Music Notes August 2018

August 31, 2018 at 12:11 pm (Uncategorized)

As the kids go back to school…

1 Bobby Fuller Four – “I Fought the Law (El Paso)”

Came across this one on You Tube recently. It’s the demo version of the song. A little heavier sound which might even be better than the version we all know and love.


2 Dean Wareham – “Lonesome Cowboy Bill”

Not entirely sure where this is available – I subscribe to Dean Wareham’s mailing list, and it just showed up in my mail box last week. Rather lovely cover of the old Velvet Underground song from Loaded. 

3 Kit B. – “Four Obscure B Sides”

Heard about this band this morning courtesy of Louder Than War. Described as a sort of Young Marble giants for 2018, the record has a lo-fi charm that’s hard to resist. Down load from the band’s site. I particularly like the track “Swisser Swatter.”

4 Margo Price with Jack White – “Honey we can’t afford to look this cheap”

Appropriately shaky recording of the old White Stripes song from a show in Nashville.


5 Lulu and the Lampshades – “You’re Gonna Miss Me”

Yeah, I know Anna Kendrick does this in one of those Pitch Perfect movies, but I like this version better because it’s a Carter Family song sung with a British accent.


6 The Cowboy Junkies – All That Reckoning

First saw the Cowboy Junkies around the time their version of “Sweet Jane” was breaking. They played Clinton’s Tavern on Bloor Street. We saw close to the front, and the audience was still louder than the band. And yet, they were hypnotic (it didn’t work quite so well when I saw them a couple of years later at Ontario Place). Good to have them back.

7 Miley Cyrus – “Jolene”

Now that Dolly Parton’s back in the news after her posting of that meme, why not remember a great song of hers done effectively by Ms. Cyrus?


8 Half Man Half Biscuit – “Knobheads on Quiz Shows”

A fantastic track off the band’s new album, No-One Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fuckin Hedge Cut



9 Kaelan Minka – Manadas

Icelandic post-punk but dabbling in goth sounds. Moody, but affecting

10 Mitski – Be the Cowboy

Less punky that the previous album Puberty 2, but no less wonderful. The Toronto show in October has been moved from the Opera House to the Danforth Music Hall.

Enjoy back to school. 

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The New Socialists (According to the New York Times that is) )

August 31, 2018 at 12:09 pm (Uncategorized)

I live in Canada. Canada’s party of socialism (sorry, Communist Party of Canada) is the New Democratic Party. The NDP has been around for over half a century, and has never been a very radical organization. It’s peddled the same wishy-washy “capitalism  doesn’t have to be this way” mixture of warmed-over Keynesianism and social justice issues with some success. It’s never been a serious contender at the federal level, it has formed governments at the provincial level in six of Canada’s ten prvinces. While in power, it rolled out the same old program of managing capitalism, just as it promised it would.

And yet, the NDP still seem a great deal more radical than the Democratic Socialists of America. So, it was with interest I came across this article in Sunday’s New York Times which has a significant article on the front page of the Review section on contemporary socialism in the United States entitled “The New Socialists. “

It’s an interesting article, although its most telling line is the observation that the DSA is still deeply buried in the “second most enthusiastic capitalist party.”  (Paul Krugman also has a column to reassure people, this isn’t really anything to worry about) . So until that break is made, and by break, I mean with the value system, this mini-revolt isn’t really going to go too far.

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Communicating Vessels #29

August 31, 2018 at 12:08 pm (Uncategorized)

There’s a new issue of Communicating Vessels out now. The 29th issue (summer/fall 2018) features observations about life in the south-west (personal and political), reviews and letters, and an appreciation of writer Jim Harrison (new to me). The issue is, as always, beautifully produced in what is surely a labour of love.

To get a copy, send a few dollars to

PO Box 2048

Tuscon, Arizona, 85702


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