Monday, June 30, 2008

What We Do.

Weekend Roundup:

This weekend, as promised, was a bit of a slow one at Friends Explode HQ. However, there were a few exceptions to this:

On Friday, while the Lords of Kobol were stuck at a house party, Pat was helping out at the newly restarted VAZALEEN. All accounts point to a pretty great show, with a sold out Wrongbar crowd getting down to both SSION's unique brand of kitsch and weirdness-fueled disco-pop and Pat and Will's turns on the decks. Sounds to me like it wasn't just the party of the night, but the party of the month?

Saturday saw an early kickoff to FRIENDSHIP or OPTIMO, as it'll probably end up being called, at the Ossington. New Wave bled into postpunk bled into rap and disco and by the end of the night I was out of songs to play. And aside from the name issues, everything went off without a hitch.

What else then, is on the horizon?

Friday, July 4th is not only independence day but also Room Party's third installment at the Boat. We welcome this month Gabe Knox and Diana M., of Midnight Static fame. Expect lots of leftfield house, early electro, late electro, postpunk, weird disco, and trashy pop. And to dance! Also the required button giveaway, as well as a special treat, the Room Party zine, a collection of poster and flyer artwork from the last year and a half.

Also on this night, since we like to double book ourselves, Pat and CTV News at Noon will be playing at the Beaver for LISP. Remixes, shit pop, fun friends, friendly fun.

The next night is the second (third?) installment of FRIENDSHIP (Feels Great), or whatever it's called now, the night with the awkward name and rotating playlists. And if postpunk isn't your vibe, Andy and Todd will be at the Trane restarting Where's D'Angelo.

A-and... stay tuned for info about July's RTRD'D, as well as the launch party for YOUNG MORTICIANS IN LOVE, a compilation of obscure 1980s postpunk and new-wave. These go down July 12th and 18th, respectively.

Meanwhile, here are some songs we've been digging on this past week:

Yes, you more than likely have heard this song, because everyone of a certain age has heard the first Elastica album. But don't pass this over if you haven't heard it in a while. To me Elastica will always be stuck with two unavoidable burdens: first off, the "alternative" association of the whole skater-shit/Absolute 90's crowd generated from "Connection", and second the controversy of ripping off the rhythm and melody of Wire's "Three Girl Rhumba" almost fully. But really, Elastica get a bum rap. Such fun, songs about parties, songs about sex, short bursts of insanely catchy punk goodness. Yes, they wanted to be Wire. They never could be, though, which adds to their charm. Too bad, then, that the second album was so shitty?

Kid Creole & The Coconuts - There's Something Wrong In Paradise (Larry Levan Mix)
August Darnell will always be a better producer than musician, having been responsible for songs like Don Armando's "I'm An Indian Too", Aural Exciters "Spooks in Space" and James White's "Contort Yourself" disco mix, but that doesn't stop his stuff with the Coconuts from being really great, summertime disco-pop. "There's Something Wrong In Paradise", here remixed in a breezy house vein, vibes heavy on clean sounding vocals and tropical percussion while never feeling overly cornball or poorly executed. Not so dancefloor, but fun nonetheless.

In Flagranti - Melodymaker
Disco House champions trying their hands at glitch electro? Two jokers making fun of the cutout nature of most Ed Rec tracks? I don't know. In Flagranti's Wronger Than Anyone Else veers between amazingly warm sounding house songs to bizarre disco edits to drill n' bass bursts to... this. "Melodymaker" is extremely minimal gutter electro in the vein of Sebastian, Simian Mobile Disco or Feadz, with the repeated hook "I think about you in Melody Maker" gradually being overtaken by washes of guitar, bass and keys. Fun stuff, if not particularly original.

Feminine Complex - I Been Working On You (Demo)
And now completely out of leftfield from us is this, a 1969 demo by the Feminine Complex, one of those long-lost girl groups that had an album's worth of great garage beat but who never broke nationally or regionally. Thanks to the Rev-Ola reissue that came out a few years ago, there's now a chance to hear their music. This is the demo of one of their singles, which, to me, is far superior than what was released (it got covered in a lot of horns and strings and any immediacy it might've had was killed), just very spare, shaky garage rock. Think the Sonics or early Kinks but fronted by a less abrasive Grace Slick and there it is. Really awesome stuff!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sort of a late update this time around, sorry for that.

