Osheaga, the popular music festival which comes rolling into Montreal every August, is upon us yet again. Anyone who’s taken a gander at the schedule is likely pumped for all the major acts showing up; who wouldn’t want to see Blondie, Florence and the Machine, or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs perform?
And while I’ll definitely be checking out those shows, what I’m more interested in is discovering new bands I’ve never heard of before. Now they might be old news to you young hip folks, but here are five bands this 30-something is excited to hear for the first time:
Birds of Bellwoods
This folk-pop quartet from Toronto has been building solid buzz ever since their award-winning EP The Fifth. These actor/musicians apparently really bring their A-game to their stage performances.
One blogger praised the band by declaring “When all four members of Birds of Bellwoods step up to the mic, something amazing happens. Their voices play off each other and the audience is reminded of all the beauty in the world left to fight for.”
I’ll find out on Friday if they live up to the hype!
A quick YouTube search of this American singer/songwriter from Memphis shows that I’m definitely late to the game in discovering her music: Her video Appointments has a million views and her NPR Tiny Desk Concert performance has over two million.
Baker’s debut album Sprained Ankle in 2015 was on all sorts of year-end best lists from NPR Music to New York Magazine’s Vulture. From what I’ve listened to so far, she sounds like the perfect music to play when you’re relaxing at home and need a good cathartic cry.
Milk and Bone
One of the joys of living in Montreal is we have a plethora of musicians creating amazing art. One of the downfalls is there’s so much to take in sometimes you miss out on awesome bands like Milk and Bone! But thank goodness I get to finally see this dreamy electro pop duo which hails from my hometown.
This Australian indie-rocker has been making a name for herself ever since her 2016 single You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me, one of the catchiest songs about rejection ever released. Her music immediately makes me nostalgic for the pop-punk days of my youth, when I’d jump head first into a mosh pit at Foufones Electroniques. I may not hit the pit anymore (seriously, i’m in my 30s), but I will be there from the back, eagerly cheering her show on.
This all-female glam rock band from Toronto immediately caught my attention with their undeniable style. (I’m a sucker for a well put together 60s look). And taking a look at their music on YouTube showed that the band isn’t all style and no substance. Their tracks Money and T-Shirt are catchy rock songs I could easily see playing at my next party.
* The 2018 edition of Osheaga runs August 3rd, 4th and 5th. Tickets available at osheaga.com
** Featured image of The Beaches courtesy Osheaga/Evenko
In 2015, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre announced that the concert space on the western end of Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Sainte-Hélène is getting a redesign. The municipal and provincial government will invest a total of $73 million to expand the space used by promoter Evenko to stage events like Osheaga, Heavy Montréal and ÎleSoniq every summer.
While originally planned for Montreal’s 375th anniversary, it won’t be ready until next year. This means Osheaga will have a new home for the summer and Heavy Montréal will take a year off.
Capacity would increase from 45 000 to 65 000, though it will remain an open-air ampitheatre. At the time of the original announcement, the Mayor assured people that some of the budget would be spent on reducing the sound that made its way across the water to the South Shore where St-Lambert residents had been filing noise complaints for a few summers. This would presumably mean that Evenko could stage more concerts in the space.
This week, the environmental impact of the project went public. 1000 trees will have to be cut down to make it possible. While Coderre promised $18 million to plant new trees, Projet Montreal, the official opposition party in City Hall, is not happy to say the least.
Calling it a “chainsaw massacre” of Montreal’s shared greenspace to benefit one private promoter, they argued that a more environmentally-friendly version should have been considered. They also decried the lack of public consultation on the project.
With so many issues at play here, we decided to turn to you, our readers and not just make it a straight Yes or No question. In this poll, please let us know whether or not you support this project and why. If none of the answers fit what you think, you can add your own:
How do you feel about the current plan to build a new ampitheatre in Parc Jean-Drapeau?
