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!

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