Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I'm dying to throw on my copy of Machine Head and listen to Highway star and Lazy, but alas, i still have not gone out and replaced my stylus after it got trashed at our New Years eve party. yeah yeah yeah...space truckin'!

I'd still be up for the 18th and i promise to stay for more than one beer!

Speaking of essentials, all you Pavement fans will be glad to know that i finally picked up a copy of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain and am enjoying it immensely. While i was at Vortex i also managed to snag a used copy of Shout Out Louds first release which is pretty cool since it was only released last week and when i tried to get it at Soundscapes, they didn't even have it in their computer...can you say promo copy!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Following up on some of those fitful conversations of Saturday night I'd like to once again propose that we have a CD listening night at my place on Saturday June 18. I think you were all amenable to this after 5 or 6 pints but in the sober light of day you may have second thoughts. Let me know if this still works.

I must say that these evenings at the Rex turn out to be awfully expensive as not only do I drop close to $100 on the night but I also end up spending about the same again a few days later after the musical round table (that would be you lot) recommend about a dozen "essential" CDs that I am so obviously missing from my, what I thought was comprehensive, collection. Felt like a true rocker this afternoon as I picked up Deep Purple at HMV. I'm beginning to wonder if you're all part of a record company cabal looking at me as a way out of the deep funk the music business found itself in over the last few years. Surely there can't be that many essential discs. Still holding out on the Elton John and Elvis until I've had a few more pints.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Sorry to be delayed in contributing, its not been the best of weeks for me. On top of my mothers serious illness (which some of you know of) I picked up a terrible case of poison ivy (so bad my doctor misdiagnosed it as shingles), and a pedestrian is suing me for a collision we had... in which he walked into my car while I was reverse parallel parking..... ( the fact that he hit me because he was looking at his cell phone seems not to count for much in pedestrian / vehicle accidents)....
So in the spirit of compartmentalising ones troubles I turn to music ( the only true mental saviour) and pick up marc's thread about solo artists....

Id have to say that while true... most solo artists have a great help from terrific bands, (Mick Ronson w Bowie, Marsalis with Sting (during his non police days) etc...,however I think the solo artist in these situations is usually the overwhelming controlling player by a large degree.

In fact my very limited exposure with songwriting made me think that it is very difficult to have a democracy work in a band. Even in the most sucessfull bands like the beatles democracy was limited --paul might write a verse in one of Johns songs ie "a day in the life" or visa versa. Or with bands like led zepp where Jimi page wrights the music and Plant wrights the lyrics. There are few truly collaborative songwritting partners that I can think of where they both contribute to the music of the song. Brian you may have additional insight here....
look out for "the shout out louds" international release May 24...smokin'!
It’s interesting to start to think about the solo performer and their relationship with bands as they go through the various evolutions of their careers. I tend to think that there has been some kind of radical shift in the popular music industry over the past 40 years. When you look at the careers of people like Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Lou Reed and countless others, they had strengths as solo performers but they moved in and out of collaborations with other artists and various groups.

Was Springsteen a solo performer or was he just the front man for the E Street Band? The product of his more truly solo work, Nebraska is equally brilliant but very different from his work with the band.

I think that much of what we think of as being a “solo career” is not really a solo career but rather a well know artist being the frontman(woman) for a new band. Are you ever really a solo artist unless you are, for example, M Ward up on stage alone with his guitar (and an electronic device playing along side you)? …sure Bjork has a strong personality which is totally Bjork, but is she really a “solo artist”?

No man is an island.

…Did not every great solo artist start out in one band or another before they went off on his or her own?

Having said that, one of my fav solo albums of recent times that I keep coming back to is Mike Ness’s Cheating at Solitaire…quite different from his Social Distortion work.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

That kinda was my point actually, that Malkmus pales when compared to the work of his previous band.

And this is where you lot step in if you so wish and let me know when the solo guy has flown higher than his ex-band (can't think of many although Bjork springs right to mind) and conversely where the muse seems to have deserted the fellow when it's all on his or her shoulders.

By the way that Pavement track so did it for me that I picked up the deluxe "Crooked Rain" package at HMV today for a lovely $15 (part of a 2 for $30 gimmick). It's a 2 CD set with 49 tracks. Since I never owned the original it was a no brainer. I think Pavement is a perfect example of one of those bands we always seem to be discussing who make 5 good to great records in a less than 10 year span and then get the fuck outta dodge while still riding high in the saddle. You have to respect that.

