Music Notes November 2019

November 30, 2019 at 9:14 pm (Uncategorized)

Been a while since I’ve done one of those. Well, to business then.

1  Luna at Lee’s Palace

I saw Luna few years back at the Music Hall on Danforth, but this was more special. Lee’s Palace is about half the size of the Music Hall, so already it was a more intimate affair. And Luna was performing Penthouse, my favourite of their records. No opening band, Luna took the stage shortly after nine, played Penthouse, took a break and came back doing another set (which included the Dream Syndicate’s “That’s What You Always Say”) and then some encores. Great evening.

2. The Members

Remember “Sound of the Suburbs” or “Solitary Confinement”  or those other great songs by the Members a late 70s punk band with a reggae infusion? Well, it’s forty years later. Can they still place the hits? They did play them at a show at the Garrison, but unlike the Luna show I mentioned it felt as if they were going through them motions. Two members of the original band were still present (different drummer, and front-man Nicky Tesco is long gone). The songs sounded good, btu it also felt as if it were nostalgia. Only a couple of songs from beyond their glory days made the set list. Still, the crowd seemed happy, so who am I to criticize.?

3. Neu – Neu 2

I’m really getting into krautrock. I like this one better than the first Neu album, which was great. Lots of long Kraftwerk-like sounds but more guitar and drum based than keyboard. I’m imagining a long drive somewhere to listen.

4. The Oxford American

The 2019 music issue is out and it focuses on South Carolina. Picked up a copy today, and it’s not out of the shrink-wrap yet (that’s be Christmas Day). An issue devoted to music and a CD of the artists the feature. Happy Holidays!

5. Dan Mangan – “Cold in the Summer”

Apparently this came out in 2018, but my local radio station, Indie 88, plays it a lot. Just a lovely song to listen to in the car.

6. Patti Smith – Year of the Monkey 

Reading Patti Smith’s diary (essentially) is like having a conversation with your impossibly cool aunt. Lots of references you want to look up, and things you want to read. A marvellous vibe.

7. Billy Bragg – The Three Dimensions of Freedom 

I love Billy Bragg, even if I don’t agree with his politics. Bragg’s book remained firmly with a human capitalism, but the thing I like about this is that it says, “What if we did things differently?” And isn’t that the beginning of all things possible?

8. Billy Bragg – Talking to the Taxman About Poetry

OK, I pulled this out of the pile after reading the above book. Anything that contains a song as heartrendingly beautiful as “Levi Stubbs’ Tears” should be heard on a regular basis.

9. Kim Gordon – No Home Record 

Kim Gordon’s sound experiments were never my favourite part of sonic youth, btu her first solo album is engaging. Not exactly an easy record, but full of interesting sounds, beats and takes. Worth a listen.

10. The Beaches – The Professional

I’ve mentioned the Beaches before. Probably my favourite Toronto band today (tomorrow, it will be back to CatL). Punky EP. Great songs. Check them out.


OK, later.

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(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais

November 7, 2019 at 1:38 am (Uncategorized)

This song always makes me feel great.

Midnight to six man
For the first time from Jamaica
Dillinger and Leroy Smart
Delroy Wilson, your cool operator

Ken Boothe for UK pop reggae
With backing bands sound systems
And if they’ve got anything to say
There’s many black ears here to listen

But it was Four Tops all night with encores from stage right
Charging from the bass knives to the treble
But onstage they ain’t got no roots rock rebel
Onstage they ain’t got no roots rock rebel

Dress back jump back, this is a bluebeat attack

‘Cause it won’t get you anywhere
Fooling with the guns
The British Army is waiting out there
An’ it weighs fifteen hundred tons

White youth, black youth
Better find another solution
Why not phone up Robin Hood
And ask him for some wealth distribution

Punk rockers in the UK
They won’t notice anyway
They’re all too busy fighting
For a good place under the lighting

The new groups are not concerned
With what there is to be learned
They got Burton suits, ha, you think it’s funny
Turning rebellion into money

All over people changing their votes
Along with their overcoats
If Adolf Hitler flew in today
They’d send a limousine anyway

I’m the all night drug-prowling wolf
Who looks so sick in the sun
I’m the white man in the Palais
Just lookin’ for fun
I’m only
Looking for fun
I’m only
Looking for fun



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Ten Random Observations about the Canadian Federal Election

November 7, 2019 at 1:31 am (Uncategorized)

Two weeks after the election and here’s me doing analysis. Why now?

  1. I felt I should say something (I said I would)
  2. I don’t have to think so much about the permanent election taking place in he U.S. I notice I feel happier when I don’t follow it as closely.

So, here goes…

  1. Contrary to my usual predictions, I more or less got this right  – off on some of the numbers; I expected the NDP to do better.
  2. Justin Trudeau, who still does a great apology, will govern more cautiously, at least initially, but fundamentally, it’ll be more of the usual style over substance along with dreadful policy decisions. Essential viewing: Hasan Mihaj’s Patriot Act  episode The Two Sides of Canada  
  3. This is probably the last we will hear of proportional representation from Trudeau. He was a promoter last time, but if he had instituted such a system, he would have lost.
  4. Andrew Scheer’s job is far from safe despite the spin. This is the man who lost to a guy who couldn’t remember how many times he’d worn blackface.
  5. Scheer’s interview when he argued he can hold, urm, conservative views about women and LGBTQ people but should still be trusted with power, seems to suggest he’s just sorry that laws have been passed to give people rights.
  6. Jagmeet Singh did an admirable job of spinning how great the NDP did after they lost half their seats.
  7. The whining from Alberta (Wexit) will receive little sympathy from the rest of the country as when they had money Alberta spent like drunken sailors and tied their economy to an environmentally disastrous policy that couldn’t reasonable be sustained on an economic basis.
  8. Jody Wilson-Raybould won her seat as an independent, but is likely to lose next time or rejoin the Liberals (you heard it here first!)
  9. Do expect more whining from a strengthened Bloc Quebecois though.
  10. Despite his boasting that this is just the beginning, you’ve probably heard the last of Maxime Bernier’s vanity project the so-called People’s Party of Canada. Very quickly, the Tories it picked up will slink back to the Conservatives bringing with them sharpened knives for Andrew Scheer.

OK. That’s it. Next time I’m writing about music or TV.

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