**WICKED LOCAL** Album Review: Revolutionaries – You Won’t

Revolutionaries starts off with a 30-second scratch of a track before leading into You Won’t’s signature twitchy, uncut sound; an underscoring, one could say, of the theme of the duo’s sophomore LP. The “false start” couldn’t be anything but a knowing nudge-and-wink from Josh Arnoudse and Raky Sastri, who took their sweet time creating and shaping this album over a two-and-a-half year period. Their debut release, Skeptic Goodbye, came out in 2012, and was a galloping romp through rough-cut and absurdist themes that proved the duo to be a homegrown delight. While Arnoudse and Sastri have been playing together for over a decade, it has only been in recent years that they decided to focus their respective talents and channel it into You Won’t. 

Arnoudse provides the vocals for You Won’t, and his voice alone contributes to the helter-skelter, homespun vibe of the band; it’s at times a mix between Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel and Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers. Sastri is, on his own, a high-functioning one-man band, covering a great number of diverse instruments (the electric bagpipe?!) with dexterity. He also contributes the background harmonies on certain tracks.

As sophomore albums go, this one doesn’t experience any kind of slump. The duo has managed to maintain their raw sound while also exploring darker, more interesting themes in Revolutionaries. The 15-track opus addresses the winding and bumpy road that leads into adulthood, rife with detours and hiccups and shifting ideas about the world; these heady matters are reflected in the maturation and exploration of the instrumentals. The featuring of electric bagpipe on certain tracks harkens back to the original “revolutionaries”, who fought during the Revolutionary War in the duo’s hometown of Lexington, Massachusetts. 

Revolutionaries opens with “Untitled 2,” despite there being an “Untitled 1″ later in the album. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and calling this a cheeky move on You Won’t’s part to reinforce the theme of organized chaos and awkward growing pains. “The Fuzz” dips into a 60’s rock vibe, spiked with Arnoudse’s unique lyrics. The track explodes halfway through into a miniature rock show, with galloping guitar riffs and crashing drums, before collapsing in on itself. “Invocation” begins with ethereal pipes, portraying a mechanical birdsong; this is then overlaid with tempestuous guitar strumming and Arnoudse’s floating vocals.

“Jesus Sings” is one of the more produced songs on the album, a full-bodied track replete with acoustic guitar harmonies and a strong drum line background. The lyrics are, as usual, quite interesting to listen to, and the electric bagpipe is again featured along with Sastri’s background accompanying vocals. The instrumentals cut out at the climax to highlight the acoustic guitar and vocals before being gradually added back in until the track swells with an organized cacophony of bagpipes, drums, and guitar. “Untitled 1″ follows seamlessly, carrying the lingering bagpipe and expanding the solo with crackling feedback and swirling chimes; the music creates a whirlpool effect, with random instruments being hit or clanged in the background.

“Douchey” is a rollicking song with plenty of drums and acoustic guitar, with electric guitar and what sounds like a cowbell added in after a short introduction. This track features interesting and somewhat autobiographical lyrics following the theme of personal growth and the winding road of maturation. Revolutionaries ends with the title track, starting with that mechanical birdsong before an accordion-esque instrument fades in with the lyrics. Arnoudse hammers home the overarching theme of the album by addressing suicide, recovering from hardships, and taking little pleasures from life despite the bumps along the way. The reduced background instrumentals lend a more somber, pensive tone to this final track.

Throughout Revolutionaries, You Won’t has captured all the insecurities that accompany a rise to moderate-level fame and the fallout after finishing a debut album, channeling them into a messy, driven, barely-held-together sound that expertly reflects the atmosphere of uncertainty and unabashed determination. They still play like they have nothing to lose, which is both an admirable and endearing quality, portraying the duo as a scrappy band of brigands just looking to spread the cheer of some rocking music and have a good time while doing it. 

Album released: April 29, 2016

review by Juliana Van Amsterdam 

Concert Review: Luc Ex Assemblée

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Luc Ex’s Assemblée is something of a super-group that pits together voices from all over the underground music community.  Hamid Drake serves as a powerful drummer with tendencies for heavy handed grooves, whereas Ingrid Laubrock and Ab Baars trade quirky, avant-garde saxophone melodies that encompass a wide array of extended techniques.  Lux Ex himself is a powerful bassist with stage presence and natural musicality to lead any group in the right direction.  The group’s Saturday night show at this year’s Suoni Per Il Popolo festival showcased a massive dynamic range making for surprising moments throughout each of the two sets. Continue reading

What’s up? Suoni Per Il Popolo

A huge shoutout to Suoni Per Il Popolo which has been taking over Montreal Sessions during the past few weeks!

Presented by the SALA (Société des Arts Libres et Actuels), Suoni Per Il Popolo is an annual event, and, this year, it has been taking place during the month of June. It follows a mandate committed to support avant-garde, experimental music and artists. Suoni Per Il Popolo builds a community open to variety and a wide range of musical forms and genres. It is a place to build connections, between artist and artist, artist and audience, audience member to audience member. It is a place to discover and to be exposed to new ways to appreciate music.

