Saturday, January 31, 2004


  • film: BIG FISH - brief review

    I went yesterday with a friend to see the Tim Burton film Big Fish. Its main actors are Albert Finney who plays the elderly father(Edward Bloom) to adult son Billy Crudup's character(Will Bloom). Ewan McGregor plays the younger Edward Bloom. Edward has been a story-teller all his life, from when his son was a young boy right up to Will on his wedding day. But the stories that Edward tells ad nauseum, that Will once thought to be fascinating, become the source of strife in the relationship between them that eventually lead to Will cutting off communication with his father. It is only because of his father's illness about 3 years later that, Will agrees to see him again. It is at this point that Will tries to investigate the 'truthfulness' of his father's stories which he had assumed were not true or at least embellishments of the truth.

    The film neatly switches from reality to visual representations of Edward's stories. There is a dreamlike quality and exaggeration to the visual representations of Edward's stories that one might think that Will is right in thinking that the stories are made up. There's a 'Forrest Gump' quality to the young Edward Bloom; he's a small town boy destined for great things. However, as the elder Edward Bloom tells his stories, one can't help but think that some, if not most, of the things he speaks of never happened.

    In the end, whether Edward Bloom embellished or falsified his stories wasn't important. The cynicism that greeted Will as an adult is replaced with an openmindedness that he had as a child. Will gains a deeper understanding of his father because of his stories. And as the film puts it, his father became his stories and lives on in immortality.

  • Coachella

    This year's Coachella festival is shaping up to be really good with yet another couple of bands confirmed. Wilco, Flaming Lips Sign On For Coachella Festival

  • NBA All-Star Starters

    Little late news but: NBA.COM - Carter Leads Voting for Fourth Time

  • MP3's

    Arcade Fire: Came across this website called which features "the best and new in local music", local meaning Guelph, Ontario. Check out the Arcade Fire mp3's which are about a third of the way down the page. (They're encoded at 96kbps, but the songs are acoustic, so they still sound pretty good.)The Arcade Fire from Montreal, Quebec are a great indie pop-rock band who sound at times like the Pixies and Bjork.

Friday, January 30, 2004

The Metric System

  • EXCLAIM!*@# finally have their web site updated, which means the new issue of the newspaper must be out. On this issue's cover is a band called The End who are a Brampton, Ontario band apparently making waves in the underground metal scene. (Metal is one genre of music I've never gotten into.) There's something about EXCLAIM!*@#'s choices of artists for their covers which is both frustrating but ultimately rewarding: sometimes they choose an artist that I have absolutely heard nothing about, and initially I think, who the f*!k is this band; a past example was when they put the band Metric on the cover, who I had never heard of; however in time, I found out how wonderful a band Metric was which led me to purchase their CD; my main criticism(at least in the example of Metric) was that I thought that EXCLAIM!*@# jumped the gun by putting Metric on the cover before there was a really a buzz about the band; as I said above, it's frustrating to see a band you've never heard of on the cover of a magazine ...and I'm considering myself sort of knowledgeable about music(ie. I've usually at least heard of an artist's name if not actually heard their music). Oh well, it's my two cents....And to state for the record, Metric are an awesome band!

  • Attention all Sloan Fans: Official Sloan Site: Jay Ferguson’s audio tour of Toronto to be featured on CBC Radio 3 Saturday night (Jan 31st)

Thursday, January 29, 2004

"What a wonderful city. And, boy, that guy's an ass." - Conan O'Brien

  • In anticipation of Conan O'Brien bringing his late night show to Toronto within the next couple of weeks, check out the article "Conan the Ontarian takes on Hogtown: Comedy Mountie always gets his gag" in today's Toronto Star. The following excerpt expresses succinctly Conan's hopes for the Toronto shows :

    "The purpose of the show is not to reinforce people's bad impression of Toronto, it's to reinforce their bad impression of me. My goal is for people to think Toronto is a really nice place but that Conan should really get some help."

    In short: "What a wonderful city. And, boy, that guy's an ass."

    :) HA HA HA

  • I purchased yet another bunch of CD's at Indigo Books at oh-so-wicked prices[about $18 for four CD's] including:

  • During the commute to and from work today, I had a chance to listen to Air's new CD 'Talkie Walkie'. It's sonically, IMO, a continuation of their sound from their first LP 'Moon Safari'. There's a simplicity to their music: they have just the right combination of pop music conventions(vocals, melodies, live instruments) and electronics. It includes the song 'Alone In Kyoto' which was first released on the soundtrack of 'Lost in Translation'. If you're into downtempo music, give 'Talkie Walkie' a listen.

