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Archive for the ‘Lisa Moore’ Category

julyaugSOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS (Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON, September 5, 2015).

06Sep2015Almost exactly one year ago, my family traveled to Toronto as a mini-vacation.  The impetus was my scoring tickets to see the Rheostatics live for the first for me (and potentially–but not in reality–last) time.

They had called it quits 8 years earlier and were reuniting for the 20th Anniversary of their Group of 7 album–a soundtrack of sorts that was created to celebrate the works of the great Group of 7 artists.  They were scheduled to perform three nights at the Art Gallery of Toronto.

I purchased tickets to the second night assuming that the first night they might be a little rusty and the final night they might be burnt out.  Well, it turns out, that was completely faulty logic.  The first night was pretty great.  The final night was outstanding and my night proved to be the weakest of the three.  Of course, it was still awesome, especially since I didn’t know that it was the weakest at the time).

In terms of recordings, this one is a little less clear than yesterday’s show as well (it was recorded from the upper section of the hall).

The Go7 part of the show was pretty stellar.  You can read my review of the full show here).  During the break after track Six, Dave began talking to us, mostly thanking people and then commenting “we’re totally feeling the love.”  Dave says his dad’s here tonight and he lent us his car for their 1988 tour. (Sorry, dad).

When the Go7 album was over, the band played some bonus tracks.  Last night they played “Claire” and “Horses,” two songs I would have loved to hear.  So when Tim walked up to the mic, I was sure we’d get Claire, but instead, we got “Henry’s Musical Beard,” a one minute song of total what the…?  I can’t imagine when it was ever played before.  But even though i didn’t get the songs I really wanted, I did get some songs that were still awesome: “Bad Time To Be Poor,” “Stolen Car” (amazing!), “Legal Age Life” (much fun), “Christopher” (another favorite), and “Saskatchewan.”

“Bad Time” sounded great–a lovely Tim sung song.  Before “Stolen Car,” Dave described it as a desperation song, there are bad things going on in our country we have chance to change that on Oct 19.  (Hard to believe that our election process was underway at that time as well).  Martin seemed to miss a bit during the song, but was backed up wonderfully by Hugh Marsh on violin.

“Legal Age Life” was a lot of fun.  Before the song began he shouted, “Fuck art, let’s dance.” And dance we did.

Our version of “Christopher” was pretty catastrophic.  Before playing it, Dave introduced it by saying, “Let’s hear it for Saskatchewan.”  But they played “Christopher.”  It has a very cool slow opening, but Martin got really lost during the song.  He repeated lines, forgot words and about half way through, he just ended the song (two minutes shorter than the other ones).  I remember being concerned for him, because he seemed really upset about the performance.

They ended the show with “Saskatchewan” a great song that I love (and we were the only night to get it, so yes, we were lucky indeed).  As I say, at the time, I was so excited to be there and to hear everything.  It is definitely sour grapes to complain about the other nights, and I should just consider myself lucky that I can still hear them.

But between Martin’s stress and Dave’s surprising lack of banter (and, no “Claire” or “Horses”), Saturday was definitely the weakest night of the three.

Amazingly, though, with the various differences, the length of the concert is almost exactly the same length as the first night).

01. One (Kevin’s Waltz)   2:40
02. Two (Earth (Almost))   7:42
03. Three (Boxcar Song (Weiners and Beans))   7:00
04. Four (Landscape And Sky)   0:46
05. Five (Blue Hysteria)   3:55
06. Six (Cello For A Winter’s Day)   8:03
07. Banter   4:05
08. Seven (Northern Wish)   5:09
09. Eight (Snow)   2:05
10. Nine (Biplanes and Bombs)   7:00
11. Ten (Lightning)   8:01
12. Eleven (Yellow Days Under A Lemon Sun)   7:53
13. Henry’s Musical Beard   0:57
14. Bad Time To Be Poor   5:31
15. Stolen Car   8:54
16. Legal Age Life   7:05
17. Christopher   4:27
18. Saskatchewan   7:36

[READ: August 19, 2016] “The Shoe Emporium”

The July/August Summer Reading Issue of The Walrus has a theme of “Love and Lust.”  The theme promised to be a bit more upbeat than the darker stories in the last few issues.  Of course the other two stories this month were a little dark, but this one was pretty much just very funny.

It involves a delightfully convoluted romantic triangle of people working at The Shoe Emporium.  And I loved the way the story was structured.

We begin with Steve, a 40-something year old guy working as a shoe salesman (he has a past).  He is helping a customer and she is kind of smitten with him.  Steve is hunky, and has the best features of his Irish-Canadian heritage showing.

And then the story shifts to his boss, Cathy.  Cathy is 20 years younger than him–although she makes less money.  We lean about Cathy because of a high-tech device that measures the heat of people’s feet (to best get their feet to match a shoe).  Cathy had pressed it to her heart to demonstrate.  She was showing this to the other salesman, Marty.  But Steve saw it as well and thought that he could see an imprint of her nipple in the pad.

