Thursday, October 29, 2009


"That's the point of the story, William, the dummy couldn't tell a tiger from a lion."
- Ben Gazzara as Jack Flowers

From Peter Bogdanovich's 1979 film Saint Jack, based on Paul Theroux's novel.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Willing Victim of Circumstances

appears on The Crossing
Modern English A Viable Commercial
appears on Mesh & Lace
The Sound The Fire
appears on From The Lion's Mouth

This Big Country song reminds me of Dag Nasty and 90's hardcore group Fuel for some reason. Modern English obliquely strategizing on their album before their break Melts With You break, borrows from Brian Eno's Third Uncle before driving the whole song off a gigantic Colin Newman/Wire cliff. (I had another new wave song I came across a couple of days ago that did the same thing, but a hard-drive crash has put that outta my hands, and I can't recall the group's name. Alas...) I love The Sound - they remind me of Radio Berlin and Echo & The Bunnymen. Before the chipper-cheeked and crispily-produced power-pop-punk stuff that would land them a spot on (uh) the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack and You & Me Song, the Swedish group found comfort and hooks in the 4AD catalogue, as this 1989 song reveals.

Waiting On A Friend...

Mr. Bryan Ferry after a continental breakfast, and How amazing is this photo?

Roxy Music Take A Chance With Me
Billie Holiday Them There Eyes
The Rolling Stones Waiting On A Friend

Phoenix appeared on long-time favourite podcast Sound Opinions a couple of days ago, and performed stripped down versions of 1901, Lisztomania, and Playground Love. Stream the full episode or just the songs here...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Asia Through The Looking Glass Inbox

Some Steely Dan songs for Chris Clark, and the rest of you get some nonsense. The following are the search Results for various Asian nationalities in my Gmail account. Not all quotes are your author's, thank you very much.

The Chinese

reporting bugs and fixes for the chinese slaves to fix

The exact significance of the number eight is yet to be revealed, but perhaps we should ask the Chinese.

hahaha "It's in the Chinese Zodiac! Asia's hot right now!"

His diabolical scheme to send the Chinese walking across the ocean?

-We all know each other.
Except the Chinese.

...former fastest typer (I even beat the Chinese), I advise you to re-examine your typing style (specifically how you place your wrists) and also perhaps look up some suitable exercises to strengthen the muscles around your tendons.

The Chinese economic miracle!

You can re-create this magic on a micro-economic scale
with your line of tea bodums
and the shipping charges will be exponentially lower

That was tailoring. Arab terrorist front.
The Chinese are more at ease with the world.

-the year is over
-No, it's the Chinese Zodiac
Should end around February 10th or so

...When the Chinese Zodiac is more favourable to my preferred balling method.

We're going to the botanical gardens - the chinese lantern festival

...He became a reclusive anti-semitic mathematician, holed up in north Vancouver, and screaming about the Chinese and their insidious plots to take over the world.

Lots of love from the Chinese...

It's called abacus like the chinese counter

The Japanese

-Yeah, I am! I don't know what show I'm going to see yet, though
That's the one about the Japanese terrorists, right?

- ever since trying to grope that schoolgirl on the metro
- iced coffee freaks too
- I've realized that I am not good at being like the Japanese

...initially highly influenced by the japanese aesthetics and culture, quickly caught the press’ attention

As it is now, you will have trouble enough with the Japanese in PEI
Haunted Halifax, evil brainwashed Japanese people.

What kind of emoticon? Some sort of graphic sexual thing only the Japanese know how to decipher?

Emily Post never wrote a book about that, I don't think.
But my father had a number explaining how to do business with the Japanese.

He loves the Japanese. Hey, the Japanese held that hot dog eating champion title, and are also considered the leaders in the world of quality control! Do you think there's a connection? Round peg, round hole?

The Japanese have the best printing facilities in the world over there, you could get some large format book published with laser cut pages, and an embossed or relieved cover or something. Or like Kiss, with actual blood in the red ink! Bound in the hides of marsupials! Sewn together with dried intestine! The first book grown from stem cells!

