Tag Archives: Ought

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Album Review: AJ Cornell & Tim Darcy – Too Significant To Ignore

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We’ve always known Tim Darcy had a way with words.  Last year he stunned us with the line “I’m no longer afraid to die cause that is all that I have left” from the song “Beautiful Blue Sky” on Ought’sSun Coming Down.  The band’s first album More than Any Other Dayalso had its brilliant lyrical moments; “today, more than any other day, I am prepared to make a decision between 2% and whole milk” said Darcy in a particularly ironic discussion of his grocery shopping.  With the help of electronic musician AJ Cornell, Darcy’s lyrical talent and vocal delivery have been put in a vacuum.  Gone are the erratic rhythms and bass lines he’s usually featured beside.  Gone is Darcy’s guitar centered songwriting style and vocal hooks.  Replacing the usual Ought set-up is AJ Cornell’s eerie avant-garde electronic backdrop, which has brought a whole new personality out of Darcy resulting in the album Too Significant To Ignore. Continue reading


Matt & Tim – If You Got Ears March 2016

tchotchkes_croppedThis March, Matt and Tim will be hosting CKUT’s artist-in-residence program If You Got ears. Matt and Tim are musical collaborators, working together in Montreal art punk band Ought (signed to noteworthy experimental label Constellation Records). Their adventures apart include Matt’s ambient project Welter & Associates and Tim’s emo/hardcore trio Mands. For now, they expect to host a relatively free-form show, drawing inspiration from experimental music found all over the world, hosting a few guests here and there, and playing plenty of local jams. Tune in each Wednesday from 12-2pm on CKUT 90.3 fm and online at CKUT.ca to open your mind and ears with Matt and Tim.






Hey friends,
I saw Drag City jammers Rangda play last night and little pieces of my brain are probably still stuck on the walls of Casa del Popolo — they were that good. Chris Corsano is a hell of a drummer. Everything else in the past week paled in comparison. Has any band made you feel like that recently? If so, I wanna hear about them.


Longtime CKUT contributors and local celebs Matt May and Tim Keen play in a bunch of projects together and apart, including Welter & Assoc., Mands, and Ought. Neither of them really know what they’re going to do yet on-air, but judging by their music collections you can probably expect some local gems, hopefully some special guests, and some avant jams (justly-intoned and otherwise) from around the world. Expect the unexpected every Wednesday in March from 12-2pm, or download the audio straight from the CKUT archives.

ckut top 30 – march 8, 2016

1. essaie pas – demain est une autre nuit – dfa CC *
2. nap eyes – thought rock fish scale – you’ve changed CC
3. matmos – ultimate care – thrill jockey
4. nennen – two mountains – self-released CC *
5. linsey wellman – manifesto – self-released CC Continue reading

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Album Review: Ought – Sun Coming Down

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Ought could have been in trouble with Sun Coming Down.  It may sound a bit ridiculous, however, it is very hard to create a great second album when your first is as brilliant as More than Any Other Day.  Bands work on their first album from day one.  They begin playing together, they play some shows, commit to a certain aesthetic, and create their first work.  Sometimes it’s good sometimes it is a bit immature. Generally it’s not perfect and there’s a logical growth that the band can see and attempt to execute.  More Than Any Other Day is incredible, but somehow Ought found a way to grow without losing their heart. Continue reading


Concert Review: Primavera Sound Festival, Barcelona

With the idea of presenting our favourite memories of Primavera Sound, we’ve opted to choose our top five highlights instead of recounting the entire festival. There was so much good music throughout the festival and, of course, a couple duds (which we won’t go into here cuz we’re nice and positive folks) — but at the end of the day these were our favourite moments, in ascending order:


5. Einstürzende Neubauten

This year’s Primavera was heavy on the veteran musicians, and these Germans were not shy about asserting their position as industrial trailblazers. With their signature dark moodiness underlying an array of plastic and metallic noise, it was clear that these sound sculptors have maintained their intensity after 30+ years in the game. Blixa Bargeld let loose his trademark high-pitched, unearthly scream at several points throughout the set, effectively punctuating the deeply mechanized soundscape with a tone that is at once human and alien in pitch and timbre. Playing a mix of old and new material, they maintained an unspoken dedication to their factory roots: metal rods cascaded from suspended holds, plastic pipes subbed in for drums as alternative percussion instruments, and rotating metal spoked hummed together in a jarring yet beautiful cacophony. At one point the bassist’s face split into a wide smile, and even his teeth flashed with glittering metal under the stage lights. Right down to the end of their set, when each member lined up abreast at the front of the stage and took a deep bow, it was clear that the legendary experimentalists are still deep in their element.


