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The Nerve November 2007 Page 


Volume 8, Number 11, Issue #77

CONTENTS

508 - 825 Granville St., Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 1K9 604.734.1611 www.thenervemagazine.com contact@thenervemagazine.com

12 FESTIVAL OF GUNS

The Don (a/k/a Editor-In-Chief and Publisher) Bradley “Common Law” Damsgaard editor@thenervemagazine.com

Wiseguy (a/k/a Music Editor) Adrian “Barely Paying the Mortgage” Mack mack@thenervemagazine.com Shotgun (a/k/a Associate Editor) Michael “Wanna Touch Tips?” Mann mann@thenervemagazine.com

Yeah, we notice he doesn’t explain those pants... - Ferdy Belland

17 Hot Little Rocket

Hey, wanna play red rocket? - Hayley Muir

The Henchmen (a/k/a Design & Graphics) Kristy Sutor, Laura Jeffries,Toby Bannister

Surveillance Team (a/k/a Photographers) Femke Van Delft, Miss Toby Marie,

Clockwise from Left: Shawn Meehan of Krome, Adam Nation of The Great Outdoors, Mikey Manville and Jay Koenderman form The Manvils and Shiloh Lindsay,

Canada gets a little serenity now - Nate Pike

And another one bites the dust...

- Ferdy Belland

6 The Locust

What, people seriously enjoy this crap?

Plaster Caster (a/k/a Cover Design) Toby Bannister

10 6 19 9

Fire Insurance (a/k/a Advertising) Brad Damsgaard advertise@thenervemagazine.com The Kids (a/k/a The Interns) Hayley Muir

The Nerve is published monthly by The Nerve Magazine Ltd. The opinions expressed by the writers and artists do not necessarily reflect those of The Nerve Magazine’s publisher or its editors. The Nerve does not accept responsibility for content in advertisements. The Nerve reserves the right to refuse any advertisement or submission and accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or artwork. Printed in Canada. All content © Copyright The Nerve Magazine 2007. Est. 1999

7 The Most Serene Republic 5 Deadsure

The Muscle (a/k/a Staff Writers) AD MADGRAS, Cowboy TexAss, Chris Walter, Stephanie Heney, Adam Simpkins, Carl Spackler, David Bertrand, Waltergeist, Ferdy Belland, Dave Von Bentley, Devon Cody, Dale De Ruiter, Johnny Kroll, Andrew Molloy, Cameron Gordon, Brock Thiessen, Filmore Mescalito Holmes, Jon Braun, Jenny Charlesworth, Allan MacInnis, Jeff Topham, TC Shaw, Robyn Dugas, Steven Evans

Out-of-town Connections (a/k/a Distro & Street Team) Toronto: Brayden Jones et. al. Montreal: Douglas Ko Calgary: Mike Taylor Edmonton: Freecloud Records, Bob Prodor Winnipeg: Margo Voncook Regina: Shane Grass Vancouver: Mr. Plow, Stiff Josh Victoria/Whistler: Jono Jak, Lindsay

Coming to shoot a hot load of rock ‘n’ roll in your face!

11 Dweezil Zappa

Launderer (a/k/a Book Editor) Devon “Wedding Planner” Cody cody@thenervemagazine.com

Weapons Cleaner (a/k/a Article Editor) Jon “Last Seen in N’Orleans” Azpiri, Terry Cox

Features

21 TURBONEGRO

- Dale DeFruiter

CAN CON Scratch Bruce McDonald Apocalypse #E’’

Sections 04 21 23 20 25 26 27 27

Cheap Shotz Live Reviews Album Reviews Film/ DVD Music DVD Books Crossword Comics The Nerve November 2007 Page 


Cheap Shotz Lions in the Street Say, “Clowns!”

Nerve Mailbag MORE MOTORHEAD. -KYLE Kyle, thank you for your letter and all your valuable insights. Please turn to the CD section for Chris Walter’s review of Motorhead Live, and please don’t ever change.

According to rumours circulating for the last couple months, Chad Kroeger’s* label 604 Records planned to release an album by fine local rockers Lions in the Street on October 30. Ostensibly entitled The Years, it would have been the debut full length by the fourpiece, but with one small caveat; the band wanted nothing to do with it. Actually, that’s a really big fucking caveat, isn’t it? “It’s not representative,” explained Lions vocalistguitarist Chris Kinnon, in a call to The Nerve in early October “It’s old news.” The whole ugly scenario began when the band hooked up with 604 in 2003. The full-length was recorded in L.A. in 2005 under the band’s former name, the Years (geddit?). If things had gone according to script, the album would have been released by 604 in Canada and TVT Records in the US. Instead, plans to mix the record were scuppered. Kinnon cited disagreements and complications brought on by the two labels as the cause, claiming, “The fact is, they didn’t let us finish the record, or drop us. We were hung out to dry.” The band decided to move on, renaming itself Lions in the Street, and hiring lawyer Don Engel to inform TVT that the existing contract was “breached

OS!!!

Operation K-

Pink Floyd’s Animals - 30th Anniversary Tribute (Like You Care) In an grand effort to mark the 30th Anniversary of the release of Animals (possibly the darkest and angriest album Pink Floyd ever made),Vancouver’s Backstage Lounge and IMU Productions will play host to the entire album, performed live in real time in its entirety by a, er, ‘surrogate band’ (staffed by members of the Feminists, Brainchild, and Arctic), complete with mind-boggling and eye-dazzling visual effects and quadraphonic wraparound sound, all of it guaranteed to leave you whimpering in a piss-soaked fetal position in the corner, helpless to the lysergic hell. Also attending will be Japanese Cowboy (normally a Ween tribute act), performing Floyd’s 1971 epic Echoes all the way through. And if that isn’t enough for one happening freak-out, the evening also features sets by Windows 78 and Arctic - two modern psychedelic bands worth the price of admission alone. Come one, come all, come out and see how Roger Waters responded to the bitter social satire of George Orwell.You’ve seen Crystal Pistol too many times, anyway. Ha ha, charade you are. Misguided local musicians will pretend to be Pink Floyd on Saturday, November 3rd, at the Backstage Lounge

AESOP ROCK

K-OS, as I understand it, is Canada’s reigning champ of hip-hop, funk, soul, reggae, and R&B (black people music). He is the winner of three Junos, six Canadian Urban Music Awards, a Source award, a Grammy nomination, and four rubber MuchMusic labias. K-OS was born in Trinidad, but raised by Jehovah’s Witness parents in a lily-white Toronto suburb, in servitude to the Great Octopus. Interesting story!! Much more interesting is how K-OS - that cheap crook - dine and dashed my brother, a bartender at the Cactus Club in Victoria.

K-OS popped in before his show on that fateful night. He accepted free shots for himself and his friend from the courteous, handsome bartender (my only brother, Stuart Bertrand, who’s since received expensive counseling and a Purple Heart for bravery). Little Bertrand (a patriot) recognized this modern Canadian celebrity on first sight. K-OS ordered donuts, chicken wings, and a fruit smoothie (not on the menu), then went crazy and pulled a stunt about his friend’s unactivated debit card that wouldn’t work, and the big, big hurry to get to his show. They booked out of there, never to return, leaving my only brother to pay the bill out of his own pocket – a pocket once filled with love, but now moist with the tears of deceit.

And why would 604 bother doing that? “Because they’re clowns,” offers Kinnon. So, to recap: 604 Records is like a psychotic exgirlfriend. But with a bigger lawyer than you. *Chad Kroeger is the vocalist-guitarist with Nickelback, and composer of the touching anthem “If Everyone Cared”. - Philip K. Dink

Is this the luxury life of a “platinum-selling Canadian artist”? Stealing booze, being a douche, pimpin’ around trying to get free shit cause you’re a big star? K-OS – buy his new album and poop on it. Clip out this section of The Nerve, and bring it to STU BERTRAND, c/o CACTUS CLUB,VICTORIA for one free back rub. - Dave Bertrand

This month, in a very special Who Gives a Fuck, filmmaker Bruce McDonald Cat or a dog person? Cat. Do you have a cat? Yeah. What’s the cat’s name? The cat’s name is Alice. It’s sort of adopted. It’s a roof top cat. What’s your current alcoholic drink of choice? Probably just a vodka martini with a twist. What’s the most vodka martinis with a twist you’ve drank in a single evening? Probably 11. Eleven? Wow. What’s the most embarrassing thing you did after drinking those 11 vodka martinis with a twist?  Do you remember? Fuck, just being extremely sloppy and babbling. Just babbling and sloppy. What’s the best movie you saw this year? I would say…I like The Host. I thought that movie was great.Yeah, that was a total fave. What else did I see this year? I’ve sort of weirdly have not seen that many movies. I don’t know why, I’m embarrassed. The Lives of Others, I thought that was a good one. Does Halo 3 making more money in a single day than

Spiderman 3 in its opening weekend signal the end of big Hollywood studio films? I just read that! Holy shit, that’s amazing! What can you infer from that? Well I guess it’s just another franchise. I don’t know if it will signal the end of it but it’s definitely some kind of… I don’t know what that means exactly. But yeah, I’m curious about the pornographic equivalent. That’s interesting to me, I don’t know why. What’s your stance on pirating movies?   It’s inevitable. I just read this interesting thing about books and reading and they said this author just finished his book and he wanted his publisher to [have] the entire book for free on the internet and the publisher was aghast. But they had some studies done and they realized that more books are actually sold by doing this. So I think if people truly love it, it’s like anything, they want to collect it, they want to keep something near them. So they’ll seek out the DVD or the thing, I guess. - Michael Mann

Records LABEL SPOTLiGHT: Mush Ado About By filmore mescalito holmes

Celebrating the First Decade of Dirty Loop Music

C

ream rises to the top, they say. The same must be true for mush. Cindy Roché and Robert Curcio have seen Dirty Loops Music Studios and its collaborative offshoot label Mush Records explode from a limited edition, limited selection vinyl project in late ‘90s Cincinnati to a full-blown, international, critically lauded, cross medium happening, with over 50 fulllengths and dozens of singles to its name. Not bad for a stopgap solution, eh? The formative days of Mush centered around Curcio’s personal propensity for atmospheric house. He quickly noticed, however, that many of the more electronic and hard to classify acts had trouble finding a proper release, including Lulu Mushi, Roché’s own downtempo alter ego. And so, in that pivotal year of our Lord 1997, Robert officially joined forces with Cindy in Ohio, and the rest – as I’m sure they don’t say – is vinyl. From there, trippin’ around San Francisco, New York, and finally LA, the Mush aesthetic expanded to include abstract African dub, electronic pop, turntablist sampledelica, indie-rock, leftfield folk, experimental ambient, Australian rap, and every

The Nerve November 2007 Page 

and not enforceable,” according to Kinnon. An identical message was given to 604 by the band itself. Nonetheless, 604 unilaterally decided to fuck Lions over yet again by ignoring the band’s legal position, and allegedly pursuing its intent to release the album with that oddly familiar and some might say outwardly provocative title. “There’s no huge buzz that they’re going to capitalize on,” Kinnon told The Nerve. “At every opportunity, they’ve gone out of their way, either through neglect or malice, to make our lives difficult.” Kinnon then speculated that the unsanctioned release was an attempt to coerce the band into working with 604 again, a move that he described as “mean and despicable,” adding, “how can you go back? Never let the same dog bite you twice.” 604 Records was unavailable for comment at the time. Now, it seems that 604 has decided to not release The Years after all. As of press time, the label still refuses to comment on the situation, though a call to Kinnon provided a little clarification. “Maybe they never intended to do it, ever. It was just a ruse.”

adjective that has ever been followed by a hyphen and the word ‘hop’ (art, glitch, folk, and all manner of underground hip). For them, it’s anything goes as long as it’s good, and that’s a rare thing for modern label bosses. With the Mush offices now securely fastened in Los Angeles, initial genre specifics have been cast even further to the wind; the result of Roché and Curcio’s exposure to all kinds of local music there, as well as the kinky variety that tends to show up when you own a studio. The Mush ethos – a dedication to releasing what they consider innovative and challenging albums instead of merely flooding the market with radiofriendly unit shifters to fodder the fake charts – has seen the good name Mush rise through the ranks to sit alongside Anticon and Merck as one of the most important independent electronic labels in American history, if not the world. In part thanks to foreign distribution deals with Ninja Tune, Spunk, Tri Eight, and many others, Mush has launched or significantly propelled the global careers of a veritable who’s who of critical darlings over the past decade. This includes Aesop Rock, Fat Jon, Odd Nosdam, Jel, Busdriver,

Boom Bip, Caural, Her Space Holiday, Curse ov Dialect, Pedro, Bibio, Daedelus, Antimc, Clue To Kalo, and many more. The list, like the beat, goes on. Every year, more and more releases hit the shelves stamped mushy and the label’s well-earned fan base grows accordingly. The world would appear naked to me without it. Congratulations on your first 10 years, guys. There’ll be many more to come. Essential Recordings From The First Decade: Her Space Holiday – The Young Machines (2003) Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician – Wave Motion (2002) Boom Bip & Doseone – Circle (2000) Aesop Rock – Float (2000) cLOUDDEAD – Ten (2004) iD & Sleeper – Displacement (2005) Nobody & Mystic Chords Of Memory – Present Tree Colored See (2006) Caural – Remembering Today (2005) k-the-i??? – Broken Love Letter (2006) Fisk Industries – EPs & Rarities (2007) Odd Nosdam – Plan 9… Meat Your Hypnosis (2001) Listener - Whispermoon (2003)


by Ferdy Belland

Ryan Scott

MUSIC

From Sparkmarker to Deadsure and Beyond

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yan Scott has been a crucial personality in Vancouver’s rock underground for over 15 years, starting back when ‘indie’ actually meant something. Hailing from the dysfunctionally fascinating town of Cranbrook BC, young skaterpunk Ryan spent the winter after high-school graduation as a ski/snowboard bum in the Rockies before moving to Vancouver and fatefully meeting guitarist/activist Kim Kinakin, with whom he formed the pioneering, proto-emo quasi-hardcore unit Sparkmarker. “When I moved to Vancouver, I had no idea I’d be performing in bands,” admits Scott. “Kim Kinakin lived five houses down and was already gathering the original guys who became Sparkmarker. I told him I’d always wanted to play music, and he was surprised that we shared similar frames of musical reference… which was pretty rare back then. And in those days, like now, it was all about enthusiasm, right? The fact that you don’t know how to play is irrelevant …our first shows were horrific!” The rattletrap amateurishness didn’t last long. Sparkmarker nailed its name forever into the Canadian rock history books by promoting and opening for one of Fugazi’s earliest Vancouver appearances in 1993. Indeed, the endlessly touring, straight-edge community-minded ethics of Sparkmarker mirrored

the vision of MacKaye and Co., helping reignite an international interest in Vancouver’s underground rock scene. “It was so much easier back then,” recalls Scott. “We had 400 people at our first show … the allages scene in Vancouver was a completely other world. But I don’t think it’s fair to say that the enthusiasm in the general populace has dried up. The number of people you get out to a show is maybe a tenth of what it might have been in the past, but there’s so many more shows happening across Vancouver these days… It was a different time then and there weren’t so many options or distractions for artsy social lives. I remember promoting shows in halls, and there was very little competition. It was an event.You were pasting posters up over mainstreamcrap ads at the Town Pump, so you’re going to get anybody who considered themselves indie or underground or alternative or punk or ska or whatever – they were all there, in one place.” Sparkmarker released a handful of powerful 7” singles and stunning CD compilations (1995’s Products and Accessories is a brilliant introduction) before the steam began to peter out. “I left Sparkmarker around the end of 1994 and went back to school,” explains Scott. “Kim continued as the

I do get the sense that despite the bullshit, everyone’s starving for quality in their music and their art

lead vocalist; now he works as a graphic designer for Nettwerk in their LA offices…I did a few musical projects with friends to scratch my indierock itch, but I never performed that much until Deadsure formed.” Despite the MySpace explosion, where literally thousands of Tom-Dick-and-Harry bands have their own site with virtually no barriers, many music lovers still gauge their tastes against the irrelevant limitations of the mainstream music industry; but if modern-day ‘emo kids’ psych themselves up for a Deadsure show by blasting My Chemical Romance, their eyes, ears and minds will be blown open by witnessing Ryan Scott writhing on the filthy dance-floor, strangling himself with his microphone cord and screaming himself hoarse in an utterly unselfconscious display of sweaty bullshit-free emotion. And Gerard Way, with all his pre-processed ilk, shall be rendered useless to said youngster in less than 40 minutes – courtesy of the feeding-back, overdriven instruments of Deadsure. “There’s still a giant gulf between the underground and the mainstream,” Scott points out. “It bothers me to see styles of music broken up and broken up into smaller, more segmented genres and sub-genres and sub-sub-genres, with arbitrarily hardcarven boundaries that divide artists from other artists, and people from other people. But I do get the sense that despite the bullshit, everyone’s starving for quality in their music and their art.” Ryan reveals that Deadsure’s lamented disbandment is mainly about flagging energy. “Greg and I’ve [been] doing it for over five years,” Scott explains, “and we’ve gone through a million lineup changes… but we just don’t have it in us to keep plodding away, continually replacing band members. With this

record out and the nice two-week tour we did, it seems like a good time to close the book and start other projects.” So what does the future hold? “Greg and I are already starting something else,” states Ryan. “And I’m also playing in Owl Drug; we played a handful of debut shows right after Deadsure came home. Owl Drugs has two of the three guys from The Approach, and Paul from Red Light Sting. It’s a little different from the stuff I usually do, but it’s fun and it’s with friends. And that’s what important to me.” n Deadsure’s swan song CD is available at Red Cat, Zulu, and Scratch.

The Nerve November 2007 Page 


MUSIC

N

ew Erections is out and San Diego’s the Locust are touring the shit out of everywhere to support their new effort in spazzy deliciousness. They recently spread like... well, like locusts across Europe, and lucky for you, you’ll be seeing the bug suits real soon because their next conquest is North America. Expect a good show. They dress as bugs and the singer once kissed a dude on Jerry Springer. Even though pretty much every journalist on the web craps their pants and is at a loss to describe the brutal sound the four costumed mayhem-men produce, New Erections is actually quite nice to listen to. I got a chance to ask the magical keebs man Joey Karam a few questions while he rested at his home in LA County.

The Locust

Just Trying to Blend In

Nerve: Your website says that New Erections would be the soundtrack for World War I and II, if you had been around at either time. Have you ever thought about doing a soundtrack to a more modern war? Karam: A friend of the band wrote that. It’s not necessarily what we all think. We just really liked the visual imagery. No, I haven’t thought about doing a modern war. I think it would end up sounding like nu metal, and I’m not into that. How is New Erections doing? I have no idea. I don’t pay attention. As soon as a record is out, I let it go. I guess that’s not the best approach but I keep it at a distance. I am proud of what we did and however it is received is okay by me. A record to me is an object that reflects a stage in my life. It’s what I have to show for the last year and a half. I look back and guess I spent the time well! (laughs) As far as record sales go, I find those things more and more irrelevant as people tend to buy less. With the whole internet and downloading thing, I don’t think that is an adequate reflection of consumption. Are you looking forward to touring Canada? I am really excited to see more of the Canadian landscape. It will give me a chance to explore. In the past we have never done the middle of Canada. I’m excited even though some of the driving looks like its going to be pretty brutal. Do you have a giant bug touring van? Like the Groovie Ghoulies spaceship or anything? No, we just go via a regular van. It’s comfortable.We’ve had it for a while. I love the idea of having a crazy van to drive around in, but it seems that you would be a

By Dale DeRuiter target. It sucks, but I think we live in a world that’s a little harsh. I just don’t think driving through Texas in a space ship would make me feel safe. I understand you guys got some hate mail when you started getting successful. Just before we did Plague Soundscapes on Anti there was a little a bit of a backlash. For the most part though, a lot of people understood what we were doing and why we did it. The bottom line is we were just thinking, ‘This label can help us make a better record’. A lot of opportunities to do stuff we never did in the past, like sound editing, and quality and such. We just want a better product. There is always a bunch of purists that want a band to stay their own. I understand music is very personal and a fan might feel betrayed by a band they have known for a long time if, all of a sudden, the band goes outside of that fan’s comfort zone. That’s fine with me. That’s not a world I am a part of anyway. We are going to do what we want regardless. We are go-

ing to make the creative decision we need to make. You guys have had some pretty interesting merch in the past, like compact mirrors and fake Jack Chick tracts. Anything like that in the future? We are always looking for funny things to do. I don’t have anything in mind right now. But it’s always been a situation of these things entertaining us. If we think of something that is good and clever, we are not afraid to run with that idea.

