Thursday, December 30, 2004


The Cult The National Post comments on and interviews some Canadian music luminaries about how one's first concert can be a life-changing event. For me, my first real concert was The Cult who played the Skydome in the late 80's, on tour for their album "Sonic Temple". I remember going with a bunch of friends from highschool, taking the GO Train downtown, then finding out that our seats were practically FRONT ROW, and of course, I didn't have any earplugs. Regardless, I had the best time in my life, even if my ears were ringing for the next day or so. Since then I've grown out of The Cult's music. It hasn't aged well and/or kept in tune with my musical tastes, although in retrospect, I think I could still enjoy "Electric" . Still, that concert was a defining moment in my life and one I'll never forget. [photo from http://../]

eye gets in on the top 10 list trend with its Class of 2004 issue. Oh heck, check out the issue yourself. Too many links, and not just music either.

Liz at Excellent Online has posted quite a thoughtful list of her favourite songs of 2004...or as she puts it her "A to Y of 2004 in 99 songs (or 6 hours, 11 minutes and 41 seconds of pure melody)". Now if I only had an iPod.

I'm going skiing today!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

House of Flying Daggers

  • movie review: House of Flying Daggers [2004]

    Zhang Ziyi in House of Flying DaggersThis film snuck up on me. I didn't even know about it until I read an article about Zhang Zhiyi in NOW a couple of weeks ago so I went to see House of Flying Daggers with some friends yesterday. The obvious similarities to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero are apparent. It's visually breathtaking in its cinematography, especially the panoramic views of the landscapes. The transfer to film seemed almost unusually sharp and distinct which made everything even more pleasant to watch. Storywise, its a little more direct than either Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Hero, forgoing the grander scale of either of those movies for a more simple, personal story. House of Flying Daggers was a little closer visually to Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon, with a natural yet beautiful look that forgoed the more expressionistic visual tone of Hero. Zhang Ziyi was so spectacularly beautiful in the film and she showed a more subtle touch to her acting than in previous roles that was really nice to watch. She plays a blind showgirl and at the beginning of the film we were treated to a spectacular exhibition of her dance/martial arts moves. There were enough martial arts scenes to keep pace with the film. Interestingly, I think it was the underlying simplicity of the story that kept the action sequences from becoming boring. In retrospect, I think this was probably why I didn't enjoy Hero as much; Hero was a little more bogged down in pedantic use of plot twists that complicated matters and grew slightly tiresome. There's some cliched moments at the end but otherwise it was a really enjoyable film to watch. [photo from http://../]

  • With daily music reviews on hiatus until January 3, PopMatters offers some more year-end lists from some of its editors and music writers to tide you over. You asked for more lists, well you got 'em.

  • In the wake of the Earthquake/Tsunami disaster in Asia, Torontoist has compiled a list of Canadian-related news stories and links, as well as agencies where donations can be made.

  • My Indie World has been posting his Top 37 albums of 2004 in instalments and up to now has posted parts one and two. Fans of girl-pop and The O.C. should take note. [So I don't watch The O.C., but they have a wicked soundtrack!]

  • Largehearted Boy points towards a torrent of a Sloan performance at Muchmusic from 1998.

  • Monday, December 27, 2004

    Counting Your Blessings

  • Laura PeekWhile doing a Google search for info on City Field, I came across the just-launched Just Friends Records site. The independent label is based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia and features the following artists: The Sweet Tenders(rock n' roll), Brent Randall and His Pinecones(psychedelic, keyboard-driven easy pop/rock), The Maughams(doo-wop pop rock), The Tragedies(Flaming Lips-inspired pop/rock) and Laura Peek and the Winning Hearts(indie-pop). So you ask what's the City Field connection? Well, City Fields' drummer and bassist, Dave Eweison and Brent Randall respectively, also help run Just Friends Records. Aside from Just Friends Records and City Field duties, Dave and Brent also play in The Sweet Tenders, Laura Peek and the Winning Hearts, and Brent Randall and His Pinecones [well, duh!]. There's some good indie music coming out of Just Friends Records and the cross-polination of band members reminds me of the good ol' Murderecords days. I'm gonna be keeping an ear on 'em this coming year, if not in anticipation of the release of the City Field album which I'd assume they'll have a hand in. And yet another example of why Canadian music rules![photo from http://../]

  • So while many of us are caught up in the post-Christmas, Boxing Day Week buzz, it's really easy to overlook that on the other side of the world there's been a tragedy of epic proportions. The Earthquake/Tsunami in Asia has been so devastating to the affected region(Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malayasia), that with all the things I'd like to complain of in my own life(and we won't get into those), I'm just counting my blessings at the moment. So if deciding what to do on New Year's Eve was the most important thing on your to-do list this week, how 'bout making a donation to help out those in disaster-stricken Asia. I was watching Pulse24 today and they recommended making a donation to The Canadian Red Cross or World Vision. Mint Records[see the recent news update] has taken some time to post some links to sites who are receiving donations for those affected by the tsunami and they've also posted links to sites to make donations regarding problems closer to home(homelessness and shelters for battered women). And while you're over at Mint Records check out more top 10 music lists from The Smugglers' Grant Lawrence, young and sexy's Brent, and John Guliak, as well as The Buttless Chaps' Morgan's top ten soups?!

  • Stylus posts its top 40 list of the Worst Albums of 2004. Har, de har, har.

  • It was a good Christmas for me all around, if not for family, food and frolic. Ok maybe not frolic...more like relaxation. And I did get some cool things including a coffee-maker(yes, I love my coffee!), as well as the Elf DVD, Pistol Opera DVD and The White Stripes' "Under The Blackpool Lights" live DVD. Boxing Day netted me used copies of Pulp's "Countdown 1992-1983" , The Be Good Tanyas' "Chinatown", Northern State's "All City", Petra Haden & Bill Frisell 's colloborative effort CD, and The Marble Index's debut CD. My cd collection's getting out of control, to say the least.

