POP Montreal was just bananas this year. There was so much to see: parties and weird late nights out with the camera. I am only now, after nearly 5 days, keeping anything like normal hours.

The week started off with a party over at POP central— place was packed when I rolled up on the late side of 7. There were bare lights strung above everyone’s heads downstairs, which made it all a little overt. I headed upstairs where the sub 60 bass was coming from. On the top landing it was dark and I turned the corner right into the last tune of the Young Paris set. I was feeling it, so I stuck around at the jam for a minute afterword and talked about RUN NDG t-shirts with some random guy.

I’d gotten the press lanyard by then, and Flynt Flossy was playing later. Had to go connect with my people for the show, right!? (Read a review of the Turquoise Jeep showcase.)

On Thursday night, I went and checked out that LOC-NAR set at Casa del Popolo. I took Chose Bottine with me — his niece (Tess) plays keys in various projects including LOC-NAR. Now having done a preview of the band already based on my interpretations of their recordings, I was very interested in checking out their set. I was intrigued by the lo-fi style and the strange time signatures. Secondly, this band had a bit of a buzz. Lotsa cool people involved.

The place was packed so I cut hard for the front row so I could photo the group, kind of hard to get balanced for a shot, though! I found Chose Bottine again and just sunk into listening as a musician. The band is really tight, and I don’t mean tight in 4/4 time either. Tonally and energetically this band moves from pop to metallic in a single composition very fluidly. I was also struck by how progressive the tunes were. Nothing dull about how these guys proceed.

Chose Bottine and I were quite impressed. Go check out LOC-NAR live.

Woke up for school feeling like that translucent piece of egg in the pan—

Went downtown Friday night to catch Yoni Wolf. Got totally sidetracked by a few tribespeople and ended up somewhere else. I arrived extremely late and somewhat unbalanced! La Vitrola was bumping with that strange Why? hip hop flavour. No one is as weird on the mic as Yoni Wolf. You got to check him out if you’re unaware. Werd.

The week was wild, the parties were lush and surreal. And I for one sacrificed a few brain cells. But yo! What a job, and what a magical time with my friends covering these acts from Montreal and abroad. The Unicorns closed the week and they get their own article. Shabang!

Photo by Susan Moss courtesy of POP Montreal.

The Unicorns

Like how much more epic of a close could POP Montreal come to? I myself had been up for 40 straight hours and was dressed to the nines, Ray Bans way past dark, you feel me!? I went downtown early with my best friend and chilled out in the ConU ghetto. Epic clouds at sunset. We were excited, plus it’s one of her favorite bands of all time. The girl had a super rare Unicorns shirt on— I felt a great sense of accomplishment just getting there and being awake!

So we got to Metropolis half way through the Light Fires set. I’ve written about Light Fires before— she’s dressed in drag and she kicks ass. Totally at peace up on the stage with nothing but high-hipped cut-offs, a halter top, pumps and her ipod. Light Fires makes really catchy beats and her stage presence is palpable, her witty quips and sex appeal on heavy display. We went and stood right beside the backstage exit, which is about 20 feet back from the stage. I was not getting in that pit, would have died. Between sets, Light Fires came out and I stopped her to say that the show was banging. Such a nice person. Do check out her jams.

Light FiresThe Unicorns, man! They came out in all their glory, still good looking and still tight as a cornrow. They had this cheesy loop of 90s screen savers being projected behind them. I’ve since had a conversation where someone said they weren’t feeling the backdrop, but I feel like it was in keeping with the band’s sardonic aesthetic.

There were a lot of people in the place at the start of their set. Because the band is “from” Montreal, and because they hadn’t played here in more than 10 years, the crowd was full of anticipation and even a thread of anxiety. Like, what if this band I’ve kept on a pedestal all these years shits the bed right now?

The sheets stayed good though. Everyone in this three piece sings and everyone excluding the drummer plays bass, keys, guitar. I love seeing a band of multi-instrumentalists, the trading off between songs, just the ability to own more than one instrument on stage is something for which I have a great respect. In no way did they disappoint. Although the set wasn’t long, it was full of bangers from the Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? album.

Nothing misplaced sonically. There is this observation, though— I could tell that they had rehearsed the shit out of this performance, they knew exactly what they were about. But I also felt a kind of rigidity to their renderings of the tracks, that waver of variation or improvisation wasn’t really coming through and that’s because they probably don’t jam every week, right!?

