Music Notes October 2014

October 31, 2014 at 11:17 pm (Uncategorized)

Short list this month, as I’ve been super-busy.

1. The Allah-Las – Worship the Sun

Braver boys than me that’s for sure. Garage-like sixties noise. Playing Toronto later this month. The Horseshoe I think.

2. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

The last one before it all started to come apart (Parts of Smiley Smile not withstanding) .  But, it’s a good one this one. “God Only Knows,” “Wouldn’t it be Nice,” “Don’t Talk,” and many other simply fantastic moments. What’s nice too is that you get both the stereo and the mono version. (I go back and forth to which I prefer. The mono is so warm, but the stereo has a grandeur to it that’s hard to ignore. Just listen.

3. Camper Van Beethoven – Key lime Pie

The final CVB album, although maybe not since the band are touring again. Folkk, punk, rock and a bunch of other weird things. No, it doesn’t have “Take the skinheads Bowling.”  They do have many other fine songs you know!

4. Pavement – Brighten the Corners (Nicene Creedence edition)

The fourth installment of discordant pop music from Pavement. Less experimental than Wowee Zowee, but not as rockist as Crooked Rain, and some fun covers (the Fall, Echo and the Bunnymen). The thing that stuns me about these albums is just how much extra material Pavement always seem to record.  Well worth seeking out.

5. And congratulations to Wilko Johnson. Now apparently cancer-free. Don’t know who Wilko is? Oil City Confidential. The story of Dr. Feelgood.

Next month a full slate. Maybe more.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Communicating Vessels #26

October 27, 2014 at 2:03 am (Uncategorized)

The new Communication Vessels just arrived at the post box, and now I need to take a day off of work to read it.

CV is one of those magazine which you need to savour. Beautifully illustrated, and filled with interesting articles of a surrealist bent, but not necessarily surrealist. Thumbing through, there’s a couple of pieces I’m already anxious to read: a piece on the decline of the post office and a piece of film noir.

CV is available by donation. No web site, no email.

Write to PO Box 2048, Tuscon, Arizona, 85702.

You’ll be glad you did.




Permalink Leave a Comment

The World Slows Down

October 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm (Uncategorized)

Never a dull moment, is it?  This week there were two attacks labelled “terrorist” in Canada that saw the deaths of Canadian soldiers. While the government has quickly announced new security measures including earlier “detainment” of “suspects” (uh huh), no convincing evidence has come forward that the attacks were related or connected to or inspired by ISIS. What they did have I common were two lonely, rage-filled loners. We’ll see.

I’m going to be in New York in a couple of weeks with my sister, so it didn’t fill me with much joy that New York has recorded its first Ebola infection with a doctor who was in West Africa. Still, I lived through two SARS outbreaks here in Toronto without much impact on my life. I’m certain this case will have next to no impact, but still, even one brings a cloud.

Lastly, the municipal election is the day after tomorrow. Surely there must be some way to reduce the time limits on these things. It seems as if it’s been on forever. As the Chow campaign still struggles to get out of the station, John Tory seems almost certain to be elected, and Doug Ford continues to try to fill the void left by his brother by keeping his foot firmly in his mouth. A few weeks back, when question about alleged anti-Semitic slurs made by his brother, Doug responded by naming his Jewish, er, friends. Make that workers. This week when caught referring to a Toronto Star reporter as a “little bitch,” he unconvincingly argued he was referring to another little bitch, not that reporter. Oh, that’s OK then. Hmm.  I can’t wait for that to be over.

But as we wade through these mountains of crap, something else. My son turned 11 today. As I was walking the dog this morning, I do most of my best thinking walking the dog, I thought back to his birth. It’s one of those moments when you feel the universe shift. (It happened with my daughter too). And it makes all of those other painful moments we have to endure, a little easier to take.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Sharon Van Etten in Toronto

October 23, 2014 at 6:31 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

Ooh, this is way late, and there’s a lot to more important stuff to cover too, but if I don’t publish this now I never will.


I’ll send you a love letter straight from my heart, fucker. Do you know what a love letter is? It’s a bullet from a fuckin’ gun, fucker. If you receive a love letter from me, you are fucked forever. Do you understand, fuck? I’ll send ya straight to Hell, fucker!

Whenever I listen to a Sharon Van Etten record, I get the feeling she’s channeling Frank Booth from the movie Blue Velvet. There’s a rawness, a danger in her words that approaches the fearsome Frank. And earlier this month Ms. Van Etten brought that danger to the Opera House.

New Zealand’s Tiny Ruins opened the show. The three-piece played an engaging pop-folk set, which unfortunately was drowned in the cavernous Opera House. The set started well, but I came to feel that it would have worked a lot better in a club like the Rivoli. (I remember a similar experience seeing the Cowboy Junkies at Ontario Place years back).

The first Sharon Van Etten song I heard was “Serpents” from her Tramp album. It’s not a representative song. It’s far punkier than most of her stuff, but it hooks you just the same. The Opera House set contained a lot of material from her new, and quite simply amazing album, Are We There. Van Etten joked with the audience between songs and then song after song astounded. For her final encore, she played the heartbreaking  “Every Time the Sun Comes Up.”

I was really looking forward to the show, since the last few times Van Etten came to town, I’d been unable to attend. It was worth the wait.

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Price of Gas

October 15, 2014 at 12:48 am (Uncategorized)

Hey, post number 800!

As with most other motorists, I drive with one eye on the road and one eye of the price of gas. And if there’s one thing I know, it’s that  any problem, anywhere in the world, means the price of gas will go up.

  • Vladimir Putin gets a cold – prices go up.
  • Sanctions against Iran – prices go up.
  • Rain in Texas – prices go up
  • And of course, holiday weekend, prices go up

Well yesterday was Thanksgiving in Canada , and for the last couple of years, gas prices for regular have been between $1.30 a litre and $1.39 a litre (sorry, if you don’t understand the metric system, but it really does make more sense. Join the rest of the world. And yes, I am spelling it litre) 

Yesterday, the price of gas nearest me was $1.16 a litre!

To make matters more confusing, the fact that ISIS is making millions of dollars a day from the oil fields it controls makes me wonder. Is ISIS reducing the price of gas, and would people be in such a panic over ISIS if it meant continued cheap gas?

Permalink 2 Comments

Fall Leaves Fall

October 5, 2014 at 8:26 pm (Uncategorized)

Whenever I watch murder mysteries on TV, it’s the person walking their dog who discovers the body. I never really thought about that until I started walking my own dog. We travel the neighbourhood several times a day, and I’m struck by the umber of times, something new, something not quite the same, catches my eye on the trip.

Last week, in the early evening I was walking the dog. The most common route we take brings me past a seniors’ centre, and as we went by we walked into a shower of red and orange leaves drifting gently from an overhanging tree. It was fall.

It’s funny how it sneaks up on you. From summer’s gentle fade in late August into September and back to school, the possibility of Autumn never really seems to register for me. Then, there’s a brief moment of brilliant colours and we begin the trudge toward Winter.

The morning after the leaves fell the roads were covered with decay. The weather was colder.  About a third of the way through the walk, I became acutely aware of the need for a scarf and gloves. There’s no sense feeling nostalgic for those now lost days, there’s other things ahead.

Pumpkins and Halloween decorations now dot the houses.

Permalink Leave a Comment