Arts & Entertainment

Pop Montreal preview


All the Mistakes You Can Make and How (Not) to Make Them

Friday, Sept. 23 14:30-16:00

Location: L’ancienne École des beaux-arts de Montréal

Even the indie music industry is still an industry requiring business sense and navigation. Those aspiring to be the next Arcade Fire can soak in the advice of five industry professionals, speaking on everything from labeling and booking, to management, publishing, and licensing. Special guest improv group The Bitter End will aid in demonstrating the top five indie music taboos no up-and-comer should commit.


Getting It Together: From Concept to Application – How to Wrap Your Mind Around a Successful Grant Application

Thursday, Sept. 22 14:00-16:30.

Location: L’ancienne École des beaux-arts de Montréal

This workshop promises to take the “starving” out of “starving artist” by educating participants about Canada’s creative grant programs. It provides a forum for individual consultation with representatives from the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings, the Société de développement des enterprises culturelles, and others. Bring your artistic ambition and your notebook to take down the insider advice. 


Art pop

Marcel Dzama

Friday, Sept. 23, 17:00-19:00

Location: L’ancienne École des beaux-arts de Montréal

Dzama is best known for the art that has graced the album covers of bands The Weakerthans, They Might Be Giants, and Beck, among others. This vernissage presents live music, a question and answer period with Dzama, and both the world premiere of his Death Disco Dance and the Canadian premiere of A Game of Chess. 


The Raincoats

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 12:00-Sunday, Sept.25, 17:00

Location: L’ancienne École des beaux-arts de Montréal

The Raincoats, a collective comprised of Gina Birch, Ana da Silva, and Shirley O’Loughlin present Adventures, an exhibit of film, photography, and art. With artist statements as enigmatic and diverse as da Silva’s poem, Birch’s rallying mini-bio, and O’Loughlin’s prose-and-poem declaration, Adventures will showcase the creative efforts that evolved from da Silva and Birch’s musical collaboration in 1977. 


Film POP

The Women of Dr. Phil

Wednesday, Sept. 21 16:00; looping daily.

Location: L’ancienne École des beaux-arts de Montréal

This installation by Winnipeggers Clint Enns and Les Klassen, with music by Les Mouches, offers an unusual perspective on the television show of pop-psych celebrity Dr. Phil. Stare into the soulless eyes of the lady audience adherents of Dr. Phil’s controversial (and probably ineffective) feel-good psychobabble.  


Bloodied But Unbowed: The Birth of Vancouver Punk Rock 1977-82

Thursday, Sept. 22 19:30-21:00

Location: Blue Sunshine.

Director Susanne Tabata and D.O.A. musician Randy Rampage will be present for the screening of this cinematic revelation of Vancouver’s influential punk-rock scene. The underbelly of the coastal city served as wetnurse in the 1970s to the music of the Young Canadians, UJ3RK5, D.O.A., and others. Let the narration of Billy Hopeless school you on this unorthodox heritage moment.


The Darcys

With the forthcoming release of their self-titled LP, their first on Canadian label Arts & Crafts, The Darcys are back in action.  The Toronto-based group’s 7″, House Build Around Your Voice, released over a year ago, represented a marked improvement over their 2007 debut Endless Water.  Despite increasing popularity and recognition over the last several years, The Darcys haven’t had such a smooth ride.  Immediately following the debut of Young Believers, the band’s lead singer quit, forcing them to regroup and fit the remaining pieces together. Instead of bringing in a replacement, The Darcys embraced their new quartet status with guitarist/keyboardist Jason Couse taking over the vocals.

“It seems to be the best-worst thing that ever could have happened,” says drummer Wes Marskell.

“Somebody once told me from a big newspaper in Toronto, they said, ‘If you had your old singer you wouldn’t be a band anymore,’ and that’s really telling because I don’t think [the music] had the same appeal and it wasn’t as interesting… if it hadn’t happened, we probably wouldn’t be a band anymore.”

Despite these internal troubles, The Darcys have made quite the comeback, continuing to garner critical acclaim for their mellow, yet complex, electric sound and performing what some are calling the best live sets in Toronto. Marskell
and band are equally excited to be playing POP Montreal.

“We always get great shows in Montreal, and I think it’s such a beautiful and wonderful city.”


The Darcys play Saturday Sept. 24 at Casa del Popolo

More information available at



The general consensus among rap artists and fans is that we all must protect hip-hop from the hordes of “wack MC’s” who threaten the legitimacy of the genre. Yet very rarely do we hear rappers who can preach the real hip-hop sermon and who have the lyrical enthusiasm to make us enjoy it, too. This is the case with Toronto-based rapper D-Sisive, a true workaholic whose four albums in the last three years have earned him Juno and Polaris Music Prize nominations.  

“I really try to not look at it from an industry standpoint. I create a lot of music and I’m always working,” he explains.

D-Sisive’s latest album, Jonestown 2: Jimmy Go Bye-Bye, was released on the Internet as a free download just eight months after the release of his Juno-nominated album Vaudeville. Although it’s available free of charge, D-Sisive insists Jonestown 2 should not be given the preconceived judgments of a typical mixtape.

“That just bugs me. Not that I have anything against mixtapes, but when people think of a free album, they think the quality is going to be down. This is not throwaway material.”

By no means does his dissatisfaction with the zeitgeist of mainstream rap, particularly rap’s stubborn fixation with club-friendly hits, make his music any less accessible. “I’m not making the same generic hip-hop … these were albums with original instrumentals.”

As evidenced by popular music’s declining record sales and the growing interest in indie rappers, listeners may also be growing tired of all the whack MCs. D-Sisive understands the importance of music that’s both catchy and emotional, and he knows how to present both in just the right dosage. Feel free to continue listening to mainstream rap, but remember that you do so at your own risk.


D-Sisive plays Wednesday Sept. 21 at HOHM Private Club.


Extra happy ghost!!!

Extra Happy Ghost!!! is the project of Calgary musician Matthew Swann. His recently released debut album, Modern Horses, is a collection of nine experiments in hazy, minimalist psychedelia. The songs are simple and rarely feature more than guitar, bass, drums, and voice with the occasional harmony. There is no build, there is no release, and the production choices lie in actively employing non-production.

“It’s a fairly abrasive record in some ways and there’s a lot of dissonance and there’s a lot of intentional dissonance. We employed a lot of anti-aesthetic,” says Swann.

The “we” Swann speaks of is himself and fellow Calgarian and musical mad-scientist Chad van Gaalen, who produced and engineered the disc.

“He’s a really easy-going guy, immensely creative and [he] totally got the vision,” says Swann. “There’s a lot of similarities in terms of our influences, similar aesthetic approaches. It was really natural. He understood the mood I was trying to convey and felt very comfortable going in that direction.”

The album takes its title from an incident at the 2005 Calgary Stampede in which nine horses died after falling off a bridge while parading into the city. Swann sees the event as encapsulating the feelings of separation and solitude of living in his hometown.

 “The record itself is using this event to play with this symbol of this place that I live and in a sense to invert it into something representative of a dissonance and an alienation. It’s really weird that we’re parading these horses through the city and they’re existing completely outside of their familiar contexts. You’re confined to your own experiences and that is your world. For me Calgary is very much a part of that,” he says. “It’s such a complex relationship which is partly why I’m interested in it and why I stay there.”


Extra Happy Ghost!!! plays Wednesday Sept. 21 at Cagibi




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