Posts Tagged ‘Montreal’


After three thrilling but taxing years spent fronting the Montreal quartet Ought, Tim Darcy needed a break. The group had accomplished a tremendous amount in a short period of time; their first album, 2014’s More Than Any Other Day, was remarkably assured, efficiently sketching out the blueprint for the band’s sound: fitful, snarling post-punk, topped with Darcy’s piercing lyrics, which explored the ways that daily choices are subtly influenced by people in power.

After a world tour in support of that record, they started the process all over again with 2015’s Sun Coming Down. But three years spent globetrotting takes a toll, no matter how romantic it seems from the outside. So for Room Inside the World, their third full-length and first for Merge Records, the band decided to prioritize deliberateness over the ruthless cycle of record, tour, repeat. The result is the band’s finest work to date, and a striking indication of where they may be heading.

“It’s amazing how much a little bit of downtime can do, as far as regrouping yourself,” Darcy says. The relief in his voice is audible; on previous albums, the recording process was a 100-yard dash: write the songs, record the songs, release the songs, hit the road. With Room Inside the World, the band wanted to flip the script, not just in terms of the writing and recording process, but also when it came to the album’s sonic palette.

On first listen, Room Inside the World is a sharp departure from Ought’s signature mix of post-punk precision and Talking Heads-y pop-funk. There’s a stripped-down glam gem (“Into the Sea”), an ode to ‘90s indie rock (“Disgraced in America”), and a ballad that manages to work a 70-person choir into the mix (“Desire”). Room Inside the World is the sound of a band confident enough to edge away from the wiry, worked-up songs that made them successful in the first place. On the whole, the album feels more relaxed and controlled.


“The thing we were able to get with More Than Any Other Day was a really cohesive statement that really matched what was happening in our live show,” says Darcy. “Before that, as a group of four musicians, we were interested in a lot of different tonalities and sensibilities that weren’t present on the recordings we were putting out. [With this record], it’s not like we’re disowning that stuff, we just had a desire to get back in touch with some of the other things we were doing.

Darcy’s lyrics suggest that, while 2017 was an alarming departure from the norm, that norm wasn’t all that great to begin with. The world is still a frightening and unfair place for most of the population, and 2017 simply helped crystallize what Darcy has been singing about since More Than Any Other Day.

“Part of what I appreciate about the band and the way it addresses politics is that it’s always been interwoven with more general poetic reflection and thoughts about life,” Darcy says. “That’s more true way to us than, ‘Oh, now we need to write the political song to maintain our image.’”

In short, Darcy views political songwriting and evolution more as a spectrum than a single flashpoint, and much of what has transpired over the course of the last 12 months bears that thinking out. “It’s good to be able to parse out what elements are fleeting versus things that have been ongoing, and to embrace the power of realizing that bad things are happening even when we thought our society was doing so well,” Darcy says. “The #MeToo moment is a product of our era. The light is just being shone.”

With Room Inside the World, Darcy and Ought solidify the ideas they’ve been working through since the band began, which can be loosely summarized as: “Things are bad, but evil isn’t new. Our job is to persist, regardless.” Room Inside the World may feel more streamlined, but defiance—red-hot and electric—still pulses beneath its sleek surfaces.

The Band:

Tim Darcy: voice and guitar
Tim Keen: drums, viola, vibraphone, and synth
Matt May: keys, guitar, and synth
Ben Stidworthy: bass

Nicolas Vernhes: guitar, keys, and noise box
James Goddard: saxophone
Eamon Quinn: clarinet
Choir Choir Choir: additional vocals on “Desire”

Released February 16th, 2018

In summer of 2016, we finished up a North American tour and then headed back to Montreal to start work on our third record. We spent about 4 months writing and recording what would become Room Inside the World. The process in Montreal was the most in-depth for us to date. More Than Any Other Day was tracked in 3 days. Sun Coming Down we wrote in something like 30 practices, and then recorded and mixed over a spotty 2-week period. With Room Inside the Worldwe had a full month in the studio to record and mix and yet we wasted no time. We worked every day and did 2 rounds of demos on our own before we went down to NYC.

We finished at the end of the year and then took some time off to work on other projects while we sorted out changing labels and the like. In April I recorded Choir! Choir! Choir! in Toronto for “Desire”, the last piece of tracking. The record was done. In August 2017 we got together for our first tours of the year. We did some festivals, a tour with Waxahatchee, and now we’re here, getting ready for a release party in Montreal.

So it’s been a minute, since we’ve released new music at least, and we couldn’t be happier to finally have this thing out there.  It’s an honest statement of where we’re at now and we’re thrilled and honored at the response so far.  We’re really looking forward to seeing you at shows over the rest of the year.

