Thursday, March 31, 2011

Please Vote For Your Favourites

It's that time again in Montréal, where local paper The Mirror holds its annual poll to find out what makes people tick in different categories.

The link to vote is here. The rules are simple: one entry per contestant/email address, and a form must have 25 answered questions to count.

Here are a few suggestions/endorsements:

Montrealer closest to sainthood
Leonard Cohen, Sébastian Hell, Allan Lento
Montrealer closest to hell
Sébastian Hell
Most desirable man
Dave Lines
Most desirable woman
Elisha Cuthbert, Mitsou Gélinas, Jessica Paré
Best-dressed Montrealer
Allan Lento
Best Montreal weirdo
Sébastian Hell, Allan Lento, Simon Schreiber
Best musical act
Sébastian Hell/Blooze Konekshun, Loaded, The Lindbergh Line, Dead Messenger, Arcade Fire
(in that order)
Freakiest local act
Most pretentious local act
Rape Faction, Desert Owls
Heaviest local act
Priestess, Uncle Bad Touch, Sébastian Hell
Best country/folk act
Swift Years
Best jazz act
Desert Owls, Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Best singer/songwriter
Sébastian Hell, Simon Schreiber, Philémon Chante
Best busker
Desert Owls
Best local music label
Little Baby
Best local actor

Jay Baruschel, Claude Legault
Best local actress
Elisha Cuthbert, Jessica Paré
Best local filmmaker
Denys Arcand, Denis Villeneuve, Jason Reitman

It's free to vote, it's quick, and there are tons of prizes to be won just for participating.

Video Of The Week: Desert Owls

My legendary friend Allan Lento has found yet another new talent to spend his time honing: video director. You might recall that a year ago - almost to the day - my Video Of The Week was for Montréal indie rock band Desert Owls. This time around, the Owls and Lento have joined forces for their brand-spanking new video for the song God After Nine, a song that will satisfy your craving for Nirvana-type grunge better than a whole box set or Incesticide ever could.

In this song, singer Sebastian Freeman's passion shines through more clearly than on any other recording I've heard, and the rythm section of Luca Fantigrossi (bass) and Tomas Matthews (drums) is fast becoming one of the city's tightest and most dependable.

A year ago, these guys were GOOD, a show you had to see; nowadays, they're a show you can't afford to miss. It's a fine line, but they overstepped it with flair and balls. And they were ahead of the Foo Fighters in bringing back the ''band playing the song in a closed room'' video style, seeing as the Foos' record won't be out for another 2 weeks.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Times They Are A-Changing

Greece. Morocco. Egypt. Libya. Wisconsin. London.

People want change, they're tired of getting screwed
For once they get inspired by the shit that's on the news
Millions march in protest, progress on the move
The key to success is to not let go of the noose

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Video Of The Week: Wesley Willis

Rock over London, rock on Chicago!

The Mid-West's answer to Daniel Johnston, Wesley Willis is a diagnosed chronic schizophrenic whop wrote hundreds of simple, often repetitive songs, garnering a cult following through his awkward sense of humour and dark personality. He had a nasty habit of head-butting people he was fond of - something he alludes to in this video for the song Alanis Morrisette, which is during his 'celebrity' period, where he would basically ''sing'' about a single celebrity per song, in which the chorus was to be the celeb's name; usually, all these songs had the same beat and many interchangeable lyrics. More often than not, they'd end with Willis' signature phrase: ''Rock over London, rock on Chicago!''

The video sees Willis parodying most of Alanis' videos from the Jagged Little Pill era and employs a lookalike of the famed singer to make sure you understand who he's singing about.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Violence In Hockey, Chapter 176

A month ago, I wrote a post on violence in hockey. Since then, there was the Max Pacioretty incident, where Boston Bruins defender Zdeno Chara got suspended for a grand total of zero games for attempting to sever the head off the young Habs forward using a pole.

Some of my favourite reactions come from people such as Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, who said:
You don't like it, don't come to the games.

Which would make sense in a normal, capitalistic society. But the NHL is not that. At all. As a matter of fact, if for just one game, out of protest, the Bell Centre would only be half-full, the victims wouldn't be the Montréal Canadiens, one of the league's richest franchises; no, it'd be more likely to be Boudreau's Caps, who get about a third of the money they put on their payroll from Canadian NHL treams through revenue sharing, because the 6 Canadian teams make double what the rest of the league makes in revenue - despite two of the top-5 moneymakers being American - the New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings, of course.

So... biting the hand that feeds, Brucie?

Dusty, a.k.a. Klepto The Cat

There could be serious dough to be made with this kitty!

Read the full story (transcript) here.

