"Don't be a dink, click on this link"

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

WWW of Spin Turlock #38: No news is good news

Fighting cancer in a family unit requires the effort usually directed towards tertiary concerns, i.e. me and my dog's blog, to be redirected and focused elsewhere.

"It's been a long time since I've spoke to you. Has it been too long?"

Point is: we beat the cancer, got through the school term, got a promotion at work (i.e guaranteed hours, benefits etc) and just lived. In times between, I listened to about 40 CDs from the Harvey box, half of which ended up in the discard pile. Of those I liked enough to retain: The Misunderstood (featuring Glenn Ross Campbell), Hackamore Brick (likeable early 70's outfit that came off as a  B version of the Velvet Underground), The Parliaments (Funkadelic king George Clinton's soul/doo wop outfit) & Morgen (late 60's homemade heavy rock hysteria) stand out.

I got back onto Facebook. I use an alias, and only deal with those people I want to deal with. It's been good. They can have all the personal info of a person who does not exist. All the ding dong day...

Hamilton, ON., my old home town, is very much long ago and far away. Toronto is the same, except w/less rose tint on the bifocals. The Interior of British Columbia still calls out. Go where it's not happening. This seems to be where the universe is vibrating. In the words of an avatar: Spin Out!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WWW of Spin Turlock #37: Loose Cannon on the deck

As per last issue: Several things you need to know about the music-related output of Kendra Steiner.

1) Some times, the KS poets read their stuff on disc w/musical accompaniment e.g. Bill Shute & Anthony Guerra. The music plays more of a complimentary, rather than as a component, per se. This is not a bad thing.

2) Song format is generally absent e.g.Nick Hennies, ST 37...This is not a bad thing, either. It will help you to listen deeper. The Ernesto Diaz Infante CDR is especially good for depth charges. IMHO, as the kids say.

3) Do not be afraid of the teeny weeny lil' CDRs. They can fit on the spindle of your computer disc media player, no problem!

 4) Send money, cash, money order or PayPal. Tell them to 'surprise you'.

 For 30 years, I didn't watch regular TV programming. I had TV sets, per se, mainly as video monitors, but no cable/satellite per se. Thanks to Shirl, I indulge now: HGTV, Food Network, The Weather Network, Storage Wars, Anthony Bourdain's various concerns. Not as good as You Tube, but it's entertainment. Shirl has noted - with some concern - that I warble along w/the adverts. I think I'll be ok. "Get back, get back to normal, whoooah" McDonalds ads sound like indie pop did 10-15 years ago. To think: all those indie kids who rebelled against their parents musical hegemony have been reduced to Mere Product. And so QUICKLY too. Gosh.

Open-ended questions are always welcome. Send them here.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

WWW of Spin Turlock #36: Deep In the Heart of Texas: the Kendra Steiner Editions

Poetry is the toughest nut to crack into computer code.
Part of the problem stems from the fact that poetry - in the best sense of the word - is a multi-sensory experience. You have to see it, hear it, and most importantly, feel it.
And I mean both in the emotional sense and the tactile sense: the feel, colour and texture of printed page adds more sub and abro text better than any shiny computer screen.

Enter Kendra Steiner Editions . In the Kindle generation, they come out with chapbooks made from rigid, coloured stock paper. They print the words in FULL font sizes. And the contenst of said poetry is about a million miles away from the prevailing American Zeitgist.

All of this is collectively a good thing in my - pardon the pun - book.

Bill Shute
is the driving force behind KS editions. He fronts his own money to get these things out, usually in editions of  100 or less. Shute deals with metaphysics, that realm of interest that lies somewhere between God & Man, the scope of which encompasses everything from the psychology & economic LIFE metaphors involved in playing the ponies ( "Exacta Box" w/Brad Kohler), to socio-economic musings ("Florentine Dictations") to thumbnail sketches of the people you invariably have to deal with ("is it off--Is it on"). I will - I must - quote from the latter here:

she's the foremost
Civil War Artist
of our time

her stepson's band
spent $5000 to achieve
their signature lo-fi sound

& I pretend to an interest in
and have my brain picked for


Some of the other jockeys who make the KS grade includes Poznan, Poland native, A.J. Kaufman , whose "Love Lions of Paris" strikes me as being almost an exercise in modern Romantic. The modern part would be the form, the Romantic part being the rock n' roll influence. Kaufman pushes the sensory buttons & splashes the word colouring around. Google him to see what else he does (a MySpace page!)

