Zoilus by Carl Wilson

Archive for May, 2005

G8-Eyed Spy

May 31st, 2005

I feel a bit vindicated, or at least gratified, that the new Not Live Aid project from Sir Bob Geldof and co-sponsored by Bono, as announced this week, heads exactly in the direction I discussed in my column attacking “charidee” earlier this year - focusing on debt and the G8 and global anti-poverty rather than often-retrogressive emergency-aid efforts. There are rumours that besides the locations already announced for the July 2 concerts, a Canadian venue might be in the offing (one within shouting distance of a close personal Canadian friend of Bono’s).

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Victo 2005: R&D On The Human Strain

May 28th, 2005

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At long last here’s my review, from today’s Overtones in The Globe & Mail, of last week’s Victoriaville festival. In general I think it’s not ideal to use the column in a reviewing function (I think it muddles up the voice), but I think the Anthony Braxton-Wolf Eyes meeting was a historic enough occasion to merit it. To see the pic of them together, you’ll have to buy the paper. On the other hand, a paragraph toward the end was censored by the editors - it’s restored here. (Do you think the word “bugger” is that bad?) And I would never have used the fourth word in this headline:

Jazz theologian goes slumming, and makes a bit of history

CARL WILSON
OVERTONES
The Globe and Mail
May 28, 2005

It may not go down alongside the day Dizzy Gillespie met Chano Pazo (and invented Afro-Cuban bebop), but a real moment in the history of jazz, or something, went down last Saturday at the 22nd annual music festival in Victoriaville, Que., reconfirming it as the best place on the continent to go get your inner ear realigned.

Having wrung out half its audience to the point of post-traumatic stress, noise band Wolf Eyes said there was time for one more: Did we want Leper War or Black Vomit? The poll was inconclusive, so the trioís hulking, bare-headed mouthpiece John Olson turned to the showís guest star: ìAnthony?î [...]

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If We’re In Love, Why Can’t We Stay On Topic?

May 27th, 2005

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Roisin Murphy of Moloko. Whew.

This just in from my southwestern-Ontario correspondent (aka Spitzer), on dark dorky doings in Zoilus’s motherland, the freestanding homestead of Brantford, Ont. (as previously pictured): “Yes, I know it seems crazy, but sometimes crazy is true. Irwin Chusid, legendary radio host, producer, author & endearing crank is going to be rocking Brantford with the best band in the world, The Republic of Safety! [...] He’ll be speaking at the National Campus Radio Conference in Guelph on Tuesday, June 7 at the University of Guelph campus - this is hosted by CFRU, and Irwin’s talk is open to non-delegates as well for a measly $5. * and * Chusid is inordinately fond of small, weird towns and will be participating in a crazy rock n talk mashup we like to call Republic of Chusid, Monday, June 6th at the legendary Ford Plant in Brantford. It’s an early show - Irwin at 7pm - Republic of Safety rock at 9pm. Again, it’s a measly $5!”

Chusid’s way of writing about “outsider music” sends me to Qualm City - stressing the wacky, verging on freakshow - but I heart his work as a reissue king (Raymond Scott, Esquivel, Langley Schools). Besides, if anybody can sit him face-down and give him a proper ideological spankathon, RoS’s Maggie, Kate and Kat can, with three hands tied up in mic cords and six legs being borne aloft by slavish fans (or at least me).

In other news: Chromewaves today pinched our ears about Cliptip, a relatively new blog that hosts videos instead of mp3s. He was hyping the Metric Dead Disco video - y’know, hear hear, and I note that Cliptip does a lot of CanCon, where’s he based? - but I really recommend you get over there to see the loopily luscious video by Roisin Murphy of Moloko, an Oz-tastic orgy of colour backing up a song that’s one part Kate Bush, one part Talking Heads, one part Donna Summer and all parts scrumptious.

I haven’t seen much on the Cowboy Troy phenom that contextualizes him in the history of black folks in country, but this comp might help.

Incidentally if things seem very ADDled ’round here this week, it’s because besides everything else that’s been going on around here, I quit smoking - for reals, this time - a few weeks ago, and the blogging concentration has been difficult to muster between running in circles, grinding teeth and drinking glasses of water. I trust this effect is impermanent - in fact, check in this weekend and I might try to cobble together a post on Drone Science to warm us all up for Sunday’s 8-Hour Drone Show (which I’m told will include some prom favourites!) - but it may be awhile before lengthy subject-focused postings are once again a regular feature in this space. Betcha can’t wait.

Happy weekend! May yours be full of post-death-metal Hammond Organ music I’m not kidding!

