teach me sweetheart
From Blown Speakers' End of Year Listfest, Vol. 3: Shows
Consider this the final installment (I think) of every music blogger's favourite past time, the masturbatory end of year lists. I saw somewhere in the range of 75 shows this year, which is somewhere between 150-200 bands (although some of them were repeats). The venues ranged from art galleries to clubs to theatres to stadiums. Some of them were awesome, some of them were terrible, some left me wanting more, and some drove me out the door early. But these were the ten that I enjoyed the most. Actually, these are the ten that happened in Vancouver that I enjoyed the most. Sleater-Kinney's second last show ever might have been the best thing I've seen in my life.
1. The Fiery Furnaces @ Richard's (June 12th)
If I never see the Fiery Furnaces again, I'll be disappointed that this was the lone time that I managed to catch them. Not because the show was sub-par, but because it was so very different from what I expected. Sans any keys, the Furnaces ripped through a loud, snotty, punked up set that left my ear drums buzzing. Not everything worked when it was driven by a fuzzed out guitar, but the things that did (almost everything) were taken to a whole different place and a whole other level.
2. The Hold Steady @ the Plaza (October 20th)
I had more fun at this show than at any other show in Vancouver the entire year.
3. TV on the Radio w/Celebration @ the Plaza (May 6th)
Their Commodore show was good, but their hastily rescheduled-after-a-shooting-at-richards show at the Plaza was transcendent. To top things off, rather than Grizzly Bear (snoooooooore), Celebration opened and got the party started properly.
4. Final Fantasy @ the Norm Theatre (September 19th)
No matter what you think of He Poos Clouds, if you missed this you should be kicking yourself right now. The music was exquisite, but it was an experience for both the ears and the eyes. The nation's inaugural Polaris Prize winner was silhouetted against a shifting backdrop of cutouts and colours as he recreated songs of sorcery and soothsaying. The result, fittingly, was pure magic.
5. Akron/Family @ the Media Club (March 4th)
During Akron/Family's first visit to Vancouver they managed to tread the line between "freak" and "folk," never meandering to far into Phish territory, nor playing it too straight. The result was one of those shows that leaves you explaining yourself to friend's from various locales who weren't fortunate enough to catch the hit or miss band on a good night.
6. A Silver Mount Zion @ Richard's (August 16th)
This show was a pleasant surprise. For one reason or another I'd lost interest in ASMZ, only picking up a ticket a few days before in some vein attempt to fill the musical void left by godspeed you! black emperor's hiatus. They weren't godspeed, nor could one have rightfully expected them to be. What they were, however, was fantastic in their own right. The encore rendition of "Blind, Blind, Blind" was one of the finest single moments I witnessed this year.
7. Jeff Tweedy @ the Commodore (January 31st)
The thing about a Jeff Tweedy solo show is that in addition to Wilco standards, a healthy dose of covers and more neglected numbers from all of his bands' catalogues, you also get Jeff the comedian. And while he's not likely to quit his day job anytime soon, he was way funnier than Janeane Garofalo was at the Comedy Fest.
8. The Constantines @ the Pit Pub (January 14th)
I'm pretty fond of their recorded output, but on a stage the Constantines are truly something else. I totally regret hugging the barricade at Sasquatch while Neko Case gave in to Mother Nature after two songs, when the Cons were up the hill rocking 'til the power blew out. As a consolation, I can remember being crammed into the dingy confines of the Pit while a couple hundred people shouted along to "On to You."
9. Jolie Holland @ St. James Hall (June 18th)
This show was special because it didn't feel like you were watching a performance, as much as you'd just found yourself privy to the jam session of some very talented friends. The former Be Good Tanya was joined by her former bandmate, Samantha Parton, CR Avery, and Geoff Berner, as she ran through a set that spanned her three full-lengths and beyond. No setlist or carefully rehearsed sequences, just a couple of hours of beautiful, spontaneous music.
Mike Relm @ Richard's (February 25th)
Apparently Mike Relm's shtick gets old after you've seen him a couple of times. I can definitely see that happening, but the first time you catch him with all the bells and whistles, you'll undoubtedly catch yourself during a hundred odd moments of disbelief - did he actually do that? Yes, yes he did.
Worth a mention: ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead with Blood Brothers and Celebration @ the CCC (December 10th), Man Man @ the Media Club (September 30th), the Rapture @ Richard's (November 14th), Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins @ Richard's (March 7th), Matthew Good @ the VECC (April 20th), Spank Rock @ the Plaza (June 7th)
now playing: Sleater-Kinney - Rollercoaster
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
your face is like the sun sinking into the ocean
Sparklehorse is at Richard's on February 15th. If I had done a list of songs rather than singles for 2006, the lead off track from Mark Linkous' latest (it's quoted in the title of the entry) would be right up there. $30(ish) is a bit pricey, but I think I'll end up going to this anyhow. Also, if you're wondering what to expect, they've posted the setlist for the tour ("subject to the band's mood") on Sparklehorse's official site. It may undermine the theatre of rock 'n' roll, but hopefully it'll prevent someone from yelling for "Piano Fire" for the entire show. And if they do, now you can kindly note that it's coming in the pre-arranged second encore.
Hella is at Pat's on March 3rd.
The Juan MacLean might get over the border, and might not be double booked, and might actually play Celebs on February 9th. Maybe.
3 Inches of Blood are at Richard's on January 11th.
The Hold Steady are on Letterman on January 10th.
Finally, if you act fast, when you purchase what looks like "Intervention" by the Arcade Fire on iTunes, you will receive "Black Wave/Bad Vibrations," which is the track that follows what you thought you were buying on the band's forthcoming LP, Neon Bible. iTunes exclusives are totally balls (especially since this only works in North America), but the money from this goes to a pretty great cause, so no freebie downloads here.
You can grab "Black Wave/Bad Vibrations" here for .99 cents if you act fast. The actual "Intervention" single goes up tomorrow (proceeds still go to Partners in Health).
now playing: the Smiths - Ask
Monday, December 25, 2006
but the very next day you gave it away...
download: Erlend Oye - Last Christmas (Wham! Cover)
download: Saturday Looks Good to Me - This Time Every Year
download: Bright Eyes - Blue Christmas
now playing: Saturday Looks Good to Me - Mistletoe
Saturday, December 23, 2006
this is hardcore
I'm sure this is ridiculously old news for some people, but I just found it yesterday after viewing Jarvis' new video. The Jarv on Da Ali G Show...
Almost as funny, said new video for "Don't Let Him Waste Your Time"
now playing: Jarvis Cocker - Don't Let Him Waste Your Time
Friday, December 22, 2006
smash your head on the punk rock
Sebadoh - that's the original line-up - is at Richard's on March 3rd. (via Brooklyn Vegan)
Here's an mp3 of the band (third line-up with Russ Pollard, I think) covering Foreigner's "Cold As Ice" for an XFM radio session. No joke.
download: Sebadoh - Cold As Ice (Foreigner cover)
Great Lake Swimmers are at the Gallery Lounge at UBC on April 4th. (thanks Shea)
TV on the Radio are at the Commodore on March 24th.
The Thermals are at the Media Club on February 22nd.
Were you hoping that Santa would bring us a Mats reunion for Christmas? Well, you'll have to file that holiday wish away for a year, as Paul Westerburg fucked up his hand real good. Here's wishing him a speedy recovery.
Finally, I can't say U2 has done anything that I've cared about in ages. And I can say that I think Bono is an egotistical, self-aggrandizing, prima donna. But the new U2 video is pretty spectacular.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
all or nothing
From Blown Speakers' End of Year Listfest, Vol. 2: LPs, EPs, and Re-Issues
It's funny that in a year when I wrote more about music (here and elsewhere) than ever before, I probably read less about music than anytime since I made the jump from leafing through print mags exclusively. Actually, I read a lot, but I didn't read a lot of things very closely. I browsed extensively, which perhaps speaks to the sheer volume of voices talking about the same sorts of things on the internet. Maybe that lack of attentiveness paid off a bit though, as there are at least a handful of records below that weren't instantaneously canonized by the blogosphere. That's not to say they're better, or even that you'll enjoy them, but at least it's something different, no?
As an aside, I'll note that the only music blogs that I read fairly in-depth every time they update are Frank's, Aaron's, and Carl's. If you're short on time, I suggest you do the same. That's no offense to anyone else, but if you didn't have time to read the CBC, Globe and Mail, and the Guardian, you'd at least make sure that you read the BBC. You know what I mean?
What follows are my twenty favourite long-players of 2006 (and then some). They're ranked in groups of five (and then alphabetical within in each group), because I honestly couldn't rank all the way from 1-20.
Casey Dienel - Wind-Up Canary
The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
Ladyhawk - Ladyhawk
The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
Joanna Newsom - Ys
I wrote about four of these in the year end roundup for Off-Centre, so if you'd like something a little longer, you can check it out online come January. The Hold Steady and Ys are pretty obvious choices, and Ladyhawk is an obvious one if you know my tastes at all. The consensus on the Fiery Furnaces record seems to be that it's mediocre for them, but other than the "EP," I think it's their most consistent work to date. On the other hand, maybe it's similar to following NYC Ghosts and Flowers with Murray Street. The latter was a good Sonic Youth record, but compared to its predecessor, it was a mind blowing return to form (yes, I hated Rehearsing My Choir that much). And then there's Casey Dienel. It's hard to say what's so refreshing about another female singer-songwriter with a piano, because there's nothing refreshing about that scenario at all. But Wind-Up Canary probably received more spins than any other record I owned this year. I'm sure someone's very aptly described her charm, but I certainly can't. Sometimes the best things are the ones you can't really put your finger on anyhow.
