Friday, December 23, 2005

Since I don't see anything that's coming out over the holidays that's likely to knock off any of my fave films from 2005 here's my top 10 in no particular order:

The World
Me, You and Everyone We Know
Tristram Shandy
Broken Flowers
The Squid and the Whale
Good Night and Good Luck
History of Violence

Also enjoyed some films that were not released in 2005: Elephant, Brief Encounter and Aberdeen.

Biggest piece of shit fawned over by the critics: Last Days. No doubt Brian will find it magical.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Forgot to mention the Coltrane/Monk record, outstanding. Plus, yes, I did enjoy the Decembrists record, they're incredibly consistent from release to release. No doubt seeing them live would have sealed their standing for me in '05.

Also forgotten, I really liked the Bjork release in '05 - The Music from Drawing Restraint 9. Not a Bjork record in some ways, but very rewarding mood music.
...I 'd have to say for me its the year of the decemberists....Picaresque for best album and also for best concert at the Pheonix....after that in no order I have a group of ;
Kanye West - Late Registration
Antony & Johnsons - I am a bird now
Monk & Coltrane - Carnegie Hall
Sigor Rios- Takk

Next bests group Rounding out the top 10 would be ;
Sufjan Stevens - Illinios (should have been 7 songs less, but that song about john wayne Gacy gets in the top songs of the year for me)
Broken Social Scene- Tragically both Brian & Derek are wrong with their opinions..the first record is a masterpiece, but this is too aimless & rambling but still a very good record....
Julie Doiron- Goodnight Nobody -The song "When the snow falls in December " this song evoking heartbreak and the early cold november snow.... ya all must have been here at some point the one song if the whole album is too much
Richard Hawley-Coles Corner

Finally 2 reissues...Belle and Sebastians-Push Barman...2 cd set of all singles and eps is pure bliss...I have all the records and thought I had all the good stuff ...but this would be what I would recommend to a neophyte....the most consistent band in the world...
Bill Fay self titled...I am a sucker for 70s sound ..horn section...production values...etc and this cd although it took me 3 or 4 listens has come to be a real favorite...

A final note...this is my last day at work and I dont have access to my email at home so if you want to contact me...its the phone baby ...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I had a lousy listening year as you all know (I've complained about it ad nauseum) due to renovations and baby, but still emerged with a few favourites - all of which you know as well. Nevertheless, in the spirit of inclusiveness, I will add my brief list.

My favourite by far is Illinoise by Sufjan Stevens. I haven't had a connection to a pop record like this for a few years. It seems to me that he creates in his own space, with a musical/psychological idiom that is entirely his own. On Illinoise, the mix of folk, choral, and orchestra, combined with his soft voice made my heart do tricks on almost every track. His mix of supreme earnestness and goofy humour works for me as well (hmm...BD insight, maybe it's because I am also over-earnest and goofy?). It's funny, because I know that I could find the whole package, or certain aspects of it, very irritating, but I find myself caught up in the songs, and unable to criticize even their most cloying elements.

I was quite surprised (a little worried, frankly) to find that Pitchfork was on the same page for 2005:

Other fave albums for me were:
Teenage Fanclub - Man Made
Paul Motian/Bill Frissell/Joe Lovano - I Have the Room Above Her
Cardinal - re-issue of their 1994 (only) record (great chamber pop).
Bill Charlap - Somewhere (from 2002) - Songs of Leonard Bernstein

First few listens of the Animal Collective sounded very good to me, so I'm hopeful. And I really enjoyed The Woods but haven't listened to it enough yet.

Disappointing albums for me (Have I become very hard to please in the last 12 months?):

- Broken Social Scene - Derek and I disagree, but I find this record (and the previous) somewhat devoid of personality (perhaps too many contributors), with overthought arrangements, and lacking great songs. The song D chose as his fave is a good song, but it sounds almost exactly like Pavement (so what's the point?).

- the New Pornographers - some great songs, but overall the band lacks cohesion, and the generic AOR (ie., CFNY "rock" music) mixes destroy some of its originality for me.

- Xiu Xiu - maybe just not my thing.

Songs I loved - I could pick a bunch form the records I enjoyed (or was disappointed with) above, but never mind. I can think of one that is on an unmentioned album, which is Black Mountain's "No Satisfaction". Great anthemic Lou Reed-inspired number.

Enough for now. Gotta work.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas, Kwanza or Dia de los Muertos, I actually never work so having no excuse for my lamentable posting record here goes:

Songs that had me skipping down the streets of Toronto this year are as follows:

Bright Eyes - Gold Mine Gutted
Broken Social Scene - Ibi Dreams of Pavement
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth
Me and You and Everyone We Know S/T - Mirror
Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict a Riot
Kanye West - Gold Digger
MIA - Galang
Sigur Ros - Hoppipolla
Sufjan Stevens - The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us
The Go! Team - Ladyflash
The Mountain Goats - This Year
Wolf Parade - I'll Believe in Anything
Green Day - Jesus of Suburbia
The Clientele - Since K Got Over Me
The New Pornographers - The Bleeding Heart Show
The Decemberists - The Sporting Life

Best Live Show - The Decemberists at the Phoenix

Most Disappointing Show - Wolf Parade at the Shoe with Calexico/Iron & Wine at the Docks coming a close second

Fine Album that registered on nobody's radar (although Kyle is now digging it) - Beck - Guero

2005's version of Brian Wilson's "Smile" - Antony & The Johnsons - I Am a Bird Now (sorry, Stu)

Favourite Album of 2005 (keeping it singular) - Broken Social Scene - Self Titled

Best compilation of previously issued material - Orange Juice - The Glasgow School

Finally 10 solid records most of which wont end up on any year-end best of list:

The Lucksmiths - Warmer Corners
Jaga Jazzist - What We Must
Holopaw - Quit + Or Fight
David Pajo - Pajo
Drumheller - Drumheller
Akron Family - Akron Family
Thee More Shallows - More Deep Cuts
Dave Douglas - Mountain Passages
Tujiko Norkio - From Tokyo To Naiagara (from 2003)
Tinariwen - Amassakoul (from 2004)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Seriously now, what are you people doing? Christmas shopping? Spending quality time with your family? Doing the job your employers pay you good money to do? Good grief!

Well, since I said last week that I would post some year end faves I may as well get that done instead of bitching at others. First, a brief list which probably reiterates those printed in other publications but hey, what can you do if other people have good taste too?


'Be' – Common – feel good, groovy, intelligent, poppy, just good
'Late Registration' - Kanye West – sometimes too poppy but enjoyable
'Arular' - M.I.A. – like a shot of adrenaline, recommended for the treadmill
'Illinois' - Sufjan Stevens – doesn’t tire
‘Picaresque’ – Decemberists -
'Feels' - Animal Collective – energetic, inventive, weird, wonderful
'Strange Geometry' - The Clientele – warm bath harmonies, like a lost Byrds record with better sound quality; what Teenage Fanclub would be if they were “great”
'Woman King' - Iron & Wine – Sam Beam’s voice.
'In Case We Die' - Architecture in Helsinki - kind of like the Fiery Furnaces, in more easily digestible (shorter) portions, but with more instruments and singers
‘Black Sheep Boy’ by Okkervil River, another reason why KEXP in Seattle, where I first heard their music, should be replicated in Toronto someway, somehow.


‘Golddigger’ – Kanye
‘Engine Driver’ – Decemberists
‘Feel Good Inc’/’Dare’ – Gorillaz
‘Sunshowers’ or ‘Hombre’ – M.I.A.
‘On a Holiday’ – Green Day
‘I Turn My Camera On’ – Spoon
‘Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood’ – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
‘Something Beautiful’ – The Real Tuesday Weld
‘Evil’ – Interpol (technically last year’s release but I really only listened to it in 2005 and it’s a song that makes sensible use of the ‘repeat’ button on your cd deck)

Disappointments: 'The Cosmic Game' - Thievery Corporation. I've liked their 3 previous discs but I guess this just seems like more of the same, without any interesting new twists or directions. Thought that appearances by David Byrne and the Flaming Lips on a few tracks would be interesting but these tracks are actually the weakest on the album.

‘Solarized’ – Ian Brown. Though I’ve read others rave about this and I know, Stuart, that you kind of dug it, this is one that never quite did it for me. Maybe it’s because he seems to be doing a pale imitation of his earlier solo and Stone Roses stuff.

Grew on me:

No Title - 'Petra Haden and Bill Frissell' - An album of cover songs which at times can get a little too sugary sweet for my taste (ie. not sure why they chose to redo 'when you wish upon a star'), petra's voice is quite pretty and frissell's arrangements on 'Yellow', 'Satellite' and 'I Believe' make it worthwhile for me.

‘Guero’ – Beck – Sarah bought it and I resisted it for months, even after rave reviews her and Derek but am now digging it large. He’s a great songwriter and this disc is up there with ‘Odelay’, albeit with less distortion and more quieter, straightforward, acoustic numbers.

Old Music but New for Me:

Brian Jonestown Massacre – pretty much all their discs, most notably ‘Take it from the Man’. I wasn’t all that familiar with their music until seeing the documentary ‘Dig!’ this year but have been hooked on their sound ever since. Their jangly, psychedelic rock at times channels the best of the Rolling Stones (without sounding too derivative) and at other times more contemporary bands like Primal Scream and Verve.

‘Remember the Future’ – Creeper Lagoon, a 5-song ep of sweet, dreamy pop songs. Heard one of the tracks while listening to the forementioned KEXP on my laptop in an airport lounge, surfed over to emusic and downloaded the whole thing for a buck and change, then transferred it to my mp3 player for listening on the plane. Music I want, at a reasonable price, in seconds. What this whole digital music—ecommerce thing should be.

‘Madvillainy’ – Madlib & MFDOOM and “Vaudville Villain” – Viktor Vaugh
With thanks to Derek, who leant me these discs. A lot of the tracks stop just when they’re getting going but somehow I love the smooth, rhythmic delivery of both MCs, the sometimes strange but effective mix of drum and accordion samples, old b-movie clips, and scratching, the humourous pop culture references. Hip hop that’s more geared to lounging on the couch than it is to the dance floor.

