Tuesday, April 27, 2004

First to Finish, Last to Start

  • The main man Ted Leo's been posting his thoughts of his recent mini-tour (see his 'news' update dated April 26, 2004) which took him down through the U.S. to SXSW and then back up to Canada. He's posted some thoughts for gigs up to February 16/04. Can't wait for his thoughts about the Toronto show on March 25 which I went to. I personally was euphoric about the whole experience! He also mentions that he is in the process of finishing up some new songs for the new album which he'll be recording in 3 weeks. ....Note to Ted: Your news update yesterday promised that you'd finish posting your thoughts on your mini-tour 'tomorrow'...umm...'tomorrow' is now 'today'...and no update...inquiring minds want to know! :-)

  • some article links below about a couple of decent bands (I'm being lazy today with the links; but I will mention that Trash Can Sinatras are severely underrated and underappreciated; I only wish that they would play a show in Canada!):

    - PopMatters: "Say to Me, Where Have You Been?": The Pixies Roar Back After 12 Years(April 21, 2004)

    - PopMatters: THE "C" WORD: The Trash Can Sinatras Are Back(April 12, 2004)

  • I feel like I should mention the Guided By Voices breakup but then you probably already know. I will say that I have seen GBV live three times [once opening for Urge Overkill, I believe around 96', and twice headlining within the last 3 years, most recently in November 2003]. GBV never fail to impress me live. Most GBV fans'll probably wince but I I like their CD 'Isolation Drills' the best, just because it's the one CD of theirs that I have listened to the most. Ranking a close second is 'Bee Thousand', which I do not own on CD but do have on vinyl; coincidentally, 'Bee Thousand' was the first vinyl record of an indie-rock band which I purchased, back in the mid-90's. The saddest part of the whole thing [and I'd also liken this to, say, my favourite television show ending eg. Seinfeld, X-files] is knowing that the likelihood of another band coming close to the genious of GBV is near impossible. So I'm sorry to see the 'band' go, but happy to read that Mr. Pollard'll still be recording. Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, life goes on.
  • Monday, April 26, 2004

    Pixies come alive!

  • Your prayers have been answered if you were kicking yourself for not getting tickets for the Pixies show at Arrow Hall[Mississauga, Ontario, Canada] on Wednesday November 24, 2004 because a SECOND SHOW HAS BEEN ADDED FOR THE DAY AFTER! As per 102.1 The Edge site the ticket info is as follows:

    when: Thursday November 25, 2004

    who: Pixies
    where: Arrow Hall (in Mississauga)

    other info: All Ages/Licenced • Doors 5:30pm • General Admission

    Tickets: $35.00 (incl. GST - Plus applicable service & handling charges) on sale this Thursday @ 10am, available at all Ticketmaster outlets

    You can thank me later. ;-)

    ps. I can't wait for the bootlegs to make their way onto the 'net and people's reactions when they read 'Live In Mississauga' and ask themselves...where the f*!k i s Mississauga?! ... Well, it's my hometown and I can't believe our dumb luck that we're getting the Pixies!

  • phew!....just finished my taxes. I do my own taxes every year...and every year it's a head ache. But I'm getting a refund of about $600.00! Woohoo!
  • Saturday, April 24, 2004

    Slack, Motherf*!ker

  • controller.controller spring tourdates are up at the official site. The mostly Canadian tour will also include an opening slot for Franz Ferdinand [what's their deal? I still really haven't heard their music] as well as several dates in New York City. I hope the band receives a warm response in the Big Apple. ...[That Franz Ferdinand opening slot(in Toronto no less)....I smell an upstage. :-) ]

  • A couple of days ago, Pitchfork mentioned yet another Jay-Z 'Black Album' mashup...and this time it's with Pavement's classic 'Slanted and Enchanted' lp. And what's more is that both albums have 14 tracks each and the resulting mashup has been done track-by-track using the original album track order. Does it work? Well you be the judge. The album is available via BitTorrent from the official Slack Album website. ... If anything, it's interesting.

