by carl wilson

September 30, 2005

Get Yer Hot Links!


Best of the week:

The Van Morrison improvised contractual obligation album of 1967, featuring such anti-hits as Ring Worm, Blowin' Your Nose, Nose in Your Blow and You Say France, and I'll Whistle.

The Shining recut as the trailer to a family-friendly romantic comedy.

Scariest version of Love Will Tear Us Apart evah, performed by a Tuvan throatsinger. (RealAudio - more good badness courtesy WFMU's blog).

This New Orleans audioblog. Tom Waits said at a benefit last week, "There's so much music in New Orleans, you can hold a trumpet above your head and it will play itself."

Update: All right, a little more, just because I've just found the best low-budget DIY video concept of the year: Ex-Toronto homeboy Mocky's video constructed wholly out of Google Image Search. (Makin' the process the object, yo.)

And the best Stillepost post maybe ever: Bill Cosby Explains The Arcade Fire.

(And now I am going on an Internet diet.)

News | Posted by zoilus on Friday, September 30 at 01:57 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (4)

 

The Passion of Alejandro

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Today in The Globe & Mail, I have a profile of Alejandro Escovedo, on the mend from Hepatitis C thanks to an extraordinary series of tribute concerts and albums put together in his aid by other musicians, after he had a brush with death without benefit of health insurance. The U.S. health-care situation is madness to me, the main reason I would find it forbidding ever to live there, but the jeopardy in which it places artists really arrests me, since you can be a reputable and quite successful artist like Escovedo and still be royally fucked when it comes to health care - with a large family, he says, he couldn't even afford the reduced-cost health packages offered by the Musicians' Union. The fact that the Democrats haven't addressed this problem effectively is disgraceful (and yes, I remember what happened in the first year of the Clinton admin., but why was that able to happen except a failure of political will/strategy?). I think Americans in some ways don't even know what they're missing. A U.S. visitor came to a party in Toronto with me a couple of years ago and was shocked by the fact that almost everyone there was some kind of freelancer. That couldn't happen in Chicago, she said - most people hold onto a job for the health insurance. The foreshortening of options that represents is severe.

All that said, what Alejandro's been able to make of his plight is inspiring. His work deals so bravely and lyrically with hardship in general that it's not wholly a surprise that he is able to illuminate his own suffering in his art. But it's a real model, somebody who doesn't find easy epiphanies in pain but something much flintier, an earned transcendence.

If you've never seen him, you owe it to yourself to catch him on this tour (he's in Toronto at the El Mo on Oct. 4, as listed in the updated Zoilus gig guide) or whenever possible.

If you have seen him, you already know that. [ ... here's the piece ... ]

The body is weaker, the soul is stronger

By CARL WILSON
The Globe & Mail
Fri., Sept. 30/05 Page R25


In his urgent, Springsteen-style anthem Five Hearts Breaking, Texan musician Alejandro Escovedo discovers his lost-lover characters under a sky gone black and pleads, "Believe, believe, and everything will be fine."

There have been times the past few years that it was difficult to take his own advice. But he has caught up with the story now.

Hailing from a large musical family, Escovedo began in early California punk band the Nuns, which staked a place in rock legend by opening for the Sex Pistols' notorious final concert. He went on to help invent cowpunk with Rank and File as well as the True Believers, and as a soulful solo artist found his niche in the alt-country boom of the 1990s.

That movement's periodical of record, No Depression magazine, named him Artist of the Decade against stiff competition from the likes of Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle.

Like those cult figures, Escovedo, now in his mid-50s, has been through trials. There was divorce and the subsequent suicide of his first wife; months on the road away from his seven children; and his diagnosis in 1996 with hepatitis C. That condition eventually brought on his biggest crisis: He collapsed, vomiting blood, after a show in Phoenix, Ariz., in April of 2003.

He survived, but had to begin a punishing treatment regimen he could ill afford -- because, like many mid-level U.S. musicians, Escovedo had no health insurance. It's a plight Canadians can scarcely imagine. "Universal health care seems to be a dirty word in this country," Escovedo says.

His salvation was the respect of his fellow musicians, beginning in Austin, Tex., where Escovedo is part of the musical pantheon of saints. Benefit concerts were organized across the continent, and two tribute albums were released: Por Vida, with the likes of Earle, Williams, Jennifer Warnes and the Cowboy Junkies doing his songs; and a Canadian equivalent, Escovedo 101, featuring members of the Sadies and Blue Rodeo, among others.

"The benefits were incredible," he says now. "Community is kind of a lost art, so it was really impressive how the musical community came together and showed themselves a force to contend with when it comes to dealing with tragedy, whether it's the hurricane victims [the keyboard player in Escovedo's band is a displaced New Orleans resident] or individuals. I'm forever grateful."

Yet he had to humble himself to accept that help, Escovedo says. "It was hard to take the money. I always felt like I was the guy who did benefits for other people. Eventually my wife convinced me that not only was it helping me, it was helping other people also, just by bringing attention to the disease.

"We need to take care of each other. That's really the core of it."

Some of the artists who pitched in were Escovedo's youthful idols, such as John Cale of the Velvet Underground and Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople. "When I began playing, I tried to emulate what they were doing, knowing it was unattainable to tap into that kind of magic. And then these people play my songs, making them sound like I always tried to but never could."

They found fresh nuances in his writing, and made him feel promoted from student to peer. Now Cale is producing Escovedo's next album, including new songs he believes are his best ever.

But returning to the stage was still an intimidating proposition, with his own appearance and stamina so altered. His jet-black hair had fallen out, his muscles weakened. "I'd always been the one who wanted the band to look sharp and present a real presence," he says, as anyone who ever witnessed his marathon performances knows.

The shows and tours will be briefer now, but he has found another kind of intensity. "I think I've been thrust deeper into the music than I ever was, with a certain determination I didn't have before."

It's an energy at odds with the death-wishing rock romanticism that claimed the likes of the Sex Pistols. "It's like Keith Richards says - if he'd done all the things he's accused of, he'd be dead. Rock 'n' roll does require abandon, but I'm not sure the lifestyle is where you should focus. It's in the music, and the mind . . . to find new ways to say things about society and life.

"To have that near-death experience has given me a perspective I probably never would have had. . . . It has been a blessing, really."

Alejandro Escovedo appears with Jon Dee Graham, Oct. 4 at the El Mocambo, 464 Spadina Ave.

Read More | In Depth | Posted by zoilus on Friday, September 30 at 12:08 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (1)

 

September 29, 2005

Deancast???

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Sorry for the multi-multi-posts, but am I the last one to find out that Robert Christgau has a podcast?! Sadly it's on the dullish subject of what's on in New York this week, but. Still.

I've listened to half and, so far, no disquieting glimpses of vulva.

News | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, September 29 at 11:07 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (0)

 

Homework

Read Wayne's piece on hip-hop's "Jamaican accent" and his notes on the antipathy he encountered to his observations. Now for extra, extra credit, relate this to the "where you're from"/"where you're at" dialectic (I use that word pointedly) as discussed by Simon and Michelangelo with ref. to (warning, warning) M.I.A.

Once I've carried out that assignment my own self, we'll get back with some notes.

The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, September 29 at 10:40 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (0)

 

Thursday Reading: R.I.P.?

You don't care if I do any more of those Thursday Reading roundups, do you? They're labour intensive, and rather listy as posts go. The upcoming redesign will feature a fresh-links sidebar that should fulfill some of the same urges. Unless you just adore Thursday Reading. Let me know.

Meanwhile: Warren Kinsella, read this. I spotted it in Harper's Readings but Eppy pointed the way to the complete document. Ah, sweet vindication - it never tasted so much like boiled socks.

I listed some favourite Toronto-and-environs blogs for this on-line sidebar in Toronto Life. I can only offer my regrets that it is related to a Robert Fulford article.

And now some silly love songs: Sasha on Kanye in The New Yorker, awhile back, has now been annotated and updated with some bloggendums. Dave Morris on high-school-band-geek chic in Eye, which also has a tear-dowsing interview with Bettye Lavette and an intriguing one with South Africa's Tumi & the Volume. NOW thinks Architecture in Helsinki are wannabe Canadians (and they do at least seem to wish they'd gone to Degrassi High). And, hey!, four shiny NNNN's for the Foggy Hogtown Boys.

I imagine people like Alex will have things to say about this Nation piece on classical music's perpetual crisis. Is this the best stereo component ever? The trouble with cracking down on "kiddie porn" is of course the usual crackdown problem - they just go after anybody "weird" instead, such as the Suicide Girls. (I think there's a coherent critique to be made of SGs, but not this one!) Harvey Danger joins the free-album-download revolution - so is this the brilliant music marketing coup it dresses up as, or the felo de se of the business? And what is pop surrealism? (Those last four all via Boing Boing.)

This is old but Matthew Fluxblog's P-fork interview with Carl Newman of the New Pornographers is a truly enjoyable, intelligent conversation.

K-Punk says: "Jessica Rylan is the future of noise, in the way that men are the past of machines." Look back in dismay: Tom Ewing revisits his best of the 1990s. And this just in: The Clap Your Hands Say Yeah conspiracy.

The Ben Marcus versus Jonathan Franzen lit-war that is kicked off in Harper's this month is a Big 'Un, that rare worthwhile bookish bunfight, but it's also a deadlock since neither side really even recognizes the legitimacy of the other. It's a literary Gaza Strip. If you've read any commentary that gets us to Camp David - or escalates the confrontation entertainingly - I'd love to hear about it. (PS: I heart Ben Marcus, but he doesn't quite nail it here.)

ILM jumps the shark again, and this time, it may not make it back.

News | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, September 29 at 09:52 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)

 

Another Side of Another Bob Dylan Debate
Plus: One of the Worst Songs Ever

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I'm as primed to go wilding on the baby boomers as any member of the cheated generation formerly known as X, but this David Greenberg piece in Slate on the sixties-centrism of Dylanology is a case of firing the right arrow at the wrong target. (Thanks to Aaron for pointing the story out.) As Greenberg says in the piece, Dylan's output from 1965 to 1967 (I'd actually say 1964, and include Another Side of Bob Dylan) is his strongest. What he doesn't say is that those three or four years arguably constitute one of the strongest runs in all of pop-music history. Most of the pantheon of Greats consists of people who had various peaks and valleys through their careers, but Dylan had this comet-hot streak of brilliance and productivity that is almost difficult to believe: The triple-shot of Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde took place in 1965 and 1966 alone! It's fucking ridiculous. And while I too would defend Dylan's later work, it's simply the case that from 1970 to 2000 he barely created as many good songs altogether as he did in those two years in the mid-sixties (when, just for the record, I was not yet born).

In addition, frankly, while the sixties are getting to the ancient-history level after 40 years, we are still wading through their cultural effluent, as the people now in power are individuals whose ideological lives were shaped by the conflicts of that decade and in reaction against it. The official self-congratulatory mythos is crap (the sixties weren't the death knell of the establishment but the renaissance of a consumer-media-complex establishment that anyone who listens to rock, for instance, has to cope with politically) - but the deeper history still reverberates, especially in the circa-sixties remodeling of gender relations and the family in the western world.

Anyway, what I really wanted to tell you about was the Scorsese-spinoff Scrapbook, which I received yesterday. While Greenberg's right that it would be nice if it covered his later years, and it certainly is not the place to go for counter-readings of the standard history (no doubt like Scorsese's doc), what is there is sumptuous. If I had a scanner, I'd scan 'em in the morning, I'd scan 'em in the evening ... Extraordinary care's gone into the reproductions of rare early photos, manuscript pages of lyrics, concert programs, ticket stubs, even Dylan's high-school yearbook-photo page. (Which says he was a member of the Latin and Social Studies clubs - geek!)

Among its less spectacular offerings, I was particularly taken with a Top 40 chart from Reviewer magazine in 1965 that's informative for those of us who weren't there, about just how Dylan's influence insinuated itself in musical culture. There's only one Dylan single on the chart, Like A Rolling Stone at No. 4, but a cover of It Ain't Me Babe by the Turtles is at No. 8 and versions of All I Really Want to Do by Cher and by the Byrds share the No. 40 spot. "So-and-so Sings Dylan" albums were everywhere. (Towards the end of the scrapbook there's an ad for Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35 headlined "Nobody sings DYLAN like DYLAN.") More tellingly still, Dylan-alikes are all over the chart: Barry McGuire's Eve of Destruction at No. 12, the Animals' rocked-up folk at No. 18, folk-revival-gone-pop group We Five is at No. 2 with You Were on My Mind (by Sylvia Tyson), Joan Baez is up there, Sonny & Cher are ubiq' (Sonny Bono was a bigger Dylanhead than you think), the Lovin' Spoonful, and Donovan's version of Buffy Sainte-Marie's Universal Soldier is just hitting the chart at No. 71 with a bullet... well, not a bullet, I guess - a daisy?

