Friday, August 29, 2008 

I could write infinite

So on Wednesday I went to what was ostensibly a Final Fantasy show (and Pallett was certainly great - for someone I'd never listened to before aside from his amazing live cover of "The Power of Love," he sure kept me captivated), but the real draw for me (and the way I got in) was the 802 tour and my first chance to see Sam Amidon live. As good as Final Fantasy was, the comglomerated Samamidon/Doveman/Nico Muhly show (they just play one big set, moving from one act's songs to another) was just that much better, a riveting change of pace from the rock shows that I tend to go to.

And not just because, when Nico took centre stage, suddenly you were at a recital (his solo piece "Skip Town" and the pretty awesome showcase for viola player Nadia Sirota "Keep in Touch" were incredible); something about the interplay of those three guys and the diverse beauty of their various styles just knocked my goddamn socks off. The highlight was probably the set-ending rendition of all three parts of "The Only Tune" from Nico's album featuring Sam reciting, wailing and singing an old folk tune. I got shivers. Thomas(/Doveman)'s extraordinarily gorgeous rendition of Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" was probably a close second. They're not playing with Final Fantasy for the whole tour, and in fact I think they're done the tour now, but if they weren't I would urge you in the strongest possible terms to check it out.

Talking to Sam after the show, he kept being approached by kids wanting autographs and pleading with him to come up to Canada for a proper solo show (which, as someone who hopefully helped get his fantastic new album All Is Well some exposure, was rightly or wrongly immensely gratifying); I was one of them, of course, I just happened to be interviewing him as well. He tells me that Stars Like Fleas are coming to Canada soon, although he won't be with them; there's another show you miss only at your own peril.

Monday, August 25, 2008 

I don't care if this sounds naive

So on my way home from work today, I dropped by their headquarters and gave the last $20 out of my wallet to Mike Nagy's campaign. I don't write much about Guelph politics here, both because I get the sense most of my readers are from elsewhere and also because I don't care much, but I'd really love to see the guy win the upcoming byelection (September 8th, people, no matter who you're voting for!).

The Green Party ain't perfect, but Mike's a good candidate, the best one who's run for Guelph's seat in the last decade or so for sure. And the one thing that makes me feel like this election is kind of important, is this: He keeps coming closer and closer to winning, and if he did here, then that might actually change Canadian politics (which we desperately need). Like I say, there are issues with the Green Party, but having them take part in some way on the federal level simply can't be a bad thing to my mind, whether it's a case of getting a different perspective, asking different questions, or what have you. 77% of the Canadians polled think that, given the percent of the vote the party has gotten in the past (albeit without electing any Members of Parliament, yes) the leader of the Green Party should be allowed to participate in the debates we have each election, and the four ruling parties have, unsurprisingly, shut her out repeatedly. And again, thanks to the Canadian system, I also have the luxury of actually voting directly for a guy who I think would do a fine job on our behalf in the House.

The other reason I'm voting for him again, though, is the NDP. The Liberal and Conservative candidates are both perfectly fine, I'm sure (although both are running for worthless parties I and everyone else I know am heartily sick of), but the NDP got Tom King to run. He's a stunt candidate; I'm not saying he's not qualified or that he would even do a bad job, but anyone with that much (local) fame is a stunt candidate, period. And I don't like that much. Also, he's running for a party that, while better than the major alternatives, is still one that has gotten pretty bad under Jack Layton's leadership (their fearmongering last election sat pretty poorly with me).

So, I don't know, every day I walk past Nagy's campaign office on the way back from work, and I voted for him the last few times because I thought he was the best candidate, and I see a bunch of eager people working their goddamn asses off to try not only to get him elected but to try and give the Green Party their first foothold in North America. And I think they deserve one, and I think Mike Nagy is probably the best person to represent Guelph. I know some local friends who have supported Green in the past are thinking of voting for King instead; I devoutly hope they don't.

Sunday, August 24, 2008 

Better than TV

This bunch of photos is probably my favourite account of the Olympics so far; some are funny, some are dirty, some are gruesome, some are inspiring. As a whole, it's enormously affecting and most of all human. What little of the games I did catch on TV were some of my favourite Olympics in years, probably partly because I don't really follow them.

Saturday, August 23, 2008 

A note on criticism

I always say, when I'm talking about criticism, that I want to get away from the notion of canonicity, and people always wonder what I'm talking about. What a lovely surprise, in the midst of a very good review by Zadie Smith, of all people (novelists tend not to make good reviewers, is all I'm saying) of a new collection of E.M. Forster's radio work, to encounter a beautiful paragraph that happens to be relevant:

Forster was not Valéry, but he defended Valéry's right to be Valéry. He understood the beauty of complexity and saluted it where he saw it. His own preference for simplicity he recognized for what it was, a preference, linked to a dream of mass connection. He placed no particular force behind it.

