Some shows this week: Suoni per il Popolo continues, Fringe POP outdoor show at Parc des Amériques, the Montreal Infringement festival and B.C. metal band Bison returns for round 2.


Infringement: Crazy Knows Crazy + Richard Lahmy + Realms of Bliss + The Extract @ Barfly

Show starts at 9 p.m., PWYC.


Fringe POP: Syngja + Kurvi Tasch + Medhi Cayenne Club @ Parc des Amériques

Show starts at 7 p.m., PWYC.

Infringement: Psynlangwage + Lucky Lex + Jay Manafest + Nikolai KUSH + Drop D @ Le P’tit Cabaret

Show starts at 9 p.m., PWYC.

Amen Dunes + Alex Calder + Syngja @ Casa del Popolo

Doors open at 10 p.m., $10 in advance via Blue Skies Turn Black or $13 at the door.


Fringe POP: Le Trouble + Athens + Hua Li + Look Vibrant + Nanimal @ Parc des Amériques

Show starts at 4 p.m., PWYC.

Bison + USA Out of Vietnam + Vile Intent + Xothogua @ Turbo Haus

Doors open at 8 p.m., $10.

Infringement: This is not [sic] @ Le P’tit Cabaret

Show starts at 10:30 p.m., PWYC.


Geographer + Diamond Bones @ Divan Orange

Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $12 in advance online via Indie Montreal or at L’Oblique, Atom Heart and Cheap Thrills; $15 at the door.

The king of Syrian techno music is returning to Montreal. Omar Souleyman is making a stop at La Sala Rossa on June 18 to share his electronic blend of traditional dabke dance music and synth-driven trance music with Montrealers once again, this time as part of the Suoni Per Il Popolo Festival.

Souleyman began his career as a wedding musician in Syria, which allowed him to explore and update traditional dabke music. Weddings in Syria are said to be important for both the preservation of Syrian musical heritage as well as the experimentation with new sounds and innovations. After building a reputation as an invigorating performer in Syria and throughout the Middle East, Souleyman’s presence grew through bootleg recordings and Youtube videos. He has since developed a large following in the West and has been a frequent performer at festivals and various venues across the U.S. and Canada.

Although his career has spanned 20 years and his catalogue of recordings is in the mid-triple-digits, Souleyman only recently recorded his first studio album, 2013’s Wenu Wenu on Ribbon Music. The record was produced by Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) and encapsulates Souleyman’s musical DNA. It is a fiery, visceral blend of traditional Syrian musical elements and propulsive, four-on-the-floor dance beats. The album also captures the irresistible energy of Souleyman’s live performances.

Souleyman performs with his longtime musical partner, keyboardist and composer Rizan Sa’id, and together with just voice, drumbeats, and keyboards, they create full-bodied songs that would surely catch the attention of most bystanders. Souleyman performs in Arabic and Kurdish and the lyrics focus on themes of love, though certainly not in the Western traditional sense. His songs range in focus from a groom asking God to be with his bride instead of being accepted to heaven to a woman telling her mother she would rather marry her lover than her cousin, a frequent occurrence in Northeast Syria.

All of these elements help explain why Omar Souleyman has been captivating audiences around the globe for over 20 years. His presence on stage is stoic and almost imposing with his signature body-length jelllabiya, keffiyeh, and dark sunglasses, but he is always inviting. His music gives the listener an insatiable urge to move. This show is not to be missed.

Omar Souleyman performs Wednesday, June 18 at 8:30 p.m. at La Sala Rossa. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased in advance via Suoni per il Popolo

As light spring rains welcome the heat of the summer sun, I made my way to Little Italy to meet with three members of one of Montreal’s most talked about indie bands: Ought.

Ought began in 2011 when New Hampshire transplant Tim Beeler (guitar, vocals), New Jersey native Matt May (keyboards) and Australian expat Tim Keen (drums, violin) began jamming together in their apartment turned practice space on Mont-Royal. Soon thereafter, Ben Stidworthy — a friend of the trio’s roommates from Portland, Oregon — joined them on bass.

