Alaclair is a troupe of Post-rigodon from Bas Canada that zigzags between Quoibec City and Mourial. Formed by the graduates of Alaclair High, its aim is to dazzle the rabble. Alaclair Ensemble, is fo kidz.
Agent – Michaël Bardier
After retiring his project Dirty Beaches, Zhang has been focusing on explorations of improvised music, Free Jazz, and his new role as a composer. His newer compositions predominantly works with saxophone, synthesizers, percussion and piano, furthering his research on ritualistic music of liminality. Besides his solo work, he is also a member of a Free Jazz/experimental trio with Portugese minimalist/architect David Maranha, and Free Jazz Drummer Gabriel Ferrandini in Lisbon. Zhang currently works as a composer for film soundtracks, along with acting in independent films.
Chloé Soldevila and her musicians have built a psychedelic pop world with twangy guitar riffs & haunting synth lines. A bed on which the singer’s catchy vocals lay, an ode to love.
Coming from a family of artists, Montreal native yet, raised between Barcelona and Montreal. Chloé grew up in the arts which have led her to be in musical training from a very young age, graduating from high school with special mentions in classical piano and flute. After pursuing jazz piano studies in Cegep, she left musical training to pursue her own specific goals within different mediums, she engaged with Photography and Film study at Concordia University. It’s the photography that inspires her at first. Through the medium, Chloé had the chance to meet several Artists such as Allah-Las, La Femme or Broncho, who she traveled with – mostly in the United States (California) and France – to photograph. These travels had ignited for Chloé a desire to write and compose her own music. Spending hours with Miles Dupire-Gagnon, Zach Irving and the rest of the band was the inspiration she needed to move from flirting with music to actually engaging with it. Her strong classical and countermelody composition background came into play, but this time, influenced with words about her life during those years, directly inspired by the observations she would make on herself and on the life of the many people she met along the way.
Annika Henderson is a musician, poet and artist who rose to fame as ANIKA with two highly acclaimed eponymous records (Recorded with Geoff Barrow of Portishead and his band Beak>, released on Stones Throw in the US), and was touring the world. She is well known as a DJ too, hosts a radio program on BCR – Berlin Community Radio, is seen and heard in experimental cinema and collaborates with a variety of Berlin, London, or Mexico City based artists and musicians among them Jandek, Shackleton, Michael Rother (Neu!), Dave Clarke (Skint BMG), Andreas Reihse of Kreidler, T.Raumschmiere (Sleeping Pills and Habits), Doireann O’Malley, Ricardo Domeneck, Stine Omar / Max Boss (EASTER), Phillip Geist (Live Video mapping project and soundtrack in Tehran, Iran) or Yann Tiersen. Last year, Anika released an album with her new Mexico City-based project, Exploded View on Sacred Bones (US).
Bernardino Femminielli works in media including music, performance, poetry and film under the guise of a hyper-sexual, genderless provocateur. His work and character are a synthesis of mysticism, transgression, danger and pleasure– a detached crooner deep within a distopian discotheque. Narrating in French and Spanish, from classical arrangements to brutal Italo-disco, from heavy cosmic drone to mutant industrial: his sonic ventures reflect his adopted personas. His lyrics explore an imagined illicit paradise full of excess, drugs, bars, pleasure, darkness and companionship. Much of his poetry is arranged using the cut-up technique and is composed similarly to works of transgressive fiction. On stage, the confrontational yet intensely vulnerable performer explores the rich and dark energy of French and German cabaret– emphasizing the “total” performance where poetry, music, film, and dance coalesce.
Bernardino Femminielli performs as a solo act but is often joined on stage by musicians Pierre Guerineau and Asael Robataille from Montreal electronic projects Essaie Pas and Bataille Solaire, as well as with his side project Femminielli Noir (Jesse Osborne-Lanthier) and is a long time collaborator with Alex Zhang Hungtai (Dirty Beaches).
Agent – Michaël Bardier
Carla dal Forno is an Australian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, currently based in Berlin. She is a member of the groups F ingers and Tarcar, and formerly cult Melbourne outfit Mole House. Autumn 2016 sees the release of her debut solo album, You Know What It’s Like, on Blackest Ever Black.
Chocolat was. Chocolat is.
First came a band bursting with unpredictable rock and roll violence, Chocolat released a straightforward and erotic self-titled EP in 2007, followed by Piano Élégant in 2008, a suavely romantic debut opus infused with rock and yéyé influences. More fierce and fiery than ever, they released Tss Tss in 2014, an album whose expansive psychedelic sound and kraut-inspired repetitions earned the band international recognition and many tours abroad. Chocolat is now well into its second incarnation. On Rencontrez Looloo, the group has parted with its sprawling explorations and moved towards a more modal hard-franco-prog with punk and folk accents.
Awakened minds already know it: Rencontrer Looloo is like seeing the future in the bottom of a bottle of Cherry Coke, or accessing the infinite through the twists of a pretzel.
Agent – Michaël Bardier
Duchess Says was created in late 2003 by four influent members of the Church of Budgerigars who decided to collaborate together in a common musical project. Their goal was to insure a faithful representation of the message of the Duchess (or spiritual budgie) through a precise artistic dialog. Composed of A-Claude (vox, keytar, guitar), Ismael (keyboard,guitar), Phil (guitar, bass,feedbacks) and Simon Says (lo-fi beats, drums and doubtful noises). Duchess Says is serving us a repertory of “moog rock” songs strong in images and enormoustly intense live performances!Their musical influences range from no wave, new wave, punk, to cinema and visual arts. If you pay attention, you could see them perform in the most unusual places such as golf courses, shop windows, vacant building sites etc.. Duchess Says has the mandate to decontextualise the rock and to promote simultaneously their Church on the way.
Agent – Michaël Bardier
Elle Barbara is a Montreal-based artist and singer. Rising from artist-run spaces at the turn of the current decade, their recent efforts are centered around transgender community organizing. With a group called Black Space and a lineup made of musicians of Sub-Saharan descent, Elle Barbara aims to recenter contemporary blackness via the rejection of racialized tropes. The Black Space consists of Markus Lake, Hans Jean-Charles, and Mitch Holtby.
Montreal-based electronic duo Essaie pas is comprised of Marie Davidson and Pierre Guerineau. Both are respected musicians in their own right – Marie having released two acclaimed solo records, with Pierre being best known for production work on underground Canadian musicians such as Dirty Beaches and Femminielli. Essaie pas was born on a hot summer night in 2010, releasing some ultra-limited singles which culminated in their debut LP, Nuit de noce (Teenage Menopause Records) in 2013. The mix of drawling guitars, français mumbles, and minimal electronics caught the ear of DFA Records, who booked the pair to open for Factory Floor on their first North American tour.
Exploded View is a new collaborative project helmed by the UK-born, Berlin-based political-journalist-turned-musician Anika (Invada Records / Stones Throw). The project is newly signed to Sacred Bones Records, who will release a single in March and a full-length in August of 2016.
After playing a string of 2014 solo shows in Mexico with a backing lineup composed of local producers Martin Thulin, Hugo Quezada and Amon Melgarejo, Anika and her new bandmates discovered a chemistry that they simply had to capture on tape.
During the sessions that followed in Mexico City’s San Rafael neighborhood, improvisation was the guiding principle and the source of the band’s inspiration. The studio itself was outfitted so that every sound produced in the room would be recorded. A Tascam 388 8-track captured everything – fully live, fully improvised, first-takes only. Even Anika’s vocal lines and lyrics were written on the spot with the tape rolling. The result was an incredible wealth of downtempo post-punk drawl that the band pared down to the set of songs that comprises Exploded View.
The dexterity of the band that’s so evident on Exploded View comes from a collective lifetime in music. Anika’s résumé alone is incredible. She’s been a member of Geoff Barrow of Portishead’s BEAK> project, a successful solo artist, a DJ and radio host, and a live collaborator with the likes of Michael Rother (Neu!), Jandek, and Pete Swanson. Thulin is the producer for Crocodiles and an accomplished solo artist and producer whose career in music at present is over a decade long, and everyone else involved in the project has worked in music in Mexico City for many years. Exploded View emphasizes the talents of Anika and her collaborators in a new way, one that cuts through its improvisational roots with laser-focus and intent. For fans of Can, dub, and political revolution.
When Edmonton’s Jessica Jalbert first began performing solo under the name Faith Healer, the alias was her way of avoiding being pigeonholed as a singer-songwriter. Now, however, times have changed: Faith Healer has turned into a band, with singer-guitarist Jalbert joined by drummer/multi-instrumentalist Renny Wilson. Their first LP as a duo is called Try ;-).
Balancing melancholic lyrics with playful moods, lush melodies with straightforward arrangements, Try ;-) is the sound of an introspective loner leaving her bedroom to make a rock record with her best bud. It’s what happens when you stop taking life as it comes and instead, throw all of your efforts into making timeless pop songs. Forget what the bullies told you in middle school—there’s nothing cooler than trying hard.
The intensive creative process inspired the title of Try ;-) and serves as a reminder that sometimes you need to grab life by the horns rather than waiting for inspiration to strike. As for that winky face: “I always use that winking emoticon,” Jalbert says with a laugh. “I think it’s hilarious. I think it’s cheeky and fun, which is something I was trying to access a little more with this record.”
Freak Heat Waves second full length beams through like a soundtrack to a dark and greasy tale of a futuristic post punk band that follows their adventures through sleazy discos, underground punk venues and gleaming white art galleries. The album explores this strange world. The first single, “Design of Success” is a strange and sexy look into an alien nightclub. “Dig A Hole”, features Steven Lind’s sharp guitar riff and monotone vocals riding the skeleton of a bass line into an incendiary proto-punk guitar solo. Thomas Di Ninno’s robotic drums and retro-futuristic production make “A Civil Servant Awakening” sound like a great lost UK post punk single. The propulsive bass of James Twiddy on “Comfortable Conversation” brings to mind the endless drives of a DIY touring band. The record follows their self-released and out-of-print debut LP and extensive touring of North America on their own and with friends Viet Cong (Jagjaguwar/ Flemish Eye) and Each Other (Lefse). Freak Heat Waves calls Victoria BC home but the album was recorded and mixed over the course of a year on islands and cities and small towns across Canada.
Agent – Michaël Bardier
Helena Deland’s two latest singles, ‘There Are A Thousand’ and ‘Perfect Weather For A Crime’ are poetic, catchy, and undeniably magnetic. Helena’s voice runs shivers down spines and guides her self-described “sincere pop” to a completely irresistible state. Her songwriting sounds like a more melodically driven Courtney Barnett, equipped with clever word play and lush rock instrumentation. Check out Montreal’s fresh faced rock starlet Helena Deland and her latest sonic offerings off her upcoming album, Altogether Unaccompanied.
Montreal’s Helena Deland writes songs that are a testimony of a given time or place, converting her memories to something that sounds, in a word, unforgettable. A myriad of influences filter in and out of her writing, from ’60’s Parisian pop to indie folk to fuzz rock. She describes her songwriting as a collection of ‘unsent letters,’ perhaps fueling her self coined genre, ‘sincere pop.’ Helena captures the unapologetic aspects of womanhood the world needs today, highlighting powerful femininity in her vocals and refined writing in her unique lyrical choices. Helena will be touring the world over the next year, promoting the release of her upcoming LP, Altogether Unaccompanied.
Agent – Michaël Bardier
Hoan formed in 2015 with the intention of exploring sonic terrain without inhibition. Their work gives subtle nods to the darker side of new wave music adding an understated melodic intelligence that is reminiscent of bands such as Deerhunter or Broadcast. Their debut release, “Modern Phase”, will hit the shelves on April 28th via Fantôme Records.
Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, alongside fellow Montreal artist Charles-André Coderre, returns with If He Dies, If If If If If If, a second full-length album from his acclaimed Jerusalem In My Heart (JIMH) project, conceived and recorded in his dual homes of Montréal and Beirut.
