Kazoo! Fest: Day 2 (10/04/14)

April 11th, 2014 | Features | 0 Comments

kazoo

Unfortunately I missed the first day of Guelph’s charming Kazoo! Fest, but I got in yesterday (Thursday) to begin my coverage of the five-day-long (sort of) fest and so far it’s been fun.

The first event was a showcase for some video works, including one with a live score.

Taking place inside of the quaint St. Andrew’s Church, the showcase began with The Impermanence Of The Ordinary, a short film about photographer Patrick Cummins‘ work photographing Toronto’s houses and storefronts as they change over time. Cummins was present to introduce the film, which was an interesting look at, indeed, a very ordinary subject that, upon closer inspection, inspires some interesting thoughts about what the architecture of a city says about its history, culture and architecture as it changes over time. You can actually watch it in its entirety on Vimeo.

The second film of the night, and my favourite, was This Is Now Here, Toronto-based photographer and music video director Colin Medley‘s short film about the Sackville, New Brunswick music scene and its annual Stereophonic FestivalFeist once spoke in an interview about how one can only truly appreciate Canada if one sees the great empty spaces and small towns between the big cities. These words were already echoing in my head as I rode the bus from Toronto to Guelph, and this film fit in well with the idea. Indeed, there is something beautiful and romantic in the glimpses someone from the city gets of small town (or small city) life in the relatively empty spaces of the great white North. Medley’s film portrays Sackville as this tiny, snowy little town in the lonesome Maritime where a bunch of University kids get together and make really cool music in small, intimate spaces. Huddled together in badly lit rooms, toques and scarves still on, the kids in the video appeared to truly have a secret but wonderful little scene of interesting and inspired noisemakers. Visually touching, with a perfectly restrained ambient score by Mike Smith, Medley’s film is a snow-covered gem of beautiful Canadiana. Luckily, it’s also streaming in its entirety on Vimeo.

The last work of the event was called Foster and was an experimental video soundtracked by a live band. Admittedly, the video itself was not all that impressive, as it largely consisted of random stuttering footage of ordinary thing (walls, basements, people), a hick-ish seeming Canadian, and kaleidoscopic effects. Maybe it was meant to be some kind of Gummo-esque look at a small town Canadian guy – I’m not really sure. The live band, however, was excellent, ably providing a phenomenal post-rock score with different sections and shifting rhythms (pounded out by two drummers) to compliment the segments of the video.

1941549_10201083090313367_5579427970595004049_o

Next stop was eBar, where a couple bands provided the rest of the night’s festival entertainment. I’m sorry to say I was kind of bored by the theatrics of The Medicine Hat and The Furys, who simply didn’t provide the strong songs to justify their powerful stages presences. Long-running, long-beloved Halifax indie-garage drums-guitar duo Cousins closed the night with a lot less people onstage, but a lot more hooks, power, and mosh-age.

891936_10201083139434595_8614358110000285226_o

Permanent Vacation

April 8th, 2014 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

permanent

Pretty sounds abound in this track from Dundas, Ontario dream-pop types Permanent Vacation.

Grizzly Waves

April 7th, 2014 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

grizzly

Luke MacDonald – who apparently resides somewhere in Canada (though I’ve a sneaking suspicion that somewhere is Toronto…) – has recently released a little seven-song EP with the wonderfully mystical title I’m Alive, You Are The Whole Creation, Let Our Frequencies Rise under his pseudonym Grizzly Waves. It’s acoustic stuff, which usually bores me, but it’s recorded well with nice double tracking and a little percussion and some overdubbed parts and all in all it sounds pretty good. Also songs. They’re for the most part legits if you’re into a Bright Eyes kinda thing.

Mormon Crosses

April 7th, 2014 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

mormoncrosses

Aaron Levin – the genius behind Weird Canada and now Wyrd Distro - was pumping these guys on Facebook. Always a good chance the band is gonna be pretty solid (or crazy weird)(or both) when you see that. Mormon Crosses hail from a city I look forward to spending more time (or my entire life) in: Vancouver. They make dark, weird, noisy musics.

Dreams Of Faraway Places Mix

April 5th, 2014 | The Mix | 0 Comments

After travelling around in the last couple weeks, I feel like Toronto isn’t where I should be. The culture of the city is too unintellectual, middle-of-the-road – good thing I’m moving to New York in the fall for Law School. In the meantime, I’m prepping to go on my grand cross-USA trip at the end of this month. Here’s a mix for all of those dreaming of faraway places where things are better…

Silver Dapple

April 4th, 2014 | Mp3 Posts | 1 Comment

silverdapple2

Always-awesome Montreal shoegazers Silver Dapple just put out a really, really awesome new EP called I Hate My Birthday. Did I mention it’s pretty awesome? Cuz it is. It’s also pretty grunge-y. More-so than previous stuff.

Add Toner: A Cometbus Collection

April 4th, 2014 | Print | 0 Comments

addtoner

I never really grew up with zines. By the time I got into interesting things like indie rock, weird movies and veganism, the blog era was upon us and zines were at best cute, at worst sort of irrelevant. There were now far more efficient ways of sharing stories, comics, music reviews, random writings and everything, and it was free and instantaneous. However, I came to find out about and love zines anyways because they are their own thing: small, short, cheap, diy, physical, and invested with more time, love and energy than a blog generally requires. They’re awesome to have on the shelves for others to peruse or borrow, and in my old apartment I used to like to keep them in the washroom as reading material for myself and anyone making use of the space (maybe don’t borrow those ones).

