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It's Their Party (Gore v. Phair)

Nice catchup with Lesley Gore - feminist, lesbian, Democratic activist and singer of bubblegum hit It's My Party in 1963 - in The New York Times today. Whodathunk? And on that note ...

I sympathize with those who find the current incarnation of Liz Phair unconvincing, but I think the hoax "Liz Phair Week" over at The Mystical Beast is excessively meanspirited - implying not only disrespect for Phair's choices (as is Dana's right) but contempt for anyone who does like the last two albums, with an adopted voice that strongly implies "stupid young girl," a repugnant level of snobbery.

That said, it was a clever move, applying the mock-blog technique (a la Harriet Miers) to music criticism. I haven't really read the Beast much before, so it took me a day to clue in (see my overcredulous comment on the first post linked above). The best element is the running commentary formed by the accompanying MP3's, with the likes of Kicking Giant, Barbara Manning etc. as counterexamples to what Dana obvs considers Phair's crass turn.

S/he makes a more judicious case in an earlier post: "I know that there are any number of 'betrayal' issues relating to the Liz Phair backlash, but what always strikes me is that she seems like a 'small' artist (small voice, small stature, poor live performance, songs about little things) who looks slightly ridiculous trying to play a rock star." There's some truth to that - but there would also be some truth in saying Phair has also always had the magnetism on record of a rock star, and to some degree seemed awkwardly crammed into her own "smallness."

In any case the sourness of the blog prank seems much more the work of someone who does feel personally betrayed, which is a more childish reaction than thinking (as her blog persona is made to) that wearing a CBGBs t-shirt is significant one way or another.

I won't be at Phair's show tonight in Toronto but if you do I bet you'll enjoy it - her live performance skills are so much better than in the old days, and she always plays a spectrum of material to please "the bride's side and the groom's side," as she's described her divided audiences. Anyone got video of her baseball-game God Bless America rendition yesterday? Going by this Believer interview, too bad she wasn't asked instead to perform The Star Spangled Banner. I don't yearn to hear her straining for the high note ("freeeee!") but I like her take:

"I think the National Anthem is a really genius song. It's so radical if you think about it. It's about war; it's truly, authetically about people who are in the midst of a very scary situation. It's really inspiring. It's got an intense melody; it's not structured. Think about it: [Sings] Oh say can you see, by the... They probably lost half of the men they knew yesterday in that battle. What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming. It was beautiful. It's so moving if you think of it as real. If you don't just take it as what you hear at sports games, but rather think about who's involved in singing it. Is that flag still there, and all that it means? And that's that moment. They're not saying, 'What a great flag we have. In battle we follow it.' They're actually bringing you into it. Cut into the middle of the movie after the big-ass battle. Imagine Hollywood doing it: it's their big last brawl and people have lost their brothers and they're weary and in the trenches and it has symbolism and the flag is a symbol for it. It's just such a moving, brilliant song. It kind of awes me because I don't think anything I ever write has that kind of intensity to it. Okay, so I had a bad night with a guy. It's different than fighting for your life next to your brothers for a symbol, for an America that doesn't even exist yet. It's just a dream, and it's embodied in a piece of cloth. It's so intense that you come up after this battle in the morning, just at the crack of dawn, where you're sort of gathering the losses and trying to figure out what really happened and how you feel about that. Is it worth your life, or your brother's life, or these peoples' bloodshed for this thing that's just a symbol? And then the melody goes soaring up to a point you can barely even reach and I appreciate that because I think the song itself should be a struggle to make you realize what you're singing about. It shouldn't be an easy toss-off song, and it does that without seeming to. I think it's a brilliant song.

Not someone to dismiss as a bimbo, even if you dislike her tactics.

News | Posted by zoilus on Sunday, October 23 at 05:24 PM | Comments (1)


October, November, Novemberer
(Gig Guide!)

The first rough draft of the Halloween-to-American-Thanksgiving live Toronto show calendar is here now! Additions and corrections encouraged.

