Friday, April 28, 2006


it's over.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006



Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Dear Cinematheque

I miss you.

Friday, April 21, 2006

is it so bad...

that I have to retread months-old quasi gossip?


"Karen O had a relationship with Spike Jonze until their breakup in September/October 2005. She is currently dating Angus Andrew, a member of the indie rock band, Liars, whom she had previously dated before Jonze."


"Spike married director Sofia Coppola after having known each other for nearly ten years. On December 2003, amid rumors of her infidelity during long stints of living on her own in New York City, Coppola filed for divorce citing "irreconcilable differences".

which really makes Lost In Translation all the more interesting on repeated viewings.

Her new film will be in competition at Cannes next month. interesting casting.

Monday, April 17, 2006


I don't want to be one of those people who says "You are a fucking idiot because you weren't at this show on saturday." because well, for one I had to pretty much be TOLD to go see them, and then I didn't pay to see them, and frankly $15 is a lot to spend on a relatively unknown entity.

but they were fucking amazing.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I'm starting to get tired of...

the Boat.

I mean, I haven't been there in person for a few weeks, but news stories and features on the place appeared in the Star, eye, and Toronto Life (?!) this week alone! The new (sweaty) Matt Mays video was also shot there.

Boat Booker/Revolutionizer Trevor Coleman is a friend of mine from school years back now, and of course I'm super proud that he's turned a somewhat dank, sleepy restaurant somewhow in "Toronto's Hottest Bar".

The room has character for sure, but that predates his involvement. What Coleman did accomplish was establishing a place for the scene, (whatever the fuck that is), to hang out and play Ace of Spades over and over, or fire talcum powder at each other, or basically let people do things that other bars would totally freak out on, in a warm, welcoming environment.

The arrival and quick ascent of the Boat pretty much matching the parallel movement of the (online) hangout are not entirely coincidental, as the demise of ultimately struck one city venue from the scene's black book. Despite some initial small issues that any new venue would be plagued with, the Boat continues to sail along (pun intended) on with virtually no external marketing on its part-just a well-oiled publicity machine.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

clapping hands

I didn't bring my camera to the Opera House on saturday due to their famously oppressive search-and-destroy security protocol, but even without pictures I can safely express my enthuasiasm for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

Their Toronto debut at the Horseshoe last year was notoriously flawed and out of tune, but things went much more smoothly this time, with a tight 90-minute set punctuated with a few new songs and ending with a very able cover of Neil Young's 'Helpless'. Singer Alec Ounsworth's vocals seemed spot-on, but a rotten vocal mix prevented any clarity and provided a rough distortion through the whole night that made his already slurred lines even less comprehensible. Totally unacceptable, though no real fault to the band. Openers The Brunettes faced similar issues, which would lead one to start point figures at the venue/PA if the same setup the previous week for Snow Patrol had not yielded totally normal results.

The guys in CYHSY are not fresh out of high school, or even college, and they provide a very even, yet louder shine on their live show. Favourites such as Upon this tidal wave of young blood come off more intense and involved the crowd, and really transcended the record. While the previous week's Snow Patrol show enjoyed perfect production values and an almost to-the-note similarity to the album, Clap Your Hands have already realized that taking things a little bit further is much more interesting, despite any tech snafus.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


I'm stuffed, and you probably are too, after reading all this texas business. So I leave things for you on the saturday of the trip, with our Toronto BBQ run, which took us to Lockhart, some 40min outside of Austin.

The April issue of the new pollution will feature more photos inside Smitty's BBQ Market, where we went, and ate, and time slowed down. Some had hallucinations.

Smitty's, and its like establishments in the self-proclaimed BBQ Capital of Texas is surreal. Walk in the front door and you're confronted with a massive open-flamed-fuelled griller-try not to let the kids catch on fire. Thick, sweet, wood smoke permeates the air-you can practically see the pork flecks floating around your head.

Meat is ordered by the pound, and about 15 of us were fed for 60 bucks. yep. Included in the fare was prime rib, pork chops and ribs, brisket, and well, a lot of fat. To balance the meal (served in red butcher paper), Wonder Bread and Saltine crackers come along with. oh, so healthy!

