Posts Tagged ‘Montreal’

The hopes, misgivings, wariness and vulnerability of a new romance all play out together in Helena Deland’s “Comfort, Edge.” The first seconds of the song take their time coming into focus, with whispers and muffled, low-fi instruments. Then the tempo drags its feet, but the grungy guitar chords push forward; the harmonies climb, but Deland’s vocal maintains its cool, with hints of the melody from John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy.” She sets out her requirements — “You’ll never make a fool of me” is the first — but she doesn’t necessarily expect them to be met. 

Montréal’s Helena Deland opened for Connan Mockasin at the 2019 Montréal Jazz Festival, where Deland’s deft lyricism and sonic edge left a lasting mark. For her debut album, she’s signed to Chris Cantallini’s (of timeless indie blog Gorilla vs. Bear) Luminelle Records, and her dreamy sound slots nicely next to labelmates like Anemone, Hana Vu and Jackie Mendoza. On songs like “Someone New” and the spectacular “Truth Nugget,” Deland expands on themes of interpersonal dynamics and identity in powerful ways. She is undoubtedly one of the best new talents to emerge from the robust Montréal indie scene.

‘Comfort, Edge’, from Helena Deland’s debut album ‘Someone New’ out now.

The Besnard Lakes have passed through death and they’re here to tell the tale. Nearly five years after their last lightning-tinted volley, the magisterial Montreal psych-rock band have sworn off compromise, split with their long-standing label, and completed a searing, 72-minute suite about the darkness of dying and the light on the other side.

The Besnard Lakes Are “The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings” is the group’s sixth album and the first in more than 15 years to be released away from a certain midwestern American indie record company. After 2016’s A Coliseum Complex Museum – which saw Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas attempting shorter, less sprawling songs – the Besnards and their label decided it was time to go their separate ways; with that decision came a question of whether to even continue the project at all. What use is a band with an instinct for long, tectonic tunes – rock songs with chthonic heft and ethereal grace, five or 10 or 18 minutes long? How do you sell that in an age of bite-sized streaming? How do you make it relevant? “Who gives a shit!” the Besnard Lakes realized. Ignited by their love for each other, for playing music together, the sextet found themselves unspooling the most uncompromising recording of their career. Despite all its grandeur, ...The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings honours the very essence of punk rock: the notion that a band need only be relevant to itself.

At last the Besnard Lakes have crafted a continuous long-form suite: nine tracks that could be listened together as one, like Spiritualized’s Lazer Guided Melodies or even Dark Side of the Moon, overflowing with melody and harmony, drone and dazzle, the group’s own unique weather.

Here now, the Besnard Lakes finally dispensed with the two/three-year album cycle, taking all the time they needed to conceive, compose, record and mix their opus. Some of its songs were old, resurrected from demos cast aside years ago. Others were literally woodshedded in the cabanon behind Lasek and Goreas’s “Rigaud Ranch” – invented and reinvented, relishing this rougher sound. Some of that distortion makes its way into the final mix: an incandescent crackle that had receded from the Besnards‘ more recent output. Rightly – nay, definitively! – The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings is a double LP. “Near Death” is the title of the first side. “Death,” “After Death,” and “Life” follow next. It’s literally a journey into (and back from) the brink: the story of the Besnard Lakes’ own odyssey but also a remembrance of others’, especially the death of Lasek’s father in 2019. Being on your deathbed is perhaps the most psychedelic trip you can go on: in Lasek’s father’s case, he surfaced from a morphine dream to talk about “a window” on his blanket, with “a carpenter inside, making intricate objects.”

That experience pervades the album, catching fire on the song “Christmas Can Wait”; elsewhere the band pays tribute to the late Mark Hollis and, on “The Father of Time Wakes Up,” they mourn the death of Prince.  Here are a couple of outtakes from the video shoot for “Raindrops”. This song and video details a psychedelic flight through the mind while deep in an altered state.

The song lyrically references the death of Mark Hollis from Talk Talk (“Garden of Eden spirited”) and also describes the idea of evolution determining the story of the Garden of Eden. In these scorched and pitted times, as the world smoulders, there might be nothing less trendy than an hour-long psych-rock epic by a band of Canadian grandmasters. Then again, there might be nothing we need more. ...The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings is a bright-blazing requiem: nine tunes that are one tune and six musicians who make one band – unleashed and unconstrained, piercing and technicolour.

