Thursday, March 22, 2012

On The End Of An Era

Ok Ok. So there we go. We officially broke up. Although we are doing some farewell shows in May. We are also having a short recording session scheduled before Alex goes back out west, to put the last tracks in the can. So expect a minor release somewhere soon.

But yeah, it's time to move on. The three of us are having projects that are getting more intense, and distance is a major factor undermining getting our shit together aesthetically, in order to keep drawing a continuity from previous works. Academia is getting more and more appealing, as both Chloe and me will start school soon, her finishing her undergrad and me applying for grad school.

AIDS Wolf's framework is too complicated to be a part-time endeavour. Also, it is not the most sustainable business economically--- although we always 'broke even', it is getting harder and harder to do so, and with our giant van and gear, we recently could not stop comparing ourselves with other bands and feeling somewhat like dinosaurs...

But that doesn't mean we will stop playing music. Alex is still fully active with Drainolith, Chloe and me will do the odd Hamborghinni thing, and who knows what happens next. Music has always been part of our collective praxis, and will be exploited one way or another by either of us.

This is an essay Chloe wrote pinning down our present state of mind way better than I could do. You should read it.

So my band broke up and I’m having a lot of feelings about it. I’m going to try to make sense of those feelings here.

My band is called AIDS Wolf and we started as a 4 piece noise-rock band in Montreal in 2003. Over the years with line up changes and the growing sophistication of our own tastes we became a trio in 2009 and started calling ourselves either Formalist/Unknown Wave or Abstract Rock.

When my beau and I started the band our expectations were pretty minimal. We’d already been in 2 bands together and each several bands before meeting. Him more of the garage and punk varieties and myself of the noise and industrial ones. We dropped out of university to do a major tour with one of our previous projects , to have one of our band-mates leave the day we got home. We’d already learned that relying on others for one’s creative pursuits was dicey even in the best circumstances. Besides, as Canadians we were geographically challenged on the touring side of things. We told ourselves AW would be a fun hobby and we’d play around locally and that would be that. But it wasn’t that. We started getting more involved and reaching out to American bands we liked to bring them up here and while accompanying them to play gigs across southern Ontario our fate became cemented, we become a touring band. A REAL band. The type of band we looked up to , the type of band we all went to see. It had previously had seemed so out of reach.

In the early part of the 2000′s there was a swell of noise-rock , noise and no wave influenced bands doing it seriously , some of them managing to find actual audiences. From Youtube clips of our early gigs we started getting contacted by labels in 2005 , settling on Lovepump United & Skin Graft Records to co-release our debut album , The Lovvers Lp in January 06.At that point we started touring pretty much non-stop in Europe , the US , even doing a week of gigs in Israel in ’08.

We did our thing pretty modesty, sometimes getting decent crowds in the bigger urban centers, much less elsewhere. After The Lovvers came out music bloggers and journalists more or less collectively decided we were total shit and disingenuous to boot so after a rash of spectacularly awful reviews, we mostly got left alone by media. It didn’t seem to matter too much , we had our context , we had a crew of like-minded bands & musicians who were also interested in sowing a more difficult row.

And because things always change, that did too. In ’09 we stepped back after our guitarist Myles moved to the UK to woodshed as a trio with Alex. New rig , new songs and an goal towards greater abstraction. Alex Ross’s The Rest is Noise had been passed around in the van and as a trio, going towards more a formal and disjointed sound seemed a natural progression.

So we stayed in the jam room for a year and wrote songs complicated enough that the only way to learn them was drilling them over and over for hours. My own lyrics got more abstract as I’d use made up words , vocal imitations of Alex’s electronics and plenty of stream of consciousness & cut up. During this time we wrote and rehearsed the material for Ma vie banale avant-garde.

