just a test to get my Flickr account attached to the blog...trying to make all of the internets to work as one
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Ever since I was young I always had this habit where I would go to HMV to buy one cd/tape that I had been really looking forward to getting but I always ended up walking out with a second album. Even today it seems that I download albums in pairs. Sometimes the one I go looking for is better than the one I get on whim and sometimes the "whim" album is far better than the one that got me into the record store/torrent search engine. I don't know why I always bought/DL'd two at a time but it seems to be working for me.
My most recent pair was The Hold Steady and City and Colour and I got fairly lucky with both.
Is there an MP3 version of wearing out a tape or a cd from over-play? If so my copy of Boys and Girls In America definitely is suffering from it. The Hold Steady's 2006 album introduced me to the Craig Finn's incredible story telling and Franz Nicolay's "E-Street" piano, which elevates their "riff-heavy" rock to a new level of authenticity. So when I found out they were releasing their follow up this summer, Stay Positive, I went trolling the torrent sights looking for "a good deal". Once I found it the hype-level was dangerously close to "Guaranteed Let Down" but I was quite pleased to hear that it pulled through. There are a few mis-steps on the album where they are obviously trying to grow. The harpsichord on "One for the Cutters" sounds a little forced and a few of the guitar solos fall a little too close to Bon Jovi. Finns subject matter has evolved into exploring the darker side of the massive nights relived on Boys and Girls. The characters this time around are partying just as hard but have to deal much more serious consequences like stabbings, police interrogations and becoming a cougar. There is no chill-out tent in Stay Positive's narratives.
Musically it has the same mix of "Born To Run" and Husker Du that I have come to expect from The Hold Steady. Stay Positive is equal parts ballads and rockers. If you liked their last album you should get this one too. If you have no experience with The Hold Steady I will recommend one rocker and one ballad. Constructive Summer is a quintessential Hold Steady song. Heavy on the riff, piano and story of blue collar kids looking to have a kick ass summer a close second would be the title track "Stay Positive"
I think Both Crosses is one of their better slow songs on the album but probably not their best. Anyway, take a listen to the album well worth it!
On a whim and on the advice of a trustworthy music fan, I gave City and Colour a chance to make it into my iTunes library. I was once a fan of Alexisonfire and found myself wanting to hear more and more from the guy in the band who didn't scream. Dallas Green is that guy
he has just released his second album, Bring Me Your Love. If i had to assign a tag line to this album it would be "Emo goes Country". Dallas makes the same transformation that Mike Ness once made, from hardened tattooed punk rocker to tortured, introspective folk balladeer. I would not be suprised if this album was recorded in an afternoon with one microphone. It drips with lo-fi atmosphere a-la Feist's "The Reminder". Most songs Green is accompanied by his acoustic guitar and at times a tambourine or even a harmonica. Overall the subject matter of the album is fairly introspective. He worries about insomnia, apologizes for infidelity, contemplates therapeutic drinking, laments waking up alone and celebrates his cool, non-gold digger girlfriend. I could do without the one or two songs that are obviously built for Radio ("Waiting..." and possibly "As Much As I Ever Could"). Despite all the trash I could talk about this album and the joke emo has become, I find myself coming back to it. I keep getting caught up on the "cute" track "The Girl" and the current single "Sleeping Sickness" which features Canadian Icon Gordon Downie. The combination of Green and Downie has got me thinking about the similarities of the two. Both apart of popular bands (in their own right) and both took time to record their solo album that strayed quite a bit from their bands material. In Gord's case, it gained him some small time, art-house credit as a poet and musician and took him off Classic Rock radio. City and Colour will/has vaulted Dallas Green out of the hardcore/punk/screemo scene and into the mainstream.
All together, I quite like this album and it serves as a great ying to the Hold Steady's yang. It could serve quite nicely as the soundtrack to a Sunday afternoon drive home from the cottage, hung-over and in definite need of a shower and an good night's sleep.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I am Prolific today! I posted this on my profile but i don't like how it was displayed there so I'll post it here.
My Favorite Music in a nutshell
Favorite Band: The Beatles (probably because they have so much trivia to go along with their songs. Also because they are the Beatles). Radiohead a close second.
Favorite Song: "I'll Believe In Anything" by Wolf Parade (honestly i don't even think this is mood dependent) according to iTunes i have listened to this song over 100 times and I have yet to skip it...Its a Five Star song in my book
Favorite Album: This is a toughy because i don't want to go with Radiohead, the Beatles or Wolf Parade even though I enjoy their work a Top 3 then A) Return To the Sea by Islands B) In The Aeroplane Over The Sea By Neutral Milk Hotel C) From a Basement On Top Of a Hill By Elliott Smith
I think you have an idea of what makes me tick. I am slave to answering these questions correctly not what might actually be true. Gotta follow the rules to prove i got indie cred. Something Old, Something New, Something Artsy and Something Depressing by an artist who died before his time.
Recently, I got out to the East Coast of the Island. Luckily, my girlfriend came out for a visit and I had a good excuse to rent a car and do some exploring on the island. We had a chance to see some of the famous PEI white-sand Beaches and they were just as empty as everyone says they are.
