Posts Tagged ‘ the Famines ’

FunDrive 2012: The Story Of THE SCROLL

¡¡Hey, I edited this on October 2, 2012 because the man himself tells me it’s over 50% longer than my original claim. And a blessing in the home of whoever gets it!!

Hoosh. That’s the sound that everything-is-probably-going-to-be-alright-after-all makes, and it is heard at approximately the same time as I open my front door and see it poking out of the mailbox. THE SCROLL has arrived.

I call it THE SCROLL due to its physical characteristics – unfurled, it is about 17 inches high and 16 feet long twenty five and 2/3 everlovin’ feet long*; all rolled up so as to fit in its mailing tube, we’re talking a roll of paper about a quarter-inch thick. Look!

So yeah, that’s what I call it, but it’s also been known by different people at different times by names like The Chart or An In-Progress Chronology of Edmonton Bands, 1950 to 2010, and one day will probably be referred to by historians as St. Raymond’s Letter to the Edmontonians. Graphic artist extraordinaire, Famines dude and Edmonton ex-pat (and recently canonized as the Patron Saint of 68Comeback) Raymond Biesinger MADE THIS THING, and he recently took the very last one that he had, packed it up and sent it off to US!

It’s something of a rarity around these parts, and it could be yours. Y’see, this coming Thursday, October 4, 2012, at the end of our second of two FunDrive 2012 68Comeback Special Specials, Tom and I will put every single name of every single person who pledged money to CJSR-FM’s 2012 FunDrive  during either of those two shows in a draw, and one lucky winner will come away with this heartfelt and stylishly unwieldy celebration of independent music in Edmonton for their very own.

But in order to win this prize, you gotta have skin in the game, right**? So show your support for the 68Comeback Special as you show your support for campus/community radio in Edmonton by dialing and donating (780 492-2577 ext. 1) or clicking and donating at this Thursday between 3 and 5pm***. And hey, remember this: even if you don’t exactly WIN (i.e. THE SCROLL), no one who supports volunteer-run, grassroots radio can be called a loser.

*You read that right.

**Okay, technically, you don’t. You could get in on the draw without making a donation by dropping by CJSR in Room 0-08 of SUB on the U of A campus during our show on Thursday and pleading poverty and/or cheapskatedness. After you have helped us pitch for one segment, you will be permitted to submit a pledgeless entry.

***Remember, you can actually do either or both of these things at any time you feel right about supporting CJSR. Just sayin’ (and encouragin’).


You Make Me Feel Like A 68Comeback Woman

March 22, 2012, on the 68Comeback Special. All the right questions were asked, all the correct answers given. We didn’t bother with the Pere Ubu feature this week, making it a must for next. The Famines dropped by, made it totally worth it, then left us wanting more. Gabe did the same, Sadie too. An historic show, with nothing but this song list (and the logger tapes, we suppose) to prove it even existed in the first place. And maybe it didn’t. Maybe it was all a dream…

the Pretenders  –  Precious

the Smalls  –  Natural Woman

Lisa Germano  –  The Dresses Song

Bettie Serveert  –  Under the Surface

Enon – The Power of Yawning

Black Mastiff – Rolling Stoned

Boss Hog – I Idolize You

the Famines  –  Syallables

the Famines  –  I Like Some of the Things You Do

Zeus  –  With Eyes Closed

the Famines  –  Faux Wealth

the Geraldine Fibbers  –  Fancy

BA Johnston – Raised By the Wooden Spoon

Mac DeMarco –  Baby’s Wearing Blue Jeans

Acta non Verba – Blast On

Heartless Bastards – Got To Have Rock ‘n’ Roll

David Newberry – Easter

Krang – Provincial Flower

Tops – Evening

Derdiyoklar – Yaz Gazeteci

Miss Emily Brown – Back to the Woods

We Like All Of The Things The Famines Do

Updated March 22, 2012: Somebody really did want to know what colour underwear to wear on the second date, enough to remind us not to forget to ask. As far as we’re concerned, if it’s important enough to someone else for them to go (slightly) out of their way, then it must be important, right? Well, not necessarily, but the point is that we asked. Raymond gave us a charming account of how, as truly cosmopolitan his underwear choices must now be as a denizen of Montreal, he still buys all his underwear right here in E-town. This was not before Garrett gave the straight-shootin’est answer we ever could have expected: RED. And so, red it is. You heard it here first, er, second, actually. Hmm, actually, you heard it here fourth, come to think of it, but that makes it no less a definitive answer, so stop crying.

Are you ready for this? Have you heard? Did you know about the Thursday, March 22, 2012 edition of the 68Comeback Special? But how could you know, when we haven’t told you?  Ah, but you wouldn’t believe it if we told you, so maybe we won’t tell. Aw, but who’s kidding who around here? We can’t keep a secret to save our lives (except that we have, in this case)! Until now, that is. Okay, are you ready for this?

On this Thursday’s show, on CJSR-FM, from 3 to 5 in the everlovin’ afternoon: The Grade 5 Report (comme d’habitude). Maybe the feature in which, once a year, we try to enjoy Pere Ubu (a real thing; we’ve not been overly successful). What else? Excited talk about unexciting things? Vice versa?

NO! BETTER! The Famines will be dropping by to talk about their gig at Wunderbar, the lost art of artistry, the best colour underwear to wear on a second date, and what it’s like to secretly be Barack Obama (shhh!). Would you be a fool to miss it? Ask your mom.

CJSR FunDrive 2011: Stories Too True To Be False!

