Saturday, July 31, 2004

Destroy All Codes

  • King Cobb Steelie - Destroy All CodesFirst a couple of King Cobb Steelie news bits. King Cobb Steelie have a new website. It's still under contruction but hopefully there'll be some useful information there soon. Even under construction, it's a light year better than their previous site.

    Anyone pick up the new King Cobb Steelie CD "Destroy All Codes" yet? [On a sidenote, I've noticed that the title was shortened from the previous "Destroy All Codes Now"; I wonder why.] I'll be getting it for sure but from what I've read here and here, it's a mostly instrumental affair, with only one song with [female]vocals. Too bad. Their previous CD "Mayday" was absolutely stunning, especially with the addition of Tamara Williamson's vocals on several tracks and I was hoping for more of the same on the new CD. I'm just hoping that the instrumentals on the new CD are interesting enough to motivate repeated listening. At least NOW has given me hope.

    concert announcement: King Cobb Steelie have also been added to the Gobsmacked festival at Harbourfront! They will be performing on August 29th at 4:30 pm in the Brigantine Room.

  • Dropped by the Hot and Spicy Food Festival at Harbourfront yesterday and caught Cibelle and Breakestra live at the CIBC stage[I love free concerts!]. Until I can get some new batteries for my digital cam or until I can buy an AC adapter, I won't be able to upload my photos to my computer so I'll hold off on the review for now. But I must say Cibelle's music is a delectable mix of bossa nova rhythms, subtle electronic sounds, organic/acoustic instrumentation, and downtempo trip-hop aesthetics. And she did a great acoustic version of Nirvana's "About A Girl". Very cool.

  • Thursday, July 29, 2004

    The Round Table

  • movie review: King Arthur [2004]

    Kiera Knightley in King ArthurI went to see King Arthur a couple of days ago. My friend and I were several minutes late for the beginning of the film and while she saved some seats, I went to buy the popcorn and drinks, and I estimated that I missed at least the first 10 minutes or so of the beginning of the film which apparently provided background info for the story. Nonetheless, I got the gist of the film, enjoyed the film overall and would recommend King Arthur as an enjoyable cinematic experience. I do have a reservation or two about the film. Firstly, there were many things that I was satisfied with. The film felt very British and authentic, because as far as I knew, they were all British actors. Either that or some of them had damn good British accents. There was brilliant scenery throughout, in particular, the battle between the knights and the Saxons on the frozen lake. It was interesting to see the historical context within which the story took place. The costume design was adequate if not outstanding sometimes(I mean the knights looked cool) and in particular Kiera Knightley looked ravishing, both in warrior mode and her more feminine mode[btw, she pulls off the half shoulder dress look better than any women I've EVER seen].

    On the other hand, there was something overly simplistic about the plot and character development, with none of the complexities that I would have expected. This isn't a major criticism; simplicity is good. I think Hollywood took a simplistic approach so as to not confuse the audience. So be it. However, considering I was not even familiar with the story of King Arthur, there was a directness and predictability with the way the film unfolded and I think I wanted to think more and feel more.

    Overall, it was an enjoyable film on a straightforward level but with none of the epic proportions I was hoping for. Hopefully, this film establishes Kiera Knightley's leading lady status.

  • Death Cab For Cutie's "Transatlanticism" sounds so good in the current Bell Canada television commercial[the one with an Olympics theme]. That song sends shivers up my spine[in a good way] every time I hear it.

  • Calling all reggae/ska fans...Toots and the Maytals play the Irie Music Festival in Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square on August 1, 2004. And better yet, admission to the festival is FREE. The Irie Music Festival website doesn't give a specific set time other than a time range from 1pm to 10pm, whatever that means. Considering that Toots and The Maytals are reggae/ska legends, Toronto mods are likely to be out in full force that day. Look out for those Vespas. I'm strongly considering going to get my ska fix, considering I've been listening to The Specials lately.

  • Wednesday, July 28, 2004

    The Scene Is Now

  • CBC Radio 3 Sessions Vol IWhen I think of all those CBC radio music programs that have existed over the years, programs such as Brave New Waves which keeps on going strong to this day, programs like the defunct weekend Nightlines, and Realtime which evolved into Radiosonic and in turn evolved into CBC Radio 3, I'm reminded of The X-Files. In what sense you may ask? Those music programs, like The X-Files exist(ed) as sort of a black sheep of a larger organization. Scully and Mulder, as part of The X-Files, were stuck in the basement of the FBI building. I can only imagine Brave New Waves broadcasting from the bowels of the CBC building, reaching a small but devoted following of indie music fans. And it is that very fact that I was always surprised(but ultimately grateful) that programs such as Brave New Waves et al ever existed. I owe a great debt to Brave New Waves in particular for introducing me to indie music in the first place. I think I stumbled upon an episode of Brave New Waves by accident when I couldn't fall asleep one night. I could remember a soothing radio voice speaking over the radio, giving a brief but interesting profile of a then unknown band, then the segment leading into a song that totally changed my listening habits forever. It was probably around '93 or '94(my early 20s) when I was introduced to labels such as K Records, Merge, Matador and [the now defunct Montreal-based]Derivative and then later on to bands/artists like Lois, Heavenly, Superchunk, Guided By Voices, Jale, Versus and the list goes on. Before that, my musical diet primarily consisted of 80's Brit bands like The Smiths, Cure, New Order, and also grunge bands like Nirvana. I have a whole bunch of Brave New Waves artists profiles on cassette tape, hosted by Brent Bambury and later on by current host Patti Schmidt, buried in some boxes and I'm getting somewhat nostalgic for those days. Realtime and Radiosonic were also a great source of live concerts that I collected back then. It's been ages since I've actually listened to Brave New Waves, partly due to it's late night time slot, and mostly due to the internet now being a larger part of my new music education. CBC Radio 3 has eluded my listening habits for the most part as well because it's on Saturday night and I'm not always home. But since picking up CBC Radio 3 Sessions Vol I, I've been reminded of the great indie music talent that call Canada home. The CD features some wicked live/acoustic performances from the likes of Sloan, The New Pornographers, The Organ, The Constantines, The Hidden Cameras, The Dears, and Rheostatics to name only a few. I picked this CD up at Futureshop[of all places] for $9.99. Do yourself a favour and pick up a copy. And while you're at it check out Brave New Waves and CBC Radio 3 and expose yourself to music that'll change your life forever.

  • Sunday, July 25, 2004


  • photo from smoosh.comJust when you thought Nellie Mckay was so damned talented at the age of nineteen, now comes along Smoosh, two sisters Chloe (age 10) on drums and vocals and Asya (age 12) on keyboards and vocals, playing indie-rock that falls somewhere between Ben Folds and Death Cab For Cutie. The DCFC influence is not surpising since, DCFC's Jason McGerr was Chloe's drum teacher and convinced her to start playing with someone else in order to better understand the role of the instrument in a rock band. That 'someone' turned out to be Chloe's sister Asysa who herself had been composing her own songs on her keyboard, after having quit piano lessons. But after listening to some of their mp3's and also listening to some streaming KEXP performances from 2003 and 2004, I'm truly convinced that these girls will go on to bigger and better things. They've recently signed to record label Pattern 25 in the States and will be releasing their first full-length CD entitled "She Like Electric". For such young musicians, their musicianship is great, especially Asya's piano arrangements. Vocally, they still sound awkward, but just wait till they hit puberty. :-) [Thanks to hot out herre (blog post on Thursday, July 22, 2004) for pointing me in Smoosh's direction; also check out this article and this live review.]

  • Saturday, July 24, 2004

    A Message To You Rudy

  • Yesterday was a bittersweet day. On the one hand, I had a great time at my sister's fiancee's stag(well actually "gentlemen's" party yesterday); a lotta good Italian food, some poker and blackjack tables setup for those interested in playing[my bro' played and won almost $2oo bucks], a golf putting game, some lovely female hostesses selling raffle tickets for prizes at the end of the night, and an OPEN bar. Considering I don't play poker and I haven't played blackjack in ages, I decided upon the golf. There was a fee for each game and some of the money from the night would go to the groom. All for a good cause y'know. Anyway, my golf game sucked. And did I mention the lovely female hostesses? ;-) Hey, I even won one of the door prizes, albeit not the autographed Vince Carter basketball[with letter of authenticity] that I was hoping for. Oh well.

    On the other hand, I knew I'd be missing out on the Camera Obscura, Hidden Cameras, and Weakerthans shows that were all happening in Toronto yesterday. C'est la vie.

    Anyone interested in a ska revival? Ok maybe not, but revisiting those two-tone classics over the last couple of weeks or so have been awesome. I was never a fanatic about The Specials, The English Beat, Madness et al, and come to think of it my knowledge of those bands & such were pretty much limited to the 'hits'. The CD's below have been in high rotation in my car cd player, and make for some great summer music:

    Sound of Ska: 16 Black and White ClassicsVarious Artists - Sound of Ska: 16 Black and White Classics

    This is a budget priced CD which I picked up for about four bucks at Walmart a couple of years back. The only artists credited on the CD are Ranking Roger of The Beat, Pauline Black of The Selecter, and Bad Manners. I'm not sure why the bands themselves are not credited as the versions of such two-tone classics as "Mirror In The Bathroom" and "Hands Off She's Mine", for example, sound like they are the original English Beat versions. The two-tone ska medley at the beginning of the CD is also fun!

    International Beat - Dancehall RockersInternational Beat - Dancehall Rockers

    According to Ska-Online, International Beat were "formed in 1990 by ex-Beat members Everett Morgan and Saxa and featuring one time Ranking Roger as well at selected shows. Tony Beet is the guitarist/vocalist and songwriter for the band. They toured in the early 90's and also released a studio album called "The Hitting Line" (1991). Compilations of Studio tracks and live tracks are also released on CD." I've had this CD for a couple of years and it is also a budget priced CD I purchased for about five bucks at Walmart. It strays a litte from the ska formula, injecting a dance influence on tracks such as the remixed version of their cover of "I Fought The Law". On other tracks, such as the English Beat's "Hands off She's Mine", they stick closer to the traditional two-tone sound. Of note, is the great sax playing! The band carries on the great English Beat legacy and adds their own spin.

    The Specials - Too Much Too YoungSpecials, The - Too Much Too Young

    I recently purchased this budget-priced CD at Futureshop, and was quite impressed with it. It contains some singles like "A Message To You Rudy" and "Too Much To Young" but it's focus seems to be on album tracks such as the reggae-ish "Hey Little Rich Girl", the 50's-ish "Dawning of A New Era", the skanking "Enjoy Yourself", and the blistering "Do The Dog". Great companion to The Singles Collection, if you don't already own the individual albums.

    Nothing beats some two-tone ska on a beautiful summer day!

  • Wednesday, July 21, 2004

    Last Exit

    a little late in posting but...

