A sweet musical season

I won’t bother discussing the months in which I have not posted… Just wanted to write and say that this autumn is starting off with musical promise and I’m excited. Last night the Info Pusher and I went for the first time to the Trash Palace (an amazing and friendly spot near King and Bathurst, Toronto) to see Catl play, and my mind was very happily blown. I’ve enjoyed the band at each show I’ve seen over the last couple of years, and enjoyed watching them develop, but last night I felt like I was watching something important.

They’ve had organ player/singer Sarah Kirkpatrick for a while, but her integration into the sound and show seems to be complete now. Last time I saw them, she seemed to be accompanying a duo; this time Catl were a full and powerful trio. Her playing is fucking fantastic, and adds an element to their sound that seems (to me) to really complete it. I called it “a little new wave” to some scorn at the show, but I think I’m right: there’s some early dirty, gritty B52’s in there.

Catl played an unbelievable tight and blasting set that included a bunch of new tunes that have in spades what appealed to me most about the Adonde vas record. Grooves are huge and served by the whole band religiously, and singer/guitar player catl is IN the thing so thoroughly as to astonish. I’m sure I’m expressing it stupidly, but the practice, experience and commitment of the band is bearing some sweet sweaty fruit. I really dug it, and look forward to the new album.

And this is just the start of the season! Yo La Tengo have a new record, Popular Songs, which we are listening to with coffee this morning. It’s the best thing I’ve heard by them since …And then nothing… early this decade (I quite enjoyed Sounds of the Sounds of Science too, but it was an instrumental soundtrack). The record’s pretty evenly divided between their pop sweetness and their noisy jams, and all of it is great. We’re going to see them at the Opera House in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait. Their Phoenix show on the I Am Not Afraid of You tour was one of the best shows I’ve seen. Go here to see a really funny video explaining the true origins of the band’s name.

Two weeks after that, Wilco at Massey Hall. I’d been avoiding their tours for several years because of Tweedy’s tendency to be a twat, but decided last year that I need to see them again, because they have really reached a height as a band. He’s locally famous for tantruming about the lack of dancing at Massey Hall (which is locally famous for discouraging movement of all kinds), so I’m not sure why Wilco keep playing that venue. But I’m going to tune out the negative shit and just listen hard to what has become one of my favourite bands of the decade. Check this out: Bull Black Nova – from Wilco the Album

AND there are TWO Vic Chesnutt records arriving this fall – one, At The Cut, due out next week on Constellation featuring the Montreal crew who made North Star Deserter such a fine (and career refreshing) record, and another – Skitter on Take Off – recorded by Vic pals Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins. We’ll see Vic with the Montreal band at Lee’s on November 7th. Mister Billy Bragg’s playing a week later, and we may hit that too, because that old commie still has it.

Add all of that great and potentially great music to the fact that my principal’s given us a little budget to build our school’s rocking capacity (in the form of some amps and guitars for the kids), and that my new Friday night fucking-around band the Jimmy Rabbits is proving to be fully enjoyable and positive, and it looks like the dry season of sadness that followed the passing of our great and musical friend Derek last Easter is breaking. I will be thinking of him at each of these shows, and wishing I could be making him CDs with my favourite bits on, but I think I’m happy. And it started yesterday evening: thanks to Catl and whoever runs the lovely Trash Palace.

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