Reviews of new records by Montreal bands

Local musicians have been hard at work. Here’s one critic’s take on a stack of recent releases.




Some weeks, the old inbox runs dry in terms of new Montreal music. Other times it gushes like a busted water main on St-Laurent. The last few weeks have been so bountiful with local releases, devoting more than a few sentences to each became too tall an order. So here’s a round-up of recent albums that caught my ear.


Purity RingAnother Eternity (Last Gang)

Expectations are sky high for the duo (which includes erstwhile Montreal resident Corin Roddick), but they were always up in the clouds anyway. Before I bite my tongue to prevent myself from saying ethereal, the hip hop thumping and vapory vox combo hasn’t been given the audibly expansive bigger budget upgrade one would expect from a successful group coming off a humble debut. There are booming low ends and crisp, glittery high ones, and a suitably 2.0 track in “Bodyache,” but there’s a lack of explosiveness at its core. Another Eternity just kind of floats in space.


Milk & Bone
Milk & Bone

Milk & BoneLittle Mourning (Bonsound)

Camille Poliquin and Laurence Lafond-Beaulne aren’t sisters, but they might as well be. Their voices glide in unison the same way a lot of great harmonizing blood relatives have done before. There’s a hint of darkness to the angelic vocals: the production work is mechanically clean, and that includes the acoustic sounds. The foreboding Celestine sonic universe recalls Woodkid minus the bombast, the organic digitized into icy cool fragments. There’s even a guest rap verse halfway through that matches the tone.


Project PabloI Want to Believe (1080p Collection)

Laïka long ago wore out its copy of St. Germain’s Tourist, but a belated reinforcement is on the way nevertheless in the form of Patrick Holland’s effortlessly smooth jazz-tinged house tape. The Vancouverite-in-Montreal keeps his “Little Italy” instrumentals laidback and beguiling. The arranging, though, is what gives I Want to Believe its indelible coffeehouse charm, from the goofy synths to the old school drum breaks and the mostly live bass lines. Pablo’s on point.


QuaaludesThis Is Your Future We’re Talking About EP (Stack Your Roster)

Raw and deceptively melodic are these post-hardcore rockers, who recall the heavy, heartfelt early 00’s Long Island aggro sound while ripping open some of the awkward emotional wounds of the era. (Provided you came of age around that time.) The screams are controlled and the moments of introspection linger uncomfortably before the tension bursts. This EP is basement body slamming, contained rat-in-a-cage rage.


Le CouleurDolce Désir EP (Lisbon Lux)

Early on, Laurence G-Do and co. were beating around the bush a little bit, but on Dolce Désir, their fully realized kitschy disco dreams will smack you right between the eyes. Italo-disco by way of Parisian chic-ville, with a rocket-bound spin around the same 70’s space-a-go-go scene Sarah Brightman once sang about, with vocals in French. Le Couleur can stay grounded too, like on the new wave love song “Tendresse Particulière.”


Andy KimIt’s Decided (Arts & Crafts)

Ahuntsic’s own Sugar Sugar man left his hometown in his teens to attain stardom and eventually settled in Toronto, hence an album co-helmed by Broken Social Scene bro Kevin Drew. Kim’s gentlemanly voice has smoothed with age like primo whiskey, and like a lot of comeback records by experienced dudes manned by younger collaborators, the pungent whiffs of nostalgia go hand-in-hand with the obligatory sonic updates.


The Technical Academy plays -bØb-, -bØb- (Fixture)

Adventurous local imprint Fixture Records has unearthed and reissued quite the little oddity: a 1991 musical experiment from California where algorithmic bots in an Atari ST wrote and performed live together. I don’t think anyone in 1991 was worried about composer Bob Lee’s AI MIDI improv band replacing us meat bags – they can keep time but the synth sax noodling is all over the place – although today’s Vaporwave musicians might need to cut the computers a royalty cheque.


Choses SauvagesJapanese Jazz EP (St-Cecile)

For a while our highly touted indie rock bands made music with danceable grooves, and then they didn’t. No one’s sure when the plodding foot stomping came back to prominence, but Choses Sauvages are having none of that. The word “funky” is verboten in modern critical circles, so we’ll go with spaced out instead: herky-jerky hip-shaking jams built on loose foundations, and a bit of Mac DeMarco slapdashery thrown in too.


LeopardismExtraversion/Introversion (independent)

Holy Damon Albarn is this a trip through the jangly, disaffected ’90s. As far as duos go, Samuel and Victor play it pretty loose and don’t seem too concerned with making more noise than two people should. Nor is it propulsive, which is another nice change of pace. If anything, this album is refreshingly unhurried.


Claude BeginLes Magiciens (Coyote)

The Frank Ocean of the Alaclair Ensemble crew? No, but Begin is a singer-songwriter surrounded by rappers, musical cousin Karim Ouellet notwithstanding. Les Magiciens is basically a bubbly, cheery prelude to Ouellet’s upcoming album minus the star wattage, although Begin has enough personality to act as a Father John Misty stand-in for his own Québécois digi-orchestral pop ditties. ■