That's all for now. Back to work.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Where can I sue this Eastern European no-hoper? He was obviously listening to me sing in the shower earlier this week and is just blatantly hoping to cash in. It makes Ian Curtis' original sound like Dusty Springfield.
It's the year of Mariah? I thought this year was all about punk-rock throat singers doing cover songs? Think I'm talking smack? Then listen to Albert Kuvezin's cover of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" which to me sounds a bit like a drunk Henry Kissinger trying to channel Ian Curtis.
I'm pretty much in sync with the Grammy people. This has been Mariah's year and let nobody tell you different.

As for MMJ I've never owned anything by them and despite liking a song here and there have never felt impelled to make an album purchase. They do seem to be getting a lot of hype for this latest however so take the plunge.
Has anybody heard the new My Morning Jacket disc? It's getting tons and tons of hype, raves, kudos, esteem, acclaim, praise, laudatory get the picture...and I was wondering if it measures up?

Also, the end of 2005 fast approaches...what were your faves of the year? Overall, I think it was a pretty damn good year for indie/alternative music, with some pretty good releases from artists with which I was previously familiar (Iron & Wine, Sufjan Stevens, Sleater-Kinney), and from artists I only discovered this year (M.I.A., Okkervil River, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah). I've tipped my hand already with some of those that would make my top list so rather than come up with a list that will closely resemble what you'd see in exclaim, pitchfork, others, I'll try to come up with some more interesting categories. Hold your!

(Also, it's been at least a week since the last post. Don't tell me you people are actually working! Get off your ass and type something in here).

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

i've created a monster!

list/link mania continues....

here's one i discovered today that posits the 33 hottest bands in canada. lots of interesting links to other blogs as well as artists sites.
you are probably not interested in the Issac Hayes ....I just got a little excited about this links function Kyle taught me......Ill try to keep it in control ....
Thanks Kyle ...check out this Issac hayes
btw derek....looks like itunes has that imogen heap cd for $9.99, which is probably cheaper than what they had it for at hmv.
i read that pitchfork article a few weeks back and had lots of chuckles. a friend of mine actually played the 'heintje' record (featured on the first page) last year at a dinner party and the groupo nearly wet itself in laughter. the track he played, 'i'm your little boy' features heintje softly whispering the words, 'mama, i love you' during the bridge.

as for digging through the silly album covers in my own collection:

one of the first albums i owned was heart's 'magazine', which features the silly ass cover listed here. love pavement but always thought the cover for 1995's 'wowee zowee' was particularly stupid. actually, i could be here for awhile this is kind of like shooting fish in a barrel...

have you ever not bought an album because of the cover? i guess in the age of downloading this is becoming less of an issue but it did happen to me once this year. i'd heard a couple of tracks from the NYC-based group, Brazilian Girls and was interested in picking up the disc but refused when I saw this cover. I was kind of on the fence about the album and looking at the cover, felt that I'd probably regret the purchase in the very near future; it was as if they seemed less like musicians and more like a bunch of jackasses messing around with some sounds and coming up with something that sounded good to me on first listen but maybe wasn't worth my time.

question: what are the coolest album covers of all time?

abbey road and dark side of the moon immediately come to mind are of course classics. another of the first albums i ever bought was supertramp's 'breakfast in america', which i still really like.

any others you'd all care to add?

also, not that i mind copying and pasting, but here's a tip on making actual links: Highlight the word you want to use as the link, like I did with the words 'magazine' and 'cover' above, then click on the link icon, located above the text box you're typing in and represented by a picture of a globe with what appears to be a chain resting on its northern axis. Then paste the link in the URL field and click OK. There, now you've linked to that site. And don't you feel better?

Friday, November 25, 2005

from my own collection I think this is the worst I have....

Copy and paste the link above
Bad album art. This might be a good topic for discussion as I'm sure we've all come across some clangers in our day. Some of the covers shown here are laugh out loud funny but be warned that by the time you get to the last few pages some are just over the top repulsive. Sadly I own 4 of these records and have a 5th from which the single extracted is on this list also. I'll leave it to you aces to guess which ones if you've got nothing to do this afternoon.

Some of the worst covers I remember from my days when I had hair and trawled the two indie record stores in downtown hammertown were those of the Dayglo Abortions. Any that come to mind that aren't shown here? seems we've all bit a bit sporadic with posts be frank, I had sort of given up last month when it seemed like it was only Derek and Kyle out there....It seems you need at least 3 others (BARE MINIMUM) outside of yourself to make for any kind of meaningful dialogue, so since marc seems to have abandoned the site completely , but Brian is now back after understandably being absent with the newborn , itll be up to the 4 of us to be a bit more active.....myself included...
so in that spirit....
TRy again Brian with your name the band...I didnt have enough time.....
Ill try your music tips guys cause im in a bit of a drought........
Thus ....Ive gone a bit retro....picking up JF Sorrow (kudos to Brian) and also the early sampler Cure "staring at the sea" nothing you guys dont already know about....
I also picked up a very concise Lennon 2 disc set which better summarizes his career
then the Lennon BOX ...The 4 discs had too much filler , which though interesting , didnt really hold up to repeated listenings...Anyone who wants to trade or buy it off me is welcome.....

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Hate to see you two chaps trade words with no input from the rest of us so here goes. Liked the band guessing game there Brian just never got around to posting a response so don't forsake the idea completely just yet. Could have sworn band 2 was Nirvana. Speaking of which have any of you seen that dirge of a movie by Van Sant yet. It's called "Last Days" and you might never see yours if you watch this somnolent piece of indulgence.

As for music of the month I can say without doubt what my song of the month has been. Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek". If you're averse to the vocoder please run the other way. Personally I'm with the guy who does NPR's All Songs Considered. Every 10 years or so you need a really great vocoder song whether it be Laurie Anderson or Cher. This one's a beauty and I just can't get enough of it. Check out Salon's Audiofile (Oct 14) if you want to download a copy of it and please all your chums when you cut it as track #3 on all the Christmas comps. Only downside here is that when I went to buy the album last week at HMV it had that dastardly CC logo on it and so ixnay on that purchase.

Another piece of music that came to my attention courtesy of NPR is Orenda Fink's (love the names of these women) album "Invisible Ones". You can listen to the whole thing in streaming audio at

There's a bit of Kate Bush going on here and some Tori Amos I suppose but not in that idiosyncratic way that makes every Tori song sound the same and has me reaching for the mute button. If you like the Cocteau Twins you'll probably love track #6 "Miracle Worker".

I concur with Kyle on the Animal Collective but I'll say that "Sung Tongs" also grew on me. For me AC are a lot like BSS in that you would be hard pressed to pick out the "songs" on the record but there's a lot of primal emotion and when you're in the right frame of mind it can really rock.

I'm also digging the new Deerhoof record. I'm three records into these guys now and they seem to turn them out at a pretty fast pace. I was really turned on by 2003's "Apple O" but last year's "Milk Man" was a real chore and didn't see the light of day more than 3 or 4 times. Glad to say that the new record might be there most accessible yet so if you were scared off by the yelping of the Japanese female vocalist and the rather too angular riffs of records past this might be the place to parachute in.

Must check out the Ladytron disc as I've been on the verge several times then backed off. Still have the horrible sound of Electroclash ringing in my ears.
Nothing worse than the sound of one hand clapping, eh? I too get glum when my posts generate zero response but I assume it's because everyone is so enthralled with what I've written that they're stressed about producing something approaching my genius.

Switching off jackass mode for a second...I like the monthly music pick thang and will here attempt some of my own...

I'm warming up to the new Animal Collective disc, 'Feels' quite nicely. I downloaded one of their previous albums and found it a little too...what's a good word to use...abstruse? Abbrasive? Difficult to appreciate unless one is the process of commiting a terrible act of violence? To hear an example, click here. 'Feels' has been described as one of their most accessible discs to date and while this latest may not get them on heavy rotation in Much More Music anytime soon, it does manage to channel some of the ready-to-explode energy into catchy melodies on several tracks while slowly building pretty, string-laden incantations on others. I think it's worth giving some time to get to know.

Equally challenging but yet to 'find my wheelhouse' as mon amis Ecossais would say, is the Coco Rosie disc 'Noah's Ark'. Though I like the title track, I'm still trying to get into the rest of the disc. I dig the the gauzy, discombobulated, jazzy female vocals and the overall production, but I find some of the songs get bogged down in their own esoterica. Perhaps this will change with a few more listens.

What else...the new Elbow disc, "Leaders of the Free World" is a bit of a disappointment on the first couple of listens. I really liked 2003's "Cast of Thousands", which managed to sound fresh and confident throughout while drawing immediate comparisons to Spiritualized, Catherine Wheel, and Coldplay. In the latest disc, the lyrics seem a little more forced and the vocals a little lethargic...kind of more lethargic Coldplay which I don't think anybody needs. Still, it's on the mp3 player so a few more listens it will get.

More of a pleasant surprise is Ladytron's 'Witching Hour', which I wasn't expecting much from, having not really enjoyed what'd I'd listened to previously. This album got some decent reviews so I bought it (emusic). When I listen to it, I hear Lush, Curve, M83, Kraftwerk, and maybe a little Laetitia Sadier from Stereolab, which hits all the right notes for me but maybe not for y'all out there.

Whatta you boys been listening to lately?
Oh come ON men! A complete swing and a miss on my part with Chesterfield Critic it seems (other than Kyle). I thought it had it all - being clever, biting, au courant, and utterly meaningless...wasn't it?.......ah well. Apparently pseudo-trashing The Clash, The Pixies, and The Beatles is not an exercise the collective we is into. In fact, it may have created an embarrassed, slightly peevish silence on the Blog. But these are the risks we take.

