Wednesday, March 31, 2010

when summer's gone and autumn comes and everything has changed, why is it so strange? why should we complain?


i'm pretty pleased with how many posts i've managed this year and the amount this month in particular. this will be fifteen for the month and while i don't want to start posting things just for the sake of it, i do want to make sure i'm posting more often and stay in the habit.

it's all about consistency and finishing things i start. i have too many "on the go" projects these days and not enough of them are completed. i'm trying to change that too.

big tings a g'won.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

we are the world, we are the children...

i welcome the proud country of romania to the growing list of places gracing that little flag counter down there.

i wish i'd put something like that on from the start because it would be great to see where everyone is from up to this point.

we goin' aroundanaroundanaround the sons of the flow...

rob moir, crazy diamond and gardening, not architecture take two. settle in, this could be a long one.

i don't like the hideout. i never have. their sound system is a jumble of cables and everything always seems to be feeding back even when nothing is on. it's an odd shaped room so i admit, the sound guys have their hands full but i'm just not a fan.

the few problems i saw at last night's show stemmed from tech issues (with the exception of one timing gaff that was just plain funny and forgotten quickly).

rob moir, who some people might recognize from the dead letter department, has taken his act solo and embraced the singer/songwriter pilgrimage. rob is no stranger to being on stage but told me that he was feeling really nervous about these solo shows because he's never been up there by himself before. he's looking forward to learning more about the solo musician/music fan relationship and how he can interact with the people at his shows, draw them in and make them a part of the performance. rob had an impromptu jam for his last song which pulled about twenty people into the mix. we played tambourines (which seemed to just keep appearing one after the other from rob's bag of holding.), clapped hands and sang along. i think everyone involved really enjoyed it even if they were a little embarrassed at first.

rob has been recording material for an album for the last year and plans on touring more in the near future. with spring here and summer not far off it will be the perfect time to get out to more live shows. check out his myspace page for a glimpse at what he's been up to but i don't think the recording does his live show justice. he's got a great voice, plays really well and honestly has fun onstage and that comes across immediately. he's a little folk, a little rock and a lot of heart. i just can't say enough good things about this young gentleman. go see him when he plays near you.

crazy diamond played another really solid show. they practice, practice, practice which you can see and hear. i mentioned before how unforgiving a mistress being locked to a backing track can be and sometimes people miss a beat but crazy diamond manage to make you forget that they aren't playing everything live. i would be interested to see how their songs work without the percussion and pads in the background but i have a feeling it would be every bit the soft and dreamy feel they get up to now.

i was surprised to see them a little more angsty and fired up this time. there was some borderline screaming going on which worked really well to off set the sleepy feel (good sleepy, like relaxing sleepy song stuff. it's just dawned on me that four people might get what i mean by "sleepy song" but i'll have to explain it later.)

so if you see them in your town, go say hi, buy stuff and wear it/listen to it. put gas in their tour vehicles and food in their bellies. they work hard for the monies.

gardening, not architecture took the brunt of the tech problems last night but once everything was sorted the set went off in fine style. i feel a little odd writing about an act that i just wrote about less than a week ago. then again it's not often that i see the same bands in such a short period of time. i'm not sure what else to say that i didn't say the first time. sarah was great. she's engaging and her music is fun. again, the light backdrop is just a great visual and helps turn the whole thing into a spectacle. i hope this trip out east has been a positive experience for her and given her the chance to meet some great people and see some great acts that she wouldn't have found otherwise.

ditto for g,na about showing some love and picking up hoodies, cds, you name it. check out the website if you don't happen to live anywhere near these shows or l.a.

the highlight of last night for me was the sudden realization that it has been too long since i've spent any significant time in dingy bars and club basements. that needs to change so change it i will. i'll be redoubling my efforts to spend more time catching live acts and you should too. random shows happen every night in larger cities. they may not all be to your taste but with some luck and patience you'll find a few gems.

Friday, March 26, 2010

all around the world it's the same song...

i apparently wrote this drunk off my ass on wednesday night. this is what i found when i looked at this post:

i love my city. it may not be as far out as some others, (New York and Tokyo I'm looking at you) but it has some of the most amazing and random shit imaginable flowing through it.

case in point, gardening, not architecture. l.a. bread electro pop that's more postal service than mika which made it's way here through a friend of a friend of a... and wow.

sarah saturday seems simply stupendous. really. thank you for playing my town and giving me the chance to remember that diy music doesn't have to be angry or exclusive...


