Saturday, October 30, 2004

Weekend Reading
We'll have those Eminem thoughts for you shortly. Till then...

Timmins still loves the Twain
What will satellite radio mean for Kathleen Edwards?
What makes Quebec's music industry distinct?
Alan Niester: The many shapes of k-os
Jim DeRogatis v. Mike D
The Drive-By Truckers are more worthy than Ashlee Simpson
And so, of course, is Avril
But she's not, we repeat, a punk rocker
RuPaul is like a Trojan Horse
Les Paul is still alive
REM love the Red Sox, hate Dick Cheney
Green Day love the Red Sox, hate everything else about America
Steve Earle offers no love for baseball, hates the FCC
Dee Snider is many things
Dizzee Rascal is like Mike Tyson
Dizzee Rascal: Blinded by the heights
Nick Cave sits pretty
One-hit chunder: The passing of the novelty single
The rise and fall of the pop single
A Top 40 hit is nothing to sing about
Alexis Petridis on Kings of Leon and their obsession with sex
The music producer who has heard too much
Amy Winehouse dreams of Vegas
Placebo are, er, back?
Few clues in Jam Master Jay's death
For R. Kelly, pepper is something that gets sprayed in his face
And he also sees armed people
Still the One no longer Bush's favourite song
American Idol goes academic
Joe Simpson upset daughters aren't latin enough
HipHopDotCom talks to Chuck D
Chang on the Hip-Hop Vote
Chromewaves on Stars
Alex Ross on the Red Sox
Stereogum's Britney Federline Halloween guide
The Tear That Hangs with a year-end list already
Miccio with his singles of the year
Ultragrrrl with G-Dub's middle digit
And Sasha, Chang, Hua and Tompkins start MP3 bloggin

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Cultural Studies
Less Ash, More Em! Or so Carl demands. And we intend to do just that, if only becase we realized on the bus ride home tonight that we had much more to say about the latter than first realized. A tease: We admire his conviction, but find his re-invention downright Bushian. In the meantime, a few things.

First, here's fellow Post columnist Adam Sternbergh on Britney Spears (figuratively speaking) for Slate. Best last sentence of a piece we've read in decades: "She strips and strips and strips, yet never reveals a thing." Money. Still, thanks to Stereogum, we've never found Brit more, erm, "real." And, it must be said, we find her all the more compelling for it.

Also on Slate, Douglas Wolk remembers John Peel. Can't say we had a profound feeling for the man. But we're awed by the reaction otherwise. We simply have to point out though that even among the geekiest of the geek, Ashlee is more popular a topic (300 posts), than Peel (191 posts).

Finally, here is today's piece for the Post on our dear Ashlee. You don't have to read it if you don't want to.

Update... 11:12:35pm EST...
Matt Good chimes in on Eminem. It's only rock n' roll, but he likes it. (Note: He's taken down the Comments option. Suppose this hurts the cause of his precious free speech. But more important, it totally kills our fun.)
Haven't You Embarrassed Yourselves Enough Already?
60 Minutes is touting exclusive backstage footage of the L'affair Ashlee (full details at Defamer). In other news, the National Post had exclusive commentary from yours truly today. Suppose we'll post that here eventually.
Ashlee Simpson Is Like Christopher Reeve Now
Moan about a little heartburn and oh how the drug companies will rejoice in your disclosure - Nexium and Prevacid now fighting for Lil' Ashlee's attention. From the San Francisco Chronicle's Daily Dish:

... AstraZeneca's David Albaugh tells gossip site The Scoop, "Somebody of her high profile helps raise the profile of the disease. Obviously, it's good to have improved and increased awareness of acid reflux."

A spokesperson for TAP Pharmaceutical Products, which makes Prevacid, says, "We believe that celebrities who talk about their experience with certain health conditions, such as acid reflux in this case, can help educate people on important health issues, as well as motivate people to talk to their doctors and get properly diagnosed and treated.

"We wish Ashlee Simpson the very best on her road to relief from acid reflux."

But wait. A new study from those know-it-all Dutch says that heartburn-relief drug users are more susceptible to pneumonia! Poor thing can't catch a break, can she?

Update... 4:13:12pm EST...
Ash returns to the high school circuit to spread democracy. Even if the kids just want to see Ryan Cabrera.
More Or Less Painful Than Acid Reflux
Former S-Clubber Rachel Stevens, she of the unfortunately titled Funky Dory, kibitzes with Something Jewish about her role in the upcoming experimental period piece, Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo.

You are in the Deuce Bigalow: European gigolo, the sequel to the hit comedy when you get covered in mud I believe?

"I know, very glamorous. They just slapped on this paste that was like powder and water. It wasn't real mud. But real mud is really good for you so maybe they should have put that on. I had this stuff on all day. It was horrible when it went on and when it dried it was rock hard. Then I had a wig on and they put this stuff in my teeth. It was certainly an experience."

In the Deuce Bigalow film you finish in the canal in Amsterdam. Was that done for real?

"Yes. I had to get in the canal. All the water was tested and I was not standing on the bottom of the canal. I was on a box and it was safe, I had a wet suit and wellington boots on. The water was freezing. It was not a fun thing but it goes down in the book of experiences."

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Patiently Waiting
I really wish Eminem had released Encore a month ago. Haven't heard it yet, of course. But, if Mosh is at all an indication of its content, its best before date is, er, next Tuesday (assuming Bush wins - meaning maybe Em needs to reconsider his vote).

Anyway. The new video:
Windows and Real Media links at HipHopDotCom
Quicktime links at Guerilla News Network

Initial thoughts:
Great video. Average (at best) single. Maybe it's a grower. Man, I hope it's a grower. Would be wonderful to think Eminem might be able to inspire the sort of revolt-by-vote of which he speaks, but I'm far too cynical at the moment.

