Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Apple Of New Years Eve

Do you have plans for Friday night? It's New Years Eve, dammit! Why waste $50 on tickets to a throbbing dance club full of beautiful, sweaty Montreal women far too drunk on all sorts of liquor? [Ed. Note: JB, you are the worst promoter I have ever laid my eyes on.] Why not forsake the techno and come to a kick-ass loft party? (BYO everything!)

Come to Chez Gordie's for a New Years Party you won't forget (or remember). There will be an open mic (for the aspiring musicians and guitar fiends out there), unholy amounts of beer will be consumed, and to round out the night, the Dissonants promise to play their first gig of 2005. Their sound has been compared by various observers as a cross between the Sex Pistols and Dinosaur Jr. [Ed. Note: I would argue that they're a hybrid of old school punk and folk music.] They have also promised some interesting covers, including one by Turbonegro and another by Wolf Parade. Tickets are free for everyone who can breathe.


Chez Gordie is located at St-Antoine and Atwater (not far from Lionel Groulx Metro). It's in the loft above Sheinhart's Dress Shop, just down the hill from the underpass. Doors will open at 9 PM. Contact me for more information.


was a Swedish foot that fell in the mud.
A rusty pair of skates
or maybe a guitar missing two strings.
I walked for thousands of miles
(from St-Laurent street to Angrignon Park
and back X 8 or 9)
but my legs aren't folding.

I can't say it was a bad year.
No deaths in the family.
Body sound
even though my mind is corroding
and losing sharpness.
School was jam slipping though my fingers
but I kept enough to feed on.
Music was a reason to Be.
Even when my heart is limping
the songs carry me on.
They are natural stimulants
and make tragedy seem edible.

I can't wait for 2005 though.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Baby, This Place is a SHAMBLES

Run, don't jog, definately don't limp (!), whatever you do, just get your paws on a download/copy/etc. of Babyshambles - "Killamanjiro". It is a triumph, a tour de force if you will (as our Frenchifically-enhanced friends would say), and I had no choice but to tell you that this song Exists.. [Ed. Note: JB tells me he intended to put two periods on that sentence. He's trying to emphasize the point and I think he's just got too much Labatt Blue flowing around in there, somehow.]

Pete Doherty is the convicted felon responsible for this crime against bad music. His solo project Babyshambles has yet to release a proper album here in Canada (I can't seem to find it yet but I'm still hunting) but if this track is any indication, these Brits will raise their axes to the sky and rid the world of Rock Pretenders for at least a generation. [Ed. Note: Eternally optimistic, Jeremy Brendan is probably writing these outlandish hackfests from a dingy basement somewhere. Quit the bullshit. You're not a PR person, JB. They don't pay you. Actually, nobody pays you. Gotta go!]

Fuck my editor; I think that Pete deserves garlands around his head and a carriage to carry him straight through downtown London with Punk Rock music blaring at the front of his procession.

He makes me want to play music until both of my feet are in the grave.

Fuck the "crackhead" label or the caw caw cawing of Doherty's bandmates. After all, it is plain to see that they're just sods who rode his coat-tails into the Indie Rawk Ball; now that they realize his power, they've amputated him from their band and are hopping along like the pogoing bastards they are. Yes, I have a beef with the Libertines. Bring back Pete! He's your only hope that anyone outside of the Isles will ever listen to you.

It's all about the music that we create, we imbibe, we devour. Reputations are short-lived, but sounds resonate eternally.

The Dissonants Need your Help

Completely-unknown rock band the Dissonants are making some big promises these days, and some of them may just happen to be true. They guarantee beer (in kegs), rocknroll (live and preferrably loud), and an interesting scene (Gordie's loft @ St. Antoine & Atwater, that place above Sheinhart's Dress Shop near Lionel Groulx, doors open @ 9 PM). Do them a favour and check it out. No cover so you've got nothing to lose except your time (and it won't be lost. It will be invested in the next best band you haven't heard yet!). contact me if you need further information or more specific directions.

Of course, being a part of said band means that I am a biased individual and in no way representative of what the Rock Critics would say. I'm just whoring myself out here, people. Don't take this as the word of God. I'm more like a prophet anyway. [Ed. Note: I would argue that you're a loss.]


In other news, I'm working at RadioShack a million trillion hours a week lately, trying to make some money for tuition. If you need batteries, Illico boxes, or electric massagers, please visit me at RadioShack Dorval (in Les Jardins Dorval, right near the highway & Dorval Terminus) and I won't give you a discount! Yes, that's right! No discount whatsoever.


Lastly, contrary to popular opinion, I am in no way, shape, or form a bunny rabbit. I may not be a zebra--I'm stripeless--and I'm definately not a lion, but I can assure you all that I'm not a bunny rabbit. Besides, I hate carrots. If I had the choice, I suppose I'd be a seagull; they're repulsive, tough as titanium, and they'll eat anything. Also, even if I am a hopeless romantic, there's no reason to forget I exist.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Jeremy Brendan (This photo is just for the damned Blogger Profile, I have no other way of posting images to this accursed site).

The Sellouts @ Louis VIII Bar, Montreal, PQ.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

"Dimebag" Darrell Shot By Lunatic

Yesterday was the 24th anniversary of John Lennon's assassination by a deranged fan. Two days before that, another nutjob named Mr. Lepine shot and killed a classroom full of women studying engineering, specifically targeting them because of their gender. Now, "Dimebag" Darrell is dead due to a crazed individual.

Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott, former lead guitarist of metal heavyweight Pantera, was playing the first song of a set with his new band Damageplan when a hooded man lept onto the stage and fired several shots at him from point blank range. The assailant also killed a bouncer, two fans from the crowd, and wounded two others.

Some might say that this is directly related to the celebrity culture that we live in; by placing all of our hopes and dreams on these strangers, when they make a decision that we don't agree with, some of the more deluded in the audience will go ballistic.

I think a good step would be to ban all handguns. They are useless. There is no way that America is safer because anyone can wander into a 7-ll and put a slug in the cashier's head.

Admittedly, in Canada, we do have some gun violence but this is often thwarted by security or police because it is hard to hide a rifle. Also, many of the gun deaths are related to our infamous biker wars (Hells vs. other gangs, etc.) so it is relatively safe up here in this cold wasteland.

I call on all rational individuals to contact their government leaders to demand a ban to all handguns. If you have ever listened to the Beatles or Pantera, you have two good reasons to pick up that phone.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Long live the Winter Session; the Fall Session is Dead

As of Monday, my first semester of journalism at Concordia U. will be a done deal (aside from two exams which I'll hopefully coast through with straight-B's). Gone are the days of scurrying to the Loyola Computer Lab to slap together my Print assignments; no more sponging off of the People's Potato, that student-run collective that feeds free vegan meals to the less fortunate at Sir George William campus; I may even get to sleep in the weeks ahead!

I've learned several things from this semester. First of all, I'm a resilient bastard. When George W. pushes the Nuclear button because he thinks it's the remote for his Sony television, only I and the cockroaches will survive. I'm like a boxer who keeps limping to his feet as the ref calls out "eight...nine". (Should the period be within the quotation marks? Dammit, I need a copy editor, stat.)

Also, during the past three months, I fell in love, and before long, I got my heart sauteed and served with a side of grief. Did I learn anything from that car-wreck of a romance? If you feel something, don't lie to yourself. Make sure that you know what you're getting yourself into. Be completely honest. If you're a lover, love. If you're a hustler, hustle. Don't try to grow wings if you're meant to walk on the loamy soil. Love is a drug that only the very brave or very stupid should ever experiment with.

One feather in my cap is the band that I've played two gigs with. We're a curious lot but I think we have potential. There's no guarantee that we'll be able to translate that into something real but you never know. We played a gig @ Cafe Chaos (St-Denis, just below Bar St-Sulpice) and it went relatively well. I'll post some pics and music as soon as they become available, if any of you are curious and/or interested.

I'll end this self-indulgent navel gazing by saying "Happy Holidays" and keep your eyes focused on the moose in the middle of the highway. Good luck in the new year & let's all just agree to forget about November. That was one tootheache of a month.

Any thoughts? What was your November/Autumn/semester/etc. like? Let me know, below, in the comments section.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

"Hush" by JB

Hush you and hear my
atypical rant
Listen to this pathetic prophet
(a slave to modernity
and shackled to his image)
I've dreamed
things you've never seen
Flowers that grow in the most obscure places
Waking up beside you when the morning is new
Coffee made of sand
and painted lungs turning black
All beginnings and ends
The back of the train
A particular pause when your lips are like songs
Your hair climbing out from under your hat
And green empty eyes
with huge tearless pupils
This can't just be the end
or love is a well-marketed myth
Your absence condemns me
I need your grace
JB, 2004.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

"The Healer" by JB

I'm a victim of tragic rhythm
A drunken sop without a pen
I'm a physician who heals the pigeons
and chops the heads off all the hens
(JB. 2004)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Excuses, Alibis, and Explanations for my Scant Blogging of Late

I haven't been maintaining this blog for some time. It is like a rickety barn barely standing, with holes in the windows from stones pelted by local hooligans and a door hanging on by a rusty hinge. Luckily, this lack of online activity is due to a flurry of real-life existence which has appeared from out of the fog in the past few weeks. I'm not keeping my blog warm and well-fed because:
  • I'm in a band. Formerly called the Sellouts, we are in the process of finding a new name. We're also auditioning for a singer although I have a sinking feeling that this may just induce me to jump ship, since I want to sing. (Sadly, I suck vocally but my heart is in the right place) Regardless, we played our first gig @ Louis VIII on Friday night and it was a raucous success, despite a bizarre legion of moshing pals who knocked over equipment, spilled beer on my dear mother, and nearly bashed her over at one point. The ringleader, who happens to be a good (if constantly inebriated) friend of mine, eventually got picked up by the throat and tossed into a large P.A. speaker. Since we were playing punk rock (Turbonegro, etc!), it was a decent set but I don't think we'll be invited back to the Louis for quite some time. I'll keep you posted regarding our next gig, if we haven't already been blacklisted as a bunch of troublemakers.

  • I'm trying to survive Journalism school. I'm studying at Concordia and this semester has been both rewarding and mortally terrifying. I have enough papers to write in the two weeks ahead to make Noam Chomsky hide in a broom closet and sob uncontrollably. Also, I have to catch up on all the reading that I neglected to do because of the next point...

