Archive for July, 2015

Rain The Color Of Blue With A Little Red In It

July 30th, 2015 | Film | 0 Comments

Akounak-Poster

Rain The Color Of Blue With A Little Red In It is a loose Tuareg remake of Purple Rain set in Nigeria. It follows guitarist Mdou Moctar as he arrives in the town of Agadez and quickly becomes a local celebrity musician. The girls in town are happy to have him there, but some of the rival musicians are less thrilled. Moctar also has to hide his guitar playing from his strict father, who believes all guitarists are crooks, drug addicts and/or alcoholics.

Moctar’s purple guitar, motorcycle and outfit, and some of the film’s plot, points are the only ties Rain… has to Prince‘s movie. Most importantly, the music in the film is all Moctar’s. I’d never heard any of it before walking into the Museum for the Moving Image cinema – where it was playing as part of the Rural Route Festival – but it didn’t matter. Once Moctar and his band lock into that groove, it pulls you in like quicksand.

Unlike Prince and the original Purple Rain, this Rain… is more than just a vehicle for Moctar’s music. At least for many Western viewers, it’s also an incredible snapshot of the day to day lives of Northern Nigerians and their culture. Watching the subtly different ways in which people interacted was interesting, but perhaps most striking was the role that cell phones occupied in these peoples’ culture. Musicians will record music onto crappy old Motorola and Nokia phones (that Westerners haven’t seen since 2006), and despite the low quality, these cheap recordings will be circulated and may even become DIY hits. So by the time Moctar’s character starts playing shows in Agadez, many are already familiar with his music.

The depiction of African cellphone music culture, along with the threadbare setting of Agadez and the film’s modest production values, gives Rain… a quaintness that’s often charming, funny and touching. In many ways, despite the film’s apparent lack of a budget, it’s actually better, or at least more interesting than the original Purple Rain because it feels so quaint and so foreign. Of course, to say the music is better than Prince‘s might be a stretch, but it’s definitely damn good. Especially the song “Adounia” (which you can hear below), with its principle lyric that translates to “Life is like a chameleon changing color between the trees.”

HSY

July 26th, 2015 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

hsy

Our friends at Toronto’s excellent Buzz Records are finally putting out HSY‘s first full length, Bask, on September 11th. I remember when I gave the noise punks one of their first shows back in the day, playing a punk and hardcore themed all ages show at Kapisanan in Kensington Market. I think they were only a two piece then and they still spelled it Hussy. That was before they got too cool for constant vowels and double letters. Good times, good times…

Grey Darlings

July 20th, 2015 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

greydarlings

Grey Darlings are some peeps from Winnipeg who make lo-fi sorta twee synth-pop.

Re-Evaluated // Manassas

July 11th, 2015 | Features | 0 Comments

Manassasss

Stephen Stills is kind of an interesting case. After the dissolution of Buffalo Springfield, of the band’s three principle songwriters – Richie Furay, Neil Young and Stills – Stills was considered by many to be the most promising. Of course, it was Stills who wrote Buffalo Springfield‘s biggest hit, “For What It’s Worth”, as well as “Bluebird”, the centrepiece of the band’s best album, Buffalo Springfield Again.

Stills would later achieve stardom and success as a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young), but he never attained the legendary solo artist status that his sometimes friend and bandmate Young did. For the most part, this is understandable: Young was always the more interesting, experimental and ahead-of-his-time songwriter. That being said, in the current historical narrative, Stills is often given short-shrift. His short-lived 70s band Manassas is a perfect example of this.

Though Manassas and their first, self-titled album were successful back in the day, the album is one few talk about these days and without good reason. Mannasas is a sprawling, ambitious two-disc mix of Southern rock, country, blues and bluegrass that holds together beautifully, supported as it is by a stellar cast of musicians (including ex-Byrd/Flying Burrito Brother Chris Hillman, Al Perkins, and The Rolling StonesBill Wyman) and a lot of great songwriting. The album is very much a product of its time, but not so much that it doesn’t still hold up. Just listen to should-be-classic tracks like “Both Of Us (Bound To Lose)” and “Right Now”.

Actually, if one had to pick Manassas’ closest musical relative, it would probably be The Rolling Stones‘ own classic double-album mix of rock, blues, folk and country: the explosively-inspired, heroin-fueled Exile On Mainstreet. Manassas may not have Exile‘s incredible, era-defining energy, but it is the more authentically American of the two. And that’s gotta count for something, right? Even if it doesn’t, Manassas is still a great album. Perhaps the greatest you’ll find in the used-vinyl dollar bin. If you see it there, consider grabbing it. If people catch on to what a forgotten classic it is, it might not be there much longer.

Charlotte Crow

July 9th, 2015 | Mp3 Posts | 1 Comment

charlotte

Charlotte Crow‘s bandcamp says she’s from London, Ontario, but I’d prefer to think of her as coming from Rodney, Ontario, which is what Weird Canada put down as her location. Just an 18-year-old girl making strange mumble-core music with some loops and noise in small town Canada. A couple random peeps on the internet find it and get excited. Sometimes the modern world is kind of cool.