OK so end of school is here and the best part is…COACHELLA IN 12 DAYS! OK. So, like promised ages ago, mixtape is on the way…for real this time. Expect it within a week. It is pretty awesome. So this post is a quick recap of all the shows I went to in March. It was such a ridiculous time for concerts and I discovered some pretty great new bands. Jump ahead for recaps for Neon Indian, Braids, Silly Kissers, Air, Beach House, Bachelorette, Joanna Newsom, Flying Lotus and more!

Live in Show: Neon Indian w/ Braids and Silly Kissers
@ le Belmont (MTL; 10 03 10)

Le Belmont is actually one of my favorite venues here in Montréal. It’s small. It’s cozy. The sound is dece. So, Neon Indian, the now famed Alan Palomo who is also a part of VEGA and his crew put on an INCREDIBLE show. It was a live performance and the energy from the band were absolutely fantastic. I personally enjoyed the Psychic Chasms EP more than the LP and their setlist consisted pretty much the songs from the EP and a few from the LP. The live set is so much better than their studio albums and easily the best songs of the night were “Should Have Taken Acid With You”, “Deadbeat Summer” and my personal favorite “Mind, Drips”. I tripped out on the latter song…wow it was so well done live.

MP3: Neon Indian – Mind, Drips

Silly Kissers were pretty sweet too.

But the winner of the night, for me, was BRAIDS. Oh god I am so in love with Braids. I ended up missing maybe half of their set (since they were the first to play) but the last few songs I heard BLEW MY MIND. I found out later that they were opening for Clues at La Sala Rossa a few days later and I immediately got tickets JUST TO SEE THEM. They are that amazing.

So Braids, imagine a mixture of the experimental drones of Animal Collective and Atlas Sound’s earlier works, mixed with the wildness of Björk, and the happiness in synth landscapes that Sigur Ros and M83 indulges in. Pretty awesome, eh? They are a group from Calgary (Alberta represent!…yes…no? jaajja) who moved to Montréal together to work on their music. They are currently working on an album? At least that’s what they told me when I chatted with one of their members…HOW ARE THEY STILL UNSIGNED?!?! Please go support them, go to their myspace page to check out the two tracks they have up! Go to their shows! After pinching myself to realise I wasn’t in a dream, I ask myself, why doesn’t all music sound like this?

MP3: Braids – Lemonade (Live at CJSW)

Live in Show: Joanna Newsom
@ Ukranian Federation (MTL; 14 03 10)

I have all of her albums yet have listened to none of them. Why? I have no idea. I guess I just got sidetracked with everything else, and I feel with Newsom you really gotta be a certain mood to listen to her. And I guess I never wanted to get into said mood. But I knew she would be amazing live. So I bought the ticket knowing this and headed on over to this odd venue Ukranian Federation in the Mile-End. She surpassed all my expectations and then some.

You either hate her or you love her. Her sound has a vast range and her music reflects this. She doesn’t stay within the boundaries of what most would classify her as being as, folk. She’s experimental in a lot of ways not only with her acoustics but with her voice as well. Seeing her play live, seeing her hands move in such meticulous and circumspect focus yet always with playfulness, has, I think, won us all over. She’s had a harp since the age of 9 and her blossoming talent and curiosity to go outside of the box makes it clear that if she wanted to, she could play in the orchestra, she could do jazz, she could freestyle, she could jam/busk with you in the streets. She doesn’t stick to folk, a genre that she is usually classified as. Functioning like a short movie, each song paints lyrically powerful landscapes within their 5-12 minute duration.

As I said repeatedly to my friends after the show, she is like a wood nymph, a glorious wood elf that prances in the trees and flies in between the clouds with her harp as her pair of wings, singing in her quirky ways, making all the creatures beneath her fluttering harp strings in awe of her presence and her natural folksy vibrations.

Her studio albums are absolutely incomparable to her live shows and I probably still won’t listen to her LPs knowing that they will most likely do an injustice to her voice, her instrumental band, her onstage presence, her essence and her being that we all experienced that night. Wow. Just Wow.

