Daily Archives: August 13, 2014

osheaga 2014

Festival review: Osheaga 2014

osheaga 2014

By: Armitage Shanks, Drastic Plastic (@ArmitageShanks1)

Once again, I had the privilege to cover Osheaga for CKUT; here are some of the highlights of 2014. Friday’s pleasant afternoon featuring diverse acts kicked into high gear once London Grammar hit the Green Stage. Vocalist Hannah Reid‘s talents stupefied the sizable crowd from the first track; her clarity and power engaged the audience for London Grammar’s hour-long set of releases from their debut album (selected as Armitage Shanks’ 2nd best of 2013 on Drastic Plastic) that ran the gamut from trance to exuberant rapturous emotion.

 Immediately afterward, I strolled by the Tree Stage and was lured into a giddily dancing crowd going ballistic for Bear Mountain. Never having heard this Vancouver band before, I was won over by their sound which I subsequently described to my mates as Phoenix being fronted by Roland Gift (of Fine Young Cannibals).

 As Friday evening fell, I caught a nearly two-hour set of Skrillex on the main stage, which any music fan has to experience at least once. Sonny John Moore‘s powerful and clever amalgamation of EDM, hip-hop, R&B, bro-step, etc. truly becomes apparent live, as Skrillex took the festival participants through a musical maelstrom.

 I closed Friday night off with Chase & Status at the Piknic Electronik; this London-based trio has put together some of the best dubstep and house tracks appearing in the UK during the past several years (their album No More Idols was selected as Armitage Shanks’ best album of 2012 on Drastic Plastic). Chase & Status‘ 90 minute show fully met my admittedly lofty expectations; I heartily recommend attending their next performance, whether in the sonic-scapes of an outdoor festival or a comparatively intimate club setting.

 Saturday first treated me with another new discovery on the Green Stage: St. Lucia. This collective, hailing from South Africa and Brooklyn, created the perfect vibe for a hot, sunny and groovy Saturday afternoon; based on St. Lucia‘s sound, they could well have been the love children from a debauched affair between Duran Duran and MGMT.

 The subsequent several hours of pleasant downtime were necessary for Saturday night’s fierce highlight on the main stage: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. While I had twice before witnessed Nick’s Caverne (as featured on the original Osheaga 2014 poster), he was never so frenetically demonic as at Osheaga 2014. Mr. Cave and his cohorts (particularly Warren Ellis) had entered another profane, diabolical dimension Saturday night that took the unsuspecting audience of 40,000 along for the ride. Woe to any small children and grandmothers who were caught up in the infernal torrent of Stagger Lee!

 Sunday at Osheaga was the pre-eminent day of the festival. The plethora of quality acts certainly made for some heart-wrenching choices on my part. My afternoon started with The Kooks, who have been a successful act for the past decade in the UK, a long-time favourite band during my featured spots on Drastic Plastic, and doubtlessly a fond new discovery for the enthusiastic crowd that caught their show on the main stage.

 One of the aforementioned difficult choices was alleviated by the good fortunate of coming across Kodaline performing a brief acoustic set on a wee stage in the middle of the lush treed section of the festival on my way to see Kate Nash. Ms. Nash’s live set on the Tree Stage was astonishing, as she abandoned her customary clever folk musings for a cracking all-female band, reminiscent of Blondie, that impelled a mosh pit to form.

 The quality at the Tree Stage increased further, as cracking new UK band Temples (whom I have been faithfully playing during my segments of Drastic Plastic in 2014) took the crowd back into a psychedelic era that segued perfectly into my other fave new band of 2014, Royal Blood, who performed the next set on the adjacent Valley Stage. The duo from Brighton (who are guaranteed to be massive in 2015) blasted the audience with a torrid assault of intense guitar riffs and melodic hooks that riveted listeners and swelled the crowd to more than double its original size by the time their all-too short set had concluded.