When Steve saw that, he was instantly turned on.  Mostly because he typically didn’t think much of Cathy before that.  She’s usually angry–justifiably as she is working two jobs and going to school.  But mostly, she really wants to win the top salesman prize–a  trip to Toronto and tickets to the musical Kinky Boots.

Even though he knows she wants to win, Steve is trying his best to beat her even though he doesn’t care about Toronto or the musical.

The two are pretty close in sales and he is doing a great job today.  Across the store, Cathy has a family with a crying child–never a good sign for mega sales.  Especially since the daughter wants an expensive shoe which the mother doesn’t want to buy.

But what of Marty?  Marty also has a fascinating back story.  Until recently, he lived with his grandmother.  She recently passed away (in a shocking fashion).  She was also a marine biologist and there is some amusing talk of sea cucumbers.  His grief was intense and he went to a gay party (he is 100% gay) and took a lot of drugs.  He’s been in a haze since.  And he has recently hooked up with Cathy.  But it had to have been the grief or drugs because Marty is definitely 100% gay (he thinks Steve is pretty hot too).

Cathy knows Marty is gay, but she believes the hookup has changed things–it was pretty great.

As the story comes to a close we get a close up look at that hook up which is steamy and funny, and we see Steve double down on trying to sell an expensive pair of Saucony to a customer who clearly can’t afford them.

I’d love to see more of this story–I really want more of these three.  This has been my favorite Walrus story in a long time.

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CV1_TNY_09_16_13Tomine.inddSOUNDTRACK: SAM PHILLIPS-Tiny Desk Concert #3 (June 25, 2008). 

Isamt took a month and a half to get the second Tiny Desk player in, but it took only 20 days to get Sam Phillips to come in after Vic Chesnutt.  Sam Phillips plays four songs (in what is sauna-like conditions apparently) all from her then new album Don’t Do Anything.

Phillips has had a couple of incarnations as a performer (first as “Leslie Phillips” Christian singer).  This incarnation sees her as a kind of folky troubadour with dramatic flair.  She played a lot of the music on the Gilmore Girls (she does the la las), so of course I’m a fan.

Sam is a funny performer, introducing herself (and then asking is she is allowed to talk) and later playing Bob Boilen’s cow in the can (and even questioning the way to say This is NPR).  She is accompanied by Erik Gorfain, who plays a Stroh violin which you can sort of see in this picture (there’s a better one below) and which Phillips suggests is plenty loud enough thank you.

Her first song, “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us” opens with big strumming guitars and a bouncy melody.  It’s a great song that is a lot of fun–that violin brings great counterpoint.  “No Explanations” is a bit more rocking (with Gorfain on electric guitar).  It has a catchy chorus.  “Signal” returns to that kind of bouncy tin pan alley style which she does very well.  “Little Plastic Life” ends the set with… a screw up, which she handles wonderfully, and which makes the song seem all the better when she plays it again.

I really enjoyed this Tiny Desk and am going to have to listen to more of her work.

Check out what a Stroh violin looks like:

stroh

[READ: September 25, 2013] “By Fire”

Here’s another story about unemployment.  I had intended to post this back in September, so when I originally typed that this story is more dramatic than “yesterday’s,” I meant Lisa Moore’s story from September which was also about unemployment.

I wasn’t sure where this story took place (it was originally written in French).  The story is about Mohammed.  He graduated from University a few years ago with a degree in history.  It has been useless thus far.  When his father dies, and he is once again incapable of getting a teaching job, he gives up and burns all of his paperwork.

Then he sets out with his father’s fruit cart, determined to make some money selling fruit so he can move out of his house and in with his girlfriend.

There is ample back story in this piece.  We learn about Mohammed’s family—his mother has crippling diabetes, his brothers work but not very hard (one is downright lazy).  And we learn that the person who Mohammed’s father bought his fruit from was a crook who demands more and more money from Mohammed.

But the bulk of the story shows the daily life of Mohammed.  He is routinely harassed by the police for not having the proper paperwork or for being in the wrong place or just for being.  They start with simple harassment, but soon they turn to beatings.  Mohammed refuses to bribe anyone, even when the police give him the opportunity to turn in his former students. (more…)

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2013-10SOUNDTRACK: VOIVOD-“In League with Satan” (1998).

venomI wasn’t aware of this tribute to Venom, the much reviled/much beloved black metal band.  It is titled In the name of Satan. Voivod has done some covers of Venom songs throughout their career, so it seems natural that they would do one for an official tribute album.

The music is fine.  As anyone who knows Venom knows their music isn’t terribly complicated.  So it’s nothing for Voivod to do.  I’m actually wondering if Piggy wanted to spruce it up a bit.  But no, he plays it straight, as does everyone else.

But man are the vocals awful. They are a kind of high-pitched growl–very strangely affected and sounding really weird both for Venom and for Voivod.  I’m not sure who is singing on this track (I assume E-Force given the date).  It doesn’t really sound like either E-Force or Snake, but I’m siding with E-Force because there’s none of the odd pronunciations that Snake is prone to do.

