A Wayward Word's Worth

April 15, 2011

Innocent Pages Of Classified

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 7:34 am

Classified has his vices and virtues, but when it’s all said and done, he’s just looking for balance. By Kyle Mullin for Edmonton’s SEE Magazine, Thursday April 14 2011

He tried to write a new national anthem, only to be labelled a racist.

Classified’s “Oh Canada” became an unofficial theme song for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, but not as a rousing rap ode with an inspiring chorus. The Halifax MC ditched the typically cheesy sentiment of such songs, instead using quirkily self deprecating rhymes to paint a true picture of what binds us: “Think we finish every sentence with buddy or bye, and if it ain’t that it’s either dude, eh or guy … we all got at least one drinking buddy, and after one drink, all of us think we’re funny.”

He tried the same sentiment with his more regional effort “The Maritimes,” nearly half a decade before, cracking wise about his home’s shortcomings until they became endearing. But after the cheekily nationalistic sequel of sorts hit the music video airwaves in 2010, some viewer feedback was simply, grimly serious — only Caucasian extras appeared in the clip, and Internet message boards began filling up with accusations that Classified was a bigot.

“There’s a lot of dumb people that don’t know things, that just say stuff because they want to be heard,” Classified says of the allegations, adding that as a hip hop fan he witnessed the attacks by visiting the rap message boards he clicks across nearly daily. “I just remember reading something like that on the boards,
‘Oh, Classified’s a racist, he didn’t put no black people or multicultural people in the video.’ We shot a video and asked everybody in the town to come out, and whoever came out that’s up to them. I’m not gonna not shoot the video, or go pay black people to be in my video or something, for me that’s more racist than anything, trying to separate people like we need to have this and that. So I more laughed it off, but at the same time I was like ‘let me address it on a song and just give it a line or two, and tell people exactly how I feel.’”

Classified’s lyrical rebuttal appears along with a starkly skeletal beat on “Ups and Downs”, which serves as the opening of his new album, Hand Shakes and Middle Fingers (which was released late in March). On that lead track he also details a different struggle, that’s been far more ongoing, with the line “I ain’t as quick thinkin’ as I once was, guess that’s what smokin’ J’s and blunts does.”




April 14, 2011

The New Pornographers: ‘Together’ when apart

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 8:28 am

Toronto’s The New Pornographers cite versatility and loose ties as keys to its indie pop success. By Kyle Mullin for Albuquerque’s Local IQ Magazine, Thursday April 7 2011

It is a band bound by so much more than notes and drum beats, and on its latest album, The New Pornographers found a harmony that literally runs all the way through its DNA — entwined genetic strands humming as one, like their instruments’ strings.

While recording 2010’s Together, The New Pornographers decided to dedicate the disc to the memory of Lynn Calder, mother of keyboardist Kathryn Calder and half sister of front man Carl Newman. The two had bitterly watched their common kin succumb to ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, a year before prior, the affliction robbing her of muscle control down to the neurological level.

“She dealt with her illness with a lot of dignity, a lot of strength,” Newman said in a recent interview with Local iQ. “Lynn was a piano player and she passed that on to Kathryn, along with just an overall sense of musicality.”



April 11, 2011

Pixies to reprise underground classic album at Moncton show

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 2:08 pm

Guitarist Joey Santiago savors the sickly sweet memories that inspired his twisted notes. By Kyle Mullin for New Brunswick’s Telegraph Journal, Saturday March 26 2011

The sweet flavour lingered like the tension in the air. Little Joey Santiago chewed on a chunk of sugar cane, sucking the juices from the splintery pulp, as he listened and tried to understand what his parents were saying about the martial law that was about to fall on the Philippines.

“After school we used to buy sugar canes, that was my treat and we could gnaw on them to get the sugar out,” The Pixies guitarist says of his earliest recollections in his hometown of Manila. “I was very young, but I remember my parents and my uncles kept talking about the guerrillas that were out there. And I thought they meant the actual apes, that gorilla apes were just roaming the streets, until they told me it was kind of like a terrorist group. That was a lot scarier, it made me wish for actual gorillas.”

Santiago and his family immigrated to America just as President Ferdinand Marcos’s crackdown began, suffocating any Filipino uprising in 1972. Yet, those surreal times followed the shy little daydreamer for the rest of his life.

Pixies’ frontman Black Francis may have been the acoustic auteur of Debaser, Here Comes Your Man and Monkey Gone to Heaven, but Santiago scored those surreal lyrics with his equally twisted riffs.






Ron Sexsmith’s Sullen Joy

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 2:02 pm

Applauded by peers and fans alike, Ron Sexsmith finds his inspirations everywhere. By Kyle Mullin for Edmonton’s SEE Magazine, Feb. 24 2011.

At first glance it’s seems as if he’s doused in a sullen pollen — a dour aroma that lingers, that haunts him, leaving his face droopy and drawing his mouth into a tight line. But when Ron Sexsmith puts those lips to a microphone the achingly blissful lilt in his voice becomes his truest expression, reaching not for morose ballads but melodies and tears of joy.

“I don’t really smile in pictures … I remember when I was a kid people said I had a sad face, they’d go ‘well, what’s the matter with you?’ and I was having a good time; that was just my facial expression,” the lauded songwriter says about the first impressions he has often given.

“My wife complains sometimes that she never sees me cry. I just come from that sort of family where we didn’t like to have outward emotional outbursts and things like that,” Sexsmith adds. “But in one (of my latest) songs I’m just singing about (how) it’s the happy stuff that gets me, that makes me all misty … as opposed to sad stuff, which has absolutely no effect on me.”

The tune he’s referring to is “Love Shines,” the lead single from his latest album, Long Player, Late Bloomer. On it he nearly coos “in every nowhere town there are somewhere dreams,” over a tenderly driving melody that Sexsmith says might just be the first genuinely optimistic song he’s written in years.



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