Tag: Montreal QC

New Audio: Montreal’s Fredy V. & The Foundation Release an Uplifting and Anthemic Ode to Self-Determination

Montreal-based collective The Foundation features some of the city’s best musicians, who also play in the Canadian city’s top R&B, hip-hop, funk, gospel, soul and jazz acts. The members of The Foundation gained collective experience from production and performing on a weekly, nationally aired TV show — and they used their momentum of their show to write and record their critically applauded debut EP One Step.

The Foundation also collaborates with some of the French Canadian city’s top and upcoming R&B, hip-hop, soul and funk acts, including Mel Pacifico and Fredy V — both, who are full-time members of the collective. The collective’s latest single “On The Rise,” marks the one-year anniversary of the release of their debut EP. But song is also a bold mission statement of stops, description the group’s current direction and mindset.

Featuring glistening synths, twinkling keys, thumping beats, hand-claps, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, wobbling bass synth, “On The Rise” is centered around a warm and roomy, New Jack Swing meets neo-soul with a hint of classic Chic-like production. Fredy V. contributes self-assured and thoughtful verses describing the sacrifices he had to take to get to where he is right now, including distancing from the people and habits that didn’t align with his goals. Pacifico contributes her soulful vocals to the song’s uplifting and infectious hook.Unsurprisingly, the new single is informed by and inspired by the collective’s experiences during the pandemic: Both individually and as a collective, The Foundation was forced to reflect on the direction of their careers in music — and their lives.

Thematically, the song touches upon self-empowerment, maturation, self-determination and accountability — that come about as someone matures and is actively attempting to make serious moves for themselves. The song — and the band — seem to say to the listener, “well, if you wanna fulfill your dreams, stop the bullshit and get to work. It ain’t easy but once you get there, it’ll be worth it.”

New Video: Montreal’s Hélène Barbier Releases a Childlike Visual for Trippy “Lightly”

Montreal-based singer/songwriter and musician Hélène Barbier has developed a reputation for crafting off-kilter yet beautiful pop centered around imbalance through juxtaposition: four simple notes become evocative alongside four disorienting, different notes — and that simplistic rule has become a basis for complex material.

The Montreal-based musician then recruits musicians who are willing to break from tired chords, worn fills and needless flourish — expertise aside. Barbier switches between English and French atop aggressively uncomplicated yet avant-garde pop melodies, while keeping pretension and contrived professionalism far away.

Deriving its name from the brightest stars, seen in the constellation Leo, Barbier’s sophomore album Regulus was released earlier this year. For the Regulus sessions, Barbier brought together dissident players and ideas high and low to create space pop that’s equally unnerving and comforting.

“Lightly,” Regulus‘ latest single is a woozy and mischievous pop song centered around layers of droning guitars, wobbling and shimmering synths, a steady but propulsive backbeat and Barbier’s seemingly detached vocals paired with a razor sharp hook. Sonically, “Lightly” sounds as though it could have been released in the distant future — perhaps the year 3578 — but with a contemporary irony.

Barbier explains that the song is about letting go of things you can’t control. The childlike, animated visual by Gart Darley follows a girl and a sun-like star flying across the world, past oceans, cities, enormous mountain ranges and the like. “Home movies meets Super Mario World in this high-flying video,” Darley says.

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With the release of his full-length debut, 2019’s CounterglowMontreal-based singer/songwriter and pop artist Reno McCarthy quickly received attention for his remarkably self-assured songwriting. The Montreal-based artist also received praise for his debonair stage presence — and for having a backing band that plays a groove-heavy live set. 

Following the loss of his father last year, McCarthy wound up writing and recording a moving and deeply moving EP, Angels Watching Us Down, which found the Montreal-based artist crafting much more stripped down and strikingly sensitive material.