Bonus coverage:
Salon: The most powerful broadside since Fahrenheit 9/11
MTV: Michael Moore would certainly approve
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: A new target to offend
Detroit Free Press: Countdown to Eminem
ilXor discussion

Update... 7:44:31pm EST...
More coverage from throughout the day

MSNBC: Mosh video disses Bush
The Nation: Eminem aims at Bush
Maisonneuve: The most vital artist we have?
Salon: Mosh for the masses
PopMatters: Amplify the noise
Not satisfied with having scandalized a nation, Ashlee Simpson is now letting down all those kids who'd hoped she would at least be able to get them out of third period chemistry - no showing a radio-station-sponsored performance at Granger High. Squeaked one saddened youngster: "I think it's stupid. If they say they are going to do something, they have got to do it."
Innocence Lost: Ashlee's Vocal Cord Malfunction
(When It All Falls Down)

This story is like woah now. Because Katie Couric is involved and the Washington Post is pretending this, like, matters - complete with information from the American Gastroenterological Association (which is so going to gain a spokeswoman out of this).
In this post-Ashlee world, truth in advertising is essential. So it was refreshing to receive this e-mail from the boys in White Cowbell Oklahoma. Say what you will about their post-ironic, Southern-Metal schtick... at least you'll never be able to say they lied to you, jack. To wit:

Good Gawd!!!
Raiders from the Rock n Roll Underworld are Upon Us!!!
Zombie Sluts from the Darkest Pits of Sin!!!
Filth, Evil, Bloodlust, Primal Acts!!!
Indiscriminate Copulation! Random Self-Destruction!!!

Lawd, save us from this plague of rock n roll locusts!!!

in a
Also Starring:

The Mod Club Theatre
722 College St., Toronto ON, Canada


SEE: 10-Man Rock n Roll Assault on the Mind and Body!
SEE: Zombie Sluts! Submit to their Horrific Charms and Suffer the Price!
SEE: Unprecedented Chainsaw Carnage!
SEE: Freaks! Fire! Socially Prohibited Acts!
SEE: Man-Made Humanoid Creatures of Fantastic Scale and Girth!
SEE: Night Nurses Gone Bad...Very Bad!

Ah yes, it's that gawdang Halloween time of year again. That gawdang time when everybody goes that extra gawdang yard to mess themselves up and do stuff they're gonna be real, real ashamed of later.

Odds are pretty good you might even wake up with them crazy alcoholic goth cougs from the bar down the street.

And if Busta Rhymes shows up in drag, offering mushrooms and absinthe, just f*@!in say no. He gets a little...funny this time of year. Rick James had nothing on him.

Anyhow, If you like zombies, monsters, and the sluts that love them...
...you'll be at the Mod Club Theatre this Friday.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

P.S. If we had a nickle for every time we've woken up next to some crazy alcoholic goth coug...
P.P.S. Bonus points for attempting to start beef with Busta Rhymes.
Innocence Lost: Ashlee's Vocal Cord Malfunction
(Don't Call It A Comeback)

Ashlee performs at the Radio Music Awards, mocks self. Ain't no acid reflux gonna keep her down.

Sayeth the younger Simpson: "You move on. Things happen."

"Things happen." It's like Rodney King's "Why can't we all just get along?" - but for, like, our generation.

That said, you can feel the storm clouds beginning to lift. This dark period in our history is nearing its end. And we will emerge stronger and smarter for having survived it. Together.

Bonus snark:
Stereogum with TRL comments from Ash
As if in some sort of bizarro, pop-music Crossfire, Carson Daly and Ryan Cabrera discuss the matter

Bonus Coverage:
Washington Post
New York Times
USA Today
Boston Herald
Washington Times

Related Info:
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Nexium: The Purple Pill
Nexium: Side Effects and Drug Interactions
Milli Vanilli
Andy Warhol
It's Not The Band I Hate, It's My Fans
Pausing momentarily from his round-the-clock coverage of G-Dub's every sin (to be honest, it is a 24/7 kind of job), Matt Good rages against his disciples - casting out ye moshers, stage-divers, drunken and stupid. To wit:

I suppose I could waste my time going on about it, as it’s something that’s been happening more than usual on this tour, but in the end it will only lead to me wonder why my work attracts such people and the inevitable dirty feeling that comes with that realization.

We've heard this before (see Cobain, Kurt among others). But the ensuing discussion of rights and freedoms in this complicated world is one for the ages. A sampling:

+Rights and freedoms do come with a price and it's not the price of admission. It's a price most often paid by defending the rights and freedoms of others.

+I personally happen to spend a lot of time thinking about the injustices of this world, and it gets awfully difficult sometimes. So sometimes, when I go to a concert, I go because I want to unwind.

+I love the fact that everyone is so pissed about a few crowd surfers and almost nobody ended up checking out any ceasefire info or cared too much about the fact that he was talking seriously about something important like Amnesty and sending a message to the Canadian and American governments.

+I know when I put a Matthew Good song on I do a little head banging and some thrashing around. Because I am listening to the feeling and knowledge that you express in your music and words. And I feel like I am expressing them back to you. Now for me this is an easy and effective way to “get closer to you” expression is expression, and no one wanted to hurt anyone at that concert they just were feeling good, thanks to your efforts and great music.

+I am sorry to say that it is an idiotic practice however you choose to justify it. The one inescapable fact about crowd surfing and moshing is that you are imposing your will on other people who may or may not want to participate in your actions... If you were eating dinner with your sweetheart at a nice restaurant, and Matt Good came up to your table and kicked you in the head, I am sure you would be pretty pissed off.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Innocence Lost: Ashlee's Vocal Cord Malfunction
(Reflux Redux)

Ah Ha! It wasn't the drummer. Well, alright, it probably was. But, more specifically, it was the throat eroding acid reflux! Thankfully, Wayne Newton's doctor has been called in to make sure she can perform at tonight's Radio City Music Awards.

This is officially the greatest thing ever.
Innocence Lost: Ashlee's Vocal Cord Malfunction
(Day Two)

The media vultures circle closer.

Salon: Exposed as the concocted rocker chick we already knew she was.
NY Post: 'She told us it was only back-up'
NY Daily News: A lip-syncing laughingstock
MSNBC: A glimpse behind the curtain

And now we await tonight.

