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Hangin’ out pre-show with Vancouver’s Bend Sinister

Fun, electrifying and upbeat all the way, Bend Sinister, blasted its big, bodacious sound at this year’s Pop Montreal festival. The Vancouver-based band, whose name was acquired from a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, is made up of Dan Moxon (lead vocalist and keys), Joel Myers (bass), Joseph Blood (guitar) and Jason Dana (drummer) and is currently on a cross-Canada tour. I met up with one of the West Coast rockers, Joseph, right before the band’s show at Les 3 Minots. Here’s what happened…

Q: Sorry I’m a little flustered, my bike got two flat tires and I had to hop on one of those rental bikes to make it here on time…

A: Oh, that sucks! Yeah, I saw those rental bikes around – that’s kind of cool.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: April Smith And The Great Big Picture Show “Songs For A Sinking Ship”

Before one of my best gal pals and I go out, we always decide whether it’s going to be a red lips night or not. Red lips usually mean we know where we are going and we feel totally confident.  Songs For A Sinking Ship, released last February from April Smith And The Great Big Picture Show, is a red lips album.

But, influenced by music from the ’30s and ’40s, as well as by Tom Waits, Songs For A Sinking Ship is in that case not rock and roll.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Walkmen “Lisbon”

“Country air is good for me / no matter whose side I’m on,” sings Hamilton Leithauser of The Walkmen. A farmer in his field fixes a broken down fence. A policeman drives by in an old Volkswagen. A woman cleans out a stall, huge wads of dirty straw stick out between the tongs of her pitch fork, while another counts money in a bank. But then, at night, everything changes. Taxpayer, tallyman, farmer, doctor, whoever – everyone gets together to dance, feast and drink. Sure, there’s work, but there’s love, music and life. The Walkmen’s fifth album, Lisbon, was released September 14 and has captured this same passion and soul through rock.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Land of Talk “Cloak and Cipher”

I cannot solve ciphers. At least not yet, anyway. Released on August 24, Land of Talk’s sophomore album, Cloak and Cipher, is just that to me – a cipher I cannot solve.  The album is an incredibly ambitious juxtaposition of tantalizing poetry and concrete rock, but leaves me wanting. Why?

Elizabeth Powell (singer, songwriter and guitarist), Eion O Laoghaire (bassist) and Andrew Barr (drummer), with the help of a few talented friends (members of Stars, Wintersleep, Besnard Lakes, Arcade Fire, Esmerine and Patrick Watson) have begun to unlock a treasure chest of music. Swirling, sweeping, rough, delicate, cold, hot and dark lyrics lament over lost love, love lacking, longing for lasting light, and letting go for liberation.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Lights On “Here Comes the Ocean”

I’m sitting in a room lit by five candles. Why? Because the electricity in my apartment has been turned off by The Man. No refrigerator, no internet, no music, no hot water – nothing.  And then I recall a song I heard recently: “We Live Underground” by Lights On; a fresh post-punk band from San Diego, CA.

Ha! I can’t help but smile. Freaky fuzz tones, crazy synth, pounding drums and penetrating vocals, “I can go for days on end/take what’s mine and leave the rest”…“take no refuge/leave no trace/we can live by candlelight” – I was hooked. And when I got my hands on their debut album, Here Comes the Ocean, released July 6th, the power returned to my apartment. Lights On!

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Autolux “Transit Transit”

Autolux. I was introduced to this band by a friend who told me they were his faves. “Faves?” I was intrigued and the name seemed vaguely familiar. Why? Because the last album, Future Perfect, by this post-punk/krautrock/shoegaze L.A. band was released in 2004 and now, after six years, their sophomore album, Transit Transit, was revealed on August 3rd.

As soon as I started listening to Transit Transit, the music took me to the platform of a train station. I felt as though I was surrounded by hundreds of people, but completely alone and attuned to the music. Hazing tones were flashing and voices echoing the sound of brakes in the song “Transit Transit” – I got on the ride and it took me to some foreign place. The future. Eugene Goreshter (lead vocals, bass), Greg Edwards (guitar, vocals), and Carla Azar (drums, vocals) – the drivers – brought me into their vision, and it was difficult to leave.

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Artists and Bands

Montreal’s Warm Den on the non-sexual meaning behind their name, the magic of Craigslist, tennis as inspiration, and more

“When I was in school, me and my friends would pass around a piece of paper that we would fold up while the teacher was teaching.  One person would just do a squiggly line and then pass it to someone, and they would try to turn it into something. Then they would pass it to the next guy and he would turn it into something, and then by the end, it would be a coyote on a mountain,” smiles Simon White of the band Warm Den.

Now, imagine that being an idea, a sound, or a loop and you’ve got the premise to one of Warm Den’s undeniably unique songs. Somewhere in between space rock, experimental, and avant-garde is this Montreal-based trio of inventors, musicians, or magicians. Their music is full of unpredictable twists and turns, especially in “Yi!,” giving the listener a ride to remember. I first heard this unsigned band at an intimate show and was immediately sucked in, so when we sat around a table on the terrasse of Montreal’s Casa del Popolo, I was more than excited to talk to these friendly fellows – Adam Davidson (keys, sampler, guitar, vocals), Cameron Mitchell (synth, drums, sampler) and Simon (guitar, bass, vocals) – about their music.

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Artists and Bands

Compared to everything from cereal to Pink Floyd, Final Flash prove why they are nothing but Final Flash

“Hey man the wild is calling / Together my friend out there for more.” Joey Chaperon Cyr, lead singer of Montreal-based rock quintet Final Flash, could not have illustrated the band’s music better. A mystifying mix of classic and psychedelic rock, their debut album, Homeless, immediately transports you from your living room couch to the middle of an enchanted redwood forest. Joey’s voice and lyrics call out to something beyond humanity, and the hypnotic sounds emanating from Andre Bendahan (bass), Alexandre Girard (guitar), Mathieu Bourret (keys), and Maxime Hébert (drums), take the listener there. Songs like, “When the Day Turns Black,” “The Black Flame in me is a Red Flame in You,” “Welcome to the House on Fire” and, my favourite, “We Leave the Forest,” leave you wanting more. I caught up with the band just before they opened for Juliette Lewis at Montreal’s Cabaret du Mile End.

Q: I’ve been following you guys for the past year and from the first time I saw you until now, the band has really come together. What is it that has allowed you to gel so quickly?

Andre: A lot of shows, more synergy being created between us. [As a new band] everyone was focused more on their own instruments and I think now everyone is able to hear what everyone else is doing … getting into that vibe where we are all uniform. We are able to push the songs more. We are getting better and better, but there is still a lot of room to grow.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Sunfields “Palace in the Sun”

In the fall of 2007, four Montreal musicians travelled together to a small fishing village of less than 700 people in Northhamptonshire, U.K. Inspired by their surroundings and experiences, they began to write music and, a little over a year later, Sunfields was born. This past spring, their debut album, Palace in the Sun, was completed in the band’s home studio in Hudson, Quebec, and was released on August 17 through their brand new label, Field Recordings.