Montreal music

Chromeo: “Personal Effects” (ACL Fest Pop-Up)

We are back from ACL Fest 2023 Weekend One, and boy are we not returning empty-handed. That’s right, KUTX once again collected quite a few exclusive backstage performances that we can’t wait to share with the world…startin’ off strong with electro-funk tour de force Chromeo.

These Montreal multi-instrumentalists have been adding their polish to the genre for two decades now, with an exigent emergence at the start of the millennium that’s made them a household name for a whole generation. And by mingling retro-gold formulas against a modern pop backdrop, Chromeo’s created a flashy, flirty, and carefree character that’s earned them industry-wide collaborations and enormous crossover appeal.

Well, never a pair to be defined by genre terminology, next Valentine’s Day Chromeo boxes up their latest batch of synth-funk drizzled pop chocolate with Adult Contemporary. And as a matter of fact, last Saturday, before taking the Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage at ACL, Dave 1 and P-Thugg stopped by the KUTX tent, dressed to impress with AC‘s Prince-meets-Zapp lead single “Personal Effects”.

Best Fern: “Before I Go”

I’ve talked plenty before about my affinity for ambient music. So when those healing frequencies are made more accessible through pop production techniques, it’s absolutely an attention-getter. And if there’s one pair from North of the Border you ought to keep on your ambient pop radar, it’s unmistakably Best Fern.

Built from the ground up by composer-producers Alexia Avina and Nick Schofield, Best Fern showcased subdued rhythm patterns, breathy, effects-drenched singing, and heavenly synth harmonics on their eponymous 2016 debut EP. Best Fern nurtured a fertile collection of covers the following summer and again at the top of 2018 with a-ha’s “Take on Me”. But after that April’s sole original, “I Know You Know”, Best Fern’s left us a bit bereft…until now.

With a half decade of studio silence finally behind them, Best Fern is set to return with their first-ever full-length, Earth Then Air. These dozen new originals drop on February 3rd and’ll definitely let you discern how rooted Best Fern still is in soothing, misty soundscapes. Earth Then Air‘s initial offering “Way Inside” came out last November, and today Best Fern’s tossed us another spore, “Before I Go”. Other than the trademark ambient crescendo/decrescendo bookends, the pale pulsations, reverb-and-delay-enveloped vocals, and nuanced synth-bass work make “Before I Go” one of the best ambient-pop bops you’ll hear in the 2020s.

Cola: “Fulton Park”

Supergroups on any scale are just plain exciting. You get some residuals from the previous groups and they hardly ever underwhelm, especially when they first come out of the gate. Enter Cola, a new post-punk project that features Tim Darcy and Ben Stidworthy of Montreal art-punk quartet Ought alongside Toronto drummer Evan Cartwright of U.S. Girls fame. The trio got cracking on their first batch of songs in 2019 and formally announced the emergence of Cola late last year, the same day Ought called it quits.

This Friday Cola releases their debut full-length Deep In View, bubbling with a refined post-punk flavor that packs in spasmodic moments like a child dizzy on carbonated caffeine. And even though post-punk’s one of the more acquired tastes in music, Deep In View masterfully packages these ten tracks in a way that’s accessible to all listeners. In mid-June, Cola embarks on a month-long North American tour in support of Deep In View, including a stop in Austin on July 2nd at The Parish. So as you crest over hump day, ignore your dietary restrictions and treat yourself to Cola’s latest refreshment, the final lead single (and music video) off Deep In View, “Fulton Park“.

Geoffroy: “Strangers On a Train”

Although Valentine’s Day is filled with Hallmark moments and sweet nothings for couples across the globe, many prefer to ditch those saccharine stereotypes and instead celebrate the date by…well…treating it like any other. Montreal multi-instrumentalist Geoffroy probably falls in that latter category, considering theephemeral energy and active conscientiousness imprinted across his new album Live Slow Die Wise. Geoffroy put his mindset to music in the early isolation days of COVID-19, and brought Live Slow Die Wise to life with the help of producer Louis-Jean Cormier. Geoffroy’s already on the road for across-Canada tour in support of the album and is set to release an accompanying performance film Live Slow Die Wise in Mexico next week. Those sentiments of travel and reflection aside, Geoffroy’s sure to make you cozy regardless of your relationship status with “Strangers On a Train”.

Fleece: “My Type (I Don’t Mind)”

One of the most appealing aspects of Montreal four-piece Fleece is that they sheer the finest fibers from a number of genres, and weave them together into an undeniably smooth final product. Fleece shared their latest line of feel-good indie music with the release of Stunning and Atrocious and the tail end of last month and are set to bring their trademark lols and wools to the stage tomorrow night at the Mohawk.

It’s understandable if you can’t join the flock at the Mohawk on Friday, but you should at least try Fleece on with one of Stunning and Atrocious‘ most comfortably-bizarre offerings, “My Type (I Don’t Mind)”!

TEKE::TEKE: “Barbara”

If you’re a fan of the Japanese aesthetic stirred up with psychedelia, punk, and a little bit of the supernatural, look no further than Montreal seven-piece TEKE::TEKE. Taking their name from an urban legend about juvenile bullying, subway decapitation, and the haunting that followed, TEKE::TEKE conjures an otherworldly energy with arrangements that evoke everything from Far Eastern film soundtracks to traditional Japanese ballads and surf rock.

Tomorrow TEKE::TEKE shares Shirushi, an LP that channels the band’s philosophy of acting with optimism after a cataclysmic event. You won’t have to say “Teke Teke” five times in the mirror to gain access to Shirushi, but you can certainly familiarize yourself with one of the septet’s strongest ghost stories and rock out to “Barbara”!