Monday, June 08, 2009

Jan Wade Gallery Show

My friend Jan Wade is having a show at East Van Studios (870 E. Cordova St) Friday June 19th (7pm onward). Runs to June 24th (12-5pm). Check it out...

Friday, May 16, 2008


When you can talk, you can talk. And Brendan Fowler of LA based, BARR, can talk. Or speak, I guess I should say, as in spoken word. But that's become such an unfortunate term, hasn't it? It conjures images of smug linguistic masturbators, or worse, preachy sentimentalists. But Fowler manages to separate himself from these traditions by abandoning any affected cadence or contrived structure and just making you feel like you're out for coffee with an old friend. It helps that the music is so catchy. Nothing complex here. Just a pretty piano riff or driving rhythm to compliment and unify whatever Fowler has on his mind, which is a lot. And while it may seem like he's spewing every last thought in these songs, they're deceivingly economical and well designed. Layered even. I've had him in heavy rotation for months and I'm still catching new things.

Anyhow, here's two of my favorite tracks...

"Untitled" BARR - mp3

"The Song is the Single" BARR - mp3

Buy BARR's second full-length, Summary (amazon)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

"Deserter" Matthew Dear

I am really all that I've been looking for...

"Deserter" Matthew Dear - mp3

Buy Asa Breed (amazon) (itunes)

Monday, April 21, 2008


Well, I'm on another Grandaddy kick. Happens about once a year. It'll pass, but in the meantime. I've been enjoying all their material on youtube. Sure, there's concert footage a'plenty (some big arena shows reminding me that they actually made a play to become a big band with the release of Sumday) but even better are the fan videos floating around. A lot of people know the unofficial Nature Anthem video (now hijacked by Honda Hybrid, whatever) but I find the above piece for Jed's Other Poem (Beautiful Ground) no less impressive.

And since this is an mp3 blog, here's my current favorite...

"Fare Thee Not Well Mutineer" Grandaddy - mp3

Buy a Grandaddy CD. They need the money. (amazon) (itunes)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"Start a War" The National

Over the past few years, The National has become a go-to-sure-thing for me. This is a band for your 30's. Hopeful, but realistic. Emotional, but measured. There's something pure about the songwriting, like the product of a hard day's work. But what keeps me coming back are Matt Beringer's lyrics. At least once a song, in that lazy baritone, he utters something devastatingly honest; an image or idea that transports you to an exact time and place in your life. In this song it's, "You were always weird but I never had to hold you by the edges like I do now." Are you there yet?

"Start a War' The National (mp3)

Buy The National's fourth full length, Boxer (amazon) (itunes)

Monday, April 07, 2008

"Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe" Okkervil River

It’s just a bad movie,
where there’s no crying
Handing the keys to me
in this Red Lion
Where the lock that you locked in the suite says
there’s no prying.
When the breath that you breathed in the street screams
there’s no science.
When you look how you looked then to me,
then I cease lying
And fall into silence.

It’s just a life story,
so there’s no climax.
No more new territory,
so pull away the imax.
In the slot that you sliced through the scene
there was no shyness.
In the plot that you passed through your teeth
there was no pity.
No fade in: film begins on a kid
in the big city.
And no cut to a costly parade
(that’s for him only!)
No dissolve to a sliver of grey
(that’s his new lady!)
where she glows just like grain
on the flickering pane of some great movie.

It’s just a house burning,
but it’s not haunted.
It was your heart hurting,
but not for too long, kid.
In the socket you spin from with ease
there is no sticking.
From the speakers your fake masterpiece
comes serenely dribbling.
When the air around your chair fills with heat,
that’s the flames licking
Beneath the clock on the clean mantelpiece.
It’s got a calm clicking,
Like a pro at his editing suite takes two weeks
stitching up some bad movie.

"Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe" Okkervil River - mp3

The Stage Names (amazon) (itunes)

Monday, March 31, 2008

"Hummingbird" Born Ruffians

Thanks to Jessica for reminding me that I have a music blog and should probably write something in it.

K, I'm gonna start slow...

