Thom Yorke releases a new solo album via BitTorrent "paygate"

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Thom Yorke has found another unconventional way to get his music out to the masses — this time via BitTorrent. His new solo record Tomorrow's Modern Boxes came out Sept. 26, available for US$6 (or just under CDN$7) through a piece of new technology called a "paygate", supposedly making the torrent only accessible to the paying public. All you need is a torrent client to get the record.

By the afternoon the torrent had been downloaded over 60,000 times.

You unlock access to the torrent by paying for the Bundle with a credit card or PayPal on BitTorrent's site. The first track "Brain in a Bottle" is available for free, along with a video featuring Thom's face.

It's a record of layered, bassy percussion and piano with Thom's falsetto floating above everything (so, this record probably won't surprise you except for the fact that it appeared out of nowhere). The eight-track Tomorrow's Modern Boxes is very much in the same vein (if less noisy) as his Atoms for Peace record AMOK. And like with AMOK, he's working with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. If you trust Thom Yorke's artistic sensibility (and you should), then you'll like this record.

This experimental distribution method — the first of its kind — creates a clear pipeline from creator to users, using the technology they already have installed to download media. Instead of having a middle company controlling the pipeline and dictating royalty rates (like say, Spotify, who Thom Yorke is no fan of), the music is able to go right to the user.

It also allows the user to know that the artist is actually getting the bulk of the pay. Matt Mason, BitTorrent's chief content officer told CNET that BitTorrent gets a 10% cut of their Bundles and the content creator pays for transaction fees.

Here's the message Thom and Nigel posted this morning to the BitTorrent blog:

TomorrowsModernBoxes-blog

POP Montreal: Sun Kil Moon, Year of Glad, Charlotte Cornfield, The World Provider

The World Provider. Photo Cindy Lopez

My first night of POP Montreal ended up being pretty much taken over by Sun Kil Moon, but that wasn't a bad thing. The Ukrainian Federation is packed when Mark Kozelek and his band take the stage, the venue is darkness except for a few spots of light around Sun Kil Moon. It's what Mark has asked for. Before they start, we're told that the use of cell phones is prohibited, and there are no photos allowed either.

But Mark didn't have to worry about keeping the crowd's full attention, or fear any of the outdoor festival distractions that spoiled his show last weekend in Ottawa. I'm sure the band had as much time as they wanted to do their sound, they held command over this old Outremont community hall for the night — no chance for sound bleeding from another show, for which Mark had some choice words aimed at The War on Drugs.

"I'm in a good mood tonight," says Kozelek — but adding that we better not piss him off.

I had caught a couple pretty solo songs by Toronto's Charlotte Cornfield opening up the show as people started to fill the hall. Even during the opener, a solo acoustic act, the crowd was respectful, giving their full attention (or at least it felt like it) to Charlotte. But she certainly earned our attention, ending her set with a subtle, captivating "If You Don't Pursue", backing off the mic for the final few lines, letting hew words reverberate through the hall on their own.

POP headquarters on opening day. Photo Susan Moss.

Then it was to Divan Orange for Year of Glad (read an interview with the band here), the local folk-meets-drone band that just returned to Montreal after a tour out east. The more I see these guys the more I think of jazz, singer/guitarist Alexandre Bergeron bringing cellist Justin Wright and saxophonist Dave Switchenko on to improvise over his heavily-effected guitar work and soaring falsetto.

"We're called Year of Glad. I'm just going to keep saying that," says Bergeron. There are a few truly beautiful moments in the set, including the title track off their latest record, Old Growth. It's a shame there are no drums there to hold down the rhythm though.

Back at the Ukrainian Federation Mark seems a little disappointed he has no one to complain about in the crowd. They're his disciples, maybe even extra careful after hearing about what happened in Ottawa.

They lap up his rants against Twitter, how he's so good at guitar because he doesn't have a smart phone. But the thing is, you can be an asshole if you make good music. The audience takes his playful bashing well, even when he tells us we're all brainwashed by Pitchfork.

