In the vast landscape of the indie-folk genre, Young Benjamins would lie at the intersection of better-known acts Born Ruffians and Mumford & Sons. Their repertoire features mostly frenetic foot-stomping tracks, with some laid-back tunes mixed in. Relative newcomers to the music industry, the four-piece Saskatoon group only released their first LP, Less Argue, this past spring. The band has equal gender representation, composed of two men (guitarist and drummer) and two women (bassist and violinist/keyboardist). Though they’re still somewhat raw, their versatility and exciting melodies provide glimpses of the high ceiling Young Benjamins has. The presence of the violin really strengthens their sound, and makes for an interesting dynamic when it interacts with the edgy electric guitar. If you’re looking for a lively show that strikes a balance between dancing and artistic enjoyment, look no farther than Young Benjamins.
Young Benjamins performs at LeEscrogriffe (4467 St. Denis) at 9 p.m. on Friday Sept. 27. Admission is $10. Other acts will follow.
Plants and Animals
Playing in POP Montreal is nothing out of the ordinary for Plants and Animals. The Montreal-based trio has been playing shows in the city for years, and their discography even includes a record titled Parc Avenue. They play a style of indie/alternative music that they like to label as ‘post-classic rock,’ and it’s easy to hear traces of classic bands, like The Velvet Underground, and newer acts, like The Black Keys, in their music. Their three-piece set alternates between the standard guitar-bass-drums combo and guitar-guitar-drums. The End of That (2012) is the most recent release from the band, which has been playing together for over a decade. It shows in their music, which is polished and cohesive. They even have some mainstream success to their name, as evidenced by their two Juno nominations in 2009 for Alternative Album of the Year and New Group of the Year. Going to see these established veterans is a safe bet at this year’s festival.
Plants and Animals perform at Breakglass Studio on Thursday, Sept. 26. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. Jennifer Castle plays as well.
– Max Berger
One of 2013’s buzz bands, Toronto’s DIANA flirts with a wide range of sounds, from electronic, to jazz, to pop and finally to rock. After releasing their debut album Perpetual Surrender on Aug. 20 and embarking on a North American tour with fellow Canucks Austra over the summer, DIANA will either sink or swim in the next year. Most notably, they have gained considerable interest from UK-based electronic producer and DJ Four Tet, who remixed their album’s titular track this summer. With a 7.0 rating of Perpetual Surrender on notoriously picky hipster music website Pitchfork, it looks like DIANA are here to stay—at least for a while. Either way, it’s worth finding out if this band lives up to the hype.
DIANA performs at Sala Rosa (4848 St. Laurent) at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25. Tickets are $12 in advance.
Mozart’s Sister, comprised solely of Montrealer Caila Thompson-Hannant, is no stranger to the Montreal music scene, but she’s definitely worth checking out at POP this year. Despite a poppy, upbeat sound, Thompson-Hannant manages to make her music quirky in the vein of Grimes— Kate Bush-esque vocals: check; unusual song lyrics: check—but perhaps without as much artsy pretension. One of the biggest selling points for seeing Mozart’s Sister live is that Thompson-Hannant hasn’t released any new music in quite a while. You’ll hear more live from this up and comer than you can find on Youtube. Wondering exactly what Mozart’s Sister sounds like? Google her biggest song entitled, well, “Mozart’s Sister,” and judge for yourself.
Mozart’s Sister performs at L’Olympia (1004 St. Catherine) at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27. Tickets are $40 in advance. Also performing are The-Dream and Team Rockit.
– Diana Wright
Look Vibrant is a project founded by Matt Murphy, an electroacoustics major at Concordia, and Justin Lazarus, a cognitive science student at McGill. The name of their latest single, “Plateau,” refers to both the band’s birthplace in Montreal and an uncertain time in Murphy’s life after his move to Montreal following an extended trip to Dublin, Ireland. Despite the name and a narrow range of frequencies mostly recorded through a Macbook microphone, their sound is anything but flat. Rather, ‘Plateau’ is full of screeching, ecstatic guitar riffs and charmingly sing-songy vocals, both of which translate surprisingly well live. In each of the bands’ two showtimes at POP, Murphy and Lazarus will play with the support of McGill students Alex Rand, Eli Kaufman, and Michael Go, replicating their ‘no-fi’ production with a layered chorus of guitars.
Look Vibrant performs at Little Italy Park (Clark and St. Zotique) at 12:00 noon on Friday Sept. 26, for free, as part of BBQ POP. They also perform the next day, Sept. 27, at Casa del Popolo (4873 St. Laurent), at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance.
As a DJ, dubstep producer (under the alias Ramadanman)and co-founder of electronic label Hessle Audio, David Kennedy, a.k.a Pearson Sound, is at the forefront of a unique UK electronic sound, where elements of garage, dubstep, and house blend into smooth, danceable mixes. Well-known in the London electronic scene, Pearson Sound’s claim to fame in North America is probably opening for Radiohead in New York. At POP Montreal, he appears as part of a Hessle Audio label showcase, an imprint that has released singles from the likes of James Blake, and fellow UK producer Untold.
Pearson Sound DJs at Le Belmont (4483 St. Laurent) at 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25. Tickets are $10 before 11 p.m., and $15 afterwards. Pangaea and Ben UFO also perform.
– William Burgess