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Archive for the ‘Kid Koala’ Category

[ATTENDED: May 17, 2018] Kid Koala’s Vinyl Vaudeville

I have been a fan of Kid Koala since the early 2000s.  He’s not a DJ so much as a magician on the turntable.  He is able to make vinyl do amazing things.  His hands are fast, his timing is impeccable and he uses puppets too!

But I had no idea that his live show would be so much fun.  I mean, sure it was called Vinyl Vaudeville, but could it live up to his calling it “the silliest show on earth?”  Well, I dispute the silliness aspect because silly implies that it’s not also awesome, which this definitely was.

So what exactly does a turntablist do so it’s not just a guy scratching records?

Well, primarily he uses props.  Almost every song has a visual element.  In fact the very first song started out in total darkness with a black light and a sloth puppet.  I don’t know what the song was called or if it had anything to do with sloths, but it was fun to watch.   (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 17, 2018] Adira Amram

I hadn’t heard of Adira Amram, but Kid Koala assured us we would be laughing our butts off during her very short set.

And her set was very short, only about 20 minutes.

She came out by herself in the glittery gold lame top and pink spandex pants.

She had a keyboard and she proceeded to get the crowd hyped.

She pressed a key and the sound of the end of a record skipping began to play.  Over and over.  She waved her hand back and forth getting us amped up to that staticy sound.  It grew funnier and funnier. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 17, 2018] DJ Jester

I was pretty excited to experience Kid Koala’s Vinyl Vaudeville: Floor Kids Edition, even if I didn’t really know what I was going to experience.

The traffic and parking situation was terrible around Johnny Brenda’s and I was sure that I missed the opener, DJ Jester.  He was supposed to go on at 8, and I didn’t get into the club until about 8:45.

Well, imagine my surprise to discover that he had not even gone on yet.

Kid Koala came out and told us that DJ Jester was the DJ at his little brother’s wedding and after that night, Koala knew that he’d have to bring this Texas-based DJ along on an opening slot.

So DJ Jester got behind the turntables and basically DJ’d a 45 minute set of music. (more…)

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almostsilentSOUNDTRACK: DELTRON 3030-“The Return” (2013).

Deltron3030-EventII-caa19c164f9e01c2441aab420c0b54356b261e87-s1After thirteen years, alternative rap supergroup Deltron 3030 is back.  If you’ve forgotten, Deltron 3030 is comprised of Dan the Automator, Del the Funky Homosapien and DJ Kid Koala.  Evidently the album is chock full of guest stars (which I usually dislike, but the guest stars are a weirdly unexpected bunch–David Cross, Amber Tamblyn, chef David Chang?–so I’m curious to hear what they are going to add to the sound.

Okay even I admit I don’t really remember what the first Deltron album sounded like, but if memory serves this seems to be picking up in that same spacey vibe that made Deltron so weird and fun.

There’s a story going on here, told in Del’s awesome rapping style–mellow and trippy with big words and convoluted phrasings.  Of course, this is only track 2 on the record so I don’t know exactly what the story is about.  But I know that Deltron 0 is back and I’m pretty excited to hear the whole thing.

You can hear this track on NPR and you can watch the intro track (featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt) here:

[READ: September 20, 2013] Almost Silent

This book collects four of Jason’s previous books “Meow, Baby,” “Tell Me Something,” “You Can’t Get There from Here” and “The Living and the Dead.”

“Meow, Baby” (2006) is a collection of  “short stories” from Jason.  They feature the same (looking) cast of characters as most of the other Jason books I’ve read (anthropomorphic animals), but there’s a few additions: a mummy, a zombie,a  skeleton and a vampire.  None of the pieces are titled and the only way to know when each is done is when you see his signature.  This is just to note that if there is a mummy in two stories, it’s good to know he’s not necessarily the same mummy.

The stories are quite funny with variations on mummy stories (wrapping your head in a bandage after you are hurt, getting an erection(!)), and vampire stories (the same looking guy is always following him with a stake) and some very amusing domestic scenes with skeletons.  I enjoyed the one where the mummy comes out of the sarcophagus, looks at a newspaper and then walks back into the sarcophagus with a look of despair on his face (his face is still covered in bandages—Jason has an amazing way of expression even with people who have no faces). There’s also a whole series of skeletons who climb out of their graves and go about mundane tasks .  There’s even a guy dressed like the Terminator who has some funny moments where he misses the opportunity to say his trademark lines.

