Friday, August 31, 2007

My name is Ted

I am, for the most part, proud to have grown up in the care-free, shoulder pads n' big-hair 80's. The small part of me that perhaps would like to forget that particular decade consists of my mullet (we called it "Gretzky hair" back then), my ill-fitting/ Mom-made rugby pants, the whole lack-of-puberty-til-18 thing, and laying about in my room listening to nothing but the following musical disgrace for what must have been two weeks straight:

VIDEO Special 80's selection from The Vault

It was much better back then... who added those cheesey guitar licks, huh?? Is that Lemmy he shoots in the hand?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fun with musical chairs

That shirtless guy is looking a little scary...

VIDEO Paris by mine by The Bicycles

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Polaroid Android

Click. Shake. Wait. wait.... wait... fade... fade... fade. Warn someone not to open the mysterious pouch-thing at the bottom of the pic. Here's a couple of videos starring the retro-cool polaroid camera. The second one also features Pam from The Office - quite the coup for Mr. Wisely. Unbelievably, as Jenna Fischer (Pam) says, "The entire thing is only ONE shot. No cuts."

VIDEO Breathe me by Sia
VIDEO Through any window by Wisely

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gameboy boy

Check out this link if you want to know what it sounds like to hear a group consisting solely of Bright Eyes-like vocals, ukulele and a Gameboy (hard to resist, I know): Casey James & the Staypuft Kid Myspace Page.

Yes, a Gameboy. There's hope for all us instrument-challenged folks yet.
Oh right, I'm Gameboy-challenged too. I am quickly becoming quite handy at Nintendo's Franklin however.

Insomniac dreams

"You're not obliged to swallow anything you despise
See those unrepenting buzzards want your life,
And they got no right"

NEW VIDEO Sleeping Lessons by The Shins

Bonus: Alternate version of "Sleeping Lessons"... a little more electronic, a little less built on the whole two and half minute build-up thing the original's got going on...
MP3 Sleeping Lessons (RAC Mix) by The Shins

Saturday, August 25, 2007


If you have never thought about going to Iceland on holiday, you may want to think again...

TRAILER Sigur Ros' Heima

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sometimes I'm actually wrong

Turns out I can't stop watching the "Peacebone" video by Animal Collective. I guess some part of me likes watching aliens shoot out of mouths (what other video image could possibly accompany the screaming that occurs at that point in the song anyway?).

I have no clue what this song is about but its hooked me in, mainly with those well-timed female backing vox. And I'm a sucker for chunky lyrics that shouldn't really flow together but somehow do...

Nonsense or brilliance beyond my comprehension?:
"Well half of my fingers
are dipped in the sand
You're progressin letters that you use to cook your broccoli
The other side of takeout is mildew on rice"

And what's not to like about the video... its a love story, it utilizes great filming techniques, it incorporates suspense... and its got strange and unusual teeth and some good ol' rural hijinx (like mailbox-smashing baseball)!

Put together, this song and those visuals clearly work well as a unit. I had the song on repeat during the commute today - high honours indeed!

Check out how poor a job youtube does in capturing alien intricacies... here's the high resolution video available on the Director's website: Timothy Saccenti

And snag the song while you can...MP3 Peacebone by Animal Collective

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Animal Collective

This is an extremely strange new video from a band that continues to stretch the musical boundries with their odd little tunes. "Peacebone" (the song) is pretty infectious though. As for the video, despite the romatic overtones (the "girl"looks quite sweet during the picnic scenes), one run through is good enough for me. But then again I'm not the biggest SciFi/ aliens-shooting-out-your-mouth fan. Worth a look see...

VIDEO Peacebone by Animal Collective

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Jenny Lewis is back off her solo sojourn

Wedding; Left at the altar; Drown yourself... the usual then.
Silver Lining by Rilo Kiley:

From the Ministry of Silly Walks

Hey looky here, the moronic (just an opinion) bureaucrats who annually come out with statements saying you shouldn't co-sleep with your kids have moved to another department...

The Canadian Paediatric Society and the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine have teamed together to offer the following nugget sure to be ignored the world over... trampolines should not be used in homes or in playgrounds.

“Trampolines are not a safe recreational activity for children and youth. They should not be used as play equipment in playgrounds, at home or at the cottage,” says Toronto pediatrician Dr. John Philpott, co-author of the statement. Apparently, trampoline injuries are on the rise, and the majority of them affect children and youth. “Even with safety measures in place, such as parental supervision, spotters or net enclosures, there is no guarantee against injury. Trampolines should not be regarded as play equipment."

Now there are a number of ways one could go with this gold mine of fear-mongering. For instance, the bit about "no guarantee against injury" is just sitting there begging to be chewed up and spat back out. But I particularly like the fact that CPS-CASM (!) feel the need to point out not only playgrounds and homes but cottages as well. I imagine the boot-licking toadies sitting around the boardroom table discussing the first draft of their statement and feeling pretty smug about how they will stop them little criminal children with the death-wishes at both home and playground. Until, that is, one lowly minion quietly whispers something about the "cottage loophole". "Dang" they all say in unison... "the cottage loophole... darn rich kids and their fancy, go-anywhere trampolines."

Not Safe:

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Panic on the streets of London...

"Act now to give your children a personal, defensive safety tool that will help them feel more confident and able to focus on learning. Isn't that what school should really be about?"

The above quote courtesy of MJ Safety Solutions makers of My Child's Pack, the first "full size, lightweight ballistic protection backpack that is affordable and practical."

"Orders for the $175 bulletproof bags have been pouring in online... a new item to add to parents' older kids' back-to-school supplies list. Due to a flood of requests, production of a smaller pack, suitable for elementary-school children, is also being considered."

Somebody tell me this is a joke.

"Hector was the first of the gang with a gun in his hand and a bullet in his gullet and the first Lost Lad to go under the sod" VIDEO First of the gang to die by Morrissey

Monday, August 20, 2007

Paint your face with what you like

New Manic Street Preachers video... featuring a group of young people who, despite the repressive efforts of a parent and the police, get satisfaction, seek comfort and hold on to love through their music and, most importantly, each other:

VIDEO Autumnsong by Manic Street Preachers

We pick and choose our heroes (a giant man with a heavenly voice)

I was going to write how there are few things as moving as hearing Paul Robeson sing “Ol’ Man River” but the version of Show Boat played at our house (and in the car) no fewer than 12 times over the weekend was not the 1936 version with Robeson in it that we watched a few years back but rather the 1951 Howard Keel technicolor release. It is extremely moving however. Of course, after learning more about Robeson’s life, I understand that the 1951 film is more prominent and available due to a lasting legacy from the 50’s and 60’s when the US government removed Robeson’s works from public circulation. Ol’ Man River wasn’t just a song, it was his life. Robeson also had an appreciation for the Soviet Union and that nation’s ability to look beyond skin colour and for this he was branded a communist sympathiser. So he courted controversy… but what a fascinating and historically significant life he led!

A few years back the Manic Street Preachers put out “Let Robeson sing” - a strumming tune with lyrics chronicling a period in Robeson’s life where he struggled against censorship and constitutional rights (specifically he was no longer allowed to leave the country and talk about how America treated its black citizens). MSP are known for their socialist ideals and once had a well-documented meeting with Castro, so a song about Robeson’s life seemed quite fitting on the surface. But it also turns out that the proudly Welsh rockers’ socialism was truly born out of their working class background and the years of miner’s strikes that defined Wales in the 80’s. And so it was in Wales back in the middle of the century that Robeson spent a great deal time entertaining miners and mine disaster victim’s families to such a popular extent that, to this day, he remains a national hero.