Thanks for the music links Kyle. Onto my mini-disc they shall go.
Derek, just reread my post and your post and realized that i completely misread your point, that we both like the new track but i'll stand by the other comments about liking the earlier stuff better etc. Okay, back to work...
I kinda like that new Malkmus track though I take your point about his new stuff versus the Crooked Rain track. I thought his second solo effort was dreadful, with songs devolving into ackward noise and boored sounding vocals a 1/3 of the way in (where pavement at least waited until 2/3 of the song had expired before pressing the distortion button and checking out). While Pavement was never a band to carefully polish its musical arrangements into packaged little pop ditties, the noise and distortion seemed to serve a purpose, with overlaid guitars crunching along in an ode to kicking back, and clever lyrics suggesting that they could be making a more profound statement if they bothered. And I dug them. Still do.

Also dug the Cloud Room track you suggested. Perfect track to kick off the summer and looming may 2-4 weekend. I usually check that salon site every week or so but hadn't done so in awhile.

Just did a check of my itunes and noticed that I've downloaded/ripped just over 1,000 songs this year (2005), most of them from legitimate sites, some from emusic.com, some from borrowed/bought cds. Here's a list of my faves thus far (have included links to free tracks where available:

"Fortress" - Pinback
"Broadway (So Many People)" - Low
"Engine Driver" - The Decemberists
"Sunshowers" - MIA
"Woman King" - Iron & Wine
"So Little to Give" - Creeper Lagoon (from 2002 but just discovered this year)
"In a Funny Way" - Mercury Rev
"Take it Easy/Love Nothing" - Bright Eyes
"Let's Move" - The Foreign Exchange

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Malkmus alert. His new disc is in record stores next Tuesday for those who are still interested. Some might say that his time is just about up. Check out the free track at the Matador website from the new record.


Then compare it (unfair I know) to the free previously unreleased Pavement track that was made available on the re-package of "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain". Despite it's age (over 10 years old) and the fact it wasn't even on the original disc it still works for me.


One more song you should check out and enjoy immensely at least the first two or three listens and then you'll never get it out of your head:


Look for it under Thursday May 12, 2005: "Hey Now Now" by the Cloud Room. Bit of Pulp, some Echo and of course Interpol/Walkmen.

As this is the Salon site you may have to watch an ad in order to get into the site.

Friday, May 06, 2005

I might well be up for checking out the rex on the 14th. I was over at Jackson's studio yesterday and he threw on a new disk he got as a freebie for shooting it's cover and liner note photos...no other than William Carn. Turns out he is an old friend from Jackson's former life as an aspiring musician. Very solid sounding disk all the way through and i'm sure i'll get around to buying a copy soon. (perhaps good enough that i would have done so even if there was no connection through Jackson!)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Hey boys, the trombonist sounds very hip, but sadly is not the day that I've targeted....I was planning on May 28th. And May 14th is the day of Joe Lovano, n'est ce pas Derek? Let's see if we can find something equally groovy for the 28th (not to suggest you shouldn't go see Billy Carn on the 14th). Re pick 5, I like the Vengerov/Shostakovich night, also liked the so far unmentioned Shosto night with the two cello concertos (which are beautiful) and the eleventh symphony - which is dark and dramatic, Feb 15 and 16. Also interested in the John Adams and the new music on that bill. The April 6th Hungarian night with Kodaly, Liszt, and Bartok looks pretty great too.
Stuart I'm in for the pick-5 series for next season's TSO schedule. I've got their new program in front of me and the following would be my picks. Maybe we can discuss it over a beer or two in the next few weeks. Brian maybe you can pick a few from these.

October 5 or 7 - Kissin playing the complete Beethoven piano concerto cycle over two nights. I would be up for either night or even both.

November 30 or December 3 - Stephen Hough playing the Brahms 2nd piano concerto with Strauss' Don Quixote

March 30 - the Modern Soundscapes show you mentioned that contains the John Adams piece.

May 5 - Simon Trpceski playing Tchaikovsky's piano concerto no.1 with the 1st Sibelius symphony

June 1 or 3 - Shostakovich's violin concerto no.1 (Vengerov) or no. 2 (Janine Jansen) with his symphony no. 10
For the life of me I just know that I have something going on Saturday May 14 but I'll be damned if I can remember what it is, so let's say I'm free that night and you jazzbos are up for a night at the Rex there is a quintet being led by William Carn on trombone, that I'd very much like to see. Here's a review of their new disc from the Star several weeks back:.

