Books on Tape: Tonight…and then again Tomorrow!

Books on Tape aka Todd Drootin

Raised on punk and then hooked on electronic music and hip hop as he start to create music, Books on Tape is the moniker of Los Angeles based artist Todd Drootin.

Books on Tape became well known for the eclectic mash-ups and frenetic stage presence that were a staple of assault like performances. Loaded with a sense of humour and AKAI MPC2000, Drootin’s live show

Drootin isn’t Kid 606, Four Tet or Manitoba, he’s a cut and paste collage soloist that is the most perfect example of the term Beat Punk. Drootin keeps things simple with Books On Tape, he’s able to mine a vast number of genres from ammo and samples while still keeping things decidedly punk and playful.

He returns to Halifax for the third time on December 12th and 13th after a brief retirement which saw Drootin work as a grader of vinyl for collectors. Drootin works 9-5, five days a week, listening to, comparing and grading records, determining which press of Abbey Road sounds the best. Drootin is in Halifax for an exclusive set of reunion shows (Can you reunite with yourself?) alongside former tour mates, A/V, Windom Earle and Mark Black.

He has number of releases on labels including Alien 8, Deathbomb Arc, and Grey Day. He has shared the stage with everyone from Prefuse 73 to Shonen Knife to the Brutal Knights’ Nick Flanagan.

Dec 12th at the Seahorse

Books on Tape (LA)
Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees
Windom Earle
Mark Black

Dec 13th at Gus’ Pub
Books on Tape
Myles Deck & the Fuzz
The Gideons



Vote Nerd Army

Brad MacDougall (Nerd Army/Windom Earle) entered a contest for Mapex drums and he needs your help.

View his submission here.

If you wish to vote for him, email with the subject “My DrumHero Vote”. Write “Brad MacDougall” in the body of the email and a link to the video (

Here’s a completely different video of Nerd Army playing a video game store:

The Hour Blog Marred By Poor Writing

Last year, Jess Watt and Jenn Good covered the Halifax Pop Explosion for CBC’s The Hour and man did they hate Windom Earle:

Windom Earle, or as I like to call it, possibly the worst band I’ve ever heard. A never ending interlude of repeated chords that never found a hook, or a chorus and never really ended until a much appreciated break for some Bon Jovi Karaoke in the middle of the set. Their big song beef chowmein, apparently a local favourite made me hungry and wishing I was eating that instead of listening to this. It was band camp gone wild up there; the sax player who was to his credit playing like it was life or death, almost took himself out with the sax and ended up air-guitaring… on his sax. That kinda sums it up really. Windom – Playing long and loud doesn’t make it sound any better, although bonus points for the cowbell.

Please consider that this is from a pair whose musical taste is suspect to begin with:

As someone who loves, understands and constantly defends The Killers, who are one of the best bands of our time

This year, Jess Watt, with a year of covering superlative festivals like V Fest, Edgefest, the Vans Warped Tour and NXNE under her belt, came back to Halifax, stayed for three days,took some terrible photos, saw about 10% of the bands and declared that the festival had fizzled.

Watt, admittedly, missed out on most of the headliners including: GZA, Holy Fuck, The Inbreds, Monotonix, Josh Ritter, and Jay Reatard. I can understand that she didn’t arrive until Thursday thus missing out on Jay Reatard, Josh Ritter and the Monotonix, but how the hell could you skip out on the Brutal Knights, the Endless Blockade and the GZA?

What is most puzzling are the comments that the Pop Explosion fizzled and was “marred by poor attendance and bad venues”. I can’t prove or disprove the attendance comments, only knowing that the Gus’s Pub shows all did incredibly well, Josh Ritter sold out and there was a healthy and energetic turnout for Jay Reatard. I don’t need to disprove the bad venues comment. Watt does that on her lonesome.

If there were so many performance marred by bad venues, why write:

Already going into The Seahorse I knew this was going to be a good show. Boston’s Scarce admittedly have a very warm place in my heart.