This past weekend was a fun one. On Thursday as always the Drake was fun, although I was fighting a flu and couldn't stand for more than twenty minutes at a time. Downstairs was pretty bumping, with Put the Rifle Down bringing out massive amounts of people and Golden Girls capping the night with a set of melodic and raunchy Casiotone pop. Jessie Keeler was in attendance as well, and, having been mistaken for him at least once a month for the past five years, it was funny to make eye contact with him and realize that, yes, we do look sort of similar.

On Friday the Spiral Beach kids and their friends took over Whippersnapper to great result: Carmen Elle played a set of exotica-tinged folk-pop, the Lords of Kobol had fun playing whatever they wanted to (postpunk into party rap, and then later noisy electro into 80s disco - fun!) and Spiral Beach even had people crowd surfing. Pretty crazy stuff. I'm hoping that the show paid for their postering fine.

Meanwhile at the Boat, Bang the Party celebrated its second anniversary with a late crowd, and while that's typical Friday night vibe, it's still irritating. Regardless, once the party started it didn't stop, and had I not been at Whippersnapper I would've been there. Friends say it was truly a jam, and the new BTP mix has been getting lots of play at my place.

Saturday was surprisingly busy, for what was to be a quiet night. There was an impromptu performance at the Ossington which has led to a new Friends Explode monthly starting their in July, more information on this later but it will be a night of fun songs and no dance music, to speak of.

The coming weekend is a slow one, with most of the time being devoted to the planning of the following three weeks, which include:

July 4th: Room Party at the Boat (Hi Mom, Gabe and Diana) and Lisp at the Beaver (Pat C and CTV News at Noon)

July 5th: Feelsgreat at the Ossington

July 12th: RTRD'D 6.2 at the Chelsea Room

July 18th: Young Morticians in Love CD Release Party at the Press Club

Yeah. July is a big month for us so stay tuned here and on Facebook for much info regarding the coming month. In the meantime here are some songs for you to check out:

Called the "1970s Daft Punk" by a lot of reporters looking for an easy shorthand, Droids were much more than that (if that's possible?). They simultaneously bridged the gap between the dying French Coldwave scene and the more traditional postpunk stuff coming out of Britain and the States, as well as injecting a much needed dose of electronics and space disco vibe into their music. Yes, their schtick was that they were robots. Yes, this sounds a lot like Daft Punk. But where Daft Punk build their compositions on house and an eye toward the past, Droids were firmly set in the retro-futuristic vibe of 1960s science fiction movies and television. Highly recommended.

Mo-Dettes: White Mice
This one will be familiar to anyone who owns any Rough Trade postpunk comp or has done any delving into the weirder world of German new-wave, but it's so good that it deserves recognition. Simultaneously a response to and a move away from the dance-punk of Gang of Four, Bush Tetras and the Slits, the Mo-Dettes made a song so hooky and poppy and yet so rhythmically odd that you can't help but dance awkwardly to it. Really great stuff!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What We Did.

While not exactly cut short by, this weekend's activities were sure curtailed by the double attack of insane weather and NXNE. Nevertheless, still fun!

Friday's Famous Players website launch saw a half-full basement getting way down to Adam+Jeff's blend of mashups, slutty electro, and trashy remixes, while upstairs Hi Mom and Ellie figured out new ways to mix in and out of hiphop, classic funk, no-wave, krautrock and disco. Truly, it was a jam.

It was so beautiful out on Saturday that it was hard not to imagine that every party in the city would be wall-to-wall rammed:

The Family Affair anniversary was a fun time, with Pat C and #1 Dad spending the night switching off between classic new wave, electrohouse and 80s disco jams while up the street Hi Mom and Hard Dough played to a (mostly) empty house, albeit one that filled up pretty quick by the time last call hit. Weird! But each party had a respectable dancefloor, and when our competition was as heavy as it was, that was all that we could have asked for.

What's in store, though? On June 20th, Hi Mom and Hard Dough reconvene at the Whippersnapper gallery to bring some needed well wishes to the kids in Spiral Beach: after postering a few garbage bins, they got hit with a $1500 fine! What??? Terrible news. Never ones to take adversity for what it is, the band has turned their misfortune into a party: an all night benefit at the Whippersnapper to help them pay the fine. Expect bands, rowdiness, smiles and fun. Hi Mom and Hard Dough take the decks between sets, with an extended dance set at the end of the night!

And if that's not your bag, Bang the Party celebrates it's one year anniversary the same night, at The Boat!

