Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hits & Misses and Frantic City cozy up to Rotate This on Queen West

Just in time for Halloween, top-notch Toronto punk vinyl vendor Hits and Misses have relocated their shop (formerly at 860 Bloor West) to 799 Queen West. And right above the new locale – which opens today at 12 noon – Tim Hanna has moved the 60s garage, R&B and psych records from Frantic City's Ossington head office to the vacant room on the 2nd Floor to create a swank new upstairs boutique for all your freakishly fuzzed-out needs.
As every record hound in town should know, that choice piece of real estate on which those two retailers now sit is right next door to the venerable Rotate This (801 Queen West) and just down the street from Cosmos and Neurotica, making for the highest concentration of cool records in the city. Right on!

Friday, October 29, 2010

One For The Weekend: Feist & Little Wings

In conjunction with the Seattle premiere of the new Feist documentary Look At What The Light Did Now, a video of Feist and Little Wings horizontally duetting on the title song has magically appeared. Those Feist fans who don't already have tickets for tonight's screening of Anthony Seck's feature-length chronicle (Super 8 & HDSR) of the making of Feist's 2007 album The Reminder at Seattle's Henry Art Gallery will have to be content with the laidback song clip and the film trailer below.
So far there are no scheduled Toronto screenings but if you happen to be anywhere near the lovely German resort town of Weissenhäuser Strand, you can see Look At What The Light Did Now during the Rolling Stone Weekender on November 13. Check the current list of dates following the clips.

Look At What The Light Did Now by Feist & Little Wings

Look At What The Light Did Now film trailer

Upcoming Screenings

Tuesday, November 9 - 7:15 pm PST - Pacific Film Archives Theatre - Berkeley, CA (LAWTLDN Screening + Q&A with director Anthony Seck and special guests)

Wednesday, November 10 - 6:20 pm GMT - Curzon Soho Cinema - London, UK (LAWTLDN Screening + live via Skype Q&A with director Anthony Seck - Curzon Soho, Screen 3)

Saturday, November 13 - 1 pm CET - Rolling Stone Weekender - Ferienpark Baltic Sea, Weissenhäuser Strand, DE

Tuesday, November 16 - 8:15 pm PST - Vancity Theatre - Vancouver, BC 

Wednesday, November 17 - 8:30 pm GMT - Picture House at FACT - Liverpool, UK

Thursday, November 18 - 8:15 pm CET - Smart Cinema - Amsterdam, NLD

Wednesday, November 24 - 7:30 pm MST - Cantos Music Foundation - Calgary, AB

Friday, December 3 - 6:30 pm GMT - Institute of Contemporary Art - London, UK

Saturday, December 11 - 6:30 pm GMT - Arnolfini - Bristol, UK

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hear the new Lazer Sword album!

The highly anticipated self-titled Lazer Sword debut album from the electro-crunk duo of Antaeus Roy (aka Lando Kal) and Bryant Rutledge (aka Low Limit) will be officially released on November 2 by Innovative Leisure, a new boutique label launched by Stones Throw employee Nate Nelson. But thanks to the FACT music and art magazine, you won't have to wait any longer to hear what future blap is all about.
FACT – who circulated Lando Kal's enjoyable Lazer Sword drank sippin' mixtape a few months back (see below) – is currently streaming the entire 15-track Lazer Sword album that Roy and Rutledge recorded in the land of the Giants, San Francisco where they both once lived before moving to Berlin and Los Angeles respectively.
Unfortunately there are no crazy cameos by any of the now infamous Bad News Beards but it does feature some stoopid wild contributions from Anti-Pop Consortium’s M. Sayyid, Freestyle Fellowship’s Myka 9, Zackey Force Funk and Bay Area hyphy holdout Turf Talk.
Check out the Lazer Sword album for yourself right here and then head over to the Stones Throw site and grab a copy of the limited-run double vinyl edition.

Lazer Sword (Innovative Leisure)
2. Agrokrag
3. Surf News
4. I’m Gone ft. Turf Talk
5. Batman
6. Topflights ft. M Sayyid
7. 4Loko
8. Machine ft. Zackey Force Funk
9. Web Swag
10. Skybox
11. Def Work
12. FUBU
13. Owl Tats
14. Cosmic Ride ft. Myka Nyne
15. Beast’s Reprise

Lazer Sword FACT mix
Stones Throw Records

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Johnny Cash's stuff up for grabs

If you've always dreamed of owning the denim jumpsuit that Johnny Cash wore during rehearsals for his concert at San Quentin – immortalized in Jim Marshall's famous bird-flipping photograph – now's your chance! On Sunday, December 5, Julien's Auctions of Beverly Hills is auctioning off many of Johnny Cash's custom tailored suits, boots, shirts, song lyrics written on the back of his personalized stationery, acoustic guitars along with various personal effects and related show biz memorabilia including concert and film posters, programs and promotional items.
There are over 1,000 items in all which are conservatively expected to sell for a total of between $400,000 to $600,000 with a portion of the proceeds going to the charitable organization MusiCares. Although the last time there was a public auction of Johnny Cash's possessions back in 2004, the estimated value was around $600,000 and the final take was somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 million. Anticipate heavy bidding from serious collectors, fellow musicans, friends and wealthy celebrities with money to burn.
So if you go to Julien's Auction site and check through the Johnny Cash: Property From His Life and Career catalog and come across that snazzy San Quentin rehearsal jumpsuit estimated to go for around $3,000 to $5,000, a cool abstract crayon doodle Johnny drew (left) listed at between $1,500 and $2,000 or the intriguing handwritten list "Things To Do Today!" priced at $300 to $500, keep in mind they'll likely end up selling for much more – especially if someone like Joaquin Phoenix, Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan is after the same Johnny Cash item to spruce up their den.

