This is an Example of a Simile: North by Northeast Is Like South by Southwest (Only in Toronto, Instead of Austin); So in Some Regards, They’re Antonyms
I've never been to South by Southwest, but it seems like a drunken bacchanalia from the reviews I've read and pictures I've seen. It also seems like a lot of people can't get into the shows that they want to see, and the shows rarely start on time. I've also heard that Austin can get pretty hot, but maybe that's just in the summer. It also seems like there's a slurry of shit bands. But hell, what do I know? I've never been there.
So it's with some hesitation that I inform you of Toronto, Canada's 13th annual North by Northeast Music and Film Festival and Conference. You wouldn't find Boris playing the Mountain Dew stage or Jandek playing a church, but you might have a chance to see Dinosaur Jr if you are among the 100 lucky enough to have a delegate badge and/or wristband.
But I'm missing the point, really. The conference, lasting from June 7-10, is a gathering of music industry insiders, music fans, and over 450 bands spread across 30 Toronto venues. NXNE also showcases a film festival, playing, among other things, the documentary Kurt Cobain: About a Son.
And while there'll certainly be a fair number of shit bands (read, mediocre), NXNE does a better job at focusing on bands looking for their big break, not already broken (see Boris playing the SXSW Mountain Dew stage), so it serves a far greater philanthropic purpose.
Playing in addition to festival headliners Dinosaur Jr are Awesome Color, Uncut, You Say Party! We Say Die!, Icarus Line, and potential up-and-comers Sleeping in the Aviary. All 400+ bands are potential up-and-comers, truth be told, and the full band list can be viewed here.
If you live in the Toronto area or plan on being in the area, I'd recommend this opportunity to check out some bands. I'm sure just as much fun can be had in Toronto during NXNE as can be had in Austin during SXSW, but as I said earlier, I wouldn't know.
On a dark winter day in the summer near the dumpster-divers and sewer rats of West Philly, I stumbled upon a gritty, old homeless man who claimed to be the ill-faded Wyclef Jean (I mean, ill-faded in the most generous way).
Emceegreg: Why, Wyclef... Is that you?
Wyclef Jean: Hell yeah. It's me son. Wanna buy a beat, boy?
Emceegreg: Uh, no. What the hell are you doing? Is that a turd that you're eating?
Wyclef Jean: Hell no, that ain't no turd. That's a steak, son [Clearly a turd]. Hey, aren't you that famous news reporter, Emceegreg? You're like the best Tiny Mix Tapes writer ever.
Emceegreg: I agree. Grant's okay, I guess. Seriously, what are you doing?
Wyclef Jean: I'm a refugee. And I'm on my way to Cali to see my girl Lauryn Hill play a couple special shows.
Emceegreg: Lauryn Hill? Who is that? I vaguely remember. Didn't Devendra Banhart cover that song she had?
Wyclef Jean: Dawg, she was in the Fugees! With me! Remember us? We were huge.
Emceegreg: Oh, now I sort of remember. Didn't Eminem diss her in a song about how she said she didn't like white people?
Wyclef Jean: No, she loves white people. In fact, I heard she's working with Mr. Bright Eyes himself, Conor Oberst, on her long-awaited upcoming album, Khulami Phase. Wait, you listened to Eminem?
Emceegreg: Uh, hey are you homeless now or something?
Wyclef Jean: Man, shit. I'm undercover. I'm looking for some fresh talent to record a new album, possibly cover another Bee Gees song, my son.
Then Pras walked by the two of us in a white sequin suit that read "Ghetto Superstar" and threw a handful of change at Wyclef. Wyclef screamed for him to come back. I walked back to my TMT limo, curling my handlebar mustache deviously. I was in deep thought, pondering how annoying Wyclef was in that damn Shakira song, wondering how Pras remained wealthy, and realizing that I had just banked a 5-star story for a 2-star publication. Score!
