Music Notes August 2015

August 31, 2015 at 10:36 pm (Uncategorized)

1 Ronnie Lane and Slim Chance – Oh La La: An Island Harvest

Ronnie Lane, founder of the Small Faces, the Faces and a solo artist is one of those guys whose name might not be immediately familiar to many, but ask any musician and he’s right at the top. This  collection of demos, alternative versions, and live tracks is absolutely amazing.

2 Metz – II

The formula has varied on Metz’s second release – loud, very loud guitar heavy punk rock. Very cool.

3 Various artists – Remembering Mountains: Unheard Songs by Karen Dalton

a great collection of “unheard”songs by Dalton as recorded by the likes of Lucinda Williams and Sharon Von Etten. Now go and get Dalton’s records.

4 The Strypes – Little Victories

I was so looking forward to this, but it’s a bit of a let down. The first album Snapshot was a furious punk rock R&B driven record with nods to the Stones, Dr. Feelgood and Eddie and the Hot Rods. On the second release, the lads have slowed down a little to produce a solid rock album, but one that seems slight in comparison. It’s growing on me, but so far it pales in comparisson.

The Libertines –Anthem for the Doomed Youth

Not actually released until mid-September, there are a couple of tracks floating around. They sound as great at the first two records. Very excited for this one.

Various artists – Sticky Soul Fingers

Free with Mojo a few years back (sorry forget the date). Soul interpretations of Sticky Fingers. Very tasty.

Pixies – Doolittle

Sure, every Pixies fan has Doolittle and the B-sides and BBC tracks (although there are a couple of unreleased versions), it’s the demos that will attract the hardcore. Doolittle is arguably the band’s finest hour (I go back and forth between it and the first album). As with any reissue, there’s a bit of fan-exlpoitation, but this doesn’t feel so bad. Unlike…

The Velvet Underground – Loaded

Oh come on. I used to think Elvis Costello was bad, but the Velvets (or whoever is managing what’s left) is worse. Every couplw of years, they re-release a new version of the four with a few extras in it. (Mono mixes seem to be the new thing). This version of Loaded which will replace the two-CD “Fully” Loaded comes as a six CD set with remastered stereo and mono mixes, outtakes, and the Live 1969 set which apparently also has extra songs.  How many more times are people supposed to believe, “Oh, we found another box of demos…” ? I love this band, but still.

Jessica Hopper – The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic

wasn’t familiar with hopper’s work, but this collection is a great introduction to her writing.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Vampire Films

What is it about vampires and rock and roll? The bad boy image, the after dark vibe, the live fast die young and leave a good looking corpse ethos? Who knows. But check out Only Lovers Left Alive, WhT we Do in the Shadows and the marvellous A girl Walks Home Alone at Night.



Permalink Leave a Comment

New York 2015 Whirlwind Tour

August 30, 2015 at 2:16 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Earlier this month, I made the trip to New York. I’m not sure how many times I’ve been there (must be dozens now), but it’s still a revelation each time. A couple of months back, the boy mentioned the next time I went to New York for a non-political thing he’d like to come as well.  And so began the plan for the next NY expedition.

We took the train. I just had this idea that it would be a cool thing to do. Sure it would be longer, but I’d take a few books and magazines and catch up on stuff. And it would be cheaper and more civilized than flying. But it was longer. Actually, the trip down wasn’t too bad 30 minutes late, although inexplicably, the trip included a two-hour stop at the US border. Returning was worse: Three hours late, but I did do a lot of reading!

The trip began on a mildly ominous note; as we left the house early Sunday morning, I realized that the boy and I were dressed the same: black jacket, navy blue shirt and grey shorts. With the luggage, it looked as if we were contestants on the Amazing Race. The rest of the trip though, apart from its duration was without incident. as we left Penn Station at around 10:30, the book looked up at the still buzzing city,  “Cool.”

Day 1.

We took the subway to the Roosevelt Island Tram. The two-minute ride offers an amazing view of the city over to Roosevelt Island, a thin strip running along the upper east side of Manhattan. The tram is featured in Spider Man (2000) when the Green Goblin forces Spider-Man to choose between Mary-Jane Watson and a tramcar full of passengers. Nothing so dramatic for us.

Next was a walk through Central Park, which is always great. The boy and I did the tourist thing and ate pretzels by a fountain (we chose not to follow Tom Lehrer and poison pigeons) . Central Park took us to the Guggenheim; the boy had told me he didn’t want to go to art galleries or museums (kid – you’re in New York!), but I managed to persuade him to go to the Guggenheim which has such an interesting structural design.

A quick cab ride took us to Serendipity. A friend had mentioned this place to me (I vaguely remembered the movie), but we decided to go for the Frrozen Hot Chocolate. The story was that Jackie Kennedy has requested the recipe from the store’s founder for a party she was having. He declined though he came to the party to make it for the guests. I think if we had walked back to Toronto we might have worked off some of the calories, but it was good.

From there we wandered through Rockefeller Center and Times Square back to the hotel. One thing struck me. Americans have a reputation for being the most obese nation on earth (I suppose Canada is second), but this wasn’t at all in evidence – was it just that everyone walks in ew York so they are fitter, or that most of the people were tourists and so not Americans? Maybe a sociology thesis in there.

After lunch and a brief rest, we wandered along the High Line, an elevated walkway-park that runs through the old meatpacking district.


Day 2.

It was raining. Really raining. As we came out of the subway, the opportunists were there selling umbrellas. I said to the boy as I handed over my money, “If this lasts to the end of the day, I’ll have gotten my money’s worth.” As it turned out, I still have the umbrella.

