Tuesday, July 29, 2008 

Sandal tan

So Hillside was fun, probably even more fun than last year as I wasn't working (in either sense of the word - no press pass, no shifts at the store). I didn't see any of the really big acts, but I also didn't want to (the lineup this year was good but full of bands I don't care that much about), and I was at the festival for a good 8-9 hours Saturday and Sunday both, so I don't exactly feel cheated.

It was a good weekend - with a hat and some sunscreen I avoided getting burned, only one mosquito bit me, I had a ton of good food and beer (Stone Hammer Dark, apparently my festival beer of choice), ran into dozens of friends, and caught some really great music. I also had one of those walking-across-the-festival-wait-what's-this? moments that I love, when I happened upon Harry Manx's set. The music was great, and he also had the best between-song banter I saw, very deadpan (at one point, while tuning up a banjo: "If you wonder what I'm doing up here... I'm checking my email."). If I'd had more money, I would have grabbed one of his discs. Also great, in the order that I saw them rather than preference (which would be near impossible): The Monster Show, The Magic, The Burning Hell, Droppin' Science (old buddies of ours from high school performing science raps for the kids), Harri Palm and the Solo Pilots, Thunderheist, Think About Life, Akron/Family (tied with the Magic and maybe Think About Life for set of the weekend, for me), Bell Orchestre, and The Acorn, who provided exactly the kind of set I wanted to see last thing before coming back home: Big, triumphant, and loved.

And I know I've said this before, but it still blows me away that this festival has free unlimited water for everyone, a free shuttle from downtown Guelph, and reusable plates for all the food (even the beer and wine is only served in reusable plastic Hillside cups - they sell them, but you can use ones from past years, as long as you remember to bring them). Ben came for the first time, and although if anything the lineup was even less suited for him than me, I know he had a good time. What a great way to kill a weekend.



My capsule review of Philip Jeck's new Sand is up today.



I should probably write something about Hillside (fun! despite deliberately not seeing any headliners!), but I'm too tired. Today my review of the new Alison Moyet went up on PopMatters, in any case.

Saturday, July 26, 2008 

Be right back

I'm at the Hillside Festival all weekend, hope you're all having as good a time wherever you are.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 

"I had fun."

The best thing I've read yet on The Dark Knight is by Ned Raggett; spoilers ahoy, but he does capture how I feel/felt about the movie.

Monday, July 21, 2008 

"Some men just want to watch the world burn."

The Dark Knight is the most disturbing super hero movie I have ever seen. It's the most intentionally disturbing super hero movie I have ever seen. It's also the best, and along with Wall-E easily the best film of 2008 (I can't pick between the two for many reasons, and luckily I don't have to). I actually have trouble believing I've actually seen Batman done properly on the big screen. But I did.

The fact that such a bleak, disturbing movie has set box office records is actually perversely reassuring.

Saturday, July 19, 2008 

"The hammer is my penis"

Yeah, I know it's an internet cause celebre right now, but you should check out Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog while it's still free anyways.


Like an outlet in an adobe hut

So, uh, in addition to all the ways we already knew she was brilliant, Delia Derbyshire may have invented electronic dance music (seriously, the clip sounds like Aphex Twin). The really sad (fucking tragic, actually) part is that if she'd happened to have testicles, we probably wouldn't be finding out about this forty years after the fact. And this is a woman, I'll remind you, who got out of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop when synthesizers came along because "it all became a little too easy."

Friday, July 18, 2008 

Sustained exposure, increased risk

My review of the new Wire album is up at PopMatters. The album is quite good, if you're wondering.

Thursday, July 17, 2008 

Bigger than words and wider than pictures

My review of the recent remaster/repackaging of Mogwai's Young Team is up today at PopMatters.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 

You've become like family

Feel good hits of the 16th of July, 2008:

The Wedding Present - "Octopussy"
Wheat - "The Beginner"
Adem - "Loro"
Ola Podrida - "Atmosphere"
Wire - "Perspex Icon"
Cooper Temple Clause - "Blind Pilots"
Alphabeat - "Fascination"
Air France - "Collapsing at Your Doorstep"
The Lovely Feathers - "Rod Stewart"
Underworld - "Jumbo"

Thursday, July 10, 2008 

Come outside!

My review of Come, Arrow, Come! the rather modestly great little debut record by Festival is up today at PopMatters.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008 

I'll maybe tell you all about it, someday

I don't like The Life Pursuit very much. Maybe it's because it's Belle & Sebastian's most 'classic rock' sounding album (that guitar solo on "Mornington Crescent," ugh!) or because the lyrics aren't as good (on the whole) as they used to be, or... I don't know, really. Dear Catastrophe Waitress and the fantastic Books EP marked the beginning of what I called at the time Belle & Sebastian Mk II, and although I deeply love Fold Your Hands, etc I was excited. But there's no "If She Wants Me" here, there's not even a "Stay Loose." There are some good songs on The Life Pursuit and a few great ones ("For the Price of a Cup of Tea"!), but ultimately too much of it feels hollow to me, something I never thought I'd say (I always thought they'd fuck up by being too much themselves, not by finally placing an emphasis on textures and sounding like old music). "Funny Little Frog" is one of the exceptions, mainly because it continues proudly in the tradition of relatively covertly devastating B&S songs, following on nicely from something like "I'm Waking Up to Us." In what way wasn't precisely clear to me until I saw the video, however.

In any case, after tonight's listen, I'm decided - I'm selling The Life Pursuit. They can't all be keepers.

Monday, July 07, 2008 

I'd rather wrestle my machine

My review of the new, good-not-great Local H album is up at PopMatters today.

Sunday, July 06, 2008 

Wake and want in the morning

I've been listening to these guys a lot recently, I wish their albums were still in print (although I'll take Capsule for now, gladly). This is one of the rare times when YouTube de-synching the sound and image kind of works for me.



It's always weird to run into your own stuff when doing research, and it was especially weird not just to run into an exhaustive Wikipedia entry on Mogwai's song "Yes! I Am a Long Way From Home," but that said exhaustive entry quotes an old Stylus article of mine...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008 

Tending the flock

My contribution to PopMatters series on used bookstores (which has been really uniformly excellent) is up today, for your enjoyment.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008 

Happy Canada Day, everybody

I just discovered an American friend of mine didn't know about Canada Day. For shame! Anyway, our heritage is a lot more entertaining than theirs.

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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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