Tuesday, May 31, 2005

 

Quien tiene mas rock?

(Listen to Fighting Girl) Rock and Roll needs more women like Liz McDermott; women who aren't afraid to holler a little bit and kick up a fuss. Don't misunderstand, the Banditas' lead singer isn't impolite. Saturday night, she took the time to remind us how happy she was to be the only woman performer at Kelp's 11th birthday "sausage fest." Then she smirked and with a gruff "One, Two, Three, Four!" released the sonic hounds. McDermott and the two other Banditas - bassist guitar player (sue me, I was drinking!) Scott Terry and stand up (!) drummer Colin Vincent - play rock and roll with chutzpah (you'd call it "balls" at a sausage fest); it's muddy, aggressive and just a little angry. The Bandita's self titled debut will be available at their CD release at Irene's on June 22nd 25th or get in contact with Last Drag Records. Pregnant Pause Bite bite bite bite bite...What you never seen a talking chimp before? Just when I hit a wall, running short of new ways to think about old songs, my buddy Mike Forbes sends me this thread which gives me a whole new look at one of my favourite Mats tracks. (Listen to I Will Dare) Just look for Paul Healy's quote about cigarettes and bacon in the middle of the page. Thanks, Mike. Looks like Gary Benchley has a book deal. Also from Mike, this interesting Project where average people (and also journalists) attempt to recreate their favourite album covers. Some of the attempts are successful and some have the models coming off like "waiters at a particularly low-rent transvestite bar." Good read. Also a good read is this piece which asks questions about how recording technology changes the way artists perform. It's something I've been interested in for awhile along with the death of the record. Don't know why I'm still obsessing over this but Newman has a hilarious line re: the lovely and talented Ms. Belinda: "The press label Stronach as the sexiest politician, kinda like saying Delta Burke was the best looking Designing Woman."

Friday, May 27, 2005

 

Somebody KELP me!

(Listen to Gary Haché by Andrew Vincent and the Pirates) If one day an asteroid hits Montreal and New York and maybe even L.A. and London and - in the resulting catastrophe - Ottawa becomes "the next Montreal" (which would make it the Next Next Raleigh, or the Next Next Next NEXT Seattle) then Kelp records will be our Constellation/Merge/Sub Pop. It's true! Jon Bartlett - Kelp's founder, and the mastermind behind Greenfield Main and Rhume - is one of Fat City's original DIY'ers and this weekend he's got half the acts on his label getting together to paint the town green-ish. Good stuff. Looking forward to seeing old faves Andrew Vincent and the Pirates (with Rolf Klausener filling in for bass player Bryan Curry) and The Acorn along with new (to me at least) faces Camp Radio, The Flaps and The Banditas tomorrow night at Barrymore's. Pregnant Pause, later.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

 

Happy Birthday Dad

(Listen to Outfit by The Drive By Truckers) It's been a C-R-A-Z-E-E weekend and I haven't got a lot of time to chat with y'all. I just wanted to get a few things out: - It's my Pa's birthday today. Happy birthday Pa! The song - written by Jason Isbell for his dad - is for you (I'm not sure you'll like it, but I have no pipe music...sorry). - I know I promised a review of Thursday's Bright Eyes show but a combination lack of time (my buddy's wedding festivities this weekend were WAY too much fun...my apologies to anyone for anything insulting I may have said, it was the vodka's fault) and lack of inspiration (despite my repeated attempts to give Conor the benefit of the doubt, Digital Ash keeps striking me as musically muddled and emotionally distant; kinda Radiohead lite. Somehow there's enough data coming through the music for you to tell he's horny/sad/lonely or angry - remember LASH is GOOD - but the arrangements are so needlessly full of STUFF, that you're separated from the emotional impact.) the sound at Metropolis was great, though. Pregnant Pause: - "Daniel Larusso, is gonna fight" (warning: Sound) - Was Darwin wrong?...No.

Friday, May 20, 2005

 

