Ride - OX4
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Daddy's Hands - Bastard You're A Hard Man To Love / Redman
Daddy's Hands - Granny's Gotta Eat
As I'm a cheap yousendit.com user, anyone referred to this site from editor Greg's alternative top 20 list looking for Daddy's Hands would find nothing. I wouldn't want to deprive anyone, or at the least, tease a couple of people, so here are a couple of mp3s from the (collective?) figure that cast such a large shadow. Lives have been touched!
The first is a track from the Group Therapy Explosion compilation, released way back last century by the sadly defunct Slow To Burn Records in Victoria, BC. If my memory serves me correctly, that's Johnny from Atlas Strategic on saxophone. You may be erroneously expecting an appearance by a Wu Tang personage. Not the case.
The second track is from an album recorded earlier this year, for release at some point in the future, let's all hope by a label with enough resources or enthusiasm behind them to give it the promotion that it so richly deserves. This month's Dave Wanger Fanclub Hotspot: Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Talking Heads - Thank You For Sending Me An Angel (CBS Studio Demos)
Yo La Tengo - Be Thankful For What You Got
Allow me a bit of a rare indulgence: to write with a smattering of sincerity about some of my favourite blogs. More than animating a lifeless afternoon in an office, or being clever diversions on the level of the ILM messageboard, these people have showcased music I've come to love - bold and (damn it) invigorating artists and songs oft times matched handsomely with crafted, witty critiques and praise, a testament to the care and intelligence that the scribes represented by the blogs below put into these things. This is no complete or conclusive list, as there are plenty of other great sites out there (some on the side-bar to your right), but these have my ear at any time, and would benefit anyone greatly from a visit.
20jazzfunkgreats The UKids at 20jazzfunkgreats have consistently been one of the capital-G Great blogs of this past year, (and the year prior!) curating a sonic vision of post/post and pre/post punk grit that's consistently awesome and surprising, which ain't, you know, all that easy. Inspiring feelings of 7 Inch Envy, they've also showered much love on Montrealers like Dandi Wind, Duchess Says, Les Georges Leningrad, and We Are Wolves, to name a few.
Said The Gramophone The oft-checked Said The Gramophone, a venerable institution (if Fluxblog is the Grey Lady of the mp3-blog world, Said The Gramophone is the New York Review of Books) had a face-lift recently. It's a ternary operation with points in Edinburgh, Montreal, and Toronto, that occupied many of my hours when I came upon it in 2004 while working at McGill. It's edited, it reads well, and advocates a well-crafted form of pop music that if oten, sadly, an anachronism in these times.
Popsheep In my mind, they're ...SaidTheGramophone's little bro (not to indicate a diminutiveness of importance, however). Popsheep feels hand-crafted and cared for - like stumbling upon a zine that surprises by reading well, being smart and leaving guests smiling. Correspondents of their roughly hewn wire service are stationed in Toronto, San Diego and Vancouver.
Are You Familiar? Another daily visit, Are You Familiar?, the cleverly titled dwelling of Toronto's own Greg - a young man who sneaks time away from an 80 hour work week to dig up gold soundz from here and there, and rescue Toronto from its reputation as the Mecca of Canadian musical mediocrity, which is a nasty, petty conceit I'm slowly weaning myself from.
Daughters Of Invention Newcomers Daughters Of Invention are purveyors of hidden dance-floor jewels, currently and from decades past, sold without bad faith or ironic distance, and occasionally leavened with lilting selections from the left-field of the 2nd fin de siecle musical almanac. There are salesmen, and then there are merchants...
Molars And finally, there's Molars, Kevin's state-side blogger, who's been known to (from time to time) drop rare A. Collective covering Nirvana tracks, as well as giving frantic nods to Montrealers like Shalabi Effect. A veteran, and frequent updater!
If you're one of those sorts who make grand pronouncements about the intertwining of social circles and music production when you're drunk, only to regret it later and spend the rest of the year defensively swatting at the publications they appeared in, you'll remember the helpful fellow pictured above as being David Carr. The NYT culture critic and one-time chronicler of Anna Wintour gives us ent-blog Carpetbagger, which I shamefully check every two or three days.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Atlas Strategic - The Day It Came To Earth
It's time for another one of those cred-building posts, wherein I stroke my ego, bruised as it is during this season where I, the Gentile aspiring to convert to Judaism, finds himself straddling two worlds, not quite at home in either. Consequentially, I drink, I curse, I eat lentils and rice for four days, and now, I post another track from Atlas Strategic's second album, released in a limited, limited edition, only available during a brief tour and in one record store - that indisputable heavyweight of the West Coast - Victoria's Ditch Records (635 Johnson St - go there!).
Atlas Strategic was, of course, the band that Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade fronted previously. Joining him were Johnny (on backing vocals, organ and mini-korg), Brooklyn (on bass), Steve (on drums), and later, Jeff, on drums, with occasional appearances by half-deaf, legendary producer of Victoria punk rock records since time-eternal, Scott Henderson. Released in two pressings - the first featuring some futuristic themed artwork briefly spotted on their NewMusicCanada website, and the second, a Victorian-themed Cat motif, designed by drummer Steve and printed by yours truly (cred, cred, gimme more cred!) at the expense of the BC provincial government (under the table grant program), this album ain't kicking around anywhere for your grubby little mits. Global Symphonic, however, did have the first album which was in print up until rather recently. I'm sure some random distro in Kentucky or somewhere (think Stickfigure?) has a couple of copies lying around.
I've posted stuff from this before, so astute observers of this blog should be slowly, over a period of five years or such, be able to acquire the album. What an incentive to check in daily! Anyway, this album also features the song National Flag, which would be revived as a Wolf Parade song under the title National People's Scare. Dig!
