Off World‘s Sandro Perri and Craig Dunsmuir discuss every song on 2, which is available everywhere via Constellation Records. Sponsored by Pizza Trokadero, the Bookshelf, Planet Bean Coffee, Grandad’s Donuts, Freshbooks, and Hello Fresh Canada.
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
On July 16, 2016, Alan Vega died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 78. In a statement, Vega’s family said, “With profound sadness and a stillness that only news like this can bring, we regret to inform you that the great artist and creative force, Alan Vega has passed away. Alan was not only relentlessly creative, writing music and painting until the end, he was also startlingly unique. Along with Martin Rev, in the early 1970s, they formed the two person avant band known as Suicide. Almost immediately, their incredible and unclassifiable music went against every possible grain. Their confrontational live performances, light-years before ‘Punk Rock,’ are the stuff of legend. Their first, self-titled album is one of the single most challenging and noteworthy achievements in American music. Alan Vega was the quintessential artist on every imaginable level. His entire life was devoted to outputting what his vision commanded of him.” It was a fitting encapsulation of a man whose work and attitude influenced many of the most significant artists in underground and mainstream music, from every generation really. This episode features personal reflections and first and second hand anecdotes about Vega and Suicide by fans like Steve Albini of Shellac of North America, Jehnny Beth of Savages, Brendan Canty of Fugazi, Kid Millions of Oneida (a.k.a. John Colpitts of Man Forever), Robyn Phillips of Vallens, Priya Thomas, and Mike Watt of the Minutemen.
Related playlist: “I Remember (Live at CBGB’s)” Suicide | “Frankie Teardrop” Suicide | “Down On the Street” The Stooges | “23 Minutes Over Brussels” Suicide | “Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne” Suicide | “Girl” Suicide | “Ghost Rider” Suicide | “Dream Baby Dream” Suicide | “State Trooper” Bruce Springsteen | “Dream Baby Dream” Bruce Springsteen | “Rocket USA” Suicide | “Rocket USA” Oneida ft. Alan Vega | “Dream Baby Dream” Savages | “Ghost Rider (Live at All Tomorrow’s Parties 2010)” Suicide | “Tangerine” Christophe ft. Alan Vega | “I Remember” Suicide
Related links: zerecords.com vishkhanna.com