Any plan of this scope needs public consultation. Period. 30%, 25 votes
25 votes - 30% of all votes
Bad idea through and through 30%, 25 votes
25 votes - 30% of all votes
I like the idea of a new ampitheatre but cutting down that many trees is unjustifiable 14%, 12 votes
12 votes - 14% of all votes
The area was in great need of repairs and a place able to welcome all the events happening an the Parc.*10%, 8 votes
8 votes - 10% of all votes
The old concert space was fine and doesn't need to change 8%, 7 votes
7 votes - 8% of all votes
We need a new ampitheatre and this is the right way to make it happen 6%, 5 votes
5 votes - 6% of all votes
I don't care (well, I care enough to answer the poll, but that's it) 1%, 1 vote
1 vote - 1% of all votes
I live in St-Lambert (or have friends who live there) and am fine with any plan that curbs the noise 0%, 0 votes
Podcast panelists Casey Rosner and Cem Ertekin discuss the World Social Forum happening in Montreal, controversies surrounding the 2016 Olympics and our News Roundup including the Bylaw P-6, the good and bad at Osheaga and more. Plus the Community Calendar and Predictions!
Host: Jason C. McLean
Producer: Hannah Besseau
Production Assistant: Enzo Sabbagha
This week the very unsurprising theme will be what to go see at Osheaga. There’s this little known group from England you might have heard of called Radiohead that I think you might enjoy… who am kidding, this preview will talk about none of the well known acts you already know you’re going to see.
So have fun checking out the Chili Peppers, Death Cab for Cutie, The Lumineers, Cypress Hill, Bloc Party and Lana Del Ray (to name a few) but earlier in the day your plan might be a little less set, so here are some options.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
While this is hardly an obscure act, I couldn’t help myself but put Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats in this preview mostly because this is the group I most want to see, period. Nathaniel’s been around for quite a while now but only started to get “playing at Osheaga” type attention once he formed the Night Sweats.
This new project is a more upbeat, big band, electric guitar style of bluesy soul music than what Rateliff has done in the past and the results have been a positive reaction that has put the singer/songwriter on the mainstream map. Most people’s introduction to the Night Sweats is through the hit S.O.B but I encourage everyone to dig a little deeper in the band’s self titled debut album which is solid top to bottom with well crafted tunes.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats plays Scène Verte Sonnet, Sunday, July 31st, 6:25 PM.
For those heading down early on Friday be sure not to miss Elle King who’s so-oh-oh-oh-oh fun and upbeat blues/soul/rock/country style will be a great early day choice. We’re hoping Elle breaks out the banjo and tries to make hipsters ho-down.
Elle King plays Scène de la Montagne Molson Canadian, Friday, July 29th, 3:10 PM.
Also on Friday afternoon I would recommend checking out Icelandic four piece volcano rockers Kaleo who have got some of the most beautiful, summery tunes you’ll hear at this year’s fest. Having released their second album A/B earlier this year and getting their songs featured in TV shows and video games these guys are starting to reach a bigger audience and that should include you.
While bands have being playing in odd places to gain attention ever since the Beatles took to the rooftops, these guys took it to a new (and uniquely Icelandic) level. Here they are rockin’ the volcano.
Kaleo plays Scène de la Rivière Virgin Mobile, Friday, July 29th, 2:25 PM.
Official Pre-Party with Elephant Stone + Walrus + Pif Paf
If you’re looking to start your Osheaging (pronuonced oh/sheeeee/age/ ing) off early then head over to Divan Orange on Thursday night for the official Pre-Party which feature Indie rockers Elephant Stone. The local trio are set to release their new album in September and will be (hopefully) playing some of the new tracks.
Here’s their latest music video which, talk about current, features a bit of Pokemon Go.
Panelists Samantha Gold and Enzo Sabbagha discuss Jian Ghomeshi’s second trial, the latest bathroom laws in the US and the Montreal festival season at its start. Plus the Community Calendar and Predictions!
Host: Jason C. McLean
Producer: Hannah Besseau
Production Assistant: Enzo Sabbagha
As I sat down at my computer this afternoon to begin “working on an essay,” I was, of course, immediately distracted by the shiny blue-glow of my Facebook newsfeed. For once, though, this unintentional procrastination session paid off large.
Yes– my wandering eyes were greeted with the official poster for this year’s edition of Montreal’s favourite summer music festival. This evening, the Internet is abuzz with excitement over this year’s acts, and for a very, very good reason.
