One should never announce blog posts in advance. It’s a trap. I will still try to conclude the Ex series sometime this weekend, despite intervening distractions, disasters, entertainments and existential voids. Meanwhile, some news, linx, and l’Shanah Tova too.
It’s been widely reported in Toronto that the long-running Wavelength music series is switching venues, after many years, from Sneaky Dee’s to the new Garrison club at 1197 Dundas W., just past Ossington. What hasn’t been announced anywhere except at the show itself, so far as I can tell, is that the Trampoline Hall Lecture Series, the monthly night of “lectures by people on subjects they’re not expert in,” where I’m the doorman, music selector and sometime curator, is making the same move. Monday night’s final Sneak’s show came nearly five years to the day since our first there, Sept. 20, 2004. (Trampoline Hall itself will reach its eighth anniversary in December, which if you do some math means it sprang forth in the spirit of “9/12.” If you want to tiptoe through the topics of TH’s past, there’s an app for that.) The new space is better for TH in every way, from its feng shui to the fact that our friend Shaun is no longer just the booker (as he was at Sneaky Dee’s), he’s the owner. Meetcha there.
The Polaris Prize gala looms, as the nerdiest of Canada-nerds make predictions and lay wagers. I hate to break it to you, but having been in that non-smoke-filled Grand Jury back room, I don’t think there are any external signals or augers you can read; it simply depends on how the conversation goes between that other bunch of nerds. I’d bet against a repeat winner, so that eliminates one of the noms, but everyone else has a chance. To pass the time, though, you can read my ruminations on why Fucked Up’s my top pick, the interiority of indie, Canadian music in general and the Aqualung Act in the Polaris blog’s “Better Know a Jury Member” series.
Also in the Polarized column is this article in Exclaim!, in which I’m quoted, on the demographics of the jury and the nominees. Lots one could say here but in essence this is a bit like looking at the Tony Awards and bitching, “All these nominated plays are from New York!” The regionalist complaints (like our parliamentary system) privilege geography over population and inevitable cultural-magnet patterns so disproportionately, not to mention ignoring the way artists (and critics/broadcasters/etc) move to cities from other places, to the extent of taking place in a bit of a purist fantasyland. I don’t mind the criticisms but the statistical fixation is legalistic and unproductive and, to be blunt, boring Canada 101(,000).
In other prize-season news, there’s just over a week left to cast your online vote(s) in the $5,000 ECHO Songwriting Prize, designed by the Canadian songwriters’ body “to identify what’s next and what’s best in current independent music.” I was on the panel (photos helpfully provided for demographic dissection) what picked tracks by Timber Timbre, D-Sisive, Land of Talk, Sebastien Grainger and Joel Plaskett. Now it’s your turn to finger the winner. Oh, wait, that came out wrong.