The dust has settled on another M For Montreal. Besides slight fatigue, a healthy stash of exotic chocolate and several live reviews, what we’re left with are some serious crushes on great new bands. The following five Canadian acts stood out from the pack for one simple reason: good music. Here are our picks for the 5 Best Bands of M For Montreal 2012.

  • 5


    That Suuns aren't bigger by now is perplexing. This Montreal quartet specializes in Krautrock-inspired minimalist electronic grooves with ominous, shadowy undertones. ‘Edie’s Dream,’ the lead single from the band’s forthcoming album ‘Images Du Futur’ (due out March 5), suggests a drowsier Radiohead, as spacious riffs and moody atmosphere swirl restlessly underneath vocalist Ben Shemie’s dazed delivery.
  • 4


    Kestrels are very open about their influences: “the aesthetic of early ‘90s Creation Records” and “the ethics and energy of the first Merge Records releases.” Still, that doesn’t make the Halifax, Nova Scotia, trio any less thrilling. Churning clouds of noise give way to gloriously ramshackle indie rock that has the plucky, pogo-ing DIY heart of the ‘90s underground. Essential for Archers Of Loaf and Cloud Nothings fans.

    Cameron Brioux
  • 3

    Blue Hawaii

    You might know Blue Hawaii’s Raphaelle Standell-Preston from her time fronting the airy, electronic-focused pop act Braids. However, her other group is just as bewitching: As the name implies, Blue Hawaii make picturesque, dreamy music colored by lighter keyboards, delicate rhythms and touches of shoegaze. The Montreal band’s second album, 'Untogether,' is out Jan. 22.
  • 2

    Vulgar, you!

    Vulgar, you! aren't for the faint of heart. In the Montreal band’s world, abrasive guitars tussle with loopy, off-kilter keyboards and (somewhat) off-color lyrics. The result is a goth/synthpunk hybrid that’s aggressive, subversive, danceable and just right four our Best Bands of M For Montreal 2012 list.
  • 1

    Midnight Romeo

    Female-fronted synthrock acts never go out of style -- especially when they’re as infectious and confident as Quebec quintet Midnight Romeo. The band’s biting guitars and taut tempos pale in comparison to sparkling keyboards and singer Marie Bellerose’s strident vocals, a cross between the Sounds’ Maja Ivarsson and Pat Benatar. Dance the night away, indeed.

    Daniel Payette