Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

willie thrasher

very honoured to be working w/ singer songwriter willie thrasher on an upcoming reissue project. willie has led an extraordinary life and is filled w/ the spirit of music. watch this space for more news regarding one of canada's finest... until then, enjoy a recent composition, "the eagle is calling you."

Friday, January 20, 2012

searching for sugar man (sixto rodriguez)

BIG shout to detroit's sixto rodriguez, subject of searching for sugar man, a new documentary by swedish director, malik bendjelloul. in 2008, light in the attic records reissued the singer songwriter's two folk-rock LPs (cold fact and coming from reality), originally recorded for clarence avant's sussex records in the early 1970s. filled w/ astute social commentary and the artist's acerbic wit, the albums, w/ lack of promotion, went nowhere... until they were "discovered" in south africa by a disenfranchised population who related to rodriguez's lyrical brand of storytelling. folks in australia and new zealand also caught the spirit, but it wasn't until a few dedicated super fans decided to track the man down that this story takes a unique twist.

i was honoured to write liner notes for LITA's rodriguez re-releases, making a trip to detroit in the winter of 2008 to spend some time w/ this musical enigma. thanks again to the rodriguez family for letting me into their homes and the chance to learn more about one of america's most talented songsmiths.

here's a short excerpt from my cold fact essay (don't forget to LISTEN to the music, WATCH the doc, and see rodriguez LIVE!!!):

February 15, 2008
Rolling into town between breaks in the tough winter weather, I met Rodriguez at the Detroit Public Library. It’s a place where the enigmatic singer-songwriter spends a lot of time, reading and researching any number of topics from current affairs to archaeology. His ongoing quest for truth and knowledge is insatiable.

When we take to his beat, in-and-around Detroit’s Wayne State University campus — the area Rodriguez has called home for decades — it’s clear that he is a man of the people. As we slip through the streets, he takes time to talk up everyone, from the local parking attendant and convenience store clerk, to the eclectic café crowd. When we venture into People’s Records on West Forest, he is warmly greeted with an interested “How’s it going? Where you been?” from the store’s employees. These are the “young bloods” as Rodriguez calls them; the brothers and sisters who are making things click now.

They clearly give him inspiration and he sees close parallels with the young folks of his day. In the face of the growing generation gap that so many don’t attempt to shorten, it’s refreshing to see Rodriguez extend his hand to a new generation. There is a solid connection. He speaks with passion about Detroit, its inhabitants and its strong, yet complicated cultural fabric.

But despite these very public interactions, Rodriguez is also a private family man. In terms of his musical past, he is hesitant to pimp his personal histrionics. In these times of gross commercial over-saturation and gratuitous documentation, this is encouraging to see. I think he was always that way. It’s just not his style. Still, the poet in Rodriguez is alive and well and I learned a great deal over my far too short Michigan visit.

With a life that has taken so many unexpected turns, Rodriguez feels lucky to have been given the opportunity to share his words, art, and music with so many. We are truly honored to help continue to spread the message. As we said our goodbyes, Rodriguez left me with a copy of the latest New York Times, a paper he reads from front-to-back every day. It’s a symbolic gesture. Keep reading, keep listening, keep learning, and keep striving. It’s a simple goal we should all aspire to reach.

Kevin “Sipreano” Howes

exploring vancouver

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

harmonium-s/t (1974)

canada postes/postage 8


Leonard Cohen - Darkness by leonardcohen

the canadian romantic

Friday, January 13 2012, 7 pm
@ Dunlevy Snackbar, 433 Dunlevy Ave., Vancouver BC Canada

Robert Dayton IS The Canadian Romantic

Robert Dayton: An Evening With The Canadian Romantic

Presented by UNIT/PITT and Publication Studio Vancouver at the Dunlevy Snack Bar, 433 Dunlevy Ave., Vancouver BC on Friday, January 13 2012 | Tickets ($25 for performance plus dinner; $40 for performance plus dinner plus book) on sale in advance. The new Canadian Romantic book will be launched at this event.

This will be a one of a kind evening that combines large amounts of shared laughter with soft music and unsettling feelings of desire…!

