Wednesday, May 31, 2006 

I haven't heard the Nelly Furtado single, no

Due to Memorial Day in the States everything on Stylus is a day behind this week, hence the singles only going up now. I'm genuinely surprised Cassie's magnificent "Me & U" hasn't done better, but at least Sandi Thom came in last.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 

There is no shortage of blood

Mike Powell does his normal superlative job talking about the Mountain Goats, a band ("band"?) that I can't believe I've only known for less than a year. He really nails how important they are to those of us who have fallen:

Listen, I’m a Mountain Goats fan, and as a Mountain Goats fan, you have, I think, signed an abstract agreement with The Spirits by some manner of psychic bloodshed to not only accept John Darnielle’s pinpricks of clarity and revelation, but to bob in their wake, to tremble at their touch, to laugh at their insight, etc. It’s the difficult high you chase in the music—the second that shines... when you get down to it, the Mountain Goats are almost entirely about moments wherein some quality of the song—the performance, the recording, something—explodes its content into something less close-readable, something dependent on experience.

I've only actually heard two of the five moments he discusses, but I can tell Mike has nailed them all regardless.



Normally my work is an air-conditioned refuge from the summer; ten minutes ago, the vents in the room I work in start spitting out hot air.

We had received an email earlier today that the AC in the building wasn't on and would be fixed tomorrow, but it had been cool, nay frosty, all day. Now it is rapidly becoming untenable in here.

Monday, May 29, 2006 


I'm more concerned with Canada than America right now (if not always, really), but sometimes John Rogers pulls out something so breathtaking it really must be read. The reason, I think, both the Republicans in the States and Harper up here have switched tactics to just flat out lying, flat out denying reality until people start believing them, is because if you start letting someone like Rogers talk sense, you wind up pretty much admitting that the current Administration deserves to be lynched.


Against summer

I don't care how hot it is elsewhere, here in Guelph it is 30 degrees* (feels like 38), and that is far too hot. This kind of heat is like pain; as phenomenology correctly points out, the really harmful/notable aspect of pain is not its actual "pain"ness so much as its disruption of your normal existence. Our bodies normally exist for (most of) us as something very unproblematic - they are both what we are (for one value of "are") as well as what we use to do things. Pain and illness interrupts this and takes us out of our normal relationship with our bodies. The key part of my being sick last Monday was not that I felt nauseous but that my nausea prevented me from doing anything - instead of my body being instrumental, I felt trapped in it.

Similarly, this heat renders normally uncomplicated things problematic. Shaving my face in the morning, going to the gym, wearing a backpack - all things I would do without thinking last week that are suddenly arduous. The extreme humidity (which is what boosts us up to 38 degrees) only makes things worse; you no longer have your normal body so much as you have a bag of meat attached to you that emits sweat. Sound disgusting? Well, that's why I hate summer.

(and that's not even getting into the paranoid terror of sunburn and insects!)

*(fine, if you're still stuck in the hinterlands of Fahrenheit it is 86 and with humidity feels like 100)


Concrete poetry

The CBC also has quite a beautiful photo essay up today on the work of architect Arthur Erickson, whom I had never heard before but who is clearly pretty brilliant based on these nine buildings. What really gets to me, though, and I think there's something to be drawn from this that I'm not going to be able to really get into before leaving for work this morning, is what guest curator Nicholas Olsberg says on the last page about Erickson's design for a combined square and law courts:

There is a sort of cultural, ideological, political moment in Canadian history which Arthur is totally in tune with [here], which basically says not just that we are not Americans, but that the world is something we look at, that we think about and we treat with respect. And that nothing is invisible, that nothing stays secret.

If that is (or has been, or should be) a central part of Canada and being Canadian, does it begin to become clearer exactly why Harper's recent actions frighten and anger me so much?

Sunday, May 28, 2006 

punk rock/puff daddy/ANtICHRISt

I've always loved Mogwai's Come On Die Young album and its two bookends which feature Iggy Pop rejecting the term "punk rock," but until I was surfing the band's site today putting together some background stuff for an article I'm doing, I didn't realise the sound clip comes from this interview he did with Peter Gzowski on the CBC.

