Sunday, February 27, 2005

17 Seconds Posted by Hello

Flanged Chords

November 1980. It's been raining for 8 days in a row. Steady gray rain. I'm listening to the Cure's '17 Seconds'. Well suited for a soggy Vancouver afternoon. One the other side of the tape is Joy Division's 'Closer'. I'm rolling a substantial joint and looking forward to the shift in time that will follow. I get so high that it seems like birds are flying through the room. Seagulls. I get up and put on P.I.L.'s 'Second Edition'. Perfect. Hours later I'm still sprawled on the bed, half asleep when the power goes out. Now I've got the lo-fi hiss of the rain to keep me company. Bliss.

Saturday, February 26, 2005


I'm f**kin' bored. Tired of thinking about the day to day shit that has to get done. You know what's really Punk Rock? Silence. Absolute silence. No TV, no stereo, no phone, just the pure tone of silence. Amen and good night.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Collage 2 Posted by Hello

Collage Posted by Hello

The Sound Posted by Hello

Wire 154 Posted by Hello

Iggy Posted by Hello

There is no love in this world anymore

How sad and pathetic are the countless cookie-cutter artists flooding the market these days? All the resources that go into manufacturing these generic doppelgangers could be used elsewhere I'm sure. What do we need, another Blink 182 clone band or cheap solar energy? I tell ya. I'm always hoping (and waiting) for at least a mini-revolution to happen in popular music. Sigh. There was a community television show in Vancouver during the late seventies that aired music videos by numerous indie/non-commercial/alternative artists. I can't remember who hosted the show, but it was funky fresh and I never missed it. It was my first exposure to music videos, a few years before MTV came along. I was inspired to hang out at the one or two Import Record stores in Vancouver and talk to the owners about the stuff that excited them. They loved the music that was flying under the Top 40 radar and I came to appreciate not only many new artists, but people who I'd missed early on in my musical youth. People like Captain Beefheart, John Cale, the Flamin' Groovies, the Stooges, Kraftwerk, Can, Amon Duul, Lee Scratch Perry, Robert Wyatt, Syd Barrett, Roxy Music and many others. The joy and exhilaration of discovery.
In my capacity as a Security Officer at the Robson Square Government building from 1978-79 I got to see a lot of obscure bands play at the small theater located in the bowels of the complex. Of course I stood out like a sore thumb in my crisp quasi-military uniform, but nobody cared. There wasn't the snobbery and elitism that crept into the local scene later on. One night Pere Ubu and John Otway were on the bill and I completely forgot about the lofty standards I was supposed to adhere to as a Security Officer and surreptisiously shared a joint with one avid fan and then realized that my radio was turned on. Whoops. It took a bit of creative story telling to convince the shift officer that I had been working (cough cough) undercover. Yes.
I actually chatted with David Thomas of Pere Ubu after the show, and funnily enough picked up the conversation with him 12 years later when they opened for the Pixies at the Commodore Ballroom. Excellent memory. Who's a name-dropper then? Until next time, peace.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Heart and Soul

Two words. New Wave. That said it all. 'What kind of music are you into?' 'Uh, New Wave' 'Wow, are you a punk rocker?' 'Ummm, no, but I like punk rock' 'Hmmm, OK, see ya later'
Lines were drawn. Territory was staked. Orientations were defined. In 1979 in the suburbs to listen to punk and new-wave was to place a large bulls-eye on your face. 'Hey fag, I hear you like that punk shit....what's up with that?' 'Hey, are you queer; punks are fags right?' So moving to the city, in this case the West End of Vancouver, was very liberating. There was a thriving underground scene that stretched across artistic boundaries. There were numerous shows, gigs, one off clubs, happenings and events. Sure it could become slightly elitist and smug, but there was always something fresh and interesting just around the corner or resting in someones record collection. Let's face it, there's always poseurs and trend-junkies, no matter where you are. The rejection of the mainstream is entirely predictable in artsy enclaves. The cutting edge slowly moves into the commercial realm and is absorbed (sometimes kicking and screaming) by the masses. Remember a few years ago when Volkswagen used music by Stereolab and Spiritualized to promote the new Beetle? That's what I'm talkin' about.
It's always refreshing to meet people who love music for what it is. There's less of a need to contextualize it or plug it into a genre with them. I've spent hours talking to people who name drop obscure artists and pull reams of trivia out of the air, but who never articulate what the music does for them. Very dry.
I still use the term alternative to describe the music that I and many of my friends listen to. It's an alternative to what MTV or FM radio plays. Are King Crimson or Prefuse 73 alternative because of a lack of airplay? In my little world they are. So is Russian folk music and abtract Hip-Hop. But that's just me.
I like the artists who are currently influenced by the scenes that were happening 25 years ago. Even though it doesn't take a crystal ball to see what's on the horizon, it's fun to see where new bands will take their shtick. And I mean that in a good way. Ciao.