Known for his production and engineering work with artists as diverse as Matana Roberts (all three chapters of her Coin Coin recordings to date), Mashrou’ Leila, Ought, Eric Chenaux (with whom he also released a collaborative album for the Grapefruit Records Club) and Suuns (with whom he also released a collaborative album on Secretly Canadian in spring 2015), Moumneh has been firing on all cylinders over the past few years. He has brought JIMH to mesmerized live audiences in Canada, Europe and the Middle East since the release of his first album in 2013, following many years during which the project was a strictly Montréal-based live/theatrical happening. While JIMH continues to expand to include a larger cast of players for select engagements and commissions, the group is currently an immersive and performative audio-visual duo at its core, with Moumneh responsible for all sound/composition and Coderre creating 16mm visuals and live projections/installations.
Moumneh expands his compositional palette on If He Dies, If If If If If If, exploring new deconstructions and juxtapositions of both traditional and popular Arab musical currents, with an album that oscillates between powerfully emotive vocal tunes and instrumental works that primarily make use of Radwan’s expressive acoustic playing on buzuk as a point of departure. One of Moumneh’s finest melismatic a cappella vocal performances opens the album, followed by the uncharacteristically literal-titled “A Granular Buzuk”, where said instrument is processed, re-sampled and otherwise disrupted through Radwan’s real-time custom signal patches. “7ebr El 3oyoun” follows with languidly plaintive vocals set against a gradually accelerating riff underpinned by hand percussion, and Side One closes with a scabrous white noise intervention wherein the entire audio mix is fed through a contact mic placed in Radwan’s mouth. Moumneh continues to channel his love for Arabic pop and Casio/cassette culture on the silky lo-fi dance of “Lau Ridyou Bil Hijaz?” which opens Side Two, then pays homage to the until-recently-exiled Kurdish poet and singer Sivan Perwer on the traditional-minded, unadorned folk tune “Ta3mani; Ta3meitu”. The album closes with a tour-de-force drone piece built from Bansuri flute (performed by guest player Dave Gossage), and a delicate acoustic number set against the sound of waves recorded on a beach in Lebanon. (Song titles employ the transliterative characters used in Arabic phone texting).
Coderre’s creation of the album artwork involved re-photographing images on 16mm film and then developing that film with bespoke chemical treatments of his own discovery and invention; the cover images result from this entirely hand- made and analog process. The album art is also an extension of the JIMH raison d’etre: the pursuit of innovative reciprocal relationships between celluloid film and live music performance, and the preservation of and experimentation with manual photographic methods and materials amidst a culture/tech industry that encourages the obsolescence of celluloid.
If He Dies, If If If If If If is an adventurous, scrupulous, impassioned and highly original work of modern contemporary Arabic music and a gratifying sign that Jerusalem In My Heart is situating itself in recorded works with the same thoughtful and dynamic intensity previously accessible only in live performances. (Needless to say, JIMH continues to be a must-see live act as well).
Agent – Michaël Bardier
Montreal violinist Jessica Moss has performed and recorded with a wide spectrum of ensembles over the last two decades. Best known as a permanent member of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, she was also a founding member of avant-klezmer group Black Ox Orkestar, recorded and toured with the Vic Chesnutt band for the two albums released on Constellation, and worked extensively with Carla Bozulich’s Evangelista. She has also performed and recorded as a guest with many of Montreal’s best known artists, most recently with Big|Brave on their acclaimed 2016 record for Southern Lord. She was featured in Jem Cohen’s Empires of Tin project, and joined members of Godspeed, Fugazi, White Magic and Dirty Three to perform the live score to Cohen’s film We Have An Anchor in various locations at Europe and the USA. Most recently she’s been collaborating and performing with the band Laniakea, featuring Daniel O’Sullivan (Ulver, Grumbling Fur, Æthenor, This Is Not This Heat) and Massimo Pupillo (Zu).