Now you're the coolest kid in your dorm!
Turzi - Soloromano.mp3
Turzi are Parisian, fronted by guitarist, vocalist and namesake Turzi: relying on repetition, evocative arrangements and strong synth work to convey a spacey and airy 21st century vision of rock kosmische. The group released an album on RecordMakers, home to AIR and Sebastien Tellier. Can is an obvious touchstone throughout the EP - texturally and rhythmically, though where their unique soundscapes charted the macabre elements of the human psyche, one of kitschless paranoia, Turzi lace their songs with synths and rhythmic elements more common to early Klaus Schulz, or the more exubriant bits in the Cluster catalogue. I'm hopeful that we'll see the group on this side of the Atlantic in 2006, and I think that the material on this record (Made Under Authority) will come fully alive and soar in a live setting.
The above song (Soloromano) shares similarities here with Hawkwind's Opa-Loka (from Warrior On The Edge of Time), though the latter has less of a melodic focus and doesn't fall apart halfway through, its rhythm re-assembled and coupled with a rusty modulated synth-line. Listen to at a high-volume, and scoot over to the Record Makers website to listen to more and order the damn album.
Monday, December 26, 2005
So, bored out of my skull, I downloaded all of these podcasts, including four episodes of what is quite possibly the funniest radio program I've heard in the twenty-five lackadaisical, slack years I've been alive. The genius of having the character Carl explain the bizarre logic behind many of his hypothesises is evident after one listen, and he receives more licks than he deserves sometimes, the amount of thought he's put into his absurd worldview is astonishing. If you're really itching for a Hannukah present from me, or even, say, a Christmas present, well, this is all you're going to get, and Jesus, it might even be more than you're worth. www.guardian.co.uk/rickygervais
Laughter, what else is there? What have we to share? What jumps the chasm between generations with ease and provides delight for all ages other than the greatest and most human of all arts, comedy? Please, for your health and mine, visit the website of San Francisco's Coyle and Sharpe, where you can uncover relics of a bygone era, when wit served to create a stylistic wackiness. Download the Druggist mp3. Wonderful.
Friday, December 23, 2005
1. Dan(ager) left behind a copy of the premiere issue of Guilt & Pleasure at the office. Many distinguished contributors grace the masthead, including broadcaster Jonathan Goldstein (host of CBC Radio's Wiretap and droll contributor to This American Life), cartoonist Ben Katchor, and writer Nathaniel Deutsch. The publication evolved from a salon in Toronto on modern Judaism and Jews to the journal on (vaguely) the post-assimilationist return to Judaism and Jewish culture, secular and religious. File next to Jewsrock, Jewlicious and Heeb Magazine. It's often easy to lose sight of the true meaning of the season, to get caught up in the holiday hubub and demands, that one is tempted to skip the double-bills and Chinese food altogether. Well, that may be fine for some, but as for me, I'll be seeing The Producers and King Kong this weekend.
2. Having some serious problems sleeping, a state I believe to be directly attributed to a potent strain of marijuana, and deciding that upon hearing CBC Radio 1 hostess Sheilagh Rogers' voice that it was necessary for me to leave the apartment today, I made my sleepy way off to the office, arriving to find a large stack of the first issue of Bang Bang, a French-language publication, its cover adorned by psych-wavers We Are Wolves. I've only thumbed through it, so I've got little else to say, though I must issue a dire warning to any publication that chooses to highlight a Lagwagon interview.
3. Journalist, actor, DJ, musician (remember Do They Know It's Hallowe'en?, We Are Molules, The Hot Pockets?!?!?!?!?) and my personal nemesis Adam Gollner has inked a book-deal with Scribners' & Sons to publish his book The Fruit Hunters. According to Publisher's Weekly, "the book will combine travel, horticulture and business in its look at a variety of people passionate about fruit, not only genetically modified supermarket fruit, but small, unique types one has to travel far afield to get, cultivated by often-fanatic naturalists eager to preserve endangered varieties and invent new ones." I'll begrudgingly congratulate him on that.
4. The Mile End's favourite Freudian, Andrew Rose has been busting his ass getting all of the year end Pop Montreal Podcasts together. So, do yourself a favour, and check 'em out at Pop Montreal or the mass is secretly obsessed with nipple dream. "Jung was a tool."
5. Patrick Watson has signed some sort of "record deal" - an antiquated arrangement of some sort that old timers might recall as being quite prevalent in the last century, details will be floating about soon, I assume.
Friday, December 16, 2005
RD Burman, Asha Bhosle and Kishor Kumar - Lekar Ham Diwana Dil.mp3
If you see a drunk jerk such as the one picture above (hey, that's me!) tonight at The Green Room or tomorrow at Zoobizarre (for that Echo Kitty / Sean Kosa / Services triple-bill) in Montreal, come up and speak clearly into the microphone. Yeah, yeah, I'll be out shilling and drilling for the Pop Montreal Year-End Popcast, so I'll need album, show or band picks from 2005. Andrew Rose will be on the decks at the Green Room, along with Thomas Sontag, for the last Fondue night of 2005. Perhaps the new year will come complete with a new moniker (I love you, man, but melted cheese dip is not the most alluring name-sake for a night)...
Remember a couple of years ago when all those Bollywood comps were coming out? Ehh, vaguely, as I was working/hanging out on my weekends at Ditch Records in Victoria. Just prior to the release of Ghostworld, which must have felt like one hell of a back-hand to record nerds everywhere, and after all of them had ordered in every damn Morricone import available (and many not). I didn't really pay attention, which is kind of irksome to me, as over the past year it's been a constant staple in my listening diet. And no one plays this shit anywhere, possibly because they had an overkill of it a couple of years back. Anyway, another spectacular Burman/Bhosle coupling above, complete with those great orchestra hit tone-drops. Yessah!
