Archive for October, 2009

Sweet Fan Video For “Famous Last Words”

October 30th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

I found this on Pitchfork and I’m giving it ups as well. This must have taken a while to make.

FAMOUS LAST WORDS – DEERHUNTER from Cove Entertainment on Vimeo.

Awesome Album Covers!

October 29th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

A whole ‘nother level of animal cruelty.

Wilderness Of Manitoba – Hymns Of Love And Spirits

October 28th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Wilderness Of Manitoba

Hymns Of Love And Spirits

(Indie.; 2009)


Thom Yorke may have said, “ambition makes you look pretty ugly,” but he never said it would stop you from sounding really, really pretty. Wilderness of Manitoba’s music is an obvious product of precise and meticulous care, determination and drive. Any time a band is determined to have the sound of birds chirping in the background, that much is a given. But that’s a minor detail that adds to scope of the band’s vision, conjured together with excruciatingly deliberate musicianship and laborious vocal performance. I mean that all in a good way.

Wilderness Of Manitoba’s most blaringly obvious musical relative is Fleet Foxes, as both groups share a love of gorgeous, complex airy harmonies and cavernous reverb. It’s the kind of comparison every reviewer is going to make, like Interpol-Joy Division, Strokes-Velvet Underground, Oasis-Beatles, etc. However, Wilderness of Manitoba’s sound is far more static, meditative, less forward-thrusting, like a slow-motion sunrise translated into music. The melodies don’t so much weave as bloom, slowly and graciously rising. Yes, it is music best described in terms of naturalist romantic poetry.

Lyrically the band apply themselves just as thoroughly as they do in regards to the music, seemingly restricting themselves to only the most weighty themes: life, time, love, death and religion. In the gentle, soaring “Bluebirds”, the band’s various vocalists sing, “And when I’m old and grey/Just let me die this way/You won’t be standing by/Before we fly down.” The near-droning “Dreamcatcher” begins with another smack of emo-folk poetry: “Now the wind blows/Across the floor that keeps us from our/distant goals/I know that you are sick of waiting.” In the whispy, lonely shimmering “Manitoba”, the singer plans on “Driving far/In a broke down car” to meet a lover, I’m guessing in Manitoba.

I suppose the band’s little novelty item of information is that what may be the album’s best song, “Evening”, was written by singer Will Whitwham’s mother Wendy Blackburn in the 60’s. A scrappy recording of the Fairport Convention-esque original closes out the album, but the band’s own version appears right in the middle. While the original is remarkably strong, it clearly sounds dated. The Wilderness’ cover updates it well, decking it out with sweeping minor key harmonies not present in the original, giving it more impact and a kind of haunting quality. There’s likely going to be some reviewer who gushes about how the album sounds timeless and could have been made 100 years ago or something, but the band’s cover and inclusion of the original “Evening” easily displays that folk music, though it has its roots in the past, is still an evolving genre. Wildness of Manitoba’s Hymns… prove the band to be more than fit enough to survive.

Click Here To Buy Hymns Of Love And Spirits

Daniel Johnston

October 25th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

The artist of the week this week is a legendary artist with a bit of a tragic story. Like many great artists, his mental illness has plagued his life and caused him and those around him a great deal of suffering, but at the same time, may be part of the source of his musical genius. To some he may seem amateurish and weird, while to others his intimacy and strange, expressive honesty strikes a jarring chord. The artist of the week is…

