Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Porn Collectives (They exist!): Weekly picks for February 22nd-28th

A weekly set of picks for upcoming shows in Montreal, also syndicated at PopMontreal.com.

This week is capped off at either end with two highly anticipated shows, starting with tonight's Animal Collective performance. This show sold out rather quickly when it was originally set for La Sala Rossa, and since moving to the larger La Tulipe, has sold out a second (and one would imagine final) time. So if you've got a ticket, um, go.

On Thursday the 23rd show some support for a second round of Parc Ave. fire benefit shows at La Sala Rossa, this time featuring Creature and the Lovely Feathers, as well as performances by local comedy troupe Kidnapper Films.

Friday night has Shoot the Moon filling in for the ear-drum ruptured and BC-stranded Lagoons at Club Lambi, with Telefauna and DJ-duo Ivory Temple handling post-show party duties. That same night, you've also got Toronto's Truth Magazine doing their Montreal launch party at the Main Hall with Cuff the Duke, the Old Soul, and Now Yr Taken—complete with its own afterparty courtesy of local musicians turned DJs George D'Onoso III (of the Dears, whom I hear just wrapped up recording a new record) and Oliver Crowe (of the Stills, who are releasing their sophmore effort in March).

On Saturday the 25th the Main Hall sees another Toronto-Montreal collaboration, with Kill the Lights and the Hot Springs teaming up for a double rock bill.

The other big-ticket show this week is on Sunday with Belle & Sebastian and the New Pornographers at Metropolis. That's a lot of earnest joy to dish out, but I'm sure the reception will eat it up accordingly, and rightfully so. B & S's latest record is a pretty strong return to form; I hope Metropolis gets to hear some of those guitar solos.

And go check out Beaver on Monday the 27th at Barfly!

Monday, February 20, 2006

PopCast #13: Burning Chariots and Trains to Pennsylvania

In this episode: Miracle Fortress, Lagoons, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Schooner, Bishop Allen, Man Man.

Episode #13 - Burning Chariots and Trains to Pennsylvania.

The PopCast goes bi-monthly! Ok, so no hard and fast promises here, but it's been two weeks to the day since Episode 12, and we're going to do our best to keep things going at this pace, so stay tuned.

We go south of the border for the bulk of this episode's content, and look ahead to the 2006 edition of the Festival by getting back to those Sonic Bids submissions, among other things. But our story begins with an ambitious young charioteer and some of this week's local gems...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Take Care of Your Purple Groin: Weekly pics for February 15th-21st

A weekly set of picks for upcoming shows in Montreal, also syndicated at PopMontreal.com.

Is it just me or have the Olympics turned into a 'let's see who can get the worst injury first' competition? Exciting stuff, seeing people rip their ligaments and things, hmm? When was the last time you saw someone destroy their ACL playing a show? Ok, granted, I haven't been hitting the hard rock shows much these days; I should probably get out to a few more Bionic performances before I start comparing career hazards of this sort.

For those of you not glued to the carnage (and I'm assuming that's most of you) there are lots of good shows this week to test the limits of your groin ...

Your best first bet for injury is at the Theatre National on Thursday night, where gypsy punks Gogol Bordello will be doing their balkan cabaret dance party thing. Pop Montreal will also be throwing an afterparty at Club Lambi where Gogol frontman Eugene Hutz will be DJing, assumingly in purple.

If you're looking for something a little more low-key on Thursday, the Green Room has Shoot the Moon's Dan Schachter performing some solo material with the Ideal Lovers serving as backup band. Dan is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated songwriters and performers in the city, and it should be interesting to see him with a folkier backing band. Interestingly enough, Dan is also into purple.

If you're hitting up the Gogol afterparty at Club Lambi on Thursday, you you might as well stay there, because that's where the big Islands CD release party is going down on Friday night. Those of you just tuning in are encouraged to check out Episode's 4 and 11 of the PopCast. Pre-sale tickets are long gone, but there will be some available at the door. So show up by 8pm if you don't have one and want to get in.


