Saturday, June 26, 2010

An eight-nation army couldn't hold them back.
Pack a.d. is cooler than the White Stripes.

photo by Justine Warrington
interview by Kenyon Hopkin

Vancouver duo Pack a.d. is the most bad-ass blues-rock-punk chick duo you will hear this side of the Canadian border. But it would be wise not to compare guitarist/vocalist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller to the White Stripes or Black Keys just cause they are two people playing bluesy rock. They definitely have more edge and grit. There's also some shades of L7 in the Pack's 2010 release, We Kill Computers (Mint records). Songs like "Deer" and "Crazy" are focused, raw power. Beat-keeper Miller speaks her mind on Vancouver, mix tapes and smashing computer monitors.

Advance Copy: How's western Canada doing? Is there anything awful going on there right now that you think we need to know about? Or is it only the USA that's effin up? Canada seems like a better place to live, given the difference in health care.
Maya: Alberta does still like their rodeos and gambling. B.C. likes their lattes and loafing. Saskatchewan likes their Tim Horton's and Roughriders. Manitoba still likes their beer and uneven roads. We all still kinda win when it comes to things like Health Care it's true. But the U.S has hotel coupons at rest areas so that's a plus, although it doesn't really beat the health care I guess.

AC: How has the security at the U.S/Canada border been these days? Is it easy to walk/drive across?
Maya: You could try walking across but I wouldn't recommend it. I'd film you doing it though and youtube it. Sometimes, they smile at the border and they've never heard of our band.

AC: You're pretty close to Seattle. Do you go there often to hang out? Is there any sort of music scene in Vancouver?
Maya: If I had time to hang out, I might choose Seattle because Seattle is like hanging out in Vancouver pretty much. Especially with the rain and the coffee. There's a huge music scene in Vancouver. All types going on and it's just the right size city in the sense that everyone knows everyone, and they usually have beards.

AC: I read you are influenced by the Martian Chronicles? Only the book or have you seen the movie too, starring Rock Hudson? How does it influence you?
Maya: I've only read the book, had no idea there was a movie. Damn, I have to get in on that. I read the line [from the book] "I am the last Martian, I am going to kill you," and it changed me. I think it has influenced how I brush my teeth. It just seems more intense now.

AC: You had a cassette mix tape contest. Aside from that need for a tape on tour, are you, in general, down with cassettes as a way to hear music? Cassettes rule!
Maya: I agree that cassettes rule. A lot of people don't agree but I don't like those people. I also don't like people that spit on the street when they're talking. And also, small yappy dogs.

AC: You have a video where you are smashing a computer and monitor. Although the computer looks about 10 years old, does this represent your dislike for social networking sites? If you had a new computer that you could destroy any way you want, how would you do it?
Maya: Unfortunately, no one was willing to give us a new computer to kill. And yes, the title and the smashing is all about despising social networking. I'm talking the kind where people have a billion friends and actually consider them friends instead of basically friend hording acquaintances. If I could kill a new computer, I would definitely throw it out a window, SCTV style, or put it through some kind of random machinery and crush it like at the end of theTerminator.

AC: You probably get compared to the White Stripes and Black Keys too much, just cause they are also a blues-rock-garage guitar and drums duo. Are you tired of that comparison?
Maya: Words cannot describe how tired we both are of that. It's just sooo lazy.

AC: What were the locations that you filmed the video for "Deer"? Where is that couch now?
Maya: We filmed that all around Vancouver--Stanley Park, Leeside skate park, Playland [and others]. That couch was re-donated to the Value Village we bought it from for $30. That couch, by the way, smelled super bad. Not super bad in a good way either. Our van continued to smell like that couch for a week after. Now, it's all back to smelling like a taxi cab which is much better.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

GWAR at Crazy Donkey, Long Island June 22, 2010

Giant space creature with twin fetus popping out

Let them slay! Let them slay!

holy crap dude!

bring me the head of barack obama.

oh hell yea

Sunday, June 20, 2010

movie left for dead.

Intruder (1989) One of many combinations of Sam Raimi/Ted Raimi/Bruce Campbell/Scott Spiegel, Intruder has been called the last great slasher of the 1980s. It doesn't really stand out in any way and settles as a typical slasher with the usual "twist" (although this is spoiled in the trailer, how dumb). Campbell is billed as a starring actor, but actually is only it for a couple minutes at the end. Sam and Ted Raimi, at least, play two of the several characters inventively knocked off by an unknown assailant in a supermarket, late at nite after they get the news that the store is permanently closing. From the start, you know they are all doomed when they split up and go searching for people. All of Intruder is shot in and in front of a supermarket (although it's much better than the Gingerdead Man, shot entirely in a bakery). Sam Raimi uses camera shots/views that you may recognize from Evil Dead. Though of course, Intruder is no Evil Dead. [rating: $5] -kenyon

Saturday, June 19, 2010

movie left for dead.