I've known Bill for what, close to 30 years now. I think I sent him a copy of my rockuh fanzine, Mole #4, the one with the Troggs interview. He used to do hour-long guest cassette spots on my radio show. The spots were entitled "The Inner Mystique", which was also the name of his column for the Phfud/Black To Comm fanzine column. Shute's musical tastes are also "metaphysical" in scope: garage rock, psychedelia, free jazz, blues, country, improv. Music plays a big part in what he does: the latter two chapbooks are inspired -or to be accompanied - by specific pieces of music.

KS editions has taken the music aspect several steps further. I'll deal with that in the next issue. In the meantime, the snail mail addy:
14080 Nacogdoches Rd #350
San Antonio, Texas,

On the web:
And yeah, they take Paypal

Saturday, March 3, 2012

WWW of Spin Turlock #34: Sundry & Fury, Signifying Nothing

From the Desk of Spin Turlock, Sports Editor:

Here's a bit of freelance PR I did recently. I only do this for people I like, and I like fewer people these days. It turned up immediately on this blog, which I quite enjoy, btw: young Tim used to write for Now Weekly & used to get the hackles of readers up on a regular basis ..always a good thing, right?

What does this mean for Simply Saucer, now that Foster (and apparently drummer Joe Csontos,too, although this is "unconfirmed" at this point)is out?
Well, the two Original Members, (i.e. the guys who were responsible for Cyborgs) Edgar Breau & Kevin Christoff have quorum dibs on the name usage. Breau is pushing his new solo album, Patches of Blue, which is getting all sorts of virtual ink all over the blogosphere. Noted hep cat, Gary Topp compared parts of it to Caravan. The five other people who understood that last reference will be sussed, but for the rest of us, here's yer actual nibs:

I suspect Saucer will be put in mothballs, while Ed & KC promo the solo disc, & Dan updates the website. In the meantime, watch out for Sunnhouse, (or is that Sunnhaus..I can't tell: the cocktail napkin has stains on it) . Note to all, though: this is a LEGIT group and it features 3/5ths of the Saucer Half Human, Ha;f Live line-up, inc. the aforementioned Messrs Foster & Csontos. An album, tentatively titled either "Die Kinder sind ├╝berrascht" or "Teutonic Neurotic", . There's also talk of Foster joining those super-duper groups The Kewpies or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Doak. Again, these reports are unconfirmed.

And what better way to occupy copy space than to post an embedded video? Right Harv?

Spin Out!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

WWW of Spin Turlock #33.3 Spin Picks the Hits!

Our guest columnist for this issue is well-known layabout, Spin Turlock. A raconteur, bon vivant, a Man of The World, if you will, Spin is perhaps best known for writing the insightful essay that graces the CD sleeve of Ted Hawkins, “Music For 2:47 A.M". (an excellent collection, by the way, of jay-uzz n' blooze interpretations, available whenever Ted plays out in public). He's also been linked to the Canadian micro-indie recording act, The Kewpies, but he has never publicly admitted this.
"That would be tantamount to admitting you wallow in your own vomit," quips the Spin-ster, and really, who could blame him?

The rest of the column is his story...


People like reviews, because they are essentially opinions, which form the basis of a good argument. They can be educated, heartfelt, stirring or - more often than not - rewritten press releases passing for news copy, but they are still opinions. No more and no less.
My drinking buddy Glen Nott, a sport section writher and lay-out jockey @ The Hamilton Speculator, used to tell me: "make 'em mad, sad, or glad, kid." He told me this years ago, when I was a freelance advertorial writer there, writing descriptive copy for ladies undergarment ads. That was before the lightbulb turned on, and I realized a) there was more money to be made out in Beaverlodge, Alberta and b) "kid???!!"...he's younger than me fer chrissakes!
I digress..

We're going to review Don Pyle's "Trouble In The Camera Club" It's a book, a physical book, one with 297 printed pages that came into my possession. I don't know how that translates to Kindle-bytes, but hopefully people of all ages can appreciate the time I took to read this coffee-table sized tome.

