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Arts

Spotlight on Concordia Fine Arts at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema

The Concordian attends an art show put together by Concordia fine arts students for the Festival du Nouveau Cinema.

 

One of the shows depicted in the video is Vertige, a short film and live performance by Eva Myers and Mark Durand, and performers Candice Riviera and Olivia Jean Flores. 

 

Video by Calvin Cashen


Feature photo shows dancer Olivia Jean Flores performing in Vertige

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Sports

VIDEO: Marc-Olivier Brouillette has no beef

Former Montreal Alouettes linebacker Marc-Olivier Brouillette talks living a vegan lifestyle as an athlete in a panel discussion at this year’s Montreal Vegan Festival.

Video by Calvin Cashen

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Music

Bully’s music feels alive, but ridden with tension

The band talks their latest album and the struggles of touring life

Fresh off the release of their new project Losing, Nashville’s fiery punkers Bully took their antics on the road for a tour across the United States and Canada. Lead singer Alicia Bognanno is a confident voice in indie-rock, making tracks with lyrics that feel painfully relatable and relevant, like finely aged wine. She took the time to speak with us about her experience interning for infamously stringent producer Steve Albini, her anxieties and personal turmoil and the endless abyss of auteurship.

According to Bognanno, when the band released its latest project, there was more of a learning curve to consider. The album needed to sound larger and more fleshed out, a big change from their lo-fi leanings. But, on top of that, the singer underwent personal turmoil that gave her succificent material to compose even bigger and more powerful songs.

Aside from a plethora of new steps as a band, including testing new material on the road, touring the world and then some, there was the added pressure of winning new fans over. “There was definitely a lot more to consider this time around,” said Bognanno. She assured the reception of the band’s new material has been overwhelmingly solid. The actual recording process was just as smooth. She was able to apply these skills on the new record, thanks to her experience interning for Albini at his studio in Nashville. “I learned a lot about mic placement for amps. I took a lot of notes.”

Bully’s sound is indebted to a wide-ranging palette of 90s grunge–music fueled by angst and insecurity. Those feelings run amuck in the band’s overall sound. Despite the underlying sadness to the band’s music, there’s an endlessly positive catharsis to it all.

The sound of the actual instruments, however, remains untouched. The distortion is raw, the drums are pummelling and Bognanno’s vocals are commanding. There’s a huge, jangly undercurrent of sound that cascades from left to right. These are anthems for the best and worst of times.

The band applied that anxiety well before the release of Losing when they were approached to release a single as part of the Our First 100 Days compilation. The series provided artists with the opportunity to voice their discontent for President Donald Trump’s first hundred days in office. The band contributed their song “Right,” a track that features Bully’s typically angst-ridden instrumentals and lyrics. It’s perhaps the band’s most immediate and urgent song. This is especially displayed in Bognanno’s lyrics: “It’s 8 a.m., this hell I’m in/Seems I’ve crossed a line again/For being nothing more than who I am/So break my bones and throw your stones/We all know that life ain’t fair/But there’s more of us we’re everywhere.”

Much like the rest of Bully’s material, the track feels like a call-to-arms against big business administration. While the track definitely feels antagonistic, there’s a hint of insecurity. Bognanno said she wasn’t in the best personal position while writing the new record. On top of that, the band underwent changes to life on the road as a full-time band right after its release, trudging from town to town to play their new and old songs. The band also switched record labels, making the experience collectively more daunting, overwhelming, but all the more exciting.

Photo courtesy of Sub Pop

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Music Quickspins

Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour

Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour (MCA Nashville)

Kacey Musgraves has perfected the art of the country-pop crossover. Golden Hour creates its own grandiosity on its own terms. Its 13 tracks are delicate and inviting, but contain a powerfully cathartic ethos that can’t be replicated. Musgraves takes aim at topics that are relatable and powerfully approachable. On “High Horse” the singer digs deep into the wounds left behind by an ex-lover who’s too cool to show weakness. On “Lonely Weekend,” she tackles the pain of being single when you’re supposed to be having fun. The songs here are remarkably intimate, thanks in part to the accessibility of Musgraves’s performances. She doesn’t overwhelm, instead she pursues these tracks with the earnestness of a woman wise beyond her years.

Rating: 8.8/10

Trial Track: “High Horse”

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Music Quickspins

A.A.L. – 2012-2017

A.A.L. – 2012-2017 (Other People)

Nicolas Jaar’s latest release under A.A.L. is a remarkably complex and deftly produced album of house and electro-funk with enough soul for the dancefloor and enough sleekness for the club. 2012-2017 is an album that’s unattached from the passage of time; its timeless songs breathe new life into sample heavy electronica music. Jaar doesn’t hold back, delving deep into a instrumental palette of snares, high-hats and piano loops. The rest of the album’s space is filled to the gills with excellent production work. Jaar is tinkering his fingers to the proverbial bone. There’s a familiarity to 2012-2017 that engages equally with genres of the past and present. But the final product is woven so effortlessly that you can’t help but get lost in its ageless appeal.

Rating: 8.9/10

Trial Track: “I Never Dream”

Categories
Music

Concert Calendar

Here’s a guide to the best shows in town this April

Yaeji – April 5 @ Phi Centre

Kathy Yaeji Lee is a 24-year-old DJ from New York, who makes minimalist club music that pays equal respect to the sounds of deep house and K-Pop. Minutes after the announcement of her latest tour in support of 2018’s EP and EP2, the Montreal show sold out in no time. If you were one of the lucky few to score tickets, consider yourself very lucky.

U.S. Girls – April 11 @ l’Escogriffe Bar

U.S. Girls’ Meghan Remy is heading on tour in support of her exquisite album, In A Poem Unlimited. The album is a complex synthesis of bold narrative and downright excellent music that draws influence from disco all the way to post-punk. Remy is a storytelling savant, tackling topics from the state of democracy to personal meditations on sex and representation. This is a must see show, to say the least.

Jeff Tweedy – April 12 @ Corona Theatre

Wilco’s legendary Jeff Tweedy is stopping by the Corona to perform acoustic reworkings of his best songs, solo and with Wilco. So if you’re a fan of artisanal beer, beards and balladry, stop by to hear the best rebellious songs of your teenage years.

Machine Girl – April 27 @ TBA

Machine Girl is bringing their abrasive industrial sonics to an unknown Montreal venue. Combining elements of harsh noise and scream, Machine Girl is a force to be reckoned with, comparable to similar acclaimed acts such as Death Grips and JPEGMafia. The band’s approach to noise and industrial is much more punishing than their contemporaries. I advise you bring earplugs.

Soccer Mommy – April 29 @ Quai des Brumes

Soccer Mommy’s latest album, Clean, is a package of delicate acoustic balladry and pained lyrics about the pitfalls of early adulthood. In support of the album, they will be performing right at the tail end of the month.

No Age – April 29 @ Bar Le Ritz

No Age’s dreamy punk soundscapes have been making waves across music blogs for well over a decade. It has been four years since the band graced the world with a new record, that was until the band dropped Snares Like A Haircut this year. The album doesn’t alter the typical No Age blueprint, but as they say, if it ain’t broke.

Categories
Music

Staff picks for the best study albums

A bit of easy listening for your end-of-semester woes

At its most effective, music is an artform that evokes a physical response. Whether you’re dancing, moshing or grooving along, the medium creates a sense of euphoria that can’t be replicated. But sometimes you just need a good album to put you in the zone. Here are our staff picks for the best albums to study to.

Alt J – An Awesome Wave

Katya Teague, editor-in-chief

Alt J’s sleeper-hit debut, An Awesome Wave, is mired in Radiohead-style electronica and indie-rock quirks. Twisting and turning from art rock tendencies to a cappella vocal interludes and jangly guitar rock, Alt J channels immediate pop accessibility without compromising their more experimental leanings. The record is rich with a variety of sounds but maintains a palette of glitch-heavy electronica beats at the album’s forefront.

Homeshake – Midnight Snack

Maggie Hope, arts editor

Homeshake’s Midnight Snack is a comforting indie LP laden with spacey R&B textures and an overall laid-back ambience. Known for his stint as Mac DeMarco’s back up guitarist, leading man Peter Sagar composes songs with a kind of easy-breezy infectiousness that actually comes off as more earnest than its slacker demeanor suggests. Locking into moods that soundtrack rainy days, Sagar adopts a delicate falsetto and pairs it with bubbling synths and bass to compose an album that’s utterly relaxing in its lethargic moments.

Luciano Pavarotti – Nessun Dorma

Kenneth Gibson, video editor

Nessun Dorma is an expressive aria melody from the final act of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot. The song achieved mainstream success after Luciano Pavarotti’s recording was used as the main theme for the BBC’s coverage of the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. The song has long been established as a seminal piece of opera. That reputation is undoubtedly felt, as the album of the concert went triple platinum in the United States and went on to be the most sold classical recording in the world.

Antonio Vivaldi – The Four Seasons

Candice Pye, news editor

The Four Seasons is a series of four violin concerti by famed Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi. Each piece is an expression of the four seasons in a year. Vivaldi published the concerti with a set of sonnets that eluded to each season the music was meant to represent. This is one of the very first instances of music structured with a narrative component.

Beach House – Depression Cherry

Alex Hutchins, photo editor

Beach House fluctuates between a dynamic dichotomy of beauty and melancholy. The duo’s 2015 effort, Depression Cherry, dials back on the muddy lo-fi production of their early work in exchange for a lushly orchestrated experience filled with dazzling instrumentation and vocal performances that are the stuff of dreams. The album spins in a web of its own ethereality, unperturbed by outside forces, and instead focused on progressing with sounds of grace and beauty.

Nosaj Thing – Parallels

Kirubel Mehari, assistant photo editor

This project from L.A. producer Jason Chung is a dissonant collection of meditative soul grooves. Chung mixes various genres into a synthesis of unique musical flavours, dipping his toes in everything from neo-soul to trap. The melodies are rich with layers, but the approach is minimalistic, revealing subtle embellishments in the mix.

24/7 Live Youtube Lo-fi Mixes

Matthew Coyte, assistant sports editor

These mixes on Youtube interweave hip-hop instrumentation with a lo-fi aesthetic, culminating in a millennial interpretation of ambient music. The beats are basically wallpaper music, creating an effective mood for zoning out, chilling out or simply getting lost in your mind. The artists and song names are usually never mentioned, creating a sense of ambiguity while maintaining a linear listening experience.

Hans Zimmer – Inception: Music from the Motion Picture

Mia Anhoury, assistant life editor

The soundtrack to Christopher Nolan’s accomplished film Inception is towering in breadth and absolutely halting in its approach. The sounds aren’t exactly the most complex in the world, but composer Hans Zimmer uses this minimalism to create an emotionally harrowing atmosphere out of a mere three or four droning tones.

Andrea Bocelli – Romanza

Nicholas Di Giovanni, sports editor

Despite it being a compilation album, Andrea Bocelli’s Romanza was the singer’s first release in the United States and Canada. It is widely considered Bocelli’s most accomplished work, selling over 20 million units worldwide and garnering the Italian singer an international following in the process. On top of that, the album topped charts all around the world, further cementing Bocelli’s status as an operatic pop icon.

Graphic by Zeze Le Lin

Categories
Music Quickspins

Jean-Luc Guionnet & Daichi Yoshikawa – Intervivos

Jean-Luc Guionnet & Daichi Yoshikawa – Intervivos (Empty Editions) *Editor’s Pick

Intervivos begins without warning. An alto saxophone blasts with urgency, wailing away with a curious elusiveness that begs to be explored. The sound is dissonant, pausing every few seconds or so, only to release again with a heightened sense of tension. It’s a fitting introduction to an album replete with sonics that both challenge and intrigue; it’s an utterly fascinating take on technicality. The record is a set of four improvisations between alto saxophonist Jean-Luc Guionnet and electronic feedback aficionado Daichi Yoshikawa. Every piece finds the two subverting established norms of structure, creating sounds that congeal at the seams. Intervivos doesn’t dictate its path, but rather constructs a highway of vacancy, speculation and expression. But this method of recontextualization is a cognitive tactic, lingering in its own cryptic aura, never quite finding a linear pace.

