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Archive for the ‘Ryan North’ Category

spowerSOUNDTRACKRHEOSTATICS-Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Canso, NS (July 3, 2005).

stanBack in 2005, the Rheostatics played two days at the Stan Rogers Folk Festival. The first day’s show was a kind of mash up of the Rheostatics and other bands.  Indeed, the recording includes some other artists along with the Rheos.

This second day it was apparently raining.  But it’s just the Rheos doing their best folk band impression, but not being afraid to totally rock out.

The recording opens very echoey and with a woman who is having a different kind of fun screaming quite a bit really nearby.  But after a minute or two, I assume the recording device is moved because you can no longer hear her. It’s jut Martin singing “California Dreamline.”

“Fan Letter to Michael Jackson” is particularly rocking, especially the “Michael!” part.  It’s a great version of the song, with lots of interesting bass work from Tim.  The whole band seems really into it.

Dave says, “The first European settlers stopped at Guysboro so we feel honored to do the same.  I went to the cairn…. I read the cairn.”

Mike: “Was the plaque about golfing?”

Dave: “No, it was about settling by the Mi’kmaq.”

They play a terrific, rocking “Marginalized,” a song that they seem to always play great.  It’s followed by a grooving intro to “Horses.”  Dave is really into it and the song ends really really loud and aggressive for a folk festival–Dave is screaming.

It’s followed by a terrific “Stolen Car.”  The “Kill a cop” line is really intense with a big drum roll.  And Martin is in great form throughout, especially that ending “drive away” section.

Mike: Thanks, we’ve got one more for you
Martin: Thanks, we’ve got one more for you
Dave: As a great man once said, Thanks, we’ve have one more for you

After all of that intensity, they end with a slow, pretty “Making Progress.”  Martin says, the composer of this next number in the middle: Timothy Rabbit Warren Vesely.  So that’s two songs by each singer.  As the song ends, Martin plays some interesting echoing guitar lines as the other guys leave.

The announcer says: “Rheostastics.  These guys were nominated for 3 Junos and one Genie and the Barnenaked Ladies and The Tragically Hip are constantly singing their praises and we got to hear them tonight.

[READ: April 25, 2017] The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Power

This is the reboot of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.  This edition collects issues 1-4 and a special comic from Marvel Super Heroes #8.

For the reboot, Erica Henderson has re-imagined the appearance of Squirrel Girl from the rankly really creepy and ugly early version (as seen in the Marvel issue included) into a new much cooler looking hero.  Although I find her face really distractingly strange-looking.  I suppose it’s meant to invoke a squirrel somewhat, but since I read the Shannon Hale book first, I imagined her looking less odd.  But I have since gotten over that and I find her personality is too great to care.

There are several things I love about this story line.  It is so very funny.  Every bit and piece is great.  I also love that she is, as her name suggests, unbeatable.  This is not a spoiler exactly, but she really can’t be beaten–it’s pretty great.  I also love that there is running commentary along the bottom of the page (essentially the footnotes).  Sadly in some issues it is really hard for these old eyes to read, but if you can read them, they are worth it.

But really it’s the tone that I love,  It’s so lighthearted and fun.   (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-Sam The Record Man, Toronto. ON (November 13, 2004).

The Rheostatics played live at Sam The Record Man in Toronto, during the afternoon of the 3rd night of their 10 night Fall Nationals run at the Horseshoe.

The recording level is really quiet.  In fact the first track called “crowd” is virtually all silence.  I gather they were supposed to start earlier but Martin was delayed.  So they eventually note: “we’ll press on in absentia.”

Dave continues, “We’ve given martin 50 [or 15, I hope] minutes.  He’s a in a cab so it’s just the three of us.”

Just as they start, the store announcement is made to join everyone in the video room for the show.

Without Martin, they play the more acoustic songs.  “Little Bird” sounds great, and as he begins “My First Rock Concert” he says,”This is ironic.  This song… many of the events happened not too far from here.”

“Marginalized” sounds really different without the rough guitar.  The bass is funkier and the overall song is much more acoustic.  It’s a little unnerving.

And then Martin arrives: “Ladies and gentlemen, Mr George Jones.”

Dave: “Okay we are complete.”

Martin: “I made the mistake thinking I could hail a cab and they decided not to exist.”

Dave: “Nobody’s buying that, Martin.”

Tim: “I think you have to get out of bed to hail a cab, they don’t see you in bed.”

