Sunday, September 30, 2012

Optic

Fred Herzog, Chinatown Vancouver 1959

Friday, July 27, 2012

Soft Focus in Toronto at L'Ouvrier


Mark Dufort and I are launching a new monthly in a couple of weeks at notable Dundas St West nosh spot L'Ouvrier.  Click through the image for Facebook RSVP.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lauryn Hill x Maribou State




The future-garage, wobbly, bass-heavy edit of the 90s R&B hit can tend to the obnoxious most times, about as subtle as the tidal wave of lazy bMore remixes from the mid-2000s...  And Lord knows, sometimes it's just a safer way to enjoy the sacharine pop confections of yesteryear in a more contemporary format, but that's not the case with this remix, thankfully.

That said, I really wish that, given the possibilities, remixers and producers would take on lesser known songs , you know?  As much as I like this remix, it would be interesting to take something from Lauryn Hill's oeuvre that didn't resonate hit the summer charts and try to make something out of it.  I feel the same way about film remakes...  Why not take a flawed film and re-make it?  Economics, for one, I suppose. Not as easy as taking the scalpel to an immediately recognizable hit, perhaps, but more rewarding if someone could pull it off.

You can grab the Ting in Boots Volume 1 compilation that this was pilfered from courtesy of Push & Run at Fact Magazine.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

The Veil of the Temple

Is this man Wallace Shawn's taller brother?

In 1961, Artie Garr (BA, Art History; MMath), penned and released this wonderfully morose Everly Brothers-like song as a b-side on his first single Forgive Me.  Shortly after this, Artie would join up with then picayune Jerry Landis to become Tom & Jerry.  Shortly thereafter, they shed their goyim monikers and emerged as the greatest silken voiced duo of Semites the world has ever known since Moses & Aaron, Simon & Garfunkel.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Predatory Grooming



I love the way Set The Timer opens - a quick inhale and we're off into the folk-tinged art-rock of the Talking Heads and 80s Athens, Georgia propping up a giant melodic hook that sounds remarkably similar to the theme song that Giorgio Moroder wrote for The Never Ending Story.

I remember, in high school, riding in the car with my mother, listening to the radio.  Primal Scream's Rocks came on, and my Mom kept on counting out the times she could hear Bobby Gillespie doing a deep inhale.  It ruined a song that already wasn't very good.  That album Give Out But Don't Give Up, and that song in particular was a shrill, incessant and insistent waste of time - the sort of pineapple haired post-glam creaky hipped that somehow Robyn Black made a name for himself with and (I'm really aging myself here) the Black Halos.  I think I saw Robyn Black loading a guitar into the back of a car on Queen Street West the other week.  There's little more off-putting than seeing a dyed black hair rocker, like some toothless vampire, in the sunshine, which is why I imagine downtown Hollywood is a particularly ghastly place.

Give Out But Don't Give Up is even more depressing when one considers it was the follow-up to Screamadelica.  That sort of recorded-inhale-as-punctuation is a near constant presence in most contemporary radio pop these days, and it baffles me as to why - it's totally obnoxious and disorienting, similar to hearing the fingers slide between chords, a side-effect of the 90s mania for too brightly recording acoustic guitars.

And speaking of Hollywood and tragedy - I wonder if the last song Jonathan Brandis listened to before he took his own life was The Never Ending Story theme?  Production companies that pitch to Lifetime Movies - feel free to use this idea for the cold open of Descent Into Darkness: The Tragic Demise of Jonathan Brandis, Victim of Hollywood, but I'd like a writing credit.  Get in touch - I could come up with a pretty bang-on rendering of his last cri du couer to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air's Tatyana Ali.  To say nothing of the tangential links to The Church of Scientology via Will Smith!  As Paul Thomas Anderson will soon be releasing The Master - a film based on the origins of Scientology, and David Cronenberg is soon to be shooting Maps To the Stars - based on the moral decay of two Hollywood child actors (Haim and Feldman?), the Jonathan Brandis morto-pic will surely be a hot property, uniquely positioned to take advantage of the zeitgeist, the twin poles of predatory grooming in Hollywood: The Church of Scientology and perverts.