Be Your Own Pet - Be Your Own Pet
Cat Power - the Greatest
Destroyer - Rubies
Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up, I'm Dreaming...
The Greatest might be my least favourite of the Cat Power records from Moon Pix on. Something about how slick it sounds just isn't right. On the other hand, that same smoothness is what makes it so great too. Chan finally found a band that could craft arrangements as soulful as her voice. I'm not in the camp that thinks Rubies is Dan's best (not even close), but any Destroyer record is better than almost anyone's best effort. What can you say about Sunset Rubdown or Ghostface at this point? Probably not anything worthwhile that hasn't been said already. As for Be Your Own Pet it's actually not the record I wanted the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to put out. But in and of itself, their self-titled debut is the sound of everything that's great about youth, unleashed in all its glory.
The Blow - Paper Television
Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton - Knives Don't Have Your Back
Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat
Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That
Does loving the Blow and hating the Postal Service make me a hypocrite? I'm sure someone will say that, but Khaela Maricich's words, while still sweet and sugary, seem to carry a ton more weight than anything that's every escaped from between Ben Gibbard's lips. On that note, is loving Rabbit Fur Coat but loathing Rilo Kiley a bit strange too? Camera Obscura and Phoenix remain soundtracks of the summer, and will remind me of riding my bike in the evening until next June rolls around (yes, I'm aware that riding a bike with an iPod is dangerous and that I shouldn't do it). On the opposite side of the seasonal spectrum, the criticism that Knives Don't Have Your Back drags is absolutely true, but its slow plod is wonderfully fitting. Plus, while Emily's lyrics are usually buried under the discotheque shimmer of her Metric bandmates, the Skeleton are soft enough to let the rather wonderful words sink their way into your head.
The Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
Final Fantasy - He Poos Clouds
Jay Reatard - Blood Visions
Spank Rock - YoYoYoYoYo
TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
Final Fantasy and TVoTR squeak in there, with the former's latest not having near the staying power for me as Has a Good Home still does. My friend Kara gets massive props for sending me the one record on this entire list that hardly anyone else has said a peep about. I'm still so caught up in the sonics of the thing, that I'm sort of half afraid that the lyrics will be shockingly offensive once I pay attention to them. Speaking of, why is the tolerance for musicians saying things about - say - women that should normally incite outrage, so much higher than the level of tolerance you hold for - say - your uncle or neighbour saying the same thing? Is it because it's so stupid it comes full circle back to hilarious? Especially when it's backed by XXXChange's beats? For the record, rapping about selling coke doesn't really bother me at all.
Worth a mention: Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped, Hermane Dune - Giant, Jarvis Cocker - Jarvis, Women and Children - Paralyzed Dance Tonight, Jolie Holland - Springtime Can Kill You, Wolf Eyes - Human Animal, Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones, Hylozoists - La Fin du Monde, Man Man - Six Demon Bag, Parts & Labor - Stay Afraid, Pride Tiger - Wood Dahk Froese Payette, Ghostface Killah - More Fish
5 Bands, 7 EPs: anything that Voxtrot put out, Land of Talk - Applause Cheer Boo Hiss, Blue Grey Dots - s/t, the Paper Cranes - s/t, Catfish Haven - Please Come Back
Reissues: Pavement - Wowee Zowee, Saturday Looks Good to Me - Sound on Sound, the Exploding Hearts - Shattered
now playing: Casey Dienel - Cut Your Hair (Pavement Cover from the Daytrotter Session)
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
hit it & quit
Fun 100 are breaking up. You can still catch them on January 26th at the Plaza with the Polysics (if you're smart you were going to catch that anyhow) and February 3rd at the Mt. Pleasant Community Centre (all ages) with the Doers, the Badamps, and Sudden Infant Dance Syndrome.
Ladyhawk plays the Marine Club on December 30th with the Book of Lists and the Death Rays.
The Roots have added another show on February 1st.
Gomez returns to Vancouver for the 3rd or 4th time in the last 12 months or so. They're at the Commodore with Ben Kweller on February 16th.
This might be old news, but I just found out that TBird Radio Hell is podcasting.
TMT works penis humour into their year end recap, which is a nice antidote if you think everyone else's year end coverage is balls. They also managed to work David Emerson into their year-in-review mixtape.