  • I party like an escaped felon. The other day, I was nursing a Boreale Blonde beer when I realized that I invest a large part of my time and money into getting royally fucked up. This is not a good thing. Since I haven't gotten my student loan yet, I've been neglecting my bills and yet, somehow, keeping my eyes pink and glossy almost daily. Also, I am out in pubs several times a week (Reggie's or Cock 'n Bull Pub on Tuesdays) so booze is also absorbing part of my life like a Scott Towel. My liver probably looks like a piece of tenderized beef.

  • I write for the Link. This one is sort of a weak excuse because I haven't really written anything for the Concordia Link since my Blackspot article. Googlers can read it if they so choose; it will even reveal my true name, since everyone knows that Jeremy Brendan was but a "Nom de Plume". (And no, I didn't choose that God-Awful headline!)

Suffice it to say that I will return to this blog when I can focus on it with the attention it deserves. Until then, please read Google News or Salon.com (or other blogs like the ones in my sidebar!). I'll be back, just like the Governor of California once said in some Hollywood blockbuster that made millions for a bunch of rich white guys.


On a side note, do you read "Exclaim!"? They published my letter in their November issue (remember? the one I posted on JB regarding Michael Barclay's failure to reference my interview with the Arcade Fire properly...also, I complained about how they put a picture of Wolf Eyes instead of Wolf Parade). Revenge is Nutrasweet.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Into the Lion's Den

According to UPI, Coalition Forces have conquered about 70 percent of Falluja.

A psych-ops unit was broadcasting the following message to the Iraqi insurgents holed up in many of the houses near the downtown core:
"Brave terrorists, I am waiting here for the brave terrorists. Come and kill us. Plant small bombs on roadsides. Attention, attention, terrorists of Fallujah."
I don't really know how many Iraqis will be lured outside by such a message. It makes me wonder if the U.S. Military has any good sense at all. They would be better off playing GWAR or N*Sync at high decibels from their psych-ops loudspeakers. I can picture the Iraqis running out of their foxholes with their hands in the air.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

You Can Lead a Southerner to Vote but You Can't Make Him Think

The election is over. The bad guys won. At least it's not a Hollywood ending.

I can't really blame Ohio or Florida for their twisted electoral logic. To do so would ignore the middle of America, that big empty wasteland full of gay-hatin', God-lovin', gun-totin' folks who don't appreciate men who speak French. I know that I'm painting with a wide brush over here but how else can I rationalize the results of this Duo-Party-Winner-Take-All Gang-rape of American democracy?

The American Election was about Faith Inc. versus Reason and it looks like America is very faithful. Religion is fine in my books but when you mix it with politics, you're unknowingly producing a chemical not unlike TNT. The terrorists will love the Bush victory--they're already putting clips of Dubya smiling with all his teeth in their recruitment videos--and the Dems have been neutered and chained to a wall somewhere.

Bush is already busy making his tax cuts permanent. Instead of ending in 2011, they will go on unchecked for as long as a Republican holds the White House keys. America, when your son/daughter/father gets drafted and sent to some God-forsaken desert enclave to get shot at by AK-47 wielding maniacs, just remember in your heart of hearts that your country had a choice, and 51 percent of your fellow Americans chose wrong.

Hillary in 2008! Hope springs eternal like the American National Debt!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004



Bush put you in debt. He put your troops in harm's way for shifting, flip-floppish reasons. He squandered America's international standing like no other President in history. He assisted Al-Q'aida's recruitment efforts by bombing Iraq when they had nothing to do with 9/11. He changed the laws to permit the government to know where you buy your books and what you told your doctor. He held innocent men captive in a concentration camp (Guantanamo Bay Prison) although none of them have ever been prosecuted as true terrorists. He let Osama Bin Laden get away. Should I go on?

I must. Bush gave tax cuts to the wealthy and signed a deal that would enrich the pharmaceutical companies in the years to come. He gutted the Clean Air Act and allowed polluters to write the legislation that should regulate their polluting ways. He threatened to ban gay marriage and then chided John Kerry for mentioning that Dick Cheney's daughter is gay (and that it's OK because she's a good person). Bush never visited the NAACP. He didn't remove Donald Rumsfeld despite the human rights abuses that appear to be systemic across Iraq's American prisons.

I could continue until I'm blue in the face but why bother? I can't vote in this election because I'm a Montrealer eh? Still, I figured I might as well take one last crack at convincing you.

If you're an American, prove to the world that you can make a sound decision. John Kerry is not perfect but when you compare him to George W. Bush, he looks like John the Baptist.

Vote Kerry, please. I'll beg if I must.

(I support Kerry)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Eminem Sees a Burning Bush

Multi-platinum-selling rapper Eminem, never a stranger to controversy, has taken a swipe at Bush in the final week of the U.S. Presidential election. A video of the song "Mosh" was leaked to Gnn.tv today but it appears that the server is overloaded because I can't access it right now.

According to Salon.com, Eminem has decided to vote for the first time in his life specifically because of George W. Bush and his Neoconservative administration. Contrary to his song from the Slim Shady LP, Eminem finally "gives a fuck" and will vote Kerry on November 2nd.

What will the critics think of this song? I'm not sure if Eminem will ever be remembered as a neo-Dylan lyrically, or even as a Great Rapper (on par with Biggy, Tupac, or Nas), but one good point about this song is that Eminem seems hungry again. Bush has that effect on people; he's certainly a uniter, only Bush tends to drive his opponents together. He's like a matchmaker for progressives, leftists, union members, city-folk, and academes. Bush being in office is the best thing that ever happened to the Left in America because it gave them a reason to fight again; he is the perfect Darth Vader for them to oppose. [Ed. Note: That is debatable. Please feel free to comment below if you think JB is going too far.]

Reading Eminem's lyrics, I was overcome with a sense of gratitude. Instead of just making his money and threatening gays/his mother/other rappers, Em has taken a political stand; for once, we can't accuse him of limited subject matter.

(Excerpt from Eminem- "Mosh")

"Imagine it pouring, it's raining down on us,
Mosh pits outside the oval office
Someone's trying to tell us something, maybe this is God just saying
we're responsible for this monster, this coward, that we have empowered
This is Bin Laden, look at his head nodding,
How could we allow something like this, Without pumping our fist
Now this is our, final hour
Let me be the voice, and your strength, and your choice
Let me simplify the rhyme, just to amplify the noise
Try to amplify the times it, and multiply it by six
Ten million people are equal of this high pitch
Maybe we can reach Al Q'aida through my speech
Let the President answer on high anarchy
Strap him with AK-47, let him go
Fight his own war, let him impress daddy that way
No more blood for oil, we got our own battles to fight on our soil
No more psychological warfare to trick us to think that we ain't loyal
If we don't serve our own country we're patronizing a hero
Look in his eyes, it's all lies, the stars and stripes
They've been swiped, washed out and wiped,
And Replaced with his own face, mosh now or die
If I get sniped tonight you'll know why, because I told you to fight

So come along, follow me as I lead through the darkness
As I provide just enough spark, that we need to proceed
Carry on, give me hope, give me strength,
Come with me, and I won't stear you wrong
Put your faith and your trust as I guide us through the fog
Till the light, at the end, of the tunnel, we gonna fight,
We gonna charge, we gonna stomp, we gonna march through the swamp
We gonna mosh through the marsh, take us right through the doors

[Eminem speaking angrily]
And as we proceed, to mosh through this desert storm, in these closing statements, if they should argue, let us beg to differ, as we set aside our differences, and assemble our own army, to disarm this weapon of mass destruction that we call our president, for the present, and mosh for the future of our next generation, to speak and be heard, Mr. President, Mr. Senator"

Eminem is no Winston Churchill but he may encourage some of the youth voters to mark their ballots. His heart is definately in the right place, anyhow. Marshall Mathers III may have his personal issues but at least he's trying to make a difference for once. Kerry now has Bill Clinton and Eminem watching his back. Still, I think that Bush and Cheney are more appropriately "Thugs for Life".

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Kerry Interviewed in RS; Iran Endorses Bush for Pres.

"Did you get angry at Bush personally?

Look, I know politics is tough, and I don't spend a lot of time worrying about what they do to me. But I do worry, and I am angry, about what they do to the American people. That's what this race is about. It's not about me. I can take it -- I don't care. I've been in worse things. I was on those boats -- I got shot at. I can handle it."
Jann Wenner interviews John Kerry for Rolling Stone Magazine, RS 961, Nov. 11th.

Kerry is certainly getting targeted by the Karl Rove Patrol of Republican politicos and PR flacks. This is not to imply that he's being very positive in his campaign, though. John Kerry is a master of the home stretch; he has repeatedly seized electoral victories when everyone else counted him out.

I'm getting so tired of following this elaborate election campaign. Contrary to the month-long Canadian electoral cycle, Bush and Kerry have been trying to bash each other's heads in since March of 2004. I have been reading everything I can get my hands on since the first Democratic primaries, in Dean's glory days. For awhile, it even looked like Wesley Clark might be the former soldier facing Bush in the debates. Instead, Kerry's connections and "safe-harbour" image won the day. If I must concede one thing, it is that John Kerry is not the solution to every American problem. He won't heal the disabled and make them walk. He probably won't win the war on terror (Bush admitted in an interview that it might be impossible to win, anyhow). He's no Jebus.

What John Kerry will do is give the U.S. an image boost. Bush is the most hated American president in history, capable of summoning millions of protesters in streets around the world, just to burn him in effigy and spit on his photo. Anti-American feelings have reached an untold level and even traditional allies like Canada are against Bush.

The point is, if you want to beat the terrorists, you need your friends and allies to respect your leader. I'm not talking "global test" here; I just believe that George W. Bush is a failure of a man who has offended a large segment of the world with his pre-emptive strikes and his bizarre foreign policy gaffes. He also put the U.S. into debt so far that future generations will still be paying for his economic mistakes.

One silver lining for Bush is that Iran announced today that they have endorsed him for President. Iran? Weren't they that country in the "Axis of Evil"? I need a fucking Tylenol.

