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Monday, January 31, 2005

This is how we do things
How We Do remixed fer yer mum. (Translations of Popular Songs from Slang to Standard English)
Think Tank
Your choice.
iPod cozies (via Zoilus).
Or iPod porn (via Brooklyn Vegan). NSFW.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Weekend Reading/Viewing
This one's for Rafer.

Pop: Lost in the Grooves
M.I.A.:In Play
Olu Dara: Stepping out of his son's shadow
Michael Jackson: About a boy
Michael Jakson: Your trial primer
Gwen Stefani: Baby crazy (as seen in Rolling Stone)
Roger Daltry: Old
P.Diddy: Raging thespian
Girls are the new boys
Dance: Not dead
Black Eyed Peas: Ironic Success
Bez: The surreal life
Rammstein: Stupid and clever
Rayner: Bad rappers gone good
Marianne Faithfull v. LeAnn Rimes
Speaking with Vanilla Ice
A 'Spiritual Mother' of Spoken Word for a Hip-Hop Generation
Mariah Carey's piano not haunted by Marilyn Monroe
***
Beck's new video for E-Pro
Avril's new video for He Wasn't
And, of course, Michael Jackson's new video for, er, Not Guilty (?)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Can't Leave Rap Alone, The Game Needs Me
Woah. For a second there we totally forgot we had a blog. Got all caught up in doing the day job. And shit. Sorry yo.

(Also: To anyone we might have e-mailed with questions about the cultural disparities contained within Canadian multiculturalism that do not allow for hip-hop to thrive in the Great White North - if your response got bounced back it's because of ye olde office technology. Please resend.)

We're back now though. No really. Promise.

***

The annual eye music critics poll is here. Individual ballots are here. Not quite pants-soiling surprising. Everybody loves k-os. (Or least fear his wrath.) Gwenny gets worst album of the year. Total bullcrap. Note to others: Your hate only makes us love her more.

The M.I.A. hype ahead of her Toronto show next week begins here and here. The music is super fantastique, but it's everything behind that's slowly blowing our mind. We're chatting with her Monday morning. Full report to follow.

Carl's been saying a lot of stuff about indie rock. Indie's dead kids. Long live Kelly Clarkson.

We missed the Broken Social Scene show. But Chromewaves was there. Of course. And so was B. Wong.

Jay Smooth has got to be the frontrunner for Blogger of the Year thanks to his campaign against New York radio station Hot97. To catch-up, start here and then read up.

***

So there. Now we're all caught up. Sorta.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Hot Cars
Last night Larry King devoted the show to the late JC. All the old guard without any of the mourning. Joan Rivers seemed vaguely human. Everybody had a story about how Johnny spoke Russian or once killed a bear with his own two hands. Don Rickles got serious just long enough to nearly cry.

Anyway. Following this, here is a link to the new Hot Hot Heat song, Goodnight Goodnight (via Stereogum).

Adrien says it's "horrendous" and "irritating."

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Weekend Reading
Our hands are so cold right now.

Simon Reynolds on who cleared the clubs
While museums go clubbing
Chemical Brothers: Not ignoring the real world. Apparently.
Josh Schwartz's Playlist
Kelefa Sanneh on The Hold Steady
Bright Eyes... blah, blah, blah
Marc Almond on his recovery
Marc Almond: Getting back out there
Caspar Llewellyn Smith on Motley Crue
Mercury Rev: Back from oblivion. Apparently.
Paul Boutin on why thin is in
Ukraine's rock revolution
Five obscure acts to watch in 2005
Twenty-five moments that defined hip-hop

Friday, January 21, 2005

Loving It Up While We're Going Down
So here's where we listen to the new Hot Hot Heat album, Elevator (to be released Apr. 5), and report back on our findings in something approaching real time. And... go.

Track 1 - Running Out Of Time
This sounds like No Doubt. Wait, no this sounds like Hot Hot Heat. Wait, no this really does sound like No Doubt. They've totally lifted the guitar from some pre-Don't Speak single or another. Still kicks though. Ranting against the sad and washed out post-famous who apparently roam Hollywood will never get old. Never...

