by carl wilson

July 28, 2006

History Question

Has there ever in pop music, or any other music, been such a thing as an all-woman band fronted by a male singer?

If not, history is about to be made. Details to come in future weeks.

| Posted by zoilus on Friday, July 28 at 3:29 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (24)

 

There'll Be Talk! There'll Be Action!
Zoilus Demanding Satisfaction!

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Final Fantasy at the Boat last night, photo by Bramptonboi.

Last night: Cancer benefit, at der Boat, featuring Pyramid Culture, Final Fantasy and the I-love-world narcotic that is Ninja High School. Excellent sets from all three (new PyCult song topic: lab-grown meat; their complaint? "artificial, not sacrificial," ie. the band is pro-animal-sacrifice, like any good pyramid culture). But mainly I am forced to post to say that, at the end of a set that incorporated Owen's newest strategy in which looped keyboards join the looped violin, Final Fantasy covered Destroyer! Specifically An Actor's Revenge from Your Blues. (An album I already knew Owen admired very much.) As I was watching, perched atop a chair in the middle of the crowded club, and the understanding of what was transpiring dawned upon me, it felt a little bit as though this website had collapsed in on itself and created a cosmic sinkhole of exponentially expanding mass. Regular readers will understand why anything further I could say about this development would be redundant, like a series of infinitely regressing images in a mirror.... Definitely made my week.

Tonight, at the Boat, there's another highly Zoilusian event taking place - a "live mashup" of Ninja High School and the Afrobeat band Ultra Magnus. Which of course feels very much in the spirit of the live mashup series I used to run, Tin Tin Tin. (Members of both of these bands participated in Tin Tin Tin shows more than once.) Rumour has it that another T.T.T. alumnus, the very fine M1 Academy MC, Masia One, might bumrush the show, too, so she can show up Matt Collins' wack flow.

Oh Toronto, I'm awfully fond of you.

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Pyramid Culture at the Boat last night, photo by Bramptonboi.

| Posted by zoilus on Friday, July 28 at 3:11 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (5)

 

July 27, 2006

Live and Shave

This seemed worth hoisting off Stillepost:

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With Polmo Polpo, Gastric Female Reflex, Dollarama, Sneaky Dee's (431 College Street), 8 pm, $10 Adv at Rotate This & Soundscapes on sale now. Though they're essentially an obscure noise band, the W.K. brand name will no doubt pack the place. (For those who don't know, noise is actually where Andrew W.K. started - he also was associated with Wolf Eyes and produced a noise zine. Which puts his schtick in a different light, maybe.) For more info, seek ye here.

| Posted by zoilus on Thursday, July 27 at 8:31 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (5)

 

Burma Shave


Roger Miller, photo snagged from Flickr.

Since you asked: Mission of Burma were great last night, just like last time around, though the Horseshoe was a bit too narrow a space compared to the more capacious confines of Lee's, their previous Toronto stop. (Lee's is an unpleasant club much of the time, but good for loud and crowded shows.) They played all the "hits," with a few dips into their two new albums since reuniting. I had the fortune to be standing nearby the sound board and get to watch the subtle magicks worked by Bob Weston - or at least, I assume it was Bob Weston - as he layered in the tape loops and also really actively mixed the live sound. (Taking over the role played by Martin Swope in the original, 1970s edition of the band.) His contributions are so subtle, but crucial, and there was something almost meditative in the way he executed them. I think much of the audience never even knew he was there, and am tempted to suggest that the "invisible member" accounts for part of the special charge of Burma's performances, that there is a dynamic field that striates the room, whose poles are obscure to the listeners. There needs to be a trick to art, a surplus quality that one does not quite understand. And in Burma's case, the transparency and accessibility of the trio on stage almost demands this balance, so that the music can become something larger than they are. That said, they're a very charming trio - they really make it seem sensible that rock now be the province of older men: Let them have it. They're better at it. It belongs to them. What is the point of young people re-enacting these gestures? Find something that is yours the way this sound is theirs. That's how you'll escape your certain fate.