The last few pages are three panel strips—like daily cartoons .  Were they ever shown in newspapers?  These show that Jason is also very funny at punchlines, not just dark stories and black humor.  True, all of these three panel comic are black humor (with the same cast of zombies, vampires, mummies and skeletons), but he really makes some funny and unexpected strips here. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: HELIUM-The Dirt of Luck (1995).

Mary Timony fronted Helium for a few years.  In that time she was recognized as something of a guitar wizard–not in her speed and flash, but in the weird sounds she conjured from the instrument.

She also had very peculiar musical sensibilities (these songs are quite odd) and a cool feminist attitude.  This album features the amazing song “Superball” (one of the best songs of the mid 90s–check out the video and watch the guitarist playing the strings with a screwdriver!  Man I miss the 90s) as well as a number of unpolished gems like “Medusa” and “Pat’s Trick” (the dual vocals are very cool and the dispassionate “oh oh oh” is very interesting, plus I love the lyric about “long-ass curly hair”).

Her singing style is often quite slacker-y, like in the opening of “Medusa”–she’s not always audible, and she often seems like a kind of buzzy sound more than a voice.   She sounds like she’s singing from very far away–seemingly powerful and yet quiet at the same time.

But combine that with the cool scratchy/noisy guitar sounds she gets and she’s pulling off a very cool combination (think Dino Jr without the hooks and killer solos).

Like “Baby’s Going Underground” features some crazy shoegazer guitar washes for most of its 6 minutes which really changes the pacing of the record.  There’s also the great “Skeleton,” a riff so cool that Sonic Youth used it for “Sunday.”

She also has a way with haunting melodies as on the piano  instrumental “Comet #9” and on “All the X’s Have Wings” which sounds very medieval. I think of Timony as a guitarist and yet there is there are lots of keyboards on the album too–mystical keyboards that are fascinating and seem out of character with the guitars, but actually work quite well.   But the prettiest song is “Honeycomb.’  It’s a sweet song with a wonderful melody.  It is followed by the ender “Flower of the Apocalypse” a guitar-based instrumental that is mostly feedback but is also surprisingly melodic.

Helium had mild accolades back in the 90s.  They released a couple of albums and then Mary Timony went solo.  It’s nice to have her playing now with Wild Flag.

[READ: November 11, 2011] Five Dials Number 21

This is the first issue of Five Dials that I was ready to read when it was sent to me (I’ve been all caught up for a while now).  So that’s pretty exciting!

I was tempted to say that i enjoyed this issue more than other issues, but I have enjoyed most Five Dials issues equally.  But this one is definitely a favorite.

CRAIG TAYLOR–A Letter from the Editor: On Turning 21 and Thinking About Rock Stars and Greece.
The magazine introduction jokes about them now being legal to drink in the U.S. and also about now being old enough to run for M.P. in England.  He also tells us about their “new” section Our Town, which has vastly expanded in this issue.  He also explains that there are many rock stars on hand to give the magazine tutelage (authors that the rock stars enjoy) and three short stories.  He ends with a notice that they have gone to Greece where they are gathering material for Issue 22. (more…)

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[WATCHED: December 17, 2010] Scott Pilgrim vs the World.

I was delighted to finally get to see Scott Pilgrim vs the World on DVD. And man, it did not disappoint.  I love Michael Cera, so even though he’s not who I pictured as Scott Pilgrim, he played the character quite wonderfully (although he was within the realm of the “Michael Cera” character, he had an air of the sinister about him which was quite captivating).

The movie did  great job at capturing the hyper real video game quality of the books (I love all the little extra details which were not cute comic book details (like the phones printing RIIIIIIIIING) but simply part of the world they lived in.

