The sound of Montreal 2012
Find out what the city’s bands have on tap for the year ahead.
WMARK LEPAGE inning a Grammy: Priceless.
Was it really a year ago that Arcade Fire brought Surreality TV to the living rooms of Montreal and the world? Boom – one golden-plated gramophone later, and you’re the only band in history to have played both the Staples Center and Casa del Popolo.
Arcade Fire’s lope into globo-striding success was not entirely unlikely, but it’s still eye-popping to watch a band go from Hotel2tango to Dancing With the Stars – metaphorically speaking.
But what does a Grammy do for you, dear reader? If you’re a Montrealer, it made you walk a little taller, feeling slightly L.A.’D, slightly Hollywooded as you slipped up the icy Main to the hipster lounge. Then it wore off. In the end, Montreal remains Montreal. What other Grammy Album of the Year winner remains “indie” while Bowie, Bruce and maybe Axl have them on speed dial? There is something comfortingly organic, unhysterical about maintaining persona and ideals while winning the glitziest prize in music with an album that wasn’t cyborged together in the AutoTune lab.
What does a Grammy do for you, indie band?
Roy “Choyce” Vucino of Red Mass thought it encouraging, in a distant way, as he spoke while recording afterhours in Planet Studios. Born in Istanbul but raised here, Roy fronts/convenes Red Mass, a fluctuating cabal of 3-16 disciples who proclaim “Saturn is for lovers” in an experimental indie-garage freak sweat-gospel. Roy was working on A Hopeless Noise, a concept album chronicling the Diamond Girl who “falls from grace,” a “kind of modern Don Quixote.”
So he’s got ambition, and talks a blue streak, a punk survivor from Les Sexareenos and CPC Gangbangs who has reconciled doing soundtrack work for Warners and MGM with firing forth a fiercely indie vision. In the works for two-and-a-half years, A Hopeless Noise is intended to contain some Beatles/bowie/ Roxy DNA, but Roy emphasizes his allegiance to soul legends James Brown and Otis Redding, to “the mythical aspect of performance.”
Why? Because alongside whatever dark gods he worships, Roy believes that some combination of talent, integrity, unemployability, selfpossession, fortune and dumb bloody-minded toil in the boiler room of rock ’n’ roll might result in a career or at least the virtuous waste of your youth and middle-post-youth.
“It’s funny. Sometimes people think bands like that just show up one day, win a Grammy … but any time a band reaches that level of ability, you know they’ve been touring everywhere for years.”
True. It’s hard to get an Arcade Fire ticket these days, but you could have caught them toiling away in the Jupiter Room in April 2003 or at 1619 William Street in May 2002 or playing the Bug Jar in Rochester or Mary Jane’s Fat Cat in Houston in the time before Funeral.
Roy was working late on tracks. And you? Sunnily oneiric band
Adam & The Amethysts will join the march to South by Southwest in March. The
Flickering Flashlight (on Kelp Records in Canada) will be released in the U.S. on March 26.
American Devices. Montreal’s post-punk lifers will be playing the usual Montreal “hole-in-the-walls” with Rick Trembles “squeezing ugly notes outta my guitar,” but have also linked up with Bongo Beat Records to distribute a CD compilation. The Devices are on itunes … is Doomsday upon us? Rick also has a new band, Sacral Nerves.
Arcade Fire arebackhome after a decent year and half. World tour for The Suburbs concluded, they’ll take a few months off before restarting the global fire. Affecting folkies The Barr
Brothers follow their recent performance of Beggar in the Morning on the Late Show with David Letterman with U.S. tour dates. They’ll be at Club Soda on Feb 22.
Belgrave follows the dramatic elegance of its selftitled EP with shows in southern Ontario around their CMW date March 21. New album in 2013
Olga Goreas reports that epic band The Besnard
Lakes return from 18 solid months of touring to record a new one at Breakglass Studios. Oceanic art-pop band
Braids will be in the studio through spring working on the sequel to the justly raved Native Speaker album. Mikey Heppner’s Brothers
Of Invention Zappa tribute blowtorched the scuzz off the Cinéma L’amour walls, and responds to the demand for more shows with a possible North by Northeast show and some local gigs.
Electrofunk duo Chromeo will kick off a yearlong DJ residency in Las Vegas at Haze Jan. 20th. I’m sure they’d be happy to have you sleep on the floor of their palatial Vegas suite … Also touring South America and Asia and recording a fourth album.
Crabe. Montreal lo-fi aggro-duo the Valleyfield band support their Ero Gaki album with a U.S. tour, possibly including SXSW.
The Dears ponder a new album after last year’s Degeneration Street, and will perform unspecified dates. Raga-rock band Elephant
Stone will record and mix a new album in March while Rishi Dhir is “learning how to play the dilruba!” Aren’t we all … There will also be a 7” in the U.K. in March, and touring through SXSW, the U.K. i n May, Scandinavia in July, North America and India in fall/winter. Britophile psychedeloids
Final Flash will work on a new album for spring.
Danceable, giddily hooky
First You Get The Sugar are likely headed to NXNE, Canadian Music Week and SXSW, have conducted interviews with CNN and MTV News, and will release three new singles between January and the summer recorded at Rubber Tracks in Brooklyn. So they’re going places.
Half Moon Run is a new highly-anticipated band whose ridiculously poised EP promises something Radioheady indeed from a forthcoming full-length.
