Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Stranger than Fiction

I sat down last night to watch this Zach Helms film, a starring "dramedy" vehicle for Will Ferrell, and was utterly engaged. The quirky concept alone would be reason enough to praise the film if Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Ferrell didn't deliver such solid performances. Gyllenhaal in particular who didn't have much more of a caricature to deal with. Throughout the film I kept on noting the Spoon songs throughout, eventually remembering that Britt Daniel had a hand in composing the film score. Although the lion's share was composed by Air's Brian Retizell (he has also composed for Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides, among others), Britt wrote a new song for the film and contributed some instrumental versions of previously well loved Spoon songs.

There is a beautiful scene when Ferrell's character (Harold Krick) and Gyllenhaal's character (Ana Pascal) sit around post-dinner in her apartment. He makes note of the guitar in her apartment and she invites him to play, Krick declining after sheepishly mentioning he only knows one song. She heads to the kitchen and is washing the dishes when krick decides to pick up the guitar and starts quietly strumming a Wreckless Eric song, eyes closed and totally involved. Her reaction is all kinds of poetic and deeply moving. Do yourself a favour and rent the movie.

Popmatters talks to Britt a while back about how things came together for the film. and Chartattack have a few things to add.

I got a message that my file hosting account has been suspended and is under investigation. I found something that will do for today but am entirely unsure if the bandwidth is adequate. Any problems let me know. Once again, if anyone knows of a great file hosting service, clue me in.

Things have been quiet in the Spoon camp as of late. A new album in the works? Would be about time, now wouldn't it. Placate yourself with the afore-mentioned new Britt contribution for the film. Enjoy some more choice tracks from the film.

Spoon - The Book I Write

Maximo Park - Going Missing
The Jam - That's Entertainment
Wreckless Eric - Whole Wide World

Stranger Than Fiction Soundtrack on amazon

Monday, February 26, 2007

Frog Eyes

As some may have noticed I took last week off. Instead of excuses, excuses, excuses I'll just get back to the swing of things here. Some or all will probably be familiar with Frog Eyes. They of the incestuous relationship with other CanRock luminaries the Wolf Parade and Dan Bejar aka Destroyer. Their new LP Tears of the Valedictorian comes out May 1st on Absolute Kosher. The track listing:

1 Idle Songs
2 Caravan Breakers, They Prey on the Weak and the Old
3 "Stockades"
4 Reform the Countryside
5 The Policy Merchant, the Silver Bay
6 Evil Energy, the Ill Twin of...
7 ...Eagle Energy
8 Bushels
9 My Boats They Go

They'll be doing a tour in support, kicking things off in their hometown of Victoria, BC, while playing SXSW in mid March also.

3/16 - Austin, TX - SXSW Merge/Absolute Kosher day party
3/17 - Austin, TX SXSW Absolute Kosher showcase
4/14 - Victoria, BC - Logan's Pub
5/01 - Seattle, WA - Crocodile's
5/04 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
5/05 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
5/10 - Denton, TX - Rubber Gloves
5/11 - Austin, TX - Emo's
5/12 - Houston, TX - Proletariat
5/14 - Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn
5/15 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
5/16 - Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel
5/17 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
5/18 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
5/20 - Boston, MA - Middle East
5/22 - Montreal, PQ - La Sala Rossa
5/24 - Toronto, ON - Sneaky Dees
5/25 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
5/27 - Chicago, IL - Schubas

The band did a Daytrotter session last summer which you can hear and download here, including a early version of Bushels. Bushels is the perfect disjointed song for me right now.

Frog Eyes - Bushels (mp3)

Friday, February 16, 2007

New Feist, Old Royal City

Remember Feist, she of the achingly beautiful voice, part of the Broken Social Scene sirens (the other two being Amy Millan and Emily Haines). Of course you do. The first track off her upcoming album, The Reminder, started hitting the blogosphere yesterday. My Moon, My Man is a breezy little thing. I'm not particularly crazed about it, but it's nice to hear something new from my would be girlfriend regardless. The Reminder is out in North America May 1st. I absolutely love the cover.

