Assessing local records by Wake Island and Crabe ahead of their launches this week, PLUS even more shows and parties on the plate, including Mardi Spaghetti, Rock Against Racism, Katie Moore, NDQ’s first anniversary and accompanist to the stars Ken Stringfellow.

This year has already delivered a plethora of local releases, and continues to hit like a mitt full of nickels with two more record launches this week.

First up is It Takes Time to Be Uncomfortable from Wake Island. These former prog-heads mixed their time signatures with stop-on-a-dime changes under their previous moniker, Intensive Care, but this time around they just roll up their sleeves with some serious songwriting.

Production sheen was applied by Besnard Lakes member/rod and reel enthusiast Jace Lasek and although the Kevin Shields look-alike definitely leaves his grubby fingerprints all over this one, the Islanders’ sound refuses to get drowned out by this revered Laker. Strong evidence of Wake Island’s sonic scrawl is indelibly etched with lead track “I Like It.” Launching quickly out of the gate, a chugging chorus sets the scene before the floor drops out with an ’80s funk-fuelled jam before taking its time and firmly reattaching itself to the hook. Fans of more interesting bands from the ’80s, like early XTC or Gang of Four and, at times, the poppier side of (ahem) Queens of the Stone Age should plug in here.

Next up are Montreal’s princes of fucked-up punk rock, the prolific Crabe, who launch their umpteenth release Mort de fraîche date. In keeping with the Crabe program, the listener must expect the unexpected, but their cemented lo-fi sound still remains the order of the day. Things can get mathy while guitars get strangled and occasional antiquated electronics boldly stick out their necks but the duo know that their true calling card is setting up the perfect terra firma in the middle of their often discombobulated racket. If you dig the fugged-up groove of the good ‘ol Captain (Beefheart, natch), Meat Puppets’ debut blaster as well as our own American Devices, you’ll definitely want to take this trip.

Don’t be lame — get these slabs at your local brick-and-mortar wax slingers.

Das gigs:

Tuesday – If you want to check out what’s happening in the Montreal free improv scene you should be keeping your eyes out for pianist Charity Chan and consider crossing the threshold at Cagibi every Tuesday night for their Mardi Spaghetti night. This edition features Chan in the pole position with saxophonist Pierre Labbe, bassist Aaron Lumely and drummer about town Jamie/Jaime Thompson.

Thursday – Being Valentine’s Day, the early weekend is accordingly packed. Starting things off is the second edition of Rock Against Racism at Katacombes, with Studfinder, the experimental soul from solo keyboardist Dirty Boots and the choreography and rock of We R Dying 2 Kill U. Projections will be provided by Anitabreak and DJs include Radikale and Cuntroversy. All proceeds from the sliding-scale door price go to Families of Sisters in Spirit, who help raise public awareness of the often-unreported cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women. Info kiosks from numerous groups will be on site. Attendees are also invited to show up for the Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Women before the show, just down the block from Katacombes, in front of St-Laurent metro at 6 p.m.

The Orkestar Kriminal collective are rapidly becoming one of the busiest bands around town and bring their synthesis of musical inspirations that borrows from numerous musical circles, both progressive and traditional to l’Escogriffe with the debut of ex-Sunday Sinner and current Lunar Exile member, Missy Rose with her Antelopes.

It’s sure to be a hot and steamy on this especially romantic night when Sean Nicholas Savage, Jef Barbara, Karneef and Planet Hollywood take the stage at Sala.

For those of you who aren’t holding onto tickets and were hoping to get into the Gojira show at le National, you’re simply out of luck. For the more on-the-ball metalheads who thought ahead, definitely don’t miss out on seeing opener the Atlas Moth. Their psyched out metal was a revelation when they last blasted Il Motore a year and change ago. Taking the middle slot is the ex-Strapping Young Lad Devin Townsend, who should give headliners Gojira some seriously stiff competition.

Friday – Directly after putting the finishing touches on her new record, Montreal crooner Katie Moore will show you why she is one of the best singers in the city when she stomps the pines at Casa, with support from AroarA.

In case you skipped the review section listed above, Crabe are indeed launching their new LP (Mort de fraîche date) at la Brique, with the abacus pop of Feefawfum and Piranha.

Saturday – Also, for those lazy fucks who missed out on the review/intro section above, there’s the cute and cuddly Wake Island, who launch their debut LP It Takes Time to Be Uncomfortable, with Reversing Falls, at Casa. It’s a Cult MTL co-presentation, with Passovah Productions.

My favourite little watering hole, Notre Dame des Quilles, celebrates its first year, and to help them blow out their sole candle will be yours truly blasting out northern soul, New Orleans funk, raunchy rock ’n’ roll and a speckle of punk before Passovah Productions’ Noah Bick cleans things up with some ’90s dancefloor stormers. And by “dancefloor,” I mean the bowling alleys, natch. Happy birthday champs!

Although the Gojira show is no slouch, my big ticket of the week would go to the “metal as fuck” gig happening at Katacombes on Saturday. You can catch New York City’s Natur with the thrash of Voor, the NWOBHM supremacy of the always-raging Metalian and Ottawa’s Barrow Wight.

Another killer bill would be the dark post-punk of Dekoder with Low Factor, the funky post-punk of Pyongyang (think the Pop Group) and Police des Moeurs at la Brique

Sunday – For all you hepcats out there, gallery owner and punk rock historian Ralph Alfonso will read selections from the Jack Kerouac catalogue with the sultry guitar of John Acer backing him up. This all happens at BBAM! Gallery and runs from 3–4 p.m.

Monday – Finally don’t miss a chance to catch sideman and glimmering power popper Ken Stringfellow (the Posies, Big Star, R.E.M.) when he grabs his own limelight at Casa. ■

Current obsession: We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen DVD

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