(Jesus, writing about Primal Scream...  I'm truly entering my Mojo magazine years.  I even found a couple of grey chest hairs this afternoon.)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Paula's Gentle Apparel






Here's yet another gem in the crown of lo-fi powerhouse Arbutus Records.  Paula's Relaxed Fit is the debut solo outing of David Carriere of TOPS/Silly Kissers.  It's a remarkably buoyant contribution to an already enjoyable body of work that mines a similar vein as Ariel Pink or the more lively elements of the Postcard Records back catalog, albeit with a pedigree all its own.  Guest appearances by Cadence Weapon and bandmate Penny Jane of TOPS make the package even sweeter, as well as expert mixing and mastering duties by Sebastian Cowan - who, by the way, often goes unacknowledged for his studio acumen and skills.  Go grab Relaxed Fit off of Bandcamp and make a monetary contribution to their ongoing mission to keep music interesting.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

...Clarian North of Footprintz



New track from Clarian North of Vision Quest's Footprintz.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Vivir al dia



I was anticipating Beach House's latest album Bloom to be another stunning achievement, deeply affecting and moving, etc, having enthusiastically loved their prior output...  But no such luck.  I didn't loathe it, but just as with the most recent Destroyer album, it went in one ear and out the other.  Neither colourless nor terrible, just workmanlike.  I couldn't hum a melody from it with a gun at my temple.

Not so with Ms. Domino's 1986 version of Aretha Franklin's dazzling torch song...  The hypnotic guitar-interplay mirrors Felt, with a rockabilly twang on the leads, her voice is rich in character and depth.  Throaty, even!  A sweet soporific lullaby for the droopy eyed positioned between the morose ballads of Christine McVie in Fleetwood Mac and the Baltimore-bred sleepwalking hymns of (yes) Beach House and Cass McCombs.

Sadly the rest of Ms. Domino's work doesn't always add out - hopelessly dated sounding experiments with canned drum loops and an over-reliance on studio "texturing" drag it into the Lilith Fair swamp...  Actually, not a swamp - if only she had only recorded something in a backwoods bog! - but rather the estrogen-saturated chamber of some strip mall Yoga studio.  The sort of globe-trotting treacle that Tilda Swinton's character in We Need To Talk About Kevin would have on her walkman while hitchihiking through Andalusia. Jane Siberry and frozen yogurt.

Tread forward at your own peril or content yourself with her album East and West and a late period contribution to Stephen Merritt's project, The Sixths.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Footprintz: Fear of Numbers






A relatively new video for Vision Quest's Footprintz from Montreal.  The song is Fear of Numbers, and should be on the upcoming Ewan Pearson-produced album. Directed by Livia Giamaria and Connor Hurley, who have also created videos for Art Department, Lee Foss and Danny Daze.

The Din of Modernity: Steel Band Yards or Open-air Motor Repair Shops


"Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf."
- Prince Philip, to group of deaf children standing next to Jamaican steel drum band,
visit to new National Assembly for Wales, 1999


My admiration for the gaffe-prone Royal Consort is mostly predicated upon his predilection for incredibly out-of-touch comments (he once said he practiced Dontopedalogy - the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it)...  I don't agree with the comments, but I appreciate his tendency to make them. And so it is with the Duke of Edinburgh's recorded comments on steel drum bands.  Another noted Anglophilic crank favourite of mine, V.S. Naipaul also found steelpan distasteful, writing to his father of his brother that "the news that Shivan is beating pans is distressing."

Forgive this post's title...