Suoni Per Il Popolo tries to build awareness and bring forth the new, the diverse, and the progressive, It features local artists (maintaining 50% Canadian content) as well as international artists. It holds the goal to show the relationship between music, sound and cinema and progressive social an political movements. It also hosted its free and open workshop series, Tools of the Trade, during the first week of June.

Events for Suoni Per Il Popolo are now drawing to a close. But, if you would like to get a taste of what Suoni Per Il Popolo is about, you still have one last chance! Feel free to check out their last event for this year’s program! This Sunday, June 25th, at 10h30pm, taking place at La sala rossa. The show will be featuring The Goods (Scott C & Andy William) and Dark Maat’r. Tickets are $15.

Wishing you all a nice rest of the month!

 

CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: June 21, 2016

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Greetings radio,
We survived another epic year of Suoni Per Il Popolo and now it’s back to the usual summer routine of park hangs, picnics, and bike rides. Suoni brought a lot of great folks into Montreal, including our dear friend (& former CKUT music coordinator) AJ Cornell to perform in an excellent duo with fellow CKUT music dept alum Tim Darcy — we were lucky enough to have them in for a live interview during last week’s Montreal Sessions, and it felt so good to have a mini reunion right there in the studio.
xo
joni

:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – june 21, 2016

1. jef elise barbara – sexe machin/sex machine – fixture records CC *
2. kaytranada – 99.9% – xl CC *
3. aj cornell & tim darcy – too significant to ignore – nna tapes CC *
4. anohni – hopelessness – secretly canadian
5. un blonde – good will come to you – egg paper factory CC * Continue reading

Oonga hosts If You Got Ears June 2016

If you haven’t heard already, Montreal DJ/producer Oonga (aka Eli Levinson) is hosting the June edition of If You Got Ears! A creator of house/techno dubstep and tropical-influenced music, he has been transporting CKUT’s listeners far beyond their musical expectations and around the world.

Since If You Got Ears is CKUT’s exploration of sonic delights, Oonga has been experimenting with the music he is playing during his residency. He taps into unique sounds of the world to “get out of the [world music] narrative” and challenges listeners’ expectations by blending international music with electronic ideas. On his most recent show (June 15th), he played a phenomenal selection of tropical bass and featured fellow artists including global bass producer Munchi and trans-national bass music (Borneo bass!) producer Jet Airess.

Tuning into Oonga’s show is a trip far beyond Montreal’s city limits to destinations such as Haiti (think voodoo drums), Turtle Island (pow wow music), and Indonesia (minimalistic gamelan), as well as a chance to explore electronic from its roots (i.e. Brazilian funk, Angolan kuduro, South African Gqom, etc.)

Join Oonga on his journeys every Wednesday in June (12-14h EST), or listen to past episodes in the CKUT archives! & Also check out  his mixcloud (which has mixes uploaded from his shows) and his soundcloud!

 

Concert Review: Tame Impala

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It must feel pretty empowering, knowing that a pluck of your guitar string causes a wave of light to sporadically spike across a giant projector screen, seamlessly putting thousands of spectators into a perpetual hypnotic daze.

That’s Kevin Parker’s job. The Tame Impala chief and his band pull you into a trance with their seemingly endless beats, and then suddenly burst into epic choruses that make you feel like you’ve just woken up from a dream. It’s like a psychedelic alarm clock, plus confetti.

Yes, confetti. So much confetti. Like millions of little pieces of paper. Everywhere. That’s how they started their show this Sunday at the Bell Centre, right at the climax of Let It Happen. Off of their newest album “Currents”, the song is 8 minutes of keys changing, dancy drums fading in and out, and synthy beeps synthily beeping. It’s a good intro to an album and also a rock concert.

They played hits from all three albums, with Parker introducing many of the songs, including Elephant. “Now’s when the real party starts”, he said, and the headbob-inducing guitar rhythm enveloped the stadium. “Get out your lighters for this one”, he told us before going into Yes I’m Changing. He even grabbed a lighter from one of the audience members and waved it along with the rest of the crowd. Cute.

The highlight of the night, though, was the light show (The confetti was a close second). It was captivating. It was psychedelic. It was reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s laser show. Blasts of intense colour and shapes flashing on the huge projector screen behind the band made it hard to look away.

Each song had a different arrangement. Alter Ego, which already sounds like Rainbow Road (Mario Kart), had what was like a multi-coloured version of the Millennium Falcon (Star Wars) jumping into light speed (theoretically impossible). It made me wonder if the inspiration for that song really was the Beatles ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ (asserted by random internet blogger).

Tame Impala used an oscilloscope for most of their set, which turned their instruments’ sound waves into images and projected them. At one point the band stopped playing, except for Parker, who slowly plucked what seemed like random notes on the guitar, and giant green contours flashed across the screen. It made for quite a mesmerizing few minutes.

