YES flyer

Hi friends – keeping this real short w/ just a top 30 this week as we are in the midst of our annual funding drive and also running a super big, super important existence referendum. Fun week! If you are a McGill student, please be sure to vote YES to keep CKUT alive – polling ends Wednesday at 5pm and we still need to reach quorum, so the time is now.

For those of you who aren’t McGill students but still <3 CKUT, consider supporting us through our funding drive! We have tons of amazing prizes to make it extra worthwhile for you. Come say hi at one of our events or donate online here. Never forget – CKUT loves you!


ckut top 30 – october 25, 2016

1. tanya tagaq – retribution – six shooter CC
2. ylangylang – life without structure – self-released CC *
3. strange froots – blossom this froot for thought – self-released/CJLO CC *
4. weyes blood – front row seat to earth – mexican summer
5. mars – mars archives volume two: 11,000 volts to tunnel – feeding tube Continue reading

Very Special NEW SHIT!


It’s funding drive o’clock! Tune in today at 3pm to 90.3 CKUT for an extra awesome edition of New Shit: we’ll have LIVE performances by Un Blonde and Clear Spot as well as an interview and guest DJ set from Drainolith.
You know what might even be better than New Shit?
For the first few lucky donors of $25 and up, we have packs featuring a cornucopia of releases from independent Montreal label Fixture Records, cassettes from Egg Paper Factory, and a bunch a vinyl goodies from Constellation Records. Those who call early can take their pick of the packs below.

Fixture Records Pack
Phern – Pause Clope flexi 7″

The Submissives – Do You Really Love Me? cassette
Brave Radar – Lion Head LP
Jef Elise Barbara – Sexe Machin / Sex Machine 7″
Lantern – Black Highways and Green Garden Roads cassette
Fixture Records compilation #4 CD

Egg Paper Pack (all cassette)
Gretchen – Oblique Contours
Whitney K – Pony
Inland Island – Zsa Zsa’s Window Opens Slowly
The Painters – Specks of Dust
Family Band – Family Band ’15
…and super cool Egg Paper stickers and a pin!
Vinyl Pack #1 – CLAIMED
Ought – More Than Any Other Day
Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufield – Never Were The Way She Was
Vinyl Pack #2 – CLAIMED
Automatisme – Momentform Accumulations
Jason Sharp – A Boat Upon Its Blood
Vinyl Pack #3 – CLAIMED
Jerusalem In My Heart – If He Dies, If If If If If If
Off World – 1
Vinyl Pack #4
Ought – Sun Coming Down
Drainolith – Hysteria (+ bonus patch!)

Concert review: Whitney @ Bar Le Ritz P.D.B., October 14/16


10-WHITNEY-021816-LauraHarvey_1107_739This past Friday, Chicago-based group Whitney played Bar Le Ritz to a packed house. They’re one of the surprise breakout bands of 2016 and have gained a considerable amount of momentum since they released their first single in mid-2015. The songwriting duo of Max Kakacek (Smith Westerns) and Julien Ehrlich (Unknown Mortal Orchestra) have created a rich sound with their seven-person ensemble. They’ve been compared to a multitude of different artists, from Neil Young to Marc Bolan, and they successfully mix a variety of genres while maintaining a distinctly late ‘60s/early‘70s vibe. They stopped by Montreal while touring their debut album, Light Upon the Lake. The record combines Americana-style country twang and down-on-your-luck lyrics with layered vocal harmonies, soulful organ, and extensive trumpet arrangements. It’s these retro tropes that, at least for me, fix the band’s romantic and melancholic themes far off in the past.

Kakacek and Ehrlich have been quoted in interviews as saying they started writing songs under the guise of “some old-ass dude” – specifically pointing to John Denver – and this comes through clearly in their beautifully lovesick lyrics. The group’s melancholic melodies feel as if they could have been written by the pseudonymous cabin-dweller. However, the songs have been deftly penned to evoke a variety of feelings and responses from their audience, not only nostalgia and longing.

