Monday, October 31, 2005
PWI Radio Episode Five is up, runnin' and ready for your listenin' pleasure. There's nothin' in the way of Halloween selections (if you're interested in alternatives to the monster mash just look here, here, here or here) but the 'cast does include visits from a few of the bands making up this weeks' concert calendar including The Go! Team who are asking people going to the show tonight to wear their halloween getup (pictures tomorrow, I hope). As always, if you feel like subscribing you need only fire up iTunes, open the "advanced" menu, hit "subscribe to podcast" and pop the following in to the window: http://www.pwi.racknine.net/podcast.xml Pregnant Pause Beautiful. Just, beautiful. As I've said before, I'm not sure what artists think of them (and it's the opnions of artists that matter) but it's stories like this that reaffirm my personal opinion that DRMs suck. (via Michael Geist.ca)
Friday, October 28, 2005
THIS is interesting news
Looks like Canada's new copyright legislation is held up again. The law, which makes bypassing DRMs a crime (To my mind: Boo! Then again, I wonder what the artists think?) and makes it illegal to post files to Kazaa (not NECESSARILY a bad idea...as long as it doesn't result in crushing civil suits aimed at 12 year old girls downloading C is for Cookie). More time for people to get educated and get involved. Podcast tomorrow. Headed to Fatcity tonight. Happy birthday, Pete n' Jenn! Listen to Your Birthday Party by Lowest of the Low (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) Buy a copy of Sordid Fiction Lowest of the Low's latest full-length
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
And don't think I'm not holding out for that last 98 cents...
Buried in work, but listening to good music, will get you new posts, soon, honest. Love and kisses. Keith Pregnant Pause Can't understand Steve Nash? Maybe it's because he's speaking Canada. (wmv, via ESPN.com) OK, THIS officially tears it, we have to pass a law that no-one older than 55 years old can claim to be a rock star. Except Leonard Cohen, and Tom Waits when he becomes a grandfather. Yeee-haw!
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Hello Time Bomb
Episode 4 of PWI Radio (the Podcast Without Intercourse) is now up and ready for your listening pleasure. As always, you can subscribe to the show by plugging this url: http://www.pwi.racknine.net/podcast.xml into your iTunes. This week's cast includes a political riff which reads (approximately) as follows: For a while now, I've been trying to answer a simple question: If the Internet is going to keep changing the way we make, buy, share and experience music, why is it that the major labels -— the same people who have been mistreating artists for decades -— are the loudest voices in the heritage policy and copyright law debate? Don't these guys have a pretty lousy track record of sticking up for artists'’ well being? To put it another way, I wondered why the artists didn't speak for themselves. Luckily for me, the public-advocacy lawyers at the Ottawa-based Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) have been hearing similar concerns. Together, we're trying to form a coalition of Canadian music creators. We hope this group can ensure artists have a direct say in the laws and policies that change their lives. Now is the ideal time to take action on this issue. This fall, the government is trying to pass a copyright law (“Bill C-60) that will change the landscape for Canadian artists. One of the coalition's first tasks will be to write a position paper reflecting artists copyright concerns and making sure those concerns are heard in the upcoming debate. If you're an artist, manager, producer or related music creator, and you agree that your voice isn't being heard and if you want to do something about it, the coalition would love to hear from your. Contact me by e-mail at email@example.com. I'd also be very appreciative if you forwarded this note to all of your music-creating friends, neighbours, colleagues and collaborators. Artist experience and input will be what makes this effort a success.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
What is Rock and Roll for? I mean, I know what it IS, but what does it DO and why do we care? What, exactly, is this power it has over some of us? What's the point? All questions I asked myself last night while seated in another bar on another weeknight, alone and suffering through another tiresome opening act. "Aren't you getting a little old for this, Serry?" "Shouldn't you be in bed, catching up on the sleep debt, or helping the girlfriend through her mountain of work?" What is it about rock n' roll that keeps compelling us obsessives to hunt - often vainly and with no small amount of frustration - for a new way of breaking through the veil of the mundane? At it's core, I'd hazard that it's something communal, a continued search for that rare occasion where a band and an audience, a sound and a venue, can come together and create something extraordinary. Call it equal parts religion and collective hallucination; and call me overly dramatic if you want, but I'll tell you this, The BellRays have my back. "We have dedicated our lives to the art of rock and roll and take our chosen profession seriously," Lead singer Lisa Kekaula writes in the liner notes to the Riverside, California four-piece's most recent album, The Red White and Black. "Jazz is not the only great American art form, so is rock and roll. It has