The OTHER 50 on Here and Now

Hello and welcome to Pregnant Without Intercourse (PWI, for short) I'm your host Keith (Fatcitizen) Serry. If you're here this afternoon it's probably because you heard Matt Galloway and I talking about things on CBC's Here and Now. Miss it? Not to worry, I've got you covered! I hope you enjoy your stay. Please feel free to leave a comment. In case you're curious, the best way to read through and listen to The OTHER 50 Tracks is to start at the very beginning. Those of you who like their dessert first may just be interested in reading the final list (Recounted in order of appearance -- we didn't rank any of our choices -- with the selector's name in parenthesis.)
  1. Hockey: Jane Siberry (Mike)
  2. Helpless: Neil Young (Keith)
  3. I Go Blind: 54-40 (Peter)
  4. Nothing at All: Maestro Fresh Wes (Aaron)
  5. Tired of Waking Up Tired: The Diodes (Carol)
  6. A Case of You: Joni Mitchell (Carl)
  7. Have Not Been The Same: Slow (Mike)
  8. Hallelujah (Live): Leonard Cohen (Keith)
  9. Rags and Bones: Nomeansno (Carl)
  10. One Great City!: The Weakerthans (Mike)
  11. Deeper Than Beauty: Sloan (Pete)
  12. Having an Average Weekend: Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet (Aaron)
  13. I've Been Everywhere: Hank Snow (Carol)
  14. Illegal Bodies: Simply Saucer (Carl)
  15. Secret Heart: Ron Sexsmith (Aaron)
  16. Daylight: The Nils (Keith)
  17. Static: Terrible Canyons of Static; Chart #3; World Police and Friendly: Godspeed You Black Emperor! (Carol)
  18. Blues For Big Scotia: Oscar Peterson (Mike)
  19. Sudbury Saturday Night: Stompin' Tom Conners (Keith)
  20. Little Girl: Death From Above 1979 (Pete)
  21. New York City: The Demics (Carol)
  22. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: Buffy Sainte Marie (Carl)
  23. Blues for Pablo: Gil Evans with Miles Davis (Mike)
  24. Marie: Daniel Lanois (Keith)
  25. Can't You See: The Matt Minglewood Band (Pete)
  26. Put the Blame On Me: Handsome Ned (Carol)
  27. Time to Get a Gun: Fred Eaglesmith (Carl)
  28. Log Driver's Waltz: Kate and Anna McGarrigle (Mike)
  29. Curling: The Dik Van Dykes (Keith)
  30. The Deep End: Swollen Members (Peter)
  31. Theme to Hockey Night in Canada: Dolores Claman (Aaron)
  32. Andy: Mike O'Neill (Carol)
  33. Cool It: Wayne McGhie & The Sounds of Joy (Carl)
  34. Rumours of Glory: Bruce Cockburn (Mike)
  35. Wake Up: The Arcade Fire (Keith)
  36. 10lbs: The Super Friendz (Aaron)
  37. Staying in on Weekends: The Grievous Angels (Carol)
  38. Power: Plunderphonics (Carl)
  39. Does your Mama Know About Me?: Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers (Mike)
  40. Satellite: Jim Bryson (Keith)
  41. Bums in the Park: Bob Snider (Peter)
  42. Gaslight: The Ugly Ducklings (Carol)
  43. Body's in Trouble: Mary Margaret O'Hara (Carl)
  44. Proud to be Canadian: Dayglo Abortions (Keith)

Non-Veto Round

  1. Son of a Bitch to the Core: The Headstones (Pete)
  2. Ahead by a Century: Tragically Hip (Keith)
  3. Aria from Bach's Goldberg Variations: Glenn Gould (Mike)
  4. Edmonton: Carolyn Mark (Carol)
  5. Anciens Combattants: Rhume (Aaron)
  6. Gens du Pays: Gilles Vingeault (Carl)
Even if you know the final score, you might want to check things out from day one. Thanks again for visiting. The F.C.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

 

Quickly Now!

First, many thanks to those of you who sent messages of condolence about my uncle. They are appreciated. No music tonight. I just got into Montreal for the Bright Eyes show. It's billed as "songs from Digital Ash in a Digital Urn" but here's to hoping Conor drops some Wide Awake stuff for us old guys. (Review tomorrow) What's left is today's "Quick Hits" section. Does anyone mind if from now on I call it Pregnant Pause? Nobody? OK! Pregnant Pause - Jonathan Franzen has an interesting short story on the New Yorker site today. (I'd sure love to see another novel from him as good as The Corrections) - The OTHER 50 Tracks is featured in this week's Georgia Straight and I'm confirmed on tomorrow's edition of Here and Now between 4:15 and 4:30. Stream it here, if you'd like. - Was anyone else spooked to hear The The on a Docker's commercial? - If you're headed out to see Bright Eyes tonight you might want to read this.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

 

Song for Norman

Something within fishermen tries to make fishing into a world perfect and apart - I don't know what it is or where, because sometimes it is in my arms and sometimes in my throat and sometimes nowhere in particular except somewhere deep. Many of us probably would be better fishermen if we did not spend so much time watching and waiting for the world to become perfect From Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It (Listen to The Mountain Goats Pale Green Things) I’d imagine that my uncle Norman MacLean had close to nothing in common with the author who shares his name. Uncle Norman said little and, to my knowledge, wrote even less. He was a willow of a man; gentle, dependable, solid and uncomplicated. His voice, when he used it, was a curious instrument; by turns high-pitched and rumbling. It whispered and roiled like a big ship moving into dock. Then it slid, in bursts of humour; a wrenching metal hull on ancient, wet wood. Norman died Friday at the age of 83. Like the author, my Norman MacLean was a physical man who loved the things his hands and feet and arms and legs and heart and eyes could do when they worked together. He delivered mail for over 30 years; he loved softball and hockey, tennis and badminton. He loved to fish. When Norman said he and my aunt Jean - who was his life for fifty years - were “goin’ down th’Margaree” it was understood that at the end of the day there’d be trout; speckled and shining, peeking out a shallow bath of milk like something precious glinting through the murky soup of a prospector’s pan. To understand the importance of “goin’ down th’Margaree,” you’d have to do more than listen to my uncle. In a sense, you would have to feel the rhythms of the language he used. You’d have to know him, and Cape Breton, well enough to fill in the spaces between the words. For Cape Breton’s English is full of unexplained cues that an outsider might find strange, if he hears them at all. The accent is part of the mystery. It's as constant as the tide, eroding consonants and shrinking and rounding vowels as ceaselessly as salt water smoothes stones and salt air lifts the paint off clapboard houses. But history and world view are there too; nestled in the pauses, burnishing the words, adding weight. “Me’n th’boys used'teh play bahl there,” a 74-year-old Norman once murmured to me from behind the wheel of his old Grand Am. We were passing an empty playing field, quieted by the grey of late October. My aunt shook her head in the front seat as Norman's eyes filled with the twinkle of a reformed hellraiser. They caught mine in the rear view mirror and, without smiling or giving much away, he delivered his punchline: “Dat was b’fore I met your Aunt Jean, now." He allowed himself a chuckle, but not a smile, as he left me to imagine the days of his wreckless youth. “Yeh, b’fore I met Jean." Other stuff! - FunJunkie! has started its annual summer burn CD exchange. It looks like, well, fun. (From LHB) - I'm not particularly partizan...but is anyone in Parliament more transparent than Belinda Stronach? Or, for that matter, more vapid? - The OTHER 50 Tracks tracks will be staying up until THIS Sunday in recognition of the fact that I will be making another appearance on CBC Toronto's Here and Now. Look out for me on Friday between 4 and 5. You can stream it here. - Did any PWI readers in Fat City get to see Plaskett at the Tulip Fest Monday? How was it? - Comic book geek? Check THIS out (but only if you can afford to goof around for several hours)