Late last month, McCarthy released his sophomore album, RUN UP RIVER, which features the introspective yet upbeat “Sundown,” and the slickly produced, St. Lucia-like ode to hesitation and indecisiveness, “For A Moment.” The album’s latest single, the atmospheric “Nothing Less, Nothing More” is a slow-burning song featuring shimmering and reverb drenched guitars, skittering beats with a trippy Tame Impala-like coda with glistening synth arpeggios, held together with McCarthy’s delicate croon. The song manages to evoke the uneasy swoon of a new relationship with both sides entering uncharted waters with themselves and each other.

Centered around introspective, lived-in lyrics, the song as McCarthy explains “offers an honest look at the unstable nature of early relationships. It’s about accepting both ourselves and our loved ones for who we are.”

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays TEKE: TEKE Release a Frenzied and Mischievous Visual for “Kala Kala”

Initially started as a loving homage and tribute band to legendary Japanese guitarist Takeshi “Terry” Terauchi, the 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 the likes of Pawa Up FirstPatrick WilsonBoogatGypsy Kumbia Orchestra and others. The Montreal-based act quickly 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. Adding to a bold, genre-defying sound, the band’s arrangement meshes rock instrumentation with traditional Japanese instrumentation.

With the release of their debut EP 2018’s Jikaku, the members of the Montreal-based septet came into their own highly unique and difficult to pigeonhole sound that features elements of Japanese Eleki surf rock, shoegaze, post-punk, psych rock, ska, Latin music and Balkan music. Last year was a momentous year for TEKE: TEKE. They signed to Kill Rock Stars Records, who released the rising Canadian act’s full-length debut Shirushi earlier this year.

In the lead up to the album’s release, I wrote about five of its singles:  

  • Kala Kala:” Deriving its title from a phrase that roughly translates to English as clattering, “Kala Kala” is centered around a mind-melting arrangement and song structure, Kuroki’s howling and crooning. And to my ears, the track accurately captures the band’s frenetic live energy. 
  • Chidori,” a cinematic yet mosh pit friendly freak out that’s one part psych rock, one part Dick Dale-like surf rock, one part Ennio Morricone soundtrack delivered with a frenetic aplomb. 
  • Meikyu:” Deriving its title from the Japanese word for labyrinth, the track is a no bullshit, no filler all killer ripper with menacing guitar work, dramatic bursts of trombone, fluttering flute, thumping tribal drumming and some wild soloing within an expansive, mind-melting song structure.  
  • Yoru Ni,” a fever dream featuring dreamy blasts of flute and trombone, menacing and slashing guitars and intricate Japanese shamisen. Deriving its name from the Japanese phrase for “at night,” the song despite it’s mischievous tone, is a somewhat romantic and spiritual tale about its central character letting go of a long-held delusional quest. 
  • Barbara,” a mischievous and cinematic track with a stomping, punk rock energy that sounds like the perfect soundtrack for a misfit circus — or the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, as each instrumental part seemingly introducing a new and strange character. Much like the previously released singles, “Barbara” captures the frenetic energy of their live sets. The lyrics as the band explained are a twisted take on zashiki-warashi, spirit beings, who like to perform pranks and bring good fortune to those who see them.

The Montreal-based JOVM mainstays just announced a 2022 North American tour that includes a handful of club dates and some Winter festival appearances. Sadly, there aren’t any New York dates on this run. But if you happen to be in or near any of these cities, go and catch them. As always, tour dates are below. But in the meantime, the band released a trippy visual for album single “Kala Kala.”

Directed by the band’s Maya Kuroki and Serge Nakauchi Pelletier, the video is a deft and playful mix of illustrations and old-timey collages by the band’s Maya Kuroki, close-up footage of the band by Lily Pelletier, live footage of the band and more, edited by Serge Nakauchi Pelletier. It’s a frenzied and arresting visual delight, chock full of Easter eggs and sight gags.

New Video: Spaceface Teams up with LABRYS on a Breezy and Funky Meditation on Life Choices

Founded back in 2012 by Jake Ignalls, a former member of The Flaming Lips, Spaceface is self-professed “retro-futurist dream rock” outfit is split between Memphis and Los Angeles — and features current and past members of The Flaming Lips and Pierced. Since their formation, Spaceface has developed a reputation for crafting catchy songs that whirl, twirl, bend and stretch, attract and propel while sonically featuring elements of dream pop, funk, rock and post-disco.

