Monday, June 21, 2004

Poxy: Privateer punk or Pirate Pop?

[Sorry for that awful alliteration in the title.] In the summer of 2003, when the joints were two-papered and I still had an income, I wrote a post about "Bar Le Sapphir". Since then, I've become far more destitute and when I do come across the odd pile o' cash, I'm less prone to waste it on a baker's dozen of beers at a nightclub. Still, I miss the place. The fish in the T.V., the bar that's constantly lit on fire, the couch on the ceiling; it makes me dream of busking tomorrow to finance a Friday night there.

I want to go on Friday specifically because of "Panic with Plastik Patrik", a punky garage/new-wave/no-wave rock night. Billy Idol, The Cure, The Ramones, The Hives...I can't imagine a better place to rock out after a hard week of blogging and consuming intoxicants. [I owe it all to a pal of mine--Dennis, who runs a successful firm that sells Wi-Fi products to businesses. Contact him if you own a hotel or café anywhere in North America!--because he was the first person to tell me about Sapphir.]

Perhaps I should get to the point? At Sapphir, Xavier Caffeine is one of the DJ's (he usually opens for Plastik Patrik). He also happens to be the lead singer of one of the rising stars of the Montreal rock scene, a band called Poxy. [JB offered one of Poxy's MP3's as a "Song of the week" at least a fortnight ago]. They're from Montreal and are definately a band to watch with a telescope, because by the time you read these words, they'll probably be close to conquering the hearts and minds of several foreign nations at sword-point.

Poxy play a style of music that they have branded "Pirate Pop" (according to a Chartattack Interview) and this description fits them like a parrot on a shoulder. Their sound might occasionally wear the feather boa of glam but it is far too abrasive to pass for anything weak; sometimes sounding like punk, it's nothing like Blink 182 and their new-school-punk soft-ice-cream sound. On their own, Poxy stand aside any of the best post-rock bands like The Stills or Interpol, only they are more accessible and not as deliberately obscure. Poxy want everyone to get high and dance like they're partying with David Bowie.

Poxy Band

Keeping with the Pirate theme, they know how to rock the boat. Xavier Caffeine used to be a part of Caféine, a MTL glam-punk band that caught the eye of many underground scenesters locally and this provided him with enough experience to pull off gigs that blow the windows out and the chutzpah to write an album that really resonates with some people but doesn't cut corners.

I'm not the only one who thinks Poxy is worth the time and trouble. Just ask Jamie O'Meara, resident music editor of the Hour, who said that their debut album was "Hands down the best rock album to cross (his) desk so far this year..." back in 2003. Also, they've earned glowing write-ups in Chartattack, The Montreal Mirror, and the Journal de Montreal, but they have yet to tour the United States.

On another note, when Poxy played at the Bovine Sex Club in Toronto, one of their members Phil lost a mixer to a covetous fan. He wrote at their site:
"To the asshole who stole my 80$ mixer down at the Bovine, I though I'd let you know you left my 3000$ laptop right under it you stupid fuck!
Poxy will be taking the following places by storm with knives in their teeth and a murderous gleam in their eyes. Be sure to bring gold bullion or some sort of recreational drug for them to seize:

June 25th
Moncton NB w/ L'Attack

June 26th
Halifax NS w/ L'Attack

July 10th
Quebec city QC w/ Plastic Bertrand

July 29th
L'Autre Caserne, Quebec City, QC
During Envol & Macadam fest

July 30th
Le Swimming, Montreal QC
3643 St. Laurent Blvd.

Keep your spyglasses on their official site for news, press clippings and even a few MP3s. I will try to get an interview with them for JB.

Arcade Fire Feed 7" Record to Hungry Americans

Montreal's reigning royal family of the indie rock underworld, the Arcade Fire, have released a 7" record south of the border via their label, Merge Records, and you can feel the buzz from here. It is called "Neighbourhood 7" and Pitchfork already broke this news on May 4th but I thought it warranted mention just the same because Merge have begun to promote the AF on their site and I'm curious to see what the U.S public will think of their miracle-a-minute sound. ("Angel" fans may have heard the AF when one of their songs was used on the Fox TV program)

"Neighbourhood 7" Album Cover

The A-side of the record is a song called Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) which should appear on their new LP as well. The B-side is apparently a 1940's radio broadcast of Win's maternal grandfather with his 'Alvino Rey Orchestra'. Here is what their Merge bio has to say about the B-side.
"Win Butler is the grandson of Alvino Rey, who led the Alvino Rey Orchestra with a pedal steel guitar from the 30s to the 70s. He grew up in Texas where he and his brother (Will) learned how to play music from their mother (a jazz harpist)."
Reading the press release for the AF 7-inch brought a smile to my face.
"Get these now before the buzz really starts on the Arcade Fire. You can tell all your friends next year - 'I knew them when...'"
Reading a statement like that one makes me think that the music industry is modelled upon the feeding habits of the seagull. A couple of brave birds will begin to peck at a morsel of potential food to see if it is palatable, and before long, thousands more will flock to the place to try and get their beaks in on the feast.

The Arcade Fire
The Arcade Fire

I'm betting that their LP "Funeral", which is slated for a September release, will earn them a Juno awards nomination in 2005. I haven't heard any of the new songs yet since they haven't played any Montreal shows as of late, but I'm 90 percent sure that the record is going to get the mainstream music press frothing at the mouth. (Most of my friends have become AF fans after hearing their self-titled EP. One exception is my cousin Anders, but he's far too obsessed with Faith No More and Tori Amos to even give the Arcade Fire the time of day!)

Being the thieving bastard that I am, here is the tracklisting for the "Funeral" LP which I stole from Pitchfork.

01 Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
02 Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
03 Une Annee Sans Lumiere
04 Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
05 Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)
06 Crown of Love
07 Wake Up
08 Haiti
09 Rebellion (Lies)
10 In the Backseat

I'll get in touch with the Arcade Fire in the fall to see if we can get a reviewer's copy of their new album for this blog; I'm sure they'll be happy to oblige. Until then, you can visit their official site for news and a couple of sample MP3's.