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Or, You Know, A Solar Anus

May 26th, 2005

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I hate to link to VICE for any reason but they’ve got the new Boredoms album there for you to listen to, and even if the recording cannot remotely compare to the third-eye-squeegeying effects of the live full-body-rub the band gave us at Victo on Monday, I have to capitulate my compunctions and conscientiously hook you up, because if you haven’t seen this tour yet you’ve missed it - it ended in NYC last night. Check Sasha hyperventilating over the ‘doms today. (Wonder if they forced him metaphysically to get drunk and lose his notebook, like they did me?) It was also interesting to see Eye pushing a baby stroller down the Victoriaville main drag - apparently in order to bring the band there, the festival had to fly the whole extended-family commune to Quebec. That’s just the deal. So remember never to book the Raelians to play your music fest. Also This post tells me that the reason for the circular-drum formation they play in now is that they “view themselves more as a turntable.” Huh. I’d figured “post-digital tribal-fire circle.” The more fool I.

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Thursday Reading’s Bedroom Eyes

May 26th, 2005

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Wanda Jackson in her Elvis’s-boudoir days.

In today’s eye, Joshua Ostroff takes a look at the curious state of contemporary country music, though he loses points with me by talking about his “semi-ironic” visit to the Grand Ole Opry and by looking at the whole phenomenon in strictly left-right terms, which I think is to misunderstand it at least in part: Country is populist by nature, and that can be articulated along many angles of the political spectrum, and that basic populism is both its strength and its original sin. To see “underclass interests” solely in economic terms is the left’s blinkeredness (do you think all your interests are economic?). Not that I’ve worked all this out in a rigorous way myself (though I’ve made a start), and I appreciate Josh’s contribution because I think it’s one of the subjects of the year, but articles about it are tending to retread the same ground right now.

Also in eye: A nice chat with Sam Prekop, which I was happy to see because I spent an enjoyable part of my ride back from Victo listening and reading the liner notes to Aum Fidelity’s recent, gorgeous Shrimp Boat rarities box. Fans of 90s Chicago indie-whatsit post-hoosis (most of the Thrill Jockey stable and part of the Drag City one) should get themselves schooled on Shrimp Boat, which sailed most of that sound into port before its time. Also Stuart Berman recaps the MIA/LCD Soundsystem show I missed, entertainingly comparing LCD to Guided By Voices (though skipping the point about them both being record-collection bands) (and also ones I don’t so much like). And Dave Morris has an arty native music-theatre project and a blog conspiracy theory (final item).

Today in the Globe my colleague Brad Wheeler makes a case for the new Paul Anka album - complete with Nirvana, Van Halen and REM covers - that Wherry was nutty about too. I remain sceptical - the question isn’t whether these songs make competent Paul Anka renditions but what the use of competent Paul Anka versions is, as opposed to boo-wah-iciously bad Pat Boone versions for instance - but I ain’t heard it.

Meanwhile over at NOW you’ve got more Prekop, a preview of what sounds like it’s gonna be a really sizzling Hangama South Asian street party this weekend and tawdry dating secrets from the world of SS Cardiacs (who also confess to being the Monkees of the Blocks Recording Club universe). Speaking of tawdry secrets, Wanda Jackson tells Tim Perlich about learning guitar from Elvis by playing along to 45s, at which point Perlich asks the ultimate collector-nerd question - what was Elvis listening to? - and Jackson hilariously answers: “Now, Tim, honey, think about it. I’m alone with Elvis in his bedroom. … Do you really think I was paying any attention at all to those records?”

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Radical Cheerleaders Exposed! (musically speaking)

May 24th, 2005

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The past week’s interruption in service was most unplanned. I was at the Victoriaville new-music festival in Quebec and planned in fact to blog from there, but tedious Internet access issues stymied me. (If you’ve emailed me lately, I haven’t seen that either. I’ll try to catch up asap.) The festival was fantastique, but I’ve got to file official copy about same in the A.M. so can’t blah blah on about it now. (One little critic-nerd thrill was to meet Byron Coley in person - I was outright shocked how nice he seemed, tho’ not surprised he was very funny. A divisive figure, I know, but he’s got game you can’t shrug off.)

Anyway in the meanwhile my online readers have missed this week’s Overtones, and while you might not be all broken up over that, brothers and sisters, frankly I am - it was a pretty good one, on cheerleader music, a genre that you’ve really really really gotta hear to believe. Our MC for the duration, much to my own surprise, is one Gwen Stefani, whose Hollaback Girl is a single whose cheer-trax-derived pom-pom power just will not be denied. This way to the cheer squad’s dressing room. [...]

