Tag: Montreal QC

New VIdeo: Montreal’s The Besnard Lakes Release a Surreal Visual for Enormous “Our Heads, Our Hearts On Fire Again”

oAs 2020 mercifully came to a close, I wound up writing a bit about the acclaimed acclaimed, multi-Polaris Music Prize-nominated Montreal-based indie rock act The Besnard Lakes. The Canadian sextet — currently, husband and wife duo Jace Lasek (vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keys) and Olga Goreas (vocals, bass), along with Kevin Laing (drums), Richard White (guitar), Sheenah Ko (keys) and Robbie MacArthur (guitar) — formed back in 2003, and since their formation, the band has released five albums of atmospheric and textured shoegaze that some critics have described as magisterial and cinematic.

After the release of 2016’s A Coliseum Complex Museum, the members of the acclaimed Montreal-based act and their longtime label home Jagjaguwar mutually decided that it was time to end their relationship and go their separate ways. And although the move was amicable between both parties, the band began to question whether or not it made sense to even continue as a band. But fueled by their love for each other and for playing music together, the members of The Besnard Lakes settled in to write and record what may arguably be considered the most uncompromising effort of their catalog to date, The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of The Great Thunderstorm Warnings.

Unlike their previously released material, the members of the Montreal-based went with a much more patient creative approach, taking all the time they needed to conceive, write, record and mix the album’s material. Interestingly, some of the album’s songs are old and can trace their origins back to resurrected demos that they had been left on the shelf years prior. Other songs were woodshedded in the cabin behind Lasek’s and Goreas’ Riguard Ranch, with the band relishing a rougher, grittier sound.

Thematically, The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of The Great Thunderstorm Warnings finds the band contemplating the darkness of dying, the light on the other side, and coming back from the brink of annihilation. And while touching upon the band’s own story, the album also is a remembrance of dear loved ones, who are no longer with us — particularly Lasek’s father, who died last year. From what Lasek observed of his father’s death, being on one’s deathbed may be the most intense psychedelic trip of anyone’s life” at one point Lasek’s father surfaced from a morphine-induced dream, talking about how he saw a “window” on his blanket, with “a carpenter inside of it, making objects.” All of this manages to imbue the album’s material with an almost fever dream-like quality.

So far I’ve written about two of The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of The Great Thunderstorm Warnings’ singles:

“Raindrops,” a slow-burning shoegazer with a painterly attention to gradation and texture, centered around shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, twinkling and arpeggiated keys, thunderous drumming, ethereal boy-girl harmonies and a euphoric hook.
“Feuds With Guns,” a dream pop-like synthesis of Prince and Beach House featuring thunderous drumming, anthemic power chord-based riffs, twinkling keys and a soaring hook.

The Besnard Lakes begin 2021 with their forthcoming album’s third and latest single “Our Heads, Our Hearts On Fire Again.” Clocking in 6:39, the expansive song is centered around two alternating sections: a slow-burning and atmospheric section featuring ethereal female lead vocals, glistening and atmospheric synths that slowly build up in intensity with the addition of chugging power chords, thumping tribal-like drums and layered choral-like vocals. The end result is a song that’s a prog rock meets Beach Boys-like take on shoegaze that feels oceanic.

“The track started as an Oggy Film Song,” the band shares in press notes. “A skeletal version of the song had been in the Besnard vault for several years after we initially rejected it for a film soundtrack. It went through a couple drafts before we tore it apart, rejiggered some parts and resurrected it to its new form. The song is an ode to logic and intuition and being able to learn from the past.”

Directed by Dr. Cool, the recently released video for “Our Heads, Our Hearts On Fire Again” is an animated and lysergic fever dream that features divers projected onto city buildings, electrical outlets turn into signing houses moving across the horizon and a horse runs across the changing skyline. It’s a mind-bending and gorgeous visual.

The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings is slated for a January 29, 2021 release through Fat Cat Records here in the States and through Flemish Eye in their native Canada.