Lauryn Hill dates:
06.27.07 - Oakland, CA - Paramount Theater
06.29.07 - Palo, CA - Palomar Starlight
I am sure that everyone can think of at least one band that has a few top-flight songs, but they wouldn't classify any of that group's LPs as being front-to-back great. Maxïmo Park seem to be that kind of group. More than a handful of songs on the band's 2005 debut, A Certain Trigger (Warp), hit the mark, and their latest release, Our Earthly Pleasures (TMT Review), has almost as many great tunes. Hell, even Maxïmo Park's odds-and sods collection from 2006, Missing Songs (also Warp), has a couple gems.
When a band like this strikes out on a tour that will be hitting your city, your daydreams start to take over your mind. You think to yourself, "What if the band could somehow sync up with your thoughts, realize which of their songs you love, and only play those songs?" In other words, if they played your dream setlist, then it would most assuredly be an awesome show. On the flipside, if they choose to play many of the tracks you have deemed as filler from their discography, it will be boresville. I guess those are the risks associated with attending a show put on by the likes of Maxïmo Park. Peruse those dates below for MP's upcoming summer North American tour (with a couple extra European dates thrown in) and figure out whether or not you have the mettle to handle either outcome.
Dear Budweiser Dudes:
I totally l-o-v-e your f-ing hillarious "Real Men of Genius" ad campaign. I am su-uch a huge fan of Budweiser and of drinking beer in general... seriously, you don't even know!
Anyway, I have this idea for a new commercial for you guys. I just think it would go over like Gangbusters! Uh... do people still say "Gangbusters?" Whatevs, anyway... here's the script. Let me know what you think:
REAL MEN OF GENIUS
Announcer: Budweiser presents: Real Men of Genius.
Male Singer: Reeeeeeeeeeal men of geeeeeeeeeeeeeenius!!!
Announcer: This week we solute you, Mr. VH1 Rock Honors 2007 Planning Guy.
Male Singer: Mr. VH1RockHonors2007Plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaningguy!!!
Announcer: In a world where most Organizations try to make their award shows relevant and meaningful... you couldn't care less, and neither could we.
Male Singer: Give meeeeeeee the VMA's!
Announcer: Most people would try to make sure that their line-up of talent was the best that money could buy, but not you, Mr. VH1 Rock Honors 2007 Planning Guy. You're too busy pumping that cash straight
down Flavor Flav's nose.
Girl Backup Singers: Oooh, sniff, sniff!
Announcer: Your honorees include the pointless likes of Genesis, Heart, ZZ Top, and the always-charming Ozzy Ozbourne... all of whom will be presided-over by television's least interesting of ugly rich kids: "Jackass" Star Bam Margera.
Male Singer: Wait, isn't thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat an MTV show??!?!?!
Announcer: And just in case this tepid list of Who-Cares-Who's-Who celebrities isn't enough to rope in your ambiguous demographic, you've also brought in the big guns: Nickelback... Gretchen Wilson... Keane... and your crowning achievement... the legendarily god-awful Alice In Chains... that's right, I said Alice In Chains.
Girl Backup Singers: You can't stop the Rooooooooster!!!
Announcer: But don't worry, Mr. VH1 Rock Honors 2007 Planning Guy, because your absurd list of hosts will pick up the slack. Who needs credibility when you've got such laughable presenters as Robin Williams, Billy Bob Thornton, Cameron Diaz, and even the biggest douche bag on television... Criss Angel?
Male Singer (impersonating Jonathan Davis): Miiiiiiiiiiind Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak!!!!
Announcer: So what are you waiting for? Crack open an ice-cold Bud Light, oh Impresario of the Illegitimate! Because come May 12, when this train wreck is taped at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Events Center and May 24, when this quote-unquote "special" airs on VH1, you'll be able to sit back and say to yourself: "So what if I lost my job at VH1? At least I'm not Layne Staley."
Male Singer: Mr. VH1 RockHonors2007PlaaaaaaaaaaaaaaningGuy!!!!
Announcer: Bud Light Beer: Anheuser-Busch Inc. St. Louis, Missouri.
Well? What do you guys think? Let me know.
I'll be here.
It’s simple: When you go see the Young Marble Giants reunion show or buy the forthcoming Young Marble Giants CD collection, you’ll bag and ball a hottie and build a hotter ballbag!
