Thursday, March 30, 2006


wtf? the podcast took a lot out of me last night., I guess.

or maybe not eating enough?

hopefully (maybe) NHS can cure these ails tonight.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

road stories III

today I've brought along my beaten-up pocket guide to help keep track of what happened when. it should straighten some things out.

so sadly, I missed the Beastie Boys speak (and later play a surprise show) on wednesday. also missed Neil Young's session with Jonathan Demme on thursday morning, which is, in a way, outrageous. there needs to be a new term for massive ground travel repurcussions, I dub thee 'car lag'.

Anyways went to a room in the Hilton on thursday afternoon for the Boompa Records showcase. thought it was going to be in some conference room. nope, just some hospitality suite with a bathtub full of cold beer. and a full PA. I've said for some time that I like the Hylozoists better in intimate confines, and it doesn't get much tighter than this:

after a quick dinner (and bumping into the bubbled Wayne Coyne) with some New York film guys in a crazy off-alley BBQ roadhouse bar, I checked in on what turned out to be the best act I saw in the festival, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

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Pan Bang Rock and Roll

For those clued in on Toronto's current so-called 'Bad Band' scene, They Shoot Horses provoke similar thoughts to one Dollarama, though Horses brings a Phd contrast to the Dollar's grade-school shenanigans-and there's nothing wrong with either. Horses are sort of the ultimate combination of something kind of weird, but really fun and engaging and interesting. I even got an awesome brown t-shirt out of it. yes to this.

Later San Francisco's Erase Errata brought it out like a tougher, more seasoned and shorter-haird Magneta Lane. Really talented.

Creepy Christian protestors got the party started on Sixth...

Somebody sign Jesus, already!

Their signs had fancy retration technology built in. The leader was REALLY spooky-like he would be played by Chris Cooper.

Gomez brought out the new material at Stubb's. Which like very much B&S, I appreciated seeing them for the first time ever, but didn't appreciate all the new stuff. Yes I'm a bit of an asshole this way. Or am I being reasonable?

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Gomez struts the new stuff

The night ended off being driven home in a genuine texas Chevy Surburban overloaded with 1.5 Canadian bands, a label rep, and me. You can't have fun like that back home.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

road stories II

Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, out for an evening stroll.

Things are getting progressively blurrier, but I'll construct as need be.

Wednesday night. I thought ahead it was maybe the best night, when looking at the schedule. The only thing that really disappointed was my body's drained state, which got to the point that I had to lay on a bench at the Blender Balcony bar during The Rumble Strips to regain some sense of leg feeling.

Earlier in the night, the New Pornographers impressed a sizable crowd at Stubb's-the largest venue at the festival, safe to say the bar (pictured below) is really cool. A large BBQ restaurant on Red River Ave., it opens up into a massive backyard open air amphitheatre for 2-3000 fans to take in shows. Tall boys of Lone Star beer can be had for 3 bucks, and a close-up vantage point only requiries sneaking along the far side of the yard, right up to the stage.

Stubb's sizeable confines. Excellent sound by the mix booth.

Belle and Sebastian followed the NP's, and I'm sad to say they disappointed me in playing so heavily off the new album, with only some fairly obscure b-sides covering older material (with the notable exception of Jonathan David). The fans were really cute though.

After this I caught my power nap at the Blender bar, and took in an amazing set from You Say Party! We Say Die! who burned through all of their material in 30 minutes, and were politely told by organizers to keep playing. I have to say I was really impressed by their fun intensity. I slipped out a side door, and headed home across the Bat Bridge to my resting place.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

road stories I

SO it takes approx 26 hours to drive from toronto to austin, texas, if you were wondering. the first stop on the way down was Windsor, which was so incredibly windy and filled with trucks (related?) that there was a intensely surreal feeling about the whole place. also maybe indicative that this trip was going to be one for the books, or something.

most american states look the same from US Interstates, though Michigan seemed particularly depressing. Illinois is a very tall state, but quiet outside of Chicago. It took a while to find the perfect balance between refueling, eating, and peeing but a balance was eventually found that kept the bright red grand am on the road as much as humanly possible.

things turned green in missouri, maybe halfway through. arkansas was downright balmy, and as I filled up the car late on the tuesday night in a t-shirt, some guy tried to sell flash-frozen steaks to me at the gas station. I loved arkansas' lushness, and the accents in this state are INTENSE. much more so than in texas and certainly moreso than the northern states. the people are very kind, but at points you think they can't be serious about their accents, but nope, that's how they were. had some weird caffeine overdose moments. stopped in the border town of texarkana on tuesday night (not far from arkadelphia, yes). wanted to explore this place more, but too dead. also: new Sopranos was on HBO.

the most intense driving was that wednesday through texas, Dallas specifically, as even at midday the traffic was heavy but very fast through the city. saw a pretty substantial freeway accident happen. it wasn't pretty, and the thought of more driving wasn't exactly pleasant for a while. texas also has what I dubbed 'shotgun' exits where you can bolt onto the freeway from not the usual interchanges, but small 100' merge lanes from all kinds of country roads. it was a little nuts.

