Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Video Of The Week: Aut'Chose

A lot of times, when I feature Montréal acts, or Québec acts for St-Jean Baptiste, I feature the best. Or at least my favourites. I provide my readership with the illusion that my peoples are talented, original, great.

I usually always feature English-language songs on this English-language blog.

Not today.

We're a cultivated, open, religion-free (mostly) democratic (presumably) people, sure, but we're also trashy beyond what Americans may know. There's White Trash residue in many of us, myself included.

For 400 years we have kind of refused to join the British Empire (and for 150, we're iffy about Canada as well, which belongs to the Queen anyway), and because of that, Americans falsely identify us with the French, from France.

Let me clear this up right now: we are nothing like them, apart from the smoking and over-the-top sex. They let us rot and abandoned us 400 years ago, so we did what every stepchild does and rebelled, and carved our own path. They're snobs who drink wine and eat snails, so we went with beer and fucking fried potatoes with gravy and cheese curds on top. They like buttoned down shirts, so we went with t-shirts. They covet everyone else's wife, so we... well, so do we.

Oh, they have books, we have movies. They have poets who become singer-songwriters, and apart from Leonard Cohen, we have dirty fucking rock songs that you either cannot decipher what the singer's talking about (Malajube), or speaks a street dialect (''joual'') that would make a Frenchie shit his pants if he encountered us in an alleyway (Offenbach).

Our top-earning star male musicians look like they stink, not because they don't shower like the croissant-eaters, but because they've just played a three-hour show, fucked three girls and maybe a guy, then played another show in another town (Jean Leloup), or are playing shows in-between week-long cocaine binges and use beer both as meal-replacements and perfume (Éric Lapointe).

We're a cross between New York City (all of Manhattan and Brooklyn) and Texas, minus the racism - for a while anyway. It's starting to seep in, but historically, it wasn't there. And it's still mostly based on language (the English-speaking crowd still owns half of buildings and commerces some 75 years after French speakers were allowed to start being masters of their own domains).

But we have dirt, is what I'm saying, and we're proud of it. I like having an edge, but I do get embarrassed at how low we can go. I mean, shit, sometimes I think Kid Rock might be one of my relatives.

And this is how low we go: Aut'Chose. Originally a band in the 1970s, fronted by ''poet'' Lucien Francoeur, they incorporated spoken-word into blues-rock, which in itself doesn't sound so bad. But they copied American bands' riffs without adding anything new, and the ''words'' were, uh, observational ''bar scene'' types of situations. Things that wouldn't be put to record nowadays because they can be said more eloquently by five-year-olds.

What's messed up is they went largely forgotten for most of the 1980s and 1990s, but for some reason there was a demand for a revival in the 2000s, and because a lot of the band wasn't available, was dead, or just didn't want to join in on the fun, only Francoeur and Jacques Racine remain as original members, and the rest of the musicians are an all-star line-up of the best Montréal indie (mostly francophone) scene: Vincent Peake (Groovy Aardvark, GrimSkunk, Floating Widget) on bass, Michel ''Away'' Langevin (drums) and Denis ''Piggy'' D'Amour (guitar) from Voïvod, Joe Evil (from GrimSkunk) on keyboards and guitar, and Alex Crow (Tricky Woo, Kosmos, Caféine) on guitar - the kind of line-up you could record anything from Beethoven pieces to technical metal to hard punk with.

But no, they re-did this ''classic'' instead, which I share because it makes as much/little sense in English as it does in French... They won't let me embed it, but please, click on this link and watch it. It features such ''stars'' as Rick Hughes (of 80s band Sword), Denis ''Snake'' Bélanger of Voïvod, Martin Deschamps, and two female guest stars, Francoeur's daughter and Racine's girlfriend. It's unclear which one Francoeur's hitting on in the video, by the way, as both kind of look alike to me - and no one finds that creepy in the least. Who the fuck knows what a Bar-B-Q Lady is, but I sure as fuck hope ''Bubblegum Baby'' isn't some euphemism for incest.

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