  • Thanks again to mishie, Wily Filipino and Largehearted Boy who added me to their audioscrobbler friend's list. And I've returned the sentiment by adding them to mine. Check out their blogs because they put mine to shame...hey, give me time and my blog'll look all nice and pretty once I can stop procrastinating and develop the ol' HTML skills. :-)

  • I'd like to post some thoughts about Kill Bill: Vol II which I saw last Tuesday but I've encountered a mental block[not uncommon for me ;-) ]. Stay tuned for a review in the future.
  • Thursday, April 22, 2004

    Going back to Cali

  • The music gods have answered my prayers because when I checked the Ticketmaster web site and checked for Belle and Sebastian tickets for the San Diego show, there was a 'Canadian will-call' option available. A 'will-call' option! Yes, God Almighty, yes! I could purchase tickets and pick them up at the will-call window. [You don't know how much stress I went through when I couldn't purchase tickets yesterday ; see yesterday's post] I don't know how familiar with Ticketmaster's online ordering process you are, but after choosing the number of tickets you would like to purchase, the next screen is a 'word verification' process whereby you must type in a word that appears in this box; this process is a preventitive measure from persons using automated programs to block other people from purchasing tickets]. And you know what the word was for me? ..."BEAMING"... How ironic. 'Beaming' was exactly what I was doing as I placed my order for 2 tickets to see Belle and Sebastian in San Diego! So Coachella on May 1 and 2. Belle and Sebastian on May 3. This is shaping up to be a great trip!...What will I do next?...I'm going to Disneyland! [ok maybe not ;-) ]

  • I added the audioscrobbler plugin for Winamp so check out my profile page if you are so inclined. [For future reference, a link to my audioscrobbler profile page will be in the right side bar, under 'Listening to'.]... If you happen to find alot of top-40, r'n'b, or mainstream hip-hop songs, well those are likely as a result of my 12 year old nephew listening to his mp3's while he and his friends have some 'deep' conversations on MSN Messenger about whatever 12 year kids talk about these days :) ... Thanks to mishie and her blog post yesterday about audioscrobbler for finally convincing me to sign up. Thanks also to Wily Filipino whose blog originally informed me about audioscrobbler.
  • Wednesday, April 21, 2004

    Ticketmaster is Evil

    Ticketmaster is evil...ok not quite. No, I won't go on a rant about high service charges but I'd like to comment on the following two issues:

  • 1) the customer service reps who answer the phone and apparently are inadequetely trained, and,

  • 2) the inconsistencies of delivery options of tickets available for Canadian residents vs. the rest of the world.

  • .
  • #1

  • First, I'm willing to give customer service reps a break...I, myself work in customer service within a government department and have had my share of bad days taking phonecalls[not to mention speaking with people in person]...but the idiots at Ticketmaster or at least the two reps I spoke to today 1) sounded like the most disinterested individuals ever, 2) didn't seem to have a clue to how to respond to my questions; I basically asked them whether as a Canadian resident, I could somehow qualify to receive tickets through ticketFast, their new tickets-by-email option; I did read the FAQ on the website and it apparently said that if the concert was in the U.S., then the ticketFast option would NOT be available to Canadian residents; when I asked the Ticketmaster reps if they could verify that, they seemed to have no clue about what ticketFast was. I was actually hoping if there was a possibility for me[as a Canadian resident] to use the ticketFast option, but f!*k, they didn't even know what ticketFast was! I was almost quoting the FAQ to them, and that just seemed to confuse them even more.

  • #2

  • So as I tried to order tickets through the Ticketmaster website, the only delivery options available at this point in time, were a variety of mailing options for U.S. CUSTOMERS, and the 'will call' option for INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS. So I figured, I can order my tickets as an international customer, and then pick up the tickets at the 'will call' window of the venue. But then I realized when I tried to input my billing address, that 'Canada' was not included in the 'country' drop-down box on the web site. Then I read the 'delivery methods' information more closely and it said that 'international will-call' is for customers outside of the U.S. AND Canada...I know Ticketmaster had a mailing option for tickets ordered by Canadian customers as recently as last week, but I think that option is not available now because Ticketmaster cannot guarantee to deliver the tickets in time anymore. ....My big beef is two-fold: 1)why can't the ticketFast option be available for Canadian residents trying to order tickets for a U.S. concert, when if the concert was in Canada, U.S. residents would be able to use ticketFast and, 2) why are international customers still given the option of 'will-call' but not Canadian residents.
    I'm pissed off.