Austin arrival around 1pm. it's warm. went straight to the convention center to take on the legendary registration lineups. ran into canadians instantly. it was actually pretty painless as they had doubled the amount of staff from last year. got the giant bag, went and checked in, and crashed. a full night of bands was to come.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


I was worried for awhile that this really wasn't a music-type blog anymore; things were just getting too personal or tangental. road and austin stories to follow. so here you go, reviews of 35 bands at SXSW in loosely chronological order, suckers:

golden dogs: the new york times was at this bbq and quite liked them. so the ol' Grey Lady ain't just about BSS no more.
pilate: the new album will be very pilate.
new pornographers: had a prime spot at Stubb's, the biggest bar in town. neko linep shockingly impressive.
belle and sebastian: shockingly average. could not have picked a more confrontational setlist. still fun though.
the rumble strips: rough UK rock. want to here more.
you say party! we say die!: one of the top showings all week. ran out of songs shortly before their alloted time ran up. really fun.
go! team: in-store at Waterloo. awful mix. only 3 songs, 1 new, 1 instrumental-why not let Ninja sleep in?
leeroy stagger: I understand the last name now, totally.
run chico run: I was behind a bathroom door for most of them, but they seemed alright. there was beer in the bathtub.
hylozoists: better in more intimate settings, and the hotel room show was therefore amazing.
they shoot horses, don't they?: best in festival. weird, smart continuous mix of madness. Dollarama with a Phd.
magnet: he's really cool, a far cry from the Comfort Zone, up on the 18th floor of a hotel. one of the stronger reps on the live looping bandwagon.
erase errata: a junior, butchier Sleater Kinney. watch out.
xiu xiu: sound problems were confounding and frustrating for all. quite disappointing.
dresden dolls: surprisingly powerful duo. made a great impression on sizeable Stubbs crowd.
gomez: like B&S, defied high expectations by playing all brand new material. some people are paying to see this, you know?
zutons: played a surprise gig early on friday. a little too loud, but a lot of fun as always.
princess superstar: Lame. a low-rent Peaches without a working projector. not an enfant terrible, just terrible.
boy least likely too: this year's Thrills. couldn't hold me longer than 20min., but interested in the album.
asobi seksu: if not for their frontwoman, what of them? not much.
subways: one hit bleh-ness.
metric: proceeded to kill. austin hasn't yet heard it's fashionable to dis these guys.
spinto band: lousy venue-all the gear had to be trudged through the crowd. lost in generity.
sharon jones and the dap kings: wasn't really in the mood by this point for such huge enthusiasm, but the band was hotter than anything. will see again here in TO.
neko case: brilliant, yes, but people have to GET OVER her.
ray davies: a slightly odd, interesting man. unlike Neil Young, still willing to get into the hits.
ghostface killah: defeated any low expectations soundly.
cadence weapon: worked smallish crowd fiercely. he should've gotten better.
lovely feathers: competing with louder band next door, dancy popness was okay.
roseanne cash: new album much-bantered, lots of material in her dad's death. effective.
pink mountaintops: fantastic until late-set psych jam. lose it and you'll have people saying Black Mountain who?
marty stuart: played in a church, all gospel. this made a night of contrasts. let band members shine, big time.
lady sovereign: played 25-minute set as a 40min set, (long intro, breaks, banter). amazing presence, weak beats. she seems lonely.
shout out out out out: will kill on the Gomez circuit.

Monday, March 13, 2006


TONIGHT: Windsor, Ontario

TOMORROW: Little Rock, Arkansas


see y'all in a bit

Saturday, March 11, 2006

taxes, texas

this weekend I HAVE to do my taxes, so that I can ultimately do this next week:

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

sweet things (in chronlogical order)


CMW Best In Show Cadence Weapon


Chapelle's Block Party - Because she wanted to make a little money on the side!



Friday, March 03, 2006


acts last night. busy.

spiral beach
the old soul
cuff the duke
femme generation
the adam brown
laura barrett
the ghost is dancing

pleasantest surprise: Norway's magnet

most industry snobs in attendance: ghost

Thursday, March 02, 2006


note: this photo is NOT from last night

Yes. She's got it. But that's sort of like saying Oasis is a popular band or something, as KT Tunstall is a triple-platinum superstar in the UK, and all.

So what is it that's she's got. Songs for one, I mean, when you bring people out to the show that have no idea who this person is, and they end up really enjoying and getting into the songs you know that this is someone different. There's also a lot of charisma, in a down-to-earth Scot charm sort of way. And she didn't care that the industry-heavy crowd assholically chatted right through her set(!)

The fine Fake Plastic Trees cover at the end didn't hurt either. People here are going to eat her up on this side of the ocean, too.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I guess I can talk now

more about the trip.

Lessons learned from ecma's I-III:

- the novelty of flying on prop planes quickly wears off, when you break into a cold sweat and have to focus ALL willpower on not puking all over the damn plane
- pubs, anywhere in the world, should NOT be allowed to close at or before 10pm, even on a sunday, ESPECIALLY during a major music festival. fuck!
- the trailer park boys are reknown for staying in character outside of the show, but I guess it's kinda tough when they have to do multiple takes of walking through the hotel lobby
- they are nonetheless bigger than Buddha, Jesus, and Vishnu combined, out there
- glass pop bottles are effing awesome, and fun to huck against buildings
- east coasters are intensely friendly to the point of jaded toronto suspicion
- that band Blues Hammer from Ghost World plays gigs at the Velvet Underground cheese blues bar in town, or at least a band just like them.

that's about it.