The most amusing folk-rock artifact on the chart, though, is Dawn of Correction by the Spokesmen, perhaps the most goody-two-shoes answer song of all time. It was a soft-right-wing rebuttal to the Eve of Destruction, of course, which was in its turn kind of a Cold War/Vietnam-minded ripoff of Dylan's protest songs ("The eastern world, it is explodin’/ Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’/ You’re old enough to kill, but not for votin’ ... "). The lyrics are outrageous: "The western world has a common dedication/ To keep free people from Red domination/ And maybe you can't vote, boy, but man your battle stations ..." But it gets better:

You missed all the good in your evaluation
What about the things that deserve commendation?
Where there once was no cure, there's vaccination
Where there once was a desert, there's vegetation
Self-government's replacing colonization
What about the Peace Corp. organization?
Don't forget the work of the United Nations

It's not the eve of destruction! It's the dawn of correction! And then comes the end of history! What about the things that deserve commendation?! In an early case of fake-fair-and-balanced, some stations actually required DJs to play this song if they played McGuire's hit. (Apparently Dawn's highest chart position was No. 36.) The Spokesmen were a one-off group, I think, related somehow to Danny and the Juniors, who did At the Hop. You can hear Dawn here. The over-the-top attempts by the squeaky-clean singer to sound "edgy" ("the buttons are theah to ensure ne-go-shee-eyy-shun!") are like ice cream on pie.

The writer of Eve of Destruction, PF Sloan (who also wrote, bizarrely, Secret Agent Man), tried several times to peddle sequels updated to new world crises such as the environment. The Spokesmen, as far as I know, let those go unanswered.

Of course, the real answer song to Eve of Destruction and to the Dylan-inspired mood in general was The Ballad of the Green Berets.

Personally, I really hope some right-wing pseudo-rap act records an answer song to George Bush Don't Like Black People. (Like, um, He Do, George Bush Do Like Black People or maybe Everybody Knows It's Liberals Who Don't Like Black People Because They Give Them Those Vicious Handouts!)

After all, if we're going to counter boomer nostalgic hegemony, we have to generate our own batshit-stupid pop history.

The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, September 29 at 03:23 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (7)

 

September 28, 2005

Brian Joseph Davis: A Riot In Your Pocket

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The World's Last Day

Seen! Fred Durst and Germaine Greer making love!
noticed! Since studies showed the anti-malarial drug
quinine causes short-term sterility, stars ­ including a
recent Oscar grabber ­ have been lining up for quinine
smoothies and quinine bubble tea along Roh-day-oh
Drive.

Hey, long-time vegetarian david duchovny!
What are you doing drinking blood from an ox's jugular
with the Masai?

Ski instructors everywhere, beware!
Claudine Longet is still alive!

Life's rich pathogens! A certain talk show host has
received so many Botox treatments that he is banned
from all a&p; and most Farmer Jack grocery stores for
fear of contaminating the canned goods as he walks past
them. Sounds like Maury Povich.

Ouch! Is there an arcane religious practice that the
celebs won't endorse? Kevin Spacey recently participated
in the Sioux ritual of the sun wherein he was
suspended for hours on long rawhide strands hooked
into his chest.

Some good questions and debate a-stirrin' at Mark's place with regard to Brian Joseph Davis' (see Zoiluses past) Ian Svenonius-approved Portable Altamont (as well as Jason Anderson's Showbiz): 1. Is there something inherently elitist (youth culture correlated) about the use of pop-culture shorthand as intense semiotic game? 2. Won't such a book go totally out of date more or less instantly?

The first question is kind of silly - sure, but a helluva lot less so than references to philosophers or Glenn Gould and Schoenberg, for instance. The second one is exactly what I like about Brian's book - it has no pretensions to timelessness, it doesn't use exclusively nostalgia-approved reference points, so it risks being a literature only enjoyable right now, which flies in the face of the official "for posterity" line, which doesn't actually relate to the fates of most books published or what we desire in reading. In this thanatic plunge it actually sips deep of another kind of realism - and not cynically but so very joyfully: Why not a genre of serious but disposable literature? (This is of course a repetition of old-as-JFK's-skull-wound "is-Warhol-art?" debates.)

(By the way does the title have anything to do with this? I take it for kinda the flipside of "A movable feast.")

The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, September 28 at 05:57 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (10)

 

September 27, 2005

'What I Really Need Now Is Ideas'

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The October concert schedule in this city is so insane - seriously, there's barely a night in the next month that there aren't battles for your love goin' on - that compiling the calendar has taken up all my spare time the past couple of days. Leavin' zis heah blawg bohh-rinnng, je sais je sais. Enjoy the above picture of Dan Destroyer Bejar singing in Vancouver meanwhile and jot over to Artblot for more of the same from the New Pornographers' show out there (they're due in Hogtown - does anyone still call this city that? - a week from Sunday). (Thanks to For The Records for the link.)

With the avalanche of (mostly) third albums this week from various highly hyped Toronto-based bands - Broken Social Scene, Constantines, Metric, Deadly Snakes, Tangiers - as well as the disbanding of Three Gut Records, it seems like a good moment for taking stock, and I hope to give the matter some consideration in the next couple of days. I'd be interested to hear your own theories.

Meanwhile I'm writing up an interview with the gentle and thoughtful Alejandro Escovedo for this Friday's 7 - the weekly entertainment tabloid in the Globe. I'm going to be doing mid-length show previews for them most weeks from here in, a less-stressful substitute for ye olde columnal duties. Links, comme d'habitude, will be posted here. (Sorry for the franglais introjections - i just finished that Godard biography at long last ... far from a definitive book, I'm afraid - worthwhile for fans, but not enough of either new information or new insight, just dribs and drabs of each, and certainly its treatments of the various films seem fitful.)

Last evening I attended night 2 of the fall Interface series with Achim Kauffman, Michael Moore, Dylan van der Schyff, and Wolter Wierbos at Arraymusic. (I believe my colleague Mark Miller will have a review of night 1 in Wednesday's Globe.) The Monday program featured a generous evening of five sets - three planned improvs followed by unannounced sets by the trio and the trio with Wierbos - happily, since I thought I wasn't going to get to see those combos this week. In fact I was too Monday-night bleary to give it proper attention, but Wierbos's solo trombone set certainly woke me up for awhile, a tremendously energetic and varied performance in which he often vamped a little to set up a pulse and then solo'd "over" himself - quite a trick for a single brass instrument. Not profound, but with great robust humanity. The first and third sets didn't really 'get' me. The drumming in each case was too busy/overbearing (Joe Sorbara's impulses were solid, but the dynamics evaded him) and I didn't find myself in love with Michael Moore as an improvisor - I enjoy his work in compositional form (especially his Bob Dylan cover albums) but didn't feel much spark from him on this particular Monday evening. On the other hand, Achim Kauffman was a beautifully liquid and assured pianist previously unfamiliar to me, reminding me how I am missing my piano while we are in our temporary digs. (Not that I can play remotely like that - he just spread the 88-fingered love.) Eric Chenaux was the ingenious burdock as always. I was pleased to see Matt Brubeck for the first time since witnessing his Oranj Symphonette in the nineties, though he seemed a bit out-of-water in that set. And Vancouver's Dylan van der Schiff is just a stupendous drummer, who had the volume issue totally under control and whose blows always fell gracefully (almost too gracefully?) on the ear. So there was plenty to enjoy, and no doubt I could have taken in more if my own spirit had been more willing - but the "interface" between locals and guests this particular night wasn't at its strongest. There's plenty of promise in the climax of the series tonight, so if you are in town and free, treat yourself.

Via Toronto | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, September 27 at 04:06 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)

 

September 25, 2005

Falling Into Place (Sept-Oct Gig Guide)


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Left to right, top to bottom: Oct. 29, Oct. 22, Oct 9;
Oct. 18-21, Oct. 4, Oct. 16, Oct. 27;
Oct. 10, Oct. 17.

[... to continue, click ...]

Corrections & additions welcome. Zoilus-approved shows are marked with a *star. Special picks are **double-starred. If it's not starred, it may mean I don't find it especially thrilling, or just that I don't know or am not sure enough to recommend it. Listings will be updated weekly. All info subject to change - this is a casual effort, please do call the venues. Sources include the Stillepost.ca Toronto board, Eye, Now, Greg Clow, ListMe.ca, Canoe.ca, Soundlist, The Whole Note, Toronto Life and, as the saying goes, you - email or post in the comments with show information and disinformation.

FRI OCT 21
** THE SUN RA ARKESTRA => Lula Lounge, $30 (Oct 18-21)
** ENGLISH BEAT => Horseshoe. $25.50
* MIKE WEBSTER NONET (w/Kevin Turcotte, William Carn, Kelly Jefferson, Alex Dean, David Occhipinti)=> Rex Hotel (Oct 21-22)
* MISS KITTIN = > System Soundbar
* HOLY FUCK => Mod Club, $10
DJ FREDDY FRESH => Supermarket
THEE MORE SHALLOWS => Silver Dollar
BONNIE BRETT & MARK EISENMAN TRIO => Montreal Bistro (Oct. 18-22)
DYNASTY, THE WORLD PROVIDER => Sneaky Dee's
FUNK SERVICE INTERNATIONAL => Gypsy Co-op
THE HEILLIG MANOEUVRE => The Red Guitar, 603 Markham St
THE BLUE RAINCOATS => Rivoli
DEBASER cd release, THE EARLY MORNING, EVIL DOERS, PUT THE RIFLE DOWN => El Mocambo, $5
SONGS IN THE KEY OF TOM (A musical portrait of Tom Thomson) w/ DAVID SEREDA and friends => University of Toronto Art Centre, 15 King's College Circle, 7:30 pm, $12-$15

SAT OCT 22
** FREAKWATER, CHRISTOPHER REES => El Mocambo, $12.50
* Exclaim! presents Four for Fall w/ SHOUT OUT OUT OUT OUT, LUKE DOUCET, THE FEMBOTS, WHITEY HOUSTON => Lee's Palace, $12-$14
* MIKE WEBSTER NONET (w/Kevin Turcotte, William Carn, Kelly Jefferson, Alex Dean, David Occhipinti)=> Rex Hotel (Oct 21-22)
Five Weeks For Coltrane 4 w/ THE DOUG RICHARDSON QUARTET, guests => Trane Studio, 964 Bathurst, doors 8, show 9 pm, $15-$20
NEIL SWAINSON QUARTET => Rex Hotel
BONNIE BRETT & MARK EISENMAN TRIO => Montreal Bistro (Oct. 18-22)
MELISSA STYLIANOU TRIO => The Red Guitar, 603 Markham St
Salsa Saturday W/ CACHE => Lula Lounge, $10
THE JIM YOSHII PILE-UP => Sneaky Dee's
I AN EYE, LO & THE MAGNETICS => Horseshoe, $6
JAKALOPE => Phoenix, 6 pm, $17.50
The Yellow Umbrella Tour w/ DUNCAN SHEIK, SARAH BETTENS, DAVID POE, CHRISTINE BAZE => Mod Club, $20
Acoustic Harvest Folk Club w/ BILL GARRETT & SUE LOTHROP => Birchcliff Bluffs United Church, 33 East Rd., 8 pm, $15

SUN OCT 23
* Shameless Magazine launch & Halloween party w/ REPUBLIC OF SAFETY, COUGAR PARTY, horror-movie makeovers, more => Gladstone Hotel, noon-4 pm, $10 ($7 w/ costume)
* THE CLIENTELE, ANNIE HAYDEN => Lee's Palace, $10
* LIZ PHAIR, MATT POND PA => Phoenix, $20
* Wavelength 286: THE VERMICIOUS KNID, BEEF TERMINAL cd release, THOMAS & THE EVIL COMPUTER, DJ SEPARATE BILL => Sneaky Dee's, pwyc
* Pitter Patter presents THE POSTAGE STAMPS, OHBIJOU, NOW YR TAKEN => The Music Gallery, 6 pm, $10
HENRY ROLLINS => Convocation Hall, U of T
Solo Piano Sundays w/ JOHN ROBY (9 pm), BILL KING (10:15 pm) => The Red Guitar, 603 Markham St
16th ANNUAL MASSED MILITARY BAND SPECTACULAR => Roy Thomson Hall, 2 p.m., $29-$63

MON OCT 24
* CSARDAS: THE TANGO OF THE EAST => Roy Thomson Hall, $35-$75
KAREN PLATO QUARTET => Montreal Bistro
RUBEN ESGUERRA & CHIVA => Trane Studio, 964 Bathurst, doors 8, show 9 pm, pwyc (every Monday)

TUES OCT 25
* THE COUP, LIFESAVAS => Reverb, $15
DRESDEN DOLLS, DEVOTCHKA, FAUN FABLES => Mod Club Theatre, 9 pm (doors 8 pm), $16.50
The Ambient Ping w/MARA'S TORMENT and AKUMU => Hacienda Lounge, 9 pm, pwyc
SLIPKNOT, AS I LAY DYING, UNEARTH => Air Canada Centre, $31-$49
VIENNA TENG => Drake, $15
STATUES, MALCOLM BAULD, TERROR LAKE => Sneaky Dee's
BRIAN BARLOW QUARTET w/ GUIDO BASSO => Montreal Bistro (Oct. 25-26)
Secret Arcade Tuesdays => The Bagel, 9 pm
Anything But Jazz Tuesdays w/ CEDAR AND SPRUCE => The Red Guitar, 603 Markham St
Acoustic Soul Tuesdays => Trane Studio, 964 Bathurst, doors 8, show 9 pm, $5 (every Tues.)