  • some concert annoucements taken from Eye Weekly today:

    • THE DELGADOS w/ Malcolm Middleton, Sluts of Trust. Lee's Palace. $15 at RT, SS, CD, TM. Mar 22.

    • TED LEO/PHARMACISTS w/ Electrelane. Horseshoe. $10 at RT, SS, CD, HS. Mar 25.

    • STEREOLAB w/ Clearlake. Phoenix. $20 at RT, SS, CD, TM. Apr 10.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

'Lost in the Rings'

  • The nominees for this year's Oscar's were announced this past Tuesday. Here's some of my choices for who should win:














    Do you see a pattern? ;-)

  • Soon to be an mp3 on your favourite file-sharing service ;-) : dotmusic: "The White Stripes are to release another track from their acclaimed current album 'Elephant', on 7-inch. 'There's No Home For You Here' is out on March 15 ...the vinyl-only release will apparently be backed with a ten-minute live version of 'Ball And Biscuit'."

  • I purchased the limited edition version of the new CD by Air called 'Talkie Walkie' for $15.99 at Futureshop. It's an awesome price because it also includes a DVD that includes, according to the official Astralwerks Air site, " a 35 minute film of Air in concert with behind the scenes footage." Can't wait to listen to it!

  • I've been listening to Emm Gryner's 'Girl Versions' CD over the last couple of days, and I'm struck by the beauty of her versions of Def Leppard's 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' and Thrush Hermit's 'The Day We Hit The Coast'. It's just her voice and her piano. She manages to evoke emotions that you just don't get with the original versions.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Snow-y Day!

  • Toronto Star: Storm's second wave lashes GTA

    The following is how my day unfolds:

    • Drove to subway station and took the subway to work this morning, rather than drive to work. Thanks for the advice Nalini(of Breakfast Television on CityTV)!

    • Snow gradually grows heavier as the day progresses. I work through the morning, have lunch, and continue to work during the afternoon.

    • Management at work decides that most staff can leave early to get home because of the weather. It's about 3 pm, a whole 2 hours before I usually leave. Woohoo!

    • Someone at work agrees to drive me to the subway station. He goes to warm up the car while I pack up my stuff. Finally, got my stuff together, jacket's on, I walk out the door, and damn is the snow heavy. I'm glad I didn't drive all the way to work because the roads must have been treacherous. And they were, if my 5 minute ride to the subway was any indication. (Whiteouts, if I ever saw one!) Get to the subway.

    • I decide to go downtown to go shop for some CD's(Air's 'Talkie Walkie' and Stereolab's 'Margerine Eclipse' are both out today!; I didn't end up buying either.)

    • Went to Chapters, where I ended up buying(at 75% off the regular price!), the following:

    • Went to Indigo Books, where I bought(again at 75% off the regular price; Chapters and Indigo are part of the same company):

      • Chilton, Alex - Set

    • Between stores, I decide to take a long walk downtown. As bad as the weather seemed for driving, it was actually really relaxing to walk through the downtown streets as it snowed. It's that 'New York' moment I've always wanted to experience [except I was in Toronto ;-) ] ; there's something quite serene when the city falls under a blanket of snow.

    • Checked out some other stores such as Sam the Record Man, HMV, etc.. but I didn't end up buying anything else.

    • Headed back on the subway to the station where I parked my car. Got to the station. Spent about 10 minutes wiping off the snow from my car[yes there was that much!]. Drove home safely.

    • Got home. Spent another 20 minutes to half an hour shovelling snow off the driveway.

    • I'm inside taking a load off my feet! (although I just realized that I have to go to the grocery store...oh brother)

  • 100th episode of Angel: Over the last couple of seasons I haven't managed to catch many episodes. I remember when I used to be an avid fan of the show especially when Buffy The Vampire Slayer was still on. Maybe I'll start watching the show again.

  • Showcase will be broadcasting an episode of the BBC television series, as well as Golden Globe winner, The Office at 10 pm EST. I got to see what all the hype is about!

  • Just checked out the Astralwerks site for Air. Lo' and behold: tour dates are now up! The Toronto date is as follows:

    • Apr. 17: Toronto, ON @ Kool Haus

Monday, January 26, 2004

An awards show gets it right for once!

Sunday, January 25, 2004

and you're starting lineup...

