Communicating Vessels #28

May 23, 2017 at 4:16 pm (Uncategorized)

Communicating Vessels is one of those publications which isn’t in my mind too often. And then, an issue appears in my mail box, and I fall in love with it all over again.  Each issue contains personal essays on the nature of existence in capitalist society (we are in it, but not of it) and the spaces which still exist. The issues are beautifully laid out, and contain poems , illustrations and epigrams to provoke and to puzzle. The only oddity  in this issues is the generally positive review of Jan Valtin’s  rather dubious Out of the Night, a book which has been described by one of its recent publishers as a work on “fictional biography” for its creative and factual liberties.

There’s no web site or email. If you want a copy send some dollars to Anthony at PO Box 2048, Tuscon, Arizona, 85702, USA

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What is Alienation?

May 23, 2017 at 4:15 pm (Uncategorized)

“Alienation – I know it is there whenever I sing a love song or recite a poem, whenever I handle a banknote or enter a shop, whenever I glance at a poster or read a newspaper. At the very moment the human is defined as ‘having possessions,’ I know it is there, dispossessing the human.”

Henri Lefebvre – The Critique of Everyday Life

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Back to the Garage: Boss Hog in Toronto

May 23, 2017 at 4:15 pm (Uncategorized)

A funny thing  happened as I reached Lee’s Place on Friday night; I was asked for ID by the guy on the door. “How old are you?” I asked, “Because,  I’m 52.” The other guy mumbled something about being asked for insurance purposes, but in any event, in I went. Phew!

CatL were already on stage. Damn! I’d wanted to get there before their set started, but ended up having to park further away than planned. For those who don’t know, catL are a garage-punk blues duo of guitar and drums (once a duo, then a trio, now a duo albeit of a different composition than the first) . They’ve released four albums, all of them great, but as good as they are on record, the live shows are better. There’s just something about the stripped down line-up, percussion heavy with  a savage guitar sound that makes them unmissable (next Toronto show is at the Dakota Tavern on June 8) . Short set for a small crowd, but I loved every second.

Danny & the Darleans are led by Danny Kroha, a founding member of Detroits’s The Gories. Like catL before them and Boss Hog after them on the night’s bill, Danny & the Darleans play rock ‘n’n roll with a heavy garage blues sound. THere’s little than can be said about this style. It’s short bursts of music thatmove you through its simplicity nad its idrectness. The band played a forty minute set, and we were ready for the main attraction.

Boss Hog formed in the late 1980s, and are fronted by the punk rock power-duo Jon Spencer and Christine Martinez.  The couple are associated with many great bands including Pussy Galore, the Honeymoon Killers, Unsane and of course Spencer’s own Blues Explosion. I saw the band sometime in the early 1990’s at the long-defunct Apocalypse Club on College (a block west of the Mod Club)  promoting their self-titled major label debut for Geffen. The marriage never seemed right, and their next release White Out appeared on In the Red. Then a recording hiatus of 17 years before Brood X appeared as if nothing had happened.

The band took the stage on time (I’ll admit to loving bands that are punctual) , and bang, frantic blues-punk. Martinez stalks the stage, while Spencer plays back up, occasionally taking lead along with Hollis Queens. Their set was short (45 minutes although there were a generous number of encores), but intense. Let’s hope it’s not another 17 years before they release new material (I’ll be 69 then)

Three great bands for twenty and change. How could you not be happy, and if you were at the show, I hope you’ll forgive the heresy: CatL were the best!


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For May Day

May 1, 2017 at 9:38 pm (Uncategorized)

In the third manuscript of the so-called Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844,  Karl Marx argued in a section entitled “Private Property and Communism” …

… If you love without evoking love in return – if through the vital expression of yourself as a loving person you fail to become a loved person, then your love is impotent, it is a misfortune.
Private Property and Communism, 1844

It’s easy to concentrate on the political or the economic aspects of Marx’s thought. But it’s sometimes useful to remember the social, the personal. If you love, but can’t spread it, then you may never be able to make that better world we all want.

Enjoy May Day


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Music Notes April 2017

May 1, 2017 at 9:29 pm (Uncategorized)

Ha! Probably too busy thinking about May day. I’m a day late, but never mind. 

1 Sallie Ford – Soul Sick

Sallie Ford sings rock and roll. Nuff said. Another terrific album.

2 Emel Mathlouthi – Kelmti Horra

I discovered this singer recently, and this is my favourite album this week. From Tunisia and possessing an amazing voice, Mathlouthi sings traditional North African music as well as electronica influenced sounds.

3 Molly Burch – Please Be Mine

I saw Burch a few weeks ago opening for Sallie Ford at the Horseshoe in Toronto. Sort Mazzy Rock shoegazer vibe. Bought the record during the break and didn’t look back. Seductive, smokey love songs.

4  Various artists – Back to Mono

Hauled this one out after a while. OK, Phil Spector might be nuts, but he’s responsible for some of the most amazing pop music ever. Hit after hit here.

5 Original soundtrack  – Gimme Danger

The soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch’s film forms a Stooges greatest hits package and includes a few rarities as well (demos, outtakes, an Iguanas and Prime Movers Blues Band tracks). If you’re a Stooges fan, you probably have all of this anyway, but it’s a nice little collection.

6 Nikki Lane – Highway Queen

Saw her on one of the late night shows a little while back and thought it might be worth a listen. To be honest though, the record doesn’t do it for me. Good hooks and all, but the overall sound is just a little too close to the middle for me.

7 The Sleaford Mods – English Tapas

I cannot stop listening to this record. Absolutely fantastic . Bitting wit. Just the thing you need to hear if you’re angry at the world, and even if you’re not.

8 Hurray for the Riff Raff – Small Town Heroes

After listening to this, I was super excited that  the band is playing Toronto this summer, but then I realized I’ll be away that week. Punky folk sounds with a lot of politics. Mmm.

9 Gillian Welch – Boots no. 1

A two disc set of outtakes, demos and alternative versions of Welch’s debut Revival. You don’t have to be familiar with Revival to love the sweet and bitter guitar tunes and the achingly poignant vocals on this set. Lovely.

10 HMV

Yes, I know, corporate rock chain goes under, boo hoo.  I do remember when the HMV mega-store opened on Yonge Street. You could get a lot of very cool stuff there, and they carried a lot of independent artists (Bare Naked Ladies I’m talking to you) . I spent a lot of time and money in that store. Somewhere along the way, HMV more or less stopped selling music and it was graphic novels, DVDs and merch. As digital sharing took over, HMV sank. Still, it’s disappearance will mean that the local mall music outlet will disappear too. Fine if you’re in Toronto, less so if you’re in a small town. Yes, the internet. Yes, Amazon, but there’s still a joy in browsing and finding something cool. Even if it is in a corporate rock store.


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