WED OCT 26
* HILARIO DURAN TRIO, BETO CALETTI => Lula Lounge, $20
* High Lonesome Wednesdays w/ CRAZY STRINGS (bluegrass) => Silver Dollar (every Wed.)
* COLONEL TOM'S SWINGIN' DOORS => Cameron House, 7-9 pm, pwyc (every Wed)
SERENA RYDER, JUSTIN RUTLEDGE, MICHAEL JOHNSTON => Hugh's Room, $18-$20
THE HEMINGWAY SOLUTION => Lee's Palace
DAVID CLAYTON-THOMAS => Opera House. $32.50 (Oct 26-27)
THRICE, THE BLED, VEDA => The Docks. $23
PETER TURNER QUARTET => Rex Hotel
BRIAN BARLOW QUARTET w/ GUIDO BASSO => Montreal Bistro (Oct. 25-26)
NATE RENNER & LAUREN FALLS => The Red Guitar, 603 Markham St
NICK "BROWNMAN" ALI & THE ELECTRYC TRIO => Trane Studio, 964 Bathurst, doors 8, show 9 pm, pwyc (every Wed.)
KYE MARSHALL (cello), DANIEL IONESCO (guitar) => Mezzetta, 681 St Clair Ave W, 9 and 10 pm, $7

THURS OCT 27
* MATISYAHU (Hasidic reggae) => Lee's Palace, 8 pm, $20
* JASON KAHN/AKI ONDA, SANDRO PERRI/NILAN PERERA, STEVE BATES/JASON TAIT (Weakerthans/Fembots) => Tranzac, pwyc
* 2nd Annual Chet Baker Tribute w/ PAUL BAKER, DANNY DEPOE'S ALL STAR QUINTET, HAROLD DANKO => Lula Lounge, 7 pm, $20
DULCE PONTES (Portugal) => Roy Thomson Hall, 8 pm, $30-$90
MIN RAGER QUARTET => Rex Hotel (Oct 27-28)
ESPRIT ORCHESTRA (playing R. Murray Schafer, Harry Freedman, Marc-André Dalbavie, José Evangelista) => Jane Mallett Theatre, 27 Front East, $10-$32
Trane In Session w/ WALEED ABDULHAMID, KWANZA MZINGA, BRUCE CASSIDY & THE AFRICAN JAZZ ENSEMBLE => Trane Studio, 964 Bathurst, doors 8, show 9 pm, $10 (also Oct 13)
RASPUTINA => Mod Club, 7 pm, $16.50
DAVID CLAYTON-THOMAS => Opera House. $32.50 (Oct 26-27)
BRIAN BARLOW QUINTET => Montreal Bistro (Oct. 27-29)
FRED DULIGAL TRIO => The Red Guitar, 603 Markham St
HOSTILE TAKEOVER => Sneaky Dee's

FRI OCT 28
** Pop Avant series w/ JON-RAE & THE RIVER (w/ 17-piece choir!), THE SILT, CASTLEMUSIC => Music Gallery, 8 pm, $8-$10
** OPETH => Opera House, $32
* Carnival of Curiosities w/ LENNI JABOUR, DIANA OBSCURA, ALLISON RICE & AIDAN ORANGE, HEEBEE GEEBEES, THE HAUNTED BURLESQUE DANCERS, guest DJ RUSSELL SMITH, DJ AKUMU => Great Hall (1087 Queen West), 8 pm to 1 am, $15
* TRICKY WOO, STARVIN HUNGRY => Horseshoe, $8
* CLUB V w/ guests tba => Lee's Palace
* Darker Rave w/ UNITUS (dtrash/dross:tik) vs. CRUSHKILL (hmcr) live, VINYL VANDAL (hmcruk) [uk], SKEETER (hmcr/smerk), C64 (dross:tik), ORBZ (32 division) => Gladstone, 9 pm, $5 (prizes for costumes)
MIN RAGER QUARTET => Rex Hotel (Oct 27-28)
BASSNECTAR, WASABI COLLECTIVE, DJ ROLLIN CASH => El Mocambo, $17
JAMIROQUAI => Kool Haus, $41.25
BRIAN BARLOW QUINTET => Montreal Bistro (Oct. 27-29)
SHANNON GUNN & BRIAN DICKINSON => The Red Guitar, 603 Markham St
MARK PATTERSON ALTERNATIVE JAZZ QUARTET => Trane Studio, 964 Bathurst, doors 8, show 9 pm, $8
Cuban Fridays w/ CAFE CUBANO => Lula Lounge, $10

SAT OCT 29
** ORNETTE COLEMAN => Massey Hall, $89.50–$39.50
* Pornoween w/ THE CHINESE STARS,  MAHI MAHI, guests => Metro Adult Cinema, $10
* QUEER JEWISH WEDDINGS w/ MARILYN LERNER, ADRIENNE COOPER, FRANK LONDON, LORIN SKLAMBERG, SARA FELDER => Miles Nadal JCC, 750 Spadina Ave., $10
THE SILVER HEARTS => Rivoli
SUFFOCATION, CRYPTOPSY, DESPISED ICON, ABORTED => Opera House, $25
Vague Terrain presents KERO, NAW, DES CAILLOUX ET DU CARBONE => Art Bar at the Gladstone Hotel, 9 pm, $5
BLACK HALOS, ILLUMINATI => Horseshoe
JAZZ FOR HERBIE fourth annual benefit for Sick Kids' Hospital => Rex Hotel, noon-6 pm, $20 min. donation
THE FORGOTTEN REBELS => Lee's Palace, $10
SAVES THE DAY, SENSES FAIL, EARLY NOVEMBER, SAY ANYTHING => The Docks, $23.50
TESLA => Phoenix, $29.50
THE GROUP SOUNDS (NYC), UNCUT, DJ NNY + Guests => The Social, $10
Five Weeks For Coltrane 5 w/ THE DOUG RICHARDSON QUARTET, guests => Trane Studio, 964 Bathurst, doors 8, show 9 pm, $15-$20
CHRIS GALE QUINTET => Rex Hotel
BRIAN BARLOW QUINTET => Montreal Bistro (Oct. 27-29)
BOB BROUGH QUARTET => The Red Guitar, 603 Markham St
DAVID CALZADO Y SU CHARANGA HABANERA => Lula Lounge, $35
JOHNNY RAWLS => Silver Dollar, 10 pm, $18
VAUX => El Mocambo, $10

SUN OCT 30
** STEVE REICH & FRIENDS => MacMillan Theatre, 80 Queen's Park Crescent, $25-$40
* Wavelength 287: evil halloween costume party w/ ROBOCOPP, RIGOR MORTIS GOT ME DOWN (five-part zombie musical!), DJ WEST EYES
=> Sneaky Dee's, pwyc
* THE GO! TEAM, THE GRATES => The Phoenix, $18.50
* The Composer Now w/ JOSEPH PETRIC (accordion), PENDERECKI STRING QUARTET => Music Gallery, 8 pm, $5-$15
Solo Piano Sundays w/ TANIA GILL (9 pm), BILL WESTCOTT (10:15 pm) => The Red Guitar, 603 Markham St
AFRICAN SPIRIT DRUMMING => Trane Studio, 964 Bathurst, doors 8, show 9 pm, $10
CHRIS MCKHOOL cd release => Hugh's Room, 2 pm, $10-$12
Ghosts, Goblins And Things That Go Bump In The Night! w/ TORONTO CHILDREN'S CHORUS => Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, 230 St. Clair West, 4 pm, $25-$40
GENITORTURES => Lee's Palace
STAIND, DEFAULT => Kool Haus, $33.75

MON OCT 31
* KARDINAL OFFISHAL => Mod Club, 8 pm, $15
YORK JAZZ ENSEMBLE (big band) => Trane Studio, 964 Bathurst, doors 8, show 9 pm, pwyc

Read More | Via Toronto | Posted by zoilus on Sunday, September 25 at 06:36 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (7)

 

Word on the Me

Just a reminder to locals of this bloggerati panel this afternoon at Word on the Street at 4:15. ... In less self-centred news remember that the exciting Interface improv series with Achim Kauffman, Michael Moore, Dylan van der Schyff, and Wolter Wierbos begins today. Wish I'd known sooner about Martin Arnold's noon lecture - I may harass him for notes that I can share with you. Speaking of sharing, a refreshed late-September and October calendar will pop up on the site later today.

Edited to add: Pictures and reports on the blog panel at Daily Dose of Imagery, I Am Chris Nolan and this Flickr page. Addenda to their remarks: 1. The time shortage was really severe due to screen-set-up delay and a tendency on some parts (such as yours truly's) to exposition too much at the top. 2. The dog stank.

News | Posted by zoilus on Sunday, September 25 at 12:35 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (4)

 

September 24, 2005

Robert Zend's Toronto



A City of Two Kinds

There are two kinds of cities:

where you can live
but you can't make a living;

where you can make a living
but you can't live;

Toronto is almost both of them.

- Robert Zend; July 16, 1972; from Beyond Labels (Hounslow Press).


Robert Zend was a Hungarian writer who moved to Canada in, of course, 1956, and died 20 years ago this week, in 1985. He was by all accounts a remarkably free spirit and contributor to Toronto's experimental literary culture in the 1960s and 1970s (the above is not a representative example), and by direct evidence a marvelous phrasemaker. Mrs. Zoilus is reading this afternoon at a memorial service (he was a family friend). This is a piece Zend wrote in 1972 as part of a sequence in which he struggled with his feelings about his adopted city; it's remarkable how, for all of the tremendous change the place has gone through, this still feels exactly right. I think of it particularly as describing Toronto's relation to its triangulated cousins, Montreal and New York.

Read More | The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Saturday, September 24 at 03:05 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (0)

 

September 23, 2005

Tora! Tora! Toronto! ...
And Otherwheres

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So much going on. There will be a gig guide update this afternoon with the first couple of weeks of October added - a preview of the wonders of the upcoming Zoilus refurbishment which will give the guide its own standalone page. (But I use the term "upcoming" advisedly... mañana, mañana.) First things first though:

I'll be talking as part of a Toronto bloggers' panel at this Sunday's Word on the Street, at 4:15 in the "Beyond the Page" tent, in the southeast corner of Queen's Park, discussing how blogging helps knit a community. Besides Carl of Zoilus, the knights of this roundtable will include Sarah of Torontoist, Robert of Reading Toronto and Sam of Daily Dose of Imagery. Our king will be Matt B, the potentate of the droll M@B strip, of Spacing magazine (the print wing of the Toronto Public Space Committee) and its new Spacing Wire blog as well as Matt's own Matt B Images photoblog. Yeah, this mutha's earned his crown. The panel's only about a half-hour long, so don't dally. Come say hey.

Additions: This Pop Montreal ad does a pretty good job of supplying the persuasion I sought earlier. Due to the fire etc. I can't go, but now I think I would.

Cat & Girl does it again with Girl's new band, The Upper-Middle Class: "Well I saw her face/ Now I read The Believer." (Speaking of which, there's an interview with Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo up there today.)

In a related development, the new David Grubbs album is a collaboration with the poet Susan Howe, which strikes me as one of the most promising examples of "lit. rock" in an age: Both of them do nonlinear work, but it seems to me impossible to subject to a straight translation (why? well, here's a sample of one of the Howe works they're setting to music - see?) - which means the works will have to be wholly reinvented as musical pieces, and thus should genuinely be musical pieces.

