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Archive for the ‘Odds’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: DEATH LURKS-“Happiness Pie” (1996).

After Grivo took GLeeMONEX, he went from being a dark man embracing darkness into a happy man who loves happiness.  In pie form.

What’s in this pie?

Two cups love
A cup and a half of understanding
a tablespoon of good old-fashioned compassion
sugar to taste
and the ovens … are our hearts

This song, like the other Death Lurks songs was written by Craig Northey of Odds.  And while the lyrics are deliberately over the top treacle, the song is top-notch.

The jangly guitars sound just right and you can easily start to sway along.

Much like this movie was all about drugs, this song is like a gateway into pop music.  You listen because it is so silly and easy to mock.  But you slowly start to get into it because the music s really catchy.  And soon enough you like pop music as well!

True story.

[READ: January 20, 2020] “Another Castle: Grimoire”

This story was written by Andrew Wheeler and illustrated by Paulina Ganucheau. It was published as a five issue arc and collected in this one volume.

In the Kingdom of Beldora a heart finch appears on a branch outside the window of princesses Artemisia (Misty).

Her lady in waiting is thrilled at the good omen, but he princess recognizes that it is not actually a heart finch.  She realizes it as a spy and puts a pair of scissors through it and it immediately disintegrates.  Then the princess if off to defend the kingdom–Shadelings are spying on them.

The Shadelings are run by Lord Badlug.  It has been ten years since he’s done anything to their kingdom, but hey can’t forget his treachery.

Misty’s father tells her to settle down and go back to her friends.  But Misty knows what she is doing.  She runs up to the throne and grabs The Leveler–the only sword that can kill Lord Badlug. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: TOOL-“Some Days It’s Dark” (2007).

I recently learned that Tool performed this cover of a song from The Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy live.

In the movie Bruce McCullough’s character Grivo’s band Death Lurks plays this very heavy song (written by Craig Northey and performed by Odds).  Lyrically it’s amusingly Dark

Some days it’s dark
Some days I work
I work alone
I walk aloooooooone.

Tool is considered to be one of the most intense metal bands out there with fans taking them very Seriously.  So the fact that they covered this song (in Toronto) is fantastic.

The cover is great (of course).  They get the sound of the original right on, especially when the big heavy part kicks in.  The only problem I would say is Maynard’s delivery.  It’s a little too deadpan,  I’d like it to be a but more over the top.  But maybe that wouldn’t be Maynard’s way.

You can hear it (no video) here.

There’s no word on if they also played “Happiness Pie.”

[READ: January 27, 2020] Extra Credit

When a beloved (and award winning) series nears its end, it is time to put out early and special features collections.  Usually they come once the series has ended, but this one has come early.  Whereas Early Registration was a good collection of early material, this collection is a bit more haphazard.

It collects some Christmas specials and some early “comic strips” from Allison.  Given this seeming completest nature of this collection, I can’t imagine that there’s another volume planned.

The first story is called “What Would Have Happened if Esther, Daisy and Susan Hadn’t Become Friends (and it was Christmas).”  It’s the 2016 Holiday issue drawn by Lissa Treiman.

We zoom in on DAY-ZEE on “the edge of the boundless sweep of space” as she zooms in one the title question.  [It’s important to read Early Registration first as this story references that story].

Esther didn’t help Daisy move in on that first day.  Esther was immediately grabbed by the popular girls.  They are sitting under a tree playing music on their phones which wakes up Susan who curses them out. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 6, 2019] Steve Page Trio

I saw the Steven Page Trio about a year ago in Philadelphia.  When he announced that he was touring some more and coming to Bethlehem, I grabbed tickets for me and S. right away.

S. doesn’t really know his solo stuff at all, but she is a fan of BNL and has always said how much she liked his voice, so I thought it would be a fun, relaxing, seated event.

We were so close, we were literally right next to the stage.  When you’re standing, its a coveted spot, but when you’re seated, it’s terrible!  Luckily, they moved Dean Friedman’s giant monitor out of my way so I could actually see them all.  But in hindsight, sitting a few seats back would have been far preferable.

The weirdest thing is every time he picked up or put down his water bottle I thought he was going to talk to me (he didn’t).

I love being up close, the angles were just all wrong.  Any pictures I took were going to be of Steven’s crotch (!).   Fortunately, the vocals sounded fine.

I have learned from past experiences that seeing an artist a few months apart often means the same or a similar setlist.  And that’s what happened here.  Although when I look at other recent shows I see that he seems to have a kind of rotating setlist of some of the songs.  I saw that the night a few nights before us was amazing with “Alternative Girlfriend” (the song I really wanted to hear!) and “Someone Who’s Cool” an Odds cover!  They also played “Manchild,” my favorite new song of his and “Break Your Heart” both of which I have heart before but, come on, they are awesome.  Incidentally Odds opened for Steven Page in Canada.  Once again I wish I was above thee border not for political reasons. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 22, 2015] Art of Time Ensemble

aotWhen I saw that the Art of Time Ensemble was coming to RVCC I was crazy excited.  Especially when I saw that Steven Page and Craig Northey would be singing with them.  I didn’t even care what it was they were doing, but when I saw that they’d be playing Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, I immediately got seats (3rd row!) and then tried to explain to Sarah what we’d be seeing.

The Art of Time Ensemble does many things although my exposure to them is through their string performances of rock songs

Led by Artistic Director Andrew Burashko, Art of Time Ensemble transforms the way you experience music. Fusing high art and popular culture in concerts that juxtapose the best of each genre, Art of Time entertains as it enlightens, revealing the universal qualities that lie at the heart of all great music.

This show was a string and brass (and piano, guitar, drum and possibly sitar) version of the classic Beatles album.  But it was more than just a symphonic version of the record.  The Art of Time Ensemble created new arrangements of the songs.  There were enough changes that it wasn’t always evident what song was being played–even though they played the album start to finish. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: ODDS-Neopolitan (1991).

This was the first Odds album.  For such a quirky name, Odds played some pretty standard music. I’m not even sure if the first song qualifies as “alternative” as it sounds not unlike an early Phish song, only less quirky (and much shorter).

The disc offers a pretty nice range of poppy tracks, from acoustic based songs like “Are You Listening?” to louder guitar rockers liked “Evolution Time” (probably the most interesting track here).

Another notable song is “Wendy Under the Stars” a surprisingly explicit song about the day Elvis died.  The other track that stands out is “Love is the Subject” which has a harder more abrupt sound that is actually a bit premature for that style and sounds quite funky for this album.

Lyrically, the cleverest song (and one that seems to foreshadow their future songs is “Domesticated Blind” “Making babies, buying houses.  A French guy’s name is on our trousers.  We used to be such rabble rousers.  Before the world revolved around us; I’ve been domesticated blind”

I like this album, but I admit that it’s not the kind of disc that makes people go, “Ooh, who is this?  I want to get it!”

[READ: September 12, 2010] “Vogalooooonga”

This is the last of the Outside pieces that Tower wrote (not chronologically, just for my reading schedule).  And I’m really pleased that I saved it for last.

It does what Tower does best: tell a story while relating an event.  In fact, if he just changed a few details, this would make a great short story.

Wells and his brother have apparently been on many “assignments” together, and it transpires that when they travel together they often end up at each others throats.  So the piece opens with them agreeing to never do another story together again.  Then they get a call to go to Venice together to ride in the Vogalonga, “a 19-mile noncompetitive rowing regatta, held in late May, that promises a breathtaking tour of the old republic’s lagoon and outer islands” and that is traversed only in vehicles that can be paddled.  Wells’ brother says that they can’t pass up a trip to Venice, so he agrees to go along.

Based on the other stories that Wells has written, he is an athletic guy (and his brother is evidently bigger and stronger than he is).  Nevertheless, a 19 mile canoe trip in the canals of Venice can only lead to trouble.

And so this piece reads a bit like a David Sedaris story of familial in-fighting (although it’s a lot more manly than any of Sedaris’ pieces).  They fight from the get go (including his brother’s suggestion that they assemble their 17-foot canoe in their 10-foot hotel room.  And aggressive hilarity ensues. (more…)

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Beloved Canadians The Kids in the Hall who were hilarious for five years on their skit show (and who ended their reign while still being very funny) have returned to TV after a sixteen year hiatus (not including their underrated movie Brain Candy and their awesome live tours, naturally).