Monday, February 21, 2005

What if?

I had a crush on a young woman who worked next door to me back in 1980. She was ultra cute, a punk rock pixie. I saw her at some of the shows my friends and I went to, but was always a bit shy about talking to her. Damn. One day she asked me if I was going to see the Young Marble Giants. They were on my stereo a lot, and I was thinking of seeing them, but knowing she was going to be there in a very small venue with her punkette friends and that I was going to be alone (my friends were only interested in loud fast bands like D.O.A. and the Avengers) unnerved me. I didn't go. How might things have turned out if I had and we had connected and well......what if? I bumped into her years later when I lived in North Vancouver and she was as cute as ever, but attached as well. Moral of story, swallow your fear occasionally and see what comes of it.
The Young Marble Giants are worth checking out, you might consider them chamber punk, very minimal and twee with delicate female vocals. Very much a sign of the diversity of the 'alternative' music of the post-punk era.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

We salute the ancestors

Here it is, a paean to the best and worst of 1969-1982

Trout Mask Replica Capt. Beefheart

Funhouse Iggy and the Stooges

Ziggy Stardust David Bowie

Loaded Velvet Underground

For Your Pleasure Roxy Music

Another Green World Brian Eno

The Idiot Iggy Pop

Transformer Lou Reed

New York Dolls New York Dolls

Siren Roxy Music

Trans Europe Express Kraftwerk

Low David Bowie

Lust for Life Iggy Pop

Ramones The Ramones

Horses Patti Smith

Talking Heads 77 Talking Heads

Never Mind the Bollocks Sex Pistols

Leave Home The Ramones

Plastic Letters Blondie

The Man Machine Kraftwerk

In the City The Jam

Moving Targets Penetration

Dub Housing Pere Ubu

The Upsetter Collection Lee Scratch Perry

See the Whirl Delta 5

Alles Ist Gut D.A.F.

Claro Que Si Yello

Wild Gift X

154 Wire

Dreamtime Tom Verlaine

Strange Man, Changed Man Bram Tchaikovsky

Singles Going Steady Buzzcocks

No More Heroes The Stranglers

My Aim is True Elvis Costello

The Clash The Clash

New Boots and Panties Ian Dury

Generation X Generation X

Heroes David Bowie

New Values Iggy Pop

More Songs about Buildings.. Talking Heads

The Boomtown Rats Boomtown Rats

The Scream Siouxie & the Banshees

Road to Ruin The Ramones

Underwater Moonlight The Soft Boys

Systems of Romance Ultravox

Second Hand Daylight Magazine

Black and White The Stranglers

Triumph of the Ignoroids D.O.A.