Read More | Live Notes | Posted by zoilus on Saturday, October 22 at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)


'They're Planets, Just Like Us'

The Elliott Smith memorial wall on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles.

Thoughts today on two contemporaries - one who died, a year younger than me, and one who survived, a year older. Listening to their music you always could have guessed which would be which.

Elliott Smith's apparent suicide took place two years ago today. I shared my reaction and reflections with a music-discussion mailing list that day; a week later (Oct. 28) they became the first post on Zoilus. Unreleased studio recordings have apparently been circulating on the net this week.

A live review of a Liz Phair concert was the first thing written specifically for this site, a couple of weeks later. Today I've got a piece in The Globe and Mail about Phair's new album, Somebody's Miracle, in anticipation of her concert here on Sunday. Readers of both articles might notice that I've grown even more enthusiastic about her last album since then, but overall the thrust of both reviews is similar to what I said then: "the perennial devotee's demand that she reliably serve our needs and not fuck up... is an expectation she's never once encouraged or fulfilled before. The degree to which the Liz Phair album is full of wrong moves ... is the degree to which it is in fact perfectly in character."

Comparing the two of them, who both came out of the box with that wary, mocking gaze that middle-class North Americans our age adopted as a spiky covering to fend off a sense of insignificance (compared to the boomers, compared to the metastasization of media that we grew up with, compared to what looked like a culture without time or space for us), Smith always stayed stubbornly, vulnerably in character while Phair became the chameleon, and ever more so in recent years, willing to adapt, grow gills to breathe the same polluted waters on which Smith seemed to choke. (We're going back to that subject of why Kurt Cobain, who was exactly my age, looked like more than just one dead rock star.) Neither choice is ideal. But we don't get an ideal choice. The whole "problem" is a privileged condition. And more than ever, as much as I empathize with and often admire the martyrs, I side with those who want to stay and fight, even if it sometimes means playing possum, slipping on the disguise. It's moving when Destroyer sings, "Don't become the thing you hated." But all kids hate grownups, and I still want to be one, as messy and discouraging as that can be.

Also in today's Globe, a review of the new Freakwater album, Thinking of You...: O Grrrlfriends, Where Wert Thou? Kentucky-based duo Freakwater drew a line in the mud between country traditionalists and the "alt-country" fans of the 1990s. Setting sharp atheistic irony to old-timey string-band music was bad enough; the off-kilter harmonies were beyond toleration. But Catherine Irwin and Janet Bean were only bending the sound to the warped America they knew. On their first reunion this century, they belt out that painfully smart malcontentment with fresh vigour. Slithering textures by Chicago mutant-roots band Califone (electric guitar, pump organ, baritone ukelele) distance the music even further from any trace of purism. And in Bush country, it sounds like an arriving cavalry. (Freakwater plays the El Mocambo on Saturday.)


Now here's a little savoir Phair. Blogfight connoisseurs, notice the gratuitous M.I.A. reference.

[... continues ...]

Read More | In Depth | Posted by zoilus on Friday, October 21 at 02:32 PM | Comments (8)


Thursday Reading on a Friday Morning
(or, The Wild Kindness)

Help help help Montreal's The Adam Brown: Benefit next Thurs.!

The only things musically worth reading in Eye or NOW this week are 1. Dave Morris's interview with the Coup about how exactly you recover your career after putting out an album cover showing the World Trade Center being blown up, a few days before the WTC actually was blown up. And 2. Battling conversations with hip-hop record-collecting pioneer Freddy Fresh, who's spinning at Supermarket tomorrow (Fri Oct 21) night. Not that there isn't other good music mentioned in their pages (Ninja High School, Freakwater, the Bellrays) but this week's penmanship is at low ebb. So let's look elsewhere.

Sit right back and my colleague Robert Everett-Green will tell you the tale of a fateful trip in which Dr. Dre and Burt Bacharach somehow end up recording together. It's funny because it's true.

