Archive for July, 2010

Slayer interview – Eye Weekly (7.29.10)

July 31, 2010

Geeks, sportos, motorheads, dweebs… everybody loves Slayer. EYE WEEKLY’s Chris Bilton tracks down the band in Quebec to find out why the original masters of thrash are more popular than ever

QUEBEC CITY — It’s never just “Slayer”; it’s always “fuckin’ Slayer!” As an expression, it’s the perfect summation of what it means to be a Slayer fan, especially when yelled in the vicinity of one of their concerts. The name of the band alone carries with it a certain set of images and associations — Satanic pentagrams, combat-helmeted demons, vaguely SS-styled lettering, the most brutalizing thrash metal to come out of the 1980s — and yelling “Slayer” is enough to let any other metal fan know that you mean business. But adding the expletive is a kind of fanatical declaration: both vulgar and impassioned, and thoroughly committed to showing total disregard for societal norms.

Case in point, there’s already an Urban Dictionary1 entry on the phrase, and it’s a phenomenon that, for some, extends past the concert venue into everyday life. (Also, “Fuckin’ Metallica” has far too many syllables and “Fuckin’ Anthrax” too much consonance right in the middle of the phrase — “Fuckin’ Slayer,” on the other hand, just rolls perfectly off the tongue.)
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Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs – Eye Weekly (7.29.10)

July 29, 2010

A sprawling 16 tracks about suburbia: welcome to album number three for Arcade Fire. Here’s my review of The Suburbs.

The Flaming Lips live – Eye Weekly (7.9.10)

July 10, 2010

The Flaming Lips’ ringleader Wayne Coyne is on stage making last-minute adjustments to the massive half-circle metal structure and other hand-crafted machinery surrounding the band’s instruments when he addresses the Molson Amphitheatre audience to prepare them for his trademark space-bubble crowd crawl that will open the show.

“You’re all going to want to smush together because I’m going to be right on top of you,” he explains. It’s a little like seeing the Wizard pulling the levers behind the curtain before embarking on that crazy journey to Oz — a move that for a lesser band, might threaten to blow the magic act of such a notably magical stage show.

But soon enough, that paint-peeling metal structure is glowing hyper-galactic blue and through a cosmic image of a pulsating vagina that covers its large screen, the other three members of the Flaming Lips emerge, airplane-escape-hatch-style, down a ramp onto the stage. Coyne’s space bubble inflates, and he walks out into the arms of his audience and it’s obvious that we’re not in Kansas (or Oklahoma) anymore.

That’s right, The Flaming Lips (and Spoon) were in Toronto this week. Read the rest of my review at EYE WEEKLY.

Flaming Lips interview – Eye Weekly (7.6.10)

July 7, 2010

In conversation with the one and only Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

Wayne Coyne doesn’t mind flirting with disaster. When I reach the Flaming Lips singer at his recently-flooded home in the oldest section of downtown Oklahoma City, he’s quick to reassure me that he and his wife are old pros at dealing with Fantasia-like waves of sewage, and they had the place cleaned up in about half a day. Having lived his entire life in the heart of Tornado Alley, he’s very much at the mercy of nature, but, he says, “I kind of embrace that. I suppose everywhere is at the mercy [of nature], but with the tornadoes and the flooding and all that, you kind of get immune to it. It’s only when we go to California and people say there’s an earthquake happening that we think, ‘Oh wow, really?’”

“The danger that you live with all the time isn’t as nearly as interesting as the new danger,” he adds, in his casually philosophical way. That isn’t an entirely surprising remark from someone whose most well-known song hinges on the line “Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die?”

Read the rest of the article over at EYE WEEKLY.

G20 coverage compedium – Eye Weekly (6.29.10)

July 6, 2010

Here is a compendium of my dispatches from within the inconvenient nightmare that was the Toronto G20 Summit:

G20: never forget – my final words after the weekend we never wanted..

Diary of a protest – what I encountered on the streets of Toronto during Saturday’s protests.

Super Sunday – in which things seem better, for a very brief period.

Choose your own G20 – a flow chart to help our readers decide if bearing witness is really worth it.

Meet: The G20 – a foreshadowy primer on what to expect.

The National – Sex and Violets – EYE (6.2.10)

July 6, 2010

My conversation with The National’s Aaron Dessner leads to a consideration of the band’s immaculately crafted midlife-crisis indie-rock.

The word “cinematic” gets tossed around a lot as an indie rock descriptor — usually to explain the sonic scope of an instrumental passage or densely layered orchestral embellishments. With Brooklyn’s The National, “cinematic” can be used much more literally: the music is very much like a film. Their songs play like carefully staged scenes with skewed lighting and ambiguous dialogue. As a listener, you are immediately thrust into them and have to feel your way around in order to understand just what’s going on. It could be a woman in long red socks and red shoes pissing in a sink, super-late-night revelers with “a little something” in their lemonade or a lover with his head on the hood of a car taking it too far.

In most cases, the word-images are part of a larger narrative — an exploration of that period between youthful excess and settling into the less exciting person you will inevitably become. It’s indie rock on the verge of a mid-life crisis — music as a Wes Anderson tragicomedy.

The National – High Violet review – EYE (5.11.10)

July 6, 2010

Yes, The National’s greatly anticipated follow up to Boxer is really as good as everyone says it is. Here’s my review of High Violet.