Stereogum posted a link to all 100 of Pitchfork's top songs of '06. Predictably it's now down. More predictably, it's being hosted in a whole bunch of other easily searchable places.
now playing: Killer Mike - That's Life
Friday, December 15, 2006
i'm fast as lightning bro, you better use your nikes bro
From Blown Speakers' End of Year Listfest, Vol. 1: the Singles
Feel free to rag on me for my selections, but take this as a list of my favourites, and not some attempt at measuring the best/influential/omnipresent singles of 2006. With that said, there's no "Crazy," because if I never hear it until I start compiling my 2007 list, I'll be pretty pleased.
1. TI - What You Know
A couple months back, I was explaining the concept of "the hook" to my girlfriend (whose listening habits don't delve that deeply into the realm of hip-hop). I suppose I could've just said "it's the chorus in a rap song," but I don't think that really captures the true spirit of a good hook. Instead, I summed it up by asserting that "it's the part of the song that you shout along and whip your hand over your head in time to." And if you can judge a hook by its ability to incite either behaviour, "What You Know's" is a monster. While the single wasn't nearly as ubiquitous, in a lot of circles the answer to "whatchu know about that?" became as obvious as the answer to "what's cooler than being cool?" was in '04.watch: TI - What You Know
download: TI vs the Paper Cranes - What You Know About Deus Ex Machina (DJ K's Mix)
2. The Paper Cranes - I'll Love You Until My Veins Explode
No matter what happens to the Paper Cranes, they can still celebrate the fact that they crafted one pop song that is damn near perfect. Ryan McCullagh's vocals - slightly reminiscent of Robert Smith - sound fine when the band's conjuring up Cure comparisons, but when it comes to the new new wave, he also sounds a touch generic at times. By contrast, when his singing goes from croon to yelp and back again, underneath a bed of bouncing piano and lazy guitar, it's positively thrillingdownload: the Paper Cranes - I'll Love You Until My Veins Explode
3. The Rapture - Whoo! Alright-Yeah... Uh Huh
One day, in a couple of years, you'll be on some dance floor minding your own business when you'll hear a familiar voice. Before you have a chance to place it, it'll have snuck up from behind to make sweet discotheque love to you. But until the day that it's okay for DJs to rock "House of Jealous Lovers" again, you'll have to settle for "WAYUH." By comparison, it's just a dance-punk hand job, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.watch: the Rapture - Whoo! Alright-Yeah... Uh Huh
4. Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
I think pretty much everyone made a bigger deal out of "Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken" (which is nothing to scoff at), but for me the title track of the record that was one of summer's soundtracks was the one that truly grabbed me. They both share the same soaring orchestration, but the latter sees Tracyanne Campbell's trademark deadpan glimmer with a hint of excitement in the pre-chorus. And while "Lloyd..." was buried in defeatism, "Let's Get Out of This Country" brims with hope amidst it's escapism. Every once in a while, it's nice to hear a (sort of) positive jam.download: Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
5. The Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy!
Craig Finn's vocals are probably the Hold Steady's single most important element. Ironic then, that pulling his voice back in the mix, throwing the guitars and keys out front, and sliding some group "whoa-ohs" over top of everything would improve things. "Chips Ahoy!" still has its share of clever one-liners, but putting extra emphasis on the music that soundtracks the wit meant something else as well: that it would turn out undeniably catchy.watch: the Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy!
download: the Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy!
