This month marks an important date in the realm of music: the tenth anniversary of Arcade Fire’s Funeral—an album that would go on to define a new era of suburban dwelling and independent rock, while also shining the limelight onto one of the most overlooked and vibrant music scenes in North America. Here’s a list of five up-and-coming Montreal acts you should check out.
1. The Besnard Lakes— The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night: “And This Is What We Call Progress”
The Besnard Lakes are living proof that buzz can sometimes take awhile to build. Formed in 2003 around the husband and wife team of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, the psychedelic quartet has been releasing lush, atmospheric shoegaze rock for more than a decade. But, these Montreal experimentalists’ unyielding and brave pursuit of the complicated and unprecedented has resulted in some of the era’s best under-the-radar albums and secret gems.
2. Half Moon Run— Dark Eyes: “Call Me In The Afternoon”
The band’s confessional and raw songwriting and gorgeous harmonies have earned them comparisons to indie rock legends Of Monsters And Men, Local Natives and Young The Giant. But the group’s reputation as a live band precedes them. Half Moon Run’s performances, while oversized, maintain an open sense of intimacy and addd a layer of depth that showcases the group’s advanced arrangements and instrumental techniques.
3. CTZNSHP— Doom Love: “Heartbreak Kids”
With choruses as sharp as their cheekbones and attire, it wasn’t hard to fall for Montreal newbies CTZNSHP—but this self-released single and opening track from the group’s debut LP demonstrates an intriguing sense of maturity and instrumental wisdom. Formed around a soaring melody, the track mixes hazy dream-pop rhythms with fuzzy crunch cymbals for five billowing minutes of prolonged electronic-rock euphoria.
4. Smokes— Unlucky EP: “Deer In Headlights”
These hardcore Canadian outcasts formed this reckless indie experiment in 2012, but the sore-throat yowls and jangly guitar lines on the trio’s debut The Unlucky EP sound like lost transmissions from the underground rock scene that gave Modest Mouse its career jump start. “Deer In Headlights” is an orchestral and dramatic meltdown of electric guitar fuzz and soaring violin solos that walks fine line between a musical breakdown and total transcedence.
5. Our Friend And The Spiders—Walk Me Out: “Your Ghost”
Montreal’s answer to Kings Of Leon, Our Friend And The Spiders writes catchy, post-punk rock tunes that take you back to the likes 2008’s Only By The Night or Spoon‘s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. The quartet’s anthemic choruses and triply guitars, paired with frontman Mathieu Morin’s peppy, yet firm voice, make a play for our hearts and minds in this introduction track “Your Ghost.” May be too early to call the game, but sounds like another victorious battle cry in the ongoing Canadian indie renaissance.
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