Tuesday, June 29, 2010

all those pretty lights...

i found out about pretty lights in the same way i find out about most musicians, hours of digging through garbage and a lot of luck.

i can't recall exactly where i found it but i went straight to his website to find out more and was surprised to see that he's giving all his music away for the low low cost of joining his mailing list or naming your own price. that's it. he has about six hours worth of music available basically for free and i've received two emails about tour dates over the last year. i highly encourage donating a little something because we all like to get paid for our work.

pretty lights was set to play in detroit for movement but we called it a weekend due to illness and a tornado warning before he went on. it was a real shame because i was looking forward to seeing what he can do live.

the albums are instrumental hip hop that drip with old soul record samples. he has a good ear for what works and i'm amazed at how good the music is considering it's being given away. you don't see that often and perhaps it's his way of getting his name out there and gigging but whatever the case, he's good and so is his stuff.

if' you're a fan of bibio, moonstar or vangel you should do yourself a favour and check these out.

Monday, June 28, 2010

you don't believe, we're on the eve of destruction.

i was going to use lyrics from "killing in the name of" as the title for this post (because all i could remember was the "chorus") and it was the first time i realized just how stupid that song is.

it's a perfect preface for this post though because the song is just an ignorant, misguided call to arms for idiots with misplaced anger issues. this is important because toronto just hosted the g20 summit and you see where this is going.

i'm so ashamed of what happened in toronto this past weekend that i really don't know what to say. i'm angry that a handful of people from other cities decided that my home was the perfect place to burn things, destroy property and loot. that's not protesting. that's not anarchy. that's stupidity. anarchy is the belief that organized government should be abolished and replaced with self rule. the underlying foundation of this belief suggests that we should all be allowed to do whatever we like as long as we aren't impacting other people's lives and freedoms negatively.

breaking the front window of a store and stealing dvds, cds and clothes is petty theft and vandalism. those stores have nothing to do with organized government and while some people might think they are striking a blow for the working man/woman they're actually just hurting those people. if it's just an anti-capitalist comment then who are they fooling living in a capitalist country? is capitalism only a bad thing when they aren't directly involved? when they buy goods and services it's different from when a soccer mom or pensioner buys the same goods or services?

i've written and re-written this and i'm still not happy with how it sounds because i would love to say so much more. i guess a blog isn't the right place to be airing these kinds of frustrations though.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

earworm of the day: on melancholy hill

Plastic Beachplastic beach is the long awaited continuation of the gorillaz saga. i won't go into where they've been and what they've done because you're probably at least somewhat familiar with them. (or you could just hit the link)

i just saw their new fifteen minute short introducing the tour and album and my jaw dropped. jaime hewlett has out done himself with the art on this series of films/vidoes/shorts/promos whatever you want to call them. i heard on melancholy hill near the end of this thing and it was fabulous.

the album is far too 80s synth pop for my liking but has a few stand out tracks that are genius. damon did say a while ago that he was going to make this the most "pop" record he's ever made and i think he managed that.

not sure what's with the bruce willis cameo but whatever. they were obviously trying to stack the deck with as many celebrities as possible. i guess they had room for some has beens.

Monday, June 21, 2010

when the working day is done...

Unstoppable [Explicit]my friends invited me to see girl talk last friday and after the show i was split with how i thought it went. the musician in me expected more of a performance while the kid that used to love going out dancing thought it was like going to a really big house party.

we came to the conclusion that what girl talk does requires talent. he has a good ear for what songs work together and that's not incredibly easy to do. i've heard more mash-ups than i can stomach but girl talk does more than that. while most people slap together two songs girl talk throws anywhere between five and seven-teen per track. that's a lot of juggling and i can respect that. i'm still not sure where i sit with his siting fair use as a legal defence for his sampling. he is creating a new work but the reference material hasn't been changed at all. he really just takes the hooks from super popular songs and slams them together. there's not so much re-contextualizing as re-appropriating. it's the audio version of shepard fairy's work (man, i'm slamming that dude again haha). people have been sued for far less than that however he's just young enough to be part of a generation that thinks if it's on the internet it should be free. i'd be interested to know what format he's sourcing his samples from.

