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"Fist things first - Montreal’s Parlovr come out swinging"

“It’s gonna be a really good record,” insists Parlovr’s Alex Cooper. “I’m normally a very modest person, but it’s sounding great. We’re really excited.”

And so, apparently is Martin Horn, a producer at Digital Bird Studios who has recorded 14 of the band’s songs for less than a quarter of his usual fee. He fell for the distinct but complementary songwriting talents of Cooper and Louis Jackson, collaborators since late 2005, when they shacked up in a Parc-Ex loft called Parlour and promptly lifted its name (the V was added following an informal warning from a U.S. noise-rock band called Parlour).

They made strange bedfellows, however—not literally, as Jackson’s girlfriend lived in the loft too. Yet their relationship has all the trappings of a screwball bromance.

“We had mutual friends, and disliked each other from a distance,” Cooper explains. “He thought I was this little shit hipster kid, and conversely, I thought he was a loser. So we were at this record launch for the band Shamus, and he punched me in the face. I kind of laughed at it, and we talked very maudlin to each other for the rest of the evening. He eventually brought me over to his house and started playing me some Pixies-ish stuff that he was writing. I was completely taken.”

Cooper had been writing songs too, but wasn’t nearly as prolific as Jackson. After a few months of working on his material, Cooper presented a recording to his skeptical buddy, who was “awkwardly surprised.”

“At the time, both of us were going through a really bad period in our lives, and we both wanted to live somewhere new, so we decided to move in with each other.”

“It’s quite strange,” he adds. “We still fight to this day, so much.” Last week’s Mirror cover apparently prompted a debate over electro-pop starlet supremacy (Robyn vs. Annie) that had them “at each other’s throats.” Luckily, they have a cool-headed moderator in Jeremy MacCuish, a drummer who coincidentally defected from Shamus to join Parlovr last year.

Together, the trio (all 26 years old) emit a sound under a constellation of orchestral pop, punk and dark dance music, a style they call “heavy-hearted sloppy pop.”

“I don’t know what our influences are,” says Cooper, “but we’ve all recently re-fallen in love with the ’90s. It’s been a lot of listening to Nevermind again, listening to the bad stuff and the good stuff that we remember from that period, when weird guitar bands were all over the radio. Why can’t that happen now?”

Cooper’s nostalgia for the “alternative” music that infiltrated the mainstream in the ’90s logically extends to the period’s more lucrative business end, at least somewhat. Parlovr are unsigned, and will likely release this record independently. But they strive to support themselves with their music, without breaking their backs with incessant touring. These days, that calls for pragmatic solutions that wouldn’t have flown in the strangely corporate/anti-corporate indie rock world of the ’90s.

“Let’s be realistic here. We all work shit jobs and there’s little money to be made in this industry, so if some car company wants to put our song in a commercial, I don’t think we’d hesitate. We’re not concerned with becoming rock stars, we just wanna be able to live off of what we’re doing.”

- Montreal Mirror - by Lorraine Carpenter

"PARLOVR / Instinct for Thrill"

You may not have heard of Parlovr before. Right now they are the definition of up-and-coming: all three members of the band are hardly in their mid-20s, they are brash, nervous and they shine with the hopeful excitement of a band breaking out of the studio for the first time.

Their new record released October 2nd is self-titled - and it's Parlovr pronounced "parlour" - and contains eleven very catchy indie rock songs, or what they prefer to call aptly "sloppy pop." There is a whiff of many bands in Parlovr: a tinge of Interpol, other songs have cacophony that verges on Animal Collective and sometimes it's The Clash. But that's not really being fair. Parlovr have an indeterminable flair - in the Brat Pack voice of Louis Jackson, the loopy keys of Alex Cooper (of Mixylodian) and the chunky smashes of Jeremy MacCuish's drumming.