I admit I didn't know much about Kozelek except that he was in Almost Famous, but you don't need to know a thing to enjoy his set. He plays to our hearts, even if the stage banter in between feels like little more than ego-stroking.

Singing about his mother, his girlfriend's dead dog (really, death was kind of the common theme here) the set is incredible. The band's at their best as the two guitars intertwine (well, more like Mark's paying accented by an electric guitar) and the drumming sets a subtle textured base for Mark's voice.

He plays for 90 minutes, ending the set standing on top of a chair. He gets a standing ovation when he's through.

As great as Sun Kil Moon was though, the long set means I get to l'Esco as Big Brave are loading up their gear. So it's a trip to see what's at Casa that ends my night, where The World Provider are playing to a modest crowd. They're all wearing white shirts with what looks like tin foil on them, giving me something a little more upbeat to end my Wednesday. Toronto's Malcolm Fraser works through some synth rock numbers before I call it a night.

Maybe it was all the moody singer/songwriter stuff, but The World Provider's simple pop numbers don't do much for me. Still thinking about the Sun Kil Moon set, I really just feel like I should call my mother.

New Caddywhompus LP 'Feathering a Nest' coming Nov. 11

feathering1

New Orleans noisey pop duo Caddywhompus are putting out their new record Feathering a Nest November 11 on Community Records. It's been a long time coming, their last LP Remainder coming out in 2010. Here's the LP version of "Stuck", a demo of the song was earlier released on 2012's Maze Demos along with "Feathering a Nest", "Company" and the ambient closing track "It's a Self Portrait (of You)". So it's a pretty good bet at least two of those songs will be on this record.

Singer Chris Rehm's voice is getting less buried in effects (but maybe dial the reverb back a bit too), and his guitar sounding bigger than ever when things get loud. This being a Caddywhompus tune, it goes from ultra-soft to all distortion (and back) in less than four minutes. It's not much different structure-wize to its Maze Demos counterpart, but you can hear the time that went into this recording.

If you want to get acquainted with the band, you can download most of their discography for free at Caddywhompusband.com. Here's "This Is Where We Blaze The Nuggz", one of their old songs off an EP from 2009.

Push&Shove is building a safe space at loud shows

Demi Begin and Bianca David are are putting their first shows with Push&Shove at TRH-Bar this weekend.

Two Montreal promoters are starting their new company Push&Shove in a big way this weekend, taking over TRH-Bar during POP Montreal. Co-founders Demi Bégin and Bianca David aim to create a space where everyone feels welcome to enjoy the heavy stuff.

“When we decided to start the company, we were trying to figure out a way we could stand out. It didn’t seem like there was a need for another promoter in Montreal,” laughs Demi.

“I had been going to a lot of punk shows in town, and it always seems like it was just a bunch of guys, and then a couple girls. Sometimes I would feel a little out of place. So we wanted to bringing this sort of gender balance and gender equality in our shows.”

The two are in the business of booking loud shows, and, as the name suggests aren't intimidated by how physical some crowds can get. They just want to make sure that everyone feels welcome, and that some attention is given to gender diversity onstage and in the crowd.

Demi started working for POP Montreal in 2012, learning how bands get booked while working as POP creative director Dan Seligman's assistant. She quickly missed the music biz after starting a new day job this winter.

“I had this idea of producing my own show for a while, but I was always kind of scared to do that,” says Demi, who met Bianca in Concordia's journalism department. “We had a meeting one day and we said ‘let’s just do this.’”

“I would come up with lineups in my head, so when Demi said we should actually do this, I thought yes, let’s go for it,” adds Bianca.

This weekend will see punk, rock, and hardcore at the Push&Shove shows, including locals Hiroshima ShadowsShitsuCorridor, and Harsh Reality. They're also bringing in Maine punk trio Jim Dandy.

“POP is a really great way to get visibility [...] it didn’t seem that big a deal doing three shows. It was like, that’s great, more bands! It’ll be one big party,” says Demi.