We were thoroughly impressed. The end was cool in that they did three encores that were one chord strums then a walk off stage. Just when the crowd was getting antsy, they took the stage with I was born a Unicorn. My friend turned back smiling and I knew that we were having a moment. That’s what it’s about. Yeah, the band was good, and generally the shows I cover are sharp and enjoyable. It’s all about living the magic, touching that feeling of being infinite intimately?

So, yeah— it got mystical, perhaps fittingly. We did make it to our respective homes, and God knows I needed serious nutrition and sleep— just so you know I’d do it all again if I could. That’s my take. Keep it flavourful, till next time. Peace.

Photos by Susan Moss courtesy of POP Montreal.

It’s always a thrill to watch Ty Segall perform. A truly talented, earnest West-Coaster who churns out guitar-driven psychedelic tunes more often than some of us change our sheets, he deserves every bit of praise he gets. Not only does Segall live up to the hype, but every time I see him live (this weekend marked the fourth), he surpasses himself and somehow steps it up a notch. As the venues get bigger, so do his power and devotion grow.

The night started off with The Nymphets, a band I’ve heard tons about but have never gotten around to seeing. The trio is comprised of a brother and sister on guitar and drums, respectively, and a friend on bass. Hailing from Montreal, they’ve toured extensively since their beginnings a decade ago, opening for bands like Jay Reatard and CPC Gangbangs.

The Nymphets for Forget the Box

They warmed the crowd right up tearing through some hard, fast tunes at a feverish pace. Their particular brand of punk is infused with a late 70’s/early 80’s British influence, veering from sweet to frenetic punk à la Buzzcocks in one quick, swift beat. Their set ended with a tune sung by drummer Johanna Heldebro, her voice jumpy due to her drumming, a perfectly intentional decision that illustrated the Nymphets’ frenzied sound and style so accurately. Thoroughly enjoyable, wholly appropriate, and I think the guitarist might have winked at me.

La Luz’s Damp Face EP has been on repeat at my place all summer, the perfect soundtrack to accompany a mending heart. It’s hazy, dreamy, and makes me wanna slow dance, my head tightly nuzzled in a dude’s shoulder, while we sway side to side.

The band only got together a year ago in Seattle, and already they’re making waves. Their surf-inspired brand of rock’n’roll has a dreamy, hypnotic quality, and though the mood they evoke is one of longing, it’s anything but desperate –it’s steady; it’s patient; it’s knowing. Their music is worthy of any spaghetti western worth its salt. Somewhere, someplace, Franco Nero is cracking a shit-eating grin.

Onstage, the girls are magnetic. Singer Shana Cleveland’s intimidating gaze and her twang-y guitar licks commanded our undivided attention. The girls are skilled, and have a fresh take on a style so familiar it could easily bore – but their grasp of it is so fierce, they make it their own.

La Luz Pop MTL

I had no doubt the band would hook the crowd, with a sound reminiscent of a cowboy disappearing into the distant sunset at the end of a searing hot day in the desert, but I was struck by their complicity with one another. The girls share a connection that is rare for a band who’ve been together such a short time. They’re a playful bunch who were evidently having as good a time as anyone else – keyboarding Alice Sandahl even took a stage dive towards the end of their set – and were obviously stoked to be opening up for Ty Segall.

A cowboy eventually rolled onto the stage to present Ty Segall Band, claiming they’d recently escaped an alien abduction. Though the veracity of this story is questionable, it’s undeniable that Ty Segall is one of the most talented contemporary musicians, across all popular genres (in my opinion, this isn’t even up for debate). His style is heavily influenced by a variety of genres, yet is inimitable. His shows are raucous, and this time was no different.

The band pumped out song after song from their most recent album, Manipulator, with a couple of throwbacks to Twins and Slaughterhouse. Their energy bordered on unhealthy: drummer Emily Rose Epstein pounded her kit like a maniac, carefree yet focused, while Ty and the boys forcefully tore their instruments to bits with force. Highlights included an all-too-brief reminder of the greatness that is the Rocky Horror Picture Show, jumping from “Science Fiction Double Feature” to “Time Warp” and onto “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me” in a hot minute.

The band demonstrated their true allegiance to punk ethos when Ty stopped playing mid-song (as the rest of his band continued) to disapprovingly stare down a security guard trying to get rid of a kid who was stage-diving, and motioned for him to get off the stage while shaking his head, then picking up in the middle of the song. The crowd went ballistic, with kids stage-diving and body-surfing throughout the entire set, and a large pit going. As is the band’s habit, the encore featured a cover, Motörhead’s (or Hawkwind’s, Ty’s favourite band) “Motörhead” this time, ending with “Girlfriend” off Melted, a personal favourite.

