I'm watching the premiere of CBC's "H2O" right now, and the preliminary reviews are, a Canadian "Chinatown" with the production values of "24", which is apt as former "24" alumnus Leslie Hope is a member of the cast. Also, recovering from last night's Auto-Vaud party.
Sunday, October 31, 2004
Saturday, October 30, 2004
If you're not out catching your favourite Misfits cover band or goosing yourself silly on hallucinogenics (err, ethneogens?) on the Island tonight, the North End of the Plateau promises some entertaining moments to be had... Automatic Vaudeville, Montreal's most prestigious and highly-regarded film-making collectif is hosting thier annual Hallowe'en bash tonight (that's Saturday) at Le Local, which some of may remember from the Pavilion Pop Montreal late-night happening. It's located at 7154 St. Urbain, just off of Jean Talon, and it's $2 to get it. DJ Mark Slutsky presides over the festivities with admirable acumen and (one hopes) a whole lotta DFA mixes.
As well, the Long Haul is hosting a fundraising Hallowe'en party tonight (on Belmont, just off of Ave. du Parc) with Lynne T. from LOX and others DJing.
And tomorrow night's Seripop Hallowe'en, details tomorrow. Look for me tonight, I'm Captain Haddock.
Friday, October 29, 2004
Vancouver's The Organ will be in town tomorrow night, along with Toronto's Controller:Controller, who I hesitate to say are as mediocre as they are nice human beings. The Organ, however, are that rare combination of a swell band with swell members. Early new-wave in the vein of pre-programming-happy New Order, Echo & the Bunnymen and Stockholm Monsters. Two mp3s below...
Saturday, October 30th The Organ, Controller:Controller @ Petit Campus
The Organ - Memorize The City
The Organ - It's Time To Go
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Now, I've got no love in my musical soul for blues-rock of most kinds, barely able to tolerate The Animals or The Kinks when they get into doing old standards, and a reluctant but ardent admirer of The Rolling Stones "Exile On Main St" album... And so it stands to reason I can't take the White Stripes or the Black Keys or any other nouveau garage/blues hybrid that's popped up in the last little while with two notable exceptions, the first being The Delta 72, and the second being Toronto's Deadly Snakes, who manage to sound like what I always wished the Blues Explosion sounded like, but were criminally unable to pull off. Listen below...
The Deadly Snakes - Burn Down The Valley.mp3
A Luna Red
For most people aware of them, the group seemed to appear and disappear as quickly as the GSL 7" got distributed, but most Vancouver or Victoria indie watchers will know A Luna Red as a fairly prominent industrial/post-punk with a far longer shelf-life than that, and a far less embarassing series of songs than Skinny Puppy. The group was formed by Jack Duckworth (of Radio Berlin) in 1999 or so, along with Erica Neumann and Bill Winslow-Hansen (now of Droom). Erica left to be replaced by Larissa Loyva (of P:ano). Later members included Graham Jackson(also of Droom), Sean Abare(of A Spectre Is Haunting Europe), Marina Stamboulieh (of the Automovement) and Neal Simpson. During the just under 5 years the group existed (with Jack Duckworth as the only consistent member, much like Mark E. Smith of the Fall), they managed to release two albums (one on Global Symphonic and the other on Action Driver), a self-released EP, a Global Symphonic split LP with San Fransisco's Ghost Orchids and that aforementiond 7" on GSL. Undoubtedly, Jack Duckworth is one of the most important figures in Vancouver music, and a criminally underappreciated musician in the larger indie scene as a whole. While it's unfortunate that Radio Berlin and A Luna Red have yet to receive attention on a broader scale, (though the Indie Godhead Pitchfork have heaped plenty of praise on the group) one hopes that with music fans will eventually catch up to him, as they eventually did to Radio Berlin (a group that foreshadowed the post-punk revival that now outfits every indie group with a high-hat-happy-disco-beat drummer)...
Jack disbanded A Luna Red earlier this year, after a lengthy period of adjusting and fine-tuning and opted to form a new group, Primes, with Michelle Synnot, a highly-regarded fixture in the electronica (for lack of a better word) scene in N. America and Europe.
