Thursday, August 17, 2006

A muse has been lighting a fire under me this week and the posts have been especially prolific. May also have something to do with the little "vacation" I took from work. The fall has always been a time I look at as my new years. Things change,we embark on new endeavours, we vow to try new things or change. September gets me excited. I've been lazy with the file hosting so far. Still no mp3's for anyone who reads this. that probably explains the heavy linking and video content. I've been holding off on band profiles and new music mainly for the reason that it seems dull to write some long introduction with no mp3 for you to quickly download and hear for yourself. Sure I can link you in the right direction, and I will, but ideally I'd like to have things available to you at your fingertips. The positive side to that is that it has allowed me to get into the habit of constantly writing without having to worry too much about articulating the essence of X band and why you should listen to them. That particular process is the one I agonize over the most as I want the level of writing on this blog to be exceptionally high. I'm worried less about tastemaking or next big thing hype. In fact I'll probably keep my distance from that kind of fallacy. Those who read here are my guinea pigs in a sense. We're not just exploring music. We're exploring our thoughts, our abilities. We're exploring why one art form is so intricately linked with our sense of existence. Why does one person have a greater connection to Dylan's You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go than, say, Dolly Parton's I Will Always Love You. Not entirely sure what I'm trying to say here. Back to September. Stick around. I've got some cool stuff coming up in the next month or so. A couple great ideas, possibly some interviews with artists. You'll see.

September lineup at Call The Office is looking fairly decent. As a September resolution I vow to give other bars a chance, dive more into the local scene, and stop referring to The Salt Lounge as an "Emo Club"

Here's whats cooking London

Frank Black, ex Pixies frontman -August 24-Call The Office
Hidden Cameras
supporting new record Awoo with Spiral Beach and Laura Barrett-Sept. 8-CTO
Metric-Sept 14-Rock The Block
Holy Fuck and Shout Out Out Out-Sept 16-CTO
Controller Controller with You Say Part We Say Die-Sept 23-CTO

That's a few. I'll update as it becomes necessary. I can't find any information on what "Rock The Block" actually is. I simply know Metric will be there. No idea where this takes place, support, etc. Not a big metric fan, but I'm hoping this will turn out to be some decent extravaganza. I also plan to be in attendance at:
the last Deadly Snakes show ever-Horsehoe Tavern, Toronto ON-August 25
Tom Petty-Molson Ampithetre, Toronto ON-September 8
Day 2 Virgin Festival featuring the Raconteurs, the Strokes, Sam Roberts, Massive Attack, etc-Olympic Island, Toronto ON-Sept. 17

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

People love YouTube . This is undertandable. It provides one central place for anyone to easily upload video's of whatever they wish and then tell all their family and friends, who may then easily view it and leave encouraging comments such as "Keep up the great work, Love Grandma" or "OMG yurrr soooo Hotttttt, talented, stupid, etc." I first came across You Tube through my younger brother Kevin. Kev was relating a story of his friend getting into a fight at school. Immediately my interest was piqued (the word 'fight' is generally recognized as the fourth most powerful word in the English dictionary; it's inclusion in a spoken sentence is able to turn your bored and disinterested male conversation partner, who probably tuned you out 10 minutes ago, into the most rapt of listeners. The top three, of course, are the use of 'girl(s)', 'flashing', and 'beer tent' in a single sentence.) After detailing the intricacies of the fight in question, Kev then casually mentioned, "and it's on You Tube." After a quick overview of what this "youtoo" was, I was treated to 80 seconds of grainy home video featuring two adolescent brawlers partaking in one of the older rites of passage. It was terrible, barely watchable, and easily the best thing i'd seen all day. Me and the 'Tube have been acquaintances since.

Pitchfork showed its love for Y-Tubs with its 100 Awesome Music Videos. Then Sports Guy Bill Simmon's offered up his picks of You Tube interest in The You Tube Hall of Fame. In the same vein but on a lesser scale, may we present: Country Pinball Machine's Worthy Time Wasters and Videos of Note. All music related of course.

