Posts Tagged ‘Montreal’

Canada’s Frontperson release “Young Love”, which details the uncertain yet exhilarating feelings that arise in the early stages of a relationship, as Kathryn Calder explains:

“‘Young Love’ was one of the last things we finished. It was kind of tricky to get right because it is a delicate song. Lyrically, I was trying to capture the feeling of meeting someone and those first days when everything is kind of unsettled but yet you also know it’s the right thing. I remember the final glue to the song – when it felt like we had figured it out – was when Mark and I played our guitars together into one microphone, inspired by an early Leonard Cohen kind of sound. There was something kind of lo-fi about playing the song that way that really worked.”

Frontperson are: Kathryn Calder, Mark Andrew Hamilton, with Melissa McWilliams, Jen Sévertson, Clea Foofat, Foon Yap , Marek Tyler
From their album ‘Frontrunner’, out 21st September on Oscar St. Records.

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Today we’re happy to announce Four Desires, a 4 track EP of our individual versions of “Desire”. 3 remixes and a cover. We had some time apart before touring started up this year, so each of us worked on a track at home.

You can get them today on special cassette thru Merge Records

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Released August 21st, 2018

Founded in 2014, Men I Trust , is an indie band from Montreal (Canada) who loves smooth sounds, calm melodies and simple rhythms that relax, but make your right foot tap and your chin bounce on the beats. They record, mix, master and shoot their music videos.

MEN I TRUST, are connoisseurs of dreamy disco pop, are back with their latest release ‘Show Me How’. Like their past couple of releases including 2017’s ‘Hope To Be Around’ and ‘Tailwhip’, the single takes listeners away from the dreariness of city reality and into the haziness of road trips and spontaneous camping getaways. And with our summer now at an end, and winter standing stonily at the end of Autumn’s 3-month tunnel, it is a reminder that those sunlit days are sure to come again.

It is a thoughtful track with an endearing hook. The soft guitar caresses the angelic vocals cozily and the drums provide a solid, slightly R&B, base. The corroborating video clip seems to portray a content loneliness where vocalist, Emma, can be seen walking through a luminously lit cityscape. It depicts an obscurity, a dreaminess that comes with the daydreams we associate with new lovers. And like all of Men I Trust’s discography, it is a tender almost bittersweet love song; a slow and succulent but delicate retelling of a pleasant and hopeful adventure.

Formed in 2003 Arcade Fire have released four albums in ten years. In 2010 Rolling Stone named their debut offering “Funeral” the album of the decade. Platinum-selling sophomore album “Neon Bible” debuted at #2 in the UK & USA. 2010’s “The Suburbs” debuted at #1 in seven countries and is certified platinum in the UK & Ireland. 2013’s “Reflektor” reached Top spot on both the Billboard 200 & UK Official Chart & was accompanied by NBC special, Here Comes TheNighttime, drawing 6 million viewers. Over the course of a 14 year career the band have won 2 BRIT awards, 10 Juno awards, 3 NME awards & a 2011 Grammy for album of the year. In short they are one of the world’s most successful & revered active bands.

Arcade Fire is a Canadian indie rock band, consisting of husband and wife Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, along with Win’s younger brother William Butler, Richard Reed Parry, Tim Kingsbury and Jeremy Gara. The band’s current touring line-up also includes former core member Sarah Neufeld, percussionist Tiwill Duprate and saxophonist Stuart Bogie. The band plays guitar, drums, bass guitar, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, xylophone, glockenspiel, keyboard, synthesizer, French Horn, accordion, harp, mandolin and hurdy-gurdy, and takes most of these instruments on tour; the multi-instrumentalist band members switch duties throughout shows.

Arcade Fire in 2017

Founded in 2000 by friends and classmates Win Butler and Josh Deu. the band came to prominence in 2004 with the release of their critically acclaimed debut album “Funeral” . 

After a hiatus of almost four years on Thursday 1st June the band announced their return with the release of new single “Everythnig Now” & the launch of an album of the same name, scheduled for release on July 28th. In addition to premiering the track live on Radio the band also performed the song live for the first time at a surprise show in Barcelona on Thursdaynohjy, ahead of their headline slot at Primavera Sound. Everything Now was produced by Arcade Fire, Thomas Bangalter and Steve Mackey, with co-production by Markus Dravs.