I thought that the compression of this long (but not too long) series was wonderfully done.  Although I missed some aspects of the book, I thought it was all handled very well.  Plus, I liked the increased presence of the awesome Wallace and I really liked the way they adjusted the Knives storyline so that it could conclude at the same time as Ramona’s.  That’s very different from the final book, and, while I think the book’s version is more elegant (and fitting a longer story), for the movie, that truncation worked very well and allowed for a fantastic conclusion.  The end was great thanks to the introduction of the cool video game that Scott and Knives play early in the movie–a game which was made up for the movie.

I’m also thrilled to finally know how to pronounced Sex Bob-omb and I’m also thrilled to hear how much they rocked (Beck did most of the band music and über-god Nigel Godrich made the score for the rest of the film. Other great bands on the soundtrack include Metric, Broken Social Scene, Dan the Automator and Kid Koala.  I sort of ignored the soundtrack when it came out but I think i may have to go check it out now.

So in the movie, Scott must battle Ramona’s seven evil exes to win her love.  As for the seven evil exes themselves, they were all fun (and nicely diverse).  I enjoyed seeing Ann Veal (her?) working with George Michael Bluth again and Jason Schwartzman was simply terrific as the evil Gideon.  Also terrific was Satya Bhabha as the over-the-top first evil ex and Chris Evans as the bad-ass actor boyfriend.  I was only bummed that the Katayanagi brothers were given kind of short shrift (but hey you can only have so many characters).  The fight scenes were really well executed and fun.

The only weakness I would say in the film is that I thought Ramona was a little flat.  It was hard to know just what was so compelling about her for Scott (aside from the act that she was in his mind-portal all that time).  The book gives more details that show their relationship build, but the movie left that out.  I’ve never seen her in anything else, so I don’t know whose fault that was.  This compromises the ending a little bit because the decision between Knives and Ramona is actually kind of difficult (where it really shouldn’t be).  And yet, I thought the ending was really well done, with Ellen Wong really stealing the show).

The DVD itself is pretty awesome and there are a ton of special features.  Although Scott Pilgrim vs the Bloopers was a major let-down.  The movie is so understated that none of the bloopers are over-the-top hilarious.  However, the trivia track that you can play during the movie (I watched about ten minutes of it) was very interesting.  I especially enjoyed reading how parts of the movie that were finished before the book actually made their way into the book because O’Malley liked them so much.

I’m also thrilled that they filmed the movie in Toronto.  The trivia track points out all kinds of interesting locations.  From The Torontoist:

The first thing Wright did when he met O’Malley here in 2005 was visit all the real-life locations.”Pretty much everything that was in the book, we shot the same place Bryan had drawn,” he says.

A perfect example is the house in which Scott and his pal Wallace live. In reality, O’Malley lived at 27 Alberta Avenue, though he thinly disguised it as “Albert Avenue.”

As any true fan knows, however, the drawings in the book are actually at number 65, down the street. So, that’s where they shot, turning the garage door into the apartment door.

And there’s plenty more details in that article.  Like that those romantic and perilous stairs are real stairs on Baldwin St.  (I love crap like that).

It’s a really enjoyable romp of a film, unjustly ignored in the theaters.  And perhaps best of all…in no way is it setting itself up for a sequel!  A movie that just ends….how novel!

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SOUNDTRACK: THE SLEW “100%” (2009).

The Slew is the latest band created by DJ Kid Koala. Koala is a fantastic turntablist, and this group uses his scratching and sampling to excellent effect.  The lineup includes drums, bass, keyboards and six turntables!

It’s an insane hodge-podge of music.  And it’s very fun.  I’ve no idea how many samples are in here (James Brown seems to be all over the song) or even if any of the “riffs” in the song are original or from other records, but I enjoyed this very much.

I’ve enjoyed just about everything Kid Koala has done, and this is no exception.  I’m glad to see he’s still being so creative.

There are three five tracks available on CBC Radio 3.  And they’re all fun.

[READ: June 14, 2010] “Riff-Raff”

The protagonist of this story is a nineteen year old girl from Montreal.  She is in a horrible relationship with a boy named Leroy.  But near the end of her first year at McGill, she meets an American boy.  They hang out pretty steadily for a few weeks and, when school ends, he invites her to visit him in New Mexico.

There’s so many places this story could have gone.  I guessed a number of them, but I never would have guessed the direction it went. (more…)

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