Rating: 8.4/10

Trial Track: Intervivos I

Categories
Music Quickspins

Loma – Loma

Loma – Loma (Sub Pop) *Editor’s Pick

Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg pairs with Cross Record on a record that moves with the glacial pace of a deteriorating relationship, interwoven by a template of cavernous chamber pop and 90s slowcore. Cross Record’s multi-instrumentalist Dan Duszynski and lead singer Emily Cross were married when they began this collaboration, but split at some point during the recording process. It’s not clear whether their breakup influenced the direction of the album, but the record unfolds with layers of overwhelming melancholy that make a strong case for it. Isolation can be quite purifying. The compositions feel heavy with the burden of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, an album bred from destructive inner-band tension. Despite the toxicity lying underneath, Loma displays a kind of artistic chemistry that coheres almost inherently. Tracks “Dark Oscillations” and “Who is Speaking?” ripple with a veneer of ornate string arrangements and acoustic balladry. Loma is a rare record that actually makes use of organic tones to amplify emotional expression, rather than using it to relish in gratuitous sentimentality. The musicality feels natural, like the instinct of breathing.

Rating: 8.5/10

Trial Track: “Dark Oscillations”

Categories
Music

The sounds of Forever

Local artist June Moon is a multi-faceted songstress

Forever pulls influence from music of the future and past, blurring the lines of what it means to be a pop musician in 2018. Her music occupies a realm of groove-oriented pop that defies simple categorization. The Montreal-based songstress combines a rhythm-sensible sound with tender vocals. All of this works in tandem with a driving backing beat that would fit snugly on any club playlist. I had the good fortune of talking to her before her show opening for Austra at this year’s POP Montreal festival.

June Moon took on the moniker Forever as a means to express herself creatively. She explained that she uses the name not just as a musician, but as the name she works under as a general artist. She has dabbled in various other forms of media, including a venture called Café Lanai with Michael Brock and a monthly radio show on Arbutus Records’ n10.as radio.

Yet, music is really where Moon funnels most of her creative energy. Taking cues from Rihanna as her main source of inspiration, each of her songs is an exploration of femininity in an industry dominated by the male perspective. She asserts this through the softly articulated timbres of her voice, which exude both desire and a need to be understood.

Her first eponymous EP, which came out in 2016, fully embodies this theme. What makes the project especially unique, though, is the way Moon approaches her craft. “A lot of my creative approach is improvised,” she said. “I have to align myself creatively and prepare myself depending on who I am working with.”

This method of artistry is what injects Moon’s music with a spontaneous spirit. Each song comes to life in a different way. According to Moon, her music is initially born from a beat, sometimes a melody that springs into her head, or a lyric. “I just feel a vibe and go from there,” she said.

Her first EP was co-produced with Project Pablo and widely acclaimed online, spawning an iTunes and Spotify Global Viral 50 charting single, as well as receiving airplay from the likes of BBC Radio 1 and Double J.

Moon’s most recent musical venture included producer spots with local talent Ouri. The two worked closely on the latest Forever EP, which consists of six sultry pop gems. According to Moon, the project sees the singer indulging in her innermost pop ideals, exploring the possibilities of melody and mood to their absolute limits. “It’s super up-tempo,” she said. “My first record was kind of hazy and a bit blurry.”

Last year, her first EP got a co-release with The Vinyl Factory, who have previously worked with The xx, Daft Punk and Massive Attack. Although a date has not been set for her upcoming EP, its first single, “Falling,” was released in May along with a video in July. Moon has also just been confirmed for the 2018 South by Southwest festival and is expected to announce a set of tour dates this year.

For now, Forever’s backing band has consisted mostly of close collaborators and friends. Ouri joined the singer on-stage at last year’s POP Montreal festival.

In addition to flexing her talents as a singer, Moon mentioned that her radio show acts as a second avenue for her to express herself. The show’s name, Flip Phone Forever, is a mentality the singer reflects in real life. She quite literally has a flip phone. This is a mid-2000s aesthetic Moon aims to emulate in her music. “I’m obsessed with my flip phone,” she said.

