Thursday, September 29, 2005

NO FORMAT: 10/02/2005

NO FORMAT presents

Sunday October 2nd

MAN MAN (Philadelphia, Ace Fu)
Honus Honus is the primary songwriter, and spiritual energy behind Philadelphia's Man Man. A live act featuring four players, Man Man are almost impossible to describe; their music is at once pop, experimental, indie, and just plain bizarre. Imagine The Decemberists really did get lost at sea in the 18th century, were forced to make their own instruments out of driftwood and animal parts, went slightly insane, and developed a taste for the circus. Critically acclaimed and well-known for their amazing live show, Man Man make an appearance in Toronto at a small venue (capacity 60) after hitting Pop Montreal. This is rare.

LENIN I SHUMOV (Toronto, Blocks)
The boys at 20 Jazz Funk Greats had this to say about Lenin: "...hysteric ranting, mad man manic, animal collectivist celebratory spirit, Mahjonggian percussive rattling, no wave inside a bouncy happy bass scabbard and insanely catchy summery riffage... If this music was a city it would be Constant's New babylon, a place with arcades built on top of each other ad anthill, crazy labyrinths and traps filling the sonic spectre, check it out, in this city the lamplights have switches so its inhabitants can reconfigure the streets at will, well, Lenin i Shumov have turned everything off, I don't know where I am, but it's very fun."

Come down early to ensure you have a spot inside the venue, otherwise bag yourself a 40 and kick it on the curb outside. The sound travels pretty well, right?

The Bagel (285 College St. Toronto)

Doors 9pm


DJ Mikey Apples (Future Primitive)


Man Man - I, Manface *repost
Man Man - Gold Teeth
Man Man - Tear Of Octopus (Adam Sparkles Remix)


As you can tell, I've been busy. The shoegazer retrospective is still coming, but between the shows, the posters, the reviews, and the 9-5, it's taken a back seat.

Monday, September 26, 2005

NO FORMAT: 09/29/05

NO FORMAT presents

Thursday September 29th 2005


From Vancouver, BC, My Project: Blue is the latest signing to Boompa Records, considered by some to be THE up-and-coming west-coast Canadian label. MP:B join Ladies and Gentlemen as part of an impressive roster of bands, and are playing in Toronto for the first time, on their way to Pop Montreal. With a sound similar to Belle and Sebastian, My Project: Blue lean more towards jangly pop than Glaswegian twee, with brief shades of Neil Halstead showing through the cracks. Their debut album is due out in October; this is your chance to catch the band before they hit the indie-rock mainstream.


With their recently leaked, self-titled follow-up to their hugely successful album, You Forgot It In People, Broken Social Scene are back in the spotlight again. Obviously the October 4th release date didn't stop the ravenous fans from tracking down what looks to be another hit for these Toronto locals.

For this show, we have the chance to check out some different, and eclectic material from a number of core members of this band, which forms the backbone of the Arts & Crafts record label. What to expect? We aren't even sure ourselves, but we do know it'll be well worth the price of admission.


These guys are new. Jeremy Finkelstein of No Dynamics on drums. A bunch of others guys I don't know. I've seen some clips of them playing, and they have a Television-like feel. This will fill out as more information comes in.


Here is what Stuart Berman has to say about Kat: As long as there guys who listen to indie-rock, there will be sweet-singing girls with guitars for them to crush out on. This track, from Burns’ new six-song EP, plays like a cordial conversation between Chan Marshall and Elliott Smith (assuming they could hear what the other was whispering). Listen to: Now Now


Now promoting in both eastern and western Canada, No Format got it's start in Vancouver, and is known for supporting the best indie talent around -- before they're picked up on the mainstream radar. From TV On The Radio to The Fever to The Diableros to The Hank Collective, every No Format show has a unique feel. Combining a rotating cast of DJs along with live bands, the No Format concept is all about the music. Fuck the pretenses, and enjoy yourself.


DJs on the night: Shit la Merde (Shit la Merde!)

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Guest Blog #3: Stuart Berman

Yes, Stuart comes through and saves me from my own slackness -- there will indeed be an update this weekend! Thanks once again, Mr. Berman. The floor is yours:


Broken Social Scene - Do The 95
Constantines - The Young and Desperate
As Canadian indie-ana eagerly awaits two of this season’s biggest releases — Broken Social Scene’s self-titled album, and the Constantines’ Tournament of Hearts — let’s dig up some of their skeletons.

BSS’ “Do the 95” was the B-side to the UK “Stars and Sons” single, yet it didn’t appear on 2004’s B-sides collection, Bee Hives. The title commemorates a BSS offshoot band that played a handful of gigs in the summer of 2001; the concept was essentially a fake Dinosaur Jr cover band — i.e., they didn’t actually cover any Dino songs, they just played a bunch of songs that sounded like they were. Future BSS standards like “Cause = Time” and “Almost Crimes” came out of this experiment.