All this has led to some pretty interesting and somewhat challenging discussions (on the topic of black segregation not the Manic Street Preachers... yet!) with the kiddos. The history of black and white relations is a tough thing to comprehend, for child and adult, especially as removed from it as we are here in our (seemingly?) tolerant society. Maybe its just me, but explaining how a man was once forced to sing to Canadians from the US side of the border is not a simple task:

VIDEO Let Robeson sing by Manic Street Preachers (high-quality version; may require small downloading time... worth it... truly!)

VIDEO SONG Ol' Man River by Paul Robeson

For the likes of politically charged Paul Robeson, Pete Seeger, Easterhouse and the Manics i'm grateful. Cause I listen to an awful lot of fluff as well.

“Now let the Freedom Train come zooming down the track
Gleaming in the sunlight for white and black
Not stopping at no stations marked colored nor white
Just stopping in the fields in the broad daylight

Stopping in the country in the wide open air
Where there never was a Jim Crow sign nowhere
And no lilly-white committees, politicians of note
Nor poll tax layer through which colored can't vote”

Take your carriage clock and shove it

Apparently telling people that you're moving from one crap job to another doesn't help on the ol' karma-o-metre. Go figure. Here's a list of my all-time favorite jobs: taxi driver; postal worker; office cleaner; striking docker; ballet dancer; Zapatista; pop singer. No actually - that's from a Chumbawamba song. I don't know what a Zapatista does but I'm pretty sure it probably sucks being one!?! Here's the only job I ever wanted (the guy on the right - lucky bastard).

MP3 - automatic download (highly recommended) Take your carriage clock and shove it by Belle and Sebastian

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It's all gone pear shaped

The "no coffee" experiment continues... with questionable results:

So, to counter-balance and inspire, here's Belle and Sebastian in the best running/training music vid ever (featuring some cool shots of Glasgow, Shantha Roberts in a pompadour and of course Stuart doing lots of running)...

VIDEO I'm a Cuckoo by Belle and Sebastian

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Boot the grime of this world in the crotch, dear

Since I will soon be leaving (yeah!) my job in the K-12 education world and caution can be gently tossed to the wind, and since we are now deep within the “silly season” of dumb-ass back-to-school “advice”… right about now I’m going to step up the rant-based commentary...

Education authorities everywhere will soon be delivering their back-to-school sermons that include such bon mots as: “help your children pack their backpacks and ensure that they are no more than 10 to 20 per cent of the child's bodyweight.” But now, mid-August, is the time for those self-labelled “parenting experts” and their aggrandized views of the world to clog up editorial space with their monotonous tips on transitioning your children easily “from the laid-back life of summer to regular school days with just a little planning.” Ok, so most sane people, parents of homeschoolers and schoolers alike, stop there. But I like to dream up confrontational scenarios so I continue… and this is what I learn because you know I’m only a parent, not a parenting-expert, and don’t really have the time to think about these things myself what with all the modeling of good behaviour and backpack weighing I have to do:

- If your summer schedule has allowed the kids to sleep in you will want to plan some morning activities now so you can all get used to getting up and moving.
- If you have a child entering kindergarten, middle school or high school, celebrate this step toward independence. Don't whine about how much you will miss them or how hard this is on you, or at least don't do this in front of them. Remember, having a child who is ready for each step forward in his or her journey to adulthood is a testament to your good parenting.
- Often children do better without our help. Talk to your child about making it in a new place and certainly welcome all her new friends in your home. You can even hold a party in the first few weeks and include the parents if possible.
- All elementary school students should be walking to school. On the other hand, driving kids to school each day creates a dependency relationship that is not helpful for your child.