Track 2 - Goodnight Goodnight
Anybody see The O.C. last night? Only saw a bit of it ourselves but apparently that cute redhead, that's technically Ryan's step-Aunt or something, got all drunk. If that ever happens again and she makes an ass of herself and Ryan has to break up with her, but it's like a good thing and we're supposed to feel sorta happy for him, this will be the song they play in the background...

Track 3 - Ladies and Gentleman
Ever noticed that sometimes when Steve Bays sings he sounds Scandanavian. Or Japanese. Or something... If they took harder drugs this would totally be an Alice in Chains song...

Track 4 - You Owe Me An IOU
Piano! Clever world play! We're sold. Like a really jovial Cure song or something. At our high school, they would have played this in the cafeteria at lunch. But only on Fridays. And we would have eaten grilled cheese and pretended to be so super happy that another week was done. Or something...

Track 5 - No Jokes - Fact
Oooh. A musical interlude. All sad and mopey. Betcha this means they're about to get all dark and shit...

Track 6 - Jingle Jangle
Yup, this is where they sound like The Walkmen. Only, of course, less crippled by delusions. This is the slow dance song. But not quite...

Track 7 - Pickin' It Up
Have Hot Hot Heat and The Killers toured together yet? If not, it's a double bill that has to happen in 2005. The funny thing about Jingle Jangle is that it totally could have been written by any one of those bands that came out of the post-Sloan, pseudo-Halifax-sound explosion. But none of those bands would have been hepped up on enough goofballs...

Track 8 - Island of the Honest Man
Also on our desk right now: something new from Jimmy Chamberlin, a Death Angel boxset and a soundtrack for the HBO documentary Thinking XXX - which comes with a sticker that says "WARNING: This CD package contains full frontal nudity images of both women and men..." Sweet. (Err. Sorry, we totally drifted away on this song...)

Track 9 - Middle of Nowhere
We so needed a ballad right now. "You didn't have to do it but you did it to say that you didn't have to do it but you would anyway." Preach on. Steve Bay even tries to like croon. Nearly. If Seth takes off for China or Portland or wherever again, this is what they'll play during the final montage as he leaves the party looking sad and lonely...

Track 10 - Dirty Mouth
Woah. Everything's all tense now. Seth's gone and we're starting to fight amongst ourselves because we're scared for his well-being, but we're even more scared to confront those feelings. How would you describe Steve Bays' singing? It's sorta like he's rapping sometimes, innit?

Track 11 - Soldier In A Box
We won't be able to like Linkin Park until they write something like this. And they totally could. Really hope this isn't inspired by like Iraq and shit. Cos that would totally kill our buzz...

Track 12 - Shame On You
There's only a couple tracks left and they're still all mad at the world. Is it wrong of us to hope they still pull a happy ending out of this?

Track 13 - ?
Weird. This track isn't listed on the packaging. And there's only like three seconds of really faint ambient noise or something. How... er... arty?

Track 14 - Elevator
Fuck happy endings. More big guitars with wolf fangs. Wait, do wolves have fangs? Anyway. The bottom fell out from beneath this party. Ryan just slugged somebody. And now he's going back to Chino. Time for the drunken post-punch-up, soul-searching while listening to Radiohead.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Give It Time
The first version of U2's Vertigo video.
Aha Heartbreak
Here is Feist's new video for Inside and Out. Crazy thing is, we discovered this through PopDirt.

More on the underlying implications of that soon.
Exhume The Zoom
Filmmaker Jerry Rapp, writer and director of several short films including Is It Time To Swap? and What To Do With Your Dead Hooker (starring Chuck D), is apparently trying to make something of obscure CanRock artifacts, The Poolies - whose sole apparent claim to fame is their indirect involvement in the Paul Is Dead rumour. Or so says this press release. Advertising this website. Which doesn't yet seem to have the digitally re-mastered MP3s we are promised.
What The Alt-Papers Say
Sarah Liss (who probably hates us because we missed the Blue Man Group brunch on Wednesday) finds Kalan Porter discovering the Scissor Sisters.
Tim Perlich talks about hip-hop (namely J-Zone). Angry letter from k-os sure to follow.
Josh Ostroff on the Chemical Brothers' new disc.
And Pierre Hamilton (aka this guy) on DFA 1979.
Swift, Decisive Action
What was it Kramer yelled to Jerry from the apartment window? Something like: "She's late, Jerry! She's laaaaaaaa-ate!"

