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Monday, October 31, 2005

The Internet: Even Better Than You Thought
Somewhere, at this very minute, someone is being paid more money than you will ever earn to better provide the general public access to homemade videos of people dancing and singing along to Backstreet Boys songs.

And we think to ourselves, what a wonderful world.

(Google Video seems to run kind of choppy on our old machine, hopefully yours does better.)
The Next Great Debate
Better rap-rock group: The Go! Team or Limp Bizkit?

Update. The Go! Team were fine enough last night. Now with 100% fewer German-looking girls, but still generally pretty fun. And quite popular with the kids. More importantly, you should probably be paying attention to The Grates. Especially lead singer Patience Hodgon (that's her atop the stuffed pony). She's sort of the wholesome, Australian Karen O. Or at least the seemingly wholesome, Australian Karen O. Should probably be hosting her own subversive children's television show.

Vaguely related:
Two songs available on their MySpace site.
Patience talks with i heart music.

Friday, October 28, 2005

While Washington Burns
It's entirely possible that we just previously overlooked this bit of news, but imagine our surprise/glee when we learned that the new Michael Jackson charity single, 'From The Bottom Of My Heart, was actually written by the prince of Bahrain. To review then, Michael Jackson is in Los Angeles recording a charity single for the victims of Hurricane Katrina that will feature the likes of Snoop Dogg, is being produced by R. Kelly and was originally written by a member of Persian Gulf royalty.

Read that last sentence again and try to comprehend how that cannot result in one of the great moments in pop music history.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

White Sox Win! White Sox Win! White So... Zzzzzzzz...
Sorry, but if you're an Astros fan within arm's reach of Juan Uribe when he lunges into the stands, don't you have a responsibility to reach up and knock that ball away? Uribe's on your turf, it's entirely legal. Sure, even if he fails to make that catch, maybe the Astros don't win the game. And even if the Astros win the game, they would've remained a wild longshot to win the series. But still. It's the principle of the matter. You've got to make that play. And if you punk Uribe, the Astros pull it out in the ninth and then pull out one of the great comebacks in baseball history, you instantly become probably the greatest fan in the history of the game. Or at least the most celebrated. Instead, you - you sheepish Houston fans enjoying your premium seats down the third base line - are still waiting for your team to win a World Series game. Good luck with that.

Anyway. Onward to the actual subject of this post - MuchMusic VJ Leah.

We were fairly certain Leah (pronounced, of course, like the princess) was bound to be remembered as one of the single greatest MuchMusic VJs to come along since the passing of Rick the Temp before we actually understood why. There was just something about her. Then we took the unprecedented and extraordinary step of Googling her.

Now, we didn't actually find much of anything beyond her official MuchMusic page. And though that official page is likely full of carefully spun half-truths dreamed up by some Chum p.r. guru to impress easily impressed guys like us, we're willing to accept their legitimacy. If only because most of the details only confirm our initial theory — that Leah is probably one of the more half-interesting VJs of our lifetime.

Take first her generally impressive musical interests: "Fiona Apple, Bob Dylan, Eminem, Jack Johnson, The Beatles, Robbie Williams, Tenacious D, Radiohead and Coldplay." Agreed, Tenacious D is generally only tolerable in very small doses. And the rest seem pretty obviously pulled from the Dummies Guide to Impressing Your Moderately Cool Friends and Proving Your Musical Knowledge Extends Beyond The Trivial Tastes of Today's Teenagers. But there is the presence of Robbie Williams. And you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in North America willing to publicly acknowledge an unironic appreciation for Robbie Williams. That takes courage.

Her favourite book is The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, which she can apparently quote from memory. To be honest, we have not read this book. Nor do we know about much Kahlil Gibran, though Wikipedia describes him as "probably the most famous Lebanese-American writer ever" and The Prophet can be read online here. Sample passage:

"Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against passion and your appetite. Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody. But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?"

Though generally careful not to assume too much, we'd pretty willingly bet that few VJs, with the exception probably of Michael Williams, could claim great affinity for anything similar.

Oh, but it does not end there.

Alongside Jessica Biel she apparently once appeared in an episode of Punk'd and school'd Stephen Dorff. Admirable.

In 1999 she played 'Toll Girl' in New Jersey Turnpikes, starring Kelsey Grammer, Lee Majors, football legend Jim Brown and boxing great Roy Jones Jr. A year later she played 'Jimmy's Blonde Friend' in the TV movie Hendrix. And a year after that she tackled the difficult and challenging role of 'Tina Lovette (the Party Girl)' in Chris Rock's Down To Earth. All very impressive.