simply been neglected and abused by most of its practitioners until the masses expect the least from its beautiful enormous possibilities." "Music," she continues "is limitless with an open perspective." That is, what people in my elementary school used to so eloquently call, "a double-dog dare." When a band sets its standards that high, there is a long way to fall if they didn't practice what they preach. There is, however, no fear of hypocrisy at a BellRays show. Thirty seconds in, it's obvious that if rock's a religion, these people are the high acolytes of a church without borders. The BellRays live sound is battle-hardened, road-tested and tighter than a five-dollar face lift. "Be not afraid!" Kukula commanded while prowling the stage in four inch heels; equal parts revivalist preacher and punk rock drill sergeant. "Are you ready people? Be! Not! Afraid!" Come and join us! Drop your pretenses, forget your inhibitions! Shake, scream, clap your hands; for the love of Christ move your goddamn feet! Don't wait for the end of a song to scream; don't stop at the beginning of a new one; don't do what you've always been told to do; don't wait for permission. Feel good, feel this...For ninety minutes, feel alive! Forget your name. After the show had ended, but before the first bead of sweat on my brow had dried and long before my ears stopped ringing, I invited myself backstage to thank the band. I faced all four of them and, grinning ear to ear, my scream-ravaged voice and dance-drained body croaked "Thank you. Tonight, you made me happy." Kekaula smiled. With two self-assured strides, she crossed the room and embraced me. "That," she said, beaming "is what we came here to do." That is what this is for. The BellRays play Babylon in Ottawa tonight and Lee's Palace in Toronto tomorrow.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Not a lot of time tonight (so much to do before to go to my 9pm eardrum assault appointment). The evening should be good, and relatively hipster-free (all the cool kids will be over doing this). The festivities will begin with Montreal five-piece Comme Un Homme Libre who I'm looking forward to checking out with my own eyes. Given what I've written about them before, I wonder if they're going to give me a a CD or throw vodka on me for something someone else wrote? You can listen to Comme Un Homme Libre's self titled EP here. Pregnant Pause Looks like the RSS feed on PWI Radio episode 3 is faulty (it gets two minutes in and stops feeding). My regular tech guy is unavailable, (Cammy! Get back from Edmonton soon!) Is there an RSS doctor in the house? The MP3 is fine, but it just doesn't want to get out to my subscribers! Help! (Thanks BTW to Sid for the heads up!)
Monday, October 17, 2005
We have the facts and we're voting "Maybe"
I don't think I have the strength to post a proper "review" of last night's Death Cab for Cutie show at the Spectrum. Don't get me wrong, Gibbard, Walla and the boys did Yeoman's work; the show was professional and entertaining, but there's this: More and more I'm seeing that shows of a certain size (read "bigger than about 100 people") are congregations of the converted. It makes sense, I guess. Who has $25 to drop on a band they don't love? (besides obessive completists like me, of course). I had to laugh to myself, though, a few times as the gathered throngs of teenage hipsters roared their approval of tracks from the new record (which, admittedly, I hadn't heard until I iTunes'ed it this morning) while staring dumbly at the awesomeness of older songs like We Laugh Indoors from 2001's The Photo Album. The show was perfectly good, a ninety minute testament to the strength of an act that hasn't let a major label deal change their sound or musical approach. Unfortunately, it was also unlikely to make a fan of someone who had previously been on the fence. Good thing there wasn't anyone there that fit that description. So, in lieu of an extended gripe about feeling old enough to have fathered half the members of last night's audience I present: The FC's 5 Observations about Death Cab for Cutie Live 5) I know I Will Follow You Into the Dark is a pretty song and I know you could have heard a pin drop when Gibbard played a solo accoustic version of it last night. Fine. Does it make me a bad person to say it kinda reminded me of Dust in the Wind? 4) Speaking of things that I might feel guilty about observing: I think Death Cab bass player Nick Harmer may have Rock n' Roll's largest forehead. 3) What Sarah Said is a beautiful song. It may have even been the best song about someone dying I heard yesterday (which is a pretty strong endorsement considering I bought a used copy of Eels' Blinking Lights and Other Revelations yesterday afternoon) 2) It has nothing to do with Death Cab, but why isn't anyone talking about this Eel's record? I know it's a 33 track treatise on dying relatives, depression and relationship breakup, but on first listen it was absolutely breathtaking. Listening to Whatever Happened to Soy Bomb (an indictment of the futility that is indie-rocker materialism that should be heard and considered by every self-respecting toy collector, crate diver, sneaker pimp and, yes, music blogger within earshot) I couldn't help but hit the repeat button several times in succession. Great stuff! Listen to
Whatever Happened to Soy Bomb (Hey! Buy the Rekkid!)
Blinking Lights and Other Revelations just jumped into my top ten for 2005 (at least this week).
1) Separated at birth: Chris Walla and Macaulay Culkin?
