tables and chairs
Hopefully you made it down for at least one of Andrew Bird's two shows at the Media Club last night. I attended the late show, and have it under good authority that the early one was equally spectacular.
Andrew had Martin Dosh - himself a master of looping instruments into a one-man show - with him to provide some assistance in the percussion department. And, of course, Bird came with his array of delay pedals to rebuild the lush chamber pop of his last two records, which he mostly stuck two, throwing in a couple of new tunes to round things out. Using his violin in a variety of ways, switching off to guitar mid-song, turning out riffs on a xylophone, or whistling like you've never heard before, Bird's performance was nothing short of wonderful.
It was his first time in Vancouver, hopefully he like it enough to come back.
Here's some bad news: the Love is All date, originally scheduled for Halloween, has been removed from the appropriate page on the Fireball Productions website. If you were intent on catching them, you'll have to make the trip down to Seattle, where they'll still play Neumo's on the 30th. Shitty.
now playing: the Hold Steady - Stuck Between Stations
Friday, September 29, 2006
love & communication
Cat Power returns to Vancouver on November 29th. This time around she'll play the Commodore with the Memphis Rhythm Band. Sorry kids, there's no afternoon all-ager booked... another reason to lament the death of the Vogue, which would've been a perfect venue.
Ozomatli is at the Commodore on the 26th of the same month.
K-Os is in the Ballroom on November 15th. Magneta Lane are opening... I can't say I'm all that excited about seeing K-Os again, but I've been meaning to catch, and keep missing Magneta Lane everytime they come through town as of late. (thanks to Chris for the last three)
Lee "Scratch" Perry is at Richard's on November 12th. If I were much of a music connousieur, I would've put this at the top, because this man is a legend.
Julie Doiron is at Richard's with Shotgun and Jaybird on November 2nd.
The Trews play the Pit Pub for a beer promo event on October 16th. Normally, I wouldn't care about either of these things, but I bet some of you do care that The Stills are opening. We might have some free tickets to give away over at Streethawk in a couple weeks.
Meligrove Band are in the Pit on November 11th.
Kid Congo Powers is at the Railway on November 17th. I know he was one of Nick Cave's Bad Seeds, but nothing else... clearly I should've read the press release on his record a little closer. (thanks to Josh for emailing about that one)
That's it for now. Hopefully you're checking out one of Andrew Bird's shows tonight.
Edit: You can stream the Hold Steady's new record Boys and Girls in America in its entirety right here. Go listen so you can argue with my assertion that this is the best record of the year... better than Ys, better than Beast Moans (which is sorta disappointing), better than Return to Cookie Mountain.
now playing: Spiritualized - Cop Shoot Cop
speak to me bones
Oh Vancouver, why do you hurt me so? Asobi Seksu was cancelled today, and the show at Richard's was running way behind, so there's no excuse for the tragically sparse crowd that Land of Talk played to tonight. They've gotten love from Brooklyn Vegan, Chromewaves, and Stereogum (and even me). What more did you need to entice you to show up early? In twelve months time, when they're the next indie buzz band, you'll be kicking yourself, trust me. As you can tell, I'm quite enamoured with this band, but I'll leave it at that for now. Look out for a feature on Streethawk in 2-3 weeks though.
Apparently everyone was there to see Shout Out Out Out Out, as Dick's was packed just before, and emptied out right after their set. While it's unfortunate that more people didn't show up for the other two acts, there's absolutely no shame in showing up for Shout Out Out Out Out. I am, admittedly, not so keen on either of their studio releases, but they were an absolute pleasure live. They even managed to complete the near impossible task of getting a Vancouver crowd to dance (though it did take way longer than it should have).
If I were to choose between a Shout Out Out Out Out record or a Holy Fuck record, I'd probably pick the latter. That being said, the former was about ten times better live, and in the headlining spot, Holy Fuck's set seemed a touch anticlimactic. Next to anyone else, they'd be a psych-out dance party, but closing the show tonight, they unfortunately seemed a bit flat. That being said, their last song was sickeningly good.
Look at that... two show recaps in one. I'll keep it short by saying that Phoenix are great live, and "If I Ever Feel Better" has been further cemented in my mind as one of the singles of the decade.