At the end of the golden day, the Besnard Lakes are right where they should be. Just announced,

Dinked Edition No.77 is the thrilling and quite epic new LP from The Besnard Lakes + Dinked Edition No. 77
+ Double 140g orange / red splatter vinyl
+ One-sided orange flexi disc featuring exclusive track ‘Superego’
+ Hand-numbered sleeve+ Limited edition of 500


The Besnard Lakes have passed through death and they’re here to tell the tale. Nearly five years after their last lightning-tinted volley, the magisterial Montreal psych-rock band have sworn off compromise, split with their long-standing label, and completed a searing, 72-minute suite about the darkness of dying and the light on the other side.

Montréal’s Helena Deland opened for Connan Mockasin at the 2019 Montréal Jazz Festival, where Deland’s deft lyricism and sonic edge left a lasting mark. For her debut album, she’s signed to Chris Cantallini’s (of timeless indie blog Gorilla vs. Bear) Luminelle Records, and her dreamy sound slots nicely next to label mates like Anemone, Hana Vu and Jackie Mendoza. On songs like “Someone New” and the spectacular “Truth Nugget,” Deland expands on themes of interpersonal dynamics and identity in powerful ways. She is undoubtedly one of the best new talents to emerge from the robust Montréal indie scene.

A unique transformation occurs the moment a lover lays eyes on your bedroom for the first time: the room is suddenly, involuntarily no longer your own. Your curated “you” is subject to the impressions of the other, and you try hard to adopt this filter yourself, wondering what information the objects and their position suggest about you. If, in moments like these, the new gaze seems to almost conjure the room, a desperate question arises: what remains of the room without the other? With no external sources of appraisal or affirmation, where does the stuff of the self reside, and how does it take shape?

These blood-deep paranoias set the stage for Helena Deland’s debut album, Someone New, an exploration of gender, power, time and the “self” that finds Deland in full control of her sound and style, even as she asks whether control is ever possible. The album was written and recorded over a period of two years, beginning with Deland’s guitar and expanding into a lavish sonic sphere that blends elements of hypnagogic pop and classic folk. Deland’s voice ties it all together, sometimes hushed in a whisper, sometimes shrouded in distortion, and sometimes full and clear

New song “Pale’ is about the little space left to the actual self in romantic relationships where idealization comes into play,” says Deland in a press release.

The song is accompanied by a simple visualizer featuring foaming water in a stream, which Deland says “represents the question of control when control is ultimately impossible.”

In July Deland also shared the album’s “Lylz.” Then when the album was announced in August she shared the album’s title track, “Someone New,” via a video that showed Deland posing for the portrait painting which graces the album’s cover. Then she shared another song from it, atmospheric slow-burner “Truth Nugget”,

Helena Deland’s debut album ‘Someone New’ out October 16th via Luminelle Recordings.

Partner is the “mature” effort of two best friends named Josée Caron and Lucy Niles. Together, with Rock as their trusty guide, they explore a variety of themes in an attempt to understand the meaning of life.  rock duo Partner have spent the past few years warming hearts with their sly, subversive take on classic-sounding power-pop. Now living in Montreal, Josée Caron and Lucy Niles recently rolled out an infectious new single, “Good Place to Hide (At the Time).” And while we’re still not quite sure when we’ll hear more new music from Caron and Niles,

Partner are set to release sophomore album Never Give Up, and now they’ve shared a new song and accompanying video for longtime live cut “Big Gay Hands.”

Set to jaunty country-rock instrumentation, the narrative-driven song finds co-bandleader Lucy Niles enamoured by a pool-playing woman at a bar — particularly her hands, as explained by lyrics like “And I couldn’t help but notice how you held that cue / Made me wonder what else you know how to do.”

Say the band, “This song is about a wild night on the town filled with queer desire. It is an important song to us because it expresses a feeling we know is shared by many. There are a lot of songs out there about women’s bodies but this is the only song we know about big gay hands. This song is dedicated to the hotties and to those who love them.”

True to the song’s title, the video features hands — painted uncannily to look like the band members — as they traverse a miniature world in pursuit of romance and companionship, complete with several beautifully coordinated dance numbers.

“Big Gay Hands” is the latest in a string of recent Partner singles, Out September 18th

Gulfer

Montreal’s Gulfer have been reviving Midwest, ’90s-style emo for the past decade, and they’re now set to release their third LP, which is self-titled, on October 16th via Topshelf/Royal Mountain. Having spent the past couple years wavering between self-doubt and having it figured out, Montreal’s Gulfer have returned to the fore with their third full-length record. Composed of thirteen tracks of intricate, dexterous, and incredibly fun, punk-inspired emo tunes, Gulfer sees the Montreal quartet settled into their own with a career-defining record.

