Wednesday, April 20, 2005


PWI's Own Chinese Democracy: The OTHER 50...Volume 20

Wondering what all this is about? Before you begin, you might want to read days one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen. The List so Far: Round 1: Hockey: Jane Siberry (Mike) Helpless: Neil Young (Keith) I Go Blind: 54-40 (Peter) Nothing at All: Maestro Fresh Wes (Aaron) Tired of Waking Up Tired: The Diodes (Carol) A Case of You: Joni Mitchell (Carl) Round 2: Have Not Been The Same: Slow (Mike) Hallelujah (Live): Leonard Cohen (Keith) Wheat Kings: The Tragically Hip (Pete) Vetoed By Carol Subdivisions: Rush (Carol) Vetoed By Keith Rags and Bones: Nomeansno (Carl) Round 3: One Great City!: The Weakerthans (Mike) Westray: Weeping Tile (Keith) Vetoed By Pete Deeper Than Beauty: Sloan (Pete) Having an Average Weekend: Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet (Aaron) I've Been Everywhere: Hank Snow (Carol) Illegal Bodies: Simply Saucer (Carl) Round 4: Help Me Rhonda: The Langley Schools Music Project (Mike) Vetoed By Pete Secret Heart: Ron Sexsmith (Aaron) (FC's note: Actually Aaron's Round 2 Catch Up Pick!) Daylight: The Nils (Keith) Barrett's Privateers: Stan Rogers (Pete) Vetoed By Mike War in Peace: Skip Spence(Aaron) Vetoed By Carol Static: Terrible Canyons of Static; Chart #3; World Police and Friendly: Godspeed You Black Emperor! (Carol) What About Me? The Nihilist Spasm Band (Carl) Vetoed By Keith Round 5: Blues For Big Scotia: Oscar Peterson (Mike) Sudbury Saturday Night: Stompin' Tom Conners (Keith) Little Girl: Death From Above 1979 (Pete) Brian Wilson (Live): The Barenaked Ladies (Aaron) Vetoed By Carl New York City: The Demics (Carol) Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: Buffy Sainte Marie (Carl) Round 6: Blues for Pablo: Gil Evans with Miles Davis (Mike) O Marie: Daniel Lanois (Keith) Can't You See: The Matt Minglewood Band (Pete) OK Blue Jays: The Bat Boys (Aaron) Vetoed By Keith Put the Blame On Me: Handsome Ned (Carol) Time to Get a Gun: Fred Eaglesmith (Carl) Round 7: Log Driver's Waltz: Kate and Anna McGarrigle (Mike) Curling: The Dik Van Dykes (Keith) The Deep End: Swollen Members (Peter) Theme to Hockey Night in Canada: Dolores Claman (Aaron) Andy: Mike O'Neill (Carol) Cool It: Wayne McGhie & The Sounds of Joy (Carl) Round 8: Rumours of Glory: Bruce Cockburn (Mike) Wake Up: The Arcade Fire (Keith) Love the OTHER 50? HATE the OTHER 50? Want to offer the Fatcitizen tickets to sold out concerts? Leave a comment! In today's installment of the endless saga: Mike shivers, Keith dry heaves and Carol hands off grooming tips. Carol: I'm not a fan of Bruce Cockburn. I suppose he belongs on the list, but for a while you just couldn't get a way from him. This isn't a veto. Carl: Carol, in the last post you said: I rather liked the Y2K rule; it made you dig and avoid many of the critcal darling bands. Don't get me wrong. I really like Broken Social Scene, The Arcade Fire and the one track I've heard from Death from Above 1979. I just don't see them as essential or quintessential yet. I feel they are part of an re-invigorated indie movement in Canada which will likely be documented as well as "Have Not Been The Same" did for the last rennaisance. Am I alone in this? And that's basically right, except that I think the reason "Have Not Been the Same" was necessary was that the indie movement of that period died out before it was ever very well-documented, while I think this one is much more documented in its own time and may carry on and evolve without the big early-1990s collapse that marked the eighties, which related more to economics and the Nirvana effect than anything else. The music is stronger and much more diverse this time around, too, I think, but it remains difficult to claim any perspective on it. I wasn't in favour of the Y2K rule because 2000 actually is five years ago now, so there's potential stuff to talk about in there, and we don't have to be excessively self-restraining because, after all, who are we responsible to, anyway? Still, "nothing from 2004 or 2005" might have been a good rule. Carol: Good point. And I think credit goes to the internet for the last 10 years of documentation. I seems indie music in Canada -- in fact, North America -- has taken the DIY ethos to heart. The 80s local bands creating an infrastructure that wasn't necessarily there for them, supporting the up and comers, technology gets cheaper, and we have happy, healthy, prolific and (very important) internationally touring bands. Its encouraging to see independant music span borders in an clear and obvious way. And so, further to my point, in this warm and fuzzy euphoria, it's very easy to get caught up in the latest favorite afterglow. We should open a window and see if we remember his/her name in the morning. If we do, then, it is a good thing. If not, well it was fun while it lasted. Keith: No argument here on the 2004 cutoff, but that cat is wayyyyy out of the bag now. Just for the sake of interest, I've had a quick look at the list and my back of the napkin decade breakdown looks interesting (more love for the seventies than the nineties?): Fifties: None (The Diamonds, Paul Anka? Anybody?) Sixties: Four Conners, Snow, Peterson, Gil Evans Seventies: Eight Mitchell, Young, Diodes, Saucer, Minglewood, Demics, McGarrigles, Wayne McGhie Eighties: Twelve Siberry, 54-40, Maestro, Slow, Cohen, Nomeansno, Shadowy Men, Nils, Buffy, Dik Van Dykes, Handsome Ned, Cockburn. Nineties: Four (four?) Sloan, Sexsmith, Lanois, Eaglesmith "Aughties": Six Weakerthans, Godspeed (2000), DFA, Arcade Fire, Swollen Members, Mike O'Neill (2000) I think we can admit to some bias (there's a little too much love for the recent stuff) but it's more balanced than I would have guessed. Mike: Back to your pick a second, FC. I'm just back from holidays, in an advanced state of pastry and butter withdrawal, jonesing for a baguette, jet-lagged all to heck and Keith