Monday, March 31, 2008

A Nowhere-Near-Exhaustive List

Littering, American Idol, Dump Trucks, Standardized Testing, Uncomfortable Bath Tubs, Tom Cruise AND Oprah, Bad Pizza, Bad Cops, Supporting Pathetically and Consistently Bad Hockey Teams, The Man, Substandard Coffee, Toy Packaging, Long Lineups, Telemarketers, Rain, Fake Baking, Uninspired Housing Developments, The Pontiac Aztek...

Song :: People Put Up With A Lot Of Shit by Stars in Coma
(highly recommended)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Go Canada

Reason #74 why no one cares about music awards…

2008 Canadian Artist of the Year Award nominees (Junos): Avril Lavigne; Celine Dion; Feist; Michael Buble; Pascale Picard. One can only hope that Ms. Dion and that Buble guy claw each other to death back stage. Or, at least, “to the pain”.

But wait! Surely the Juno Awards can, at a minimum, be predictors of future success…or at least respectability… or at least offer up people who we would have heard of some eight-odd years later!?! Ah, no… Best New Artist nominees, Year 2000: Tal Bachman; Tory Cassis; Tara Lyn Hart; Joran; Ivana Santilli.

This is better....
Video :: Peace of Mind by Grapes of Wrath

Former Grape Tom Hooper now lives, and plays the occasional live set accompanied by his son on drums, on Saltspring Island.

More Juno non-trivia… 1985 Group of the Year nominees: The Parachute Club (winner); Helix; Honeymoon Suite; Strange Advance; Triumph

Woo hoo!!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

It's Business Time

Sorting out the recycling is not part of the foreplay process... but it is still very important.
Say no more!

Song :: Business Time by Flight of the Conchords
Video :: Business Time by Flight of the Conchords

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Can’t catch love with a net or a gun

It has been over a decade since the neatly stacked boxes of our new home were pilfered and the numerous effects of having our possessions wiped out linger with us today... such as the hollow feeling at having accidentally left some items off of the insurance claim. I mean, where would I be now with my Guitar Hero prowess if we had remembered that Tiki 1) actually owned a guitar, and 2) had had it stolen!?! Additionally, we were unable to re-purchase many of the 600-odd stolen cd’s (filed under “not-popular” as opposed to “rare”). Thus, James’ “Wah Wah” - the improvised, experimental, oft-forgotten album recorded at the same time as, and a companion piece to, one of the best albums of all time, “Laid” - was not to be heard from again. And in this country, at least, not-popular Wah Wah hasn’t been in circulation for a very, very long time.

Enter good friend, saviour and all-around swell person, Zenmomma Mary:
me: oh, and been meaning to ask... do you own "wah wah"?
her: Was there any doubt? Of course I do. Would you like a copy?
me: BUOY YA!!!! (that's: "yes, please Mary")
her: Right on! I'll get it going this week.

She has nothing else to do, its not like she’s planning a massive conference or buying up fancy real estate or anything!

Wah Wah is an album full of hidden, catchy, “throw-away” musical snippets that is most effective when listened to in its entirety and probably does not represent the best initiation to the greatness that is James. It is, however, much more than simply a completest’s necessity and includes the first recording of “Tomorrow”, arguably James’ finest work and one of a handful of “proper” songs on the album. Here’s an excellent live rendition of “Tomorrow” that includes the ever intriguing on-stage interplay between Saul Davies and Tim Booth as well as supreme evidence of Booth’s infamous whirling dervish-like dancing (apparently Booth’s first job in the band was listed as “dancer”):

Video :: Tomorrow (live) by James

Pretty much makes you want to sell your newly purchased vehicle and go and catch them on their upcoming British reunion tour doesn’t it?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

New, insanely astute, observations on recently posted material

Sigur Rós- Heima film: After a week watching snippets on youtube I went out and bought the actual DVD. Performances range from playing to a community hall packed with children and elders sharing tea, to the stunning setting of the ultimately doomed dam protest camp at Snæfellsskála, to the overall beauty of this band, their homeland, Jónsi's unearthly singing and the group’s silent cohesion. Highly (HIGHLY) recommended.