Perhaps you’ve heard The Thom Yorke Story.

I think it’s entirely possible that you know, or know someone who knows The Corb Lund Story.

Admit it – you had nightmares for a week after your older brother first told you The Buster Friendly Story.

Well kids, here’s something new. On behalf of CJSR’s 2011 FunDrive, the 68Comeback Special would now like to offer, for the delectation of our listeners and/or readers, The Raymond Biesinger Story.

Do you know Raymond Biesinger? Mr. Biesinger is a world renowned illustrator who draws pictures for just about everyone who’s anyone. You might have seen his work in magazines like The New Yorker, GQ, Dwell, The Economist, Wired, or on one of trillions of gig sheets he used to draw when he lived in glamourous Edmonton AB (before he moved to dreary Montreal QC). Or Etsy. Or you might know his music with the Vertical Struts or the Famines. Or maybe you know him from this feature on his home office that the Globe and Mail did not long ago. Or maybe…oh for God’s sake, I don’t know how you might know him, but in any case, you SHOULD.

And so, when we contacted Mr. Biesinger and asked if he had anything he might consider donating to the 68Comeback Special’s FunDrive 2011 cause, something we could use as a giveaway to entice our listeners to venture beyond mere listening and stake themselves out a spot in the realm of participation, do you know what he said? Without reservation, Raymond Biesinger said YES. He said ‘yes’ to campus/community radio. He said ‘yes’ to CJSR. He said ‘yes’ to the 68Comeback Special.

This is how it came to be that we have, in our possession, a copy of Mr. Biesinger’s new book, WWI, and a signed silkscreen print of the poster for that book. This is what the print looks like. Look!

And this is what the book looks like. Ready? 

Or even…

So the thing is, these beautiful things that Raymond has made, made all the more beautiful by the selflessness with which he donated them, will be given away at the end of the ol’ 68Comeback Special this Thursday. We reckon that, at about 4:58pm, we will put the name of every single person who has pledged funds to this year’s FunDrive via our show into the magic draw bucket, pull one name out, and that person will win this fabulous prize. And then Tom and I will fall to the floor exhausted, spent, and unendingly thankful. Will YOURS be the name on that slip of paper? The only thing I know for sure is, you can’t win if you don’t try, honey! Dial and donate at 780 492-2577 ext 1, or pledge securely online at!

And thanks yet again to you, Raymond!

Cassettes? Really?

Stop the presses! Did you hear the news? The 68Comeback Register, the newspaper of record in this area of town, has it on good authority that cassettes are making a comeback, and if that’s true, you really might as well stop the presses because it means that the hipsters have won Armageddon and the end of the world is truly nigh.

Speaking as someone who lived through them the first time, I will go on the record right now as saying, I thought that the issue was discussed and settled and that cassette tapes were, as a medium for delivering musical product, over. That’s largely because cassettes suck for that sort of thing, if you hadn’t already guessed.

I know I sound like a grouchy old man when I say this, but the best and funnest thing by far about being an old fart is the all-knowing, having seen it all-ness of the experience and so, what the hell is with kids these days? They truly do not know how good they’ve got it in this age of technological achievement. Like hey, it’s sort of adorable to see someone set off on a quixotic mission to bring back an obsolete (and inferior, even when it was current) medium, and it’s absolutely quite precious to hear them, in the process, extolling as particular strengths of that medium everything that has already been established is shit about it. But enough is enough, already.

I will allow that, as what there was to work with at the time, cassettes weren’t entirely bad, especially in that they were (and remain) more portable than vinyl. And, so it goes, they’re less expensive to reproduce than CDs, they offer packaging that can act as its own artifact or contain additional items that digital downloads can not, and then of course there’s the romance of making mixtapes for people (swoon).

The author of the article takes it too far, however, when he tries to make the case that the hiss of the tape is directly analagous to the pop of vinyl as some sort of ‘imperfection in itself is aesthetically pleasing’ ethic and preferable to the ‘perfection’ of digital. However you feel about analog vs. digital is your own business, but if we’re strictly comparing the sound of cassette vs. vinyl, it’s a ridiculous claim to make, it’s the ‘tell’ that he’s just being a rationalizer and he’ll get no sympathetic reading from us.

SO. I don’t know what I disliked more, the cruddy sound quality, the rewinding and fast-forwarding past songs you didn’t want to listen to, problems with ‘spaghetti‘ – a scratch on a CD may render the disc unplayable, but it does not pose any sort of threat to the equipment that plays it, whereas a semi-stretchy plastic tape getting unspooled among the mechanical parts that make it go is…ugly – or the high hassle/low value outcome of dubbing from one cassette to another (a la mixtape). Sure, making mixtapes for my friends was tonnes of fun, especially at the point in my life where there was so frequently nothing else I had to be doing but sitting in front of the stereo for three hours, recording songs. That time, however, is past. Nowadays, I have got shit to do, and I have got a computer that can burn someone a CD in a fraction of the time it used to take me. No, it’s not exactly the same thing, but you can’t ever dip your hand in the exact same river either, can you? My point being, so fucking what if it’s not the same? Toughen up, precious.

AND. The same article, with names changed to boost the writer’s contacts, appeared locally last August. I worry that no one has taken this seriously enough in the in-between time to put together a search party that’ll go out to investigate reports of cassette tapes and destroy any they find, once and for all, because if cassette tapes aren’t dead like Bela Lugosi, they’re not exactly alive either, which means it’s more like they’re undead, like a guy Bela Lugosi used to be.

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