  • Sunday, December 26, 2004

    The Bandwagon Effect

  • Foxymoron makes some interesting commentary about the role of music critics and the effect on their readers' music choices. In particular, she takes the example of The Arcade Fire and their album "Funeral" which has been granted an extraordinary amount of praise by the music media. I'm inclined to agree that music publications(both print and Internet) such as Magnet, Exclaim, Pitchfork and PopMatters, have an undeniable influence on my music purchases. As a consumer with only limited resources(time, money, etc...), I've come to rely and trust certain music publications to help me choose new music to research, seek out and eventually purchase. So in the end maybe it seems like everyone's jumping on The Arcade Fire bandwagon(or even the Feist bandwagon) but the undeniable fact is that the word of mouth on great albums will spread like wildfire. Go to Foxymoron's site and voice your 2 cents on the issue. Or as Coffee Talk Lady might say, "discuss". [photo from http://../]

  • Ben Rayner of The Toronto Star lists his favourite concerts of 2004.

  • I'm already starting to miss Largehearted Boy's old site design. Agree or disagree? And what of the LHB logo we've all come to love?

  • Friday, December 24, 2004

    Everyday Is Like A Holiday (With You)

    Well, I decided to put together a Christmas music mix at the last minute. I think I've put together a thoroughly enjoyable if not unconventional holiday mix. Since I don't have any hosting space for mp3's I've linked to various other sites(other bloggers' sites, artists' sites, etc...) where you can download some of the songs. Please be kind and pay those other sites a visit. ...So, the Esthero song isn't really a Christmas song but I think it's more than appropriate. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Enjoy!

      A Christmas Story dialogue excerpt - (red ryder)
      The Raveonettes - The Christmas Song
      Esthero - Everyday Is Like A Holiday (With You)
      Mel Tormé - The Christmas Song (Michael Kessler Open Fire Mix)
      Death Cab For Cutie - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
      Old 97's - I'll Be Home For Christmas
      Coldplay - 2000 Miles
      Tom Jones f. Cerys Matthews (Catatonia) - Baby It's Cold Outside [see rocksnob's blogpost on 18-12-2004]
      Bright Eyes - Blue Christmas
      Velocity Girl - Merry Xmas I Love You
      My Morning Jacket - Xmas Time Is Here Again
      Sufjan Stevens - O Come, O Come Emmanuel
      The Cocteau Twins - Winter Wonderland [see mp3 update 20-12-2004]
      Badly Drawn Boy - Donna and Blitzen
      Dean and Britta with Sonic Boom - old toy trains
      Snow Patrol - When I Get Home For Christmas
      The Wandering Step - Christmas At My House
      snowden - white_christmas [link from Gothamist]
      The Walkmen - christmas_party
      Aimee Mann and Michael Penn - christmastime
      The Ramones - Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)
      Zumpano - The Mods of Christmastown
      The Fall - Peel #18 - Hark The Herald Angels Sing
      Lisa Ono - Silent Night

    Thursday, December 23, 2004

    Happy Festivus!

    A Festivus for the rest of us!Happy Festivus! [link from Zoilus]

    Stereogum's posted his Top 14 CD's of 2004 and as a treat to us all has provided mp3 downloads...of songs that are NOT on the albums.

    NOW's top Toronto discs of 2004.

    eye compiles its list of the top concerts of 2004.

    The Brampton Indie Arts Festival 2005 will feature performances by Cuff The Duke and Ron Sexsmith! [from 20hz]

    If "I, Robot", "The Matrix" and "The Terminator" have taught us anything, it's that robots will soon take over. And this is only the beginning. ;-) [link from Shift]

    Wednesday, December 22, 2004

    Float On

    'And we'll all float on, ok' - Modest MouseTiny Mix Tapes gets all list-y on us with its own top 25 albums of 2004 list. Further yet they compile a second list called TMT B-Sides that are favourites of the TMT staff as well, but which lean more towards the experimental side of things. Check out the right side bar at Tiny Mix Tapes as well for some year-end articles and links to individual staff lists which should more than tide one over with reading material for the holidays. Merry Christmas Tiny Mix Tapes!

    Further music-reading material to tide you over the holidays. The latest e-issue[#20] of Sponic Zine is now up. Alot of good music reading including 2004 top 10 lists, and articles on The Arcade Fire and Saturday Looks Good To Me.

    The Big Ticket's #17 song pick of 2004 is Modest Mouse's "Float On" which just happens to be my favourite song of 2004. The part when the band sings "Don't worry even if things get a bit too heavy, we'll all float on, alright" is so glorious, and the way the song sort of marches along at that point makes me giddy. If anything, I always feel good after listening to it. [photo above from http://../]

    Foxymoron has posted her list of her 5 favourite music releases of 2004.

    chartattack staff pick their favourite music releases of 2004.

    Pitchfork's top reissues, singles and albums of 2004.

    CBC Radio 3 presents the top 20 of 2004 music picks of New Music Canada, all dressed up with streaming audio of songs from each of its album picks. The list includes a couple of my favourite songs of 2004: The Organ's "Memorize The City" and controller.controller's "Disco Blackout".

    There's a brief interview with The Organ over at chartattack.

    Newly posted interview with Mr. Sondre Lerche over at three imaginary girls.

    Check out the second instalment of popMatters' look at music shopping. [or read part one]

    Greg Dulli discusses with Maxim the art of covering other artists' songs. [from Summer's Kiss] gets into the holiday mood with a free x'mas mp3 download of a christmas song[see December 22/04 news update] called "Old Toy Trains" performed by Dean Wareham, Britta Phillips and Sonic Boom.

    A Christmas message from Coldplay. [from rocksnob (see blogpost dated 22-12-2004)]

    A special e-card for the holidays from Ben Lee and New West Records. The song playing during the e-card is called "Catch The Disease" and is totally charming.

    24 hours of A Christmas Story on TBS starting this Friday at 8 pm EST / 7 pm central. What could be a better way to spend Christmas Eve than that?

