Wednesday, October 31, 2007 

That's it, that's all.

I feel like I should change the blog to black for a little while. In any case, between going to NYC tomorrow and my, uh, processing of the ending of the one constant in my life besides my family for the last four years, I might not be writing too much here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 

I believe I'll go back home

My last ever Stylus review, of Sam Amidon's forthcoming and wonderful All Is Well, is up.

Monday, October 29, 2007 

Sleek and beautiful

So it begins; I'm pleased as hell to be mentioned in Todd's wonderful Bluffer's Guide to Stylus, and our Final Seconds (of which mine is the last, probably because I handed it in first) is utterly fucking fantastic.

Edited to add: The ILM thread (start here) is pretty much what I expected, except with more praise. That's kind of nice.

Sunday, October 28, 2007 

Lost at sea, until you find me

Speaking of Stylus, this is the subject of my last ever review for them (going up next week); Sam Amidon's incredible All Is Well, out next February. The whole thing is amazing, but this song, "Saro" - I can't even describe it. You all need to hear it (and it's one of those songs I love where I think everyone from my parents on down might like it). I'm pretty sure Amidon is a genius.


I don't know what to feel right now

I've known for a while now, but it's weird/nice to see Stylus' impending passing noted. I'm not sure what I'm going to do in the future in terms of music writing (and I may want to finish my thesis first...), but I'm sure it'll be something.

For better or for worse, by the way, Pitchfork would never hire me; I'm Canadian.

Saturday, October 27, 2007 

"Just like a real social theory"

I have yet to be able to get into China Mieville's fiction, but he's got a great article about floating utopias and the libertarians who love them.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 

And I never cared about whatever

"The International Tweexcore Underground" is the new song by Los Campesinos! and I've heard it live a couple of times. It's awesome. I need these guys to come back to Toronto in a bad, bad way.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 

"Surprised or disappointed or ruined or bored with every other line."

I am willing to bet that this is by some distance the best review of How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read out there. It has the effect, naturally, of making me not want to read the volume in question. That kind of project was tackled in a much more coherent, interesting and helpful way by the authors of An Incomplete Education, in any case.

Saturday, October 20, 2007 

Two things that are awesome

1. Maximum RNR (still, after all these years, the only real rock and roll band I've ever seen)
2. The Toronto FC game today; we had tickets, and it was glorious. Sure, they went 7-16-8, but when Dichio tied it up today you'd have thought they won the championship. I wish I could attend every game (and there were enough empty seats in the most-full BMO Field to wonder why getting season ticket is so hard).

Mostly I'm too tired from those two events and the drinking that happened around them to elaborate much. But trust me, you should check out either live.

Friday, October 19, 2007 

But you're never really in love

Somehow Wednesday was so busy I missed the fact that my final Seconds for Stylus, on Hefner's "Painting and Kissing" (a song that practically fucking haunts me) went up then. It's a good way to go out, I think.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 


So last night, I:

1. Bought new CDs for the first time since being hired at the Beat Goes On; I had a little extra money, so at the big HMV in Toronto I picked up From Here We Go Sublime by the Field and Year of No Light's fantastic Nord, both things I think we won't get in.
2. Had chorizo for the first time - it's just as delicious as I'd been told.
3. At the same time, tried mole sauce for the first time. The chocolate was interesting, although I think it's something I'd only want to have occasionally.
4. Tried Mill St.'s Tankhouse Ale, which was pretty excellent (and a fine post-prandial accompaniment to Mexican food).
5. Enjoyed the company of Ben and his lovely girlfriend Jenni (and their equally lovely and curling-loving friend Nay); well worth the Greyhound there and back (although I should really remember how much my stomach hates the bus when I've had a few pints - I was fine, but it was touch and go for a minute there). It was great to finally meet another correspondance, and as Ben notes elsewhere we were able to do our part for Anglo-Canadian relations most just by having a few rounds and talking - about Los Campesinos, proper football, curling, grad studies, and etc etc. I wish they'd had the chance to come to Guelph and sample some of our locals, but if that's your biggest complaint about the evening...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007 

Process-like versus product-like

I've finally been able to kick my own ass hard enough to spend some serious time engaging with David Davies' Art as Performance, the other major book I am using for my thesis. I'm contrasting it against Ingarden's The Work of Music and the Problem of its Identity and I'll be arguing for Ingarden against Davies; but so far, about half way in, it's looking more and more like they agree in some very important and surprising ways. More importantly, I think I was reluctant to get down to cases for so long partially because it seemed at first like Ingarden and Davies weren't going to have much to fight about, the subjects were so different; but once I got to the end of chapter 3 I started finding stuff - real, exciting stuff - to grapple with on almost every page. Even better, I've had a response to all of Davies' claims I disagree with so far, and these claims seem to be coming together in a fairly coherent argument for why Davies' (a) isn't arguing against Ingarden and (b) gets the ontology of the work of art wrong.

I am ridiculously excited about this, in a way that I'm not sure anyone but my fellow philosophy grad students would understand. I just wish there was some way for the notes I was taking in my head (well, the paper I was writing in my head, really) to be in a .doc file already - I know what I want to do, it's the scut-work of making it accessible to other people that always gets me. But writing this paper should be a joy - Frankensteining a thesis from it and the two papers I've already got under my belt should be less fun, but still interesting.