On the CBC. Canada is awesome, people.


Oh, the alcoholic afternoons

Feel good hits of the 27th of May, 2006:

The Smiths - "These Things Take Time"
Smog - "Bathysphere"
The Hives - "Two Timing Touch And Broken Bones"
Jim Carroll Band - "People Who Died"
Pavement - "Fin"
Luna - "Black Champagne"
Cam'ron - "He Tried To Play Me"
Moby - "When It's Cold I'd Like To Die"
Slowdive - "Rutti"
The Smiths - "Reel Around The Fountain"

Saturday, May 27, 2006 

Q is for Dr Tran

I imagine everyone has seen this by now, but if not, you need to: Dr Tran!

(I saw it a while back, forgot about it, and wanted to link to it here so I can remember it in the future; if you haven't seen it, though, wait until you get about five minutes in)


Do ninjas need love?

The answer: Kind of, but not really.

Friday, May 26, 2006 

"My hangover is from an entirely electrobosh related situation"

The triumphant return of Fergal O'Reilly to the Stycast. He needs to do this more often.

Thursday, May 25, 2006 


Stephen Harper says that the public "doesn't care" about his attempt to censor the press and restrict press access to his government. While that's debatable and a slightly moot point to boot (so what, if I can convince everyone in Guelph to "not care" if I kill homeless people, I shouldn't be arrested?), the really scary part is as follows:

The prime minister's office wants reporters in the Ottawa press gallery to sign onto a list. From that list, the Prime Minister's Office will decide who gets to ask a question at a news conference...

"I don't ask to control the editorial policies of newspapers but we do set up our own press conferences," Harper said Thursday.

"I think history would indicate that we're very open to anyone who wants to ask a question. We keep a very complete list of all who request."

We really are screwed as a country, aren't we? The age of no accountability has come to Canada. It's not having a Conservative government I mind, past ones haven't frightened and angered me like this; it's the willful distortion of reality (such as Jer talks about here) I mind.



I don't really care about the Ivor Novellos, but the fact that New Order won "best outstanding song collection" (scroll down) is pretty frickin' cool.


Thong th-thong thong thong

Borat hits the beach. Damn, I want to see this movie.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 

Massive douchebag

More than anything else, more than Afghanistan, more than Kyoto, it's this sort of thing that makes me terrified of our current federal government. Aaron, have you heard of this yet? Are you as livid as I am? Do we need to get our booze on, preferably with Jer?


How cool is this?


I want one pretty badly, but would need to have an idea of what to do with it first.

(via Warren Ellis)


Good name

I don't think I've necessarily linked to any individual posts from either recently, but two of my favourite recent new reads are from Stylus contributors who happen to be Ia(i)ns: Iain Forrester's Delete As Appropriate and Ian Cohen's Sexy Results. Sure, I put them in the blogroll a while back, but they deserve a little public love. For good taste in names if nothing else.



I just received spam ("generic Viagra" spam, no less) with the subject line "My inner child just killed itself."

Of course I opened it - how could you not?


Priceless sleeve art

Lest I forget, this week's singles column is up, as well as the attendant Stycast, albeit without me. Due to sickness.


Action Philosophers!

This (sent to me by Todd Hutlock) is just brilliant. The free "Rene Descartes" section alone shows these guys know what they're talking about (and this is pitched at the sort of audience where I don't mind them just talking about what Descartes was up to rather than pointing out how little of it was original or other problems with him). I hope tons of little kids run into this comic.


Female emo?

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a big fan of emo (and like everyone else who doesn't like a genre, anything I do like which might fall into that category I rationalize as "not really being emo"), but Jonathan's new post on this band Paramore (emo with a 17-year-old female singer) intrigues me. Plus, a couple more digs at Jessica Hopper and inexplicable Fall Out Boy love! It's not the screwed & chopped madness I normally stop by there for, but I'll gladly take it.


