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CMW Preview: Connoisseurs of Porn debut Re-Gifted Fruit

Gearing up for our first Resonancity showcase at the Comfort Zone this Saturday has us very excited. We stand behind every band on the bill, though we know none of them are exactly industry-friendly. So, starting today and running every weekday up until the show, we’ve decided to give you a preview of each band. Today, we start with local noise-makers Connoisseurs of Porn.

The band first caught our attention for their abrasive, angular, but often strangely catchy compositions, the glorious sound of three bored kids making noise in a garage and accidentally stumbling on some excellently skewed noise-pop nuggets. That’s what caught our attention, but it’s probably not what caught yours. No, that’s most likely their band name.

CoP are built for overstuffed festivals like CMW because, outside of listening to each and every band on the schedule, sometimes you have to resort to blindly reading band names. We don’t think we’re exaggerating to say that Connoisseurs of Porn is one of the more arresting ones on the schedule. (And who knows what kind of spam this site is going to attract after this post?)

According to guitarist Greg Keefe, they chose the name for the exact reason you probably think: they thought it was funny. But, intentionally or not, the moniker eventually penetrated deeper into the band’s aesthetic.

“It…captures something significant both in the ways we relate to music and life,” he says. “Porn is fucked up. Mainstream porn in particular is interesting both in that it’s this weird exaggerated/deranged display of sexuality and yet despite this it is still extremely formulaic. In this respect it seems like a good metaphor for what seems like a lot of posturing that occurs both throughout the music scene and as a more general phenomenon in life. We have the experience of operating on the fringes (both in music and in life) and with this comes a sort of voyeurism – this shit seems ridiculous from the outside. Who knew ass-to-mouth could become derivative?”

The band started when the three members – Keefe, Grant Spooner and Chris Thomas – moved into a house together, mistakenly believing that would inspire musical productivity. Instead it led to drinking, noisemaking and eventually “[making] enemies with the neighbours and the police,” which, somewhat predictably, forced them into a rehearsal space.

From there, they started taking things seriously – not too seriously of course, but enough to produce two short releases – The Peasant Terror/Chicken 7” and the I’m Bored EP – both of which display their knack for strange but compelling weirdo-rock, reminiscent of all of rock’s favourite eccentrics: the Jesus Lizard, Captain Beefheart and Mike Patton, among others.

They’ve also just finished recording their latest EP, Falling Down The Stairs, and is kindly letting us debut the first song. According to Keefe, the EP is the result of “playing the shit out of songs for a really long time then trying to capture a really good version them.” So, without further ado, here is the internet premiere of “Re-Gifted Fruit”:

Album review: Braids’ Native Speaker

Montreal-based experimental indie rockers Braids are 21-year-olds who don’t just yet make for the greatestinterview, but that’s not to say we shouldn’t take their debut Native Speaker seriously. These former Calgarians are in a catch 22 – having to live up to hype garnered partly because of their age, and/or, because of their age, dodging comments about their lack of identity formation (yes, they sound like and try-to-sound-like Animal Collective).  But taking that context away, we find a beautiful album on its own. Like many things worshiped by the Pitchfork set, this is music for indie kids to meditate to. Therefore some of you will find it boring, others dream-pop bliss. Standout track Plath Heart shows Braids talents for looping, subtle melodic progressions (Calgary’s Women are an influence), and Raphaelle Strandell-Preston fragile-vs.-wailing vocals. It’s set-the-scenery music: It’s not Canadiana, but it’s a suitable soundtrack to driving through our golden prairies, lush forests and lakes, or watching the Rockies via  train window.  Hopefully Braids’ very-Canadian modesty does not inhibit its embrace in its home country.

Colombian Holidays

There are a lot of Colombian holidays, especially what are known as “Festivos” that typically fall on a Monday.

On festivos, banks and shops are generally closed, including supermarkets. However, a handful or restaurants and other smaller stores may be open, but it depends. It’s much harder to find what you need on a Colombian holiday than on a Sunday, so it’s best to make shopping plans in advance.

Below: From the Christmas lights down by the river in Medellin.

 

Booking flights and hotels on the weekend of a festivo can be difficult. Driving to and from a tourist destination almost guarantees extremely heavy traffic and long waits on the roads to and from the major cities. On the mountain passes, traffic can come to a virtual standstill for up to hours. So if you do decide to leave the city for a long weekend, it’s best to avoid leaving during the rush on the Friday and especially returning in the afternoon on the following Monday afternoon.

The following are the official national holidays of Colombia:

January 01 – New Year Day
January 06 – Epiphany
March 19 – St. Joseph (Feast of St. Joseph)
April 21 – Maundy or Holy Thursday
April 22 – Good Friday (Holy or Great Friday)
May 01 – Workers or Labour Day
June 02 – Ascension of Jesus
June 23 – Corpus Christi
June 29 – Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
July 01 – Sacred Heart
July 20 – Independence Day
August 07 – Battle of Boyaca
August 15 – Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
October 10 – Columbus Day
November 01 – All Saints or Hallows Day
November 11 – Independence of Cartagena City
December 08 – Immaculate Conception
December 25 – Christmas Day

As many festivos fall on a Monday, those who can often go for a long-weekend to their farms or even make a trip to the coast. It can be a good day to see the cities if you’re visiting, because traffic will be much lighter than on normal days, but remember that museums are often shut on Mondays.

I’ve been a bit surprised by Christmas and New Year celebrations here, expecting them to be conservative and about faith when instead, they’re intensely tacky and noisy. Basically, an excuse for a party. There tends to be more violence and driving can be more dangerous, especially at night. People go a little crazy and I suggest you be careful. May sound over the top, but I really don’t enjoy these times of year here in Colombia and prefer to get out of the city if possible.

In general, December is not a month I’d recommend for visiting Colombia, especially the major cities. The roads are congested and pollution builds up.