Ox: Ten Questions

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CMJ begins tonight and one of our favorites, the publicity-challenged Ox, is playing The Knitting Factory at 7:30. He’s huge in Canada. His originally self-released alt country ode to America, Dust Bowl Revival, debuted at #1 on the Canadian college radio charts. We’re usually suspicious of everything Canadian, but Ox (aka Mark Browning and his band) is the real deal. His hauntingly beautiful debut is one of our favorites this year. Check out these MP3′s L.A. City , Carolina then be sure to catch him live if you can.
1. Why Ox?
KISS was taken. Honestly, it was a magic type of thing- the name just came to me one day and it resonated right… at the time I was very much a solo singer/songwriter type and I recognized that I wasn’t ready for the name so, over time I grew into it. With the Dust Bowl Revival album I knew it was Ox.
2. As a Canadian, why’d you decide to record an album about the American heartland?
The record isn’t really about the American heartland… it’s about America- but a twisted reflected variation of it- as in, the image of America through glass- a windshield even… the glass is the border and I’m Canadian. It’s about the 70′s- skateboards and banana seat bikes, summertime romance that doesnt go anywhere… the hot highway and fast cars that guzzle fuel.

3. You’re a rock star in Canada. Any thoughts on why you’re yet to find a major American audience?

I’m patient and I don’t really care. I just do what I do and sometimes people like it- sometimes they really hate it. Hopefully, nothing in between.
4. We’re always curious to know people’s first concerts. What was yours?
I did a festival gig at the Northern Lights Festival in Sudbury, Ontario- my hometown. I was 16. I can’t remember the show at all and later that night I threw up in bed from the stress. I was way freaked out. Since then, I’ve never really been nervous again.
5. What’s your most cherished record? Most embarassing?
cherished: JULIAN COPE, peggy suicide
embarassing: REO SPEEDWAGON, hi-infidelity
6. Have you ever driven a Trans Am?
My mom used to drive one. She sold it when I was 13 and bought a fucking Honda Civic.
7. Anyone you strongly admire? Anyone you hate?
I don’t really like ‘people’. It’s more about the things that people ‘do’. I like Julian Cope a whole lot cause he’s manic and driven and crazy- and that’s reflected in everything he does. I like P.T. Anderson (the director). I admire my bandmates cause we’re a family. I guess I hate Madonna.

8. Has your music ever gotten you any action?

Of course.
9. Canada or America?
If it’s for cigarettes and movies- America. if it’s for donuts and moosemeat- Canada.
10. What’s next? Any plans on an American tour?
I’m touring the USA in November. Next month we’re finishing the new Ox album which will be a double- and released possibly next summer.

Hanson, The Eyebrows are Back!

An interview with the dreamy one, Taylor Hanson
by Monte Holman
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The eyebrows are back! Former boy sensations, Hanson, are storming the music industry with the passion of proselytizers for the cause of independent music. A struggle to survive in the pick-of-the-day major label system in which bands are discarded like non-recyclable take-out boxes drove Hanson to drop Geffen and start their own label. They now fervently preach the Good News of independence.
But their Starbuckian jargon sounds awfully suspicious. Discussing the band using terms like entrepreneurship, brands, markets and models seems to transplant the evil concerns of the big labels into a new setting. An increasing familiar setting in which indie bands capitalize off the OC and Target.
Thing is, Hanson are likable kids, er, young adults, who obviously love music but grew up under the thumbs of soul-sucking record execs. It’s impossible to stoop to the usual cynicism directed toward commercial bands when these three brothers are trying so earnestly to do something about it. Like really earnestly, man. So their upcoming album, The Best of Hanson, Live and Electric (3CG), may not be your cup of tea. But I’ll be damned if you could talk shit about these guys after hearing them out for a few minutes.
We were recently offered the opportunity to speak with Taylor. The dreamy one. How could we refuse? Via phone, Taylor explained the band’s philosophy, which when his awkward industry lingo was boiled away, amounted to keeping two things sacred: the music and the fans.
Hanson is Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson.
FREEwilliamsburg: The title of the new record is The Best of Hanson, Live and Electric. Why go with a “best of” at this point? What spurred the desire to put out a live album?
Taylor: It’s become really trendy to put out a “greatest hits” or “best of” too early. It’s spawned by a major label idea to try to put out hits. But for us, it’s more about the “live and electric” part. And it’s a “best of” because when you play shows and you’ve been a band for like 13 years and have released multiple albums, you’ve got a certain amount of songs that are the best of songs, the ones people know and react to live. It’s not as much a greatest hits package as a reinterpretation of what we’ve done for the last decade or so. It’s about framing who we’ve always been.

