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February 2003

Doc Pickles
Solvent vs Lowfish
+/- [Plus/Minus]
Arrington De Dionyso
Wavelength 150 @ Lee's Palace (Thurs Feb.13)
Wavelength 150 @ El Mocombo (Fri Feb.14)
Wavelength 150 @ The Music Gallery (Sat Feb.15)
Wavelength 150 @ Sneaky Dee's (Sun Feb.16)
The Electric End
Mach Tiver

Sunday February 2, 11pm
Purveyors of: Let it go yeah improv electro-whuh?!

Keyop describe themselves as a “freeform electrowave syndicate.” Now’s Ben Boles described them as “miles away from electro-clash... combining post-punk aggression, ambient textures, and harsh techno synth jabs.” Doc Pickles attempted to glean the truth with this hard-hitting questionnaire.

I understand that Keyop never plays the same song twice. What headspace are you in when you create a song? Is “create” even the right word to use?

Stoned and drunk. We just want to have fun and not take ourselves too seriously.

What is the difference between a song and a tune?

4 minutes.

Does George W. Bush have an inferiority complex?


The future of Toronto indie music is __________ because __________ ?

Yes, the future of Toronto indie music is __________ because __________ .

I interviewed you (Bill and Barbi) before, when The Spy played Wavelength. What was
the motivation for making the leap from straight up Glam band to improv freakout?

When we saw Doc Pickles for the first time.

Is it more challenging to exist as Keyop?

No. Who are you talking to?

What does Toronto need to learn from the Phillipines?

How to make better mung bean cake.

Suppose you’re a sound guy at a club. From time to time you hear something great, but a lot of what you hear is total shite. What mental precautions should you take to prevent your bad self from picking up whatever it is they’ve got, but still be open to the good stuff?

Drink enough booze and you’ll forget everything.

Please explain Lemmy to me.

Molé molé molé! Didn’t he go out with Samantha Fox?

How does an improv band record an album?

We don’t know yet. We hope to find out soon.

I’m sick of hearing people trash Mr. David Bowie. I mean, how can somebody listen to
The Man Who Sold the World and still call him a lightweight? Huh? Sheesh.
Don’t listen to playa haters. But I bet Bowie was pissed when he first saw Gary Numan.
We live in interesting times and methinkgs there’s trouble ahead. Any advice on how to keep our heads screwed on straight?

You gotta accentuate the positive/ Eliminate the negative/ Hold on to the affirmative/

And don’t mess with Mr. In-Between.


Sunday February 2, 10pm
Purveyor of: Casio punk

Doc Pickles, almost without fail, can be found every Sunday night at Wavelength, up on the stage, announcing the bands, offering commentary on the current state of world affairs, and reminding you to tip the barkeep. However, he also has been a prolific songwriter himself, offering catchy tunes with entertaining lyrics through such bands as Mason Hornet, Conio and Tigerbomb, as well as in his Doc Pickles guise. Paddy O’Donnell catches up with him and finds out about all this and more.

You have had the opportunity to be both “the voice of Wavelength” as an emcee, as well as a performer at Wavelength. How do you find the two roles differ?

Performing a song you love is a terrifying experience, but not as terrifying as having to remember the names of upcoming bands for a Toronto audience. Writing has still been the bedrock for performing and emceeing so far, outlets for that desire for expression that motivates even the most stoic of us to reach out of our shells. One day I want to release a book of Chinese poetry translations, but as performing and emceeing became more thrilling, my writing was affected by becoming more personal. It’s a very different means of expression, but writing runs on the same batteries. Wavelength has taught me a lot about my responsibilities to other people’s creative sides. Those outward explorations have helped with my inward ones and vice-versa. Performing and emceeing are variations of the same field of energy — it’s all an aspect of that desire to express ourselves.

You have said that politics and indie rock are made to go together. You make no qualms about sharing your political views in an open forum, whether it be in your music, on an open mic, in an article or on your website. What is it about the state of political affairs in the world that has made talking about it so important to you?

There used to be a website at Eplugz, but now when you go there you end up at a porn site and my beloved website has been disappeared. I tried to start a new one at another free website service, but there were so many obnoxious pop up ads it was just sort of abandoned there. The most up-to-date link to whatever Doc Pickles material is out there is on the links page of the AntiAntenna website, They rock. My ramblings aren’t really too political, but a lot of the Wavelength zeitgeist gets reflected off of me due to my role as humble Wavelength emcee. People are getting smart to the puppet strings in our society, and they respond to an emcee who points out what they already perceive as bullshit. The indie work ethic is dangerous to the status quo because the whole idea of making for yourself what you want to hear instead of waiting for Sony to sell it to you is so unnerving to the norm that it has to be branded political by default.

What is an “audiozine”? How does one go about getting one? How many have there been?

I used to sing for an all-cover band called Conio, who still should play Wavelength one day because you can never have too much punk. Ihor and Bunco would learn the songs from recordings and that’s how I learned to write songs for bands. When I fronted a band of all original material called Mason Hornet, I would make tapes of the best songs I wrote during the last three or four months for the band to listen to, and hopefully if there was one they liked, to learn. They were a great band, but didn’t respond to the tapes. Once I realized that they weren’t into studying the material, rather than get discouraged I started to make additional copies for people who would enjoy the work and called the tapes audiozines. As I got better with the four-track, those tapes began to sound pretty good. Each audiozine has a theme drawn from what was going on in my life that season and there are probably more than a dozen of them completed by now. One day it will be fun to go through those boxes of cassettes and put the best songs up for free on the Internet, but this is the wrong time.

You are soon to be a father. How do you feel about this? Do you see a place for both fatherhood and indie-rock in the future?

