Sunday, March 06, 2011

Expwy - Dance Maul

Written while bumming around New York, sleeping on couches and with Luc Sante's Low Life, Burroughs and Wallace's Gotham, Herbert Asbury's The Gangs of New York and All Around the Town and his guitar as his only possessions Matt LeGroulx returned to Montreal to record this latest Expwy album. Coming less than a year after the debut this new one takes a completely different tack. Drum kits replace drum machines and guitars and mandolins replace synthesizers. Guitar solos abound and what guitar solos they are! In LeGroulx we have a new kind of guitar hero. While still classic rock in flavour they show am emotional connection and flair for improvisation closer to John Coltrane than Eric Clapton. And the guitars pop up everywhere, acoustic, electric, harmonized, in oddly rhythmed unison. Had this record been made in 1973 it would be today on people's short lists of the greatest unheralded rock albums of all time along the lines of Shuggie Otis's Inspiraion Information.

Highly recommended.

-Lawrence DuBois (Montreal Mirroir)

1. NYC To Thee, Wake Unto Me (Mermaids)
2. Armory Hall
3. Park Row
4. Maiden Lane
5. The Bloody Angle
6. On The Boat
7. Round and Round and Round
8. A Fatality About Shops?
9. Bridegrooms at Giants (A Perfect Enigma)
10. The Sidewalks of New York


Montreal Brazilian retro/lo-fi/electro group. Expwy is really a one-man-band project of Matt LeGroulx. The debut album Border Vacuums came out in 2010 followed by Dance Maul in early 2011.

Border Vacuums shows a strong Brazilian influence musically while lyrically it's on an urban planning theme with some of the lyrics taken directly from Jane Jacob's The Death and Life of Great American Cities. The album made a few end-of-year Best Album lists but remained under the radar.

Dance Maul was written while LeGroulx was living in New York for a year with no apartment. New York's history provided the lyrical content of the album. LeGroulx even claims to have been accosted by the ghost of Peter Stuyvesant near the former location of the old Director-General's peach tree in Manhattan. Musically the album is reminiscent of early-70's classic rock but with mild progressive elements.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Work (The Compositions of Thelonious Monk)

I set up a new blog for my Monk project. I'll be making videos for every Monk tune from A to W. Here 'tis:

You can also keep track with on Twitter:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

LeGroulx, Kesley, Grillot, Lobo - Redemption (Black Bowler)

1 - Kitchen Physic
2 - Kicksies

Chris Kelsey - Alto Saxophone
Francois Grillot - Bass
Joao Lobo - Drums
Matt LeGroulx - Guitar

Download here or here!

Considering the fact that none of us save Chris and Francois had even spoken to each other before this date came off pretty well. Besides hilighting my desperate need for a tuner it also shows off my inability to let go of a particular musical idea, obsessing over it like Steve Reich with O.C.D. Playing with musicians of this caliber was a total blast, and this recording hopefully won't be a personal monument to that one time I got to play with some free-jazz heavies. About those heavies,
Chris Kelsey, Francois Grillot and Joao Lobo played their asses off. Chris spewed fire and joy, Francois was alternately Godzilla stomping Tokyo and a live million-volt power line and Joao was constantly reacting to and kicking our asses. And at one point, I swear I looked over and the ghost of Ed Blackwell was playing Joao like a marionette. But I had had a couple of drinks and beer doesn't treat me well. On top of that my 8th place Montreal Canadiens were in the process of eliminating the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a fever dream if there ever was one. A great big thanks to Andrew Bergman from Troglodytes and Iced Ink for booking this show and a great big thanks to Chris, Francois and Joao for even entertaining the idea of playing with me. A quick word about the album and track titles, the album title, though super-ultra-corny is derived solely from the cover image, taken around the Brooklyn Navy Yards on a walk through Vinegar Hill. I suppose it also represents other stuff, the redemption of the Montreal Canadiens, etc. But really it's all about that image. The track titles are taken from The Rogues Lexicon in honour of the Lower East Side, the site of the performance. Kitchen Physic is food, plain and simple and Kicksies are trousers.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pay to Play

