Culture | Pop Montreal

Austra

Originally from Toronto, Austra formed in 2009 and quickly developed a sound entirely their own. Relying on heavy synths, fast paced beats, and opera-trained lead singer Katie Stelmanis‘ voice, Austra is able to create haunting melodies that are upbeat enough that  you can still dance along. Their debut album, Feel It Break, was nominated for a Juno and was shortlisted for the 2011 Polaris prize. They will be playing with the percussion-heavy experimental electro band Doldrums. You won’t want to miss seeing both groups back-to-back.

Austra will be playing with Doldrums at Mission Santa Cruz, 60 Rachel West, on Friday, September 21. The show starts at 11:00 p.m. Free admission. 

Gotye 

As much as you don’t want to admit it, you have probably had  “Somebody That You Used To Know” stuck in your head at least one point in the last year. Although Gotye has been around since 2002, it wasn’t until this past year that the Australian singer shot into mainstream success. With a number-one billboard chart hit, Gotye is definitely reaping the benefits with the most expensive ticket at Pop ($54). If money grows on trees for you, he boasts a wide variety of pop-rock songs that you can definitely bust a move to. (And hey, you don’t even have to tell your friends you went.)

Gotye will be playing with Chairlift at Metropolis, 59 St. Catherine East, on Friday, September 21. The show starts at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $54. 

Wild Nothing 

Up-and-comers Wild Nothing has received critical praise across the board for their sophomore album Nocturne, released this past August. Refining their dream-pop sound, Wild Nothing definitely emulates bands like Beach House while incorporating eighties-style synths and melodies to create something all their own. Paired up with Valleys, a dream pop band with some darker tones and DIIV, a band best know for their melodic guitar, the lineup promises to deliver from start to finish. If dream pop is your thing, you won’t want to miss out.

Wild Nothing will be playing with Valleys and DIIV at Il Motore, 179 Jean-Talon West, on Wednesday, September 19. The show starts at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $13. 

Lil B 

Berkeley-born Lil B is one of the strangest rap stars the world has ever seen. He has released a mixtape with over 700 songs, has challenged homophobia by entitling an album I’m Gay, and has been called “the most revolutionary MC of the last 15 years” by Vice magazine. With the help of the internet, this 23-year-old rapper has become a bizarre phenomenon. His playful and lo-fi sounding tracks drop a myriad of pop-culture references and musings on consumerism, amid the usual boasting about “swag” and “b*****s”. He may wear the same dirty pair of Vans in most of his amateurish videos, but his cultish fan-base semi-seriously revere him.

Whatever you think of Lil B’s lackadaisical Youtube videos or his repetitive hundreds of songs, the guy is definitely pushing the genre beyond anywhere it has gone before.

Lil B will be playing with Lunice and Cadence Weapon (DJ Set) at Club Soda, 1225 St. Laurent, on Friday, September 21. The show starts at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $28. 

Brave Radar 

There must be something in the water here in Montreal. That’s the only explanation for the city’s penchant for continuously offering up talented local musicians, ranging from wild, near-performance art acts to soft-spoken indie rock. Brave Radar runs more toward the indie variety, with a low-key sound that makes you feel like you should be sitting on a beach, a beer in your hand and salt water in your hair. Don’t make the mistake of reading low-key sound as forgettable sound however – the melodies sneak up on you. “Line Storm” is particularly interesting, with a haunting intro, and slightly dissonant lyrics. The song grabs you and doesn’t let go until the final chord. “Sternwall,” with a slightly more upbeat feel, shows off the variety of tone that can be achieved by the group, as well as just being a song that would make you want to turn the radio up.

Brave Radar will be playing with Chevalier Avant Garde, Sheer Agony, Cresting, Freelove, Fenner, and Mavo at Brasserie Beaubien, 73 Beaubien East, on Wednesday, September 19. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.

