VA’s Best of 2014: Fave Music, Media and Re/Discoveries From The Century’s Inaugural Teen Year

variousartists best of 2014 graphicVA Best of 2014 A&M

(Top Photo montage/doctoring by VA — original photos taken at the downtown Bank St. location of Compact Music here in Ottawa and at Chez Various: Click on photo to see full size image.  Below: This and all other labels on the page doctored by VA from my personal vinyl bounty).

After a relatively-weak-year-for-albums 2013, 2014 should have been the antidote for me: seemingly almost every currently working artist that I listen to released a new album while many of my favourite legacy acts put out compilations, archive sets or deluxe reissues.

And in many ways, 2014 was an antidote. Read the rest of this entry »

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VariousArtists’ 13 Halloween Listening Recommendations

variousartists 13 halloween listening recommendations

 (Graphic and pumpkins by VA.  Stills grabbed from web and videos from YouTube)

 

Last week I laid out 13 possibly-Halloween-friendly viewing suggestions and this week I have an unlucky 13 playlist appropriate for the season of graves’n’goblins.  I’ve tried to avoid the more obvious selections with choices ranging from Halloween-specific to it’s-a-conceptual-stretch.  So, parade around in the costume of your choice, inhale bite sized chocolate bars, crank up the gramophone and groove (there’s also a link to the playlist at the bottom of the page) …

Read the rest of this entry »


024. Discopravity: Psychic TV … & NYC, Nov. 17, 1983

BLOG Danceteria ad FACE Dec 84An ad for Danceteria from the December 1984 issue of The Face. (Scan by VA.)

024. Discopravity: Psychic TV, Danceteria, New York City, New York, November 17, 1983. $n/a

NOTE: While this second of a two-part entry covers Psychic TV’s gig at Danceteria (part one included a look at a Circle Jerks’ show at The Reggae Lounge), its focus is more on the hijinks, buffoonery and events experienced among my friends and I over several days in NYC in late ‘83.

Now this was a club!  Danceteria was utterly brilliant: a four-storey funhouse that was exactly what the doctor ordered (especially if he’d been Dr. Robert).

Read the rest of this entry »


176. Lightning: Ottawa Jazz Festival 2013 with David Byrne & St. Vincent and Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, June 23 & 29

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My wristband for the 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival and Macaulay Culkin sporting an appropriate facial gesture. (All photos and scans by VA.)

176. Lightning: Ottawa Jazz Festival 2013 with David Byrne & St. Vincent, Sunday June 23 / Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Saturday June 29, Confederation Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, $165.00 for a (largely wasted) Festival Pass

Another year, another Ottawa Jazz Festival: more great music intersecting with frustrations.  In other words, business as usual.

This year’s J Fest appeared as a terrific proposition with a stellar line-up anchored by its biggest star, Ms. Aretha Franklin, along with the currently touring collaboration between ex-Talking Head David Byrne and the fabaroony St. Vincent aka Annie Clark.  Sweetness!  Not only that but Willie Nelson, The Bad Plus, Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Mavis Staples, and a few other options. Read the rest of this entry »


Picture This: VA Poster Collection Highlights

PosterBanner

Howdy to those of you on both Open Salon and WordPress … I’ve had another OS/WP absence owing to a few reasons: life stuff, some needed household re-arranging, and a spell of writer’s block.  I was also having too much damn hot fun in the summertime as of late, seeing a slew of great gigs over the past two months.

Well … that fun seems to have unblocked things. Read the rest of this entry »


022a: Changes: Bowie, The 70s, & Me

Space Oddity Ziggy Stardust Album Covers Vinyl BLOGMy sister’s original copies of David Bowie’s Space Oddity and Ziggy Stardust.  I have many fond memories of listening to these albums with her.
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My return to the My Life — In Concert! series, this time looking back on seeing David Bowie for the first time, 30 years ago, fortuitously dovetails with last week’s delightful shock that is the release of Bowie’s first album of new material in a decade, The Next Day
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He first came into my orbit 40 years ago in his Ziggy Stardust days, at the dawn of 1973.  His ongoing body of work has been a constant presence in my life ever since, in particular, the ground-breaking succession of albums that he released between 1969 and 1980.
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Before turning my focus to the show at Toronto’s CNE Stadium, I’ll first write about what Bowie and glam rock meant to me, and my impressions on how his emergence had a broader impact on the 1970s.

Lightning struck twice for me shortly after I turned 10.  1972 was bleeding into 1973, and I was thrilled to now be part of the double-digit-age clique, with that majestic 1 planted firmly in front of the stalwart 0 in all its binary glory.  The yellow brick road to Teenageville, and then onto Adultia, stretched out before me like gleaming candy.  I was excited to be starting my journey, one with a down-the-line jackpot of any manner of enticing Pandora’s Boxes filled with mature delights — mature as envisioned by my still-naive-yet-overactive Grade Five imagination, anyway. Read the rest of this entry »


020b. Waiting In Vain: 20 Performances I Missed, 1980-2011

nxtc handbill london 1980XTC at Centennial Hall, London, Ontario, Monday November 24, 1980. Too bad the show never happened (Thanks to MZ for the scan of her handbill).

You’ve got the warm ticket in your hot little hands, anticipation is building, and you just know it’s going to be a great experience and a fun night out.

But it doesn’t always work that way.  Shows get cancelled or artists are pulled from advertised lineups owing to illness or personal emergencies.  Or ticket demand is too high — or too low.  Or shows go ahead but it is you that is ill or can’t afford to get yourself there (as you’ll see, that’s a popular one for me during my university years). Or the weather turns crap. Or rides vanish. Or someone joins a cult. And on it goes. Read the rest of this entry »