That’s why this is the wrong time to be playing with a four-track! Ms. Pickles is a Cancer, so we have everything meticulously organized at home, now it’s just a matter of stocking up on sleep until she’s born April 1st, which is hard to do because I’m so excited. We’ve talked about it and we don’t want Baby Pickles to think we’ve cramped our style for her sake. It’s important for her to hang out with us and see what makes us tick. So there will be lots more music and scribbling to come from me, but my songs aren’t really about what literally happens to me in real life so I won’t write sucky CanCon songs just because it’s no longer just my own life to live. I can’t wait until she’s old enough to see her old man playing a Tuesday night gig at Sneaky Dee’s. Maybe one day I can be like Peter Gabriel and bring my daughter on tour with me to sing back-up. Or maybe I could sing back-up for her when she goes on tour.
You recently traveled around the world and chronicled your thoughts for Wavelength.

What are your lasting impressions now that you’re back?

Thank God for indoor plumbing!

Say a few words about XTC, Guided by Voices and affordable keyboards.

Andy Partridge and Bob Pollard are like that devil and angel that appear over your shoulder when you’re faced with an important decision. Angel Andy says, “Don’t worry about impressing anybody, just strive to make the best song possible and be happy with that,” while devil Bob takes a swig of beer and says, “Quit your job for rock’n’fuckin’roll!” It’s not my desire to be the frontman in a band, I’d rather be in a band like Sloan, Sebadoh, or Sonic Youth where three or four people contribute their best material, but at the very least I dream of teaming up with a Colin Moulding or a Tobin Sprout of my own who keeps egging me on to new heights with their awesome songs. Until then, I’m stuck with a cheap keyboard. At least a keyboard always shows up for practice and never whines about having to play a show on a Sunday.

What words of encouragement would you offer to someone who is just starting out in the independent music scene?

“ Thanks for the tape. I’ll make sure to give it to Derek or Jonny when they get here.”


Saturday February 15, 10:45pm
The Music Gallery, 197 John St.
Purveyors of: Snow Robot music

Paddy O’Donnell asked Gregory De Rocher and Jason Amm (Lowfish and Solvent, respectively) about their projects and the label they formed, Suction Records. Here, without delay, is what they both had to say.

How, Gregory and Jason, did you meet and come to make music and a label together?

J: We met in high school in the late ‘80s. It was very unpopular to be into electronic music at that time, with bad memories of stuff like A Flock Of Seagulls still lingering. We were the only people who were into electronic music, so that was our connection. Years later Gregory introduced me to stuff like Aphex Twin and µ-ziq, and that stuff inspired both of us to get serious about making music.

G: The label came about in 1997, when we both had a foolishly large back catalogue of good tracks (versus the equally large catalogue of crappy tracks that kept us from acting before this time) to release. I was also in touch with some other labels and was not up for waiting forever for my stuff to come out. We were stubborn and wanted to do it all ourselves.

You have been running Suction Records with much success, but you have also appeared on several other prominent labels (Ersatz Audio, Morr Music, Lo Recordings). What are the advantages of either situation? Is there one you prefer?

J: We appear on bigger labels from time to time, with the hopes of gaining some new listeners to bring back to Suction Records. Releasing on a label like Morr Music or Ersatz Audio is good for exposure and credibility, but for me, no label is more suitable for presenting my complete package vision than Suction Records.

G: It’s also about access to different markets and doing a record that may not fit with our narrow vision of what’s right for Suction. For me, the Ersatz record I did was made very much with Ersatz in mind. I was in a different frame of mind, with different reference points, when I made that record. Same sort of thing with being on the Ghostly International Disco Nouveau comp. Different labels have different distribution, etc. I’ve met people who call themselves a “fan” and only know my tracks from compilations. They don’t own one Suction Records release — and I’m just about to release my fourth full-length album!
There is an increasingly diverse roster of artists on Suction. Briefly describe the current plan for Suction.

J: Increasingly diverse roster? You mean more than two now?! We have had a lot of problems with distributors saying that our label needs a larger roster in order to grow. Our problem was that we were being too narrow in our focus, so much so that we really only felt comfortable releasing Lowfish and Solvent records! So now we’re also releasing Solvent and Lowfish side-projects, which often sound pretty different, along with some outside artists like Skanfrom from Germany, and GD Luxxe from Austria. The most obvious development is that some of the recent releases feature prominent vocals.

G: We’ve also made a few discoveries of late that we are very excited about, so the roster will grow in the next year.

It seems these other artists have opened the door to collaboration with your own individual projects. Can we expect this to continue? Are there further collaborations in the works?

J: Our next releases are both collaborations: Black Turtleneck (five-track 12” EP Auntie Depressant coming out in March) is an electro-pop duo featuring Solvent and another local robot called Thomas Sinclair, and Tinfoil Teakettle (3-track 7” single 13 also out in March) is a collaboration between Solvent and Lowfish. We have plans to release full-lengths by both Black Turtleneck and Tinfoil Teakettle this year. Also, hoping to finish some collaborations I started with Skanfrom and GD Luxxe.

G: We have such a specialized sound we are looking for that once you find someone who really understands and operates within that context, you want to work together. Which is sorta weird, as this kind of music is very solitary. The cliché of the geek in his bedroom with machines is a solid one. I know for me, I started working with machines specifically because I never wanted to work with other people or have someone breathing down my neck, or telling me the kick drum is too loud.

It seems easy to lump electronic music into a category of sorts, or some kind of all-encompassing catchphrase (IDM, electro-clash, etc.). You have shown some distaste for this practice, and yet have been unwilling victims of it nonetheless. How would you, then, describe your music? Do you see any benefit in the genre-fication of music?

