by carl wilson

Here Comes the Neighbourhood

New kidz on the block: Del points me to Nowarian by Susanna Ferreira, a brand spankin' new Toronto-based blogger on hip-hop and poly-tics, who comes out of the gate giving ripe gasface to some of the lamer habits of the region that doesn't always live up to its Torontopian billing, like when it does what she calls "the Cross Your Arms and Fake Like Rigor Mortis" at shows. Sharp distinctions are drawn: "The hip hop crowd appreciates dance, and at any given show you'll find an enthusiastic crowd (mostly still wearing the screwface) gathered around the one or two b-boy/b-girl circles that invariably form. So why is it that we love to watch good dance, we know good dance, but we're so hesitant to un-cross our arms and dance ourselves?" She brings up the comparison of vanishing dialects and languages in the world, warning that if we don't start letting our backbones slide we may lose the vocabulary for it: "Body language speaks volumes for a person's comfort level and how they regard themselves, and Toronto has got some major demons to deal with." One of the best things about the post-Y2K indie-rock scene in this town, by the way, is that it's confronted that Toronto-don't-dance bogeyman as mercilessly as it can figure how. (Also, thanks for the link!)

Another reason to watch my back: Not quite as new-minted (it's been popping since April) but just as fresh is the Pop Sheep MP3 blog, which besides its eerily Zoilus-friendly tastes, provides two scoops of verbal commentary along with each track, a comforting fact for us alphabetically addicted bloggosauruses. Its massive consists of two Toronto-based contributors and one Vancouver-based one, but the content has a strong west-coast vibe, so I suspect the Torontonians are ex-Lotuslanders too. In the past week Sheep Ian has been bringing a boatload of goodies, most notably a bunch of rare, rare Destroyer traxxx - not just from We Shall Build Them a Golden Bridge, the standard-issue Bejar-fan gottit-boast object (pick hit: I, As McCarthy), but from a compilation and best of all from early cassette Ideas for Songs, now eight years young, including the prescient The Terror Serves a Purpose (how great an opening is, "That's one precipice we refuse to fall from"?). Listening to these tracks should actually help folks who checked in more recently grasp the Destroyer program better: Not much tinge of "glam" here, just a lot of Pavement/Silver Jews, some Barrett, some Dylan, a blood infection of Spanish folk music, and several wriggly ear worms courtesy of Boney M. and, um, The Fantastiks? (glamorous, sure, but not "glam").

I like Ian's remark that each Destroyer album is "a tribute to a different genre of bad music" - I'm not sure Dan would be comfortable with that notion, but it's closer than a lot of interpretations of the stylistic shifts. I think what Destroyer gains from its relation to "bad music" (aside from a genuine amateurism and thus natural relationship to non-musicianship), and from throwing a quick-change before any particular style gets too polished, is that it keeps the songs in a zone of incomplete expression, the kind of sloppy not-quite-emotionally-there-ness that lets poetry bless the human mess - "from wife to midwife/ from house to halfway house."

The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Sunday, June 05 at 10:32 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)



Hey, thanks for the kind words about my destroyer post. I think you captured much better than I could have what I meant by the "bad music" comment. In hindsight, I should also have added that it seems to me that Bejar makes every effort to eliminate the fake emotion and melodrama that characterizes of a lot of singer-songwriter style music from his songs by using awkward musical acompaniments. at least that's the impression that I get. Regardless, he writes some amazing songs. Maybe I'll post one or two more obscure ones in a few weeks.

Posted by ian on June 8, 2005 06:09 AM



CRISSE! i've been blogged by Zoilus! i feel like some kind of special.

thanks for the mention, and thanks for addressing the anti-dance thing as well. the last time i remember REALLY letting loose was at a big rock show in Sackville, New Brunswick. i talked about this with a friend over the weekend, and we came to the conclusion that these (screwface) Torontonians might equate dancing with weakness. is it time for a "Footloose" sequel yet??

Posted by Susana on June 6, 2005 06:26 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson