M for Montreal 2011 Preview, Part 1

One of my favourite music festivals of the year is the compact M for Montreal event each November.  Out of all the showcase-style events, it’s one of the best organized and consistently features some of the most interesting new bands I see all year, many of whom end up being discussed as possible Polaris Music Prize contenders.

This year’s festival runs from this Wednesday through Saturday in downtown Montreal.  Here are some of the bands I’m looking forward to seeing:

Absolutely Free:  Krautrock-ish math rock similar to DD/MM/YYYY, a band I saw at M a couple of years ago. Apparently, they can get quite the groove on. 

Active Child:  Run by Pat Grossi, Active Child has toured with White Lies, School of Seven Bells and James Blake.  That’s enough to get me interested.

Adam and the Amethysts:  They describe themselves as “indie meets chillwave.”  Their debut record is called Flickering Flashlight.

Alfa Rococo:  A boy-girl duo with a sound rooted in rock and electro.

Anoraak:  A dude a band.  Synth-pop and Italio-disco with a pop futurist attitude.  Demo album is Wherever the Sun Sets.

Barn Burner:  Flying the flag for the Montreal metal scene.  How can you not be curious about a band with a song called “Scum of the Earth”?

Bran Van 3000:  Yes, the “Drinking in LA” people are still around.  James DiSalvio and his crew plan a showcase featuring material from the current album, The Garden, as well as material from their four previous records.

Cadence Weapon:  An Edmonton-based DJ who has already toured with Jurassic 5, Go! Team and Final Fantasy.

CLAASS:  Post-punk meets electronic-ish-ness that you can dance to.  They have a new EP called Smile at the Void that I find intriguing.

Concrete Knives:  The second coming of the B52s?  Some people think so.  They might be able to fill the void left by You Say Party! We Say Die!

Creature:  They’re big in Francophone Canada and are in demand in France.  I haven’t seen them in a while, so it’ll be interesting to see how far they’ve come as a live act.

Doldrums:  Airick Woodhead has worked with the aforementioned DD/MM/YYYY and Grimes and has both Canadian and UK record deals.  He calls what he does “psy-fi.”

Ed Wood Jr.: One of those two-piece guitar-and-drums bands that keep popping up these days. Click the link to hear/say what they can do with a song called “Silence.”  They caught my attention.

Elephant Stone:  I saw them for the first time last year.  Think Stone Roses but with a bangra influence. And yes, someone places a sitar. I never miss these guys.

More previews for M for Montreal tomorrow.





Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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