Michael: “It was international ‘Don’t pick up Martin Tielli on the street day.'”

Introducing “Power Ballad for Ozzy Osbourne,” Dave says, “This is a song we were commissioned by Health Services Canada to write for their 2004 testicular awareness program.”  After the song, “That song is from our new album 2067, on sale for the remarkable price of $9.99.  Back to 1978 prices.”  he remembers back to the “Old Sam’s Boxing Day–not to sound like a big old geezer or anything but….  you could get 14 albums for… $9.99 in the late 80s.”

In the opening section yo can hear some kids talking and chatting.  I wonder if it’s Dave’s kids.  When “P.I.N.” starts, someone says it’s a “Big toy throwing number.”  Martin’s voice is strained and crackly.  The whole song feels a little restrained.

Dave introduces “Easy to be With You” as from “our psychedelic children’s album.”

Martin still sounds a little rough during “Christopher.”  He speaks the first line and kind of flubs a later line.  It’s followed by “Horses” which is acoustic and rollicking but not too intense.

Martin’s voice breaks a bit and he seems to mock himself on “Saskatchewan.”   It’s really unusual to hear this as an acoustic number and he sounds kind of aggressive during the “farm and the work to be done” line.

It’s not an especially great show, but it is an interesting peek at the band during the day.

[READ: May 1, 2017] The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe!

Amid all of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl books (there are currently 6), done by Ryan North and Erica Henderson, this book is a one-off and is considered  graphic novel unto itself.   I don’t entirely understand why it is done as a single book rather than as part of the series, but I don’t really care, because it’s great.

Of course, the title is confusing as all get out, right?

Well, as the book opens, we see that the main characters are going to be Doreen Green aka Squirrel Girl, Nancy Whitehead (Doreen’s roommate with no special powers (boo)), Tippy Toe (Doreen’s faithful squirrel sidekick), Ken Shiga, (Koi Boi), Tomas Lara Perez, Chipmunk Hunk and, The Rest of the Marvel Universe. (more…)

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how you dieSOUNDTRACK: DIARRHEA PLANET-“Lite Dream” Live on KEXP (2014).

dpHow to pass up a band with a name like this?  Well, it’s pretty easy, actually.  Who would even want to say their name?

The name conjures images, no, let’s not go there.  The name conjures music that is just abrasive and rude–ten second punks songs.  But in reality, their music is pretty traditional old school heavy metal.  They have 4 lead guitarists after all! (There’s 6 guys in the band altogether, surprisingly, there’s no women).   One of the lead guitarists even plays with his teeth (for a few seconds).

This song is about heavy metal, although I’m not sure what about it.  There’s some big riffs, solos galore.  There’s even a classic 80s style dual lead guitar solo.  There’s big loud drums.  There’s feedback.  It’s everything you think of as heavy metal, with a seeming wink and nod thrown in.

This is basically a goofy feel good band, playing fast heavy metal.  Shame about the band name, though, really.

Watch it all here.

[READ: spring and summer 2014] This is How You Die

It is quite disconcerting to open a Christmas present from your wife and have the first thing you see be the words “This is How You Die.”  To then look at her confusedly and try to interpret the look of excited delight on her face as she wonders why you’re not excited.  Then she explains that it is a sequel to the interesting collection Machine of Death that you both had read several years ago (but which I evidently never posted about).  Sighs of relief and then Christmas can proceed with more merriment.

So over the course of the new year I read these stories and I enjoyed most of them quite a lot.

The premise of the book is that there is a Machine of Death.  This machine states how you will die, but it does not give you a time, place or real definition of what it means by hope you will die.  Statements seem obvious but may in fact be different in some twisted way.  As it says on the back of the book, OLD AGE could mean either dying of natural causes or being shot by an elderly bedridden man in a botched home invasion.  The book revels in the irony that you can know how it’s going to happen , but you’ll still be surprised when it does.

The way the machine works is that you insert your finger, it takes a blood sample and gives you a card with the way you die printed on it.  No matter how many times you do it you will get the same result.  These are the guidelines, and each author made a story with just that set up.

Pretty cool right?  The first collection was really great.  And so is this collection, done by writers and cartoonists that I had never heard of before.  There are 34 stories and 12 comic strips (it’s a hefty collection).  Because each story is basically about how a person dies, I had to think about how best to review the book–without giving away any twists.  So I think the title and a very brief plot will have to suffice.

There’s even a funny promo video for the book (at the end of the post). (more…)

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