Joanne Pollock

July 4th, 2015 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

joannepollock

Joanne Pollock, an old, friendly acquaintance from Toronto, puts out some weird sounds every now and then. I’ve written about her stuff before, but if you missed that, think the eerie vibe of Laurel Halo or, like I said last time, pre-Austra Katie Stelmanis, with airy vocals over otherwordly synths and complicated programmed beats – you get the idea. She just put out a new EP called Optimist. Here’s the opening track, “I Might Be Wrong”.

Prairie Fang

July 4th, 2015 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

prairiefangSometimes something just hits you with its vibe. Hailing from Bashaw, Alberta, a town with a population of less than 1000, Prairie Fang is apparently a dude with a guitar who makes music that sounds like the soundtrack of a haunted First Nations funeral. His Flux/Dust EP is the kind of thing you might expect to hear on a tape you found in the middle of the desert. You don’t know who made it or why it’s there, but for some reason it exists and it’s beautiful in its stark, pure minimalism. (via Weird Canada of course).

p.s. btw, Mr. Prairie Fang, would LOVE a tape of this if you wanna let me know how one can be obtained.

Political Playlist

July 3rd, 2015 | The Mix | 0 Comments

occupy+guy+fawkes+masks

A while ago, someone asked me if serving in the Israeli army radicalized me. I said that, if anything, it de-radicalized me, because I saw how ideas we have about sides being ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are largely constructs that help average people just digest what comes to perceived as ‘the story’. In reality, a situation like the Arab-Israeli conflict is so insanely complex. What we see as ‘sides’ of the conflict are each made up of millions of individuals, each with their own different ideas, goals and behaviours. Things aren’t so black and white.

However, living in New York over the last year and now Washington, D.C. for the summer, has made me a lot more political, perhaps even a little radical. Both are such vibrant, intellectually stimulating environments where people of all walks of life converge and battle out how the world should work via work, debate, etc. And what I learned in the IDF applies to a certain extent here as well: everyone is different and things aren’t black and white. Those on the left or the right, Democrat or Republican, can be good, bad, right, wrong, kind-hearted or seemingly downright evil (though perhaps there are certain trends…).

I thought a political mix or playlist would be appropriate. The bands included are from USA, Canada and the UK, and their songs cover a range of subjects, from racism and sexism to deregulation and urban sprawl. If you like a song, please do look into the lyrics.

Advance Base

June 29th, 2015 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

NephewintheWild

I saw the Chicago-based Advance Base (Owen Ashworth, formerly Casiotone For The Painfully Alone) play Silent Barn in Brooklyn a couple months ago. He hooked up some synths and a drum machine and it was so cool and intimate and Silent Barn was just beyond perfect for it. That’s when I first heard some of the new songs on his latest album Nephew In The Wild. They were pretty solid. Unsurprisingly, they weren’t all that unlike what he’s done before, but I guess if it’s not broken and it’s kind of your thing, don’t change it.

The album comes out August 21st on Ashworth’s label Orindal.

March

June 25th, 2015 | Print | 0 Comments

marchbookone_softcover_lg

Working a legal internship in Washington, D.C. is an interesting experience. Every day you meet congressmen and senators and people that you read about or see on Bill Maher. You watch democracy in action, bureaucratic as it may be. Sometimes it’s frustrating, and sometimes it’s inspiring.

My first week here, I was invited (sort of in relation to my internship) to attend a book signing. I was told that the man signing books was John Lewis, but I didn’t know who he was. Turns out not only is he a congressman, he was also one of the big six leaders of the American civil rights movement, and the only one of the six still alive. It also just so happened that the book was a graphic novel, or really, two volumes of a graphic novel trilogy called March.

So far I’ve only read the first book which came out last year, and the third book hasn’t been released yet, but basically March is a graphic novel about John Lewis‘s life and his involvement in the American civil rights movement. Lewis grew up on a farm in a rural little corner of Alabama, preaching to his family’s chickens and running to catch the bus to school against his dad’s wishes (he was needed for farm work). As a young man he went to Fisk University in Nashville and got involved with a rabble rouser there named Martin Luther King, Jr. Lewis, King, and the other young idealists they were involved with tried to emulate the non-violent protest methods of Gandhi to further their goal of breaking down the racial barriers then in-place in America. March allows one an insider perspective on their activities, as they organize sit-ins and other interesting protests to push against segregation’s limitations, making slow but steady progress over time, with the movement continuously gaining in strength and numbers.

March One

Thankfully, the authors and illustrator of March do justice to the importance of the subject matter. The book is beautifully written, especially in the intimate chapters detailing Lewis’s humble beginnings. Later in time (though early on in the story), a female visitor’s awe at being able to meet Lewis and introduce her two young sons to him ably illustrates the gravity of his and the civil rights movement’s accomplishments. Self-aggrandizing? Maybe a little. But with a story like Lewis’, to avoid self-aggrandizing would require significant effort and even be kind of disingenuous.

At the book signing, someone said that most American kids know nine words about the civil rights movement: Martin Luther King, “I have a dream”, Rosa Parks. Something like that. I can’t speak for Americans, but as a Canadian, I know my education didn’t teach much more than that (and the underground railroad). When I saw Selma I was blown away by how much these activists went through. Seriously. These guys were hardcore.

March can be thought of as something of companion piece to Selma. It tells the film’s story from a different perspective, starting earlier and ending well after the events portrayed in the film. And really, I always thought I knew enough about all this American civil rights movement stuff, but the fact that what I’m learning now blows my mind so much says otherwise. This is an important story for everyone to learn, study, know. The story of the American civil rights movement is not just about Americans or black people, but about humanity. It’s about how we can sometimes be so stupid and ridiculous and horrible sometimes, but also about how a small number of people with a little hope and a lot of determination can make a huge difference.