    'Scared of Santa' photo gallery. Priceless. ;-) [from kingblind]

    Tuesday, December 21, 2004

    My Top 5 Canadian Albums of 2004

    So here is my original submission for Aaron's(of pop(all love)) poll of some local Canadian music bloggers and journalists of our Top 5 Canadian Albums of 2004. Ok, so I cheated and included a couple of e.p.'s. Also, I must admit that I only recently purchased Stars' "Set Yourself On Fire", Arcade Fire's "Funeral" and Junior Boys' "Last Exit", which would have all made my top 5 list had I been polled later on. But for fairness sake, I'm only considering those CD's I've had a sufficient amount of time to absorb over the last year. And my picks are(drumroll please):

    controller.controller - Historycontroller.controller
    History (ep)
    What can I say? I've seen 'em live more than any other band this year and they never fail to rock the crowd. This e.p. is only a teaser and they mentioned at their Hamilton[ON] show recently that they should be releasing an album this coming March. Woot!
    The Organ - Grab That GunThe Organ
    Grab That Gun
    Wonderful all-girl band from Vancouver, BC whose debut album is chock full of catchy post-punk pop tunes that harken back to the days of The Smiths. The lead vocals are decidely stark and distinct and the melodies are utterly infectious.
    Feist - Let It DieFeist
    Let It Die
    Feist is crazy, sexy, cool and she can do no wrong. My biggest regret this year was missing her recent show at the Phoenix in Toronto. Until next time, I only have my recollections of her all-too-brief NXNE set this year.
    Sarah Harmer - Let It DieSarah Harmer
    All Of Our Names
    Somehow, this album seems to have been forgotten in everyone's year-end lists. Maybe not as immediately grabbing as Ms. Harmer's debut, her sophmore album has grown on me over the months, and repeated listenings have definitely revealed a wealth of beautiful melodies.
    City Field - Authentic CityCity Field
    Authentic City (ep)
    This is definitely the dark horse of this list. Matt Murphy(of The Super Friendz and The Flashing Lights) has recruited some Haligonian friends and formed this new band whose e.p. is a wonderful set of tunes with echoes of pop, post-punk, country and glam. Schizophrenic? Maybe. Fun? Totally. [for further info read my previous blurb on the band]

    Honourable Mentions:

  • Uncut - "Those Who Were Hung Hang Here" (just barely missed my top 5)

  • The Hidden Cameras - "Mississauga Goddam"

  • King Cobb Steelie - "Destroy All Codes"

  • Lal - "Warm Belly High Power"

  • Pony Up/Ben Lee - split 7"

  • Death From Above 1979 - "You're a woman, I'm a machine"

  • The Heavy Blinkers - "The Night And I are still so young"

  • Monday, December 20, 2004

    Soft Revolution

  • concert review: Stars w/ Chad Vangaalen @ The Mod Club Theatre (Toronto, Ontario), December 20, 2004

    Stars @ The Mod Club Theatre (Toronto, Ontario), December 20, 2004: photo by Mike LigonI could kill my friend for making me walk out of Stars' set at the El Mocambo during Canadian Music Week in early 2003. Stars were only starting to make a name for themself at the time and its exciting to see how far they've come since then. So did I luck out and attend the BETTER of the two Stars' shows at The Mod Club? chromewaves, Mishie, pop (all love) and (another)Brian all went to the Saturday night show and had a good time as I've read. At least according to Foxymoron and SHOT who both went to both the Saturday and Sunday night Stars' shows, the Sunday night ALL-AGES show surprisingly turned out to be the better of the two. Yes, Sunday night was great, awesome, lovely and I'm glad I went that night. The band had a lovely string section who sounded wonderful but unfortunately my view of them was blocked by the keyboards. Otherwise I had a great view of the band almost right up front. When Torquil pulled up that little girl on stage(who I coincidentally had let her and her father go to the front of the stage in front of me so that she could get a better view; yes how nice of me) and announced that "This is rock n' roll", that was the cutest thing ever.

    I must say that Torquil just oozed charisma. He has that sort of dry voice that's smooth, dapper, cool all at the same time. On the other side, Amy's gorgeous girl-ish vocals were very beguiling. Instrumentally, the band sounded great, easily making the transition between their indie/chamber pop tunes like "Calendar Girl" and "Heart" and their more rockin' songs like "Ageless Beauty". On "Elevator Love Letter", the band turned up the guitars a tad and the electro-pop influence was kind of buried a bit, but nonetheless the melodies on the song shone through. Evan on bass was utterly cool wearing that chapeau of his and his basslines were really distinct and audible. Chris' keyboards were lovely and nice, albeit a little harsh sounding. (Did anyone think that the keyboard sound was mixed a little too high in the mix? Or maybe it's because I was standing right in front of the keyboards.) During the encore, "Death To Death" ventured into jammy territory as drummer Pat McGee let loose with some improvised rhythms. Oh, and the band also had an additional guitarist with them who filled out the sound quite nicely. Someone in the audience yelled out at the start of the encore for them to play their cover of "This Charming Man" but unfortunately the band didn't play it. Torquil did say that The Smiths were the "best fuckin' band ever", however. (ok, I might have imagined him saying "fuckin", but then maybe not.)

    Ultimately, I most enjoyed seeing the crushworthy Amy Millan bust out those dance moves and having a fun time on stage. Whether Sunday night was the better of the two shows is a matter of opinion, but otherwise it was a good time all around.

    Opener Chad Vangaalen got things going at the beginning, playing as part of a trio, with other members on drums and bass guitar. Chad, on guitar, vocals and harmonica, along with his band, played a set of stripped down indie rock tunes that reminded me of Unrest and the Pixies. There were some nice melodies and the drummer frequently achieved a groove which kept the songs from getting boring. In certain respects, their sound's so 1995. I don't think the crowd was necessarily into 'em as I could tell by the chatter but I'm sure the band would go over well with the indie-rock fans in a smaller venue like the Horseshoe.

    [photos from the show]

  • Aaron at pop (all love) has posted the final tally of the poll he took amongst some local music bloggers(myself included) and journalists of our Top 5 Canadian albums of 2004. Yes, I was the person who included City Field's "Authentic City" E.P. in my top 5, although in retrospect I might have knocked it down a few notches had I bought Stars' "Set Yourself On Fire", The Arcade Fire's "Funeral" and Junior Boys' "Last Exit" earlier. Still, City Field are terrific and they should hopefully be releasing an album in the new year. City Field is the new band formed by Matt Murphy of Super Friendz and Flashing Lights fame. So if anyone's interested, I'll be posting my submission to Aaron's poll tomorrow hopefully.

  • If you can't be bothered with torrents(and it might just be as well since Chromewaves says torrent sites are dropping like flies), Largehearted Boy has come through again with a link to mp3's of The Arcade Fire's CBC Radio 3 session from October 2, 2004.