Send comments/ carping to: This reminds me of those happy homemaker articles from the 50’s which went something like… “when husband enters the door, do not ask him about his day or complain about your own day, simply greet him with his pipe, slippers and a smile…”

VIDEO Wheels on the bus by Mad'Donna


Someone was in our house the other day - as part of a larger group - asking, or rather stating, “so, you school at home do you?” (ugh… what an awful term). She’s a teacher. The statement was also easily recognized as bit of a set-up since she already knew the kids didn’t go to school. What was interesting was that the four of us had the same reaction: silence and a continuation of what we were doing. Then from the sublime came the ridiculous: “do you have desks where you do your work from?” More silence (and audible grunts) from the adults; laughter from the kiddos. Eventually one of us attempted to point out that our learning took place everywhere but the hand gesture meant to imply not only the house but the entire world around us was interpreted as pointing to the window seat. This seemed to satisfy her and the questions ceased as she embraced herself in the knowledge that we taught our kids on a 5x3 foot section of Ikea-fabric encased foam. Next time I'll point to the toaster.

Comedy of the mind, man

Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifianakis and Brian Posehn on physical comedy

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Postcards from the past

Another spectacular bit of Beirut visual magic... this one is a new video for an old song, the mesmerizing, uke-led "Postcards from Italy". If you like the intimacy of viewing other people's old Super 8 home movies, this one's a keeper. Kinda moving too. Most of the footage is archival and some of it is recent of Zach himself (including getting a skateboarding raspberry).

VIDEO Postcards from Italy by Beirut

Amassed resentment pelting ounce and pound

BRAND SPANKING NEW VIDEO Turn on Me by the Shins

Caution: middle-aged man in Speedo and other horrors

Friday, August 10, 2007

Finally a video game for me, Yeah

Introducing Sousaphone Hero, the third installment of Activision's massively popular Guitar Hero video game franchise and including a catchy 1890s soundtrack and realistic-feeling game play. "If they hit enough correct notes in a row, the on-screen crowd yells "huzzah" and "bully," and the sousaphone controller's spit valve will "drain." If you score enough points, you can unlock the ultimate level, playing in the John Philip Sousa–led Marine Band at Grover Cleveland's inauguration."

Read here for more...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Come back to me Mark Hollis

Talk Talk has the most fascinating history. They began as an full-on new wave outfit and then found success as a pop band. But they gained true critical respect and success as their sound expanded and they then peaked as they pushed boundaries through layers of instruments like the harmonium and dobro and, most significantly, as they honoured the quiet moments that make these songs so haunting.

For me, when I first saw the video for "Life's what you make it" back in '86 my life was changed forever. Bye bye Rush. Bye bye Ozzy, Headpins, Streeheart. Hello the Smiths, REM, James, the Woodentops, Easterhouse, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions... (yes, my life was changed by someone depressing the black keys on a piano in the middle of a forest at night).

By the early 90's Talk Talk were pretty much no more. Unfortunately, their legacy remains their "it's my life" era pop. Good stuff - but not the heart of Talk Talk. Not what they worked towards all those years. Plus, there are some incredibly bland covers of "it's my life" by weak pop outfits out there. Stuff that literally makes me walk out of grocery stores when i hear it over the p.a.

Two thirds of Talk Talk formed the short-lived, experimental O.rang after the demise and then one of these guys, Paul Webb, became Rustin Man to Portishead's Beth Gibbons. Main man Mark Hollis, however, produced an even more minimal solo album than later day Talk Talk... and then seemingly disappeared.

Highlighted below is "I believe in you". Its from 1988's Spirit of Eden album, their second to last album. When I really think about such things, I would say that this is my number 1 album of all time... ever... by anyone. Mark's singing conveys his emotions as well as anyone. On this track in particular you can actually hear the lump in his throat.

Haunting, crescendo-based, timeless... shiver inducing:

Monday, August 6, 2007

Heaven restores you in life

I avoid scratching my head (even when its really itchy) when driving with someone tailgating lest they think I’m giving them the finger even though I probably really want to give them the finger. I once gave another driver the finger and then nearly got driven off the road. My wife didn’t like us being nearly driven off the road so I started giving people the “thumbs’ up” instead. She says people won’t get my sarcasm.

VIDEO Evil by Interpol

For those ultra-quiet moments...

Riceboy Sleeps, the side project of Sigur Rós’ Jónsi, is more art collective than band. But because everybody needs to see children filmed in sepia set to slow, ambient, churning music every once in a while...

