Concert Review: Tess Roby, Girl Ray & Porches @ Theatre Plaza

Last Sunday, Theatre Plaza hosted an ode to DIY music with three distinct artists demonstrating synth-laden electronic, good ol’ rock, and a final act that combined the two. Local group Tess Roby opened the night with a simple setup: Tess on keys behind a mic, and her brother, Eliot, on guitar. Her warm, unadorned vocals (strikingly similar to the few studio recordings she has released) and pulsing synth cascades instilled a moody stillness, the only movement coming from the intermittent stomping of guitar pedals and the milling about of audience members. For her final song, “Ballad 5,” she requested that all the lights be turned blue, softening the ambiance one last time before taking her leave.

Girl Ray appeared shortly afterward with a classic guitar band outfit, adding just one touring member to their three-girl London-based act. Layering a modern lo-fi guitar sound over 70s folk/pop influences, they ramped up the energy along with the swelling crowd, even garnering cheers for a brief coordinated shimmy between guitarist/vocalist Poppy Hankin and bassist Sophie Moss.

With the clock approaching midnight, Porches frontman Aaron Maine took the stage with his back to a charged audience. After counting the band in with his swinging hips, he turned to deliver “Now the Water,” a song off his new album The House. A few tunes in, gentle head bobbing turned to jumping and jiving as the crowd got down to “Find Me,” a single off the album that juxtaposes lyrics about struggling with anxiety against dance-worthy beats. Energized by the response, Maine expressed his appreciation for everyone coming out by informing us he’d worn a “special shirt” for the occasion, indicating something apparently exceptional about his otherwise nondescript black tee. That shirt soon became a centerpiece for communicating the artist’s personality throughout the night, like his deadpan humor when he later clarified that we should actually ignore the shirt and “focus on the music,” a point he reinforced by briefly hiding behind it after lifting it up and over his face for a moment towards the end of his set.

Just as Maine’s dry sarcasm kept the audience guessing, The House navigates the ambiguous emotional spaces of post-breakup introspection, motivated by his recent split from Greta Kline of Frankie Cosmos. Still, the music of Porches has never shied away from melancholia, and the 15-song set, split evenly between the most recent and previous (sophomore) album, felt like it could be part of a single work connected by its synth and heart-heavy sound.

Whether or not the awkwardness was deliberate, Maine seemed most comfortable mid-song, swaying along to the murky emotions simulated by the swirl of rhythm, melody, and lyrics that frequently invoke water as a metaphorical vehicle. One couldn’t help but feel the simultaneous solace and solitude in his music when, during the encore, the rest of the band crept, kneeling, into their spots while he began the heartfelt ballad “Country.” Before giving anyone time to reflect, the band closed the night by stripping back the synths and returning to their roots with “Headsgiving” off the debut album, lifting spirits with hearty guitars and drums. It was a perfect way to end. Lyrics like, “And in her eyes/I want to die/Before I die the sad kind,” contrast with those about giving head to encapsulate the sadness, sometimes whimsical, sometimes sincere, but never overly self-indulgent, that Maine likes to inhabit with his songwriting. This emotional gray area has a hazy relatability, even if not always readily accessible – though wallowing in Maine’s world for the better part of an hour certainly helps tap into this space. As I stepped outside to let the cold wind blow away any remaining gloom, I felt a sense of catharsis, and though unexpected, I was sure I wasn’t the only one.

~review by Dylan Lai



CKUT TOP 30 FOR FEB 13, 2018

1. petra glint – the trip – vibe over method
2. cadence weapon – s/t – eone
3. moth cock -1-100 at the speed of…. – hausu mountain
4. evidence – weather or not – rhymesayer
5 .effrim menuck – pissing stars – constellation CC*
6. mich cota – kija/care – egg paper factory CC *
7.various – youth international party 50th anniversary – youth international party
8 nightmares on wax – shape the future – warp
9. barre phillips and motoharu yoshizawa – oh my those boys – no business
10. afrika mamas – iphupho: a cappella from south africa – arcmusic
11. ella fitzgerald – ella live at zardi’s – verve/UMe
12. the bridge – overdrive – rock/jazz – party – guersson
13. lea bertucci – metal aether – NNA
14. gene tellem – who says no – S.O.B.O – CC
15. kate gentile – mannequins – skirl
16. various – the b music of jean rollin 1968-1973 – finders keepers hawaii – tenderness – arbutus CC
18.profligate – somewhere else – wharf cat
19.the extract – dream song – self CC
20. station 17 – blick – bureau b
21. persuasion – quatermass ep – opal tapes
22. ora cogan – crickets – hand drawn dracula CC *
23. ought – room inside the world – royal mountain *
24.john mccowen – solo contra – intlanthem
25.fever ray – plunge – mute
26. no museums – it all begins to feel – self CC
27. esmerine – mechanics of domination – constellation CC*s
28. uncle meg – can’t stay the same – self
29. dream syndicate – how did i find myself here – anti
30. long neck- will this do? – tiny engines