If you're looking to injure yourself and go for the triple lutz (what the hell is a lutz, anyway?) I suggest you spend Saturday night with the Sunday Sinners, who are at Le Divan Orange with Honey & Lies. If, on the other hand, you've already pulled your groin and are looking for a nice warm compress, head down to the Friendhsip Cove, where Snailhouse is headlining.

Le Divan Orange also boasts a strong Monday-night bill, when they play host to Code Pie and Harvee on the 20th.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Do you see another colour is it red red red red red? Sunset Rubdown EP Valentine's Day Review

By now most of you will have, at the very least, heard "A Day in the Graveyard Pt II", from the Sunset Rubdown EP—the latest release from Wolf Parade's Spencer Krug. It first popped up on Pop Sheep a couple weeks back and Spencer and the good folks at Global Symphonic, who released the record, were kind enough to let me play in on Episode 12 of the PopCast.

But after it arrived in the mail late last week, and having digested all 5 tracks over the weekend, I had to write something about it because—surprise surprise—it's very good. And oddly enough, I can't imagine a more fitting Valentine's Day subject.

So everyone in pairs. For now.

The five song EP is comprised of three songs, really, two of which each appear in two parts ("Three Colours", and "A Day in the Graveyard") and a third ("Jason Believes Me, You Can't Trust Your Dreams") that's left to stand on its own. You can almost capture what's so great about Spencer's music in this simple scheme. He lets ideas bounce back and forth in dichotomies and echoes, but then leaves one little element unsaid, or phrases it just a little bit differently, a little bit off-kilter, and you're drawn in completely. Break down the instrumental elements, too, and you can hear this: the EP sounds like acoustic guitars and keyboards singing loves songs back and forth, only to have the whole thing thrown off and somehow redeemed by a tambourine here and there ...

No surprise then, that "Three Colours" begins with Spencer singing:

Do you believe that you belong to something?
I can't believe that I belong to nothing.
Do you believe that you belong to someone?
I can't believe that I belong to no one.
What may come as a surprise though, is just how acoustic and classic-sounding this opening track is. When he lands in those first few vocals you could swear you were listening to Crosby, Stills and Nash or something. But there's also no mistaking that this is Spencer. I reminded here of the effect one of the newer Wolf Parade songs (a bluesy tune I refer to as "Things I Don't Know") had on me when I first heard it back in October at the Theatre Plaza. At the time I wrote:
I swear when I heard Spencer belt out "I sing you in ways / that you'll never hear…" that it sounded so good and so familiar (even though I had never heard it before) that I thought it must be some classic cover. Only when I realized it must be an original ("our new direction", Boeckner later told me) did it occur to me that sometimes those classic moments happen for the first time. And why not?
And that still stands here. My favourite track might actually be the instrumental piece and first part of "A Day in the Graveyard". As amazing as Spencer's vocals are, it's this short light piece that's really the centerpiece of the EP. By the time we get to the paired resignations of a "Day in the Graveyard Part II" ("I won't I won't blame you blame you") or worse, the appearance of "another colour; is it red?" in the Syd Barrett-like "Three Colours Pt II", the love songs are long over.

And maybe that's why so many people love Spencer's music. He paints the full picture. We need the classic setting of the stage, we need the wordless redemption at its source, and we need the chaotic crumble for the rest of it to mean anything at all.

You want a Valentine's Day present? Doesn't get better than this.

Buy it from Global Symphonic. It's $6 Canadian.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Hurlding towards Bethlehem: Grammy shame, killer cartoons, and the work of Montreal artist Jack Dylan