    My main concern was that I was trying to order Belle and Sebastian tickets for their gig in San Diego on May 3, 2004. As, I mentioned in previous posts, my buddy and I are going to Coachella, but when I found out that Belle and Sebastian were playing in San Diego the weekend after Coachella, I wept tears of joy[ok, not really but I was excited]. But alas, there is no way for me to reserve tickets for the show. It is a slight consolation that Belle and Sebastian will be at Coachella [although I anticipate their set length not being as long as a regular show]. My only other alternative is that when my buddy and I fly in to Los Angeles on April 30, that we purchase the Belle and Sebastian tickets for the San Diego show through a Ticketmaster outlet right away. I just hope it doesn't get sold out. My fingers are crossed.

    Monday, April 19, 2004

    You can't, you won't, and you don't stop

    • music: The official Beastie Boys site is under construction but you can sign up to receive site updates by e-mail. Check out the snazzy scrolling image of the old New York waterfront! And with the new album titled "To the 5 Boroughs" I can't help but think there's a "Gangs of New York" [ie. Five Points] concept behind all this.

    • concerts: The first week of May could be just about the best week of concerts in my whole life if I manage to go to all of them:

      • May 1-2: Coachella [Indio, California] -> my buddy and I are going and I'm totally psyched! Concert tickets are purchased. Plane tickets booked. So far booked a motel for the evening of Sunday May 2. Still looking for lodging on May 1. Don't want to sleep in a rental car. That reminds me; I still have to book a rental car. Thank God for expedia.ca [how's that for an endorsement! please make cheques out to Michael ... ;-) ]

      • May 3: Belle and Sebastian [San Diego, California] -> I saw B & S the first time they came to Toronto a couple of years ago but I missed their last show in Toronto last year. Hey, since I'll be in California and San Diego is only two hours or so away by car, I'm strongly considering catching B & S' show.

      • May 6: we're catching a plane back home to Canada.

      • May 7: The Dears [Toronto, Ontario] -> I have a day off work [although you don't think I'd actually go to work on a Friday after being on vacation for a week, do you?]. But then The Dears are playing at Lee's Palace in the evening! BTW, The Dears website news update today says that they "...are putting together live concert recordings, due out this fall. It features a 20 minute, border-line un-listenable first half of Pinned Together, Falling Apart." Woohoo!

      • May 8: Sondre Lerche [Toronto, Ontario] -> Sondre Lerche is playing at the Horseshoe Tavern! ... and it's my b-day!

    • TV: I just finished watching a bit of the television show, "Scare Tactics", and man, that is totally f!*ked up. There was a young woman babysitting a girl, and the girl was frightening the babysitter by startling her dressed in a black hood and white mask. So she told the little girl to stop scaring her. The young woman went back to the living room to read a book, but then a knock at the window caught the young woman's attention, she saw a figure in the window wearing a black hood and white mask, and the woman assumed it was the little girl playing a trick on her. Then the girl came from her room and asked if there was someone knocking on the door. Then all of a sudden this masked person crashed through the window holding a long knife! At that point the woman freaked out! ...As I said, this is one f!*ked up show. And with friends setting their friends up for this show, who needs enemies.

    Sunday, April 18, 2004

    That girl...again

  • While I was out this afternoon, I passed by a Goodwill and while browsing the CD's [most of which were unknown to me or crap], I came across a 4-track sampler of songs from the soundtrack of the film "Down With Love". I've actually had the DVD of the film for several months now and have not got around to watching it. So it was a big surprise to me to find out that there is an Esthero song on the sampler and soundtrack [although, according to the discography section of estheronline, not included in the actual film] called "Every Day is a Holiday (With You)", which was co-written with Sean Lennon. Nice song, sort of Bacharach-ish with some subtle electronic noodling.

  • That Girl

  • Muchmusic was playing the the Black-Eyed Peas video for the song "Weekend" which features guest vocals from Canada's own Esthero. And then that got me thinking. What ever happened to her? She was and still is my favourite 'urban' music artist to ever come out of Canada. Her "Breath from Another" CD [which was actually more of a collaborative effort between Esthero [vocals] and her parner-in-crime Doc [production] is an amazing blend of trip-hop, hip-hop, drum n' bass, and pop. So after a little bit of searching on the 'net, estheronline [which I came to vis-a-vis the message board at Sirens of Song] reports that a new album will be released soon! Sirens of Song reports that the new album is entitled "Wikked Lil Grrrls" and should be released by April [hey it's April now, but so far no news of a release date?!].....so I'm crossing my fingers this just isn't hearsay, or the release date isn't pushed back. Hey, Nelly Furtado proved that urban music can cross-over to a mainstream audience...I'm hoping that Esthero has similar success.
  • Saturday, April 17, 2004

    Hit the North!

