - but me, I'm different.

Actually this is, I'm pretty sure, why A. hired me in the first place. I do not necessarily look or act particularly calm or spa-like, but I can listen like a motherfucker, especially when I'm being paid to do so. (You hear a lot, out in the world, about the various indignities of shitty minimum-wage work, but I feel like no one really talks about how easily and often you can end up becoming your superiors' de facto sounding board, psychiatrist.) A.'s unhappiness rang out a strange chord against the rest of the place's hypercalculated, Bed Bath & Beyond-y calm; she'd complain to me about what an asshole her dog-walker was as I replaced the "LAUGHTER"-scented oil in the diffusers, or about her shitty ex-husband while I clicked the salt lamps on and off, or about one of the other employees while I typed up this week's schedule, watered the ivies, stared blankly at the wall hangings that whispered love and patience across the foyer's pale blue walls. I nodded, made nice faces.

I've had a lot (a lot) of day jobs in my short life; many of them have paid better than this one did, and most of them had nicer bosses. But I loved working at the clinic, fiercely and irrationally. I told my friends that it just felt good to do things, to organize stuff, to be part of a machine, and this checked out - I'd spent the year beforehand stagnating on my couch, writing copy for an SEO firm and slowly driving myself crazy, so, like, sure.

I was only supposed to work part-time, but soon I started volunteering for all-day shifts, getting up early to open the place and staying late to close it too. I'd come in every morning clutching a gigantic, scalding hot tea, flick the alarm off and the lights on, kick my boots off and drop my ipod in the dock, blasting Kendrick Lamar loud enough that I could sing along to "Money Trees" in the breakroom while I chopped up lemons for the day's first jug of soothing, spa-like water. (The second I heard the front door ding open I'd have to book it back up the hall in my socks to switch to A.'s "calming" playlist, a disorienting mix of Gregorian chants, soft ambient string arrangements and Michael Bublé.) Then the day would move along in little cycles; there was always laundry to fold, files to pull from the overstuffed cabinets, then later alphabetize and put away. After everyone left, I'd linger as long as I could in the place's quiet emptiness, inventing tasks and chores until I couldn't convince myself there was anything left to do. Then I'd go next door for a burrito. Then, finally, I'd go home.

If you were watching this part of my life like a movie, it would not take much for you to see that I was maybe avoiding a few things in other quadrants of my life that wanted dealing with - or, if you're feeling more generous, that maybe one part of my brain needed time to sift through some stuff while another part, closer to the front, busied itself with the steady morse code push of dopamine that comes from simple tasks in a straight line. You're the audience, though; seeing this stuff is your job. If you'd asked me I probably would have just shugged.

Still, there's only so long you can talk yourself out of yourself. There was this one night when it turned out neither I nor C. could close the place, and when I told A., bracing for anger, she replied in a sweet, high-pitched voice that I had never heard before: it's okay, I'll take the shift. The next day I got a call from C.; A. had left the washing machine on overnight, overfilled; it had flooded, caving the floor in and destroying most of the downstairs hearing aid place. So... are they going to close? I asked C., who just laughed, like a thousand distant, beautiful bells. Nope. They want to stay open. Come in.

They'd already had repairpeople in for hours by the time I got there. Everything in the foyer had been piled haphazardly into cardboard boxes or covered in thick plastic tarp. There were 4 or 5 big weird machines sucking water out of the floor and walls, blaring a thick dull white noise in concert that didn't hurt your ears at first. I remember inhaling and tasting plaster dust on my tongue; I remember A. coming down the hallway, catching my eye, and waving a cheerful "hello!" like there was absolutely nothing going on.

It's strange, surreal moment, when the perspective shifts - when you realize that this whole time you've been a character in someone else's movie and not the other way around. I stayed at that job for another week, shrugging weakly when people would come in and wince at the noise. My last day I stayed even later than usual - shifting boxes, rearranging tarp, trying not to look out the window. When I finally left it was dark outside, and freezing, and I went for a burrito one last time. I didn't want to go back to the movie about me, not quite yet.

[buy The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas]

Posted by Emma at 6:55 PM | Comments (2)

September 23, 2015

Crash Test Dummies

Radiant Baby - "Snail On TV" Radiant Baby - "You can dance" Radiant Baby - "Save me from myself" [Buy]

We were on the way to our show in my '98 Subaru which has a huge rust hole in the door. It holds my phone like a rustic artisan docking station. I used to have a '97 Toyota so my next car will be perhaps be a '99 Honda? Slowly moving up to date. I wonder if in 2032, i will be driving a 2004 model, or by the time, hopefully i'll be driving car fueled by my own farts which would be great for environment.

We were at the light and got rear-ended. Just a little bump like someone who taps you on the shoulder but still surprises you a little bit. I got out and checked the ass of my car. It was fine, dirty and wrinkled, with a bit of paint chipping as usual. I saw the guy who bumped into me still sitting in his van. I went up and talked to him. His van was so dirty probably a mid 90s or even early 90s model van and on his empty passenger seat, there were two bags of chips open which he was eating and continued to eat while I talked to him. On the back seat, there was a baby sitting in a baby seat. "I'm sorry, i wasn't paying attention." he said still finishing his last bite of chips. He was probably paying attention to the chips. He seems sincere and I was fascinated by this weird situation. I just said, "no worries. my car is old anyways, careful next time." he said "thanks. mine too!" It was a weird and slightly awkward moment, the kind I love. The baby was completely un-phased.