VERY impressive Ben Gibbard picture from Rannie at photojunkie.ca
Need more Death Cab? Adam Radwanski has this insightful interview with Ben Gibbard.
Have you ever thought of changing your mind? (thanks, Pete)
The Mountain Goats are in Toronto tonight but won't be in Montreal this time through Canada. Crappy.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Rain Rain! Go Away!
PWI Radio Episode Three: Singin' In the Rain is online and ready for your listening pleasure. It includes new tracks from Broken Social Scene, The Acorn and Fiona Apple. No interview with the BellRays (yet! Please Lisa Kekaula, e-mail me back!!) but there is a track in anticipation of what should be an amazing show on Tuesday. Those of you who've been e-mailing me asking how to subscribe to the 'cast...I now have answers: Go into iTunes and click on the "Advanced" tab. Click on "Subscribe to Podcast" Put the following URL into the box: http://www.pwi.racknine.net/podcast.xml Aaaaaaaand you're done. Happy listenin'
Friday, October 14, 2005
You heard it here second (or third)*
No confirmation on the artists' sites yet, but Mo Cowbell has word and The Spectrum site confirms that Calexico and Iron and Wine will be in town December 8. Tickets are available at ticketpro and, likely, your local rekkid shop. (Via Chromewaves) *Or, it turns out, thirty-five thousandth. I just saw page 29 of yesterday's Hour. I will now go back to sleep (FC: 3:18 PM)
Thursday, October 13, 2005
"We're lining up the light-loafered"
My fantasy Colin Meloy stage banter goes like this: Decemberists audience member "Play the song about the ghost who used to be a prostitute!" Colin Meloy "Which one?" Decemberists fans (who, like the band, bear a distinct resemblance to the earnest, badly coiffed, poetry nerds who used to sit in the front row in English class) got a gentle, if technically off-putting set from the Portland act last night. Sound issues got festivities off to a late start (I think it took nearly half an hour to tune the bass). When finally things got settled, we were treated to mic feedback (at one point set off by Meloy's eyeglasses) monitor problems (which left violinist/background vocalist Petra Haden looking like she'd been sent to the principal's office) and a plea from Meloy to petition the Club Soda for a better sound system. Once again, Boo Club Soda*! Despite the troubles, Meloy and family brought forward a set that, while for the most part not rousing, was awkwardly charming, sincere and uplifting; like a handwritten letter from an elementary school friend. I even got to hear my favourite Decemberists track California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade which - at the request of an audience member - Meloy referred to as the Decemberists "Most Rockinist" song. Indeed. * That said, Club Soda bouncers were not out on the prowl last night looking for people with cameras. I COULD have taken pictures and would have if I hadn't left my camera at home. The lesson is, as always, I'm too dumb to be allowed out of the house. Pregnant Pause NPR has this live recording at a Decemberists show in May at the 9:30 Club in DC "We thought you was a toad" (Thanks Mike) I know they're just the latest British buzz band, but I kinda like what I've heard of the Arctic Monkeys "After his release from prison, Nelson Mandela thanked Darts for their 1978 single "Boy From New York City", a cassette of which was the only entertainment he was allowed during his incarceration." and several hundred other Interesting Pieces of Music Trivia that is 100% False Japanese labels aren't asking apple to raise its prices, they want a royalty on iPods (Something which we recently banned in Canada, though I still haven't seen my refund. Memo to Steve Jobs: "Gimmie back my $25") via LHB Meanwhile, in the UK, the Government has a pretty solid idea about how to keep a national music culture vital (Hint: It's doesn't involve subsidizing the majors) As Mike said, John Peel was a treasure. Turns out so is his record collection.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Podcast W/out I (PWI Radio) Episode 2 is up and running with tunes from a bunch of the acts (Danko Jones, Death Cab, The Decemberists) visiting the M-T-L this week and a bunch of other acts (Bad Wizard, Hank Ballard and Superchunk) that aren't. Subscribe to the RSS feed here (don't ask me how it works, I simply don't know!) Don't Fret! I'm still trying to include some interviews to the show (if only so y'all don't get bored of me jabberin). Next week's show will, no doubt, include content from Lisa Kekula and the Bellrays who play Sala next Tuesday. Be there or live a life less rock-ed!
Fiddy shot yah!