I saw these Tarana kids in Portland last weekend (I have this bizarre habit of seeing Canadian bands whenever I'm in US. I don't consciously seek them out. They just seem to be the best show that weekend. They inevitably talk about being Canadian too. Dunno if this is just the shows I'm at or if they do this everywhere. At any rate, it seems to entertain the band more than the crowd. Though the Portlanders seemed genuinely engaged when Cadence Weapon riffed on being from Edmonton. Maybe they were just trying to figure out where the hell Edmonton was.) and they were really very good. Crispy. Fast. Tight. Can I say Violent Femmey? I just did.

Oh, and they're on Warp Records, which is always a good thing.

Here's their first single...

"Hummingbird" Born Ruffians - mp3

Buy the full length, Red, Yellow and Blue (amazon) (itunes)

Friday, December 07, 2007

"Peaches" The Stranglers

liberation for women

thats what i preach

preacher man

"Peaches" The Stranglers

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"Winged/Wicked Things" Sunset Rubdown

The next Wolf Parade CD will have trouble topping this. I haven't heard a record this integrated in a long while. Singling out a song feels like isolating a chorus or a verse. It lacks context. Random Spirit Lover progresses in movements; themes repeat, lyrical imagery returns. (certainly Spencer Krug's nagging worry over whether he's using too many violins is front and centre) It's so nice, in this mp3ed world, to hear a band thinking outside an ipod shuffle.

That said, I'm going to post a single mp3 here. This song seems to stand well enough on it's own.

"Winged/Wicked Things" Sunset Rubdown (mp3)

Buy Random Spirit Lover (amazon) (itunes)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"All I Need" Radiohead

I, like you, have a long and varied listening history with Radiohead. I air-guitared to Pablo Honey, in solidarity with my fellow 16 year-olds. I shed a tear to The Bends to let the world know that fake plastic trees, while sounding great as a rock lyric, symbolized the decline of western consumer culture. I got my calculator out for OK Computer, to identify obscure time signatures while smoking pot and debating the virtues of digital distortion filters. Kid A and Amnesiac were filed beside my Tortoise and God Speed You Black Emperor Cd's, affirming for me that my developing but already sublime musical taste was in sync with rock geniuses like Thom Yorke. Hail to Thief was not good enough for me. I didn't have time for it. I was busy. Didn't people know how many amazing bands were out there in need of fans? And now, as if to punish me for my hubris, they release In Rainbows, which has been on repeat for several days, despite my predisposition to indifference. Point taken, guys. Won't happen again.

Here's the embodiment of my current love-affair...

"All I Need" Radiohead

Tired of just pushing artistic boundaries, Radiohead are pushing the commercial envelope as well. In Rainbows is available as a direct pay-what-you-want download...

In Rainbows (pay what you want)

Friday, November 09, 2007

"Little Brother (Electric)" Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bears aren't just cute and furry and nice. Sure, they are those things (I hear their paws feel like marshmallows and their fur smells like expensive fabric softener) but they'll also fuck your shit up if you catch them on a bad day. So make sure you let them smell your hand before picking up one of their cubs.

The new Grizzly Bear ep, Friend, is full of surprises, but none more exhilarating than the electric reworking of Little Brother, where they bear their rock n roll incisors. What can I say, the dudes have chops. (groan)

The ep sports new arrangements of some of the best tunes from Yellow House and Horn of Plenty, and some interesting covers by CSS, Band of Horses and Atlas Sound, no doubt intended to tide over hungry fans as we wait for the next lp. Seems to be doing the trick.

Here's my favorite track, the Zeppelined-out version of Little Brother, along with the original, if you like to contrast and compare...

"Little Brother (Electric)" Grizzly Bear

"Little Brother" Grizzly Bear

Buy the Friend EP (amazon) (itunes)

Or Grizzly Bear's first full-length, Yellow House (amazon) (itunes)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

"Falling Slowly" Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová

In Hollywood, they pay people a lot of money to write this scene. It's the scene where the audience falls in love with the young lovers, falling in love. It sounds simple, but audiences are so familiar with this moment that, more often than not, it functions as information ("They are now Falling In Love.") rather than drama. ("Please God, let this work out for them...")

The hit Irish film, "Once", lets the music do all the work. Two struggling musicians meet in a busy Dublin shopping district. He's busking. She's selling flowers. She takes him to a piano shop where he teaches her one of his songs. When she finds the perfect vocal harmony for his lonely melody, the deal is sealed. If you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of a thousand screenwriters drawing a bath and opening a vein. (Go WGA)

"Once" might be the best film I've seen this year, in no small part due to Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová's beautiful songs. It's out on DVD so go rent it, or you can buy it here...

