Bands you need to know playing Quebec's FME

Today on the final segment of our pre-coverage of Quebec's Festival de musique émergente en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, we profile some of the punk, garage, and other artists you should know who are playing the 15 year old festival. This includes Montreal groups like Duchess Says, Les Dales Hawerchuk, and Paul Jacobs, francophone Québécois rock bands like Chocolat, Fuudge, and Zen Bamboo, punk-jazz acts like New York's Sunwatchers and visiting European noise-rock group It It Anita. They'll be among 70 groups from a number of genres who'll come together in the remote mining town of Rouyn-Noranda this weekend.

Paul Jacobs

Windsor, Ontario native Paul Jacobs now calls Montreal home. His garage-psyche output is wildly prolific (six full-length albums, along with a pile of EPs and singles, released in just 3 years) and his music is often simultaneously hooky and discordant, trending towards the bizarre. Check out "Born in a Zoo" from 2016's Pictures, Movies & Apartments LP to get a taste. At FME Jacobs plays Friday night in the basement of the Petit Théâtre du Vieux Noranda with NYC punk-jazz combo Sunwatchers.


Also hailing from Montreal, Chocolat is currently supporting their third full-length, Rencontrer Looloo. The band's latest effort fully embraces the weird extremes of the psych-rock spectrum, which of course means there's a narrative that follows interdimensional space gurus and the like. Musically Chocolat shift often from charging hard rock to danceable grooves, taking as many genre twists over the course of the record as their trippy lyrical concept allows. The album was released this past November by Dare to Care, Beyond Beyond is Beyond, and Teenage Menopause. At FME the band will play Cabaret de la dernière on Friday, September 1st.

Duchess Says

Montreal's Duchess Says are FME veterans, having played the event on at least three prior occasions. Founded in 2003, the four-piece plays what I've seen kicked around as kraut-punk, synth-punk, or moog-rock. Any and all of those labels could be attached to the band's sprawling third full-length, Sciences Nouvelles, which was released in late 2016 on Slovenly and Bonsound. At this year's festival, Duchess Says cap off the opening night with a show at the Petit Théâtre du Vieux Noranda featuring Parisian dance-punk act Slosh and Montreal prog quintet Atsuko Chiba also on the bill.

Bloodshot Bill

Montreal's rockabilly champion Bloodshot Bill is a force of nature, so it's fitting that he's playing two shows at FME this year, late night sets on both Saturday and Sunday evening at Au Diable Rond. Bill takes the sound and style of the 50s and plays them with abandon, bringing forth the stomping, sweaty, aggressive side of that staple sound that gets lost in old recordings. He's supporting his recent Norton Records full-length *Guitar Boy* at FME this year with his band the Hick-ups at his side.


One of the pleasures of delving into FME for me is uncovering how many awesome rock bands the Quebec music scene's produced that we don't hear much about in the English-language press. Take Montreal's Fuudge. The band's recent Lazy At Work released EP Man! flips gleefully between lovely 60s psychedelia and huge, crunchy stoner metal riffs. On a track like the album-opening "Satan" that happens within a single song. Fuudge will play the Cabaret de la dernière chance at FME on Thursday evening.


La Sarre, Quebec's hard rock band Lubik are supporting their sophomore album VIVANt with thier FME appearance. Their debut, Jusqu'au boutte, picked up a number of Album of the Year accolades in their home province. Think big, crowd-pleasing riffs and some stoner-rock tendencies. At FME they'll play alongside Les Dales Hawerchuk and The Decline ! at Petit Théâtre du Vieux Noranda.

Blood and Glass

Montreal's Blood and Glass is an electro-pop duo featuring Little Scream's Lisa Moore and the Barr Brothers Morgan Moore. The group released the theatrical Punk Shadows LP earlier this year on Simone Records and just recently put out a video for the album track "Hop The Fence," directed by Kaveh Nabation with choreography by Axelle Munezero. At FME Blood & Glass will play Saturday night in the basement of the Petit Théâtre du Vieux Noranda.

Zen Bamboo

Zen Bamboo is a four-piece rock band from Saint-Lambert, Quebec. They're currently in the midst of releasing their first full-length, split into four parts to be released throughout 2017. The project, which was produced and engineered by Malajube's Thomas Augustin, will see its second installment arrive at FME. They'll perform at the Petit Théâtre du Vieux Noranda on Friday evening with Montreal psyche-rock act Elephant Stone and Brooklyn's A Place to Bury Strangers.

The Decline !

We spoke to this French punk band last week about their first foray into North America with FME. Founded in Rennes, France in 2009, the quintet plays classic working class punk rock in the vein of The Clash, Social Distortion, or Bad Religion. The group released Heroes On Empty Streets this past May and recently played before massive crowds at Hellfest in Europe. At FME they'll play Saturday night at the Petit Théâtre du Vieux Noranda with Lubik and Les Dales.

A Tribe Called Red

They're quite likely going to walk away with the Polaris Music Prize this year, and that's just the latest in years of buzz and accolades the Canadian music world's thrown to the aboriginal producer / DJ trio A Tribe Called Red. The group is supporting their recent full length We Are The Halluci Nation, which is political, danceable, propulsive and completely compelling throughout. The band mixes traditional pow-wow with modern dancehall, dubstep, and hip hop sounds, a combination that's remarkably cohesive and natural. They've worked with a range of big name guest vocalists, from Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq, to Iraqi MC Yassin Alsalman, to Saul Williams, and Yasiin Bey (Mos Def). At FME they'll headline the opening night of the fest at Scène extérieure Desjardins.

It It Anita

This visiting noise-rock act from Liège, Belgium draws on some major 90s influences, from Fugazi to Sonic Youth to Steve Albini's sonic repertoire. They're certainly a parallel to what bands like METZ have been doing in Toronto in recent years. The group is supporting their second full length, Agaaiin, which was released late last year. At FME they'll play late Saturday night at Cabaret de la dernière chance.


This Brooklyn collective's instrumental output's been called psyche-jazz and sax-punk, but whatever you label you choose it's challenging avant-garde stuff. Behind all that complexity there's always a beat, something propulsive to keep anchor the instrumental storm raging above. Sunwatchers appear at FME as part of a partnership with Montreal's In collaboration with Montreal’s Distortion Psych Fest. Their latest self-titled album was released in 2016 on John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees' Castle Face label.

Les Dales Hawerchuk

Montreal's Les Dales Hawerchuk, outside of being a fun, muscular punk rock group, have the among the best band names ever. The four-piece is supporting their recent full length, Désavantage numérique, which was released this past November. At FME the hockey-themed band will play Saturday night at the Petit Théâtre du Vieux Noranda in a show with Lubik and The Decline !.


This story is part of a reporting partnership between and Some Party, a Canadian punk & garage music newsletter.