J: We don’t hate it that much, because luckily for us we don’t fit neatly enough into any of these categories to suffer the backlash/prejudice that may be associated with certain genres. I think the people who get the most riled up about genre-fication are defensive because they know they get genre-fied for a reason. I know I used to get pretty upset by all the Aphex Twin comparisons I got after my first album in 1998, but in retrospect I really hadn’t completely found my own voice yet, so I probably was ripping off Aphex a little too much at that point. But we definitely have our own Suction Records sound now, and it’s far too booming and memorable to be mistaken for IDM, and far too intricate and refined to be mistaken for electro-clash.

G: I have no problem with my records being in the electronic, electro or dance section of stores, as long as they are there! My stuff is in the alternative rock section at the HMV on Yonge Street here in Toronto. Seriously? Seriously.

At a recent Lowfish vs. Solvent show, the audience witnessed not only the two of you reconstructing each other’s works head-to-head in a live joint effort, but also the introduction of vocoder-effected vocals! (Stand up, Solvent!) It seems a radical departure to make, almost as if you were offering more of a traditional band-like performance. It is interesting to see the lines of electronic music so blurred. How do you approach performing electronic, computer-based music? It seems to be an evolutionary process for you...

J: With live electronic music you can do one of three things: One: Pretend to do something while doing nothing. Two: Do something even though it still basically looks like you’re doing nothing. Three: Do something obviously live. We used to do Two, now we do Three, and it’s a lot more fun. People are really reacting to the obviously live elements like vocals and live keyboard playing. It’s so un-techno and people aren’t used to it with electronic music, but really it’s not all that different from how the synth-pop bands performed live in the early ‘80s, with their reel-to-reel tapes backing them up. About this evolutionary process though, I just want to say that Suction Records will stand firmly against the use of live drums.

G: Though I may consider banging on huge sheets of metal and playing a skillsaw live.
What words do you have for the average music fan?

J: You can upgrade your status to “above-average music fan” by purchasing the entire Suction Records catalogue immediately.





Friday February 14, 10:15pm
El Mocambo, 464 Spadina Ave.
Purveyors of: Digital pop sophistication,

New York City’s Versus were one of the most effortlessly innovative and supremely sophisticated indie-pop bands of the ‘90s, one that gained a devoted cult following but somehow avoided serious mainstream exposure. With the band on semi-permanent hiatus and leader Richard Baluyut in self-imposed exile on the west coast, the flame has been passed to younger brother, guitarist and home-studio maniac James Baluyut, who has retooled that immediately recognizable Versus sound for the digital ‘00s with his own project-turned-band, +/- (Plus Minus). Their 2002 Teenbeat debut features shockingly good songs and consistently unique arrangements, all crafted by James himself, while the live quartet interpret the tunes with sympathetic rock dynamics that don’t overpower the electronic sheen. Yo yo yo, Wavelength is ecstatic to bring +/- up from NYC for the 150, so listen up…

James, am I to understand that +/- is “your” project? When did it get its start — and how?

+/- was originally my project, yes. After the demise of my former band (Versus), I was a bit out of it. I had been writing my own songs for years, but never really thought anyone would have any interest in them. But Mark Robinson (Teenbeat) just emailed me one day and asked if I’d put out a record. He hadn’t really heard much, just one song I sang on a Versus EP. But I guess he liked it, and I know he’s into the idea of Teenbeat Alumni. Nowadays, +/- is a full-fledged band and our next release will reflect that.

The songs on your Self-Titled Long-Playing Debut Album sound like they were lovingly baked in some friendly computer software. Tell us about your songwriting and recording process, and how the two might be interrelated.

Well, I’d say that the album is divided into three parts: parts I wrote trying to learn how to use my old sampler, parts I wrote trying to figure out digital recording, and songs I wrote as such. So you might say the album’s songwriting was heavily inspired by technology. With some songs, I would just experiment, try to make some different sounds and short loops. When I liked something, I ‘d go in and try singing to it. If that proved successful then I’d start to arrange it as a song. Others were just things I played on an acoustic guitar, and then built the accompaniment around the guitar playing. So I suppose it depends on the situation... Songwriters always say, “the technology is just a way to get my vision across” or something cliché like that. For me, the technology itself was often what was inspiring. Can I really graft a ‘50s chord progression with doo-wop singing to a hip-hop beat (“Yo Yo Yo [Please Don’t Fall In Love]”)? Can you write a folk song and arrange it for two robot drummers (“Queen of Detroit”)?

How do you feel about being compared to other “digipop” (not my term) bands like Pinback, The Magnetic Fields or The Notwist?

Honestly, I can’t comment on that too much. I think Pinback and Magnetic Fields are great, but I don’t really see them as comparable to +/- or to each other for that matter. In terms of songwriting style, I think the bands are wildly different. The Notwist is a band I keep hearing about and people tell me that +/- is similar to, but I just haven’t gotten around to checking out.

Bands, bands, bands. You were once a member of the band Versus. Do you look back on your time with them fondly? Or do you get sick of being asked about them all the time? Or both??

I remember my time with Versus fondly... In fact we just did four shows together! It’s a bit more fun this time around. While I was in that band, though it was definitely fun, there was a lot of emphasis on the band as a career and that put a good deal of pressure on us. Now that we’re not an active entity, we’re more relaxed, we play better and we’re just having a good time. I don’t mind being asked about it, but I certainly don’t want to dwell on that band, either.

Who’s all in the live incarnation of +/- these days? How did you select them or did they select you?

The band consists of myself, Patrick Ramos on guitar and keyboard, Margaret McCartney on bass, and Chris Deaner behind the kit. Patrick, I’ve played with for years and years in a number of different contexts. Most recently he was the drummer of Versus, but he’s an amazing guitarist. Margaret, I’ve known for a few years and I always admired her playing and singing in her bands, Tuscadero and Hot Pursuit. One day after seeing Hot Pursuit, I asked her if she’d like to help us out in our project and it just clicked. Chris, I just met through mutual friends and when I first witnessed his drumming, I knew that he was the rare find: able to play odd time extremely naturally, unafraid to experiment, and a solid timekeeper to boot.

