New Music

READ: “she ain’t speakin’ now” – of Montreal – Review

  • August 17, 2013
  • 4 min read


Hello AudioFuzzers,

Let me start by saying that of Montreal is one of the most aurally divisive groups on the Indie scene. I, for one, am thankful that we audiophiles have such a brilliant musical act always at our fingertips. Their new album lousy with sylvianbriar is on the way (release is 10/8), and I’ve been avidly anticipating their new music. Their latest single has been released via and you can check it out here :

‘she ain’t speakin now,’ is a return to form for of Montreal, whose recent sonic escapades have traversed emo-folk rock, trippy psycho-electronica, glam-rock, and avant-garde. Their ability to evolve with each successive album is unmatched and, frankly, a welcome addition to the current music scene. That being said, where in their canon does the new album fit in? Kevin Barnes, the lead singer, song-smith, and engineer extraordinaire, has described the new album as a ‘lyric driven, spontaneous, and instrumentally understated experience.’ Well, alrighty then.

Sonically, the new single does and doesn’t remind me of their earlier work. When I say ‘earlier,’ I mean the Cherry Peel era, which was reliant on lo-fi 60s folk aesthetic. Kevin has mentioned that sylvianbriar was recorded utilizing 60s-70s minimalism, i.e. 8 track, cassettes, etc…and I definitely can hear that coming through. It reminds me of earlier work because it is more…acoustic sounding than their last several records. When you compare the new track with, say, a track from ‘Paralytic Stalks,’ you are hard pressed to find similarities. In other words, the new track finds it’s footing in being a step in a totally new direction, while simultaneously using past material as inspiration.

For the most part, ‘she ain’t speakin now,’ is built on a mood shift between an aurally psychedelic verse and more grungy chorus. This is discernible because of how they establish the verse – sparse acoustic guitar strums, bare-bones percussion, reverb slide, and whispered vocals – and how they drive the chorus – overdubbed electric guitar, heavier vocal, etc…The selling point are the lead vocals, though. I have to admit, I LOVE Kevin’s vocals in this song. The previous single ‘fugitive air,’ was a bit unfocused and messy vocally, however I really found something…personal in ‘she ain’t speakin now,’ and those moments are what hold their catalogue together.

Kevin begins the song by describing a somewhat dour situation. It appears as if someone close to him is barely hanging on to life as he sings, ‘like some sepulchral tomb though I stay frozen holding your hand; i’m only trying to think positive thoughts, understand?,” and then, “will you ever be yourself again?” It’s quite eerie, provided you don’t know what inspired the song. Apparently, while recording sylvianbriar, his wife and daughter fell extremely ill and, because of the stress of meeting deadlines and trying to cure some dark disease, Kevin was a little distraught. You can practically hear him pleading to the Gods in the choruses. His choice to swing between a more sonically distant verse and raw chorus really impact me. Combining the message with the stripped production and live feeling of it all, puts you in his shoes. It turns you into a fly on the wall, watching the sweat trickle down Nina’s forehead.

of Montreal was always more successful when they were able to put all of their quirky affectations behind a powerful message or story. Kevin is a genius, and his genius works when you can pretend to be a part of it, not when you’re stuck analyzing it. Plus, their shows are always epic dance parties. So, while you might not always understand what’s happening, your feet don’t really care. If the new album is on par with ‘she ain’t speakin now,’ it will be a resounding success.

The fuzz rating? A 4 out of 5. The song is a must hear.

Check out their website for tour dates:


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About Author

Chris Ryan

Chris Ryan is an accomplished promoter, event planner, producer, activist, counselor, poet and blogger. Within the course of two and a half years Chris Ryan has worked with some of NYC's most established promoters/event planners, been named 2007′s GaySocialite of the year, granted a promoter of the year award from NYC's most famous gay establishment, Splash. He's worked in some of NYC's top venues including; Avalon, Capitale, Cipriani, Cielo, Pacha, Element, Le Poisson Rouge, XL, G Lounge, Plumm, Hilton Hotel, Indigo Hotel, Spirit, Myst/Quo, Splash, The Ritz, Vlada, Roseland Ballroom, Heaven, etc. In 2008, Chris Ryan has begun to unveil some of the most innovative & unique parties New York City has ever seen. The Fusion events "fuse" together all disciplines of art into an event that remains diverse yet cohesive at the same time. won best gay promotions website from NYC Event Patrons in 2008 & he was granted an award from the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Gov. Patterson & Michelle Clunie (QAF) saluting him for his hard work in nightlife. Chris Ryan has also begun working with many renown companies, including; doctors, lawyers, physicians, modeling agencies & more. Chris Ryan has been responsible for wide-scale promotions for all these companies & generating tremendous business. Chris Ryan has even started to become National with events taking place in LA & Miami this year. In May of 2009 Chris Ryan received the very prestigious honor of being named a "40 Under 40″ Gays in America by the Advocate Magazine. He also created three successful parties that generated over 1,500 patrons each. In January of 2010 Chris Ryan was featured as one of the top promoters to look out for in Noize Magazine Chris Ryan joined forces with legendary promoter/event producer, Lee Chappell and created one of the most talked about events of all 2010, Desire @ Capitale. Chris Ryan and Lee featured one of the most outstanding artists NYC has ever seen, "Oh Land." Her performance coupled with an exquisite and unforgettable set design added to this extravagant event that held over 1,000 patrons in one of NYC's most successful PRIDE events! Chris Ryan then joined forces with legendary Pacha promoter, Rob Fernandez in addition to Jake Resnicow and Tommy Marinelli to bring one of the largest and most successful parties worldwide to NYC, MATINEE. The event on Governor's Island saw over 2,000+ attendees and one of the most ambitious productions ever. In 2011 Chris Ryan started Emerge Music Promotions with business partner Darren Melchiorre. Emerge Music promotions began signing artists with plans to develop and market the artists to the community at large. Emerge Music promotions has big events planned for 2012 and 2013. Chris Ryan debuted the IMAGE events which took place on top of two of NYC's most beautiful rooftop venues, Rare View and Indigo Hotel. The events were blogged everywhere and featured the fashion designs of several clothing designers, artists and photographers. Chris Ryan felt that fashion and art should be displayed at every event and attracted the likes of Malan Breton, Calvin Klein and even Katy Perry. Chris Ryan began an extremely successful event which incorporated the concept of a house party into a nightclub atmosphere. The event Twist'D at G Lounge has been one of the most talked about events in NYC and allows it's audience to play nearly-naked Twister, beer pong, flip cup & more with other attendees. Chris Ryan was granted an excellence in volunteering award from AVP (Anti-Violence Project) for all his efforts in supporting the organization. 2013 has a very promising landscape on the horizon and Chris Ryan is complacent in saying "you haven't seen anything yet!"

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