Saturday, June 11th, 2005
My first, and possibly only, NxNE show was catching Catlow, the new nom de plume of Natasha Thirsk, at the Cameron House on Thursday night. If the name is familiar, maybe it’s from her last band The Dirtmitts or if it’s just the surname that’s ringing bells, you may remember sister Kristy from mid-90s Vancouver outfit The Rose Chronicles.
Catlow played solo to a small but well-populated room, accompanying herself on electric guitar Billy Bragg-style. Her material was split up between quieter, delicate singer-songwriter-esque ballads and more aggressive rockers. The louder numbers were muted a bit sonically by the fact that she was playing clean and not especially loudly, but I liked the guitar tone – I thought it was more expressive than if she’d had a distortion pedal handy. With her sweet but edgy voice, Catlow is a bit of a throwback to the alternative 1990s when scrappy female-fronted rock bands were plentiful on the musical landscape – I hear shades of Juliana Hatfield and Veruca Salt in her sound and songwriting. There was probably a tip of the influence cap when she covered ‘Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry” (which you can also hear on her MySpace page).
Ususally more of a full-band guy, I was a little surprised how much I liked the dynamic of her performing solo. I hope I get the chance to compare and contrast if she tours in support of the first Catlow album Kiss The World, which is out on Tuesday and which you can order from the good people at Boompa. Check out the track that’s been stuck in my head for the past day:
Last Fall, Mates Of State initiated a contest wherein fans would create their own videos for “Goods (All In Your Head)” and the best one would be chosen as the official clip for the single. The winner and runner-up have finally been selected and posted. The winning one is alright and has better production values, but damn if G.J. Echternkamp’s dance video isn’t the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long long time. If this is what it means to teach the indie kids to dance, then sign me up. Thanks to Brendan for the tip-off.
This is something I hadn’t expected to see – Billboard reports that Stars will be getting the remix album treatment courtesy of their peers in the Canadian indie rock firmament. In an experience that Torq Campbell likens to letting your friends redecorate your apartment for you, Broken Social Scene, Metric and The Dears, among others, will be remixing tracks from Set Yourself On Fire for release in album form this Fall. I’m not a big fan of remixes (or paying for remixes, anyway), but this could be interesting.
13 & God, the bleepy-bloopy supergroup featuring members of The Notwist and Themselves, will be touring their eponymous album through North America this Fall, starting with a September 15 date at Lee’s Palace. Further tour dates here.
So I’m this week’s feature in The Toronto Star’s “Blog Roll” column. I’m flattered by the shout out (national newspaper, yo) but find it a little ironic considering that I’ve blown off most of NxNE this weekend…
So as I mentioned in the past I’m looking for a turntable. Some reserach indicates that my parents’ old deck would probably need more in repairs and refurbishment than it’s worth (it’s 35 years old), so I’m looking elsewhere. It’s good to see there’s actually a selection of decent entry-level players available from manufacturers like Music Hall, Pro-Ject, Goldring, etc, but they’re still a moderate amount of money, especially considering that I don’t actually own much vinyl (though I did get another 7″ sent to me in the mail yesterday and am mildly frustrated I can’t play it). I’m trying to decide between spending the cash on a new table or waiting until an older 80s-era turntable comes across my path for considerably less. I want something decent and sturdy and won’t necessarily be a dead-end if I feel like going further in vinyland upgrading something.
I am wary of spending too much on a turntable for the sole reason that it sets a precedent that I would probably rationalize into upgrading the rest of my stereo system (well if I spent X on a turntable and I don’t have any records, then it stands to reason that I should spend Y more on my CD player since I’ve got over a thousand of those… etc), most of which is barely a year old as is. Suggestions? Any recommendations from Torontonians as to where to go the turn up a deal? The fact that I’ve already begun leafing through the LP bins at record stores is not a good sign… Vinyl = ultimate musical fetish object. My demise is inevitable.
np – Elliott Smith / From A Basement On The Hill