Sunday, December 30, 2007

Absurdist electronica

This is how electronic music should be made and played - old school machinery and wires all over the place. This is Dan Deacon, owner of the hottest hairdo in pop music today.

The music doesn't start until the 3:30 mark of this clip - but viewing the whole thing provides some good context for a great/catchy/jittery tune... Overall, its a bit like watching someone preform in their bedroom in front of their mirror: mildly cringe worthy.

"I try to write music that I think, if like, really cool 6 year olds got together and had this stuff and they were like let's write the most awesome music ever..."

Video Dan Deacon live in studio


MP3 The Crystal Cat by Dan Deacon

Basia Bulat



Hands down The Best Musical Performer to come out of Canada in 2007... Basia Bulat. Certainly eclipses everyone's favorite 1,2,3,4'ing iPod ad singer-songwriter anyway.

Basia Bulat's rookie album, "Oh my darling", is taking a while to get out there - it was released in the Spring, but didn't show up on iTunes until Fall. It still is not available south of the border (release date: February). It is well worth the wait and since I'm useless at describing stuff...

MP3 Snakes and Ladders by Basia Bulat
MP3 In the night by Basia Bulat
MP3 Before I knew by Basia Bulat
MySpace page

She has also finally come out with a video (as basic as it is)... here she is zithering around with some woodland creatures:

VIDEO In the night by Basia Bulat

Oh... and like Feist (and in the name of full sell-out disclosure), she too has her own commercial (VW Eos; "Little Waltz"):

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Year in Review - Best of '07 Part IV

Best Music Video of 2007: Lyckans Undulat (Band: Detektivbyrån; Director: Daemon Film)

This video has it all… cool use of the dissolve technique and time-lapse videography, an easy to follow/ slightly off-kilter plot, a cockroach, petal vomit, over-sized lollies, shots of the mother-nation (Sweden) and some short, non-egotistical footage of the band playing live. Key to it all is the way in which the fast-paced visual imagery lines up with those frenetic instrumental sounds (as when the song slows momentarily as darkness descends and the twirling fire lady pops into view). It doesn’t hurt, too, that this is one of the best songs I’ve heard all year. In a word: Flawless!

It is because of the clever use of dissolving images that this video is best viewed in its proper format... download here. From their amazing website you can also check out the video clip documenting the purchase, and playing, of Anders Flanders' new accordion (exciting!)... AND download a great selection of Detektivbyrån tunes.

Best video of the year? Hell, Detektivbyrån are best BAND of the year! Here's more... Video Hemvägen (Live Nyhetsmorgon 2007) by Detektivbyrån

Gushing over. Here are some other fine examples of visual imagery set to incredible music from the year that almost was...

2. Peacebone by Animal Collective (strange, but with a cool car)



3. Thou shalt always kill by Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip (appropriate walk-about/ rad beard)



4. Open your heart by Lavender Diamond (roller skating dance fest)



5. Top Ranking by Blonde Redhead (Miranda July doing her long-limbed thang)



6. Australia by The Shins (thieving, conniving band-members run amok!)
7. A brighter beat by Malcolm Middleton (great facial expressions/ fine balloon acting)
8. Manchester by The Beautiful South (chav alert!)
9. Kids aflame by Arms (great story - too bad the video no longer exists... anywhere!)
10. Can’t tell me nothing (alt. version) by Kanye West featuring Zach Galifianakis and Will Oldham (skimpy clothed beardo-weirdos getting their groove on - hilarious)
11. D.A.N.C.E. by Justice (cool t’s)
12. Belarus by Low (the loneliness of the cross-country skier)

The end.

More Christmas Music

A talented and mildly amusing version of the Twelve Days of Christmas that includes an "Africa" segment (the closest this blog will ever get to offering up any Toto)...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Musical Hero

Finally! I found the perfect role for me in a pop-quartet: keyboard holder/ head turner. And if that doesn't work out I could always just stand there and wiggle my body a bit...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bad Santa



Those crazy Brits! Always laying down odds on anything that moves and competing for the coveted Christmas #1 song slot!. Malcolm Middleton (and his current single "We're all going to die") has come outta nowhere to show them top 40'ers what's what and currently sits at 4th favourite with odds of 12/1. "We're all going to die" is strangely uplifting... as in your going to die so get out there and make something of yourself. This time around he's decided to star in his own video - showing the world his best side and in no way perpetuating a Scottish stereotype:

VIDEO We're all going to die by Malcolm Middleton

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ministry x3

I work in a converted convent. A former nunnery. My office is on the same floor as the chapel that continues to function today as a catholic church. The chapel is smack dab in the middle of our offices so to use one of the exits, or to get to the washrooms or kitchen area, you have to walk through the public chapel foyer. This usually is no biggie - just nod in the direction of the po-faced volunteers, breathe in the stale air, utter a few hail mary’s and Bob’s yer uncle.