And just in case you were worried that Leah was just some Radiohead-loving, Gibran-quoting, Dorff-punking flash-in-the-pan, let us also point towards her expressed interests in public policy - namely, "wildlife preservation and healthcare for Canada’s children, seniors and homeless."

So there. True, she can't rap like VJ Matte (sample rhyme: "I cut with precision on a sharp exacto mission. My style was so nice they had to check me out twice."), but we're fairly certain - without doing much research into the matter - that we'd put that resume up against any other mildly interesting VJ. Even Steve Anthony.

None of this, mind you, is of any actual significance or relevance.

Update. Off the top of our head, what we think were/are probably the ten best VJs (that is, most skilled at the dark arts of video jockeying) since we acquired access to cable television (ie. sometime in the late 80s).

(Note: That time frame does tend to exclude what historians consider the golden age of MuchMusic VJs, namely Denise Donlon, JD, Christoper Ward, KCC, Daniel Richler, etc.)

1) Erica Ehm. (Sort of an icon.)
2) Rick The Temp. (Different era, different icon.)
3) Master T.
4) Steve Anthony.
5) Sook-Yin Lee. (Exception to every rule, but it worked.)

Update II. Actually. Having slept on it, we really only feel strongly about the first five. So...

6) Michael Williams.
7) Craig F. Halket.
8) Rachel Perry (Probably better than we remember.)
9) Simon Evans.
10) Monika Deol.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Jeff Martin Quote Of The Week
"The three of us were discussing another record, but I just found myself not being inspired to write another one for that vehicle. Something about it wasn't making sense to me and once I had a chance to just get away and to think about it, the realization was that, yes, the artistic destiny had been fulfilled."
-Jeff Martin to Jam Showbiz.

It's sort of inevitable that this guy is going to get his own show once CTV gets the new MTV Canada up and running, isn't it? See Jeff Martin record his epic solo album. Hear Jeff Martin discuss his epic vision. Watch as Jeff Martin makes an epic ham sandwich for lunch. It's going to be genius. And you know you'll watch. You'll have to.

Actually the better idea is probably this: The Other Two need to launch their own televised search for a replacement lead singer. But instead of searching the country for unknown amateurs, the search should be restricted to past and present Canadian musicians who have already achieved some amount of fame. A tentative list of finalists: Jian Ghomeshi, Andy Creegan, Raffi, Ashley MacIsaac, the curly haired kid from Hot Hot Heat, Kish, Paul Anka, David Usher, Warren Kinsella, one of the Moffats, the drummer from Sum 41, Fefe Dobson, Sean Paul, the three guys from Bedouin Soundclash and Amy Milan. For the duration of the competition all finalists would have to share a cottage in Muskoka and complete a series of increasingly wacky stunts (Take A Seminar In Middle East Politics From Raine Maida!, Spend A Weekend In Vegas Wagering On Pro Football With Celine Dion! or Wash Alanis Morissette's Hair!) meant to reinforce the importance of co-operation and humility. Winner and their new band receive an automatic Juno nomination and a highly coveted spot opening for Kalan Porter on his next national tour.

Somebody get us a CTV producer on the line. This has to happen.
In Which Our Hero Returns From A Weekend Visit To An Old University Pub That Is Now A Cafeteria
What is it about the Counting Crows and university? Are the Counting Crows more interesting to listeners of that age? Do they speak to the confusion of university-aged minds? Is the hormonal balance in the recently post-adolescent mind just so as to make the Counting Crows particularly appealing?

Seriously. Someone needs to look into this. Please.

Anyway. In other news, Ashlee Simpson is the new Liz Phair. Or at least 21 points worserer.

Quick quiz: Which of the following sentences are from Ashlee reviews and which are from Liz reviews? No looking at the links above. Go.

1) "If she still manages to retain a major label recording contract after this bomb, that'll be the real miracle."
2) "[Her] thin, reedy voice just isn't suited for big, overblown productions like this."
3) "In venturing to offer something for everyone, [she] offers nothing for anyone."
4) "Most tracks have a commercial sheen that makes the songs sound like they were custom-made to be played in the background of pivotal scenes on The O.C."
5) "Mindless drivel."
6) "Every song feels like a retread of some hit you've heard before, somewhere."
7) "The pop hooks are there, but we can't shake the feeling that the sentiments come off as phony."

