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of Montreal brings their lively and colorful show to Union Transfer

of Montreal | photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com
of Montreal | photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com

A costumed figure appeared in a steampunk-esque luchador outfit, introducing his “brother,” Kevin Barnes to the Union Transfer stage. Barnes’ long-running Athens act of Montreal opened their show with bright psychedelic lights, and ended with, well, psychedelic lights. But not the typical dubstep tripped-out beams of color, these were filled with spinning eyeballs and kaleidoscope patterns. Of Montreal played favorites off of their 2007 LP Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, sprinkling in some new singles from their 2013 release, Lousy with Sylvianbriar. Barnes pranced and jumped around the stage, clanking his tambourine, as his projected silhouette followed each dance move. Fans were yanked out of the crowd for getting a little too high; others crowd-surfed to the foot of the stage.

Oakland synth-queen Liz Wolf opened the show under her moniker Dream Tiger, and the crowd was entranced with her darkwave songs of narcissism and heartbreak. Her voice was eerie voice and a haunting red glow enveloped stage. Check out photos from both sets in the gallery below.

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Of Montreal packs World Cafe Live for Free At Noon

Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

Athens Georgia, psych-pop outfit Of Montreal brought their ever-evolving, organically pensive sound to World Cafe Live’s stage, packing Friday’s Free At Noon performance. Showcasing songs from their latest release Lousy With Sylvianbriar, frontman Kevin Barnes and the rest of his entourage warmed up the Philly crowd for their performance that at Union Transfer. Check out the photo gallery and set list and listen to the entire performance below.

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Preview tonight’s ‘Compact’ Indie Rock Hit Parade! (and revisit last week’s show)

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Arcade Fire

As things go every final Friday of the month, the Indie Rock Hit Parade gets boiled down to a condensed, hour-long ‘compact’ edition. Immediately following Land Of The Lost with Robert Drake, the Indie Rock Hit Parade kicks off at 11 tonight. Tune in for new sounds from new wave icons like Gary Numan and Prefab Sprout, plus new projects of familiar friends like Neil Halstead and Dean Wareham. And yes, there will be some Arcade Fire.

Here are a few things you might hear in the mix tonight:

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Preview tonight’s all-new Indie Rock Hit Parade! (and recap last week’s show)

Of Montreal by Patrick Heagney
Of Montreal by Patrick Heagney

We’ve got a very eclectic mix of new tracks to get to on tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade. Tune in at 10p for your own personal journey of music discovery. Don’t forget your pith helmet. Here are just a few of the tracks you’ll hear in the mix tonight:

Crocodiles – “Teardrop Guitar” Video from stereogum on Vimeo.

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Stream Of Montreal’s unreleased “Dumb Acre” (playing The Troc on 12/13)

Of Montreal hanging with the Yo Gabba Gabba crew

You can now stream Of Montreal‘s “Dumb Acre” as well as a variety of other unreleased tracks from the band’s Kickstarter page for their forthcoming documentary, Song Dynasties (go here to donate – there’s still two weeks left!). In exchange for donations, the band is circulating previously unreleased singles, including some of their oldest material. You can catch Of Montreal playing with Foxygen and French Horn Rebellion at The Trocadero December 13th. Tickets and information can be found on our concert calendar here. In the meantime, listen to Kevin Barnes get extra hippie on the love-struck “Dumb Acre” below.

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Watch a new video for Of Montreal’s “Sails, Hermaphroditic” (playing The Troc on 12/13)


Here’s a brand new video for “Sails, Hermaphroditic” from Of Montreal‘s rarities collection, Daughter of Cloud, which was released last week. Daughter of Cloud features 17 tracks that the band has recorded over the last sixteen years. Of Montreal will be playing at The Trocadero with Foxygen and French Horn Rebellion on December 13; tickets can be found here. Fun fact: the “Sails, Hermaphroditic” video was directed by frontman Kevin Barnes’ wife, Nina.

