No mo Royal Mountain – Cara and I leave tomorrow for Canada’s catchment. The city that you like but say you don’t really like but all in all it’s still a great place to live. No counter counter cool Toronto is cool, just Toronto. I will buy Starbucks too, because it’s actually coffee. I will pay 50 more cents for actual coffee. I will miss Jean Talon, much prettier metro stations, Roadsworth, fresh baguette, Dieu du Ciel, Chao Phraya, St. Denis, Parc Lafontaine, maple syrup pie, Cheskie’s bakery, Outremont friends, Casa/Sala, mansard roofs and Duluth. It was truly fucking great. Just great.
So yeah uh… The National were unreal. Similar set to Toronto, but they comedically noted how much better the night in Montreal felt compared to Kool Haus. Eat it ! The band played beautifully together, and all of my friends loved how Matt Berninger sings. I just wish he melodicized his lyrics a bit more, but that’s just me. I feel like he’s just afraid of being off pitch and every sung note is brief.
They also could have jammed out their songs more for some major impact, but they did a decent job of that already. Every time I go to a packed show at Metropolis, I always feel like Montreal crowds are loud and supportive. They seemed happy to play to us, and by golly we liked that.
Thank you to Chromewaves.net for providing last night’s setlist of The National at Kool Haus. If tonight at Metropolis is similar, I will turn into a liquefied cookie. Been looking forward to this long time, and can’t wait to see how these songs stand up live.
Start A War
Baby We’ll Be Fine
All The Wine
Mistaken For Strangers
Hear one of my faves and show opener, Start a War, below.
The National – Start a War
Went there for an amazing dinner with Alex, Ari, and C last night. Located near Atwater Market and Westmount. The proprietors are famous Montrealers – they own three restaurants all in a row on Notre Dame – the famous Joe Beef, Liverpool House, and McKiernan Pub. I’m always a bit encouraged to speak English when the title of the restaurant is actually in English. These restaurants are seemingly always on Montreal Top 10 lists, so we had to check it out. They mainly specialize in Italian and French inspired dishes.
I forgot my camera but holy marbles. We all shared, and thank goodness. So many goodnesses. Ricotta gnocchi with gorgonzola cream and truffles, shrimp salad, oysters with a great mignonette for appetizers. For mains, I had a pancetta wrapped rabbit with potato puree with fried sage and the best jus. Sublimers. Cara had one of their staples – linguine with lobster and green peas. Lobster was a bit overdone but still amazing. Ari had veal kidney – brave soul, turned out to be rich and quite good (“a darker richer calamari”). Alex had onglet tacos with cilantro, black bean, and fixins.
Secret City Records, one of Canada’s best upcoming labels. Two of my favourite Montreal bands are on this label, Miracle Fortress and Plants and Animals. Mike will miss Montreal, garrr. Here are two tracks, my faves from both bands.
Miracle Fortress – Poetaster
It was a spring day that felt great, but not quite as great as the first real warm days in the spring. Where the tops of your feet finally meet its old friends. Even your eyelids feel better from the Vitamin D, you know – those very photosynthetic feelings. It makes you think about dirty hair kind of stuff. Just like astrology, so fun and fascinating but don’t take it home. I was just sitting on the steps, thinking about what George said about pigeons. They really are the punk rock bird. We build elegies to concrete and they say screw it – we’re staying right here. And we’re going to eat some delicious food. They do bob their heads a lot, but all the better. I’m looking forward to you coming home this afternoon, sometimes eight hours is too long.
Plants and Animals – Bye Bye Bye
We sit down to our favourite syndicated show, wonder how many times we’ve seen this one. As long as Diane doesn’t get too pissy it’ll be a good one. Textures are really no longer textures after all this time, but what would you expect from an old and loyal companion? There’s a good story there. So what’s gonna happen to you? I go down to the basement and see our healthier decades amassed in perpendicular piles. You used to love that metallic National your crazy uncle gave you, at least it’s on the wall. We took all sorts of rounded edge photographs, now soiled from the radon and the argon. That one is my favourite – just a regular house party night but for some reason we all felt like singing. I made shrimp mousse on cucumber slices and a cheese ball and consistent perfect 5ths. Nicely done, simple.
