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Archive for December, 2004

23 Dec 04

end of year lists. yawn.

i’m a blogger, and it’s that time of year again. i can’t help myself.

albums of the year:
1. mike o’neill – the owl
2. arcade fire – funeral
3. stars – set yourself on fire
4. sekiden – junior fiction
5. sondre lerche – two way monologue
6. ac newman – the slow wonder
7. memphis – i dreamed we fell apart
8. the remains of brian borcherdt – self-titled
9. sufjan stevens – greetings from michigan, the great lakes state
10. death from above 1979 – you’re a woman, i’m a machine

honourable mentions: feist – let it die, fiery furnaces – blueberry boat, by divine right – sweet confusion, franz ferdinand – self-titled, buck 65 – talkin’ honky blues, interpol – antics, controller.controller – history ep, the go! team – thunder lightning strike, junior boys – last exit

songs i’ve been obsessed with this year:
1. mike o’neill – stay with me
2. camouflage nights – it could be love
3. sekiden – s-t-a-y
4. feist – mushaboom
5. sondre lerche – two way monologue
6. brian borcherdt – “hers”
7. stars – your ex-lover is dead
8. sufjan stevens – detroit, lift up your weary head (rebuild! restore! reconsider!)
9. death cab for cutie – transatlanticism
10. gentleman reg – give me the chance to fall

honourable mentions: arcade fire – neighbourhood #1 (tunnels), the black keys – 10 am automatic, memphis – the second summer, ac newman – town halo, buck 65 – wicked and weird, fiery furnaces – straight street, tv on the radio – the wrong way, the mooney suzuki – alive & amplified, !!! – me and giuliani down by the schoolyard, k-os – dirty water

best live shows of the year:
1. arcade fire+ride theory – clark hall pub, kingston, sept 29/04
2. joel plaskett+pete elkas – grad club, kingston, nov 30/04
3. sondre lerche+golden republic – lee’s palace, toronto, oct 30/04
4. apples in stereo+high water marks, horseshoe, toronto, may 3/04
5. joel plaskett emergency+jason plumb – grad club, kingston, april 22/04
6. stars+marlowe – grad club, kingston, feb 11/04
7. constantines+jim guthrie – elixir, kingston, sept 30/04
8. controller.controller+uncut+magneta lane – grad club, kingston, dec 10/04
9. memphis+torngat+john hyde – rivoli, toronto, oct 29/04
10. matt barber+pete elkas – grad club, kingston, sept 11/04

my favouritest movies of the year:
1. eternal sunshine of the spotless mind
2. napoleon dynamite
3. supersize me
4. garden state
5. city of god
6. touching the void
7. shaun of the dead
8. the incredibles
9. motorcycle diaries
10. the take

honourable mentions: big fish, kill bill 2, i heart huckabees, the control room

23 Dec 04

a night of awkward leg kicks…and mike o’neill

last night was the zunior.com showcase at the horseshoe. i was a bit hesitant about the overall lineup (i mean, how good could a band called the “mountainside band” really be?), but i figured that it’d be worth it to see mike o’neill play for the first time since 2001 (especially since his album is my favourite of the year).

we arrived shortly after 9:30, and dave clark’s mountainside band took the stage shortly thereafter. their website describes them as a blend of hipswinging-boogiewoogie-sing along-everyoneĆ­s song-right or wrong-funky angst-filled spunk, which i think can be translated into boring and unmemorable music. nothing really stood out from their set at all, with the exception of dave’s spastic and ill-timed leg kicks (he’s “like a cobra”, as andrew pointed out), and the guys in the crowd who enthusiastically shouted “take it to the mountain!” which left me confused.

up next was an interesting surprise. the kelele brothers are a band made up of ron sexsmith’s touring band (including don kerr), and ron himself filled in since one of the members couldn’t make it (which was quite cool considering he was playing his own show “down the street” after the set). they are self-described ukelele enthusiasts (hence their name) and play all shapes and types of guitars. they were pretty fun, especially if you’re into strummy-type music, and played a set of mostly covers. oh, and there was an unfortunate leg-kick or two thrown in for good measure.

scribbled out man was third on the bill, and he was very entertaining. their website suggests that they’re normally a four-piece, but for last night’s set it was just paul linklater on guitar and don kerr on drums. they played some uptempo and fun guitar-rock (also including a few unfortunate leg-kicks). their set would’ve been fantastic had it not been for the inclusion of the “christmas song” at the end – paul and don with paul’s girlfriend, singing a looooong song a capella. pretty horrendous, unfortunately.

before mike o’neill came on, the dinner is ruined band played a short set. i’ve heard of them for many years, and have heard a track here or there, but last night was my first chance at hearing them play a full set. after a couple songs, i was reminded of a conversation i once had with my highschool friend chris quarrie about a review of pavement he’d read in rolling stone or something. it said something like “they have to be really talented to sound that bad”, and that’s sort of the impression i got from the dinner is ruined – they are clearly skilled at playing their instruments; however, the music they produced was quite painful. granted, they’re an experimental band by nature, but they just weren’t at all pleasant to listen to. the only positive i can offer is that they used an interesting mix of instruments, but that’s not enough to save them.