When Daniel Johnston was younger, he made a name for himself as a kind of local curiosity in Austin, Texas. He’d write and record albums himself, usually accompanied only by guitar, piano, or organ, and distribute the tapes around to whoever he could. The songs were often pretty juvenile, goofy, sometimes awkwardly honest, emotional or religious.
In 1985, MTV filmed a bit about the Austin music scene and Johnston’s appearance in this launched him to modest national prominence. He really exploded though, after Kurt Cobain began wearing a shirt of one of his album covers on TV and in photos. Soon there was a major label bidding war between Atlantic and Elektra over signing him. At the time of this though, Johnston was in a mental institution after refusing to take medication for his bipolar disorder and being responsible for a small plane crash.
In 2005, a documentary about Johnston’s life called The Devil and Daniel Johnston won the directors award at Sundance. It actually is a great documentary and further helped raise Johnston’s profile.
The reason why so many are attracted to Johnston’s music is because every so often he writes a song of such childlike simplicity but with such timeless wisdom or sentiment that it’s astounding. Admittedly, covers of his songs by such great artists as Karen O, M. Ward, Beck and many others, often help flesh them out and better illustrate just how brilliant they are at their source. Listening to them, it’s at once incredible that such acute statements about life could come from someone so seemingly distant from reality, while at the same time, it is because Johnston’s mind is in the strange place it is that he’s able to write what he does.
To this day Johnston is touring and releasing albums, the most recent of which was the surprisingly good Is And Always Was, which just came out the other week. In addition to music, Johnston’s drawings have gained a lot of attention and often sell for large amounts. They often feature recurring characters like Casper the friendly ghost, the devil, Captain America and his own weird characters like Jeremiah, a strange looking frog. There is also an iPhone game based on Johnston’s art and music that was released recently.
Click here to buy Is And Always Was.

TIGER BAR GROOVE w/ Saskatoon Guitar Destroyer/Triceratops/Datura/Playground Hookers/Bravestation at Tiger Bar, Oct. 22nd

October 23rd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Saskatoon Guitar Destroyer began the night with a solid acoustic set. Jo Landau, who performs under the pseudonym, sounded really good, even without his usual backups. If you haven’t heard his stuff before, it’s like idiosyncratic indie-pop with some kind of strange, deceptively technical composition beneath the surface.
Triceratops was great. There’s a hard streak to this band, though I wouldn’t say it’s a chief characteristic of their sound, which shows a bit of an indie rock bent. The place at this point was getting pretty busy.
Datura was up next and they got the place pretty full. I got a lot of good feedback about this band, though they were a little heavier than I expected.
Playground Hookers got on at some point around like 12:50, so that was about an hour and twenty minutes later than they were supposed to. Pretty much what you can usually expect at shows with several bands, everything gets pushed back big time, which is unfortunate. The lead singer made a joke about enjoying the company of ladies…and I think he may have by the end of the night done just that…
Last band was Bravestation. They went on at about 1:40, and even though most of the bands got paid before they even began playing, a lot of them and some people in the audience stuck around to see them play. And it was worth it, they were a great band and they were so nice and great to work with, it was a shame they couldn’t get on till so late.
But all’s well that ends well and the show ended very well. A lot of great bands, good times and a bit of good money. And that’s the story of the Tiger Bar Groove…

Grubtunes: The Novel

October 22nd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

So, I’ve started writing Grubtunes: The Novel. Basically, it’s an autobiographical account of my life for something like the last three years with the focus on my thoughts on music, sex, and Toronto’s music scene. There will be some stuff in it about bands I hang out with like Still Life Still, Spiral Beach, etc. so if you want to know a bit more about what those guys are like, it’ll be in there (don’t worry, I’m not gonna diss anybody, they’re all seriously pretty cool guys and girls). Yeah, it’s not a very original idea, but did Adventureland, a coming-of-age story about a dude working in an amusement park for the summer, sound like the craziest most original idea ever? No. But was it an awesome, awesome movie? Yes. Yes it was. That’s an objective fact.

But yeah, apparently Chuck Klosterman’s Fargo Rock City is being made into a movie and that book Perfect From Now On sounds enticing so, yeah, here it comes. I doubt this will ever get published and I’m not posting it on this blog so if you want to read some of it, you will have to personally contact me and ask me to email you chapters. But hey, who knows, maybe this will get more attention than I anticipate (pretty much none) and make me rich and famous. You have to do things before expecting people to appreciate you for anything, right? Or not appreciate you for anything. Yeah…


October 22nd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Groovetastic Entertainment has an awesome show going down tonight at the Tiger Bar (414 College, near Bathurst, basement of The Crown and Tiger) with some kick ass bands. Check out it, yo.