So moving on, I am about to generate my first "picks of the month" list, which will be challenging given that I listen to about ten minutes of music a day right now (and then in a slightly comatose state). Nevertheless, coming soon. I encourage others, who, perhaps, are more in the scene, to follow suit.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Kylie - The Band review is from Derek's blog of October 26th. Just re-read it again and it still slays me.

Re Chesterfield Critric - congratulations! You have one correct answer! In fairness to all of the other contestants I will hold off on telling you which one - can you stand the suspense?
When was 'The Band' referenced? From my last recollection, it was mentioned here when discussing live performances. I hate 'The Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down' for what it's worth, but not enough to mount a case against it. I do like 'The Weight', if that's any consolation.

Would it be possible for someone to link to the Guardian article? I tried searching their site but was unsuccessful.

I like the game, Bri. Are we talking: R.E.M., Nirvana, and the Beatles?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hey boys....finally catching up on some of the last few weeks' blogs. And it's been pretty quiet out there. However, I am laughing out loud at the critical exchange you referenced on the Band, Derek, particularly the oh-so irreverent Guardian review. Fucking hilarious, and it must have been a ton of fun to blast to smithereens one of the hallowed bands of the past forty years.....and let's face it, he has a point about the Band, they were over-earnest, they did sing a lot of shit about Southern culture, the songs did go on and on sometimes......but their best songs, and there are a significant number of them (including the apparently execrable The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down) are absolutely timeless and transcendent (there it is, I called them transcendent).

And unless Mr. Gloomy Gus reviewer is prepared to slag all blue-eyed soul artists (Little Feat, Delany and Bonnie, Van Morrison, et al), and/or all blues-folk-country cross-overs (Young, Dylan, Grateful Dead, etc), because apparently the music has no right to eXIST..... well then, buddy, just shut your mouth, because the Band were pretty fucking special. Sorry, got a bit worked up there.

On that note (I'm rolling now), I've just thought of a new game, I'll call it Chesterfield Critic. The appointed CC (me, for now), chooses a few bands, preferrably who have few critical naysayers, and, inspired by Guardian boy, turns a wholly negative lens on their output, and tries to write critical dross from that perspective to stump the panel....i.e., guess which bands I'm referring to:

Band # 1 - self-important political posers unable to stick to a musical genre for more than 6 months who missed the zeitgeist of 19?0's (city name)__ by a country mile and ultimately dissolved in an embarassing mulch of self-parodying commercial stridency.

Band # 2 - utterly unremarkable early noise-poppers whose lack of ear for melody was only outdone by their boring sparse arrangements and annoyingly smug tongue-in-cheek lyrics and vocal delivery.... sometimes, somehow, credited with inspiring the (God help us) grunge movement.

Band # 3 - regrettable direction-setters of pop whose inexplicable influence still has not run its course despite forty years of hard slogging - simple pentatonic harmonies over top of naive (my three-year old has more complex thoughts) lyrics never did consititute genius and even less so today. Increasingly flaccid arrangements towards the end of their blissfully short career dragged them down even further and many if not all of their songs are entirely cringeable today.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Sarah and I buy songs from time to time (mostly popular songs to accompany workouts) from Itunes. All Itunes pricing are in local currency so that $9.99 will be in Canadian funds, tax included. They usually send you an email with what is charged to your visa shortly after the purchase. Looks like a pretty big cost savings for that soundtrack. Though you don't get the liner notes and case, it's still a significant difference.

Most of the music I buy these days is downloads, either through Emusic or Itunes. Though I like having the package of a disc, I can get more music and find I listen more these days on the go than I do at home.

Thanks for lending me the second Clientele disc. Enjoyed it yesterday after while cooking.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Have any of you lads purchased anything from iTunes? I was browsing their site last night and the soundtrack to the movie "The Squid and the Whale" was available for $9.99 which is a much better price than Sams who are selling it for $24.99. At least they have it as they seem to be the only place in town that does. But despite my best trawl through customer support (an oxymoron for our times if ever there was one) I could find no indication anywhere that the $9.99 that I would fork over would be in Canadian currency. Does anyone know if the prices posted are in $US or $CDN.

This month appears to be a good time if you're a Coltrane fan, and who isn't. Not only did we see the release of the Coltrane/Monk disc but now there is a double live CD release from 1965 with Coltrane, Tyner, Jones and Garrison. It received a 5 star review in this months Downbeat and you can check out another review here.

I picked it up at Sams earlier this week for $14.99 which may have been a bargoon as it's selling at HMV for about $33 which is similar to some prices I've seen on-line.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Ive often thought that all reviewers feel that putting a 6.5 to 7.5 rating on a disc would be not condusive to furthering their career. To be a successful critic one has to "discover " the next greatest thing. (ie a 9,0 to 10,0 review) Apparently Bowie and another famous rocker who I forget were slagging ea other about who discovered Arcade fire so its not just critics who are like this too. Tim Perlic is a great example of another career stategy for reviewers.... he makes his name slamming good acts to generate letters to NOW ....

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Here's a case in point of why it may not always be wise to follow the lead of the music critic. Could these two gentleman be discussing the same disc(s)?,11712,1576038,00.html

Makes me think that despite the 42/100 currently slapped on the new Fiery Furnaces disc at the metacritic site that I should just ignore the primarily disparaging reviews and buy the bloody thing. I always find the punters (users?) reviews funny. It's either 0/10 "it sucks" or 10/10 "if you skip this album, your going to be missing out on the entire world". Just glad these black and white types are not in the CD club.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

well, not to be contrary, but I have to say (at the risk of being framed as a guy who only likes slowserious music....what...OK maybe that is me...),but that Antony and the Johnsons cd is actually my favorite disc of the year so far, by a wide margin. Secondly, I actually quite prefer Feast of Wire over spoke...It aint even a close contest baby...SO what does this all go to show (besides that Derek has no taste in music) IT shows that although we all generally like and dislike a lot of the critically aclaimed music out there...there is always going to be variations on the final strokes . Ther will always be way overhyped bands and there will always be bands you never would have found without the hype.....Take it all with a grain a salt, turn up the music, and damn if I dont like bitching about critics too....

Monday, October 24, 2005

I actually don't mind "You are a runner..." by Wolf Parade and am hoping Brian does too, as it was a last minute addition to his belated birthday disc. I've only listened to the album twice and haven't really wrapped my head around it yet so I’ll hold off on judgments but I suspect that you and Stuart are now squarely in the anti-Wolf Parade camp, having endured an apparently less than stellar recent concert of theirs.

Also, when you say, “Threw on an oldie”, do you really mean, “I finally cracked the cellophane wrapper on a cd I purchased years ago”? I thought so.

Regardless, I've now decided to download 'Spoke' as I've recently downloaded the full album for 'Feast of Wire' based on Stuart's suggestion and can't believe it took me this long to get around to listening to the whole thing. In short, I'm quite hooked so I'm looking forward to 'Spoke'.

Re: your question: I often buy discs based on good reviews but I've become more discerning about who I take advice from in recent years. Rolling Stone loves it? This means nothing to me. Good review on Pitchfork? If the review avoids smarmy, nonsensical references, deftly parodied nicely by comic/actor David Cross , then I'm more inclined to buy. Then there are artists who I just don’t ‘get’. We all have them and for me, Fiona Apple, is one of them (along with P.J. Harvey, whose music just doesn’t work for me). Her latest album has been very well reviewed but I’m just not interested.

Glad you referenced All Songs Considered, which does a great weekly podcast, as does CBC Radio 3, whose most recent podcast I've quite enjoyed. Referenced this week was a website I'd not found before and may be of interest to you all: .

I've added this link to the list of links on the right side of the screen.

As for bad tracks to start an album, I continue to loathe the first track off of the Fiery Furnaces' 'Blueberry Boat'-- 'Quay Cur'--the remainder of which has grown on me (and only after 20 listens!). Can't think of any others at the present time but will add more.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Post Sunday night dinner I threw on an oldie (in relative terms) "Spoke" by Calexico from 1997. Allmusic gives it a paltry 3 out of 5 compared to the 4 they give "Feast of Wire" and 4.5 handed out to their sophomore record "The Black Light". Pitchfork gives these last two 8.9 and 8.5 respectively and don't even have a review for "Spoke". But for me the debut record is far and away the record for me that just clicks on every level. Despite many repeat listens to the supposedly superior follow-up discs they just don't register the way "Spoke" did and still does.

It's not as if I'm trying to be a "I was there for the first disc" snob. Burns and Convertino are part of Friends of Dean Martinez and their first two albums preceeded "Spoke" and as much as I enjoyed those albums I don't ever seem to traipse back to them and throw them on when the mood strikes. Which brings me around to the often unwarranted cachet we place on the voice of the critics whether they be internet or journal based.

3 cases in point are to be found on Metacritic's best of 2005 list.

#4 is Antony and the Johnsons, #8 is Wolf Parade and #17 is the Eels. The highest ranked of these albums is for me almost unlistenable. Actually I listened to the album in its entirety 2 months ago and have never gone back to it. Wolf Parade's album doesn't kick in until track 5 or 6 and as I mentioned to Stuart last week the opening track "You are a Runner and I am My Father's Son" might just be the worst opening track of any album I know. Any suggestions for any other truly vile album openers?

As for the Eel's disc it's two CDs worth of mostly forgettable music much in the vein of their previous 5 albums. I fell for the critics fawning over this one and made the purchase despite my stoic reaction to their first album almost 10 years ago.

So do critics play a large part in your purchase of new music? Do you give your music listening pals' advice more credence and if not why not? Is there any one critic you can rely on more than other's?

Check out the latest episode of NPR's "All Songs Considered" (episode 93) with the best song from the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah disc, cool new stuff from Portatsatic and Elbow, and for those who want more Kozelek (not me) a song from his new album of Modest Mouse Covers. Feel free to skip the Fiona Apple track (nothing new here) and Sinead's baldy spastic white girl attempt at reggae.

Best of all is "Carpet Crawlers" from the 3 CD set Platinum Collection of Genesis which amazingly enough shares disc space with "Illegal Alien". As another diminutive baldy Chuck Brown once said "Aaaaaargh!".