Monday, May 16, 2005

 

Quick Break

Called to Nova Scotia on a family errand. Will be back in touch later in the week. FC

Friday, May 13, 2005

 

Heart The Glass

I’m a minor poet, you’re a finer breed

I think The Glass are the first addition to the a very short essay I’m building called “The Great Big Book of Onomatopoeic Rock n’ Roll Band Names”.*

Think about it. How often is it that an act’s name is actually a fairly accurate description of their sound?

The Glass sound like, well, glass. (Listen to Tell Me It’s Snowing)

Tell Me It’s Snowing is brittle and clear and delicate. In the intro, the guitars move languidly, like light calmly refracting though a dusty window. By the end of the song, a crescendo of noise tumbles, and shatters and spills wine all over the hardwood floor.

Dandy!

Quickly Now!

Happy third birthday to my wonderful niece, Tessa. This one’s for you, sweetheart! (Listen to Springtime in Centretown by The Acorn)

Looks like Cuff the Duke have a new record coming out August 20.

I bet I’m not the only guy in this town who’s hoping it gets above zero for the Joel Plaskett show Monday night.

Gov, one of my best friends in this world, is getting married over the long weekend. If he weren't, or if I could be in two places at once I'd do this, this, oh, and also this .

Buy The Glass' Concorde. Buy The Pink Ghosts by The Acorn. *This essay does not actually exist. If it did, it would certainly not include Oasis (who do not sound like date palms, tents, hookahs and the dehydrated), The Rolling Stones (obvs.), The Beatles (ibid.) or Cannibal Corpse (who would, if they had an onomatopoeic band name, sound way more like groaning and munching).


Thursday, May 12, 2005

 

"Hallelujah, it's raining (Goat) men!"

Now that all the guests have gone and we've finished that list thing we can get back to the usual bits of unusualness. (Listen to Song For Cleomenes by The Mountain Goats) First, many thanks to Mr. Mountain Goat, John Darnielle for the memorable and powerful musical experience Tuesday at La Sala Rosa. I'm not sure where to begin, and Frank did a great job of describing how things went down in Toronto last night, so here's a quick, Montreal brain dump: * If you're ever wondering what the phrase "cognitive dissonance" means, you need look no further than Tuesday's first opener Jeff Hanson. (No, smart asses, not those Hansons. Or the other ones.) It may seem shallow of me, but the contradiction between the way Hanson looks (relatively barrel-chested everydude in a plain tee shirt) and the way his voice sounds (In a word: high. I mean, REALLY high. Not just "high for a dude" high, but Joni Mitchell or Kate Bush high . . . seriously) had me kinda confused. In fact, I was blinking in disbelief so much I could barely take the music in. I enjoyed what I heard (that is when I wasn't craning my neck looking backstage for Simon and Theodore.) (Listen to Hiding Behind the Moon) * John Darnielle loves to perform. It's written all over his face. His smile and enthusiasm make it impossible to have a bad time. His music, which I love, only makes things better. It was worth every minute of the two and a half hour drive to the M-T-L (goddamn traffic on the 40) to get out and see him, even on a school night. Highlights: See America Right, You or Your Memory, Love Love Love and the single verse cover of It's Rainin' Men (with lyrical help from your's truly) Lo-lights: Hipster morons who feel the need to keep their conversations going at the top of their lungs during the set. Dear Girl With All The Bangs Desperately Trying To Look Like Karen O, First, trying to look like Karen O is, like, soooooooo 2003. Second, if you and your friends want to be annoying, why don't you head to the local multiplex and start taking cell phone calls during the movies? Why instead, must you give ME needless aggravation? If you're interested in reading more about The Mountain Goats, head over to LHB where David has been a one-man Goatcyclopedia of late. Or read this New Yorker Article David may have missed. Unrelated Quick Thoughts Five things I didn't know PWI also stands for Pro Wrestling Illustrated Posting While Intoxicated PrimeWest energy Incorporated Personal Watercraft Illustrated (not, it seems, affiliated with Pro Wrestling Illustrated) Plasma Wave Instrument I've been getting a disturbing number of hits on this post with these search terms...and, I'm sorry. And, I'm going to take down all The OTHER 50 Tracks sound files this weekend. If you haven't listened to em yet, you're gonna have to soon. Buy a copy of The Mountain Goat's Beautiful Rat Sunset Buy a copy of Jeff Hanson's Son.

