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M for Montreal preview guide

What to see at the local music festival this weekend

Since 2006, M for Montreal has served as a platform for up-and-coming Montreal and Canadian artists. While no match for POP Montreal in size (and in the number of free events), M for Montreal is an important festival for local acts looking to gain exposure. If you’re a local listener just looking to gain some exposure to good music, here’s what you should hit up this week.

November 19, Evening: Country + Alex Calder
La Vitrola at 11:45 p.m.
Self-described as “Sleaze Wave,” Montreal pop duo Country will start off M for Montreal the right way. Country’s dark but dancey synth tunes will put you in the festival mood. The band released Failure this fall, a nine-track album that evokes the likes of Joy Division and Blondie, with cheeky track titles like “Money for Cancer.” Jointly kicking off the festival is Edmonton pop prince Alex Calder. This opening show takes place at one of Montreal’s newest venues, La Vitrola, and, best of all, it’s free.

November 20, Day: The Franklin Electric, High Ends, Kandle and the Krooks, The OBGMs, Holy Family, Secret Sun
Café Campus at 1:00 p.m.
This show has too many bands to highlight the talent of each, but let’s just say it’s a powerhouse lineup as far as Canadian indie goes. This is the perfect opportunity to get to know the non-sleazy, non-late-night identity of Café Campus, which actually has a pretty regular rotation of indie shows. Pay particular attention to Secret Sun, another Montreal duo making indie pop waves. Anne-Marie Campbell’s dreamy vocals will float through the drum machines and right into your head.

November 20, Evening: Light Fires, The Posterz, Homeshake, The Muscadettes, Weaves, Heat, Ragers 666
Cléopatre at 8:30 p.m.
Headliners Ragers 666 have recently been making a name for themselves in Montreal with their fusion of hip hop, electronic, and rock. It won’t be long before this group takes off. Their debut EP, to be released sometime this month, was produced by the same dude who produces Rick Ross. Make sure to catch ‘em while you still can. Also not to be missed is Toronto quartet Weaves, whose quirky sound is hard to pin down. It’s fun, jangly, and smooth all at once – you’ll have to see them to figure out what that means.

November 21, Day: Montreal Digital Music Journalism
Le Ritz at 9:30 p.m.
Featuring local journalists from across all music genres, this panel will feature tips for aspiring music critics in Montreal. In a digital era, it is increasingly difficult to find jobs in the traditional journalism in the arts field, because very few print papers are hiring full-time employees anymore. Those with a knack for critiquing creativity need to be able to navigate the blogosphere to maintain any hope of building a career. This panel promises to provide budding critics some much needed direction.

November 21, Evening: Mozart’s Sister, L.A. Foster, Antoine93
Le Ritz at 9:30 p.m.
Somewhere between Grimes, CVRCHES, and Madonna is Mozart’s Sister, the project of Montrealer Caila Thompson-Hannant. Her powerful vocals, thumping beats, and blinding light shows will keep you dancing all night long. This show will be quite the party, especially given that it’s happening at the newly- renovated Il Motore, now Bar Le Ritz PDB.

November 22, Evening: The Muscadettes, The New York Kleps, Mise en Scene
L’Escogriffe at 10:00 p.m.
Twin sisters Chantal and Kathleen Ambridge are The Muscadettes, a Montreal garage rock band straight out of the early nineties. Orleans’ The New York Kleps are rockers of an earlier age, channelling – yep, you guessed it – The New York Dolls. Get your ripped jeans out and jump around for the last night of M for Montreal.

M for Montreal runs November 19 to 22. Click here for the full schedule.