We spoke over big bottles of beer on Avenue du Parc's Idée Fixe, first about why they went against the grain and stuck to a small band of three. As Alex explains of bands in Montreal; "You go and see a show now and you see seven or eight people on stage and half the band isn't doing anything half the time... there are so many clever ways they could get the same big sounds without having people stand on stage for no reason." Jeremy adds that the band was after a pop aesthetic, focused heavily on catchy songwriting: "Bands don't need to actually write songs if they can just have a gigantic build-up with a million instruments - and we like songs." Louis unapologetically reflects that "we didn't want another fucking head."

As far as lyrics go, Alex describes them as "pretty non-sensical - we're not storytellers" and Louis adds "nor evening tellers." Parlovr's strength comes through in the music, where Alex and Louis share the songwriting equally. In 2005, when they started writing together they were living in a loft shared with friends, called The Parlour (which became the band's namesake). Alex recalls: "It started out with a kind of strange dynamic, Louis tended to write these really catchy, edgy songs and I, writing songs that Louis would laugh at." But around 2007 the band really started to get off the ground. As Louis remembers: "We had so many discussions, with both of us saying ‘well, you can't do this,' and then we realized we couldn't write anymore because we had so many rules so we both said ‘fuck it let's just write' and everything made more sense." Jeremy sees it a little differently. "If you write with someone every day though, and talk about music with them every day, even if you're listening to different stuff with different values, eventually it's going to get somewhat cohesive - when I play with them I hear more in common with them than not. They probably don't even realize it because they have played together for so long."

When Alex and Louis brought their songs to producer Martin Horn they had what they describe as "pop songs." Their experience in the recording studio this past year resulted in what Jeremy calls a "looser and experimental vibe." As Jeremy continues to explain; "We already had put together pop songs and (Horn) encouraged us to go a bit crazy with what we put on top of them." Indeed this looseness is really one of the most appealing aspects of Parlovr's sound - hooks are spread out over the album in ways that are unexpected, unclean and sound human-made. Put
another way, they don't sound like robot indie Ken dolls.

Parlovr tour through the Maritimes this October, making stops in and around Montreal during the Pop Montreal festival. - Nightlife Magazine - Laura Glowacki

"Parlovr - Parlovr (Independent)"

From the very first track, this self-titled debut from Montreal’s Parlovr (pronounced parlour), is an intoxicating
splendour of great pop writing and charming rough edges. This album is just so much fun to listen to; if not for the superb songwriting, then for the musical
paraphrases that sample from an impressively wide range of other rock bands. The subtly-atonal In Your House calls to mind Sonic Youth, then on Archy and Mehitabel there are aspects of PDA by Interpol, and there’s something very Pavement about On the Phone. This is a record for music fans who adore the sheer possibility in the rock genre. Each song has a different personality; it is very likely that all your friends would have a different favourite song – possibly one of the greatest (and rarest) feats for a rock album. (LG) 4.5/5 - Nightlife Magazine

"Parlovr - self-titled (independent)"

This local trio of self-professed “sloppy” rockers carve out a kind of pop art brut, a beautiful mess of raw (but never ridiculous) emotion and rough (but never unintelligible) textures, with bold, tender melodies standing tall from end to end. Despite the absence of an orchestra, choir and mid-Atlantic stylings, Parlovr have what some would identify as “the Montreal sound,” and not merely because of the occasional Win Butler-ish vocal fissure. It’s their manic enthusiasm, their heavy hands and hearts, their way with a tune, and the semblance, at least, of a kitchen-sink approach (abetted by producer Martin Horn) that makes this record resonate with echoes of homegrown indie rock, for better more than worse . 8/10 Trial Track: “Sever My Ties” (Lorraine Carpenter) - Montreal Mirror

"PARLOVR (independent)"

Montreal trio Parlovr are out to prove that rock bands from their hometown don’t have to have a bajillion members and orchestral instruments to produce an epic and memorable sound.

Inspired by the best of 90s shoegazer and 80s angular post-punk, Parlovr have crafted a memorable debut of indie rock tunes that cherry-picks the best elements from multiple rock genres and synthesizes them into a package that sports clear pop sensibilities. While the vocals need a little work (which may or may not explain why they’re sometimes low in the mix), these dudes have a bright future ahead. - NOW Magazine

"Parlovr tricks - indie kiddos fight for their right to party"

Montreal trio Parlovr (pronounced “parlour” or “par-lover” – they don’t care which) are purveyors of rough-and-tumble, hook-riddled indie rock. Now a tight-knit unit, the band’s principal songsmiths, Louis Jackson and Alex Cooper, started off on the wrong foot.