Osheaga 2016 marks the first time that Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lana Del Rey and Radiohead will grace the stage down at Parc Jean Drapeau. In fact, both RHCP and Radiohead haven’t even played a show in Montreal since 2012, making their upcoming sets this summer a much-needed return.
On top of the major headlining acts, the 2016 lineup boasts the strongest, most well-rounded collection of artists that the festival has ever organized.
More than ever before, Osheaga 2016 has something for everyone– from the electro-stylings of Disclosure, M83, and Flume to the hip-hop presence of Future and legends Cypress Hill, to the alternative-pop charm of groups like The Lumineers, Bastille, and Passenger.
On top of that, Montreal’s thriving music scene is, once again, very well-represented. This year, Grimes, Half Moon Run, Kaytranada, as well as Busty and the Bass will all be performing over the course of the three-day festival. If you were thinking that Montreal could host a version of Osheaga with only local artists, you’d be absolutely right.
But what makes Osheaga even cooler is it’s ability to feature up-and-coming artists that are about to, for lack of a more eloquent phrase, “blow up.”
Take, for example, Toronto’s hip-hop phenom (some might even say the best thing to come from the 6ix since Drake), Jazz Cartier. There’s also London-based ‘grime’ act Skepta, who’s had tremendous success the past year in the UK and Australia. But if hip-hop isn’t really your scene, there’s Toronto’s grunge-influenced Dilly Dally, Vancouver’s punk-esque White Lung, and Australia’s ultra-innovative Hiatus Kaiyote– all of whom are set to have a massive 2016.
If last year’s edition (Osheaga’s 10th anniversary) was meant to celebrate a decade of growing the summer music festival scene here in Montreal, this year’s edition definitely looks ahead to the future– and no doubt, the future is looking extremely bright.
* For the complete lineup and to purchase passes, please visit osheaga.com
2015 has been off to quite a busy start, but before we get too involved, let’s take one final look back at 2014.
Every year we ask our contributors to vote on the favourite two posts they wrote and the two posts they liked most from all the other contributors on the site. Then, in a not-too-scientific manner, we turn that into this list.
In no particular order, these are the top posts of 2014 on FTB:
After the grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri erupted. In Montreal, the Black Students’ Network of McGill organized a vigil. Cem Ertekin was there to report and record audio and Gerry Lauzon took pictures (read the post).
We only published one post about Jian Ghomeshi this year: Johnny Scott’s satirical response to the overbearing presence of Ghomeshi images in his Facebook feed. The story is important, but do we really need to keep looking at his face? (read the post)
Did you know that Igloofest started out as a joke? Well, it did, and now it’s anything but. Find out about the fest’s origins and its future in Bianca David’s interview with founder Nicolas Cournoyer. (read the post)
When municipal workers took up the fight against austerity, Jason C. McLean wondered if it was possible to show solidarity with those who didn’t reciprocate. Also, would that even be a good thing? (read the post)
This year, we covered Just for Laughs, OFF-JFL and Zoofest. One of the more, um, interesting performances we saw was by Brody Stevens (he had a cameo in The Hangover). Find out why it piqued our interest in this report by Jerry Gabriel. (read the post)
Lindsay Rockbrand just wanted to lay down for a few minutes on a park bench, but the SPVM wouldn’t let that happen. Even though it was before 11pm, they managed to give her a ticket for being in a park after hours (read the post and listen to the interview)
It’s not usual for a year-in-review piece to make it to the list of favourite posts, but Stephanie Laughlin’s look at the events of 2014 as a reason feminism is still needed bucks that trend. Find out why. (read the post)
Our April Fools posts usually catch a few people (usually those just waking up) off-guard, but in 2014 we really seemed to have hit a nerve. Maybe it’s because the scenario we jokingly proposed wasn’t all that inconceivable, given the climate. (read the post)
This year, McGill held a conference on oil and Canada’s energy future. It welcomed people with sustainable solutions to our dependence on fossil fuel and Ezra Levant. FTB’s Sarah Ring and Jay Manafest were in attendance. (read the post)
No, this isn’t just in here because it mentions Ygritte from Game of Thrones, but that helps. It’s actually a pretty cool interview by Pamela Filion with Leigh Janiak, Rose Leslie’s director in Honeymoon. (read the post)
This piece by Cem Ertekin is a prediction of what’s to come in the Quebec student movement (SPOILER ALERT: We’re in for another Maple Spring). It’s also a great primer for anyone wanting a rundown on just what austerity is and Quebec politics for the last few years. (read the post)
Osheaga Day 3 started at the set of Foxtrott, a Montreal native that has an innovative and powerful style, a mix of electro and pop, definitely worth watching. Her 2012 Shields EP has brought her a lot of acclaim. Keep an eye out for her upcoming debut full length album, A Taller Us, this fall.
