Pop Montreal Brings You the September 2016 Montreal Sessions

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This September, we’re welcoming back POP Montreal for yet another Montreal Sessions residency. They’ve been championing independent artists for well over a decade now and we are extremely excited to have them take to the airwaves once again here at CKUT.

POP is a 5 day celebration of creatives, from the 21st to 25th of September the city will be treated to a stellar line-up of emerging and established artists including the likes of Angel Olsen, Kode9 and HEALTH. It doesn’t just stop there as festivaliers can pack their day with events ranging from music conferences and workshops, to craft and record fairs. You’re never too young to enjoy quality music, and through Kids POP the young ones get a festival experience tailored especially for them too. We’re still a month away but some extremely exciting details have been announced over at the POP facebook, including a Secret City Records 10th anniversary party, a Foxtrott mixtape and even a custom coffee drink made for the festival!

POP Montreal (Montreal Sessions) / Tuesdays 3 – 5 PM / September 2016

Concert Review: SOPHIE @ Newspeak

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A clamour of high pitched bells ring throughout the club, conversations quiet down to whispers and heads turn to the stage lit up by a dazzling tubular ceiling display. A filter sweep brings the buzz to a close, and as the last echoes ring out the club is left in a tense state of anticipation…

Warm vibrations flood the dance floor, the trance is ruptured and screams of glee break out. “We were young and out of control,” sing the still young and yet to be out of control crowd, the opening words of Sophie’s melancholic and nostalgia-inducing Just Like We Never Said Goodbye. The song is played out in full. Originally serving to close out Sophie’s debut album Product, it left the listener aching to relive memories that were never allowed to materialize. Tonight, those memories are about to be made.

The crowd chant “SOPHIE” in adoration with a soft French intonation, their calls are answered and immediately they’re dropped into a Jersey club hype track. The clubbers are more than happy to settle into a skank, but before anyone gets comfortable the pressure builds and out of nowhere Trophy rips through the dance floor and turns Newspeak upside down. A hostile Charli XCX blasts through the speakers, she’s combative threatening; “bitch I’m here to fuck you up” and there’s nowhere to turn. The scenes are chaotic, while punters will have been familiar with the tune, no one could have fathomed its impact on the club. The dancing quickly becomes erratic as revellers attempt to keep up with the twists and turns of the track. People are crashing into each other, drinks are spilt, partners switched and bodies inevitably hit the floor. Sophie is detached from all this, so sternly focussed on his performance one could easily mistake his constraint for apathy.

When dealing with such abrasive and irregular electronica the mixing can take a hit: DJ’s tend to either echo-out and hope the cued intro picks up the slack or smash the tracks together, and in the mess of the noise fade one out. Sophie does neither, instead he molds one song into the next, crushing Trophy’s heavy basslines into the infamous screech of L.O.V.E. to the delight of everyone present. This transition and those that were to follow are well thought out, dutifully practiced and creatively executed. Consequently, the energy and intensity of the set hold firm through the night.

The stellar Vyzee marks the come up for the next climax, a cacophony of plastic sounds with insanely addictive lyrics enticing the crowd to “go crazy in the pop”. Those familiar with Sophie’s Boiler Room knew what was about to occur; hearing Lemonade at home is one thing, hearing it on the McDonalds advert is another, but experiencing it live is just something else. What’s quite extraordinary about this underground anthem is that it’s actually his second most successful song about a sugary drink (see: Hey QT). In fact seeing Sophie is a lot like drinking a cold Coke on a hot summer’s day: it tastes amazing, but before you know it you’ve only got one last good sip left. Luckily that last sip is always the best.

The final act is a dizzying cocktail of Sophie’s different stylistic approaches. The club is treated to a criminally unreleased remix of GFOTY’s Friday Night, a staple of his sets and a downright nasty display of electronic minimalism. Vroom Vroom soon follows and XCX takes the clubbers on another raucous joyride, everyone euphoric to have her back. The bubbly Nothing More to Say then fizzes into the room, and, eyes glazed and grins wide, the crowd is left relishing the sugar-laced melody as Sophie quietly slips out. They never did get to say goodbye.