I just don’t think driving through So this whole Texas in a bug suit thing - is some sort of spaceship would there deep meaning or make me feel safe. anything? Not really. After [original drummer] Dave [Astor] left the band, the bug suit thing started happening a little while after that. At some point there was a decision to add an aesthetic element to the live show. It’s nothing as serious as a band like the Residents where you don’t know who they are.

The Locust have been known to spend a lot of time on songs and never really shelving them and constantly re-working them. What is the oldest song on New Erections? The very first song on New Erections, the beginning of that song came from somewhere in 2005. Although we didn’t spend a whole year dedicated to that song. It sometimes takes a while because we are so picky and there are four voices. Making sure everyone’s opinion is expressed can make the process take a while. Even when a song is recorded, it’s a just a document of where that song is at that time. The music constantly evolves. We spend a lot of time on two minute songs, with the details of the song. Brevity has been key in the past as our songs were even shorter. Now we’re starting to explore space more, and that’s been interesting for us. We’re focusing on new dynamics. We know the music intimately. We know where it’s been but the casual listener might not.  Not that the Locust adheres to any genre particularly, but I’ve noticed that sometimes the hardcore acts have some hate going on for other bands. Do you guys have any rivalries or anything of that sort? We don’t hold rivalries. The bands that I don’t like, I don’t pay attention to. I am indifferent towards them. We like to keep things diverse so we interact with a lot of bands that sound different. The Canadian tour, it seems, is set up to be more aggressive of a tour. Historically we like to tour with bands that vary. For the US part of the tour, we’re playing with bands that sound nothing like us. I like doing that so your ears aren’t being attacked all night. There maybe a common thread concerning ideals, but the music is all very different. That always makes everything fun and a good mix for the night. I appreciate when other bands do that as well. Who are you touring with in Canada? There’s a band called Child Abuse from New York. I knew a couple of them for a couple of years.Their sound is abrasive but more abstract than metal. In the states we’ll try to contact other bands and try to line stuff up, but we didn’t have very much control in Canada. I’m thankful though that the production company is taking control, because I think we wouldn’t be able to do a tour like this without their help. n The Locust plays at UBC Sub Ballroom,Vancouver on Nov 3,Velvet Underground in Edmonton Nov 5,The Underground in Calgary Nov 6,The Exchange in Regina Nov 8,West End Cultural Centre in Winnipeg Nov 9, Call the Office in London Nov 12,The Underground in Hamilton Nov 13,The Reverb in Toronto Nov 14, Babylon in Ottawa Nov 16

Twenty Year Itch

Scratch Records is Old Enough to Vote, Drive, Drink etc.

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wenty years is a lifetime in music and then some. Take the Beatles, for example. The group called it quits in half that time. Or Morrissey and Marr - those two only took three years to get from The Smiths to Strangeways. And even by ’78, punk had already been assigned a “post” prefix.Yes, two decades in music is a long time indeed, making an event such as Scratch Records’ 20th anniversary one worth celebrating. And for three nights in November, that’s what the Vancouver record store, distributor and label will be doing - celebrating - celebrating with a handful of big, fuck-off parties with bands, music and promised hilarity. Destroyer will be there. Pink Mountaintops will be there. And maybe you’ll even be there. But before you head out to the shows (or don’t), perhaps it’s good to know a bit about how Scratch marked off 20 years worth of calendar days. The Scratch story starts back in Vancouver, 1987, when a 20-yearold kid named Keith Parry set up shop below the heart of Gastown. For a modest sum, Parry bought a storefront from an aging couple who ran a music retailer called Continuum Records. He rechristened the shop Scratch Records shortly thereafter, and gradually Continuum’s conventional rock stock gave way to more experimental sonic wares. Independent labels such as Amarillo Records, Homestead and Ralph began filling Scratch’s bins instead of CBS and RCA, and the albums of left-field artists like Daniel Johnston, Sun City Girls and the Residents soon replaced those of Billy Joel and Creedence. Basically, Parry made Scratch into a haven for the weird, the wonderful and the obscure - something that holds to this day.

The Nerve November 2007 Page 

Mixed in with this business of selling music were alcoholdrenched in-stores, rock ’n’ roll debauchery and the overall alleviation of post-teenage angst. There are a lot of stories here from the early party days of Scratch - a lot. Rumours of shirtless, all-male dance parties, freak porn and merciless pranks abound, but since The Nerve is a family publication, perhaps you should ask Keith for the details. The last thing this publication needs is another lawsuit. However, like all things, Scratch had to grow up sometime, and in 1995 - or at eight years old - Parry packed up shop and moved operations to a bigger, roomier shop at 109 W. Cordova St. Here Scratch got down to business, literally. With a wooden Indian standing guard, Parry and co. began setting up Scratch Distribution, which would soon become an indie clearinghouse for music of all sorts in Canada, the U.S. and other privileged corners of the world. According to Parry, this move towards distribution came partly because they wanted to be “cultural ambassadors” not only in their own city, but nationally and internationally as well; something Scratch still strives to be at its current Richards Street location, where the company moved in 1999. Also, Scratch Distribution came along to help get the Scratch Records label up and humming. Since 1991, the label has put out roughly 60 releases and is now the home to left-of-centre rock outfits such as Black/Pink Mountain, Destroyer, Frog Eyes and Book of Lists. While some of Scratch artists have done more than well for themselves (Black Mountain, Spiderman - need I say more?), others, let’s say, have been less fruitful (Bugskull, anyone?).

PHOTO: HAYLEY MUIR

By Brock Thiessen

But ask Parry about sales figures and he’ll likely just laugh. After all, Scratch’s business is music, not money. And good on them for that. It’s this kind of attitude that makes these guys important to this city and, on a larger scale, music as a whole. And the fact that Scratch has been doing this for 20 years is pretty amazing and surely calls for celebration. Perhaps Steve McBean of Black Mountain sums up Scratch’s 20th anniversary best: “It’s one of those nice examples of if you’re true to something, it works out. And 20 years later, it keeps changing and blossoming. It’s really just one of those things nice about life, instead of the chain stores taking over.” n The Scratch Records 20th Anniversary Parties go down on Nov. 3 at Richard’s on Richards (Black Mountain, Climax Golden Twins, Mexican Power), Nov. 9 at Pat’s Pub (Thor,Tranzmitors, French Paddleboat,Vancougar, Weathered Pines), and Nov. 10 at Richard’s on Richards (Destroyer,Vote Robot, Pink Mountaintops, Riff Randells, Dustin Cole, Hilarity)


The Most Serene Republic (Want You to Listen!)

By Nathan Pike

We’re idiots in a new world, and not this world either, but a new world in which we have so much to discover.” So quips Ryan Lenssen, principal songwriter and keyboardist in Milton, Ontario’s the Most Serene Republic. “We started this when we were so young,” he continues, “with all of these ideas in tow and as we progress, as we knock down more walls, we’re faced with a million new hallways to explore. And that’s what’s exciting for us, the almost limitless possibilities of where music can go. We’re addicted to the infinity!” I am talking to Lenssen via the Bowery Room in NYC, as the band prepares to kick off a nearly two month North American tour in support of their newest offering and second full-length, Population. I notice that there’s a lot going on around our conversation, like roadies and band members alike running about, stuff being moved from here to there, other people’s conversations that glide in and out of ours while The Nerve office phone keeps ringing, thus cutting us off for brief moments with a beeeeep. But I think it’s fitting, since there’s a HELL of a lot going on in the music of the Most Serene Republic. Far from the “young and naïve” label they’ve been branded with in the past, TMSR are doing something very different with common song structure; stretching it into a completely different vessel and discovering new capabilities. “We’re trying to find new beauty in the exploration of sound, lyrics, and ultimately the music,” says Lenssen, “with elaborate arrangements and really well thought out melody counterparts, giving credit with past musical references to giants of the romantic period. That’s the kind of thing we’re into. It’s let us do some pretty abstract musical painting,

but if you’re angry, frustrated or scared, sometimes nothing gets that across more than a 5/4 beat at 180 BPM. That’s the sound of confusion.” To listen to this confusion, it’s no surprise that critics have been quick to weigh TMSR down with comparison and sacrificially sweep the band under the rug. Those who just simply hear the music might feel that there’s too much happening for it to make much sense. And it’s true; like I said, there really is a lot going on here. Sweeping and dramatic chord progressions, surprising shifts in mood and tempo, horns, piano, string arrangements, a self aware but still searching lyrical code - it’s all here. And one may say that it’s nothing new, it’s all been done before, but me? I think these kids are on to something. Says Lenssen, “It’s been interesting to see people try to classify us. But it’s clear once you listen to the two albums and EP that there are a lot of different shades to the colors we’ve been painted with. And I’m not sure why some people are so quick to judge, but I’m very pleased and thankful that people want to take the time to listen and understand our music as we envision it. I think what we’re doing is worthwhile, and not worth being called another Death Cab or Broken Social Scene. I really don’t see it; especially in the new work, and to compare so much is just lazy. It’s time to really listen to the music and

lyrics and to come up with something new to say.” Well, I’ll be the first to say that TMSR make some of the most unique music I’ve heard in a long time. A trait shared by a number of the band’s labelmates. Arts And Crafts seems to cater to a more wideopen and seemingly unstructured sound, thus giving its bands the freedom to create and express in uncommon ways. With the new album under their belt, TMSR are feeling more at home than ever before. But the journey was no cakewalk. Internal struggles and battles within the band, as well as the pressures of being on the road and under the spotlight while still growing up were almost enough to kill it. “We started off at war which I think is the interesting thing,” Lenssen laughs. “When we were touring Underwater Cinematographer and Phages we weren’t all that happy with each other. There were a lot of problems actually, enough to make us want to play them out on stage every night. But in the end it kind of helped us because we were hardly in a position to just give up the opportunities given to us, so we just tried to make do and channel that back into the music.” After a thoughtful pause, Lenssen adds, “And with that we’d just get louder and angrier when we’d play which also helped because I think people saw that we were more than just kids having the time of our lives. We were dealing with some

We were dealing with some pretty serious anger and depression, but we’re still here and stronger than ever

pretty serious anger and depression, while the world saw something else. But we’re still here and stronger than ever.” With Population, one can hear the requisite growth and awareness of a group of people still learning and feeling their way through life. It has an upbeat punch, but it’s also glorious, dramatic, and grandiose. At first listen you may think that TMSR have battled their demons, won, and are now celebrating. But as stated before, they have a million new hallways to explore and by the sounds of it, this is only the beginning. “A lot of people think that Population is a happy record and it’s not. It’s a hopeful record,” Lenssen says. “I did my best to cover the anger with fantasy and hope. In reality this record is really our relationship with modern day humanity. One person called it ‘the effects of technology on relationships’, and not romantic relationships either, but humanity as a whole and social relationships. And that’s how the record plays out, beginning with the blissful first stages of discovery, then it progresses into the standard relationship dynamic of finding the flaws in the beauty, and then everything comes crashing down, we enter into the battle where technology comes in to reveal itself and we battle it to the end. Finally it fades out with the last track, which is kind of our melancholy goodbye to all that once was, what we once knew, and now we’re trying to deal with what’s left of it.” n The Most Serene Republic play at the Pyramid cabaret in Winnipeg on Nov 9, Broken City in Calgary Nov 16, Starlight Room in Edmonton Nov 17, Sugar in Victoria Nov 21, and The Plaza in Vancouver Nov 22.

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The Nerve November 2007 Page 


By Bill Mullan

E

is for Evil, without which there could be no Apocalypse. The Holy Bible is clear on that much. But there is no evil music, music and evil being pretty much mutually exclusive. Or, as some deep thinking French guy smoking Gitanes and dressed in black once observed, “Evil is that which is unnecessary.” And then Philip Random sealed the deal with his insistence that “nothing that could ever be defined as music could ever be unnecessary.” Which brings us to the problem of Engelbert Humperdink, England Dan and John Ford Coley, Europe (the power-wimp band, not the continent), Emerson Lake and Powell, the Electric Light Orchestra. “No problem at all,” insists Philip, “Whatever those evil robots may have cranked out, it certainly wasn’t music.” “Except for ELO. They have no place on that list. Hate them all you want for their sins of indulgence and overproduction, but don’t dare call them unnecessary. Someone had to tell us the weird and ugly truth about that middle part of the 1970s when the great hippy dream of the ‘60s was eviscerating itself with such peaceful and easy self-satisfaction. File them next to such fellow travellers as Elton John and the Eagles; not as collaborators with the enemy but as double agents working the dark heart of the zeitgeist, cranking out the hits, snorting their brains and occasionally delivering a fucking masterpiece.” Like ELO’s El Dorado Symphony (1974). Lyrically, it’s a mostly pointless excursion concerning the dreams of some ‘unwoken fool high on a hill in Avalon’, but music and production-wise,

“Yeegads! Jeff Lynne just goes brilliantly, excessively OFF, ramming Beatlesque psychedelia head-on into 1930s era Hollywood musical. Swirling choirs, soaring melodies, occasional rips of tortured electric guitar – it all adds up to something or other, maybe what it would sound like if Jesus and Satan stumbled into each other in some other universe where neither sought dominion, and ended up snorting coke together and doing karaoke versions of each other’s songs.” Which brings us to the tragedy of Elvis, whose very name is an anagram for evil (sort of). According to John Lennon, he died way back in 1958, the day he joined the army. Philip Random gives him another 10 years. “It’s 1968 and Elvis has a comeback TV special planned on NBC. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy have just been shot, the Vietnam war has officially gone to hell, the Beatles haven’t played live for years. But Elvis isn’t worried. He’s got a secret weapon for the show’s climax, a brand new song by Earl Brown called ‘If I Can Dream’ that might just save the world. ‘I’m never going to sing another song I don’t believe in,’ said Elvis when he first heard it. ‘I’m never going to make another movie I don’t believe in.’ And yes, Elvis sang ‘If I Can Dream’ on NBC with deepest belief, a performance that reached through the strange vacuum of the cathode ray tube and touched the hopeful soul of maybe all humanity.” He then proceeded to eat doughnuts,

Which brings us to the tragedy of Elvis, whose very name is an anagram for evil (sort of )

sing awful songs, make worse movies, and finally died nine years later, all alone sitting on the toilet, unable to move his bowels. This was not necessary. n

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MUSIC

Lost and Found

hard to have both mind and libido? While you’re at it, throw some heart and soul in there as well) twisting it into something unassuming, a kind of adult contemporary for young hipster adults, even influencing other acts, more white breeder music. Maybe that’s why I am so constantly disappointed and feel so thwarted by the people who make and listen to such music. I thought that they were capable of something more intriguing and compelling. Isn’t a large part of music the ability to communicate, to engage? A large part of what I look for in music is a window on another world, on another set of experiences. Camp? I’ll admit an affinity for such things, I’ve often enjoyed Eartha Kitt’s I Love Men album produced by Village People Svengali Jacques Morali.Yet a sense of humour is not a key motivating factor in my relentless pursuit of listening pleasures. In fact, if the source of the humour is unintentional, I often find it discomforting (see: kitsch). Which brings us to our featured release, number one in a series: is this a put on? Is this a joke? But before I elaborate with details I should impose my raison d’etre for this column: neglected Canadian music of personal vision, appropriately mostly Vancouver, mostly records. On with it! (clears throat). And to what pleasure do we owe this 25 cent treasure found, all seven inches of it, in a Powell Street furniture store, hmm? Its aquamarine logo relays label name Psi Records, a trident jutting out betwixt the two words. The label address is 1747 W. 3rd Ave.,Vancouver, B.C. I call the phone number, 732-3761, somebody answers with no knowledge of this record, catalog number 101.Year unknown. The group was the Outraged Husbands. The song “Zeus Creation” is the sound of a group of men boisterously chanting along with marching band style orchestration, “We are the men of the nation, we like the ladies in their place, so we say down with the women’s liberation and up with Zeus Creation! We like the girls who wear bikinis, cool chicks are never ever cold...” What follows next is an endless litany of household chore commands and how, after all that, a woman must “look like a doll” when outraged husbands return home. The song signs off with, “Men! Wonderful men! Sensational men!” And applause. It all clocks in at one minute and 54 seconds. The Outraged Husbands said what they wanted to say, and were succinct about it, only adding to the mystery. Flip the record over and it’s the exact same thing: you might wear one side out being always in the mood for skewed boisterism. Was this song a tongue-in-cheek response to Women’s Lib or was it a satire on the misogynist response to Women’s Lib? This record seems too out and out ridiculous to be made as a fear-based reaction to equality. They don’t sound threatened. Still, who or what was this mysterious Zeus Creation? Who made this record? If you know anything about this please inform me: moustachedpainless@yahoo.com

Men! Wonderful men! Sensational men!

Can Con

By Robert Dayton

So what have you been listening to lately?” he asked. An easy question when one is constantly excited by the curiosities that spring up from across the decades of records. I’d just gotten turned on to the innovative psych-tinged French Canadian album Quebec Love by Robert Charlebois. It was blowing my mind and I needed to tell everyone about this adventurous record. As soon as I told him about it he responded with: “Oh, so you listen to music for camp then?” Sigh. At least he didn’t say ‘kitsch’ (I heard that one plenty enough, don’t test me, you pricks), a word I deplore for its separation of subject and object, an elitist P.O.V. state where one engages by being above it all, by laughing at the object. Camp is much more inside than kitsch, the joke is usually shared, but my goodness, what a flip pigeonhole to be oh so carelessly lobbed in my direction. Anyone who knows me knows that I do hate to be pigeonholed, I idealistically feel that we are all too complex for that. Could I be guilty of doing the same? This fella had only moments earlier favourably talked to me of Magnolia Electric Company, a band that- to me- takes such music as Crazy Horse and CCR and does its best to interlekchuleyez it, thus draining it of its sap (is it so

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MUSIC

DWEEZIL ZAPPA Proudly Flying Dad’s Freak Flag By Ferdy Belland

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t would seem that the unique prog-rock / jazzfusion / whatchamacallitisms of Frank Zappa’s impossibly vast musical repertoire continue to fascinate and delight the thinking rock fans of today. The sonic proof in that particular pudding comes at the hands of Dweezil Zappa, who’s rolling around the world with a crackerjack band, cranking out Daddy’s songs for the longtime faithful and the newly-converted under the moniker ‘Zappa Plays Zappa.’ “It went very well!” says Dweezil of his recentlycompleted European tour, calling The Nerve from his Los Angeles home. “What ultimately takes place is people recognize this for what it is — a celebration of Frank’s music. People really have a strong connection to the music and enjoy seeing it played live in a respectful and authentic manner. Whether it’s in Europe or Canada or America, we have pretty much the same kind of reactions. There’s multiple standing ovations, and after the show everyone’s extremely thankful and friendly and happy and grateful to us for doing this.” The first Zappa Plays Zappa incarnation hit Vancouver in December 2006, with a sold-out show that brought the SRO crowd cheering to its feet. It’s a notable show in Dweezil’s memory, and everyone else’s. “I love Vancouver!” Dweezil beams. “I’ve been there to play music, but I also have friends there. And I play golf there! It’s a nice place.” Dweezil Zappa was born in 1969, the second of Frank and Gail Zappa’s four children. He made a celebrity name for himself in the 1980s as an MTV video-jock and an Eddie Van Halen-style shred-king virtuoso, recording such cult albums as My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama (he did appear in Don Johnson’s “Heartbeat” video, but let’s not hold that against him). He branched into the acting world with cameos in Pretty in Pink, The Running Man, and Jack

Frost, and animation freaks should love the fact that he was the voice of Ajax Duckman. His considerable musical prowess crossed over to production, and he composed the theme for The Ben Stiller Show. Although certain cybergeeks revere Dweezil as a hip icon, they never dated Sharon Stone and Lisa Loeb. Dweezil did, but he’s been married to the wholesome Nordic beauty Lauren Knudsen since 2005, and there’s NOTHING geeky about that. As if proudly continuing his family’s musical legacy wasn’t astounding enough, readers should be megastounded to know that, in a move of classic Zappa genius, Dweezil’s been slaving since 1992 on what has become the most continent-shattering guitar wankout to out-shatter all wankouts. Entitled What the Hell was I Thinking?, the piece… aw shit, let’s just let Dweezil himself describe it: “I haven’t had much time to work on it, but I’m going to focus on getting some of it done — and finalized — during my next few breaks in the tour. It’s an interesting project; a continuous piece of music 75 minutes long with 40 different guitar players (note: past participants include Brian May, Eddie Van Halen, and AC/ DC’s Young brothers). I still want to get Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page to play on it. People will get a chance to hear it, for sure, but I’m not sure exactly when.” As for the ZPZ project, it’s become an ongoing annual concern for the Zappa Family Trust. “It’s what we set out to do,” Dweezil explains. “There’s certainly enough material to continue to learn and keep

having new material on an annual basis to present to people. There’s over 80 albums to choose from, which is insane! And there’s so much variety within the music itself.” Assembling a solid band with the collective smarts and muscle to tackle a 90-minute set of Frank Zappa songs is not as easy as forming an April Wine tribute, to be sure. This year’s ZPZ lineup includes keyboardist Aaron Arntz (Red Elvises), saxophonist Scheila Gonzalez (Lionel Hampton, Billy Preston Band), bassist Peter Griffin (Monique Powell, Edgar Winter), percussionist Billy Hulting (Rippingtons), guitarist Jamie Kine (Boneshakers), and drummer Joe Travers. These are the sort of killer musicians you will not see at the Point Pub jam sessions in Port Moody — but they’d be right at home at the Cobalt’s Fake Jazz Wednesdays! A special treat in this year’s ZPZ lineup is the inclusion of guitarist Ray White, who toured with Frank Zappa in 1976 and can be heard on the albums Zappa in New York, Tinsel Town Rebellion, and You Are What You Is. Although last year’s ZPZ lineup included such celebrated ex-Franksters as shredi-knight guitar god Steve Vai, drumming virtuoso Terry Bozzio, and saxophonist Napoleon Murphy Brock, diehard Frank Zappa fans might feel somewhat cheated by the absence of Frankster veterans this year around. “I did that on purpose,” reasons Dwezil. “I know Frank’s music remains very contemporary, but to present it to a younger audience you need to have some sense that it’s closer to their generation. And I didn’t want to front a band of people that was comprised only of people who’d played with Frank, because then it would be really easy for people to think that I was just trying to fill Frank Zappa’s shoes by slipping into one of his former bands. And that is definitely not what I’m trying to do.” Well said; after all, this is not the prog-rock Julian Lennon we’re talking about here, and Dweezil’s an amazing musician in his own right. Does he still have the time to pursue his own music? “I don’t have any time to think about my own music at this particular moment,” Dweezil admits. “When I’m not working on the Zappa Plays Zappa stuff, I have an 18month-old daughter who takes up all my time. Eventually, though, I’ll get a chance to focus on my own music again. I’m also looking forward to getting back into film scoring.” Frank Zappa’s music moves light-years beyond the basic four-chord formats of most rock music, so knowing how to score music certainly comes in handy when working with shit like “The Black Page” (a murderous drum workout so named due to so many written notes cramming the staff paper), or “Dynamo Hum”, or that song about making sure you don’t eat yellow snow where the Huskies pissed in it. “We knew we were going to have a lot of work to do on many levels, but luckily there were a lot

There’s certainly enough material to learn. There’s over 80 albums to choose from, which is insane!

of manuscripts that we worked from. We did have to do a hell of a lot of transcribing as well, and fortunately we had the master tapes to work with — which helped in extreme cases, where we really needed isolation on certain tracks to find out exactly what was being played. Sometimes it’s hard to hear who’s doing what in a stereo mix. And if there’s nothing written on paper…? We really dig in there forensically, and got it all written out properly, to the last note.” Dweezil continues: “A lot of people don’t know that Frank learned everything he knew about music by going to the library as a kid. He didn’t go to college, and that’s one of the main reasons why his music sounds so different. He had no boundaries in his music. I don’t have the same skill-set, in terms of being able to read and write music the way he could. I mean, he could sit down on an airplane with staff paper in his lap, and hear stuff going on around him, and write it all down, and there it was. That’s an insanely gifted ability – to hear music in your head like that and know how to write out the different parts, to know where the rhythms are, and what it sounds like in the end. I can’t do that! In my job I have to not only learn what I have to play as a guitarist, but I have to be well-familiar with what everyone else is playing, to make sure everyone’s doing it right. It’s a crazy amount of work!” And speaking of crazy amounts of work, Dweezil notes the heavy roadwork the ZPZ band is currently undertaking. “We’re playing places Frank never had a chance to go to. Last year we played in Iceland, which was pretty fun! But we’re also covering a lot of ground he played in his day. We played the Royal Albert Hall in London, where he got banned from! A triumphant return, almost 40 years later. We had a special arrangement of ‘Peaches En Regalia’ prepared, and I actually had Aaron Arntz play his organ parts on the huge pipe organ, these huge pipes which run up through the building; and yes, he did play ‘Louie Louie’ for a split second — we had to do that! And no, we didn’t get banned for doing it.” Frank Zappa being banned from the Royal Albert Hall because his keyboardist desecrated the worldfamous pipe organ by playing “Louie Louie” is an apocryphal rock legend, but Dweezil goes Mythbusters on us here. “Frank was working on 200 Motels at the time, and was working with the orchestra that was playing in the movie. Because the orchestra was expensive, the only way to get enough rehearsal time in was to book some concerts. And somebody in the orchestra complained that the music itself was obscene, due to this one instrumental piece they were playing entitled ‘Penis Dimension’. There were hearings held, and Frank actually won, but no settlement could be dispersed because the Royal Albert Hall is owned by the Queen – and you’re not allowed to sue the royal family under English law. So it was like, ‘Okay, yes, you win…now don’t come back!” Zappa plays Zappa hits the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver,Tuesday, November 20. Nov 22 at the Southern Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary, and Nov 23 at the Norther Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton. Be there or shove your head into a toilet or something.

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MUSIC

SOCIAL DISEASE Spread the Social Disease across the globe! Feature song, “Love or War”, is a fuckin’ masterpiece. Check out how, as it begins, wah-wah guitars harmonize flawlessly with a long howl from vocalist Shane Stone. But it’s the incendiary playing of bassist Dank that establishes the pure barbaric strength of the song. The band says its influences are alcohol, weed, and pussy; I say whatever it takes to bring Vancouver pure metal rock. The speed and intensity of Social Disease is head banging worthy. These guys are out to damn all you sons of mothers. - Christina Paris

Parlour Steps Longtime Vancouver mainstays, the Parlour Steps are coming at you with their twangy soft roots sound. Second place winners of the 2005 International Songwriters competition, and with four albums to their credit as well a legion of adoring fans here at home, these local kids have been blowing minds with their live show for years now. Often described in press and by the band itself as ‘thought rock’, the Parlour Steps offer smart pop sensibilities and the beautiful, vocal interplay between singer Caleb Stull and bassist Julie Bavalis. Supporting their new album Ambiguoso, and having recently toured parts of Canada and the U.S, the Parlour Steps return to the stage at this year’s Festival Of Guns in the hope of turning you on to their thoughtful, stormy, West Coast feel. Don’t be a stranger; come see what this town has been talking about for so long now. - Nathan Pike

Stand Down

If you feel like you’ve heard Stand Down before, it’s because you have. It’s the offspring of Finger 11, Staind, Three Days Grace and any other 99.3 radio rockstars. It contains all of the same ingredients as any other pop metal band; the rough, raspy voiced lead singer, mixed with some slow galloping drum hits, and a decent guitar riff. At least two songs on the album have a part where everyone stops playing their instruments, the singer yells, they play again, stop, another yell, and then the song ends with a Creed-like wail of despair. Without Stand

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Down, you would not have all those fruitcakes that are too pussy to shave real mohawks so instead they do faux hawks, sporting their best blue polo and a pair of jeans. Oh, and don’t forget the leather wristband.You know, a friend of mine once said, “Anyone who says that Three Days Grace is their favourite band is saying that water is their favorite beverage.” Same goes for Stand Down.You know who you are! Pick up their new album at a Wal-mart near you! - Christina Paris

The BTUs As the live version of “Cult of Rock” started I felt the urge to run home and change into some high-waist, acid wash jeans and a matching denim vest. I never had the pleasure to see Kiss, Bon Jovi or the Ramones in concert, so knowing that I could have the chance to see a strange combination of all of them on stage at a BTUs show is… comforting, or something to that effect. It’s obvious these guys like rock ‘n’ roll and it sounds like they’re having a kick ass time playing together, so I can’t really say anything bad about them. They’re cheesey and catchy, so if they want to pay homage to the rock scene of the ‘80s, then I give them a big pat on the back. If your mom still has a mullet with four inch high curled bangs and those acid wash jeans I mentioned earlier, send her and her Plaster Caster friends to a BTUs show. - Hayley Muir

The Stumbler’s Inn The Stumbler’s Inn consists of the three Myrfield brothers and Chuck. Except for Chuck, they’re all really large men, burly and broad, a seriously intimidating Nanaimo bar band (funny, since they come from upscale Qualicom Beach).Young Graham’s surprisingly gentle vocal pitch and slapped bass adds the funk, soul, pop and sterling chops. Bandleader Al’s gruff lungs, unchanging facial expression and working man’s heartache brings the manliness, grittiness, and Neil Young-meetsLemmy songcraft simplicity. Jeff’s secret weapon (oompa keyboards) brings on the Doors comparisons, Hawkwind space effects

and irresistible top-end. Chuck brings an absolute down the middle clarity of purpose – the tightest, no-fuck-around beat this side of Bonham. The Stumbler’s psychedelic jam odysseys are in shorter supply these days ever since Graham almost died. But fewer barrels of ale and Tupperware containers of pot-brownies circling the crowd doesn’t mean the Stumbler’s Inn are any less heady, steady, and ready to axe your heart with lovingly crafted folkafunkified man’s man rock that doesn’t give a fuck. The Stumbler’s Inn are sponsored by the Holiday Inn, and regularly perform with no shoes. - Dave Bertrand


MUSIC t’s no secret Vancouver is a hot bed of undiscovered talent, producing and exporting some of North America’s best rock ‘n’ roll. And it’s in the underbelly of the city’s club scene that our talent is forged. This is the premise for the Festival of Guns. From November 15 - 18, The Nerve Magazine and music promotion company SPM Music have yet again produced a snapshot of what it is to live and experience live music in Vancouver. The only regret? Too many bands and not enough places to play! Nonetheless, we have assembled over 60 acts into 11 venues, for a four

I

day celebration of independent talent from Canada’s other city. Some of that talent is featured here in The Nerve, including a full-page interview with Calgary’s Hot Little Rocket (see page 17). But there’s so much more - just go to festivalofguns.com for further details, including a full schedule (next page), updates, venue information, and more. -Sean McKay Producer/Coordinator Festival of Guns

The Painted Birds I really love this band. I love any band that has the balls to step into a recording studio and allow themselves to be busted wide open, probed for sincerity, and come back a slightly disturbed version of their former selves. It’s all about growth, honesty and grit. And it’s been awhile (probably since the release of the first Retrograde album) that I’ve felt so strongly about a local “rock” act. I put the term “rock” in quotes because the Painted Birds are so much more than you would come to expect from commercial radio.Yes, most would consider the group safe and somewhat “radio-friendly”, but one look at the down to earth video posted on their MySpace and a glance at their playlist will reveal an edge that underlies their pop sensibilities. There are hints of Maynard James Keenan, Coldplay, and the now defunct (yet reincarnated recently as the Art of Dying) SunLikeStar echoing somewhere insdie the etchings of the Painted Birds. This is truly one of the better reasons to come out and support Festival of Guns this year. And is there a more suitable place to take part in the catharsis than the Media Club? The intimacy alone will be enough to leave you more than a little shellshocked. After about a dozen beers or so and about as many hugs later, you can amble down to the Stadium SkyTrain station for a safe trip home.* * $2.25 transit fare not included. - Edward Dinsley.

The Sessions Black Betty

With riffs bigger, dumber, fuzzier, and riffier than the riffiest fuzz riffs to ever dumb your big riff head, Black Betty is my favourite Sabbath-worshipping powerchorders in Vancouver. Well... Black Betty plus Grass City (who often share a bill). Most exciting to the discerning gentlemen is how those riffs ooze forth from a titanic SG strapped over the slender shoulder of sexy Ana Serena, who doesn’t even remotely resemble the archetypal dirty tattooed “rocker chick”, thus attracting a sometimes baffling fanbase of non-rock Westenders. The whole thing doesn’t really compute, but who’s complaining? Meanwhile Jonas Fairley, the other half of this duo, is a behemoth on drums;

the “lead” musician, effectively, while Ana steadfastly soldiers away. He’s also a singing drummer (and who doesn’t love a singing drummer?) or more accurately a wailing drummer, akin to Robert Plant or Burke Shelley or Ozzy Osbourne, or all three – combined – circa 1972. Jonas is my pick for the most legitimate vocal talent in town, right after the Pack’s Becky Black. He amazed in previous band Sir Hedgehog, but tackling double duty as drummer is an unexpected and staggering improvement. Great songwriters too; hear BB’s head-nodding, thick’n’dirty debut CD for proof. Not just fuzz for fuzz’s sake. Hot. - Dave Bertrand

The Hotel Lobbyists The Hotel Lobbyists are from parts unknown. The parts I do know however are fun and shit kicking. Not shit kicking like Granville Street on a late Friday night, but shit kicking like an early, hung over Sunday morning at your best bud’s house, a little baked and still drunk from the night before shit kicking. They have had a few line-up changes in the past, but it hasn’t effected their catchy, low res rock ‘n’ roll. These four gents are the funniest bunch you will ever have the pleasure of

touring, watching and wrestling naked with (I have done all three - thanks Jordie). Their songs are singalong and hand clapping friendly, so when you see them this early November for the Fest O’ Guns, feel free to do so and maybe, just maybe lose yourself in Yeti’s saintly beard and Jordie’s deep intense green eyes. They love the Smokes and the Pack. If those two bands joined forces it would be called the Smoke Packs. - Wally

What the hell can I say about an outfit that won at “Emergenza”, the world’s largest Battle of the Bands? My only memory of an event of that nature was a high school talent show wherein Crop Circle’s Ben Darbey took first place with his Nicko McBrain-esque drum solo. As you can imagine, this was a life changing experience for me, and probably as life altering as it was for the Sessions to travel to Rothenburg, Germany to compete at the Emergenza finals against 8, 000 other international hopefuls. Absolutely awesome. Obviously, there’s a reason that these sharp young lads brought their finely crafted tunes overseas. Maybe it’s the fact that they move onstage like a pride of sex panthers with an ulterior motive to charm the pants off of every girl in the room. Or maybe it’s because they incorporate synth-like cobra bites with snap mare snare hits mixed with equal portions of man-musk. I think I’ll leave these queries to those better versed in the field. Consider it fair warning, Sessions: if my girl at any point falls under the spell of your “snakecharming” abilities, you’ll be answering to a very surly Nerve contributor! - Edward Dinsley

16mm I dig bands with a sense of humor so when I was checking out 16mm’s Myspace I immediately decided I liked ‘em as I read their bio, which is basically the entire history of Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green included), swapping out Lyndsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, and Ms. Stevie Nicks for Matthew Moldowan, Jeffrey Josiah Powell, Dominic Coletta and Louise Burns. Unfortunately, I can’t figure out who the lead singer is so I have no idea who to send this love letter to. There’s something about his breathy,

over enunciated sound that makes my knees weak. I’d say it must be the ‘80s teenage girl inside me speaking, but I was born in ’87 so that doesn’t really work out. Whatever it is, I like it, which surprised me because the new-wave electro sound generally isn’t my scene. Another good dance band that is sure to sound even better after consuming Olympian amounts of liquor and/or other substances. And “Dante’s Peak” has taken over as the song I can’t get out of my head. - Hayley Muir

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MUSIC

By Ferdy Belland

A

t the quirky triangular heart of Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant district is the JEM Gallery, which opened its doors in June 2005 and has seen almost nonstop 24-7 hustle and bustle under the much-capable guidance of entrepreneurial duchess Carola Goetze. “This is the first art gallery I’ve had,” explains Goetze. “I’ve coordinated fashion shows, I ran a consignment shop for vintage clothing, and I volunteered at the Howling Pit Gallery. I’ve been involved in the arts scene forever, but when I first got the space, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it. I was going to open a clothing store, but the space dictated it once I went in there. And that’s how it became an art gallery – by design!”

A lifelong Vancouverite, Goetze is a proud veteran of the Smilin’ Buddha punk scene and has forgotten more DOA shows than many see firsthand today. Having mostly lived in the gallery’s neighborhood, the natural question arises: is Mount Pleasant truly one of Vancouver’s artsy nerve-centres, as advertised? “I wouldn’t say it always was, but it certainly is these days,” Goetze confirms. “A lot of my artists live in the neighborhood - a very real artist’s community here these days, for sure.” Asked to gauge JEM’s harmonious standing amongst the other businesses on the block, Goetze answers, “Well, everybody’s sort of isolated. I wouldn’t say we don’t get along... Sometimes it gets a bit antisocial, but not always. It’s more a sign of being busy than being cold and competitive. And there’s quite a few sister galleries in the area, which is always good - Antisocial, Blim, the Grunt, the Western Front, the Video Inn...” The JEM (acronym: ‘Just East of Main’) is a multipurpose arts venue, hosting many intimate live events as well as traditional art showcases. “The Furies did their CD release party here, and that was fun!” says Goetze. “The evening shows are usually well attended. We had touring bands from Regina pull up in their Winnebago - I couldn’t believe they were coming to the gallery!” JEM’s also promoted art events at the Waldorf Hotel, and even out in Langley (which can use all the culture it can get). “The location’s tricky sometimes,” Goetze admits. “I like having the gallery here, and I like having art in everybody’s face. We keep it open to the public as much as we can, so the art stays exposed. We keep a count of people who walk into the gallery every day, versus those who stop on the sidewalk and peer in through the window. Many people are still too intimidated to come into the gallery - even with the local vibe. Sure, the JEM’s an off-beat venue, but that’s how most people are with galleries in general; they’re afraid the atmosphere’ll be stuffy, or they’ll catch dirty looks from the staff, or they’ll be ignored, and they’ll feel like they don’t belong. We take great pains to make sure everyone feels welcome in the JEM.” Notable artists who’ve shown their work at the JEM include DEVO’s Mark Mothersbaugh, Jim Cummins (Vancouver’s beloved I, Braineater), Nicole Steen, Cosimo (“Chocolate Jesus”) Cavalero (who displayed eight chocolate saints for All Saint’s Day), and well-known tattoo artist Carnie Marnie. “The JEM’s known in other Canadian cities, and American artists also request showings. We’re establishing touring

By Allan MacInnis

V

ancouver punk photographer Bev Davies has known Carola Goetze of the JEM Gallery for a very long time – since about 1979, “when I first started going to shows,” Bev tells me. Carola recently showed some of Bev’s lesser-known non-punk images (including Madonna and Johnny Cash), alongside the work of Nerve photographer Femke van Delft. Those who missed Bev’s punk-themed January 2007 show can still see most of the 144 shots in albums at the JEM, though, Bev notes, “There’s a few missing ones that have sold, that I haven’t reprinted.” While you’re there, you might want to pick up a 2008 Punk Rock Calendar. Feeling much more handcrafted than last year’s Mint Records collaboration with Nardwuar, it’s available in a limited edition of 500, signed and numbered by Bev, and the photographs – black and white 4”X6” glossies, glued to high-quality paper – can be detached when the year is up. There are thirteen band images (plus a shot of the Smilin’ Buddha on the front and a tiny pic of Bev and Carola). Covered are: Buddy Selfish (an alternate identity of Ian Tiles of the Pointed Sticks, also present); DOA; No Exit; the Bill of Rights; the Modernettes; the Dishrags; East Van Halen (!); Death Sentence; Los Popularos (featuring Art Bergmann and Buck Cherry); Rude Norton; the Young Canadians; and my own favourite, December’s Subhumans shot. “Yeah, I’ve always called that photograph ‘...And the Entire Crowd Tries to Drag Wimpy Off the Stage,’ ‘coz it looks like everybody in the audience – except Mike Normal who is just standing there, looking so calm – is trying to drag Wimpy off the stage!” Gerry Hannah

described a similar night in his October 2006 Nerve interview with Chris Walter, where the crowd mobbed Wimpy and denuded him. Wimpy (aka Brian Goble, aka Rory Washtok) also makes a rather goofy appearance in the pic of Subhumans “fuck band” offshoot, Rude Norton, which also featured Nick Jones and Dimwit. “I love that picture. That’s Wimpy with the glasses on. Whether he needed those glasses or not...” (Bev trails off into laughter; the glasses are definitely not of the functional sort). The photo of Bev and Carola in the back is taken by Rabid vocalist Sid Sick, who, Bev reports, is the other person in the Rude Norton photo. “Carola invited a whole bunch of us back to her house after something at the Buddha. It was back in the day when I actually drank, and we were drinking vodka and orange juice in that picture; then we ran out of orange juice, and Carola suggested that we could use Tang. We were about to mix up the Tang with that water, and I stupidly suggested that there was absolutely no reason to add the water, let’s just put the Tang into the vodka. So we were like, drinking straight vodka, with a bit of orange colouring in it, which was a really bad choice. So I walked home at four in the morning, a few blocks from her house, and I never did make it in the house that night. I was afraid to go inside, if the ceilings would all swim around too much and do all that kind of crap. So I sat for a long time on the front veranda, and I passed out in the chair. A friend found me in the morning – ‘What are you doing out here?’ ‘Shh! Don’t yell at me,’” Bev laughs, then adopts a motherly tone: “If there’s any children reading this, don’t do this!” n

networks with other Canadian galleries, so artists can develop national audiences for their work.” JEM also functions as HQ for Goetze’s JEM Productions concert promotions (Modernettes revival, DOA, Manvils CD Release, and the Furies/Dishrags punk anniversary, among others), and JEM Records (which reissued the Dishrags CD, as well as future releases from the Dils’ Chip Kinman). Lord knows where she gets the multitasking moxie