It would, of course, alienate the Japanese, who read the other way, but whatever,
they lost World War II anyway.

the last two Japanese movies I've seen had plenty of scotch drinking in them - perhaps the Japanese represent the unfettered unconscious drinkin' desires of the Jewish people.

The Koreans

yeah i don't mind the koreans/japanese.
i'm totally game for the halsies. where would you put your dumplings?

The Vietnamese

The vietnamese violin is 20 dallars and I'm buying one.

Baling on Ba-le.
This is the Vietnamese place?

The Asians

The Asians seem to be okay with it...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Trouble with Men & Babies...

The Last Days of Disco & The Expanding Universe
Hollis Brown Thornton, 2009

Today's post goes out to Mr. David Lindquist, another British Columbian expatriate* who now makes his daily bread as a stunningly talented web designer, is the head of the musical group Lagoons, and is also a long-standing and skilled DJ to boot (C.R.I.M.E.S). And one of those nice guys who you know had all of the Roulé releases starting from day one, but is still not going laugh and point at a bungled beat-match from a lesser DJ every now and then. (I know!)

Mr. Lindquist's pick, from Cesar Hernandez (CZR) way back in 1999, Chicago Southside. Unfortunately, I don't have a decent rip of the original, so you'll have to deal with the remix. Troublemen's Get This Party Rockin' proves that even in 2000, years before Justice (that era widely regarded by most brimmers as a dark and deadly place known as only an appropriate place to semi-ironically scoop Brooklyn rap acapellas), that the dance music phenomenon of pinching kids' choruses for kicks was still a sure-fire crowd pleaser.

Those kids bring us to our next track, a remix of Pnau's Baby by rising etoile Breakbot, which appeared on the Australian duo's limited edition tour CD a while back. Breakbot's remix is clearly superior than the original, squeezing and teasing the Sesame Street stylings of the original with some classic French touches (har har), and a kiddy-approved piano outro. I've included the acapella track so you can try your hand at mash-up wizardry, or at least imagine yourself hectoring and haranguing a group of underfed Australian children to express the romantic feelings of studio overlords.

En-route: Breakbot's Thibaut Berland deserves a whole post of his own, which he will get...
* The phrase BC Expat is almost as Montreal as depanneur.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Neighbourhood Romeo Re-up!

For Nate of the epileptic eclectic GooDanse, a re-up of the Wax Romeo & Neighbour (Matt, the co-owner of Home Breakin' Records) project Neighbourhood Romeo, No, You Call Him that I blogged about previously. Buy the Fairweather Friends EP online (or in person) at Vancouver's finest Beat Street, which doesn't have this track on it, but has the almost equally stunning Laura Winslow.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bedtime for Baby...

Musically, it is an absolutely great time to be heart-broken, depressed, forlorn, or just plain melancholic. Thinking of ending it all? Hold on, wallow a bit more, the Slow Club know what it's like, which is why they're Giving Up On Love! Feeling foolish and exposed? The Generationals recognize self-destructive patterns when they see 'em with These Habits. The Raveonettes have penned a great slacker kiss-off tune with Gone Forever, from the recently released In and Out of Control and even the Kings of Convenience, that Norwegian duo with the knack for unflinchingly examining the minute details of daily power-struggles and relationship anxiety, are back with a fifth album (Declaration of Dependence) just in time for the most miserable winter of your life! The world might be cold, cruel, and miserable, but at least you're not alone when you're all alone.

If that's all a little too depressing, James Chapman, known to most as Maps, is back with a follow-up to his 2007 debut We Can Create called Turning the Mind that's remarkably upbeat and depressing. Still kinda heavy, though.

Track them down...
The Slow Club: Duo from Sheffield, England. Formed in 2006, were last in Montreal in August of this year. Moshi Moshi again.
The Generationals: New Orleans, LA group. Check out their album Con Law.
The Raveonettes: Danish duo, needs little introduction.
Kings of Convenience: Norwegians, again - little intro necessary.
Maps: solitary man.