Thanks to everyone who has sent kind words about the website, and to everyone who's sent me show dates that I have yet to post. I'll do that tomorrow afternoon, I promise. I've been tied up writing some stuff for other publications, and also looking for a job. Incidentally, if anyone knows of something in Vancouver proper that's not totally shitty, and won't work me to death so I have time to do stuff like this, drop me a line.
now playing: Red House Painters - Priest Alley Song
Monday, September 25, 2006
streethawk tempts the huntress
Sorry, I've been a bad blogger lately. I haven't, however, been slacking off (at least not slacking off from the internet). Rather, I have - along with others - been working on a secret, which I will now reveal to you:
For those of you too lazy to click, it's a real, honest to goodness music website. The focus is on Vancouver when it comes to shows and goings on, but record reviews and features will hopefully resonate with people regardless of geography. And, of course, there's show listings and a blog. We're still working out some bugs, but do check it out, won't you? Updates on Mondays for most content, but the blog will roll constantly, record reviews will eventually be Monday/Thursday, and show reviews will go up as soon as they're written. Oh, and we could use some more writers.
I'm not sure what's going to happen with this place, but as the blog is currently being recoded to be more functional over there, I will also be here for the meantime... if it ends up that the Streethawk blog is just the same content as here plus the contributions from other writers, there'll be a shift in focus though.
But that is a future discussion. For now, check out the site.
Memphis is at the
The Hip are doing a 4-night stand at the Commodore to celebrate the release of their newie, World Container. Kingston's favourite sons rock the Ballroom on November 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 7th. Tickets will put you back a whopping $60+charges (too rich for my very poor blood), and you can get them tomorrow starting at 10am if you register at TheHip.com. Regular public on-sale is Sept. 29th at 10am.
In a move that might get From Blown Speakers it's very first cease and desist order, why don't you check out the first track from World Container, "Yer Not The Ocean." Lately I've heard the words "return to form" used quite a bit to describe new records by older bands that emulate old sounds, but ultimately sound like the artist in question is just calling it in (see: the new, boring Pearl Jam record). I haven't heard the entire thing yet, but if this track is any indication, this is a real return to form. We're talking Fully Completely type quality here.
download: The Tragically Hip - Yer Not The Ocean
There are a ridiculous amount of shows this week, and I just got a stack of promo cds in the mail, so expect some more posting in the next few days.
Aside: If you downloaded it, you already know that ITunes 7.0 is hugely shitty... but mine just started playing two songs at once. That's a new one.
now playing: The Tragically Hip - Yer Not The Ocean
Thursday, September 21, 2006
they took a vote and said no
From the Best of the Straight
New Local BandOk seriously... dear god that's terrible. I think I've heard of Mariana's Trench, but who the hell are the other three bands? It's like some parallel, evil, local music scene exists in some parallel, evil, alternate universe (which, in retrospect, is probably those venues on Granville St. that aren't the Yale or Commodore). And, people actually like Nickelback? And are willing to admit it? I thought people from Vancouver were embarrassed about that. I always tell people they're "actually from Alberta - makes sense now, doesn't it?" I'm baffled.
1. On Holiday
2. Art of Dying
3. A Sheep at the Wheel (tie)
3. Marianas Trench (tie)
"Bif Naked—not a band, but she's our best local musician!"
2. New Pornographers (tie)
2. 54-40 (tie)
3. Stabilo (tie)
3. Hot Hot Heat (tie)
Barthese results are starting to make sense now. Similar to the "liking Nickeback" thing, I didn't think anyone willingly admitted that they go to the Roxy either. I'm starting to think I live a sheltered life.
1. The Roxy Night Club
932 Granville Street
now playing: Regina Spektor - Us
pour me out another
I may be in the minority, but I'm 100% down with this current trend of people "going country." In some cases, even - like Jenny Lewis - I'm more into the twangy side project than the full time gig. I wouldn't say that about Amy Millan, but being less enjoyable than Stars, isn't exactly a scathing criticism.
Amy played to a rather sparse, but very enthusiastic crowd at Richard's last night. Joined by a six-piece band, she ran through most (all?) of Honey from the Tombs, a couple new numbers, one song that was left off of the record, and a cover of Gillian Welch... oh, and a guy named Torquil Campbell showed up on stage halfway through to duet on an acoustic version of "Look Up." It wasn't exactly mindblowing, but it was very very good (albeit, a very close approximation of the record), and the Stars "cover" could've made pretty much any evening.
