Culture  A good reason to go to Gerts

In the hopes of promoting up-and-coming McGill bands, CKUT Radio is teaming up with Gerts for a weekly music showcase called Thursdays (A)live. The free series kicks off tonight at 7:00 p.m. with Intensive Care, The Kelp Center, and The Pop Winds, three bands primed and ready to expand their fan bases.

Like Wolf Parade, with whom they share a studio, Intensive Care relies on streamlined guitar lines and rock-hard rhythmic patterns, but the band’s vocals roughen the edges, making their sound oddly familiar and comforting – until, that is, some good old-fashioned dissonance enters the equation.

The Kelp Center, on the other hand, is a brand new quartet of first-years who manage to cover numerous facets of the term “alternative.” “The Trek” features sophisticated interchanges between guitar and vocals, and “P.O.W.” combines leering sing-song melodies and samples from the abyss of 1950s commercial advertising. The band also promises a variety of covers in their live show to further inhabit the complete spectrum of independent music.

The Pop Winds use distanced, reverb-treated vocals over a background of electronic trickery and hushed rhythms, à la college-band-institution Animal Collective and the recent “chillwave” sensation. Yet The Pop Winds carry enough melodic prowess to lift their music out of soundscapes and into songs. The (A)live performance follows the release of their EP, Understory and a bevy of shows at local Montreal venues.

With such a formidable line-up scheduled, one hopes CKUT will be able to sustain the standards set by tonight’s inaugural show. Though that remains to be seen, you can bet that this week’s concert will be a whale of a time.