May 2017 heralds Jessica Moss’ first official full-length solo release. Comprised of two side-length multi-movement compositions, Pools Of Light is a stunning work that unfolds at a stately, inexorable pace, combining sound-art and signal-processed timbres, extended melodic and contrapuntal lines, and the periodic deployment of stark, minimalist vocals. Recorded with kindred spirit Radwan Ghazi Moumneh and released on the only label home she knows, Jessica says she “is feeling fucking grateful to be doing what I’m doing right now” and hopes to see you on the road.
It’s through an eponymous album released in October 2010 on Grosse Boîte that the general public got better acquainted with Jimmy Hunt as a solo artist. Critical acclaim followed as the singer-songwriter was awarded numerous accolades in Quebec, and was selected as one of the Révélations Radio-Canada in 2011-2012, a program that highlights the excellence of upcoming francophone artists.
Seasons passed and Jimmy Hunt returns in October 2013 with Maladie d’amour, a new album with a sound reminiscent of the graceful folk of his debut. But of course, Jimmy was not going to stop there – Maladie d’amour also blends dense electro with minimalist lyrics. We wouldn’t want to go overboard, but here goes: there’s definitely some Gainsbourg in the innovation and the unusual texture of this album. Plus… have you seen that cover?
These sonic explorations also owe their unique directions to two of Jimmy’s close collaborators, who have previously joined him for shows. Keyboardist and sound programmer Christophe Lamarche-Ledoux (Organ Mood) handled recording and arrangements on selected tracks, and multi-instrumentalist Emmanuel Éthier (Passwords) directed the sessions. Both also play on the album.
Agent – Michaël Bardier
Akena Lohamba Okoko aka KNLO is a producer from Sainte-Foy, member of Alaclair Ensemble. Apart from is instrumental color series intitled Craqnuques circulating through the web since 2007, KenLo as produced for many vocalists between Montréal and Québec (K6A, Karma Atchykah, Sarah Linhares) and published ten EPs, worked solo or in duo (VLooper, Caro Dupont). In a dj set, KenLo navigates the night with selections of joyful music (rare funk, afrobeat, reggae, hip hop and other traditional music) and exclusive home music, fruit of the Tout’Nou Laboratoires Incorporés.
Agent – Michaël Bardier
From the prolific cultural epicenter of Montreal, Marie Davidson has emerged as one of the foremost electronic artists working in contemporary pop today. As a long-time member of Essaie pas (DFA Records, Teenage Menopause) and DKMD (Giallo Disco Records, Fur Trade Recordings), Davidson has had the opportunity to hone her many talents. She has been participating in the city’s vibrant experimental community for much of her adult life. However, in 2012 she began to unveil compositions under her own name, revealing a solo artist who possessed the combined confidence and vulnerability required to write, produce and perform unaccompanied. Davidson’s intimate solo work is embodied through a host of synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines which coalesce in synchronized harmony, punctuated by vocals, half sung, half spoken in both French and English. She masterfully shapes the overall mood, themes, emotion, expression and intensity of her work, which gives the final result a distinctive, cinematic quality. Her live sets are energetic, built for dancing, as audiences become immersed in hypnotic rhythms, absorbed by the tightly sequenced bass lines and engaged by her vocal delivery. Not only will she will spin you a tale, her music will immerse your soul in haunting images of sweet anxiety and glamorous sensuality.
In the last two years Marie Davidson has caught the attention of the press by releasing “Perte d’identité” (Weyrd Son Records 2014) followed by “Un autre voyage” (Holodeck Records 2015). Both albums have been acknowledged for their unique blend of upbeat and ambient material. She is now about to release her first fully dance floor oriented piece of work on the distinguished label Cititrax (the division of Minimal Wave records which focuses on new contemporary music). As a solo performer Davidson has played internationally renowned festivals such as SXSW (Austin), MUTEK (Montreal), OUTLINE (Moscow), OBEY Convention (Halifax), City Of A Thousand Suns (Fort Gorgast, Germany), Phénomena (Montreal) and Pop Montreal. She has also toured Europe four times and twice in the U.S. Demain est une autre nuit, the latest release of her duo Essaie pas was on the long list for the Polaris Music Prize of 2016.