Beach House: “this is damn, damn fine stuff” henceforth re-classified as “this is, yeah, hmmm…not that bad”. Beach House’s swaying dream-pop is amazingly catchy but perhaps best left for those headphonal* moments right before sleep as opposed to those more awake moments of lane jockeying with brazen pickups during the morning commute. Also, it is impossible for me to get the vision of this woman’s bad hair out of my mind (I’m really not that deep).

Vampire Weekend: In the span of one month, my esteem for this new band from New York has gone from casual reference to weighty proclamation of “favourite band of the moment” (albeit to myself and few others), to, after noticing their recent SNL, talk show and magazine cover appearances, questioning my internal mainstream barometer. This parallels the band’s own meteoric rise to stardom and the inevitable/ coinciding media witch-hunt. But this is one band that I’ll happily ignore all external references for. Their blend of clean guitars and slightly kooky vocals have me hooked. I anticipate the love affair will not last long, but then again I am still enjoying the Arctic Monkeys and they were equally derided during their salad days of yore.**
Song :: M79 by Vampire Weekend

The Charlatans: file under “you get what you pay for”. Not much to be gained from the free download of The Charlatans’ new work. Stick with the singles “oh! vanity” and “you cross my path”.

Flogging Molly: Any propulsive celtic tune is mighty fine but when will bands that attempt to re-create the magic of The Pogues realize that without a Shane MacGowan type vocal, or something mildly unique at least, that they are just going to come off like any generic Atlantic Canadian kitchen party band? Good, sure. But it's not this:
Video :: If I Should Fall From Grace With God by The Pogues

Look! Shane once had his front "teeth"!!!

*new word alert!
**update: i think they're already past their sell-buy date with me

Thursday, March 13, 2008

One to Another

The Breeders have a new song out (after years of limited inactivity... and drug busts).
Song :: Bang On by The Breeders

The Breeders, naturally, get me in a Pixies kinda mood... this is the Pixies covered by The Frames...
Song :: Where is My Mind by The Frames (Pixies cover)

The Frames' Glen Hansard starred in "Once".
This is a particularly excellent film. And I can say that on great authority... although I haven't actually, officially watched it as such yet (it's in the pile).

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Location, location, location

Arab Strap, complete with their thick accents, seemed to embody Scotland. Of course the band that is named after a particular sexual "device" also likes to spin tales of drunkeness and relentless skirt chasing... so, sorry Scotland (I loov ya... even though you did spend $250k on a new slogan, so cleverly entitled Welcome To Scotland!?!)
Video :: The Shy Retirer by Arab Strab (best Arab Strap song ever!)

Countless English bands - and their descriptive lyrical imagery such as "enslaved in a pebble-dash grave" by Suede - scream out to me in a way that no Canadian band can hope for. In supporting and enjoying musicians and their works I have always struggled with that sense of distance and perspective. Basically, I eschew anything local. I don't want to hear some Canadian band spout off about suburbia...

Actually, that's wrong. There is this amazing Rush classic. Ok... thesis abandoned!

Then there is the (now) internationally popular Sigur Rós who find themselves wrapped up in the very fabric of their nation and pretty much are Iceland. Have 97 minutes to spare? Watch their full-length/ incredible/ goosebump-inducing film:
Movie :: Heima by Sigur Rós


Song :: The Shy Retirer by Arab Strap

"I want to fall in love tonight and form the perfect unbreakable bond
you can be my teenage jenny agutter, swimming naked in a pond
you know i'm always moanin'/ but you jumpstart my seratonin
but how d'you know you've ever really loved?"

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


More Swedish twee... by a band named after Canada's official sport: Lacrosse (or as the cool, massive shoulder-pad wearing, lacrosse stick wielding people say - "Lax"). This particular ultra-twee video stars a bunch of animal puppets taking over the world. Yikes!

Video :: You Can't Say No Forever by Lacrosse

Song :: You Can't Say No Forever by Lacrosse

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Immaculate Machine's "Dear Confessor" is a song from last year but with a brand new video. They are from here in Victoria and, to me, are reminiscent of The Spoons, an extremely underrated Canadian new wave band from years gone by. Both the guy-girl vocal and the synths are very "spoony".

Video :: Dear Confessor by Immaculate Machine
Song :: Dear Confessor by Immaculate Machine

Okay, the writing in this post sucks. Like the video, I'm just "phoning it in"! I'm not sure, however, how they manage to get lost in Victoria?