  • concert review: Junior Boys @ Harbourfront(Toronto, Ontario) as part of Beats, Breaks and Culture: Toronto Electronic Music Festival, July 11, 2004

    Junior Boys @ Harbourfront(Toronto, Ontario) as part of Beats, Breaks and Culture: Toronto Electronic Music Festival, July 11, 2004: photo by Mike Ligon Playing the Toronto Star stage on a beautiful Sunday afternoon as part of Beats, Breaks and Culture: Toronto Electronic Music Festival, the mild-mannered gentlemen of Junior Boys looked younger in person than I had remembered seeing them in photos. There was a total Pet Shop Boys vibe going on with one of the guys on lead vocals and the other guy twiddling the knobs on a series of samplers(?) and keyboards. The vocalist also added some spare guitar arrangements to the fold and on one song both members played guitar. Their sound has definite electro-pop influences which reminded me of bands such as Pet Shop Boys and OMD, although Junior Boys had a more modern sound. One song added some lazy, echoe-y guitar work to nice effect and sort of reminded me of Portishead at one point. I wasn't quite enamored with the male vocals which in my opinion the music would benefit much better with a female voice a la bands like Zero 7 and Portishead. Not to lead you astray, the Junior Boys are not a trip-hop band but they do definitely take some influences from trip-hop on their slower songs. I don't know if the band benefited from performing in broad daylight. Under dim lighting with light effects the group might be more exciting to watch. The group still looked like they were working out their live performance legs but with time I think they'll grow into it. They're young. Considering all the exposure the group's getting in the UK, it's funny that they're from Hamilton, Ontario of all places. Otherwise, they're definitely a group worth checking out...btw, read the article from the Toronto Star which got me interested in checking out the band in the first place.[photos here.]

  • Tuesday, July 20, 2004

    Rock Star

  • concert review: N.E.R.D w/ Spymob and High Speed Scene @ Kool Haus(Toronto, Ontario), July 19, 2004

    N.E.R.D. @ Kool Haus(Toronto, Ontario) July 19, 2004: photo by Mike LigonMy bro and I got into the venue after getting a stern warning from one of the security girls to not use my digital camera to video record. Ummm, considering that my memory card was pretty full, I didn't think I'd be recording anything that night. Oh, and while patting me down she was quite touchy-feely with my front jean pockets, because I had my keys and camera in my front pockets...she did get quite 'close'...if you know what I mean. ;-)

    High Speed Scene were the first band up and my brother and I got in just after their set started. From what I heard, they were N.E.R.D.'s backing band on a previous tour. Their music falls in a sort of power-pop-punk vein along the lines of say American Hi-Fi. I wasn't terribly impressed but the kids seemed to like them. They played one song that had some interesting wiry guitar playing which was a welcome change of pace from their usual power-chord guitar strumming. Otherwise, I think the song which quoted the words "Taco Bell" hit the nail in the coffin for me and got me hoping for the next band to come on. Not my cup of tea, but I'm sure they have their fans. And I won't be surprised if they become the next MTV-buzz band of the moment.

    In between sets, my brother and I set out to find my cousin and his friends who were also going to be there. But really, Kool Haus is just too cavernous to find anyone unless you specify a meeting place. Lost cause [although later on in the night after Spymob's set, when my bro and I were standing near the bar, who walks up to us but my cousin and his friends who just got there].

    The next band up were Spymob. I kinda had high hopes for the band after checking out some song samples at their site. What figured most prominently in their music was the piano, which like Ben Folds, showed that piano could be quite rocking in its own right. The instrumentation[piano, bass, guitar, drums] was more than adequate, but I was somewhat disappointed with the live results...the songs were pleasant, if somewhat antiseptic-sounding, pop-rock with a slight r 'n' b edge. The one exception that I remember was the song "German Test Drive" which featured drum n' bass beats and some cool organ-sounding keyboard arrangements. They are a talented bunch of fellows and the song samples on their site make me want to like the band more...songs like "On Pilot Mountain" and "National Holiday" make me long for the days of Ben Folds Five[ok Ben Folds is still kicking around, and I'm really glad he is, but without the 'Five', there's definitely something missing]. They're one of those non-jazz bands that would in my opinion likely go over well at a jazz festival. Does that make any sense? I'll leave you to figure that one out, but maybe if you hear the song samples on their site, you'll get my drift.

    Just need to mention that this show was a 19+ show and there were an inordinate amount of young ladies[who likely just turned 19] who no doubt were hoping to catch a glimpse of Pharrell with his shirt off. Definitely a different crowd than I'm used to...b-boys, club kids, but also thrown in to the mix were your share of indie and rock kids. More concert audiences should be this beautifully mixed.

    And then N.E.R.D [minus Chad] took the stage with Spymob as their backing band. That was a total surprise. Not sure where Chad was, although I assumed he must have been sick or something. N.E.R.D. had a backdrop of a large photo of themselves plastered on the wall behind them and Pharrell and the boys proceeded to rock the mic for the next hour and a half. Mind you, I'm not that familiar with their music save for some of their videos I've seen on Muchmusic, but I was eagerly anticipating an interesting mix of rock and urban influences. N.E.R.D. played an irresistible mixture of rock, hip-hop, funk, soul, r'n'b, and pop that was at once accessible and edgy. Their music at times sort of reminded me of "Check Your Head"/"Ill Communication"-era Beastie Boys, but that was more of a starting point, as the boys slinkied their way through mellow soulful jams, then segued into more straight-ahead hip-hop joints, blasting through in-yer-face rockers and then jamming on some of Pharrell's solo hits like "Beautiful". Pharrell beatboxed and broke out the falsetto which were definite crowd-pleasers. Spymob, whose own set seemed lacklustre, seemed to have more energy and they shone during N.E.R.D's set. And for the ladies, Pharrell's shirt came off during the encore. Pharrell got the crowd into it, if somewhat crudely, with his cursing and middle finger gestures, but hey, it's only rock and roll. And I like it. Definitely one of the better headlining sets I've seen all year! [check out my photos here.]