Let's hear it for the Grammy Awards. No one should have any illusions by now that the award show is anything more than shameless spectacle and commercial ass-kiss. As long as U2 is still kicking, so too will the predictability of the planet's most pathetic Awards show. But what really impresses me is that given the opportunity to make even the most insignificant of nods to music at its most earnest and uplifting, the Grammys still opted to go the cowardly route. I'm speaking, of course, of the Arcade Fire's defeat to the White Stripes in the Best Alternative Album category. Would it have been so hard? The award presentation wasn't even part of the telecast ... The only people that should be more embarassed than the Grammy's voters and producers (I've never seen a tackier spectacle), is Coldplay's Chris Martin, seen lunging around the stage like a hobbit, with a look in his eyes like he just knows he's the second coming. News flash Mr. Martin: when you're all formulaic clones, there's no such thing as a Second Coming. The solace here is that the masses who swallow up this tripe do so because their short and lazy attention spans make them easily appeased. But it also means that as soon as your time is up in the Grammy spotlight, poof, you're gone, and no one is going to remember you or care. By contrast, I'm sure people will be listening to the Arcade Fire for a long time to come. Still, it would be nice to have some actually good music served up on the public pedestal once in a while, tacky as that pedestal is; the masses could use the nourishment.

Speaking of nourishing the masses, am I the only one that sees World War III around the corner? Go back and do some digging: the real global catastrophes always seem to triggered by the most ephemeral of acts. Does it get any better than a cartoon strip? I'd like to say that reasonable voices will prevail here, that the violence will stop , but I honestly think things are going to get worse before they get better. The fact of the matter is that the George W. Bush administration, with its reckless imperialism, made it possible for a sensitive sliver of the world's population to see an enemy in the whole of Western civilization. And with every insensitive move (in the name of Christian fundamentalism, corporate greed, or even, yes, journalistic entitlement), impressionable and vulnerable youth are sent into the arms of a violent cause. How thick is the irony? George Bush needed to create a fake enemy to further his own greedy agenda, and soon will have a real enemy on his hands as a result. Scary.

I won't be publishing any cartoons here. I do think people are getting upset for the sake of being upset about something—we all need something to project our frustrations onto, and something to feel righteous and entitled about (see my above comments about the Grammys, for example...)—but there's no point in exercising a freedom when the only purpose it serves is to incite the hatred of others. Publish a reasonable story first, get the people on your side, and laugh together over the cartoon aftewards.

If people want cartoons, I recommend they check out Montreal artist Jack Dylan, and his new website. I've been a fan of Jack's since he started doing show posters for local promoters Mandatory Moustache. Readers of this blog or PopMontreal.com will probably recognize his work, as we often put up his images when plugging shows. Here's a recent favourite of mine:

He's got a show on at Le Divan Orange this month, and is also the featured artist in this month's edition of Concordia's Void. You'll find his latest attempts at an actual comic therein, and the results are exciting. Jack has started capturing something very ineffable and yes—comic—about being a young artist/musician living in Montreal, and his stuff is well worth checking out. I'm trying to get him to get an online graphic novel going. If the world doesn't end first, that is...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Alternatives to Alternative: Weekly Picks for February 8th-14th

A weekly set of picks for upcoming shows in Montreal, also syndicated at PopMontreal.com.

Well, it's Wednesday February 8th, which means not only is it time for this week Pop Picks, but it's also time for the Grammys to make their picks, as well. Yes, if you're struggling band or freezing fan heading out to a show this week, keep in mind that it could always be worse; you could be in California being fed through the spin-machine as an afterthought to Mariah Carey's brilliant comeback this year. That said, I wish the Arcade Fire the best of luck tonight, and look forward to a time when the term "alternative" is replaced in the commercial industry lexicon by "actually good".

Speaking of good: Montreal's Boo Hoo (recently featured on Episode 12 of the PopCast) play their third ever show tonight at the Casa del Popolo. There's something immediately familiar about their songs, but they still manage to surprise and impress. A promising sign for a band in such germinal stages.


Thursday the 9th is Pop Montreal's big Devin the Dude love-in sequel at Le Kop Shop. The Dude will also be joined by an arsenal of guests: Rapid Ric, Giselle Number One, Abra and X-wam, DJ’s Dave 1 and Jaime Tambeur. Basically Houston and Montreal will be having crunked hip hop indie sex all night, with Peer Pressure doing after party duties, as well.


On Friday, if you're not coming out to the Green Room for my return to the DJ booth (yes, there's an actual booth now!), Electric Six are at Petit Campus. I don't think Jack White will be there, though. Medium voltage? One way to find out, I guess...