In the summertime, the chapel - in all its stained-glass and historically significant glory - is chalk-a-block full of weddings. Given the site’s popularity, these events spill into mid-week, thus affording us government workers the occasional glimpse into the joy and wonderment of nuptial bliss during the holy union of two radiantly smiling persons. That and the gifts are usually left, unguarded, in the foyer.

The other day I was re-entering the compound at lunchtime when I noticed a hearse out front. What the hell? It turns out our building also hosts funerals from time to time (as I suppose all catholic churches housed in government offices do). That day was also happy-holiday-free-pizza-day in our Ministry so there was a lot of laughter filling the air, and spilled tomato sauce staining the carpet. But, in competing with the sombre event taking place concurrently within our cozy walls, it was pretty much a case of Ministry vs. Ministry. It was like a Pixies song in there (quiet, loud, quiet, loud… i thought of that one myself!).

When it was time to leave the building and move my car I decided, in order to save time, to risk it and attempt to cross the chapel threshold. As I pushed on the swinging door to the chapel foyer I ran smack into a besmocked fellow who was solemnly putting away his pendulous ball of incense as at-the-ready pall-bearers gathered around the casket behind him. I decided not to attempt to excuse myself and shimmy past the casket and quickly turned on my heels and went the other way. Thank the lord I didn’t get a ticket for being late in moving my car.

Which brings us to this industrial classic featuring cars and a ministry...

VIDEO Over the shoulder by Ministry

Friday, December 14, 2007

Year in Review - Best of ’07 Part III

From Flash to Crash in 6.8 seconds flat

Once a hidden gem in the blog world, Young Folks by Peter, Bjorn and John is now a staple of dusty, crackling grocery store stereo systems the world over. I’d say that the karaoke version is not far off but I’m sure it’s out there somewhere already (yup, it is - just googled it). All that’s left is the “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” treatment. Whistling will reach a whole new level of competitiveness.

I have spent my life wondering why the music I like isn’t more popular, only to become hugely frustrated and annoyed when something does slip through from my world to that of the mainstream. I never understood why James never became the next U2 or REM; I’m happy to own “Neutral Milk Hotel” to (relatively) myself; I’m saddened, a bit, that Beirut has suddenly and surprisingly become media darlings (who’d have thought that ALL those horns would take off?).

Speaking of the relative merits of success… here’s Morrissey’s response to then-stadium-filling band, James and their rise to modest levels of stardom in the early 90’s:

VIDEO We hate it when our friends become successful by Morrissey Caution: lamé alert

Sticking it to the (Great White Northern) man

You can buy an iPhone in this country but you can’t use it (unless you know how to hack into the thing or if you stand on the beach directly across the strait from Port Angeles’ AT&T signal). As well, Canada (minus Quebec) got TiVo only a few weeks back and Netflix is nowhere near being made available here.

But hold on to your beaver-pelts, earlier this week we were graced with the Canadian release of downloadable television programs from iTunes, something that has long been available south of the border. Here’s a complete listing of available programming, conveniently marketed as “your favourite tv shows”: South Park; Little Mosque on the Prairie (what the hell?); Corner Gas; Degrassi TNG; Drawn Together; The Hills; The Rick Mercer Report; Robson Arms; Dragon's Den; The Sarah Silverman Show; Instant Star, Avatar and… in a fit of overt stereotyping… old hockey games (cleverly repackaged as “Stanley Cup Classics”).

What, the bargain bin had no room for Littlest Hobo?

VIDEO Bob and Doug's May two-four weekend special

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fabby-do

Tomorrow, England are expected to hire famed Italian Fabio Capello to be their new manager and to lead them back to World Cup glory in 2010. Becks told the search committee, "go get my boy Fabio", but I think they didn't get the one he meant.

Fabio Capello (football coach and owner of stylish eye-wear)


Fabio (professional airbrush model and owner of some abs, some pecs, some hair and a rather square-looking jaw)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Year in Review - Best of ’07 Part II

Best album of the year: Proof of Youth by The Go! Team

”do you wanna rock the house and turn this motha out?!” In the era of one-sorta-hit-wonders, it’s a relief to find a cohesive album. All the better then when that album transports you, via jump rope, to the streets of Harlem by way of Brighton, England. Here they are in all their dual-drumming glory at this year's Glastonbury Festival: VIDEO Titanic Vandalism (live) by The Go! Team



Best album of 2007 honourable mention nods go to...
23 by Blonde Redhead
Flying Club Cup by Beirut
Wincing The Night Away by The Shins

And by the way… the hands-down most over-hyped album of 2007: Neon Bible by Arcade Fire

They are much fitter

The latest British singer-songwriter to be labelled the next best thing, Kate Nash, is all of 20 freaken years old. When I was her age, and in the year she was born, I too was once the star of the stage while performing an impersonation of Roger Daltry in a university residences lip-synching contest (we trashed our “gear” 20 seconds into “my generation”, just like the real Who). Apart from that, and of course our full-bodied hairdos, good ol’ Kate and I have very little in common. Shocking! Perhaps I should grow up and, pipe and slippers in hand, retire sleepily to the drawing room with some Journey, Kansas, Yes or Chicago… for an electrifying dose of prog rock. Ha.



