a skateboard kulture quarterly.
a skateboard kulturemagazine. quarterly. a skateboard
Being There. RICK McCRANK interviewed.
FineLine Technologies JN 84210 Index 3 80% 1.5 BWR PD V5.2 ISSUE
Magnus Hanson Pacific Northwest Bill Callahan Handsom Furs Matthew Brannon Jamel Shabazz Peru ...
FULLY FLARED - The First Lakai Video Coming Soon - Two Thousand and Seven.
ERIC KOSTON / MARC JOHNSON / MIKE CARROLL / GUY MARIANO / JEFF LENOCE / RICK HOWARD / CAIRO FOSTER / ROB WELSH / SCOTT JOHNSTON BRANDON BIEBEL / ANTHONY PAPPALARDO / JESUS FERNANDEZ / MIKE MO CAPALDI / ALEX OLSON / THE FRENCH CONNECTION / THE ROYAL FAMILY REPRESENTED IN CANADA BY : TED DEGROS / TRAVIS STENGER / CARL LABELLE / LEKS BARIS / WADE FYFE
[ o ] NICHOLAS
traveling through Color volume 5, issue #2 El Morro, Puerto Rico
ne simple message to portray - a single idea displayed, practiced and proven: travel. That is what skateboarding is all about, whether it’s the distance between yourself and a loved one, or your board and an obstacle. Sometimes you won’t even know your destination, only the sentiment that you have to move on. This is every time you step on your board, this is the feeling of skateboarding. To plan for nothing and prepare for anything to cross your path, you’ll tackle it with style and you’re confident of that. It’s the only thing you can be sure of.
We set out this issue to uncover as much as there is to reveal of the travel element of skateboarding. We began with the essentials (p.36) and made our way through the process. We started at the core of our theme, calling upon Magnus Hanson, a young amateur skateboarder on the brink of greatness. He travels to school five days a week, prompt on completing homework 8
vol.5 issue 2.
and always prepared for a pop-quiz. That’s essentially what his interview was. Talents like Magnus make my job easy, trying to pick out who to feature from issue to issue can be challenging, but when there’s somebody working as hard as Magnus, they’re bound to generate an abundance of documentation of it all. He’s a photographer’s dream come true. Always with new spots to skate and tools to make the old ones skatable again, the only vice to his repertoire might be the fact that he lives in the not so crispy city of Surrey, just outside Vancouver. Magnus only uses this to his advantage gaining inspiration from the locals around him, making do with his environment while keeping trips to Vancouver an exciting venture to make at least a few times a week. Although he may not know for sure the path he wants to take, he’s possesses a certainty unlike most kids his age and he didn’t have to learn the hard way to gain it either. There’s an eerie zeal about him that can’t fully be justified by his interview unless you can hear the assurance in his voice. Although he’s known more for his contest performances, he’s just released
a video part on Momentum Wheels, as well a couple indie video parts. This summer he embarks on the road with Real Skateboards and you can reference p54 to see why. Referencing all that lays between travel, and the skateboarder we covered music from Montreal (Handsome Furs p.68), Austin, Texas (Bill Callahan aka Smog p116), and Japan’s noise group Boredoms (p.96). Canada’s Carl Labelle and Marc April traveled to Peru to meet with fellow frogphotog, Felix Faucher, where they witnessed how rough things can really be for a skater. In addition to many more articles surrounding this idea, we covered the art of Matthew Brannon (p.98), as a travel interpretation, leaving out the only thing that doesn’t mean shit when traveling: Fashion. Traveling is about necessities (p.50) so on that topic, we needed a pro in this issue. And we went to the best, sending our photographer Dylan Doubt to Australia where he met with Rick McCrank to explore his favorite place to skate and travel, uncovering what it’s like “being there” (p.84).
If it’s true you must first be lost before you can truly find yourself, then the people in this issue put that theory to the test. Both featured skaters do not drink, nor do drugs. They seem to have found their path and are paving a new one for those who come after them. Color 5.2 is brought to you in its full grown form and we owe this to our readers who have always guided us as we’ve found out way. Please put your seats in their full upright position and place your tray-tables away. — sandro Buckle grison, upeditor and enjoy this issue.
Next issue (5.3) is another Special Edition installment from fourcorner publishing inc. that will focus on the culture surrounding skateboarding and the photography of skateboarders. Look out for this limited edition, custom format magazine on newsstands in just a couple months!
[ o ] DOUBT
[ o ] FAUCHER
[ o ] PATERSON
cover photoby dylan doubt
Cloudy skies are the norm in Lima. The cold water current that comes from the south and licks most of Peruâ€™s Pacific coast produce a fog all year round. This factor combines with the strong, equatorial sun into a very particular light. Marc April backside 270 kickflips on a hip in Limaâ€™s golden hour. (top) Dylan Thorstenson, frontside shove-it
Shoot First, Questions Later. an interview with Magnus Hanson
Crossing the Line.
A hypothetical interview with the 49th parallel 84
with Rick McCrank.
The Language of Success. Anxiety and excess in Matthew Brannon’s Try & Be Brateful.
Montreal’s Carl Labelle and Marc April travel south to Lima, Peru, seeking warm weather and new spots to skate. 116
Clearing the Air.
Bill Callahan lightens up, leaving Smog behind.
16 26 68 96
S.K.A.T.E. Jamel Shabazz Handsom Furs Boredoms
Home without Hart.
Calgary skaters seek shelter, skating the mansion of the ‘hit-man’ brett hart. departments. 8 intro, 10 contents, 14 contributors, 22 inspiration bound 30 product toss, 44 cmyk, 53 contest, 70 note, 118 fotofeature 134 trailer, 136 sound cheque, 138 over and out 11
Matthew Meadows staff writer Matt’s a Poli-Sci graduate with more wit than he knows what to do with. He gained his education in Vancouver after fleeing the cold winters of Ottawa, ON when he was seventeen. He fancied himself as a good skateboarder until he discovered how incredibly well he was at boozing and procrastinating. He has interviewed such skaters as Gailea Momolu, Corey Sheppard, and Chad Muska, for us in the past — each time ending in us firing him. Still, he conducted this issue’s Magnus Hanson interivew (page 54) and nobody has got hurt yet.
Mike Christie contributing writer This issue, not unlike any other, we call upon talented minds to bring forth the answers from skateboarding’s dark secrets. Sometimes a little later than maybe we should, so it’s a good thing Mike happen to be quite familiar with his subject, Rick McCrank (page 84). It was quite perfect actually. Of Mike’s many abilities, throat punching is his most admired. Sure he’s a first-rate musician, cook, skateboarder, friend, husband, writer, blah blah... But to actually square up and sock a sucker in the throat takes gumption.
SANDRO GRISON editor / creative director firstname.lastname@example.org
DYLAN DOUBT photo editor
CRAIG ROSVOLD advertising director
BEN TOUR illustratior
JENNIFER MACLEOD circulation
CHRIS BARIL web
SAELAN TWERDY music editor
STAFF WRITER matthew meadows
STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER gordon nicholas
RHIANON BADER copy editor
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS brian caissie nick scurich, alex connor, ethan levitas dave todon felix faucher, alana paterson, ian snow rich odam marc jeremi menezes, andrew norton j. down honey, david christian, scott pommier stephen wilde, dan zaslavsky, jeff landi eric anthony, caeser
Rhianon Bader copy editor Rhianon Bader bides her time as hired skaterat at antisocial skateshop and as a freelancer. She has been skateboarding for over ten years and travels extensively in search of good spots and good people. She is currently a Political Science student at UBC and holds a diploma in print journalism. Be it as it may, she’s the glue that binds this magazine every issue, for if it wasn’t for her we wouldn’t both be trying to make use of proper grammer or
felix faucher, devin morrison, michael christie bradley iles, brock thiessen, jay revelle mark e. rich, quinn omori, leah turner
CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS angel d’amico, lorin brown, roger allen jeff halliday, john antoski, brandon doty newstands: disticor.com | magamall.com
Publications mail agreement No. 40843627 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: fourcornerpublishinginc. 321 RAILWAY STREET, STUDIO 105, VANCOUVER, BC V6A 1A4 CANADA p.604 873 6699 f.604 873 6619
Lorin Brown guest typographer Lorin is a graphic design student at CalArts in Valencia, CA. When not gettin’ learned he spends his time in Wayne, PA listening to music while drawing on napkins, newspaper or any other rag that gets in his way. We happen to be that rag right now and we’re happy to display his work on this issue’s department titles. LORINBROWNONLINE.COM
DISCLAIMER: the views and opinions expressed here are not neccessarily shared by fourcorner publishing inc. or Color Magazine, but by the author credited. Color Magazine reserves the right to make mistakes and will do so on a bi-monthly cycle without liability. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form [print or electronic] without permission from the publisher. The publisher of Color Magazine is not responsible for errors or omissions printed and retains the right to edit all copy. The opinions expressed in the content of this magazine do not necessarily reflect the views of Color Magazine. Color Magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any advertising matter which may reflect negatively on the integrity of the magazine. Color welcomes submissions for Photo and Editorial content, but is not responsible for unsolicited material or liable for any lost and/or damaged material. Please provide a return envelope with postage with your submissions. Color Magazine is published by fourcorner publishing inc., printed four times yearly and distributed direct to retailers throughout Canada and to newstands by Disticor Distribution. Subscriptions can may be ordered individually or in bulk by retailers for resale. Subscribe: 6 issues for $39.99 in Canada, $59.99 CND in the United States, $89.99 CND for all other countries. Contact Color Magazine with any subscription inquiries or visit us online: www.colormagazine.ca
Printed in Canada
[ o ] CHRISTIAN
S.K.A.T.E. electronic arts gets a letter on the gaming industry.
[ o ] POMMIER
‘I’VE CHANGED THE FACE OF VIRTUAL SKATEBOARDING AND HOW PEOPLE THINK ABOUT VIDEO GAMEPLAY.’
wordsby sandro grison
“The game is so life-like you can actually tell I’m an asshole.” — Ryan Smith
at-kid skating’. It’s harsh, but if you ask most skateboarders if they play skateboarding video games you just might get a response like this. Not to say past games haven’t entertained and amused skaters, most admit they own a consol and typically they have the latest Tony Hawk game too. So why the sour attitude? Why do so many skaters spend more time playing games like Madden NFL 2007 or Grand Theft Auto?
pro. Not to disappoint, EA has acquired a long list of pros you can meet up with in the game such as Jason Dill who will challenge your skills on a manual pad, pumping you up and teaching you new tricks you might not have thought about otherwise. Mark Gonzales, P.J. Ladd, Chris Haslam, Ryan Smith, Mike Carroll, Rob Dyrdek/Big Black, and Terry Kennedy are just a fraction of the faces you can expect to see in the game.
It all started with the one rider who was unanimously selected as the face of the game and he’s acted as its main influence It is probably frustration. So many gamers from the get-go. Danny Way, who has done master skate games without understanding more for the advancement of skateboarding the maneuvers they’re doing. Fair enough— and possibly sports in general in the past 10 we don’t understand the complacencies of years than any other human, can now stand murder when we play role-playing games proudly and say—“I’ve changed the face of either. But there’s no reason to treat skatevirtual skateboarding and how people think boarding like a fictional practice or someabout video gameplay”. Features such as thing as serious as killing people. The Tiger Woods game first introduced the world to the using the ‘x’ button to lock in grinds or slides is something Black Box (EA’s development analog approach to executing a golf swing team for the game) made a point of eliminatwith skill-based controls. Electronic Arts’ skate trademark is the “Flickit”, a dual analog ing in this skateboard game. “There’s no ‘x’ button when you’re skateboarding” stated control system that mimics the positioning Jay Balmer, one of the skate game producers. of ones feet on a skateboard and lets you You have to first get to the ledge and have perform skill-based trick executions that capture the true feeling of that individual trick. the skills to ollie and aim yourself into the trick you wish to do. But it’s not only the act Whether you’re regular, or goofy foot skate of skateboarding that the skate development first learns about you — from the clothes team pride themselves on, and it shouldn’t you wear (search through an extensive be. Skateboarding is so much more than catalogue of products from almost every the act itself, and the guys at EA Black Box core skate brand), to how your skater feels would know. Balmer is best known for the and rides. Create yourself to a tee, or if you events he’s run in the past including Slam don’t skate you can create who you’d like to City Jam, as well as being a consultant for be. The significant difference in skate is that many skate parks in British Columbia and it’s you doing the tricks and not your favorite
beyond. Most of the crew has a long history of skateboarding. Namely, Jon West, former pro for Foundation Skateboards who consults for the game and directs the videos. Those who don’t skate have embraced the act of skateboarding far beyond anyone’s expectations. One of the guys who works on the game just started skating last year. “I think he skates more than I do now,” says Chris Parry, a producer on the game and director of CASA (Canadian Amateur Skateboard Association). The biggest difference in skate is the understanding you must have of the physics surrounding the sport itself. It’s a game skaters will thrive in compared to someone who doesn’t understand the mechanics of skateboarding. Although, let’s not get cocky, the game is set to educate and gamers will definitely ‘get the trick’ if they put some time into it. One member of the EA development team admitted, “I never truly understood what a ‘manual’ was.” He saw the name on past games and he played them religiously. He knew it got him more points, but to grasp the concept of its difficulty and value to any trick combo was inconceivable. And it didn’t really matter any way. This was only one idea put into the ‘black box’ with the development team at Electronic Arts that they’ve extinguished with grace. While learning the fundamentals are crucial to how much fun may have playing the game, after that it’s all up to you. You may choose to take the hero route, winning contests, getting photographed and gaining mainstream recognition on the game. Or you can go the antihero path building street cred by owning spots and dodging
security. The virtual culture of skateboarding is truly captured by the freeform structure of the game and sense of adventure attained by San Vanelona - the fully reactive city/ skate mecca created for the game where you can ride with pros, discover skate shops and own spots to make them yours like Mark Gonzales’ infamous Gonz Gap. While the game offers the culture of skateboarding within the game, it extends itself beyond by online gameplay. While online multiplayer modes can provide a good place to meet up with friends and session a ledge when it might be raining in the real world or you live miles apart from your friend… it doesn’t stop there. Imagine the potential of the virtual skater. Perhaps the skater who isn’t as concerned with points. Just as in the real world where we have pros who win gold medals, and others who work fulltime on their video parts. skate offers a whole new dimension by including video editing tools, such as the ability to pick your own soundtrack, and send clips instantly to your friends online. To what extent this feature will be utilized is unknown, but I’m smelling famous virtual skaters in the near future… the multitalented type who can make good trick choices, have smooth style and the ability to put together creative lines.
skate will be available later this year for PLAYSTATION 3 and Xbox 360. The game comes scored with music by such artists as Tommy Guerraro and promises not to give you a shiner or tear any ACLs.