Throughout their set, they seemed perfectly at home at Bar Le Ritz with its retro-inspired decor. They stood still with their eyes on their instruments as they open the show with “Dave’s Song.” This track echoes Nashville Skyline-era Dylan, although the band’s guitar riffs seemed far removed from a lazy Tennessee porch on the cold fall night in Montreal. By the second song, “No Matter Where We Go,” the sold-out crowd started pushing against each other and grooving along.

Whitney fed off the rowdy energy of the packed house and seemed very comfortable with their sudden fame. After singing “Polly” in his high and lonesome falsetto, Ehrlich got up, walked over to his writing partner and planted a big kiss on Kakacek, eliciting loud cheers from the spectators. Apparently, this has become something of a tradition on the road. The gangly and grungy crew, in their oversized plaid shirts and hunting camo jackets, are very much in the honeymoon stage of their success and had the dynamic of a family road trip in their live show. This energy will help push them through the long tour ahead for Light Upon the Lake. After a couple more dates in North America this week they’re off to Europe and the U.K. in November.

Building on the enthusiasm found within their original material, the band even took a shot at covering Bob Dylan’s “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You.” Albeit a bit of a messy attempt, the ode to the recent Nobel Prize Laureate was much appreciated by the crowd of millennials. And the feeling was reciprocal — by the time they announced their second to last song, Ehrlich had thanked the crowd several times for being considerably more welcoming than those in his native Portland. He even noted that it was the first time they’ve had a crowd sing along to “Wish You Were My Friend.”

As they closed out the night with a loose rendition of their single “No Woman,” which Ehrlich dryly describes as, “a song about having a girlfriend and then not,” the energy in the room was just as palpable as when they first got on stage. Even the nominally lonesome break-up song didn’t stop the crowd from swaying from side-to-side and singing along happily.

Whitney was eager to give back to the crowd, rewarding the room with multiple encores and feeding off the buzzing energy levels. One of those encores was the title track, “Light Upon the Lake.” For me, it was the highlight of the night: the band was entirely in sync, matching the vocal harmonies and guitar melodies in perfect timing. They were in top form.

After a long night, they happily mingled with the audience on Jean-Talon in the refreshingly chilly night air. Over the course of the night, Whitney won over the crowd and added Montreal to their long list of admirers. No one will smirk now when they go back to Chicago and say they have a Canadian bff — here’s hoping they’ll come back and visit us again soon.

– Review by Derek Colley

Album Review: Glamour Nails – s/t

Glamour Nails

The notion of texturally advanced improvised music is strong in Canada. Beginning with the likes of Jean Derome, Joane Hétu, and Le Quatuor de Jazz Libre du Québec, Quebec’s musiques actuelles movement forged an original sound out of the ideology of blues and swing, with a wide array of different sound effects and instrumental technics entering the mix. Today, improvising musicians of all ages continue to explore sonic landscapes in many different ways with texture guiding aesthetic choices. Although based outside of Quebec, the duo of Lina Allemano and Justin Haynes certainly pay respect to musique actuelles on their self-titled debut album. Billed as an off-the-cuff improvising session, the quick-hitting work thrives on drastic change with Haynes’ quirky sound choices backing the many faces of Allemano’s trumpet playing.

“Tawny Owl” kicks off the album with some relatively straightforward improvising. Haynes provides a circulating guitar groove with unique, scratchy effect, giving space for Allemano to introduce the project with sketches of melodic ideas. At less than one minute in length, the second song, “Tit Riot,” doesn’t define itself as one of the album’s standalone tracksk; however, the static drones that infect it set off a chain of tunes that delve into barren wastelands with harsh experiments keeping the listener on edge. The dramatic space of “Lente” is contrasted by brash dissonance of “Gel.” Both tracks also feature Allemano playing quick, punching notes on trumpet, adding to the unease. “nosex” continues the storm with breathy trumpet styling juxtaposed by screaming distortion over top of rambling electronic bass lines. On the second half of the record, Allemano’s fuzzy techniques complement Haynes’ percussive tin can interpretations before playful sketches end off the album on a rather unresolved note.

