Monday, October 31, 2005

So This Is Thriller, Thriller Night

pumpkins, duhOK, I suck. Halloween's almost over and I'm JUST getting around to posting the tracklisting of my Halloween mix CD. So this post is mostly for the records[yes, pun intended]. I culled these tracks from CD's I own, and if anything it got me to listen to CD's that I haven't listen to in a while. The art of the mix CD/tape is a daunting sometimes, and this mix was a bit rushed so the flow of the tracks may not be quite right. The selections aren't really obvious Halloween selections, but creepiness abounds in these tracks in one form or another. So to get all MP3-bloggy on you, I've posted links to a selection of the more obscure tracks[if anyone wants mp3's of any of the other tracks just e-mail me]. Have a safe Halloween. Huahahaha!

01. Death In Vegas - Aisha
02. Beat Happening - Cast A Shadow [mp3]
03. PJ Harvey - Meet Ze Monsta
04. The Raveonettes - Here Comes Mary
05. The Jesus and Mary Chain - Little Red Rooster
06. Pony Da Look - Night Cat [mp3]
07. The Gothic Archies - Your Long White Fingers [mp3]
08. The Sadies - The Creepy Butler [mp3]
09. DJ Shadow - Dark Days [mp3]
10. Portishead - Seven Months
11. Tricky - Christiansands
12. The Fall - The Chiselers
13. Paula Frazer - Deep Was The Night [mp3]
14. Public Image Limited - Graveyard
15. Helium - I Am A Witch [mp3]
16. Suckerpunch - Let's Get Evil [mp3]
17. Kristin Hersh - Your Ghost
18. The Reverend Horton Heat - The Devil's Chasing Me [mp3]
19. Sons And Daughters - Monster
20. The Creeping Nobodies - Quarantine [mp3]
21. The Rolling Stones - Sympathy For The Devil

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Down By The River Side

concert review: Jon-Rae Fletcher and The River/The Choir w/ The Silt, Castlemusic @ The Music Gallery(Toronto, Ontario), October 28, 2005

Jon-Rae Fletcher and The Choir @ The Music Gallery: photo credit - suckingalemonI made it out to The Music Gallery in time to catch the tailend of The Silt's set and then all of Jon-Rae Fletcher and The River/The Choir's set. Right off, I'll mention that I didn't get any photos since I hung out at the back but I instruct you to check out suckingalemon's rundown(plus photos) of the show.

From the couple of songs I heard of The Silt, their music had an off-kilter quality. The second last song reminded me of Great Lakes Swimmers but sounded a little more experimental with the lonseome bassoon(or was that a sax?) and the guitarist's slo-core guitar noodling. The last song was a more fleshed out band effort that sounded like The Flaming Lips playing a soul-funk song. From where I stood, I couldn't see the vocalist song because I think he was sitting on the floor. The guitarist switched on the guitar effects pedal for the song giving it that soul-funk sound, with the drummer adding his own casual beats.

For some reason, I was sort of sleepy during the show and the darkness of the church(except for the stage lights) didn't help. I stood at the back for half of the show but then ended up sitting on a bench at the right side of the church. From all I've read about Jon-Rae Fletcher and The River/The Choir's live shows and even based on the first time I saw Jon-Rae and The River live when they opened for Cuff The Duke at Lee's Palace this past summer, I was expecting to be knocked off my feet. It never happened yesterday. As I already mentioned I was a little sleepy during the show, but there was also a mellowiness to the crowd. While Jon-Rae and The River and The Choir had a respectable amount of energy on stage, the crowd seemed kind of catatonic.

The 17-member Choir was impressive, not just for fitting themself onto the stage but also for managing to make wide variety of different sounding voices mesh together seamlessly. Jon-Rae Fletcher opened the show solo with a brief rustic alt-country song then brought out The Choir who literally came from out of the woodworks to gather themselves onto the stage. With Jon-Rae on guitar and another gentleman on piano, Jon-Rae and The Choir first performed a couple of traditionals including a great-sounding "Down By The River". Later on in the set, was the Jon-Rae and The River set which featured a more conventional band set-up. With yesterday being the first time experiencing The Choir, I thought it was fantastic, but in all honesty I prefer the noisy country-rock freakouts of Jon-Rae and The River. If I recall correctly, one of the members(the drummer?) also performs with The Hidden Cameras and on certain songs I could hear a similar sort of giddiness in Jon-Rae's tunes, especially with the energetic percussion. At different times, the drummer energetically tapped the framework of his drumkit, or one of the keyboardists would hand drum the side of his keyboard. On one song, during an instrumental break in the song, the drummer and one of the keyboardists playfully started a kids hand-clap session. The River's lone female member on background vocals, took lead vocals on a soulful country-rock song which almost stole the show in my opinion.

Later on in the set, The Choir came out again. I really enjoyed their performance of this song which I recall had a repetitive lyrical chorus along the line of 'sous les monde'(?). My french is terrible but I think that would translate to 'under the world'. Jon-Rae and The Choir closed the show with Jon-Rae getting a little more goofy at times with his vocal phrasing(eg. the way he emphasized certain words) that at times brought the crowd to laughter. It was a good show overall but not the sweaty gospel-fueled intensity I was hoping for[there wasn't even an encore.] As someone on Stille Post mentioned, the show wasn't sold out which was little surprising given the previous day's Eye Weekly Jon-Rae cover story. Still wallowing in obscurity I guess[I would think the No Depression/alt-country scene would fawn all over them], but it's only a matter of time.

