Follow me on Twitter for Pop Montreal updates!

I hope to write a blog entry tonight, regardless, follow me on Twitter, for Pop Montreal updates and insights!


So far I have seen Charlotte Cornfield twice, Lindi Ortega, Ben Caplan, Kid Koala, Rebekah Higgs, Dinah Thorpe, and Arcade Fire to name a few! Many more to come, including some pics and perhaps video!

Shortest blog post ever (for me anyway).


Pop Montreal 2011 preview (September 21 – 25)

I am not too great at previews, Sean over at Said the Gramophone is, but I will try.

Slowly but surely as I heard more and more bands announced, this years Pop Montreal has quite a diverse lineup with plenty of well known, and lesser known acts. Apologies on the formatting, as I do not have enough text, and I wanted to get the pics in!

After reading this blog post, head on over to Pop Montreal for official times and information regarding the concerts. And for Montrealers, the latest Montreal Mirror has a handy pull out day by day schedule of music listings. Or view it online. And on the official Pop Montreal users can build their own personalised schedule.

(Bold in the next two signifies Canadian acts.)

A few of the shows I am personally really looking forward to include tUnE-yArDs, Rebekah Higgs, Ohbijou (new album, Metal Meets hits stores September 27, I might get to buy it before the official release!), Kid Sister, Laura Marling, and Q-Bert. I am also very much looking forward to local Montrealer Charlotte Cornfield (who has two sets on opening Wednesday, one opening for Philémon Chante, and later that evening as part of the Let Your Hair Down Showcase!), Kid Koala (opening for the giant free Arcade Fire show), the giant free Arcade Fire show(!), Krista Muir, Samiam (who I just saw were playing a few minutes ago!), Real McKenzies (Awesome Scottish influenced Celtic punk!), and The Planet Smashers. Oh, and in the course of writing this blog post I see in the official Pop Montreal program Maylee Todd is playing Saturday night set as L’Esco (basically a small semi-basement bar/venue). No word online, so I will not hold my breath! She rules by the way! And I got to know her from Pop Montreal last year! I also see that the Sarah Blackwood (from psychobilly act The Creepshow) set for the Stomp Records BBQ is at 4PM, before local rockabilly act The Hellbound Hepcats! And although I really do not know his solo work, Liam Finn is playing the fest too.

Also a few acts I know little to nothing about, and in many cases am just going by their pictures (press photos are indeed important!), that I would like to see include Lindi Ortega, Cherry Chapstick (another Montreal act!), Megan Bonnell, Marques Toliver, Vilify (Montreal again!), Natale (from Paris, booming pop vocals and insect-like acrobatic dancing apparently!), UN (514 represent!), D-sisive, Molly Sweeney (Montreal!), Dinah Thorpe, Emma-Lee, Caroline Keating (Montreal), Old n’ Weird, Shaydakiss (Montreal) and Azelia Banks (both opening for Kid Sister), Frankie Rose, Dominique Young Unique, Anna Rose, Yuck, Gianna Lauren, Alessi’s Ark (London, according to Pop, folk songs that make you want to cycle down an English country road!), Allie Hughes, Sheezer, and The Raincoats.

There is no way I will be able to catch them all, but I will try and catch a fair bit, all of what I really want to see, and hopefully some of the ones I would like to see barring any personal scheduling conflicts, and definitely catch some artists that are new to me.


So knowing what I know, a few I would recommend include tUnE-yArDs. I have only heard some of her stuff, and I saw her performing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, but she, Merrill Garbus et. al., definitely have an innovative sound.

Laura Marling

Laura Marling and her blend of UK folk should prove to be awesome, her third record, A Creature I Don’t Know, came out on Monday. Hopefully I can pick it up at the show!

DJ Qbert

Q-Bert is a legendary DJ, thus making him big in hip hop, since hip hop, that is to say rapping, emerged from the DJ, the disc jockey. His turntablism skills are crazy good! I see quite a fair amount of shows, but I do not get to see proper DJ/scratching shows often at all.