Soundalikes 3: Partied Out

I gotta think that Paul Westerberg somehow nicked a bit of Candi Staton's Young Hearts Run Free for The Replacements' Swinging' Party. Lo-fi beach culture enthusiasts Kindness sense that, and thus bring it back to a (lazy) disco-sound by Arthur Russell-ifying it (come on, as if that's not the drum-beat from Loose Joints' Is It All Over My Face? married to some David Byrne-esque slack vocalness).

Kindness is Adam Bainbridge and like-minded collaborators, with some London & Berlin time-sharing kinda thing going on (time n' space-wise) and a cross-Atlantic take on the Washed Out/Toro y Moi sound (or it's just synchronicity)... This Replacements cover is from a new single released by the always-forward thinking Moshi Moshi label. Check out the Kindness Myspace.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Festival du Nouveau Cinema: All Tomorrow's Parties

I stopped by the FNC last night, and nothing against the festival itself (at all!), but The All Tomorrow's Parties' movie, (contributions by Jonathan Caouette and Vincent Moon (of Blogotheque and the wildly popular Takeaway Shows)) was an abysmal train wreck. It started promising enough - the title sequence juxtaposing the dancing marionettes and the Battles performance, and the archival footage had some quick and interesting editing, with at least a tentative attempt to contextualize the festival and the movie (started as a Belle and Sebastian gathering, okay, cool). But whatever the high-points, they were frustratingly brief against a back-drop of the erratic filming of stoned idiots, contrived taking-it-to-the-streets walking parades (yeah, yeah, joie de vivre, we get it), that, rather than capturing the manic excitement and exuberance of a festival (I assume this was the intent), had me looking at my watch about twenty-five minutes in.

The majority of the film was a patchwork of minimally-filmed performances combined with behaviour that was predictable and boring when it came from the usual quarters (loutish music fest attendees) and just plain annoying from 55 year olds in Marc Jacobs trapped in their bizarre posturing personae* (Thurston Moore & Kim Gordon, ahem). I'm sure the film-makers intended it to be both a document of the energy of this precious festival, and a musing on the leisure past-times of the self-marginalized underclass of white people (hence that archival footage - pensioners on summer holiday by the sea, northern soul dancers in those over-sized pants), but it could have been called White People Acting Like Idiots and made more thematic sense.

Michael Haneke's most recent film, The White Ribbon, will be playing on Sunday, October 18th at eXcentris as part of the FNC. Good to know that there are more horror of personality films that portray Europe as a festooning mess of hypocritical people who hate each other, are eager to inflict misery upon each other even though they know it to be meaningless, and are vastly ignorant of wave after wave of immigrants hitting their shores. Is all of modern European cinema beholden to Fassbinder and Pasolini's Salo? Find out for yourself, or just skip the whole nihilistic affair and settle in for some at-home misanthropy and self-loathing, from both sides of the ideological spectrum, courtesy of Colin Newman of Wire and crypto-fascist Euro-alienation wavers In The Nursery. (I first came across this song on the From Torture to Conscience compilation LP, which I picked up many years ago while on tour in Ottawa, and also features Current 93 and Death In June).

Lea Rinaldi, when you come across this while self-Googling, please accept this as an apology for erroneously thinking that your film Behind Jim Jarmusch was a by-the-book behind the scenes look at the director. It wasn't!

*I have nothing against 55 years old wearing Marc Jacobs.

Rick James & Neil Young Fire It Up

Recorded at Motown Studios in Detroit in February 1966. On this recording, the Mynah Birds include Neil Young (who wrote this song), Bruce Palmer (who'd go on to form Buffalo Springfield with Young) and the incomparable Rick James on vocals. The band broke up after Rick James, who was AWOL from the US Navy, turned himself in, on the advice of Motown, acting under information about James' status provided by the manager who they had just fired for keeping their advance money. Sordid rock n' roll economics.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Banana Split Sundaes presents: Jay Watts III, Team Canada DJs, DJ Sombrero, Jizzy B

I'm DJing this Sunday at Blue Dog along with the hyper-talented Team Canada, DJ Sombrero n' Jizzy B. There's a free keg on the dancefloor, too. If you're so inclined, stop by. Monday's a holiday so we'll be letting loose. Free for girls. $5 at the door for all y'all else or get guestlist by e-mailing

Theo Parrish LCD Soundsystem, DFA LCD Soundsystem, James Murphy LCD Soundsystem, LCD Soundsystem Pitchfork

The Fix Is In! The Silly Kissers.