Now, I don't necessarily believe those propositions, but last night they all seemed like straight-up common sense. Mind you, this is the reverse of what one often feels when seeing bands who have been slogging for 20, 30 years straight and seem haggard and worn with it. MoB might be the world's best argument for taking long naps. (Although I wasn't sure whether to be happy or concerned that Roger Miller was playing without his prominent ear-protection gear.) Also fantastic was seeing Jonny Dovercourt of Republic of Safety fan-boy out during their opening set. It's great when legends are preceded by disciples (or apostates, I suppose).

| Posted by zoilus on Thursday, July 27 at 7:10 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)

 

July 26, 2006

Don't Call Me Tardy, Blogger

Hi. We're back in service. So, to avoid doing laundry tonight, I was making up a list of got-'em/need-'em albums and singles of 2006-to-this-juncture. I'll share the pick hits in a moment, but what I noticed was that even on the very, very, very lengthy "to be heard" list (nearly 150 records!), I don't have that extensive a sampling of 1. noise; 2. jazz; and 3. hip-hop/electronics. So I'd love to hear your suggestions for essentials in those categories for the year so far. I do have a good set of notes on country albums on which I've been remiss (Julie Roberts, the new Allison Moorer, etc.), but go on and throw in more. No need to mention indie-rock albums. I know what's out there.

Topping my roster of favourites as of July are as follows. (Yes, I realize most of the bloggerati have already been through this exercise. Whatevs.) It's rather a mongrel list, as indicative of what I have had time to catch up with as it is of any larger spectrum. Beyond the first three, these are in no particular order:

Destroyer - Destroyer’s Rubies
Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
Final Fantasy - He Poos Clouds
Ghostface - Fishscale
Anthony Braxton/Wolf Eyes - Black Vomit
Scott Walker - The Drift
Matmos - The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of the Beast
Prince - 3121
Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
Various Artists - Bad Bands Revolution

Of course, there are several records to come that I already know will rival most of those: Xiu Xiu, Junior Boys, Mountain Goats, Pere Ubu, Eric Chenaux, TV on the Radio, for instance. And there's a lot more ice underneath the berg. I'm sure I'm forgetting others. I haven't completed a singles list, perhaps out of fear that I will have to put Ne-Yo's So Sick at the top. I love the melodrama of that song like crazy. More than Crazy, for instance. Feel free to psychoanalyze. Likely also to be found on that list would be Nelly Furtado, Prince, Christina Aguilera, Lily Allen, the Pipettes, Cansei De Ser Sexy - round up the usual suspects, in other words, but that's the nice thing about singles lists, isn't it? It's where we do the meet & greet. Probably the Arctic Monkeys too. One song from them does me fine. Oh, and I'd nominate Islands' Rough Gem - I don't love the album as much as some of the principles' other work, but that song's irresistible. (The same disc's Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby is the title of the year; the song doesn't live up to it, but how could it?)

The new Mission of Burma album, The Obliterati, would be not too far down my list either. I don't think their show at the Horseshoe in Toronto tomorrow (Wed) night, with huge MoB fans Republic of Safety opening, is sold out yet - see you there?

| Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, July 26 at 12:22 AM | Linking Posts | Comments (19)

 

July 18, 2006

Summer Vacation

I'll be absent for the rest of the week, as I'm headed out to places non-wired (but wooded and laked) for a few days. Keep well.

Later: So now it's Monday and I'm back, but the lake - or more accurately the cranberry bog - gave me a cold, so I'm not quite back-in-commission as yet. (And y'all are on vacation yourselves, anyway, aren't you? Regular schedule resuming sometime this week, but for sure b4 August.)