"Once" DVD (amazon)

"Once" Original Soundtrack (amazon)

And here's the album version of Falling Slowly...

"Falling Slowly" Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová

PS Hansard is the front man for The Frames, who are also worth a listen.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New Battles Video "Tonto"

I guess the bar was set pretty high by the "Atlas" video, performed inside a cube of two-way mirrors. (see post below) So, for their follow-up, Brooklyn avant-garders, Battles enlisted the services of the UK's United Visual Artists.

According to their website, "UVA's approach combines three disciplines: art direction, production design and software engineering. Our philosophy is to tightly integrate these elements to deliver real-time, immersive and responsive experiences."

Here they use columns of LED lights to create evolving patterns, in sync with Battles syncopated, math-rocky composition. Dim the lights for this one.

Buy Battles debut full-length, Mirrored. (amazon) (itunes)

PS Please excuse Cam for his recent absence. He has been busy making his weird little movie. He will be in regular attendance from now on.


Mrs. Labine

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"Rain" Bishop Allen

Let the rain fall down
And wash this world away
Or let the sky be gray
Because if it’s ever gonna get any better
It’s gotta get worse for a day

This one's for you, Vancouver...

"Rain" Bishop Allen (BUY IT)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

"A Sunday Smile" Beirut

Zach Condon, who records under the name Beirut, made one of my favorite records of last year; the Balkan brass indie folk mutant, Gulag Orkestar. Now, at the ripe old age of 21, the New Mexico native has completed his softmore effort, The Flying Club Cup, due out October 9th.

Here's a song he's pre-released on his website. If you dream of living in an Emir Kusturica movie like I do, this one's for you.

"A Sunday Smile" Beirut

Thursday, August 30, 2007

"Is There a Ghost" Band of Horses

I could sleep. I could sleeee-eep...

Be forewarned. This song will become lodged in your frontal-lobe for 5 to 10 days.

Cease to Begin, the follow up to Band of Horses' massively successful debut, Everything All The Time, is set to come out this October. Lucky for us, as the industry continues to experiment with the mysterious forces of web hype, Sub Pop has released the first single on the band's myspace page.

It's a sing-along anthem. The words are real easy to learn. You'll know them soon enough.

"Is There a Ghost" Band of Horses (BUY IT)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Jason Molina

Jason Molina is one of those musicians I return to when I need perspective. For me, putting on Didn't It Rain or The Lioness is like going to church. It realigns my soul.

I've been going to church a lot lately and I felt like sharing some of his more moving sermons.

"Blues Chicago Moon" Songs: Ohia

"Love Leaves Its Abusers" Songs: Ohia (BUY IT)

"Come Back To Your Man" Songs: Ohia (BUY IT)

PS He'll be at Richards on Richards, here in Vancouver, August 31st.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

"Atlas" Battles

Um...okay...favourite-new-band material here. I was way into this Battles song but now I realize that I've only been getting half the experience. This video is the best thing I've ever seen. I want to cry, I like it so much. The box is built from two way mirrors. Every time the drummer hits his 7 foot crash I know the world is a good place.

"Atlas" Battles (BUY IT)

If you want to know more about the band, check this PROMO VIDEO Warp Records posted on the tube. What a label.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Spaced-Out Lo-Fi Bliss

In my search for lo-fi ambient film music, I've come across some real gems. Chiptune, 8bit, glitch, whatever the genre, there are a lot of people making this kind of art-damaged prettiness in their bedrooms. Here's a few of my favs. I won't tell you anything about the artists. You know how to use google.

"Getting Stronger Everyday" Zac Love

"Lo-Fi In Outer Space" Ninjaspark

"Chase Init" Bitshifter

Monday, July 30, 2007

"Trick or Treatz" Metronomy

Metronomy is london/brighton-based laptoper, Joseph Mount. He's put out some pretty high-profile remixes over the last while for people like The Teenagers and Dead Disco. I was pleased to discover his original stuff though. Very eccentric and playful but cleverly deadpan. I'm sure you'll see what I mean.

Try to get this bassline out of your head...

"Trick or Treatz" Metronomy (BUY IT)