A Luna Red - SLMZK.mp3 from SLMZK 7"
I mentioned above Radio Berlin, and I plan on writing a lot more about them later, but just for anyone curious, below's an mp3 off of their most recent album, Glass, available on Action Driver Records.
A Spectre Is Haunting Europe - Anarchid.mp3
P:ano - Afterschool Special.mp3
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Of interest to at least two or three of the five people who read this thing, here's an mp3 from Dan Beckner of Wolf Parade's old band, Atlas Strategic. (Daddy's Hands comparisons are not appreciated, thank you.) It's from their Global Symphonic debut, "Rapture Ye Minions" and isn't found on the "That's Familiar" EP.
Atlas Strategic - Jeered By Minor Demons
Last night Michelle and I took some time out of our busy schedule of guzzling booze and shoving American teenagers around on Ste-Catherine to catch "I Heart Huckabees". Keenly aware of just how awful this film was going to be, I (for one) left the film at least mildly amused. The film was terrible, parts of it even worse than I could have expected (peppered, context-less references to Kafka and Magritte, a loopy-doopy animistic philosophy erroneously defined as "existentialist"?), but there were a couple of things to be said in its favour - firstly, Jude Law and Naomi Watts' (no relation, thank you) performances were equally astonishing and amusing, much more so than Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin, who, though seeming to be having fun with the, err, material, didn't interest me. Naomi Watts' character, a spokeswoman for the Huckabees line of big-box department stores, is especially great in one scene where, after a life-changing epiphany, she dons a bonnet and some baggy overalls and films an ennui-filled commercial for the corporation. And outside of that? Some brief moments of physical comedy, and thank fucking God that this was not another "soundtrack film", in the vein of Rushmore, Lost In Translation, and The Royal Tennanbaums. (I'm sure Napoleon Dynamite is similarly afflicted, but I'm not planning on seeing that anytime soon - probably just a remake of The Adventures of Sebastian Cole?). The Shania Twain cameo was putrid, on her part, though there seemed to be a slight skewering of her throughout the film, identifying her with a fanbase comprised of clueless parents and dimwitted office yokels.
Essentially, the film would have been better served by a once-over by the two people the director was trying to ape - Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufmann... The skewering of the suburban minister's family, while a wee bit obvious of a target (cmon, SUVs?), was dead-on.
On our way back from the theatre (incidentally, the AMC Forum - my first time inside that building - what kind of monstrosity is that? The carpet? The grotesque hockey fan in the old forum seats? The crowd of people dancing to Lou Bega's "Mambo Number 5"?) I spotted my first piece of evidence that there actually exist real people who will be voting for George W. Bush. Sure, we're told the race is close and what not, but I think it's simply that the media wants to be perceived as journalistically objective that we're told this incumbent is doing so well, I mean, there couldn't be that many people on this planet that admire this man, right? Right? Err. Anyway, a late model luxury automobile with New Hampshire plates and a black and white Bush-Cheney 04 bumper sticker and a shrinkwrapped book on Christian living under the back window (shrinkwrapped book?!?!?!)... Michelle hypothesized that they were up here getting their flu shots, but I'm thinking that this was something a little more domestic - like a police plant to catch vandals - I mean, something that absurdly offensive on Ave. du Parc? And a shrinkwrapped book?
This weekend's Globe and Mail China special is astonishing - great articles by Jann Wong, Ian Brown and the rest of the staff. I even read the business section. I can recall in my childhood some friend of the family and member of the fundamentalist church I attended telling me that China was a force soon to be aligned with the AntiChrist, and that the Chinese would soon walk into the ocean, one after another, to cross it and invade North America. There seem to be some logistical problems with that, of course, but hey, when you're a member of a church that denies a metaphorical reading of the Bible in favour of a literal, well, all is possible! The Chinese walk into ocean is the beginning of a great joke that's yet to be written.
And finally, the only decent thing to come out of Calgary in, uhh, forever... Equal parts of the Rye Coalition and Six Finger Satellite, it's Fake Cops!
Friday, October 22, 2004
A STOLEN IMAGE!