  • Monday, July 19, 2004


  • There was a problem at the Photobucket site which was preventing me from uploading photos for the last 5 days or so but they seem to have fixed the problem. Maybe I can finally catch up on posting my reviews of Junior Boys @ Harbourfront, The Skydiggers with The Cash Brothers and Jenny Whiteley @ Yonge-Dundas Square and Atomic 7 @ Yonge-Dundas Square. In the mean time check out those photos here, here and here.

  • Had a chance to go down to Rotate This to pick up a ticket for the Trash Can Sinatras show at Lee's Palace on September 23, 2004. While I was there, I also picked up !!!'s "Louden Up Now" for $14.98 which also included a free bonus CD featuring some remixes.

  • Finally, I'm going to see N.E.R.D. tonight with my bro'. I'll let you know how it all goes.

  • Saturday, July 17, 2004

    Obscurity Knocks

    Just a couple of news items today:

  • Scottish popsters Trash Can Sinatras are coming to Toronto on September 23, 2004 for a show at Lee's Palace. Tickets are $13.50. Info from the Rotate This web site.

  • Portishead's Adrian Utley has collaborated on Marianne Faithfull's new CD "Before The Poison" which is due out this September. Info from the portisheadfans Yahoo group.

  • Friday, July 16, 2004


  • Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie @ Coachella 2004: photo by Mike LigonIt's Friday. I originally booked off today and Monday July 19, 2004, to possibly go to New York City over the weekend to go to the Siren Music Festival, featuring headliners Death Cab For Cutie and a slew of other good indie bands, and to do some sightseeing. I never got any friends on board for the trip because I was waiting for airfares to go down until as recently as last week. Well, I'm not going unfortunately, which is all the more a slap in the face now that airfares to New York City have recently gone down. I'm still taking today and Monday off. What else is there  to do this weekend now that I have a four day weekend? Well there's the Beaches Jazzfest this weekend. Otherwise, here's some news below:

    The Toronto Star reports that Toronto Bluesfest organizers aren't saying never with regards to organizing the festival in the future.

    Death Cab For Cutie will be performing "Title and Registration" on the "McEnroe Show" Tuesday, July 20. in John McEnroe. You'll need cable television. The show airs on CNBC at 10 pm and repeats at 1 am. Info from the official band site.

    Martha Stewart is going to jail. I think it's way too harsh. Five months locked up seems like a long time. On top of that she was also sentenced to five months of home confinement, as well as two years of probation. And as far as I've heard, she'll likely be going to a prison camp, not some luxurious spa. And once again, the American legal system boggles my mind.

    No Toronto date for the final Guided By Voices tour.

  • Thursday, July 15, 2004

    Yer Blues

  • The Black KeysI'm more than a little miffed at this recent trend: cancelling concert festivals due to poor ticket sales. First Lollapalooza was cancelled. Now The Toronto Bluesfest. I'm not sure how much they considered the fact that people might be purchasing tickets at the last moment. I hadn't made my mind up about what shows I'd be attending at The Toronto Bluesfest because on first glance, most of the artists that I was interested in were playing on different nights. I definitely had to think it over to decide whether I'd be purchasing individual day tickets or a weekend pass. But I would have definitely been going to at least one day. What's so frustrating is that they cancel the Bluesfest just days before it starts. I'm wondering about all the people outside of Toronto [and possibly the province, if not the country] who booked lodgings or bought plane tickets to fly in for the show. I'd really be pissed off if I were them. Considering the Bluesfest is young [the inaugural one being last year], I think organizers should have considered absorbing the loss and think about next year. It's weird though to read in today's Toronto Star the schedule for the festival considering it's now not happening. Guess it was too late to even print a retraction....All the more painful considering that The Black Keys  got the cover story for  the current issue of Eye,  and I was really hoping to see the band during the festival.

  • I may be going to the N.E.R.D. concert this Monday at the Kool Haus with my bro'. This is the closest I'll ever get to voluntarily going to see an r'n'b group. But then N.E.R.D. aren't quite r'n'b in the traditional sense of say Usher or whoever the kids listen to these days. At least N.E.R.D. have an [rock]edge to them that'll be sure to get the indie/alt rock fans out to the show.

  • From Eye concert announcements!: KING COBB STEELIE CD release w/ The Barmitzvah Brothers. Lee's Palace. $TBA. Aug 6.

  • For a band that's barely finished completing it's baby steps, it's strange that The Hives have re-released "Your New Favourite Band", albeit with a DVD including three of their videos. It reeks of opportunism,  considering the new Hives CD "Tyrannosaurus Hives" will be released in Canada this July 20, 2004. I already have the Burning Heart "Hang The VJ" DVD compilation which includes, I believe, the same videos as this new release. However, I think I'll still be buying this new one. As I remember reading on the CD packaging, there are also some live cuts and rare tracks, that hopefully make this purchase worthwhile. Pitchfork has a review.