The album’s sound hinges somewhat on aesthetic change and contrast, but through Allemano’s melodic development and Haynes’ balance of soundscape structure and countermelody the duo avoids gimmicks and accomplishes a high level of musicality. Allemano is especially gifted at building upon minimalist ideas. On “Lente,” a fluttering breath technique becomes central to the track. Allemano branches out with quiet phrasing and various high notes, but the main idea continuously returns and gives the piece a sense of identity. Haynes constantly backs her up on prepared piano, first opening up the playing space with sparing drones, but slowly picking up the pace to match Allemano’s quick lines. The strength in communication also shines on “Stylus,” where the players find unity in matching textures. Allemano’s quasi-distortion trumpet technique sits quite nicely within Haynes’ eclectic percussive sounds and despite lacking a formal melodic delivery, the fuzzy overall sound follows a general progression of intensity.

The urgency at which the album passes by raises questions. Most improvised musicians have a tendency to favor sprawling pieces with seemingly endless supplies of space, but this album is much more condensed, resulting in positive and negative consequences. On one hand, the album follows an interesting sound progression and the quick-witted phrasing doesn’t linger for too long. The musicians also seem to try and take advantage of every moment of each track, more than they may have if they were intending on filling a longer period of time. Of course, the shortness of each track can squash developments. The album sits at a rather quite volume level and the two final tracks on the album last less than two minutes and seem to cut off a bit awkwardly. I would argue that the idea of fast developments is positive, but a bit more space may yield more resolution on their next effort.

Glamour Nails feels fresh. Their unique sound and approach to album making stand out in a densely populated musical idiom. Also, both players display a real talent for musical development and texture. Admittedly the ending is a bit abrupt and certain choices, although unique, feel unfinished, but the work leaves a lasting impression and showcases a lot of potential in the duo.

– Review by Donovan Burtan




Hello radio,

We’re gearing up for our annual funding drive! You know that means: we’re running around like crazy organizing events, hustling up sweet prizes, and making sure the whole world knows how truly kickass CKUT is. Wanna learn more about the funding drive or show us some love? Hit up our funding website for all the details.


FUNDING DRIVE! That’s what’s up, of course. We’re reaching out to our listeners and asking for support to help us continue broadcasting the most boundary-pushing, trailblazing content in Montreal and beyond. From our award-winning spoken word and news coverage to our die-hard support of local music, we’re not afraid to take risks and we wanna keep this trend going for many years to come. We’ve helped launch the careers of countless Montreal artists (shoutout to our buddies Grimes andOught, who think CKUT is “the best place on earth“) and we’re consistently voted asthe city’s #1 radio station. Need another reason to help keep CKUT alive? Check out our amazing merch goodies. It all kicks off this Thursday at noon and we want you on board for the ride — LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN!

ckut top 30 – october 18, 2016

1. weyes blood – front row seat to earth – mexican summer
2. v/a – no. 2 – oh hi CC *
3. a tribe called red – we are the halluci nation – radicalized records CC
4. the luyas – says you – paper bag CC *
5. bon iver – 22, a million – jagjaguwar Continue reading

CKUT Referendum 2016: VOTE YES


Autumn is officially here, which means it’s time to delve into some yearly existentialism. The question that will be on McGill students’ minds from October 21-26 is this: should CKUT 90.3 FM exist? 


If you’re a McGill student and are scratching your head as to why this question is even being posed, here’s a little history lesson that might prove educational. While CKUT was formed as “Radio McGill” in the 1940s, it became a fully-licensed FM station in 1987. The following year, a successful referendum allowed CKUT to be funded by a student fee levy, which basically means that a small part of your tuition is helping us put out cool vibes to the McGill campus and city of Montreal every day, year-round. In 2007, McGill announced that all student fees had to have an “expiration date” every 5 years. The student fee dedicated to CKUT makes up 54% of our funding, and as a non-profit station we would no longer be able to exist should you decide to vote NO.

You, as a thrifty and intelligent McGill student, might also be wondering why in the world you would ever need CKUT’s services; after all, we’re just a radio station, right?