Answers later in comments.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

As Seen On TV
The White Supremacist Smoosh. And their blog.

(!!?!?)

(See also: Smoosh. And Smoosh on NPR.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

'More or less every instance of Pareles' mistake — in fact the entire review — is bullshit.'
This just strikes us as unnecessary.

Update. Actually, we're going to take a minute, perhaps two, to defend Pareles here.

Now, sure, it's a tremendous amount of fun to suss out cracks in the Great and Noble New York Times. Let's all point and laugh. It'll make everyone feel a little bit better about themselves. Especially those of us who have found publications willing to pay for our scribbles and who have never ever ever put our name to a single mistaken word.

That said, put your hand over the Montreal bits and read the review again. Sort of like this:

"There's a thick haze - part experimentation, part pretension, part perversity - over the songs on "Broken Social Scene." It's the third album by Broken Social Scene, a Canadian band that doesn't want to make its music too easy...

"The production is defiantly cluttered, with multiple drum tracks, stray horn sections, instruments run backward and voices and effects arriving out of nowhere. Lead vocals are buried in the mix, and many lyrics are slurred and swallowed... The album looks back fondly to Pavement, which made its substantial guitar hooks and melodies sound rickety and distracted... guitar lines leap out of songs like '7/4 (Shoreline),' 'Fire Eye'd Boy' and 'Superconnected,' and so do refrains like 'Give 'em all the slip,' and 'I really don't want to think about those things anymore.'

"The murk clears for the album's finale, 'It's All Gonna Break,' but that song carries the album's least broadcastable lyrics. It's easy to sympathize with a band that doesn't want to sell out. But Broken Social Scene confuses integrity with indulgence, burying good songs under way too much studio tomfoolery
."

That's actually a pretty fair review. You may not agree with it's ultimate conclusion, but you'd be hard-pressed to argue that Broken Social Scene isn't a rather fuzzy record. Thus, if you were feeling so charitable, you might conclude that Mr. Pareles is not a complete idiot.

Yeah, we know, that spoils all the fun. Sorry. Our collective indignation could just be so much better directed. Fight the real enemy.

Vaguely related: J.D. on fact-checking.
Now There's A Picture That Makes Us Want To Take Up Cigarettes
We haven't heard the b-sides so it's a little tough for us to decide how fine an effort this is, but it seems unfair to so dump on The Drugs Don't Work.

(Anybody else remember Richard Ashcroft's Rolling Stone cover? Anybody else got it up on their berdroom wall beside a huge promo poster for Urban Hymns? No? Just us? Oh.)
Hey. Feist Was Just On Conan. Was That A Rerun? Or New? Either Way We Hadn't Seen It Before.
Just caught the last 10 seconds or so.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Pick Me
Slate's Jack Shafer discusses Apple fanatics. And also possibly indie rock experts and some percentage of music critics. To wit:

"Apple manipulates several narratives to continue to make its products interesting fodder for journalists. One is the never-ending story of mad genius Steve Jobs, who would be great copy if he were only the night manager of a Domino's pizza joint. The next is Apple's perpetual role as scrappy underdog — reporters love cheerleading for the underdog without ever pausing to explore why it isn't the overdog. (This is why the Brooklyn Dodgers will always rate higher in the minds of writers than the superior New York Yankees.) Apple incites fanaticism about its products via ad campaigns and evangelist outreach programs designed to make its customers feel as though they're part of a privileged and enlightened elite. One unnamed loser at Slate says today's V-iPod news made her want to rush out and buy one, even though she already owns two iPods, one of which she bought three weeks ago."

Various bounts of emphasis ours.

Vaguely related: Here, our old student newspaper attempts to explain the Indier Than Thou. And here, a writer at our old student newspaper discloses a crush on Ryan Cabrera.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Far Side
Our old pal/former co-worker/fellow-Feist-enthusiast Andrea Chiu is living in Hong Kong now. And she has stuff to say about the HK indie scene.
Our Bad
From yesterday's New York Times: "A CD review on Monday about the band Broken Social Scene and the album bearing its name misidentified its home city. It is Toronto, not Montreal."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

One More Time With Feeling
For those keeping score at home, Sarah McLachlan's latest remix album makes it, by our count, five studio records (Touch, Solace, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Surfacing and Afterglow) against six collections of other stuff (Bloom Remix Album, Afterglow Live, Sarah McLachlan Remixed, Mirrorball, Rarities, B-Sides And Other Stuff and The Freedom Sessions) over the 16 years of her published career. This probably makes her some kind of revolutionary. Or at least a marketing genius.