I’ve had this song stuck in my head for the past monthish. I love the way the title sounds out loud. Montreal’s Land of Talk with Some are Lakes.
Land of Talk – Some Are Lakes
It started on a summer lake. A laissez-faire day of cheating at solitaire, a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, and rocking on a couch swing hung from the goldened and varnished thin pine planks. The supporting chains are eroding those metal turnbuckles, and making that awful sound. I mentioned how it would be cool to have J Mascis’ hair for a day, as long as I had a thick humbucker behind me, or if I was forced to play a Strat I’d want a kickass tube screamer. The thick and slightly foggy distance has been fun so far, but something will happen soon, by dusk I bet. I think of Ben Folds’ “Battle of Who Could Care Less“, because you’re just so aloof and my eye’s child is like yeast and sugar. When looking at objectively, I feel lucky I like your voice so much, I’m pretty picky about girls’ voices, it’s like a 95/5 split. Plus your bovine eyes, I’ll love you like I love you then I’ll die.
CBC tees forever! So I got my hands on the piece CBC Radio 1 did on a new song me and collaborator Chris DePaul finished called “Soncarte” (literally translated in English “sound map” or grammatically incorrect “his map”). News reporter Ann Lang was gracious enough to try and clearly explain the technicalities behind the song, although difficult to do with the time she had and like most, limited experience in non-traditional music and audio engineering. If you haven’t listened to the song before, the end of the song has much less “experimental” aspects than what was played during the interview. Regardless, I am grateful for her and the CBC’s interest in the song! Here’s the piece:
CBC Radio 1 Montreal 88.5 FM – Daybreak – April 14th, 2009
And here again, is Soncarte. Read more about it here.
The Handkerchief Revival – Soncarte
Thanks to everyone who has listened or supported! Missions go.
Saw them last night at Sala Rossa. I was a bit hesitant because this sort of stuff isn’t always up my alley. They are of the experimental/noise variety. Went with Chrismyman, Alex, and Ari. I like tempo and melody too much too often, but I was pleasantly surprised. Technical skill, dynamic, tempo changes, and knowing when to kick into something groovy made the Japanese darlings a joy to watch. Plus who doesn’t like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon beards. Respect.
Got a random email from Ann Lang and Jeanette Kelly from CBC Radio 1 in Montreal this morning about my new song, Soncarte. I did a small interview this afternoon and the song/talk should be on today or tomorrow on the show “Home Run”. Listen here. If you’re constrained by time, check out the show either between 3:30-4 or around 5:20. Most likely nicely juxtaposed to traffic reports and discussions on who’s buying the Canadiens.
40 year anniversary of John and Yoko bedding in at Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel. A good reminder of how to deliver a political message. For environmentalists, their crux is often doom and gloom, day before after tomorrow yesterday. Maybe try the “Death of Environmentalism” route and focus on the positives of green energy rather than the overwhelming problems of fossil fuel consumption. Or if you’re the eggman, you can just wear golden diapers and be great and wear glasses and be a bastard.
Who woulda thunk it. Montreal smoked meat institution Schwartz’s is expanding – it just bought an establishment one door north of the Main mainstay, exclusively for take out.
Now… the 15 minute lines will shift 6 metres to the left. I need to go once more before the increasingly likely Ontario move. Just so fatty and so good. Get the fatty. And the sour pickles. And the cherry soda.
The only other smoked meat in Montreal I had was Dunn’s, let’s not talk about it.
Gotta support the team. And protect Max from… the elements. Or a great companion for Sunday Tam Tam medieval battles. We really want a dog, but big dog in small apartment isn’t quite right. We just want a rescue. I’ve wanted a Lab since I was a bebby, but one of my top choices is the Great Dane. I would love a Setter as well, but pretty high maintenance hairy.