“We were acquaintances through some mutual friends, but there was this antagonism between us that erupted on a drunken evening,” remembers Cooper.

“We got into a heated argument at a show, and Louis just socked me in the face. It was one of those really awkward fights, like when you’re a kid and you start crying and then you end up hugging each other.”

After the tussle, Jackson and Cooper soon became allies. “Out of this weird animosity we made a very dangerous decision – we decided to live together.”

Shacking up in a commercial loft space, the duo became fast friends and started collaborating musically. With the addition of drummer Jeremy MacCuish, Parlovr recorded their recently released self-titled debut – a surprisingly well-crafted lo-fi blast of synth-infused guitar rock for such a young band.

Still chuckling about getting slugged, Cooper says his healthy sense of humour extends to the band’s core. “We retain a sense of sarcasm, irony and fun that sets us apart from more serious rock bands.” - NOW Magazine

"Sleight of band"

Parlovr's parlour tricks create more than just the illusion of bigness

That little band with the big pop sound, larger than the lives of their drums, keyboard and guitar, is Montreal trio Parlovr. Formed in 2006, they quickly shot to the top of many locals' pick lists, an animated live show spiked by huge choruses and a fully-realized first record released last year on their own.
"When we first started playing we didn't have a huge sound," says keys man Alex Cooper. "A lot of local musicians were saying to us, 'You guys can't do this, you need another member in the band.' We effed this advice and modified a guitar in such a way as to make it double as a bass and regular guitar, giving it an immensely doubled sound.

"Our producer, Martin Horn, also helped to make us sound bigger on record. And live, there's this sleight of hand thing going on where we start losing ourselves and yelling with Jeremy [MacCuish] getting off of his stool and banging on his kit. I think a lot of chaos with a little melody floating over the dust cloud will always look and sound big to me."

Rounded out by guitarist Louis Jackson, the band were awarded a 2009 MiMi, are working on new material for record number two ("Some of it is sounding like kooky, twisted '50s R&B," mentions Cooper), have just released their first music video, are finalizing a cross-Canada tour for July, and have scored a luscious slot at this year's Osheaga music festival. Not bad for an unsigned

But how do they keep it together down on the indie rung of the biz? "Equal pay, equal say," says Cooper. "Be democratic, if that weird term can be rightly applied to musicians. Never make any decisions without consensus. And make sure that things are as collaborative as possible."

w/ Ladyhawk
At Divan Orange (4234 St-Laurent), April 25
- Hour Magazine


PARLOVR - PARLOVR (self-titled) LP



PARLOVR is one of Montreal's most talked-about unsigned bands.

Formed in a Mile-End loft in the winter of 2006 by Louis David Jackson and Alex Cooper, the two opposing songwriters eventually called up Jeremy MacCuish to the drums in 2007, tightening the band's sound.

The music has been described as "pop art brut" with "charming rough edges" and is striking for its catchiness and manic eclecticism. It is a whirl of Jackson and Cooper's wildly different songwriting styles, pop and mayhem, guitars and keyboards, screams and falsettos, all punctuated with driving, quirky beats.

Their independently released self-titled, debut album (October, 2008) was recorded and produced by Martin Horn at Digital Bird Studios and has received considerable critical praise (see press section), adding to the notoriety they have earned for their intensely energetic live shows.

PARLOVR has toured and played extensively in Quebec, Ontario and Eastern Canada and have shared the stage with the likes of Ladyhawk, Sebastian Grainger, Duchess Says, Winter Gloves, Most Serene Republic, Duchess Says and the D'Urbervilles.

They were recently awarded with a MIMI Award (Montreal International Music Initiative) for best band at the beginning of its career.

They have also already begun work on new material, which they hope to put to tape sometime in the summer of 2009.