finally, mike came on with a band including paul from scribbled out man and don kerr once again. he was obviously fairly nervous (which he poked fun at when he commented that he was being overly confident and he should stop that), but considering i don’t think he’s played a solo show since 2001, i think that’s more than understandable. he opened with stay with me (a song that i’ve listened to more than any other over the past year) and played a good mix of songs from both of his albums (including wintertime, mr. carvery, we live happily, alsatian, andy, camera shy, etc.) and closed with what a wonderful world. aside from his new mustache, i had no complaints about his set…i just wish he’d play more (not to mention waiting less time between albums). oh, and it was interesting to watch matt murphy directly in front of me in a passionate embrace with his girlfriend for an hour…i probably could have done without that too.

16 Dec 04

controller.controller’s disco blackout

finally, a 3 band bill that didn’t drive me insane.

last friday night, controller.controller played at the grad club with uncut and magneta lane, and it may have been the best 3 band show i’ve ever attended (although there is a bit of competition…) it’s interesting that i enjoyed it so much because i wouldn’t consider ANY of the bands to be superamazing independently, but none of them sucked away my will to live, as generally happens in such situations.

a pet peeve of mine is the cop out descriptor of “sounds like strokes” that is bandied about by any two bit reviewer these days, for essentially any band who’s bringing forth the rock. having said that…magneta lane sorta sound like the strokes, perhaps with chrissy hynde on vocals. their set was solid and fun, and i quite enjoyed watching the bassist play the entire set with her back to most of the audience, complete with several dozen careful hair flips that perfectly matched her high maintenance look (i mean, those HEELS!). they were good, but none of their songs really leap forth in my mind. what i remember most about their set, in fact, was the guy leaning against the wall in a cheesy tie doing the most blatant and sustained chicken neck i’ve ever seen.

after magneta lane came uncut, and they were very solid. i’d not seen them before and had only borrowed their cd from maggie earlier in the week, but i was definitely impressed by their set. lots of noisy guitars and two singers who can actually sing! for some reason they sorta bring to mind the stills or something, but without the pretension, perhaps mixed some joy division and a bit of controller.controller. not bad. and understanding the new violence is a great song.

controller.controller’s set was very similar to their show in october, i.e. fantastic. again: so much energy, bathed in red light, whipping the normally comatose grad club crowd into a frenzy. so good. they played pretty much everything from their history ep, as well as a bunch of tracks from their forthcoming album, and the weird thing about the night was that the crowd was full of insane dancing kids, but none of it seemed out of the ordinary for once.

the show wrapped up at around 1:30 or so, but it seemed much earlier than that. the energy of the bands, the quality of the music, and the overall organization of the night definitely helped – it was a refreshing change to not have to wait ages for each band to set up. in summary, 3 bands that didn’t suck in a show that was well executed = a good time.

15 Dec 04

definition of awkward

a tip for the general populace:

if, for some reason, you ask someone if they’d like to see your tattoo, and they reply “no, it’s ok”, don’t, under any circumstances, force them to see your tattoo. do not insist. do not assume that they are being polite and truly do want to see it. please. for the love of god.

09 Dec 04

my first camera experience

somehow i managed to neglect writing about my first visit to camera on saturday, so i’ll make up for that now.

camera’s a pretty trendy bar/lounge/screening room on queen west in toronto owned by atom egoyan. we paid it a visit to check out a rough cut of egoyan’s latest project, a self-described “new reality show” called citadel. it was the first public screening of the film, so egoyan was there to introduce it as well as to discuss it afterwards. he explained up front that it was essentially a journal of his family’s trip to beirut (where his wife lived until she was 17) and initially wasn’t intended to be much more than that, but it grew into something more. the finished product is definitely interesting: it’s laid out as a letter to his son that he’s not supposed to watch for another ten years, and is essentially a juxtaposition of the banality of watching someone else’s family go on vacation with observations of a tense culture with a war-torn past. there are definitely some parts that drag on, but the insight provided in voiceover – not to mention the climax at the end that the entire film builds toward – made it worthwhile. i’m not sure if it will ever see the light of day, but it’s certainly worth watching.

as for camera itself, if it’s good enough for george stroumboulopoulos, it’s good enough for me.

07 Dec 04

alun piggins will have to wait another few more years

yes, i was excited about seeing alun piggins. i busted out my mid 90s cds and listened to the morganfields’ thrash waltz a few times to celebrate. so, imagine my surprise when i arrived at the elixir tonight shortly after 11 (in breathless anticipation, no less), only to find the doors were locked. i’m not sure what that means – perhaps i’m the only alun piggins fan left in kingston? or, perhaps more accurately, the only one without exams? anyway, in summary, i’m pretty much heartbroken.