Letâ€™s get physical with Jason Lee
ULYSSES: Departures, Journeys, & Returns The Artwork of Andrew Schoultz
PALMWINE & THE GRASS CUTTER
VITAMIN PH: New Perspectives in Photography
TJ Demos, Phaidon Press
Pyramids, dismantled trees, square elephants and visual tales of creaky, old wooden ships battling it out with volcanoes and the obese sea – this is what makes me stare at all the details warped up into these icons of great adventure. This monograph documents Mr. Schoultz’s complete body of work, and with only 3000 of these bad boys printed, get it while they are hot!
Dave Shubert, introduction by Dash Snow, Seems All of the photos were shot in one week in New York City by Dave Shubert who, according to the introduction by Dash Snow, “uses his eyes, his heart, and his hands to make epic pictures.” Ten books were made into a hardcover version, with a slipcase, dust jacket, custom print, signed and numbered. The print was handmade courtesy of Dave. SEEMSBOOKS.COM
This 300-plus page masterpiece brings the best in contemporary photography to light. Covering 120 photographers from 40 countries and packed with full colour glossy photographs, this truly is the best collection of contemporary photography, including favorites such as Tim Lee, and Ryan McGinley to name a couple. If you’re a lover of photography, this book needs to be in your collection, so go buy it. PHAIDON.COM
ZOETROPE: All-Story, Vol. 11 No. 1
YOKOLAND : As We Go Up We Go Down
Francis Ford Coppola, AZX Publications No, this is not a book about Yoko Ono and her tripped out life, close though. It is actually a monograph of two brilliant Francis Ford Coppola is insane. Maybe that goes without saying. He is a definitely a man with his hands in a lot of Norwegian designers, Aslak Gurholt Rønsen and Espen Friberg. This young duo, both 23, managed to kick me pots. A man with “fuck you” money, as my friend Ben would right in the o’l nutsack with this mesmorizing book. Being say. He has a line of pasta sauces, a winery, restaurants, and offers screenwriting workshops. His literary venture, influenced by Kim Hiorthøy and Mike Mills gives you an interesting starting point of where their work starts. Are you Zoetrope: All-Story, a quarterly magazine, was founded in into retro 1970s work and being attacked by 1000 pounds 1997 and has hosted such guest designers as Julian Schnaof bright colours and scribbles? Hell yeah! these guys are on bel, Mary Ellen Mark, Helmut Newton, Laurie Anderson, Jeff some next level type shit. Most artists don’t get monographs Koons, and David Byrne. The current issue is designed by Will Oldham, features fiction by Helen Simpson, Woody Allen, published, and if they do, then it is usually after they have been established – these little bastards were asked to do one Chris Adrian, and contains artwork by Shary Boyle, Lori D, by German publisher Die Gestalten Verlag, so you know this and Able Brown, among others. book kills. I almost didn’t review this book ‘cause it was so This is a periodical that is worth tracking down, if not for the good, I wanted to keep it all to my greedy-ass self. fiction or artwork, then for the Mark Jacobs ad that features DIE-GESTALTEN.DE champion photographer William Eggleston cuddling on a bed with Charlotte Rampling. What a man. ALL-STORY.COM 22
Jason McLean / Mark Delong, Nieves I am afraid that this review has to start off with my saying that this book does not live up to its cover. Or rather, one of its covers, as this is two books in one, and as a result (cleverly enough) it has two. The cover I initially mentioned is, I believe, by Mark. It depicts a man sipping Labatt Nordic through a straw, with a tiny golden gloved hand. Fucking brilliant! There is something in this image that speaks to me, though I am not sure that I can quite describe the feeling in words. Wait. Maybe I should take all that back. I have just had another flip through the book, and there are certainly some wonderful moments between those two covers. Jason and Mark are both proud fathers and they are doing a hell of a job of still putting out fine works of art on top of rearing their young.
COME ALIVE! The Spirited Art of Sister Corita
STRANGE DAYS INDEED Seth Fluker
PALMWINE & THE GRASS CUTTER Nick Neubuck, Seems This is a compilation of photos of life and people in Ghana, but the people aren’t the point of the book. The point is an SEEMSBOOKS.COM exploration of the unknown.
When I first peered through this book I thought it was a joke, there was a spread of a priest and a handful of nuns silkscreening posters, and at that moment all I could think of was that photo floating around the net of all the nuns holding shotguns… it was just a bit too surreal. Turns out I was wrong. Sister Corita Kent ran the art department at the Roman Catholic order of Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Los Angeles. For more than thirty five years, Sister Coritia screen-printed posters, borrowing ideas and techniques from advertisements, song lyrics and graffiti. These prints were phrases from the Bible, making her one of the most avant-garde pop artists from the 1960s. Artists such as Charles and Ray Eames, and Saul Bass were inspired by her work. After a good run of 30 years she left the order to devote all her time to making more work. I was blown away by that – I thought being a nun was devoting your life to Christ? Oh, whatever floats your boat, she was bad ass. Even if you are not religious you will find the posters top notch, and wonder how you ever lived without this book. FOURCORNERSBOOKS.CO.UK
I was always a bit jealous of Seth. His “available light only” philosophy of shooting skate photos lent itself well to a highly portable kit. He would actually be able to go skateboarding, the camera tucked away in a small manageable bag, available if needed, but less the… ahem, focus of the day’s outing. Seth’s love for the lord’s luminance clearly predates his years shooting skateboarding, and it appears that they have developed a comfortable relationship. This collection of photographs is a refreshing change from the world of art party snaps that is so hard to escape from these days. It is also nice to see that a simple back smith sits in perfectly with all that good light. SEEWHATEYESEE.COM
FRANK151: CHAPTER 26 Frank151 Media Group
TWO FACED: The Changing Face Of Portraiture Darren Firth (WIWP), Systems Design Limited Perhaps the title reflects the Jekyl & Hyde type diversity distilled in this innovate content. Two Faced exhibits a vast spectrum of contempary illustration and photography; showcasing portraits of famous people and public figures by some of the more established and evolving names in the world of art today. Such works as the watercolor pieces by Stina Persson, embark upon the free and infinite direction expressed by this new breed of young new artists. This book could spawn ideas to even those who might render themselves uninspirable... Such artists as Audrey Kawasaki, Kinsey, James Jean, Micheal Gillette , Karen Oxman, Ben Tour and Darren Firth (to name a few). make this an essential for the coffee table.
Not the most current issue, but a good issue at that. The fine people at FRANK151 under the direction of Frank Green, LOOK FORWARD TO THE PAST: WINTER 2007 bust this pocket sized book out four time a year which is just Randy Laybourne enough time between issues to study, then live out the things they write about. This issue focused on Portland and Seattle Zines have to be the purest of all that is published and Randy and reminded me that they aren’t so far away from VancouLaybourne, who might be better known as the Art Director for ver. I’ve taken two trips down there since receiving this issue, Transworld Skateboarding, is the man behind this biannual and others from Color have been down there too. You can book. He shoots photos wherever he goes and draws wher- always find Frank at GOODS in Seattle. And if you really want ever he stays. It’s a wonder where he finds the time to put to live by this book, you’d drive your Bio-Diesel van, filling these together. Winter 2007’s edition brings a new friend’s up with grease from dohnut shops along the way, cross section that hasn’t been seen in Laybourne’s past zines. This the bridge, when you get tired, stay in a run down motel, issue’s guest artists include Pete Taras, Dustin Koop, Jason wake up to some GG45 roasted Italian coffee, slap in a your Lee (not that one), Pam Gilmour, and a cover design by a sir-mixalot tape and hit the road again, only stopping for the four year old. With a controlled circulation by hand. You’re many outdoor skateparks and bowls along the way. Now going to have to email laybourne@lookforwardtothepast. toss out that oldschool shit and use that stupid tape/discman com to enquire about his next mix of photo, illustration and adapter to listen to Sub Pop’s Rogue Wave and thank the messages that should be out in the nest six months. lord you don’t have tuberculosis. But if you did you’d know where to go have a beer anyway. LOOKFORWARDTOTHEPAST.COM FRANK151.COM
‘seconds of my wordsby leah turner
photoscourtesty thrush holmes empire
illed as a “mini-retrospective,” Seconds of My Life at Toronto’s Thrush Holmes Empire presents a selection of work by Brooklyn-based photographer Jamel Shabazz. Representing a career that spans over thirty years, Seconds of My Life includes approximately two dozen photographs – indicative of Shabazz’s long-time commitment to documenting urban life, hip hop and street culture in New York City. A twenty-year veteran of the New York City Department of Correction, as well as an activist, philanthropist and youth mentor, Shabazz has
dedicated much of his life to working with inner city communities. Witnessing first-hand the effects of crack addiction and the AIDS crisis in his neighbourhood in the late 1980s, Shabazz’s seminal monograph A Time Before Crack documents hip hop’s last rites, several photographs from which are included in this exhibition, commemorating a time before, as Shabazz believes, crack destroyed an entire generation. Jamel Shabazz Make Art Not War 1/9 C print, 16 x 20,
Jamel Shabazz, Black Style 2/9 silver gelatin print, 16 x 20, date unknown
Seconds of My Life showcases what Shabazz does best: capturing the energy, attitude and fashion of the street. The woman in “Black Style” poses confidently atop a graffititagged trash bin, fiercely clad in a tight denim jumpsuit and sneakers. This photograph isn’t dated, but it has a definite throwback feel, which is actually the case in all of Shabazz’s photographs. Whether shot in recent years or back in the day, each induces an intense nostalgia for hip hop’s early years. “Bling” is from 2002, but from the vintage look of the gold chains and track jackets, these men could have been photographed twenty years earlier. “Two Worlds Apart” (1990s) illustrates 28
a harsher urban reality; the tangible gap between poverty and wealth. The closely cropped photograph contrasts a homeless woman’s outstretched legs with an oversized Gucci shopping bag, carried by a presumably indifferent passer-by. Shabazz’s work is all about bearing witness. By documenting the pride, freshness and style of hip hop before the time of crack, and after, in its nostalgic holdouts, Shabazz points to urban culture’s resilient constant. Style, no matter what the socio-economic conditions. The exhibition’s juxtaposition of glossy colour portraits and grittier,
more politically driven black and white photographs illustrates the tension between style and substance that underlies much work within this genre of photography. That is, the danger that even with a social conscience as strong as Shabazz’s, the point may be missed. Although at moments Shabazz’s social commentary threatens to lapse into fashion photography, his compelling message of positivity and strength never wanes, nor does his enduring commitment to speaking about the value of history and community. THRUSHHOLMESEMPIRE.COM
Do you think that one day we will sit back and reflect on the good ol’ days when you could express your frustration by focusing your skateboard? The time has come when skateboard manufacturers are going beyond the traditional methods in search of the elusive ultra-light, unbreakable, snappier, extra-awesome, superior product. Whether the answer lies in space age super materials, hyper-physical construction, or alternative natural fibres, the future looks bright…
ALMOST Rodney Mullen, Uber Experimental Constructed with an internal carbon fiber foam core, or deck within a deck, this board promises supernatural performance. But that’s only if you possess übernatural skill.
SANTA CRUZ PowerLyte This deck can help you dodge bullets, or at least deflect them. Made from 90% wood and 10% top-secret materials, it is 22% lighter when compared to conventional wood decks and claims that it flips quicker and lasts longer too.
HABITAT Panorama Looking far into the future, Habitat has constructed a board that uses the usual maple-ply, but also incorporates bamboo, a sustainable harvest wood. An ancient material mixed with a modern environmental ideology.