Then we moved on to Travis Scott. He was delayed, apparently due to a hold-up at customs, but his DJ put on quite a show. The crowd was going wild to some old school hip hop, with remixes from Daft Punk to Jay-Z and even NIN.
Amsterdam’s Tom Trago was at the Piknic Électronik Stage with some tracks influenced by afrobeats, soul and latin genres; he kept it jumping. The temperature rose and the people multiplied to welcome Cyril Hahn to old school remixes such as Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name”, among others.
Meanwhile on the Green stage The Temper Trap played a mix of both old and new material. They closed the set with “Sweet Disposition” from their 2009 debut album Conditions.
While heading to Duke Dumont’s set, we stumbled upon Epic Meal Time’s Harley Morenstein. His friends couldn’t help it and had to get his pic!
To ensure an epic close to the day, we went back to the Green Stage (yeah it was our favorite, I said it) to see Gogol Bordello and they did not fail to impress. Tons of energy from the very first song and followed by at least 30 crowd surfers on a 45-minute set. Big shout out to Fortas for catching people safely and effectively. I lack the words to describe this show. Maybe it was a combination of the fans’ enthusiasm and the constant jumping around but that set was nothing but euphoric and that extends to all of the 2014 edition of Osheaga.
There was a bit of everything for everybody and I had to make tough choices in between bands. Gladly, we made it to Arctic Monkeys, who closed the festival with old tunes, such as “505” from 2007’s Favourite Worst Nightmare and newer ones such as “Knee Socks”, “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” and “Arabella”, all from their current album AM. Honestly, we were spoiled this year.
Just a year short of its 10th anniversary, Osheaga Music Festival is like a young kid who appears streetwise and all the cool older kids let him hang out on the corner. What I mean is, it’s pretty impressive that a festival not even a decade old sees Nick Cave rocking out on a stage beside Jack White, where HAIM ends a set just as Modest Mouse begins, where Shlohmo rocks the after-party, where Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day makes a guest appearance with The Replacements, where the forest is full of hammocks and white lights and, because this is Montreal, there was a lot of painting.
Dazzled by the Hollywood-esque Osheaga sign that glittered from the hill, impressed by the Mark of the Beast-styled wristbands this year (you had to get the chip in your bracelet scanned by cellphones and gate devices before roaming free to different areas), I also found myself intrigued, in an anthropological sort of way, by the thousands of girls in flower crowns.
In my Top Picks, I wondered if Modest Mouse would still be relevant. Answer? Yes. “Float On” will never fade. “The Good Times are Killing Me?” Are they ever. Isaac Brock had painted his fingernails turquoise and pulled off a live performance satisfactory enough that I actually stayed in one place for almost all of it.
When Nick Cave came on…goddamn, I still don’t think I’m ready to talk about it yet. It’s been burned into my brain like a brand of awe and now I understand. I can’t write about this. It was too good. As for Jack White, well, this goes out to the entire crowd in front of the stage: FUCK YOU. Yeah, that’s right, I said it. I wasn’t even trying to push to the front, I was trying to push to the BACK and the aggression…My life flashed before my eyes. I thought I was going to get my skull crushed. And it wasn’t even from females. It was from males. Tall, aggro males who glared down at my lil’ 5 foot 3 self and refused to budge.