Jenny Lewis look-a-like Nash (no relation to hoops star Steve, or CBC icon Knowlton… that I know of) has gone from regular teenager, to MySpace darling, to Q magazine award winner all in one year. In that span she’s come up with a killer tune, the piano-driven “Foundations”. This is golden and, for some strange reason, the juvenile girl-boy break-up theme doesn’t make me squirm (but then again, it’s no secret I’m a big fan of the RomComs). In the hands of an artist of lesser quality, and without Nash’s English accented talk-sing style, these lyrics would be vomit-inducing: "You said I must eat so many lemons, 'cause I am so bitter. I said 'I'd rather be with your friends mate, cause they are much fitter'". But she pulls it off and I’m convinced it is singularly due to her saying “Bit-ta” instead of “bitter”!!!

Overall, Nash has kinda got that Lily Allen/ female Arctic Monkeys thing going on in the way her songs tell a story and in the way she, genuine or forced, affects that accent with words like the aforementioned “bitter” and “con’t” in place of “can’t”. Good stuff. I’ll save “carry on wayward son” for when I’m 50.

Here’s the sanitized version of “Foundations” as heard on the latest Paste sampler: MP3 Foundations by Kate Nash

And here’s the overly literal visual interpretation of the song: VIDEO Foundations by Kate Nash

Monday, December 10, 2007

Year in Review - Best of ’07 Part I

Biggest Influence: Sweden

Even in its heyday, Australia only ever offered me Hunters and Collectors, The Church and a bit of Midnight Oil. But in just one year, Sweden has pretty much consumed my musical scope entirely. The bands I’ve gotten into that share an affinity for curling up on their POÄNGs, plunking some Pippi in the DVD player and chowing down on a smörgåsbord of meatballs and glögg include, but are not limited to: Loney Dear, I’m from Barcelona, The Knife, José González, Elias & The Wizz Kids, the Teddybears, Peter Bjorn and John, The Field, Moonbabies, Shout Out Louds and Detektivbyrån.

But that’s not all! Apart from music, there remains a surfeit of cool things that come out of this damn fine Nordic nation. For example, nine tenths of the Vancouver Canucks call Konungariket Sverige their home. And the Vancouver Canucks rule of course (when they’re not sucking that is). In addition, one of the finest footie players to ever pull on the hoops of Celtic, Henrik Larsson, is a Swede.




Sweden has a rich history in the field of popular music (and heavy metal!). Today, the country appears to be at the forefront of a new wave of both electronic music and gently satisfying bubblegum indie-pop as well. Proof of this… these days more Swedish songs than those of any other country employ the holy trinity of modern pop music: handclaps, whistling and ukulele! Throw in some xylophone/glockenspiel, tambourine, some horns and the odd cow bell and I’m-a done for.

So, in an attempt to give a little something back to the nation that I have reaped so much from this year, and in recognition of the entire country receiving the coveted FBS “Biggest Influence” award… here are a few unsolicited/ eye-catching/ promotional musical-entertainment-themed headlines for usage by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce (free of charge):

Sweden: The new Iceland
Sweden: Very few Finns live here!
Sweden: We’ve recently cut our hair-metal emissions by 15%!
Sweden: We’re not really from Barcelona ya know!
Sweden: We’re sorry about Roxette. That was a mistake.
Sweden: Blonder, bolder and less-ABBA’esque than ever before!
Sweden: We speak English better than you!

VIDEO Take me to the ballroom by Moonbabies
VIDEO Tonight I have to leave it by Shout Out Louds
VIDEO Young and hairy by Elias and the Wizz Kids

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Lykke Lykke Baby

Lykke Li has a pretty good voice and, overall, I like this video - lots of interesting characters (including what appears to be a - no offence to long-hairs - dumpster diver on piano) as well as the use of some nice, muted colour tones. But I think the fact that the beat has me going "ice, ice, baby" and that I have to squint from the brightness of the light shining directly into the camera lens will not garner this song a coveted position on the FBS year in review best-of. Unlucky! Anyway, Lykke is all of 21, from Sweden of course, and has already sung with fellow Swedes Peter, Bjorn and John and Shout Out Louds. Worth a grab then: MP3 Little Bit by Lykke Li

VIDEO Little Bit by Lykke Li

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Robot High School


“Memorize the rules and learn to behave, but when I got to school I forgot. Forgot. So they put me in a special classroom, where everybody is a robot. Robot.”