And then BAM, they burst into It Is Not Meant To Be, and I realized I was awake again.

During the encore, the beat dropped on Feels Like We Only Go Backwards, and you guessed it: More confetti. So much more. It was too much. The confetti guns were in non-stop, blinding-everyone, where-did- they-get- all-this- confetti mode. Parker exclaimed that most of it was getting on the stage, and you could see the band shaking it out of their long hair and spitting it out of their mouths. It was hilarious. For me. Because I didn’t have confetti in my mouth. An oddly satisfying end to the night.

Review by Joey Pearson

99.9% – Kaytranada A Digested Album Review

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It’s been a month since Kaytranada’s first LP 99.9% came out and we’ve been listening to it non-stop. The hype for the album snowballed, especially in the DJ and producer’s hometown of Montreal, in anticipation for his homecoming concert that rocked the Metropolis on May 19th. And the attention around the album and Kaytranada doesn’t seem like it’s going away anytime soon. After a month of listening to the album, whether dancing to its infectious rhythms while washing the dishes, or sinking back into the sweaty bus seat with its textured synths in our headphones, we’re sure it’s going to be playing around the city all summer long, even long after Kay comes back for his set at the Osheaga mainstage in July. Continue reading

CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: June 14, 2016

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Hi friends,
I had a brain-melting Suoni weekend that involved serious physical vibrations from SunnO))) directly followed by an amazing afterparty featuring Marie Davidson, Croatian Amor, and others… Walking home as the sun came up, my guts still shaking from the deep waves of sound, it felt like a pretty good time to be alive in Montreal.
xo
joni

:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT:::
Our audio-bending residency program If You Got Ears is going global! Eli Levinson, aka Oonga, is a producer/DJ Montreal who creates house/techno dubstep and tropical music. He has worked with Vox Sambou, Alquimia Verbal and AraLune and with the Mundial Festival. During his If You Got Ears residency, he will be exploring different strains of cutting-edge music from around the world. As a producer who has traveled far & wide in search of interesting new sounds, and through his work at Mundial Montreal, Oonga has been exposed to a huge variety of really weird music, and – lucky you! – he wants to share with CKUT’s open-minded listeners. Expect an adventure deep into the esoteric funkalicious heartbeats of the world every Wednesday in June from noon till 2pm.

:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – june 14, 2016

1. un blonde – good will come to you – egg paper factory CC *
2. aj cornell & tim darcy – too significant to ignore – nna tapes CC *
3. jessy lanza – oh no – hyperdub CC
4. jef elise barbara – sexe machin/sex machine – fixture records CC *
5. anohni – hopelessness – secretly canadian Continue reading

Johnny Suck’s Concert Diary – May 2016

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I went to see some shows the past few weeks, here are my highly subjective thoughts & experiences from some of them:

Public Animal, Yardlets, Mountain Dust, Dead Ranch – Turbo Haus, May 14

This show didn’t seem that interesting until I heard this:  

It then became an absolute must. ‘The power of the riff compels me’ as they say. Dead Ranch was cool but Ian Blurton’s Public Animal stole the show. They were the perfect good time Saturday night rock’n’roll band.

Public Animal. Credit: Sandi M

Public Animal. Photo: Sandi M

It’s too bad the four-band bill only started at 10:30. The place was dead & deserted for Yardlets, who ended at 2:30am. Shows should pretty much always end with enough time for people to catch the last metro.

Chelsea Wolfe – Theatre Fairmont, May 16

Chelsea Wolfe. Photo: Sandi M

Chelsea Wolfe. Photo: Sandi M

Abyss is a pretty great album;  that Chelsea Wolfe came through Montreal a 2nd time since it’s release is lucky for anyone who hadn’t heard it in time for her show back in September (ie: me).

As hoped & expected, most of Abyss was played. And the crowd was super hot for it, pretty-much every song was cheered as soon as it started. The crowd’s energy was surprising given the chill gloominess of the music, but it served as a testament to how powerful the music actually is. The room was filled with a sense of personal connection and intimacy to what was being played, and so it came with the overwhelming appreciation to match.

For more in-depth coverage, check out Donovan’s reviews of the show and of Abyss. Continue reading

Album Review: The Strokes – Future Present Past

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Future Present Past is the first release by New York City garage rock band The Strokes in three years. Now their second EP (the first being their 2001 debut The Modern Age), it is a huge milestone for the band. Since 2011, The Strokes have been toeing the line of audience’s favour once they regrouped post-hiatus to release their fourth album Angles. This marked the start of The Strokes’ later period, a clear deviation from their raw, gritty, calculated garage rock that fans fell for (and held onto with a vengeance). Their fifth album, Comedown Machine (2013), was an even larger step away from their early sound (i.e. Is This It), and while many diehard fans continued to follow the band’s artistic journey, others wondered whether The Strokes had lost their touch. Continue reading