Friday, June 29, 2007 

See what I mean?

Whoops, I had a review up Wednesday - of Boy in Static - and I completely missed it.


It's sweetness that I'm thinking of

Feel good hits of the 28th of June, 2007 (Dancing at the Albion again edition):

Neneh Cherry - "Buffalo Stance"
The Cure - "A Forest"
Tiga - "You Gonna Want Me"
Duran Duran - "Hungry Like the Wolf"
The Ramones - "Do You Wanna Dance?"
Mr. Oizo - "Flat Beat"
The Rapture - "House of Jealous Lovers"
Le Tigre vs Missy Elliot - "Get Yr Decepticon On"
Hot Chip - "Over and Over"
Black Flag - "Louie Louie"

Thursday, June 28, 2007 

Genius of love

Doubt not the powers of xkcd's Randall Munroe. He knows how love works.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007 

Losing my head

Seriously, between work and errands and getting ready to go on a week-long road trip and blah blah blahhhhhhh I haven't been online at all recently. But today has my On First Listen take on Hüsker Dü for interested parties. I've been told it's "good."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007 

Dreaming of gold and cocaine

I've always felt bad that Mike Mooney and Sean Cook's debut as Lupine Howl after they were fired from Spiritualized sunk without a trace; it's actually quite good. So today I do my small part to try and redress that balance.

Sunday, June 24, 2007 

Epic panegyrics

Surprise, surprise; glenn mcdonald writes on parenthood just as incredibly as he does on everything else.


Good weekend

So yesterday, in the course of a pretty awesome bachelor party I decided to try one of the 25 cent slots at the Mohawk Raceway. I was going to sit at a particular Tiki-themed machine, but my brother urged me to sit at the next Tiki-themed one down. I did, and on my second pull I won the maximum jackpot for that machine - $1,500. We went on to have Popeye's chicken and I ended the night by being sick in a church garden (not something I'm proud of, and I think I startled a cat) and crashing at my girlfriend's. This afternoon I check my email to see that Michael ("Mick") Derrick of the devoutly missed Prolapse has sent me a brief email regarding my flute top ten and the fact that Prolapse's "Framen fr Cesar" is mentioned therein. He informs me that the title is an anagram for Frances Farmer. I think I'm just going to relax and write tonight.

Saturday, June 23, 2007 

"That room is fucking evil."

I may be more susceptible to a good scary movie than some people I know, but I found 1408 pretty riveting. It's got a minimum of the jump-cuts that I hate (it's cheating - being startled is not the same as being scared) and even though most of the movie is just John Cusack alone in a room that's trying to kill him, it kept my attention. Nice build up to the room, too.

Don't get me wrong - there are special effects galore, and once it abandons the fairly subtler psychological scares of the first part for full on Silent Hill-isms I think it lost something (although I was still pretty damn scared - there are still, as with The Ring and The Exorcist, parts of this movie I haven't seen), but it's definitely the scariest movie I've seen at the Galaxy in a while. I usually go to horror movies to laugh (they're pretty much a replacement for action movies, aren't they?) but this one creeped me out. Later at the bar one of the TVs had an ad for 1408 and I found myself shivering a little.

Friday, June 22, 2007 

Conceptual whiplash

So when Mark Millar sat down to do the Ultimates, he and Bryan Hitch decided to model some characters after real people. Ultimate Nick Fury, for example, was drawn as Samuel L. Jackson (with Jackson's approval). Guess who's apparently playing Nick Fury in the new Iron Man movie?

Thursday, June 21, 2007 

We are so happy to have you join the team!

Had my first shift yesterday, which went well. I'm working again today and I had a massive headache last night so I'm far behind on everything else, but I'm actually enjoying being employed again which is kind of a nice surprise. Hopefully things will return to normal around here again shortly.

Monday, June 18, 2007 

I was looking for a job and then I found a job

....and Heaven knows, I'm pretty okay with that. I have my first shift at the Beat Goes On on Wednesday. 2-9. Go me?


A tentative yes to ankle socks

So I'm back from the traditional Father's Day camp/canoe/drink extravaganza, and it was a lot of fun as it always is. I got too many mosquito bites (one is too many!) but managed to avoid most sunburn by scrupulously (not to say obsessively) spraying myself with SPF 50. I even finally bought a cooler, something I'm not sure how I got through 25 years in Southern Ontario without. I need to get back to work now, but it was awfully nice having a weekend out in the relative wilderness (very relative - we've been taking this trip since I was about 10, and there are a lot of amenities at this point). I'm not going to lie, though, sleeping in my own bed last night was exceptionally nice.

