Archive for August, 2009

Owl Farm Sing About Lobster

August 31st, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

“We sing about lobsters.”

“Is that something you relate to?” I asked.

“No, I don’t like songs about things.” Said Owl Farm founder Chris Lyon in a phone interview. “I prefer just abstract lyrics, nonsense. Like, I’m just really wary when people try and sell you stuff in their songs, like an attitude or something.”

I suppose it’s just a coincidence that the Kingston based Owl Farm’s eponymous debut album features songs like, “45 Seconds To Lobster”, “Lobster Stomp”, and their second album, Don’t Stop, begins with a tune called “Like Water For Lobster”. Or is it?

Nah, Owl Farm just seems to have a fun, goofy vibe inherent in their otherwise seriously well written songs, leading one fan to describe them as “a mix between Frank Zappa and Tenacious D,” according to Lyon.

Lyon began Owl Farm in Fall 2007, when a friend of his working at The Tragically Hip studio in Kingston let him come in and use the studio when no one else was using it.

“I’d go in there and lay down tracks and I’d write a bunch of songs. As the recordings started taking shape, I just talked to some friends of mine I’d played with over the years and they got on board.”

The first Owl Farm record featured Lyon playing most of the instruments. Once the full band was assembled, they began gigging and working on the second album, Don’t Stop, this time featuring everyone on their respective instruments. Since it’s release, Owl Farm have been touring around Kingston’s neighboring cities promoting Don’t Stop.

“It’s two hours to Toronto, it’s two hours to Ottawa and two hours to Montreal, so you can kind of play all three cities, and four including Kingston.”

On Wednesday the group will play their second official Toronto show, this time at Rancho Relaxo alongside Truman Peyote and Two Year Touqe. Perfect timing too, since the band just landed at number one on CIUT’s top 30. Pretty impressive, eh? Almost as impressive as…lobster…yeah…

Boston Spaceships

August 30th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

This week’s band of the week is new but is basically just another project from an indie rock icon who’s been prolifically releasing work for the last twenty or so years. They’ve released two full-length albums (that kick ass) in something like a year and a half and they’ve got another one due in a couples months. This week’s band of the week is…


The indie rock icon in question is of course Guided By Voices genius savant Robert Pollard. For the last couple years he’s been relentlessly releasing solo-albums that have met with little enthusiasm from the rock community. The last two Boston Spaceships albums find Pollard not simply back in form, but (I’m gonna say it and I mean it) in better form than ever. True, GBV’s Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes and Mag Earwig are hallmarks of lo-fi 90s indie rock, but I swear the last two Boston Spaceships albums Brown Submarine and These Planets Are Blasted are better than anything I’ve heard from GBV.

Regardless of what pseudonym he’s writing under, Pollard is classic Pollard. His weird/awesome delivery, his wacked out wordplay lyrics and kooky hook-filled compositions remain unchanged, but with Boston Spaceships the songs are longer (2:00 minutes average) and more song-like than the fragmented 50-second GBV snippets. The fidelity is a little higher, but it never approaches “polished”, and the band behind him seriously knows how to rock (though with GBV, Pollard was often backed by some pretty strong musicians).


What’s always been great about Pollard’s work is that it basks in the glory, freedom and weirdness of rock and roll and never gets mired in obtuse experimentalism or passing trends. While the rest of indie-rock might be jerkin’ around with glockenspiels, computerized drum-machine beats, vocoders and sampling (and true, many artists jerking around with the aforementioned have produced some seriously cool music), Pollard’s just kept pumping out smashing riffs, infectious choruses and all-around damn good songs. While no one can ignore the change that comes with the passage of time, with enough talent and chutzpa, some can withstand it and still be awesome. Pollard and his Boston Spaceships so totally qualify.