The historical background and origin of steelpan bands is compelling stuff - Trinidadian musicians fashioned tuned steelpans out of 55 gallon oil drums that littered the region during the oil exploration boom of World War II and oil companies would go on to sponsor competing teams throughout the region and internationally - a demilitarized post-colonial evolution of British marching bands.  Steelpan competitions were highly contested events, and eventually most oil companies withdrew support when violence began to mar them. If you thought the oil industry was a money-grubbing blight of fat-fingered philistines, please recall this noted contribution to music and culture.  I hope that in 2071 or whenever the tar/oil sands are depleted in Alberta, we shall see a resurgence of the mighty steelpan, as competing bands play against each other amidst the backdrop of a desolate, post-apocalyptic landscape.

In the 1970s, popular music was not so changed by the Beatles that it was poor form or anomalous for musicians to interpret the works of other musicians, treating recent top hits as new standards.  A band could build an entire career as a cover band and do quite well, thank you...  In fact, as much as the Beatles made it a necessity for new bands to write their own material, they also contributed to the canon in a way that wasn't foreign to Cole Porter - providing chart-fodder for Ella Fitzgerald and others.

The 20th Century Steel Band was a London-based steelpan and their bread and butter was the high-energy interpretation of recent funk, soul and R&B songs like Papa Was a Rolling Stone, Theme from Shaft, and, as above, a cover of Love's Theme from Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra and Sam & Dave's Hold On, I'm Coming.  Interestingly enough, their lasting legacy is the song Heaven And Hell (Is a Place on Earth - their debut-album opener with an oft-sampled break that would become a standard of its own, popping up in songs by The Jackson Two, Grandmaster Flash, Spoonie Gee, Geto Boys, Chubb Rock, Salt n' Pepa, Positive K, The Jungle Brothers - far too many to mention here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stockhausen Syndrome




Before Portishead and other vitamin-D deficient Anglophone producers set to a wholesale plundering of the work of film composers John Barry and Bernard Hermann, in turn giving the world the unwelcome gift of Trip Hop and the adjective "cinematic" as a critical term denoting the addition of vinyl pop & hiss sounds and postmodern ennui - the equivalent of a sepia filter (or hey, Instagram!) - a relatively gorgeous Swede translator by the name of Virna Lindt infused the icy cold archness & languid irony of Cristina and Amanda Lear (ex-models' musical output, a genre unto itself) with human warmth and her own appreciation of the big-room orchestral pop of soundtracks gone by.

The three songs here don't accurately represent the range of Ms. Lindt's output - the lumbering cover of Michel Lagrand's The Windmills of Your Mind, the absurd dead-eyed naivete of The Dossier on Virna Lindt, and  finally, her Tot Taylor-produced debut single, Attention Stockholm - virtually a template for 3/4 the output of Belle and Sebastien...  Great songs, yes, but there are other songs, more adventurous, sort of like Sparks and Yello Magic Orchestra, especially on 1985 Play/Record, which was, predictably, a hit in Japan.

Had Lindt's influence been felt more deeply, Trip Hop might have a more noble pedigree and not reached its nauseating limit in the studied melancholy of Mono's 1996 sap-fest Life in Mono  The song, a barely concealed rewrite of The Windmills of Your Mind, was a prominent part of (the not-unloveable overwrought) fever dream melodrama of Alfonso Cuarón's film adaptation of Great Expectations.  Or not...  Who knows if we would have been spared the existence of Black Box Recorder - an ignoble and wholly reprehensible musical clusterfuck that has forever tarred the name of Jesus & Mary Chain's John Moore.  (The wholly calculated effort to get famous and to get into Sarah Nixey's pants succeeded on one count, at least.)

But Trip Hop will continue to live on forever, along with drum & bass, in the scores of police procedurals on American network television, and in the dusty CD-piles buried in the back of a closet by Unmarried Women of a Certain Age.

Note: When I think of Dickens style of writing, I think of the Book of Mormon, a tedious a Holy Book as I've ever read...  An entire post-Christian mythology written by a group of autistic people sitting around a table playing Exquisite Corpse - and so it came to pass, and so it came to pass, and so it came to pass...