If you're thinking of doing something similar in the future, may I offer some advice? First of all, pick a title with lots of pictures. It helps buffer all that print, which can get claustrophobic. As the title implies, there are many photos to be had here. Second of all, pick a topic that people have an interest in, but very little actual first-hand experience with. The Toronto punk scene of 77/78 qualifies for that in spades. The number of that scene's participants could fit quite comfortably into a modest Latvian social Club- and only then if you counted the imports from Hamilton/London/et al.
Thing is, there's a rose-coloured mystique about that era and milieu – ‘scuse my French - that young people seem to enjoy reading - and writing - about.

Look at Liz Worth, for example. A seemingly bright, young person who has made a name for herself writing about the long-ago and far away exploits of middle-aged folk with saggy butts and expanding waistlines.
Thing is, she correctly sensed “Punk” was the source, the ground Zero of her generation's current DIY MO. It started there, and others built on it, albeit to the point where the current edifice bears little resemblance to the original foundation. That’s the way it goes

Pyle - who I think I may have met once or twice on the carny circuit - goes further with this book, though. He is perhaps best known as the drummist of the Toranna instrumental trio, Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet. As it turns out, he was also one of those few people who both actively participated AND documented his activities with sometimes grainy, sometimes blurred, but always accurate photographs of such Punk rock pioneers as the Ramones, Iggy Pop, The Viletones & Teenage Head.

The photos do the talking here, the first-person commentary provides the context, and there are some good stories told here. To use an example: if one ever wanted to know how punk rock "works" in a media vacuum, read how Freddie Pompeii of the Viletones initiated the sequence of events that led to the formation of Crash Kills Five which begat the Shadowy guys, and so on and so on and they told two friends. There's also personal slant offered up here: tales of cheap vinyl finds & hard contact lens use, both of which I can, like, relate to.
Full disclosure: Pyle is my age, separated by only one year. Whereas he was able to public transit it to gigs in Toranna, I could only wing it in Wingham some 200 klics away, or read about the thing second hand in the pages of the Toronto Star.( And lemme tell you, you got looks when you bought Ramones or Sex Pistols vinyl in a small-town furniture store "back in the day"...)
I'm digressing again.
The point I'm making here is the combo of words and pictures in the book brings it all home, even to young people. With any luck, they should walk away with a tangible sense of what those old farts actually accomplished & experienced before they started sagging - and staggering - toward Sheol.

Fug me, this is depressing. Let’s talk about living. I got this cassette tape (the cheap-o medium of the 20th century – ask your parents) in the mail from a Brantford, ON. outfit called Plant Magic, the bandonym of one Katie Iarocci.
She sings and plays an assortment of instruments seemingly selected, I swear, by the Ghost of Lewis Brian Hopkins Jones. We have harpsichords, sitars, and other period effects galore here (although I don’t think Jones ever got around to jamming on the bul bul taraang), that period being roughly defined as somewhere between the buttons of Baroque Stones and early progressive rock. That kind of thinking eventually led to the stylistic impasse the people described in Pyle’s book worked against, but here, in its most guile-less flowering, it works as an out-of-time, almost otherworldly, artefact. Part of the levitation effect comes from the neo-communal bliss invoked in the songs and part of it comes from the tea-cozy, homemade sound quality of the recordings.
And speaking of tea cozies, a word about the cassette packaging. The recording comes in a wee flour sack, much like the copy of King Biscuit Boy’s “Good Uns” LP. Since I don’t currently own a cassette playback machine, I resorted to downloading the MP3s. I guess I’m just a modern guy..
Plant Magic share a split release with Eiyn Sof, the bandonym of Melissa Boraski. ES has its own strange quirk-ness and charm: low-tech pop/rock with lyrics about The Big Hurt. Enjoyable, but I prefer the Magic side. Perhaps the suggestion of that great escape to the commune in Paris…Ontario is what’s working here. It’s just my opinion, man, but I would buy it. Straight from the source..

Well, that’s more than 1000 words, not counting the overlong intro by the editor, who owes me a bottle of Forty Creek’s finest.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

WWW of Spin Turlock #32: A Few Words about Miss Christine Leakey's Modern Folk Exotica

See, I received a CD copy of Christine Leakey's new collection of songs, "Tapping Trees in A Trinket Box of Treasures".
And it's rare for me these days to receive anything in the mail. When I moved to Alberta two years ago, I deliberately cut myself off of mailing lists, social media lists, gig boards, i.e any ties to my former life. Which is not to say I stopped listening to music..I just stopped being part of the process.
Back in the day, the early 90's to be exact, I knew Ms Leakey from her garage-rock group, The Double Feature Creatures. I covered their antics in the pages of the Hamilton Spectator. During the final broadcast seasons of my radio show at CFMU-FM, she was a semi-regular on my show, I heard early versions of some of the tracks.