Oh Ontario oh Jennifer Jason Leigh

My review of the new Weakerthans is up today at Stylus.

Monday, October 15, 2007 

My mind's gone loose inside its shell

Feel good hits of the 15th of October, 2007:

The National - "Abel"
Red House Painters - "New Jersey"
Sam Amidon - "Saro"
The Mountain Goats - "Fault Lines"
Liars - "The Dumb in the Rain"
The Weakerthans - "Civil Twilight"
Gowns - "Subside"
New Order - "Ruined in a Day"
Of Montreal - "A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger"
Elastica - "Human"

Friday, October 12, 2007 


This saddens me, for a variety of reasons.



So I wake up today, and before I get down to work I decide to watch a little TV. I can't find my glasses. I always leave them on my bedside table or, at most, at my computer desk. They aren't anywhere. It was funny for five seconds, now it's worrying me, and if I keep not finding them I think I may creep myself out. I wasn't drunk or anything last night, where the hell did I put them?

Thursday, October 11, 2007 

Neener neener

Yes, I voted, but I don't really care too much about the election results (interesting to note: could McGuinty's renewed mandate have something to do with Ontarions not liking the way Harper's been acting?); I am, however, childishly pleased to see that John Tory couldn't even get himself elected.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007 

The unmagnificent lives of adults

Thoughts on seeing the National live for the second time this year:

- Still no "Lit Up." One of the few disappointments of the night. Swapping "Brainy" for "Ada" and dropping "Guest Room" was fine, so was dropping "The Geese of Beverly Road," but I seriously need to hear "Lit Up" (last time's set list here).

- Bringing out "one of their heroes" sounded exciting; It was Hayden. Which is cool (and the version of "Dynamite Walls" they played was good), but he's not one of my heroes, so I wasn't going quite as nuts as some.

- For someone who sings about "all the wine" and his "Sauvignon fierce," I like that Matt Berninger drinks pretty much a whole bottle of white wine on stage when they play. He's still one of the most goofily intense and endearing singers I've seen, and his glee at playing with Hayden was awesome.

- The crowd was mostly into it, but not as much singing along, and between the Four People At The Front Of The Crowd Who Wouldn't Shut Up (Until We Asked Them To) and the Drunk Guy With A Loose Interpretation Of Personal Space I did lose my enjoyment for a song or two. Which is especially a pity because I was so unselfconsciously enjoying it the rest of the time.

- I also in a weird way respect the fact that, even as his bandmates swap instruments and play their asses off, Berninger doesn't touch anything more musical than a shaker, and that only once. With Padma Newsome once again along for the ride, there's five guys playing - it's nice that Berninger sticks with what he's definitely awesome at (although I don't know the guy, maybe he's Hendrix too).

- Ending the set with "Start a War" after starting with it in June was interesting (especially as they started with "Brainy"); it works pretty equally well in either place, although it was more of a shock when I didn't know about their tendancy to expand songs live (which they do without 'jamming,' which is nice).

- Speaking of which, anyone who thinks Boxer is too quiet or something needs to buy a ticket for the National Live; "Squalor Victoria" or "Apartment Story" or even "Fake Empire" should be enough to convince them.

- Last time I left off with "Very few things could prevent me from seeing them next time they come to town," and sure enough it was true. Sitting for 90 minutes on the ramp to the Gardiner Expressway while the firetrucks and ambulances dealt with an accident was absolutely worth it, nuts as it made me. Pete and Julia seemed to be impressed too.


And name it after a girlfriend

My review of the new Jens Lekman went up today at Stylus.

Sunday, October 07, 2007 

Al Gore saying "I told you so"

Yesterday was the 6th of October, and it was (with humidity) 37 degrees. That's 99 or so if you're an American. And it was a horrifyingly soupy 37 too. When do I get to have normal fall weather?

Friday, October 05, 2007 

"trying to make a world fit for you"

I don't always agree with Christopher Hitchens, but this is one of the best things ever written on this (or any?) war. Worth reading until the end, for every one of you.


"You think because you don't yell, you're not mean."

So it turns out Knocked Up is like Blazing Saddles; it was so funny the first time that I kind of overlooked or underplayed in my head just how serious and at times uncomfortable a movie it is. Watching it again, right after re-watching the far more gag-tastic The 40 Year Old Virgin was really striking; I still found it funny and if anything I loved it more than last time, but damn is this not a movie about jokes. It's hilarious at times, but I'm not even sure we should be filing it under "comedy."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007 

This one laughing quietly

The mere thought of the Wrens covering "Nightswimming," one of my favourite tracks (a piece I wrote about it is the reasons I started writing for Stylus, fact fans), is enough to make me feel faint. But they've done it.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 

And all I want is something I can write about

Feel good hits of the 2nd of October, 2007:

Crowded House - "Don't Stop Now"
Juliet - "Avalon"
Strategy - "Stop Spinning"
Black Heart Procession - "Waterfront (The Sinking Road)"
The Mountain Goats - "Up the Wolves"
Susanna and the Magical Orchestra - "Condition of the Heart"
Britta Persson - "Low or Wine"
Kate Nash - "Foundations"
Plumtree - "Latitude"
Deepchord Presents Echospace - "Ocean of Emptiness"

Monday, October 01, 2007 

Blatently dishonest claims

Whatever you think about Clinton (and I'm far from unambiguously positive about the man), but the rest of the American left needs to start taking some tips.

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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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