I didn’t listen to anything else on the album, but even for a Voivod diehard, this one is not worth owning.

[READ: September 19, 2013] “The Challenges and Rewards of Re-entering the Workforce”

Lisa Moore doesn’t deserve to be associated with Satan or a less than stellar cover song.  So apologies to her for pairing this together, but it worked nicely in my Voivod timeline.

I was really intrigued by the title of this short story and I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  What I got was a very interesting and very interestingly structured story.  The first thing of note is the pronoun choice:  “Everybody had a target on his back.  His or her back.”  This specification continues throughout the story.  But before we learn why exactly, we learn about the devastation at this job (which is never specified).  People are let go in waves, then in clumps, and just when it seems safe, one at a time.  Some people are moved around to fill those empty spots.  In other words, resentment is breeding wildly.  Rumors spread—they wouldn’t fire people if you stand up for yourselves—but no one wanted to stand up.  And just when we think Moore can’t give any more examples of the anonymous firing, we get into specifics.

The Downeys (who both worked there) were fired on the same day.  The had just purchased a new house as well.  Of course, that was before the summer when the dump started to stink.  So we can anticipate how much they will get when they try to sell. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: ZEUS-“Kindergarten” (2010).

Continuing my march through CBC Radio 3: The radio announcer dude said that this album might make the long list for the Polaris Prize.

Zeus is a Toronto based band that has worked as a backup band for one of the guys from Broken Social Scene.  This is an acoustic guitar/quietly distorted electric guitar track that’s poppy and fairly commercial.

I wasn’t all that inspired by it, until near the end where these wild backing vocals come in (and it gets something of an Arcade Fire vibe).  The second song on Zeus’ page, “Marching Through Your Head” is much more promising.  A catchy bouncy pop track with enough weirdness to keep it interesting.

They do a cover of Genesis’ “That’s All” which is described as “raucous.”  And if you click on the link you’d be hard pressed to disagree with that assessment.

[READ: June 14, 2010] “Mask”

Hot on the heels of the New Yorker Summer Fiction Issue, I received this issue of The Walrus with their own Summer Fiction section called “Canadian Studies.”  This issue features nine authors.  They were all asked to write “the most Canadian story they could think of.”  Now, I’ll start out by saying I’m not Canadian, and I don’t want to suggest that I know what the most Canadian story should be like. At the same time, I read The Walrus, I watch a lot of Canadian TV, so I have a slight grasp of the culture.  So while I know a Canadian story isn’t going to be about igloos and elk, I’m certain that some more subtle stories will be lost on me.

Lisa Moore’s story is first in the collection.  It is quite short.   And I didn’t think it was especially Canadian, although perhaps, given one of my Vancouver friends’ proclivities, it is. (more…)

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walrus juneSOUNDTRACK: MOXY FRÜVOUS-Thornhill (1999).

thornhillThe final “proper” Moxy Früvous disc is something of a return to the days of Wood (see, the cover art isn’t silly at all, and it’s a photo not a drawing). It’s not as dire and claustrophobic as Wood but it also doesn’t really have too many silly moments.

Unlike Wood,this disc feels very full, very robust.  My initial response was minor disappointment that it didn’t have many silly moments (except, perhaps “Splatter Splatter”).  And yet, after many listens I’ve concluded that it’s is one of their richest, most complex discs, and it’s very rewarding.

The opening song “Half as Much” is very full and sounds not unlike Canada’s own Sloan.  In fact, the whole disc sounds a bit more like Sloan than any other previous comparisons.  “You Can’t Be too Careful” has great full harmonies (and actually sounds a bit like Weezer (!)).  “I Will Hold On” is another great acoustic power song where they harmonize wonderfully.

“Earthquakes” is a silly rollicking song, (at least as rollicking as this disc can do).  “When She Talks” is almost too delicate for its own good, but the melody is really strong.

Then you get to the crazy song “Splatter Splatter.”  This song rocks. And it’s quite funny, with the noir guitar lines and the horror movie conceit. I want to hear it again and again and again.

“Independence Day” spins out a wonderful chorus after a somewhat uninspiring start.  And the ending track “My Poor Generation” is a great, winning song.  It’s a bit somber, but again, the full chorus redeems it.

Their albums tend to suffer from late-album mellowness.  And even if their songs are strong, the song placement tends to make you ignore those latter tracks.  But the albums are still really good.

Moxy Früvous are often described as a silly band, but their overall output belies that designation.  Rather, they were just a great band.

[READ: June 25, 2009] “Water Everywhere, 1982”

This story was a tough one for me.  It references a real event in Canadian history that I never heard of: the sinking of the Ocean Ranger, in 1982 (this Wikipedia article will fill you in on the history of the ship).

Helens’ husband was aboard the Ocean Ranger.  The story deals with her (in)ability to cope with the news. Not much “happens” in the story but it pays very great attention to grief and how a whole community is affected by tragedy.

The story is available here.

For easier searching I’m also adding this spelling: Moxy Fruvous.

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