It was in that same Mont-Royal apartment that Ought played their first show as well as recorded their first EP. The name of the band emerged during these times in a moment of miscommunication when Tim Keen jokingly suggested “Art” which the members misheard as “Ought”.

“We liked it because it didn’t sound like any particular style of music and it didn’t evoke anything particular,” May explained.

Ought has previously spoken of the relationship between their music and the agitprop expression and mobilization times of the printemps érable, a time during which most members were students at McGill. Beeler studied Cultural Studies and Communications, Stidworthy majored in Religious Studies and May in Sociology and History.

“The way we’ve talked about it has generally been that the energy of it and going out on night marches and different degrees of participation,” May summed up. “I don’t think we had any strong effect on that, we didn’t, is just the easy way to say it. As people we were just part of it, when the march would come by our house we’d go out and walk with casseroles. I think the relationships that were established and again, the energy of being around a lot of people who had different ideas of what to do but had similar feelings of either outrage, frustration, anger, disappointment. That kind of tension and excitement definitely inspired us.”


Last January, Ought signed with Constellation Records and recently launched their LP More Than Any Other Day which they recorded at Hotel2Tango with sound engineer Radwan Moumneh. May recalled the excitement over signing with Constellation Records.

“I was very excited because for me they are the label, the one that I want to work with. They put out consistently good stuff, and great politics and conveniently in Montreal. Just really nice people,” he said.

These days, Ought is getting ready to go on back to back tours: a short East Coast tour followed by a US/Canada tour, a European tour and more TBA.

“We’re really excited to play a lot of shows. Part of the excitement for me is to see friends we haven’t seen in a while. We’re going to play a lot and hopefully not destroy ourselves,” said May.

He added that he very much looks forward to seeing friends along the way including members of Femmaggots.

Tim Beeler and members of Ought have been involved in community radio resulting in what Beeler calls an “organic interaction with performing live.”

Beyond Ought, each of the guys have solo or other musical projects: Beeler has a folk music solo project along with working sound at Cagibi and for the Loose-Fit collective, May has solo ambient and folk projects, Stidworthy has a pop electronic project, and Keen also plays in Mands and records bands. Keen and May started a tape label called Misery Loves Company.

Ought “The Weather Song” from Constellation Records on Vimeo.

Since the summer is the perfect season for guilty pleasures, I asked Ought what theirs are.

“I only have pleasures,” Stidworthy joked with a smile stretching across of his face.

Beeler named chocolate almonds which despite trying to curb sugar he gives into.

A tangent conversation brought to light Stidworthy’s guilty pleasure, Pastis, which he described as an ‘herbal bouquet’.

“It’s an anise aperitif. Anise is a seed that tastes like licorice. Pastis is the ouzo of the South of France. A lot of Mediterranean countries have their own anise drink. I get it because it tastes really nice, you drink it with water, and it’s 45%,” Stidworthy described.

“I think mine will be eating other people’s chips,” May explained. “When someone buys group chips and I end up eating almost all of them, which happens a lot. The sheer volume of chips is my guilty pleasure.”

In terms of Ought’s songwriting process Beeler described:

“Everything comes out of collaborative songwriting. I think we work best when we have a really long practice and we maybe fine-tune a couple songs we’ve been working on and then jam a lot. Songs come out of someone doing something interesting and we’ll gravitate towards it. Pretty much, everything on the record comes out of something very similar to that. The only song that is kind of an exception is ‘Around Again’ just because we wrote it two weeks before the record was recorded. The only difference is that we hadn’t played it live yet and that’s normally part of our process: playing things live quite a bit and then they’ll change. We’ve got some new stuff that we’re working on.”

In terms of what the band members musical influences and tastes are, the answers were quite varied.

