Monday, February 26, 2007

'My voice has settled down now and I can still sing in pitch; just with a more lower range.'
Marc from Torontoist brings news of a recent interview with Meryn Cadell, who I once suggested would make an ideal candidate for an all-celebrity edition of Canadian Idol. That Meryn is now both a dude and a university professor only emboldens me in this belief.

I'm also now offering five Canadian dollars to the first reader who can track down the current whereabouts of Kish.

HOLY CRAP UPDATE... Reader Terry (in the comments) unearths Kish's new career as a voice over guy. Here's Kish doing some TV promos, here he is doing some random commercials and here he is narrating various movie trailers (because you haven't really lived until you've heard one of the pioneers of Canadian rap hyping The Ringer). This site describes his talents thusly: "Cool & Hip, Natural and Very Real w/Touch of Urban--Japanese-British accents and a great range of characters." And according to IMDB, he's lent his talents to the Snoop Dogg episode of E! True Hollywood Story, various video games, an animated series and six episodes of Beef.

This is fantastic news.

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Michael Jackson Comeback Watch, Day 472
Good news. The Jackson 5... are getting back together! I can't imagine how this could possibly go wrong.

(In other news, a national magazine recently decided to publish a 1,500-word consideration of Michael Jackson's pending forgiveness. Good for them, I say.)

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

How Many Newspaper And Magazine Editors Have Dispatched Writers To Prepare Britney Spears Obits?
Anybody who hasn't, probably should.

(When she does inevitably die - either tomorrow or 47 years from or whenever - it will probably be worth at least considering that it doesn't mean nearly as much as it will be made to seem.)

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I'm That Guy
I don't love the new Arcade Fire record. At least not yet.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

With That Said
I can't help but notice that we're long overdue for news of a second season for MuchMusic's awesomely depressing VJ Search: The Series. It was a year ago this month that the legendary-in-my-house show debuted on the nation's music station and I can only assume that the lack of news since means the franchise has been abandoned. Obviously this saddens me to no end.

That the show resulted in this guy (1)becoming a national television personality does nothing to change the fact that, for a couple months, MuchMusic had a show I made a point of watching on a regular basis. I can't remember the last time I could say that before VJ Search. I was probably 12. And dreaming of a day when Bryan Adams and Tom Cochrane might put their differences aside and come together to create the greatest tour my mind could ever imagine

Those were simpler times. Since VJ Search last aired, MTV Canada has come into my world and, like either a new love or an advanced strain of ebola, it has come to dominate my day-to-day existence. I can't imagine life without it. I just finished watching both The Hills and The Hills Aftershow. And somehow that seems an entirely reasonable way to spend an hour (2).

Anyway. Before we turn the chapter on that poignant period in our history, let's take one last look back at the show that set new standards for shamelessness, entertained at least three people I can think of and challenged us to confront the very serious issues of racism, feminism, adolescent angst, democracy and Steve Anthony. We laughed, we cried and each week a little bit more of us died inside.

The following are the episode recaps variously posted on this blog last year. Assuming MuchMusic has, quite rightly, burned all film of the series, these may one day stand as the only record that VJ Search ever existed.

Episode 2: The one with Raine Maida looking bored
Episodes 3 and 4: The one that gave us "Eau De Biyotch"
Episode 5: The one with the racism
Episode 6: The one where they eliminated the guy who alleged the racism
Episode 7: The one with Molly Sims
Episode 8: The one with the subtle discussion of homosexuality's virtues
Episode 9: The one where Tim came back and we all got a little dumber
Episode 10: The one where Tim won

(1) I saw him recently on an episode of MuchOnDemand and actually found the experience rather painful. His complete inability to communicate in public is no longer funny, it's just sort of excruciating. Isn't this sort of like letting a dog limp around on a broken leg? Shouldn't someone end this? How much longer can he possibly have left on his contract? Someone needs to end this.
(2) I've even moved on from VJ Leah, largely because I now have MTV Jessi, who may or may not actually be friends with a guy I know. MTV Jessi is like VJ Leah from the future. If I found out tomorrow that she was an alien or a robot I honestly wouldn't be at all surprised.

