Tuesday, February 22, 2005

 

Little Girl Keep Growin Up

No tunes or pictures today (I'm still trying to figure out how to access my FTP remotely) bare with me if you feel like it. San Francisco is bee-YOU-tiful. The weather has been sunny and warm, the people are friendly and the food has been excellent. I went to see Paul Westerberg last night (once again thanks to Gary for the ticket and to my other new SF friends including Cheyenne, Paul, John and Leslie for the great time). Westy was very entertaining. He blew lyrics, threw racial epithets at his bandmates and spontaneously smashed a perfectly good guitar in a fit of pique. The headstock kicked up off the floor and caught him in the back of the head. He kept playing with a tiny rivulet of blood mixing with the sweat on his neck. In short, after five or six Jack n' Cokes, if you squinted hard enough, you might have believed it was 1987. Then a scary thought occurred to me. It's NOT 1987. All the people in this room are kinda old and kinda bald. (Paul's got to be nearly 45 himself.) In a panic, I looked around the room and thought: "Am I old enough for nostalgia acts? Has Paul Westerberg become the Jimmy FREAKIN Buffett of the thirty-something hipster set?" I sipped my Jack n' Coke and stared at my feet as Paul wiped the blood from the side of his throat and ripped into Left of the Dial. Nostalgia or not, that song hit me somewhere important. It still made me want to deny that tomorrow mattered. It still made me want to do reckless, exciting things; to behave like I was immortal. THAT, my friends, is why rock and roll matters. And if that makes me nostalgic, lock me up and send me to fucking Margarittaville.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

 

Happy Birthday to Me!

No Bruce. No, no the car's beautiful but I couldn't . . . really. You're FAR too generous. The Autumn Defence: The Sun in California The Disposable Heroes of Hiphopricy: California Uber Alles (DK's Cover) (Go! Buy the Rekkids!) Lots to say, little time. First, it seems Bruce Springsteen has finally recognized my long-term fandom! No, not by giving me a classic Vette, but rather by releasing his new record on my birthday. Thank you, Bruce. Good times! Second, don't fret if you don't hear from me for a few days next week. I haven't forgotten about you. TMBGITW and I are just off to lovely, warm (hey! It's all relative) San Francisco for a week of wine tastin', book readin' and rock listenin' (Westy on Monday, Ted Leo on Tuesday and Mission of Burma on Wednesday. Then maybe even David Byrne and the Walkmen later in the week). VERY Good times! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! SF Noise Pop Festival If you're reading in SF, and you see me at a show, say hello and I'll likely buy you some sort of beverage. (I'm 6'6" and indie rocker skinny. I kinda look like Joel Plaskett and I often go to concerts wearing this) FC's doppelganger . . . actual appearance may vary Third: Three takes on bloggin' Take one: The whole Jon Stewart Talon News video, is worth a few (ok, eight) minutes. If you don't have time I'll give you a quick translation: Them Blogs (and Ted Hitler) is funny. Them glorified bloggers pretending to be White House Reporters is even funnier. Them glorified bloggers pretending to be White House Reporters while peddling their 8" cut . . . is mind-bendingly hilarious. Take two: Fat City's paper of record seems to be all over the blog thing. Media reporter Chris Cobb recently donated his hard-hitting analysis of the bloggocircle (thanks for the link, Scam). ----- LATE NEWS, SEEMS LIKE THE LINK NO LONGER WORKS ----------- For those of you who didn't get to see it, let me translate: Blogs are mostly written by teenagers and other people who either can't spell or who want to sell you porn...or try to sell you porn in broken English (Well, Duh!) Some blogs are well written and relevant. They're the ones that get read. Take three: I shouldn't poke TOO much fun. A Cit. reporter recently interviewed me for a piece that will run in their Arts section in the next little while (link to come, I'm sure). Translation: The rest of the bloggosphere might be hot as a thousand devils, but this site has officially jumped the shark. Oh, check out Pitchfork congratulating themselves for making The Arcade Fire such a big deal. (Funny, I heard about them through Said The Gramophone). And, finally. The Autumn Defence (ok, ok, America . . . "Defense" . . . are you happy?) is Wilco bassist John Stirratt's side project with Pat Sansone and (former Wilco drummer) Ken Coomer and (former Wilco/Blue Rodeo side man and CPA spokesdude) Bob Egan. Their two full lengths are good, you should buy them. The Disposable Heroes of Hiphopricy actually toured with U2 and had a video on Much Music (WAY back in the day). This track hasn't aged well, ("we leave the poor living in a poophole" . . . cummon!) but it did kinda take me back. Lead Hero Michael Franti is now fronting Spearhead. Their live show is reportedly VERY solid. You can buy Hypocricy is the Greatest Luxury here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

 

What about the OLD Bob Dylan?

