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Album art for 'Strangers to Ourselves'.

Typically when a band starts a series of self-congratulating releases, like B-side albums (No One's First and You're Next), large re-pressings of old albums (Moon & Antarctica, 2004), live albums (Baron Von Bullshit), it signals some kind of creative stagnation. The band's first release in 8 years, "Strangers to Ourselves," is nothing close to stagnated. The album was released this week (March 17, 2015), and the band has already promised a follow up as soon as possible.

All Hail the Mighty Loc-Nar!

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The cover for Loc-Nar's album "HOTTER WATER" (Source: loc-nar.bandcamp.com)

The Montreal-based band Loc-Nar never ceases to amaze with their new releases, and following suite, their release of the six-track album "HOTTER WATER" this past weekend with a duo of shows at Brasserie Beaubien and Poission Noir did not disappoint. While I was unfortunately unable to attend, being bed-ridden with a nasty cold, my roommate so graciously procured a fresh tape for me, and am I ever glad that he did; HOTTER WATER is the perfect fever dream for when you're fading in and out of sleep induced by a healthy cocktail of generic brand cold medicine and Vitamin-C rich fruit juice.

Montreal's DIY Scene

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The video for Montreal band TOPS's song "Way To Be Loved," shot on location in Montreal at Arbutus Records HQ.

The Canadian music scene has been growing gradually in the shadow of our much larger cultural counterpart to the south, and attracting much more attention on a global scale. From the sunny and light acoustic melodies of the west coast, to the dark and stormy metal haven of the east, Canada has provided a nourishing community for any genre, no matter how eccentric. Here in Montreal, much like our beloved fleur-de-lis, the music scene continues to blossom year after year into wonderful new directions. But one thing gives Montreal an edge over the rest: our Do-It-Yourself attitude.

DRC.jpgA Prototype of the DRC. Photo: kickstarter.com

In 2014, vinyl sales went up 52 per cent from 2013 (Nielsen SoundScan). The resurgence of this seemingly out-dated technology signals an unexpected development in the digital era. In an era when music is more accessible than ever--with music players built into every phone--it may seem odd that people are returning to the most expensive and least convenient way to appreciate music. In many ways, the record revival is a response to the various downfalls of digital music players: sound quality, the listener's attention, and pride of ownership. Although the market for records is evident, the craft of cutting vinyl remains a specialist trade with incredibly high production costs. The Desktop Record Cutter intends to innovate this craft.

How to Be a Terrible DJ

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6294390842_7283bd178e_m.jpg(Photo: Flickr / Doha Qatar)

DJing can be a great way to make money, and convince people that you're musically inclined. Some DJs spend many hours and thousands of dollars buying vinyls, remixing songs, finding good artists, and creating thematic playlists. Luckily, you don't have to do that. This instruction set will outline how to quickly and easily use equipment, create mixes, and perform.

How to Book a Show in Montreal

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nokoshow.jpgThe Poster for the upcoming Noko / STLWCO / Citadels show at Le Cagibi on January 30th. (Photo: Facebook)

Montreal is home to a very lively music scene, with local bands of every genre playing almost every night at different venues. The process of booking a show in Montreal can vary greatly depending on the type of show, type of band, or the type of venue you're looking for. Sometimes it's as easy as telling your friend that your three-piece rock band will open for his experimental post-jazz duo in his girlfriend's loft space, and sometimes it's a hellishly long process of time management and neverending emails, but following these steps will have you playing your own shows before you know it!

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The phone connection was crackled and quiet--but Brahma Blue's voice still boomed through the speaker. Blue is an up-and-coming musician who lives on Vancouver Island. Last week, we sat down to discuss the tribulations of music and life . . .

A Session with Joel Massinon

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Joel Massinon at Marcus Reichenbach's apartment studio recording Noko's album "It Comes, It's Calm, It's Gone," released on October 25th, 2014. (Photo: Facebook).

Joel Massinon is a 24-year old up-and-coming artist and producer in the Montreal music industry. He has played with a number of musicians across Canada in a number of different roles. After graduating from Concordia University in 2013 with an undergraduate degree, he has recently graduated from RAC (Recording Arts Canada). Joel is currently based out of Montreal working on his career as a musician and a producer with his band Noko.

On Friday night, Joel and I sat down at his house with a case of beer and a couple guitars, and he answered some of my questions about this exciting new direction in his career.

A Vignette of Brahma Blue

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Musician, recording engineer, poet, activist, Brahma Blue's beard hangs over his collar. His hair is cut in a way that no trained barber is capable of. He's a skinny man; it's an amalgamation of body-type, and a lack of income. Many musicians have a home-recording studio. For Blue, it isn't clear if he has a home. In exchange for mixing and engineering upcoming artists, he has a bedroom above the Vancouver Island garage that makes I.G. Studio.

A Rising Star in Montreal

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Joel Massinon playing with Soap-box Assembly (Photo: Facebook)

Montreal is home to one of Canada's most diverse and flourishing music scenes; it is an overwhelming sea of genres and styles that has given birth to countless talented artists. Montreal is also home to 24 year-old Joel Massinon. The city is a prime destination for bands and artists on the rise, and regularly hosts already-successful bands (local or not) at its many diverse venues. Being such an important stronghold for new music in North America, it also attracts many others looking to become involved in the music industry: the producers, managers, record labels, etc. It was in pursuit of this dream that Joel first came to Montreal five years ago.