  • The Friday night basketball game I've been playing with a group of friends and others every week(or at least tried to play every week) resumed last week. Let's just say that not playing for a month really takes a toll on my stamina and I was panting like a dog on a hot day. But I at least I got my second wind an hour into playing. [You know a regular NBA game consists of only four 12-minute periods; I think we're overdoing it just a TAD]. And being busy yesterday during the day doing things and then crashing at home yesterday evening because of exhaustion, I haven't been able to update the good ol' blog. Some things to mention of interest:

    • Was able to purchase that book The Secret History of Rock: The Most Influential Bands You'Ve Never Heard by Roni Sarig yesterday. By a glance of the table of contents, the author has divided groups of artists into broadly defined genres in order to discuss how these artists influenced the evolution of rock music. So for example, the author's discussion of 'post-punk' lists artists such as Wire and The Buzzcocks. Interdispersed through the chapter are other artists' recollections or anectdotes of how they were influenced by these artists. I was initially perturbed that a group such as The Smiths did not even make it as part of the author's list. Even the Velvet Underground didn't make it onto the author's list, but the Stooges and MC5 did. There's omissions galore but the author has covered a wide variety of artists that should inform any music fan.

    • Also purchased a several-years-old edition of Dk Eyewitness Travel Guides: New York. I'd really like to go to New York City to experience the city, the night life, the live music, the restaurants, the culture, the people, and whatever else the city has to offer. Toronto(Ontario)[where I live near to] is sort of our version of New York City but it is always nice to check out the real thing. The book I purchased is compact but seems to have a lot of information which is neatly organized and attractively layed out on the pages. I'd really like to go to the Village Voice Siren Music Festival.

    • Woohoo! A date for a Toronto show for Stereolab was just annouced! Here's some info I got from the official Stereolab web site:

      February 29 - The Tolbooth. Stirling, Scotland

      April 4 - Denver - The Gothic
      April 7 - Chicago - Vic Theatre
      April 9 - Detroit - The Majestic
      April 10 - Toronto - The Phoenix

    • I had a chance to watch parts of Belle and Sebastian's 'Fans Only' DVD yesterday. It contains alot of interesting footage. The DVD reminds me of a scrapbook because the organization of the content is very haphazard. It terms of watching the DVD from start to finish, this make the DVD very interesting. For example, you could be watching a music video, then the next segment would be interview/documentary footage, the next segment could be a live performance and so on and so on. The editing of individual chapters is interesting. For example, the chapter for 'Like Dylan in the Movies' starts out with very early footage of the band playing the song[I think they were in school] and then segues into the band's performance of the song on Sessions at West 57th. The same thing occurs with the band's performance of 'The State I Am In' which starts out at Glastonbury and then segues into their appearance at the Benicassim festival in Spain. There are alot of shots of photos and pictures, and how some these pictures ended up as the artwork for CD covers. My favourite performance by far was their performance of 'The Boy With the Arap Strap' at the Coachella festival(2002?) in California. The band was in high form, the sky was just turning to dusk, the temperature outside looked perfect and the band really looked like they were having the best time in their lives.[I really hope I make it to Coachella this year!]. The DVD even has a hidden track of the band performing 'Legal Man' on Top of the Pops. ... My only disappointment was that the DVD did not include their performance of 'I'm Waking Up To Us' from Late Night with Conan O'Brien [although the DVD did include a performance of the song from Later..with Jools Holland.] Stupendous DVD, and I haven't even watched the whole thing yet!

      • Yesterday, I was also able to read the Belle and Sebastian interview from the November/December 2003 issue of Magnet Magazine. The band seems to have gone through alot over the last couple of albums but are at a point where they are enjoying themselves and are optimistic about the future. Even with the departure of Isobel Campbell from the band... I'm glad that Stuart Murdoch still thinks of her.

    • news:Toronto Star: Second NASA rover touches down

Thursday, January 22, 2004

'Canada, represent!' & 'Houston, we have a problem, part II'

  • Check out Eye Weekly's 13th Annual Cross-Canada Music Critics Poll and all the wonderful music you probably never got to purchase[I only have about a quarter of the CD's that were listed in their top 30 list]. One good thing about the poll: CANADA REPRESENTS![We're more than just Shania Twain and Celine Dion!]

  • Great Canadian girl pop-punk band Tuuli annouce some tour dates. Check out the Tuuli official site and click on 'shows'. Looks like the band is now a three-piece.

  • While I was at the mall I came across a book sale which had this book called The Secret History of Rock: The Most Influential Bands You'Ve Never Heard by Roni Sarig. It covers a bunch of 'influential' artists ranging from Serge Gainsbourg, to the Fall, to Young Marble Giants, and Wire. I remember that the back of the book even had an endorsement from Thurston Moore(of Sonic Youth)....I would have bought it but I didn't have any cash, I forgot my bank card at home, and the book sale didn't accept credt cards. Damn it. I'll probably go back on the weekend to get the book.