May said he listens to a lot of ambient, noise, Magik Markers, Sonic Youth and all of their friends’ bands: Lungbutter, Harsh Reality, Fakes. Cymbals Eat Guitars is a band that he thinks about a lot. Stidworthy explained that he didn’t play bass seriously before Ought and so his roots are more firmly in playing the guitar, riffs, and chord progressions. For influences he named Django Reinhardt, Paul Simonon of the Clash, and Graham Coxon of Blur.

“Noel Gallagher of Oasis said that Graham Coxon is the best guitarist of that generation which is probably true, in my opinion,” Stidworthy added. “Listening to his guitar playing is what made me wanna get a Telecaster when I was a kid and started to think about ways to be weird in riff-making and chord progressions.”

As for Beeler, he humbly added: “I didn’t own an electric guitar for a very long time and the first time I had an electric guitar I played it like an acoustic guitar. I don’t think I’m very helpful as far as inserting influences around the aura surrounding our band. I really like roots, blues music and I like a lot of different things. As far as electric stuff, I like noisy melodic music, I like Sonic Youth too.”

I asked them if there are any bands that they disagree on as a band to which Stidworthy quickly answered:


Both Beeler and May gasped: “You don’t like Beyoncé!”

More Than Any Other Day is out now on Constellation Records. Ought perform Friday, June 13 at Casa del Popolo with Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche and Harsh Reality as part of Suoni per il Popolo. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased online.

suoni per il popolo

Suoni per il Popolo, Montreal’s premier experimental music festival, has been dedicated to showcasing the weird, the fringe, the avant-garde and the just plain out-there for over ten years. Part of their mandate is to dissolve musical borders and genres and to promote a culture of collaboration. The result is a truly diverse collection of performances with some surprising combinations. This year’s festival runs from June 4 to June 22 and includes workshops and art exhibits as well as nightly musical performances.

Today we’re presenting only a small sample of musical acts participating in the festival but you can see the full calendar here.


Crosss + Sheer Agony + Shitsu @ La Vitrola

Crosss — Halifax-born, Toronto-based — blend elements of metal, sludge, doom, psychedelia and grunge. Going over to the dark side can be overwhelming if you’re not already into that but Crosss extend a sweet invitation and gently pull you in. They’re joined by the unabashedly poppy Sheer Agony and new Montreal punk band Shitsu.

Show starts at 9 p.m., $6 at the door.


USA Out Of Vietnam + Public Animal + Marie Davidson @ La Sala Rossa

It feels like they’ve been around forever but USA Out Of Vietnam will be launching their debut album Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes Thursday. Blending elements of drone, dream pop and psych, the band favours lush harmonies and infectious melodies and takes the time to build them up properly. Toronto garage rock band Public Animal and electronic pop songstress Marie Davidson open up the show.

Show starts at 8:30 p.m., $8 in advance through Suoni per il Popolo or $10 at the door. 


Steve Bates & Seijiro Murayama + Sam Shalabi & Stefan Christoff @ Casa del Popolo

Montrealer Steve Bates is an audio/visual artist whose work often explores our relationship with time. He also runs The Dim Coast, a space dedicated to experiments with sound. Seijiro Murayama is a Japan-based percussionist who focuses on improvisation and electroacoustic, conceptual compositions. They first played together at the legendary Rhiz club, Vienna’s go-to venue for experimental electronic music. The duo are joined by Sam Shalabi — composer, guitarist and oud player (Land of Kush and Shalabi Effect) — and Stefan Christoff — pianist, journalist and activist. Their work is a mix of Western free jazz improvisation and makam, a system of melody types used in Turkish classical music.

Show starts at 8:30 p.m., $12 at the door or online via Suoni per il Popolo


Parquet Courts + Tyvek + Protomartyr + Heat @ Il Motore

Brooklyn-based weirdo-punk band Parquet Courts have been steadily rising in popularity since they broke onto the scene in 2010. Sunbathing Animal, their third album, drops today.

