Monday, August 18, 2008

just call it music...

Free Sol =
hip hop, soul and a little bit of rock.
kind of.
i caught them at this year's Lollapalooza,
they were without doubt, a highlight.

the four piece includes:
Premo Danger on keys
(a very large and entertaining man)
Kickman Teddy on drums
(he opened up the show with a solo that lived up to his name.)
Elliot Ives on guitar and singing hooks
(a deceptively skinny-nerd type, with a whole lot of soul)
and, Chistopher ‘Free Sol’ Anderson on the mic.

an age old story of boy meets music,
boy falls in love with music.
boy gets signed to Justin Timberlake's label: Tennman Records.

i’m making it sound simple.
it wasn’t.
but they’re moving faster than the internet can document.

they’ve earned their stripes through relentless touring,
sharing the stage with a range of bands (from Talib Kweli to the Foo Fighters.)

i predict as they predict,
a rise to the top.

Rise To The Top - Free Sol

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Everything you need to know about Of Montreal...

a) Their new album is called Skeletal Lamping and hits the shelves on October 7th in an utterly creative fashion: click here to see how to score it (and get your very own Of Montreal paper lantern!)

b) The new single, Id Engager, is up on their MySpace for your listening pleasure.

c) They’re coming soon! Toronto on October 28 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Montreal on October 29 at the Metropolis...

d) Kevin Barnes is amazing.

And if you are one of those people who have a tendency to forgo band loyalty when your favourite musicians get too “big”, have a look-see at this
KB rant. It's old, but I still think it's pretty clever.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Conor's Conor.

I wasn’t completly sold on Bright Eye’s last album, Cassadega. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a complete fan, but since Digital Urn, there really hasn’t been much in terms of “going out on a limb” happening. So I got Conor Oberst's self-titled album expecting no surprises. I knew I’d like it, but as the kind of music that I’d play in the background to say, dish washing or paying of bills.

While these are precisely the activities I did while giving Conor a spin (does that sound dirty?), I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I genuinely enjoy this album. It’s diverse, kinda happy (Conor, are you ok?) and reaaaally folky.

Only Oberst can write a song about palliative care (I Don’t Want to Die), pair it with a cheerful and frenetic piano melody and make it work. These new songs are not reinventing the wheel, but Conor sheds his whining along with the Bright Eyes alias. As poetic as always, this eponymous album is less self-deprecating, more big picture.

Some choice picks include Get-Well-Cards, which has a definite Dylan vibe (and vocabulary), and NYC-Gone, Gone, which is completely random and sounds strangely like a hoedown chant or a sports cheer. I must admit that my favourite song on the album is Lenders in the Temple, which just happens to be the most reminiscent of the good ol’ tortured days of early B.E.

Here is a little Conor, from me to you.


*As an aside, while trying to find a picture for this post, I kept disqualifying images because Conor Oberst looked too much like that crazy little brother in Wedding Crashers. Anyone ever notice that??

Conor Oberst - Lenders in the Temple

Conor Oberst - Get-Well-Cards

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I just had a very organized and regimented day of work, gym and chores. Totally the brutal return to the grind after a week off from work, sauntering about, going to shows and enjoying the rain (italics don't really convey the tone too well, but I'm sure the sarcasm is interpreted?) So I got to wishing that today had been less The Office meets Martha Stewart and more John Cusack movie, please. The cute stuff, like High Fidelity, not that weird Identity one where he's actually a psycho serial killer.

Ok, end rant. I would like to take this moment to provide you with a band that I am quite enjoying right now. Thank you Sylvain, who after various attempts at making me like his electro remixes, finally found a MySpace page that I loved immediately.

Their name is Winterpill, and they're a 5 piece band from Massachusetts. They're not super new, they're not super edgy, and hey, most of this post is not super pertinent. But at least you're being entertained and you'll score a new song out of it. So no one's losing. I'll even throw in a sweet High Fidelity scene, just as a bonus.

Winterpills - Broken Arm


Monday, August 11, 2008

copyleft infringement.