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Decemberists at the Pheonix last week was a 9 out of 10 for me... I only have the last cd (picked up recently) so not knowing much about them I found the show to be great song after great song with very memorable hooks that stayed with me for days. The sound was good, the pacing was great and the on stage banter was damn funny at times. They were soooooo relaxed between songs and very intense during the performances. The encore of Mr Blue Sky (by ELO and done with gusto and bang on ) capped the night. The only quibble being that the on stage banter digressed into the musicians swapping instruments for a badly done jam session for the last song rather then capping it with a great tune. But for that it would have been a 10.
The Wolf Parade, last night at the shoe, by contrast was a great disappointment,
The songs dont have memorable hooks , the sound is similar to arcade fire, but the songwriting is much weaker. The sound tries to be punkish, and admittedly Im not the most formost expert or fan of that genre, but it seems to me the great punk bands still have hooks and melody of a sort. "God save the queen" for instance stays with you even though the sound is rough. Well maybe I just dont get them but after 4 or 5 plays of the damn cd and seeing them live I think Ive tried hard enough....mercy... I give, I GIVE....stop ....I BEG OF YOU.......AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
You're havin my baby-Paul Anka,
Baby Baby Dont get hooked on me-Mac Davis (I think)
Its all over now Baby Blue-Dylan
Baby loves love??
All supremes songs.............

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Derek, nice list. I've never heard of three of them (bands or songs) so that's always fun. My list will be a little more straightforward, based in sixties music, when, let's face it, everyone was everybody's baby.

- It Ain't Me Babe (y) - Dylan, though the Turtles do a rousing folk-pop version as well
- Why Not Your Baby - Gene Clark
- Baby Blue - the sadly under-appreciated Badfinger (though Aimee Mann did a nice version in the nineties)
- Baby's In Black - Beatles
- Baby Love - Supremes, classic Holland-Dozier-Holland number

No baby yet, incidentally. Due date: Tuesday. Yowza.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Jon Brion first came to my attention a few years ago for the wonderfully quirky job he did on the Punch Drunk Love soundtrack. A lot of the critical acclaim sent Kanye's way was afforded to Brion's production work from what I've read. Have yet to give Kanye's 2nd disc a listen other than last Friday night but am looking forward to it.

I'm listening to the new Broken Social Scene disc as I write (thanks to the good folks at Soundscapes always getting several days headstart on the big box stores) and can say for at least the first 3 tracks it truely rocks. I was in my favourite record store early on Saturday morning and the guy behind the counter told me it was a great disc and I mentioned that it took me about 10 listens to get my head around the last album. This disc might not need that kind of patience. The great thing for me about BSS is that they can't be pigeonholed. They sure as hell aren't jumping on the post-punk bandwagon and they're about as far from the New Pornographers as a Canadian band could possibly be and I love the NPs. There's a definite Sonic Youth influence on some of the tracks but even Thurston Moore never sounded this shambolic from track to track.

It's refreshing that many of the discs I am rushing out to buy, and unsealing immediately I might add, are Canadian discs. It's a great time to be a Canuck and a music lover. What with Destroyer, the Fembots, Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, NPs, BSS, Feist, etc we have a lot to be thankful for on this weekend. Hope you all had a good one.

5 favourite "baby" tracks:

"War Baby" - Tom Robinson
"Who Snatched the Baby" - The Band of Holy Joy
"Baby Judy" - The Hawaiian Pups
"Throwing My Baby Out with the Bathwater" - Tenpole Tudor
"Baby Ran" by 54-40 or "Combat Baby" by Metric

Friday, October 07, 2005

Also, Margeritaville isn't even the best song about fruity, girlie drinks; that distinction belongs, of course, to Mr. Rupert Holmes, whose 'Pina Colada' was an early 80s milestone. Haven't yet figured out what the 'dunes of the kate' referenced in the chorus means but still, a stellar hit. Really.
It was great seeing you all last week at the cd club. Though I was pretty tired and at one point, freezing cold, it was a lot of fun.

Stuart, you mentioned the production values on the Kanye West disc. Turns out that Jon Brion is the producer. I was listening to an interview on the radio this week with Fiona Apple, who has a new album out (not interested, based on what I heard) and mentioned working with Jon Brion, a name I'd heard before. Apparently he has worked with Aimee Mann, Rufus Wainright, and others . Keen your ears are, amigo.

Marc, if you have the list of music somewhere, if you could cut and paste it here that would be bitchin'. Really liked the two Nicola Conte discs you brought though the rest of the selections are somewhat hazy. I recall hearing some Neil Young and Waterboys but the rest is a little hazy.

Derek, your Thunder Bay story puts me in much more positive frame of mind for my San Diego trip next week. Clearly, I've not got it so bad.

Brian, the baby out yet? Question, to you and others: top 5 songs with 'baby' in the title.

The list from which to choose astounds. Bon weekend.
I know that northern ontario music wastelands, we had a similar experience in soux st marie this summer. We were having a respite from our camping by staying at the canal front holiday inn....they have redone there waterfront recently and have an ontario place forum like open air music venue. On a saturday night in the heart of the summer there was a 3 pc band playing a varirty of badly done smaltz covers to an audience of maybe 65 seniors. I didnt stay (but for a few minutes) because he perked my ears by saying a long intro to a song he stated was possibly the best song ever written. Well after our lists mania of said topic I had to hear what it was.....drum role...............Margaritaville!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Even more revolting than smog in early October is the fine scent of pulp and paper mill 24 hours a day. I just spent three days in Thunder Bay (I get all the glamourous assignments) while not really spending more than a couple of hours in the city. I was immediately whisked off 400km to the west to lovely downtown Fort Frances where its been cold, wet and windy and today even had a whole shitload of wet snow. So needless to say the air was fresh but you wouldn't know it as the paper mill smell permeates pretty much everywhere you go. So be thankful you got to walk about in 26 degree weather for the last 4 days.

Glad to hear you liked the Smog and kudos to you for uncovering their (his?) total non connection to Golden Smog. At least you've been able to listen to some good music this week. On our 4 hour drive back to Thunder Bay this morning I got to listen to Eric Carmen's greatest hits amongst other fine CDs. Apparently Northern Ontario has yet to plug in to the new wave revolution. What I wouldn't have given to hear Blue Peter, BB Gabor or the Diodes. Maybe next time I'm up I'll take the first Tall Poppies disc and ease them in gently.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I really dug the Smog music on Friday. Was reminded of it today by the smog (Toronto style), which was particularly revolting, given that it's early October. Anyway, Smog the band is definitely worth some further exploration......I would point out Derek, that it doesn't look like this is the same band (or a derivation thereof) as Golden Smog - Smog is a one-person show which, according to Allmusic anyway, has always been what it is. Bill Callahan has been making music largely on his own for fifteen years or so, according to the site. One of his occassional collaborators is Jim O'Rourke, a relatively new member of Sonic Youth whose solo record "Eureka" I came across a few months ago, and which is very appealing. But I digress. Basically here to say hooray for Smog.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

oops...a freudian slip of large proportions.....sorry Brian , thats Brian not Brain...

Check out the above box set Brain, you could just bring this one album to marcs... Its a box of 80's music just released... It looks pretty good to me , even though Pitchfork dont love it... Derek it doesnt have any Rick Astley but you might still like it.... You guys all know more about his vein then I....Is it any good?
And, just as importantly, who's going to bring some new music on my behalf? I'm a little light this time 'round.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

So who's bringing the new Constantine's disc to the club this Friday?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

yeah I missed the Sleaters....fucking annoying, but when the opening act is finished by 8:15 what are you gonna do? What is wrong with society that a rock show starts at 7:20?? Once again the jazz guys seem to have it right. 2:00 am IS the right time to finish a show, not 11:10.

So I didn't know who the opening act was 'cause I got the tickets on the morning of the show, but was curious, knowing that Pearl Jam often has pretty great openers. When I arrived (late, at, you know, 8:20) I asked everyone who the opening act was, and the best answer I got was "I don't know, man, just three girls". It sounded ominous, but I didn't connect it with Sleater Kinney until the next day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Brian if only you'd mentioned that Sleater Kinney were opening you would have had me at "hello..". Can I assume then that you missed them as you were getting quickly hammered?

Both Brian and Stuart have 4 of my discs and the only CD I currently have belonging to anyone is Marc's Shout Out Louds disc which I shall return next Friday. I appear to be the music lending library here so perhaps someone owes me a beer.
OK OK Stu...I do indeed have the eponymous homo-erotic album by the Bowie sound alike....I enjoyed parts of it, but the pure unfettered (almost sycophantic) copying of personal style, song, and production values was to much for me - Ziggy plays on and on.... I know you mentioned that they were contemporaries (i.e., unaware of each other's evolution), but I'm not buying it. I'll try to remember to give it to Yvette tomorrow night, if not then next Friday.

And Derek, I have at least four of your CD's, but given that you forewent free tickets to see Pearl Jam with me at the BMO box, and thereby condemned me to a night of hanging out alone with (a) inoffensive but appalingly dull BMO types and (b) the big boss' university-aged kid and five of his fist-pumping classic-rock-listening testosteronoids, you've abandoned rights to ownership of said disks. Or at the very least you owe me a beer.

Pearl Jam was suprisingly (for me anyway) good the other night. It sure helped that the crowd was so into it (plus drinking six or seven beers in the first couple of hours) but after a tepid beginning I began to buy into the whole thing. Bono's appearance at the end was irrelevant if fun.
earth to cd club, come in please....hello... do you read me....
( a simple no thanks I dont have your god damm cds would suffice.
yours humbly...

Monday, September 19, 2005

I seem to have misplaced a couple of cds and I wondered if by any chance I had loaned them to any of you. One is the first coldplay cd parachutes.....I know some of you may find it hard to own up to borrowing it , but at least you can say you didnt buy it...(It is actually quite good stuff unlike the new album). The second is an artist who sounds similar to David Bowie....I cant recal his name, but its a pink cd (he was gay... now hes dead) its a reissue from 73 and he is liked by Morrissey...
If anyone can recal his name that would help to? I thought I loaned this one to you Brian ,but im not sure..

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sufjan (apparently pronounced 'suf-ee-ann', not 'suph jenn') Stevens put on a spirited show on Saturday night. His 6 member accompaniment, decked out in orange and black cheer uniforms, were an impressive backup. They stuck mostly to the recent Illinois disc, though they didn't play the first two tracks on the album which are two of my faves. The pep-rally-like cheers that introduced a number of songs added a touch of whimsy to the proceedings and the backup vocalists produced some really sweet harmonies.

Less impressive was the venue itself. Uncomfortable seating and lack of any airflow aside (it's an old structure so I can be forgiving on this point), what was really disappointing was the sound. I was led to believe (perhaps I imagined this or others had posted to this effect) that Trinity-St. Pauls had great acoustics. Sadly, this was not the case. In fact, it was quite irritating to hear a tinny reverb throughout most of the proceedings; it was akin to listening to an album on a cheap set of speakers that are not able to absorb any bass, the rattling sound becoming most annoying during the quieter, vocal-only bits. Not in any rush to attend another concert there any time soon.

Still, the Hamilton Tigercats were utterly humiliated and destroyed 48-0 by the Toronto Argonauts, which has absolutely nothing to do with music or the above post, but is nonetheless stated for obvious reasons.
Since I'm blogging all over the damn place tonight I thought I'd mention that I listened to the entire Brian Wilson album "Smile" tonight. No, I didn't purchase it but borrowed it from the local library. So my only comment is, "what the fuck". This is a record that ended up #1 on the year end Metacritic list with an average score of 97.

I kid you not, 90 fuckin 7. Perhaps these idiots/critics should listen to the Mamas and the Papas "Got a Feelin".

Tracks 1-16 of this record might as well be one continous 40 minute track as there are no discernible songs in this melange of crap. "Good Vibrations" at track 17 finally shakes up the proceedings and there is no doubt this is a classic. As for the preceeding fodder it can't hold a candle to this standout.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Quelle catastrophe. L'homme a ce qui tu parle n'est pas possible moi j'espere.
…well I would have enjoyed Wolf Parade if it weren’t for the boozer sitting next to me complaining about not having a beer in hand and hounding me to go back to Allen’s for another pint!
Speaking of Jonesing for tickets...I'm pissed at myself for missing out on Sufjan (waited too long and they were sold out), and am definitely available to go at the last minute if any of you boys who hold tickets feel a little tired, a little worn out, can't quite make the effort to leave your abodes tomorrow me.

Kyle, I'm not seeing movies until Monday but will contribute heartily to Film Blog thereafter (I know you know that....I'm so not the guy who needs encouragement to blather on). Curious to hear your thoughts on the President's Last Bang, which was one I thought looked intriguing. May see you at Entre Ses Mains.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

I remember Marc enjoying Wolf Parade at the Arcade Fire concert while I gave them short shrift for much of their set. My complaint was that they were too enthusiastic (is that possible?) while being derivative of a whole slew of 80's and 90's indie bands. Having said that, by the end of their set they had kinda changed my mind and that was without the benefit of a few pints (the Danforth being dry) and playing in a venue that wasn't all that conducive to their manic playing style.

They are playing at the Horseshoe and for $12 according to the shoe's site so I believe you can count me in. If you need me to pick up the ducats give me the signal.

Got 3 movies tomorrow so need to look out my pen and paper and get a good nights sleep.
marc, you've made me want to rediscover 'rattle & hum', which i did not particularly like back in '88 when it came out, but perhaps i was unfairly comparing it to 'joshua tree'. in light of the act of nature /criminally negligent abandonment of the poor and disenfranchised in the southern u.s., it may be ever more poignant. you'll have to play us a few select tracks on september 30th, which i will certainly attend.

stuart, wolf parade is good and i've enjoyed a few of their downloaded tracks, one of which you can get here. i wasn't blown away when they opened for arcade fire at the danforth music hall show in april but it was a solid show and for $15, it's certainly worth checking out. not sure if i'm in town that day but if so, i will join you. since it's at lee's, i'm guessing that it will be possible to get tickets at the door. kudos for the suggestion.

here's another plug and call to posts for the Film Fest Blog. Okay, enough already. Back to downloading ethiopian music.
I dont know if any of you have been following the hype for Wolf Parade , but it reminds me of all the hype pre arcade fire sucsess....and since that early arcade fire show at lees palace which some of us went to was so bloody good , Im thinking maybe lightning will strick twice. Can this much hype be wrong, well yes of course, but they are playing at the Horshoe for about 15 bucks and its not much to wager , so I think Im going to check them out. They play Oct 17 (on a monday after the previous weeks decemberists show I know) Any other takers?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Going back to an earlier blogversation about live albums…I don’t recall if U2’s Rattle and Hum was mentioned. Sometimes I feel like a broken and somewhat shallow grooved record, going on about U2 incessantly…but here I go again…I happened to have a copy at the job site towards the end of last week when the not so proverbial shit was hitting the fan in the deep south and I was blow away by the way the album cast it’s tale of the struggles of the down trodden souls of the world…15 years on, and it is more poignant that the day it was conceived.

Being the follow up album to J Tree that is arguably one of the Greatest Rock Albums ever written and sandwiched by Achtung Baby, R&H somehow pales in comparison, but instead of competing with their studio albums, it tells the story of a voyage in a personal way that reaches deeply into the human experience…some experiences I can relate to, and others that I can gladly not.

“am I buggin’ you?…I don’t mean to bug you!…’k Edge, play the blues!”
Hey guys, I know it’s been a while; I seem to be only now emerging from under a rather large rock, well ok, a large kitchen as well as mess of wiring, plumbing, drywall, beams and studs. ..oh such handsome studs!…so much for d’em summer holidays!

…so I was thinking of having a listener appreciation gathering at the end of September…anyone interested?…oh, so you say the 30th works well for you, great…that was easy…see you then…looking forward to it. Planning a party is so much easier when other people do it for you…thanks Stu.

Looks like I gots my reading to catch up on!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Thanks for the support, Bri! That was probably the best blog post I've ever read! EVER!!!

No musical notes before the long weekend but I wanted to point out two things:

1) The film festival blog will be up and running next week. Attendees are invited, nay, encouraged to share their thoughts on films they've seen. I've only got 5 tickets this year, am having trouble coping with this small number, and will be living vicariously through you all. Don't let me down! I'll post the URL on Thursday.

2) I know there's a link to the Onion on the right, but I almost peed myself laughing at one of this week's stories . Had to point it out.

Have a nice long weekend, all!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Good God man! The best in Canada!! What outstanding hyperbole. Did I out you with my nonchalance?? Well, needless to say, I shall now acquire and listen (carefully) to these they have it, really?

Gotta say, the one AC Newman song that Derek put on a compilation for me a couple of years ago (Drink to me babe then) is absolutely sublime (stop the hyperbole madness!).

Friday, August 26, 2005

September 30th works better for me (I may actually attend!).

Thanks for the NPornographer's track selection. I only have 2 tracks available to download from emusic until September 6th and was wondering which ones to try out. All the A.C. Newman tracks I've heard have been equal to his contributions on the group discs so I might just download his as well.

Potentially contentious though highly defensible statement to go into the weekend:

"The New Pornographers" are the best band in Canada today.
Sign me up for the 30th.
September 30th sounds promising - better than the 21st which may be complicated for me. Possible though unlikely that the baby will have come by then.....I say let's go for it! Yeah!

Re the New Pornographers, gotta say I'm not quite on the bandwagon yet. I do enjoy them, but I find the songs, while very skillful, a little glossy and too controlled, at times lacking angst and emotion. They remind me a bit of the mid-nineties BC-based group The Odds, whom I liked but tired of. In fairness to the NP's, I don't own any records, and have only downloaded about 6 or 7 tracks from their first two records...
Marc tells me he would like to host the cd club at his place friday sept 30. How does that sound???
I downloaded the New Pornographers disc from emusic a few nights ago and I've just about given it one whole listen through on the discman. On first blush it sounds like the perfect late summer soundtrack. If you're looking for one particularly groovy track you can try "Sing Me Spanish Techno". Did any of you purchase the AC Newman disc? I downloaded a few tracks which I liked but haven't heard the whole album. Since I have the Destroyer, Neko Case and New Porns discs I should complete the set.
September 21st will in all likelihood not work for me but trying to find a date that will (and then finding one that will fit in everyone else's schedule) before October should be next to impossible.
Let's go with that date and if I can make it, so much the better.

Anyone heard the new New Pornographers disc yet? The reviews have been good and their last was one of the best pop records of the new millenium. I've only listened to one track, which was good.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Since it's been over two months since the last CD club I think we should really try and squeeze one in for September even if it does end up being a virtual edition. Should we bring along the CDs themselves to aid in the discussion. How about September 21, the last day of summer and the week following the film festival?

The Eels CD is indeed mine and am in no great hurry to get it back. Doesn't really work for me truth be told. Not a bad disc by any stretch but far from memorable. Any word from the posse at Soundscapes on just how stupendously marvelous the new Super Furry Animals disc is? It's not in stores yet but I'm sure they've been spinning it since Canada Day.
Hi remember me...I used to make insiteful , intreguing , mispelled comments from time to time on this site...but Ive been in rural isolation for much of this closing summer month. I propose (since marcs silence perhaps means he is too busy for hosting a cd club ) that we hold a cd club in mid september as a memmorial for bettys... you know we could all sit around and...... well.....describe the music on the cds, instead of listening to them...yeah , what do you think???? OK well I still think we should hold one.( Im still repairing all the damage to my house from the raucause 80's dinner.... so somewhere else...also, i seem to have a copy of the aforementioned eels cd , but im not sure whose it is. Could it be yours Derek????

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Thanks for the link Kyle....quite a mainstream list for a guy with as much indie cred as DB....although I love a whole bunch of the numbers.

