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Concert Review: Ratatat @ Metropolis, September 1st 2015


Early this month, Montrealers filled Metropolis to see Brooklyn-based rocktronica duo Ratatat. I had never seen Metropolis so crowded. Seriously, in terms of mosh pit density, Ratatat outnumbered previous shows that I had seen there courtesy of Cat Power, the Barr Brothers, Xavier Rudd, and Tame Impala.

The first half of their set provided an enjoyable build up of a whole array of hits from their 10-year discography, climaxing with their crowdpleaser “Loud Pipes” from their 2006 LP Classics, immediately recognizable for its unique use of rudimentary drums and clean synth lines. Playing this track before the end of the set was a smart move on their part for the crowd to quickly experience that music high you get from hearing a song you’ve heard before and love.

Meanwhile, an intense light show of colored lasers and beams fixated the crowd even more on their mastery of live percussions and keyboards.


The second half of the set had a more “can’t stop moving your feet” kinda feel, leveraged by playing another Classics favorite, “Wildcat,” irresistibly playful with its repeated “roar” sounds, double tempo and high-pitched guitar riffs. “Seventeen Years” and “Gettysburg” were also fun throw backs.

Their show came full circle with tracks from their latest 2015 LP Magnifique, bringing forward some funk-influenced, addictive bass grooves with “Cream on Crome” and “Nightclub Amnesia,” ending the night with the crowd still craving for more.


– Review and photos by Jess Newfield

Concert Review: Passovah Festival: Caro Diaro, Lungbutter, Jessica Moss, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

Concert Review: Passovah Festival: Caro Diaro, Lungbutter, Jessica Moss, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

I finished work at 8 p.m. and by the time I’d made my pedestrian way up to Bar le Ritz it was after 9, so I’d missed Adam Kinner and Moss Lime. Caro Diaro was onstage, moving through the last few songs of a set. It was Maica Mia minus the enormous bottom end – her pieces stripped down to stark electric guitar and voice. A lamenting voice always threatening to break out into a full-throated yowl. She delivered some surprisingly funny, bemused between-song patter, and when she was done, she stepped down into the audience and quickly became just another member of the crowd.

That’s the kind of crowd it was, full of musicians waiting to start their set, artists, writers, academics. An interesting crowd, an intelligent crowd. As the night went on, it got bigger and bigger but its character stayed pretty much the same. Mostly youngish, mostly white-ish. Smokers spilling out onto the sidewalk, August is so great. I got to try out the Farnham beer, a good-tasting rouge. The bartenders were on their game.

Lungbutter I was familiar with from their CDR of last year. It was good to see them live, to discover the set-up behind the sound, the dynamic triad of guitarist, vocalist and drummer. Mark E. Smith and Karen Finley’s vocal styles came to mind – the voice big enough and obsessive enough to hold its own against grunge-laden guitar feedback and punkish riffage, while drums rat-a-tat in pointed yet almost jazzy bursts, lending skeletal rhythm to what could be a very formless sound. Each member was attentive to the others’ input. The audience crowded up, and they were familiar with the songs, reacting happily when Lungbutter started playing a favourite.

I probably shouldn’t have taken that smoke break before Jessica Moss, because I was almost paralyzed, shoved up against a corner of the wall praying, “Please, start the set before I have to deal with another human being.” When Moss came on, she said something about “bringing the energy down,” which I thought was an excellent idea. There seemed to be some sound issues – I couldn’t really make out most of what she was trying to say, and the yakety-yakking audience wasn’t helping any. In fact they were downright rude, carrying on with their cocktail chatter even as Moss started sawing away at her violin.

It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered as she opened things up, drew the curtain back and revealed the stars arranged against the black of infinite space. She was using loops, pedals, effects, she was entirely blowing me away. Well, I’m a sucker for a good drone. I don’t know what-all she was doing, there were sounds floating around in the mix that didn’t sound anything like a fiddle. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the audience had doubled, and was pressed up to the stage, rapt. Jessica Moss solo is a force of nature – if you missed this show, you’ve got another chance to see her in the Pop Montreal festival.