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Show Recap: Of Montreal at Theatre Of The Living Arts

Of Montreal’s studio work conjures great hope for the band’s live show. The Athens-based group is 10 albums deep with a profound and diverse discography. It mixes art with dance—fusing psychedelia and soul, funk and indie, twee-pop and R&B. Lead singer Kevin Barnes can sing in Venn diagrams of Prince, David Bowie, and James Mercer. The band’s most accessible music (songs such as “Gronlandic Edit,” “Gallery Piece,” and “Wraith Pinned To The Mist”—which was used in Outback Steakhouse commercials) features irresistible basslines; most of their albums, however, also have a couple experimental songs that respectfully wander past the five-minute barrier, held together by intriguing synth or involved percussion. Of Montreal’s most recent album, False Priest, is the most beat-driven yet. It features Solange (Beyonce’s indie-inclined sister) and Janelle Mona; the guitar wahs channel Curtis Mayfield, and that Of Montreal bass blends with Parliament funk. In short, it should have been a dance party at the TLA on Friday.

The sheer size of Of Montreal overwhelmed the stage as the band opened with a version of its lesser-known “L’age D’or.”  It’s hard to avoid the comparison between the song’s namesake—a film by Salvador Dali—and the concert, both of which contained a surrealist, shocking, and ultimately disjointed plot. After following up with the concert staple “For Our Elegant Caste” (which briefly recaptured the audience), the band delved into theatrics that dominated the middle of the set. Most songs included skits performed by a gaggle of costumed non-musicians. “Oslo In The Summertime” featured a group of relatively well-choreographed dancers wearing what resembled Klu Klux Klan garb. Later, Barnes—dressed in drag—handed the mic to violinist K. Ishibashi, saying, “We’ve never done this before, but isn’t that what art is all about!?” (That art, by the way, ended up being Ishibashi’s senior recital piece, a hard-to-follow rap called “Just The Tip.”)

Things went downhill from there. The energy of “Sex Karma” was strong, but not strong enough to overcome the distraction of a Mexican wrestler (dressed in American flag spandex) who jumped through balloon hoops, held up wacky signs, and pumped his fists. “Holiday Call” was marred by a poorly rehearsed royal wedding: Skeletons brought the bride onstage, the prince wore a colonial wig, giant gingerbread men joined them, and everyone did a Russian folk dance (the Yablochko). Someone Barnes called “George Croony” did a Sinatra-esque number while sipping a martini alone onstage. Perhaps the whole affair was the result of countless hours’ worth of coordination and effort—but it felt like a series of hastily prepared skits performed by a high-school drama club. And, unfortunately, it was an extended low point that lasted the majority of the set. Clearly the band (and their mustachioed actor friends) had a blast, but even the hardcore fans up against the stage struggled to stay focused.

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Tonight’s Concert: Of Montreal and Janelle Monae at Electric Factory

Of Montreal

Touring behind a brand-new album and with a notoriously elaborate stage show in tow, everything is perfectly set for Of Montreal‘s ascent to the throne of flamboyant psych-pop. After all, the band’s new album, False Priest (released yesterday by Polyvinyl Records), is the final entry in unofficial trilogy Kevin Barnes began with 2007′s depression-fueled, breakup-oriented concept album, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, and 2008′s fractured follow-up, Skeletal Lamping. (The former was a rousing, if surprising, critical success for the band; the latter, thought not quite as well received, certainly didn’t lack the same creative ambition.) So here comes Of Montreal with False Priest —which features the chugging-guitar- and throbbing-bass-heavy single, “Coquet Coquette”—and what happens on the very first night of the band’s tour (two days ago in D.C.)? Well, to put it charitably, it was a complete spectacle-over-substance disaster, according to The Washington Post‘s David Malitz, who wrote:

Of Montreal played a worthless show Monday night at the 9:30 Club. It was a trudging parade of pointless, kitschy costumes set to a soundtrack of tepid funk rock that was as painful to watch as it was to hear. There was no spark, there was no flow, there was no joy — even the stage dancers, whose faces were obscured by full-body Lycra suits, seemed slightly embarrassed to be a part of the debacle.

Yikes. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. And it probably doesn’t help that—by some accounts—rising R&B sensation Janelle Monae (who is currently downstairs with David Dye recording a World Cafe segment) opened the night with a show-stealing performance no amount of over-the-top theatrics could match. Of course, Of Montreal and Monae are good pals: she appears on False Priest, and Of Montreal landed a hand on her debut full-length, The ArchAndroid. So we really hope Monday night’s debacle was just first-night jitters (or that Malitz simply isn’t a fan). Otherwise, Of Montreal could be in for a long tour—Monae opens for the band 22 more times in the next month and a half. That could be awkward. Of Montreal opens headlines tonight’s show with Janelle Monae at 9 p.m. at Electric Factory; tickets are $28.

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