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Thursday, March 11th, 2004

Zen Arcade

Reading Our Band Could Be Your Life has naturally prompted me to revisit the records I own of the bands covered in the books. In particular, Minnesota’s favorite sons The Replacements and Husker Du. While I take some issue with author Michael Azerrad mostly dismissing the bands’ major label output (while arguably not their best work, the Mats’ Tim and Pleased To Meet Me and Husker Du’s Candy Apple Grey and Warehouse are still excellent, excellent records), he makes a compelling argument to take a closer look at their earlier material. Where once they might have been too raw for my delicate sensibilities, I think I’m now at a point where I could get past perceived superficial sonic shortcomings to appreciate the power of the music underneath. For example – I listened to Zen Arcade yesterday for the first time in years, and though my memory told me it was a chaotic, unlistenable mess (I first bought it in first year university fully 10 years ago… God, I’m old), my ears were now telling me that there really was something very cool going on there. I forsee that album getting more spins in the next few weeks than it has in the past decade. I’ve added the Du’s Flip Your Wig and New Day Rising, though I think they’re technically out of print, and the Mats’ Hootenanny to my shopping list.

As for the book, it really is a great read. The underground rock scene of the 80s seems unfathomable in today’s superconnected world, but it makes the notion of rock bands piled into a van driving around America and taking on the world seems so horribly romantic. The bands are simultaneously fucked-up outcasts and mythic legends. Don’t worry – I’m not quitting my job and buying an old Econoline anytime soon. Unless someone has one for sale…? But it’s a great book. A shame it’s taken me so long to get around to reading it.

Chart has some more info on the Neko Case & The Sadies shows the first weekend of April at Lee’s Palace. They confirm the Sadies aren’t opening, but are Neko’s backing band and add that the openers will be bluegrass traditionalists Jim & Jennie & The Pinetops. The live album that will hopefully be culled from these shows will be out before the end of the year, along with a new studio album from Ms Case.

Nerve chats with The Shins – complete with crotch-grabbing photo! From The Modern Age.

Franz Ferdinand are in the money – they’ve signed a licensing deal in North America worth a cool 1.5 million pounds. That is a lot of dosh.

Congratulations to Dave Sim on the publication of the final issue of Cerebus, number 300. No matter what you think of the man, that’s still a remarkable artistic achievement.

So Five Seventeen has started up a chess club in downtown Toronto, and while it’s true there’s none more geek than a chess player, it’s actually quite fun. I’d say that I have to get my brain back into game shape – it’s been a long time since I played with any regularity – that would imply that it ever was in game shape. Which it wasn’t. Basically, I know the rules and sometimes engage in some reckless bloodlust, but I’m not moving up the leaderboard any time soon. 517, on the other hand, is a ruthless killing machine. Play him at your peril.

Lake Holiday play our first show of 2004 in a couple weeks, March 24th at the El Mocambo. We’re sharing the bill with Friday Morning’s Regret (samples at New Music Canada), League Champs and Mnemosyne. The show is pay what you can and gets started at 9:30 – we are on at 10:15. We’ve been holed up in recording mode for so long, I’m pretty damned eager to get back out and play – stop by and say hello if you get the chance.

np – The Replacements / Let It Be

By : Frank Yang at 9:48 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Gary Campbell says:

    517 IS a ruthless killing machine. I played him once back when he was "learning", and his victory was still swift, cold, and calculating. Either that, or I just suck at chess. It could be that, too.

  2. Five Seventeen says:

    First off, not true. Amy has oft wiped the floor with me. And Gary where were you?

    and there is some "more geek than a chess player" here’s one: http://…/ (no offense intended, but really…)

    Still looking for people to come out too.

  3. Frank says:

    okay, but can we agree that anyone who shows up with a Star Trek chess set (http://…/) absolutely takes the cake?

    I mean come on – it’s a Next Generation chess set. That’s just lame. The least they could do is have the original crew versus like, the evil mirror universe crew. My kingdom for a goateed Spock chess piece!

    I just took the cake, didn’t I.

  4. Paul says:

    I was going to recommend you check out the SST Superstore (http://…/) for all of you Husker Du needs. Flip Your Wig and New Day Rising are still very much in print. However, Greg Ginn is an evil, evil man and charges a whopping $15 for shipping to Canada.

  5. Frank says:

    Fuck that shit. I’ll root around eBay. I’m not in a huge rush for this stuff.

    Yikes.

  6. Five Seventeen says:

    I think you meant to find this Frank. http://…/

    When I was very little my brother and I set up two boards on a glass table and tried to recreate the 3D-game, but I was about 7 then and what I played was probably closer the checkers.

    Blame my Dad for watching Star Trek religiously every Saturday for the entire time I was growing up. He’d flip back and forth between the episode (which he already owned on video tape) and *insert sporting event here.* And their were cartoons on! CARTOONS!!

    I never really got over it. (cartoons.)

  7. sam says:

    hey, geekdom!

    i’ve actually gone back to the game pretty regularly for the past year or two now. this coworker started talking about chess and we quickly both got cheap sets and started playing pretty much everytime we worked. and now we got about 4-5 different in on it too. it’s pretty cool.

  8. mishie says:

    i’m glad you got around to reading that book frank, i read it 2 summers ago when i attempted to read as many music related books as i could. it’s definitely worth your time….i myself haven’t listened to husker du in many years, time to be pulling out them again as well!