Julien's Auctions 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

One For The Weekend: Don Cherry Trio

Don Cherry w/ Johnny Dyani & Okay Temiz Paris 1971

Friday, October 22, 2010

Patti Smith big ups indie booksellers

Selling Bob Dylan in glorious mono

It wasn't that long ago that a case was made to upgrade your old Bob Dylan CDs with digitally remastered SACDs but now Sony has a bold new plan to re-sell the same back catalogue to the same Dylan fans – The Original Mono Recordings. That's right, the first eight Bob Dylan albums have been reissued using the first-generation mono mixes with the vinyl box set due on December 21, just in time for Christmas.
Sure, Sony's "back to mono" campaign might seem like a crazy scheme, particularly after touting the advantage of wider frequency and dynamic range which comes with the high-resolution Super Audio technology that Sony helped develop. And then there's the unfortunate fact that, unlike Beatles releases of the era where sometimes mono and stereo versions can vary significantly, alternate takes weren't used for Bob Dylan's mono versions.
But even though The Original Mono Recordings may appear to be a product nobody needs, that hasn't stopped Sony from selling eight Our Lady Peace albums along with two "best of" collections. Also, there's nothing quite like the promise of huge holiday gift-giving season profits to inspire real marketing creativity. Sony Legacy's clever retro-style promotional clip may not shift many units but it's at least entertaining.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Soulman Syl Johnson gets done up right

Four years in the making, Numero Group's blockbuster Syl Johnson chronicle Complete Mythology is finally done and has been submitted to the guitar-slinging Chicago soul great for inspection. Judging by the thrilled look on Johnson's face as he cracked open a preview copy of the elaborate box set to give the six LPs and four CDs a critical once-over, it looks like Numero have another winner on their hands.
Comprehensively covering Johnson's productive first 15 years of recording (prior to signing with the Memphis-based Hi Records label in 1971 for a nine-year stint), the meticulously researched companion to the Numero Group's Eccentric Soul: Twinight's Lunar Rotation set includes tracks from 25 of his frequently sampled singles cut for various labels including the aforementioned Twinight, Federal, Shama, Cha-Cha, Special Agent, Zachron and others, along with his two albums for Twinight, 1968's Dresses Too Short and 1970's Is It Because I'm Black The 10 additional unreleased tracks which date from the same era doesn't make for a huge percentage of "new discoveries" by typical Numero standards but the set seems to be more directly aimed at soul music fans and hip hop headz seeking a one-stop introduction to Syl Johnson's early work rather than hardcore collectors who'll already be familiar with nearly everything here.
The lavishly packaged Complete Mythology also boasts a 52-page book which includes a novel-length essay (35,000 words!), loads of unpublished photos, song annotation, a comprehensive discographical listing and yes, there's a sampling index too. Syl likes to boast about being the "most sampled R&B artist of all time" which James Brown's publisher might dispute but nevertheless, Johnson was able to buy himself a fancy house just from the royalties earned off of Different Strokes notably flipped by BDP, Eric B & Rakim, Kool G Rap, Geto Boys and the Wu-Tang Clan.
Those quick to place their orders for the reasonably priced Complete Mythology box through the Numero Group site also get a bonus covers seven-inch (while supplies last) with the only two recordings in the massive compendium not performed by Johnson. Evidently after the Numero crew diligently dug up every last worthwhile Syl Johnson track they could find for the box, they realized they didn't have anything left for a giveaway single so they decided to go with covers instead.
There's no shortage of great versions of Is It Because I'm Black? so they had their pick between Ken Boothe's popular reggae take, the lesser-known rendition by Lloyd Williams that inspired Boothe's one-drop revision or even Larry "T-Bird" Gordon & The Soul Blenders crack at it for the Movin' label (which now goes for c-note) but for some reason they went with the creaky one The Royal Revue cut for the Texas Garu label.
Personally, I'd take the  clavinet-enhanced groover Oscar Toney Jr. put out on Contempo over the entire lot but then again it's understandable why the Numero boys made the choice they did. You can't blame them for not wanting to show up Syl on his own retrospective salute by throwing in a more powerful interpretation of one of his best loved tunes. You can compare the versions by The Royal Revue and Oscar Toney Jr. with Syl's original below. 
For the flip, they decided against doubling up on Is It Because I'm Black? and chose an instrumental rip through Come On Sock It To Me by The Deacons from 1968. The connection being that the Deacons' party joint was originally released on Syl's own Shama label and the Deacons featured his guitar-playing older brother Jimmy Johnson. Sweet.

Is It Because I'm Black? by Syl Johnson

Is It Because I'm Black? by Oscar Toney, Jr.