Vaguely related: MIA's Honda ad is probably genius, if only because it so screws with the minds of those who so love her. There's probably also a case to be made that it's all very subversive, but, to be honest, we really just love it because it bothers the sell-out police. (Selling out, by the way, for those still keeping score, is probably the most out-of-date, backwards and incomprehensible notion in pop music. We struggle to think of anything more meaningless. Though we're tempted to insert an easy punk rock and/or Moxy Fruvous joke here.)

Bonus: MIA to tour with Gwen Stefani, including shows in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Bonus II: That time we interviewed MIA and then posted excerpts on our blog.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Space Jam
Here's a preview of the Toronto Raptors season from SportsFan Magazine. We're just mad we didn't think of this ourself.

"So far the Raptors have recouped about 15% of Vince Carter's value since they traded him to New Jersey last winter. The best player they got in the deal, Eric Williams, is a 32 year-old power forward on a team overstocked with big men. They used their 7th pick in the draft on Charlie Villanueva, who looks like a future Eric Williams. I don't remember him being that talented at Connecticut. You know your team is shaky when your point guard used to play on the AND 1 Mix Tape Tour (Rafer Alston a.k.a. Skip to my Lou)

Recalling the top four picks in the 2003 draft, ESPN.com's Bill Simmons wrote that Detroit picking Darko Milicic amongst Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh was like reaching into a hat with three one-thousand dollar bills, a hundred-dollar bill, and a ten-dollar bill and coming out with the tenner. Well, I think Bosh is better than a hundred-dollar bill now. His scoring went up five points per game last season, and the Raptors should give him a max-contract when he's a free agent in July. The team should look to trade Jalen Rose, a veteran swingman, who would be a better fit for a good team willing to give up younger players. Look at Loren Woods, a talented 7-footer who led Arizona to the national championship game in college and has never gotten the minutes to prove himself in the NBA.
Here's something to cheer you up about Toronto. Broken Social Scene released their self-titled third album last week, and it is a brilliant follow-up to You Forgot It In People, cohesive and full of smash hits, unlike the Raptors."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

iPod-Related Revelation Of The Day
On our little machine, the greatest hits of Duff, Hilary sit right beside the greatest hits of Dylan, Bob. Now if only there was some way to make them collaborate.

Anyway. In other news, the Constantines, subjects of the most controversial local review you'll read this month, get a solid 7.6 from Pitchfork.

Update. Metacritic showdown:
Broken Social Scene 80
Constantines 76

Update II. Out of town scoreboard:
Sinead O'Connor 74
Liz Phair 58
Fun With Geography
The New York Times relocates Broken Social Scene to Montreal. While The Globe and Mail downgrades (upgrades?) Feist to "former indie darling."

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Tabloid Headline Of The Century: 'It's Not SARS'
Seriously. Every newspaper in this city should move to the tabloid format, if only so there's a greater chance of headlines like this occurring. Also from now on, all news of possible disaster should be reported in terms of what it is not. Helps us appreciate that things could always be worse. 'Government Not Entirely Corrupt.' 'Mats Sundin Not Blind.' 'Apocalypse Not Nigh.' And so forth.

Anyway. We mention this only because it was cause for much giggling this evening after the Tangiers show, which we will now discuss (segue!).

We believe it was on the Oasis episode of Behind The Music that Pete Townshend said he thought Liam Gallagher was 'extraordinary looking.' Not being British or Pete Townshend we probably can't pull off a similar remark, but, if we were either or both, we would say the same of Josh Reichmann, lead singer of the Tangiers. At present, he's a cross between Cosmo Kramer and the young Bob Dylan. It's remarkable really. Nearly worth the price of admission on its own. Assuming you're the sort of person who actually pays to get into concerts these days.

Anyway. We came to several conclusions during this evening's show, at least a couple of them concerning the Tangiers. First, they are probably one of our ten favourite bands (not to be confused with the list below) and, come to think of it, we should probably sit down and attempt to decide our ten favourite bands. This will be much harder than the list below. But arguably more interesting. And insightful. At least for us.

