Monday, July 21, 2008

Roger's Cup... its supposed to be a play on words, I'm not a retard.

The Rogers Cup (Men) is on this week in Toronto and if you're a tennis fan, a friend/acquaintance/friend of a friend, Dan, has media accreditation through his work at The ATP Blog. He's got some really cool insider stuff - pics, videos - from the guys practicing at one of the Mayfair clubs (I want to say East?) the other night, and so if you're interested in following the tournament I'd keep tabs on him.

A couple of other tennis related notes:
  • Kyle did a Wimbledon round-up not so long ago, and in it he had a nice rebuttal to that retarded Bill Simmons tennis article. Kudos to Simmons for admitting the article was 'the worst he'd ever written' on his podcast (7/10). My response to Simmons here.
  • I'm watching Canadian Frank Dancevic, who I used to play juniors with, and I'm impressed with how steady and composed he looks. He looks like... a professional. He's going to really have to bring it if he's going to beat Djokovic tomorrow night.
  • Also, a note to commentator Brian Williams and the crew at TSN its 'Dance-a-vick' not 'vich', but it might not be Williams' fault because he might be Canada's answer the progressively more senile Dick Enberg.
  • Speaking of Djokovic, my buddy Richie sends this story from the other night at an ATP players party:
Girl: Are you famous or something? Should I know you?
Djokovic: (a little bit stunned, looking around - this might be a time to mention that Djokovic is hosting the ATP Players Party and is the number 3 tennis player in the world) ... have you heard of the movie Hancock?
Girl: Uhhhh ... yes.
Djokovic: I'm the executive producer.
Girl: Awesome!
  • Lastly, if you can't get enough of Nadal picking his butt... check this out.
My pre-tournament prediction: Roger gets his groove back, Federer over Djokovic in three sets in the final.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

New Chad VanGaalen

I feel compelled to mention that Chad VanGaalen's new album - Soft Airplane due out September 9th - if only so I can post his single 'Willow Tree'. A few other things:
  • I really like him, but just about everyone of his songs sounds, or starts off the same way that 'Willow Tree' does... maybe it's just me.
  • Seeing Chad at Call the Office a year ago September was probably the clincher for me to start this blog. I had a great time at their show, had a hilarious run in with one of the guys in the band where I told him something along the lines of 'you guys were great, thanks for coming to London', and he responded by saying 'I can't believe this many people payed to see a bunch of drunk idiots like us play our songs'. I recall the bands' banter being quite good.
  • I'm still convinced that VanGaalen's first album Infiniheart earned him the Polaris nomination for Skelliconnection, which was, in my opinion, a much weaker album. So, it'll be interesting to see where Soft Airplane comes out. By the sounds of 'Willow Tree' it seems as though its going to take a less experimental, electronic bent and more of the dark, cryptic, folky sound that made me really grab on to his debut album.
[mp3] Chad VanGaalen - Willow Tree

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tales of Interest, Friday Night Edition

I gave the new Microsoft Zune (thoughts on the machine pending - although I can say the headphones they sent are terrific) a test drive walk tonight, and I've got some thoughts on a couple of albums that I haven't talked much about...

Cut Copy In Ghost Colours: Let me preface what I'm about to say with the proviso that I think its an excellent album, and if I get a chance to see them live I'll do it in a heart beat -- but, I'm pretty sure most of the music on this album might be stolen from video games from the Original Nintendo. That said, the more I give this album a chance the more I think it might be a top-10er at the end of the year. If nothing else 'Hearts on Fire' is easily a top-5 single...

[mp3] Cut Copy - Hearts on Fire

Lil' Wayne Tha Carter III: Normally I have a policy of not listening to any music by an artist whose name includes the abbreviated version of the word little -this began with Bow Wow - but after an outstanding Pitchfork review and the badgering from a co-worker, I relented. I can't say that I love the misogyny, drug talk, and all the references to the V.I.P., but its filling the rap related void in my life right now...

[mp3] Lil' Wayne - Mr. Carter ft. Jay-z removed to ensure Lil' Wayne doesn't pop a cap in my ass....

Girl Talk Feed the Animals: Greg Gillis - Girl Talk - seems like a good DJ, but I can't say that I really see myself sitting down to listen to him ... ever, really. I've seen guys like Mark Ronson (my favourite), RJD2 and local, or close to local guys, like the Peter Project and find this stuff is always best digested live, and probably after a few drinks. So, I'm not sure what all the fuss is about really....

[mp3] Girl Talk - She Wants It

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Feist loves counting...

My buddy Brain sent this to me the other day...

and my favourite Feist video, and maybe one of my favourite music moments of the last several years...

and... the video I took seeing her live at Christmas....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Singer-Songwriter Singles

David Vandervelde, who I believe suffers from Tom Jane syndrome - which causes celebrities to look homeless - is releasing a new album this summer called Waiting for the Sunrise. I've only heard a couple of songs since, sadly, I'm not quite the Pitchfork Media of indie-music reviews - but it sounds a little more mellow-adult contempo - but still like its straight off the Almost Famous soundtrack ... and thats a good thing in my books.

Oh, and this might also be a good time to mention that I'm retarded for not including his 2007 debut album The Moonstation House Band on my best of 2007. Serves him right, I suppose, for having the audacity to release his album in January...
[mp3] David Vandervelde - I Will Be Fine

Jon McKiel has had his album reviewed by both the guys at herohill, Allan, and most recently by Quadb. Its received, I think, great reviews from all of them, and, again, the couple of songs I've heard are really catchy. Apparently, he's sending the album my way, so you can expect me to jump on the bandwagon when I receive it...
[mp3] Jon McKiel - 123 My Friends

Thomas Bryan Eaton initially sent me a couple of songs via email, and since they were a little slow starting off, and I brushed them off at first. But 'Meant to Last' came up on my recently added playlist, and his Ryan Adams-esque (Heartbreaker - Ryan Adams, which is the only Ryan Adams I think is tolerable) singer-songwriter stuff has really grown on me...