Update I... 2:50:14pm EST...
Ashleegate gets its own blog (spotted via Chromewaves). And there it's reported that MTV is making like Dan Rather with this report. Scandal!
Sit. Rotate.
Canadians "strongly dislike" G-Dub. And international pop music star Alanis Morissette's got something to say about it. To wit:

"I believe that our politics represents the tangible expression of our spiritual beliefs. Our level of consciousness is revealed by everything we do: how we approach our relationships and day-to-day interactions, whom we vote for, the kinds of political structures we create. Which makes today's heightened political passion so heartening, for which we have George Bush and the divisive past election (not to mention the 2000 Florida escapades) to thank. Apathy is passé, and voting and political savvy have suddenly become hip. Not a moment too soon, I say, given the planet's environmental and political challenges."
Love That Dirty Water
Items that, as far as we can tell, have nothing to do with Ashlee Simpson:

Catholic University of America student hearts the Constantines
Mysterious Canadian named "Wiseman" charms Shanghai
K-Tel Records ventues into the cross-border drug trade, bad stuff happens
Simple Plan "pioneer groundbreaking new music technology"
The Scrawler goes all misty-eyed for the God music
And the Zoologist's lost songs
Ashlee In Crisis, The Children Are Our Future
Selected message subject titles posted at Ashlee Simpson's website.

I hope her esaphogus burns to a crisp from acid reflux!
Die Ashlee Scumbag
I Hope You Cry!
I Hope You Don't Fuck Like You Dance
You Guys Are So Mean
She Is Nsync With The Lipsinc!
God People Its Not A Big Deal!i!i!i!i!i!i!
Your Lame

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Ashlee In Crisis, The Explanation?
PopDirt uncovers "the scoop" as reported by a fansite (which has, of course, now crashed). To wit:

"Alright here is the scoop on what happened. Ashlee's voice has yet again been acting up. Her performance about 3-4 weeks ago on TRL was canceled when she couldn’t sing. The same thing happened here. She had been singing all day during the sound check and then complained to her voice coach that her throat hurt. Well, he told her to give it a try that they would run the actual vocals off the CD like planned only they would play them a little louder then planned. So Ashlee got out there and started sing to 'Pieces of Me' for about the first 15-45 seconds. If you noticed that there is a muffled sound in the beginning of the song and all of a sudden it went clear. Well, the director and Ashlee's voice coach decided that this was going to damage her voice because she was trying to hard and she has to perform on Monday, so they turned off the mics and turned the amps up. Ashlee was then going to actually sing 'Autobiography' the same way they had planned to sing 'Pieces' in the beginning but the drummer gave the sound guy the wrong cue. When he hits his sticks together or gives them a beat to start with before they start the song that is so they know when to start and what to play. Well he gave the wrong cue and the band played the right song but the sound guy didn’t. So after realizing that he had messed up the band quickly started to play 'Pieces' again and the sound guy quickly turned off 'Pieces' and turned on Ashlee’s mic so that she could sing the song. But once again the voice coach said no. So they cranked up the amps and drum mics and let them play while Ashlee was walked off stage not knowing that her mic was on at one point in time so she could sing..."

Phew. That clears everything up.

Update... 8:26pm EST...
This explanation also pops up on Metafilter, while the Fametracker folks discuss it and several other conspiracy theories.

Update II... 1:04am EST...
Anonymous tipsters at Stereogum lay blame on the drummer. And the fact that Ashlee can't sing. More importantly: Beth McCarthy-Miller, the SNL director, who was at the helm last night, was also in charge of last year's Super Bowl halftime show. But it doesn't end there! McCarthy-Miller was also a member of the Halliburton board of directors at the same time as one Richard B. Cheney! (Alright, we made that last part up, but still...)
Ashlee In Crisis, The Day After
Her record label blames a "computer glitch." The Daily News goes on the attack. And the whole thing becomes a Hamster Dance for the 21st Century (Awesomeness!).

Update, via Defamer... The Benny Hill Remix Video (which apparently originated here)

Bonus snark:
Optimus Crime
The Modern Age
Life Is Killing Me
Amy's Robot
Angry Country
Hitched To Everything
Fight The Real Enemy
Oh Ashlee. Lip-syncing? We thought you were better than that. We really did.

College Humour has the video. Stereogum has the screen shot that says it all, plus chatter (with other video links).

Post-game snark here, here and here.

SNL fan reaction here. Ashlee fan reaction here.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Weekend Reading
Payola Redux
EMI acknowledges investigation
Stocks fall
Additional reports from The Guardian, Newsday, The Independent and The Hollywood Reporter
Alexis Petridis listens to too many records; ponders the state of music
Why don't Brits do good at the hip-hop?
Fatman Scoop schools the UK hip-hoppers
Estelle: Britain's brightest hip-hop hope?
Band Aid II: What are they thinking?
Band Aid I: What are they doing now?
Charity Singles: Never Changed The World
Steve Earle: Radical to the extreme
Kings of Leon: Liv Tyler loves them more than Spacehog
Abram Wilson: Jazz Warrior
We all used to like The Kills (didn't we?)
Scotland still loves Franz Ferdinand
Tom Waits shows himself
Who the hell does Minnie Driver think she is?
Travis: After the fall
The woman who has recorded 54 albums
Le Tigre: Fun, with a point
J. Geils: Just a regular guy, no big deal
Lil' Scrappy in a lil' bit of trouble
Jarvis Cocker to compose music for Harry Potter film
Sexual stereotypes pervade music teaching
Britney quits the reefer for the children
Jacob Hoggard goes back to the band
Johnny Rotten v. Jaws

Friday, October 22, 2004

"Bush is definitely not my homie"
Eminem not only bests his first single (meta-crappy or not), but offers some insightful political analysis of G-Dub in this excerpt from an upcoming Rolling Stone interview. To wit:

I think he started a mess. America is the best country there is, the best country to live in. But he’s f**kin’ that up and could run our country into the ground. He jumped the gun, and he f**ked up so bad he doesn’t know what to do right now. He’s in a tailspin, running around like a dog chasing its tail. And we got young people over there dyin’, kids in their teens, early twenties that should have futures ahead of them. And for what? It seems like a Vietnam 2. Bin Laden attacked us and we attacked Saddam. We ain’t heard from Saddam for ten years, but we go attack Saddam. Explain why that is. Give us some answers.

(Can anyone with t-shirt-making connections print us up a round of "Bush is definitely not my homie" t's?)

This report says there were excerpts posted on the RS website, but we can't find them at the moment (Ed. Here it is). Sample lyrics noted in that AP report from the track Mosh: "Let the president answer on higher anarchy/Strap him with an AK-47, let him go fight his own war/Let him impress daddy that way … No more blood for oil."

