The first thing I heard from the Brooklyn based band Ben Franklin was their record, Optimist. The recording has a great sound. It is no shitty demo. There are big sounding drums, present vocals, and each instrument sits in its own clear spot in the overall mix. On the other hand Optimist isn’t over produced like 95% of the major releases today. The songs are catchy and clever post-punk with a taste of indie-rock. They make me think of bands like Cake, Weezer (Blue and Pinkerton only), Cursive, and Sunny Day Real Estate. After hearing Optimist, I knew I had to go to a show and see if the band live stood up to the recording. I saw Ben Franklin at 11pm on a Wednesday at Bruar Falls, one of Williamsburg’s not so underground, hip spots. The club was packed. It took about four songs for the band to get warm, but once they got it they were on fire. Their vocal harmonies are well planned and spot on. I find the riff based sections of their songs to be where the band thrives. Billy Gray is not only the main vocalist but also the lead guitarist. His modesty on stage is dichotomous to his masochistic style songwriting. While speaking to the crowd he comes off as vulnerable and sincere. Bassist Eddie Garza does most of the talking for the night. His banter between songs is too long for me, though he does a great job of playing, singing and dancing during the songs. He is the designated fun guy in the band.

In 2010 We Heart Music covered and saw over 41 artists, talked with four bands, attended two major Montreal music festivals, and created our own music month. Oh, and of course drank over, uh, lots of beer and liquor at various venues in Montreal and Brooklyn (seriously, we could have put someone’s kid through university). Our livers may not love us these days, but we still heart the music. Even though we may not remember every guitarist’s name or the name of that girl who performed at Casa with The Burning Hell (oh wait, we did figure that out. Hey Ragged Dick!), we’ve tried to bring you a mixture of talented and emerging artists. Of course, “each to their own” when it comes to musical taste (it’s an olive to a date-square kind-of situation).

We’re going Loco. I’m already pretty loco, but, that’s not the point. We Heart Music is going local and under the radar. Starting November 17th, 2010 and ending December 17th, 2010 (my birthday!), we’re going to be doing a special month-long edition dedicated to local and under the radar artists in Montreal and Brooklyn. Let’s get Loco! Let’s get Loco! is about focusing our eyes to see what’s right in front us (3D picture included) innovative and unique local music. We want to give those deserving, hardworking Montreal and Brooklyn based artists the exposure and press they need. We’re going to be giving you the down-low about what’s going on in your backyard bars, the neighbourhoods you should be visiting for great music, and bands you may have overlooked due to the influx of big names and big game.