As a final note, we’d like to take this moment as a group of mostly Americans to advocate for increased gun control and medicare for all. These are very achievable things that we should all keep renewing our faith in. Let’s see that happen in our lifetimes.

And as always, please support your local record shop wherever possible. There’s a lot of love in this record, we hope that comes across.

Best, Tim Darcy + Ought


Born in New York and raised in Montreal, Common Holly (AKA Brigitte Naggar) puts unpredictable compositional elements into a singer-songwriter/folk framework, packaged in textured, eclectic electro-acoustic production. Playing House contemplates the notion that it is conscious thought and deliberate action that defines and cements maturation from child to adult.

There’s a deceptive simplicity to the album’s sparse arrangements and an ephemeral hue to her voice – all of which add a haunting atmospheric quality to her melancholic, deliciously dark contemporary indie-folk songs. Common Holly brings you to a cabin by the lakeside, a desert, and, of course, internalized emotions.
“I am the lizard slinking through the valley of regret.”

All songs and lyrics written by Brigitte Naggar 
All songs performed by Brigitte Naggar & Devon Bate
Additional Instrumentation: 
Piano on ‘Lullaby’ played by Jean-Michel Blais 
Drums on Track 1, 4 & 7 played by Kyle Hutchins 
Guitar on ‘If After All’ played by Steven Whitely 
Violin played by Amelia Castillo
Cello played by Laurence Gaudreau



Influenced by the early 2000’s bands like Snowing and Algernon Cadwallader, artists in the DIY scene have heavily relied on the genre’s math rock, indie, and punk roots to draw inspiration for new music. However, with the scene’s saturation of artists fueled by Midwestern emo stylization, it is easy for releases to blend in. However, I haven’t heard a record stand out as brightly and notably as Gulfer’s Dog Bless in a long while.

Hailing from Montreal, Gulfer‘s sophomore album is a testament to the complexity of life, covering everything from growing old, to the bouts of uncertainty that consume that we face throughout our turbulent lives. The album’s ooze of emotion-packed indie rock is so enticing and beautifully executed, with impactful lyrics being matched by energetic guitar riffs,  both of which purvey a feel of melancholy to shadow the album’s deeper significance. Structured into three segments, each composed of three tracks and divided by light musical interludes, the design of the record contributes to the album’s originality, as the presentation feels like you’re digging into chapters of the band’s songwriting process rather than being fed a stream-of-consciousness.

The first trio of tracks feels like the ultimate introduction to Gulfer’s style of music, as well as to the album as a whole. Kicking it off with the track “Secret Stuff”, the albums begins with Vincent Ford’s screaming vocals penetrating somber guitar riffs, which in turn are only to be met by a fury of impassioned drums. The song attacks in waves, fueling bursts of passion and discourse with pieces of therapeutic, emotional bliss. “I dislike the fact that I’m getting older everyday”, shouts Ford as he depicts a night of seclusion and basement song writing, veiled with intrinsic feelings of self-hatred and nihilism. The track as a whole depicts themes of conformity and social rigidity, which are painted in a more approachable fashion by the band’s demeanor.

“Secret Stuff” rolls right into “Doglife”, a track that loses none of the energy displayed in the former introduction, as it opens with familiar guitar riffs from the previous track before evolving into a beast of its own right. “Doglife” is one of the more cathartic tracks from Dog Bless, as it flows with a mellower tone and cyclical style that is focused on the power of Ford’s voice, as it dictates the flow of the song from start to finish. Displaying the missed opportunities and connections we can all relate to in our own experiences, Ford depicts taking a “dog’s life” amount of time to kindle a dear personal relationship, and continues in expressive detail about the impact that it has had on him.

Following the first musical interlude, we find the thrashing gang vocals and upbeat attitude of  “Baseball”, a song that Gold Flake Paint described perfectly as “choppy and contagious”. Producing images of dust-covered wedding gowns and tattered reels of 35mm film, “Baseball” feels like a flashback to a simpler time, peppered with memories of nostalgic refuges and bathed in lasting warmth. The whole track composes itself to produce a beautifully strewn together juxtaposition of fluttery math rock riffs and abrupt crashes of intricate sound, which together bridge the whole piece into a solid effort of force and passion.

Complimenting the former effort, “Be Father” follows with a similar sea of bellicose emotional ties. Opening with the same flickering guitar riffs that have been synonymous throughout the album, the track continues as an extremely upbeat tune. “Be Father” feels as though it could almost command movement from the listener, exuding an aura of excitement and vigor that touches can penetrate straight to the soul. The guitar itself drives the song, commanding utmost attention with raucous displays of authority over tempo and the track’s general mood. In the later half of the song, Ford’s vocals take hold of the listener, echoing repeating lines of prose as the song reaches and ultimate climax, only to again collide with quick guitar and heavy drums until the music cuts out and we are left feeling innate ecstasy course through every nerve of our being.