TOY MACHINE Harmony Moniker Fiberlam Who doesn’t love “high density thermal polyplys with an ultra fine homogenous commingled stranded filament”? The Fiberlam technology from Watson Laminates takes seven layer construction to a whole other universe.
faces n’ spaces. words and photosby dylan doubt
Let me begin by declaring my love for Portland. I have been a fan since my first visit, as a bleached out teenager traveling with my tolerant parents, who patiently drove me around to all the cool American skateshops. It is a beautiful city, a city of bridge, bricks, books and roses. Portland has become a hard city to drive through, hosting one of the rawest skateparks, arguably my favorite burrito, a damn good cup of coffee, the world’s best bookstore, and now, just a block away from that bookstore (and just upstairs from one of those delicious cups of coffee) is perhaps the most comfortable hotel that I have ever stayed in. One of the creative minds behind the Ace Hotel Portland is Alex Calderwood, an energetic force unto himself. He, alongside founding partner Wade Weigal, has successfully applied his business acumen and unique design vision to a range of ventures, the latest of which inhabits a historic building. The Ace Hotel Portland began it’s life in 1912, as the Clyde Hotel, and retains a lot of the style, character, and sturdiness of it’s former years. The coffee scented stairwells creak warmly with years of wear, there are water hoses in the hallways, and windows free of the usual restrictive blocks that limit you from leaning out for an elevated view. The original sinks and clawfoot tubs have been reconditioned, and the larger rooms have comfortable convertible sofas which are a pleasant change from the usual “hide-a-bed”. Heavy wool blankets, army surplus cabinets, recycled wood and metal all play a role in the hotel’s very utilitarian aesthetic. There are even some rooms equipped with turntables and crates of surprisingly good collections of vintage vinyl. Above the open lobby, on the 1 ½ floor, there is an inviting workspace stocked with simple satisfying office supplies, and a comfortable reading area. Leonard Cohen 34 34
Alex Calderwood (left) divides his time between his many buisness endeavours. He is the co founder of Ace Hotels, Rudy’s Barbershops and Neverstop Agency.
lyrics grace the wall, “and you know that she’s half crazy, but that’s why you want to be there…”. I guess, quoting “Chelsea Hotel would have been too literal, “you gave me head, on the unmade bed”. A short walk down the stairs reveals a Jorg & Olif bicycle, one of a fleet of classic loaners supplied by the hotel, a
large welcoming couch, and a large table, (magazines and newspapers strewn about, a bit of a lazy Sunday morning feel), a well stocked library, and a photo booth. All this set is to the delightful, un-escapable aroma that saturates the hotel from the Stumptown Coffee Roasters adjoining the hotel. Though the coffee is available for room service, I recommend the sleepy morning walk through the lobby.
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EMERICA, Monty RDS, Backpack SPITFIRE, Ransack ENJOI, Daypack CROWNFARMER, Hand Duffle MATIX, Gustonater VOLCOM, Bespoke OSIRIS, G-Bag STUSSY, Grit Camo Triad QUIKSILVER, Accomplice II OGIO, 9800 ES, Travel Bag
[ o ] STEPHEN WILDE
Hey Color, Where can I find that diner where you shot the fashion spread [in issue 5.2]? —Jesse, Fort Nelson, AB We shot that spread at the Templeton Diner (1087 Granville Street, Vancouver BC). It’s an authentic 30s spot that serves diner food with a twist. There are plenty of options for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, including veggie and vegan offerings too. They also have an extensive cocktail and wine list that has something to pair with every dish, from the Portabello Mushroom Burger to the 3 Cheese Organic Macaroni and the 8oz NY Strip Loin. Check out their entire menu online and post a comment on their blog.
LAKA! x INDEPENDENT
Our hearts and thoughts go out to the family and friends of the late Shane Cross. Lakai and Independent Trucks have partnered up to produce their first ever shoe collaboration. The limited edition Koston The 20 year old lost his life in Australia on March 6th, as a result of injuries Select/Independent Trucks model features Independent sustained in a motorcycle accident. He will be greatly missed by everyone in logos on the tongue, insole, side panels, and sole sidewells. the skate community and by all those who were lucky enough to have had When they say “limited edition”, they mean it. Get ‘em while the chance to know him. they’re hot.
DC/NEW ERA 20/94
The second installment in the DC/New Era 20/94 collection has arrived. This season features the DC Volcano shoe and New Era 59Fifty hat. Designed as a direct match to the 20/94 Volcano, the hat features custom, raised, baseball stitching embroidery on either side. To mix it up a bit, the Spring 07 20/94 set is being offered in 3 colour ways. The Life collection offers both a Gold/White or Black/ Silver option and the Skate collection presents an all black set. These won’t last long. The first installment of only 114 sets was launched in New York, London, and Tokyo. That limited number was the entire supply for those 3 regions of the world. 38
Originally to appear in Thrasher comics, Wrench Pilot found a home in Transworld Skateboarding Magazine, where 23 episodes ran between 1989 and 1991. The fact that during such a hyper critical street oriented time in skateboarding, a comic depicting a curb grinding, pool skating hero, “Lettuce Bee” could survive, is in itself a testament to Mel Bend’s coolness. The strip had a brief comeback in the first issue of the resurrected Skateboarder magazine in 2001, and recently in a series of Lakai shoes and apparel. the figure is, of course limited, so hustle.
COLOR x ALTAMONT x W.K.
“Andrew W.K. High Way Party Cruiser Tour” has officially come to an end. Every leg of this west coast tour was a huge success and fans couldn’t get enough. Whether it was at the open discussions or the parties, Andrew W.K. made us feel beautiful and party ‘til we puked. Check out our website to order your limited edition Color/Altamont tour tee designed by Fos, and photographed by O’dell. COLORMAGAZINE.CA/SHOP
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
OSIRIS, AWOL Brockman VANS, Plaid Classic Slip-On CIRCA, Bils DC, Volcano LE DVS, Kylie Sp ETNIES, Natalie EMERICA, Francis NIKE, Zoom Harbor LAKAI, Belmont
DARYL ANGEL 360 shove it [ o ] zaslavsky 44
RICK HOWARD 360 flip noseslide [ o ] landi
RUSS MILLIGAN switch flip nose manual [ o ] landi
SCOTT DECENZO frontside boardslide shove it [ o ] doubt
7 1 10 5
Pack light, but pack right. Just the essentials, but you can make a case for almost anything. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.
Pack sack…gym bag, by Adidas Portable library…cd/dvd wallet, by Volcom Time is of the essence…”Dobly” watch, by Vestal Cool feet… hemp sandals, by Satori Shelter from the storm…umbrella, by Enjoi Smooth riders… softcores, by Bones Fast bearings… abec 9s, by Momentum Iprotection… nano wallet, by És Hot hands… gloves, by krooked Solitaire… playing cards, by Shorty’s Cool insulate… Los Angeles Leisure Club coozie, by Crownfarmer Liquor cabinet… flask, by Antihero Tighten your kit... skate key by Element
14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26.
Sonic isolation… “the street” headphones, by WESC Purse strings… “Copenhagen wallet”, by Etnies Darkness… “Bosse” sleepmask, by WESC Beach ball… summer kit, by Bueno The next best thing to a shower… clean mismatched socks, by Emerica Identity protection… cloverdale glasses, by Spy Game box… PSP case, by Etnies Zip drive… “otis” perforated lap top case, by WESC Spot bible… Australian Skatepark Guide, by Pepper Publishing (especially helpful in Oceana) Card carrier… skins wallet, by Fresh Jive Fridge… pirate cooler, by Fourstar Crucial visuals… “underachievers”, by Dan Wolfe Headgear… MJ fedora, by Matix
SHOW US YOUR PACKAGE(ING). The Girl/Chocolate dvd box set
Packaging is everything these days. Presentation sells and we’re buyin’! So send your promo video/dvd for a chance to win a prize package from Girl Skateboards, including the Girl/Chocolate dvd box set. Judging is based on creativity, imagination and innovation of your package design, not your skateboarding abilities or editing skills (although it can’t hurt)... maybe you could be the next Girl/Chocolate team rider, and maybe not. Maybe you could work in the Art Dump... Certainly you can be a candidate to win this amazing prize pack. So be creative and remember. Good things come in bizarre packages. Mail entries to Color Magazine, 105-321 Railway St, Vancouver BC, V6A 1A4, Canada. All submissions become the property of Color Magazine and may be used as future print and online content. DEADLINE: JULY 1, 2007
QUESTIONS MAGNUS LATER: HANSON. portraitsby alana paterson
wordsby matthew meadows
Growing up is always hard. I think that is why they call it “Growing Pains”. As a teenager in suburbia you are constantly facing the pressures of friends, peers, teachers and parents. Most young adults become lemmings that follow one another off the proverbial cliff of drugs and partying and very few decide to opt for the road less traveled. That is unless you are Magnus Hanson. While most of his peer group are out testing their tolerance for booze and other substances, Magnus is out skating and taking care of business. A parent’s dream, a sponsor’s desire and skateboarding’s future. This is Magnus Hanson.
BACKSIDE 50-50 [ o ] pommier.
“FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD, I’M DUMB, BUT I FUCKING TRY SO HARD SO IT EVENS OUT. Color: So you grew up in Surrey but you were in the White Rock scene also? Yeah, definitely. I used to go there when I was a really little kid but I was way too intimidated by guys like Gary Robinson. He made fun of me once so I never went back. How did he make fun of you? I don’t know, I used to just get vibed there. There and Ladner park.
How long have you and the Decenzo’s been good friends? You seem to run a pretty tight clique. Like five years. I wouldn’t say tight clique but they are the only ones that skate around my house. Well, not the only ones, but it’s sick to have someone to go skate street and light up spots so close to your house, you know.
You guys are known for building spots all the time. A lot of the stuff I’ve seen of you is you fixing a rail or bringing a sleeve or You were pretty young then right? box somewhere. What drives you to fix Yeah, I was about twelve or thirteen. spots up instead of skating somewhere Did that influence you a lot as a kid, having else? A lot of spots in Surrey, you need to cut the to try harder to impress the older guys? kink off a handrail or make it a bit better, but I didn’t really skate there much after that. I you might as well because it’s close to your used to think that if you weren’t good and you went to a skate park you would get beat house and it’s going to be that much better up. That was my impression of skateboarding when you do it so it’s worth it. at the time. I used to just skate my box and Do you have skate friends and outside my flat bar out front of my house and we skated Cloverdale Skate Park because it was friends, or are they all in the same? a bit smaller. But now I love White Rock park. I don’t just skate with filmers and photographers. But the two kids I film with It’s so fun. are my friends so I do hang out with them when we’re not skateboarding. We hang out Who was your biggest influence from the with all the kids from our local skate park Ladner/Tsawassen scene growing up? I used to really, really, really like Mike Hastie. and I always bring them skating and stuff so it’s sick. It’s sick to have your friends there, I used to wear my hat backwards just like him and stuff. Do nollie crooks… I’ve told him they mellow out the session so it’s not strictly that. He gets weirded out kinda… well, I don’t business and we go to sick spots. know if he gets weirded out, but it would be rad if he was stoked. I guess Ryan Smith was Two years ago you competed in Slam City Jam [Vancouver]. That must have been my biggest influence in my skating. When the first RDS video came out I was so stoked pretty ominous. You were fifteen and skating against the world’s top pros. on Ryan Smith. I never saw him around, Well, Slam City has mellowed out quite a bit, but I was stoked because he was Canadian but it was so much more sick to see Haslam and killing it and wore flannels and stuff. It’s and Sasha Daley. It’s not as intimidating rad that he’s sober and going to kill it again because he’s so good, you know. I was kinda as you might think. My most intimidating competition that I entered was my first bummed when you didn’t see coverage of him for a bit. But then I heard he was in rehab Tampa Am, ‘cause it is like the most crowded skate park you have ever been to but every and going to start skating – I mean, I’m not kid is good. And everyone is so good at going to say he didn’t skate, but it’s sick tranny. I did not skate any tranny at the time, we’re going to see another video part from it was obviously a very humbling experience. him in the Mystery video, I’m so stoked. 56
FRONTSIDE NOSEGRIND [ o ] doubt.
show. CROOKED GRIND [ o ] cassie.
SWITCH FLIP [ o ] doubt.
“I’VE NEVER BEEN SEVENTEEN A TIME BEFORE THIS. THIS IS MY FIRST TIME BEING SEVENTEEN.” How does all the traveling work with your schooling? It doesn’t really affect it too much. You can take a week or two weeks off normally. I’m also in this program now that gives me a spare block to catch up. It’s for kids that miss a lot of school for sports, ‘cause my school is a jock school kind of. Well, maybe they’re just really into their sports. There are a lot of skaters that stopped going to high school to purse a career in skating. What do you think about that? There are so many of those guys. I thought about doing home school. But that would just make you so antisocial. It might just make you weird almost. But it would be sick to just go skate whenever you wanted, but when
winter rolled around then you would just be like “uh...” I guess you might go to California then. I don’t know, school’s cool, I’m down for that.
Do you still have family there? Uh. I’m not sure. I am sure I do, I have never met them though.
Do you find school to be pretty easy in general? Oh no, not at all, I have to work so hard. I try so hard in school, I probably try the hardest out of anyone in all my classes. For lack of a better word, I’m dumb, but I fucking try so hard so it evens out. An ‘A’ for effort but I get probably a ‘C+’ and an ‘N’, you know.