Ironically – but predictably – it was through the internet that I found out about Cometbus, the beloved, long-running zine of San Francisco punk Aaron Cometbus (er, Elliott). I decided to check out the first result in amazon, the collection Add Toner. There are a couple of Cometbus collection books, each grabbing a bunch of issues or parts of issues and wrapping them up in a nice little book – I haven’t read any others yet so I can’t compare them, but this one was pretty solid, in any case.

Each ‘issue’ that the book is made up with is its own thing. Some are just collections of short musings, possibly diary entries or something along those lines that (often poetically) reflect current aspects of his life: his relationships with his friends, family, lovers, Judaism, music, politics, culture, etc. These are often very interesting and sometimes beautiful. He writes elegantly despite the casual-ness of the medium and his interests and education are apparent throughout, as when he quotes the Hebrew prayers or Trotsky. I remember in particular how he writes about loving the latter’s last words, spoken to his wife: “I do not want them to undress me. I want you to undress me.”

Other ‘issues’ in the book are collections of interviews: one is with the scene around a cool cafe in St. Louis, another is with ‘Back To The Landers’,  those who were part of a movement of moving from the city to the remote rural countryside in the late-60s/early 70s.

Read as a book from start to finish, the whole thing felt long and I got a bit tired of it after a while. But I would imagine that if one were to read the issues each as their own individual thing then that wouldn’t be a problem. But it still wasn’t a problem – each issue was interesting and educational and I wound up liking not just the zine but this person Aaron Cometbus that I was reading about. He seemed cool and smart and like someone I could relate to. Maybe in the future I’ll check out the other collections of his work, as I now understand why his zine was so loved.

If you’ve heard about Cometbus before or are just kind of interested in zines, there’s no reason not to pick up this collection. It’s good stuff, and some things about zines blogs just can’t replicate perfectly.

Whimm

April 3rd, 2014 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

whimm

“They’re like My Bloody Valentine but more math rock,” was how Trevor (of Doomsquad) described Toronto’s Whimm to me the other night at the Magpie. After actually listening to them, I wouldn’t say they’re really all that shoegazey, but they do make some nice guitars sounds. Turns out these math-gazers are playing tonight at the aforementioned Magpie as part of a little Buzz Records showcase. Also – they put out an EP in February. Here are some tracks.

Re-Evaluated // 16 Lovers Lane

April 3rd, 2014 | Features | 0 Comments

16loverslane

Re-evaluated is a feature in which albums that are under-appreciated get some much deserved love in the form of a little blog write up. Hey, better than nothing. 

The focus of this week’s re-evaluated album is the 1988 classic 16 Lovers Lane by Brisbane’s The Go-Betweens. If you have never heard of the band or the album it is indeed tragic but not surprising – sometimes great bands just never get their due (or it just hasn’t come yet). Basically, The Go-Betweens are like the Australian Big Star: an incredible pop band that wrote brilliant should-have-been-hit songs that simply weren’t. Or at least they weren’t as big as they should have been, as the band did have some success in their home country and their sometimes-home-base of the UK. But here in North America their success and legacy has been, and is, almost nonexistent.

The band’s masterpiece appears undoubtedly to be the last album of the ‘original lineup’, the aforementioned 16 Lovers Lane. The album’s ten songs range from pretty good to astoundingly beautiful both musically and lyrically, but its best songs, like “Love Goes On”, “Your Quiet Quiet Heart”, “Streets Of Your Town” and “Dive For Your Memory”, have the timeless feel of the hits you listen to when first falling in love. They’re so perfect and poignant with lines like, “There’s a cat in my alleyway/Dreaming of birds that are blue/Sometimes girl when I’m lonely/This is how I think about you” and “If the cliffs were any closer/If the water wasn’t so bad/I’d dive for your memory/On the rocks and the sand.” It would appear that the album’s big, beautiful, often tragic sentiments were brought out by the ending of the relationship between one of the band’s principle songwriter’s, Grant McLennan, and bandmate Amanda Brown.

16 Lovers Lane is the kind of album that should be listed in top 100 albums of all time lists. It just has that classic album feel, as though it’s reached that sphere of quality reserved only for the greats. The Go-Betweens made a lot of good music, but none of their albums feel as absolute and perfect as this one. To be fair, few albums exist that do. Please seek it out and listen to it. If there’s such a thing as criminally under-appreciated, this album may be the ultimate example.

Greys

April 1st, 2014 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

greys

Toronto hard-punks Greys are coming out with a full-length called If Anything that’s gonna be released June 17th on Carpark and beloved Toronto punk/experimental/cool shit label Buzz Records. First song off it is “Guy Piccioto”, named so, of course, for the badass dude who played in the legendary D.C. hardcore bands Rites Of Spring and Fugazi (but you knew that). The song, as well, is pretty badass. (via Pitchfork)