Tag: Montreal QC

New Audio: Montreal’s Anemone Returns with a Deceptively Breezy and Sunny Take on Pop

Earlier this year, I caught the Montreal-indie pop/dream pop act Anemone open for the acclaimed indie pop act HAERTS at Baby’s All Right, and the act led by Chloe Soldevila (keys, vocals) and featuring Miles Dupire-Gagnon (drums), Gabriel Lambert (guitar), Samuel Gemme (bass) and Zachary Irving (guitar) specializes in a breezy and dreamy pop sound that hints at psych pop — and at points to In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Forever and Horizon-era Painted Palms. The Canadian act released their attention-grabbing debut EP earlier this year, which they’ve supported with a series of critically applauded SXSW shows, and some relentless touring across North America. Now, as you may recall, “Daffodils,” off the band’s debut EP was a breezy bit of synth-led dream pop centered around arpeggiated, analog synths, an ethereal melody, reverb drenched drums, shimmering guitar lines and a sinuous bass line within a gently unfolding, expansive song structure — and interestingly, the song recalls Pavo Pavo’s gorgeous, retro-futurstic dream Young Narrator on the Breakers. 

Recently, the Montreal-based band announced that their full-length debut Beat My Distance will be released early next year through Luminelle Records, and the album’s first single “Sunshine (Back To The Start)” is a breezy and sunshine-filled track built around a jangling and chiming guitar lines, a propulsive, disco-influenced bass line, a steady back beat and Soldevilla’s plaintive and ethereal vocals — but the song’s brightness is a bit deceptive as it focuses on the hope of a brighter day, after dealing with something shitty. As Soldevilla explains in press notes that the song is about “Overcoming the pattern of falling i love with someone who is unworthy, but that you still believed it could work. I called it ‘Sunshine’ because this song should resonate positively — it’s about focusing on the bright side and coming out stronger person; daydreaming of better, sunnier days.”  (I should note that sonically speaking, the song features one of the best guitar solos I’ve heard in about a good month or so.) 

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New Video: Montreal’s Anemone Releases Cinematic Visuals for Breezy Retro-futuristic Synth Pop Number “Daffodils”

Earlier this year, I caught the Montreal-indie pop/dream pop act Anemone open for the acclaimed indie pop act HAERTS at Baby’s All Right, and as you may recall, the act led by Chloe Soldevila (keys, vocals) and featuring Miles Dupire-Gagnon (drums), Gabriel Lambert (guitar), Samuel Gemme (bass) and Zachary Irving (guitar) specializes in a breezy and dreamy synth pop sound that hints at psych pop — and at points to In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Forever and Horizon-era Painted Palms. The Canadian act released their attention-grabbing debut EP earlier this year, which they’ve supported with a series of critically applauded SXSW shows, and some relentless touring across North America.

“Daffodils,” the Canadian act’s latest single is a breezy bit of synth-led dream pop centered around arpeggiated, analog synths, an ethereal melody, reverb drenched drums, shimmering guitar lines and a sinuous bass line within a gently unfolding, expansive song structure — and interestingly, the song recalls Pavo Pavo’s gorgeous, retro-futurstic dream Young Narrator on the Breakers. 

Directed, shot and edited by the band’s Chloe Soldevila, along with her bandmates, the recently released video was filmed on a grainy looking, Super 8 like film (or Instagram filter) in the New Mexico desert with a wide-screen cinematic vibe that shows the members of the band wandering about the desert, looking small in the face of an enormous expansive, before you see the band playing in the desert. As the band’s Chloe Soldevila explain sin press notes, “”Wide and magical open spaces are so powerful to me. I couldn’t have imagined a better place to capture the song’s video. Driving into White Sands’ natural park was one of the most empowering experiences to us. We had so much fun walking and running endlessly with our eyes wide open, full of admiration. After a while we decided impulsively to set up our gear which we had in the van and we started to play. We felt so alone in the world, playing for the sky and suddenly tons of people enjoying the park started driving in to enjoy the performance… it was so special, until eventually the park security kindly kicked us out!”