He doesn't even LOOK like Conor Oberst . . . or Bob Lind Listen to Boots of Spanish Leather (thanks for the hookup, Kenny) After nearly three weeks, I finally got my copy of I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (thanks for nothing, Amazon) and it's good, very good. But, for the last time people, Conor Oberst is not Bob Dylan. In fact, nobody's Bob Dylan (Bob Dylan hasn't even been Bob Dylan for YEARS now). It made me wonder exactly how tired the phrase "the new Bob Dylan" actually is. So, in the spirit of Last Plane To Jakarta's 101 Things You Can Compare Interpol to Besides Joy Division I Googled "the new Bob Dylan" and came up with over 700 hits. Now, many of those hits are people writing about how much they're looking forward to "the new Bob Dylan" album or movie (ok, maybe not the movie). Along with those Bob fans are a whole lot of overzealous journos and reviewers laying the "new Bob" crown on a virtual rogues gallery of also rans including: Elliot Murphy Simple Kid Steve Forbert Phosphorescent Chuck Brodsky Willy Mason Stephen Fretwell Ray Lamontange Melanie Jad Fair and (perhaps most painfully) Adam Duritz I think I speak for everyone when I say: "They're not booing folks, they're just saying 'Whooooooo?'" Buy a copy of The Times They Are a Changin'

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

 

The Party of the First Part

Fatcitzen is taking copyright classes from Miguel Sanchez AND Dr. Nguyen Van Fook Listen to Andrew Vincent and the Pirates: Theme From Degrassi Junior High (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) Warning! This post is about school n' booklearnin' first and rock n' roll second. Your's truly has gone Back To School. Motivated partially by a desire to improve myself and partially by the desire to have a greater understanding of which statutes we audiobloggers are breakin', I've begun auditing a course in intellectual and industrial property at the University of Ottawa. There was much nervousness as I arrived in the classroom wondering what to expect. Newsflash! Things have changed: More than half of the students in class use laptops rather than pen and paper to take notes (I don't think half of us could TYPE fast enough to keep up back in the day, even if we could afford a laptop). Newsflash! Things haven't changed THAT much: At least one guy in the class was using his laptop to surf the net and play solitaire during the lecture. Ahhhhhhh, schooldaze! How I miss Techmo Superbowl. If you're at all interested in the impact of the internet and copyright law on the artists you love and your ability to listen to music where you want, when you want there are a whole PILE of cool things to read and learn. I'm currently really digging Promises to Keep by Harvard Prof. William Fisher. In it, Prof. Fisher describes in great detail the (very complicated) legal processes that - among other things - lead your cds to cost $20. He also proposes an alternative copyright compensation scheme which, he believes, will offer better prices to consumers and more money to artists. (I haven't finished the book yet, but, from what I can tell, it looks a little like the levy system we have in Canada. Unfortunately, since it would mean a major change to record company business models, it might be a non starter.) Toronto Star Columnist and U of O Professor, Michael Geist has written a great deal about the internet, copyright law and music here in good ole Canada (where peer to peer file sharing, pot and gay marriage are all legal, or close to it. After me, everyone: "The Maple Leaf Forever!"). In this presentation, Geist argues that our approach to "modernizing" Canadian copyright law should be what he calls a "Seinfeldian Nothing." In a couple of recent pieces in the Toronto Star (registration required) Geist says the parts of the music industry that are actually developing new talent (i.e. the indies) look to file sharing as a way to INCREASE business rather than decrease it. Geist argues that the fat cats (I'm talking to you CRIA) complaining about the debatable impact file sharing is having on their bottom lines should focus on using the legal remedies they currently have (ie the millions of dollars of levies that are collected on blank CDs, tapes and other media) rather than searching for new ones (like RIAA-style lawsuits against individual file sharers). Ok, ok, enough with the geeky tech law stuff. More rock later, I promise. Buy a copy of William Fisher III's Promises to Keep Buy a copy of Michael Geist's Internet Law in Canada Professor Geist was also one of the leaders in establishing the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic Andrew Vincent and the Pirates rock out. You can buy copies of their records here

Monday, February 14, 2005

 

Hey TMBGITW, go to the kitchen and get the speakers!

Hey, PWI-ers, mind if I have a moment with my girl? While I'm chattin with her, listen to these lurve songs. Josh Rouse: Nothing Gives Me Pleasure The Weakerthans: My Favourite Chords Tom Waits: Picture in a Frame (live) Son Volt: Mystifies Me Iron & Wine: Naked as We Came TMBGITW, I love you. Happy Valentines Day. K

Friday, February 11, 2005

 

Long Winters? I'll show YOU long winters!

