Culture & Conversation

Posts from the ‘Music’ category

Igloofest pretty

Igloofest is crazy (and so are we)

Igloofest is what happens when you take North America’s only UNESCO City of Design, fill it with the continent’s most important digital arts scene, toss in some neon-glow ice cubes and then blend at full throttle – to the beats of some of the world’s best and biggest DJs come to play for Montreal’s notoriously fun-loving crowds.


5 songs: ABBA

2014 marks the 40th anniversary of ABBA’s Eurovision win with vintage hit single “Waterloo.” Despite consistently topping the charts for nearly a decade thereafter and selling over 400 million records worldwide, the legendary group remain a bit of an unknown quantity to fresh-faced listeners.

Bass Drum of Death hates you

A young Jack White once ironically asked an audience at a White Stripes concert if going to a rock and roll concert was the same as going to a museum. For my part, Ron Mueck has enthralled me, Dale Chihuly filled me with wonder, but the Bass Drum of Death show last Sunday at Casa del Popolo rocked me to the core.

5 Songs: New Psych, Vol. 3

What will future generations think of the music from our era? I often ask myself this question as manufactured popular culture propels itself farther and farther from anything I could consider art. And yet, miles away from the lollypop glow of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, there are stratospheres of musical culture that continue to thrive. One of the supreme benefits of a population 7 billion strong is that a multiplicity of musical styles grows and flourishes in all the nooks and crannies. Welcome to my nook.

I loves you, Porgy

It’s difficult to know how to respond to George Gerswhin’s opera Porgy and Bess. Should we be a bit offended by this condescending representation of African-Americans, or revel in those beautiful sounds that celebrate their musical gifts to the world: jazz, gospel and spirituals?

Howling to be heard

“Back along the road again, I swear we’ve been here before,” laments Chelsea native Jake Watson on “Those Were the Days,” and for a moment there you almost believe him. I mean, let’s face it. The current landscape of alternative folk is getting rapidly overcrowded. While increasingly crossing over with more mainstream sounds, the overall feeling is that the scene is somewhat diluting itself. Yet before this popular subgenre eventually slows down, Montreal outfit Wind & the Wild make a damn good case at its sustainability with their eponymously-named sophomore effort.


5 Songs: Prince

As I reflect on 2013, I cannot help but yearn for the past. The good old days. It was a simpler time, a time when we smoked in hospitals and planes, when pulling out was the only mode of protection in sex, when drinking and driving were the norm. A time when we didn’t childproof our homes or put the kids in car seats. A time when allergies and hypersensitivity did not exist. Those were the good old days for realz.

Tuning up for the holidays

One of the glories of the Christmas season is the annual intimate Tudor Hall concert at Ogilvy’s performed by the amazing Lyric Theatre Singers. Why amazing? The 35 strong vocalists actually pay to be a part of this group. This dedication shows through in the élan vital that permeates their renderings. Here’s a sampler of what the 21 female (13 soprano, 8 alto) and 14 male (5 tenor, 5 baritone, 4 bass) delivered on their three-day run and what you’ll hear this Sunday.

Great combo

What a pleasure to hear well composed new music well performed! Musician/playwright Nick Carpenter teamed up with actor/singer Patricia Summersett (hence, Summersett Fred) to head a sextet that is truly innovative as well as crowd pleasing. At their recent appearance at the Wiggle Room..more known for stand up comics and burlesque..their original pieces of fusion genre were musically captivating.