The verdict was published a few weeks ago: Montreal is a major influencer when it comes to indie music.
It doesn’t really come as a surprise to me – Montreal has a very lively musical scene, especially in the indie genre, and therefore listens to a lot of other indie bands from around the world. In other words: Montreal is a very cool city in every regards, notably in the music aspect (okay, my words, not theirs).
Now that the city has been put on the map, to speak of, I decided to write an introductory post to Montreal’s musical heritage. What are today’s most popular bands from Montreal, the best singers, all genres confounded? Are you ready for a musical odyssey?
The band of the hour! Arcade Fire have won several awards, including the Grammy Award for best album of the year in 2011 (winning over Kanye West – at least he didn’t make a scene). I particularly love Arcade Fire because they are very generous, kind people, and their music doesn’t sound like anything else. It’s completely unique! I also think it represents Montreal very well, for so many reasons. To me, there’s nothing like having my earplugs blasting The Suburbs while I take a long walk in the Plateau neighborhood.
Here’s my favorite song of the band, Rebellion (Lies), which was their first popular single.
A slightly different register, but just as good! The electrofunk duet has origins from both Lebanon and Jewish Montreal, and self-describes as the “the only successful Arab/Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture”. The single Night by Night was released in 2010 and confirmed their status as an iconic band of the genre.
Coeur de pirate
True to Montreal’s biliguism, Coeur de Pirate (Pirate Heart) is just as popular in English as she is in French, and on both sides of the pond. She won several prizes in France and Canada, and has a rapidly growing fanbase in the UK. To be honest, I’ve only recently started to like her songs, but now I can’t seem to get enough! Here’s her biggest success, Comme des enfants:
While we’re in the French sounds, I strongly suggest you have a look at Malajube, probably the most popular indie band (usually two words that don’t go together, I know) of Montreal. Their music is fresh, upbeat and lively, and as if this wasn’t enough already, they even wrote an ode to the notoriously rigorous winters of Montreal. The actual weather isn’t nearly as enjoyable as the song, though.
My heart skips a beat whenever I hear his name. There’s just something about his songs, his voice, and his smile, that has me all giddy on the inside. Dumas writes really beautiful lyrics, and his folk-rock beats are easy to listen to and incredibly addictive. I’ve seen him live countless times and not once did I regret it. Here’s one of my favorite songs from him, Quelque Part.
Montreal’s version of the French lyrical songs, Pierre Lapointe, sings poetry, literature, stories. His characteristically peculiar voice is just as unique as his style and lyrics. Well-known for portraying an egoistical dandy on stage, he is well-known for being quite the opposite of that in real life, and an absolute workaholic. Here’s the song that made him famous, Le Colombarium:
Another excellent rock band from Montreal, the varied origins and languages of its members is truly representative of what Montreal is as a city. Although the band has sadly separated recently, their songs will remain high on the list of the city’s absolute best. Here’s one of The Still’s most popular hits, I’m With You.
The not-so-good bits…
And, well, just like any other city, we do have artists… we, how can I say this… take less pride in? Ok fine, we’re Corey Hart’s and Celine Dion’s hood!!! Who else would fill your karaoke nights, UH?
And you better consider youself lucky. Celine’s English songs are A LOT less cheesy than her French ones! What’s your favorite band/artist from Montreal? Have you ever attended a show in Montreal?