Montreal minimal wavers Essaie Pas get your icy blood pumping

Plus hear new music from Un Blonde, New Horizzzons, and Zacht Automaat.

January 15, 2016

No Rest for the Obsessed is a column spotlighting some of the most exciting new music AUX Editor Jesse Locke finds each week. It began in 2010 for Calgary’s dearly departed alt-weekly FFWD, and takes its name from a Lightning Bolt song.

Essaie Pas – “Le port du masque est de rigueur”

Essaie Pas (Don’t Try) is the duo of Montreal mainstays Marie Davidson and Pierre Guerineau. They’ve performed together and separately in a variety of guises, including her thumping techno solo project and the mysterious Les momies de Palerme. Now, the tightly wound minimal wave two-piece (who sound like they’re trying pretty hard and truly succeeding) have followed Slim Twig as the latest Canadian signings to DFA Records. The video for “Le port du masque est de rigueur” is a shadowy thrill ride into their strobed-out subterranean scene. Grab the album Demain est une autre nuit from DFA on February 19.

Un Blonde – “Look” (360 Video)

Fellow Montrealers Un Blonde get the 360 degree panorama treatment in a Pop Montreal studio session for this cut from Water The Next Day on Egg Paper Factory. Here, main brain Jean-Sebastien Audet is backed up by members of Nap Eyes, Each Other, and Telstar Drugs along with a surprise cameo from an interpretive b-girl dancer. They stretch out the woozy bleeps of the original into an R&B dream drifting somewhere between D’Angelo and the Dirty Projectors. Free your mouse and your mind will follow.

New Horizzzons – Spectrum (On The)

Toronto’s New Horizzzons are the trio of comic book artist Michael Comeau (Hellberta), ex-Leather Upper Craig Daniels, and Robert “The Canadian Romantic” Dayton. The loony tunes freak-rock of their debut album Spectrum (On The) is as self-aware (see: “Building Our Brand”, “Top Ten”) as it is silly (see: everything) and even features a cover of the biker-rock classic “Neon Slime”. Dayton’s warbled vocals might be something of an acquired taste, but hey, people said that about Gary Wilson too.

If you’re near Toronto, spin by the Burdock on Friday, January 15 for the release show of their album/art book with Wolfcow and Broken Puppy.

Zacht Automaat – More Down Than Out

The Canterbury prog preservation society issued their latest mind-expanding salvo in December, and once again, it’s an unexpected journey. (Pass me whatever these guys are J.R.R. tokin’.) On the two sidelong song-suites of More Down Than Out, thee almighty Automaat travel from smoky jazz to fuzzed-out drum breaks, motorik drivers, and the usual dazzling organ moves we’ve come to expect from the nimble-fingered Carl Didur. It’s currently up as a PWYC download on their bandcamp home base, but a few bucks would go a long way towards getting ZA on vinyl again.

Full disclosure/shameless plug: I released Zacht Automaat’s Cover Tape last summer, which closes out with an instrumental take on David Bowie’s “After All.”

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