RIP, Bob the Budgie

The N2DS2W mascot, Bob the Budgie, was in loving hands when he passed away the morning of Oct. 15.

We're not sure how old he was when he was plucked from the budgie bin at a local pet store a little more than five years ago, but his vet noted he was not a young bird.

Bob's favourite Canadian indie songs were Caribou's "Odessa" and Molly Rankin's "Way Home." Both never failed to make him chirp, often right in time with the music. Although he never learned to talk, he had plenty to say. He could mimic the microwave beeps, and loved the sound of running water, the birds outside and the hair dryer. His favourite treat was dandelion.

He is survived by his fellow pets Mulder the cat and Lucid the hedgehog.

A brief service was held in the backyard.

The house definitely won't be the same without you, Bob. You will be greatly missed.

It's Phate that it's eight

On Sat., Sep. 17 Phog Phest moves back indoors for round 8 at the Phog Lounge and owner Tom Lucier's newest venture and venue, The Rondo. We're excited to finally see it after an epic tunnel backup foiled our attempt to attend the opening.

Lucier's doing a slow reveal of bands. So far in addition to local talent, out-of-towners include The Pack A.D. We know of another but won't spoil the surprise. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

(This year's Phog Phest poster is by Alain Rocha)

Meet us in the Basement

Looking for a place online to get the latest Canadian indie music news and talk Canadian indie music with Canadian indie music fans?

Head downstairs to Thanks to some passionate and talented folks from the former CBC Radio 3 blog, you can read great articles that aren't insert-a-number-here clickbait lists. You can also drop in on the blog and chat about your favourite Canadian indie bands, the show you saw last night and other topics. You'll find the blog on the most recent post.

Why Our Basement? Before CBC Music launched the latest blogless site (that left N2DS2W with hundreds of broken links), and before the one it replaced, there was the site bloggers fondly call the basement (thanks Wayback Machine!). The basement years were some of the best for CBC Radio 3 bloggers, and R3 itself.

So stop by and take a look around. Keep an eye out for the wild raccoon and leave a cookie for him.


Today, we did something we never dreamed: We removed the CBC Radio 3 logo from N2DS2W.

If you haven't been following along, CBC Music recently launched a new site. It doesn't include the Radio 3 blog. All our playlists and profiles are gone. It doesn't include an Internet stream for Radio 3 outside of Canada. The CBC Music app also doesn't work outside of Canada.

Although we don't post as often as we used to, we are still actively attending shows and doing what we've always done: Support Canadian indie music and musicians in Windsor and Detroit. Which is now more than we can say about Radio 3.

You can still listen to Radio 3 Classic on Sirius XM channel 162. You can also read the many eloquent, and not so eloquent comments from the so callously dismissed Radio 3 blog community on the CBC Radio 3 Facebook page.


Left and Leaving: Larry Livermore Looks Back

“If there’s one thing I hate about memoirs or documentaries, it’s that they all end up being some version of ‘We did this amazing thing, it was awesome, and then it ended. Too bad you weren’t there, because you’ll never see anything like it again.’”

We didn’t know that Larry Livermore existed before this year. Then, CBC broadcaster and author Grant Lawrence posted on Facebook about Livermore’s second book, How to Ru(i)n a Record Label: The Story of Lookout Records. What does the label that launched Green Day have to do with Canadian indie? Lookout Records, and in some ways Livermore himself, was born at 924 Gilman, the legendary punk venue and social experiment of California’s East Bay. Canadian punk bands Nomeansno, The Smugglers, The Hextalls and Fucked Up have played on the Gilman stage. Livermore also has ties to Mint Records and is friends with The Weakerthans’ John K. Sampson.

Larry Livermore

But Livermore and How to Ru(i)n a Record Label begin in Detroit. That’s where he learned from Motown’s DIY script to “make your own scene, make your own records” and where his stories began during a book signing at Dearborn Music. Before sharing local memories like watching the MC5 lose a battle of the bands in Allen Park and getting in a car chase with Mayor Orville Hubbard’s goons, he prefaced his monologue with this disclaimer: “I can’t get away with bullshitting. People around here have a real ear for bullshit. It’s too hard to believe in anything. We’re too cynical.” Cynical maybe, but Livermore doesn’t come off as a bullshitter. Unlike his incendiary writing that established the Livermore brand, in person and on the pages of his books, he’s straightforward, unpretentious and observant.

Fast forward to the 80s. Livermore was living his first book, Spy Rock Memories, set in a rugged marijuana-growing haven of the Northern California mountains. A mostly fish-out-of-water prequel to How to Ru(i)n a Record Label with some chronological overlap, it lays the groundwork for everything Lookout, Livermore’s development as a writer, musician and purveyor of punk.

Although its subtitle is The Story of Lookout Records, How to Ru(i)n a Record Label is very much the story of the Gilman too. In 1987 a band called Operation Ivy played there, and as Livermore told the rapt audience at Dearborn Music, “It was like the gates of something had opened up to a parallel universe.” But for most people, that universe doesn’t spawn a record label. A year later Op Ivy had signed with the fledgling Lookout Records, followed by a band called Green Day.

Ten years later in 1998, Grant Lawrence penned this write-up of the label’s 10-year anniversary party. A disillusioned Livermore had already walked away from millions of dollars and the label he co-founded.

You’ll have to read the book to find out what happened, and we can recommend that you do. We loved Spy Rock, too. But you had to be at the book signing to hear Livermore share insights and timeless advice for any band trying to make it in music.