Maybe he was thinking about how he wants to be a better father and was reading 'Parenting for Dummies' while driving. I dunno. I wish the best for him and his family.

We got to the show and played. I thought if it would be funny if we played that show with all the band members wearing neck braces from imaginary whiplash and we would call ourselves, Crash Test Dummies. But we didn't.

Posted by Mitz at 4:03 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2015

Believe me, I got a plan

A black and white film still of a woman tied to train tracks as a locomotive approaches

Amanda Shires - "When You Need a Train It Never Comes"

I happened on Amanda Shires because of a New York Times magazine article about her husband, Jason Isbell. His story was an inspiring, though not unusual, tale of excess and redemption. The part of the article that stuck with me was when the writer said he'd had Shires' song "When You Need a Train It Never Comes" on repeat for weeks. Once I heard it I understood why. It's not the kind of song I'd ever listen to just once. Spooky, depressing, sad, desperate, with an expressive edge that comes from a narrator who has maybe already given up. When I first heard it, I thought of it as a straightforward break up song, but since then I've read interviews with Shires where she mentions having written countless songs about suicide, which gave the song a darker layer that I hadn't picked up on previously. After over a year I still have it on heavy rotation and it is my go-to song when I am feeling crummy. It's a song made to be on repeat when you're driving away from a rotten situation, or when you're awake and alone in a house full of sleeping people because sadness won't let you rest.


Posted by Jennifer Whiteford at 9:04 AM | Comments (1)

September 21, 2015



Emily Hall - "Embrace". "Embrace" is the apex of a modern opera composed by Emily Hall, with a libretto by the Icelandic writer Sjón. It is the sound of a man climbing. Scaling an electrical pylon, hand over hand, into a clear blue sky. That climb - reaching, straining, stepping closer & closer & into the space that he wants. An answer at the top of a silver tower, a deluded fulfillment. And throughout it all you can hear the ground below, the windy ground below and all its movements. All its deadly facets. The singer is named Allan Clayton. He is a tenor singing at the edge of his range. He sings at the edge of his range and yet he sings as if he is at home in it, at rest in it, so totally safe as he clambers higher and higher toward oblivion. [buy/listen on bandcamp]

All Dogs - "That Kind of Girl". Physical objects hang together in the air. They exist in space, molecules fastened in a row. You cannot deny their presence or their force - not as a boat nudges through the water, not as a spear is pushed through your side. A song is not a physical object. It is not a boat, a spear. And yet it hangs together in the air. And yet it is a presence, a force. A song is not a physical object. And yet it is a boat, and yet it is a spear. [buy/listen on bandcamp / thanks Hamza]

(image source)

Posted by Sean at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2015


Yo La Tengo - "Let's Save Tony Orlando's House"

Pink silk jackets. Feathered hair, impeccable skateboards, liquid jawlines, triplicate. Thin hands gripping thin forearms, in a pyramid, in order, doppling through the suburbs like a snake or the dream of a snake. Take them in together and they sing like distant pavement in a heatwave. Their colour warbling at the edges like a melting VHS, the whiskey dulling in the backs of all their throats like a bad secret. Eyes like wrenches. Skin like petals. Wheels that whisper to the pavement as they pass under your window in a palindrome: please yes please yes please yes please yes.

[buy And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out]

Posted by Emma at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2015

Pop Montreal Pick

There are so many great discoveries every year.

Im most excited about these guys.

I posted before but I just can't explain how Chevalier Avand Garde makes me feel. Past Present and Future. Something nostalgic and melancholy yet....future shop. ok I failed as a serious music journalism. But I mean they are great.


Posted by Mitz at 2:42 PM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2015


Describe the image

Bully - "Trying"

This week it's Pop Montreal, and if you're at all like me, you're feeling overwhelmed by the whole thing and don't know where to start. I recommend consulting Sean's always thoughtful guide to the festival, but also, when in doubt, just go see women.

My picks include local feminist punks Heathers, Halifax's off-kilter pop jammers Old and Weird, backpack hip-hop legend Jean Grae, and the sensational soul singer and guitarist Barbara Lynn with the Ponderosa Stomp Revue. Bully from Nashville and Partner from Sackville, NB, are also both guaranteed to destroy with their unique takes on nineties-style alternative rock.

Have a great festival everybody!


(image source)

Posted by Jeff at 4:10 AM | Comments (1)


Pop Montreal 2015

Pop Montreal, the city's most terrific music festival, returns this week. It's a five-day bash that transforms the town into a showcase for artists from across Quebec, North America and beyond. I'm ill-suited to write a guide this year - I've been running around like a maniac in recent months, becoming a little out-of-touch with the local scene, and I've not had much time with the programme. But still I wanted to give local readers some of my personal picks for these splendid coming nights and days. Please note that these selections are my own, and do not reflect on the much superior tastes of Jeff, Mitz and Emma.