A few locals I can highly recommend include Charlotte Cornfield (folk/rock), Krista Muir (multi-talented, ukelele playing and then some!), Kid Koala (speaking of turntablism!), and the ever impressive some 15 plus years on, The Planet Smashers (ska extraordinaire!).

I have not heard them yet, but hope to check out Montreal’s own electro dur UN. Just by Pop Montreals description: “Toronto’s weirdo pop princess”, Allie Hughes sounds like a great bet! Frankie Rose of Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, and the Vivian Girls fame, enough said!

Another artists I just listened to, Dominique Young Unique, is a young female MC from Florida. Upon hearing and watching “Show My Ass“, I was reminded of Rye Rye, although no doubt they differ quite a bit, Rye Rye coming from the Baltimore scene and being a M.I.A. protégée.

Cannot say as I know them, but given their history, having formed in the U.K. in 1977, I might just have to check out The Raincoats.

Of course Pop Montreal is far from just music, it is Film Pop, Art Pop, and more! Last year Feist’s film Look at What the Light Did Now had a screening, and this year PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake will have a screening. Also there is Bloodied But Unbowed: The Birth of Vancouver Punk Rock 1977-82.

And among the symposiums, there is Voices on Voices, which, to steal Pop Montreal’s description, is “a workshop/discussion on writing and arrangement with Merrill Garbus, aka tUnE-YaRds.” Very nice. And The Raincoats – Adventures, which as you may have guessed, is about The Raincoats!

Allie Hughes

Charlotte Cornfield

Dominique Young Unique

Bookmark this page, and come back, as I will continue adding links to the artists’ official websites while I check them out.

Who or what are you looking forward to at Pop Montreal? Do not be shy, comment, and plug your blog (if you have one), it may just end up on my blogroll! It might also influence me to go see a certain show! Les commentaires en français sont également les bienvenus. Heck, since this is the digital age, any language will do, even binary or hex code (okay, perhaps a tad too geeky).

The Tower of Song Tour preview, featuring Alysha Brillinger and Kristen Bussandri

Since I will not be able to catch this show (unless I can make it towards the end (I am volunteering at Pop Montreal, and have to get my ‘training’ — I volunteered last year, so I should be able to get the hang of it! By the way, it is not too late to volunteer!)), I am giving it some publicity over here in order to generate some additional buzz!

I am only familiar with both singer-songwriters from hearing their audio online, and sounds like it would make for a good show. So to steal from their bios, as I do not know too much about them, “Alysha Brillinger’s blues and reggae influenced songs combine her funky guitar playing and unique voice to create a fresh new organic vibe of music.” I find she has a bit of a jazzy delivery as well. Check out her song “Better Soon” below (I actually hear a bit of Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay” in the melody. She is presently signed to Lava/Universal Republic, and is a native of Kitchener it would seem. Hence the tour (see below) doing their respective hometowns, and Toronto in between!

The first time I heard Kristen Bussandri, a local (Montrealer), who has split her time between New York City and here in Montreal, I thought sultry, and lo and behold, in her bio: “Kristen Bussandri is a long-legged sultry brunette who will stop you in your tracks with her timeless pop songwriting and heartbreaking vocals that transcend genres, embracing everything from intimate acoustic ballads to gritty R&B to rock with uncompromising sophistication and depth.” In July, she just released her debut EP, Diamonds to Dust. It can be heard and purchased online, just head on over to her official website, Embedded below, a live rendition of her song “If You Don’t Love Me You’re Wrong.”

The three city micro-tour starts in Montreal Wednesday night (September 14), and the next two nights are Toronto and Kitchener, Ontario, respectively. Head on over to, which seems to be a crowdsourcing (as they say) meets a deal of the day site, for advance ticket, and show information. As of this writing there is only a couple of hours left to get Toronto and Kitchener tickets at a reduced rate, so hurry!

