Author Archives: CKUT Music Coordinator

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Concert Review: Mal Devisa, Skin Tone, Joni Void @ Casa del Popolo

I went to Casa del Popolo this past week to catch the stacked bill consisting of Mal Devisa along with locals Skin Tone and Joni Void. People were a bit in short supply, it being a Sunday night, but high quality art was not!

Skin Tone’s set explored the outer limits of the saxophone on a bed of drone, and did not lose any steam for its duration. It started with a couple frozen notes, then dissonant wrinkles emerged and grew eerier as Skin Tone began to stomp onstage – a march away from his more melodic material. His horn was already saying a lot, but Skin Tone made the message of his set explicit: Do not be complacent in the continuous displacement of indigenous peoples and killing of black people. At this point, Skin Tone ceased marching and began free-form squealing his portrait of racism, capturing fear and sadness in a pure form. It is worth noting that this squealing is beyond where other sax heroes like Pharoah Sanders go. If you want to hear the place between overtones where a person’s soul lies, then see Skin Tone and watch him crack it wide open.

This set was one Joni Void had been looking forward to since supporting Mal Devisa years ago at a Brooklyn show, and being consequently inspired to continue developing his style. Playing at Casa del Popolo, as opposed to Art Lounge (where I previously saw him), allowed him to dial up the low end of his tracks. This gave the thick, patient thump of Joni Void’s kick drum a greater physical presence, making better friends with the freckled, high-end glass sounds. The opening and closing tracks of his set were particularly special, being composed not of found sounds, but of photos: the opener, a picture of himself, the closer, one of his father.

This was Mal Devisa’s first time playing in Montréal. She played a string of songs, and it feels more appropriate to talk about her style in general rather than the individual tracks. Together, her voice and bass put other forms of expression to shame. As a songwriter, each of her songs are a world of their own in a nutshell. She does not waste a single word in drawing emotional arcs complete and cathartic. The songs compel you to cry at the way things are, then instill a warm confidence in knowing things are that way. When she sings, it’s as though you are with her instead of with the audience, demonstrating a rare ability to command any space she decides to play in. It is exciting to watch where she will go from here, as she is already a master. Overall, I am super happy to have been able to catch three inspiring artists in one go – all are highly recommended!

– Review by Rian Adamian

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CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: December 5, 2017

Greetings radio,

Not too much to report this week, as we’re busy prepping for holiday programming (which is a big job around here!) and hiring our incoming music coordinator. We’ll be introducing them either next week or the week after, so stay tuned for an update on that very soon.

xo
joni

:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT:::
IF YOU GOT EARS/LOVE DANCING

Throughout the month of December, our illustrious If You Got Ears curator will be speaking with four Montrealers with remarkable dancefloor presence about what special ingredients can make or break a night out. Your host Zoe (aka DJ Frog) explores the relationship between person and party, experience and aesthetic, environment and sound with a keen sense of exploration during this special month-long residency. Tune in from 12-2pm every Wednesday to find out why we – and you – love dancing!

:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – december 5, 2017

1. mich cota – kija/care – egg paper factory CC *
2. julie & the wrong guys – s/t – dine alone records CC
3. neil campbell & richard young – six scores- shaking box music CC
4. mlodrs – dvdul – jmmx CC *
5. esmerine – mechanics of domination – constellation CC * Continue reading

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CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: November 27, 2017

Hi friends,

I’m sending these charts out a day early because I will be out of the office tomorrow; I’ll be back on Wednesday though, so don’t hesitate to reach out later this week for any tracking inquiries. Also, as my stint wearing the CKUT music coordinator hat draws to a close, I’m excited to announce that starting in January 2018 I’ll be making the jump over to Constellation Records to head up their in-house PR and publicity efforts. If you want to stay in touch, I’ll be at joni@cstrecords.com. Don’t be a stranger!

xo
joni

:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT:::
Ora Cogan has just released her new album Crickets & joins us fresh off the road to host the Montreal Sessions every Tuesday from 3-5pm in December. Her music inhabits a place between psych folk & dream pop, but her taste in music is as unpredictable as the winter sea! This session will feature live performances, interviews and an excursion through the archives of witch-house, post-punk, electronica, archaic folk and experimental music. Expect obscurities of all sorts!

:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – november 27, 2017

1. blue hawaii – tenderness – arbutus CC *
2. esmerine – mechanics of domination – constellation CC *
3. cold specks – fool’s paradise – arts & crafts CC
4. brooklyn raga massive – terry riley in c – northern spy
5. sharon jones & the dap-kings – soul of a woman – daptone Continue reading

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CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: November 21, 2017

Hi folks,

Well, it’s true – some of you have already heard the news, but for those who haven’t, I’ll be leaving the Music Coordinator job at the end of the year. It’s been a great five-year run in this wacky office and getting to work with all you rad music folks has made it all the more glorious. I’ve got a couple exciting new things in store so keep an eye out for next week’s charts, which will have an update on where to find me in 2018… in the meantime, apply for this sweet gig, whydontcha?

xo
joni

:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT:::
We’re hiring a Music Coordinator. Got the chops to succeed in this kickass role? You know what to do.
:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – november 21, 2017

1. fever ray – plunge – rabid records
2. julie & the wrong guys – s/t – dine alone records CC
3. deerhoof – mountain moves – joyful noise
4. godspeed you! black emperor – luciferian towers – constellation CC *
5. john carpenter – anthology: movie themes – sacred bones Continue reading

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Album Review: Sharon Jones – Soul of a Woman

Whenever I talk to relatives or family friends about music, I’m often besieged with the common complaint of how “they just don’t make music like they used to.” It’s true that many new genres and subgenres of music have developed over the past several decades, but if people are complaining about the lack of “old-school” music in the modern day, then it’s clear they have not heard about Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.

Grammy nominee and subject of acclaimed documentary Miss Sharon Jones!, Sharon Jones had an awe-inspiring career as a soul singer before her tragic death almost exactly one year ago, on November 18th, 2016. Jones and the Dap-Kings released seven studio albums over the course of 17 years, each one encapsulating the raw, Aretha-like authenticity that Jones made a standard in her work. The release of the group’s newest album Soul of a Woman almost exactly one year after Jones’s death is a sad yet significant reminder of the inspirational power possessed by this incredible woman.

Soul of a Woman relates directly back to the title as a reflection of album’s thematic context. The tracks vary in subject matter, ranging from elements of love and break-ups to the importance of hard work and in some cases even religion, yet they demonstrate the day-to-day experience of a modern woman. Every lyric of this album is relatable to a level that is almost uncanny. While listening through this album for the first time, I often found myself believing Jones was singing directly to me about own experiences — something I can honestly say I’ve never experienced before.

The album begins with the strong opening of “Matter of Time,” a song rich with gospel-influenced call-and-response elements. The simple harmonies add invigorating, but not overpowering, dimension to Jones’s dominant voice. The track is upbeat and light-hearted and sets the listener up for what seems to be a fun, bluesy journey. Interestingly though, this is not the case; while many of the earlier songs on the album are upbeat, the tempo goes through a notable downwards trend as the album progresses, with songs becoming more impactful in terms of orchestration, shifting genres from blues to soul to gospel, and finally coming to rest with its inspiring terminus “Call on God” and its optimistic chorus “Call on God/and He’ll carry you through.” It carries the message of Soul of a Woman in a soft yet powerful manner and is the perfect closing to an album about love and loss.

The climax of this album, in my opinion, comes with the second to last track “Girl (You’ve Got To Forgive Him).” Jones takes on the role of an instructive friend: her vocals, laden with intense emotion, are laid over heightened orchestral sound, which will leave this song echoing in the listener’s mind for the rest of the album’s duration.

If you’re looking for an empowering album that perfectly captures the spirit of ’60s and ’70s soul, then this album is a must. Soul of a Woman not only succeeds in proudly carrying the torch of what many incorrectly consider to be a dying genre, but also encompasses the enormous spirit of Sharon Jones herself.