    There's a new Arcade Fire message board also. [from broken telephone]

  • popMatters begins its first of two instalments on music shopping[the second instalment follows this Wednesday]. First there was the 'death' of vinyl and cassette tapes. Now with the advent of the iPod, the CD could succumb to the same demise. I think portable MP3 devices as well as the CD both have their own niche of the music-buying market. I'm still a firm believer of the CD. It starts and it finishes and it's interesting to hear songs within the context of the album. Don't get me wrong; I'd like to get an iPod primarily for the convenience factor of not having to lug around a tonne of CD's. However, I prefer the tangible qualities of the CD such as being able to read the liner notes as well being able to appreciate the artwork of the sleeve.

  • Shot reports that PJ Harvey has quit playing live shows. Huh?! Soul Shine Magazine and chartattack are reporting the same thing. Say it ain't so! At least I got to see PJ Harvey live once(at The Phoenix in Toronto in October). And yes, that was my favourite show of 2004 by far.

  • Pony Up! news! The Montreal gals just came back home from touring and are taking a rest before going on tour again in the new year. Their e.p. will be coming out on January 25, 2005.

  • More and more Top 10 albums of 2004 lists over at 20hz.

  • I've practically done all my x'mas shopping, with several days to spare. I fuckin' rule.

  • Sunday, December 19, 2004


    concert review: controller.controller w/ Uncut, Read Yellow, Sailboats Are White @ The Underground(Hamilton, Ontario), December 17, 2004

    controller.controller @ The Underground(Hamilton, Ontario), December 17, 2004: photo by Mike LigonI decided to drive down the road from Mississauga to Hamilton to check out the show yesterday evening. (All the cool kids were at the Stars show at The Mod Club yesterday, but never fear, I had my ticket for the all-ages version tonight. Review to follow.) It's funny that the only time I remember being in Hamilton was back in high school for a track meet at McMaster University. And I haven't gone back since. I pulled up the driving directions from yesterday then drove down to the show. Hamilton's got an interesting downtown, all dolled up for the Christmas season with the lights and all. All the oneway streets that the downtown had reminded me alot of Montreal. It's an interesting downtown that seemed much more wordly than the dirty old steel town that I usually think of Hamilton. It was kind of a pain in the butt navigating the streets but after a little while I got the hang of it. I found the venue in no time and parked my car in front of the police station down the road. The Underground is as it is named; you walk into the entrance of the venue and walk down a flight of stairs to the place. It's your typical dimly-lit place comparable to say the Horsehoe Tavern in Toronto, although with a smaller bar and without all the chairs and tables. There's a slightly elevated stage with a red curtain adorning the back of the stage.

    I'd only walked in at the beginning of Read Yellow's set. As the lead singer had mentioned, they're from Massachusetts. There were echoes of Fugazi in their music, especially the vocals. That's not quite my thing these days although I appreciated them for the music they played. Subtle melodies had a way of creeping to the surface during their songs and I liked the call-and-response vocal arrangements between the lead singer and guitarist. The lead singer jumped out onto the floor singing with great vigor as he walked around the spectatators and back onto the stage.

    I'll skip any formal reviews of Uncut's and controller.controller's sets. I've seen Uncut twice now and controller.controller... well I've lost count. They both put on great sets but I do got to mention that the Hamilton crowd was much more enthusiastic than any of the Toronto shows that I've seen those bands play for. What is it with Toronto music fans? Why is it that you almost have to light a fuckin' fire under their ass before you can get them to move their ass or even bob their head at a show? controller.controller's own enthusiasm, in particular, reflected that of the crowd. controller.controller are usually pretty energetic to begin with but that night, they were even moreso, as Scott the guitarist and Ronnie the bassist writhed on the floor playing their instruments with sheer abandonment. At the end of their set, Nirmala the vocalist, dropped to the floor in almost sheer exhaustion. The troopers that they are, they even came back to play an encore. Good to great set, and maybe the next time the band plays Toronto, the fans'll rise to the occasion.

    On a sidenote, Scott of controller.controller mentioned during the show that their new album might be released this coming March 2005!

    [photos of controller.controller from the show]

    Friday, December 17, 2004

    Wake Up

    Arcade Fire - Olympic Island(August 2004): photo by Mike LigonThere's a torrent of The Arcade Fire show at The Commodore Ballroom(Vancouver, BC) on December 12, 2004 over at Also, Pitchfork reports that the band has signed to Rough Trade Records in the UK who will distribute "Funeral" over there, possibly with an extra track. The UK release date of "Funeral" is set for February 28, 2005. Pitchfork also reports that the band has filmed a video for "Rebellion (Lies)", although no release date has yet been confirmed.

    The Thrills offer their music picks over at chartattack, as part of the site's Holiday Gift Guide series.

    The Wandering Step kindly sent me a free CD single of their x'mas tune, "Christmas At My House", which is a fine and dandy indie holiday pop song. I can't remember how(or if) I sent away for this but it was a nice surprise to receive this in the mail today. The MP3 Blog over at Poptones is hosting a download of the song at the moment[scroll down to the 02.12.2004 post]

    Poptones artist, Special Needs, offer a free download of their 3-song Christmas E.P.

    Soul Shine Magazine interviews Hope of The States.

    Thursday, December 16, 2004

    Weapons of Mad Distortion

  • movie review: Blade:Trinity [2004]