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
JENNY WILSON - Let My Shoes Lead Me Forward.mp3
The Knife (feat. Jenny Wilson) - Take My Breath Away.mp3
31 year old Swede Jenny Wilson, (mother, occasional The Knife collaborator - that's her on calypso-electro grinder You Take My Breath Away above) played, produced and slammed together a wonderful 12-song debut, Love & Youth that came to me a little after... Her unique voice, a precious mixture of the Bee Gees' Gibb brothers falsetto and stage-trained projection, belongs squarely in the idiosyncratic corners of 70's AOR. The production is rich and smooth - vibes, rhodes and other organ flourishes are coupled with acoustic guitar recorded to Tony Visconti's standards, and the clean and sparing production allows both the diverse instrumentation and vocal overdubbing to stand-alone. A head-nodding, stylish, substantial and sophisticated debut: the appropriate mixture of economy and abundance...
Let My Shoes Lead Me Forward, the single, is upbeat, with a great bridge and soaring chorus, that struts, bobs and dips...
Related... Swedish duo The Knife, comprised of Karin Dreijer and brother Olaf (aka Dj Coolofs) have a new album ready for a March release, tentatively titled Silent Shouts. The last album (Deep Cuts) was a treasure-chest for producers, overwhelming with enough textures, ideas and skewed melodies, as well as a dance-floor favourite, that my expectations are running pretty high for this, occupying myself with the Vitalic remix of Royksopp's What Else Is There?, which features the unique, parsed vocals of Karin, and their remix of labelmate Jenny Wilson's Let My Shoes Lead Me Forward. If you haven't heard The Knife yet, or alternately you're creeped out by them (my first reaction), I'd suggest investigating a bit further. There's a similar creepy theatricality that the group shares with Destroyer's Your Blues album - a world where the weight of history and decadent rot is temporarily lifted by the timbre of the midi trumpet.
I have to tip my hat yet again to the impeccable taste and crate (err, mp3?) digging persistency of Greg at AYF, after yesterday's post introducing me to West Coast r&b-pop quartet (nooo, don't run away, come back!) Velella Vellela. Hit it up.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
ECHO KITTY - Suzi.mp3
Where has the appreciation in 2005 been for Echo Kitty? Why so absent - critics, fans, music-lovers? There's been a considerable amount of attention concentrated on some very deserving acts that exist outside of either the Arcade Fire / Wolf Parade or Tiga/I Love NEON paradigms throughout the last half of this year - that is, Dandi Wind, We Are Wolves (who seem to receive more coin-tosses from the post-hardcore set, than the electro-types, though), Duchess Says, Call Me Poupee, but none for Xavier et co.
I received a bit of a tongue-lashing from Xavier around last year's Pop Montreal when I expressed my distaste for the name, but I think that one should be open to considering that the group is not receiving the attention they do truly deserve primarily because of that name. People are shallow, a rose would not be just as sweet, and so on. But I trust that you, good readers or at least occasional skimmers, will ignore that, give the above song a listen, and if in the hood, come and see them this weekend. It may help to think of the band's name as FRXCOBRA or EARTH OR JAPAN.
The song has one of the most sugary-hooks I've heard in a long time, a breathy that pops it's head up once and leaves me wanting and expecting a reprise. This is Indochine-esque pop awash in carefully chosen textures and crisp vocals, graciously lacking the stain of backwards-gazing irony.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 17th
SERVICES (NYC) et ECHOKITTY (MTL) et SEAN KOSA (MTL>
ZOOBIZARRE, 6388 St-Hubert, 6$, 21h
Monday, December 12, 2005
Some sort of bizarre border trouble has sent Blood On The Wall back to the US, so tonight's show at Sala Rosa will be a two-band bill - Psychic Ills and Feu Therese, for $5. See ya there.
Greg of Are You Familiar just put up a Best of 2005 list. In this case, we've picked the top Canadian Acts of 2005. Contributors are Greg (natch), Stuart Berman of the Eye Magazine, yours truly, and include an addenda by Jaimie at Daughters of Invention with her top 3.
A couple of groups on the list I'm not familiar enough with to really put them on my 2005 list, though I'm looking forward to whatever happens in 2006 - notably, MSTRKRFT, The Diableros, and The Paper Cranes, and a number that I was pushing for, but didn't make the cut - Et Sans, Think About Life, Anemones, Feu Therese, and some people I had no idea about, but will check out.
Friday, December 09, 2005
The Psychic Paramount - para.five
1.Two years ago I was recovering from a wicked hangover after a West End Vancouver evening, 2.one year ago, reading Tokion and drinking tea.
3.The Psychic Paramount - red-eyed, blood-curdling, galaxy-straddling, throwing down the psych-gauntlet. Nuances, maybe? Noo. I hear telecaster run through a fender twin reverb (is this some alternate universe incarnation of Scanners/Genius Pool?), brain-pan scooping, 12 year old stoner fantasies about slasher flicks and sci-fi worlds, low-flying combat helicopters... This is from their first studio album, the gargantuan Gamelan Into The Mink Supernatural, which is about as stupid a title as all the free-association rambling I just typed above...
Christopher Taylor, National Gallery summer intern big-wig and AIDS Wolf-er, hosts an exhibition by Matt Moroz and Morag Kydd entitled Remote Viewing Of A UFO Safari tonight. According to Herr Taylor, there will be "beer, wine and girls." And, I assume, some sort of art?