MTV adds: "They tell us 'no,' we say 'yeah/ They tell us 'stop,' we say 'go'/ Rebel with a rebel yell, raise hell, we gonna let him know/ Stomp, push, shove, mush, f--- Bush!/ Until they bring our troops home/ Come on."

(In unrelated Eminem news, one of his uncle's committed suicide.)
Streets Is Talking
Some bits and pieces without a box:

+Come for the hip-hop, sit through the college football
+K-OS is to 50 Cent as Pearl Jam is to Poison?
+Keshia Chante rules the Urban Music Awards
+The story of why there is music to be heard in the first place
When Words Fail
Three cheers to the BMG flack who broke new ground in the English language this week with the description of Kalan Porter's debut album as "rock-fringed."
How did we miss the Broken Social Scene/Stuart Berman exploding-car orgy scare? And what do you mean no one went to Mr. Sub?

Let's everybody chill the eff out and get back to the important stuff in life - like debating the relative merits of Barlow.

P.S. We like totally heard that Sarah Liss and Stars regularly get together to eat the smallest, cuddliest kittens they can find.
Fall Into The Gap
There's a fixin' goin' on. After a couple strawberry milkshakes, Best Of is better. While the professionally written word has a new home. There you will currently find interviews with Elvis Costello and Brian Wilson. As well as columns on the wonderful Pop Montreal and the weary new R.E.M. album.
Thank You For Your Letters
Sarah Slean both Smiles and Discovers Herself (at least for Star-Phoenix subscribers). And then she Talks.

From her newly revived blog:

Some are perplexed by "Day One"s sounds and attitude. I can only reply that I must "speak from my centre" to quote Mr. Cohen, and that is precisely what I did. Truth is my one interest. And last year, the truths I found almost destroyed me. We must be fierce in the struggle. Fierce and unrelenting...honest to the bloody bone...so bare it terrifies. Let the naysayers come. I'll go deeper.
RockCriticsDaily has been on fire lately.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Almost Crimes
Let me say, after the fact as it may be, that I knew someone would offer the "it's not like Canadian opinions matter to Americans/we're not important" argument.

Barlow has every right in the world to march his unknown self down to America and lecture them about their electoral system and how they should vote. Of course, that also means I have every right to say he's being a goof.

Indeed, as Carl notes, American politicians are quite fond of telling Canadians, and nearly everyone else for that matter, what is we should and shouldn't do. But, as I said, every time they do that, we get more than a little peeved and offended... "How dare they?" and so forth...

So, er, what's the difference? Well, America is the most powerful nation in the world, Bush is a right twat, they're always messing in everyone else's business... and if there's anything Canadians have proven adept at it's telling Americans what is they should and should not do. Fine. But please take a short drive to Ohio and explain that to some guy who's had more than enough of being told how he should and should not vote. Explain to him that since he can't be trusted to cast a reasonable and responsible vote, the rest of the world needs to be included. That since we don't like their leader very much (were we really this interested when Clinton was in charge?) - that we should somehow have a vote.

There's no denying American influence and power and the relative twatness of G-Dub. But spare me the Canada knows best speech. And, for that matter, if the argument is that Canadians should be heading down to Florida because of the importance of that electoral process, I surely hope Barlow & Co. will soon be packing their bags for Russia, China, Britain, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Saudia Arabia and every other nation who demonstrates global influence and/or severe electoral dysfunction.

P.S. Bono was great. But you'll remember that he consistently ducked attempts to make his appearance partisan - "I'm not here to elect Paul Martin or the Liberal party." Did the Liberals use him to their advantage anyway? Sure. Did he know this? Indeed. In fact, he openly admitted that he was being used. But he didn't care because he was more concerned with bringing attention to his AIDS cause. If Stephen Harper were elected and started pumping millions into AIDS relief, I'm sure he'd be glad to chum around with him too.
P.P.S. That we would be flattered if an American musician came here and knew enough about us to name drop Jack Layton or Paul Martin, probably isn't anything we should brag about.

Beating a dead horse... 6:23:22pm EST...
Oye. I'll clarify again that I've never said Barlow can't go down to Florida and whine till his little heart's content.

But it is an effort of arrogance and convenience.

There is no debating the United States' global influence (though I can't think of one way my privileged day-to-day existence has been changed over the last four years of Bush policy - let the lefty howling begin). But if this argument were really about the greater health of the human race we'd all be blogging about the oppressive conditions in Saudi Arabia or China or Iran or... We'd surely be more concerned with Russia and the European Union meant for the future of global power. And we'd be sending Barlow off to any number of crises to make sure everyone knew "this is how it seems from where I'm from." (And if this were really about global security we'd all be heading to Britain next - remember them?)

And let's watch the red herrings shall we. This has nothing to do with "our feeling of being naturally born as disenfranchised second-class American citizens." Or the U.S. not playing nice with the UN. Or nuclear war.

The objection to my objection is because we hate G-Dub. Fine. Can't say I blame ya. But putting that aside (hard as that may be), this is really about any musician marching off to another country to campaign for a candidate and "asking" (Barlow's word) a bunch of people to vote a certain way based on his apparently worldly point of view.

You're right. The same sort of thing wouldn't cause any controversy in, say, Britain. Because they'd laugh at the ridiculousness of it. Which was what I think we were doing before this became a debate over Canadian identity.

P.S... 8:17:44PM EST... Bono was initially brought up as a Gotcha! revelation to prove me foolish. So let me go back to him for what I dearly hope and pray I can make my last words on this before you all get bored and run away... Bono, as noted previously, knew there was a big difference between a rock star travelling around the world trying to raise awareness about AIDS or gay rights or the importance of flossing and a rock star going to another country and campaigning for a particular candidate, effectively telling someone how to vote.

P.P.S. Damn you Wilson! How did you get me all worked up like this? It's Friday... we should be sitting somewhere dark and messy getting drunk or fat or both.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Cos We Said So
I renew my objections to this sort of nonsense. If the American equivalent of Barlow (whatever that would be) showed up on our doorsteps tomorrow, as part of an explicitly political event, singing his support for the American equivalent of John Kerry (Paul Martin, I suppose), we'd all be suitably outraged and offended that some damn Yank would ever think of telling us what to do.

Be Matt Good. If you're so inclined. Playa hate from the sidelines (Sorry, didn't mean for that to rhyme). Otherwise, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Or whatever that guy says.