    Jessica Biel in Blade:TrinityWent to go see Blade:Trinity on Tuesday night with a friend. It's more than mildly entertaining. I enjoyed the special effects, the fighting sequences, all the gadgets, and the general look of the film. Jessica Biel is tasty playing Wilder's[played by Kris Kristofferson] daughter turned vampire hunter. She's joined by a group of like-minded individuals including Ryan Reynolds who plays a character who once was a vampire but was changed back, and Natasha Lyonne(of American Pie fame) who plays a blind character with a knack for research and high-tech inventions. They've formed a covert group of vampire hunters called Nightstalkers. During the course of the film, Blade meets the group, and through a reluctant alliance, they pool their resources to fight a common enemy. Parker Posey is delicious as a vampire honcho, with a sense of style that's part fashion model, but all bitch. Ryan Reynolds reminded me of Matthew Perry 's role on Friends, always the wise-cracker, with a barrage of one-liners even when he was getting his ass kicked. If anything I was a little disappointed with Jessica Biel's character. Considering her relation to Wilder, the opportunity to develop her character wasn't really seized. She was tough and sexy, but otherwise there were few instances of when she really showed her vulnerability. As par for the course, Wesley Snipes played the stoic Blade with all the style and athleticism we've come to know from him. The Nightstalker group were a fairly young group of individuals which in my mind kind of gave off a Scooby-gang(to borrow a term from Buffy The Vampire Slayer television series) vibe. Considering the grandeur of the villain, this installment of Blade was definitely a lost opportunity to create an epic sequel, sort of like what Matrix Revolutions was to the Matrix Trilogy. Blade:Trinity is pretty much all style, fast paced, and will appeal to your short-term attention span, but it has little substance. The first two Blade films are definitely the better of the series. It's a shame that the story wasn't better developed because I genuinely enjoyed the main actors' performances. I think there'll be another Blade installment so I hope they get it right next time.[photo above from http://../]

  • The Bontempi website that I mentioned yesterday now seems to be working. Check out the sound samples. Quite a bit different from the sunny indiepop/rock of Plumtree, but interesting nonetheless. You can order their CD-EP "What Keeps Us Awake" for $10 CDN. Go to the site for ordering details.

  • Sarah of Torontoist comments on the Toronto International Film Festival's top 10 Canadian movies of 2004...of which I saw a total of zero.

  • The Stereolab site reports that Monade[side project of Stereolab's Laetitia Sadler] will release a new album called "A Few Steps More" in the first half of March 2005. The tracklisting is as follows:

    Wash and dance : A few steps more : La salle des pas perdus : Das kind : 2 portes, 7 fenetres : Dittysweep : Becoming : Pas toujours; encore : Sensible et extensible : Dittyah : Paradoxale : There are things

    Live dates will follow.

  • And a bunch of Matador Records-related news. ...Nashville-born artist Laura Cantrell has signed to Matador Records. ...On March 22nd of 2005, a specially priced double CD and limited edition triple CD version career retrospective of Yo La Tengo will be released[check out tracklisting at the label site.] A DVD compilation of the band will be released sometime in 2005. ...Matador Records is having a contest to commemorate their 15th anniversary; they're asking people to submit pictures of themselves at the tender age of 15. 15 winners will win 15 in-print releases of their choice from the Matador Records catalogue. ...Finally, a variety of Matador Records employees and artists list their top-10's in a variety of categories.

  • Wednesday, December 15, 2004

    The One You Love

  • Julie DoironJulie Doiron(for "Goodnight Nobody") and The Heavy Blinkers(for "The Night And I Are Still So Young") have both been nominated for Alternative Album of the Year at the 2005 East Coast Music Awards. The awards show will be broadcast on February 20, 2005 on CBC Television. [from the Endearing Records site] ...In other Endearing-related news, Carla and Lynette of defunct Plumtree have a new band called Bontempi and they recently played a CD release in Vancouver for their debut disc "What Keeps Us Awake". I loved Plumtree's music back in the day. They were one of those bands who got better with each album and I found their breakup sort-of premature. Well, I really need to hear the Bontempi CD. Anyone having trouble with their web site? [photo above from http://../]

  • BBC Radio 1 will broadcast over 6 hours of material on December 16th in honour of John Peel. 'John Peel Night' as it is being called will be hosted by Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq and will include a one hour documentary on Peel’s life, live sets(by the likes of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian, and Graham Coxon), and sets from various DJs. The across-Canada schedule is as follows(tune in at, and then click ‘Listen to Radio 1’):

    Pacific Time – 11:00am to 5:00pm
    Mountain Time – 12:00pm to 6:00pm
    Central Time – 1:00pm to 7:00pm
    Eastern Time – 2:00pm to 8:00pm
    Atlantic Time – 3:00pm to 9:00pm
    Newfoundland Time – 3:30pm to 9:30pm

    [info from Soul Shine Magazine]

  • PopMatters has a new MP3 download page, and they'll be adding MP3's on a regular basis.

  • Earlash's weekly poll this week is Best Canadian Import, and the choices are The Constantines, Broken Social Scene, and Hot Hot Heat. Well, I chose Broken Social Scene but the results showed that Hot Hot Heat was in the lead with 34%, Broken Social Scene at 33% and The Constantines at 32%. Nothing against Hot Hot Heat, but leading the poll over Broken Social Scene AND The Constantines? That's just wrong.

  • Chart Magazine's year-end readers' poll is now up for voting over at chartattack.

  • Largehearted Boy points towards a bittorrent of a Broken Social Scene show in Rome on 2004-02-12.

  • Tuesday, December 14, 2004

    All That Glitters

    Death In VegasAccording to NME, Death In Vegas will be releasing a 2 disc best-of compilation in early 2005, which reminds me that I really should get more acquainted with my Death In Vegas CD's. With influences that straddle the line between electronic music and conventional rock instrumentation, the guys have some haunting tracks like "Aisha" and "Dirge" off of "The Contino Sessions". Their more recent album "Scorpio Rising" never made it to my essential purchases. However, I've always been intrigued by the band who've had some of the most interesting collaborations ever with the likes of Iggy Pop, Dot Allison, Bobby Gillespie(of Primal Scream) and Liam Gallagher(of Oasis). The new disc will feature 11 tracks on the first CD and a second CD of remixes. Should be interesting to say the least. [photo credit above http://../]

    A bit of housekeeping. With regards to my previous post, I've now provided the hyperlink below to Madrid's website. They are based in Toronto and I highly recommend you check 'em out if you are a fan of IDM.

    The new issue of Magnet Magazine pays tribute to Elliott Smith with a cover story. The new issue also spotlights "20 key albums of the year and 10 others that slipped under the crack".

    Billboard reports that Ivy will release its new album "In the Clear" through Nettwerk on March 1, 2005. The new 10-track disc will include guest vocals from Girls Against Boys' Scott McCloud dueting with Ivy's Dominique Durand and apparently will meld the electronic textures of its last full-length "Long Distance" with the more guitar-oriented sound of the earlier albums.