The latest buzz, fuelled by Drag City's release of this joke 7" to accompany the Silver Jews' new Tanglewood Numbers, is that there may finally be some substance given to the long-rumoured Silver Palace project, i.e., a collab' between David Berman and Will Oldham. Presumably as Oldham aka Palace aka Bonnie Prince Billy's way of helping Berman aka DC Berman aka the Silver Jews aka Mr. Jews out of his shyness about live performance and into a viable touring position. Tour schedules have been bandied about, though not in any very reliable way. Where's the reading here, you ask? Check out this week's Berman profile in the New York Times by Wyatt Mason, with whom I was dancing at a wedding last weekend, by pure coincidence. I mean, we weren't set up by David Berman or anything. And okay, he was dancing with my wife and ignoring me completely. It was very romantic. And if you think that was namedropping, you ought to check out this (frankly, pretty compelling) gossipy blog.

Lee Henderson introduces you to the next big Vangroovy thing, They Shoot Horses Don't They?, in PopMatters: "You've driven down the main street of your city with the doors wide open and you shot your guns in the air and cried out to be Free! Free! Free!, all the while listening to underground music from the worst parts of the world, and you wondered what band could ever express this feeling you have, this feeling that life is only worth living if we can somehow find a way to celebrate the worst of humanity. The crimes committed against truth require a soundtrack and They provide it."

I hear that Billy Joe Shaver, who had just broken off an engagement when I interviewed him on-stage in Toronto this summer, has now gotten married to another young woman - Wanda Lynn Canady, who wed the old five'n'dimer on Sept. 26. Not bad for a cowboy of 66 whose previous three marriages were all to the same woman! (Move along, nothing more to read here.)

A song cycle based on Strunk & White's The Elements of Style.

Indie rock's favourite mixed drinks.

When emo songwriting meets the reality-dating show.

Creepiest kiddie act ever.

I'm a bit in love with Sarah Silverman. I know, get in line. Behind this week's New Yorker, for instance.

And my friend Carl A. Zimring (a voracious music fan and former campus-radio DJ, among much else) finally releases the book of urban-environmental history he's been working on since I first met him, which always sounded fascinating to me. But I'm a geek.

And that's all for tonight.

The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Friday, October 21 at 12:35 AM | Comments (3)


Blind Items! True Lies!

C. What U.S. newspaper of record has assigned an American writer (best known for her account of how teenagers are "branded") to chronicle the Toronto music scene for its Sunday magazine, with research already underway? Does it have anything to do with their shame and embarrassment over this? Let's hope it works out better than last time.

U. What public radio service of a nation known for its unfortunate dental hygiene is devoting a two-part series to the music of its former colony, "The Maple Music Revolution, from Joni Mitchell ... to the Arcade Fire"? (See lower half of first page.) Given this picture (note the dentistry), which side of that range is expected to get more of its due? And what true patriot music label seems to be getting a bit of a boost here?

R. Meanwhile, which of the hardest-working men in Torontopia has so had it with the commercialization of "indie" music that he is considering moving to Vienna and launching a squash magazine (about the racquet sport, not the root vegetable) called Physical Chess?

I. And what Nashville label is crying "BLAME CANADA!" over its own demise?

O. What minimalist composer who is not Philip Glass will be delivering a lecture to supplement his concert in Toronto next week?

U. What area band made our day by finally putting an end to their miserable reign, though their lead singer has yet to guarantee that he won't turn any more local autonomous music events into absurd fiascos? (A reference to what happened here - the documentation of which, tragically, disappeared with the demise of that message board.)

S. What ex-critic from a newspaper mentioned above, and more recently former organizer of a fantastic event at one very shiny boondoggle of a museum in Seattle, has taken advantage of her newfound free time to start a blog, thereby making us a little happier? When will her rock-crit husband, laid off from the same institution, follow suit?

Y. Likewise, which fine local avant-garde jazz radio program has made our lives brighter by launching a podcast?

E. What other radio program that I've previously covered here, this one produced by a national broadcaster closer to home, won a prestigious international award while its staff was locked out, but is now at least getting another airing of its eight episodes (beginning, forgive me, last weekend, but continuing the next two months) on Sundays at 4 pm, 4:30 pm in Newfoundland?

