Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The two best shows not on American television

"EZ Streets"
This unfairly shortened masterpiece ran on CBS for 8 episodes from 96-97, detailing urban & police corruption in a nearly surrealistic, decaying city vaguely reminiscent of either Detroit or Buffalo (since it takes place near the Canadian border). Admittedly pretty dark stuff with a running conspiracy plot that seemed to be a hallmark of Paul Haggis, the creator of Due South and later working on the also unjustly-neglected "Michael Hayes". It remains one of my favorite TV shows of all time; the abandoned landscapes alone are marvels of beauty and possible infiltration. Fortunately, the folks at Trio have been running it sporadically, along with an unaired 9th episode; track it down forthwith.

"This Is Wonderland"
This legal dramedy appeared in Canada in 2004 and is coming back for another go-round. It takes place in Toronto, and lovers of that city should have no trouble with the landmarks, particularly Old City Hall where it takes place. It follows Alice into the rabbit hole of the legal system, as she valiantly attempts to deal with the polyglot of petty criminals laid at her feet. Dizzying, silly, well-acted, particularly buoyed up by Cara Pifko as the heroine, it would sink like an EZ Streets were it to be shown here. Here's another website.

NP: The Fiery Furnaces--"EP"

Monday, December 27, 2004

slight hiatus

Hope everybody's having a great holiday! No show tonight, but tune into the Indie show a week from Wednesday for the Spotlight's Best of the Year.

NP: Low--"The Great Destroyer"
Girls Aloud--"What Will the Neighbours Say"

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Not on the Spotlight Review, take 4

NP: American Music Club--"Love Songs for Patriots"
Didn't understand the initial fuss despite being a long-time AMC fan, but, yeah, now I get it.

M.I.A./Diplo--"Piracy Funds Terrorism, vol. 1"
Didn't understand the initial fuss until the Bangles track comes in and then M.I.A. starts yelling over her cell phone to PLEEAASE help. The Sanford and Son samples are the shit too. Since I have an old CD player in the car it doesn't handle CD-Rs very well, so I have to listen to this at home with the headphones on or else my wife will think I'm a head-case. Particularly during the CDs last half where I start looking like a bobblehead.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

12/20 Playlist

Low Just Like Christmas Christmas
Neko Case If I'm Gonna Sink (I Might as Well go...) Touch My Heart: A Tribute to Johnny Paycheck
Jon Rauhouse River of No Return Jon Rauhouse's Steel Guitar Rodeo
Neko Case Brown-Eyed Handsome Man Hard-Hearted Woman: a Celebration of Wanda Jackson
The New Pornographers The Fake Headlines CBC Radio 3: Sessions volume 1
Neko Case Train From Kansas City The Tigers Have Spoken
Gordon Downie Christmastime in Toronto Battle of the Nudes
Stardust vs. Madonna Music Sounds Better With Holiday 12"white label

Here's last night's playlist, which this time I tried cutting and pasting, since I came to the stunning realization that every past link downblog only leads to the current one, like so.
So now it's here for the holidays. Drop a comment if you need to know more. Stay tuned for the countdown beginning soon...

Monday, December 20, 2004

Dead Trees and Aluminum 4

NP: Low--Christmas EP
NR: Bob Dylan--"Chronicles, vol. one"
Robert Charles Wilson--"Spin"

Friday, December 17, 2004

Come this Monday

The last show of the year has become a bit of a tradition, with a look at some Neko Case cuts from the previous 12 months, as well as a dash of Xmas music, some familiar some not. Tune on in Dec 20...

I figure I'll start listing the books I've read this year, a great year for it as I got through quite a few more completed than in years past. The list doesn't include some picture books or short stories. Let's see how many I get in this post before I get cut off by the blogger template...