    More Cowbell has a bittorrent of some Arcade Fire x'mas tracks and he points to jeddeth who has the 411 on how these tracks came to light.

    chromewaves and My Mean Magpie have their best-of 2004 CD lists up.

    PopMatters lists its TOP 100 ALBUMS OF 2004.

    Stylus lists its TOP TEN BEST MOVIES OF 2004 as well as some individual staff top ten lists.

    Metric are to tour select cities in January(including a date on January 17th at The Mod Club Theatre) as well as start recording for the second full-length. [from Soul Shine Magazine]

    A feature interview with Julie Doiron appears over at Splendid.

    The Mcenroe Show(on CNBC, weekdays at 10 pm and 1 am on cable television in the Greater Toronto Area) will air Luna's performance of "Malibu Love Nest" tonight, Tuesday December 14th Wednesday December 15th. [from Luna's official site]

    The dates for the 2005 Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco have been set for February 22-27 and the opening night will feature Ted Leo / The Pharmacists. The 2005 Noise Pop Festival will feature such artists[and if you think I'll be hyperlinking all of these you must be insane] as Joanna Newsom, Rogue Wave, Amon Tobin, Mates of State, Portastatic, Comets on Fire, The Velvet Teen, Bettie Serveert, Les Georges Lenigrad, Nada Surf, High on Fire, Nicolai Dunger, The Fucking Champs and Polyphonic Spree. It would be great just to see and hear all those amazing artists but I also hear that San Francisco is a great city to visit.

    The Zoobombs are coming back to Canada in March 2005 during Canadian Music Week, although from what I understand from Dan Burke's post at 20hz, The Zoobombs appearance will not be part of the official Canadian Music Week schedule. Similar to Mr. Burke's organization of the gig earlier this year featuring Death From Above, Tangiers, controller.controller, Uncut, and Magneta Lane at The Comfort Zone in Toronto during NXNE but which was not officially part of it, The Zoobombs show during next year's Canadian Music Week promises to be pure rock n' roll.

    Magneta Lane's video for "The Constant Lover" will be released in January. New tour dates also to follow. Head over to the band's site to hear the streaming version of "The Constant Lover".

    Monday, December 13, 2004

    I Feel Love

  • concert review: The New Deal w/ Madrid @ The Opera House(Toronto, Ontario), December 10, 2004

    The New Deal @ @ The Opera House(Toronto, Ontario), December 10, 2004: photo by Mike LigonIt's been quite a while since I'd been to The Opera House. I believe the last time I was there was during the summer to see Zero 7, so it was nice to be back. I just love the atmosphere there. This show was actually a show I went to because my brother was interested in seeing The New Deal live. I had told him I had seen The New Deal live this past Canada Day(July 1) and my brother had mentioned that when he was in Vancouver last year(or maybe the year before; I can't remember exactly) he said that he had seen this band called Velvet whom he purchased a CD from and they had mentioned that he should check a band called The New Deal. So my brother asked me if I wanted to go and I agreed....which reminds me that I still owe him $20.

    My brother and I got to The Opera House about a half hour before openers Madrid. Madrid came onto the stage around 10 pm. Since I had never heard of them, for a moment I thought the three people[two gents and a woman] behind the merch table were actually the members of Madrid. I was kind of excited for a moment because I thought Madrid might turn out to be some sort of female-fronted trip-hop group. No such luck but the four young gentleman that comprised Madrid created some decent music. My impressions of their music conjured thoughts of ambient music, dance music, New Order, Moby and even U2. The U2 influence, at least in my opinion, was reflected in the guitar sound. Madrid's music alternated between upbeat rhythmic, drum and bass driven tunes and more ambient textured dance songs. The vocals were neither here nor there but they were pleasant enough. To compare them to another band, I'd say that Madrid were a rock-ier version of Junior Boys.

    Hometown lads, The New Deal delivered the goods that night, as I suspect they do almost every night. I must repeat a phrase I used previously: "shit, their music's HOT". There was no discernible difference in the energy level of the band during this show and their show I attended on Canada Day this past summer. The guys were just full of energy, and considering how long these guys could play[upwards of two hours], I'd like to know what they're taking. Keyboards/sequencers were setup to the left of the stage, the bassist at the center and the drums to the right. This was the same setup as their Canada Day concert, so I'm assuming this is their usual setup. My brother and I were basically right up in front near the keyboards; well actually I sort of got separated several feet from my brother because I decided to position myself right up front near the stage to take some photos. And when the music started, it was quite trance inducing. The house beats and break beats really took over. Throw in some creative keyboards/electronics noodling and the rumble of the bass and the music over the course of two hours was stylistically quite varied. Less of a jazz influence this time[considering the band was playing the Toronto Jazz Festival this past Canada Day], the band was much more dance-oriented, choosing for the most part, upbeat house-influenced numbers with playful keyboard arrangements. On one number, the keyboardist segued into the melody of the Dead or Alive song "You Spin Me Round". On another number the drummer showed off his adequate beatbox skills while he accompanied himself on the bass drum. I'll say I wasn't too shabby on the dance floor that night and that's the strength of The New Deal; the compulsion to dance is so strong, that it's hard to deny. And if you're afraid that you might be the only one, well from standpoint I'd say that at least 5 rows of people back from the stage, if not more, were getting jiggy[I know the term is so 1997, but screw it]. Towards the end of the set, the band surprised the audience with guest vocalist Martina Sorbara who performed with the band on a down-tempo trip hop number. The played their set until around 1 am and I would have thought the marathon of a night would have ended there, but the band came back for a brief encore. I usually judge the success of a good live show by my adrenalin level at the end of the night. Considering that the show ended around 1:30 am and I'd been dancing in one form or another for a good 2 hours, I was on quite a natural high at the end of the night. ...And it did wonders for my cold, at least temporarily.

  • SHOT has his top concert picks for 2004. SHOT also has news that Feist will provide guest vocals on an upcoming Massive Attack album.

  • I don't know Portuguese, but I found it interesting that Karmageddon's[from Lisbon, Portugal] favourite CD's of 2004 include the likes of The Dears("No Cities Left"), Feist("Let It Die") and Rufus Wainwright("Want two"). Yes, Canada rules...even in Europe.

