Pop Montreal wrapped up earlier this evening, and among all the international headliners, the real heroes may have been the Canadian bands at the smaller clubs. Here are a look at some of the highlights.
Not to be confused with the Toyah Willcox band that puts a “The” before the same moniker, this electronic duo from Vancouver sounds like a cross between LMFAO and LCD Soundsystem. They bring the party rock with a song you shall know by “Avec Mes Mecs,” (in English, that’s “With My Bros”), But unlike LMFAO here’s a heavy indie dance pulse that’s a little bit more sophisticated than yelling “shots!” 40 times in the chorus. No, HUMANS say, “Who knew that all we had to do was party?” And when Robbie Slade sings that line it’s like he’s stumbled upon a truth of human nature. His partner in synth, Peter Ricq, then layers thick textures of fuzz on top of the proceedings. But even with so many robotic elements to their sound, there is a reason that they capitalized HUMANS as their moniker and that is that their live performance is very much flesh and blood as the two dance and thump like enlightened frat boys. For more, listen below.
This Montreal four piece also live up to their name. It’s almost as if the two front women took the Eminem/Dido collaboration and said, “Let’s make music like that.” Incorporating instrumentation like the nylon-stringed guitar, glockenspiel, kazoo and good old fashioned beat boxing, Frannie Holder and Fab harmonize with one another and rap funny and salty rhymes. Variety truly is the spice of life with this combo as Vincent Legault and Liu-Kong Ha also alternate instruments throughout the set. Listen below.
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Listening to this Edmonton duo, you might think that your computer is misreading a CD by pop divas of bygone days like Nu Shooz or Exposé. The melodies and vocal effects are so 1980s top 40, but there’s something sick going on underneath the surface, like dubstep sub-bass booms and fat hip-hop beats. But when you see them live you’ll feel like you’re the one whose system is having difficulty processing the music. As Megan James sings her sweet rhymes, Corin Riddick plays an instrument that looks like it’s a row of repurposed draft beer taps, as the pipes illuminate and the computer sensors within spit out different notes. The lighting is a key element with this performance as James intermittently wails on a huge elevated bass drum that is lit up from within. Listen below!
Honorable mention goes to Sheezer, the all female Weezer cover band. Although they are not necessarily likely to bust out and become super famous, they have a lot of fun rocking out, and drummer Dana Snell is a true joy to watch. In other cover band highlights, we would be remiss if we did not mention the awesomeness that is Phi Slamma Jamma, the half Arcade Fire cover band. No, they did not cover half-Arcade Fire songs, but half of the members of Arcade Fire were in the band, and they played classics from Gram Parsons, The Clash and the Ramones with high octane energy and surprisingly intricate guitar texture for something that could have felt very sloppy, given that Will Butler, Richard Reed Parry, Tim Kingsbury and Jeremy Gara only started practicing the set earlier in the weekend.