[photo credit(at top): suckingalemon]

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Old Songs For The New Town

Jon-Rae Fletcher: cover of Eye Weekly(Oct 27, 2005)Eye Weekly(both the print version and online version) has gone through a complete redesign, and while I'm going to miss the old layout which I thought was simple, attractive, and easy to read, a week from now I probably won't even care that it changed. Read the editorial regarding the redesign. The only aspect of the redesigned layout which I don't particularly like is the concert listings. The Concert Chart is an eyesore, but at least they didn't totally get rid of the simple listing-by-day. However, it is a pain in the ass that the user has to scroll down more than half way down the page just to get to the new Concert Announcements.

Toronto-via-Vancouver country-gospel-indie rocker Jon-Rae Fletcher snags the cover and accompany cover story for the new issue of Eye Weekly. Jon-Rae Fletcher and The Choir have a show tomorrow with openers The Silt and Castlemusic at The Music Gallery. Tickets $8 in advance at Rotate This and Soundscapes. I still haven't decided whether I'm going to go although I've been meaning to check out Jon-Rae Fletcher and The Choir. I saw Jon-Rae Fletcher with The River this summer at Lee's Palace, but I've heard that Jon-Rae's shows with The Choir are quite the experience. Any time you have a 17-member Choir on stage backing a 'rock' band, you know it's going to be a joyous occasion.

After being tipped off by Brooklynvegan and From Blown Speakers about Morcheeba dates for New York City(Dec 1st) and Vancouver(Dec 5th) respectively, I was disappointed not to find any info for a Toronto date. Over at the Morcheeba message board, thetiger97(second post from the top) has a list of other tourdates including Washington DC(Nov 30th) and San Francisco(Dec 7th), although as Deeply Disturbed(third post from the top) says maybe the band can fit in a Toronto date between the New York City and Vancouver dates.

The Straight speaks with humble Metric frontwoman Emily Haines who doesn't see herself as the next Gwen Stefani. The article also mentions that she's almost finished work on her solo album.

New York Magazine has a Q & A with Matt Pond Pa. They also show some love for the new Broken Social Scene album.

Watch/listen to Supergrass' live acoustic session from today on Morning Becomes Eclectic.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Beautiful Ground

'Jed's Other Poem(Beautiful Ground)'Thanks to the oh so quiet show for pointing me towards this unsolicited music video made for Grandaddy's "Jed's Other Poem(Beautiful Ground)". I highly recommend you watch it. As stated by Stewart, the creator of the video, the video was "Programmed in Applesoft II on a 1979 Apple ][+ with 48K of RAM. Seriously." Set to the music, the video is quite beautiful in its simplicity.

Halloween is alive and well in Toronto. Over the weekend the third annual Toronto Zombie Walk occurred. I didn't know there were two previous ones. Oh, well. suckingalemon, photojunkie, Toronto Photography Meetup Group, and the photobin were there and they have alot of fun photos for your viewing pleasure. Apparently, the zombie group made their way to Dundas Square where they stumbled upon a rally for Mothers Against Violence which was taking place. As if on cue, a DJ at the rally started to play Michael Jackson's "Thriller" which initiated an impromptu "Thriller" dance routine. Oh, how I wish I saw that live. For now you can watch the video here. [most of the photo links plus the video link above via BlogTO]

Architecture in Helsinki performed a live session for BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe today. Listen here(around the 20:40:00 mark - link good for about a week).

The Go Team! performed a live session for KEXP today at 9 am PST[12 noon EST]. Listen to the session through the 14-day streaming archive.

Death Cab For Cutie are the house band this week over at (Boo, for the site not supporting Win 98 users.) [via IGN]

Aversion interviews Montreal's Wolf Parade.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Somebody's Miracle

concert review: Liz Phair w/ Matt Pond PA @ The Phoenix(Toronto, Ontario), October 23, 2005

Liz Phair @ Phoenix Concert Theatre: photo by Mike LigonI never got around to listen to Liz Phair's self-titled major label debut. Having heard that album's single "Why Can't I?" and reading the harsh criticsm directed to the album, it wasn't difficult to be discouraged. I won't say that "Why Can't I?" is a bad song. It's not a great song. At best, it's a pleasant pop song which suffers from glossy production. From what I've read about her new album "Somebody's Miracle", Liz continues her quest for mainstream pop acceptance but with a better selection of songs to assist her this time. I've heard a handful of songs off the new album, including "Everything To Me" and "Stars and Planets" which are more convincing. To be honest, I didn't initially warm up to "Everything To Me" because I found it lyrically a bit corny, but that aside, melodically it started to sink in after several listens. I think I'm pretty open-minded about music and I was more than willing to give Liz a chance live to prove herself(and the new songs) to me.

Openers Matt Pond PA performed a great set of their energetic cello-laden pop music. I guess they are still wallowing in obscurity since, save for a loyal group of music fans at the front of the stage, there wasn't any mad rush by the rest of the crowd when Matt Pond PA subtly began their set. New cellist Dana Feder was outstanding and showed herself to be a more than capable replacement for previous cellist Eve Miller. They began their set with "Halloween" off the new record "Several Arrows Later". I was disappointed they didn't play "Grave's Disease", but thankfully they ended their brief but spectactular set with two surefire winners, a song off of "Measure"(can someone help me with the name of the song - it has a great chorus that features a snazzy punctuated cello arrangement) and "Closest" off of "Emblems". Wonderful.

While Liz Phair may have made a conscious decision to pursue a more mainstream pop direction(to the disappointment of some fans), she proved live that she has a kick-ass back catalogue to fall back on. Liz started off the set on acoustic guitar with an additional guitarist to perform a couple of songs, before her and her band launched into a dynamic set of songs. She may no longer possess the same emotional intent which drove her career in the past but she performed no less potent versions of such classics like "Fuck and Run" and "Flower". She performed a good number of songs from "Exile In Guyfille", which in addition to the aforementioned ones, also included "6'1"", "Help Me Mary", "Never Said", "Soap Star Joe", and "Mesmerizing". I recognized a couple from "Whip-Smart", including "Cinco De Mayo", and "Supernova" and at least three from Whitechocolatespaceegg" which included "Polyster Bride", "Shitloads of Money", and "Girls' Room". I'm not familiar with her two major label releases although I know she played "Why Can't I?" and "Rock Me" from her self-titled release and "Somebody's Miracle" off her newest album of the same name.

