Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Where the teeth are paved with gold: 2008 in review

With the U.S.A. mere days away from having a more progressive head of state than Canada for the first time since, um, Diefenbaker:Kennedy, are we going to start seeing Canadians start threatening to move south the way Americans threatened to move north in 2004?

Probably not. Especially since the Canadian economy is still just swirling in the bowl and not right down the crapper.

Besides, does anyone really think the Harper government will make it until the end of the year? Other than Harper, that is. He's gonna have to be one hell of a budget.

Since it's already the 15th of January, I might as well knock it off with my half-assed attempt at looking back on 2008. There's one last album I wanna call your attention to before we start talking about other things. Dallas/Fort Worth area group the Theater Fire released a frighteningly amazing album, Matter and Light, in the closing days of 2008.

It's a haunting and rollicking Tex-Mex jumble of jugband hollers and Calexico-ish ambience that's totally captivating. It's everything I love about Americana music and none of what drives me crazy. The front page of their website streams a generous sampling of songs from all three of their albums. You kinda owe it to yourself to check them out if you're into that kind of thing.

mp3: "Coyote" by the Theater Fire

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Hands Are A City!: 2008 in Review

After five weeks of being a full-time dad, I gotta go back to work. I don't mind my job that much, but damn, it's hard to not be at home. On that note, if there's anybody out there who wants to pay me for this nonsense, get in touch.

In the meantime, if you're hungry, check out Vancouver Coastal Health's Food Inspection website. It's more useful than Zagat.

I caught the last five minutes of a particularly gross episode of Kenny vs Spenny last night that featured music from the Hylozoists. Which reminded me that Toronto's FemBots (who have been known to play with the Hylozoists) put out a really excellent album last year called Calling Out. "My Hands Are A City", heard below, is ten kinds of awesome and is a song on my shortlist of tunes I'll probably singalong to with Lillian in a year or so.

mp3: "My Hands Are A City" by FemBots

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

NAFTA Please: 2008 in Review

You know you're getting old when the coolest band in your hometown is led by your friend's kid. True, Marshall Burns of Rah Rah's dad Mike is, like, way older than me. And y'know what? I'm fine with being old, cuz I was young long enough.

I try to think of Regina with nothing but affection, but sometimes I can't shake the feeling that it really is the cultural wasteland it pretends to be sometimes. Putting aside the question of whether or not there was any real merit to spending $18-million so that a handful of privileged kids could vie for glory while a dozen or so blocks away hundreds of kids live in abominable squalor, the most annoying thing about the Big Dig was the unimaginative and tiresome name. Nobody asked, in commemoration of the Big Dig's fifth anniversary, here are five better names for the megaproject:

5. The Excavation Proclamation
4. Shakes on the Plain
3. The Behemoth Burrow
2. The Fiacco-Goodale Canal
1. The Tunnels of Moose Jaw

As easy as it is to laugh at Regina from afar, there's no denying the musical renaissance underway right now led by Rah Rah and the Polymaths and who knows who else?! Rah Rah released their debut long-player in 2008 called Going Steady. It's a heady mix of pop, politics and pah-rump-a-pah-pum-pum hapless romance and it's worth mentioning again.

mp3: "F--- NAFTA" by Rah Rah

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

2009 already?

Newborns become infants, five o'clock shadows become beards, snow becomes rain, and then back again. Everything changes, everything stays the same.

Some things worth reading if you have the time to read:

The Comics Reporter's holiday interviews series, with folks like Jeet Heer, Eddie Campbell, Kurt Busiek. Highly recommended is the verbiage with critic Abhay Khosla. Khosla's stuff can be a little rich sometimes, but he's always a rewarding read. Especially when he says things like, "People don't think mainstream comics might mean things! People think mainstream comic creators are brainless fanboys just because mainstream comic fans are brainless fanboys. It's a bizarre culture. But look: does anyone want to hear the opinion of Marvel comic book fans on the Middle East peace process? Me neither times infinity."

Dave Segal's "Dispossessed", in the Stranger, about losing his vinyl collection. (via Signal Response) Which reminds me of the unknownish classic Alan Zweig doc, Vinyl.

A few months back we told you about Andrew Vincent (seen above) and his new album, Rotten Pear, and how it was going to come out in November. It didn't. It's gonna be ready on Jan. 27, and he'll be playing shows around Ontario in support of it.

mp3: "Hi Lo" by Andrew Vincent