Link Live Sessions
Our video team films musicians playing in various spots around the city.
Perfect Strangers made the walls shake at Fattal.
Their sound is a melodic fusion reminiscent of hard and psychedelic rock. It’s as if they had a cold electric stream in St-Henri, where the bandmates could draw out some fresh vintage sounds.
“You Should Have Been” is a distorted groove that ends with an overdrawn but orgasmic guitar solo à la Frusciante. The lyrics make you remember your teenage unrequited love — even if you don’t have one. They also make you pine for that favourite oldie stuck on the tip of your tongue.
The band is composed of lead singer Kalil F. Johnston, his brother Nicolas Lajeunesse on keyboards, Francis Morin on drums, Pierre-Yves Letellier on bass and newcomer Justine Girard on the guitar.
“I thought up that song because I couldn’t remember the melody to another,” says Johnston. “It’s inspired from an old classic latin song that plays in that movie Very Bad Things, remember?”
He says the words were inspired by an amalgam of different girls he met in his life. Johnston kept that song in his pocket, reworking it while studying music in college. Then one day, Austin Dalys-Fine, a blond taciturn guitarist at school, tried out his version of the tune.
“When I first heard him play the solo part, I thought ‘that’s the way I hear it in my head,’” Johnston says.
Nowadays, a petite redhead plays the bittersweet riffs.
“Justine has a jazzier sound,” says the singer. “It forces us to adjust our style a bit. It makes us grow as musicians and as a band.”
Still, Perfect Strangers miss Austin sorely.
“He went on to do his own thing and that’s fine,” says Johnston.
It was a dark, snowy day when I trudged to the cramped Plateau apartment where mysterious music man James Irwin was slated to perform. I had an appointment with death, in the form of a labyrinth-like encounter with the reality I had shirked from confronting—until now.
“Which utensil do you identify as?” I asked Irwin.
“A fork,” the stoic Irwin responded, face cracked and impassive as he reclined on the couch which had seen so many creators of ambiance before him.
The atmosphere was ripped off David Lynch’s Twin Peaks classic. Special Agent Dale Cooper had been replaced however with a couple of soft-spoken lumbersexuals sporting Go- Pros and surrounded by wallflowers bursting with sensitive virility.
The dog was half rhodesian ridgeback and half a lab. It was a very beautiful dog. Driven half mad by the solitude of part time work and his own mortality, the Irwin passively trudged through the recording studio, only to find himself trapped in the audio narrative he himself had created.
He was in a weird dream that took place in a nightclub.
Was it a lucid dream?, I asked him
“I think it’s pretty lucid,” he concluded.
– Noëlle Didierjean
Frisky Kids know what it’s like to be the nice guys who finish last, but at least they got a damn good song out of it.
Singer-guitarist Calum Dowbiggin Glew wrote the lyrics to their gritty, rollicking single, “Enchanté (Won’t You Come Around)” after losing a romantic prospect to a douche bag.
“I think it’s happened to most people. You’re gunning for some girl and this guy swoops her away and you have no idea how he did it because he seems like a total dick to you,” he said.
The chorus, “Enchanté”, is the d-bag’s last word to his conquest after a one-night stand.
Like the title of their single, the name of their band—Frisky Kids—is a little tongue-in-cheek.
“Anyone who knows us knows that we’re not frisky kids. We’re not the kind of guys that go to a party and say ‘I’m gonna get that girl’ and then get the girl. We’re more like, ‘Hi, I want to get to know you. Let’s talk every night,’” Dowbiggin Glew said.
“That’s why we’re in a band. It’s the only reason,” he joked.
From an instrumental point of view, Dowbiggin Glew describes their single as one part early Black Keys and one part funk—a mix of the James Gang with a more R&B-ish sound like Nick Waterhouse and The Heavy.
Originally from Hudson, Que., the Kids got their start rehearsing in Mr. and Mrs. Dowbiggin Glew’s basement in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. The original trio—Dowbiggin Glew on guitar, Matisse Gill on bass, and Matt Grant on drums—initially aimed for a very lo-fi, garage rock/punk sound.
Grant left the band in January to focus on other musical projects, so Frisky Kids enlisted their longtime friend Alex Paul to fill in on drums.
“Now, as we’re developing on our instruments, we’re aiming for harmony-wise music, more variety than just punk garage,” Dowbiggin Glew said.