Thursday, June 14, 2007 

None more black

This review of two new scholarly books about Goths is one of the more interesting things Arts & Letters Daily has served up in the last few weeks:

In general, youth culture tends to be tied closely to the mood of the time (hippies, punk), to a certain kind of music (hip-hop, mod, reggae), to a sport or activity (skate punk, surf rock), or to a social or ethnic group (rastas, skinheads). Goth, on the other hand, is completely flexible. There are goth clubs and pubs, goth movies (anything by David Lynch, Tim Burton, or Ed Wood seems to fit the bill), goth jewelry and fashion, goth-friendly home décor, even goth lingerie. Within its own confines, too, goth embraces contradictions; it contains multitudes. Hair can be long or short, flat or spiky; shoes can be heavy boots or light slippers with pointy toes. And while individual goths can be totally asexual or polymorphously perverse, goth itself breeds peacefully with other subcultures, producing such independent offspring as gothabilly, doom metal, gothic Lolita, cybergoth, and goth 'n' roll.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 

Slight return

In order to get it into the archives proper for the site, we've got my Seconds article about Life Without Buildings' "Juno" up again; it previously ran on the Stypod. This is the one that has the dubious distinction of getting me a link from the Village Voice, so some people think it's quite good.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 

I'm just way too tired

Feel good hits of the 12th of June, 2007 (special "I have a headache" edition):

The Strokes - "Is This It"
Babils - "2 = 3"
Liars - "Plaster Casts of Everything"
Blur - "Don't Bomb When You're The Bomb"
Readymade - "Sam"
The Libertines - "Up the Bracket"
Cat Power - "The Greatest"
The Verve - "Already There"
Kid606 - "Ruin It, Ruin Them, Ruin Yourself, Then Ruin Me"
Pipedream - "Deeper Arcades"


Quick, look elsewhere!

As I said to my brother, one of the weird things about not being single again is that you suddenly have no free time even though you're getting nothing done. So Fractionals will probably be relatively unexciting for a little while, although it will return to normal soon enough. I'm still updating this, though, and I think today's turned out pretty well, as long as you don't mind semi-stream of consciousness.

Sunday, June 10, 2007 

Being self important is all I have

I kind of love Donny Miller's work.



I've been so busy this week I kind of forget to read Stylus, let alone to note that my top ten songs with flutes list went up on Friday. Not exactly the heaviest thing I've ever written, but hopefully kind of fun.

Saturday, June 09, 2007 

"Our baby is going to be French Canadian."

Yeah, add me to the chorus of love for this movie. Seth Rogen (or at least his character, or some weird combination of both) is my fucking hero. And it's one of those movies where, if you did't like it? I completely respect your taste but I really don't want to hear it.

Thursday, June 07, 2007 

Hey love, we'll get away with it

at the Opera House, Toronto
Tuesday June 5th 2007

There is actually, and I don't say this lightly, a phrase in the press release for Boxer that does a decent job of summing up what the National sound like: "a meditative rumble that starts in the heart, gets caught in the brain, and resonates outward." Still, J. Edward Keyes continues to put it best, and while I was worried his post about the National's NYC shows would mean that their Toronto show would be a bit of a let down (high expectations, TO not being their home base, etc), I shouldn't have.

This was seriously one of the best shows I've seen in a while, if we're specifying rock shows (as opposed to, say, Hot Chip) I'd say in years (when did I last see the Wrens again?). The only part that was even a bit of a let down was the encore. I love "Green Gloves" but it was a bit low key, "Abel" is not one of the tracks from Alligator I was familiar with, and "About Time," while awesome, was both new to me and not "Lit Up" (which, along with "Brainy," marks the only song(s) I was hoping for that didn't get played). If I'd known it was on the Cherry Tree EP they were selling, I would have picked up a copy; as it is, I grabbed the pretty cool limited edition tour print instead (now I just need to get it framed).

One thing that J's post that definitely held up was the crowd singing. Not for all the songs, and not as loud as I imagine it'd be in NYC, but "The Geese of Beverly Road," "Daughters of the SoHo Riots" and most of the other tracks had at least a good fourth of the audience (it sounded like, from the front) singing along. Even the fucking perfect "Mr. November" that closed out the main set had plenty of accompaniment, although it was kind of hard to make out for part of the song.