As I've said before: After years of doing Pop, I feel the most important thing is to seek out extra-ordinary moments. That's the key part - the extra ordinary. Many of Pop's shows are like any other - a major or mid-level indie touring act, visiting town for an evening show. I say: during Pop, don't waste your time on that shit. This year, for instance, forget about Albert Hammond Jr or Mikal Cronin. Skip Motorhead, unless you're a massive Motorhead fan. Instead, seek out the stranger things. The one-offs, rare bookings, alternative venues, or perfect mixed bills. The showcases that pack a gang of friends into a single room, capturing an autumn moment that'll never be repeated. And don't run around so much that you don't have any fun.

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, 2012, 2014 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).

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

  1. Free stuff. 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. Click here for the full list. The free 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.
  2. Buy tickets. Most Pop concerts are like any other concerts, year-round: you can buy tickets at the door, online, or at a record shop like Phonopolis. Almost everything's cheaper if you buy it in advance. Setting aside the free shows, most gigs cost between $10 and $30, which typically includes a bill of two to four bands. Buying tickets is really the simplest way to do Pop - figure out the concerts you want to see, buy the ticket, show up. For $15 you can also get a one-day Pop Hopper upgrade to any ticket. (See below.)
  3. Pop Hopper upgrades. When you buy a Pop Montreal concert ticket, $15 more will net you a one-day Pop Hopper pass for the same date. These passes are for people who wish to skim and graze between shows, visiting several venues in a single night. Pop Hopper passes don't guarantee access - most concerts have a certain allotment of Pop Hoppers they will allow in, and some high-end gigs won't allow any Pop Hoppers at all. Please note: Pop Hopper upgrades require planning. You can only buy them when buying tickets online, or by dropping by Pop HQ, 12pm-8pm.
  4. Day Pass. This year is Pop also offers a $45 Day Pass. Each of these things lets you into all of that day's shows, including priority "skip-the-line" access. It's also good for a couple of free drinks at Pop HQ.
  5. Super Pass. For $175, do more or less whatever the hell you want. (This is a bargain.)

Recommendations over several days
Besides the concerts and Symposium events, Pop has a couple more important segments. Crucially, there's Film Pop, with a series of specially curated movies, and Art Pop, with visual arts exhibitions which are mostly on all week. This year, Art Pop's curators are leading exhibition tours from Pop HQ at 17h30 every day.

Do your holiday shopping early: Pop's massive, excellent art&craft fair, Puces Pop, takes place Thursday-Friday (17h-21h), and Saturday-Sunday (11h-18h) at 160 St-Viateur Est. There's also a record fair at the Église St-Michel-Archange, a few blocks away (Sat-Sun, 11h-18h). Finally, if you're a parent, do look into the often-overlooked Kids Pop.

Daily Event Recommendations
Most days, I break things down as follows:

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, super 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 14. All dates/times are as best as I know.

Top Five

  1. Micachu & the Shapes [Wednesday, Le Ritz PDB]
  2. Partner [Thursday, Cagibi]
  3. Stars of the Lid [Saturday and Sunday, Ukrainian Federation]
  4. Ponderosa Stomp Revue ft Barbara Lynn, Lil Buck Sinegal [Saturday, PHI Centre]
  5. Pathway to Paris ft Thurston Moore, AroarA, Barr Brothers, etc [Sunday, Theatre Rialto]

Wednesday, September 16

Anchor your evening:Three very solid options:
Roam:Weaves (previously) are one of my favourite new indie acts in Canada, while Micachu & the Shapes' brilliant noise-pop is some of the most exciting music being made in the world today. I'll be at Le Ritz with them.

Roll the dice:

Fanfaraï are a French-Moroccan fanfare band mixing gnawa, gypsy and other musical traditions. They are playing outdoors at 5pm or indoors at 1:30am. You decide.

15h - Polaris Prize discussion panel [Pop HQ - free]
16h - Nancy Pants [Pop HQ - free]
17h - Fanfaraï [Pop HQ - free]
20h - Molly Sweeney [Ukrainian Federation - $30]
21h - Tapa Diarra et Diely Mori Tounkara [Ukrainian Federation - $30]
22h - Suuns and Jerusalem In My Heart [Theatre Rialto - $18]
22h - Weaves [Sala Rossa - $20]
22h - Vieux Farka-Touré and Julia Easterlin [Ukrainian Federation - $30]
22h30 - The Sonics [Theatre Fairmount - $33]
23h - Micachu & the Shapes [Le Ritz PDB - $20]
01h30 - Fanfaraï [Piccolo Rialto - $15]

Thursday, September 17

Anchor your evening:You could easily spend your night at Eglise St-Jean Baptiste, where Montreal favourites Barr Brothers and Katie Moore are sure to fill the room with loveliness. Or at La Vitrola, where the Fixture Records crew will fill the room with unique, gem-coloured art rock. Or, for a amazing, mere $10, with great singer-songwriters and the like at Rialto Hall, where it's StG pals like Michael Feuerstack, Nick Ferrio and The Burning Hell, plus By Divine Right.