August 23rd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

This band of the week are a bunch of boys from this great city of ours, Toronto. Made up of several talented persons who have been working around the scene for quite a couple years, this band is finally ready to raise themselves up to meet the national (and hopefully, soon, international) consciousness as a musical force to be reckoned with. With grand melodies and an even grander name, the band of the week is…

Primarily Mike O’Brian and Carlin Nicholson, Zeus’s most impressive resume listing would be that they were (are?) Jason Collett’s backup band, which likely had something to do with them being signed by Collett’s surrogate-family label, the always-incredible Arts and Crafts.
The magic behind Zeus’s music is that they have managed to nimbly keep their sound from falling into easy categorization, straddling the line between indie-pop and a retro-rock. Sure, the first thing you think when listening to Zeus is, “oh, Beatles”, but no, they’re actually much more than that. They’ve got charm, they’ve got a style of their own, they’re not afraid to dabble with interesting sounds and semi-psychedelic textures, and their sound never feels too soft or cushiony, but instead, has a roughness to it lacking from the best power-pop bands (New Pornographers, pretty much).
This year Zeus released a solid five song EP called Sounds Like Zeus to significant critical acclaim. Their commercial interests can’t be hurting too much either considering I waited two hours to get into a Zeus show at the Dakota Tavern a couple weeks ago…and yeah, simply never got in due to the place being at capacity. Supposedly A&C; labelhead Jeffrey Remedios didn’t even get in either, actually. Someone told me that….
Recently, their song “Fever Of The Times” (which is now my favorite song by the band) appeared on the latest Arts and Crafts sampler CD, listed as being from their forthcoming full-length due in late 2009. I can’t wait to hear it.
You can hear and purchase the Sounds Like Zeus EP here.
(Photo by Pete Nema)

The Room

August 22nd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

I wonder if in certain situations, it’s more profitable to make a movie so horrible that it’s actually hilarious than it is to make one that’s actually good. The story behind The Room is that this dude named Tommy Wiseau somehow found six million dollars to make this movie which he directed, wrote, produced and starred in. It was released in 2003 and has since developed a cult following for being hilariously awful and nonsensical. At screenings, audience members will often yell out lines at the movie, sometimes pointing out absurdities (“…the candles” -what candles?! -“…the music” -what music?!) or such, kind of like Rocky Horror. It premiered last month at The Royal and was brought back for an August show after the first screening was a big success.

The movie is basically the story of this girl, Lisa (Juliette Danielle), who’s engaged to Johnny (Wiseau) but has fallen out of love with him. She sets her sights on Wiseau’s best friend Mark (Greg Sestero), who just happens to be, like, the most handsome man on Earth. The movie is populated with various characters who seemingly serve absolutely no purpose, like Danny (Philip Haldiman), the weird kid Johnny serves as a father figure to, and Lisa’s friend Michelle’s boyfriend Mike (Mike Holmes). Other secondary characters appear and disappear, sometimes with no introduction whatsoever, leading audience members to regularly yell out “WHO ARE YOU!?!?!?” at the screen. Various plot points are also introduced only to be completely forgotten later.
All the acting in the movie is bad, but Wiseau is something special. He says his lines with either no feeling whatsoever or feeling that’s just plain wrong or misplaced. His accent (Romanian?) makes everything he says even funnier, and it doesn’t help that the dialogue is ridiculous to begin with. The plateau of bad acting he achieves is bewilderingly, like he’s gifted at being a horrible, horrible actor.
As the film progresses, it seems to get progressively worse, with way too many between-scene interludes featuring pans across the Golden Gate Bridge and things making less and less sense.
What’s special about The Room is that Wiseau honestly seems to believe – like Ed Wood supposedly did – that he was making a great, ambitious movie, with the posters stating that the film contained “the passion of Tennesee Williams”…misspelling the playwright’s name. In interviews, when asked how he feels about the film developing a cult following for being hilariously bad, Wiseau says that he’s simply happy that people are watching the film and hopefully connecting with it.
For whatever reason you decide on, please see The Room. It’s seriously funny and for those of us who have been to five thousand too many Rocky Horror shows, it’s a fresh way to enjoy that kind of audience-film interactive experience again. The Room will be screening again in Toronto on Sept. 25 (I’m guessing at The Royal, on College). Be there.

Bowzer Attacks at Bread and Circus, August 22nd

August 22nd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Another fine show last night at the bread and circus, where Wrecking Entertainment’s been throwing it’s chiptune showcases – the Bowzer Attacks – of late.
Unfortunately, my crew and I were only able to stay for the first act, but what we did manage to see was great. Deadbeat Blast had a crazy set up with an NES, some kind of keyboard, and all kinds of stuff that I had no idea what it was. The music was like chiptunes on speed, as furious rapid beats slammed to kick-ass 8-bit melodies and rhythms. A mad remix of the Super Mario theme was a pretty sick highlight of the set. At 11:00 we had to leave though to go see The Room, see review above.