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POP Montreal: 8 Artists You Need To See

Featuring Tortoise, The Linda Lindas, Sister Nancy, and more — the iconic music festival returns to Montreal's Mile End.

by Dave MacIntyre

Since 2002, POP Montreal has made a name for itself as a quality discovery music festival, showcasing some of the best emerging local and international talent in one of North America’s most vibrant cities. From September 28 to October 2 they’re doing it again, and we are still trying to wrap our heads around this year’s programming.

Taking place in multiple venues throughout Montreal’s Plateau/Mile End area, music fans can expect five days of great music, art, talks with industry figures, and film screenings, among other activities. Considering its robust schedule, we wanted to highlight a handful of artists who we think are especially worth seeing if you’re lucky enough to be in La Belle Province (no, not the poutine restaurant) the festival.

Here are eight artists we suggest you make a point of checking out at this year’s edition of POP Montreal.


Perhaps the band we’re personally most excited for (full disclosure: RANGE will be presenting this show!), Chicago post-rock pioneers Tortoise are taking their expansive, genre-bending live show to POP Montreal with a show on October 1 at the Rialto Theatre. Their enigmatic, highly experimental discography is also best enjoyed in dark, indoor spaces, so fans going to this show are in for a treat. | TICKETS & INFO


Allison Russell

The highest local artist on this year’s POP lineup, Allison Russell has turned her personal trauma into triumph. This folksy Montrealer is a three-time Grammy nominee whose debut LP, 2021’s Outside Child, enjoyed widespread critical acclaim, and was followed by her debut at the Grand Ole Opry a week after its release. She’ll help open this year’s edition of POP in style when she performs at the Rialto Theatre on September 28. | TICKETS & INFO


The Linda Lindas

If you’re someone who discovers new artists via YouTube, you’ve probably heard the Linda Lindas’ name before—that is, if you haven’t seen their epic viral performance of “Racist, Sexist Boy” in a library. The young, all-female Epitaph signees are far more than an Internet sensation, however. Their tunes are full of panache, attitude, and substance beyond their years, and fans of the Pixies and Bikini Kill will want to hit up their Rialto Theatre show on September 29 to see these 11 to 17-year-olds shred. | TICKETS & INFO


Tess Roby

Delicately blurring the boundaries between dream pop, folk and synthy electronic music, Tess Roby is one of Montreal’s most unique locally-based artists. Riding off the release earlier this year of her sophomore LP, Ideas of Space, her tunes are just as hypnotic and ethereal live as they are on wax. Not only will Roby be performing September 30 at POP’s super cool outdoor space, L’Entrepôt77, she’ll also be participating in two POP Symposium talks at the Rialto Hall earlier that day. | TICKETS & INFO


Jonathan Personne

Known also as the frontman of Montreal four-piece/Sub Pop signees Corridor, Jonathan Robert is also a captivating solo artist under the moniker Jonathan Personne (French for “nobody”). His most recent self-titled album sees him eschewing the lo-fi aesthetic of his previous material for something more lush and polished, while also not compromising his kaleidoscopic musical essence. Catch him September 28 at the Fairmount Theatre for his album launch show. | TICKETS & INFO


Sister Nancy

Even if you’ve never heard her name before, you’ve definitely heard her voice. This Jamaican singer/DJ is a trailblazer both for the dancehall genre and for women in those circles, and her signature tune “Bam Bam” has been sampled or interpolated by Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Lauryn Hill among others. POP-goers will want to stay up late see this legend take the stage in a very intimate space at the Piccolo Rialto (basement of the Rialto Theatre) at 11:30 p.m. on October 1. | TICKETS & INFO



Pronounced “si-mahn-day,” this British funk collective have been enjoying a second wind of recognition, as their tunes have been sampled by rappers as high-profile as the Fugees, the Wu-Tang Clan, Gang Starr and De La Soul, despite having initially broken up in the mid-70s. Mixing funk with genres as varied as reggae, jazz fusion and calypso, this seminal group will help ring in the festival by taking the stage outdoors at L’Entrepôt77 on September 28. | TICKETS & INFO


Sophia Bel

Are pop-punk and emo back in style after their heyday during the aughts? This would depend on who you talk to (and of which generation), but the Michigan-born Québécoise Sophia Bel has certainly latched onto the movement. Her debut LP Anxious Avoidant, released back in April, fully dives in on these and other styles such as trip hop, folk, and even country. Fittingly, she’ll be opening for fellow young female punks the Linda Lindas at this year’s festival on September 29 at the Rialto. | TICKETS & INFO