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Breakaway
Anybody ever see that episode of MTV Becoming where the girl gets to become Nelly Furtado (scroll down)? Is it just us or is that the same girl playing the "prom date" in the new Sum 41 video for Pieces (scroll down)?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

'I want to thank Steve Baldwin for being with us today.'
So apparently the lead singer for Fuel said a bad word at one of Dubya's 807 inauguration balls. Whatevs. Far more awesome was G-Dub's speech afterwards. To wit:

Listen, I want to thank all the entertainers who were here today. How about Hilary Duff. She was fantastic. (Applause.) Thank you, Hilary. JoJo -- JoJo is here -- yeah. (Applause.) Rubin Studdard -- you talk about a success story. (Applause.) Ryan Cabrera, I appreciate Ryan being here. (Applause.) How about Three Doors Down? (Applause.) Pretty cool guys, right? Seem cool to me. (Applause.) Fuel -- I appreciate Fuel being here. (Applause.) Jason Sehorn -- I'm honored that my friend, Jason -- and I'm really proud and pleased that he brought his wife, Angie Harmon. (Applause.)

Note that Three Doors Down get two applause breaks. Once for being there. Then for being identified as "cool" by the pop critic in chief.

Later he refers to the assembled (which also included Miss America 2003 and The Apprentice) as "some of America's soldiers in the army of compassion."

Sweet.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Weekend Reading
Yeah, yeah. It's Monday. But we had the day off. So technically it's at least still our weekend. If it's not yours, that's not our problem.
***

In a timely piece (at least for our purposes), The Sunday Times find Feist hard to pin down. To wit: The mix of originals and cover versions on Let It Die is equally hard to get a handle on — with the result that their creator appears (and sounds) elusive. Thus, the question "What does she look/ sound like?" has tended to broaden out into: "Who is she?" "I don’t expect anyone to puzzle it out and spend a lot of time thinking about it," she says, sounding half exasperated and half amused. "It’s not their life, so why should they even care to think about it?"...

What has been overlooked as a result of all this busy prospecting and prescribing is that Feist is the greatest female singer to have emerged in several years. In a musical age where we prize the two extremes of bloodcurdling authenticity and knowingly manipulative plasticity, Feist’s vocal hallmarks — detachment and secret, effortfully concealed tristesse — seem old-fashioned and confusing. It’s as if we have forgotten that one of the qualities that made, say, Dusty Springfield (with whom Feist has been compared) so shattering was her aloofness.


Golly. In other news...

The Game: Like Ken Burns, only shorter
Bright Eyes: Breaking out (also: here)
How this guy trained to belt like Fantasia
Soundtrack Of Our Lives: Real names, no gimmicks
Scissor Sisters: Sheer quality
"Band 50 Foot Wave Copes With Bad Timing"
Computer-aided pop perfection
Remixing Bjork for charity
Mark E Smith on his cinematic self
Long time ago when Queen was daft
Athlete: Going for... oh forget it...
***

P.S. We finally got around to posting our own ode to Feist. It can be found here.
Selling The Drama
Is this the first big piece The Star has done on Feist? The sub-head - "You may not yet have heard of transplanted Torontonian Leslie Feist, but chances are you will" - makes it seem that way, but surely Rayner or Vit did something on this dear girl when the record came out. Right?

Anyway. Nice overview of how Feist will be bought and sold in the United States. The middle passage with Interscope's Martin Kierszenbaum is of particular note, but it is especially refreshing to see Feist is so far free of indie insecurity. The best - write this down, kids - always are. Though they also possess the good sense to turn down the clown.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Shaking Like A Leaf
Isn't it cute how freaked out indie rock bands (and the music writers who love them) get when, like, real people start listening to their music?