Gregg ‘Girl Talk’ Gillis received a fair bit of attention in today’s edition of The National Post (reprinted from The New York Times).
regarding copyright laws, and his knack for skirting them.
a subject i find intriguing, and have discussed on a few occasions...

just how does he get away with sampling so many artists and songs?
he doesn’t.
the Fair Use laws which he operates under don’t really apply to his means or ends.
but he does have the fear of setting precedents on his side,
hense the lack of major legal action to date.

i have yet to hear of an artist that is appalled by the representation of their music.
everyone seems to just want a cut of the profits.

i love Girl Talk
listening to his music doesn’t affect my feelings or spending behaviour
towards any of the artists he uses.

bottom line if i want to see Radiohead,
i’m not going to go to a girl talk show to hear the few samples he uses,
i’ll attend a Radiohead show.

i appreciate the controversy being stirred up.
i have a rather entertaining picture of middle aged lawyers,
filing through tall stacks of paperwork late at night,
while hundreds of people dance it out at a club alongside Gregg.

an ambiguous thought on art vs. money:

“everybody has won, and all must have prizes.”
- Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll.

Steal This Hook? - Robert Levine

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Summer Advice.

I have yet to identify what strange occurence lead me to dig up this far-gone memory, but remember Baz Luhrmann? He was the dude who waxed poetic on the merit of sunscreen, shimmying his way to the top of the charts. Yes, I am talking about Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen), that video that was on constant rotation in the late late nineties.

So about Luhrmann. Did you know that this dude directed both Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!? I sure didn't, but IMDB just informed me. What a weird side project that song must have been, eh? I can just picture him, during a family dinner, abruptly dropping his fork in his plate full of Mrs. Luhrmann's homemade ratatouille to declare: "I know that Romeo and Juliet was a huge success and all, but I've been thinking that it's time for me to follow my dream of crafting a one-hit-wonder". Or so the legend goes...

But seriously, this song is associated with all kinds of mysteries. First off, Luhrmann gets no credit for the lyrics: the words are from an essay entitled "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young" written by Chicago Tribune Columnist Mary Schmich, who allegedly ripped this wisdom from Kurt Vonnegut? Ok, I am dwelling and you don't care. Here's what you want to see:
Wow, that totally made me all misty-eyed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Loveapallooza + Muxtape.

This weekend, Girls 1 through 4 headed to Lollapalooza for a long weekend of live bands, love and sandal tans. It was an incredible line-up, with headliners Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Kanye West and Nine Inch Nails.

Chicago was beautiful, the weather was amazing, and the festival was one of the most well-organized events I have ever seen. Well done, Illinois.

My personal favourites:

Girl Talk – While I was sceptical about the kind of show a man with his laptop can put on, this dude blew me away. On a secondary stage, he gathered thousands to watch and dozens up on stage to dance to his mash-ups. People watched from trees, Spider Man crowd-surfed and toilet-paper and confetti were propelled into the audience. Not the most eco-friendly of performances though :(

Radiohead – Thom Yorke + fireworks + insane lighting + Idioteque = sheer and utter brilliance. Totally bought their overpriced t-shirt.

Hammock Haven – An area in Grant park located under lush trees, this oasis contained a plethora of hammocks inviting tired concert-goers to rest and avoid heat exhaustion. The greeting crew welcomed you with water guns, for an extra cool bonus. But be warned : swingy hammocks make for spilly beer.

Amadou & Mariam – This adorable West African couple had the entire audience dancing, clapping their hands and singing in French. Who doesn't enjoy a bit of that? One of the most original acts of the festival, by far.

Honorable mention goes to the two story Chicago McDonald’s, which left me in awe of its escalator, velvet ropes and ice-cream counter. There were even leather couches and a 'please wait to be seated area'. I totally ate Big Macs daily, just so I could keep revelling in its glory.

And now for the important stuff: here is a playlist I made for all of you who couldn’t make it to this unbelievable event. Suckers.

Sweaty Chicago Muxtape