T. What website devotes itself to the memory of Honeymoon Killers, Voice Farm, The Nails and other unlikely objects of veneration circa 1980-1985, with a new pick each week?

?. And finally, which harp-plucking songwriter, invariably described as "elfin" and much admired on this blog, recently told an Australian publication what a "nightmare" it has been to deal with the misinterpretations of herself and her work that are rife: "... I'll read something about unicorns, fairies, princesses, things that're supposedly in my music, but there's not a single line in any song that I've ever written that refers, directly or indirectly, to any of those things," she says. "A lot gets written about the innocence that the songs contain, but innocence most certainly is not an idea that I'm interested in, musically speaking. ... [My songs] are the product of just living on Earth, which make them the exact opposite of innocence." Her next album will consist of 10-minute-plus songs primarily about "longing and death," which ought to rattle a few tin ears.

News | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, October 18 at 10:00 PM | Comments (7)


Goats Move Mountains (Live)

John Darnielle and friend.

Last night's Mountain Goats show was a bit more satisfying if not quite as energetic as their visit in May. The set list seemed more thoughtful, or perhaps it was me, no longer just so excited to be seeing tMG after all these years and so more able to notice details. With the absurd amount of competition in the clubs - from Son Volt, Feist and Wolf Parade - the crowd was smaller, so there was more intimacy between us and John Darnielle (and Peter Hughes, whose use of bass as a lead instrument to JD's rhythm guitar continues to amaze), but also between the devotees, who drew two encores from a visibly weary John. The crowd seemed to be familiar mainly with the 4AD material - I think I was the only one who shouted in approval when songs such as Tollund Man, Twin Human Highway Flares or even Color in Your Cheeks surfaced. The high point, however, came when he was joined on-stage by opening band The Prayers & Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers (Darnielle made pointed remarks about the band name - he'd have called it just The Prayers, he said, but the band's Christian humility is satisfied by having people mock and insult their name; I call them PaToADS for short). Lousy name or no, they rawked out, leading JD to do something I couldn't have imagined - he set down his guitar, took the mic in both hands and acted like he was actually the lead singer of a rock band. This happened in the song Against Pollution, which ends with a kind of apocalyptic vision, and John put one foot on the monitor, leaned out over the crowd, extended his arm and howled it out like a preacher. Indelible.

Of equal note, though, on more conventional tMG grounds: It occurred to me during a beautifully hushed rendition of Love Love Love (one of several songs he sang very very quietly last night, which was spine-tingling) that while there are many songs out there referring to Kurt Cobain's suicide, that's the only one I know that mentions him by name. It seems of a piece with Gus Van Sant's Last Days in marking the point at which Cobain's become a historic pop-cultural icon - a James Dean, albeit with a somewhat more complex significance; a reference point. Some critics found the Cobain verse awkward but I think they were actually just projecting their own self-consciousness; it's as fluid as the lines about King Saul or Sonny Liston. (I love the emphasis on his vulnerability and humanity in Darnielle calling him "young Kurt Cobain.") I think Darnielle was pointedly claiming the touchstone, saying that it's as valid as American Pie's reference to James Dean - that you don't have to be clever or sociological or allusive or territorial about it, you can just tell it straight-on. It's bolder than it first sounds, I think: Quietly setting its teeth to assert, "There's nothing cheap about this" - especially in the context of an album about Darnielle's own drug-addicted youth. (It would also be an apt song to sing at any Elliott Smith memorial concert, on this weekend's second anniversary of his death.)

Another small exquisite touch, almost unnoticeable, was in Color In Your Cheeks, a song (in my reading) about the treatment of refugees. The final verse normally goes, They came in by the dozens, walking or crawling/ Some were bright-eyed/ Some were dead on their feet/ And they came from Zimbabwe or from Soviet Georgia,/ East Saint Louis, or from Paris/ Or they lived across the street/ But they came, and when they'd finally made it here/ It was the least that we could do to make our welcome clear:/ Come on in... Without making a point of it or even leaning on the altered words, Darnielle has changed the Paris line to or New Orleans.

