Judging a festival on its first announced headliners is a little like judging a book by its cover: completely legitimate! Who ever said a cover doesn’t have much to say about the content of the work! OK, the question here is not concerning the actual image on the cover: it is invariably dull. But we still watch out for awards brought home, who gave it a good review, etc. Do the only good critiques come from Châtelaine or Bel âge? (Buzzing sound...) Let's move on to the next call! The author won an award (insert prestigious award of your choice here)? It can’t be that bad!
Incidentally, no artist of the first wave of POP Montreal's announcements has won a litterary prize (as far as I know), which could be worrisome, but no one owes their good reviews to Châtelaine or Bel âge either, so it’s a good sign. Where was I going with that analogy again? Anyway, it’s only a first wave. Suffice to say that POP is always POP – with its usual parts indie, cultism, funkiness, pure strangeness and accessibility. Can’t find your match? Don’t panic, there are about 450 more names to be confirmed from now until the festival, September 21st to 25th. In theory, it’s not too late to write to the organisers and demand an Arcade Fire show instead. You probably won’t get it, but you’ll still be able to say that you tried. Never stop dreaming.
Somewhere in between Scout Niblett’s grunge and the lyrical pop of Kate Bush, americana holds its ground, but keeps itself at an agreeable minimalism: dirty guitar traits, simple melodies, a charged voice and lots of air circulating in between these diverse elements… Yes, she sometimes maintains a certain mannerism, but never too much. Her third album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness (2014) is one of recent rock’s good moments. September 23rd at the Rialto.
This California-based quartet holds the double merit of reminding us of a CSS tube, and also the Black Lips, back in the day when they were hungry. This was the case at the time their first self-titled album was released in 2012 at least. Since then, they've slightly slowed down the tempo to join a more Nuggets-ish psychedelic side of spectre rock. Which is far from being a bad thing. Perfect for Sunday "garagers" who like The Soft Pack, Fruit Bats or the regretted Women. September 21st at La Tulipe.
Missing your dose of Best Coast, Tennis, Dum Dum Girls and other purveyors of sunny indie-pop? This New-York tandem has a good chance of sustaining you. The wheel is not being reinvented here: punky rhythms, fuzzy guitars and sweet melodies. Rinse, repeat, until a klutzy smile gets stuck on your face. September 24th at Ritz PDB.
This young 24-year-old woman is part of the controversial, überdelicate borderline infantile voice club, with a Stina Nordenstam, The Sundays, mùm flavour… You either love it or hate it. Personally, I love the surreal, time stopping style of such a timbre. It gives the impression that you’re hearing someone from a magical country. The country in question is Ontario, but you would never guess. Elementary, but well thought out, her songs rest on coats of minimalist piano or synth. Cinematographic, gloomy and disorienting. September 22nd at La Vitrola.
Besides Genesis P-Orridge, leader of this non-stop changing combo since over 35 years, the grand rebels of rock resemble Gregory Charles. Not only did he contribute to the invention of industrial music with Throbbing Gristle in the ‘70s, he also distinguishes himself in performing arts since the ‘60s. Representing the « third-sex », he found interest in body modifications, art and sexuality borders and other questions that make your parents blush. And you, what have you done today? September 23rd at Théatre Fairmount.
There are many reasons to hate the saxophone with a passion, and they are all valid. But none of those reasons apply to the Montrealer by adoption, known for his unique circular respiration technique, and his capability to bring the instrument to places it should not find itself. He will be presenting the Canadian premiere of Sorrow, his reinterpretation of the third Gorecki symphony, released in April. The acrobat will therefore not be solo, but well surrounded by 11 musicians. Stetson can leave you perplexed, but it’s always the right door to knock on when we’re in the mood for a little unknown. September 23rd at Ukrainian Federation.