I didn't get their in time for the openers, did I drop the ball on that one?
Sean points us to this McSweeney's article on how the RIAA is going to fuck you right up.
Hanson points us towards Hipsterotica, which is either terrifying or hilarious, probably a bit of both. There's no images, only stupidly bad text, so I suppose that makes it safe for most work places. A sample:
we leave the double deuce secret show and head to beauty bar where we do a shot of fernet. you look so hot in your new "feelings are boring, kissing is awesome" tee shirt and i'm really glad you decided to get rid of that ridiculous faux hawk - it was so 2003. the rapture comes on the jukebox and with a knowing look, you grab my hand and lead me to the men's bathroom -electroclash always gets you hard. we lock the bathroom door & i undo your NES controller belt buckle that i made for you last weekend at the craft mafia meet up and i slip my hand inside your dark wash rock and republic jeans. you undo my knock off alexander mcqueen skull scarf from it's perfectly tousled knot and proceed to blindfold me with it and turn me around. i brace myself against the wall while you lift up my vintage missoni shift dress and start fucking me from behind...I swear I saw two people just like that going into the women's washroom at Limerick Junction on Friday... and here I thought they were just going to do a line.
In semi-related news, the Suicide Girls Burlesque show sold out... seriously, wtf.
Greg Keelor (you know, the guy who's not Jim Cuddy that writes songs in Blue Rodeo) is playing the Commodore on October 22nd. Taking a brilliant cue from Neko Case, he will be backed by Sadies.
Wolfmother is at the Commodore on December 4th. I went to see the AC/DC tribute show on Saturday, and I bet half those dudes will be here too. That's not a selling point, by the way.
now playing: Arcade Fire - No Cars Go
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
this lamb sells condos
I think that was one of the best things I've seen all year... maybe ever. Did you manage to get a ticket? I certainly hope so.
I know quite a few people who've seen Final Fantasy live, and all of them have told me how great it was afterward. My friend Kat was so enamoured with Owen at Osheaga that she texted me directly after, all the way from Montreal (I had insisted that she see him play). And, I don't think I've ever read a review of his live show that was anything short of glowing. In spite of it all, I was still taken a back by just how great tonight's show was.
Owen played solo, with just his violin, a (new-ish to the Final Fantasy live repertoire) Fender Rhodes piano and, of course, a delay/sampling pedal to create loops of his own playing. If you're remotely interested in him, you already know that he (like Andrew Bird) loops his own playing to recreate the multitracking on his records, but some of the sounds he was creating - especially some of the ones that were coaxed out of his violin - were amazing. In retrospect, perhaps "solo" isn't actually true. Stephanie Comilang was on stage for most of the performance to lend Owen a hand with the visual aspect of the performance, minipulating overhead projections to wonderful effect.
He pulled from both albums, played a couple of non-album tracks, and did the three covers that have already been plastered all over the blogosphere (Bloc Party's "This Modern Love," Joanna Newsom's "Peach, Plum, Pear" and "Fantasy" by Mariah Carey). Really, it seemed like he could've played anything, and it would've been amazing.
Bob Wiseman took the stage before Owen, and was utterly entertaining, but in a more comical way. That's intentionally comical, he's opening for Scott Thompson (of Kids in the Hall fame) back in the Norm in a couple of weeks (October 3rd, to be exact). His was a multimedia performance that mixed accordian, guitar, voice, and some spectacular short videos. I think the thought of seeing him again might have pushed me over the fence about seeing Scott Thompson.
Magali Meagher of Phonemes (she's also a former Hidden Camera) opened the show up. It took me awhile to warm up to her, but by about halfway through the set, when Bob and Owen emerged from the crowd backing her on accordian and violin (respectively), I was won over.
now playing: X - Los Angeles
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
crowned myself the prince of buzz
Congratulations to Owen Pallett!
As you've no doubt read already, He Poos Clouds took home the 20k and the inaugural Polaris Prize. Were you smart enough to grab a ticket to tonight's show before it sold out? I hope you were. Frank has pics and a recap. Aaron's got his diary of the evening up. Carl can't let us in on the judging process... even though we all know that he had the other judges' loved ones kidnapped and held hostage until they agreed to put there vote behind Final Fantasy.