The first video is courtesy of the 30th Anniversary Concert for Bob Dylan. Back on October 16th, 1992, a who's who of rock and roll's finest got together in New York to pay tribute to arguably the greatest songwriter of all time. This performance of My Back Pages is stunning. Dylan chooses to go with the jingly jangly arrangement of the Byrds' cover over his more somber original, embracing the folk rock he never claimed to create.
My Back Pages

The next video comes courtesy of Sly and The Family Stone. Unless my memory is excessively foggy, their performance of Love City did not make the cut on the Woodstock documentary. The performance follows the modus of the doc: band's performance interspersed with zoned out hippies and naked bathers. This is Sly/Family at the apex of their fame. It wasn't long until band tensions, Sly's increasing drug problems, and a changing social scape would point the band into darker sounds and material. Love City carries the ultimate message at the defining moment of the groovy/flower child sixties that history tends to remember much more vividly.
Love City

Whoever takes care of these things should get on the ball and release each band's entire performance from the original Woodstock. The footage has to exist. The original movie features a few songs from a majority of the weekend's performers. Notable exclusions from the movie are the Grateful Dead and Creedence Clearwater Revival. How exciting would it be to watch entire sets. Watch the famous Abbie Hoffman/Pete Townsend exchange. I'm surprised it hasn't been done already.

This one is from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction for George Harrison. As a Beatle, Harrison joined the RnR HoF in 1988. Sixteen years later and three after his death he would become a double inductee. This time for his solo work. George's son Dhani, Tom Petty, and a few others pay tribute with While My Guitar Gently Weeps. The show stealer is fellow 2004 inductee Prince. His Purpleness can wail.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps

I'm not sure when I began liking Prince. I had an old boss who didn't like music, except for Prince. A bit drastic, but interesting nonetheless. I tried at her urging to get into Prince several times. Watching the 46th annual Grammy Awards was the turning point. Prince shares the stage with Beyonce to perform a little medley. Beyonce, a great performer in her own right, tries her best to keep up with the little man in Purple. Hell, she even succeeds for a while. But eventually, the Beyonce/Prince show becomes The Prince show. Beyonce is sexy. Prince is just electric. Fuck. Excellent.
Prince and Beyonce

We'll close things off with a couple vids from David Hasselhoof. Yes, the Hoff. Hoff's experiencing a resurgence these days. Not sure where it started. Hasselhoff has always been on the radar. In a pinch you could always fall back on a "Hasslehoff, big in Germany" joke/reference. Lately though, he is everywhere. Was it the American Idol moment when The Hoff shed a tear. Is it his primetime gig as a host on America's Got Talent beside fellow washup Brandy? Everywhere you go the Hoff is there. Is he loved because he seems unaware of the farce he is. Is this some kind of hipster ironic appreciation club. Maybe it is David's acceptance of his inherent cheesiness. He seems so self-aware as of late. Everyone thought Gnarls Barkley's Crazy was this summer's Hey Ya(ie. irrestible pop single that crosses the various music factions and genres to appeal to mass audience). Everyone was wrong. David Hasselhoff is Hey Ya. Now technically The Hoff is not a music single. He does have a backing track though. And its probably the baywatch theme.
David Hasselhoff - Hooked on a Feeling

The above video has so many "what the F" moments. This video popped into my head over Sunday breakfast, I tried in vain to explain the video to my friends. I failed miserably as they sat out blank faced. I continued to burst out laughing periodically. I'm fully confident that a a 100 years from now this video will be understood and they will conclude that the video is actually an incredible simple formula for how to achieve world peace AND turn "lust" into an alternative energy source. Hoff the Prophet

This last one is mildly disturbing. The Hoff + attractively unattractive girls half his age + Kit the car + air guitar + baywatch moment + state of the art CGI graphics + song that would make Holland-Dozier-Holland whimper = too good to miss
Jump In My Car

So that's it for today. You Tube has got something for everyone. Whether it is a badly shot but incredibly captivating full concert Elliott Smith performance or the latest OK Go masterpiece. Whatever your poison as they say.

Monday, August 14, 2006

This weekend was supposed to entail an excursion to Kingston/Wolfe Island to see The Constantines. These plans were dropped in favour of attending the 33rd annual Potato Festival. Pot Fest, as it is affectionately known, is the little town of Alliston, Ontario's yearly celebration. I lived in Alliston until I was 17 making me a local and Pot Fest somewhat of a must on my annual summer travels. I've viewed this annual event somewhat with a heavy heart since my "escape." As these things resemble high school reunions at their most awkward, it is quite easy to understand.

However, my attendance was essential this year. The reason being my good friend Ryan, who is departing on a great, possibly permanent, voyage to the West. I came home Saturday to attend his going away BBQ. It was basically a whirlwind visit. I spent less than 2 hours at my parent's house and didn't even get to see 2/3's of my family. That night I ended up seeing a few people I didn't expect and had two of the best conversations of my life. Polar opposites on the spectrum these conversations were and I'm still reveling in their honesty.

I will forever associate Oasis' What's The Story Morning Glory with this friend. This has something to do with our Grade 7 Lip Sync competition. Ryan's group performed 'Wonderwall'. I remember them trying to re-create the music video in some way or another and someone playing an acoustic guitar as a stand up bass. Since then I am unable to hear that Oasis album without recalling Ryan's impersonation of Noel Gallagher.