“The Young and Desperate” marked the Constantines’ first appearance on CD; it was the lead-off track to The Twenty-Year Design Theory, a compilation of Ontario indie-rock bands put together by Anti-Antenna Recordings’ Ryan Mills in spring 2001. While the new Tournament of Hearts finds the Cons cashing in their Fugazi records for the Neil Young catalogue, here the young lions are in full-on Repeater mode, complete with herky-jerky stop/start rhythms and lyrics that begin with the phrase “THIS IS NOT…” (which are a must for all manifesto-rock). They used to close their shows with this, and part of me wishes they still did.

Dr. Dog - Say Something
Like any unwashed band with beards, Philly’s Dr. Dog inspire love and loathing in equal measures, though it’s interesting to see who’s in each camp. New York Times anti-rockist advocate Kelefah Sanneh is actually one of their most vocal supporters, whereas the indie adjudicators at Pitchfork — who you’d think would be all over the Dog’s lo-fi White Album-meets-Big Pink slack-rock — pissed all over them. Fuck ’em: these are huggable hippie jams for those us who hate the Dead, but love The Band.

Gary Higgins - It Didn’t Take Too Long
More beardo-rock for you, from one of the more unlikely benefactors of the recent psych-folk phenomenon. A one-time associate of the Silver Apples’ Simeon Coxe, Higgins is enjoying a minor renaissance after one of his tracks (“Thicker Than a Smokey”) was covered on the most recent Six Organs of Admittance album; Drag City’s recently reissued his long-lost 1973 album, Red Hash, recorded days before the dude went to the big house on a pot charge. Despite the props from the avant-rock set, this is closer to Donovan than Devendra.

Of Arrowe Hill - Positively Antediluvian
In which we give a shout-out to my mate Adam Easterbrook, the mastermind of this London, UK psych trio. Championed by such esteemed Heads as Julian Cope and the late John Peel, OAH are Guided by Voices after a couple of trips to the gym — melody with muscle. This track comes from the band’s just-released second LP, Hexadelica and the Speed of Darkness.

The Ponys - I’m With You
Though not quite as dramatic as, say, JT’s break from *NSYNC, the departure of Ian Adams from The Ponys is something to lament. He was the one rocking the Rickenbacker onstage like a gay George Harrison, offsetting frontman Jered Gummere’s manic Tom Verlaineisms with fey Pete Shelley-ian kiss-offs. This Adams-penned gem, from this year’s Celebration Castle, represents your last chance to prance.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Eyes on the floor

I'm working on this shoegazer retrospective over the next couple of days. Expect tracks from Chapterhouse, Catherine Wheel, Pale Saints, Lush, My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Verve, and quite a few more. I need to break out my cassettes and record some additional MP3s before this can happen. I'll also have some obscure releases you may have never heard, from bands like Drop, The Dylans, and Spirea-X.

There will be a part where I bag on Morr Music, M83, and the modern immitators, and give props to Serena Maneesh.

C86 will also be covered.

Give me a day or two here.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Space Ark

The chaotic dust cloud is coming. We must prepare the Space Ark and head to Andromeda. (Just kidding.) This is the second time in two weeks I've seen a thread on a message board started by someone who has read one of these "World Weekly News" articles and freaked out. The bad part is the stories aren't even funny.


As Mr. Newman pointed out in the comments yesterday, The Spinto Band are definitely good. They write melodic pop songs with affected vocals, some nice synths, and all the requisite guitar hooks. I don't have a lot of additional information on the band, although Allmusic has a quirky bio on guitarist, Jon Eaton. Music For Robots covered them a little while back; thanks for the heads up:

The Spinto Band - Did I Tell You
The Spinto Band - Oh Mandy
The Spinto Band - Brown Boxes
The Spinto Band - Crack The Whip


Last night I had a chance to check out another of Arts & Crafts' latest signings, New Buffalo. She sang over top of pre-recorded backing tracks, just herself on stage, sometimes accompanying the recordings with her guitar or Farfisa. She was very cute up there: the songs were cute, her awkward banter in her Australian accent was cute, and her little dances were cute. The last four tracks of her set were good, and even managed to impress Stuart Berman, who compared her to someone else -- but of course, I can't remember who it was. Maybe he'll fill me in when he guest blogs again (next week, right?). Anyway, I bet it's kind of irritating when the first thing anyone says about you, is that your husband is in The Avalanches.

Speaking of Stuart Berman, he gave the new Sigur Ros 3.5 stars out of 5 in his latest set of reviews, when it clearly deserves a 4.