The crowd enthusiastically sang along with many songs, showing that her Toronto fanbase was very strong. While I can't necessarily fault fans who sang along with Liz, there were a few fans who sang a little TOO loud. Yeah, we all know you're Liz's BIGGEST fan, so why don't you tone it down just a tad? Fans also got a little over-zealous at times with the song requests. Normally, you'd shout out song requests during an encore or if the artist prompted for requests. However, especially during the second half of the set, between songs, fans CONTINUALLY bleated out song requests. It just became annoying after awhile. I know you want Liz to play "Whitechocolatespaceegg", but fuck, how about giving us all a break with having to hear you repeat it ad nauseum.

While there were a number of songs in the set I didn't recognize, I wasn't sure whether they were the newer songs. Conspicuously absent in the setlist was Liz's first single "Everything To Me" off the new album, and "Stars and Planets", also off the new album, which I'd both thought would have been a surefire setlist additions. It's too bad she didn't play these songs because I was really interested to hear how these songs would come across live.

Liz was in good spirits for the entire night. Liz made a sly reference to her performance of "God Bless America" at the World Series the night before even joking with audience whether she should break out into a rendition of it right then. Somewhat yelled out for her to play "O, Canada" which actually prompted Liz for a moment to try to figure out the chords and lyrics, but to no avail. I remember reading way back in the 90's about her first gig in Toronto, which if I recall correctly, was at the El Mocambo. It's no secret how inexperienced and nervous she was back then. It was very satisfying to see how confident a performer she's become. Even a song like the slinky rock of "Rock Me", which usually wouldn't be a song I'd be drawn to, had a certain charm as Liz cozied up to the mic, swaying sexily. So while the new songs may not measure up to the standards of the older ones, Liz proved herself to be a very worthy live act to check out. And she's damn adorable too.

[photos from the show]

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Seventh Inning Stretch

Liz Phair @ The World Series(Oct 22, 2005)Just odds and ends today. Anyone catch Liz Phair singing "God Bless America" yesterday at the World Series? How'd she do? She's smiling in the photograph here, so I'm assuming it went well. Hope she has a good show tonight in Toronto at the Phoenix. I'll be there. [photo from Yahoo! News]

Scotland on Sunday profiles its own thriving music scene, which is due in no small part to the internet.

chartattack spoke to Freakwater prior to their show yesterday in Toronto at the El Mocambo, which I ended up not going to.

The Boston Globe spoke with Kevin Drew about the chaotic nature of Broken Social Scene. Kevin says, "When you're constantly on the road it rules you, and if you're not careful it can take over. The last year, there was a lot of confusion. The challenge is trying to keep it together, having all your friends be in different kinds of bands, trying to maintain those friendships, and keep the music honest."

Iron & Wine and Calexico performed a live session for KEXP yesterday Saturday October 22 at 4:00 pm. Listen to the session through the 14-day streaming archive.

Last week, WYNC's Soundcheck took a closer look at the recent Bob Dylan documentary "No Direction Home" with author Tim Riley who's written several books on Bob Dylan. Lifelong Bob Dylan fan Robyn Hitchcock was also on the show to discuss his favourite album. Go here for streaming media of the show.

Pitchfork has a review of Jens Lekman track "A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill"(as well as a link to an mp3 download of the song) which will be included on the upcoming Lekman EP compilation, "Oh, You're So Silent Jens" which will be released November 22nd. I'm looking forward to his upcoming Toronto show at The Music Gallery on November 5th. I think it's a solo show which is somewhat unfortunate because the Motown-ish trumpet-riffing on the above track would be so sweet to hear live.

Here's a pretty cool gallery of punk, post-punk & new-wave 7" and 12" record sleeves. [via Prefixblog via Boing Boing]

And lastly, a couple of Feist videos for your downloading pleasure courtesy of ProdigyBoy over at the Arts & Crafts Broken Telephone Forums. They're clips(incomplete, unfortunately but still good) of Feist's performance of "Mushaboom" on Vicki Gabereau. Download the clips, here(right click and save) and here(right click and save). Update: Download links not working at the moment. Check back later.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Everything To Me

Liz PhairI haven't heard the new Liz Phair album yet and wasn't particular impressed with the first single "Everything To Me" . I didn't hate that single and melodically it's grown on me somewhat(maybe in a guilty pleasure sort of way) but lyrically, I can't help but wince sometimes. Still, the polished pop sound of the song is starting to sink in. Liz stopped in recently with Rolling Stone to perform a five song acoustic set which included "Everything To Me", "May Queen", "Soap Star Joe", "Somebody's Miracle", and "Why Can't I?" Watch the set here. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to purchase a ticket for the Liz Phair show in Toronto at The Phoenix which is happening this Sunday. My decision was based more on the excitement to get to see Matt Pond Pa again, but as the show draws closer I'm getting more excited to see Liz. If the Rolling Stone acoustic session was any indication, the show at The Phoenix should be halfway decent. [photo from]

The Mystical Beast just completed a whole week's worth of daily Liz Phair posts. I haven't gotten through them yet, but I'll catch up on them on the weekend. Read the posts for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

If you're going to be watching the baseball game this Saturday, the mind's playground reminds us that Ms. Phair will be singing "God Bless America" at Game One of the World Series
this Saturday at Sox Park.

