I really like the Weakerthans, and they are surprisingly unknown here in the States. I say surprisingly because they write exceptionally catchy (almost absurdly poppy) songs which would fit on many radio stations’ playlists. But what sets them apart is John K. Samson’s lyrics which are clever and interesting and about people and loss (maybe that’s why they never made it down here).
This World Cafe set came about shortly after the release of their last studio album, Reunion Tour. David Dye asks some great questions (I’ve never really seen/heard any interviews with them, so it’s all new to me) and the band plays three songs from the album.
We learn that Reunion Tour was initially inspired by Edward Hopper paintings (and the whole album was going to be devoted to Hopper until Samson grew sensible again). We also learn the official pronunciation of the recurring cat on the Weakerthans albums is Virtute (Vir-too-tay) which comes from the city of Winnipeg’s crest.
They play “Night Windows,” “Civil Twilight” (and talk about the video, which I watched and it’s very cool), and “Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure.” The interesting things about the Weakerthans is that they don’t sound all that different live than on record. So, these songs aren’t terribly revelatory. There are some effects that are changed, and the tempos feel slightly different as well. But nevertheless, the songs sound great. The only problem is that the set seems mixed rather loudly, so there’s distortion (unintended, I assume) on some of the tracks.
Nevertheless, this is a great introduction to a relatively unknown band.
[READ: April 19, 2011] Five Dials Number 2
After just one issue, Five Dials has already lied to us. In Number One, they said that all of the artwork would be black and white, but here is Number 2, and we have a host of beautiful color pictures (perhaps they only meant that Number 1 would be in black and white). Of course, I’m only teasing them because the color pictures are really nice, and they really bring a new aspect to the magazine.
Number Two is a bit larger than Number 1 (twenty pages). This issue has a vague sort of theme as well (it’s unclear if the issues will be thematic in the future), but this one has a general theme of adventure/nature/environmentalism. (more…)