Regional laughs

Excellently insightful article on British comedy vs. German comedy by Stewart Lee; I don't think much of the jokes included at the end, for the most part, but the one he was told when he got to Germany* is devastatingly good, and although I've never been there I know enough about the German language to believe his points.

*On my first night in Hannover I had gone out drinking with some young German actors. "You will notice there are no old buildings in Hannover," one of them said. "That is because you bombed them all." At the time I found this shocking and embarrassing. Now it seems like the funniest thing you could possibly say to a nervous English visitor.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 

Record lickers

Why I love Mallory O'Donnell('s writing):

There are a million records to be heard and enjoyed, each one as deserving of your attention as any other. You will never get to hear 99% of them.

Get over it.

Plus, he's got a fantastic review of the new Hot Chip up today, even if "So Glad To See You" is one of my favourite songs on the record.


There are brighter things than diamonds

Feel good hits of the 22nd of May, 2006:

The Mountain Goats - "The Young Thousands"
William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops I
Brian Eno - Ambient 1: Music For Airports
Nico - "These Days"
The Mountain Goats - "Game Shows Touch Our Lives"
Slowdive - Pygmalion

(AKA the only things I could stand to listen to while sick/delerious)

Monday, May 22, 2006 

And the dull pain that you live with isn't getting any duller

Still sick, but better; I've kept everything down for eight hours, so I get to eat something now. I have spent the entire day sleeping and reading the first nine volumes of Bendis and Oeming's Powers. This is the first time I have actually been so sick I've had to lie there doing nothing since grade school.

And since none of that is actually particularly interesting, I bring you (via K) a cat being washed.


I'm going to break the heart of Chicago

New Stycast today; don't expect much from me, though, I am sick (which is too bad, because it's a good Stycast). And I have no idea why. I do know this is the first time I've puked without the demon alcohol being involved since, I don't even know, at least since I moved away from home. Casey thinks it may be the Norwalk. Pray for Mojo.

Sunday, May 21, 2006 

Random bits

So I saw Tokyo Police Club Friday night, on the recommendation of Jer (more specifically here); good show, nice guys, I look forward to hearing the EP. If they're coming to your town, you should probably check them out. They should do more songs about robots, though.

Also, I learned an important lesson about bachelor party BBQs. I wasn't sick or anything, but I did feel like a bag of hammers last night until I napped (napped!) at 11 for about two hours.

My little sister gets home from London England today; it'll be nice to see her again.

I loved Ursala Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven when I read it in high school, and fairly recently I tackled it again and was impressed at how much better it was than I remembered it being. So I'm especially pleased to see Mark k-punk tackling it in such a characteristically in-depth and fascinating manner.

My listening these days, aside from things I'm reviewing, has been quite calming. What this has to do with a package from Forced Exposure appearing at my door containing the Necks' Drive By, Robert Ashley's sui generis and astounding Private Parts (The Record) and Mountains' self-titled debut (as well as one from Caiman with Nine Horses' Snow Borne Sorrow) is probably pretty self-evident.

Friday, May 19, 2006 

Stranger song

For some reason the fact that Prince Charles is a big fan of Leonard Cohen is something I find immensely likeable.


Folk music on a spaceship

My review of Espers' fine II album is up; It has the coveted "Stylus Recommends" tag, so you know the album is good.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 

"A permanent ongoing epiphany"

This article (kindly sent to me by K as well!) on Spinoza of course gets some things wrong, but not anything most people who aren't me are likely to care about. A quick mention of a couple of old bugbears, though: Spinoza was not a monist, and he's about as hostile to romantic love as the Stoics were; in other words, not nearly as much as people think. But the article is overall very very good; if nothing else, this passage about the effect of really reading the Ethic is fantastic and very true to my experience:

Goldstein, a professor of philosophy at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., writes of seeing her students transformed by Spinoza's "Ethics." At first, they're put off by the "eccentricity -- both in form and content -- of this impenetrable work." But eventually, they make "their way into Spinoza's way of seeing things, watching the entire world reconfigure itself in the vision ... One feels oneself change, however impermanently, as one beholds Spinoza's point of view -- the point of view that approaches, though it can never match, 'the Infinite Intellect of God.' One's whole sense of oneself, and what it is one cares about, tilts -- in a direction that certainly feels like up. Year after year, I've watched what happens with my students when Spinoza begins to take hold, and it's always moving beyond measure."

