Monday, April 23, 2007

The Arcade Fire on BBC2

Like most bloggers, I throughly enjoyed the Arcade Fire's Funeral upon release. It was fresh and excitingly emotional, something with which I'm sure the majority of listeners agreed upon. But then my interest waned. In fact, I still haven't listened to Neon Bible yet. So I guess that explains why I was unaware of their rise to stardom until a few weeks ago. Suddenly they became the subject of my non-indie friends' conversations, and if that's not proof of notoriety I don't know what is.

I'll listen to it eventually, I promise. Until then, here's a 30 minute interview with Win and Will Butler of the Montreal group, aired on BBC2 last Friday. It contains a few clips of live shows, along with acoustic versions of 'Neon Bible' and the Clash's 'Guns of Brixton.' All credit goes to the capper on DimeADozen, thanks!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

My Bloody Valentine - Live in Vancouver [Loom]

Here's a nice soundboard recording I found a few weeks ago on It's from a bootleg known as Loom, played in Vancouver in January 1992. Not surprisingly, a good chunk of the music is Loveless material. It was remastered by a Dime user, rendering it very listenable. The last track is a bit spotty, however, but who am I to complain? All credit goes to him and the original recorder.

Loom (January 7, 1992)

When You Sleep
I Only Said
Only Shallow
Nothing Much to Lose
You Never Should
Feed Me With Your Kiss
To Here Knows When
Honey Power
You Made Me Realise

Friday, April 20, 2007


It's hard to find a better geographically-limited record label than Sweden's Labrador. Scratch that, limited should never be used in the same sentence as that wonderful nation. From the Mary Onettes, to Acid House Kings, to tomorrow's best band, it's truly a wonderful music scene populated with copious amounts of twee-pop, shoegaze, and everything in between. And while those musical styles have historically belonged to the British, Sweden's done a great job of reviving an overlooked genre. Despite not being signed to Labrador, the best recent example of this is Gothenburg's Peter Bjorn and John, who've made great strides towards North American success.

The Loveninjas, however, are signed with Labrador and don't disappoint. The 20-somethings call Stockholm, Sweden's capital, home. A New Romantic influence is clear, particularly in synth-pop ballads like 'I Wanna Be Like Johnny C' (the dude from Invader Zim?). Lyricism isn't their strong point, but that's not what the genre is about. Instead, instrumentation is the key to their sound. 'Keep Your Love' does a fine job displaying this purposeful disparity. It's very simplistic in verse, but the band members show their adeptness as well-rounded musicians. Bright keyboards, riffy guitars, bassy rhythms, and charming vocals. It's all so nice. Not convinced? Well, consider the amusingly-titled 'She Broke His Penis in Two.' No, it's not some witty attention grabber, that's the focus of the song: a woman getting vengeance on a rapist's wee wee. When you can make those lyrics ["She broke it, she cut it, she sliced it / She fried it, she cooked it and diced it] seem happy, well kudos to you. Not surprisingly, the jangle guitar does it.

Their full-length debut was released (on Labrador) last year, titled The Secret of the Loveninjas. Despite its derivative nature, it loses no freshness in the process. Declaring it enthusiastic doesn't do them justice. It's fun fun fun, highly recommended.

MP3: Loveninjas - I Wanna Be Like Johnny C
MP3: Loveninjas - Keep Your Love

Monday, April 16, 2007

Back In Business

First off, I hope everyone enjoyed the 2007 song list. I've spent the past week in my bedroom studying for finals, which, fortunately for me, were both few and simple. So yeah, I'm done, and off to bigger and better things for the summer: Blogging, prolonged movie watching, extended periods of music listening, and sadly a job to fund my (not so) lavish lifestyle. Speaking of movies, I watched two good ones yesterday. First was Requiem for a Dream, which was miserably brilliant, both from the cast and production team. Second was Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, which was also great. I've really got to watch more of Peter Sellers.

On another note, I'm glad to see the HBO duo back (Sopranos + Entourage) and re-invigorating a TV lineup that's grown stale lately (read: Prison Break, Lost aka the usual suspects). HBO/TMN at 9PM and 10PM respectively, or whenever your favourite bit torrent tracker gets a copy.