Spaceface’s forthcoming full-length album Anemoia is slated for a January 28, 2022 release though Montreal-based label Mothland. Anemoia is the result of several months spent at Blackwatch Studios in 2019 where the band spent several months working with Jarod Evans writing material inspired by funk rock and the turn of the millennium psychedelia revival. Although the material can be initially perceived as a feat of efficient and minimalistic songwriting by Ignalls and a cast of friends and collaborators, as the result of slick melodies, lush arrangements and effortlessly flowing rhythmic grooves, each spin reveals a new layer, painting a positive but somewhat critical portrayal of modern life.

In the lead up to the album’s early 2022 release, Mothland and the self-professed retro-futurist dream rock have released three singles off the album to date: “Happens All The Time,” “Earth In Awe,” and “Piña Collider,” which featured samples and choir vocals from actual CERN scientists. Anemmoia‘s fourth and latest single “Long Time (feat. LABRYS),” which features Penny Pitchlynn, best known for her work with BRONCHO and LABRYS taking on vocal duties. Centered around a breezy and lush arrangement featuring glistening synth arpeggios, crunchy bass lines and thumping beats that recalls Tame Impala, “Long Time” contemplates life choices and alternate realities through a series of “well, what if I did x instead of y.”
 
“It’s about that dreamlike state of wondering where you could be in your own life if you had just taken that left down the other road instead of taking a right,” Spaceface’s Jake Ignalls explains in press notes.  “It’s this inescapable feeling that sometimes you’ve slipped into an alternate reality without realizing and you think, ‘My god, is this my life? There’s another one for me out there.’” 

Directed by Marina Aguerre, the recently released video for “Long Time” was shot on grainy VHS tape and follows three people — two women and a presumably Spaceface himself — getting ready for a small gathering, where the trio eventually dances the night away through trippy effects.

New Video: Montreal’s Reno McCarthy Releases a Feverish Visual for Slickly Produced New Bop “For A Moment”

With the release of his full-length debut, 2019’s CounterglowMontreal-based singer/songwriter and pop artist Reno McCarthy quickly received attention for his remarkably self-assured songwriting. The Montreal-based artist also received praise for his debonair stage presence — and for having a backing band that plays a groove-heavy live set.

Following the loss of his father last year, McCarthy wound up writing and recording a moving and deeply moving EP, Angels Watching Us Down, which found the Montreal-based artist crafting much more stripped down and strikingly sensitive material. Since the release of the EP, McCarthy has been busy writing and recording a string of standalone singles including the introspective yet upbeat “Sundown.”

Released earlier this year, “Sundown” was centered around an expansive song structure featuring twinkling synths, glistening guitars, McCarthy’s plaintive vocals, a soaring hook and a brooding bridge; but more importantly, the song managed to reveal an artist with an unerring ability to craft songs drawing from lived-in, personal experience: Lyrically, the song touches upon infatuation and obsession in a way that should feel familiar to anyone who has been — or felt — unrequited love/lust/desire.

McCarthy’s latest single, the Jesse Mac Cormack co-produced “For A Moment” is a slick, hook-driven confection centered around thumping beats, glistening synth arpeggios, a driving yet funky bass line, dub-like tape echo and reverb paired with the Canadian artist’s plaintive achingly plaintive vocals. While sonically recalling JOVM mainstay St. Lucia and 80s synth pop, the song lyrically deals with hesitation and decisiveness, capturing the push and pull of a complicated and uncertain romantic relationship.

“For A Moment” will appear on the Canadian artist’s soon-to-be released album, RUN UP RIVER, slated for an October 29, 2021 release.

Edited by Reno McCarthy and Charles-David Dubé, the recently released video for “For a Moment” is a frenetic fever dream that follows McCarthy brooding in an abandoned, post apocalyptic-like downtown area, driving around in a gorgeous, classic Mustang and being chased, as well as McCarthy trying to maneuver through a wild party. In some way, the video suggests that all of this may very well be in his own head.