Make sure you head out to Entreprise (5403B St. Laurent) early on Saturday the 11th, Adam and Alden will be performing at a fundraiser for the People's Potato. Music starts at 8:30. You can check out some of Alden's recent work over at Said the Gramophone. If you're still hungry later that evening, the rest of the night is made for is apparently for lovers, with Pony Up! headlining at the Main Hall along with Spiral Beach and Telefauna, and the LABProjects series boasting an impressive lineup of couples for their monthly improv set at O Patro Vys: Jace Lasek & Olga Goreas (Besnard Lakes), Robbie Kuster (Patrick Watson band) & Elizabeth Powell (Land of Talk), Simon Angell (Patrick Watson band) & Sarah Pagé (Hhaka), and Moondata's own Ryhna Thompson and Vid Cousins.

The MIMI's 2005 Rising Star award winners, Malajube, play La Tulipe on Valentine's Day in support of their new album. If for some reason you can't get tickets, have no fear; they're at the CEPSUM on the Friday following, too.

Speaking of, the MIMI's 2005 Rising Star runners up, Wolf Parade, will be at Le National on April 19th with Holy Fuck. Better get those tickets now.

Monday, February 06, 2006

PopCast #12: Graveyard Dedications

In this episode: Magic Weapon, Sunset Rubdown, Boo Hoo, Dishwasher, Devin the Dude.

Episode #12: Graveyard Dedications

And so the first even dozen of PopCasts is fittingly rounded out by four Montreal artists and Houston's Devin the Dude. I've taken the time to do a dedication for each song featured, partly to recognize that fickle older sibling of the podcast—the mp3 blog (which you'll notice, thanks to Jay Watts III, PopMontreal.com has now added to its list of functions)—but mostly for novelty's sake. Still, there's plenty that's novel in a lot of these tracks, and all are worth checking out as the late Winter show season moves into high gear (that was fast, hmm?). Enjoy.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Green Room in good hands tonight

Some of you may have been wondering: "Where is Andrew Rose?" Some of you may not have been wondering this, and if that's the case, there are no hard feelings; I probably have not been wondering where you've been, either. If you're of the former, however, you're possibly accustomed to seeing me DJ at the Green Room most Fridays. Well I wasn't there last week, and a last minute decision has me sitting out this week, as well. Fear not, however. I'll be back next week, and if you haven't noticed, we've been mixing up the lineup lately and generally making things that much more awesome. What the hell is going on? The Pop Montreal blog has dated entries and RSS feeds, and the Green Room has an actual DJ booth?!

Yeah, so I'm a bit under the weather, and I really don't feel much like prolonging my illness. But Pop Montreal comrades Jay Watts III and Guillaume de Couflet Le Second [aka Ivory Temple] have you covered.

Stay out the rain, but don't keep too dry; we'll party next week, I promise.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Kilo is a Thousand Grams: Weekly (guest!) picks for February 1st-7th

So it's with great pleasure (and some trepidation) that I'm able to have my first guest blogger bring you this week's Pop Picks. Lots of stuff to check out this week, and much of it is up the alley of Goldkixxer and fellow Pop Montrealer, Jay Watts III. So remember, if any of these shows suck, or something about the way they are presented pisses you off, blame Watts. That's usually what I do, anyway. Enjoy!

In those years in the desert between The Osmonds and The Arcade Fire, there was another group of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Church connected folks in the music world... Low, spiritual heads of N. American IV drip indie rock, are in Montreal at La Sala Rossa tonight, with Michigan's alt-pop synthesists His Name is Alive and post-rockers Death Vessel. If you ain't into that, baroque-popsters Code Pie are up with Harvee and Maia Davies at Le Divan Orange. Doors at 9pm, $5, the usual.

Ok Go and controller.controller are at the Cabaret Juste Pour Rire on Thursday the 2nd. Speaking of laughs, which of the post-pop-punk bands on this bill met the business ends (yessir!) of the pummeling fists of some of the Main's finest bouncers the last time they graced our city with their presence after a disastrous post-gig booze-up?

