by carl wilson

More Toronto: Now in the NYT

Speaking of which, that long-awaited New York Times Magazine piece about Toronto Toronto indie-rock [sorry for the over-generalization] is coming out this weekend. Here's a preview. I'm quoted, I know, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

Kelefa Sanneh also took his kick at the Destroyer can in the Times today, in fine form.

| Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, February 22 at 10:42 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (14)



What a great site. Thanks

Posted by andre on March 10, 2006 07:36 PM



Talk about feeling sheepish . . .

Didn't get enough sleep last night (excuses excuses).

No reason rockcrits should know anything about page-poets; as a songwriter, I've simply found the relationship between poetry & song to be endlessly stimulating. (KRS-One as the late 20th century's answer to Alexander Pope, anyone?)

Merely: struck by the bizarre tag "cult poet" for Spicer and the ever-so-slightly and very-interestingly inaccurate citation of his last words.

Grump done.

Posted by john on February 28, 2006 06:18 PM



Re: the NYTimes mag piece: Jack Spicer a "cult poet"? What in the world does that mean?

Spicer: '50s - '60s, dead by age 39 or 40 from too much drink in 1965, professional linguist, huge influence on the LANGUAGE poets (but with a far different tone, one I like much better and is hard to describe -- witty & vibrant & bitter), books ONLY published by tiny presses during his lifetime, represented in the famous Grove Press Donald Allen anthology of 1960.

"Cult" implies a far more fervently & exclusionarily focused following than Spicer's fans would constitute.

Emblematic of critdom's relationship to poetry: Critics are wordmavens who often over-focus on words (esp. in indie-ville) who usually don't know much about page-poetry (and feel sheepish about it? dunno . . . ).

Also, the line quoted as "Spicer's last words" was his penultimate sentence. The full quote is (if memory serves): "My vocabulary did this to me. Your love will let you go on." (Spoken to fellow poet and Spicer's friend Robin Blaser.)

Blaser's still alive and relocated to Vancouver from the Bay Area. I think he became a Canadian citizen. His work has never grabbed me like Spicer's but many poets respect him.

"Your love will let you go on" -- no irony there, bub. Could that explain why an indie rocker would drop that part of the quote?

Still, the article made me want to hear BSS & the ancillary acts.

Spicer's most mind-blowing insight (to me), delivered in a lecture at a poetry festival in Vancouver: Everybody speaks their own language. Meaning: not only is everybody's vocabulary unique, but the associations and connotations that people bring to any given word or phrase are unique as well.

Rock on.

Posted by john on February 28, 2006 05:58 PM



Not sure if you're being sarcastic or not, Tim. It's true the article is dominated by BSS. But there is a big middle section about the Toronto indie-rock scene in general.

And yes, I should have specified the "indie rock" part in my original post.

Posted by zoilus on February 24, 2006 11:30 AM



my point was not to draw any concrete links between Bejar and Cam'ron (or rap in general) but just to compare one to the other. the comparison was just to show that Bejar's interetextuality really isn't all that weird or special. I too doubt if Bejar is digging through the crates (maybe someone should ask him?) but his work shares, however unconsciously, a number of features as hip-hop.

Craig Finn, by the way, is a guest on P.O.S.'s latest album. he psuedo-raps, kinda on a track, to make the sasha frere-jones point even more right-on.

Posted by Graham on February 24, 2006 09:39 AM



An article about Toronto in the New York Times is something that would interest me quite a bit, especially since I am one of those evil Toronto boosters (you can get a lot of my "Toronto boosting" on my blog.

I am confused, as this link is an article about the Broken Social Scene ( a Toronto band).

Perhaps there is another article coming out on Toronto?...I will stay tuned.

tim posgate

Posted by tim on February 24, 2006 09:13 AM



I think the influence is probably more zeitgeisty than direct. I dunno how much hip-hop Dan listens to, but I doubt it's much. Still there's a common attention to vocal flow, rhythmic accent in wording and cleverness of rhyme, and a willingness to throw "sense" away in that interest. I think the comparison does more to show why what Dan's doing is not so weird (or why what rappers are doing is weirder than is given credit, depending which side of the fence you're on) than to indicate any cross-influence.

But there are certainly lots of indie types who have a more blatant hip-hop influence. And I'd start naming them, but I'm on deadline and have to stop reading these comments sections!

Posted by zoilus on February 23, 2006 06:55 PM



i must say, I don't see the hip hop influence in bejar's lyrics!

Posted by andrew on February 23, 2006 06:02 PM



I don't know Destroyer's music at all -- Rubies is the only record I've listened to, and only a couple of times. But I've been following all the hulabaloo via Carl's blog and was intrigued by a point Graham makes in the fine post that Carl pointed to: "I think a lot of rappers are just as intertextual if not more than Bejar..." He's right, of course: talking about/alluding to yourself, your past records, other people's music, etc. is the rap norm. I remember Sasha Frere-Jones calling John Darnielle and Craig Finn "rock musicians who behave like hip-hop MCs." All this got me wondering: how and in what ways is rap influencing rock singer-songwriters? Have MCs merely given us a way to talk about a kind of rock songwriting that has always existed, or has rap's (pretty radical) break with traditional pop songwriting aesthetics seeped into rock? I'd be curious what you indie-heads out there think about this -- I'm much more familiar with MCs than indie singer-songwriters these days, so I can't really judge for myself. But I'd be surprised if indie songwriters HADN'T been influenced by rappers to some degree. Certinaly capital-P Pop songwriters have...

Posted by Jody on February 23, 2006 05:10 PM



Funny-scary story, Hershey.

Hey, everyone, look! Destroyer's Rubies is currently the top-rated album of 2006 on Metacritic:

Posted by zoilus on February 23, 2006 02:33 PM




I friggin love the new york times man!

Im so chuffed about toronto getting some kudos (and Dovercourt too!, the man is like my hero).

Can we call music from downtown toronto "Nicecore" its so idiotic i love it.


Posted by guy tanentzapf on February 23, 2006 07:26 AM



Yes, ditto. Here's someone who seems like they've actually followed Destroyer along as a fan and not as a critic and can still write responsibly about him.

Was amused when I dutifully went down to the local record shop on Tuesday to buy my copy of D's Rs and had the man behind the counter ask me: "Have you heard it yet?" (a question now so much more inevitable whereas a few years ago this would have been some insiderish password I couldn't have provided) and "Are you buying this because of the internet hype and/or the CBC?" When I said no to that loaded question, slightly offended, he then asked if I thought it was going to sell. What do I know? Apparently the Music Vendors (not so different from the Music Lovers, sometimes) are having serious retail anxiety over this album, even here in Vancouver, because of all the internet ink that's been spilled and the resulting potential (as the guy said) for backlash. It goes this far. I told him not to sweat it.

Posted by hershey on February 23, 2006 03:29 AM



definitely the best (actual) review so far...

Posted by andrew on February 23, 2006 01:40 AM



The Kelefa Sanneh piece is the best rubies review I've read yet. Instead of making the music sound like it's pretentious and impenitrable, he captures its sense of humour and (gasp!) sincerity.

Posted by ian on February 23, 2006 12:16 AM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson