I was lucky enough to catch fantastic Montreal expats Steve Jr (above) last week — they don’t make it up here very often and they totally killed it, as per usual. The night afterwards I also got to see Vancouver punks Cloaca rip it up with locals Rivalled Envy and Total Bliss… trying to get my fix of live music before I head out west to hang in the country with family for a bit. And that bring us to, yep, you guess it, VACATION ALERT: I will not be in the office from July 20th – 31st inclusive. Email if you like, but I will have limited internet access out on Anarchist Mountain. Charts and tracking will resume when I’m back in town. Thanks in advance for your cooperation in helping me and my inbox get a bit of chill time this summer.
ckut top 30 – july 18, 2017
1. united waters – the narrows – drawing room records
2. fiver – audible songs from rockwood – idee fixe CC
3. le fruit vert – paon perdu – three:four CC *
4. guerilla toss – gt ultra – dfa
5. aim low – scratched out – amplitude ambitions CC * Continue reading
I couldn’t have picked a better way to celebrate America’s birthday. Kicking things off was Cende: simple, no-nonsense pop music played at a deafaning volume. Bouyed by their youthful energy and unpolished style, they ripped through a short set of formulaic yet enjoyable tunes. Following up, Japanese Breakfast slowed it down a notch with their slinky psych jams, tasteful bass riffs and shiny synth bouncing around underneath the ever-yearning lead vocals.
When the hour was upon us, the chorus of ‘Life is a Highway’ rattled the Ritz soundsystem as Alex and his band rolled onstage. The music hit fast and hard, coursing through the audience and uniting the room within moments with an impressive sense of command, especially for such a relatively young group. The majority of the set was dedicated to his latest album Rocket, including the early standout track ‘Bobby’ and its welcome addition of fiddle to the band’s instrumentation. Though much gentler on the album, the live addition of a stomping drumbeat allowed the song to hit even harder than I thought possible, leaving the crowd torn between head-bobbing and slow-dancing.
The songs are chunky and essential, like semi-polished stones, always build around the core of Alex’s raw voice. He sings mostly through clenched teeth, every measured note spat out, hints of the reserved energy that’s being held back. Only once did the dam breach, during an incredible rendition of ‘Brick’ — an explosive track in which he suddenely erupts in a scream as the guitars howl and rage only to drop away after a minute, giving way to the next piano-driven ballad.
Being an avid listener for years and having followed the group for some time, I can vouch that the presence of 2017 (Sandy) Alex G is immediately undeniable. The band is at its most fluid, less buttoned-down than ever, and with a masterful command of Alex’s expansive discography. They closed out the set by spending near half an hour just taking requests from the audience, not once balking at a buried gem from the depths of his Bandcamp but rather dropping into it confidently at a moment’s notice. The generosity of this final act may have dragged on too long for those less invested in the music, but for the fans it was glorious.
I’ve been lying low over the past week fighting a gnarly cold (do they feel extra wicked in the summer, or is it just me…?)
However, I did make it out for a rad show last week celebrating a friend’s birthday, featuring ßtaß (above) and many others — it was a pretty all-star local crew fitting of the special occasion. Definitely worth leaving the house for!
:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT:::
For the month of July, local music-makers and pigeon enthusiasts Parker Finley, Sydney Lee, Rachel Nam, and Jess ManniquinHead (of MagicPerm and Lonely Boa) are hosting the Montreal Sessions. Tune in for a playlist chock full of local bands, ranging from chillwave to new wave to no wave and more. The series will also featuring live performances by Respectful Child, Lonely Boa, and plenty of others that you’ll need to tune in to catch… You know what to do: listen live each Tuesdayfrom 3-5pm, only on CKUT 90.3 FM and ckut.ca
ckut top 30 – july 11, 2017
1. corridor – supermercado – michel records CC *
2. le fruit vert – paon perdu – three:four CC *
3. guerilla toss – gt ultra – dfa
4. v/a – pentagon black compilation no. 3 – pentagon black CC *
5. best fern – covers ep – self-released CC * Continue reading
I decided to take a page out of Kendrick Lamar’s book with this article. Much like the Compton rapper did with his fourth studio album, DAMN., after completing my first three pieces for CKUT, I took more time than usual to craft the latest instalment of Free Samples. (The fact that I was on vacation for the past two weeks with limited wifi access obviously had nothing to do with it). However, unlike DAMN., I doubt this article will go on to win a slew of awards, sell millions of copies, or leave a lasting impact on its genre and pop culture as a whole. Just a hunch.
Known for his clever lyricism and bold subject matter, Kendrick has sampled everything from a 2015 Fox News report to Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic,” making him one of the most unique and prominent voices in rap today.
“Compton State of Mind” (2009)
Song Sampled: “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys (2009)
Almost a parody of sorts, Kendrick puts his own spin on Jay-Z’s love letter to the Big Apple. Borrowing the beat and hook from the smash hit featuring Alicia Keys on vocals, Kendrick paints a gritty picture of the notorious LA suburb, while also making it clear that he’s “just a good kid hoping [he] can spread love.” Kendrick reworks the chorus of Jay-Z’s track from “In New York/Concrete jungle where dreams are made of/There’s nothing you can’t do/Now you’re in New York/These streets will make you feel brand new/Big lights will inspire you” to “Compton, concrete jungle where dreams are made of/There’s nothin’ you can’t do/Now you’re in Compton/These streets will make you or break you/Expire or inspire you.” Continue reading
Montreal was lucky enough to get a repeat appearance from Les Filles de Illighadad last week, joined by a special guest drummer from Mdou Moctar’s band. Gig of the year? It definitely set the bar pretty high…
ckut top 30 – july 4, 2017
1. le fruit vert – paon perdu – three:four CC *
2. the pink noise – subtext – not unlike CC *
3. not you – misty – fundog CC
4. jessica moss – pools of light – constellation CC *
5. forest swords – compassion – ninja tune Continue reading