The annual Austin festival welcomed some of Montreal’s greatest
By Mia Pearson, Music Editor and Oneida Crawford, Assistant Music Editor
This year’s SXSW wrapped-up on Sunday, but it’s not too late to put together a top 5 list of talented Montreal musicians who flocked Southwest to shine on the Southern stages.
Held annually in Austin, Texas, SXSW (South by Southwest) is an epic festival comprised of three sectors; new media/interactive, film and music. Each sector highlights international talent through a variety of concerts, film screenings, conferences, exhibitions and a huge trade show. The popular festival functions as a hub for potential collaborators and business partners, while showcasing new trends in the entertainment industry. Comparable to SXSW is Canada’s own NXNE festival, which follows the same model and is held annually in Toronto in June.
The Concordian compiled a list of talented musicians and bands who represented Montreal at SXSW 2015 edition, along with 400+ other musical guests. This year, Montreal offered-up performers working in a range of genres; from rap and hip-hop to indie and electronic.
1. Look Vibrant
Described as “no-fi” on the band’s Facebook page, electronic pop rock duo Look Vibrant have a very unique and experimental sound, reflecting DIY production techniques. Early tracks from Look Vibrant play in the spirit of experimental masters, Animal Collective, whereas their recent track, “Miracle,” leans towards pop. Their EP Only Qualms is due out Spring/Summer 2015, according to their Bandcamp. Some members are Concordia students, and these too cool for school musicians hit the SXSW stage on March 20.
2. Les Marinellis
This Burger Records band sometimes performs sans shirt or pants—just a shiny pair of underwear sufficed for frontman Cedric Marinelli, during the band’s performance. Marinelli’s gritty voice sings in his native French language over ‘60s psych-inspired guitar riffs, as well as a ‘90s grunge attitude. Their ‘shiny and stranded in a dessert’ aesthetic is reminiscent of Beach Goth band, The Growlers, with whom they played a Burger show in Montreal about a year ago. One of their instagram pictures showed the band serving-up ladles of poutine to SXSW guests—bon appetit, Texas.
3. Mozart’s Sister
Electro-pop sweetheart Caila Thompson-Hannant a.k.a Mozart’s Sister, has played several shows with fellow Canadian musician, Grimes. Her association with Grimes is certainly reflected in her alternative electronic sound, and particularly evident in her full-length pop debut, Being. However, Thompson-Hannant’s vocals are prominent and not so wispy and dreamy as her comrade’s. Mozart’s Sister was at SXSW on March 19.
4. Marie Davidson
And now for something completely different…Marie Davidson uses dark heavy synths and wind-chime-like samples to evoke an eerie, futuristic sound. Reciting more SO than singing, Davidson’s sinister vocals are sexy and compelling. Her beats are reminiscent of synth pop duo Glass Candy. Having completed two albums, and been on tour in the U.S. and Europe, Marie Davidson returned to play SXSW on March 19 and 21.
5. The Franklin Electric
Known for their popular ballad “Unsatisfied,” The Franklin Electric are a talented six piece folk-pop band. Their full-length debut album, This is How I Let You Down, fits perfectly amongst the trend of nostalgic, folky pop songs with clear gentle vocals and harmonies, perky percussion, violins and guitars, but sans banjo. The Franklin Electric are sure to perk the ears of fans who enjoy the sounds from bands like The Lumineers, Imagine Dragons and Mumford and Sons. The band played SXSW on March 18 and 21.