In other news: Are the Comments broken or something? The readership stats are hitting new highs and yet you're all so quiet ... How did you like that Kate Bush single, for instance?

Via Toronto | Posted by zoilus on Friday, September 23 at 01:21 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (6)

 

September 22, 2005

Jandek Live in Torontopia?

Rumour of the day: Jandek live show in Toronto in the works???? (See Zoiluses past on Jandek - just the tail-end of that column, actually.)

And here's a bit cut for space from my Essential Tracks list coming out tomorrow in The Globe and Mail:

The White Box
The Mountain Goats, from Down in a Mirror: A Second Tribute to Jandek (http://www.summerstepsrecords.com)
This menacing Pandora’s-box parable fittingly introduces the weird world of Houston recluse Jandek, who has self-released 42 harrowing albums since 1978 and recently shocked followers by making live appearances. Singer John Darnielle has reinvented his vocal style markedly for his contribution to this second anthology of indie-rockers’ Jandek covers, which also includes Jeff Tweedy of Wilco.

Via Toronto | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, September 22 at 06:56 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (0)

 

'Let's Cut to the Coda ...
Any Old Gimmick Is Fine'

Next year's Da Capo book of best music writing is gonna have to include a mini-CD so it can incorporate Fountains of Wayne Hotline by Robbie Fulks. But is he praising FoW's skill or damning their hackery? Given Fulks' own craftsmanship as a songwriter and his cussedness as a commentator, I think it's likely both. (Via Jane Dark's Sugarhigh.)

On Record | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, September 22 at 06:52 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (0)

 

Seu Jorge & Other Thursday Reading

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I heartily recommend the interview today in The Globe with Seu Jorge by my colleague Li Robbins (whose website, be warned, has little to do with her usual world-music rubric and lots to do with her book on weddings). Zoilus has touted Jorge in the past in connection with his contributions to the Life Aquatic soundtrack, which continues to sound better to me with every spin. He's at the Lula Lounge in Toronto tonight as part of the Small World Festival - sadly, I'll be stuck in the office, so tell me all about it if you go.

(Other shows I'm missing tonight: Larval at the Music Gallery, Khanate at Sneaky Dee's [see also Jon Caramanica's superiffic metal article from last week's Times] and Zoobombs plus Willowz at the Silver Dollar. Edited to add: Lenin i Shumov offshoot Minsk Mensk has been added to the bill. At 10. Willowz 11 pm. Zoobombs midnight. Just for starters. Goddam I hate my Thursday night schedule.)

Also in today's Globe, check out Liz Renzetti's review of the first new play in a decade by Mike Leigh, one of my favourite film directors - apparently it sold out its London run even before its title was announced. (Given Leigh's improvisatory workshop development process, that step comes late in the process.) There's also a positive but unilluminating review of our friend Morwyn Brebner's new show at the Tarragon in Toronto, The Optimists.

Elsewhere, eye sits down for a T-dot double-header with the Fembots and the Deadly Snakes and also jaw-jaws with Metric and Paul Weller, as well as with Nick Brownman Ali about his ongoing Miles Davis tribute series, and Dave Morris's Totally Wired has cool shit as usual. In NOW, there's more on the "boy named Seu" (sadly the headline is better than the piece) and some breeze gets shot with the Possum, as well as Tokyo Devo-descendents Polysics. And Luca (who looks finally to be back in the blogging game, relieving the drought in Toronto-based grime steez) pimps for a little dose of jungle nostalgia. Both weeklies speak highly of the new Wolf Parade and Sean Paul discs, but much less so of the new Neil Young.

In the Star, there's more Fembots, an intriguing Ben Rayner piece on punk-activist arkestra the New Kings, a good guide to other Small World participants and a review of yet another music-themed conceptual art show in Toronto, this one called "The Needle & The Damage Done", with work by Christian Marclay, Lee Ranaldo, and other less-usual suspects.

Non-local reading: The ancestor of the iPod (via Boing Boing); Rudy Vallee's Betty Coed, meet Bobby Coed (formerly known as "Joe College", shurely); the 2K magic formula - black producers + white faces, obviously rooted in Eminem and carrying on with current hitmaker Paul Wall, examined in the Village Voice.

To use your eyes for something other than reading, check out the fresh video for the notorious George Bush Don't Like Black People track by Legendary K.O.

The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, September 22 at 02:43 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)

 

September 21, 2005

It's In The Trees, It's Coming!
New Kate Bush

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Just one of hundreds of beautiful Kate Bush images (including an astounding gallery of childhood pictures) available at Gaffaweb.

It's the first new Kate Bush material in a dozen years and, with typically tweakful perversity, it's about Elvis. King of the Mountain is the first single from Bush's forthcoming "double-album" (a term that's kind of lost its meaning while she's been away) Aerial, due Nov. 7. While the single isn't officially out till Oct. 24, it was previewed today on the BBC and so of course it will be ubiquitous on the file-swapping services. ("Release date" being another term that doesn't quite mean what it once did.) You can hear the song about 37 minutes into the show (preceded by Roxy Music's Virginia Plain, one of my favourite songs) or try this direct link (which may not last long). The song is quite beautiful, much superior I think to the late pre-retirement material on The Red Shoes, if not quite at the level of my favourite album of hers, The Dreaming. Certainly not recommended for anti-mope popskateers, but perfect as always for a sensuous wallow.

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The Elvis allusions seem fitting, a clever joke coming from a cult singer whose fans are constantly babbling about having spotted her in the pharmacist's or a cloud formation... "There's a rumour that you're on ice/ And you will rise again someday," she sings. The title likewise seems like a bit of self-satirizing cheek. But the single is all about sound. The words are deliberately obscured, it seems, bubbling out as if riding a bobbing buoy, while a Tom Waits-reminiscent marimba line provides a riddim (the most contemporary-feeling aspect), keyboards swell and proggy guitars and drums offer a so-dated-it's-fresh dash of spice. It hasn't quite the force and originality of imagery of her best songs, but it makes up for that in the ambience of mystery she's had mastered - along with a healthy dose of camp - since she emerged as a teenager. It's startling to think she's 47 now. (For an amusing capsule version of the Kate story listen to this week's BBC Blagger's Guide to Music: "She releases albums the way people in legends release ogres - that is, not very often, and then only by accident." It's partway thru the show, after the very funny guide to prog-rock: "Prog-rock was invented in the late 1960s, by Satan, to kill people.")

Lyrics to the new single on the jump.

King of the Mountain
Written, Performed & Produced by Kate Bush

Could you see the aisles of women?
Could you see them screaming and weeping?
Could you see the storm rising?
Could you see the guy who was driving?
Could you climb higher and higher?
Could you climb right over the top?
Why does a multi-millionaire
Fill up his home with priceless junk?

The wind is whistling
The wind is whistling
Through the house

Elvis are you out there somewhere
Looking like a happy man?
In the snow with Rosebud
And king of the mountain

Another Hollywood waitress
Is telling us she's having your baby
And there's a rumour that you're on ice
And you will rise again someday
And that there's a photograph
Where you're dancing on your grave

The wind is whistling
The wind is whistling
Through the house

Elvis are you out there somewhere
Looking like a happy man?
In the snow with Rosebud
And king of the mountain

The wind it blows
The wind it blows the door closed

Read More | On Record | Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, September 21 at 01:20 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (0)

 

September 20, 2005

BOB's My Uncle (Plus: Final Fantasy Video!)

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Video capture swiped from Michael.

Some kind soul has nominated Zoilus for a "BOB", the Best of Blogs awards run by Deutsche Welle International in Germany. I don't think you have to vote or anything; no Idol-style competition will ensue. But it's nice.

On a related tangent: Have you checked out this new Google blog-search function? So useful. For instance, it just led me, step by step, to the new, sweet & hott Final Fantasy video for This is the Dream of Win & Regine by Sara (link in bottom right corner of the page). (Torontopians - watch for the Greg Collins cameo!)

News | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, September 20 at 04:48 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (5)

 

Trampoline Hall Chopped'n'Screwed

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Highlight moment from last night's Trampoline Hall: After lecturer Otino Corsano's entertainingly meandering talk on the Statue of Liberty, someone in the audience asked what one would build as the Canadian equivalent. Otino rambled a bit and came around to this answer: The Canadian Statue of the Liberty would also be the Statue of Liberty, except that it would be so small you could hold it in your hand, and everybody would have one. (I love the idea that the Canadian symbol would just be an American symbol put through a kind of scale/attitude warp - it sums up reality in this country nicely.) ... And maybe she'd be black (as is falsely rumoured to have been the original French intent, a rumour the lecturer seemed to have swallowed - although it's possible there was an abolitionist subtext to the image, the model seems to have been caucasian.) (Mind you, the statue's original colour was a dark copper-brown.)

Second highlight: Steve Kado arguing with a classical musician in the audience during the Q&A; for the "Slowness" lecture about which form of music was slower - classical or Dirty South hip-hop: "Emerson Quintet? That shit is fast! Glenn Gould playing Bach is punishingly fast," Steve says. "But crunk is so slow!" (The lecturer, an elementary school French teacher who plays rap en français for her students, asked, "Does the Dirty South do anything in French?" which was endearing. Steve answers, "Uh, no, they're a region of the United States.") Even before this came up I had scribbled on a piece of paper the question, "Is 'screwed' cough-syrup-drinking-style hip-hop a musical parallel to the 'slow food' and 'bonjour paresse' movements?" Of course, it's lazy-like-a-fox music, the slow homicidal threat, Bre'er Rabbit acting slow but actually thinking fast. But it could be read as an economically disenfranchised community's protest against the maddeningly impossible cultural pressure to hurry-up-and-succeed, hold three jobs, etc etc. ("Idleness is not a vice but a sign of intelligence.") I might write more about this one. However, in defense of the poor beleaguered classical musician, who just wasn't as funny or, um, quick as Steve, he was talking about duration rather than tempo - it takes more slowness to sit through and absorb 45-minute piece, he was saying, than a four-minute single. (Okay, but what about an album?)

Live Notes | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, September 20 at 12:30 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (8)

 

September 19, 2005

These Just In: Mr. Moody/SNFU, Too Old to Rock;
Ms. Mars/Mr. Migone, Not

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Salon gives Veronica Mars its second-annual "Buffy" anti-Emmy for underappreciated TV. Hopefully some Canadian network will hustle to pick up the VM second season when one of their stupider new shows stiffs. The Buffy comparison may not be quite right, though - I like Salon's alternate description of a Phillip Marlowe who "sometimes favours pigtails." (And if anybody can direct me to online video of Kristen Bell singing on last night's awards, I will be ... embarrassed, but grateful.)

UbuWeb is back, hurrah - and with a new Christof Migone section. Check out one of Canada's pointiest (expat) audio provocateurs and welcome the avant-garde hub of the Internet back to active duty. (Thanx to Robert for the heads-up.)

RIP SNFU.

As for me, still recuperating from post-fire exhaustion, but slowly remounting the usual hobbyhorses and kicking in my spurs. Should be back to fighting trim by week's end, I figger.

And author and all-too-frequent rambler-on-about-music Rick Moody says he might have outgrown rock'n'roll (and "the next thing, which... is not hip hop"). I think I speak for rock'n'roll when I say, Thank god almighty, free at last. Hip-hop, you never had it so good.

News | Posted by zoilus on Monday, September 19 at 03:08 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)

 

September 14, 2005

Kicked to the Ground

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Sleater-Kinney, not coming soon to a CNE-grounds music festival near you (or at least not near me).

So for the second year in a row, a well-programmed summer-season music festival at the CNE grounds in Toronto has been deep-sixed. Yeah, I'm talkin' about Ear to the Ground, which was to have featured everyone from Sleater-Kinney to the Hidden Cameras (see crossed-out entries in the gig guide), is no more. Brief flailing attempts to schedule compensatory club shows have gone nowhere. There looks to still be an okay show Thurs at the Gladstone and I think also Friday at the Phoenix (the latter put together by Dan Burke rather than by the festival organizers, w/ Ninja High School, RJD2, Kid Koala, Zoobombs). Too bad - the festival had a good blend of acts (i.e. it was not all rock, which is a shock in this town's music-festival biz - there were good electronics and hip-hop/r&b; components) and a high quality average. Mixing with the CNE does not look to be a good bet for festival promoters. But neither does getting in over your head financially. Bads on both sides? Seems like it.

Speaking of festivals: Can anyone make a convincing argument about why anyone from Toronto would drive up for Pop Montreal this year (aside from just to hang out)? I don't see much on the schedule that persuades me I'll miss out on musical essentials if I don't go. What do you think?

