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The Walleye
Broken Social Scene
Forgiveness Rock Record
By Nancy Ewachow
This is the fifty-fourth release of Canadian inde-
pendent label Arts and Craft, which was created by
members of the band Broken Social Scene, and the
fifth for the band. The cut "Meet me in the Base-
ment" has two drummers playing, and I really like
the phrasing of the lines, but the bombast makes me
recall what a young friend said about BSS and Ar-
cade Fire, "What's with the Wagnerian attitude?" I
think though that Broken Social Scene has more groove and more of a pop song idea than
the old German coot. The song Sentimental X features the alumni of Leslie Feist, Amy Milan
(of Stars), and Emily Haines (of Metric) playing again, and might show what I mean. I have
another friend, who has always loved the band. Why? First, the free-form, `post-punk' love
of guitars, like New York's Sonic Youth; secondly, the idea of a collective group, open and
inviting; third, the girls are as in there as the guys are; and finally, the great live shows that are
all about the feel and also reinforce that it's all a party, and everyone's invited onstage. With
that recommendation, then, I'm looking forward to seeing the movie recently released called
This Movie is Broken, combining concert footage with a scripted story line.
By Nancy Ewachow
Stars' Amy Milan has a great voice, and it gets bet-
ter every year (and bandmate Torquil Campbell can
sing too). I heard a live version of the first track of
this album not long ago. I couldn't decide if it was the
words or the singing that was making the impact. I
believe now that it was the blending of the two: Dead
hearts are everywhere/They were kids that I once knew as
sung by angels. However, you have to like throbbing synth sounds, serious and artful, to like
this album, otherwise go find some solo Amy Milan albums. The Five Ghosts is powerful, and
inventive, especially lyrically.
The Yes Men Fix The World
By Michelle McChristie
The Yes Men, Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, are
gonzo political activists that bring "culture jamming" to a new
level by posing as top executives at conferences. Their second
film, The Yes Men Fix The World, chronicles their efforts to get
corporations, governments and ordinary people to realize the
inequities and, in some cases, lunacy of unchecked capitalistic
Taking jabs at Milton Friedman's brand of economic policy,
the Yes Men stage elaborate pranks, such as posing as a Dow
Chemical spokesman for a live BBC interview. In the interview, Andy announces that Dow
has accepted responsibility for the Bhopal disaster that occurred at a pesticides plant in 1984.
The shareholder response to Dow's commitment to do the right thing, results in an immediate
$2 billion plunge.
The Yes Men's Jerky Boys meets Naomi Klein approach offers a hilarious and thought-
provoking look at some of the world's biggest dilemmas. Each prank will make you wonder
how they manage to avoid lawsuits by the companies they cleverly misrepresent.
Gord Downie
and the
Country of
The Grand Bounce
By Nancy Ewachow
I always gave the base-
ball-capped college boy fandom that brought the Tragically Hip
mass appeal credit for allowing a poet to be their spokesman. I
remember thinking the first time I saw Gord Downie on TV: Who
was this writhing upward moving spiral of voice and word? It's
funny how the oddest characters can become Canadian institutions.
How else to explain Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Joni and KD?
Gord Downie might make it there by going down the road this CD
takes with a new band full of some very interesting players. It made
me want to listen when I heard that Dave Clark, Julie Doiron and
Dale Morningstar were on it.
Now Julie "feeding your kids among all these pirates" Doiron has
made it to the Juno stage, and been given some broader radio play
with her last solo album (I Woke Myself Up), but she's really known as
a pioneer, for women, for early indie rock with Eric's Trip, and she's
filled Thunder Bay's The Apollo with adoring fans over the years. I
love her voice: it's so simple, and yet it's like her heart has just es-
caped through her lips. Besides, she's a wondrous thrasher on guitar
and bass. Dale Morningstar is a Toronto guy, and I do remember
him on the same Apollo stage, saying that even if his telecaster's high
end was ripping people's ears off, he wasn't going to be told to turn
it down, because his art came first. The tele's on this album, but it's
more slithery and quite delightful. Chalk one up to art.
Now Dave Clark goes back a little further, to the stage of Crocks
n' Rolls, and to the days when the Rheostatics "drove a log car
through the driving snow" and played here regularly, picking up the
King of Thunder Bay along the way (Spencer M.). I think the last
time Dave Clark finessed and bombasted his drum-kit for the band
in Thunder Bay, it was 1997 at Coyotes, and you can hear it on their
live album with a cover of Gordon Lightfoot's Wreck of the Edmund
Fitzgerald. Like the Tragically Hip, the Rheostatics were some kind
of mutation of suburban white-boy rock, and maybe in the same
way their poetics don't translate well outside of the country: neither
band broke into the States or abroad. Call them forerunners of the
Canadian music explosion of the past decade; -I think they deserve
it. And, funny too, Dave Clark left the band the year the Rheo-
statics were opening for the Tragically Hip on a stadium tour. To
me the band was still often brilliant after he left, but Dave Clark's
Rush-inspired over the top command of the instrument just made
the band sound, well, more fun (I guess it's a matter of swing), and
I missed him.
Filled with oddball all-stars, I like the album. "Broadcast" is a
great and pretty song and shows off all of the players' strengths, as
does "East Wind." But I wouldn't have looked twice if it weren't for
the company Gord Downie is keeping these days.