Harp interviews Liz Phair.
The Montreal Mirror celebrates its 20th anniversary with a "Where Are They Now?" feature on some of the city's beloved past musical artists.

chartattack reports that Soul Asylum are resurfacing for a couple of shows in New York City next week(October 24th and 26th) at the Bowery Ballroom and are also putting the finishing touches on a new still-untitled album that'll hopefully be released in March 2006.

The Coast speaks to Mike Feuerstack aka Snailhouse.

View Magazine speaks with The Fembots.

Metromix has a brief interview with Carl Newman of The New Pornographers.

suckingalemon has consistently raved about them so I may have to make an effort and check this out: The Silver Hearts will be at the Rivoli in Toronto on October 29th. [via chartattack]

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Gentle Creatures

Paula FrazerSan Franciscoan weaver / alt-country vocalist Paula Frazer will be performing a live session for KEXP, tomorrow Thursday October 20 at 3:00 pm PST(6 pm EST). Earlier in the month, The Tuscon Weekly published a feature article about her career. I've been a casual fan of Ms. Frazer's since her days as vocalist with 4AD band, Tarnation whose atmospheric, almost other-wordly, alt-country leanings were enhanced by Ms. Frazer's sublime Patsy Cline-ish vocals. What clinched it for me was her terrific vocal contribution on Cornershop's folky duet "It’s Good to be on the Road Back Home Again". If you consider Neko Case as a vocalist whose style was influenced by Patsy Cline, I would say that Paula Frazer vocals sound almost like she's transmitting the spirit of Patsy. Truthfully, her vocals give me goosebumps. After making two albums with Tarnation, Ms. Frazer embarked on a solo career. In addition to her countless compilation contributions and singles, by my count I believe she's released three albums, including 2001's "Indoor Universe", 2003's "A Place Where I Know", and most recently 2005's "Leave The Sad Things Behind", which was released on October 4th. I'm particular disappointed that I don't think she's EVER come to Toronto either with Tarnation or as a solo artist(please correct me if I'm wrong), but hey, I also thought Freakwater would never play Toronto either(and they're coming to the El Mocambo this Saturday - see below). [photo from The Tuscon Weekly]

Related links
- some mp3's over at Epitonic.
Sons and Daughters will perform a live session tomorrow on Morning Becomes Eclectic at 11:15 am PST, 2:15 pm EST.

The Toronto Sun speaks with Louisville alt-country duo, Freakwater, who'll be playing a show in Toronto at El Mocambo this coming Saturday night.

chartattack has part two of its interview with Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard. Read part one here.

Zoilus lets us in on the info that The New York Times is sending a reporter to Toronto to profile the music scene a la their infamous Montreal article. Reaction over at Stillepost.

Metro News spoke with Liz Phair, who'll be performing in Toronto at the Phoenix this Saturday October 23rd.

The Toronto Sun speaks with Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene. In particular, Kevin offers the following suggestion when listening to their new album:

"If you listen to this record song by song I think you'll love it. If you put it on all at once it's very difficult to find something to get into. It's not an instant coffee."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Talk of the Town

Before heading down to the Death Cab For Cutie show this past Saturday, I had a chance to listen in on The Constantines live session on KEXP.(Listen to the session in the 14-day streaming archive - date:Oct 15, 2005, time 3 pm PST) The occasion brought up a certain criticism I have towards interviewers. The interview with The Constantines reflected that the interviewer did little research prior to the interview. I'm not particular fond of such interviews. The interviewer asked The Constantines standard questions along the lines of "Growing up in Ontario, did you ever dream of being on Sub Pop?" and "How does the new album compare to your first two albums?" Of course, some of the information might be new to American listeners but I still think a more creative spin could have been applied to the questions. The Constantines performed several songs live, the first of which was "Young Lions", and after the conclusion of the song, the interviewer had the audacity to ask what the song was called. Was he evening listening while the session took place? I still find it surprising that with the interviewer being a DJ on a forward-minded radio station like KEXP, he had never heard of Three Gut Records. I understand the confines of a five to ten minute radio interview might restrict the type of questions one might ask, but then I can look to other examples such as The New Music(actually, a television program) who within a similar time length interview can conduct quite an insightful interview.
For more interesting blog discourse, check out a couple of Vancouver music blogs including My Indie World who discusses how the pop scene takes cues from the indie scene while From Blown Speakers reflects on this Tiny Mix Tapes article and expresses that "it's dangerous to connect with someone who loves the same music as you... because you lose ownership over it."

Lastly, thanks to Just Keep Bloggin' for pointing the way towards a video version of Feist's "Mushaboom" that I hadn't seen. Does anyone see the similarties to Bjork's video for "It's Oh So Quiet" and U2's video for "The Sweetest Thing"?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Soul Meets Body

concert review: Death Cab For Cutie w/ Youth Group @ Kool Haus(Toronto, Ontario), October 15, 2005

Death Cab For Cutie @ Kool Haus: photo by Mike LigonGiven my apprehensions about the cavernous Kool Haus as a live music venue, I was extremely surprised that Death Cab For Cutie pulled off a great show. Maybe I shouldn't be TOO surprised since another indie darling-meets-The O.C. band, The Shins pulled off the same feat earlier this year. In both cases, it had nothing to do with stage theatrics or visual effects. It just came down to a great setlist.

Before the show, there was a horrendous 'lineup' at the merch table and I ended up missing three songs of Australian band Youth Group's set. DCFC's Chris Walla enthusiastically endorses the band but I'm not quite convinced. They were not quite what I expected from an Epitaph-signed band. They performed a perfectly competent set of pop-rock songs that echoed 90's Brit-rock bands like James. In particular, Youth Group vocalist Toby Martin's vocals sounded to me like a slightly less affected Tim Booth. I'd listen to Youth Group any day over the dozens of other crappy(mostly older roster) Epitaph bands. For now, I'll pass.