Nothing prepared me for this, though. Musically, this is a long way from garage, rock, or any current pop sound out there. There's a number of source thread materials running through here, all of which sound based somewhere between the West Coast, The Thousand Islands, & Aldebaran.

Mainly,though, I hear essentialist folk music, the kind of which is rarely programmed at folk festivals these days. (Which also neatly explains why I avoid said festivals.) More's the pity, because I also hear lounge, real &  faux ethnic musics, torch & just a touch of hippie, the latter in it's most idealistic, pleasant, and panty-less guise. I call it modern day exotica, a fleshier version of what such retro-essentialists as The Shangs do.

The choice of instrumentation re-inforces my genre tag: an authentic Chamberlin proto-synth turns up on a regular basis, as do the kalimba, & the kanun, & - note to Byron Coley - a lot of Bansuri flute bandied about here.At some point, I must give a shout out to the jay-uzz inflected drumming & exotique percussion work of the Great Bob Scott, who helps the songs scoot along quite nicely.

Track by track, it breaks down like this:

The Marching Song is exactly that: film music for an off-beat march of pink elephants. The instrumentation here is tape loop derived.

follows, and it is the best, most fully realized track on the CD. Leakey's voice runs through several octaves to great effect: from deep, throaty swells to high-end skylark trills. The song structure has the most development of anything on the disc, with a descending bridge pattern to offset the folk-cha verses. Harp string,alto sax and other non-rote samples are swirled about, and everybody goes home with flowers in their hair. Very nice. Is it ok to reference Minnie Ripperton AND Don Glen Vliet in the same song review? Sure.

Here I Stand is a modern torch ballad, with a simpler structure designed to hypnotize prospective listeners into her lair. Again, non-rote instrumentation and Leakey's alternately breathy and deep vocals give it the feel of something you'd find played at the Bachelor Den At The End of the Universe. or maybe in the unreleased soundtracks of David Lynch's sole stab at TV, Twin Peaks.

Be You is a folk derived meditative piece. Like a lot of Leakey's pieces. it's a template for her own brand of musical impressionism. The few, simple structural strokes, are frames to showcase the breathing arrangements and textures.

Tipsy is another of those miniature instrumentals, resplendent with the kind of sound collages suggested by the title.

The Man With The Golden Heart is a folk lament/celebration of Leakey's late uncle, John. Simple, direct, and completely unaffected.

Miss Betty Grable is a hypno-folk drone, kind of like the Velvet Underground's All Tomorrow's Parties, but with a torch delivery. The lyrics suggest a crime story: Colonel Mustard, in the drawing room, with a lead pipe. Dave Byers would get jealous if he heard this!

Shine My Tarnished Sheen sounds dreamy, wildly romantic and has unusual chord voicings. You would have to be a Nathaniel, someone with absolutely no guile to sing lines like "the Sun shines within my heart, so let me dance upon the meadow floor", and get away with it.

Lullabies & Apple Pies has some interesting twists and turns in the structure & makes the vital connection between food and romance. I like the way Leakey goes "mmmmmmm". One of my fave tracks on the disc

The Day My Flower Died sounds as it's spelled , with the help of a vintage Arp2600 synth. They really DON'T write things like this anymore
Tap Dancers & Gloom Chime are the two tracks on the disc that didn't do anything for me, possibly because the structures just weren't substantial enough to support the impressionist impulses behind them...even with Great Bob Scott hoofing it on the former! The one Francophone cover that follows it on the disc, Quand Tu Dors, however is essential. Claudine Longet need never perform again: there's no need for her anymore. Trinket, another winsome instrumental, rounds out the CD.

Overall, it's pretty good . I'd give it 3 stars *** and points for attractive and thoughtful packaging. The alluring illustration below has the contact deets:

I had a rare weekend off , and spent it w/Shirley. We watched - and enjoyed - such recent Hollywood escapist film fare as Rise of the Planet of The Apes & Cowboys & Aliens. And speaking of old radio regulars: Kelly Grrl was in town & visited us in Grande Prairie.