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New Meetup: Of Montreal @ Music Hall of Williamsburg - SOLD OUT

From: Rachel
Sent on: Thursday, November 20, 2008 1:58 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for Indie/BritPop Fans United!!

What: Of Montreal @ Music Hall of Williamsburg - SOLD OUT

When: December 16,[masked]:00 PM

Where: Click the link below to find out!

Meetup Description: of Montreal
Tue 12/16
Doors 8pm / Show 9pm

of Montreal is many things. of Montreal is one of the stalwarts of the Athens, Georgia pop scene. of Montreal is the recording and performing project of one Mr. Kevin Barnes. And of Montreal is one of the many bands still in operation with a tie to the loose Elephant Six collective of the late '90s, a group of like-minded bands centered around that incredibly fertile Southern college town. of Montreal is not, however, predictable.

Recorded as a one-man operation in a tiny Norwegian bedroom and an attic in Athens GA, the latest of Montreal album, Hissing Fauna, swings from swaggering guitar to moody synths, from exultant sing-along to curious combinations of sounds. Lyrically, you've got boisterous pomp, maddening depression and decadent indulgence. Hissing Fauna is strange, unexpected, entrancing and rewarding. And if not for the tumultuous year that nearly tore Kevin Barnes apart, it never would have existed.

This Is Right Now
Hissing Fauna is the most personal of Montreal album to date, with Kevin, currently 32 years old, pouring tremendous amounts of emotion, heartbreak, frustration and elation into its twelve tracks. Written and recorded primarily during what he calls "an insane year," Hissing Fauna saw Kevin adopt a new writing style. It was an unabashedly autobiographical attempt from a songwriter whose early material tended towards characters and story-songs.

"All the songs and lyrics were written as I was going through this dark period, so it wasn't like I was writing them in retrospect," he says. "It was a different process, because in the past I'd write songs on acoustic guitar or piano and I'd have them for months and months before I recorded them. This was the first time I'd ever really recorded the songs as I was writing them." The album found its genesis in Kevin's time spent in Norway around the end of 2004, when his daughter Alabee was born. Kevin and his wife Nina had no health insurance and had decided to relocate temporarily to Nina's hometown of Oslo to take advantage of the health benefits the Norwegian government offers artists.

"I was living in Norway, with nothing really to do and no friends really," says Kevin, "it was a bit of a culture shock going through all that. I think that, because of the dramatic lifestyle change, I went through this really intense depression. It was something I'd never gone through before. It wasn't so much a physical thing but it was almost paralyzing. It was so strong. It hit me really, really hard. It was almost like being on strong drugs or something: really upsetting and confusing. It was such a crazy experience, all these anxiety attacks and paranoia and obsessive-compulsiveness, all this bad shit I was going through. It was really difficult to navigate through and even keep my head above water. And that was just the beginning."

"It's interesting," he says, "because the first half of the record is very poppy. That's the thing, I was trying to make music to help myself get out of this dark period, so instead of writing dark and melancholy stuff, which I knew wouldn't help me at all, I tried to sort of uplift my life with sound."

A bad case of culture shock would've been enough, but Kevin's environmental problems were only the beginning. The new family moved back to the insular world of Athens, Georgia in early 2005, and the stress that came from trying to balance the two worlds of family and art, not having a house of their own and an impending national tour that would take Kevin away from his new wife and daughter split the family up. "They went back to Oslo," says Kevin, "and I went through this hedonistic period of heavy drinking. I could see that this was an empty pursuit, there's no fulfillment in that lifestyle, but I was just trying to forget it all." But not all of 2005 was bad. After several darker months, Kevin and Nina repaired their relationship and the family was reunited. From then on, things start to look up.

More than anything else, Kevin says that, had his life gone differently over the past year, Hissing Fauna would've taken a totally different shape, and that the album's development and identity is intimately related to his own. "It was a totally organic thing. I needed to do it," he says. "And I wasn't even really thinking of making a record or putting it together like you do... sequencing the songs and that sort of thing. I was making music to save myself. I needed something to focus on that was positive, and music's always been that way for me."

At the time, Satanic Panic In The Attic was of Montreal's most successful album. And after it came Sunlandic Twins, of Montreal's most successful album to date (again).

But before this success, of Montreal spent almost ten years in what Kevin calls the "indie ghetto," garnering slight attention but often dismissed as a second-tier '60s-obsessed Elephant Six band.

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