  • Yahoo! has been pimping the new Resident Evil: Apocalypse movie. Canadian/Toronto fans, check out the trailer and a familiar Toronto landmark being blown up [no, not for real].

  • Tuesday, July 13, 2004

    Live In Toronto

    Hot damn, another great batch of tourdates:

  • Edge 102.1 FM will be having a pre-sale of tickets starting tomorrow at 4 pm EST, for the Sonic Youth show in Toronto on August 5, 2004 at Kool Haus. You need to be an Inside Edge member in order to gain access to link and password tomorrow.

  • According to the Guided By Voices site update on July 7/04, several new tour dates for September 2004(including Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.) have just been annouced and the rest of the dates will be posted July 16, 2004. I'm crossing my fingers for a Toronto date. The tour's been named THE ELECTRIFYING CONCLUSION TOUR, but as long as there's a Robert Pollard, GBV will live on. Po-tA-to, Po-tAW-to.

  • Jason Collett(of Broken Social Scene) will be bringing his alt-country tunes to the Rivoli on Wednesday July 21, 2004 as part of Umbrella Music Night. Cost is $8.00.

  • This isn't even posted on the band website, but according to the Toronto Bluesfest site, The Dears will be playing The Roots Stage @ 4:45 pm on July 24, 2004. There's a bunch of interesting artists that'll be playing over the course of the two weekend festival[The Black Keys, The Sadies, Cake, etc.], but I still gotta consider whether there's enough artists to deem it worthy to buy a weekend pass. Just looking at the schedule for July 24, 2004, there really aren't any other artists playing the festival that day that might even make it worthy to spend $20 or so for the day just to see The Dears play what'll likely be just over an hour set....Toronto Bluesfest is cancelled.

  • For some guitar-drums-bass instrumental goodness, check out Atomic 7 who play the El Mocambo in Toronto on Friday, July 30th, 2004. Read this great article on the band at Soul Shine Magazine.

  • controller.controller will be playing at Harbourfront on August 4, 2004 in the Brigantine Room as part of Masala! Mehndi! Masti! An Explosive South Asian Arts Festival, specifically the South Asian Alt-Rock Showcase. Cost is $5.00. There's also a batch of new controller.controller shows lined up for August in and around Ontario, the next closest show to me being the show in Hamilton on August 6, 2004 at The Underground. ...Hmmm, I may just go to both, which would then be the 4th and 5th times I've seen the band since I saw the band for the first time at last year's Pop Montreal festival. Can you say 'addictive'?

  • The Constantines finally provide an update on their site, reiterating tour dates that probably most of you already know, including the Olympic Island concert in Toronto on August 7, 2004 as well as a date on July 17, 2004 in New York City as part of the Siren Music Festival. I was hoping to make it down for this show with some friends, considering it was free, and it would have given me a chance to go sight-seeing in New York City, but the airfares now are f!*kin' more than what I paid to go to California in May. And since I would have only planned to be in New York City for 3-4 days, it doesn't seem justified to pay the horrendous airfares now. Maybe next year. Too bad because the Siren Music Festival lineup this year The Constantines recent update on July 11, 2004 also includes a link to the web site for Toronto band Ghost Story, who are quite interesting in their own right, playing a sort-of dreamy folky-country hybrid of instrumental music. They're on Toronto record label Blue Fog who are home also to The Unintended and Elevator. Song samples are included on the site...I'll forgive the fact that the guitar part at the beginning of "An Alley Through The Trees" sounds a bit like Radiohead's "Street Spirit". Otherwise, excellent music.

  • Monday, July 12, 2004

    We Are Floating In The Same White Space

  • still taken from short film 'Sweet Marie', courtesy of The Toronto StarThanks to Kenneth whose site provided the answer to my question regarding what the name of the song is in the current Toronto Star advertisement playing in movie theatres. [note: I came across Kenneth's site after perusing my Sitemeter records which included a Google referral searching the song's lyrics "We are floating in the same white space" and which results in my site as well as Kenneth's site coming up as matches in Google. Lo and behold, the answer to my question.] The song is called "White Space" and is by artist Jason Williams.

    Check out the full length version of the ad[short film] entitled "Sweet Marie" here [There are also other short films for your viewing pleasure.]

    The combination of music and video is achingly beautiful.

    All the more emphasized by brevity's words.

  • Sunday, July 11, 2004

    Summer In The City

  • The crowd at Yonge-Dundas Square, Celebrate Toronto Street Festival, July 11, 2004: photo by Mike LigonReviews and photos coming soon for the following:

    - Skydiggers with The Cash Brothers and Jenny Whiteley @ Yonge-Dundas Square(Toronto, Ontario) July 10, 2004 [part of Celebrate Toronto Street Festival]

    - Junior Boys @ Harbourfront (Toronto, Ontario) July 11, 2004 [part of Beats, Breaks and Culture: Toronto Electronic Music Festival]

    - Atomic 7 @ Yonge-Dundas Square(Toronto, Ontario) July 11, 2004 [part of Celebrate Toronto Street Festival]

    But for now, nap-py time.

  • Friday, July 09, 2004

    Pacific Theme

  • Broken Social Scene @ Coachella 2004: photo by Mike LigonIt's the Broken Social Scene edition.

    You've probably already heard the news but Broken Social Scene were added to the Olympic Island concert in Toronto on August 7, 2004, a bill that already includes the cream of Canada's crop like Sloan, Sam Roberts, Pilate, Death From Above, The Arcade Fire, Buck 65, The Constantines, and The Stills.