It’s… the Depeche Mode-a-like, and obviously robot-loving, My Robot Friend (consisting of one member, Howard Robot) with his song, Robot High School: MP3.

The video can be classified, I guess, as strange. But what is strange really? I’m sure we’ve all imagined, at one time or another, dressing up like a Devo reject, cranking up some oversized cylinder and having a levitating black ball crush red-paint filled balloon after red-paint filled balloon.

Evil levitating black ball!

VIDEO Robot High School by My Robot Friend

Sunday, November 25, 2007

40 years of hurt



Will England ever win a championship in my lifetime?
VIDEO 3 Lions by Baddiel, Skinner and The Lightning Seeds

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Amélie'esque



Today, the score to any sequel to Amélie could smoothly transition from original Amélie music director Yann Tiersen to either Beirut, Detektivbyrån, The Octopus Project or One Ring Zero. Thus is the state of this side of pop music today: ornate/ dynamic european-fused flair.

For now, I'm giving the nod to "Detective Byran" based exclusively on Anders Flanders' bangs having crept well up and past Amélie Poulain territory!

Check out the set up for Detektivbyrån's recent live, studio performance: glock, keyboards, drums, toy piano, accordion... butterfly prints everywhere... nifty hairdo. They got it all! Oh, and the music that flows from them... positively mesmerizing:

VIDEO Om Du Möter Varg by Detektivbyrån

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Detektivbyrån



Detektivbyrån, from Göteborg, Sweden, describe themselves as "glockenspiel ´n´ accordion on top of fuzzy beats, swinging hugs and sweet respect. Detektivbyrån is as honest as it's possible to be nowadays. Detektivbyrån is simply Music All Inclusive."

Within seconds of playing the "music box" version of Hem Ljuva Hem, the Goose was literally waltzing across the room, arms stretched wide. Lovely:
MP3 Hem Ljuva Hem [Music Box] by Detektivbyrån

And here's some fun, frenetic, accordion-fueled, Swedish carnival music for the time-traveller in all of us. Everyone's tourist videos should look like this...

VIDEO Lyckans Undulate by Detektivbyrån
MP3 Lyckans Undulate by Detektivbyrån

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Music is Happiness

Happiness is an enthusiastic band with a synth and theremin player sporting a PLAYMOBIL® haircut! And oh how Ms. Lambert can manipulate that theremin - yeah - all the while transforming an innocent hamster into a killing (self-defence it would seem) machine. See. It's very easy to keep me happy.

VIDEO Music is happiness by The Octopus Project


The Octopus Project are an "indietronica"(!) band from Texas who have been known to collaborate with Black Moth Super Rainbow in the past and have been described as "filling their songs with brilliant contrasting colors and cascading waves of sonic bliss". Good enough for me.

Here's the excellent, highly recommended, speedy "truck" from their most recent album "Hello, Avalanche" (auto-download)...

MP3 Truck by The Octopus Project

Good Bands Gone Bad (Episode I)

Stereophonics emerged in 1997 as the latest entrant in the battle to take over the “Great Welsh Rockers” label held by the Manic Street Preachers. They were hyped all over the UK for their premiere album “Word gets around” and their raspy vocals, whip-smart lyrics and pulsating tunes combined to offer not only great promise, but a very good album that still maintains its lustre 10 years on.

Alas, they quickly fell off the rails. Their singer, seemingly suffering from sms, got somewhat high on himself, their drummer went a bit barmy and was subsequently removed of his duties, and their music became uninspired and went straight in the crapper. They still pump out the albums but perhaps I was just never a big enough fan to be sustained through these unoriginal, rock-heavy years!?!

Here's one of their multiple official videos for the largely insufferable "Have a nice day". Don't bother (unless you like watching barmy, puffy haired drummers pretending to drive a speed boat while surrounded by bikini-clad extras). Videos for their good, early songs have all been removed from the public domain, save their self-serving website. Damn those "good-band-gone-bad" bastards.

Stay tuned next week for…

Good Bands Gone Bad (Episode II)… Attack of the Coldplay*…
(actually, not much else to say on that one!)

*Star Wars is on infinite loop in our house currently, can you tell?

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's a Spice, Spice World

Caution: Guilty Pleasure Alert... I own Melanie C's first solo album and I listen to it once in a while (I like her voice, alright... give me a break!). Here's the former Ms. Sporty Spice's finest moment... VIDEO I turn to you by Melanie C.

As for Sporty's more popular former/current "band" mate, Posh - well, its hard to have anything but negative amounts of respect for her these days. But before all the surgeries and those massive sunglasses, at least, she did in fact have a sense of humour as shown here in this piss-taking "interview" she and her hubby did with Borat's hip-hopping alter-ego, Ali G.