Somewhat related: And I thought I had mastered the art of dismissive music writing... CJLO disc jockeys deflate your PopMontreal bubble. (How pathetic this 21st century has panned out, huh? A "blog" user complaining about people who play music over the internet.)
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Hot Snakes' new album "Audit in Progress" is the latest bit of evidence in my case. I maintain that the group is the newer, better version of Shellac with fanbase cross-over. Which, I suppose, makes Drive Like Jehu a version of Big Black.
Hot Snakes - Hi-Lights.mp3
Some surprise, I briefly talked to a friend while watching the remainder of the Boston/New York game at Copacabana and found out that Mu will be playing tomorrow night (Friday), at Club Soda, as part of the MEG Montreal festival. Unfortunately I've got a prior engagement DJing at The W Hotel bar (901 Square Victoria in Old Montreal) and won't be able to make it. The bill includes a live performance by Vive La Fete and DJ sets by Mu's Maurice Fulton, Sean Kosa and KPCK. Also on Friday, Nick and Jaime of The Unicorns will be DJing at a free showcase at SAT (on lower St. Laurent) from 5 to 8pm.
I'm going to check out ESG on Sunday - they're performing with Le Tigre, Gravy Train (ugh), and Cannonball Jane at Club Soda. It'll be interesting to see how ESG shapes up, and I'm not looking forward to the Le Tigre set, seeing as they won't have DFA on stage with them to remix those songs into something decent. Ba-dooom-shhhh!
Mu - Chair Girl.mp3 Sadly, of poor quality, but it'll give you an idea...
Also, Dante left Hot Hot Heat... No replacement as of yet, but who's even left in Victoria to fill the bill? Michael Melgaard? Dan And? Or will they pick up a former member of Econoline Crush?
Comets on Fire - The Antlers of the Midnight Sun.mp3 - I can visualize the Orange amplifier stacks...
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
DFA, , just released two astonishing records, keeping on par with their tortoise-like release schedule (expecting to see that LCD Soundsystem appear in about a year or so). Pixeltan, with Hisham, formerly of Black Dice on the drum-set, propels listeners into the four-on-the-floor stratosphere with "Get Up / Say What", with appropriately spooky vocal effects for the upcoming Hallowe'en season. J.O.Y.'s got Yoshimi from the Boredoms hanging out with some UNKLE guys, re-releasing the single that was previously only available on Japan's Ape Sounds Records. You can preview the two A-sides on DFA's site.
November sees a 3-CD set of unreleased DFA stuff being released, too. Xmas rush!
A: "Get Up/ Say What" DFA Remix
B: "Get Up"
"That's The Way I Like It"
B: Sunplus DFA Version.
In related news, Output Recordings have a new release out by Maurice Fulton's post-punk-funck-fest, Mu... The A-side is Paris Hilton, the B-side is We Love Guys Named Luke. Limited release again, expect to see a copy of it up on a knowledgeable record store's shelf for $250 or so in a couple of months... If it's anything like the full-length, I expect I'll be drooling all over it.
Saturday, October 16, 2004
Pleasure Forever, now deceased, were one of those groups that I followed with a keen interest... In their first incarnation as Slaves, my interest was mostly because the band was comprised of 3/4 of The VSS (the other 1/4 being Sunny Kay, proprietor of GSL and current member of Yr Future), who had released "Nervous Circuits" which topped, and still tops, my list of favourite albums.
The VSS - In Miniature.mp3 from Nervous Circuits
Slaves released two EPs, one self-titled, and "The Devil's Pleasures", both of which were collected on a 1999 TroublemanUnlimited CD, also titled "The Devil's Pleasures." Sex, death, and gnostic rituals.
Slaves - Chemical Priest.mp3 from "The Devil's Pleasures".