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Funeral (2004)

There are few records as aggressively warm-hearted as Funeral. Arcade Fire’s debut record, the work is one long, raw-edged adolescent howl: there’s little wonder why it lured so many lost and lonely teenagers under its spell. It just gets its audience; just understands every single one of their hopes and dreams and fascinations and fears.

It features lyrics to get tattooed across your skin, and melodies to be hummed for weeks, and in its bold sentimentality it might be one of the band’s most loveable records. After all, who can listen to a song like ‘Wake Up’ without feeling even a touch teary?

Many would rate this album higher, and I don’t blame them. It’s rare to hear a debut not only so sure of its own sound but so consistently good and with such variation in tone. Most would be lucky to have one full-blooded, full-flight pearls such as ‘Wake Up’, ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ or any of the ‘Neighbourhood…’ songs, let alone be so heavy with them as ‘Funeral’ is. It deftly delineated themes that still haunt the band to this day: the lost or vanishing innocence of “us kids”, the Cormac McCarthy-esque post-apocalyptic terror lurking beneath suburban cosiness, and of course, on Regine’s shimmeringly gorgeous moment in the spotlight, ‘Haiti’, the Carribbean island that furnishes inspiration on their latest work. An album to haunt, enchant and be clutched to the heart forever.

The Arcade Fire coalesced in Montreal, Quebec, and recorded their debut album ‘Funeral’ during one of that city’s arduous winters. It is a truly eccentric rock record: bizarre at turns and recognizable elsewhere, equally beautiful and harrowing, theatrical and sincere. At times, the album’s total disregard of formula and expectation is positively thrilling. it’s like a higher pitched David Byrne fronting Echo and the Bunnymen, the first two Roxy Music albums, Bjork and everything in between. This album will blow you away. a strikingly beautiful pop album that the haven’t bettered, and that is saying something.

It was only through Butler and Chassagne’s persistence that Arcade Fire did not die an early death. Wake Up, released in 2004, was written “in reaction to the band breaking up”, Butler said the same year. Perhaps this sense of finality fed into the deathly embrace of their debut album, Funeral, a record that helped turn these mismatched, nearly defunct musicians into one of the biggest groups in the world. Wake Up remains their calling card: grippingly charged with emotions and built to be sung back by tens of thousands. By dint of its success, it’s also responsible for many rotten pastiches – the Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men, Coldplay’s dress sense on Viva La Vida. But it’s authenticity remains. Instead of serving its purpose as a break-up song, it ended up being one that brings people together.

Funeral’s penultimate song is just shy of Wake Up in the spiritual, universally loved stakes. Nothing feels quite as cathartic as chanting the latter’s choruses in a muddy field like it might be your final gasp. The same applies to Rebellion (Lies), where cries of “Lies! Lies!” can border on aggressive. Particularly now, in an age of false pledges and fake news; perhaps the song will take greater prominence as it lives on. Both as an act of resistance and a window into childlike naivety, it’s a calling card for living life to its fullest potential, even in times of torment.

Despite The Suburbs’ vivid portrayal of forgotten towns – fleshed out by Spike Jonze in his short film Scenes from the Suburbs – nothing quite taps into the intimacy of life at home like Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels). Over five minutes, a dramatic scene unfolds in which Butler plans his escape from a broken family. He wants to grow his hair, build tunnels in the snow and take a great leap from reality. This was most people’s introduction to Arcade Fire, and it perfectly encapsulates their skill for sending everyday tales skywards.

Arcade Fire EP

A strange thing to listen to now, this 2003 collection has to come in last place as a bit of intriguing juvenilia. Though you can hear it now as the work of a unique act finding their feet, it’s also recognisably in the Americana-tinged, beardy, ‘another bloody Canadian band’ bracket of 2005. Win even displays a Neil Youngish warble on ‘Vampires/Forest Fire’, although he’s also already pleading “Let’s live in the suburbs…”. For Regineophiles, her voice has never sounded as clear, strong and foregrounded on the spook-psychy ‘I’m Sleeping In A Submarine’ and ‘The Woodlands National Anthem’. Though charming, the EP never sounds like the band are quite hitting their stride, often too cluttered or too hurried, never hitting the arresting poise of ‘Funeral’. The difference is clear to see on this early version of ‘No Cars Go’; if anyone tells you they prefer this version to the ‘Neon Bible’ one,