Do you own a pair of wooden clogs yourself? No, no wooden clogs.
If you could go to any country in the world where would you go? I would like to go to Denmark just to go there ‘cause I have never been there before.
So, you mean you don’t live in a windmill? No, that would be sick though. I live in an area where you could live in a windmill. Lets get back to skateboarding. When did you start skating? When I was eleven, I think. What were you doing before that? Like mountain biking and break dancing.
What do you really do as a kid in the suburbs? Most kids your age are out partying and experimenting with drugs and getting into trouble. Yeah, but that’s what you’re meant to do when you’re seventeen, probably. I imagine anyway – I’ve never been seventeen a time before this. This is my first time being seventeen... You are always riding really old stuff. Being sponsored, don’t you like to ride new stuff? Well, if I am used to something then I really don’t want to change it. Sometimes if I have a really beat pair of shoes I would be like, “I don’t want to take these off before I film this trick”. magnushanson.
“EVERYTHING ESCALATES IF YOU WANT THINGS TO.”
show. STEEP FEEBLE GRIND [ o ] doubt.
[ o ] cassie. HALF CAB KICKFLIP .runningfooter
Sur-Del area and they were so fucking good and now they’re all just either doing coke, selling coke or just being so lame, you know, just not doing anything. I used to skate with these guys every day and then I don’t know when it happened. I guess they started drinking and then smoking weed and then… everything escalates if you want things to. Do you feel like you have to play that older guy role now that you’ve grown into an established local skater? Yeah, sometimes, because I know living in Surrey you have to be motivated. I try to bring the younger kids skating when at all possible. Because it’s sick, you get hyped on them. They get better, then you get stoked. Is there anyone in particular that brought you under their wing? Yeah, Machnau does that for me, still now. He does so much for me. And Ryan Decenzo and Scooter… like whenever an American photographer’s in town he makes an effort and used to have to arrange a ride for us and stuff. It’s sick because then you get a photo and it gets in an American magazine and it helps you out so much.
LIPSLIDE [ o ] cassie.
Your intro in the Momentum video was you just waking up, grabbing your deck and going skating. Is that a pretty typical day for you? A typical weekend, for sure.
that I need to be worrying about.
You went to Spain last year and you’ve been down to California twice now. Is there anything that stood out to you that you might not have expected? So you normally don’t wake up hung over? Yeah, cops. They’re gnarly there. We were Why don’t you drink? staying at Mike Stanfield’s house and he I did on New Years. I just normally don’t lives in this town called Torrance. And the because it’s going to ruin my next day. cops were like “You guys got to be careful because we shoot first and ask questions So it’s not a health or moral issue for you? later”. I couldn’t believe he said that, but I don’t really care. I eat a lot of fast food so Torrance is right by Compton so that might it’s not like I am trying to be super healthy. I be why. am seventeen so that is not really something Spain can get pretty crazy, was there any 62
moments when you thought stuff was getting a little out of hand? No, not really. Things will only get as out of control as you want them to be. It’s you that puts yourself in those situations. So I just steer clear of stuff like that. Do you ever shake your head and wonder how people get so sidetracked sometimes? No, because I know how it happens, you know, you go to parties and you just get more into it. I don’t really wonder how it happens because I know how it happens. There’s three skaters who come from the
Do you see yourself fulfilling that role down the road? Yeah, I try to bring my friends skating when there’s a photographer and be like, “Hey man, you should do something here man, it would be sick if you could get a photo”. But a lot of times kids are scared when there’s a photographer around, which I don’t really see the point. It’s just a homey. How about girls in your life, anything going on in that sector? I have a girlfriend. I’ve had a girlfriend for like six months now. It’s pretty awesome. Where did you guys meet? There’s this pita place by the ND Skate park and she used to work there. Well, she just quit two weeks ago. And I used to always go there. And then I would go there not even to eat pitas but just to talk to her. Like, “Yeah, I could use a pita” but really I just wanted to talk to her. And it started to suck because I ate so many unnecessary pitas that I started hating them and I used to be so stoked on them.
“THINGS WILL ONLY GET AS OUT OF CONTROL AS YOU WANT THEM TO BE.” BACKSIDE NOSEGRIND 180 [ o ] doubt.
NOLLIE BACKSIDE HEELFLIP [ o ] nick scurich
“WHAT DO YOU REALLY DO AS A KID IN THE SUBURBS?”
Is there anything else in particular you wanted to cover? No, that pretty much sums up my life right there. Skateboarding, my girlfriend and school. But it’s not like skateboarding is the same as saying my friends, you know. It’s not skateboarding and friends. It’s Skateboarding with friends.
17 STAIR LIPSLIDE [ o ] alex connor.
“WITH WOLF PARADE WE’VE BEEN PLAYING TOGETHER FOR SO LONG IT’S GETTING REALLY DEMOCRATIC… THIS IS MUCH MORE SOLITARY.” 68
A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES the handsome furs explore the angst of dislocation. wordsby quinn omori illustrationby angel d’amico
rom age twelve until I was about sixteen, I used to spend July and August in Prince Rupert working with my dad, a commercial fisherman. Moving up to northern British Columbia for a couple months out of every year isn’t exactly what you would call a rural upbringing, but if I gleaned anything from the kids that I met during those summer months, it was that a lot of them couldn’t wait to get away to the big city. Dan Boeckner – one half of The Handsome Furs and member of Wolf Parade – wasn’t one of those kids that I established seasonal friendships with, but in at least one way he was just like them. “I left home at 17 and I moved to Vancouver and I lived with a bunch of friends,” he recalls. “It was just so great to be out of this rural shit hole that I was living in. At the time that’s what I felt like, because there wasn’t much going on in Cowichan Lake,” explains Boeckner, who spent his formative years in the Vancouver Island logging town before moving to the mainland. That small town angst pops up throughout Plague Park, the Handsome Furs’ debut, showing itself on songs like “Sing! Captain,” “Handsome Furs Hate This City,” and “Dead+Rural.” The theme that weaves its way through the record encompasses more than a single set of feelings, though.
“So I moved to Vancouver and we met all these people. You know, like I met Steve from Black Mountain, who was playing in Ex-Dead Teenager then. And I was doing Food Not Bombs and stuff. But then everyone started getting into... there’s just drugs everywhere, you know,” he says of the challenges that eventually arose in his adopted second city. “It’s about leaving home and trying to find a comfortable place,” he explains, of the growing pains that dominate many of Plague Park’s nine songs, before noting that he’s “made peace” with
come up with a basic structure for the song: some vocal melodies and a rough sketch of the lyrics. And then we’ll sit down and go over it, and she’ll write keyboard parts, and then we’ll edit the drum parts, and then we sit down together and do the lyrics together,” Boeckner notes when explaining the collaborative process. “With Wolf Parade we’ve been playing together for so long it’s getting really democratic… this is much more solitary.” That relatively solitary process is evident when you hear the Furs’ finished product.
“IT WAS JUST SO GREAT TO BE OUT OF THIS RURAL SHIT HOLE THAT I WAS LIVING IN” Vancouver. The West Coast burg now serves as one of the bases for Handsome Furs, but it was in their other home of Montreal, where Boeckner met Alexei Perry. “We’ve done things together even before we started living together or before we started going out,” he says of the artistic ventures that he’s forged with his now fiancée. The two worked on various creative endeavors since their first meeting, and now have a home studio where they worked out the songs that make up what’s sure to be their most high profile collaboration to date. “I’ll
Boeckner describes the music he’s making with Handsome Furs as “minimal pop songs,” which is a fairly apt illustration of the songs that make up Plague Park. The percussion is mostly handled by sparse lines from drum machines, with the rest of the instrumental space being filled by a lone guitar playing with a single keyboard. Boeckner’s vocals are the only sound on the record that’s ever noticeably doubled. Despite the differences in approach though, the results sound a lot like a stripped down version of the music that he concocts with his Wolf Parade band
mates. A bit of punk fury rears its head from time to time, but everything is underpinned by very warm-sounding pop sensibilities. “There’s a skate shop in this town called Duncan that pretty much introduced me to punk rock stuff that wasn’t Nirvana. I used to go in there to buy clothes and I bought a skateboard there, and the guy who owned it was like, ‘You should go check out Minor Threat,’” Boeckner recalls upon mention of his music’s rougher edges. At the same time, when the topic turns to the hummable melodies that underpin so many of his compositions, he’s quick to note (with a bit of a laugh) that he’s a fan of “classic rock… CCR and Roky Erickson and early powerpop.” It’s that balance that’s one of the album’s strengths. And fittingly, balance is something that’s now reflected in more than just Boeckner’s music. “I went and visited my dad. He still lives in Cowichan Lake,” he says, just before we finish our conversation. “I went back there and I had this weird…” (There’s a pause as Dan stops mid-sentence before continuing) “I’d hated it for so long, but the last time I went back there, it was just so beautiful and quiet.” Plague Park is out now on Sub Pop records, and The Handsome Furs have a short, five-date tour scheduled in late May.
LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE the red bull music academy recruits the finest. wordsby saelan twerdy
hat do Prince Paul, ?uestlove, A-Track, Arto Lindsay, Atom Heart, Biz Markie, Bob Moog, Dan Snaith, Peter Hook, Morgan Geist, Carl Craig, Matthew Herbert, Cut Chemist, Tiga, Mad Professor, Kode 9, Erlend Øye, Gilberto Gil, Gilles Peterson, Just Blaze, Skream, Hank Shocklee, and Four Tet all have in common? They’ve all been tutors at the Red Bull Music Academy, along with dozens of other music legends and luminaries from all genres. The quantity and the quality of talent that’s been invested in this project, from longestablished pioneers to cutting-edge new stars, goes to show that this is far more than just a promotional stunt, the kind of focus-group attempt to appeal to a target audience (i.e. you, the media-savvy young person) that’s turned off by conventional marketing. Granted, we may be perfectly cool with skate companies sponsoring riders, and manufacturers of instruments giving away guitars, drums, and amps in exchange for the liner-note acknowledgment that your favourite band uses their brand exclusively. Hell, licensing music for ads is basically a non-issue now. But incase you were still skeptical, incase you’ve accepted too many execrable free promo discs from companies trying to prove that
they’re down with your scene, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out that not only is the Red Bull Music Academy a really unique project, it’s not even trying to sell you a CD. In fact, the RBMA has a free streaming radio station, 24/7, with hosts as varied as Psapp and Maurice Fulton manning the boards daily and nightly, and podcasts from the Academy’s lecture sessions are downloadable without even having to sign up for anything.
Juan Atkins when his mom found out – and there you have it, the roots of Detroit techno). Joe Bataan regales students with the story of how bugalu saved Latin music in ‘68, and how a few years later, when prom planners couldn’t get the black and Hispanic kids to agree on KC and the Sunshine Band or Tito Puente, they’d call Joe Bataan, the original NYC genre-masher. South London dubstep boy-wonder Skream (younger than most of the participants) nervously chats about how playing on pirate radio means constant fear that the police will confiscate all your records. So what is the Academy? For the last several (The solution? Broadcast from holes in the years, in Berlin, Dublin, New York, Sao Paolo, walls of abandoned tenements.) Brazilian stalwart Arthur Verocai doesn’t talk about Cape Town, Rome, Seattle, and Melbourne, how decades of repressive government kept RBMA has held two-week workshops him from making a successful career as a where hopeful young DJs, producers, and performer (his visionary tropicalia-meetsmusicians can get intensive, hands-on deep-funk orchestral compositions had to instruction and studio experience from a panel of first-class tutors. Moreover, it’s free be sidelined in favor of film themes and TV (flight and accommodations paid for) if you’re jingles), but with a few effortlessly beautiful notes on his guitar, he reduces a room of one of the lucky 60 participants chosen students to embarrassed awe. He plucks a every year. Of course, only participants surdo and says quietly, “This is what bossa can take advantage of the extracurricular nova is about,” before explaining what benefits and real connections made during Gilberto and Jobim brought to Brazilian an Academy workshop, but the lectures tradition. As one of the only rock musicians on given at the RBMA are archived for you and the tutoring staff, Peter Hook waxes nostalgic me to watch, too. You can listen to Derrick about people playing real instruments, but May talk about how he got kicked out of goes on to explain (with jokes about the university, but didn’t have the nerve to tell crudeness of early-80’s technology) how his mom, so he’d leave the house every New Order built their own synths and drum morning, bag in hand, and come home to tell her stories about class (he moved in with machines out of their granny’s organ to record
“Blue Monday”. It’s not hard to tell that when the RBMA claims that their program is all about the love of music, and that they’re looking for like-minds, they’re telling the truth. Red Bull has had a long association with global dance music culture (and, diverse as the tutors and students are, there’s no mistake that the focus is on production and studiobased music: rap, grime, house, techno, downtempo, and neo-soul, primarily) and their commitment to developing that culture is admirable indeed. It’s producing results, too: among the students at last year’s Melbourne workshop were Aloe Blacc, a soul singer who’s now signed to Stones Throw, and Flying Lotus, whose J Dilla-esque sophomore album of instrumental beats is due out soon on Warp records.
