Archive for the ‘Matthew Loux’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: MOUNTAIN MAN-“You and I” (from WILCOvered, UNCUT Magazine November 2019).

The November 2019 issue of UNCUT magazine had a cover story about Wilco.  It included a 17 track CD of bands covering Wilco (called WILcovered or WILCOvered).  I really enjoyed this collection and knew most of the artists on it already, so I’m going through the songs one at a time.

Mountain Man is a trio of three women with beautiful voices.  They often sing a capella or with one guitar accompaniment.  There music is quiet, designed for you to lean in to hear better.

The original song is a gentle folk song (with some gently rocking moments).  Mountain Man make it even more gentle.  The original has a vocal harmony from Feist.  Having a two harmony voices makes this version even more special.

Alexandra Sauser-Moning plays guitar (and maybe sings lead?) while Amelia Meath and Molly Sarle sing gorgeous harmonies.

As with everything Mountain Man does, it’s delicate and lovely.

[READ: February 11, 2020] The Time Museum: Vol. 2

Volume 2 opens up with very little explanation about what happened before.  In fact, it jumps right in the middle of a chase.  A purple creature with four tentacles is running away from Delia in an amusement park.  The purple creature is a kid and he doesn’t know why he’s being chased.  Delia communicates through her wrist watch that the kid has the Icono de Prestigo.

The rest of the beginning of the book has Delia’s Epoch Team chasing this (very fast) kid as he flees with the Icono.  The kid finally settles in the middle of an exhibit for Monstro the Terrible.  They freak out and don’t want to see the kid hurt, but he says his dad works there and the exhibit has been empty for years.  Which proves to be false as immediately Monstro (who looks a lot like the monsters in Stranger Things) awakens and swallows the kid.

Through some brave and disgusting techniques the kid and the icono are rescued.

After all of that, the kid hands over the icono and says its probably all melted anyway.  What?  Then they see him walk by with another one–the icono is actually a container for an ice cream sundae.  The Team was hundreds of years too late to save the actual relic.  When they return they are given a reprimand. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACKRHEOSTATICS-Fall Nationals, Night 6 of 10, The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (November 16, 2004).

The Rheostatics, live at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, November 14, 2004. This was the 6th night of their 10 night Fall Nationals run at the Horseshoe.  It was a free night and they still played for over 2 hours.

Two versions are available – Mark Sloggett’s soundboard recording and 8 track files provided by Steve Clarkson once again the Clarkson download is crisper and louder but with more crowd noise.

Not a lot of unusual stuff happens in this show.  “P.I.N.” is perfect.  On “Mumbletypeg,” Dave plays a new opening with some sliding notes. It’s a nice changeup, but it seems to mess up Tim–although he falls into place pretty easily.  After the song, Martin notes: “one guitar down, four to go.  Good thing we have a reserve.”  Then he introduces “this next song we’re gonna do is called “Marginalized” by Tim Vesely.”  Dave says,”And we have Chris Stringer on keyboards for the duration.”  Mike: “He’s on everything, it just looks like keyboards.  He’s just as equally on Jews harp.”  Dave: “And very close to being on drums tonight.”

Once again, Martin really into “The Tarleks” especially the loud ending part.  Then he says “More songs about invasions,” as they play “Aliens (Christmas 1988).”  In the quiet part Dave starts singing “Artenings Made of Gold” and then Kevin Hearn comes up on stage to sing “Monkeybird.”  There’s some wild noises and guitar nonsense in the middle.  And as “Monkeybird,” ends as Dave is introducing Kevin Hearn, Martin finishes up “Aliens” right where the song left off.

In the second version, you can hear a request–a big shout “Shaved Head” and a smaller shout for “Record Body Count.”

Dave says “Try To Praise This Ordinary World” which “features a poem by Ken Babstock.”  There’s no accordion this night and once again, you can’t hear the poem n version 2.  Then a surprise of “The Midnight Ride Of Red Dog Ray” which features Chris Stringer on the mandolin with a nice solo mid-song.
Time says “Here Comes The Image” is a song from 2067.  The year.” There seems to be a little trouble with the keyboard at first but it comes back and there’s a lovely solo.

Dave says “here’s a plaintive reading of ‘My First Rock Concert.'”  he also ups the line to “Michael Stipe was distant, he was nice (he wouldn’t let me touch his dog).”  Then he commends: “totally a Saturday night crowd on a Tuesday.  That’s was the Argos going to the Grey Cup will do to a Toronto crowd, I tell ya.”

Whether you listen to our new album in the comfort of your own home or a car or … a boat.”  Tim: “the comfort of your own boat.”  “For those of us who have boats.”   This is the first song you’d hear.  Tim says canoes the best boat.  Dave: “I don’t t know if it’s safe to have a portable CD player in a canoe or kayak.  Tim: “I took my canoe to Hot Rod Jimmy’s and had it decked out.  The subs are so… the ripples are just you don’t want to be camping next to me.”  The first song on that album is “Shack In The Cornfields,”  During the middle Dave says, “Stringer, stop stealing my tambourine or Jews harp.”  Mike: “Crank it” (Jews harp solo).  “Little Bird, Little Bird” has some slide guitar on it and “Pornography” is short and sweet.

Dave says “‘Loving Arms’ was sung by Sarah Harmer on the album and then she went on to be a big star.  So we take full credit for her career.  How many people were here for Jessie Harris and Justin Rutledge?  Thanks for donations tonight for Tim’s childrens’ and my son’s school Alpha Alternative Public School.  Mike: “Martin and I’s unborn children get nothing.”

“Saskatchewan” “reprising his starring role in Green Sprouts Music Week 1980 something: Justin Rutledge.” Justin: “It’s my first time playing the Shoe it’s very cool.”  He sings it with a nice drawl although the song is incredibly slow.

“Dope Fiends And Boozehounds” has a middle section of “Alomar” after which Tim says “wow, I think the sun shone for a minute there.”  After Martin sings “dark side of the moon,” the audience does the howling for him.”  Towards the end, Martin starts playing a lovely “Song of Flight.”

Dave says, “we don’t want to keep you out too late.  It’s a Tuesday night.  We all have cartoons to watch in the morning.”  And then they play almost 30 more minutes of music.

“Making Progress” opens with spooky trippy keys to open.  It’s followed by a really harsh and aggressive “Feed Yourself.”  There’s a long solo section with some spooky keyboards and them Mike says “play the big thing, frighten us, make it do scary shit.”  And there’s this huge build up.  “This is gonna be good. Wait for it.”  Martin:  “I hope it doesn’t blow up.”  Someone jokes: “Can you do any Tragically Hip on that thing.”  But there’s no pay off to whatever was happening.

During the encore break you can hear someone enunciate “Sweet.  Rich.  Beautiful.  Mine.”  But instead, Tim comes out to do “First The Wheel” solo.  Tim says, “personally I’d like to hear “Satan is the Whistler,” Dave if you’re listening.  “When he finishes, he says, “I’d like to welcome back the Toronto cast of Rheostatics.”

Dave mentions “the special guest vocalist night tomorrow with 28 different singers.  And Kevin Hearn & Thin Buckle opening.”  Tim: “That’s definitely worth coming for.  Martin: “Rheo-oke.”  Dave says more like we’re the Blues Brothers band backing up these great people.

Thursday night, Danny Michel is here for a double bill and Mike’s brother John Wojewoda and Bluegrass Nightmare.  Friday night The Imponderables and The Buttless Chaps.

They honor Tim’s request and play a Rocking “Satan Is The Whistler.”  They do it justice and the ending really rocks. The night ends with “Soul Glue.”  Martin still has his robotic voice thing and keeps saying “Soul Glue” as an intro and they play a fun, spirited version of it, with Tim really vamping by the end.

[READ: April 22, 2017] The Time Museum

The story opens with a man traveling through time.  He is with a group of people whom he tells to flee when he sets off the machine.  Cut to 8 months later as the crew is looking for evidence of the man’s success or failure.  They don’t see anything.  Until the man (known as The Earl) appears from behind a rock with a glowing object which he declares “is TIME.”

Then we meet the main character, Delia Bean.  Delia loves science and is a nerd.  The other kids don’t love that so much.  But summer is coming so that’s okay.  And the summer means a trip to Uncle Lydon’s place.  He is the coolest because he is curator of the Earth Time Museum–a place outside of normal time where Earth’s wonders are displayed.

When they get to Uncle Lyndon’s house Delia is in heaven (her brother not so much).  He winds up going to the town pool but Delia does some research in the neighborhood.  While walking round she discovers a (quite frankly adorable) kiwi bird.  It licks her and then runs off.  By the time she catches it (and names him Tammany), it has led her right to the Museum.  The museum is amazing with sights and sounds and smells from the history of the Earth.  And that ‘s when Lyndon reveals a secret.  Yes, he is from Hoboken, but he is actually from the year 5079.  He’s a time traveler. (more…)

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Animal Masks is a band based out of Somerville, NJ (almost my home town).  They have an EP out (buy or stream on bandcamp), and it’s a great four song collection that melds a 70’s glam rock feel with a kind of 80s pop punk.

They are a trio and have the thick, meaty sound that trios do so well.  The disc doesn’t give a lot of details, but the band consists of Dave DeCastro, Dan Zachary and Ronny Day (not sure who does what).

The last three songs of the Ep have more of the punk edge–the songs are faster and shorter (“Tear It Down” is just over 2 minutes), but they are in no way hardcore.  There’s a distinct  major label Hüsker Dü vibe to these latter songs.

“Sad Day” has some nice harmonies in unexpected places and I love the gritty minor key guitars.  The chord progression in the bridge is also a nicely unexpected change up for an otherwise simple melody.  It’s a sweet touch to get a fuzzy wah wah sound in the second half of the (not at all flashy) guitar solo as well.  The “Ohhs” at the end of the song are pure Mould/Hart/Norton.

“Tear It Down” is a bit more upbeat (surprisingly given the “when everything falls apart, it’s time to tear it down” lyrics).  I love the thumping drums (and the screamed harmonies) in the chorus.  “Used By the Universe” is a bit muddier than the other songs–I can’t tell if it’s the same singer on all the songs–he’s harder to hear on this track.  He sounds a bit deeper, gruffer on this one.  There’s some great bass lines in this song, and once again, the drum has some great fills.

The glam comes to the fore on the first song, “For Real.”  The singer’s voice sounds a bit less snarly and the guitars are wah-wahed and echoey in a way they aren’t on the other three.  There appears to be some other kind of interesting overdub sound floating behind the guitars, which is a nice addition.  The song is slower, but I really like the way the drum plays a fast four beats in the middle of the chorus.

One thing that tickles me about this song is that the main body of the song has a chorus of “is it always… now or never” the “for real” of the title doesn’t come until after four minutes (the song is just under 5) with a coda that repeats “are you for real.”

I wish the recording was a little crisper, but that’s probably personal preference.  I definitely wish the drums were mixed differently–they sound kind of flat–which is a shame because the drumming is outstanding.  All of this just speaks to how great they probably sound live.

[READ: October 30, 2016] Cool Japan Guide

After enjoying Diary of a Tokyo Teen, I saw that Tuttle Publishing also put out this book. I got it out for Clark but wound up reading it before he did.

Abby Denson is a cartoonist (the other subtitle is A Comic Book Writer’s Personal Tour of Japan).  She and her husband (Matt Loux–who did the Salt Water Taffy stories) love Japan and Japanese culture and they travel there a lot.  So this is her personal guide book to visiting the wild world of Japan.