  • The Fall [yes, the one and only!] are touring the U.S. as we speak. Tour dates are below:

    Apr. 7 Ottobar, Baltimore, MD
    Apr. 8 Knitting Factory, New York, NY
    Apr. 9 Knitting Factory, New York, NY
    Apr. 10 Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ
    Apr. 12 First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia, PA
    Apr. 13 Black Cat, Washington, DC
    Apr. 14 Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, NC
    Apr. 16 Echo Lounge, Atlanta, GA
    Apr. 17 40 Watt, Athens, GA
    Apr. 19 Orange Peel, Asheville, NC
    Apr. 20 Southgate House, Newport, KY
    Apr. 21 Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH
    Apr. 22 Brewhouse, Pittsburgh, PA
    Apr. 23 Magic Stick, Detroit, MI
    Apr. 24 Metro, Chicago, IL
    Apr. 25 Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL - MES reading
    Apr. 26 Creepy Crawl, St. Louis, MO
    Apr. 28 Mojo's, Columbia, MO
    Apr. 29 The Conservatory, Oklahoma City, OK
    Apr. 30 Tree's, Dallas, TX
    May 1 Emo's, Austin, TX
    May 2 Fitzgerald's, Houston, TX
    May 5 Plush, Tucson, AZ
    May 6 Old Brickhouse, Phoenix, AZ
    May 7 Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA
    May 8 Blank Club, San Jose, CA
    May 9 Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA
    May 11 Galaxy Theatre, Santa Ana, CA
    May 13 Tangiers, Los Angeles, CA - MES reading
    May 14 Echo Lounge, Los Angeles, CA
    May 15 Echo Lounge, Los Angeles, CA
    May 16 Casbah, San Diego, CA
    May 27-29 Primavera Sound festival, Barcelona.

    And once again, no Canadian dates. :-(

    I was checking out the Gigology [2001 to present] section of The Fall site and according to it, the last Canadian dates that were scheduled for Toronto and Montreal on July 2 and 4th, 2003 respectively were cancelled because the band would have had to pay $500 (£500?) for a visa to enter Canada and the tour was "operating on a shoestring". Although, speculation at the time blamed it on SARS. [damn SARS!]

    Also, being that my friend and I are attending this year's Coachella festival and will likely be spending the next several days after hanging out in L.A., I'll also just be missing The Fall's L.A. gig on May 7, as I'll be going back home on the 6th. ....When it rains, it pours.
  • Thursday, April 15, 2004

    Ch-Check it out!

  • There was a bit of bad news with the annoucement of Wilco cancelling the first 8 dates of its U.S. tour, including the Coachella date, especially since my friend and I are planning on going and I was really hoping to see them live for the first time.....So how are my Coachella plans going? Well, I've already bought the concert tickets. The plane ticket and car rental should be no problem, but the hard part is finding a motel/lodging[and its my own fault for leaving it only two weeks before the departure date]. There seems to be no vacancies for May 1 and May 2 within the vicinity of the Coachella festival. Hey, I was almost considering camping, but then I checked out the Coachella site, and even that is sold out. I swear that before the weekend has ended, I'll have booked everything. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I don't want to have to sleep in a rental car.

  • The Beastie Boys site has had some recent updates including 1) the announcement of the title and tracklisting of the new record and, 2) that the new Beastie Boys' single "Ch-Check it Out" will debut on "The O.C." . ....Y'know, what...I got to check this show out, because first I heard a Clinic song on one episode, then I read that they've played Death Cab for Cutie on the show, and now the Beastie Boys. Is the show nearly as good as its soundtrack? I will be the judge. [I also heard a New Pornographer's song on yesterday's episode of "Gilmore Girls"; who said television is bad!?]

    p.s. check out the snazzy Beastie Boys banner I added to the right!
  • Wednesday, April 14, 2004

    What the Hell, boy?