Currently comprised of founding members David Schnitzler (vocals) and Elias Foerster (bass) with newest, touring member Tilman Ruetz (drums), the indie electro pop/psych pop act Sea Moya was formed back in 2014 with its founding members writing material between shipping containers in a German harbor. As a duo, they released two well-received EPs and building upon a growing profile, the act’s full-length debut Falmenta is slated for an October 12, 2018 release through Golden Brown Records and Majestic Casual Records.

Falmenta was written and recorded in a reclusive cabin in the Italian Alps above Lago Maggiore, and unsurprisingly, the material is the restful of a total withdrawal from everyday life, the distractions of technology and any influence from outsiders. Such reclusiveness allowed the members of the band to completely immerse themselves in their surroundings, to be more introspective and to bounce ideas off one-another until their creative output became one; in fact, each song and every lyric on the album was a collaborative effort — and interestingly enough, while being effortless, manages to be experimental and deeply personal.

Sonically, the material on Falmenta finds the act drawing from a wide-ranging and diverse array of influences including Krautrock, Afrobeat, electronica, electro pop and psych pop underpinned by a mischievous sense of experimentation in which analog instrumentation is filtered through saturated tape, modular systems and a complex array of effect pedals. Interestingly, the forthcoming album’s latest single is the breezy “The Long Run, a single centered by twinkling synths, a sinuous and funky bass line, stuttering drumming, a throbbing, motorik groove and ethereal melodies that recalls Tame Impala, Toro Y Moi and Fela Kuti among others but in an upbeat, neon-bright, difficult to pigeonhole fashion.

Following the recording of their full-length debut, the members of Sea Moya spontaneously relocated to Montreal, where they have quickly embedded themselves into that city’s DIY underground scene, playing shows across Canada and the States. Of the spontaneous move, the explains in press notes,  “At that time we listened to a bunch of great artists from Montreal like Homeshake, TOPS, Suuns or Project Pablo. It felt like there was a free spirited and open-minded music and arts scene going on. Even though none of us had ever been to Canada before, we just decided to give it a shot.

And here we are, moved in early 2018, already played a whole bunch of shows in Canada and the States, dived into the music scene in Montreal which is incredibly rich of DIY spirits, mesmerizing artists and an amazing mixed-up and buzzing culture of ALL couleurs. It feels like you can find your spot for every tiny niche you want to experiment with and all that pretty easy going and not too serious. It’s an inclusive and yet far out scene which makes it wild, buzzing and forward thinking. The move to Canada has been one of the most inspiring steps we took in our lives for now.”

 

New Video: Majical Cloudz Former Frontman Devon Welsh Releases a Meditative and Brooding Visuals for “By the Daylight”

Devon Welsh is a Montreal-based singer/songwriter and artist, who released two critically acclaimed full-length albums as the frontman of Majical Cloudz, an electronic duo whose brooding and intense music combined elements of poetry, hardcore, folk and minimalist electronica among others. The project ended in 2016 largely because its members felt it had fulfilled its intentions.”The band has come to a very natural conclusion, as it has communicated everything it was meant to and reached more people than we would have ever imagined,” Welsh said at the time.

Following the breakup of Majical Cloudz, Welsh stepped away from music for a year. “I wrote songs but didn’t think about their purpose or anything at all to do with the music industry or if I would be releasing music in the future,” he said about that time. “I just tried to grow as a person and do some learning.” Interestingly, the songs he wrote during that period would eventually comprise much of the material on his solo, full-length debut, Dream Songs. Slated for an August 24, 2018 release through You Are Accepted Records, the album finds Welsh stepping out and away from the strict aesthetic he had worked in with Majical Cloudz but while continuing and expanding upon some of the core themes an ideas which that project was best known for — and as a result, the material thematically is a series of reflections on time and its passing, separation, the complexities of love, free will, life’s endless cycles and so on.

