Author Archives: librarian

la louma album cover

Album Review: Let the World be Flooded Out – La Louma

I ingest albums very slowly. I find one or two songs I like from an album and listen to them on repeat for a week or so. Other songs from the album will slowly make their way into my repertoire, and if the album is good, I’m eventually listening to it in order on repeat. This is what happened to me with La Louma’s debut album Let the World be Flooded Out.

The opening track (and first single from the album) “The Decline of Nations” immediately intrigued me with its polished punk swagger. Then, I listened to “Just Wanna Love You” (the second single released). “Just Wanna Love You” features middle eastern influences, and is unlike any song I’ve heard recently. La Louma’s lyrics tell a story about the deep emotional unrest of being in a relationship that is no longer working, and her voice moves from clear vocals in the chorus to gritty vocal styling in the verses, with desperate pleas asking what she did wrong. I was utterly enthralled.

Next up for my ears to obsess over was “If We Don’t Now We Never Will.” This song is slower than the last two songs, but the mournful lyrics and vocal styling enchanted many of my fall walks. While slower in tempo, the song still posses the layers of instruments present throughout the whole album. This song really highlights La Louma’s ability to knit instruments together. Her layers of melodies and counter melodies are united in one large blanket of sound. The songs sound full, but never chaotic.

Perhaps this unity has to do with the fact that La Louma performed, record, produced, and mixed every song in her garage. The album was recorded over the course of three years, and during these three years, Lauren Ross (the talent behind La Louma) recorded 200 songs. She then distilled them into the ten song Let the World be Flooded Out. Growing up, Ross was a classical woodwind player, but the album displays Ross’ ability to play piccolo, flute, bassoon, french horn, electric guitar, electric bass, v-drums, and tambourine. And sing. Really, really well. “Brother True,” “Candy” and “Aaj Mausam Bada Beimann Har” showcase her woodwind classical training, and the combination of classical training and the unique recording process really make this album stand out.

Bear with me for the following digression. Ready? Ok. My younger sister loves Harry Styles. She was in middle school during the peak of the One Direction era, and during this time, the whole area around her bed was covered in One Direction posters (much to my displeasure). Needless to say, she was so excited when Harry Styles released his self-titled debut album this year. When it came out, I was in the depths of my disillusionment with academia, and I channelled this into a new-found appreciation for pop music as an anti-elitist statement. For the first time, I actually listened as my sister obsessed about Harry Styles. I listened to his album, and I really wanted to like it, as some kind of statement, or to support this male pop star who defends his female fans from the sexist eye-rolls music snobs might give them. But… I couldn’t get into it. I appreciated the 60s and 70s rock sensibility displayed, but there was something missing. After some thought, I narrowed it down to Styles’ voice. His voice is “perfect,” polished to pop perfection. A polished voice may be the cause of his fame, but it’s also his artistic weakness. Listening to the album, I kept waiting for a true, unbridled release of emotion to come from Styles’ mouth. Instead, all I got was the voice of a pop star too afraid to make mistakes.

A crack in the voice, the scream of a singer who’s letting their emotions govern their voice when emotions become too powerful to be contained, it’s cathartic and powerful. In my opinion, it’s a signifier of a great work of music. When I was listening to Let the World Be Flooded Out I was reminded of this. Lauren Ross has a beautiful, clear voice that shines in her songs. It’s a voice that would fit into the pop charts, but unlike Harry Styles, Ross can let her emotionality shine through in her voice. She can scream or show grit. Her voice cracks and breaks with emotion when needed. When La Louma creates a work it feels powerful and personal.

While at first Lauren Ross’ punk sensibility may be obscured by her classical training, it is there, evidenced by her vocals, her recording process, and her politics. Let the World Be Flooded Out is the first album released by Bitchwave, the feminist/queer collective and label Ross co-runs in Los Angeles. Bitchwave allows Ross to live her politics outside of her songs. The album is personal, but many of the songs are also very political. “I am Here I Am” was inspired by a first-hand account that Ross read about several female refugees. Ross said that “the chorus is a repeating declaration that ‘I am here’, and while it’s meant to be their [the refugee’s] statement, it’s crucial for me to hear myself sing those words over and over, too.” “Decline of Nations” (inspired by the Syrian refugee crisis) also serves as a political anthem and implores the listener to “Promise me you’ll stay until you try to make things right.” Bitchwave is still in it’s early stages, but hopefully we’ll soon have more amazing music from them.