Then , exactly a year letter we took in on the road and to Dub Narcotic studio in Olympia to record. It was to see that the setting had radically changed in the year we were woodsheding. For one , many of our peer bands had either disbanded , or stopped/seriously slowed down on touring. “I’m in debt and can’t afford the time off work anymore” they’d tell us , or “I want to start a family / go to grad school / get an adult job”. “I can’t face another empty room , it’s futile , pointless , ridiculous , demoralizing”. Same story everywhere and no surprise , we were getting older and so were our friends and what’s marginal at 20-something becomes much more so at 30-something or 40-something. But beyond many of our cohort moving on, there where significant changes in what was deemed “underground” , what could get booked where and under what circumstances. It seemed that as a bunch of 30 somethings in an extended van full of big amps and a loud as hell P.A. had become an anachronism.

All of the sudden bands doing ads for soft drink companies or department stores were considered “underground”. So where did this leave the actual underground, the one that couldn’t sell cars/soda/computers even if if wanted to? Because it was weird/ugly/dangerous/challenging? It left it in a cave.

In many smaller centers, our friends moved to the bigger cities, and we’d arrive in a college town where our previous crew had moved to Chicago/LA/Brooklyn/ect , each night was like starting from scratch.

But being the scrappers that we are , we got home and chalked it all up to bad luck / bad timing and got on mixing MVBAG , feeling chipper and more certain than ever about what we were doing creatively. Then the requirements for US touring visas changed. All of the sudden the price doubled & we needed signed contracts from every promoter 3 months before petitioning for the visa. As one might imagine , getting contracts from DIY promoters 6 months before a gig is as easy as teaching your cats how to play the drums.
So the expenses are going up , the paper work is going wayyy up , the audiences are going way down and most of the bands we liked , if they weren’t packing it in , where seriously scaling back. The whole thing started feeling like more trouble than it was worth but we were so confident in our record that we went ahead despite any lingering doubts. We felt on top of our game , stoked to share our tirelessly worked songs , rehearsed to precision, with our peers. Then the actual tour happened, where by the time we had played to less than 5 people several gigs in a row , being a scroungy jammer seemed less like a fun hobby / challenging art practice and more like an exercise in humiliation. At at least half the gigs, the opening bands would split right after playing, without even acknowledging our presence. In New Orleans, attempts to chat with one of the opening bands got us eye rolls.

Myself , I had been contemplating returning to school for awhile at this point but there would always be a tour on the horizon. While my cohorts in the art scene were doing MFAs and getting gallery representation , I was playing a warehouse in the Midwest , a piss flooded communist squat in the Alps or someone’s living room in Texas.

As the front woman I was also getting pretty sick of the unending stream of misogynistic comments I’d face at our gigs , online or in the rare press coverage we’d get. Even more sick when I was told I should feel *good* about strange men verbally dissecting my body.

As someone who considered music making as part of an artistic practice , I was getting more and more disillusioned with the underground rock circuit. A lot of the time DIY shows was as shitty than the bar shows. Providing the background tunes for a party was not why I was putting this amount of effort/sacrifice into a project.Is a better context for underground experimental music too much to ask for?

Apparently it is.

So now Alex is not living in Montreal , I’m going back to school to be a 34 year old undergrad and we are still paying rent on a jam space to store our gear.

The vibrant scene we were part of seems to barely exist and it turns out that no one is actually interested in an hour long record of very formal harsh jams.

So we are playing our last 3 gigs in May. Not because we no longer get along , cause we do , and not because we aren’t happy with the actual music making , because we are. It’s simply not sustainable to be in this type of project for us anymore. 9 years is a long time to invest all of yourself in something that gets next to no feedback. It feels like the death of a loved one and we have to bury the body to keep the maggots away.

The only reason I even though to announce the breakup and not just do it quietly so our friends who live near by can come up to celebrate/commiserate with us, I posted it on our Facebook page. And then the blogs and magazines got up on it. It’s hard not to feel cynical when publications wouldn’t wouldn’t waste an article or review on us before are reporting on the breakup.

I posted on my twitter feed that I was crying for an end of an era as much as I was mourning the end of my band. But it’s not just that.In a sense it’s the end of myself. I’ve been in bands since I was 17 and I’m now 34. My self image is that of a jammer. A scroungy jammer. If I don’t have a band and don’t play shows am I still a jammer? If not a jammer than where do i fit in?