I've spent countless hours, if not days, searching through the Trouser Press, dollar bins and the back-alleys of Discogs.com, and it's very rare that I come across a chart-topping song or artist in the new wave/post-new wave pop genre that I've got no familiarity with.  (Even rarer that I actually enjoy the song).  In this case, I came across the Woodentops in Oliver Assayas' 1986 film Disorder - a film that presents with weightier issues than those that make up a subgenre of post-punk trainspotting films- the Clash's Rude Boy, Penelope Spheeris' Decline of Western Civilization and Suburbia.  As anthropological curios & points of reference for context-hungry teens they serve their purpose -  as an illuminating or even halfway interesting piece of art, not as much.  Assayas' meditation on the corrosive of guilt and murder without consequence , each in their own way, are Cliff-notes Dostoevsky for their respective class/subculture.

This song shares the same manic urgency of The Feelies or Human Switchboard, but has more adventurous production and instrumentation.  The obvious touchstone for Rolo McGinty's brashly confident voice is Echo & The Bunnymen's Will Sergeant.

Alright, it's back to R&B for a little while, so I don't end up investigating bands that shared bills with the Housemartins.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Wombmates

Melissa and Samuel are fraternal twins, estranged from each other since college and re-united by the death of their mother.  After their mother's funeral, at the wake, they are visited by a kindly gentleman, who identifies himself as a professional colleague of the obstetrician who delivered them.  He is a clinical pathologist, and he reveals that they alone possess a genetic resistance to form of rare form of pulmonary disease which has been mysteriously ravaging the state of Florida.  However, this resistance can only properly be studied in conditions most akin to the womb, as their lungs must be filled with oxygen-rich amniotic fluid.

Out of a sense of obligation towards their departed mother (a medical researcher herself), they agree to participate in a nine-month long experiment, living together in a synthetic womb, filled with amniotic fluid.

As Melissa and Samuel are both entertainment reporters, they make their living reporting from the red carpet of awards ceremonies and covering holiday parades.  The Holy Father's mother succumbed to the disease herself, and, moved by the twins' sacrifice in the fight against this crippling disease, the Vatican has donated an old Popemobile, which will be modified to cradle the synthetic womb-orb, allowing them to perform their duties.

Driven together, the siblings must navigate the image-obsessed world of their professional career and their own long-lingering resentments towards each other...  In a fake womb.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Vile Bodies

Blow, cat, blow


Rod's Shake It Up has long been a gold-plated standard in Italo productions for me, but damn if the album opener Start It All Over Again doesn't deserve love, too.  Opening with a great guitar riff that's matched with some more jazzy instrumentation (that organ!), trad-disco flourishes and Philly sounding brass, it sashays into the exuberant territory of Kid Creole & The Coconuts (nee August Darnell), amounting to a deeply satisfying way to start a hidden gem of a record.  The brief xylophone lead reminds me of the lead that shows up towards the end in Robert Palmer's anxious new-wave workout Looking for Clues.  So there you go...

I was sure that I had posted Rod's Shake It Up, but I've spent a number of years suffering from the petty DJ affliction of claiming songs for one's own and hoarding them.  Sort of foolish in the age of musical abundance.  Never mind that when I DJed with Vancouver's (super-skilled, really nice) Kutcorners at Blue Dog in Montreal a while back, it was a prominent set-piece...  The song is a lot more well known than I had imagined.

After much digging, I've got a lengthy post coming up this week on Anthony Malloy, of Anthony & The Camp, who deserves far more attention for his contribution to house music than simply being the target of some sticky-fingered lifting by Tensnake. (Much love to Coma Cat, though).