Some more good news - some progress is being made on upgrading the blog. If all goes to plan, the transition will come in a couple weeks.

MP3: EPMD - Strictly Business

Friday, April 06, 2007

Quarter-Pole 2007 2-CD Mix

April has arrived and therefore 25% of 2007 is over, if my math, which is known to be highly suspect, is correct. The first quarter of the year has been fairly abundant in terms of quality releases. Of Montreal's Hissing Fauna took me aback with its glorious pop numbers reminding me of the glam era. Similarly, Panda Bear brought me back to my childhood days of car rides to the tune of Paul Simon and Brian Wilson. Many of these songs have been previously featured here, which isn't surprising seeing as they are my favourites of the year, thus far. What does the rest of 2007 have in store? New releases from Bjork, Art Brut, and the Beastie Boys sound promising, and hopefully some waves will be made from now-unknowns. Anyways, these 28 songs are a representation of 2007's best, I'm sure you'll enjoy them as much as I have. Oh, and they're not ordered for any purpose other than a tracklisting. Your thoughts and opinions are welcome, don't hesitate to post them!

1. Blonde Redhead - 23
2. Air - Once Upon A Time
3. El-P - Run the Numbers
4. Klaxons - Golden Skans
5. LCD Soundsystem - North American Scum
6. Menomena - Air Aid
7. The Mary Onettes - Void
8. Modest Mouse - Dashboard
9. The National - Fake Empire
10. Of Montreal - Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse
11. Panda Bear - Bros
12. The Ponys - Double Vision
13. Windmill - Fluorescent Lights
14. Maia Hirasawa - And I Found this Boy

15. Prince Ali & Incise - Drift (ft. Thieven & Blue)
16. Venetian Snares - Pink + Green
17. !!! - All My Heroes Are Weirdos
18. The Besnard Lakes - For Agent 13
19. The Aliens - Setting Sun
20. Andrew Bird - Fiery Crash
21. The Apples In Stereo - Energy
22. Dalek - Paragraphs Relentless
23. The Field - Over the Ice
24. Sister Vanilla - Jamcolas
25. Voxtrot - Kid Gloves
26. Tunturia - October 4, 1957
27. Tokyo Police Club - Box
28. Hieroglyphics - You Never Know (Domino Remix)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New Music Tuesday

You might notice a few changes around here shortly. First, I've got an "in-line flash player" beside every mp3, allowing for easy streaming. It took me a few hours to get them set-up, but, er... I figured it out, eventually. Some other things to look out for are a new banner (because the current one flat out sucks) and hopefully an entire re-design in the upcoming weeks. Anyways, enjoy the flash streamer for now, gotta start small.

Onto the music...

Windmill - Puddle City Racing Lights

Windmill - Tokyo Moon
Windmill - Fluorescent Lights

Tokyo Police Club - Box
Tokyo Police Club - Cut Cut Paste

Tunturia - Maps

Tunturia - Cast No Shadows
Tunturia - October 4, 1957

Windmill is the pseudonym of Matt Dillon, a British pianist set to release his debut album in two weeks time. Unless you've got bad ears, his nasally high-pitched voice is the first thing you'll notice. Beyond the vocals is a nicely arranged piano-pop structure, which is very likable. It's a love-it-or-hate-it sort of deal, his voice reminiscent of Wayne Coyne (of the Flaming Lips) backed with piano ballads and bright pop inclinations.

The Toronto-based Tokyo Police Club don't need any introductions. They're a blogger's band through and through. But they've only released a 16 minute long EP, so is the lofty praise justified? That's certainly debatable. Smith is their second EP, even shorter than A Lesson in Crime, clocking in at a measly 9 minutes. Like their past work, Smith is very catchy indie rock in all its hooky glory. The jury's still out on them due to their slim catalogue, but hopefully a quality LP is on its way.

Tunturia are a local post-rock outfit, so local that I went to high school with their drummer. Given my fondness of shoegaze, I've always had an affinity to sprawling and unconventional music. Their sound is icy and empty, painting a picture of a desolate and barren landscape. I'm still amazed that an inventive album like this could be created from someone that went to my cultural wasteland of a school. They'll be kicking off a Canadian tour in May, hopefully getting signed in the process.