Please don't miss Partner, from Sackville, New Brunswick, who are for my money the best new band in Canada. Other highlights: a late-night delirium by Braids, what will be an amazing hometown record launch by the heroic & inspiring Ought, and a rare dive-bar appearance by Stanley Brinks, arguably the best (and former) part of Herman Düne. Plus a talk on songwriting between Stars' Torquil Campbell and "Sugar, Sugar" songwriter Andy Kim.

Roll the dice:

Said the Gramophone's own Mitz Takahashi leads the band MAVO. My cousin plays in Goodbye Honolulu. I love them both. And Last Lizard is described as a film-score/free-jazz project by Dirty Beaches' Alex Zhang.

12h15 - Canadian music industry panel [Pop HQ - free]
14h30 - Andy Kim and Torquil Campbell talk songwriting [Pop HQ - free]
20h - The Reflektor Tapes screening & afterparty [Theatre Rialto - $12.50]
20h - Katie Moore [Eglise St-Jean Baptiste - $35]
20h - Goodbye Honolulu [Divan Orange - $10]
21h - Stanley Brinks [Barfly - $10]
22h - Partner [Cagibi - $10]
21h - Barr Brothers [Eglise St-Jean Baptiste - $35]
21h - MAVO [La Vitrola - $12]
21h45 - Freelove Fenner [La Vitrola - $12]
22h - Ought [Ukrainian Federation - $15]
22h30 - Chevalier Avant Garde [La Vitrola - $12]
23h15 - Last Lizard [La Vitrola - $12]
23h30 - B.A. Johnston [L'Assomoir - $10]
01h00 - Holy Data [O Patro Vys - $10]
01h00 - Empress Of [Piccolo Rialto]
02h00 - Braids [Piccolo Rialto - $15]

Friday, September 18

Anchor your evening:I'm most excited by the concert at Casa Del Popolo, showcasing weird pop music by several amazing acts, none of whom are famous (yet), all of whom are visiting from far away. Jib Kidder first caught my interest seven years ago, and he's still got it, while Ruth Garbus has done some amazing stuff under the name Happy Birthday. Her sister is Tune-Yards' Merrill Garbus.


There's something amazing in Montreal tonight under the umbrella of almost every genre, from Tim Hecker's electronic noise to Jean Grae and Cannibal Ox's different flavours of rap to italo-disco emperor Giorgio Moroder to jubilant noise-niks Viet Cong. But don't leave out the eminent, heavy, psychedelic rock of Besnard Lakes, playing here with an incredible 17-piece band.

Roll the dice:

I'm embarrassingly unfamiliar with the art and work of Arto Lindsay. Tonight might be the night to learn.

13h30 - Conversation with Jean Grae [Pop HQ - free]
15h00 - Going Down The Road Feeling Bad panel ft Khaela Maricich & more [Pop HQ - free]

16h00 - Vesuvio Solo [Pop HQ - free]
18h00 - Artist Talk: Olaf Breuning [Pop HQ - free]
20h00 - K8 Hardy: Outfitumentary screening [JA De Seve Cinema - $10]
20h30 - Jib Kidder [Casa Del Popolo - $15]
21h00 - Tim Hecker [PHI Centre - $20]
21h30 - Ruth Garbus [Casa Del Popolo - $15]
21h30 - Giorgio Moroder [Eglise St-Jean Baptiste - $45]
22h30 - OHARA [L'Assomoir - $15]
22h30 - Jean Grae [Club Soda - $25]
23h00 - Arto Lindsay [Sala Rossa - $18]
23h00 - Besnard Lakes with 17-piece band [Rialto Hall - $20]
23h30 - Cannibal Ox [Club Soda - $25]
23h30 - Viet Cong [Theatre Fairmount - $16]
23h59 - Showgirls screening [Cinema L'Amour - $10]
01h00 - Saxsyndrum [La Vitrola - $10]
01h00 - Hua Li [Maison SOciale - free]

Saturday, September 19

Anchor your day:If you are interested in and/or committed to independent art & music, I would invite you to join me at the Saturday afternoon forum on the Politics of Independent Music, run by Constellation Records. Constellation (home to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and many, many more) is one of the most righteous artistic entities I have ever encountered. I'm looking forward to these conversations.

That night, I recommend two very different bills: at the Ukrainian Federation, Jessica Moss (Silver Mt Zion) will open the first night of a two-night stand by Stars Of The Lid, whose ambient music is some of the best ever made. I was at Stars Of The Lid's last Montreal visit, for a Pop gig around 2008, and it was an all-time experience. I felt the same way about the last time I went to a show run by New Orleans' Ponderosa Stomp, a festival showcasing great, forgotten rock'n'roll, soul and R&B artists from Louisiana and around. Tonight in Montreal they are showing a film about the project, plus live music by Stomp sensations Barbara Lynn and Lil Buck Sinegal.

Roam:Stars of the Lid's Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie will be talking music with Tim Hecker that afternoon, and my friends in Nancy Pants ought to rock out your midnight at Divan Orange.

