Music Notes – March 2009

March 22, 2009 at 10:53 pm (Uncategorized)

 This month’s observation and recommendations

1.Primal Scream at the Phoenix, Toronto, March 24.

I think this is the only Canadian date on this mini-tour. Very much looking forward to this show. Expect a follow-up post on Wednesday.

2. Lost Tunes  

I’ve been looking for the Slits cover of Man Next Door (a Rough trade single which appeared on the compilation Wanna Buy a Bridge?) for a while. I even emailed the band. No luck. Then I happened upon this site. It bills itself as the site for lost and obscure music. Not too cheap, but a fair selection. Didn’t have that Slits song though.

3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz.

Ooh, the new album by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. To my ears, it’s not quite as immediate as the previous records (I liked the EPs better – wonder why that it). But it’s worth picking up/downloading (however you do these things).

4. Jason & the Scorchers – Ferver/Lost & Found

Well, these take me back a few years. In the early 1980s, I volunteered at CFMU-FM McMaster university’s student radio station. I remember when Ferver came into the station, and being stunned by their cover of Dylan’s Absolutely Sweet Marie. It made the Flamin’ Groovies version sound positively anemic. Like the Long Ryders, Jason and the Scorchers were probably ten years too early. The alt-country thang gathered steam at the end of the decade, but by then others had taken their place. It’s worth hunting out the rarities CD Wildfires and Misfires. PLAY LOUD.

5. Yo La Tengo – Sugarcube 

Hilarious video. The band are sent to rock school to learn how to make a hit.  I saw Yo La Tengo open for Teenage Fanclub in Toronto years ago. Very cool. 

6. Franklin Mint Blog  

 Blog specializing in, ahem, bootleg recordings. Last week was Beck week! That reminds me, I have to download that copy of Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg. The blog reproduces a letter from one artist’s lawyer asking the site to cease and desist from making bootlegs available, but as the comeback points out: no money is changing hands. Usually the only people  who want bootlegs (and even the crappy quality ones) are the fans. Who could object to that?

7. Nick Cave / Mojo March 2009

Mr. Cave gets the cover treatment, and a massive feature inside. A comprehensive interview, and a series of little side bar features and lists. When I look through my record collection (OK, OK, music collection), Nick Cave fills one section. Incredibly, and unlike many artists, Cave has continued to produce great music. Most of the bands I listen to are good for a couple of albums, then it’s the junk heap. Cave has been producing compelling, essential music for almost three decades.

8. Glastonbury

The rockumentary is a difficult thing to get right. If it’s studio production, the joy of the musci often gets lost in the broader context. If it’s a fan, the danger is it will just too uncritical. Julian Temple has got it right several times. Despite directing the Sex Pistols movie, The Great Rock n Roll Swindle (worth watching only a curiosity), Temple made an excellent feature about the band, The Filth and the Fury.Two years ago, Temple made an amazing feature about Joe Strummer, The Future is Unwritten. I’ve seen a lot of films and videos about the Clash, but Temple’s film contained an amazing amount of footage, I’ve never seen. It got me wondering, what else is out there in the vaults. Glastonbury was Temple’s 2006 account of the festival.  Some great shots over several years of the festival (although, it’s some times annoying that your favourites are never shown all the way through a song).

9. Toronto’s Song

Toronto Mayor David Miller has launched a contest to write an official song for Toronto. Uh huh. Well, New York has had dozens of songs written about it. London Calling. Chicago. Even Istanbul. Why not Toronto? Well,  don’t get me wrong. I love Toronto. I’ve lived here off and on since 1987, but an official song? I dunno. And of course, one person already claims he wrote just such a song. It’s called Toronto People City. The writer, Gary Grey, claims city council already adopted it. Unfortunately no one seems to remember). Only in Toronto you say…

10.  The Au Pairs – Stepping out of Line – The Anthology

Now that Gang of Four has gotten their critical due, isn’t it about time to re-evaluate the Au Pairs. A Birmingham based post-punk band combining a lot of the energy with  musical sophistication. The debut album contained great songs about the Dirty protests in Northern Ireland, the politics of sexuality, and spousal abuse (a cover of Bowie’s Repetition). The second album was as different as say, Closer from Unknown Pleasures. The anthology also includes some live tracks and the early punky singles. Terrific.



  1. Richard S. said,

    Wow, I can hear that Slits song clearly in my head. I’m going to check to see if I still have my copy of Wanna Buy A Bridge? It was pretty scratched up and I tossed out a lot of scratched records during a move a couple of years ago, so I might have trashed it. I’ll have to dig into the closet to find out.

    I have to admit, I was never a big Slits fan. The Raincoats were much better.

  2. fischerzed said,

    It’s funny you should mention the Raincoats, as that’s another one I’ve been trying to track down. The ROIR live CD is readily available, but the debut doesn’t seem to be around. Too bad, Fairytale in a Supermarket is an incredible festival of noise – teetering on the verge of chaos, but somehow keeping it all together.

    I liked the Slits’ Cut, but the real keeper is the Peel sessions album. Massive Attack’s cover of Man Next Door is quite amazing too.

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