Other Stories (Indie)
Trombonist William Carn is a charter member of the impressive new generation of players that is making an impact in these parts. You'll hear why on his debut CD, recorded in August, which shows off imaginative composing abilities as well as his bright, open playing and appealing, polished tones. Carn wrote all nine tunes here, and his top-bracket band revels in music that signals a keen ear for lyrical melody and creative harmony. With saxophonist Kelly Jefferson there's a powerful front line and since Juno winner David Braid is on piano, you know you're in for a good time. Kieran Overs on bass and drummer Anthony Michelli provide the pulse, the bassman turning in strong solos, too. All the bandsmen stretch and there's good rapport between them and the composing contrasts are well illuminated. Appealing tracks: "Malice," "Time Flies" plus the duo of "Ghosts" and "Ghosts 11."
i apoggelize for the spelling, Ill have to use a spellcheckkque...
Brian - I havent seen live music since M Ward a month ago....Ill go see anyone , even your little sister "in braces and boots "(sorry.. Elton John quotes have no place here I know...)Derek, and I had been bemoaning this and since there are no rock/pop acts that we really dig at the clubs now (cept Arcade fire ) maybe the Rex in the next week or so is just the ticket....Maybe Brian or Derek (the experts) can make a pick and we can consider this a warm up to the JAzz festival...Weeknights after 9pm are fine w me as well as the weekends...
Count me in for a couple of nights of the classical - particularly the (more) modern stuff if it interests you. My man Dmitri would be right at the top of the list - John Adams as well. I won't do a full pick 5 this year as I will undoubtedly be in "Holy Fuck we have two kids!" mode for a little while in the fall (and through to about 2009 conservatively).

Which jazz are you in for Stu? Joe Lovano? I might be up for a night at the Rex in late May (just before my week-long study blitz).

Stuart, your spelling is atrocious. I thought Architects were the equivalent of modern Renaissance Men? I guess not. Maybe it's Bankers.

Don't know BJM, though I heard them about a bit in Winterbottom's "Nine Songs", where other types of BJ's were also featured. They sounded pretty good if a tad irrelevant.

I'm such a loser - I actually checked out the hyacinth and crocus sites.... anyone else? 'fess up.

Re Archer Prewitt, Marc, it's very solid singer/songwriter stuff, doesn't have the "vibe" element of the Sea and Cake. Reminds me about of Paul Kelly, a fave Aussie s/s of mine who was around from about 1985 - 1995. here's a link to him (Kelly, that is) on allmusic if you're interested.

The CD I forgot to bring which I think a number of you might like is The Earlies, which is a trendy-ish mix of organic and synthetic sounds, with an overriding dreamy melodic quality to it.
Here's a link. Note: I suck at this linking stuff.
Funny you should mention the Blow Monkeys, Derek. My parents recently cleaned out their basement and unearthed some hidden vinyl gems of mine from the mid-80s, among them the 12" singles for 'Digging Your Scene' and 'It Doesn't Have to Be that Way', both of which look as though they've been played a sum total of once each. I just downloaded the Labrador tracks so will listen to them on the journey home this afternoon and leave my feedback here soon.

Thanks for the BJM suggestions, Stuart. I managed to snag most of their back catalogue from their website, yesterday (kudos to Derek for spotting this) and listened to most of Take it from the Man! on my walk into work this morning (good morning for a long walk--just enough chill in the air to stave off perspiration but i digress...) . Think this album would be great to listen to on a Sunday afternoon (sorry Bri, I know you're all about Sunday morning tunes this days) in the dog days of summer, perhaps sitting on a back deck, drinking beer, think 'Between the Buttons' and 'Their Satanic Majesties Request' for Stones' influence placemarkers. Digging this scene for sure.

Any date in June is probably out for me as we're off to Paris for two weeks in mid-June and I'm gonna be in southern California at the very end of the month for a conference. July will probably be better as my travelling ratchets down a few notches in the summer months.
Also count me in for the jazz Derek....
Thanks for the tips and a cd club at your place in the hot weather (hopefully to come) would be great. You once mused about soon having the technology to do so up on the roof deck, which would be even greater.....
The new TSO schedule is out for next year and there are a number of things Im interested in. Sibelius Violin Concerto, Shostakovitch piano, cello and violin concertos, some John Adams, Lists piano concerto... Yvette and I are going to be going for the nose bleed seats this year. I didnt mind Brians seats at all, and as much as we found great seats closer this year, we are doing the spent too much money on the house penance.
Anyone interested in any of the above let me know and we can coordinate. You can do a pick 5 of your own choice which seems best to me. Im also open to other sugesstions....

Monday, May 02, 2005

Stuart, far be it from me to leave you hanging once again.