Monday, May 09, 2005

 

The OTHER 50 on the CBC

Hello and welcome to Pregnant Without Intercourse (PWI, for short) I'm your host Keith (Fatcitizen) Serry. If you're here today it's probably because you heard Matt Galloway and I talking about things on CBC's Here and Now. I hope you enjoy your stay. Please feel free to leave a comment. In case you're curious, the best way to read through and listen to The OTHER 50 Tracks is to start at the very beginning. Those of you who like their dessert first may just be interested in reading the final list (Recounted in order of appearance -- we didn't rank any of our choices -- with the selector's name in parenthesis.)
  1. Hockey: Jane Siberry (Mike)
  2. Helpless: Neil Young (Keith)
  3. I Go Blind: 54-40 (Peter)
  4. Nothing at All: Maestro Fresh Wes (Aaron)
  5. Tired of Waking Up Tired: The Diodes (Carol)
  6. A Case of You: Joni Mitchell (Carl)
  7. Have Not Been The Same: Slow (Mike)
  8. Hallelujah (Live): Leonard Cohen (Keith)
  9. Rags and Bones: Nomeansno (Carl)
  10. One Great City!: The Weakerthans (Mike)
  11. Deeper Than Beauty: Sloan (Pete)
  12. Having an Average Weekend: Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet (Aaron)
  13. I've Been Everywhere: Hank Snow (Carol)
  14. Illegal Bodies: Simply Saucer (Carl)
  15. Secret Heart: Ron Sexsmith (Aaron)
  16. Daylight: The Nils (Keith)
  17. Static: Terrible Canyons of Static; Chart #3; World Police and Friendly: Godspeed You Black Emperor! (Carol)
  18. Blues For Big Scotia: Oscar Peterson (Mike)
  19. Sudbury Saturday Night: Stompin' Tom Conners (Keith)
  20. Little Girl: Death From Above 1979 (Pete)
  21. New York City: The Demics (Carol)
  22. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: Buffy Sainte Marie (Carl)
  23. Blues for Pablo: Gil Evans with Miles Davis (Mike)
  24. Marie: Daniel Lanois (Keith)
  25. Can't You See: The Matt Minglewood Band (Pete)
  26. Put the Blame On Me: Handsome Ned (Carol)
  27. Time to Get a Gun: Fred Eaglesmith (Carl)
  28. Log Driver's Waltz: Kate and Anna McGarrigle (Mike)
  29. Curling: The Dik Van Dykes (Keith)
  30. The Deep End: Swollen Members (Peter)
  31. Theme to Hockey Night in Canada: Dolores Claman (Aaron)
  32. Andy: Mike O'Neill (Carol)
  33. Cool It: Wayne McGhie & The Sounds of Joy (Carl)
  34. Rumours of Glory: Bruce Cockburn (Mike)
  35. Wake Up: The Arcade Fire (Keith)
  36. 10lbs: The Super Friendz (Aaron)
  37. Staying in on Weekends: The Grievous Angels (Carol)
  38. Power: Plunderphonics (Carl)
  39. Does your Mama Know About Me?: Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers (Mike)
  40. Satellite: Jim Bryson (Keith)
  41. Bums in the Park: Bob Snider (Peter)
  42. Gaslight: The Ugly Ducklings (Carol)
  43. Body's in Trouble: Mary Margaret O'Hara (Carl)
  44. Proud to be Canadian: Dayglo Abortions (Keith)

Non-Veto Round

  1. Son of a Bitch to the Core: The Headstones (Pete)
  2. Ahead by a Century: Tragically Hip (Keith)
  3. Aria from Bach's Goldberg Variations: Glenn Gould (Mike)
  4. Edmonton: Carolyn Mark (Carol)
  5. Anciens Combattants: Rhume (Aaron)
  6. Gens du Pays: Gilles Vingeault (Carl)
Even if you know the final score, you might want to check things out from day one. Thanks again for visiting. The F.C.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

 

