Scene and Heard is all over local music news, concert announcements, record releases and festivals like a cheap rug. Contact email@example.com to send hot scoops and band gossip.
Pete Freckelton originally got into Bob Dylan out of desperation. “I was a Canadian child of the ‘80s,” says the Port Williams programmer. “What were my options? There was Madonna and Glass Tiger. I started getting into heavy metal—Ozzy Osbourne singing about addiction, Metallica singing about social injustice. I got into Dylan through metal because it seemed like he had something to say, too—and I’ve been a sucker for him ever since.”
Freckelton’s interest blossomed into dylanradio.com: a non-profit streaming webcast that plays interviews and music by or inspired by Dylan. The site has since attracted over 3,000 users, and Freckelton was taken aback. “I love Bob but I can’t imagine listening to nothing but Bob Dylan all the time,” he says. “I guess the coolest thing about Dylan is that he constantly re-arranges his own songs when he plays them live, and so you end up with a library that’s really vast. No two songs are alike.”
Currently the site is hosting the Dylanradio Battle of the Bands—a contest where bands all over the world are invited to submit their versions of Bob Dylan songs. Last year entries ran the gamut, and included submissions by two Japanese schoolgirls who called themselves The Duet and did a spirited a capella cover of “Stuck Inside Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again.” The winners—based on a voting system—were an Italian group called The Maggie’s Farm Southern Band. “They sounded like Bob Dylan if he had an Italian accent,” Freckelton says.
You can browse last year’s winners on the site and Freckelton encourages more Canadian entries: “We didn’t have many last year,” he says. (Deadline for submission is April 30th.)
Below, check out a video of Maggie's Farm Southern Band taking on "Leopard-Skin Pill-box Hat."
If you're still wounded that the White Stripes' documentary Under the Great White Lights was cancelled at this year's Atlantic Film Festival, there's more disappointing news (especially if you read the misleading Exclaim article that says there's an upcoming Halifax screening), unless you're heading to the ECMAs. The film is showing across the country over the next couple of weeks, but not in Halifax. The only east coast date is March 4 in Sydney, as part of the music awards weekend.
But hold onto your red cap: you can host Jack and Meg in your own home.
Celebrate White Stripes day on March 16 (also the date their new box set comes out), by ordering a screening package, which includes a copy of the DVD, popcorn and peppermint swirl candy. If you have a projector and a largish room, sign in and order here.
I think we all knew this was coming—-Jersey Shore's Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino will soon be making an "appearance" in Halifax. A mere $25 will get you into Pacifico's "White Party" on May 6—-and $85 dollars will get you into the "VIP" Capitol Room, where the man himself—-no doubt tanned, buzzed and resplendent—-will be IN. THE. SAME. ROOM with "your own private DJ." Sounds like a sexy situation! (Check out the Ticketpro link here.)
Now, listen—-I watched the shit out of Jersey Shore this past winter. And I loved it. I loved it the same way I love A & W Teen Burgers: Both are quick. Both are tasty. Both are kind of sticky. Both are very satisfying diversions. True, it may leave you feeling dirty and disgusting afterwards, but the feeling passes through your system shortly and ten minutes later, you find yourself thinking "I need another delicious oily burger/episode" and your hands start shaking.
But will I be shelling out $25/$85 to be in the same bar as the man who once mused, "Shave last minute, haircut the day-of, maybe some tanning and the gym. These are rules to live by"? No. And it's not because I think it's stupid or a rip-off (although it is important to note that for $25, I could purchase approximately fifteen Teen Burgers.)
No. The reason is very simple. No Snooki, no dice.
Evidence in video form below:
Is it just me or is Riot Grrl making a weird comeback? For those of us, male or female, who still jump around to Fontanelle and All Hands on the Bad One, I supposed it never really left. And here and there, there's bands like Gossip, who are full-on famous now but haven't forgotten their roots as dirt-poor punk zine-makers in Arkansas and later in Olympia, WA. On the flip side of things, I'm sure there are many who would be happy to see riot grrl, its women and "womyn" stay buried in the annals of history until the end of time. And fair enough—I'm not sure any of us were quite prepared.