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Neon Bible (2007)

Last of the albums proper, yes, but nowhere near as much the black sheep of the family as most would make out. Listen to it now, and you can’t really remember why people ever saw it as a misstep; perhaps, But still; to find two car-related songs of such immensity as ‘No Cars Go’ and ‘Keep The Car Running’ (a Springsteen rip-off so convincing even the Boss bought it, performing it live with the band) on one album is remarkable. The murky, melodramatic magic of Black Mirror, the slightly heavy-handed grandeur of ‘Intervention’ with its churchy organ, the deliciously sexy blues hymn of ‘My Body Is A Cage’.

The Arcade Fire takes its sound to new and exciting places on its slavishly anticipated album, Neon Bible. The 11-track set was primarily recorded in a church outside the band’s Montreal homebase and features contributions from Final Fantasy’s Owen Pallett, Calexico’s Martin Wenk and Jacob Valenzuela and Wolf Parade’s Hadjii Bakara. Named after cult author John Kennedy Toole’s first novel, Neon Bible is smart and subtle enough to present itself as a personal discovery for every listener. The highlights include the pipe organ-drenched Intervention, the wobby, slowly building opener Black Mirror and the ominous Black Wave / Bad Vibrations, which is initially sung by Regine Chassagne before Win Butler takes over halfway through. Additional highlights include the sweet, solemn ballad Ocean of Noise, the propulsive, major-key rockers Keep the Car Running and The Well and the Lighthouse and the hardscrabble (Antichrist Television Blues), where Butler’s passionate phrasing recalls the Bruce Springsteen of Born to Run. Perfection.

The Canadian group’s founding members are anything but ordinary: in Win Butler, they had a Texas-raised, goofy, 6ft 3in boarding-school kid who would later be dubbed a “Serbian basketball player” by Tina Fey. The other half of the husband-wife team was Régine Chassagne, a daughter of Haitian refugees, who fled to Montreal during the dictatorship of François Duvalier. These two are best known for being backed by a round-robin of cellists, violinists, multi-instrumentalists of all shapes and sizes. It didn’t start that way, however. The apocalyptic No Cars Go, a song from second album Neon Bible, began as a cut from their self-titled EP. The release was launched in March 2003 with a show at Montreal’s Casa del Popolo, defined by tensions boiling over into an onstage bust-up. At the time, they were the opposite of the life-affirming oddballs cherished today.

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The Suburbs  (2010)

For some, Funeral is the band’s unbeatable masterpiece, but time is going some way to reveal The Suburbs as the band’s true masterpiece. So lean and single-minded as to almost be Arcade Fire’s mission statement, the record doesn’t feature a single dud track – from the heartache of ‘Deep Blue’ to rockabilly of ‘Month Of May’, every song is a keeper.

And, best of all, the album perfectly tempers the emotional with the intellectual – it’s either a pure, uncomplicated gut punch, or a scathing critique of gentrification and the horrors of suburbia.

The Arcade Fire release their third full-length studio album, ‘the Suburbs’, the album comes out with 8 different sleeve images, all are selected at random using the same catalogue number. produced by the arcade fire and co-produced by Markus Dravs, ‘the Suburbs’ was written, arranged and recorded around montreal and new york over two years. speaking about the music on the album, will said that there were, “two poles of the album, maybe have a rock’n’roll thing, then more electronics. the album lies between these extremes.”

It’s a divisive track among fans, but Month of May deserves inclusion because it shows a different side to the howling, barbaric force they’re known for. Dumb, repetitive, structured, simple to a T, it’s a complete outlier on the Suburbs devise track – a rude interruption that sounds like a razor-toothed punk song compared with the rest of the record’s floaty, rural stretch. “First they built the road, then they build the town, that’s why we’re still driving around,” bounds Butler, delirious surrounded by all this drudgery. What might sound like a straightforward rock song is one of Arcade Fire’s most experimental, daring moves.