I love having art in everyone’s face! for these one-person operations, but Goetze comes through time and again with cool DIY projects. “It’s all pretty fast-paced,” Goetze notes, “and then I get strange things in the mail, like the Library of Canada requesting CDs! I prefer being busy, rather than doing nothing, but there’s never enough hours. Sometimes I clutch my head and say, ‘shit, what have I done???’ So I learn as I go and try not to trip over my own enthusiasm.” JEM benefits from taking part in Mount Pleasant’s popular arts festivals. “Mount Pleasant artists sometimes get left out of other events like the East Side Culture Crawl,” she notes, “so the Swarms are good events to be involved with - people pass through all the different galleries, and people who normally wouldn’t visit the JEM will check us out. And we participate in the Drift - all sorts of shows and exhibits set up in different stores for a month straight; people wander about and are introduced to new things. One weekend a month the artists’ personal studios open to the public. Last year JEM had bands playing live as a Drift party, which went over famously. We stay involved and try to keep our finger on the local pulse.” Asked whether she sees herself curating the JEM Gallery in years to come, Carola Goetze laughs. “Oh yes - but I wish I had a secretary, a housekeeper, a big PA system... But I’m always enjoying my experiences with the JEM Gallery. It’s great! I never know what’s going to happen on any given day, who I’m going to talk to, who I’m going to meet. It’s always exciting!” n For information on current/upcoming JEM Gallery events, please visit myspace. com/thejemgallery

(In which we plug her 2008 Calendar)

PHOTO: KEITH KRISTMANSON

PHOTO: HAYLEY MUIR

Gallery

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The Nerve November 2007 Page 16


MUSIC

Hot Little Rocket Hot, But Not So Little Anymore

By Hayley Muir

A

fter years spent playing shows up and down the west coast and occasionally making the trek out east, Hot Little Rocket is finally getting a lot more recognition these days. The fourpiece recently won Xposure, a contest hosted by the new alternative Calgary radio station X 92.9, meaning almost ubiquitous airplay in their hometown for the single “Like Killers”; a punchy, percussion-heavy post-punk explosion where hook meets noise in thrillingly equal measure. And as of early October, the band also found itself firmly pinned to the number one slot on CBC Radio 3 - all part of a swift upward trend for Hot Little Rocket, ever since Steve Albini was tapped to record its latest album, How to Lose Everything. Scoring the man, nay, the legend, who is responsible for producing - I mean, ‘recording’ - masterpieces like Nirvana’s In Utero, Pixies’ Surfer Rosa, and Page & Plant’s Walking into Clarksdale is a pretty stellar accomplishment, and HLR vocalist-guitarist Andrew Wedderburn says recording at Albini’s Chicago studio was like being in a “full immersion punk-rock summer camp.” “You basically live there,” he says, calling The Nerve mid-tour from somewhere in Quebec. “He’s got little dorm rooms built in the upper level of the studio. He’s built like his dream studio where he lives and can just record people. He’s in a really good spot and it was really inspiring to see a guy who gets to do what he loves everyday. People want him because they love his work and seek him out and he makes them happy by making them the records they always wanted.” To the delight of all bands desperate for a big break or out-of-this-world album, getting Albini to work for you apparently isn’t all that hard. Wedderburn, along with the rest of HLR, tracked down

Oh shit, the bottom fell out of the music industry again Albini’s website before eventually realizing that all they had to do was go to Chicago, and shell out a few bucks. The sound on How to Lose Everything has a bit of a harder edge than the band’s previous two full-lengths; not surprising when your producer has worked on a handful of Jawbreaker and Leftover Crack albums. Tracks such as “Trouble” perform a prodigious, all-out ear-drum assault within the first 10 seconds, but the guys still know how to churn out watery-eyed ballads like “It Gets Dark”, too. In either case, the purity of HLR’s sonic palette is represented in the way that Albini is famous for. “He doesn’t add any gloss or anything so you come away from it sounding the way you sound,” says Wedderburn. “It was really exciting to hear that coming through the speakers the first time and being like, ‘yeah, yeah, this is exactly the way I’ve always wanted it.’ It sounds like it just sounded five minutes ago when we were in the room playing it – nothing was changed in the cables or the wires to turn it into something different.” It’s been 10 years since Hot Little Rocket first started playing all-ages shows in Calgary, and the Calgary music scene has aged with the band – only at a much faster rate – and unfortunately for all those suburban kids in their tight jeans and occasional bullet-belt, the scene is teetering on complete extinction. “The good thing about when there was always a reliable venue like Carpenter’s or the Multi was even if you were too old, you could just show up and see

what’s going on,” Wedderburn recalls, of the notorious all-ages venues in Calgary which now only hold show-stopping events like the ever-popular monthly Lindy Hop (and by ‘ever-popular’ I mean popular for 30 seconds a fucking decade ago… the Freemasons at Carpenter’s better get their shit together before those angry suburban bullet-belt kids who are starved for music come a knockin’ - but I digress). “It’s like watching junior hockey,” continues Wedderburn. “You watch bands form and figure themselves out and often be much better than they are in the big rinks. I miss that gestation pool and the chance to go and see kids just turn loose and feel free to watch, and enjoy, and play, and try things.” With the all-ages grave already dug back home, the boys did what any ambitious band would do: they set off on a tour in China in 2005, starting with a festival in Beijing that had 10,000 people in attendance. Being in a city of 16 million people is definitely a change of pace from little ol’ Calgary (although mega-population will come to Cowtown soon enough, ever since they discovered that filthy patch of oil everyone wants a piece of - but I digress, again), but with only four rock clubs in the entire city of Beijing, it’s not surprising that the Chinese rock scene isn’t much better than its North American prairie equivalent. Not that people didn’t show up for HLR’s shows. “We played with this, literally, I kid you not, like full on suit wearing, pork-pie hat ska band that all these Chinese skinheads came to see. It was crazy,”

It was fun to be the first indie-rock band Beijing had ever seen

remembers Wedderburg. “So they’re building up their own little rock ‘n’ roll scene. It was fun to be the first indie-rock band they’d ever seen.” A year after returning to Calgary, the boys entered themselves into the Xposure contest and won, getting them radio play for their music and pushing HLR a little closer to house-hold name status. “In Calgary, the downtown rock ‘n’ roll crowd is really kind of the same people,” says Wedderburg. “And it’s been really interesting being on this commercial radio station now, which is not something that’s ever happened to us. We play shows now and there’ll be a whole bunch of different faces. So it’s exciting because it’s done what it’s supposed to do.” After the band’s Festival of Gun barnburner on November 17 at The Railway Club, Wedderburg’s hoping to get some time to catch his breath after a long period of graft. The guys have been busy for a long time, now, recording, touring and making their first-ever video for “Like Killers”, which premiered in Calgary at The HiFi club on October 13. But Wedderburn is looking forward to a break. “I miss writing songs. When you’re doing all that stuff you don’t have time to sit in the basement and be like ‘hey, do you like this riff?’ ‘No.’ ‘Well do you like this one?’ ‘Yeah I like that one’,” he says. “You know, there’s gonna be an imposed curfew when winter comes so I’m looking to spend that time just buckling down and playing the guitar and having some fun.You need to be kind of free of stress to be creative.You can’t make things when you’re worried about timetables or outcomes or goals or anything like that.” n

Hot Little Rocket play the Festival of Guns Saturday, Nov. 17th at the Railway CLub.

The Nerve November 2007 Page 17


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Short Ends Torturing Tourists, Screwing Aliens and Hunter S. the movie gets really dark during scenes requiring special effects. There’s not enough science in the science fiction, and it’s not even sexy enough for a Friday night on Showcase. But points for the title - I suspect it relates more to the sedative plot than the sexual evolution of a movie cliché, I mean, lusty hybrid hottie. -Robyn Dugas

Movie Pick of the Month

Aussie Action: Blue Murder (1995) Dir: Michael Jenkins; Metal Skin (1994) Hostel 2 Dir: Eli Roth Sony Eli Roth has dogged me for interviews for both Hostel movies but I still love him. When I went to the advance for the first Hostel there were about three people in the whole theater. The other two people walked out thoroughly disgusted but I really liked it. It had everything I love in a film: original thought, an interesting back story, clever nods to other films and hyper violence. What I liked best about it though was how you had no idea what the fuck was going to happen next and how far it would go. In spite of all of this, I never thought anyone would go see it. Then it knocked off The Lion,The Witch and the Wardrobe to be number one at the box office and inspired a legion of shitty torture porn films. It didn’t take long for the sequel. It was originally slated to come out exactly one year later. Then some genius decided it’d be a good idea to open it in the middle of the summer. To deter people even more from seeing Hostel 2, an unfinished version of the movie completely saturated the internet a few weeks before its release. So a shitload of people downloaded it and a shitload of Eli Roth’s fanbase are internet nerds. I’ll let you come to your own conclusions about how this would affect a relatively low budget summer film’s bottom line. I don’t have a problem with people downloading movies but what sucks is, due to a lack of press screenings, writers, which there were a lot of, published reviews based on the leaked version that had no music and green screens showing. This contributed to the film getting a lot of negative buzz that it didn’t deserve. The premise this time is there are three girls and they go to the hostel where the guests are murdered for fun by rich businessmen. On the surface, this may sound derivative but there’s a lot more going on here than a quick cash grab. Aside from the star’s genitals, the big difference between the two is the first Hostel was drawing influence from Asian Horror and the sequel is inspired by Italian Horror and Giallo’s - the director of Cannibal Holocaust even makes a cameo to eat someone alive.You also get a look into how the hostel operates as we’re given the killer’s perspective as well and learn about the bidding process and what is going on behind the scenes. There are about a half dozen highly memorable scenes and even though you know where it’s going, you’re still on edge and always wondering how far Roth will go. A scene with Dawn Weiner from Welcome to the Dollhouse really takes the cake. If you have a lot of extra time on your hands, there are three commentary tracks on this DVD where you can learn about the films that influenced Hostel 2, that the Thanksgiving trailer in Grindhouse was actually done on the tail end of the Hostel 2 shoot in Prague and hear Eli Roth utter the words “this film has a lot of cock” (spoiler alert: it does!). Give this one a chance. Hostel 2 is better than the original and is the most underrated film of the year. -Michael Mann

Dir: Geoffrey Wright Subversive Cinema I have to make a confession about Subversive Cinema’s new Aussie Action 2-pack – I really didn’t understand half the shit the Aussie actors were saying. It could have been Swahili, for all I could make out. Two minutes into Blue Murder I was navigating back to the menu looking in vain for a subtitle track. I needn’t have bothered however. As it turns out, Blue Murder contains about as much subtlety as getting kicked in the nads by a drunken footie supporter (or something like that). And frankly, it’s all the better for it. Blue Murder was apparently the most controversial Australian miniseries ever, and for good reason. It’s a cops and robbers story, where the cops are the bad guys, the robbers are the bad guys and everyone likes to get drunk, fight, and shoot guns at things. The plot revolves around top cop Roger “the Dodger” Rogerson (played with smug excellence by actor Richard Roxburgh), who, with a gang of other crooked cops, rules New South Wales like it’s his own personal cookie jar. He robs drug dealers, shoots those who interfere with his business, and gives a green light to a convicted rapist and armed robber to steal, kill, and traffic with impunity. Which he does. Repeatedly. Blue Murder is based on real events that took place in the early 1980’s, and ongoing court cases resulting from those events kept the series from being shown for several years in the province where it all took place. It’s a bit sobering for people who like to get riled up about the state of the police here. I mean, at least I’ve never seen any Vancouver cops waving guns around while clad only in Speedos. Though, to be fair, I really don’t party much these days. The second film of the twofer, Metal Skin, simultaneously offers “speeding cars”, “crazy women” and “devil worship.” I don’t know who green-lighted this bullshit movie, because to me that just sounds terrible right there. And it’s not terrible in a good, B-movie sort of way. It’s terrible in a pretentious, self-serious sort of way. My advice: turn the box over, use it as a coaster for your stubbies, and plug in Blue Murder. The second go-around you can almost make out some English. -Steven Evans

Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride: Hunter S. Thompson on Film Directed by Tom Thurman Anchor Bay “I like the music. I’m a music freak” - HST Yeah that’s how the movie starts, a great quote about the man from the dead ol’ master his self. He was Hunter Thompson, the man who drank all the booze, did all the drugs, rode with the Angels, rode the great California acid wave, found himself in centre of events that shaped the world and had a great goddamn time doing it. He stomped on the Terra Firma and blew his brains out when the fun was over. A great American writer who pursued and lived his dreams. Here he is on DVD in all his debauched glory, as told by his friends, colleagues, and Hunter himself. Pulled from many sources, including the BBC’s awesome doc on Hunter and Ralph Steadman from the late ‘70s; you gotta see that one (it’s on the bonus disc of the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Criterion edition). There are also some clips from the vastly underrated Billy Murray flick Where the Buffalo Roam, and it is really cool to see and hear Murray, Harry Dean Stanton, and Nick Tosches all speaking about the late Dr. Gonzo. And you have to catch Gary Busey in all of his freakiness getting interviewed about the man as well! Buy the Ticket… is worth it just for his clips alone! Is this a great movie? I don’t know. It’s no Two Lane Blacktop, or Cockfighter, or even Dixie Dynamite, but if you dig the man you will dig the movie. - Carl Spackler

The Stendhal Syndrome (1996) Dir: Dario Argento Blue Underground

Species: The Awakening Dir: Nick Lyon MGM Meet Professor Miranda Hollander. When she’s not busy teaching horny pupils using tired Latin phrases and clumsy foreshadowing, she’s trying to navigate the scary world of dating like so many 23-year olds with graduate degrees in Classics, Comp Lit and Biochemistry. (Mystery #1: How does a woman this well-rounded stay single?!) However, like the DVD box says, she may be beautiful on the outside but inside, she’s carrying a deadly secret. What? Herpes isn’t deadly. After passing out in the woods, Miranda is hospitalized and proceeds to confuse the heck out of the hospital staff with her unnatural DNA. Mistaking them for the whiners of Grey’s Anatomy, she unleashed her other deadly secret: she’s an insatiably horny killing machine! Naturally, her creepy Uncle Tom (no cabins here, folks) steals her away to that great cinematic refuge, the Mexican border town. Uncle Tom reveals that he’s neither her uncle nor a morally sound fossil doctor person. In fact, Miranda soon learns that she’s the result of a drunken DNA-splicing party gone horribly wrong. Or horribly right, if you ask “Uncle” Tom’s frisky partner in crime, Dr. Forbes Maguire. And so starts Species:The Awakening, the fourth installment in the hot horny killer alien franchise (unless there are some hot horny killer prequels the internet has failed to divulge). Considering its status as the fourth anything, the film looks relatively highbudget and the production design is rather glossy and crisp. However, the prominent use of reds and greens everywhere lent it a distinctly Dr. Seussian feel and one could fashion a drinking game from whenever

One of Asia Argento’s earliest lead roles (and my first Asia experience, circa 2001), her turn as policewoman Anna Manni roped me in for life. Though far too young, meek and slender to make a convincing cop, Asia is still the captivating saving grace of this mid-nineties misfire from her dad. A campier, sexier Italian Juliette Lewis, Asia is desperate, whorish, fearless and mysterious, willing to bare her soul (and plenty more...), driving many a man bat-crazy. On the flip side, my girlfriend considers Asia the most overrated hammy slut in showbiz. Your call!! The Stendhal Syndrome crumples into three loose chunks, attuned to Asia’s shifting persona and haircut. There’s squiggly, naïve brunette Anna, hunting a killer in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. She suffers from “the Stendhal Syndrome”, a debilitating, hallucinatory emotional condition triggered by profound works of art. In dream-like episodes, Anna walks, swoons and swims right through painted canvases, most memorably kissing a giant fish. But the bestial fun is cut short as Anna is raped and tortured by the man she hunts. Enter short-haired “boyish” Anna (at times, really looking like a teenage Dario: hallowed eyes, pointed nose, slender addict cheeks...), recovering from her ordeal, hostile towards amorous advances, acting like a role-reversal rapist. A shit-kicker. In one pretentious moment, she rolls around naked in multicoloured paint. Then there’s “cured,” blond wigged, loose moralled, chain-smoking Anna the seducer, who may no longer be what she seems... Though definitely not horror maestro Dario’s best film, this may be his most daring, as he seriously tries to identify with victims of sexual violence – answering up (arguably) for twenty-five long years of stylized, sexualized visceral trauma as his guiding filmmaking aesthetic. In Stendhal, the intent is mostly humanization over exploitation, post-trauma psychology over suspense/pay-off. He doesn’t succeed, but it’s an interesting experiment with an unorthodox plot trajectory. Solid plotting and logical actor motivation, unfortunately, are NOT Argento’s forte. Enter the bad: the film is 30-40 minutes too long. The overdubbed supporting cast spout their lines like infomercial vacuum salesmen. And as for solid filmmaking axioms like “get in late, get out early”, or “don’t say it, show it”? Ciao muthafucka! Here, every minor character motivation is verbalized to unbearable length. Luckily, like anything Argento, there are moments of stunning beauty, shocking violence, blatant arty photography, and running tap water. A stalking scene in a gallery packed with giant sculptures of heads, hands and horses ranks among the most eerily gorgeous of Argento’s career. -David ‘The Franchise’ Bertrand

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FILM

Do you feel lucky? Well...do ya, punk?

THEY STILL CALL HIM BRUCE By Michael Mann

B

ruce McDonald is a true rock ‘n’ roll cowboy if there ever was one. The man is, of course, responsible for Hardcore Logo, one of the greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll movies of all time. Add director’s credits for Dance Me Outside, Roadkill, Highway 61 and Degrassi: The Next Generation to the mix and you’ve got a legend of Canadian entertainment. He looks like he could drink me under the table and he’s one of three people in Canada that can pull off a cowboy hat. He’s a solid man who doesn’t really give a fuck about shaving and has me wondering why I bothered putting on a white dress shirt for him. He’s all rock ‘n’ roll and it’s actually shocking that he hasn’t been in this magazine before. More shocking than that though is that I’m interviewing him to promote an art film he just directed. The Tracey Fragments is a low budget indie dramedy about 15 year old Tracey Berkowitz, played by Ellen Page of Hard Candy fame who seems destined to become one of the biggest actresses this country has ever produced. Flat-chested and fucked up, Tracey navigates her way through the perils of high school, her dysfunctional family and the dregs of society to find her missing brother who thinks he’s a dog. What gives this film more bite than the source material is it has the most insane editing you’ve ever seen. The Tracey Fragments looks like it was edited by someone who ate an entire Mondrian painting dipped in LSD. Nerve: I went into The Tracey Fragments, like I try to go into all movies, with a blank slate. Bruce McDonald film starring Ellen Page, that’s all I knew going in. To be honest it totally caught me off guard. It’s not what I was expecting at all. Bruce McDonald: Well, yeah, it’s great. It seems fresh to people. For the most part the good response has been ‘Wow, I’ve never seen anything like this before and it sort of worked for me. Like I didn’t think in the first little bit… and then I found myself sort of decoding it and it becomes a fun thing.’ And other people were like ‘This is too much for me. It’s just not my thing’ and alright whatever. But they still end up thinking ‘Wow that girl, she was terrific. That Ellen Page, boy.’ They are very curious about her and what she’s up to.

