ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
A Very Lonely Planet: Love, Sex, and the Single Guy
By Ryan Bigges
Arsenal Pulp Press
181 pages, $18.95
The single guy is a lonely creature. But in navigating his way through life
and love, he is revealed to be a complex fellow taking on many forms.
Bigge’s 2001 examination of the single guy traces the history of this
restless individual’s existence. With his encyclopedic knowledge of pop
culture and neurotic sense of humour, Bigge, a freelance writer and former
Managing Editor of Adbusters magazine, contemplates the single guy’s
many incarnations: bachelor, indie-rock mope, computer nerd, sensitive wuss,
hopeless romantic, “Accidental Misogynist” and others.
The crux of his argument stems from Bigge’s formation of the “Astute
Brute” character. Inspired by the Chuck Palahniuk novel Fight Club (and
the 1999 David Fincher film adaptation), Bigge’s Astute Brute is personified
by Jack/Tyler Durden, a conflicted hero that straddles the line between controlled
yuppiedom and id-driven freedom.
According to Bigge, the Astute Brute doesn’t like pro sports, Aerosmith,
homophobia or potpourri. Instead, he likes journalism, Death Cab for Cutie
and introspection. Other notable Astute Brutes of our time include Seinfeld’s
George Costanza and Sebadoh’s Lou Barlow.
Yet the Astute Brute’s biggest challenge is overcoming his bad luck
with love, and Bigge reminisces on past experiences.
In the wrong hands, the Lonely Planet would be difficult to explore. But thanks
to the intelligence and wit of Bigge, the solitary world seems a bit smaller — and
Northern Blues Music
Taxi Chain is a band of musical ambiguity; it’s impossible
to restrict their sound to just one genre.
Smarten Up! is based on the musical fundamentals of jazz and blues,
but through the use of unexpected instruments — bagpipes,
mandolin, tenor banjo, fiddle — many tracks have a Celtic
and early-American folk spin to them, flowing surprisingly well
at some points.
But uniqueness should not be mistaken with quality, especially
on this album. The record’s first song, “Memphis,” quickly
loses its appeal through the repetition of a dull verse line and
a deprived percussion backing. Other songs like “Zimbobby” and “Tandoori
Mustache” begin with promising bagpipe melodies but degenerate
into rounds of exhausting repetition.
Though the title track “Smarten Up!” introduces itself
through an interesting guitar line, after brief listening it sounds
more like a child’s music box than a credible guitarist’s
—Harley N.K. Yule
What You Thought You Heard
Borialis lacks an identity, to say the least.
With far too many musical influences, What You Thought You Heard
is a disastrous combination of classic rock, reggae, hip-hop, progressive
and surf jams. The annoying Borialis boys chant far too often about
their tough lives, deprivation and struggle being a minority — funny
thing is, they’re Caucasian.
In “Why Oh Why,” the New Jersey sextet preach about
how going to a high school where the population was of mixed races
helped to form their identity. Themes of drug experimentation and
nights in the slammer are prevalent, especially in “White
Trash (Hip Rock)” and “Hourglass.”
Borialis’s irritating style can be compared to bands like
Limp Bizkit, or even more so, Crazy Town. Recently, they toured
with Jay-Z, N.E.R.D., 311 and Hoobastank on the Sprite Liquid Mix
Definitely not in the mix, Heard is a poor attempt at fusing too
much together, and it ultimately fails.
Like the movie it accompanies, the Ladykillers soundtrack is full
of adaptations, featuring not one but THREE versions each of the
gospel classics “Trouble Of This World” and “Let
Your Light Shine On Me.”
Covers of “Let Your Light Shine on Me” range from
versions by the sullen Blind Willie Johnson to the Venice Four,
who are every bit as exuberant as a big Southern Baptist gospel
choir should be, complete with spontaneous calls of “Shine
on me, Jesus!”
Although some covers are powerful and convincing, the problem
with the soundtrack is there are TOO MANY covers. With 18 tracks
in total, the CD seems to drag on endlessly. Maybe in heaven, all
these gospel tunes will be easier to swallow, but not now.
Much like an open flesh wound, it’s hard to put your finger
on Wax Mannequin.
That isn’t to say The Price is bad. The self-proclaimed “President
of Indie Rock” combines infectious guitar licks and powerful
vocals to produce a sound that’s hard, but not too hard.
Stand-out songs include “R&R WND” and the classic “Fuck
Up The Night,” Wax’s aptly titled ode to fucking up
the night. A rare find, this album is strong, both musically and
Carefully crafted poetry and prose fuse together in 10 insightful
and thought-provoking compositions. With many memorable lines,
such as “he cooks Christ’s medicine in his cock” from
the lead track, you’ll understand right away that Wax Mannequin
is one motherfucker who means business.
Weezer (Deluxe Edition)
The rise of Weezer was like a revenge of the nerds. The members
were the types of guys that got picked on by hard rock mooks who
worshipped Nirvana — mooks who didn’t get that Kurt
Cobain himself stood for the underdog. But as Cobain perished under
the weight of superstardom, the stage was set for the myopic, striped-T
crowd to take back the rock. These were patient kids, who couldn’t
get a date, first dialed on to cyberspace and eagerly awaited Windows
And so we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first Weezer disc.
Now famously dubbed “The Blue Album,” the record now
appears in a special deluxe edition that not only includes spiffy
new cardboard packaging and extended liner notes, but also a second
disc of b-sides, live tracks and rough, pre-1994 demos.
Nearly every track on the original Blue Album has become a classic
power-pop anthem, from the unrequited love of “The World
Has Turned and Left Me Here” and “Only in Dreams,” to
quirky love odes like “Buddy Holly.”
This re-issue in one word? Nifty.
RBG: red black and green; rollin’ big ganja... the universal
acronym for any freedom fighter, or wannabe for that matter.
Set in New York City, the politically conscious Dead Prez has
unleashed the next phase of their revolutionary gangsta rap principles.
Emcees and warriors M-1 and Sticman form the avant-garde duo who
work towards spreading a powerful message. RBG paints a journey
through life in a world full of racism.
“Hell Yeah (Pimp the System)” is the first single
and coincidentally best track off the record. Other triumphant
tunes like “Don’t Forget Where You Came From” and “I
Have A Dream, Too” exemplify Dead Prez’s message of
reaching bigger goals and not being afraid to express yourself.