Finally, I raised my face to the sky and roared, “Let me the fuck through, and nobody touch my fuckin’ camera!” When the crowd realized that I was a loose cannon, they shifted uneasily. When I made it out of the pig pen, I climbed up the hill overlooking the grounds; as Jack White reminded us that being cool is still a concept that does in fact exist, fireworks exploded white hot in the background and I pulled an Irish exit to the metro so that I wouldn’t be stuck in line for three goddamned hours.
I want to use this area of screen to say a huge thank you to the people who were running about in green T-shirts, cleaning up after the troglodytes who still think it is acceptable to litter. And another thank you is due the festival itself, for providing such a great area for media and artists: Beanbags by the water, the comfiest outdoor furniture; mad style; bathrooms that weren’t traumatizing…I was rolling around back there like a pimp in a fur coat, totally drunk on my own power and sense of self-importance. Thanks, Osheaga! That wouldn’t have been possible without you.
So, I’ve slid past the thousands standing in line this morning at Osheaga and am now in the press tent— there’s free water and a cool view to a couple of stages.
Let’s get it in. First went over to the Piknic Électronik stage to peep the Dream Koala set. Dude was so young and gracious. He took the stage with a black telecaster and proceeded to tweak a few knobs on his console— the bass drop hit me in the solar plexus like a black belt’s front kick. The crowd was laid right back, plumes of acrid smoke arching up over the bouncing ballcapped heads. This one guy had one of those scrying balls, which he slid from hand to hand preternaturally. Really fresh set and nice to see a performer who is still unjaded in their new-found fame. Plus I saw my Mom and her boyfriend in the crowd and got to share that moment with them.
Next I moseyed over to see July Talk, one of the rockingest acts of the day— they had a big Toronto crowd and they knew how to wind them up. Peter Dreimanis, who co-fronts the band, took the stage like a banshee with a large bottle of wine in hand, then toasted one of the greatest cities in the world to visit. Werd up MTL!?!
The femme side of the lead vocals, Leah Fay, brought her own bag of tricks. At one point she captured a beach ball, shoved it up her shit and halfway through a song gave birth to it. I wasn’t real struck with these guys when I heard them on the radio in recent months, but they put on a great show.
Of course I had to check out NYC rapper Pusha T, at exactly 4:20 – he meandered his way through some new trap stuff and treated the red-eyed crowd to snippets of Clipse bangers from the past. Big bass and clean, clear vocals made for a pretty dope set. His lyrics about bubbling crack and other dark fantasies really changed the crowd’s vibe— not for the worse, just got a little grimy; elbows out as you walk through the masses!
After that I was getting kind of tired so I went to find a couch in the VIP lounge— that’s when shit got live. I ended up sitting down beside a Montreal DJ that shall remain nameless. Suffice it to say that he knows everybody. We drank some special water and booked it over to the Piknic stage to see Flume. As soon as we were in the vicinity the whole vibe changed like something out of Fear and Loathing and suddenly we were in a zoo.
Girls with flowered crowns had taken to climbing the I-beam structure, there we people in the trees grinding their teeth— and the crowd was a sweat-drenched leviathan writhing wildly; I was caught in its coils.
Flume really spun fire. At one point I had to turn and seek more stable ground, and find water. By this time I was wide-eyed and mud covered and remembered I had a camera; so I went back to shoot some of the debauchery.
The Piknic stage was out of control. This moment was one of profound introspection and connection with the external world— paradoxical and true and definitely the highlight of my experience at Osheaga. The scene at the electro stage marks an important shift toward the EDM subculture, and the wave’s not cresting yet so that there’s still this visceral authenticity to be accessed. The Piknic stage was absolutely fucking bananas. I have no words.
Then we went to the big stage for the second half of the Skrillex set. I’ve had different things to say about him over the years. Granted, I’ve always thought he was genius, but felt at times his sound was getting homogenized. I don’t know how many of you have seen this guy play a festival or an after party, but I gotta tell you he murdered it; his set was beamed in from Andromeda, and it was a pristine feed. W#Rd.
There were at least 20 000 from the stage to the hill. And as the sun sank and the lasers cut through billowing clouds of smoke and mist, I though for a second I was gonna pass out. By then I’d lost my homies from the VIP lounge and I was on my own. I ended up trekking up the hill and bumming some cigarettes from a girl whose eyes were all pupils—.