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan was the reason why I was there, leaning on the horizontally-striped multi-coloured wall – I’d been wanting to see them for a couple of years. Right after reading about them in something Julian Cope wrote, checking out their recordings and thinking, “Oh, another great Montreal band I’ve totally slept on.” The current line-up of the band is a tour-ready music machine in Dada-like face paint, fully capable of recreating the intricacy and complexity of the operatic songs on their two great CDs. The music they create isn’t a melting pot, but rather a conscious and playful retrofitting of traditional Japanese and Indigenous American sounds with the distilled best of Canuck / American indie psyche and old-school prog rock. There’s a depth and a heaviness to folk traditions that a lot of indie rock bands can’t touch, but Yamantaka // Sonic Titan get there, and they bring the audience with them.

There were more issues with a mic occasionally not picking up one of the lead vocalists. A minor quibble in an otherwise mesmerizing performance. The magic of Y // ST stayed with me during the long 55 St-Laurent bus ride south. As I strolled into my back alley a raccoon paused at a turn in the road and regarded me with cautious curiosity. I nodded but it didn’t nod back.

– Review by Vince Tinguely




Hey friends,
I had a pretty amazing weekend: one of my bffs/collaborators moved back to Montreal after living abroad for a year, a very old project reunited to play a send-off for a buddy who’s moving away, and I got to hang out in five (!) of my favourite Mtl parks. Seriously, even though it’s scorchingly hot here summer is ruling pretty hard.


We broadcasted live from the Montreal International Reggae Festival over the weekend, and lemme tell you it was a zany & amazing time. If you missed it, we’ve got you covered: check out tons of backstage photos on our twitter and instagram accounts, and hit up our audio archives from 4pm – 11pm on Saturday and Sunday to hear more live sets than your ears can handle. The Reggae Fest is seriously one of the city’s best parties, and it’s pretty necessary listening for those who seek out hot-weather sounds.

ckut top 30 – august 18, 2015
1. joyfultalk – muuixx – drip audio CC
2. drainolith – hysteria – nna tapes CC *
3. frog eyes – pickpocket’s locket – paper bag CC
4. the weather station – loyalty – outside CC
5. ramzi – houti kush – 1080p CC Continue reading


Album Review: Amara Touré 1978-1980



Amara Touré 1973-1980, released earlier this year by Analog Africa, commands intrigue with just one word: “Wow!” The sheer beauty of the analog masterpiece appeals to all music lovers and welcomes new listeners of Afro-Cuban soul to further walk that road.

Whether it’s the piercing soulful lead vocals from the track “Temedy” or the mesmerizing rhythms from “Lamento Cubano,” this collection of songs will whip you directly into a pleasure-filled trance. The lead guitar tickles you as you bop along to the hypnotic rhythmic foundation of the drums and bass. It’s on this foundation that a powerfully emotional vocal performance dazzles and is sure to give you goosebumps!

To quote Amara Touré: “Latin music, is it really foreign to us Africans? I don’t think so. Listen to the drums, to the rhythm. It all seems very close to us – it feels like it’s our own culture.” To him, combining Caribbean and African rhythms was natural. This collection of his recordings from 1973-1980 demonstrates just how intuitive this was. The entire album moves along with incredible smoothness. Several lengthy tracks are featured, such as “Afalago” with its hypnotic backing vocals, making for some very easy listening. A great album to consider adding to your dinner soundtrack collection!

This first 1500 LP run of Amara Touré’s LP was released on June 22nd, all of which are currently sold out. Additionally, the CD version — complete with an eight-panel booklet adorned with very lovely artwork — is also sold out. However, for the enrichment of our souls, the album is available for streaming online where upon which it will hopefully be available for order again soon.

Until then, I urge all music lovers and especially lovers of Latin and African rhythms to check out the album via Analog Africa’s Bandcamp. The soulful vibes, the stunning artwork and an insightful historical description will pique your interest. The write-up describes the history of how Cuban and Caribbean themes arrived in Senegal and how Senegalese folk traditions blended together to form a new style of music; jumping ahead, it elaborates on how this style took root and the eventual part Amara Touré played in its development. Some fine tropical dance music indeed!

