“Novelty music for the humiliated… laughing gas for music geeks.” — The Nerve

2015-05-02: May Day Info Fair at Grandview Park!

Posted: April 4th, 2015 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Show announcements and recaps | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

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In an anarchic display of spontaneous unfolding, we have been engaged to perform at a free open-air info fair from 1-4 pm at Commercial Drive’s Grandview Park Saturday, May 2nd, in celebration of the international workers’ holiday the day before. Hosted by Audrey Siegl, the bill should include the fabulous Carnival Band, Gross Domestic Product, and voices in harmony from the Left Coast Labour Chorus and the Solidarity Notes Labour Choir.

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2015-04-17: CFRO Co-Op Radio’s 40th Birthday party at the WISE Hall!

Posted: April 3rd, 2015 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Show announcements and recaps | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

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Our band has only just turned 10, but CFRO Co-op Community Radio, parent station to our kindred spirits at Accordion Noir, turns 40 this year! It’s been, uh, quite a while since they last had a party, so they’ve pulled out all the stops with a bevy of special guests curated by all the stations’ programs, all building up to… a headlining set by the jug band of the damned (that’s us), beginning at midnight sharp!

The party goes down at the WISE Hall (1882 Adanac Street at Victoria), also features a set by Purple Soul (and a variety show segment featuring, well, a cast of thousands), and begins with a mixer at 7 pm — performances at 8:30. (Do you think there will be a DJ? There will probably be 50 of them!)

Advance tickets for station members are $10, available at Highlife, Red Cat Records, at The Wise Hall & Lounge, online, and of course at the radio station. (Prices will increase a little at the door, and a little more for non-members.)

If you need more convincing, here’s an official PSA made by the station in which we are described as a “dorkestra”. (This is why you generally try to provide your own promotional copy.) Just make sure they spell our name right!


2015-04-10: Gypsy Spring at the Waldorf!

Posted: April 3rd, 2015 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Show announcements and recaps | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

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I know, it’s strange — no one designs posters anymore, just Facebook event headers.

Due to a medical emergency, the Planks’ set at last month’s Balkan Beats party on March 6th was postponed. The good news is that we’re all tip-top now and ready to return to the stage for a distinctly Royshiker Krokves set (think Old Country and European points further East) at the next of their parties at the Waldorf (1489 E. Hastings.) Also on the bill: Adam Shaikh and the Burinata Duo, plus visuals by VJ Simon Kinotropy! The show starts at 10 pm, $15 at the door!


2015-03-25: at Skinny Fat Jack’s

Posted: March 18th, 2015 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Show announcements and recaps | No Comments »

Next Wednesday night — one week from tonight! — a small but tight and dedicated cadre of Creaking Planks will be taking to the Very Small Stage at Skinny Fat Jack’s, around the back alley entrance of 3475 Main St., to play a few sets of their committed musical strangeness. The action starts around 8 pm and will run probably about as late as the neighbourhood will allow. Admission by donation, but suggested donation $10 — and don’t miss out on the sweet opportunity to pick up a dashing Creaking Planks t-shirt at a discounted live-music-fan price!

And don’t forget you can double your pleasure with dinner and drinks at Slickity Jim’s Chat & Chew around front before the show!

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Thanks to Mike Chow for providing the swell photograph we so ham-handedly bowdlerized!


2015-2-13: Creaking Planks T-Shirts

Posted: February 19th, 2015 | Author: Blackbox Squeezebeard | Filed under: Misc | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

We now have Creaking Planks T-shirts available for sale to the general public! If you are impulsive you can buy a shirt (or 2, or 3) here.  If, however, you prefer to research products extensively and/or enjoy purple prose, keep on reading…

What Do You Need To Know About The Shirts?