I’m not sure yet if this is the end of me making music or just the beginning of a long break but if it’s the latter I hope I can come back to it with ideas on how to create a new context for underground experimental music. A context that doesn’t revolve around youth culture or selling drinks (or anything else for that matter) or “entertainment” but one similar that that of performance art or that of musique actuelle.

All that said, I regret nothing. I stand behind everything we put out and despite the difficulties, frustrations and financial hits , it’s been 100% worthwhile. I’m proud of what we’ve done and glad as well as humbled to have gotten to play/work with the people and bands that we have. I don’t know I’d recommend this path to anyone else or if it’s even relevant to younger folks but I’m glad for the experiences because even the terrible ones become funny in time.

In Boston , the last gig of our fall tour.

Exclaim! magazine article on our breakup. The last editorial feature they did on us was in 2006.

*Edited to add that I find getting called “unstructured sonic chaos” to be backhanded in a very major way.

AIDS Wolf Final Tour Dates:
05/04 – Sherbrooke, QC @ Sporoble
05/05 – Montreal, QC @ Casa del Popolo *
05/11 – Toronto, ON @ TBD

* = w/ Souffle and David Lafrance

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ma vie banale avant-garde

Ma vie banale avant-garde is our 4th album and our first one as a trio. It includes 24 tracks, and is released digitally and as a Double LP vinyl 12".
Please note that capitalisation on titles is either following the french rule, or is purely intentional.

Out now for pre-order on Lovepump United Records.

Out in stores on October 4 2011.

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Heaps of Sour Earth
No Females on Board
Despair Ritual
Cinq à sept
Wings of Inertia
Nothing But a Tape Recorder

Like PSHTS of Aerosol
Volunteer Decoys
Le cercle des ratés
I've had such an acrid taste in my throat
What's an aphid?
London's not like back home

Child of Wind, Creature of Dust
Why bother?
Pop a Candy Drop
Subconscious Snacks on Ha Ha
Self-defence Is Moral Dentistry
Breeding Grounds Are Burial Mounds

Chippers Takes a Sip
Please hold the line
The wise have no use for wisdom anymore
Born Dead
An Honest Miracle/Mistake
Snuffed Out Dreams

Yannick Desranleau - Drums
Chloe Lum - Vocals, electronics
Alexander Moskos - Guitar, electronics

Produced by AIDS Wolf.
Recorded at Dub Narcotic, Olympia, Washington, October 2010.
Engineered by Bob Schwenkler.
Mixed by Bob Schwenkler and Yannick Desranleau.
Mastered by Weasel Walter.

Design by Robert Beatty.


Friday, September 23, 2011

AIDS Wolf 'Vie Banale' Tour 2011

We will be on the road again, this time to play cuts from the new upcoming album Ma vie banale avant-garde. We have the extreme pleasure to have Henry and Hazel Slaughter and Unicorn Hard-On support us, each for half of the tour. It's gonna be a blast!

10/07/11 - Montreal, QC RECORD LAUNCH @ Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal w/ The Pink Noise

10/20/11 – Brooklyn, NY @ Death By Audio
10/21/11 – Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class
10/22/11 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
10/23/11 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
10/24/11 – Iowa City, IA @ Gabe’s Oasis
10/25/11 – Lawrence, KS @ Replay Lounge
10/26/11 – Normal, OK @ Opolis
10/27/11 – Austin, TX @ 29th St. Ballroom @ Spide
10/28/11 – Denton, TX @ Rubberglove
10/29/11 – Hot Springs, AR @ tba
10/30/11 – Birmingham AL @ Firehouse
10/31/11 – Athens, GA @ Farm 255

11/3/11 – Miami, FL @ Churchill’s
11/4/11 – Tampa, FL @ Crowbar
11/5/11 – Orlando, FL @ Will’s Pub
11/6/11 – Atlanta, GA @ 529
11/7/11 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Nightlight
11/8/11 – Harrisonburg, VA @ Festival Ballroom at JMU

11/10/11 – Washington DC @ Comet Ping Pong
11/11/11 – New York, NY @ 92Y Tribeca
11/12/11 – Binghamton, NY @ Pajama Kazama
11/13/11 – Boston, MA @ Church of Boston

All October dates w/ Henry and Hazel Slaughter; all November dates &
Halloween show w/ Unicorn Hard-On