Not to mention the sexual tension in a few of their songs. Wow, the room was heating up.


Saturday night…the finale of the Pop Explosion. What better place to end off the weekend, then at the best venue in Halifax, The Marquee, with CBC Radio 3 presenting and transmitting live.
Locals, The Got To Get Got kicked off our night, playing with a full band, in full form.

or, better still…

First stop, the legendary Gus’ Pub on Agricola Street. Though out of the downtown core, Gus’ Pub felt like home, full of unknown to me, though friendly folk. The bartenders embraced our requests for local brew, Moosehead Dry. Introduced as being from, ‘just up the street from the pub’

I must be missing something.

Reading through Watt’s review of the Pop Explosion, you get the feeling that she enjoyed the festival more than she wants to let on. Scarce, the Got to Get Got, the Stance, Ghettosocks, Sebastien Grainger and the Mountains all receive rave reviews in the entry, so what exactly fizzled about this year’s Pop Explosion? Could it possibly be you showing up in the middle of it and missing great sets by bands like Vkngs, Statues, Horses, Attack Mode and Retribution Gospel Choir?

You can’t blame this one on Windom Earle, you missed their set too.

HPX 08 Highlights

Starting HPX with Jay Reatard set the bar high for memorable performances, but the energy of that show was maintained throughout the week at most of the shows I went to.

I was unprepared for The Monotonix insane antics at Gus’ Pub on Wednesday. The show was inspiring and their chaotic crowd participation put smiles on a lot of faces in the crowd. So many highlights from this show, but luckily I managed to capture one of my favourite moments – an impromptu street party outside Gus’ Pub around 1:30 am that ends with a stage dive off a traffic light:

We played at the Marquee on Thursday with Instruments, Murder Sounds and Holy Fuck. It was a joy to share the stage with those bands, and we managed to have an awesome set thanks to an audience armed with 20 dodgeballs, and a wireless keytar.

photo by Scott Blackburn

photo by Scott Blackburn

Friday I did sound at the North St Church for the 6015 Willow St DVD launch. Play Guitar sounded great with Jef Simmons on drums. The Maynards played a lot of great new songs from their upcoming album. The Got To Get Got did a stripped down set. VKNGS were loud and awesome. This guy liked them so much, he did a cart wheel in front of the sound board:


Photo by Rebecca Young

I rushed over to the Marquee to catch Ghettosocks and The Gza expecting it to be sold out. It wasn’t. Ghettosocks was great and DJ Cosmo demonstrated why he won the DJ Olympics. The GZA was disappointing. He was sorely lacking a hype man to finish his lines for him. Things picked up when he jumped into the audience, but it must have taken a lot of energy out of him because he sat on a stool for much of the remainder of his set. He seemed a bit confused and tired.

Saturday started off great with manwiches and music courtesy of Just Friends/Let’s Get Baked at Gus’ Pub. The bar was packed, and Mike Evin was working the crowd with his gospel pop. After finishing breakfast, I headed to the Zine fair which was also packed. Great selection of zines and posters, as well as tarot card readings, caricature artists, and crafts.

I popped into the Pavillion to see Special Noise play a great set then headed to the Music Room for a sound check. I was lucky enough to be doing sound at a venue with the best acoustics in the city for some of the nicest acts of the festival.

Brian Borcherdt was playing his first solo show in months. Ever since his side project, Holy Fuck, started taking off, he has barely had a chance to sing or play a guitar. So this show was a treat to the sold out audience. Polaris-prize nominee, Basia Bulat, headlined the show playing autoharp, ukulele, a Steinway piano, and acoustic guitar. She rocked the autoharp and charmed the crowd.

Afterwards I checked out Islands at the Marquee. This show was packed and Grant Lawrence did a great job hyping the crowd introducing the bands. I wasn’t really into Islands’ newer material, but the tracks off Return to the Sea had everyone singing along.