From Santa belly to washboard: Abs in six minutes a day! Face death, live longer! The ultimate carb 'n' cardio plan! Seduce her in ten minutes! How to dump a buddy! Young Marble Giants to reissue Colossal Youth album, Collected Works compilation, and 1980 Peel Session! Sex: her hottest hot spots! 9 rules for easy money! Flat-belly food! Best pain relievers! Young Marble Giants to play one-off show at Hay Festival in Wales! Expand the size of your nut-sack in three minutes! Fix your aching back (and meet hot women)! The five pillars of fitness! 10 ways to grow new muscle! Grow a second love muscle! Drink whale sperm to boost your energy! 7 ways to get a raise! Dress for more sex... with suspenders! Eat fish, think better! Bulletproof your core!
Ah, men's magazines: the last bastion of good taste and urgent! headlines! A few of the blurbs listed above among the fantastic promises, tips, and threats just don't seem to fit in... can you find them? Hint: they are in bold. That's right, sparse but seminal post-punk band Young Marble Giants -- Alison Statton and Stuart and Phil Moxham -- will be reuniting for a very, very short tour (one date) when they appear at the lit-loving Hay Festival in Wales on May 27. The gig is in celebration of the forthcoming 3CD YMG package being released by Domino on September 11. It includes their one and only proper album, Colossal Youth, Collected Works, which compiles the band's 1979 demo (eventually released as Salad Days), plus tracks contributed originally to the Cardiff-centric Is the War Over? compilation, their "Final Day" single, Testcard EP, and a 5-song Peel Session from 1980.
Once upon a time a man discovered there was music after punk, and he called it post-punk. That man was named Simon Reynolds, and he will provide the liner notes for his retrospective/reissue/package/joint.
Oh, and the fashion-related piece of advice highlighted in bold above (the suspenders one) isn't really part of the Young Marble Giants story at all, but it's my "can't miss" top tip for the summer!
Young! Marble! Giants! Live! One! Night! Only!
05.27.07 - Hay-on-Wye, Wales - The Hay Festival
Song Credits in the Straight World:
Disc One: Colossal Youth:
1 Searching for Mr. Right
2 Include Me Out
3 The Taxi
4 Eating Noddemix
5 Constantly Changing
7 Colossal Youth
8 Music for Evenings
9 The Man Amplifier
10 Choci Loni
11 Wurlitzer Jukebox
12 Salad Days
13 Credit in the Straight World
14 Brand - New - Life
15 Wind in the Rigging
Disc Two: Collected Works:
1 This Way #
2 Posed by Models #
3 The Clock #
4 Clicktalk #
5 Zebra Trucks #
6 Sporting Life #
7 Final Day $
8 Radio Silents $
9 Cakewalking $
10 Ode to Booker T %
11 Have Your Toupee Ready ^
12 N.I.T.A. ^
13 Brand - New - Life ^
14 Zebra Trucks ^
15 Choci Loni ^
16 Wind in the Rigging ^
17 The Man Shares His Meal with His Beast ^
18 The Taxi ^
19 Constantly Changing ^
20 Music for Evenings ^
21 Credit in the Straight World ^
22 Eating Noddemix ^
23 Ode to Booker T ^
24 Radio Silents ^
25 Hayman ^
26 Loop the Loop ^
# from the Testcard EP
$ from the "Final Day" single
% from the Is the War Over compilation
^ from the Salad Days album
Disc Three: Peel Session, recorded August 20, 1980:
1 Posed by Models
2 Searching for Mr. Right
4 Brand - New - Life
5 Final Day
Shelved in 2001 when Restless Records was destroyed beyond repair and purchased by Rykodisc, Metric's unreleased debut Grow Up and Blow Away will finally see the light of day on Last Gang Records June 26. Before that, the 1999 recording, which features Emily Haines and James Shaw as a musical duo, will be available exclusively on iTunes June 12.
Metric are currently at Giant Studios in Toronto working on their follow-up to 2005's Live It Out. The new album will mark the first fully collaborative creative process for the band, as in the past Haines and Shaw wrote most of the songs and later presented them to other members Josh Winstead and Joules Scott-Key. Emily reports that the writing is going in a "much more beat-driven, electronic direction," which is a result of new experimentation within the band, including Josh beginning to write the basslines on a synth, the usage of mostly vintage instruments, and a good amount of intrument-switching between members. Metric will begin recording in June and hope to complete the album by October.
