The Anti​-​Imperial Cabaret

by The Consumer Goods

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about

The Consumer Goods’ third release, "The Anti-Imperial Cabaret," was a sharp re-engagement with the outrage that characterized their earliest work, coloured by a manic and diabolical absurdity that reflected a similarly erratic period in Shipley’s personal life.

'Cabaret' chose harder targets - relentlessly satirizing the police, the military, the press, even the state itself - in a manner once described as "maniacally surreal." For instance, "Serve and Protect, Uh!" featured RCMP officers fetishizing their tasers; "The Terminator Rules" had undocumented workers celebrating their poverty in Arnold Schwarzenegger's California; "Day Job at the DND" followed a lonely Ottawa civil servant paper-pushing his way through a foreign occupation. As a foil to the 'Bidet' focus on America, this record insisted on bringing the critique to Canadian soil, even implicating the CBC in "Hockey Night in Afghanada," a devastating and unflinching indictment of the violence and racism legitimated by Don Cherry and Ron MacLean’s weekly intrusion into Canadiana-at-large.

Despite the immense popularity of 'Afghanada,' which was accompanied by a comically-rough hand-drawn video and submitted to the CBC for consideration as the new theme song for "Hockey Night in Canada," the record did not garner the same kind of immediate praise as it's predecessor; commentators seemed reluctant to endorse the take-no-prisoners approach. Even Shipley himself acknowledged that 'Cabaret' produced a certain kind of discomfort for its unapologetic denunciations, in which even the author was not spared.

But if this unforgiving approach alienated some listeners it was, ironically, also the record’s strength; while ostensibly plunging off the lyrical deep end, it was ultimately an honest reflection of Shipley’s own struggles to grapple with his own position in a profoundly messed up world. It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that in the end, 'Cabaret' has been the band's best-selling record and maintains its popularity years later. In late 2010, 'Hockey Night in Afghanada' was highlighted in a ChartAttack feature as one of the "best songs ever."

credits

released June 1, 2008

songs by tyler shipley.

the consumer goods:
tyler shipley
ryan mcveigh
matt hildebrand
matt mclennan
ian jeffrey

featuring:
billy western
mat klachefsky
andrew workman
ken phillips

recorded and mixed by ryan mcveigh at face value and mid ocean school of media arts.
mastered by harris newman at greymarket mastering.
artwork by michael kirkpatrick.

Grumpy Cloud Records, 2008.

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The Consumer Goods Toronto, Ontario