This was actually the second time seeing Death Cab For Cutie live. I first time I saw them live was when I was fortunate enough to go to the Coachella festival in 2003 where I was able to catch DCFC's set. Aside from the mainstage acts that year, DCFC's sidestage performance was one of my festival highlights. The most surprising aspect is the transition DCFC's made from the Coachella sidestage to playing cavernous venues like Kool Haus. I think there's been too much fuss made about Death Cab For Cutie selling out(signing to a major label, appearing on "The O.C.") but when they can still write an outstanding song like "I Will Follow You Into The Dark", the whole notion of 'selling out' becomes totally moot to me. Their setlist, not surprisingly, was comprised of material mostly from the new album "Plans" and their previous breakthrough, "Transatlanticism", with a few odds and ends from earlier efforts.

Main setlist included(not in exact order):
-> Marching Bands of Manhattan, The New Year, Title and Registration, Soul Meets Body, Summer Skin, A Movie Script Ending, Crooked Teeth, We Looked Like Giants, The Sound of Settling

Encore(in the order performed):
-> I Will Follow You Into The Dark, Tiny Vessels, Transalanticism

With such a no frills performance, there's not much more to comment on. There was a high sing-along quotient, in particular on songs like "Soul Meets Body", and "Title and Registration". DCFC could be forgiven for the unusually long wait for an encore when they delivered a sublime three song encore which started off with Ben Gibbard's serene solo performance of "I Will Follow You Into The Dark", continued with the emotional "Tiny Vessels" and ended with the stark beauty of "Transatlanticism". It's not easy to transcend the enormity of the Kool Haus, but Death Cab For Cutie did so beautifully.

Here's a few photos.
Can't get enough of the Death Cab? Music For Kids Who Can't Read Good has some videos he took at a recent Death Cab show.

The Boston Globe talks with Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard who maintains that the band hasn't lost its indie credibility.

I read recently in eye that The Dears' Natalia and Murray's daughter Neptune Rosita la Yanchack Lightburn was born in the early hours on September 30th. Congratulations! While it's expected they won't be touring anytime soon, Yahoo! Music are currently featuring The Dears as part of their Who's Next column with an exclusive interview with Murray Lightburn as well as Murray performing a solo acoustic rendition of "Lost In The Plot". For a more permanent link to these exclusives go here.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Photo Album

Death Cab For CutieChartattack has part one of an interview with Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla and Ben Gibbard. Part two of the interview with Ben Gibbard will be posted next week. While Death Cab's riding a wave of success and they have a sold out show tonight in Toronto at Kool Haus(I'll be there), Jim DeRogatis of The Chicago Sun-Times is less kind with his opinion towards Death Cab For Cutie's music spewing out statements like it's " utterly boring, banal and snooze-inducing," and "Death Cab isn't incapable of delivering a memorable melody..." That last statement in particular was based on his assessment of a recent live show, so I'm hoping that's not an indication of what's to come for tonight's show. Otherwise, I think his statements are far too bold and uninformed. [photo from http://../]

Has Conan O'Brien started his own trend? Following the recent hour-long U2 appearance on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, next on the sched will be Neil Young who will appear on the show for an entire week as the musical guest during the week of November 1st to the 4th. Conan joked, "I wanted two solid months of Neil Young, but he told me it was, quote, 'getting creepy'."

Download the animated video for The Heavy Blinkers' song "Try Telling That To My Baby".

Liz Phair talks to The Buffalo News about growing up and fitting in.

Chartattack speaks with Magneta Lane who report that their debut full-length, "Dancing With Daggers" will be released next week in Japan through Pony Canyon while Canadians will have to wait until February.

View Magazine speaks with The Deadly Snakes' frontman Max McCabe.

The Japan Times speaks with Verity Susman of Electrelane.

The Constantines will be performing a live session for KEXP today at 3 pm PST, 6 pm EST.

I've taken photos at concerts with my trusty point and shoot digital camera but I don't think I've ever been overbearing about it. I primarily go to shows for the music and photos are just a souvenir. Sanitary Napkin recounts a couple of recent concerts in Montreal when he unfortunately ended up standing beside the same "jackass" would-be photographer at both shows. He states, "With the 1200 pictures he got i'm sure he'll make some very self-congratulatory "artistic" interpretation of the show and the music on his shitty website conveying how the music makes him feel." I laughed at first but then thought, was this would-be photographer ever BLOCKING his view of the stage? If yes, then I have total sympathy. Otherwise I couldn't give a flying fuck how many photos anyone takes at a concert.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sporting Life

The DecemberistsOk, I decided to skip The Decemberists show tonight at The Phoenix since I'd already seen them at the same venue earlier on this year. That show is one of my favourites of the year and it'll be hard to top that. Chartattack spoke to the band leader Colin Meloy guitarist Chris Funk who freely admits that while the band's been busy and have experienced some success, they're "...not a band that sells through the roof, like the Arcade Fire, who hang out with David Bowie or Death Cab For Cutie who hang out with the O.C. cast."

Apparently, The Decemberists' hometown of Portland, Oregon is fertile ground for indie musicians. Montreal, you had your 15 minutes.