You visited Toronto last October as part of a long North American tour. What were your impressions of our fair metropolis?

T-dot, right? I’ve always loved Toronto. For that matter, I’ve always loved Canada. I grew up outside Detroit and I always felt Toronto was much more alluring than Chicago. There’s a certain international something going on in Toronto that I only feel there and New York City. People seem extremely nice and grounded, which I like.
Please demystify the Teenbeat Empire for those who still think it’s 1994.
Well, Teenbeat’s roster is a pretty far cry from 1994. While the label still doles out a fair amount of informed pop music, it’s much different today. Gone are indie staples like Unrest, Air Miami, Versus and Eggs. They’ve been replaced admirably by a more varied cast stretching from bossanova pop (True Love Always) to intellectual folk (Currituck County) to Factory Records-inspired fragmented pop (Flin Flon) all the way to digipop as you put it...

What’s next? Another record in the works?

We’re recording right now! We’ll have an EP in the spring and an LP in the fall. Plus a U.K. single and a couple compilation appearances.
— interview by Jonny Dovercourt

Saturday February 15, 9:15pm
The Music Gallery, 197 John St.
Purveyor of: The procreant urge of the world

Olympia, Washington’s Arrington de Dionyso sings, plays guitar and supplies appriopriately arcane orgiastic lyrics and drawings for fire’n’brimstone punk pagans Old Time Relijun, but has also alternately pared things down to solo bass clarinet performances in recent years. In anticipation of Arrington’s first-time visit to Toronto, Craig Fraid tracked him down mid-tour for the following correspondence:

When in solo improvising mode, how much of a thread, if any, is there from show to show? Have you tended to focus on mainly being receptive to that given night’s feel, seeing it as its own self-contained/fleeting event, or do gradual elaborations on recurring riffs/passages ever crop up in a more conscious way? How do you tend to handle the push and pull of these two dynamics?

I think there are several improvisation strategies that I tend to use for different settings, and it is difficult to clearly delineate where one begins and ends. This question kind of puts me into theoretical mode here... One way I think about it is that improvisation can be the sound equivalent of automatic drawings (as pioneered by 19th century spiritualists and further developed in the surrealist movement by artists such as André Masson). There are always going to be certain recurring gestures or motifs that will just fall into place. I want to play music in a way that I can open myself completely to experiencing and tasting the totality of the universe in but a few fleeting moments of sound. Not every performance is wholly successful, if that is the guiding criteria. I don’t worry myself about repeating certain gestures, only that I might be gesturing inauthentically in the given moment. I always used to say that when I improvised on the clarinet, I was really only coming up with different versions of the same song. I don’t think that is quite true anymore, but it could still be a little tiny bit partially true. I also have been using some of the songs/compositions from the Old Time Relijun repertoire as jumping-off points for vocal improvisations, but these tend to be more idiomatic in a Tuvan Field Holler Gospel Shouter Shamanistic kind of a way.

The diary for this past fall’s Old Time Relijun tour definitely made the trip alternately seem like a nerve-wracking ordeal or some kind of picaresque adventure. What’s your level of tolerance for such mishaps and hijinx? Have your experiences over the years made you a better trouble-shooter and made things easier, or does that make things less fun, then, if it only allows you to be more aware of just how many things can go wrong?

In the weeks prior to a month-long tour, a band member’s father died, I lost my “day job,” was kicked out of the house I had been living in, had to move in temporarily with my ex-wife (bad idea), and found myself enmeshed in other drama with another long-term relationship that I won’t go into at this time. When, after only the third day of being out on a month long tour, I found myself stranded after having two (!) cars breaking down within 24 hours of each other, I had those issues at home to consider in making my decision to either get a bus back home right away, or attempt to hitch-hike 300 miles to try to make the next concert. In this context, “home” was a concept, not a place to return to. Call it God, Universe, Karma, I don’t care to argue whatever to call it, but I had to put a lot of trust out there to guide me on the right path. Although every tour I have ever been on has had its share of hilarious and unfortunate occurances/mishaps, I would say that still, from the perspective of three months’ time later, that experience from last October has changed me completely. Particularly in regards to my approach to music-making, performance, touring — I came to see improvisation as a way of living, not just something to do on stage in front of people. While stranded and cold and wet and cursing God and all creation, I was forced into a position of heightened awareness of my own elemental environs, and all the “stuff” I was made from. As I write this, I just drove back from Missoula, Montana — I don’t know what the hell is wrong with my truck, I mean, I think I kind of fixed it, but I can’t tell if it was breaking down due to a coil, spark, hose, carburator, air filter, or some combination of these malfunctioning parts.

Does the whole lone-gun/drifter-into-town element of solo performance tend to put things more on the line for you, or does it offer more relief than grief? I imagine it pretty much radically changes a lot of the rituals of the road, especially downtime... Does it let you retreat more, or force you to be more sociable with the locals, etc.?

One gets to choose anything at any time. The solo tour is an incredible opportunity to vision-quest — the focus both inwards and outwards does tend to blur those boundaries between the inner and outer worlds. It is a rare experience to tour completely alone. Even when performing solo, the tours are often arranged as part of a package with other bands or other solo artists, as was this recent jaunt with Devendra Banhart, Guy Blakeslee, and Faun Fables. What struck me most during these shows was however divergent our approach to songcraft, we seem possessed by some of the same daemons. Really refreshing to connect on so much common ground.