Thursdaze House




House-heads and other fellow travelers in Montreal, if you have the chance, check out DeepInsideMTL's new party this Thursday.  Ewan Pearson-approved Flowers & Sea Creatures will be headlining alongside the Deutschsonik duo Vosper and Jealous Lovers.  A stacked bill at the Royal Phoenix.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Some People Are Made of Plastic, Some People Are Made of Wood



The Dramatics were another workhorse R&B outfit from Detroit that spanned a couple of decades, making a couple of chart appearances, including this great slinky example of 70's soul from 1971 that hit #1 and sold a cool million.  Their first studio album was released after a string of singles, and has a laid-back vocal style heavy on harmonizing, similar to the Temptations, but not without its own charms.  The group didn't boast a voice with the chops and charisma of David Ruffin (how often does he come along?), but there are some competent stabs at salon room balladry and more than a couple great percussive moments - if they weren't layered with so many string sections, vocal theatrics and horn stabs this album would be a breaks classic.  As it stands now, Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get is a marvelous album, complete with an ode to hot pants.

As a special treat, I'll post The Dramatics' spectacularly titled post-Pusherman epic Beware of the Man (With the Candy in his Hand) tomorrow.

Many thanks to Toronto's greatest radio station, G98.7 FM for introducing me to this...

Friday, March 30, 2012

SCANIMATE! Codeks, Spectral Displays, Talking Drums & Wild Oscillations


It seems once a year, usually around a spring, I get a hankering to write about Will Powers and/or 80's New York video artist musical outings, and post some mp3s/mixes.  This spring, thanks to a fortuitous run-in with a folder titled downtempo (seriously!) on Soulseek, I came across some tracks I had been actively hunting for quite a while that fit squarely into that weird conceptual BETAcam mind-fuck genre.  I'm too old to have anything but disdain for the downtempo genre, but at its most tolerable and enjoyable, it seems to be full of the oddities that pop up on Late Night Tales/Back to Mine comedown comps.  If anyone wants to offer a more informed take on the downtempo genre or ethos, please, feel free...


So, here we go - the sort of neurotic dubby sounds that an AV tech working the graveyard shift at a middling TV station in might set his knob-twiddlings on a SCANIMATE console to.

I can't find much information about Talking Drums - one blog (now erased - even Trouser Press turns up nothing!) posits that they were an evangalical Christian project of some sort, led by Charlie Irvine and Dot Reid - two Glaswegians who would go onto form a group called Lies Damned Lies.  In light of that, I can almost see Courage as some sort of defiant updating of the Onward Christian Soldiers hymn of days and pews past, albeit with a dash of Siouxsie's vocal stylings with The Creatures, the bottom-heavy post-punk funk of the Slits, some serious Stranglers-esque keyboard leads, and New Musik-like ultra-bright acoustic guitar...  I usually credit my upbringing as a Pentecostal Christian with the ability to suss out based on production cues, but this is throwing me off.  The lyrics are quite a bit more explicitly Christian.

Studio project Spectral Display are familiar to some: It's Takes A Muscle To Fall In Love was sampled by MIA and they're on the soundtrack to Antonio Campos' upcoming film Simon Killer...  There's A Virus Going Round is a later album cut from their self-titled debut, where producer Michel Mulder takes a less dubby, but equally subdued, approach, featuring the anodyne, listless sweet nothings of Lisa Bolay.  The virus she sings of is probably mononucleosis.  (Appropriately enough for writing about music that makes me think of 80s video art, the group's called Spectral Display...)

Of all the songs posted here, Codek's Closer is the most kindred spirit to Will Power's Adventure in Success. The herky-jerky vocals, backing vocals, spirited arpeggios, occasional horn stabs.  I'm particularly keen on the bass guitar punctuating and accentuating like a tom drum.  A French producer by the name of Jean-Marie Salaun (John Marieux) appears to have been the driving force behind the Codek project, and the rest of the , that I strongly, emphatically implore you to seek it out in whatever manner possible.  Tim Toum, in particular, is an electrified faux-tribal freakout that has to be heard...  Salaun-as-Codek seemed to represent a stop-gap of sorts, halfway between his production duties for French punky new-wavers Artefact and Spions Inc and later work as a (from what I can tell) producer on autopilot for some fairly uninspiring crossover reggae/digital dancehall.