Video Of The Week: Haircut 100

Hey - it's one of those weeks, where anything that can make you smile, giggle or just laugh out loud is more than welcome. So with that in mind, for this week's Video, I went back to the early 1980s - a bottomless pit of the cheesiest music - to find British New Wave band Haircut 100 and one of their ''hit songs'' from their first album, Pelican West. The song is Love Plus One.

In this video, you will witness an old guy who looks like he's trying to either capture King Kong or start himself a Jurassic Park, Tarzan, cannibals, a shy frontman (weird, since he left to band to pursue a solo career between their first record and its follow-up), the happiest drummer on the planet, and a bass player who proves white men can't dance.

As far as clichés about Africa go, this one scores on many, many fronts. Not many of you will be able to tolerate this all the way through - you have been forewarned.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Poutine Tuesdays

Discipline. It's what makes a man.

But once a week I indulge in the best meal not made with/from an animal on the planet, and today will be no different.


Except I think I'll go with pasta sauce rather than gravy, i.e. ''Italian poutine''. With extra fucking cheese. Like the Video Of The Week you're about to see posted.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Mourning Cartoons

Shit, man.  Been drinking since midnight, and it's 7 AM.

The worst part is finding no one to partake with me, no 19 year-old chicks, no retired drunken has-beens, just a motionless nothing.

I open my door and no one's outside on this Saturday morning. I'm thinking I'm about to become one of those pathetic no-life lowlifes, the clichés, those who never make it. But there is no making it, and those of us in the know... we know, man, we're aware. And it makes us drink more. Not just to forget, but also to expand on what we know, throw the beliefs upside-down and make them stand for something...

No one to hear the laughter... no waking hour... it gets lonely on the meadow of Knowing How Shit Gets Done. Where time stands still and no one is to be believed. Where the Law lays you still for 5 hours but the people around you make it become 12 or 24.

This is as unnatural a cycle as white boys playing reggae - it's as fake as a light bulb in the night, as the soothing touch of a nubile teenage College sophomore, as the promise of a new day.

It's times like these where the existence of a god of whatever allegiance seems implausible, it's when the good times not only will not roll but will not just walk fucking forward, when the clock is but meager nothingness, when Life tells you you should quit but your spirit, your heart, it fucking tells you there are miles still left to ponder, to mind yourself to bear forward...

Shit, man. They made these fucking beverages to get you to slow the fuck down, to annihilate your soul and stop you dead in your fucking tracks - but there are times when you keep soldiering on. You could take the fucking world on and fucking prevail, by a landslide, by whatever the fuck it is that roams in Charlie Sheen's fucking head, that makes you invincible, that makes the sunrise not end the night, that sends your body into immortality.

And I'm there, man.

But it gets fucking lonely on this mountain.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Women Who Rock: PJ Harvey

First up, Polly Jean Harvey.

Born on October 9th, 1969, this British dynamo has been an important voice in music since the early 1990s with the release of Dry (1992) and Rid Of Me (1993). But she really hit the big time in 1995 with To Bring You My Love and the smash single Down By The Water. It was then that the public realized she also had a habit of changing her musical and fashion styles with just about every release.

In 1996, she released Dance Hall At Louise Point with John Parrish, a critical success if not a commercial one, but the accolades continued with Is This Desire? (1998), the amazing Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea (2000) and Uh Huh Her (2004).

When famed radio presenter John Peel passed away, she released a compilation of her performances on his show as The Peel Sessions 1991-2004 in October of 2006 (including the rare song Naked Cousin from the soundtrack to The Crow: City Of Angels), before the release of her next album, White Chalk (2007).

2009 came along with another collaboration with John Parrish, A Woman A Man Walked By, and two weeks ago she released the terrific Let England Shake.

She is a major artist who releases high-quality stuff regularly, for which she is often recognized in awards ceremonies, as attested by her 3 Mercury Prize nominations (one win, in 2000), 5 Grammy nominations (unusual for a foreign artist), and was named the #1 female artist by Q Magazine in 2002.

On our side of the pond, Rolling Stone magazine named her 1992's Best New Artist and 1995's Artist Of The Year, in addition to naming two of her albums (Rid Of Me and To Bring You My Love) among the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time.

Women Who Rock: Introduction

My original idea was to take advantage of Women's Day and make up a list of ladies in music who kick some major ass. Unfortunately, the problem with that is I'll forget some, be disappointed in myself, and stop blogging forever. And new ones would keep coming up all the time.

Instead, I decided to make this a regular recurring segment.

Nearly half the acts I book for UnPop Montréal have at least one lady as a permanent member. The music I listen to the most often is made by women, although there are none in my 5 favourite acts of all time (Pearl Jam, Cream, The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, and Guns N' Roses).

I assume my contradictions fully.