Now, Posh's boytoy Becks... there's someone I do have a lot of respect for (on the field). Here's a pic of my friend Michelle with her new, backpack sporting boyfriend who she met at the airport on a recent trip from Vancouver to Disneyland. She got her kids to act cute and get his attention and then summarily cropped the kids out of the photo (and yes, the only point of a Sporty Spice blogpost is to show off this picture)!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Not Daft Punk's official video.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More face paint

My kids are ultra suspicious of clowns. They come by it honestly - personally I can't stand the freaks. Clowns around these parts, at least, are mostly grumpy characters under the delusion that kids find them adorable even though the kids are usually running in the opposite direction, screaming.

I'm sure that what is depicted in this Arctic Monkeys video (for a song with a most excellent title) truly represents what clowns get up to in their spare time. And they got a lot of spare time them clowns.

Caution: Video contains scenes of violence.
And clowns.

VIDEO Fluorescent Adolescent by Arctic Monkeys

Radiohead covers The Smiths

Finally... FINALLY... someone has done the Smiths justice with a proper cover. Steering clear of tradition - the painfully slow acoustic version of another band's song - Radiohead have given The Headmaster Ritual a superb treatment as part of their recent webcast series.

MP3 The Headmaster Ritual (Smiths cover) by Radiohead
VIDEO The Headmaster Ritual (Smiths cover) by Radiohead



Apparently Todd Bertuzzi now plays guitar for Radiohead!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Goddess on a hiway

"When I see your eyes so bright/ They explode like two bugs on glass"

VIDEO Goddess on a hiway by Mercury Rev

How come the "America" I drive through never looks like this?

Farewell my fair weather friend

Forget the dog days of (almost) winter and put some colour into that pointy little head of yours... “when the weather gets warm we get the same things on our minds as you boys do.”


VIDEO Fair Weather Friends by Daedelus

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Hugs, Guitars and Questionable Nuts



Silly school system
I've been reduced to contemplating the merits of same-sex elementary school classes and my regular hate-on for uniforms in public schools over and over lately, so I thank the Zombie Princess for blogging about these juicy nuggets of brow-furrowing quality...

A 13-year old was given two days detention recently for violating a school policy banning public displays of affection when she hugged two friends! It is almost as sad that her family is not shouting from the rooftops about this but rather making rather gentle statements like "I’m just hoping the school board will open their eyes and just realize that maybe they shouldn’t be punishing us for hugs". They even felt the need to justify things a bit by noting that the embraces weren’t even real hugs, "just an arm around the shoulder and slight squeeze"!!!

AND… officials at an elementary school south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable.

Oh my. No hugs and games of tag???? This is where I reveal that my son isn't really unschooled (haha suckers!)… he's actually serving a permanent detention for being HUMAN and HAVING! TOO! MUCH! FUN!

Guitar hero
A little known fact (ie: there were no witnesses): I hit 76% of the notes on "Hit me with your best shot" recently ("easy" level). AND, I my fingers cramped-up. Check out the following link to see what my friend Hayden will be up to in say 6-8 months… a year tops! Even if you don't understand the lasting attraction of guitar hero, this frat boy's playing is mind-bogglingly impressive... VIDEO Expert Guitar Hero

And finally...
Hazelnuts
Why do people like hazelnuts? I like most things (I think), but the unnatural, gawd-awful putridness of hazelnuts leaves me cold. Good thing then that today, when someone at the office gave me a chocolate with hidden hazelnut components, I had a "You're doin' a heckuva job brownie (with raspberries)" at the ready to wash away the taste-stench. So I guess the real question is, why don't more people embrace the whimsicaly beautiful chocolate/raspberry union and stop trying to ruin chocolate with nuts of less than marginal value? I'm talking to you Switzerland!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Not everyone can carry the weight of the world"

It's been a great year on the new-music discovery front but it comes at a bit of a price. I fear for the longevity of all those hook-laden songs built around whistling, hand-claps, vocoder-enhanced vocals and assorted synthesized crashing bleeps. I have been caught up in the era of the Single but I pine for the days of the Album. Back in pre-digital music times, for every throw away "Brimful of Asha" there was a a cozy OK Computer to last you a decade and beyond.

Insert smooth segue here! (so, whatever happened to these questionably practical people-movers anyway?!? Our local constabulary doesn't look like this and I know that because I once called them in the middle of the night to report some gun shots and when they showed up a couple of hours later, they were driving regular cruisers)...

Speaking of "the days of the Album"… REM, and their amazing discography from the 80's and early 90's, soundtracked great chunks of my life. I once made my Mom pick up "Chronic Town" (on cassette of course) prior to visiting me in the isolated Queen Charlotte Islands one summer and then, a couple of days after its release in September, 1987, "Document" provided me with the inspiration/ confidence needed for the long drive to University for the first time.