Misreading the subway train meant we got off near the Brooklyn Bridge, so we decided to walk across that. The Brooklyn Bridge is the bridge that Gwen Stacy falls from in Amazing Spider-Man, but in the comics, it’s misidentified as the George Washington Bridge. We walked through Wall Street and the financial district, and then gradually made our way through Soho, stopping at Evolution to buy some odds and ends. Our trip ended with a walk through Times Square at night. (Didn’t see those Desnudas girls on either trip BTW)

This was probably my most tourist-y trip to New York. Sure, sure, I went last year with my sister, but to go with an 11-year old is even cooler.

Permalink 1 Comment

Back Now

August 27, 2015 at 2:31 pm (Uncategorized)

A quick trip to the States, followed by computer problems, have meant little posted here in August. So, back on track now.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Away For a Bit…

August 9, 2015 at 12:56 am (Uncategorized)

So much to write about, so much to comment on…but it will have to wait. The boy and me are away for a few days on a father-son vacation.

Till Thursday then.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Rezillos 2015 – A long Overdue Review

August 7, 2015 at 6:58 pm (Uncategorized)

Er, three weeks late this one.

I know, I know. You can’t go home, but I had such fun the last time the Rezillos were in town, I thought it couldn’t hurt.

I walked into Lee’s near the end of the opening band’s set. A punky Ramones-like band who were utterly derivative and utterly adorable. It’s been a while since I heard someone do Cheap Trick’s “Surrender.” Yes, it sounded great.

The Rezillos came on around 10:20, and I couldn’t help but notice that Lee’s was half empty, whereas last time they played (two years back), the venue was full. The band ran through an energetic set of greatest hits, but only four songs of the 14 songs in their set were from their new album Zero. Surely an indication that the band knew its audience.

In the late 70s, the Rezillos were a fantastic thing: Eugene Reynolds as Dan Dare and Fay Fife as a punk rock Mary Quant were the coolest couple. Then you had guitarist Jo Callis who wrote tremendous little songs. But fame was fleeting and the band broke up, leaving only an outstanding debut and a pretty good live album.

The reformed band features three of the originals (not Callis or William Mysterious who died a few years ago), and while they’re not an embarrassment, the result doesn’t seem to have that same magic. I loved the show a couple of years back, but maybe it was because I just really wanted to see them. Who knows?

The 45 minute set ended with an unnecessary cover of “River Deep Mountain High” and that was that. A friend of mine in the audience went to see the band the following evening at This Ain’t Hollywood in Hamilton and reported it was the same show, but in the smaller venue with a more energetic crowd, it was a better show.

Set list

Can’t Stand my Baby
Bad Guy Reaction
Flying Saucer Attack
(Take me to the) Groovy Room
No. 1 Boy
It Gets Me
Sorry about Tomorrow
Destination Venus
Getting Me Down
Life’s a Bitch
Top of the Pops
(My Baby does) Good Sculptures
Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked in Tonight


Mystery Action
River Deep Mountain High

Permalink 1 Comment

Wal-Mart’s Changing?

August 7, 2015 at 6:24 pm (Uncategorized)

Like a lot of people, I watch the Daily Show. Also like a lot of people, the fact that I have to work in the morning means I don’t watch it when it airs. OK, I watched the final Jon Stewart episode last night, but that was the last one. But I digress.

I usually watch the episode the following day on the I-Pad using the CTV app. The app usually has three commercials per break: One by Chevrolet, one by Wal-Mart, and the third varies.

The Chevy commercials for WI-fi in  the car are kind of interesting. One woman who looks bored out of her head mouths the line, “That’s the dream. Wi-fi in the car” with no enthusiasm whatsoever. C’mon Chevy, there must be some unemployed actors out there.

The Wal-Mart commercial though is interesting too , but for a different reason. A woman pushes a cart through the store when a voice-over announces, “Wal-Mart’s changing” as a display cabinet flips to reveal a butcher section. The ad is for beef.

The display case flips again to reveal the woman’s husband barbequing. The husband is appropriately plaid shirted and bearded. He never turns to face his wife.

“Are they nearly ready?” she asks.

The husband, already eating, grunts in the affirmative.

“Do we need more?”

“Two. No, three more.”  The wife’s expression is quizzical . She looks at her oafish husband with a slightly disappointed expression as if to say, “Oh sweetie.”Then it comes.

“…and I love you.”

The wife’s expression changes to a simpering smile as if to say, “That big lug. He does love me.” Ahh.

What year is it? The woman as shopper, man as barbeque chef (because even though the wife cooks everything else, she can’t be trusted to cook meat?) seems like something out of the 1950s TV. What always stuns me is not that this kind of commercial is aired, but that an advertising agency came up with it as something appropriate.  Wal-Mart is changing? Hmm.

Permalink Leave a Comment

HOV Update

August 3, 2015 at 2:34 am (Uncategorized)

The Pan-AM games are over, but the Para Pan-Am games are about to begin. On the Don Valley Parkway, the HOV lanes are now for 2 people per car. Doesn’t help me much, but I have some time off of work right now anyway.

The police announced a few days back that they had handed out over 1,700 tickets to drivers in HOV lanes with less than the required numbers. At $500 a ticket that’s $850,000. Hmm, probably just about covers the police over time.

Call me cynical.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Canadian Federal Election: There is No God

August 3, 2015 at 2:29 am (Uncategorized)

Fundamentally, it makes no difference who wins, but elections are hard to ignore. Sunday morning, Canadian PM Steven Harper called for the federal election campaign to officially begin. 78 days. 11 weeks. That’s more than twice the usual length.

So, the rest of the summer is taken up with attack ads, propaganda, and people knocking on my door trying to get me to vote for a system I despise. Then it kicks into high gear in September and October. There is no God.

Course, I suppose it could be worse. The U.S. seems to have an endless election cycle. This week’s Republican debate for an election that 15 months away. <sigh>

Permalink Leave a Comment