by carl wilson

Good Fights

Photo swiped from Sasha with apologies (and naughty giggles).

One. News broke on Pitchfork this week that the U.S. release of M.I.A.'s Arular has been delayed indefinitely. (Anyone know if it's still coming to Canada?) It was supposed to come out Feb. 22, but her London label XL is claiming there's an issue with clearing a sample... But rumour has it that the real reason for the delay is that she is considering offers from major labels. Personally, Zoilus doubts that she would be better off on a major, at least for her debut - it's dangerous to pump your buzz balloon up too fast, because it can burst and leave everybody covered in tequila and regret. Maya should eat organic. But what's more amazing is that even with all the buzz, much of the biz is still so skittish at something as irreducibly itself as M.I.A.'s grime-ragga-asia-rap-politixxx concoction. A friend of a friend of Zoilus tells us that she questioned a buyer at a very major Canadian record chain and was told that it would not be making a national buy on Arular, whenever it came out - that is, they wouldn't put a single copy in their stores, except (I'm guessing) maybe in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Asked why, the buyer said they "didn't like the record." Um, is that how the fuck they do business? Really? (Apparently something similar transpired when the Arcade Fire first tried to get its discs into the chain's shops.) Zoilus suggests whenever you're walking by a major record shop, wherever you are, you walk in, sing a few bars of Pull Up the People and walk out, Alice's Restaurant-style - or failing that, specifically request they get the M.I.A. album. Do it every couple of days. (Or medically approved email substitute.) (Thanks to John Sakamoto for reading Pitchfork.)

Two. CBC Radio is in the midst of a drawn-out exercise called 50 Tracks, in which (the very good on radio) Jian Ghomeshi and (the very unbearable on radio) Shelagh Rogers and panels of critics and musicians etc. are choosing the 50 "essential" Canadian songs decade by decade. They're up to the 1980s now and Joel Plaskett has nominated The Nils' Scratches and Needles - a true teenage kick from the late Alex Soria et al at the dawn of Canadian punk, and one of the only nominees in the series that recognizes the Canuckderground that's coming to flower today. The public is invited to vote and I urge you to go do it right now. Do it in honour of Alex Soria's memory. It takes five seconds. (Don't be tempted to vote for Rockin' in the Free World instead! Neil Young is already on the list!) (Thanks to John Campbell for the alert.)

Three. A more minor beef: Joanna Newsom is touring the U.S. and Europe but there are no Canadian dates. I know a lot of Torontonians (and I bet Montrealers too) are yearning with a shameful passion to see the divine Ms. N. play here. So drop her booking agent, Ali Giampino at Billions Corp in Chicago a note and tell her so: Email Ali - In other news-om (groan), the BBC has live video of her performing in London, and earlier this month Julianne Shepherd had a nice little tidbit fleshing out a subject previously discussed on Zoilus, the influence of West African kora polyrhythms on Newsom's harp playing. Shepherd pointed to some audio evidence from Toumani Diabete and Ballake Sissoko of Mali. (But with unwarranted mockery.) Anyway, to recap, WE WANT JOANNA. Thank you.

Four. There will be no Overtones column in this weekend's paper. I was taking a mental health day. You are encouraged to send letters of horrified dismay to The Globe and Mail and to the Review section. But wait till Saturday. If you did it now it would look suspicious.

News | Posted by zoilus on Friday, February 18 at 5:16 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (5)



Yeah, I just saw the news of Joanna's tour dates over at Pitchfork and I'm thinking, WTF, no Toronto date YET. Coincidentally, it was your commentary several months backs on the wonderful Ms. Newsom which made me check out some of her music. I haven't bought any CD's yet but I am intrigued.

Posted by mike on February 21, 2005 9:07 AM



I did read that and dropped Simon a note last night - he said he'd read our discussion, Luca, but hadn't read the subsequent column. He stands by his point of view; I stand by mine. I may post a little more on why sometime soon, tho I don't want to beat the subject into the ground. (Esp. if the latest news means that none of you can even get the album!) .... By the way, saw Galang on Much's "The Wedge" on Friday - it was so much fun to see it on a non-computer screen. Made her seem even more thrilling, the way she represents for herself so boldly and so nakedly unconcerned about anybody's presumptions to judge her legitimacy or illegitimacy.

Posted by Zoilus on February 19, 2005 11:06 PM



check out SR on MIA here:,reynolds,61282,22.html

Posted by luca on February 19, 2005 9:53 PM



I don't know if that is the best 45, Bruce, but it does have a wonderful music video. Of course, if it came out today, Muchmusic would only ghettoize it to the Wedge.

Carl, Ali G. is a she. I thought you might wanna know. By the way, Joanna Newsom was quite splendid at SXSW last year. I'm sure she'll be up here sooner than later.

Posted by sp on February 19, 2005 11:15 AM



Re: 80's nostalgia

The best Canadian 45 of that horrid, miserable decade was the Jolly Tambourine Man's "Apple Strudel Man." And since it wasn't nominated , I'm not voting...

Posted by Bruce Mowat on February 19, 2005 11:06 AM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson