Daily Archives: January 20, 2017

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CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: January 17, 2017

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Hi friends,

Got to catch a stunning show on Friday featuring Lee Ranaldo, Steve Gunn, and Meg Baird just before succumbing to the winter cold that’s been making its way around Montreal… despite the preliminary throat-tickle that was creeping in, the night really stood out and proved to be one of the most memorable gigs in quite some time.

Hope you’re all staying healthy & warm out there!
xo
joni

:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT:::
This January Anastasia (of The Submissives fame) will be making a weekly pilgrimage down to CKUT to host If You Got Ears. They’ll be playing a mix of gnarly (and saccharine) pop music, leg-bouncing electronic jams, and abject synthpop: exploring the intersections where mainstream meets experimenta. Lucky listeners will experience the sonic equivalent of sitting under a vitamin D lamp. Expect guest appearances and live sets from weird and wonderful friends (and strangers), and the occasional sniffling/sneezing on-air as they attempt to survive flu season.

:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – january 17, 2017

1. nadja – the stone is not hit by the sun, nor carved with a knife – gizeh CC
2. tasseomancy – do easy – hand drawn dracula CC
3. beatrice deer – fox – self-released CC
4. sam shalabi & alan bishop – mother of all sinners: puppet on a string – unrock CC *
5. ingrid laubrock – serpentines – intakt Continue reading

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Album Review: Squanto – Rose Gold

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Rose Gold is the debut album by Calgary band Squanto. Together, Bobby Henderson (vocals, guitar, and bass), Wil Moralda (keys), Derick Lodovica (drums), Duncan McCartney (saxophone), along with Kat Westermann, Jolene Marie, and Connor Mead (backing vocals), contrive an album flooded with undertones of funk, jazz, disco, synthpop, and occasionally folk-rock. Although the album is quite multi-faceted, the crux of Rose Golds charm lies in its intricate and diverse instrumentals.

The opening track, “Act Your Age” melds the carefree strumming of ‘70s folk-rock with the spry synths and keys of early ‘80s synthpop. Despite the overt folk-rock and synthpop influence on this track (and Rose Gold as a whole), Squanto’s blending of distinct genres and Henderson’s youthful yet gravelly vocals manage to strike a contemporary sound. The height of Squanto’s experimentation is found on “Comin’ Down,” where the band concocts its most elaborate instrumental. The track commences with a sprightly jazz-pop tune; however, halfway through the piece the saxophone pierces through and ushers in a thick jazz melody. McCartney’s saxophone is reminiscent of a much tamer and more primitive version of Dick Parry’s magnetic saxophone on The Dark Side of the Moon (particularly “Us and Them”).

Compared to the rest of the album, the track “Jade Green” experiments less with its structure and sound. That being said, Henderson’s raspy vocals coupled with a funky instrumental produce a groovy melody that is memorable in its own right. Album closer “Times A Thief” finds Squanto crafting a gentle tune, evocative of quintessential early ‘70s folk-rock. Though distinct from the rest of Rose Gold, this simple, almost pastoral track delicately draws the album to a close.

Rose Gold is strewn with buoyant melodies containing hints of disco, synthpop, and a dash of folk-rock. On the whole, the album exudes a very youthful feel, which is probably due to its grainy production and lackadaisical style. Nonetheless, the album’s laid-back quality doesn’t deter from Squanto’s embellished instrumentals and makes Rose Gold an ideal listen for a lazy Sunday morning.

– Review by Soraya Mamiche Afara

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Album Review: RTJ3 – Run The Jewels

maxresdefaultOn January 20th, many Americans will be searching for a way to vent their frustration about the current state of the nation; for my fellow ex-pats, look no further: Killer Mike and El-P, the masterminds behind Run the Jewels, have got you covered. As “Volga Don” (nickname courtesy of my clever grandfather) ascends to the highest public office in the United States, you can lift your speakers to the heavens and blast “2100” until you feel stable enough to re-enter into society. RTJ3 aims to be the antidote to our current national and global angst, with the mentality that sometimes, you just need to get mad. Run the Jewels are not known to sugar-coat or present their lyrics on a bed of roses, and on RTJ3 they are as blunt and sharp-tongued as ever. Killer Mike and El-P take turns shooting barbed rhymes at rapid-fire speed, whether crowing over the success of their nearly-four year collaboration or preaching on the injustices of society.

Run the Jewels have never shied away from addressing issues they find abhorrent, and over time they have mastered the craft of yelling through a bullhorn backed by complex production. El-P has outdone himself on this album, creating stable and well-rounded tracks that simmer and swirl underneath his and Killer Mike’s rhymes. The pair has tapped a host of up-and-coming powerhouses in the rap and hip hop fields, including Danny Brown (“Hey Kids (Bumaye)”) and Trina (“Panther Like A Panther”). Kamasi Washington, renowned sax player who appeared on the scene with Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, features in the closest thing to a Run the Jewels ballad (“Thursday in the Danger Room”). The attitudes on RTJ3 range from a mad rage against class divisions (“A Report to the Shareholders/Kill Your Masters”) to the stereotypical pat-yourself-on-the-shoulder vibe (“Legend Has It”) put out by countless rap artists; though through the clever lyricism of Run the Jewels, this kind of trope doesn’t feel hackneyed. “Thursday in the Danger Room” addresses two very different losses suffered by Killer Mike and El-P: the former’s friend shot in the street for gang-related reasons, the latter’s close buddy dying in a hospital of a fatal illness.

RTJ3 doesn’t necessarily start of with a bang, but rather more of a low simmering energy. “Down” is a tightly-produced track that shakes off any braggadocio carried over from RTJ2; the boys are back and man, are they ready to go. “Thieves! (Screamed the Ghost)” carries the torch with a sinister background melody and sampling The Twilight Zone. Here, Run the Jewels address the rise of riots in response to the blatant police misconduct that has rampaged the U.S. The track is an adrenaline-packed analysis of the reasoning behind the looting and violence that inevitably accompanies what usually start out as peaceful protests. “Thieves!” isn’t the most diverse track on RTJ3, but it doesn’t have to be; the powerful lyrics featured here speak for themselves, and reverberate long after the closing sample of Martin Luther King’s speech on riots.

But Killer Mike and El-P are not done with rending righteousness from their listeners: “2100” begins as soon as “Thieves!” ends, now with a message of hope for those still reeling from the election results (it was released on November 9, the day after Trump’s victory was announced). BOOTS features on the chorus, almost moaning a plea: “Save my swollen heart/Bring me home from the dark/Take me up.” On “Panther Like A Panther” and “Oh Mama,” Run the Jewels return to more typical topics of discussion: crowing about their sexual prowess and general eminence, but assuring listeners they’re still kept in check by their familial ties and dedication to their loved ones.

Letting out this rage and sadness through song and music can be quite cathartic, and Run the Jewels recognize this better than anyone. Over the next four years, I will be returning to this album when I feel that words can no longer express my existential angst concerning the plight of our society. Killer Mike and El-P are certainly better lyricists than the average citizen, and use that advantage to give a voice to those who have none. It will certainly be interesting to see what Run the Jewels tackles next on RTJ4.

Album released: January 13, 2017

review by Juliana Van Amsterdam