Vote Kerry if you believe in America. Vote Bush if you believe in four more years of economic decline and perpetual war.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Jon Stewart Gives CNN's Crossfire a Punch in the Kidneys

(Courtesy of Wonkette)

If you've ever seen an episode of Crossfire, you'll get a chuckle out of this transcript. Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's Daily Show, takes a few well-aimed shots at one of the most fraudulent debate shows on television. He also mocks Tucker Carlson's bow-tie.

I say forget John Kerry. If I were American, I'd consider forgetting this election and convincing Jon Stewart to run for president in 2008! Imagine the hilarious wisecracks during the State of the Union address. Maybe he could get Conan O'Brien to be his running mate.

I agree with Jon Stewart; Crossfire is a stomping ground for seasoned political pundits who spit bile from opposing sides of the field. Even the Democrats who appear on Crossfire can't be defended because they resort to the same partisan bullshit. Every time we get close to a meaningful debate, the bell rings and silences everyone, ruining any chance of anybody formulating a nuanced argument. One liners and baseless allegations abound. Jon Stewart may have put it best:
"BEGALA: Well, it's because, see, we're a debate show.

STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great.

BEGALA: It's like saying The Weather Channel reduces everything to a storm front.

STEWART: I would love to see a debate show.

BEGALA: We're 30 minutes in a 24-hour day where we have each side on, as best we can get them, and have them fight it out.

STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great. To do a debate would be great. But that's like saying pro wrestling is a show about athletic competition."

In this corner, we have Paul Begala, ready to accuse Bush of devouring fetuses or chopping up baby seals with a hunting knife. In this corner, we have Tucker Carlson, eternally forgiving of Bush's numerous political gaffes, but certain to vilify and desecrate John Kerry with a volley of defaming insinuations, reprimands, and insults. And they call themselves journalists? (Do they? Not sure of that one)

When Tucker Carlson tried to patronize Stewart by saying "...you need to get a job at a journalism school, I think," Stewart replied, "You need to go to one." My thoughts exactly!

If you're deprived of cable or satellite (like I am), visit The Daily Show with Jon Stewart website for free clips of their program. Stephen Colbert has to be one of the funniest mofos on the planet.

Proto-Fascists From Denmark Support Bush

Associated Press is reporting that Bush has a slight edge over Kerry after the final debate. Can we expect another four years of peace? Hmmm...no, that's not right. Prosperity?...what about fiscal restraint? Er, no.

Luckily for the Bush campaign, a couple of Europeans with viking helmets full of dreams are driving across the Lower 48 in an RV; yes, they're called "Danes for Bush" and they love the American leader. Hell, their website links to his campaign page with the slogan "Hail to the Chief!". (Last time Denmark was occupied, they had to "heil" to a "chief" also. Sadly, he was the architect of a massive genocide and a sick fuck to boot. I guess these Danes haven't read their history books.)
Danes for Bush

Ever vigilant versus "the enemy within", they label their fellow Danes as turncoats due to their contempt for the Abu Ghraib scandal:
"For anybody who loves freedom reading the Danish newspapers is a depressing exercise. Traditionally staunch and wise intellectuals, who normally take a proud stand against the overwhelming influence exerted by left-wing sentimentalists on Danish politics, have suddenly exposed themselves as big-time turncoats.

In an interview in the national Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende, personalities such as Ditlev Tamm, Claes Kastholm Hansen, Henning Fonsmark, Ulrik Høy and Bent Jensen disavow their once steadfast support to he Coalition of the Willing and the fight to bring democracy, peace and prosperity to the people of Iraq.

Not realising that you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, the few irregularities which took place in the Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq have managed to topple their belief in the global War Against Terror. “I am angry, I feel deceived,” says Claes Kastholm Hansen to the newspaper, regarding the mismanagement of Abu Ghraib. Shame on Claes Kasthom Hansen and his band of sissies, might we add."
[Ed. Note: Italics mine!]

"Save us from Old Europe!" their website pleads. Why should anyone "save" them? The CIA World Factbook 2004 describes Denmark as a pretty nice place to live.
"This thoroughly modern market economy features high-tech agriculture, up-to-date small-scale and corporate industry, extensive government welfare measures, comfortable living standards, a stable currency, and high dependence on foreign trade."

The Danes for Bush "road team" consists of two intellectuals who operate out of Copenhagen; Mads Cortzen and Jacob Boeschou. Cortzen apparently "...studied rhetoric at Copenhagen University and knows how to deliver a speech which is right on the money." Boeschou "likes to quote Adam Smith and is an avid collector of various military artefacts (sic) from The Second World War." I wonder if he collects allied artifacts, or does he have a bunch of tea sets with little swastikas and Iron Crosses on them?
Hail to the Chief?

I'm not 100 percent sure whether or not this is a big joke or some sort of psychological experiment being conducted by some twisted Danish psychologist. Can this NGO group be real? What do you think? Will the enormous inflatable sausage mascot influence you to vote Bush on November 2nd? If so, please excuse me as I swig a bottle of Rye and cry softly in the nearest available corner.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Ré / Création: Where Literature and Music Are Connected

Calling all French-speaking literary fans and anyone seeking a good internet radio show! If you dig bands like Bright Eyes, Arcade Fire, Arab Strap, or anything else "exponential", check out the online radio show Ré/Création hosted by Anouck Vigneau and Geneviève Bouchard. Focusing on literature and its relation to other art forms, listeners are encouraged to submit questions or comments which will be addressed in next week's show.

Click here to listen to Ré/Création radio show

Ré/Création airs every Wednesday from 11 AM to Noon. This week, Anouck won't be able to make it but Geneviève has a good show planned. Jeremy Brendan will be manning the soundboard to the best of his ability, so when you hear those buttons being pushed, you'll know that he really exists. JB will try his best to convince Geneviève to put on a Julie Doiron song (and if we're lucky, she might even allow an Ed Harcourt track!).

Bring your thinking caps and a nice hot cup of coffee. If you can't listen when the show is live, don't forget that it is archived on the Ré/Création website. If you don't speak French, now is a good time to learn. Vive la musique qui allume la flamme éternel, qui lève mon âme vers le ciel!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Album Review: Arcade Fire- "Funeral"

Rating: 4.7 out of 5
~ ~ ~ { } {} { } ~ ~ ~

In early September, I contacted Merge Records and requested a Promo copy of the AF's "Funeral". They were kind enough to send me one poste-haste and I received it close to two weeks later. Perhaps it is telling that not only did the first pressing of the CD sell out across North America (the second press which should arrive in stores very soon), I got the promo cd stolen by a former DJ at Reggie's Pub (you know who you are, dark haired girl with the pigtails!).

Luckily, prior to the maddeningly-ironic theft, I listened to it reverently over a period of several days and its songs have been comitted to my memory. Once you hear these tunes, you won't soon forget them, either. Bold and effortless, "Funeral" is not a droopy, depressing affair like the name might suggest; it is more like a wake where life's little miracles are celebrated and remembered.

The first track "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" starts with Win Butler strumming insistently and exploring his quivery, confident vocal range. "Purify the colors / purify my mind / and spread the ashes of the colors / over this heart of mine" sings Win as the song builds to an anthemic denoument. After I heard this song played at high volume, I could feel the weight of my troubles being lifted from my shoulders.

Three of the songs are entitled Neighborhood but the strongest may be the second track, "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)". Spectral-voyage harmonics and chanted vocals in the first verse build up the tension when Sarah Neufeld's violin begins to leap out at you. Meanwhile, Régine's accordion holds the song together like silken string. "Laika" evokes images of a drug-addicted brother battling with his parents, much to the amusement of his voyeuristic neighbors. "When Daddy comes home, you'll start a fight / so the neighbors can dance / in the police disco lights". Utilitarians at heart, the whole band chides Alex for his indulgent behaviour by singing "It's for your own good / it's for the neighborhood".

"Crown of Love" sounds vaguely like a Bright Eyes song, only Win is closer to the prairies than he knows. I can even hear traces of Neil Young in his voice, even though Mr. Butler prefers Motown or soul music. When the band changes time near the end of the tune, the sadness of the track dissipates and the sun shines all over the place.

Arcade Fire

"Wake Up" may be in the running for "Song of the Year". Live, it is without rival, but they managed to trap that unknown quantity for the record. It begins with a haunting "Whoa" chorus which sounds almost like a Native American prayer, dispelling bad omens and inviting us to free ourselves from the trap of Western Living. "Children / Wake up / hold your / mistake up / before they / turn the summer into dust!" Win intones. "We're just a million little gods / causing rain storms!" "Wake Up" never fails to send a chill down my spinal column, reminding me that I'm mortal and that I must devour every single moment of my life.

There are several other keepers on "Funeral". "Rebellion (Lies)" always makes me think of the Pixies trying to cover a lost David Bowie song. Other reviewers have likened Win's voice to David Byrne but I must plead ignorance on this question (I've never even listened to the Talking Heads before, but so what if he does? Great bands don't crawl out of a Dirt Devil.) "In the Backseat" gives us a solemn Régine wishing that she could go back to the innocence of being young and unaware, before her family tree began to "lose all it's leaves". Her voice is like a kitten hiding beneath the sofa, gentle and wary of strangers, but full of love and sadness. The only stumble on "Funeral" is possibly the track "Haiti", if only because the guitar riff sounds cribbed from the Bloodhound Gang's "Fire Water Burn".

With all the critical acclaim that this album has received, it is tempting to kick over the sand castle and call "Funeral" several bad names. Personally, I couldn't care less about what the Pitchforks and Rolling Stones of the world think about the AF, because this band is as gifted as it is prolific (they wrote over 100 songs in the past few years but only recorded an EP & an LP) and they shall never be defeated. "Funeral" is a multi-tonal, bombastic compilation of unnatural musical beauty. Hands down, this is the best CD to touch my fingers in at least 5 years; like a cobweb in a doorway glistening with dew, "Funeral" will moisten your eyes and stick to your heart for ages.

For track samples, you can always visit their Allmusic.com album review or the Arcade Fire's website.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Live: The Paperbacks, Trailer, & the Weakerthans @ Club Soda, October 1st

Forgive me for taking so long to write this post; I've been suffering from a bad case of malaise since I saw the Weakerthans show on Friday night. My heart has been ground into paste and my eyes are sunken into my head. I feel like I witnessed the death of something pure.