( In high school, my brother once peered up at a photo of Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna wedged in my mirror frame, silently taking in the leopard-print bathing suit, crusty pink lipstick, "INCEST" scrawled angrily across the breastbones and black hair bristling in the armpits, looked at me, and said quietly, "She looks like she wants to punch me in the penis.")
Anyway, recent stories have popped up in various media that suggest people are getting pretty nostalgic for these bygone days of fem-punk and politics. Last week in Slate's Double X column, two authors of recent books on punk and pop culture asked: Does the riot grrl ethos live on in the likes of Lady Gaga and the Spice Girls? Or is it a more singular phenomenon, rooted in a distinct time and place?
More directly, Bikini Kill has just set up an online archive where fans can send in show reviews, photos, testimonials and other memories to keep the long-defunct band's memory alive. Considering that about 85% of Bikini Kill fans I know are librarians anyway, the idea is appropriate; moreover, the archive is a fun, inspiring read.
A more polarizing figure from the era has also returned in a big way: Courtney Love graces the cover of SPIN's 25th anniversary issue this month, wreathed in flowers, collagen-lipped.
(Cue the commenter cries of protest: "Washed-up hag!" is one of the nicer ones.) Perez Hilton—whose Love-hate relationship has so far manifested itself through Twitter in-fighting and posting private notes from her Facebook—made a remarkably vacuous about-face earlier this week, praising Love's Hole comeback show in London.
(And, slightly off topic: Does anyone still remember the story of Love brawling with Hanna at Lollapalooza 1995? Am I—and are they—seriously that old? Oh, these rose-hued memories!)
Hanna's considerable shadow exists in more local realms as well. You've already read Sue Carter Flinn's post about Hanna's donations of Bikini Kill zine memorabilia to the NYU library. THe post also linked to Bitch magazine's evaluation of Halifax's modern-day electro-grrl Jenocide in light of Hanna's brainy dance stance in the immortal Le Tigre.
Meanwhile, those multilingual dance-fuckers in ECT (and lead singer Lindsay Allain in particular) have earned comparisons to Hanna in this paper and elsewhere, and they continue to play gigs and bolster a nicely growing scene of women in punk and rock bands (example: this Friday's (Feb 26) show at Gus' with Meat Curtains.)
Either way—and looong story short—we're pleased that all of this is being reported, discussed and supported by scenes both at home and far away—RIGHT NOW. The history of "grrl" culture may be patchy and all of this could just be chalked up to a mass ill-advised nostalgia trip, but it's definitely a phase of teenage girldom that we never quite grew away from, and perhaps it's time to embrace it anew.
As the ECMAs loom, the newly created “Loud” category seems to be flourishing more than ever in its second year. You can get a taste of all six Loud nominees—Big Game Hunt, We, the Undersigned, Black Moor, Uncooperative Death, The Motorleague and Shelter with Thieves—as they embark on a brief four-city tour of the Maritimes as part of the Diminished Fifth Showcase, which will lurch its way to Gus' Pub this Thursday, February 25, at 10pm for $5.
“To our knowledge, it’s the first time outside the ECMAs that all the nominated bands in a category are playing together,” says the label’s founder, Josh Hogan. “For all the bands, it’s a huge opportunity.”
It’s also a huge opportunity for Hogan, as Diminished Fifth is also nominated for Record Company of the Year. The excitement at the show will no doubt be a mite palpable. Bring your riot helment.
In terms of a Canadian musical dream team, you can't get much better than Daniel, Fred and Julie. This self-titled album is the product of a collaboration between Julie Doiron, Fred Squire and Daniel Romano, whose interpretations of public-domain roots and folk songs (plus a few off-the-cuff originals) are simple and stirring and basically it's just totally fucking perfect. I have to throw objectivity to the wind here - it's my favorite album of the year so far.
That's why I am thrilled to learn that the trio will be embarking on a tour of Eastern Canada that includes Halifax. They'll be playing the North Street Church on April 9th, with The Constantines' Steve Lambke opening with his solo project, Baby Eagle. Stay tuned for ticket and price info and all that junk. In the meantime, I will attempt to maintain some semblance of composure.