12h00 - Constellation Records' six-hour Politics of Independent Music forum [Pop HQ - free]
12h30 - Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie in conversation with Tim Hecker [Pop HQ - free]

16h00 - Nick Diamonds [Pop HQ - free]
16h00 - A Poem Is A Naked Person screening [JA De Seve Cinema - $10]
19h00 - Lee Ranaldo [Ubisoft Roof - $35]
20h30 - Moon [Brasserie Beaubien - $10]
20h30 - Li'l Andy [L'Escogriffe - $10]
20h45 - Ponderosa Stomp Revue screening and concert by Barbara Lynn, Lil Buck Sinegal and the Key-Lites [PHI Centre - $30]
21h00 - Jessica Moss [Ukrainian Federation - $25]
22h00 - Stars of the Lid [Ukrainian Federation - $25]

22h00 - Babes in Toyland [Théatre Rialto - $27]
00h30 - Nancy Pants [Divan Orange - $10]

Sunday, September 20

Anchor your day:This relatively quiet Sunday is stacked in favour of the Pathway to Paris concert, which unites some of the city's most creative instrumentalists - as well as uh, Thurston Moore - in the hopes of bringing attention to climate change issues.


Tonight is your second change to see the incredible Stars of the Lid, and there's a fun late-night show at Piccolo Rialto where awesome musicians are reimagining songs by the Smiths and the Talking Heads.

Roll the dice:

I've been enormously curious about Trent Harris's Beaver Trilogy since hearing about it on This American Life; Part IV is a documentary examining this bizarre American film artifact.

18h00 - The Beaver Trilogy Pt IV screening [JA De Seve Cinema - $10]
20h00 - Pathway to Paris with Thurston Moore, AroarA, Jesse Paris Smith, members of Barr Brothers, Saltland, Brahja Waldman Quartet, and more. [Theatre Rialto - $25]

21h00 - Loosestrife [Brasserie Beaubien - $10]
22h00 - Stars of the Lid [Ukrainian Federation - $25]
22h40 - Bully [Divan Orange - $15]
00h30 - Play Guitar cover Talking Heads [Piccolo Rialto - free]
00h30 - Heathers [Brasserie Beaubien - $10]
01h30 - The Smiffs (Smiths cover band) [Piccolo Rialto - free]

There you have it. Follow me on Twitter for updates if I get them. And I'm sure I've missed tons of great things - leave your own recommendations in the comments.

Posted by Sean at 12:42 AM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2015

Let Me Show You

Titus Andronicus - "No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future"
Titus Andronicus - "Fatal Flaw"

- I have this real bad habit I need to get rid of. Every once in a while, if I'm having an off-day, someone will ask how I am and I'll go: "Fine! I just need someone to push me down a flight of stairs."

- Here's the thing: people do not always love it when you say this, especially when it's not clear how much you are kidding.

- Have you heard the new Titus Andronicus record yet? I do a thing with this band where I'll kinda forget about them for a while, and then they somehow manage to show back up in my life at exactly the right moment.

- They have a lot of songs about depression, which is a really easy thing to write about and a really hard thing to write about well. There are different kinds of honesty. For example: the way these two songs conflate drug dealers with pharmacists might seem, at first glance, a little heavy-handed - but then again, maybe only to someone who's never found themselves in the centre of that particular Venn diagram. If you know it, it's just true.

- It's human nature, I think, to want to organize messy concepts into straightforward narratives; give something an arc and you can trace it start to finish. With a lot of mental illness the compulsion is to talk in terms of disaster and redemption, rock bottom and steep climb: you're either the worst you've ever been or you're working really really hard to get better.

- And this isn't necessarily bad or wrong! Sometimes that story is your story. Other times you might walk around feeling paralyzed by all the ways you've failed to live it out. Either way, it's present. But there's another part of it, a territory that exists beyond those stories about highest/lowest points.

- If you're unlucky enough to be freighted with a chemical imbalance but lucky enough to have figured out some tricks for mediating the impact it has on your day-to-day (like, say, taking the right drugs and avoiding the wrong ones), you sometimes get to unlock this secret and wildly unsexy Major Depressive Bonus Level that's just all about managing. There's no narrative octane in this one, no shine - it's just the part where you've figured out, through relentless trial and error, a series of checks and balances that (for a while, at least) might somehow help to keep the sickness from driving every single aspect of your life.

- It's incredibly fortunate to stumble into this territory, and also very tedious. You know that schmaltzy pamphlet-phrase you hear sometimes - Living With Depression? It's that, but instead of a chorus of howling ghosts your depression's just a shitty, boring roommate.

- One of these songs is called "Fatal Flaw," as in the thing that ends up being your downfall, and the other's called "No Future," as in The End. But the trick, I think, is that they're both a little bit about another thing.

- There are different kinds of honesty. Like, no, smart guy, I don't want someone to literally push me down the literal stairs - but there are still days when you feel trapped inside and outside yourself at the same time. Days where you are technically maintaining, but also so numb to the world that you feel not like a person in a body but a ghost piloting a blimp but also somehow so sensitive to everything that even the tiniest details can bruise the inside of your skull for weeks.

- How do you explain how normal this is, and how terrible, and how completely okay? That it's not disastrous or redemptive, not the beginning or the end, it's just your day? That it burns a hole in your chest sometimes and that's fine but it's not but it is? How do you explain wanting so badly for someone you love to know all this about you, and also wanting more than anything to hide it from them? The riot of helplessness and elation that you feel, some days, just walking around in the fucking grocery store or whatever? How could you ever even begin to build a structure to contain all this sprawling, unimpressive chaos?

