The uptown music festival

Brace yourself for 2.5 weeks of musical freedom and sonic excellence at the Suoni per il Popolo festival, beginning tomorrow. See tips for the festival’s first week plus a breakdown of new records by Acid Mothers Temple and Montreal’s own UBT.

The 13th edition of Suoni per il Popolo starts tomorrow, filling Casa del Popolo and la Sala Rossa with way-out sounds through June 22. Of course I’m gonna hip you humps to the cream of the festival’s crop, but hold yer hats, ya insatiable rock Argonauts. Let’s have a look at a couple of records that will take up residence in the new releases bins at your local wax slingers.

As promised last week, let’s first have a peek at the new Acid Mother’s Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O.’s new mind-fuck, In Search of the Lost Divine Arc, on Important Records. These fuzzed-out freaks are so prolific, even the most ardent fans lost count of releases long ago, and, admittedly, their quality can really waiver. But their releases on Important Records are always safe bets. Now, with a second guitarist in tow (Tabata Mitsuru), the sound is fleshed out, providing a solid foundation for Kawabata Makoto’s guitar to reach even further into the stratosphere.

No screwballs are thrown here, with synths taking notes from Hawkwind and setting their controls for the heart of the sun, as the band continues to stack up the decibels with a liquefying blast. Once you give in to the cacophonous racket, the rewards are rich. Even if you’re already steeped in AMT’s massive catalogue, this record should still be considered mandatory for the trudging and spiraling riff on the album closer and title track alone. Sure, it still can’t beat Pink Lady Lemonade, but fuggit, nothing really does. Track down the definitive double-LP version of that record, lovingly put together by Montreal label Alien8 Recordings.

Next up is the local release Ego Orientation from UBT, lovingly assembled and delivered by local label Psychic Handshake. Along with their swell new abbreviated name, UBT’s unique form of bubblegum pop amps up the infectiousness while letting their proggy and psych tendencies reach even further. Lo-fi sonic confines are no more, as the band lets the low end thump, vintage reverb ring out, flutes soar with inflections of doo-wop and girl group sounds — it’s master songcraft. “I Don’t Care” could be the feel-good hit of the summer, while “Cold Cave Stomp” could be considered a perfectly crystallized version of what snotty psych-punk should be.

If this is sounding up yer alley, you can help the band launch this jammer tonight. Check out Tuesday’s section for more info.

Go to these music spectacles, as performed by real live human beings.

Tuesday – Definitely don’t miss UBT when they launch Ego Orientation at Sala tonight with Tonstartssbandht, the Ketamines and the Knows.

Wednesday – Suoni starts tonight and really comes swingin’ out of the gate…erm, well, kind of hushing and lumbering, actually. But don’t miss the rare opportunity to catch the graceful transcendence of Grouper (aka Liz Harris) with Oliver Davidson Southgate and Synja at Sala. Having witnessed Grouper’s last stellar Suoni performance, I can say without reservation that this will definitely be one of Suoni’s highlights. If you need more convincing, try and find a copy of Grouper’s ultimate gift to the quiet and looped revolution, 2008’s Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, on the Type label. Without a doubt my pick of the week tag gets firmly affixed here.

Across the street at Casa, Suoni keeps rolling with the guitarist’s guitarist, former Cul de Sac-er Glenn Jones, who releases his new record, My Garden State, backed by the 12-string prowess of acoustic guitarist M. Mucci. Pick up Mucci’s new record, Dangerous Summer, and Jones’s alternate-tuned classic, Barbecue Bob in Fishtown, while you’re there.

Also happening, off the Suoni trail, are former Montreal soundscapers who now fuck up the program in Baltimore, Angels in America, with Russian Tsarlag, Human Beast and Wermaggetermite Wagon at the Drones Club.

A big gig that is oddly not part of Suoni is Devendra Banhart with Rodrigo Amarante at the Corona Theatre. You should definitely be smoking some bad banana peels for this one.

Thursday – What should prove to be one of Suoni’s best-attended shows features Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley, with Nick Kuepfer. Don’t expect Ranaldo’s trademark skronk and screech here though, as this indie rock legend will be performing an acoustic-based set of songs.

Across the street at Casa, you can catch the electronic sounds of Jason Lescaleet with the slowcore of Maica Mia and Noir.

Keeping things chugging at the Suoni fest is TV Freaks, the punk fuggin’ rock of Genital Hospital, the mind-fucked cave stomp of Tonitix and the 27th Hour Slasher at the new joint tucked away in Little Portlandia, Kathy and Kimy.

Friday – Giving the Lee Ranaldo/Steve Shelley some serious competition for the most slammed Suoni show will be a rare opportunity to catch underground icon Jonathan Richman with drum accompaniment from Tommy Larkins at Sala.

Happening at the newly spruced-up Playhouse is the Femmes Fatales night with Brother Moon, Sister Sun and Hua Li, Ishi Tishi and DJV12. All proceeds will go to Rock Camp for Girls and Head and Hands, with a PWYC policy at the door.

Friday marks the first of the two curated nights from the denim shirt jams of MV and EE’s Lost Weekend with Spectre Folk, Steve Gunn (!!!) and Doc Dun at Casa. Do yourself a favour and try and seek out Gunn’s great Sundowner record.

SaturdayMV and EE’s Lost Weekend continues on Saturday with openers P.G. Six and Herbcraft.

If you want to get your swerve on before Suoni you can also show up at Mont-Royal metro and catch a free performance from Orkestar Kriminal at 8 p.m.

For a night of post punk hijinx you can catch no fun city’s (Vancouver, natch) Girlfriends and Boyfriends with Phoenix Thunderbird, les Zerreurs and the punk rock of Teen Seizure at Quai des Brumes.

Still one of the best live bands in the city, and one that keeps the Montreal gararge/yéyé/pop torch lit, is les Breastfeeders, who’ll put the sweat on the walls of Divan Orange, with Jesuslesfilles, Leamers with DJ Izi Laterreur keeping the troglodytes shakin’ and shimmyin’.

Sunday – You’ll definitely want to start your Suoni Sunday early with a screening of Soldier of the Road: A Portrait of Peter Brötzmann at Casa at 4 p.m.

Down at Terrasse St. Ambroise, you can end your day with another screening, of George A. Romero’s classic 1985 film, Day of the Dead, at 9 p.m. Sealing the deal will also be a performance by Bloodshot Bill & the Pouteens before the film at 8 p.m. and a whole bunch of other surprises starting at 6 p.m. All proceeds will go to Head and Hands.

One of Suoni’s biggest surprises is sure to be Oso Blanco with Hrair Hratchian at Casa. Osco Blanco features Nate Wooley, C.S. Yeh, Ryan Sawyer and last month’s Cult MTL cover star (wait for it…..) Colin Stetson!!! ‘Nuff  said.

Across the street at Sala is arguably the black sheep of the Suoni fest, the Supersuckers with Lydia Loveless.

Monday – The H.O.M.’s week ends with some serious full-brass blast from Suoni stalwart Peter Brötzmann and Joe McPhee along with the amazing Jason Sharp at Sala. For those about to skronk, we salute you! ■

Current obsession: Grouper, Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill

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