    I read at chromewaves today that Broken Social Scene will be playing a free concert at Harbourfront in Toronto on August 27, 2004, as part of the Gobsmacked festival. Freakin' awesome! Aren't Gobsmacked a band? ;-) Well the Harbourfront web site expresses Gobsmacked as "showcasing the tremendously unusual, strange, funny and unique coming out of the arts and beyond." I wonder what category Broken Social Scene fall under?

    I was perusing the Broken Social Scene forum[at the arts and crafts web site] today, and I came across two great links[one a download(in mp3 format) and the other streaming media]:

    1) Several weeks back or so, I had mentioned that some dude at the Broken Social Scene forum had posted a link to a live concert of the band in Ottawa from December 2002 and that he was planning to post a second live concert of the band in Ottawa from December 2003. Well, apparently he posted the link on June 30, 2004, but he chose to post it under a different topic, so I missed it the first couple times I checked the forum. But at least I found it. The quality of the current show is better than the first one. And I'm swooning to the live version of "Pacific Theme" which I've chosen as my official summer song[well actually, I'm just repeating something that I said back in May].

    2) I also came across a link to streaming video of the band performing "Anthem for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl" at a small venue in the Netherlands. Great video quality. It's a shame that more people hadn't show up.

  • Thursday, July 08, 2004

    They are trying to break my heart

  • photo courtesy of ...'Wilco why do you mock me?!'It's been a crazy couple of days waiting and trying to get tickets to the Wilco show in Toronto on August 3, 2004 at The Mod Club Theatre. And what do I have to show for it. Absolutely nothing.

    Edge 102.1 FM first announced that tickets would go on sale on Tuesday[July 6/04] of this week. So Tuesday morning, I'm checking, even calling Ticketmaster on the phone, and I find out that tickets have not been released. Why? Who the heck knows. Then that day, Wilco's web site says that tickets will first be available online through their web site on Wednesday[July 7/04]. So I check Wednesday, see the horrendous price including delivery fees and a total price which I had assumed was in U.S. dollars, and I decided to wait till Thursday when tickets would be available through Tickmaster as well as a small quantity of tickets available at Toronto indie record store, Rotate This.

    This morning, I'm all ready to check Ticketmaster at 10 am when tickets are suppose to go on sale. Mind you, I'm at work[I work in customer service within the provincial government] and about a quarter to 10 in the morning, I have to see a client who's come in to the office. I go about my job, talking to the client, and what have you. I walk back to my desk because I need to grab some forms or something for the client, I glance down at my watch, it's about ten after 10, and it hits me like a punch in the face: shit, I forgot about the Wilco tickets! I drop what I'm doing, log on to, enter my quantity of tickets[1], go through the word verification screen, [at this point, I was pretty confident I'd get a ticket] and my worst fears were confirmed: no tickets available. I think I went through the process about 10 times and nothing. I tried calling Ticketmaster by phone but I never got through. At one point, I accepted the fact that tickets were sold out, but I was pissed off that when I called Ticketmaster by phone, the damn message kept on saying 'for Wilco 5'. Why can't they f!*kin' change the message without having to rub it in my face? [I've lost all rationality at this point...I know they would have eventually changed the message.] On impulse, I drove down to Rotate This on my lunch break to see if they had tickets, and no such luck...apparently, according to a comment at chromewaves, there was a lineup there this morning. The two glimmers of hope are 1) getting tickets from scalpers and 2) the talk on the 20hz 'Wilco' message board that these tour dates, are only a warm up for a proper tour of bigger venues in the fall. Well let's hope that's true.

    Anything good come out of this experience? Not really, except for pop (all love) linking yesterday to the 20hz 'Wilco' message board [where I read all the drama and anxiety of fans 'trying' to get tickets] and I finally finding a replacement message board for The Secret Arcade Network [which basically tanked after they had gotten rid of the regional(eg. Toronto) message boards...what were they thinking?]...Oh and I finally bought my ticket for the Olympic Island concert featuring Sloan and others[hopefully I get some friends to go to], because ever since finding out Broken Social Scene's going to be there, no way am I going to miss that.

  • Tuesday, July 06, 2004

    Spins a Web

  • movie review: Spiderman II [2004]

    Spiderman II - 'Street' posterIt's nice to go into a film with high expectations and come out fully satisfied. It's rare these days, but Spiderman II succeeds in spades. Starring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spiderman, Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane, Alfred Molina as Doc Ock/Dr. Otto Octavius, the film's first act smartly chooses to focus on the human element: primarily Peter Parker fighting his demons[the internal conflict of whether he should be Spiderman or just be Peter Parker] and maybe more importantly how he handles the relationships(in particular with Mary Jane) around him. This focus made the film a much more darker film, along the lines of Batman, than the first Spiderman. Spiderman II has it's share of cool action sequences, that although CGI created, are, at least in my opinion, very fluid and natural looking. Doc Ock, in full transformation, was much more visually satisfying than the Green Goblin in the first film, who in comparison seemed like a guy with a mask on[well come to think of it, that's basically what the Green Goblin was]. A major plus for families, and for which I was quite surprised was that considering some of the fight sequences, and the potential for bloody results, the film did not show any graphic violence. There are satisfying moments in the plot, especially in the last act of the film, which at first seem to pander to the wishes of the audience. However, reading that the film stays fairly true to the comic, I'm more inclined to think that director Sam Raimi and the film's writers, did a fine job of bringing to life the plot of the comic. Tobey Maguire displayed an appealing vulnerability in Peter Parker. Kirsten Dunst portrayed Mary Jane, the damsel-in-distress/love interest, competently. Alfred Molina approached Doc Ock/Dr. Otto Octavius with subtlety yet personality that was somewhat lacking in Willem Dafoe's slightly over-the-top performance of the Green Goblin in the first film. There's a nice setup at the end which leaves the series open to a third installment and I'm looking forward to number 3!