  • And lastly, on a personal note I must express that Christmas for me has swung into full gear. The giddiness of Christmas wore off long ago for me and I primarily enjoy it vicariously through the enjoyment of the season by my nephews and cousins' children. Shopping is just a pain in the ass though, and I really hate crowds. I have to get off my ass and finish my Christmas shopping; I've only bought one present so far. Over the weekend, I had two Christmas dinners, and if you count last Friday when a friend and I went to Tucker's Marketplace, well that's alot of food. By the end of next week, I will have had 3 office-related Christmas lunches. And my worst habit during December: buying myself things when I should be hinting to people to buy them for me. ;-)

  • Friday, December 10, 2004

    Gone Gone Gone

    The New DealThe New Deal tonight at The Opera House w/ openers, Madrid. I'll be going down to the show with my brother. I saw these guys play this past Canada Day at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, and they had played a solid two hour set of house, breakbeat, hip hop, jazz-influenced music, with a foundation soley on drums, bass, and keyboards/sequencers. They introduced some female vocals and a guest jazz guitarist on a tune or two, but otherwise as a trio the guys were quite versatile. Shit, the band's music is HOT. Live Music Archive has a collection of live shows for download. I won't be surprised if tonight's show get's added to the archive soonafter. [photo left from http://../]

    The Pixies will appear on The Late Show with David Letterman next Tuesday December 14/04. [from The Late Night TV Page]

    10:51 am Toronto reports that cell phone prices are going up...which could mean for me that my Nokia cell phone which I purchased several months ago could suddenly turn into a $129.99[plus taxes] device that I'll likely only be using to check the time and play the bowling game. I'm currently only a Pay-As-You-Go user so I'm hoping that there'll be contracts available that'll make it worthwhile to switching to a plan.

    Yahoo! reports on the growing problem of BitTorrent and the piracy of Hollywood movies on the 'net.

    Thursday, December 09, 2004

    Bruised Broken Beaten

    controller.controllercontroller.controller's "History" E.P. will be released in the U.K. on Sink And Stove Records sometime in February 2005. They'll also be opening for Death From Above 1979 & Kaito in the U.K. between January 31st and February 9. [from 20 hz. The same info's also over at chartattack] related news, go over to CJLO for photos of the band during the session they did for HOOKED on SONICS.

    Thankfully, this has never happened to me, and hopefully NEVER will but people over at 20 hz recount personal experiences of being mugged in Toronto...suddenly, my solo concert-going in Toronto seems a little more dangerous.

    And news straight outta the 90's Canadian indie rock scene[again from 20hz], The Wooden Stars will be playing the Horseshoe Tavern on January 20, 2005, with Sea Snakes as openers.

    Endearing Records' artists Julie Doiron(on vocals) and Radiogram(as backing band) will appear on CBC Radio 2 this Saturday December 11th for a live studio session. And the session is presented by CBC Radio 3(?) And while you're over at Endearing Records, why not take advantage of their holiday special where you can purchase any 3 International Pop Exchange(IPX) releases for $20 CDN or any 5 of the series for $30.00.

    The Raveonettes are set to release their sophmore album in early 2005, with a "wish list of guest musicians, including Maureen ‘Moe’ Tucker of the Velvet Underground on drums; Martin Rev of Suicide on keyboards; and Ronnie Spector of the Ronettes adding the 'woah-oh-oh's’ in the background of "Ode to L.A." [from filter magazine]

    The Online Film Critics Society's TOP 100 OVERLOOKED FILMS OF THE 90's. [from]

    According to estheronline, 1500 copies of Esthero's new E.P. "We R In Need of a Musical Revolution" made it to stores yesterday, although most of the copies of the E.P. were recalled due to a packaging error. The next batch will go to stores on January 11, 2005. For now go listen to a streaming version of "We R In Need of a Musical Revolution". And quick bursts of emotional discourse gives a song-by-song review of the new E.P.

    Some Broken Social Scene goodies: 1) streaming video of a live acoustic performance @ Kataweb (an Italian online community) [link from broken telephone] 2) torrent of the band on Spanish TV [again link from broken telephone]

    Wednesday, December 08, 2004

    The One Who Got Us Out

  • concert review: Ted Leo / The Pharmacists w/ The Junction, The Meligrove Band, Matt Pond PA @ The Mod Club Theatre(Toronto, Ontario), December 5, 2004

    Ted Leo / The Pharmacists @ The Mod Club Theatre(Toronto, Ontario), December 5, 2004: photo by Mike LigonFor an all-ages show, on a Sunday night, with 4 bands, I was surprised I wasn't more exhausted at the end of all. The transition from band to band was fairly smooth and the wait between bands was for once not so excrutiatingly long. By my estimates, the venue was 75 % full at its peak during Ted Leo's set which meant that for most of the show, my friend and I could watch the bands from various vantage points. My friend and I walked into the club at the beginning of Matt Pond PA's set. We watched their show from a central vantage point on the floor. By far they were my favourite of the three opening acts. With the added dimension of a cello, the band played plaintive and slightly quirky indie pop that sometimes reminded me of the Arcade Fire on their more upbeat numbers. Very addictive melodies overall, so much so that I purchased their recent CD "Emblems" at the show. Interesting fact: They seem to have some sort of Canadian fixation from the looks of their merchandise(like an elk on their current CD "Emblems" and the maple(?) leaves that appear on their buttons). What's up with that?

    The Meligrove Band were up next. So these guys are from my hometown of Mississauga and its surprising that I've never gotten around to seeing this band live. Maybe its my unwitting reluctance to accept that any good band could come out of Mississauga. I have their most recent CD "Let It Grow" released on Endearing Records but I haven't really listened to it much, although from what I could ascertain, it was heavily influenced on Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys; not the surf sound but rather "Pet Sounds"-era Brian Wilson. Alot of ba-ba-ba's, handclaps, bouncy pop rhythms. Their music's good, and I love that sort of pop music, but nothing on their CD[at least from first listen] really grabbed me. So it was surprising that the boys[and yes they do look young although I believe they're all in their early 20's] were in full rock mode. The pop melodies were still there but they made up their mind that they were there to rock. Their lead singer, with his dark-rimmed glasses, came off like a slacker version of a young Elvis Costello. The band alternated between scorching rhythm n' blues boogie instrumentals and late 70's inspired power-pop/punk. Their were flourishes of inspired trumpet and keyboards which gave the music added dimension. Brownie points to the drummer for just being totally gonzo such as when he his bass drum pedal broke, at which point he took a couple of minutes to fix, then came back and counted in the next song in some sort of gibberish language; later on he jumped into the audience and he was running around trying to psyche people up, before ending back on stage with his t-shirt off. Meligrove, you've made Mississauga proud.