Having scored some great seats--upper gallery, left side of the stage, right beside the Bose speakers--my pals and I were expecting a tour de force. Although we hadn't heard the two opening bands before, I was hoping that the mystical ability of John K. Samson would inspire the openers to do something magical. First up were a band from Winnipeg. The lead singer was very chatty and explained that he got the gig because he grew up with the Weakerthans. Tragically, the Paperbacks turned out to be a rehashed Sum 41/Dashboard Confessional purveyor of pop-punkisms. As the lead singer hopped around like a one-legged penguin, my friend Gen kept repeating "these guys suck." Although I wasn't ready to condemn them quite yet, it was only a matter of time.

Although their tunes are pleasant, the Paperbacks lack the heart and soul to be real punks. Instead, we have a singer who croons about how no girls love him, a bass player who thinks that he's in Limp Bizkit, a lead guitarist who hides in the background and tries his best to remain stoic while the ship is sinking, and a pretty good drummer. Yes, the man on the skins was the only one in the band who belonged up there; he actually looked like he had something to prove, bellowing into his microphone while keeping the beat, and that is the one saving grace of the Paperbacks.

When your drummer overshadows the rest of your band, it is time to start thinking about going into the insurance business. Another option for these guys is to give up the punk pretense and stick to soft rock, or perhaps start a record label and give their equipment to the first band they sign.

Next up was the local band Trailer. "Don't worry," I told Gen, "I'm sure these guys are going to rock." She nodded and sipped her Boreale Blonde. I could see the doubt in her eyes. According to the Pop Montreal site, Trailer play "(a) perfect mix of blues sensitivity and pop bliss." They sounded more confident than the opening act and their instrumentation was more diverse. Not unlike Wilco at some points, I must say that their countrified psychadelia was very well received by the crowd and I was digging their sound.

At one point, the violin player sat down at the piano and her voice reminded me of Ani DiFranco or possibly Tori Amos. Although their songs began to blend together into a seamless whole, I was fairly happy with their set, at least until the bizarre ode to Jesus and his saving graces in the last song (which was good but made my skin crawl--I don't respond well to preaching, unless it is from the Violent Femmes).

Then, the Weakerthans took the stage. The place was full by now and the crowd was elated, applauding wildly. I sat on the edge of my seat and waited for rain. I'm still waiting.

Before the show, I was ranting to Gen and Nick about how John K. Samson is a true poet. "He is the second coming of Leonard Cohen," I told them. I was ready to deify the poor guy. To their mutual annoyance, I rambled on and on about the way "Elegy for Elsabet" made me cry the first time I heard it. With a build-up like that, it is no small wonder that we were all let down.

John K. was chewing gum flippantly and playing as if he had punched a clock. I clenched my teeth and hoped that this was just a stumble. "They're just warming up," I thought. The first few songs were fast and hard but something was missing. The Weakerthans sound so humble and brave on their albums that I expected to hear something wonderful and anthemic at their live show. Instead, I had speedy pop-punkisms and a couple of older songs thrown in to pacify the rowdy fans in the back who didn't want to hear the new material.

"Aside" sounded fairly good but it didn't colour outside any lines. It was a connect-the-dots hit song, played efficiently like a German symphony, but without any chutzpah or joy. I flailed my head wildly, hoping that this song would be the beginning of a raucous second half of the set. Instead, it was the high-water mark of the show, and everything dribbled downhill from there.

Although I stayed for both encores, I felt a deep sense of loss by the end of the night. The shrine I had built to the Weakerthans in my head had been smashed by barbarian invaders. Live, they underwhelmed me. They're not hungry anymore. Sampson seemed bored and closed up on stage. Although his bandmates trudged on through the songs, he didn't seem to show any signs of joy, except maybe during the encores. Secretly, I wished that I had gone to the Unicorns show instead. It isn't enough to play your songs; you have to display them with passion, or pride, or something, anything except ho-hum consistency. The fact that I was sober was even more damning, because I didn't have the artificial flavouring of drunkeness to camouflage the awful taste in my mouth.

Maybe this was only an aberration; perhaps Samson was just having a rough night. Still, I have this sinking feeling that I should have seen them when they weren't famous, when they weren't getting stunning reviews in Exclaim; I can't go back in time but I wish I could. On Friday night, one of my favourite bands was stolen from me and replaced with a cynical, loveless group of imposters, incapable of changing the world. I expected more from the Weakerthans and that is why I got burned. I think I'm going to drink a bottle of whiskey now.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Jeremy Brendan Complains to Teacher, Invites Further Bullying

My vitriol is unmatched! I am a white-hot ball of blogging fury! Exclaim has gone too far and now I'm sick and tired of sitting on my hands (They're getting sweaty under there, anyhow). Witness the hateful riposte I flung at Exclaim magazine tonight from my Operamail account:

Dear Exclaim!,

As a fervent admirer of your publication, I turned the other cheek when your profile on the Arcade Fire (Sept. '04) referenced my interview without proper attribution. I know that everyone hates bellyachers so I bit my lip and kept quiet, despite the way Michael Barclay called my blog a "fanzine". That was a real kick in the jewels.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the October issue of Exclaim and discovered that you wrote about another one of my favourite bands, Wolf Parade, only to post the wrong picture to accompany the write-up! I'm not sure who that is with the guitar string in his mouth--it could be Spencer, only he's a keyboardist--but you can be sure it isn't Dan, the guitarist & lead vocalist of WP.

This kind of amateurish journalism is what makes me want to quit the whole writing thing and become a hermit somewhere in Appalaicha. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Despicably Yours,
Jeremy Brendan
"Jeremy Brendan--My Life as a Reptile"

P.S. I still love y'all but redress is in order, wouldn't you say?

We shall see if they have the cojones to publish it in their "Letters" section. I would be satisfied with a simple correction in a future issue, although a job would be even better. Yes, I am a fucking sell-out. I would cut off my left leg to write for a vital Can-rock magazine like Exclaim.

Still, the email wasn't intended to earn me a spot on their masthead; I just want to see some justice from these navel-gazing scenesters. I am a modern-day John Wilkes, if you will. Let us see if the number 45 gets scrawled on the bathroom walls of Exclaim offices in the near future. Brendan and liberty!

[Ed. Note: JB, how do you expect to get their attention when you're parading around these twenty-dollar words like a pretentious Ontarian? "Redress"? What the fuck? Stick to rock criticism and let the big boys run their business.]

Friday, October 01, 2004

Bush Vs. Kerry: The First Debate

As I watched Bush dodge Kerry's constant attacks and accusations on CNN tonight, I couldn't help but think of a Bright Eyes song called "Bottom of Everything (We Must Sing)". When he played it live on television (I think it was on Late Night with Conan O'Brien), lead singer Connor Oberst said "This song is going out to the President and to the Governor of California...two men that I admire a lot...for their biceps and their creepy fascist agendas! One, two, six, six six..." before breaking into song. Could Oberst be a modern-day Bob Dylan? You tell me:
"We must talk in every telephone, get eaten off the web
We must rip out all the epilogues from the books that we have read
and in the face of every criminal strapped firmly to a chair
we must stare, we must stare, we must stare

We must take all of the medicines too expensive now to sell
Set fire to the preacher who is promising us hell
and in the ear of every anarchist who sleeps but doesn't dream
We must sing, we must sing, we must sing

While my mother waters plants, my father loads his gun
He says death will give us back to God just like setting sun
is returned to the lonesome ocean"

Although I've chopped out at least one verse and a modified final chorus, I hope that you can see how this song would be relevant in contemporary America. "Don't vote for the Dems or Osama is going to getcha!" the GOP screeches, without considering that it was under a Republican's watch that the most devastating terror attack transpired. They are selling fear and I hope America won't buy it.

I know that some people are convinced that Kerry is a flip-flopper. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you were steering your vehicle into a ditch, wouldn't it make sense to jerk the wheel in the other direction? Bush might say "remain steadfast and don't change course" but quite frankly, that is the equivalent of saying that a President's decisions are both infallible and static. How can you run a nation (and protect them from harm's way) if you can't even admit when you're wrong?

Say what you will about the late Ronald Reagan, but at least he had the balls to stand up and admit his responsibility for the Contra affair. I hope that Americans remember this when they go to the polls on November 1st.

A paranoid part of me wants to believe that the whole Iraq War in 2003 was just a diversion tactic by the Bush Administration to draw attention away from economic woes, those notorious tax cuts (and elimination of the dividend tax), and Bush's failure to capture Osama Bin Laden. If you conduct a search of the Whitehouse official site, you will find that the last mention of Bin Laden was back in July! Of course, can you blame Bush? He's busy being a war president.

John Kerry looked fairly confident in the debate but I was frightened by echoes of famous Democratic loser Michael Dukakis, as Kerry spoke. Kerry may have come across as a mean-spirited fellow, not a fence-mending rancher/Marlboro man like George W. Bush or his template Ronald Reagan. Kerry did get some jabs in about Bush's lack of military service and he also played his experienced leader/fresh start card several times. Bush looked befuddled frequently and had some issues with the English language, but he is like a sidewinder. He always gets away.

The funny thing is that Bush and Reagan do have something in common--they both avoided military service. Reagan got off because he was an actor while Bush escaped from Vietnam because he had a wealthy father. Some guys get all the breaks.

[Ed. Note: Looks like Kerry is back in this thing. A USA Today poll suggests that Kerry was perceived as a good speaker and many people (including those crucial "swing voters") are beginning to believe that JFK might be up to the task of running the country. Bush, on the other hand, looked slightly disturbed by many of the questions. Also, he repeated himself quite frequently and even spouted a couple of illogical statements. Also, how many times can you repeat that being President is "hard work"? Pleasure Captains.com has posted a video entitled "How Bush did" which is somewhat humourous but fairly revealing of Bush's poor showing. Admittedly, they've chopped up some of his responses (which is a form of propaganda, taking things out of context) but many of the statements are bizarre on their own, context be damned. Watch the video on their site and come back to let me know if you think that Bush has hurt his chances of re-election.]

What did you think of the first Presidential debate? Did Bush hold his ground? Does Kerry have any momentum going into the next debate? Please comment below!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Live: Arcade Fire @ Salvation Army Citadel, Sat. Sept. 25th

I've never been to a concert completely sober before. That is, of course, unless you count my pre-boozy days as a child, but that's just nit-picking. Point is, it generally takes a couple of beers to get me in the rock 'n roll mood. Last Saturday, that just wasn't necessary. Perhaps I've been saved.

