Every year at CJLO we ask our staff, DJs, and volunteers to tell us all their favourite things of the past year. Much like 2023 itself, this list is an eclectic mix. Join us for recommendations of albums, songs, films, snacks, and other experiences you may have missed this past year. Happy New Year from your favourite campus-community radio station!

BVST Goes Santapalooza XII: The 12 BVSTs of Santapalooza

Surprise, it's Santapalooza! More specifically it's BVST Goes Santapalooza XII: The 12 BVSTs of Santapalooza on CJLO 1690AM! Join BVST host Angelica as she's joined by special guest Matt Kiernan for an annual heaping helping of carefully curated Christmas music surprises!

Tim Baker Does What He Does Best: Bringing Holiday Cheer

Christmas came early as Canadian indie musician Tim Baker brought much-needed holiday merriment on a dreary, icy Tuesday in Montreal. Playing solo to a packed house at the Salle de Gésu, the former Hey Rosetta! Frontman - who is touring on the strength of his new EP Along the Mountain Road - proved to be the perfect tonic for the all-too-real pedagogical and commercial stresses prevalent in December.

The Japanese House Brings Sunshine to Montreal @ Le Studio TD

This past June, Amber Bain a.k.a The Japanese House released not just a great indie-pop record, but one of the best albums of 2023. Featuring co-production by George Daniel of The 1975, as well as contributions from Katie Gavin of MUNA, Charli XCX, and Matty Healy (also of The 1975), her sophomore album In the End It Always Does is a triumph in focus. Every instrument, lyric, and vocal fits perfectly in place over the forty-five-minute run time. Gorgeously produced, deeply personal and moving, ITEIAD shows Bain in peak form.

A Goodbye From Your Outgoing Hip Hop Music Director

I don't know where to begin to communicate how much gratitude I have for CJLO 1690 AM and everyone I’ve had the privilege of working with over the last three years. I reached out to the station on a whim in 2021, and the first episode of Purple Hour aired just weeks later. The excitement, expression, and ambition this show lit in me was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Just a few months into my tenure at CJLO, I had the honour of taking on the role of Hip Hop Music Director (more like hip hop/R&B/soul/funk music director). Coming from Toronto, when I moved to Montreal to study at Concordia, I was shocked by the lack of presence these genres seemed to hold in the city and the lack of infrastructure in place to support them.

The 1975: Still At Their Very Best

The 1975 has been “Playing on my Mind” ever since they came to Montreal’s Bell Centre Friday, November 17th, 2023. The indie-pop band has been active since the early 2010s but as the title of their tour suggests, they remain relevant across many demographics. People of all ages and genders gathered in the arena to witness the talent that is The 1975. The band’s ability to reach such a large audience is commendable and speaks to their adaptability to the fluctuating music trends of the past decade.

RIDM Celebrates Master Director Chantal Akerman

RIDM is back with its usual programming of eclectic and dynamic documentaries from all around the world. Celebrating its 26th edition, RIDM stands by its mission of creating a platform for underrepresented voices, authentic expression and coming together, hence the origin of their French name “rencontres” or meetings. With such a diverse lineup, every individual is able to curate an experience of their own. Whether it's selecting films that speak directly to their own lived experiences or discovering something completely new to them, RIDM allows attendees to thread their own stories through viewership. 

Bars, Beats and Hip-Hops Underground Rebirth: An Interview With Maxo

I recently read an article on what hip-hop fans and industry professionals have called the “death of hip-hop,” covering how for the first half of this year, not a single hip-hop song or album claimed the number one spot on the Billboard 200 or Hot 100. Any true hip-hop fan can tell you that this is a terribly inaccurate and surface-level analysis of the state of the genre.

image+nation Closing Film: A Night of History and Opulence

November 25th was the premiere of Venus Envy: The House of Venus and the closing night of the Image+Nation film festival. Image+Nation is an 11-day festival that includes international short films, documentaries, and feature films about LGBTQ+ topics. The closing night event combined queer culture and history with visual culture. 

The night started with a drag performance. The performer was wearing a retro, 1960s-styled outfit with a bejewelled fascinator with feathers, shaped like a hand. 

Apes Wake from the End of an Inter Arma Full of Hell at Foufounes Electriques

Grindcore/noise seers Full of Hell rolled through Montreal this past Wednesday. The Ocean City, Maryland/Central Pennsylvania act are currently supported on a North American tour by End, Inter Arma, and Wake.

The name of the game here is heavy. None of the bands on this bill (including extra support Apes out of Quebec City) make a habit of incorporating anything melodic in their music. This concert setup tends to either make or break acts when they hit the stage, leaving them to drown in the wall of sound or be cohesive enough to stand out above the rest.