Meanwhile go watch the new, zoetrope-tastic Final Fantasy video.

| Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, July 18 at 2:40 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)

 

July 15, 2006

Get Reviewed, Get Remembered, Get Lonely

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As mentioned, I have several reviews in today's Globe and Mail summer CD roundup: Camera Obscura, the Not Alone compilation for Doctors Without Borders, Harris Newman's Triple Burner (Newman is in Toronto on Tuesday with Japanese guitarist Tetuzi Akiyama and local hero Eric Chenaux, at the Tranzac), the Black Ox Orkestar, and a terrific double live jazz disc by Quebec's Francois Carrier.

I have to hunker down and get some work done tonight, but I wish I could attend the Jamaica to Toronto reunion concert at Harbourfront at 9:30 pm, which along with the compilation of the same name unearths vital local lost history, or rather history savagely trashed by the racism of Canada in that era (as opposed to the somewhat differently arranged racism we've got now). The coverage, in today's Globe by my colleague Guy Dixon, as well as on the CBC Arts site and from Now's Tim Perlich, is all well worth reading.

I'd also like to mention that Trampoline Hall's Misha Glouberman is hosting the Dresden Dolls' variety show at the Bloor Cinema this evening, featuring "dada-surrealist" videos from their fans and some scaled-down version of their, well, goth-emo-camembert-cabaret-picture-show music.

The really tough part about working tonight, though, will be to tear myself away from my advance copy of The Mountain Goats' Get Lonely . Or else perhaps it will be easier to shut it off than to listen to it. An exquisite but extraordinarily intense album. Few upbeat moments. I think it should be the album finally to reconcile fans of the cassette-era Mountain Goats to John Darnielle's current period, as these seem much more a polished version of the early style: They are predominantly lost-love songs, elliptical tales but not just chapters in a continuous narrative. In fact, it could almost be called a mature rewrite of or sequel to the officially-unreleased Hail and Farewell Gothenburg (copies of which circulate privately with John's blessing, but not on the web). It's not so much a breakup album as an in-the-void-of-separation album, threaded with an image of monstrousness, of having been rendered radically alien by loneliness - but, in the manner of The Sunset Tree, with a tone of calm remembrance, perhaps years after the fact, rather than reeking of trapped-in-the-moment panic or claustrophobia. Despite that, it's a particularly difficult album to grapple with at this point in my life: I either can lock the doors, kill the lights, and sit in a corner listening to it on repeat for a week, or I can ration and discipline and treat it like radioactive material to be scrutinized only through layers of leaded glass. Neither of which, honestly, is a very keen critical-listening mode. Further reflections will follow. Meanwhile, here is the track list:

1. Wild Sage
2. New Monster Avenue
3. Half Dead
4. Get Lonely
5. Maybe Sprout Wings
6. Moon Over Goldsboro
7. In The Hidden Places
8. Song For Lonely Giants
9. Woke Up New
10. If You See Light
11. Cobra Tattoo
12. In Corolla

It officially emerges blinking into the light on Aug. 22.

Meanwhile back over at Said the Gramophone, Dan's invented a whole new form of music-blogging: The MP3-plus-homemade-video-blog. Note for the perplexed: Play the files in Quicktime.

| Posted by zoilus on Saturday, July 15 at 5:11 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)

 

July 14, 2006

Friday Night Fights

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I have a review of the new Greg Graffin (Bad Religion) stab-at-old-time-folk album, featuring the Weakerthans, today in The Globe and Mail. The record, she is not so great. Tomorrow, there will be more reviews from me, in an early-summer Globe roundup. (Link to come.)

Why didn't anyone tell me when I made my songs-about-art list that Brazil's CSS have a hilarious tune out called Art Bitch? (With the already-infamous hook, "Suck suck suck my art hole, lick lick lick my art tit!") Here's a video of them performing it, in which the music is unintelligible, so read the lyrics. And if you're in Toronto, consider going to see them at the Mod Club tonight with Diplo et al. There's actually something a little Torontopia-like about this band, I might venture to say...

