My top 7 picks for M for Montreal – because 7 is lucky and so is the music scene here

1. Louis-Jean Cormier, Nov. 19th, Club Soda, Metro Stage, 10PM – I was skeptical when I checked out the Franco artist’s website, a kitschy Pinterest-esque platform that checks every indie-artisan box: polka dot shirts, hand-painted raindrops and paper heart cutouts thrown like cute confetti. But when I went wading through the promotional detritus to that which matters most, the tunes, I was rewarded.

Upon the first strains of Si tu reviens (or If you Come Back), I felt like dancing through my living room in dying winter afternoon light. Cormier’s pure voice and lilting, wistful waltzes call to mind early Sufjan Stevens and a poignancy that will be cool to check out live.

2. Heart Streets, Nov. 20th, Club Soda, Metro Stage, 10PM – Good hip hop should be like good wine. Full bodied, it should be smooth and sexy and warm you up from the inside. Honestly, I’m pretty picky with modern hip hop because it veers so easily into the cheesy, embarrassing and lazy these days, a repetitive twice-chewed cud. But Heart Streets takes hip hop to a transcendent level, sensual soaring electronica, almost dance music, but with MC styles that satisfy.

3. Nancy Pants, Le Ritz, Nov. 20th, 8:30 – You know when you hear the start of a song for the first time and you think, “Oh shit, this is the beginning of a beautiful obsession,”? I put on Mother Mary this afternoon and it was all over. Nancy Pants, you’ve got a new groupie. Come listen to lo-fi punky, dreamy guitar jams done right.

4. Foxtrott, PHI Centre, Nov. 20th, 9pm– Man, Grimes who? Foxtrott, aka Marie-Helene L. Delorme, is taking over the PHI Centre with beats, jams, grooves, wild soaring voice and sexy jams. If you’re skeptical of commercial hype, sold out shows and major label weirdness, then go check out Foxtrott, an unexpected wealth of electronic edge.

5. Corridor, La Sala Rossa, Nov. 20th, 9:30PM– If you are loving those warped guitar sounds, this is some pretty perfect quirk rock of strange proportions. Original jams from local musicians, Corridor is exceptional in all of its ambient art-rock radicality.

6. Dead Horse Beats, Newspeak, Nov. 21st, 10PM –These beats had me smiling from the second the sound got inside my ears. April 2014’s LP, Single People, is production at its finest quality. I listened to it all the way through, and then put it on again. I haven’t felt this relaxed about good beats since Dilla. Proud as fuck that Horse Beats hails from Scotia like my fine self, I’m even more glad that this stuff is coming out at all.

7. The Nils, Katacombs, Nov. 21st, 10PM – M for Montreal ain’t exclusively a young kids game, not at all. I love that people respect the punk bands that have showed all us newcomers how it’s done. The Nils are just true badass rocking punk. What more could you ask for?