  • Oh the irony: Check out this newspaper advertisement(taken from the 22/01/2004 edition of the Metro newspaper - Toronto edition) from the Art Gallery of Ontario. (If you're totally clueless, read this(courtesy of

  • Um, where does this screw go? -> CNN: "NASA unable to communicate with Mars rover"

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Houston, we have a problem

  • Watched American Idol tonight. The show was in Houston. My impression was that the judges were digging deep to pick singers to go to Hollywood. The guy who semi-threw the glass of water at Simon(before security came rushing in) is a fucking loser. The security guards should have busted his ass right there on camera. Houston really has some crappy singers.

  • dotmusic reports that The Cure have been confirmed to be one of the headliners of the Coachella festival. Woohoo! Now I got worry about if I'll actually be making the trip this year. This year's festival is shaping up to be a good one!

  • from the official Stereolab site:

    "... forthcoming North American tour.

    March 31st - Portland - Crystal Ballroom

    April 1st -Vancouver - Commodore Ballroom
    2nd - Seattle - Showbox
    6th - Minneapolis - First Avenue
    8th - St Louis - The Pageant

    More dates to follow soon."

    I'm just waiting for the Toronto date and all will be well in the world. :-) I am determined to see Stereolab live for the very first time!

  • While perusing the Indiepop List Archives, I came across a site which has a mix CD in mp3 format for download. For indiepop/indierock fans! Download it while you can. Click here to view the tracklisting. BTW, I used to subscribe to the Indiepop List, especially during the mid to late nineties when I was really into indiepop music, but the e-mail traffic is murder.

  • I've never watched The O.C. before but it just happens to be on television while I'm on the computer. They've played a couple of Clinic songs in the background so far. Cool!

  • Check out Nexus Underground if you're a fan of indie rock. There's a lot of mp3's for your sampling pleasure. There is also band information, band interviews, some reviews, and an on-line shop. I came across the site while searching the 'net for some Death Cab for Cutie mp3's(to sample of course!).

  • Just imagine the tax refund! 680 News: Joan Kroc, widow to hamburger giant -- "Mcdonald's" founder, Ray Kroc has given a one-time cash donation of $1.5-billion U.S. to the Salvation Army.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Happy Happy Joy Joy!!

  • The wait is finally over! I purchased the Belle and Sebastian 'Fans Only' DVD this evening for $23.99 at HMV. The DVD is in a slim hard plastic case[if you've purchased the recent Bjork 'Greatest Hits' DVD you'll know what I mean]. There's not much of a booklet. According to the sticker on the plastic wrapping, the DVD contains:

    "More than 2 hours of footage and dozens of songs, including a feature-length documentary with all the promo videos, live performances, interviews, outtakes, TV appearances, early documentary footage, exclusive material and behind-the-scenes insights into the evolution of the band. ..."

    I sampled a bit of the DVD tonight. Truly awesome amount of footage. I can't wait to watch it in its entirety!

  • Just got this e-mail from Nirmala of awesome Toronto band controller.controller in response to an e-mail I sent the band in September 2003:

    "hey mike,

    finally - and when i say finally, i mean february 24th - we're
    releasing a
    record. see the paper bag site for details

    thanks for asking,

    I predict big things for the band in 2004. I saw the band during the 2003 Pop Montreal festival and they blew me away! Nothing better describes their music than the band's own definition: "Danceable post-punk from Toronto, ON, controller.controller wed propulsive, angular rock structures with minimalist death-disco accents and grooves". The controller.controller web site should be up and running in the near future in anticipation of their debut cd. And according to the Paperbag Records web site, the band's going to be playing in Brampton in February. It's just down the road from me. Excellent!

  • set your VCR's tonight: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jimmy Kimmel Live , ABC

  • Well, I saw Death Cab For Cutie perform on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn yesterday. I never heard their music until yesterday and they totally blew me away! ....So while surfing the 'net today I came across a page with some live Death Cab For Cutie mp3's I thought I'd share. Check out the Death Cab For Cutie Tour History site and go to the media section>live mp3 section. Download them while you can!

  • guilty pleasure of the moment: American Idol. Season 3 kicked off yesterday. What makes some people think they can sing, I'll never know. But then without the painfully bad singers, the show wouldn't be half as fun(or funny) to watch. Simon Cowell, keep up the good work.

  • "Would you like to supersize that?" Hell no! Toronto Star:Mcdonald's Launches `Go Active' campaign.