I was beside myself with excitement when I found out about this show (and I’m rather vexed that I didn’t hear about it until it showed up on IFC recently.  Although I suppose if I had known about it sooner, there’s no way I could have watched it anyhow).   I was also kind of surprised at how little I knew about the show before it started.  How many episodes were there for instance?

So, the details (now that the show has finished its run on IFC, with repeats to come, no doubt): It is an 8 episode mini-series.  All of the Kids are in the show, and they each play multiple roles (although the opening credits and promo stuff suggest that they each play one character).  They play:

Bruce:  Mayor Bowman, “Big City” Lawyer (one of my favorites on the show), and Ricky (an obese man).
Dave: Mrs Bowman, Levon Blanchard (news producer), Dr Porterhouse (The town abortionist), and a wonderfully ambiguously accented, where-the-hell-is-she-from? nurse (my favorite minor character by far).
Kevin: Marnie (a forgetful, middle aged woman), Shaye (the news teams’ sound guy and hipster) and Sam Murray (depressed cat loving DA).
Scott: Crim Hollingsworth (1/16th Native and a great performance by Scott), Heather Weather (the TV weather woman), and Dusty Diamond (town coroner).
Mark: Corrinda Gablechuck (anchorwoman), The Judge, and the titular Death.
Bruce & Mark also play cops, like in the old series.

There are also other actors in the series, and (according to post show interviews) a lot of the locals from Shuckton, Ontario (which is really North Bay) were used as extras.

I admit that I was a little disappointed in the first episode. After the non-stop hilarity of the skit show, this one took some time to get going.  Exposition is a bitch.  But there’s enough humor (the opening with Bruce’s CGI bid for the 2028 Olympics, Death’s arrival on a kids’ bicycle (with a motor), and Dave as the drunken mayor’s wife) to keep the show interesting.

Once the exposition is out of the way though, the story is just fantastic and very funny. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: Odds-nest (1996).

My friend Amber from Vancouver copied this disc onto cassette for me sometime around when it came out.   I had heard “Heterosexual Man” when it was a minor novelty hit in the early 90s, but Amber wanted me to hear more from this Vancouver band.

Since the Odds dissolved, Craig Northey has become a proficient soundtrack man (Corner Gas, Kids in the Hall, and much more). But back in the 90s, Northey was simply put, a great pop songwriter (his bandmate Steven Drake was no slouch either).

“Someone Who’s Cool” is a fantastic song that should have been huge: powerful pop with a hint of 90’s rock added to keep it from being treacly.  And, of course, Northey’s voice is great.  There’s nothing particularly notable about it: it’s not whiny or deep or twangy or anything, it’s just a good singing voice (which is kind of unusual these days).

“Make You Mad” and “Hurt Me” have really catchy opening guitar riffs (and are a bit heavier than “Cool,” and yet they feature choruses that are full of harmonies and sing alongs.

“Tears & Laughter” has a jagged, wild guitar sound that, while not overtly heavy or anything, really rocks on this disc. “Nothing Beautiful” should have been a huge indie rock hit, but maybe it was too polished for indie cred.  It’s a great minor key song with, yes, a very catchy chorus.

This was the final Odds record.  It’s a solid collection of songs.  Of course, the band has recently sort of reunited as the New Odds, so we’ve not heard the last from them.

[READ: September 11, 2010] “My Kushy New Job”

This article sees Wells Tower heading off to Amsterdam for a crash course in learning to sell drugs.  He is assigned a two-week job as a dealer in a Dutch coffeeshop.

I’ve been to Amsterdam and I checked out a coffeeshop while I was there, but this article provides more information than I ever knew about them (and suggests that they are trying to spruce up their image since then). It seems that the selling of pot in Amsterdam is still a nebulous area, legally.

Shops can only have a certain amount of supply on hand (which means that most stores have offsite premises where they keep their extra stash; they house more than the legal amount and are therefore illegal.  And, technically, the people who transport the stash from offsite to onsite can be arrested up until the moment they enter the shop.  Customers can only by a small amount at time and, strangely enough, coffeshops cannot advertise (more on this later).

Tower finds the whole experience to be far less “woah, cool man” than everyone who hears about the job thinks it will be.  First, he finds that the buyers are really intense (and don’t appreciate how long it takes him to measure a gram of hash).  But by the end, he finds most of them to be simply rude and a little dead inside. (more…)

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