At last, someone has said exactly what I've always thought about Sufjan Stevens, but never got around to formulating. We can go back to the indie-rock self-infantilization-repression discussion out of the reaction to this, perhaps. I particularly appreciate the comparison to Conor Oberst - whether people love or hate Bright Eyes, their reactions always makes sense to me. (I'm quite fond of about half his stuff, impatient with the other half.) But to love or hate Sufjan Stevens just does not seem worth the effort. Yes, Chicago is undeniably a well-crafted song, and so are a few others. Who cares? I feel equally strongly about, oh, a well-made office chair. And actually, the well-made office chair is likely to have a stronger longterm impact on my life, with its benefit to posture and muscle strain. I'm sure he's a nice man, but Sufjan Stevens is the worst possible musical role model. (I have vaguely similar feelings about Radiohead, but I recognize that there's a much stronger counter-case to be made there.)

Jody, meanwhile, presents the even more thankless argument in favour of Paris Hilton. Go boy go.

Two significant corrections to things I said on Said the Gramophone recently: One, Veda Hille is not actually the filtered voice on her song about the cats at Brecht's grave. As Veda told me, "Talk about alienation effects!" Blush. Two, it's blatantly acknowledged on the Vancouver Nights record that Dan (Destroyer) Bejar wrote All the Right Moves. My theory was only a "discovery" for people who have MP3s and not the album. Resolution: Read liner notes gooder.

The Bagel at Spadina & College has joined the long list of great, shortlived Toronto venues. It saw the debuts of Pyramid Culture, Laura Barrett and Garbage!Violence!Enthusiasm! (or at least I think so) among others. It's a shame.

Finally, an interesting response to my StG Pere Ubu post from Anthony Rue (who also sent me yet another mix of We Have the Technology, the single with the synth removed almost entirely - which also will not do):

"Your article was very much in tune with something I've been thinking about recently. If Lipstick Traces came about ten years after the Pistols burst onto the scene, how could the 'lost years' of 1987-1996 be contextualized and recuperated now? I'm not buying into the depoliticized personal narratives found in Our Band Could Be Your Life...

"How do you account for the churn of edge culture? The constant rising and sinking of styles and players that tap into the ephemera of a moment, exert a brief influence, then vanish? Although I don't have a great affinity for any of their records as a whole, I'll take an aggregated ten minutes of Mark Moorland's guitar work with Wall of Voodoo over all of the Pavement records ever produced. Can a sound be more important than a song?

"Here's my sympathy for the Technology article. By the summer of 1987 I'd seen, in the course of a few months, Einsterzende Neubauten, Peter Brotzman, Steve Lacey, Steve Reich, Evan Parker, Fred Frith, John Zorn (with and without Naked City), Kronos Quartet, Psychic TV, Laurie Anderson, and Anthony Braxton. All those record crates seemed like anchors, so I sold all but a handful of records. Looking back now, I understand the shock of the guy behind the counter at Vinyl Fever. 'Are you sure you want to sell this?' came to sound like a Knee Play from Einstein on the Beach. Pretty much every thing released on Stiff and Slash. All of the imports from England, circa 1979-82, that I could have found in the midwest. Metal Box and the first Misfits album.

"All these years later, and I still obsess about tracks I remember by bands whose names I have long forgotten. In 2000 I drove myself crazy trying to find a particular Wreckless Eric song that I remembered to be the perfect pop moment. But it isn't really about the song. It's not the albums but rather the sideways glances that I regret having lost."

| Posted by zoilus on Friday, July 14 at 5:16 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (5)

 

July 13, 2006

Said the Carlophone, 5th & Final

My last guest-post of the season at MP3 blog Said the Gramophone offers a fruit-basket of Final Fantasy, Destroyer and (related) Vancouver Nights rarities. I may not have much time for more than Gig Guide updates here the rest of the week so check out the whole series there - definitely the most substantive blogging I've done this summer. As one must, given their high standards.

