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Archive for October, 2004

12 Oct 04

mike o’neill: back and better than ever

if you listened to indie rock in the mid-90s and you’re canadian, you probably remember the inbreds – a fun 2 piece pop band from kingston made up of just bass and drums. they released 4 solid albums, two of which were nominated for best alternative album junos, and if you’ve never listened to kombinator (featuring you will know and any sense of time), you should – it’s still amazing ten years later.

after six years and much praise, the inbreds broke up much to my chagrine, seemingly because dave ullrich (drums) wanted to become a computer programmer and because mike o’neill (bass+vocals) felt that he’d taken the bass and drum pop/rock format as far as he could. the timing, at least to me, was especially sad because the announcement came soon after their stint with edgefest 1998, at which dave grohl discovered them and raved to everyone he could about how amazing they were. at the time, i thought they were poised for super stardom.

all was not lost, however. in 2000, mike o’neill released his first solo album what happens now? that didn’t disappoint. unlike his inbreds material, these songs were much fuller (yes, there were guitars in every song!) but they did maintain the pop sensibilities that made me love the inbreds from the start. but then he seemed to vanish.

in early 2004, i was excited to note that mike was touring with sarah harmer as her guitarist, which confirmed that he hadn’t disappeared from the music business all together. finally, in late august, chartattack reported about a new album – an online-only release called the owl available exclusively from zunior.com. i, of course, bought it immediately ($8.88 for new mike o’neill material? how could i not?) and i haven’t stopped listening to it for the last month and a half. it’s sadly shorter than i would have liked (9 songs, less than 30 minutes in length) but it’s even better than his first album – so catchy and GOOD. the album is worth it for stay with me alone.

one more interesting piece of trivia about zunior.com: i poked around their site a bit and discovered that it’s being run by none other than dave ullrich. i guess i know what he did with his computer programming training.

Update: from zunior.com – Zunior Live at The Horseshoe on Wednesday, December 22 in Toronto! The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern hosts Mike O’Neill (11:45), The Kelele Brothers (11:10), The Scribbled Out Man (10:20), and The Mountainside Band (9:30). Cover is $6.00. Come on down!!!

08 Oct 04

oops, downtime

i’m in the process of changing chumptastic’s domain registrar (after 3 faxes, multiple emails and a whole lot of waiting), which has resulted in almost 24 hours of downtime. hopefully things have stabilized now – the new registrar seems to know what they’re doing a bit better than the old, so i don’t anticipate any more difficulties.

07 Oct 04

it’s not like living in vic hall…

after living here for 4+ years, bobby orr tower finally had its first fire alarm. it was amazing to me how many people crowded around the front walkway that i DIDN’T recognize. the highlight of the experience was observing what my building-mates wear while inside their apartments – let’s call it asian loungewear, for lack of a better word. lotsa pyjama pants, shorts (in the freezing), and bizarre t-shirt+dress pants/dress shirt+track pant-type combinations. good times were had.

the official explanation, as i heard it from campus security, was a “cooking problem” on the 8th floor. i can only imagine this month’s building newsletter:

-plastic bowls should not be placed on one’s stove
-rice should not be cooked over an open flame
-barbecuing should not be done indoors
-do not try to dispose of items that are aflame down your drain

only time will tell.

07 Oct 04

i can be pretty stupid in the morning

this morning began with me almost forgetting i had an appointment to drop my car off for servicing, and hence not rushing like i should have. i ended up arriving at the garage about 5 minutes late, which wasn’t too bad. i dutifully left my keys in the ignition as they request (which took a great deal of effort), but unfortunately i didn’t put forth enough effort to prevent myself from locking my door as always. in summary, locking one’s keys in one’s car at a garage is somewhat embarassing. they were able to cut a new key, so all was not lost, but it still sucked.

another story of note from my day: when i arrived at work, i discovered that a support call had been placed by my favourite teacher from highschool, so i insisted on calling him back. he’s apparently a vice principal now, and it was kind of cool to catch up with him. it was also nice to know that he remembered me 9 years later.

05 Oct 04

more birthday talk

fyi, my birthday’s fast approaching, so i’ve added a few things to the list i started a couple weeks ago, including:

-a sleep sound generator (or matching progression wake up clock)
-a pet parasol
-some golfball finding glasses

and for the rest, you can consult my newly-updated wishlist.