And individually they will be doing shows in the future (I reckon!), so check out their official websites: and

Mobb Deep – Hell on Earth (LP of the Week)

I am a big fan of hip hop. I may be selective in what I like and listen to, but really any music fan has their likes and dislikes. A buddy at work said I should write more about hip hop. So here it is, and much more to come!

Perhaps one reason why I do not write more is since I am not an expert in the subject, but I do know what is good (and with time comes experience). And Mobb Deep’s third record, Hell on Earth, is good!

Released in 1996, and featuring Nas, Big Noyd, and two Wu-Tang Clan members, Johnny Blaze aka Method Man and Lex Diamonds aka Raekwon. Nas was guesting after his second record, It Was Written was released earlier in 1996. Wu-Tang’s second record (Wu-Tang Forever) was just over half a year away, while Method Man had his debut Tical out (1994), and Raekwon’s debut, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… had been out for a little over a year.

I first got into Mobb Deep thanks to an old skate (as in skateboard) video, someone skated to “Extortion”, which features Method Man.

Q Magazine called this one of the 50 heaviest albums of all time. From the opener, “Animal Instinct” it is apparent. The aforementioned “Extortion” is a great piece of East Coast/Hardcore/Gangsta hip hop, featuring Method Man at his best. All the way to the end, over 60 minutes worth, the album flows very well. “Hell on Earth (Front Lines)” is a slower piano laced track, but still definitely one to nod with to the beat.

The beats are solid. As is the rapping of Havoc and Prodigy. The record features a few samples, but they are seamless, making them next to impossible to notice. “Still Shinin'” samples Willie Hutch’s “Hospital Prelude of Love Theme”, one of the only easily noticeable samples.

After listening to the samples, most of which I did not know, and all I did not know by name, at least not being able to hear it upon hearing the song title, it is apparent, like many hip hop records how well the samples play. The strings in “Extortion” from “Can You Remember” by Jackson 5 completely changes the context, yet adds so much to the Mobb Deep track. And some, such as “Fool Yourself” by Little Feat in “G.O.D. Pt. III” deserves the Beatles treatment to listen carefully and analyse the entire tracks.

Obligatory listening:

(Of course the entire record, if not, a few essential tracks)

“Animal Instinct”
“Can You Remember” by Jackson 5 followed by
The piano on “Get Dealt With”
“Hell on Earth (Front Lines)”
“Give It Up Fast” featuring Nas and Big Noyd

Tinie Tempah, Pass Out, track review

It took me a few listens for me to properly like this. However now that I do, I do!

Basically a hip hop track, with some grime in there for good measure. From the rhymes to the changes and genres within, it makes for a great track.

Labrinth provides the vocals for the chorus/hook, and his style suits the track perfectly. The only thing I don’t like is the lyrics that at times are a bit Kanye like, with an ego. I will put that aside, and think of it as more having goals (even though no doubt bragging and some ego), and working hard to get to where one wants to be, like Dizzee Rascal’s “Dreams”, but still, quite different.

After two choruses, it switches from hip hop to ska/reggae riffs, only to go back to the hip hop and Tinie’s rapping. An indication of what’s to come.

He is pissed, he “never got to fly on a Concord”, and he is “crazy with the kicks” call him Jean Claude.

After the third chorus through the bridge, is a very nice bass line, which leads to all out drum and bass! The LP version (versus the single) has a slightly longer bridge.

For the music geeks:

Songwriters: Timothy Mckenzie (Labrinth), Patrick Okogwu (Tinie Tempah), Marc Williams.
Official lyrics
Key: A-flat Major
BPM: 91 & 176 (drum and bass part)

Single/music video:

Also worth checking out is the Chiddy Bang take on “Pass Out” from their Air Swell mixtape. Also very good, with some original lyrics intact, and many of their own too. Listen at Grooveshark.