She released her new album this year, Have One On Me. You can buy it, and her other LPs, here.

Live in Show: the Clientele
@ Il Motore (MTL; 20 03 10)

Aaah finally. I have been waiting to see the Clientele since Strange Geometry was released back in 2005. The Clientele are a London-based band with Alasdair MacLean on vocals and guitar, Mark Keen on drums, James Hornsey on bass and Mel Draisey (she lent me a smoke and we chatted after the show! She’s so nice! and even more beautiful in person) on Keys and Violin. I think the song that sold me was “Losing Haringey”. This song isn’t a traditional one in the sense Alasdair simply narrates as the instrumentals play in the background. Though it is the only one of it’s kind in all of the Clientele’s LPs and though it is probably a song that most people forget about, it is my favorite of theirs and one of my favorite tracks in general. It is a song that encompasses what the Clientele are all about and more: heartfelt lyrics, melancholic solos, emotionally invested and uplifting, all accompanied by MacLean’s dreamy dreamy voice.

When I look back at this there’s nothing to grasp, no starting point, I was inside an underexposed photo from 1982 but I was also sitting on a bench in Haringey, strangest of all was the feeling of 1982, dizzy illogical as if none of the intervening disasters and wrong turns had happened yet. I felt guilty and inconsolably sad. I felt the instinctive tug back, to school; the memory of shopping malls, cooking, driving in my mothers car, all gone, gone forever. I just sat there for awhile, I was so tired that I didn’t bother trying to work out what was going on. I was happy just to sit in the photo while it was lasted which wasn’t long anyway. The light faded, the wind caught the smoke, the stars dimmed under the glare of the streetlamps. I got up and walked away from the spot of little benches and an oncoming of Garish kids. Our bus was rumbling to my rescue down that hill with a great big fire Alexandra palace on its front and I realized I did want to drink after all.

Their live performance was incredible. Better than their studio albums. I spent most of the time with my eyes closed, wafting and drifting in and out of space to the melodies. I really really really wanted to hear “Isn’t Life Strange”. But they didn’t play it. Their setlist was great nonetheless. Best song off of their most recent album performed of the night below =)

Buy their albums here.

MP3: The Clientele – I Wonder Who We Are

Live in Show: Air
@ Métropolis (MTL; 22 03 10)

I don’t think I really need to intro this group. But I’ll do a tiny tiny one for the small percentage of you who may not know who these guys are 🙂 The name stands for “Amour, Imagination, Rêve”, which translates to Love, Imagination, Dream. Air, is an epic epic French duo composed of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel. They have over 10 LPs, EPs, and other collaborations in their name and all of them truly are great listens. Of them, Moon Safari and Talkie Walkie are the most well known and well-liked. They make ambient electronic, lo-fi pop, down-tempo beats that will knock you into blissful peace. Music that is perfect for any mood, any time, any where, they are Legends of the Game.

The live show was amazing, absolutely amazing. They played from practically every release they had, starting more with their older tracks from 2000-2005 and halfway through changed the pace and played newer songs from their newest 2009 release, Love 2. The live vocals, synths, and instrumentals went above and beyond my expectations. But what KILLED were the visuals. Holy were the visuals insane. Insane. I think outside of Daft Punk, these visuals are one of the best I’ve seen at any electronic show. They complimented the music sooo well and led us outside of our imaginations. Their encore song was their famous hit, “La Femme d’Argent” and we all effin’ flipped ’cause the visuals was an absolute acid trip.

They rarely tour so if you get the chance to see them live, GO! Don’t care about the price because it is worth it. Very very worth it. Buy their albums here.

