Wolf Parade – What’s in My Bag?

I’m Dan from Wolf Parade. This is Arlen Thompson from Wolf Parade, I’m at Amoeba. This is What’s in My Bag. It’s not the first thing, this is actually the last thing I found. This is a band called Elektricni Orgazam. They’re a Yugoslavian punk band and I’m totally surprised that you guys actually have this record here because they’re super hard to find outside of the Balkans. So this was put out by the state record label Jugoton. Tito’s Yugoslavia had their own record label. You could technically import records into Yugoslavia. I think they reissued a couple Rolling Stones records on Jugoton. But this created this amazing punk rock scene that was way ahead of even what was happening in Western Europe. And this is one of the flagship bands. Issued on a communist record label. Let’s go with more state subsidized records. This is a reissue from Light In The Attic of a record that was produced by the CBC of an Inuit artist named Willie Thrasher who actually lives in my town of Nanaimo and you can frequently see him busking. That’s right. The record store in your hometown is kind of responsible for the preservation of a lot of Aboriginal artists. Yeah that Native North America compilation that Light In The Attic put out a lot of the records were sourced out of… from what I’ve heard from Fascinating Rhythm, which is our local record store. In Nanaimo. So a lot of these were records that were produced by the CBC as a way of kind of like exploring the different folk music around Canada. And so they’d go and they’d get these artists and they’d record them. These records went out of print and then people started rediscovering these records over the last few years. I found this classic John Foxx record. John Foxx was the singer for the band Ultravox, for the first three records. John Foxx left the band on their fourth record, Midge Ure joined and they became huge pop sensations with the song ‘Vienna’ which is like a quintessential 80s synth-pop song. John Foxx-era Ultravox is way, way superior. It’s super far ahead of its time, and he arguably made the first kind of dark wave approaching pop record, so this is all drum machines. It’s very influenced by J.G. Ballard I mean, I think Gary Numan would be the guy that would take this idea of posthumanism and futurism and and wrap it into something that was consumable by the public with ‘Cars,’ y’know. But this is the primo weapons-grade shit. We got a song called ‘Underpass,’ ‘A New Kind of Man,’ ‘He’s a Liquid’ This is Miles Davis, ‘Dark Magus.’ This is his peak kind of 70s, as far out as you could take jazz and mixing it with funk. It’s almost like punk, I find. A lot of it. Yeah, super abrasive. Yeah. What I find amazing is that in the seventies, music was so kind of open that Miles Davis would do these far-out jazz concerts to like 4,000 people. Songs are like 25 minute long jams. It’s my favorite era of jazz. There’s kind of a deep spiritual element to it. It’s not as clinical as, say, bebop or hard bop kind of era. It’s just really free and has that element of psychedelia and funk. Nobody really took the mantle of that, y’know, like maybe some electronic music. I think Kamasi Washington’s kind of bringing it back. Kamasi Washington, yeah. This is Skinny Puppy. A totally misunderstood and underappreciated band in its own country, which is Canada where we’re from. This record came out in 1984, and I would argue this is the first contemporary industrial record. Y’know, capital ‘I’ Industrial. More than like Cabaret Voltaire or something like Throbbing Gristle which was very unapproachable. I think without this band you wouldn’t have Nine Inch Nails, Ministry… They’re super influential yet the people who are sort of arbitrators of cultural taste in Canada and cultural memory have pretty much erased these guys from the history books. And I would argue this is the most influential Canadian band of the 1980s, hands down. Really is the sound of Vancouver, especially we pre-Expo ’86 Vancouver. Drugs, dark, urban decay. I got ‘The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane.’ I think is my favorite record from last year. This is after she found an ashram, I guess in the 70s These were a collection of her cassettes I think that she put out in the 80s. This is just really beautiful. It’s like a mix of gospel, Eastern music and new-age synthesizer It’s just a really deep, really heavy record. The music on this record is equal parts beautiful and super ugly. This is ‘Quarantine’ by Laurel Halo. This is an older record of hers. It’s the first record where you can really hear her voice on it. She’s singing. This is the most futuristic record I’ve heard. She made this with a collection of hardware synthesizers. I think an Access Virus and a bunch of very crunchy digital synths But the precision with which she arranges these they kind of sound, to your ear, like a pop song but they’re just constantly mutating. Everything, the drum sounds, the tones, the bass. And her vocals seem beamed in from like a completely different planet but they’re almost entirely dry and terrifying. Real psychedelic experience. It’s not necessarily pleasant to listen to. It’s really challenging at points but it has huge payoffs. It’s been a massive inspiration to me. I aspire to get as good as she is at sound design and arrangement. Let’s pull out this big boy, it’s the Sparks Island Years box set. Sparks is kind of an amazingly underrated band. 70s… well, to now. So this is their Island output, so this is a ‘Indiscreet,’ ‘Propaganda,’ ‘Kimono in My House,’ ‘Big Beat.’ It’s a really fantastic kind of like prog/pop/punk kind of glam band. It’s really hard to describe what they exactly fall into. They’re definitely proto-punk. Definite weirdos. They’re super weirdos, but they’re amazingly accurate, like the arrangements are incredibly complex. Yeah, yeah. But they’re super poppy. ‘Bon Voyage,’ the Noah’s Ark breakup song is super good. This is Voivod ‘Dimension Hatröss.’ This band is from Quebec and they essentially invented a genre of metal that has sort of woven itself into the fabric of modern heavy metal music or heavy music which is melding Pink Floyd and prog elements into really abrasive thrash and then having an overarching sort of science fiction theme. This record has art by the drummer. I think one of the best things about Voivod is that he managed to c reate sort of a very specific aesthetic world for the band to live in that separated them from their contemporaries. When you saw a Voivod record, you kind of… you’re looking at the sound of the record. It’s very mechanical and spiky. Another band similar to like Skinny Puppy, where they they’re really not appreciated by the kind of cultural mandarins of Canada At all. Even though they’re huge internationally, same as Skinny Puppy Yeah they can go… No respect at home. Zero. The state, y’know, radio and the state television and print media. They don’t give a shit about this band. I doubt they even know Voivod exists. but they’re playing for massive amounts of people outside of the country. I got Sleaford Mods, a band I really love that’s like contemporary. Again a band that’s probably doing the best punk music for just like not giving a fuck. I love their stage presence of the one guy who just basically presses the spacebar. Vaping and spacebar? Spacebar on the laptop, and just vapes and drinks a pint. Because that’s kind of like, y’know, the bullshit of a lot of modern electronic music which is basically just pressing play. Yeah. And I love how they just expose that whole thing. Yeah, great just raw kind of production. The lyrics are amazing. Lyrics are great. Last one, Dan and I actually… We picked out the same record. It’s the Unwound box set. I grew up in Victoria, he grew up in like Cowichan I grew up north of Victoria on an island. So it’s like a Pacific Northwest band that had a huge influence on everybody we knew, kind of. Yeah, amazing drummer, Sara Lund. Just amazing like super angular, rhythmic kind of, I guess post-punk. It’s like Drive Like Jehu, it completely changes your view of music, what can be done. I was a huge Sonic Youth fan, so Sonic Youth kind of softened me up for these guys do a lot of ambient noise sections of their songs that kind of exploded the structural confines of hardcore. But whereas Sonic Youth is sort of upper-class, y’know, intelligensia arch playing to like these low culture tropes these guys are just straight up creating high art in the form of punk rock. As a teenager, that allowed me to sort of get out of this creative ghetto of hardcore and be like ok, I can do stuff that’s y’know more pretentious. Y’know a little searching and a little more expansive than just three chords. You can make art music and still be punk. And still be punk. Yeah it doesn’t have to come from above, y’know? Great band. Yeah. Thank you so much. Yeah, thank you for having us in. Yeah.

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