9:30 – Saskatoon Guitar Destroyer

Jo Landau plays idiosyncratic but deceptively sophisticated indie-pop in this rare acoustic showcase.

10:10 – Triceratops

This promising band likes things heavy and fuzzy but not at the expense of great hooks. Very interesting and exciting stuff.

10:40 – Datura

This Aurora band sounds kind of like Bright Eyes if that shit were harder and more intense.

11:20 – The Playground Hookers

Stoner rock band that likes it rough. Surprisingly catchy at times, though.

12:00 – Bravestation

Dark, post-rockish band that knows how to swing it…hard.

We’re also doing a ticket deal called the 1+1 deal. That means it’s $10 for one ticket, but only $1 more for the second, so two tickets = $11. BUT if you join the Groovetastic Entertainment facebook group, you can get one ticket for $7, and therefore two tickets would be only $8. So that’s like $4 per ticket. HINT: take advantage of this!

Anyways, hope to see you down there, doors are at 9. Check out the Facebook event and confirm your attendance to help pump us up!

Awesome Album Covers!

October 21st, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

“Would it kill you to do some push-ups or something once in a while?”

The Crayon Fields

October 18th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

This week’s band of the week is a four piece from Australia with a childish, twee-like charm but that records sophisticated pop not unlike The Go-Betweens if they had a modern Phil Spector producing them. The band of the week is…

This Melbourne band sounds like a lot of other bands, but luckily they’re a lot of really kick-ass bands. Imagine the ornate beauty of The Zombies or The Beach Boys married to the fragility and literate intimacy of something like Belle and Sebastion and that’s kind of The Crayon Fields. Like their forebears, The Crayon Fields have a tight-as-fuck knack for composition and their arrangements are so precise and meticulous they feel like they’ve been finely chiseled out of kaleidoscopic clay or something.
I’ve only heard their latest album, All The Pleasures of The World, but that album kicks ass. It’s nine perfect songs, each unique, filled with it’s own touching intimate details and private confessions. The first song, the chilly “Mirror Ball” instantly smacks with it’s refrain of “I look at you and suddenly/I’m a virgin/In a dancehall”. There are other killer lines but that ones probably the most instantly grabbing and why it’s right there at the beginning of the album.
I also like how the album doesn’t hem too close to it’s influences as some classicist tend to, but the maintain enough connection to the present to not simply be a retread of the past. The Belle and Sebastion-ness actually helps with that. So yeah, goooood shit.
Click here to buy All The Pleasures Of The World.

Ruby Suns/The Dodos at Lee’s Palace, October 17th

October 18th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

So, I had no idea who the opener was at this show, I just came to see The Dodos but I get to Lees and there’s like Christmas lights wrapped around all kinds of weird, expensive looking musical equipment. This band gets on and start joking around in their accents about how Canada and New Zealand are both commonwealth so, yeah. It was The Ruby Suns, as I later found out.

They start playing and it’s this really cool samplegaze (that’s what I’m calling it, Pitchfork, follow my lead) shit with crazy rhythms, sounded a lot like El Guincho. At first it was weird to see these three people onstage making this crazy huge sound, it was sort of like, “um, where is most of this coming from?” because they were using programmed beats. It sort of made the stage show seem hollow until they started hitting shit and then it was all alright. At the end they pulled a guy on to play drums and it was sick. Yeah, I think they went over really well, everyone seemed to be feeling it (me included) and I liked the little joke they made about how Canada is to the United States what New Zealand is to Australia in that we’re like the cooler, little sister. Yeah.
The stage got cleared of all the craziness and The Dodos came on with just acoustic guitar, drums (no bass drum, but plenty of other shit) and vibraphone. And they were awesome. Watching their live show you get even more of a sense that their songs aren’t so much songs as well arranged and composed rock outs/jams or something. They felt long and interesting, yet tight and with sufficient hooks. Despite the strange and relatively sparse arrangement, they never sounded sparse: they were fucking loud. And powerful. And the vibraphone kicked ass. Great show.