In lieu of an mp3, here's the video for the title track from the best Canadian album of the last year...
Speaking of vids, do you think Zellers had to pay to get in the new Emily Haines video?
You might want to head over to Culture Bully for mp3s of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs AOL session, which includes a cover of the Rentals' "The Love I'm Searching For."
now playing: Interpol - Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down
Monday, September 18, 2006
Hot Loins are at the Lamp on Thursday. Mutators, Basketball, and Humdinger are helping them celebrate the release of their new 7". The mere $6 you will pay to get in goes towards getting Gnarnia all cleaned up and reopened. It was an art space. It will once again be an art space. Other than that I'm not sure where/when it previously existed. Sean from Hot Loins told me to call him for the 411, but I lost my voice and can barely whisper. Sean from Beyond Robson wrote about it here... although that won't help you figure out just where this exciting new place will be (but read it, because it's a great post).
Speaking of great posts, I don't know if you check his blog everyday like I do, but Aaron's posted four times today over at Pop (All Love) and as per usual it's all pop commentary genius. If I needed another reason to dislike the Post, it's that they shifted Mr. Wherry from the Music to the Sports section.
I was working on something (not for here) on the Polaris Prize which never panned out, but in case you haven't heard, they're giving away the 20k tonight. Eye Weekly has my favourite feature on the fledgling award, and it's paired with a nice cover photo of one Rollie Pemberton and one Owen Pallett ready to duke it out for the big money.
Apparently Aaron Brophy from Chart is voting for Final Fantasy, and I wouldn't be surprised if Carl gave him the nod too, which actually gives Owen a pretty good chance at winning. Still an outside chance, but I bet that would put him in a decent mood for his show at the Norm tomorrow night (which is sold right out, by the way).
Speaking of bets, I'm now offering the following odds (the bookie closes at 5pm PST):
BSS - 3:2
Cadence Weapon - 5:1
Deadly Snakes - 6:1
Final Fantasy - 4:1
Sarah Harmer - 7:1
K'Naan - 5:1
Malajube - 10:1 (and I'll buy you a bottle of La Fin Du Monde)
Metric - 4:1
The New Pornographers - 2:1
Wolf Parade - 2:1
With all respect to Malajube, they were clearly the token francophone act from a jury that contained maybe a handful of people who speak french properly. Sarah Harmer... I mean I love Sarah Harmer, but there's no way in hell she's going to win. Ditto for the Deadly Snakes. Rollie probably won't like being lumped in with K'Naan, but they probably have an equal chance of taking home the cheque. I've already discussed Owen. Metric... I just have this feeling like there's an "anybody but Metric" camp out there. And really, Live It Out isn't bad, but it's not all that great either. If Old World Underground... had qualified, perhaps it would be a different story.
Which brings us to the big three. Wolf Parade, BSS, and the New Pornographers. BSS is the safe choice isn't it? Not to mention that you could argue, but you really couldn't argue all that hard if they took home the $5 a piece for each of their members (20k divided by 4,000). Their last album was stellar. I read somewhere last month that Wolf Parade want to use the money to put on a free show, not in their adopted home of Montreal, but here in Vancouver (they are, after all, mostly West Coast boys). So being entirely selfserving here's hoping Apologies to the Queen Mary takes it home... plus, it really was my favourite album last year.
now playing: Wolf Parade - I'll Believe In Anything
Saturday, September 16, 2006
love and space
Akron/Family is at Richard's with Panurge on December 14th. Their show at the Media Club in March was the show of the year. If you don't plan on attending this, we might not be able to be friends anymore. It's four days before my birthday, so if you see me buy me a drink!
Completely unrelated, but does anybody have any good suggestions for site hosting? Thanks in advance.
now playing: Kelis - Bossy (Alan Braxe and Fred Falke Remix)
Thursday, September 14, 2006
came in six lengths ahead, we spent the whole next week getting high
Sorry about the lack of updates, I've been busy with some non-blog related writing things. Here are a couple of things that may interest you though.
