Clash often asks a guest reviewer to cover our singles column. It’s partly because having an artist dissect other artists seems a little more legit than one of us office-loiterers doing it, since not one of us is yet to release a record. (At least, I don’t think we have.) And, it’s partly because we’re lazy. It’s mainly the latter.
But, some guests can be pretty lazy, too, with their line-or-two summations of the tracks we send them. We’ve never had a, “Not for me, next,” kind of situation, but close to it. So it’s splendid, indeed, to get the sort of committed contribution that Fist City guitarist Evan Van Reekum has delivered this week. As a fourth of the Canadian punk outfit, he’s done plenty of touring, plenty of recording, plenty of this whole being a musician thing. He knows eggs from bacon. Blankets from bricks. Good from not exactly good but not so awful it makes you run into the street and kick a lamppost until your Cons are all sorta ruddy.
Sorry, no idea what this intro’s trying to say anymore. Here’s Evan from Fist City reviewing some singles quite well. Thanks, Evan. Come back any time.
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Fist City, ‘Boring Kids’, from the album ‘It’s 1983, Grow Up’
Let’s get one thing straight before we begin. I don’t review music because I’m not very good at it – but we’ll give this a try. I find it difficult to be okay with somebody’s subjective taste deciding for the public whether or not they should like something – especially if that person is also an active musician. One time the guy from Pissed Jeans wrote a horrible review of our first record on his blog, in which he instructed potential listeners to ‘turn around and run the other way’ if they ever saw it in a store. This kinda cut me a bit – because I really like that band. But you know what? He was right. It’s kind of a terrible record. So whatever. I’ve let it go.
I’ll never be convinced my band is good enough for me to judge other people’s music publicly. But hey, let’s have some fun. alright? The people who made these songs are never going to read this. Maybe some of them will. If one of them beats me up at a show it will be a good story and I’ll submit a follow’up article about it. Also, I promise not to use the word echelon.
Evan Van Reekum
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The So So Glos – ‘Speakeasy’
I like this video. I don’t like gag-balls, which is why I like it. I’m way too square to be messing around with S&M stuff. (I didn’t have sex until I was an adult because I was an insecure fat kid. ‘A better friend than lover,’ the gals would tell me.) These guys obviously don’t give a shit about weird consensual sex acts, so I respect them for it. I’m sure these fellas get compared to The Strokes a lot... they probably hate it. But c’mon, buds... that’s a really good thing! Keep rocking.
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Future – ‘Move That Dope’
Well these guys clearly won't give a f*ck what I write because they are too busy moving dope to give a shit… so let’s do this, y’all. The first words in this song are “Real dope dealers for real”. This is a redundant sentence that doesn't make sense… not off to a good start. This video seems like a parody to me – but I’m not cool enough to make that call. Dude is talking on a 1990s brick phone for Denny’s sake. Settle down. Future then goes on to rhyme “Maserati” with “Maserati” – oof. There are so many other AWESOME things he could have said. Let’s try:
Original lyric: “Servin' a new Maserati, in a brand new Maserati.”
Better versions of this line written by me:
1. “Servin’ a new Maserati, while I go poop in a potty.”
2. “Crankin’ out Pavarotti, in a brand new Maserati.”
3. “Servin’ a new Maserati, I don't like biscotti because it really hurts my teeth, you guys.”
See? We're improving this song already.
Whatever – in all seriousness, this is music made for suburbanite, bridge-and-tunnel, white bullies to wave their BB guns around in the air while they finger-bang their best friends’ sisters and then have really wimpy fist fights where they hug at the end about it. Whoa, that got dark quick.
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Indiana – ‘Solo Dancing’
I used to say that you can make anything look cool if you put it in slow motion, but clearly I have always been wrong about that. The girl in this video looks dreadfully bored. Why so glum, chum? Cheer up! Your video has, like, almost half a million views! Regarding the lyrics, I don’t like it when people describe things as “so intense” or “epic” because that’s probably just the internet talking for them and proof of their inability to generate original thoughts. But whatever, people are gonna LOVE this very empowering song. I, however, am comfortable being the minority here.
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Luke Sital-Singh – ‘Greatest Lovers’
This kind of music is the reason people come into my store asking me for “Mumfords vinyls”. Goddamn, you fools – they’re called records.
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Joel Compass – ‘Forgive Me’
Hey Joel, where are the hooks, bro? There are probably way better songs on this record. I can tell this guy has chops. Interesting choice for the single.
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Arthur Beatrice – ‘Late’
This is music to turn 30 to. For mature people, who smell their wine before they drink it. I’m only 28, so I don’t get it. It’s better to be old and young than young and old, right? Don’t get me wrong, I like pop music, but I like playful pop music. I like Lorde, and I think that new Mø record is a major jam. I also worship Robyn. This song is just too serious.
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Say Lou Lou – ‘Everything We Touch’
I watched this video for one minute straight thinking about how boring it was, then I realised it was just a picture... so I guess you can see what kind of mental capacity I am functioning at today. Minimal. This is another example of a song that I can tell lots of people are going to love. But I am my own person, alright! I don’t have to like what everybody else likes. If this song was released on a 7”, the type of person that would buy it would probably call it a “small vinyl” and ask me if it will work on their record player.
I’m gonna let my attention-seeking cat walk on my keyboard and finish this review for me:
Thanks, Toulie! You’re really cute.
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Embrace – ‘Follow You Home’
The lyrics for this song are creepy. Watch out ladies, Embrace is going to follow you home. Who knows what will happen next. Maybe he will Embrace you while you’re sleeping. I am not down with those lyrics. Morally. Even if there is some ‘clever’ underlying message that I don’t get.
Embrace is free. He smiles while he sings. It appears Embrace also probably has a lot of money. I have $300 cash and $40,000 in student loan debt from university that I think about every single night before I go to bed and when I look at myself in the mirror every morning. Embrace, I resent your privileged freedom. There is a serious divide happening here.
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Eels – ‘Mistakes Of My Youth’
I kind of grew up listening to Eels. I also made a lot of mistakes in my youth (see above re: student loan debt). Mark Everett is some kind of a songwriting wizard. I don’t listen to Eels anymore really, but they were important to me at one point in my life – so I gotta own that. I’m pleased as punch to discover they have a new record coming out. The lyrics to this song bummed me out a bit and hit a little too close to home. I try to be a good dude these days and I think I am, but I wasn’t always a good dude. So, great job, E. You can still make me sad 12 years later.
There is a lot of music like this out there – but this is done right. And E has been doing it right for many years.
One time I almost got to see Eels live. I drove from Calgary to Portland (14 hours) with some friends to see Guided By Voices. Eels were playing the night before, but the show was sold out. Somehow we ended up in a bar playing shuffleboard with Tim (Heidecker) from Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! instead. Life is weird as f*ck and GBV were totally killer (d’uh).
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Fist City, ‘Let’s Rip’, from the bonus 7” to ‘It’s 1983, Grow Up!’
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Fist City’s ‘It’s 1983, Grow Up!’ is reissued by Transgressive on May 17th, featuring a bonus 7”, and a cassette release is being handled by Kissability. Find the band online here.