6. Jarvis Cocker - Cunts Are Still Running the World
Well, they are... "smash the system." Heh.watch: Jarvis Cocker - Cunts Are Still Running the World
7. Rick Ross feat. Young Jeezy and Jay-Z - Hustlin (remix)
It's the hook. And while TI backs his up by spitting some pretty decent raps, Rick Ross has no such ambitions. On the original his lazy, half-assed rhymes inexplicably still work, but it's the remix that catapults "Hustlin'" to a higher plane. Not only does Ross mercifully avoid rhyming "Atlantic" (the label) with "Atlantic" (the ocean), but he corrals Jeezy and S. Carter to bless the reworking. Neither of them says anything all that interesting either, but they rhyme with enough style to make you believe the track's mantra: "everyday I'm hustlin.'"watch: Rick Ross - Hustlin'
Rick Ross feat. Young Jeezy and Jay- Z - Hustlin' (Remix)
8. Teddybears - Yours to Keep (original feat. Paola and remix feat. Annie)
The original - released over six years ago in Sweden - is a lilting piece of perfect pop, with Paola's angelic timbre floating amongst a pulsing beat and 8-bit blips. The flipside pulls the guitars and drums to the front, giving the former a double-shot of overdrive, as Annie's wispy vocals dance along to the electro throb. You could pick a favourite, but I'd rather have both.Teddybears feat. Paola - Yours to Keep
Teddybears feat. Annie - Yours to Keep (Annie Remix)
The Prototypes - Je Ne Te Connais Pas
Generally speaking, I carry a healthy amount of skepticism when I approach music that could be described as "a throwback." I also have trouble getting into a lot of music, when I can't understand the words. Sigur Ros (because his voice might as well be an instrument) and dance music (because lyrics really don't matter all that much) tend to be the exceptions. While "Je Ne Te Connais Pas" boasts a DJ friendly beat, it's certainly not a dance tune by genre, falling easiest under the garage or psych label; in essence, a throwback (think Thirteen Floor Elevators). Ma francais is also so terrible that the only things I can understand are the title and the "yeah yeah yeahs." But I still love this song.download: The Prototypes - Je Ne Te Connais Pas EP (click on "stimuli")
Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland - Promiscuous Girl
So after the Grey Cup, I take back what I said re: Nelly and embarrassing Canadian music exports. That being said, this track still proves that Timbaland is back. And if Nelly's god awful performance at halftime proved anything, it's that he's like a one man musical version of the Sedin twins; you could throw anyone on his line and they'll score.watch: Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland - Promiscuous Girl (ridiculous YouTube amateur puppet version)
Peter Bjorn & John feat. Victoria Bergsman - Young Folks
TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me
CSS - Let's Make Love and Listen to Death from Above
Uffie - Ready to Uff
Lupe Fiasco - Kick, Push
Kelis - Bossy
Herman Dune - I Wish That I Could See You Soon
Julie Doiron - Me and My Friend
Hello Saferide - the Quiz
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Cheated Hearts
Arctic Monkeys - When the Sun Goes Down
now playing: the Clipse - Queen Bitch (Diplo Remix)
Thursday, December 14, 2006
i'll love you until my veins explode
The Paper Cranes are at Limerick Junction on January 26th as part of the weekly 1/2 Alive festivities. You can check out three new PC demos at Are You Familiar?
Glenn Kotche and Nels Cline are at the Red Room on February 23rd. If you only know them from Wilco, you should know that this will be nothing like that. Although Nels might coax out some guitar noise that's reminiscent of that drone at the end of "Less Than You Think."
Thanks to Paul Devro for the headsup on the Ed Banger soiree. It won't be at the Royal Unicorn, and the venue is tba.
Speaking of Paul D, if you're not already hip to he and Tyler Fedchuk's Radio Zero podcasts, remixes, and, of course, show on CiTR (Fridays from 2-3:30pm), you need to get on that. Tyler's mash of Mylo and Lil Jon gives "Get Low" (which was way played out) some new legs.
End of year lists coming soon. Do people care about those still? I'm not sure. But isn't half the reason for blogs existing the self-indulgence factor?
now playing: the Fiery Furnaces - Up in the North
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
one more minute to midnight
Following yesterday's mention of Sebastian at the Royal Unicorn Cabaret on March 25th comes the news on Pfork that Vice is teaming up with Ed Banger to put out the latter's releases here in North America. You can stop grabbing those expensive imports off of Turntable Lab now.
Equally exciting, is the announcement that Sebastian will be appearing as part of a series of Ed Banger/Vice parties, and the Vancouver date also boasts Justice, Mehdi, and Busy P.
I know it's more than three months away, but I don't think you can fathom just how psyched I am for this.
Also exciting, but from a completely different part of the musical spectrum, is the news that Ladyhawk is playing an early show at the Plaza on March 3rd. In addition to the hometown heroes, the show will mark the first time that Saturday Looks Good to Me will play Vancouver. If you hang out here at all, you already know I'm down with Ladyhawk, but I'm even more amped to see SLGTM for the first time.
A recording of last week's Handsome Family show is up on Dimeadozen.org.
And finally, if you haven't read it (in numerous places) already, the Knife are giving away a Xmas tune.
now playing: Soulwax - NY Excuse (Justice Remix)
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
ross ross ross
It's my sister's birthday. Happy birthday, Darcie!
Sebastian is at the Royal Unicorn Cabaret on March 25th.
Camera Obscura are back in town on February 13th. They're at Richard's with Portastatic.
Grizzly Bear are at the Plaza on February 17th with Papercuts. (via Brooklyn Vegan)
Fresh off their Shindig victory, Victoria, Victoria! are at the Marine Club on December 19th for the Pyramid Power Magazine launch.
Low Budget is spinning at Shine on Thursday and Limerick Junction on Friday.