I'm a little disappointed that with today being John Peel Day there weren't any Toronto shows organized, or at least I hadn't come across any. On a John Peel-related note, Guardian Unlimited examines John Peel's twenty favourite albums. Guardian Unlimited had posed this question to Mr. Peel in 1997 who freely admitted at the time that had they asked him a week later he very well may have chosen an entirely different list. Also, Revolution reports that John Peel's son Tom Ravenscroft will carry on the legacy of his father and promote new musical talent on a website devoted to new music. The site, whose URL will be, has been created as a joint venture between John Peel's record label, Dandelion Records, and Universal Music.

eye's Stuart Berman speaks favourably about locals The Diableros opening stint for Tangiers at Lee's Palace last week. They have a recently record album entitled "You Can't Break the Strings in Our Olympic Hearts" for which Mr. Berman advises "Enterprising A&R reps would be wise to make a deal with these devils." I saw The Diableros when they opened for The Two Koreas at The Boat this summer, and let's just say they made a good first impression. They'll be opening for UK's Art Brut at Lee's Palace on November 13th. While you're over at the band's website, they also have mp3's available for download to tide you over while you wait for the album to be released.

PopMatters profiles Toronto's The Deadly Snakes.

Preceding their sold out show at the Kool Haus, Death Cab For Cutie are scheduled for a chat at the 102.1 the edge studios on Saturday October 15th at 4:10pm! They'll also be performing live!

Peaches will make a hometown appearance at The Drake Hotel in Toronto on November 5th as part of TAAFI's Boner Alternative Rock Party. [via Beggars Group Canada]

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sing For Me

concert review: The Fiery Furnaces w/ Apostle of Hustle @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), October 10, 2005

Eleanor Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces @ Lee's Palace: photo by Mike LigonWhile I consider myself a Fiery Furnaces novice at best, I still had this uncontrollable urge to see The Fiery Furnaces. I even went so far as to buy a ticket to the show within the first couple of days tickets had gone on sale. Surprinsingly, it wasn't a sold out show. Still, for a Monday night, there was a good crowd onhand to check 'em out. Opening the show was Andrew Whiteman performing as Apostle of Hustle, but solo. Having seen the band version of Apostle of Hustle twice, the stripped down solo version was a drastically different entity. What was impressive was Andrew's ability to use a looper to loop his guitar arrangements, then to initiate drum machine beats, and then to build on top of these arrangements with vocals and more guitar playing. Some of you may have seen Feist do some thing similar during some of her shows. Andrew was more impressive because he did this during his entire set. The stripped down arrangements leaned towards a more Latin rhythmic feel in the music so that even an AoH pop song like "Energy of Death" sounded almost bossa nova. I'm still partial to the full band version of Apostle of Hustle, but otherwise solo Apostle of Hustle was still quite good. Oh, and Andrew borrowed Eleanor Friedberger's amp. How nice of her.

The Fiery Furnaces brother-sister duo of Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger's was rounded out by a couple of gentleman on bass guitar and drums. While the musicianship was good all around with the bassist and drummer particularly capable, their was a punky attitude towards the performance that kept the music grounded. I didn't find appealing the half-hour long portion of the set dedicated to tracks from the new album. More often than not there were only hints at melody, odd time signatures and half-spoken/half-sung lyrics which all added up to a period of challenging listening. This doesn't bode well for the new album "Rehearsing My Choir". In addition, the mic sound levels didn't sound quite right, as Eleanor's vocals in particular were an aural blur. It didn't help that Eleanor was also nursing a 'Canadian' cold(sounding more and more like her grandmother, ha ha), although I thought she got through considerably well in my opinion. Things fared better after this when the band played some material I assumed was older material by the reaction of the crowd. The more conventional pop structures were a welcome improvement to their set. Sorry, I won't pretend to know any of the song titles, so let's just say they likely played material off "Blueberry Boat" and "Gallowsbird's Bark" and leave it at that.

The encore was an interesting medley of tunes, driven by the harsh yet melodic keyboard sounds played by Matthew and complimented by Eleanor's cool vocals. At one point, Matthew and Eleanor yelled out for requests which resulted in a flurry of audience chatter of different song titles. Someone yelled out "Here Comes The Summer", coincidentally the only song I knew and the one that I was hoping they'd perform. Matthew hinted at the song when for a moment he mimiced the guitar part of the song on his keyboard. Eleanor and Matthew consulted for a moment but I got the impression that maybe Eleanor couldn't remember the lyrics because they didn't end up playing the song and they played another song instead. I'll have to give my copies of "Blueberry Boat" and "EP" more thorough listens before I make my final judgement on The Fiery Furnaces. As I mentioned above, I found some of The Fiery Furnaces new songs to be challenging listening, and that could probably apply to some of their older material as well. Challenging doesn't necessarily mean bad but challenging doesn't always mean fun.

Related links
- my photos from the show.
- chromewaves' review.
Just a reminder that controller.controller's debut album "X-Amounts" was released yesterday. I picked up my copy at Rotate This for $12.98. Nirmala and someone else from the band were interviewed by Dave Bookman on 102.1 the edge yesterday when Nirmala revealed that the title "X-amounts" has to do with 'X' being a variable and then said some rigamarole about 'uncertainty'. It was actually an interesting comment, but it sort of went over my head. They also mentioned that Rob Sanzo produced their new album, and as a result provided a capable hand in bringing out the bottom-end of the music. I haven't opened up my copy of yet but when I finally do it'll be interesting to compare it to their "History" EP. Lastly, they mentioned that their Toronto CD release show will occur November 25th at Spin Gallery. I can hardly wait. Oh, and the album cover is quite rad. BTW, the band also launched their newly redesigned website.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Bleeding Heart Show

concert review: The New Pornographers w/ Destroyer, Immaculate Machine @ Phoenix Concert Theatre(Toronto, Ontario), October 9, 2005

The New Pornographers @ Phoenix: photo by Mike LigonOn pure songmanship, The New Pornographers' show this past Sunday will rank high on my year-end list. I count myself as someone pretty open to many types of music but sometimes a good pop song just really hits the spot. In that sense, The New Pornographers' show succeeded in spades. Opening the show was the three-piece, Immaculate Machine. I hadn't heard their music before and had only heard Kathyrn Calder's vocals on some live session New Pornographer tracks for which she'd been subbing for Neko Case. Kathryn has a very pretty voice, a little more conventional than Neko's twang-inflected vocal style, but admirable nonetheless. While the spunky indiepop stylings of Immaculate Machine were good I'm not quite enraptured yet. Their best quality still is Kathyrn's vocals. Her accompanying keyboard playing was also very good. Her other bandmates Brooke Gallupe (vocals/guitar) and Luke Kozlowski (vocals/drums) were an enthusiastic back-up to Kathryn's mostly-lead vocals(the guitarist sang some lead vocals also). Her quiet droll expression of "rock n' roll" in response to some feedback was funny and endearing.