P.S. It says here, "Don't Miss Stars On The O.C. on Fox Feb. 17."
Smile
As every Oasis fan knows by now, the best records are always those that have yet to be released...

Mr. Paltrow on the new Coldplay album:
"We’ve got some fucking good songs. That’s one thing we are sure of. I don’t think we’ll top this. I always say that, but this time I really mean it. I really don’t think we’ll top it."

The Artist Formerly Known As Manitoba on the first Caribou release:
"This album sounds a lot more dynamic and mad. Melody's always the most important thing for me, and I'm happier with [the] melodies on this album than on either of the previous ones, but instead of framing them in the more indie sound of Up in Flames, I wanted to frame them in a more unusual way. It's pop songs for weirdos."
Underground
Here's the intriguing, CanCon-friendly tracklisting for the upcoming Music From Radio Free Roscoe, Volume One. Not that we've ever watched the show or nuthin'.

1. The Yoko Casionos - Radio Unfriendly (2:08)
2. The Petitt Project - 3 Cheers For Me (3:26)
3. Kiddo - This Could Take Forever (2:33)
4. Subb - Home is Where the Heart Aches (2:48)
5. Morning - Worship Detach (3:21)
6. Avery - Front and Center (2:54)
7. Maplewood Lane - The Colour and the Gold (2:52)
8. Reverie Sound Revue - One Marathon (5:03)
9. The 6ixty8ights - What's A Boy To Do (3:05)
10. The Salteens - Tomorrow (2:04)
11. Stirling - I Came Late To the Party (5:07)
12. No Man's Land - I Can't Explain (2:15)


See also:
Maplewood Lane - Canadian Winter (from their forthcoming EP)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Give Up
All the while championing wreckless abandon and body piercing, does any other form of loosely organized noise rival punk as insufferably restrictive, purist-prone and, dare we say, rockist?

And, if so, what does that make Good Charlotte's I Just Wanna Live? Greater than Johnny Rotten? Less than? Equal to? Or just more mediocre Green Day?
VH1's Vague Notions Reunited
Whatever happened to Marshall "I Don't Wanna Fight No More Because I've Got A Kid And Also I Don't Want 50 Cent To Get Shot On My Account" Mathers? Oh.

Has anyone, by any chance, heard from D'Angelo lately? Hmm.

And, last but not least, what formidable act of god do you suppose it would take to bring David Usher back to us? Ah.
Featured Item Of The Day
The Official Garou Pillow Case.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Talk Talk
We can't claim to have actually listened to this as yet, but here you will apparently find Jamie Lynn Spears singing the Britney-penned theme song to some TV show or another. Enjoy.

Sunday, January 9, 2005

That's The Ticket
Ben Rayner helps us understand why we're sorta uncomfortable with the rush on tsunami relief - because it's turned into a trendy dick-measuring contest. Well, all right, that's not entirely his point. And he's far more concerned about, like, the future of our species. But still. To wit:

Giving is all the rage. Charitable donations to relief agencies have reached unprecedented sums to match the unimaginable scale of the catastrophe. Pledges of aid from foreign governments keep creeping up and up. New benefit concerts, charity drives and fundraising events are being announced on the hour.

The massive outpouring of support is noble, understandable and, above all, absolutely necessary to hasten the afflicted region's recovery. But the scorekeeping mentality and almost hectoring tone ("What can you do?") of the coverage of this "tidal wave of generosity" — as numerous, decidedly insensitive media outlets have been putting it — will, in all likelihood, ultimately sour the public on its own benevolent spirit...

This isn't to deride the recent, rather heartening display of global solidarity brought on by the Asian tsunami's terrible brunt. This is just a gentle reminder that we are allowed to care for all the other human beings with whom we share this tiny rock even when disasters, newscasters and washed-up rock stars aren't dictating that we should. It's the only way, in fact, that our species is likely to survive.