From January on:
William Gibson--"Pattern Recognition"
Jeff Vandermeer--"Veniss Underground"
Lucius Shepard--"Louisiana Breakdown"
David Schow--"Rock Breaks Scissors Cut"
Douglas Clegg--"The Necromancer"
Joyce Carol Oates--"Rape: A Love Story"
Karen Joy Fowler--"The Jane Austen Book Club"
Elizabeth Smart--"By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept"
Cory Doctorow--"A Place So Foreign & 8 More"
L. Timmel Duchamp--"Love's Body, Dancing In Time"
Alex Garland--"The Coma"
The 2004 Rhysling Anthology
Elizabeth Hand--"Mortal Love"
Virginia Schwartz--"Initiation"
Robert Charles Wilson--"Blind Lake"
Theodora Goss--"The Rose In Twelve Petals"
Ursula K LeGuin--"Gifts"
Marjane Satrapi--"Persepolis 2"
Polyphony 4
Charles DeLint--"Medicine Road"
Art Spiegelman--"In the Shadow of No Towers"
Susanna Clarke--"Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell"

Hey whaddya know, they all fit! I knew I'd get better at this bloggin' as I go.
More to come before the year's end, I'm in the middle of about five at the moment. I'll even put up a list of ones I plan on getting to in 2005.
Next week, I'll start a countdown of my favorite CDs as well, at least in a Spotlight Review way. The guilty pleasures will get their own post. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Get your new playlist...

right here.

NP: Kylie Minogue--"Ultimate Kylie"

31 tracks of the most brilliant sustained superficiality I've ever heard. The first 3 songs alone are one of the best opening blasts I've heard in many a moon, and they're songs from 2 decades ago. I truly love Madonna, but Gwen S. has made the best Madonna album in years, and Kylie shows she has the staying power above all. Comes out in the US in February, and is mandatory.
Now where's that Girls Aloud CD...?

Monday, December 13, 2004

Tis the season

I might be slipping in some Christmas music tonight on the show, for those of you that go for that sort of thing...

NP: Various--"Count Your Blessings"
"CBC Radio 3: Sessions, vol. 1"

NR: "The Devil's Wine"

Friday, December 10, 2004

dead trees and aluminum 3

NP: "Sunday Nights: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough"
NR: John Kessel--"The Baum Plan for Financial Independence"

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Why blogs rule

Because you find things like this.

Not on the Spotlight Review, take 1

NP: Skye Sweetnam--"Noise From the Basement"

Criminally ignored bit of almost-Avril pop, this post-tween boasts not only a pretty decent voice but a co-writer and producer who throws in some sugar-metal backing Def Leppard style to produce something along the lines of the Rachel Sweet/Liam Sternberg model from decades ago. Mix together and voila: instant fun! For an intriguing exercise, imagine this in the radio in your head as a hardcore album that finishes in 25 minutes rather than 45. Irresistable.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

This week's playlist

New playlist up here.

NP: Gwen Stefani--"L.A.M.B."
NR: The Faery Reel

More to come..and we might even slip in a Xmas tune or two next week.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Year-end schedule, for real

Here's the year's last three shows, definitely:
12/6: Tom Waits, Bjork, Drive-By Truckers
12/13: Trail of Dead (the new one! thanks, Eddie), the Nein, the Magneta Lane
12/20: Neko Case, Xmas
1/5: Indie/Spotlight Best of 2004

And now, a shout-out to my favoritest record-store clerks, Leilani and Deana, who you can occasionally see flit by here.

NP: matt pond PA--"Emblems".

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


...a new Magnapop album!

Let the year-ends commence

Some of the first year-end bests are out in the new issue of Exclaim, the fine monthly music freebie out of Canada. Click below to go directly to 'em:

I'm noticing quite a number of my year-bests showing up here, which is kind of nice and comforting. What a great year for Canadian music (and music overall)! You can hear my selection on the special edition of the Indie Show, January 5.

Since this is also going to be a book blog, I'm going to list the books I've read in 2004 soon, which turned out to be quite a list, short stories and others notwithstanding. I guess when I'm happiest, which is now, I tend to embrace the arts even larger.

More later...