Set to be co-released through us and the band’s first ever Canadian label in Royal Mountain Records, Gulfer is expansive in a way that sets it apart from the debut What Gives and the Pitchfork-approved Dog Bless. Delving into their collective influences by drawing from elements of grunge, shoegaze, and contemporaries Oso Oso and Prince Daddy and the Hyena, the band never turn their back on their earliest inspirations. Explosive, agile emo serves as the backdrop to guitarist and vocalists Vincent Ford and Joe Therriault’s honest and vulnerable lyricism, with the two sharing the writing process on a record that tackles human nature; exploring self-doubt, resentment, complex relationships, climate change, and the waning of youth. The band never lose the sense of playfulness and fun that is omnipresent in their live show, an undeniable, electric energy that stems from being a group of close friends before all else.

They do a lot of justice to the noodly riffage and longing melodies of the classic Kinsella era, and new song “Heat Wave” is no exception.

Our new track “Heat Wave” is streaming everywhere you listen to music now! It’s the second track we’re sharing from our new self-titled record, out October 16th through Topshelf Records and Royal Mountain Records, and it’s about realizing that past friendships left you feeling out of place, and how special it is to find a new home somewhere else. You can listen and pre-order our record below, but variants are moving quick!

Free of former notions that they needed to write in a certain way to sound like themselves, the band instead went with their gut and wrote what came naturally. The result is their most definitive work to date, a record that focuses less on ultra-technical musicianship and more on structure, space, and feel. With renewed energy in their freshened sound palette and their most collaborative songwriting yet, Gulfer have created an album that sounds fresh and exciting, which is no small feat for a band with two albums, a handful of EPs, and eight long years under their belt. The deft and interweaving interplay of Ford and Therriault’s guitars is grounded by bassist David Mitchell and drummer Julien Daoust, whose dexterities and musicianship animate the album with explosive, emotional kineticism.

“Forget (Friendly)” is taken from Gulfer’s upcoming self-titled record, out on Topshelf Records and Royal Mountain Records on October 16th, 2020.

Montreal’s Helena Deland has been releasing her music over the last year: methodically, and singularly.

“It’s a happy mix of different years and different contexts,” explains Deland, of her upcoming, five-song EP. The 26-year-old Montrealer began writing songs in high school, and started recording her work three years ago. While the oldest song in this new collection is roughly four years old, they are all loosely linked thematically so that “like stages, weaving in and out of relationships” and is “about wanting to be close with someone.”

The EP won’t be released until October. 19th, but we’re premiering its third single, “Lean on You,” which aptly fits into the descriptor. “It’s about having a crush that you’re kind of resisting because you don’t want to surrender mental space to this. You know?” explains Deland. The woozy track starts simply, with only Deland’s voice and guitar, and expands into a teasing chorus that states, “Cause I don’t need/ I don’t need/ to lean on you, no/ even though/ that’s what other people do.” You can hear whisps of what sounds like Deland’s breath through the lyrics, as her “ah-ah-aahs” march you gently through the song.

Produced by fellow Montrealer Jesse Mac Cormack (who has produced all of Deland’s EPs, encompassing 2016’s Drawing Room and March 2018’s Vol. I & II), Altogether Unaccompanied Vol. III & IV is her second EP to be released on new label Luminelle Records, of which Deland is the first signee.

Helena Deland’s new single ‘Someone New’ out now. Her debut album ‘Someone New’ out October

A wispy and elusive bit of music — part indie-pop under a hazy murk, part dreamy synthscape. As ever, there’s something a little eerie about it all, Deland blending catchiness and ghostliness.” – Stereogum
“After the last notes fade to black, the ghost of Someone New continues to haunt you — it’s an utterly unforgettable record.” – Line of Best Fit
“You’ll be hard-pressed to find a debut album released this year with such rich compositional acumen and creative instincts that orbit the domain of pop.” – The FADER
“I encourage people to listen to it as an album, because it really takes you on a journey.”  – NPR
“Her music feels designed for the sacred space between headphones: private listening to a songwriter’s private battles, in a realm where even the screams are internal.” – New Yorker

It feels like we’ve been waiting forever, but Helena Deland‘s debut album Someone New is finally here! We’re so proud to share this gorgeous project with you today, plus a lovely new animated video for album track “Comfort, Edge.”