  • Bad karma or fluke: National Post: "Lenny knicks Raptors
    New York 90 Toronto 79: Wilkens unbeaten in New York, Raptors 0-2 without Carter"

Monday, January 19, 2004

The Waiting Game

  • So yesterday while I was at the bookstore, I came across GrandSlam magazine, based out of the UK, which had an interview with Portishead! I scanned the pages and there were several interesting photos of the members of the band. I didn't get a chance to read the interview. The magazine was $12.50 CDN so I decided against buying it. When I was home in the evening, I had surfed the 'net for some info about this interview, and apparently this is the first interview Portishead has done in advance of the new album, which should hopefully be coming out this year. I've been a big fan of the band since the beginning. I was on a Portishead e-mail list for a while. I never made the effort to go see them live. I think the band was in my neck of the woods[Toronto, Canada] at least twice. After I saw their PNYC video[released on DVD several years later] several years ago, I've regretted not seeing the band live. And ever since then, I've been waiting for a new album and new tour dates. Beth Gibbons didn't even come to Toronto on her recent duo[Gibbons/Rustin Man] outing. The waiting game is painful. So I'll be heading back to the book store today, since I have a day off work, to buy the magazine.

  • Tomorrow, the Belle and Sebastian 'Fans Only' DVD is finally released in Canada! Hopefully this will make up for missing them when they played in Toronto several months ago. Maybe not.

  • The makings of a Hollywood movie:

  • Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream will be hosting his own Fantasy Festival on BBC 6music on Saturday January 24 and Sunday January 25, 2004. Check out the site for a listing of his selections from the BBC live archives which he will be playing.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Hot Dog!

Friday, January 16, 2004

"All I need is a peace of this mind, Then I can celebrate" - Air

  • One of the greatest bands of the last 10 years will release their new disc on January 27, 2004. That band is Air and the title of their new disc is Talkie Walkie. The new release will also be available as a LIMITED EDITION CD + BONUS DVD. I recently purchased the DVD of The Virgin Suicides which contains a music video of Air's 'Playground Love' which I have yet to see. Now, if only Air tour North America(which I'm also sure they will) then I'll totally go ballistic!

  • The insanity begins! 'Wacko Jacko' pleaded not guilty today to child-molestation charges. I'm willing to give Michael Jackson a fair trial, but he's one totally weird dude, and that I can't forgive.

  • The Magnet Magazine web site is now showing the cover of the new issue(Feb/Mar 2004). The title of the issue is 'Reality Bites: The Eccentrics and Dreamers Issue'. The cover photo is of Robyn Hitchcock. It will feature Robyn Hitchcock, Brian Wilson, Guided By Voices, and more. Looks like an interesting issue.
  • Thursday, January 15, 2004

    "Step Into My Office, Baby"

  • I happened to surf on to the official Belle and Sebastian online web site. They've revamped the site and have relaunched the site with an eye-pleasing new design and layout. Go check it out!

  • Only 5 days to go until the Belle and Sebastian 'Fans Only' DVD is released[on January 20]. I can't wait!

  • Ex-Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens is hired by the ex-Raptors General Manager Isaiah Thomas to be the new coach of the New York Knicks. Do I see a trend here? I was disappointed when the Raptors let Lenny Wilken go but new Raptors coach Kevin Oneill has been doing an adequate if not great job. Now if only the team could co-operate. ... And of course Vince Carter got hurt again. Oh brother.

  • I read the followings news off the Pitchfork Media site today; actually it was yesterday's news; Pixies, Radiohead, Kraftwerk Confirmed For Coachella Fest in May. Pitchfork Media also reports that the Velvet Underground are going to co-headline the second night of the festival. The Pixies! I can't believe it! And the Velvet Underground. Woohoo! I've been wanting to attend the Coachella festival for the last several years. I'm really hoping that this is the year that I finally make it there. Oh, and Coachella happens to occur in May, the month of my birthday!

  • Wednesday, January 14, 2004

    "Oh the weather outside is frightful"

    • It's been a snowy, snowy day and the only thing I can complain about is the 2 hour plus drive[one that usually takes only an hour] that it took me to drive home from work. Traffic was tied up because of several accidents. A little common sense can go a long way, and common sense would tell me that you can't drive fast when the roads are slippery. Morons. .... Otherwise, I'm looking forward to a good ski season[and possibly snowboarding for the first time!]!

    • Photo radar may be making a comeback in Ontario. I'm not the perfect driver. I speed. I get road rage. But if photo radar is implemented, I'm sure as hell not going to want to get a speeding ticket, so I'll probably drive closer to the speed limit. Basically, I think photo radar will help to decrease speeding....Can the whiners please shut up about photo radar being a tax grab; I wish people'd just 'fess up and say that they don't want photo radar because they might not be able to get away with speeding anymore. Morons.

