POP Montreal is back in full force for its twelfth edition. On my end, I’ve not recovered from the summer of festivals yet – and neither has my wallet. This year, I’m going to shows that I know for sure I’ll love, as well as those few artists that have managed to get my adventurous nature to rise up from its lingering hangover. Hair of the dog it is and off to what will surely be another magnetic auditory POP Montreal experience.
A K U A – Michael Rault + A K U A + Milk Lines + Pierre Kwenders + Nom de Plume (DJ Set)
Sep. 28, 9:30 p.m. @ Divan Orange :: Salle CISM
Mining the artists section of the POP website, I came upon A K U A’s tunes and was intrigued. Although the music video doesn’t do it for me, the tracks found on A K U A’s site promise something decidedly rich and textural. A K U A is a newcomer to the music scene in some respects but she’s already opened for names like Solange and Katy B and performed at an impressive number of music festivals already. A K U A’s tunes are compelling soundscapes that come to life with her raw, soulful vocals. She is my pick for new artist to explore (for those on a tight budget) for this POP edition.
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Les Soeurs Boulay – Les Soeurs Boulay + Michael Feuerstack + Safia Nolin
Sep. 29, 7:00 p.m. @ Studio Breakglass présenté par SiriusXM
Folk music plucks my heart strings – that’s the kind of music that plays the most often in my nest. I’m glad to see Les Soeurs Boulay as part of the POP Montreal line up. Their soft-spoken poetic story songs fill hearts with wonder, nostalgia, and musical hugs. These two sisters from Gaspésie recorded their first EP in 2012 and have already captured the attention of the province and beyond receiving the prize for New Artist with the Most Potential at the GAMIQ (Gala alternatif de la musique indépendante du Québec). Full disclosure: writing this blurb, I couldn’t help myself and bought their first album, Le poids des confettis, and am now happily eating my chicken soup wrapped in a blanket listening to lovely harmonies renewing my love of the French language. Favourite tracks: ‘Ôte-moi mon linge’, ‘Cul de sac’, and ‘Par le chignon du cou.’
The This Many Boyfriends Club – Dent May + Dead Gaze + She Divides + The This Many Boyfriends Club
Sep. 28, 8:00 p.m. @ Cagibi
Speaking of warming one’s heart, The This Many Boyfriends Club is a local band which I had the pleasure of interviewing about a year ago. They describe their music as “torture-pop, dandy-punk, frock ‘n’ roll, and heavy petal”. There’s also some twee in the mix. These pals have been working hard on a new album, Die or Get Rich Trying, recorded through CJLO’s artist in residency program and to be released this month. The This Many Boyfriends Club is the kind of band that I find myself the most interested in in terms of music journalism. There is a raw love of music, a DIY spirit, and a community-building ethos to what they do. I totally dig that. Plus, their rhythm section fucking rocks.
How Sad – Portugal. The Man + How Sad :: SOLD OUT
Sep. 26, 9:00 p.m. @ Théâtre Corona Virgin Mobile
I recently interviewed How Sad for their EP Launch show, which was a total blast. Indian Summer is a five song EP that weaves together sadness and happiness using synth pop melodies, bummed out lyrics, and catchy hooks skillfully. Having soaked up sunlight listening to previously released tracks, new anthem ‘Hot Blur’ took me by surprise and had me spontaneously breaking into my best awkward dance moves. There’s something undeniably tongue-in-cheek about Indian Summer. Put on your dancing shoes, grab some friends, and get ready for a memorable night indeed.
Moonface – Moonface + Caroline Keating
Sep. 29, 8:30 p.m. @ Ukrainian Federation :: Salle St. Ambroise
I just recently heard about Moonface from Josh Séguin of Two-Year Carnival. Yeah, I know, I’m behind the times (I got lost in my old Keaton Henson albums for a while there). Now that I’ve been initiated to Spencer Krug’s solo piano project, I’m beyond stoked to see that Moonface is playing this year’s POP Montreal. Even more so now that I know that Caroline Keating is opening. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Keaton a couple times over the last few years. Over the years, her songs have become a fixture of the soundtrack to Montreal’s passing seasons. This line up is this piano-driven song lover’s dream come true. Most likely it will be yours too.
Honorable Mentions: Cinéma L’Amour, Braids, DJ Noah Bick, Emma Frank Quartet, Corinna Rose, Sarah Jane Scouten and SUUNS