Review by Vicente Orts

Album Review: Noname – Telefone

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For the past three years Chicago-native rapper Noname kept a low profile and has had fans eagerly anticipating a release from the wonderfully robust MC. Years of talking about a mixtape and making fantastic guest appearances on fellow Chicago artists Chance the Rapper & Jamila Woods latest projects, it’s only appropriate that Noname shines bright and proves to everyone that she is a name worth remembering, regardless of the lack of one. Her debut mixtape, Telefone, exhibits her versatile skills as an artist with bubbly production that’s coated on every track and can instantly fill a room with glee. Her seductive delivery touches upon both heated and personal issues that wedge their way into your thoughts and make you reflect on the kind of atmosphere that courses through the entire tape.

The track “Yesterday” sets the tone for the beautifully inspired project. Noname wastes no time and jumps right into her skillful wordplay that is enchanting and sweet to the ear; there is a lot of content within the song but it’s not intimidating to listen to. It’s rather light with a pretty piano progression that’s supported by harmonious vocals that add to the uplifting effect of the song.

“Sunny Duet” is one of my favorite songs off Telefone. Fellow Chicago artist theMind lends his soulful vocals over a soft melody that satisfies the heart. The track is buttery and smooth with Noname carrying the rhythm of the track in a way that seems effortless. Cam O’bi’s production is glossy and puts a huge emphasis on the kind of feeling that the song is trying to convey – a summer anthem for the lonely and confused.

Atlanta rapper Raury channels a similar flow to that of notorious Outkast member André 3000 on “Diddy Bop” with a wonderfully catchy hook provided by Cam O’bi. Ethereal synths float their way throughout the song and put the mind at ease, as each artist pushes their effort to make us feel like we shouldn’t have to worry about the uncontrollable predicaments that we face in life.

“Casket Pretty” sheds light on a dark issue that surrounds the streets of the windy city. Chicago has been known for its high murder rates, its residents subjected to receiving phone calls about loved ones fatally passing away due to the violence that posses the corners of the streets. Noname elaborates on the idea that black people who roam the streets share the same fate as a corpse in a casket. This is a surreal display of reality presented with a melancholic production style provided by Saba and Pheolix.

Telefone is an incredible achievement as a debut mixtape for an up and coming artist such as Noname. It’s relatable on a surface level while maintaining the integrity for those who can decipher the complex wordplay that’s ingrained in the efforts of the young Chicago artist. The latest project from the stunning MC does a superb job of sedating us to it’s surreal themes while shedding light onto the issues that the citizens of Chicago have tackled throughout the past few decades.

-Review by Michael Eidelson

Mother Tongue Live on the Montreal Sessions

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This month’s Montreal Sessions, hosted by Alex Pelchat, will kick off today with a live session featuring rock duo Mother Tongue. Hailing from Rhode Island, Mother Tongue will be gracing our studio with sludgy tunes equipped with abrasive vocals, steady guitar, and chaotic drum beats. Alex will be holding a Q & A with the duo, so be sure to tune in for some rad music and convos!

Mother Tongue will be playing tonight at La Plante, kicking off their tour with Montreal trio Lungbutter.  They will be touring the east coast for the month of August, so be sure to check out their facebook page to see when they’ll be in your area! Tune into CKUT 90.3 FM’s Montreal Session today from 3-5pm for some great live jams, or catch it on the archives if you miss it live.

CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: August 2, 2016

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Hello radio,
What a weekend – longtime CKUT bffs Steve Jr. rolled into town all the way from New York to play a very special BBQ we organized on Saturday alongside locals Terrified Michael F. (pictured above) and J. Deady. There was amazing food, great sounds, and the cops didn’t fine us over noise in the end. Everybody wins!

An important note for the next few weeks – I will be on vacation for most of August and only checking emails sporadically, so please reach out to our wonderful librarianBejal for any music department stuff or contact admin@ckut.ca for general station inquires. There won’t be any charts or tracking while I’m gone, but our trusty team of music volunteers will be holding it down and making sure new music gets into circulation.

