Saturday, November 27, 2010

Vente De Garage

While up in Montreal at the end of summer, I had the pleasure of attending a get-together of record collector nerds/fellow bloggers, hosted by Felix of the excellent blog, Vente De Garage. After a delicious meal of hot dogs and Indian food, Felix treated us to some amazing old footage of Denis Lepage's soul band, The Persuaders. For a sorta geeky guy, clearly uncomfortable on stage, Denis has an amazing white soul voice. And his trumpet (or was it flugelhorn? (which blogspot spellcheck does not recognize? WTF?)) playing was pretty ill.

Afterwords, I got to dig around Felix's records, including some that were for sale. There was some really great stuff in there. The four 45's I picked up from him were some of the best records I bought my entire time in Montreal. They were the following:

Masking Sound- Supernil (Les) Masking Sound are from Montreal. They put out a handful of 45's on various labels. The ones that I've heard all have a r&b influenced sound, ranging from funky rock to latin soul to disco. One of them goes for alot of money. It's not this one.

On this particular 45, one side, "Silence", is basically library music. It's baroque and funky and sounds like something DJ Shadow and RJD2 would have loved the shit out of 10 years ago. Tres Trip Hop. I am not gong to post it because someday I might get some initiative and sample it. The other side, "Supernil" (which would have made a great name for a grunge band), is a raunchy proto-disco tune, the type of which I am very much attached to (having done a mix CD of tracks in this vein). There's a female chorus chanting nonsense syllables and going "Ooooooooooooooh" (they also ruin the break in the song by going "Ahhhhh" over it, but I bet I could still loop it on some RZA shit) , fuzzy guitar, a flute part strongly reminiscent of "Hustle" by Van McCoy, and elegant strings. For some reason, the groove reminds me of a sped up version of "Machine Gun" by the Commodores. They play this joint on the Love Boat right after the champagne toast at midnight, for real...

Records like this prove again and again Montreal's currency and crown as the 2nd biggest disco market in North America. Records like this also make me wonder what the deal was with Les Masking Sound, as their records are all on different labels and are spaced fairly widely over quite a few years (judging by sound and music trends). So, while they sound like a pure studio band, studio bands tend not to stay together for 4+ years whilst only making (relatively) unsuccessful records.

Pierre Voyer- Oui. Very cool sort of orchestrated funky pop. Pierre Voyer was the singer for La Famille Casgrain, a soft psych group. But this record is equal parts showbiz schmaltz and funky rock, with bongos and wah-wah guitars competing with (or complimenting?) slick horn parts and lush harmonies. My guess is early Chicago Transit Authority and Blood, Sweat and Tears may have been an influence along with the usual Byrds and Mamas and Papas LP's.

This record also foreshadows prog rock, because it's 4 minutes long, but has about 14 separate parts; endless pre-choruses, verses, breakdowns, and bridges. Then at the end of the song, there's an instrumental outro vamp (and a nice little break... again, I am an asshole for pointing these things out) that ratchets up the funkiness quite a bit. I bought it because I saw producer Louis Parizeau's name on the label and recognized him from his work with Les Sinners. This record doesn't really sound like Les Sinners at all, but it is a really amazing piece of pop songwriting and arranging. And whoever the bass player is, he's killing it.

Les 409- Un Amour Complique. This is an amazing record and definitely one of my favorites that I picked up this trip. It sounds like a Quebecois "Northern soul" record. The arrangement is extremely dense and chock full of dramatic arching strings, and full, punchy, horns. It sounds a bit like the type of arrangements Johnny Pate laced Impressions records with, which is to say it's this close to being too busy and orchestrated to be funky, but of course it still is. There is an urgency and emotional weight to the vocals that evokes "soul", without the posturing and posing that was endemic among most white singers treading in those waters at the time. And the bass player is doing it again. I can date this record approximately, as the other side is rote cover of "Hello, Goodbye" by the Beatles. So, early 68? Seems about right.

Les Preachers-Dis-Moi Si Tu M'aimes. This is probably the most conventional record of the four; a nice slice of funky garage rock in the style of Sir Douglas Quintet. This sounds like it could be a cover song, but I really have no idea. It's groovy, uptempo, and inoffensive. It would kill it at one of those mod nights where girls wear headbands and snap their fingers alot and the whole place smells like talcum powder, but no one ever asks me to DJ at those.

Listening to these now, I have realized that every single song I bought off Felix has a horn section. So, I guess Felix either loves or hates ("horns again?!?! SELL PILE!!!") rock records with horns. And all of these records are funky. So, cheers to Felix for having so many funky Quebecois records that these ones go in the sell pile (And a quick note so you know I am not disparaging his tastes in ANY way, as in a few cases I was buying his trade copy and he had the gem mint one in his home stash).

So, if this was the stuff Felix lets go, you can imagine the stuff he holds on to (I have dreams about the Long Chris LP he owns. I am just happy I got to touch his copy.). Please check his blog often and support his label, as he has quite a few tricks up his sleeve coming from that end right about now... DL links are in the song titles listed above for the slower students in class...


Blogger Vente de garage said...

Hey Peter!
Thanks for the kind words! : )
It was a pleasure to have you over at our place.
I LOVE the 409's 45, if I'm not mistaken, this is the one produced by Martin Martin. He's my favourite producer. He always hads horns, giving the most usual tunes some warm and groovy touches. I do love horns, soul, funk, anything with a groove basically. : )
I'm glad you like Masking Sound and Pierre Voyer as they weren't exactly up my alley. Great to know they ended up in a great collection and that they are appreciated.

January 5, 2011 at 7:51:00 AM PST  
Blogger Will said...

Very glad to find your blog. I'm a music freak myself and I'm going to Montreal and Quebec City in July, so will be scouring your sites for recommendations. I mainly collect weird old books now but still cannot resist record stores (blog as 50 Watts, formerly A Journey Round My Skull).

June 22, 2011 at 3:32:00 PM PDT  

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