The Blackboard Gallery
2222 Plessis (off of Sherbrooke east, souh of Parc Lafontaine)
More info at: 514.690.0252
Thursday, December 08, 2005
I've been skipping through a couple of alien8 releases today, which is no easy task given the lead-like nature of one of them. The Nadja debut Truth Becomes Death has a hefty dose of doomy, Neurosis-esque baroqueness, at about 16 rpm or so, and loosely based on a number of texts relating to the Golem myth, which should make it a shoe-in for placement alongside the Tzadik trading cards at one of my neighbourhood's Hasidic grocers. I never had much of a stomach for the procession of grinding and almost paralyzingly slow noise bands, but it makes a nice palate cleanser after enduring to the myriad of mp3s, cassettes, 7"s and albums from the bastard-children of Lightning Bolt et al. that I'm usually swamped in while seeking out new music.
The Shalabi Effect - Pai Nai.mp3
Also in the pile was the most recent Shalabi Effect album Unfortunately, which begins with Out of The Closet: a paranoid and schismed cut-and-paste opus, stomps through Pai Nai (about the closest to a pop construct the quartet makes it - Hawkwind communing with Harriet The Spy) and seems to warn off any spiritual seekers. Y'know, the path to transendence (injected, inspired or otherwise) is crooked, off, sinister and foreboding, leading to a series of dead-ends or caverns. What moments of cheer and exubriance glimpsed here have a manic, creeping quality. Cinematic, dark, more than a little macabre but ultimately seductive, I don't think that I'm in possession of a strong enough mindset to listen to this under the influence. Buy it!
Monday, December 05, 2005
Heron - Yellow Roses
...From their first self-titled album, released in 1970 on Dawn Records (an imprint of Pye, specializing mostly in prog), a charming slab of British Isles folk that bears no trace of the braying donkey-like vocals that marred other similar albums from The Incredible String Band (a village drama teacher lending her vocal skills on those album cuts, perhaps?) et al, and possesses forward-thinking production and instrumentation that allow the album to age quite handsomely. According to lore, this album was recorded in the middle of a field: bird-sounds!
The group re-united last year, releasing a couple of albums and performing in England, but I haven't had the chance to listen to them. Relaxx Records is run by Heron member Steve Jones, and albums are available for order from his website, and there's a film titled In A Field Of Their Own documenting their return to performing music again.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
GEIGER - Cocain-e
A more alluring tribute to that deadly white rabbit or horse or dragon (whatever it may be) has never been penned. Maybe you've got to be rolling on a huge enough scale to make weekly trips in a charter jet to procur your supply to have your coke go down this smoothly - that soft falsetto, with tastefully strummed guitar chords and a bubbly, popping bassline, has nothing in common with the acrid taste of burning metal that pops up after you bring your head down for the second time, and especially nothing with the petrifying, paralyzing feeling of shame that keeps you in bed until 3 in the afternoon the next day, looking through the listings for a movie that's playing that'll keep you away from the terrifying ruminations on your life, social setting, and how you don't know if anyone really and...... Oh well, one would imagine such a situation arising. I've heard stories.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
that same fucking photo...
The new album from Destroyer (Rubies) should be a welcome return after his experiments in high European modernism in Your Blues (midi as a Brechtian distancing technique?). From the two preliminary tracks I've heard and indications from others, the album's stylistically compatible with Streethawk and This Night. I'm thrilled to be hearing some new stuff, but I wouldn't be disappointed if Bejar had continued on the path set by that previous album - the sleazy, King's Quest on Commodore 64-style production won me over about 30 minutes after I decided I detested it - but this is certainly more than sufficient for me, and if this keeps him away from The New Pornographers, great!
Other preliminary indications - this is a reprise of previous Destroyer line-ups, there will be 10 tracks on the album, and it'll be out in February.
Here's a breezy song, with some minor-league Mark Knopfler-esque guitar flourishes and Bejar's wonderful caterwailing. Despite the denseness (those overdubs!), the song doesn't come off as weighted, and the insistent rhythm finds itself galloping right into the note-perfect outro, a gorgeous rollicking bit, complete with what my ears discern to be a saxophone. Note the amazing moment as song builds to a crescendo, the dirty guitar lead overdriven, Bejar brings his voice down and... "The fucking maniac!"
There's a great moment in an interview with Harry Nilsson, done sometime just before the release of the Popeye film with a Scottish interview who's name has escaped me (Andy Clyde, perhaps?), where the interviewer makes an observation that Nilsson plays with the lyrical clichés of show business and the music industry, quoting it back at itself... Which, one gathers, is what Bejar does, and thankfully with the same lack of self-consciousness that makes Nilsson so delightful. Another memorable aspect of the interview: you can hear Nilsson screwing off the top of a bottle of brandy (I presume?) and pouring himself healthy glasses every couple of minutes. It's an interview where Nilsson reveals himself to be both intelligent and earnest about a variety of things. It's on SLSK, I'd recommend downloading it if you have any interest in the man who once wrote a chart-topping hit for The Monkees about a gang-bang.
I'VE BEEN FILEPILED! At least gimme an account...
Saturday, November 26, 2005
A number of high-profile Manhattan invaders in town tonight...
And beyond that, local soon-to-bes Code Pie will be hitting up the biologique-lly sanitized confines of Toc Toc tonight, with Andrew Rose-approved Halifagonians The Museum Pieces, UBIsofters Heroes & Villains, and The Visit.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Call me Poupee - Rumbamaniac (demo).mp3
Call Me Poupee are a Montreal-based three piece (they've just added a drummer), comprised of former members of Secrétaires Volantes and The Slips.
Minimalist, garage-y synth rumba, as if Alan Vega's solo albums had been worthwhile listening, and. Tambourine-shaking, yéyé electro: the logical follower to the short-lived shaffel releases of earlier this year? This is a demo, looking forward to a February release for their full-length, produced by, and this is a little left-field, DJ Ram, AKA Ramachandra Borcar.
SLUM-watchers and keeners on the Montreal electro scene's leading lights (Dandi Wind, Duchess Says, Echo Kitty et al.) would do well to keep their eye on Call Me Poupee in the next 6 months, as the seemingly untappable well keeps churning out that next-level shit, especially from the Franco side of this city...
Wednesday, November 30
Longueuil, QC @ Collège Édouard-Montpetit
L E S P R O T O T Y P E S
Moustached bandit and bonsoundee Pierre Gourde just sent an e-mail announcing the upcoming lo-fi electro-punx invasion, as French trio Les Prototypes (a Channels 3+4 sibling band?)and cross the Atlantic for a couple of quick dates in la belle province, including a December 1st live-set on CISM (89.3 on yr FM dial, 5 pm), promoting their new album Mutants Médiatiques...
December 3rd, at Zoobizarre (6388 St. Hubert)
$6 avec DJ Cherry Cola
There are a couple of items on the social calender tonight - Resfest kicks off with a little talk and cocktail thing with visual Sven Gali Michel Gondry, down at Ex-Centris (y'know, in the LSL, for all of you Mile-Enders), followed by some short films and opening night party with Scott C on the decks (huzzah!)... As well, somebody, and maybe it'll be me, should go check out a new night in the Parc La Fontaine region, as Popscene gets off to a start - 951 Rachel E. (Is that the old Mhotel?)... As usual, Sons of Warsaw are up at Zoobizarre after the bands (Dirty Tricks tonight?), with special fucking guest, Suhrid, NYC's finest MBA student! I dunno, I've been holed up, bleeding from my eyes and reading and sleeping for too much lately, and the cold snap always introduces some sort of nasty stupidity in my veins, so I assume I'll be running between all 3 of these nights...
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Ghislian Poirier doesn't sleep - he stays up all night in a studio, eating Vietnamese take-out and painfully splicing together seemingly disparate Bali beats and melodies from obscure nooks and crannies into headphone-ready mixes, like the most recent one. Head to www.ghislainpoirier.com, go to the audio section and download his Masala Mix.
I'll be accompanying Islands as they re-trace an inverted route of Shermann's March (through the North this time), ending with a 7th of December burning of Boston. Dates below.
December 1st Toronto, Drake Hotel
December 2nd Chicago, Beat Kitchen
December 3rd Dayton, Ohio, Elbo's
December 4th Oberlin, Ohio, Oberlin College
December 5th Philadelphia, First Unitarian Church
December 6th New York, Knitting Factory
December 7th Boston, YWCA
Everyone's especially looking forward to that date in Oberlin, the Paris of the Midwest...
There's a new Hot Chip track available at headphone sex, paired with a Clor mp3. (I remember hearing some noise about them on some blogs, but the singer's vocals turned me off, and though Scott had been pushing for them to play Pop Montreal this year, they weren't able to make it out) Sounds great...
Ash Ra Tempel - Darknesss: Flowers Must Die.mp3
A twelve minute long free-jam/rumination on the changing of the seasons and the claustrophobia experienced by the human psyche (post-industrial) by kraut-kosmische frau-rockers. Darkness descends slowly, you know, with bongos and the droning moan and mumbling one would expect from an associate of Damo Suzuki, and then in a moment straight out of the Aphrodite's Child playbook (without that kitschy scene of melodrama), the listener is uhh, swept up in some frosty kossack ride across the bleak and frozen tundra. Horses' hooves! Unsheathed swords! Squealing saxophones! Phased guitar lines! I think the vocalist says something to the effect of "I want you to dig me a scone."
I ended up heading home early, reading Variety (did you know they call Presidents "prixers?"), watching a bit of The Mulroney Tapes on CBC and finding myself sympathizing with the old Irish bastard, believing that perhaps, just perhaps, if he hadn't been sold out by Wells, the Meech Lake Accord would have passed and we wouldn't have ended up in the decade to decade cycle of recurring sovereignity referendums that we look to be in right now. Now, though I think of myself as somewhat politically savvy, I know very little, if anything at all, about the Meech Lake Accord, and my only memories of Mulroney were that he was a reprehensible and smug bastard loathed by both my exceedingly conservative grandfather and the left alike, that he introduced the much-detested GST and NAFTA, so I'll chalk up my reaction to his charisma and his rich baritone. Anyway, I fell asleep halfway through the program, so I'll never know if history vindicated him...
Monday, November 21, 2005
The Besnard Lakes, psych-heavy overlords and Hawkwind fans till the end (Olga and Jace's collection of rare Pink Fairies bootlegs is spoken of in hush and reverent terms by a more than a few aging British men) have things afoot, covert plans underway, machinations set in motion, and what not. Namely, an expansive and well-crafted sophomore album The Dark Horse that stretches out, laying texture upon texture, a studio gem recorded by the group at their own breakglass studios (also where albums by Islands and Land of Talk were recently recorded), and awaiting release by one of a number of hungry labels who've shown interest in mid-wifing it.
Are there things afoot in Canada, beyond the Wolf explosions and Pony corralling? Something that leans to the more skewed side of prog and psych re-interpretations, broader in scope than the Paisley Underground of the mid-80s? The Black Mountain Army have a corps comprised of intergalactic traveller Sinoia Caves (solo project of one rock archivist named Jeremy, formerly of Orphan and Pipedream, his album out on Global Symphonic), godhead Black Mountain, and masturbatory (literally) solo project Pink Mountaintops, and are often joined on their voyages to the astral plane by Ladyhawk, while in Toronto, The Diableros might not have mastered a sense of historically-indebted graphic design (no melting walls, blotter acid graphics, Dali-esque landscapes or skewed Victorian lithographs to be found here, sadly), but have managed to invoke the musical spirit of a time when men tied scarves 'round their necks and sang of adventurous spices. (A number of years after that was popularized by pirates, of course.) And Dan Snaith, aka Caribou's road to Damascus-like conversion from glitchy laptop egghead to seeker of transcendent soundscapes, accepting seagull sounds as a convention to relish, not run from? What of that?
I could be forcing the point here, of course - trying to seek out a common ground between disparate groups, packing them all together on the basis of a shared nationality and awareness of S.F. Sorrow, committing the same crime as that of the recurring rock crit fantasy, the much-ballyhooed shoegazer resurrection, which, like an ethereal Godot, seems always so close, practically there, but never materializes. Bah, either way, an appropriately measured dose of come-down psych has been uploaded for you to get a kick out of, and as my roommate whistles the melody every fucking morning, I swear you'll love it.
The Besnard Lakes - Disaster.mp3
Some of those previously mentioned British men might be behind the Static Caravan label, which has a two-song 10" now available for pre-order. And you can always order a copy of their first album Volume 1 from the group directly.
Jace & Olga also host a weekly DJ night at Korova, which, I kid you not, has beared witness to a playing of the entire third side of Yes' Tales From Topographic Oceans to a half-packed bar. If you're aching for prog-rock punishment, head to 3908 St. Laurent anytime after 10pm.
Brian Eno - St. Elmo's Fire.mp3
I don't know if it's because I'm incapable of making some grand leap over to a new vista of aesthetics and discovery that I have found little that strikes me from Brian Eno's recent work as I have in the past. And while he seems a more interesting and fully developed human being, at least from interviews I've read or heard, his music seems lacking. Spinning Away, one of the better songs I've heard from his later releases (in this case, Wrong Way Up, a 1990 album with John Cale), was unfortunately covered by kitsch-hockers Sugar Ray, for the soundtrack to the nauseating film The Beach, so that's all ruined for me, and his most recent album Another Day On earth suffered from some sort of datedness - it sounded like he recorded the album in a technical college in Brighton in 1991 with a bunch of nerds from the Communications program, one of whom had an affinity for trip-hop, despite proclamations that this would be a "return to form." At least we have Another Green World, the album from which the above song is from: a record a lot older than I am and one that still sounds fresh enough to keep one hoping for something on par with every release.
Xplosions Of The Fantastic Vernissage
Tuesday, November 22nd
gratuit! - 7pm - 11pm
w/ Blunderspublik and Hexes & Ohs
1395 Rene Levesque
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Not the same Soul Searchers...
Arguably the best song you'll hear all week, unless you're some sort of go-go archivist, in which case, please contact me and tell me how the hell I can get my hands on some of the more elusive go-go shit.
Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers - Blow Your Whistle.mp3
AIDS Wolf, massive fans of Merchant Ivory films, pay homage to 1973's The Savages.
I ran into Beaver in front of McGill a couple of days ago, his bag full of loot from the burning house of CD Esoterik, returning home to put the finishing touches on his album. He had an advance copy of the new AIDS Wolf record - the packaging looked amazing, and yep, one of those infamous nude photos (taken by local aperture master Yannick Grandmont) is smack dab in the middle of the four-part fold-out liner notes. Pre-order the album from Love Pump United here.
The quartet is playing this Friday, part of a benefit for label-mates DBMQ, who were recently in a tragic car accident. Lend your support and cash, there are details here.
@ Zoobizarre, 6388 St. Hubert. 21h, $10. w/ Duchess Says, Dead Messenger, and Ex-Girlfriend.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Local hip-hop impressario producer Ghislain Poirier is set to expand his sphere of influnce internationally in the next little while, beyond the influential critics (Wire magazine, f'Christ's sake) and heads that tout his dirty, mammoth production style and musicians that collaborate with him or demand his remixing services (Les Georges Leningrad!), as he tours with pint-sized puntess Lady Sovereign and infiltrates the fickle, fickle minds of the modern day hip-hop consumer. (The two will be back in Montreal on December 2nd for a performance at La Tulipe.)
Ghislain Poirier - Cold as Hell, feat. Beans.mp3
Beans is basically the southern poster boy for cross-border cultural exchanges - touring with the Unicorns, collaborating with Holy Fuck, and this heavy, abstract cut, available on 12" through Chocolate Industries
Lady Sovereign - Fiddle With The Volume (Ghislain Poirier remix).mp3
Ghislain remixed this for the new Lady Sov album, adding some nice echoed synth-stabs, flushing out the original.
BOUNCE LE GROS V.4 Saturday, November 26th
And locally, Ghislain is still cramming his crates of beats into the above-ground wine-cellar that is Zoobizarre. Not this Saturday but the next (that's the 26th) he's got Fader writer and blogger Nick Catchdubs up from NYC, along with a surprise guest, for another night of BOUNCE LE GROS, which presents dancehall to ragga to electro-worshipping hip-hop to every barely tapped resource of new and innovative stuff in between. Bring your tracksuit and gold chains.
at Zoobizarre, 6388 St. Hubert (corner of St. Hubert and Beaubien)
Check the master's website for more specifics on his tours and releases, and more downloads.
Monday, November 14, 2005
photo by Mindy Tucker!