The Arcade Fire get way too much attention from this blog but I can't help it--they give off that cult vibe like the Causey Way, only AF fans don't try to spike the Kool-Aid; musically, they are both challenging and accessible, meaning they can speak to the cool kids and to the geeks simultaneously; above all, their songwriting is pure orchestrated sonic alchemy, mixing that indie thing with elements of soul, 60's rock, 80's post-rock, and even occasionally a countrified flavour (witness the beginning of "Crown of Love" from their Funeral LP to see what I mean).

When I heard that they were going to play in a church, I was a little bit hesitant and kind of wary. I half expected them to announce that all along, they were really a Christian rock band and that we were all being baptised in the name of our Saviour. Bizarre thoughts like this would make any self-respecting agnostic shudder. Luckily, they just wanted a room with great acoustics. The show was pure and cultivated and we didn't mind that the lights were on. In fact, I've never seen 600 Montreal rock fans go so long without a cigarette.

(Salvation Army Logo)

On the stage, there was an engraving that read "Redeemed". Their keyboard was a "Prophet 6000". As they played their virtuosic double-bill (the opening band couldn't make it!), I couldn't help but notice the Salvation Army flag in the corner that read "Blood and Fire". Despite the odd surroundings, they kept the crowd on its feet for the whole show. I couldn't help but sing along to several of the songs, to the disappointment of many concert-goers around me.

Highlights were all over the place like Couche-Tards, but I'd have to say that "Wake Up" was the song of the night. "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)" was also very well done, although my friend Gen preferred "Rebellion (Lies)". "No Cars Go" never fails to disappoint either.

Régine showed off her honed singing skills (she sounds more confident than the last time I saw her on stage) and the crowd was musically pacified. "In the Backseat" turned out to be one of their better songs, even though it didn't stand out when I listened to "Funeral". [Ed. Note: As soon as I track down the DJ from Reggie's Pub, who accidentally nabbed my Promo Copy, I will post a review of "Funeral" on JB.] Plaintive and moody, it built up slowly but surely, until cascading into a powerful crescendo near the end of the song.

(Photo courtesy of the Montreal Mirror)

Admittedly, the AF are not for everyone. If you listen to Simple Plan or anything formulaic, you may have trouble with AF songs. If you are a hip-hop backpacker, this may not turn your crank (unless you dig soul music or luminaries like K-OS). Likewise, if you are like my cousin and can't appreciate a band if they're local, keep the line moving and thanks for stopping by. No offense if you're from the preceeding categories. You're people too.

Here is a nice set of Arcade Fire photos from the live show. [Ed. Note: Kudos to Dirty Water for the snazzy shots!] If you're sick and tired of listening to canned music being pissed out of 4000 watt speakers at your local techno orifice, I would suggest that you attend an Arcade Fire show. Salvation can be bought after all; it only cost me eight bucks on Saturday.

The Arcade Fire are on tour! New Yorkers and Bostonians are being spoiled by two fine bands for the price of one--the Hidden Cameras are orgasmically talented. Anyone who sings a line like "The drugs get dealt / and the cocks get felt / on the church grounds" deserves your undivided attention.

Sun 9/26
Black Sheep Inn,
Wakefield, Quebec
(25 minutes north of Ottawa)

Wed 9/29
Kingston ON,

Thurs. 9/30
The Trasheteria (Club Vinyl)
Guelph, ON
w/The Barmitvah Bros.

Fri. 10/01
Lee's Palace
Toronto, ON
w/Bell Orchestre

Sat. 10/02
The Underground,
Hamilton ON
w/Bell Orchestre & Heston Rifle

Wed. 10/13
CMJ Merge Records Showcase
(Mercury Lounge)
New York, NY

Halifax Pop Explosion
Halifax, NS
The Marquee
w/The Organ

Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY
w/ The Hidden Cameras

T.T. the Bears
Boston, MA
w/The Hidden Cameras

Cornell University-
Noyes Community Center
Ithaca, NY

First Unitarian Church
Philadelphia, PA

Garfield Artworks
Pittsburgh, PA

Empty Bottle
Chicago, IL

[Ed. Note: In other AF-related news (Gulp. I almost feel like I'm their unpaid P.R. person, for fuck's sake!), Merge Records is promoting the "Funeral" LP with a flashy animation on their main site. You can listen to the full version of "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)" for a limited time only. That is all.]

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Ed Harcourt Plays a Mean Hammond!

He looks like Canuck Wunderkind Hawksley Workman--he even wears one of those strange furry hats like H.W.--but he's more a soul brother to Connor Oberst. I'm talking about Ed Harcourt, and don't let his plain-Jane name fool you. He's hiding musical gems beneath solid rock.

I downloaded his song "Something to Live For" and it jarred me from my woozy slumber. Still enjoying the after-effects of the Arcade Fire concert on Saturday (at the Salvation Army Citadel! Fucking A+), his plaintive, slightly moody drawl with a tinge of British accent (?) made me smile.

Don't take my word for it. I'm just some hack with a keyboard and two barely functional eardrums. Check out his website for streaming audio and some of the good press he's gotten. [Ed. Note: Your grammar skills are turning into soup. Can you remind me why I keep you around, JB?]

Because you need me. Get lost, Ed. boy.

Ed Harcourt is playing in the UK right now:

Sun 31 - Portsmouth - Wedgewood Rooms - 02392 863 911

Mon 1 - Brighton - Concord 2 - 01273 772 770
Tue 2 - Oxford - Zodiac - 01865 420 042
Wed 3 - Norwich - Waterfront - 01603 508 050
Fri 5 - Bristol - Fleece - 0117 929 9008 / 0871 22 00 260
Sat 6 - Brimingham - Academy 2 - 0870 771 2000 / 0871 22 00 260
Sun 7 - Leeds - Cockpit - 0113 245 5570
Tue 9 - Glasgow - Cottier Theatre - 0870 169 0100
Wed 10 - Nottingham - Rescue Rooms - 0115 958 8484
Thurs 11 - Liverpool - University, Stanley Theatre - 0151 256 5555
Fri 12 - Manchester - Royal Northern College Of Music - 0161 907 5555 / 0871 22 00 260
Sun 14 - London - Madame Jo Jo's - 0207 403 3331 / 0871 22 00 260
Mon 15 - London - Madame Jo Jo's - 0207 403 3331 / 0871 22 00 260

Monday, September 27, 2004

Bush's Guided Tour of the Oval Office

Bush may not have a plan for pulling out of Iraq, but he does have time to give guided tours of the Oval Office.

"The job of a president is to set big goals for the country," Bush says. "Big objectives. And in order to achieve those objectives, the country must be united."

Like...bombing other countries? Increasing medicare premiums? Letting jobs slip away to foreign shores while plants close down all around America?


Admiring his presidential rug, proudly crafted by his wife Laura, he notes that the eagle on the seal faces the olive branch in its left-hand talon, not the right-hand claw full of arrows. (Funny. Left=olive branch, Right=arrows, ie. Anti-war movement versus Neo-Con Attack Squad.)

"Of course, it's always important to make sure you got enough arrows in the talons to keep the peace," he admits.

Pointing to the massive desk in front of the window, he says "...this door was put on the desk by Franklin Roosevelt to cover his infirmities."

One painting on his wall shows a horseman riding up a steep cliff. Weird symbol, but it is analagous to the way Bush leads his nation. They're a pack animal and he's riding them right into a bottomless pit. "A president must serve himself, not his self interests," Bush says, unaware of the irony inherent in his statement.

"The other paintings are all from Texas. It's where I'm from, and where I'm going."

Patting a bust of Churchill affectionately, he says "I like Churchill because he was a great war leader, he was resolute, and he had a fabulous sense of humour."

"My family is a priority in my life," Bush says. That's for sure...my guess is that your priority is definately not your nation. You're leading them up a steep cliff and the shale rock is chipping away as you gallop. When will America realize what a swindle you're roping them into? The whole Iraq quagmire was probably just a front to cover the billions of dollars you stole from the treasury to pay for your millionaire-friendly tax cuts and elimination of the dividend tax.

Kerry may not be perfect but at least he'll choose a cabinet that isn't war hungry. Also, he's being watched by the progressive side of his party so he won't step on any toes, aside from the Pharmaceutical/HMO cronies and possibly the military/industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about. If you have any love for your land at all, vote Kerry in 2004.

This message was brought to you by Ralph Nader. [Ed. Note: We're fibbing about the Nader thing. Ralph is busy nipping at Kerry's heels in all the swing states. Admittedly, John Kerry isn't exactly helping himself by being so stiff and impersonal on camera. Bush seems like a good ol' boy, which will play well in the populous southern bible belt. I'm scared shitless.]

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Jeremy Brendan- "Foie Gras" MP3

It will be a challenge to write meaningful lyrics for a song entitled "Foie Gras" but I'm sure both Ween and Guided By Voices could succeed. Ever listen to "Vallejo"? Pure brilliance. Likewise about GBV.

this is an audio post - click to play

Jeremy Brendan- "On a Cellphone" MP3

The hiss near the end borders on annoying, but that's what happens when Rogers Wireless drops packets of audio traffic.

this is an audio post - click to play

Monday, September 20, 2004

A Text Every American Should Read (at least once!)

Liberal bad-boy Michael Moore may be a master propagandist, as his critics claim so fervently, but he certainly does know how to track down articles that mean something. He posted a piece on his website, written by Garrison Keillor, which sums up the situation in America perfectly.

In lieu of repeating his points and ruining the subtlety of his argument, I will simply post the first paragraph and ask you to follow the link below for the rest of the brilliant text. Please forward it to every American you know and feel free to leave your thoughts here (or anywhere else available, ie. on bathroom walls, chalkboards in your school, your own blog, etc.)

As much as we "foreigners" criticize and poke fun at America, we still want them to be happy and don't want to see them become a neo-fascist entity or a 4th-Reichian Plutocracy. Above all, let peace reign & may the Good Guys win. (Kerry may not be FDR but he's anybody but Bush!)

Without further ado,

"Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party. Once, it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships. They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the flat Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican." More...