Is It Because I'm Black? by The Royal Revue

“For decades I’ve regarded Syl Johnson as the absolute uppermost among the soul voices whose names wouldn’t be recognized except by cognoscenti—the “lost” voice that cut the deepest, burned the hardest, and kept the best pace with the hall-of-famers (Green, Gaye, Hathaway, et al). Now, not only has he been given belated sonic justice, but I’m amazed to learn that the aggrieved outsider passion of his voice is matched by the absurd ferocity of the life lived by the man himself, inside and outside the verifiable histories of our time.”
Jonathan Lethem 

Syl Johnson's first look at Complete Mythology

Numero Group
Numero blog

Monday, October 18, 2010

Buena Vista Songhai Club

Although it wasn't widely reported at the time of Buena Vista Social Club's phenomenal success, the original concept that Ry Cooder and World Circuit founder Nick Gold had for the Havana recording was supposed to be an Africa-meets-Cuba cultural collision putting Malian guitar shaman Ali Farka Toure in the company of old-school Cuban son musicians.
However, a funny thing happened on the way to the famed Egrem Studio – Ali Farka Toure missed his flight from Bamako for reasons which remain unclear to this day. Some say that as spiritual leader of his Niafunke village, he had to remain at home because of the looming threat of civil war spilling over into the region while others claim that Toure simply decided instead to accept a lucrative request to perform at a ceremonial function for one of his wealthy patrons. There's also a completely different narrative involving some mysterious visa mix-up but in any case, Toure was a no-show in Cuba.
With studio time already booked at Egrem, Cooder and Gold needed to come up with a back-up plan on the double which meant rooting around Havana for surviving stars of Cuba's pre-Castro golden era who still had their chops. Fortunately the flame keeper of Cuban son, Eliades Ochoa, had already tracked down the great Compay Segundo 10 years earlier and was regularly showcasing the cigar-puffing octogenarian in his Cuarteto Patria shows where his crowd-pleasing tune Chan Chan was a surefire showstopper. Right there, in Chan Chan's gently rolling Afro-Caribbean syncopation, you've got Buena Vista Social Club's sonic blueprint. While Cooder happily accepted the Buena Vista glory, the bit about the scrapped initial plan involving Toure was largely overlooked by the media much like the crucial role played by Ochoa in salvaging the project.
Now 13 years after the release of the Grammy winning Buena Vista Social Club album, it's payback time for Ocho and his Cuarteto Patria crew in the form of AfroCubism. Revisiting the Africa-meets-Cuba concept that had to be ditched earlier, Gold built the AfroCubism project upon the solid son foundation of Ochoa's group Cuarteto Patria with Malian superstars  Toumani Diabaté, Bassekou Kouyate and Rail Band guitar dazzler Djelimady Tounkara trading licks with the tres slinging Ochoa who shares vocal duties with veteran Las Maravillas de Mali singer Kassy Mady. It's a world music dream team like none other ever assembled. Imagine if LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and Kevin Garnett all joined Kobe Bryant on the Los Angeles Lakers and you'll get some idea of the dimensions of this thing.
Considering the serious string-bending talent involved, the decision to downplay the role of percussion makes perfect sense but as a consequence of having Cuarteto Patria's Jose Martinez, Jorge Maturell and Eglis Ochoa laying down the rhythms (bolstered by balafon boss Lassana Diabaté and Baba Sissoko on talking drums), the resulting self-titled AfroCubism (World CIrcuit) album is naturally going to sound more like a rootsy Cuban son recording than anything associated with Toumani Diabate or Bassekou Kouyate. Of course, if someone hears a familiar echo of the multi-million selling Buena Vista Social Club album in the new 14-track AfroCubism release, that isn't really such a bad thing, particularly from a marketing standpoint.
The typical challenge with these all-star sessions – particularly when the musicians involved have never seen each other before, much less played together – is creating a band-like vibe with a group of stellar soloists. No such problem here. Listening to the way everything on the AfroCubism album seems to seamlessly fit in place while effortlessly swinging so hard, you'd think these guys have been knocking around together in clubs for years. Luckily everyone participating in AfroCubism has been a dependable sideman during their career and well understands the value of working as a sympathetic accompanist when called upon. So the fact that the the sessions were cut live with the whole cast getting down together in one big room didn't pose a problem.
“It was as though the musicians had been holding back their ideas and energy for that moment,” says Gold, who produced the album with Buena Vista engineer Jerry Boys. “After we’d waited so long, it all came together remarkably easily and spontaneously. The group had never played together before but the music just poured out and it continued to flow over the next few days.”
That they were able to record 17 songs complete in just five days at that first session in Madrid back in 2008, with another nine finished at a second session, is a good indication of just how well they connected. You'll have a rare chance to see AfroCubism in action when they make their Canadian debut at Montreal's Métropolis (59 Ste. Catherine East) on Friday, November 5 at 8 pm. Advance tickets are $34.50 and will likely sell out quickly since it's AfroCubism's only scheduled date in Canada.   

