Roland’s Music Shelf: An Essential Collection
Zine, Roland Wardrobe, 12 pgs, Sunday Night Bombers, sundaynightbombers.com, $4
Metaphors don’t get much more mixed than the ones sprinkled throughout this oddball music zine’s reviews. Jaunt’s Cue, for example, is described by Roland Wardrobe as, “taking mushrooms on top of a frozen volcano with Peter Gabriel. It’s a picnic, the sky is clear and blue, and Peter Gabriel is dressed as a banana.”
Wardrobe provides a similar treatment for albums from four other Ontario bands and artists: Baby Labour, Mecha Maiko, Tiny Lady/Little Baby and Shawn Kerr. While the descriptions of their records are characteristically absurd, it’d be hard to say they aren’t enjoyable to read. Maybe we don’t need to know why Shawn Kerr’s song “Branch and Gaps” reminds Wardrobe of “Pirate ships with human faces instead of sails.” The rating system employed to rank these albums doesn’t clear things up any. How does one compare “Five Voltrons out of a Megatron” to “Five Edward the Blue Engines out of a Val Kilmer Batman?”
Where this collection does find a tangible voice is in Wardrobe’s reminiscences of his wild younger years. Personal anecdotes fill increasingly more space as the reviews progress, and in the end, Roland’s Music Shelf signs off as a mini-memoir (made up of predominantly unflattering confessions). That shift in tone scores higher than five Peter Gabriels in banana suits.