Well… not quite. Here are examples of the many other services that we provide at 3647 Rue University: journalism school (which, by the way, McGill University does not provide) for those interested in honing interview skills or writing for the radio, sound engineering and DJ tutorials, and access to our extensive music library of over 78,000 physical releases.

As a paying member of CKUT, you have the power to vote at our Annual General Meeting. Students who volunteer for CKUT are included in many, if not all, government and administrative decisions and are allowed to participate on our governing committees. CKUT bridges the McGill and Montreal communities by providing conferences, panels, and concerts for a wide variety of charitable and educational outreach opportunities. We have been voted #1 Radio Station for Cult MTL’s Best of Montreal poll. Our membership base consists of over 300 student and community volunteers helping to bring you the best of alternative and cultural radio on a 24/7 basis.

If you’re still undecided about us, see here for a more detailed explanation of why CKUT 90.3 FM matters to both McGill and Montreal. Voting is super convenient, too: if you have access to a computer and basic wifi, you can click the “YES” button to keep us in business. Existential crisis averted.


All the cool kids are doing it.

-PSA brought to you by Juliana Van Amsterdam 

Album Review: Pang Attack – North Country Psychic Girls


pang attackNorth Country Psychic Girls is the first LP by local band Pang Attack (comprised of David Clark on bass and keys, Yann Geoffrey on drums, and Alex Hackett on guitar and vocals). The title’s ambiguity perpetuates a fuzziness that is befitting to the album’s overall sound. For roughly 35 minutes, the album spawns a dynamic dream sequence that captivates the listener despite its incongruity. Although bound by the common thread of shoegaze and psych-pop, each track distinguishes itself from the rest by placing the listener in a different setting. In other words, the band escorts the listener on a trip through a boundless mind (as pictured on the album’s cover) with each song acting as a different turn on the way.

The journey commences in “Monk Song” with a synth-based opening akin to 1960s spaceship noises. In seconds the semi-galactic beat transforms into a twangy tune laden with spaghetti western undertones. In a matter of minutes, we, the listeners, are swept up from wandering through a desert on horseback and reeled into “Stranger’s Song” where the trio, now accompanied by Erik Hove on sax and the Kate Maloney String Quartet, devise a sound reminiscent of The Smiths. Hackett’s voice, although not as whiny as Morrissey’s, harnesses a similar charisma which he maintains throughout the album. Soon another turn is made with “Frailty Revisited” where we’re drawn into a dimly lit room for a lovesick slow dance while cradled by an understated instrumental. Nonetheless, when this contemplative soirée comes to a close, we’re met by the haunting “Invaded Heart” bearing similarities in both sound and poetics to Billy Bragg and Wilco’s “Blood of the Lamb.” Then, with the summoning of trumpets, we’re consumed by the whimsical “North Country Psychic Girl.” In this dream pop gem, Hackett’s magnetic Moz-esque voice reveals nuances of that of Arctic Monkeys singer Alex Turner. With another sudden shift, Pang Attack plunge into “Mr. Mandible” where they foster a more recognizable blend of indie rock, channeling the likes of Kurt Vile and The War on Drugs. However, once the rendezvous with “Mr. Mandible” is complete, we’re beckoned by the melancholic “Hope Nights” to a lovelorn dive alike the one in “Frailty Revisited.” Here we’re entranced by a melody remindful of Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage.” Although most likely a far stretch, the Pink Floyd reference acts as a sort of prelude to the finishing track “Time and Dementia.” Enveloped by a fuzzy calm, we wake up from our trance and digest the hypnotic journey until we’re shown to the exit by dissonant synths and strings.

Clark, Geoffrey, and Hackett, with the help of numerous contributors, conceived an album both labyrinthine in design and nostalgic in sound. Due to the album’s complexity and variability, each track elicits a unique palette of emotions and conjures an entirely different spectrum of thoughts. Therefore, if one hankers a trip down the rabbit hole of sentimental bizarreness, then a listen to Pang Attack’s North Country Psychic Girls is recommended.