  • For the time being, they are only available in one colour scheme: white ink on black shirt. Sorry, friends: octopus ink. That’s just how it goes.
  • The T-shirts are sourced from Fruit of the Loom: less ethically produced than American Apparel, but with less flamboyantly problematic baggage. They have been holding up well in band members’ trial wearings and washings, so if you insist on distressed band t-shirts, you may have to distress them yourself. (May I recommend the — distressing! — William S. Burroughs technique?)
  • Sizes available: S, M, L, XL — men’s and now women’s cuts, please specify! (April ‘15 – both sizes L currently unavailable.) We have been asked about babies’ onesies and are considering the option; please let us know if there are any shapes, sizes and styles of garment you feel we have unfairly excluded. (Please note: this design will not fit on a thong. No tentacles there, no box squeezing, and certainly no organ grinding.)
  • The price is $15 for a shirt, plus shipping. Shipping within Canada or to the US is $10 per shirt (different countries, but by Canada Post logic…about the same amount) and to Europe… ehh, we’re figuring that out. We’re investigating making a bulk order to Toronto to save our fans there some cash (in exchange for some mild hassle), so if that describes you, please let us know and we’ll refer you to our distributor there.
  • How are you supposed to pay for it? PayPal! or if you don’t have that, contact us, we’ll work something out. Like an octopus, we’re flexible! (Well, OK, not that flexible.)
  • In Vancouver, they’re currently available at Spartacus Books (3378 Findlay Street), but if you know of a shop that needs to carry some of our shirts, we obviously need to know about it! Currently our fabulous Creaking Planks t-shirts are not carried in any other brick & mortar storefront. (Or our buttons, for that matter. Or, heck, our music. Genuine Creaking Planks™ however are available for purchase anywhere lumber is sold!)

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SpongeDev SquarePlanks demonstrates this season’s fashionable garment sensation!

And now… The Pitch:

Some pairings are eternal classics just waiting to be discovered. Like balsamic vinegar with strawberries, taxidermied trophy fish with Al Green, and politicians’ faces with pies, from the moment they are first combined one reels in shock that the ecstasy of their meeting has been unfairly denied to past generations.

Another of these fundamental pairings unjustly denied our ancestors: octopi and accordions. Prior to 1829, there simply were no squeezeboxes to juxtapose molluscs with, and even since then, one being an aerophone and the other aquatic… their paths have rarely crossed, belonging to different worlds. But in this brave, strange postmodern world, the lid has been blown off of Pandora’s box, and there at the bottom, intrepid artists have discovered a consortium of octopodes entwined with button-boxes, pumping away at Piazzolla tangos in a passionate cloud of inky Oblivion. (And Hope. They also found a very small quantity of Hope at the bottom of the box, stuck to an octopus’ beak like a wad of chewed gum. At least, I think that was hope… maybe it was ambergris?)

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Making up for lost time, visual artists and graphic designers (thanks, Simon Warner, Doc Colour, Bethany Hockenberry, Andrew Schnoor, Amber Lamb, Kirsten Beneke and more!) are combining these two disparate elements as though the clock was ticking, like their subject might suddenly fall out of fashion. (But we know, of course, that the accordion is rebounding from strength to strength after its 50 years in free-fall, so … are the 8-armed invertebrates in any risk of shedding their eternal appeal? You tell me: optimised for their niche, they have been evolutionarily stable for 95 million years, yawning during the disappearances of the dinosaurs and the dodo.)

As you may recall, we recently (Jan ‘15) printed a run of handsome t-shirts perhaps epitomizing this appealing, absurd juxtaposition, the accordionic octopus. The art was made by our very own Daisy-Jones Locher to be used on the poster for our 7th anniversary concert, and though we always knew it was destined to end up on a t-shirt, realizing this manifest destiny took somewhat longer than we’d anticipated. They were available for sale exclusively at our 10th anniversary concert, and though we sold a bunch … the quantity of shirts printed was in excess of the venue’s capacity, so since nobody bought multiple shirts, we do have a few remaining in every size. We will still be carting around a limited selection of shirts to our upcoming gigs for fans to purchase directly from us, but in the meantime we are also officially opening ourselves up to orders for delivery via Canada Post. (If you hurry, they may still be able to deliver to your door!)

Accordion Octopus T-shirt Trivia: the accordion is upside-down! You know what, the octopus really doesn’t care. That’s actually the way that Blackbox first learned (well, taught himself) to play the squeezebox, only correcting himself after seeing an accordion played in the proper position on TV — an option this octopus presumably doesn’t have! Anyhow, existing technique and posture for accordion playing assumes a vertebral torso and only two digited limbs; with eight tentacles to work with, octopus accordion style is far more versatile than the B or even C system. Forget bellows shake; this bad mother will tear the bellows right in half!

More Trivia: wouldn’t it be bubbling if air was being squeezed out of it underwater? Maybe it is filled with water, underwater, ruining the bellows and rusting the reeds. (And where will an underwater octopus find a rig to melt more beeswax with which to repair the reeds? Oh, don’t trouble yourself.) Maybe the octopus is aboveground, holding its breath while it squeezes out a merry jig on a bather’s unattended instrument. Or maybe the octopus is like Grace Jones (what, you want me to qualify that comparison?) and is merely posing with the accordion, pretending to play it. Maybe.

In conclusion, now you can go ahead and buy a shirt.

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