POP Montreal is finally here, folks. Montreal’s most massive music festival (say that five times fast) has descended upon the city, promising a week of stellar shows, panels, films and more. But POP’s best feature is also its most intimidating: there’s just so much good stuff. The festival has literally hundreds of amazing artists worth seeing this week, which is both very exciting and very overwhelming. With so many bands, the smaller shows at POP can sometimes be easily overlooked. That’s why we’ve put together a schedule of the less-publicized POP shows – none of the artists below are featured on the POP poster. So, in between Austra and Weyes Blood, maybe I’ll see you at one of these sweet gems this week:
Naomi Punk // Phern // Mundy’s Bay @ La Vitrola
Start your POP off right with the experimental art rock of Naomi Punk, whose new album Yellow is a jerky, jolting masterclass in breaking down your expectations of punk. Opening up are locals Mundy’s Bay and Phern, whose gazey post-punk and off-kilter smart pop definitely warrant arriving early.
Joni Void // Sea Oleena // Desert Bloom // Best Fern // Ohara @ Phonopolis
This lineup (curated by CKUT’s own Underground Sounds) brings together some of the best ambient and electronic artists in the city for what is sure to be an entirely enveloping afternoon. From the calming ethereal pop of Best Fern to the eerie experimental music of Joni Void, this is a lineup to immerse in and drift away on.
Bernice // Zach Philips // Mich Cota // Inland Island // Family Band // Whitney K // The Painters @ Sala Rossa
Over the past three years, Egg Paper Factory has established itself as one of Montreal’s most vital labels, releasing a steady stream of excellent cassettes from outsider and lo-fi artists. Their POP showcase is a testament to this significance: featuring the soothing dance pop of Mich Cota, the sweet alt folk of The Painters, and much more, this is not a night to miss.
POP BBQ: Opale // Vanille // Twist // Catherine Leduc @ Quartiers POP
Locals Vanille just put out their first EP, My Grandfather Thinks I’m Going To Hell and it’s a very promising first outing for the melancholy indie pop trio. Toronto’s Twist, meanwhile, excel at making invigorating jangle pop, and have a new EP, Benefits, on the way this fall. BBQ, sunshine, and female-fronted indie sounds like a pretty sweet Friday afternoon to me.
Fredy V. & The Foundation // Donzelle // Wasiu // MKRNI // Joanne Pollock // Hoodlem @ Le Ministère
Fredy V. combines funk, R&B, rock, and a million more influences on his 2017 album #ItTakesAVillage, and it all makes for one hell of a good time. With acts like experimental dance trio MKRNI and local MC Wasiu opening up, this is going to be a high energy night, perfect for shaking off the week.
KEXP Live at POP with The Luyas @ Breakglass Studio
Local indie legends The Luyas put out their gorgeous improvised album Human Voicing earlier this year, and we couldn’t stop playing it here at CKUT. Now they’re doing a session for Seattle radio station KEXP, well-known for its stellar videos of live performances. KEXP is teaming up with POP for the first time this year for a series of sessions throughout the festival, and we’re very excited to see what comes out of this collaboration.
TiKA // The Sorority // Hua Li // hey! dw // Charm Taylor @ Divan Orange
This is an unbelievably stacked lineup of impressive and inspiring women. Hua Li performed two new songs from her upcoming album live on New Shit this week, and it left us wanting way more – her heartfelt hip hop is perfect for a Saturday night. Equally exciting are The Sorority, a quartet of on-the-rise MCs who embody sisterhood on stage, and headliner Tika, who will get you thinking and grooving with her politically-charged neo-soul.
Record Fair @ Quartiers POP
There are fewer performances happening Sunday during the day, which means this is your chance to switch from crowd member to crate digger. Every year POP’s record fair features an eclectic range of vendors with records of all genres and eras – if your ears are into vinyl, then this is the fair for you.
Eyeballs // Doom Tickler // Echo Beach // Umji Kelezo @ Brasserie Beaubien
End your POP experience on a noisy note! Let the ambient drone explorations of Echo Beach and Umji Kelezo envelop you, and then go headfirst into darkness with the experimental noise of Doom Tickler and the driving new wave of Eyeballs. By the end of this show, all your demons will be exercised and you’ll be ready to return to a post-POP world.
That’s it for our best bets at POP. If this isn’t enough, you should definitely also check out Art Pop, Film Pop, and Pop Symposium – there’s a heck of a lot more to this festival than music. Hope everyone has fun, stays hydrated & wears earplugs this week – see you on the other side!
– article by Rosie Long Decter