    • Late Night TV Alert:

    • April March plays Lee's Palace on Wednesday January 28, 2004, $7. Head over to the April March web site and listen to the new album 'Triggers'(flash plug-in required; really cool graphics, trust me).

    Tuesday, January 13, 2004

    The Simple Life

    • Guilty Pleasure: The Simple Life, "the reunion show" was on tonight. I caught a bit of it on tv. The ups, the downs. The hijinks, the boredom. New experiences, old habits. Paris and Nicole freakin' made the show hilarious. I'm not sure if it was Paris and Nicole or the television show who bought the Dodge Durango for the "Simple Life" family but, regardless, it was a classy move.

    • Exciting news if you are a Living End, The fan! I heard on 102.1 The Edge today that the band, in advance of the release of their new CD, will be releasing the album legitimately in mp3 format on the 'net. I'm assuming that they meant on The Living End official web site, although at the moment I don't see any news on that page which confirms this. I'll be checking the site periodically to see if the mp3's are posted. That's strange? I wonder where 102.1 The Edge got this little tidbit.

    • This was sort of a 'sad' story I came across: The Beastie Boys record label Grand Royal is up for sale on the internet auction site Apparently the label went bankrupt two years ago. I have Grand Royal releases from the Beastie Boys, Luscious Jackson, Bran Van 3000 and Ben Lee that I can think of. The Beasties deserve some props for releasing some cool music. I wonder what this will mean for the next Beasties CD. ....Hey, if you have a minimum of $10,000, why don't you head over to and place a bid. :)

    • Got my Endearing Records order in the mail today. Check out Endearing Records for some of the finer pop releases of today and yesteryear[more like over the last 5 years]. They've released some great music from artists such as Plumtree, The Salteens, The Pets, and too many others to mention. They have some mp3's on the site if you are interested in sampling their releases. Support indie music!

    • NBA All-Star 2004 Balloting continues until January 18. After the third returns, Vince Carter of the Toronto Raptors and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers lead the Eastern and Western Conferences, respectively. Check out the Top 10 Vote-Getters and results of balloting after the third returns. The 53rd NBA All-Star Game will be played at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 15.

    Monday, January 12, 2004

    "You tried science, you tried art, but you can't break a broken heart"

    - Stephen Merritt

    I heard about Hit Song Science on 102.1 The Edge. Their use of technology to analyze a song for "hit song" potential is interesting yet disturbing. The following excerpt from the Hit Song Science web site describes how their technology works:

    "We use artificial intelligence applications as well as other methods to analyze the underlying mathematical patterns in music. Our technology does something called spectral deconvolution which is a fancy way of saying that we can isolate and separate many musical events that occur in a song. Some of these event are patterns in melody, harmony, chord progression, brilliance, fullness of sound, beat, tempo, rhythm, octave, and pitch. We then compare the patterns in new music (yours for example) to patterns in recent chart hits. By doing this combined with other mathematical calculations we've been able to develop a highly accurate and scientific tool..."

    102.1 The Edge had said that the Hit Song Science service has been utilized by several record companies to analyze new songs for "hit" potential. This whole thing reminds me of that scene in the movie Josie and The Pussycats when a covert operation is revealed to have geared and shaped the tastes of popular youth culture. After reading some things on the Hit Song Science web site, I'm still undecided whether I should be offended or intrigued with the technology. But at the moment, I'm hoping musicians/songwriters continue to write from the heart without having to resort to a computer to tell them that it's a good song.
    other news and links

    6 Reasons Why The 30th Annual People's Choice Awards suck

    1. How does Mel Gibson win for best motion picture actor when he himself even mentions that he hasn't acted in a film within the last year or so?

    2. I can't believe that the most popular nominees for Favorite Musical Group or Band were Matchbox Twenty, Brooks & Dunn, and Alabama. ...With regards to the the two country artists, I didn't know the redneck demographic was so large.

    3. Elf loses out to Bruce Almighty for Favorite Comedy Motion Picture.

    4. Cold Case didn't win in its category of Favorite New Television Dramatic Series. (Although Cold Case's stunning Kathryn Morris was there to present one of the awards...did I mention that Cold Case is the best new drama on television[in Canada, Sunday nights at 8pm on CTV].)

    5. The Pantene(yes, the shampoo company) video segment showing all the glamorous celebrities that have appeared at the awards show over the years was so devoid of emotion, but even more, it was so transparent that it was an advertising opportunity.

