Archive for February, 2010

My favorite Canadian supergroup has a new album entitled “Forgiveness Rocks Record” coming out May 4th, and since my favorite Canadian supergroup is also my favorite musical act on the planet, here, there, anywhere, anytime, I am delirious.

This is, for me, the greatest news on the planet. It makes my year. There are years where no BSS records come out; those are eh. Then there are years when they do: and they are super. They are years when you invite friends over to listen to those albums all night and pass out on your floor at 5 am. They are years when you take off work to go drive to get the album and listen to it all over creation. It’s a year that is perfect. I’ve already listened to “World Sick”, which you can get from their website, and maybe I’m biased, but yeah, I’m in love all over again (I missed them so). So May 4th is kinda like a big deal for me. To celebrate, here are some pictures with no rhyme or reason to them. Bless ’em all.


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Wheat, Boom Boom, Wheat

I’m disappointed in myself. Wheat has had a new album out for over six months and I’ve been clueless about this. But before I start this, I should clarify:

I am, and have been for many years now, madly passionately adoringly in love with Wheat.

Wheat. A band so deserving, and so perpetually on the outskirts. A band discovered after each album, by new and old adorers alike. Ever since my sister played them for me so many years ago, I’ve gone through a phase with each of their albums, a phase which usually lasts for a bubbly month of hopping around and spacing out and creating excuses to postpone going home; it ends in me planning to move somewhere or do something else drastic.

It’s pop music. It’s brilliant pop music that’s been made in a decade that has repeated stale, horrifying dribble on the radio over and over and over. Who cares what the corporate Grammys do with themselves, but do all these corporate-owned radio stations have to assault my ears whenever I have the audacity to run into Giant to pick up some milk and garlic (vampires, you know…)? I beg whoever is choosing the playlist I’ll be forced to zombie-walk to in my grocery store to just consider Wheat. Let’s start with Per Second, Per Second, Per Second…Every Second.

It’s Wheat’s most accessible album. It’s pop-pop-pop, it’s driving on a summer evening when you’re twenty. It’s picking a pen out from under the pile of books and clothes in your backseat and scrawling something on your wrist and walking out to everything else with a fucking huge grin. It’s “The Beginner” being played over and over for years on evenings after long days of work, be it at the rodeo or picking children up at the playground or showing up on a dimly lit, snowy street early in the morning to look for a lost someone. Or “This Rough Magic” with all its gorgeous something-ness and beyond-ness: “and carrying counts for something / when you can give it all away …. and I hope god will mend / the little things I break and bend / and equal it to the love I made”.  It’s endearingly pretentious wanna-be music critic friends saying when they hear ‘These Are Things’ that it’s ‘movie music’, as if you will bow to their intelligence now that they’ve insulted you ( or schooled you in their wisdom, they think ) thoughtlessly. You smile, because fuck, even Pitchfork got over themselves to swoon just a bit before this album. Then, two years later, self-declared music-critic-genius friends are declaring they’ve discovered Hope and Adams, and you have to laugh because you’ve been listening to the heartbreakingly beautiful precursor to Per Second for years, but you stifle that laugh because you won’t deny anyone the joy of Wheat simply in order to feel vindicated.

When we talk of Hope and Adams, let us not raise our voices. Let us wait till late twilight, and then open the blinds to watch the blue, and we’ll just listen to the album, rather than argue. It’s all we can do, I suppose. Was it an album written for May? For June? Just as much September, I think, all blues at night, and green and white during the day. It’s “Body Talk” (one or two) in the evening. “Raised Ranch Revolution” driving somewhere far away. “Who’s The One” early in the morning, I’m talking four or five am, driving back (or to) someplace. When you are feeling absolutely yourself and finding you absolutely belong to the universe, you have to put on “Off the Pedestal” and start jumping all over as you go along with Scott Levesque : “I never seem to get these feet beneath my legs to land up like a cat who’s taken back his lives for one that’s not going right.” More than anything, though, it’s that too-croony-to-be-corny classic which made it out of the shadows, “Don’t I Hold You”. Oh, “Don’t I Hold You”. Whosoever hears you can’t help but be enchanted by all your pounds of air, and rolling right off the road into something-lovely-ness.

Then there is Wheat’s four-year afterthought to Per Second, a strange little album entitled Everyday I Said A Prayer For Kathy and Made a One-Inch Square. Well, honestly, I don’t know what that means to them, but I love it. It sounds a bit like meaningful nonsense, with a listener finding the meaning one day and losing it the next. There’s “Saint In Law” which is as strange and pretty and halting as the first time I heard it. “Closeness” takes me right back to “Raised Ranch Revolution” on Hope and Adams, and frankly, I love it. Other songs like “To, As In Addressing the Grave”, “Move = Move” and “Little White Dove” give those whole exercise an ethereal, caught-between worlds feel. “An Exhausted Fixer” I find to be running even with KC Accidental’s “Tired Hands” for loveliest song title. The whole album, as I’ve found it, is something which sounds sad and beautiful and happy and worn out, and perhaps a little surprised at finding itself older as it look laughingly back upon itself. I guess I sort of love it too.

So this is the album I have been whomping myself over the head about all evening, or at least I would be whomping if I was a whomper. But I am a lover and a peaceful one, so I decided to do penitence by putting my love into words and sending it out into space. Anyway. I am all about the occasional song which comes along and is sort of reassuring. It’s why I love their earlier song “These Are Things” because, honestly, it would be an unhappy world if you can’t have a tough year and jump up and down in the car in the new spring and shout out “these are things I did for my love” over and over. On White Ink, Black Ink Wheat has a few more of these, though with a little less swooping choruses. “My Warning Song (Everything is Gonna Be Alright)” has none of the obvious charisma of “These Are Things”, but its off-the-beaten-path-but-still-trumpeting-on-the-way-and-so-is-perhaps-a-bit-more-grown-up-and-should-probably-have-gotten-past-hyphens-charm is all its own, and I’m in love. They have songs which twinkle. They have songs called “If Everything Falls Together”. I have to say, after a few go-throughs, this album makes me feel young and again. It’s the Wheat album I’ve wanted for years, with all the dreaminess of Hope and Adams, the excitement and on-the-edge feeling of Per Second, the strange precision of Everyday I Said A Prayer. And, for the true Wheat lovers, it also has all the upstart daring-ness of Medeiros. White Ink, Black Ink is young and old at the same time. I think that might be one of the nicest things I’ve said about anything, ever. In my mind, it’s quite a compliment.

One of the young-old-brimming songs on this album is called “Changes Is”. It’s the sort of song to have a lyric which I can’t help but, you know, adore, that goes “Boom Boom / I’m getting out of here”. Well, yeah. That’s Everything, isn’t it?

Who knows where Wheat will end up in the pantheon of music history. As for me, I’m grateful I’ve handed over moments of my life to their music many, many times. I wish I could hear I remember in twenty minutes that I have no food and this calls for a crawl over to the grocery store. This would be what I’d like to hear when I walk in at 11:30 at night into the 24-hour Giant and smile at the cashiers and pick up a few magazines to take home and read in the snowy night. This would make us all feel good about everything.

I like, when thinking about them, going back to one of their very first songs, the rousing “Death Car”. When it starts swelling up and being feisty, I think about those sleepy-looking fellows who occasionally gaze into the camera, but are usually off looking or focusing on someone else entirely. Maybe that’s why I love their music. It holds and suggests more than itself.

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