AfroCubism (World Circuit)
Mali Cuba
Al vaivén de mi carreta
Djelimady Rumba
La Culebra
Eliades Tumbao  27
Nima Diyala
A la luna yo me voy
Para los Pinares se va Montoro

An introduction to AfroCubism

AfroCubism's first day in the studio

Nick Gold discusses AfroCubism on the BBC

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Marco Benevento: jazz-rock that doesn't suck

For as long as rock 'n' roll has existed, there have been improvisationally inclined musicians trying to jazz things up. Over the years the have been a few promising one-off experiments usually relegated to the B-sides of singles but they've been overshadowed by the grand-scale failures.
Because rock music at it's best is meant to be a simple and direct expression of the most primal human instincts, any attempt to raise the level of complexity – whether by introducing unusual rhythms, oddball chord progressions, elaborate orchestrations or protracted exhibitions of instrumental virtuosity – removes you from the core essence of the form. If you aren't careful, you'll soon have all sorts of pejorative qualifiers applied like "abstract", "avant" and "progressive" at which point it's only a matter of time before someone drops the dreaded "F" bomb.
Brooklyn-based keyboardist Marco Benevento, who studied at Berklee with jazz pianist Joanne Brackeen and looks to Brad Mehldau as a mentor, has been using his hot-rodded 1927 Wurlitzer upright (outfitted with guitar pickups and various effects) to explore the dangerous territory between jazz and rock with some success, albeit more artistic than commercial.
As can been seen in the numerous YouTube clips of the Marco Benevento Trio irreverently bashing their way through Led Zeppelin's Friends, My Morning Jacket's Golden and Pink Floyd's Fearless, the playfully roughhousing approach favoured by the 33-year-old bandleader is more in line with what Deerhoof and Holy Fuck have been up to than say the Yellow Jackets or The Bad Plus. It's not so much a fusion of forms as an explosive collision. His self-released third album Between the Needles and Nightfall (Royal Potato Family), recorded with his trio involving bassist Reed Mathis and drummer Andrew Barr, still shows signs of Mehldau's influence but benefits greatly from the engineering expertise of Bryce Goggin (Akron/Family, Pavement) as well as that of Mell Dettmer (Sunn O))), Eyvind Kang), Jesse Lauter (Low Anthem) and Vid Cousins (Amon Tobin, Kid Koala) who cleverly conspire to add sonic depth to each track without forsaking focus.
It should be interesting to see how Benevento uses his 61-key Wurlitzer and grab bag of gizmos in real time with his ripping rhythm section tonight (Sunday, October 17) at the El Mocambo to render what he's wrought in post-production. Don't miss Elizabeth Shepherd who kicks off the evening at 8 pm.

Friends and Greenpoint by the Marco Benevento Trio


Friday, October 15, 2010

Diamond Rings gets his shine on

Getting decked out in spandex and acid wash denim like some unholy spawn of Vanilla Ice and La Roux's Elly Jackson to sing quirky tunes solo while thrashing a guitar over archaic 808 claps may not seem like an obvious formula for global pop success but adopting the Diamond Rings alter ego now looks like the sharpest career move Toronto's John O'Regan has ever made.
Certainly, those tastemaking writers at Pitchfork, Stereogum and NME who are now gushing about Diamond Rings weren't hyping anything Johnny O recorded with fellow University of Guelph pals in his band The D'Urbervilles "the best thing we've heard all year." Although the growing interest in all things Diamond Rings will likely soon have The D'Urbs' We Are The Hunters (Out Of This Spark) from 2008 and their self-titled 2006 debut EP hailed as "indie-rock classics" while their gag rap joints Worst Case Ontario and Mad As Hell (see links) are destined to be bootleged and sold as pricey hip-hop white labels. And just watch the market value of those Friends In Bellwoods comps go through the roof.
Since first appearing as Diamond Rings last summer, the 25-year-old Johnny O has been a busy boy, releasing three limited-run singles along with video clips for each. Beginning with a split seven accompanied by PS I Love You on the appropriately named Hype Lighter label, Diamond Rings then knocked out the Wait & See b/w On Fire seven on Tomlab followed by the Show Me Your Stuff 12-inch on One Big Silence and most recently, the Something Else seven on Montreal's Secret City Records who'll be officially issuing the Diamond Rings debut album Special Affections on October 25. On the day after, Diamond Rings joins PS I Love You for the Toronto release party at The Garrison. The already leaked 10-track Special Affections album isn't a radical departure from the typical Diamond Rings approach to melodic glam pop which involves tongue-in-cheeky synth riffs and throwback drum machine beats although it's much less of a dancefloor shaking party platter than anticipated. Who knows, the time might be right for Diamond Rings to slow things down with some teary ballads and melancholic dirges to appease all those club-fearing chillwave fans and purple sizzurp sippers. In any case, being released on Secret City should at least ensure Special Affections a short-listing for next year's Polaris Prize.
To get you up to speed with Diamond Rings' doings in advance of next week's full-on CMJ blitz and subsequent album release, here are a few revealing interview bits and some entertaining video clips... just in time for Halloween.

