Montreal’s Music: local indie from Canada’s coolest city

This past week I’ve been wandering the streets of Montreal – a sprawlingly old and vibrantly new city that is so often remembered for its cold winters and Je ne sais quoi. Traveling with a friend, I accompanied her to visit her family and was quickly reminded of the city’s kind, eccentric, worldly charm that I hadn’t experienced since I visited at age eleven. Though the city is filled with great food (Look up: Poutine), visually stunning street art (check the tags on Instagram for #MuralFest2014), and very fashionable regulars on the metro, it is the local music that enchanted me the most. Montreal’s music followed me back to the States and here are a few of my favorites:

Too Beautiful to Work – The Luyas

Synth-y and chaotic, this song is a full-on frenzy. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform at Breakglass Studio where the lead singer seemed equally focused and unrestrained. The whole crowd couldn’t stop grinning. 

via Poster at Breakglass Studio for the Luyas
via Poster at Breakglass Studio for the Luyas

Oh Cecilia – Born Ruffians 

Fast-talking, catchy, and hip – this song is for dancing. Plus, the video is of a super adorable sixty-year old cross-guard who couldn’t ever stop dancing. Watch below:

Long Gone – Emilie & Ogden

Honest, earnest, and silver-tongued, Emilie Kahn speaks the truth and does so with a distinct hum and chirp. Listen to the whole EP here: “Babel” and “Seventy-Seven” are equally great! 

Tranquil – CLementine

The kind of music you listen to when you’re driving through a bunch of trees thinking about life, love, and loss. Listen to their collection of tracks entitled “Kimberly ’93” available on bandcamp here

In May – Knits Knots

Full disclosure, Knits Knots – Sarvenaz Amir-Ebrahimi –  is one of the lovely people I visited in Montreal. Her voice is nostalgic and yearning, but sweet and whimsical. This song is a great listen, but I also highly recommend you check out her covers of Montezuma by Fleet Foxes and Truss Me by Lower Dens.

Sarvenaz also runs a music blog Murmur which features a lot of music on this list and many other beautiful music recommendations outside of Montreal. I highly recommend you like it on Facebook:

Murmur logo, via
Murmur logo, via

In summary, Montreal is pretty fantastic and is full of wonderful tunes. Hoping everyone’s summer adventures are filled with great music as well!

– Jenny Henderson


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