– Review by Madison Palmer
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CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: November 14, 2017

Hi everyone,

I’ve been under the weather for the past week and have consequently missed a string of really good shows here in Montreal: Colleen, Do Make Say Think, Circuit des Yeux, Aim Low, the list goes on and on… Instead, I have been opting for extra sleep, cold meds, and plenty of soup to try and kick this bug. Got any secret remedies that unfailingly bring you back to life when cold season hits? Send ‘em over.

xo
joni

:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT:::
Local duo Nyon is a force to be reckoned with: drawing equally from the realms of noise, drone, and free jazz, these expert sound-benders have carved out a truly unique space within Montreal’s experimental scene. Together J. Goddard & C. Scott bring their eclectic and often harsh sonic worlds to the masses every Wednesday in November for our If You Got Ears residency, and you’re cordially invited along for the ride. Stream it live from 12-2pm and gear up for some of the most out-there sounds on the dial.

:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – november 14, 2017

1. mich cota – kija/care – egg paper factory CC *
2. chad van gaalen – light information – flemish eye CC
3. blue hawaii – tenderness – arbutus CC *
4. cold specks – fool’s paradise – arts & crafts CC
5. alvarius b – with a beaker on the burner and an otter in the oven – abduction Continue reading

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CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: November 7, 2017

Hi folks,

I’m still reeling from an amazing 27th Hour live broadcast we rigged up last night at Barfly featuring performances from local rippers Nuage Flou (above) and Boar God. If you weren’t among the lucky folks who got to enjoy the gig in person, check out the full audio here and don’t skimp on the volume.

xo
joni

:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT:::
We’re very excited to welcome our friends at Blue Skies Turn Black into the studio for our November edition of the Montreal Sessions. BSTB was founded in 2000 by Meyer Billurcu and Brian Neuman. In the early days, the company operated as both a record label and a promotion company. In 2007, however, the label ceased operations so that BSTB could shift its primary focus on concert promotion. A decade after its first humble event — a DIY screening of Fugazi’s film ‘Instrument’ — Blue Skies Turn Black has become an essential fixture in the Montreal musical landscape, having worked with a wide array of international and local artists in venues of all sizes throughout the city. Its team of employees continue to strive to find exciting up-and-coming bands while also concentrating on the hundreds of bands and artists the company has cultivated relationships with over the years. Catch the crew on-air every Tuesday in November from 3-5pm or download the full archived audio here.

:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – november 7, 2017

1. deerhoof – mountain moves – joyful noise
2. blue hawaii – tenderness – arbutus CC *
3. mauno – tuning – idée fixe CC
4. mich cota – kija/care – egg paper factory CC *
5. asiko afrobeat ensemble – winners never quit – self-released CC Continue reading

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Concert Review: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith @ Bar Le Ritz PDB

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith played at the Ritz on Saturday October 28th, the weekend before
Halloween — but not actual Halloween, so pretty much a grey zone for those who embrace festive costumes. I opted for regular attire but a solid third of the audience appeared to be dressed up, which created a great atmosphere right off the bat. I believe someone even pulled off sparkly galaxy-themed face paint à la The Kid album cover, which was super clever and may end up an iconic costume because this album is nothing short of spectacular.

Hush Pup got things started with synth, bass and impressive vocal stylings. Their songs have a
familiarity and straddled the line between dreamy and haunting. Next up, Rêves sonores performed beautiful and sophisticated cinematic ambient scores alongside complementary live visuals by Lilith. Despite its minimalism, their set achieved an immersive fullness and pulled my mental state into a pleasant fog.

After Rêves sonores cleared the stag,e all that remained on stage was a wall of hardware that would give even the most experienced synth master sweaty palms. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s setup is positioned on stage at a 90 degree angle, giving the audience a profile view of both Smith and her Buchla, which acts as a harmonious extension of her body. After humbly addressing the crowd, she was busy for the duration of her set as both hands performed a perfectly choreographed routine of patches, dials, buttons and keys while she sang into a headset microphone. The continuous motion is mesmerizing, like watching a cross between an ASMR video and a familiar waltz performed by longtime partners.

Her vocals were heavily processed, pitch-shifted and multiplied to create a organ-esque effect, yet they folded seamlessly into the pulses and rhythms of her modular sounds. The visuals evolving on the screen behind her complemented the textures of music perfectly: brightly coloured bubbles and liquefying shapes matched the momentum of Smith’s sonic collage.