Yes, it's true—-Mason is stepping down from his position as Executive Director of the Halifax Pop Explosion and is actively helping to look for a replacement. (You can check out the full job description here.) Although the Pop Explosion is but one aspect of Mason's 20-year-immersion in the Halifax music scene (he's been instrumental in nearly every music organization in this city, from CKDU to Music Nova Scotia to Ticketpro) it's tough to imagine it without his distinct touch—-equal parts business acumen and passion for music both at home and abroad, as well as a pretty serious pair of cojones. Mason has served as Director since 2001, and says he will continue to work on the festival's board. He is a busy dude but took some time out from his work teaching at NSCC to answer a few of our questions about his decision.
So why are you leaving the position now, specifically?
Waye: The festival is getting bigger, we are about 15 times larger than we were in 1993 in terms of bands, activities, and the size of the budget. We really need to have a full time staff person. We are starting to hit a point where we are missing opportunities because I just don’t have time to respond. I have this amazing day job at NSCC, so we need to find someone who can work at the festival full time, and make sure we continue to make all the partners and artists feel that we are doing our very best for them.
What's your new role on the Board going to be?
The Board decided to add me to their ranks, and the exact role will be determined next meeting, probably Chair or Vice Chair - Artistic Direction. I hold a lot of the vision and ideals of the festival in my head, and I want to be around to help the festival keep moving in that direction, and I want to make sure the new Executive Director is not just sitting there with the whole complex thing dumped on them, with no help and no context.
Do you think it will be hard to step back after all your years of involvement?
I have to admit I had a little panic attack when I pressed the “post” button on the website to put up the job posting! I have been involved with this thing since 1996, but it is time to try new things.
What will you miss most (and what won't you miss?)
I will not miss the worrying. The buck stops with you. The ED has to make sure there is enough money to pay everyone, and make sure that the money comes in faster than it goes out, which is getting harder to do as more and more sponsors want to pay after the event. Ultimately, you have to give all of the many staff and volunteers enough responsibility to put their mark on the event, to play from their strengths, but if it goes wrong, you are the boss, and you have to be responsible for it.
I will miss connecting local artists to international artists that they adore, and helping annually to celebrate all my friends and colleagues musical successes. I will still get to do this though, both at NSCC and as a supporter of the festival!
Fans of the Hand Drawn Dracula label can rejoice! On the heels of the awesome upcoming Postdata show, we've learned that Contrived will be coming this direction for a few Maritime dates. They're due in Halifax on Friday, March 12 at 10pm at the Paragon Theatre. Tickets are $10 in advance and $13 at the door, and you can get your hands on 'em through ticketpro.ca. They'll be joined by the always-lovely Heavy Meadows and the Total Camble Experience.
This is a little old news, but whatever: Billy Talent is coming here with Alexisonfire on April 15, playing the Cunard Centre. Initially there was some speculation that their tourmates Against Me! and the crazy awesome Cancer Bats were coming out for this leg too, but the Against Me! Myspace reveals that they seem to be playing everywhere on this tour except the Maritimes. Oh, you guys. Where did your love go? Anyway, fans can get tickets at sonicconcerts.ca.
“Enter the kingdom,” instructs the main page of Jeff Martin’s website. If you choose—or dare?!—- to cross the threshold, you will learn that the former Tea Party frontman has been keeping busy in recent years, moving to Australia, delving deeper into Eastern-inspired music with his solo project and forming a new band called The Armada. He will bring his tabla jams (and a few Tea Party covers, we hear) to the Carleton on March 15 and 16. Each show is $30 and starts at 9pm. We hope against hope that someone will ask for an acoustic rendition of “Temptation"—because it will be kind of funny. Have you seen that video recently? Jeff Martin wrestles a water snake!
As the Olympics kick into gear this week, Canadian musicians have already basked in promotional gold. Bryan Adams and Nelly Furtado lip-synched their way back into the public consciousness during the opening ceremonies last Friday. Meanwhile, a host of local favorites are scheduled to play on the other coast sometime during the Games.
Meanwhile, Halifax’s Fed Pennies have benefitted from the Games in another area entirely: video games. Their song “Buzzing in My Head” was recently chosen by Sega as part of the soundtrack for Vancouver 2010 — The Official Game of the Olympics. The song will join tunes by Mother Mother, Sum 41 and others as part of the game’s rotating soundtrack. Singer/guitarist Jake Smith is understandably pumped.