Friday, September 17, 2004

Ancient Wisdom from a Departed Soul

"One thing that really fucked me up at Creem was that I got caught up in the whole idea that Lester Bangs was this thing, this idea. I call it like Hunter Thompsonism. It's when you pay more attention to your image than you do to your work. And that destroys your writing. Hunter Thompson's never gonna do anything good again as long as he lives. I don't think anybody really cares about his drug habits."

Lester Bangs being interviewed by Jim DeRogatis in 1982. Two weeks later, he was found dead in his home.
* ~ * ~ * ~ *

I think that I'm going to print out those words and staple-gun them to the walls of my apartment (and my cubicle, if I'm ever forced to squat in one of those unholy spaces hunched over a sticky keyboard).

Just like an old friend Dennis once told me, it's not about your persona; it's about the art you bring forth. Who gives a fuck whether you're drunk off your ass on Wild Turkey? The people want something great, something excellent. What they don't want is some half-witted malarky cobbled together by an addict desparate for his next fix.

I'm not trying to badger you all. Talk about vanity press; this post is for me, to resuscitate that will to disturb that is so important for a journalist. Don't get me started on fraudulent shitheads like most of the staff of the National Post--while they are probably very nice people, their words reveal that they are soulless and willing to kneel for the master--I guess what I really want to say is that I'm in this for the long haul and I won't be known as an easy lay.

Here is my pledge to you all. I won't interview a band or musician whom I don't consider fucking excellent. I also won't become a "corporate shill" (as per Lester's rant in the interview) and my business is not to encourage sales but to discourage shitty music from being released into the general population. I'm a doctor and all futile, commerical tunes are under quarantine from now on.

Also, I have to call on you guys for a little help over here. I need writers, photographers, actors, thieves, or anybody who has a will to create something. Send me your material and I'll see if I can include it on Jeremy Brendan. (My email is @ the top right hand side of the page unless your browser is crippled)

Don't forget about the little "Comment" button below each post. Leave me some feedback, you scurvy-ridden mongrels! I don't mean that...I love you all. I'm just trying to light a fire under your ass so that you'll bother to actually give me some criticism. Without it, I am a withering little fern behind thick, stuffy drapes. My chlorophyll is nearly gone already and you are all sunrays. Feed me. I'll owe you one.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Pitchfork Give the Arcade Fire a Thumbs Up

MTL rock darlings the Arcade Fire have been given a nod from the press gallery; Pitchfork Magazine, an influential online publication that some consider the benchmark of contemporary musical criticism, has given them a stunning 9.7 out of 10 for their LP "Funeral".

Arcade Fire Cover

If fate has smiled upon you, you'll make it to the Arcade Fire show @ the Salvation Army Citadel on September 25th in Montreal (2085 Drummond). Tickets will be on sale @ Cheap Thrills (Metcalfe Street, above St-Catherine). I bought two tickets today and the kindly owner told me that he still has a few remaining. The AF kick so much ass that it would be offensive for you to miss this show. I can't emphasize this enough.

[Update! Doors open @ 8 PM and the music begins @ 9. Word on the street is that the AF have been practicing with the echo effect (the show is in a sort of church, apparently) so expect a wondrous cacaphony of sonic beauty. Also, there is no smoking cigarettes and no drinking allowed in the music space so if you must be fucked up to enjoy a show, take care of that before you attend.]

If you haven't been entranced by their sound before, visit this commercial Babylon of a site and listen to "Wake Up" or even "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)" [Ed Note: Scroll down the page to find the songs...they're in Windows Media format & also Realplayer]. You'll be catapulted into a bombastic orchestral Elysian field.

Also, Pitchfork has reported that the AF have announced a whole slew of tour dates across Canada and the U.S. Spread the joy!

09-25 Montreal, Quebec - The Salvation Army Citadel
09-26 Wakefield, Quebec - Black Sheep Inn
09-29 Kingston, Ontario - Clark Hall Pub
09-30 Guelph, Ontario - Trasheteria
10-01 Toronto, Ontario - Lee's Place (w/ Bell Orchestre)
10-02 Hamilton, Ontario - Underground
10-13 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge (CMJ Showcase)
11-05 Halifax, Nova Scotia - The Marquee (w/ The Organ)
11-11 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom (w/ The Hidden Cameras)
11-12 Boston, MA - TT the Bear's (w/ The Hidden Cameras)
11-13 Ithaca, NY - Noyes Community Center
11-14 Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church
11-15 Pittsburgh, PA - Garfield Artworks
11-26 Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Live: Dan Livingstone, The Hooks & The Casingles @ Pub Balafré

It was the first Saturday in September and I was looking for a fix. I don't mean I was searching for anything contraband--that's what those 24 hour delivery cards are for--no, I wanted to hear some pure, uncut live music. I found just that at Pub Balafré, a dimly-lit little hole in the wall nearly devoid of women, except for a couple of cute ones at the tables. This would make any hetero single dude nervous, maybe because of that hunter-gatherer instinct, so I wasted no time in buying a 650 ml Boreale Blonde. (This is Quebecois for micro-brewed beer)

The first act was a solo blues artist named Dan Livingstone. He was all about Mississippi Delta slide guitar but adamantly refused my Muddy Waters request. Despite this obvious transgression against blues music as a whole, he still fed us some decent blues riffs. His peak must have been during an obscure Bob Dylan cover--"Let me Lay it on You", I think--and the crowd was mostly into his satisfying-yet-mediocre set. I'm sure he would have sounded a lot better with a full band to take some of the weight off.

A rumour was floating around the room that Luca, the Hooks bass player, was passed out on the street in front of the Pub. I gulped and felt a tad bit guilty for having shared my beer with him only minutes before. With starry eyes open wide as saucepans, he had admitted that he took "every drug possible" and that I could quote him on that. This appealed to me greatly. "Rock and roll," I thought.

I went outside for a cigarette and saw that Sebastian, lead singer and guitarist of the Hooks, had just resuscitated Luca and they were sitting in front of the bar. Luca vowed that this was his last night in Montreal. "I'm going to California. I want to sleep on beaches and rooftops like Jim Morrison," he said. "If I die, I die...but if I can make it out there, that's even better...it's a cherry on the sundae." I suspect that he is still here in Montreal somewhere, although I can't be sure.

Minutes later, the Hooks were up on stage. From the minute they plugged in their instruments, I sensed that something was awry. Perhaps it was the way Luca had his bass slung so low; maybe it was that fierce look in Wolf's eyes (their part-time drummer); in any case, they sounded like a drugged-up Who with Kurt Cobain handling the vocals. [Ed. Note: This is a compliment!] The Hooks roll very close to the highway and they are not in the least bit ashamed about their rough edges. I guess this is what it's like to see the Libertines.

Eventually, Sebastian's guitar fell off and he smashed it angrily on the stage, halting the show for a few minutes. Soon enough, they were rip-roaring through a feedback laden opus who's name escapes me. They managed to squeeze a few more songs out of the night before Seb's guitar died for the last time. After leaving the stage, Luca ran back up and pulled his bass out of the case and raised it in the air. Although he used Ian's bass during the set, he had promised to smash his own bass before leaving.

True to his word, he began to pound the wounded bass into the floor. After a few strikes, it was in pieces and the soundman was running towards him in protest. Sebastian ran up and shouted "We're the Hooks" before they left the bar to cool down. I managed to pick up a chunk of bass the size of a Bic lighter; it remains in my pocket to this day.

The Hooks have the potential to be a great band if they can avoid setting themselves on fire at their gigs. They have the soul of Loki [Ed. Note: The Norse God of Mischief!] to guide them but he is a cruel master.

Next up were the Casingles, another rock band based out of Montreal. Justin is their guitarist & lead singer, Ian is on bass, and Tim plays some wicked drums. They started off their set by apologizing to Pub Balafré, God, Canada, and the Rickenbacker Bass Company for Luca's antics. Their sound is more polished than the Hooks; they might even be more huggable. They could be compared with the White Stripes but this wouldn't do them justice. Live, they exude a lot of confidence and reminded me somehow of Iggy Pop & the Stooges. This is a good thing.

the Casingles logo

Justin has a magnetic stage presence but he wasn't able to seduce the saucy blonde barmaid that had caught his eye, even though he purred compliments at her into the microphone between nearly every song. Ian held down the rhythm section with tight, effective bass lines. Tim proved to be a good drummer in his own right, peppering each song with frenetic fills and generous helpings of cymbals.

"Drive" could be a future hit single. It careened wildly towards a feedback-laden bridge and a dissonant, Sonic-Youthy solo before fading into the second-hand bar smoke. Another highlight was "Take a Chance", a dirty, vampy punkish song with allusions to Modest Mouse. I also enjoyed "Behind your Eyes" because it made me feel that I was watching a Canuck version of the Buzzcocks. Justin dedicated the song to his former manager, "a real bitch". This wasn't exactly PC of him but the largely-male audience laughed and guzzled their beers, this journalist included. [Ed. Note: What did Peter tell you in Broadcast 201? Keep yourself out of this, dammit.]

The definate musical OD came when we least expected it. By now, numbers were dwindling slightly and I figured that the show would just wind down. How wrong I was! Justin dedicated "Russian Opera" (which seemed to be a garage cover of the Beatle's "Eleanor Rigby") to a friend whom he had lost only days before. The emotion was visible on his face as he sang "I look at all the lonely people!" and the whole room resonated like a quartz crystal. "Russian Opera" had teeth and most of us were bitten.

"Three for One" was their second last one and I'm sure it could have been a Doors song in some other distant dimension. Slightly caustic yet completely palatable, it convinced me to finish my beer in time to buy another one before last call. They ended the night with a bluesy ode with slide guitar; Justin used a red Zippo lighter for effect.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Casingles. They are ready for prime time. The Hooks need some time in detox but they're good too, only a little bit scary. Dan Livingstone left me indifferent but remotely satisfied.

You don't have to go to Sweden to hear what true rock and roll sounds like; it's living here in Montreal and swigging forties in alleyways, rolling joints on the sidewalk and scrubbing windows with dirty water. I got my fix of gutsy garage rock that night, and it tasted pure. Do yourself a favour and go and find some of your own really soon.

Monday, September 06, 2004

All Points Bulletin!