Live in Show: Flying Lotus, Benga
@ le S.A.T. (MTL; 25 03 10)

Y’all. You KNOW how much I love Flying Lotus. Love love love. Check out my previous post on him where I saw him at Club Lambi. This show wasn’t as good as the one at Club Lambi unforts. First off, I didn’t like as many of the mashes he put out, they felt like he was playing it a bit safe whereas his previous show here just killed us, just killed us with the bass and samples and sounds you just wouldn’t imagine sounding so good together but totally did. And second, the cops effin’ came and said it was “too loud” and gave le S.A.T. a fine. A FINE! AT A CLUB! and told us to TURN IT DOWN! TURN IT DOWN?!?! ON A DRUM AND BASS NIGHT? ON A DUBSTEP NIGHT? Yes, the rest of the night blew. Because there was practically no bass, no hard hitting shock waves to the heart.

Benga’s set suffered the most from this set. It was still good but I am sure it would have been epic had the sound been at the level we were meant to hear it.

What I hate the most is the fact that the people were BOOING. Don’t EFFIN’ BOO the artists!!! It is NOT their fault. I hate clubs with horrible management, who didn’t tell us WTF was going on. They should have informed us so the idiots in the crowd at least would have understood that it wasn’t the artists doing it intentionally. The only reason I found out was because I wanted to go outside for a little break and the doorman told me. But the rest of the people who didn’t go outside weren’t informed, so they boo, and they illogically take it out on the artists. So uncool.

Anyways, I will be catching Flying Lotus again at Coachella and I am sure here, with the fiasco of last year’s Coachella, he will bring it his all this year and will make our heads. So in celebration of this, I share a track off of his soon to be released Cosmogramma! TURN IT UP!

MP3: Flying Lotus – Nose Art

Live in Show: Beach House w/ Bachelorette
@ La Sala Rossa (MTL; 29 03 10)

I bought the ticket right away also knowing that, alongside Beach House, Bachelorette, who released My Electric Family last year, was the opener. After listening to the album many times, it’s hard to believe that Bachelorette is a one woman show, Annabel Alpers from New Zealand. A great description of her sound taken from lastfm: Bachelorette features a collection of vintage synthesisers, drum machines, real drums, bass, guitars and whatever else is lying around on the bedroom floor that day. In the end it comes out as some kind of weird vocal layered electro synth pop – with a hint of country thrown in for good measure. The resulting sound is as if Peaches and Patsy Riggir had a bastard child and put it on LSD and downers.

Despite my best efforts to get there after class, I ended up missing about 30 minutes of Bachelorette which leaves about 3 songs left off of her album. Unforts I missed all the songs I wanted to hear but the ones I did were performed very well and it was fun watching her fiddle and play with all the technology on stage. I wish I saw more.

Buy her album here.

MP3: Bachelorette – The National Grid

Beach House is another band, like so may these days, that blew up from interwebs. Blogging masterbation. OOoooo not many people know that Beach House released an equally great but soft and slower album back in 2008 called Devotion. When Teen Dream came out, with it’s dream pop attributes and stunning vocals done by the amazing Victoria Legrand, it fit right in with what the indie music scene was moving towards within the past year or so: dream pop. I am in love with Teen Dream and everyone else pretty much is too. Every track is solid, and every track takes you somewhere. Every track is an escape deep into the blinding abyss of lo-fi synths.

She spoke French with us most of the time with mistakes and all, but that didn’t stop her from trying, and I thought that was pretty great. I love when bands come and try to integrate if even for the 2 hours that their show is. The set was littered with diamond shaped disco balls which span in the background, giving the set an almost prom-like feel. I recorded a song but unforts my new camera just candle handle bass like my older and recently broken camera could. So the best I can do is include these videos of Beach House playing for La Blogoteque which doesn’t do complete justice to how great they were that night.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Live, Legrand’s voice was immaculate. They opened with my favorite song “Walk in the Park” and it could have ended right there. Really. It was magnificent and the tiny notes that you don’t hear as much on the studio album were amplified throughout and added to the surreal awesomeness of the show. They pretty much played nearly all of Teen Dream and a few off of Devotion.

Buy their albums here.

MP3: Beach House – Walk in the Park

MP3: Beach House – Gila

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