Cara and I are likely moving to Toronto in a few months. Toronto or Waterloo for at least the summer, depending on the jobs I’m applying for. Trying to be an employable anglophone counselling psychologist in Montreal is almost impossible for her. Some of her classmates that are bilingual still feel uneasy about counselling in French – to ensure you’re understanding nuance, subtlety in language, and reading them properly emotionally. Makes sense.
If I Rosetta Stoned myself a little bit more I could throw myself into a French office and get by, but it looks like we’re selling out to Englishtime. I’m admittedly a bit bummed – I really wanted to stay here longer, and like most I have mixed feelings on Toronto. I’m not pretentiously anti-Toronto, I just don’t get as jazzed as I do when I’m here.
There are a few jobs at the Ministry of Environment that I’m gunning for, some around Yonge and St. Clair. Cara and I like that part of town – central, some good Thai, not too insane, and we’re hoping to get an apartment we know of that is abooout 22 steps to the St. Clair subway, and about 48 steps to my (potential) office. Toronto’s Asian food is much better than Montreal’s, but Montreal’s European food is much better than Toronto. +/-.
Me and Montreal bestest Chris DePaul have completed an interesting project called “Soncarte”.
The song was created by only using the sounds recorded by a group involved in Concordia’s Montreal Sound Map. I’ve written about it on my blog here. Participants in the Montreal Sound Map have been attempting to record sounds of the city, including everything from trains, waving flags, subway buskers, and converted electromagnetic waves.
We loved this idea and wanted to combine Montreal’s real sounds to tell a story through song – the result was Soncarte.
The Story of Soncarte
Soncarte presents a day in the life of Gabe. Gabe lives in Montreal and just as most Montreal natives do, Gabe wakes up in his apartment, takes the metro, goes to work and perhaps passes through a park. Gabe hears things that he’s realized many others do not. Doctors don’t really know how to diagnose him – they say he’s partially deaf but he just thinks he hears the sounds of electronics much louder than the average person. Hisses and hums dominate his life, avoiding a lot of electronic devices used on a daily basis. But some days, through the technological storms of a modern city, he is the sole audience of his own unique arrangement.
Gabe wakes up to the sound of his fan whirling above his head and his clock lightly ticking in the kitchen. On his walk to work, he passes by an elementary school that is kitty-corner to a depanneur and a late-night pharmacy. Over the years, Gabe has been able to find relief by avoiding certain routes and preferring others that don’t aurally annoy his day. He usually puts on his iPod in the metro to drown out unwanted noises.
Work is tolerable at the National Archives on Rue St. Hubert and de la Gauchetiere – legal folders and drilled metal shelves work well. He just has to tolerate the buzz of the office’s fluorescent lights. On his walk home, he passes by full-massed flags outside of Berri-UQAM metro and enters into the station. This is often his favourite part of the day. A warming consonance greets him before he catches the train and returns to his apartment for what he only hopes to be a night of silent dreaming.
Went to an early show at the Musée D’Art Contemporain De Montréal on Friday with Cara, so glad we went. One Friday evening per month, the museum features a local band with an encouragement to mingle, drink, and check out the museum itself. Kudos to MACM for trying something different. Montrealers Plants and Animals are also playing soon, will definitely be there for them.
After waiting in line for about an hour inside (with upscale lychee cocktails in tow), we just barely made it in to the 250-capacity room. A 25 ft rectangular projector screen behind them with slow-mo closeup campfires and permeable metal nets to accompany tight psychadelic rock with a falsetto that will force Beach Boys comparisons, and dare I say occasionally surpass them. Montreal seems to love Brian Wilson, and me es no complaino.
I was so incredibly grateful they ended their 75 minute set with my two favourite songs – Disaster and And You Lied To Me. Both tracks are on their MySpizz now, goooo.