Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My faith has been crushed, my devotion queried, my
world turned topsy-turvy preconceptions of performance thrown ruthlessly into
the quagmire of day to day life. Oh, how
the mighty have fallen from the rafters on high!

Last night m.e. and i went out to Chalkers Pub to
check out Robi Botos. I thought, hey we
need to eat, the food at Chalkers is decent, m.e. has never seen Robi live and
i just can’t seem to get enough of his energy and creativity. We took the TTC to Chalkers and i gotta say
that for a place stuck in the middle of butt-fuck-nowhere it is really pretty
easy for us to get to by transit, possibly less time than it might take to get
to the College Street strip’s just around the corner from the Glencairn

Robi’s performance was atrocious, miserable,
lifeless, soulless. I’m sure you’ve all
been in a bar or restaurant where there was a pianist playing in the background
...playing a loungey jazz that fails to move you ...a jazz that leaves you cold
and bored with your mind wandering, but you are forced to listen in the hopes
that the object of your attention is warming up and is going to open his eyes,
pick up the pace and let loose? never happened.

Robi was billed as performing a single solo set
starting at 7:30; fine, i figured it was a nice way to spend an hour and a half
over dinner was painful. I was
about to make a request (Night in Tunisia that i have seen him rock out on) so
that he might be ignited, but alas, he said he was done. I have never been so disappointed in a
show. If i am correct, i think he was
off to the Rex to play a real gig. I
have to hand it to Robi that he is an exceedingly hard working musician, and i often
wonder how great musicians get themselves motivated to play, night after night,
often playing in front of tiny audiences ...well, apparently sometimes they don’t!

Pool tables at Chalkers were a welcome substitute
for more disappointing music.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Two great gigs to review, (well I guess three). The first was Robi Botos and Hilario Duran at the Four Seasons Center, part of the after work free concert series. I had seen Robi the week before up at Chalkers Pub performing in front of an audience of about nine. Robi is doing a regular gig there on Tuesdays and I gotta say that it's not a bad setting. The pub is not small and has a load of pool tables but the space is laid out in an L shape with the noisier play far away from the performance space. The result is a nice focus on the music. Botos worked his way through an evening of standards moving a tad predictably between fast and slow numbers, but, always gave it heart and a boat load of soul. I confess to being drawn deeper into the music when it rocks out but then again, you can't appreciate it without the grace between the energy. I'm a huge fan of his. Still. It was funny. After his first set, as the last note still resonated from the grand, two massive plates of food appeared and Robi flopped himself down beside me to chow down. Despite the modest artists cover charge, I could not help but think that Robi was playing for his dinner. I asked him about the bill which said that he was going to playing with a trio and he said "'things are slow, it's cold outside, can't afford to pay the guys to come out to a gig like this" (paraphrased). BTW I now know why Robi is such a big boy; he wolfs like it's going to be his last meal!

The gig at the FSC was a marked contrast. Hilario Duran and Botos duelled and sparred on a pair of Steinways (Duran on an Orchestra Grand and Botos on a Small Concert Grand) on the second floor landing, hammering out a series of standards and a few traditional tunes from their homelands that left the crowd astounded; The week before when we were at Chalkers someone had asked about the upcoming gig and had asked if they had rehearsed together and Robi's response was "we have exchanged e-mails!"

The pairing was stellar. Botos and Duran danced around the lead feeling each other out and riffing off each other, but playing as if they had know each other for years despite the fact that it was the first time they had played together. Although they at times approached the music with wanton abandon, the music was always crafted and precise. On occasions Botos played the lowest register with his right in the guts of the grand dampening the strings and walking out a base line as if he were standing at an upright double, Duran improvising on a melody, allowing the moment to fuel his imagination as well as our own. Sweet mellifluousness tone floated into the gallery were I stood awaiting every fresh note.

The performance started at 5:30 and I arrived at 5:16 and was the penultimate one to be allowed entry as the hall was filled to capacity. I found John Good who was parked on the upper level. Cautionary note; if you ever go to a performance in the atrium, if you are on the upper level, try to keep your ear within a direct line of "sight" with the instruments below. I was standing about two paces back from the glass railing (or guard as Stuart will be sure to correct me). At first I found it a rather discombobulating experience to be able to see the pair playing but not being able to hear them directly, the sound (some of it) bouncing off of the acoustical ceiling that usually does such a stellar job of muting the din of the glass lined atrium.

The last gig i saw was Rachel Therrien and her Quintet on Thursday night. It was an awesome evening. It was my first time at the Trane Studio and it’s a pretty good space. The focus at the Trane is without a doubt on the music. The Trane has no taps, a modest selection of wines, beers, other libations and a limited dinner menu that is really quite nice. I had salmon with a mango salsa that was one of eight items on the entire menu, but then, when you do something reasonably well, why mess it up with too much diversity.