It's my day off today (yeah you prats probably think that's everyday for me) and I headed over to the small record store on McCaul Street called Penguin Music. My main reason for heading there was they are the only store in the city that I've seen carrying the Aussie band the Lucksmiths new CD. I picked up their last disc while down under a few years ago and I might have even played it at a CD club in the distant past.

The guy behind the desk was right into the band and said the new disc was fab. After flattering me on my choice he then proceeded, like all good salesmen, to try and sell me something else. He pulled off the shelf a disc by a Danish band called Labrador and said I should give it a listen on the deck. Having nothing else to do I listened to 4 or 5 tracks. Good disc, if a bit on the sweet side. If you like Camera Obscura, the Blow Monkeys, Stereolab etc, check out the band's website at:


Kyle I'm thinking you'll like these guys and perhaps Stuart. Brian and Marc check it out regardless.

One other note. I picked up the Jazz festival program today and I'd recommend that we check out (for those available) David Murray and the Gwo-Ka Masters. It's a free event on Friday June 24 at 4pm. Bit of a crappy time slot but hey it's free and their disc of last year is incredibly funky.

Another CD club in June suits me fine. I might even host if it forces me to stick around until the end of the night.
Well I guess Im greatfull that there was a bit of a rant at Kyles , since it has jump started the metabeats site again. I cant tell you how sick I was at seeing my last blog everytime I checked for signs of life. ( now that Ive said that Im sure no one will wright another blog for some time and I will be fated to live thru this again..)

Re BJM I have a couple discs. "their satanic majesties 2nd request" , which is pretty good stoner stonesesque (but more fucked with) messy rock. I prefer their more recent disc however, "and this is our music" which I find less repetitive and tighter....but along the same lines. YOu could also consider a recent 2 disc compilation. I dont think they merrit more then 1 or 2 discs or a couple dozen ripped tracks...but they are pretty great when you are in the mood for it.
With respect to the BJM if you head to their website they have made available almost their entire back catalogue on-line. They've had it there for more than a year so I don't think they'll be disappearing any time soon. Like their tunes a lot.


The Beethoven/Schubert disc is indeed mine as I have the sleeve with no CD. I'm hoping that someone has the Rattle Sinfonietta CD as I don't seem to have it. It's not due back at the library for a few weeks.
I'm sure we played more and I just got lazy about keeping track. Two housekeeping notes: I have a library cd case for the classical piece (Sinfonietta) by Janacek and also a Beethoven/Schubert disc w/out the case. I think these are both yours, Derek but I could be wrong. Let me know as I'm sure the library disc needs to get back sometime soon.

Also, I've learned through my wife that the flower pot on our kitchen counter was indeed a hiacynth, as Marc had skillfully noted, and not a crocus, as Derek and I claimed. These links should put everyone's minds at ease:


We watched 'Dig!' this weekend, a documentary about the Dandy Warhols and Brian Jonestown Massacre. Even if you're not a big fan of either band, I think you'll find it fascinating to watch how two sets of musicians grapple with questions of creative integrity, what it means to be successful, and how to navigate the pitfalls of the music industry. And man, do they ever make different choices. Rent it so we can discuss it further (here or over beers).

I was unfamiliar with the music of BJM prior to seeing 'Dig!' but will soon be picking up some of their stuff. Kind of a layered, psychedelic jangly pop sound that seems to channel a late 60s vibe while still sounding quite new. Most of their catalogue is available at emusic.com so I will probably download it once my monthly alottment refreshes. Anyone own any? Thoughts, opinions, rants?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Personally i think a little hissyfit is a fine way to end off an evening of drinkin'!

Brian, as for the territory covered in the session, i have to agree with you...all i can say is i'm glad i managed to make it through MY stack! May i suggest that we try and ramp up the frequency of meetings just a touch. Since it seems to take three to four months to plan one, maybe we should start planning now. I personally would not be opposed to meeting in the end of June. Summer always seems to be so hard to get everyone together and then the next thing you know...

...and no one got around to playing this Archer Prewit two of you were going on about a few months ago...is it a must have?
Personally i think a little hissyfit is a fine way to end off an evening of drinkin'!

Brian, as for the territory covered in the session, i have to agree with you...all i can say is i'm glad i managed to make it through MY stack! May i suggest that we try and ramp up the frequency of meetings just a touch. Since it seems to take three to four months to plan one, maybe we should start planning now. I personally would not be opposed to meeting in the end of June. Summer always seems to be so hard to get everyone together and then the next thing you know...

...and no one got around to playing this Archer Prewit two of you were going on about a few months ago...is it a must have?