And finally: geeks.
now playing: Justice - Waters of Nazareth
Monday, December 11, 2006
will you smile again for me?
I've yet to understand why most "adults" tend to turn their noses up at the prospect of attending an all-ages show. We were all kids once. And I for one was heartbroken on numerous occasions, when I missed out on seeing one of my favourite bands roll through down due to age or lack of a passable fake ID. Not only that, but I'd rather stand amongst (perhaps) overexcited youngsters, than aged folk who stand with their hands in their pockets, have blown money on tickets and proceeded to talk through half the show, or are obnoxiously drunk. If you ask me, it's unfortunate that there aren't enough all-ages venues to accommodate all the bands that would be willing to play them. About the only thing I can think of that's unfortunate about an all-ager is the early curfews (which could easily be dealt with). On that note, I had quite a good time at the Croation Cultural Centre this evening.
I haven't been to hot on either of the last two ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead records, but they're one of my absolute favourite live acts. I read a review of one of their recent shows that seemed to imply that they weren't so stellar out of the studio now either, but tonight was definitely evidence to the contrary. Perhaps they didn't have a chance to let a lull set in (the set was short - the only disappointment - due to the curfew), but they didn't show any signs of "uneveness" or "lack of indentity" (two of the criticisms in the live review I read).
The band, who are touring with the standard one drum kit again, eased into their set with "It Was There That I Saw You," before ramping up the energy level with a pretty raucous version of "Relative Ways." They jumped into a pair from So Divided after that. And while it was probably the low point for me, the songs sounded way better than on record. They also brought up two members of Brothers and Sisters for those numbers as well, which kept things entertaining. "Totally Natural" came after that, and it was pretty goddamn great from then until the show closing, "Will You Smile Again for Me." I was a touch disappointed that they didn't play "A Perfect Teenhood" and as mentioned that curfew forced them off the stage after about an hour, but other than that, it was business as usual. And business is still good.
Conrad may be totally bummed out these days, but feeling blue doesn't seem to be affecting the quality of his performance at all.
Trail of Dead may have headlined, but it seemed like most of the crowd was there for the Blood Brothers. I was anxious to hear both bands, but the latter were good enough to outshine Austin's finest tonight. I was a bit uncertain about the much larger venue and the barricade, but they were every bit as thrilling live (if not more so) as they've been the three times I've caught them at Mesa Luna. Old songs and new songs were equally well received, and it's hard to pick out highlights, honestly. It was one of the better sets I've seen all year, in fact.
I arrived at the CCC an hour after doors, but still managed to miss Brothers and Sisters. Thankfully, I made it in just as Celebration were ready to go. After seeing them open for TV on the Radio earlier this year, I was pretty excited to check them out again. Maybe it was because I knew what to expect and was paying closer attention from the start, but they were even better than in May. If they come back (either opening for someone decent or headlining), I highly suggest checking them out.
now playing: Celebration - China
Friday, December 08, 2006
It was a pretty great show, but I'm twice as glad that I caught the Handsome Family, because if the chances of a return visit hinge on tonight's attendance, it'll be a long time coming. I didn't do a very scientific count, but it looked like there were only a hundred or so people in attendance (Richard's holds about 450). Despite the sparse crowd, the band (the husband and wife Sparks duo and some guy named Steve) was in good spirits, and the very loose and interactive aspect of the performance really helped make the show.
Backed by a rather vintage looking drum machine with Brett on guitar, Renee alternating between banjo, melodica, and bass, and Steve playing ukelele or slide guitar, they ran through an hour and a half worth of songs that spanned most of their catalogue (I'm not incredibly familiar with the first couple of records, but I don't think they did anything off of Odessa).
My fondness for the band is largely based around the way very traditional folk and bluegrass sounds butt up against lyrics that are very modern, marrying urban tales of parking lots and convenience stores with rural fables about getting lost in the woods. It's sort of the way I picture stereotypical middle America, except the Handsome Family are way to the left of the centre of the American political spectrum, and the characters in my head are all centrist Republicans. But I digress.
The size of the crowd was a touch disappointing, but they were enthusiastic, and it didn't seem to affect the quality of the performance anyhow. Oh, and Brett played my request ("Passenger Pigeons") to close the show.
In completely unrelated news, the RIAA prove that their evil truly knows no bounds, as they want to pay artists and songwriters a lower royalty rate. Y'know, because the people who actually write the songs contribute the least to the music business. We can only hope that one fine day all these clowns will be out of jobs. (via Brooklyn Vegan)
now playing: the Handsome Family - All the Time in Airports
Thursday, December 07, 2006
we will always be like little kids
Are you underage/FakeIDless and bummed that you can't see Emily Haines? Well, you can send your name, age, and email address to emilytickets @ lastgangrecords.com (with the Subject line: "Sound check Vancouver") and you'll be entered to win a pair of passes to check out the Metric Miss and her Soft Skeletons when they soundcheck before their January 18th show at the Commodore. Emily Haines is for the children. Sorry adults, this one's for underagers only.