As of today, I will be doing weekly reviews for Cokemachineglow. They run a great site, and I'm happy to be a part of it. I'll continue contributing to Vancouver's Terminal City (who's music editor, Jason Grimmer is an awesome guy and member of both The Christa Min and Nasty On).


Shout outs to the nice people at Friendly Fire Recordings, for hooking me up with The Faunts, and to Kat Burns for linking to this site. Organ Grinder Records, the label behind Pontiak, also hit us up this week.


The interestingly titled blog, Last Night An MP3 Saved My Wife has given Are You Familiar? a permanent link. Nice tunes -- check them out. Word.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


When I first heard the new Strokes single, Juicebox (or Juice Box), I was skeptical. The blatant Peter Gunn riff (to cop Pitchfork) rubbed me precisely the wrong way, and Casablancas' vocals failed to sound - well - convincing. The track is tight; almost calculating. Maybe it'll be a radio hit. Maybe it'll be a hit on MTV. Here's hoping the album is a lot stronger than this offering.

I don't post stuff I dislike, but I will make an exception here:
The Strokes - Juicebox


In preparation for my multi-part exploration of shoegazer (which I will arbitrarily say begins on Friday), here are two newer tracks to bring you back down:
Serena Maneesh - Un Deux
White Rainbow - Guilded Golden Ladies

Man Man

NO FORMAT presents

Sunday October 2nd

MAN MAN (Philadelphia, Ace Fu) (
Honus Honus is the primary songwriter, and spiritual energy behind Philadelphia's Man Man. A live act featuring four players, Man Man are almost impossible to describe; their music is at once pop, experimental, indie, and just plain bizarre. Imagine The Decemberists really did get lost at sea in the 18th century, were forced to make their own instruments out of driftwood and animal parts, went slightly insane, and developed a taste for the circus. Critically acclaimed and well-known for their amazing live show, Man Man make an appearance in Toronto at a small venue (capacity 60) after hitting Pop Montreal. This is rare.

The Bagel (285 College St. Toronto)

Doors 9pm


The new Sigur Ros and Broadcast albums are both very good -- after a fair number of listens, I would say Sigur Ros are back on form after their sophomore slump.


Check it out, this guy put thought bubbles to good use.


I wasn't a huge fan of A.R.E. Weapons' first album, and I didn't like the live show, but their new material has some promise, and the video for Weakest Ones is good:
A.R.E. Weapons - Who Rules The Wasteland?

The new album from The USAISAMONSTER seems to transcend their title (maybe):

Wolf Parade are still awesome:
Wolf Parade - Shine A Light

Monday, September 19, 2005

New layout

I redesigned the site layout a bit this evening. It should be easier to read (black on white, versus white on black) and a bit less intimidating with all that text. Any comments, or if anything broke in the process, let me know.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Good Day Sunshine

Admittedly, I liked the first Bloc Party EP far more than I ever liked the album. It was good, but it never rekindled the excitement I had when hearing their earlier material. Now, the remix album is another story entirely -- it's already a critical success, and well-reviewed, so I don't need to get into the details. I will say, however, that this record encapsulates the sound of the last three years very well. To me, it may be something of the end of an era; the dense mixes, the sweeping synths, distorted vocals, and the drums compressed and punched up to the point where they knock your brain out. Where do we go from here? What do the Phones, DFA, and Adam Sparkles have up their sleeves and down their pants to keep things moving?

Bloc Party - This Modern Love (Dave P. And Adam Sparkles Making Time Remix)
Bloc Party - Plans (Mogwai Remix)


. A taste of what they will deliver on the new album? Here we have Dr. Tchock at his balladic best, with the requisite haunting backing vocals floating above the piano -- and the production... fuck. The production:

Radiohead - I Want None Of This


I drove through Kansas City on the highway coming back from St. Louis a few years ago. We didn't stop. Namelessnumberheadman are from KC, MO, but I obviously didn't run into them. Next time, I'm gonna stop in Kansas City and see what else I can find. These tracks were released in 2003:

Namelessnumberheadman - (At Least) Three Cheers For Cause And Effect
Namelessnumberheadman - Tension Envelopes


Here is another track from New Zealand's The Shocking Pinks. I haven't picked up their newest album yet, but Dance The Dance Electric (2002:AUS) has been on play at my place constantly for the last few weeks:

The Shocking Pinks - Every


Walking down Queen Street at a bit past midnight tonight, I passed a busker just as he broke into a rendition of The Beatles' Good Day Sunshine. As he hit the first "good day sunshine" he stopped, said, "fuck this, I'm done," and started packing up. I gave him $1.50. It was perfect.

I miss someone. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

One hundred

Thanks to everyone who has been reading this shit for the last - almost - year and a half. This is my one hundredth post.