I did stay for a bit of the Outkast set, but yo, it didn’t even come close to the sub-60 bass and photon blasts from the previous set. I’m not saying Outkast was bad, I’m saying Skrillex straight up destroyed my cerebellum. Good night in a Tom Waits voice, know what I’m saying.
Very fresh day— saw my Mom, met some insanely cool people, ate free gourmet sandwiches in the restricted area before and after chilling with journalists in the press tent. A lot of people ask me why I do these articles for FTB and I always say because, in doing so, I get to witness some of the dopest shit that goes on in our city, chill with artists and get to know them then share what I find out with other people. I do it because that’s what I do. Yesterday was way off the meat rack. Fuck getting paid— LOUWBRE.
Few things are more epic than a performance by long-time musicians Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Here’s the thing though, and this is going to require you dropping your pretentious exterior of superior music-connoisseur-identity. Do you really listen to Nick Cave or do you just have all of his albums, name-drop frequently and switch your iPod to Riff Raff when you’re alone? Just curious. No judgement.
The Australian alternative rock band involves stuff like The Birthday Party (I guiltily admit I listen to them more), it involves novels, Grinderman, and spans decades. But The Bad Seeds are indeed a product of the 80’s, meaning sometimes it can get a little too cheesy and keyboard-y for my own personal tastes. But are my personal tastes really that important here? Not really.
I haven’t had a thirty year career full of crashing international success and innovative black-valentine ballads full of blood-and-lace lyrics. With album titles like Abattoir Blues, Tender Prey, Murder Ballads and The Boatman’s Call, Nick Cave is rich in madness and, even if you just like to say you listen to him rather then actually listen to him, maybe that’s because deep inside yourself you know Nick Cave has at least earned your creative respect.
For those of us born in the late 80’s, a good few years after Nick Cave was already doing his thing, this is your chance to really dig into the mystery of Nick Cave; there’s no better way to make up your mind about an artist then to get your ass to a live performance. And for veteran fans who already know the mystifying wonder of Nick Cave’s shadowy mythology, Osheaga is just another outlet for you to be there, experiencing it. Because I’m a rock writer, I can sit on the fence, observing, entitled to opinions and giving advice without taking it. Do I listen to Nick Cave? Sometimes. Do I switch to Riff Raff when no one is around? Fuck no. Will I be there, taking in this live show with mild awe and respect? Sure.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds perform Saturday, August 2 at 8:05 p.m. at the Molson Canadian Mountain Stage. Osheaga takes place August 1 to 3 at Parc Jean-Drapeau.
Canadian-born Matt Mays is a true nomad, having traveled all over North America while writing his 2012 album Coyote. The places he’s called home (California, New York, Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica) have influenced his sound in a way that is instantly recognizable.
East-coast indie rockers Hey Rosetta! have experienced massive success since their 2008 breakout album Into Your Lungs. They’ve toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, even making their way to China and Australia and have been short-listed for the Polaris music prize. They’ve been praised by critics for their ability to blend indie rock with classical elements (the band includes a string section and French horn) in a way that is more innovative than others that attempt to do the same with less interesting results.
There’s nothing quite like seeing Gogol Bordello live. They have some of the most die-hard fans of any band I’ve ever seen and I can proudly count myself among them. I started listening to them when I was about 15 years old and they’re one of the few bands from that period of my life that I’m still interested in. Expect drunken buffoonery, crazy dancing and singing along to every word.
Caila Thompson-Hannant’s solo project, Mozart’s Sister, is a good example of why Montreal music gets so much praise from the outside. Blending electro-synth-pop with powerful vocals, Mozart’s Sister keeps things fresh with the complex layering of many different elements in her music. She’s played SXSW, CMW and Pop Montreal and it’s cool that she gets to add Osheaga to the list.
For so long, Quebec rap got such a bad rep, mostly for good reason. Dead Obies, along with other groups like Alaclair Ensemble and The Posterz, are turning it around. They released Montreal $ud in 2013 via Montreal label Bonsound and have been attracting lots of attention due to their explosive live performances and some controversysurrounding their franglais lyrics.