I've heard it said before that Baltimore is where white people who live in Washington, DC actually live. It very well could be, I've never been there. and unfortunately I've never seen recent 4ad signees Celebration reside in that city. They played last week in Montreal with Brooklyn's Calla, but for some reason, I ended up watching Guelph's favourite prairie rockers, The Constantines, who conjured up images of endless, drab and beige landscapes.
Outside of the physical confines of Baltimore, Celebration spend some time in a murky underworld of N. American music, which shares stylistic similarities with the world of goth music, though tactfully avoiding the kitsch and cliché that weighs down the buckle-booted and leather-strapped. (It seems like a nice even split - they have their Fields of the Nephilim, and on the other side, another strand of developement: Slaves/Pleasure Forever and associated groups (VSS, the dubby Subpoena The Past, Lion Fever, let's even say Angelhair), and occasionally the two meet and talk about Bauhaus...)
The group have been around over a number of years, existing as Lovelife and Birdland, before settling upon a three piece line-up, sticking with a moniker, and finally getting some recognition. Keen observers might notice that Celebration and The Get Hustle share more than aesthetic similarities - singers Katrina and Valentine have the same husky and hounded voice found in post-punk foremothers such as Ari Up or Siouxsie Sioux. Incidentally, The Get Hustle released an album a couple of days ago on 31g.
The Get Hustle - Pharoah's Horses
ADDENDA Portland, Oregon's G. Candy fit quite nicely, too... A newer track.
Glass Candy & the Shattered Theatre - Iko.mp3
It's a good week for getting in touch with your spirit animal.
Tuesday at Le Divan Orange, 4234 St-Laurent
Emboldened psychotropic voyageurs The Besnard Lakes will be presenting another chapter in their intergalactic space opera tomorrow night at Le Divan Orange, along with fellow travellers The Kickers and Bionic. Cover is pay what you can...
Wednesday at Friendship Cove, 215 Murray St
The Unireverse, beloved Damo Suzuki collabos, hot off of this weekend's scintillating GROOVE WAGON (eeeerk) with Islands' Jammie Thompson will be opening up a night of primordial klink, scrape and pummel with Dreamcatcher and The Shalabi Effect.
Friday at The Main Hall, 5390 St. Laurent
I always avoided listening to Holy Fuck, not being much of a fan of The Remains of Brian Borcherdt, but this is one of the best things that I've heard from Toronto for a long time, or so it seemed, halfway through Pop Montreal, when I caught the tail end of their set. Tape-loops, rhythm-oriented noise. The Unireverse and Land of Talk, fronted by Outremont's favourite peeping tom, Elizabeth Powell, open.
As December hits, all of NY will no doubt be talking about the scheduled week-long Montreal invasion, beginning with Telefauna's stateside debut at Pianos with fellow city-dwellers The Hot Springs on the 1st, and ending with Islands' Knitting Factory show on the 6th. There's two warm-ups as Montrealer Ghislain Poirier opens for British hip-hop princess Lady Sovereign, who will, hopefully, stay away from McDonalds' prior to the performance, and We Are Wolves are performing at the Mercury Lounge on November 26th with honourary Montrealers Mixel Pixel.
Friday, November 04, 2005
The last couple of weeks I've been salivating over Modeselektor, Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szarya, two German heads that have me salivating for more of their sliced electro-hip-hop dub-studio wizardry. If there's a holy trinity of EU hip-hop for me, it's comprised of The Father, Roots Manuva; The Son, TTC; and The Holy Ghost, Modeselektor. Over the next couple days, I've have some Modeselektor, along with some Swayzak, Bpitch Control, the final MEG wrap-up stuff (Ashley Dynamo Wong has a great bit with an Adult. interview on the Pop Montreal webzine that everyone should check), and that four-band-fuck-fest post (Paper Cranes et al.), too. Also, some news concerning a new monthly best-guest night that'll be navigating the city and hitting up random new spots. Gentrification Now! 'Ight, enjoy yr weekend, maybe I'll see you all at Zoobizarre for Indian Jewelry and pals. Below, some Jeans Team for you...
Thursday, November 03, 2005
The MEG Festival was a blur that, following my personal tradition, began with too much boozing, too many late nights, topped off with crippling sickness that saw me bed-stricken for three days straight, sweating, coughing and bemoaning the inherent genetic stupidity that drives me to self-abuse. Cursing my ancestors, too.
On Thursday I managed to catch Detroit's GENDERS: they hit up that pre-pre-pre 808 Suicide vs. YMGiants scouring the dub forest sound, akin to what Seattle's CHROMATICS get up to, when they're not busy re-arranging their line-up. Alex Auche, beloved co-programmer of the festival (along with Alex Lemieux) and Zoobizarre head (along with Alex Lemieux) managed to bring in his friends SISTER IODINE from France, and they were easily one of the highlights in a festival where it was hard to pick favourites. A caucophonous run-through of noise n' textured soundscapes served well by the unique acoustics of the SAT room. Lionel Fernandez of the group is involved with the büro organization in Paris, who seem a wonderful compliment to the work and aesthetics of the two Alexes (Alex'?) here in Montreal.
DER PLAN raised the bar with a set of uber-theatrical Tiki-soaked kraut kitsch that was equally parts baffling and delightful, if such a word can be used to describe something slightly sinister and of a more serious intent than I'm able to articulate. Patrick Vezina, now in Berlin, had been hyping up the group prior to his departure, and either it fell on some understanding ears, or the French kids in this city are fourty times hipper than the Anglo outsiders who invade their neighbourhoods and jack their rent up.