and that's where it ended. i either fell asleep or realized that i didn't have the nescesarry brain power to finish the post. there are bits and pieces of this that i now have to deride and downright contradict. i have a love hate relationship with my city. recently i hate it more often than not but that's mainly because i feel trapped here. plus, what's up with the aliteration? i wish i could think up sentences like that sober. maybe a less hoky sentence but still. maybe i'll just drink more often before i write? i'll be hemmingway in no time.

the point of that mess was that you should listen to gardening, not architecture. g,na are currently on tour with crazy diamond check their sites for dates and locations near you.

the show was great. those crazy diamonds sound even better with matt on stage where he belongs playing everything that makes noise at the same time. they also added a great bjork cover to their set. loved it.

gardening, not architecture is sarah saturday and beau sorenson. sarah has been playing solo but they co-wrote the songs. they are catchy and sweet and emotional. the perfect songs for road trips, quiet nights on the couch or just feeling introspective. oh, actually sarah isn't entirely alone, she is accompanied by a pretty kick ass light show sewn into a magic cloth.

the room was almost pitch black save for a lone figure on the stage silhouetted by flashing lights. good times. my friend and i decided that sarah must be gardening and her light show quilt is architecture. they are in love and architecture tries to shield gardening from the horrors of the world. it's a difficult relationship because architecture can only express feelings through the use of different colour combinations. also, we were sober. no really we were.

the moral of the story is, go out and see more live music. you never know who you will run into or if they'll even look you in the eye when you do see them. cryptic? yes. explaining? no.

giddyup.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

earworm of the day: hometown glory (high contrast remix)

i'm not a fan of adele. i find her rather boring and just another young lass that uk record execs tried to shoe horn into their already bloated motown revival stable. on the other hand, i think high contrast is genius.

i've been listening to this on repeat for most of the day so it might not count as earworm per se but i'm puttin' here anyway.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

chain reaction and mutation contaminate the population

i am looking forward to trying out a few new plug-ins. now i just have to wait for my serial numbers to show up.

there's a great site called audiomidi.com and they have insane deals on the most random things. it's one of those sites where you have to check back often but you'll probably find something worth your time if you do.

i picked up about $500 worth of software for $50.

now i'm going to compress and eq the hell out of everything just for the fun of it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

earworm of the day: two of a kind

i'd like to see you leave too afi.

this was actually a pretty good song back in the day before davie became a super effeminate goth and afi were still a good punk band. i never understood how they ended up a pop rock band but whatever puts money in the pockets of musicians is up to them.

answer that and stay fashionable.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

earworm of the day: the weathering

it's not often that i welcome a song into my head. however, alias' the weathering is more than welcome to spend as much time stomping my mind grapes as it wants.

it's just dawned on me that i haven't written a review for resurgam and that's a huge oversight on my part. i love this album so i will have to fix things and do a write up soon.

shame on me and my busy ways.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

earworm of the day: all the right moves

far be it for me to suggest that onerepublic's songs all sound the same (because they obviously aren't exactly the same.) but their singles sure as hell have the same "feel" to them.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

so bang the drum slowly and play the fife lowly...


magic chairs is the latest offering from the four great danes that comprise efterklang (wow, apparently red skelton is writing my jokes now. take my wife, please.) and while it sounds lovely and still has all the earmarks of their earlier work, it sure is poppy.

my attention was immediately drawn to the vocals because they just seemed out of place. not because they don't sit well but i wasn't expecting them as soon as they appeared...or at all really. the previous efterklang albums have lyrics on some of the songs but for the most part they are very well thought out instrumental pieces. they hover somewhere between electronic glitch and neo classical compositions.

magical chairs throws away all the previous electronic influences and strips things down to a more traditional sounding band. there are still some winds and strings but they sound more like kings of convenience these days. that's not a bad thing because i like kings of convenience but it's not the step i was hoping to see them make.

magic chairs is probably a good place to start as it's the most listener friendly of all their albums. there are no tricks. no sweeping orchestral builds that drop off into nothing. what you will get is a good dose of catchy, sing along style tunes to put a smile on your chevy.

Monday, March 8, 2010

earworm of the day: one

three dog night knew that one is by far the lonliest number but i don't care. i just want it out of my head.