Parallel Lines Blondie

A Different Kind of Blues UK Subs

Pure Mania Vibrators

Give Em' Enough Rope The Clash

Exposure Robert Fripp

Power in the Darkness Tom Robinson Band

Original Sin Cowboys International

Look Sharp Joe Jackson

Gang of Four Gang of Four

Valley of the Dolls Generation X

Rocket to Russia Ramones

Are We not Men? Devo

High Energy Plan 999

Soldier Iggy Pop

Tonic for the Troops Boomtown Rats

Playing with a Different Sex The Au Pairs

The Very Dab Fingerprintz

Fear of Music Talking Heads

Three Imaginary Boys The Cure

Quiet Life Japan

Another Setting Durutti Column

IV The Stranglers

A Different Kind of Tension Buzzcocks

The Correct Use of Soap Magazine

Red Mecca Cabaret Voltaire

Degenerates The Passage

The Flying Lizards Flying Lizards

The B-52s B-52s

I just can't stop it English Beat

London Calling The Clash

Fine Art of Surfacing Boomtown Rats

All Mod Cons The Jam

Broken English Marianne Faithful

Public Image Ltd. PIL

Entertainment Gang of Four

Distinguishing Marks Fingerprintz

Sabotage/Live John Cale

17 Seconds The Cure

God Save the Queen Robert Fripp

Armed Forces Elvis Costello

Remain in Light Talking Heads

Highest Prize in Sports 999

Kings of the Wild Frontier Adam & the Ants

Setting Sons The Jam

Get Happy!! Elvis Costello

The League of Gentlemen Robert Fripp

Psychedelic Furs Psychedelic Furs

From the Lion’s Mouth The Sound

Second Edition PIL

Solid Gold Gang of Four

Lodger David Bowie

Specials The Specials

Wild Planet B-52s

Travelogue Human League

Wha' Happen English Beat

Peter Gabriel Peter Gabriel

Orchestral Maneuvers OMD

Kaleidoscope Siouxie and the Banshees

Los Angeles X

Waiting for a Miracle Comsat Angels

Fiction Tales Modern Eon

Life in the Bush of Ghosts David Byrne/Brian Eno

Taking Liberties Elvis Costello

Eat to the Beat Blondie

Doc at the Radar Station Capt. Beefheart

Fourth World Vol. I Jon Hassell/ Brian Eno

Crocodiles Echo and the Bunnymen

Black Market Clash The Clash

Scary Monsters David Bowie

The Plateau of Mirrors Harold Budd/Brian Eno

Sandinista The Clash

Beat Noir Fingerprintz

Nightmare City Alley Cats

Kiss me Deadly Gen X

Penthouse and Pavement Heaven 17

Fire of Love Gun Club

Masque Bahaus

See Jungle! See Jungle! Bow Wow Wow

Flowers of Romance PIL

Psychedelic Jungle The Cramps

All that's new is old again.

All the cool kids are into them. The post/post punk wave. Interpol, The Bloc Party, The Killers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Snow Patrol and a bunch more. Smells like the spirit of 1981. I love the new bands too. I love their individual homages to artists I used to embrace in my youth. The angular funk/punk powered politicos like Gang of Four and The Pop Group. Remember the Au Pairs? Section 25? Ah, it brings a salty tear to my eye. My art/punk world weary past is just that, but if Franz Ferdinand comes to town I'll be first in line. The new breed. Praise them. Skinny ties and all.

The Intro

The other day I found out that one of my beloved albums was being re-released on a local label. The 'Vancouver Complication', I had two copies of it back in 1979 and now I hear that a decent copy goes for around $150.00 Cdn. It's not the money I'm interested in, I'd just like to have it back in my collection. You see, around 1984 I became seduced by the bright shiny things we call Compact Discs. No clicks, no pops, no mess, no fuss. So like a lemming I crated up my hundreds of albums and traded them in at Zulu Records for a handful of CDs. Zulu only wanted less than half of my vinyl, the rest went into a freebie box. Now like a prodigal son I want to return to the days of album sleeves and tone-arms. The boxes of post-punk records that kept me company through my early twenties are long gone and to replace them would cost me a small fortune. Don't tell me to get off the pity pot and start grabbing my old school music off of the Web. I need the tactile experience of sliding the thin black platter out of it's jacket, placing it on the turntable and lovingly dropping the needle onto the groove. Heaven.