In other (unrelated) news: Prison Break finale last night, wtf? I don't think I'm the only one out there that thinks this show is turning into a contrived waste of airwaves.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Free EP: Prince Ali - I Miss 1994

Many are surprised at the degree of spirituality found in hip-hop. Islam, for the most part, swelled with devoted rappers. But it really shouldn't be too surprising considering Minister Louis Farrakhan is the leader of the Nation of Islam, and artists like Rakim and Public Enemy have been preaching loyalty since the '80s. The Islamic sect known as the 5% Nation is another popular belief system, with the Wu-Tang Clan, Poor Righteous Teachers, Brand Nubian, etc. being committed followers. It's not all about gatts and glocks, y'know?

But more to the point. I wrote a paper on spirituality in hip-hop a few months ago, and when I stumbled upon local rapper Prince Ali, I was all ears. Names are important to the 20 year old. First off, he named himself after a historic sultan, bringing in that Eastern influence. His debut EP is titled I Miss 1994, an ode to one of hip-hop's most celebrated years, a year which saw Nas release Illmatic, Jeru's The Sun Rises in the East, and Black Moon's Enta Da Stage. There's nothing that irks me more than an artist that doesn't know his history, but maybe that's just a remnant of my previous history major self. Nonetheless, Ali does know his influences, making allusions to several important rappers, including MC Shan and Toronto-DJ'ed Main Source.

Teaming up with Incise, the production is very down-tempo and poignant, perfectly matching Ali's equally heart-felt MCing. I could certainly do with some more 90s hip-hop revival (in place of post-punk revival, which I'd prefer died). Contributions from Craig G. and Kev Brown are also appreciated. It's no Guru and Premier combo, but for an obviously low-budget EP, this is a great achievement. According to his myspace, his debut LP will be released later this year, and will be titled I Miss 1993 (don't even get me started on how great 93 was!). I'll definitely be posting my thoughts on it when I manage to track down a copy, so check back then.

As mentioned, the EP is available for free download from Ali, so it's definitely worth a listen.

Free Download: Prince Ali - I Miss 1994

And if you're too lazy to download the .zip, here's my favourite from the duo:

MP3: Prince Ali & Incise - Drift (ft. Thieven & Blue)

By the way, if you're at all interested in the 5% Nation (I find it extremely interesting), give the following a skim-over, it was the main source (haw!) of my essay: Islam in the Mix: Lessons of the 5 Percent.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Modest Mouse @ Slim's - April 22, 1997

I found a nice soundboard recording of Modest Mouse on Dimeadozen a few days ago. It's one of their earlier performances, an opening gig for Built to Spill in April 1997. Sound quality is fairly good, a bit muffled, but enjoyable nonetheless. The source claims that this recording originates from the group's sound man and found its way to him through several intermediaries, which accounts for the high quality. New or old fan, this is good material, particularly for its Lonesome Crowded West content, the seminal indie album of the 90s, for many.

Thanks to the original seeder(s) at Easy Tree and Dime!

Modest Mouse @ Slim's (April 22, 1997)

Truckers Atlas
Cowboy Dan
All Nite Diner
Neverending Math
Custom Concern
Teeth Like God's Shoeshine
Out of Gas

See Also:
Modest Mouse's Tourdate Archive

Friday, March 30, 2007

The National...Leaked!

Many lauded the National's Alligator as one of 2005's best. I can't fault that opinion, not in the least. Their music is catchy, in a romantic sort of way. But most importantly, they injected some earnestness into a severely turgid genre. The Matt Berninger-fronted quintet slowly shot to indie popularity, all the while endearing themselves to bloggers worldwide.

'Fake Empire' has been floating around for over a week, teasing us all with what should be a great follow-up to Alligator. And today, their new album, titled The Boxer which will be released on May 22, was leaked onto the world of the internetz.

I've given it a quick one over, on my tinny laptop speakers mind you, but it has sounded nice thus far. Expect a more thorough write-up soon, following a few solid listens from some better headphones.

MP3: The National - Fake Empire
MP3: The National - Mistaken for Strangers
MP3: The National - Slow Show