The Besnard Lakes have announced 3 livestream shows in support of the forthcoming album. Hosted by Noonchorus, the band’s live streams will be February 5, 2021; March 6, 2021; and April 3, 2021. The streams will go live at 7:00pm EST for each show and tickets are available here: https://noonchorus.com/the-besnard-lakes/

New Video: The Besnard Lakes Release a Lysergic and Feverish Visual for Shimmering and Slow-Burning “Feuds With Guns”

Deriving their name from Besnard Lake in North Central Saskatchewan, the acclaimed, multi-Polaris Music Prize-nominated Montreal-based indie rock act The Besnard Lakes — currently, husband and wife duo Jace Lasek (vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keys) and Olga Goreas (vocals, bass), along with Kevin Laing (drums), Richard White (guitar), Sheenah Ko (keys) and Robbie MacArthur (guitar) — formed back in 2003. And since their formation, the Montreal-based sextet have five albums of atmospheric and textured shoegaze that some critics have described as magisterial and cinematic.

After the release of their fifth album, 2016’s A Coliseum Complex Museum, The Besnard Lakes and their longtime label home Jagjaguwar mutually decided that it was time to end their relationship and go their separate ways. And as a result, the members of the band began to question whether or not it made sense to even continue the band. But fueled by their love for each other and for playing music together, the acclaimed Canadian act settled in to write and record what may arguably be the most uncompromising effort of their catalog, The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings.

Unlike their previously released material, the members of the Montreal-based went with a much more patient creative approach, taking all the time they needed to conceive, write, record and mix the album’s material. Some of the album’s songs are old, tracing their origins to resurrected demos left on the shelf years before. Other songs were woodshedded in the cabin behind Lasek and Goreas’ Riguard Ranch, with the band relishing a rougher, grittier sound.

Thematically, The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings finds the band contemplating the darkness of dying, the light on the other side, and coming back from the brink of annihilation. And while touching upon the band’s own story, the album also is a remembrance of dear loved ones, who are no longer with us — particularly Lasek’s father, who died last year. From what Lasek observed of his father’s death, being on one’s deathbed may be the most intense psychedelic trip of anyone’s life” at one point Lasek’s father surfaced from a morphine-induced dream, talking about how he saw a “window” on his blanket, with “a carpenter inside of it, making objects.” And as a result, the album’s material is imbued with a surreal and ethereal quality.

Earlier this year, I wrote about The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings’ first single “Raindrops,” a slow-burning shoegazer with a painterly attention to gradation and texture, centered around shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, twinkling and arpeggiated keys, thunderous drumming, ethereal boy-girl harmonies and a euphoric hook. Interestingly, the album’s second single is the slow-burning, dream pop-like “Feuds With Guns.” Centered around an atmospheric and spacious arrangement featuring thunderous drumming, anthemic power chord-based riffs, twinkling keys, plaintive vocals and a soaring hook, “Feuds With Guns” sonically speaking, is one part Prince, one part Beach House.

“‘Feuds With Guns’ is one of the first songs written from our upcoming LP. This one is a good slow-dancer!” The members of The Besnard Lakes explain to Under The Radar ” Written almost entirely in the Cabanon at The Rigaud Ranch, this one started out as an organ and drum idea that morphed into a little OMD-style pop song.”

Directed by Dr. Cool, the recently released animated video for “Feuds With Guns” is a lysergic fever dream that features divers taking a dive, flying airplanes, cars and vans in front of a bright yellow sun. “I rotoscoped a couple of the big dives from a video of an extreme high-diving contest that took place in the 80s. About a week after I had animated the first guy’s big jump, I returned to the video to check out some other usable clips,” Dr. Cool explains in press notes. “I realized I had never watched the full clip of the first jump — I had just stopped once he hit the water. I found out that after he lands in the water he floats back up unconscious and then gets taken away on a stretcher. So now what was I supposed to do? People in the comments were asking what had happened but no one knew the answer. After a bunch of snooping around the internet I found the guy’s Facebook and he’s TOTALLY alive. His name is Pat and he lives in Florida. I messaged him but he hasn’t answered.”

The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings is slated for a January 29, 2021 release through Fat Cat Records here in the States and through Flemish Eye in their native Canada.

Live Footage: Montreal’s Prieur & Landry Perform New Ripper “Surreal Memories”

Montreal-based duo Prieur & Landry — Gab Prieur and Elliot Landry — have developed and honed a sludgy power chord riff driven rock sound that draws from ’90s grunge rock and ’00s blues rock. But more than mere mimicry, the duo’s sound and approach thrives on a careful balance of intensity and nuance with their live set finding the duo expanding upon riffs and songs structures — at will.