Feist - My Moon, My Man

A few weeks I got into a big Royal City phase. Those who are unaware of the now-defunct band, one-time flagship of the also defunct Three Gut record label (and also the namesake, courtesy of Jim Guthrie) should go out and get themselves acquainted. Truly beautiful stuff. I was trolling the CBC radio 3 archives,(click on "101 music stories," then "table of contents" to view all the music sessions) and found this session by the band. I fell in love with the unreleased track, Burning Torch. The piano, the lyrics, it's all there. I did a little searching and found that the song was featured on last year's Asthmatic Kitty comp Mews Two. Matt at i (heart) music has the rest of the session to download, so head on over there. My Mean Magpie has a live show from back in 2001 with some more unreleased tracks. More goodies for your Friday.

Royal City - Burning Torch (mp3)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I Got Them Higher Calling Blues

Every time I type the above title, Bob Dylan's Freight Train Blues pops into my head. "Way down on the bottom of my ramblin' shoe -hoo-hoo-hoo-ooooos." Thought I'd share that with all of you. Both tracks I have for you today, carrying in our gospel-ish Thursday theme, get cozy with the Lord. Both get inspiration for the age old practice of looking for something better when those good 'ol times turn a bit weary. Some of the songs from weeks past have been rather dour, at least in sound. Today's offering seem to match their joy with their energy. A couple rabble rousers for you.

The Sadies are somewhat of a Toronto institution. Blending the roots of the countryside with a slight recall of a truer indie era. A tight four piece that did some time with Neko Case as a her backing band; they always seem to be behind her when she wanders into town. Their recorded output has rarely done justice to the force they are onstage. Acknowledging this the Sadies settled down for a few nights at Lee's palace back in 2005, and with Steve Albini behind the controls, finally put to tape their legendary live show. In Concert, Volume 1 features the Sadies and their friends out in full force. Higher Power, off their Pure Diamond Gold (1999) release is a simple and majestic turbo twang spiritual. Never did an "amen" sound so vital.

The Sadies' In Concert, Volume 1 on Amazon

The Sadies - Higher Power (mp3)

The Silver Hearts
are another Canadian band (Ontario) that has been around for awhile, and much like the Sadies, has a solid reputation, based on a consistently good output. Beer soaked country soul, instantly rewarding and utterly faithful. On their latest disc, Dear Stranger (2006), the Hearts, called on the Deadly Snakes' Andre Ethier, to add his voice and talent to their latest collection. New Pilgrim is one of my favourite tracks. Just a raucous spiritual from that opening harmonica gut punch.

The Silver Hearts' Dear Stranger on Amazon

The Silver Hearts - New Pilgrim (mp3)

That's the slice for today. I've got a love drunk roommate (probably more drunk than anything) insisting I rethink my Pearl Jam stance. Can't say I'm entirely against it. Download the tunes and let them fill your soul

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

In the news

Some White Stripes news as of late. After being released from V2 records earlier in the year, Jack and Meg signed a one album deal with Warner Bros. They will still be represented by XL in the UK, while Warner will take care of things here in North America. This news is seen by most as a good indication that a new Stripes record is either in the can or in the works.

This last bit is augmented by the announcement that the White Stripes will play at this year's Bonnaroo Festival. Taking place June 14-17 in Tennessee, the initial roster of artists was announce today. Since I wrote this last night, I only know the names leaked earlier Tuesday. By the time you read this, the official listings should be up over at the website. Head on over there to get your fix.

White Stripes - I Can't Wait
White Stripes - Walking With A Ghost

Acknowledging Valentines Day; You're either in the camp that celebrates (ie. in a happy relationship) or doesn't, and bitterly so (ie. alone. Utterly and painfully alone). I can't remember the last time I was in a relationship on Valentines Day. Regardless, It's a great day to call up your friend and tell them you love them.