After that, the group changed their name to Pleasure Forever, were signed to Sub Pop, and released two albums (self-titled and "Alter") as well as a single, neither of which sold stunningly well, but fared better critically and sold to that enthusiastic group of music buyers that might count Antioch Arrow's "Gems of Masochism" as a crucial album to have in their collections. The albums are evocative, droning, cabaret-tinged affairs, recalling the darker elements of The Doors and Echo & the Bunnymen or Crime & The City Solution, with the piano used as the lead instrument (as in the VSS) and that puts them in the same family as art-damaged groups such as The Get Hustle and Birdland. While "Alter" is a gorgeously textured and theatrical element, it's marred by the ill-advised move of having Rothbard record his vocals over a department store PA system. (Better than a vocoder, however: ahem, Trans Am).
Pleasure Forever - Goodnight.mp3 from the self-titled album.
Pleasure Forever - Wicked, Shivering Columbine.mp3 from Alter.
l-r: Jennifer Pearl, David Clifford, Kevin Garrison
David Clifford, the drummer, has moved on to Lion Fever, joining Jennifer Pearl, formerly of the Lost Kids and Kevin Garrison, of The Get Hustle and Angelhair (which, coincidentally enough, was the precursor band to The VSS, and one of the main architects of that Gravity Records-styled, "San Diego sound"* despite originating in Colarado.) As you can hear on the below track, their sound owes a lot to both The Lost Kids and The Starlite Desperation...
Lion Fever - Slave.mp3
Andrew Rothbard left Pleasure Forever in the fall of last year, and though Joshua Hughes and David Clifford had intended to carry on, nary a peep has been heard from them since then, outside of a one-off gig with a group called Coast Ghost and the Abandoned Meaner last November.
*Such as: Drive Like Jehu, The Swing Kids, The VSS, Antioch Arrow, The Crimson Curse, so on and so forth... Every single music-playing resident of San Diego seems to have moved to Portland in the past couple of years, much like the Victoria to Montreal exodus in Canada.
Another note: Lion Fever will be playing at the Dim Mak showcase at the Knitting Factory in New York City along with Montreal's Pony Up! a week from tonight, on Saturday, October 25th.
Les Georges plug in the Juno 60 (or a DX7 or something), add some vocal delay, and bring out the most influential percussive instrument in the past two years, the cowbell, on sponsorships.mp3 off of their most recent album, "Sur les traces de Black Eskimo" on Alien8 recordings. Sponsorship scandal? Political wonk song?
Also, mythical creatures + British code-word for abrasive, back-alley homosexual sexual encounters. Anyone know when it's going to be announced?
On the invitation of Dr. Robin Simpson, esteemed colleague and now in the employ of psychonaut journal Warrior Magazine, I attended the opening of the W Hotel watering hole in Square Victoria last night. Flashing lights, music by my new nemesis DJ Adam Gollner, happy-dancing to New Order provided by Raf Katigbak (with Syd Barrett neck scarf),
According to ubsubstantiated rumour (the best kind), a member of one of those local buzz-bands left the bar with an unpaid $1200 tab.
British Sea Power, that Brightonian group of the confusing stage arrangements, wheezy Eno & Bowie vocals, and wonkish lyrical content popped up a bit and then were quickly ignored by N. American press, released another album last month, "The Spirit of St. Louis" on Toyo*. Whether this Lindberghian album was released at this point to coincide with the release of Philip Roth's premise-laden "The Plot Against America" hasn't been mentioned yet. Any NME readers out there will recall that publication's adulation of BSP, which probably prompted Pitchfork to mention it and review the band terribly, or (if the reviewer was an honest sort) give them good marks in spite of it. Clueless comparisons to Joy Division have been made - I'm hard-pressed to hear the similarities. The group definetly owes something to Bowie (namely vocal stylings), but outside of that, the ethereal washiness must echo the sounds of Brighton beaches in foggy, miserable February.
Recent British naval exports purchased by Canadians haven't fared that well lately, however. Be wary!
CBC's Just Concerts site has a live recording of their performance at Richard's on Richards in Vancouver earlier this year available.
British Sea Power "Carrion" - Live at Glastonbury mp3 (from the Salty Water BSP fansite.
*No, not the home of Pink-And-Brown Toyo Records, the other one...
This upcoming Wednesday, the 20th seems to be a busy enough night for shows, with 2/3 of Montreal's Wolf bands performing...