Each song is a total collaborative effort. The song-writing is made easier by the fact that all three share a passion for rock ‘n’ roll and garage rock, from The Beatles and The Who to Mac DeMarco and Ty Segall. The ‘60s influence is obvious—on “Enchanté” and “Rooftops”, they sound like a more modern, slightly poppier version of The Sonics.
After seeing Ty Segall play in Montreal last year, they want to bring the same kind of energy they felt at his show—the head-bopping, foot-stomping, and moshing—back with their own brand of rock n’roll.
“Only a few musicians are able to bring that out,” Dowbiggin Glew said. “It’s cool to see that it’s still possible, and that’s what we’re aiming for.”
Some day they hope to get the chance to fulfill their lifelong ambition: to go back in time and upstage The Beatles on their first North American tour.
Frisky Kids will play Divan Orange on April 9. Their new six-song EP, The Beach, will be out by April 10.
The location: This live session was shot at the Alpha Delta Phi Memorial Chapter, a frat house for Concordia and McGill students built in 1897 near the corner of Dr. Penfield Ave. and Stanley St.
Don’t be fooled by the title of Maridee’s “Heart to Heart”; it’s not the typical, sappy love song you’d usually hear on Valentine’s Day.
Actually, you could say it’s the opposite—an un-melodramatic, falling-out-of love song describing the moment when two close friends or lovers realize it’s time they go their separate ways.
“It talks about how people can be in sync and feel love for each other, but the next moment things will be different,” she said. “It’s about acknowledging that, knowing that you can’t own anyone. People pass, they come your way, and they can stay or they can go.”
Like of all her songs, “Heart to Heart” was written from personal experience, about a romance that ran its course. But, as she makes clear in the lyrics to her song, Maridee harbors no regrets.
“We were both changing,” she said. “[‘Heart to Heart’] is about not trying to hold on when everything’s telling you not to, but to let go in a way that respects the person and lets the person become who they want to become.”
Born and bred in Montreal, Maridee (née Mariama Dupuis) has been singing as long as she can remember, but started to devote more time to her music two years ago. If you want to make her smile, point out that her voice sounds a lot like Lauryn Hill’s (“That’s the ultimate compliment!”). Her other influences come from a variety of musical backgrounds: Aretha Franklin, De La Soul, a little jazz, and some old blues like Robert Johnson and Elmore James.
For her first record, Musaïc, Maridee partnered up with guitarist Marlon Kroll, whom she met when the two were working in a restaurant together. Usually he comes up with a skeleton of a beat, and she lays over some chords and composes the music for the vocals.
Working with Kroll has had a “big impact” on her music, she said. “He’s really something else. Sometimes I think the way he makes music he’s from a different planet.”
For this Link Live Session, Maridee and Kroll were joined by DJ Dr. MaD, a.k.a. Mahdi Saoula.
In the spring, Maridee hopes to release her second full-length, Nox.
“I’ve never been this excited about a project before,” she said. “Usually I’m really critical. I don’t think it’s that good, but this is different.”
So what’s Maridee up to this Valentine’s Day? “I’m going to eat some fried seafood with my friend. We’re going to love seafood tonight.”
Soap-Box Assembly isn’t exactly a political band, although you might get that impression from their name. They named themselves after Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park, where anyone and everyone is invited to get up on a soapbox (or any other box they have handy) and speak, preach or rant.
“Onstage, it’s like we’re standing on our own soapbox,” said lead singer and guitarist Jonathan Blake. “And the ‘assembly’ stands for the people around us.”
Up there on the platform with him are Tariq Sattaur (vocals, bass), Marc Richard (vocals, sax), and Joel Massinon (drums). Each from a different province, they all met in Montreal and formed the band last year.
Even Blake has trouble describing their sound. “I always feel like other people can tell what our band is better than we can,” he says before settling on ‘folk ‘n’ roll.’
It may not be easy to tell from their upbeat tunes, but much of their music is fueled by angst.
“I think our sound is really defined by what our generation is going through and has to deal with,” he said. “It’s all about finding a place, finding a niche. We’re trying to express some of that. Call it young person angst, but beautiful things come from conflict.”
In their Mile End apartment/makeshift studio in December, they played their catchy track, “Working for the Manic.” Written after the 2008 federal election, it’s about getting people to question their beliefs, says Blake.
“It’s like giving the man the finger, I guess. Well, not really. It’s more like telling them to look at everything around them.”