    6. Fountains of Wayne("Stacey's Mom") lose to Toby f!*kin' Keith in the Favorite Music Video category.

    Saturday, January 10, 2004

    Better Late than Never

    • I hate being the last to know, but I came across some info on the 'net that Velocity Girl had recorded a NEW song released early in 2003 called "It's All Alright By Me" which was released on a web-only mp3 compilation called Flirt. Check out ExcellentOnline to download a FREE two volume compilation in MP3 format of "old-fashioned love songs, indie rock style". Includes other songs by the likes of Mark Gardener(of Ride), Cinerama and other lesser known artists.

      Wow, a new Velocity Girl song! The question remains: will they be releasing a new album? Indierock fans want to know!

    • Late entry to my Best of 2003-CD's list : I purchased the Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Fever to Tell" today. (I purchased it for $9.99 CDN at Sunrise Records. Why can't more CD's be priced this cheap?) Totally amazing CD! The band makes alot of noise with only 3 members. And I'll have to give credit to a Miss Karen O, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs vocalist for energizing the music which could have easily been a so-so garage punk band.

    • By a stroke of luck, while surfing the net, I recognized the band that I saw on The Sharon Osbourne Show yesterday. I missed the name of the band yesterday but they really intrigued me. They were sort of a white boy-funky outfit, with Chic-inspired guitar and call and responce vocal arrangements and the song they performed reminded me of a mix between Beck and Daft Punk. The band was Junior-Senior and they performed a song called "Move Your Feet". Funky stuff. Get down and boogie!

    Friday, January 09, 2004

    Baby, It's Cold Outside

    So as I wrote yesterday, I went home early from work because I had a sore throat. It's not entirely gone today and I called in sick. There's no better day than today to call in sick because it is friggin' chilly outside. I just checked the temperature and it is presently -22 degrees Celsius (-8 degrees F). And that's without the windchill!

    I caught the beginning of The Ellen DeGeneres Show on television this morning. I've seen it several times before, but she was so hilarious today that I just might decide taping it every now and then and watch it after work. Ellen rocks!

    For more laughs, check out the Dullest Blog in the World. Trust me. :-)

    My buddy Carlyle's got two free tickets to the Toronto Raptors/Los Angeles Clippers game today at Air Canada Centre. Guess who's going!

    If I get back early enough from the game, maybe I can catch The Darkness who make their U.S. television debut on Late Show With David Letterman.

    Thursday, January 08, 2004

    New Year's Resolution: I will use my Sick Days!

    I woke up with a sore throat this morning and went to work. On the drive to work, I was listening to 680 News and during the Health segment they discussed the issue of people going to work sick and exposing others to their germs. I thought my sore throat would pass but once I got to work I realized I should have stayed home. What with all the SARS and flu paranoia, I thought I should go home and save others from exposure to my germs. [not to mention, getting to leave work early and relax ;-) ] So I stayed the morning, then let my manager know that I had a sore throat, and I went home.

    I've rarely used sick days unless I absolutely had to. I(like many others) might wake up one morning, feel crappy, and unless I'm absolutely dying, drag myself to work rather than call in sick. Why did I do it? Well no more! Stacey Burling of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote an article outlining why people go to work when they're sick.

    ps. I'm glad I listened to 680 News this morning!
    Links o' the day! :

    Wednesday, January 07, 2004

    Tuesday, January 06, 2004

    My drug, buddy

    Remember the big blackout of 2003? I could barely make it through 20 hours[more like 14 hours when not counting sleeping hours] without electricity. I never thought of how dependent I was on it until I didn't have it.

    Since yesterday evening after I came home from work, I had not been able to get my internet to work. I'm not sure if someone in my household changed the settings, pulled out a plug or what have you. I thought at first that the service was down but I tried throughout yesterday evening, as well as this morning, and also after work today and the internet still wasn't working. I had phoned my ISP tech support during my lunch hour at work and they said that the service was not and had not been down recently. So methodically[and I hate this part of computers], I checked each and every plug and cord running in and out of my computer. I accidentally put off the power bar while doing this. When I rebooted the computer, and clicked on 'Internet Explorer' internet worked! Man, if I'm so overjoyed about this, I must be an addict. Another day without my internet access and I would have gone through some serious withdrawl. A 12 step program awaits me some day. ;-)

    A few things of interest:

    • On the DVD front, the movie Underworld was released on DVD today. I don't care what anyone says, but I seriously enjoyed this movie. The movie wears its influences on its sleeve: Romeo and Juliet, The Matrix, Blade primarily. The underlying story involves a historical rivalry between Vampires and Werewolves. There are some key plot twists that keep the film from being predictable. Of course Kate Beckinsale was hot! I'll definitely watch this film again.

