Monday, October 31, 2005 


I forgot to link to this week's singles, wherein I somehow become the least curmudgeonly commenter. That's not supposed to happen!


Double feature

Today on Stylus we have another edition of my Stycast and my review of Still's album.

(Also, I've got some stuff in our Hallowe'en article, but that's mostly other people)

Sunday, October 30, 2005 

Why I'm not an atheist

I could write it all down myself, but I'm lazy and thankfully John Scalzi has saved me the effort.


Thrilling adventure theatre

I'm all for comic books as a Serious Art Form and all that, but just as a good action movie can be incredibly satisfying, the super hero stuff can be really fantastically exciting. Check out Grant Morrison's absolutely insane story from JLA Classified - I'm pretty sure even if you don't know any of the characters except Batman and Superman the sheer giddy thrill of the plotting, pacing and oneliners comes through nicely.

This stuff is like the comics I read as a kid on massive doses of caffeine and way too much imagination. I wouldn't want to read it all the time, but the fact that Morrison can go from this to The Filth style stuff astounds me.

Also: Superman saying, in all sincerity, "these 'no-nonsense' solutions of yours just don't hold water in a complex world of jet-powered apes and time travel" is the best thing ever.

Saturday, October 29, 2005 

We're only human

Everything Scott Tobias says here about critics changing their minds is 100% true - at least for me.

I mean, I own a t-shirt that says "Remixing a song is like admitting you were wrong." I love that t-shirt, but I think people have the wrong reaction to it. The point of course is that admitting you were wrong isn't a bad thing, and can in fact be great.



Hallowe'en is apparently now the second most lucrative time of the year in Canada. WTF, mates?

Friday, October 28, 2005 

What do you mean there are rules?

The BBC wants to edumacate us on sarcasm. Good advice right at the end, too.

The only addition I'd make? Those of us who are usually sarcastic (or deadpan, at the very least) are often really shit at being able to tell when others are doing it. It's like a big ol' comedy blind spot.


Lee "Blast" McDermott

Bruce Wayne: Gay, but not in the way you think he is.

Thursday, October 27, 2005 

Going so low

Zak Sally has left Low. They already have a replacement, but with any band as, well, special as Low it's hard not to worry that we'll look on this as the turning point into mediocrity years from now.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 

I think I need to find a copy of the U.S.A. trilogy

Excellent review over at the New Yorker of what sounds like a very interesting book about Hemingway, Dos Passos and the Spanish Civil War.


Dancin' fools

The video for OK Go's "A Million Ways" (found here) really has to be seen.


Steam engine

My review of the new My Morning Jacket album is up today.

Monday, October 24, 2005 

We have always been at war

The US government, stifling dissent? Forcing people to pledge loyalty despite well-founded concerns, upon pain of punishment up to and possibly including death? Never!


Surprisingly beautiful

San Francisco, as made out of jello. That first picture is gorgeous - all that colour!


Career opportunities

You can tell I had a good weekend because I didn't have time to post anything here. Now it's back to work, and they've finally posted my job and so I'm going to apply for it on a permanent (as opposed to "acting") basis.

Friday, October 21, 2005 


So today I ran out of time before eating breakfast/making lunch; was out with Jack last night, giving him those old tapes I mentioned. He's a lovely guy, especially considering I did my standard talk-way-too-much thing most of the night. Anyway, today as a result I've been living off of the croissants and danishes leftover from some breakfast meeting. Thank god for Hospitality services.


Less macho, more dysfunction, please

I think hope that Daniel Craig will bring something new to the Bond series (the last couple of which really sucked), something to drag the idea out of kitsch action movie territory. Because if we're going to keep making these movies, can they at least be interesting? CBC's overview of his work to date suggests that, with a good director, this just might happen.


Beware of clams

glenn mcdonald, as per normal, puts it much better than I can. After this, I'm not sure I have much more to say as far as metaphors for why "intelligent design" doesn't belong in science class.

Thursday, October 20, 2005 

I hate to use the word "pwns", but...

Fashion SWAT totally pwns you all. Give those men a TV show.


We weren't like that, were we?

Rather horrifying op ed column in a student newspaper regarding some "failures" of education, namely making a journalism major take history, science and math. Jason over at evolutionblog has the best response, I think.


Feel my heartbeat

Jeffery Echert's turn on the Stypod is just eerie - normally when people pick five songs, they don't manage to hit four in a row that I already adore beyond comprehension. I mean, he picked "I've Made Enough Friends"! I love that song! And then "Me And The Bean" and "No Children"? This man is clearly a genius.