In Let the World Be Flooded Out, Ross masterfully mixes opposing forces to create a truly unique album. La Louma makes complex pop music sound effortless, and combines her classical training, her DIY punk ethos, and pop sensibilities to create an album confident in its clashes.

-review by Ella Chatfield-Stiehler

alan licht show

Concert Review: Alan Licht at Suoni Per Il Popolo

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Alan Licht is one of those extremely prolific avant-garde musicians who keeps re-emerging in different musical contexts. Since the beginning of his career, Licht has explored large tracts of musical territory with endless collaborators and a consistently refined yet elusive style, one that resists description – ephemeral might be the best word for it. Whether he’s atonally plucking a subdued guitar with Loren Connors on Two Nights, or diverging into drone remixes of disco anthems on Plays Well, all of his output is confident and fascinating. Given this diverse discography, I was quite curious to see what Licht would play when I arrived at La Vitrola on June 3rd for his Suoni Per Il Popolo show.

The evening began with two strong performances from two very different guitarists. The first was local solo guitarist Vicky Mettler, who I’d never seen before. Mettler got the crowd’s attention with her loud, distorted acoustic guitar; any other sound in the audience was barely audible amidst the heavy tones she produced. Playing an assortment of atonal chords, Mettler sung and wailed alongside the creeping tones of her instrument, harmonizing in a foreboding and ominous way – a promising start for the night.

The second opener was an Icelandic guitarist by the name of Kristin Haraldsdottir. Her music, in direct contrast with Mettler’s, was hushed and lingering; Haraldsdottir let her instrument breathe in between notes, the guitar exhaling over empty air or a backing track of oceans, rivers, and various other hydrologic manifestations. Unfortunately, some of the effect was lost due to (in Licht’s words) a particularly noisy ‘polka-disco’ party underway downstairs. But despite the potential distractions, Haraldsdottir’s performance was captivating, and I hope she makes her way back to North America sometime soon.

By the time Licht went on, the room was quiet, the music from downstairs finally having subsided. Licht entered the stage quite unceremoniously, acoustic guitar in hand, and without skipping a beat he sat down on a chair centre-stage and began playing.

Licht’s guitar tone was clean and bright; you could hear each note reverberate as if it was a bell chime. He strummed his guitar, up and down, in a straightforward rhythm, and kept fingerpicking techniques to a minimum. There was no dissonance, no distortion – Licht was simply playing his guitar in the same way someone might play in their room at home, strumming chord after chord, thinking that maybe this progression would hypothetically sound good in a band someday.

Despite these rudimentary tools and straight ahead style, Licht did not fail to deeply impress. Throughout the show, he continuously convinced me that he knew exactly what he was doing, and that he was doing it well. Early on in the set Licht confided that, after reading Keith Richards’ biography, he was inspired to write a lot of these songs in open G. The tuning allowed him to hit all six strings of his guitar with every stroke of his hand, creating a real fullness and depth to the sound.

The songs themselves were like hurried meditations on hypothetical childhood memories, not nostalgic, but rather invoking in me the same sense of solipsistic optimism that I used to feel when I was a kid. Rather than leaving me with the chills, Licht’s gave me a warm feeling, like the one you get in your stomach when seeing a friend after many months apart. In a way, it felt as if Licht had turned La Vitrola into his own living room, and the audience members were his welcomed guests as we sat there and watched him play.

Licht didn’t linger on stage once he finished, instead hurrying over to the merch table, leaving his audience to find our way back to reality. The concert had been an exclusive peek into another world, Licht’s performances like bedroom renditions of the best rock songs never written. Eventually, I begrudgingly got on my feet to leave, feeling as though I was arriving home from a vacation, the sound of Licht’s guitar still repeating over and over in my head.

– Review by Rudy Quinn

Corbin Ordel

Corbin Ordel hosts ‘If You Got Ears’ all June!