  • Not knowing anything about the comic book, Hellboy [the movie] is quite entertaining on its own merits. I don't have much to say and I don't want to overanalyze it but here's the rundown. It's around the time of WWII, when the Nazi's are testing a machine which can apparently open a vortex to Hell, supposedly to summon dark forces to aid them in their conquest of world domination. The Allies have managed to covertly locate the Nazi's whereabouts and been told by the paranormal scientist accompanying them that they must stop the Nazi's from opening up the vortex. Well too late. The Nazi's do open up the Vortex, the Allies attempt and succeed to stop the device, but according to the paranormalist, the vortex has been open too long and there is the possibility that something may have come through. Lo' and behold, they stumble upon a young demon that has managed to come through the vortex. They name him 'Hellboy'. Fast-forward to present day and apparently Hellboy has been trained by a covert government agency to aid them against paranormal activities.

    The movie is directed by Guillermo Del Toro, who also directed Blade II. Hellboy has a similar stylized look as Blade II and is a an eye-pleasing film to watch. Where Hellboy succeeds is that it entertains the viewer; the movie provides a minimum amount of background information to bring the viewer up to speed, incorporates elements such as a love story to develop the emotional depth of 'Hellboy' without ever drowing itself in over-explanation, and primarily the film flows from scene to scene without ever losing your interest [well at least in my opinion].

    'Hellboy' is a multi-faceted character; masculine, hard-headed, cigar-toting', muscle-bound he-man. But then quite self-conscious and vulnerable when it comes to his romantic attraction to Selma Blair's character.

    And I can't remember a time when Selma Blair was cuter. :-) [Hellboy movie stills]

    [ I took the following quote of Ms Blair's from Askmen.com, and it only makes her more sexier:

    "I've always felt like a tomboy but especially beside Christina [Applegate] and Cameron [Diaz]. God bless anyone who looks at the three of us in one frame and still finds me sexy."
    -Selma Blair, on her The Sweetest Thing co-stars. ]

    I guess I broke my promise about over-analysis. ;-)
  • Monday, April 12, 2004


  • concert review: Stereolab w/ Clearlake @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, Ontario - April 10, 2004

    This was an early show so apparently Clearlake went on shortly after the doors opened at 6pm [my guess is they went on around 6:20 pm]. But by the time my friend and I got to the venue, it was about 7 pm and we walked in just as the band were playing the last few bars of 'Almost the Same' which ended their set. Too bad I missed their set. Coincidentally, I just saw the video for and heard the song 'Almost The Same' the day before on The Wedge and I was totally in love with it; hints of brit-pop but with more shoegazer-ish guitar[although not as feedback-ridden], maybe a touch of Morrissey/or is that Martin Rossiter of Gene in the vocals.

    Had I seen the recent articles in Eye Weekly and Now, maybe I would have made more of an effort to catch Clearlake's set. Maybe next time.

    [Download the mp3 and video for 'Almost the Same' from Domino Records.]

    After about half an hour, Stereolab took the state to the applause of an enthusiatic Toronto crowd. This was my first time seeing the band live[after having wanting to see them live for at least the last 5 years] and they did not disappoint. They played songs off their newest CD 'Margerine Eclipse' and the band was surprisinly(and pleasantly) very danceable at times. It was nice to see Laetitia on stage, somewhat, grooving to the music. I couldn't possibly name all the songs they played but a couple of the highlights for me were:

    - 'Cyberle's Revenge' which reached an awesome conclusion as the band reached the peak of a crescendo and then ended the song;

    - 'La Boob Oscillator' which was is one of my favourite Stereolab songs, and Laetitia's french vocals on this song were absolutely sublime.

    Technical problems did occur with one of the keyboards just before the start of one of the songs. The band congregated around the keyboard and for the next several minutes, proceeded to check every knob and every cord connected to it. At one point, Laetitia picked up a cord, looked out across the audience, presumably to the sound guy and asked "Does this have anything to do with it?"; I couldn't help but chuckle. :-) But then things were fixed, and this drew some hootin' and hollerin' from the patient crowd.

    So overall, I found that the band chose a good selection of melodic tunes, rather that the drone-y, more repetitive ones. The background screen visuals also kept things interesting as on-stage banter was really kept to a minimum. The background visuals ranged from a stormy sky, to a cartoon, to a scene from an art-y film, and to some psychedelic imagery. It was all really, in a word, cool.