Everything I write lately seems to relate to the idea of trying to become fluent in French. I'm obsessed with concepts of "linguistic colour" and "intent." I'm trying desperately - with varying degrees of success - to move beyond the basic requirements of life and on to the meaning, and the nuance; all the while trying to keep the grammatical mangling to a minimum. The learning is, needless to say, kinda hard. There's a so much ground to cover between what we say and what we really mean. So many ways to move from the way we speak to the way we want to be perceived. In fact, I'm blown away that the Great Canadian Novel (tm) hasn't been written around the concept of a tête carré going through the experience of trying to learn to express himself all over again. The process requires more than simple pedagogy, it demands a sea change in the way you think. If you're like me and you haven't been graded in a classroom since the first Clinton administration, it also requires a sincere change in the way you work. So what has any of that got to do with Ottawa's best country band? Bear with me, because I think there's a parallel. Country music is like a language. Unfortunately, in some ways it's like Latin: dead. The base of everything, but truly spoken by almost no one. Just like the Oddessy, tropes like "the killin' song," "the drinkin' song" and the "somebody done somebody wrong song" have morphed into almost everything we know as rock and roll. As such, the concepts have boundless depth, but it's hard to believe that the best blood hasn't already been wrung out. (As Jay Farrar once wrote: "D'yah think Hank woulda done it this way?") This difficulty of trying to make new soup with old bones is compounded when city slickers use rural imagery and sound to try to add grit, meaning or authenticity to their song writing. The lack of veracity inherent in the urban cowboy means much alternative country loses something in the translation. The twang can force you back into debates about sincerity like those I've been having with myself for awhile. So, what's a talented band like the Fiftymen to do when they're faced with their (and everyone else's, for that matter) inherent inability to be better than Hank, or Willie or Johnny or Merle? Comment est-ce q'on dit: "If you can't beat em, join em?" Listen to Try to Hide Listen to Sick of Being Tired (Go! Buy the Rekkid!) The Fiftymen may call themselves an alt-country band, but I think the extra syllable does them some manner of disservice. Balances + Sums is a country record like they USED to make country records. Rather than trying to use the dead language of twang to try and write a post-modern novel, Balances + Sums uses the old language to pen simple oral histories; dark, foreboding and memorable. Balances + Sums is a living testiment to the strength of the old school. It's a retro record in the best sense, resonating with the spirit of a band that recognises its strengths and doesn't try to make excuses for its weaknesses. Try to Hide allows vocalist J.J. Hardill to channel the spirit of Howlin Wolf. Sick of Being Tired presents a dance hall reel that Bill Monroe would have been proud to teach Lester Flatt along with the occasional wry lyric ("This union," Hardill's narrator says of his marriage "sure makes you pay your dues") and the hidden track (a cover of an old Recoilers song recorded in a living room around a single mic) manages to turn indie rock into a camp fire singalong. Country, in short, aint dead. It's just that there are only a few young people left who speak the language. If you want to learn, gather up close. The Fiftymen are giving lessons. You can get a copy of Balances and Sums at the Fiftymen's CD Release Party at Barrymore's on Friday. If you're not in Ottawa contact the band by e-mail. Pregnant Pause Ok, I've been a little behind so you've probably read all of these: For the love of God, no. Next time you start beating up on yourself for making a mistake, take the time to repeat after me "Glad I'm not THAT guy." (Via ESPN.com) Podcast number two is on its way later this week. If you're interested, you can sign up for the RSS feed here.
Monday, October 03, 2005
OK, not sure if this Haiku thing has worn out its welcome, or if anyone actually wants to see the one (crappy) photo I was able to take before the bouncers threatened to take my camera (Boo Club Soda!) but here it is, the last installment in PWI's Pop Montreal Concert Review Haiku Kings of Leon Are there prettier rock stars? Nope. Glad the set was as tight as the pants "Is that Leo Dicaprio?" Naw, just (a really grainy) Caleb Followhill (left) and his Brother Jared Pregnant Pause Looking for a great date flick? How about Shining? (via Boing Boing) Looks like Canada's not the only country dealing with copyright laws written by the record industry. Check out this info from Finland. (vi
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Didn't get to see the Zoobombs, I'm reviewing The Winks after hearing only one song (got there late), and the digicam is back with it's owner but it is still time for... PopMontreal Concert Review Haiku, Volume 2 The Winks Sincere, confusing art school project. The drummer used two wooden spoons. Listen to Snakes Buy Slippers and Parasol from Scratch Photo from http://www.thewinks.net/pictures.html Tokyo Police Club The keyboard was marked in pen. Major: C-E-G. Wide-eyed pop= Goosebumps! Listen to Cheer It On TPC don't have a record. Contact them and they might sell you a copy of their demo. Ted Leo + Pharmacists Ted' s having trouble connecting, making us laugh Yet, the walls still throb Get a copy of Tell Balgeary Balgury is Dead Photo from www.tedleo.com
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Check out the premiere of Podcast Without Intercourse here. RSS feed to come. Ted Leo (and maybe even Zoobombs and Tokyo Police Club) Haiku tomorrow.