Listen to Carparts (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) Listen to Stupid (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) The Long Winters are from Seattle. That means they probably think "long winters" are three month periods with too much rain in their latte. (Do I sound bitter? Sorry. It's just that all of my family's in Vancouver . . . I call them from Fat City on a -40 degree Wednesday and my sister in law tells me about tending the crocuses. . . Cindy, I love you, but serenity NOW!) At any rate, real winter sufferers shouldn't hold the Winters' name against them, particularly if they like, smart, jangly guitar pop with sing-alongable choruses and likeable, hangdog sentiment. (Carparts is so catchy that I'm even turning a blind eye to that last verse. "At least my watch is right two times a day" sounds like a bumper sticker you'd see on the back of a retired dude's Winnebago). The Long Winters' third full-length is scheduled for release by Barsuk sometime later this year. Keep an eye out and in the interim pick up a copy of 2003's When I Pretend to Fall.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

 

Oh, and one more thing

Forget all this "The New Bruce Lee" stuff. Tony Jaa is the new freakin BATMAN. Watch a trailer for Ong Bak here.
 

Montréal is so hot right now

It's true, I read it in the New York Times and everything. La Grande Ille de la Poutine (PWI's weekend HQ) is hotter than John Gomery's forehead. And it's not just because of those flavour of the month guys either. (I kid, I KID. . . because I love) In fact, if you believe The Times' David Carr, the Montreal thing is attributable to three key factors: The weather: In short, if you're cold, you stay inside and practice; The rent: In short, musicians are poor and, if their rent is cheap, they can afford to stay home and practice; and, The tired old anglais v. francais thing: In short, Montréal's english bands are somehow more likely to be cool because there is no anglophone star system. No gigs means you stay inside and . . .well, you know, practice. Now I'm not going to get into it with the guy about his reasoning (though I think trying to quantify what "makes" a scene is a mug's game . . . or at least a music historian's) but I will take issue with one thing: french music in montreal is not limited to, as Carr so glibly puts it, "accordions accompanied by crooning chanteuses." I mean have you HEARD Le Nombre? . . . goddamn! So here are three Montréal acts which may not have crossed your radar The Diskettes: Art (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) Low fi sugar pop with enough witty turns of phrase to keep me interested. La Descente du Coude: L'Axe du Mal Malaxé (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) Political, francophone hardcore. It's melodic enough to keep me interested. The King Khan and BBQ Show: Fish Fight (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) Low fi rockabilly with no cymbals. It's spookfunky enough to make your ass shake . . . verrrry interesting. Buy a Diskettes record from Humblebee Buy a La Descente du Coude record from Scratch Buy a King Khan and BBQ Show record from Goner Speaking of the Arcade Fire, check out this cool blog entry from David Byrne where he suggests Win and the crew should skip the whole major label feeding frenzy and just stay with Merge. (Thanks Stereogum)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

 

News from Jimmy B

PWI hearts Jim Bryson Listen to Punchbuggy: Daylight (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) Stop the Press: Jim Bryson - friend of PWI and one of Fat City's best songwriters - is gonna be on David Letterman. No, not as a headliner (in due time, friends) but as a guitar jockey for former Ottawan and current moderately big deal Kathleen Edwards. (Is Kathleen looking to provide Jim some payback for lifting so many songwriting ideas? . . . Hmmmm?) Keep an eye out, March 2nd. In other Bryson news, Jim recently posted a golden oldie to his web site that I thought I'd share with y'all. Punchbuggy, the band he fronted before going solo, recorded this version of Daylight on Mag Wheel records' excellent 1998 Nils tribute: Scratches and Needles. Pick it up, you need it. You can get a copy of scratches and needles by contacting Mag Wheel. Visit Jim on the webber-net.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

 

"New" Matt Mays and DFA 1979

Who will take home this year's olive oil dispenser wrapped in foil . . . I mean, highly prestigious Juno Award? Listen to Matt Mays: City of Lakes (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) Listen to Death From Above 1979: Dead Womb (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) There are SOME interesting tidbits in the otherwise bleak Juno awards lineup. (Congrats to Canada's most talented musician, Avril Lavigne, on leading the list of nominees) The top alternative album category looks a fair bit like this year's Outies list: Thankfully, the "making sense" portion of the program ended swiftly after that. As I've mentioned before, the way the Junorati pull together "new" artists lists is confusing. As far as I can tell, the "new" label can be planted on any artist who released a record which the academy believes brought them their initial public attention. In theory, that's supposed to happen in the year being celebrated (i.e. 2004, this time around) That means nominating Death From Above 1979 for best new group makes sense. Before 2004, DFA had only one little-heard EP on offer (2002's Heads Up on Vancouver's Ache Records). Nominating Matt Mays for best new artist is a little ummmm, let's say less sensical. Mays' excellent self-titled debut came out in 2002. Since then, he's recorded, well, nothing. Better late than never, Juno-dudes. In other news, the cause of DRM-free electronic music distribution seems to be picking up some steam with an old label and a new one getting on board the MP3 bandwagon, no locks, no propriatary software, no trouble (thanks to LHB or Boing Boing for the links, can't remember). Oh and a memo to the folks at Nettwerk: Digital Grapes of Wrath, please. Some of us would love to relive highschool french classes without encoding old purple cassettes. Buy Matt Mays For the heck of it buy a copy of The Grapes of Wrath's: Treehouse I don't think the Heads Up EP is in print
 

