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.

METZ are recording their next album


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.

STREAM: Protomartyr - "Scum, Rise!"

Detroit's Protomartyr score a late-night chase scene with "Scum, Rise!" off their record Under Color of Official Right out earlier this year. They rocked the Saw tent Friday at Ottawa Explosion Weekend, ending a month of touring the continent by opening for The White Wires; singer Joe Casey swaying over the band's moody, driving punk rock. 

The Mouthbreathers are for young, fun degenerates

The latest from The Mouthbreathers is for those of us who feel a little twinge of nostalgia when a Pavement song comes on, who want nothing more than some simple Blink-182 harmonies to sing along to. They released four jams readily anticipating summer on their new EP Corrupt the Youth at the beginning of May with Sackville's Killer Haze Records.

Ending the last track with a guitar solo and a key-changed chorus, the pep's been literally written into this stuff. They sing about warped vinyl and streaming American Netflix. And they've got it right; sometimes we all need to drown out our worries listening to college rock.

Steve Adamyk Band returns with "Crash Course in Therapy"

Steve Adamyk plays the kind of punk rock that would fit right into Hard Core Logo: fast, no-bullshit, sloppy drunk and Canadian. He premiered "Crash Course in Therapy" today on CMJ's website, off the band's new record Dial Tone. It comes out July 1 on Dirtnap Records, but you'll hear more new stuff first at Ottawa Explosion Weekend. They're playing the Dirtnap showcase on June 14.

Raise those metal horns: Mutoid Man signs to Sargent House

Cave In guitarist/singer Stephen Brodsky and Converge drummer Ben Koller have found a home for Mutoid Man's sludgy, metal grooves. The Brooklyn shredders announced today that they've signed to Sargent House (formerly HellaRed Fang, currently includes Tera MelosRussian CirclesFang Island). Find the label's full roster here.

They have an album in the works for next year, but for now here's their crushing EP Helium Head, released last fall on Magic Bullet Records.

The Men's "Different Days"

[youtube http://youtu.be/q7q3LYjD3yc]Have some pent-up angst? Let Brooklyn's The Men take it from here. "Different Days" is an ideal anthem for a love/hate relationship with youth, and just a really solid summer tune. It's off Tomorrow's Hits, which came out in March, and keeps the twang they've developed over the last couple years. Tomorrow's Hits may not pack the same punch as their Sacred Bones debut Leave Home, but it builds off the solid rock & roll they've been putting out in subsequent records.  They won't be in Montreal again until Osheaga, but until then you can read this interview from 2011 when they came through with Thee Oh Sees.

The Long Road Home

Photo Jason Halstead

Though he’s been in the Canadian music scene since the late ‘80s, this week marks a first for John K. Samson: it’s the first time The Weakerthans frontman will tour with his name on the marquee. He’s crossing the continent in support of his new solo LP Provincial, a record that started out as a series of seven-inch demos about stretches of road in Manitoba. The demos soon took on a life of their own, tied together by the strange self-published history of a forgotten sanatorium in Ninette, MB.

Samson uncovered the stories at the library in his home town of Winnipeg, where he’d been writing more and more as his years with The Weakerthans went on.

“For the last Weakerthans record, I spent a lot of time writing at the library just because I found I couldn’t focus at home with the Internet there,” he said. “I think this was just a natural extension of that. I started reading about the things I was writing about, doing research in that way.”

On Provincial, Samson takes this research-heavy writing even further, travelling to small towns in the province to hear the stories of the people who live there, transcribing memories and weaving them into folk-rock frames with the care and intimacy he’s become known for.

He reaches in by telling histories, lifting important places from our past; he appeals to nostalgia, adventure and solace throughout the record.

But while this may sound just like the formula for a great Weakerthans record, his fellow members are nowhere to be heard on this LP.

“To be fair to the other Weakerthans, I would have had to bring them in at an earlier date for their full input to be heard on the songs,” said Samson. “I don’t think it was terribly conscious, it’s just kind of the way it happened. I feel like the project dictated the way it should be handled.”

Samson pieced together demos from the last two years and re-recorded them for Provincial last April, arranged with the help of producer Paul Aucoin. The resulting work finds slow, strings-and-piano-backed songs alongside the up-tempo rockers and acoustic ballads. There’s nothing radically new, but there’s growth here—and it is definitely his most pensive record to date.

“I took a different approach for each location musically. […] The varying instrumentation and arrangements give a sense of travelling to the record,” said Samson. “I feel I’ve stretched myself on this record. Some people won’t feel that at all, but I can only judge myself against myself as a musician.”

For those itching for a new Weakerthans record,Provincial isn’t that far off. But fans shouldn’t fear—once this tour wraps up he’ll be back with the band, where he still finds great comfort and inspiration.

“There’s some kind of strange math going on,” he laughs, in reference to the increasing number of years between Weakerthans records. “I don’t think that’s going to change, it might get even slower as we get older and all have different interests in different things in our lives.

“It’s family in a way—you don’t always want to go to Thanksgiving dinner, but there are great and rare things about it, that you can only get with the accumulation of time and experience with other people.”

Samson’s words have always been at the heart of his music and that’s no different on the album, whether it’s in the form of a petition to induct his hockey hero Reggie Leach into the Hall of Fame or in a matured reprise to his infamous anti-Winnipeg anthem, “One Great City!”

“Often the music acts as a hook to hang the words on and I’ve always been grateful for that as a writer,” said Samson. “I think I’ve always been a thwarted short story and poetry writer; both of those things seem forebodingly difficult to me because that structure isn’t there.

“You can invent structures, but it’s not like a song, where you have a frame laid out and you stretch things across it. I think that’s one of the great traditions of folk music, which I guess is the tradition that I come from. Folk music that kind of turned into punk rock is where I learned to appreciate performance and communication through the arts.”

Samson played bass in Manitoban political punk band Propagandhi in the early ‘90s before leaving to pursue work in publishing, and soon after combined his love of music and poetry with The Weakerthans. While it’s been more than two decades since his anarcho-vegan days on the four-string—and while the bpm is markedly lower now—he still has a lot to say.

“[With Provincial] I’d like people to recognize themselves and the place that they’re from. It’s the thing that we all have in common, that we’re all from somewhere. Those places are all both universal and unique, and those unique things about a place are really important; I think they allow us to relate to other places,” said Samson.

“I hope the record makes people think about their own house, their own city, their own town in a way that they hadn’t considered before.”

Originally published by The Link Newspaper.