I was forcing myself to have a good time during ADULT, which isn't a good sign. I didn't have that high of expectations, and once I put it into my head that this group was, like a lot of electronic music (though not necessarily electro), more about texture than songwriting, it sat easier with me. Exhaustion forced me away from the venue prior to OPTIMO's set, which I had earmarked as one of the highlights for the festival, unfortunately. I also missed the DUCHESS SAYS and CALL ME POUPEE afternoon double-bill, an aggravating little oversight on my part - I'd been eager to see CALL ME POUPEE in their new incarnation as a three piece.
...More wrap-up stuff tomorrow.
THE WAGES OF SIN?
There's a five song demo of some rough and new Besnard Lakes material that's been hanging about the office recently, and the first track is an all-out swish that merges the best of The Beach Boys with Spiritualized. Until I get some permission to put some of that up here, you'll just have to imagine how truly astonishing it sounds. But don't worry, I'll ask soon.
The Nightlife continue their quest for market saturation/national domination with the launch of their new website... First 2500 free subscribers to their news service get a compilation CDs with songs that, quelle surprise, 1) don't stink and 2) aren't shitty club house. The magazine's certainly changed directions, and while they're still hosting DJ Tiesto launch parties at Time Supper Club (that's basically the definition of cruel and unusual punishment in my own personal Geneva Agreement), at least they're employing some solid and knowledgeable writers like Jonathan Cummins and Sarah Levesque, and covering relevant shit. Maybe this whole trend of marketing companies running magazines isn't such a bad thing? Cutting to the chase? Well, no, it's not the smartest or even smarmiest of the pack, and Ukula is more of a curse than a blessing... That said, Torontonian punters might find 25 err, quid out of their pub n' chips budget to participate in the Anglophilic explosion that is the UKULA Bright Lights Festival this very weekend. PG Wodehouse fans ISLANDS will be performing.
Nick D., Dante and myself went to Club Soda last night, to check out Spoon and I ended up guzzling a bit too much of the random club soda and vodka concoction that Nick had mixed up in a water bottle, and while I'm no stranger to hangovers (unfortunately, sadly, pathetically), this particular mid-week one is both embarassing and a doozy. But despite sizing up alleyways on my wobbly way home, I was still with-it enough to remember that Spoon put on a pretty swell performance, running through some old standbys, and (in my mind) not receiving appropriate enough crowd response for Jonathan Fisk, which is about 8 times the song that I Turn My Camera On is. And hey, did any of you know that there's this random and great little bar on the east side of de Bleury, just above Rue President Kennedy?
They may have not made POP Montreal this year, but I still stand by my conviction that the opening track on the The Golden Dogs is as infectious as whatever topical nightmare disease might be scaring children this week, and they're playing tomorrow night at the Main Hall as part of Joey's well-crafted Decade Danse event. I'm not much of a burlesque fan, but flesh packs the youngsters in, and the last event's vaudeville routine was an inspired choice.
...Creature, The Golden Dogs, Echo Kitty, DJ Mlle Bacon
at the Main Hall, 5390 St. Laurent
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Ghost Exits - She Is Beyond Good & Evil.mp3
GHOST EXITS are a New York duo, on the Social Registry label who are here witnessed taking a more prozaic electro-drone approach to the Pop Group's She Is Beyond Good & Evil. Ghost Exits have something of a similarity to the toothless ARE Weapons, and I actually enjoyed that group's first EP (one of the only decent things to receive some publicity from the mire and muck of the oft-reviled electroclash "thing" that happened a couple of years back), so though it's a back-handed compliment, it's still complimentary. Mark Stewart's howls here have been artfully replaced with a Jagger-Vega hybrid that serves the song well, I think.
I don't know if this band is still around or not, and given some stories circulating regarding disastrous and embarassing live performances in their hometown, it may be safe to say they've packed it in and are off working on other projects now.
Ponies In The Surf - Government Brand.mp3
Former GHOST EXITS organist Alexander McGregor, a sensitive soul, eventually grew out of the straight-jacket of staged confrontation and post-punk piss-take, moved to Boston, spent some time with his sister Camille and formed the duo Ponies In The Surf, which presented a 180 degree turn away from aforementioned shennanigans to a more humane musical vision, one that embraces the Sunday brunch crossword puzzle fans (such as myself), the grandmothers, and thankfully, it's not too precious. It reminds me a lot of the husband-wife duo of Puerto Muerto or some of the stuff done by Victoria's PantyBoy (and friends) - cinematic lo-fi pop swashes, dreamy harmonizing and most of all, tenderness! Go buy their stuff, or check out some more mp3s on their website.
Alexander McGregor - Aviary In The Snow / X-M-A-S.mp3
Alexander McGregor - White Caribou
Young McGregor also spends some time away from his sister, which is healthy, which is good: working on his own music and perhaps having tea. The first track is from a Christmas compilation: a bold step in the direction of headphone friendly dub-pop: McGregor marries Badalamenti-esque guitar with overlayed chiming saloon piano and overdubbed vocal-lines in an evocative and spacey film.
The second song is from his own Aguirre Returns EP, which, we've been helpfully told, is titled after his grandmother, not the Herzog film with that spectacular panning monkey river-raft scene. "Love is not the answer, it's just a joke... from France."
BONUS XENOPHOBIC COMMENTARY WITH MP3!
Gang Gang Dance - Untitled (Track 6).mp3
Brooklynn's Gang Gang Dance didn't make an impression on Stypod with God's Money - fetishism of the exotic, over-sexed moaning vocals, the inverted mirror of post-colonial cultural masturbation and all that - better than Gehry, but it ain't real, it ain't authentic, it ain't fourty Guineans flopping about on the compressed dirt floor of a mud-hut, exorcising the demons and cursing the tribe of flesh-eating savages who live down the road... Did Torontonian mayor Mel Lastman know of what he spoke when he professed a fear of dreadful happenings prior to an official visit to the Dark Continent?