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Ep. #97: Braids

Braids is an excellent, art-y rock band from Montreal featuring Raphaelle Standell-Preston, Austin Tufts, and Taylor Smith. Originally from Calgary, Braids is a close-knit group whose first album, Native Speaker, was excellent and short-listed for Canada’s Polaris Music Prize (previous winners include Karkwa). Their latest album is 2013’s Flourish // Perish, which is obtainable via Arbutus and Flemish Eye Records and is a moodier, emotionally and musically challenging feat from one of the most accomplished young bands in North America. Braids are on a tour of the eastern and midwestern parts of the United States and they play Montreal’s Il Motore on May 10 and Toronto’s Horseshoe on May 11. Back in November 2013, Raph, Austin, and even press-shy Taylor met with me outside of Toronto where we had a good chat about addictive coffee-flavoured e-cigarettes, a living room in Mississauga with a wooden carpet, rating Halloween candy, a tour oasis and a bitchy cat, my mom, my name Vishal, and our premature births, Austin and Raph’s close, sibling-like relationship, the travails of An Indian From Kitchener, computers versus guitars, special effects and Flourish // Perish, the logical puzzle that is the piano, leaving space in your work so that you can think, how Raph has grappled with mental health issues and public pressure and Flourish // Perish’s uniquely dark tone for an ‘electronic’ record, Austin is a man, the road is long, losing Katie Lee, you’ll have to speak up; the soundman is wearing a towel, female companionship, man conquers machine, machine conquers woman, how the media has manipulated and over-scrutinized Katie’s departure from Braids, the band’s frustration with the way they were portrayed in an Exclaim! Magazine cover story this past fall and how it impacted their already fragile relationship with Katie, the power dynamic between journalists and interview subjects, unique views and clickbait culture, learning from talking, Taylor shows up to discuss abstaining from interviews and their value, Braids’ future plans and progress towards their next record, Joshua Tree National Park and the desert, Good Will Hunting, Back to the Future, the song “Girl,” and that’s it.

Related links: braidsmusic.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #93: Ought

Ought is a young punk band based in Montreal that consists of keyboardist Matt May, bassist Ben Stidworthy, drummer and violinist Tim Keen, and vocalist and guitarist Tim Beeler. The band formed in 2012 but have already honed a distinctive and explosive sound, which is captured beautifully on their debut LP, More Than Any Other Day. With its mix of righteous but mischievous poetry and charging music and dramatic vocals, Ought have conjured one of the most refreshing and inspiring rock records of the year. More Than Any Other Day is out April 29 via Constellation Records and here all of us chat about the band’s living arrangements, its impact on their music and how such arrangements might have made sense for the Jesus Lizard, why they chose to conduct this interview (the band’s third) as a group and what that says about the nature of their collaboration, how Ought might ba “new metal” band, the conscientiously democratic nature of their creative process, how this band came together in Montreal, landing on the same page without saying a thing, how Ought is not a ‘genre band’ but maybe Yo La Tengo and Sonic Youth have seeped their way into the sound in some ways, Australia and a lazy reference to crocodiles, lyrics and poetry and whole milk and Jonathan Richman, righteousness and irreverence, the influence Montreal has had on Ought, student protests and how the feelings they conjure can infiltrate a band’s music, how the ‘you’s’ and ‘I’s’ in Ought’s songs are generally quite indirect pronouns, the making of More Than Any Other Day and what’s next, the video for “The Weather Song,” the song “Gemini,” and not one more thing.

Related links: cstrecords.org/ought vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #77: Maica Mia

Maica Mia is a three-piece band from Montreal featuring Maica Armata, Jonny Paradise, and, most recently, bassist, Mauro Pezzente who is also a member of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Together they create a compelling, emotionally rich kind of contemporary folk music bolstered by heavy instrumentation and electronic flourishes that propel Armata’s evocative and powerful vocals.  This past January Maica Mia self-released their gorgeous second album; it’s called Des Era and has prompted them to tour, including a stop at the Drake in Toronto on Friday March 7, shows at SXSW on March 13 and 14, Quebec City on March 28, and Montreal on April 4. Here, Maica and I discuss face-touching danger, the beauty and joy of physical mail, the sound of Maica Mia and what cinematic music means, Maica’s favourite movie and her love of “animals” and phoning home,  I AM NOT AN ANIMAL, music and things that inspire Maica to make the unsettling music she makes, why a movie she hasn’t seen yet is probably her favourite movie, particular themes on the record that have become evident to Maica, Dimitri Nasrallah, how Mauro Pezzente ended up in Maica Mia, the next album, the song “wish,” and more.

Related links: maicamia.com vishkhanna.com

maicamia

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