I was going to round out this post with two chart-friendly songs from Desireless and Vicious Pink, but after listening again, these 3 songs work perfectly with each other.  I'll save them for an upcoming post on the kitsch-leaden glory of the MAXI Single format and French music.  And not a Metal Urbain song in sight/onsite!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ghostly pill-poppers Blank Capsule!



Toronto's Vitaminsforyou and (super-nice guys) Jokers of the Scene came together as Blank Capsule, and just released their debut 7" on 416-based label Hi-Scores Recording Library.  I erroneously thought Compulsion was a cover of a Martin Gore song from the Depeche Mode songwriter's solo EP Counterfeit, but didn't realize the original was from Cherry Red's Joe Crow.  It does more than justice to the original and, in my mind, surpasses the Martin Gore version.  Stream above, and then go buy the damn thing!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Footprintz Release, Raid Over Moscow 7"

Follow the link for a new song from Montreal's Footprintz, coming out on Turbo as a 7" release for Record Store Day.

Bay Street Strut



In a world beset by climate change and at risk of overpopulation, it's almost highly irresponsible of me to release songs like this... Let's be glad there's birth control, no? Also, this isn't that highly trafficked of a blog. Thank heavens.

The brother and sister fronted group Juicy, named after the oft-sampled Mtume song Juicy Fruit, are probably best remembered to watchers of late-night television as having appeared on the Beat Street soundtrack. But, even acknowledging the heavily derivative nature of this song, 1986's Sugar Free is still a fabulous song.

The post-disco 808-saturated R&B of the Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis-led S.O.S. Band is a treasure trove of many things, including Weekend Girl, the sample base for songs by a great many contemporary artists (Cam'ron, Amerie... Poetic Hustlaz - okay, the last one might be a lesser light in the urban music firmament).

There was Beat Street, and there was also Krush Groove, the 80's hip hop film which featured Prince Markie Dee as a member of the Fat Boys. He also had a career outside of the trio, which produced some diggable gems, including the debut #1 single Typical Reasons (Swing My Way) from his album, Free. The song features an effective disco bassline, a laidback groove and a touch of New Jack Swing, not too far from the ouevre of the recently departed big-guy Heavy D.

Mówię co widze, from Polish MC O.S.T.R. takes as its base Breakwater's You Know I Love You, a triumph of R&B vocal harmonizing. Like most non-Anglophone rappers, O.S.T.R. favours heavy enunciation.

If you're in Toronto for CMW, or for the weekend, or, hey, you happen to live here, why not stop by Sutra tomorrow evening? There's no cover, and I'll be DJing a lot of music that mixes quite well with the songs above.

JAY WATTS III in TORONTO at SUTRA BAR

Hi Toronto! I'm DJing on Friday, March 23rd at Sutra Bar (612 College Street). No cover! Click for the Facebook event!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sour Summer




After a certain age, I lost the ability to mount a defense of certain preferences, tastes, or just things I'm okay with... New wave vocal hysterics are one of them. In my early to mid 20s I could have spent a fair amount of energy trying to convince a friend of the appeal of the Associates, but now I realize that, yeah, the mannered pitch-jumping can be aggravating. So I won't be posting the Associates' cover of Diana Ross' Love Hangover as I had initially intended to. You will, however, get the listless doomy dronages of Karel Fialka and Coil, as they tackle The Doors and Gloria Jones, respectively... Fialka's version is far superior to Echo & The Bunnymen's, a contribution to the Lost Boys soundtrack.

Hey, it's Lene Lovich! God, I bet she was annoying to hang out with, but this is one muscular song - bass-driven, with some excellent percussion production.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Brood of Bo, Sons of Vega


"... I never heard anything avant-garde. To me it was just New York City Blues."

The legacy of Suicide has been well-documented, (beloved band loved and covered by Bruce Springsteen, blatantly ripped off by the humourless, attitude-merchants of A.R.E. Weapons, revered by Spacemen 3, that t-shirt in The Adventures of Sebastian Cole) but that of Alan Vega's drum-machine-driven rockabilly solo efforts? Not as much: a bit of love from Jarvis Cocker, occasional name-checks for the septuagenarian sculptor... If Suicide's first and second albums were homages to the bossa nova rhythm setting on a church hammond organ, Alan Vega's solo outings were paranoid hymns penned by a basement-bound, pock-marked loner with aspirations to become a leering leather-jacketed lout - betraying a fervent love of Bo Diddley. Alan Vega's solo work positively reeks of the fumes of model airplane glue: all slap-delay, finger snaps and meandering nervous vocals.

The solvent-abusing duo Royal Trux and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, would have been the ideal practitioners of Vega's brand of nervous rockabilly, be, unfortunately they were side-tracked by the more unseemly elements of 90s production, and presumably the kitsch-pit ethos of the Grand Royal magazine and label. (Royal Trux built upon the woozy swamp rock of the Rolling Stones' Ventilator Blues - so it's not a total loss.)

Lisbon, Portugal's The Legendary Tigerman (nee Paolo Furtado) mines the same territory as Alan Vega (the absurd turns of phrase, for example) although the production is a bit slicker, his croon more self-assured, so that he comes off more like a continental Chris Isaak.

Also a solo artist, Montreal's Bloodshot Bill boasts an anthropoidal warble that's a direct descendant of the hyperventilating howling of The Cramps' late Lux Interior.

Finally, and most enjoyably, Mac Demarco, known formerly as the fuzz-obsessed Makeout Videotape, is another addition to the children of Alan Vega... I'm A Man showcases a killer deep-registered voice, inventive guitar work and pleasantly lo-fi production. It's not a cover of the Bo Diddley song of the same name, but worthwhile anyways...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Poolside...



Sade By Your Side (Cottonbelly's Fola Mix Edit)
Rio Blanco Wild Doves

Discobedience







Sync Mode is a new project from Toronto duo The Makeover, alongside Butter the Butcher and DJ Nitin. Woozy, vocal-centric mid-tempo house.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rituals


Relatives

Three continental instrumentals, economic but not sparse... Kornstad is a Norwegian saxophonist, who uses (what else?) live-looping to supplement and compliment his often improvisational sets. This track is from his Dwell Time album - well worth the kroner if you can track it down. C.W. Vrtacek is the pseudonym of Forever Einstein's Charles O'Meara, to flood the market with his avant-pop sketches.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Summer Jams




Given that Toronto's now hanging out in double digit weather, I'll jump the gun and offer up two summer jams. Classics! Pete Rock produced the ADOR track - great choice to sample the Gerald Wilson Orchestra's "California Soul." If memory serves me correctly, this frequently appeared in skateboard videos throughout the 90s. A year later, Souls of Mischief released "'93 Til Infinity" which would dominate boomboxes and Jeep soundsystems alike.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Der Weltraum Space Oddities



By my reckoning, no song in the kraut/kosmische rock genre has ever matched the sprawling jubilation of La Rheinita, an anthemic instrumental from 1978 propelled by the lumbering tom drum workout that would be lifted pretty much part & parcel by Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott and songwriter Midge Ure (who was in Visage and would wind up fronting Ultravox) for Yellow Pearl. Hats off to the man for his great taste. Could a nation whose development as an industrial powerhouse depended entirely on steel fail to produce a genre of music that sounded like this? At about the 3:08 mark, the song rockets way into the stratosphere . I never tire of this song...

From the vaults of the fecklessly fey Cherry Red Records: Morgan Fisher, a tickler of ivories (synthetic & not), took it upon himself to pay tribute to Mott the Hoople's top 10 hit with an abrasive and charming lo-fi cover. File this somewhere between Bruce Haack and Ariel Pink, and for comparison I leave you with a raga-like synth-workout from the late Mr. Haack, long-time mp3 blog favourite.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

DJ Overdose's MIAMI BASS HISTORY Mixtape Volume 1



A handy and educational selection of bass classics from some damn dusty crates courtesy of The Miami Bass History blog.