When interviewed in Oakland last year, one part of the conversation that particularly struck me was your reminiscence about all the different records you took out of the public library as a teenager. Earlier in the interview, you also mention how open-mindedness can almost always compensate for a lack of reference points when it comes to music. Have any recent fixations arose that have let you rekindle that same sort of enthusiasm that music was able to before all the dots started to get connected and the mystery was unravelled?

I have done a lot of art-making over the years, but I am just now starting to really get the hang of watercolours. The cover of the next Old Time Relijun album might just have to be a watercolour, I am having quite the time of it. In musical research and inquiry, I have been blown away by the discovery a few weeks ago in a California record store of a five-CD box set of work for solo voice by Demetrio Stratos. People had mentioned his name to me in Italy, where most of these recordings were produced originally, in the ‘70s. This is some of the most perplexing experimental singing I have ever heard — Stratos does the whole range of extended voice, and there is plenty of shit on those five discs that I can not for the life of me figure out how the hell is he making that sound?
— interview by Craig Fraid Dunsmuir


Saturday February 16, 9:45pm
Sneaky Dee’s
Purveyors of: Too-smart pop and no goddamn email

Decoy have been misunderstood from the get-go. Are they throwing extra beats on the end of that verse intentionally? Doesn’t Prince do that? Why did I hear they sounded like Steely Dan? Isn’t that guy in the glasses too smart to be singing in a band? Is Sebadoh nostalgia too cool for me? How come I was too lame to like Polvo when they were new? Why do I just pretend to like Prince records when I only ever saw Purple Rain once and just own the “Batdance” cassingle? Why is this band the greatest? Why didn’t I realize that Prince beats all that crap I listened to before, and here these guys knew he was the secret coolest influence ever all along? See what I’m talking about? If you people don’t wake up to this, for fuck’s sakes, stop pretending you like music and just buy Shania CDs. — Buddy of the Pines

Name five records that could be aptly compared to Decoy.
(Bruce and Kim commiserate for the better part of a week.)

Prince — Dirty Mind, 1999, Around The World In A Day, Parade, Sign O’ The Times.
What should audiences not expect from Decoy?

Bruce: If I only put more effort into honing my “audience reading” skills, perhaps Decoy would be more revered than
Volv (CD, 1997)
Laser Thinking (CD, Roxton Records, 1999)
In The Light Of Everything (12” EP, Roxton Records, 2001)
No Reduction (CDR, Roxton Records, 2002)

they are today... but seriously... it’s what audiences do expect that perplexes me. Alls I know is that if I was in the audience at a Decoy show, I’d be all, “I like these guys. They don’t seem to be trying too hard... but in a good way.”
Sell it. Sell it big.

Bruce: If I only put more effort into being a better salesman... but seriously... you may already know and love much of Decoy’s popular repertoire but don’t realize it. Decoy is all about the hits. (Interview ends.)

Decoy (CD, 1995)

Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St. W.

First played: WL 81

Calamity ballet. Everyone packed in like sardines. Everyone wanting to make a difference, everyone hiding how hurt and tired and deaf they are. There is faith in how well you know the songs, and you know you’ll play them well because right now it’s like breathing and it’s the only thing that keeps you alive. Breathing, that is. And eggs over my hammy. Trust me. “But looky here bub, one more crack like that and I’ll pop you to the moon,” he said with a fistful of friendliness and a smile that packed a wallop. Where’s Jay Baird when you need him? Oh, he’s out and in love. — Justin Small

First played: WL 55, last played: WL 130

RRG are Evan Clarke, Jeremy Strachan, and David “don’t jack my can of Bud just ‘coz it’s at the front of the fridge and call me for calling you on it” Weinkauf. We’ve played Toronto 15 times now, and Montreal 11, I think. Since our last Wavelength, two us have rekindled our on-again, off-again relationship with university, and have been keeping busy playing music in and around Toronto with friends. We’ll be recording in the spring and touring in the summer. Gus is thinking about grad school in Montreal. — Jeremy Strachan

First played: WL 61

There is no revolution but for the personal revolution. Fix yourself and you’ll be doing humanity the greatest service you possibly can. And besides, why do you need to know anything about me? Who cares? I make music just like anybody draws a picture or whistles a tune or makes a sandwich. I just happen to be vain enough to want to document it, needy enough to want you to hear it, and generous enough to give away free records on Feb 13. — Sandro Perri

PONY DA LOOK 10:15pm
First played: WL 122
Pony Da Look has been going through a few changes recently. We lost a member to a college in France — Sam is no longer with us, but we are delighted to present for the first time, our newest member, Catherine Stockhausen. The band is spending February recording a new album, and will release it at the end of March or beginning of April. — Amy Bowles

ANAGRAM 9:30pm
First played: WL 134
Spawning originally from the suburbs of Oshawa, Anagram is Chris Taylor (bass), Willy Mason (guitar), Matt Mason (vocals), Clayton Churcher (drums) and Jon Scwartz (saxophones). After a handful of well-recieved shows in the past six months Anagram has developed a reputation for explosive and interactive live performances, fuelled by pulsating rhythms and wailing saxophone. Since their last Wavelength appearance in October, the band has been recording at home for their first album to be released this spring. — Clayton Churcher



El Mocambo, 464 Spadina Ave.

First played: WL 141

Lullabye Arkestra loves: Rock’n’roll, fat beats, Ampegs, deep soul, gospel, heavy metal, shaking booties, fishnets, world peace alarm clock, Swiss rolls, crazy carpets, peep, peace, when everything works out, John Cusack, a New Yorker and a beer, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, chopped cilantro, fresh bread in the morning, roasting garlic, dancing, watching other people dance, striped sock stockings, swimming in lakes, el sombrero margaritas, brown tract pond, kitty, gin and tonic, house parties, pancake, my girl Hezramac, cultural differences, the smell of citrus fruit when peeling, many albums, the western hemisphere (the best of all the hemispheres), the universe and all things, everywhere else, all of the above, none of the above, the act of loving, watching Charlie, makin’ love, melting pots, dog grooming, valium, Wendy Rene, Eddie and Ernie, Kevin and Jo, Jo’s holistic retreat, Mizz Galliera’s cooking, and you. Happy Valentine’s Day! Luv the Ark.

