Running Wednesday through Saturday, M for Montreal is one of the best opportunities all year to discover the city's local music scene for a steal. Translation: my favorite multi-band showcases are $15 or less, believe it or not. And the fest has come a long way in seven editions. What used to be a couple of handfuls of bands has turned into roughly 100 performances featuring artists from Montreal, across Canada in addition to a smattering of internationals thrown into the mix.
So, who's a must-hear this year?
Eight and a Half
Part Broken Social Scene drummer Justin Peroff and part The Stills' frontman Dave Hamelin and keyboardist Liam O'Neil, I'm not sure if these guys are living in Montreal. Or Toronto. Or both. Regardless. They're Canadian music royalty doing anything but resting on their reputational laurels, as evidenced by their eponymous debut album released last April. Contemplative rock meets nu-gaze electronica leaning ever-so-slightly in The Stills' aural direction, critical reception ranges from mixed to satisfied. Not that you need a critic to do the listening for you. Do you? Eight and a Half performs with Kandle and Statue Park on Friday, November 16, 2012 at Casa del Popolo. Admission $10. Buy tickets.
A Place to Bury Strangers
Okay. It's not like I'm trying to recycle my list of top concerts of the month. It's just that, Eight and Half and A Place to Bury Strangers are standalones. They don't need a festival format to get my attention. Or compete with the best of them. Right. So. New York post punk noise-ist nugazers A Place to Bury Strangers are on album #3 with Worship. And it's a good one. Think Jesus and Mary Chain with edge. My Bloody Valentine meets cold, heartless, carnal sex. A Place to Bury Strangers performs with Bleeding Rainbow, Ctznshp and one of my Montreal darlings of the year, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan Saturday, November 17 at La Sala Rossa And as I said two weeks ago, bring those earplugs! The feedback is intense. You'll thank me later. Admission $14. Buy tickets.
Le Matos. I've been praising these guys on a regular shout-out loop since I discovered their '80s French synth sensibilities back in 2008. They were one of my top Osheaga picks too. But from what I can tell, they've yet to release an album, or go on any kind of extensive tour, which might explain the dearth of media attention surrounding the Montreal trio. Le Matos performs with Danger on Friday, November 16 at the Société des arts technologiques. Admission $22.50. Buy tickets.
The former Edmonton poet laureate otherwise known as Rollie Pemberton III released three hip hop albums since kicking off his career in 2005. And every single one got nominated for the Polaris Prize, Canada's most prestigious music award, if only for its deliberate overlook of record sales and commercial airtime in favor of artistic merit. And much like Toronto's The Weeknd, Cadence Weapon is stretching hip hop out of its comfort zone, incorporating hints of soul and '80s synth, among other genres Pemberton weaves into the fold. Cadence Weapon performs with Mozart's Sister and Karneef on Saturday, November 17 at Il Motore. Admission $14.40. Buy tickets.