I love Linda Ronstadt's take on the Everly Brothers song When Will I Be Loved. Lyrically, it's a lonely, bitter tune. The girl can't find a man to treat her right. Sonically, this baby is all hope and joy. Just a hard hitting popper if there ever was. It seems to marry our opposing Valentines Day camps. A little common ground sounds good.

Linda Ronstadt - When Will I Be Loved

Monday, February 12, 2007

Grammy Blog

Hey folks. Welcome to Monday. I blogged the Grammys last night. Enjoy

Sting and the Police reunite. Yawn.The Police - Driven to Tears (mp3)

Directly followed by Jamie Foxx. Jamie wants you to make some noise and get a party going. Jamie Foxx 's jokes fall flatter than Sting & Co. . Jamie says the jokes would have "killed on BET." Did he mean that literally? Good thing the Police are here to prevent this whole thing devolving into the Source Awards.

Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder pick up an award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals with For Once in my Life. Stevie dedicates it to a deceased relative. Good time to get off the stage, but Tony wants to get in there and thank......Target.

Guess what faithful viewers, you can vote ala American idol for one promising singer to share the stage later with Justin Timberlake. And for the next three hours you will be able to see said pretty promising's every time we go to commercial break.

Dixie chicks perform Not Ready to Make Nice. Backwards thinking folk in middle America make a note to turn off tv in silent disgust/approval for President just as soon as they catch up with the modern world. Last week they finally got that running water, so, another 40 for the miracle of television, and another 20 after that for maturity to accept dissenting opinions

Beyonce performs soulless soul song. Is it me or does B look a bit fleshy as of late. Looks like she's taking the old "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach in response to being overlooked by just about everyone (including the Oscars) for Jennifer Hudson in Dream Girls. No one tell Beyonce that the Academy simply reached its maximum number of Black nominations before they got to her. We like her super curves.

Mary J. Blige picks up her second award of the night. The first saw her give a wedding list of thanks. This time she keeps it short, with some insight for all us kids, "Life is peaks and valleys...I don't wanna burn bridges." Didn't make the cut: "The more you know, the more
you grow," and "Don't come home drinkin' (with lovin' on your mind)"

If I could pick three artists, alive or dead, to perform a collaborative performance live at the Grammys, it would have to be John Legend, John Mayer, And Corinne Bailey Rae.

And the winner for Song of the Year goes to........Not Ready To Make Nice. The true winners, however, are fans worldwide who will surely benefit from the empty promise of presenters Seal and Burt Bacharach to write a song together.

J.t.'s prospective duet partners were caught off guard this time and almost forget to all huddle together and pretend to like each other as the camera panned them. Looks like the one on the left is a loss away from her committing her first Grammy night stabbing. Get on those phones and text America. Don't let the Grammys become the Source awards. Good thing the Police are here. (And you thought the joke was terrible the first time around)

And the Dixie girls win another. Good show girls. This time they want to thank the "true" fans. Aww Snap! detractors. Of course by "true" they mean all those fans who bought concert tickets in Kansas City, Houston, St. Louis, Memphis and Knoxville for the last tour only to see the Chicks cancel those shows when the side effect of Natalie Maines "outspoken" ways caught up them. The Chicks don't do theatres.

Standing O for the Chris Brown, Smokey Robinson, and Lionel Richie tribute performance to R & B. Why won't Smokey age? Is he a robot? Robot Smokey has more soul than 136 aspiring singers. And all six seasons of American Idol. Also more Botox than Olivia Newton John.
Smokey Robinson - Tracks of my Tears (mp3)

Christina Aguilera pays tribute to Jimmy Brown with a burning performance of It's a Man's World. Speechless.