as for the show in general, the kid in me would have enjoyed himself more if people hadn't thrown their drinks from the upper levels, stepped on repeatedly me or kept head butting me. the musician in me was disappointed that he was really just running a playlist and head bobbing. it's hard to enjoy a show when you're constantly being shoved and have someone's ass rubbing into your knees and back. i would fully welcome that if i came out to dance but i didn't.

i'm obviously in the minority here. my friends varied from having a great time to just a really good time and that made me happy.

if you're looking to go out dancing and have a good time then i'd say go see girl talk if he's in your town. however if you're expecting a dj style performance (mr. scruff, a-track, etc) you might be disappointed.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

it's a helluva town

dear new york,

have i told you how much i miss you lately? i know i don't call much or come out to see you often even when i'm on your side of the border, but it's nice to know you're there.

how are things? keeping clean and getting people to work on time? bloomberg still pretending he's running things? that's ok, we know who does all the real work.

i'm planning a visit this summer so i'll send you a note before i leave. it will be good to see you and maybe i can find that little bar on the lower east side with all the streamers and what not on the ceiling this time. that's what i get for pub crawling and not asking directions or names of places. you're great for enterainning guests but you don't say much do you?

i hear snack dragon is still open. perfect. i look forward to tearing their good eats apart.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

don't blame it on the good times, blame it on the boogie.

Treasure Statei found out about this show at the last second and ran for tickets. i was really surprised to see that i didn't need to worry because the store i bought tickets from had only sold two which tells me that it was not advertised well.

it was my first time at meta gallery on ossington and while it isnt a bad space, i was not impressed by what they were showing. picture a toy box thrown on it's side so everything fell out on the floor. then pixelate it and add a tiger's head or mouth at random and a human hand. then paint it blue, sort of. now try and tell me that it represents anything other than a bad sense of proportion and slapdash workmanship. that wasn't the reason i was there though so i didn't really care about the pop design art on the walls. this night was all about matmos and so percussion.

we had to sit through two gents calling themselves "jermiah and son" or something like that. that wasn't actually what they were called but it was equally boring. they played with tape recorders and filters for about thirty minutes and people politely clapped. one or two people even bobbed their heads to a non-existent beat. this was a noise set that went on for too long and had no direction. there was nothing complicated about what they did or how they did it. there was no sense of cohesion with the material they were playing and could have been any random series of noises. my favourite part was when one of them walked away all together. what kind of performance allows someone the luxury of walking away from their "instrument"?

i've been a fan of matmos since i heard about their "california rhinoplasty" ep back in aught one or so. it was one of the first times i had heard of people taking samples of every day sounds and making music with them. i had heard industrial music before but that made sense to me. banging pieces of metal or wood was a physical means to make odd sounds. what's not to like? recording someone getting a nose job and then turning it into an odd electro pop tune was just bizarre. i loved it. i wish i didn't know where the source material was from but i loved it.

i found out about so percussion by accident when searching for jaga jazzist. they're similar in some aspects. i didn't know they are a four piece till that night and they were amazing. most of the things they do play with syncopation and timing more than harmony and pitch. they all play multiple instruments but i believe they were all originally drummers. their gear was decked out with everything from chew toys to usb golf video game controllers and a plastic cactus. they were mental.

i almost shat myself when i realized so percussion and matmos were playing together though. it was crazy. i honestly thought we got screwed and matmos wasn't playing because as far as i knew, so percussion was a six piece band. i also didn't recognize the songs they were playing (which are off the treasure state album). then someone told me that was them in the middle of so. oh my. who ever had the idea to team the two up is brilliant. the show was fantastic and they played seamlessly together.

