Wednesday, April 24th
7pm doors / 8pm show
$12 advance / $15 Day of Show
+$3 at the door if under 21
Chad Ubovich, a longtime fixture on the California garage punk and new psychedelic scenes, moved from Ty Segall protege and sideman to bandleader with Meatbodies, whose guitar-heavy sound is as hard-hitting as the best punk while also brimming with bent, pop-friendly melodies. 2017's Alice is an underrated concept album that vaulted Ubovich into the same realm as his mentor, and 2021's 333 expands the group's reach into new sonic realms while retaining all the punky punch of earlier works.
It was at this point that Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom began to take shape—a project built by a man searching for new beginnings and his own sense of self. After sobering up, writing sessions began at Ubovich’s home and various studios with longtime collaborator Dylan Fujioka. Eventually, the official production for Flora began in 2019, but it was a story left on the editing table. Due to discrepancies with the studio, tensions were high and the plug was pulled. Left with an album only half baked, it seemed like Flora had been put to rest. After the fires cooled and many discussions about the future of the album. Ubovich finally got the green light to finish production for Flora in 2020 when he hit another snag– the pandemic. And as the world took a back seat, so did the idea of Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom.
Not wanting to sit still at home, Ubovich began to comb through his previous demos with Fujioka while writing for Flora. And with that, 333 was born, the now de facto third Meatbodies LP. Yet Flora was never far from Ubovich’s mind and once again he revisited the idea of completing the now fabled album. As restrictions started to lift, Ubovich headed to Gold Diggers Sound, backed by engineer Ed McEntee and a team of colleagues and friends, Ubovich completed the final act to the album, but he still wasn’t quite out of the woods just yet. He now faced a new crisis, one that proved to be more terrifying than any before: his home that he had spent the last 8 years in had been deemed uninhabitable and he wound up in a hospital bed where he spent the next month of his life.
Having to not only learn to walk again but also learn to play again, Ubovich used an upcoming tour with his band FUZZ as a motivating factor and hit the road for a year trying to regain a sense of normalcy. By the time Ubovich returned from tour he was centered and energized, ready to conquer his white whale– the borderline lost album. The mission was finally a success. Armed with a new home and a new studio - The Secret Garden, Ubovich mixed the album himself, looped in Brian Lucey at Magic Garden to handle mastering, and Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom was completed, five years after those fateful demos with Fujioka. “A lot happened with this record- It took me five years, I was out of a band, I had a drug problem, the album almost didn’t happen, the pandemic made it almost not happen again, and then in the end I almost died in the hospital, lost my house, and had to learn to walk again. It’s been quite a road, but I could not be more thrilled with the final output. I guess the juice was worth the squeeze?” laughs the Meatbodies frontman.
And so here we are, with Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom, an album completed by an ironclad will and steely determination. It’s also Meatbodies’ most ambitious, varied, and realized record to date—and possibly their finest hour. A massive step forward, both by conventional standards and considering its tumultuous path toward completion, the album is finally set for release on March 8, 2024 via In the Red Records. The LP recalls the searing Blue Cheer-meets-Iggy Pop-with-psychedelia that permeated previous releases, but adds new elements of shoegaze, classic alternative, Britpop, drone, and hints of country—blazing trails without ever sounding forced or alien. Simultaneously an ode to ’80s Los Angeles punk and the rise of indie/alternative music in the U.K., Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom plays like a radio station broadcasting from the void, with a cosmic playlist of early Pink Floyd, Ramones, Roky Erickson, Kinks, and Spacemen 3. And while those names may seem outwardly disparate, Ubovich crafts a distinctively Meatbodies arc among the songs, creating an eclectic and unmistakably cohesive piece of work in total. It all adds up to an effort that shows strength in its diversity, which is only secondary to its impeccable songwriting.
Besides the obvious themes of redemption, reinvention and resurrection that not only accompany the record, but its production as well, Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom examines themes surrounding love and loss, escapism, defeatism, hedonism, psychedelics and much more. “The last record was more of a cartoon version of who we were– simple and fun without delving into heavy concepts,” recalls Ubovich. "The whole thing before with Meatbodies was never sit down, next part, next part, but I wanted to make something with more depth. After everything that had happened, and my personal life, I was left with this feeling of emptiness and loss. So I wanted to make music that was absent from things– songs that were more about conveying feeling.”
Population II is a band dedicated to its disengagement, constantly working on refining their imposing, yet unpretentious sound. A trio consisting of singer/drummer Pierre-Luc Gratton, guitarist/keyboardist Tristan Lacombe and bassist Sébastien Provençal, Population II are masters at both improvised madness and sophisticated composition, delivering heavy psychedelic rock infused with feverish funk rhythms, a hint of jazz philosophy, a burst of energy reminiscent of punk's early days, and a love of minor scales that harkens back to the roots of heavy metal. The band's uniqueness is reinforced by Pierre-Luc's unique voice and his introspective, nostalgic and offbeat lyrics.
Their sources of inspiration are diverse and not limited to music: the Detroit garage rock and psychedelic funk scenes of the late 60s, the Canterbury scene of the same period, the German experimental rock of the 70s and Miles Davis’ eclectic era collide, bound together by the swampy decor of Pointe-Calumet and, above all, by the deep friendship and undeniable chemistry emerging from its three members. The band has always kept their distance from the Montreal music scene, preferring to develop their idiosyncratic style on their own. The result is a sound that transcends time, immune to the trends that dominate the current indie landscape. Population II thus imposes themselves as an unfathomable entity emerging from the depths of the swamp, characterized as much by hazy ambiences as by cathartic explosions.
The roots of Population II go back a long way, and are inextricably linked to its members’ teenage memories. After years of jamming to the point of developing a sense of telepathy, the trio began recording a handful of independent releases that soon caught the attention of John Dwyer, leader of the American rock band Osees, and the man behind the independent label Castle Face Records. Thus was born À la Ô Terre, their first label-released album, which came out in 2020. The band spent the next two years playing shows in Canada and the United States, notably performing at SXSW (Austin, Texas) and Pop Montreal, as well as in Toronto, New York and Quebec City.
Population II returns in October 2023 with Électrons libres du québec, their sophomore album, this time released on Bonsound. A little more straightforward than its predecessor, this new record reflects a natural progression of the sound the trio established on their previous releases, showing a sharp sense of songcraft and an undeniable expertise of their instruments.