Montréal music – Automelodi, Essaie Pas & Void Republic

Recently arrived back from my journey to Montréal and experiencing some post trip depression as I had a really excellent time! It was fun to officially meet Sovannak of Productions Haineuses/Traumatismes, who brings a lot of coldwave (and dark underground bands of other genres) to the city. It was great to be able to trade some music recommendations with him – I came away with a list of about 150 projects to check out, a couple of which I’ll be covering in upcoming blog entries.

On my second night there I went to the show that caused me to book my flight in the first place. The venue was Deathouse, an intimate little cave that was perfect for a smaller show. The place was packed with a lively crowd though, so the energy was high. I unfortunately had to leave before the out of town headliners hit the stage, but was happy to see the first three bands, all hailing from Montréal.

 

The first band on stage was Essaie Pas, a minimal synth band who captivated with their sexy and sinuous live show. Reminiscent of Vancouver’s Cosmetics, the beats are often very simple with relaxed and breezy vocals. The combination of these elements make a really outstanding soundscape, and my concert buddy Louis mentioned that this music brought to mind some of David Lynch’s albums – so it’s a must hear if that sounds down your alley.

Image

 


The next band on was Void Republic. I hadn’t made the time to check this band out before seeing him perform, but he was an amazing live show! Dark electro minimal beats that reverberated throughout my body and made dancing impossible to resist (but why would you want to?). This band has a surprisingly few amount of listens on Last.fm/likes on Facebook, so I hope he gains the recognition he deserves while I hold out for hope that I’ll catch him live again someday!

 

 

The last set I was around for was Automelodi. I’d been waiting a while to see this band, and it was better than I’d imagined! I was a little worried before the performance as there were some issues with the soundcheck, and they left the stage for at least half an hour with no explanation. A couple of friends started to scare me but saying that it’s happened before where Automelodi didn’t like the ambiance of a venue and left without playing (I really doubt the validity of this – there was a lot of teasing happening, i.e. “What if you paid $600 for a plane ticket and then didn’t get to see Automelodi after all?”). But soon the band came onstage with an apology for the wait, and the show began. Xavier Paradis was in good form, wearing his signature striped sailor shirt and throwing lots of spirit and intensity into his performance. His guitarist made the live show have some extra kick, and the band and crowd alike were having a fantastic time. When Digresse started to play, it was pretty obvious that it’s one of his personal favourites based on the amount of energetic bouncing and tambourine shaking/smashing that was happening 😀 Definitely envy the fact that the Montréal scene can see Automelodi’s show fairly often – it was an evening to remember.

 

 

Shows, shows, shows

Quick update – currently in beautiful Montréal and taking in a lot of music. I’ll make a proper post once I’m back in Vancouver later this week, but I have to say the punk and coldwave scene here is pretty awesome and I’m having a blast!

Sean McBride talks analog synths

Clip from the I Dream of Wires documentary of Sean McBride (Martial Canterel, Xeno & Oaklander) talking about synths. Still haven’t seen the entire documentary, but it’s on my to watch list.

On a similar note – saw that this Women’s Synth Workshop happened in NYC today and I’m drooling a little bit. I’m in the process of learning more about modular synths on my own time, but it’s slow going and at times a bit overwhelming, so this workshop sounds glorious. The idea of being in the same room as Liz Wendelbo and hearing her teaching and talking about synths sounds pretty dreamy!

Vierance

I’m pretty bad at labelling music with genres, but I’m trying to get better at it. Part of me rebels at the thought of trapping music in certain neat compartments – there’s a ton of genre overlap in most music I listen to these days. But it’s probably a necessary evil when writing about music, especially when trying to get the word out about some lesser known bands by being as descriptive as possible.

 

That being said, the Toronto band Vierance is giving me a bit more trouble than usual. All I know is that they’ve got synth, great bass lines, chilly ethereal vocals, and an atmospheric sense of mystery in each of their songs. The above tune, ‘Sybl’, was an initial favourite with its driving percussion and hypnotic vocals.

 

‘Raven’ is from Vierance’s new Semblance EP. The song is more subdued than Sybl, but the dream-like synths and at times pleadingly yelling vocals make for a soothing listen with a side of anxiety.

I haven’t been able to dig up too much info on this band – they appear to have been active for about a year and don’t have many articles or interviews out there yet. I hope this changes, because Vierance are an intriguingly dark n spooky duo that are well worth a listen. Check out their Bandcamp for more great songs here and their Facebook here.