The FINAL countdown

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, nineteen, twenty, twenty one, twenty two, twenty three, twenty four and twenty five. 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) Fly at Night: Chilliwack (Peter) Vetoed by Carl 10lbs: The Super Friendz (Aaron) Staying in on Weekends: The Grievous Angels (Carol) Power: Plunderphonics (Carl) Round 9: Does your Mama Know About Me?: Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers (Mike) Satellite: Jim Bryson (Keith) Bums in the Park: Bob Snider (Peter) Teen Commandments: Paul Anka, Johnny Nash and George Hamilton IV (Aaron) Gaslight: The Ugly Ducklings (Carol) Body's in Trouble: Mary Margaret O'Hara (Carl) Round 10: Peanut Butter Sandwich: Raffi (Mike) Vetoed by Carl Proud to be Canadian: The Dayglo Abortions (Keith) Non-Veto Round: Son of a Bitch to the Core: The Headstones (Peter) Ahead by a Century: The Tragically Hip (Keith) Love the OTHER 50? HATE the OTHER 50? Have strong feelings about "The Canadian Sound" Wish we'd included the theme to the Littlest Hobo? Leave a comment! In tonight's final episode: Glen Gould, The Tragically Hip and Mike Forbes' guide to indie-rocker baby music. Carol: Is it too late to veto Paul Anka?? I'd like to do so very much. It's my last v-bomb and I plan to use it with prejudice. I see no rational reason for his inclusion. I couldn't even listen to the track all the way through. At one point, I half expected to hear "LOOK OUT!LOOK OUT!LOOK OUT!" which might have redeemed him. Why support Anka? So bad it's good doesn't wash. Nor does filling in the gaps. In 10 years I pray to God no one sees fit to nominated Saline Dijon on either of those grounds. Keith: Carol, originally I would have said that it was too late. But, as it turns out, we've actually taken too many "vetoable" picks. As such, we can let you drop the bomb on Paul Anka. Sorry, Aaron. Mike: Back to the discussion of children's music. As a music geek and a relatively new dad, this topic is a bit of an obsession for me... A while back Bloodshot records put out The Bottle Let Me Down. It's all of their artists covering kids tunes. It's a bit hit and miss. I've heard very good things (although not the cds themselves) about the Ralph's World cds. Other parents we know swear by Carole King's Really Rosie - a soundtrack she did for Maurice Sendak's books the Sign on Rosie's Door and the Nutshell Library. And finally, a few years ago this very interesting article ran in the Guardian: Nirvana and the Clash are the perfect bedtime listening for toddlers, reckons new label Punk Rock Baby. Anything for a good night's sleep, says Peter Paphides. Anecdotally, most of the parents I know have burned compilation cds of kid-friendly tunes that both parent and tot can live with. Carol: Mike, I was SO taken aback at your Raffi nomination and overcome by the patchoili eminating from my speakers that my rational mind went temporarily blank. Thank you, Carl, for the intervention. We needn't exposed tots to mediocrity so early in life. They'll get enough later on. That said, your kid's list ROCKS. Keith: Any thoughts on my Hip nomination? Carol: You sneaky bloody HIP fan! Carl: That sneak attack? It fills me with ennui, but whatevs. However, I'm cheered up enough by Dayglo Abortions and Hardcore Logo - the former a not-exactly-worthy- but-fun case, the latter really an underrated one - not to object more strenuously. Bravo. Keith: Ok Mike, I think that means the floor is your's. Mike: I'll make this quick. My final pick is the Aria from Glenn Gould's 1955 recording of the Goldberg Variations. (Listen to The Aria from Bach's Goldberg Variations) In accordance with Keith's initial guidelines, it was recorded one year after the birth of rock. For those of you keeping score at home, that's 205 years after the death of Bach. Not that the two are related. Peter: Brilliant. I'll plant a sitka spruce in your honour. Keith: Mike, that pick is beautiful and COMPLETELY not what I had in mind when I started this project (...inasmuch as I could have predicted half of what has occurred here in the last six weeks) Carl: I thought about this, but it seemed a bit outside our presumed popular-music scope (rock, pop, soul, country, jazz, hip-hop, techno etc), as Mike's "rock era" remark dimly acknowledged. If I had gone for Gould, though, I might have gone for The Idea of North. Keith: I guess that's the beauty of the final round, Carl. I think I may have raised the same scope objections if it had come out in the regular rounds. Mike: Carl, it was either the Gould or "Take Off" from the Bob and Doug MacKenzie album... Peter: I wish I'd thought of it. It exposes what a narrow lens I was using on this thing. Mike: On a completely different topic. Was just flipping back through the posts on our list and noticed that Pete got a marriage proposal on day 5 from some woman named Danielle. Guess she's a pretty big Sloan fan. Did anyone else notice this? If you take her up on the offer, do the other five of us get to play DJ at the wedding? Keith: Yeah, I forwarded the comment to Pete. His wife had a good laugh. Let it be known, Pete has fans. Carl: My apologies, but I have to be brief. Please make my last-round pick Gilles Vigneault's Gens du Pays, the unofficial national anthem of Quebec. (Listen to Gens du Pays) Keith: That is, to my mind, a pretty smart pick. Especially considering the fact that it may be the official national anthem before long. One never knows. Aaron: My last pick is french as well. I'm not even sure if these guys count as a Francophone band in the traditional sense, but theirs remains the only exclusively French cd in my collection (my apologies, Quebec). And their concert in one of London, Ontario's finer dives remains just about the most fun I've had at a show - a grown man clad in a fleur de lis unitard, running out the door and down the street, accosting strangers, never missing a word of the song that was still playing. Bless his heart. (Oddly enough, they were opening for the Two-Minute Miracles.) My friends and I still speak of it in mythical terms. Anyway. Ye Ottawa folks can surely shed more light on the band and its relative wonderfulness. But as I rush to get this one in before the big steel door slams shut... I nominate the flip-side to their insanity, the epic Anciens Combattants from Rhume's Jeu de Puissance. (Listen to Anciens Combattants) Keith: John Bartlett is a powerfully talented man, he heads a label (Kelp Records) and two bands (Rhume and the mighty Greenfield Main). Vive la 613! Carol, I think that means you're up for the last pick. Carol: Victoria, BC’s Carolyn Mark is all about fun and smart lyrics. I dare you to go to one of her shows and not leave with a smile on your face. She and Neko Case regularly pair up to regale their fans with Corn Sister’s material, but Ms. Mark on her own is witty and quick without an ounce of angst echoing out of her acoustic. And so I present “Edmonton” from her debut CD Party Girl. (Listen to Edmonton) She described the song to me once as not about one particular person, but a “composite” of few (FC's Note: Funny, she once told me the same thing. Likely in a different way though). In her droll way, she describes the efforts of an indie compatriot making it big while the rest barely make it small. Canada is a big wide country of cities and towns spread out thinner than no name peanut butter. It’s expensive, if not impossible, to tour if you’re not backed by the music machine. “Edmonton” hints at this with humour and humility. Keith: Thanks, Carol. Th-th-that's all folks. Sorry for the delay, but here's another shopping list catchup: Raffi's Peanut Butter Sandwich is available on Singable Songs for the Very Young Teen Commandments is available on Paul Anka's 30th Anniversary Collection. Gaslight is available on The Ugly Ducklings reissue from Continental Records. Proud to be a Canadian is found on the Dayglo Abortions' semi-classic Feed us a Fetus. Son of a Bitch to the Core is one of the many fun tracks on A Tribute to Hard Core Logo. Ahead by a Century appeared on the Tragically Hip's Trouble at the Henhouse. Anciens Combattants est disponible au Jeux du Puissance, le sécond album de Rhume. L'achtez ici! You should probably own a recording of Glen Gould playing the Goldberg Variations. Gens du Pays is available on Gilles Vingeault's Greatest Hit's Collection: Au doux milieu de vous, 40 ans de chansons