– Review by Donovan Thorimbert




Hi friends,
Not too much to report this week, although I did catch a really lovely show last night with local buddies Old Haunt, Nennen, The Past, and Hazy Montagne Mystique. I also got a BBQ over the weekend! I’m looking forward to maximum summer vibes at my casa for the next several weeks. Send me your favourite grilling recipes…

Osheaga went down this past weekend and a few intrepid CKUT-ers braved the crowds to bring you (yes, you) firsthand accounts of the movers & shakers who stole the festival. We recommend you start here with Amanda Z’s review of Young Fathers, and keep your eyes on CKUT’s music department blog for more reviews coming soon. Festival season is nuts!

ckut top 30 – august 4, 2015
1. narcy – world war free now – the medium CC *
2. drainolith – hysteria – nna tapes CC *
3. valet – nature – kranky
4. buffy sainte-marie – power in the bolo d – true north CC
5. socalled – peoplewatching – dare to care CC * Continue reading

ckdu fm

The Kitchen Bang Bang Law Digs Deep: Ginsberg, Leary, Waldman, and more!

ckdu fm
During the month of August, The Kitchen Bang Bang Law will be presenting vintage interviews conducted by Phil Walling, aka the Halifax-based experimental musician and music scene catalyst / gadfly Phollop Willing, P.A. These interviews were originally recorded and broadcast on Halifax’s CKDU FM in 1986, on Phil’s radio show, “Phollop Willing P.A., A Medical Appreciation of Music”.
ginsberg mcinnes 1986
On August 4, listen to an interview conducted with Allen Ginsberg, while the eminent Beat poet wanders through a Halifax Salvation Army Store, shopping for a jacket and checking out the merchandise.
phil and tim leary 1986
On August 11, Phil takes part in a lively press conference with noted psychedelic guru Timothy Leary.
On August 18, hear Phil chat with visiting poet Anne Waldman, co-founder (with Allen Ginsberg) of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado.
And hopefully (*fingers crossed*), on August 25, Vince will interview Phil Walling himself!
Dig these archival nuggets? Tune into The Kitchen Bang Bang Law on Tuesdays from noon till 2pm or download the audio archive for all this — et plus!



Hey friends,

I just got back from a rad weekend hanging with some pals in Toronto, including fellow CFUV expat/Dale Speaking rep Justin Lanoue. It was great! Toronto often gets a bad rap from other Canadian towns but it’s a pretty fun city to visit. It felt great to chill out on some nice patios, eat great food, and explore some new neighbourhoods. I also devoured an ungodly amount of delicious ice cream, which makes the trip an automatic success in my books.

Hope you’re having a great August too!

As part of our ongoing experimental radio residency If You Got Ears, local sound wizard Kara-Lis Coverdale is taking over the CKUT studios every Wednesday in August from noon till 2pm. Coverdale is a composer, musician, and producer who makes multi-layered electronic music rich in melody and spectral intrigue, interrogating divisions between beauty and brutality, physical and virtual, human and machine. Her residency focuses on innovation musics that challenge the languages and borders of tradition to offer unique gateways into worlds we haven’t yet experienced. Want to learn more about her work? Check out this Guardian article, and be sure to catch the audio from her residency on the CKUT archives.

ckut top 30 – august 11, 2015
1. ramzi – houti kush – 1080p CC
2. fountain – fountain 2 – self-released CC
3. drainolith – hysteria – nna tapes CC *
4. narcy – world war free now – the medium CC *
5. magma – 45 years of creation off the beaten path – harmonia mundi  Continue reading




Hi radio buddies,
Hope you are doing well & staying cool — if your town is anything like Montreal, it’s about a million degrees outside. I’ve been drinking a ridiculous amount of cold brew and eating too much ice cream as coping mechanisms, but I feel pretty great about it. Whatever gets you through, y’know?

We’re super psyched to be bringing new local label Egg Paper Factory into the CKUT master studio to host & curate The Montreal Sessions for the month of August. Founded in 2014 by Josh Boguski, Alex Bourque, Raff McMahan and Alex Lavoie, the label aims to showcase a finely curated collection of Canadian experimental music in a variety of styles. Since its foundation, Egg Paper has released 13 albums on cassette in limited run, including critically acclaimed records by Un Blonde, Telstar Drugs, and Whitney K. The label has also hosted a series of concerts, and will be hosting a showcase during POP Montreal in September. Their residency, which they’ve ceremoniously dubbed Egg Radio, will feature on-air interviews with Canadian bands, artist profiles, as well as premieres of new music from the label. The show will also feature comedic skits from the hosts, and regular segments featuring the hosts’ favourite music from the Canadian and international music community respectively. Catch it every Tuesday in August from 3-5pm EST.

ckut top 30 – july 28, 2015
1. narcy – world war free now – the medium CC *
2. fist city – everything is a mess – transgressive records CC
3. human music – sup – dub ditch picnic CC
4. sediment club – psychosymplastic – wharf cat records
5. tess parks & anton newcombe – i declare nothing – a records Continue reading