    • Saw Ryan Adams on Letterman yesterday. I haven' t heard his music although I've read that he is a Bloodshot Records alumunus ie. was part of that whole alt-country scene. I'm a a fan of that music such as Wilco, Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo, Neko Case etc. So I'd assume that Ryan Adams might have some sort of twang to his music. However the song he performed on Letterman was wholeheartedly pop, almost a more polished version of the Strokes. I really liked it! Some reviews of his music, specifically his most recent album Rock n' Roll, seem to knock him for insincerity. But is Mr. Adams bad-boy publicity making critics pre-determined to dislike his music? It is highly rational that this is the very reason that critics fawn over The Strokes and Interpol[two bands that wear their influences on their sleeves] and are nicer guys in comparison to an 'asshole' like Ryan Adams. BTW, I like both The Strokes and Interpol and I'll seriously consider delving into the Ryan Adams catalogue....Rock n' Roll is full of assholes but if we held that against are rock n' roll idols, what is the alternative? (insert lame artist of choice here)

    • I saw on the news today that NASA's Spirit rover has sent back to Earth a colour photo of Mars "... revealing ... breathtaking detail...". Very cool.

    Sunday, January 04, 2004

    Post Holiday Blues

    Today is the last day of my Christmas/New Year's vacation. I haven't been at work since Christmas Eve and it's now hitting me that it will be back to the grind. [the luxury of sleeping in on a weekday will be no more. :-( ] And I got to remember, it's now 2004, which means changing my voicemail at work accordingly, getting a new desk blotter, etc.....

    I started this blog at the end of October 2003 and so far I've committed to updating it on a semi-regular basis. There's so much to look forward to this year and maybe I'll have something interesting to write in this darn thing. [Let's be optimistic!]

    So lately, I've listened, watched, and or enjoyed the following:

    Friday, January 02, 2004

    "I know you're out there, somewhere out there"

    Well I just got the Haloscan commenting system up on my site, I tested it, and it's working. It was easier to install than I thought. Let's wait and see if anyone uses it...da da da, da da da...I think 'll go get some coffee.

    Thursday, January 01, 2004

    Wishing you a happy and prosperous new year!

    Nothing spectacular happened for me for New Year's Eve but it was still fun. My buddy and I ventured downtown hoping to catch Peter Elkas at the Rivoli in Toronto because according to the Local Rabbits web site, it said Pete was playing every Wednesday throughout December, including the 31st. So I thought we could catch his set then head over to Nathan Phillips Square for the festivities there. I didn't count on the traffic coming off the highway into the city, due to the R.I.D.E. program in effect. Then finding parking was another matter. I barely missed hitting some party revellers who weren't paying attention when they were walking across the street. By the time, we found parking and made it to the Rivoli, it was after 10:30pm and Peter Elkas' set was only suppose to be 45 minutes starting at 10pm. I wasn't even sure he was playing yesterday because the sign outside did not advertise it; I didn't even bother asking anyone there. So we headed over to Nathan Phillips Square, watched the live musical acts, including Melanie Durrant, The Salads, Glenn Lewis, and the cast of Mamma Mia! and then the countdown happened, everyone went nuts and that was it. There were some bozos who decided to climb some of the surrounding trees and people thought that the branches would give way and they would eventually fall; alas, they never did fall and some police officers eventually told them to get down. As people made their way away from Nathan Phillips Square, the crowd invaded the street as if Toronto had just won the Stanley Cup. However, as the polite Canadians we are, everybody kept their composure and no trouble ever ensued. We made the drive back home and decided to get some coffee and we found the only Tim Hortons open apparently, because the place was packed.

    So it was literally and figuratively a dry New Year's Eve(no alcohol consumed, no wild partying); oh well there's always next year! ;-)
    And to start off the New Year on a musical note, why is it that I'm the last of the indierock music geeks to have heard of Ted Leo/Pharmacists. These guys have been making all the top music year-end lists and I've been becoming acquainted with their music over the past week or so through the various mp3's available over the internet. So as a public service to anyone reading(anyone? anyone?), I give you the links below to those mp3's I have come across. Enjoy!

    - The Sword in the Stone -> link to Lookout! Records
    - Squeaky Fingers -> link to Lookout! Records
    - Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone -> link to
    - Under The Hedge -> link to
    - The High Party -> link to
    - Come Baby Come -> link to
    - Walking Through -> link to
    - Dirty Old Town -> mp3
    - Timorous Me -> mp3
    - Tell Balgeary, Balgaury Is Dead -> mp3
    - The Latest Dart -> mp3

    ps. Also Ted Leo/The Pharmacists performed a live set on WFMU's 'The Cherry Blossom Clinic' on July 19, 2003. Click here to listen to the show!