New Audio: Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records Release a Bluesy Ripper off Forthcoming “Brown Acid: The Thirteenth Trip” Compilation

Throughout the course of this site’s 11-plus year history,  Permanent Records’ and RidingEasy Records‘ ongoing collaborative proto-metal and pre-stoner rock compilation series from the 1960s and 1970s, Brown Acid have been regularly featured. Now, as you may recall, each individual edition of the ongoing series is centered around RidingEasy Records founder Daniel Hal’s and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi’s extensive, painstaking research and curation with Hall and Barresi spending a great deal of time attempting to track down the artists behind these great yet sadly under-appreciated tunes. 

Frequently those bands haven’t written, played or recorded together in 30 or 40 years — but Barresi and Hall encourage the bands to take part in the compilation process. “All of (these songs) could’ve been hits given the right circumstances. But for one reason or another most of these songs fell flat and were forgotten,” Lance Barresi explains in press notes. “However, time has been kind in my opinion and I think these songs are as good now or better than they ever were.”

Having the original artists participate as much as humanly possible in the compilation process can give the artists and their songs a real second chance at the attention they had the misfortune of missing all of those years ago. And of course, for critics, audiophiles and fans alike, the material on the Brown Acid series will do three very important things: 

  • introduce listeners to some great, sadly under-appreciated tunes that fucking rip or will melt your face right off 
  • fill in the gaps of what was going on in and around regional, national and even international underground scenes during the 60s and 70s
  • push the boundaries of proto-metal, proto-stoner rock, metal and stoner rock in new directions. 

The 13th edition of the Brown Acid series, Brown Acid: The Thirteenth Trip is fittingly slated for an October 31, 2021 release. Continuing in the path of its 12 predecessors, The Thirteenth Trip sees Barresi and Hall somehow digging even deeper into a very deep well of material recorded throughout the 60s and 70s — and discovering tunes still rip and rip hard.

In the lead up to the album’s release later this month, I’ve written about two of its released singles:

  • Run Run,” a groovy arena rock friendly ripper, by Montreal-based outfit Max.
  • Buzzin,” a party starting-anthem centered around a funky blues riff, rollicking rhythmic changes and a chugging bass line that was technically credited as being by Gary Del Vecchio with Max — not the Montreal band.

Ralph Williams and the Wright Brothers’ “Never Again” appeared on the tenth edition of Brown Acid. The group returns to the series with “Dark Street,” the A-side of their 1972 Hour Glass Records 45. Centered around a chugging riff and thunderous drumming, the song hints at Van Halen‘s famous cover of Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” about a decade before they actually did the cover. Sadly, the band soon disappeared after.

New Video: Montreal’s Choses Sauvages Takes You on a Late Night “The Matrix”-like tour

With the release of their Emmanuel Ethier-produced 2018 self-titled, full-length debut, the Montreal dance punk outfit Choses SauvagesTotalement Sublime‘s Marc-Antoine Barbier (guitar), Theirry Malépart (keys), Tony Bélisle (keys), Philippe Gauthier-Boudreau (drums) and Félix Bélisle (vocals, bass) — quickly exploded both locally and across Québec: the album was released to widespread critical applause across the province. Their self-titled album received a Félix Award nomination Alternative Album of the Year at the 2019 Association Québécoise de l’industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la video (ADISQ) and a Félix Award for the Indie Rock Album of the Year. The album also topped the Independent Radio Charts across the province.

The band, along with their friend Foreign Diplomats‘ Charles Primeau (bass), who joins the band live, supported their self-titled debut during 2019 with a relentless tour schedule seemingly playing every joint and every festival stage across the province, developing a reputation for an explosive live show. Adding to a growing profile, the rising Montreal outfit went on tour with acclaimed act Half Moon Run.

Choses Sauvages’ highly-anticipated sophomore album, Choses Sauvages II is slated for an October 15, 2021 release through Audiogram. Sonically, the album finds the rising French Canadian outfit boldly pushing their sound towards more electronic and nu-disco influences, like L’Imperatice and Lindstrøm while still drawing from their love of funk, Bowie and Bee Gees. Interestingly, as a result, the album’s material finds the members of Choses Sauvages balancing a rigorous and meticulous songwriting approach with a long-held rebellious spirit.