While I did't count myself beforehand as a big fan of Dan Bejar's contributions to The New Pornographers' material, after seeing his set with his band Destroyer as well as seeing him sing during The New Pornographers' set, I've warmed up to him. He has this peculiar voice that I wasn't quite fond of at first, but within the context of his band Destroyer's slightly off-kitler but surprisingly melodic pop songs his voice somehow made sense. Mr Bejar's stage presence had a sort of a Wayne Coyne-meets-crooner quality about it as Dan picked up the microphone and sang gleefully. When he picked up his guitar to sing on some quieter tunes he had a folkier stage presence. At all times though, his whimsical vocals were very much at the forefront. Musically, I was reminded of Robyn Hitchcock whose peculiar vocals and pop song structures are comparable to Destroyer. Given that I'm only a Robyn Hitchcock novice, I hope I'm not too far off. Although I didn't listen to the lyrics closely, I still had this feeling that he was singing about something fantastical even if he had only been singing about something as conventional as love. (But then I guess, love can be fantastical in itself.)

I am now convinced that "The Bleeding Heart Show" is the pinnacle of "Twin Cinema". When "Twin Cinema" first came out, I was awe-struck by the immediacy of such pop confections like "Use It", "Sing Me Spanish Techno" or the CD's title track. But after seeing The New Pornographers this past Sunday, I've finally realized the goosebump-inducing wonder of "The Bleeding Heart Show", from Carl Newman's plaintive vocal introduction, to the crescendo of the mid-section vocals and instrumentation and then the euphoric finale of the combined background vocals of "hey la" and Neko's repeated "We have arrived too late to play the bleeding heart show". In any event, there were many cases of goosebump inducement. While the band was enthusiastic enough on stage(but still relatively reserved compared to other bands) with drummer Kurt Dahle in particular acting the part of comedian during moments between songs, it was really all about the music. The setlist ran like a greatest hits compilation and it's all but impossible that a consensus will ever be reached as to what everyone's favourite song was. In all likelihood, each song The New Pornographers sang was someone's favourite song. They played a good mix of songs from all three albums, "Mass Romantic", "Electric Version", and "Twin Cinema" and played every song I hoped for including "Miss Teen Wordpower" which I had had on repeat in my car for months. (I had previously only had a burned copy of "Electric Version" but I finally remedied that and bought a copy at the merch table.) Even the Mr. Bejar-sung "Jackie Dressed in Cobras" was outstanding. I was towards the front near the right side of the stage so I absorbed alot of the music's energy. My heart was already racing due to a combination of cold medicine, caffeine, beer and adrenalin but by the time The New Pornographers were done I was in a state of euphoria.

Related links
- my photos from the show
- chromewaves and suckingalemon also have reviews of the show.
- check out Jackie Treehorn's photos from the show. [via Technorati]
The Great Beyond has an interview with The Heavy Blinkers. [via The Heavy Blinkers Album #5 Blog]

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Ongoing History of New Music

The Ongoing History of New Music"The Ongoing History of New Music" which broadcasts on Toronto's 102.1 the edge will be celebrating it's 500th episode this coming week. The show broadcasts Sunday nights at 7 pm(EST) with a repeat broadcast Monday nights at 11 pm(EST). Two programs from the archives broadcast Sunday mornings between 10 am and 12 pm EST.

500 episdoes; that's alot of episodes. According to here, it debuted February 28, 1993. I don't listen to the show nearly as much as a I should but I frequently catch excerpts which the station broadcasts between songs sometimes. More often than not, I usually will catch part of the Sunday morning show such as this morning's show which was focused on Kurt Cobain's death and Nirvana's musical career.

102.1 the edge DJ veteran Alan Cross is the host of the show. What I enjoy about his narrative style is his general enthusiasm for alternative rock history. Alan Cross places the information in a context that makes you appreciate these bands more than you would have originally thought. So while I don't count myself, for example, a huge Radiohead or U2 fan, I frequently come from listening to the shows wanting to explore them further. Perhaps moreso than the narrative content, it's the show's little-heard b-sides or that rare archival audio I've never heard that makes the show just that much more interesting.

On a personal note, I feel transported back in time everytime I hear Alan Cross. I remember the time I was working part-time in a bookstore during university in the early 90's and Alan Cross was doing a book signing for his book "Alternative Music Almanac" which was inspired by the radio program. I got my copy of the book autographed and even chatted with him for a bit. He's been on the radio station for longer than I can remember and he's been a consistent source of inspiration, especially currently when the station's now just a shadow of its former self. Remember the good old days when they actually use to use the call letters, CFNY?