Prieur & Landry recently released a live session shot in a bare, wood shed in Saguenay-Lac- St-Jean, Québec that featured the bluesy “For Once I Breathe in Control” and their latest single “Surreal Memories.” Centered around sludgy power chord driven riffs, thunderous drumming and howled Kurt Cobain-like vocals, “Surreal Memories” finds the Montreal-based duo crafting a mosh pit friendly ripper that will bring memories of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Tool to mind.

New Video: Montreal’s Sophia Bel Releases a Sultry, Genre-Defying Banger

Born to a Quebecois father and a Dutch-American mother, the rising Quebec City-born, Montreal-based pop artist Sophia Bel grew up fascinated by trip-hop and drum ‘n’ bass — during the era of The Spice Girls, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera. Bel’s work often finds her unafraid to cover vastly different sonic territory with the focus on capturing the right feeling in that particular moment. Interestingly, for her, pop is one of many aesthetics that she commonly pulls from and not a goal to achieve.

Along with pop, Bel plucks from underground electronic music, skater punk, guitar folk and even Quebecois hippie music to craft a rich, difficult to pigeonhole soundscape that has received praise from Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit, Complex and Clout among a growing list of others.

The rising Quebec City-born, Montreal-based artist has always been slightly out of step with her immediate surroundings. Her black fingernail polish made her the target of bullies at her suburban Quebec City school, earning her the nickname “Princess of the Dead.” Her recently released sophomore EP Princess of the Dead, Vol. II finds Bel reclaiming her identity, while marking her first release through Bonsound Records.

So far two singles have been released off the EP, “You’re Not Real You’re Just A Ghost” and “Voyage Astral.” The EP’s third and latest single “No More” is a slickly produced, breakneck,. meshing of alt pop, trap, house music and contemporary electro pop centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, explosive industrial clang and clatter, skittering beats and Bel’s plaintive and ethereal vocals. The song is written and produced to capture an intense and particular sensation: “I wanted to explore the dark emotions that come when learning to assert oneself, Bel explains. The anger, the bittersweet nostalgia of a lost fantasy. The mysterious tones of this song are paired with a drum ‘n’ bass inspired hook that creates an exhilarating rush of intensity.”

Directed by Jean-François Sauvé, the recently released video for “No More” places Bel into an empty and abandoned warehouse, where she’s imprisoned and watched over by an AI that attempts to capture every vacillating of its subject. The visuals manage to crackle, jolt and lurch with a seemingly brash,. supernatural energy while throwing the viewer into a dark and uncertain universe that kind of feels like our own.

New Video: Rising Montreal Psych Rockers Population II Releases a Trippy Visual for Brooding Freak Out “Ce n’est rêve”

Population II is a rising Montreal-based psych rock trio that has developed and honed an improvised songwriting approach that meshes elements of rock ‘n’ roll, free jazz and linear rhythms to create an incredibly nuanced yet trippy sound.

The rising French Canadian act’s Emmanuel Ethier-produced full-length debut, À la Ô Terre was released last month through Castle Face Records, and the album has received attention across Quebec and elsewhere for featuring material that’s a mind-melting mesh of hard psych with a punk sentiment — while featuring some exploratory free jazz-inspired moments.

Clocking in at a 7:38 À la Ô Terre’s latest single, “Ce n’est rêve” is an atmospheric Doors meets Thee Oh Sees-like number centered around alternating quiet verses and loud choruses held together by a sinuous bass line and propulsive jazz-like drumming. featuring shimmering keys, slashing guitars and ethereal falsetto crooning before closing out with an explosive and noisy freak out. In Montreal’s scene, they’re one of the most buzz-worthy acts out there — and this track will further cement that growing reputation.

Directed by Ëmémôr and Tristan Lacombe and featuring typography and animation by Laurence Martin, the recently released video for “Ce n’est rêve” is a trippy and murky visual that seems to nod at Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face:” we see the band members faces superimposed over kaleidoscopic colored projections and the other band members’ faces, as well footage of mysterious figures playing the various instruments in the song.