Like any great album, "Document" matched superb singles ("end of the world…", "the one I love") with solid, soldiering songs that tied the entire musical and lyrical (in this case: government control) themes together expertly. "Document" was also the album that transferred REM's status to that of near U2'ian proportions and this is where interest on the part of the indie kids, myself included, started to slowly slide. When the marbles started coming out of Michael Stipe's mouth and you could begin to understand what he was singing about, as well as when the mandolin was introduced, up came the "please don't sell out" flag.

REM albums were always the sum of its parts. Today, I'm increasingly finding it harder to imagine a great album behind the majority of the stuff I listen to. Unless of course you're talking about (insert not so subtle/ overused reference here) my new favorite band, The Go! Team.

These days I hardly blink when a new REM product is released and I barely recognize Michael Stipe, who was always quirky, anymore. Is it any wonder? Quirky is good. Quirky and a sudden penchant for painted-on masks makes me think of Adam Ant. And that can't be a good thing.

VIDEO Talk about the passion by REM

Monday, October 29, 2007

Flesh Wound

Is there a more hearfelt expression of true love than the words which are sung here in The Royal We's "all the rage"?...


"Baby take my arms/ Baby take my legs/ But please don't take my baby cause our love is all the rage"

I think not!

MP3 All the rage by The Royal We

The video is a rather literal interpretation of the song, with all its seasonally appropriate gore. But hey, it also features some rather unorthdox bosom work on the part of one band member. The "RIP" at the end is in reference to the fact that the group, themselves, are now dismembered as a band. Well, cross them off your list then.

VIDEO All the rage by The Royal We

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

“If you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to fear”

Pet Shop Boys have re-worked "Integral" for a civil liberties campaign and it includes a very swish new video...

VIDEO Integral (Project) by Pet Shop Boys

Neil Tennant: "What we object to about ID cards is that they’re intelligent cards with a data strip that can link to a central database containing personal information which may be shared with America; when you say you don’t want that, they always say that if you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to hide. But I think we all have a right to privacy. I feel it’s a move that suggests we have to justify ourselves to the state before the state will trust us, and I think it’s for us to trust the state and not the other way round. I think the government has to win our trust, not us win their trust."

The backgrounder on the project and the complex filming process for a video on state protection in areas of England seemingly free from civil liberties is here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

DiY WTF

I'm not very handy. We have like 942 broken stuff scattered about house and property and the one in our family with any "skills" is too busy taking care of kiddos, etc, etc to pick up her fancy cordless, chuckless something or other. Actually she does pick it up once in a while... to admire it. Anyway, my point is that I am not handy. In addition, I am a wee bit lazy. One may think these fine traits added together form a deadly, less than desirable combination but no. There is a huge upside: cost savings. When you're too lazy to call for someone to repair things, or take things in to get repaired, or to - for example - finally get around to doing something about that missing 4th wall on "the shed" you tend to save a bit of money.

There may be a downside too.

On not-so-handyness from Scott Feschuk's blog (mailbag):
Scott: What is your greatest fear? – D.V., Edmonton
"My greatest fear is a scenario under which humanity is all but wiped out… and I have the misfortune to survive. What a nightmare: it would be so awkward – everyone sitting around divvying up jobs (“I’ll tend to our medical needs”… “I’ll draw up plans for permanent shelter”...) and I’m there with my limited skill set going, “If I really concentrate, I may be able to remember all the words to Sussudio.” That’s why I’m such a fervent advocate for not blowing up the Earth – my chronic fear that, in the dawn of humanity’s rebirth, the stray remnants of civilized society would judge me a burden and either feed me to their mutant bear-dogs or sacrifice me to whatever deity is in fashion at the time on account of my utter lack of useful skills and my ensuing inability to help build anything more complex than an enchilada. Seriously, I honestly have no idea what I could do to help my species get back on its feet. Attention roving packs of scavengers! Do any of your societies require someone to take a regular nap?"

On idleness from Scott Adams' Dilbert Blog...
"My front door makes a maddening squeaky-creaky noise when opened. I could solve that problem by putting a bit of WD-40 on the hinge. Every day, for three years, I have considered doing just that. But every day, for three years, something else seemed more important at that moment. My life is peppered with these little tasks that are just below the threshold of being worth doing. And that threshold is a moving target, depending on how busy I am. At one point in my life, I had a full-time job at the phone company, a full-time job doing Dilbert, and I was writing a book. I think I went four years without getting my car washed. Toward the end, it looked like a divot with an eating disorder. I sold it to a guy who only wanted it for the gravel."

