Alex Soria remembered
Montreal legend Alex Soria died tragically on December 13, stepping in front of a train in his St. Henri neighbourhood. The soft-spoken founder of the Nils (a band Hüsker Dü's Bob Mould once credited with shaping the sound of his own iconic band), Los Patos , Chino and Black Sox will be sorely missed by both friends and the scene he was instrumental in starting.
The Nils were pioneers in the punk revolution before punk was a term requiring qualification. Soria was a figurehead of Montreal's first indie music explosion, and it's terribly ironic that he should be lost just as the city's music scene seems to be exploding into a new era - a sad epitaph for the founder of a band once described as "to punk what Big Star was to pop."
March 11 in Montreal, members of the community will hold an evening honouring Soria, featuring performances by members of Chino and John Kastner (of Asexuals , Doughboys and All Systems Go ), who joins Carlos Soria and other former Nils.
Juno what I mean?
Earlier this week, the fine folks at CARAS (the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) unfurled the list of nominees for everyone's favourite populist music gala, the 2005 Junos , slated to take over Winnipeg April 3.
There were few shockers. Napanee mall princess Avril Lavigne leads the pack with an impressive five nods, including album of the year for Under My Skin, her "mature" sophomore release; Celine Dion scored props for the horrific kiddie porn of her Miracle collabo with Anne Geddes (she of the babies-as-flowers snapshots); Shania Twain is all over the place.
More baffling was the presence of not one, not two, but three Canadian Idol hopefuls. Despite extremely poor sales, Ryan Malcolm is up for pop album of the year, while Gary Beals stands to be trounced by Keshia Chanté in the R&B/soul category, and hottie Audrey de Montigny 's self-titled debut is the one francophone album-of-the-year nom that might register west of Quebec. We feel for poor Billy Klippert , whose Orange label debut was nowhere to be found.
Other wacky tidbits: the über-cheesy Doritos-sponsored Fan Choice Award nominees are all female (cuz you want sex appeal when you're shilling Fromage Nacho Cheese), and CARAS has invented the "adult alternative" category for artists like Sarah Harmer , Rufus Wainwright and Matt Mays (!), who are too left of centre to please everyone but not quite edgy enough to slip under the alternative umbrella.
Speaking of Mays, what's up with nominating his self-titled debut for a 2005 Juno? The dude's awesomely talented, but the disc dropped in 2003. Ditto for Billy Talent 's Atlantic breakout, up for album of the year honours. Is this, like, the "oops - sorry we missed you the first time" award?
Otherwise, we're stoked about the reliable alternative album of the year category, which includes a faceoff between two Arts & Crafts acts ( Feist and Stars ), a belated tip of the hat to Jim Guthrie 's Now, More Than Ever, the no-brainer nom for likely winners Arcade Fire and a dark horse in A.C. Newman 's Slow Wonder solo turn.