- Some songs work real hard to bend around you, to weave themselves into your changing moods, to be the soundtrack for whole months of your life.

- And some songs just do what they do and stay there, keeping at it, waiting for you to need them for an hour or a day.

- The word "anthemic" comes up a lot when people talk about Titus Andronicus, and of course it's the guitars or whatever. But there's something else an anthem does: defines a territory, reminds you where you are. I can't think of a band that plays the tug-of-war between resignation and defiance with quite the same degree of expertise and searing, cringing, singalong honesty as this one.

- Titus Andronicus are not my all-time favourite band, but "No Future Part Three" was, for a very long time, the most-played song on my iTunes, and "Fatal Flaw" is all I've listened to all day. When you need something, you need it. There are different kinds of honesty. Sometimes you want to be reminded of where you are; sometimes you want someone to tell you that they've been there too. And sometimes you want a song to push you down the stairs - to be waiting at the bottom, arms outstretched, when you come to.

[buy The Monitor + The Most Lamentable Tragedy]

Posted by Emma at 12:03 AM | Comments (4)

September 9, 2015


(Photo Source)

Sheer Agony - "I Have A Dream" [out Oct 30th on Couple Skate Records]

Check out the excellent video directed by Freelove Fenner's Peter Woodford

t's been 16 years. It was 1999. I was in Grade 11 and I was daydreaming about a Guided By Voices cover band, Guided By Vocoders. Maybe not. Anyway, there is a print shop called Copie 2000 in Montreal. I always wondered about the name. Maybe the owner thought 2000 sounded futuristic when he opened in 1984 (I just googled their website). Maybe he was really pessimistic person and thought the Y2K bug would actually happen and world would end and didn't care beyond.
If the later was the case, I continued to daydream that in 1999, the owner of Copie 2000 was really self-destructive He would yell, "What do you want!?" with whiskey in his hand, to customers.
"Why do you want business cards printed!? Huh? We are all just gonna die anyways!"
"Whatever, I will print them. But just so you know that your business will fail next year. Because WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE SOON!!! GAHAHAHAHAHA." as he takes a sip from his whiskey bottle.
If this was the case his wife would be really worried about him. Worried that he was coming home at 3am every night, spending all his money on the Video slot machine at Primetime across the street. About the time he ordered a foot long Cheese Steak sandwich with extra cheese at Subway and said to the high school kid employee "You aren't sandwich artist! Give me that South-West Sauce!" then mocked him as he was put the sauce on "Look at me! I'm the Jackson Polluck of Sandwichs! GAHAHAHAHA!" He was out of control. It was opposite of what he used to be. He always made his own sandwiches with homemade bread, tuna and no mayonnaise just sea salt with plenty of organic vegetables from his community garden. He didn't really drink much. In fact, he'd rather go running on the mountain every other day, early in the morning.

All this because of the Y2K scare.

But then, judgement day came, the 31st of December 1999.
"5! 4! 3! 2! 1!" his relatives, his friends, his wife, his kids around him counted down. He sat on his chair very intoxicated, closed his eyes and sighed quickly. He thought, at least, he is surrounded by loved ones.
"Happy New Year!!!!" everyone screamed!
"see! nothing happened! I told you so!" His wife came to hug him.
"what....? I'm...alive? I'm alive!!!!!"
He jumped and hugged everyone at the party.
"I have a dream!" he yelled. "I'm gonna make Copie 2000 to the best copy station in Canada! oh maybe in Montreal!! oh whatever!!!!! GAHAHAHAH"
Anyways, 16 years ago today, Sega Dreamcast was released.
The end.

Posted by Mitz at 10:44 PM | Comments (1)

September 8, 2015


Describe the image

"Downtown" - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (feat. Eric Nally, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee, and Grandmaster Caz)

"Downtown" is two songs jammed together. "Downtown" sounds as if it has always existed. It's like a hazy memory from another time, indistinct. It begins with Ryan Lewis's re-creation of old-school hip-hop, referencing the early-1980s Sugar Hill records catalogue, and featuring three heavyweights of the era throwing down verses in unison. The song rolls along at the typical Macklemorian pace, a picaresque about buying a moped and his subsequent adventures. It's a new page from the "Thrift Store" playbook, part of an indistinct genre of kid-friendly funk music, spanning everything from the Electric Company's "Easy Reader" to Was (Not Was)'s 1988 hit "Walk the Dinosaur" and last year's Bruno Mars-fronted Mark Ronson hit "Uptown Funk," which I last heard sung by a group of pre-teens walking down my back alley a few days ago.

But the song transforms into something rarer near the two-minute mark, where an homage to Grandmaster Flash's "Rock the Bells" Wild Style routine gives way to a Nile Rodgers's lick and a strangely compelling voice belting out "Downtown! Downtown! Dowwwwwwwwwwwwwnntowwwn!" Thus begins the chorus, which seems part of another song entirely, taking a sharp left turn out of the Boogie Down Bronx and into Transsexual Transylvania. From here, late seventies Meat Loaf- or Queen-style piano and ballad vocals float over a mid-tempo marching band rhythm, horns, and chanting backing singers before settling into an arena rock banger. Things get anthemic. It's catchy as hell.