Although some people consider emo music to be “done”, there is no doubt that Gulfer has come together to create a meaningful and memorable work. Implementing already-established styles of math rock guitar and hybridizing it with more distinctive indie undertones they have produced a sound that, though not comparable, still feels quite familiar. Combining said riffs with Vincent Ford’s emotional songwriting and impassioned vocals has drawn a figurative line in the sand, separating the Montreal outfit from a lot of modern music, and allowing their mastery of art to stand alone and bright in the landscape of a music-driven society.

SXSW Music Day 4 Highlights: Common Holly, Soccer Mommy, Ought, Porches

The Montreal band led by Brigitte Naggar is as bewitching live as they are on record. Naggar is flanked by a cello player and drummer, and her delivery is dauntless. The songs off her debut album, Playing House are flat out beautiful. Naggar is snarky yet charming at every turn and we’re excited for what comes next for her group, which they signed with Toronto’s Seal Mountain Records this week.

Montreal’s Common Holly is a new indie rock act that combined jagged guitars with smooth welcoming vocals to build a charming debut on her record Playing House in October of 2017. The release got a good bit of love from some cool media outlets, and was released digitally by Solitaire Recordings, but somehow I only discovered it recently, but entranced by a single listen.

But I’m not the only one who has been noticing. Common Holly have now announced that they’re signed to Seal Mountain Records, who released our Oso Oso’s yunahon mixtape last year. Seal Mountain will be pressing the record to vinyl for the first time.

We did our best mechanic impression and starred in a vid for “Desire” made by the great Heather Rappard. Check it out below! .

Ought the great Montreal post-punk outfit returned with their third album, “Room Inside The World”. It’s a dense, exciting new collection of songs, one that rewards spending some time with it and parsing all the different avenues the band ventures down across its nine songs. Of course, there were also tracks that didn’t require too much patience, compositions that immediately revealed themselves to be something special. One of those was “Desire,” a song that also acts as a highlight and centerpiece once heard in the context of Room Inside The World as a whole.

The video for “Desire.” The clip begins simply, a nicely filmed performance from the band interspersed with a narrative that follows a guy who affably but somewhat shyly goes about his daily routine. We see him go to work, meet a friend at a bar, and hit it off with a waitress at a coffee shop. But he really comes into his own when he dresses up in drag and winds up fronting Ought during the climactic build of “Desire.”

It’s a video that plays with the song’s central themes as well as gender. Here’s what director Heather Rappard had to say about the concept:

“Desire” as a song has a real triumphant quality and masculine energy; I wanted to take this and subvert it and create a video that focused more on internal desire. Something that was important to me was that the video feel cathartic and positive; I’ve seen a lot of videos that take on ideas around gender that have characters being assaulted, or just exoticized. I wanted this character to have a full life but be most empowered, happiest, and at peace with himself when he’s on stage at the end.

Room Inside the World is Ought’s third album and their first for Merge Records growing up doesn’t mean mellowing out so much as it means learning to pay attention, listening carefully and openly, staying somewhere long enough to really understand where you are. Recorded at Rare Book Room in Brooklyn with producer Nicolas Vernhes (Deerhunter, Animal Collective, Silver Jews), Room Inside the World explores themes that have always concerned the band—identity, connection, survival in a precarious world—but with a bolder, more nuanced sound palette. Vibraphone, justly intonated synthesizers, drum machines, and a 70-piece choir suffuse the precise post-punk breakdowns that spangled Ought’s first two albums, giving rise to an emotional complexity that pushes their characteristically taut sound to greater depths.

The band are in Austin this week for SXSW, performing on some great showcases before heading back out on our headline tour.

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Ought. is not only a brilliant band they have released a new track but also a brilliant new video for ‘Disgraced in America’. The song, ‘Disgraced In America’ matches Ought’s recent output . A unique voice and a thick rhythm add to the band’s new sound. It’s a sound which will come in to full focus on the new album Room Inside The World, which is out on Merge Records on February 16th. The sound is an evolution for the Montreal band who are now using their anger to fuel their investigation in to this world. There’s a sense the band are paying closer attention than ever and choosing the optimum time to unleash their fury.

The video is also incredibly impressive, it shows a band keen on their artistic output rather than super-stardom: shot in 15-second increments over the course of three weeks it is something very special. “Breaking a song down into its tiniest parts actually leaves lots of room to improvise and really consider how to describe it visually,”

Ought’s Tim Darcy had this to say about the video; “The term ‘microcosm’ came to mind when I read Heather Rappard’s accompanying description for ‘Disgraced in America’. The way they worked on the song, second by second, opened up deeper layers than we’re used to. Anyone who’s tried to memorise a lyric or a melody will know how unseen worlds can open up when you dig in like that. Songs can last for days, years, fucking centuries, and then you pull your head out of the brook and maybe 15 seconds have passed.