The thing about the first-wave of American cutesy indie-pop, the twee-types hosting sock-hops for credit at Evergreen College and singing about cats is that it wasn't any good. Oh, Lord, it was terrible, actually. Those bands are gone, as Belle & Sebastien and Camera Obscura sucked all the helium out of that balloon, and now the musicians live on as Etsy merchants. Or maybe a couple of them struggle on, wearing frumpy minis and vintage go-go boots, trying to sex-up the second act after a dismal first by covering ye-ye songs. (And what a sex-up! Matronly versions of Janeane Garofalo in scratchy polyester!)

Even if newspapers will soon disappear and there's a gigantic floating island of plastic (seriously, how come I only heard about this halfway through September 11th and now I hear about it everywhere?) that kills birds and fish, at least music's pretty damn good in the 21st century. So despite some major twee signifiers (lo-fi recording, dual male & female vocals, cracking voices, lyrics about yearning), Montreal's Silly Kissers transcend the limitations of a genre that, hey, maybe they're not even aware of anyway. So let's say they remind me of Lo-Fi FNK, without excessive programming, and maybe a little of Think About Life.

So, it's really, really good lo-fi synth pop. If the comparisons to Depeche Mode (Dreaming of Me vs. Thinking of You) ring at all true, it's because the Silly Kissers, like early DM (1981's Speak and Spell, for example), have a knack for writing vocal lines and melodies that stick. (And maybe there's a future of international stardom, drug addiction, and an album that mixes brooding ambiguous sexuality and religion with guitars ahead for the Silly Kissers.) Both tracks are from their Halloween Summer EP, which was released this July.

They'll be opening up for the Gossip on October 13th here in Montreal at Theatre National. New Yorkers and industry-types can catch them on October 21st at Arlene's Grocery at CMJ as part of the rolling chamber of indie-rock commerce that is the M for Montreal showcase, along with Beast, Think About Life, We Are Wolves, Malajube & Duchess Says.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Some Fantastic Place

Missing Screenplay, Men With White Hair, Norwegian Producers

"But, what is it, what does it mean, to be loved by the French?"

This week's episode of Bored to Death (the HBO series' third, titled The Case of the Missing Screenplay - coincidentally also the working title of Transformers 2) featured bit parts from film director Jim Jarmusch (loved by the French, subject of a documentary screening at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema), a timely Roman Polanski joke (the writing of which would have pre-dated the director's most recent troubles in Switzerland, where he's currently being held without bail - thank you, Zeitgeist!), a mixed bag of Jungian & Freudian psychotherapy, and Oliver Platt as the editor of GQ and rival of Ted Danson's George character. Now that the big American cable channels have decided to embark upon becoming broadcasters of sometimes culturally relevant and well-written (if not that, at least well-meaning) fare, their core, traditional audience of horny teenage boys* might feel left out. Sensing the (wanton) need, Bored to Death gave us a gratuitious display of the breasts of Trieste Kelly Dunn's Sophia character to entice that core constituency. She'll return for the sixth episode. For the trainspotters who got all enthused by the Young Marble Giants in the first episode, this week's episode features Flott Flyt by Norwegian Diskjokke (Joachim Dyrdah) from his Staying In album, and not to be confused with other Norwegian producer Lindstrom. (Diskjokke had previously remixed Lindstrom's Breakfast in Heaven, though.) Above you'll find two tracks so you can compare.

Is Bored to Death funny? It's what you'd expect, which isn't a bad thing - it's mannered and it's more drama than comedy, which is fine. It's enjoyable. It doesn't try to be overly clever. Californication, which also is about a struggling alcoholic writer dealing with the aftermath of his failed relationship tries to be both clever and crude, and only succeeds in the latter.