Second, the Tangiers, more than any other band in this city, actually remind us of Toronto. Now, we generally hate it when, for instance, people (smart people) attempt to define, say, a 'Canadian' sound. Generally this means Joni Mitchell and Neil Young. And long-winded discussion of open spaces and isolation and snow. Generally such stuff is accepted as insightful and true even if it ignores approximately 99% of 'Canadian' music, most notably failing to account for Sum 41 and Moxy Fruvous and Snow. Generally it sounds nice, but doesn't really say much about anything except how little anyone can say about this country. But we're generalizing.

Anyway. In spite of this, for whatever reason, we always come away from Tangiers concerts with the same idea - that there's something inherently 'Toronto' about them. We concluded tonight that the best rationale we could offer for this was that they sound confused and perhaps frustrated. Not particularly in a bad way. Quite the opposite in fact. But confused and frustrated all the same.

Then we read this week's Now cover story and discovered that they sort of agree. To wit:

"There's an English element, there's an American element, and then because we're not purely either one, there's an inherently North American element," analyzes Sayce. "And you feel kind of left out and confused by that.

"That's very Toronto. It's a sophisticated metropolis, so you do have the comforts of having a world-class identity, but you're also a satellite city that revolves around some of the big meccas. I think that floats into the subject matter of our songs."


Our vague notion reinforced, we're calling it a night.

(On a side note though, why isn't this band like, you know, bigger? Or at least slightly more adored? And why does the entirety of their website appear to be this?)

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

'I Want A Car' or 'Why Franz Ferdinand Are Probably Going To Be The Best Band In The World If They're Not Already'
It's been awhile. Too long in fact. We were going to mock the disturbing self-grandiosity of the Canadian music industry or post some unintentionally hilarious comments from the people who bring you Nickelback, but figured that both were among the last things that should be brought any more attention than they've already received. We also didn't make it to Pop Montreal.

So.

We thought we'd return with our least daring opinion yet. That being this: That Franz Ferdinand are quite possibly the Best Band In The World. (We told a friend that yesterday and were told that we really only liked them because they were skinny and hip, like us. We told said friend they were half-right. Ba-da-bing.)

We were going to offer this earlier, but wanted to hold off until we'd at least heard the new record once through. We now have. Not that it mattered. Because our mind was made up with the video for Do You Want To, in which the four lads finish with a finely choreographed strut-and-point. It is arguably the clumsiest thing on MuchMusic this side of Devon's periodic attempts at facial hair. Just keep your eyes on the chap on the right, the boy-faced one who looks like the sort to enjoy pudding more than most men his age. It's something the Beatles would have done. Or something we imagine the Beatles would have done.

Actually, while we're on the subject, let's up the ante: Franz Ferdinand are the closet thing we have at this very moment to the Beatles. (Which is not to be confused with the closet thing we have at this very moment to how the Beatles sounded.)

What the Beatles and Franz Ferdinand share is the rare ability to be serious about their art without taking their particular art terribly serious (the White Stripes are wildly under-rated in this regard - Jack White almost surely laughs at his own attempts at facial hair far more than you'd think). For sure, there is a balance to be maintained here. Too much fun and you're Moxy Fruvous. Too much seriousness and you're, uh, Moxy Fruvous. (And yet, Moxy Fruvous were not the perfect band. Discuss.)

Most great bands have ample amounts of both, but tip slightly in one direction or the other. Radiohead, too serious. Oasis, too fun. U2, currently too serious. Same with Green Day, once too fun, now too serious.

The Arcade Fire? Sure you (and us) probably find them terribly fun. But let's be serious. They're rather serious sorts. Coldplay? They think they're terribly fun. They are mistaken. Wilco? Probably more fun than you'd think, but still rather serious. The Flaming Lips? Their fun is often almost over-bearing.

And so forth. Feel free to play this game at home with your friends - almost every band that ever existed, even the best ones, were slightly imbalanced (and, yes, fans, friends and former editors will likely complain at this point that "balance" is an idea we return to far too often... we realize that, but really mean it this time).

Except the Beatles. Sure, sometimes they were having too much fun. And sometimes they were far too interested in discovering new levels of consciousness (through drugs, religion, or facial hair). But. When they were at their best (which was roughly 85% of the time), they were perfectly balanced - thinking all sorts of serious thoughts about pop music, expression and the essence of humanity, then having a good laugh over something terribly witty that George said (probably at Ringo's expense).

Of course, Franz Ferdinand are not the Beatles. They're just closer than anybody else is at this point in time.