The Nerve November 2007 Page 20

When you read the script for the first time and visualized the movie in your head, how different did the end product end up being? It’s completely different. People are always like ‘oh yeah the director, you must have the whole movie in your head,’ but I’ve never had a movie in my head, ever. You have big misty visions but it’s always genuine surprise like ‘wow I never really thought it would look like this.’ It’s kinda cool. Was there like a method at all to the editing madness or were you guys just winging it? Kinda, well there’s a few reference points but it’s really organic. People think that we story boarded it. We bought time because I knew it would take a long, long time. It took about seven months and we had three guys doing it and they just listened to it like DJs.

fractured portrait and it’s in a crisis and I thought this could be great, to show that intensity of being 15. Well, you’re obviously not 15 or a girl, maybe you’re a little fucked up, I don’t know, so did working on Degrassi help you capture that? That’s interesting you bring up Degrassi, because when you work with a bunch of kids it was a really fun show to make and ironically the producer was somebody I met at Degrassi. She was a secretary. This was her first film that she produced so, in a way, it’s a kind of homage, or not an homage, it’s the antiDegrassi somehow, you know? As much as I love the show and it’s really fun to work on, it’s a very schoolteacher show. Like ‘Okay kids, if you do drugs, you’re gonna jump off a bridge.’ It’s very much like let them misbehave, and then punish them. And Linda Schuyler who’s the producer, she’s great, but she’s a school teacher and so you know, my nature is to just like go the other way, which you can’t do on Degrassi or you know, you won’t be invited back.

You have big misty visions but it’s always a genuine surprise like ‘wow I never really thought it would look like this.’

Just playing devil’s advocate here. How would you respond to someone who said ‘I find this editing style obnoxious and it’s unwatchable. Bruce, give me back my 80 minutes.’ I’d say, “well you’re just too old.”

Why did you decide to go with that approach in editing? Because that was probably the big decision with this film. It’s something that we’ve been playing with in other films. It was a language that I always just loved. I’m just a sucker for ‘That’s neat! That’s really cool!’… The mission was ‘What’s it like to be 15 and all fucked up?’ so this evolved into stylistic things that I could think of, this seemed to really fit that. ‘ I’m all fucked up, I’m trying to put it together.’ She’s not trying to put together the mystery but it’s a portrait of what it’s like to be that age. And it’s a

How did it come about that Ellen Page did this? Did you shoot before Hard Candy came out? Yup… it would have been like a year before it came out I think. So there was a lot of hype swirling around her, even at that time? I’d heard about her before through a friend who’s a writer and a filmmaker. He said ‘You gotta meet this girl, she’s too good to be true.’ So we met and my producer Sarah was very ‘Gotta get Ellen Page, gotta get Ellen Page.’ And so you know, I still said let’s see everybody, but it just turned out to be a really great call on Sarah’s part… It was

just one of those instant ‘I like you, I think you’re smart, you got great references’. And now it’s great because she’s in this big movie coming up called Juno, which will probably make a bazillion dollars and be on the covers of magazines and we’ll be like ‘Hey, remember us?’ and it will be great. Whenever I’m around people that are younger than me and talented I get angry. Yeah yeah yeah. It’s like fuck, kill now.

I can’t handle that they’re to bigger places than I am. I don’t want to be in the same room as them. It’s funny, you know. I mean, it’s a perfect relationship to be in, the actress/director thing. Once in a while you kind of cringe a bit. In Toronto you’re doing all this press and it’s my turn to go in to the room to do the press and the guy’s sitting there waiting for me and I walk in and the guy looks up and goes ‘where’s Ellen Page? I thought I was getting Ellen Page?’ It was hilarious and I’m kind of like feeling like ‘oh okay, I’m the total fucking second hand here.’ It’s Bruce McDonald, remember me? Yeah totally, but it’s all good. Do you ever find it difficult working under the humungous shadow cast by Hard Core Logo? Sometimes… I know what you mean. I’m really proud of it. I want to make another movie that people really dig, that becomes a touchstone. I was in Calgary the other day and there was a guy who had found this old Hard Core Logo shirt and was wearing it and was like flying the colours and I was like ‘fuck, people love that movie.’ I think that’s great and I’m thinking ‘God, that was like 10 years ago or more.’ I’ve done other things but nothing that has resonated as well as that has, and lasted. And 12 year old girls now come up to me and they go, ‘yeah you fucking did Hard Core Logo that was awesome!’ It’s a double-edged sword because you’re proud of it, but you’re also like ‘Okay enough, let’s try to do something else.’ But if you’re lucky you get two or three of those things in your career. n


LIVE REVIEWS Nebula

TURBONEGRO

The Cobalt,Vancouver, BC Saturday, September 29, 2007

PHOTO: JEN DODDS

I forgot I had an alb by these guys cuz it was a review copy in a skinny sleeve. The kind what gets lost in yer CD shelf. But when a friend mentioned he was going to Whistler on Friday and Cobalt on Saturday to see these guys I had a memory of being impressed by that record I now remembered I owned. I pulled it out again and was rather blown! So off to the Cobalt we went. And Jesus tapdancing Christ! Were we glad we did! About a third way into their set I realized what seeing a young Led Zep might have been like in the clubs in ’68. No, really! Eddie Glass is my new guitar hero. And not because he can go all Satriani and stuff. He doesn’t at all. Forget that finger gymnastic shit. Eddie Glass lays down big fat stoner Sab-like riffs so large and fuzzy you wanna crawl up in ‘em. At the same time he throws in all these subtle fills and touches, all of it so perfect, so ON, so psychedelic. I mean the shit Eddie pulled off between the monster stoner delight riffs were the tiny details where sleeping gods lie. I saw them and heard them in every huge tune they played. He doesn’t need anything but a rhythm section. Just a wha-wha pedal ready to work all night. If you dig Sabbath, Hawkwind, MC5, ‘60s psych/punk, Zep crunch, Hendrix chills, basically heavy rock of any kind this music satisfies like none other I’ve come across for a long time. And he does psychedelic. Not many do. To play psychedelic music you have to understand. I knew Eddie understood as soon as I saw the shirt he was wearing. No it wasn’t some tripped out paisley nonsense. It was a regular guy plaid button shirt, but the colours, the pattern, they wove in such a way that told me this guy had taste, knowledge, style, but mostly that he understood. By the time Nebula launched into Zep’s “How Many More Times” I was glad I had saved my doobie til near the end of the show. Because I was glad to experience the last portion in a higher state. I wasn’t prepared to be that mindblown by a spontaneous, if somewhat instinctive trip down to the Cobalt. I was not prepared to be launched like so. Nebula. Wow. - Phil Oats

Turbonegro / Mondo Generator / Year Long Disaster Commodore Ballroom,Vancouver, BC Thursday, October 11, 2007

So we’re at the Commodore, and I say to Dana from the Zip Guns, “Damn, an aircraft carrier must be docked in English Bay because this place is full of sailors!” Dana just looks at me deadpan and says, “That’s very clever, Chris.” Well, I thought it was funny, the insolent pup. After what seemed like a significant delay, and just as I was beginning to wonder if Hank got busted at the border a la Keith Richards, the blitzkrieg that is Turbonegro took the stage and the party began. I’ll tell ya, that mountain of flesh known as Hank can really swing and from the opening notes of “All My Friends are Dead” to the final encore, the house was a rockin’.You’d think that for all the purported gayness, the men of Turbonegro would try a little harder to convince us of their fondness for Bette Midler. The only member who seemed even the remotest bit swishy was the keyboard/ guitarist on the left (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The rest of the band, from the faded tattoo on Hank’s meaty arm that professes his undying love for a girl named ‘Heidi,’ to Happy Tom’s ridiculous make-up, Turbonegro seems about as gay as Steve McQueen. But I digress, and I was too busy watching the show to spend much time wondering at the band’s sexual preferences. The idea of Hank fucking anyone, male or female, does not paint a pretty picture, so it’s best not to think about it at all.

What I like best about Turbonegro, aside from the skull crushing collage of stolen riffs that pour from their amplifiers, is the humour they bring to the stage. Happy Tom, for instance, reminds me of Dim from A Clockwork Orange, with his sloppily applied blue eyeliner and smeared bright red lipstick. Apparently, he’s a Jak now and was flying his flag proudly. But as I was saying, the ‘Negro is as fun to watch as it is to listen to. The rhythm guitarist on my right sweated all the way through his shirt and heavy safari jacket until only the front pockets were dry. He didn’t even take off his pith helmet. Now that’s rock ‘n’ roll! Euro Boy, of course, was amazing, busting out an endless series of leads sharp enough to lance boils. Hank jiggled and shook, Safari Dude bashed his purple SG, Keyboard Guy camped it up, Euro Boy strutted his stuff, Happy Tom flirted with the kids, and the drummer was as solid as Hank’s shits after a weeklong heroin binge. All the hits were there, naturally, but they made us wait until the second encore before busting out “Got Erection”. Apparently, “Good Head” was played, which, me being a head aficionado after all, is one of my favourites, but somehow I missed it. Did they play three encores or did my brain take a vacation? It wouldn’t be the first time. Mondo Generator gave us a tight, high-energy rock show but the vocals were too screechy for my tastes. A good singer would help immensely. Give them a call. Year Long Disaster? How would I know what they sound like? I was busy getting a blowjob in the alley and missed them entirely. - Chris Walter

LIVE FEATURING

Akron/Family

Richards on Richards,Vancouver, BC Thursday, October 18, 2007

Well usually my reviews are part of a giant semi humorous story that doesn’t really have anything to do with the show I just saw. And boy this one would have been a doozie. I could have wrote about

me and my girlfriend breaking up, making out with two girls at once, doing shots of weed butter mixed with Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kalvin falling out of a chair 10 times in and row and only being able to sing the lyrics of “Mellow Yellow” over and over again but I can’t do that. I JUST CAN’T, OK!?! These guys were great until they stopped mid song to ‘shhhhhhhhhh’ my friends for talking. So they can take their Grateful Dead covers, beards, American flags and bongo drums, and stick it right up their bum bums. Oh, and me and Emma snuck the fuck into the place, so they didn’t even get my money. Just rightly, - Wally

DOA

Plaza Club,Vancouver, BC Thursday, September 27, 2007 VS.

Subhumans

Pub 340,Vancouver, BC Saturday, September 29, 2007 Ah, rivalry. Ever since their managers fell into feuding in the 1980s, DOA and the Subhumans have refused to share a bill. By playing gigs within two days of each other, they’re BEGGING to be compared. - Joey Shithead sprays more spit when he sings than Wimpy Roy, or Brian, or however you hail him. Joe will always look more punk rock, though Brian looking not-so-punk is actually very punk, if you think about it. - If Joe is the Anthony Quinn of punk, Brian is the M. Emmett Walsh. The two could play old-school gunfighters in a western – old friends drawn into a feud by a mischievous journalist, say. Brian wore a cowboy hat onstage, which is where I got the idea. - DOA’s new drummer, James Hayden from the von Zippers, looks too young and clean cut to be in a band THIS grizzled, but his drumming has more in common with Biscuits’ speediness than Jan (the Great Baldini)’s weighty metal beats, which is good. Jon Card is WAYYY more fun to watch, though, whichever band he’s in – when he gets sweaty (after about one song), his hair hangs across his face in an appealingly sleazy way, and his lips do a cool snarl. - Given their revolving roster, Randy Rampage is the reason DOA doesn’t seem like “Joe and whomever he’s working with this year,” so Joe should hang onto him; the two have great chemistry together. By having four members with chemistry together, the Subhumans double the effect. - Both DOA and the Subhumans need to dig deeper into their back catalogues for songs they don’t play very often. DOA have done the same gig the last three times I saw ‘em; I don’t think I can take it again. At least they touch on most of their best tunes. The Subhumans, on the other hand, miss a bunch that would be worthy of resurrection. I haven’t heard bassist Gerry Hannah’s “Oh Canaduh” played live yet, and I hunger for the day some of No Wishes, No Prayers makes it into their repertoire. The title track, “Canada’s Favourite Sport,” “Hiroshima,” and the highly relevant “America Commits Suicide”

T VERTA-RAY

AND MAT JON SPENCER

WITH SPECIAL GUESTS

NOVEMBER 18 TICKETS ALSO AT ZULU AND RED CAT

ENTER TO WIN TICKETS AT www.thenervemagazine.com The Nerve November 2007 Page 21


LIVE REVIEWS have been kept very much alive by filesharing, however much Gerry hates it. - Subhumans guitarist Mike Graham deserves a section to himself. He’s so soft-spoken, it’s always a delight to see how passionately he engages with the material onstage. He’s a helluva guitarist, and I’m glad he wasn’t injured when the PA fell over. He’s a great songwriter, too – even new songs like “Celebrity” and “Daisy Cutter” kick ass (he also penned “Urban Guerrilla,” “Firing Squad,” and “The Big Picture,” all in the set).

crowd being dispersed by the police. The vibes felt bad as beardo-man purse boys and their tucked-in pants girls were shooed off the street by a large pig. I waded upstream thru the crowd when a hand reached out of the darkness. “Spackler, whatcha’ doin?” “I’m on assignment. Headin’ out to Pat’s to catch the Woggles.” “Well hell boy, it’s early! Let’s grab a drink here first!” Why not? It’s a long walk. I could use a refresher. He dragged me through the crowd and around the back of the building and thru a maze of hallways and into a pitch black room packed with bodies and ear meltingly loud music. After a few minutes my eyes began to adjust to the inky depths and I moved toward some red lights glowing in the back of the bar. A rather large set of stag horns sat on the long bar and my friend brought over a round of drinks, and lit a Chong-inspired jay. I slammed back a few beers, a coupla tequila shots and began to really freak out on the hard rock hard funk proto metal proto prog. The music was too good to be true. Was it all a dream? I finally pushed up to the bar to ask who or what was playing on the hi-fi. “Luv Machine, 1971. Only the best stoner rock for you!” said the barkeep, who was somehow French and Mexican at the same time! Frenchican? I smiled and grabbed another round, my buddy took a drink and said he had just got a text that the Woggles didn’t get across the border. Oh, the government needs to protect us from ‘60s inspired matching outfit monsters, apparently. Meanwhile, the average, dubious hip-hop ruffian is invited over the border with a big smile. “Well, that buys us some time,” I told my pal, “but I still have job to do. Let’s order another round, make it a double and then we will push on.” The frenchican meanwhile was now drinking wine right from the bottle, and then topping people’s glasses with it! He grabbed a dirty crumbled water bottle off the floor and filled it with white wine and pushed it over to my friend, who shrugged, smiled and wrapped his lips around the filthy rim. Shortly after that, someone began throwing glasses across the bar. My brain said time to go, but the music was so good, and I hadn’t yet paid for a round. My buddy was staggering around the room, dirty bottle clutched in his hands. I threw an elbow into his ribs and made a beeline for the exit. We tried in vain to hail a cab, but seeing as how my companion was vomiting and pissing at the same time, things looked bleak as far as catching a lift to Pat’s. My pal finally sat down on the gound, pants around his ankles, and called his girlfriend to come and get him. It was 3 am. I headed for home. - Carl Spackler

ances. A staple on the bill whenever the Black Lips come to town, Mint Records’ latest signing played a polished half hour of inventive gems, which, although quite ballady, was far more gritty and garage-driven than the indie sets I’ve seen Vancougar play before. The crowd was relaxed and attentive, obviously comforted by yet another rumour now making the rounds: specifically, that the remaining Lips were backstage teaching their set to Vancouver musician Clint Lofkrantz (ex-Ladies Night, Green Hour), which meant the poster boys of flower-punk would play after all – most of them at least. And when they finally walked on stage – three Black Lips and one very nervous (wouldn’t you be?) Vancouver bassist – the rumour was confirmed. Working off the impressive knowledge and memory of their pinch-hitter, the notorious rockers managed to play more than 14 songs over the span of about 45 minutes. Opening with “I Saw a Ghost (Lean)”, the first track off their latest record Good Bad Not Evil, the make-shift Lips rarely fumbled, compensating somewhat miraculously for Swilley’s absence without relying on gratuitous vomit or blood. And while his absence was of course apparent, it was not as glaring as some would expect, which is a remarkable accomplishment for our lone Vancouver bassist and for the Black Lips themselves. So while this was certainly an unconventional show, it did showcase their talent, skill and resourcefulness in a way that most of us have never seen, which, like I said, made it a perfect night for Vice Records. - Jenny Charlesworth

two of the song so they could shake hands with the crowd and show their own appreciation for the warm reception. It was a great show and Phil Anselmo sounded better than ever, which is why it pains me to say that I would still rather see him with a syringe in his arm screaming out racial slurs. - Dave Downs Bentley

LIVE REVIEWS

So who wins? The Subhumans, and I’m not just saying this because Gerry namechecked me from the stage. Relaxed but edgy, they played most the enthusiastic show I’ve seen them do. The space was cooler, too. Having done three or four local gigs in 2007 alone, DOA tryin’ to fill out a venue the size of the Plaza was probably a mistake. Given the Subs various misfortunes – constant pirating of their back catalogue, a lukewarm reception on a cross-Canada tour that left them all ill, and debacles like the Wise Hall fight, I’m kinda stunned they’re on the road again, but I’m very glad. And so, with the coffin maker watching from the safety of the saloon, we arrive at the climax: Brian draws faster – there’s a puff of dust – then watches sadly as Joe, gritting his teeth, staggers to where his horse is tied. He’ll be back: he’s bloodied but – well, you know. Cue Ennio. - Allan MacInnis

The Woggles

Pat’s Pub,Vancouver, BC Friday, October 19. 2007

Fuck it was pissing out and I not so smartly chose to hoof it. I walked quickly down Main Street on my way to Pat’s Pub. I was desperately in need of a beer and was looking forward to drinkin’ some of Pat’s super cheap hangover-free draft. And also looking forward to launching a formal complaint with the management about the covering up of the greatest piece of art in the city, the onstage mural of Charles Manson, Elvis, and Hitler! Or is the third guy Kevin DuBrow? No matter, hopefully I would be heard and they could at least uncover it between sets. As I headed down the street I saw a large

THE BLACK LIPS

The Black Lips / Vancougar / Sun Arise

PHOTO: Femke Van Delft

Richard’s on Richards,Vancouver, BC Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Nerve November 2007 Page 22

This was everything the Black Lips’ new label,Vice, could have hoped for. The room was packed with sparkley-eyed young hipsters parading around in the latest MTV video fashions, heavy with the anticipation of seeing the label’s most recent pick for ambassadors of cool. With an appearance on Conan just a few nights earlier, the gathering crowd couldn’t have been more excited to see the Atlanta four-piece recreate the magic of that late night performance, and hopefully do another round of those hilarious robotic Devo-inspired bows. But by the time openers Sun Arise walked onstage, that anticipation had been replaced with nervous whispers; the rumour was circulating that Lips bassist Jared Swilley was refused entry into Canada. Playing a set of well-manicured ‘60s psych with Jefferson Airplane-esqe vocals and hardened Velvet Underground melodies, the local five-piece did its best to hold the audience’s attention but the growing crowd was restless, obviously concerned about the outcome of the show. The fact that it all started close to an hour late didn’t help much, either. The ladies of Vancougar hit the stage next – thankfully under better circumst-

An Evening with Down

The Commodore Ballroom,Vancouver, BC Thursday, October 4, 2007

I’m one of the few people in this world that loved the heroin addicted Phil Anselmo. Sure, he might have killed himself momentarily when he OD’d back in’ 96; and okay, his drug use was probably the main factor in Pantera’s break up; and yes, he has used the word ‘n*gger’ in front of a crowd exceeding 16,000 people. But he also made his best two records with a needle in his arm (Pantera’s Trendkill and Down’s Nola). Heroin is just conducive to great music and memorably painful public misbehaviour; it’s a scientific fact. When I met the bastard in 2002 he was slurring his words and almost comatose until he noticed my buddy’s girlfriend. Then he piped up about how he loved eating pussy until his jaw was about to fall off. How romantic is that! If Anselmo hadn’t been high, I would never have had that bonding moment with the man. “Phil, I also love eating pussy until my jaw is about to fall off!” Thanks to the needle and the damage done, I got to see the same man fall off stage that very day, and it was great! Sadly in the four years since then, Anselmo has sobered up, and is all about being an asset to his band, Down, and not a loveable liability. That’s where tonight’s show comes in. There was no opening act; instead, Down played its shitty European vacation video on two screens as if someone gave a shit about their sight seeing tour abroad. Chevy Chase wasn’t even in it. Also they played live footage of the band, which would’ve been interesting if I wasn’t going to see the real thing in 30 minutes time. But the strangest part of the video was this: they spliced in old live performances of KISS, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, and Deep Purple, presumably to show their influences. No one cared, of course. Most of the crowd just wanted to do coke, drink beer, and size up the mosh pit competition. As the lights went down, the black curtain shrouding the stage dropped to the floor, and the band immediately busted into “The Path” from its latest, Down III. Anselmo’s vocals were conspicuously dead on. In fact, I’d say he sounded better live than on the recorded version. When a pristine “Lysergik Funeral Procession” followed, I knew the man was clearly Born Again sober, with all his focus given to performance rather than tiresome antics. His appreciation of the crowd certainly seemed genuine enough; the loud-mouthed former frontman of Pantera might even have been humbled by it. And I’ve never seen or heard an audience so in tune with each other and the band. When Mr. Anselmo asked us what song we wanted to hear the most, the entire room replied in deafening n’sync fashion, “Bury Me in Smoke”. It was the last song of the night, and one of the strangest endings to a concert I’ve ever seen. Kirk Windstein, Pepper Keenan and Rex Brown handed off their instruments to their respective roadies to finish off the last minute or