Therrien at the Trane
with all apologies for quality and editing

Rachel Therrien is a young up and coming composer and horn player from Montreal. The quintet played a sort of post-hard-bop-bop; rhythmic, soulful, at times hard hitting and even bombastic but almost always tight and full of ideas. The quintet played an entire evening of original compositions, both from the September 2011 release “On Track” as well as previously unreleased newer compositions. Therrien draws not only from the tradition of bop but as well from the Cuba where she studied for nine months and from the heart of African rhythm on some compositions. Listen closely and you can hear the energies of the likes of Tony Allen thrashing away on the skins. Nary a moment went by through the two sets when i found my mind wandering from the music, it was that good. Therrien has been recording for several years but only put her own quintet together about a year ago, the two night stand being their first visit to Toronto. Charles Trudel (keys), Simon Page (base), Alain Bourgeois (drums) all add a youthful insight and energy to the compositions that are steeped in a classic tradition of bop, but are somehow fresh and relevant. Perhaps my only reservation might have been towards Sebastien Fortin (sax), who for me, left me wanting. Oh well, four outta five ain’t bad! Rachel is moving to New York next year ...there’s a woman who’s taking her music seriously!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Derek, thought I'd respond to your comment around April / May and the 80's. Not sure everyone saw this. Yes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Late to the Link Wray discussion but can definitely see the influences for Primal Screen, Gomez. Thanks for pointing it out, Stu.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Stu, I'll pass. Hated it when it was current, hate it now. The full throttled style bravado of the chorus delivery in "I Will Always Love You" belongs to the 'Let me show you how big my dick is' style of singing that continues to haunt American Idol and all its variants. Blech. Listening to music like this is like having a cockroach run up your arm. Unfortunately, this will likely mean more Whitney being played now than less. Thank God in heaven that I'm never in a position where I have to listen to the radio for any length of time.

Monday, February 13, 2012

one of the guys in our office as a lark has put whiney houstons greatest hits on....and really you will know every word to most of the songs...and we all joke that this sort of music is bad but....its actually so bad it is making me ill to my stomach... since this doesnt get much airplay anymore i find it interesting how grateful I am to not be subjected to this anymore if I happen to be out in public somewhere.... really just try it on rdio... it is so over the top bad it is absurd..

Thursday, February 09, 2012

I dont think we have spent much time as a group playing past favorites Derek, , which is why Brians lost classics blog is a good one...I am hoping to delve into the others mentioned by you guys shortly..perhaps a future club night we can dust these off for each other....
Re Link Wray, I have recently heard that he was an important innovator with his guitar style but frankly I have recently listened to these early recordings and not liked them that much.....I tend to be a sucker for the early 70's era and stumbled across it back when i was obsessed with that singer songwritter period of may want to see if his early stuff works for you

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Sitting here in my hotel room in bloody cold Charlottetown but much warmth emanating from my speakers here as I just listened to the Link Wray disc all the way through on Rdio. Pretty fucking great record. Wondering why you've kept this one a secret for so long Stuart.

The deeper I got into the record the more I kept thinking that Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie has to be a huge fan of this guy so I gave it a google and here you go.

Monday, February 06, 2012

I have been enjoying looking back thu my old vinyl replaying some gems not played in years in search of a worthy lost classic...2 more:
Thunderclap Newman : Hollywood Dream... Discovered this back in early university days and if I am not mistaken I think Marc VG and maybe a mutual friend Ray loved this too??? Marc???
At any rate wonderful pop rock from 69 I was going to play the single Something in the air on our battle night but forgot to bring the album.... It feels like a greatest hits to me especially side 2...its the songs that are melodic but messed with enough to be original and memorable...against a warm falsetto voice...

Link Wray : self titled from early 70's is a country / folk/ blues base, but with a singer songwriter originality dose thrown in...not just derivitive roots music which a lot of this stuff is...You may know Fallin rain the standout artiface on this lp

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Super Bowl Blog. Derek and I talking music, trying to avoid the Madonna songs. Not hard to do. An idea to consider: the next all-in get together is all1980's music. No years assigned, just wide open within the decade, and may the best man win. Thoughts?

Friday, February 03, 2012

Here are a few of my faves from that much maligned and sadly negelected decade the 80s.

Few of these might be considered classics and there are others from this period that I love and you lot are probably well aware of so let's call these some lesser known gems. Sorry I won't be providing a rationale for my love of these records. I'll leave that up to Brian. He's pretty good at it.