Montreal-born Tiga is legendary in the dance music scene and is largely credited with helping to bring techno music to Montreal in the 90s. He owned famed nightclub SONA, where he booked electronic acts and then started Turbo Recordings in 1998. The label was instrumental in launching his own career and, later, others as well, including fellow Osheaga 2014 performers Chromeo.
The 2014 edition of Osheaga Music and Arts Festival takes place August 1 to 3 at Parc Jean-Drapeau.
Who is this grinning young ‘un who looks like Flea’s kid brother and makes music so lo-fi and strange that it makes you want to go running through the streets with a tall can and a lover?
Mac DeMarco is another Canadian (god, we grow good musicians here. Suck it, Slovakia) and probably a result of growing up in the 90’s. All that grunge has trickled down over our souls, giving way to music that is simultaneously full of longing for what’s been lost and rife with sounds that have no name. DeMarco, for all of his twenty four years, is already a force of brilliance, jamming in this sunny, simple way that showcases stiff songwriting skill and a style that is wholly his own. While, sure, there’s room for your garage rock and surf punk and of course, let’s not forget the new staple, psychedelic rock, DeMarco is taking the formula and fuzzing the lines a bit more; he’s really got his fingerprints all over his tunes.
But DeMarco isn’t some serious suffering poet. Or maybe he is. I’ve never even hung out with him, what the fuck do I know? I guess the reason I said that, about the serious poetic stuff, is because of what I’ve read. You know, about how his concerts are described as a “raunchfest” and how he gets naked onstage. Which, while not being serious, could be construed as a little poetic. In my opinion. (And that’s mostly all this article consists of: my opinions.)
Anyway, DeMarco has released two full length studio albums (Salad Days being the latest, released just this year) and with that comes the touring. While it’s a nice sentiment to say that music should only be about music, fans are always interested in more: they want it all, the personal life, the inspiration, the friendship and yeah, the nudity. Bring it on, man. DeMarco’s hitting up Osheaga Music and Arts Festivalthis year (I’ve included him in my Top Picks) and I personally am really excited, clothes or no clothes.
Mac DeMarco performs Friday, August 1 at 9:50 p.m. at the Scène des arbres Galaxie. Osheaga takes place August 1 to 3 at Parc Jean-Drapeau.
Flume’s ephemeral pulsing is something I imagine one might hear perusing the racks at American Apparel, but don’t let that somewhat abrasive association put you off. This young beatmaker from down under has serious chops; and please, don’t buy that T-shirt.
Flume, whose given name is Harley Streten, is by all reports an unassuming 22 year-old, but his self-titled first album has caused quite the reverberation— reverb being in this case, an apt modifier.
His beats are emotive and lilting and laced with that classic J Dilla warp and wooze. There is a distinct hip-hopness to Flume’s sound, but it’s also infectiously poppy and danceable. I’d go so far as to say that some of these tracks could play on pop radio, which in nearly every case is the most damning statement a critic can make.
It’s always been a preoccupation of mine, this pinning down what makes a tune more than the sum of its parts – like why is Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn so good? I don’t know, it seems to me like it should suck. But it doesn’t; it sings minory, sad and emotional right down my spine. I can’t tell you what it is, though. In Spanish they call it duende — having soul, a heightened emotional resonance, an authenticity of expression.
For real, though, Flume’s got that unquantifiable something that makes his music resonate with a listener on an emotional level. I’m so looking forward to seeing him spin at Osheaga. You should most definitely let this album play through and tell me it don’t pull you in.
Flume performs at 7 p.m. at the Piknic Électronik stage on August 1. Osheaga runs from August 1 to August 3 at Parc Jean-Drapeau.
So you’ve scanned Montreal’s Osheaga lineup for the 9th year in a row, getting that feeling of desperate excitement, visualizing how you’re going to stake out the stage and trample the audience in your madness to get to the front… I’m doing the same, only I have a forum to air my arrogant, opinionated top picks and you all have to be subjected to it. I love it.
