Sunday, July 29, 2007

Down-home hip-hop

This is pretty funny... Will Oldham (aka Bonnie Prince Billy) and Zach Galifianakis (aka the beardo weirdo lip-synching in Fiona Apple's "not about love" video) starring in an alternate video version for a Kanye West song. Perhaps an unlikely scenario - two white guys rapping their way through a hip-hop tune all the while hanging out at the farm amongst a lovely red tractor, some sort of youth square dance team and cows as hos!?! Oh, and amazingly, Kanye manages to rhyme "emphasis" with "sensitive".

VIDEO Can't tell me nothing (alt vers.) by Kanye West

Saturday, July 28, 2007


An in-studio video of all-girl band Pony Up, from Montreal. They have a pretty cool live action/ animated video for this song but I like this version showing them playing their instruments. If I were in a band I would be on "egg shaker" as their drummer performs here...

Get the song here:
MP3 The truth about cats and dogs (is that they die) by Pony Up

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Heathcliff, it's me Cathy!

Has there ever been a female recording artist more beautifully strange than Kate Bush? Kate seems to have gone back into seclusion these days after last year's comeback - so here's an oldie, "Wuthering Heights"... a song that actually got me to read a book!!! I can't believe how much Kate's dance moves in this video remind me of those of the 7.5 year old that I witness every day. Minus the moments of overt seduction. This song hasn't aged all that much - except for the guitar noodling towards the end. That's a definite no-no these days.

And here's a not half-bad recent effort on Kate's "Cloudbusting" by Swimmer One:
MP3 Cloudbusting by Swimmer One

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I got tired of being sexy

This is Zico - famous Brazilian (sweaty) footballer. He has nothing to do with this post other than he's Brazilian... I have always been a fan of Brazilian, non-Samba-oriented, electro-pop bands fronted by elfin Bjork-like creatures named Lovefoxxx. Well, no actually. But CSS (Cansei de Ser Sexy - English translation in this post's title) have hooked my interest. A second band from Brazil to blip my radar screen in the past few months? What the heck-fire is going on here? I used to live such a simple life, sifting through one British band after another (with the occasional Aussie and American band thrown in there to "keep it real").

CSS are, from what I've read, the next big thing (ie: avoid!) and the current darlings of the european festival circuit who lit Glastonbury on fire a couple weeks back. Having affections, even as unformed as they are at the moment, for a band with "sexy" in its title harkens me back, uncomfortably, to my late 80's clubbing days when it was all "pump up the volume", "busta move" and various dance mixes of "iko iko". Eew!

The immediately infectious (maybe!?!) "Let's make love and listen to Death from Above":

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dear Michael

The always entertaining One Ring Zero, whose music I was introduced to months back by Rachel, with a song and video I can never get enough of: M.C. And now Rachel informs me she's exchanging e-mails with Michael Hearst of One Ring Zero! Future song fodder for ORZ, ala Michael Chabon, perhaps???

Jaffa Cakes

Like Justice's D.A.N.C.E.... another t-shirty vid - this time by comedian Demetri Martin and them Scottish, pointy haired fellers, Travis. Yes, they still exist.

VIDEO Selfish Jean by Travis

Thursday, July 19, 2007

You'll bop your head right off

I'm a total sucker for unique, synthed-up, dancey tracks. Add some female vocals and hand claps and its a sure-fire hit in my books. Here's the next big thing (surely!) - keyboards n' harmonies all-girl trio Au Revoir Simone coyly nodding their heads while baking delicious-looking cookies and grooving in a dance-contest in the infectious "sad song"...

VIDEO Sad Song by Au Revoir Simone

Free tune:
MP3 Through the backyards by Au Revoir Simone

And lest one were to think me ageist when it comes to women in tight leggings... here's Ben Kweller's grandma jazzercising to his "penny on the train track" song:

VIDEO Penny on the train track by Ben Kweller

Boy with a coin

My worlds are aligning... the fabulous, if not a bit too sedated, Iron and Wine (aka Sam Beam, aka of "naked as we come" fame) just released this gem for free download from his upcoming album:
MP3 Boy with a coin by Iron and Wine

The event occcurred on the exact same day that our boy found himself with a coin, two actually, in rather unorthodox places. I shall not go into details but will reveal that we have two freshly washed, shiny pennies hanging out in our kitchen at the moment ready to go back into proper circulation.

The Awkward Stage

The niftiest album cover I've seen in a while...

You can hear the quite acceptable "the morons are winning" here. The guy's day job is, apparently, burning dead people.

My "awkward stage" lasted from grade 8 through 12. I was BMOC in elementary. Or at least I thought so... I had the confidence then that suddenly went AWOL in my high school years as puberty wanted nothing to do with me. My wife has this unwavering perception that I was a geek back then but it's not like I was super smart, into math or a member of the table tennis team or anything. I was simply anonymous. And incredibly small. It didn't really bother me at the time. Here's me in a high school soccer team photo - I am, of course, the smiley wee fella at front left (and my brother's the wavy/parted hair sporting dude directly behind me).