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

 

The OTHER 50: Number 25

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, nineteen, twenty, twenty one, twenty two, twenty three and twenty four. 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) Fly at Night: Chilliwack (Peter) Vetoed by Carl 10lbs: The Super Friendz (Aaron) Staying in on Weekends: The Grievous Angels (Carol) Power: Plunderphonics (Carl) Round 9: Does your Mama Know About Me?: Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers (Mike) Satellite: Jim Bryson (Keith) Bums in the Park: Bob Snider (Peter) Teen Commandments: Paul Anka, Johnny Nash and George Hamilton IV (Aaron) Gaslight: The Ugly Ducklings (Carol) Body's in Trouble: Mary Margaret O'Hara (Carl) Round 10: Peanut Butter Sandwich: Raffi (Mike) Love the OTHER 50? HATE the OTHER 50? Think Jean Leloup is a much better french language choice than Daniel Lanois? (You'd probably be right, btw) Leave a comment! In tonight's race to the finish: Monster Trucks, popemobiles (but not this one) and bumblebee vivisection Keith: Anyone else got anything to say about Paul Anka? Peter: I've heard Anka's pending discs of rock covers too, and I couldn't decide what I thought of it. Some of it stinks, but that's not unique, and some of it was oddly compelling. I played it for several friends and they quite enjoyed it: I think it could be a hit. I've never heard this commandments track before: it sort of reminds me of William S Burroughs with the Disposable Heroes of Hiphopcrisy doing Words of Advice for Young People, except Paul's not so cool. Keith: As for Raffi, in the cold light of morning, I'm left asking myself: "Was Mike serious? Is this nomination just a big lark - and if it IS, why not wait for the non-veto round when nobody can gong him?" Also, I was somewhat chagrined by the fact that I thought this Raffi track was the one where they sing "Pea-nut, Peanut Butter (and Jelly!)." Turns out that was someone else (Romper Room?) What's next? Sharon Lois and Bram? Is anyone else confused? PS: The first kazoo solo is a complete lift of "I'm squashing up a baby bumblebee" That is all. Peter: One of the great moments in Canadian comedy was the Frantics doing "Sharon, Lois, Bram & Young." The guy on the end had a ratty wig and a big gold Gretsch, and halfway through Skinamarinkeedoo (or however it's spelled) he cut in with a godfather-of-grunge guitar break. It was hilarious. Carl: Paul Anka and Raffi? Two ace purveyors of shit sandwiches enter the pantheon. Keith: Carl, I think you mean Shark Sandwich. Carl: Paul Anka's list of teenage morality tips and Raffi's imagination-annihilating, devolved-hippie kid-pacification are great Canadian music ... and Stan Rogers, Skip Spence and the Nihilist Spasm Band - not to mention the poor Langley School kids - are all vetoed. Keith: Drop the bomb on Raffi if you need to (I think Mike may have been just stirring the pot) I'm prepared with pick 44 if it's required. In fact, please drop the bomb . . . somebody! Carl: Okay, Keith, if you insist. I happily veto Raffi. I hate that simpering sunuvabitch. I should add that Mike's nominations in previous rounds include some of my favourite things on the list, such as the Weakerthans, Oscar Peterson and Gil Evans. Mike: I was completely prepared to defend Raffi's Canadian status - as we all know he was born in Egypt and only came to Canada later in life. I'm really surprised no one went after my pick with that line of argument. Failing the "Raffi's not Canadian enough" debate, I thought there might be some discussion or at least some back and forth as to what his best song is. I think we'd all agree that the natural first choice is probably Peanut Butter - with it's near tribal chanting and call and response structure it's definitely one for the masses. If you say it the right way - "Peanut, Peanut Butter..." anyone 35 and under will undoubtedly come right back at you with a blues-influenced, "Jelly" stretching out that final syllable into a long, bluesy whisper - "Jell-laaaaaaayyyy" Or perhaps there might have been proponents of the aforementioned brush your teeth track - "You wake up in the morning and it's quarter to five, you want to feel like you're alive/ You brush your teeth/ ch-ch-ch-ch /ch-ch-ch-ch" I mean, here's a song that even encourages rhyming well past Raffi's 1 (fun) to 5 (alive) count, giving kids the chance to figure out what sensations and emotions brushing their teeth might give them as late as quarter to 7, 8 or even quarter to 9. Who knows, some kids might count all the way to 12 - although 12 is kinda hard to rhyme with ("...and you want to feel like you're an elf?" I don't know). It's also not really morning if you wake up at quarter-to-twelve so I guess it's more likely that kids would only go up to 11 when it's still technically morning and 11 is pretty easy to rhyme with. Slower kids or perhaps even the lazier ones can also re-use their rhyme from 7 at that point in the song. The problem with these two tracks, I'm sure we'd all agree, is that they aren't Raffi originals. And that's why I didn't nominate them. They're just traditional folk songs reinterpreted by an Egyptian-born-Canadian. Given the quick veto that the Langley tracks got for this very same reason (Canadian performers and arrangers playing non-Canadian music) I presumed my best bet was a track that was clearly Canadian in origin. Hence the alternate Peanut Butter song. Perhaps it's the rising incidence of anaphalaxis and peanut allergies that caused such a swift and harsh reaction to the nominated track, I don't know. Maybe it was Keith pointing out the kazoo solo's copycat take on Bumble Bee - I think Keith might cut me some slack and accept the argument that it's clearly an honest homage to another favourite song from childhood - but I'm willing to concede it might be a straight rip-off. I still don't think it diminishes the power of the track. Even though Carl may have liked some of my previous nominations I'm left with one big question - what the fuck about the children people? C'Mon. Are we that self-centred? Kids gotta start listening to something Canadian and