Janet is me

Girls Are Pretty still demands your attention; Today's directions are particularly, oddly heartening.


In the mix(es)

The International Mix Tapes page has been updated with a couple of new mixes for October.


Tee hee

Debating creationists via breaking kneecaps. He actually has a better point than I just made it sound, but it's still mostly just funny.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005 

splattering blood through neighbors’ window panes

Every so often Warren Ellis writes something so awful in his comics that people tend to assume he's making it up, that shit that horrifying doesn't happen. They're wrong.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 

Bad touch (no means no)

Witness the boys of Penny Arcade as they expose Jack Thompson for the bullshit artist/agent provocateur/abuser of the American legal system that he is. They're not the only one, but this page has the benefit of being relatively pithy and concise.

(title explained here)

Monday, October 17, 2005 

Mr. Nobody

Neat article on Dada over at the International Herald Tribune. I particularly like the contrast between Dada and Surrealism on the last page.


March of progress

Without mentioning any confidential details, one of the programs we use here at work has gone cheerfully insane. The numbers it gives us are neither the helpful ones we want but know it can't quite provide, nor the less-helpful ones it's supposed to, but a brand new set of numbers midway (but not halfway!) between the two, selected seemingly at random. I just spent half an hour with a notepad now covered in numbers and a calculator just making sure everything still adds up.


Schedule change

The singles are now going up Monday instead of Friday.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 

A winner is me

So we hooked up the old SNES and pulled out Chrono Trigger; and using "New Game +" I managed finally to get the best ending for the game by beating Lavos instantly, using only Crono. I am part of the dream team.

If you don't get any of this, don't worry; that's just because you weren't cool in high school like I was.

And now, I think I'm going to start a normal game and do the whole thing right.

Saturday, October 15, 2005 

Pie in the sky

Is it wrong of me to think that these people are as wrong, in their way, about copyright as the RIAA is?

Friday, October 14, 2005 

Universally applicable

Teddy Roosevelt's thoughts on the presidency works just as well when you substitute in "Canada" and "Prime Minister" for "America" and "President".


We will not be undersold

My review of the new Constantines disc is up; so are this week's singles.

Thursday, October 13, 2005 

Sung to the tune of the Cooper Temple Clause's "Panzer Attack"

I kind of want one of these, even though I've never played World Of Warcraft (and never will). I just like the idea, and I like the shirt. Would it be horrible for me to get one, like some kid wearing a Clash t-shirt without ever having heard the band?


Monolith worshippers

mark sinker explains it all. And by "all" I mean Banksy, subversion and why pomo assholes are worthless.

Say what you will about sinker, but when he's on he's brilliant.


Something for Joey

A new Stycast by yours truly is up.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 

John Peel day

I'm with many of my colleagues; this sort of thing should absolutely be made annual. But note, depressingly, how at the end when discussing acts Peel popularized they stick just to rock ones - "from Joy Division to the White Stripes". Given the range of acts performing, let alone that Peel played, that's pretty myopic.

Also, a concert with the Fall, New Order and SFA? I'd kill to be there.


Set it to awesome

The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.

Even better than the name suggests.


Holy shit

I love Wigu, but I'm not ashamed to say this is creeping me out more than a little.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 

In lieu

Two recent reviews for the Ontarion, for albums I really can't muster more than 150 words on:

Juliet – Random Order (Virgin)

Indie band frontwoman turned house kind-of diva, blah blah blah, but that's not important because what's key here is the Hit (or maybe just the Single). “Avalon” push push pushes like all really great house should, Juliet slinking overtop it, and it doesn't matter if she's spouting nonsense because it's wonderful nonsense. Sadly, the rest of the album isn't as inexorable; luckily, the songs also aren't as long as “Avalon” (which would get old quick) and Juliet proves herself a surprisingly decent singer-songwriter (even when she breaks out the acoustic on “Pot Of Gold”). Stuart Price aka Jacques Lu Cont produces nearly the whole thing and keeps it electro-something, and the contrast between that and Juliet herself is mostly interesting. Definitely not dancefloor material, though, save for “Avalon”.