Have you seen this man? If so, you're probably a Montrealer. Avoid at all costs. Unarmed but dangerous. A threat to civil society. If apprehended, the reward is a three-and-a-half of indo Quebec Gold. Please call 514-242-9840 if you have any information leading to his capture. That is all.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Arcade Fire Get National Press Coverage; Buzz Audible From A Great Distance

Ever since I first laid eyes on the Arcade Fire, I knew that they were going to blow up (in the hip-hop slang sense, not in the explosive one). Their live shows are a frequent source of new converts to their brand of bombast-rock and they are consumate professionals. Still, I never imagined that they would move so far, so fast.

If media hype is an indicator of a bands commercial potential, then the AF (and their label Merge) will be laughing all the way to the bizank. Of course, Win et al. are not in this for the money. They want to save rock and roll by evacuating it from the muddy confines of garage rock and lifting it to a higher level of thinking. They are the anti-Hives, the White-Stripes-murderers. This is a good thing.

Exclaim is a nationally-published music magazine (from Canada, the only free country in North America besides Mexico!) and has a tradition of defining the "cool" up here. They review scores of indie releases from around the world and they have a powerful sway over the tastemakers of the Canuck music industry; the college radio DJ's, the local bar promoters, and other influential folks read Exclaim (along with countless thousands of music fans and rockers). As you can see, Exclaim is a whale to this minnow of a blog, a giant treading loudly beside the JB ant.

And they love the Arcade Fire. In the September issue of Exclaim, a high-res live shot of Win Butler crooning into a microphone appears on the cover. You can read the well-researched, intricately-conceived album review/interview here.

Not to sound glib or pretentious, but JB has earned its first actual press coverage. Exclaim quotes from the interview we conducted in February. Although I'm sure that Michael Barclay meant well, I believe that he should have at least given us a shout-out in his text, instead of writing:

In one fanzine article, he was asked to summarise his outlook on life in 11 words or less, to which he responded simply: “Death is real.”

[Ed. Note: FYI Michael, although I am a fan of the AF, this is definately not a fanzine. I abhor the idea completely. I prefer DIY blog/zine, or even just music blog, but fanzine? Come on! If this is just a fanzine, why bother to lift my quote and then not attribute it to me? That is just not very nice at all.]

Exclaim Cover

On a related note, a fellow blogger called *Sixeyes has posted a link to a live interview/performance by the Arcade Fire. It is located here so please point those mice and click away.

I've contacted Merge to request a promo LP of the AF album "Funeral" but I am still waiting for an answer; expect a follow-up in the coming days/week.

[Ed. Note: The Arcade Fire will be touring North America in the months ahead, including a couple of sets with the stupendous Hidden Cameras. Get your tickets while you still can!]

09/29 Kingston, ON, @ Clark Hall Pub
09/30 Guelph, ON, @ Trasheteria
10/02 Hamilton, ON, @ Underground
10/13 New York City, NY @ Mercury Lounge (Merge and CMJ Showcase)
11/11 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom w/ The Hidden Cameras
11/12 Boston, MA @ TT the Bear's w/ The Hidden Cameras
11/14 Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church
11/15 Pittsburgh, PA @ Garfield Artworks

Friday, August 27, 2004

Album Review: Wolf Parade E.P. (Self-titled)

Rating: 4.216 out of 5.

Wolf Parade: (Pronounced 'wulf p&-'rAd)
1. Procession of wolves (canus lupus) which moves from one point to another. Extremely rare, but occasionally observable in remote regions of Eastern Canada.

2. Montreal band with talent to burn and a propensity for writing great rock songs. Signed to Sub Pop, toured with Modest Mouse, and beginning to catch eyes internationally. Fucking incredible.

~ ~ ~ { } {} { } ~ ~ ~

Please pardon the profanity--admittedly, I can swear like the saltiest of sailors at times--but I can't find any other words sufficient to rave about Wolf Parade's latest EP. Although they were kind enough to give us six good songs this time around, the true music fan's appetite is unrivaled in the animal kingdom. WP's full length LP will be released sometime this winter and the anticipation is killing me like ozone at low altitudes.
Image courtesy of Jonas Lesser. Thanks Jonas!

The first song "Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts" may be burdened with a ponderous title but the tune is spectacular. Dan brings some of his patented crunchy guitar riffs and Spencer keeps the ball spinning with a nifty keyboard line; if a gun was placed to my forehead, I might compare the style to a souped-up and less gloomy Interpol. Still, comparisons are useless because Wolf Parade don't fit into the square pegs of musical categorization; their shape is as unique as a person's retina.

"We Built Another World" has one of those dancey Rapture/Franz Ferdinand kind of drum beats but don't let that scare you off. With a lilting bridge that segways into a heartfelt chorus, it is a decent counterpoint to the post-rock shuffle of the first track.

"Grounds for Divorce" could have been a track from Hot Hot Heat's "Make up the Breakdown" LP, only with a slightly slower pace. [Ed. Note: This will certainly piss Spencer off but I'm just going with my gut feeling! I like HHH so please don't take this the wrong way.] Spencer sounds like he is longing for familial bliss but feels unable to do more than watch strangers and dab his tears; "Look at the lovers / in the telephone stands / and the way they move / and the way they move their hands". [Ed. Note: Originally, I thought that Dan was singing on this one. Sorry for the confusion.]

"It's a Curse" has one of those spooky, ethereal sounds that Isaac Brock might have written if he were less of a country gentleman. Don't get me wrong--Modest Mouse is a splendid band--but "...Curse" has more of an edge than most MM songs. When the final chorus marches in, I'm sure that the singer from Clinic is probably shivering in his scrubs somewhere, fearful that these Canadians can outrock his critically-appreciated UK outfit.

"The National People's Scare" has a calm, laid-back, dark-black groove. I remember hearing this song at the Go Rin Do Loft party and it rings out like a Replacements composition with graceful, raw energy.

"Killing Armies" is good although the heavy intrusion of keyboard makes it my least favourite of the six songs on the EP. Still, it will probably grow on me because the Wolf Parade's tunes are as contagious as chicken-pox. I'll be scratching for the next month or so until October 3rd, when Wolf Parade will open for "Bostonian avant-rockers" Mission of Burma at Cabaret in Montreal, PQ.

Don't miss these Victorian ex-pats unless you have an aversion to solid rock. I'll be close to the front row, brandishing a full beer bottle and bopping my head to the WP sound; I'll try to remain as conscious and sober as possible, of course. [Ed. Note: Don't fib. You're a cheap drunk.]

Monday, August 23, 2004

JB Interview with Blank from the Blanks; Impromptu Guerilla Media Scrum!

I just spent the past half hour trying to communicate with a musician. His identity shall remain nameless--hint? He & his bandmates wear pink, and it's not the Hidden Cameras!--but extricating information from him was like trying to squeeze water from a piece of gravel.

It is understandable that a busy person might not necessarily want to answer questions from every two-bit hack that tracks down their MSN email address, but come on! I'm at least a 3-bit hack, or even a media whore; still, I'm not offended. It just hardens my resolve and reminds me that I need to get the Holy of Holies, a press pass.

If Narduwar the Human Serviette can do it, anyone can!

Here is a summary of the information gleaned (gleamed?) from the quasi-interview.

1) Said musician enjoyed performing in England, although the clubs were small.
2) He remembers playing with Bishop Allen, a band I intend to interview in the near future, along with Sleater-Kinney down in the USA.
3) He may attend the Wolf Parade/Le Nombre show (slated for October in Montreal), although he doesn't usually plan that far ahead.
4) He knows Arlin (the drummer) of Wolf Parade personally but hasn't met Dan yet.
5) He didn't want to answer any questions about the follow-up to his first LP. I apologized profusely, sounding like some sort of pitiful syncophant. (I have to learn to be tough with these characters!)
6) After I admitted that I loved Modest Mouse's "Good News for People who Love Bad News", he said that they write "shitty songs".
7) Eventually, he mentioned that he's been listening to 80's and early-90's rap music, and Bach.
8) I wished him well for his upcoming show in Anaheim with Ben Kweller and bid him adieu.

If I had any journalistic ethics before, they just floated away like an empty garbage bag on the east wind. [Ed. Note: I don't think he realized he was being interviewed. If this offends him in any way, he can contact me and I'll remove this from JB.]

Despite all my complaining and kvetching about his attitude, I must point out that his band's first LP was wonderful. The critics weren't just having a circle jerk; his band is "la Creme de la Creme" of Canuck rock, right up there with acts like the New Pornographers, the Arcade Fire, and Wolf Parade. That's why I'm going to such great lengths to try to score a proper interview. It is going to happen; the only question is when.

On another note, I was at the Festiblues Festival in Parc Ahuntsic yesterday. The 3 finalists in the Blues competition squared off--the first prize was a trip to France to perform in a European festival, plus recording time--and Bottleneck ended up winning the day. Personally, I felt that Dale Boyle (of the Barburners) sounded much better up there but I think that Bottleneck must have slipped the judges a few bottles of Jack Daniels before the show. That, or the judges were hitting the crack pipe really hard.

On the plus side, Dale picked up second place, meaning he is half a grand richer! I wonder if he would lend me $20? We shall see, my friends. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Poem: "1.618"

[Ed. Note: The blame for this poem can be directly aimed at the novel "The Da Vinci Code". If you read about the Phi ratio it will make a little more sense.]

(6)gangly and malnourished;
(8)poplar trunks covered with dark moss.
(6)just long enough to reach
(8)pink pipe cleaners that hang so low.
(6)evergreen and pollen;
(8)from the early morning dewdrops.
(6)the differences 'tween
(8)lost souls and our appendages
(6)numbers to make me whole
(8)Our love is indivisible.

-Jeremy Brendan, 2004.
Any critics/poets out there? Flame away, my friends (or shower me with virtuosic praise, whatever floats your boat).

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Dale Boyle and the Barburners Interview

I have come a long way in the past few days. I've crossed rivers and scaled mountains, camped in farmer's fields and bathed in streams, hitchhiked hundreds of kilometers past villages named St-this or Ste-that, and my feet are the unwilling victims of this great journey; I have blisters on my soles the size of guitar picks.

I wouldn't even consider attempting such a voyage if I wasn't hungering for the blues, like a wolf might howl at the moon because he can't eat it. I want to hear the whiskey-accented growls and the dark, twisted solos squealing out of a Fender strat while a harmonica wheezes and coughs over a fat bass line. I plan to listen to blues music and drink beer on the sandy beach until my wallet is empty or Sunday afternoon, whichever comes first. Yes, it is time for Maximum Blues, the best damned music festival east of Montreal.