Fewer arguments here, I imagine; the grand, elegiac sprawl of their third took one of Win Butler’s pet topics – yep, lost innocence in a disorientating dystopian conflict – and made it into a full-blown concept on the likes of ‘Suburban War’ and ‘The Sprawl’. The glossy, smooth surfaces of ‘Rococo’, with its baroque twists, and ‘Modern Man’, with is melancholic Tom Pettyisms, stunned with their sophistication, while the likes of ‘Ready To Start’ or ‘Month Of May’ flashed their raw, wild heart. An album that will still be revealing new facets in the likes of the enigmatic ‘Deep Blue’ as it charms with the immediate loveability of the discopop ‘Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)’ in decades to come.

Like any successful band, Arcade Fire have their critics; those who consider their disorderly racket to be a tired formula. Without question, Funeral saw them arriving at the right time. Indie rock was designed for the fringes until 2004, when Arcade Fire helped steer bigger audiences toward the work of Neutral Milk Hoteland Broken Social Scene.

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Reflektor  (2013)

Arcade Fire’s fourth album is by no means a universal choice as their best work. It’s not as smooth a listen as ‘The Suburbs’, it’s awkward and eclectic and experimentally rough-edged, but for me, ‘Reflektor’’s peaks hit higher than the previous albums’. Whatever you think of bold stylistic leaps like the Clash-like, dub-heavy ‘Flasbulb Eyes’ and the taut funk of ‘Reflektor’ (and for me, the blending of the sonic palettes of two of my favourite things, Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem, couldn’t be more masterfully done) heartbreaking, glimmering tracks like ‘It’s Never Over (Oh, Eurydice)’, ‘Porno’ and ‘Afterlife’ had me playing them over and over, drop-jawed, while the thrashy, glammy ‘Joan Of Arc’ and the Smiths-like ‘You Already Know’ show that grandiose as they get, they’ve not lost their sense of fun. It seems they just keep getting better and better; let’s hope that pattern continues.

The album title track is Arcade Fire’s most starriest moment: a James Murphy-produced, seven-minute epic so good that guest vocalist David Bowie jokingly threatened to steal it. At festival performances last year, Butler looked to the sky when singing Bowie’s line: “Thought you were praying to the resurrector / Turns out it was just a reflector.” For all Reflektor’s funky strut and sheer scale, it focused in on a modern fear – technology’s grip. What was poignant in 2013 has only taken on more relevance over the last four years.

Throughout their rise, Arcade Fire have remained rooted to Haiti. Chassagne co-founded Kanpe, a not-for-profit helping rural Haitian families in poverty. And to this day, for every ticket sold at an Arcade Fire show, $1 goes towards Partners in Health, which helps poor and marginalised people. Funeral deals with death in many ways – from initial grief to how it affects those around us – and both Butler and Chassagne lost grandparents during its making. For Chassagne, the record’s most personal song is Haiti, which refers to the loved ones she lost in the Jérémie Vespers massacre of 1964. She sings: “Mes cousins jamais nés hantent les nuits de Duvalier,” which translates to, “My unborn cousins haunt Duvalier’s nights.” Vocals were recorded in her bathroom, because she found the song too personal to sing in the studio. Fifty seconds in, you can hear her hitting the stop button on a tape recorder. Despite its stamp on Funeral, the real sound of the country appears most strongly on the group’s most recent record, Reflektor. Here Comes the Night Time, with its street-parade cacophony, brings the spirit of Haiti to life.

Reflektor saw Arcade Fire grappling with the idea of entering a new decade as one of the world’s biggest bands. Without compromising their barmy, emotion-led founding spirit, they’d wound up as permanent headliners, arena giants. Were they left with no room to grow? The resulting record was as grandiose a statement as they could possibly make, but the group also scratched an itch to go back to basics. In the lead-up to Reflektor’s release, they played hushed, intimate gigs under a pseudonym (the Reflektors), hiding their true selves under giant papier-mache heads. Normal Person opens with Butler at a loss, chanting: “Do you like rock’n’roll music? / Cause I don’t know if I do,” over waves of broken feedback and sparse claps, the kind you’d find when Arcade Fire used to play to 20 people, not 20,000. From there, the song lifts from gloomy dive bars to the stadiums they belong in, sporting wild guitar solos and euphoric synths, once again proving these guys are a million miles from normal.

