Michael Mooney  +Cheval Fou

Alt Rock / Singer-Songwriter

"The shock never really wears off", says Michael Mooney, unshaven and bundled against the winter's first minus 20 morning. "Each year I'm fucking flabbergasted."

It's the singer-songwriter's third winter in Montreal, and slowly but surely, this native of Jamberoo, Australia, (population 935), is adjusting. In 2008, Mooney met his wife to be, Anne, and decided to follow her here. And so he landed, at first plying his trade in the service of music for advertising, but all the while amassing a bundle of songs and connecting with like-minded collaborators to form the collective that has become the Mooney band.

There is definitely a sense of transformation and turmoil in the songs on Mooney's debut EP, Machine Made Hand, the inner workings of a human being finding his footing and confronting demons in a strange, new, cold place. And Mooney admits it -- "the next record won't be nearly as freaked out and miserable, I promise"

There is brutal honesty too, delivered with a dramatic showmanship that almost makes fun of itself. And in the sound, a marriage of rusty, folky instrumentation to dense electronic trickery. It's vulnerable and tough, obscure and direct --like the man himself, a little hard to read -- there's a wisecrack hiding behind the sensitive singer-songwriter mask.

Stoner, Garage, Punk

Trois maillons faibles qui s'tiennent ben serrés.

I was thinking the garage rock scene needed a new dose of energy, but I never expected it to come from Montreal. However, after hearing Cheval Fou’s new LP, Brutal Bisou, I stand corrected. I now bow before these fuzz-blasting bearers of basement rock from North of the border. Along with the typical grungy nuggets of scuzz you expect from this genre, Cheval Fou add their unique Quebecois touch; think a French-Canadian version of the Pogues. The band’s distinct regional identity rings clearly through the waves of distortion. If you’re a fan of 60s-style psych punk, I highly recommend adding Brutal Bisou to your playlist.