Let me just start with a quick promo announcement: I’m doing a Bandcamp holiday sale through the end of 2019. Everything is 20% off, and the first 5 orders get this cool poster, by Montreal artist HUYNH, delivered straight to your door. Just go to the WP Bandcamp page and enter the discount code 2019 at checkout.
OK, with that out of the way…
As you may have heard, 2019 was the 20th anniversary of The World Provider.
I did a reissue of the very first WP tape, The Elements of Style, with bonus tracks and new liner notes by me and producers Peaches and Taylor Savvy.
My friend Jonathan of Unpopular Arts unearthed this video, shot by Stacey in Berlin in 2000 or 2001 and originally released on a VHS compilation of superhero-themed Super 8 movies by an anarchist film collective:
I did an interview on Ottawa’s CKCU-FM (one of the best campus-community stations out there, btw). The sound quality is not great, but it’s a pretty good overview of the history and theory of the WP for those interested…
And we did some shows, notably an anniversary spectacular in Montreal with a strict Greatest Hits setlist (see poster above), that I was very happy with.
All in all, I have mixed feelings about how the year went, and about looking back over 20 years of the WP. This year, like all the rest, had highs and lows. I’m never sure how honest to be about these things. In the past, when I’ve tried to speak candidly about career stuff, the result has been described (by people I respect a lot) as “whiny” and “depressing.” (I was going more for “honest” and “real,” but as Nigel Tufnel said about clever and stupid, it’s a fine line.)
So let me say instead: I’m more interested in the next 20 years.
Musical highlights of 2019
Charlotte Cornfield: Charlotte is a friend and I’m proud to say that I once even roped her into playing drums with the WP. But I’m not just hyping up a friend when I say that she’s an amazing songwriter and singer. Her new album, The Shape Of Your Name, is her best yet, and her show at Pop Montreal gave me tears and chills. If you don’t know her, get on it.
Triples: I’ve known sisters Eva and Madeline Link since they were little kids, and they’ve always impressed me with their talents. Their new record, Big Time, is a banger. Madeline’s solo project, Pax, is very cool too.
Murray A. Lightburn: OK, this guy I’m really not objective about, as I’m not only a longtime fan but he’s also a friend, has produced three records for me, and we’ve played in each other’s bands. The thing is, as I’ve tried to explain in the past, I simply have really good taste in music, and in friends—I can’t help it.
Anyway! Murray’s new solo record is on an old-school soul/R&B tip and it’s sweet. I had the honour of singing backup at his Montreal album launch show and it was a great experience. For those who are fans of his “other” band The Dears, I heard a new tune of theirs the other night and it was pretty great: monster riffs, strings, laser sounds, and Natalia singing. I look forward to hearing more…
According to Spotify, this year I mainly listened to the Beatles, Beach Boys, Parquet Courts, Reigning Sound, Shintaro Sakamoto, and the theme from the Popeye movie (that was mainly my son’s doing). I’m fine with that, I think—although I’m always looking for recommendations, both within and beyond my musical comfort zones, if you have them.
RIP Justin Haynes
Probably the biggest, and saddest, news on the personal front this year was the death of Justin Haynes. He was not a close friend, but he was very close with my brother, and was someone I respected a lot. Only after his passing did I find out that he had recently published some personal essays about his experiences with homelessness and low-income housing. I urge everyone to read these, to agitate for affordable housing, and most importantly, to check in on the people in your life who need help, and to reach out if you need it.
It’s tough out there, let’s take care of each other.