Band Members:
Helena – Guitar, vocals
Alexandre – Guitar
Francis – Drums
Agathe – Bass

Album out on Luminelle Recordings and Chivi Chivi October 16th.

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Montreal’s No Joy release new album “Motherhood” next week via Joyful Noise / Hand Drawn Dracula, and here’s a track that features frontwoman Jasamine White-Gluz’s sister, Alissa, who plays in deathcore supergroup Arch Enemy. “I’ve never collaborated musically with my sister before,” says Jasamine. “When we were kids we would sing and play music together but as we’ve both become adults and touring musicians we’ve never had a chance to work together. This is the heaviest song on this record so it felt fitting to have her on there. There is something special about her being on this album, specifically because it’s an exploration of family and motherhood.” It’s definitely heavy, but also has space for No Joy’s ethereal side, too.

“Four,” which No Joy frontperson and principal songwriter Jasamine White-Gluz called in a statement “perhaps my favourite No Joy song ever written,” has a colourful sonic palette, starting with a buildup of shoegaze fuzz that melts into a spell of trip-hop instrumentals before jolting into a thrash metal closer. No Joy shared a music video for the new single, following visual artist Ashley Diabo at her home. The aim of the video, White-Gluz said, is “to appreciate Ashley at home, hoping to inspire all to embrace the love and inspiration of their home the way Ashley reminds us every day.”

Jasamine White-Gluz is back with No Joy’s first album in five years. The Canadian outfit arrived in 2010 with their debut Ghost Blonde, and have been releasing feedback-cloaked shoegaze with mystifying beats ever since. Their new LP Motherhood is the most ambitious thing they’ve ever done, but White-Gluz’s ear for immersive soundscapes remains. Here, No Joy expand into the realms of pummeling metal (“Dream Rats”), groovy trip-hop (“Four”), pulsing electro-pop (“Ageless”) and skying dance-rock (“Birthmark”), and it’s a heady, wispy ride. Sometimes throwing in everything but the kitchen sink works out.

“Four” by No Joy off the album ‘Motherhood’ out on Joyful Noise Recordings (world) & Hand drawn Dracula in Canada.

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Le Ren, the alias of 26-year-old Montreal musician Lauren Spear, quietly released one of the best indie folk EPs this year in her debut release “Morning & Melancholia”. It’s an airy and, at times, whimsical 12-minute affair, but the story behind these songs will bring you back down to the ground: Morning & Melancholia follows the death of Spear’s ex-boyfriend, who passed away in a car accident a few years ago, and grapples with grief and the fleeting nature of memories she no longer shares with anyone. But she bravely approaches these feelings, leaving us with a somber coming-apart song (“Love Can’t Be The Only Reason To Stay”), a politely plucked goodbye (“How To Say Goodbye”) and a charming folk tune reminiscent of the song “Fare Thee Well” (“If I Had Wings”). Spear is one of the brightest new Secretly Canadian signees, and this EP is a promising sign of what’s to come.

Le Ren’s close-to-the-bone, heartbreak folk songs seem, at first, to tap into a shared musical memory.  A melody swirls forward and you’re just sure it’s known to the back of your mind; was it in from a movie you saw, some classic mid-60s setpiece? Maybe it’s something you heard as a kid, in the backseat of your mom’s Cutlass, or the shotgun seat of your own. But before you can zero in through the fog, your heart is torn apart by her voice — rich, direct and mellifluous — steering you through these slowburn tunes about real-life loss.

“Discussing songwriting feels the same as when someone asks about your tattoo,” says Lauren Spear, 26, the sole voice and songwriter behind Montreal’s Le Ren. “You’re putting it out there, showing it in public right on your arm. Then, when someone asks you ‘Hey, what’s that tattoo mean?,’ you’re shocked to have to explain it, as it is a choice that feels essential for a particular moment.”

