Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Let Autumn POP Into Existence | The Soupe Kitchen's POP suggestions

Let Autumn POP Into Existence | 2013 POP suggestions

Is summer a thing of the past already? Is this really the moment where I have to store my sandals away for a whole year? Did the Halloween decorations already start appearing on the shelves of dollar stores? Is it truly that time of the year again?


I don’t feel ready to go apple picking just yet. Then again, I never really do. Every time September rolls around, the end of summer kicks me in the face with an astounding vigour. Fortunately, it never quite coincides with the end of festival season. And for that, we must thank POP Montréal.

“Festivals such as POP, that allow for special events, interest me a lot more than the ones where I just show up with my show,” confided Patrick Watson in an interview with VOIR. Me too.

POP is about two major things, in my very humble opinion: experimenting (with new bands, new concepts, new ideas, new shows, and so on), and maintaining high standards of quality (with artists and bands whose usual youthfulness is complimented with a true and enjoyable artistic vision). In other words, these are often rising bands, but they also happen to be good bands. And that’s just for the musical realm of things. Food, cinema, theatre, books, and many more creative endeavours also have their own chapters in POP’s gleefully colourful story.

But hey, let us stick to what we at the Soupe Kitchen usually focus on: music. The thing about POP is there are SO MANY options to choose from. In that light, allow us to guide you towards a few of our favourites.

The Legendary Pink Dots

Petit Campus  |  September 25th

This 33-year-old band, formed in the Big Smoke and now based in the ganj’-smoking capital of the world, plays a brand of experimental rock that has Mr. and Ms. Wikipedia rambling in such a manner: “Their music touches on elements of neo-psychedelia, ambient music, electronic music, tape music, industrial, psych folk, synth-pop, post-punk, progressive, jazz, noise, pop, and goth rock, with a distinctly experimental/avant-garde bent; their sound has evolved over time and remains distinctive, making it difficult to place the group into a concise style or genre.” I think it’s a ‘see and hear for yourself’ kind of situation.

The Dodos + COUSINS

La Sala Rossa  |  September 26th

The Dodos play what could be described as ‘wholesome rock’. Their oeuvre is complex, yet very catchy, it sounds full-bodied, yet every instrument stands its ground. It’s at times orchestral, at times rock, always original, and it just seems to take hold of the ambiance in beautifully calculated, highly spirited loudness. This skilled band will share the stage with COUSINS, the creators of a sort of loop-based floating atmospheric rock with minimal lyrics. They rely on repetition to direct the listeners’ focus on the slow progression that characterizes their pieces. Production-wise, it bears a little bit of a resemblance to the Pixies’ Dolittle: dry, grungy, fuzzy. Fun times ahead.

Portugal. The Man

Corona Theatre  |  September 26th

Airing from Portland, Oregon, these skilled rockers play the kind of music that is good raw. What I mean by that is that their lyrics are clever, their riffs are tight, their melodies are catchy, and the combination of all that would sound good even without their amazing production. But yeah, it turns out they’re good at that too. Thus, the electric guitars that are intertwined with the acoustic ones to form solid build-ups that lead to great solos, the well-placed horns and synths, and the vocals, which are slightly tweaked and spiced up with a dash of reverb, are all delivered to your ears with production standards that are nothing short of astonishing. Fans of the likes of the Smith Westerns, MGMT, or Foxygen will probably enjoy.

Motel Raphael + Lakes of Canada + Emilie & Ogden + The Wind & The Wild + Corinna Rose

Petit Campus  |  September 27th

A triangle of ukulele-playing indie princesses (Motel Raphael), a duo formed of a girl and a cello (Emilie & Ogden), a woman equipped with a pair of ultra-soft vocal chords (Corinna Rose), and two local folky indie-rock acts, one heavyweight (Lakes of Canada) and one up-and-coming (The Wind & The Wild), will team up for what promises to be one hell of an event. The night will surely remain in the indie-folk ballpark, but it is also pretty sure to swerve in unexpected directions, as all these bands are skilled enough to add a touch of spontaneity to their live efforts. What is certain is that there is going to be lots great melodies, tons of strings, and swarms of smiling hipsters.

Bernie Worrell + Fred Wesley

Cabaret du Mile-End  |  September 27th

If you happen to be a funk head, missing this show would be very unwise, borderline stupid. Bernie Worrell, genius keyboardist whose orchestra just won an Independent Music Award for its song Get Your Hands Off, will jam alongside “the world’s funkiest trombone player”, Fred Wesley, the very one who played with His Funkiness himself, James Brown. I feel like saying more is not necessary. Local electrofunk act Pyongyang and Ottawa-based experimental electropop band Hilotrons will open things up for the superduo.

Krief + Joseph & The Mercurials + Pathological Lovers + Sunfields + Tyler Kealey + Language Arts

O Patro Vys  |  September 27th

There shall be lots of bands on that faithful night at O Patro Vys. Given the sheer number of them, I’m sure you’ll forgive me if I use an “in a nutshell” type of description for the six of them. Are we having fun, or what? Here we go!

- Krief: Former member of the Dears’ solo project. Spirited indie-rock. Catchy melodies, lots of gorgeous little details. Experienced musician who means business.

- Joseph & the Mercurials: Deep, Depeche-Mode-ish vocals, alongside slow, stout beats and vaporous, hovering synths. The result? A brand of atmospheric, gloomy synth rock.

- Pathological Lovers: Expect a driven type of pop rock with a clear focus on vocals. High-speed guitar strumming and inspired singing are the main features. Light-hearted and fun.

- Sunfields: Here, we can talk about scrupulously calculated mellow rock. It’s silky, it’s hushed. Piano, guitar, and whispered vocals are laid on top of dry drums. No extravagance, the delivery is dosed perfectly. This band sounds like a warm blanket feels.

- Tyler Kealey: This, my friends, is a skilled piano player who also writes songs and sings. He does all of that very well, in a resolutely pop aesthetic. I foresee sing-alongs with whoever knows the lyrics to his songs, and frenetic moments of craziness on the piano keys.

- Language Arts: The beautiful high-pitch vocals of this band’s lead singer sing poems over all kinds of very tight drum patterns and very catchy melodies. Every instrument (all kinds of percussion, all kinds of strings) has space to move, and the whole is slightly unsettling, you know, with a sort of weird vibe permeating it. In summary: folky indie rock with sarcastic lyrics and original details.

Shuggie Otis

Rialto  |  September 28th

Fans of gospel-flavoured RnB, and adepts of mellow funk will appreciate this legend’s music. He plays a bunch of different instruments, he recently returned from a four-decade-long hiatus, he has a voice that is likely to make your soul melt at your feet, and he is performing in the most magnificent venue in the city. Yeah. That good.

Fred Eaglesmith Traveling Steam Show

Petit Campus  |  September 29th

At times country, at times rock, and at times soul, this bearded man uses his banjo, his electric guitar, and his vocal chords to give birth to folk tales and moving stories of longing. Not content with remaining in one arena of song writing, he dwells in a few and does well in every single one of them. Two-tone guitar patterns and neat little banjo riffs accompany the gentle voice of this sturdy man, who quite undeniably likes his music laid-back.


There it is! We hope our little document proves helpful. For dozens more options, go check out POP Montréal’s official website.

Happy POP!
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