    Stereolab played for a good hour and a half, and came out for a one-song encore. So in the end the $24.00 I spent to see just Stereolab, was well worth it. In any case, my friend and I are making the trek to the Coachella festival in California at the end of the month where we'll get to see Stereolab again and a whole bunch of other awesome bands!

  • Friday, April 09, 2004

    Good Friday

    • Being it Good Friday, I don't usually do anything except relax at home, watch a movie, read the paper, eat something of the 'fish' variety and so on, but I saw the following concert listing[for tonight] in the current issue of Eye Weekly which takes 'gimmick' to a new level:

      LIVE TRIBUTE: THE PASSION OF THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN feat Death From Above, Nassau, The Pariahs, The Disraelis, Audiobomb, Space Elevator, Snowy Owl, Another Blue Crew, The Two Koreas, The I Spys, more. See This Week. Silver Dollar. $6.

      The play on words; I love it!

    • I've decided to change the title of my blog to 'For the records' [get it...records...music...get it ... ;-) ]. I see that 'For the record' has already been used by several people... and honestly I can't think of any thing better at the moment.

    • Looking forward to seeing Stereolab live tomorrow at the Phoenix in Toronto!

    Wednesday, April 07, 2004

    If it feels good do it

    • Here's a couple of Sloan tour date announcements I've copied from the Sloan Net Yahoogroups e-mail list and pasted below for your convenience:

      • Upcoming Shows

        Date Location Venue Event/Tour

        Apr 22, 2004 Oshawa, Ontario Le Scratch
        Apr 23, 2004 Peterborough, Ontario Club Vibe
        Apr 28, 2004 London, Ontario The Drink
        Apr 29, 2004 Kitchener, Ontario Element
        Apr 30, 2004 Ottawa, Ontario Capitol Music Hall
        May 01, 2004 Montreal, Quebec Club Soda

        May 05, 2004 Bowling Green, OH Howard's Club H
        May 07, 2004 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
        May 08, 2004 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
        May 09, 2004 Philadelphia, PA T.L.A.
        May 11, 2004 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
        May 13, 2004 Washington, DC Black Cat
        May 14, 2004 Carrboro, NC Cat's Cradle
        May 15, 2004 Atlanta, GA Cotton Club
        May 16, 2004 Nashville, TN Exit / In
        May 18, 2004 Cincinnati, OH 20th Century
        May 19, 2004 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
        May 20, 2004 Grand Rapids, MI Intersection
        May 21, 2004 Buffalo, NY Infinity
        May 22, 2004 Chicago, IL Metro
        May 23, 2004 Detroit, MI St. Andrew's Hall

      • also:

      • Sloan & Sam Roberts with Buck 65, The Stills, Death From Above and The

        Saturday, August 7, 2004
        Olympic Island
        Toronto, ON - Canada
        show time: 1:00 PM

    • Yahoo! News: Beastie Boys Get Political with New Album -> I'm just hoping that no song on the new album is as weak as their anti-war song 'In A World Gone Mad'.

      On a related note, check out the recently posted 37 QUESTIONS WITH ADAM YAUCH over at the Beastie Boys official web site.

    • videos.antville.org is basically a blog for users to post links to interesting music videos. New users will have to sign up[for free] but from what I've seen, it is definitely worth it as there's a great selection of links to choose from. [I just saw the video for The Rapture's, 'House of Jealous Lovers']

    Tuesday, April 06, 2004

    The 90's: Don't Call It A Comeback

  • By now not breaking news, but Pitchfork reports that the Pixies have announced some more North American tour dates including a stop over in my neck of the woods at Arrow Hall in Toronto's west end on November 24, 2004. Woohoo!....I can only imagine that this one'll sell out in record time(just like The White Stripes, Radiohead, and a shitload of other concerts I've missed). ...ps. first caught wind of the news at Chromewaves

  • It's two nights after the Junos but I just had to comment that I'm really glad Sam Roberts won at the Junos this year...kudos also for him mentioning in one of his acceptance speeches, bands like Broken Social Scene, The Dears, and The Constantines!