Their aim is to connect Montreal bands from different scenes, while trying to break through the kind of male domination that’s typically seen in punk and metal.

“I really think that the punk culture is supposed to be progressive, but if it’s a room full of guys moshing and you’re the only girl, it can get a little intimidating. I just want everyone to feel included in the space, no matter what the show is,” Demi says.

“I’m sure there are a lot of girls that listen to the same music that I do," says Bianca. “We just want everyone to feel like they belong there.”

Push&Shove is putting on shows on September 17, 19 and 20 at TRH-Bar as part of POP Montreal. Full lineup here.

Mac DeMarco welcomes Andy with a Burt Bacharach cover

The sultry Mac DeMarco decided to introduce his new guitarist to the world with a Burt Bacharach cover. He plays along with a drum machine in a slowed-down version of '60s pop croon "This Guy's in Love With You" (listen to the original performed by Herb Alpert here). You know the guitarist's name is Andy, because, well it's pretty much always onscreen.

If you're going to watch any of the video, let it be at 1:24.

Mac's old guitarist Peter Sagar is doing his thing as HOMESHAKE. Listen to "Making a Fool of You" here, and catch the band during POP Montreal at the Arbutus Records showcase September 19.

Andy and his mustache have a message of positivity for all of us. In the middle of the video he gives a little monologue to the camera:

"I want to let everyone in the world to know that they're beautiful, and that they're a genius, and everyone's body is gorgeous as hell," he says.

I don't really understand Mac's fame (this video was posted today and already has 18,000 views), but it's probably better to not worry about it.

Mac DeMarco is playing the Rialto Theatre November 5.

Montreal Psych Fest takes over La Vitrola this weekend

psychfest

Montreal Psych Fest is back for a third year, finding a familiar home at l'Esco and at this summer's new venue on The Main, La Vitrola. The weekend of mystic grooves starts tonight (see the whole lineup on Facebook).

Here's "Talk" by local trippers The Backhomes, they're headlining Sept. 12.

For something a little dancier, here's Les Marinelles with their self-titled LP. They're playing La Vitrola on Sept. 13.

METZ are recording their next album

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Earlier today METZposted this photo to Facebook with the caption "Recording for record number 2 starts today at the barn." The barn being a literal barn-turned-studio in Ontario (here's a photo from outside) that's used by Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh, and has been home to WintersleepDusted and Viet Cong, to name a few. Viet Cong did a killer demo of "Bunker Buster" there with Walsh that was posted earlier this year. 

It's also where the Toronto-based noise punk trio made their crushing self-titled LP. They're just getting better live, too. METZ played at least one new song at Ottawa Explosion Weekend (maybe another, blame the beer), and it's safe to say expectations are set pretty high for this follow-up. Not to add to the hype or anything, but I think they'll deliver.

Here's "I'm a Bug", a Urinals cover they posted in June.

New Caddywhompus LP 'Feathering a Nest' is nearly here

A new Caddywhompus LP will be released soon. Pre-orders start Sept. 16.

It's not unusual for a music fan to have a special place in their heart for New Orleans. Its rich history is second-to-none when it comes to arts and culture on this continent. It's the birthplace of jazz, but there's more than nostalgia fuelling that love for NoLa. Caddywhompus is one of many bands that prove the city has plenty of new sounds to share.

The band is prepping for the release of its sophomore LP Feathering a Nest, though the release date is still unknown. New Orleans-based Community Records posted a photo of a white vinyl test pressing to Facebook on August 25, noting in the caption that on September 16 a new single will be posted and pre-orders will start. The band later posted a photo of a test pressing in its red sleeve. Singer / guitarist Chris Rehm and drummer Sean Hart have been playing together since high school, and it shows — in how both complex and catchy their songs are.

And the songs are just getting bigger. I managed to hear some of the new stuff when they opened up for Mac DeMarco in April, and it bodes well for the new record. Their last LP, the pop-noise beaut Remainder, came out in 2010 but I'm willing to bet Feathering a Nest will be worth the wait.