Hope you all enjoy this last month of summer and looking forward to catching up in September.
xo
joni

:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT:::
In a last-minute schedule switcheroo, local man about town Alex Pelchat (*Shining Wizard*Gens Chrétiensdrøm før du dør) is hopping into the studio to host the August edition of the Montreal Sessions. In classic Pelchat style, he whipped together a killer series of live performances to treat yr ears every Tuesday from 3-5pm. Tune in today to catch Providence, RI heavyweights Mother Tongue rip it up live in the studio, and get a taste of what else is in store this month on the CKUT website. Miss it live? Not to worry – grab the archived audio right here and save that baby forever.

:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – august 2, 2016

1. vivien goldman – resolutionary – staubgold
2. un blonde – good will come to you – egg paper factory CC *
3. v/a – start your own fucking show space: live at death by audio – famous class
4. kaytranada – 99.9% – xl CC *
5. mitski – puberty 2 – dead oceans  Continue reading

Album review: Andy Stott – Too Many Voices

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A master of sound design and manipulation, Manchester-based Andy Stott graced the world with a new creation this year. Too Many Voices is as deceivingly minimal as it is complex – the all-familiar default claps and snares of 90s sound banks re-imagined in a manner of a contemporary artwork. You can definitely feel the impact of more modern underground electronic music styles like vaporwave and juke in this. It is at times strange, at times so soulful and soothing, dreamy yet gritty, melding glitchy Brit-pop and garage-influenced rhythms that captivate and pull you in, making you want to live through it again and again. Continue reading

CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: July 26, 2016

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Greetings friends,
Not too much to report today: I saw Mitski over the weekend and got sucked into watching the entirety of Stranger Things. Keeping it pretty quiet these days to save my energy for a very busy August –  but more about that in next week’s chart email.
xo
joni

:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT::::
Summer calls for outdoor celebrations, and with that in mind we’re thrilled welcome Montreal expats Steve Jr. back into town for a very special parking lot gig/BBQ on Saturday. For those not in the know, this duo left a deep impression on the Mtl scene with their heavy & impossibly catchy riffs before skipping town last year. Now they’re back for a single gig in the parking lot of 110 Van Horne along with Terrified Michael FDJ Frog, and J Deady on the decks — a truly all-star crew if we ever saw one, curated by the fine ears of CKUT’s late-night sound guru Spencer Gilley. The forecast is perfect, there’ll be food on the BBQ, and it’s a fundraiser for CKUT. What’s not to love?

:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – july 26, 2016

1. deerhoof – the magic – polyvinyl
2. un blonde – good will come to you – egg paper factory CC *
3. braids – companion – flemish eye CC *
4. horse lords – interventions – northern spy
5. tyshawn sorey – the inner spectrum of variables – pi Continue reading

Album Review: Shura – Nothing’s Real

 

ShuraNothingShura’s debut album showcases her talent as a writer, singer and producer. It’s an eclectic mix of genres: from electronic, lush R&B slow jams, stripped back guitar rock, to 80s glam pop and even trip-hop. Though the young singer/producer hasn’t overreached by trying her hand at so many different genres, at times the album feels like a collection of her various projects and (albeit successful) experiments. Yet a strong theme of autobiographical archiving and coming-of-age runs through the album and gives us a compelling first glance at Shura’s personality.

Music is often our best way of expressing complicated and difficult to articulate emotions that overwhelm us when brought on by the stresses of life and relationships. No other set of experiences is more of a mine field of these overwhelming emotions than the transition from teenage angst to young adulthood. Shura’s debut album Nothing’s Real is a smooth and seemingly effortless ode to that angsty and distraught time. Continue reading

CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: July 19, 2016

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Hello friends,

It’s been a busy week at CKUT full of in-studio performances, including Gashrat (pictured above), Platitudes and Cloud Becomes Your Hand. Forgive me if I’ve been a little slow with email, been too busy juggling mic stands and XLRs to sit at the ol’ computer for very long this past week. As for our charts, Jessy Lanza reigns supreme for yet another week — she rolled through town a few days back and got a ton of airplay leading up to the gig. And check out all that sweet local content on the charts this week too!
xo
joni

:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – july 19, 2016

1. jessy lanza – oh no – hyperdub CC
2. vivien goldman – resolutionary – staubgold
3. kaytranada – 99.9% – xl CC *
4. heaven for real – kill your memory – mint records CC
5. braids – companion – flemish eye CC * Continue reading