At The Electric Tractor, Baltimore's Double Dagger (who are said to resemble Le Shok more than Half-Japanese) are playing with AIDS Wolf, their first show in possibly as many months as it takes to make a baby. It's an early show, doors at 7pm or so.
Moving Units, the herky-jerky hi-hat riding group (with two kids from 31g's Festival of Dead Deer) play with The Chinese Stars (members of Arab on Radar and Six Finger Satellite), Kill Me Tomorrow, and Saturday Looks Good To Me at El Salon that same night.
Les Breastfeeders and We Are Wolves are at Cabaret La Tulipe, wherever the hell that might be, and Echo Kitty play with guests at Escogriffe.
GRAMMATICAL STYLE AND SMIRKING COMMENTARY IN THIS POST CRIBBED FROM "PSYCHOTIC REACTIONS & CARBARATOR DUNG" AND VARIOUS PITCHFORK ARTICLES. Obviously...
Monday, October 11, 2004
The single from the new Glass Candy and the Shattered Theatre album will be released tomorrow, on TroublemanUnlimited. I have to admit that the last album "Love Love Love", while representing the group well with some well-written songs, lost something in terms of production... Perhaps the mastering?
Glass Candy - Love Love Love.mp3
The Destroyer/Black Mountain split on Spirit of Orr Records is out - distributed by Scratch in Canada, you should be able to find it at Ditch Records in Victoria, BC... There's an mp3 below. A remix of "Druganaut" was released on Jagjaguwar Records earlier this year to be followed by a full-length to be released in January of 2005.
Black Mountain - Druganaut.mp3'
And Black Mountain's Steve McBean is, as many of you already know, skulking about, writing perverse songs under the moniker Pink Mountaintops. Unreleased mp3 below. (Thanks, Hive Studios!)
Pink Mountaintops - Erected.mp3
The Baron Samedi Ecstatic Soul Quintet, with returned globe-trotting frontman Steven Balogh, will be performing in Vancouver this Friday, October 16th @ the Astoria with The Christa Min, Cadeaux (with Rick O'Dell, formerly of Sharp Teeth), and YouSayParty!WeSayDie!.
October, 16 2004 at the Astoria
769 E. Hastings, Vancouver, BC
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
The Boy Who Climbed Trees - Alex (l) and Jenn Wong (r)
Vancouver's Terminal City alternative weekly is undergoing some sort of transformations. Sometimes Goldkicks contributor (well, she's got the password anyway) and unabashed Weezer fan Jenn Wong will be appearing on the masthead as the new Music Editor. Congratulations!
The end of PopMontreal doesn't mean that there's no live music going on for the next couple of weeks, just nothing that good. Paul Cargnello, probably the only Socialist to have licensed a song to almost-forgotten television series Dawson's Creek, is performing at Sala Rosa tomorrow (Thursday) night. Danko Jones, the most annoying Filipino to ever don a fedora (and I've seen a few tagalog films), will be performing another set of uninspired and lazily crafted "garage" rock on Friday night. At least they love him in Sweden. Also that night, Las Vegas' The Killers perform with Sea&Cake-in-disguise Ambulance Ltd. at Club Soda.
Sunday is kids-with-bikes-and-patches night at the Cryo Chamber, 1180 St-Antoine, as Japanther (not to be confused with The Panthers, the Brooklyn-based recently finding their stride as a Filter cover band) hit the city, reviving the hopes that lay dormant in the hearts of all Reversal of Man fans for the past couple of years...* Who's The Ghost, the double-bass n' drums trio featuring Brian Mitchell, formerly of Vancouver hardcore outfit September open up, along with Dataskin.
Now how often did I relate one band to another one in a snarky, flippant manner above? Having just passed my 24th birthday, I think it's safe to say I've turned into an embittered old man who's seen it all. I'll be balding, tubby and wearing an oversized Pixies t-shirt in about four months.
* Let me clarify something - I don't appreciate Japanther, I find them an artless and derivative group of poorly put-together Svenonius gestures, the members overly proud of their discovery of French situationist theory; a little like The International Noise Conspiracy if they smoked more pot and secretly coveted every issue of Vice.