Montreal-based collective TEKE: TEKE – Yuki Isami (flute, shinobue and keys), Hidetaka Yoneyama (guitar), Sergio Nakauchi Pelletier (guitar), Mishka Stein (bass), Etienne Lebel (trombone), Ian Lettree (drums, percussion) and Maya Kuroki (vocals, keys and percussion) —  features a collection of accomplished Montreal-based musicians, who have played with Pawa Up FirstPatrick WilsonBoogatGypsy Kumbia Orchestra and others. Initially started as a loving homage and tribute band to legendary Japanese guitarist Takeshi “Terry” Terauchi, the Montreal-based collective came into their own when they started to blend Japanese Eleki surf rock with elements of modern Western music including shoegaze, post-punk, psych rock, ska, Latin music and Balkan music on their debut EP 2018’s Jikaku.

Last year, I caught the genre-bending Montreal collective play an energetic set of material that reminded me of The Bombay Royale at an M for Montreal showcase at the Cafe Cleopatre, one of the most interesting venues I’ve personally ever been in. (A live music venue with a strip club down stairs? Uh, sure.)

Earlier this year, the members of TEKE: TEKE released “Kala Kala,” the first single off the rising act’s forthcoming full-length debut. Deriving its title from a phrase that roughly translates to clattering, “Kala Kala” captures the band’s frenzied live energy and difficult to pigeonhole sound centered around a mind-melting arrangement and song structure and Kuroki’s wild howling and crooning. Since the release of “Kala Kala,” the rising Montreal-based act signed to Kill Rock Stars Records, who will be releasing their forthcoming debut.

“We are deeply honored to be joining the great Kill Rock Stars family, a label we’ve long admired and that shares our community-oriented values and artistic vision,” the band shares in press notes. “Not to mention, the incredible roster that was pretty much the soundtrack to our lives, featuring artists we humbly look up to. Exciting things to come.” Slim Moon, Kill Rock Stars’ President and Founder adds “I learned about Teke::Teke from Mi’ens, who are another Canadian band on our roster.  I love every single thing about them, and I believe they will be embraced by fans of all ages, cuz the magic of the music and their personalities are just impossible to deny. They are perfect ambassadors for what Kill Rock Stars is all about as we head into our 4th decade.”

“Chidori,” TEKE: TEKE’s second single of this year is a cinematic mosh pit friendly freak out that’s part psych rock, part surf rock part of Ennio Morricone soundtrack centered around a propulsive groove, shimmering organ arpeggios, Dick Dale-like guitar lines, delivered with a frenetic aplomb.

New Video: Plumes Releases an Earthy and Sensual Visual for “Golden Gourmande”

Veronica Charnley is an acclaimed Montreal-born Paris-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, and the creative mastermind behind Plumes, a solo recording project that draws from contemporary pop and classical music techniques. And while most of her work is centered around her own original lyrics, she has also set poems by Emily Dickinson, Goethe and Marina Tsvetaeva to music.

\Her third album Oh Orwell was released earlier this year — and the long awaited album finds Charnley reinventing the project after her breakup with romantic partner and colllaborator, multi-instrumentalist and arranger, Goef Holbrook. The album’s latest single “Golden Gourmande” is centered around a hauntingly sparse arrangement: Charnley’s gorgeous and expressive vocals, shimmering, strummed guitar and gently droning feedback. The end result is a song that simultaneously manages to evoke the sensation of being roused from a pleasant dream — and savoring it deeply with a euphoric sigh. “‘Golden Gourmande’ is a song about returning to love after having almost lost it and savoring it like a creme brulee,” Charnley explains.

Directed by Pixie Cram, the recently released video for “Golden Gourmande” is an earthy and sensual visual that splits between someone foraging for mushrooms, plucking them from the forests and the Montreal-born, Paris-based singer/songwriter performing the song in an intimate studio.

New Video: Montreal’s Thaïs Releases a Surreal and Feverish Visual for Atmospheric “Sushi Solitude”

Thaïs is an emerging Montreal-based singer/songwriter, who specializes in an atmospheric and delicate pop centered around the French Canadian singer/songwriter’s ethereal vocals. Thematically her work focuses on melancholy, loneliness and dysfunctional and confusing love.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Boreal.” Inspired by a trip that the French Canadian artist took to Iceland, the third single off her recently released Paradis Artificiels EP was centered around shimmering synths, thumping and skittering beats, warm blasts of looping electric guitar, a soaring hook and Thaïs’ ethereal and plaintive vocals meant to evoke the awe-inspiring sense of being in a gorgeous, natural space and taking it all in deeply.