Album Review: The Julie Ruin – ‘Hit Reset’

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Kathleen Hanna, musician, feminist activist, and a figure formative to who I am today has consistently churned out pithy punk tunes while creating space for women and combatting misogyny in the punk community (and beyond). After a three year hiatus, during which Hanna dealt with her long-standing struggle with Lyme disease, her current group The Julie Ruin released their second full studio album Hit Reset. The album as a whole is an incredible revival and expansion of Hanna’s traditional riot grrrl sounds, with her do-it-yourself punk aesthetic alive and well in its framework. The album sets itself apart from The Julie Ruin’s previous release, Run Fast, in that Hanna’s powerful lyrics are more confrontational and cuttingly personal than before.

Hanna kicks off the album with a sharp title track recalling trauma she endured in her youth because of her father. She sings, “Slept with the lights on on the floor, behind a chair that blocked the door… At least I made it out at fucking all.” This powerful song that mixes sweet and scream-y vocals with ripping guitar and steady punk drums sets the tone for the album, giving the listener a taste of Hanna’s raw lyrical tendencies and varied yet consistently charged feminist punk sound. Later in the album, Hanna sings about childhood wishes stunted by her father’s neglect on “Roses More Than Water”. The track displays chaotic vocals with beach-y organ, and orderly drum and guitar rhythms. Hanna chants, “maybe I want roses more than water and to be a loving father’s daughter” and “maybe I’m more hell-bent on living than I am just surviving,” showing her working through traumas and personal experiences.

The discordant “I Decide” rings out with siren-like electric keyboard, a pulsing drumbeat, and a handful of “Na-na-na-na-na’s” amidst lyrics that exude Hanna’s assertion of her self-autonomy. “I Decide” is followed by “Be Nice”, which addresses the emotional labor women are expected to perform in a patriarchal society. Hanna highlights the fact that women are socialized to “be nice” in response to male micro-aggressions and entitlement through her pithy, spitting lyrics. Later in the album, she confronts male feminists’ hypocrisy in “Mr. So and So,” calling out pseudo-feminist men who use their privilege to take up space in feminist circles and offer condescending, patronizing remarks to women. The chorus rings “you can’t say good-bye before I get my hello,” commenting on the silencing of women within feminist communities at the hands of entitled men.

As an outspoken feminist musician and riot grrrl movement icon, Hanna has had her trauma and activism commoditized, which she addresses in “Planet You” and “Hello Trust No One,” in which she confronts toxic people who exploit her emotional labor and set expectations for her performance of self. In “Hello Trust No One”, pop keyboard and bouncy drums accompany Hanna’s staccato vocals projecting satirical lyrics. She sings “cause I can play one-handed guitar while braining my hair on a shooting star!” and “Cause I can play electric guitar while shaving my legs in a moving car!” mockingly addressing the absurd expectations she is met with as a feminist performer and figurehead.

“Let Me Go” greets you with fun poppy keyboard and playful guitar riffs accompanied by rhythmic claps. Hanna sings about her husband’s encouragement that kept her head above water while battling Lyme disease. She sings, “you never, ever really know how many memories you have to go.” With the rock-pop vibes that are mirrored in “Time is Up” later in the album, The Julie Ruin shows their versatility and coherence all while creating incredible tunes. The album ends with a ballad to Hanna’s mother, titled “Calverton” after the Maryland town in which Hanna grew up. Her offbeat vocals are accompanied by a soft and slow keyboard rhythm, setting the tone of the song to be a touching and tender message of appreciative reflection. Hanna has noted that her mother has inspired and drove her forward. She sings, “Without you, I’d take the fifth or be on my deathbed full of wishes”.

The Julie Ruin is playing in Montreal this Tuesday at Fairmount Theatre, and until then I’ll be dancing around my room to Hanna’s music like I used to in high school. Hit Reset will definitely be my Summer 2016 soundtrack and is truly a testament not only to Kathleen Hanna’s resilience, but also to The Julie Ruin’s musical prowess as a whole.

– Review by Erika Kindsfather