Sunday, October 03, 2004
After Expo67, Montreal was a barren cultural landscape of isolationist Ivory Tower academics and E-popping raver-hippy hybrids until PopMontreal came along...
The last night of the PopMontreal and no reported overdoses, which makes the event an unqualified success, though I'm wondering how many washes the pile of clothing in the corner of the room is going to take before it ceases reeking of cigarette smoke. I caught Frog Eyes on Wednesday night - they played a half hour set to a crowd of respectful, if slightly bewildered, CEGEP Tegan n' Sara fans... Genevieve et Mathieu's inspired performance at Pavilion 2 of old French children's songs, scronky no-wave missives and bewildering "House of The Rising Sun" re-works set the pace for a night of industrial strength boozing and dance-floor busting in an out-of-the-way venue that managed to bring out a more than respectable crowd. Robin Simpson's mischevious placement of the hide-a-bed promised a lot of action, but unfortunately didn't deliver any - although after a number of dixie cups of Griffon Blonde, I probably wouldn't have been able to stomach any spontaneous exhibitionistic practices. Though I spent most of last night in a corner, contemplating whether or not one could follow up Madness' "Our House" with Brian Eno's "Third Uncle" and other such demanding dilemmas, I did get to escape for a brief period when teetotalling Warren Hill spun a bit, and caught a glimpse of the free-styling action in the other room at the Long Haul space, which reached some sort of arbitrary capacity fairly early on into the night. Being a man of slight height, I only managed to see a Besnard Lake-ian thumping away at the bass guitar while a gentleman in an afro (HIP HOP WATCHERS, whom was that?) traded rhymes with a short, lil' hispanic man. That wasn't Kool Keith - that wasn't Beans!
Apparently Franz Ferdinand was delightful, as were the Dears, performing some sort of Rock Opera (a little early in the game for that sort of thing, don't you think? But when one begins grandiose and slightly baroque...). Donald K. Donald's Indian food was a little cold and the music videos projected on the backwall of the Main Hall (slash Mile End Cultural Centre) were perfect fodder for slack and lazy sarcastic commentary. "Is that Sook Yin Lee? What's she doing? She's a nurse now? A mail-order bride?" "A screamo band with a brass section? BRILLIANT!" I'm loathe to admit it, but I'd never heard of this gargantuan Torontonian power broker before, perhaps not following the careers of I Mother Earth or Remy Shand as closely as one would expect, and ol' D-Squared himself didn't even show up!
Late night party-attendees might want to keep this in mind for future soirees: waiting a couple of hours before ample coke-dust settles on the window-sill and taking it all up your nose about five minutes prior to 7am is probably the most cost-effective way to party... Alone. Others might try the approach covered in the most recent issue of New York magazine and long practiced by sensible sorts I've had the occasion to mingle with once or twice: snorting drugs prescribed for ADD.
Mission of Burma will be performing in about 15 minutes at Cabaret, though I'm sure it's a long shot to get in at this point, even with one of those fancy Pony or Nokia passes dangling about your neck. But then, those in the know will be making their way to Miami tonight, to capture a performance sponsored both by Deeselig's own Dingrod (arguably the biggest street-legal in this city) and Zellers. Heart of Amulet, a duo stuffed to the neck with a pervasive sense of historical importance and thematic brilliance (????) perform at 1:48am exactly, just after The Faggot Face Forskins and prior to Burning Pit of Hell and Cougars Are Lovers, Too. Pack yourself into the only venue in the festival with a noticable Russian mafioso presence and enjoy the plywood interior design scheme and stale beer.
The Forms didn't make it across the border, thus forfeiting their match against locals EchoKitty. Sending in a Helmet coverband as their replacement didn't achieve the desired effect either, though the one dreadlocked and braided-bearded gentleman (I had once shared a taxicab to Old Montreal with his companion, who was just at that time peaking on mushrooms) who had recently sucked back some LSD really dug them.
More PopMontreal stuff, including photos and snarky comments about industry people with bad pants/hair to follow in the next few days...