For those unfamiliar, I particularly recommend the Quicksilver Messenger Service tune, Pride of Man. It's pretty outstanding, as is the record from which it originates - the first Quicksilver record; a stellar mix of folk melodies/constructs and groovy psychedelic instrumentation and guitar genius (their lead player John Cipollina, was a short-lived guitar hero on the west coast scene).

Sunday, August 21, 2005

i guess if we could have a blog, then david byrne figured he could have one too.

i point this out b/c i discovered that he streams a playlist every week and am currently digging his mix of groovy 60s ditties scattered with the occassional more contempo greats (ie. Flaming Lips, Spirtualized).

it's here. doubtless you all have (by all i mean brian and possibly stuart) these songs but it's great for a late sunday evening listen.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Re social life: Indeed! Though I've heard an even cheekier group say the same of a certain still young-ish urban blogger. Imagine! Safe to say, from my perspective there is (a) no social life and (b) NO SOCIAL LIFE. History tells me I am about to enter the world of the bolded, italicized caps (and we must listen to history).

Re movies eclipsed by their soundtracks, surely the last fifteen years has seen hundreds, as soundtracks have become as big sellers/draws/commodities as the movies themselves. I can think of no examples (had a couple of beers at lunch and synapses are turgid) , so let's move on.

Re Eels, thanks for the tip...they've been the on-again/off-again dark princes (equally loved and hated) of pure pop for a few years now, but I for one had lost track of them. Good to know, like Teenage Fanclub, that they are still going at it.
Kudos for re-invigging a very quiet blogspace of late though cheekier posters/readers will no doubt ask, "What social life?"

Good idea to have another meeting before October. When this will happen is a bit of a mystery, what with the film fest occupying some key September dates, but let's try to work on it. Though I did host recently, I have moved and could thus justify another. Otherwise, I nominate Marc's place, which probably sports the best sound system and is a cool place in which to hang.

I like your idea for a pick of the month, as it will perhaps give others a reason to post their thoughts about their recently cherished tunes. Me, I'm digging the latest Eels 2-disc release.
They're the band most famous for the mid-late 90s single, "Novacaine for the Soul" (not to be confused with Beck's raucous "Novacaine", a great track from "Odelay", another mid-90s great). Haven't really heard much from them in the intervening years but I came across a few free downloads and, liking what I heard, have since purchase the disc from

You can check out the glowing reviews and download some songs at their website.

Also, I've heard a few tracks from the latest Nortec Collective disc, Tijuana Sessions Vol.3, and it sounds pretty great. Has anybody (and here I mean Marc) purchased it or heard the whole disc?

Also, I saw 'Broken Flowers' last night, which I liked but think I enjoyed the soundtrack more than the film. Jarmusch pretty much picks great music for all his films but are there any film soundtracks that stand out as glaringly much better than the actual film.

I'm thinking 'Saturday Night Fever' may be the gold standard here but others may differ or have a better example. Lazily, I will avoid adding another until others have done so.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Hello? Where's the music chatter? Personally, I'm very busy, but I'm sure the rest of you have a moment or two to post some thoughts.

A couple of non-sequiturs - I plan to start a "BD's picks of the month" (or quarter...or year)" but have to re-invigorate my buying habits. Look for it in the fall (or not)....I will say that Xiu Xiu is very hit and miss for me....the guy's singing is mighty pretentious.

Are we going to have a CD club before my next child is born? I'd recommend it, as the BD underground phase (also known as the Warren Factor) starts again in October. It won't be as long this time, but it won't go away in any hurry. I'm already in mourning for my lost social life.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

You don't remember my asking you about 'Clap Your Hands...'? It was right before you ripped off your shirt and began howling at the moon, as Broken Wings by Mister Mister began to play.
No? Still fuzzy? Ah well...

I think you've got it right that both Xiu Xiu and Fiery Furnaces have 30 second flashes of brilliance betwixt some less than stellar sections and, let's be frank, a lot of crap. My question then is why not produce a better edited album with just the brilliant bits? Why do I have to wade through what's grating to get to what's great?

[A question for the group but points to me at the outset for posing it in a 'setting up the premise for the sex in the city episode with a parallel-structured pun a la carrie bradshaw voiceover narration']
Sorry man, I guess I don't remember that particular discussion. Did it coincide with the discussion of Cuff the Duke?

As for the Xiu Xiu disc I downloaded it from e-music as I purchased their last disc "Fabulous Muscles" and it never really totally worked for me. The new disc, from the few listens I've given it, is a more rounded album although they do still have their freak-out moments which can be pretty jarring. They are nothing if not interesting and in a similar vein to Feiry Furnaces there are small moments throughout their records where they nail it even if only for 30 odd seconds.

Another album that I downloaded from e-music is the new Malkmus disc and it is certainly worth picking up. So much better than the first two and the track I originally listened to on the website "Baby C'mon" really isn't indicative of the rest of the record.
Hey, didn't I ask you this question on Friday Mr. Mercer? You've obviously been doing some googling and pitchforking over the weekend. Obviously, the 'Clap Your Hands' track on your birthday disc will no longer be the pleasant surprise I'd hoped it to be. My own fault for not bringing it to Stuart's.

I'm in. For $10 it's a good deal and I imagine they'd be quite good at the 'shoe (as most bands are). Will have to download some of their other tracks. Anyone listen to Xiu Xiu's 'La Foret'? Would be curious to hear some opinions. Think I might come to like it but it's early going...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Call me a bandwagon jumper, I've been called much worse, but are any of you interested in the next big thanng out of NYC "Clap your hands say yeah"? I realize that the show is on the Saturday of the long weekend and a few of us are slated the following Saturday to see Sufjan Stevens. It's at the Horseshoe and its only $10. I figure it may be the last time we all get together for a concert at the shoe for quite some time.

Check out the reviews from Now and Pitchfork and the band's site which has 3 downloadable tracks. Definitely hearing the Talking Heads influence.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Jesus Stuart. I can forgive The Duran Duran, but Falco?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

forgot one... I hate to admit it but Duran a prayer... OK I know Im in for a beating on that one.....
OK OK, well these are one hit wonders (sort of) ....bands whom I have no records of some feat in itself...BUT that Im willing to take abuse about because I still like these tunes...
1) Toto ....Africa (never could figure out quite what they say about a million men on mars..??))
2) Nena ...99 Luftballoons
3) falco ...Amedeus
3.5) Paul Young....come back and stay

worst song?? mr Roboto-styx

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Stu - you've committed Blogging Sin #1 - Thou shalt not suggesteth a topic for discussion and subsequently not participateth.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Squeaking in to the first year of the decade would be two songs that I liked and also topped the charts or close enough plus another Prince tune that wears better than Doves Cry.

1) Ashes to Ashes - David Bowie
2) Games without Frontiers - Peter Gabriel
3) Kiss - Prince

As for Kyle's question about highs and lows if you're expecting a Siouxsie song as the zenith you might want to set your sights a little bit lower. There will be beaucoup de fromage mon amis mais bien sur les chansons que tout le monde peut s'amuser.
Three eh? How about

- Here Comes the Rain Again - Eurythmics
- In a Big Country - (Big Country)
- Luka - Suzanne Vega

Maybe a bit obvious....though there are dozens of others. I would probably have chosen the Prince song as well.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

aha, you WERE paying attention, mr. mercer and caught the fact that my keyboard sometimes substitutes 'h's for 'm's and vice versa. mappy that you picked up on that.

stuart, the top 3 top 40 radio songs that got decent radio play in the 1980s are:
-billie jean by michael jackson (awaiting verbal daggers for this choice but i'm standing firm)
-with or without you by u2
-when doves cry by prince

also, when you say 80s party, am i assume that there will be a mix of 'high' and 'low' 80s pop moments? that is, am i likely to hear Siouxsie and the Banshees in the same set as Reo Speedwagon? just wondering.
well to change the topic and to get us in the spirit of the 80s dinner party, how about the best 3 songs of the 80s that got serious radio play..... ie those commercial tunes that everyone knows , but that were pretty dam good like someone somewhere in the summertime -simple minds. or small town boy by whoever the hell those guys were.....

Monday, July 25, 2005

Ok -one themed pop music beyond 50 minutes. Hmmmmmmmmm. Well it depends of course on what you define as pop, and though I dont have the current Sufjan disc (yet) I do have the previous release and his stuff is a little homogenous ,(here comes the but), but, it makes me think of the double disc releases of the seventies (excluding live ones), and Goodby yellow brick road (very loosely -theme of loss of innocence, childhood )or pink floyd -the wall (semi-autobiographical) , Wilco (sorry 90's)-being there (theme anyone), to run now but I think some of these counter the point.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Kyle can I assume you meant Mum and not the short lived 90's rockers of "Stars" fame Hum? Or did you just throw that in there to see if we're paying attention and not skimming through the blog.
Agree that we have been conditioned to an increasingly shorter (decreasingly longer?) attention span over the past half century, but I'm still not convinced that an album of one-themed pop music is sustainable beyond 50 minutes.

The exception I think is instrumental (Tortoise, Do Make Say Think) or largely instrumental (Sigur Ros, Hum) rock so one's assessment of the last 20 minutes of 'Illinois' is shaped by whether you see it as a collection of songs a la the Shins 'Chutes Too Narrow' or as more of an epic 'Svefn-G-Englar'-like sonic arc. Even though it's not chock full of snappy little ditties, to me it falls into a collection of more distinct songs which tend to repeat a little and with the Godspell-ish female backup vocals starting to grate somewhat after the 2/3 mark of the disc.

I think we know where Derek and Brian stand on this issue but Stuart and Marc seem a little quiet. Surely the Tour de France is a fait accompli at this point, M. VanGinkel. Care to comment. And Stuart, all this correct spelling is getting me down. Give me something garbled to send me into the weekend.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I couldn't possibly let you have the final word where Sufjan's concerned Brian.