Anyway. The source of my exasperation...

For Immediate Release

TORONTO: October 21, 2004: Tom Barlow of Canadian rock outfit Barlow has been invited by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund to perform at a press conference in support of U.S. Presidential candidate John Kerry. The PPAF extended the invitation after hearing the band's politically charged, self-titled debut album.

The event will take place Saturday, October 23 in Broward County Florida - the region made famous by the disputed ballot count of the 2000 U.S. Federal election. Says Tom Barlow of the decision to hold the event in Broward, "I am excited to return to 'the scene of the crime' because of the county's now notorious, undemocratic electoral processes. As with the last American federal election, many believe that votes in Florida will determine who wins the White House. Florida has advance voting polls, so after the press conference people will be urged to participate in a mass voting."

Barlow will perform an acoustic version of his same-sex marriage support anthem, "Married By Elvis," and speak to the crowd. "Kerry has clearly articulated his belief that homosexuality is a fundamental element of a person's being," comments Barlow. "This stands in stark contrast to Bush's view that sexual orientation is a lifestyle choice"

The music of Barlow came to the attention of event organizers after Tom Barlow participated in protests during the recent Republican convention in New York City, NY.

Other vocal supporters of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund include Christina Aguilera, Cindy Crawford, Natalie Maines, Susan Sarandon and Thom Yorke.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Deep Purple Story
Billboard and Pitchfork are all over the new Broken Social Scene album. But the kids just want to talk about love triangles and why Kevin Drew is so sad.
The Tigers Have Spoken
Oh how Jon Stewart has angered the world. Or at least the Right half.

Drudge flashes back to recall what an idiot traitor he is. The Spectator froths at the mouth. Robert Novak gives him a dirty look.

Not that there's anything else to worry about.
Fire And Desire
Have REM lyrics always been this daft? Is Stipe for serious? Selected verses from Around The Sun:

We can't approach the Allies cause they seem a little peeved
and speak a language we don't understand
(I Wanted To Be Wrong)

I had to grab a suitcase
I had to change my clothes
I had to run the shower hot
until the water froze

I jump on a high speed train
I'll never look back again
I flail like the antelope
Who jumped from the building
(High Speed Train)

My book is called 'The Ascent of Man'
I marked your chapter with a catamaran
The accent's off,
But I am what I am
(The Ascent of Man)

Monday, October 18, 2004

'I'd like to thank the Internet'
The Arcade Fire take New York.

Stereogum says: "Electrifying!"
Ultragrrrl says: "A morbid carnival!"
Breaking Up The Makeout or Stay Out Of The Kitchen
Hot Hot Heat down a man.
Hush That Fuss
The NY Times picks up on the Rosa Parks story.
Everything In Three Parts
There is, of course, always more to be said. But some essential reading/watching for anyone wishing to better understand why the next three weeks are like woah.

Part I: G-Dub Puts His Faith In Faith
Part II: Frank Rich Rages Against The Dying Of Light
Part III: Jon Stewart v. Tucker Carlson

Epilogue: And So It Begins

Saturday, October 16, 2004

You There, In The Back
Everybody wants to talk about KRS-One's moment of clarity (and the obligatory "clarification"). But we're more interested in the ongoing case of Rosa Parks v. OutKast.

The big news round here this weekend (we're in Windsor) is that former Detroit mayor Dennis Archer has been appointed to review Parks' current legal representation - the second time in two years that such an independent attorney has been brought in to ensure Park's interests are protected. Parks, 91, is said to be suffering from dementia and there is speculation that her continued litigation against OutKast's song Rosa Parks is being driven by opportunistic lawyers (note that Big Boi and Andre have been dropped from the suit, but BMG, LaFace, Arista and, strangely, Barnes and Noble are still named).

Otherwise, the troubles continue for America's first hip-hop mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick.

Friday, October 15, 2004

You're Not Fooling Anyone
We suppose you could always have excused Celine Dion's unique use of the English language as merely the result of her Francophone upbringing. But after all this time in New York and Vegas... does that really fly any longer? Cos we're thinking she's just insane. French, yes. But equally insane.

Xzibit A: Simon Houpt's report from the unveiling of the new Apocalypse-tempting Celine Dion-Anne Geddes project.

In between Celine's tangents, Houpt crafts a reasonable story. But, for our frivolous and snarky purposes, here's Celine Unplugged. Feel free to print out and pin to your cubicle for daily inspiration.

"When you have one newborn in a room, it's so magical and so powerful. When you have 10, 20, it's just taking over all of us, it's so spiritual at the same time. I feel very blessed as a mother, as a human being, as a person, to have encountered so many newborns."

"My son is going to be starting first grade when I'm done in Las Vegas. This is what I want the most, is to drive my son to school. You know, traffic? I've never been through. I want to drive."

"It sounds ridiculous to people but believe me. I've had the luxury of having makeup artists and hairdressers and fabulous clothes and transportation and chauffeurs and limousines and private jets and, listen, everybody's asking me questions, I'm supposed to know everything? I've travelled the world, I haven't seen anything."

"The best moment in my whole life was my whole pregnancy. After Las Vegas we'll come back here, have the embryo back in, bring him to the sun." (She slapped her belly to indicate her womb, an echo of her famous chest-thumping move in the video for My Heart Will Go On.)

"If it takes because it wants to live, it's gonna happen. If not, at least I don't have my baby -- which is life, for me -- in a fridge, you know what I'm saying? It's incredible. I have to bring this baby from this iceberg and put it back to the sun."

Groan and Wail
Going goth isn't just silly and ridiculous anymore. It's now deadly. For serious.

All the same, we couldn't get past how endearing it was to see The Globe and Mail sticking up for the pasty and morose and explaining to its readers this "industrial" music the bondage-loving MBAs are listening to these days. To wit:

When the children of the dark gathered at Sanctuary on the weekend to writhe to postpunk music that is so hard and electronic it is called industrial, the topic of conversation was a missing couple...

There, typically dressed in black, some wearing bondage and fetish fashions, their hair dyed black with purple or blond streaks and wearing white makeup, they dance to contemporary industrial music shaped by seminal bands such as Bauhaus, The Cure and Screams for Tina...