All this and Neal Stephenson quotations! How can you resist?


I wish I'd had essay questions like that

From K's latest dispatch from law school, now that she's finished her exams:

"Oh, and you'll appreciate this... part of the essay question involved a writer named Thomas Pinch, who buys a house on lot 49. I wonder how many other students will pick up on that?"


I haven't been posting too much today because I spent most of the day at the staff retreat, which was more fun than I expected. My team got the "golf prize" (as in, "if this was golf you would win"), and I got three free beers from the occasion. Before going back to work to finish the rest of my shift. Nice.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 

Comedy of errors

Or, at least the Show was Good

This is probably going to sound like farce no matter how I do it, so let's just get going:

We get out of the concert (amazing, more on this in a bit) and stumble down the street to the subway station, stopping only to buy drinks at a convenience store because apparently the Phoenix will no longer give you water if it doesn't come in a $4 bottle.

So we get to the subway station and pay the fare and get all the way to our intended stop. At which point I reach into my pocket to pull out the piece of paper with the directions I don't need and Kyra's house number, which I do. And I guess at some point when I pulled out my wallet that piece of paper came with and fell to the ground, unnoticed.

So I rummage through everything, briefly panic, and then Pete and I decide that since I remember all of the directions except the actual house number, we should just go try and find it.

Mistake #1: Not thinking to use the payphone right there to call her, since I know what street she's on and her last name. We wind up having to go to a payphone much further away.

Mistake #2: Not looking for her car, which I mention she has in passing to Pete once we're almost at the payphone. Him: "You mean you could recognize it?" Me: "Yeah, why... oh shit."

So eventually we get to a payphone, call 411 (twice - I forgot the number the first time), get to the place, settle in... and I discover that when going through all my stuff I forgot to put my return bus ticket to Guelph back into my pocket. Not my proudest moment.

Things go well for a little while; we both slept well, had breakfast at a nice little greasy spoon with Kyra, got on the subway and to the bus station on time, and I caught my bus back after buying a new ticket. I get to work a little earlier than I thought I would and change into my nice, new Stylus shirt. Very cool.

Then I bite into an unexpectedly juicy strawberry and have to spend the next five minutes scrubbing away the stains.

I think I'm going to sleep a lot tonight, both because I'm tired and so I can keep out of trouble. I clearly should not be trusted with simple tasks right now.

The concert: Nothing will ever quite match the first time Pete and I saw Mogwai, where they encored with "My Father My King" for half an hour and generally dazzled us. But this time was better than the (admittedly quite good) second time we saw them; this is especially amazing to me considering they played only one song from Come On Die Young and nothing from Rock Action, my two favourite Mogwai records. Happy Music For Happy People may be my least favourite Mogwai album save maybe Young Team, but the songs from it they've been doing live are flat out amazing, save for "Ratts Of The Capital", always my least favourite track from that record and kind of boring until halfway through.

That was the single misstep this time, though; the versions of "Helicon 1" and especially "Mogwai Fear Satan" fried previous live renditions I've seen to a crisp, and the Mr. Beast songs worked incredibly well (particularly "Travel Is Dangerous" and a mightily rocked-up "Friend Of The Night"). The Happy Music... stuff was, as mentioned, uniformly strong, but special mention has to go to the new version of "I Know You Are But What Am I?" which has Stuart fiddling with some effects pedals instead of playing guitar to incredible screeching effect. It's a bit like the album version crossbred with "Robot Chant". See these guys live if you can; is this show was any indication they are on fire right now. Both the extended denouement to "We're No Here" at the "end" of the set (if denouement is the right word for Barry Burns and John Cummings scrubbing out your brainpan with incredibly harsh, live repeating bursts of static and feedback) and the totally metal "Glasgow Mega-Snake" which actually ended the show put practically everything else I'm likely to see this year to shame.