Unearth / Darkest Hour Croatian Cultural Centre,Vancouver, BC Monday, October 15, 2007

I’ll start by stating just how much I don’t care for the Croatian Cultural Centre, and all ages shows in general, for that matter.Yeah, it’s a shitty thing to say, but it seems that for every one thing done right at the Croatian, eight are done wrong. The alcohol situation is a glaring example of this, although I do have to admit it was pretty funny when a staff member told my friend just how much he looked like a retard trying to stealthily swig from a flask, in a maneuver I’m sure said staff member had only seen about a thousand times. Anyways, another gripe I have with all ages shows is the early start times. This meant that I completely missed the first two bands, although the people I talked to about them seem to have rather mixed feelings about both. Ultimately, it isn’t really relevant to me, since Darkest Hour was really the main band I wanted to see. Touring in support of the new record, Deliver Us, a lot of people ultimately felt a little let down that DH wasn’t headlining, and this definitely showed in the crowd’s enthusiasm. Good performance, but the venue and audience left much to be desired. Headliners Unearth came on to a receptive audience, although it seemed like a lot of people who had only come for DH had left. It’s funny, I first saw these guys almost seven years ago, back when I lived in Toronto, and was blown away by how tight they were. Again, I’m holding the venue responsible, as well as the crowd, for not giving the band the opportunity to shine, even if I personally feel Unearth hasn’t grown that much musically since that first show way back when. I left looking forward to seeing both bands again, but at a different venue. - Simon Illrote

Aesop Rock / Black Moth Super Rainbow / Blockhead and DJ Signify Commodore Ballroom,Vancouver, BC Friday, October 26, 2007

Lex’s DJ Signify and long time Aesop Rock beatsmith James “Blockhead” Simon kicked off the evening pretty slowly. Signify took a couple minutes to warm up, adding cuts to Blockhead’s MacBook noodlings, but never really ended up going anywhere with it. A DMC scratch champ, he ain’t. Simon broke off some undeniably wicked beats peppered with bizarre samples, including Michael Jackson, Queen, and Chris Isaak. His skills obviously lay more in the studio, though. The whole Ableton Live deejaying on a laptop thing is not much of a show when anybody does it… well, I guess Kraftwerk can pull it off. The act break revealed extreme doubts about the crowd. With the average age squarely in the mid-20s and joints steadily puffing, a cloud of totally inconsiderate hipsters swamped the event. People walked through you. Black Moth Super Rainbow came on and blew my mind neo-psychedelically with a Nord Electro 2, a couple vintage organs, and a rhythm section more infectious than small pox, providing all the upbeat funk bass a hippy jam band would ever need. However, the crowd sang them off not with cheers, but with chants of “Aesop! Aesop!” You white bread Canadian crackers!!! Show some fucking respect! A band just made music from scratch. Their drummer was wearing a hoodie. Isn’t that enough for you people? The chanters stuck around for Aesop’s simple set-up, augmented by Rob Sonic adding verbal punctuation and DJ Big Wiz on beats and control vinyl. Quintuple their number shouted out choruses and followed orders, like screaming “television” after Aesop said, “kill.” I strongly agree with the message, but I don’t think it was sinking in at all. These trend sluts love their TVs more than their own parents, and I think Aesop knew it. He wasn’t breaking out of the niche he landed in at all, and why would you? Staring at all those vapid fish eyes every night has to lay a mean trip down on your head. That poor bastard. - filmore mescalito holmes


ALBUM REVIEWS Atreyu Lead Sails Paper Anchor Hollywood Mike Patton must be spinning in his fucking grave right now! (Mike Patton isn’t dead, so don’t worry). First of all, former Faith No More producer Andy Wallace has been mixing shit dirt albums for terrible anal smoothie drinking bands for a few years now. But to add insult to injury to the legacy of the mighty musical Goliath that was Faith No More, he mixes an Atreyu album that features a yeast infected cover of the classic FNM song “Epic”! Fuck you Atreyu! First you ruin my love of The Never Ending Story by naming your finger nail painting band after the main character, and now you fuck with my Faith! I hope every member of Atreyu is raped and murdered for this insulting attempt to capture the sound and feel of a band that made love to my mind and stroked my heart on. What am I talking about? It doesn’t matter! Wear your eye-liner around your sphincter, sing about crying, and bang your 13 year old groupies; just don’t fuck with my prostate massaging music. I only listen to cumguzzling bands like Atreyu because I have to. I listen to Faith No More because I want to. Andy Wallace, you bearded fat fuck, you have enough money! Retire, now. Stop fucking around and mixing albums for emo-metal bands with no taste. As for you, Atreyu, applaud yourself; the best song on your lame album is one of the worst covers I’ve ever heard. Eat a bag of dicks. - David Von Bentley

it’s-not-prog-rock prog rock, The Red Album is a giant slab of heavy gooey goodness. Metal, you may have just won me back – at least for this round. - Adam Simpkins

Baroness Red Album Relapse Metal, it certainly has been a while. The last time we drew swords was deep in the belly of Mastodon’s Leviathan, though I soon left after you insulted me with Slayer’s latest yawner Christ Illusion (I’ll give credit for trying, but you know…). But, as they say in the music journalism biz: FULL DISCLOSURE, I’m not really up to snuff on my metal. That all being said (another nugget of lame journalese), I’ve always been a fan of Relapse Records and this third album from Baroness is no exception. With enough varying styles that even us crewcut, cardigan sporting,Varsity boosting, rum and eggnog drinking squares can get behind - it’s a wonder why everyone isn’t bowing at the heels of this womanly beast (interesting note: Baroness is sans vagina). With equal doses of math-rock, Southern rawk, and I-can’t-believe-

Biffy Clyro Puzzle 14th Floor I haven’t decided if Biffy Clyro has the one of the worst or one of the best names for a band I have ever heard. I’d love to hang around a dude named Biffy, but as a band name? I think that’s a bit ‘iffy’ (self high five for that one!). But to be serious for a moment (let’s grim up people), I think Puzzle by these chaps from Ayrshire, Scotland has it moments, but for the most part, Biffy’s sonic exhibitions make me feel uncomfortable. With its dominant vibe of awkward sappiness, I regret liking the few good parts in the same way I felt regret for getting little boy erections over My Little Pony when I was five. I was actually embarrassed listening to this record, and that comes from someone who is capable of entertaining an hour or so of Nailshitter without remorse. It’s alternative emo, and the musical equivalent of chicks

Black Lips Good Bad Not Evil Vice It wouldn’t be criminal calling the Black Lips unoriginal, but you’d have a hard time arguing that the band doesn’t cover all of its bases on Good Bad Not Evil. Standing under the everexpanding umbrella that is “Garage Rock,” the Lips play homage to all of the genres’ varied idiosyncrasies and obscurities. The opening quarter of the record is relatively straightforward: a trio of economical and scrappy songs that serve their purpose, but it isn’t until the mid-section that the Lips start showing their feathers with the campy “Navajo” and bizarre campfire ditty “How Do You Tell A Child That Someone Has Died?” which sounds more like Transmissions-era Flaming Lips than the Flaming Sideburns. And while the songs on the album tend to carelessly jump from style to style, it ends up working because of the band’s unwillingness to take itself too seriously. And though the Black Lips notorious live performance is rarely captured here (best found on this year’s Los Valientes del Mundo Nuevo), GBNE remains a solid studio effort from a talented, though not terribly inventive band. - Adam Simpkins

with dicks. The reason I picked up Puzzle is because it was produced by Garth Richardson (Testament, Red Hot Chili Peppers) and mixed by Andy Wallace (Faith No More, Jeff Buckley). But this record never comes close to reaching the cock and balls of God like any of those past projects. - David Von Bentley The Black Dahlia Murder Nocturnal Metal Blade That’s more like it! The third full length from Detroit’s Black Dahlia Murder is just the kind of over the top metal mayhem that keeps my head banging when I need a good dose of LOUD! Nocturnal is as speedy as it is brutal, with all the double kick-drum action and blistering guitar you can shove up your ass. If I had to sum up their sound, I’d say BDM sound like they’re doing covers of old Nintendo theme songs sung by oversized ogre’s and fucking angry goblins!! Really, I feel like I’m a Viking right now and as soon as I’m finished writing this review I’m off to save some hot damsel from a mighty horde of blood-orcs. Fucking relentless!! I love it! - Nathan Pike Chesterfield Kings Psychedelic Sunrise Wicked Cool The Chesterfield Kings are so much more than garage revivalists. They’re a fuckin’ wicked rock and roll band with superior tunes and one of the best frontmen I’ve ever seen live (that would be Greg Prevost). I’ve always thought they deserved to be way more popular and I guess Little Steven thinks so too, ‘cos this new album is on his record label and he’s championed them tirelessly. It’s a great record - the music is an amalgam of the best sounds of the years ’65 to ’69 or so, and it’s fun playing spot the steal. Hey, they’re referencing Alice Cooper’s “Black Juju” there (which, in turn, was lifting Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”). Wow, that melody’s totally “Midsummer Night’s Scene” by John’s Children. There’s the intro to “Child of the Moon” by the Stones. It never sounds like a slavish copy, though; more like awesome songs written by a couple of guys with impeccable taste and plenty of soul. - Andrew Molloy

CD SPOTLIGHT Casualties Made in NYC CD/DVD Sideonedummy CD reviews are like icebergs. For every one you see, there are nine more you don’t see, propping up the music editor’s wobbly computer deck or collecting dust in a corner of his cluttered little office. Let’s be clear: most of these CDs deserve to be submerged in icy water until they dissolve, but other times good releases go unnoticed simply because no one has time to wade in these frigid waters. Other bands such as the Casualties might get a review simply because they’ve been around for ages. Ah, shit, let me be honest: I really have no idea how Mack decides which CDs get reviewed and which don’t. Sometimes I’m sure the editor will tell him that certain things have to be reviewed, but other times I think he just plays eeny-meeny-miney-moe. For example, this CD/DVD, recorded live at the Knitting Factory in NYC after a yearlong tour, is as good as you’ll ever hear the Casualties, but I’m not sure it warrants a review. What have the Casualties done to deserve such an honour? Actually, I’m finding myself enjoying Made in NYC more than their recent studio offerings. If every song was as catchy as track six, “VIP”, I’d be a new convert. I’m not the hugest Casualties fan, but the live energy comes through and the sound quality is surprisingly good. But let’s get back to

the dumb analogies: If CD reviews are like icebergs then CD reviewers are like land mines, waiting patiently to go off on some poor artist. If the reviewer has a full belly or has received a good blowjob, then perhaps his review will be favourable. If a cop has ticketed his car or if the girl has been ragging on him, then he might say very nasty things indeed and accuse the band of everything from an utter lack of musicianship to having a secret fondness for Avril Lavigne. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the reviewer says and he is not God. The reader will know that the Casualties have a big, shiny new release and if that’s their thing then they’ll know where to buy it. What kind of day am I having? You be the judge. - Chris Walter

ALBUM Creaking Planks (untitled at press time) self-distributed What doesn’t kill you may make you stronger – but being able to laugh about it sometimes sure helps.Vancouver’s Creaking Planks offer more or less deadpan presentations of songs from a wide variety o’sources, rearranged for accordion, ukulele, washtub, kazoo, lap steel, fiddle and/or banjo. Topics tackled on their debut CDR include aging (“Man Cougar” by Bob Uker), underemployment (“Sandwich Artist,” again by Uker – he says the Planks “give my songs much more reverence than I think they deserve”), cunnilingus (“Girl in the Pink Canoe” by Big Rude Jake), and love/sex in general (Momus’ “I Want You, but I Don’t Need You, NIN’s “Closer,” and Peaches’ “Fuck the Pain Away”). They also work in a couple favourites by Al Mader, AKA the Minimalist Jug Band (“I’m a Lousy Lay” and “Dead Man’s Pants,” brilliantly twisting the latter slightly towards rockabilly). Call it novelty music for the humiliated, with a nod here and there to Jewish/European folk traditions. I preferred the mixes on the last four non-professionally recorded tracks, done in banjoman Ole’s basement with a slightly different lineup, to the first 11 Little Mountain Sound cuts, but then, I’d’ve liked ‘em even better mastered off a scratchy 78 RPM. Arrr! - Allan MacInnis

The Cult Born Into This Roadrunner The Cult are still making records? I know that’s what you said when you saw this review and that’s what I said when I saw this at The Nerve offices. Then I asked myself, “Why?” Well I guess these old men actually love making music, even though I wish they wouldn’t. I never liked the Cult and never really understood the appeal. When was the last time they had a hit? I guess if you listen to any of those horrific ‘classic rock’ radio stations out there you’d hear “Fire Woman” being played as if it was actually a good song. Maybe that’s the appeal? All of those fucking drones out on construction sites listening to the classic rock station and being fooled that into thinking the Cult were good at some point. They were never good, and this record is par for the course. It’s boring in the way that only a mediocre band like the Cult is

boring. It’s never horrible, but it’s never good. It’s as bland as Ian Ashbury performing with the Doors (he wore sunglasses and a leather jacket with those old fucks as if that replaces Jim Morrison, that fucking twat!). Seriously, I’ve never heard anything cool or jam worthy by these leftover fragments of a terrible decade. By the way, what’s the deal with the haircuts of old men in rock bands Billy Duffy? Your hair sucks, so does your band. - David Von Bentley

De Novo Dahl Shout EP Roadrunner De Novo Dahl seem to be one of those bands that will never graduate from being an opening act – the “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” kind of stigma. Like their peers Starlight Mints, Elf Power, Dressy Bessy, and the cast of Indie Pop Explosion 2003-2007, DND are jubilant and energetic, but lack any sort of identity (apart from being photographed in 19th Century bathing costumes) and haven’t quite come up with the ever-important standalone single. And while their purpose for being a warm-up act is evident – two of the three songs on this EP encourage shouting and dancing – the EP runs a bit dry with three miscarried “bonus” remixes of songs you had just heard (the same rerun gimmick is found on their 2005 debut, Cats & Kittens). A long way from the main stage, sure, but at least they’re keeping the wings safely guarded. - Adam Simpkins Electric Six I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me that Restricts Me from Being the Master Metropolis Can music that just makes fun of other music have worth in and of itself? Well, Tenacious D did a good job with Tribute, but really, does anyone need a whole album of piss taking? Big and over the top rock – which is the target of much of Electric Six’s satire – barely requires much making fun of, as the job is so easy (and besides, excess is kind of the point of rock ‘n’ roll isn’t it?). Disco and electronica also get fun poked at them via Dick Valentine’s posturing and cleverly wry lyrics. As a party album this serves its purpose well, and will be extra amusing to those who know their stuff regarding the genres being camped up here, (and I suppose it’s always nice when someone can rhyme ‘Nova Scotian’ with ‘lotion’ so I’ll give them that). However, it’ s not going to end up in any year end top 10s. - Stephanie Heney The Fucking Wrath Season of Evil Goodfellow I’m stoked about all the bands with swearword names. The Fucking Champs. Fuck Off. Fuck Me Dead. Fuck You Yankee Blue Jeans. Corporal Fuckface. Ass Pirate. Wolfucker. Fuckwolf. Go Fucka Tiger. Go Fucka Wolf.VAG(ina). Anal Cunt. Anal Fart. Fuckingthedog. Fuckingthegoat.

FuckingMcJaggerTits. Iwillfuckyou@anus. It’s like new Sepultura punky-fast, with the black dude instead of Max (who married a woman almost twice his age, I mention in passing), hooked at the hip to Entombed about two minutes before Nicke Andersson quit to be a full-time Hellacopter, the whole ensemble smoking blunts thicker than a Christ cock with Edinburgh’s the Exploited, Montreal’s Bionic, and our own local heroes, the Fucking Bison, if you can believe it. A big ol’ longhair steamroller all-marijuana punk-thrash bitchslap fuck party, with masculine cover art of a knight and his dogs slaying a dragon (waaaaay less lame than it sounds). Fucking 11 out of 10 on the Hero Scale. Metal Cum on your face (lol!!!!!) - Dave Bertrand Galactic From The Corner to the Block AntiAre you a man with little faith or interest in hip-hop? Well, Galactic’s sixth studio album and first for Anti- is here to spark your shit. The instrumental brute force expelled by this legendary future funk quintet easily decimates every half reasonable argument against rap anyone can come up with. With bassist Rob Mercurio and world-class drummer Stanton Moore providing the backbone, a plethora of the finest underground emcees (including Lyrics Born, Chali 2na and the Coup’s Boots Riley) unleash a socially positive, musically fulfilling bomb unlike the pop world has ever experienced. Even if you hate all rhymes, you’ve got to respect the original live beats, being truly as soulful as anything Stax related. From the Corner to the Block is the real uniter. - filmore mescalito holmes Grand National A Drink and a Quick Decision Recall Grand National’s sophomore album is a fluffy throwback to the late ‘80s/early ‘90s nutless pop synth-rock debacle. Toss Pet Shop Boys vocals over cloudy Depeche in ecstasy instrumentals and you’ve got the picture. It’s like Trent Reznor went Jehovah’s Witness. Schmaltzy, schmaltzy, schmaltzy. I’m not homophobic, but this is one of the gayest albums I’ve ever heard. If that’s your thing, and you’ve worn out your Depeche Mode records, enjoy. Otherwise, even Justice has more grit. - filmore mescalito holmes Heaven and Hell Live 2007 – Music City Radio Hall Rhino A reunited Black Sabbath Mk. 3 inevitably meant a double live album; give ‘em a few years, they’ll probably do it thrice (hello Iron Maiden!). But with zero Ozzy-era pandering, this album is a cumswap for metal dorks (me!), and a total de-boner to the average “iron” man. The NY crowd seems a tad unexcited. I’ll assume that A) old-schoolers are old, B) Dio. Rock trends say that pomp is back, but Dio – a 96 year-old Italian elf, with a goofy operatic

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ALBUM REVIEWS

RED CAT RECORDS 4307 Main St. Vancouver B.C.

