Music Notes September 2010

September 30, 2010 at 12:21 am (Uncategorized)

Under the wire, this month’s list of good things for your ears…

1. Liz Worth – Treat me Like Dirt

An oral history of Toronto area punk to 1981. I moved to Canada in 1981, so missed all of this, but I saw the ripples after. The book has extensive selections from some of the main figures in the Toronto-Hamilton scene including the Viletones, Teenage Head,  the Forgotten Rebels, the Demics and more. (Boy, a lot of people didn’t like the Diodes). Well worth reading even if, like me, it’s history not memory. Some cool pictures too.

2. Jon Savage – The England’s Dreaming Tapes

The interviews which provides the background to Savage’s England’s Dreaming. Essential reading on the history of punk in the UK, this volume fills in the gasp with interviews with almost all of the players. Outstanding.

3. Simon Reynolds – Totally Wired

So if you read Savage for punk, Reynolds was the man to read for post-punk. And like Savage, Reynolds has released a book of interviews he did for his book. And also like Savage’s book, this one is a great read and utterly essential (It’s interesting to read the two books together and see how the players evolve – Jah Wobble’s interviews are a good example of maturity over time)  

4. The Kills – “Pale Blue Eyes”

Yup, the old Velvets song, done beautifully here. It’s part of a promotion by Levis, and is available as a free download. Find the link at the Kills site. (there are other free downloads too)

5. Urge Overkill – “Effigy”

Wow, it must be fifteen years since Exit the Dragon came out. Remember when Urge Overkill released Saturation and stood poised to conquer the world? Then came Exit, and it felt like a step back. Listen to it now, and it sounds pretty good. “Effigy” sounds a lot like vintage Urge, and that’s not a bad thing. A new album is supposed to be in the offing, but you can get this as a download from Spin.

6. Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanagan – Hawk

Another collaboration from former Belle and Sebastian and Screaming Trees members. I read the reviews, and bought the album, but I have to admit I’m not overwhelmed by it. It’s fine country-folk with a twist of psychedelia, but it’s nothing Lee and Nancy or their spiritual descendants Dean and Britta haven’t done better. I also bought a ticket for their upcoming show at Lee’s Palace in Toronto, so we’ll see how that turns out.

7. Buzzcocks – Love Bites

The difficult second album. Last year Buzzcocks remastered and reissued their first three post-Devoto albums. All of the albums are two CD sets including the original album, singles, demos and live tracks. I finally picked up the second release Love Bites a few weeks back. Second albums are difficult things. Quite often you spent a couple of years working on the songs which comprise your first record, then you have six months to work on the second. The songs you get are rushed or the ones which weren’t quite strong enough for the first. If the record is similar to the first, people say you’re stagnating; if it’s different, people criticize you for deserting your fans. You can’t win. Love Bites was tricky, but it’s still full of great hocks and clever songs. Well worth having in this form.  

8. Public Image Ltd. – Flowers of Romance

And speaking of albums which came changes in direction, coming after Metal Box and Wobble’s departure from the band, Flowers seems like an entirely new project. More percussion and a middle-east sound, the record still features Lydon’s eerie vocals (my daughter won’t let me listen to this when she’s around as it spooks her) . Suffocating, but also the last great PIL record.  

9. Hawaii Five -0

Not strictly a music note, but I’m putting it here anyway. I watched the first episode of the new version of the show last week. Nothing special even though it features James Marsters as a baddie (c’mon, no one believes he died at the end of the episode) and the lovely Grace Park as well…well you figure it out. But it was great to hear that theme music again. apparently earlier versions contained a new score, but fortunately people realized there are just some things you don’t change.

10 Blues at the Rex

One Sunday a month, the Rex Hotel on Queen Street in Toronto hosts a blues matinée. I went two weeks ago and saw Dr. Nick and …. (sorry, can’t remember the name). They were great, and anyway, it’s a fine way to spend an afternoon before heading back to the drudge, and something which should be supported. Not sure when this month’s is taking place, but check out the web site.



  1. ballnoir said,

    I like the kills. Aha it is cheap and cheerful.

    • fischerzed said,

      I’m very fond of the orginial, and I like REM’s cover, but the Kills’ version is sublime.

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