The voice belongs to Eric Nally, whose circus-y glam rock band Foxy Shazam were road warriors for the last decade. Nally absolutely steals this song. He has the pop star's effortless ability to sing trivial lyrics with total conviction and pathos, alchemically creating something catchy and powerful. Nally has been compared to Freddie Mercury, and in the video for this song he wears tight-ass jeans, a moustache, and looks fucking great in a leather cap. But while his voice gestures to Mercury's street-fighting tenor, it is lighter, soaring over the song - at times channeling Off the Wall-era Michael. These and other classic rock references come across on repeated listening but really Nally is unique, particularly on Top 40 radio today. A voice like this could only have originated in the underground rock scene, whose embarrassment of riches rarely crosses over into mainstream culture.


Posted by Jeff at 11:27 AM | Comments (3)



Yo La Tengo - "Before We Stopped To Think".

I guess that covering a song is like waving a flag. I guess it is. Temporarily, for two or three or four minutes, you are stepping inside the lines that another artist painted on the ground; you are stepping inside their circle, hoisting and waving their flag. It is a little like dating the same person. It is a little like moving into the same apartment. Maybe sometimes you are waving the flag ironically, dating the person ironically, ironically living in a high-rise with a pool. But it is difficult to pull off these ironical things. Mostly I think you are just kinda trying to wave that flag you love, to watch its colours change in the day's different bands of sunlight.

"Before We Stopped To Think" was originally recorded by a band called Great Plains. Their version is winsome and jangly, with a thin line of synthesizer. Yo La Tengo, on the other hand, make the song sound drowsy and sincere, the kind of drowsy and sincere that happens at the very end of a night, in the early morning, when the stars are at their loudest, your voice is worn out. Perhaps it is a strange way to cover someone: to sing their song but to sing it all worn out.

But then my favourite covers aren't purely about celebrating another song. To interpret a song is to engage with it on a deeper level than mere advocacy. It is the same with writing or talking about music: on your best days, strive to be more than a champion. You must commit to what you are doing; you must give it stakes; it must be possible to fail. Maybe you fail because you lack the ability, perhaps because you do not manage to express yourself in this particular instant, perhaps because you run out of strength or patience or the means to continue.

Yo La Tengo's performance of "Before We Stopped To Think" is like waving a flag. It is like stepping inside the lines that Great Plains painted on the ground, hoisting and waving their flag. But before Yo La Tengo raised that flag they lived for thirty years in the circle that Great Plains had painted. They listened to this song, listened and listened, tried to understand this ring in the dirt. Maybe they stared at Great Plains' high flag and felt a flicker of recognition in their hearts. Maybe immediately, maybe after some time. But eventually the moment came that Ira or Georgia or James or Dave decided that they could play their own version with sufficient clarity of intention that it would be possible to fail. In the singing, the brushes on drums, the low bass, Dave's searching electric guitar: they could raise this same flag in a way that's honest and true, vulnerable, valiant. You can hear it in the recording, the way this is so. A flag in the air, an old flag, star-spangled like it's new.

[buy / thanks Charles]

Posted by Sean at 12:35 AM | Comments (0)

September 4, 2015

Push Pull

The Weeknd - "Often"

Dudes (well-meaning dudes! good dudes! almost always dudes!) will want to talk to you about The Weeknd, the same way they always want to talk to you about Drake. You will be trying to articulate the strange topography of goosebumps these songs bring out along the back of your neck and they will be all how do you like this or what's the appeal or I cannot stand this guy's Whole Thing or I think the faux-sensitive self-destructive swagger is toxic and shitty and so don't you why don't you why why why why?

These are not necessarily bad questions, but this is one of those spots where the patriarchy has wrecked everything for all of us, brutal- and thoroughly. Here's the trick: when you're forced to meet the world as a woman or a man first instead of just as a person, you've always got to be explaining stuff or fighting back against it, to be forming consistently definite opinions that line up perfectly with the thing you ostensibly are - a woman, a man, a feminist, a good one. The more you're forced to meet the world this way, the better you get at overcoming. You learn to turn away from being overcome.

People (well-meaning people! great people!) sometimes forget how lucky it is to be able to enjoy and dwell and fuck around in the tension between opposing forces - that allowing yourself to get carried away by art that doesn't necessarily jibe with your ideas about how the world should be is a private kind of privilege. It's hard to be open to the pleasures and possibilities of dissonance when you are constantly finding yourself painted into a corner by the thing you're supposed to be, when you are constantly being forced by the culture at large to shout your way out of the boxes it's shoved you into. Someone will ask you what you like about these songs and by the time you've finished - no of course I don't think it's necessarily good, no of course I don't like the way some people treat these dudes' personas like a road map or an excuse, of course not of course not of course not - you come back and they've lost a little of their lustre. The darkness dulls; the undertow feels weaker, watered down. You're forced to compromise even in the act of explaining yourself. It's uncanny. It's a bummer. It's a trap.