The Goth scene emerged from the punk movement of the late 1970s and early 80s, Pete Scathe, an author and founder of a Goth club in England, has written. Bands such as UK Decay, the Banshees and Bauhaus set the tone.

People not only identified with their music, but began to copy and expand on the way the musicians dressed.

But, in relating to us a very serious story about mysterious deaths and in reassuring us that these goths are just like you and me, could you find some sort of goth expert to explain why he and his friends are so much better than those stupid people who listen to things like... say... hip-hop?

Vancouver DJ and promoter Isaac Terpstra said the contemporary Goth scene spans at least three generations and different socioeconomic groups. Mr. Terpstra, who does the music for Sanctuary, thinks Goth followers are better educated and more musically literate than adherents of hip-hop or punk, for example.

He said the group tends to include educated, rebellious sorts who love night life and dramatic costumes. "They're a little more courageous and well informed than the next person," Mr. Terpstra said.


Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Music To Debate
As promised, the lyrics to He Lied About Death from the Stars' new Set Yourself On Fire. If a nastier song has been sung about G-Dub - aside probably from some of the more senselessly vulgar - we haven't heard it. "Killers always have killers on their track?" If Eminem said that, he'd be held as an enemy combatant.

Anyway. Maybe Jada ain't as hard as it gets...

He Lied About Death

What gives you the right?
to fuck with our lives?
a devil born in paradise
a liar loves to lie
keep watching your back
killers always have killers on their track
keep watching the sky
’cause you might get lucky again
I hope your drunken daughters are gay!
you are the shadow of fear!
you scare the love out of here
like an ape in a cage
small white man in a rage
mellow suit, mellow smile
limousines down murder mile...
watch the devil’s at play!
drain the bottle empty
California today
tomorrow it’s you and me...
And One More Special Message To Go
La Feist returns. December 2 at the Phoenix in Toronto. December 3 and 4 at La Tulip in Montreal.
Easy To Open Package
Further to the budding Stars discussion below, you can listen to Set Yourself On Fire's first single, Ageless Beauty, here. Tour dates via the Arts & Crafts p.r. department:

Nov. 2 - ThunderBay, Apollo*
Nov. 3 - Winnipeg, Pyramid Cabaret*
Nov. 4 - Regina, The State*
Nov. 5 - Saskatoon, Amigos*
Nov. 6 - Calgary, Liberty Lounge*
Nov. 10 - Edmonton, Power Plant*
Nov. 12 - Vancouver, Commodore Ballroom+
Nov. 13 - Vancouver, Buffalo Room

* with Gentleman Reg
+ with Death Cab for Cutie
Someday Somebody's Going To Ask You
Can anybody verify that that was indeed a Hawksley Workman song serving as the soundtrack to the final moments of tonight's Scrubs?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

New Math
Warning: Reading this blog may result in negative feelings toward Sarah Slean's new round thingy.

Noted Pop (all love) enthusiasts Sarah and Tab do not particularly like Sarah Slean's Day One. We can't says we blames them.

Liss, despite some well-documented love for the Slean, says: "Too many cheesy alterna-guitar effects." While Tab thinks, "A classic case of too many fingers on the dials." (SHOT says otherwise - scroll down - but we're inclined to agree with the ladies, as we generally do.)

So we're letting the producers take the fall for this one? How bout the label? Who insisted on the Billy Talent guitarist again? Hmmm.

And is this but a loving reprimand? Or are we finally going to get down to the eating of our young? We're due don't ya think? Who amongst us is going to try and take down the new Stars album? (You'd be crazy and wrong though.)

Note I: The Toronto critics and cynics society did do same to Slean soulmate H. Workman last year when he went all shiny, didn't they?

Note II: There are posters for Set Yourself On Fire wrapped around lamp posts in our neighbourhood. Awesomeness. More on that later. Including an answer to the question: Have Stars made the most inflammatory rock song yet written about W? Early answer: Maybe.

Note III: Girls on film go inside the actor's studio.
Been very inconsistent with the blogging lately. Apologies. Need more bran. Been busy reading stuff on paper (they've still got that yo). Bob on Bob is as good as you've heard, which is to say way (waaaay) better than we expected.

Sorta like this story in the Metro Times. At least the first part. Then it all gets a bit lather-rinse-repeat. But till then - gold. Horrible and scary. But gold.

"On a sun-drenched mid-September morning, hundreds of friends and relatives of the slain, would-be rap mogul known as Wipeout fill the pews of the Community Christian Fellowship Church on Detroit’s East Side. Many of the mourners are dressed casually, in jeans, jerseys and white T-shirts, some of which bear Wipeout’s image. Others here are in suits.

Tension ripples through the house of worship. A shoot-out is feared.

Two Detroit police officers are in the church vestibule, one in a department-issue jumpsuit, one in cop shorts; their sidearms seem wildly incongruous here. Outside, there are at least four marked police cars stationed at corners near the church. Among the civilian cars are a number of foreign luxury vehicles and custom-painted SUVs, which gleam in the bright sunshine. They sit on wheels that hug sets of polished chrome rims.

Inside, mourners cry, often screaming through their tears. They crowd Wipeout’s gray metal casket, which is surrounded by floral arrangements that reflect his life: a floral Hummer, a floral record as well as more traditional funerary arrangements, including one with his photograph as an inset.

... Some leaf through Wipeout’s funeral program, which is designed in the style of a gaudy hip-hop fanzine.

The Please Believe It logo is included on the cover. So are previews of albums due to be released on the label. Two pages of ads promote past and upcoming rap albums..."

Friday, October 8, 2004

Say It Ain't So C.Lo
This can't possibly be real. But reportedly, Avril has gone peroxide blonde in hopes of scoring the title role in a movie about Courtney Love. And Courtney approves. Worse still, Avril says she wants to do it because Love is a "great mom." Mmmkay.
Belated Respects
Has anyone else posted these yet? Haven't seen them anywhere else, so here's the lyrics to Rodney Dangerfield's Grammy-winning Rappin' Rodney. The last verse could totally be something from an OK Computer b-side. Bit where he pleads for death kinda sad now.

Rest In Peace, kind sir.