In Depth | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, July 13 at 5:11 AM | Linking Posts | Comments (1)

 

July 11, 2006

Said the Carlophone IV: Kathleen Yearwood, Tagaq
(Plus: UbuTube)

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I know I've been neglectful. It's because I'm still cheating on you with that other blog, and it leaves me spent. Today's entry is about two of the most unclassifiable, undomesticatable women in Canadian music.

Meanwhile as a follow up to last week's Pere Ubu post - check out this footage from YouTube: One a Tenement Year reunion tour (1987) rendition of the band's best-known song, Final Solution - with one of the best representations of David Thomas's stage magnetism that I've seen on video. And, for kicks, a performance from June of the same song by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), TV on the Radio and Bauhaus's Peter Murphy (whose cover version of Final Solution helped popularize it in the 1980s).

In Depth | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, July 11 at 3:41 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)

 

Dark Globe

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RIP (Roger) Syd Barrett. While most of the obituaries will tell and re-tell the story of one of the rock era's most notorious (and dispiriting) disappearing acts and his withdrawal into decades of silence, it's worth saying how influential Barrett's post-Pink Floyd solo albums have been, especially for indie music. From the glam rockers through Robyn Hitchcock to Destroyer to Neutral Milk Hotel to the Flaming Lips to Toronto's own Alex Lukashevsky, you can hear the influence of Barrett and The Madcap Laughs all over the art rock tradition straight into the '00s - in its looseness, its unexpected juxtapositions, its combines of horror and whimsy, its switches between the plainspoken and the surreal. It's one of those cases where the music may include the symptoms of psychic distress, but is made by someone so gifted that it is compelling much beyond the voyeuristic element - where the old lines about the blurry border between genius and madness come back to life. We'll probably never know how the last half of his life seemed to him, whether it was on balance contented. But we can wish that he had a good twilight, and that night fell gently.

| Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, July 11 at 12:57 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)

 

July 7, 2006

We Have the MP3ology
(Said the Carlophone, Pt. 3)

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My latest guest post on Said the Gramophone is about two versions of We Have the Technology, one of my favourite songs by Pere Ubu, originally on The Tenement Year, one of the "lost" Fontana albums. It kind of turned out like a one-act radio play.

In Depth | Posted by zoilus on Friday, July 07 at 4:58 AM | Linking Posts

 

July 6, 2006

It's Improvi-mental!

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Bembe Segue. (Photo from somewhere in Belgium.)

From today's interview with the keen-minded Bembe Segue ("British broken-beat diva", playing this weekend at Harbourfront) by Tim Perlich in Now:

"What I do is kind of similar to what a freestyle rapper does, or perhaps a jazz improvimentalist... wait, heh heh, that isn't a real word, is it? But I want to get the 'mentalist' bit in there because you practically need to be a mind reader to keep up with [bassist] Mark [De Clive-Lowe]."

Zap! And with that the language is enriched 100 per cent. No doubt she was subconsciously portmanteauing "improvisor" and "instrumentalist," but "improvimentalist" is such an improvement (notice what I did there?) on any previously devised term for a jazz-improv player that I henceforth decree it standard usage. Everyone adopt it! We'll get it into the dictionary!

With a name like Bembe Segue, no wonder she's got such a fine ear for the lingo.

| Posted by zoilus on Thursday, July 06 at 11:27 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)

 

Swan Song for the Bistro

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Bonnie Brett and pianist David Braid at the Montreal Bistro in 2005.

I was startled, if not exactly shocked, to learn of the shutdown of the Montreal Bistro, one of the city's few remaining and best-appointed jazz clubs, today on the front page of The Toronto Star. The news was announced with a handwritten note taped to the door.