Friday, March 5, 2010

earworm of the day: a torrid love affair

for the life of me i can not understand why the most random songs pop into my head. has anyone ever done a study on this? everyone has songs stick in their head but that's usually something that they've heard recently or is something they listen too often. what about the songs that just come out of nowhere that you haven't listened to in years? how often does that happen to you and do you find they are songs you like more often than songs you dislike?

today's song is a torrid love affair and comes by way of the good lads from boys night out.

i think i'll make this a regular post so i can catalogue the bizarre and often startling places my brain takes me.

enjoy.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

und wir sind dann helden


swod is the answer to the question, "what do you get when you add one part piano to two parts synthesizer and mix with live accompaniment to silent film?"

oliver doerell & stephan wöhrmann are two german gentlemen that have a long history of recordings and performances under their respective belts. they take their art seriously and spend more time crafting one sound than some song writers spend on albums. the end result is gradually evolving layers of sound that click and pulse and bend in ways that acoustic albums aren't meant to.

sekunden is swod's second album (go figure) and was released in 2007. it's sparse and sad but beautiful...and sad. did i mention the sad? i haven't had the pleasure of listening to their first album gehen but it was explained to me as the aural snippets of forgotten memories and old films that have broken apart. it seems like they have continued this trend with sekunden because it is filled with odd little bits and pieces of conversations draped lovingly over reverb sodden piano. time and space are used brilliantly to glue these seemingly disparate parts together into a whole or to further widen the gap in relevance.

sekunden is one of the albums i used to listen to on the train ride into work. the car was always packed with loud obnoxious people on their black berry or complaining about co-workers. albums like this were perfect for relaxing, blocking everyone else out and enjoying the scenery.

if you're looking for something to unwind to after work, fall asleep to at night or just like music that aches to be dissected and understood then you should go see about swod.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

you'll forget the sun, in his jealous sky...


new(ish). the field. kompakt. that might be all that some people need but others may take more convincing.

the field's second album yesterday and today was released not long ago and is every bit as good as the first. axel's music sits somewhere in between microhouse and ambient dance music which might turn a lot of people off but you're doing yourself a disservice if you cringe and still think that "house" music of any kind means suburban kids with frosted tips and poor grammar. i hate using words like "organic" or "natural" to explain electronic music because i sound like a pitchfork reviewer but axel has a wonderful way of putting together a piece of music that moves and changes with subtle variation and somehow manages to make the 4/4 stomp much more appealing than it should be.

this album is full of bells and steel pan which is an odd choice but works so well. the second track is a korgis cover and that sold me on the whole album right there. everybody's got to learn sometime is so incredibly cheesy but has been stuck in my head since i first heard it sampled in a song in the early 90s. every time i hear it i fall in love again no matter how many people have covered it or what they've done to it. having said that, i do not own the original version and never will. i have too many fond memories of it stuck away in that lovely little nostalgic vault we all keep to let reality come along and make it less than perfect.

this was one of my first vinyl purchases in many a year. if you haven't bought a record in a long time and have been held back by the thought of trying to get the damn thing on your ipod don't fret, if the record label is even remotely forward thinking there will be a download card for high quality mp3s in the dust jacket. i don't think i'll be buying another cd for a while if this becomes a standard thing.

anywho, the field, yesterday and tomorrow. go buy it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

you are alone? maybe i can help you?


for those of you that haven't heard of ghost he's a uk based hip hop producer. he takes his nom de guerre from the fact that he spends obscene amounts of time in the studio. his third album, food for thought is probably his best to date.

i am not a fan of uk hip hop. i know that makes me a horrible person in the eyes of irony loving music fans everywhere but i like exactly one british rapper and that's good old rooty toot manuva. even roots has his moments of awkwardness but he's pretty even across the board and i like his production style. the rest of them can get the dillsnick. in my opinion uk hip hop somehow got stuck in the same spot american hip hop was in the late 80s. too many party boys that couldn't find the pocket with both hands. too many loose raps that don't rhyme or make sense. in short, uk rappers are sloppy.

the amazing thing is, the guys sitting behind the desk making all the music are generally really good. some are amazing. ghost fits into the later category. he's has been called the dj shadow of the uk which is a compliment but only marginally accurate. there are a lot of people that make down tempo, jazz based breaks with heavy beat repeat effects but no two do it the same. ghost certainly has his own style and feel which sets him apart from so many others.

food for thought is a good mix of instrumental work broken up with several songs featuring various uk rappers. i skip these songs. i gave them a shot and listened to them a few times but it's really like listening to kids free style on the street at a high school.

i enjoy everything else about the album. it's a good mix of dirty old samples and daw magic. i'm not sure what ghost's weapons of choice are but he has a good grasp of timing and mood. at the same time he manages to re-work the same sample a few times in some songs giving them a new sound and take on the original composition. i've really enjoyed this album.

ghost does remind me of dj shadow but a lot of producers do. it's hard to get away from the sound that endtroducing made so popular and even though it's almost fifteen years old now, still sounds contemporary. there will probably always be a market for intelligent, funky hip hop breaks the problem will be how we continue to change those breaks and make them into something new without becoming repetitive or stale. i think ghost is doing this in fine style.