Live Concert Photography: Corridor with Deeper and Hypoluxo at Rough Trade 3/4/20
If you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of the past year or so, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the rapidly rising Montreal-based indie rock act Corridor. The French-Canadian JOVM mainstay act, which currently features longtime friends and collaborators Dominic Berthiaume (vocals/bass) and Jonathan Robert (vocals/guitar/synths) along with Julian Perreault (guitar), Julien Bakvis (drums) and the band’s newest member Samuel Gougoux first received attention across the Francophone world and elsewhere with 2017’s sophomore album Supermercado, which received glowing praise from from NPR and Vice, who referred to the album as “the best French record of 2017, 2018, 2018, 2019, 2020 2021 and even 2022 . . . ”
The members of Corridor then spent the following year touring across Europe with stops at London Calling Festival and La Villete Sonique Festival, and the States with appearances at SXSW and Northside Festival. They followed that up by touring with Crumb on a sold-out Stateside tour.
Building upon a growing profile, the band signed to Sub Pop Records, who released their third album, last year’s Junior, making the band the first Francophone act ever on the world renowned label. While continuing their ongoing and highly successful collaboration with their friend, producer (and occasional roommate) Emmanuel Ethier, the album found the band jettisoning the languorous creative process of its predecessors — out of inspired necessity. Although the members of the band had only just signed to their new label home at the time, they had firmly committed themselves to releasing a new album worth of material every two years. And the band fully intended on fulfilling their long-held commitment. Naturally, when the folks at Sub Pop were informed of this, they gently warned the band that if they wanted to release new material that fall, they needed to send the label a completed album by early May.
With the ink barely dried on the finalized record contract, the band rushed into the studio and recorded Junior in an inspired and breakneck blitz, finishing the album in mid-April: Six of the album’s 10 songs were conceived in a single weekend — with the album closer “Bang” being written the night before they were to start recording sessions. Reportedly, Corridor’s Jonathan Robert wrote that song’s lyrics while panicking over the possibility of not being able to properly finished what they started.
Because of the quickened nature of the Junior sessions, the material features fewer expansive jams and less reliance on overdubs. Even the album’s artwork managed to come about in the nick of time. In spite of other more meticulous and gorgeous artwork they received as potential album art, Robert’s “shitty last minute” collage of an egg saying hello was the one his bandmates wound up approving. “Part of the beauty of the thing is that we didn’t have time to think about it,” the band’s Berthiaume says of the Junior recording sessions.
Album tracks like Topographe,” “Pow,” album title track “Junior” “Goldie” and Domino” manage to reveal a wide range of influences: a bit of post-punk here, a little bit of XTC over there, a little bit of The Beatles, a dash of The Beach Boys here and so on. And with some deft craftsmanship and musicianship, they manage to whimsically and mischievously create something novel out of the familiar.
Last year, I caught was luckily to catch the band live twice — a Union Pool set shortly after the release of Junior and a headlining M for Montreal set at Montreal’s Le National that was in my opinion one of the best live sets I caught that year. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the Montreal-based JOVM mainstays were gearing up for a Stateside tour, which included an early March stop at Rough Trade with Chicago-based post-punk act Deeper and New York indie scene mainstays Hypoluxo. The Rough Trade set was a loose and jammy career-spanning set, primarily centered around Junior but featuring material off Supermercado and Le voyage eternal. Sadly, like countless other touring bands, Corridor’s big Stateside tour and SXSW dates have been canceled and/or postponed but in the meantime check out photos from the Rough Trade show below.
Chicago-based post-punk act Deeper — founding members Nic Gohl (vocals, guitar), childhood friend Mike Clawson (guitar) and Shiraz Bhatti (drums) along with Drew McBride (bass) — can trace their origins back to 2014: prior to releasing material, an abrupt lineup change left the band looking for a new sonic and songwriting direction. And as a result, the band’s founding trio scrapped their old songs, recruited McBride and started from scratch, crafting demos centered around intricate guitar interplay, direct vocals and material that speaks of the band’s collective place in the world of endless Internet. During 2015-2016, the members of Deeper honed their sound by playing basement and loft shows, as well as anyplace else that would have them. Over that same period, the band began conceiving the material that would comprise their full-length debut, eventually tracking it during feverish studio sessions in late 2017. Released in 2018, Deeper’s self-titled debut was released by Fire Talk Records and followed by opening for the likes of Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Priests, Omni, Protomartyr, Whitney and Twin Peaks, as well sold-out headlining shows.
Over the past few years, I’ve managed to also spill quite of bit of virtual ink covering the Brooklyn-based indie act Hypoluxo. The act, which features Samuel Jacob Cogen (vocals, guitar), Cameron Riordan (guitar), Eric Jaso (bass) and Marco Hector Ocampo (drums) have received attention across the blogosphere for a sound and songwriting approach that draws from shoegaze, indie rock, dream pop and post punk while centered round rapidly changing time signatures and tempos.
2018’s sophomore, full-length album Running on a Fence found the band expanding upon their sound with a deeper, more mature emotional content — with the material expressing regret, uncertainty and frustration. And they did so while retaining the infectious hooks and shimmering, anachronistic quality that won them attention across the blogosphere.