The Weeknd - "The Hills"

So anyway: There's a steady chaos in these songs that can and will undo you if you let it - the chemical reaction between what The Weeknd's saying and what you can actually hear, the sloping voice and stuttered beat, thick bass and panicked siren, how he doesn't care about you, how he does. When you touch me, not feel me. When I'm fucked up, that's the real me. That pull apart: together and alone. These songs are if pure tension was an element; they want to meet you in the darkest part, the space between what's good for you and maybe what you want. No explaining. Go to.

[buy Beauty Behind the Madness]

Posted by Emma at 5:08 PM | Comments (2)

September 2, 2015

Childhood memories III

(photo source) Fat White Family - "Is It Raining In Your Mouth" [Buy]

I was probably 10 or 11 years old. There was a park around the corner from my house that all the neighborhood kids played at. It felt like a 30 minute walk, but last time I was back there it only took me 5 minutes. My friend when we were kids, couldn't hold his poo even though it was only a 5 minute walk to my house or 4 minutes to his. He sat in a little bush and pooped. I handed him the smoothest leaf I could find as toilet paper (probably about 600 grit if it was a sandpaper). He had a nice poo and saved the day.

I used to have stomach problems all through childhood. Later in life, I found out it was probably because of my generalized anxiety. In the morning, I used to get a stomachache, so I would poo and felt better. Also after school, I used to get a stomachache and had to hold it the 15 min. walk home. There was a steep hill which made my holding poo power tougher and that's how I learned about gravity. There was no apple tree near by. Just me and my tummy and my poo in it. Every step was a challenge as I needed to walk slow to hold it in. But if I walked too slow my friends will notice something strange. So I had to walk average speed to avoid suspicion. I walked with my bum really tight like a synchronized swimmer before diving into the pool or a America's next top model on the runway. It might have looked a little strange, but oh well.

Once, I got home and my mom wasn't home so I had to wait. I sat in the garage, on the bricks. I thought a hard surface would help me hold my poo. I waited and waited but later I found out my mom was at dentist and it took longer than she expected and I don't blame her. I held my poo as long as possible but there was always a breaking point. I had no choice but poo somewhere. We had a little yard. I mean Japanese housing size yard with houses built really close to it. So I decided to go to our yard and release this demon inside of me. So I did. I finally let the dark side of me go, under the beautiful sunshine in the afternoon. Very peaceful. I could hear neighbour kids playing in the park distantly. War was over. But I realized there was nothing I could wipe with close by. Our yard didn't really have many plants at that time. So I looked around still in squatting position like a baseball catcher waiting for the perfect pitch. I found a clover. It was not a four leaf clover. That would make an epic 3 hours fantasy movie if I find it that time. I just found a sad looking 3 leaf clover. and I wiped my ass with it. I felt really magical. It felt like a 1200 grit automobile sanding paper. really really smooth like a fine sanding of samurai sword.

Then, I realized it was my hand. The clover was too small and my fingers were covered with my own poo. If I found four leaves clover, maybe it would have been a different result. Who knows.

The end.

Posted by Mitz at 8:03 PM | Comments (0)

September 1, 2015

So Long And Thanks For All The Jams

End of Summer

RP Boo - "Bang'n On King Dr."

All summer I've had a candle lit for my Chosen One, my self-ordained Summer Jam of 2015, waiting for the sign that it had caught fire, left deep scorch marks across the summer jam landscape. But now it is September and I must turn away from this internet-window, hope hardening into steely autumnal resolve. Time now for us to mourn, to bid farewell to the most fleeting summer we've ever known. Time now for us to do the work of remembering, of giving name to those second-tier jams that got away from us. I'll go first.

"Bang'n On King Dr." may not have burned as brightly as many of its peers, and yet we are all luckier for it having happened. It's a masterful execution of a staple footwork principle, taking a sample of tiny duration and repeating it endlessly so that it becomes a kind of texture, a strange and cool cluster of tones and timbres removed from their original context. The song seems to gather momentum effortlessly, verging almost on too-amped silliness, and it's surprising that so much forward motion is being generated by so few elements: the relentlessly repeating voice samples; the two dead-dry thudding bass notes that you won't even hear if you're listening to this on a laptop; the janky drum machine getting dialed up to 160 bpm. There's a supreme IDGAF approach to the production, seams showing everywhere -- you can literally hear how he is just shouting those street numbers into his MacBook's built-in microphone. It feels like it was made in five reckless minutes, a surge of irrepressible stoned enthusiasm captured in real time.

We don't have to stop drinking radlers just this second, but let's not lie to ourselves either. Soon it will be time to haul the cardigans from the closet, time for the new Beach House record to enter heavy rotation on coffee shop playlists, time to pin hopes to Jennifer Castle improbably winning the Polaris Prize. Summer's a dead raccoon on the sidewalk, having lived fast and died hard, not knowing any other way. We have "Bang'n on King Dr." so that we can remember it in all its hot and stinky glory.

Let us do the work of remembering. Let us not forget the names. Hit the comment button below and share a lost summer jam. Let us commiserate over having had it so good these past few months.


Posted by Mark Streeter at 9:12 AM | Comments (4)