Festival Mode & Design Preview

From August 1 to 4, Montreal’s downtown core is occupied by Festival Mode & Design, providing fodder for your fantasy wardrobe. Now in its 11th year, the fest showcases multi-national fashion powerhouses alongside local amateurs, established and up-and-coming designers, vintage hunters and bloggers, as well as a slew of art installations and exhibits, DJ sets and live music performances.

The festival is broad in scope, offering truly awesome art installations and a unique chance to get up close at some grands défilés in conjunction with some pretty pitifully transparent PR exercises and cash grabs (Cashmere toilet paper dresses, anyone?). There’s so much going on that it can all be a bit overwhelming, but Cult MTL offers a preview to help you sort the wheat from the chaff, with a special focus on locals and independents.

Today’s Sounds

I challenge you to keep your cool listening to the hard guitars and deluxe crooning on “Don’t Get It,” the lead track on this latest record by Memphis rockers River City Tanlines. It’s not the heat, it’s not the humidity, it’s the vintage CBGB’s wall-sweat that’ll get you sticky.

Sean Havas’s shark allure

His hands punctuate in the air as he breaks down the misconceptions people have about the aquatic predators. “Everyone has this concept that sharks are mindless killers,” he says. “It’s simply not the case. They need blubber. They need high-quality meat. We’re just skin and bones.”

Havas’ pitch on sharks might be a little unsettling at first — until he shows you his photographs.

The noted underwater photographer has spent ten years traveling around the world, photographing aquaculture and demystifying these “incredible, majestic,” predators of the sea. The first show of his decade-long career, “Shark,” opens this week in the Mile End.

Aesop Rock Part 2

Aesop Rock’s aesthetic has always played more to subway tunnels than surf spots, so his move to California from NYC a couple of years back came as a bit of a shocker to fans, friends and even family. In Part 2 of our interview, the MC/producer elaborates on packin’ it up and switching coasts.

Fantasia: July 31

Today’s edition of Fantasia coverage is a young people’s special, with ailing students, collegiate robots and, um, pedophiles.

Fear of festivals, love of Blues Control

The new Blues Control release Valley Tangents has been a daily listening ritual for me since I first scooped it up a couple of weeks ago, and the live translation should really lift these psyched/jazzed-out jams up high. Lea Cho’s Dave Brubeck/Stan Getz-esque piano lets loose a cluster of chords on opening track “Love’s a Rondo” (à la turk?) as Russ Waterhouse’s guitar and synths know when to careen and lead the charge, and when to just lay back and fill in all the holes.

Ultra-local meets international at Café Sardine

Warm lime donuts and stellar coffee were all it took for Café Sardine to begin building its reputation as a Mile-End destination since it opened in February of this year. Soon after, hungry hordes of office workers looking for a quick but high-quality meal swarmed the cozy boîte, indulging in carnitas and duck egg and bacon sandwiches.

But once Chef Aaron Langille got going with his nightly card of ultra-local small plates, lovers of salt and sugar-poached mackerel from all over Montreal flocked to the Fairmount Avenue café for creamy squash flan with hazelnut butter and beef cheeks so tender they melt into puddles of flesh at a glance.