  • As reported by Billboard, Rhino continues it's Elvis Costello reissues series with reissues of 1981's "Almost Blue",1984's "Goodbye Cruel World" and 1995's "Kojak Variety" on August 3, 2004, and each will include as usual "a full second disc of live cuts, B-sides, alternate takes and demo recordings".

  • Launch reports that the new Libertines album was leaked over the weekend on the net, likely by a music industry insider who had an advanced copy of the disc. I'm quite a late-comer to The Libertines bandwagon, but I just got their debut "Up The Bracket" several weeks ago and it's an absolutley stupendous record: melodic, punky, ramshackle, rough-hewn, raw, and by my first impressions coming across like a combination of The Clash(considering it was produced by Mick Jones), The Undertones(at least vocally), and The Jam.

  • A Shot In The Arm, Part II

  • Those w-ascaly Wilco guys changed the Toronto on-sale date to Wednesday at noon. So tomorrow... Hopefully they also changed the price of the tickets.

  • Monday, July 05, 2004

    Radio Radio

  • The new issue of Exclaim has an article about indie music going corporate, a specific example centering on the emergence of L.A. radio station Indie 103.1 FM. My friend and I were in California this past May, specifically to go to Coachella, but also to visit San Diego and Los Angeles, and during our first night in Los Angeles(the day before Coachella), while driving around Hollywood and Mulholland Drive, we came upon this totally wicked radio station Indie 103.1 FM which had the balls to play Iggy Pop's "Nightclubbing" back to back with Loretta Lynn's duet with Jack White, "Portland, Oregeon". I was quite enamored with the format and I wished Toronto had an equivalent. Maybe back in the good ole days of CFNY(now Edge 102.1), Toronto came close, but now the radio station is just a pale imitation of what it used to be. If you're ever in L.A., check out 103.1 FM on your radio dial.

  • A Shot In The Arm

  • Just heard on Edge 102.1 that Wilco tickets for the Toronto show at The Mod Club on Tuesday August 3, 2004, go on sale tomorrow at Ticketmaster for around $35.00. A little steep, but I'm still going to try buying a ticket. I hope that it's worth it.

  • Sunday, July 04, 2004

    This is a Broadcast

  • The Dears [circa 2004]According to a news update dated June 28, 2004 at the The Dears site, the band has signed to record label Bella Union who by the looks of the label site are a British label whose roster includes the likes of Sing Sing, Dirty Three, Cocteau Twins and Robin Guthrie. There are also a bunch of other artists on the label who I'm not familiar with. What this signing might hold we shall see. The Dears are already signed to Maple Music in Canada so I'm thinking the Bella Union signing will have to do more with international distribution. According to The Dears site, the first single will be released late summer, with a handful of tourdates[Canadian?] to follow as well as the release of the new album in the fall!

  • The new King Cobb Steelie record "Destroy All Codes Now" should be released July 20. Hopefully the release date will not be pushed back further.

  • Great new Canadian band, Uncut, are in the midst of redesigning their website, so check back often. And they even included a little blurb of mine from my blog on their 'Press' page. How nice of them!

  • So I just saw Spiderman II yesterday and was mightily impressed. A more thoughtout review should follow tomorrow hopefully. In the meantime, I'm reminded of one of the commercials that the theatres have been playing recently before the main feature starts. In particular, I'm thinking of the ad for The Toronto Star which features two characters, a guy and a girl, no dialogue, and shows the parallels within their lives, waking up, eating breakfast, reading the paper, what-have-you, and then both of them happening to be at the same bus stop. It's quite a creatively subtle advertisement and in particular, I was enamored with the song that was playing in the background, sort of a lazy, Red-House-Painters-ish song featuring the lyrics along the lines of "We are floating in the same white space"[for the record, I know it's not Spiritualized's "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space"]. I can't seem to find any info on the web of what the name of this song is. So before I go e-mailing The Toronto Star, can anyone else tip me off? Thanks.

  • MP3: If you're a Gene fan like I am, the You'll Never Walk Again fansite has started posting a couple of tracks of the Gene bootleg 'Stars In Their Eyes'. The site will be posting a couple of tracks per week. Who said brit-pop was dead?

  • Saturday, July 03, 2004

    The New Deal

  • concert review: The New Deal @ Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto Jazz Festival, July 1, 2004

    keyboardist of The New Deal @ Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto Jazz Festival, July 1, 2004: photo by Mike LigonSo I did end up seeing The New Deal on Canada Day who were playing at Nathan Phillips Square as part of the Toronto Jazz Festival. [Luckily they were selling tickets at the Square.] I've got my share of dance-influenced CD's in my music collection ranging from The Chemical Brothers, to drum n' bass, to turntablist[DJ Shadow], to more low-key non-dancey trip hop artists like Portishead and Massive Attack. However, I don't think I've ever been passionate about dance music. Only with recent arrivals from the likes of !!! [chk chk chk], The Rapture, and one of my current fave's controller.controller, has 'dance' music become exciting for me again. The New Deal are closer in sound to the traditional sound of dance music with influences ranging from house, hip-hop, funk, soul, jazz and rock. The live instrumentation is what sets them apart. I've generally heard good things about the band and seeing them live has always escaped me but as the drummer/spokesperson of the band said, that show was a homecoming for the band as they hadn't been playing live for 6 months, so there was an energy with the band, as well as the audience, which created a great vibe in the room.