Chatting afterwards with the friend who came with me, who'd never seen tMG before. She was shocked at his energy and humour, expecting a more sombre person. That contrast is one of my favourite things about Darnielle. We spoke about sad songs sung in upbeat ways, as in klezmer or the blues. She made a comparison I'd never thought of before, between tMG and the Wedding Present - both Darnielle and David Gedge often singing dark stories (both strongly narrative and usually fairly realistic, excepting Darnielle's myth songs) in fast rock rhythms and major chords, using sophisticated language. Of course, Gedge is English and thus hangdog and sarcastic, and also much more concerned with playing with classic elements of songwriting form - with his rhymes and cadences and pop references. While Darnielle is American, and thus less guarded, but more literary and prosodic, trying to do things songs don't normally attempt but poems and novels do, which gives him a wider subject range, and his songs feature more epiphanies - and more violence.

I also thought: If you picture Darnielle as a skinny 17-year-old Californian with long stringy hair, wearing a band t-shirt and being the jumpy, bookish smartass in a small clique of goth/metal depressives, his personality doesn't seem so incongruous after all.

Live Notes | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, October 18 at 06:40 PM | Comments (2)


Scratch, Blur, Burn


This weekend left me weakened: It was like some kind of travelling salesmen's convention - no sleep, hotel rooms, endless cocktails, a lot of American strangers and yelling. So I come to the internerd today creeping on wobbly knees. All for good reasons though - a wedding that ranks as pretty much the most joyful nuptials I've ever had the pleasure to witness. Congrats to Bez and Hannah. And they had a great klezmer band, too, with lead vox by Dave Wall (of the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir & much more) - as well as a Russian Vegas-meets-turbo-folk band that was, well, something to remember. The musical highlight was the bride and groom's own duet on a Russian song they wrote together (not that the bride speaks Russian, but she sure can sing) that was kinda thrash-polka, and whose chorus sounds like "Put it in your boots! Put it in your boots!" I suppose you had to be there. Drunken groupsinging in the shuttle bus at 1:30 in the morning, ranging from Till There Was You to hammy Marlene Dietrich parodies to Guns'N'Roses and Meatloaf was - well, I adore drunken groupsinging, and yes, it was a very white crowd.

While I'm being chummy, I should also shout out a hurrah to my pals Doug and Liz on being divebombed by the stork this weekend: And then there's Maud!

Beyond the bonhommie, I had a couple of fine musical experiences: On Saturday night, as part of the Soundplay festival, I saw the French group Cellule d’Intervention Metamkine at the Latvian House on College: It's an ensemble (or, as they so frenchly say, "variable geometric structure gathering different musicians and cineastes") that, at least in this performance, improvised with two projectionists using multiple 8- and 16-mm projectors bounced off mirrors onto a feature-film-sized screen, various supplementary light sources and piles of film stock that they scratch, blur and burn, along with Jérôme Noetinger making electroacoustic music on tape recorders, synthesizers and effects pedals. So far, so 20th-century-avant-garde, I know, but the experience was so immersive and hypnotic, so unpredictable and (to use an overabused term, but it truly applies here) synaesthesic, I felt like my brain was pumping out the myelin, forming new neural connections every second of the 40 mins. or so they "played." (For one thing considering the aura of film as opposed to video, its materiality, the volatility of its chemistry, and how the wonder of its capturing image and light is totally forgotten when you're watching a narrative movie.) As well, as many people have noticed (and pardon my rockism), even though two work with image and one with sound, they're so interlocked that it's a lot like a band. Albeit a band you can't really find because they're all scattered around the room sitting on the floor in heaps of equipment. See them if ever you can.

