Monday, October 31, 2005

Booty Bumping, Disco Dumping.

My friend Jordan said something the other night to the effect that his being unable to listen to Fleetwood Mac was akin to an incest survivor being unable to enjoy sex, and while it's a bit of an icky metaphor, I feel the same way about the Eagles and AC/DC. Traumatic childhood experiences have imbued the music with a dark and dank power that casts a shadow, and only years of therapy and unconditional positive regard from a mentor or lover will heal the scars...

Fleetwood Mac - I Know I'm Not Wrong.m4a

I know the re-assessment of Fleetwood Mac by members of my generation and the critics who speak for us (?) quite a while ago, at least a whole month before Kate Bush popped up on the revival radar, but I'm still not entirely behind it. MOJO magazine's story on Tusk gave me the hard-sell, but I only came out of the album clutching this song, a handsomely crafted piece of pop bric-a-brac that I assume was recorded in a Silver Lake closet, with napkin boxes substituting for Mick Fleetwood's drum set and Lindsay Buckingham barking orders to a paranoid and strung-out Stevie Nicks.

Incidentally, Cameron Crowe's newest film Elizabethtown is sure to be an unwelcome shit stain in theatres, already polluting the collective cultural space with images of leading star Orlando Bloom and his douchebag pompadour and long-in-the-back combo haircut (Is the Adam and the Ants haircut a knowing nod from one pirate to another?), but the soundtrack does feature one amazing track by a husky-voiced Lindsay Buckingham - a haunting number with fingerpicked guitars and minimal production that might serve as the basis for his initiation into this loosely-defined psych-folk world that's the newest ratchet-hatchet movement to lob handgrenades against the self-serving barricades of protective irony, etc. etc. etc. It's currently floating around on mp3 blogs and other places. Check it and show yr Mom...

Tomorrow or so I'll have a little rundown of a sub-scene of 'bit shy of adolescent sophisto-poppers doing some similar things in Montreal and Victoria... The Dymaxxions, Code Pie, Shapes and Sizes, and The Paper Cranes.

Warrior Magazine has a long awaited issue out, reaching the milestone of the first issue in their second volume, and this one is probably the best yet, in terms of content and design. (T-dot zine-heads n' nerds might have spotted them at this weekend's Canzine Expo.) Beautifully done abstract-geometric cover by editor Tony Trew, great articles on Deerhoof, a conflict-of-interview with Naomi Klein by paint-lobbin' Aaron Maté and plenty more. Anyway, check it out, subscribe: their 1 year anniversary party is coming up this Sunday (November 6th) at Blizzarts in Montreal with yours truly providing some crate-digging gems. More surprises too, check the website.


Over the last couple of weeks I've come across some interesting pieces of vinyl - Bob Ray's Initiation Of A Mystic album (post-Sunshine Superman pop on the wicked Soul City imprint) in a Salvation Army, a truckload of acid house records along with a promo 12" for Japanese alt-tentacle noise-band Ultra Bide in an alley a couple of blocks from my house... Acid house was supposed to be back again, wasn't it? Around late last year at this time? I'll wait for the vinyl archeologists at 20jazzfunk to alert me on that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Blathering Pop Wrap-Up

Tuesday, September 27th

I head out of the office with Nick to shop for Annie's rider - figuring that we're going to be eating it all later tonight anyway, we seek to satisfy ourselves while sticking to the criteria provided by her contract. Organic teddy bear cookies, Ceres juice (not from concentrate!), cashews (The Rich Man's Peanut), 86% cocoa chocolate, fruit and other assorted snacks round out the list. At this point I'm not quite sick of hummus, a substance that will cause a minor flare-up between myself and three others backstage at the Gonzales concert a number of days later.

Later that evening a frantic call comes in - Cannonball Jane can't make it across the border! I stay at the office until 5:30am or so in the morning writing up new immigration letters for the artists and frantically trying to contact them before more of them meet the same fate.

Wednesday, September 28th

I'm quite busy again, but stop by the opening party to stuff my face with a bit of sushi and drop some stuff off. A number of familiar faces in the room, including My!Gay!Husband!, who's in town and looking chipper. He asks if I want to throw Josh Martinez on the bill for our show at Petit Campus later that night, as Poni Hoax cancelled the week prior, and Duchess Says is no longer playing, probably owing to the fact that no one asked if they wanted to play - I assumed the SLUMers asked them, they assumed I asked them. (They ended up playing only one show, with Call Me Poupee, and from reports, blew everyone away... I'm going to do a post about Call Me Poupee in the future.) I arrive at Petit Campus a little later than I would have liked and find that the venue, despite cancellations, will not drop the ticket price, and have added on both tax and a venue surcharge to the ticket, bringing the total up $2 to $10 at the door. Christ. I spend a while frantically trying to sort out some magical accounting with Lisa, the venue manager, but it's all for naught. Black Moth Super Rainbow are playing and people are a bit turned off by the rather hefty ticket price, especially considering the two cancellations. Dandi and Szam are waiting to go on, I make some apologies and hope that people start magically popping out of the woodwork.


Sarah Levesque does show up - doing some preliminary work for a cover of Voir, if I can remember correctly. I chat her and her boyfriend up about French hip-hop, specifically TTC, who're playing at Club Soda as we speak. The above photographs will pop-up after the festival, featuring one of the TTC MCs topless, resembling boxer and video-game celebrity Butterbean.