Yes, I Am A Long Way From Home
Friend Of The Night
Killing All The Flies
Travel Is Dangerous
Hunted By A Freak
Mogwai Fear Satan
I Know You Are But What Am I?
Acid Food
May Nothing But Happiness Come Through Your Door
Helicon 1
We're No Here

Ratts Of The Capital
Glasgow Mega-Snake


Still in Toronto

Last night was both a very good concert and a very dumb series of events I'm too tired to talk about right now; today does see both my dissenting take on Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation (see the people who've missed the point already begin to mass in the comments!) and the Singles Jukebox Stycast, which I believe I'm in somewhere.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 

In a hurry

I'm going in to work early to go see Mogwai with Pete tonight, but I do have some singles blurbs up. Posting may be light today (or it may not be - let's see how boring work is).

Monday, May 15, 2006 

Good ol' Maura Tierney

I'm quite fond of today's Anacrusis.


I know more of the stars and sea

Feel good hits of the 15th of May, 2006:

Snow Patrol - "It's Beginning To Get To Me"
Camera Obscura - "Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken"*
Mogwai - "Acid Food"
The Magnetic Fields - "The Book Of Love"
Johnny Boy - "Livin' In The City"
Ladytron - "Oops (Oh My)"
Magnet - "On Your Side"
The Verve - "History"
The Wedding Present - "Blonde"
Snow Patrol - "Somewhere A Clock Is Ticking"

*(Obviously anything I post in these are recommended, but this is a fucking tune, even if you've previously dismissed Camera Obscura. You can stream it here.)


Bolts from above, yeah

Today we've got a new A Touching Display, focusing on some beloved one hit wonders of my youth, and a Soulseeking piece by me to boot, focusing one maybe my most well-loved song. I think it turned out particularly well.

Sunday, May 14, 2006 

The Death and Resurrection Show

I was fascinated by Houdini as a kid for a brief period (one of many reasons I loved Glen David Gold's fantastic Carter Beats The Devil), and it's been years since I've read of him. This article corrects many misconceptions my childhood reading left me with, and would be excellent even if I hadn't had those misconceptions in the first place.


What the hell did I just see?

So William Shatner is awesome (no, I'm not going to argue that point with you; I agree with Fametracker, especially post-Denny Crane). And he plays a lawyer on TV. But just now, I saw a quick ad for one of those shitty little lawyer firms you see on late-night TV, and Shatner was pitching for them. And it wasn't the fake lawyer he plays on TV, or any other lawyer from that show (as far as I know). It was someone else. Ben was there; he saw it too.

I'm a little afraid, and a little awed. What on earth is that guy up to?

Saturday, May 13, 2006 

"And Apollo Creed is... everything else in the world"

It's a bit old now, and I'd seen most of it, but here's the full Colbert Bush roast. And since what I hadn't seen are those death-defying first ten minutes (where, even knowing everything had gone without a hitch, I kept expecting Colbert to be wrestled to the floor by the Secret Service), it was well worth watching again. The subsequent material, as good as it is, has added piquancy once you've seen Colbert essentially stare down the quote-unquote Most Powerful Man in the World and win.

Friday, May 12, 2006 

"I got killin' hands!"

Sam and Max are back (insert sound of indescrible glee here) and they even have a webcomic up in advance of the new game. Note that the text appears when you move your mouse cursor over each panel.


Thomas Jefferson would stab you in the neck with a spoon

Look, I know this whole FISA/domestic spying/wire tap thing is kind of confusing; luckily, Kung Fu Monkey has it for you in words of one syllable.


Make this go on forever

Yes, I really like the new Snow Patrol album. Want to make something of it?