First played: WL 114

Brian Connelly’s suave and sexy trio have a new CD out on Mint. Read our review
First played: WL 123

The Dirty Hearts unleash a wicked sound. You, too, will feel unclean. The quartet is comprised of members past and present of Fell Gang, Deep Dark United, Blackeyes, Elevator, Tara S’Appart, More Plastic and The 4-Star Movie. They can be found swinging from quirky country-tinged ballads to full-on sonic assaults, without so much as drawing a breath between. Rumours are that they will be recording their evil hoedowns for future home sullying. — Paddy O’Donnell


Wavelength newcomers — see above

First played: WL 104

Lederhosen Lucil, Montreal’s faux-Bavarian keyboard pop princess, has been punching in overtime this past year — she released her first nationally distributed album Hosemusik in April 2002, toured from Newfoundland to B.C. throughout the summer and fall, and gained a cult fan base due to college radio play and opening up for acts like Stereo Total, Momus and Le Tigre. At the moment, Lucil is working on plans for her first film/ video, a European tour, and has pressed a new batch of CDs after the first 500 disappeared. — Krista Muir



The Music Gallery, 197 John St.


Wavelength newcomers — see above

First played: WL 113

For ten years now, the CCMC trio of Michael Snow (piano and synthesizer), John Oswald (alto sax), and Paul Dutton (soundsinging and harmonica) have been carrying on the free improvisational tradition of the original CCMC, formed in 1975 by Snow and four others. The music of Snow, Oswald, and Dutton features individual virtuosity and collective energy applied to the creation of shifting tapestries of texture and timbre, with process taking precedence and form evolving organically. Since CCMC’s last Wavelength appearance, in May of 2002, the band has issued a CD of concert performances with turntablist Christian Marclay, and has performed in London (England), Berlin, Paris, and Montreal. — Paul Dutton

Wavelength newcomer — see above

First played: WL 127

At the Wavelength 150 fest, Saint Dirt will feature our giant new line-up: new members include Ryan Driver on piano, synth and thumb reeds, and bassist Mike Overton. We’ve also landed a successful weekly series (Thursdays at the Tranzac, Brunswick s. of Bloor, 9:30pm) where we earned this gleaming review from the Tranzac website ( “We started off billing them as Dixieland, then heard them play. So we changed our description to nuevo Dixieland. Now we’re dropping any reference to Dixieland. It is improv jazz that they play.” — Myk Freedman

  FYI: The Music Gallery is located inside St. George the Martyr Church, at the south end of Grange Park (south of the AGO), at the top of John St. (north of Queen). Doors will open at 7:45pm, and the show will be over by midnight. There is no smoking inside the church — however, alcohol will be served. Check out the Gallery’s website at

Sneaky Dee’s — afternoon (2-5pm)

Visit the bank machine before you head down to Sneaky’s on the afternoon of the 16th. It’s the second annual Wavelength Trade Show indie label fair, where over a dozen local and regionally-based independent imprints will gather to exhibit the excellent talent being nurtured in our area.

Participating labels include:
Aliengirl *** AntiAntenna *** Aporia Records *** Bobby Dazzler *** Die!Venom *** High School Champion *** Kosher Rock *** Matlock Records *** Noise Factory *** Suck My Disc *** Suction Records *** Three Gut Records

Plus, enjoy some sunshine sets by the likes of...


First played: WL 6, last played: WL 94
Holding Pattern will be releasing a split seven inch with Slight Return sometime in the spring or summer. They will tour Canada again in August, and hope, at that time, to be ready to record a cohesive full-length for their sophomore release. Their new songs more readily betray Holding Pattern’s rock’n’roll influence, while still inhabiting familiar territory. Holding Pattern’s freshman offering, Small M Manifesto, was released in the winter of 2002 on Matlock Records. Holding Pattern are an instrumental band. — Lee Sheppard

First played: WL 101, last played: WL 139

The Sick Lipstick are no longer teenage robots. We are twenty-something robots, who still like noisy rock’n’roll guitars, sick synthesizers and dance beats. Lately we’ve been eating zombie cookies, playing shows around Toronto and bashing out new songs for our CD/LP to be released this summer on Tiger Style Records. We’ve also been hating winter, saying the word “guy”, annoying our neighbours and Lazer Lu Lu has been knitting pretty wristbands. — Dennis Amos



Sneaky Dee’s — evening show
First played: WL 92, last played: WL 125

It’s been almost three years into Cuff The Duke and it’s about time we set the record straight. It’s funny how Railthin, Chuck Buckets, Ranch Hand, and myself, Rumlove, all came together to play something mostly foreign to us. We know our music is hard to pinpoint. The ups begat the downs. The ins begat the outs. The on-tops, the on-bottoms. It’s just the way it happened. The album, Life Stories for Minimum Wage, surfaced a couple months ago and inside there is a secret, I swear. The world we grew up in. A world that can only be described firsthand. Take a trek to the corners of King and Simcoe at the east end of the GO train line. You can find the secret in the eyes of the countless zombies and derelicts migrating to nowhere endlessly throughout the streets. The helplessness of decay everywhere. But what you would have found three years ago is 20 guys with nothing to lose. 20 of the best friends that you could ever imagine. 20 of the most intense, brilliant youth. You guys all know who you are. You help us to hope and dream and we are proud of all we’ve done and all we can do. Here’s to the few that escaped Oshawa. — Rumlove
First played: WL 141

