New Fries Casa Del Popolo, Montreal QC, November 18

New Fries Casa Del Popolo, Montreal QC, November 18
Photo: Luke Orlando
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New Fries are a rarity, a pleasant surprise; when you're watching them, it can feel like other bands have just been going through the motions of what it means to perform music. Even the small details are special: the way Anni Spadafora jerks her forearm upwards on her guitar instead of down; the way the drummer decorates and punctuates, rather than guides, the songs.

Spadafora's voice is more instrumental than is typically found in rock bands; her lyrics feel informed by Dadaism, the squeals and grunts emphasized by reverb-laden delay. It's organized chaos at its finest; just when it feels like maybe a song's gone off the rails, the band quickly tighten up and burst through another rhythmic spasm together, stopping and starting on a dime. Lost amidst the mayhem of their set, it's easy to miss just how good the band are together, how unified.

At times during their Casa del Popolo show, Spadafora pounded her chest along to the din, a woman possessed; at others, as during "Mary Poppins Pockets," she grunted into the mic as a synth wheezed in the background. She had barely finished thanking the crowd for coming and mentioning that they had records for sale when her speaking voice drawled and slurred seamlessly into the ensuing song.

Intensely challenging yet utterly captivating, New Fries might never attract large club audiences, but in the underground, they're already quickly and deservedly becoming legends.