Spencer's Baaaaack! With Heavy Trash

Matt Verta-Ray and Jon Spencer: "Rockabilly got Soooooouuuuuuul" Heavy Trash: Lover Street (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) R.L. Burnside (Featuring the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion): The Criminal Inside Me (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) Speedball Baby: Toss My Salad (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray are Heavy Trash. Heavy Trash are a two-headed rockabilly monster. A diesel spittin', meat eatin', ass shakin' pimptacular love machine! Spencer's best known for his work in the nineties* with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. People should, however, take more notice of the verrrry heavy afternoon in 1996 JSBX spent with blues legend RL Burnside. That afternoon turned into the juke joint holler of Burnside's A Ass Pocket of Whiskey (sic). Spencer's partner in crime in Heavy Trash, Verta-Ray, used to play jerky, spooky lead guitar for Speedball Baby (imagine Jeff Tweedy's solos on A Ghost is Born. . . now Mexify them 10% and add heroin). Good times, friends. Good times. Buy the Speedball Petite EP Buy A Ass Pocket of Whiskey Pre-order Heavy Trash * A turbulent decade . . . the candidacy of Ross Perot, the rise of Roxette. It was an exciting time to be young. (much love, Homer)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

 

Groundhog day rock! (Song link works now!)

I think they mean "Hibernate": Wintersleep Listen to Orca (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) Sometimes I wonder why we bother with Groundhog Day in Canada? Wiarton Willie's a great rodent n' everything, but does anyone actually think that this winter's only got six more weeks left in it? Do you really think we're gonna get off that easily? If you do, my good friend, then you - like about 90 percent of the folks in PWI land - are simply not Canadian. Canada is a land of realists; people with ice in their veins and flannel on their backs. Wintersleep are from Halifax. Orca is a great track about being a kid and wanting to be a monster when you grow up. Overall, front man Paul Murphy sounds like kinda like Eddie Vedder. After listening to their first record, I can't tell if I think they're a really cool, post rocky, acousta-heavy metally thing (like Explosions in the Sky with lyrics or Sigur Ros with aggression and english . . . which would be hot) or if they're a really cheezy, prog rocky, acousta heavy metally thing (like, well, Queensryche . . . which wouldn't be so fresh). Visit the good folks of Wintersleep. Buy Wintersleep's first record (entitled "Wintersleep") or their new record which is titled, in a new feat of wankery, "Untitled" here. I wish I could make a bet on whether their next record will be called "Self Titled."

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

 

Put up yer Duke(s)

He only LOOKS twelve . . . Cuff the Duke's Wayne Petti Listen to Ballad of a Lonely Construction Worker (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) Someone who shall remain nameless (because I can't remember his name) reminded me that I was going to put in a good word for the boys of Cuff the Duke. So, here's the good word: Cuff the Duke are the best thing to come out of Oshawa since Eric Lindros and the Chevy Silverado. Even more importantly, they're not art school dropouts from Mile End writing thoughtful songs about blue collar heroes; they're high school dropouts from the suburbs writing arty songs about blue collar heroes. BIG difference. You can visit Cuff the Duke on the interweb here. You can buy a copy of their debut full-length Life Stories for Minimum Wage here.
 

No Birdman Stage This Year

Another visit from Mick n' the boys is unlikely at Bluesfest 2005 Listen to Underdog (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) Bad news from the mighty Birdman Sound. Turns out there's not going to be a Birdman Stage at Bluesfest 2005. No word yet on why the stage -- which had memorably hosted Andre Williams, Los Straightjackets, Bionic, Howe Gelb, the Bellrays and the above pictured Dirtbombs, among others, in the past couple of years -- will not be making a return visit this summer but a good guess might be tightened belts due to the very gaudy failure of last year's Toronto Blues Fest (managed by the same group of folks). Soothe your sadness at the news with a little slice of Mick Collins' and the Dirtbombs, the motor city's biggest, baddest two bass, two drummer attack. Buy Ultraglide in Black
 

Thank god for the WWE and Mr. T

FTP problems have now been addressed. As such, all of you who left here frustrated last week, looking to hear Randy Savage go rhyme for rhyme with Mr. T can now be satisfied (thanks to Scammy for the heads up on the broken links).

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