Kiss Me Deadly – Kiss Me Deadly's Misty Medley (alien8)

This Canadian/American quintet (who presumably are trying to make some sort of point with their painfully plain song titles – you have “Dance” 1-4, “Groove” and “Pop”) don't sound like Bloc Party, but like that band they seem to realise that disco was, in fact, the most interesting thing about the music of the 70s. So an everlasting ethereal groove chug-chugs through these songs, with the impossibly breathy singer squealing and purring and generally acting up a storm (except for the few tracks where Indie Guy sings instead – he's not bad, just less distinctive). Sadly, for me this falls into they-were-better-when-I-saw-them-live territory; back then they had a tension and a drive to their sound that was viscerally compelling, and whatever the culprit here (time? bad production? loss of nerve?) they've siphoned their muscle into sighs. Still recommended.


Careful confrontations

My review of Below The Sea's new album is up today.

Monday, October 10, 2005 

I'm not missing much

Ben over at Silent Words Speak Loudest dissects the NME.


You can get away with a lot when you have talking dinosaurs

Ryan North expertly sums up my position on the whole "Intelligent Design" thing. And he does it while dancing in his underpants.


Apparantly people like "Trying To Get To Heaven"

My Playing God piece on Bob Dylan's Time Out Of Mind is up at Stylus; I'd like to note here as well as there that after a dozen listens I can't remember what the song everybody wants me to include sounds like. And after perusing the lyrics, it doesn't exactly fit with the feel of what I was trying to retain.

Sunday, October 09, 2005 

Video roundup

MuchMusic was just actually playing some videos for once, which was nice.

I already liked Kelly Clarkson's "Because Of You", but after the video I like it a lot more. As John Cunningham puts it, it's a song about "the psychological effects of a torturous, controlling relationship", but until I saw the video I thought it was about a boyfriend. But once you see it's about an asshole dad and an unstable mom undergoing a divorce, not only do some bits of the song make even more sense, but it becomes more powerful. When it was about a horrible boyfriend the damage seemed real enough, but you could at least imagine her being happy with other guys before that - once it's clear the pain reaches back to early childhood the understandable anger coursing throughout "Because Of You" seems even more cathartic and justified. Even though the video isn't that great (those shots of Kelly singing in front of a black background are awfully amateurish), it still makes me appreciate the song a lot more.

Serving a similarly recontextualizing purpose is the video for My Chemical Romance's "The Ghost Of You", which you can (and should) find here. The "never coming home"/"should I, could I?" part was already the best, but set in context of Juno Beach and Gerard Way watching his brother get gunned down at the end gives it a bit more of a punch. If you don't like them then yeah, parts of the video are going to seem silly, but for my money it's one of the few recent war videos that works. This might have something to do with a lack of political football-ness, set as it is decades ago and they don't seem to be trying to make any points beyond the fact that life in war is nasty, brutish and short.

Speaking of political footballs, I was a little disappointed by Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends" clip. On the one hand, the extended opening and rather dramatic break between first and second verse work well, especially when you've already heard the song, but I don't think this is going to convince anyone of anything. Nothing really happens (it would have been a lot more productive if we'd seen what dude was like after he got back from the front), and if they're trying to prevent teenagers from signing up by pointing out how upset it'll make your girlfriend, well - I don't think they're going to reach the audience that is at risk, if you know what I mean. I'm convinced, but I already was.

Kanye West's "Gold Digger" is disappointing too - Kanye is no Slim Thug and so should not avoid eye contact with the camera, nor should he look like he's muttering. Also, all the T&A in the video is set up in the form of magazine covers, which run directly counter to the "gold digger" idea - those girls are there because men pay money to see flesh... wait a second. That's actually not a half-bad subversion, especially given that the real girls are in the video for that precise reason to begin with. But is Kanye/the director being subversive, or just dumb? I'm not sure. Jamie Foxx is mildly entertaining, at least.

Coldplay's "Fix You" is, I think, not quite as jerky a song as we'd first assumed. I'm not sure whether I'd missed or just glossed over the fact that the line is "and I will try to fix you", but it's actually kind of a lovely sentiment. Rightly or wrongly, don't we often try to fix the people we love? And the end part is quite lovely, especially in the video with a massive crowd singing along (although I am quite a sucker for that sort of thing). Still, the crapulent first half of the song and the charisma and idea free Sophie Muller video aren't doing them any favours.

Lastly, I managed to get a look at the NIN "Only" video Thomas loves so much. It's good, but ultimately very much like the desk toy Reznor appears in; a neat idea with very little significance. Definitely not best of the year.


Cheeky bastard

I can't believe William B. Swygart has had a blog for so long without me noticing. He is a genius and should be working in radio, so I assume his blog is good too.


Plus, it's about Wallace and Gromit

Andrew over at Do You See? perfectly sums up the problem of rockism. And he's funny while he does it.