In other news, our column this week will ask why Celine Dion took so long to announce her plans for tsunami relief and why she remains in Vegas, refusing to return to Canada to deal with the urgent matter.
How Music Nerds Get Their Kicks
Wank Wank Wank.

(And yet, we decry Bono as self-important.)
Weekend Reading
Another sleepy Sunday in January.

Claire Berlinksi on German nationalist "Fascho-rock"
Joan Anderman on the death of the jingle
The Features: Straight Outta Sparta
Dolly Parton: Family-friendly burlesque
Ashanti: Everything is not golden
Middle age claims the 80s
Six generations consider Elvis
Hallelujah for Hallelujah

Saturday, January 8, 2005

Let's Play Two
Chromewaves says Keren Ann and A Girl Called Eddy are coming to town - the Horseshoe, March 6. And far be it from us to doubt him.

Pre-season favourite for show of the year. Might as well engrave the trophy now. This is like the New York Yankees of concerts. Anything less than the best will be a felony.

Not to get your hopes up or anything...

See also:
A Girl Called Eddy - Tears All Over Town (both free and legal)
Axing II
Ethical question of the day: Is it wrong for us to ask whether there's anyone out there who has an extra Broken Social Scene ticket they want to sell? What if it's under the condition that the money go to charity? What if we pay $60 - $30 for charity, $30 for the original purchaser? That's at least better than going through some scalper, right? (And don't think there won't be any.)

Please advise.

See also: TBone, Foxy and Chromewaves got tickets. For The Records is left wanting.
Start The Pool
Given this, how much longer can Chris and Gwenny have left?
Axing
Is it terribly cynical (not to mention insensitive, impolite, offensive and various other not-nice things) to ask whether it's now "cool" (and all that comes with that) to donate towards tsunami relief?

Thursday, January 6, 2005

Flying Saucer
Working on something for next week and came across this, from a profile of elphin teeny-pop star, JoJo. Arguably the creepiest thing ever.

JoJo, who was raised in Boston by her single mother — a trained musical theater performer — has filled her young career with anecdotes of and testimonials to the soul-like voice of an apprentice of Whitney Houston in the body of Lindsay Lohan’s baby sister.

In 2005, let's keep the gushing about 14-year-old bodies to a minimum. Kay?

See also: The Case Against Michael Jackson (The Smoking Gun via Gawker)

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

New Year, Same Old S--- (II)
Ashlee Simpson fails in public (video)
Nothing's Going To Happen At All
Stay with us. This might make for a bit of a ride.

Zoilus takes issue with our fawning over Feist's sense of place (see below). Someday he and us will sit down over a beverage and we'll try to convince him of Feist's brilliance and he'll try to convince us of the Junior Boys' brilliance. We'll both fail miserably. Until then, we'll go back to that humdinger of which we spoke. To wit:

The singer-songwriter Elliott Smith died in 2003, but in his posthumously released CD, "From a Basement on a Hill," he created imaginary spaces that are no less vivid for being fluid, hallucinatory and inconsistent. Part of his appeal lies in his stripped, reedy croon pitched to the size of a messy bedroom. To listen to Smith's last album is to duck out of the dazzle of the outside world and into a claustrophobic mind filled with the flotsam of his thoughts and darkly minimalist music.

Zoilus' complaint, we think, is with Feist's lack of audible locale. Is this a Paris album? A Toronto album? City mouse? Country mouse? Or is it just some undefined nowhere?

We're filling his mouth with words, so we'll leave a space.........for him to insert his own. In the meantime we'll say that Let It Die's place looks a lot like Elliott Smith's - namely, the bedroom. Like belly buttons, we've all got one.

(We touched on that in our still-unlinkable year-ender. We'll try and post that soon.)

Anyway. At the top of Zoilus' post - an early candidate for the most link-laden of 2005 - he references Matos' epic gulp of haterade. We have no particulary taste or distaste for the Devendra/Joanna hate, but we took interest in his comments about the not-particularly-long-awaited returns of Fatboy Slim and the Prodigy. To wit:

Big beat went bust ages ago, in terms of ideas (which it never really had, which isn't a complaint), and in terms of the fun generated-to-fun promised ratio, and no two albums demonstrated it better than those of two of its biggest kahunas.

