I’m on another ramble through Canadiana today, starting with the reasonably okay and working upward to utter greatness: I have been known to watch and enjoy the very occasional eppie of the Toronto cop show Flashpoint, not so much because it is brilliant but because it stars two actors I adore. The first is Enrico the Great (whose last name, other than “the Great,” is Colantoni). Enrico, you may remember, was Keith from another favorite thing of mine, Veronica Mars. In Flashpoint, he’s playing team Mom to a S.W.A.T.-like alternate cop family.
Dad, in this show, is my other teevee love, Hugh Dillon. Hugh is the alpha half of the hot slashy musical magic that is the Canadian mocku-rockumentary Hard Core Logo. In it, he plays the tragic, scrappy, driven Joe Dick, lovesick yang to Callum Keith Rennie’s sultry, disaffected, “and how is he so sexy?” yin.
This being a ramble, I should say that Hard Core Logo is in itself a favorite thing of mine, and mention that it has a loud, raucous punktastic soundtrack which begs to be played very loud. I could talk about the cinematic humor, to us local-folk, of seeing Vancouver pretend to be Edmonton, Calgary and other prairie towns over the course of the movie. I could even talk about the novelty of how it’s one of the few films spawned not by a novel but a book of poetry, Hard Core Logo by Michael Turner.
I could wander off the topic of Hugh Dillon entirely, and talk about how Callum Keith Rennie, between his Billy Tallent days and his incarnation as Leoben the Starbuck-stalking Cylon, was Ray Kowalski on the widely beloved Due South, which really really was my favorite thing ever for a long time, though the scripts of the early seasons, and the whole Ray Vecchio era, worked better for me.
Alternately, I could swerve past the fact that Joe and Billy–scuze me, Hugh and Callum–both guest starred on a Kelly Fave Thing: Twitch City.
But no! I really honestly seriously I swear am talking about our friend Hugh, who has more going on than his current humorless cop riff with Enrico the Great.
He has, in fact, a solo album, Works Well With Others, which is the next best thing to a shot of good scotch after a crummy day. It’s got growly vocals, edgy lyrics, and a kind of weathered attitude. Where the songs in Hard Core Logo are right up spitting in your face, these say something more akin, “Hey, sit down, let’s get into some stuff.” You can hang out with them.
Why has it taken me so long to get to Works Well With Others, which I love with a love that’s true? Which has awesome songs with titles like “Sentimental Me” and “Ten Feet Tall” and “Puzzle I Am,” which feels almost like having an intimate conversation with someone you’ve always admired?
In part, of course, it’s because I wanted to meander. Hugh is a great musician and a talented actor, and his work sends out tendrils. His co-stars then extend their influence into other things I like: that’s what fannishness is today, a network. It’s what this site is: us and you going, “Hey, this is cool, and over here there’s this! And that reminds me…”
But mostly it’s because I’m not a music writer: I know what I like, I can talk about lyrics (Works Well With Others has great lyrics) but ultimately I can’t speak with the voice of Rolling Stone-type authority about the bassist’s hot licks or the drummer’s driving diminuendo of doomy goodness or how the producer clearly added Dijon mustard after the recording sessions, to give it all some tangy zest.
What I can say is:
1) I think this album is awesome;
2) I hope you might too;
3) Here’s some so you can hear and decide for yourself.
4) And, finally, try not to get that Dijon on your tie.