Robert Dayton is a multidisciplinary entertainer, writer, and artist from British Columbia who resides for the moment in Toronto. His work has appeared in Hunter and Cook, Carousel, The Toronto Onion, Roctober, Cinema Sewer, Paper Rodeo, Bananafish, CBC3 and numerous other places. He is known for being in such curious musical acts as Canned Hamm and July Fourth Toilet, as well as acting in the films Male Fantasy, Ivory Tower, and Leslie My Name Is Evil. He has performed at The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Vancouver Art Gallery, The Helen Pitt Gallery, The Knitting Factory, and more…
Robert’s most recent project is his series of videos and performances as the persona of The Canadian Romantic, a melodramatic figure of faded glamour who tries to bridge and explore the gap between Canada and romance with somewhat dubious results. Some key Canadian Romantic videos will be played. The Canadian Romantic himself will be performing live, taking topic suggestions from the crowd for his infamous impromptu candlelight Recitations. Expect glittery Bon Mots aplenty from a  man of way too much experience. You will come alive with laughter feeling like you’ve woken up at an undisclosed time with make up smeared across your face.

After that will be a curated tour of  the forgotten musical Recitation genre, which also includes the notion of famous Ac-tor as Singer: expect the plummy tones of Telly Savalas, Bruno Gerussi, Richard Harris, and a few glorious unknowns! This musical genre has been a key influence on The Canadian Romantic.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Monday, January 2, 2012

modern talking-the 1st album (1985)

*currently rotating on the platter at VIN HQ (2nd spin, REWIND!!!)...

HMV robson

no news here, but western canada's HMV flagship retail outlet on robson street is about to close. once the site of the vancouver public library, it was renovated as a big-box style virgin megastore in 1995-96. after pulling out of the space in 2005, HMV decided to open up shop (they were previously set up further west on robson, but had long vacated the shopping mecca for suburban malls). whether you file under curio or who cares, along w/ the death of the record industry as we've known it (BIG labels w/ a roster of artists making/promoting albums, selling thousands of them, etc...), comes the demise of brick and mortar music retail, a far cry from the CD boom of the mid-90s where i worked for 6 long years as a clerk at HMV coquitlam (#852). for nostalgia's sake if nothing more, i wanted to pop into the robson branch one last time and observe the carnage. w/ giant "STORE CLOSING" posters and "SALE" placards throughout, the price tags showcased more of a super sale than complete barn burner. unfortunately for serious music fans, the deep catalogue the chain once prided themselves in carrying (even in smaller outlets like coquitlam) had long been taken over by top 40 pap and the most "classic" (the beatles, rolling stones, pink floyd, jimi hendrix, bob marley, etc...) of "classic" rock. if you were looking for UK imports of rare german electronic music at 50% off or something equally esoteric (japanese budgie reissues???), you were basically shit out of luck. looking back a few years in music retail misery, collectors and heads fared much better at the 2007 sam the record man blowout on yonge street where people were walking away w/ armfuls of more or less intriguing and diverse product. anyways, w/ a limited range of titles and standard xmas price slashings on most items (not much) my girlfriend and i walked around for a few minutes to soak up the atmosphere. upstairs, a silent video of reggae great gregory isaacs projected from the 2 TVs behind the cash registers made me think of how little black music the store actually carried (sorry, but racks of kayne west CDs—my apologies kayne, i know that's not fair—doesn't cut it). elsewhere, a young lady said to her shopping mate, "will i regret this later?" as she cluched onto a handful of discs. um, probably... sadder yet was the majestic and holy sound of the four tops beaming out of the store-wide sound system. though it was possibly a computer generated selection or a management marketing choice, for me, it was a hollow and ignorant "business-as-usual" selection to soundtrack the end of our once beloved music marketplace. almost as bad as your favourite underground song being used to sell cheese (*unless you know the band personally and are happy that w/ their licensing loot they can finally afford to buy a nice brick of parmesan reggiano). what a mess (and waste)!@#$%?!!! finally, a perfect opportunity for a disgruntled employee to play death metal or something equally apocalyptic over the hi-fi and the brass choose a landmark recording of the almost gone, gone, gone music business to make you remember what once was and why it mattered in the first place. bastards!@#$%!!! as we stepped across its ruins and dwindling returns, HMV robson RIP.