Spent last week in Montreal to eat all of the southern style BBQ (the winner was Diablo‘s deep friend smoked chicken, with honorable mention to the brisket with a side of mac and cheese at Dinette Triple Crown), and also found myself in the mini-maelstrom of M for Montreal. I don’t know what M is like for you wonderful civilians, but for the music industry professionals, of which I am apparently one of, it’s a razor focused networking storm where the winds of FOMO push you from one event to the next with just enough people that it feels like you met almost everyone by the end of it. It’s a stark contrast to the sensory overload of SXSW or the non-parking lot version of NXNE, and it was a delight!
FYI if you were there I was this guy in the NEEDS sweater.
Oh there’s also bands at a wealth of cool venues! One such band and venue combo that shone above to the heights of social content heavens was New Fries at Casa Del Popolo, the cafe with venue sidecar owned by a member of Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
I’m still having trouble describing New Fries so let’s see what happens as I try and free write it now! A 4 piece operation of drums, bass, synth, and occasionally guitar from front woman Anni Spadafora that reached MacGyver levels of impressive as the sum of its parts surpassed all expectations.
The synth work of Ryan Carley at times was the warm chord glue that held the whole things together, while at others it exhibited “Look at me! What am I today? A dream catcher? An Icelandic sea captain? A can opener clasped in the jaws of a seagull racing towards the horizon of the last atomic bombs glow?” Spencer Krug levels of lead weirdness.
The other secret ingredient in the New Fries 11 herbs and spices (btw – the Colonel’s is white pepper) was the vocal delivery of Anni. At times she was like a free jazz chipmunk chirping away random words she picked up in the park after a magic lightening strike, other moments a commander proclaiming orders while intricately invoking ancient alien melodies from her guitar. It’s the kind of thing that I imagine has been tried before, but after one false move everyone ended up bank executives unable to even whistle. Fortunately the rock solid rhythm section of Jenny Gitman on drums and Jim Ungooglable Last Name on bass saves us from four more maniacs in the mortgage sector. It was incredible, and despite having a backpack for luggage that only had room for an extra 2 dozen bagels I picked up their soon to be actually released 10″ of More from Telephone Explosion.
In the aftermath I discovered the following video for Mary Poppins’ Pockets, a song they played live which I experienced as this strange hypnotic thing you wanted to get closer to, unafraid and calmed by the distinctly perceptual good vibes, be that from the crowd’s extra body heat from winter layers, or the bands’ obvious groove. The recorded version is a different but just as fascinating beast. Produced by Holy Fucks‘ Graham Walsh the sounds are sharper and though just as alien the filter of technology removes the innate comfort but not the sense of fascination. Think less ET more the weird things on board Peewee Herman in Flight of the Navigator. The video as directed by Scott Gelber, definitely plays on this, taking presumably stock footage prepared for use in any comforting human advertisement and re-purposes it like an AI who has come up with a means of saying hello from scratch.
Bonus points are being awarded for the premiere of this video possibly openly displaying my favourite face-palm of modern music “journalism”, the blog post as unread cut and paste of the press release. Now I’m not saying NOWNESS weren’t just rolling with the meta-narrative, but the simpler explanation is the cut, paste, publish, to which I tip my hat to you New Fries publicist for allowing the director to describe the video for “Mary Poppins’ Pockets” with the synopsis of the 1987 whimsical sci-fi classic *batteries not included.
12/01/16 | Toronto: Garrison + Private Joy, Carl Didur, Fountain, DJs Absolutely Free
12/02/16 | London: Foam Doam + Fountain, Incubator
12/03/16 | Hamilton: Strangebarn + Fountain, Livestalk & the Bodies
12/04/16 | Guelph: Silence + Fountain, Baby Labour