The 2007 edition of Red Bull Music Academy is taking place this fall in Toronto.
skating the former estate of wrestler, brett â€˜the hit manâ€™ hart. wordsby devin morrison
photosby ian snow
Welcome to the Hart House. This 5600 square foot home, which sits on 2.17 acres of land, was built in 1905. In 1920 it was converted into The Soldiersâ€™ Childrenâ€™s home for orphans and sometime after (in 1951) it was sold to Stu Hart for $25,000.
This footplant on the roof/wall is a perfect example of why this guy is only known as CRAZY EDDIE.
The three-story brick house has had many famous professional wrestlers, as well as political and entertainment figures, pass through its doors over the course of time. This house is radical! Featuring four fireplaces, five chandeliers, two porches, probably the best view of downtown Calgary, and a coach house behind the main home – in which our answer to winter skateboarding lives. The space for the ramp was graciously donated by Calgary restauranteur and property owner Dario Berloni. It was built and paid for by a group of friends looking to have a ramp to skate for the winter. Our ramp stands four ft. high and is 16 ft. wide, barely fitting in the upstairs of the mansion’s guest house. If it wasn’t for this space and the current residents of the mansion this beautiful ramp wouldn’t exist.
Devin Morrison, backside noseblunts to fakie during a Calgary snow storm.
E N I L E H T G N I S S O CR
view r e t n li tica arallel. e h t p po bt dou a hy he 49th ylan d y t tosb pho with and dsb wor
yr y ja
Crossing the Line
A Hypothetical Interview with the 49th Parallel By Jay Revelle
Crossing the border—it’s all I could think about when I was a little skate rat stuck in the great white North. Although famous for being the safe haven that it is, at that time in my life, Canada could sometimes lack in the excitement department, and it was the “anything goes” ambience of crazy America below me that always seemed
[ o ] NICHOLAS
Industrial areas are a hotbed of makeshift skatespots. This steelyard is in a constant state of flux as gaps are created, and destroyed at random. Brian Wherry finds space for a dirty 360 flip. Portland, OR There are numerous skateparks that run up and down the Pacific Northwest. not all as good as youâ€™d like, but there are more than enough that are worthy of a stretch of the legs. You may even happen upon a gem as you pull over for a pee break. This is not one of them. Dave Ehrenreich puts down the filming board for a rough as guts pivot fakie in Lake Forrest, WA.
â€œHave you ever been drunk? Never. However, I think a lot of the guards that protect me have been at times.â€? 78
A political line has been drawn along the 49 th parallel, a line that separates the Pacific Northwest into two very distinct countries. What follows is an extremely rare interview with that famous line of demarcation.
Color: Mr. Parallel, since this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, I’m going to just go balls out with this and ask everything and anything. Is this okay? 49th Parallel: Sure, fire away. Have you ever been drunk? Never. However, I think a lot of the guards that protect me have been at times. What do you think of skateboarding? I have never tried it, obviously, but it seems quite interesting. A lot of skateboarders from Canada seem to cross me enroute to places like California. What have you heard about yourself, good or bad? And what’s your take on the differences between life in Canada and the United States? Well, first of all, if you have ever been subjected to a full body-cavity search, I apologize, but I’m sure the guards
who made that decision had good cause, or an affinity for perversion. Canada is a very safe place, although it does have its share of loonies. America has got more people, so the incidence of crazies on the streets is a bit higher. On the whole, Canadians and Americans are quite dissimilar to one another. Have you heard or seen anything to attest to that? Yeah, one time a Canadian friend of mine met an American girl in Vancouver. They hit it off, so she offered to take him and his friend over to Seattle for a little trip, where they could stay at her family’s house. On the way to the border, she started saying weird things, like “You should see all the guns my dad has” This sort of talk really freaked the two guys out, so they started getting cold feet. Moments away from crossing through one of my many gates, they had a man-to-man conference in a
convenience store that, since they were still to the north of me didn’t sell any booze, and there they decided that they weren’t going at all. It was a long trek back to Vancouver. So, if people come from Canada to cross you, what do you ask that they do? I would ask them not to bring any drugs, guns, cigarettes, touques, dead hookers, poutine, or any other foreign substance into the States. If you try to bring that stuff you are likely to get a full body-cavity search, and let me tell you, the guards can reach the back of your teeth if they feel so inclined. Please bring beer though. The beer over in the States sucks. Can I ask how old you are? I was born in 1818, so that makes me 189 years old. I must give my apologies to the residents of Point Roberts, Washington, as they got cut off from the continental United States in that deal. But hey, they do get cheaper gas.
It’s been nice talking to you, but I’ve really got to wrap this up. Is there anything else you would like to say to the Canadian skateboarding public? Well, just go as high as you can. Grab the board and go for it. As far as crossing me goes, feel free to do it as much as you like, just don’t be an idiot about it of course. One time, some smart ass got through the checkpoint with no problems, only to think it would be funny to shout to a bunch of guards through his car window, “Fuck you, we got away!!!” Needless to say, they were stopped again and their whole car was searched. No cavity intrusions that time… he were lucky. Oh, and make sure you bring your passport to prove you’re not a terrorist and your skateboards are not actually weapons of mass destruction. And if you want to fit in, leave those “ehs” behind.
.pacificnorthwest . limericks of the future
Small town America, at itâ€™s finest, this could be anywhere. Sascha Daley, gap to boardslide in Everett, WA.
Straying from the beaten path of the bigger cities has it’s rewards. Jason Crolly frontside bluntslides outside of the sleepy haven of Bothell, WA.
y avit s c y d rd ll bohe gua eth u f et all you,t your te ed” g o n ely tt me te ack of o incli k i l s are d le he b feel “Yourch, anreach tif they sea can .crossingtheline
Business districts are always where one finds marble. Seattle and Portland are no exception. Smooth sailing after hours, Brad Sheppard ollies onto one of Seattle’s surfaces.
“If you want to fit in, leave those “ehs” behind.”
Being There. Rick McCrank
wordsby michael christie photosby dylan doubt
All photographs were shot on location in Rickâ€™s second home, Melbourne, Australia. backside noseblunt.
’m sitting out front of an organic grocery store drinking a coffee, waiting for Rick, trying to think of questions to ask him. His daughter, Kalea, is sick and he’s coming to buy her some herbal medicine as well as to pick me up so we can do his interview. Not trying to start a pointless message-board style battle over this, but I think it could be safely said that Rick is one of the best and most severely rad skateboarders of all time, in the world, ever. When I think about it, I totally believe this is true. But the weird thing is, when we are hanging out, I completely forget he is that good. He’s just this regular dude who cracks jokes, likes different stuff, plays music, gives people the occasional hug. Until I go skateboarding with him again and he starts systematically blowing apart everything I believed was possible on a skateboard and I realize that the normal dude I have been hanging out with this whole time has been, in fact, some kind of freakishly gifted super-being 86
“I’ve been thinking lately about the role of a father…and I realized it’s all bullshit.”
you will meet and any talk of super powers he may possess makes him squeamish.
“Well, were you good right away? Like when you were a kid?” I add, trying to make it easier for him to answer. “Yeah I guess, I could do kickflips right away, and people I knew weren’t doing kickflips,” he stammers, “I guess I just really loved to skate, and I had some good friends, and we all really enjoyed skating. We’d go on road trips and stuff, I just used to skate all of the time, I who merely inhabits the body of my friend. house, Kalea slumps onto the couch, sniffling in front of Scooby Doo DVDs – something she guess maybe that’s how.” “Do you ever surprise yourself with how I’m still trying to write down at least one good normally doesn’t get to do on her weekend insanely good you are?” I blurt out. question when I see Rick and Kalea, holding visits here but today is an exception – and we “I guess, sometimes I land stuff I don’t expect.” hands, emerge from the store. are in the nearby kitchen drinking Earl Grey “Did you ever train? Like practice and make tea. After a bit of chitchat, I press record on yourself learn stuff?” Driving up Powell St. in Rick’s right-hand drive the tape, and we both sit up straighter – now uncomfortably in interview mode – and I ask “I’ve never thought of it like training or anything, imported Japanese van, that looks like it’s the first stupid question that comes to me: “Ok, I would never force myself to learn things, I only straight out of The Delta Force, I glance to ever tried tricks if I wanted to.” my right and see Rick, realizing we never even so how did you get so freakishly good?” This makes Rick laugh uneasily. “Do you think not drinking or doing drugs made really talk about skateboarding that much and you better?” from the look on his face, I don’t think he wants He is one of the most genuinely modest people “No, because there are people who are really to do the interview either.When we get to his
tailslide revert Rick walks over and puts on another DVD for Kalea. “Ok, do you think there is a limit to how good This isn’t working too well. Of course he has people can get?” I say when he sits back down. no idea why he is so good, that’s why he is “It seems like there should be, but I don’t know. so good, he doesn’t think about it too much. I guess people are going to keep trying harder But thankfully he is starting to warm up. He and harder tricks on bigger and bigger stuff, so continues, “Okay, I think there is a certain there are going to be more and more injuries I degree of obsessive compulsive disorder that every skater has to have. If you love something, think. There have been a lot of I think you just get obsessed with it, even if you knees lately.” don’t know it.” “Daddy, can you make me some tea?” Kalea says over the din of the repeating Scooby Doo We keep talking but both of us are still theme song. conscious of the tape recorder. Rick gets up to fix her some tea and to give her I remember that Rick has done probably a more medicine. million of these interviews, and that he must have a bunch of different personalities, one for “Is it rough when she is sick?” I say, my childrearing knowledge basically clocking in at his daughter, one for the tour van, one for his zero. friends... So I ask him about that. “Yeah, sometimes I don’t feel like I have a solid me, I just have to fit into all these different “It’s pretty hard. But you can’t fix them, you have to understand that they are their own situations, acclimate to things and blend into human being. I don’t impose anything, sure things. It’s hard sometimes.” good who are wasted every day, I don’t think that has all that much to do with it.”
“I think I like to do lines to try to break the monotony of it. I guess I get frustrated or bored pretty easy, and I think it helps to land something before trying something harder. It’s like, if you kickflip some stairs first and it feels good, then you have confidence and you can just have your mind empty and focus on the next thing, whatever that is. Even if it’s just, after missing a trick, rolling back and doing a different trick just to break the monotony of it “How were you raised? How do you think it and because I think you get used to kicking affected you?” out, so landing something else helps. To sort of “We were just left alone to do whatever we change the vibrations in your brain.” wanted to do, and I think that probably affected I think this explains Rick’s stellar contest my brain. There was never anybody saying performance and his weird ability to get better we shouldn’t do what we were doing, which and better as a line goes on, rather than more wasn’t always a good thing.” nervous like most people. maybe ‘finish your food’ or ‘clean your room’, but she has this gymnastics thing tomorrow and I’m not going to make her go if she doesn’t want to. I’ve been thinking lately about the role of a father and what you are supposed to do and I realized it’s all bullshit. You just have to be yourself, they aren’t negatively affected or bummed if you ride a motorcycle or don’t act how a dad is supposed to act.”
It’s later, the tape recorder is still running. I tell him that one thing I’ve noticed, is he never tries just one trick over and over again until he does it. Even if he is trying to film something, a rail or a big gap or whatever, he will often put it into a line. 87
â€œI was sort of an outcast within skateboarding. I was a kook.â€?
long frontside boardslide to fakie
“Skateboarding is all about the individual and if the individual thinks it’s dead then it’s dead for them.” gap to 5-0
“Are there ever times when you don’t love skateboarding?” “I remember there was a time when I hated it, when I was depressed as a kid, I’d be like: ‘I only skate because I have nothing better to do.’ I really didn’t like it for awhile because I was sort of an outcast within skateboarding. I started to skate downtown where the cool skaters were. I didn’t fit in. I was a kook I guess. So I find it hard to judge people now. Maybe I do it a little bit but definitely nowhere near as much as some people. I don’t understand how somebody acts like they hate somebody else because of the way they skateboard. I still have a lot of compassion for that I think,” Rick says. This is one of the things I admire about him. Somehow, he has been able to maintain perspective and remember that skateboarding is just skateboarding, and everybody should just be having fun. 90
“What do you think you get out of skateboarding?” “I think for me, release is a big thing. I used to get really stressed about things and just, like, take it out on the board. When I was little, it was like teen angst, and I’d skate really hard, just, like, not talking to anybody. And I remember when I lived in Whistler especially, I’d skate for hours non-stop ‘cause I was frustrated with being in Whistler basically, and the whole drug-culture thing there that bummed me out, and things like relationship problems and stuff. A lot of the time I think I have a better day skating if I’m having a bad day mentally.” “What bums you out about skateboarding?” “It’s weird when people complain about skating certain spots, like not wanting to skate a ditch. I don’t complain about a kind of skateboarding. I’m just as happy at a ledge spot as I am at Burnside. I’m less confident at a ledge spot though. I’m just stoked to skate anything.”