    By this point, my friend and I ended up on the right side of the club near the stage, in the 19+ drinking area. The Junction were up next and unfortunately didn't make any impression on me[and no it wasn't the alcohol]. They're another local band who I believe are from Brampton, Ontario. I'm all for bands with a variety of influences but to put it simply, there was an incongruence to their sound which was off-putting. It's like on one song they were Radiohead, the next they were Dave Matthews, and on yet another song they were R. Kelly. The r'n'b influence was particurlarly prominent in their music. I usually like my r'n'b straight up(Ivana Santilli, Esthero) and The Junction's rock/r'n'b combination didn't do anything for me. They had some interesting songs and they're good musicians but they're just not my cup of tea. Although, by the response of some people in the crowd, I could tell some were fans of the band.

    After The Junction's set, my friend and I stuck around in the 19+ drinking area and were fortunate to stand right up to the metal fence that cordoned off the area, with an unobstructed view of the stage. Unfortunately for myself Ted Leo positioned his mic stand on the left side of the stage, which was away from where I was standing; it was only bad in the sense that the distance made photo-taking difficult[not to mention the damn smoke machine, which even Ted asked if "they could cool it on the smoke machine, or at least get him a bourbon; the latter was provided], but otherwise pretty good view. In my opinion he kind of ruined an opportunity for momentum in his set by playing "Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?" and "Me and Mia" near the beginning of the set. Ted was his usual spazz-ic self on stage as he alternated between his passionate vocal stylings and his fierce guitar playing. The drummer was hidden from my view due to the position of his symbol stand but from what I could tell he was banging away energetically. So it kind of a drag to see the bassist so mellow, but so be it. The majority of the songs from what I could tell were from "Hearts of Oak" and "Shake The Streets", in addition to Ted's cover of Splitz Enz' "Six Months in a Leaky Boat"[off of Ted Leo's "Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead"] as well as a cover of Rush's "The Spirit of Radio"[which I only knew about after my friend told me]. Ted made some subtle references to the election when he mentioned something about 'a bad November' but resisted any sort of political sloganeering. His first two shows in Toronto earlier in the year, and both at the Horseshoe Tavern, were by far better shows. I'm disappointed that he didn't play "Under The Edge" or "The Crane Takes Flight". This show at The Mod Club was enjoyable enough but it definitely lacked the intensity of the other two shows. Ted's incapable of putting on a bad show in my opinion, but I'm sure he'll blow the roof off the next time. Preferably, at Lee's Palace.

    ps. photos to come in the future, once I sort out whether I'll be upgrading my Photobucket account since I am just about at my quota with my free account.

  • Stylus presents its Top 40 Singles of 2004 while PopMatters gives its Best Music of 2004. SHOT also gives his top 20 CD's of 2004.

  • Download some PDF files of UK zine Blank Stares and Cricket Claps including an issue featuring Greg Dulli in their latest issue. [from Summer's Kiss]

  • Monday, December 06, 2004

    City Authentic

  • concert review: City Field @ Bovine Sex Club(Toronto, Ontario), December 3, 2004

    City Field @ Bovine Sex Club(Toronto, Ontario), December 3, 2004: photo by Mike LigonI decided to check out the City Field gig on Friday night after reading a little blurb on the band in eye. My appetite was whet after finding out that this was a band put together put guitar-pop extraordinaire Matt Murphy of Super Friendz and Flashing Lights fame. eye reports that City Field was put together after The Super Friendz reunion last year and that the band is made up of a couple of his Haligonian friends, including songwriter/lead singer Mitchell Wiebe and singer Sarah Gregg. eye said the show was going to be an early one(starting at 9:30 pm) so I showed up to the club just after that. I'd never been to the Bovine Sex Club and all my expectations of it being some sort of gothic-themed venue went out the window, thankfully. It was alot more normal than I thought, albeit a little more dingy than I expected. I was kinda pissed the show didn't start at 9:30 pm as eye had indicated, so I spent about a half hour waiting for the show to start. At least there wasn't a cover charge. Apparently, the Exclaim staff were there that night, wearing name tags and all, and I felt like I had crashed their staff x'mas party or something, but since no one kicked me out, I hung around for the show to start.

    City Field are actually five members, including the aforementioned three members above, with Dave Eweison on drums and Brent Randall on bass. It's hard to escape the Super Friendz comparisons especially when Matt Murphy sang. Aside from Matt Murphy's vocals, City Field also emulated some of The Super Friendz' guitar-pop sensibilities. What really set City Field apart were Sarah's and Mitchell's vocals. Sarah's vocals were spot on melodically and gave the music an extra depth, her vocals reminding me of a subtler version of Neko Case-by-way-of-The New Pornographers. Mitchell had a definite Bowie-esque vibe that added a glam-my sheen to the music at times. And with Matt Murphy's distinctive melodic vocals, it was interesting to hear the vocal interplay between the different vocalists' styles. The rhythm section of Dave on drums and Brent on bass were quite direct with simple but solid rhythms that gave the songs a new-wavey, post-punk feel. The highlight of the evening for me was their bouncy-pop rendition of their song called "Pretenders", kind of like a 3-way duet, with slight country-ish overtones. The band's got a independently released EP called "City Authentic" "Authentic City" which I purchased at the show[you can also purchase it at Soundscapes in Toronto for around 8 bucks or so], and it's quite addictive. It's already one of my favourite Canadian releases of 2004. It's that good. Can't wait to hear a whole album which Sarah had mentioned they're working on.

    ps. I have more photos which I'll try to post a link to in the future.

  • Torontoist has an interview with Scott Kaija of Toronto's 'it' band, controller.controller.

  • My friend and I went to the Ted Leo show yesterday at The Mod Club. I'll try to post a review tomorrow, but for now read a review over at Chromewaves. SHOT was also there and he proclaims Ted Leo as the "George Clooney of power-punk-pop". You're so cheeky, Brian.:-)