Maximum Blues in Carleton

For the past twelve summers, Gaspesians and tourists alike have waited for the ghost of Robert Johnson to inhabit the sky over Carleton, a cozy village on the south shore of the Gaspe Coast, at the Maximum Blues Music Festival. Gaspesie is the fist-shaped peninsula that hovers above New Brunswick menacingly, separated by the ironically-frigid waters of the Baie de Chaleur [Ed. Note: From the French, translates into "Warm Bay"] and it also happens to be a wonderful place to drink a two-four.

The blues has been around since before the electric guitar but it is constantly reinvented by the kids who grow up listening to it. By the time they're old enough to understand the blues, the seed has already been planted in their mind for years. As long as there is still heartbreak, as long as women have long legs and men have lusty thoughts, as long as bottles can be emptied and tea can be burned, the blues will remain as ornery and vital as ever.

Dale Boyle and the Barburners are no kids but they do represent the new wave of modern blues acts. Born and raised on the tip of the Gaspe coast in a little town called Barachois, they have built a solid following by burning down bars all along the peninsula (not as arsonists but as true blues musicians). Their style is bold and slightly dissonant, like if you caught Muddy Waters in bed with his woman and he started to pound out a blues riff as revenge. They do for the blues what Steve Earle did for country back in the 80's, giving it a high-octane overhaul and making it new again.

2/3 of Barburners with Muddy Water's guitarist John Primer
Left to Right: Dale and Rick with John Primer, Muddy Waters' guitarist, in Carleton, Quebec.

Since their song "Travellin' Bone" appeared on the Maximum Blues compilation in 2000, their sound has expanded and their legend has grown a head taller. They've played in blues bars around Montreal and Toronto, including a well-received appearance at Healey's in 2002 (the club owned by Jeff Healey, one of the bright lights on the Canadian Blues scene) at the North by Northeast Festival. Appearances like this one caught the eye of producer Dan Levitin (Chris Isaak, Blue Öyster Cult, K.D. Lang), who worked with the Barburners on their latest LP "A Dog Day for the Purists". As of press time, the release date hadn't been announced yet but I'll keep you posted.

Last month, I spoke with Dale Boyle (guitar and vox) and Richard Element (bass and back-up vox) via email. [Ed. Note: Tragically, I was working as a security guard 60 hours a week in July, so my publishing schedule was limping along like a three legged fox. My apologies for the delay.].

~ ~ ~

Jeremy Brendan: How has living in the Gaspesie affected you, musically?

Dale: Well, hints of country always seem to emerge in my playing and music, and that just comes naturally, and that is the Gaspe influence coming through. It also makes an impact on the subject matter of certain songs, like "Feels Like Home" or "Justice Precluded Coffin" (the story of Wilbert Coffin)... these are grounded in the small town Gaspe experience.

Richard: There aren't a whole lot of things to do for teens in such small towns, and music just made the world a bigger place in many ways... well, for me anyway. We're big country music fans, but I have to qualify that, as we listen to the kinda country that would never get played on CMT or the like. You have to qualify which type of country music today, 'cause there's a whole lot of horrible country music being made these days. I think when you grow up that close to the land, it shapes a part of you and it surfaces at different times.

JB: What advice would you have for other Gaspesian bands that are trying to make it right now, putting in those hours at the Brise-Bise like you once did?

Dale: Don't bother! Don't do it! Seriously, don't bother! Take up painting! Write poetry! But, if you're going give music a shot, be ready to do a ton of work that is only distantly related to writing and playing music...performing is the reward, and if you get anywhere, it will be well earned because there is an incredible amount of unpleasant work to do to establish oneself.

Richard: I agree! One should never expect anything more than small steps... small steps toward a larger goal. And remember to take something from every experience.

JB: Dale, on the song "Alpine Valley Blues", you seem to be channeling Jimi Hendrix's spirit through the mouth of an Appalaichan Micmac soothsayer.

Dale: OK. If you say so...

JB: Are you a fan of Jimi?

Dale: Sure... More so when I was younger. I haven't listened to Jimi in a while actually... though, St.Mary's Last Waltz intentionally has a Hendrix vibe.

JB: Which other artists have influenced you creatively? (In 2002, you mentioned Elvis Presley, Steve Earle and Stevie Ray Vaughan...any new ones?)

Dale: Oh, you've done some homework! Stevie Ray Vaughan's aggressiveness and intensity as a guitarist influenced and inspired me, but, for the most part, with the exception of a couple of songs like "Alpine Valley Blues" and "When I Leave", his influence is not so apparent stylistically. Often, the artists that have inspired me, have not impacted on me in an overt way. I draw inspiration from artists as divergent as The Ramones to Tom T. Hall, yet it may not be easy to detect. For example, Tom T.Hall is a country artist who is known for being a "storyteller", and storytelling is something that I've taken from him and have been adding a bit into our live performances. My influences are from all over the place... Steve Earle is worth mentioning again. Scotty Moore. Albert Lee. Bob Dylan. Hound Dog Taylor. The Ventures... I could list a lot of people... My most recent discovery is Mike Henderson. He's an excellent vocalist and guitarist.

JB: Have you been writing any songs recently?

Dale: Yes, though mostly material for my solo acoustic album.

Richard: I write things often, but more words than music. I like to play with words and metaphor. I sorta do it like some people sketch. It's always a way to slip away... it's a healthy reflector of where and who you are.

JB: At your future shows, are you going to focus on the new album or will you continue to play a few classic blues standards as well?

Dale: Yep. Material from the album will provide the basis of our shows, and we'll toss in a few well-known blues tunes, though some, like "When I Get Drunk" and "Night Train", are not standards.

JB: How did the recording session for "A Dog Day for the Purists" go?

Dale: It was LONG! Not the sessions themselves, but the time between sessions... it's a LONG story!

Richard: It was a learning experience, but a road that we hope not to travel again. It was real bumpy.

JB: Any wild tales to recount?

Dale: Wild tales...yep! To recount...NO! Well, not yet! Lets just say that aspects of this recording may inspire articles or you may find it being the subject of a chapter in some book. I'm NOT kidding!

JB: Also, what was it like working with Dan Levitin?

Dale: Dan is a great guy and we work well together. He's a musician so he understands where I'm coming from, so he strikes a good balance between working to have the musicians happy, yet, knowing when to say it's time to move on. He's helped us a lot.

Richard: Dan is excellent... with great stories too boot. He has made several generous offers of time and ideas and I'm not sure we can repay him. How much we getting for this interview?

JB: The Canadian Federal election is only weeks away. [Ed. Note: This question was time-specific. At the time, we were on the verge of electing a *gasp* Conservative majority! Luckily, cooler heads prevailed!] Are you planning to vote, and have the Barburners officially endorsed a political party?

Dale: Well, I endorse nobody that has a chance to win... anything left of right.

Richard: I endorse the concept of trying something different.

JB: What was it like meeting Jeff Healey when you performed at his Toronto blues club? (North By Northeast Festival, 2002) My mother and her best friend once got invited onto Jeff's tour bus for a glass of Whiskey, back in the 90's. They were very impressed by his politeness and got his autograph on their ticket stubs. (True story!)

Dale: Jeff Healey? He's quite tall. . .What's your mother doing hanging out with musicians in a tour bus? Don't answer that!

JB: Speaking of whiskey, have you ever tried Johnny Walker Red? It is a charming elixir of goodness but it really kills me after a certain point.

Dale: No, I rarely drink anymore.

Richard: Keith Richards suggested quitting dark liquor; I consider him a resonant expert.

JB: Do the Barburners still indulge in the pleasures of alcohol from time to time?

Dale: I believe the Barburners do indulge...

Richard: Actually, I'm the only drinker in the band and not much of one at that. Keeps the bar tabs low.

JB: Do you miss the Gaspé Coast? Will you ever move back to your home by the sea or do you think you'll stay in the city indefinately?

Dale: At times I do. But, I'll probably spent most of my life in some city writing songs about how much it sucks!

Richard: I have been missing the Coast these days actually, but it's the trees that I miss the most. I think we need to find a better balance of people and trees. I think it would make us all better people.

JB: How do you like living in Montreal? What do you think of the local nightlife and do you have any favourite hangouts?

Dale: Montreal is cool. I practically know nothing about the nightlife... I'm getting old! I like to sleep at night. I don't "hang out". If there is a good band playing in some bar, I'll go out. I don't go out too much.

JB: When you played at the Toronto Blues Society Talent Search Finals at Silver Dollar Room, did it go over well?

Dale: It went really well. Only a few Quebec bands have ever been in that talent search so we were happy to be selected to compete.

Richard: We had a good time. It's a classic Toronto blues club and the sound was great.

JB: Was the Talent Search like a Blues version of Canadian Idol, with judges sitting behind a table watching and nodding occasionally?

Dale: A little less formal than Canadian idol! But, there were 4 judges taking notes.

Richard: Yeah! This little trend, well? This big trend, just gave us an opportunity to take our music to T.O.

JB: You had a main stage performance at Maximum Blues in Carleton last year, which was full to the gills and very well received. Will you be
headlining this summer's festival?

Dale: We've got 2 shows on different stages this year. It will be a great chance to push the new album.

Richard: We really appreciate the funded trips to the Gaspe. The Carleton people really take great care of musicians. How do they treat journalists?

JB: If I could get my hands on a press pass, I would be able to tell you! I may just put this Lexmark colour printer to good use...forget I said that. Good luck with your show on Friday night and I'll see you in Carleton!

~ ~ ~

Dale Boyle & the Barburners will be playing on the main stage (Loto-Québec Stage) on Friday, August 6th @ 6:30 PM. They will also perform on Saturday afternoon @ 3:30 PM on the new campground stage. Heads will be bobbing, beer will be consumed, and real blues music will be heard. The thrill ain't gone, B.B. King; just listen to the Barburners and you'll find it again. Visit the Barburners official site for audio clips, images, and the latest Barburners news.

After Maximum Blues, you can catch the Barburners in the act at the following locations:

- August 13 & 14: Bar Le St-Barnabe (Carleton, Quebec)
- August 21: Smoke Meat Pete's (Montreal, Quebec)
- August 27 & 28: Haraiki Bar (Montreal, Quebec)