The Madafakaz, Montreal based, are like a raging fire that has just started to run along the line of the gun powder that’s been strategically laid out on the floor. The best part of this ignited gun powder is that it’s gonna explode. Exciting enough for us we can watch this explosion tonight at Le Divan Orange. Seriously dude, you gotta be there because it’s gonna be a epic surf-psychedelic dance party.

Hooray For Earth is 90’s grunge mixed with 2011 technology. Noel Heroux and I sat down after the show he explained to me that his influences, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails and others in the era, are what inspires him and the band to make their addictive, yet thrash bubble music. As they took stage, those trash bubbles began to bust out of the speakers and fill the room with a gritty yet innovative sound as they began, Last Minute. It was the second song in, Comfortable, Comparable, that you could really hear this ‘transparent rock’ I’m talking about.

Canadian Music Week (CMW) aka Canada’s biggest week of new music starts in two months. If you have ever planned an event, this is probably giving you anxiety right now. Two months is not a long time for organizers, but lucky for you, it gives you some minutes get your tickets and trip in order! So, get out your pen or start-up your virtual calendar because you’re taking a long weekend in March (really, it’s a music holiday).

This year CMW will be held from March 9 to 13 in Toronto. CMW brings together thousands of delegates from all over the planet. They hold numerous conferences, present awards, host shows of the trade and of course zillions of music performances, and some fun films. Here’s the numbers for Canadian Music Fest (the performance section): 800 artists and 55 venues over a five day span. It’s a music salad and you could be the fork.

CMW focuses on connecting the heard and unheard artists for one week to help share music of all genres with the Canadian public and the world…

The current emergence of bands comprised of two members, one female and one male has become an apparent trend in the world of music. As this trend continues to dominate there is one Canadian group who should be a mandatory playlist in your iTunes library in the coming year Imaginary Cities. Imaginary Cities hit the Canadian music scene full on last year. In May 2010, they opened for Young Galaxy at Toronto’s NXNE music festival, in October they released a preview 7″ and digital EP, Hummingbird, and in between those lines they also toured Canada with acts like Ra Ra Riot and the Rural Alberta Advantage. As I write this, they’re sharing their passion and talent with our friends across the ocean in Europe.

Montreal has a reputation to live up to. We’re the city everyone flocks to for unique talent and diverse artists from various backgrounds. Whether it’s music, theatre, visual arts or the many others, there’s a layer of expectations that masks this wonderfully heart throbbing city. Saying this, I’d like to introduce you to Jordi Rosen, one of Montreal’s celebrated local female musicians, who’s contribution to the Montreal arts and culture community reassures us those expectations are met. Jordi’s musical history began in Toronto where she sung in her school choir and studied piano. 20 years ago she packed up her novel talents and made the switch to Montreal to expand, perfect and share her love of music.

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).

If Phantogram’s performance last Friday, December 10 @ Il Motore was a novel it’d be the kind that hits you out of nowhere (like that first snowball of the year). You’d be silently reading the introduction, when all of a sudden you’re right in the middle of a lightning storm of direct-awesomeness imagery and you love every fucking flash. Excited? I bet you are. So, let’s get to the goods about this lightening storm (dancing in the rain not included)…

It’s dark. It’s quiet. They’re plugging in and we’re all standing directly in front of the stage patiently waiting for an introduction (because that seems to be the norm). Well, Phantogram seemed to say, “fuck the norm, let’s get right into this, these kids need to dance.” Then it happened…The phantom-like presence came to life. The strobe flashes wildly danced around, Josh Carter (guitar/vocals) cued in with deep, heavy guitar strumming, Sarah Barthel (keyboard/vocals) bounced in swinging her knee back and forth towards the keyboard, where her fingers danced and silky vocals poured into our ears. Oh yes. And it gets better. The drummer, Tim Oakley (from The Mathematicians, newly joined Phantogram), starts lightly tapping his drum set; keeping the industrial beat flowing (don’t we all just love it when you jump right into the unknown? I sure do).

What I’m about to say is gonna be heavy. Please prep yourself. Are you ready? Okay, let’s start with a question, Do you like Fleetwood Mac? If you answered yes, keep reading. If not, no worries I’m also going to talk about Imaginary Cities and The Most Serene Republic. My answer to the question? I love Fleetwood Mac, and I love Ra Ra Riot (ah, are you seeing what’s heavy here?). Anyway, I hope you’re prepared, here are the goods…

Phantogram is in town tonight. I’m sure you got the memo, maybe even your ticket. No? Well, no worries. I’m sure they’ll let you in, just leave your BYOB habits at home. So, tonight (Friday, December 10) Phantogram is playing at Il Motore. The show starts at 8:30PM, so be late, because we all know shows start about a half hour after their planned time. I’ll be there at 8:30PM ‘cause I’m a time management freak. Anyway, here are the goods on the band you’re going to see tonight…

On Tuesday, November 30, Art school and Caroline Glass & Friends performed at Barfly. These two artists are at opposite ends of the music scale, yet coloured in the memories of my past adventures in the Canadian prairies and my reason for being in Montréal now, which was and are at the opposite sides on the scale of my life. So, enough about my cowgirl turned city slicker days, here are the goods (in order of appearance, ’cause I’m a nerd and PS. exciting local bands and their info/up-coming shows are included)… There’s something about artists from the prairies that strike one of the valves connected to my heart to help pump the blood into my body. It might be because I spent a lot of time in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan while growing up, or it might be that twang you hear in western-Canadian country music. Both ways, I’m a big fan of Art School and they gave me a nice low-key dose of country (something I’d be craving for a couple weeks).

Ra Ra Riot, an American indie band whose roots grew out of Syracuse, New York are performing this Friday, December 3rd @ Il Motore @ 8:30pm in Montreal. Here’s three reasons all you retired emo kids (and everyone else) need to be there. So, let’s get to the goods…

GOOD REASON #1: They’ve toured with Editors, Canadian favourites (and one of my top five) Tokyo Police Club and have been called, “one of the best young bands”…

On Friday, November 18th, M for Montreal showcased Random Recipe and SUUNS at Cabaret Juste Pour rire. I remember being enthralled to see Random Recipe perform. I remember someone whispering in my ear during their performance, “They just got booked for shows in Japan.” I remember leaving thinking and saying all night long, “Random Recipe is gonna blow everyone’s mind.” I also remember being completely and randomly taken back by SUUNS. So, let’s get to the goods…

Last week M for Montreal celebrated its fifth edition of being a pioneer showcase of innovative and unique local, national and international artists. I’ve finally had some sleep since the four day boozing, schmoozing and artist-driven scheduling of watching shows and being, um, coherent (?). So, here’s my extremely coherent overview.

What‘s the deal with M for Montreal you ask? Well, another wise music writer I know let me in on a little secret about this event. He slyly told me…

The goods: * I like museums and cafes. M for Montreal’s venue selection gets a virtual HIGH FIVE. In the coming months, Cabaret Juste pour rire (CJR) and Muse Juste pour rire (MJR) will be closing (that’s another story altogether, let’s keep our focus here kids). So, it only, truly seemed appropriate that they chose that venue as one of the main stops for their showcase. The sound in CJR and MJR is always ear pleasing. The stages are a decent size for small, medium and large artists and the top balconies that look onto the crowd are the best hiding spots (as well as band watching and boy scoping spots) in town. Café Campus, petit and grand, was also well equipped for the amount of people that went for the first night. The Petit Campus’s stage is almost at ground level, making you feel like the band is in your living room and the sound bounces off the walls like you’re playing an awesome ping-pong game that your eyes can barely focus on (it’s so smooth). Grand Campus’s stage is a little higher, yet allows the audience to see the entire musical talents of the artist(s) performing from a variety of places via chairs or standing (choice makes everyone a little happier).