This year’s POP Montreal line-up includes more than 100 acts madly stuffed into five days of hectic excitement.
The lucky seventh edition of this eventful smorgasbord-of-music has kept in stride with previous years to frustrate the hell out of music lovers by scheduling a kickass line-up that does nothing to make choosing which shows to see any easier. As if the choice wasn’t hard enough, there’s also Film POP, Art POP, Porn POP, Puces POP, and the very first Kids POP to add to the amusing festivities.
For this year, top bands with wolf, fuck, crystal and/or deer in their name are already on everyone’s must-see list. But since POP Montreal is really all about checking out the new talent, The Concordian has put together a list of five lesser-known bands you absolutely have to check out:
Still fiercely grim and gripping after three decades of making music, London punk lords WIRE are on tour after releasing Object 47, their 11th album. With the release of their debut Pink Flag in 1977, WIRE began as an experimental art-punk band and has ended up as one of the most influential punk-rock outfits ever. They bring their brutally eerie sound all the way to Montreal so we can thrash around in their reverberating guitar effects and skewed melodic structures. They’ll hit up Le National on Oct. 5 to quench your thirst for hearing middle-aged badasses rip it up like they were immortal.
If you’ve never attended a Grateful Dead show, here’s your chance to re-create that experience. Don’t let the calm and serenity of their opening number fool you. Midway through the show you’ll look up and find yourself doing a wild tribal dance around a sweaty drum circle. Combining elements of jazz, African music and folk-rock, Akron/Family is the quintessential psych-folk jam band. According to their MySpace, POP Montreal is one of only two scheduled tour dates for the near future, which justifies skipping local acts (ahem, ahem . . . Duchess Says!) to see these guys live. Listen to their 2007 record Love Is Simple and life will begin to make sense.
Shugo Tokumaru sings about rainbow-coloured popsicles growing on plastic oak trees. Or maybe he sings about jumping into crystal vortexes and flying through space on a Goodyear blimp. We wouldn’t know, since we don’t speak Japanese, but does it really matter? His folk pop melodies are full of genre-bending idiosyncratic arrangements and unique instrumentation that bring banjos and synths together in one happy harmony.
Having shared the stage with freak-folk heavies like Animal Collective, Shugo Tokumaru is scheduled to open for The Magnetic Fields for several dates this October. His latest album Exit will have you humming along to light-hearted tracks with curious titles: “Parachute,” “Button,” “Mist,” and “Light Chair,” to name a few. With his wistful vocals, Tokumaru offers warm, playful music that will delight your overburdened soul. When else will you have a chance to hear quirky Japanese folk music? Go see this show and thank us later for mentioning this precious gem. Arigato.
This San Francisco trio is rolling into town as part of a relentless touring schedule in support of their sophomore release Visiter. With frenzied drumming playing a central role, The Dodos combine insane finger picking and witty lyrics, to make music that’s tight, energetic, and catchy as hell. It’s folksy, bluesy, and whimsical. Only musical geniuses could tape a tambourine to a wild stomping foot, kick the shit out of a garbage can, distort trom loops, and come out with beautifully poignant, clever folk-rock songs. If the stage suddenly imploded, all three-band members fell down, and the instruments piled up on top of them, vocalist Meric Long’s superb song writing could still stand on its own.
This Baltimore duo creates mellow psychedelic songs that have probably garnered a million comparisons to spacey seventies pop rock. Victoria Legrand’s soothing vocals carry the melodies like beautiful lullabies to a dreamy tranquil space that is garnished with repetitive organic drones and steady percussion. Full of tender melancholy, their songs are about love, yearning, and desire, and, after all, love is a hot ticket these days. The song “Gila,” off their 2008 album Devotion is awesome.
Beach House plays on Oct. 4 as part of the Baltimore Round Robin night that also features New Weird Americana songstress Jana Hunter, whose magnetic androgynous voice deserves her own spot in my POP Top Five.