Monthly Archives: June 2016




Hi friends,
It was a pretty nice long weekend here in QC (what’s up, Saint John Baptiste). The lovely Sarah C. from CiTR was in town and we got to catch up on all the usual radio gossip, and I also got to hang with one of my favourite Montreal pups (Chino, above) — our off-leash adventure was going great till he tried to eat a dead groundhog. Whoops.

For the month of July, the wildly creative multimedia duo Platitudes will be taking over the CKUT airwaves as the curators of our If You Got Ears residency. Platitudes is a collaboration between local artist (skin tone, *Shining Wizard*, Jef Elise Barbara’s Black Space) and music promoter, James Goddard, and sound artist, hairdresser and feminist researcher, Julia Dyck. They also play together in local experimental pop group Soft Cone. Platitudes uses voice / bent data / musical instruments / samples and field recordings to create audio performances exploring aspects of our psycho-technological contemporaneity.

Over the month of July, Platitudes will present four original works on CKUT’s If You’ve Got Ears. A Blizzard of Best Sellers (July 6th), Personal Stability Zones (July 13th), The Voice of The Dolphin (July 20th), and The Modular “Fun Palace” (July 27th). Tune in every Wednesday from 12-2pm, or download the audio from our archive page after it airs.

ckut top 30 – june 28, 2016

1. jef elise barbara – sexe machin/sex machine – fixture records CC *
2. v/a – space echo: the mystery behind the cosmic sound of cabo verde – analog africa
3. un blonde – good will come to you – egg paper factory CC *
4. tamara filyavich/portable cosmoshrine – split ep – fake press co. CC *
5. mitski – puberty 2 – dead oceans  Continue reading


Album Review: Mitski – Puberty 2


“Happy” initiates the discordant theme of Mitski Miyawaki’s recent release Puberty 2, telling a story where happiness takes the form of a man, comes to the singer with cookies and tea, uses her, and leaves while she is in the bathroom, leaving her with empty cups and wrappers to clean up. This abrasive introduction shows the artist’s certainty of the fleeting nature of happiness that she explored in previous albums with more reservation. Rather than taking a conflicting perspective, she emphasizes the inevitability of sadness that follows waves of happiness, hitting harder than the initial positive feeling. Her pithy lyrics and juxtaposition of choppy and ethereal rhythms make for a frictional tone as the artist comes to terms with her decided reality. In a nutshell, this album nuances Mitski’s comment that “happiness fucks you”.

Mitski and Patrick Hyland, who also produced the album, recorded every instrument from the resounding melodic saxophone to the industrial beats of electric drums. There is decisiveness in the rhythms of Puberty 2; the instrumentals lining up perfectly in accord with the message Mitski sends lyrically. From the tense, incessant electric drumbeat in Happy to the steady, pressing drums and bass in Fireworks, Mitski’s voice is dynamic, haunting one moment and wistful the next. An almost uncanny emotional potency ties the album together as Mitski unpacks her longing for happiness in personal stories woven throughout her lyrics, coinciding and highlighted by instrumental complexities.

“Once More to See You,” “ I Bet on the Losing Dogs” and “Thursday’s Girl” are delicate, melancholy ballads built up from ethereal vocals, steady synth, and distant reverberant guitar. Mitski’s voice is soft yet resonating, evoking dreamy 70s folk tunes of love and longing. “Once More to See You” addresses her longing for the happiness of a past romantic relationship. She seems to address the person she sees “in the rearview mirror,” pleading with them to be alone with her secretly. I’d argue that “A Loving Feeling,” a catchy, upbeat track appearing later on the album, responds to “Once More to See You” by harshly deconstructing the reality of the situation she longs for. Here she sings “what do you do with a loving feeling if they only love you when you’re all alone?” and details instances of concealed affection. With the lyrics of each song in dialogue with each other and the clarity of emotional evocations in Mitski’s instrumental choices, Puberty 2 communicates Mitski’s insight coherently and conclusively.

My favorite tracks “Crack Baby” and “A Burning Hill” conclude the album. The instrumentals in “Crack Baby” are a testament to Mitski’s dynamic handling of discordant percussion, rhythmic melodies and an ultimately fascinating mixture of electronic and traditional sound. The longest track on the album, “Crack Baby” is initiated with a low-tempo percussion rhythm pattern and bellowing bass, with Mitski’s haunting vocals coming in on an up beat and following the steadiness of the bass echoes. This pattern obeys the evocative theme of the track where Mitski likens a longing for happiness to addiction, as both highs lead to inevitable lows. In “A Burning Hill”, Mitski asserts, “I think I’m finally worn,” evidently of the pattern of up and down. The artist seems to come to terms with this undulating emotional existence that comes with polar periods of happiness and sadness, ending on a self-reliant tone by describing herself as a fire, the forest it burns, and the witness of the spectacle. She withdraws, identifies herself as multiple forces, and ultimately abandons the person she was addressing in her pleas and confrontations in saying “you’re not there at all.” By dwelling and detailing moments of everyday life, she concludes, “ I’ll love some littler things,” perhaps suggesting the possibility of balance in a neutral presence.

Though Puberty 2 essentially chewed me up and spit me out emotionally as I listened to it carefully and incessantly since its release June 17th, Mitski executed this album with stunning vocals and instrumentals that make it absolutely captivating. You will find no empty optimism in her lyrics, but rather will be forced to confront a reality with the rose-colored glasses removed.

– Review by Erika Kindsfather


Suoni Per Il Popolo: Local Heroes

After writing a review of the fantastic Suoni Per Il Popolo Festival opening concert featuring the likes of Wadada Leo Smith and Kai Kellough, I was graced with the opportunity to witness a slew of Suoni festival concerts throughout their two week line-up.  As usual, Suoni delivered a mind bending take on music.  From spoken word to art-punk to free jazz, all things underground seemed to be represented in one way or another.  Through and through Montreal was well represented.  At the end of the day, the festival is really about this beautiful city we live in so, I thought it would be best to spend some time writing about some of my favorite local acts.  Check it out:

Jean Derome and Joane Hétu @ Sala Rossa


Jean Derome has been an important figure in Quebec’s Musique Actuelle scene for 45 years.  For this year’s festival, Derome put on a career spanning concert event featuring various ensembles and musicians from different eras in his life.  From beginning to end the audience witnessed extraordinary feats as each and every musician tested the capabilities of their selected musical instruments.  The set that I remember most fondly was Derome’s first with alto saxophone player and vocalist Joane Hétu.  Although Derome has an impressive arsenal of instruments including Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Alto Flute, Soprano Flute as well as various extended wind instruments, Hétu still matched Derome’s level of contrast with her outstanding ability to use everything at her disposal.  From screeching high notes and intense vocal clicking to airy sax playing, Hétu successfully held her ground when faced with the spectrum of noise of Derome.  The set began with textural devices.  Puffs of air and rhythmic scratching evolved into huge walls of sound as Hétu and Derome developed extensive motivic ideas side by side.  The quick-hitting contrast and shocking sound effects maintained excitement throughout, truly epitomizing the wonder of live improvised music. Continue reading

**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


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!





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.

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


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


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