TOP SELLERS Current Top 10 1. Beirut - The Flying Cup Club 2. The Sadies - New Seasons 3. Fiery Furnaces - Widow City 4. Band Of Horses - Cease To Begin 5. Ween - La Cucaracha 6. Jose Gonzalez - In Our Nature 7. The Cave Singers - S/T 8. Devandra Banhart - Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon 9. Holy Fuck - LP 10. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Jukebox Explosion Rockin’ Mid-90’s Punkers! Top 5 Local (Vancouver) 1. Bison - Earthbound 2. Small Sins - Mood Swings 3. Better Friends Than Lovers - Great Loves 4. CR Avery - Magic Hour 5. Vonnegut Dollhouse - Ornamental Etherworld tenor and zero sense of humour or shame - is befuddling and NOT public-friendly. Some moments, like “Computer God”, could be his dying hump. But most of the time – “Heaven and Hell” – he slaaaays! Tony and Geez are crunchy and impeccable, of course. Gods, really. Vin-App is dyno-mite. The setlist – identical throughout the tour – is clipped here by one track, “Ear in the Wall” (union problems). The drum solo courteously tails disc one (eject!). Glaring omissions are “TV Crimes” and “Turn Up the Night”, but we get a huge “Lonely is the Word” instead. The only real problem? This particular show is nothing of note. A piece of magic would’ve been recording opening night, here in Vancouver. With dragons. - Dave Bertrand

bittersweet experience unique unto itself. The three-year wait between the first two fulllengths was excruciating, especially so for those who received advance promos, but Catskills has a remedy for everyone this time around. They’ve collected all the best remixes, b-sides, unreleased, and cover tracks (Alice Cooper’s “Poison” has never been this good) for a special download-only compilation, and thank Gawd. The house type remixes all do a pretty good job of remembering the original spirit of the source material, and the unreleased tracks are a must for completists, so you can put your razors away, drama queen. This is the only Other World you need. - filmore mescalito holmes

notes praise Khalife for accessing the “plane of human universality,” and the disc is on the ‘Connecting Cultures’ label, after all. Khalife, I gather, is considered a provocateur within his cultural milieu: he’s banned in Tunisia, criticized by Islamic fundamentalists in Bahrain, and has found himself in court for “insulting religious values” by using quotes from the Koran in a song (taboo in Lebanon). Good that he’s out there, then, but I still don’t really like music that strives to “connect” with me. The term reminds me of what high school guidance counsellors try to do with teenagers; Taqasim is just a little too sweet, too polished, too pretty. I’m sure it will find an audience regardless. - Allan MacInnis Lightspeed Champion Galaxy of the Lost EP Domino A new release from the Domino stable (home of Franz Ferdinand, Clinic, Arctic Monkeys and a practical hoard of other cutting edge and ‘hot’ artists) is not to be sniffed at, and when you add to this the fact that the act in question is from the UK (of course, the musical centre of the universe) then this EP bodes well before even being opened. Lightspeed Champion is former Test Icicle member and multi instrumentalist Dev Hynes, and his new moniker brings with it a change of style from the Icicles’ angsty thrash. What can best be described as Damon Albarn sings Ben Folds Five but with an acoustic guitar replacing the piano, the tone is indie folksy with insightful lyrics and extremely tuneful, well-written songs. He even manages to make a cover of “Xanadu” sound good. - Stephanie Heney

collaboration with the Animal Collective’s Avey Tare was really something, so she walked away from her bread and butter. Her presence and that of her twin sister (who left the group in ‘02) brought a level of reflection and brevity to múm’s earlier work for sure, but fuck her if she can’t hear the difference between selfindulgent bullshit and viable artistic expression. Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy shows the original founding duo of Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason (gee, can you tell they’re from Björk’s country?) carrying on the fine múm tradition without a mournful look backwards. Aside from the sparse, piano driven “Moon Pills” and the somber “I Was Her Horse,” this album’s consistently bubbly folktronica orchestrations literally chirp with creative satisfaction, landing a lot closer to Gotan Project than Portishead. Most of the deep rave basslines that cut through the layers of distorted Icelandic folk will blow minds in ways Four Tet can’t be bothered to these days. Provided you can get over their male vocal leads, real múm fans everywhere will be saying, “who the fuck is Kria Brekkan?” - filmore mescalito holmes Murcof Cosmos Leaf Though this is Fernando Corona’s third album as Murcof, I had yet to make the acquaintance, and damned if I can remember it now. The nine minute opener “Cuerpo Celeste” consists pretty much entirely of electronically degraded mechanical ambiance pushed way to the background with seldom swells of organ, bass drum, strings, and wind instruments, and I mean seldom. Most of the album is like this. Boy, do you have to be in the right mood and circumstance to get anything out of Cosmos. This kind of shite is just incredibly boring and way more fun to make than listen to. At least “Cielo” has a nice off time broken beat going on under warped vocal sighs and glitch percussion, which pays off as the album highlight. Same deal for “Cometa,” another cool atmospheric track with a beat. The rest, though, is pure wankery produced for nobody except Corona himself. - filmore mescalito holmes

you FEEL like “One of the Chosen” while it plays. It’s my theory that, as an unfortunate token of its relevance and power, it’s this song, and nothing more, that scared US officials enough to refuse the band a Visa for their recently planned tour.You can easily imagine the narrator strapping on explosives and getting on a train (or boarding an airplane with a boxcutter). There are two or three songs that I don’t get yet (“Breathing,” say), and it isn’t quite on par with Thunder and Consolation or The Love of Hopeless Causes, but still – High gives a powerful taste of why New Model Army should be a household name here. Sending out a prayer that their re-application for a spring tour goes through (and that there’s a Vancouver date on it): these guys need to be heard, and this would be a great album for them to draw people in with. - Allan MacInnis Chuck Ragan Feast or Famine Side One Dummy Former Hot Water Music frontman Chuck Ragan has set out on his own with an all acoustic affair that feels more real and genuine than 99% of the electric twanged punk records out there. I’m not a gutter trash punk, and I don’t dig on fiddles or accordions, but I can find charm in the Irish dive bar music of Feast or Famine. It’s nothing truly to write home about, and you’re not going to get another tattoo on your cock or cunt lips that says ‘Feast or Famine’, but if you’re a dude or dudette who showers once a week and says you hate authority so you don’t have to get a job (believe me, I’m with you on both counts), then this is the record for you to chill out to when your done squeegeeing windshields at the Main St. Skytrain station. I personally will never listen to this record again (unless desperate), but I do have the opening track “The Boat” on my iPod. Maybe you could buy that song instead of going out of your way for the whole thing. - David Von Bentley

ALBUM

HIM Venus Doom Sire Was I wrong about HIM! I picked up a copy of Venus Doom from the Nerve office, based solely on the fact that it looked like it might have been decent. I knew I was in for a ride on the shit-ship when I flipped through the liner notes and came across a picture of the band. A humorless, tattooed, and ruggedly pretty group of dudes from Finland, looking out at me through mascara’d eyes. But this isn’t a fashion show, so I give them a listen. Strike two comes the second I push play and hear the tired old clichéd trick of someone lighting a joint and blowing the smoke into the mic. Lee Perry did it with class, HIM-guy doing it sounds lame. So here I am on third listen and all I can hear is a soundtrack to pay-per-view wrestling. I can’t name any tracks because I just don’t care enough and it all sounds the same to me anyway. Dark, sludgy, sugarcoated singing mixed with the odd warble from the devil. Boring hooks and textbook guitar solos abound! Something smells like poo, and it isn’t me. - Nathan Pike The Holly Springs Disaster Motion Sickness Love Underground Operations Lo! What’s this, another cigarette lighting intro? How original and cool! Yes, this is how Saskatchewan’s THSD kick off their first CD, which in my opinion isn’t very cool or original at all. And guitar and bass heavy chug-a-long riffage is nothing new. Couple that with a vocalist who borrows heavily from the “pits of hell roar to soulful singing” handbook, and it doesn’t really make for a standout album. But I will give them points for trying; HSD have guts, in that they play well enough, have interesting time signatures and if they work at it, they might have a sound all their own one day. If this had come out in the late ‘90s you might be hearing the hot new metal band of the year. But it’s 2007, and this is old. - Nathan Pike Husky Rescue Other World: Remixes and Rarities Catskills The Marko Nyberg helmed Husky Rescue is one of the all-time greatest Finnish exports, on par with Teemu Selanee. Though the narrow US market has been a little slow picking it up, this brand of cinematic country post-rock blanketed in ethereal childish innocence (mostly supplied by slinky chanteuse ReetaLeena Korhola) is as addictive and peaceful as suicide. On the strength of just two albums, Husky Rescue provided a breathtaking,

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings 100 Days, 100 Nights Daptone Life seems to keep on trucking for old Sharon Jones and her Dap-Kings, accelerating faster with each passing year. From her humble church gospel roots in the ‘70s, Jones was middle-aged before achieving some notoriety as a prominent member of the late ‘90s Desco Records house band. Though Desco financially dissolved in early 2000, co-owner Bosco “Bass” Mann stayed loyal to Jones and formed the original and evolving incarnation of the Dap-Kings out of the former label’s ashes, and the rest is history. They play all the big festivals now, as well as the talk show circuit, and toured as part of Lou Reed’s live Berlin reproduction. Recently, the Dap-Kings made the charts as the backing band for Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” and “You Know I’m No Good,” claiming half of Back To Black as their own. And yet, before the grace of Gawd, they found time to hit the studio together to record their third full-length. 100 Days, 100 Nights only further solidifies their stance as the current rulers of the classic funk/soul revival movement. Anyone who didn’t know the entire back-story would easily believe this is music from a bygone era, even more so than their early Desco stuff. Give it a test and see. - filmore mescalito holmes Jones Bones s/t EP Independent This is a stylin’ CD, and a big step forward in the right direction from their first release. Although the title track “Jimmy” sounds almost exactly like “Right is Right” by Shattered Faith, that’s a good thing, as there are much worse songs to subconsciously imitate. Overall, this punk/rawk hybrid is a speedy affair that rips by quickly and leaves you wanting more. Good choruses and catchy arrangements make me anticipate further, longer releases. This is one for my personal music library. - Chris Walter Marcel Khalife Taqasim Connecting Cultures Taqasim is a slickly produced, delicately played journey for oud, double bass, and Middle Eastern percussion, presenting (I presume) Arabic folk themes with a warm, accessible tunefulness that borders on having a “universal New Age” quality. Maybe it’s that lutes are really just transplanted ouds, but at times, it almost felt like I was listening to Celtic music; Peter Herbert’s double bass, meanwhile, can’t but remind one of jazz. At least some of this genre cross-chatter is by design: the liner

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Donald Miller The Passing of the Patriot Act and Other Qlipothic Horrors Feed and Seed The term “Qlipoth” refers to “the representation of evil forces in the mystical teachings of Judaism (such as in the Kabbalah).” (Thanks, Wikipedia). Donald Miller knows his magic; you almost imagine he hopes to reach out from the sky – like the giant hand on the cover of the Harry Smith anthology – and make an adjustment to a world gone badly wrong with this two-disc set. One track, “Schade, Schade, Zu Spat Blues (for Michel Henritzi)”, sounds more like a ritual than a song, with a brief blues phrase being looped for over 30 minutes. If it sounds like something John Fahey might have done live in his pranksterlike later days, it’s probably not an accident – Fahey’s spirit is abundantly, surprisingly evident, with Miller playing an acoustic 12-string Epiphone like he’s trying to shake demons out from inside. Thankfully, the rest of the disc is easier to listen to than “Schade” – hot blues-based guitar playing, usually with a slide. There are references to Charley Patton and goofy, winking titles (“The 5000 Fingers of the Immoral Dr. Teas”). Neither those present for Miller’s penetrative drones at the Vancouver New Music festival nor fans of his paint-peeling work with Borbetomagus will be expecting this. - Allan MacInnis

Motorhead Better Motorhead than Dead Live at Hammersmith Steamhammer This is a mighty iceberg indeed. If 9/10ths of it is underwater then it must be fuckin’ huge. A massive, two CD foldout affair recorded in 2005, Better Motorhead than Dead Live at Hammersmith is enough to satisfy even the thirstiest fan. The interesting thing about Motorhead is that this could have been recorded in 1985, and Lemmy hasn’t changed much over the decades. Maybe that wart is a bit larger or maybe he tilts his neck back a bit further when he sings, but this is essentially the same Motorhead you heard in the 70s, 80s, or 90s. Lemmy must have sold his soul to the devil ‘cause he ain’t never going to die and you’ll be buying his albums in your wheelchair. My only regret here is that none of the songs from last year’s stellar Kiss of Death make an appearance, so I’m assuming they hadn’t been written yet. You probably have live versions of most of these songs, but get it anyway and keep Lemmy supplied with Jack Daniels and speed. - Chris Walter múm Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy FatCat It’s been a few years now since our last múm treat, 2004’s Summer Make Good. The big change for this go ‘round: vocalist Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir apparently thought her pseudonymous, waste of money, backasswards

Kate Nash Made Of Bricks Polydor I feel a bit lame admitting that I like this album, but it can’t be helped. I’m charmed by its sassy piano laced melodies and quirky pop everything feel. Now I’m looking through the CD booklet to see our spotless young lass in various states of domesticity. Oh hello, there’s Kate with yellow dish gloves on, and there’s Kate sipping tea while wearing a dated poodle skirt. And again I’m grabbed by her cheeky delivery, sung with a British potty-mouthed twang and sexy sweetness that makes me feel funny all over. The focus here is on her voice, which is crystal clear and in the forefront. Clearly someone has produced the shit out of this album, though in this case, that’s not so bad. It may not be the recording of the year, but it stands tall and is worth a spin. - Nathan Pike

New Model Army High Attack Attack Justin Sullivan is (IMHO) the second best rock songwriter, ever, after Joe Strummer, to emerge from the British Isles. If there were justice in the music industry, he’d be bigger than Bono (that pompous, precious twat). Still, I must confess that I never really got into Carnival, the New Model Army’s previous attempt to get back on the North American map. There were a couple of absolutely epic songs – “Another Imperial Day” and “Fireworks Night” – but also several tunes (“Island,” “LS43,” “Prayer Flags” ) which sounded like outtakes from a better disc. High, the newest release, impresses me much, much more. The album has various moments that send shivers up my spine, they’re just so good, that will amply reward you even if you don’t sit down with the lyric sheet. There’s a straight-up, confident rocker, “Wired,” songs about hypocrisy (“No Mirror, No Shadow”), and addiction (“Dawn”), and several thought-provoking meditations on progress, both scared (“All Consuming Fire”), and surprisingly awestruck (“Into the Wind,” “Rivers”). The standout, tho’, “One of the Chosen,” gets inside the mind of the fanatic with chilling credibility, following a lost spiritual drifter as he’s devoured and transformed by an unspecified cult. With tribally intense, relentless drumming and a vaguely Middle Eastern swirl on the keyboards and guitars, it perfectly grafts its subject matter onto the fascist transcendentalism of the rock experience:

Rapoon Alien Glyph Morphology Soleilmoon (limited edition of 400) Here we find Rapoon – actually ex-Zoviet France guy Robin Storey – in fine form, following up DVD and LP releases of the same name with a slightly altered CD edition. While previous Rapoon I’ve heard wed handdrumming to ambient electronica, this disc sounds more like Supersilent than Muslimgauze: glitchy clouds of orgone-tinged ejaculate that wriggle into your inner egg sac and leave you fertile, tumescent, and purple. Best appreciated with headphones on. The vinyl edition comes in a handmade wooden box, but the CD “will sound different because of the nature of the medium,” Storey says, and those of you excited by that will probably get off on owning it, and touching its (exquisite, handmade, no-two-arealike) cover. Buy more than one! In the absence of a life, we must seize what pleasures we can. - Allan MacInnis Sea Wolf Leaves In the River Dangerbird I don’t know, man. Do we really need another sensitive and frail-hearted storyteller singing songs about innocent love and fading seasons? Leaves In The River isn’t a terrible album, but it isn’t terribly good either. From the lead off title track I am immediately reminded of Bright Eyes. That voice that sounds SO full of world-weariness and pain, ready to break into uncontrollable weeping at the drop of a hat. Actually, there’s an album I’d enjoy hearing, where the singer ends every song sobbing and the band falls apart because they can’t see their instruments through the tears. Shit, maybe it’s because I’m a bit depressed today that I’m slagging on this album. Maybe I should go form my own Sea Wolf. Maybe I should give this CD a chance. Maybe I should stop being so damned nice and say, “Fuck it, this music makes me want to barf.” Okay, I said it. I am not a fan of this music at all. Sorry, sad indie-kids. - Nathan Pike Service Group Principles of Electronic Circuitry Squid vs. Whale Much the same way Eve 6 put its tender heart in a blender, so does Service Group with its endless supply of influences from the last 30 years of pop music. Right from the onset of Principles of Electronic Circuitry, the group snags a drum beat from the Jam’s “Start!” (coincidence?) and a fun game of “Stop! Thief!” follows suit. First it’s Sloan (“Secret Servants”), then Marshall Crenshaw gets nicked with “Pill Fer That,” and basically a free-for-all follows


ALBUM REVIEWS suit. Supergrass, New Pornographers, Flop, Squeeze; the victims list is practically endless, which would normally be fine since there are much worse bands to steal from. Unfortunately, the record ends up being distracting and confusing – leaving one to wonder who it is they are actually listening to. And since none of the tracks here live up to whatever they’re trying to emulate, Service Group may be better suited as a tribute band. - Adam Simpkins Shitmat Grooverider Planet Mu Holy shite! I wasn’t ready for this one. I usually find Shitmat’s output a little over the breakcore edge and into the realm of IDM spaz blender noise. However, he’s obviously not an easy man to pin down. Taking its name from a mega famous but currently mega stale drum ‘n’ bass legend, Grooverider sees Henry “Shitmat” Collins at his most accessible for club junglists without forsaking his hardcore fan base, which is no small feat. The opening Tina Turner sampling “’94 Abyss” sets the tone for the album with a mad throwback to early ‘90s drum ‘n’ bass finding harmony with Henry’s intense drum programming as well as the cheesy (but trying to be dark) decade old jump up style pioneered by the likes of Bizzy B and Photek. Once that track peaks, you know your ass is either going to move or be handed to you on a heavy metal platter. While the old guard of Klute and Teebee types lay stuck in the crystalline bog of synthetic quantization, Collins is just getting the party started, old school. Though, really, all I have to do is tell you his name to know you’re going to at least download it. Shitmat will take care of the rest. - filmore mescalito holmes

Songs Of Green Pheasant Gyllyng Street Fat Cat In a world raping itself for instantly satisfying, ultimately banal minutiae, albums of a more subtly rewarding nature, like this one, are a rarity. Influenced by the vengeful underbelly of late ‘80s Cocteau UK pop, the Duncan Sumpner helmed collective’s sophomore work swoons with the quiet awe of a new mother warning softly her fragile seed of the heartbreak in the world while sitting enraptured by the child’s most pure innocence (come again? - Music Ed) Light acoustic guitar and ambient synth moans often kick off each individual piece, elevating to a smooth electric peak with a bit of drumming, bass, and/or possible trumpet or flute, each adding a necessary step to the overall journey. Gyllyng Street is a moving example of British 8-track progressive folk the likes of which will last through the ages. - filmore mescalito holmes Soulsavers It’s Not How You Fall, It’s The Way You Land Red Ink Holy Christ! Can this be? A great fucking album that I love? This must be a dream! I literally picked up Soulsavers thinking it was another lame cock metal band, but it turns out to be a mind tripping Mark Lanegan voiced record that saved my soul. Imagine Sigur Rós with more of a groove (a low tempo one at that), laced with the whiskey soaked vocals of that least appreciated of American legends, Mr. Lanegan. Beautifully arranged melodies and painful pleas for faith, forgiveness, love, and death. Hopeless at times and at others, illuminated by faith’s guiding light. This isn’t a ‘Christian’ record, I want to make that clear, but it does start off with “Revival”; a track that would feel at home in the Southern church of your choice, with a choir being led by the always genuine former frontman of the Screaming Trees and epic, perfect organ. “Ghost of You and Me” follows with dark, eerie feedback and Lanegan almost sounding like he’s singing vocals for a different track. Contrasting vastly with “Revival”, it has a trip hop drum beat that kicks in, but doesn’t lighten the mood. I can go off about each song, and the sublime mood shifts from one to the next, and how great the somber cover of the Stones’ classic “No Expectations” is, but I don’t have enough room. I’ll just say this is one of the best records of the year and leave it at that. - David Von Bentley

forced my books on the staff and then split. The guy I was talking with seemed kinda bummed that I was leaving or maybe he was glad to see me go. I’ve never been a good judge of these things. Anyway, I get to listen to this CD at my own leisure, and though it makes me want to shake my wrinkled old butt, I can sit down if I wish. There is a wide variety of styles on When the Beat Starts to Pound: from reggae, soul, ska, funk, and dub, to blues, motown, and rock, all with a punk edge that keeps it energetic and fresh. This mixed bag never gets stale and is a treat for my jaded old ears. Seeya in the ‘peg, lads. Hopefully next time I’ll have time to catch the whole set. - Chris Walter Turzi A Kemado Romain Turzi strikes me as a very confused and conflicted person. The Parisian producer sees nothing wrong with mashing together elements of prog-rock, ‘90s alternative, and classic psychedelia with old school Kraftwerk electronica, modern techno, and bible rocking spirituality, each track morphing into various extremes of each. I guess I can. Granted, I’ve not heard anything quite like it, so props for originality, but I can’t say I want to ever hear it again. The mixes mostly sound kinda muddled to me, which doesn’t help the aimless direction. While it’s understandable given the seemingly contradictory influences, that doesn’t help make A any more memorable musically. To answer your question, Romain, no, I’m not thinking about Jesus. I’m hoping there aren’t 25 more of these. - filmore mescalito holmes