Luckily, the Rex, the Red Guitar, Trane Studio, the Tranzac, Music Gallery and a few other venues continue to bring live jazz/improv and related musics to the city, but none of those are in the supper-club bracket, on the New York model, that Bistro owners Lothar and Brigitte Lang provided, just as Sybil Walker did at the Senator in the past. (This other Star story suggests one way that lack might be filled.) I practically never went to the Bistro - its jazz generally wasn't my scene - but it was an important plank to the supporting structure, economic and social, of this music in this town. Besides cultivating an audience, it offered work to local musicians supporting touring acts, etc. See my piece from last summer, when the Senator closed, on some of the issues involved for jazz in this city.

| Posted by zoilus on Thursday, July 06 at 2:22 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)

 

The Lion King

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Salif Keita of Mali plays Harbourfront tonight, his first appearance in Toronto in 8 years. I can't go, due to work, but you should, and David Dacks shows you why in a fascinating profile. If it's anywhere near as great as the last H'front show from Mali - last weekend's Amadou et Mariam concert - those of us who will not be there are fools.

| Posted by zoilus on Thursday, July 06 at 4:08 AM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)

 

July 5, 2006

Fun, With Occasional Music

Kevin Parnell, who's part of the Wavelength team as well as the scene's leading shutterbug in his superhero alias of Aperture Enzyme, turns out to have been hiding some of his other proverbial lights under proverbial bushels: He's also a playwright. This would not always be cause for cheering, but Kevin's play at the Victory Cafe in the Fringe Festival in Toronto, beginning tonight, seems intriguing - it seems to be trying to balance somewhere between drama and hanging-out.

Making it more a Zoilus matter, the show incorporates cameo appearances by Toronto indie musicians, who open and close the show - the action of the play seems to happen in the set break at an imaginary gig. The roster of musicians is this: Jul. 5: Purple Hill; Jul 6: Purple Hill; Jul 7: Feuermusik; Jul 9: Alex Lukashevsky; Jul 10: Purple Hill; Jul 11: Neil Haverty; Jul 12: The Blankket (Steve Kado of Barcelona Pavilion/Ryvyr/etc., solo); Jul 13: Don Scott Calls It Quits (Don Scott & Michael Herring); Jul 14: Mantler; Jul 15: Purple Hill; Jul 16: Laura Barrett. For show times and other details check out the theatre company's website.

Also, an innovative event involving one of my favourite Canadian books of the past few years. No music, but the combination of poetry and thrift shopping comes close enough:

On July 12 at 8 p.m., Governor General's Award-nominated poet Lisa Robertson launches [the reissue of] Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture at the Bloor and Lansdowne Value Village. Drift through the aisles of Value Village, shop for the perfect pair of cords and listen to Lisa Roberston read from her essay, The Value Village Lyric. A launch party for Soft Architecture follows at nearby Ciro's (1316 Bloor St. West).

| Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, July 05 at 6:02 PM | Linking Posts

 

Truckload of (Songs About) Art


Jeff Koons, Lips, 2000. Oil on canvas, 120 x 172 inches. Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin. T130.2000.
Photo by David Heald. See no. 37.

In case you're curious, here's the playlist for the three hours of music about (mostly) art, artists and art processes that I programmed for the Power Plant last weekend. Some of the connections are more solid than others, when I was just following whims. From my research, I think I can safely say the peak of people making songs about art took place in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and I sure didn't find many appropriate songs that weren't by white people. Was I overlooking something?