Reflektor’s technology-is-bad-maybe crusade was foreseen in Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains). A glistening, Blondie-like classic, it finds Chassagne trying to find like-minded souls in the dead end of copy’n’paste, commercialised towns. “Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains,” she chants, referring to William Gibson’s theory that all cities will eventually merge into one blanket, urbanised “sprawl”. For all the doom and gloom, it remains one of Arcade Fire’s most light-footed, uplifting songs.

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Everything Now (2017)

Everything Now is the 5th studio album from Arcade Fire. The thirteen track album features the lead single Everything Now and was produced by Arcade Fire, Thomas Bangalter and Steve Mackey, with co-production by Markus Dravs.

The Canadian art-rockers are bigger, bolder and more fearful of the future than ever on their colossal fifth album

Arcade Fire have spent a career making a virtue of their own pomposity. Since 2004 debut ‘Funeral’, they’ve been unafraid to wrestle with big ideas that most bands wouldn’t touch with a barge pole. If it sometimes appears as though they believe society’s ills can be solved, or at least diagnosed, through the medium of grandiose art-rock records, you nonetheless have to admire their conviction that music ought to represent something more than mere ‘content’. Thankfully, after the ambitious-but-uneven ‘Reflektor’ (2013), ‘Everything Now’ marks an emphatic return to those lofty standards.

“Every song that I’ve ever heard is playing at the same time, it’s absurd,” declares starry-eyed frontman Win Butler on the album’s title-track, which is certainly one way to describe its mash-up of ‘Dancing Queen’ and Talking Heads’ ‘Road to Nowhere’. Uplifting, incisive and sublime would be another.

On the flipside, the empty hedonism of ‘Signs of Life’ and the self-loathing, suicidal youths of ‘Creature Comfort’ – one of whom, Butler notes, “Came so close/ Filled up the bathtub and put on our first record,” – serve as a reminder of the cruel irony that in this age of total connectivity, we’ve somehow contrived to make ourselves more isolated and alone than ever. ‘Everything Now’ might occasionally marvel at how far we’ve come, but it’s tempered by notes of dread at where we’re going.

Aptly enough for a record about information overload, it’s also had the veritable kitchen sink thrown at it, employing myriad styles, multiple big-name producers and the sort of ingenious, overblown marketing campaign that’s become the norm for this band. On the two-hander of ‘Infinite Content’ and ‘Infinite_Content’, the same song is presented in contrasting styles – one as a knowing postmodern thrash, the other as a languid acoustic ramble – but ultimately it’s the album’s sense of humanity, not its innate clever-cleverness, that elevates it to something special. “If you can’t see the forest for the trees, just burn it all down,” urges Butler as the mournful synth-pop of closing track ‘We Don’t Deserve Love’ builds to its climax, no longer sermonising from his pulpit, but howling in empathy from the ether.

Also

The Reflektor Tapes DVD

The Reflektor Tapes is a visually stunning and hypnotic documentary about the making of Arcade Fire’s hugely successful 2013 studio album Reflektor by director Kahlil Joseph (who also directed Beyoncé’s Lemonade film). The film received its premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. The documentary captures recording sessions, live performances and the band’s time in Haiti, a country with which they have a long-standing relationship. The second disc in the set features Arcade Fire’s full length live concert from Earl’s Court in London on 6th June 2014 during the Reflektor tour, which perfectly complements the documentary.

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The albums

  • Funeral (2004)
  • Neon Bible (2007)
  • The Suburbs (2010)
  • Reflektor (2013)
  • Everything Now (2017)

Taken from the upcoming EP, Baby Only You & IAnemone is the dream/pop, groovy psychedelic rock recording project of Montreal-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Chloé Soldevila with boys Miles Dupire-Gagnon, Zach Irving, Gabriel Lambert and Samuel Gemme. With a penchant for melodic classicism, 1960’s pop rock, airy psychedelia and inspired by California’s waves through an open van window, Anemone is an effortless voyage with love.

out April 27th on Luminelle Recordings

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All songs written by Chloé Soldevila.

Recorded, mixed and mastered at Value Sound – Park ex studios in Montreal by Renny Wilson.
All instruments played by Chloé, Miles, Gabriel and Renny, 

Ought

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.

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“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.

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“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

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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.

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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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