Produced and recorded by BRAIDS’ Austin Tufts with the intention of making an album that maintained the simplicity and minimalism of Welsh’s previous work while exploring the possibilities of more traditional arrangements — guitar, piano, strings — the album presents the Montreal-based singer/songwriter and artist’s songs in a more organic context. As the story goes, Tufts and Welsh essentially rebuilt the recordings from the ground up, working out kinks in demos, imagining different arrangements and re-recorded everything. The simple string arrangements Devon’s demos possessed were transformed and became the sonic and emotional center of the entire album. “I love songs with strings,” Welsh says in press notes, “so making recordings with beautiful string arrangements is a dream come true.

Dream Songs’ first single “By The Daylight” is chronologically one of the oldest songs on the album — and as Welsh explains, it began with a very different arrangement than the recorded version. “It was originally made mostly with synthesizers and had saxophone on it, and then when Austin and I started re-recording the demos it got transformed into something built almost entirely around strings,” Welsh says in press notes, “the new arrangement opened a lot of mental possibilities for what the record as a whole could be.” Thematically, the song has a fatalistic view of life — that there are larger, deterministic forces at play in our lives, and as a result, we’re frequently caught up and swept away in a tide that we don’t (and can’t) really understand. It’s a mature and meditative song with a deep and aching yearning at its core. 

Directed by Christopher Honeywell, the recently released video features footage of nature,  some shot on old, Super 8 film — and in a subtle way, the video conveys passing of time and the sense of larger, natural forces at play.

Last year, I wrote about the Vancouver, BC experimental pop/electro pop act I M U R, and as you may recall, that with the release of 2015’s debut EP Slow Dive, the Canadian trio,  which is comprised of Jenny Lea (vocals, keys), Mikey J. Blige (live production, guitar) and Amine Bouzaher (electric violin, bass) have received attention in Vancouver’s underground scene and elsewhere for a sound that draws from 90s R&B, 90s soul, contemporary electro pop in a rather unique fashion. Interestingly, that EP at one point landed at #5 on Spotify Global Viral Charts.

Building upon a growing profile, the Vancouver-based pop trio has received attention and praise from a number of national and internally known media outlets, including Vice NoiseyExclaim!, Hiphop Canada, Beatroute Magazine and Winniecooper.net, who listed the trio as one of Vancouver’s Top Acts to watching out for in 2016. They’ve also played at a number of festivals across their native Canada such as  Shambhala Music Festival, World Ski and Snowboard Festival,Astral Harvest, Center of Gravity and Rifflandia.

Last year, the members of I M U R released their full-length debut Little Death, and the album further cemented their reputation for crafting material that thematically explores and focuses on extremely dark subjects — namely drugs, booze and sex, as well as the prototypical pop themes of heartache, resiliency and intimacy with a fearless lack of inhibition. Interestingly, the slow-burning “Miss You, Hate You” the first single off the trio’s forthcoming THIRTY33 EP is a deeply intimate account of Jenny Lea’s personal struggles with addition rooted around the duality of her life — both as an addict and as a former addict. As Lea explains, “This was a very important but difficult song for me to write. I’m opening up about a very private part of my life in hopes to connect with others that might be struggling, and to let them know that they’re not alone.”

As the trio mentions via email, the track was self-recorded in the bedroom of their temporary Montreal apartment last spring, and sonically the track is centered around a sparse production consisting of shuffling beats, swirling and undulating electronics paired with Lea’s sultry jazzy and confessional delivery; in some way, the song is late night secret, whispered among friends or lovers — with the understanding that while it won’t get out of that room, that it’ll make you much closer.

