Godspeed You! Arcade Fire
Anyways enough babbling, I wanted to talk about Montrealís music scene and how hot it is right now, and why it finally got to be that hot. This week, March the 6th, Neon Bible, the new album from the Arcade Fire hit the streets. I am not a music critic and I wonít pretend to be, but I am telling you that "Keep The Car Running" and "The Well And The Lighthouse" are worthy of the repeat button. But judge for yourself and go pay for music once in your life, get the album from your local neighbourhoodís music store (and no, that does not include HMV). Also The Besnard Lakes just released Are The Dark Horses, another record that is making some noise and is being compared to Pink Floydís Meddle (a big comparison as Meddle is just insane).
Yes, finally Montreal is sexing up the music scene, the Arcade Fire just played during Saturday Night Live where they brought a message about Haiti on a guitar and managed to break that same guitar.
Itís been a long road, but Montrealís music finally has found a large ear to stick to. For me it all started in my parentís basement, a long time ago, while still in CEGEP, listening to CISM while studying at night. Two discoveries marked me from my nightly CISM-listening stint: Dave 1ís hip-hop show and some demented orchestra psychedelic 10 minute long songs from a band that called themselves Godspeed You! Black Emperor. I couldn't believe that in a time where even the guitar solo was thrown down the gutter, there was a band making 10 minute songs. The next couple of years Godspeed You!... made a lot of noise in their underground box, playing small shows in the Mile End, never showing their faces or giving any interviews, resisting the pressure to get bigger. But in my opinion that was the seed, they showed that you can be more than four musicians on stage, that you donít have to limit yourself to guitar and bass as rock instruments, that you donít have to play to the tune of the big music dealers (the big record labels) in order to generate a lot of buzz.
And you get what we have now, Arcade Fire, playing in the Mile End, with numerous musicians on stage, with many different instruments, even including the accordion, which in the span of a 5 minute performance went from uncool to uber-cool. And on a sticker on "Are The Dark Horses", the name Godspeed You! appears innocently but weighs in very very heavily.
But thatís not all, donít get me wrong, I am not trying to say that Godspeed You! started it all. There are many other bands and labels that made it all possible, for example Constellation records, the people releasing some of Godspeed You!... and other "post-rockers", The Stars and The Dears, both on the Arts and Crafts label also home to Toronto collective Broken Social Scene, The Stills, Grim Skunk and their Indica label and many others troopers of the local scene.
Yes, the Plateau has finally been overthrown, and the Mile End has exploded to the world with itís modern orchestras of rock music played with as many instruments as could be founding in an old churchís basement. That really is Montreal to me, a melting pot of these forgotten-underdog sounds played with revived vigour in some basement of some community center or listened to in some basement on a university radio station by a kid discovering the world around him.
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