This is kind of the way I feel about many albums that I respect or even like, but do not love enough to, say, own, or listen to again. I'd expand on this now, but I have to go have a beer or ten.


I thought at the time it was clear; I thought at the time it was clear

Feel good hits of the 22nd of August, 2008:

Mojave 3 - "My Life in Art"
Facts About Funerals - "Sunrise"
The Rosebuds - "Get Up Get Out"
Destroyer - "Painter in Your Pocket"
The Sound - "Acceleration Group"
Deerhunter - "Strange Lights"
Josh Rouse - "Little Know It All"
Red House Painters - "Take Me Out"
Hot Chip - "A Family in Here"
Shivaree - "Idiot Waltz"

Friday, August 22, 2008 

This is the best idea ever

It's called Cassette From My Ex, and I suddenly deeply regret that non of my exes ever made me a cassette tape (or rather one ex-crush did, in high school, and I don't have it any more and can't remember what was on it). Oh, if only you could write up CDs as well!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 

The ecstatic static

My Village Voice review of the new Stereolab album has hit the web.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 


I'm busy/on semi-vacation this week (yes, again), but someone stumbled upon this and I had to share - not just because he's right, although I think he is (and Simon's put his finger on something that's long kind of bugged me), but because of the really flattering mention of both Stylus and myself. It's appreciated.

Sunday, August 17, 2008 

The warm beds of beginners

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

The National - "City Middle"
Hefner - "Don't Flake Out on Me"
The Rolling Stones - "Loving Cup"
Hot Chip - "Making Tracks"
Thrush Hermit - "French Inhale"
Mogwai - "The Sun Smells Too Loud"
Dragonette - "Take It Like a Man"
Low - "Will the Night"
Bardo Pond - "This Time (So Fucked)"
Grizzly Bear - "While You Wait For the Others"

Thursday, August 14, 2008 

Go listen to this record

My review of the new, fantabulous Stars Like Fleas record is up today at PopMatters.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 

Catching up

It feels like I was gone forever, but I guess not; all that's been up in my absence was this review of the new Gas boxset that went up today, and my most recent turn at What Was It Anyway?, on Mike Paradinas' finest hour.


A reminder

If you go away for more than a few days, leave a pile of stuff in your computer chair. Frank the cat sheds a lot, and he misses you.

Sunday, August 10, 2008 

The heat

So I'm in the 'business center' of the Holiday Inn we've been staying at in San Antonio since Wednesday; today we drive up to Killeen, where my cousin who just got married lives, and we stay there until Wednesday when we come back down here to fly up to Canada again.

I am looking forward to being cold again like you wouldn't believe. It's not that it actually gets that much hotter there (5 degrees, maybe) it's just that instead of that being a once in a while thing, in the full glare of the afternoon, it's constant. I was sitting out on the front patio of the hotel at 1 am this morning, cold beer in hand, shooting the shit, and the sweat was just pouring off of us all. The darkness didn't make it cooler at all.

It doesn't help that we're all drinking constantly, although it's certainly made for a good vacation (and relatively action packed at that - marathon golf sessions, a bachelor party and a wedding, bar hopping, tour of the River Walk, etc etc etc). I like San Antonio - and, in general, Texans - very much, but we're all very close to getting ready to go home. My birthday is tomorrow and I'll be doing I-don't-know-what for it - don't really want to celebrate, to be honest. Between this and the reunion in Kincardine and Hillside before that, I'm all relaxed out. I want to get back to work (but there's still one more 'vacation' before that, which I'm looking forward to...).

In any case, still alive, having a great time, so sick of sweating that you just wouldn't believe it. I get back to Ontario Tuesday, I work Wednesday. Hopefully my personal bottom line can survive this month.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008 

Incapable of rational thought

The weekend was excellent, and I'll write about it later - I've had two days with virtually no sleep and I have to pass out now. In the meantime, he's a very well-written, rather heartbreaking story about Genesis P-Orridge, a man the world tried so hard to break that he tried to break it right back.

Saturday, August 02, 2008 

Plus, deadlines

August is likely to see a drastically reduced amount of activity here, at least at first - I'm travelling a lot, and busy a lot too. I saw The Dark Knight again and it held up pretty well. I have a massive headache this morning and we're driving to Kincardine for some sort of reunion, so that's fun.

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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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