Choses Sauvages II‘s third and latest single “Chambre d’écho” is a slinky Duran Duran meets Talking Heads banger centered around squiggling Nile Rodgers-like guitar, handclaps, a sinuous bass line, glistening synths, propulsive four-on-the-floor and an enormous, arena rock friendly hook. It’s the sort of song that will make you long for strobe-lit dance floors and sweaty clubs dancing the night — and your concerns — away.

Directed by Léa Dumoulin, the recently released video is heavily indebted to 1999’s The Matrix: we see the members of the band sending mysterious light-based signals to the video’s protagonist, as everyone travels to abandoned buildings and clandestine, late night, sweaty raves.

Corridor is an acclaimed Montreal-based indie rock JOVM mainstay outfit that has a long-held reputation for being earnest DIY enthusiasts: they design their own merch and create mind-bending animated videos for their incredibly catchy material.

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you probably have picked up on the fact that I’ve had an obsession with French indie rock, French hip-hop and French pop that has been sparked into overdrive after spending time in Montreal for M for Montreal. During that same period I’ve managed to spill copious amounts of virtual ink covering the Montreal-based JOVM mainstays.

With the release of their sophomore album 2017’s Supermercado, the band exploded into the international scene with the album receiving rapturous praise from NPR and from Vice, who wrote that 2017’s sophomore album  Supermercado was “the best French record of 2017, 2018, 2018, 2019, 2020 2021 and even 2022 .  . . ” Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Francophone indie rockers spent the following year supporting the album with touring across Europe with stops at  London Calling Festival and La Villete Sonique Festival, before making their Stateside debut with stops at SXSW and Northside Festival. They capped off a busy year or so, with a sold-out Stateside tour with Crumb.

Corridor caught the attention of Sub Pop Records, who signed the band, making them the first Francophone act on the label. Their third album, and first for Sub Pop, 2019’s Emmanuel Ethier-produced Junior is fueled by a special sort of je ne sais quoi? that comes from self-imposed restraints: Although at the time, the band had just signed to the label, they had a firm commitment to releasing a new album every two years — and they had every intention on going through with it.

When the band informed Sub Pop of their intentions, the label gently informed the band that if they wanted to release new material that fall, they would have to send the label a finished album in early May. With the ink barely dried on the contract, and a deadline looming, the band — Jonathan Robert (vocals, guitar), Dominic Berthiaume (bass, vocals), Julian Perreault (guitar), and Julien Bakvis (drums) — went into the studio, furiously writing and recording material, never stopping to second guess themselves.

Six of he album’s 10 songs were conceived in a single weekend, with the album closer “Bang” written the night before they were going to start recording. Because of the quick nature of the Junior sessions, the album features fewer expansive jams and less reliance on overdubs.  “Part of the beauty of the thing is that we didn’t have time to think about it,” the band’s Dominic Berthiaume says of the Junior recording sessions. 

Sonically, the album is intimate yet immediate while revealing a band with a mischievously genre-defying approach: the material draws from post-punk, Komische Musik, jangle pop, dream pop and indie rock while being completely their own.

Junior was released to widespread critical acclaim from the likes of BrooklynVegan, Clash, Paste, Stereogum, Exclaim! and a long list of others. The band supported the album with tours across Europe and North America that impressed fans and the cognoscenti, helping to establish the Québécois act as one of genre’s newest must-see acts. The tour and its shows went so well that they decided to make Samuel Gougoux, a live collaborator for the Junior tour, a full-time member.

The JOVM mainstays have returned with a new single “Et Hop,” their first bit of new material since Junior‘s release. Originally written during the Supermercado sessions, “Et Hop” was gathering dust in the band’s musical vault. Interestingly, when CISM, the student-run radio station at the University of Montreal asked if they wanted to release a song to celebrate the station’s 30th anniversary, the members of the band gave them “Et Hop,” a bit of old-timey jangle pop centered around the band’s unerring knack for gorgeous melodies paired with razor sharp hooks. But pay close attention! There are subtle nods to 60s psych rock and post punk throughout that should serve as a reminder that they never do anything in a straightforward fashion.