The way Le Ren is able to look tragedy directly in its eyes and never let her voice so much as quiver is owed to a few things. Raised on rural Bowen Island, British Columbia, the isolated lifestyle allows for a certain independent dedication to craft that is evident in her performances. Spear has studied folk and bluegrass going back to her early teens, partaking in workshops and festivals all over North America. You can hear in her acumen the gorgeous folk formalism of Canadian heroes Kate and Anna McGerrigle. But it’s not all rigor and acuity that makes Le Ren’s music so stunning. She was also raised on The Holy Trinity of songwriters John Prine, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, and their curious, deadpan and cosmic approach to life’s most brutal swipes also feed Le Ren’s sensibilities. Her lyrical couplets are as simply put as they are devastating. “So here we are at the end of all things // I guess I learned too late // that love can’t be the only reason to stay,” she sings on the closer “Love Can’t Be the Only Reason To Stay”. It’s gut wrenching, but sure-footed. And you can almost hear the slight smile on one side of her mouth as she sings, the knowing smile of someone who knows real pain, knows there’s surely more to come, but who also knows it doesn’t erase life’s humorous, enduring beauty.

“Love Can’t Be The Only Reason To Stay” from Le Ren, out now on Secretly Canadian

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Montreal’s Yves Jarvis follows up of last year album with his first new release of 2020, in the breezy, softly lilting new track, “Victim“. Jarvis’ light touch belies the song’s heavier, more harrowing subject matter, which he says reflects negotiating “a tightrope walk between victor and victim”. Beautiful, affecting stuff, and hopefully a harbinger of a larger release from Yves Jarvis sometime in the near future. On the heels of his gorgeous new single from last month, Montreal’s Yves Jarvis shares another one from his just announced new full-length, coming this fall. Sundry Rock Song Stock is out September 25th on ANTI- Records.

“Sundry Rock Song Stock’ is my upcoming album out on September 25th and on Vinyl November 13th.

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Releases September 25th, 2020

If you caught Orville Peck on tour last year, you likely cried during the set of opener Le Ren, a.k.a. Lauren Spear. Spear has released material with two other projects this year — folksy band Maybel and pop-punks Skunk — and now as Le Ren she is gearing up to release Morning & Melancholia (via Secretly Canadian and Royal Mountain) on July 31st. The EP’s four tender folk ballads will leave listeners in awe and, once again, reaching for the tissues.

Two years ago, Spear’s ex-boyfriend was killed in a car accident. Since then, she has been struggling with the weight of being the sole keeper of their shared memories and in response, translated a sliver of that experience into music. Morning & Melancholia is a mediation on mourning, memory and how to live with the ellipses you’re forever left with in the wake of loss.

The way Le Ren is able to look tragedy directly in its eyes and never let her voice so much as quiver is owed to a few things. Raised on rural Bowen Island, British Columbia, the isolated lifestyle allows for a certain independent dedication to craft that is evident in her performances. With a folk and bluegrass study going back to her early teens, you can hear in Le Ren, the gorgeous folk formalism of Canadian heroes Kate and Anna McGarrigle, or The Holy Trinity of John Prine, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. Their curious, deadpan and cosmic approach to life’s most brutal swipes feed Le Ren’s sensibilities, and her own lyrical couplets are as simply put as they are devastating. “Discussing songwriting feels the same as when someone asks about your tattoo,” says Le Ren. “You’re putting it out there, showing it in public right on your arm. Then, when someone asks you ‘Hey, what’s that tattoo mean?’, you’re shocked to have to explain it, as it is a choice that feels essential for a particular moment.”

Le Ren, moniker of 26-year-old Montreal-based musician Lauren Spear, announces her debut EP, Morning & Melancholia, out July 31st on Secretly Canadian / Royal Mountain. Today, she presents a new single/video, “If I Had Wings.” Following “Love Can’t Be The Only Reason To Stay,” “ a brief, delicate, and restful folk gem” (Uproxx), 

“If I Had Wings” sways with pedal steel and Le Ren’s stirring voice as she sings of wishing to be able to see a loved one again: “If I had wings // I’d fly away, oh lord // Ya, I’d be heaven bound // So I could see your face once more.” The accompanying video, directed by Ali Vanderkruyk, is spectral. “This video lives somewhere in the distance between Tkaronto (Toronto) and Nexwlélexm (Bowen Island). It was shot with an iPhone and on 16mm film and was processed, printed and scanned at Niagara Custom Lab in Toronto (where the director works as a technician).”

Le Ren’s music is gut wrenching, but sure-footed. And you can almost hear the slight smile on one side of her mouth as she sings, the knowing smile of someone who knows real pain, knows there’s surely more to come, but who also knows it doesn’t erase life’s humorous, enduring beauty.

’If I Had Wings’ from ’Morning & Melancholia’ by Le Ren, out July 31st on Secretly Canadian