With respect to my earlier comment about track 15 being my cut-off point I realized on the way to work this morning why precisely at this track the album should really have ended. Track 15 "The Predatory Wasp..." is for my money the best track on the album. Track 16 "They are Night Zombies..." on the other hand is rubbish. That clipped female(?) chorus in the background would do Ace of Base proud.

Obviously on any record there will be highs and lows but for me the rather jarring juxtaposition of these two tracks said to me that Sufjan had run out of steam and was just milking the extra space provided by digital (how ironic) technology.

And I don't think for a minute that any one of us has a short attention span where good music, art and literature are concerned.
I tend to agree re TFC....generally very good, but never ascending to great (Bandwagonesque was overhyped in my opinion). Still, a band I enjoy immensely, and "Man-Made" after a couple of listens seems as good as any of them - the production by the Tortoise dude (name escapes me) suits them surprisingly well.

Re SS, I'll add one final note....I tend to think the constant commoditization of pop (using the now-loaded term very generally) lends us to stop wanting to hear the same artist after a certain amount of time, almost regardless of the artist. Pop is such a packaged form that our attention naturally shifts after 30 - 45 minutes maximum...and in today's digital age, sometimes more like 30 seconds. It's completely natural at this point, but still ultimately our loss if the music in question sustains itself beyond that window, and if the artist is trying to break through existing form. Those who've grown up listening to longer forms of music (e.g., symphonies, operas) probably have an advantage over us pop-lovers in terms of attention span.

I'm into seeing Sufjan in September. I'll let you know (got a couple of other things on the go for the next few days) - Stu, you going?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I'm not sure that I would rank TFC as one of the great bands. To me they are much like the Charlatans a band that has put out consistently interesting and worthwhile records that go largely ignored by the general public as both bands tend to forego the prevailing trends and simply make good music. The mere fact of the continued existence of both bands is something that in its own way is worth celebrating.

For the record the critic in Eye didn't like the Teenie's record at all and the Exclaim dude was quite pleased with the whole affair. Apparently Tim Burgess, lead vocalist of the Charlatans also has a record out though damned if I've seen either of these discs in the downtown stores.
btw, i'm also digging the new Teenage Fanclub disc. They may be one of the most consistently great, if least appreciated bands of the past 15 years. (Or maybe you disagree? Discuss!)
Sufjan show should be a good one and all should join us at this glorious event.

I thoroughly enjoy "Illinois", particularly 'Casimir Pulaski Day', which has a very Iron & Wine feel to it; perhaps Sam Beam could be considered one of Sufjan's peers, and Belle and Sebastian’s ‘Legal Man’ seems like a recent touchstone. Also digging 'Chicago', 'Come on! Feel the Illinoise!' and many others. In adding my two cents to the ongoing 'is the album too long?' debate, I'll try to avoid the fence-straddling, namby-pamby 'you both have a point' line that inevitably follows the articulation of opposing perspectives.

With my often hectic travel schedule, I tend to listen to a lot of my music on my ipod, the features of which allow for some interesting playback options. I have a 'smart' playlist, which is an ongoing compilation of all the songs I have added to the player in 2005, ordered by that which was most recently added. This means that I can quickly find and hear some of the new music I've downloaded/ripped and it also means that I listen to a lot of albums in reverse. While this can definitely disrupt the 'flow' of a lot of albums, it does shine a brighter light on tracks that appear at the end of a disc. Consequently, a song like ‘Out of Egypt…’, the last piece on the album, which is a pretty, xylophone progression paired with what sounds like a choral exercise or the background vocals from a particularly long Stereolab track, is far more impressive when heard before the rest of the album.

When I listen to ‘Illinoise’ from start to finish on my stereo at home, I do find that I’m starting to crave a different sound after the 45-50 minute mark. It’s not that the last 4-5 tracks aren’t quite good, it’s that I feel I’ve already heard several more interesting variations on the album earlier on. To riff on Derek’s Pot of Gold metaphor, it’s like, I’ve enjoyed the 15 chocolate caramels but I don’t feel I need another 5 right not (but get back to me in say, an hour).

As for losing posts, I've found that opening up a Word document and then copying and pasting (Control-C, Control-V) is a great way of avoiding blog-text loss, which has happened to me in the past, though I've never lost two days worth of writing. There, nice to end a long post on a glib note.

Hope you've picked out some good music for this coming Monday, Bri. I found that pumping thrash metal through the house really increased the speed of the movers.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The recycle bin. Why didn't I think of that. Very astute, Mr. Bond.

As for our pal double S, I picked up some tickets a few weeks back at Soundscapes and have no fears about good seats all being gone as its general admission. Kyle, Sarah and I will be attending so feel free to come on board. I just checked the Ticketmaster site and there are still tickets available. Should be a good one.
I just opened a new posting for the blogsite and holy fuck, Brians 2 page opus on the metaphisical contortions of pop melodramas poped up in front of me. Needless to say I recycle binned it.... Anyway about going to see Sufjan and all his popness on sat 10 of september at trinity st pauls. ( A damn good venue , except for it not being licenced) Good tickets are probably gone by now....
I spent two days writing about pop songs and albums, Sufjan in/out that context, blah blah blah, only to have the whole fucking blog vanish as I tried to publish it. FUCK. (Although, who am I guys are thrilled).

The readers' digest version is this:

Point 1 - great pop is often short, sweet, melodic, even light (Rubber Soul etc), but sometimes can be long, bedraggled, unfocused (White Album) and every bit as rewarding, if not more so.

However, I don't think Sufjan's record is a big rambly affair like Dusk at the Cubist Castle or Being There. See pt. 2

Point 2 - Pure pop, almost by definition, doesn't allow for much scope - it's songic, self-contained in nature. The Sufjan record is all about scope; trying to create a landscape of music for the state of Illinois, as he did (or tried to) for Michigan. It is a grand mood piece, with a lot of really great songs. I don't think he should be compared to the Shins, GBV, or Teenage Fanclub (their latest one is very good on first listen, by the way)....though I'm not entirely sure who his peers are. The arrangements and the songs exhibit a lot of craft, and benefit from a more deliberate exposition. I've listened to the new record a lot over the last two weeks, and would be disappointed to lose any of these songs/musical moments.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Thanks Kyle for giving me much more indie cred than I really deserve. I believe I only have one CD single of theirs and I thought that some of their videos were very cool but I'm afraid that's all the credit I can take where His Name is Alive is concerned. As for their Englishness it's probably due to the fact they were on 4AD the lable of all things precious and very "druidesque". I can only assume that Livonia is much prettier in name than in reality. Apparently the name came from one of the 19th century Baltic states.

Something that Brian, Kyle and I touched on briefly in conversation was the new Sufjan Stevens disc. I picked it up last week and have only given it a once through at this stage. I don't know how critics can dole out their stars or N's when they've just received the record. I need to listen to any album intermittently over a couple of months before I know where I stand with any work of music. Listening to it 5-10 times in a week is not the same thing at all and I'm quite sure the critics don't give any record that many spins.

Anyhoo I digress. My comment on the album was that at 22 tracks and almost 75 minutes that it is possibly too long. Good album but for my money it could have stopped quite nicely at track 15 and the 60 minute mark. Brian's comment was as follows: ...not sure about the concept of the album that's "too long". Doesn't it all depend on whether the songs are good? Doesn't a song justify its own existence in the pop milieu?

I suppose that for me the number of tracks is more of a concern than the actual running time. The last Godspeed album which chimes in at almost 75 minutes as well only has 5 tracks and I have no problem sitting through the whole thing (I get tired standing). As most of you know with any Godspeed or even Sigur Ros to some extent it's all about building a mood and a headspace where the music engulfs you and the delimitation of the tracks becomes entirely irrelevant as one piece segues into another.

With pure pop like the Shins, Pernice Brothers, Sufjan etc I think it's an entirely different matter. I complained somewhat that the last Shins record was too short but in retrospect that can only be a good thing as it leaves you hankering for more. And 10 distinctive pop tracks might be just enough. It's like a box of Cadbury's chocolates. You open it and see 20 different choccy goodies and you think you can take them all on but after 2 or 3 you know you'd be happy with just 10 or 12 choices as the other 8 are duff anyway and you'll leave them for your guests to eat.

I'm not saying that there are necessarily weak tracks on Sufjan's disc, I just don't need to hear them all in one session. As Kyle said if he leaves off 5 or 6 tracks he can release a few singles from the record and put these "extra" tracks on the B-side, leaving the Sufjan completists with something to spend their money on.

I guess I just don't subscribe to the Guided by Voices school of rock that says everything I write down is worth recording.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I know you were a big fan of His Name is Alive, Derek, so you may want to download their latest ep for free from their website , which apparently is only offering it for free for a limited time. I always thought they were from England but it turns out they are from Livonia, Michigan, a place I have been countless times; if you've been to Livonia, you know I'm not exactly bragging.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

That's a great site. I listen to 'All Things Considered' all the time when I'm in the U.S. and I've often heard their musical profiles and mention of this site but I've never remembered to visit it.

I have updated the list of links on the right to include it.

Monday, July 11, 2005

You might want to check out this NPR website as well.
Very surprised that people listen to that many hours of radio in a day. As Brian noted on Saturday, conventional radio seems to exist mostly for people who commute to work or drive around all day in their cars. There are specific radio programs on different channels--CKLN, CIUT, CBC, that I find interesting but eventually, with each station, I soon find I've got to move on.

One my company's business partners in Michigan has a satellite XM receiver in his office and I think it's awesome. He pays $10 a month and can choose from about 100 different channels, . Unlike the 100 cable universe, where the same news story, reality show, decorating challenge, or syndicated sitcom from years gone by replays on a 24-hour monotonous loop of crap, satellite radio at least offers some interesting choices. When I was working at his office one afternoon, I heard artists like the Decemberists, Public Image Ltd., Devendra Banhart, Interpol and others, on one of the stations and John Scofield, Medeski Martin and Wood on another. The song title, artist, album title, and release date all appeared on a small screen attached to the receiver, and there were no commercial breaks, bombastic station identifiers, or what passes for witty repartee between disc jockeys.