I guess it was cloudy day but it was the monday before Canada Day and i figured there would have been a few sight seers out.
There were tons of spots to pull of the road and sit on the side of a cliff and watch the birds go crazy.
Because of all the cliffs there were plenty of light houses to gawk at. The highlight of the first half of the drive had to be the aptly named, East Point which is the eastern point of the island.
The island is covered by these purple and pink flowers that seem to grow anywhere (seen above). They add a nice touch of colour to the lush green landscape.
Once you turn back west toward Charlottetown along the south shore of the island we were treated to miles of incredible empty white sand beach (I keep saying white sand because the island has plenty of red san beaches which are not quite as pleasant)
We turned down a dirt road on a whim...
In other news I left my computer for a few hours and went outside to a place where people congregate to listen to live music I saw a few cool bands that I thought might be worth mentioning
First I was lured out by a Toronto band that made the trip all the way across the bridge.
Ghost Is Dancing is a collective from Toronto that probably gets a lot of comparison to Broken Social Scene....now i am probably making that comparison because when i saw them first in Toronto they had about 15 people on stage and the horn section really made the songs sound that much more epic. Their sound is exuberant, with twee feel because of the unpolished harmonies (thats a compliment) and an upbeat rhythm. The band that made it out to the east coast was a skeleton crew (only 6 members!) but they totally did their songs justice. It was a good thing only six of them showed up because the venue would have combusted. They played an all-ages show in the back of Back-Alley Records and it was crowded and hot. The kids that showed up were totally into it and eager to help out with handclaps and a meager mosh pit. There was a group of guys that came with some polished dance moves at one point dropping to the floor and doing some sort of a bobsled move. The highlight of the show was of course when lead singer Jamie dedicated a song to me! I got to talk to him before the show about Toronto and he actually remembered my name so I was pretty impressed with that. Anyway I would find them playing live somewhere soon or pick up their album the Darkest Spark out on Sonic Unyon.
Two bands that also played and I guess make up a bit of the Scene that is going on here
The Barnkats and there was another band of youngsters that were really pretty good and showed lots of potential. They are called New Royalty and I am looking forward to seeing them again and hearing some more of their stuff.
The Ghost Is Dancing Dates:
July 22 Philadelphia PA World Cafe
July 23 Morgantown WV 424 Clark St.
July 24 Columbus OH Ravari Room
July 25 Louisville KY Skull Alley
July 26 Lexington KY Al's Bar
August 9 Toronto ON El Mocambo
This blog seems to be a once in a while thing and I am trying to think of things to type about but am having trouble coming up with something worth reading...working on a review of PEI and Charlottetown. Maybe show off some of the quirks. I'm also close to owning a camera worthy of my extreme skill (cough). My current Digital camera is only slightly better than the camera on my phone and i am pretty sick of developing film.
So just to keep this thing rolling i thought i would post some stuff I have found on the intertubes.
House of cards...made without any cameras! which really isn't that big a deal...they've been doing that since the 90's. the technology is kinda neat check out the "making of..." video
the next is a fan video that is also pretty neat....let it ride for at least 1 minute. apparently this sort of stuff is all over the YouTube and might be the height of nerdery
Thursday, July 3, 2008
I find that sometimes I attach some sort of label to bands that I have heard about but never heard and is difficult to get over that preconception. Sometimes its the band name, sometimes it’s the album art sometimes it’s the genre they list on their myspace site (Usually its any reference to “hip hop” or “Electronica” that makes me turn and run. It says nothing to me about my life or atleast I assume it won’t), or where they are from or the first line from a pitchfork review. . Every now and again I give one of these bands a chance and am almost always surprised but sometimes i am disappointed (The Mars Volta) . A couple of recent suprises include CSS and Hot Chip.
My most recent discovery is Jamie Lidell. Discovery is really the wrong word. I’ve been reading his name on the blogosphere for years now and have always assumed the worst. His is a perfect storm of misconception. 1 he is german (i seem to not trust german artists). 2 he is often remixed. 3 his genre list includes electronica. 4 the internets love him. 5 the first line of his p-fork review has the words: "laptop artist" and "chilean techno terrorist" (granted after hearing Lidell i should have probably read the words before, in between and after those words). I figured he was some sort of electro-weird-“artsy” Kraftwerk disciple and my ever-shrinking hard drive did not have room for him so I didn't even try.
I finally searched him on hypem.com and was shocked. I could not have been more wrong. He sounds like he influenced both the Black Keys and Gnarls Barkley. I say influenced because he sounds like he wrote and recorded at Hitsville, USA back in the 60’s. Mr. Lidell is a part of the same re-eneactment school that She & Him belong to. It sounds like he strived to recreate the sound of Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay. Some bands try to emulate and hint at their influences he straight rips his off. Its no wonder he is opening for Elton John this summer.
Anyway, a mid-year resolution. Try to trust the internets MORE. If they say it is good…its worth a listen! His new album is called Jim and it is out now. Check him out on Hypem.com and skip the remixes. Also if you go as far as watching one of his videos his German-Artsy tendencies (that i expected to hear) slip into the mix.