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On Guard For Thee

I discovered a new source of music… fantastic, alternative, little-known bands started to catch my attention and my collection has expanded both vertically and horizontally as I find my footing in this weird soundscape defined as “alternative”. eMusic happens to have an amazing selection for what is available, and the customer service is pretty good too. Only, now I’m afraid… very afraid.

You see, I just received a “good news” e-mail. Now that eMusic Canada is under development, I (it is me, I mean, the email started out “Dear” followed by my name so I guess it’s designed especially for me) have the opportunity to download hard to find tracks by Canadian artists. So now when I log in to purchase music, I will be on the Canadian website (which costs more by a buck or so). There is a splash page the first time you log in to eMusic Canada, and they assure that there is still access to all the music in the American site with additional access to Canadian bands.

Oh, eMusic, I’m sure you got my e-mail complaining that you’ve restricted artists like Iron and Wine as they have hit the big time and are no longer considered alternative, but you will bless me with bands and artists such as Bruce Cockburn (oh, I’ve just been dying to get my hands on the follow up to Rocket Lawnchair, but until now, I’ve had absolutely no access to this Canadian icon), or Tegan and Sara (who never get any radio space here in Canada), or Feist (who? Sorry, I’m not from Calgary, don’t have access to newspapers, have never seen a commercial for flash memory music devices, and I’m too old to catch the guest spot on Sesame Street). Thank goodness I will finally have access to this hard to find Canadian Music. Next you’ll be telling me I have the unique opportunity to download Gordon Lightfoot (sorry Gordon, but I can just go around the corner to any music store here to get my hot little hands on you).

This is just a reminder of Canadian Content rules—Canada’s greatest claim to shame. Canadian Content rules did not help Arcade Fire… in fact Arcade Fire became a quota band (did I just coin a phrase…hey, that’s my band name, buddy… you gotta pay for that… Quota Band, first album name “Hey Mista, Got a Quota?”) after being widely accepted in the States. Thank you Canada… what that means is, I still do not have a choice to fill my ears with what I want them filled with. Canadian Content turns me away from Canadian bands, in a way that allowing international freedoms wouldn’t.

Well, while I’m on the subject of the awesomeness that is eMusic, I have had an opportunity to explore the American site for the last couple of months and came across this amazing band Susu (susuband.com) from Brooklyn. In “Hands Up The Race” we get a taste of raw energy ala Sonic Youth, The Fall, Mission of Burma, etc. There’s no frigging way you could call yourself a connoisseur and skip the treat of taking a lick of pure vanilla mercury (wait, is that Vanilla Ice’s Queen cover band?)… sure you’ll get poisoned, but who doesn’t want to taste quicksilver laced with vanilla? A liar, that’s who.

Will I still have access to bands like Breathe Owl Breathe and Susu in coming times? Who really knows for sure… eMusic, that’s who…

Spotlight on an Inaccessible Band:

You can download the Chills on iTunes… if you live in New Zealand. Here in Canada, you can’t. I guess albums that are readily available through other countries are thought to be in lesser demand here, so I can’t have what I want when I want it, even though there it sits on somebody’s server. There has to be a reason somewhere, and I’m sure it’s a perfectly natural and reasonable explanation, but come on…this is the new millennium. If I want to download something, I should be able to do just that.

The Chills – Martin Phillipps is one of the great songwriters of our time… I’m talking like, future Oscar nominated Disney score songwriter… so why can’t I have it? I don’t get it. Justin Harwood, amongst the great number of rotating band members, went on to become one of the founding members of Luna—Dean Wareham’s follow up to Galaxie 500. As a crazy note, I accidentally got some blood on Luna’s drum set in Vancouver. Long story… sorry ‘bout that Luna.

My favorite cassette (yeah, it was that long ago) was/is Brave Words. I named the main character Daniel in my first book (a work in progress) after the song “Dan Destiny and the Silver Dawn”. “Pink Frost” from the album Kaleidoscope World is one of those songs that you have to experience from the passenger seat of a car. But absolutely nothing was as radio friendly as Submarine Bells’ “Heavenly Pop Hit.”

So my point… what’s my point… stop limiting my access to information! With my last breath as this cocoon of a Canadian flag gets tighter, I’m screaming here that the idea of a global village is as true as Alanis Morrisette’s version of irony. Although she kinda nailed irony in the ‘My Humps’ video <you don’t want no drama> (search it out on You Tube if you haven’t seen it). The global village is trapped within this ice age of legal (as Katherine Hepburn would have said) old poops. You can see everything, you can get a sense of it, but you can’t touch it… oh no, don’t dare…

I can’t help coming back to Canadian Content rules. I’ve built a great amount of resentment towards Canada for protecting me from the threat of sonic assault. You’re right. I should listen to more Loverboy and Rush on a daily basis. Thank you for trying to enable an appreciation of the majesty that Canada has to offer… but no thanks… and for those bands out there trying to build fans, I hope the borders don’t slow you down…

I found another band on eMusic…from Indonesia this time. Annemarie’s ‘Abc On Tv’ has that raw something carried over from other bands like the Chills, or Felt. I’m really digging the songs that cover the gamut from bubblegum to suicide…I could see this paired with Mates of State or Beat Happening. I wonder if Mates of State knows? Have a listen wit choo ears… sorry, that was a tasteless poke at the many times the band says with you, and pronounce wit choo, but I love that, so it’s used in the most loving and respectful way… somebody grab and sign this band… tour them, tour them hard! Ooh ooh, cub!

And bam! eMusic hits me again with The Long Blondes. The album ‘Couples’ has a bit of a Debbie Harry edge. There’s a Kate Bushy aspect to the first song Century and an underlying Eve’s Pluminess to the whole album. Is this making sense to anyone out there? Martha and the Muffins take two steps toward the disco? Hey, does anyone (besides my sister) remember a band from the 1980’s named Propaganda (www.myspace.com/propagandapr)? Why does it hurt when my heart misses the beat? Haha…I forgot all about that! If you follow the link, one of the site friends has an automatic player playing in the background from a March 14th posting—kind of annoying but you can turn it off with that info. Yeah, it’s like that a bit. Oh Germany… you 80’s trendsetters you… and that’s my music appreciation roots right there…how embarrassing.

You need to shoot me a message? Raise me some of that awareness sorely lacking in today’s music appreciation? I wonders why they doesn’t just e-mail me? wndrswy@live.ca

Coming up in Sound Tracks:

Fudge? What Fudge? ~ some music just makes me hungry…

Coping with Confidence Vampires ~ you know who you are…and I’m equipped to deal with you now.

The Doorway to Enlightenment ~ I truly wonder truly wonder truly wonder…

Casual Casualties & Causal Causalities ~ it’s all about ‘u’…

Borgnine’s Barn ~ it’s all about ewe…


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