Thursday, May 11, 2006 

Tape noises

Listening to the Boredoms' Super AE at work makes me giggle. Those whooshes on "Super You"! Everyone else is going to kill me!


Class isn't dead/"Common People"

From the sky-still-blue department: the richer you are, the better off your kids are.


Forcefully lonely

Ahh, Burial, whose debut thanks to k-punk I am rabid for; and now Mike has an excellent post about the album. I am salivating, and not just because I haven't had lunch (my day start later than most, so lunch is around 4:30). Come for the Buria, but stay for the fascinating, tasty brief analysis of Burial and Vocalcity near the end - and don't forget to connect it all up to Hua Hsu's article on New Order I linked a while back, since I think Mike's take on the commonality of those two albums is somewhat applicable to New Order too.


"We don't have to make uncool into a crime"

I've seen a ton of things about the whole aforementioned Hopper/Merritt flap that I've been tempted to blog (some of them are in the comments of the last post about it), but it feels like throwing fuel onto a pretty stupid fire. Which isn't quite fair, because there are plenty of important/interesting issues at play here, it's just that the main players are mostly mishandling things. I do like Anthony's take on the whole mess, though. And unless something really astounding comes along, I don't think I need to say any more about it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 

Full slate

(sorry for the pun)

Three interesting music articles over at Slate today:

Jessica Hopper and Sasha Frere-Jones hate Stephin Merritt for being racist; let's just say I agree with the article (and yes I've read Hopper's numerous retractions and defences, and no I'm not convinced).

A fantastically even-handed and reasonable look at rockism and poptimism by Jody Rosen. I've found stuff to dislike in just about every summation of that whole issue, but this one pretty much totally avoids that.

And best of all, the nearly-always incredible Hua Hsu finally manages to articulate the reasons I love New Order so very, very much. Key moment, for me:

New Order's music described new feelings, new possibilities of experience: lost in thought at a club, Godlike (or bored) on drugs, anxious about nothing in particular, hesitant to say anything too direct, alone but unafraid of modern life. It's why the band still sounds as though they're of a different vintage. Others may have mimicked New Order's dance-rock sound, but not that oddly affecting, dampened-down stillness at its heart.

Just beautifully written, and absolutely on-point about Sumner and co.


I wish I was still sleeping

Which is weird, as I didn't stay up that late last night. My Zeebee review is up, as well as the newest singles column Stycast.


I can hardly speak; I understand

This is quite good.


We're all dead

Cambodian troops quarantine a town suffering from "zombism".

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 

Pope /= magic?

The Vatican's astronomer has some strong words for creationists and the "PR disaster" of papal infallibility.


Hot Chip Hot Chip Hot Chip

...have (justly) won this week's Jukebox, Will's protestations on behalf of Marisa Monte (and honestly, I would have been happy with Phoenix as well) notwithstanding.

Oh crap, I'm turning into a fanboy.

(and the sarcastic say, "turning into?")


Human after all

I don't like Dick Cheney, obviously, but it warms my heart to hear that when Mary Cheney came out to her parents, "Dad said he loved her and just wanted her to be happy."

Monday, May 08, 2006 


This is either the most disturbing or most heartwarming thing I've read all day.


Everyone thinks he looks daft!

A Touching Display is back again for your downloading pleasure; I particularly like the way this one came out, although I'm not sure I could tell you why.

Sunday, May 07, 2006 

I'm miles from where you are

Feel good hits of the 7th of May, 2006:

Snow Patrol w/Martha Wainwright - "Set The Fire To The Third Bar"
Xiu Xiu - "I Luv The Valley OH"
Cex - "Chicago"
Zeebee - "Sweetness"
Editors - "Munich"
Coil - "Going Up"
Iggy Pop - "Fall In Love With Me"
Pet Shop Boys - "Flamboyant"
Readymade - "View Towered Centre"
The Gloria Record - "Ambulance"



So Sunday afternoons one of the local TV stations has this incredibly low budget, poorly acted adaption of the longest poem in the world; I finally got around to finding out the title and looking it up, and sure enough the Bhagvad Gita (which I have read large chunks of) is part of it. Although the adaptation is one about the fifth paragraph, and the Gita doesn't come in for quite some time. It's definitely a TV watching experience unlike any other, though.