Paradis Artificiels’ fourth and latest single “Sushi Solitude” is an atmospheric and delicate pop song centered around the rising Montreal artist’s ethereal and breathy cooing, shimmering synth arpeggios, reverb-drenched, angular bursts of guitar, stuttering drumming and a soaring hook. Sonically, the track brings Washed Out to mind, complete with a similar achingly melancholic air.

The recently released video for “Sushi Solitude” is a probing — yet mischievous — look at solitude and self-examination, seemingly inspired by pandemic-related lockdowns: we see the rising French Canadian artist, bored and disaffected, at points reflecting on her life and past, at points attempting to better herself and her life and other points actively not caring one way or the other. In some way, the video feels like an examination of a woman on the brink of profound realizations or psychotic break.

New Video: Acclaimed Canadian Indie Act Besnard Lakes Release a Surreal and Feverish Video for Slow-Burning “Raindrops”

Deriving their name Besnard Lake in North Central Saskatchewan, the acclaimed, multi-Polaris Music Prize-nominated Montreal-based indie rock act The Besnard Lakes — currently, husband and wife duo Jace Lasek (vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keys) and Olga Goreas (vocals, bass), along with Kevin Laing (drums), Richard White (guitar), Sheenah Ko (keys) and Robbie MacArthuer (guitar) — formed back in 2003. And since their formation, the Canadian indie rock sextet have released five albums of atmospheric and textured shoegaze that some critics have described as magisterial and cinematic.

After the release of their fifth album, 2016’s A Coliseum Complex Museum, the members of The Besnard Lakes and Jagjaguwar, their longtime label home, decided it was time to part and go their separate ways. Naturally, that lead to the band to question whether or not it made sense to even continue together. But fueled by their love for each other and for playing music together, the members of acclaimed Montreal-based act wound up writing and recording what may arguably be their most uncompromising album of their catalog, The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings.

Dispensing with a timeline, the members of The Besnard Lakes took all the time they needed to conceive, write, record and mix the album’s material. Interestingly, some of the songs are old, tracing their origins back to resurrected demos left on the shelf years ago. Others were woodshedded in the cabin behind Lasek and Goreas Riguad Ranch — with the band relishing a rougher, grittier sound. Thematically, the album finds the band contemplating the darkness of dying , the light on the other side, and coming back from the brink: while it touches upon the band’s own story, it’s also remembrance of dear loved ones — particularly Lasek’s father, who died last year. (On vinyl, the album will be a four-side double LP: Side 1 is titled “Near Death.” Side 2 is titled “Death.” Side 3 is titled “After Death.” and Side 4 is titled “Life.”)

From what Lasek observed of his father’s experience, being on one’s deathbed may be the most intense psychedelic trip of anyone’s life: at one point, Lasek’s father surfaced from a morphine-induced dream, talking about how he saw a “window” on his blanket, with “a carpenter inside of it, making objects.” Interestingly, as I read that, I thought of what were Steve Jobs’ last words before dying — him looking past his loved ones and simply saying repeatedly “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” And as a result that surreal and ethereal quality pervades the album’s sound and aesthetic.

“Raindrops,” the album’s first single is a slow-burning song and patient song with a painterly-like attention to graduation and texture, centered around shimmering reverb-drenched guitars, twinkling and arpeggiated keys, thunderous drumming, ethereal boy-girl harmonies and a euphoric hook. Along with the release of The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warning’s cinematic first single, the band announced that the album is slated for a January 29, 2021 release through Fat Cat Records here in the States and through Flemish Eye in their native Canada. Additionally, they released a surreal, fever-dream of a video directed by Joseph Yarrmush.

“This song and video details a psychedelic flight through the mind while deep in an altered state,” The Besnard Lakes explain. “The song lyrically references the death of Mark Hollis from Talk Talk (‘Garden of Eden spirited’) and also describes the idea of evolution determining the story of the Garden of Eden.