Though I now own most of the above artists' discs, there was something refreshingly about hearing these songs in a random order. Like you, I enjoyed listening to cfny in my bedroom as a teenager, and felt that thrill of excitement whenever a song came on that I liked, even though I may have already owned the song. Maybe there's some validation in hearing something I've purchased on my own or a feeling of being linked to a community of like-minded music fans, outside of a web-trolling experience. I like listening to the radio and can only hope that my local options for doing so get better.

So I welcome the entry of satellite service providers to the Canadian market and to those arts groups and broadcasters whose self-serving lobbying to the CRTC for more protection and regulation of an already arcande system, I give a giant raspberry (I'll keep my middle finger in check for now).

The two links on the right, for KEXP in Seattle, and KCRW in LA, two listener-supported (National Public Radio affiliate) stations that play an interesting mix of hand-picked music, stream their music online and are similar to what you get on satellite. You can't listen to these stations on the go (unless you happen to be in either of those cities) but at least you have a better option for home or the office.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Killers?? Yeah right Stuart. Now I know for sure you're taking the piss.

Here's an article from the CBC that states the average Canuck listens to 19.5 hours a week and that's down from a decade ago.

Don't know about you but I'd be hard pressed to say I listen to more than 2-3 hours a week. I was discussing this issue with someone at work this week basically being rather confused with the buzz about satellite radio. Isn't radio dying? Hasn't it been dying a slow death for almost 30 years? I know when I was say 13-18 the radio was on in my bedroom pretty much constantly. I'm not so sure today's teen could say the same, even if they are music lovers.
On another note I have been loving to death the Killers cd. I think one of you may have brought it to a cdclub event. It has really grown on me, and may be my favorite "rock" cd thus far this year. I think they would be great live. Has a bit of a cure feel but not overly so. Also a bit like arcade fire in its 80sness and maybe a bit of strokes thrown in.....check it out
To all;
Im never entirely sure if sarcasm humour comes across as funny or malicious when on emails , so as a rule of thumb consider anything I say here to be completely sarcastic and also tremendously humourus ( gut wrenching laughter should follow anything you read). And also nothing I wright should be considered to have any truth to it whatsoever....
Just pleased I could help Stu.
Thanks for the correction Brian, I was very very interested to find out that lyrical error. I spent last night listening to the greatest hits record to be sure that wouldnt happen again......
Okay, I don't like the Eagles and I don't like live albums which is why I'm here including a link to a free, downloadable version of a new Flaming Lips live album . I haven't heard any of these tracks and they may very much confirm my firmly entrenched beliefs. So why the link and this post?

Well, partly because I still feel somewhat cheated out of a live Flaming Lips experience, after they had to shut down their set four songs into their concert I attended a few years back; they did join Beck as accompaniment later but it wasn't quite the same.

But also I think it's important to support bands who have embraced the potential of the internet to reach new and existing fans. 'Supporting' by clicks may seem slight compared to the more traditional support by cash, but I imagine the more hits they get, the more interest and buzz their live project and related documentary will receive across the traditional and electronic mediasphere. So good on them.

Anyone else download some of those summer playlists at Salon? I enjoyed the winning 'Too Much Light' set but found the quieter, intimate vocals on some of the tracks and lush, electronic haze of others ill-suited to my early morning workout (quickly switched to Dizzee Rascal). I'm looking forward to listening again tomorrow afternoon, when I plan to do little more than pack a few boxes and nap on the couch. Have a lovely weekend all.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Not to burst your bubble there Stu, but you're mixing verse one and verse two. Allow me to help "four that wanna own me, two that wanna stone me, one says she's a friend of mine". Now re-commence your humming....

I'm pleased, of course, that such an erudite conversation on the nature of music ended with all of us singing Eagles songs we dislike.
Alright, alright, Stuart. Take it e...I mean, relax (don't do it, when you want to go to it...)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

well Im running down the road trying to losen my load, got seven women on my mind, Im lookin for a lover who wont blow my cover shes so hard to find , come on ba-be dont say may-be I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me..----Thats whats been going thru my head for the last 3 days thanks to you bastards.....s
re: the Eagles, Amen! 'Take it Easy' sounds like they were trying to pay homage to 'Ventura Highway' but couldn't be bothered getting off the fucking couch. My disdain for all things Eagles does taint my assessment of these and several of their other summertime 'classics'.

I don't know that I'd agree that sunnier climes inevitably produce lazier or weaker music. Here maybe I'm confusing genres by thinking of Latin American and African music that seems far livelier and potent than that of its northern brethren. If you’re talking pop music only, I’m more inclined to agree, leaning on laid back 90s slacker rock of California as examples (Pavement, Weezer, early Beck) though I’d probably go with ‘indolent’ over ‘effete’.

Having thus critiqued a generalization, I now make my own sweeping declarations:

Jazz only works in an urban setting, and should be pumped out of speakers along city streets 365 days a year, kind of what you get at a theme park, sans the egregiously shite adult contempo power ballads. Country music works only in...wait for it...wait for it...the country, particularly in towns not largely populated, but populated largely by suspicious, toothless, xenophobes clad in denim overalls. Chamber music works in a lot of places, but is best enjoyed on a rainy day, while indoors lounging on the couch or sitting behind the wheel of a luxury car with all leather tan interior. Orchestral pieces work only on Saturday morning, as an accompaniment to weekly cleaning or particularly vigorous lovemaking. House music only works in small, dark clubs inhabited by the scantily yet tastefully decked out, after enjoying at least one joint and preferably other recreational substances. Hip hop is the ultimate work out music, for either during weight training or cardio. With apologies to Oshawa, heavy metal never works.

As we continue to suss this important topic, I think it’s worth linking to Salon’s Summer Sountrack contest, which I discovered only yesterday or I would have submitted a playlist. The tracks listed are all free so you can download, listen, and then we can maybe discuss our favourites, what we thought of the winner, etc. Sound like fun? Good. [Note: you must watch an ad to get a day pass to Salon].

Also, because I love lists and because I’m moving next week and because Brian and Victoria just moved and I’ve got moving on the brain, I present:

The Top 5 ‘Moving’ Songs (word in title or theme of relocation, not poignancy)

Keep on Movin’ – Soul II Soul
Movin’ on up – Primal Scream
Moving – Supergrass
Goodbye Stranger – Supertramp
Leaving on Jet Plane – John Denver

Honourable Mention:
Moving on up (Jeffersons Theme Song) by ?

Worst Moving Song:
Moving Out – Billie Joel
(if only for that irritating ‘heart attack ack ack ack ack’ bit in the middle)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

I've always thought that the powers that be who organize jazz festivals in the mid-summer have got it all wrong - ideally they're meant for the short dark days of November, or hell, even February. Having said that, some jazz definitely works in the summer milieu....the west coast stuff for example. Chet of course, or Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Shelly Manne (and his men), numerous others. I also think Brubeck, with the amazing dulcet tones of Paul Desmond on alto, makes excellent summer listening.

As for pop music, for me summer/long weekends etc tend to create an oft-missing appetite for songs about, or made in, sunny climates, and the effete lifestyle that naturally exists in these places. Not exactly revelatory I realize. But, as I've always said, there's a reason that northern cultures run the world. The list of summer songs is bloody endless, but to Kyle's point, there are many embarrassing inclusions among them - the Eagles are a prime example. How about "New Kid in Town"? Or "Take it to the Limit"? Yuckity yuck, right? And yet.....? Ah, the intoxicating power of sunshine.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Jazz certainly works for me in the summertime although I'm not so sure, as you say, that it works all that well in a lush, country setting down by the lake. Although I'm listening right now to Ben Webster's "Soulville" which might even work at the cottage since it's just that smooth, bluesy and perfect for keeping as immobile as possible in this overbearing heat. It almost sounds like Ben recorded it in the middle of the afternoon, maybe in July of 1957, on a streetcorner somewhere in the southern states and he wants to keep the pace as mellow as can be. Bop and hard bop work less well for me in this weather. I keep those for spring and fall.

Two current releases that are fitting in nicely in the current environment are Sam Prekop's latest and Beck's disc Geuro. Beck has always been a great summertime listen as he sounds like he's just doing enough to enunciate the words and little more. Plus the music to me has a sort of 70's summer in NYC feel.

Some fave summer tunes would be the rather obvious choice of Flaming Lips "Its Summertime", any one of 3 or 4 tracks from "Screamadelica" and the slow version of "Wave of Mutilation" by the Pixies.
okay, thursday before the long weekend. quickly now, what are your top cottage/lazy long weekend in the city songs? are there songs that you would never listen to in the city but will tolerate at the cottage (yeah, i'm looking at you steve miller)? does jazz at all outside an urban setting. discuss.

or ignore. or a quick, 2-word directive, if you wish.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Sorry to have to bail for the jazz. We are going up to the cottage on the weekend band I have too much work by a half. Other staff will be here working on it so its bad form to leave them behind to go play. Weather looks perfect tho...have fun...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I'd love to go but if i do it will be a last minute decision...don't know if the boss will let me off early! sun is shinnin'...gotta make dat der hay, eh!
I'm looking good for Friday 4 - 5:00 or 5:30. Should be pretty great. Not sure why David Murray, one of the best and most interesting sax players on jazz, has such a shit time slot. Not that I'm objecting.....but why is he not a night time feature player at the tent?
its gotten somewhat more complicated for me , but I am still optomistic. Yvette is taking maya to her ballet recital so I have to be home by 6 to get Rhys his dinner, but I think its still doable......4pm to 5:30 ish

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Here are two links with respect to that CD. Squealer is the record lable and Surefire Distribution is the site that I purchased the CD from. As it shows on the site it cost $12 US and they charged me nothing for shipping and there were no additional taxes. So with exchange it came in at a bit under $16. Pretty nice deal.

Who is still on for seeing David Murray at 4pm on Friday? It's supposed to be 30 degrees on Friday so perfect weather for seeing some jazz outdoors.