Meanwhile, you might want to check out these tracks. They're sure to make you smile at least a little:

Bluejuice - Vitriol
Like McLusky, Blur, or the Buzzcocks before them, Bluejuice manage to take everything good about snotty, bratty music and leave all of the annoying bits behind. "Vitriol", from their album Problems is a nice taste of fuzzy, organ driven pop-punk, with a much firmer dance beat and less of a focus on lyricism. I won't lie: this isn't smart music. But when has this kind of thing ever been particularly smart?

Sexual Harassment - You Are My Sexual Connection
On the "shamefully neglected 80s New York art-disco" tip is Sexual Harassment. This song is the closer from their only release, 1982's I Need A Freak. The whole album, but this song in particular, is the kind of overjoyed, sexually charged dance music being made in the death throes of disco. It's the kind of coke fueled, forward looking dance-pop that would presuppose stuff like DFA and DC Records, not to mention bands like Out Hud, Stereo Total and Professor Murder, among others. Well worth tracking down!

See you on the weekend!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Jumping and Shouting.

Big week.

It's NXNE so that means we're kind of going all out on fun stuff to do. Not only are we double booking ourselves (again) on Saturday, with the Family Affair One Year Anniversary and RTRD'D happening at the same time, but we're also kicking things off at the Drake on Thursday with Temptation's NXNE spotlight at the Drake (in the Lounge), with guests Andy Capp and Rod Skimmins. This one serves until 4am, so no matter what, it'll be a good time. Likewise on Friday, Hi Mom will be playing at 751 with Famous Players and Ellie (ex-Camp So-Chill). Two floors, Famous Players downstairs playing booty house and trashy electro, Hi Mom and Ellie upstairs playing disco and postpunk and electro and bangers.

More Info:Has it really been a year? Family Affair has been around for one year. That's a long time. Started at the Queenshead in June 2007 by #1 Dad and Hi Mom, it started out as a postpunk/rap type party and has evolved into a much more electro/disco type of jam. Expect to hear lots of bangers, remixes and weirdo tracks. Special guest Pat C brings the trashy pop and fun house sensibilities up further. Saturday June 14th, 751 Queen West, in the basement.

Here's the deal: we totally dropped the ball last month. No poster, no promo. We barely even remembered to show up. Not this time. This time we got some guest DJs. Colin Gerace and Anthony Cregg, AKA Hi-Dough and Hard Mom, take our places this month and play the best Evil Electro, Booty House, Postpunk, and Bmore Filth. If you want to stop by both parties, the Chelsea Room is just up the street from 751, at 923 Dundas West.

On Friday Hi Mom guests at the Famous Players website launch, also at 751. Adam and Jeff will be in the basement, and Hi Mom and Ellie will be upstairs. No cover!

That's it for the weekend roundup. In the meantime, check out this track:

Kano - Super Extra Sexy Sign
Ignore the cheesy-as-hell title and give the track a spin: pure bizarre electro-disco, circa 1980. There's not much info on these guys, though they recorded between 1980 and 1983. Their breakthrough track "I'm Ready" helped usher in Italo (though it had a much more aggressive, harder edge than a lot of the other Italo stuff coming out around this time) and was also sampled on "Whoomp There It Is" - - I think "Super Extra Sex Sign" is a bit better, the kind of futuristic robot sex boogie that Daft Punk would perfect twenty-five years later.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hi. And welcome.
For those of you who don't know, Friends Explode is a loose collective of DJs and promoters in Toronto who like to throw parties and have a good time. We have five main nights with a variety of spin-offs, one-offs, and secret events that space out those five nights. The nights we do are:

Room Party
Lost Cats
Family Affair

Now that that's cleared up:

Friday's party was a lot of fun. I'm not sure how Lisp went but Room Party was fairly successful.

Pants & Tie played a short set and then Dave and I played some records. It took a while to get the dance floor going but when it hit it stayed for the rest of the night. Here are some photos of the event:

Thanks to Nataly for these. If anyone has any more by all means post them or link to them or something. I'm hoping to have some more for the next party but for now that's all I've got.

Finally, thanks for checking out this blog. This is the first post and as first posts go this is tending a little toward awkwardness. Regardless, check back often as postings will occur at least a few times a week. Mixes, tracks, event listings, fun stuff from around the city that you might be into. That's what we'll be covering here.

You know. We like to have fun and we're your friends. So come back because hopefully you like to have fun too, and are also our friends.