The same night we hit Maggie MacDonald's benefit show for her upcoming Brechtian-indie-rock-theatre opus The Rat King (website not yet live) (see what Sally McKay had to say when the project made its rough-draft debut in my Tin Tin Tin series last year). Metamkine made me late for Mrs. Zoilus's reading, but I arrived in time to hear the faboolus Phonemes lay down the most rawked-out, bite-yer-ear-off rendition of their sweet quiet bilingual music ever, despite having James from the Singing Saw Shadow Show filling in for Mathias on drums with darting lights of panic in his eyes and bassist Liz's microphone being turned down too low for her harmonies to be heard. When I asked singer Magali after the show why the sudden fierceness, she gave the credit to her stomach infection. Intestinal fiyah! (During the set, she said, "I have just one message for you here tonight: Wash your hands. Often.") Magali is, by the way, the lead actress in The Rat King. They were followed by a stripped down version of the playwright's own band, Republic of Safety - sans their two bassists, with just guitar drums and voice. The trio was in peak form (especially drummer Evan, who at one point made a joke about fruit roll-ups and Maggie's vagina to which I cannot possibly do justice). RoS sounded about twice as punk as usual in this trebly configuration, and they noticed it, too - somewhere late in the set there was a spontaneous Minor Threat Wire cover. Watch for The Rat King at Toronto theatres in January.

News | Posted by zoilus on Monday, October 17 at 03:16 PM | Comments (3)



Finally, somebody agrees with me about Antony and the Johnsons.

Ben Ratliff today in The New York Times: "an unfortunate mixture of desolate, tortured camp and parched tastefulness."

The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Friday, October 14 at 02:08 PM | Comments (4)


'Once You Don't Know Nothin,
You Can Do Somethin'

The Sun Ra Arkestra.

In various editions of The Globe & Mail today, you'll find three efforts from me.

1. An essay on the social and musical significance of the late, superlative jazz eccentric Sun Ra - and the latterday Sun Ra Arkestra's struggles in trying to carry on his legacy. The piece includes an interview with Arkestra leader Marshall Allen, who brings the band to Toronto's Lula Lounge (a very cozy venue!) from Tuesday through Friday next week. [... Read it here ...]

2. A review of the new Tangiers album, The Family Myth. Three outta four stars: As Dorothy found out on her trip in the twister, sometimes you need to go away to understand where you're coming from. After their head-turning 2003 debut Hot New Spirits and the internal turbulence that scuttled the potential of last year's Never Bring You Pleasure, Toronto band Tangiers decamped to that latter-day Oz, New York, to record this third album. And while 1960s garage rock and the Clash remain templates, this set also suggests a savvy update of their home town's wide-eyed, jangling Queen Street sound of the 1980s. If Tangiers once seemed like a clique of bright boys declaring their presence in hooky fits and starts (attracting misleading Strokes comparisons), songs such as Dredging the Harbour and Classless and Green now paint broader landscapes in splatters of oil and musk. They're as worthy of note as Metric or Hot Hot Heat, but the risk is whether the tastemakers behind the curtain can be unfickle enough to embrace the second-last "next big thing" over again.

3. And in the Vancouver edition, a short piece on the Interference: Static X Static festival, which brings Quebec musique actuelle luminaries such as Jean Derome and Joane Hétu together with Vancouver improvisors and international figures such as Fred Frith, Janek Schaeffer and Kaffe Matthews. The piece reflects a bit on the two solitudes of improvisational strength in Canada, in Quebec & B.C. I didn't have space to raise a question often on my mind, which is why those scenes seem so much better nourished than the one in Toronto - if not necessarily in terms of talent, in terms of community and audience development, and also perhaps in the sense of a local stylistic exploration that seems more well-defined and distinct from other places. Some Toronto musicians have argued to me that Toronto does have that; as a more-than-casual but less-than-immersed observer, I don't feel that it's quite gelled, though it's emerging more clearly lately, now that there's more crossover for example between the Rat-drifting group of musicians and the more jazz-based improvisers. (See Zoilus entries past on the group Drumheller, for example.) Is such a coherence even desirable? Certainly Toronto's diversity is a plus. Yet there's something undeniably stirring and emotionally compelling about the Vancouver and Montreal scenes' sense of place and moment. I'd love to jaw more with people about these issues.