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MMMMMMMMMMMMMMay

May 17th, 2005

Please note the many new additions to the May gig guide, including Grandmaster Flash at Roxy Blue on the 27th and Animalmonster’s much-anticipated 8-Hour Drone show at Mercer Union on the 29th. (What note will it be!? Zoilus votes for E-flat.)

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They Win!

May 17th, 2005

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Centre: The Gligorijevic-Collins sacramental moment, as captured by Amber.

Zoilus extends effusive congratulations on a knot successfully tied! to Katarina Gligorijevic (of Barcelona Pavilion, who by-the-way have a new bitchin’ micro-EP, and Toronto-band-of-the-year Republic of Safety) and Matt Collins (of Ninja High School, Manhunt and Jennifer Lopez Knife records and formerly of Currently in These United States). We weren’t able to attend the nuptials themselves in bucolic Milton, Ont., as pictured above, but we did go to the most indie-rock wedding reception ever, last night at Sneaky Dee’s, featuring a welcoming barrage of silly string for the newlyweds, then Steve Kado and Greg Collins (of Ninja High School, Blocks Recording Club and dozens of other local bands between them) as MANSHIT playing Elvis and Bruce Springsteen covers for slow-dance shoutalongs to start the night, and then the electro-make-out music of Kids on TV and a whole helluva lot of fog-machine, climaxing with a mass half-naked half-drunk audience-on-stage dance frenzy (followed by more dancing courtesy of DJ Jonny Dovercourt). Plus indoors smoking, and cake. Zoilus is so very happy for the new Prince and Princess of Dee’s. As Misha said, “Just when I think this whole ‘Torontopia’ thing is overstated, something like tonight comes along that makes me think Toronto really is the greatest place in the world.” Mazel tov, mes amis.

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The “Matterina” getaway car, bearing, though you can’t quite see it in this pic, one of the few marital tributes to Captain Beefheart ever made - it says “This is the Best Batch Yet!” Thanks again, Amber.

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Aforementioned fake-fogged dance frenzy. Arm of Zoilus, with striped cuff, seen at right.
Pic by Merckeda on the Stillepost wed-thread.

Also today, Pitchfork’s campaign to distance Pitchfork from Pitchfork goes into hyperdrive. (At first I accidentally typed hyperdrivel, which is a pretty great phrase to apply to Pitchfork, tho not to David Cross usually.) A subtributary to the campaign can also be found in their Robbie Fulks review, which goes out of its way to praise mainstream country at the expense of alt-country, although it somewhat gives the game away by characterizing the likes of Roger Miller and Don Williams as having voices with “coarse grain” - Williams being an ol’ smoothie and Miller’s voice being pretty much as “nasal” as Fulks’. I haven’t heard the Fulks disc yet but word is that it’s much stronger as a country disc than P’fork would have you believe.

And: Let’s think good thoughts, not even the usual dirty ones, for Kylie Minogue, who has breast cancer.

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Grammar Bammer Slammer Time

May 16th, 2005

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Dammit, I know I’ve been distracted with the grieving and all, but why o why didn’t anybody tell me about this, the Frightenstein Con here last weekend? Anybody who did attend, reports here would be appreciated. I think 6:30 a.m. Saturday sightings of Hilarious House of Frightenstein formed my introduction to the proto-punk monster-movie trash-cultcha consciousness that David Thomas addressed in his Pop Conference presentation. (Billy Van as Southern Ontario’s Ghoulardi? Perhaps not quite, but in that vicinity. Pere Ubu, incidentally, has been touring occasionally with live “underscores” for B-flicks such as X, The Man With the X-Ray Eyes and It Came From Outer Space: “The genre had an incalculable effect on the third generation of Young Rock Giants who emerged in the 70s. Now it’s time to honor our debt.”) HHoF also featured a Wolfman Jack imitation (with a literal wolfman) and cameos by Vincent Price.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, proceed here to view a typical Frightenstein episode. Other clips are on the comprehensive Frightenstein fan site. (Question: Is this the geekiest post I’ve ever made? Quite possibly.)

It also seems an opportune time to note that various other Pop Conference presentations are now available as PDFs from the EMP warehouse. The chatter on whether there will be another conference next year is sounding grim, so enjoy while you can.

PS: RIP Jimmy Martin: The ornery ol’ bluegrass king bastard will be missed.

And thank you

May 13th, 2005

…. to everyone who’s written, on and off site, with condolences on my father’s passing. Your good wishes are much cherished.

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