Anyway, this is my own personal list of who I wanna see at one of Montreal’s most explosive music festivals. Unlike Rolling Stone’s Best Guitar Players of All Time, this is not a popularity contest masquerading as a definitive collection. Nope, this is just me going through the list and saying yea or nay, in no particular order. Here we go:
Naturally. Is that too obvious for you? Who the hell cares? He’s innovative as hell (check out his record-breaking record pressing!), and for our generation — a generation of fast food/shopping mall/computerized music/apathetic cellphone relationship crap — we should all be going down on our knees and thanking God that we’ve got Jack White. And that he’s coming to Montreal.
These guys keep getting compared with Mumford & Sons. Honestly, fuck Mumford & Sons. Half Moon Run’s album has nothing to do with that country folk revivalist crap. They’re local to Montreal, and when artists like Half Moon Run do what they do, they’re keeping the standard of incredible Montreal musicianship high. You’ve probably heard their songs from debut album Dark Eyes being played every two seconds on the radio, but it’s about time the radio actually played something decent.
I want to see Temples for one reason, and one reason only: my band was going to be called Temples first, but these dorks beat us to the punch. Like every new band, they’ve branded themselves “psychedelic rock” and they’re coming all the way from England. They’re probably great too, the bastards.
The first time I heard him, it was in the early morning and ‘Places’ was coming from someone’s bedroom, breaking my goddamned heart. That’s how you know it’s good. I’ve never heard anything quite like his album Bad Vibes, and I started using it as my sleep album when I suffer from insomnia because Shlohmo is about as close to dreaming as you’re going to get without having to close your eyes.
He’s twenty four years old. He’s from fuckin’ Duncan. And his albums, 2 and Salad Days, my god. Photo shoots with cigarettes raining down from heaven and songs that are so beautiful they’ll rip holes in your very existence, DeMarco is COOL. His songs are dubbed “blue wave” (probably because that’s what it feels like when you dig his stuff) and “slacker rock” (which is just silly but makes me feel better about my life), I scanned that list and couldn’t help but smile and chuck on “My Kind of Woman.” Oh baby.
Reignwolf: Another fucking wolf band?! Are you serious? Get creative, you fucks. There are more animals out there besides wolves. Aids Wolf, Wolf Parade, Wolf Mother and Reignwolf, you should all just form one big pack and go howl at the goddamned moon together.
The Dismemberment Plan: Yes, that is an actual name of an actual band. No, it is not a band made up of three homely, scorned feminists. It’s actually a couple of tragic looking white males. Maybe they’re eunuchs.
So that concludes my top picks. See you at the stages.
The 9th edition of Osheaga Music and Arts Festival takes place August 1 to 3 at Parc Jean-Drapeau.
Aight, let’s get this in — five days from today I’ll be twerking the shit outta some lamppost on the Osheaga grounds while dazed festival goers gawk and snicker, but fuck ‘em, I got a press pass!
There are a lot of fresh acts on Friday and in truth I’d only heard of something like half of them. We all know Outkast and Skrillex and yeah, I won’t really be on their jock… Unless Outkast does the entire ATLiens album start to finish, in which case I will recite every lyric in perfect time while sobbing in ecstasy.
The line-up for Friday is heavily electronic, or at least beat driven. I’m cool with that because my boy Flume is playing. I don’t know him but he’s my boy, know what I mean? Drum and bass wizards Chase and Status will be dope, super UK vibes, fast wubbing, jungle drum lines.
And ODESZA, a couple of chill-looking cats out of Seattle with their silky smooth take on pop beat making. Should be good.
And then the acid rapper, Chance. This guy is pretty lyrical. I grew up on 90’s hip hop so the bar is mad high but he’s got a 7.5 — that’s probably like a 9 in terms of the new school. I hope he’s obviously on acid; that would be a trip to see. (Plus, from what I hear there’s lots of good acid around.)
Finally, I selected The Beaches, a girl band that actually plays instruments. They have a certain verve, which I find alluring. They remind me of Veruca Salt for millennials.
I’m pumped to be covering this year’s opening day. I’ve never been to Osheaga and in the past, I have not been its biggest fan— I was just jaded by lack of funds, I guess. For real, though, if Outkast goes into ‘13th Floor (Growing Old)’ I’m gonna lose my shit hard. I’ll keep you posted, and check out some of the hyperlinks, don’t be a hater.