Given, for the majority of that time, this was nothing but me writing down my obtuse and strange ideologies -- so at least it's a bit more interesting now (you know, you can skip the words and just download the music, or click the links). To the four of you who have been here from the start, I appreciate the patience.


The Paper Cranes will be opening for Wolf Parade in Victoria, and My Project: Blue in both Victoria and Vancouver:

SEPT 23 2005

w/The Paper Cranes
+ Dante Decaro (ex-Hot Hot Heat)

Lucky Bar
Victoria, BC

Tickets $12 at Ditch Records


Black Moth Super Rainbow have had quite a bit of independent press, but until recently, I'd never heard of them. Their music is a bizarre mix of electronics and analog sounds. Cut up drums, vocoded vocals, and lots of ambient texture. Of these tracks, the newest - Lost, Picking Flowers In The Woods - strikes me as the strongest, although the others are also worth checking out. Looking forward to their new EP:

Black Moth Super Rainbow - Lost, Picking Flowers In The Woods
Black Moth Super Rainbow - I Think It Is Beautiful You Are 256 Colors Too
Black Moth Super Rainbow - I Am The Alphabet
Black Moth Super Rainbow - Boatfriend
Black Moth Super Rainbow - Trees And Colors And Wizards

(Oh, and how cool is that You Can't Do That On Television splash page for their website? Alanis was on that show.)


Another one from Jackson's upcoming album:
Jackson And His Computer Band - Hard Tits

An older tune from Man Man, because they're so damn good. Their videos too:
Man Man - I, Manface

Coachwhips freak out through a megaphone:
Coachwhips - Body And Brains

Monday, September 12, 2005

Interview: Final Fantasy

I conducted this interview a few months ago for a magazine called HoBo. Unfortunately, our interview came too late for the cut-off, and since it's a quarterly magazine, it probably won't make it into the next one.

Owen is currently away on tour. If you're in Europe, and you have a chance to see him play out there, don't miss it. The live show is amazing.

Because this was for HoBo, the article is more conventional (read: staid) than what I usually write.


“You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building. Around you is a forest. A small stream flows out of the building and down a gully.”

If you were a 12-year-old me, you’d eventually follow that gully downstream until you came to a grate. From there you would open the grate and enter the Colossal Cave. So begins the introduction to Adventure (also: adventure.exe), the first computer-based role-playing game that I had ever seen. It also happens to be the title to track nine on Owen Pallett’s debut CD under the name Final Fantasy. I’m not sure how many people might catch this cult reference, nor how many would recognize the name “Final Fantasy” as belonging to one of Japan’s most popular videogame franchises. I mean, how many of us are such huge nerds?

Don’t worry, none of this impacts the songs unless you’re paying attention — it doesn’t sound like “videogame music,” and in fact, these themes don’t even come up through Owen’s lyrics; at least, not obviously. He won’t be singing to you about his days playing D&D or his evenings huddled in front of his computer.

If you haven’t heard Final Fantasy, what it sounds like is far from what you might expect at this point, although dropping the names Arcade Fire and The Hidden Cameras as two of Pallett’s other affiliations might give you a clue.

[ visual page break ]

After reading my lead-in, which I’d handed to him printed on a folded piece of paper and sandwiched in a copy of HoBO, Owen laughed, “you haven’t heard the new album.”

I was nursing a beer, watching Owen eat couscous in a bar on Queen Street West – a summer day in downtown Toronto. Disgustingly hot, I’d moved inside from the patio to enjoy some air conditioning when he rolled in. After asking him where he was from (here) how he got into music (classical background), and some other pedestrian crap, Owen immediately launched into a brisk clip of nerd-speak, describing a few of his inspirational touch-stones.

There are some issues with putting two nerds together to talk – invariably their discussion will lead down a few different paths: technology, computers, operating systems, videogames, obscure cult films, perhaps music, and, if they are socialized, the difficulty of being a socialized nerd. Directing our conversation towards pertinent subjects was not easy.

In any case, he was right; I hadn’t heard the new album – it’s due out in January of next year on Tomlab, and it won’t be complete until September. “I’m really happy with it so far,” was Owen’s take. Merely satisfied with his debut release, Has A Good Home, Pallett is keenly aware of the type of music he wants to create, and the gap that exists between this vision and what he produced on the first album.

Based entirely around Owen’s violin, Final Fantasy is a unique project. Using effects pedals to loop sounds, and to add delay and other modifiers to his strings, the resulting music is superficially baroque, but still pop in it’s underpinnings. With guests playing drums, and contributing additional instrumentation, Final Fantasy is, indeed, highly original, well orchestrated pop music.

Critical acceptance of Has A Good Home has been generally favorable, with consistent recognition of Owen’s great song-writing ability. When I asked him how he felt about critics, he gave an exasperated sigh and smiled, “the concept of applying a set of numbers to every record ever made is just… incredible.” And no, that’s not incredible good. Of course, he reads what they have to say, he has a couple favorite writers, and, well, he even admits to liking the whole thing in a can’t-take-it-too-seriously kind of way.