Salon de Bourgeoisie is moving. I have no idea why, but I presume it may be so it's closer to the after hours that they run. This week is still at the Biltmore, but starting next week, festivities will take place at the Royal Unicorn Cabaret in Chinatown. In celebration of the new digs (or just because), Dandi Wind, Twin Crystals, and Fake Shark Real Zombie are playing the 16th. I haven't checked the night out yet, but I presume it's like the Columbia was on Saturdays?
Pete Yorn is at the Commodore on February 8th.
Badly Drawn Boy is at Richard's on March 3rd.
The Roots are back at the Commodore on February 2nd.
If you're willing to head down to Seattle on Saturday (Dec. 9th) and wait in the cold for an evening, you can check out Lily Allen at the Crocodile Cafe for free. Doors are at 8pm and it's one of those first come, first served MySpace Secret Shows.
Matthew has a live set that Cadence Weapon did at the Halifax Pop Explosion up at I (Heart) Music.
Congratulations to Victoria, Victoria!, who won this year's edition of Shindig. Of the six bands I saw this year they were my favourite. Though perhaps, if you believe in curses, congratulations should go out to Organ Trail who came in second.
Finally, I rarely talk hockey (mostly because there's not a whole lot to talk about for Canuck fans this season), but I would like to encourage you to vote for Rory.
now playing: the Rolling Stones - Rip This Joint
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
down where i darn with the milk-eyed mender
Joanna Newsom was pretty great last night (I'm sure a lot of people will say mindblowing, but I respectfully disagree - still, pretty great though). The band filled out the Ys arrangements quite nicely, though I wouldn't have complained if they turned the drummers vocal mic down a touch (or off). All in all, while I enjoy Ys more as an album, I'm more fond of the Milk-Eyed Mender songs live, so I was more into the show opening and show closing solo portions of the evening. A lot of people seemed to be leaving early, which was a bit weird.
My enjoyment of Bill Callahan's set certainly doesn't reflect what he's capable of, as he's capable of quite a lot. But I nodded off a couple times during his set. I did have an interesting dream about watching horses, which I will attribute to his storytelling, however.
Everyone else has mentioned this already, but it's something worth mentioning, for sure. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are taking pre-orders two weeks in advance of the January 30th release of their forthcoming sophomore long-player, Some Loud Thunder. Starting January 16th, you can pre-order the record and not only will you get a physical copy of the CD and a t-shirt on the release date, but they'll let you snag the mp3s right away. There's two mp3s up on the band's official site, and You Ain't No Picasso has the mp3 for "Satan Said Dance." "Love Song No. 7" didn't really do it for me, but I'm pretty amped on "Underwater."
Anemones report that they've worked out a deal with St. Ives (a sublabel of Secretly Canadian) to put out a vinyl-only LP in April. It's limited to 300 copies and will come in hand made sleeves. snappy.
I did the mixtape for Discorder this month... check it out.
Sean's counting down his 25 favourite songs and albums of the year everyday until Christmas.
Does anybody know who won Shindig? It's not up on the CiTR website yet.
Finally, in keeping with the sombre spirit of the day...
download: the Tragically Hip - Montreal
now playing: Sleater-Kinney - Modern Girl
Monday, December 04, 2006
take me out (again)
The video from Saturday night. The other guys were 2/3rds of the Cribs. That dude with the glasses on the far right is just some guy from around town who jumps on stages once in awhile.
Somewhat related (because the Evaporators covered them earlier in the night), Pointed Sticks are doing two shows on January 6th at Richard's. The afternoon show is an all-ager.
Do Make Say Think are at Richard's on March 5th.
I completely forgot about the Subtle show at Richard's on January 24th, but now seems like an apt time to mention it. As you've probably already read, dudes got robbed in Barcelona. If you're so inclined, you can help them out by donating $20, and in exchange Dose One will do a personalized portrait for you. Pigeon John opens the Vancouver date.
Way in advance, but Gwen Stefani is at GM Place on June 15th. I saw her last time she came here, and it was actually pretty friggin' good. The Sweet Escape (which is out tomorrow) is pretty crap though.
While I do care about Gwen, I honestly - and someone's going to call blasphemy on this, I'm sure - could care less about Buffy Ste-Marie, but she's playing with Final Fantasy at the Centre for the Performing Arts on February 17th. Jim Byrnes and Kinnie Starr round out the bill.