Diamond Rings - Special Affections (Secret City)
01. Play By Heart
02. Wait & See
03. On Our Own
04. You And Me
05. Give It Up
06. Pre-Owned Heart
07. Something Else
08. You Oughta Know
09. It’s Not My Party
10. All Yr Songs

Johnny O interviewed with The D'Urbervilles

Diamond Rings on Tunnelvision

Diamond Rings on AUX TV

Something Else

All Yr Songs

Wait & See

Show Me Your Stuff

Johnny O shows off his hoop skills

Diamond Rings tour dates:

10/20  CMJ (Stereo★Gun Party) Santos Party House (96 Lafayette) downstairs, New York (10:30 pm)

10/21  CMJ (Knitting Factory Party), Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan), Brooklyn (1 pm)

10/21  CMJ (NYC Taper Party) Cake Shop (152 Ludlow), New York (5 pm)

10/22  CMJ (Distiller Party), Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan), Brooklyn (3:30 pm)

10/23  CMJ (Bowery Presents Party), Pianos (158 Ludlow), New York (1:30 pm)

10/23  CMJ (Pitchfork #Offline) Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe), Brooklyn (3:30 pm)

10/26  The Garrison, Toronto*

10/27  Alex P. Keaton, London*

10/28  This Ain't Hollywood, Hamilton*

10/29  Raw Sugar Café, Ottawa*

10/30  The Mansion, Kingston*

10/31  Il Motore, Montreal*

11/01  Ebar, Guelph*

11/04  Mojo, Liverpool, UK

11/05  Inside Out, Darlington, UK 

11/06  Barfly, Cardiff, UK

11/08  The Forum, Sheffield, UK

11/09  Roadmender, Northampton, UK

11/10  The Lexington, London, UK

11/11  The Ruby Lounge, Manchester, UK 

11/12  The Adelphi Club, Hull, UK

11/13  Cockpit, Leeds, UK

11/18  The Pawn Shop,  Edmonton

11/19  Broken City, Calgary

11/20  Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver

11/23  Echo, Los Angeles

11/25  330 Ritch, San Francisco

11/28  Lucky Bar, Victoria

12/01  Empty Bottle, Chicago

12/03  DC9, Washington

12/04  Glasslands, Brooklyn

* with PS I Love You

Diamond Rings
Worst Case Ontario 
Mad As Hell

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nick Lowe returns to rock?

True enough, the last couple of Nick Lowe performances in town have "left socks decidedly unrocked off" in the man's own parlance. Although a sudden return to the breakneck boogie of his reckless Rockpile days is probably out of the question at this point, at least on the current tour, "The Basher" will be accompanied by more than an acoustic guitar. Yes, that's right, Nick Lowe will be joined by a full band for his appearance at the Mod Club tonight (Wednesday, October 13) which means that at the very least, you can expect the gloomy tunes to be delivered with a little more gusto.
In honour of Lowe's much-anticipated Toronto return, here's a revealing exchange between Dave Edmunds and Lowe from the brilliant but rarely screened BBC documentary Born Fighters that originally aired in 1979.

Born Fighters

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First Aid Kit on the way

Like many people, I became enamoured with First Aid Kit after stumbling onto Johanna and Klara Söderberg's entrancingly harmonized version of Fleet Foxes' Tiger Mountain Peasant Song which went viral on YouTube soon after appearing in 2008 (see below).
Over the past two years, that charming clip of those teenage Swedish sisters from the Stockholm suburb of Enskede singing alone in the woods has been viewed well over a million times which no doubt prompted the UK-based Wichita label to re-release First Aid Kit's Drunken Trees debut EP appended with their sweetly sung take of the Fleet Foxes number as a bonus. Three more songs were also included, similarly recorded in a Swedish forest, closely adhering to the oft-repeated Scandinavian adage "Om det inte är trasigt, laga det inte!" which means, "if it is not broken, do not fix it!"
Wichita has also released First Aid Kit's best original song Ghost Town (check out the amazing unplugged version they did in a taxi) as a seven-inch single with a characteristically haunting rendition of Fever Ray's When I Grow Up on the flip. The even better news is that you may actually be able to pick up a copy of the limited-run seven at First Aid Kit's premier Toronto appearance this week. 
Yes it's true. On their way to New York to play some CMJ showcases, First Aid Kit will make a rare local appearance Friday (October 15) at the El Mocambo to present the spellbinding songs from their debut full-length The Big Black & Blue (Wichita). As they say in Sweden, don't miss it!

When I Grow Up (Fever Ray) by First Aid Kit

Ghost Town by First Aid Kit (Black Cab version)

Tiger Mountain Peasant Song (Fleet Foxes) by First Aid Kit


Tiger Mountain Pleasant Song MP3

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dungen @ The Horseshoe tonight!

To get you in the right mood for the Toronto return of Swedish psych swingers Dungen – who play the Horseshoe with The Entrance Band tonight (Sunday, October 10) – here's a supremely trippy Retinal Circus classic from their favourite Canuck psych band, Vancouver's My Indole Ring... Orange Float Petals. I think I'm levitating just typing this.

Orange Float Petals by My Indole Ring

Solomon Burke 1940 - 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Top 100 Canadian Singles? Really?