Moon expressed a deep admiration for vocalists. The radio show and her musical outings, among other things, allow the musician to share commonalities with the vocalists she admires. “I’m inspired by my peers. My friends do amazing artistic things, and I love having this vehicle to collaborate with them. They’ve all been on my show.

“I have all these projects, but they’re entwined,” she said. “They’re all part of my palette.”

Photo Courtesy of June Moon

Categories
Music

Best albums of 1999

The year that marked a new millennium and new possibilities

The year 1999 will go down in history as one of the most underappreciated years in music. As overlooked as the year is, though, it also stands as the most transformative. With a slew of albums that literally changed the course of some genres, 1999 is bound to stand the test of time.

The Dismemberment Plan – Emergency & I

The Dismemberment Plan’s third album is a firework of passionate songwriting, wrapped tightly in a sheen of indie rock bombast and emotion. The D.C. quartet left little-to-no breathing room in these compositions, packing every song with a hard-to-pin-down genre. The band wore their influences proudly, flexing their knowledge in everything from old-school soul to hip hop and especially techno. The final mix is a brilliantly catchy and thrilling look at what the future sounded like in 1999. Yet, it’s a sound that’s so effortlessly executed you could make the argument that it’s the very future manifested in song.

Wilco – Summerteeth

Jeff Tweedy’s project, Wilco, is known for melding alt-country elements with the heart of indie rock. On his most accomplished album to date, Wilco decided to strip all of those old-school elements in exchange for a more synth-heavy sound. What resulted was an album of classic pop and sheer ambitious musical breadth never before heard from the band. Summerteeth blazes with sharp insight. If Tweedy still isn’t considered the next Bob Dylan, Summerteeth could be his calling card. The album is chock-full of lyrics that are so beautifully relatable and sentimentally simple they could take a jab at your heartstrings with nearly every listen. “Over and over and over again I say that we’re just friends / Forget the implications / Infatuations end / If love’s so easy, why is it hard.”

Number Girl – School Girl Distortional Addict

If given enough time and an international following, Japanese cult favourite Number Girl could have taken over the world. School Girl Distortional Addict is a record marked by pure teenage emotion, and the band couldn’t make those influences more obvious. With songs named after The Pixies, and a sound reminiscent of 90s noise bands, Number Girl was a band by and for the kids. Don’t let that sway you, though. These songs are jagged and include emotional twists and turns that navigate the very centre of teenage heartache. The vocals are buried among the mix, but lock into a core that’s riveting when at its most climactic.

The Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin

In typical Flaming Lips fashion, The Soft Bulletin points towards a band teetering on the edge between gonzo experimental pop and straightforward rock catchiness. As the follow-up to their ambitious four-disc album, Zaireeka, The Soft Bulletin marked the band’s most daring and emotionally complex work. The compositions are loaded to the gills with lush orchestral pop. Atop that, there’s an otherworldly undertone gliding along these songs, clearly reflecting the band’s more refined sonic palette. The sound is like a multi-layered cake, rich in texture and expansive in its beautiful grandiosity.

Graphic by Zeze Le Lin

Categories
Music Quickspins

U.S. Girls – In a Poem Unlimited

U.S. Girls – In a Poem Unlimited (4AD) *Editor’s pick

Meg Remy’s approach to music, an idiosyncratic mix of post-punk fury and sultry pop-rock, finally takes shape on her fantastic new album. In a Poem Unlimited is the sound of frustration taking form in a vacuum of pensive meditations. “You’ve been sleeping with one eye open because he always could come back, ya know?” she sings on “Velvet 4 Sale.” This is channelled through a near-transcendental level of lyrical observation. The music shines with the spirit of disco-leaning pop idols like ABBA and Cyndi Lauper, while churning out lyrics informed by skepticism and the delegation of male authority. But these nods act as an aesthetic backdrop to Remy’s more complex compositional ideas. “Time,” the album’s thrilling seven-minute epic, hurls forward an impetus of screeching sax and post-punk dance beats; Remy’s vocals are absolutely commanding among them. The album rages with a cathartic force, pleading for change in a world that refuses to.

Rating: 8.8/10

Trial Track: “Rosebud”

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