Admittedly, and somewhat embarrassingly, Montreal’s Foxtrott just popped up on our radar by virtue of a show that she’s doing in Berlin with fellow Montrealer Antoine 93 in July. Well, now that we’re onboard, we’re never getting off. This kind of sleekly produced electro-pop is definitely in our wheelhouse, especially when we can make a comparison to perennial Silent Shout fave Mozart’s Sister. The similarities don’t end at the textures used, but they both carry a sense of otherworldliness and complete originality despite the professionalism of arrangements.
Not to mention the video, which is just super cool. I want to visit those purple hills and dance just like they’re doing here. Click “repeat” a few times on this one to prepare you for November 6th when Foxtrott releases A Taller Us, her debut record on One Little Indian.
Montreal’s Jean Sebastian Audet crafts terse avant pop spasms under the Un Blonde moniker. As we mentioned back in April, things are different this time around. Six-string freakouts that sounded like they were played on rusty wire are abandoned for experimental 4-track r&b bliss. The resulting group of songs, Water the Next Day, is closer to Audet’s most recent work in Zouk Fuck than anything under the Un Blonde. Unwavering, however, is Audet’s ubiquitous DIY approach. Regardless of style, the music is always projected through Audet’s singular lens.
The excellent “Look” finds Audet conjuring minimal r&bliss with a warbling synth and a chorus of vocal overdubs. Like many tracks on the record, it’d be gorgeous if it wasn’t so unsettling.
“True”’s stuttering drums and electric-piano figure sound like they mutated out of the Stones Throw back catalogue. If your séance needs a pick me up, look no further.
While occasionally pretty, Water the Next Day has plenty of delicious dissonance. See: “Glow in the Morning” for a slice of avant-garde future funk insanity. Audet’s idiosyncratic croon and harmony overdubs on “Something Else” recalls both the choral tendencies of experimental pop stalwarts Dirty Projectors and post-punk vets This Heat.
On Water the Next Day, Audet takes lofi experimentalism, r&b, pop and jazz and crafts something unique and transcendent. This is apparently the first in a series of three Un Blonde exploring different sides of Audet’s musical identity. We sure hope so.
Water the Next Day is fantastic and out now on Egg Paper Factory.
Last month, Montrealers Raphaëlle Chouinard, Gabriel Tremblay and Lisandre Bourdages quietly released a gem of an electro-pop EP called Leo. Collectively, they are known as Syzzors, and they are living on the edge, sonically speaking. CRi, who has been covered by us here at Silent Shout before, was co-producer on the project along with Simon Lévesque.
Leeches, the first single pulled off of the Leo EP, is a lively pop piece centered around a variation of a famous Neil Young lyric. I’ll let you figure out which one! Listen to it below, and then pick up the EP on their Bandcamp.
Technical Kidman return with an incredibly ominous video to an incredibly ominous song. The admittedly terrifying electro rock-out banger, ironically titled “Without Fear,” is a gem of a freak out that wears it alter-rock 90’s influences without shame. The video is minimal in its approach but definitely reinforces the sense of dire warning that the song presents through seizure-inducing negative VHS manipulations of the singer, band and others just kinda…staring and singing.
We’ve got a whole lot of love for Choses Sauvages, that Montreal four-piece produced by Montreal electropop prodigy Mathias Mental. Their second EP Japanese Jazz has been rocking in our jukebox a whole lot lately, and we’re stoked to post this video for standout single “Laura.” It’s a little epic of a crime story filled with tense glances and a hint of the supernatural, and contains an important lesson for us all: when threatened by a menacing cloud, run! Then dance! Then run more! Directed by the band’s own Marc-Antoine Barbier.
Japanese Jazz is out now on Bandcamp.
Honestly, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything from the Automelodi that we don’t think is amazing, but this video — directed by Kaspar’89 — really emphasizes how amazing this project really is. Heavily indebted to German Expressionism (what if The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was made in the 80’s?), the film marries claustrophobia, analog technology, and really cool costumes, make-up and choreography C/O Ludivine Bah and Paula Mera “Paularoïd.”
“Digresse” comes from Surlendemains Acides, Automelodi’s second record, which is still available for purchase. No word on anything new coming in the pipeline, but something comes, you can be sure we’ll be on top of it.
Even though the band once known as Diamond Bones just ranked 6th best Electronic Music Act in CultMTL’s annual Best of Montreal readers poll, the three piece outfit has officially (as of late April) been reborn as Caveboy.
The band has emerged from their transformative state to reveal a first single and video. “In The Grottos” is an electro-pop song – complete with soft synths and lead singer Michelle Bensimon’s floaty vocals. Wait for the chorus to hit!
It seems that Pascale Project changing the name from Mathematique precipitated a complete change in style: out are are the slightly trippy-hippy stoner vibes, replaced by wonderfully fun electro-pop bangers. Y’all probably know that many of us are DJs here at Silent Shout, and I can say definitively that this WILL be played by one of us very, very soon.
“Super Natural” is the first single from Just Feel Good For a Moment, the first release under the new name. The record is due out in the summer, but there aren’t any more details, so we’ll be constantly hitting refresh on the internet until we can find out more. This single has us super excited, and if the rest of the record sounds like it, we expect something very special indeed.
Here’s a video for TOPS’ tune “Destination”, the closer off of Picture You Staring (our 6th favourite album of last year). In this case, the destination in question is Japan – director Jasper Baydala captures the group’s recent japanese stint with fuzzy VHS clips of cityscapes, nature and a famous Shinto shrine that suit the track’s melancholy atmosphere.
Braids have been wonderful since they released their debut Native Speaker in 2011. But they’ve moved beyond the frenetic summer of that album and the cold winter of Flourish // Perish to create something more in line with spring. Instrumentally, it’s equal parts warm and isolated, and the lyrics and subject matter go as deep as the shifting body of water on the album cover. There’s just as much piano as there is synths and programming, and there’s just as much sadness and regret as hopeful resilience.
This ambivalence comes out most clearly on “Taste”, the second song. If you’re not careful, you might mistake this for something far more cheery, with the extended vowels of the chorus: “you’re exactly what I like, I will give you my whole life.” But while the narrator sighs that “this feels so right”, the verses detail physical abuse and a resignation that we experience the love that we think we deserve. The result is a highly affecting and complicated reflection of a serious problem.
The other single, “Miniskirt”, takes on difficult subject matter even more forthrightly. Raphaelle Standell-Preston sings louder and more angrily as the song goes on, detailing misogyny and male entitlement, and the fear that comes with experiencing that every single day. In all honesty, I feel my eyes trying to well up somewhere around the bridge every time I listen to it. It’s powerful stuff.
There’s further exploration of gender issues: “Sore Eyes” describes the experience of watching pornography—especially as a female viewer—to the point of having to detox with flowers at the convenience store after, and live with the disconnect that can come by pretending you’re in touch with yourself sexually. Hope is woven throughout, though, the kind that comes when you’ve committed to working on yourself and your emotions. “I want to love myself,” she sings on “Happy When”.
Deep in the Iris is the kind of album that you can keep returning to as you go on whatever emotion journeys are happening in your own life, and for that reason we’re enthusiastically placing it on our pile of best albums. You can get yourself a physical copy from Arbutus or Flemish Eye, and digital copies are available on Bandcamp and iTunes.