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Bush, you're a heckuva leader

First Bush says no one knew the levees could break, despite countless documented warnings. Then he claims that his underqualified appointee Brownie did a heckuva job. Next, his wife refers to Katrina as Corrina. Now, it becomes clear that no one told him that Brownie resigned:

Q. Can you tell us, have you accepted the resignation of Michael Brown, or have you heard about it?
THE PRESIDENT: I haven’t — no, I have not talked to Michael Brown — or Mike Chertoff; that’s who I’d talk to. As you know, I’ve been working. And when I get on Air Force One, I will call back to Washington. But I’ve been on the move.
Q. Our understanding is he has resigned, he’s made a statement. Would that be appropriate –
THE PRESIDENT: I haven’t talked to Mike Chertoff yet, and that’s what I intend to do when I get on the plane. You know, I — you probably — maybe you know something I don’t know, but as you know, we’ve been working, and I haven’t had a chance to get on the phone. [Via Wonkette]

Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal

Interview by Monte Holman
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Of Montreal has been putting out smart records since 1997, beginning with Cherry Peel (Bar/None) and prolifically progressing to their latest effort, The Sunlandic Twins (Polyvinyl). Spinning out of the Athens-based Elephant 6 collective, Kevin Barnes has consistently, and constantly, produced sprightly and imaginative recordings.
The Sunlandic Twins is no exception. It takes liberties with traditional song structure and retains a home-recording aesthetic, but this album reels in many of the experimental tangents older songs floated away on. It’s tight and danceable, more accessible to the ass-shakers. After bird shit on my shoulder while I was waiting outside the club for the interview with Kevin (he said it was good luck), we sat down and talked about the band.
Go see Of Montreal on this tour if you have the chance. Hands-down the best show we’ve seen this year. Check out the remaining tour dates at www.ofmontreal.net. Their new record is one of the best of the year.
Check out some of their MP3′s here:
from The Sunlandic Twins
Requiem For O.M.M.2
Wraith Pinned To The Mist (and other games)
FREEwilliamsburg: The first time I heard the record, I wanted to turn on the Wizard of Oz without the sound and use The Sunlandic Twins as the soundtrack. Did you go into this album thinking, “this one’s going to be cinematic”?
Kevin: I think so. To some degree, that’s a goal in all our records, for it to be very visual. I think it’d be great if we found someone who understood what we were doing musically and had a really distinct style, visually, to take the record and make a movie out of it, whether it be animated or live-action stuff. I think it would be a great experience if you could have it on and just listen to the music or turn on the TV and watch the visuals.

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Let Pentagon-approved freedom ring

The Freedom Walk sounds AWESOME! What a wonderful expression of Free Speech! Just what our Forefathers intended. Let freedom ring! Here’s how it went down:
- The Freedom Walk T-shirts were Pentagon-approved
- The route was entirely fenced in
- TV crews were banned
- Backpacks and bags were subject to search
- All signs were banned
- Clint Black played shitty music
- You had to register with the Department of Defense by Thursday at 4pm to attend
- Donald Rumsfeld was the keynote speaker
- From the pictures, it was 90% white
Check out this hilarious map of the event provided by Catch.

To Do: Negativland Art Opening

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Gigantic ArtSpace is proud to present Negativlandland, an exhibition by the “culture jamming” group Negativland.
September 9 – October 22, 2005
OPENING RECEPTION on Friday, September 9, 6-9PM
59 Franklin Street, New York City

From Press Release:
In Negativlandland, you’ll see a life size robot of Abraham Lincoln doing his best to educate you, you’ll peer into wrecked cars, get your fingers in the dirt, discover the secrets of Howland Island, learn how to make your own noises on the Booper, view many brand new video works, hiccup with rabbits, and much, much more. Also on view will be an unauthorized special edition of a U2 vs. Negativland iPod (version 2G), created by Francis Hwang.
In this noisy exhibition, Negativland suggests a theme park catapulting us into deconstructed attractions of the gallery as a multi-media entertainment destination. Negativland’s work poses questions about the nature of perception, media control, ownership, and propaganda. The exhibition will take place in conjunction with the group’s 25th anniversary and will feature the collective’s recent visual work as well as their trademark sonic work.

Click Here for more info.

Even Jesusy wingnuts know Bush fucked up handling Katrina

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Tony Perkins
This is from Tony Perkins’ Family Resource Council’s newsletter. You may remember FRC as being the rapture-ready nutjobs who organized Justice Sunday:

While the hurricane was an “act of God” the government response and relief effort on the local, state and national levels were failures of man.
In one instance Red Cross trucks full of necessities were barred by a state agency early last week from entering New Orleans to deliver the much needed supplies. Accountability at all levels of government is critical. It should not be a time for partisan showmanship as so many similar hearings have been reduced to.

On another note, former Bush puppet Colin Powell criticizes the feds response to Katrina.

But he still refuses to roll back tax cuts….

Contractors securing goverment contracts to rebuild New Orleans will not have to pay their employees a living wage, thanks to Bush. Bush granted employers the right yesterday to ignore the Davis-Bacon Act which would have protected individual’s rights to secure a fair wage. Needless to say, the people most affected by this will be the citizens of New Orleans who have already lost so much. Thanks douchebag.

[From the Wash Post]
Bush Suspends Pay Act In Areas Hit by Storm
President Bush yesterday suspended application of the federal law governing workers’ pay on federal contracts in the Hurricane Katrina-damaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The action infuriated labor leaders and their Democratic supporters in Congress, who said it will lower wages and make it harder for union contractors to win bids.
The Davis-Bacon Act, passed in 1931 during the Great Depression, sets a minimum pay scale for workers on federal contracts by requiring contractors to pay the prevailing or average pay in the region. Suspension of the act will allow contractors to pay lower wages. Many Republicans have opposed Davis-Bacon, charging that it amounts to a taxpayer subsidy to unions.

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