  • Sub Pop gets a nod in today's Toronto Star as they mention from its initial successes with Nirvana and other grunge bands, the label is experiencing recent successes with such non-Seattle bands such as Postal Service, The Shins, and Hot Hot Heat.

  • Yahoo! News posted a Reuters article on April 5 that Matt Sharp(of The Rentals and ex-weezer) has released a country album. An mp3 of his song 'Just Like Movie Stars' which is from the new album is available at the official web site[check news item dated 2004-03-23 under title "NEW MP3 AND SHOW"]. You can also download a couple of video files of Matt Sharp And Rivers Cuomo performing live at Cal State Fullerton on 12-02-2004. ...Almost brings a tear to my eye to see them perform together again...so when's the official Weezer 'reunion'?

  • The New Music had a special episode dedicated to Kurt Cobain yesterday. (I missed the show but I'm sure they'll repeat it.) In the meantime, check out The New Music web site which includes some video segments which did not make it into the show. Well all day yesterday I was listening to my Nirvana CD's[MTV unplugged, In Utero, and Nevermind] and I listened to them in reverse order from most recent to the their debut. Honestly, I have not listened to my Nirvana CD's in ages, and yesterday, listening to those CD's was just my way of paying my respects. To hear Kurt's vocals on 'Where Did You Sleep Last Night'[off of MTV unplugged] as the end of the song reaches a crescendo was thrilling. I also forgot how much of a 'fuck you' to the record label that 'In Utero' was; it had its share of melodic songs but it had quite a few 'thrashers' that probably had DGC shitting in its pants at the time. I'm still more partial to the melodic songs off of 'In Utereo' but I also quite like the song 'Very Ape'. And finally, 'Nevermind' is and will always be a classic 'pop' album

    ps. The New Music host George Stroumboulopoulos wants to know your favourite Nirvana song so email him at muchmail@muchmusic.com.

    In the meantime, here are my favourite Nirvana songs as of yesterday's marathon listening session: Lithium, On A Plane, Serve The Servant, All Apologies, Heart Shaped Box, Polly, Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle, In Bloom, Very Ape.
  • Sunday, April 04, 2004

    Reach Out and Touch Someone

  • Yesterday, I added the referrer's system to the site [see sidebar to the right]. Hey, I see I've had some visitors today! Anyway, drop me a comment or sign the guestbook while you're here. Later!
  • Ten Years After...

  • Yahoo! News: Ten years after death, legendary Cobain lives in memory -> Tomorrow will be the 10 year anniversary of the death of Kurt Cobain. I was 22 years old then. The 'where-were-you-when-this-happened' syndrome will always hold true for me for certain events: the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre, and the death of Kurt Cobain. I'm not the biggest Nirvana fan. I never even attended a memorial at the time of his death. But I recognized the fact that alot of my generation at the time were very sad of Kurt's passing and that sadness was instilled in me. As a music fan, I appreciate that, in the 90's, Nirvana brought a new generation of 'alternative' music to the mainstream. Bands such as The Cure, The Smiths, and Depeche Mode were the heavy-hitters in the 80's, but as popular as those bands were [at least amongst its loyal fans], they hardly made a dent on mainstream radio. Nirvana really changed all that in the 90's. Nirvana, as well as Sonic Youth, were signed to DGC[a major label] and brought alternative youth culture to a mainstream audience. 10 years later people are still questioning whether Kurt's death was suicide or murder. I prefer to leave the past in the past. Remember Kurt, remember Nirvana, remember the music. Pull out your old Nirvana CD's, listen to your favourite Nirvana song, and remember happy times.
  • Saturday, April 03, 2004

    Ease Their Pain

    • movie review: 21 Grams

      21 Grams poster A movie comes along once in a while, with little or no hype other than the prerequisite critically favourable reviews [but without the box-office numbers to match] and totally blows me away. And this time it is 21 Grams. I just saw it on DVD and it is quite emotional, even on the small screen.

      The movie involves three separate characters whose lives become intertwined due to a tragic car accident. Sean Penn's character is suffering from a bad heart and can barely lead a normal life, yet alone a relationship with his girlfriend. Benicio Del Toro is an ex-convict and born-again Christian with a loving wife and children of his own, and he finally seems to have gotten his life back on track. Naomi Watts is a typical upper middle class woman with a husband and two daughters living a typical upper middle class life.