1. Pablo Picasso - John Cale (cover of the Modern Lovers)
2. Don't Stop Now - Christian Marclay (solo)
3. Comic Strip - Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot
4. Smash The Beauty Machine - Future Bible Heroes
5. Ambergris March - Björk (from the soundtrack to Matthew Barney's Drawing Restraint 9)
6. The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton - The Mountain Goats ("so in script that made prominent use of a pentagram, they stenciled their drumheads and guitars with their names")
7. Art Class (Song For Yayoi Kusama) - Superchunk
8. Painter In Your Pocket - Destroyer
9. Art For Art's Sake - 10CC
10. Artistiya - Amadou & Mariam
11. Portrait of the Artist as a Fountain - Simon Bookish
12. He Poos Clouds - Final Fantasy (video-game as art)
13. The Death of the Composer Was in 1962 - Tony Conrad (death of the composer/author/artist...)
14. Race Track - Albatross Note (Marcel Dzama's band)
15. Abstract Art - The Flying Colours
16. Truckload of Art - Cracker (covering Texan sculptor-musician Terry Allen)
17. What About Me? - The Nihilist Spasm Band (recorded when Greg Curnoe was still alive and in the band)
18. Painting And Kissing - Hefner
19. Kule Kule Reprise - Konono Nº1 (band of readymades)
20. Max Ernst - Mission Of Burma
21. Fluxus - Chicago Underground Duo
22. U-J3RK5 Work For Police - U-J3RK5 (Vancouver early-80s band including Jeff Wall, Rodney Graham and Ian Wallace)
23. Jacques Derrida - Scritti Politti
24. Random Rules - The Silver Jews ("I asked the painter why all the roads were coloured black")
25. 15 Years - Veda Hille (lyrics from diaries of Emily Carr)
26. Groupmegroup - Liquid Liquid (you know, Group of 7, Aktion Group...)
27. The Beautiful Ones - Prince ("Paint a perfect picture/ Bring 2 life a vision in one's mind/ The beautiful ones/ Always smash the picture/ Always everytime")
28. Amazing Backgrounds - Michelle McAdorey & Eric Chenaux
29. Edallab Indelibile - Michael Snow
30. Catholic Fashion - Ninja High School ("fibreglass hummingbird! tiny bird looks rad!")
31. Every Work of Art is an Uncommitted Crime - “Theodor Adorno” (aka Toronto artist Brian Joseph Davis)
32. Steam and Sequins for Larry Levan - Matmos (because this song is conceptual art)
33. Abstract Nympho - Chrome
34. Gepetto - Vic Chesnutt (arts vs. crafts)
35. Mona Lisa - Slick Rick
36. Obscene And Pornographic Art - Bongwater
37. Jeff Koons - Momus
38. Art Star - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
39. Run Run Run to the Centre Pompidou - Grant Hart
40. Salvador Dali's Garden Party - Television Personalities
41. Masters of Our Feelings - Barcelona Pavilion ("your art is lazy and your art is irresponsible!")
42. Yarn and Glue - Joanna Newsom
43. Mapplethorpe Grey - Pig Destroyer
44. Mario y Maria - Butch Hancock
45. Transformer - Gnarls Barkley
46. What Road? - Destroyer ("able, willing, ready/ fuck the Spiral Jetty/ tonight we work large!")
47. Elaeu - Tom Zé (I really have no justification except that I wanted some Tom Ze here)
48. Approaching the Minimal With Spray Guns - X-X
49. Galang - MIA (the latest most notorious art-school musician)
50. Cut Your Hair - Casey Deinel (Pavement cover, on the theme of creativity vs. careerism)
51. Artists Only - Talking Heads
52. (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures - The Revillos (live)
53. All This Useless Beauty - Elvis Costello
54. Story of an Artist - Daniel Johnston
55. Musical Sculpture - S.E.M. Ensemble (composed by Marcel Duchamp)

| Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, July 05 at 2:47 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (21)

 

July 4, 2006

Everyone's a Winner, Step Right Up
(Plus: Said the Carlophone, Pt. 2)

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Veda Hille: Not the Polaris prom queen this year, but the regent of all our gramophones.

The shortlist for the $20,000 Polaris prize for Canadian albums of 2005-06 was announced this morning. (Drumroll.) And the nominees are, in alphabetical order:

Broken Social Scene, Broken Social Scene (Arts & Crafts/EMI)
Cadence Weapon, Breaking Kayfabe (Upper Class/EMI)
The Deadly Snakes, Porcella (Paper Bag/Universal)
Final Fantasy, He Poos Clouds (Blocks Recording Club/Sonic Unyon)
Sarah Harmer, I’m A Mountain (Cold Snap/Universal)
K’naan, The Dusty Foot Philosopher (Track & Field/Sony BMG)
Malajube, Trompe L’oeil (Dare to Care/Outside)
Metric, Live It Out (Last Gang/Universal)
The New Pornographers, Twin Cinema (Mint/Outside)
Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary (Sub Pop/Outside)

