Author: Matthew Barlow

The (Sort of) End of Chief Wahoo

The Cleveland baseball team took a positive step this week.  It announced on Monday that it was going to remove the deeply offensive Chief Wahoo from its caps and jerseys for the 2019 season.  This is an important start.  Chief Wahoo is an offensive caricature of an indigenous chief, drawn in a cartoonish, stereotypical manner. Note that not only is he grinning, he is actually red.  Like, you know, ‘redskin’.  (The Washington football team is a whole other problem, for another day). Chief Wahoo. Chief Wahoo has a long genesis.  The Cleveland baseball team was originally founded in Grand...

Read More

Glen Hansard: Between Two Shores

Glen Hansard Between Two Shores Anti- Glen Hansard is a rock’n’roll veteran.  He’s the frontman of legendary Dublin band, The Frames.  It’s odd, Dublin.  The largest rock band in the world is from there (U2, in case you were wondering) and yet, their impact on the Dublin scene in terms of bands making it is minimal.  They tried for awhile, running Mother Records, signing, amongst others, Hothouse Flowers.  The Flowers still hold the distinction for the biggest-selling début album by an Irish band for their 1988 album, People.  Anyway, The Frames are huge in Dublin, and have achieved some international...

Read More

Meat Beat Manifesto: Impossible Star

Meat Beat Manifesto Impossible Star Flexidisc/Virtual Meat Beat Manifesto are legendary. They’ve been around in some way, shape, or form since 1982, formed in Swindon, Wiltshere, they’re now based in San Francisco.  MBM is really one guy, Jack Dangers, though it hasn’t always been that way. I first came across them listening to CITR, the radio station from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver; it must have been 1989 or 1990.  It was their début album, Storm the Studio.  That album came with a story, as the original recordings for it were allegedly destroyed in a fire.  Their record...

Read More

The Problems with Football and Hockey

I watched both the AFC and NFC Championship games last weekend.  I haven’t watched as much football or even NHL hockey this year and I’ve been trying to figure out why.  In terms of hockey, my team sucks, but, I’ve remained a fan of hockey in general when the Habs have sucked in the past.  When it comes to the NFL, to be a Chicago Bears fan is to know misery.  They’ve sucked almost continually for the past 35 years.  So I’ve watched a lot of football, despite my team being in last place. But this year, something has...

Read More

Shopping: The Official Body

Shopping The Official Body FatCat Records [Editor’s note: We took some time off from reviews because not much happens in terms of new music from late November to early January. We are back now.] The problem with music can often be it all sounds the same.  The UK is going through an explosion of angry, male, post-punk bands these days, and, whilst I dig on many of these bands (most notably Idles), there is so much derivative shit out there, it depresses me.  This always happens with any form of music, we get the trailblazers and then we get the derivative copycats.  So, another UK post-punk band didn’t excite me at first when Shopping’s new album, The Official Body, came across my speakers.  I sighed and pressed play. Turns out it was a good move.  Shopping is classified as post-punk, but they’re all over the map, their influences are easy to find, from Talking Heads to EDM, to Public Image Ltd., and so on.  But they don’t sound like anyone.  Frontwoman Rachel Aggs (as an aside, my MacBook recognizes the word frontman, but frontwoman is in error) is the main reason for this, from her monotonal, distant voice (reminiscent of early PiL and John Lydon) to her idiosyncratic guitar work.  Her guitars are jagged and edgy (hence the post-punk categorization), but there is so much more going on, both in...

Read More