    drummer of The New Deal @ Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto Jazz Festival, July 1, 2004: photo by Mike LigonMusically, the band encompassed many styles and incorporated some creative musical techniques. The keyboardist sat behind a series of keyboards, samplers and electronic do-dads and was able to incorporate some funky keyboard jams, some playful melodies, and other creative sounds into the fold. The bassist was good but also the most conventional of the bunch. The drummer was the guiding force of the music; depending on direction of the drumming and percussion, for example, whether it was a funky beat, a driving, more 'house' oriented beat, or it was a slow groove, the music followed suit. The drummer's human beat box was a great addition on several tracks. What was surprising, for me at least, was the lack of guitar for most of the set. Later on in the set, maybe to satisfy some of the jazz audience, the band brought on a guest jazz guitarist, who I believe they said was a friend of theirs from Montreal.bassist of The New Deal @ Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto Jazz Festival, July 1, 2004: photo by Mike Ligon He lay down some great jazz licks from which the band incorporated their own groove-jazz instrumentation. The band also had a great guest vocalist on one song [which I now come to think of it is probably the song I saw a music video for on Bravo] which was a great track musically along the lines of Zero 7. In particular, it was fun to see how the band communicated to each other from across the stage, mouthing words and using hand signals, which I assumed they were determining the direction of the music as they went along.

    I was lucky enough to get a fairly good view of the stage up front, slightly off center and it was great to see everyone up front dancing. Hey, I even managed to bust a move, however modest, for most of the evening. By my guess, it was a just over two hour set, and an exhilirating one at that. Oh Canada! [check out my photos here.]

    ps. bonus points for the amazing light show effects!

  • Thursday, July 01, 2004

    She's My Clonie

  • concert review: Nellie Mckay w/ Jill Barber @ Lee's Palace (Toronto, Ontario), June 30, 2004

    Nellie Mckay @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, ON) June 30, 2004: photo taken by Mike LigonI'll forgo the "Whoa! Nellie" captions. [God knows how many articles about the wonderful Nellie Mckay have used that title]. However apropo that title might be, there's so much other things I can say about her. Talented. Quirky. Creative. Funny. Charming. Honest. Edgy. Modest. Thoughtful. Political. Attractive. [ok I had to slip that one in. ;-) ]

    A last minute decision had me scooting down to Lee's Palace in Toronto to catch the Nellie Mckay show with local opener Jill Barber. I only caught the last two songs of Jill Barber's performance. The last song in particular was pretty. Based on two songs, I'm not sure I'm convinced she adds anything unique to the female singer-songwriter vocals-acoustic-guitar genre but I really liked that last song. The crowd, however subdued during her performance, gave her an appreciative response. I'll likely track down her CD in the future [she was selling CD's yesterday, but by the time I got to the merch table they had already packed up, and I didn't bother asking anyone since Nellie was preparing to sign autographs at the table.]

    Nellie is full of contradictions. Nellie Mckay's young age[I think she's 19 years old] constantly comes up in the press, but it's funny that when she made her entrance onto the dimly lit stage at Lee's Palace, dressed in what I believe was a Chinese-style red dress, with her blond hair casually pinned up, she came off more womanly and wordly than I would have ever expected. Further, her stage presence was so natural that it felt like she was an old soul that had be performing for much longer than the 2 years or so she's likely been performing these songs. Nellie performed songs off her debut "Get Away From Me" including favourites like the "The Dog Song", "Sari", "I Wanna Get Married", and, during one of the encores, "David". There was a hushness amongst the audience, especially during the quiter songs, which I don't think I've EVER experienced before. For once, the WHOLE audience was attentive and refrained from talking during the set. It was a beautiful thing. However quirky her lyrics might be, I'm still off-put when people laugh constantly. For example, the song "I Wanna Get Married" is full of references to Leave It To Beaver, The Brady Bunch, Danielle Steele, and women being housewives, and I can see the bite that Nellie's trying to take out of the issue of women(and specifically housewives) as subservient beings, but the song had such a lovely hush melody, that I found laughing out loud somewhat inappropriate. I can forgive a chuckle here and there, and I am more inclined to smile than anything else, but she's not Weird Al. I hope people don't take her as a novelty act because she's far from it.

    Nellie brought our her great falsetto on a song about gay marriage. She was also willing to take chances(and maybe make mistakes like forgetting lyrics) on songs she hadn't performed in months. Nellie made reference that at least she didn't use a teleprompter like Lou Reed. :-) Another hightlight of the night included the audience sing-along at the end of the night when she divided the audience into 3 sections and attempted to get us harmonizing vocal arrangements. I'm glad I was in the third section because the second section vocal arrangement was a little bit out of my range [not that I'm a great singer to begin with]. On the whole, the audience got into singing their parts, at least for a minute or two, before the whole thing collapsed, due in part to Nellie complicating things by getting us to do certain physical movements/dance steps like 'wiping a tear from our eye' and rythmically stomping our feet. :-) Oh well, the whole thing went to shit, but it was fun!

    Nellie mentioned during that night that she just played Carnegie Hall. She's a class act and she'll probably move on from bars to bigger venues in the future, so I'm glad to have seen her in a small venue.[check out my photos.]

  • Happy Canada Day! No big plans, but I may go see The New Deal at Nathan Phillips Square tonight. We'll see.