“What about skateboarding in Canada right now?” “It’s mostly a mall-type person who’s skating now, when it used to be more of an alley-type person. Kids are going to the skateshop in the mall, trying to pick up the girl who works there, it’s all pretty weird. It’s all pretty soft. More hardcore shops are definitely needed but they are kind of doomed to fail. I have a store considered a hardcore skateshop, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of money.” “What’s good about a hardcore shop?” “There is no other agenda other than skateboarding. It’s not just all about succeeding financially, it’s about building a little subculture, doing your own thing. Basically, I think hardcore shops are just more awesome.” “Do you think it’s possible for skateboarding to be actually already kind of dead?” “Skateboarding is all about the individual and if the individual thinks it’s dead then it’s dead
for them, but it may not be dead for Johnny Hardflip, or maybe it’s just blossoming for Jerry... Heelbruise [laughs]. Nothing really dies. I just think there is interesting stuff going on all the time, you just have to know where to look.” “Do you think you would have been different kind of person if you hadn’t ever started skateboarding?” “I’m pretty sure that if I hadn’t skated I would have been a more stagnant human being and not wanted to learn as much as I want to now. I’m more than thankful to everybody who has helped me get to where I am. I’m the luckiest person I know. Skateboarding can also completely ruin people’s lives, but for me, it has not done that, it has done the opposite.”
frontside boardslide to fakie
“Skateboarding can also completely ruin people’s lives, but for me, it has not done that, it has done the opposite.” Skateboarding may have done a lot for Rick, but it’s pretty hard to estimate how much good Rick has done for skateboarding, especially skateboarding in Canada. He has basically just made the whole thing a lot more awesome for everybody. All while somehow staying a normal person, which is maybe the most amazing thing about it. But this isn’t the kind of thing you tell somebody. Kalea calls for him from the other room. “Do you think that’s enough for the interview?” I ask. “Yeah, I guess,” he says, smiling. I press stop on the tape and we both turn back into normal people.
wallride nollie bigspin 94
“I think I have a better day skating if I’m having a bad day mentally.” .rickmccrank
[ o ] ETHAN LEVITAS
YEAR OF THE BOREDOMS japan’s emperors of noise. wordsby saelan twerdy
Can you tell me a little about your 77 Drum show coming up at Deitch Projects in July? What will it be like? Undecided. Last year I had that plan. I may have the show not in Deitch, but somewhere else in New York this year. Will there be another Boredoms (or V∞REDOMS) full-length album in the future? Yes, I want to do it this year. At the moment, Iam working on Super Roots 9 and 10.
I heard that some of your art was stolen from a gallery in Tokyo, and the thief returned most of it, along with a pair of sandals, some watermelon seeds, and a copy of his will. Did you ever make a t-shirt with a picture of the thief, like you were planning to? No, I didn’t. I made a shirt with a picture of the artwork that was returned by the thief.
Color: What led to The Boredoms signing to Vice in America, and why did you decide to reissue the Super Roots series now? YE: The reason why I signed to Vice is that Vice is affiliated with Warner. I had wanted to reissue the Super Roots series for a long time.
Of the Super Roots albums, which is your favourite? 5, 6, 8!
“I am using new instruments, such as the Sound Ball and the Sevener.” What are your predictions for the future? I am using new instruments, such as the Sound Ball [some sort of illuminated, sound-making globe. Concert-goers noted the first use of this instrument at last year’s show in New York] and the Sevener (a thing made by combining seven electric guitars). I am exploring the possibilities of a triple drum set and electronics.
In their early heyday, Hanatarash were infamous for violent, stage-destroying antics – a trend which peaked with Eye’s attempt to destroy a club by driving a bulldozer into the side of it. If that wasn’t enough, Eye once sustained injuries after trying to perform with a circular saw strapped to his back. After forming the Boredoms and finding a drummer who knew how to play – Eye describes his drummer’s performance on 1993’s Pop Tatari as “great, but not music” – the band soon found itself collaborating with John Zorn’s Naked city, hanging out with Sonic Youth, and in the early-90s frenzy for anything “alternative,” signed to Warner and played Lollapalooza’s main stage in 1995. After they failed to sell more than 30,000 copies of any album, though, The Boredoms left explorations of their career. In 1998, fortified by a third drummer and inspired by electronic music and turntablism, The Boredoms released Super AE, a monstrously cosmic space-rock album driven by repetitive tribal rhythms, tranced-out guitar, and vocals heavily processed through turntables and tape loops. Eye also instituted the Rebore series, in which he invited highprofile DJs (UNKLE and DJ Krush among them) to remix Boredoms music.
His own contribution, Rebore vol. 0, by far the spaciest, most delicate Boredoms album, showed where his interests were leading. In 2000, The Boredoms released Vision Creation Newsun, their most sublime record, combining total peace with stratospheric forward momentum. Shortly after this, the band stopped performing live almost entirely, prompting rumours that they’d broken up. Side projects proliferated (OOIOO being the most well-known), and Eye officially changed the group’s name to V∞REDOMS, with an infinity sign, and concentrated on his art. Since 2005, however, the Boredoms have reemerged: Vice Records released two 20-minute songs under the title Seadrum/ House of Sun, and the band played several American dates. Now, Vice is reissuing the band’s ultra-rare Super Roots albums, a series of eight lengthy EPs recorded between 1992 and the present, documenting the band’s entire musical evolution – from dadaist fart noises to transcendent meditation-rock. In addition, Eye is scheduled to perform an an installation piece entitled 77 Drum at NYC’s Deitch Projects on July 7, 2007 (7/7/07, get it?), supposedly exploring his interest in tribal beats with 77 individual drum kits. Eye, as cryptic as ever, spoke with Color to cast a bit of light on the enigma of The Boredoms.
n the history of music there are good bands, and great bands, and really bad bands, and then there are the artists that change our ideas about how music works or what music is for. Some of these people are innovators, some are visionaries, and some of them, like Lee “Scratch” Perry, Sun Ra, and The Boredoms, are just on a whole other level: insanity, or genius, or both. From their nihilist noise origins as Hanatarash (which translates to something like “snotnose”) in 1986, to the wild 90s career of The Boredoms and the increasingly mysterious and prolific namechanges and side-projects of the present, Yamataka Eye has led his rag-tag band of Japanese cohorts to the limits of noise, the most minimal extremes of electronic peace, and back.
THE LANGUAGE OF SUCCESS:
anxiety and excess in matthew brannonâ€™s try & be grateful.
wordsby nicholas brown images courtesyof york university gallery
Competitiveness reveals an insecure core only satiated by othersâ€™ praise/ Left with an unceasing pressure/ The heavily guarded pecking order never allows rest/ The tightrope walk of confidence/ A few visual gimmicks mask conservative, ill thought out, desperate pleas for attention. (from More Autopsy Than Diagnosis, detail opposite page) letterpress on paper (2006) (collection of Thea Westreich and Ethan Wagner, New York).
OPPOSITE. detail of Vultures & Collectors (2006) letterpress on paper (Rubell Family Collection, Miami Beach). ABOVE. installation shot of Untitled (2006) wood, leather, silkscreen on canvas, ink on paper (courtesy of the artist and Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York). Hot Psychology (2006), Silkscren and foil stamping Soft History (2006), Silkscreen and foil stamping Shrimp Cocktail (2006), Silkscreen and foil stamping Cold Dinner (2006), Silkscreen and foil stamping Young Plumbing (2006), Silkscreen and foil stamping Goth Tease (2006), Silkscreen and foil stamping (private collection, courtesy of BFAS Blondeau Fine Art Services, Geneva). RIGHT. installation detail shot of Untitled (2006) wood, leather, silkscreen on canvas, ink on paper (courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles).
Browsing the career-spanning assortment of works at Matthew Brannon’s recent exhibition Try & Be Grateful, it would be difficult to avoid an all-too literal association between the text-laden prints and our impressions of the artist himself. Here’s a young artist enjoying a retrospective at 35 – an impressive feat as much as a sign of the times – as he prepares for an upcoming solo show at the Whitney. As we scan the large collection of prints, our eyes glance at another smallish print emblazoned with the words “Fatal Career Misstep”, and we can’t help but think, “not likely!” Brannon’s subject matter mixes messages of substance abuse, sexual excess and pathological career maneuvering with flat graphic images that recall mid-50s advertising tropes of “the good life.” Even the installation itself, its temporary plywood walls that overtly reference the tradeshow aesthetic of an art fair (glorified trade shows where money parades as culture), suggests that the artist is putting his life and career up for examination. Another piece, “More Autopsy Than Diagnosis,” implies the brutal outcome. .thelanguagesuccess
OPPOSITE. detail of Limp Consideration (2004) letterpress on paper HERE. From the Library of… (2006), silkscreen on paper (courtesy of the artist)
But we know better than to trust Brannon at his word, especially when such words and phrases come plucked from every available source, especially the world of advertising, with which the artist so closely aligns himself. With a background in book design as well as painting, Brannon has for years contributed promotional materials to other artists and galleries. He is more than adept at pilfering lines from advertisements – especially earnest public service announcements like “Spanking Hurts More Than You Think” (lifted from a Toronto subway ad) – and arranging them to form dark narratives of anxiety and excess. Such strategies will be familiar to anyone who’s ever read an interview with contemporary Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, whose practice of cobbling together interview responses from existing artist interviews has made him an equally unreliable candidate. But what is so frustratingly satisfying about Brannon’s approach is the way he weaves these falsehoods into the fabric of his practice. Even the artist’s exhibition invitations can’t be trusted, displaying the work of other artists in place of what would conventionally sample his own oeuvre. The artist has joked that the only place to get reliable information is on the exhibition poster. Once you show up, however, all bets are off. The exhibition posters themselves –
designed by artist friends like Liam Gillick, Richard Phillips, and for the AGYU exhibition, Lari Pittman – are equally withholding, offering a glimpse of something that will not ultimately pay off. What you see you won’t get, and what you do get is a pack of lies. What amounts to out-and-out disingenuousness in Brannon’s use of language might lapse into cynicism – a charge that has been leveled at the artist by critics and viewers in the past – but for the materiality of his work. A truly cynical artist would deny the viewer anything tangible to connect with, foisting off an endless series of deferrals and rejections, but Brannon’s one-off screen prints are rich in texture and linework, and engaging even at their most ambiguous. The colours are flat with muted greys and blues that allow a series of posters to amicably cohabitate the space of a wall. Posters are rarely individuated, offering instead the diffuse quality of serial repetition. Others feature snappy and bright hues, like the red lobster that attends the provocative “Autopsy” piece. Brannon’s laborious processes of screen printing and letterpress, both outdated and inconvenient techniques compared to their digital alternatives, similarly lend the work a sincerity that would appear to contradict the prevailing tone of sarcasm.
Despite the deliberately pessimistic framing of the AGYU retrospective – Brannon’s “Fatal career misstep” up for consideration – and the appropriately flippant curatorial gesture of aping the art fair, it is worth considering the merits of packing so much material under one roof. Repetition is a major component of the work, and the recurring images of birds, lobsters, knives and trophies put the specificities of each text piece into relief. Virtually identical images, but for some minor changes in colour and layout, amplify the centrality of text, especially since it often appears so small. Forced to squint at fragments of text, the viewer is rewarded with such friendly remarks as: “Career train wreck alcoholic workoholic seeks same”. Not only is this text rendered in faint pastel blue, it’s printed in reverse. “Limp Consideration” is the work’s title, stamped in large, bold type. The overt impotence of the title, in the context of floating knives and decapitated goose heads (it doesn’t take Sigmund Freud to understand that castration is implied), should give ample warning to any potential “personals” reader looking to hook up. But it’s never as simple as loading one image with one stable meaning when that image is bound to repeat, each time accompanying a different set of equally loaded text. That’s what makes this work so rich, and still so elusive.
It has been said of Brannon’s work that it spares no one, the artist included. Perhaps this is a way to read the many non-text pieces that lurk around every corner: the directors’ chairs (left untitled) armed with whips lying at the ready, and the numerous perched falcons that face left and right (ominously titled “From the Library Of…”). We’re being watched here, scrutinized at every step. Once we consider the subjects of so many of the text works – overconsumption, dieting, alcohol, any number of garden variety anxieties – we suddenly invest the absent movie director and the leering falcon with the penetrating gaze of the one who knows. We’re compelled to face our own anxieties, vulgar careerist sensibilities and excessive tendencies, or face being ostracized by the exhibition itself. This is the power of Brannon’s work, in spite of his own coy incitement to consider these works as “visual gimmicks” that “mask conservative, ill thought out, desperate pleas for attention.” But we know better.
installation shot of Untitled (2006) wood, leather, silkscreen on canvas, ink on paper (courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles). OPPOSITE. From the Library Ofâ€Ś (2006), silkscreen on paper (courtesy of the artist).
installation shot of Pulling Out (2006) silkscreen and embroidery on canvas Price of Admission (2006), silkscreen and embroidery on canvas. (courtesy of the artist and Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York). OPPOSITE. detail of Disappointed Critic (2004) letterpress on paper (courtesy of the artist).
words and photosby felix faucher
in lima, peru. I
n October of 2006, Felix Faucher spent six months in Lima, Peru, re-integrating himself into his former hometown. While there, he volunteered as a web designer and took the opportunity to introduce some of his Canadian friends to the best skatespots Lima has to offer.
first time I had friends come down for a visit. Carl Labelle and Marc April decided to take a break and enjoy some warm weather while Montreal was covered in snow.