The Size Sevens are Ronny Maker (guitar, vocals, rock), Pual #1 (bass, vocals, innocence), Faux-Paul Julien Anti (guitar, vocals, spatula) and Michael Woodgate The Fifth (drums, no vocals, recipe). The Size Sevens grew up together in the Village of Malton, which is situated right beside Pearson Airport. They all went to the same high school, but at different times. The Size Sevens have been compared to water, among other things. Refreshing and Important. They last played Wavelength in November with Lullabye Arkestra. Since then, they have recorded an album and played shows regularly. Right now, Faux-Paul and Maker, the two least important members of the outfit, are somewhere in Europe. They return February 12, just in time for Wavelength. — Pual #1 (sic)
First played: WL 111

It’s night, late summer. You’re in a mining town in the heart of the Canadian Shield. The wide northern sky is cloudless although thunder in the distance warns of a storm coming in from the west. The scattered trees and browning mosses look like they could use the rain but you’re more interested in what the water might do to your already-failing plasma drive. The journey from Rigel was longer than you expected and you still have far to go. You’re thirsty. Deciding against visiting the bar across the street, you activate your ship’s cloaking device and head for the fridge. You hear music. It reminds you of something. It’s moody, distant. As the Northern Lights shimmer high above, you swear you can almost hear them. You can’t. It’s the band in the bar. That’s not the heavens singing to you stranger, that there’s The Magnetars. — Dave Gee

First played: WL 12

Damn, has it really been almost three years since Decoy last played Wavelength? They’re long overdue for an interview. See above


Sunday February 23, 11:45pm
Purveyor of:

Members of The Electric End (Yannick and Chloe) were previously in Da Bloody Gashes, loud political music that defies description.
Do you have a musical manifesto for The Electric End? Have your aims and means shifted since forming the new band?

Since the days of Da Bloody Gashes we have done a real 360. Instead of being a noisy rock band, we are now a (slightly) rocking noise band. We are more discordant and aggressive, and the improv of DBG is now front stage. On a political level, we are more concerned with action and form instead of didactic lyrical content. As The Electric End, we care about self-satisfaction and the tiny segment of bands we align with, rather than punk at large. Appealing to fans, putting out records and getting press is less important than fucking shit up on a musical level. Now that we don’t sing about politics, we sing about period stains, Vikings, pirates and serial killers.

You also run Serigraphie Populaire, a Montreal print studio that has been producing beautiful, brilliant and affordable posters near and far. How does your art relate to your rock? And, is there a political motivation in “silkscreening for the people”?

We feel that in both our visual art as well as our music, there is a large level of deconstruction and at the same time, a demonstration of our knowledge of the history of music and visual arts that allows us to play with post-modern puns. We see ourselves as pranksters getting the last laugh, and our small audience being in on our inside jokes. Also right now for the two of us, establishing ourselves as poster-makers/designers/visual artists is top priority, while the band is our hobby to keep us sane. We both did the full-time band thing for two years, now we are happy at home with our X-Actos and inks.

We hear that you align yourselves with the New York-based No Wave scene of the late ‘70s. What does this music/time period mean to you? Are you trying to recreate, reactivate or renovate?

Well the No New York music and art scene is a very large influence, but we would align ourselves more with ‘70s metal, hardcore, ‘80s noise rock and the no(w) wave triggered in the mid-‘90s Chicago scene. We feel we are a (very) small part of a resurgence of no-wave/noise-rock that is surprisingly gaining speed right now. Bands that we feel are key players in this exciting music are XBXRX, The Sick Lipstick, Erase Errata, The Flying Luttenbachers, US Maple, Arab On Radar (R.I.P), Femme Fatale, Lightning Bolt, Pink And Brown, Numbers, etc. We would say that Black Sabbath, Black Flag And Black Dice are our key influences.

I nearly came to an electric end myself a few months back while unplugging my amp, ouch! Are you particularly fond of electricity (other than its obvious guitar enhancing effect)?

Our name is a reference to a Texas folk singer by the name of Jandek. We do not really have on opinion on electricity in general other than the obvious (heat, refrigeration, etc.).

What are your plans for the future? Recording? Touring?

Yes please.
— interview by Julia Muth

Sunday February 23, 10:45pm
Purveyors of:

When Jonny asked me to interview Mach Tiver, I knew it was my chance to share with indie rockers how much they as a band, and as friends, mean to me and our nice little scene we have here in Ontario and across Canada. If you were to drive outside Toronto to play a punk-rock gig, more than likely someone would show up with a Mach Tiver hat or T-Shirt. Possibly they would be wearing a homemade studded vegan bracelet, or perhaps would have a van patch sewn to their bag.

This is exactly what I witnessed when on tour with Gaffer this past summer. Kids in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and even Courtney B.C. were wearing Mach Tiver gear. Once I mentioned that I was good friends with Adam and Shannon, I became quick friends with these kids. Finding people with the same interests on tour isn’t too hard, but finding you both completely relate to a brother-and-sister, dual-vocal, three-string bass-and-drums hardcore band isn’t quite the norm. And it wasn’t the typical “oh man, you know those guys, that’s so cool.” It was more like, “wow, they’re the nicest people, you’re quite lucky to have such good friends. Do you want to stay at my house and eat vegan pancakes?!”

So you could imagine what happened when Mach Tiver came through the door in Edmonton, halfway through Gaffer’s tour. After elated embraces and high fives, they broke into amazing new tracks from their CD A Means of Escape (which features a silkscreened picture of their van, sewn into a cardboard case). Shannon with her new 1950s drums, Adam with his two stacks and pure emotion.
After dinner, vegan tips for the road and a nice sleep, we split our separate ways.