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Le cercle des ratés

Lovely rehearsal zone from the Wolfies, in preparation for our epic Fall 2011 tour w/ Henry and Hazel Slaughter and Unicorn Hardon.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

AIDS Wolf Eastern Europe Summer Rash 2011

27.07.2011 Berlin (DE), Westgermany w/ Cotton Ponies

28.07.2011 Nuernberg (DE), K4 w/ Don Vito

29.07.2011 Kutna Hora (CZ), Creepy Teepee Festival

30.07.2011 Frankfurt (DE), IVI w/ Kolter

01.08.2011 Ljubljana (SI), Menza Pri Koritu w/ Nikki Louder

02.08.2011 Graz (AT), Postgarage

03.08.2011 Vienna (AT), Fluc

05.08.2011 Katowice (PL), Off Festival on the Eksperymentalna T-Mobile Music Stage
With Omar Souleyman, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and tons more.

More details to come!

In the waiting here is a little preview:---in fact it's from one of our performances at NXNE 2011 last june:

AIDS Wolf from NOW Magazine on Vimeo.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Office Québec-Monde pour la jeunesse and the Délégation générale du Québec - Bureau du Québec à Berlin for this tour.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Eastern Seaboard Spring Tour 2011

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We are playing the cities of the Patrick Division and then some! Come and observe us perform! Sketch out a critical review of the artistic value of our performance in your head and utter it to all your aquaintances!
Grab a copy of An Insane and Abstract Hell (Dedicated To Two Dudes From Rusted Shut) and Chipped Teeth!

4/14/11 Easthampton, MA @ Flywheel w/ Bill Nace, Egg Eggs (mem of Sunburned Hand Of The Man & Fat Worm Of Error) //All Ages - 8$ early gig!

RSVP on the Facebook

4/15/11 Pawtucket, RI @Machines with Magnets w/ (((microwaves))) , Chrome Jackson , Human Beast // All Ages

4/16/11 Brooklyn, NY @ Death By Audio w/ Captain Ahab , White Suns , Controlled Bleeding, Telecult Powers // All Ages - 10$

4/17/11 Washington, DC @ Comet Ping Pong w/ The K-Holes

4/18/11 Philadelphia,PA @ Pageant: Soloveev w/ SATANIZED , Drums Like Machine Guns , Cat Vet // All Ages

RSVP on the Facebook

4/19/11 Pittsburgh, PA @ Helter Shelter w/ Skin Graft , The Others , Greenlander , Half Nelson , Casual Male /// 5$

RSVP on the Facebook

4/20/11 Allentown, PA @ Good Weekend w/ Secret Cutter - 10$

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chipped Teeth, North American Edition DELUXE

Chipped Teeth is a 7" of improvisations recorded back in 2008, and was released by Slowboy Records in conjunction of our Spring 2008 European Tour. At the time because of time constraints or something, the label was not able to print the artwork in time, releasing the 7" with makeshift one-colour cover art made by the label, with made up titles too.
About one year later, we got the remaining of our copies through the mail and intended to print the original artwork ourselves... well that just took almost two more years! We finally found the time to do it last December.

So here it is, the real version of what Chipped Teeth was supposed to be, available only through the band's merch table at our North American shows. This is a rare recording of the Cities of Glass band at the height of its form.
Limited edition of 50. Come and get it before someone else does it!

Chipped Teeth North American Edition DELUXE will be available for the first time in the Land of the Free during our Spring 2011 Tour.

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And for those wondering, those who already have the 7" or a digital bootleg ripped straight from the 7", here are THE REAL CREDITS AND SONG TITLES that were originally intended to be in there (no, it's not "Germans Know Where It's At" and "Yes We Do" or something, trust me):

Chipped Teeth


Chipped Tooth & Pearl Shake


1-Death By Paranoia

2-Lust In The Dustpan

Myles Broscoe (Guitar), Yannick Desranleau (Drums), André Guérette (Guitar), Chloe Lum (Vocals).
Recorded by AIDS Wolf February 2008 at the 100 Sided Die, Montreal QC.
Mixed by André Guérette.
Design By Seripop.

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