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Las Vegas Is No Place For Anyone
For all our mocking of various MuchMusic personalities, we'd be remiss if we didn't note that this is very bad news.

Update. Apparently she suffered a fractured skull (!?).

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

You Can't Truly Appreciate Your Surname Until You've Heard It Screamed Repeatedly By A Russian Grunge Band
Who is this Military Jane? And should we just go ahead and declare this song - apparently entitled "Wherry" - the greatest song in the history of Russia's underappreciated response to the American grunge movement?

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Is Hotel California the most boring hit of the rock and roll era?
And is the lead singer of Rascal Flatts the lost member of B4-4?

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Teenager Girl Sitting In The Corner Just Name-Checked Marshall McLuhan. And there is an old man walking around with a Sea Captain's hat on his head. Welcome to the Starbucks in the town where I went to university.
Despite my repeated and angry demands, NOW refused to give me the 5,000 words necessary to properly discuss the new Fall Out Boy record. Here are the 130 or so I got. After writing them I actually came to realize that my new favourite thing about Fall Out Boy is Patrick Stump's voice (1). Particularly the fact that it's not just rock-singer-good, but American-Idol-good.

This is an important, if obvious, distinction. Liam Gallagher had a great rock star voice. Brandon Flowers is developing a great rock star voice (2). But neither of them would do very well on American Idol (3). Stump, on the other hand, would have dominated AI. If he entered this year's competition, he'd be guaranteed a top five finish. He has that good a voice. A great voice by the standard measure of AI, which is really more of an athletic competition than anything.

In fact, I dare say you could put Stump against Justin Timberlake and, at worst, Stump is coming out of there with a draw. In the entire history of white, 20-something male pop voices, he's probably near the middle of the Top Ten - behind the young Frank Sinatra, but well ahead of Rick Astley (4). And I can't remember the last time that kind of voice - that quality of that kind of voice - was singing for one of the biggest rock bands on the planet.

Bono has a powerful voice, but he'd get killed on AI. Chris Martin is pretty, but his voice is sort of like his lyrics (weaker the more you think about it). None of the Beatles were very good singers. Mick Jagger's singing is really just fancy talking. The Stump, on the other hand, has one of those rangey voices that tends to rule pop music in the post-hip-hop paradigm. Simon Cowell would love him (5). On his own, he could easily get a record deal or at least have fronted S Club 7. And that's not true of almost anyone who's led a (great) rock band in the past 15 years (6).

... Furthermore, Fall Out Boy might be the first rock band more influenced by NSync and Jay-Z than they are by any "rock" source or tradition. As much as I love the new Bruce Springsteen revival (7), it's intriguing to think that Fall Out Boy might be the first in a run of 21st century rock bands who aren't inspired by the Beatles/Rolling Stones/Sex Pistols/Chuck Berry/Nirvana/Pink Floyd/Clash/Pavement/Neil Young/Talking Heads/Zwan.

(1) My second favourite thing: Patrick Stump's choice of hats.
(2) Note how he stretches out the word "young" in the chorus of When You Were Young. He nearly makes it an eight syllable word.
(3) Though how much would you pay to just see Liam audition? In his prime, he probably would have beaten Randy Jackson with his own shoe, spit beer in Paula Abdul's face and then slept with Simon's girlfriend. All before security even had a chance to remove him from the building.
(4) Astley had way better dance moves though.
(5) Paula would love his hats.
(6) The exception might be Maroon 5. But what will forever doom Maroon 5 is the fact you can totally tell the lead singer is a dickhead. No one will ever say as much in a review of their next record, but it's true.
(7) The highlight of the next Arcade Fire tour is going to be him making a surprise appearance on stage one night to guest on Antichrist Television Blues.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

'The Best Part Of Jason Was You'
The Super Bowl may have sucked and a man impersonating a spoiled, 12-year-old girl may have quarterbacked his team to victory (by default), but we can take solace in the fact that 10 years from now no one will remember anything about the game. All anyone will remember is the halftime show. Why? Because Prince's 10-minute exhibition was the single greatest performance in the history of record music. I truly believe this.