In addition to "Chips Ahoy!," The Hold Steady have "Stuck Between Stations" and "Southtown Girls," the first and last tracks (respectively) on Boy and Girls in America, up on their MySpace. I did an interview with Craig Finn and Tad Kubler for a forthcoming article for Discorder on Tuesday, and also got a chance to listen to the album, which is due out on October 3rd. If you weren't a fan of the band previously, I'm not sure if it will win you over. But, as someone who absolutely adores them, I can say that it just might be the finest of their three records. In fact, it might be my favourite record of the year.
Leeroy Stagger is opening for Chad VanGaalen at his October 7th show at the Media Club.
Sparta are at Richard's on November 4th with Sound Team.
now playing: Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton - Crowdsurf Off A Cliff
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Sloan is at the Commodore on October 24th. The Yoko Casionos support. Apparently Sloan's forthcoming disc has a whopping thirty songs on it. I dig them, but unless they had some sort of revelatory bout of prolific songwriting genius, I sense some editing might have helped the finished product... I have yet to hear it though, so we shall see.
Gomez is at the Centre on October 18th with Matt Pond PA. (thanks Cy)
Doctor Octagon is at Shine on November 17th. Are you excited? You should be excited.
Speaking of rad hip-hop shows at Shine, Spank Rock are playing there on December 7th. If you were at the Plaza last time they came to town, you are also excited for this. You should be excited.
MSTRKRFT are back at Shine on October 28th. This will be far less exciting.
Margaret and the Nuclear So and Sos are the the Media Club on October 18th with The Elected. In retrospect, that's probably the other way around, as I assume the Elected will headline.
Nashville Pussy are at Richard's on October 12th. Pride Tiger is opening. I was out at UBC on Friday for a show/free beer, and one of the dudes from Pride Tiger ran a "borrowed" golf cart into their tour van... oh they also slayed.
Gwar are at the Commodore on November 9th. My cousin is so amped about getting sprayed with fake blood again, you can't even imagine.
Primus plays the Orpheum on November 29th.
and finally, if you ever thought to yourself: "self, I would love to hear reggae covers of Radiohead," The Easy Star All-Stars bring the Radiodread tour to Richard's on October 6th. (thanks DB)
now playing: Phoenix - Long Distance Call (24 Hours a Day Mix)
Friday, September 08, 2006
make out. fall out. make up.
Love is All is at Pat's on October 31st. I still think 9 Times The Same Song is absolutely wonderful, but the hype seems to have died down a bit (you will recall that they got a 8.7 on the 'Fork). Since its Halloween, free entry if you come dressed as Ryan Schreiber. (thanks Shea)
Ladyhawk are at the venerable and classy Columbia October 21st with Catfish Haven. My!Gay!Husband! is spinning the dancefloor tunes before and after. While I'm always excited to see the 'hawk, I'm really amped for the blue-eyed trailer park soul of the openers.
download: Catfish Haven - Crazy for Leaving (via Secretly Canadian)
Speaking of the Columbia and My!Gay!Husband!, September 16th marks the end of the Kids. They're bringing down the house with DJ Assault. You can still get your dj kicks on Wednesday nights starting September 20th, when M!G!H! is behind the decks at the Royal Unicorn Cabaret (no joke) and on Saturday nights starting on September 23rd when the other Kids DJs rock the Balmoral (which is now hopefully free of mice).
Pink Mountaintops are at the Plaza on October 8th. The 9th is a holiday, so you can stay late and drink up.
Pelican play the Lamp on October 1st with Daughters and KEN Mode for the Exclaim Aggressive Tendencies tour. (thanks Bill)
The 604 Hip Hop Expo kicks off on the 15th of this month. In addition to the DJ Shadow show, the Expo boasts Ice T, Z Trip, and and a whole bunch of other stuff.
Livestock is celebrating their birthday on Sunday by shutting down the whole block in front of the store. They're providing skaters, DJs, BBQ, and beer for free from 4-8pm.
The Album Leaf are at the Plaza on November 17th.
