You 'Ought' to See Montreal's New Rock Stars
The culturally diverse arts community of Montreal has regularly produced talented bands over the years, spawning some of the biggest names in the independent music scene of North America and beyond. These groups include Arcade Fire, Grimes, Islands, and Stars -- bands who have created new trends in music, rather than following established paths. One of the newest groups to rise out of the Montreal scene is Ought, who gained the world's attention with their debut album.
Ought will travel across the pond to tour Europe, including appearances at a number of festivals, such as the Soy Festival in Nantes, France and the esteemed Pitchfork Festival in Paris. From there, they will play venues like the Primavera Club in Barcelona, Spain; Circolo Degli Artisti in Rome, Italy; PrivatClub in Berlin, Germany; the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, United Kingdom; and CCA in Glasgow, Scotland.
The band wrote most of the songs on their first album while living together in very small house in Montreal and playing in the living room. It was a hot bed of creativity, but not one that was ideal for domesticity. In the midst of practising one day their landlord came into the house and told the group they were "not normal," then called the cops and had them kicked out of their apartment. However, this extreme reaction from their landlord made the band believe they were doing something right.
All the members of the band -- three of whom are American and one of whom is Australian -- met during their first two years attending McGill University in Montreal. However, the band really came together during the student protests that gripped Quebec in 2012, using the creative energy and expression from the various marches and sit-ins they attended to create the basis for most of the songs on their debut album. The band describes the early process of writing their music as "awful," jamming together in extended communal band practises until they came up with each song.
The debut EP from Ought was called "New Calm," in reference to the aforementioned protests that were rocking Quebec in 2012. As politically motivated post-punk, it gained a lot of traction amongst fellow students and music fans around the Montreal area -- enough that the four-piece group was signed by the lauded, anti-corporate and anti-capitalist recording label Constellation Records.
The first full-length album from Ought is "More Than Any Other Day," released in 2014. Instantly successful, the album rose all the way to No. 20 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart in the United States.
With music that is reminiscent of early Talking Heads meets surf rock, it's no wonder that Ought's shows are wildly energetic. Those with Ought tickets should expect to see mega fans dance and sing along. It's ideal to see Ought with an open mind and in an intimate venue; the band's music bucks structure and tradition, and is meant for those who are interested in experiencing something truly original.
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