I have to wrap up this series, and I will let hometown heroes Freezepop represent the land not only of the bean, but also of the Cod. Among their attainments are their theme song for Philippe, a five-year-old ottter who likes Stereo Total, and lives in a comic strip called Achewood. Also, some of the members of Freezepop appear to be involved in this goodness. Check out the site. Listen, buy. Enjoy.
Again, nothing current comes to mind for Toronto, so a vet will have to come out of retirement. I do not have the resources or the inclination to do crazy "here is a white label Konk 12-inch I stole from Arthur Baker's sock drawer" stuff, but I will do what I can to celebrate the overlooked album cut. One of the calamities of shifts in media, LPs to CDs, CDs to whatever, is that even as the choices expand, the range narrows. If you are a middle aged music consumer, in the 70s, you owned Earth Wind & Fire LPs, bought their new stuff when it came out and it was good. Then you moved to the city, left your records to moulder in the garage, and bought a greatest hits cd or 2 when it came out. Now, you can just cherry pick a few of your favorites from EW&F on iTunes, along with all of your other favorite bands. With a one-hit wonder, the process is even more extreme, in that there are a host of bands that end up on Best of the 80's type compilations--Quick! Name two songs by Dexy's Midnight Runners--album tracks get lost, and never make it in to the shuffle. If you saw Go, and you did, go on and admit it, you remember "Steal My Sunshine," from Len. This song is also on a record called You Can't stop the Bum Rush, and I liked the song well enough to buy it, after a weekend of not being to escape it on the 401 in and out of an evening in Toronto. Canadian content. Lots to like: if you buy the soundtrack, or a greatest hits of the 90s comp, you do not get the guest appearances by Nikki Sixx and the Diabolical Biz Markie on the same record. This song has neither, but is charming in its own way. The album is compulsively eclectic, which is usually a recipe for commercial disaster, but they pull it of fairly well musically: I like to imagine them as the house band at the doomed hotel in the Comedians, trying to convince the Tontons Macoute that they are in fact specialists in all styles. They are practically giving it away on the internet, so why not add one to your next order from your preferred music retailer? You can hear Biz rhyme the following words: Tale, Gail, Nail, Yale, Scale, Ale, Jail, Stale, Grail, Fail, Female, Sail, Prevail, Dale, Bail, Mail. And they make fun of Kraftwerk. Len: "Man_of_the_Year "You Can't Stop the Bum Rush" Sony ,1999
I don't know of any tournament-eligible current acts in Chicago. My fault, not Chicago's. I do know that Big Black is in the DNA of a whole lot of stuff coming out of a lot of places. Most records seep into your consciousness, but I remember the first time I heard Big Black down to the moment: my punkass converse hightopped self wandered into Hubba Hubba, way back when it was still by the Plough and Stars. As I recall, it was less exclusively on the Helmut Newton tip back then, but still no place where a fifteen year-old kid had business. The proprietor, I think to scare me out of the store, dropped the needle on Kerosene. I listened, and asked "What is this"? Not who, what. It took until the appearance of Il Duce on a Homestead compilation for me not to be too scared to listen. Even though a lot of stuff after sounds like it, this record still manages to sound as if it belongs to some other culture--I can imagine the giant metal insects in Starship Troopers listening to this while they sit around and pick pieces of James Van Der Beek out of their teeth. My hetero lifemate of the late 90's was a man about town and told an excellent story about BB impressario Steve Albini mailing a memo to all Chicago live music venues to the effect that he was not to be accosted, asked for identification or cover fees at any local establishment. It must be nice to think you are king. I know that you own the complete Big Black discography on pristine vinyl, original labels and pressing, but wouldn't it me nice to have some Big Black in the changer of your minivan for when you have to take the kids to the rink at, like, 4am? I guarantee Kyle and Ashley will perk right up when they hear it. So buy the useful Big Black compilation Rich Man's Eight Track Tape. Big Black: "Kerosene" Rich Man's Eight Track Tape, (compilation) Touch & Go, 1992 Ps- If you find yourself in Chicago, attending the dedication of a statue of Steve Albini or something, and you get hungry, Blackbird is very nice, and far heartier and friendlier than you would imagine from a restaurant that Michael Jordan used to go to, and looks like an Helsinki airport lounge.
Certainly, LCD Soundsystem, and the DFA empire at large, have been getting no shortage of buzz receently, but one track from the very strong DFA #2 compilation that appears to be at least napped-upon is the J.O.Y.'s "Sunplus." If the Slits were to make a dance music reunion album, with Coco Rosie in the production booth, it might sound like this. (Instead, the Slits' Cut has been re-released: studies have shown that girls who own this record are 56% less likely to be poisoned by their culture. If you know any girls who do not own this record, buy it for them here. I'm getting one for my 2 1/2 year old godchild, just to be safe.) Anyway, "Sunplus" is one of those tracks that goes from being hard to listen to to hard to stop listening to. If you want to show your friends just how much
cooler you are than them, you could even buy the 12"vinyl. J.O.Y. "Sunplus" DFA Compilation #2, DFA, 2004
The best BBQ in the D is actually in Canada. But make no mistake: Detroit is to electronic music what Wittenberg is to the Reformation. I am still lacking the ability to rip LPs, so whatever Detroit stuff the Electrifying Mojo turned my cousin on to, and thus me, will have to wait. The Egyptian Lover will have to wait too. The Red Wings, however, have long flourished thanks to foreign players, and the D is a mecca of robots and outsourcing. Hockeytown heroes Meg and Jack White took a page from GM and Ford, and arranged for automaton maquiladores to cover their songs for a cover album called "Electrostripes: An Electro Tribute to the White Stripes." I know very little about any of these bands, though like many electro compilations, the acts seems to be slightly different iterations of a single producer. As a whole though, the concept works pretty well, and the record is probably worth owning for the dismay it will cause your sincere guitar friends.
Springtime without playoff hockey is like summer without swallows. While cinetrix and I go hang a lot of bad paper downstate, I'll be doling out musical tidbits from the founding cities of the NHL. Representing Montreal is (are?) Lesbians On Ecstasy, who, hard as it may be to credit, basically took Le Tigre's lunch money when they opened for them last month in Athens. The islands of Lesbos, and of Mount Royal, despite radically different climates, are similar in that their inhabitants are rarely accused of an excess of humor. True or not, LOE defy both Quebecois and Sapphic stereotypes with a vibe that is like a pervier and more synthetic Electric Six--imagine Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS, doing her hours of community service for P-FLAG by raising community awareness of leather-clad women hollering Sham 69-style terrace chants over relentless drum machines and you get the idea. There is an interview with Bernie Bankrupt, their frontwoman, here. Also, the asciiCam is totally boss--they had video of themselves coded into ascii, and projected onto themselves as they played. Everything you might want to know about LOE can be found at their home on the internet, including how to own your own personal copy of their debut. Lesbians on Ecstasy: "The_Pleasure_Principal"