After dying of meat poisoning, we lurched over to an amazing Tex-Mex bar in town. Mariachi music floated over the locals drinking their Miller lite, which comes in bottles startlingly like Pepsi down there-think blue and red plastic. Foil lined the walls. Green lights twinkled over the bar. Beers priced over $2 are generally rare and frowned upon. Here it is, heaven in the heart of Texas. Already in for next year.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

less talk...

Metric, formally arriving in America.

Giant light show not included.

Friday in Austin saw yet another steaming shitload of bands-I should emphasize that none of them were really shitty at all, just that there were a shitload of them.

Ghostface Killah played a Fader party, and was really quite good. Cadence was expectedly good, to a smallish crowd as part of an early hip hop showcase. The Lovely Feathers competed with fellow outdoor, but much louder, bands at a roadhouse near a cliff wall. Asobi Seksu was underwhleming, while The Boy Least Likely To overwhelmed with a very loud wall of sound. Both bands played at Elysium, which wins for sketchiest bathroom in all of Texas. The Spinto Band, who currently are sitting on a massive potential hit song, had to fight through the crowd to haul their gear to the stage, and thusly started way late and sounded much differently (read: generic) than I thought they would. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings were thrilling on the other side of downtown, and Neko Case brought on an equally massive (and massively talented) backing band to close the night. A sweaty night, with St. Patrick's Day really working as a distant afterthought in that setting.

Monday, April 03, 2006

on koalan urbanity

I was recently asked to contribute some thoughts towards a master's paper in ethnocultural studies focusing on the music of Kid Koala and how he fits under the 'urban music' paradigm. So here it is. Fear not, more Road Stories to come as well. and Juno highlights? the lighting for Coldplay was really pretty.

* * *

After thinking a lot about it, I wonder how much Kid Koala really
fits in under this context of the 'urban music' umbrella. Here in
Toronto, 'urban' as a musical reference basically means 'black',
and is sort of resented to some degrees by the city's african
and caribbean communities as being too much of a blanket phrase
for something a lot more diverse and complex. Toronto's urban heroes
are hardly geographically urban as well, with figures like K-os, Maestro
Fresh Wes and others all being raised in the city's outlying bedroom
communities. Eric San, aka Kid Koala, is of course also far removed
from your typical 'ubran artist' profile. And maybe that's what makes
his music so different. I've seen him live a number of times now and
he continues to blow me away with his very unconventional approaches
to presenting his music.

His most recent visit here was a summertime show on the city's
harbourfront-a free show in a large outdoor bandshell which attracts
crowds in the thousands over the hot summer weekends. His usual 4
turntable setup was augmented by several large video screens which
had cooking show-like elevated camera angles to showcase the masterwork
of his hands scratching and setting tracks and mixing. The set from this
night was in full crowd-pleaser mode, very similar to when I saw him open
for both Bjork and radiohead in the past couple of years-
that is, sampling bits of hit songs like the Cure's 'Close to Me' and
the Beastie Boys' 'So watcha want' to get the crowd's attention, and
then make it his own thing entirely.

From these experiences, it's clear that Koala saves his more
experimental material, the stuff that's really pushing the
boundaries of urban, for his recordings. It's no secret that his
records, like DJ Shadow's share an output
level similar to that of the Olympics, perhaps due in both cases to
those artists putting in Olympian amounts of crate-digging to find
only the most obscure and unused old samples (no James Brown
breakbeats here) to tear apart and reconstuct
for their albums. And while the artwork of 'Nufonia Must Fall' fits
your standard urban aesthetic of alleways and record shops and
apartment buildings and the like, the music is more electronic,
atmospheric and frankly more difficult than his
previous 2 albums. There are no heavy beats, no throbbing bass
lines, and this is definitely NOT something you're going to hear
pounding out of a car on yonge street during Caribana.

But the construction remains the same. Little blips and turns
and scratches fit into the fabric of Nufona's music in its entirety.
But is it still urban? Does it feel urban? For this project the images
matter more to me than the music, so I would say yes.

Koala is thorough and relentless about how he presents
things, whether it be a sample-based bingo game at one of his
live shows, the free chess board that came in the packaging of his
2nd album, or the comics that came with both albums, his output is
always new, fresh, and sort of immaculate. I'm honestly not sure how
many other labels would be willing to satisfy Kid Koala's artistic vision.
I used to work at one and know just how expensive and difficult it is to
produce and package such elaborate album art projects. Ninja Tune is
fabulous for not only having signed Koala, but allowing and financing
his rampant artistic desires.