Expecting that I'd get my weekly ration of guffaws and big laughs from Curb Your Enthusiasm's highly-touted Seinfeld reunion turned out to be a mistake - talk about one boring snoozefest. I guess it's a sign of cultural relevance and success that the tidy little dialogue trick that Seinfeld introduced to the world ("Is that a testament?" "It's a testament!" "Testament?" "Testament!") is such a standard trick in the toolkit of lazy teleplay writers everywhere, because it was really, really, really boring. Mamet-speak and Sorkin-droid, as suffocating as they can be, aren't this limited. It might be interesting to have the Seinfeld characters caught in a lengthy, looping Terry Riley-like interaction, ("Testament?" "Testament!" "Testament?" "Testament!") trapped by their own inability to escape, as each repetition becomes, as in Nietzschean eternal recurrence more and more meaningful, man. Next episode, maybe?

If you're in the US, you can catch all three episodes of Bored to Death back to back tonight on HBO starting at 9pm, or just download the torrent from EZTV, this time without the nasty HBO logo overlay.

Addenda: HBO has green-lighted Bored to Death for a second season.

*And let's be clear, the audience for HBO's Bored to Death (which it's aware of and plays off of) is a variation on that niche: horny boys in their mid to late 20s who haven't quite grown out of certain juvenilia.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

How We Got To Bellavista...

Vue, way back when

Bellavista has a very storied pedigree, and if you're at all curious about the group, it's probably because of that pedigree - which is to say that this band, probably because of the capricious nature o' the music industry, isn't as high-profile as what it grew out of, but Bellavista is certainly worth your attention. I'll try to keep the back-story brief, and not like something you'd read in the pages of Skyscraper magazine if it was still around. (Actually, is it? I didn't check)

The story began with the San Fransisco post-hardcore group Portraits of Past (who tuned all the way down to C!), who were around in the mid 90s, and released a record on Goleta's Ebullition Records, (LP photography by Ottawa's Shawn Scallen!). I loved that record in high school. Although they gradually morphed into the much artier and interesting group, Das Audience, they've since re-formed to tour Japan, release a new album, etc. Like Six Finger Satellite's reunion, I'm finding it hard to get enthusiastic enough to bother listening to the music.

So, Das Audience eventually changed their name to Vue, a glammy garage group who put out an absolutely perfect EP on GSL called Death of A Girl, a couple of Sub Pop albums (the s/t album had a cover of Suicide's Girl on it), and a disappointing EP on RCA. An RCA debut, Down For Whatever, was recorded but never released, probably because sales were disappointing and maybe at that time, the expected rising tide that BRMC started didn't, in fact, lift all boats.

After a three year hiatus, Vue returned under the moniker Bellavista, which is both, in my mind, a return to form as well as a genuine progression. It's not as polished as Vue was for the majority of its existence, which is great, because there was something that the group lost between that amazing, astonishing EP and what Bellavista manage to get right here. It's different than what's come before - atmospheric and muscular guitar-work, surf-heavy drums, a hazy mood... I think that Rex (of all of the above bands) has one of the great voices in rock music today - there's something of Tom Verlaine in it, that's for sure, but he can also push it in a way that I've never heard Verlaine do.

Bellavista Myspace

Monday, October 05, 2009

Dan Bejar Was Not & Dan Bejar Is Not

In honour of Michelle Adelman's birthday (happy birthday!), the trainspotter who pointed out the similarities between Al Stewart and Dan Bejar/Destroyer, and also, as Chris Clark told me, Dan Bejar being mistaken for Montreal's Sam Roberts, here are two songs. That's all y'get. Chris Clark's favourite Sam Roberts' song is Brother Down (probably the bongos), whereas I'm more of a Bridge to Nowhere guy, but they're both solid.

