Ahead to the Beginning

Chris McCluskey gets ready to Explode.

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Feeling more confident, The Self Conscious ditched its name this summer, after only a pair of shows, in favour of The Beginners. But Mike O’Neill says there were other reasons too.

“There were many bands out there called The Self Conscious and few, if any, called The Beginners,” he says. “There might be The Beginners Brass, or something, but that just refers to a group of students and not a proper band.”

The guitar-drum combo hopes to have a record out for the new year.

“I’ve been busy,” O’Neill says. “But Beginners drummer Hampton Kelly just sits around and practices drums all day. He’s a professional drummer. So he pulled the songs together while I took care of other business.”

The Beginners headline Stage Nine on October 17.

Weaks on end

The Weakerthans’s latest record, Reconstruction Site, just passed its third birthday and there’s no indication when we’ll hear a new one. The band will be in Halifax on October 18, with no plans for a new band release in the foreseeable future.

“Well it’s been going on for an impossibly long time,” says lyricist/vocalist John K. Samson of the Winnipeg quartet’s aptly named Impossible Distances tour. “I dunno, we don’t really have any formal plans right now.”

Meanwhile, Samson and guitarist Stephen Carroll have been putting their time to good use. They have posted a list of issues Winnipegers should consider when voting in an approaching municipal election.

“We spend a lot of time moaning about politics and how the city works, so Steve made a list of what we were talking about,” says Samson. “Stephen and I still live here and we follow city life fairly closely. We decided to do that, I don’t think it’s having much effect, but I don’t know.”

The Weakerthans Perfect City Project’s four pillars are city planning, streets and transportation, waste reduction and avoiding a ballot favouring incumbent Sam Katz. Samson and Carroll favour Kaj Hasselriis, a proponent of a greener Winnipeg.

“It’s a matter of getting the people and the citizenry involved,” Samson says. “Winnipeg is run by developers and big business and in many ways is a testing ground. The city can be a quite apt metaphor for modern life.”

The Weakerthans are joined by Christine Fellows and Dog Day, October 18 at the McInnes Room.

Fall Frost

She may have received a break in the music biz when her song “Who Am I” appeared in the Kirsten Dunst film crazy/beautiful, but Lily Frost says she has only found herself since her 2001 release.

“When I wrote ‘Who Am I’ I was in a place where I was uprooted from my family, in a searching mode,” she says. “Now I’m more grounded, I’ve found my soulmate and I’m more focused on putting out a record I feel is honest in terms of what I have to offer.”

Cine-Magique, her second album since then, is a departure from her pop-rock past, revealing a minimalist old-school chanteuse. The record was produced while pregnant with her first child.

“It was intense emotionally,” says Frost. “But there was this sense of another being inside of you, and wanting to make him proud.”

Frost performs October 18 at Ginger’s with Jenn Grant.

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