Turn Down the Suck Returns!



Metalheads rejoice: we are very excited to welcome CKUT’s Turn Down the Suck back to the airwaves for a brief summer reunion. It will be airing from July 21st up until August 25th at midnight on Mondays, after which the garage rock extravaganza Superwax will return to the slot. In the meantime, tune in to get your fill of metal, hardcore, and everything else sludgy & loud – earplugs optional.



Hey friends,

I had some pals visiting from the US last week and it was a nice chance to re-discover all that’s great about Montreal… made for a pretty nice week. Played a couple of good shows, saw CKUT buds Ought as they rolled back through town, and managed to somehow get two flats on my bike in the span of 24 hours… yeesh.

I’ll also be in Ottawa on Friday to play a gig, come say hi if you find yourself in the nation’s capital.


ckut top 30 – july 15, 2014
tanya tagaq – animism – six shooter CC
lydia ainsworth – right from real pt. 1 – arbutus CC
the past – airless – jeunesse spatial CC
brave radar – message centre – fixture records CC
ema – the future’s void – 4AD Continue reading

Tamara Sandor + FAKES on Rock Camp for Girls


Montreal three-piece FAKES and songstress Tamara Sandor are joining Rock Camp for Girls this afternoon for an interview and performance on The Montreal Sessions. This is gonna be an awesome episode for many reasons, especially cause it’s one of FAKES last performances in Montreal for who-knows-how-long! You can catch Rock Camp For Girls hosting every Tuesday 3-5pm all July long.

Here’s their show blog :) Learn more about The Montreal Sessions here.

SMILESWITHTEETH // Underground Sounds

underground sounds logo


Lucky us, the schedule-wizards are on our side and SMILESWITHTEETH will be in-studio at CKUT tonight for a live performance and interview starting at 9pm. Please, be kind, don’t miss this.

For the uninitiated, Underground Sounds is on the airwaves every Monday from 8 to 10pm playing music made by Montrealers. A teaser for what you may hear on the program is below…

Continue reading

FIJM 2014 Day 6: New dimensions


 After a late rehearsal and a brain lapse, I got to Mehliana’s long-awaited show half an hour late. I walked into Astral greeted by Brad Mehldau’s synth pad. His electric duo with drummer Mark Giuliana was one of my must-hears this year.

Mehldau used a grand piano, Moog Little Phatty (or Sub Phatty), Wurlitzer, and presumably the Prophet 08 which is blinking away in the duo’s viral videos. Quickly during the second set I realized that Mehldau’s playing in this duo is not drastically different than his brilliant solo piano work, just that it is orchestrated across four different keyboards. While most of the music was drawn (presumably) fromTaming the Dragon, there were a couple of times I thought Mehldau would pull from his bag of covers. The only non-original was a version of “My Favourite Things” that emerged out of some broken beat groove. The perpetual ostinatos were now on a growling Moog, and the cascading lines on Wurly. I wasn’t always a fan of his sonic choices; each instrument was assigned a role that didn’t really change throughout the set. The bass had a long filter decay, almost flatulent, that muddled the complexity and precision of Mehldau’s left hand. The Prophet was relegated to these long attack, long release, filtered sawtooth pads which grew to be a tad redundant towards the end of the set. The pads could have been a little more lush and layered for my tastes – more high end, more stereo spread, more ear candy. The biggest difference is Mark Giuliana, whose interactions with Mehldau were highly responsive. Giuliana has an ear for colour, with two snares and a smattering of cymbals, and his allusions to various subgenres of electronica recontextualized Mehldau’s improvisations. Mehliana is a meeting of two brilliant improvisers; if Mehldau becomes as adept at synth programming as he is at pianistic virtuosity, this dragon will breathe some real fire.