The 20th Century's Golden Voice




Ladies and gentlemen, another song from the most golden voice of the 20th century... Mr. David Ruffin, with a stirring, gospel-inflected of melancholy, yearning and celebration. Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Let's Jack!




Babe Rainbow Set Loose (Soft Riot's Manhunter Version)

Much digital ink has been spilled (deservedly so) on the works of Babe Rainbow (Cameron Reed), the bitingly funny and hyper-talented musician and producer (who, among other things, was involved in the creation of the terrific Shit Harper Did website), but less-so about the man at the helm of Soft Riot - also (at one time) a Vancouver resident and music scene fixture, Jack Duckworth.

Usually when one encounters writing about Jack and his projects, it's prefaced with some mention of his long-standing commitment to music, and specifically to mining a particular field of post-industrial, neu-wave sounds, in projects much loved by Goldkicks like Radio Berlin, A Luna Red, Primes, and Savage Furs. That's all well and good, but I think that makes it seem like there's some historical obligation to pay attention... That approach doesn't do justice to the actual pleasure and joy to be derived from this guy's actual body of work - the care with which he approaches his music and the time he puts into it.... A group like Trust(warning: Myspace link) has momentary momentum, but, let's be honest - that album is a fairly uneven stylistic hodgepodge (and it kind of sounds like Chris Martin is singing sometimes) that could have been re-worked and spread across a couple of EPs. A musician like Jack has the benefit of substantial experience and talent, and so it never feels like a stale re-hash of the industrial sounds of yesteryear, or a solitary catchy single surrounded by some patchy studio meanderings.

Now making his home in London, England, here's hoping that the release of the Another Drone In Your Head EP will find a larger audience.

Ankle Biters




Here are two mid-80s uptempo tracks from two double-Js. The Jermaine Jackson song is notable for featuring Idaho's most prominent proponents of the theory of human devolution. Jermaine's musicianship, production skills and general good nature are often obscured in relation to the accomplishments of Janet and Michael, or Latoya's trainwreck of a career (in her defense, she did record a couple of choice 80's R&B cuts that are worthy of attention), which is a shame.

Mr. Jarre, occupying as he does that fertile artistic space between Mike Oldfield and Yani, has not suffered in the shadow of anyone, particularly in the kitsch-heavy arena of world music. Zoolook finds him toying with the Fairlight CMI, working the same grooves and voice-effects that Yello Magic Orchestra were at the time, and in a much tamer style than the grandiose "performance for monuments" music that is his usual hallmark.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Gold That Rolls


Samples The Commodores' Oh Yeah.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Footprintz Fabric Promo Mix





In advance of their Saturday appearance at Fabric, I guess it's as decent a time as any to post this promo mix Footprintz did as well as one of their more recent tracks from Visionquest's FABRIC compilation (#61). The duo of Addy Weitzman and Maurice Knecht don't disappoint here with some great rarities and edits. (Yes, that is Annie Lennox singing on the 3rd track.) Take a look at the track list below, and please take special not of the ending song, it's from from another Montreal notable and swell-guy, SUITE - the project of one Patrick Andrew Boivin - and is one of my favourite songs of 2011.

  1. Til I Die - Beach Boys (Footprintz Remix)
  2. Touch Me - Suicide
  3. Darling Don't Leave Me - Robert Görl (Footprintz Edit)
  4. Thorns - Z-Factor
  5. Life With You - Expansives
  6. Lost Inside of You - Virgo Four
  7. U - Clarian
  8. Lies (Watch Your Lift) - LoSoul
  9. Let Your Body Talk - Ace & The Sandman
  10. Mysteries of The East - Jhalib
  11. It Shakes The Heart - Clarian
  12. The End of Love - Suite

Organ Mood




For the MAC's latest Nocturnes series in Montreal, the exceptionally talented duo synthesizer & lights duo Organ Mood will be performing tonight. I wish I could be there.