It was really fun having people visiting who shared my Canadian perspective, down in a city where life is very different than back Having visited Peru almost every year for the home. The boys were very open to the new past decade, I was pretty used to the city and food â€“ I welcomed both of them with a its chaos. Lima is a metropolis of 10-million traditional breakfast of pork, sweet potatoes people where noise, pollution and poverty and red onions in a French bread. I think are the norm. My most recent trip was the the transportation, work and skateboarding
conditions were far from what they had expected though. This was the first time they met skateboarders with such talent riding with shitty setups, worn-out shoes and unfashionable clothes. Lima is great when it comes to spots, though. The whole city was built on a desert, so it never rains. The weather barely changes from summer to winter, so smooth cement lasts for decades. For some reason, people seem to cover everything with polished cement, so banked
spots are a common sight. I think both Marc and Carl had the chance to experience something very different from anything else they had seen before during the time they stayed over at my place. South America is not Europe or North America. Youth compose the largest portion of the population, and this definitely changes the mood of a country. Problems are numerous and serious, but these should not prevent anyone from experiencing this great and culturally rich city.
This pyramid is a section of one of the best bank spots on the face of the earth. The projects where this gem lies are on the outskirts of Lima, but the unlimited possibilities that the spot holds is worth the distance. Marc April navigates through a backside 180 nosegrind revert on slippery surfaces. .lima,peru
When we arrived at this spot I noticed the top of a bench laying on the ground. Somehow a flowerpot and the sidewalk edge made for the best bump Iâ€™ve built so far. Carl Labelle dodges a bunch of three-foot-tall soccer players and levitates by means of a pop shove-it.
The very thin concrete surface atop the rocks made for a potential grindable surface. Marc lives up to his name and inaugurates a curb in Lima armed with wax, guts and determination. Backside 5-0 to gap in Mirones, my childhood neighbourhood. Small wheels mandatory.
CLEARING THE AIR bill callahan lightens up and leaving smog behind. wordsby saelan twerdy
illustrationby john antoski
or nearly twenty years now, Bill Callahan has roamed the American musical underground as Smog, sketching the dark corners of the everyday with his unmistakable drawling baritone. Throughout the twelve full-length albums he’s recorded for Chicago’s Drag City label, Callahan has explored an interior landscape of emotional devastation with singleminded implacability. Initially notorious for his hissy lo-fi recordings and fatalistic depictions of obsession, dimlyremembered trauma, and love gone sour (not to mention his ill-fated affair with Cat Power’s equally-depressed Chan Marshall), Callahan moved throughout the mid90s towards a more meditative and polished acoustic approach. Like a good cheese, the man has grown softer with age: Callahan has always had a deft touch with moral ambiguities and an ear for the poetry of material objects, but in recent years, he’s grown ever more philosophical, and his sound has followed suit. Where he once epitomized the isolated artist, recording solo to four-track (or cassette deck), he’s recently embraced a warm, vintage studio gloss and enlisted the aid of firstrate musicians to realize a twangier vision, with hints of Southern gothic wisdom. Which brings us to his new album, Woke On a Whaleheart, his first-ever release under his own name. Maybe it’s his romance with fellow Drag City songstress Joanna Newsom, but Callahan has never sounded so rooted and relaxed. Whaleheart’s nine songs roll easy, like a wide, slow river, taking in everything they can on their way to the ocean. It’s a deep sound, the kind that should last for years, carving new canyons into the landscape, and the pleasure in every note shows that it’s a good time to be Bill Callahan. Color: Let’s have the most obvious question first: what made you decide to record this album under your own name, rather than as Smog? BC: It was time for a change. A radical change in the way I approached this thing that I wake up to every morning. Or most mornings. The word “Smog” has made me cringe a little for about the past five years or so. Whether in context of my music or just watching a documentary about China. I wanted to change to my name for A River Ain’t Too Much to Love, but my record company begged me not to. They said that every single band without exception that has changed names on Drag City has had a big drop in sales. And it takes a couple years of touring and releasing things and telling people about the change. It takes that couple of years to get back to where you were! I welcome that challenge. A lot of people just know my music through the band name. They might love Smog but they would say, “Who is Bill Callahan?” I have not promoted my face or myself as a “personality.” I have just put the music out there. For better or worse. The idea of changing to my own name for A River... was something of an afterthought. And I think that’s why my record company realized they could get me to call it Smog for one more record. For Woke on a Whaleheart, I had
changed the name before even setting up the studio time. And this heralds a new approach. Of giving over some of the control to others. Such as the arrangements, production and cover designs. For the most part I always did that myself. I want to let other people have some say in my music from now on. Is the Smog moniker laid to rest now, or do you see this album as a digression or experiment? Smog is gone. Long live Bill Callahan! Moniker is one of my least favorite words. After such a long career recording, is songwriting habitual for you now? I’d say it used to be habitual, several years ago. I’m not sure what it is now. It’s been a certain way I can’t describe yet. It’s been this way for a few years. I’m real level-headed and accepting of it. It is a real special feeling for me to work on a song these days. I am grateful for the chance. It makes my day glitter. It’s a little surprising to see Neil Michael Hagerty [exRoyal Trux/The Howling Hex]’s name in the arrangement/ production credits on an album that sounds so elegantly burnished. Woke On a Whaleheart sounds vintage and classic to me (I picture wood paneling and tube amplifiers), when I’m used to seeing his name attached to gnarly trashcan distortion. What was the process like? Neil is a true heavy. I wish everyone would know this. He may apply that trashcan distortion to some of his own work, but it’s not what he is across the board. I worked with him on the Drag City Supersessions a few years ago, which he arranged. He’s into Ornette Coleman’s harmelodics. I think he applied it to some of the woodwind and string arrangements on that. Beautiful stuff. And the piano part he wrote for “From the Rivers to the Ocean,” is so pretty I just had to make it the lead-off track, so it’d be the first thing you heard. He knows and feels all sorts of music. As far as the process, I sent him a demo of just me. He spent two or three weeks at home arranging it. Meanwhile I was rehearsing with the rhythm section in Austin so that we could lay down everything live. It was a little hard for me to let go of the arranging/mixing process. Neil is an old-school producer who would just as soon have me sitting by the pool drinking margaritas instead of giving opinions from the control room couch.
find something good of the present. I am really interested in seeing someone make a good sounding record these days in the digital age! I think Yusuf’s An Other Cup sounds good. But it has that “slight remove” that digital music has. The sound is just one hair away from your heart. I want to hear Robert Plant’s record. He’s doing a country blues record, I think. I kind of think of Elvis Presley’s Sun Sessions as The Big Bang. There were great things around before that, but with Elvis it just exploded into a new universe. And that converted the music from something that resided only in people’s souls and homes and families into an open marketplace where people can run riot. For better or worse. You have a reputation as a misanthrope. Do you think time has changed you? Your music still has as much moral ambiguity as it ever did, but you definitely seem to have mellowed out in your approach to the world. I’m interested in the way people treat each other and the way people treat themselves. Do they attack and destroy or do they love and build? And I’m interested in how people look at the world around them. How they look at their wife, their neighbor, etc. I blow a raspberry to the misanthropic thing. I was raised on Black Flag, The Stranglers, No Trend -- bands that
now, answering people’s medical questions as best I can over a martini. There are two types of truth, I think. One you can explain in no uncertain terms and one you can only FEEL. Lyrics can fall into either category. So, it is obviously hard to parse out the meaning of the latter type of truth. With the new record I tried to write a couple songs that even I didn’t know what they were about fully. But they were still ‘true’ to me. And I trust that they will unfold and reveal themselves to me over time. “Night,” for example. It’s partially about looking at my girlfriend’s naked back as she sleeps. That would be the visual context of the song in a video. But I think that song’s gonna unfold for me later. What records have you bought/listened to lately? Books? I bought one Beethoven record and one Mozart record. I’m going to finally find out which one I like better. So far Beethoven is in the lead, but that might be because it’s just piano. That is my preferred classical music, just piano. I like that Yusuf record, Norah Jones’ Not Too Late, and Prince’s Sign o’ the Times and LoveSexy. I fucking love Prince. And Merle Haggard’s last record is great. And a hip hopper from Austin named Tee Double, he’s put out a couple great
“I BLOW A RASPBERRY TO THE MISANTHROPIC THING. I WAS RAISED ON BLACK FLAG, THE STRANGLERS, NO TREND -- BANDS THAT TRUSTED THE INTELLIGENCE OF THEIR AUDIENCE. FOR BETTER OR WORSE.” trusted the intelligence of their audience. For better or worse.
Do you feel any responsibilities, as a songwriter with a significant audience? On A River Ain’t Too Much, you had “I Feel Like the Mother of the World,” and Woke On a Whaleheart has “Day”, which are all anti-war songs, or at least more than implicitly political. How do you think politics fit into pop music? The only responsibility I feel to myself and my audience is to be true. To be as true as I can muster. I can feel it in my throat and chest. If I am singing something that is untrue to me, my chest constricts. Maybe it is my heart threatening to Are you happy with Woke On a Whaleheart? walk out on me, or rearing back to haul one off right across I am now, yes. I didn’t like it at first. I had to sit and listen to the kisser. About the last thing I want to hear is a clumsy the mastered copy for two days straight before I started to protest song, though. Politics can fit into music subtly. That’s love it. The first day was just being open to it and listening, my taste, I guess. You could write a song about how much the second day was listening and loving. But I’m into the idea you love your dog and that is an anti-war song, because war of having a record I don’t like. There are all kinds of tastes could take your dog away. in this world. If I made a record I hated, I bet a lot of people would love it. Does it bother you when people ask you what your lyrics “mean”? It seems like there’s been a steady and conscious journey Maybe it used to bother me. Not now. You work hard on into the past for inspiration (old country and blues, gospel, the lyrics so it sometimes feels like you’ve failed if someone pre-rock n’ roll pop songs) on your last couple albums. Do asks you to explain their meaning. It gives you the feeling you agree? Why do these older sounds resonate with you there’s this babbling orb of a song circling that no one can right now? understand. Songs have different meanings to different I would agree somewhat. But I am also always trying to people, as has been said. I’m just like a doctor at a party
records and I’m looking forward to his next. Oh yeah, and Nina Nastasia’s last record. And the official release of Fiona Apple’s last record. I just discovered James M. Cain. The Postman Always Rings Twice. How come no one told me about this? You won’t be able to put it down. Do you have anyone that you look up to as an ideal of achievement? If you could pick your posterity, how would you like to be remembered? Prince is pretty great the way he rolls with the punches. And can write such funny, sexy, moving musics with a big sense of immediacy to them. You can FEEL the creativity sparking out of him in those songs. Harry Nilsson was great for just doing what he wanted. Those are the people that I’ve been thinking of lately, but it changes all the time. Me? I don’t think I will be remembered. I’m just a small potato. But I love music and that’s enough for me. I notice that you recorded the new album in Texas again. What appeals to you about Texas? It feels special to be here, but I think every state does. When I’m in Maine, I think, “Damn, I’m in Maine! This rules!” Austin makes me feel like I can do anything. It’s the least stifling musical environment I’ve ever been in. For better or worse. MYSPACE.COM/SMOGGERTONE
JAMIE TANCOWNEY frontside boardslide [ o ] honey.
PHIL McKNIGHT nosegrind [ o ] norton.
DYLAN THORSTENSON smith grind [ o ] doubt.
WADE FYFE nollie backside heelflip [ o ] zaslavsky.
CASWELL BERRY wallie [ o ] zaslavsky
LYLE BROWN switch flip [ o ] doubt.
HILLIARD SULPHER 50-50 [ o ] todon.
RILEY BOLAND frontside rock [ o ] menezes. JEFF FOLGER gap to 5-0 [ o ] norton.
JOSH EVIN ollie [ o ] scurich.
PAUL OTVOS switch heelflip [ o ] caesar.
KRIS KING kickflip shifty [ o ] norton.
WILLIE LAVIGNE pop shove-it [ o ] odam
JESSE LANDEN frontside flip [ o ] scurich. Color 5.1 .
CHICAGO’S FINEST Vol. 2 Uprise
GNAR GNAR Mark Gonzales, Krooked Skateboards It is difficult to write about this video without being nostalgic. Not only was it released only on VHS, but, it was filmed using full size VHS cameras, and edited on two VCRs. The result is raw street skateboarding in the vein of Antihero, or the videos your older brother and his friends used to make. The cast is the Krooked team, with a special “guest” opening part by Alex Olson, who is referred to by some as, “the last hope for the future of skateboarding”, which may be a little heavy, but I, for one, am a fan. There is no shortage of wackiness, but it comes across as fun street skating, rather than someone hamming it up for a camera. There are some progressive static bench tricks, a couple streetplants, plenty of carves, and enough heavy moves to get most stoked, which is what a video should be doing right? It isn’t really about how sick anybody is (we all know how amazing these dudes are), but rather a video should be measured by it’s ability to get people off their asses, and go pushing down the street. This is the Gonz as he should be seen, it feels like you are watching his part in Video Days, or the other random pieces of Gonz footage that were sprinkled through bad 80s contest videos, Vision Street Wear ads, and Thrasher skate rock videos. There are only 1000 of these videos made, and it isn’t the same watching it on a computer monitor, so dust off your VCR, or get down to the thrift store and buy one if you have to. Hell, maybe you should get two so that you can dub copies for all your friends. Ultimately, this is a good video for watching, and it will live a comfortable life on the shelf of un-lendable videos, next to a sealed copy of A Virtual Sound, a well watched dub of Memory Screen and my copy of Video Days that got chewed on by my friend’s dog. DLXSF.COM
This is a grassroots skateboarding from the windy city. Jackson Hennessy opens up the video with some serious pop and the craziest drop-in I’ve ever seen. These dudes made sure they gave all their homies at least one trick in the friends section. There’s even a short cameo part by Josh Kalis who puts down some gems in typical Kalis style. These guys skate some original rugged New York-esc spots with grace. Neil Erickson’s techy smooth part definitely shines through and John Methvin rounds out the video with a solid ender and mandatory Barca footy. Over all it’s a pretty dope video from Uprise skateshop, presented in casing that should be industry standard from here on out. UPRISESKATESHOP.COM
RUDY TRES After a short hiatus of mostly beer binging, the boys from Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, have finally pulled up their skirts and released the highly anticipated Rudy Tres. Put together by Chris Gaetz, this epic, kick-in-the-balls blockbuster is a force to be reckoned with. Sure, there’s jaw dropping parts from Justin Yarn, and Trevor Ribeyre, as well as special guests Darrell Smith and Ryan Blaxall, but what’s best about this video is the classic, raw, hardcore skateboarding. All in all, if you’re looking for a good flick, this is the ticket.
