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Updated on the 15th of every month

A look at Montreal music in 2003…and where it is headed in 2004
by Andrea Di Fabio

Jean Leloup

Rewind: Many tears (and almost as many cheers) were shed when Jean Leloup announced last December that he would be retiring from the Montreal music scene. This means fans can no longer expect to see him in concert or buy a new album, but they can rest assured that they will still be able to catch a glimpse of the semi-sober, half naked "icon" at tam-tams next summer and every summer after that.

Fast forward: During his retirement speech, which caused a media frenzy that spun into numerous "final" interviews, Leloup announced that fans could look forward to a live DVD/CD to be released in the spring of 2004. Hmmm…I smell publicity stunt! Do you smell that too Jay-Z?

Le Medley

Rewind: Montreal made international headlines this past October when punk bands The Exploited and Total Chaos scheduled to appear at Le Medley stood up thousands of waiting fans due to "complications at the border". The cancelled show caused Montreal punks to ransack St-Denis and Rene-Levesque, turning over cars and smashing windows while the police remained M.I.A, proving once and for all that street kids and squeegee punks run this city.

Fast forward: Only a few weeks later, Medley made more headlines by hosting Grand Master Flash and Arrested Development in what was quite possibly the year's best "affordable" concert. The December follow-up with De La Soul led many Montrealers to believe that Old School shows would be a reoccurring theme at Le Medley for 2004…keep your fingers crossed!

Montreal Rock Scene

Rewind: This year saw many Montreal rock bands in the music spotlight. The Dears had tremendous success on Canadian radio waves and Much Music with their single "Lost In The Plot". Their unrestrained album No Cities Left was well accepted by critics nation-wide. Music critics also took note of two Montreal rock bands showcased at this year's Pop Montreal, The Stills and the High Dials (formerly Datsons).

Fast forward: The future looks bright for these Montreal bands. While The Dears vow to remain "indie" and refrain from excess touring in the New Year, The High Dials are ready to rip up the US music charts with their album, A New Devotion. But it is The Stills that will make the most noise in 2004. After spending last summer touring in NYC and recording their album Logic Will Break Your Heart, the band landed an end of year performance on the Late Show with Conan O'Brien and a spot on the Rolling Stone's "bands to watch" list.

Montrealers Down South

Rewind: Yup, the famous Quebecer we love to loath made it even bigger in the United States this year. Despite her busy schedule performing her circus act at Caesars Coliseum, Mme. Dion found time to offer her francophone fans back home a heart-felt, well received album, 1 fille, 4 types. Other Montrealers who haven't been spending enough time out of Montreal, pop-punk band Simple Plan, have had a major "sell-out" of a year. A headlining tour, an embarrassing cameo in MTV's Real Cancun and a newly released DVD documenting this shameful past year have made this the busiest year (ever) for Simple Plan. Sorry boys…your 15 minutes are up, might be time to Reset your watches.

Fast forward: Always a supporter of the underdog, I predict that 2004 will be THE year for two other Montrealers. Sam Roberts had a pretty impressive year in 2003; he launched his much-anticipated album We Were Born In A Flame, toured heavily and even had a show with the Stones. This hard work and praise can only mean that he is ready to break into the US this year. As much as I hate to admit it, I also believe that the same hard work and dedication are what made 2003 a great year for Jacynthe. Her first single "Look Who's Crying Now" finally granted her nation-wide cred and the follow-up single goes to show that she has lasting power. She should definitely take advantage of her skanky new looks (as only a francophone Montrealer can) and Britney's momentary lapse of sanity to break on to the US scene in 2004.

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