Entries by Philip Turner

Ohbijou & Library Voices at the Knitting Factory

Ohbijou from Toronto and Library Voices from Regina played great sets at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn Thursday night Nov. 4. A six-piece outfit, Ohbijou’s music is like a space jam with soaring notes and lyrical interludes with great vocals by sisters Casey and Jenny Mecija, who also play guitar and violin respectively. A seven-piece, Library Voices has a brash, fun sound with vibrant catchy hooks, bookish song titles and literary-minded lyrics (“Reluctant Readers Make Reluctant Lovers,” “If Raymond Carver Were Born in the 90s,” “Prime Minister’s Daughter), and a very athletic performing style. It was great hanging with all the band members before, during, and after their sets. Had fun chatting with Jenny and her boyfriend, Eoin, bassist of Library Voices, about Canadian writers, including Pierre Berton and Farley Mowat. Farley is a longtime friend to Eoin’s father, who works for the Library Association of Canada. Because Ohbijou currently has a popular song called Niagara I mentioned that in the 90s I’d published Berton’s great book Niagara: A History of the Falls, which garnered front-page treatment on the cover of the New York Times Book Review. Their lyrics riff on some of the same dangerous features of the falls that characterizes Berton’s narrative: “You collapsed into iron arms/A bridge, a crossing into desperate parts/We filled this quiet, this poison cup.” Several members of fellow Regina band Rah Rah were also in the house–Leif Thorseth, Joel Passmore, and Kristina Hedlund–adding to the good times for all.

Treasuring Neil Young

Neil’s the best. What a beautiful concert he played for the kids at the Bridge School. The lyrics of “Sugar Mountain,” all about the uneasy passage from childhood to adulthood, are especially meaningful here. The cover of the old Youngbloods song, “Get Together,” was a special way to close the night. I treasure Neil Young.

All Kinds of Superheroes

In recent months there have been a number of terrific graphic novels released, including Kate Beaton’s Hark, Vagrant, Michael Kupperman’s rendition of Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010, Ludovic Debeurme’s Lucille, and Nick Bertozzi’s Lewis & Clark. Last April, as part of the PEN World Voices Festival I had the privilege of covering a special comics reading […]