Finally, Banksy provides YouTube evidence of how he punked poor Paris. If you haven't heard, that's Danger Mouse dropping the beat on the backing track.
now playing: Of Montreal - Bunny Ain't No Kind Of Rider
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
people don't dance no more, they just stand there like this
The Rapture play Richard's on November 14th with The Presets. Get out your dancing shoes, and prove Luke Jenner and co. wrong. I've read/heard people lamenting that the new Rapture record isn't as good as Echoes. Granted, there's no "House of Jealous Lovers," but as a whole Pieces of People We Love is about twice as consistent... and "WAYUH" is pretty goddamn close to the disco bliss of "House of Jealous Lovers" or "Out Of The Races And Onto The Tracks."
download: the Rapture - WAYUH (Woo! Alright-Yeah... Uh Huh)
Ok seriously, does everyone have to move to Montreal? I know that living expenses are about half of what they are here, but Terminal City's music community is starting to really get itself together. Creative people! We need you to stay! With that, you can bid adieu to The Winks on September 16th at Mount Pleasant Community Centre, where they'll play an all-ager with Hot Loins and Yukon (the latter two bands are sticking around).
Matthew at I (Heart) Music has conducted a poll to find the 20 hottest bands in the nation's capital. Us bloggers, we dig polls. I can honestly say I haven't heard of most of these bands, so I'm looking forward to wading through all the mp3s that he's posted.
Fluxblog posted a cover of the Knife's "Heartbeats," performed by Scala and Kolacny Brothers. The vocal took my by surprised when it washed its way in. Definitely not what I expected, but better than pleasant. Do yourself a favour and head over for a listen.
Lastly, in the shameless self-promotion category, I'm doing reviews for Off-Centre Magazine. You can read it on-line, or alternately, if you're in the Thompson-Okanagan area you can pick it up for free. They - I guess, "we" - also have a blog.
now playing: David Bowie - Suffragette City
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
I hope you'll all join me in sending a big thank you out to the fine folks at Only for putting on another successful Victory Square Block Party. If there's a better way to spend the last day of Summer than lounging on grass, watching a plethora of local acts, and drinking contraband booze, I have yet to discover it. Even the sprinklers unexpectedly going off didn't put a... umm... damper on the day. Terrible puns aside, hopefully you made it down, or had some good excuse like "getting paid double time" or "being at Bumbershoot." I was happy to see some of my faves, but was also pleased to finally check out a couple bands I'd thus far missed out on. Really looking forward to seeing The Nons again.
Were you there? Highlights? Lowlights? Funny stories?
Here is a non-VicSquare related lowlight...
One of my very favourite local acts, Blue Grey Dots, are calling it quits. The "official statement" from MySpace:
WE ARE NO LONGER A BAND.In happier news, Ron Sexsmith is at the VECC on December 1st and 2nd. We will forgive Ron for doing that song with Chris Martin, because most everything else he does is pretty grand.
WE ARE OUR OWN PEOPLE.
Yes, the rumours are true! Blue Grey Dots have broken up and each member are onto their own new fun and exciting things. We might play *one last show as a goodbye and a thank you to everyone and their support, but we never were good at keeping promises (kidding).
WE LOVE ALL OF YOU.
Paul is continuing on with his other band, 16MM
Bryan is working on this solo project, Championshp Vinyl
Nicola is working sixty hours a week and dying slowly (but she also does have something going on, but it's a secret, she won't tell you).
& Steve, well, Steve is always doing something.
Thank you to everyone again.
*it hasn't been planned
Daytrotter has a 4-song session by Bonnie "Prince" Billy up.
now playing: the White Stripes - Little Ghost
Monday, September 04, 2006
girls on tv
In a move that makes it even more unlikely that I'll ever tune into Much Music anymore, Hannah Sung is leaving the station after today. Tonight's episode of The New Music is her last, and features a little band called Sonic Youth and an interview with one Frank "Chromewaves" Yang. I'm a touch jealous; not because Frank's going to be on Much, but because he got to meet Hannah. It airs tonight at 6:30pm (pst - but hopefully you'll be at the Vic Square Block Party then) and again at 10:30pm (pst) on Much. Alternately, you can catch it on CityTV on Saturday at 10:30am. (via Chromewaves)
If you didn't catch that first reference, get off the internet and get down to Victory Square!
Stereogum tells us how art anti-hero Banksy pulled one over on Paris Hilton. If you're unfamiliar with Banksy, you should know that he usually does stuff like this, and doesn't spend all his time making statements on millionaire starlets.
