Best tunes of 2011: #9 M83 “Midnight city”

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Two songs ago on this list and over two months ago, I mentioned a weekend in Toronto in 2012 on which I went to concerts two nights in a row. The first night was Spiritualized for the fourth time with Nikki Lane opening at the Phoenix Concert Theatre with a bunch of friends. The second night I ventured out all by myself to The Sound Academy to see M83 with I Break Horses opening. I had an extra ticket but my wife was uninterested and I couldn’t drag any of my friends out after the heavy drinking from the previous evening. So it was a quieter, dryer event for me, being that I had to drive down to a more out of the way venue that I had never been to before. However, it ended up being a great evening as well.

Some might find it interesting that it was actually the opening band on this evening that was the bigger draw for me beforehand. This wasn’t the first time I went to a show to see the opener and it wouldn’t be the last*. On this night, though, as good as I Break Horses were to kick off the evening, M83 renewed my interest in them and made a bigger fan of me. I had gotten into them with their John Hughes-infused 2008 album, “Saturdays = youth”, but was somewhat disappointed with 2011’s followup, “Hurry up, we’re dreaming”. Seeing them live breathed a whole bunch of life into the dreamy double album for me.

M83 started out as the duo of Anthony Gonzalez and Nicolas Fromageau, forming the electronic outfit in Antibes in 2001. However, Fromageau left the project after their second album and Gonzalez has continued on as the driving force since then. He moved to California in 2010, which had a huge impact on the music that would become M83’s sixth studio album, “Hurry album, we’re dreaming”. And of course this is album on which today’s song appears.

“Midnight city” is track two, jumping in to pick up the end of the rope left dangling by the wondrous intro. It is a city that never sleeps and what happens there. It is a jumble of dreams built from synths and fantasies, cinematic and childlike, populated by all manner of beasts and creatures and overworked suits and ties. It roars and screams with electricity before being all wrapped up in a pretty package at the end with a wicked saxophone solo.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2011 list, click here.

* Writing this last sentence gave rise to the playlist I created last week inspired by all the great opening bands I have seen over the years.

Playlist: New tunes from 2019, part two

I don’t know how things shook out where you are but here in Ottawa, the winter took its sweet time loosening its hold. We had snow banks well into April and the “April showers” became “May rains”. The Ottawa river and a number of other rivers in the area hit record heights, causing widespread flooding. We still had the heat on in our place into June and almost immediately had to switch on the AC.

So Spring? Not so much this year, really only having it in name.

Luckily, there was quite a bit of good music released to keep our minds off the dreary weather and this playlist features some of my favourite music that came out over the last three months.

Highlights include:

    • “Can’t find my heart”, the first tune off the second EP in a series released this year by Canada’s venerated indie rock collective, Broken Social Scene
    • A lovely tune called “Athens” off the first album by Elizabeth Morris’s (Allo Darlin’) new band, Elva, with Ola Innset (Making Marks)
    • “Wake me when it’s over”, track three of the final album by The Cranberries, “In the end”, released over a year after Dolores O’Riordan’s death
    • “Young enough”, the title track off the sophomore album by Charly Bliss, which this particular music fan needed to listen to many times before got… so if you yourself aren’t sure yet, give it some time
    • The latest album by The National, “I am easy to find”, is yet another twist and turn in the band’s artistic journey and from this new collection of tunes, I’ve included the majestic “Rylan”
    • “The barricade” off the new record by Toronto indie rock legends, The Lowest of the Lowest, which sounds like to these ears like a return to their early days

For those who don’t use Spotify or if the embedded playlist below doesn’t work for you, here is the entire playlist:

    1. “Everyday” Weyes Blood (from the album Titanic rising)
    2. “That’s where the trouble started” Rose Elinor Dougall (from the album A new illusion)
    3. “Can’t find my heart” Broken Social Scene (from the EP Let’s try the after vol. 2)
    4. “What I’ve been kicking around” The Tallest Man on Earth (from the album I love you. It’s a fever dream)
    5. “Scarecrow” Wand (from the album Laughing matter)
    6. “The barrel” Aldous Harding (from the album Designer)
    7. “Athens” Elva (from the album Winter sun)
    8. “Wake me when it’s over” The Cranberries (from the album In the end)
    9. “No halo” Kevin Morby (from the album Oh my god)
    10. “Déjà vu” SOAK (from the album Grim town)
    11. “Harmony hall” Vampire Weekend (from the album Father of the bride)
    12. “White of an eye” Patience (from the album Dizzy spells)
    13. “Young enough” Charly Bliss (from the album Young enough)
    14. “Fine mess” Interpol (from the EP A fine mess)
    15. “Faithless” Operators (from the album Radiant dawn)
    16. “Rylan” The National (from the album I am easy to find)
    17. “Future shade” Black Mountain (from the album Destroyer)
    18. “Almost it” SACRED PAWS (from the album Run around the sun)
    19. “Is there a pill?” Richard Hawley (from the album Further)
    20. “The barricade” The Lowest of the Low (from the album Agitpop)
    21. “Black Friday” Palehound (from the album Black Friday)
    22. “The river” AURORA (from the album A different kind of human, step II)
    23. “Insignificant” Lust for Youth (from the album Lust for Youth)
    24. “Natural” Julia Shapiro (from the album Perfect version)
    25. “Her own heart” Hatchie (from the album Keepsake)

Enjoy.

For those of you who are on Spotify, feel free to look me up. My user name is “jprobichaud911”.

Live music galleries: Ottawa Bluesfest 2019, day five – Scary Bear Soundtrack

(Since I’ll be too busy attending Ottawa Bluesfest over the next week or so to continue with this blog’s regularly scheduled programming, I thought I would do a special ‘live galleries’ series this week to share some pics from some of the sets I am enjoying.)

Entrance to Bluesville

Artist: Scary Bear Soundtrack
When: July 9th, 2019
Where: Lebreton Flats Park, Ottawa
Some words: This’ll be a short and sweet one.

I hadn’t actually planned on attended Tuesday night but an early set by a local band caught my eye. The name, Scary Bear Sountrack, was a fun one that aroused my curiosity. However, it was the influences of dream poppers My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins, and Canadian indie stalwarts, Stars, that drew me right in.

And that’s the beauty of having a festival pass. One can choose to stop in after work for one band, a local one that may be heretofore unheard of, without a great commitment, rock out at the front of the Bluesville stage and go home at a decent hour, satisfied.

And so that is what happened.

To sum up, many of you outside of Ottawa, or if you’re lucky, Canada, may never get the chance, but if you do and you love any of the aforementioned influences, go check out Scary Bear Soundtrack. The local five piece led by Gloria Guns put on a great set for these ears, three part female vocal harmonies and plenty of noisy guitars and washy synths.

Scary Bear Soundtrack

“Trevor”

Gloria Guns of Scary Bear Soundtrack