Show starts at 9 p.m., $15 at the door or online via Suoni per il Popolo.


Die Like A Dog Trio (Brötzmann, Parker, Drake) @ La Sala Rossa

It’s been 12 years since the last Die Like A Dog performance, back when the group was a quartet. This time around, German free jazz legend Peter Brötzmann is joined by double-bassist William Parker and percussionist Hamid Drake.

Show starts at 8 p.m., $28 at the door or online via Suoni per il Popolo.


Ought + Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche + Harsh Reality @ Casa del Popolo

Ought released their debut full-length album, More Than Any Other Day, via Constellation Records this past April and have since received widespread critical acclaim. They are joined by no-wave, afro-beat, trance-pop outfit Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche and experimental noise band Harsh Reality. Read Pamela Fillion’s interview with Ought.

Show starts at 8:30 p.m., $10 at the door or online via Suoni per il Popolo.


Omar Souleyman + d’Eon + Nouveau Zodiaque @ La Sala Rossa

Omar Souleyman‘s story is the stuff of legends and I won’t do it justice in three lines of description that I’ve confined myself to here. Basically, he’s a Syrian artist whose sound blends traditional Middle Eastern folk music, Shaabi (a form of working-class Egyptian street music) and electronic elements. He built up his fame performing at weddings throughout the Middle East, recording over 500 cassettes in the process. He was picked up by North American label Sublime Frequencies and released his first studio album, Wenu Wenu, produced by Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden.

Show starts at 8:30 p.m., $25 at the door or online via Suoni per il Popolo.


Jerusalem In My Heart + Morphosis + Charles Cohen @ Usine C

Jerusalem In My Heart live is a totally immersive audio/visual experience. The group makes modern experimental Arabic music, blending traditional sounds and melodies with contemporary electronic elements.

Show starts at 8 p.m., $15 at the door or online via Suoni per il Popolo.

Brahja Waldman's Quintet

What’s that? You wanna go see some shows this week? Well get to it.



This year, MUTEK teamed up with Elektra to celebrate both festivals’ 15-year anniversaries and the result is EM15. The festival wraps up this weekend so be sure to catch a free event at the Musée d’art contemporain featuring Markus Floats, Santoz, Leon Louder, Bataille Solaire, Hugues Clément, Marie Davidson, Processor. Check their schedule for more events.

Most nighttime events start at 10 p.m., ticket info here.

Static Gold @ Cabaret Lion d’Or

Funk and swing collide into a dance party tonight when Static Gold launch their debut album Speaking Easy.

Show starts at 9 p.m., $13 at the door.

Brahja Waldman’s Quintet + Sam Shalabi, Anthony von Seck and Alexander MacSween @ Resonance Café

Brahja Waldman’s Quintet launch Sir Real Live, a vinyl recorded live at Resonance Café last August.

Doors open at 8:30 p.m.; $6, $8 includes download code, $15 includes vinyl. 

Bearmace + Yardlets + Melted Faces + Hiroshima Shadows @ La Vitrola

Show starts at 10:30 p.m., $6 with some proceeds going to Sun Youth.


Suoni per il Popolo: Crosss + Sheer Agony + Maica Mia + Shitsu @ La Vitrola

Show starts at 9 p.m., $6.


Suoni per il Popolo: USA Out of Vietnam + Public Animal + Marie Davidson @ La Sala Rossa

Doors open at 8:30 p.m., $8 in advance via Suoni per il Popolo or $10 at the door. 

Fringe Fest: APigeon + Girls In Uniform @ Divan Orange

Doors open at 8:30 p.m.; tickets cost $10 and are available at Divan Orange, Atom Heart, l’Oblique, Cheap Thrills and online via Indie Montreal.

B-17 + UUBBUURRUU + The Disraelis @ l’Escogriffe

Doors open at 9 p.m., $5.