Finally, Haines is also releasing a new EP on July 24, What Is Free To A Good Home? The EP will feature five unreleased tracks off of her 2006 release, Knives Don't Have Your Back.
Grow up and Blow Away tracklisting:
Kanye West Allegedly Releasing New Album in September; Connections to Psychic Friends Network Deemed Tenuous-at-Best by Mr P
In case anyone regurgitates this diary entry for a Tiny Mix Tapes news story, I'll mark the specific date: It's May 29, 2005 as I write this. I'm driving home from the Sasquatch Festival with my girlfriend, who will likely not be my girlfriend for very much longer. We're at that point, y'know? That time in a relationship where I'd rather polish my porpoise to Max Hardcore than wax her behind, and she'd rather argue about the fine points of post-rock than welcome my half-limp sock puppet into the folds of her vajheen. Worst of all, she betrayed me yesterday. I was all 6s and 7s over getting to see Pixies live, and I did, but she went back to the camp area with a bunch of indie-lite D-bags we know from school after the first song. JUDAS. I don't care how many times people bash the Pixies reunion and how over-the-hill Kim Deal is; my man Black-but-white Francis is a joy to witness live. So yeah, my girlfriend really lost some points yesterday. Something tells me I'll drift through a few more relationships before marrying and impregnating an Argentine temptress after an impromptu meeting at Kinko's. In fact I'd bet my life on it.
I also have a feeling Kanye West -- despite an amazin' performance at Sasquatch yesterday -- is going DOWN (down-down-down, Kanye's goin' down). Call me crazy, but I anticipate the release of an album called Graduation farrrr in the future... say, September 2007-ish, that will feature a cameo from Chris Martin and a collaborative thrust or two from Jon Brion, who, er, will probably also work with West on an album that I predict will be called Late Registration and released in August of this year (which, I assure you, is 2005). Again, West was AWESOME at Sasquatch yesterday -- and I really mean that -- but he's gonna get all fruity on us in a few years. I'll bet the new album (the one coming out in 2007, stay with me here) will have lame lyrics, like, say, something like this: "I had a dream I could buy my way to heaven/ When I woke I spent that on a necklace/ I told God I'd be back there in a secon/ Man, it's so hard not to act reckless."
No, I'm not Jamerican and I don't work for Psychic Friends Network (yet), but I can tell you, in the words of the immortal ODB, that I speaks the troof to da yoof, and here's the troof: Better start wearin' bullet-proof! Well, I guess that's about i- .... Oh god, Oh lord, oh mama... I think I just had another future flash... It's just how my mom describes a hot flash, but it's neither hot nor a flash; it's more of a vision. I see... I see... Haley Joel Osment, eating a nice hoagie... I see... I see... the third season of Lost REALLY HEATING UP... I see... I see... Gerardo singing and performing at a Macaroni Grill... I see... I see ... West playing a 'Bluesfest'?... Mang.
07.07.07 - Rutherford, NJ - Meadowlands Sports Complex - Giants Stadium, East
07.12.07 - Gilford, NH - Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion
07.14.07 - Ottawa, Ontario - Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest
08.18.07 - Chelmsford - V Festival – Hylands Park
08.19.07 - Staffordshire - V Festival – Weston Park
Spitting in the face of symbolic logic, Glasgow's most icy-fingered, cool-voiced Brit-pop mega-quintet Snow Patrol are gearing up for... well, one hot and sweaty summer.
Ignoring the advice of astounded medical doctors and little blond girls named Karen alike, the wintry wonderkids -- who came to life big-time (ha, get it?) in 2003/2004 with breakthrough album Final Straw for Polydor/Interscope (depending on whether or not you're a Loyalist) and numerous weepy spots throughout 2006 on many-a-primetime TV shows that my girlfriend likes -- have decided to laugh in the face of the rising thermometer and parade their stadium-sized EZ-indie power pop all around the free world, presumably with a broomstick in their collective hand.