– Review by Soraya Mamiche Afara 



Hi friends,

Hope all the Canadians reading this had a good long weekend. I managed to squeeze in a couple friends-giving dinner parties and spent a good part of yesterday painting the interior of a beloved local DIY space. Forget those old-school colonial celebrations and give thanks for things that are meaningful in yr community – and give back if you can. :)


Every Wednesday in October from 12-2pm tune into If You Got Ears for a very special residency curated by local audio/visual artist Estraven Lupino-Smith. Using a variety of angles to explore the intersections between nature and technology, they’ll be crafting soundscapes from long form drones, field recordings, and everything in between. In Lupino-Smith’s own words:

This residency will focus on drone/doom/experimental work and feature samples from animals that I have recorded or that are part of the Macauley Library. Expect some guests and live performances, where we will be drawing from this public archive for inspiration. The sound work I present will engage with the ideas of nature and technology, the way our interactions with the so-called “natural world” are technologically mediated, and that there are many amazing, wonderful and awe inspiring sounds made in nature.

Stream it live via every Wednesday afternoon, and download full episodes from our audio archives.

ckut top 30 – october 11, 2016

1. v/a – no. 2 – oh hi CC *
2. un blonde – good will come to you – egg paper factory CC *
3. best fern – s/t – self-released CC *
4. ylangylang – life without structure – self-released CC *
5. bon iver – 22, a million – jagjaguwar Continue reading

Concert Review: Porches, Japanese Breakfast, and Rivergazer @ Bar le Ritz PDB


This summer, I became acquainted with the music of Porches in a big way. Their most recent album, Pool, came into my life at a time when I really needed some new stuff to listen to, and ever since,  I’ve had Porches’ music on pretty much constant repeat. On Monday, October 3rd, I got the chance to see them play alongside Rivergazer and Japanese Breakfast at Bar Le Ritz PDB, a show that sold out early on in the night and did not disappoint.

Rivergazer kicked the show off at 9:30 – though usually a trio, they performed as a duo with synth and bass fronted by Kevin Farrant, the guitarist from Porches. Rivergazer’s music is mostly synth-heavy love ballads accented with extreme auto-tuned vocals, with the members trading off as lead vocalist accompanied by tight backing harmonies from the other. As someone in the crowd described, they sound “kind of like a sad Porches”, in terms of the kind of heavy emotional stuff found in their lyrics, especially in songs like “Only 4 U”. They were a great opener in terms of setting the mood as a fun-but-not-over-the-top night.

The next group, Japanese Breakfast, is a four-piece rock group from Philadelphia fronted by high-energy vocalist/guitarist, Michelle Zauner. Their vibe was a lot different than the two other bands, playing more straight-up fun rock with an non-self-conscious attitude towards enjoying themselves on stage. I found their music to be a little one-dimensional, and the mixing of the band made it so everything blended together into a muddled wall of sound. Zauner, though, was a powerful presence, driving the show forward despite poor sound quality.

Finally, Porches took the stage around 11:15, and played a tighter set than I’ve seen in a long time. Admittedly, the songs weren’t new to the band – their latest release, Pool (not including the EP, Water), came out in February, so they’ve had plenty of time to get the material down to a science. However, the performance still felt fresh, and the whole crowd seemed to get swept up in the clean grooves they were laying down. Aaron Maine, the band’s frontman, interacted with the audience a little between numbers, mostly to deadpan sarcastically or comment on how much he liked the venue. He seemed to really like Bar Le Ritz. A lot.

Towards the end of the set, the band had to drastically lower their volume due to police complaints, but the turn of events played almost to Porches’ favour. The set ended with two solo numbers by Maine, one being the classic “Xanny Bar”, a melancholy tune he often ends shows with. The other was a new song, which he introduced by saying he’d never played it live before and he was pretty nervous about it. By the end of the tune, the whole audience was singing along.

Loitering outside the venue after the show, the general sentiment was the same: Wow. Porches put on a show that was, on the one hand, entertaining and quirky, with quips from Maine in between songs and coordinated dance moves within the band. On the other hand, some moments were incredibly emotive, particularly in those quiet moments with just Aaron Maine on stage and a whole crowd of fans eating it all up. Overall, an amazing show from a band that came into my life far, far too recently.