The audience was enveloped in the panning chimes, percussion, and at times, flocks of bird
chirps. Some moments induced a frozen trance while others led to involuntary sways from the crowd. This performance demonstrated by far the most accessible of Smith’s repertoire, including dancier songs like “An Intention” and “Until I Remember.” Playful and unpretentious, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith had a great energy and generous stage presence while taking the audience through a narrative experience like a safari through the human condition.

– Review by Julia Dyck

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Album Review: Reptaliens – FM 2030

With the Montreal winter fast approaching, it’s not difficult to find oneself reminiscing about the long-ago September heatwave in addition to the ever-present summer nostalgia that hazes our memory. Who among us doesn’t wish they could perfectly articulate this? The newest album from Portland, Oregon band Reptaliens FM-2030 was released on October 5th and brings a dreamscape aesthetic that draws the listener into this seasonal fantasy with them.

The duo behind the band, husband and wife Cole and Bambi Browning, base their band’s sound in the surreal indie-pop psychedelia that is omnipresent throughout the album’s 35 minute span. As a concept album, FM-2030‘s central theme is concerned with love and obsession, as evident in lyrics such as “If you want to get high/find your love/get it right” from “If You Want” and “Back at his home/told her ‘they’re not alone’/and they gave all their love to the lord” from “Satan’s Song.” It should be noted that in order to experience the full effect, FM-2030 should be listened to in one sitting with no interruptions.

That being said, there are several stand out tracks on this album that deserve an honourable mention, including the vaguely sinister “666Bus,” mainly because of the blunt lyrics “Maybe I’ll get hit by a bus while I was dreamin’ of falling in love/Or maybe I’ll fall in love and die of a broken heart.” “Nunya” has a easygoing, catchy groove to its melody, which echoes in your mind long after the song is over.

As a fan of love-orientated cynicism, this album was a dream come true. The songs all sounded related but not similar enough for them to become boring or repetitive; rather, the tracks faded into each other perfectly with a balanced flow, drawn together cohesively by synths that set the mood for the whole record.

Those unfamiliar with this band’s prior work (especially their 2017 EP Prequel/Olive Boy) it may seem as though FM-2030 is simply be a conglomeration of similar, if not identical, bedroom pop tracks. When listening to the album, however, it becomes clear that there is a significant variance and complexity to each of the 11 songs. The heavy summer-in-suburbia atmosphere is an extended metaphor woven through the album brings much needed warmth to the rainy Montreal weather.

– Review by Madison Palmer

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CKUT TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE CHARTS::: October 31st, 2017

Hello everyone,

Happy halloween! In a seasonally-appropriate move, our picture for this week’s charts is a throwback from a few years ago when CKUT staff dressed up as the witches and tried to magically conjure extra cash for our funding drive… speaking of which, it’s not too late to donate if you haven’t already done so. And also, get in the halloween spirit if that’s your jam!

xo
joni
:::WHAT’S UP AT CKUT:::
Punks, take note! CKUT’s beloved late-night show The 27th Hour of Horror is going to be broadcasting live from Barfly on Monday November 6th. Those who know the show love it for a reason: it’s the best place on the dial to find deep cuts from the punk underground, no doubt. The hosts are also the ones who taught us all how to use our tape deck to add live distortion to the studio mic channels — basically, they’ve been pushing the boundaries for ages and have schooled me and many others in the art of making kickass radio. And now, after many years of jamming out in our basement studio, we’re thrilled to unleash the show upon the masses as it broadcasts live from one of our favourite dive bars in the city. Local bands Nuage Flou and Boar God will be performing live, and we’ll be airing the whole thing on ckut.ca from 11pm till midnight. Do not miss!
:::CHARTS:::
ckut top 30 – october 31, 2017

1. john carpenter – anthology: movie themes – sacred bones
2. blue hawaii – tenderness – arbutus CC *
3. pierre kwenders – makanda at the end of space, the beginning of time – bonsound CC *
4. godspeed you! black emperor – luciferian towers – constellation CC *
5. chad van gaalen – light information – flemish eye CC Continue reading