As a sort of punch-line to Bob Merserau's previous argument starter 2007's The Top 100 Canadian Albums – which could've been subtitled "According To Music Biz Geezers Who Don't Buy Records" – the New Brunswick-based CBC reporter is at it again with The Top 100 Canadian Singles (Goose Lane Editions). Once again he has polled his pals in the Canadian music industry's old boys network for their favourite singles to come up with a puzzling list which better reflects the tastes and biases of label reps, radio personnel and music writers than the vast majority of music lovers in this country who spend their own hard-earned dollars on records.
Consequently, the resulting list of 100 singles that Merserau has compiled with the best of intentions is skewed towards commercial radio staples in the 60s 70s and 80s. Anything that isn't easily categorized as pop or rock gets the short shrift so don't expect to see any metal, punk, hardcore, jazz, blues, disco, R&B, electronic, funk, reggae (no, Bruce Cockburn's Wondering Where The Lions Are doesn't count), soca, calypso, polka or even much country or folk. And sorry Wes Dakus, Sadies and Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – there's no twangy instrumental stuff either. But even popular music styles since the 90s like rap, techno, house music doesn't fare much better.
On the upside, Mersereau and company collectively managed to fight back their inclination to fill the enitre list with their fave tunes by Neil Young, Guess Who and Leonard Cohen, however, they found it difficult to not to big up The Band, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell and Bryan Adams. Here are the Top 100 Singles compiled by Mersereau, who will be participating in interactive Facebook interview staged by Roch Parisien on his Rocon Communications page on Sunday (October 10) from 2 pm to 4 pm. 

1. The Guess Who — American Woman
2. Neil Young — Heart Of Gold
3. The Band — The Weight
4. Bryan Adams — Summer of '69
5. Leonard Cohen — Hallelujah
6. Steppenwolf — Born to Be Wild
7. Gordon Lightfoot — If You Could Read My Mind
8. Bachman Turner Overdrive — Takin' Care Of Business
9. Ian and Sylvia — Four Strong Winds
10. Anne Murray — Snowbird
11. Joni Mitchell — Big Yellow Taxi/Woodstock
12. Rush — Tom Sawyer
13. Blue Rodeo — Try
14. Tragically Hip — New Orleans Is Sinking
15. Gordon Lightfoot — The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald
16. Leonard Cohen — Suzanne
17. Tom Cochrane — Life Is A Highway
18. Guess Who — These Eyes
19. Gordon Lightfoot — Sundown
20. Sloan — Underwhelmed
21. The Band — Up On Cripple Creek/The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
22. Maestro Fresh Wes — Let Your Backbone Slide
23. The Diodes — Tired of Waking Up Tired
24. Rush — The Spirit of Radio
25. Crowbar — Oh What A Feeling
26. Rough Trade — High School Confidential
27. Martha and the Muffins — Echo Beach
28. Stampeders — Sweet City Woman
29. Arcade Fire — Wake Up
30. Barenaked Ladies — If I Had $1,000,000
31. Robert Charlebois — Lindberg
32. The Pursuit Of Happiness — I'm an Adult Now
33. Ugly Ducklings — Nothin'
34. Sloan — Coax Me
35. Rush — Closer To The Heart
36. Teenage Head — Picture My Face
37. Guess Who — Shakin' All Over
38. Five Man Electrical Band — Signs
39. Blue Rodeo — Lost Together
40. Ron Hynes — Sonny's Dream
41. Men Without Hats — The Safety Dance
42. Rheostatics — Claire
43. Lighthouse — One Fine Morning
44. A Foot In Coldwater — (Make Me Do) Anything You Want
45. Corey Hart — Sunglasses At Night
46. Loverboy — Working For The Weekend
47. Trooper — Raise A Little Hell
48. Parachute Club — Rise Up
49. Alannah Myles — Black Velvet
50. Terry Jacks — Seasons In The Sun
51. Malajube — Montreal —40C
52. Neil Young — Cinnamon Girl
53. Alanis Morissette — You Oughta Know
54. Feist — 1234
55. Arcade Fire — Rebellion (Lies)
56. k.d. lang — Constant Craving
57. Neil Young — Rockin' In The Free World
58. Michel Pagliaro — Lovin' You Ain't Easy
59. Bruce Cockburn — Lovers In A Dangerous Time
60. Tragically Hip — Bobcaygeon
61. Joni Mitchell — A Case of You/California
62. The Demics — New York City
63. Bryan Adams — (Everything I Do) I Do It For You
64. Tragically Hip — Ahead By A Century
65. Blue Rodeo — Five Days In May
66. Hank Snow — I'm Moving On
67. Harmonium — Pour un instant
68. Steppenwolf — Magic Carpet Ride
69. Sloan — Money City Maniacs
70. Celine Dion — My Heart Will Go On
71. k—os — Crabbuckit
72. The Kings —This Beat Goes on/Switchin' To Glide
73. Neil Young — Old Man/Needle and the Damage Done
74. Jean Leloup — 1990
75. Payola$ — Eyes Of A Stranger
76. Blue Rodeo — Hasn't Hit Me Yet
77. Bachman Turner Overdrive — You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet
78. Bruce Cockburn — Wondering Where The Lions Are
79. April Wine — You Could Have Been A Lady
80. Teenage Head — Let's Shake/Somethin' On My Mind
81. Joni Mitchell — Help Me
82. Trooper — We're Here For A Good Time
83. Lighthouse — Sunny Days
84. Jean—Pierre Ferland — Le petit roi
85. Bryan Adams — Cuts Like A Knife
86. Stompin' Tom Connors — The Hockey Song
87. Tragically Hip — Wheat Kings
88. Gilles Vigneault — Mon pays
89. Spirit of The West — Home For A Rest
90. New Pornographers — Letter From An Occupant
91. Guess Who — No Time
92. Mashmakhan — As The Years Go By
93. Neil Young — Hey Hey My My
94. Paul Anka — Diana
95. Daniel Lanois — The Maker
96. The Spoons — Nova Heart
97. Beau Dommage — La complainte du phoque en Alaska
98. Ron Sexsmith — Secret Heart
99. Bryan Adams — Run To You
100. Wintersleep — Weighty Ghost

