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


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”

The Go! Team MySpace

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

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.


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."?!

"Sometimes I think they must have wool in their ears"

I dunno, I guess I could be criticized for sometimes developing my beliefs in reverse - you know, decide what it is I like by figuring out what I don't. But, gee-whillikers, schools these days make it so darn easy to mock them. No, the following isn't from 1952:

Because people, in general, are idiots "challenged" idiots… public "traditional" schools are becoming all the rage again. Last year a school here in Victoria, in the catchment area of some unschooling friends of ours it turns out, was threatened with closure (it doesn't matter if there are no kids around anymore these days, mention "school closure" and you're sure to spark a lovely protest rally or 30). Some parents and school administrators banded together to develop a plan to re-invent the school in the "traditional" model (I can barely say "traditional school" without gagging… its like the life-sucking term "pupil". excuse me. gag.). For who knows what reasons, most parents bought into this scheme and the school district eventually reversed their decision to close the school. At the time, the leaders of this proposal admitted to not really knowing what they meant by "traditional school" but that they had heard about it happening somewhere else and that it involved school uniforms. Cool!

One of the school's three pillars in their mission statement is to inspire the human spirit through creative expression. Interesting. Below are some snippets from ye olde school of conduct that may contradict this (this is a public school):

- Students are to remain outside the school until the 8:48 a.m. bell. They then line up at the location designated by their classroom teacher
- Students must behave appropriately in the hallway: staying to the right side, single file, not talking, not running, facing forward
- Students must be polite and use Please, Thank You, May I and Excuse me (I assume that's just plain ol' simple "excuse me" and not "excuuuuuuse me")
- Parents and guardians should be the first and foremost providers of discipline for their child’s behaviour both at home and at school
- During lunch-time, students are expected to stay in their seats, speak quietly, be courteous and clean-up after themselves. Lunchroom rules are very basic and are no different than what would be expected at home
- Students in Kindergarten are usually assigned 10 minutes of homework on a daily basis
- There is a uniform dress code to foster a confident and positive sense of self and respect for the dignity and welfare of others.
- Girls may wear studded earrings only. Boys may not wear earrings at all.

Also, "racial, ethnic or derogatory slurs" and "stealing" are listed as misbehaviours that are considered "serious". Well, of course. But… given the same amount of weight, and also described as "serious", is "swearing" and "throwing snowballs when not part of a structured and supervised game".

Maybe all this isn't that outlandish after all and I'm just blindly doing the backstroke in a murky stream of naiveté? In its handbook/tome of enlightenment, the school goes on to state that "we are a no-fun, crabby-cake, backwater institution specifically designed to suck the living joy out of anyone over the age of three (heck, give us yer toddlers too!). We may pump out robotic individuals in assembly-line fashion (stay to the right please!) but gosh darn-it if our dolled-up "behaviour matrix" ain't pretty to look at".

I may have made the last one up

VIDEO Sheep by Housemartins

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Love Love Love

Who knows where we'll all be in 5 years? Love now! Enjoy this video now!!!

VIDEO Five Years Time by Noah and the Whale

MP3 Five Years Time by Noah and the Whale
Noah and the Whale on MySpace

Could a song start off any better than with whistling, ukulele and violin? Well, maybe some handclaps... but this is darn near pop perfection!

Hang on... handclaps are here too!
I melt.

And in case the way they look in shorts didn't give it away - yes they're British.

Unbroken Appliance Speaks!