Meanwhile the benefitingest of New Orleans benefits is on tonight at the Comfort Zone, again organized by the inimitable Dan Burke and featuring the aforementioned High School of the Ninjas along with Don Matsuo of the Zoobombs, Anagram, Camouflage Nights, Lenin i Shumov, Clydesdale, Passionate Man and DJ Selective Sergery. 8 pm, $10 (or more if you like). Do it! (And if that's a bit too high-volume for you - Zoilus pal Ryan Kamstra is opening for the New Kings tonight at the Cameron House at 9 pm sharp.)

Sorry for the exclusively local-functional content. Post-fire-brain needs to evolve back up to the intellectual state of humanity after the invention of the written word before I can actually write about ideas again.

News | Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, September 14 at 03:57 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (6)

 

September 12, 2005

Woooo wooooo woooooo ...

I'm afraid the planned Guelph wrapup report was pre-empted by the little matter of the Zoilus house catching fire. It's okay - no one was hurt, but we are displaced persons for the next x number of weeks while contractors and smokefighters tromp through our digs. It's a massive drag, but it doesn't seem so bad when we think of New Orleans, and it could have - just as fires go - been so much worse. It won't derail Zoilusian activity for long. Talk to you within a day, two tops.

News | Posted by zoilus on Monday, September 12 at 08:19 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (4)

 

September 11, 2005

Guelph Jazzblog 3.i

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Hamid Drake

The Supersilent set only got better, locking on a horizon of fixed intensities and heading towards it not so much by forward motion but by stretching and spreading laterally, becoming large enough to envelop all it surveyed. I spent much of it leaning on the stage, both to observe more closely and to get away from the jabbering further back in the room. At one point singer/trumpeter/drummer Arve Henrikson was provoked into singing (in his high choirboy tones) a song that began, "Why are all these people talking? Why did they come if what they wanted was to talk?" and proceeded to speculate, "Perhaps they are very lonely/ So they desperately need to socialize/ Why are these people so sad and lonely?" while keyboardist Ståle Storløkken played funereal chords, a good performance lesson in making lemons into lemon daiquiris. In any case, a really involving set of ambient-style improv; I'm looking forward to investigating their recordings.

Now, to return to the earlier AACM concert: Both parts had their strengths, but without question I got more out of the first set, by Douglas Ewart, Wadada Leo Smith, Hamid Drake and Jeff Parker. [... more after the jump ...]

Parker, on electric guitar, was the weakest link - he was fine, but I've never found him an inspired improvisor. But the rest of the quartet was superb, and not (generally) by undertaking heroic-style soloing, but by creating a series of passages from one sonic space to another in a way that left me with that transfigured feeling that is the highest mark of creative improvisation. Drake is never less than stunning, of course - a great exemplar of a musician who defies the mind-body split, seeming at once athletic and intellectual in his every gesture. Smith fulfilled expectations, restrained but canny in his awareness of where his trumpet lines would have maximum effect. And Ewart, whom I don't think I've seen before, was a revelation, confidently leading and evolving the improvisation from strength to strength, wittily deploying the instruments of his own creation - most memorably a slide didgeridu, a brilliant solution to the monotony of most didgeridu playing that allows a player to really dig in and explore its amazing harmonic potentials. His bassoon work was also incredible - a difficult jazz instrument that he made agile and sardonic. I also particuarly remember a section when all four players were playing handheld chiming tubes, sounding like a rainstorm of bells, with Drake somehow finding a way to solo by rolling the ballbearings (if that's what they were) around inside the canister, tapping its sides, sustaining the rhythm in a superconscious way.

The Art Ensemble part of the evening was a more ambivalent experience. I found new trumpeter Corey Wilkes an unfortunately tepid presence - he seemed timid, as though he were perpetually waiting for permission to have an idea; his part of the sound always seemed a drag on the interstellar energies of the group during the open improvisations, and his solos fell into well-carved paths, with an almost painful feeling of blockage. Maybe he was just having an off night for some reason? That was definitively not the case for Roscoe Mitchell - my first time seeing him, and I certainly regret that. He left me breathless with the empathic and assertive quality of his saxophone lines, never predictable but always keyed in to some overlooked essence of the music that was happening at the moment. Joseph Jarman was his usual eccentric but graceful self, a bit prey to his own cliches but a pleasure to hear. (He was originally supposed to play the first set rather than Parker, which would probably have made that set even better, but understandably he preferred not to do double duty.) New bassist Jaribu Shahid is no Malachi Favors, but he held his own handsomely, and Famadou Don Moyes provided a rhythmic foundation that likely would have been easier to appreciate if he hadn't had to follow Hamid Drake. For whatever reason the ensemble feeling last night was lacking - there was little cohesion of intent in the improvised sections, and as a result they often seemed to get stuck in neutral, locked into a textural or rhythmic idea (or anti-idea) for too long, except when Roscoe took the lead. But mostly I just felt grateful to have a chance to hear the Art Ensemble in person at last, as the AACM marks its 40th anniversary - it still retains its charisma, and sadly I can only imagine what it must have been like when Lester Bowie and Malachi Favors were in the band.

It's funny how the positive-thinking vibe of the Guelph festival affects things. As David Dacks and I were discussing during my CIUT interview, the 'niceness' of this festival can be a bit oppressive - it makes it difficult to feel entitled to more polarized emotional responses. To be even mildly critical, as in this entry or as I was about the Fujii quartet yesterday, feels a bit like you're going to find the village turn upon and shun you - as compared to Victoriaville, with its much more professional-listener audience base and its Montreal edge (because a far smaller proportion of the audience there is from the town), where it's almost like a competition to find fault with the music and I very much feel the contrary impulse to champion what was valuable about each concert. But I do keep returning to something Eric Lewis said during Friday's panel discussion (more about that in the final wrapup entry later today) - that he feels a responsibility as a listener to improvised music always to interrogate his own reactions, particularly when he doesn't like something - to wonder if he is being reactionary or misunderstanding the intents of the musicians, missing what is being said. For instance, "If Archie Shepp gets up and plays standards, and you're disappointed because he didn't play 'fire music,' you want to think about why he might have done that." It's a good encapsulation of one of the challenges of this art form, and I think it will stick with me - it's left grains of doubt within my assessments of the music I've heard this weekend, and right now I'm savouring the quiet friction of that sceptical grit against my instinctive (?) reactions. More later. Thanks for reading, if you've been reading, so far.

Read More | Live Notes | Posted by zoilus on Sunday, September 11 at 11:57 AM | Linking Posts | Comments (4)

 

Guelph Jazzblog 2.ii

I write you from the Old Quebec Street mall, where a stage has been set up for the midnight Supersilent show. I’ve just bid Mrs. Zoilus and her brother a safe trip back to Toronto after the three-hour AACM/Art Ensemble gig. Winston Smith of CKUT made an affable host. The evening began with an execrable tribute video that was little more than a slide show of AACM photos with a recorded soundtrack; the transitions from shot to shot used every cheesy effect in the amateur-video arsenal: Look! Now the picture is stretching! Now it’s pixillating and filling up with holes! Now it’s flipping around and around and flying out of frame! Now it’s rotating sideways till it’s as thin as the rationale for showing this crapfest before the concert! The photographs themselves were fine, but as a video... really, it was an insult to the performers to screen work so substandard as a prelude to their gig, and did nothing to provide the audience with context - the live interview at intermission with Douglas Ewart on the 40-year history of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians was a far, far better idea.

More on the AACM show in a bit; Norway’s Supersilent is starting its set. The big pre-show mystery was what the member billed as playing “audio virus” would actually be doing. [... more, on the flipside... ]

The rest of the band consists of drums, trumpet, and keyboards - the “virus” looks to be a mixing board, with open inputs but also perhaps (I can’t tell from here) connected to synth, or maybe just for looping and altering the on-stage sound (as, for instance, Mission of Burma used to do). The tone is meditative and droney. The festival program compares them to Sigur Ros, and that doesn’t seem totally out of place (it also compares them to Godspeed, but I can tell you that within 30 seconds they’ve proven more dynamic than that). It sounds like good makeout music - pity we’re all standing around on the tile floor of a mall. Ah, now it’s getting much more viral: Overdriven feedback loops and all. The area isn’t packed; no doubt much of the crowd was worn out by the Chicago marathon. But this was the hipster pick of the week - I certainly heard it come up in conversation (“are you staying for the Supersilent show?”) more times than I could count. The virus has now mutated into a drum circle a la latterday Boredoms. Noiseish, light on structure but high on energy/force.

I just saw the kid wearing my favourite t-shirt of the weekend again - on the back it says THIS IS MY HAPPENING AND I’M FREAKING OUT!!!

The problem with the mall setting: Very rarely for a Guelph Jazz show, people won’t shut up. It’s the environment, but it’s also a symptom of disrespect for the relatively youth of the performers - and for electronic music as such - I can’t help but think. I like the progginess of the keyboard buzzed-out melody going on right now (sometimes trends are our friend) accompanied by very Sigur Ros-esque falsetto vocals that I suspect will amount to more when they’ve been infected with the virus. Ah yes, there we go - now they’ve become a rainbow choir of harmonic overlays.

Nearby a pretty girl in a black trenchcoat has just brought a bottle of water to her nearly-passing-out friend.... ah, it is the mall. I’m going to log out to save power (I can’t post directly here anyway - there are five different WiFi networks, but all password-protected) and let myself soak into the groove. A final entry from Guelph in the morning.

Read More | Live Notes | Posted by zoilus on Sunday, September 11 at 02:44 AM | Linking Posts | Comments (0)

 

September 10, 2005

Guelph Jazzblog 2.i

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Natsuki Tamura. (Font color selected by David Heti.)

Pardon the gap between posts - I suppose I started enjoying the festival too much to report on it, and just finally got to a wireless spot. I’ve missed a lot of the music as well: I’m writing from the lobby at the afternoon concert today (Saturday), where I arrived just a moment too late for the set by Sticks and Stones from Chicago - judging by the crowd response, which was nothing less than ecstatic, it must have been a great set. I saw them take their bow, & Mantana Roberts was done up in some sparkling green face paint, lending an otherworldly mystique to her strong stage presence. Likewise I missed the 8 pm show last night - I heard unenthusiastic reports about the Roscoe Mitchell/Pauline Oliveros set and positive things about the Nicole Mitchell ensemble - I should have gone in but was having too good a time chatting with Toronto trombonist Scott Thompson, Guelph bookstore owner Doug Minette and others. Have I seen any music, you ask? I did attend the midnight show by Rene Lussier and Eugene Chadbourne on guitar and banjo, and that was a wonderful, laidback and fluid set. The two had real musical chemistry - they should record together.

The set by the Satoko Fujii Four, with Fujii on piano and Mark Dresser on bass, Natsuki Tamura trumpet and Jim Black drums, was a mixed success. The general level of musicianship was extraordinary - Dresser is always astounding, Black (whom I don't think I've seen before) was creative and ebullient, and Tamura's voice on horn is distinct and powerful. But Fujii's compositions are kind of lousy, full of new-agey sweep and flourish and contrived melodism - so the improvised solos and such were excellent, but the overall journey was kind of tedious to me. But since the audience was on its feet at the end, calling the band back for an encore, obviously I was in a minority.

I want to address some of what went on yesterday afternoon, as well, but I'll save it for a wrap-up entry tomorrow. Coming up next: The AACM/Art Ensemble show. I'm particularly chuffed to see Wadada Leo Smith, a longtime favourite jazz musician of mine - with a trumpet tone like silken fire - and one who rarely seems to tour, at least in this country. But it will also be interesting to see how the Art Ensemble fares with its new members, Jaribu Shahid and Corey Wilkes, taking on the formidable challenge of filling the spots of the late Lester Bowie and Malachi Favors.

And now my fingers are getting sticky with Bookshelf roasted garlic and caesar salad, so I'll stop for the time being.

Live Notes | Posted by zoilus on Saturday, September 10 at 05:38 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (1)

 

September 09, 2005

Guelph Jazzblog, 1.ii

My wireless access right now requires going outdoors to quest for the hot spot, so I can't easily post in media res. The Lori Freedman solo-reeds concert that just ended was passionate and ultra-expressive, which in some ways was its drawback - its entry points were all head-on, and I still had my mind in the somewhat frustrating panel that preceded it and needed a side door to synthesize the lines of thought... Anyway, more in a little while. I'm about to go on CIUT to discuss, well, whatever we end up discussing - at about 4:10 if you're in a listening mood.