The Undertones - Hypnotized (1980)
Teardrop Explodes - Wilder (1981)
The Chameleons - Script of the Bridge (1983)
The Men They Couldn't Hang - Night of a Thousand Candles (1985)
The Woodentops - Giant (1986)
Jazz Butcher - Bloody Nonsense (1986)
That Petrol Emotion - Manic Pop Thrill (1986)
The The - Infected (1986)
The Triffids - In the Pines (1986)
Bill Pritchard - Three Months, Three Weeks and Two Days (1989)
Nico? Wow. Nice! The Moby Grape is much more of a relic of its age than the Quicksilver, Stu. It's remarkable for its time but isn't always very contemporary sounding. The QMS has some of those issues too but I think it translates better. Then again, it might only take some extraordinary artist to re-create elements of the sound for it to sound fresh again, who knows.

I am defintiely re-trying the Faces - I'm not sure why I've resisted that one. And the Crosby is a great album. Some tracks very reminsicent of his later Byrds work, plus leading the way for CSN. It's only when you hear Crosby in isloation that you realize how influential he was on the sound of those more commonly acknowledged-as-major artists all round him. Crosby's sound is CSN's sound, to a great degree.

A similarly great (not as great, mind, let's say very good) record from a little after that is Roger McGuinn's first solo record (self-titled). Worth a listen if you haven't.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

forgot to mention am actually starting to get into Nico thanks to that mix cd Brian but that Moby album aint turnin my crank yet, just picked up that quicksilver , but will try those others out..
I too had somehow missed your post too, which is odd as I recall reading posts above and below it...let me put down my scotch now and carry on...
I do have a feelies record but not that one and did have a cracker record once but generally all this is new to me for the exploring thanks Brian.....
as for the early stuff , as I looked through my music I found that the stuff that I used to play people as unkown gems have mostly been found out now with the plethora of lost masterpieces being released every year now on what constitutes a lost gem masterwork of the past these days...I will post a few that I think qualify as really unknown to most but for me I am finding that there are a number of great albums by known artists that have never been acknowledged as such and will post some now....
1) FACES ...OH LA LA.....(I know you are sick of me plugging this band) This album was panned by Rod on the eve of its release to the labels amazement...and it then got duely panned by all shortly after , never to resurface.....The album only has roughly half the songs with involvement of Rod... It is really a Ronnie Lane songwriting showpiece...It also has Ronnie Wood lead vocals on the hit Oh La La....though most credit that vocal to Laine....
great mix of english rock and pop...hugely under rated
2) David Crosby....If Only I could remember my name....roundly slammed by American press , who typically rate anything American 3 stars above the british as a starting point...his etherial vocals and writing style are timeless now and age better then a lot of post CSN solo material..For me this is better then anything by and ex alumni of that band and beat a number of records a famous member of an expanded CSN group of greater notoriety

It's a good thing that you mentioned your tome, because I completely missed it. I thought I had kept up on the thread, but after I saw your somewhat whiny message, I scrolled down and realized that I had somehow missed your thousand word contribution. I'm glad I found it, though. I don't know all of the albums that you listed, but the ones that I do know I like a lot. So I'll have give them a listen and maybe pick some of them up.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Just to point out that my tome of a post is now sitting three posts down given that it took me two days to write it. Nice, Brian.
I agree that perserverence can make a difference - some albums have certainly taken a long time to grow on me. When I was a young music fan with boundless enthusiasm and very limited funds, perserverence was natural. I listened to everything I had over and over again and deliberately forced myself to keep the less loved music in the mix. However, with such ready access to massive volumes of music now, I am much less likely to invest the time to perservere with a challenging album. It's too easy to just move on to something else.
Seems to be some general themes here...
- generalization bias : firstly, I find like Marc that Q does have some great artists on the playlist, like those mentioned by kyle , but the problem is they only play the same 4 songs from each artist, whether it is Bowie or the beatles...2 artisits of whom you could play hundreds of different songs....( How many great stones, dylan and bowie songs have never been played on Q107? 300?) , Second, One does tend to seek out lesser known artists or lesor known albums of major artists as it is good sport for one of out lot to bring an unkown gem into our circulation...This is a good thing , in that i tend to feel, If I dont like it , i am the loser and i prefer not to be a loser .....however, If after 5 or 6 plays and i still dont like it then I tend to give up to a degree, unless one of you wankers insists I am so wrong... It is true that some like Villiage Geen, Stony ponys and Yankee Foxtrot I came to love , after a longer period of attempts, and others like Sonic Youth and that Frank black band which name excapes me have not , so there is something to be said for perserverance......