A Tribe Called Red 

A Tribe Called Red offers a truly distinctive sound, a difficult feat in the sea of talented artists comprising the Pop Montreal festival.  Hailing from Ottawa, this First Nations DJ group has invented a style of electronic music they’ve termed “Pow-Wow Step.” The group fuses traditional Pow-Wow music with a plethora of different sounds. Mixes range from fresh and upbeat, with Pow-wow singing or drumming coming to the forefront, to more mainstream dub step, with booming beats and intense drops. DJ’s NDN, Bear Witness, and Shubs will have you tearing up the floor, clamouring for more of their unique electronic stylings.

A Tribe Called Red plays with Nautiluss, Prison Garde, and Blank Capsule  at Église Pop Little Burgundy, 5035 Ste. Dominique, on Friday, September 21. Opening sets by Blank Capsule, Nautiluss, and Prison Garde. The show starts at 11 p.m.  Tickets are $10. 

Lunice 

Native son Lunice is an ambitious synth hip-hop producer. Freshly returned from a big North American and European tour, this past year has seen Lunice collaborate with Diplo, Azealia Banks, and Glaswegian DJ Hudson Mohawke, with whom he made an EP, TNGHT. He certainly hasn’t forgotten his hometown, though, having recently teamed up with fellow Canadians Ango and Prison Garde to form Nouveau Palais, a group that we strongly suspect is named after the popular restaurant on Bernard.

Lunice will be playing with Lil B and Cadence Weapon (DJ Set) at Club Soda, 1224 St. Laurent, on Friday, September 21. The show starts at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $28. 

Ghosts Before Breakfast 

For any student taking an art history course, Ghosts Before Breakfast offers a worthwhile excuse to ditch your readings for an evening and head out to Pop. Named after a Dada short film made in 1928, the group produces tracks worthy of their artistic predecessors. Their songs, such as “Desert Home,” present strong melodies that start off sounding like any moderate group you could hear on Top 40 radio – but then the guitar tune begins to change, the lyrics start, and suddenly you’ve stepped through the looking glass. Ghosts Before Breakfast’s off-kilter songs are rock and roll mixed with Dadaist irreverence.

Ghosts Before Breakfast will be playing with Loon Hunters, Star Hunters, and Statue Park, at L’Escogriffe, 4467 St. Denis, on Wednesday, September 19. The show starts at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $10. 

Nicky da B 

“Bounce” is a booty-oriented hip-hop subgenre created and played mostly in the lower-income neighborhoods of New Orleans. While the lyrics are simple and heavily repeated, Bounce songs are a great excuse to shake your ass (or twirl it, or dip it, et cetera) Little-known outside of NOLA, “Sissy Bounce” is the sub-sub-genre of Bounce created by queer artists including Nicky da B and last year’s Pop selection, Big Freedia. Through the efforts of Pop and other avenues of dissemination, Bounce is gaining notoriety across North America. High-profile collaborations including Nicky da B and Diplo have helped to spread the good word further. Check out Nicky’s videos for an introduction into the riotous and sexual New Orleans party culture that Bounce is centered on.

Nicky da B will be playing with Sun Araw and Shaydakiss at Église Pop Little Burgundy, 5035 Ste. Dominique, on Sunday, September 23. The show starts at 11:00 p.m. Tickets are $12. 

Grizzly Bear 

If you hadn’t heard “Two Weeks” at least some point in 2009 you may have been living under a rock. Indie darlings Grizzly Bear’s third studio album Veckatimest shot to the top of “best of” lists everywhere with their signature dreamy folk-pop. Marked by heavy bass rifts, perky piano melodies, and multilayered vocals, Grizzly Bear’s sound hits everyone a little bit differently but definitely leaves an impression. The band’s most recent album, Shields has a decidedly more upbeat sound, harkening back to folk legends like Neil Young. Die-hard Grizzly Bear fans will definitely want to check it out, but at $40 a ticket this is one of Pop’s more expensive concerts.

Grizzly Bear will be playing with Unknown Mortal Orchestra at L’Olympia, 1004 Ste. Catherine East, on Sunday, September 23. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40.