While it has some of the same features as Tokyo Teen, this book is far more of a guide book for travelers than a personal memoir of one girl’s travels. The book opens with a pronunciation guide (very helpful) and each chapter has a list of useful phrases and expressions all introduced by the very helpful Kitty Sweet Tooth.

Denson is quite thorough in this book.  Starting from before you leave–getting a passport, making reservations, getting rail passes, everything.  Even what to expect in each of the seasons.  Upon arrival there’s all kinds of fun things to see immediately–train stamps (you get a stamp for every station you go to) vending machines (and how to understand them) and even what kind of (apparently delicious) food you can buy on a train in the country. (more…)

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The Barenaked Ladies have always been like naughty kids.  So, it seems almost too obvious for them to make a kids’ album.  But almost as if they want to continue being naughty, this kids album is quite smart, not just a collection of cute kids songs.

There’s a wild mix of very specifically kiddie-aimed tracks and other amusing pop cultural commentary (or jokes from kiddies past).  For instance, the opening track “789” plays on the wonderful joke of why was 6 afraid of 7.

There’s also a lot of the more delicate sounding BNL songs that came to dominate their later albums: “Pollywog in a Bog” is a cute upbeat little ditty, “Here Come the Geese” is a pretty typical Kevin Hearn track (even his adult songs sound like children’s songs).

But I think the highlight comes from when Ed Robertson and Steven Page join forces.  Robertson is the king of the goofy guys and Steven Page’s songs are always wonderful, but typically less silly.  So “I Don’t Like” is a serious look at things we don’t like (salmon, heights), while the fantastic “Crazy ABCs” is a funny and clever look at words that start with silent letters: “D is for djinn E is for Euphrates F is for Fohn etc.”

I also enjoy Roberston’s solo songs like “There’s a Word for That.”  Robertson is clearly a fan of wordplay, and this song highlights that: “There’s a word for that…little dented skin between my upper lip and nose.”

My favorite song of the disc is “The Canadian Snacktime Trilogy.”  All kinds of famous (and non famous) people tell us what their favorite snacks are.  The contributors are listed here, and they include: Geddy Lee, barbecue potato chips; Lyle Lovett, watermelon; Martin Tielli, olives; Gordon Downie, peanut butter & crackers; “Weird Al” Yankovic, honey roasted peanuts and Gordon Lightfoot, pasta.  What fun!

It’s an overall enjoyable album for kids, full of mostly hyper songs and sounds quite a lot like a typical BNL effort.

[READ:February 27, 2010] Salt Water Taffy: The Truth About Dr. True

I have yet to mention the website for this series.  So, now I’m mentioning it, and I’m also mentioning Matt Loux’s page too.  It’s a great resource for all of the books and has many sample images and pages.

I adore this children’s graphic novel series.  Each story adds amazing depth to this seemingly quaint seaside town.  Eleven year-old Jack and 8-year-old Benny are on vacation at a boring seaside town.  But mysterious things are always coming up when the kids go snooping.

In this case Benny uncovers an ancient (empty) bottle of Dr. True’s magic elixir.  (I love that Jack sneers at Benny for digging in a garbage pile, when he would have really loved to be digging in it, too).  Dr True is the ancestor of True’s Taffy shop.

While this history of the island is unfolding, we also hear the history of another famous island resident: Captain Holister.  The captain is Chowder Bay’s real hero, with a statue of him erected in the town square and everything.  The boys’ favorite new friend, fisherman Angus is directly related to him.  (more…)

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This has rapidly become one of my favorite CDs for our kids.  It’s a collection of lullabies written by some great artists with performances by: Guy Davis, Lucy Kaplansky, John Gorka, Eliza Gilkyson, The Wailin’ Jennys and Lynn Miles.  They play either solo or in groups to create a wonderful collection of tracks which maintains an overall cohesive sound.

It’s nice to have a collection that, although it contains many different singers, retains a similar style, a style that feels like a group of folk singers playing together just to get you to relax.