I'm broke. I'm also a musician and so to make ends meet I was going to try busking in the Metro for spare change. When I contacted the STM to see what procedure needed to be followed I was given the number of the the "Regroupement des Musiciens de Montréal," Montreal's buskers "union." Apparently formed to weed out non-musicians (which seems absolutely ludicrous as most people I've seen play in the Metro were truly awful shills) this organisation collects money from prospective Metro musicians, $20 for one month, $30 for two and $50 for three, and forces them to audition. I'm all for organized labour but in this case there is nothing to organize to protect against. The STM doesn't charge people fees to play so where is this money going? Well, I guess to pay the secretary, and other employees who I'm assuming since they have real jobs now are no longer busking. Nice racket but I won't be paying Dino's salary to make $3.45 in change. They'd also like to play down the fact that they're begging. I'm sorry, but providing an unwanted service and asking for money is begging, guys! According to the McGill Tribune:

"The current situation spreads the misconception that all buskers are beggars. After one of Dunlevy's performances, a man came up to him and offered him the remaining $1.80 on his Subway gift card, and came back a few minutes later with a couple shirts.

"I said 'Look, I really don't need charity. I've got clothes! This is just a way to make ends meet and to practice my art,'" he said.

Listen, buddy, if you don't need the money practice at home. And do you really think that your made-for-smooth-jazz-radio rendition of "Unchained Melody" is gonna' get you anything but beggar's pity change? I understand that you need to pretend that you're not begging so you can look your kid in the eye when you tuck him into bed at night without breaking down into a slobbering ball of shame and tears. I get it, it's embarrassing, it really is. So, I understand why you've formed the "Regroupement des Musiciens de Montréal." Now when you tuck little Tyler in instead of saying "Daddy needs to go sing and dance like a circus monkey so that strangers will fling pocket change indiscriminately at him so that we can have Kraft Dinner for supper tomorrow" you can say "Daddy needs to do some paperwork." I get it. I'm pissed but I get it. And you won't be getting my money, of which I have little. If only I could get a cushy secretary position at some nice non-profit organisation.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Solo Guitar #4 - Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)

Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away) by Deftones from their 1997 album Around the Fur. Contrast and compare!

All of my solo guitar videos can be seen on my YouTube page:

So far I've done:

One Red Rose That I Mean (Captain Beefheart)
New Sneakers (Deerhoof)
Overnight (Gonzalez)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Pirates! or Why Used Record Stores Are Evil (And File Sharers Are Not)

I'm moving. Now is a good time to dump some weight and lighten my load. I've so far sold my bike (which I can't ride due to exercise induced panic attacks), a projector screen and am in the process of selling off some of my cds and dvds. So, I went to the used record store, in this case Cheap Thrills here in Montreal to unburden myself and of course I got shafted. I knew I would be but I need the money and I need to lose the weight. I've also been thinking about and how they've been selling my music, music that I give out for free and it hit me like a ton of bricks; Millisong is basically a used record store, files downloaded for free or a fee and then sold again. Now, Cheap Thrills does the same thing except they sell actual products, physical objects that were the result of lots of hard work and money spent by the artist. The artist of course doesn't see any of this resale money and no one seems to care. Millisong sells ones and zeros that were easily copied and cost nothing to produce. So, is Millisong actually less evil than Cheap Thrills? I really think that that's the case. All that time that I've spent in used record stores, I realized, I've been the in the evil clutches of a monster! Granted, used record stores pay for the merchandise and websites like don't but I think that's more than offset by the the evilness of the resale. As for file sharers, they reap no reward from the "piratery" only the music they cherish. They are "sharers" not "pirates" and all they've "stolen" are 1's and 0's. so, who's the real pirate here? I say those vultures, the used music retailers, re-selling the carcasses of other people's work for their own personal gain and not the file sharers who gain nothing but music. The one thing saving Cheap Thrills form being completely evil is that they sell new music and, as they put it on their website "specialize in jazz, avant garde, experimental and blues" and they do stock copious amounts of local artists. For this they should be commended. But perhaps to make that a viable business model they have to sell the used stuff. The vulturing pays the bills, I suppose so I'll give them a pass. Not all used record stores have so noble a calling and on those I call pirates!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


The website Millisong is apparently selling my music without my consent here:


If you're a musician yourself check them out to make sure they're not ripping you off, too.