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The be-all and end-all guide to Pop Montreal

by Archives September 29, 2009

Jane Vain & The Dark Matter

What: Electropop from Montreal, QC

Where: Green Room, 5386 St-Laurent

When: Saturday, Oct. 3. 8:30 p.m.

Why: If you’re a fan of talented female vocalists, this is not a band to miss. Jamie Fooks gently sings of a reckless and troubled past with luxuriously silky vocals. The music is subtle in a way that keeps you wanting more, and yet doesn’t fall short. Organic piano and guitar collide with electronic hooks and beats creating a beauty that reflects the sorrow within the songwriter’s artistic temperament.


What: Garage rock duo from Vancouver, BC

Where: Divan Orange, 4234 St-Laurent

When: Saturday, Oct. 3. 1 a.m. (Friday night)

Why: Named CBC Radio 3’s artist of May, this Vancouver duo has left quite an impression after the release of Post-Nothing. Japandriods has stripped down to the bare essentials of a guitar and drum set, with vocal duties being shared. The songs are simple but heavy and hard.


What: Indie pop originally from Calgary AB, now situated in Montreal, QC

Where: Zoobizarre, 6388 St-Hubert

When: Saturday, Oct. 3. 11 p.m.

Why: Originally called The Neighbourhood Council, this quartet of high school friends got their start by winning the youth category of the 2007 Calgary Folk Music Festival Song writing contest. Vocals are surprisingly mature, mingling with kaleidoscopic melodies. Intensity builds and subsides with true artistic skill. These young up-and-comers have only just begun – see them now so you can say you saw them “back when.”

The D’Urbervilles

What: Intelligent indie rock from Guelph, ON

Where: Casa Del Popolo, 4873 St-Laurent

When: Sunday, Oct. 4. 1 a.m. (Saturday night)

Why: Taking their name from an 1891 Thomas Hardy novel, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, The D’Urbervilles are what you’d expect, art school kids making smart, even nerdy, indie rock. The D’Urbervilles are a great way to cap off a jam packed Friday night line up.


What: Indie rock from Calgary, AB

Where: O Patro Vys, 327 Mont-Royal E.

When: Friday, Oct. 2. 10 p.m.

Why: In the midst of a festival with so much going on, it’s easy to wonder if you’ve made the right choice of who to see at that particular hour. Woodpigeon will not leave any doubt in listeners’ minds, no matter who they share a time slot with. What began as an instrumental band on the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland has progressed into a distinguished project perfectly suited to those pretty fall days, where the scent of fallen leaves adds a spice to the air. Soft chords are backed by tambourine and keys, while intermingling with vocals that make it hard to believe vocalist Mark Hamilton was ever afraid to sing.


What: Throwback Ramones-style punk from Oakland, CA

Where: Sala Rossa, 4848 St-Laurent

When: Wednesday, Sept. 30. 10:15 p.m.

Why: Donning a bunny mask and only a pair of dirty briefs, NoBunny will hit the stage only to strike back with a wave of old school punk that would make Dee Dee and the gang smile. Leather jackets, mohawks, and carrots are not mandatory, but welcomed.

Matt and Kim

What: Cutesy indie pop couple from Brooklyn, NY

Where: Club Lambi, 4465 St-Laurent

When: Wednesday, Sept. 30. Midnight.

Why: One of the many Pop Montreal headliners, Matt and Kim will be pumping out some sweet, sometimes overly happy, indie pop tunes. If you’re a fan of snappy synth lines, catchy drumbeats, and sing along choruses, go check out Matt and Kim. Just remember smiles are infectious and incredibly hard to get rid of once caught.

Hexes and Ohs

What: Electronic indie pop couple from Montreal, QC

Where: Il Motore, 179 Jean-Talon O.

When: Friday, Oct. 2. 10:40 p.m.

Why: High school sweethearts Edmund Lam and Heidi Donnelly have managed to mix retro synth lines, inspired by the ’80s, with modern pop arrangements. Is it danceable? Yes, very. Veterans of Pop Montreal, Hexes and Ohs might be somewhat of a hidden treasure. If you enjoyed Matt and Kim you will like Hexes and Ohs.

Teen Anger

What: Pissed off garage rock from Toronto, ON

Where: Casa Del Popolo, 4873 St-Laurent

When: Friday, Oct. 2. 10:45 p.m.

Why: In terms of suitable band names, Teen Anger gets a pass. This dirty, chugging mess of fast paced garage rock is reminiscent of a hormonal teenager on the worst of days. It’s your typical garage band; guitar, bass, drums and a tambourine mixed with gritty, barely audible vocals. If you think Pop is just about pop, look no further then Teen Anger.

Think About Life

What: A contagious mix of indie rock and dance from Montreal, QC

Where: Maison Radio-Canada, 1400 René Lévesque

When: Thursday, Oct. 1. 7 p.m.

Why: If you haven’t seen Think About Life yet, you’ve been living your life wrong. Two words can describe a Think About Life set: high energy. Expect plenty of dancing, both on and off the stage as the band mixes samples with straight up catchy rock. Vocalist Martin Cesar has a stage presence that is unparalleled, be it his dance moves or stage banter. Going to miss the Think About Life? They will play a second show on Sunday Oct. 4. at 1:20 am at Espace Réunion (6600 Hutchison).