as for meta gallery hosting more shows in the future, i think they need to put a little more thought into crowd control, viewing area vs. crowd size and rethink the cost of refreshments. $5 dollar half filled cups of lemon water didn't go over so well with the audience. i think they have potential to put on some great shows in that space, they just weren't sure about how it should be laid out. kudos for the effort. oh, stanchions or something to keep people from getting too close to the performers and art work would be a good idea too. it looked like people were leaning on paintings at one point and while i wasn't a fan of the work, there's no reason to damage it intentionally or otherwise.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

happy happy happy happy happy anniversary. happy happy...

yup, that's the photo that popped up when i asked bing to show me images of the number 100. i hate bing.

that last post marks numero cien! kind of exciting when i think that i haven't spent nearly enough time posting here but at the same time kind of surprising that i've kept it up this long.

feliz cien!

(feel free to correct me if that's wrong)

earworm of the day: no one's gonna love you

Cease to Beginwhen things start splittin' at the seams and now i've got this stuck in my head. sickly sweet musings from lonely sounding bearded lads.

band of horses have had a somewhat regular rotation in my play lists for several years now. when i first listened to them i didn't find them particularly exciting. i think it was just a case of listening to them at the wrong time. i sat on the album for a good long time then it just came up randomly one day and i realized i should have been listening to this all a long.

c'est la guerre.

Monday, June 7, 2010

crush, kill, destroy!

Young Mountaini might be wrong but it looks like i'm actually getting out to shows more often. crazy i know. going out and seeing people create works of art not just listening to them at home while i dust (let's be honest here; dust? me? ha!).

it's nxne time in the city again and all the rock (and more) that you can shake an ass at has come out of the woodwork. there will be plenty to see but i'm going to miss most of it because like many events of this scale, i can't be bothered with most of the acts. i did however catch an act that i've been hoping to see for a few years now and they were well worth waiting for.

this will destroy you play instrumental rock along the lines of godspeed, explosions in the sky, etc... and put on a solid performance complete with creepy black and white film/light show being projected on to them. this is the kind of group i can't really gush over because i just don't know what to say. they're great musicians with some cool ideas and i love their sound. they drone and sludge and trill and harmonize and on and on filling the room with some truly fantastic sounds. it's one of the few shows that i've been too where i wanted to close my eyes and just let it roll over me but i can do that when listening to the albums. that sounded like gushing after all.

they played the tracks i was hoping to hear and some things i hadn't hear before which was great. what i was less than excited about was how they asked a violinist from the opening act to join them on stage. while this would normally be a really cool gesture that you'd think would add to the performance, it was instead distracting and hard to listen to. i actually just tuned him out like you tune out loud talkers in an audience. he was low in the mix so you couldn't hear him all that well in the first place but what i could hear was out of tune noodling most of the time. he spent a good portion of each song feeling out what key it was in by playing a note here and a note there till he found his place. that's great if you're jamming but not during a performance.

i've got grainy, dark photos somewhere that i will post when i can. they might not be suitable for today's hd hungry crowd but all i have is a crap point and shoot so until that changes don't expect a lot of hi-res images.

Friday, June 4, 2010

i was in the right place but it must a bin the wrong time

does anyone else have a problem with the way apple keeps saying they have a "curated" application market? there is nothing about their store that resembles curating with the tiny semantic exception that they get to pick and choose what gets sold. that's not curating, that's just a wise business practice.

curating involves cataloguing content for posterity as well as writing about a collection to further studies in the field that collection represents. curating is about safe keeping and understanding how best to store and maintain bodies of work so future generations can enjoy it's benefits. packaging for transport, lighting conditions or display conditions come into play for travelling exhibitions depending on the collection.

to say that i'm a curator because i can deny a developers fart sound effect app into my store is not only ludicrous but insulting. how would the folk at apple that are responsible for writing all that lovely code feel if someone said they were a programmer because they've edited html in this handy little blogger window? how would a doctor feel if someone handed them a thermometer and aspirin and said, "it's ok. i'm a doctor." to mend their broken leg? that seems to be what this world is all about today. at least in north america. i blame it on the fact that everyone wants to be famous and more important than they think they are so they exaggerate and call themselves something that sounds more important.