The show listing for Hello Blue Roses' opening spot for the Rodney Graham/Book of Lists show still notes "featuring Dan Bejar," which sells Sydney Vermont short. While Dan's musical influence (the guitar work and his backing vocal) is definitely evident, Sydney's doing most of the singing and I assume writing the lyrics (as they don't sound very Bejar-esque). Sounds pretty damn good too.
now playing: Hello Blue Roses - Hello, Blue Roses
Saturday, September 02, 2006
rapture rapes the muses
For reasons that I can't really explain (other than the fact that there's just a lot of music out there, and only limited time), I'm not really all that familiar with Of Montreal. I now own the Sunlandic Twins, but before tonight's show I'd only listened to Satanic Panic In The Attic more than once. The latter is definitely good enough to inspire further attention to the band's fairly large catalogue, but for whatever reason that never happened. Lucky for me, not being overly familiar with the songs being played didn't diminish my enjoyment of the show in the slightest. I can't really tell you much of what they played (other than the songs from Satanic Panic and a cover of "Crazy"), but I can tell you that they were a hell of a lot of fun. The psychpop dance party music was certainly a factor, but it seems that Vancouver audiences aren't just coming out en masse to shows as of late, they're also slowly starting to abandon the No Fun City tradition of standing stock still with one's hands in their pockets. At the last bunch of upbeat shows I've been to, it seems like people are finally willing to shake it a bit, and tonight most of the crowd was there to really get down. The band came to party as well, and while the early curfew is always a bit shitty, they certainly made the most of their 70 minutes or so.
I didn't get to the Plaza until just as Panurge were finishing up. My friend said they were "kinda boring." Take that as you will.
The Rodney Graham/Book of Lists show on September 14th now also features a band called Hello Blue Roses, who are being billed as "featuring Dan Bejar."
Holy Fuck are at Richard's on September 28th with Shout Out Out Out Out and Land of Talk. While I think both bands higher up on the bill to be pretty great, I am absolutely amped that Land of Talk is finally making it out West... even if its on a night with two other potentially spectacular shows scheduled.
Speaking of dates with too many good shows scheduled, 3 Inches of Blood, A Javelin Reign, and Odessa are at the Media Club on September 7th. Now you can choose between the guy who sang in Can, a double bill of country tinged rock, or metal at its finest.
UNKLE is at Richard's on the September 21st.
Thanks to Jordie for the headsup on those three, though I must contend that his assertion that Shadow might show up with James Lavelle on the 21st is impossible, as he'll be somewhere between Seattle and Berkely by the 21st.
Lucero is at Red Room on October 5th.
Finally, here is an interesting follow-up to the alleged reason behind the new Joanna Newsom leaking being that PFork left their download server unsecured. Not only did they have Ys up, but pretty much every disc they've reviewed this year... plus "a Cursive Megadiscography" and Rob Mitchum's collection of Fiery Furnaces show bootlegs. You think the RIAA will be as pissed off with Ryan Schreiber as they are with the 14 year olds they sue? (via the Rocking Refuses To Stop)
While the part with all the full albums and unreleased goodies is now taken down for obvious reasons, you can still go here to find all the legal mp3s that they've posted in the last little while, free of the all too often irritating commentary, and without having to click "[read more]" ten times.
now playing: Of Montreal - Forecast Fascist Future
Friday, September 01, 2006
high art, local news
I've talked about it here in the past, but it's something I still wrestle with a bit; do I have an easier time getting behind local bands, just because they're local? Exclaim! ran an article on Torontopia this month (maybe read that before you keep going if you're not familiar with the term), which inspired this post from Frank at Chromewaves, which in turn elicited this response from Carl over a Zoilus.com. It seems though, that the crux of the discussion is about "the scene" and whether or not those who immerse themselves in it end up with a biased perspective compared to those who are outside looking in, and vice versa. They, of course, are focusing on Toronto, which is a rather distinct beast with some very distinct aspects to itself, but their are similar applications to Vancouver/Vic/anywhere.