Rappin' Rodney

I tell ya I'm alright now
But last week I was in rough shape
But I don't get a break with nuthin'

I played hide and seek when I was three
(no respect, no respect)
Why they couldn't even look for me
(no respect, no respect)
I was an ugly kid I never had fun
(no respect, no respect)
They put me through a dog show and I won!
(no respect, no respect)
When I was born I brought no joy
(no respect, no respect)
My old man said he wanted a boy
(no respect, no respect)
I was an ugly kid always alone
(no respect, no respect)
Halloween I had to trick or treat over the phone
(no respect, no respect)
Friends don't call
My phone don't ring
I don't get a break with anything!
(whatsamatta rodney?)
Ah death, where is my sting?!

It's just Rappin' Rodney
Ain't that your type
No, no
Rappin' Rodney
Get out of sight
It's just
Rappin' Rodney
Make no mistake
Or old
Rappin' Rodney
Can't get a break!

I'm getting old it's hard to face
(no respect, no respect)
Well during sex I lose my place
(no respect, no respect)
Steak and sex my favorite pair
(no respect, no respect)
I have 'em both the same way...very rare
(no respect, no respect)
I know I'm old I could go any minute
(no respect, no respect)
I got a kidney shaped pool with a stone in it
(no respect, no respect)
Doctor Vinnie Boombah that's another one
(no respect, no respect)
I said I wanted to stop aging he gave me a gun
(no respect, no respect)
I told him I got water on the knee
He gave me a sponge and raised his fee
(whatsamatter rodney?)
Ahhhh, It ain't easy bein' me


Ah, give me a break
Play somethin' from the forties

Now what kind of music is this?
And how 'bout stardust?

Hey what are you doin'?
That's not stardust!

Listen to this will ya?!
I mean where are the flutes?

What a band...
Hey, don't quit your day jobs!

Look at this!
The drummer carries the melody

Hey tell the bass player
I like his instrument

Hey boys, keep it goin'
Lay it on me
I'm in the groove!

Nothin' goes right I just can't fight it
(no respect, no respect)
Well Eastern Airlines thanked me for flying United
(no respect, no respect)
I got some money what did I do?
(no respect, no respect)
I bought some quicksand the deal fell through
(no respect, no respect)
My car broke down I called Triple A
(no respect, no respect)
They left the car and towed me away
(no respect, no respect)
I can't take it no more I'm getting too old
(no respect, no respect)
I called suicide prevention they put me on hold
(no respect, no respect)
Winter, Summer, Spring, and Fall
I'm always up against the wall
(whatsamatta rodney?)
Ahhh, I don't get no respect at all


It's getting worse
It's caving in
The happiness I can't take it no more
It's all over
Hey, where are my kids?
Somebody help me
Hey bartender!
Hey! Who's that guy with my daughter?
Where's my wallet?
How do I get out of here?
Stop that dancin'!
This Is Gonna Blow Up Real Good
Prince's album sales slip. Cue the famous-actress-as-Arabic-suicide-bomber video. To wit:

Featuring Keisha Castle-Hughes from the movie ``Whale Rider,'' the four-minute clip opens in a stylized urban schoolyard, rendered in pen-and-ink and stylized gray watercolors drawn by artist Greg Ruth. A group of teen girls reacts with horror to the whining roar of jet engines that fades into the opening notes of the song. When it becomes clear who's responsible for what we presume is a Sept. 11-style terrorist attack, classmates of Castle-Hughes' character torment her for her ethnicity, and she flees for home, only to find her parents covering over the Arabic script on the sign outside the family store. Someone has scrawled ``terrorist scum'' on one of the store's windows...

... Intercut with straightforward scenes of the singer and his band playing on a blasted, war-torn landscape, the video shows Castle-Hughes donning traditional dress and head scarf and videotaping what appears to be a statement of martyrdom. In the next scene, she's back in Western garb and arriving at the airport. Perhaps for emphasis, the camera lingers on the U.S. passport she shows to airport officials.

Then she's standing in the terminal with a detonator in her hand. She closes her eyes and presses down on the red button with both hands. The perspective shifts outdoors as flames rip through the glass-paneled front wall.

It's only for a moment, though, and then the scene reverses itself to the moment just before Castle-Hughes hits the button.

Click the link for bonus director's commentary. View video here or here. There's a lesson here kids. More about marketing than about prejudice. But an important lesson all the same.

Now, will anyone actually air this? Hmm. Probably not. Especially when there's a new Lindsay Lohan video to flog. (She just wants everyone to leave her alone, kay?)
Like Emerging From The Brink Of Certain Doom
Had forgotten just how unpleasant sickness is. Won't need reminding again for some time.

In The Globe today Alan Niester perfectly summed up Brian Wilson's Smile as "by turns profound, head-scratchingly weird, banal and heavenly." Exactly. For all the Loretta-Lynn-like acclaim Wilson's restored artifact is currently receiving, I can't believe that even the true believers can get through all without squirming, if even just a little at some of Smile's more ridiculous bits. Still, Niester loses me on the final sentence when he says "maybe it would have been better if it had remained the Holy Grail that was never unearthed."

Erm. Alright. It's not perfect, but it's tough to argue that for Wilson and his devotees alike this was all better left unsaid. Though I will probably always suspect that Wilson was pushed into it by his handlers (their motivations possibly pure and good, but maybe not), Smile is likely the album Wilson needed at this point, but personally and creatively (go ahead, listen to his last solo record - dare ya to get through that dreck). The results, on the whole, are really quite wonderful. The kind of record some of us probably need right now.

Which makes it just about the exact opposite of REM's Around The Sun. Yipes. Actually, Double Yipes. Have you ever heard a band sound so... so... tired? I don't even think it's that they've run out of ideas. I mean, most bands really only get by on a couple. They're really just doing what they've done any number of times before. But minus any degree of passion, conviction or... well... life. "As if the air had been sucked from the band's lungs," as The Guardian said.

But we're all a bit tired these days, no? There's a case to be made - and a column to be written probably - that REM have just made the quintessential album for life in the fall of 2004 (especially for those of us within earshot of this never-ending saga).

Just saying.

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

The Original Jam Sessions 2004
Back from Montreal with only a head cold to show for our efforts. Early to bed for the next few days. But maybe some Brian Wilson on Wednesday. Anyone else going?

Good to see Elton John continues his adventures in irrelevance.

Sad to see that all the bands that weren't in Montreal (and a couple that were), were in Toronto this weekend. Nice to read the words of others and pretend we were there.