Okay, you're really curious, where'd all these pushing 30/advancing to 40 post-punk hipsters in Toronto pop-up from? Do they have trustfunds like some of Montreal's finest? Well, no, they have jobs. Well-paying jobs spending FACTOR bucks and pushing CanCon disasters on the eager youths of the suburbs, and with that hefty workload comes a bad conscience, ethical questions, a certain amount of discomfort. Which is where the no-waving alter-ego comes in. All-night sweaty dance parties, photocopied cutnpaste posters and semiotic diatribes set to scronky 45 second long songs can go a long way in filling the emptiness of a soul (believe me, I know)... We Are Wolves seem, thankfully, not to be cursed by such a burden, and they're all the better for it. They've been touring a lot, bringing the lupid dogma to the faithful, so let's give them a good homecoming, shall we? They're at the Sala on Saturday the 4th with Creeping Nobodies and No Dynamics.

Meanwhile, Montreal's finest sovereignist sandwich shop (Cafe Depanneur, 206 Bernard West) hosts an early triple-bill that night, the highlight being (in my mind) the Orillia Opry duo. Daniel and Emily weave beautiful folk-rock tapestry together with 60s pop sensibilities that deftly avoid the overly dour trap that so many songwriters of a more advanced age fall into.

Some background on The Juan Maclean, in case you've been hanging with the Unabomber lately: Juan McLean is a former member of neu!-wave rockers 6 Finger Satellite (who were basically my favourite band ever) who now . If you've been hustling your ass on some dance floor in the past year (and, given the amount of booze consumed in this city, it's a good bet), you've probably at least bumped it once to Give Me Every Little Thing. Tim Sweeney is a music supervisor at Rockstar Games, so even you shut-ins who've been smoking up and killing innocent bystanders on your playstation got something to jam with. He also does the fucking spectacular Beats In Space, on NYC's EVR Radio (the propaganda arm of Cornerstone Promotions?). And if you know me, you know I love Duchess Says, who're one of the most exciting and amazing bands in this country right now, natch. Will they play their 6 Finger Satellite cover? Buy your tickets, show up at the door, don't sleep on this and embarass Montreal with poor attendance. If you've been to a ILUVNEON event in the past year (you decandent disco bunny, you), you're morally obligated to show up at Club Lambi on Sunday night to catch all three of these acts.

The Lovely Feathers, indie-popsters who fuck with the usual order o' things by having a member who's, get this, not an art-school drop out, but rather a med-school dropout, will be headlining another wonderful Tuesday night in the Mandatory Moustache All-Local-Series. Masters of on-stage banter Land of Talk and Tfauna side-project Dorian Hatchet are opening. This'll be at Le Divan Orange.

If, however, you like your British bands criminally under-rated, rather than overhyped and frozen simian-styled (hello Arctic Monkeys!), Supergrass head to La Tulipe on Tuesday night. Last year's Road to Rouen showed a band in top-form - trading the sugar sweet 70s glam melodies of the previous album for a more atmospheric trip through the minor chords and studio wizardry, while still advancing that modish beat aesthetic that's served them so well.



So, all in all, that's a pretty busy week lined up - between all this, recovering from hangovers, school, work or however it is you spend your time (drinking coffee on the plateau?), you're only going to have a couple of hours to dream about how perfect the upcoming Ghostface Killah album Fishscale will be, and I have to say, from the first couple of tracks I've heard, it's going to be a monument to the post-humous supremacy of the Wu Tang.

Now if you can't get enough, you just gotta go out, and say, you have Friday night all empty, why don't you assaude those lonely thoughts and go scope a sweetheart for February 14th (it's like Xmas shopping, you're getting it done a bit late, aren't you?) at the Green Room? Your regular guide Andrew Rose and I (I can now book myself as 1/2 of IVORYTEMPLE) will be dropping all manner of pop hits, hip-hop tips and rock bits from about 10 till just past 3 in the morning. Two bloggers for the price of none, people - no cover! Was that shameless? Yes, yes, but a boy's gotta eat.