06 Dec 04

chessbugers: a true delicacy

the next time you’re in toronto and you’re looking for a delicacy, you should stop by this little restaurant at queen and shaw:

mmm, that’s some good eatin’. (thanks to anne for her photo-taking abilities).

06 Dec 04

ted leo and his pharmacists: a prescription for fun (zing!)

so, do ted leo and the pharmacists tour constantly or what? i remember being disappointed about missing his horseshoe show a few months ago, but sure enough, he was back last night to make it up to me. it was an all ages show (not cool) at the mod club (cool). the venue was neat, but the fact that we had to sit through 3 openers was certainly not. actually, let me clarify that: i was quite excited to hear that the meligrove band and matt pond pa were opening, but i’d never heard of the junction.

the doors opened at 7:30, and we arrived a bit after 8:30…just in time to hear the last matt pond pa songs (sigh). i really enjoyed their green fury and measure albums, but i didn’t hear any familiar songs of the three we were there for. picture pretty mellow and engaging guitar rock, with the inclusion of a cello for the hell of it.

2nd up were the meligrove band. my description of them ahead of time were a poppy band who were trying to emulate brian wilson (once they had gotten over their initial ragged thrush hermit wannabe sound), so their set was a surprise: their new songs have opted for a more straight ahead guitar rock approach with very little use of keyboards – quite a lot different than when i last saw them back in the summer of 2002. the rock shouldn’t have surprised me, given that they capped off that last show with helter skelter. the highlight of last night’s set was the inclusion of a cover of the magnum pi theme song – complete with freeze frame in the middle – although their originals were mostly quite solid as well. and, wow, their drummer is a fun guy to watch – constantly standing and sitting, shifting all over the place while beating the shit out of his drum kit (and breaking his kick pedal in the process). i also enjoyed the 2nd guitarist’s fantastic fro+mustache+trumpet playing talents. good stuff.

when they were done we were optimistic that ted leo would come out next, ’cause we were hopeful that we’d somehow managed to avoid the junction. it was not to be. the highlight of their set was before they started playing – they all came out in matching yellow zip ups and did a group hug to psych themselves up for a set of really shitty music. it took me about one minute to decide they weren’t for me, and my opinion got stronger and stronger as they played on. maplemusic asks you to [i]magine a sound that combines the organic acoustic elements of folk music, with an innovative interpretation of the modern British rock scene. i’m not sure whose ass that came out of, but i’d suggest you mix some r n b with some lame indiewussrock, and add in a guy who fancies himself an MC, and maybe we’ll be getting somewhere. total suck.

ted leo and his band played a short but energetic set. they mixed in some older favourites (high party, hearts of oak, i’m a ghost, where have all the rude boys gone, etc.) with a bunch from their new album, whose names i haven’t yet learned (with the obvious exception of shake the sheets, with which they capped off their set). they also threw in a rush cover (the “first time they’ve had the balls to play it in canada”) for good measure, as well as a “cover from a band from new zealand” that i didn’t recognize. it’s interesting: i had never thought of the pharmacists as a punk band, but something about their stance and attitude made me think punk rock – and this was confirmed when ted himself referred to it as a “punk rock show”. i’ve always considered them more of a rock band that borrows heavily from classic rock (e.g. thin lizzy, whom i compared them with and discovered that now had done likewise this week) and rearranges riffs to make them their own. anyway, it was a pretty enjoyable set, although i never really felt entirely engaged – perhaps it was the fact that my back hurt, perhaps it was the fact that the bassist contributed absolutely nothing, including very little movement at all (except for his massive amounts of hair – which, when combined with the crazy beard on the drummer, provided quite the spectacle), or perhaps it was banter, which focussed in large part on anti-bush views (although i can’t really complain about that). oh, and while i’m complaining: what was up with the vocals being so low in the mix? it would’ve been nice to hear ted’s voice a bit clearer over the guitars. in summary: good, but not superfantastic.

02 Dec 04

coincidence?

point of interest:
listen to ted leo+pharmacists’ shake the sheets back to back with the tragically hip’s fifty mission cap. i especially like that shake the sheets is the title track of ted leo’s new album…

02 Dec 04

since you are in the internet…

i enjoyed this spam that i just received from info@directfast.com:

Since you are in the Internet, I figure you probably do some type of Internet advertising or Internet marketing. I have personally invited you to try one of my new products Keyword Houndog.

a) he’s right, i am trapped in the internet. i just wish he would try to rescue me, rather than selling me something.
b) it’s true too that everyone who uses the internet does some kind of internet marketing. isn’t that a prerequesite? i mean, even mahir cagri is involved with self promotion…how else can you explain that hot speedo pic?
c) i enjoyed how he spelled his product “keyword houndog” inconsistently. later in the email it became “keyword hounddog”. maybe he’s not so good at advertising after all…

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

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