Read More | In Depth | Posted by zoilus on Friday, October 14 at 01:14 PM | Comments (3)


Thursday Reading: Take Me Out


They still aren't the new Beatles, but I may have to reconsider my complete apathy towards Franz Ferdinand now that drummer Paul Thomson has proclaimed their love for the Barcelona Pavilion in today's Now Magazine, even wisely singling out (by its opening Fall quotation) the New Materiology single, which was also the drug of choice for the late, great John Peel.

And how's that for a segue: Today's John Peel Day! Sure it's evening, but there's still time to get your teenage kicks: The Guardian has a festschrift's worth of articles. Thinking of Peel raises my objections to this new me-myself-and-iPod era in which we're all supposed to be our own DJs - whether it was Peel or Brent Bambury or fill-in-your-local-hip-radio-personality-here, the warm intimate tones of a trusted disembodied voice remains the most soulful means of being introduced to undreamt-of music, second only to mainlining via friends and lovers. And yeah, I do mean that radio is better than mp3 blogs. Will podcasts be able to fill that void? To some degree, maybe, but the fragmentation that accompanies it as a medium partakes as much of alienation as of communalism. But we'll see what develops - if it can be arranged so that John Sakamoto can play whole tracks without getting special permission from a label, that will be a step. I don't always want to be my own DJ, anymore than I want to grow my own food or be my own garbageman. This means, somewhat to the chagrin of my teenage-anarchist self, that I am essentially pro-civilization. Sometimes the cyberweb seems to have other ideas. (Though not the same other ideas as these folks.)

Also in the weeklies in Toronto today: Wolf Parade don't believe their own hype (no, really!); Adult. questions the guitar=rock equation; Elliott Brood, um, broods; are Les Angles Morts the Arcade Fire's equivalent of Pete Best and Stu Sutcliffe (or is that just more A.F. snake oil? see Wolf Parade, above).

Tim Perlich Crank Watch: Yeah, right, people who want to see a Matthew Barney frigging film are going to be "driven away" by Bjork's music. Has Perlich ever seen a Barney film? "Beatless and creepy" is nothin' compared to a giant football field of descending testicles.

And last but far from least, how galactic formation relates to chord changes. That one relates to this weekend's fascinating-sounding Gravitas event at the Music Gallery, an all-too-rare marriage of science and art in which composer-improvisor John Kameel Farah will accompany animated visualizations of "the dynamics of galaxies using supercomputer simulations" created by astronomer John Dubinski. I can't make the gig, dammit, but many people should. (Likewise to Sunday's Damo Suzuki show with members of Broken Social Scene and Do Make Say Think!)

Plus: Everybody's talkin' bout bagism, shaggism, thisism, thatism, and as usual about M.I.A., this time for licensing Galang to Honda, slapping her with her "don't sell out to product pushers" line. I refer you back to Eppy's reading of that song and that line as a self-conscious contradiction in a dialogic soliloquy, and ahead to DJ/Rupture's 10-Step Guide to Selling Out.

Story of the week, though, is probably the great J.T. LeRoy literary hoax. Or "lifestyle," as one possible perp puts it. Whoa. Not that it's entirely unexpected, but its overall success (movie deals, etc.) is on a historic scale. I think the logical next step is for other people autonomously to begin writing "J.T. Leroy" books, converting it into a diffused multiple name a la Karen Eliot/Monty Cantsin/Luther Blissett. Let her/him/them sue, and then we'll have some fun.

Housekeeping: A complete Zoilus Toronto Gig Guide update for late Oct. and early Nov. should roll out in the next 24 hours or so.

Oh! And BIG UPS and congratu-fucking-lations to Harold Pinter for winning the 2005 Nobel Prize!!! They sure got this one right. I love his response too: "I think the world has had enough of my plays."

The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, October 13 at 06:15 PM | Comments (1)