Rockin’ the new disc the rest of the way, I never felt so good to know a band, a band that brings out their emotions but who stay positive and fight through the struggles of everyday life. A band that drives across North America every summer because that’s what it’s all about. A band that doesn’t give a shit what you think, but love you because you’re nice. I will be joining Mach Tiver on tour as we drive across the USA and Canada starting May 8 and returning June 15. Give them a hello or a thank you, when you see them on Sunday the 23rd. — Awolf


The Mountain Goats — Live in Chicago CDR
Neil Diamond — Greatest Hits
Propagandhi — Less Talk More Rock
Wolves — Art Culture Work
Weezer — Pinkerton

The Wolfnote
The Mountain Goats — Live in Chicago CDR
Andre’s Last Chance
City Of Caterpillar
Crooked Fingers — Reservoir Songs


How did the band start?

The band started with the break up of our first band, Zero. We just started jamming whenever I came back home from school and we liked what we were doing, so we started writing a bunch of songs.

Why do you play a three-string bass?

I find the E-string sounds really horrible with the distortion I use, and when we first started playing I would always break that string. Finally, I realized that I never used that string in any of the songs we were writing, and found it silly that I would replace it when it wasn’t being used.

What’s your motivation behind Mach Tiver?

To show that brothers and sisters can get along.

How personal are the lyrics?

The lyrics on the last two records have been pretty personal. Most of the subjects touch on something that has affected Shannon or I in some way. Usually negatively.

Why don’t you really play with local HC/screamo bands?

We don’t really know any, and I don’t think that many people who do shows in Toronto know we exist.

Mach Tiver merch is spread across Canada. Kids everywhere love you guys. What do you think their connection is to the band?
To be honest, I am not sure.

I love Mach Tiver, can I come on tour with you?

You bet.

I think the drummer is cute, is she single?

I think you should probably ask her.


Sunday February 23, 9:45pm
Purveyors of:

We have no idea what Makeshift look like or sound like. We have placed our trust in Adam from Mach Tiver that they are indeed, uh, “awesome.” The band’s members are Matt (bass, vocals), Chuck (guitar), Brian (bass) and Andy (drums), and these guys have done time in such well-regarded Ottawa post-hardcore (yes, there is such a thing) bands as Shotmaker, Okara, Three Penny Opera and Slow Parker. Hot damn! Born-again HC disciple Buddy of the Pines asks questions:

You know that thing hardcore bassists always do, where they hit some heavy part (like the chorus) and they like look up at the sky like, “RRRRRRR!”? Can you guys tell me what that is? I never got that. You have two bassists, so you must know.

The roles we decide to play as privileged white males wrestling with the constant trail of deceit, treachery, suffering, and injustice that we leave behind have nothing to do with it. It’s the lack of beano in our diet, it’s just indigestion.

If someone’s smoking up at your show, and I’m there, should I be like “You say it’s natural but it’s IN MY EYES!!!”

Weren’t Sudden Impact from Toronto? Didn’t they have a lyric like, “fuck straight edge maaan, get bent!”? I’d be quotin’ that one right back at you.
How does the configuration of your band differ in sound from similarly arranged groups (i.e., Ned’s Atomic Dustbin)? I guess what I’m saying is sell me a bit more on your thing there.

The Shaggs and the Minutemen are both trios that use the same instrumentation. We are two bassists, a guitarist, and a drummer. Some of us sing. This band seems to be making some of the same references that past projects we have been in have also made (as opposed to trying something completely different). It just happened to be that Matt got tired of playing drums, and started writing stuff on the bass. Initially just a trio with no guitar, we found out that Chuck learned everything he knows from Keith Richards, and had to bring him on board... he rocks!!

Nowadays, theres like make-believe type bands, and sign-over-our-heads rock bands, and mix-of-two-things bands, etc. Come up with a stupider genre name for yourselves than the one this magazine will supply.

I don’t know what any of those mean. We invite you to make your own labels for what we do.

Lately I noticed that lyrical content is getting waaaay too literal and earnest. It’s like even the good ones had the poet part sucked right out of them. I miss when bands like Prisons Come Home would print their lyrics with a disclaimer like, “Too prissy, witch hunt and special interest are all used ironically.” Am I right or what? Give us your favourite lyric (yours or otherwise).

I have to agree. Can I throw in another Minutemen reference? “This morning the window blew its glass into my face/ Real morning with pluses and minuses (my symbols for truth).” Thank you



Feb. 2 @ Sneaky’s
Jubal Brown
Obscure electronic / New Wave / 1981 / Rock Roll / Schmaltz

Feb. 9 @ Sneaky’s
The Evil Karaoke Machine
Self-explanatory. (Or so we believe.)

Feb. 13 @ Lee’s
DJ Smokey Campbell vs. DJ Moutray
Campbell and Moutray might not intersect, but they’re definitely in the same neighbourhood… (The persons behind these monikers were first seen on-stage at Wavelength #1. Now they are providing the off-stage music for #150, exactly three years later.)

Feb. 14 @ the El Mo
DJ Greg Davis
The heart and soul of Soundscapes has caused more than a few lovers to rock. Of course, we couldn’t help but ask him for a return engagement at Wavelength on this very special occasion.

Feb. 15 @ The Music Gallery
Anti-DJ Syndicate
North of Davenport’s most crowd-indifferent duo return...

Feb. 16 @ Sneaky’s
Paddy O’Donnell
Paddy has been dancing to the waves for a number of years now; some fear he may never return to solid ground…

Feb. 23 @ Sneaky’s
Who dares to insult us with this blasphemous mockery?
The entity known as: “Who dares to insult us with this blasphemous mockery?” wishes only to ask: ‘Who dares to insult us with this blasphemous mockery?’