Live Notes | Posted by zoilus on Friday, September 09 at 03:04 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (0)

 

Guelph Jazzblog, 1.i

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Eugene Chadbourne, one of the guests at this year's Guelph Jazz Festival. (Sorry for the generic image - I haven't a digital camera. This on-the-spot blogging is new to me.)

Well, here I am sprawled on the grass outside the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, having just arrived for Day 3 of the annual Guelph Jazz Festival, a small but exuberantly innovative little event now in its 12th year. As long as I can pirate a wireless signal (I've got a wavering one now), I'll be live-blogging from the event today and tomorrow. The expected climax is tomorrow night's appearance by the Art Ensemble of Chicago, but there's a lot more on the bill, including Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra playing in about half an hour with a trio of Ontario musicians (see the schedule by clicking through the link above). I arrived toward the end of the 10:30 a.m. workshop "Of Other Spaces: Improvised Geographies," which seemed to involve stationing various musicians around the MSAC's two floors and letting the audience wander between performances - there seemed to be less circulation by the musicians, which would have been more exciting, spontaneously generating ensembles, but since I was only there for about 15 minutes, there may have been more wandering minstrelsy than I got to see. Still it was a pleasure to wander up to the 2nd floor and discover Matana Roberts (from Chicago group Sticks & Stones) playing resonant solo sax in the midst of Gordon Monahon's amplifier-cabinet installation, then move further back through the galleries and happen upon Rob Clutton and Eugene Chadbourne playing a jaunty bass and banjo duet - in the middle of a laid-out vegetarian buffet luncheon provided by the festival (roasted peppers and onions and potatoes, etc). Shortly after I wandered in, the rest of the audience did as well, while Rob & Eugene kicked out a climactic jig - a nice illustration of the community feeling of the Guelph fest at its best.

As for Guelph at its not-so-best: I'm looking forward to the afternoon discussion, "Roundtable on Listening: The Audience Speaks Out," which seems to be part of a general response to last year's memorable fiasco during the Sainkho Namtchylak appearance here, the theme in the academic component of this year's event, "Improvising Matters: Rights, Risks, Responsibilities." The festival's whole reaction to the fallout from last year has been in the a passive mode, sidelong rather than an open accounting for the issues raised there, but at least they are giving it thought. (If you're interested in the background, check out my posts after last year's festival.) I wish I could have attended more of the colloquium, which began Wednesday morning - every year Guelph makes me wish I had taken the whole week off to spend here, but the expense of getting a hotel room all week restrains me.

Anyway, hope this festival diary will interest jazz-inclined Zoilus readers, and that the rest of you bear with us till normal programming resumes Monday.

Live Notes | Posted by zoilus on Friday, September 09 at 11:43 AM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)

 

September 08, 2005

Overtones, R.I.P.

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My announcement really isn't that dramatic to anybody but myself - it's that I am retiring my column from The Globe and Mail. I've been writing a weekly music column for the Toronto-based paper, first as "Scene" on Thursdays and then as "Overtones" on the weekends, since November of 1999. It's been a huge part of my life in all that time, connecting me to musicians and readers and other writers, and in many ways giving rise to this website. Few writers are fortunate enough to be given carte blanche with a choice amount of newspaper real estate on the regular.

It was difficult to decide to put it to rest - I like to think the past year has been its strongest period yet, and it still had a lot of life in it (witness the recent Warren Kinsella flap, f'rinstance). But my father's death and other personal developments have reminded me of my mortality, and of all the other things I'd like to do. I've been getting more and more offers to write for other publications, and to consider larger projects, and none of that is possible while I'm chained to a weekly column on top of my editing day (and some nights) job at the Globe. I'll still be contributing to the paper's arts coverage, and Zoilus will keep on keepin' on, but this will give me space to think and write more broadly and in other venues.

Zoilus readers should benefit by my liberation from the punishing early-Wednesday-morning deadlines too. This is my first week (aside from vacations) not having to pull an all-nighter to deliver a column for a nine a.m. deadline, and I can't believe the difference. I feel about 30 pounds lighter and 5 years younger, more alert and energetic. I suspect you'll see the results on the blog in the next few months. Meanwhile, you needn't look for me on Saturdays in The Globe anymore. I'll let you know when and where I do have pieces.

Thanks to my editors for their support over the past five-plus years; to my friends and, most of all, Mrs. Zoilus for putting up with the crazy schedule; and to everybody who read and responded to the column. xo xo xo.

News | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, September 08 at 06:00 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (15)

 

Thursday Reading

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The gig guide has been updated with all the lastest T-town concert info.

In the weeklies, NOW talks to Blackalicious about beatmaking and Laura Veirs about geology, and Miss Liss pens a terrific review of last week's Dolly Parton show. Meanwhile, eye susses out Sufjan Stevens' Torontopian connections, digs into the roots of the MP3 blog, and tips you off to a film-fest flick on hip-hop homos (at the tail of the Breakestra interview). Non-musically they've also got an interview with one of Zoilus's preferred Toronto playwrights, Morwyn Brebner, a poem by Zoilusian pal Emily Schultz, and the scoop on the Hundred Einstein March.

Elsewhere, more from the NY Times on New Orleans music. (By the way, if it's post-flood coverage you seek, Boing Boing has impressed me as one of the web's best sources, perhaps because its readership is the most resourceful at finding means to get data when communication seems impossible. And of course, always indispensable in times of crisis, The Onion. Remember the Onion? Sample headlines: "Government relief workers mosey in to help," "White foragers report threat of black looters.") The Times also probes Rufus Wainwright's opera fetish, Riff Raff surveys the Merzbow merch table, Aaron tracks post-Kanye colour commentary, Diplo is retiring from DJing (in order to make more albums people don't like, apparently - which I kinda admire) and Analysts React Positively To Latest Apple Announcements. (But when will we get the phone-plus-camera-plus-iPod with laser gun and medical tricorder? For all my friends who wonder when the hell I will finally get a cell - there's your answer.)

Plus: This afternoon's random discovery - how/why CDs keep getting louder & louder.

Late addition: A Sleater-Kinney-related New Orleans silver lining.

Coming soon: Dramatic announcement.

The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, September 08 at 02:08 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (1)

 

September 07, 2005

Democratic Ticket '08:
Wynton Marsalis/Roscoe Mitchell?

The campaign has begun.

Anybody who can point me to a transcript or video of Marsalis's Charlie Rose appearance, please do. It sounds galvanizing. And I'm all worn out with hating on him - a reason to (re-)admire the guy would be welcome, and anybody who speaks truth to the current "don't play the blame game" bull out of Washington deserves it. And Roscoe would make such a perfect running mate. (Subliminal plug: AACM this weekend at the Guelph Jazz Festival; Zoilus live blogging from Guelph...)

Come to think of it: A NOLA-born candidate, at least for VP, would be a real coup for the Dems in '08, wouldn't it?

(FYI: Today's NY Times discussed the prospects for music-cultural recovery there.)

News | Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, September 07 at 07:14 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)

 

Damn & Double Damn

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Misinformed by Stillepost's open-source calendar (trust issues!), I gotta tell you that the Blow/Yacht/Anna Oxygen and now Hank Collective show is not, repeat not, tonight, but Oct. 7.

And underinformed by being out of town and not checking Stillepost, I didn't know that fuckin' Lightning Bolt was in town on Monday night. What was I doing Monday night? Watching Six Feet Under dvds and making a concert calendar. Ahh, bitter irony. I'm never leaving town again. For the lowdown and some post-show smackdowns, check out this thread. Looking forward to the new LB disc, though!

Belatedly, here's last week's column, on Podcasting (and to some extent the CBC).

OVERTONES
Weekend Review

Who needs the CBC when you have lock-out podcasts?

CARL WILSON
3 September 2005
The Globe and Mail

There's a long history of reporters publishing “strike newspapers.” Perhaps the most memorable came when striking critics from The New York Times in 1963 started the New York Review of Books, whose intellectual wattage immediately outshone the paper's standard books section, and still does.

Now a similar urge has catapulted locked out broadcasters from CBC radio into what's been dubbed “the Podquake” — the audio-downloading “podcasting” craze.

On website www.cbcunplugged.com , you find Shelagh Rogers heading off on a cross-country picket line pod-tour, genial Vancouver personality Bill Richardson fuming over how “pissed off” he is, and national reporter Curt Petrovich doing a poker-faced interview with “CBC management” as portrayed by his babbling eight-week-old daughter.

If only CBC normally had such passion. Unplugged is now among the most popular podcasts in the Canadian iTunes store, second only to CBC Radio Three's weekly show of Canuck indie rock.

How far the medium has come since former MTV talking head Adam Curry (known in geekdom as “the Podfather”) launched the first daily podcast last year.

If you're just tuning in, a podcast is an audio file (almost always an MP3). It could be a hobbyist DJing his favourite new music, a couple bickering about their sex lives, or a public radio show. The twist is that you use software to “subscribe” to the podcast so that it's automatically downloaded when there's a new episode, to be heard on your MP3 player (often but not necessarily an iPod) or at your computer, at your convenience.

It mixes aspects of blogging, Internet radio and digital TV recorders such as TiVo. One technology consulting group has projected that in five years, 60 million people will be listening.

Mere months ago, reports on podcasting usually began like this: “Each day Bill Muggertson dashes home from his chicken-plucking job, puts his children to bed, then heads to the garage, where he stammers into a microphone covered in a pink sock (to dampen pops) about his favourite Battlestar Galactica episodes for his 7,000 listeners.

“ ‘I don't get it,' says his wife Bernice.”

That stereotype was snuffed in July when Apple added podcasting capacity to iTunes, the life support system of the iPod (and the service that made paid legal downloads sexy). Podcasting has become professionalized at record speed, with media and marketers desperate not to be snookered by yet another communications revolution.

CBC Unplugged is cited in on-line resource Wikipedia as the first major use of podcasting for “advocacy.” Members of Congress and potential U.S. presidential candidates (such as John Edwards) have already tried their hands at politicasting (podlitics?). Meanwhile Paris Hilton and the Fox network have podcasted to promote movies and TV; NASA has had a podcast from space; and there's podnography (or “sexcasts”), downloadable church sermons (“Godcasts,” including one from the Pope), serialized novels and a ‘cast for every interest from wine to NASCAR.

One corporate radio station in San Francisco has gone all-podcast, placing popular podcasters and audience-submitted recordings on air in a talent-scouting, “Podcasting Idol” spirit.

Public radio has been especially gung-ho — the BBC has many of its finest hours available for web download, and the U.S. National Public Radio network put up a podcasting directory this week.

Considering many podcasters' stated mission of ending radio as we've known it, it looks a bit like the British bringing goodwill cups of Earl Grey to the Boston Tea Party.

But the giddy amateurism of podcasting's founding generation was never built to last. If most people wanted stuttering, winningly self-indulgent culture mavens, college-community stations would get a lot more listeners. The found-art aspect of podcasting has the half-life of a mood ring. Like the most-trafficked websites, the most-followed podcasts will be slicker affairs. Basement hobbyists will recede into the “long tail” of more marginal media.

But as Townes van Zandt once sang, “You're gonna drown tomorrow if you cry too many tears for yesterday.” Podcasting is part of an array of changes rattling the audio world, along with satellite radio, digital radio, the U.S. anti-payola crusade, Warner Music's new downloading-only record label, a recent breakthrough in download-service subscription by Playlouder and Sony in the U.K., among others. And did we ever need them. When CBC gets back to normal, it should set up a podcasting division tout de suite.

The obstacle is, as usual, record companies, who are trying to charge prohibitive music-licensing fees, just as music publishers attempted to cripple early radio. This stalemate has to break.

(One upside is that the quest for “podsafe” music is drawing attention to artists allowing fair use, under alternatives to copyright such as the Creative Commons license.)

The ubiquity of white iPod earphones can't continue on song shuffling alone — most people don't actually like music that much, or that much music. Podcasting restores advice, debate, sports and current events to the portable mix, but demands more distinct voices from each one. And for the tune-obsessed few, podcasts revive the context and commentary a skilled DJ can bring, as I've found on New York station WNCY's Soundcheck program or Toronto critic John Sakamoto's weekly Anti-Hitlist podcasts.

No one's sure how to make money on it yet (“podvertising” or “pledgecasting”?). But for public radio, perhaps the greater challenge is the lonely figure of the MP3 listener, in contrast to the mass broadcast audience. Should a network meant to bind a nation together really assist our retreat into individual sterile white capsules, where we download indie rock and science shows while rejecting, say, the farm report?

