Tuesday, July 29, 2008
or maybe just a way to not forget what I come across.
which, I guess, makes it like all the other blogs out there.
but hey, it's my body I do what I want.
I present a compendium of Douchebag, an ubiquitous urban genus:
Genus: Douchebag - a zoological study
Genus: Douchebag, Species: The Deep V
ummm, so I did.
in this installment: Umberto Eco, genius Italia
(many gems, here are a few)
on ambiguous symbols: "A secret is powerful when it is empty...it can be filled up with every possible notion, and it has power."
on Dan Brown: "I suspect that Dan Brown might not exist."
(there is context to this, but it's better without)
on so little sex in his novels: "I think I just prefer to have sex than write about it."
on comedy: "I have a suspicion that it is linked with the fact that we are the only animals who know we must die."
and: "But perhaps I'll create an empty secret now, and let everyone think that I have theory of comedy in the works, so when I die they will spend a lot of time trying to retrieve my secret book."
(note: awesome Aristotle/self allusion)
on his legacy: "I don't believe one writes for oneself. I think that writing is an act of love - you write in order to give something to someone else."
and: "When a writer says, I am not interested in the destiny of my book, he is simply a liar."
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Man, locals love these guys...am I crazy? Well, yeah, but about this? They are talented musicians but they just don't have that oomph that brings them from just nice. No "wow factor" as my hero Tim Gunn would say.
I'm not going to let popular opinion sway me, but I'm getting the impression that it might just be me (or bribes are involved).
Havdale's Kids These Days is awesome though - I have a soft spot for pop rock - and their last show - in Vancouver or ever - is this week at the Railway on Club.
Maybe in the piece below I should have added that I loved KTD, it might have softened the bitchiness of me. But what fun would that be?
Local label makes good (but not great)
Here are some musings on three releases from local label White Whale Records, both run by and representing Ryder Havdale. He’s so going to delete me from facebook.
Octoberman Run from Safety
What hits you first when Run from Safety starts spinning is the Bob Dylan-esque vocals on the track “By the Wayside”. This initial promise remains unfulfilled though – except for a bit of nice bit of brass, the album is uninspiring. It’s like blogger poetry, or worse, poetry about blogger poetry. I’m assuming they were purposefully mixing their (clichéd) metaphors, but nothing is pushed far enough to be witty or satirical.
Octoberman’s music and lyrics constantly miss opportunities to be more than coffee house open mic rock (some tracks like “No Qualms” are pure coffee house) and it’s disappointing because the potential is there. I’m usually pretty harsh when it comes to lyric writing. But in the folk genre (maybe we’re at neo-folk?), lyrics are paramount. Lines like “love is top drawer, like an old pair of socks…now I’m feeling so bad, because my socks are torn” could be campy fun if it wasn’t so earnest. “Once in a Blue” has some interesting phrasing, but its plea to “think for yourself” is not only clichéd but tedious.
In short: not terrible, but I’m glad it was free.
Culture Reject Culture Reject
Culture Reject is an odd dish. It smells delicious, but doesn’t taste as good. Or maybe it doesn’t appear appetizing but tastes better…Whatever the food based analogy, this disc is a real stew. A little folk, a Rasta and a little Jack Johnson rip-off over a coffee shop in Havana/piano jazz background. Plus, a lot of handclaps - maybe too many. I know, I didn’t think it was possible either.
It's not all bad. The first track, intro “Ain’t It on the Floor,” has you grooving summer drive style (though maybe in an early 2000s Vibe commercial style), and “Blueprint” has intriguing vocals.
“Inside the Cinema” represents both my ambivalence about this album. While I’m always a sucker for the xylophone, brass and handclaps and sarcastic (I hope) lines like “Who fucking loves
So, I would suggest you at least check this out. It may be addicting or just annoying. Unfortunately for me, I think it may be both. It’s not really enough substance for me but hey, sometimes you just wanna make yourself food, make yourself good.
The Mohawk Lodge Wildfires
The Mohawk Lodge is led and for the most part constituted by White Whale Records head Ryder Havdale. I’ve written on them before for a piece on Music Waste so I won’t speak at length about them. But, I thought I’d give them another shot now that I’ve taken a swipe at the full version of Wildfire. Besides, good things come in threes. Or things do anyway.
“The Lodge” has been compared to many bands and artists I like, like Bruce Springsteen (whatever guys, he’s The Boss) or The Handsome Furs, but it completes this trifecta of “eh, it’s okay” by not really blowing me away. Again, it’s something to check out but do it on the internet box. You will also find many reviews that love all these artists, so maybe I’m just crazy (hint: I’m not).
Now, I’m going to acknowledge a bias on my part: Ryder Havdale was a disappointing interview – he didn’t leave me overly open to be generous about his efforts. However, the output I’ve heard from other WWR artists is not helping me get over my first impressions. That being said, I’m all about making good in your home town, especially if it’s making something from nothing. You’ll have to decide whether respecting an artist is the same as liking their work. (Hint: it’s not).
Friday, July 25, 2008
I've discovered that writing for an audience often actually means writing for what your editor thinks the audience is. according to the Peak this means business students. hells if I know why, but there you go. and according to the Peak, business students are not interested in things like "allusion," "poetic phrasing" or "cleverness." ok, they didn't say that last part, but the keeping it simple for business students is all true.
I also blame the CUP, but as they won't return my phone calls it's pretty fruitless. just kidding. nobody calls the CUP.