Welcome to the Jungle (2007)
"Torture porn" movies like Hostel, Wolf creek, and Turistas were good at spending the first half of the story getting to know groups of adventurers, before they suddenly meet their doom. A straight to DVD "Dimension Extreme," the "unrated" Jungle makes the same attempt, all the while pretending to be filmed by a POV shakey cam, ala Blair Witch. Four unfortunate travellers seek fame and fortune by searching the jungle for a Michael Rockefeller, who is rumored to still be living amongst the native cannibals. Obviously a terrible idea, but the four young adults--one whose acting is deplorable--proceed anyway. Already short at 82 minutes, roughly half of that is unnecessary mundane clips of them chilling out and talking to each other or to the camera. [rating: $2] - Kenyon

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

22-20s: Shake/Shiver/Moan (tbd)
out: June 8 [digital], June 22 [physical]
style: Brit rock
similar: Locksley, Delays, Longpigs
rating: [****] Out of action from 2006 to 2008 due to creative differences, the 22-20s have regrouped at least long enough to record one of the most satisfying albums of 2010. On Shake/Shiver/Moan, the Lincolnshire, UK group has the aptitude to persuade Americans that British rock n' roll isn't dead. The 22's, whose early incarnation played covers of old blues songs, diversify just enough within the spectrum of their Brit pop ancestry without blatant duplication. Along with the Mod garage rocking "Talk to Me" and the Byrds-esque "Ocean" are several songs that, in 2010, outdo the last breaths from the crumbled Oasis as well as the newly reformed Blur. -Kenyon

Monday, June 07, 2010

Caddy WHAT?

embraces its offbeat name and the crooked corners of its noisy lo-fi math rock.
interview by Kenyon Hopkin

The second album from New Orleans duo Caddywhompus just blopped (yes, blopped) from Community records. Chris Rehm (guitar/vocals) and Sean Hart (drums) are now on the road supporting Remainder, which the two Texas natives completely self-produced and engineered. Rehm and Hart have been playing music together for years, eventually founding Caddywhompus in late 2008. Since then they've been on bills with the Antlers, Japanther, Cursive, A Sunny Day in Glasgow and Math the Band. Following a bunch of gigs at the last South by Southwest music festival, the guys hit the road to play all kinds of unconventional venues. Chris Rehm brings us up to date on what he's seen in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina and some "rad-ass" things Caddywhompus has been up to.

Advance Copy: it's funny how in your info at the Community records page you've got "according to dictionary.com Caddywhompus is "no dictionary results found." At urbandictionary the definition is "crooked, uneven, broken, ass-backwards and sideways." Does any of that ring true for you as a meaning behind the name?
Chris: To a certain extent, yeah. The way we approach songwriting and structure is pretty random and varying, some may consider it sideways or off, but I think that's better than being predictable and played out.

AC: during hurricane Katrina you were still in Houston. How long after that did you move to New Orleans? Did it feel surreal or strange to re-locate there, post-hurricane? Do you think there is still re-building that needs to be done in the city or surrounding areas?
Chris: Sean moved there in 2007 and I moved there in 2008, I remember going on drives all over the city with new friends that I met there and there were still many places that hadn't recovered. Many businesses and homes had or still have dumpsters outside. The city will always be recovering.

AC: why do you hold the guitar so high up? Looks a little uncomfortable. Does it make it easier to tap on the fretboard?
Chris: I wear it like that because that's about where the guitar is located when I sit down and play it. Low hanging guitars hurt my left wrist really bad, and also, shazam!, it's easier to tap when it's up high.

AC: you've played with Cursive. Was that your most exciting show? If not what was?
Chris: I wouldn't say that was our most exciting show, but it was a lot of fun getting to play with a band that we've admired for years. Most exciting show was probably a rad-ass house party we played in a basement in New Orleans last year. Nails were sticking out of the ceiling and people were dancing crazy, all drunk-like. Two seemingly straight dudes started making out hard and falling all over the place while we were playing.

AC: being a duo, you have the advantage of perhaps playing smaller spaces. What was the most unusual spot you've played?
Chris: last night we played in the upstairs of an abandoned bank. The lights didn't work downstairs. It was pretty wacky.

AC: what were the highlights for you at the last South by Southwest? How many shows did you play?
Chris: Definitely a highlight was hosting our show at the 21st Street Co-Op. Most of the bands we booked for the show were our favorite bands from New Orleans and Houston. We ended up playing at like four in the morning and it was still popping. We played five shows and did a radio interview on KVRX.

AC: you have a great DIY ethic. Do you ever want to be able to make a living as Caddywhompus?
Chris: it would be nice to make a living as Caddywhompus. Really, our financial dream is to be able to make enough money off of our music to be able to continue making it. But that's just a financial dream.


Thursday, June 03, 2010

Hammock: Chasing After Shadows...Living With the Ghosts
(Hammock Music)
release: May 18, 2010
style: ambient, space rock
[rating: ****] Enjoyed by Jonsi of Sigur Ros, Hammock's previous releases have been some of the most gorgeous atmospheric instrumentals of the past five years. On this fourth album, the duo introduces a rich tapestry of excessively processed guitar effects, live drums and strings. Any of these tracks, from the echoing "The Backward Step" to the glistening "the World We Knew as Children" wouldn't be out of place as an instrumental on a record from Sigur Ros or Slowdive. Mixed by Tim Powles of another influence band, the Church, Chasing is another winner, providing a wealth of relaxation from the heart. -Kenyon

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Smashing Pumpkins, Flaming Lips to headline huge Forecastle festival down in Kentucky this summer. Over 100 acts including Devo, She & Him, Cake and Spoon.