“I wanted to create a video that morphed and visually changed in the same ways the song does: in the beginning, working with the bright guitar sound and the illustrative qualities of the lyrics, then moving into the abstract at the bridge’s breakdown, to the ending where it completely changes, becoming much noisier and darker with the percussion, spacey synths, and ringing guitar hits.”

We are completely honoured and rocked by Heather and Mike’s work, and hope it can take you a few layers deeper, where the clock ticks a bit slower and the drum fills are as big as billboards. Definition of microcosm on dic-tion-ary-dot-com? “A little world.”

Take a look below at Ought’s ‘Disgraced in America’,

Another Wolf Parade album, another knockout. The band aren’t just back to recycle sounds of the past, but taking what they know and giving their songwriting and sound further evolution and grit that is on full display on Cry Cry Cry. It seems like so many people just want to pretend that Apologies To The Queen Mary is the only record these guys released. I love that album as much as the next guy (or gal), but the band gave us another rich and rewarding gift, one that patiently reveals itself further and further with each listen.


The album carries a sense of uprising that is not unrelated to Wolf Parade’s renewed determination to drive the band forward in uncertain times. Welcome to Cry Cry Cry. 

Montreal band Suuns are pleased to announce their new album, “Felt”, coming out on March 2nd through Secretly Canadian. Singer/guitarist Ben Shemie says, “This record is definitely looser than our last one [2016’s Hold/Still]. It’s not as clinical. There’s more swagger.” You can hear this freedom flowing through the 11 tracks on Felt. It’s both a continuation and rebirth, the Montreal quartet returning to beloved local facility Breakglass Studios (where they cut their first two albums [Zeroes QC and Images Du Futur] with Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes) but this time recording themselves at their own pace, over five fertile sessions spanning several months. A simultaneous stretching out and honing in, mixed to audiophile perfection by St. Vincent producer John Congleton (helmer of Hold/Still), who flew up especially from Dallas to deploy his award-winning skills in situ.

The album’s lead single “Watch You, Watch Me” debuts today  in the form of a Ruff Murphy-directed video. The song showcases an organic/synthetic rush that builds and builds atop drummer Liam O’Neill‘s elevatory rhythm. O’Neill exclaims, “It was different and exciting. In the past, there was a more concerted effort on my part to drum in a controlled and genre-specific way. Self-consciously approaching things stylistically. Us doing it ourselves, that process was like a very receptive, limitless workshop to just try out ideas.”

Suuns are hugely proud of their roots in Canada’s most socialist province, whilst not sounding quite like anything else the city has produced. Quebecois natives Shemie and Joseph Yarmush founded the group just over a decade ago, the latter having moved to Montreal from a nearby village. The only member not to be formally schooled in jazz, guitarist Yarmush studied photography and utilized his visual training to help realize Shemie’s novel concept for the eye-catching album artwork.

“I was at a barbecue last summer and there were balloons everywhere,” recalls the singer. “I like this idea of pressure, resistance, and pushing against something just before it brakes. And there is something strangely subversive about a finger pushing into a balloon. It seemed to fit the vibe of the record we were making. We made plaster casts of our hands, going for a non-denominational statue vibe. Joe came up with the colour scheme, the sickly green background, and shot the whole cover in an hour.”


It’s a suitably outre image for Felt, which breaks with Suuns’ earlier darkness for a more optimistic ambience. The record’s playful atmosphere is echoed by its double meaning title. “Some people might think of the material,” muses Shemie. “I like that that could be misconstrued. Also it’s to have felt and not to feel a little introspective, but that feeling’s in the past.”

CORRIDOR – ” Supermercado “

Posted: December 16, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , ,

The second album by Montreal art-rock group Corridor smashes through both artistic and language barriers to a place in this list. A colourful collision of technical ingenuity and emotional harmonies, you’ll find it a compelling listen even if you don’t understand Quebecois French. There’s maybe shades of Preoccupations, The Byrds, Television et al, but ‘Supermercado’ definitely marks out its own space. Try out ‘Data Fontaine’ and ‘Coup D’epee’ and wonder at why this album passed you by.


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Watch the new video from Patrick Watson for his brand new single ‘Broken’ which was recorded at studio PM in Montreal last month.

“This is a song I just felt like sharing before the next record. Dedicated to the storms we went through.” Patrick Watson Of the video, recently shot in Montreal, director Pedro Pires says: “It was a real pleasure to work with Patrick to create this video. We started with simple intuitive ideas such as characters fleeing or running away in fast moving vehicles. I then proposed to use reflections and flares to fragment the light to reveal a more impressionist moody state of mind of these various “broken” characters”.

Patrick Watson – Broken (Official Video) the new single.