411VM Vol.15, ISSUE 1
Dead Space follows Parisian graffiti artist Psyckoze as he leads the film crew through sections of the abandoned catacombs that run 100 feet below Paris. Psy and his fellow ‘cataphilles‘ have been tagging, painting, sculpting, and exploring the underground labyrinth for over 25 years, re-interpreting the space as a historical gallery and as a lawless “alternative world”. Interlaced between shots of Psy crawling over bone yards and tagging every surface he comes across are clips of above ground interviews in which he reveals the history of the tunnels, from their beginnings as quarries for the growing city of Paris , to their evolution into an outlaw other-dimension with their own conflicted society. The film features music by Sixtoo, Interceiving, Mookswing9, and Mucke., as well as original music by Simahlak and Scott C. MYSPACE.COM/DEADSPACEMOVIE
The abilities Nate Sherwood has on a skateboard are only surpassed by the ability he has to insert “skate” into every sentence he says. Even if the scentence isn’t about skating at all, you’ll find words like “congratuskations”. There’s no question that the droid’s got skill, although style still counts. Nate’s ‘shenanigans’ rule’s like and O’doyle through and through and so does this video. Derek Fukahara, Terell Robinson, and many others shine through the video. Chad Bartie has a way of skating street as if everything is a transition for him to shred. There’s an amazing New York City section which I’m sure took a lot of work to put together, but it shows. Top quality all the way and to top it all off, 411 is up for grabs, aka FREE! This might come as a surprise, but don’t let the catalogs that you might find when clicking through chapters. It’s a fair trade off though when you consider the quality of skateboarding and editing you’re getting in a packaged up deal straight from the mind of an artist. This issue’s guest designer is none other than Unglegeez. Much respect.
Marielle Quesney and Jean Labourdette Double Trouble Films
Unclegeez, Studio 411
Turn the Lights Out (matador) The Ponys drop their third full-length for major indie label Matador after two excellent garage-pop releases on In The Red Records. The band have really hit their stride on this release, which is most likely due to the extra funds granted to them this time around. Their previous two efforts seemed to be tossed off in a week or so and probably helped fuel their lo-fi garage aesthetic, which had them sounding a lot like their trash-punk peers on In The Red (Black Lips, The Dirtbombs, Reigning Sound). Not that that’s a bad thing, mind you, it just seems that the Ponys were destined for bigger things and indeed, bigger things are achieved on Turn the Lights Out, such as their newfound epic guitar sound, reminiscent of Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation. Heck, singer Jered Gummere even comes off sounding a tad like Thurston Moore as opposed to Richard Hell, with whom he’s usually compared. Overall, a fantastic release from a band that will probably see a lot more of the spotlight that they’ve always deserved. — mark e. rich
Drums and Guns (sub pop) On their eighth full-length album (and first for the legendary Sub Pop records), Low prove that some things only get better with time. Attendees of recent Low shows will find these tunes both familiar and uncanny, as producer Dave Fridmann (famed for his work with The Flaming Lips) has helped them tweak some of their newer live staples into surprisingly contemporary shapes with the use of looped vocals and drum machines. The result is a set of Low tunes in the classic mode (death-obsessed, crawlingly slow, and replete with achingly sublime harmonies) that sound like a Low you’ve never heard before, immediate, fresh, and full of experiments. You can hear the group rethinking their process as they try out appealingly openended new approaches. An unexpected triumph from one of indie-rock’s most dependable workhorses.—saelan twerdy
El-P is not going to win over any new fans on this new album, even with an all-star cast that includes Trent Reznor, Cat Power (?!), a couple of the fro-less dudes from The Mars Volta, and, of course, a platter of Def Jukie alumni. It doesn’t really matter though, because El-P has a strong following and is probably always going be a little too dark and cynical to ever break into the mainstream. The lead single, “Smithereens,” is vintage El-P, featuring sirens, choppy helicopter beats and politically-charged lyrics. Not much has changed with El-P’s sound and viewpoint in the five years since Fantastic Damage but not much has changed in America since then, either. Jiggy posturing still reigns supreme in hip-hop and in the White House, so, with this in mind, there’s no reason for El-P to cease creating such magnificent soundtracks of the urban apocalypse. It’s kind of a lose-win situation. — mark e. rich
Blonde Redhead has never been a band to repeat itself. Each record has distanced itself from the last, while remaining familiar enough to avoid fan-base alienation – a process that continues on 23. This time out, the former no-wave noisemakers have stripped down the dark romanticism of their last effort, Misery is a Butterfly, and traded cinematic orchestration for a more guitardriven, streamlined approach. And the shift is a good one. Throughout 23, the Italian twins and their Japanese chanteuse illustrate their ability to make good use of pop tactics, while retaining a sense of their usual aciddrenched melancholy. For example, the group slips a brilliant Sgt. Pepper horn break into an otherwise bleak “SW,” “Silently” comes off like some heavy-hearted ABBA track, and the Na na na na nas layered amongst the swirling guitars of the title track are unbelievably catchy. Overall, Blonde Redhead’s brief trip into pop makes 23 their most enjoyable and satisfying record. — brock thiessen
I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead (def jux)
BORIS with MICHIO KURIHARA
The ever-reliable Drag City records brings us another treasure: a stateside reissue of this collaborative album between Japan’s coolest metal band, Boris, and Michio Kurihara, the virtuouso guitarist of progressive psychshamans Ghost. Every release is a new direction for Boris, so coming off their recent collaboration with doom-drone masters Sunn0))), it’s no surprise that they’ve taken to Kurihara’s style and embraced a more spaced-out, drughaze atmosphere. Rainbow still has its share of skullshattering riffs, but it also takes the time to stretch out into post-rock atmosphere and glassy-eyed psychedelic pop reminiscent of the flower-children in Nagisa Ni Te (another underappreciated Japanese act). On heavier tunes like “Starship Narrator”, Kurihara’s penchant for damaged Hendrix soloing overtakes the rest of the band’s usual Melvins/Earth obsession, but it’s all to the good. Another stunner from an always-surprising band. — saelan twerdy
After half a decade of brilliant, ecstatic, psychedelic pop, the members of Animal Collective are starting to disperse and put out solo albums... of brilliant, ecstatic, psychdelic pop. The band has always been off scrawling in the margins with various side projects (Jane, Terrestrial Tones, etc.), but Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear) is the first to release a major statement on his own. Person Pitch is already one of the most highly-anticipated and lavishlypraised albums of the year, and for good reason. Lennox’s heavily Beach Boys-influenced sense of sunny melody and gift for layered vocal harmonies gives his music a broader appeal than a lot of his work with Animal Collective, and his working methods (looping, sampling, processing, found sounds) give him extra credit with DJs, techno fans, and cognoscenti of all stripes. If the sonic equivalent of a coral reef sounds like a place you’d like to dunk your ears, take a vacation with Panda Bear. — saelan twerdy
Rainbow (drag city)
Person Pitch (paw tracks)
The Cavalry of Light EP set the bar pretty high for Becky Stark and her Lavender Diamond band. She sang like a haunted cherub on that album and pretty much everyone who heard it was completely enamoured. Imagine Our Love is a logical progression from the EP – the formula is still intact, only it’s more robust and varied. The band toys with sounds of the ol’ timey spiritual, the eighties pop song, and the love ballad smooshing it all up into precious, dreamy opulence. At times, some songs can sound too familiar, but it’s done so tastefully you barely notice. An exception is, of course, the piano melody to “Here Comes One”, which almost directly lifts the opening riff from Eddie Money’s “Two Tickets To Paradise”. Yes, Lavender Diamond has ripped off Eddie Money. But can you get mad at a band that can turn a turd into a jewel? A good album to have for summer evenings. — bradley iles
It’s nice that James Murphy doesn’t pander to his audience. Dude is nearly 40 years old and ostensibly makes music for 20-something party kids who likely can’t be burdened with delving too deeply into his themes. And why would they bother? Who listens to dance music to better understand the human condition? It would be easy for him, in this situation, to fart out a couple of brainless lines about late nights, cocaine, and dance-floors, but he chooses a nobler road. He speaks like a man his age: worldly-wise, hopelessly sentimental, and quietly modest. Mind you, if he didn’t put any effort into his lyrics, the album would still be a gem. Sound of Silver is yet another testament to Murphy’s mastery of texture. «All My Friends» is a case in point: When that darling little keyboard melody hits you half way through the song you’ll basically shit tears. — bradley iles
It’s been a long wait since Battles first issued their tantalizing first few EPs, but Mirrored makes it all worth it. This band of math-rockers is four stars: multi-instrumentalist Tyondai Braxton (son of jazz composer Anthony Braxton), drummer John Stanier (Helmet, Tomahawk), guitarist/ keyboardist Ian Williams (Don Caballero), and guitarist/ bassist Dave Konopka (Lynx). Their music not only resurrects the best muscular, cathartic instrumental rock of the mid-90s, it totally revolutionizes it. These guys toured with Prefuse 73, they hang out with Hisham Bharoocha (ex-Black Dice), and their signing to Warp is no accident: they’re as rhythmically stunning as Timbaland, as excitingly experimental as classic Aphex Twin, and they’ve got the chops of Steve Vai with the mind of Steve Reich. The icing on the cake is Braxton’s ecstatic, indecipherable vocalizing. Battles are the sexiest math-rock band of all time, and they might just be the most exciting new guitar band in the world. — saelan twerdy
Five years of silence from Japan’s avant-pop auteur, and then suddenly, this masterpiece. Immaculately produced with mind-boggling attention to detail that still sounds breezy and effortless, Sensuous alternates dense, sampledelic future-pop with spare, focused, achingly beautiful instrumentals where every strum and pluck is perfectly optimized. “Gum” is a real highlight, in which Cornelius gets his Boredoms on, sampling a crushing metal riff and cycling it repetitively, with light punctuation by his own vocal samples. The preponderance of slapbass and sentimental synth-work only adds to the pleasant disorientation. Why do these tunes sound like soap-opera themes from 2026? How is it that the Japanese never bother to discern between “cool” and “uncool” music and just combine the best elements of the two, so you get something so strange and lush and foreign that you have to know it wasn’t made in America? — saelan twerdy
For the uninitiated, Dälek is a hip-hop group. Sure, they’re signed to Mike Patton’s Ipecac label, have toured with Isis and made an album with legendary krautrockers Faust, but the heart of this group bleeds pure beats and rhymes. That being said, this is their least hip-hop-oriented record. The tone is much more restrained than their first two fulllengths, which were all-out sonic assaults on unsuspecting listeners. Instead of abrasive industrial soundscapes and jarring beats, Dälek now raps over haunted, foreboding drone ‘n buzz. Dälek’s vocals, once again, take a back seat and nestle just under the mix, which is in exact opposition to the modern MC whose vocals tend to be pushed well past the accompanying music. Dälek has never been one to follow trends in hip-hop and for this, the attentive listener is rewarded with an album that, while still rooted in tradition, offers something skewed and challenging. — mark e. rich
Imagine Our Love (matador)
Tears of the Valedictorian (scratch/absolutely kosher) With their fourth proper album, Victoria’s Frog Eyes have spread their wings and, like a vulture half-crazed with delusions of grandeur, begun a majestic flight that will probably strike terror into the hearts of everyone. Not that they weren’t airborne before, mind you, but frontman Carey Mercer’s dalliance with Dan Bejar (Destroyer) and Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade/Sunset Rubdown/erstwhile Frog Eyes member) on last year’s Swan Lake album has injected a new sense of ambition into this band. Studio help from Toronto-transplant Daryl Smith also makes this Frog Eyes’ best-produced album by a long shot. Mercer’s fevered, chaotic songs have always held the germs of genius, but on Tears of the Valedictorian, his hallucinations have become a reality. Self-deprecating humour, human squalor, and natural beauty on an epic scale all emerge, sweat-soaked, from these tattered anthems, and no fan of indie-rock should let this album pass them by. — saelan twerdy
Sound of Silver (dfa)
Abandoned Language (ipecac)
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Published on May 1, 2007
Published on May 1, 2007
"One simple message to portray—a single idea displayed, practiced and proven: travel. That is what skateboarding is all about, whether it's...