05 Oct 04

oooh, bank fraud

apparently my mom discovered $500 missing from her bank account yesterday. when she went to report it to the bank, she found that she was one of many in peterborough with the same problem. how scary is that? luckily, it sounds like she’ll be reimbursed.

i guess i’d better start actually following those instructions and covering my hand while entering my PIN.

04 Oct 04

the constantines: better off inside

i’m working my way through the backlog of shows i saw last week, slowly but surely. here’s my next installment:

it’s about time i got to see the constantines in a venue other than a big outdoor setting, which isn’t really their forte. they played a show last thursday at the elixir (i know i know, it’s not optimal, but still better…) with jim guthrie, and it was what i’d hoped it would be. they had a difficult act to follow, since the arcade fire played the night before and blew my mind, but they were up to the task.

i’ve read a lot of good things about jim guthrie (in fact, i don’t think i’ve EVER read a bad review of him), but as much as i’ve wanted to enjoy his music, nothing i’d heard before ever wowed me. having said that though, his set was better than i expected, although i’ll admit that i talked through much of it. his music was inoffensive and struck me as pretty good background music, although i really think he could’ve done without the sax player. i also don’t really consider him to be a good opener for the cons. i know i know, he’s on 3 gut too (and is undoubtedly a friend) but if the cons are interested in getting the fans excited and into the show before they hit the stage, jim guthrie may not be the best way to do it.

the constantines didn’t exactly get off to a blazing start. they started off kinda slow, and the crowd took a while to get into it as a result, but once they launched into young lions at around song #4, they hit their stride. at this point, the crowd’s fist pump/devil horns level increased dramatically, as did my enjoyment. they played much of their shine a light album, with the obvious highlights of nighttime/anytime, on to you and the title track. their encore was definitely the peak though (in spite of the rather lacklustre welcome back from the crowd) – they opened with a cover of the hip’s 50 mission cap, as sung by the keyboardist, and the finale ended up with members of the band lost in the crowd, perched on the side bar, and climbing on tables. intense, and worth my 3rd straight 2 am evening.

04 Oct 04

salteens: same old fun pop

to cap off my week of bands (let’s recap: danny michel, luke doucet, arcade fire, ride theory, constantines and jim guthrie) i headed to toronto on friday night to catch another salteens show (and a couple other boompa bands) at the el mocambo. i was pretty exhausted after several late nights in a row so i was hoping for an earlier night, but it was not to be.

the first band on the bill were called the ladies and gentlemen, a shitty name for a pretty solid band. what i didn’t know ahead of time was that they’re the new project for thom d’arcy of the carnations, which was a pleasant surprise. they’re a 5 piece band (who could have easily been whittled down to a 3 or 4 piece) that drew a surprisingly big crowd. their set was quite solid and i enjoyed most of the songs, but the ones that were less focussed on guitars (and featured more keyboards and percussion) were the ones that really grabbed my attention. and how can you complain about thom’s voice? what was kind of funny about their set was their fifth member. i’m not sure what to call him – he spent most of his time clapping his hands, occasionally fiddling with knobs on the amps behind him, or pressing a key or two on the tiny keyboard in front of him. i had to wonder if he was getting paid as much as the other four members.

run chico run was the second band on the bill, and i had a good feeling about them when i saw them getting ready – a two piece alternating between keys, a guitar and drums. my first impression, about 30 seconds in, was “hey, that’s pretty cool – the drummer is playing a keyboard at the same time”…but that’s the last good thing i can say about them. their songs were more angular than catchy, and i don’t think i was able to detect a single chorus or verse throughout their entire 45 minute set. (check out their website’s main page for a pretty good representation of how they sound – and the site’s description of “tasteless art rock” gives art rock a bad name). the once-large crowd emptied significantly, leaving only a handful of people by the end of their set – and it nearly put me to sleep.

finally, the salteens came on sometime after midnight. the crowd never really recovered from run chico run, so there were only a few dozen people there. as usual, they motored through another high energy set, and had i not seen them before, i would’ve left pretty happy (although i would’ve preferred more than a 45 minute set at any time). unfortunately, it was pretty much exactly the same set that i saw back in march. oh, and june 2003. oh, and june 2002. you get the idea. their shows are always fun and poppy and exciting, but i get the feeling that they’ve put most of their energy into running their label, boompa, rather than writing new songs. i probably would’ve enjoyed the whole experience more had i not endured the previous band, and had it been over about an hour sooner.

Pronunciation: 'ch&mp
Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps blend of chunk and lump
Date: 1883

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