Corridor will be capping off the year with two previously announced shows in Montreal and Toronto in November. They’ve also added a handful of headlining Stateside dates in Spring 2022 that includes a March 31, 2022 stop at The Sultan Room. Check out the tour dates below.


 
Fall 2021
Fri. Nov. 19 – Montreal, QC – Fairmount Theatre
Fri. Nov. 26 – Toronto, ON – The Garrison
 
Spring 2022
Thu. Mar. 31 – Brooklyn, NY – Sultan Room
Fri. Apr. 01 – Philadelphia, PA – Milk Boy
Sun. Apr. 03 – Chicago, IL – Schubas Tavern
Fri. Apr. 08 – Grand Rapids, MI – Pyramid Scheme

New Video: Toronto Garage Psych Outfit Wine Lips Releases a Furious Ripper

Started as a part-time project between founding members Cam Hilborn (vocals, guitar) and Aurora Evans (drums), the rapidly rising Toronto-based, garage psych rock outfit Wine Lips — Hilborn and Evans, along with Jordan Sosensky (guitar) and Charlie Weare (bass) — hit the stage together for the first time in late 2015. The band began playing shows in and around Toronto, eventually stretching out organically to the surrounding towns and cities, then into Québec

By mid 2017, it was clear that the band members were ready to make a full-time commitment. That year, they released their self-titled full-length debut through Fried Records, which they supported with a five province tour with a stops in the country’s Maritime Region — Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. A chance meeting resulted in an April 2018 tour of Hong Kong and China, where they were received by enthusiastic audiences.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Toronto-based garage psych outfit released their sophomore album, 2019’s Stressor, which they supported with relentless touring across North America until the pandemic struck. But the band was able to amass an ardent following — and some of their material has been featured prominently on television and Netflix.

Much like countless artists across the world, the members of the band spent the bulk of last year, holed up at London, Ontario-based Sugar Shack Studios, where they wrote and recorded their Simon Larochette-produced third album Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party. “The record is crazy! We really spent a lot of time getting the songs to sound exactly the way we wanted,” Cam Hilborn says in press notes. ” I think this is the best stuff we’ve recorded and I’m super stoked with the end result!” 

Slated for a Fall release through Montreal-based Stomp Records, Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party is reportedly a collection of psych rock bangers influenced and informed by the likes of The Hives, Bad Nerves, Dead Kennedys, Thee Oh Sees, Idles, Ty Segall, Buzzcocks and Parquet Courts.

Clocking in at 90 seconds, Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party‘s first single “Eyes” is a sweat and beer fueled mosh pit ripper centered around scuzzy power chords, frenetic drumming, rousingly anthemic hooks and Hilborn’s shouts and yelps. Play this one at ear splitting volumes and rock out. You’ll thank me for it.

“Eyes is a song about feeling burnt out creatively, mentally and physically. Something so many of us can relate to, even more so over the past year and a half,” Wine Lips’ Hilborn explains in press notes. “It sheds light on situations where you find yourself powering through the days with different coping methods brought on by late nights, alcohol and promiscuity, and seeing how far you can push the limits of your body before you find yourself defeated and broken down.” 

Directed and filmed by Sammy J. Lewis, the recently released video begins with a woman smoking a cigarette in a seedy, garbage-strewn Toronto alley. The cigarette smoking woman sees a slightly opened garbage bag with a glowing light coming out of it. Curious, the woman opens the bag and dives into a frenzied live performance of the song.

“Sammy had the idea of making it look like the band was playing inside a garbage bag, so we did a classic performance video but tried to make it a little more interesting with crazy fast paced cuts and some added green screen fun,” Wine Lips’ Hilborn says of the video. “It was super fun, super sweaty and we felt like trash by the end of the day.”