Getting back to the new record, Owen quickly pointed out that it’s “based on the eight spheres of magic,” as presented in Dungeons & Dragons. “Not that I’ve ever really played D&D; I always died at the first kobold attack.” Without getting too far into something most of the population has no interest in, the concept of the magical spheres is not as simple as say, fire, water, and ice. Rather, they are abstract theories, which can be expanded upon in ways that will be transparent to the listener -- unless they’re consciously aware of the references. Don’t be scared; nerds don’t usually hurt you, and you don’t have to read any Dungeon Master Handbooks to appreciate the music.

Beyond Final Fantasy, Owen has gained considerable recognition by doing string arrangements for, and being a touring member of Arcade Fire, one of Canada’s hottest musical exports. Over the past couple years, he’d been working with two other Canadian acts -- Jim Guthrie, and The Hidden Cameras, both successful in their own right. Oh yeah, then there’s his other band, Les Mouches. All of this makes Owen a very busy guy.

Recently on the cover of NOW! Magazine, Toronto’s largest independent tabloid paper, and with an upcoming European tour, it looks like things are moving pretty quickly. “When I don’t have to work anymore, that’s when the music will go downhill,” Owen smirked. Funny. But it’s this kind of self-awareness that helps Final Fantasy achieve a high level of openness and intimacy with the listener. However you might interpret or apply Pallett’s lyrics, you feel like he is allowing you a glimpse inside, and it’s this honesty and truth of intention, that sets his work apart from so many others.


Final Fantasy - The CN Tower Belongs To The Dead *repost

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Passive Vengeance

I live by myself -- this allows me to do lots of fun stuff, like drink orange juice directly from the container, or dip my banana right into this Nutella jar. Think about this next time you're at my house.


The Toronto International Film Festival is here. As great as it would be to check out a lot of these films, I lack the time and the money to do so. The actress girlfriend I would be hitting the carpet with is sick in Vancouver, so I have no real excuse to attend the parties. Besides, even the lure of free alcohol is not enough for me to brave that scene.

Speaking of free drinks, the "Never Be Alone" party which Vice and Solo Mobile are promoting across Canada hit Toronto on Friday night. It kind of sucked. Lana (little miss addVice) tells me the one in Vancouver was actually fun. Especially when Jason (My!Gay!Husband!) got really hammered, yelled "VICE SUCKS" while casing the line to get in, stole all the Polaroids that were being taken (and stuck up on the wall with people's phone numbers on them), and then passed out in the back of a truck. Wicked.


I found this email at one of my accounts last week. Usually you expect some kind of xxx pr0n action out of a message along these lines, but I have no idea what to make of this. Check out that URL; it's awesome:

From: "Hernan"
Subject: come get yourself a bed buddy
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2005 14:18:45 -0400
this is the place to go
if you want all the benefits of a relationship with none of the hastles.
they are all willing to just be your bedroom buddy

Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.
To sit alone with my conscience will be judgment enough for me.
A Leopard Can't Change His Spots
Don't look a Gift Horse in the Mouth
Shake a leg
Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

PS formed in Brooklyn in 2002 -- hard to tell if that's a blessing or a curse anymore, isn't it? These songs were recorded in 2004 by Paul Mahajan, who also did engineering and mixing work for TV On The Radio, Liars, Oneida, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs (be prepared before you hit the YYYs link, and don't blame me -- you were warned). I heard there was a Nick Zinner connection to PS, but I'm not sure in what capacity.

I've been waiting for these guys to break for a while; it's been some time since their music started to filter through the blogs, but there hasn't been a lot of buzz around them since their album, Double Standards, was released. Looks like they've sold some songs to Adidas recently:

PS - Spelling
PS - Sense Of Humor


TV On The Radio are nice guys. This song is alright. Their last song was alright, too. I hope the new album is able to transcend being "alright." David Andrew Sitek and Kyp Malone sometimes post stuff on their blog, which is linked from this site under the acquaintances heading:

TV On The Radio - Dry Drunk Emperor


You know how there are all these post-punk bands from England that all sound the same and have catchy little guitar hooks and all that shit? Well The Arm are from Austin, TX, and these tracks came out some time ago:

The Arm - Bright Young Men
The Arm - Song Automatic


Last week I was going to do a write-up on The Bluetones. They were to The Stone Roses what Cast were to The La's. I listened to their stuff again, and I decided against any kind of endorsement -- they haven't aged well. Then I thought about Cast. [pregnant pause] So anyway, here is a track from The La's, because they are infintely more interesting than any of the other aforementioned bands, and they played in Japan a month or so ago:

The La's - Timeless Melody


If you're into digging through used record bins, try find a Tuxedomoon LP somewhere. It'll be an interesting quest, and the payoff is worth it:

Tuxedomoon - No Tears


I have a soft spot for Radiohead remixes. And Radiohead. And Stanley Donwood.:

Radiohead - I Will (Matelic Remix)


Windy And Carl
help me fall asleep with over twelve minutes of pretty noises. I like the name of the song, because it means I'm being really ironic when I play it at bedtime. So cool. Yes:

Windy And Carl - Consciousness


By request, links now open in a new window.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Interview: Jonathan Vance

Screw all this emo shit. Fuck you mainstream media jerk-offs for commercializing what was once cool, underground, viable art and selling it back to the kids – the kids with nothing better to do than take pictures of themselves with their arms outstretched and their heads down, so they can post them all over their Myspace pages. Hell, fuck you Washington D.C. for spawning all these bands, and let’s kill whoever called the summer of 1985, “Revolution Summer.” What’s that all about? Revolution my ass.

Let’s name-check Fugazi, and place a curse on every band which claims them as an influence. Promise Ring already buried themselves, so fuck them. But what about Rites of Spring? Convocation of…, and while we’re on that subject, what about Moss Ico—

Yeah, you in the back, with the band buttons and the piercings and the self-deprecating tattoos, what’s up?

“Dude, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I was there man. I know all about emocore, or “emo” – you hack. You should check out my blog, cause it’s all in there, and I know for sure: Moss Icon weren’t emo.”

Alright. Cool. You think you just owned me? Fuck man, yesterday I got this email from the guys at Run-Roc, and they offered me an interview with Jonathan Vance. Vance is the guy who sang for Moss Icon, and Run-Roc are producing his new tunes. This man knows. He knows everything. I bet he’s a living, breathing effigy to all things painful and full of tears. I bet he self-pierces and has a closet full of cool bags and wicked hats and they’re all from like, 1987 and they still have the sweat from one of the guys from The Hated on them, cause you know, Moss Icon shared the stage with them before.

I can’t wait to talk to him. He’s gonna be so fucking emocore.


[So I woke up today, dragged myself out of bed, popped my medication, pinned on my pins, and laced up my cons. I went to work, I came home, and Jonathan Vance contacted me via Messenger at around 8pm.]

JV: I was born in a haunted suburb constructed of splintered arbors, beneath the board of education; taught to believe in liars. Ally to invisible genius. Student of a salesman’s son.

[OK, yeah, I’d tried to start with the basics. I had a bit of background info on Jonathan, but I still have a hard time making sense of that answer. I decided to follow-up with the obvious question:]

GI: You've seen ghosts then?

JV: My friend has a farm that's been in his family for a couple hundred years and I have noticed a ghost or two down there.


JV: I started writing when I was a kid and picked up a bass guitar when I was fifteen. I sucked at bass so decided to start singing the lyrics that I was writing.

GI: You wanted to be a musician?

JV: I don’t think that I ever wanted to be a musician. I was singing in Moss Icon sort of haphazardly and never really put much forethought into it -- sort of day-to-day. I never heard of emo before a couple of years ago and my friend Chris Coady told me Moss Icon invented it. The stuff that I have heard that is called emo is not music I like to listen to so I don’t know what it's all about. I don't talk about it that much. Most people I know don't even know about it.

[Nice! I don’t listen to emo either. I never did. I’m not sure who Chris Coady is, but I am sure he could get into some wicked arguments with resolute fanatics about who invented emo, when, in what city, and at what time of day. Let’s just assume Moss Icon were up there. Neither Jon, nor myself were too interested in tackling this issue. Oh yeah, the bit about my morning routine was partially a lie too.]

JV: After Moss Icon [disbanded] I got together a lot of different musicians and we recorded five songs and played one show at St. John's College in Annapolis and broke up within a month. Then everybody scattered all over the country.

GI: Who were the other musicians? Did any of them go on to make more music?

JV: Josh Cohen is now city alderman in Annapolis. Zach Fusciello is drummer for a band called Swingin’ Swamis and possibly the best drummer on the face of the earth. There was also some guy named Cheech, who is a physics professor, and a few other people who I don’t remember.

GI: What did you end up doing?

JV: I didn’t make any music after that until Run-Roc. I spent a few years wandering around the west coast. Raised a son on my own who is now 11. His name is Gabriel. He now lives in Spain with his mother. I was part owner of a juice company out west, and worked as a stonemason. I really have been all over the place.

GI: This guy I don’t know once called Tonie Joy [Moss Icon guitarist, member of Convocation Of…, ] the "Platonic ideal of punk."

JV: Did Plato have an idea about punk?

GI: I think Plato was pretty punk rock. But I think if Plato had an idea of punk, he kept it underground to ensure it wasn't commercialized.