Corbin OrdelFor all of June, If You Got Ears is curated by local sweetheart, Corbin Ordel. Tune in Wednesdays 12-2 for Corbin’s experimental sessions. Here’s how he puts its…

I am Corbin Ordel (one 1/2 of Steve Jr.) and I will be playing music coming from 
all corners and sections of the rainbow. Everything that has planted a flag in my brain will be presented on the show. I will be playing tracks from my extensive 
catalogue of 74-minute minidisk mixes (tracks can range from early millennium nu 
metal <my preferred music for walking around the mall in Bellingham, Washington> 
to my all time favourite bands from Washington, D.C. <perfect for summer cruising>) and other life-affirming albums (a lot of these are made by my friends). DJ 
Spencer Gilley will be performing live in studio on June 11th and in anticipation of the Suoni Per Il Popolo show on June 7th (feat Tonstartssbandht, Cousins of Reggae, and Steve Jr.) I will be playing selected tracks from each band.

 

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CKUT DJ FUNDRAISER DANCEPARTY

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Come out to a very special party!  Showcasing some serious DJ talent from Montreal’s #1 radio station, CKUT 90.3 FM!

Saturday, June 7, 2014
10pm-3am
Inspecteur Épingle, 4051 St-Hubert (corner of Duluth)
$5

 

 

 

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/events/769970616368921

**All proceeds go to support CKUT radio’s delegation to the Allied Media Conference in Detroit!

On the musical menu: Beats, Breaks, Bass, Punk (Post, Pre, and Present), Funk, Soul, Community

On the 1’s and 2’s:

-DJ Damn Brunette (The Witching Hour)
-DJ Rhythm & Hues (World Skip the Beat)
-The Venus Collective (Venus Radio)
-Andy Williams (The Goods)

This summer, we are organizing to send a delegation of CKUT radio members to the Allied Media Conference in Detroit!

While in there, we will be hosting a live broadcast of Off the Hour from the AMC, giving workshops on radical radio, networking, and getting CKUT’s good name out there in the world!

 

An evening with some of CKUT’s best DJs.  Don’t miss out!

Molly Drake

NEW SHIT :: June 2 2014

Molly Drake

Today on the music departments weekly program we began by previewing some upcoming Suoni Per Il Popolo concerts, including Le Fruit Vert, Omar Souleyman, Alden Penner, Richard Buckner, Ought, Lydia Ainsworth and Ramzi.

Rounding out the end of the show, we bid a fond farewell to Tim Beeler, host of NEW SHIT for the past 10 months. He expertly curated a masterful playlist of his top picks from his tenure. Tim’s set included Tal National, Molly Drake (pictured), Cirquit des Yeux, Undone and David Rosenboom.

Tune in Mondays 3-5pm for new selections from the CKUT music department.

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Brave Radar on NEW SHIT

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Tune in today from 3-5pm for another edition of NEW SHIT, your weekly source for new music.

PLUS, we’ll be talking with Tessa Smith of Brave Radar (co-founder of Fixture Records) about their first album in five years, Message Centre.

Don’t miss out! 90.3 FM / CKUT.CA / ARCHIVES

Total Eclipse Live Compilation: Now Streaming!

Hey all,

you can now stream our new compilation Total Eclipse: Live on CKUT in it’s entirety on bandcamp.

Also check the purchasing links to grab your limited-edition CD/Cassette!

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The Past on NEW SHIT

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This week on New Shit we’ll be previewing the amazing and totally weather-appropriate new release from The Past (formerly Ollie North), Airless.  We’ll be doing a live phone interview with Jack Deming to talk about the tape around 4pm EST.

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CKUT Live Compilations now available online

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The internet lets out a big “hoo-ray”
 

Yes, you can now get your hands on our coveted CD/Cassette compilation via the interways! Head this way:

http://ckutmusic.bandcamp.com/album/total-eclipse-live-on-ckut-903-fm

If you are lucky enough to be in Montreal, you can also pick up a copy at Phonopolis, Atom Heart, Cheap Thrills, L’Oblique, or our offices starting this Thursday.

Don’t sleep on it!  Both are limited runs of 100/200.

For questions or bulk-ordering information contact Tim at library at ckut.ca

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