ckut rpm – february 13, 2008

1.persuasion – quatermass ep – opal tapes
2.souns – aquamarine – CC
3.antenes – shifting zones – silent season
4.various – silk to dry the tears – 100% silk
5.peder mannerfelt – the 3d printed songbook – peder mannerfelt produktion
6.gene tellem – who says no – S.O.B.O – CC
7.memeshift – desert vibes – perfect location
8.jasen loveland – my medicine – acid camp
9.dimitri palikaris – exploring – ancient robot
10.james n murray – city of the night – jacktone
ckut jazz – february 13, 2018

1.kate gentile – mannequins – skirl
2.togetherness! – togetherness! – self cc
3.rudd / victor / harris / filiano – embrace – rare noise
4.kaze – atody man – circum–libra
5.phillips / yoshizowa – oh my, those boys! – no business
6.satoko fujii – solo – libra
7.nicole mitchell / maki r. madhubuti – liberation narratives – bandcamp / fully altered
8.rudd / saft / dunn / pandi – strength & power – rare noise
9.anthony braxton – solo (victoriaville) 2017 – victo
10.jen shyu – song of silver geese – pi

ckut global – feb 6, 2018

1.afrika mamas – iphupho: a cappella from south africa – arcmusic
2.souljazz orchestra – under burning skies – strut CC
3.brooklyn raga massive – terry riley in c – northern spy
4.leila gobi – 2017 – clermont music
5.lemon bucket orchestra – if i had the strength – indoor recess
6. la misa negra – s/t – nam entertainment
7. brenda navarrete – mi mundo – alma
8. benji kaplan – chorando – big apple batucada
9.les filles de illighadad – eghass malan – sahel sounds
10. pasteur lappe – we, the people – africa seven

ckut beatbox – feb 13th 

1. cadence weapon – s/t – one CC*
2.evidence – weather or not – rhymesayer
3.saukratese – season 2 –  CC
4.dabrye – three/three – ghostly international
5. swamp thing + ghettosocks – the octagon – droppin science  CC
6.fredy v – #ittakesavillage – self-released CC *
7.amp fiddler – amp dog knights – mahogani
8.v/a – cosmic melanin – 88 days of fortune CC
9.tshizimba – zero – self-released CC *
10.tachichi – chico’s 90s project (hand’solo) CC

Kalmunity Vibe Collective Hosts the Montreal Sessions

Throughout the month of February The Montreal Sessions will be devoted to exploring various aspects of Afrocentric music, hosted by a new team each week. Second Episode of Montreal Sessions Tues. Feb 13th 3pm – 5pm is being hosted by Kalmunity Vibe Collective Special Black History Month Edition. Kalmunity host a weekly jazz series at Resonance each Sunday evening as well as a weekly night at Petit Campus live organic improv-mixing R & B, soul, hip hop, funk, spoken word afro-beats all with goal to inspire and be inspired.

Hugh Masekela playing his Trumpet. Circa 1950's. © Johncom.


Good afternoon radio people. RIP THE GREAT HUGH MASEKELA. Funky Revolutions did an amazing tribute on the show this past Saturday so check that out on our archives.  There’s someone else who passed this week and his band crept onto the charts at number 23.

Lots of new names on the charts this week. That’s how we like it.

Finally big CONGRATS to the Lux Magna Festival crew for the inaugural edition of their new fest. Glad it was a success.  Now rest up.



CKUT TOP 30 FOR JANUARY 30th, 2018


1. mich cota – kija/care – egg paper factory CC *
2. fever ray – plunge – mute
3. uncle meg – can’t stay the same – self-release
4. effrim menuck – pissing stars – constellation CC*
5. saicobab – sab se purani bab – thrill jockey Continue reading



Hey all, had a wild ass time at Art’s Birthday last night, our annual celebration of…uh…art. Thanks to our arts and culture coordinator Tamara for organizing. This week the usual big tunes on our charts. Above pic of me in the disco-ball radio tower hat we have around the office right now.



ckut top 30 – january 23, 2018

1. mich cota – kija/care – egg paper factory CC *
2. fever ray – plunge – mute
3. uncle meg – can’t stay the same – self-release
4. blue hawaii – tenderness – arbutus CC                                                                                                  5.  pro-v – michael 2 michael – pro knows productions CC * Continue reading