New Video: Montreal’s Scattered Clouds Releases Tense and Furious Animated Visuals for New Single

Comprised of Philippe Charbonneau, Jamie Kronick and Mike Dubue, the Montreal-based post punk trio Scattered Clouds have received attention for a dense and scuzzy sound reminiscent of JOVM mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers and Chain of Flowers among others — especially on their latest single, the fuzzy, tense and panic-filled “Justice,” which was inspired by the 2016 death of Abdirahman Abdi at the hands of the Ottawa Police Department. The intent of the song is make listener to feel desperate, impotent and vulnerable — to remind them of their smallness within a cruel sociopolitical system that crushes people within its path.

Interestingly, the recently released video features animations from Montreal-based animator Joel Vaudreuil and it depicts the central antagonist (the police) as a fearsome, monstrous and violent figure, meant to symbolize how most marginalized communities fear those who claim are there to protect and serve them.

New Video: Canadian JOVM Mainstays The Beat Escape Release Somnambulant and Hallucinogenic Visuals for “Moon in Aquarius”

Initially releasing singles like “Seeing Is Forgetting” and “Half-Empty Happiness” under a decidedly intentional cloak of mystery, the Montreal-based DJ, production and electronic music artist duo The Beat Escape quickly received attention across the blogosphere for crafting moody and atmospheric pop that’s deeply indebted to 80s synth pop while evoking the somnambulant sensation of a half-remembered dream.  Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for a little while, you may call that the Canadian synth pop duo’s highly anticipated full-length debut Life Is Short The Answer’s Long is slated for an April 27, 2018 release through renowned indie label Bella Union Records, and the album finds the duo shedding much of the mystery that they purposefully surrounded themselves around during their earliest releases; in fact, the Canadian JOVM mainstays, comprised of Addy Weitzman and Patrick A. Boivin can trace the origins of the project to a college short film they collaborated together on. “We made a short oddball work; a video piece that followed two characters through a psychedelic waking dream,” the Canadian pop duo explain in press notes. And since that initial collaboration together, Weitzman and Boivin have worked together on a series of various creative endeavors that combined their interests in music and visual art, including famously, a lengthy stint DJ’ing in Montreal, which lead to The Beat Escape. 

Interestingly, Life Is Short The Answer’s Long finds the duo thematically speaking coming full-circle back to their origins,  somnambulant, waking dream-like inspired art; but while further developing the sound that grabbed the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere. “Sign of Age” the Canadian synth pop duo’s first single off their full-length debut featured propulsive and gently undulating Giorgio Moroder-like synths with a deliberate, textured and painterly quality that evoked gently drifting about in somnambulistic reverie. Continuing in a similar vibe, the album’s second and latest single “Moon in Aquarius” is a a decidedly motorik affair featuring a spectral melody — and while being clearly indebted to 80s synth pop, the song manages to evoke the mesmerizing sensation of a night time road unfurling before you, with white lines and dividers flashing by in a blur; the inexplicable sensation of things being simultaneously alien yet familiar; of the accumulation of the inescapable and lingering ghosts of one’s life, and the lonely moments in which they haunt the most. 

The recently released video for “Moon in Aquarius” possesses a feverish and hallucinogenic quality as features some wintry footage and footage of the duo, brooding in the country home, where they recorded a great deal of the album and “live performance” footage, accompanied by lighting effects, shot in the studio of the Montreal-based artist collective Light Society. At various points, the video seems to nod at Kraftwerk’s “Robots” as the members of the duo have similar robotic expression. As the duo explain in press notes. “To talk video ideas we drove up to the country house where a lot of our album was recorded. We turned on Quiet Village Radio so the sounds of Exotica contrasting with the winter landscape could replicate the mood of our recording sessions. As soon as we arrived, we made a fire, cooked supper, and it became quite clear that we needed to film in this house.” 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays No Joy with Sonic Boom Release Surreal and Experimental Visuals for Their Most Unusual Song To Date

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you would have seen that I’ve written quite a bit about Montreal, Quebec, Canada-based shogeaze duo No Joy, and as you may recall, the duo, which is comprised of primary songwriter Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd can trace their origins to when White-Gluz, who was then living in Los Angeles began collaborating with the Montreal-based Lloyd via email — and their collaboration eventually lead to White-Gluz returning to Montreal, so that they could play their first show, with Husker Du’s Grant Hart. As the story goes, after that show, White and Gluz continued collaborating, playing a number of shows locally, including with Best Coast, whose frontwoman Bethany Cosentino became an early champion of the act. 

