Every year, the late-autumn music festival M for Montreal expands its eclectic programming, with this year’s roster reaching almost 100 up-and-coming bands playing electro-pop, indie-rock and hip hop at some of Montreal’s coolest venues, all in the short span of November 20-23…
Electro-infused indie-pop comes in several guises at M for Montreal, from sometimes-pensive, often-danceable Young Galaxy, whose latest record features Dan Lissvik’s lush production, to Saskatoon’s We Were Lovers and Montreal buzz bands Majical Cloudz, Solar Year, Foxtrott and Black Atlas, all balancing pop-melancholy with dance floor beats. Montreal’s Phèdre throws psychedelic funk and hip-hop style into a high-energy electro mix, Random Recipe raps and croons over jangling acoustic guitars and techno-dub grooves, Syngja works Icelandic folk, chamber music, cello and theramin into their style, and Duchess Says adds a harder, noisier edge to synth-pop.
While M for Montreal taps in to the current surge in electro-pop, the festival doesn’t neglect new sounds in rock music. With Black Sabbath riffs and operatic, artistic nuances, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan never fails to entertain – the Toronto-Montreal band shares a stellar bill with Dears vocalist Murray Lightburn, performing music from his elecro-opera album Mass: Light, and ambient-pop openers Seoul on November 20. Born Ruffians travel into indie-rock territory with Odonis Odonis and Top on November 21, while Quebec’s Ponctuation explodes into raw garage-rock on stage on November 23. Brian Borcherdt’s newest project, Dusted, veers from heartfelt acoustic guitar love songs to fuzzed out toe-tappers, Maica Mia immerses audiences in echoing vocals and heavy drones, and Montreal duo Valleys crafts dreamy rock songs that verge on experimental noise and space-pop.
Poetic vocals and folk-tinged balladry find a place at M for Montreal as well. The orchestral pop-folk of Groenland has seen the Montreal band pack venues to capacity to hear an exuberant mix of soaring vocals accompanied by piano, strings, ukeleles and more. Thus: Owls match rollicking piano melodies with guitar-driven rock. Iceland’s Hjaltalín also tap into the orchestral in innovative folk-rock ways. And British singer and pianist Laura Mvula captivates with her unique take on jazz-inflected pop, employing string and horn sections with gospel flare.
Hip hop fuses with techno and traditional Aboriginal sounds as Ottawa-based trio A Tribe Called Red returns to Montreal to play a show at the SAT with Tommy Kruise and bilingual hip hop meets the dirty South during a set at Café Campus by hometown heroes Dead Obies. The two women of Heart Streets rap up a storm on their latest album, the title of which says it all: “Beats, Blunts and Broads,” while Grand Analog blends hip hop beats with a soulful, jazz-influenced sound. And take a break from show-going to hear more about the music industry aspect of M for Montreal, accessible in a conference open to the public, November 20-21. Industry experts and musicians address topics as varied as new business models, the links between literature and music, unique live show experiences, and how to organize digital music libraries.
M for Montreal, November 20-22, 2013
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