Friday, May 05, 2006 

Bite sized

I've been a bit behind on the CDs I've ganked from the Ontarion, so I've gone ahead and done four quick reviews tonight - all are around 100 words, and I've forgotten how much I enjoy doing that every so often, as an exercise (as opposed to most modern music magazines, where this kind of format is a necessity). If nothing else, I enjoy being more snarky than usual.

Editors – The Back Room
In theory, Editors are to Interpol as Interpol are to Joy Division, but that's only been making the rounds because too few people these days are familiar with Echo & The Bunnymen. That doesn't mean Editors are still mere copyists; sure, Tom Smith sounds like Ian McCullough, but as with Interpol these guys land on just the right side of the homage/slavish imitation divide. Smith always sings like he's doing something deeply unpleasant on the more charging songs (which is perfect, especially on “Munich” and “Blood”), and the slow songs have some sting - “Open Your Arms” actually earns its six minutes. Not innovative in the slightest, but quality nonetheless.

Morrissey – Ringleader Of The Tormentors
He's finally gotten laid, but of course it hasn't made him any less overwrought. Listen to single “You Have Killed Me” and it's obvious that Moz's voice is shot, his lyrics continue their decay from the hallowed days of the Smiths, and he's got the most generic rock band imaginable. That last element improves a bit on the rest of these songs, but not the other two; You might have thought that a happy Morrissey would be capable of getting out of the rut he's been digging himself for decades, but no such luck – this is a “return to form” only by the standards of the fanatic and desperate.

Pilate – Sell Control For Life's Speed
Pilate are post-Coldplay, which should make them insufferable, but as the better-than-average singles from their debut could tell you, they've got something. Chemistry? Tunes? Whatever it is, here should-be filler like “Over-Ground” and “Ambulance” actually make a plausible grab for your heart, and the highlights (knife-edge single “Barely Listening”, the eight minute “Don't Stare”) genuinely hit it out of the park. A few naff lyrics aside (see: album title) this is surprisingly great modern rock for people who like emotions but not emo and who want a singer they can empathize with, as opposed to Chris Martin.

Wilderness – Vessel States
You're already in trouble when your only thank you is “The Music and all who have been a part of it”, but despite Wilderness' high seriousness the music on Vessel States is as unwieldy as the cobbled together, garish album art. Four guys trying to pull of subtle-ish post-punk (read: a slower, simpler Comsat Angels) with one of them emoting like a screaming Mark Burgess from the Chameleons UK could possibly work if there was any craft present, but this is a hookless mess. Don't recognize any of those band names? You'll be even less interested in Wilderness than those that do.

Thursday, May 04, 2006 


You have to understand how snooker works (thanks, Paul), but if you do this is just astounding to watch. Great audience, too.



Sometimes I just have to go for a walk with my favourite album of all time on headphones. Few things are as perfect as swinging on the swings at a local playground and watching the stars come out while listening to "Following A Typewriter To Sleep." Or walking past what you suddenly realise is a dance school, people waltzing in front of the open door, to "Bloomsbury Boxcutter." Or just listening to "Hamburg." And those new headphones I bought are worth every penny.


"By hook or by crook, we will."

So now they're remaking The Prisoner, too. Interesting to hear Eccleston's name mentioned, but I can't conceive of a remake that won't be a horrible blot on the name.

I'd love to find out I'm wrong, mind you.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 


(via The Hater)

So they're making High Fidelity into, wait for it, a musical.

You can't make this shit up.


World Press Freedom Day

Thanks to Warren Ellis I've heard about this before the day is past; details are here. Obviously the importance of the day isn't any less now than when it was started, in 1993.