Saturday, October 08, 2005 

Waste of tape

So I'm going through boxes and I come upon two sets of tapes, nestled above my collection of Magic: The Gathering cards. They both date back to when I used to frequent the Rolling Stone boards under the name Yakomo (which for some reason made people think I was female, I guess - I took the name from a character in some anime I'd just seen then). The first set are tapes sent to me by a guy who went by Peewee, one of the nicer guys on the board, in an attempt to educate my ass (at my request). Unfortunately I got them just at the right time to never hear most of them (I believe going off to university accomplished this). There is still stuff on here that I haven't heard, although I'm amused to discover that, for example, the four Black Box Recorder songs he picked are among my favourites by that band.

In return I was going to send Peewee some tapes of my own, but I never got them out before losing touch with him and the board. He and a guy named Ken... something are the only ones I miss from that board, but my failure to hold up my end of the bargin still makes me feel guilty, not to mention seeming totally baffling to me now (why didn't I just send them out?).

Anyway, to get to the point, I'd hate to just throw these out. But I no longer own anything that plays tapes, which is why I still haven't some of the stuff that got sent to me, and they're literally no good to me.

So I'm hoping some kind/curious soul who still listens to tapes would be willing to take them. I'd be more than willing to pay postage to ship them out to whoever, all I ask is that they get a good home. It's also an all-or-nothing proposition - if a few of them sound uninteresting or you have stuff by that artist already, tough. Give those ones to someone else or something. Interested parties can email me or leave a comment.

And the listings are:

Peewee's batch:
Tape 1: Live From A Shark Cage - Papa M/Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada EP - Godspeed You Black Emperor!
Tape 2: The Sophtware Slump - Grandaddy/Animals, Suns + Atoms - Tarwater
Tape 3: Spiderland - Slint/Spacemen 3 (various cuts from The Perfect Prescription and Recurring
Tape 4: David Holmes/Spring Heel Jack/Low + Spring Heel Jack/Thee Madd Katt Courtship (Felix Tha Housekat, I believe)/Mirwais
Tape 5: Happy Mondays/Black Grape/Primal Scream
Tape 6: Hefner/Apples In Stereo/Black Box Recorder/Travis
Tape 7: Belle & Sebastian

My batch:
Tape 1: Pavement/Flaming Lips/Radiohead/Super Furry Animals
Tape 2: Mogwai/Weezer/Massive Attack/Thrush Hermit
Tape 3: Blur/Mercury Rev
Tape 4: Spiritualized/Pulp/Death In Vegas/The Beta Band
Tape 5: Portishead/Beck/My Bloody Valentine/The Verve

Actually, those five tapes probably contain the parameters within which pretty much everything I listened to back then (around 2000) existed. Except for stuff like Crowded House from my childhood.


The ever passing moment

So I'm home for Thanksgiving, going through the stuff from my old room and throwing much of it out and trying to figure out what to do with everything else. I've been listening to Tallahassee (which I'm pretty sure I will now always associate with tonight, perversely enough) and getting a little choked up. I just spent twenty minutes leafing through grade school art projects and stories. And I think I can finally articulate something that's been lurking in my consciousness for a while, at least since I started on that nostalgia article. It's time that gives our lives texture. John Gardner is right when he says that the two great evils are "time passes and alternatives exclude", but there's something wonderful about that two. Looking through all this stuff, I can almost see my life - not me, I'm right here, but the whole weird, inevitable sprawl.

Last night I finally saw You Can Count On Me on CBC (thank God the internet stopped working, or I might not have). And that has something to do with this too, although I'm not sure what. And so does Natalie Imbruglia's "That Day", which just came on.

Hmm. I'd better go back to sorting through boxes before I get really maudlin.

Friday, October 07, 2005 

The transporter

Mention to Aaron and Christa at the bar as something I was going to blog, then promptly forgotten: In the gym on Monday I saw the weirdest thing on TV. The Price Is Right was on one of the TVs, and while I was watching (listening to Silent Alarm on the discman, which I've been enjoying more and more these days) they called down a new contest, a middle-aged African American woman with a "Jesus is The Answer" t-shirt.

Now, I'm assuming you've seen at least a few episodes of The Price Is Right (because you're not a goddamned philistine), so you know how the contests always squeal and rush down the aisle to be closer to Bob. Well, this woman appeared to be possessed by whatever the game show equivalent of the Holy Spirit is. It took her (I measured it by the clock) four minutes to walk down that aisle. And it was more like she slowly fell down it, supported by the hands of other audience members, although I think they were trying to high-five her. It was, barring grainy documentary footage of snake handlers, the closest thing to religious ecstacy I've ever seen on TV.