And to prove it beyond doubt, I've compiled a list of 18 reasons why.

1. Digital lightning.
2. The medley of covers in the middle. In the span of about three and a half minutes, Prince covered Tina Turner (or CCR), Jimi Hendrix (or Dylan) and the Foo Fighters. Name another musician who could both do that and make it totally awesome. Heck, name another artist who would even dare attempt that.
3. And I'm entirely convinced he was just making it up as he went along to show off to his band.
4. That the Foo's Best of You was even in there. In that instant, Prince basically canonized a slightly above-average rock song. Single-handedly. He was that good.
5. The fact that it was raining. All game, slightly-above-average-quarterback-turned-incoherent-television-analyst Phil Simms talked about the precipitation as a pivotal and dramatic development for the game being played. But it should have had its greatest impact on the halftime show, what with the electrical equipment, make-up, dancing and fragile joints. And yet, despite the huge threat of electrocution or at least breaking a hip, Prince was completely fearless. I'm not even sure he noticed it was raining.
6. Actually, if you look closely, it doesn't even look like Prince got wet. That's how freakin' hot he was - the rain evaporated on contact.
7. Throughout the show, Prince was joined on stage by twin dancers. I am told that it's these same twins who brought about the end of Prince's marriage.
8. I'm fairly certain he had sex with them immediately after the halftime show. Probably in the Colts' locker room.
9. The fact that it inspired America's foremost football writer to write "Prince, Schmince," thereby proving America's foremost football writer to be a colossal dork.
10. Because it revived a once-proud cultural institution previously feared dead and prone in recent years to relying on nearly dead people.
11. Phallic imagery. And the inevitable outrage that always follows phallic imagery.
12. Because it involved the smallest, feyest man imaginable performing in the middle of America's greatest celebration of ugly, brutal masculinity.
13. The awesome head scarf thingy Prince was wearing.
14. The fact he defiantly tossed the head scarf thingy away near the end of the show.
15. The heaving throng of women writhing at the edge of the stage. And the fact that 99% of them would sooner sleep with this man than this man.
16. The guitar solos. One of them actually collapsed the lung of a Bears lineman.
17. The fake doves the twins had to swing around.
18. The Purple Rain finale... performed in the pouring rain. And the fact, again, that this happened in the middle of America's greatest celebration of ugly, brutal masculinity. "I never wanted 2 be your weekend lover, I only wanted 2 be some kind of friend." At a football game. Sung by a man wearing blue eye-shadow.

(Of course, having said all this, I can't actually link to a video of the show because Universal, Prince's label, has had it pulled from YouTube. The people who run record labels are geniuses. As always, I haven't the faintest idea why that industry is struggling.)

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Friday, February 2, 2007

A Note To Your Future Self
Five years from now, you will turn to a friend - maybe at a bar, maybe at home while watching season seven of The Hills - and say, "Hey, remember Clap Your Hands Say Yeah?" And your friend will turn to you say, "Oh yeah, they had that one record that was pretty good, right?" And then you will both look off into the distance for a few seconds, reminiscing about a song called Yellow Teeth or Yellow Skin or something, before going back to your drinks and/or the seventh season of The Hills.

After that, you will never again think of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

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Thursday, February 1, 2007

My Other Blog
Is also about music.

This is probably going to get weird. For the sake of establishing boundaries, I'll keep my Fall Out Boy love (there's a phrase that could very easily be read the wrong way) over there and the sweary bits over here. Feel free to read both, either or neither. I won't be offended.

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I Finally Figured Out Why I Like My Morning Jacket So Much
Because they sound like what I imagine a rock band made up of dolphins would sound like.

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