The reformed Zombies are at Richard's on March 11th. This may or may not be a total car wreck.
The folks at Golden Family United have a whole slew of shows lined up at the Other Space (all ages venue w/bar! yay!). The most notable one might be Mt. Eerie on Valentine's Day. And really, what is more romantic than watching Phil Elvrum get all Cat Power on the crowd? Can I just get a little more reverb maybe, please?
The rest of the shows that are already scheduled are as follows:
Twin Crystals with Yukon and Modern Creatures on December 6th
Sean Wesley Wood with Old Bridge and Organ Trail on December 20th
The Ingredients with London Spy and the SSRIs on January 24th.
now playing: Of Montreal - City Bird
Sunday, December 03, 2006
i know i won't be leaving here... with you
Mint Records kept with their annual tradition of celebrating the season last night at their "ridiculously early xmas party" at the Ukrainian Hall on E. Pender. I got there in time to catch the last half of Young and Sexy's set, which was followed by a number by the Choir Practice, and Duotang's reunion set. The highlight, however, came via a set by the Evaporators.
If you've seen the Nardwuar fronted unit before, you already know that they're a ton of fun Last night, the band's line up boasted guest bassist, Stephen "Big Hamm" Hamm, who was filling in for John Collins (who's off in Spain with the New Pornographers). In addition to charging their way through such non-hits as "(I've Got A Disease) I'm Addicted to Cheese" and "I Don't Need My Friends, to Tell Me Who My Friends Are," they also covered "I Quit School," which was written by Terminal City's own punk rock legends, Pointed Sticks. And then things got a bit weird, even for an Evaporators set.
I can't remember what song they were doing, but after a mid-floor costume change, Nardwuar had almost everyone in the place crouching down and was getting people to dance in a scene that was almost exactly like the video for "Half Empty Halls", when he moved to the back of the room to grab some "special guests." He billed them as something that sounded like "the Cramps" (which they were not), and escorted them on stage. One of the guys happened to be Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand, who had a confused look on his face that seemed to scream, "ok, now what am I supposed to do?" at which point David Carswell started the opening riff to the most omnispresent single of 2004. And after cracking a rather amused smile, Kapranos lent his pipes to a very punk rock sounding cover of "Take Me Out," complete with Nardwuar on keytar.
I'd also like to point out that Alex Ferdinand is rocking a CBC microphone. I think surreal is the correct description of the evening's events.
Carolyn Mark had the unfortunate task of playing directly after, and the place was pretty noisy during her set as there was a bit of a buzz in the air.
On a side note, while I don't like to eat at McDonald's if I can avoid it, the fact that they have a "walk through" window (which is technically more of a "walk up") at the one on Main and 2nd blew my hungry mind last night.
now playing: the Velvet Underground - Oh! Sweet Nuthin'
Friday, December 01, 2006
Quick and dirty Transmission showcase recap:
DJ Champion was joined on-stage by "the G-Strings" and a singer that I didn't catch the name of. The former were no fewer than four guitarists and a bass player. The performance was really good, but the accompaniment left Champion to just do what looked like some knob twiddling. That didn't detract from my overall enjoyment, but it seemed that the main man ended up being less of the show than his collaborators.
I couldn't figure out why I'd heard of Jets Overhead until about half way through their set, when I remembered them being "the Zone's Band of the Month" (I sometimes listen to the Zone at work, in between long runs of CBC Radio 1). They were pretty bland.
K'naan recalls that article that Chris Rock did for Rolling Stone about his favourite rap records, where he proclaimed that "you can rap all the smart shit you want, just give me some ignorant beats."
Fleet Foxes were also a bit bland.
Luke Doucet claimed to be the only "sensitive singer-songwriter on the bill" (later proved wrong by Amy Millan), and also noted that "all these songs are about my ex-girlfriend." Despite those two comments, which in my mind aren't good signs, he was quite good, and reminiscent of both Danny Michel and Andrew Bird (albeit without the violin) at times.
I probably wouldn't have bothered with Hell on Wheels had I heard their music before. It's pretty standard upbeat pop. That being said, charisma and stage presence go a long way, and they were really entertaining.
Amy Millan opened her set with the quip, "I guess we're all here to save our jobs, right?" before launching into a set that was half covers and new tunes. The new ones sounded great, and the cover of "I Will Follow You Into The Dark" actually made a Death Cab tune sound good; quite the feat.
I bailed about half way through My Latest Novel's set, but don't take my early exit as a knock against the band (I was just really tired). They reminded me quite a bit of the Frames (but Scottish instead of Irish), and if it were a different night or perhaps a different venue, I could see myself raving about their performance.
now playing: Animal Collective - the Purple Bottle