10 to watch at Emerging Music Festival, Quebec
- By Hazel Sheffield -
- Aug 30, 2012
You may never have heard of EMF Festival (or FME, Festival de musique émergente, depending on where you come from), but this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Canadian festival. Each year organizers gather the most promising Canadian acts in the small mining town of Rouyn-Noranda on Osisko Lake, in northwestern Quebec, for a long weekend of venue hopping and band spotting that was last year voted festival of the year at the Canadian L'ADISQ Awards, surpassing the likes of the hallowed Montreal Jazz Festival to scoop the prizee.
This week Virgin Red Room is heading to the festival to find out what the fuss is about. Here are ten acts we’re hoping to see when we get there.
10. Avec pas d’casque
Avec pas d’casque translates as “without a helmet”, after reckless ice hockey players. The musical incarnation, a four-piece from Montreal, were long listed for the Polaris Prize for their latest album, ‘Astronomie’, which came out in March. It showcased a restrained mix of folk and country that recalls the willful stasis of Smog or Palace-era Bonny Prince Billy.
9. Peter Peter
With looks reminiscent of Joaquin Phoenix as young Johnny Cash, Peter Peter hails from Quebec City and writes pretty acoustic music in French. He won Montreal songwriting competition Ma Première Place des Arts in 2008 and signed to French-language label Audiogram (once home to Carli Bruni and Bran Van 3000) thereafter. A debut album, ‘Peter Peter’, came out last year and you can hear our favourite track from it, ‘Tergiverse’, below.
8. Louis-Jean Cormier
‘L’Ascenseur’ is taken from Louis-Jean Cormier’s first solo album since his Polaris Prize winning band, Karkwa, announced a hiatus last year. After 15 years with a rock group, Cormier’s solo album shows a softer side to the French-speaking singer, out September 18.
7. Ines Talbi
One-time singer with flamboyant electro-rock outfit Mimosa, Ines Talbi accidently wrote a solo album on a writing trip that was supposed to be for her band. The solo album she came home with, ‘Boarding Gate’, sets her smoky voice against solid pop tunes.
6. Organ Mood
Proggy electronic outfit Organ Mood have been assembling electronic jams since 2008. They sometimes accompany shows with ‘rituals’, or art installations where the public are encouraged to participate in some way, while the band improvise. An EP, ‘Consciemment Inconsciemment’ came out in March as the follow up to 2010’s appropriately named ‘Grands Projets’.
5. Radio Radio
Fresh from the release of a new album ‘Havre de Grâce’, Radio Radio are back touring their signature mix of electro beats and Chiac rap, a mix of English and Acadian French. The video for single ‘Galope’, above, shows the trio taking themselves very seriously by rapping next to tiny horses.
4. Timber Timbre
Timber Timbre released their third album, ‘Creep On Creepin On’ last year on Canada’s much celebrated Arts and Crafts label (home to Broken Social Scene, Stars and Feist). On it, the band’s propensity for storytelling stretches tales of witchcraft and sorcery over saxophones and organ sounds.
3. Godspeed You! Black Emperor
After a long seven years on hiatus, Godspeed are back with their tapes and loops to play selected festival dates across North America. They’re also rumoured to be working on new material, which remains to be seen at their midnight set on Saturday.
2. Lisa LeBlanc
A kind of Kate Nash of New Brunswick, Lisa LeBlanc has a fearsome voice and witty Acadian French lyrics that combine to create what she calls ‘trash folk’. More recently, in March, LeBlanc released a self-titled debut album which brought out a darker kind of humour and her best songwriting yet.
Feist was a late addition to the EMF lineup, but her name makes a big splash on the schedule. She will present last year’s album ‘Metals’, which was named album of the year by The New York Times and the Globe and Mail last year, cementing her development from the author of ‘1234’ iPod ditties to musical darling of the middle classes.
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