Marie’s latest solo album, “Adieux Au Dancefloor” came out on Cititrax in October 2016 and received critical acclaims from Pitchfork, The Quietus, Resident Advisor and many more.
Agent – Ouss Laghzaoui
Toronto native Daniel Benjamin and collaborator/co-conspirator Maddy Wilde have been making music together for most of their lives. As Moon King, they weave dreamlike harmonies over buzz-saw guitars and electronic percussion, with their live performances capturing a raw-nerve intensity that verges on ecstatic. Many of their songs appeal to our darker subconscious desires, reveling in the embrace of fear and ego as a means of escape. Moon King’s first EPs, Obsession I and II, were released on Fucked Up guitarist Mike Haliechuk’s label One Big Silence. They have since signed to indie powerhouse Last Gang for their debut LP ‘Secret Life’, and their extensive international touring history includes tours with Doldrums (Daniel’s brother Airick), Austra, Majical Cloudz, and (Mr) Twin Sister, among others.
Agent – Michaël Bardier
The project revolves around bringing a new approach to sound and arrangements. Comporised of brothers Thomas and Philippe l’Allier, the duo brandishes a unique strain of melodic anti-pop that draws its roots in industrial music and 80’s synthwave. While Philippe’s repetitive grooves and contrasted use of sequencers, synths & drum machines quickly immerses you in the duo’s take on reality – one that seems to come out of a Dark, Dystopian and Deranged world – Thomas grasps the opportunity to bring nuances to the music with his noisy guitar parts and his confident crooning. Their live show is visceral and heavy, it brings you places. Dark ones. Then for a split second, It leads you to believe that after all, everything is going to be okay. These are only love songs.
Negative Gemini (Lindsey French) is an American songwriter, singer, and producer.
After moving to Brooklyn in 2014, the Virginia-native released her self-produced debut album Body Work, for her own record label (100% Electronica) earning early comparisons to the likes of Hope Sandoval and Gwen Stefani. With its unique blend of underground dance beats and pop hooks, Body Work quickly found itself the darling of many music publications, garnering critical acclaim from prominent media publications like MTVnew, Resident Advisor, and The Fader. Already established as a strong female presence in the New York electronic music scene, Negative Gemini’s new EP Bad Baby seeks to write timeless and memorable music on the fringe of pop. Written over the course of the last two years, Bad Baby chronicles the ups, and downs in French’s recent life.
Her 2017 single “You Weren’t There Anymore” topped the charts of music blog aggregator Hype Machine and was praised by Pitchfork and SPIN among other major publications and was quickly followed by her second single ‘Bad Baby’ which won a spot on Spotify’s Undercurrents playlist.
Organ mood is a sound and visual artist collective from Montreal, composed of Christophe Lamarche and Mathieu Jacques. Since 2008 we try to change what the notion of what audience means by favoring a more involving relationship with our public. Our tools are analog synthesizers, overhead projectors and custom made instruments we share with our spectators, interconnected through software.
We have toured Quebec as an opening act for pop artists. We played in several festivals in Montreal such as mutek, meg montreal and escales improbables. We turned the atrium of the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art into a psychedelic venue. We played in a church in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. We transformed the backyard of the artist-run center l’Écart in Rouyn-Noranda into an impromptu DIY rave. We performed at the totally rococo teatro Fru-fru in mexico city as part of mutek mx.
We try to make our performances a ritual, where the public can join and discover the inner stregths they have to pursue large scale projects.
Partner is the “mature” effort of small town lesbians Josée Caron and Lucy Niles. Borne of their bizarre and fortuitous friendship, Partner boldly goes where few have even desired to go, moving effortlessly from topics like sex objects and gross secrets to more serious themes like intimacy, friendship, and existential unease.
Partner marries feminism and stadium rock riffage to produce a sound as queer as they are, and their arrival on the scene couldn’t be more timely: “Partner’s music is like what early 00s pop punk would be like if it was mixed with a reverence for classic rock era guitar solos. But unlike that generation’s insistence of straight white dude figureheads that traded a sense of humour for self-righteousness, Partner’s songs are funny as hell.”