Dandi Wind put on a great performance despite the lack of enthusiasm for the room, I feel like a chump, and the show loses a stupendous amount. Douglas kicks in a bit to help the BMSR kids get back to Pennsylvania, and the venue charges are invoiced. Yikes. MGH and a gaggle of others, including myself, march up the boulevard to the Academy Club, for the Besnard Lakes/Bionic/Donkeys show. We miss the Besnard Lakes, and there are a couple of scuffles in the crowd during the Bionic set.

Thursday, September 29th

There's no venue manager at Saphir, so I end up subbing in for the World Provider/Kill The Lights/Genevieve et Mathieu show. Genevieve et Mathieu are replacing The Russian Futurists, who dropped out owing to recording conflicts. There aren't that many people in the bar to see Malcolm and crew bash through a great set, but Olga of The Besnard Lakes provides solid backing on the drums... My volunteers are great - keeners who both possess a sense of humour and eventually the venue fills up quite heavily - friends of Kill The Lights, who play new-wave tinged rock with enough enthusiasm to excite the crowd, but fails to move me. At this point I'm sleep-deprived and quite hungover (it'll get much worse), and in festival zombie mode. Yannick, the salt-and-pepper haired overlord of Nightlife Magazine is in the crowd with a couple of friends, I assume to see Genevieve et Mathieu. There's a mild bit of tension between him and the Pop heads over media sponsorship or some such nonsense, but it's neither noteworthy nor interesting. The magazine is co-presenting the upcoming Broken Social Scene/Islands/Jadfair and Lumberob show at the MEG festival that I'll be DJing, though.

Genevieve et Mathieu are awesome, and I retire to a small backroom with one of the volunteers to count out the surprisingly large amount of cash made from the door. We split the amount between the bands, who seem quite happy, and I'm off, yet again, to the Academy Club. The Old Soul are performing - an unhealthy melange of party-time polkas and band student in-jokes that, nonetheless, works some sort of magic on the bleary-eyed, drunk and enthusiastic dancefloor residents. After this, work, sleep, drink, load equipment? I can't recall...

Friday, September 30th

There are more crises at the office, I'm scrambling around trying to put together the PA for the Pre-Loved instore, and my eyes have developed serious and startling bags underneath them. I'm stuck at the Academy Club releaving Spanky as The Grates run through a soundcheck in the afternoon but eventually get everything sorted and run up to Pre-Loved. I spot Ian Svenonius and crew soundchecking at Sala, and eventually learn through Alan that Sebastien from Trans Am is drumming with them. No more 16 year old? Telefauna, the only North Bay export I'm aware of outside of an ex-girlfriend's mother has an enthusiastic following, which is both surprising and expected at once.

A tall blonde kid with a pink fannypack who might have been a younger Wilson brother turns out to be the ubiquitious Drew Danburry, solo artist from Utah who, denied a bank loan that would allow him to fly up to the festival, decided to hitchhike. He, One Man Machine (from N'Oleans, yah) and an intrepid volunteer named Katie from Virginia are the notable pilgrims for the festival, by my accounting at least.

Far too many sketchy DI connections and jerry-rigged microphone stands later, Telefauna plays to an eager crowd - Meaghan is ecstatic about the turnout and the kids - everyone seems to be happy. At this point, I don't know if Alan is going to show up, but eventually I spot both him and Rob and Kaia from Mixel Pixel, and a soothing sensation comes over me - chances are, most of the people will get across the border.

I pop my head up at Sala for the Nethers set - no one's really there, Brian and I make small talk about absurd guarantees for bands we love that double over a year, but don't double attendance. Everything turns out a bit better than projected in the end, though.

I run back to the office with Steve of Expo 67 to get some more beer and deal with some more office mania - I'm sort of glad I don't have a cellphone for the festival at this point, because anytime I'm within 15 feet of the office phone, I end up answering it and dragged into some gigantic situation involving load-in times, immigration, and other technical disasters. Into the festival I don't know what becomes of these crises as the phone gets answered less and less. I assume some of these major level crises sorted themselves out with time.

After the Pre-Loved show I pack up and head back down to the Academy. I run into the Nemesis and we go over some of the criticisms and highlights of the festival thus far, and tells me a bit about what the A&R types are salivating, or expecting to salivate over. Think About Life are playing on this night, and there are a gaggle of unfamiliar faces at the door and around the venue asking about them - a side-effect of wrangling that coveted opening slot for an upcoming Wolf Parade tour, I assume.

.......More later.....

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Festival Hangover.

I'm still recovering from Pop Montreal - just came down with a cold/flu the other day, a couple of days after popcaster Andrew Rose did, and at the same time as a bunch of other Pop team members.

I ended up in some strange places, at some strange shows, some of which I programmed (sweet, sweet poetic irony), but it worked out for the best - I saw some stuff that I wouldn't have, missed some stuff I didn't want to, and got way less sleep than I ever had in my life before. Yikes.

So, that's sort of a pre-amble to me telling you that you've got to wait for the wrap-up. It promises to be lengthy, though not entirely interesting, and unfortunately light on the accompanying photographs...