“A label doesn’t have magic powers. It’s not like you go into studio and here’s a hit.”
“The philosophy was you shouldn’t make money on music. The minute you did, you were kicked out of the scene, you were commercial.”
“Write good songs and you’ll always be able to make a good living.”
“Do your own thing, not somebody else’s.”
“Nirvana tried to play the Gilman, by the way. They were told no one would come.”

“If you lived in a different part of the world, if you were too young or too old to be there, if perhaps you weren’t even born yet, never let anyone tell you that you missed out or that you couldn’t possibly understand what it was like… We all get our moments, and where they begin or how they end is less important than how we experience them, what we do with them, and how they transform us.”

Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images

"Expect to hear me talking quite a bit about Detroit and Downriver."

Friday, Mar. 18 
 6 PM - 8 PM
Dearborn Music
22501 Michigan Ave, Dearborn, Michigan 48124

"Really looking forward to this one. As it says, Downriver was my home during my formative years. Growing up in the Detroit area, watching the rise of the legendary Motown Records, seeing the Supremes and my nearby neighbors, the MC5, as a teenager, and a stint in the slag pit on Zug Island were some of the experiences that would later inspire everything I tried to do with Lookout Records. Expect to hear me talking quite a bit about Detroit and Downriver." 

Show Review: PKEW PKEW PKEW are a barrel of fun

Elections. Mass shootings. Police shootings. Refugees. Global warming. Man, life is serious business these days. When you need to take a break from all that seriousness, there's nothing like music. Especially if it's the irreverent, incisive punk music of Toronto's PKEW PKEW PKEW (gunshots).

We went off-schedule to see one of their shows in Toronto during NXNE in 2013 and never forgot how much fun they were. When we saw them booked at Phog Lounge last week on a Thursday, we didn't care about the sleep we were going to lose.

The PKEWs-- David Laino, Ryan McKinley, Emmett O'Reilly and Mike Warne-- play punk songs firmly rooted in the old school style and tradition: fast, short and with the added plus of some solid vocals. They're also firmly testosterone-in-cheek, skewering the Peter Pans ("Mid-20s Skateboarder," "Glory Days"), the Darwin Award nominees ("We're Gonna Do It Anyway") and the assholes ("Asshole Pandemic"). Look for a new album sometime this year. If you live in the east/southeast U.S., watch for them opening for PUP this June.

Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images

N2DS2W Year in Review 2015

The shows, music and moments we'll remember most from 2015, plus some of our favourite albums.

January: Elliott BROOD (The Ark) surprises our unsuspecting daughter with birthday wishes at her first Canadian indie show. Album pick released this month: Viet Cong, Viet Cong (shortlisted for the Polaris Prize).

Stephen Pitkin

Mark Sasso and the birthday girl

Casey Laforet, N2D and the birthday girl

March: CBC Radio 3 takes all live hosts off the air. We take the day off work to mourn with a devastated R3 blog community and say goodbye to Grant, Lana and R3 as we knew it. Album pick release this month: Hayden, Hey Love.

Image and design: Mr. FussyFont


April: We finally see METZ (The Loving Touch). Some hardcore screaming vocal noise rock bands make us flip the dial, but the musical craftsmanship and visceral intensity of METZ just make us flip. Album picks released this month: LeE HARVeY OsMOND, Beautiful Scars; Rodney DeCroo, Campfires on the Moon.

Design: Kali Malinka   Photography: Angela Fama

May: Rodney DeCroo (Phog Lounge), backed by the amazing Ida Nilsen (Great Aunt Ida), and Mark Haney on double bass, wows us with his poignant and personal music. Album pick released this month: METZ, II.

June: The day before leaving for NXNE, Hayden and Bahamas (The Ark) deliver one of our top shows of 2015, just as we predicted in our show alert.


July: N2DS2W celebrates five years. Happy birthday to us.

August: Thanks to our good friend John Struman, we meet a Detroit band we love: Nigel & The Dropout (Phog Lounge). And once again, the Festival of Good Things (Sarnia), this year headlined by Shred Kelly and Sunparlour Players, proves to be the perfect way to end the summer.

Nigel & The Dropout

Andrew Penner, Sunparlour Players

Michael "Rosie" Rosenthal, Sunparlour Players

Ty West, Shred Kelly
Ian Page Shiner and Tim Newton, Shred Kelly

Jordan Vlasshaert and Sage McBride, Shred Kelly

September: Seven is a lucky number as Phog Phest 7 proves the perfect way to start the fall. Grand Analog makes the world go round, The Sadies deliver a blistering set and Wintersleep are glorious.

Grand Analog (Odario Williams)

Sean Dean, The Sadies

Mike Belitsky, The Sadies

Dallas Good, The Sadies
Travis Good, The Sadies

Loel Campbell, Wintersleep

Paul Murphy, Wintersleep


October: We see our first matinee show at Phog Lounge featuring Megan Hamilton and a flock of kids attacking plates of fries like sparrows. Hamilton's new album, Forty Warm Streams to Lead Your Wings is a thing of beauty, with songs that make you feel like you've known them all your life.

November: Our hip kid has to explain a Ghettosocks (Phog Lounge, with Swamp Thing) Adventure Time reference that still has us singing Bacon Pancakes. Album pick released this month: Library Voices, Lovish.

December: We see Born Ruffians sans costumes for the first time (they really like playing Detroit on Devil's Night) and Young Rival in shiny costumes. They don't need the gimmick; their new album Interior Light shines bright enough.

Noah Fralick, Young Rival

Aron D'alesio, Young Rival

John Smith, Young Rival

Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images