This peculiarly named band comes from the two members of it. Craig Dunsmuir is in a band called Kanada 70 and Sandro Perri has stuck his name on the end of the word “glissando” which is a musical term for gliding from one pitch to another.
Interestingly the music doesn’t glide so much. “Something” opens with a simple, pretty repetitive guitar pattern that keeps getting bigger and bigger. And then bird sounds flow over and around. It’ a very beautiful introduction. When it starts getting faster and more complex, it’s actually quite a musical feat. “Analogue Shantytown” follows with an unusual opening. Someone singing the word “shantytown” into a harmonica. It’s a weird and interesting sound. When the guitar begins it sounds very 80s King Crimson-like with wild staccato guitar Then the chords come in, with a simple repetitive rhythm. And then more and more voices start singing different phrases over the top. Like a rocking fugue.
“Bolan Muppets” has another simple, pretty rhythm and simple but lovely guitar line. More layers of voices (who knows what they are saying) propel this song along. By around 5 minutes (of the 7 minute song) the songs settles down into a simple guitar progression with very nice vocals (in English). “Portugal Rua Rua” opens with some more nonsense words (unless he’s singing in Portuguese). Then a single guitar plays along with the rhythm. Then some vocals come in English and the song fleshes out a bit more. By the end they start chanting lyrics from Model 500’s “No UFOs”) which gets a little crazy but is quite fun.
The final song is 13 minutes long. It opens with a baritone guitar playing a fast riff. The song starts to add layers of music—drums, percussion, guitar squalls. By 4 minutes it kind of settles into a repeated guitar rhythm with chanting in the background. That stays in a kind of holding pattern for a bit until around 8 minutes when they start messing with the sounds. It ends with more chanting in a decidedly Talking Heads feel (and indeed they start using a chant from the Talking Heads at the end).
So this proves to be a wild and raucous record. It has a decidedly dancey sensibility, but is not a dance record.
[READ: April 25, 2014] “Sic Transit”
I really enjoyed this T.C. Boyle story quite a lot. So much in fact that not only have I been thinking about it all day, but I could easily see him fleshing out the story into a novel.
It’s a simple enough story on the surface. In a pleasant suburban town, there’s a house that is overgrown and–out of place. So it’s no surprise to find out that the owner is dead. But it is disturbing to think that he was dead for eight days before anyone noticed and that they only noticed because of the smell.
That’s when the narrator learns that the mysterious neighbor, the one whose house you couldn’t even see from the street because of the overgrowth of bushes was a singer for a band from the late 70s and early 80s called Metalavoxx. (I have to say that I feel this band is not quite right for the time they are depicted as having played–I feel like they are about five years ahead of their time with their name and their look). At any rate, Carey Fortunoff, the singer, is dead. And the narrator feels strangely compelled to learn more about a man he doesn’t actually care about and never heard of.
Mostly this is because the narrator has just turned fifty and is thinking about mortality. What must your life be like to die and not be found for eight days? What kind of strange life did this guy live? So, on a Sunday morning he decides to at least peek in the man’s house. And when he finds a door unlocked, he decides to go in.
They can’t seem to get the smell out of the house (which means it can’t be sold), but the narrator holds his nose and presses on. And rather than seeing a strange recluse with bottle of pee and nothing but take out containers, he find a man’s life that is reasonably successful. It appears that Mr Fortunoff has been writing music. He wasn’t really a recluse (well, maybe he was recently); he has pictures on his wall that indicated a family. And then the narrator discovers the man’s journals. He grabs 1982 and runs out.
And this why the story could be developed into a novel. Because Boyle has created a fascinating guy in Casey Fortunoff. Fortunoff was a sexual dynamo, sleeping with groupies wherever and whenever. And yet he was also married. He even had a daughter. But every tour brought him more sex (and a few diseases that he shared with his wife). She didn’t seem to mind as long as he came back home.
But then comes two fascinating stories–the day that he quite the band. And the day that he lost his daughter. Both of these stories are told in the briefest format–the journal of a rocker. And who knows, maybe they would be less interesting if they were fleshed out, but the little snippets he gives are so very enticing that I kept thinking about hem all day.
The story of the daughter is fascinating and harrowing. Especially when the narrator goes back a second time and finds out more about the story. Interestingly this second trip is because of an entirely different reason. He is friends with the real estate agent who is to be selling the house. So he hears a lot more than he wants to when she invites him to see the house and the view (she thinks he and his wife might be interested in buying). But it also involves a completely unexpected encounter.
There is so much going on underneath the story that I was completely sucked into this world. I have often said that I forget how good of a writer Boyle is, but after reading this I should never forget that.