And it was creepy. I don't know what that woman had built the show up to be or represent in her head, but Bob Barker and The Price Is Right just shouldn't engender that kind of fervor.


Boom bap

The history of the Amen break may not be new to Jack and Daphne, but it's new to me (despite having heard said break innumerable times). I was hoping he'd play Squarepusher and Hrvatski, though, and he did. So that was nice.


Fuck Bon Jovi

This week's singles are up. I seem to be pretty out of step with my colleagues this time.


Bad choices

Further examination of the article Alfred has linked to makes me a bit dubious as to its bona fides, but whether it's really by George Will or not, it's great. I was aghast at the nomination of Harriet Miers for Supreme Court Justice, and it's nice to see that for once the right and left seem to agree.

Thursday, October 06, 2005 

Redeeming qualities

I hate (and delete) comment spam, but it's kind of cool when it gets you to re-read old stuff that's actually good. My Floating World piece on Sloan's Twice Removed had a couple of typos that bugged the shit out of me, but (I think) it's all fixed now, and although it was written from a very different time in my life it holds up pretty well. I think. I kind of wish I had put it up on Stylus now, although I'm not sure if it's too personal for that.


The middle ground

Lots of good stuff on Arts & Letters Daily recently, but two articles today are extremely interesting when viewed in the context of the other. On the one hand, Christopher Hitchens, neo con (and whatever you think of the term, the article is a pretty accurate description of the man's failings, despite the fairly obvious bias of the author, which I don't agree with), and on the other you have Sasha Abramsky wondering why leftists can't seem to see the problems of Iraq without pulling a Hitchens. I'm with Abramsky:

I still hope that my rethinking of some foreign policy questions can be incorporated into a vibrant progressive movement. Indeed, I’d argue that a strong defence of pluralistic, democratic societies needs to be an essential, perhaps a defining, component of any genuinely progressive politics in today’s world.

Although much of the stuff in the first article goes beyond pointing out Hitchens' revisionism and inflexibility (and parts of it are total crap), it's instructive to go from that to an article by someone who inhabits the middle ground Hitchens pretends doesn't exist.


Wave of the future

Using sound to destroy torpedoes. It's kind of a cool idea in concept, but when you click through to the complete article, note that near the end, "neither DARPA, Anteon, nor BAE Systems was willing to respond to questions about the array's proposed energy levels and any threat to marine mammals they might pose." Hmm. I wonder what that might mean.



This strip is worth it just for the sight of George Washington calling Abraham Lincoln a "lying whore".

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 

Go outside, you damn kids

Fairly disturbing article on the possible impact of computer on kids. Even if you don't buy into all of the website's biases (and I'm not sure I do), there's still plenty there to think about.


Very simple

Sure, it's just the newspost for a webcomic (a webcomic you should be reading, I'll add), but Jeph Jacques has the most pithy and accurate summation of psychiatric medicine up today. The really good bit:

While I don't believe that medication is always the right treatment for everybody (therapy is definitely a better long-term solution assuming you can find/afford a good therapist), I would like to express my solidarity with all you other folks out there who are on tha pillz. If they're helping, stay on them. If they're fucking you up worse, get off them and seek different treatment. If you're considering medication or it's been recommended to you by a professional, it's a good idea to do some research before you make your decision. Above all, keep in mind there ain't no shame in trying to stay sane.


Hip, hip, hip!

My Seconds article on the Fall's "Hip Priest" is up.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 

Point me to the sky above

A special Shadow edition of the Stycast is up today, featuring a brief appearance by my brother.


Suck it, world

Three of the top ten cities to live in are Canadian. Specifically Vancouver (#1), Toronto (#9) and Calgary (#10).

Monday, October 03, 2005 


I don't think this is going to convince anyone of anything, but it's interesting to note nonetheless.


I'm Batman

This is just awesome. I'm a big Warren Ellis fan, of course, but this is really good even for him. And while I don't really like Jim Lee's crosshatched-to-death style, this blunter black-and-white works extremely well.



Last month's mix tape is up, with description.

Saturday, October 01, 2005 

We at war

Almost one of the most striking things about today's visit to the movie theatre: the trailer to the new film adaptation of the excellent book Jarhead. And while I'm hoping the movie is good, I already know the trailer is amazingly well put together. The use of Kanye's "Jesus Walks" is perfect, especially near the end as the music hits a more frenzied, baroque pitch over a howling Gyllenhaal emptying a machine gun. In the theatre, that gave me chills.