if it's Skip Spence we'll have a future generation that makes Robert Downey's rehab stints look like a trip to the ice cream truck. Start 'em listening to the Nihilist Spasm Band and they'll be cutting off their big toes and cavorting with the likes of Tara Reid or even worse, hanging out in their garages on Monday night making music that no amount of bananphones, peanut butter or bumble-bee vivisection could save. I can tell you as a parent, I don't want that for my child. No way... But if Raffi's got to go, all I have to say is I've got two vetoes left and Raffi's vengence will be mine....actually, I was just kididng about all this, thought I might have some fun with you folks. Keith: Mike, You had me at "bumblebee vivisection" Carl: To say that we have to recognize Raffi because otherwise where's the Canadian children's music is ridiculous. It's like saying we should boost Castro because otherwise there are no leftist leaders - if that's all you've got, look elsewhere! Unfortunately the Canadian kiddie-folk movement has produced the most righteous treacle, a dumbed-down retreat for ex-hippies to a realm where nobody will challenge their idiocy. Raffi is the worst of the lot - I don't mind Sharon, Lois and Bram so much because there's kind of a group-fun thing to it, a kind of model of sociability, but Raffi is just an ersatz 60s guru transplanted to kid culture because he couldn't cut it anywhere else. In fact kids enjoy bouncy music of every sort and it doesn't have to be about brushing your teeth - it doesn't have to be pedagogical. The whole pedagogical-kids'-music racket is a sham - adults would resent being treated that way and kids shouldn't be treated that way either. Read them Dennis Lee poems. Play them Beatles songs. Play them Woody Guthrie. Play them African music and reggae - kids respond well to all of that. If you have to have Canadian music, make a mix with some Shadowy Men and Sloan and other cheery stuff. Throw in some Mr Dressup and the Friendly Giant theme. Oh, and there's a new album called Ablum! by a band called Duplex whose ages range from 3 to 35, out in Vancouver, including Veda Hille and other scenesters. Pick hit: "Lament of the House Rabbit." Peter: "Screw Raffi." Can you say that? You know what else kids like? Tom Waits. I put on the Black Rider one night while visiting my sister and the three kids got so wound up it took her hours to get them to sleep. That said, I was going to veto Raffi, as I just can't get behind that. Maybe it's because I have no kids and I have no sense of humour. Mike: Few things make me happier than seeing my two-year old dig cool music - watching her dance around the dining room to the Clash or Edwin Starr (she went through a whole big-horn section phase) or lately it's been stuff like Bob & Marcia and Nicky Thomas. On the flip side, it's also interesting to see her get just as excited by stuff like Back Street Boys, Shania Twain and Beyonce when we're at the grocers. No filters there, just a happy, dancing kid. In all seriousness, we've never introduced her to cds of kids music. I figure if she grows up listening to what we listen to, we'll limit the odds of car trips stuck listening to Disney soundtracks... Keith: With Raffi spiked, it's up to me to come up with pick number 44. Mike's little trip through our drinking and "learning" days at 20 Primrose had me feeling somewhat nostalgic, so did the recent death of Pope John Paul. They're related, let me explain. Back in the day, with Carleton University unaccountably reeling from a very negative review in the first ever Maclean's University Survey (44th of 46 in Canada if memory serves) our roommates put their collective heads together between episodes of The Simpsons* to come up with a fund-raising idea that would drag C.U. by the short hairs into its rightful place atop the list of Canadian schools claiming to be in the northern ivy league. (Full disclosure: my partner Rene is in the academic business. If I hear another of her friends or colleagues refer to a Canadian university as "Harvard North," "Saskatchewan's M.I.T" or "Cambridge on the Athabaska" I'm gonna make like Fred Eaglesmith, grab my gun and head for the nearest clock tower.) Our fund raiser involved, of course, monster trucks. Now, don't get me wrong, a fund raiser involving Gravedigger, Bigfoot and Truckasaurus would have gone a long way to improving higher education in Fat City. But to really move things along; to raise some REAL cash, you need to broaden things beyond the sizable, and not easily washed, "monster truck lover" demographic. You need to inspire people. To strike fear into them; make 'em feel guilty. You need the Pope. Thus, an idea (nay, a movement) was born. Pope John Paul would appear at our monster truck event in a horribly modified version of the Popemobile (Pope My Ride, if you will). The Pontiff would crush a few imports, kiss a few babies, consecrate the new library . . . and Ba-Bing, instant Cambridge! I can still hear the elegantly conceived and yet rousingly delivered radio commercials: "Sunday, Sunday . . . SUNDAY! For one night only, it's the Carleton University Monstertruckathon featuring Eradicator, Big Dawg and P.J.P Two, TWO TWO TONS OF MUUUUUUUUD! If you're not there you better be dead or in jail. And if you're in jail ... Break OUT! (Out! Out!)" Needless to say, it's a wonder any of us graduated. Now, what has any of this to do with The Dayglo Abortions' Proud to Be Canadian, my nomination for the last song in our vetoable list? (Listen to Proud To Be Canadian) Two things: 1) One of the thing that frustrates me most about Canadians is our desire to be other than what we are. Queen's can't just be one of the better universities in Canada, it has to be "Stanford on the St. Lawrence" or whatever. We get so angry when The Simpsons and other 'mericans refer to us as "America Junior" and yet we assert our identity predominantly by denying the same threadbare stereotypes. In "Canadian" Cretin, the DA's vocalist, takes the clichés and kicks them between the eyes. "Proud to be Canadian Pass me another Lumberjack" Sure they're drunken fools, but the Dayglos are making