Sounds Like: Four young men on the verge of a complete breakdown and/or total transcendence; four decades of art-rock refracted into something weird, brilliant and new
For Fans Of: Television, Talking Heads, Sonic Youth
Why You Should Pay Attention: The Montreal band's debut LP, More Than Any Other Day, arrived this spring on Constellation Records, home of forward-looking Canadian acts like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Do Make Say Think. Since then, it's become a bona fide cult phenomenon. The band's name came from a misunderstanding with drummer Tim Keen, who is Australian. "We were coming up with some really awful band names, and he jokingly suggested that we call the band Art," keyboardist Matt May recalls. "But because of his accent, we thought he said 'Ought.' We were like, 'Ought! That's actually pretty sweet!'"
They Say: Frontman Tim Beeler, 23, often ad-libs Ought's strangely compelling lyrics — like the moment in "Today More Than Any Other Day" where he shouts, ecstatically, "I am prepared to make the decision/Between two percent and whole milk!" Says Beeler, "We were in one of these nasty, $10 rent-a-space rooms that reeked of cigarette smoke. It was the end of August, really hot, and it wasn't the best practice. And then toward the end of the practice the words just came out. It's about that feeling of being in a grocery store or a mall, and having that moment where you're suddenly like, 'Where am I? What is everything doing here? What am I doing here?' It's the feeling of being so alienated from things that your options are either to keel over and die or try and grapple with this feeling."
Hear For Yourself: "Habit" is a slow-burn tour de force. By Simon Vozick-Levinson