After a freakishly productive year of writing, recording and touring, Partner are releasing a first single “Comfort Zone” to kick off 2017. Their enthusiastic and action-packed live set has led to them being named the “best new band in Canada” in the Globe and Mail, and although “Partner hasn’t even released an album yet, [watching] one of their sets, it’s clear right away that they’ve arrived fully formed.” Influenced by acts as varied as Ween, Weezer, Neil Young, and Sum 41, Partner promises to make you question everything you thought you knew about rock ‘n’ roll.
They formed in Sackville NB in 2015 and relocated to Windsor ON in 2016.
Agent – Michaël Bardier
Prepare yourselves for a superdope psych-punk thrashing from the lunatic minds behind Montreal’s CPC Gangbangs, Red Mass and Duchess Says. This new amalgamated group is called PYPY (π π), and this debut LP “Pagan Day” is a mind searing concoction of sinister wah-wah freakouts littered with fuzz, distortion and the necromantic scree of co-lead singer Annie-Claude Deschênes. Super disco-breaks reminiscent of the dance punk of NYC’s legendary 99 Records (ESG / Liquid Liquid) slither in on “Daffodils,” and the blistering pop of “She’s Gone” rivals Thee Oh Sees most burning tracks. Add all of this to one of the finest recording sessions we’ve ever heard here at Black Gladiator / Slovenly HQ, and you got yourself a prime moving platter for your heaviest rock’n’roll club soirees and claw-your-eyes-out solo home listening sessions.
Montreal band Solids went to school with bands from the 90s, like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr and Superchunk. Formed by Xavier Germain-Poitras (guitar) and Louis Guillemette (drums), the duo has understood that melody never shines as much as when it is forced to fight its way through many layers of distortion and feedback effects. A first EP released in 2010, Generic Dogs, already united fans of chaotic choruses under the banner of their intense rock. A 7” (Fog Friends b / w Blown Out) and a split 7” created with Toronto band Animal Faces have confirmed Solid’s reputation: a rare duo able to reconcile punks, rockers and metalheads. Blame Confusion, recorded by Adrian Popovich at Mountain City Studio (Priestess, Duchess Says, The Dears, etc.), is the band’s first full-length album and will be available on Feb 18th through Fat Possum Records.
Whether playing on stages of majors events such as South by Southwest, Osheaga, POP Montreal and The Fest (in Gainesville, Florida) or in some packed and humid decrepit basements, Xavier and Louis sweat blood because they don’t know any other way of making music. Solids is somehow a gift for all those who never feel as alive as when they’re submerged in decibels!
Agent – Michaël Bardier
You can hear freedom flowing through the 11 tracks on Felt. Self-produced then mixed to audiophile perfection by St Vincent producer John Congleton, it maintains a pleasing economy, the informality of self-production has enabled Suuns to explore bright new vistas – the hypnotic future-pop percolations of X-ALT or Watch You, Watch Me’s organic/synthetic rush of elevatory rhythms and the ecstatic, Harmonia-meets-Game Boy patterns. Never mere fusionists, it’s now pointless trying to decode their sonic signature as ‘dance music that rocks’ or vice versa. Ben Shemie has a newfound vocal range and a penchant for buoyant melodies, showcased in such wholly unexpected delights as the yearning lilt of Make It Real and sax-smoothed Peace And Love, which sincerely comes on like a post-punk Sade. The suitably outré image for Felt – a hand reaching out to touch a giant latex black inflated ball – breaks with Suuns’ earlier darkness for a more optimistic ambience. The record’s playful atmosphere is echoed by its double meaning title.
Tess Roby is an artist born in Toronto, and currently working in Montreal. Accompanied by her brother, Eliot Roby on guitar, her music rides the melancholic line between classic 80s new-wave and lyric-driven pop. The listener simultaneously feels the intimacy of Roby’s bedroom, cut with a romantic urgency akin to Hounds Of Love era Kate Bush. The arrangements are strictly minimal and hauntingly sparse, giving way to the richness of Roby’s voice and the hypnotic pulses of her analogue synthesizer.
