by carl wilson

The Not-So-Soft Boys (Plus: Juno Who)


If you ever had doubts that the Sadies are Canada's current, twangy version of the Funk Bros. - that is, the backup band supreme - you can lay 'em to rest. ATG announced today that Robyn Hitchcock will follow up his guest appearance on the Sadies' last album with a Toronto show billed as "Robyn Hitchcock & His Sadies." The relationship, which began with a meeting at the Calgary Folk Festival and a gig in Winnipeg, is one of several collaborations Hitchcock's sought out, after a long dismal slide in quality in his solo work - including the Soft Boys reunion and his recent album with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. The Sadies, of course, have made like an instant band for Neko Case, Jon Langford and Andre Williams and who-knows-how-many-others on stage and stereo in recent years. (The show's at Lee's Palace on May 28, All Ages, doors at 7 pm, tickets $26 $17.50 adv, on sale now at Ticketbastard, Rotate, Soundscapes & the Horseshoe.)

Zoilus would like to thank the Junos for not adding to the well of Canadian self-hatred this year. Special congrats to Feist and k-os, as well as to jazz winners Hilario Duran and David Braid (fine, if not mindblowing, choices). Arcade Fire was robbed in the album-design category. And while I see no reason to prefer Billy Talent or Sum 41 to Shania Twain (quite the opposite) or even, really, Sarah Harmer to Sarah McLachlan, Avril remains a far sight superior to Alanis and the further we can distance ourselves from the Dark Days of Celine, the better. And though I didn't catch it with my own peepers, I was glad to hear that kd lang represented for Neil Young, to whom every decent human being, creeping beast and sparrow on the wing wishes a swift recovery, after his recent minimally invasive ministrations from interventional neuroradiologists. (I don't know about you, but I get chills at the very word ... aneurysm. Eek.)

For the 40th straight year, the Nihilist Spasm Band won no Junos. Adding injury to passive neglect, the NSB was for the first time in those many decades also vetoed at The OTHER 50 Tracks. Oh, NO Canada! ("Home of Diefenbaker, who gave his life!") I have threatened to secede and launch "The OTHER Other 50 Tracks" in retaliation. Who's with me?

News | Posted by zoilus on Monday, April 04 at 05:18 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (13)



Aye, hang them all....

Posted by B.F. "e-Mole" Mowat on April 9, 2005 10:25 AM



Tim - The Juno-for-the-NSB thing was, like, totally a joke.

Posted by zoilus on April 6, 2005 09:31 AM



Heh guys, your support for the NSB is sweet and has good intentions but, try to be a little realistic.

You talk about how indie rock is not getting Juno awards and then you want the NSB at the Junos? (one step at a time...)

If you want to celebrate a group like that, someone should release a compilation Cd and/or hold a special event for them with their own coin.

They deserve it but it is not going to happen at the Junos.

p.s. It is good to celebrate those who have been part of our history or our big sellers. Seems the balance is improving on the show over the past few years. (maybe we can hope for success for others "on their coat-tails"

Posted by tim on April 6, 2005 09:28 AM



You've got that right, the Arcade Fire were robbed in the design category... Not to say that I even had a glimpse of Jakelope's album design, or even have any knowledge of them, I assume they're something akin to Finger 11 or some rap-metal group? Designer Tracy Maurice lost her ticket on Jets Go and had to bus out to Winnipeg just for the occasion, too!

Posted by Jay Watts III on April 5, 2005 05:29 PM




Point taken on advertising the criteria (though it'd take a pretty big helping of revisionism on my part to rationalize them with anything more than a "Because I decided that's where we'd start.") The criteria were kinda written on the back of a napkin . . . on purpose. Partially because I'd rather talk about music than criteria and partially because I thought it would be interesting to see the criteria develop organically. And they have developed organically (i.e. when you decided to try and exclude acts the CBC had already included).

As for the list not meeting Allan's idea of an alternative...that's part of the point. If nothing else, I think this has been a great proof of the DIY ethic. Don't like someone else’s list? Start your own! I'd love to read Allen's. It might teach me something. These lists are no more definitive than my knowledge (and your's and Peter's). Let's treat them as suitably flawed and let's argue; it's fun and we'll likely add to our understanding.


Posted by fatcitizen on April 5, 2005 04:45 PM



Whoa, I don't think anybody was trying to put down the Sadies as band sluts. Their choices of collaborators are always stellar, even when (as with Hitchcock or Williams) they've seen better days.

Posted by zoilus on April 5, 2005 02:34 PM



All due respect, but I see nothing wrong with what the Sadies are doing. Let's face it, it gets them paid and certainly broadens their musical experiences. Does Robyn Hitchcock really need street credibility? What about Andre Williams and Neko Case? Not likely. In the end...I say more power to them, Sir Hitchcock and anyone else that wants to champion great Canadian music.

BTW, if you want to get in touch with the Canadian landscape, try touring Canada sometime - speaking of Hank Snow...the more gigs the better, especially between Toronto and Calgary...though Regina is starting to become bit of a hotbed for gigs these Kosenko and company.

Bully on the NSB idea. I sense a write-in campaign...let me know if you want help with that.

Posted by Phil on April 5, 2005 01:07 PM



I didn't know or had forgotten about the "Rock Era" rule myself, Fat C. I think you should make that more explicit to the readers, as well as its rationale.

I haven't been choosing from before the rock era mainly because I think the CBC's short list does that job fairly well - it's not complete - Allan's point is generally well taken - but it does take in Wilf Carter, a song written by a Canadian for Tommy Dorsey, Hank Snow ... and of course the ceeb's final list is topped by Ian & Sylvia - 1963, so that's well pre-Can-Con.

I agree 50 is narrow. It would have been a different kind of exercise if, say, each of the six of us had submitted 50 and we'd made it the Other 300. That's one reason I've tried, when my spirit and attention hasn't flagged, to name different artists than the CBC list, not just different songs. (But sometimes it has flagged.) But if we were to *debate* all those songs too - well, then I'd be out for sure. As it is, I've found it a bit challenging to take part in the discussion with a group that's a much more straightahead rock crowd than I'm used to, but I don't think that's really a reason to quit.

But for somebody like Allan it's not the alternative he'd be looking for, and I think that should be acknowledged.

Posted by zoilus on April 5, 2005 11:10 AM




Though we haven't published ALL the criterea, one of them is that the tunes are recorded in the rock era (which we've defined as 1954 on). Not sure if that would preclude Mr. Messer and his Jubillee or not . . . (its an area of my record collection that is sadly lacking)

I'm glad the list is pissing SOMEBODY off (besides Carl, of course).

Carl! Come back! All is forgiven! (smile)


Posted by fatcitizen on April 5, 2005 10:23 AM



Having been witness to that initial Calgary folkfest Hitchcock/Sadies collaboration (which was, for the record, Astronomy Domine and Lucifer Sam) , I can imagine you're in for a great show.

I say bail on the other 50, Carl. Reading the discussions, in particular the excruciating one on Hank Snow (I've Been Everywhere is an Australian song originally, BTW) causes me far more pain than Jian and co. ever did. And why just 50? That was the problem with the CBC list to begin with. If we're using this list to try to define what makes Canadian music special, 50 will always be too narrow.

But then, maybe I'm too old to care that deeply about whether post 85 Canadian alt-rock gets enough respect. I'm more annoyed about the boomer self-congratulatory theory that there was no Canadian music scene to speak of before the Guess Who and Pierre Juneau came along to save us all. FWIW, my list would include, and not merely to grind that particular ax, tracks by Don Messer, Ward Allen, La Bolduc, Hank Snow, Robert Charlebois, Dick Nolan, David Wiffen, Mac Beattie, Lucille Starr; In a sense, pre-CANCON songs that remind of a rural conception of Canada that still has tremendous resonance for me. And believe it or not, but the NSB fits into that conception, as do the Barenaked Ladies. Whereas something like DFA79, to my ears, could more or less come from anywhere.

Posted by Allen B. on April 4, 2005 11:58 PM



the nihilist spasm band are totally due. we should get them nominated for best adult alternative album.

Posted by steve birek on April 4, 2005 11:30 PM



Let's hope The Sadies aren't destined to be JUST a back-up band to the street-cred crowd. They're so great and should've been at the Junos collecting a new doorstop themselves!

Posted by Jo on April 4, 2005 06:43 PM



I am, but doubt it would be an easier ride, though I agree with the NSB vote. I too found myself strangely in agreement with Junos this year and creeped out by the Sum 41 live performance. As a gordie-cum-lately to the T-Hip, I was gratified by their spirited, if wonderful performance on the part of Downie I was too high to listen to them the one time I was at a Roadside Attraction ('95?) to know if it was a camp gimmick.

C'mon...let's go!

Sadies and Hitchcock is too damn perfect...can someone record that and send it to me please?

Posted by Phil on April 4, 2005 05:37 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson