You’ve likely never heard of M for Montreal, but this year marks the fifth year of the festival, designed to shine a light on bands from Montreal’s vibrant music community. Imagine CMJ with more French and less chillwave. We figure a fest that’s been running for five years straight deserves a little attention, so for the first time, Prefix will send a correspondent — that would be me — to Canada’s hottest musical city to report on the goings on. For more on the showcase, which is planned for Nov. 17 to Nov. 20, go here. And in preparation, here is a list of the five bands we’re most looking forward to seeing.
The band: PS I Love You
Why we’re excited to see them: Probably the buzziest band playing M for Montreal, PS I Love You is hot off releasing its debut LP — the great Meet Me at the Muster Station — a couple well-received shows at CMJ and, ahem, being named one of Prefix’s Playing on Prefix bands. A throwback to the late-’90s indie rock that made celebrities out of Sunny Day Real Estate and Modest Mouse, the Toronto duo travels in catchy songs with big hooks and bigger guitars.
The band: Suuns
Why we’re excited to see them: Perhaps Canada’s first entry into the trip-hop market, Suuns revels in monolithic haze, collapsing stadium drums and a general mood that can only be described as “gloomy.” Riding some hype from Pitchfork into M for Montreal, the band plays Friday night in the middle of a showcase that features the more traditional stylings of Random Recipe, Molly Rankin and a few others. It’s hard to imagine Suuns’ dominating music not owning the night.
The band: AIDS Wolf
Why we’re excited to see them: A cross between Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Teenage Jesus & The Jerks, AIDS Wolf is all scraping noise, antagonism, subdural hematomas, and wrecking shit, which makes it the perfect band to headline the fest’s first night. Way to test everyone’s mettle early, M for Montreal programmers.
The band: Priestess
Why we’re excited to see them: Priestess is the heaviest fucking band at M for Montreal, and if it weren’t for Fucked Up, it would probably be Canada’s hardest rocking band, period. There’s no mystique involved with Priestess’s live show; the musicians are all about melting fretboards and crushing faces, a skill they parlayed into tours with Dinosaur Jr. and Mastodon. Hopefully they wear something like this:
The band: The Dears
Why we’re excited to see them: As M for Montreal’s ostensible headliner — they play the back end of a couple-band show at Metropolis on Saturday — the Dears are the best-known band playing the festival. The band’s reconstruction of Brit-pop for the Canadian indie set will be an entirely mellower and expected experience than Priestess’s stoner sludge or AIDS Wolf’s post-punk implosion, but seeing the six Dears onstage will hearken back to the days when it seemed like every new indie rock band was from Canada. Plus the band is promising a set of almost entirely new material from a forthcoming 2011 album.