Also featured in the competition was my group who not only rocked out to the President of the United States of America's 'Lump,' but did so while also doing the macarena. At the time it felt like a sly jab at the dance craze currently wreaking havoc at our dance parties. It was generally agreed that the Macarena was taking up valuable slow dance time. Slow dance time was key for the obvious reason that it allowed you to gain a proximity to developing bosoms. The choice of P.U.S.A., a band with obvious staying power and representing Truth, contrasted how the Macarena so erroneously embraced materialism, capitalism,and any other ideology we thought we were against. The macarena was also believed to be responsible for the dissapearance of dodgeball from the gym curriculum. While our peers looked on with confusion we performed our social commentary on the decaying of Canadian society via our widespread acceptance of a consumer state.
That said, and with our tongue no longer placed in our cheeks, Bon voyage Cranstoun. Good luck.

For nostalgia's sake take a walk down memory lane. It really wasn't too long ago.
Presidents of the United States of America

Oasis - Wonderwall

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Random ramblings if you will.

Went down to Harris park this weekend and caught Sloan and Matt Mays. Saturday and Sunday respectively. I haven't seen Sloan play in years so I wasn't sure what I was in for. They were definitely solid. Enjoyable even from the distance way back in the field. It wasn't that the place was packed but rather that the beer gardens ( which cost you $20 bucks to get into) took up the first 75 hypothetical rows. Too many tents blocked decent views from outside. Nonetheless I chilled out on a hill, closed my eyes, leaned back, and took it all in. I think the last time I saw Sloan was at an Edgefest way, way, way back in the day. That said the vantage point was probably fitting. Only difference between the two events would be that I was no longer a 15 year old kid stoned out of his mind trying to fight off the nausea.
Sunday night brought Matt Mays and El Torpedo. When you go to a Matt Mays concert you are consistently impressed. As often happens after an impressive show you end up playing their records incessantly for a minimum of two days post show. Its hard with Mr. Mays because their records have never been able to capture their live sound. Too polished. The band is very rough around the edges and their recordings have yet to reflect that. For his talent he should have something akin to the first Kings of Leon record. As of yet still waiting. Get the man the right producer.

On Sunday, August 20th, Matt Mays and Sam Roberts will be playing a free show at the Georgian Downs Racetrack. This is about 15 minutes from my homestead in Barrie and also happens to coincide with a long overdue visit home. Looking forward to it.

Muchmusic is reporting that the Strokes have been added to the V Festival taking place on Toronto Island September 9th and 10th. I wasn't really planning on attending even though Jack White's Raconteurs are on the bill. This addition might make me reconsider. I missed Jack the last time he was around with Meg and although initially offset by the Rac's record, I have been warming up to it. This might be enough to cause me to cough up the roughly $60 ticket price to catch day 2. We'll play the waiting game for now.

Porno For Pyros totally popped into my head today. Maybe I secretly wished I had been at Lollapalooza this weekend. For whatever reason I went scurrying for my records. Desperately wanting to hear Good God's Urge i was a bit dismayed to find it was lost. I never lose records (by records I mean compact discs). Never ever. I am incredibly anal about my modest collection. I do not like to see them lying around haphazardly. I never toss another cd in the wrong case. I still do not use cd booklets to cart around multiple cd's because I believe the booklets actually scratch the cd. I use to carry around 10 cd's in their full cases in my backpack. I happen to know that my roomate currently has my Constantines' Shine a Light, even though I wasn't there when he took it. Story being: I do not lose cd's. Upon inspection I discovered not only was my Porno missing but also any Jane's Addiction I own. Is it coincidence that the only cd's I ever "lost" both feature Perry Farrel prominantly? Is there a fan of slightly effeminate lead singers who doesn't like to pay for his records who managed to nick mine? Lets get Veronica Mars on this. The Hardy Boys if the girl wonder is busy.

Pretty long for a filler post. Hope to have some file hosting sometime this week. Might create a bit more traffic around this ghost town.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Around these parts we've been playing the waiting game. Waiting for one of my favourite rock n roller's to release his second album. That wait is about to end. Andre Ethier, c0-frontman for The Deadly Snakes drops his second solo album, secondathallam, August 8. The record was recorded at the Hallam Music studio in Toronto sometime last September and will be released by Paper Bag Records.