It begins

If today's heat is any indication, the start of my long, slow, futile struggle with the hated Summer (and more importantly, the hated Sun) is nigh. Cue fans and ice cream and me feeling like I'm burning every time I step outside during the day, and thus also cue a more nocturnal existence. I'll get you this time, Summer.


I see no problem with liking beef

This week's singles Stycast is up; if last week is any indication, what Todd Burns does with my contribution is likely to be hilarious.


The great white godless north

So about half of all Canadians do "something religious" (note that this includes more than just something like going to church, which just less than a third of Canadians do monthly) every month - and this is being cited as "[suggesting] Canadians are more devout than is often assumed."

Personally I was surprised that the number was so low, but I guess our reputation as a bunch of heathens precedes us.


A baby sleeps in all our bones

My Seconds on two Iron & Wine songs is up today; My parents should probably make sure to read it, since they're mentioned a few times (and K, this is one of those ones I think you should check out).

For once, though, I also want to note the little teaser blurb that appears on Stylus' main page for the article, because it's probably my favourite of all the ones I've written: "After these two songs, not even a Total Perspective Vortex could shake Ian Mathers..."

Lastly, and again "for once," Mike Powell edited this one, and he did a superlative job. I only know it's him because he emailed me to ask me about a change, but it does bring to mind how much of whatever quality my writing on Stylus has is because of the editors there, who in the last two and a half years have never in my memory made a change I have not been happy with.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 

"Sideboard-like! Shadrach! The SHOCK-uh!"

Random surfing leads me to this fantastic long-form review of the Fall's Peel sessions, which does a pretty good job of explaining why I, like a lot of people I know, am quasi-obsessed with them. Is the Believer normally this good? Because if so maybe I should be paying more attention.


Death is centrifugal

Sometimes at work, when I'm feeling mildly annoyed at having to work in a room full of people for part (but not most) of my shift, I put on Coil and see how freaked out people can get.


Organize before they rise

Between some random work injokes (including the fact I'm wearing my Zombie Killer Union Local 666 t-shirt today), Mike's latest post and today's Anacrusis and Qwantz, there have been an awful lot of zombies afoot recently. And I just finished re-reading this. Coincidence? I think not.


Your monkey's kung fu is not strong

This is posted half to remind myself to watch Stephen Colbert's performance at the White House correspondent's dinner, but John Rogers has a pair of characteristically fine posts on the whole thing, from a comic's perspective.


Sigur friggin' Ros

We have a rather agressively meh lineup of singles this week, but some of the writing is entertaining. And since you read rather than hear the article, it's just as well.

Monday, May 01, 2006 

Clocks and monkeys

Lisa Jardine, an historian, has a new column at the BBC. I'm not sure they'll put it on the front page often enough that I'll be reading all of it, but the inaugural effort is extremely well done.

Also, for some reason Blogger doesn't seem to be noting the comments I posted in response to others' comments today, although if you go to add another one they show up. I have no idea why, no.


Can you forgive her?

I've already spent some time with the first disc of the Pet Shop Boys' PopArt, but today is the first time I've had the second disc in at work. I liked the first disc, but the opening run here (at least through "West End Girls", possibly further once I get used to the songs I didn't already know) is just heartbreaking. I've read reviews that questioned the apparently arbitrary assigning of songs to either side, but I think they weren't listening properly. It could practically be called IronySincerity, although that's oversimplifying things a bit.


So angry

"It probably would have helped if I hadn't forgot to bring shorts for the gym today."

If you insert shocking levels of profanity between practically every word in the above sentence you have what I was thinking staring into my locker this morning. If it was just a case of wearing underwear and jeans instead of exercise shorts while at the gym, I would have gone ahead and done it. But I refuse to exercise in underwear and jeans which I then have to wear at work for the rest of the day, because that is just disgusting.

Now, I do remember looking for my spare shorts on Friday as I put my main pair into the wash, and not finding them, so I think both sets were dirty. But that doesn't change the fact that I pay the school gym a fair amount of money, and I don't do it just so I can fucking shower.


Itchy legs and all

A new Stycast is up today, one that's much more ambient than most of mine.

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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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