First, according to the band's official website, Snow Patrol's newest single, the curiously thermally titled "Signal Fire" from the curiously tepid Spiderman 3, will be released May 14 in the UK and Ireland as a "two track CD and web-shaped vinyl" following the world wide "web" release of the track on iTunes this past April.
In addition, the frigid fivesome have announced their involvement in this year's highly anticipated 24-hour, seven-continent (I guess Hot Hot Heat are playing from Antarctica, huh?) concert series Live Earth, for which they will perform an "insert synonym for hot here" set from London on July 7 in order to help prevent and raise awareness for... get this... global warming.
The UK concert is scheduled to take place at London's new Wembley Stadium and also boasts appearances from "some of the biggest bands and artists in the world" (according to Snow Patrol anyway), including Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Madonna, Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys, and Genesis. And never you mind the fact that these lads are scheduled to headline the Oxygen Festival in Ireland later that same evening! Once again according to their website, the blustery band will simply "perform at Wembley early in the afternoon" before whisking their winterly way back to Ireland faster than a Jamaican Bobsled team coached by John Candy.
But wait! There's more! The all-livin' boys of Snow Patrol have also announced a scintillating round of summer tourdates in the U.S. and Canada, including a scorching stop-off in the sure-to-be sweltering city of Chicago for the infamous Lollapalooza Festival on August 4 before downhill skiing back to Europe for, gasp, a few more summer festival appearances. And just how are they so on top of their game? Early rumors are circulating that there must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found.
For a lot of musicians, being a member of a seminal rock band in a seminal city can spell death for any plans for a solo career, with interviewers constantly referencing past projects and asking inane questions like, "What are the rest of those guys up to these days?" It must be heart-wrenching. As an artist, you really need to overcome the confines of your band's previous sound if you want to emerge successfully from the shadows of former glory. Some have been able to achieve this seemingly insurmountable goal; David Cassidy, Geri Halliwell, and Art Garfunkel come to mind. Others have faltered in the face of past grandeur when attempting to set themselves apart as solo musicians; see John Lennon, Ghostface Killah, and Lou Reed. Needless to say, if it can be avoided at all, it's best not to play this comparison game.
Julie Doiron, originally of Eric's Trip, transcended such callous considerations when she called upon former bandmates Marc Gaudet, Rick White, and Chris Thompson to help record her newest Jagjaguwar release, Woke Myself Up (TMT Review). Doiron is also joining with Calvin Johnson, the man behind the 'zine-turned-label K Records, to promote her incredibly crafted songs on an expansive North American tour.
Johnson himself has put producing, recording, engineering, and starting music institutions on hold for a while. He is putting The Sons of The Soil on hiatus to travel with Julie across the continent, hitting cafes, galleries, churches, and small clubs along the way, playing songs from his self-titled K Records release (TMT Review).
Check out Doiron's video for "Me and My Friend" here.
You can fold your arms, stare at the floor, and rock slowly but intentionally side-to-side -- maybe even nod your head in affirmation -- as you see them play. But don't get too carried away; you don't want anyone to think you care:
* Johnson only
# Just Doiron
Amid breakup rumors, a six-year vacation from recording new material (aside from the exclusive track for Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, to be released June 5), and increasingly rare live shows, Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan has taken time out of his busy schedule of sparsely releasing Portastatic material, getting filthy rich by releasing Arcade Fire records, and resting on his laurels to play a single show with his original band. Perhaps this will lead to Superchunk’s first national tour in four years, but I’m probably asking too much.
I’m sorry, Mac. That was kind of a cheap shot. I can’t think of any way to write this story that doesn’t consist of me repeatedly telling you I think you’re great. You can play with Superchunk whenever you want, especially if it’s for a good cause. Sean Silver, one of your biggest fans, has cancer and asked you to play his Eff Cancer Benefit on June 20th at the Metro in Chicago, and you -- along with the Mountain Goats and a “special guest” -- said yes.
I tried to open this article at your expense, but damn it, between this and “Detroit Has A Skyline,” you’re the closest thing to a hero we’ve got. As a penance, I offer this Clerihew:
McCaughan is in Superchunk
I’m a total hack, a drunk
The following statement is untrue:
I can tell him what to do