Montreal

Peter Sagar is one cool dude. When operating under his Homeshake moniker, he is consistently releasing the coziest of rainy-day songs, making the most out of seedy drumbeats, catchy guitar lines and groovy bass. He’s been at it for a few years and lucky for us, a new album is on the way.

The first single, “Call Me Up”, is what Homeshake does best: a short, tight and surprisingly romantic track. Only this time, much like on his last release, he’s using synths instead of guitars. And it works!

His forthcoming album, “Fresh Air”, can be pre-ordered now from Sinderlyn.

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Video Premiere: YlangYlang – How Thin is the Skin of the Soul

If you haven’t yet fallen in love with YlangYlang and her extensive output of beautiful, inventive experimental sounds, now’s the time. The Montreal artist’s new video is made of brightly coloured digital shapes floating over grainy images of leaves, everyman home decor and an occasionally splashing fishbowl.

The song is one of her best yet: a meditation of how we’re shaped by everyone we meet set to calming loop, a baseline heartbeat, unexpected percussive bursts and brief descents from bubbling synths. She sings calmly, softly, confidently as she draws you into her inner world. Close your eyes, settle in: you might just learn something about yourself with this as your soundtrack.

It’s the final song from the consistently fantastic Life Without Structure, a thoughtful and introspective take on new age pop that you can find on Bandcamp.

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Johnny Couteau – Repeat Function

Montreal underground electronic pop legend Johnny Couteau first arrived on the scene with a magisterial, enveloping, world-creating debut album, From the Infamous Mind of a Psychoactive Runner, one of our favourite albums of 2014. Early last year, we had the first indication of his next work, the music video for “Is My Baby Love Real or Just a Hologram?” His new cassette Repeat Function is an equally ambitious, sprawling work of dark paranoid post-punk of the highest imaginative order. It’ll take some time to explore every corner of this one, but Couteau’s knack for catchy, rule-defying, post-apocalyptic electronic pop will always win us over. Incredible work.

Repeat Function is available now from Bandcamp.

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Back in 2014, Montreal‘s Low Factor reimagined her sound and became our favourite alternate universe pop star with “Icicle.” When we found out that she released her second album during our summer vacation, we jumped into action: it’s so worth the wait, and definitely worth catching up on.

It opens with “The Closet,” a layered groove that sounds like the best after-hours party in outer space. The lower ends groan and growl as the upper melody lightly jumps around, and the words are sung with a relaxed snarl. When you’re ready for more, join us over at her Bandcamp to hear the whole album.

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Sean Nicholas Savage – Magnificent Fist

Pastiche, by definition, implies a certain form of malice from its creator. One might draw from a certain genre or style in order to subtly mock it, but Montreal sweetheart Sean Nicholas Savage seems to be operating in a different way.

Everything in his music has led to pastiche before: the cheap synth presets, the 80’s gated drums, the flamenco guitar flourishes, the emotional melisma-inflected vocals… And yet Savage seems to breathe a new life into the music that makes the most out of these elements by associating it with the emotional weight and nostalgia of his lyrics, which by now is a signature move of his. For his latest release, Magnificent Fist, our lonesome balladeer has once again crafted an excellent soft-rock album that is one of his most focused efforts yet.

Maybe Chain”, one of the album’s highlights, features some of Savage’s most beautifully sung falsetto vocals floating atop a solid drumbeat and washed-out synths. For a song that features lyrics such as “Maybe chain/Maybe I’m in love with you”, it is surprisingly uplifting and even heartwarming.

The album, recorded in Berlin and released by the ever-cool Montreal-based label Arbutus Records, is now available on cassette.

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