Whatever the answer, CBC must be able to manoeuvre. And the lockout podcasts show its employees already are as flexible and adaptable as management says it needs. The deeper fault is in the network's lumbering inertia. When the talent sounds tougher and smarter when it's working against you, for free, the real threat isn't the fine print on their contracts.

Read More | In Depth | Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, September 07 at 12:15 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (0)

 

September 06, 2005

September Songs (Toronto Gig Guide)

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At last, at last the official September Toronto show guide is here (on the flip). It's a packed month: Action gets active as soon as 15 minutes ago (Fembots in-store at Soundscapes) and tomorrow night with K Recs indie-grrrl dreamboat The Blow (Khaela and friends, pictured above in their new video) at, fittingly, the Boat [Update: Correction! Not till Oct. 7! Geez!], followed by Xiu Xiu with Frog Eyes at the Gladstone on Thursday, the AACM-toasting Guelph Jazz Festival all weekend (with live Zoilus coverage Friday and Saturday), the Tranzac open house festival all day Saturday (with the creme de la weird of Torontopian improv'ers and others), the Fifth Column tribute show that same night, Portastatic (ex-Superchunk) with Tenement Halls (ex-Rock*a*Teens) on Monday, Blackalicious on Tuesday, 13 and God (Notwist-meets-Themselves) on Sept. 15, etc.

If it goes forward, the Ear to the Ground festival will be the month's indie highlight, featuring sets by everybody from K'Naan to the Hidden Cameras to Joel Plaskett to Polmo Polpo to Sleater-Kinney, Sept. 16-18. Unfortunately, the CNE venue is known for keeping festivals in precarious positions. I'll try to keep you updated. Sept. 17 also brings the daunting noise-vortices of Acid Mothers Temple with Wolf Eyes. On Sept. 20, blogland's equivalent of Marianne, Annie, is in town with Royksopp; blogland's equivalent of Jake the Snake Roberts (that'd be Warren Kinsella) takes the stage at Sneaky Dee's; and Numbers returns alongside the collective known as Hank. One of my most anticipated shows of the month comes Sept. 22 when Seu Jorge (see Zoiluses passim) is at the Lula Lounge, and the next night it's George Jones (tho I haven't really heard good things about his shows this millennium) and the CD release for the Fembots.

Ken Vandermark is back in town Sept. 24 with his FME ensemble, while The Gossip scandalizes X-Space. From Sept 25-27, we'll be graced with guest improvisors from Amsterdam and Vancouver in the latest Interplay series, featuring the likes of Michael Moore, Wolter Wiebos, Dylan Van Der Schyff and Achim Kaufmann matching wits with Toronto's improv community. Ted Leo is here again Sept. 29. And no doubt there's more to come. (Update: Such as the surprise late-night label showcases at the Drake during the Film Fest, including Three Guts and Arts & Crafts nights.) The calendar will be updated continually throughout the month. See you in the crowd [...]

Corrections & additions welcome. Zoilus-approved shows are marked with a *star. Special picks are **double-starred. If it's not starred, it may mean I don't find it especially thrilling, or just that I don't know or am not sure enough to recommend it. Listings will be updated weekly. All info subject to change - this is a casual effort, please do call the venues. Sources include the Stillepost.ca Toronto board, Eye, Now, Greg Clow, ListMe.ca, Canoe.ca, Soundlist, The Whole Note, Toronto Life and, as the saying goes, you - email or post in the comments with show information and disinformation.

FRI. SEPT. 23
** GEORGE JONES, Ronnie Prophet => Massey Hall, $49.50-$79.50
** THE FEMBOTS cd release, NEW BUFFALO => Supermarket, $10
* Leftover Daylight w/ PAUL DUTTON/MICHAEL KEITH/JOE SORBARA/NICK STORRING; JOHN WILSON/PAUL NEWMAN/DAVID FISH; ALLISON CAMERON/RYAN DRIVER/STEPHEN PARKINSON => Arraymusic Studio (60 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 218), 9 pm, $10
* DAVE CLARK'S WOODSHED ORCHESTRA cd release w/ Runcible Spoon, Tania Gill, Monica Fedrigo, Pam Bettger, Julia Hambleton, Lina Allemano, Mike Overton, Blake Howard, Joe Lapinski => Tranzac, 10 pm, pwyc
* DEADLY SNAKES cd release, NO DYNAMICS => Lee's Palace, $8
* PHOSPHORESCENT, DOC PICKLES, DRUMS & TUBA => Sneaky Dee's, 9 pm, $10
* T. RAUMSCHMIERE => Mod Club
* MELISSA STYLIANOU TRIO, THE REX'S ANNUAL TRIBUTE TO JOHN COLTRANE => Rex Hotel (Sept 22-24)
FOUR TET, HOT CHIP, KOUSHIK => Horseshoe, $15
NICK ALI presents FIVE WEEKS FOR MILES => Trane Studio (every Fri. in Sept.)
TRIO MUO (Glen Hall/Michael Morse/Joe Sorbara, cd launch) => The Red Guitar
MIDIVAL PUNDITZ (Small World Music Festival) => Gypsy Co-op, 10 pm, $15
MY DAD VS YOURS, THE AIRFIELDS, I AM ROBOT & PROUD => The Bagel, $6
TOWERS OF LONDON => El Mocambo, $10.50
DINI PETTY => Hugh's Room (and Sept. 24)
MISERY => Opera House, $25
Indie week w/ CANNON FODDER, BULLMOOSE, GLENDORA, LES SIX, THE LAST SHOW => Bovine
Indie week w/ AFFLATUS, GRAND:PM, CHRIS BOTTOMLEY, WORD PEOPLE => Brunswick House
Indie week w/ JP SUNGA, NOAH VACHON, AMY CRAZE, DAN GORDON, THE COMPLEMENTS => Cameron
Indie Week w/ JEN WOODHOUSE, WHITFIELD, STRADA, NATIONAL SOUND, GIRL & THE MACHINE, REFLECTION STATIC, JEEN O'BRIEN, I AN EYE, NADINE MEDAWAR => Drake
Indie Week w/ KAREN KOSOWSKI, ALICIA GLANN, ERIC AZ, SNAKES & MUSIC, PETER KATZ => Holy Joe's
Indie Week w/ EVERLEA, PLANESIDE, BREADFAN, DEADBOLT ZEN, FAITHDOWN, THE FIRST TIME => Kathedral
Indie Week w/ DELICA, PLAJIA, ILL ATTIRE, CONFUSION IN STEREO, ANNIQUE, ICTUS => Neutral
Indie Week w/ THE LUDES, THE COAST, THEME SONG FOR A CENTURY, ONSWITCH, more => Reverb
Indie Week w/ AIDAN, THE LORRIES, BLUE VENUS, THE STRAITS, LEN'S HAULAGE, THE AWESOME TEAM (not to be confused with Awesome) => Silver Dollar
Cuban Fridays w/ CAFE CUBANO => Lula Lounge, dance class 9 pm, show 10 pm, $10
LIGHTHOUSE, DAVID RUDDER, NEU JENARASHUN => Harbourfront
Pitter Patter w/ YELLOW WOOD, IN TRANSIT, ROMEO LIQUOR STORE, YOU SAY PARTY WE SAY DIE => O'Grady's, pwyc
BOB BARNARD/JOHN SHERIDAN/DON VICKERY => Montreal Bistro (Sept 21-24)THE HUMAN STORY (w/ Erin Costello) => Music Gallery, $5-$15
FREEBURN, THE DHARMA BODY, EKA TREE => Vatikan

SAT SEPT. 24
** FME (Ken Vandermark, Paul Nilssen Love, Nate McBride) => NOW Lounge, $15
** THE GOSSIP, WE ARE WOLVES, BUSH LEAGUE => X-Space, 303 Augusta, $12
* ACEYALONE, BUKUE ONE, MR. NEWZ, DJ BRYX, DJ SERIOUS => Drake Underground, 10:30 pm, $15
* DAVID "FATHEAD" NEWMAN => Isabel Bader Theatre
* RYAN DRIVER QUARTET => Tranzac, 10 pm
* BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB, MARK GARDENER => Phoenix, 6 pm, $20
* ED VOKURKA SWING ENSEMBLE, JEROME GODBOO, RUNCIBLE SPOON, THE REX'S ANNUAL TRIBUTE TO JOHN COLTRANE => Rex Hotel (Sept 22-24)
Vague Terrain w/ GRANNY'ARK, NAW, AKUMU => Art Bar at The Gladstone Hotel
BOY => Horseshoe
THE HUMAN STORY (w/ Erin Costello) => Music Gallery, $5-$15
NICK ALI TRIO => The Red Guitar
THE NEW KINGS, THE WHOREMOANS, RADICAL CHEERLEADERS, PUNK KARAOKE => Adrift, 299 Augusta, $5
GOSPEL EXPOSION w/ CALYPSO ROSE, ROKISHA LEWIS, SECRET PLACE, KARL HUTCHINGSON, NIGEL SOYER, more => Bloor Collegiate High School (1141 Dufferin), 7 pm, $25
TERRY YOUNG, ROB RITCHIE (ex-Tanglefoot) cd launch => Birchcliff Bluffs United Church (33 East Rd.), 8 pm, $15
BOB BARNARD/JOHN SHERIDAN/DON VICKERY => Montreal Bistro (Sept 21-24)A MOVING SOUND (Small World Music Festival) => Jivamukti Yoga Studio (5 Shuter), 8 pm, $15-20
LURA (Cape Verde; Small World Music Festival) followed by Salsa Saturday w/ ENERGIA LATINA => Lula Lounge, 8 pm, $15-$20
THORNLEY => Lee's Palace, $20
Gaither Homecoming Concert w/ BILL GAITHER, THE GAITHER VOCAL BAND, JESSY DIXON, JEFF & SHERI EASTER, ANTHONY BURGER, LYNDA RANDLE, BOOTH BROTHERS, SIGNATURE SOUND QUARTET, IVAN PARKER, RUSS TAFF, THE ISAACS, MARK LOWRY, JEFF ALLEN, KEVIN WILLIANS, MIKE ALLEN, BEN SPEER dvd taping => Air Canada Centre, doors 4:30 pm, $29.50-$49.50
Indie Week Merch Fair, Panels, Finals Night => Reverb/Holy Joe's
RAOUL & THE BIG TIME's "HARMONICA STANDOFF" => Silver Dollar, 10 pm, $10

SUN SEPT. 25
** Lecture by MARTIN ARNOLD "Improvisation & Narrative" as part of the Interplay festival => Arraymusic Studio, 60 Atlantic Ave., no. 218, NOON, free
** Interplay w/ JOUST (John Oswald/Scott Thomson)/DYLAN VAN DER SCHYFF , WOLTER WIERBOS/KEN ALDCROFT, MICHAEL MOORE/LINA ALLEMANO/NICK FRASER/ANDREW DOWNING => Arraymusic Studio, #218- 60 Atlantic Ave. Toronto, 9 pm, $15 (Sept 25-27, 3-night pass $30)
* JENNY WHITELEY & JOEY WRIGHT => Tranzac main hall, 7:30 pm
* NEW ORLEANS BENEFIT w/ KEVIN CLARK, DENIS KELDIE, JANE BUNNETT, CHRISTOPHER PLOCK, NICK ALI, LAURA HUBERT, TOM McDERMOTT, more => Fermenting Room, 55 Mill (Distillery District), $20
* LENIN I SHUMOV, GERMANS, THE GUEST BEDROOM => Polish Legion Hall,
2032 Dundas Street West, 9 pm
TRIO JOURBAN (Small World Music Festival) => Lula Lounge, 8 pm, $20-$25
HEARTLESS BASTARDS => Horseshoe, $10
Wavelength 282 w/ HENRI FABERGE AND THE ADORABLES, THE SUMMERLAD, MAHOGANY FROG, DJ LOUIS PRIMO => Sneaky Dee's
Solo piano Sundays w/ MARILYN LERNER (9 pm), BOB WISEMAN (10:15 pm) => The Red Guitar
STRATOVARIOUS, INTO ENTERNITY => Opera House, 7:30 pm, $29.50
TORONTO ALL-STAR BIG BAND => Lakeside Terrace, Harbourfront Centre, $20
U. OF T. WORKSHOP, FREEWAY DIXIELAND, SWING ROSIE => Rex Hotel
ANDY WHITE, STEPHEN FEARING, COLLEEN HODGSON, BROOKE MILLER => Hugh's Room, $17.50