The songwriters include: Greg Brown, Tom Waits, Bruce Cockburn, Gord Downie, Neil Young, Carole King, Steve Earle and more.  It’s a magical collection of songs. Perfect for any bedtime routine.  The only problem with it is that my daughter usually falls asleep before we get to the end, so I don’t know the last five or six tracks all that well (but I know the first batch from start to finish).

I also recently learned that you can get a very cool edition of this CD in a book format. It is an illustrated edition of the title song and it comes complete with the full CD attached in the back. The book is quite beautiful (and I wish I had gotten that version instead of just the CD).

[READ: January 26, 2010] Salt Water Taffy 2

This fantastic kids graphic novel series just gets better and better.  I enjoyed this story so much that I decided to read it to my 4 year old son.  I removed a few paragraphs and edited for length but he really enjoyed the story…leading him down a garden path to comic book enjoyment.

This book continues the story of 8 year old Jack and 11 year old Benny on their family summer vacation in the seemingly dull seaside town of Chowder Bay.   The first volume laid out enough backstory for you to know that the town is boring as all get out for the kids, with no TV even!  But the locals have plenty of adventure for the kids to get up to.

As this book opens, the family is on a nature hike.  The boys are collecting feathers to compete with Fisherman Angus’ fantastic collection of a feather from every (species of) bird on the island.  But they are easily distracted from this quest when their dad reveals that Angus isn’t the only one on the island with good stories.  For indeed, he himself once climbed to the top of Mt Barnabus (the tallest mountain around) where he fought Barnabus, the giant eagle, for the hat that he is wearing at this very moment.

The boys are awed by this and now hold thie rdad in slightly higher esteem.

Later, when the kids are playing (and one of them is wearing that very same hat), Barnabus the giant eagle swoops down and take the hat right of his head.  He proceeds to fly up to his cave on th etop of the mountain.

The rest of the book covers the boys’ decision to climb that mountain by themselves and rescue that hat.  They encounter many many dangers on the way (I edited down the wolf section a wee bit)but what they find at the top of th emounatin is by turns frightening and hilarious.  (I especially enjoyed the cameo of the little lobsters from Book1).

The resolution to the story is great, the drawings are great, and the entire sprit of the book if one of advneture and fun.  It’s a real treat to read, and I’m delighted that there;s a 3rd book already available.

The first story laid out all of the details of where and who they are.  However,

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This fantastic Rheostatics album was one of the last ones I bought for some reason.  It came after their debut, Greatest Hits, and is quite a departure for that more simplistic disc.

It opens with the two minute “Record Body Count,” which sets the tone for the disc.  It’s quirky, with different pacings and loud/soft parts, and is quite affecting.  In fact, the entire rest of the disc is quirky and off beat, as befits a disc with a big whale on the cover.

Three great tracks on this disc are “Saskatchewan,” “Horses” and “Aliens (Christmas 1988).”  And the CD comes with a bonus track of their cover of “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” which is rocking and swaying as a good nautical track should.

The CD ends with “You Are Very Star” a track that ended their live shows.  On the disc, the track is a series of hockey announcements with quiet whistles as the song fades away,

Rheostatics are definitely an unusual band.  Martin Tielli’s voice goes into high registers at unexpected times, he also sing-speaks (and you can hear the Canadian accent) at times.  Tim Vesely and Dave Bidini also have vocal duties, and their more mellow style adds for a nice contrast.  But basically, what you get is unpredictable rock.  And really, there’s nothing better than that.  Especially when, once you get comfortable with the songs, you realize just how catchy they are.

Melville, it’s in Saskatchewan, and it rocks.

[READ: December 21, 2009] Salt Water Taffy: The Legend of Old Salty

This is a delightful all ages comic set on the coast of Maine.  As the story opens we see brothers Jack and Benny (I did wonder if there is some connection to Jack Benny, but I’d have to say no) driving to their summer house in Maine.  Benny is younger and having fun playing the license plate game while Jack is absorbed in his gameboy. (more…)

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