 How can one possibly follow up the adrenaline rush of Royal Blood? The only conceivable remedy was to head directly over to the Green Stage to catch Gogol Bordello‘s gypsy punk escapades. Bearing in mind that their previous show several years ago at Osheaga was one of the top-five sets I have witnessed during my 8 years of covering the festival, I was delighted to experience the equally energetic 2014 version of the performance by Eugene Hutz and his debauched band of troubadours.

 As Gogol Bordello convinced the assembled masses to start wearing purple, the sun fell and I ran back to the Tree Stage to catch Jagwar Ma. This outstanding band turned in one of the top performances of the festival, breathing new life and nuance into their debut album that was one of my most consistently listened-to treasures of 2013. Overall, this year’s festival (and particularly the Sunday lineup) was such an exhilarating experience that, watching Arctic Monkeys, the night’s closing headliner on the main stage (and one of my fave bands of the past decade), could be best described as providing the perfect anthemic farewell to tide festivalgoers over until Osheaga 2015 welcomes us all back.

usa out of vietnam

Album review: USA Out Of Vietnam – Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes

usa out of vietnam

By: Nema Gaye

Take four solid band members to make an unyielding foundation, add 15 others musicians to your flavor for the aesthetic and the statement, let it marinade for a couple of months and you will obtain an emblematic five track record that definitely raises the bar high for a first project.

Montreal’s new alternative group USA out of Vietnam, are yet to catch our attention beyond their original band name. Their ‘’sicker than the average’’ music composition makes you see sounds.

With famous columnist/producer Jonathan ‘’Johnson’’ Cummins part of the group the expectation can be nothing other than high for that quartet. As well, we think that they pretty much nailed the challenge, and made a record that will be a great topic of discussion. Whether you like the sound or not you will talk about it.

It’s nothing like your regular band, nor record. First, they made a really smart overseas collaboration to release their project with a ‘’Pied à Terre’’ in London UK through Aurora Borealis, a specialized boutique record label, that will also distribute the project in Japan, and in the rest of Europe. For the other part of the globe New Damage records takes care of North America and Australia. Great visibility.

The track list features psychedelic title like You Are A Comet You Are On Fire or Leg of Lamb, that brings question marks to your mind and even makes you think of a really dark vibe at first impression. But it will quickly surprise you with high pitched vocals and a heavy drum sound. For a little twist to their non-conventional release, do not expect to hear a less than 8 minutes track on that project.

When interviewed earlier this year by Noisey Canada staff the group mentioned artist like FKA Twigs , Marie Davidson and even Timber Timbre as artists that the enjoy listening to. Their eclectic taste clearly translate into their sound.

We really think that everything mentioned above make the group come across strong in the scene with their own identity. Really sparse vocals leave room for the instruments and the great conversation they have between each other. A special highlight on track 5: Tonight, The Dead Walk – it’s a song that makes you want to see the band live just to be part of that musical orgy.

Album available through Aurora Borealis’ Bandcamp.


Doldrums hosts If You Got Ears

Doldrums-Lesser-EvilThe man behind Doldrums, known IRL as Airick Woodhead, is searing through his If You Got Ears radio-residency this month with experimental tracks and noisy jams of the local and international varieties. Don’t miss this otherworldly endeavour Wednesdays 12-2pm; your ears will thank you, trust us.

Also, Doldrums is performing soon! He’ll be with his band at La Vitrola on August 29 opening at the TOPS album release party!

boats edited


boats edited


Hey Radio,

I spent the weekend at a cottage on Wolfe Island, enjoying all the best parts of getting out of the city: lots of canoeing, swimming in the river, eating BBQ, and lounging in the sun. My pals and I briefly swung by the Wolfe Island music festival on Saturday, the highlight of which was seeing Shad and getting to high-five some awesome CFRC folks who were tabling there. I also ate rhubarb-ginger ice cream, which was in and of itself a wholly life-changing experience.

Back to the grind, here are this week’s charts…


ckut top 30 – august 12, 2014
helene prevost – a la plage – tour de bras CC
usa out of vietnam – crushing disease – aurora borealis cc
shearing pinx – infinite siblings III – self-released CC
OOIOO – gamel – thrill jockey
fka twigs – lp1 – young turks Continue reading