VIDEO Daníell In the Sea by Riceboy Sleeps

"we filled our pockets with dry leaves,
made leafy pillows and lay down
beneath the cinnamon tree.
we staired up at the sun with our eyes closed
and saw the dust in the air turn into fireflies.
we lay with the day.
the wind snuck into the cracks of our sleeves,
and played songs in our ears.
i used to watch you sleeping..."


I once said I didn't think I would ever get into the vast realm that is Japanese-pop but bands like Polysics may just lead me down a never-ending trail. For Polysics references think Devo - but louder, sped up and modernized. Here's some pretty nifty robotic dancing in the accompanying video (there are hundreds of people here in Victoria who look exactly like this girl)...

I My Me Mine (Strong Machine 2 Version) by Polysics:

Special bonus: Polysics innovative, electro-version of "My Sharona":
MP3 My Sharona (Peel Session) by Polysics

Sunday, August 5, 2007


The "other" band from Iceland specializing in atmospheric arrangements are back! Múm have a new album coming out (Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy) and here's a teaser, the imaginatively illustrated video for "They Made Frogs Smoke 'til They Exploded" featuring children being drawn and torn apart. The music is nice and typical Múm, lots of bleeps and crashes and vocals all over the place and some harmonica thrown in as well. An excellent track! Just when I was lamenting a dry spell on the ol' new music radar. Yeah!

VIDEO They made frogs smoke til they exploded by Múm

And here's a free MP3 also from the forthcoming album "Go, Go Smear the Poison Ivy":

MP3 Dancing behind my eyelids by Múm

I have no comment on the song/ album titles - Múm may speak a different language but these titles are normal compared to those used by some English-speaking bands.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Kate Bush and the Electronic Experience

My late 80’s foray into mainstream-industrial music such as Ministry and Nine Inch Nails, combined with my New Order/ Pet Shop Boys based electronic roots, spawned in me a natural, evolutionary interest in rave music. I never did get to experience rave music at an actual rave but then again I liked the occasional rap song and I never did make it to “the projects”. And while being stereotypical… I love Dwight Yoakum and other select c/w music but don’t own a cowboy hat, I refuse to line dance and I have never worn a sleeveless, plaid shirt while travelling across a dusty, lonesome stretch of road in my late-model pickup truck with an airbrushed blonde bombshell at my side (that I can remember anyhow). On the other hand, I have been to a hillside meadow near Salzburg and not twirled around yelping “the hills are alive…”

Personally, I think electronic musicians are some of the most talented people in the music business. When their day in the sun lapses they go on to be remix artists (not an easy thing to do correctly) and to score movie soundtracks and video games. This is where early 90’s duo Utah Saints ended up, though it sounds like they may have re-formed. “Something good”, produced by Utah Saints back in 1992, is (in many ways) the epitome of rave music. It contains many of the basic elements that make a good electro-dance record: high rpms; repetitive/ sampled vocals; break-it-on-down percussions; shouty exclamation of band’s name; the occasional stripped-down piano tinklings; and, best of all, it can be enjoyed anywhere - not just in a club or at a rave. Overall though, I think it is fairly safe to say that no one would have heard of the Utah Saints if it weren’t for the Kate Bush and Annie Lennox vocal samples. And that’s okay - that’s what they are there for. In fact, “something good” is one of my favourite Kate Bush tracks and she didn’t have to do anything but give her approval for the “cloudbusting” samples.

Below is the video for “something good” featuring standard dance music scenes of knob twiddling and record scratching, the band rocking out a bit, some psychedelic sped up London traffic scenes and even a bit of original Kate Bush Cloudbusting footage. What would be cooler is if it featured a greasy n’ sweaty Jimmy-Joe burning up a dust road in his pickup - throwing the whole video music world out of whack just like Zach Galifianakis and Bonnie Prince Billy did in the previously posted Kanye West video.