Disheartening as Mersereau's Top 100 Canadian Singles list may be, I can't say that I was shocked after seeing his equally cringe-inducing Top 100 Canadian Albums. No doubt most fans of Canadian music will have their own "I can't believe they left off..." moment. There's probably another book in compiling all the great Canadian singles that were missed by Mersereau's list. I'd have no problem coming up with an alternate 100 but here's the first 50 which immediately came to mind in no particular order: 

The Haunted - 1-2-5

Painted Ship - Frustration b/w Little White Lies

Ronnie Hawkins - Forty Days

Ian & Sylvia - You Were On My Mind

Slow - Have Not Been The Same

Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Having An Average Weekend

Poppy Family - Where Evil Grows

David Clayton Thomas and the Boss Men - Brainwashed

It's All Meat - Feel It

Oscar Peterson - Night Train

Klaatu - Calling Occupants

The Great Scots - That's My Girl (Rotten To The Core)

The Action - TV's On The Blink

Bonnie Dobson - Morning Dew

Eddie Spencer - If This Is Love (I'd Rather Be Lonely)

Hank Snow - Ninety Miles An Hour (Down At Dead End Street)

The SIdewinders - Put The Blame On Me

Martin Martin - Press Right Here

Luke & The Apostles - Been Burnt

Jackie Shane - Stand Up Straight and Tall

MG & The Escorts - Someday Fool

A Passing Fancy - I'm Losing Tonight

The Jury - Who Dat?

Eyes Of Dawn - Time To Be Going

Blue Shadows - Deliver Me

Gene MacLellan - The Call

Bonnie Dobson - I Got Stung

Marius Cultier - Coco Boogaloo

Les Lutins - Je Cherche

Don Norman and the Other Four - Low Man

R. Dean Taylor - There's A Ghost In My House

Ugly Ducklings - Just In Case You Wonder

Les Miserables - Vivre Avec Toi

Dream Warriors - My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style

Jackie Mittoo - Wishbone

Carla Whitney - It's You For Me

Rascalz (w/Kardinal Offishall, Checkmate, Thrust, Choclair) - Northern Touch

Esquires - It's A Dirty Shame

The Fringe - Plastic People

Subhumans - Death To The Sickoids

R. Dean Taylor - Indiana Wants Me

Skaliwags - Turn Him Down

The Free-For-All - Show Me The Way

Pointed Sticks - What Do You Want Me To Do?

The Quid - Crazy Things

Nick Ayoub - Perception

Underworld - Go Away

Satan & The D Men - She'll Lie

Jo-Jo & The Fugitives - Chips, Chicken, Banana Split

Patsy Gallant - From New York To L.A.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tristen & Dexateens: A Loveless match

WSM's Music City Roots program, broadcast weekly from the Loveless Barn on Nashville's west side, is proving to be an increasingly dependable showcase for rising talent working on the fringes of the Nashville machine.
Back on July 14, Tristen and the Dexateens tore the place up and thankfully someone at the station had the good sense to film and post the proceedings so we can all enjoy Tuscaloosa's finest blasting Maker's Mound at wall shaking volume as well as Tristen's full-band performance of her brilliant Eager For Your Love. If everything goes according to plan, Tristen's Eager For Your Love will finally be released as a seven-inch in the next week or so, the first single from her forthcoming full-length debut Charlatans At The Garden Gate which the American Myth label has now slated for release on February 1, 2011.
Those attending CMJ 2010 later this month would be wise to check out Tristen who'll be playing the American Myth Showcase at Pianos (158 Ludlow) on Wednesday (October 20) at 7:30 pm, then joining a bill with Eli "Paperboy" Reed at La Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker) on Thursday (October 21) at 8 pm before lighting up the Paste Showcase on Friday (October 22) at the Living Room (154 Ludlow) at 10 pm.

Eager For Your Love by Tristen

Maker's Mound by The Dexateens

Music City Roots

Broken Social Scene announce split... single

Broken Social Scene and The Sea and Cake, currently touring together hand-in-hand across Canada, have taken their mutual admiration to the next level. Yes, it's official, they're releasing a split single. Although, somewhat strangely, the release date has been set for October 26, a week after their final show together at the House of Blues in San Diego. Apparently no one in either group has a handle on how the whole "tour single" thing works where you have a record available for sell exclusively at shows and then use the money earned to offset the high cost of fuel to get you to the next gig. Oh well.   
In any case, both groups have come up with a previously unissued song for the limited-edition seven inch which have something in common – John McEntire's studio smarts. The BSS track is Curse Your Fail, boasting a special guest singer (relax, it ain't Tom Cochrane), is an outtake from the Forgiveness Rock Record sessions overseen by McEntire in Chicago while TSAC's Skies was also produced by McEntire at Soma Studios. 
"We are very honoured to be touring with The Sea And Cake this fall and so in celebration of this fact, a split 7" limited edition single is here for you now," explains BSS co-founder Brendan Canning.
"Eric Claridge, bass player of TSAC, was gracious enough to let us use a couple of his paintings for the artwork. Also to note, "Curse your Fail" features Sebastien Grainger on the chorus vocals. Please enjoy and hope to see you somewhere on the North American continent this year."
The BSS/TSAC single is currently available for pre-order for $8 at the Gallery AC right here and you can catch BSS on tour, coming to a fancy ballroom or soft-seat theatre near you.