VIDEO Lazy Line Painter Jane by Belle and Sebastian

Friday, October 19, 2007

To the childhood I lost

“I used to think that the day would never come/ I’d see delight in the shade of the morning sun/ My morning sun is the drug that brings me near/ To the childhood I lost, replaced by fear/ I used to think that the day would never come/ That my life would depend on the morning sun...”

Less than two months to go - time for reflection:

Still one of the best videos of all-time. Certainly the best featuring alien turtles using sign language: VIDEO True Faith by New Order


And this is the finest in-studio music video of all time... The Perfect Kiss featuring Hooky playing bass the way its supposed to be played (down around your ankles), Bernard on cowbell and Stephen on frog noises. Of course it also features, in a starring role, Gillian's makeup:
VIDEO The Perfect Kiss by New Order

The big four-oh looms, ominously, over the expansive horizon like a giant, evil death-cloud of sooty, black smoke emitted forcefully out of...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

More propoganda from the Icelandic Tourist Board

This is the new sigur rós song that forms part of the band's Heima movie.
MP3 Hljomalind by sigur rós

If their music can be described as a slow avalanche then their collective personality, in the interview arena at least, can be described as a slow avalanche without a pulse. This clip may cause more squirms than watching David Brent tell a racial joke on The Office. However, this is exactly as you would expect this band to be...
VIDEO sigur rós interview on NPR

Never has playing hide and seek with an alien sea creature sounded more beautiful...
VIDEO Saeglopur by sigur rós

Of course, they look and sound incredible rehearsing in a parking lot too...
VIDEO Olsen Olsen (live) by sigur rós

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Black Moth Super Rainbow



Sun Lips - the song: An incredible, vocoder-enhanced bit of electronica floating amid layers of lush, ambient beauty(!?!) ("I want to be with you/ and the sun will rise")
MP3 Sun lips by Black Moth Super Rainbow

Sun Lips - the video: all I have to say is... "he is a loathsome offensive brute, yet I can't look away!"
VIDEO Sun lips by Black Moth Super Rainbow

The Go! Team

A lot of time has passed since 1989 and I truly believe that the world is now finally ready once again for a fly-girl to stand up and proclaim, in song, “party people in the house get ready for this”.



The Go! Team and their new album “Proof of Youth” deserve some serious attention. They produce some of the most expansive, energetic, cheeriest songs of our time. The music is bombastic. Their cheerleading vocals are delivered as double-dutch skipping chants. And, of course, there’s Miss Pac-Man.

Slap on* a Go! Team single and you’re immediately hit with an onslaught of simultaneous noises comprised of blasting marching-band-style horns, churning drums, feverish guitars, innovative sampling and other "sounds of inexplicable origin"(TM). While all this is happening in the foreground, somewhere in the mix a constant barrage of raps start flying at you, vocals that you have to squint your ears up to hear properly. And in this context that’s a good thing.

This is not a cacophony. This is fast paced/ full-throttle bliss. This is 70’s p-funk soundtracking television-show theme tunes from the 80’s! A spin through the Go! Team may be exhausting but it can also be an exuberant electro bubblegum hip-hop experience worthy of a sunny autumn day. So c’mon sun - we’re waiting for you.

*sounds slightly cooler than “Click your mouse on”



Listen:
The Go! Team MySpace

Grab:
MP3 Doing it Right by The Go! Team
MP3 Huddle Formation by The Go! Team

Watch:
VIDEO Doing it Right by The Go! Team

Monday, October 15, 2007

JBJ Punched

The FiL and I had a long chinwag recently on all things Jon Bon Jovi. Actually, it was a pretty short discussion… “Who is this Jon Bon Jovi guy anyway?” he says to me. “Are you frickin serious?” I retorted (or kinder, less-mocking words to that effect). But I thought, how can this guy not know who Jon Bon Jovi is? Where exactly was he when, as I excitedly pointed out to him, his daughters virtually built a shrine to “Bon Bon Bovi” during their formative (and JBJ’s big haired) years?

On an unrelated note - Andy Samberg from SNL shows us what its like to punch Jon Bon Jovi in the face in the middle of this, not silly in the least, clip. Resilient bastard!

“Shot through the heart/ And you’re to blame/ You give love a bad name”
Words to live by (right up there with “cuts like a knife/ but it feels so right”)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Naked as we came

Try driving through a couple of (wo)maned ticket wickets with your buck-naked 4 year old son sat behind you with the car seat strap attempting to act as a poor shield for his exposed bits.

Try peeing your buck-naked 4 year old son at the side of a major road and not get the requisite "oh my" from a startled passer-by.

Try peeing your desperate, bladder-filled 4 year old onto your car's tire just prior to disembarking the packed ferry while your husband blithely rejects the request to act as a human shield, pretending he doesn't know who those people squatting and shooting urine at his tire are.