i mentioned this the other day but i think that i will now be a doctor of internet. i had to perform surgery on my modem and splice a cable. i am now an internet doctor. deal with it.

seriously, can't we all just stop boasting and bragging about things we don't understand? maybe i'm taking this a little too personally because i actually want to be a curator and the last thing i need is some ass throwing a rent party and saying that he "curated the evening." no really, there are people doing that. it seems like everything else is being devalued by internet ignorance so why not add a few more truly important things to the mix?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

put your hands up for detroit

demf to some, movement to others, fun for all.

last weekend i was invited to sunny, tropical down town detroit for movement 2010. this is a party i've been wanting to go to for years but haven't really known anyone that wanted to attend. imagine my surprise when one of my oldest friends asked out of the blue. sadly, he could not make it but he was there in spirit.

movement have always thrown great parties. i've been lucky to attend a handful of them over the years in warehouses, clubs, a latvian cultural centre and now hart plaza in downtown detroit. of all of them, my favourite was a place called roxy blue (r.i.p.) but this demf show did a great job of bringing back the fond memories of dancing into the small hours and not caring about anything else.

since so much of what i've listened to over the years has been so moody it was a rare chance that i could find people that could put it all on the shelf and just go out dancing with. the small group of friends i had that did enjoy it either got into some real hard drugs and general messiness or decided that at the ripe old age of twenty two they should be doing more important grown up things like passing out in bars and working jobs they hated. i took the other route and stayed in touch with my old friend music. i will never understand why so many people seem to think that being an adult and going to live music events can't go hand in hand.

the acts this year were a great mix of old and new and i'm so happy i could see so many of them. i'm sad that i missed pretty lights and dj koze (really sad that i missed koze) but time and poor weather conspired against us. the weekend was gorgeous till monday morning when it started to pour. once the rain dried up and the humidity started rising detroit began to smell like hot, wet, humid detroit. not good.

my favourite acts were mr. scruff (be on the look out for a new track coming soon), a-track (which was a big surprise since i wasn't expecting much besides a beat juggling show), krack and smack (killer break set) and dj hype with daddy earl (daddy earl all massive!!! i'm seriously). the redbull stage was easily the best part of the festival.

honourable mentions for entertaining times go out to, that really really drunk white trash kid that tried to fight everyone on the waterfront, knightboat for patrolling the border and just generally scaring the shit out of me, the police officer that asked me if i had an extra beer for him (he was having a bad day) toki monster for doing her best to brave the wind and rain, richie hawtin's light show and finally the crazy amount of scattered ass hanging out everywhere. this might sound great but it wasn't. not everyone has the body for skirts the size of small belts and string bikini tops but that sure didn't stop them from wearing little to nothing. i've seen less revealing outfits on the victoria secret runway show. ugh.

i'm glad to be back home but it would be great if parties like that were more easily accessible.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

if you wanna see me, if you wanna see me, if you wanna see me...

At Mickey Cohen's Thursday Night Pokergamehej! hur är lä´get? sadly that's about all the swedish i know but i would love to learn more. i've been combing through my record collection and found a large stash of albums from burning heart. you are probably familiar with some of the bands on their roster even if you've never heard of the label itself. their ranks included the refused, international noise conspiracy, millencollin and a little band called the hives to name a few. what you may not know is that burning heart had an amazing stable of swedish ska bands that easily kept pace with their punk rock label mates.

chickenpox and liberator were two of my favourites. liberator were a little more rock and liked to play with their sound from album to album but they had a solid ska foundation. chickenpox was a little more early 80s uk style ska but both of them spent an inordinate amount of time in my cd player. i punished those albums.

anywho, i kind of just wanted to say thank you to the good folks from sweden that have been reading my blog. i hope you're enjoying it and i would love to hear from you. i've been planning a trip for a little while now and would love some tips on what to see and where to go.