“It was cool playing a video game as your song is playing,” he says. “It’s a sports related game, with downhill skiing and that kind of stuff, so it was awesome. I wasn’t that awesome, though. I wiped out a bunch of times.”
The band is looking into other mediums, like television and film, and Smith says a few things are cooking behind the scenes. There are limits, though: “I’m not sure if we write the kind of songs they’d want on Grey’s Anatomy,” says Smith.
Vancouver 2010 has also been released for XBOX 360 and Playstation, and you can find it at your friendly neighbourhood EB Games.
Here's the trailer (with "Buzzing In My Head" playing in the background):
Yes yes, I think we can all agree that Metric are better at making music than they are at philanthropy. Thankfully, we will be seeing a lot more of the former when they come to play the Cunard Centre on April 14. They will be accompanied by the large-haired, Springsteeny and vehemently Hamiltonian Arkells. BAM.
Tickets are $32.50 in advance and $37.50 day of show (including tax) and go on sale this Saturday, Feb 20 at 10am. Tickets will be available at all Ticketpro outlets, including Greenlyph Computers (1078 Queen), Halifax Forum (2901 Windsor), United Bookstore (1669 Barrington), Video Difference (6086 Quinpool), Alderney Landing (2 Octerloney) and CD Heaven (118 Wyse Rd), by phone at 1-888-311-9090 and online at www.sonicconcerts.com. Major credit cards are accepted and service charges apply.
Um, HOLEY MOLEY. This ain't yer mam's canned karaoke neither. Nope, the All Wound Up version will feature a LIVE BAND made up of members of Myles Deck and the Fuzz, Cold Warps, Envision, the Fat
Stupids, The Hemingways and Die Brucke.
And here's the songs they'll have on "deck":
Straight Edge Revenge
Lights Out (!!!)
In Your Eyes
Too Drunk To Fuck (!!!)
53rd and 3rd
Today Your Love Tomorrow, The World
Urusla Finally Has Tits
California Uber Alles (!!!)
Punk Rock Girl
Beach Party Vietnam
The Things That Only Eats Hippies
I’m a Pretender
Yellin In My Ear
Waiting Room (!!!)
God Save the Queen
I Just Wanna Have Something to Do
Sonic Reducer (!!!!!!)
When I Come Around
I don’t Wanna Hear It
Um, yeah. A few winners in there, n'est-ce pas?
Tonight, Gus' Pub, 2605 Agricola, 10:30pm, 3 dollah, drink specials. Don't be a goober. JUST GO.
Hi. I'm Alison. I like hamburgers, cocktails, shouting and reading. I like music and I know you do, too. Let's be friends.
I will attempt the impossible and try filling Steph John's considerable shoes as she trots the globe.
Send show announcements, birth announcements, hate emails, mp3s and Fleetwood Mac bass tabs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally, here is a photo of my friend Joey and I dressed like old ladies.
Let’s not say goodbye, let’s just say so long. I’ve had a real blast writing this column, but much like the Littlest Hobo, I must keep moving on. The Scene and Heard torch is being passed on as I take off for a fun-filled time in Korea, and I’m feeling bittersweet about the whole thing. Thanks to all the musicians who deigned to answer my silly questions, all the readers who tolerated a pretty juvenile sense of humour, and my totally rad editor Sue Carter Flinn. As far as gigs go, this was a pretty sweet one. Thanks gang.
This is a really refreshing locally made commercial supporting the IWK, which uses real talent rather than someone's cousin who happens to own a keyboard. Song written by Jason MacIsaac and sung by, of course, Jenn Grant. Watch it here.
Grant performs next Friday at the Rebecca Cohn with the NS Symphony. Tickets are still available at artscentre.dal.ca
If you haven't heard Postdata, Paul Murphy's solo project with his brother Michael, go get yourself a copy and then a ticket for this show. Murphy is playing two dates, March 7-8, 8pm at the cozy Sonic Temple, along with Brian Borcherdt and Julie Fader. Tickets are $20adv/$25 day of show (though I'm guessing these will sell out), and go on sale this Saturday at 10am, at Ticketpro, 888-311-9090 and at sonicconcerts.com.