Do You Want To is probably the best example of this. Or at least the most readily obvious for our purposes. You could probably round-up a bunch of high school kids and some Peach schnapps, play this record and have a half-decent, if not-entirely-legal, party. It is, quite simply, a good time.

And yet there is the homoeroticism ("Your famous friend, well I blew him before you") and the fact that it's essentially about the sort of arty parties the band used to frequent and organize in its early days. Later there's the song about the girlfriend from that very serious band. And lots of talk about dictators and Winston Churchill. And the fact that the album cover features their "trademark Bauhaus lettering." And that the album's title is inspired by some guy named Harold Macmillan (see here, we had to).

Maybe because of this, and their sometimes obvious influences (real or imagined), they often get tagged as one of those bands that comprises "the best bits from rock history." The critical equivalent of a chocolate sundae. Or assorted sub. Or something. But Franz Ferdinand are even better than that because they also throw in the worst bits. For instance, we were listening to the third track on the album this morning on the way to work and it suddenly struck us that Alex sounds disturbingly like Jeff Martin from the Tea Party. It is highly unlikely that Franz Ferdinand have ever encountered the Doors-on-andro rock of the Tea Party. But it's there. And removed from the clutches of Jeff Martin, it actually sounds all right. That, kids, takes genius. (A thought: Perhaps Franz Ferdinand are essentially the best of the Scissor Sisters without all the distracting costumes.)

But anyway. The Beatles. In addition to the seriousness vs. fun thing, think about all the ways Franz Ferdinand are like the Beatles. First, they, like the vast majority of great bands, hail from the United Kingdom. There are four of them. Three of them play guitar. Most of them are rather cute. Their songs are generally shorter than four minutes. And their lead singer is dating a sometimes impenetrable artiste. What more proof do you need? It's sitting there staring you in the face, folks.

All the lads need now is a singular period or passage of time that they can clearly dominate. They need their moment. They need what Coldplay haven't so far found with X&Y. And what U2 got after Sept. 11. Political upheaval in Britain would probably do the trick. So would some sort of New Scottish awakening. At the very least, Mike Myers could maybe guest host Saturday Night Live and revisit that "If It's No Scottish..." skit.

Now, we know what you're thinking: Didn't we just proclaim the Arcade Fire the Best Band In The World mere weeks ago?

Perhaps. Well, all right, yes, we did do that.

But rock n' roll moves fast. Or so we like to think. The Arcade Fire are yesterday's band. In fact, Franz Ferdinand are probably yesterday's band (making the Arcade Fire, er, Sunday's band), we just don't move that fast these days (arthritic knees). The best band in the world probably hasn't even recorded a song yet. In fact, the lead singer is probably still in diapers. Not unlike Mick Jagger (Ba-da-bing).

Anyway. Until one of our cooler friends tips us off to something better, we're going to go with this. And (and!) to keep up with our every whim and easily influenced opinions, we're going to start running a Best Band In The World ranking. Like College Football, only with slightly less payola. We'll attempt to do this weekly. But as interest fades and our attention wanes, it will probably become bi-weekly. Then tri-weekly. And then just irregular. At least this once though, we'll mean it.

Here goes.

1. Franz Ferdinand. (Available for all your sexy parties.)
2. Arcade Fire. (Still have a lot to prove.)
3. U2. (Sane people will still pay a day's wages to see them live.)
4. Coldplay. (Sincerity rules.)
5. Green Day. (Though we're kind of souring on them.)
6. Rolling Stones. (Sane people will still pay a week's wages to see them live.)
7. Death Cab For Cutie. (Not really sure why.)
8. The White Stripes. (Only because of the drummer.)
9. Foo Fighters. (No really.) Sleater-Kinney
10. Pearl Jam (Because at least two people have come back from recent concerts to tell us they have become one of the more enjoyable experiences in rock.)

Also receiving votes: Wilco, Limp Bizkit and 311.
Pitchfork Splits The Difference
A solid 8.4 for the new Broken record: "... With its doomsday provocation of a title, the epic Springsteenian endcap 'It's All Gonna Break' bursts forth with enough ideas to keep a lesser band productive for years. The song ecstatically encapsulates Broken Social Scene's heightened ambitions and flawed Icarus journeys, conflating into a bold, brash love-in infatuated with its own bumps and bruises."

We'll have a long, meandering essay-type review, with absolutely no Icarus-references, sometime next week. Just as soon as we write it.

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