Kid Koala Presents The Slew

What: A healthy marriage of turntables and throwback rock and roll from Montreal, QC

Where: La Tulipe, 4530 Papineau

When: Friday, Oct. 2. 9:15 p.m.

Why: Internationally celebrated turntablists Kid Koala and Dynomite D had a simple idea, a banging heavy album that would make Public Enemy and Black Sabbath salivate. Six turntables and two former members of Wolfmother later, The Slew takes on the world for a one time only tour. This is a once in a lifetime experience; don’t make the mistake of passing it up.


What: Heavy experimental punk from Toronto, ON

Where: Casa Del Popolo, 4873 St-Laurent

When: Thursday, Oct. 1. 11:50 p.m.

Why: Like dropping acid that has you tripping balls, the music of brides is climactic, intense, and surreal. Grating guitars and warped loops surround vocals that could be straight from the bad guy in a horror movie. It’s as if someone took the standard punk formula, threw it in the dishwasher, put it through a meat grinder, turned on the blender, then melted it’s ass in the microwave. Songs often feature tempo changes, pitch changes, and more than one bridge.
It’s Fugazi on crystal meth. You’ve been warned.


What: Experimental krautrock from Wümme, Germany

Where: The Ukrainian Federation, 5213 Hutchison

When: Saturday, Oct. 3. 9:30 p.m.

Why: Forerunners of German experimental music, krautrock, Faust will offer a set of mind-blowing proportions. Long instrumental melodies shift and change pace in between verses and instruments appear for a brief note then slip back into the jam band like sound. If you’re looking for something different, Faust is it.

Buffy Sainte-Marie

What: Legendary Native-Canadian folk-fusion activist from Saskatchewan, SK

Where: Église St-Jean Baptiste, 309 Rachel E

When: Friday, Oct. 2. 9 p.m.

Why: Still releasing albums after 52 years of recording, Buffy Sainte-Marie takes some time to play her anthems of acceptance, reconciliation, activism, and peace. Not to mention she will be playing in a church. This is as close someone can get to a religious experience during the flurry of Pop Montreal shows.

Joel Plaskett and the Emergency

What: Acoustic folk from Halifax, NS

Where: Club Soda, 1225 St-Laurent

When: Thursday, Oct. 1. 9 p.m.

Why: Fresh off of a Polaris Prize nomination, Joel Plaskett and his backing band, the Emergency, will be taking over Club Soda with charming folk melodies. One of the biggest names to perform at this year’s edition, Plaskett may just be the act you do not want to miss.

Amy Millan

What: Stunning female vocalist from Toronto, ON

Where: Ukrainian Federation, 5213 Hutchison

When: Wednesday, Sept. 30. 10 p.m.

Why: Millan, one of the festival’s headliners, will be kicking off Pop Montreal on the opening night. Expect to hear an intimate set from the Stars and Broken Social Scene vocalist. Millan has two solo releases to draw material from and plenty of covers. There is no better way to start the Pop deluge than with her steamy vocals.

Jay Reatard

What: Garage punk from Memphis, TN

Where: Sala Rossa, 4848 St-Laurent

When: Thursday, Oct. 1. 12:30 a.m. (Wednesday night)

Why: Bringing his fuzzy fast paced garage punk hybrid style and catchy choruses, Jay Retard will be one hell of a show. If you’re looking for a way to cap off Wednesday night’s line-up, look no further.

Os Mutantes

What: Legendary tropicália group from Sao Paulo, Brazil

Where: Le National, 1220 Ste-Catherine E

When: Saturday, Oct. 3. 11:30 p.m.

Why: Following a 30-year hiatus, Os Mutantes are back to drop one more hit of Brazilian-inspired phsychedelia-infused rock. Armed with new material from an upcoming LP, expect a good mix of old and new. Seriously, they are legends and innovators. You’ll want to be part of what will be one of the most memorable nights of Pop Montreal.

Yo La Tengo

What: Classic indie rock from Hoboken, NJ

Where: Club Soda, 1225 St-Laurent

When: Friday, Oct. 2. 9 p.m.

Why: With 25 years of performing and recording under their belt, Yo La Tengo is one of the more veteran acts to perform this year. Considered to be one of the originators of “indie rock,” catching Yo La Tengo’s set will be like watching history in the making. Playing a fairly early set, they will be a solid way to start Friday.

Bruce Peninsula

What: Indie folk rock from Toronto, ON

Where: Il Motore, 179 Jean-Talon O.

When: Wednesday, Sept. 30. 11:30 p.m.

Why: Matt Cully’s smoky vocals are reason enough to check this band out, but the winding guitar melodies, interlaced with strong percussion and avant-garde resonance ensure, an impressive performance. The powerful choir of backing vocals – stylistically reminiscent of the American South, is rotational, featuring such artists as Casey Mecija of Ohbijou, Katie Stelmanis, Isla Craig, and Leon Taheny of Loretto Reid Band. The worlds of old blues and folk collide with the new wave of Toronto experimental and the result is worth seeing.

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