JV: You are a funny man Greg. Plato had a lyre with a "god Save The Queen" sticker on the back.

GI: What made you get into things with Run-Roc? Those guys have a good thing going right now.

JV: Someone was looking for my lyrics online and I responded, and Dave [from Run-Roc] got a hold of me from that. He said, "are you making music?” I said no and he said, “well, let’s make a record.” I was happy to. I think that they are both cool and I am a huge fan of DJ's [the second of Run-Roc’s two owners] band Neutral Mute.

GI: Is music a strong passion for you? Is it your life?

JV: It is something that I use to express my thoughts I suppose. My life is very chaotic and music is just a refined version of my life. Boiled down like a tea egg. I don’t listen to much music except a bunch of old records.

GI: Where does the sound come from? I mean, I listen to something like Lycanthrope [from Jon’s solo debut], and I can list sonic influences, and I can make up all kinds of bullshit, and break down the genres and classify everything, but it seems like I'd be over-thinking things.

JV: You would be thinking too much. I don’t listen to any modern music. On my turntable now is Curtis Mayfield. We freaked out my records the other night and played anything from JBs [James Brown's backing band] to PE [Public Enemy] to The Clash.

GI: Did you co-write the tracks with Run-Roc?

JV: I guess I did. I had some musical ideas that didn’t make it through but that will be a different story on the next record. I would start by rolling in off the train get to the studio and pick up guitar and play rhythm. And then they would add a basic tempo to it and I would start singing over that. Then when I wanted more percussion we brought in this drummer Jerry and some Cuban kids to play maraca. I think that the rhythm in the words makes the music and my mood and the shit that inevitably circles around my periphery.

[Here we digressed into a discussion of technical versus emotional art. I masturbated verbally, and Jonathan smiled and nodded. Or at least, I imagine he did.]

JV: I am not a technical person. My band consists of one person: Erika Valencic, and she is my kind of musician; no technical shit just attitude and spirit. My knowledge of dance music is the JBs. I don’t like to over do songs; I like repetition and beats. It’s necessary for me to have good repeating rhythm to bring out the devil in a live performance. I need to be brought to a state of singing.

I am writing and losing songs constantly. I just got the bright idea to get a four track, so now I record all of the ideas I come up with.

[Any hint of moving back towards the topic of emo had long since passed, if it ever really existed. I’ve never owned a pair of cons.]

GI: The devil. Drinking? Drugs? Where does your lifestyle lie these days? You said you had a kid... living in Spain.

JV: I have demons. My son is an angel. I raised him on my own since he was six months old until he was six and now he is a brilliant beautiful kid who is learning his third language. My lifestyle is hard to explain. I work for a Rabbi who is a master furniture maker and restorer. I make cards -- like playing cards. I study symbology in my mouse-infested apartment.

GI: Do you like the mice? I had pet mice. They're actually very nice.

JV: I didn't realize that I liked mice until I tried to catch one and accidentally hurt his leg. I apologized and let him go.

GI: What about the cards? Where can I see them?

JV: The cards are on the record cover. I believe if you Google “Jonathan Vance Sylvia the Eagle” you should see them somewhere. I have many; they have been an ongoing thing for years.

GI: Are you going to tour? Can you reproduce what’s on the record, live?

JV: We can reproduce the record live. But as with all of the music I have made in the past, the live aspect is where the spirit is and it will be different -- I am not sure how.
The live show is Erika and myself and indeterminate players. My life is very strange and Erika works great for that, because so is hers.

I would like to tour -- I want to play in Shanghai.

GI: If you want ghosts, that’s the place to go. I'd love to go to eastern Asia. There is something to be said for a sense of sentimentality for the spiritual.

JV: My girlfriend is from China and she is always playing music. I was in Shanghai in 86. It was much different then than now. Tokyo reminded me of the movie Brazil. [Terry] Gilliam is my favorite director he did that right?

GI: Yeah, Gilliam did that. It's one of his best.

[We diverge into a discussion about films. I reference “the Illuminati” for the first time in my life. We digress...]

GI: People keep comparing you to LCD Soundsystem -- to DFA and James Murphy.

JV: I don’t know who any of those people are.

GI: Yeah, I figured that. There is a link to Run-Roc, because DFA were the last producers for The Rapture, and Run-Roc were doing some production work for The Rapture recently. It’s just funny, because you’re getting shifted in with these firmly entrenched New York-based musical front-runners, and you have no affiliation with them at all. Reviewers think you’re from New York.

JV: I’ve been everywhere but I am from Maryland although I am perfectly at home in NYC.

I like the Run-Roc guys. The first weekend I went up there to record was a drunken whirlwind and right before I got on the train to leave DJ and Dave asked me simultaneously, "do you always live like this?" They are sports.