My favourite part of the evening, the obits. In no particular order, thank you for offering your souls and voices: James Brown, Ahmet Ertegun, Arthur Lee, Billy Preston, Denny Doherty, Anita O'Day, Alice Coltrane, Floyd Dixon, Syd Barrett, Gene Pitney, Desmond Dekker, and Ruth Brown. A touching tribute to Brown with a dancer struuting around as James does the same on the screen. And then they drape a cape over the microphone stand. Classy.
Billy Preston - Nothing from Nothing (mp3)
James Brown - Night Train (mp3)

Ludacris is performing the "make Oprah proud" Runaway Love. Jamie Foxx is taking notes.
Ludacris - Runaway Love (mp3)

I fell asleep so I've been watching the telecast on tape. Swear to God I couldn't plan this, the tape just ended half a verse into James Blunt's Beautiful. God loves me and protects me from insipid pop music.

I really wanted to see what instantly forgettable singer got to sing with J.T. Hows about they just can the whole idea and let Scarlett Johansson do it.
Scarlett Johansson - Summertime (mp3)

That's all folks. In and out before I'm subjected to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Concert Listings

Here's so local concert listings I though I'd put up. Not a bad month stretch considering size and locale of our fine little city. Super excited for the Julie/Baby double bill, by the by.

Julie Doiron and Baby Eagle (Steve Lambke of the Constantines) play Alex P. Keaton's Feb 21

Do Make Say Think at Call The Office Feb. 22, tix $10

White Cowbell Oklahoma
at the Salt Lounge Feb. 25. Support// Johnny North

Apostle of Hustle at Call The Office March 1, tix $7 advance Support//Young Galaxy

The Weather Underground at the Salt Lounge March 5 Support//TBD

Shout Out Out Out
at Call The Office March 6, tix $6. Support//120 Days

Born Ruffians
at Call The Office March 29, tix $6. Support// We Are Marching On

And for those patient enough to scroll down I've left some mp3's of the above bands. I'm not deluded enough to think that alot of you folks stop by for my awkward sentences and attempts at wit. Enjoy the weekend.

Julie Doiron - Don't wanna be liked by you
(off just released Woke Myself Up)
Baby Eagle - Redpath Sugar Factory (off 2006's self-titled dull-length debut)
Do Make Say Think - The Universe (off You, You're A History in Rust, out next week)
Apostle of Hustle - My Swordhand's Anger (off National Anthem Of Nowhere, just released and super good)
Young Galaxy - Swing Your Heartache
Shout Out Out Out - Chicken Soup for the Fuck You (of 2006's Not Saying/Just Saying)
Born Ruffians - This sentence will ruin/save your life

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I Got Them Higher Calling Blues

As the Louvin Brothers, Charles and Ira Louvin left an unmistakable mark on country music. While Ira died in 1965, Charles is still kicking around today. Nearing his 80th birthday, he decided to get together with some friends and record some songs, new and old, for his self-titled album out February 20th. George Jones, Jeff Tweedy, Will Oldham, among others, all lend a hand to Charlie.

In this same spot a few weeks back I chatted about The Louvin's Christian Life. Atomic Power is equally straightforward. While it was probably more resonant 40 years ago, the fear of nuclear fallout is still real enough to find an audience. You may not have ran to your fallout shelter when Iran conducted underground Nuke tests last year, still, visions of apocalyptic dystopia's may have danced in your head, if even for a split second. Are you ready for the great atomic power? sings Charlie. Well Charlie I'm not entirely sure, is there something I can do to get ready? There is one way to escape/And be prepared to meet the Lord/When the mushroom of destruction falls/There is a shielding sword.

Tweedy provides backing vocals (as he did to Jay Farrar when Uncle Tupelo use to do this song) The song's matter of fact, fire and brimstone mentality is sure to get under the skin of anyone who wouldn't be caught dead in a red state. But if you can't use the overhanging fear of world war 3 to convince a few folks into accepting Jesus Christ as their personal saviour, then really, whats the point in living at all.