His album, Dreams, Demons and Butterflies is due out July 15. More thoughts on the full album are coming...
[mp3] Thomas Bryan Eaton - Meant to Last

Matt Mays & El Torpedo played an empty (say, less than 10 people) Call the Office 3 0r 4 years ago, a friend of mine fell asleep during the show, and for that I will always remember them. Anyways, they've got a new album out Terminal Romance...
[mp3] Matt Mays & El Torpedo - Tall Trees

Sunday, July 13, 2008

i(heart)music Festival... Aug. 21 - 24

Matthew (Ottawa, On) at i(heart)music has put together a pretty stellar line-up for a four days toward the end of August. If I wasn't working/getting ready to move/working/playing in a tennis tournament/working I'd be there - particularly for the Saturday: Handsome Furs, D'Urbervilles, The Black Hat Brigade - in a ... pardon the pun... heart beat.

My comments on Handsome Furs, D'Urbervilles, and the Black Hat Brigade. I still stand by my comments that I think the Black Hat Brigade is better than Wolf Parade.

Tickets can be purchased through i(heart)music, or at the door (Mavericks in Ottawa)... just don't ask me for directions.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Continued commentary on the Polaris Process...

The actual short list:

Black Mountain
Black Mountain – In The Future
(Vancouver, BC)
official site | MySpace
Plants and Animals
Plants and Animals – Parc Avenue
(Montréal, QC)
official site | MySpace
Basia Bulat
Basia Bulat – Oh, My Darling (London, ON)
official site | MySpace
Stars – In Our Bedroom After The War (Montréal, QC)
official site | MySpace
Caribou – Andorra
(Dundas, ON)
official site | MySpace
Shad – The Old Prince
(London, ON)

Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen Edwards – Asking For Flowers
(Ottawa, ON)
official site | MySpace
Two Hours Traffic
Two Hours Traffic – Little Jabs
(Charlottetown, PE)
official site | MySpace
Holy Fuck
Holy Fuck – LP
(Toronto, ON)
official site | MySpace
The Weakerthans
The Weakerthans – Reunion Tour
(Winnipeg, MB)
official site | MySpace

Kudos for including:
  • Shad - one of my favourite rap albums in the last year - would've been a top album of last year if I didn't think he was a Shawn Desman clone until I actually heard his music.
  • Basia Bulat - another London native who is a terrific performer with an outstanding voice. Probably my most written about performer of 2007 - some videos I took at Aoelian Hall here.
  • Two Hours Traffic - who I've heard very little of, but are poppy and fun.
Wag of the finger for including:
  • Black Mountain - my thoughts here (hint: its not a pretty comparison to Gilbert Arenas).
  • Stars - which, I assume, must be an homage to how good Set Yourself on Fire was and not on the merits of this CD.
  • The Weakerthans - see above comment and replace Set Yourself on Fire with either Reconstruction Site, or, alternatively, Left and Leaving.
I'm absolutely shocked that:

The Acorn's Hope Glory Mountain missed the cut.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Emergence of Bjorn Borg 2.0...

.... let me just take the time to point out how Bill Simmons looks like an even bigger ass after what was greatest Wimbledon in my life time, and maybe ever.

If anyone is interested in chatting about the final, if you watched - the comments might be a fun place to do that.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The short list...

The 10 album short list for the polaris prize is supposed to be announced on July 7th... here are my predictions for who will be on that list...

The Acorn - Glory Hope Mountain
Attack In Black - Marriage
Black Mountain - In The Future
Born Ruffians - Red, Yellow and Blue
Buck 65 - Situation
Basia Bulat - Oh, My Darling
Cadence Weapon - Afterparty Babies
Cancer Bats - Hail Destroyer
Caribou - Andorra
City And Colour - Bring Me Your Love
Constantines - Kensington Heights
Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
Destroyer - Trouble In Dreams
Fred Eaglesmith - Tinderbox
Kathleen Edwards - Asking For Flowers
Christine Fellows - Nevertheless
Gatineau - Gatineau
Hayden - In Field And Town
Veda Hille - This Riot Life
HILOTRONS - Happymatic
Holy Fuck - LP
Islands - Arm's Way
Karkwa - Le volume du vent
Corb Lund - Horse Solider! Horse Soldier!
The New Pornographers - Challengers
Pas Chic Chic - Au Contraire
Sandro Perri - Tiny Mirrors
Plants And Animals - Parc Avenue
Ghislain Poirier - No Ground Under
Protest The Hero - Fortress
Justin Rutledge - Man Descending
Sadies - New Seasons
Shad - The Old Prince
Socalled - Ghetto Blaster
Stars - In Our Bedroom After The War
Tegan And Sara - The Con
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band – 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons
Two Hours Traffic - Little Jabs
The Weakerthans - Reunion Tour
Wintersleep - Welcome To The Night Sky

... granted I haven't heard a good number of these albums, but I have a feeling that the jury tends to skew more towards albums that people like me (who like poppier stuff) aren't really into...

My favourites (meaning the albums I most enjoyed, not who I think will be selected by the jury) from the list are two posts down...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Some Fun Videos from the Last Week

"Baron Davis, It's Time to Come Home"

"The Artistic Integrity" by Wale

"Can I Kick It? (Tribe Called Quest cover)" by Lykke Li

"Old Old Fashioned (acoustic)" by Frightened Rabbit