I had Tegan and Sara’s The Con spinning for weeks after it was released and I still have bouts where I just repeat all for days. The T&S are an acquired taste for many, and even fans are often pitted against each other in clichéd “old vs. new” battles. I loved the rawness of past efforts, but this offering is their most mature, well crafted and cleverly conceived album. Credit goes mostly to song-writing and composition, though the production is definitely sleeker (old school T&S fans may balk).
Personally though, The Con just hit the spot in that “this echoes my life and things I think about myself” kind of way. The single “Back in Your Head” is addictive, and “Relief Next to Me” and “Call It Off” express a quiet self-reflection that off-sets nicely the pop sensibilities of the album as a whole
some of it is pretty bad, but someday I'll be prolific enough to pick and choose. well. probably not.
and sometimes, especially with my SFU newspaper pieces, whatever I post here will probably be longer and generally more awesomes so stayed tuned.
like you wouldn't.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
How's it goin? I was thinking we should grab a bottle of Bordeaux and have an honest and off kilter heart to heart about this crazy world and the mad men living in it. Oh, you already had that conversation and set it to music? Nice.
First, you were right – love IS "savage and it's cruel and it shines like destruction, it comes in like a flood and it seems like religion, it's noble and it's brutal and distorts and derranges, it wrenches you up and you laugh like a zombie (zombehhh).” I was totally going to say that!
You know your shit M. You didn’t sound contrived or overwrought, but awkward and odd and brutal. Personally, I’ve always loved your lyrics but then you knew that.
The vocals were fab, btw. You rocked the 1930’s jazz, with sparks of my fave Sarahs (Harmer and Slean), Bernadette Peters flirtatiousness and Rufus’ operatic lilts. But still singularly you, all husky and decadent and uniquely layered. Hon, you pulled those phrases like salt water taffy. Love. It.
The music? Hells yes! Plain guitar or piano up front, but all wrapped and layered with haunting backgrounds and full bodied crescendos. Then you get all dramatic, but next track you pull out hillbilly guitar mixed with the blues sax and the well placed handclap? Damn. And did I hear some organ and xylophone? You KNOW I love xylophone!
Finally, you toss out those clichés about love – just get all mad and artful with it. Expressing that “my heart was made for bleeding all over you” and then telling him to “run your scared little ass down the block” and just mean everything. You tell it girl.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
while some is intended to demonstrate my intellectual chops, it mostly includes silly, entertaining sites, products, comics, blogs etc. not all of it is particularly serious or deep - but not everything in the world is, okay? okay.
also, if it says explicit or NSFW this usually means it's something I wouldn't want my grandparents knowing I look at such trash. I would take the safe bet and not watch any of the videos if you have taste or are my grandparents (who have taste though the structure of the previous sentence implies otherwise).
Q: why "also awesome?"
A: the implication is that my stuff is awesome and so is this other stuff
Q: why are you all capsless?
A: it's good enough for e.e. cummings, it's good enough for me. plus it probably means I've broken my only rule and I've fired off a something right into the post.
conclusion: it's my body, I do what I want.
most likely, it means I'm breaking my rule and doing a quick statement right into the post box. deal with it.
postscript: how long until these re: titles become pedantic and annoying? only time will tell. I'm guessing 12.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Well, we probably were, but I’d like to imagine the crowd eyeing us with good “oh, forbear the raucous children on a summer’s eve” humour. And the darkly quirky but inevitably heart-warming film totally justified my imagining.
The plot is linear…esque…but you have only the middle of that line, hopelessly and wonderfully tangled, with pregnant pauses and musical vignettes providing emotional exposition. Basically, it’s art house without pretensions: a young girl missing her friend, tragically misplaced turtles, pregnant derby drivers, delightful (or harrowing) asides and moments of quiet perfection. It’s just honest and awkward and human and I smiled and smiled.
See this with someone who can not be a smartass for, like, two seconds?
(And though many reading this will scoff, I am a down and dirty, puppies and musicals romantic at heart. If you are anything like this, this movie will utterly destroy you.)
VIFC’s website describes it as thus:
In the confusion following a massive power outage, an awkward demolition derby driver (Will Oldham) vanishes, setting in motion a series of events affecting his pregnant girlfriend, his helplessly car-less father, a pack of boy scouts, a lactose-intolerant roller-rink employee, a woman in search of her dog, and his best friend—a girl named Turkeylegs. Cars drive circles in the dirt, a woman attends her own funeral, the sun rises sideways, and an orange vehicle trades hands again and again. “A revelation... The Guatemalan Handshake holds a place in my heart that is normally reserved for Easter candy”—Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite).
Now go and revel. REVEL!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
But oh god, no tearful melodrama. That's for my journal and my Mr. Smooches.
There will be (most likely ill) crafted "pieces" as much as "posts" and those going to maintain some traditional print imperatives. If I'm so very lucky, these pieces will have been edited by a peer or colleague already, or maybe the commentators (of which I'm sure there will be few) will be my editors.
So it will be a fight between my inherent (blog friendly) laziness and my snobbish ideas about writing and grammar and the integrity of the written word.
Hmmm, I wonder which will win.
Away we go.
- ► 2009 (63)
- re: subject: stuff I like
- re: douchebags, a compedium of species
- re: quote(s) of the moment or, umberto eco, genius...
- re: white whale records or a "trifecta of 'eh, it'...
- re: the peak
- re: tegan and sara, "the con"
- re: links to stuff by me
- re: "i know you're married but i have feelings too...
- re: also awesome
- re: the guatemalan handshake
- re: no subject
- ▼ July (11)