Link Live Sessions
Our video team films musicians playing in various spots around the city.
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.”
The Concordia Greenhouse played host to some good ol’ folk music on Friday evening. Local trio Street Meat performed “Le Mésadapté,” a track full of old-fashioned mandolin, double bass and accordion—a first for the Link Live Sessions.
“Le Mésadapté” was the first French song the guys ever wrote, with bassist Jean-Philippe Demers-Lelotte on vocals. The band started with the three street musicians teaching each other their repertoire, and they continue to mash their respective musical histories together.
Demers-Lolotte’s love of rockabilly shines through as he furiously thumps the bass, while Lucas Choi Zimbel’s accordion binds it all together with an Eastern European bounce.
While they’ve largely moved from the street to the stage, “they’re both interconnected,” says Paul Dawson, in charge of the mandolin and percussion. Choi Zimbel says busking is often how they get gigs.
This tune is off their record Comme D’la Viande, named as such because of the confusion some French people would have when seeing them on the street.
“We’d say ‘comme d’la viande’ after almost every time,” said Demers-Lelotte.
Street Meat (w/ Bad Uncle & The Boxcar Boys) // Nov. 1 // Divan Orange (4234 St. Laurent Blvd.) // 9:30 p.m. // $12
Once the yoga session was over at The Plant, things got a little loud. We shot the guys in Kurvi Tasch in the north Mile End space ahead of their POP Montreal show.
“Collaboration is the main thing. There was a lick that we worked off of and then a chorus came after that,” said singer and guitarist Alex Nicol of their song “Dead End.”
It’s the band’s usual way of doing things, layering their parts together to form a new song.
They’ve been playing together since the fall of 2011, born in a basement in Villeray that was a short-lived rehearsal space once it became clear they were too loud.
It’s when Nicol, along with bassist Mike Heinermann and drummer Oliver Finlay all lived together in that space that the band was really formed.
“It was really more out of convenience that we started playing together,” jokes Finlay.
Kurvi Tasch is no soft-spoken folk band. Furious drums, heavily effected guitar and lead bass lines drive their almost-new wave sound. In their performance at The Plant, Nicol’s voice gave a slight Morrissey impression, floating on top of the chords in drawn out tones.
In the next few months they’re playing shows on the East Coast of Canada and New York, and they’ve already been out to Alberta earlier this year for the Sled Island Music and Arts Festival.
“Everything’s sporadic, everything’s a demo. What we need is to put out a record,” said Nicol. “We just have to learn how to record ourselves, and that’s huge for our band in the next six months.”
Kurvi Tasch // Sept. 25 // Casa del Popolo (4873 St. Laurent Blvd.) // 8 p.m. // $10
Driving through Montreal on a wet, grey afternoon in a Grand Caravan with John Carroll and a few friends seemed somehow relevant to the performance we’d just seen.
In an impressively cramped and wildly decorated antique shop called Rétro Ville on Notre-Dame St. in St. Henri, Carroll had just told a foreboding tale that sounded a lot like a mutiny done up in his characteristically heavy, warbling ragged blues.
While patiently, albeit somewhat confusedly, navigating along Atwater Avenue headed back north toward the Mile End, Carroll explained his new song, “The Captain is Lying.”
“It ended up for me being a sort of nautical misadventure coupled with a scathing political critique,” said Carroll, in his slow, vaguely sarcastic way of speaking.
“I guess it’s a critique of governments that perpetually tell untruths, saying one thing and doing the other, and the people who follow them and don’t ask enough questions and who end up in situations that might not be in their best interest because they trusted an untrustworthy government.”
Now in his early 40’s and with a musical career that stretches over 20 years, we ask Carroll about staying relevant for himself, and how after so many years an artist continues to reinvent what they do. He says he doesn’t quite see it that way.
“I try to write the best songs that I can write, and they end up being the way that they are,” said Carroll. “I feel like taking responsibility for guiding everything would be a little bit inaccurate in my case. I do the best I can and settle with what I’m comfortable with.
“I try to write songs and become a better musician.”
Carroll’s music has taken him around the world, and most recently to a stage at Ottawa’s Bluesfest. Despite the years of playing, and the success he’s had, he says that the music scene and the bars, whether packed or empty, haven’t jaded him.
“I still have great experiences playing where someone will come up to me and it’s apparent that they’ve been genuinely moved by something that’s occurred in my performance,” he said. “To me that’s very gratifying.
“That’s why I listen to music—I like to be moved.”
John Carroll will play Friday, Sept. 20 at le Cagibi with local folk duo, Salton Sea. Check the Facebook event for more info.