Exit Roots Rock Rebel, Enter The Rebel Beat

For those of you who dig ska, you’re probably familiar with longstanding CKUT show Roots Rock Rebel. For nearly a decade it’s been the go-to for Montreal’s ska movers and shakers, but there are changes afoot. To give you the news from the horse’s mouth, we’re turning things over to Aaron Maiden himself — read on for the full scoop:

To all the rude boys, rude girls, punks, mods, and rockers,

I have some bittersweet news. After broadcasting for 9 years, Roots Rock Rebel will be no more after January 2015. It has been an incredible passion and honour for me to serve the local and international ska, punk, and reggae scenes with this show, interviewing bands from around the world, and giving space to promote underground artists.

I am going to carry on doing a radio show and podcast every Wednesday from 10pm-12am on CKUT, but the show is getting a total overhaul. So I’m very excited to introduce to all of you – The Rebel Beat.

The Rebel Beat will launch with its first edition on February 4, 2015.

 Roots Rock Rebel has always been about ska, reggae, punk, and class war on the dance floor. With The Rebel Beat, my plan is to put the emphasis on the latter, and showcase revolutionary political music across different genres, and across different continents. 

We live in serious times. Militarized police states. Ecological devastation taking such a toll on our planet. Racism so crude that you’d think it was 1950, not 2015. But serious times call for serious action, and a serious soundtrack. That is where I hope The Rebel Beat will come in –  a show to connect musicians and artists with global movements for revolutionary change. Indeed, class war on the dance floor.

What will you hear when you tune in? Less ska and reggae, more hip-hop against police brutality, riot folk, anarcho-punk, union picket line hymns, slam poetry, plus interviews with artists, agitators, revolutionaries, community organizers, and more.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has listened to the show over the years and supported us. People who have really come through and who should be named include:  Val Desnoyers, Cath Marchand, Reggie McClean and the Fundamentals, Victor Rice (who composed our theme song!), Danny Rebel and the KGB, Kman and the 45s, Lorraine Muller, Matt, Mike, Lora, Alex, and everyone at Stomp Records, Rebel Time Records, Jay Nugent, Dave Hillyard, and the Slackers, The Hangers, and of course the whole Montreal Ska Festival crew.

Below you’ll find some more info on The Rebel Beat. I hope you keep tuning in every Wednesday night on CKUT, or keep downloading the podcast, because this new show promises to be amazing.

Link us up!
Email: rebel@ckut.ca

Until next week, stay rude, and stay rebel,
Aaron Maiden


About the Rebel Beat
The Rebel Beat is a show of radical political music across different genres, and across different continents. It is the mixtape to a riot against police brutality. It is your nightly newscast set to bass and beats. It is a rallying cry against apathy. It is protest anthems from Hong Kong to Istanbul to Ferguson to Montreal.

Tune in every Wednesday from 10pm-12am EST on CKUT 90.3 FM in Montreal, or stream or download the podcast at http://www.ckut.ca. Curated and hosted by Aaron Maiden (formerly Roots Rock Rebel), and featuring regular collaborators and guest DJs.


Hey friends,

Hope all of you in the northeast are enjoying your snow day. Here in Montreal, we feel your winter woes — but I’m writing this from a cozy, well-heated office so it certainly could be worse. January is also the Month of Birthdays at CKUT (we aquarius folks are creative types, y’know?), mine included, and last week my heart was warmed by a gang of friends who braved the cold to shower me with chocolate, whiskey, and other treats. The collective hangover was a little easier to bear this year and while I’d like to credit it to us being a wiser and more mature crew, I feel like that is perhaps wishful thinking.

You guys all know how amazing the Free Music Archive is, right? How about CKUT’s page on the FMA? It’s pretty chock-full of live studio sessions in more genres than we care to list, and we’ve just added a couple recent gems from Echo Beach and Hazy Montagne Mystique to the collection. Give ‘em a listen and don’t forget to check past entries too — we’ve been running this page since 2011, and there’s plenty of good stuff for your ears to discover.

ckut top 30 – january 27, 2015
1. viet cong – s/t – flemish eye CC
2. stefan christoff & nick schofield – reves sonores a montreal – howl! arts CC *
3. charlemagne palestine & rhys chatham – youuuu + mee = weee – subrosa
4. siskiyou – nervous – constellation CC
5. notta comet – success with houseplants – self-released CC * Continue reading