PaperBag: here
Arcade Fire: here, here and here
Rilo Kiley: here, here and here
Magnolia Electric Co: here and here
In-Flight Safety: here

(We saw Magnolia after Howie Beck in Montreal. Kinda underwhelmed. Or just really apathetic.)

Did no one go see Franz? Are we over them? Or just not willing to fight our way in?

Now where did we put that Advil...

Monday, October 4, 2004

Postcard From Montreal Numero Cinq: Unclean! UNCLEAN!
Will this ink every come off our hands? And how much of this stuff is now in our blood stream? Anyway...

Played it quiet this evening. But a moment of appreciation for Howie Beck. We caught Mr. Beck not so long ago in Toronto with a full band and came away feeling what people think they mean when they say "nonplussed." This time, with just him on acoustic and a friend whose name escapes on electric, it was, how you say... ah yes... "magical." Helped that all the skinny white kids were feeling particularly winsome and decided to have a seat where there was only floor. It was like kindergarten storytime. Complete with stories about zombie girlfriends. A nice ending.

Other people with stuff to say:
Optimus Crime
Bee's Knees
Ben Rayner
Postcard From Montreal Numero Quatre(B): Strut
Last year we hit Missy Bar specifically to see the Fiery Furnances and came away thinking "What the fuck is the big deal?" That put us way ahead of the curve on still quiet "Fiery Furnaces: Are Shite" bandwagon. But made us a little worried about going back.

There are few more powerful calmer of fears than Apostle of Hustle though. So we packed ourselves in to what seemed to be a re-designed Missy, huddling together for warmth (later pressing ourselves against the window in search of sweet, sweet cold). Andrew Whiteman and his men were about an hour late and a little ragged once they got going, but still fuzzy and sunny and unimpeachable (no matter the definition of is). B. Rilliant. There were video games and a hidden, but surprisingly well-maintained, bathroom. And while waiting for access to said water closet, there were fun girls willing to join in rounds of "What the hell is he/she doing in there?" Don't even think of asking for more.

Other notes:
Hasidic hip-hop isn't nearly as supercool as we'd hoped.
Loft party bartenders deserve our gracious love and respect.
Beans has the best beard.
Lindy gives the best hugs.
His girlfriend has the best job (medical school patient simulator).

Sunday, October 3, 2004

Postcard From Montreal Numero Quatre(A): So wasted
We'll fill in the gaps later, but, for now, we supply the ingredients, you create your own stories at home:

Apostle of Hustle, A bowling Eiffel Tower, A lesbian dance party, k-os, Kool Keith, Beans, A loft, Several violations of the fire code, Jewish hip-hop, Nicotine, and The Hold Steady. Go.
Postcard From Montreal Numero Trois(B): And this one's about friends
Keane make indie rock for pregnant women (we had proof). Probably the only band ever that could conceivably open for either Celine Dion or Radiohead. With stages moves on loan from Jon Bon Jovi. So very precious. But the kids LOVE them. Throwing their hands in the air like they're watching Jesus. Or Jay-Z. Same difference.

Which is way better then anyone trying to pretend they really enjoy Mike Yonkers. Alright, he's interesting. And it's nice to see him happy and venturing outside his house, but still... there's a reason everyone took about five steps back (if not fifteen steps rights out the door) when he came on. Concert hall above a Mexican restaurant though? Awesomeness.

(Next few sentences must be read with marked rising intonation.) So then we went to the loft party. And Beans was there. And he was all chillin on a giant pillow. And Kool Keith was there. And we heard that one of the Unicorns spilt a drink on him. Crazy. (Now stop.)

Saturday, October 2, 2004

Postcard From Montreal Numero Trois(A): You're Fired
So tired. More later. Very quickly. We were just at a party that counted both Kool Keith and Beans as attendees, thereby making it the coolest gathering we've ever been part of. Awesome.

Keane quote of the night: "This is a song about having the courage to be yourself." (Swear to God that really happened)

Liss quote of the night: Either "I just so want to be not here" or "I just want to be so not here" or "I so just want to be not here" (We can't remember which one she actually said)

Tip of the night for partygoers: When the drugs make you go blind... STOP TAKING THE DRUGS.

Optimus? How'd you do?

Anybody else?

Friday, October 1, 2004

Postcard From Montreal Numero Deux: Debate this. Bitch.
(A note to those who are paid to read me and those who pay for such a, er, luxury: Much of what will appear here over the next few days, will likely be fine-tuned and filed for that old fashnioned thing newsprint. If you'd rather be surprised, look away. Go watch CNN or something.)

Remember smoking? Doesn't seem like anyone does that anymore. Something about civic bylaws. Something about cancer. But in Montreal, you can still both suck and blow. And when done right, as Montrealers do, this can be wonderfully sensual.

For that matter, remember sexy? Us neither. Seems years since indie rock - and don't get smug, pop, you haven't been much better - had anything to do with the fine art of seducation. Which is why it was so refreshing to see the girls with ponytails getting chills from Luke Doucet at Petit Campus this evening.

The Vancouver songwriter is the closest thing Canada has to an indie heart throb (Brendan Canning maybe a close second). Save for the guitar he looks tonight like he should be herding cattle or reading poetry to some farmer's daughter. Instead he's slaying alt.country tunes and — with a female sidekick who inspires hot flashes with a subtle twist of her hips — sexing up Tom Waits. Who knew a gathering of skinny white kids could feel like this.

Then there's The Cuts. Down the street at Cabaret, The Cuts are proving to be the least sexy of bands (and therefore the most sexy of bands?). Most troubling, they are playing 70s metal without any of the requiste humour. Five minutes of this and The Black Keys' arrival seems not so much eventual as necessary.

When they do appear, they do not disappoint — loud, hard and fast (adjectives that generally describe the best of live sound). Music made for Akron, a midwestern town that boasts the Pro Football Hall of Fame, The Black Keys turn the blues into bombs. Very sexy. Or at least the result of something that used to be such.


P.S. Also seen/heard, Cuff the Duke (impressive), the Sonny Best Band (terrible), and Peter Elkas' parents (cute).
P.P.S. Oh shit. Optimus was at the Doucet/Cuff/Elkas/Best show. If we'd known that we would have worn our "Ask Me About PopWherry" t-shirt. Maybe next time.
P.P.P.S. Where the fuck is Liss?

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