New Music of The Blogosphere and Beyond

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Friday, September 30, 2005


Caught a last-minute gig by Tokyo's Zoobombs last night at the Silver Dollar, this being their last of a string of gigs in Toronto this year. It was quite a lot like their first show back in March: fluid, funky and powerfully loud. The opening acts, however, made the wait for the headliners a frustrating, impatient one. It was good to see members of Broken Social Scene play a rare stripped down gig, but they sounded a bit too much like...well, members of Borken Social Scene, playing more for themselves than for the crowd. Jeremy Finklestien from No Dynamics played in the next band, whose name escapes me, and although his robustness on the skins merged well with the sludgy, one-chord dark rock of the rest of the band, it could not save them from their lead singer, who they could easily do without. While the rest of the band came off strong, the singer cast a terribly unforgiving shadow over their hard work with his throaty mess of a voice.

But I will give high kudos to the women involved in the supporting cast. Kat Burns played early to an almost empty room, and was given far too little attention by the audience. Her songs are on the more melancholy side of life but it's no deterrent to her sound and demeanour, which can be quite pretty and soothing at times. With a band to back her up, she'd be dyno-mite! Jill Southern also sang beautifully and picked some almost sythn-like solos on her guitar, but sadly she was there only to back up the Bowie impressions of her lead singer in the band My Project Blue.

"We just got in from Vancouver," said frontman Chad Blue, "there were 40 mile per hour winds and it was scary." I can't imagine anyone would have sympathy for them considering that wind speeds in the Gulf of Mexico have been peaking at a roof-raising 220 kilometers/hr. But I shouldn't be so harsh. They do sound good on record and they seem like nice people.


And now, this week's playlist...

THE FALL - I Can Hear the Grass Grow
* A cover of the tune by The Move from a new Fall album due out soon. Courtesy of Shake Your Fist.

* Mike Sallot of Yo Seez! tipped us off to this new Warp artist whose album "Smash" just dropped on September 15th. Mike will probably have a showcase on Jackson soon, so you'll be able to download some more tracks. But really, buy the album, because it's one of the best electro releases of the year. Read a review or two.

JOSEPHINE XV - I'm Happy the Sent You Away, Ha Ha
* I know very little about this group, but it's a fucking strange song. I'll do some more research and maybe a showcase in the near future. Brought to you by WFMU'S Beware of the Blog.

* More from the experimental pop genius' "Plat Du Jour" album from earlier this year. Via Outsider music blog Music for Maniacs.

HYMIE'S BASEMENT - 21st Century Pop Song
* A side project from Fog and WHY?.

KERRI CARRISE - King of BoraBora
* Two demos from a forthcoming release that has yet to be completed. I'd post these tunes for you, but knowing Kerri, she probably wouldn't let me. "No new tunes until the album is done," she told me, so I respect her wishes, but damn, these tunes are killer.

METRIC - Monster Hospital
METRIC - Picture of a Girl
* New Toronto music that will sell a lot of records worldwide is always a good thing. From Sixeyes and Cat Bird Seat respectively.

The rest of the playlist can be found on yesterday's post...scroll down.

Next week: new music from The Blow, Tom Vek, Fiery Furnaces and more.

Our beloved record smasher and beat deformer 0=0 will be going on tour through Europe this fall. Go and see him if you're Eiuropean. Dates available here. He's very excited about a venue in Sweden that he's most certainly to rock. It looks like this:

If only we had places like that in Toronto.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


I have returned from the forests of Newfoundland and am ready to ignite the radi fires with a BRAND NEW SEASON OF THE ECLECTIC SOUND BASEMENT!

My peeps go crazy at the announcement of the new season.

What's on the bill for tomorrow? Tune in tomorrow at Noon Hour to CIUT 89.5 FM for new, unreleased tunes from The Fall, Metric, The Constantines, Kerri Carisse, Jackson and His Computer Band, and more...

But first, we bring you some of the best music Newfoundland has to offer.

We'll start with Figgy Duff.

In the 70s, Newfoundland had entered its third decade in Canadian Confederation as a lonely, poor and misunderstood province. Resiliently, a cultural revolution arose on the island that flew in the face of its unwarranted decline, curing the post-Confederation blues and ushering in a new era of pride for the oldest civilization in North America. Figgy Duff played their part as the musical spearhead, travelling to outport communities and learning classic traditional songs from kings of the scene like Emile Benoit and writing new arrangements in a rock context. As a result, they've been generally regarded as the best band in Newfoundland history, garnering global acclaim by playing festivals as far away as Amsterdam. They had gigs at Massey Hall before they ever released an album and have been ranked alongside The Pogues for their audacity and The Dubliners for their instrumental talents.

FIGGY DUFF - Breakwater Boys Breakdown
FIGGY DUFF - A Sailor Courted a Farmer's Daughter
FIGGY DUFF - Woman of Labrador
FIGGY DUFF - Tarry Trousers
FIGGY DUFF - Emile's Reel
FIGGY DUFF - Captain and his Whiskers / Fisherman's Favourite

Figgy Duff is also a fantastic traditional desert:

½ cup butter
2 cups flour
1 egg
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ cup milk or water
1 cup raisins
pinch salt

Combine dry ingredients and add milk and egg. Place in
cloth bag and boil for one hour in pot of water.
Ingredients can also be steamed in a pudding mild.
To make a plain duff follow same recipe but omit raisins.
(courtesy of Joyce's Fine Cooking)

We'll leave you with Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers.