He won't complain about the lack of ideas, but we will. One of those top secret advance copies of the new Chemical Brothers album arrived by mail a short time ago and we've been trying hard to get excited about it. But. Well. Meh. (Note: If nothing else this year, let's find a new pseudo-word for that emotion, or lack thereof.)

We were going to say it's because it doesn't emote. That it, and its kind, are the musical equivalent of Tony Robbins tapes. That it's all rather empty.

But then, we've always had a short attention span for the dance-electronica-big-beat-or-whatever-we're-allowed-to-call-it-now. So maybe it's not them, it's us. Maybe we just prefer the music with the "deep, deep feewings."

Is that so wrong?

(P.S. If Norah Jones is the musical equivalent of aural wallpaper, as someone smart once said, what does that make some of the more mindless stretches of the new Chemical Bros. album?)
New Year, Same Old S---
Item #1: Vince Neil says a bad word
Item #2: NBC receives no complaints
Item #3: The FCC launches an investigation

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Reprinting
This just in. And whatnot.

Broken Social Scene to hold Asia Earthquake & Tsunami Relief benefit concert.

Tuesday January 25th . LEE’S PALACE . Toronto .

Arts&Crafts recording artist Broken Social Scene along with fellow label family members will perform later this month in support of the Asia Earthquake and Tsunami relief efforts.

100% of proceeds from the show will be donated to the relief effort.

It's the same Scene - but it's not the same day.

Broken Social Scene
LEE’S PALACE
Tuesday January 25th, 2004
tickets: $30.
doors: 9pm

Available at: Ticketmaster 416.870.8000 by phone, www.ticketmaster.ca, Rotate This and Soundscapes

Tickets onsale: THURSDAY JAN. 6 @ 10:00AM
Dead Is
A few hours ago someone asked us if we wanted to interview Pauly Shore. And we just got an invitation to have brunch with the Blue Man Group.

Aspiring journalists: Don't let anybody ever tell ya this job ain't glamorous.
Ladies And Gentleman We Are Floating In Espace
Alex Ross links to a rather relevant (at least for us and our new gadget) humdinger about how we listen to music - intimacy, place and placelessness from Beethoven to Elliott Smith and back.

Made us think of this. And its place. Or particular sense of such.
Big Shiny
The Toronto Star takes a look at this city's Hip-Hop Cultural Arts Centre.

The author of that piece in The Star, Priya Ramanujam, just so happens to be one of the editors behind Urban Magazine - the first issue of which just so happens to be primarily available at the Toronto Hip-Hop Cultural Arts Centre.

All of which only serves to remind us that we've been mulling a special week-long series devoted to Canadian hip-hop (no really). Maybe more on that later.

See also: The THC's complicated history with the local cops.
And rap's role in the Ukraine revolution

Monday, January 3, 2005

And So Begins 365 Days Of Sin
Well. We finally just stopped sobbing after that very special episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and figured we'd make our first appearance of 2005.

So what did we all get for Christmas? Zoilus got an iPod. And oddly enough, so did we - and seeing as we just saw Garden State for the first time last night, we are, by our calculations, now only an average of 13 months behind the rest of you.

(An iPod-related question because to us it's just a shiny white box that makes happy noises: When we try to import music from CD to iTunes, we seem only able to do so at like 1.3X. Why is that? And if your answer is, "Cos your computer's probably too slow" - please attach a donation to your response.)

Anything else going on? We've been tearing the PopWherry office apartment all day to make room for a new tenant.

Stereogum has the new Britney single.
For the Records introduces us to Comes With A Smile.
Next New Years we're going to hang out with Shot and Foxymoron.
Evan Newman bucks things up.
Coolfer discusses the NYT Year in Music piece we haven't read yet (though it sounds like this).
Jennifer Lopez's new single can be found here.
Smart people on the Year in Culture.
Miccio goes after Avril.
And the NYT Mag starts 2005 with a rather ginormous Nellie McKay profile.

Happy New Year to all.

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