Rockabilly pyronecrophiliacs the Hellbound Hepcats will record a second album this month and seek a new drummer after breaking their previous one with 200 shows and two cross-canada tours in 2011. First U.S. gig comes April 7 at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender. With Elvis.
Neo-psychedelicists the High Dials have top shelf pals: already tight with Miami Steve, they’ll work with legendary Stones puppeteer Andrew Loog Oldham on a song for an upcoming Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra release. Johnny Marr, Elliot Easton and Al Kooper (!) also participating in said project. There will also be new music.
DIY heroes Hollerado just wrapped up their Meet The Mayor Tour, charting all over Canada and the US with debut Record In A Bag and single Good Day At The Races. The next album will be waxed with producer Gus van Go, followed by tours of the U.S. and Europe.
Compelling singer-songwriter Daniel Isaiah performs songs from High Twilight at Casa del Popolo on January 25
Karkwa step back into solo projects after Les Chemins de Verre. Their massive 165-minute December concert was filmed and will hit Musique Plus this year, with
CONTINUE D FROM C1 a live album due as well.
Pat Krief “nearly lost my mind” playing nearly all instruments on an album called Hundred Thousand Pieces, due March 20 on Sony/pirates Blend. There will be Canadian, U.S. and European dates, and a film score for an adaptation of a Richler book.
The Luyas head into the studio after a great year, bid farewell to Stefan Schneider, learn about drum machines
Priestess, the thinking warlock’s hard rock band, is writing a third record to
be released this spring.
and programming, and make a new record. There will also be a new music video for Moodslayer off Too Beautiful To Work in Feb.
Heartsleeve folk-rocker Colin Moore is midway through a new album after last year’s Australian tour, and will bring whisky-voiced truths to the people with a show with Vulgaires Machins in April.
Shane Murphy. The R&B/ roots troubadour will release two EPS recorded at Willie Nelson’s studio in Austin. “Tentatively titled The Texas sessions Vols. 1&2” – original, hey?” Shane reports. There will also be a full Montreal-recorded album, and a bazillion local gigs.
Parlovr’s incandescent video for Pen to the Paper means this writer will also anticipate a new record, Kook Soul, due this spring. They toured the US to crazy NY buzz with Handsome Fur, Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys and Surfer Blood, and will be at SXSW.
Priestess, the thinking warlock’s hard rock band, is writing a third record, to be released by the time they tour Europe this spring.
Plants and Animals drop The End of That on Feb. 28, launch it March 10 at Cabaret du Mile End and tour North America from March through May.
Garage-gospel Satanists Red Mass will release A Hopeless Noise, riffing off Sun-ra’s A Joyful Noise, concerning the Diamond Girl and her fall from grace. There will be cabbalistic orgiastic gigs.
Reborn metal band Slaves On Dope launch their new album at Foufounes Feb. 29 – it’s a leap year.
Suuns follow Zeroes QC with new songs matching their twin guitar/synth attack. The new Suuns rises next year.
Sweet Mother Logic will push the orchestral pieces from late-2011 sophomore album Natural History, and work on an EP of string quartets due this year. A major multimedia show follows in early summer.
Punkoid nailbomb Trigger Effect fire off new EP Escape from Planet Scorpion in spring, “3 songs connected with interludes that forms a 12-minute opus chronicling the Turbo Machine’s deception, capture, struggle and eventual release from the toxic Planet Scorpion.” Said scorpion will tour Europe April/may, centered around the Groezrock Festival, then on to Dudefest in Indianapolis. Dudefest! New album due in autumn, and a mysterious new “concert series” as well.
Franco zaniacs Les Trois Accords step back into writing mode after last year’s major tour of France.
United Steel Workers of Montreal sadly retired from the union, announcing their breakup in a Dec. 9 posting on Facebook by Gern f. A decade of smart, strong blue-collar citygrass and roof-raising shows. They’ll be missed.
Uncle Bad Touch, Mikey Heppner’s other side band, finishes up a second album and heads to SXSW. If it’s anywhere as crazy good as I Wanna Love You, the world will be touched. They’ll join Jeff The Brotherhood on two NYC gigs Feb 8 and 9.
Neo-shoegazers Valleys will record the followup to spooky EP Stoner.
Vulgaires Machins. The adrenalized Franco-punkers will tour the acoustic album they released last year through Quebec from Feb through April.
Electroprimitivists We Are Wolves are recording, with an expected street date of September.
Swoony Young Galaxy will evolve from last year’s Shapeshifting album into a new form this autumn.
Members of Arcade Fire were thrilled to get a Grammy last year, but the win doesn’t mean they are ready to relinquish their indie status.
The electro group Chromeo heads to Las Vegas for a year-long DJ residency.
After 18 months of touring, the Besnard Lakes are back in the recording studio.
The Barr Brothers will be at Club Soda n February.
Neo-psychedelicists the High Dials are working with Andrew Loog Oldham, among others.
Watch for Uncle Bad Touch’s Shawn Butchart, Mikey Heppner and Kathryn Mccaughey at SXSW.
Franco-punkers Vulgaires Machins are touring their new album through Quebec starting in February.
Expect a new album from Young Galaxy in the fall.
Parlovr, whose new record, Kook Soul, is due for release this spring, will be at SXSW.
The Luyas head to the studio to make a record and they’re working on a music video for Moodslayer.
A filmed concert by Karkwa will play Musique Plus and a live album is due this year.
The Hellbound Hepcats’s first U.S. gig is April 7 in Vegas – with Elvis.