These b'ys from The Rock tells eet like it ees. Their live hsows are coveted by man, woman and child across the island, incorporating off the wall skits and outrageous political speeches into the mix for a right good time!


Remember to tune in tomorrow for more greatness. I've had some complications regarding those free mix cd's offered while I was away (see two entries previous for details). Basically, I lost the password to the sound_basement@yahoo.ca email address, so I'll have a new one ready to go soon.

Monday, September 19, 2005


I’ve been in Newfoundland for the past few weeks, staying in a cozy house on a hill by the bay. Needless to say, I’ve had little exposure to the world of pop-culture. I have a radio and a TV, but since CBC (the only station I get on either box) is in its sixth week of a debilitating strike, I’m far removed from the world of music videos, pop stars and other such forms of adulteen pleasures.

There are bits of knowledge, however, that I have gained through my exile in CBC Lockoutland. I am fully in the loop over who is the latest pretty face to slut it up on Coronation Street, and my Sheilagh Rogers impression is near perfection. I saw the Gulf Coast benefit concert, and now know that in times of chaos and uncertainty, CCR can put all my anxieties to rest (watching the Foo Fighters cover “Born on the Bayou” was an explosive delight).

I’ve also heard through the ever-present grapevine about this Sexy Rexy guy, Newfoundland’s hero du jour who came runner up in the Canadian Idol sweepstakes, but all in all, this information keeps me a far cry’s away from being plugged into my media desk back in Toronto 24-7, where I can download every Lohan mascara-smudged upskirt nipple slip coke binge photo within seconds of it being posted online. Instead, I’ve taken to enjoying more provincial pleasures, like moose hunting, rowing dory boats by hand, and eating illegally fished cod smuggled from the depths of the ocean. And you know what? I love it, every minute of it.

Last week’s trip to the small urban hub of St. John’s reminded me of why my exile is warranted, in fact necessary to the re-emergence of my brain power. Don’t get me wrong, St. John’s was an excellent place that had its share of crazy times on some of the oldest streets in North America. It was in the hostel, however, where I went through those moments of culture shock, not in response to my “newfound” experience of this culture at the edge of the continent, but to the one with which I was familiar in what now seems like the foreign country of the past: the world of the Much More Music weekly Top Ten.

Three videos in succession brought forth feelings of severe dissatisfaction and disdain to my merry state of seaside hypnosis.

With their latest video, it appears that The Backstreet Boys are attempting a run towards relevancy by adopting the camp satire of 80’s hair metal buffoonery. Granted, the video is humorous, but sadly for us and the BB crew, seeing them don the requisite spandex and mullet wigs reminds of us just how unoriginal and irrelevant they are as posters boys for the shittiest music alive. They’re jumping on a rusty bandwagon that’s had more rides than a yellow taxi. Perhaps the Backstreet Boys were practicing their harmonies when Blink 182 and American Hi-Fi glued on their dime store moustaches in suspiciously similar videos two or three years ago…or maybe they saw FUBAR one night and decided to just “Giv’r!”

The next video, Bon Jovi’s “Have a Nice Day”, tries to make some pretense of a statement about guerilla semiotics, but instead falls short by trying to convince us that Bon Jovi is a beacon of spontaneous outbursts of revolutionary street art. The premise: a young, hip kid runs into the Jovester after a concert and has him sign an autograph. An unguarded Bon Jovi haphazardly scrawls a non-descript happy face on a piece of paper. The kid takes a photo of it with his cell phone, emails it to his friends who make prints and stencils of it, and almost instantly, the grinning anti-logo starts to pop up everywhere. No mailbox, poster-board or unsuspecting human backside is safe from this sneaky image for the remainder of the video, which culminates in a Bon Jovi concertattended by a young, fist-pumping audience.

Two problems with this video: first off, a Bon Jovi concert is more likely to be a cougar convention than a rebel rocker revelry. Second, any world in which Bon Jovi’s doodles inspire the masses to create their own culture is a doomed one at best.

The last video I could stomach was the week’s Number One, the latest Green Day opus. Now, I must give the band some due credit before critique. American Idiot is a fine album conceptually, composed of statements about contemporary life that are miles ahead of Bon Jovi’s and the Backstreet Boys’ with respect to sincerity.

“Wake Me Up When September Ends” is a conventional but beautiful song about loss and change. The video takes it up a notch by setting a teenage love-story to the backdrop of the Iraq War. It has a purpose, intending nothing more than to compel the mall-punk teenies to ponder their proximity to war and global catastrophe. Good one Green Day and the video’s director, but I’ll have to stop short on giving the video the two-thumbs up because I was hit with so much emotional shrapnel while watching that I had to amputate one of them. This video could easily be a Spielberg / Bruckheimer nightmare sequel to Garden State. The scenes depicting the two lovers together radiate with Sirk-like melodramatic intensity, while the battle scenes bear all the familiar scars of the hyper-realistic war dramas defined by Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down.

Not since September 11th has fifteen minutes of television worn me out so much.

Apologies for the lack of fun pictures and links on this post, but I’m on a public library connection with sloth-like dial-up service. I’ll be back in Toronto on the 28th, so expect this blog to return to its more regular pattern of updates.