Here's a demo version from 2012 of the title track, from the one-off cassette run of Maze Demos. You can download every Caddywhompus release for free from their website.

Caddywhompus - Feathering a Nest [from Maze Demos, 2012]

The Men are releasing a krautrock-inspired LP as Dream Police

The two guitarists in shape-shifting Brooklyn four-piece The Men are putting out an LP of krautrock-inspired tunes with their label Sacred Bones. Nick Chiericozzi and Mark Perro are going by the name Dream Police, the album is called Hypnotized and it's coming out on November 11. Listen to "Pouring Rain" here.

The switch makes sense, since the band has never really kept a consistent sound from album to album. Leave Home got really fucking heavy at points, and then two years later they threw in blues and country while recording in the Catskills. They've also put out two solid "rock" LPs in between.

Dream Police isn't a new concept though. The project has been around since at least 2011, with a handful of shows and a cassette-only release. The two have been playing under the name "The Men" since 2008.

Here's a clip from "Let it Be", half of a 25-minute tape they put out as Dream Police before their Sacred Bones debut as The Men came out in 2011.That LP (Leave Home) ended with "Night Landing", essentially a Dream Police song pegged to a bipolar (and excellent) record by The Men. Read a 2011 interview with Nick from The Men / Dream Police here.

DREAMPOLICE

Another new Death From Above 1979 track - "Government Trash"

They already posted "Trainwreck 1979" last month after premiering the track on the BBC, and now you can sink your teeth into a second track off The Physical World. Free CDs were given out at a DFA 1979 show at The Troubadour club last week in West Hollywood with the album version of "Government Trash," the ninth track on the new LP according to the previously announced tracklist. "Government Trash" is ruled by frantic bass runs and drums that verge on thrash metal. It's ready-made for mosh pits.

Anyone taking bets on a POP Montreal appearance?

The Physical World is out September 9 on Last Gang Records. Full tracklist below.

1. Cheap Talk 2. Right On, Frankenstein! 3. Virgins 4. Always On 5. Crystal Ball 6. White Is Red 7. Trainwreck 1979 8. Nothin’ Left 9. Government Trash 10. Gemini 11. The Physical World

Weird Canada is setting up a digital music distro service

First they set up physical distribution, now Weird Canada is going digital. Image by Kyle McDonald.

After launching a Canada-wide distribution service for vinyl, cassettes and CDs in February, Weird Canada has now set its sights on the brave new world of streaming.

They're partnering with the National Campus and Community Radio Association to provide streaming of new, independent Canadian music to stations across the country. The project is just starting out (and they're looking for funding), so don't expect an Wyrd-ified take on iTunes in the immediate future. But it has some pretty promising potential to take down some barriers to bands that can't put together the cash for a physical release for every project.

It would also make things way easier for campus DJs to get their hands on new independent music if there was a centralized space where new stuff was hosted.

Their physical distribution service, Wyrd Distro, gets funding from FACTOR, which Canadians can apply to for cash towards their recording projects. FACTOR gets its funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage, private Canadian broadcast corporations and donations.

Want to get involved? Email digitaldistro@weirdcanada.com.

Prepare yourself for Passovah's summer festival

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Passovah Productions is putting on a four-day festival at the end of August packed with local talent. Shows include Suuns at Casa (so get your tickets fast, they showed off some killer new material last weekend at the S.A.T.), Mori, FrogEyes, Technical Kidman (and way more bands) at the Piccolo Rialto, and a bunch of other shows at venues including Café Résonance, Marché des Possibles, Nouveau Palais and Club Lambi.

Here's a two-hour compilation that Passovah put out yesterday of bands playing the fest. You can stream the 44-track compilation below, and download it PWYC here. All proceeds go to the Ange-Aimée Woods Memorial Bursary.

The Passovah Summer Festival runs August 21 - 24. All show info can be found on the Passovah Facebook group. Most shows are PWYC at the door with a suggested donation of $5 - $25.