HIGHLY RECOMMENDED W/ ANDREW KURJATA
#1 - WHAT IS THE ONE ALBUM (OR EP OR SONG) THAT YOU THINK SHOULD BE THE VERY NEXT MUSICAL THING THAT EVERYONE PRESSES PLAY ON THE NEXT TIME THEY FIND THEMSELVES THINKING “WHAT SHOULD I LISTEN TO NOW”?
I am going to recommend the albums released by Snotty Noze Rez Kids in 2017.
These guys are from the Haisla Nation in northwest B.C. and write about a lot of issues in northern British Columbia, from the politics of resource development to growing up on a reserve next to a mostly non-Indigenous community. As someone who reports on a lot of these issues in the region, it’s interesting to hear terms and places come up in music. And the music itself is fun, sort of an older Wu-Tang vibe filtered through more modern Kendrick/Drake sensibilities. Later this year they are teaming up with Mob Bounce, who are also from the northwest, for a joint release that I’m looking forward to.
While I have your attention I would like to direct you to Prince George’s Raghu Lokanathan, who hasn’t been releasing new solo stuff but who I sort of rediscovered last year after a bunch of other musicians put on a tribute show, reinterpreting his songs through their own sensibilities. It really demonstrated the craft of his music. You can find some of his music online, but not all of it, although he is working in Frontal Lobotomy, which is putting stuff on Bandcamp.
I’m also looking forward to Saltwater Hank’s debut solo album, which is the stage name for Jeremy Pahl.
I first came across him when he was in a metal band that recorded in the S'malygax language of northwest B.C. He’s probably best known for his work with Black Spruce Bog but I get the impression this will be like his work with the Saltwater Brothers, which was a real songwriter, bluegrass-folk vibe with some high-level politics around the edges.
Also, if you haven’t been converted to Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion yet, get on it. Here’s hoping for an Abba-infused album in 2018.
#2 - WHAT IS THE ONE MOVIE OR TV SHOW THAT YOU THINK SHOULD BE NEXT IN EVERYBODY’S NETFLIX QUEUE (OK, DOESN’T HAVE TO BE NETFLIX, WE’RE ALL INTERNET ADULTS HERE AND KNOW HOW TO FIND ANYTHING ONLINE, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER)?
I recently subscribed to CraveTV for the purpose of checking out Letterkenney. It’s not particularly groundbreaking, but I appreciate the way they’ve centered the show in rural Ontario, which comes out in everything from the way they speak to unexpected pop culture references, like Kim Mitchell.
I like TV shows that have a sense of place to them. Similarly, I enjoy Kim’s Convenience, which just has a classic sitcom vibe to it that genuinely makes me smile and is centered in a particular type of Toronto neighbourhood.
I’m glad we have a generation of TV that is confident enough to be not just from Canada, but from particular parts of Canada. I hope the trend continues.
#3. I (AND BY “I” I MEAN “THE PERSON THAT IS READING THIS”) AM GOING TO THE BOOK STORE (OK, PROBABLY AMAZON) TO FIND THE VERY NEXT BOOK THAT I WILL BE PUTTING SOME EXTREMELY VALUABLE ‘ME-TIME' ASIDE FOR. WHICH BOOK WOULD YOU GET, IF YOU WERE ME (AND, I SUPPOSE, YOU HADN’T ALREADY READ WHAT YOU’RE ABOUT TO SUGGEST)?
I plan to re-read Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water this year. I really enjoyed it my first go round, and recently picked up a used copy with extra interviews and features at the end.
I recall after I read it the first time I found an interview with King in which he talked about his deliberate decision to not include footnotes or explanations on some of the references he included to Indigenous culture and history, because he wanted readers to feel disoriented if they didn’t know it. He figured, why should he have to explain this stuff because he thinks it should be just as well-known to Canadians as things like Jacques Cartier. He thought footnotes would be “othering” to Indigenous readers, and his preference was for people not familiar with that experience to be othered, instead. It’s something I think about a lot-- plus, it’s a great read.
#4 - WHAT IS THE ONE WEBSITE (OR JUST ANY OLD INTERNET THING: APP, GIF, SERVICE, WHATEVER) THAT YOU WOULD GET REALLY DOWN IN THE DUMPS ABOUT IF IT WERE TO SUDDENLY GO AWAY?
I mean, I guess I use Google’s stuff more than anything else- email, calendar, documents. So that’d be a pain.
Twitter is the website I enjoy the most. I know it has its problems, but I’m a big believer in just not following anyone that you find is causing you more harm than good. I also recognize I’m saying this as a relatively low-profile straight white male, so I’m not subject to the abuse a lot of other people face.
I know it’s not going to happen, but I kind of wish Facebook would disappear just so people would be forced to use other websites again. I miss the personality of blogs, or even MySpace profiles, compared to the generic blue and white background profiles that every single person on Facebook has.
#5 - AND FINALLY… PLEASE GIVE ONE COMPLETELY UNAIDED RECOMMENDATION THAT YOU THINK EVERYONE SHOULD START DOING / USING / WATCHING / EATING / THINKING / QUITING / ETC-ING TO MAKE THEIR LIVES A LITTLE BIT MORE BETTER AND/OR BEARABLE.
You know what? In the spirit of my last answer I will say carve out a creative space that is just for you. It’s not in the hopes of turning it into a job, it’s not a portfolio, it’s not geared towards getting hearts or shares online. It’s something that you personally find enjoyable, and you do it once a week or once a month or once a year.
It can be online or irl. But it’s for you and nobody else. It will make you happier and that’s all the reason you should need.
OK folks, there you have it. Things that Andrew Kurjata thinks you should consider incorporating into your day/life. Before you close this tab down and go figure out what creative hobby you should start, make sure to follow Andrew on Twitter and check out his blog / newsletter (especially if you're interested in a bit more Canada in your life).