The record picks up where his first, With Christopher Sandes Featuring Pickles and Price, left off. Once again he calls on childhood friend Chris Sandes and the Deadly Snakes' Andrew Gunn and Matthew Carlson under the P & P pseudonyms to help him fill out the album. I really enjoyed the dichotomy between his solo record and the Snakes' records. The first was a pretty sombre affair and it will be interesting to see what he does this time around

Andre played a show down at Call The Office some time around April this year. Opening for the Unintended, he played a short set of beautiful songs predominantly on what my lack of instrument knowledge assumes was a mandolin. He even threw in a cover of Paul Simon's 'Paranoia Blues'. That song has been stuck in the head since. The venue, barely a quarter full, seemed the perfect place. His words and melodies drifting carelessly throughout the bar; soaking up in the walls and casting a quiet dream-like setting.

Over at Ethier's Myspace he's streaming In With The Prim and Honey Bee off the new album. Come Tuesday he'll he playing an in-store at Soundscapes in Toronto. He'll follow that up with a show on the 17th at The Silver Dollar, also in Toronto. I'm hoping to be there, whether or not this noodle of a job permits it.

I'll admit I've been putting off this writeup for awhile. His art has been very close to my heart since I first came across it. It is hard to articulate this without relying on fawning. This article the other day by the CBC lit the fire under me. The most startling piece of information was the news that after their August 25 show at the Horseshoe Tavern the Snakes will essentially cease to exist. Although I'm incredibly disheartened by the news, I am looking forward to the show which I assume is gonna be a barn burner. We'll put up a proper post as the date gets closer.

Andre seems to be a busy man. He sings on the the latest Silver Hearts record, released a few months back. You can pick it up online at Festival Distribution. It is well worth your money. As the CBC also points out, Mr. Ethier is also an accomplished painter. We're going link crazy today. Check out some of his work here. I'm no expert on art by any means. However, I really dig the colours in the portraits. Very innarestin' as Neil Young might say. The landscape/action? pictures are beautiful. Once again the colours as well as the fantasy-like aspect of the works. Check out the untitled of the girl on the bicycle with the rainbow. Very cool.

So that is about it. We're Ethier-ed out. I've heard he'll be doing some dates outside T.O. in support of the new record. Lets hope London figures in.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Being my first summer here in London I'm incredibly impressed on how vibrant the downtown is. Besides the usual bar scene, every weekend there is some kind of event going on down at Victoria or Harris park.
From Sunfest and its interesting assortment of world music to even Rock The Park. While it might not necessarily always be your scene it is at least different. Typically free too if the event takes place at Victoria Park. You can rarely argue with free.
Anyways, this weekend is the London Ballon Festival. Taking place at Harris Park, the event is putting on a few decent concerts. Saturday night will get you Sloan, with Sunday offering up Matt Mays & his El Torpedoes.

When my roomate first heard Sloan was playing the festival he groaned, as if "this is what they've been relegated to." When I found out Matt Mays was playing this somehow gave credibility and redeemed the Sloan team. You've got to admit that playing the hot air balloon circuit seems like something of a fall from grace. Not to long ago ( ten plus years actually) Sloan was the epicentre of the Halifax pop explosion. Probably the first scene to be dubbed the "new Seattle," Sloan looked destined for big things. Although they are still well-regarded and popular, world stardom never really materialized. At this point in their career, Sloan are far to large to play the Canadian club circuit. Even if they did I'm not sure how successful it would be. They are one of those bands you take for granted, promising to catch them next time they are in town. Tix are $20 bucks. Support is Mobile and Trole. Not a solid bill by any means, but Sloan playing the sun down ain't the roughest way to start your Saturday evening.

Sloan has a new album coming out September 18th in Canada and later internationally. All band members have contributed songs for Never Hear The End Of It. With over 30 songs mixed the band just has to whittle it down to something a bit more manageable. First single Who Taught You To Live Like That? is currently streaming on their myspace. Check It out. The roomate likened it to Navy Blues era Sloan. This is a good thing.

Matt Mays plays Sunday night with ex-Big Sugar frontman Gordie Johnson's newer project, Grady and London's Bobnoxious. Tix are $15. Bobnoxious closes out the show with Mays in the middle at 9pm. I'm not sure how Mr. Mays will do on an outdoor stage. I'm sure he'll be fine, but he seems much better suited to the sweaty confines of a club. Go see for yourself.

Still working on my hosting issues. Basically I just have to wait till a paycheck to get my credit cards unmaxed. Then I can set up an ezarchive account and start providing some mp3 accompaniment. Shouldn't be long. A week at the latest.

Sloan's Website
Matt Mays' website and Myspace
London Balloon Fest for ticket info and such.

As an update: Apparently the shows are free unless you choose to enter the beer gardens. Probably get a better vantage point also. We'll see. I've always been a fan of sneaking beers in my backpack.