      In a fraction of a second, a car accident will set a series of events in motion that change the characters' lives forever. I'm tempted to go into more detail but I would not want to spoil this movie for anyone.

      21 Grams is driven as much by its dialogue as it is by it's non-dialogue or quiter moments; in the camera shots of a run-down motel room, in the camera shots of Naomi Watts swimming at the local recreational centre pool, in the sadness of the facial expressions of the characters are just several examples

      21 Grams also relies on non-linear storytelling, a la Pulp Fiction. But where in Pulp Fiction, non-linear storytelling was maybe more of a gimmick, in 21 Grams it seems very natural. In 21 Grams you see events happen and find out HOW they happened as the film progresses. But this technique is not merely plot-related; it has alot to do with the emotional undertow of the film. The film would establish certain plot developments, regardless of linearity, but it is the emotional responses towards these plot developments which seemed more important. I felt the emotions of the characters much more strongly because of it.

      The main theme that I could pinpoint within the film is that each character is trying to ease his or her own pain. The film is a bit of a downer but offers a glimmer of hope at the end. The loss or pain that each character experiences has changed their lives forever and going on with their lives will take a series of 'baby steps'.

    Thursday, April 01, 2004

    Something Bigger, Something Brighter

    • concert review: The Constantines w/ Pretty Girls Make Graves, Mahjong @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, March 31, 2004

      It's strange, at least in my opinion, that this was an all ages show. I could understand if it was Blink 182 or some other pop, punk, alterna-whatever band that the kiddies are into these days. But the bands on this bill were by far not your average 'Edge 102.1 FM' bands. So to see so many teens in attendance was on one hand actually quite surprising. On the other hand, I generally prefer 19+ shows. [I've said in a past post that years of seeing concerts at Molson Park have generally soured my opinion towards all-ages shows].

      So the first band of the night was called Mahjong. I think they're from Toronto but I could be wrong. They are an ensemble comprising of a female vocalist/bassist, and the rest of the male members of the band taking the reigns on drums, keyboards and horns. There's something quite exciting about the ensemble or collective [for example Broken Social Scene, The Heavy Blinkers]. So I was disappointed that my expectations did not pan out. Mahjong specialize in a dirge-like, soul-punk-blues hybrid of music. The vocals at times would tend towards screaming but I thought the band was more successful when the vocals were toned down and they let the music shine through. This wasn't more apparent than on their cover of George Gershwin's 'Summertime'; I think the screaming vocals were just a tad bit inappropriate. One song the band played where they were more successful was a soul-influenced song which reminded me alot of Otis Redding. They played a short set and I'm quite interested in what this band will come up with next.

      Next up was the band du jour, the next big thing, everyone's current favourite indie band, Pretty Girls Make Graves! I've been listening to a burned copy of their CD 'The New Romance' over the last several months and I was quite eager to see this band live. They were even better live than I expected! They have great energy on stage, particularly the vocalist's hand gestures and fist pumps [so punk rock!] and the bassist just rocks out and screams his background vocals. It's hard to define PGMG's soundl; it's sort of a combination of post-punk influences with american indie rock. There's quite a dynamic to their music; it can be quiet and very intricate and then brash and loud. However, overall there's a melodic undertow as well as bright vocals which really hold the songs togther. Yes, the vocals, I love her vocals! So I'm happy to say that I bought a legitimate copy of their CD 'The New Romance' at the show to replace the burned copy that I was listening to. It feels good to support a band that is most deserving!... As an aside, members of The Constantines joined in to play tambourine and maracas on one of the songs!

      And now the motherf*@kin' Constantines were up next! I decided to stray closer to the stage and at that point I decided that it would be a good idea to pull out the ear plugs. After seeing Electrelane last week and fearing I might suffer permanent hearing loss for standing too close to the speakers, I will NEVER take that chance again. I've seen The Constantines twice before and they haven't failed to impress me yet. What can I say that hasn't been said before? The Constantines will make you boogie, they will take you to emotional highs, they will make you feel like saying ''Hallelujah". The Constantines transcend any one genre; there are hints of post-punk, Neil Young, Springsteen, country, and punk. And these guys are Canadian[who'd have thought?]. Every other band[with the exception of maybe King Cobb Steelie] should bow down to the awesome experience that is The Constantines!