Soundcheck Sunday: Kris Delmhorst

“Birds of Belfast”:

Rose Cousins and Juliet Turner covered this a year or so ago; you can find their version at the very bottom of this page. I’m undecided as to which one I like better.

ALSO: Rose is coming back to Victoria (and western Canada) in September, touring with Jann Arden. (FUCK YEAH!) Go buy tickets, ok? It’s going to be a funny fricking show.

Soundcheck Sunday: Wild Strawberries

“Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead”:

Now, if we look realistically at the nature of human life, we see that it is fleeting and unpredictable, illusive almost. Birth, life and death pass by in the twinkling of an eye. Thus we never hear of the human body lasting for ten thousand years.

And who today can keep the body young and healthy for even one hundred years? Yes, how quickly our lives slip away. Whether I am the first or someone else, whether today or tomorrow, our lives on earth do indeed one day come to an end. Life seems to vanish unseen like ground water, or to evaporate like the morning dew on the summer lawn.

Thus our bodies may be radiant with health in the morning, but by evening they may be white ashes. If the right causes and conditions prevail, our two eyes are closed forever, our breathing ceases and our bodies lose the glow of life. Our relatives in great numbers and with great wealth can assemble, but they are powerless to change our situation. Even the rites and rituals of grief and mourning change nothing. All we can do is prepare the body for cremation; all that is left is white ashes.

In view of these facts, does it not make sense to focus on the things we can change? We cannot control the passing away of both young and old alike, but each of us can take refuge in the Buddha of Infinite Life who promises to embrace, without exception, all beings who but recite his Holy Name – Namo Amida Buddha. This you can do here and now, freeing yourself of any worries concerning your future life.
–Rennyo Shonin, 1414-1499

Soundcheck Sunday: Terre Thaemlitz

I’d really like it if you went over here and listened to this track (not embeddable, not available on YouTube or anywhere else that I’ve been able to uncover). It’s a piano version of Paul Gardiner’s “Stormtrooper in Drag,” which often gets reclassified as a Gary Numan song because of who was doing the vocals:

“Stormtrooper” has always been one of my favorite Numan tracks. When I discovered Terre Thaemlitz had done a piano cover of it, my first thought was “Whozzat?” and then “What the hell?” I still don’t think I understand who Terre Thaemlitz is and what her body of work represents — I didn’t pay enough attention to those kinds of classes in university — but holy crap is that piano ever hypnotic, and what an interesting and unique take on electronica!

PS: Hi! Long time no write!

The summary

By now I felt guilty about what I had got my father into. He had developed no real affection for the club, and would rather, I think, have taken me to any other First Division ground. I was acutely aware of this, and so a new source of discomfort emerged: as Arsenal huffed and puffed their way towards 1-0 wins and nil-nil draws I wriggled with embarrassment, waiting for Dad to articulate his dissatisfaction. I had discovered after the Swindon game that loyalty, at least in football terms, was not a moral choice like bravery or kindness; it was more like a wart or a hump, something you were stuck with. Marriages are nowhere near as rigid — you won’t catch any Arsenal fans slipping off to Tottenham for a bit of extra-marital slap and tickle, and though divorce is a possibility (you can just stop going if things get too bad), getting hitched again is out of the question. There have been many times over the last twenty-three years when I have pored over the small print of my contract looking for a way out, but there isn’t one. Each humiliating defeat (Swindon, Tranmere, York, Walsall, Rotherham, Wrexham) must be borne with patience, fortitude, and forbearance; there is simply nothing that can be done, and that is a realization that can make you simply squirm with frustration.

Of course I hated the fact that Arsenal were boring (I had by now conceded that their reputation, particularly at this stage in their history, was largely deserved). Of course I wanted them to score zillions of goals and play with the verve and thrill of eleven George Bests, but it wasn’t going to happen, certainly not in the foreseeable future. I was unable to defend my team’s inadequacies to my father — I could see them for myself, and I hated them — and after each feeble attempt at goal and every misplaced pass I would brace myself for the sighs and groans from the seat next to me. I was chained to Arsenal and my dad was chained to me, and there was no way out for any of us.
–Nick Hornby, “Fever Pitch”

Soundcheck Sunday: Ruth Moody


I knew I was in trouble the moment the music started. It drove a spike deep into my heart that pinned me to my seat, in a way that made me think mostly about pulling over so I didn’t have to pay attention to the traffic or not crashing into something. So that’s what I did, and turned up the volume and closed my eyes, and in that moment I knew I had found a new musical obsession. At six thirty in the morning after a night shift, sitting on the side of the road, engine running, I didn’t even wait for Margaret Gallagher (still sitting in for Sheryl MacKay on CBC’s North by Northwest, not my favorite CBC morning program) to tell me who it was: I Shazam’ed it, and realized immediately that I wouldn’t be going to bed for a while.

I’ve been trying to explain exactly what it was that made me stay up an hour after my bedtime to listen to an album on the strength of a single track, and I can’t. What I can do is say that I’ve decided I love “These Wilder Things” so much it almost hurts. No, check that: it does hurt. It’s this wonderous, amazing folky blend of sorrow and joy and love and loss and fear and it’s all driven by That Voice. Ruth Moody’s. Who is apparently part of the Wailin’ Jennys, a band I’m going to have to take more seriously from now on if That Voice is part of it, and hooray for discovering new music! But I stayed up way past my bedtime between nights to listen to the whole thing from start to finish, and it’s like this horrible drug that makes me want more more more. I want to wrap myself up with this album in a blanket and hug it as I go to sleep. That’s how much I love this album. Remember that embarassing mash note I wrote to Edie Carey a couple years back? Yeah, like that, but more.

And here’s why: The title track is this awesome force to be reckoned with, a mediation on doubt, hope, and the future. I played it again in the car driving to work the next night, and I played it loud, and you just want to soak in Ruth Moody’s lyrics and That Voice. My goodness. It’s like Rose Cousins on steroids (and seriously, Rose is a force to be reckoned with). Ruth Moody is better. I didn’t think it was possible, and I’m not kidding about this — if you haven’t listened to the track I included above, do it now so you can understand what I’m talking about. The last time I got this obsessed with a voice, it was Hayley Williams’, and I don’t even like Paramore. Anyway, if this isn’t enough to convince you, maybe you’ll listen to Mark Knopfler (who is on this album, no fooling). “She is on the very top level of singers and songwriters out there and I can’t take her off my jukebox.” She should be on your jukebox too, and never ever come off it.

OK, one more story. I was going to do a Soundcheck this week on Neko Case’s new album (“The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You” — vying for the most complicated album title I’ve run into since Marnie Stern’s “This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That” but now I’m just naming albums with long names). You’ve been around a bit, you’ve heard her previous work, you know how good Neko Case is. “These Wilder Things” is better than Neko Case’s new album. I love it to bits.

Bonus Ruth Moody tracks after the cut:

Continue reading “Soundcheck Sunday: Ruth Moody”

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