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Track Name: Day Job at the DND (Dept of National Defense)
well i need a short haired girl and i need some therepy, and i need some mid-tempo rock 'n' roll as i go to work for the DND... where i'll be making plans to orchestrate the overthrow of some state i don't know. well i get a decent wage and everyone looks up to me and i feel OK about myself some of the time as i go to work for the DND... where i'll be making plans to orchestrate the overthrow of some state i don't know. if we blow off your arms or legs it's for democratic aims.
Track Name: Aliens Have Feelings Too
every day i read the things they say about me: "illegal and alien, they steal our jobs and money." stupid fucks - they don't know how much they're not paying us. it's not enough that we clean up your shit and pee, cos while you're shaming us and calling us names we're inexpensive inputs for your middle-class products (even though we'll never try them cos we can't afford to buy them.) i used to want to kill you, but now i don't have the energy. you'll get yours someday and i'll get what's coming to me.
Track Name: Matt Said I'd Get Mangled (And Godsdammit He Was Right)
i'm jealous of the sky cos it can't be bought and sold. i'm jealous of the lies cos they never get old. i'm jealous of the truth cos it does not exist. i'm jealous of the rich cos they've got nothing to resist. and all of the time i'm wasting on my own hoping that you die alone. i'm jealous of your mind cos it's out of my control. i'm jealous of the night cos it's so goddam cold. i wish that i could float without a rubber ring. i'm jealous of a stone cos it don't feel a thing. and all of the time i'm wasting on my own hoping that you die alone. i take my pills, i swallow them whole. i lay in bed, i try to let go. chain reactors and thinking patterns and why do i have to hold closer, tighter, like a cigarette lighter, always ready to explode. gimme back my head. gimme back my head.
Track Name: Ideology of Improvement
a three o' clock date with a therapist i hate fixin' shit i didn't think was broke. but nothing gets good - i don't get over it like i should - so what say we celebrate the taking of this earth from the folks who got here first cos we really turned things around (chopping up the land so white men in wigs could take a stand about their private, stolen, property.) but why should they complain? hell, it's too late! we came! and we even let a few of them live! may even come a day when we don't make 'em feel ashamed for thinking "this land is ours, we never gave up this land when we signed those treaties." every day i get sober, i get a little bit older, and it gets harder to laugh. i'm so commercialized that i don't even think twice about a bottle of water and a private golf course and a bus shack made so the walls don't reach the pavement so the folks inside sleeping there at night get so fucking cold that they'll change their mind, i suppose, and stop 'choosing' not to have a home. "they say we have freedom of assembly, they say we have these fundamental rights and freedoms. but when we try to exercise them, this is what happens - they arrest our people, they handcuff them, they pepper spray them, they throw them in jail... and then they kill 'em!"
Track Name: Hockey Night in Afghanada
fuck don cherry! there, i said it. how long are we gonna let it be okay to turn hockey skates into recruitment gates for the army? 'beautiful boys' on the screen, white faces shaved so smooth and clean - noble hearts in the noble arts of war and occupation. there's nothing about pucks in nets, skates on ice, sticks on skin that says "it's okay if some brown person loses a limb." there's nothing about ron maclean, the CBC, hits from behind that say "it's alright to bomb a few foreigners from the sky." fuck the anthems that celebrate the ass we kick on a foreign stage - the only leaf i see is losing 6-3 and that's fine with me, oh i know... it seems a harmless thing as we stand and sing, but in afghanada it's another thing. there's no peace to keep when you ride up in a jeep and you blow the bleep out of some children. there's nothing about pucks in nets, skates on ice, sticks on skin that says "it's okay if some brown person loses a limb." there's nothing about ron maclean, the CBC, hits from behind that say "it's alright to bomb a few foreigners from the sky."
Track Name: Serve and Protect, Uh!
i give my taser a woman's name. i call that bitch 'veronica.' and if you step out of line again, my ronnie's gonna send one hundred fucking volts through your skull, uh! oh yeah! oh yeah! oh yeah! oh yeah! i like to stroke my taser at night, so i can trust her when the shit goes down. imagine if some kid tried to read without his library card... my ronnie snaps in line, sends a shock into his spine, and it gets me hard. oh yeah! oh yeah! oh yeah! oh yeah! i'm such a big, big man and i do it cos i can, yeah, i do it cos i can. no, no, that's wrong, just wait. i'm just keeping people safe. yeah, i'm keeping people safe.
Track Name: The Lord's Not On My Side
snow is falling down on this suburb of a middle class town and the TV is off so the world is nowhere to be found. and that's just as well, you see, cos i'm tired of the misery. if a bomb goes off in the desert and i'm not there, well, it doesn't make a sound. and your hands in my hands make everything else so abstract. and i drink imported chai tea cos i don't believe in fair-trade coffee, and my back is really sore so patting some more won't do anything for me. but a fire would be nice... here's a newspaper picture of condoleeza rice asking god to forgive all the terrorists, without a hint of irony. but the lord's not on my side, so you don't have to fear for your life. and it's so hard to fix everything, so i'm fixing a song to sing, to inspire someone else.
Track Name: The Terminator Rules
well i'm moving to a town where the faucet water's brown, and you can stand in the center and look all the way around and not a single blade of grass is pokin' through the broken ground. every mornin' i wake up and cross the valley in a broken bus, for the old, fat, white men who piss on us if we don't keep their gardens greener than the sneer on a hundred bucks. oh god, it's good to be in the land of the free! cos i don't need my dignity - the impoverished-alien-scapegoat's life for me! oh the terminator rules for the folks with swimming pools. and our overcrowded schools have more metal-detecting tools than textbooks. oh god, it's good to be in the land of the free! cos i don't need my dignity - the impoverished-alien-scapegoat's life for me!
Track Name: Back of a Bank Letter
putting prints up on the wall of my apartment on the tenth floor of a building in toronto. far away from the fights and the resistance that i wish i could stand beside instead of always being so fucking useless. i write these words on the back of a letter from the bank which i'm so powerfully opposed. see, i can tell you what they're doing with my money in argentina and i don't like it. but i'm still sitting, self-absorbed and paralysed. what's the matter? am i spoiling your night? cos i'm guilty of inaction and you know i'm right? and if i'm right about me i'm probably right about you - what are you gonna do? what are you gonna do? why don't you tear me to pieces? why don't you step on my teeth? why don't you fuck all of my friends where everybody can see? why don't you see? why don't you see?
Track Name: The Ungrateful Volcano
the ungrateful volcano spits on the hand the frees it from it's backwards tranquility - we land upon and seize it. the ungrateful volcano expodes in shards of metal fear. it simmers in resistance that civilizing eyes can't hear. the ungrateful volcano should be shitting down your throat to stem the flow of freedom you deliver with a lock-n-load. the ungrateful volcano would like to thank sir winston churchill the brave for gassing folk who refused to pay for services he never gave.