MON. SEPT. 26
** MIA, SPANK ROCK => Phoenix, $20
** Interplay w/ WOLTER WIERBOS (solo trombone), ACHIM KAUFMANN/MICHAEL KEITH/MATT BRUBECK/BRANDON VALDIVIA, MICHAEL MOORE/ERIC CHENAUX/JOE SORBARA => Arraymusic Studio, #218- 60 Atlantic Ave. Toronto, 9 pm, $15 (Sept 25-27, 3-night pass $30) (Sept 26)
* THE ROLLING STONES, BECK => Rogers Centre, $60-$160 ($450 floor tickets)
NEW MODEL ARMY => Lee's Palace. $15
OCTOBERMAN => Gladstone
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO JAZZ BENEFIT CONCERT 2005 => Montreal Bistro
ANDREW BONIWELL TRIO, KRIS CHUBB QUARTET => Rex Hotel

TUES. SEPT. 27
** Interplay w/ ACHIM KAUFMANN/EVAN SHAW/DAVE CLARK/DAVID PRENTICE, DYLAN VAN DER SCHYFF/ DOUG TIELLI/ROB CLUTTON,
KAMOSC TRIO (KAUFMANN/MOORE/VAN DER SCHYFF)/WOLTER WIERBOS => Arraymusic Studio, #218- 60 Atlantic Ave. Toronto, 9 pm, $15 (Sept 25-27, 3-night pass $30)
** GEORGE CLINTON FAMILY (w/ Parliament-Funkadelic, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Darryl Dixon, Rob Bacon), JOI, CHILDREN OF PRODUCTION (Raphael Saadiq, Amp Fiddler, Stephen Perkins, Dave Watson) => The Docks. $41.50
* MARIZA (Small World Music Festival) => Massey Hall, 9 pm, $39.50-$59.50
* DEADLY SNAKES => Soundscapes in-store, probably late afternoon
* THE CRUZEROS => Hugh's Room
SELINA MARTIN, CINDERPOP => Supermarket
THE MORNING-AFTER GIRLS => Horseshoe
PIRATE JENNY => The Red Guitar
The Ambient Ping w/ SONGSPELL (Michael Moon [Vibes, electric guitar, Vocals, percussion], Thom Dean [Keys, percussion], Jenn Howie [Keys, Vocals, percussion]) => Hacienda Lounge, 9 pm, pwyc
BRET MICHAELS (ex-Poison) => Lee's Palace. $30
THE SUZANA DA CÃMARA QUARTET => Montreal Bistro
Exotic Journeys w/ DIANA McINTOSH, BEVERLEY JOHNSTON, PAMELA ATTARIWALA, MADAWASKA STRING QUARTET => Lula Lounge, 8 pm, $10-$15 Celebrating Twins: Toronto, Milan w/ I SOLISTI DELLA SCALLA TRIO, members of QUARTETTO GELATO => George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts (5040 Yonge), $50
HOGTOWN SYNCOPATORS, CLASSIC REX JAZZ JAM => Rex Hotel (every Tues)

WED. SEPT. 28
* METRIC, JASON COLLETT, THE LOVELY FEATHERS => Phoenix. $20
* Over the Top Fest launch party w/ PREFUSE 73, RIS PAUL RIC (ex-Q and Not U), ULTRA MAGNUS, DJ JUSTIN PEROFF (Broken Social Scene) => Mod Club, 8 pm, $14 adv.
* improv w/ JAKE OELRICHS, RYAN DRIVER, DOUG TIELLI => The Art Gallery of York University, Suite N145 Ross Building, 7 pm, free
* THE DINNER IS RUINED => Tranzac, 9:30 pm (every Wed. in Sept.)
* INTERPOL, BOOM BIP => Kool Haus, 8 pm, $31.25
* MICHAEL PENN, ROSIE THOMAS => The Rivoli, $15 (also Sept 29)
* CRAZY STRINGS (bluegrass) => Silver Dollar (every Wed.)
* Latin Cool Series launch w/ LUISITO ORBEGOSO's ALTA DESCARGA => Lula Lounge, 9 pm, $10
* COLONEL TOM'S SWINGING DOOR => Cameron House, 7-9 pm, pwyc (every Wed)
ASH DARGAN (Small World Music Festival - didgeridoo warning!) => Drake, 9 pm, $15-$20
LORI CULLEN, JORY NASH => Hugh's Room
SWING SHIFT BIG BAND => Montreal Bistro
"EBB", DAVID ROTUNDO PRESENTS => Rex Hotel
CORRY SOBOL QUARTET => The Red Guitar

THURS. SEPT. 29
** TED LEO/PHARMACISTS, NORTH OF AMERICA => Mod Club, 7 pm, $15
* METRIC, JASON COLLETT, THE LOVELY FEATHERS => Phoenix, $20
* UNSANE => Lee's Palace, $10.50
* HOVEN DROVEN (Sweden; Small World Music Festival) => Lula Lounge, 9 pm, $15-$20
* NICK FRASER & MICHAEL KEITH (8 pm), SANDRO PERRI (10 pm) => Tranzac, 10 pm
* KEVIN QUAIN, MIKE MURLEY SEPTET => Rex Hotel
* MICHAEL PENN, ROSIE THOMAS => The Rivoli, $15 (also Sept 28)
* Leftover Daylight Series w/ MICHAEL HERRING'S VERTIGO (w/don scott- guitar, joe sorbara- drums, quinsin nachoff- tenor sax, r.j. satchitananthan- trombone, jeremy schaal- alto sax); KEN ALDCROFT/EVAN SHAW/JOE SORBARA; KRIS DAVIS QUARTET (w/ jeff davis, tony malaby, eivind opsvik) => Arraymusic Studio, 60 Atlantic Ave., ste. 218, 9 pm, $15
JORANE => Hugh's Room, $15-$17
THE DIRTBOMBS => Horseshoe, $10.50
RADIUS & HELENA, TWO BEARS, PINKO CRONKITE, SOME WOLF => The Boat, $5, 9 pm
No Format w/ MY PROJECT: BLUE, members of BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE => The Silver Dollar
Pitter Patter w/ THE POSTAGE STAMPS, PROJEKTOR, THE SUMMERLAD, THE LONDON APARTMENTS. THE INFLATION KILLS => O'Grady's, pwyc
WILLIAM CARN TRIO => The Red Guitar
THE HAYMAKERS, PLAN B, RESHURE => Rancho Relaxo, pwyc, 9 pm
AL HENDERSON QUINTET (w/PAT LABARBERA, ALEX DEAN, RICHARD WHITEMAN & BARRY ROMBERG) => Montreal Bistro (Sept 29-Oct 1)

FRI. SEPT. 30
** CULTURE SHOCK w/ SHAWN HEWITT & THE NATIONAL STRIKE, CUFF THE DUKE, GENTLEMAN REG, NO DYNAMICS, MAGNETA LANE, more => Harbourfront (Sep 30-Oct 2)
* JOE HALL & THE CONTINENTAL DRIFT REUNION SHOW, THE SILVER HEARTS, JAYMZ BEE, DAVID FRANKS => Tranzac Main Hall
* DEEP DARK UNITED => Tranzac, 10 pm
* AUTORICKSHAW, TRICHY SANKARAN, KEVIN BREIT (Small World Music Festival) => Al Green Theatre, JCC (750 Spadina), 8 pm, $15-$20 (also Oct 1)
* MELISSA STYLIANOU TRIO, MIKE MURLEY SEPTET => Rex Hotel
PAN-TIKI BATERIA (Small World Music Festival) => Gypsy Co-op, 10 pm, $10
DOVES, VHS OR BETA => Docks, $26.50
Pitter Patter w/ THE FEMINISTS, more => O'Grady's, pwyc
NICK ALI presents FIVE WEEKS FOR MILES => Trane Studio (every Fri. in Sept.)
DECEPTIVE MOVES (w/ BILL GILLIAM, COLLEEN OSTOFOROFF) => The Music Gallery, $5-$15
MARBLE INDEX => Mod Club, 7 pm, $13.50
AL HENDERSON QUINTET (w/PAT LABARBERA, ALEX DEAN, RICHARD WHITEMAN & BARRY ROMBERG) => Montreal Bistro (Sept 29-Oct 1)
JIMMY SWIFT BAND => Horseshoe. $10
JOHN NUGENT TRIO => The Red Guitar
THE FADED JEANS => Mix Community Club (50 Fairfax), $5
DAVID WILCOX => Club 279
BRIAN BLAIN'S HI-TECH BLUES REVUE cd release w/ special guests => Silver Dollar, 10 pm, $10

Read More | Live Notes | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, September 06 at 06:15 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (4)

 

Waterblogged Musicians, Redux

Alex Chilton is apparently okay, at least insofar as he ever was.

[Update: For more hurricane-meets-music info, see here.]

News | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, September 06 at 02:25 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (0)

 

September 05, 2005

Praise You

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And thank you, too, John Darnielle.

News | Posted by zoilus on Monday, September 05 at 08:43 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (0)

 

September 02, 2005

In My Absence

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This site will get back to normal activity levels, including the belated September calendar, come Monday. This weekend is a bit of a sad occasion, as we're interring my father's ashes in a small ceremony, so it will be quiet in Zoilusville. Meanwhile, I note that Michael and Brian have had no such bouts of late-summer neglect. Get yer T-dot musicbloggin' goodness there. (Note particularly the link to Jason McBride's Toronto Life profile of Metric mistress Emily Haines.) And happy blogday, Frank. Meanwhile, Popsheep posts the song that's been most on my mind.

As well, the Village Voice blog Riff Raff talks to the man I've most wanted to hear from on the cultural side of the disaster, Ned Sublette: ""Everything from documents to recordings to things that are in private hands [are lost]. Many of the more serious archives are on higher floors--presumably many of them have survived the flood waters. But what condition are they in? How quickly will cultural workers be able to get in and rescue the patrimony which is very important in understanding where American music came from?" Also check out this impassioned post by Mark Sinker.

(Note to those who think there's something wrong with bringing up that concern while people are suffering: Disasters happen, and of course what people are undergoing is awful, but culture still matters, and it is a trust to be preserved, including in emergencies. Music is important in New Orleans the way archaeological sites are important in Iraq. I'm not an aid worker. It's this site's job to care about this stuff.)

Meanwhile in the weeklies: Eye has a moving Ninjalicious obit, takes you to heavy-metal grad school, gives high smart praise to Kanye and Boozoo Bajou (plus some K.West gossip), remembers Bran Van, and writes rather ambivalently about Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. (NOW does likewise, though with more enthusiasm.) NOW also wins the battle of the Jaguar Wright profiles and gives major props to the new Fembots album, about which you'll hear more here soon. (They also dig the new Wayne Shorter and Waco Bros. discs.) Peace out.

News | Posted by zoilus on Friday, September 02 at 01:09 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)

 

September 01, 2005

Crossing Things Like Hearts & Fingers

fdomino.jpgIrmaFro.jpg

Fats Domino and Irma Thomas are both still missing in New Orleans. I hope they've either left town or climbed up high on Blueberry Hill. Obviously famous musicians matter no more than everyone else, but envisioning these familiar, beloved and now elderly figures lost in the flood brings the thing home in a horrifying way.

High water risin', six inches 'bove my head
Coffins droppin' in the street
Like balloons made out of lead
Water pourin' into Vicksburg, don't know what I'm going to do
"Don't reach out for me," she said
"Can't you see I'm drownin' too?"
It's rough out there
High water everywhere

- Bob Dylan, High Water (for Charley Patton)

Update: Fats found. [10:15 pm]

Friday update: Irma Thomas has been located too. Thank goodness. Here is an email she reportedly sent, which is making the rounds: "Hello Jef, I am doing as well as expected under the conditions. I am in Gonzales, LA with my husband's Aunt. You may send some money to help my daughter who lost everything. She is out here with my sister-in-law untill she can get fare to go to California, until we can get back into New Orleans. I am doing okay for now but I don't know how long it will be before I can get help from FEMA. Thanks for being concerned. You may send help to: P.O. Box 1274, Gonzales, LA 70707-1274. Tell all of my Fans I thank them. Love, Irma."

On the other hand, as mentioned in the Comments, the condition of Alex Chilton is still uncertain.

News | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, September 01 at 06:16 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (10)

 

Rick Moody: Poetaster's Progress

Long-time readers may remember the round-robin of chatter 'round here last summer about "lit-rock." This week one of the most chronic practitioners, Rick Moody, published a defence in the Guardian that might have been titled, "From those about to rock, we just wanna make sure you're okay with that."

Apologies, but the September gig guide may not appear here for a couple of days. I've been away attending an extended-family funeral, and also taking a breather from the interweb until the irritating flicker of flames (see below) dies down.

The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, September 01 at 12:41 AM | Linking Posts | Comments (1)

 

Zoilus by Carl Wilson