Building upon the growing buzz surround the Montreal-based duo, White-Gluz and Lloyd signed to renowned indie label Mexican Summer, who released their debut 7 inch single “No Summer”/”No Joy,” an effort that allowed them to book their own national headlining tour with Katy Goodman’s, La Sera. The 7 inch quickly sold out, and by November 2010, the duo released their full-length debut Ghost Blonde to critical praise from the likes of Pitchfork, AllMusic.com, The New York Times, Brooklyn Vegan, The Guardian and others. No Joy followed that with the British release of the “Hawaii” 7 in, a release that featured a remix of “Indigo Child,” by Stereolab‘s Tim Gane, which they supported with a UK tour with  Surfer Blood, an opening spot in London for Wire, and an appearance at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound Festival.

The  members of No Joy spent the better part of 2011 touring across North America — and it included a busy SXSW schedule, a tour with Vivian Girls, and a co-headling tour with Marnie Stern with whom they released a split single, which featured No Joy’s cover of the Shangri-La’s “He Cried.” Since then, the band has released 2012’s Negaverse EP and Wait to Pleasure, 2013’s Pastel and Pass Out EP, 2015’s More Faithful, 2016’s Drool Sucker, the first of a planned series of EPs and last year’s Creep, which was released through the band’s new label Grey Market Records.

Interestingly, this year finds No Joy’s White-Gluz collaborating with Spacemen 3‘s and E.A.R.’s Sonic Boom (a.k.a. Peter Kember), and although the collaborators can’t accurately remember how they met or when they met, what they do clearly remember is that the idea of collaborating together was brought up in an email exchange back in 2015. At the time, No Joy had finishing touring to support their third album More Faithful, an album that the duo has considered one of their most difficult and demanding efforts they’ve worked on together, and White-Gluz was eager to try new ideas and do something different. “No Joy functioned as a four-piece ‘rock band’ for so long,” White-Gluz explains in press notes. “I wanted to pursue something solo where I collaborated with someone else who could help me approach my songs from a completely different angle. Pete is a legend and someone I’ve admired for a long time. Being able to work with him on this was incredible.”

Initially, the collaboration began as a bit of exploration between two friends, who admired each other’s work with each one passing songs back and and forth with White-Gluz writing and producing songs in her hometown of Montreal and Kember writing, arranging, and producing in Portugal. The end result was their collaborative EP together — four tracks that reportedly walk the tightrope between electronica, trip hop and experimental noise.  As White-Gluz says in press notes, “I wrote some songs that were intended for a full band and handed them off to Pete, who helped transform them. I barely knew how to use MIDI so I was just throwing him these experiments I was working on and he fine-tuned my ideas. There are barely any guitars on this album, because I was focused on trying to find new ways to create sounds.”

The EP’s latest single “Triangle Probably,” continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor “Slorb,” as it features a minimalist production featuring swirling wobbling electronics, twinkling and droning synths and industrial clang and clatter paired with  Gluz-White’s ethereal crooning, which make the song one of the most experimental songs not the EP, as it finds the duo nodding at Amnesiac and Kid A-era Radiohead — but with murky feel. 

Created by Jacob Cooper and Ride or Cry, the recently released video for “Triangle Probably,” features live screen grabs from independent, open source and free Unity/3D simulators and the hodgepodge nature further emphasizes the experimental tone and vibe of the song.