Pop Montreal perpetually threatens to overwhelm with each year’s wildly stacked schedule. To help showgoers make up their mind about the 2015 line-up of legends, local favourites, and some exciting acts that are just getting started, we’ve put together a cheat sheet of recommendations. These gigs are listed in chronological order from Wednesday to Sunday, with big hitters balanced out by smaller showcases to keep things interesting.
This British band have perfected the jangly guitar ramble with a sound splitting the difference between Loaded-era Velvet Underground, The Kinks’ Muswell Hillbillies, and their open appreciation of The Grateful Dead. Get into the tone zone on Wednesday, Sept. 16 at La Sala Rossa.
From the simple chords to the screams to the freaked-out saxophone, The Sonics are garage rock 101. By all reports, the 1960s pioneers are still booming, and they’re perfectly matched up with Les Breastfeeders for a rave-up at Théâtre Fairmount on Wednesday, Sept. 16.
Fixture Records Showcase
The little Montreal label that could presents a stacked show of artists spanning the entire lifetime of their roster. Homeshake and Last Lizard (the latest reinvention of Dirty Beaches) are the big-ticket names here, but it’s equally exciting to catch the meticulous miniatures of Freelove Fenner, fever dream synth-pop from Chevalier Avant Garde, and a rare appearance from jangle-pop comedians Mavo. Catch the show Thursday, Sept. 17 at La Vitrola.
With Lemmy’s recent health scares, this tour may be your last chances to catch the legendary Motörhead. Their Pop Montreal show (with Anthrax as an opener) on Friday, Sept. 18 at Olympia should be off the chain.
OSR Tapes Showcase
On a completely different tip, New York experimental label OSR Tapes offer up skewed sounds from C.E Schneider Topical, Jib Kidder, and Ruth Garbus. The headlining slot goes to Hartley C. White and his “Who-pa-zoo-tic Music” genre-of-one based on the “broken rhythm” of Bruce Lee’s jeet kune do. Catch this gig Friday, Sept. 18 at Casa del Popolo.
Arto Lindsay and Un Blonde
Though his reputation proceeds him as the barbed wire slinging guitarist of No Wave heroes DNA, Arto Lindsay’s bag dips far deeper into breezy Tropicalia and austere electronics. He’s joined here by Un Blonde, the equally genre-agnostic project of Calgary transplant Jean-Sebastien Audet, who has recently dabbled in zonked R&B and teeth-chattering post-punk. This bill at La Sala Rossa on Friday, Sept. 18 could go in countless directions.
The exalted appearance of disco godfather Giorgio Moroder makes the choice between destinations even more difficult. This dance party at Église St-Jean Baptiste on Friday, Sept. 18 also features the mutant techno of Organ Mood and VHS warping visuals from Rob Feulner. It honestly might be the most fun you can have at the fest.
Mild High Club, Mega Bog, Rakam, and Bile Sister
Then again, this show on Saturday, Sept. 19 at Casa del Popolo could be the sleeper hit. From the dusted baroque psychedelia of Stones Throw signees Mild High Club to the cloud-soft Mega Bog, zigzagging struts of Rakam, and Toronto’s predictably unpredictable Bile Sister, it’s a seriously jammed bill.
Egg Paper Factory // Loose-Fit Showcase
This showcase from the Egg Paper Factory cassette label and Loose-Fit live collective crams in some of the country’s most exciting upstarts: Halifax’s Moon and Old & Weird, Montreal-via-Calgary’s Telstar Drugs, and newbies The Family Band, all topped off with the first set in ages from math-pop masterminds Each Other. The show goes down Saturday, Sept. 19 at Brasserie Beaubien. Word on the street is that Moon’s Andrew Neville will keep the night going with a bangin’ DJ set at Poisson Noir.
Stars of the Lid
After the craziness of the weekend, ambient drone duo Stars of the Lid serve up the ultimate comedown. Bathe in soothing sound at the Ukrainian Federation on Sunday, Sept. 20.