December 3rd, 2008
Some mornings we really need to be cajoled into our day. On such gloomy occasions we get going with gentle jazz tunes by Susie Arioli.
This smoking Montreal chanteuse is our very own Diana Krall (some might argue she’s even better). A ten-year jazz fest mainstay, she and guitarist Jordan Officer have just released their fifth fabulous album, Night Lights. Featuring an interpretation of classics like "Beyond the Sea," "Blue Skies" and "The Very Thought of You," their sound will put the spring back in your step and have you humming out the door.
Available at Amazon.ca ($14.99).
November 19th, 2008
For every Arcade Fire success story, there are hundreds of bands just trying to get noticed.
M For Montreal is a three-day event that does just that. Co-founded by Glastonbury Rock Festival’s chief booker Martin Elbourne, this intimate showcase gives local musicians the chance to schmooze with industry-types and strut their stuff.
This year’s line up includes 20 plus bands like Franco-popsters Pas Chic Chic (Nov 20) and Beatrice Bonifassi’s jazzy Beast (Nov 21). Each band is given 30 minutes to impress big wigs including TV music supervisors, festival bookers, record labels and music critics from Europe and the US.
Be there, or be a one-hit wonder.
October 16th, 2008
Having a song stuck in our head used to induce migraines, but now we’re singing a different tune.
Berlitz Earworms combine catchy music with repetitive words that help “burn” basic foreign phrases into your aural cortex.
The technique might be akin to brain-washing, but with 10 languages to choose from you’ll quickly learn to hail a cab in Mandarin, order dinner in Spanish or get a date in Arabic.
Now that’s one way to break down the language barrier!
Earworms ($24.99) are available at www.berlitzbooks.com
October 1st, 2008
This week we’re clearing our schedules and taking to the night for Pop Montreal. Seven years in, this edgy-but-lovable fest makes use of charming venues (churches and social clubs) and offers an eclectic pairing of musical genres.
Our top pics include performances by Burt Bacharach, French synthesizer-and-drums duo Zombie Zombie, and experimental group Interceiving. We’re also jonesing for the Film Pop screening of Patricia Chica and Mike Wafer’s Rockabilly 514, about a Montreal sub-culture influenced by music from the 1950s.
Tired of cabbing it from venue to venue? Rent a bike and you’ll be Speedy Gonzales on two-wheels ($50/week).
Pop Montreal, October 1-5, www.popmontreal.com
September 27th, 2008
We’re not talking bananas. We’re talking multi-media.
Kids can add sound effects and splice together video clips from CBC shows and the best ones are featured on the site or broadcast on TV.
Now lets just hope this little hobby turns into a hobby like Matt Groening’s….
August 20th, 2008
As the summer winds to a close, anxiety sets in.
Lately the antidote to our frazzled state of mind has been the soothing sounds of Divine Brown. The Canadian R&B singer has just released her second album, The Love Chronicles, full of retro-style soul songs that make us feel warm all over.
Six months of winter? Bring it on.
The Love Chronicles is available on Amazon.ca ($11.99).
July 16th, 2008
Fears of bugs and bears means you’re unlikely to find us walking in the wilderness, but lately we’ve had unusual yearnings for canoe rides and mountain hikes.
We blame our change of heart on The National Parcs. This dynamic Montreal trio blends natural sounds of the great outdoors (wood splitting, paddle slapping) with hip-hop beats and spoken word. Their multi-layered debut CD/DVD Timbervision includes fun footage of the boys recording their album in the wild.
Anyone up for glamping?
July 2nd, 2008
You may have heard of a little thing Montrealers like to call Jazz Fest. Now, after 29 years it’s more than just sax playing and interpretive Coltrane.
This year’s eclectic line up includes electro-pop quartet Ladytron (July 2) and reggae legends The Wailers. And, for the first time, the entire area occupied by the festival will be entirely carbon neutral.
Can’t stand the crowds at Place des Arts? Take yourself across the street to the Hyatt Regency’s Lobby Lounge (where the gin is cold, but the piano’s hot). Visiting musicians have been known to strike up impromptu jam sessions in the wee hours.
Montreal International Jazz Festival, until July 6, www.montrealjazzfest.com
Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1255 Jeanne-Mance St., 514-982-1234, www.montreal.hyatt.com
April 26th, 2008
Baby Beluga begone!
The Barenaked Ladies come to the rescue with their fist kids CD, Snacktime that drops May 6.
Full of laugh-out-loud lyrics (“I have some orange pants. I wear them when I dance. But I don’t get out much anymore”), classic BNL rhyming (“Ribbit, ribbit, it’s a tadpole exhibit”), and silliness (“ I don’t speak Chinese but I do parle Francais, in fact I parled some today…”).
We paraphrase but you get the idea. Trust us, just buy it.
Preorder the CD ($10 with free shipping until April 28) at http://www.bnlmusic.com/
January 16th, 2008
City winter nights can be long and hard, so you may as well have a little fun as you count the days till spring (for the record it’s 64).
Pass the time by spinning around la patinoire on the Quays of the Old Port. Every night, live DJs will inspire you to perfect your twizzles and toe jumps to the sounds of 80s retro, electronica and jazz.
Instructors are on hand Wednesday evenings to show you the basics, and afterwards you can enjoy a pint of hot cherry beer at the nearby Winter Bar.
The Quays Skating Rink, open until March 9.
Tickets $4, skate rental $7, www.quaysoftheoldport.com