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Thursday, September 6th, 2007

Death By Fire

I was a bit astonished on Tuesday night to realize that it had been almost six months since I last saw Land Of Talk live – their Hot Freaks performance during SxSW way back in March. Considering that was the fourth time in five months (including a Liz Powell solo show), the half year in between seemed like an eternity and in the interim, the band had gone through some changes – mainly the departure of drummer Bucky Wheaton back in May and the addition of Eric Thibodeau in his place. And any time you change 1/3 of a band’s lineup, the band is going to be different.

Also different on this night was Powell’s hair – it was cropped really short and when combined with the red bandana around her head and the sleeveless shirt, she looked more than a bit like Loverboy’s Mike Reno and I mean that with all possible affection. But superficialities aside, Land Of Talk definitely sounded different with Thibodeau behind the kit – the material from Applause, Cheer, Boo, Hiss was a bit slower and heavier, Thibodeau playing with more power but less nimbleness than his predecessor. The set also seemed to be half comprised of new material which seemed less immediate and visceral than the Applause songs but fit nicely alongside those songs, collectively demonstrating the depth and breadth of the band’s songwriting chops. Some of the songs will appear on the European release of Applause, its mini-album-ness being padded to proper full-length status. The rest will presumably show up on their next record, due out sometime in 2008.

Also surprising was that this was technically the first show I’d seen where Land Of Talk was headlining – it was good to see them graduate from perpetual opener status, though it seemed like the audience was denser for the premiere Canadian premiere of Minnesota’s Cloud Cult. Another band I’d seen at SxSW but hadn’t been especially blown away by, they nonetheless seemed to have a sizable Toronto fanbase that was thrilled to see them visit. I appreciated them more this time around – perhaps not seeing them sandwiched amongst 50 other bands helped my focus. Blending electronic and orchestral instrumentation into songs that approach the anthemic but deliberately hold back, perhaps reluctant to take things over the top.

That said, lead Cloud Cultist Craig Minowa doesn’t necessarily specialize in understatement or lack of sonic ambition – he’s not afraid to push his voice to emotive cracking and lyrics like “I’m moving to Canada”, which he said he wrote while watching the 2000 US election returns, aren’t really shrouded in metaphor or subtlety. I enjoyed their set well enough and having two band members as painters working canvases through their set certainly lends a unique visual aspect to their show (I think the finished pieces sold for a decent price afterwards) but I didn’t get in line to pick up a copy of their record The Meaning Of 8 after the show.

The Montreal Mirror put local heroes Land Of Talk on their last week’s cover with the accompanying article covering topics like the new album’s moving target of a release date, landing a tour with The Decemberists and the band’s perceived personnel revolving door.

Photos: Land Of Talk, Cloud Cult @ The El Mocambo – September 4, 2007
MP3: Land Of Talk – “Speak To Me Bones”
Video: Land Of Talk – “Speak To Me Bones” (YouTube)
Video: Cloud Cult – “Chemicals Collide” (YouTube)
MySpace: Land Of Talk
MySpace: Cloud Cult

Land Of Talk are back at the El Mocambo on October 29 with Film School, though who’s headlining that one is unclear. Their new one Hideout is out next Tuesday and Spin, who’ve got a short feature on the band, are also offering an exclusive track from the album to download:

MP3: Film School – “Two Kinds”

So yeah, this weekend is going to be all about V Fest and the local weeklies are doing their bit to cover it. NOW makes some suggestions about who to see – both obvious and not so obvious – while eye talks to Jacob Smid of Emerge, the festival organizers, about what went wrong last year and what they hope will go right this year. Good news about the additional foot bridge for getting around the islands, bad news that despite trying, Yeah Yeah Yeahs are NOT taking that “TBA” slot on Saturday. And while both NOW have interviews with Saturday headliner Bjork, only NOW talks to Interpol.

And if you’re not V-Festing this weekend, maybe stop by The Drake on Sunday night to see The Diableros, set to release their new record Aren’t Ready For The Country October 16, as they play a show with Kill The Lights, Five Blank Pages, The Cansecos and Grassy Knoll & The Magic Bullit. The Diableros also have a CD release show at the Horseshoe on October 26.

Furthermore – Chad Van Gaalen will be at the Drake on September 29, Stars and Miracle Fortress play the Phoenix on November 27 and Elvis Perkins stops in at the Horseshoe the following night, November 28.

Also, the RSVP process for The Hot Freaks Part Deux in Austin next weekend is now open. Go here to go through the motions.

Okay, techie types, riddle me this. Got an Apple Airport Extreme base station yesterday, partly cause my old router was dying a slow death, partly because I wanted to take advantage of the theoretical benefits of having wireless N on my machine and largely because I wanted to be able to access my external hard drive upon which resides my music collection – from wherever in the apartment. So I got online painlessly and got the drive working after much more hassle. Apple doesn’t tell you that it doesn’t work with Fat32-partitioned drives so I had to (somehow, not sure how I did it) create a new folder in the file system it does use, which thankfully didn’t seem to require reformatting the drive, and moved my music directory into that one. I had to completely re-index my iTunes library but by late last night, everything seemed to be working.

And then this morning I get up and discover that my base station has disappeared from my Airport Utility and cannot be discovered. The router has a happy green light and tells me nothing. I unplug, plug back in, nothing. I reboot my laptop and it won’t restart, I just get a grey screen after the Apple gong sounds. And again. Then I unhook my USB hub (which had my iPod and keyboard/mouse dongle) and remove the power and reboot, THEN it starts up. Whatever. Still no router detected. So I hard reset the router – losing all my settings – and then my machine finds it again and I have to reconfigure the whole thing. So I’m back online and my disk is detected again and it’s working again, but now I’m afraid that when I get home from work this afternoon my router will again have disappeared and I’ll have to go through this whole rigamarole again.

So to all the Apple techie people out there, and I know you’re legion, I ask. What up the fuck?

Update: …and not five minutes after I make the post, the base station disappears again. Right in the middle of me doing whatever. I’m back on my D-Link now. W. T. F.

By : Frank Yang at 8:28 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Gary Campbell says:

    About the router — you got me, I have no idea. Sounds like you might just have some bad software or something. I think Apple releases a Airport Extreme update almost every week, so you may want to check out "Software Update" for anything, and failing that, I think you should still be covered by their much-lauded phone support.

  2. Donna says:

    I agree with what Gary just wrote. I would also open "Airport Admin Utility" and run the configuration. It sounds like you’ve got a software issue.