Music Notes: June 2016

June 30, 2016 at 7:20 pm (Uncategorized)

Boy. Second post this month. Still…

1. The Kills – Ash and Ice

I’m going to write more about this in a separate piece on the Kills, but let’s just say the following. It’s not as immediate or as ragged as previous Kills’ records. In particular Jamie Hince’s guitar is much further back in the mix. that said, I actually prefer some of the slower numbers, but I still wish, they’d cut loose a little more.

2. This is Sheffield

A short documentary about Sheffield in the punk-post-punk period focusing on Cabaret Voltaire, the Human League, 2.3, Vice-Versa and the Extras. It’s a clever little documentary with same great archival footage. I’m not sure what my favourite story is: That members of Cabaret Voltaire used to drive around Sheffield in a panel van with the doors open so Sheffield residents could listen to the stuff they were listing to, or that the Human League used to open for Def Leopard.

3. Cabaret Voltaire – #7885 Electropunk to Technopop

So after I watched the film, I dug this up. A comprehensive but brief overview of the Cabs’ history, from their weird mutant pop sound collages to the more successful, but less interesting, dance pop successes. I suspect if you’re like me, you’ll like the first half better.

4. Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth

Apparently this guy is both the saviour and the Judas of country music depending on who is talking. Neither are true, but this is closer to the former than the latter. Folk, country, rock and psychedelic sounds throughout this loose concept record. (and a Nirvana cover which acquits itself honourably). Very nice.

5. V/A Underground Rockabilly

25 tracks by artists you’ve likely never heard of. But that don’t mean it ain’t fun. As the title promises, 25 cuts back in the day.

6. Adam Ant – Adam Ant is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the  Gunner’s Daughter

The nice thing about this record is that Adam hasn’t tried to recreate any of the old stuff (he still dresses badly though – C’mon Adam, pirates don’t live to 60), and the first half sounds pretty cool. Then, ambition seems to overwhelm the record and it looses focus and drags. Trimmed to 2/3 of the length and you have a pretty interesting result. Daft title though.

7. Duran Duran – Girls on Film 1979 Demos

I was in some or other shop a few months back, and over the speakers came “Wild Boys.” You know what, it sounded pretty good. This four song collection of demos does not. Listening to demos can be fun. It lets the fan see how the song got to be the finished product. Mostly though, they’re for the fan. This collection sounds very rough. All treble, indistinct vocals (this is before Simon Le Bon joined). Only for the hardcore I’m afraid.

8. Mitski – Puberty 2

Now I’ll confess, I’ve only heard a couple of songs off of this album, but I’m very excited by it. Moody vocals and a bleak pop sound. Mitski plays the Horseshoe Tavern in July.

9. UK Subs – Another Kind of Blues

The UK Subs are playing Wrong Bar in Toronto in September, and I’m tempted. Charlie Harper is in his 70s now, so it could be awful, but who knows? Blues is the Subs first album, and it’s exactly what you’d expect: Three chords, singalong choruses, three minutes at best. In other words, loads of fun. Maybe I will go.

10. Buzzcocks vs. Morrissey

Buzzcocks have licensed “What do I get”” to McDonald’s for a fairly embarrassing burger ad. Morrissey feels betrayed. I know how he feels. Nothing seems worse that hearing a song you like (or was a cherished memory) turned inot a pitch for some awful product. You feel as if a part of your soul has been taken. Art for art sake. But then, I’m not an artist, and you have to pay those bills. Watch the ad here.

I suppose I should mention that Radiohead has a new album out, but you probably knew that, right?

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Big to Business – A Catch Up of Sorts

June 24, 2016 at 7:08 pm (Uncategorized)


Over three weeks without a post. the few readers I have must have wondered if I had died or something. Fear not gentle reader, nothing so drastic. Just a crazy work schedule and general inertia led to an extended break. that and every time I sat down to write something, something else came along, so instead of new posts, I have a folder full of half finished drafts. Well, back at it then.

Plenty to write about this last month though.

  1. Brexit – OK, I was wrong about that one. I had assumed that people would come right up to the edge and loose their nerve as they did in the Scots referendum or in Quebec, but no, they decided to plunge in. Of course, I’m not pro-EU (which nationalism do you prefer), but the prospect of having to listen to arseholes like Nigel Farage about how his is a marvelous victory for British people (thank you- we know what you have in mind there) is not very thrilling. It also makes me wonder if people know exactly how the world economy works.
  2. The Trump and Clinton Dog and Pony Show – I just google “trump” every day to if there’s any new idiocy. He rarely disappoints. Today’s quote: “Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!” Erm, actually Scotland voted to stay, but moreover, did Trump miss the whole Scots independence thing? And Hilary.. I keep meaning to pick up Doug Henwood’s new book on Clinton. While it seems that the election is hers to lose, her campaign reminds me a lot of the one former Canadian Prime minister Paul Martin ran to replace Jean Chretien – the only reason he was running for leader was that he wanted to be leader.
  3. The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair – OK, a shift in gears now.  I went to this year’s bookfair on a Sunday instead of my usual Saturday (personal commitment). Interesting as always and my sales were about the same as usual. Still, it did seem as if there were a lot fewer people there. It may have been that almost nothing was announced until late April (I did speak to a bookfair collective member about this, but the answer I received was not entirely convincing – who knows what happened?) Still, it’s a great event which has been around since 2000, and i hope to be there next year too. The Toronto bookfair in in July. More on that later.
  4. The Orlando Tragedy – I’ve only been to Orlando once. About six or seven years ago, we went to Disney. In spite of my misgiving, I had  fun with the kids. But what a fucking terrible week it was the weekend of June 12. The murder of American Idol contestant Christina Grimmie, the snatching of a child by an alligator and most horrific of all the Pulse massacre.  Nah, that’s not true. Most horrific is that nothing will change. Until everything does.
  5. Riot-Strike -Riot – Interesting book by Joshua Clover on the re-emergence of the riot in public. The book chronicles the disappearance of the riot with the emergence of capitalism in favour of the strike, but its more recent return. Interesting. People might also find useful IP’s critique of the now defunct group Blaumachen which held similar views of the future of social struggles.

More soon.

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