Frank very kindly pointed to Matthew and I, as two bloggers who have "their ears to the ground" when it comes to our local scenes and smaller Canadian bands in general. It's definitely something that I've tried to do, but at the same time, I've never considered myself part of "the scene," and I actually think that benefits my forays into music criticism. It's tough to give your honest impression of someone's music if they're also your friend. That's not to say that I avoid talking to musicians or anything, that's just how my social circle has (mostly) set itself. That being said, when it comes to Vancouver acts that I think are great musically, I think I do tend to shout a bit louder than if I were boostering for x indie band from Minneapolis (or wherever). On the other hand, thinking back to the local bands poll, while I was introduced to some music I'd never heard, and while I'm not super keen on a couple of them, most of them were already acts that I felt deserved any ink that gets spilled on their behalf; not because they're local, but because they're good. The "top ten" in particular, are bands that are amongst my favourites period, and that has nothing to do with geography. Is there some Vancouver pride bubbling up inside me when I see something so seemingly ridiculous like Coldplay choosing Black Mountain as an opener to confuse amphitheatres full of fans of their whiny drivel? Damn straight. It's nice to see some locals get their due, but more importantly it's nice to see great bands get their due in a industry where mediocrity tends to rise to the stratosphere.
In retrospect, maybe the whole furor around Frank's post, and the heated debate around Torontopia in general is something to do with Toronto being distinct. There are plenty of acts from TO that I love to death, but I agree with Frank that some of them leave me scratching my head.
Then there's the community aspect of Torontopia.
In many ways - most, even - it's really pretty awesome, but sometimes it seems as if attempt to shake off the self-loathing that formally plagued TO has resulted in criticism of any kind being seen as treason. Sure, you should celebrate the good music that you've got, but does someone being part of the community automatically validate their artistry? For that matter, should someone who dares to speak up about their personal distaste for someone's music be ostracized? That doesn't seem like much of a community to me. A united community is great, as are the amazing amount of people from Toronto who are unafraid to move in a direction that is off the beaten path of your standard indie fare. Thing is, what makes those types of endeavours exciting is that sometimes when you fly out on a limb you fail (or at least, you don't soar) in some people's eyes. Often, I'd much rather see someone fail at something novel than be pleasant at something I've seen done very well many times before, but not everyone does. A community should be there to support those endeavours, to pick each other up when something doesn't quite turn out as planned, but there's very little that's healthy about unquestioned love for anything that eminates from within. There's nothing healthy about lashing out against any sort of criticism from outside.
Trying new things, moving in new directions, say, starting a band with only dollar store instruments is something that is laudable as an artistic endeavour, but that doesn't mean that the music is going to resonate with everyone. I'm not trying to pick on Dollarama here. Writing a 9 song concept record about the schools of magic arranged for a string quartet is an endeavour that may be equally likely to fall flat. Some do, some don't, some dig, some don't. It seems like a simple matter of taste has made Frank the scene's enemy du jour.
The inability to accept criticism is to me, not a strength of any community, but a weakness. Matt Collins of Ninja High School commented in Carl's blog, noting that "Tokyo Police Club have escaped any criticism at all while bands like my own, and Dollarama, And Garbage! Violence! Enthusiasm! have had undue and destructive criticism heaped upon them." Undue? Destructive? It's music and you're putting it out there for people to hear and experience. They're going to form an opinion on it. Saying someone's honest opinion is undue or destructive is, well, undue. Regardless, while it's always nice to receive praise for things, art is something that one generally does because it involves some sort of self-fulfillment, no?
Why does TPC get an easier ride? Because more people happen to like them. Ditto for Final Fantasy and the Hidden Cameras (two more pieces of Torontopia). Why do people criticize NHS or the bad bands scene more often than Broken Social Scene? Not neccesarily because "they don't get it," but because they most likely legitimately don't like it. Should Matt and co. change and make "better" music to please those people? God no. It seems that they've set out to do exactly what they set out to do: make the music that they are inspired to make. But conversely, should Frank or Graham listen again until they "get it?" You can't beat someone over the head with something until they like it. The majors have been pulling that for years, and we all loathe it when they do it.
Bringing it all back home, I have to wonder: if I were to pan the new Blood Meridian record* would I then find myself unwelcome at a Leeroy Stagger show? Black Mountain show? Would Matt Camirand give a damn? Somehow I doubt it. I'm sure some of this happens here as well, but it certainly doesn't seem to be as pronounced. Then again, maybe I'm closer to the scene than I think.
*for the record, I'm quite partial to the new Blood Meridian record, more so than the EP.
now playing: the Buzzcocks - Oh Shit!