4. Swans

While Swans and Einsterzende Neubaten have some obvious aesthetic similarities, the setting for their two shows couldn’t have been more different: unlike the majority of Primavera’s outdoor stages, Swans played in a large seated auditorium, complete with stunning acoustics and tiny lights suspended high up in an otherwise black room like stars. Their set began in typical Swans fashion with the imposing multi-instrumentalist Thor Harris conjuring waves of shimmering percussion while Gira and co. took the stage, picking up their instruments one by one and adding to the growing swell of noise that quickly enveloped the room. Swans are masters of texture, slowly building layers into tapestry of pounding intensity only to be reigned back to moments of restrained minimalism. At the beckoning of the band, crowd members left their seats and gathered tightly near the foot of the stage; others perched atop the chairs and craned their necks for a better view. I sunk deep into my auditorium seat and closed my eyes, letting the powerful waves of sound fold over themselves again and again in my ears.

3. Sleater-Kinney

These women are not to be reckoned with. The Olympia, WA trio proved decisively that they are as powerful as ever, with fierce on-stage vitriol backed firmly up by tight compositions and rock solid execution. Janet Weiss, a powerhouse drummer in her own right, proved a solid anchor for the duelling guitars and intertwining vocals of Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker. Sleater-Kinney destroy the imagined line between femininity and aggression: they thrash and kick in party dresses and wield their voices as a rally cry in three-part harmony. Classic jams like “All Hands on the Bad One” made the audience lose its shit, and somewhere deep inside my 15-year-old self was going wild with rebellious joy. However, Sleater-Kinney don’t trap themselves in the realm of riot grrrl history — they assertively proved their a dynamic band whose sound and live show has survived the test of time. Looking at the crowd around me, it was clear that Sleater-Kinney is much more than a nostalgia trip.


2. Ought

Okay, full disclosure: these guys are buddies, and they’ve all been involved at CKUT in one role or another within the past couple years. Aside from the tremendous feeling of seeing deserving pals on a giant festival stage, the Montréal quartet blazed through one hell of a performance. Tracks from their More Than Any Other Day LP made up the bulk of the set, with a couple newer songs making their way in as well. The newer material displayed an urgent speed and complexity, building on the dense agitation of their earlier work but drawing on a clearer post-punk influence. It’s fast and it’s loud, technical and frenetic and backed up by a whole lot of energy from each member of the quartet. They kicked off their set with the road-tested anthem “The Weather Song,” and the crowd was won over from the outset. Ought is not a flashy band, and they pull no punches, but their strength lies instead in their conviction and impressive musicianship. While the natural acoustics of the stage led to some minor sound quirks — some acoustic elements having a slight natural echo from the opposing sea wall — it’s a minor complaint to lodge while seeing bands play on a harbour side stage overlooking the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea. Ought is really hitting its stride with an elusive balance of punk enthusiasm and technical precision, demonstrated especially with the new material, and one can only look forward to hearing how their tightly-wound aesthetic will continue to evolve.

1. Patti Smith Band

What can be said about legends? Like many of this year’s Primavera acts, Patti Smith ranks high on the veteran scale, but her socially-charged performance seemed to capture the audience more than anything else I saw all weekend. It was the kickoff show for this incarnation of her band and the first gig of their Horses tour, and the energy was high. Smith proved to be as fierce and raspy as ever, with a weathered voice that has only gotten stronger with age. Backed by a tight ensemble, Smith veered seamlessly between spoken word and song. During an extended version of “Land: Horses, Land of A Thousand Dances,” Smith meandered through the narrative, guiding listeners along until the song reached a fever pitch of politically-charged discontent. The issues that Smith addressed throughout the ‘70s are still relevant today, as demonstrated by the crowd’s fiery response to Smith’s call-to-action lyrics. Brandishing an electric guitar in the air she yelled, “This is the only weapon you’ll ever need.” Forty years into her artistic career, that sentiment she’s championed all along still rings true. And that poor electric guitar had its strings pulled off and broken, one by one, as Smith drew shouts of support from the crowd and fixed her steely gaze at the sky above.

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Album Review: Ought ‘More Than Any Other Day’

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Ought – ‘More Than Any Other Day’

By: Michael Chung

Ought is making waves. Huge waves. Since its first heartbeat in 2011, when members Tim Beeler (singer/guitarist), Ben Stidworthy (bassist), Matt May (keyboardist) and Tim Keen (drummer/violinist) first convened in an apartment loft, this post-punk quartet has seen plenty of action about their communal living space… and the Montreal music scene at large. 

Gritty and visceral, Ought reflects the tumultuousness of the city’s current sociopolitical landscape, initially ignited by the student-led anti-tuition-hike protests of 2012 and the worldwide Occupy Movement of the same year. Following the release of their massively successful debut album More Than Any Other Day in the spring of 2014, the denizens of Ought are still riding their apex of critical acclaim, one they reached in the second half of last year at a meteoric rate, perhaps unwittingly, in the midst of a world tour. 

More Than Any Other Day is a watershed in post-punk. It’s intended to be art-rock in its most genuine form… and it is. The album is imbued with brutal honesty, tinged with the angst of a twenty-something, and politically charged enough to raise the hairs off one’s neck into tiny fists. Tim Beeler’s swashbuckling wordplay and the jagged rhythmic phrases hashed out by his band are incentives powerful enough to leave listeners ready to empathize, if not deeply sympathize, with the practical and existential struggles of an entire generation of youth. 