Congrats to all. The nominees will be on a compilation album coming out in August and the winner will be chosen Sept. 18. (It was also revealed today that the prize is being sponsored by Rogers Wireless/Rogers Yahoo! Hi-Speed Internet.) A few reactions: Final Fantasy and Cadence Weapon were among my nominees; I'm startled to find the Deadly Snakes on there; pleasantly surprised that Malajube were able to break the blue anglo wall; sad to see the Pornographers where Destroyer's Rubies (which fought it out with Final Fantasy for my top spot) should be; as well as, though less so, Wolf Parade instead of Sunset Rubdown. In conversations this weekend, I got the feeling that there is an "anyone but Metric" campaign afoot out there. My other votes, between the two ballots, went to Jon Rae & the River's Old Songs for the New Town, Brian Joseph Davis's Greatest Hit and Veda Hille's Return of the Kildeer.

In honour of Veda, who is perpetually overlooked in these reindeer games, my guest post today on Said the Gramophone is all about her, with nods to Brecht, Eisler and the bootlessness of vanity.

In Depth | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, July 04 at 2:42 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (14)

 

July 2, 2006

Report on UnCanadian Activities

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Of Montreal: Secretly not Canadian.

For the Canada Day weekend, I had a piece in yesterday's Globe and Mail about all the bands in the U.S. and elsewhere who use Canadian place names as their band names and titles of albums and songs - from Mark Robinson's Flin Flon to Indiana label Secretly Canadian to California band Halifax to the new Michigan-based band Canada. Unusually, it's an idea the arts editors suggested to me, rather than one of my own - and I only discovered late in the game that Exclaim actually had covered the subject in 1999 in a piece by Michael Barclay. But, well, it is seven years later, after all, and shit, the world needs its sweet Canada Day fluff pieces. Includes a dollop of musing on perception/reality issues of Canadian identity. Do not consume while operating heavy machinery.

Lost in translation: The editors, probably rightly, cut my quote from the chorus of one my own favourite examples, Son Volt's deeply Neil Young-damaged Medicine Hat: "A tip of the hat and it's already started/ Just like that and the deed is done/ Oh, how I wish that the hat could be medicine/ The time is ripe to be on the run."

Hear Canada Oh Canada by Icelandic singer Þórir.

Thanks to the Stilleposters and ILMers who helped out with ideas - sorry I couldn't fit most of them in.

In Depth | Posted by zoilus on Sunday, July 02 at 12:35 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (7)

 

July 1, 2006

Welcome to Art Class
(And Yes, It Does Involve Shaking Your Ass)

The Power Plant gallery at Harbourfront in Toronto is starting a new summer series in which from 5-8 pm every Saturday they have music in their outdoor courtyard programmed by a guest. They nicely asked me to kick it off today, and since I was one of the only non-visual-artists they asked, I suggested we meta it up and I do a set of music about visual art and/or by artists. Of course, that was more work than I expected - 3 hours = 55 songs! - but I think the results are fun; to hear for yourself, head down there in the late afternoon. Local artists in the playlist include Michael Snow, Ninja High School, Barcelona Pavilion, Final Fantasy, Brian Joseph Davis (who's curating another afternoon this summer) and the Nihilist Spasm Band. Others range from Prince to Superchunk (source of this entry's title) to UJ3RK5. The full list will show up here tomorrow - at which point you'll see some of the stretches caused by the shortage of songs about visual art that aren't by white urbanite herky-jerky punk bands. Before you ask, no, there's no Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) by Don Maclean. Not that I never sighed at 10 years old to the great wisdom, "But they should have told you, Vincent/ this world was never made for one as beautiful as you." It's just that it's bullshit.

| Posted by zoilus on Saturday, July 01 at 3:12 AM | Linking Posts | Comments (1)

 

Zoilus by Carl Wilson