Her debut LP is soon to be released on Italians Do It Better (Chromatics, Desire, Johnny Jewel).
Wake Island is an electronic duo formed by Lebanese musicians Philippe Manasseh and NadimMaghzal and based in Montreal and New York City. The band fearlessly blends electronic dance music with indie rock songwriting to create a positive, uplifting experience. Their new album, OUT, was mostly self-recorded in isolated cabins across the Quebec Eastern Townships and mixed at Montreal’s Breakglass Studios with Jace Lasek (Suuns, Wolf Parade). Through this beautiful and eclectic collection of songs, the band encourage us to stay positive and to open up to the world around us. OUT is now available through Oh Hi, an artist collective they co-founded in Montreal. Their live show echoes bands like Caribou, Moderat and Beach House and is sure to elevate your spirit and make you dance.
We Are Wolves… Around since the tidal wave of electro/art/dance/punk broke at the beginning of the year 2000s, they’re the only ones left standing. The wolves are still on the prowl.
This is a band that have cut their teeth and have nothing left to prove. WRONG – the new album, soon to be released on fledgling Montreal label Fantôme Records – sees We Are Wolves wiping the slate clean, on the hunt for new musical prey. But between their raw beginnings reminiscent of Suicide and this, their more pop-oriented fifth album, there has been no lack of sweat, passion and aggression, lots of noise and, above all else, a whole load of fun.
Flashback: Non Stop Je te Plie en Deux, a kind of savage letter of introduction that knocked listeners off their feet, seduced hordes of punk fans addicted to the dustbin blues of Fat Possum. It was back in 2005 that WAW’s first album appeared on this most legendary of American record labels. The trio, made up of bassist and vocalist Alexander Ortiz, keyboardist Vincent Levesque – both visual arts students at the time – and percussionist Antonin Marquis, then went on to take North America and Europe by storm. The wolfpack toured non-stop, terrorizing small venues and artist lofts as well as huge international festivals such as Osheaga (Montreal), the Virgin Festival (Toronto), SXSW (Austin), the L.A. Weekly Detour Festival (L.A.), CMJ (New York), The Great Escape (UK), Dour Fest (Belgium), Eurockéennes and Le rock dans tous ses états (France). Sharing the stage with acts such as And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, The Gossip, Gorillaz, Muse, Indochine and Bloc Party, the band grabbed the attention of the rock press, from Rolling Stone to Pitchfork via Spin and pretty much all the cool media publications. The wolves’ mixture of electro-punk left no one indifferent.
Then it was back to the studio. After the hit single Fight and Kiss, We Are Wolves were at it again in 2007 with Total Magique, having switched to Montreal label Dare To Care, which also put out the follow-up Invisible Violence in 2009. Same story as before, WAW were lauded by the local and international press and their albums garnered a number of awards and widespread acclaim, confirming the trio’s notoriety on the international music scene. Once again they toured Canada, the USA and Europe.
In 2012 the pack of wolves divided: Antonin Marquis being replaced by ex-Polipe member Pierre-Luc Bégin. With touring over, the band headed back to the studio to record La Mort Pop Club, which was released in February 2013, also on Dare To Care. More tortured and disturbing than its predecessors – dark, shadowy post-punk mixed with an almost brutal minimalism, their fourth release yet again got the attention of the press both here and abroad and saw the band hit the road for another series of concerts.
A rumour began to spread that La Mort Pop Club would be the final We Are Wolves album. WRONG, which is due for release in the fall of 2016 on the enigmatic Montreal label Fantôme Records, proves those rumours to be exactly that… wrong.
WRONG. One word: short, sharp and cuts right to the chase – that even arouses a certain perplexed curiosity. With this, their first album to have an English title, the band unashamedly shows off its pop side, that until now we’ve had little more than a whiff of. Rock solid thanks to a flawless career spanning fifteen years, the band are more confident than ever and have been rewarded by a success that mocks their critics. WRONG is a fundamentally positive album that sees the Wolves explore new hunting grounds, revealing a more mature band very much at the height of its powers.
Agent – Michaël Bardier