Try going with the flow and joining said four year old in all his glorious, public display of birthday-suitedness. Go ahead, try it. I haven't. Its cold outside.

Choose Life. Choose Public Nakedness
Perhaps you already have!

VIDEO Naked Gay Ted

VIDEO Naked as we came (live) by Iron and WIne (and his sister)

Sunday Music - Low



How many bands with boy/girl singers have flat out quit upon hearing the ethereal stylings of Low? 6,300? Most likely.

VIDEO (in studio) Murderer by Low

Get yer free copy of "Murderer" from their MySpace page here

And here's what happens when you drive your van over the border into Canada. Damn "Eh" spouting fascists!
VIDEO Canada by Low

Friday, October 12, 2007

That's what I'm waiting for darlin'

Despite now possessing the best-guitarist-to-ever-walk-the-face-of-this-earth, Modest Mouse is not a band I have had much luck getting my head around (a little too jarring, choppy and shouty I think). Their latest single however is a winner. A winner baby! The video for "Little Motel" was released yesterday and it involves a sequence of events/ tale spun backwards (someone's been playing with their "reverse" effect in iMovie again!).

Yes the video is incredibly sad (in its worst form). But the image it relays is one of beauty as the video captivates and manages to play off the song's time structure perfectly. Plays off the time structure? That’s a not-all-that-fancy, I-don’t-really-know-what-the-hell-I’m-talking-about” way of saying the audio and vocals kinda line up with the video’s storyline.

I-really-gotta-stop-using-these-dash-thingys-its-getting-annoying…

VIDEO Little Motel by Modest Mouse"

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Does it offend you yeah?



I don't know what Power Rangers are all about now but they sure were nice and lame back in the old days. Here is a "Does it offend you yeah?" song backing a classic battle between Power Rangers and what appears to be that rotund Kool-Aid fella.
VIDEO Battle Royale by Does It Offend You Yeah? (and Power Rangers)

Strangely, the above led me to this gem... a fine Japanese self-defence infomercial/ 20 minute workout routine (complete with shoulder zoom-ins!):
I Was Robbed By Two Men

Bring down the government

This is quite possibly not the official artwork for the new, self-released Radiohead disc "In Rainbows":



Here's a new song (remixed) that upon hearing it reminds me that I like Radiohead and I should probably get around to downloading the new album one of these days. I mean, its been available since yesterday!
MP3 Videotape (Mojib remix) by Radiohead

VIDEO No Surprises by Radiohead

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Heartbeat Bounce

It's Happy! It's Fun! It's Happy Fun Ball!
Happy Fun Ball contains a liquid core, which if exposed due to rupture should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at. If Happy Fun Ball begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball...



I couldn't leave The Knife's "Heartbeats" sitting at a paltry two blog posts (girl choir version; original skater video) - so here's more... this time around the song is covered by José González (even he is Swedish). The song is stripped of its electronica, drum machine beats and Karin Dreijer Andersson semi-timid warble-yelp and beautifully soundtracks an extended Sony Bravia advert where hundreds of thousands of super happy fun balls bounce wildly down the streets of San Francisco.

VIDEO ADVERT Balls by Sony (A making-of video assures me its not CGI!)

Of course anyone with cable has, I suppose, seen this before (though this is the extendo-version) - I come at this stuff through the Swedish-music-freaks-only side door. The ad does nothing for me in terms of its intended purpose of trying to get me to update my 17 year old, 21 inch CRT television. It does, however, make me long for one day releasing my own super-sized set of happy fun balls. But actually, I'm kinda anal about losing such things so I'd probably insist that all balls be tethered to long strings.

Coincidentally, the eight year old supreme packer/organizer amongst us transported a couple bouncey balls home from our road trip in a most ingenious way without knowing what film cannisters are/were or what those strange, foreign loops inside the camera bag were originally intended.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sunday Music



The new, only mildly odd, vid for Arcade Fire's Neon Bible...
VIDEO Neon Bible by Arcade Fire

The mid-80's "classic" by Cabaret Voltaire... "do right/ always works/ go to church"...
VIDEO Sensoria by Cabaret Voltaire

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Tales from the commute...

If one were a Captain of a plane or a ship or a professional sports team or something and your name was say, for example, "Dan", I'm pretty sure you wouldn't need a personalized license plate to reaffirm your lofty hierarchical status. It fact it would be rather ego-deflating all those times in the navy compound when you're parked next to "General Steve". So, commuting into town in your truck with its vanity "CPTDAN" emblazoned license plate must then shout out "hey, look at me, I'm not a real Captain or anything but I encourage the kiddies to refer to me by this creepy, self-serving moniker!"
My apologies to "Dan" if, actually, what he does for a living is sell and install floor coverings and he's simply trying to be creative by drumming up interest in "Carpet Dan Inc."?!