Broken Social Scene On Tour

10/06/10 - Winnipeg, MB @ Burton Cummings Theatre *
10/07/10 - Saskatoon, SK @ The Odeon Events Theatre *
10/08/10 - Calgary, AB @ MacEwan Ballroom *
10/09/10 - Edmonton, AB @ Winspear Centre *
10/10/10 - Kelowna, BC @ Community Theatre *
10/12/10 - Victoria, BC @ Alix Goolden Hall *
10/13/10 - Vancouver, BC @ The Commodore Ballroom *
10/14/10 - Vancouver, BC @ The Commodore Ballroom *
10/15/10 - Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theatre *
10/16/10 - Portland, OR @ The Crystal Ballroom *
10/17/10 - San Fran, CA @ Treasure Island Music Fest
10/18/10 - Los Angeles, CA @ Wiltern Theatre *
10/19/10 - San Diego, CA @ House of Blues *
10/23/10 - Mexico City, Mexico @ Lunario Nacional
11/06/10 - Valladolid, Spain @ Two Days Fest
11/07/10 - Lisbon, Portugal @ Aula Magna
11/08/10 - Porto, Portugal @ Casa da Musica
11/10/10 - Marseille, France @ Cabaret Aleatoire
11/11/10 - Milan, Italy @ Magazzini Generali
11/12/10 - Vevey, Switzerland @ Heartlands Festival
11/13/10 - Leeds, UK @ Leeds University
11/15/10 - London, UK @ Koko
11/16/10 - London, UK @ Koko
11/17/10 - Paris, France @ Elysee Montmartre
11/19/10 - Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Paradiso
11/20/10 - Berlin, Germany @ Admiralspalast
11/22/10 - Adhus, Denmark @ Voxhall
11/23/10 - Copenhagen, Demark @ Vega
11/25/10 - Utrecht, Netherlands @ La Guess Who? Fest
12/08/10 - London, ON @ London Music Hall
12/09/10 - Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy
12/16/10 - Ottawa, ON @ Bronson Centre
12/18/10 - Montreal, PQ @ Metropolis
12/19/10 - Quebec City, PQ @ Imperial Theatre

* with The Sea And Cake

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bill Murray's fave new band @ Sneaky Dee's

It's not that unusual to see celebs in Austin during SXSW and this past March Bill Murray seemed to be popping up everywhere. In fact, he even appeared at Shangri-La on 6th with his pal Rza and got behind the bar to pour some tequila shots which might make a little more sense if you've watched The Razor's Edge.
Murray was also spotted getting down with his favourite goth surf band from Costa Mesa, The Growlers at the Wave Rooftop as can be seen in the clip below.
Your favourite Ghostbuster probably won't be mixing Manhattans at Sneaky Dee's while the The Growlers twang out the tunes from their new Hot Tropics 12" EP on Thursday (October 7) but with Invasions and Youth Crime opening the show, it should still make for an entertaining night out.

Red Tide by The Growlers at Wave Rooftop with Bill Murray

Bill Murray pouring shots at Shangri-La

Monday, October 4, 2010

Zombie Zombie heart John Carpenter

Etienne Jaumet and Cosmic Neman of French synth duo Zombie Zombie have never encountered a creepy tune from a John Carpenter thriller they didn't like. So instead of slightly altering their favourite songs and re-recording them as their own like some of their less scrupulous Parisian contemporaries have done, they've put together the five-track musical salute Zombie Zombie Plays John Carpenter (Versatile) which includes their own eerie interpretations of the tension-ratcheting themes from Carpenter's films including Halloween, Assault On Precinct 13, Escape From New York, Escape From L.A. and The Thing which Carpenter composed with Ennio Morricone. If you've seen the films, you already know that it's almost impossible to improve on Carpenter's chilling scores. But in taking the themes out of their cinematic context, Zombie Zombie have done a fine job of bringing attention to some marvelous pieces of music which you may have missed while anticipating what might be lurking in the dimly lit room at the end of the hall.
What better way to top off the tribute project than with a stop motion animation version of Carpenter's classic 1982 remake of The Thing scored by Zombie Zombie? Directed by Simon Gesrel and Xavier Ehretsmann, who evidently used their own G.I. Joe action figures, the six and a half minute clip is a mind-roasting epic of pure twisted genius as you'll see below.

Etienne Jaumet discusses John Carpenter's film soundtracks

The Thing by Simon Gesrel and Xavier Ehretsmann

Friday, October 1, 2010

One For The Weekend: Shonen Knife

The delightfully nutty Shonen Knife will be getting down tonight with The Weirdies and Fantasy Defender at the Horseshoe, which isn't a 70s Chinese Disco but it should still make for a glorious Friday night.

Chinese Disco by Shonen Knife