– Review by Nora Duffy

Album Review: 22, A Million – Bon Iver

JV1In Bon Iver’s latest release, 22, A Million, Justin Vernon is inviting you inside his head. However, the difference of five years has changed many a thing for Vernon, including the way he approaches music. The inward, contemplative soul-searching of For Emma, Forever Ago and Bon Iver has been shed for an extrospective, existential outlook; Vernon is examining human existence through the lens of personal experiences. He has described the album title as such: the 22 stands for him, as “the number’s recurrence in his life has become a meaningful pattern through encounter and recognition.” The “a million” represents the rest of humanity, and “everything outside ones’ self that makes you who you are.” He speaks of searching for self-understanding through love and life, and the sentiment is truly reflected through his music.

22, A Million is by far the most produced, and yet starkly bare, album put out by Bon Iver. Vernon’s interest with vocal and instrumental manipulation has been fully realized here with his extensive use of the Messina (a software-hardware amalgamation birthed by Vernon and his engineer, Chris Messina) and the OP-1. Vernon also takes the chance to heavily feature the saxophone, aided by the saxophone collective Sad Sax of Shit. Vernon’s voice is, at times, barely recognizable; he has left the corporeal body presented in For Emma and fully immersed himself in the music, rising up from under the surface occasionally to voice his inner thoughts. Thus, the listener is compelled to actively listen to the lyrics, flawlessly executed but at times submerged under the intense instrumental manipulations.

The tracks are hypnotizing, almost psychedelically so at times; for many, it is easy to get lost in the swirling, half-formed melodies and jagged interludes. The lyrics fluctuate from half-lucid utterances and cryptic messages (“22 (OVER S∞∞N)”) to bold statements and ragged pleas, almost shouted by Vernon in later tracks. More interesting is Vernon’s curious fascination with symbols and numbers that peppers the track titles. An active listener would be in want of a guidebook to follow the mysterious content Vernon has included in 22, A Million, or would need to reconcile the fact that we may never fully understand the methods behind the madness. 

22, A Million opens with “22 (OVER S∞∞N),” introduced by a ghostly monotone note and Vernon’s auto-tuned “It might be over soon,” played back on a distorted loop. Lush, layered melodies fade in and out of the track, giving it a decisive ebb and flow. Vernon has sampled Mahalia Jackson’s live version of “How I Got Over” at various points along with the saxophone. (If you’re feeling a slight “Ultralight Beam” vibe here, you’re not alone.) “33 ‘GOD'” features a plaintive, simple piano melody throughout, though by the end of the track it is almost indiscernible. Vernon is fond of the echo on this track; his own vocals are followed by a distorted chorus, and high-sung melodies swirl around a heavy, dark beat, providing an effective counter-balance. 

“29 #Strafford APTS” is a solitary return to an acoustic guitar; evidently Vernon cannot fully deny his roots. The track is resonant and familiar, with cryptically poetic lyrics hiding a message of lost love in plain sight. The instrumental manipulation has been stripped away, providing only a faint echo of reverb for punctuation. Vernon’s signature falsetto is haunting here, used sparingly for emphasis on repeated words such as “paramind” and “canonize.” “8 (circle)” begins with a dissonant, whimpering saxophone that fades into a lush synth with an gentle underlaid beat. Vernon’s voice is unadorned by any falsetto or manipulation here, and his lyrics resonate honestly. The saxophone fades in again, confident and slow this time as the instrumentals start to build upon one another and crescendo; Vernon’s voice takes on a new urgency. The track is positively hymnal in nature, and the use of rounds in the last verse only underscores this aspect.

22, A Million is, at first glance, an album for the ear and the brain, not an album for the heart. Yet with every take, the lyrics resonate and permeate; the album itself is forming as you listen. A word to the wise: before dismissing this album on the assumption that Vernon has forgotten his old ways, let yourself fall in and explore the lush musical landscape he has so painstakingly created for himself. Vernon may have released the preconceived notion of traditional “song-writing,” but by no means has he abandoned his need to communicate through song.

Album released: September 30, 2016

review by Juliana Van Amsterdam