Memo to science fiction fans


I know you're all planning to already, but go see Serenity. The only surprising thing about it is how dark it is (much more in keeping with Whedon's original intentions for the show); on the quality front it's pretty much everything you could ask for (and a few things you couldn't).

Seriously, go see it. Don't make me fetch the nailgun.


On first listen

What the hell, I was going to listen to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! at some point, right?

01. Clap Your Hands!
I really didn't need to hear David Byrne trying to be Tom Waits. Two great tastes that do not taste great together. Thank God it's short.

02. Let The Cool Goddess Rust Away
That's a really cool ratchety guitar(?) part right at the beginning. I can see where all the Byrne comparisons come from (hell, I just made one, right?) but he's much more... adenoidal. And not in a good way, really. Aside from that, the Talking Heads comparisons seems very lazy, they're not using vocals the same way (this has a lot more keen, which I kind of like), the rhythm is very simple, and there's none of that chunka-chunka-chunka I associate with early non-funky TH. It sounds a bit like the Arcade Fire if they were less obsessed with bigness (of choruses and bands), and perversely enough I think I like this better.

03. Over And Over Again (Lost And Found)
Would it kill him to actually pronounce words? When he's slurring through the "Come-a come-a come-a come-a come-a come-a come on" part it's compelling, but his complete lack of enunciation the rest of the time is annoying. It sounds like "mumble mumble mumble mumble David Bowie mumble mumble". One thing he shares with Byrne, I think, is his ability to project great weariness with his voice, but so far that seems like all he's doing with it.

04. Sunshine And Clouds And Everything Proud
Tinkly Apples In Stereo incidental instrumental nonsense. I'd rather listen to Her Wallpaper Reverie, thanks. At least it's creepy.

05. Details Of The War
I'm going to pretend he just sang "hanging with your fashionable horse", because that's funnier. The backing is unsurprising but satisfying - more kick drum would be even better. Hmm. It's building to something, and then it gets to... U2? Only I like this guy's voice better than Bono. And then - harmonica! Yes! It works surpisingly well. All of a sudden he sounds like a higher-pitched Dylan. They seem to be going heavy on songs that build up to a climatic vocal moment and then ramble off instrumentally for a bit, so far - not my favourite structure.

06. The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth
Hey. Drums. Post-disco drums. A good sign. Are they Bloc Party now? Nah - drums not as busy, although the guitars at first are pretty close. His voice makes sense now (maybe that was just my ears adjusting). If this has a good chorus it's going to be a pretty great song. There - that bit would work, will they repeat it? They will! The best song by a significant margin so far. I'm a sucker for those guitars - everyone uses them, but they're great. Pretty nice bass work. Was that a handclap? Something about the drum production is very 80s. Is it a coincidence that the first keeper here is also the first song with a chorus?

07. Is This Love?
Nice segueway. This keeps the sound from the last song - the first five tracks sound muted in comparison. Lyrics are shit, sadly. That keyboard arpeggio reminds me of "The Crystal Lake". Weird turn midway through - parts of this aren't bad, but it's not gelling for me.

08. Heavy Metal
It seems as if their sound is getting fuller and more realised with every song, now. The chorus should sound wild with abandon with that heedless piano and all those cymbals, but it doesn't quite. Again, a prolonged-feeling instrumental coda.

09. Blue Turning Grey
Brief acoustic guitar interlude. Pleasant, but kind of pointless.

10. In This Home On Ice
...except as an intro to the synthesizers at the beginning of those song. I love that thick kind of sound. His voice works well with this kind of sound. Our second keeper. Total indie driving song territory. I can tell ten or twenty listens down the road this song will sound classic. I actually like those synths enough I don't mind them going on for a minute or so after he's done singing.

11. Gimme Some Salt
He sounds like he's trying to taunt someone, but I can't make out what he's saying. Is the band just going to chug in place for the duration? No - they're gearing up for something! Aaaaaaand... track's over.

12. Upon This Tidal Wave Of Young Blood
Early-Byrne acoustic guitar strum and synths that sound a little like "In This Home On Ice". He's not as adenoidal any more. Easily the most Talking Heads-esque track here, although the parts where he just repeats the same two words ad nauseum are thankfully their own invention (as well as annoying). The verse bits aren't bad, though. Painfully abrupt ending.

The verdict? I can't believe some label was that excited about this, but there are a couple of good tracks. They really are this year's Arcade Fire.

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About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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imathers at gmail dot com

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