After Mehliana’s conclusion, I entered Gesu to the sound of roots reggae, courtesy of pianist Monty Alexander and the Harlem-Kingston Express. Alexander was joined by two rhythm sections – one representing Harlem, and the other, naturally enough, representing reggae. Of course, when Obed Calvaire is the drummer on the “jazz” side, there’s bound to be some crossover. I was stunned by how seamless the transitions from roots and dub to swing were, Alexander cueing the changes from the middle of the band. He’s got a real handle on the 60s soul-jazz piano sound when he wants to swing, and sat deep in the cut when it switched to reggae. As I’ve had to write for double rhythm section thanks to guitarist Gary Schwartz recently, I was very curious on how Alexander utilized the two bassists and drummers – Calvaire and Karl Wright often sounded like one drummer, while double bassist Hassan Shakur played high-register melodies over Courtney Panton’s dubby low end. Both Alexander and Shakur are fond of quoting other melodies in their solos, which got to be a bit much by the end. Shakur’s final solo turned into a potpourri of various E-minor licks: I counted “The Pink Panther,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “People Make the World Go Round,” and “Good Times” all back-to-back, after which Monty Alexander abruptly ended the set. That many quotes were both his cue – and mine – to leave for the night.

- David Ryshpan

Jazz Euphorium interviews Guy Thouin & Bryan Highbloom

Guy Thouin and Bryan Highbloom form the Nouveau Jazz Libre du Québec duo. They’ll be special guests tonight on Jazz Euphorium performing live, talking about the long history of free jazz in Quebec and airing tracks from their new LP ‘Live from Suoni per il Popolo‘.

+++ check the JAZZ EUPHORIUM blog for playlists and more info +++ 



Keeping things short & sweet today with this lil’ chart mailout. . . Itching to get out of the office and into the sun. Bring it on, summer.


ckut top 30 – july 8, 2014
brave radar – message centre – fixture records CC
marie davidson – perte d’identité – weyrd son
tune-yards – nikki-nack – 4AD
stefan christoff & david parker – wire tones EP – howl! arts CC
steve jr – s/t ep – self-released CC Continue reading

RAMZI hosts If You Got Ears


RAMZI is Phoebé Guillemot, a self-taught producer from Montreal. In 2013, She released the EP Etwal Timoun on vinyl through the label Total Stasis as well as a tape titled DEZOMBI on Los Discos Enfantasmes. Bébites is her first self-released album under Pygmy Animals, Phoebé’s newly founded label. The July 9th episode of IYGE features an interview and live performance from Antoine93, as well as a live mix by DJ Spencer.

If You Got Ears is a weekly, two-hour voyage through various types of sonic experimentation: ranging from noise to electroacoustics, the program digs deep into the goldmine of musique actuelle and all its sprawling tangents. Sometimes loud and aggressive, sometimes minimal and minutely detailed, but always bridging the gap between the challenging and the familiar. Hear it every Wednesday from 12-14h EST, or listen to past episodes on the CKUT archives.

Want to get involved? Email music@ckut.ca with your ideas!

FIJM 2014 Day 5: People Music


Heralded trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire handed off the Invitation series leadership to pianist Tigran Hamasyan at Gesù, joined by bassist Sam Minaie and Justin Brown on drums. Later in the set, he referred to his three-night stand at my favourite room in town “the most life-changing musical experience of [his] career.” Akinmusire welcomed the audience into his dark, almost flugelhorn-like sound with a solo introduction to “As We Fight,” joined by Tigran’s bell-tone acoustic piano chords. The piece moves into its various sections via metric modulations – Hamasyan was so at ease with these and conducting Minaie and Brown through them, I initially thought it was his composition. I’m not sure if it’s a conceit of the piece but Minaie and Brown felt like they were operating in separate universes; the bizarre tonality of Minaie’s distortion pedal on electric bass – all high end and no body – didn’t necessarily help here.