no sincere, semi-tough "Joe Canadian" attempt to deny the - arguably fictional, definitely ignore-able - "Do you live in an igloo?" morons. "You non-Canadians can believe whatever you want," Cretin seems to say. "My friends and I will be in the corner with the other hosers, drinking and having more fun than the rest of you." 2) Some things (even things as mild as the image of a recently-departed Pope encased in glass and suspended above four, 11-foot-high, off road Uniroyals) lose their ability to offend over time. The Dayglos are, to my limited knowledge, the only band to ever be tried under our obscenity laws. The case -- which started when a punk rock girl showed a copy of the Dayglo's second record, Here Today. Guano Tomorrow, to her police officer father -- went as far as the Supreme Court! Today, HTGT's album cover would be more likely held up as evidence of animal cruelty (it featured a before and after picture of a hamster (FC's Note, actually a gerbil . . .) at the business end of a semi-automatic pistol) than obscenity. Finally, it also doesn't hurt that Proud to Be Canadian rocks a little. PS: Despite the length of this treatise, I was still completely unable to fit in a reference to this psych paper** I read today. The paper is about kids with a genetic disability called Williams Syndrome which makes them prone to finding certain sounds painful. In this study, "normal" sounds which WS kids found painful included: - Vacuum Cleaners - Birds singing and - Saxophonist Kenny G. (seriously!) No note on what the WS kids think of John Tesh (I'm betting it also hurts). * That show that smart ass college kids watched before there was a Family Guy. ** Psychoacoustics and music cognition are a hobby. Don't ask. Everyone: Dead silence. Keith: If there's no objection to the Dayglos (and really, after that novel, who'd have the energy) Peter, did you wanna start the non-veto round? Peter: I'm going to keep this one short and sweet, just like the track. My non-veto pick is Son of a Bitch to the Core, by the Headstones. (Listen to Son of a Bitch to the Core) It’s 1:30 of straight-up, Canadian hard-rock, and it represents all things Hard Core Logo - which is why it’s on my list. I love everything about Hard Core Logo. I love Michael Turner’s original book, as slight as it is. I love Bruce McDonald’s movie – and I’m tired of hearing it dismissed as some “fun” rock n roll film. I love Hard Core Roadshow, screenwriter Noel Baker’s highly entertaining diary of adapting the tiny book to the screen. And I love A Tribute to Hard Core Logo, the disc that came out shortly after the movie and was later included with the deluxe “Quentin Tarantino presents” DVD package. The CD, as you may know, has a variety of Canadian bands doing the fictitious songs of the fictitious band. From a few lyrics tossed throughout the original book come 15 fully formed songs that reflect the individual strengths of the bands and the range of talent in Canadian music mid-’90s. It’s an interesting mix, with two bands, the Pursuit of Happiness and the Dream Warriors, tackling the song Edmonton Block Heater and coming up with entirely different results. Then there’s Rusty ripping through Let’s Break Robert Out of Jail, 54-40 doing Rock n Roll is Fat and Ugly, Cub (who almost made it onto my Other 50 list) doing Who the Hell Do You Think You Are, etc. There are two versions of Son of the Bitch to the Core, one acoustic romp by the Lugen Brothers, and the brief, blistering go at it by the Headstones. I could pick happily pick several tracks from the disc for this list, but I’ll go with the Headstones for two reasons: one, I feel the band’s music is better suited to this track than is the acoustic go; and two, because it’s sung by Hugh Dillon, who played Joe Dick in the movie. There’s something authentic about Hugh Dillon, who perhaps has never (yet) conquered the nation commercially, but who seems to have the true spirit of punk beating in his chest. I confess that I’ve always wanted to like the Headstones more than I do, but I never thought they quite clicked. This little track shows what they could do, and it also encapsulates the Hard Core Logo chapter in Canadian rock history. I hear good things about his new outfit, the Hugh Dillon Redemption Choir, and he’s off the booze and drugs, so perhaps he’ll score the success he deserves. Keith: O.k. I guess I'll end tonight with my non-veto pick. Give me one good reason The Hip aren't on this list. There isn't one, really. OK, there IS one. Carol hates them. Fair enough, but that can't hurt Gord and the boys in the non-veto round. I know I'm oversimplifying; I'm aware of the other cases that have been made - that The Hip are over-rated bar rock, that they write songs with aimless cord changes, that Gord Downie's voice grates and that all their songs sound the same - each argument has some merit (except the "bar band" one, The Hip haven't released a bar band record since just after I got old enough to drink . . .) Yes, Downie sometimes sounds like he's a lead-larynxed mental patient, maybe some of their attempts at art rock aren't the greatest art, or the greatest rock; indeed there are too many guys with backwards baseball caps and shell necklaces at their shows and that guitar playin' dude with the bad hair definitely needs a haircut . . . Fine, fine FINE. But just put down that "I hate mainstream rock" placard for a second and listen to some of the songs, particularly the one I'm placing on the list: Ahead by a Century. No, no no! Don't talk . . . listen. (Listen to Ahead By A Century) It's a good bloody song, isn't it? Simply delivered, but layered in mature and complex sentiment. To my ear it sounds like childhood; bravery, fear and confusion wrestle and the result is beauty and uncertainty. I could have picked any one of my other favourite Hip songs (Nautical Disaster and Emperor Penguin - neither one a beer slamming anthem - come to mind) but Ahead By A Century is my last addition. It not only fills a gap. I think it rights a wrong. You're ONE CLICK away from the final episode of The OTHER 50 Tracks.

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