Related links
- Listen online to 102.1 the edge.
- Access "The Ongoing History of New Music" podcast here.
- Read Wikipedia's entry for the radio program.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Way Back

Whysall LaneEver since Versus "reunited" to perform a show this past February as part of Teenbeat Records' 20th Anniversary celebrations things have been quiet in Versus-land. The band is definitely on hiatus as members continue onward with their own musical projects including The Fontaine Toups, +/-, and Whysall Lane. To whet your appetite, Richard Baluyut's band Whysall Lane(which also includes members ex-Jawbreaker drummer Adam Pfahler and SPCA Cat Behaviorist Mikel Delgado on bass, formerly of the Little Deaths and Cinnamon Imperials) have just finished recording their album which will be released through Blackball Records in February 2006. The band has a MySpace site where you can check out some song samples and they also have an official site currently under construction where you can presently download an mp3 of their song "The Way Back". The song's very Versus-like with it's melodic guitar work and Mikel's vocal contributions which are more than reminiscent of Fontaine Toup's pretty vocal sound. Of course, Richard Baluyut's vocals just scream Versus every time I hear him sing and that's totally fine with me. [photo from the band's MySpace site]
Teenage Fanclub performed a live session for NPR yesterday performing "Time Stops", "It's All in My Mind", "Nowhere", and "Did I Say".

Woohoo! I have a four-day weekend with plans to see The New Pornographers on Sunday and The Fiery Furnaces on Monday. Thanksgiving Day feasts go down Monday and then Tuesday I have an additional day off from work to unwind. "Let us all give thanks..."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Witching Hour

LadytronA couple of Toronto shows a little off the indie-rock-venue-beaten-path, info via Pollstar: Ladytron(whose new album "The Witching Hour" was released in Canada today) will be at Fluid on November 12th, while teenage female Brit-grime-rap sensation, Lady Sovereign will be at Revival on December 3rd. I'm not sure if the Ladytron show is a concert or a DJ gig. It could possibly be a DJ gig. I've never been to Fluid, but I believe my sister use to work there. It's located in the dance club district in downtown Toronto on Richmond St. where all the 'beautiful' people hang out. Man, the last time I went to a club in that part of town was during university, over 10 years ago. It was definitely not of my own accord. More like a rite of passage when your university friends want to go out and meet girls. In retrospect, it was the worst place to meet girls. Ok, enough reminiscing about the 'good' ol' days. [photo from http://../]

Kofi's Hat writes an honest, down-to-earth, insightful review of Morcheeba's new album "The Antidote". I'd agree with Kofi's Hat that Morcheeba's Godfrey brothers were particulary non-chalant about discussing original vocalist Skye Edwards' contribution to the group, attributing her as more of a hired hand than anything else. It was sort of a harsh response considering how long she had been with the group. In the end, I found I wasn't as devoted to Skye's vocals as much as I originally thought after I heard new vocalist Daisy Martey's vocals on a couple of tracks off the new album. I think Daisy's vocals were just a tad livelier in tone, than the perpetually smooth vocals of Skye. I think Skye has a decent voice, but her delivery's a litte one-dimensional. (That said, I still think the Skye-sung album "Big Calm" is a fantastic record.) I don't get that with Daisy. In any case, Kofi's Hat informs that Daisy's no longer with the group and the Morcheeba boys have another vocalist currently on tour with them. I'll have to put my trust in the boys' decisions. I just hope the tour comes Toronto eventually.

U2 are alright but I don't count myself to be a big fan of their music. However, I definitely want to catch their appearance on Late Night With Conan O'Brien tomorrow night when they will be Conan's guests for a full hour. They are expected to perform three songs. If anything, I just want to count how many times Bono will say 'fuck' in an hour. [via chartattack]

D'ya got 4 GB's of hard drive space right now? I wish had that right now. Us Kids Know Torrents have a torrent(registration required) of a video collection of various Arcade Fire videos from various venues, TV Shows, concerts, and clips.

Psst. I have a secret I'd like to share. Rotate This is selling the new Broken Social Scene album a week ahead of the new October 11th release date. I bought mine today. At least that dampened the pain of the recently cancelled Architecture In Helsinki show in Toronto, for which I returned my ticket today to Rotate This for a refund.

Monday, October 03, 2005

I Need Some Fine Wine And You Need To Be Nicer

The CardigansThe Cardigans performed a live acoustic session for BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe today which featured performances of "I Need Some Fine Wine And You Need To Be Nicer" and "Don't Blame Your Daughter". Listen to the session here(the session is around the 20:40:00 mark and the program's archived for about a week). Compare their acoustic performance of "I Need Some Fine Wine And You Need To Be Nicer" with the band version. Watch the music video here, featuring the full band version of the song. The acoustic and full band versions of the song are like night and day but man do they both do the job nicely. The acoustic version sounds melodically like something off of "Long Gone Before Daylight" but the band version has the band rockin' out in their own unique melodic way. Check out Nina's rock poses in the video too. Can't wait for the new album "Super Extra Gravity" which according to the band's website is set for an international release on October 17th. Explore the minisite for the new album. The single for "I Need Some Fine Wine And You Need To Be Nicer" was released in the UK today. [photo from http://../]

Teenage Fanclub will be performing a live session for Morning Becomes Eclectic tomorrow at 11:15 am PST, 2:15 pm EST.

The Arcade Fire launch their new website. It's pretty but a little cumbersome at first. The website seems nothing more than the band's cyberspace scrapbook. Those of you using an 800 X 600 display may have to fullscreen the display in order to see the whole page. It appears that Us Kids Know will continue to carry the USEFUL info like tourdates and such.

Read The Posies' Jon Auers' wife Michelle's blog as she posts about the first two days of the band's current tour. I think I'm having an 11th hour change of heart(I stayed home from work today because I had a cold but I'm feeling a little better) and I'll likely head down to Lee's Palace soon to go to the show. We'll see. Update(8:47 pm): I'm not going anymore. I'm hungry, I'm tired, I'm not fully dressed and I haven't fully gotten rid of this cold yet. Who am I kidding? I guess I'll have to read Michelle's blog to find out how the concert went. Hope there's a good turnout and the show goes well.