It's pretty much a truism to say that a band is louder and more aggressive live, and it'd be doing the National a disservice to not mention that the National were capable of massive and affecting restraint during the show (with the possible exception of the awesomely into it Matt Berninger, who I could swear almost fell into us while perched at the end of the stage during the more intense bits of some songs), but even a quiet tune like "Start a War" (beautiful choice of opener) managed to build up some real heat on the extended ending; often they would play what was effectively a more red blooded version of the album track and then after it was 'over' just continue on to new heights. Padma Newsome was there with a violin and some electronics, and they managed to replicate many of the album effects, but without horns and more strings the songs were definitely different; in fact, it was a perfect balance between the twin evils of slavish devotion to the recorded version and going totally off the rails. "Fake Empire" in particular took on a wholly new cast, one that was incredibly impressive.

Also, as is already pretty evident on record Bryan Devendorf is one hell of a drummer. He sets his kit up pretty carefully, of course, but the amount he can add to a song is just ridiculous. The whole band was extremely tight and clearly at the height of their powers. The guy I was talking to before the show told me that each of the National's albums have been better than the last (I've never heard the first two); I believe him, but I almost can't bring myself to hope the same is true for Boxer's eventual successor. The album already feels pretty monumental - how can they top it? They've got at least two albums worth of songs that seem to speak personally to a crowd the size of the packed Opera House in a way that I've never really seen a band manage before - or, to quote Keyes, "Berninger is a master lyricist, able to write lyrics that everybody gets but nobody quite understands." What makes the National so great, though, on record but even more so live, is that they more than match Berninger in terms of musical effectiveness and impact. Usually bands either nail the lyrics/content or music/form; the National are one of the lucky few to excel at both, and at their strange intersection as well. Very few things could prevent me from seeing them next time they come to town.

Set List:
Start a War
Secret Meeting
Slow Show
Baby, We'll Be Fine
Apartment Story
The Geese of Beverly Road
Racing Like a Pro
Squalor Victoria
Murder Me Rachael
All the Wine
Guest Room
Daughters of the SoHo Riots
Mistaken For Strangers
Fake Empire
Mr. November

Green Gloves
About Today

[Cross-posted at the Funky Funky 7]

Tuesday, June 05, 2007 

Especially the Goliathon 83

God help me, I want a raygun.


What ever happened

Omar Khadr has had his charges dropped. I really do wonder where all concerned go from here, but at least it's a start.

Sunday, June 03, 2007 

I'm the new blue blood, I'm the great white hope

I was already looking forward to the National on Tuesday but now J. Edward Keyes has me really looking forward to it. That they'll probably play "Lit Up," "Daughters of the Soho Riots," and especially "The Geese of Beverly Road" and "Mr. November" in addition to the new stuff is awesome, although honestly I'm hoping they cover all of Boxer. It's only a short album, they could do it! Of course, the crowd may not be quite as awesome up here, and I'm not even sure they're bringing the support players (I really hope so), but still. This should be great.


Just don't make it last any longer than it has to

Feel good hits of the 3rd of June, 2007:

My Morning Jacket - "I Will Sing You Songs"
Pole - "Warum"
Panda Bear - "Take Pills"
Fad Gadget - "Collapsing New People"
My Chemical Romance - "I Don't Love You"
The Goslings - "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
The Quiffs - "Fuck Knob"
Hüsker Dü - "Makes No Sense At All"
The Count Five - "Psychotic Reaction"
The Walker Brothers - "Make It Easy On Yourself"


Why I'll never be a food critic

So last night I finally tried downtown's newest addition to the bar food scene, Gringo's Burritos. It was pretty awesome - not the cheapest thing I've ever gotten and far too complex in terms of taste and texture to be a good idea when wasted (not to mention fairly sloppy), but for that very reason a great buy if you've only had a couple or are (horror of horrors) sober. The burritos really are massive, and you get a good amount of stuff in them; I may have ordered a steak burrito (the steak was delicious), but I got a rich mix of beans, rice, various kinds of salsas, cheese, and a shitload of green onions (my request) to go with it. And $7 for a full meal isn't exactly a bad deal.

I would, however, maybe avoid getting one just before bed - I had more than one fairly fucked up dream, one about some sort of aliens again (this one ended happily though, even if the aliens were more grotesque), and one about my dead paternal grandfather, home invasions, shotguns, and the true meaning of Christmas. That second one is one I've had before, weirdly enough.

Saturday, June 02, 2007 

New lows

I mean racism, sexism, homophobia et al are obviously harmful, baseless, evil things. But discrimination against a family because they're ginger? That's weird and pathetic in addition to the above. I hope it works out okay for the family in question and all their red-headed brethren.

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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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