The highlights of the set were the duos between Akinmusire and Hamasyan. The first, an Armenian folk song, put into relief the control these two have over their respective instruments. Ambrose added a lot of breathiness into his sound, the notes barely whispering out of the bell of the horn. Hamasyan displayed incredible dynamic range, caressing harmonies out of the piano. Akinmusire’s technique is impeccable, and yet he doesn’t draw attention to it in an obvious way. His solo intro to his own “Ceaseless Inexhaustible Child” was remarkable for its intervallic leaps – I was more taken by the line itself, and then realized just how much technique and control he needs to execute those ideas. Seamlessly adding smears, growls and half-valve effects, the easiest comparison is to Dave Douglas in terms of the breadth of trumpet vocabulary (as well as the bouncing at the knees), but Ambrose very clearly has a unique sound.

Tigran, playing Rhodes on this impeccable Ambrose ballad, is possibly more overt about his technique in the rollicking counterpoint, virtuosic speed and repeated notes, but he too has an acute awareness of sonic texture. Running the Rhodes through a row of effects pedals and loopers, he created a spiraling universe of delay that enveloped the tune – not unlike one of Akinmusire’s other guests in this series, Bill Frisell. “Ceaseless Inexhaustible Child” was possibly the highlight of my Festival so far.

The ballad gave way to two trio moments – Tigran’s radically reharmonized version of “Someday My Prince Will Come,” and Ambrose’s loose rendition of “All the Things You Are.” Both tunes found Minaie playing cat-and-mouse with the leaders, Brown supporting them all the way. In the chordless trio, each member was so rhythmically and harmonically abstract that I longed for someone to hold down the centre for the other two to play against. The set ended with one of Tigran’s tunes, unannounced, a dense piano figure full of polyrhythms that Brown somehow found a backbeat in. His drumming gave the tune a sense of groove, smoothing out the angularity of it – a musical decision I truly appreciated. After some ferocious applause, the two Invitation Series curators returned for another beautiful duo, on a standard so reharmonized I couldn’t place it – possibly “Everything Happens to Me”?

I stuck around Gesù for piano mastery of a different order, from the fingers of Christian Sands with the Christian McBride Trio. On the opening “Day By Day,” Sands made his apprenticeship with the masters Dr. Billy Taylor and Hank Jones very clear through his fleet, swinging lines and nimble block chords, with the underlying rhythmic freedom of more contemporary players. Spurred on by Ulysses Owens Jr.’s magnificent brushwork, McBride displayed a clarity of line (in both his walking and his soloing) unparalleled by most bassists. On the 12/8 groove of “Caravan,” the trio displayed a sensitivity to silence, colour and texture normally associated with the greatest free improvisers, and often not heard in this more straightahead setting. At one point, Sands’ montuno launched Owens into a double-time rumba frenzy.

McBride is a charismatic bandleader and host. He was obviously thrilled to be spending Canada Day in Canada, and made a point of it on the mic, much to the chagrin of many of the Québécois in the audience. (Not going to go there…)  I think all of the audience could celebrate his roll call of Canadian musicians, from OP to Renee Rosnes, off the top of the set. McBride’s repertory continued with Jobim’s “Triste,” with glimmers of Owens’ facility with Brazilian grooves, the nonchalant gutbucket swing of Billy Taylor’s “Easy Walker,” and the “slow sexy thing” of Freddie Hubbard’s “Povo.”

I skipped out while McBride’s trio dove into a blistering tempo with Owens showcasing his brush mastery, and ran down Ste-Catherine street to Club Soda to support the Bay Area hip-hop of Latyrx (Lateef the Truth Speaker & Lyrics Born). I was absolutely stunned to see maybe 30 people in the crowd, and Latyrx performing as though it were a sold-out 2000-capacity club. Both capable singers as well as socially engaged and rhythmically active MCs, the duo – returning after a 16-year hiatus – roared into a bunch of new tunes, joined by a DJ and a live drummer. I’m not sure why Bay Area hip-hop doesn’t get more love on this coast, but these guys are worth discovering if you don’t know them.

- David Ryshpan