STREAM: Big Brave - 'On The By And By And Thereon'

The meditative rumblings of Montreal post rock trio Big Brave have reached seismic proportions.

With "On The By And By And Thereon", the band breathes in unison, each inhale and exhale the size of a mountain. They come together for every crushing hit, at every pause nothing but a slight sizzle of feedback remaining. With Efrim Menuck at the production helm (fellow Thee Silver Mt. Zion member Jessica Moss contributes strings to the record), cold distortion writhes under Robin Faye's monastic staccato singing. 

The new album is called Au De La, and this is only the opening track. They're releasing the record Sept. 12 at Bar "Le Ritz" P.D.B.

Au De La:
1. On The By And By And Thereon
2. Look At How The World Has Made A Change
4. And As The Waters Go
5. (re)Collection Part II

CROSSS stage a bloody sacrifice in their "Interlocutor" video

Get lost in the druidic rumblings of Toronto / Montreal-based CROSSS with their new video for "Interlocutor". Hooded figures drag some poor soul into a church basement in this black-and-white horror show.

"Interlocutor" is off their upcoming full-length LO, recorded at the Echo Chamber in Halifax and coming out May 26 on Telephone Explosion. But you can get the single now on a lathe-cut picture disk from the CROSSS Bandcamp page

Read more about how CROSSS frontman Andy March makes the disks in an interview from September 2014.

Contemporary dance in a boxing club: Ought - "Pleasant Heart"

Here's Ought with "Pleasant Heart", off their LP More Than Any Other Day, out now on Constellation Records. The video is shot at the Blue Cat Boxing Club, dancer Kiera Hill doing contemporary dance and a bit of voguing as punching bags sway around her. It's directed by Lara Oundjian and choreographed by Kaitlyn Ramsden.

Ought are touring Europe right now. Stream their new EP Once More With Feeling here.

STREAM: Blush - 'I' EP


Stream the new EP from local trio Blush here or download it for $7 from their Bandcamp page. "My life is all about sex and money" sings Oussama Laghzaoui ironically in "Color Television". It's an EP of dreamy pop tunes about romance and loneliness.

Blush are playing Chez Boris tonight with She Divides and Kieran Blake. So grab on cassette at the show if you're into physical possessions.

Black Lips leave Club Soda broken, wasted and wanting more

The wreckage was only visible once the Black Lips and their Almighty Defenders brethren left the stage at Club Soda. Broken bottles covered the sitcky, black floor as dozens of wasted revellers searched for their shoes, clothing, phones, really anything that you can lose when there are limbs flying everywhere.

For the few hours before this drunken search / exodus the venue had been packed with screaming, sweaty dancers stagediving to the band's degenerate pop tunes. The Black Lips themselves weren't moving too much but, by the time they played "O Katrina" a few songs in, people were jumping onstage every few seconds, putting their faith in the masses that they wouldn't eat shit.

It mostly worked out for them.

The band was in town supporting their latest record Underneath the Rainbow, which came out in March. It might be less rowdy than their earlier stuff, but singing along to new cuts like "Funny" fit right in. By the time openers King Khan & BBQ Show joined them for a final few songs, it felt more like a victory lap than an encore.

POP Montreal: Ronnie Spector, CROSSS, TOPS, Kurvi Tasch

Ronnie Spector at the Rialto Theatre. Photo by Dominick Mastrangelo.

At the Rialto opening up for the legendary Ronnie Spector is Bloodshot Bill, making music to dance to for a room full of tables. I've never seen Bill on such a big stage, and it feels a little weird. Even he admits how absurd it is to play for a bunch if people sitting down, making his pauses extra long and telling the crowd to "shhhh" before chuckling and moving on. Somehow in a fancy theatre his act feels more like a schtick.

But all is not stuffy here at this POP / Jazz Fest collaboration, and by the bar his ferocious psychobilly is met with cheers — the rest slowly warming up to him. But whoever's doing lighting fails miserably at following Bill's impromptu stops and snorts.

When Ronnie Spector takes the stage for her "Beyond the Beehive" show, she has the crowd's full attention. This was a night about affirming her importance in the history of pop music, with Ronnie narrating her story in front of projected photos and video clips as she works through the singles.

It was an emotional trip through her relationship with deranged killer/hitmaker Phil Spector, taking us through the pain of being in an abusive relationship.

"All I knew about Phil is that he was one smooth operator," Ronnie says as she details her first encounters with a man who would go on to trap her in her own home and try to ruin her career. The instantly recognizable "Be my Baby" was played in an encore to allow for some loophole in Phil and Ronnie's divorce settlement.

At 71, Ronnie's voice still holds up and she has attitude to spare. It was an honour to hear her story, from growing up in Harlem to getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

But then it's time to return to this decade at a packed Brasserie Beaubien, where there's a lazy attempt at a mosh pit while CROSSS are playing(read an interview with CROSSS here). They're channeling Sabbath heaviness as singer Andy March is joined by his current band for one of the last times, Nathan Doucet bashing the hell out of the kit. They're followed by Calgary punk four-piece Hag Face, who successfully beat all those '60s girl group songs out of my head.

At Casa Brazilian Money take a moment from their upbeat pop set to plug Monster Energy, who are sponsoring POP this year. I'm going to assume it was a joke making fun of the whole thing (they can't actually require bands to talk about an energy drink can they??), but I was mostly impressed the singer was able to take a swig of their new "blue" flavour with a smile on his face. Anyways, this non-sponsored blog post is telling you to never drink that shit, even if it's free.

The crowd's loving The Rural Alberta Advantage as they work through new stuff at Cabaret Mile End, but the band is having even more fun. Singer Nils Edenloff says it's the biggest crowd they've played to in Montreal (if you don't count opening for The Hip last summer), and it feels like everyone is singing along to their old stuff.

TOPS at Sala Rossa. Photo  by Cindy Lopez.

While it's a radio-friendly sing-along at with the RAA it's hipster prom at Sala for TOPS, the band playing cuts off their dreamy new record Picture You Staring. Their sound is part Fleetwood Mac part Twin Peaks (a comparison someone must have used before) and they own the hometown crowd, headlining the sold-out Arbutus Records showcase.

I cut out early though to catch the end of Kurvi Tasch's set back at Casa, expanding their track "Fractured Lens" with a furious jam in nine and ending the set with the title track off their new record On Firm Ground. Their sound has evolved into something creeping and reactive, drums and bass playing off Alex Nicol's twisted chords as they pull from the darker parts of new wave.

STREAM: Moss Lime - "Ice Cream Sandwiches"

 Here's the deceptively dancey "Ice Cream Sandwiches" by local trio Moss Lime, off their July First EP. The EP was recorded last week in the Bottle Garden studio by Peter Woodford from Freelove Fenner, and keeps up a dour tone throughout its minimalist groove, from the trance-like "Fish n Chips" to their 2014 take on the club hit "Calabria 2007". 

The July First EP is coming out November 4 on Fixture Records. Pre-order here.