My only gripe is that I wish the set had lasted longer – I could watch these guys play for hours. I left the show feeling like a teenager, speechless and in awe. It’s almost difficult to describe the excitement, both from the crowd and the band, and I feel sorry for those who missed this: you really had to be there.

* photos by Bianca Lecompte (click on first image to open gallery)

Ty Segall POP MontrealTy Segall POP Montreal

Hey yo POP Montreal— treat me like a pirate and give me that booty. That’s the hook for Flossy’s new single. The guy is on some next level shit right now. I strolled down the wet Plateau streets with the freshest girl I know to catch the Turquoise Jeep set at Club Lambi. I was ready for whatever, like who goes to see Flynt Flossy, right!?

We chilled in the alleyway for a bit, took some flicks and got faded. Pure trap bass was just slamming in the building. Shaydakiss and A-Rock took turns spinning the opening set— they had snifters on the table beside the ones and twos, the place was crunk up. There were some pretty fly dancers on the floor, this one dude was leaning back way under the limbo stick. A throng of girls in AA tights were dipping that shit low too! I don’t know if you’re up on what Flossy’s been doing since Turquoise Jeep, his label, started dropping albums back in 2010—

The sexualization of women is rampant and there’s a super cheesy aesthetic to the lyrical content. These guys that form the Turquoise Jeep crew, Whatchyamacallit and Yung Humma and Flynt Flossy are constantly rapping about sordid encounters with live women. Sounds like a train wreck, no? But yo, trust me, these tracks are so stupid that it’s actually funny. The tracks almost feel like parody. Now, I don’t think Flossy’s as self-aware and pointed as Ween. But there is a shrewdness to embodying something you’re making fun of, marketing it and taking it on tour. Plus, the beats really bang.


At one point each of the members chose a girl from the audience and had them come up on stage— But yo! These girls got mad lap dances, dudes were grinding all up on these poor girls’ faces. Flossy’s turned the place out. I’m not saying none of those ladies enjoyed it though. The show was just live with strange outfits and dank beats, after an hour I had to dip and walk the streets— photos in the after-rain are so reflective.

If you don’t bump Flynt Flossy once a week just to get low and laugh then you slipping. And also peep that video for “Treat Me Like A Pirate”. It’s all American Appeal and thick gals wining as the beat rolls out.

flynt flossy


Photos by Jesse Anger.

LOC-NAR sound like they’ve been up for days, surviving on a strange combination of substance and Pizza. These guys have termed their take on weird garage psy-pop ‘slackcore’. It don’t get more lo-fi than this— lot’s of space and pacing in these compositions that sound like they’ve been recorded through a tin can on a string.

LOC-NAR is a 5-piece based out of Montreal’s own Plateau. Four of the five band members are Ontarians— Arthur Rossignol is on percussion, Tess Roby on keys and vocals, Andrew McConnell on lead guitar and vocals, Max Murphy on the bass and vocals and New Hampshire import, Jono Currier, also on git and vocals. These guys hooked up through various programs at Concordia University and this project has lots of juice and has produced some good tracks already.


It’s worth noting that everyone is this band is in another band, which is interesting in that it sheds some light on the inner workings of a fertile little pocket of artists here in the city. This is no summiting genius alone talking to God(s) – this is a collective interested in exchanging ideas and influences, and through this exploration producing art.

As far as process goes, it’s McConnell who’s bringing in most of the bare bones skeletons, which the other members flesh out with their own flavour. I talked to McConnell about the nuance of being the catalyst, if he felt any pressure, or if he relished the control… He answered neither of these questions, which is a good thing because almost any answer would have been douchey. Instead, McConnell stressed the idea that LOC-NAR was very much a coming together of friends, and that they have a collective approach to writing and the creative process. It’s a mash-up, and all the more interesting because of it.

Last year they released an EP, Sink of Mayo, which you can listen to via their Bandcamp. Then they put out a couple of singles on compilations. This year they released Sink of Mayo B-sides on tape. Plus in the next while they’ll be dropping a new EP, Hotter Water. This group is getting it in hard in Montreal right now. If you’re down with lo-fi production and fresh tricky lyrics, give these links a spin. And if you don’t catch the inference of the band name you’re slipping right now. W#RD.

LOC-NAR perform as part of POP Montreal Friday, September 19 with 36?, Krill, Brazilian Money and Kurvi Tasch at Casa del Popolo. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., $10 at the door.

* photos by Ellen Belshaw for LOC-NAR