you serve me up the Arcade Fire? Feh. Earlier on in this blog-o-thing, I made jokes about me being officially old. Well, it's no joke and it is official as of today: for the first time ever, my barber trimmed my ears. The other sign that I'm officially old? I really don't get the fuss/bother/hype over Arcade Fire. Maybe I need to see them live, to hear the song as you described it, but as is - that track couldn't give me goosebumps if it was played in Alert in January while I was in my birthday suit. Keith: Forget goosebumps, I think that image just made me throw up in my mouth . . . Seriously though, Mike. You might be right about the need to see Arcade Fire live. The show I caught at The Blacksheep last fall turned me from observer vaguely interested in what all the fuss was about to true believer. The transformation took about three minutes. To be fair to all the other picks I've "veto baited" in the last week or so, it is my duty to remind you that you do have one V-bomb left*. Use it if you must**. * Please PLEASE don't veto my pick. ** Then again if everyone tries to spend ALL their vetos in the next couple of days the final round of picks will take longer than the last few minutes of a Final Four game. . . Carol: that track couldn't give me goosebumps if it was played in Alert in January while I was in my birthday suit. Would that before before or after the barber trim? Heck, ya need all the hair you can get! Mike: Oh hair's not a problem. It's sort of like the 100 monkeys at 100 typewriters...given enough time and limited access to razors or barbers, I could pass for an Allman brother. Keith: On THAT note, I need something to block Forbes as Greg Allman out of my head . . . Do you have a pick, Carl? Carl: Power - Plunderphonics (aka John Oswald) (1975) - reissued in 2004. (Listen to Power) Here you have the mash-up, hip-hop rhythms mixed with a manipulated Led Zeppelin riff, a forerunner of Byrne & Eno's My Life in the Bush of Ghost with the use of the preacher tape loops, and the foreshadowing of all the legal battles about sampling that go on to this day - including the notorious incident in the eighties when another Oswald piece using a Michael Jackson sample ("Dab," ie. Bad backwards) was suppressed and destroyed and thus turned into a cult object by Jackson's record company lawyers - all from a Canadian avant-garde composer, conceptual artist and improvisor who remains active and remains underrated. He got there before just about anybody. Plunderphonics was treated by the record companies as a huge threat and breach of copyright in the 1980s and early 1990s, but when he wanted to collect and reissue the tracks, he was able to negotiate permissions with most of the copyright holders. However, some of the record companies wouldn't return his calls, basically, so the reissue was put out by Negativland's own label as a "pirated" recording, with Oswald feigning (transparently) a lack of involvement. But that was awhile ago now and no legal action has been taken, which kinda suggests that compared to peer-to-peer file sharing the industry is regarding this kind of collage work as relatively unthreatening, or not worth the legal hassles and bad publicity. (Of course they did go after The Grey Album last year but maybe that was because it all came from just two sources.) It's all familiar territory now, but Oswald was one of the first to hack his way into the thicket. Carol: Excellent pick on so many levels! The production and creativity were fantastic. The copywright questions that it raised when I was first made aware of Plunderphonics (late 80s) were mere pablum compared to where we're at now. Remember when Mixus Cassetteus was 6th Horseman of the Apocolypse? The 5th was Ronnie who left before they became famous (see Terry Pratchett's "Thief of Time"). I also have a pick: (Listen to Staying in On Weekends) Chuck Angus started the Grievous Angels two years after his former band, Toronto punk threesome L’Etranger split in 1984. Tired of the scene, he and band mates singer Michelle Rumball and fiddler Peter Jellard made a go of it busking. The band later rounded out with bassist Tim Hadley and former L’Etranger drummer, Peter Duffin Originally from northern Ontario, Angus wanted to return to his ancestral and musical roots. Indeed, he how represents Timmins-James Bay as their MP (NDP) in the House of Commons. Grievous Angel’s 1990 CD, One Job Town serves to remind us that Canada is largely made up of a series of small towns veined with roads. Lots of roads . More roads than towns. And more towns than cities. Yet, a good many of the salt-of-the-earth folks residing in these towns want to circulate to the cities in hopes of a better life or any life at all. Escapist dreams make up the rock canon of North America as they do the bulk of this fine, but depressing record. So, it’s with a sense of relief I came across “Staying in on Weekends”. Reading like a letter to or the meeting of an old boyfriend, the song is devoid of anger or regret. It starts off sounding like every teenager’s nightmare: “And I’ve been staying in on weekends/Don’t see much of my old friends.” Not very rock and roll at all. And it gets worse: Johnny, I don’t feel very Much like dancing And I’m looking like A house-wife More and more these days Who’d want that?! Life is about adventure and rebellion, right? Ok, but after a while, you begin to look like mutton dressed as lamb. A disconnect sets in and your priorities change —drastically: When my little girl Takes my hand Well might not Understand But Johnnie, I like it where I am. A song of which Springsteen would be proud. A song about being in the right place, at the right time for the right reasons. No, I haven't forgotten about putting together links to buy the records! It's late though and I have to go to sleep. Tomorrow, I promise. The NEXT episode is The OTHER 50's Twenty first!
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