Website for Charlie Louvin

Charlie Louvin featuring Jeff Tweedy - Atomic Power
Uncle Tupelo - Atomic Power (mp3)

Avril Lavigne drops Girlfriend

Though the title and picture may be misleading, CPM hasn't turned into a gossip blog. Though I could if I wasn't so afraid of Perez Hilton. Instead, we heard the new Avril Lavigne single, Girlfriend, and wanted to share.

I suppose i should have cooler tastes. Some of you faithful readers might become unfaithful now that I've so erroneously veered into the pop mainstream. But take note, here comes the crossover single of the season. The indie kids are gonna be embracing this one at the same time as this becomes the anthem for every girl aged 10-30. And why? Because it's really fucking good. This here is girl power on Redbull. It is also irresistible, even if you can't relate to girl power, or wanting to be someone's girlfriend, which I can't. But I try.

Knock it if you want. Soon enough you'll be singing it. Ignore the contradictions inherent. Why is a freshly married twenty something singing a song with the emotional maturity of a fifteen year old? Who cares.

Hey Hey You You
I don't like your girlfriend
Hey Hey You You
I think you need a new one
Hey Hey You You
I could be your Girlfriend

Avril's new album The Best Damn Thing comes out April 17th. Preach it sister.

Avril Lavigne - Girlfriend

Friday, February 02, 2007

new Kings of Leon

The new Kings of Leon record Because of the Times hits North America April 3rd. Someone called them the Kentucky Fried Strokes once and although I think the comparison is lazy I still love the name. Maybe its our big love for the Colonel, also, who doesn't love a southern belle.

Track listing is as follows:

1-Knocked Up
3-On Call
5-Black Thumbnail
6-My Party
7-True Love Way
10-The Runner

The band is streaming 'On Call' on their myspace. Go on over and check it out. Styeiles has some tracks from the KFC Kings' Day Old Belgian Blues EP. I'll leave you kind folks with Molly's Hangover. It appeared as a b-side to the Wasted Time single and as the name suggests it's a drowsy re-working of Molly's Chambers. Everyone have a great weekend, catch ya Monday.

Kings of Leon - Molly's Hangover

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Got them higher calling blues

This week's track is the traditional spiritual Jesus on the Mainline. I've always felt that Ry Cooder really owns the definitive version of the song, though there are many an artist who've thrown their hat in the ring. It's been down a million different ways, whether it be harrowing blues or uplifting shake 'em down gospel. However it is performed, the lyrics never really change.

The title itself implies an uncomplicated access to spiritual guidance. If it were to be written today I imagine it might refer to an Internet connection, but somehow Jesus on the World Wide Web lacks the same punch. Each verse is a two-line repeating refrain, informing that in sickness, despair, or joy, all you have to do is make the call and tell Him what you want.

As I mentioned above, for me, Ry Cooder has got the definitive version of this. The voice, the guitar; it's all there.

Ry Cooder - Jesus on the Mainline

Don't tell that to Willie Neal Johnson though. The man really lets it swell here. The kind of performance you'd expect in a great Baptist church and dare I say might knock off Ry in due time on that personal fav point.

Willie Neal Johnson - Jesus on the Mainline

The Bill Gaither Vocal band offer a more reserved version here. Gotta love that man with the baritone.

Bill Gaither Vocal Band - Jesus on the Mainline

Mr. Airplane Man is a dirty blues female duo from Cambridge. They had some momentum back around the "The" bands heyday. Too often got hacked as "the female White Stripes." They've fallen off the map since then, personal and commercial, though I've been sitting down with their awesome second LP Moanin' as of late. Worth your time to check what Margaret and Tara are up to these days.

Mr. Airplane Man - Jesus on the Mainline

The last version I'll leave you with is by The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Very uptempo and swing. Enjoy.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Jesus on the Mainline

Apparently Ben Harper did this song back in on Pleasure and Pain back in 1992. Limited run, vinyl only, 1500 copies. If any of you faithful readers know how I can get my hands on a copy, either this, I'm assuming, hard to find gem, or a vinyl to mp3 rip, I'd love to hear it.