GI: What's your release schedule? There is the Sylvia/Umbrella EP right now, but what else is coming?

JV: No schedule. I think that I will be back in the studio soon, and we are to play New York. I don’t know when we will, but soon. I really am pretty square but really caught up in big picture shit;
I am not enough of the managerial type to be too organized.

[Most of the stuff from here is a bit strange. Interviews can be pretty boring, but Jonathan made a real go of this one. Evidently it was his first. At the end of it, I told him to call me up sometime when I wasn’t expecting it – preferably late at night – and have another chat. It’s like acid or something.]

JV: My aim with music is to hone in on the secret using the esoteric methods of the Knights Triangulate.

GI: And what will the secret reveal? Triangulation is a pretty good method for finding something.

JV: Never let the catechumen breathe the secret. Upon opening, that dark and horrible gate comes crashing shut. That is the secret.

I’m half joking.

GI: I'd rather not know you were joking.

JV: I am writing a movie about the Knights Triangulate.

GI: What’s the movie like?

JV: It’s funny -- rent it. Good music by Papa Lemba the Voodoo Priest.

GI: Who is the protagonist in your movie? Who is the star? And who is the anti-hero?

JV: I never thought about the characters that way. The protagonist is a jewel. The anti-hero is a grave robber who digs his holes not for greed but for his art (his art sucks by the way). The sex appeal is a wealthy Italian girl who tries to be a puppet master for her own greed, when she becomes privy to some secret knowledge.

GI: That’s pretty damn good.

JV: I know a whole lot about a little bit and a little bit about a lot and if you try to tell me that you think you know something, you'll never know as much as I forgot.

I was taught to swing a hammer by the grandson of slaves.
Seen the ghost shores of Sickle Moon Bay.
Crossed the fields of Ornan in the stones pale hue.
Cast reflective flames thrown, tossed through.
Rose from wide creeks,
spied from far peaks.


Jonathan Vance - Sylvia The Eagle *repost
Jonathan Vance - Lycanthrope *repost

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Punk Rock Electronics


Updates are slow due to the No Format show this week, sorting out our next show on the 29th of September (details tomorrow), and writing up the Jonathan Vance interview.


The Paper Cranes are going into the studio with Howard Redekopp, engineer for The New Pornographers, and Tegan and Sara. We're really excited.

Expect the EP to be delivered this fall. We will be distributing through Insound to start, with bigger plans for the future.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

NO FORMAT: 09/07/05



THE SOCIAL - 1100 Queen St West, Toronto

All Night
MC Flanagan - Nick Flanagan will be hosting this evening. He will say uncomfortable and funny things, and keep you entertained between the changing of strings.

Ian Worang - The guy from Uncut and The Two Koreas will be playing records that delicately fuse together the electronics and the rocks and rolls. Or something like that. He will definitely be playing records.

I AM ROBOT AND PROUD vs NNY - I Am Robot and Proud and NNY (the author of this blog) will be facing off between the decks and the live electronics; expect to hear something strange, perhaps dissonant, briefly danceable, and entirely experimental.

Derek Beckles - The infamous Beckles will be busting out his old school punk collection for us. This is the guy who got himself kicked out of The Vatikan. He also does that TV Carnage thing, has a budding afro, and wears glasses.

BUSH LEAGUE - These guys have been known to throw full bottles of beer, antagonize the audience, and break things. Please, if you don't want to participate, stay at the back of the room -- out of range. Haven't heard them yet? Missed them at that Vice thing at Club OV? Well, they're awesome. (Dan Vila of No Dynamics on guitar.)

Derek Beckles takes it home, assuming he isn't too drunk to fuck.

Friday, September 02, 2005

I see things

As a result of a rather hectic week, I am going to bed early, missing the Chromatics show, and posting a very short update.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are at the Horseshoe in Toronto tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it.


I was lucky enough to interview Jonathan Vance last night. The results of the chat will be posted by the end of the weekend. We covered everything from mice infestations and master-carpenter Rabbis, to "being there," and even got around to talking about music for a bit:

Jonathan Vance:
Did Plato have an idea about punk?

Are You Familiar:
I think Plato was pretty punk rock, although I think if Plato had an idea of punk, he kept it underground to ensure it wasn't commercialized.


Today: My indie disco. Tomorrow: My electro disco. Note the lack of additional information here; my eyes are glazing over and I am thinking of nothing but crawling into bed and finishing off the Coupland novel I picked up last week.

New Young Pony Club - Jerk Me
The Shocking Pinks - In The Labyrinth
Measles-Mumps-Rubella - Fountain Of Youth
Abe Vigoda - Sophomore


This site was linked by a few days ago. And more love must go to Onelouder for taking notice of the Broken Social Scene review.