Tag Archives: Chicago

Ep. #279: U.S. Girls

U.S. Girls is the moniker of Meghan Remy who currently calls Toronto, Ontario home. Since moving there from Chicago in 2010, Remy has become a vital part of the city’s music scene and, along with her husband Slim Twig, plays in the excellent band Darlene Shrugg and runs the Calico Corp. label. She is likely best known for her stunning voice, pointed perspective, and startlingly great post-pop work as U.S. Girls, including her acclaimed and most recent album, Half Free, which is on the 2016 Polaris Music Prize short list and out now via 4AD Records. Remy and I recently caught up at Jules’ Café in Toronto’s Kingsway neighbourhood to discuss Jules Café and its wifi and its delectable croissants, just barely Etobicoke, Boxing Day 2010, Chicago and Toronto, Americans thinking about Canada and the rest of the world, facts and fiction and trust, not necessarily the news, overwhelmed by the world, free but only to consume, leaving America and loving Canada, military madness and taxes, health care, because Britain stayed and Canadian reserve, nice not friendly, Canada’s British accent, we’re smart, Toronto’s ahistorical aesthetic, many cranes in the sky, Chicago is grand, it’s hard to be America’s hat, grants and being driven to achieve, gross generalizations, the music media and scams, the regurgitated one sheet, disengaging, anti-intellectualism, being in a military family, John Cassavetes and Bruce Springsteen, cinéma vérité, Springsteen’s rise as an American superstar as he was criticizing America, Springsteen’s empathy and socially conscious gestures, her song “Damn That Valley,” why Meg doesn’t ever vote, the 2000 election and Ralph Nader and Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Party doesn’t really get it, anti-war, the shades of evil, Hillary Clinton and women, revolution and protest and duty, social media’s distracting nature, the internet is everything but still new, MySpace as a touring resource, Silver Apples and Suicide and the Shaggs, the two-piece, when Springsteen covered “Dream Baby Dream,” the Devils & Dust tour, radio on, the Beatles Anthology, Bikini Kill, dealing with male music biz crap as a woman, sound people are cranky, frustrated musicians, the average white American woman, “First World Blues,” problematic self-esteem issues in a digital age, the requisite weirdness of receiving a Polaris Music Prize nomination, the infrastructure and its usual suspects, Darlene Shrugg is the best band and a record is almost done, Simone TB and Tropics, Ice Cream, word of mouth, the new U.S. Girls record with the Cosmic Range, Onakabazien, playing live at the Polaris gala on September 19, the song “Window Shades,” Gloria Ann Taylor, and then I got a croissant.

Related links: yousgirls.blogspot.ca vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #223: Ian MacKaye & Steve Albini (Part I)

Ian MacKaye was once in bands like Minor Threat and Embrace and is currently in the bands Fugazi and the Evens. He also co-founded and continues to oversee the excellent label Dischord Records, which is based in his hometown of Washington D.C. Steve Albini has been in bands like Big Black and Rapeman and is currently in the vital and wondrous rock trio, Shellac of North America. He’s a very well-respected recording engineer who owns and operates the Electrical Audio facility in the city of Chicago, Illinois, where he has lived for a good long time. In this first of a two-part moderated conversation between Ian and Steve, we discuss how they first met via either the late John Loder or Corey Rusk, Steve’s harshly written published review of the Rites of Spring record, Big Black playing D.C., machines and heartbeats, the formalization of punk, the influence of Minor Threat, punk violence, the Butthole Surfers, one-upmanship, explaining Pailhead and how Ian came to work with Al Jourgensen, the significance of John Loder, his company Southern Records, and its role in distributing underground music, Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Wax Trax! Records, Strike Under, punk to electronic music, Paul “Ion” Barker, the Blackouts, Bill Rieflin, drumming, Chicago’s drug scene, Minor Threat’s ferocity and execution, the time Pailhead employed an Ian MacKaye impersonator at shows, Adrian Sherwood almost working with Big Black, the story behind the In on the Kill Taker sessions, staying in London and missing John Loder, why Fugazi recorded in Chicago, how the greatest session ever yielded the saddest demo tapes, Fugazi let its guard down, Steve’s magical rapport with bands, Fugazi goes hard, how Steve bonded with Fugazi during their session together, stifling your fandom as an engineer, treating people you record with respect and trusting their vision, Ian teaches Steve how to double vocals, Ian’s phrasing, single vocals are just fine, trumpets, Ian as a prolific producer, the first Teen Idles recording session with a mean engineer, how Terrie from the Ex obtained his first guitar, Skip Groff and Don Zientara, Inner Ear Studio, Round Raoul Records, resisting technological trends when running a studio, how the In on the Kill Taker sessions with Steve ended up circulating publicly, Fugazi tried to bury it, how records leak, the song “Great Cop,” and that was the end of part one.

Related links: dischord.com electricalaudio.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #213: Cameron Esposito

Cameron Esposito is a gifted and hilarious comedian and actress who originally hails from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a beloved figure who reveals much about her personal life in her stand-up, often discussing the fact that she’s a lesbian and covering various aspects and concerns pertaining to the LGBTQ community. In fact, her 2014 stand-up record Same Sex Symbol delved deeply into such topics and was acclaimed as one of the best and smartest comedy albums of the year. Now based in Los Angeles, Esposito is an in-demand performer who has appeared on TV shows like @midnight, Conan, Maron, Drunk History, and she will soon be voicing a character on the Cartoon Network’s We Bare Bears. This December Esposito is marrying Rhea Butcher and taping her first special, a mere two days apart. She’s touring North America in the next while, including shows at the Comedy Bar in Toronto between September 10th and 12th and Comedy Mix in Vancouver between October 1st and 3rd. Here, Cameron and I discuss being prepared and winging it, the new multi-faceted face of comedy, Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, career longevity, stand-up is the end and not a means to an end, Jay Leno’s stand-up, villainy and heroism, the Late Night wars, David Letterman’s likability, Costco, taping a special and getting married only days apart, a wedding planner, collective memory banks, how ‘merica’s doing, regionalism, Sick Kids Hospital, bullying, Donald Trump and immigration and the LGBTQ, Mexicans, alienating America’s fastest growing voting demographic, distracting the world from racism against black people by being racist towards Mexicans, figuring Trump out, women’s roles in this upcoming election, why we think Jon Stewart left The Daily Show, social media, topical humour, talking about yourself without feeling pigeonholed, inspiring others, Hari Kondabolu, the book of autobiographical essays she’s working on, the “Fighter Pilot” bit, and that was that.     

Related links: cameronesposito.com vishkhanna.com

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