AIDS 2.0 HIV 2.0 New Wave of HIV

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Deceitful, Complex

A creative writer must study carefully the works of his rivals, including the Almighty. He must possess the inborn capacity not only of recombining but of re-creating the given world. In order to do this adequately, avoiding duplication of labor, the artist should know the given world. Imagination without knowledge leads no farther than the back yard of primitive art, the child's scrawl on the fence, and the crank's message in the market place. Art is never simple. To return to my lecturing days: I automatically gave low marks when a student used the dreadful phrase "sincere and simple"-- "Flaubert writes with a style which is always simple and sincere"-- under the impression that this was the greatest compliment payable to prose or poetry. When I struck the phrase out, which I did with such rage in my pencil that it ripped the paper, the student complained that this was what teachers had always taught him: "Art is simple, art is sincere." Someday I must trace this vulgar absurdity to its source. A schoolmarm in Ohio? A progressive ass in New York? Because, of course, art at its greatest is fantastically deceitful and complex.
- Vladimir Nabokov, Playboy Interview, 1964

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Glass Candy, Desire, CFCF, DVAS

Johnny Jewel doing what he does best...

I made my way yesterday to see Desire, Glass Candy and Cosmo Vitelli at Juste Pour Rire. Missed the Cocktail Club DJ set, and caught the last half of Desire, which (as Feeling Nouveau mentioned earlier today) wasn't the wildest in terms of stage performance, but that will come soon enough.

The last time I had seen Glass Candy was about six years ago in Victoria, having formed a band (which will not be named, save me some face here) for the express intention of opening for them. When I first moved to Montreal Glass Candy was playing with Duchess Says (which was their second show, Johnny told me last night), but, and my memory's hazy on this, I ended up missing them or coming too late. Either way, a number of fate's machinations made it so that I didn't get the chance to see them until last night, at Pop Montreal, and it was a great performance. Old classics, exceptional sound, great lights, and a fuller and more solid stage performance, with Ida No pulling out a series of aerobic dance moves... If my hangover today is any evidence, there's a good reason why I don't remember how Cosmo Vitelli sounded.

Tonight there's an embarrassment of riches (as per usual at Pop), and you already have my Os Mutantes & Plaza Musique recommendation (more Plaza than Os Mutantes, if I'm being honest) but if you're looking for something a little more clubby and fun, Upper Class Recordings' showcase is at Divan Orange and includes hometown balearic remix hero CFCF, DVAS, and recently transplant to Montreal, Cadence Weapon. As well, The Cansecos and Silly Kissers are playing earlier, so you'll have some time to perfect the stand-nod-clap look. A lotta the post-French Touch retro-wave club stuff (the DVAS song above included) isn't the most ground-breaking in terms of songwriting or what it brings to the table, but I like to think of it, like a lot of good dance and pop music, as being craft more than art. And it's fun to dance to. Should be enough.

It would also be re-miss of me not to mention Karnival, Poirier's new night, which debuts at Club Soda. Featuring Mad Decent's Paul Devro (and former Vancouver boy) and a helluva lotta bass. Check out the FB page here.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Let's Drink to Character!

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in A New Kind of Love

Caveat Emptor.

A scorpion wanted to cross a river, so he asked a frog to carry him. 'No,' said the frog. 'No thank you. If I let you on my back you may sting me, and the sting of the scorpion means death.' 'Now where,' asked the scorpion, 'is the logic of that? NO scorpion could be judged illogical! If I sting you, you will die - I will drown.' The frog was convinced and allowed the scorpion on his back, but just in the middle of the river he felt a terrible pain and realized that after all the scorpion had stung him. 'Logic!' cried the dying frog, as he started under, bearing the scorpion down with him. 'There is no logic in this!' 'I know,' said the scorpion, 'but I can't help it - it's my character.'

Caveat Emperor.

"Though at first considered an apt successor to the throne, Emperor Taisho (Great Righteousness) suffered a brain thrombosis in 1919 which left him extremely eccentric. A widely circulated story tells of one occasions when, while addressing the Diet, the Emperor rolled up the script for his speech, and holding it like a telescope, peered long and hard at the assembled dignitaries."

Arthur Murray Whitehill, "Japanese Management: Tradition and Transition"

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