The melodic and tonal passages of the vocals are fresh and captivating – oscillating transitions of singing and spoken-word often in aperiodic schemes. In combination with the interspersing of various instrumental tracts cement the album’s pervasive, sprawling and yes, epic, quality. 

It’s difficult, and perhaps unfair in this case, to decide which songs in the album are the strongest. Although all share a common arc, each track has a different reason for existing. Some are on celebrations of everyday life, others are marginally introspective, some are laden with complex allegories, and still others are the cathartic decrying of the excessive lifestyle and social stratifications. Though, Today More Than Any Other Day is an obvious lightning rod – it’s a fun and quirky song, with some seriously catchy hooks, that happens to boast a truly profound message.

More Than Any Other Day comes in with a collective mission. And More Than Any Other Day comes out swinging.

Stream Habit and The Weather Song off Constellation Records right here: http://cstrecords.com/cst103/ 

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Ought + Stefan Christoff ‘Wire Tones’ // Underground Sounds

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I think it’s safe to say: spring has arrived in Montreal. Did I just jinx it?

OK folks, Underground Sounds is excitedly airing a pre-recorded round-table interview with the band members of Ought. I met with the guys (Tim, Tim, Ben and Matt) at their Little Italy apartment and we talked about the songwriting, recording and backstories of their debut LP ‘More Than Any Other Day’, one track at time. What results is an audio tour of the eight tunes comprising the record. For devoted fans, there is much trivia to be gained from this interview.

Starting off the show, Stefan Christoff is in-studio to chat about his latest release ‘Wire Tones EP’ and an upcoming show at Montreal’s experimental music festival, Suoni Per Il Popolo.

Tune in everrrrry Monday 8-10pm for new music from Montreal at 90.3 FM and CKUT.ca y’all.

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Pop Montreal 2013 Review: Saltland & Ought

CKUT’s Carol Fraser recaps some highlights from this year’s Pop Montreal:


It seemed entirely right when towards the end of Saltland’s set under the big red roof at Eglise St John the Evangelist, someone lay down on the floor next to me, closed their eyes, and really felt the sounds coming from Rebecca Foon’s cello. Rather than some of her Constellation Records instrumentalist counterparts such as Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld, Foon’s playing is less technically virtuosic, instead showing off her ability to create subtle yet mind-altering sonic environments. In other words, Foon, with the aid of loop and effects pedals, is a masterful songwriter. Saltland is an accurate moniker, evoking the feelings and moods of a vast and uninhabited landscape, one you wish to simultaneously escape from and to. Most significant to Foon’s music is its rhythmic drive, not always present in the work of soundscape artists. It makes you want to get up and tango as much as it demands the emotional focus of the savasana or “corpse pose” of yoga. This is spiritual music for secular times, and experiencing it performed under a haunting sculpture of Christ on the cross served to heighten the effect even more, reminding all Montrealers present of the sacred and the diabolical that exists in the simplest of melodies.


Ought is exploding. Perhaps not literally, perhaps not yet, but their energy and that of the crowds who flock to dance with them is enough to set a room or two on fire. Though their performance at Rodos En Haut was not as out-of-this-world as their memorable set at Brasserie Beaubien for CKUT’s Arts Birthday celebration in January, the band’s sound was even more focused, burning down the house last Thursday night. (Yes, at times they are reminiscent of that band.) Comprised of local rockers Tim Beeler (Isle of Pine), Tim Keen, Matt May (Countrywide) and Ben Stidworthy, Ought writes songs that are incredibly catchy and danceable all while tackling issues of patriarchy, capitalism and artistic limitation. The band invites listeners to “express it with me” on their sing-along track “Habit,” and the listeners oblige, breaking the unspoken codes of indie rock shows and actually dancing. Like crazed, uninhibited young people who know nothing of posturing and even less of self restraint. A new song, performed at the end of their set, hinted at – no, exploded outwards a taste of what’s to come for these four.


Total Eclipse 4/30


Total Eclipse 4/30

Montreal is gorgeous these days and now that everyone is finally shaking off the last traces of winter hibernation, the city is abuzz with shows and other happenings∑ In the past week, I caught Baltimore stoner/psych wizards Needle Gun, local pals the Femmaggots and Ought, Colleen Green, acoustic singer-songwriter Swampwolf, and more that I’m forgetting — this mini-heatwave plus an ongoing bout of insomnia has got my brain fuzzier than usual.

get outside if it’s sunny where you are.

ckut top 30 – april 30, 2013
colin stetson – new history warfare volume 3: to see more light – constellation CC
chrissy zebby tembo & the ngozi family – my ancestors – normal
zs – grain – northern spy
saltland – i thought it was us but it was all of us – constellation CC
various artists – psych pop from toronto – optical sounds CC
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