Plaid was big in 1980 (man, that guy two over from me, Renato Uliana, was like a giant in comparison!). It would be more telling to show a picture of my "B" boys basketball team but I intentionally skipped the photo shoot that day. I did have some pride. My one-size-fits-all basketball tank top had arm holes so disproportionate to my skinny limbs that I could literally tuck those arm holes into my waistband. I was very talented.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Limited Time Offer

There's this band called The Format, who I had never of before, and they are giving away their most recent album for free to mark the one year anniversary of its release. Upon initial review I didn't expect to like it given that its fairly straight forward and the vocals are quite front and center in the mix, but its kinda sticking so far. In fact, I'm loving it! Sort of Squeeze-esque, maybe? Neutral Milk Hotel?? Anyway, worth checking out (I'm especially fond of Time Bomb). And hey, they quote Prefab Sprout in one of their songs so they can't be all that un-cool.

Preview The Format via their fun-filled "handy" video for the excellent "Dog Problems" single here

Download the album "Dog Problems" by The Format here
Hurry. Offer expires July 16th!

So why do bands give their music away for free? Good question. Promotion mainly. But, as with most things, the more popular and best-selling artists - the ones with huge record labels behind them - don't give anything away for free. A group like The Format own their own material, which is rare but increasingly the way to go, and therefore can do what they want with it. Apparently they are not sure if giving away an entire cd for free is a clever idea or not - but good for them nonetheless.

When it comes to music, I used to be Sir Buy-A-CD-A-Lot. But now that there are so many new and free (legal) songs out there, even when I do hear something I like it takes quite a bit to push me over the edge to buy the entire album. And even then its the online version. Now... what to do with all the cd drawers we had built into our house? More movies of course. The DVD creep continues.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Le Tour de Life

Well I don’t think I’ll be following the ever-exciting Tour de France this year. We really rooted for Floyd’s incredible comeback last year and then felt so let down when the drugging allegations were revealed. Even if somehow Floyd Landis is proven “clean”, top-level cyclists are more and more machine and less and less human these days anyway. So instead of hooking up the cable to watch guys with negative percent body fat (who are pretty much monitored by computers 24 hours a day) zip around Europe, I’ll be watching the real deal over and over again for a true and severe dose of inspiration, self-sacrifice and, above all, love: the father and son team of Dick and Rick Hoyt.

Together, Team Hoyt has completed over 200 triathlons and close to 100 marathons. With over 6 million youtube views I suppose most people have seen this before, or perhaps have been fortunate to witness these event with their own eyes. But I don’t watch it nearly enough so I’m posting it here for my own personal ease of access whenever I need an extra boost to embrace all that is my family (and for when the flab starts to jiggle un-necessarily!). It doesn’t get much more inspirational than this…

Their story is here.

Becks hits America

When I was wee, I not only dreamed of becoming a soccer star, but a soccer star of such mega proportions that any team lucky enough to acquire my services would immediately - mid-season no less - switch its team colours, logo and uniform to that of my sponsor’s specifications if said colours, logo and uniform did not match my posh wife’s handbag during her nightly trips up and down Hollywood’s finest red carpets.

New (styling)

Old (not so styling)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Three Singers

Why waste your time with the Sarah, Alannis, Shania, et al (Bad Canada!), when you can have this lot...

Fiona Apple and the cool, and disconcertingly unique, lip-synching in "Not About Love":
VIDEO Not About Love by Fiona Apple

Laura Veirs with "Galaxies" - video directed by the same team that whipped up "sprout and the bean" for Joanna Newsom:
VIDEO Galaxies by Laura Veirs

Basia Bulat - who is striving to save Canada's female singer-songwriter reputation. She does not yet have a video out, so here is someone's home movie (quite good) set to the excellent, and brief, "Before I Knew":
VIDEO (Montreal) w/ music by Basia Bulat

Thursday, July 5, 2007

New Stuff

How are things on the west coast?
Here's Interpol's new single from their forthcoming album. Interpol: the Bauhaus/ Joy Division mashup from New York... skinny ties, fringe cuts, confusing name. The video is interesting in a slow build-up/ what the heck is gunna happen kinda way.

VIDEO Heinrich Maneuver by Interpol
MP3 Heinrich Maneuver by Interpol

One from Chad and Two from Nepal
This one's fun... I'm From Barcelona with "Collection of Stamps", a brilliant geographic tour de force featuring magnifying glass overuse and, my favorite bit, the human piano. These guys just get more and more good looking!

And here's their song about that Britney...
MP3 Britney by I'm From Barcelona

Heartless Bastards
A mildly half-decent song and video by a band with the best name I've heard in a long time, Heartless Bastards. How come it took until 2003 for a group of musicians to come up with this name?
VIDEO All This Time by Heartless Bastards

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Better than a cold bath with someone you dislike

It's about time. Finally someone has written a song about floating clairvoyant rescue-workers!?!?!?! The Wild Beasts with "Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants"... and yes they actually do repeat the title of this song over and over again in the chorus. File under "interesting".
VIDEO Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants

A wee bit addictive too.

Somewhat connected, husband and wife team Mates of State have a cleaner version of the "action cut-out" style used in "brave bulging..." in their video for synth-laden "Fraud in the 80's". Watch for an appearance of baby Magnolia, who tours with them on the road, on Jason's belt buckle!
VIDEO Fraud in the 80's