GWAR – The Blood Of Gods
The last thing I expected to find when I listened to a new GWAR album in 2017 was… humanity. And yet, here we are. In an age where Insane Clown Posse have become civil rights activists, where Jimmy Kimmel, a person’s whose old show used to do a side-business selling Girls on Trampolines DVDs, is now our nightly voice of the resistance, and where Eminem has become a woke protest singer, GWAR’s enlightenment (of a sort) doesn’t feel so weird.
To be fair, you still have to squint a fair amount to find said humanity from these alien invader/heavy metal cartoon warriors. After all, there’s still lots of in-the-pocket GWAR to be found on The Blood Of Gods. “I’ll Be Your Monster” is like a flip on Alice Cooper shock rock with an actual hint of menace, “Viking Death Machine” is a free wheel burnin’ highway anthem, and the band’s cover of AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You Got It)” is so obvious it’s stunning they hadn’t thought to do it before now.
But then there’s the anti-overpopulation screed “Swarm,” the let’s-kill-the-president shanty “El Presidente” and the cathartically universal “Fuck This Place.” If sometimes feeling like our need to conquer and explore has irreparably messed up the planet, or worrying that the world is teetering on the brink of destruction because of a mentally damaged world leader aren’t absolutely human concerns then I don’t know what are. Throw in “Phantom Limb,” a fitting tribute to deceased former band leader Oderus Urungus, and these songs are a fair argument for a surprisingly tender GWAR. At least in their way.
Either that, or the world is going to such shit that I’ve started to look to GWAR for morality tales. In which case, fuck this place.
Lana Del Rey and Adam Cohen. Photo by Claude Dufresne.
Last Monday the Risky Fuel team made a pilgrimage to Montreal to pay our respects to the late, great musical poet, Leonard Cohen.
Titled, Tower of Song: A Memorial Tribute to Leonard Cohen, the Bell Centre event organized by Leonard’s son Adam Cohen featured big names like Elvis Costello, Sting, Courtney Love and Lana Del Rey to cover Lenny’s classic songs.
Those marquee names were fine, but it was the “singer songwriters” who really shone. Damien Rice and Patrick Watson were beautifully heavy and Adam, who seems to have fully embraced the family legacy, was uncanny (and unsettling) in his renditions of his father’s songs.
Sarah wrote about all this in a live review for Consequence of Sound.
To read it go here.
Polaris Podcast EP7 was live from Ottawa.
This past June the Polaris Music Prize went to Ottawa, Ontario to unveil the 40-album 2017 Polaris Music Prize Long List.
This also meant it brought along my baby, the Polaris Podcast.
We did a live taping where Polaris jurors Ryan Bresee (CKCU), Erin Flynn (CHUO 89.1 FM), Valerie Lessard (Le Droit) and Fateema Sayani (Ottawa Magazine) analyzed the Long List.
To find out what they said listen to the episode here:
Duran Duran’s concert film Arena (An Absurd Notion).
More than three decades ago a concert film by Duran Duran called Arena (An Absurd Notion) featured spirited young women rising up and asserting their power against a cruel older male villain.
In its way, which was perhaps more artful, fanciful and grander than the average concert doc, the film seemed to predate and predict the coming of contemporary callout culture.
Sarah wrote about the film and its prescience for A.Side.
To read the story go here.
A long time ago in a publishing galaxy far, far away, Sarah once interviewed Franz Ferdinand about “hot-blooded girls” (the band’s words) who wrote fan fiction pairing them up with Morrissey.
At the time she thought she had started something fun… and now she’s not too sure.
To read the whole story, head over to A.Side by clicking here.
Cadence Weapon at the 2006 Polaris Gala. Photo by Dustin Rabin.
Awhile back the Polaris Podcast got ace rapper and Edmonton for-lifer Cadence Weapon to reflect on his classic 2005 album Breaking Kayfabe.
To listen to the man known as Rollie Pemberton talk about this record as well as his love of Dan Bejar’s Destroyer, hit the Soundcloud player below.
Faced with a cancer diagnosis that would rob him of his voice forever, veteran music man John Cody furiously worked to put together the songs and guest players for his album Hard Won: The Final Recordings.
I spoke to Cody just before he was set to have his throat surgery for Samaritanmag.
The interview appeared shortly after the album came out.
To read it click here.