DVD REVIEW documentary offers us a glimpse into the effects of a society that stifles its disaffected youth. What we see is a group of bored and restless kids struggling to prove their worth, while keeping hold of their “don’t give a shit” attitude. We are introduced to the band a few days before it hits the road, showing us where and how the four members live. Life consists of drinking and hanging out, daring each other to step into the disgusting public toilets, drinking, and then more drinking. In a funny scene we follow a clearly hung over and just woken up Bian Yuan as he fixes himself a steaming bowl of whiskey noodles. Yes, that’s half a bottle of whiskey and a package of dry noodles. Maybe some sprouts. This trend of heavy alcohol abuse continues, as we get treated to footage from various stopovers on the tour, which by the looks of it was a moderately successful one. While not packing the rooms it played, Joyside clearly has the respect of a growing fan-base. It’s an intriguing film, but I couldn’t help feel a mixture of sadness and revulsion after a while as the alcohol abuse pushed the music to the side. Hell, even the live footage mostly showcased the band’s drinking ability. Personally, I would have liked to have seen more of the raw live stuff, but director Kevin Fritz deserves credit for offering a compelling look into a world so far from our own. - Nate Pike

Wasted Orient Directed by Kevin Fritz Plexifilm DVD Wasted Orient documents the tale of Bian Yuan, Liu Hao, Fan Bo, and Yang Yang, four young punk rockers from Beijing China, and their band, Joyside. After three years slogging it out on their home turf, Joyside embarks on what is to be their first ever tour within a country that isn’t used to such artistic expression. The story’s main focus is around the boys and their exploits on the road. Nicely filmed, this 90-minute

REVIEWS

Sodom The Final Sign of Evil Steamhammer This band’s website is www.sodomized.info... I swear! So if you were sodomized and were perhaps looking for info on what happened to yourself, going to www.sodomized.info would only bring you to the official website of one of black/thrash metal’s most strangely named outfits. I understand that Christians look down on sodomy, but calling yourselves Sodom is pretty weird and uncomfortable. I’m not here to judge that, mind you. Actually, who am I kidding? Of course I am! If these guys want to sodomize each other, I’m not going to stand in their way (especially when I’m wearing my PJs with the trap door in the back). But I would like to stand in the way of these butt fuckers expressing themselves musically (and no, the rhythmic slapping of the pubic bone against the gluteus maximus isn’t the ‘music’ I’m talking about). The Final Sign of Evil is the re-recording of the apparently “classic” Sign of Evil EP released in 1984, which now includes seven songs that were left off the original, with the same line-up reuniting for the first time in 23 AIDS-free years. And well, it really sounds like a thrash/black metal power trio record from 1984 (think shitcock poor Venom rip-off). It has sloppy production, cheesy demon vocal effects, and a drummer struggling at all times to keep up with the rest of the band. The Final Sign of Evil is a must have for anyone who enjoys reliving the glory days (not glory hole) of the Sodomy era, with metal studded cod pieces and assless leather chaps in tow! - David Von Bentley

Sub City Dwellers When the Beat Starts to Pound Longshot I’ll tell you a funny story about the Sub City Dwellers. The last time I was in Winnipeg, I was wandering around on Osborne Avenue looking for places to put my shitty books. I saw a new record store called Music Trader and walked in to make my pitch. To my surprise, a largish rock band, complete with horn section, was running through “Pressure Drop”, the Toots and the Maytals song adopted by the Clash. I was happy to have stumbled across a free in-house performance by an obviously talented band and leaned against a counter to watch. Sadly, the band finished the song and stopped; “Pressure Drop” was just for soundcheck. I spoke briefly with the guitarist, I think, or maybe it was the saxophonist, and learned that they were the Sub City Dwellers and they were going to play a full set, but not for 20 minutes or so. Sadly, I was pressed for time and couldn’t stay, just

Vanilla Fudge Out Through the In Door Escapi-music This record is all Led Zeppelin songs. Okay, first off there ain’t enough time nor space to go into the Fudge’s history. I’ll make it brief. They blew Beatles’ and others’ minds with their debut in ‘67 by Fudge-izing other people’s songs. Then when this new band Led Zeppelin came to tour America, the Fudge took them on tour as openers. They became fast friends. Now on to the present! This is the Fudge’s first album since 1970!! All four original members on board. It’s all Zeppelin songs. Who would have the audacity to do such a thing, you ask? These guys. And what would Zep think? They would say “Bloody great.” And is it? Well, you’re asking a life-long Fudge fan here. I think it is. If you ain’t a Fudge fan, well I think you’d get a kick out of this. Is it heavy? Fuk, yeah! Does it have killer guitar and drums? Oh yeah! Can the singer sing? You bet! Do they do “Stairway”? No! Do they do “Trampled Underfoot”? Yeah! “Dancing Days”? Yeah! What they do here is rock up a neat selection of Zep tunes real good and Fudgy. Personally I’ve heard all the Zep albums enough for this life time. So this is satisfying because it’s the first Fudge alb in freakin’ 37 years! And so you get a fresh Fudge dose, and a fresh Zep dose. Like the punter in the crowd on some live Zappa alb is heard to say “Youse guys suck! Bring on da Fudge.” - Phil Oats Various Artists Kurt Cobain – About A Son OST Barsuk Anyone with even a basic knowledge of Kurt Cobain will know that he drew influence from a deep well of source material and possessed

a refined ear for interesting underground music. Not only that, but he never denied his appreciation of popular music, either (as you know, he famously described Nirvana as sounding like the Knack and the Bay City Rollers being molested by Black Flag and Black Sabbath). So are we surprised, then, at the soundtrack to AJ Schnack’s new Cobain kind-of-documentary, About a Son? No, we are not. It contains the likely (Mudhoney,Vaselines, Melvins) and the not-so-likely-but-not-sounbelievable-either (Arlo Guthrie, CCR, an instrumental REM track.) As the film portrays what it might have been like to walk in Cobain’s shoes, the album serves to experience how it might have felt being in Cobain’s head (with the exception of the imbedded bullet courtesy of his so-called wife). The soundtrack is all fine and agreeable, until the squeaky Ben Gibbard pipes in for yet another rendition of Beat Happening’s “Indian Summer,” which not only spoils the overall tone of the album but also ends it on a sour note. - Adam Simpkins Various Artists Vancouver’s Punk As Fuck VPAF For a year or so now, I’ve been feeling shitty because of a Seattle compilation called The Dirtier Inch Volume 2. My problem was pure jealousy. The comp was so good, so blazin’, that I felt sad for Vancouver. I was bummed that they had more punk bands than we do - better punk bands. I didn’t voice my thoughts because I didn’t want to appear as a traitor; worse, an American sympathizer, but I walked around feeling crummy, much like a sports fan when a bunch of American millionaires who are

supposed to represent his city lose a hockey game. Until now, that is. I feel much better now, and ya wanna know why? It’s because Vancouver’s Punk As Fuck blows the Dirtier Inch Vol 2 outta the water! It’s louder, faster, can drink more beer, can fuck more, and is better looking. MUCH better looking. I won’t go into specifics about any of the 25 tracks here, but I will say that there isn’t lemon in the bunch. This is pure gold, baby! Gold! Punk gold, that it, covered with puke and half dead from alcohol poisoning, but gold nevertheless. TAKE THAT, SEATTLE! HAHAHAHAHA! - Chris Walter Ween La Cucaracha Rounder Sometime between releasing The Mollusk in 1997 and White Pepper in 2000, the brothers Ween misplaced their collective brown sound. This loss isn’t something easily describable (in that how can you accurately describe something’s absent soul?) but it certainly is noticeable when listening to the band’s last couple of albums and is especially evident on their worst one yet, La Cucaracha. For starters, the album sounds rushed and haphazard – unlike the cohesive helter-skelter of Pure Guava and Chocolate and Cheese. And while Dean and Gene cover a lot of the usual ground here (goofy reggae, goofy country and western, goofy metal, etc.) rarely do the songs contain much humour or creativity, ultimately coming off as ersatz versions of their previous successes (shall we call this, ahem, a hollow Ween?). And unlike mine, their joke isn’t funny anymore. - Adam Simpkins

The Nerve November 2007 Page 25


BOOK REVIEWS

Guitar Army: Rock & Revolution with MC5 and the White Panther Party By John Sinclair Process Media Inc. After reading this 35th anniversary reprint of White Panther Party honcho and MC5 manager John Sinclair’s infamous anti-establishment manifesto, I was torn between dismissing the book as being a sadly dated relic of a bygone era and being tandemly energized into fiery, self-righteous socio-political rock ’n’ roll rebellion. Guitar Army flows enjoyably along with a post-beat gonzo-journalism style that explores Sinclair’s very serious, very sincere beliefs in how the communal melding of youth consciousness, psychedelic drugs, free love, rock and roll, and army-surplus M2 carbines had the very real power to smash the postwar military-industrial complex, turn on the squares, and bring all

Against The Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries By Noah Levine HarperSanFrancisco Rebellion. Revolution. Buddhism? In his most recent offering, would be punk rock bodhisattva Noah Levine expands on the philosophy discussed in his debut memoir Dharma Punx. For those unfamiliar with his earlier work, Levine raised himself “on a steady diet of punk rock nihilism and antiauthority ethics in a haze of drug-induced self-destruction.” Left disillusioned and ultimately unfulfilled by his exploits outside the mainstream, Levine eventually hit rock bottom at seventeen. Was it possible to live a life of rebellion without all of the suffering and self-loathing that seemed to go along with it? The logical decision to call his father (noted spiritual author and counsellor, Stephen Levine) seemed to make the most sense. That one phone call snapped Levine out of his conundrum and straight onto a path to enlightenment that continues to this day. Armed with some simple meditation instructions and a newly opened mind, Levine began

The Nerve November 2007 Page 26

humanity into a loving, giving, global hippie paradise of eternal sustainability (and free LSD) for all. The book’s broken up into two sections: “Street Writings (1968-1969)”, which details the rise of the MC5 as the soundtrack of yippie radicalism in the peculiar Midwest version of late-60s American counterculturalism, and spells out the White Panther Party’s “Total Assault on the Culture” through dope, guns, and fucking in the streets; and “Prison Writings (1969-1971)”, which is a sobering look at the draconian governmental anti-drug attitudes of the hippie era (Sinclair served two years of a 10-year sentence for possession of two measly joints given to him by a narc - if you can believe that crap), as well as agreeable insights on the Vietnam war, the racial imbalance among penitentiary inmates, and John Lennon’s personal intervention to secure Sinclair’s release. There’s also a very cool companion CD that comes with the volume, which features studio tracks from the MC5 (and Sinclair’s other, lesser-known agit-rock protégés UP!), poems from Allen Ginsberg and John Sinclair, interviews with Bobby Seale, and other choice shit. This book is a fascinating good read all around, and is a suitable companion piece to The Anarchist Cookbook, The Strawberry Statement, and Soul on Ice, but unfortunately I came away with a feeling of loss, and being born far too late. In a nutshell, despite the Woodstock attendance records, the hippies never had the numbers - or the cohesive socio-political game plan - to truly instigate lastingly significant social revolution in the United States, or anywhere else for that matter. Forty years after the hippies, rock ‘n’ roll is considered moreso as disposable background racket than as a soul-clenching aural glue to bind the rainbow tribes together. Everything’s fragmented and segmented and all the subgenres and sub-cliques distrust each other. As much as many who read Guitar Army would love to see such an optimistic era of constructive hedonism return to fruition, it probably won’t happen - at least on that sort of scale. But as a historical snapshot that gives meaning to the $40 tie-dyed T-shirts sold in Kitsilano boutiques, Guitar Army is priceless. - Ferdy Belland to grow into an entirely different way of life. He discovered a spiritual solution to his addiction issues through the 12-step program of recovery. He began to try on new behaviours and started to implement the coping skills necessary to manage his obsession. He made restitutions for past harms done to him and others. He stood pointed in the right direction through the steps, and his outlook turned east and toward the dharma. Against the Stream stands alone as a genuine Buddhist handbook. It is presented as a quasimilitary training guide, taking the rookie through “Basic Training” and wrapping things up with some specialized “Meditative Trainings”. A brief overview of the history of the Buddha’s teachings is offered in the sacrilegiously titled “Sid-The Rebel Saint”. It is here that my one and only beef with Levine’s style surfaces. It’s not his concept that I’m at odds with - I can absolutely appreciate the parallels he draws between punk rock rebellion and the inner revolution of Buddhism. What I can’t seem to get behind, however, is his insistence on dressing certain words up in “pop culture-isms”. Wandering sadhus become “homeless homeys” and Siddhartha Gautama becomes…well… “Sid”. Fortunately, Levine’s integrity and die-hard conviction propels the narrative (and certainly any seekers reading this review) far beyond any of my trivial henpecking. Throughout this work, Levine paints several stunning portraits of time-honoured Buddhist wisdom. Touching on everything from the importance of cultivating loving-kindness to the prevalent controversy surrounding celibacy, Levine simply refuses to back down. In my experience, the formal practice of sitting meditation has been a chore I’ve felt incapable of performing. But as I mentioned earlier, Against the Stream comes complete with an appendix of meditations that I find especially relevant. It seems this method of mindfulness is meant specifically for those who feel that meditating is something they just “cannot do”. I have found through the Theravada tradition (and exceptional accounts like this) an approach to awareness that embraces both my judgments and insecurities. By sharing his experience of progress against the stream, Noah Levine truly acts as a beacon pointing to a way out of the darkness. - Edward Dinsley

Sex, Death and Trauma for the Young

Blake Nelson’s Paranoid Park

by Allan MacInnis

W

hen I first heard of Blake Nelson’s novel Paranoid Park – the basis for Gus van Sant’s upcoming movie – it sounded pretty gripping: a young skateboarder contributes unintentionally to the gruesome train death of a security guard. Mistrustful of the adults around him and worried the police won’t understand it was an accident, he keeps silent, while detectives hover ever closer. I special ordered it, and was quite looking forward to it – until the book finally arrived, and I discovered it was a fucking Young Adult novel. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Young Adults. Nearing 40, I still feel like one myself. I just didn’t expect that a book marketed to high school libraries could have literary merit; anticipation of a gritty, emotionally honest tale of the anguish of youth was replaced with a fear that I’d just paid $25 for, perhaps, Harry Potter on wheels. Turns out that the book is gritty and emotionally honest after all, and contains descriptions of sex and drug use, as well as a brutal and disturbing death scene. It has the word “fuck” in it more than once. It reminded me at times of The Nerve’s esteemed elder statesman Chris Walter. Colour me confused. This is YA? I call Blake Nelson, and he sets me straight. “Ten or twenty years ago,Young Adult books had to be, like, ‘somebody dies of cancer,’ or ‘somebody has an eating disorder,’ or ‘Suzy gets a pony,’ or that sort of stuff,” he explains, “but now it’s really wide open. There’s lots of room for being dark. People do really well with books about kids that are on drugs, or are really damaged or having a hard time. A book like Paranoid Park – they loved it. It’s sort of an exploding genre. They’re pretty open to anything.” Nelson tells me that Nick Hornby and Sherman Alexie both have done YA books. Who knew? Blake’s other books include the adultthemed User, which gets described as “pornographic” on Nelson’s website (www.blakenelsonbooks.com). His main character is a 21 year old “wannabe... trying to sleep with as many women as possible” in the post-grunge techno scene of mid-’90s Portland. “There’s lots of drugs and sex in that one. And it kind of makes

fun of that, also. It shows that these kids are kind of losers.” Nelson is pleased when I say it sounds a bit like Bret Easton Ellis – he was really into Less than Zero and American Psycho in his 20s, and sees himself as “strongly influenced by him.” Turns out his first novel, Girl – written during the grunge heyday in the early ‘90s, and currently being republished as a YA title – was influenced by another writer I like, Kathy Acker. “In fact, I wanted to entitle Girl ‘Blood and Guts in High School,’ because she had a book called Blood and Guts in High School, and how could I ever think of as good a name as that?” he laughs. I asked Nelson what the impetus for Paranoid Park was. “I had had a revelation right before I wrote the book. When somebody like Morrissey comes along and sings about how depressed he is, everybody hates him and slags him, because they don’t like the emotion. If I just wrote a book about a kid who was totally alienated, everybody’d be like, ‘well, he has to say why he’s alienated!’ – his parents have to be divorced or this or that. And I hate that, and I love Morrissey, I love the Cure, I love stuff that’s just unabashedly gloomy or moody. I wanted to do this gloomfest with this kid, but I thought, ‘I’ll never get away with it unless something horrific happens to him!’ If you can give someone a good reason to be emotional or depressed, especially in the YA market, then you can go crazy... And then I thought of all the skateboard stuff, and even though I’m not really a skateboarder myself, I love the whole scene. I could sit around and watch skateboard videos all day. And so they just fit together perfectly...” Nelson and I disagree about Gus van Sant’s film – I like the book a lot more – but we agree that Chris Doyle’s footage of skaters is lovely indeed Check out my blog for more of my interview with Blake Nelson later this month. (alienatedinvancouver. blogspot.com.) In the meantime, someone show this to Chris Walter. A new genre awaits! (And I really like the idea of high school librarians ordering books from Gofuckyerself Press).

People do really well with books about kids that are on drugs, or are really damaged


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By Dan Scum Across 1. Slamdance 5. Jack’s gal 9. Golfer ___old Palmer 12. Imperial measure 13. Carpenter’s tool 14. Clock sound 16. Major Japanese city 17. Style of Mozart or Beethoven 19. Binary code perhaps 20. Fake out the Goalie 22. Oompah band’s offering 23. Ultra Crust Punk 25. Devil Worshipper’s idol 26. Card up a sleeve 27. Jeffries and Disco 28. Fink 31. Style of Obituary and Morbid Angel 35. Burns’ beloved bear 36. Fuzzy TV Alien affectionately 37. Maker of pens and lighters 38. Setting for “King of the Hill” 39. Ramp Skateboarding Abbreviation 40. Style of The Stray Cats and The Deadcats 42. Style of Fugazi and Sunny Day Real Estate 43. Style of The Exploited and The Sex Pistols 44. State beside Tex. 45. Cassandra informally 47. Potheads 51. Place to hear Hymns and Gospel music 53. Brand of soap 54. British bathroom 55. Style of Louis Armstrong and Mel Torme 57. Marriage 59. Study like mad 60. Seep like goo 61. Irritable 62. Genetic info 63. Purchases 64. Ram’s ma’ams

7. ET Hostess Gibbons (abbrv) 8. Guitar of Slash or Jimmy Page 9. Leader of the Huns 10. Style of Chuck Berry or The Rolling Stones 11. National College Athletic Association 12. Sounds of awe 15. Large liquid meas. 18. Hopeless drunks 21. Grimm ending? 24. “Weird” Al Yankovic Hit 25. Wall of Guitar amps 27. Drummer’s need 29. Slain bible bro 30. Soprano boss 31. Late Show host 32. Grade sch. 33. Style of Ry Cooder and Ibrahim Ferrer 34. Blackwood 35. Dog on “Family Guy” 38. Jak’s Team-_________ music 40. Urgent Assignment 41. BC neighbor 43. Rx (abbrv) 46. Scent 47. Small, Medium, XXL, e.g. 48. Beethoven’s Fuhr _______ 49. Shags Downunder 50. Walkman maker 51. Home of “Hockey Night in Canada” 52. Social group of animals 53. Trumpeter Gillespie (abbrv) 56. A.O.U.? 58. Unused

Last issue’s answers

Down 1. The Universal Language 2. Studio sign 3. Take down the Quarterback (abbrv) 4. Classic no-sex excuse 5. Tabloids’ name for The King of Pop 6. Inert The Nerve November 2007 Page 27


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MURDER CITY SPARROWS FRIDAY NOVEMBER 30

SATURDAY DECEMBER 1

TICKETS ALSO AT HIGHLIFE

TICKETS ALSO AT SCRATCH

www.theonlybandever.com www.myspace.com/alexisonfire

DECEMBER 13 – RICHARD’S ON RICHARDS

DECEMBER 1 DECEMBER 2 DECEMBER 3 & 4 DECEMBER 6 DECEMBER 7 DECEMBER 8 & 9

PNE FORUM, VANCOUVER INTERIOR SAVINGS CENTRE, KAMLOOPS MACEWAN HALL, CALGARY – SOLD OUT SHAW CONFERENCE CENTRE, EDMONTON PRAIRIELAND PARK, SASKATOON BURTON CUMMINGS THEATRE, WINNIPEG

TICKETS ALSO AT ZULU AND RED CAT

Tickets also available online at

, all

WITH SPECIAL GUESTS

THE PACK A.D. (AKA THE PACK) — DEFEKTORS

THURSDAY DECEMBER 13 – THE MEDIA CLUB TICKETS ALSO AT ZULU AND RED CAT

outlets, charge by phone 604-280-4444

The Nerve Magazine - Novemeber 2007  

The November 2007 issue of The Nerve features articles on The Festival of Guns, The Locust, Bruce McDonald, Most Serene Republic and Dweezil...

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