Archive for January, 2010

Tom Verlaine

January 31st, 2010 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

This week’s artist of the week is one of rock’s most revered cult artists. He is also my favorite guitarist of all time. Period. This week’s artist of the week is…

TOM VERLAINE!!!
Most people know Verlaine as the leader of the band Television, who in 1977 released Marquee Moon, one of the greatest albums of all time. If you haven’t heard it, get on that immediately. I’ve never been a real guitar guy, even though I’ve been playing the instrument for nearly ten years. I don’t care how fast Eddie Van Halen can play, Stevie Ray Vaughn is a shlameil, Hendrix is ok, more often than not Eric Clapton is just alright (the exception being his work on Layla And Other Love Songs), Steve Vai is lame and Yngwie Malmsteen is just dumb, but Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd’s guitar playing on Marquee Moon blew my mind. And they’ll blow yours. Hear it. Immediately.
It’s not the speed or technicality of their playing, it’s the inventiveness. It’s like they approach playing lead guitar in a way that’s not descended from blues or jazz or anything you might be familiar with, but outer space music or something. And apparently legendary Atlantic Records guy Ahmet Ertegun even said about the band, “that isn’t Earth music.” So yeah. Whatever it is though, it is fucking cool, and you can hear its influence when you listen to The Strokes, Razorlight and others.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYFn8NUicY4]
For most people that’s where the story ends, but even after Television’s so-so second album Adventure, Verlaine still went on to make a lot of great music. Dreamtime and Flashlight were two of the first vinyl records I ever bought. You can still find them easily for very cheap at used record stores and they’re both great albums with Verlaine’s signature playing, symbolist lyrics and great great songs like “The Scientist Writes A Letter” or “Without A Word”. Nearly all the other records he released range from good to excellent. The man just makes really great music, and even his last album, 2006’s Songs and Other Things shows he’s still got it.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJAgd42HXKY]
And if, like me, all that still doesn’t satisfy the newfound craving you have to hear more of Verlaine’s work, check out Patti Smith’s song “Break It All Up” on Horses which he co-wrote and plays on, or his work with The Million Dollar Bashers on the I’m Not There soundtrack.
 
http://www.thewonder.co.uk/
 
http://www.myspace.com/tomverlainetelevision
 
Click here to buy Marquee Moon off Amazon.

The “Are You A Hipster?” Quiz

January 29th, 2010 | Features | 1 Comment

If you read this blog, you know that I actually quite like hipsters. They like good music, they’re fun to look at, a lot of them are great artists, and they’re often cool people. But what constitutes a “hipster”? This seems to be a prevalent question in our culture as we try to determine who is and who isn’t a hipster. Here’s a little five-question quiz that will simplify it and help you at least determine if you yourself are a hipster.

1. Clothing

a) If you have never shopped at and do not own anything from American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, Value Village and various novelty and thrift stores, you’re probably not a hipster.

b) If you sometimes shop at or own some clothing from American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, Value Village and various novelty and thrift stores, you might be a hipster.

c) If everything you own is from American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, Value Village and various novelty and thrift stores, you’re probably a hipster.

d) If you work at American Apparel or Urban Outfitters, you are a certified hipster.

2. Music

a) If you walk into an independent record store and don’t know any of the bands whose records are on display, you’re probably not a hipster.

b) If you know some or most of the bands whose records are on display, you might be a hipster.

c) If you know and dislike all the bands whose records are on display, you’re probably a hipster.

d) If you walk into the store and the clerk hates you because you’re always asking for records by bands he’s never even heard of, you are a certified hipster.

3. School

a) If you are in school and taking something practical like engineering or sciences, you’re probably not a hipster.

b) If you are in school and taking something less practical like English or Philosophy, you might be a hipster.

c) If you are in school and taking something like The History Of Dada Art or German Expressionism In Pre-WWII Film, you’re probably a hipster.

d) If you live in the basement of your art school, you are a certified hipster.

4. Social Life

a) If your social life consists of clubs, sports nights and tanning salons, you are probably not a hipster.

b) If your social life consists of limited release movies, drinking at friends houses and going to concerts, you might be a hipster.

c) If your social life consists of house parties where everyone crowds around the avant garde neo-psych synth-pop band/artists playing in the basement, you’re probably a hipster.

d) If you’re in an avant garde neo-pysch synth-pop band playing in someone’s basement, you are a certified hipster.

5. Response To Being Called A Hipster

a) If you’ve never been called a hipster, you’re probably not a hipster.

b) If when called a hipster you just said something like, “I’m not, but whatever,” you might be a hipster.

c) If when called a hipster you said something like, “Hey man, don’t put a label on me, I’m not a hipster,” you’re probably a hipster.

d) If when called a hipster you said something like, “Dude! I am not a hipster! Just because I wear women’s jeans, low cut T-shirts, have a scruffy beard, ridiculous mustache, an extensive rare vinyl collection and play in an avant garde neo-psych synth-pop band does NOT mean I’m a hipster. Don’t even get me started on how much I hate hipsters,” you are a certified hipster.

Awesome Album Covers!

January 28th, 2010 | Features | 0 Comments

“Do you want your shrunken head to end up on the end of someone’s finger? No? Then don’t do drugs, kids…”

Better Know An Artist: EASYBOY

January 25th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

This week’s entry in our infinite part series, Better Know An Artist, is…
EASYBOY!!!
The solo project of Eric Farber, also a member of twice-Forklisted band Truman Peyote. Though originally from Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, Farber is currently living in Toronto, attending UofT.
With EASYBOY, Farber continues to experiment with the samplegaze sound of Truman Peyote but relies more upon guitars and synths, thus resulting in relatively more traditionally arranged songs than can be found in his other work. However, interpret “traditionally” as being used very, very loosely.
The easiest comparison is early Animal Collective, but mainly only in their use of atmosphere on recordings. Live EASYBOY is a lot more ‘trashy’. The sound is abrasive, exciting and with moments of genuine beauty of amidst distorted guitar and old-school drum machines.
You can download EASYBOY’s awesome Friends EP released on Spooky Town Artifacts for free by clicking here.
EASYBOY will be playing Thursday, the 28th at this week’s Tiger Bar Groove. He’ll also be opening for Woods and Real Estate at The Horseshoe in March.

http://www.myspace.com/easyboymusic

The Dictators

January 24th, 2010 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

This week’s band of the week is one of my favorite all-time punk bands. They’re weird, goofy, classic and totally kick-ass. This week’s band of the week is…

THE DICTATORS!!!
So, what’s great about The Dictators? Well, they write great song: fast, loud, chunky, sometimes with a bit of an ironic 50’s nod like in “Cars And Girls” off their first album,1975’s The Dictators Go Girl Crazy. That song’s actually a pretty good case study for why The Dictators kick-ass: “There’s nothing else in this crazy world except for cars and g-g-g-gerrrrllllzzzzz!” Punk rock hedonism, the brains been ousted by balls. They taken (everything out of) control. “G-g-g-goodbye!”
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H5rqaEzYcY]
The words aren’t sung so much as spit or slobbered like a true punk. If it’s an act, I buy that they’re having tons of fun playing their roles. But these guys probably got into some good fights. You can hear the raging testosterone in every beat. “Faster And Louder” = why not write a song about how you’d like music to sound? Everything goes.
“Weekend” is a catchy bit of bubblegum pop though, which was always just two steps to the left of punk. It’s about how awesome the weekend is.
 
http://www.thedictators.com/
 
http://www.myspace.com/thedictatorsfuckinrock
 
Click here to buy The Dictators Go Girl Crazy! from Amazon.com.