Thursday, October 30, 2008

An Evening With David Byrne...

Let me preface this post with the following: I enjoy all of the Talking Heads' albums, love the collaborations between Byrne and Eno, and have even enjoyed a few moments on solo Byrne records.

With that being said, last night's David Byrne show at Massey Hall was, to put it nicely, shit. Actually you know what, fuck being nice, last night's show was pretentious, bourgeoisie bullshit. It was if Byrne asked himself, "what would a bunch of 40 year old middle class white people enjoy"? All white outfits? Check. Interpretive dance? Check. Bad light show? Check. Lots of boring arrangements? Check. Three acoustic guitars? Check.

Seriously, this evening could not have went worse. Byrne looked old and could only muster a few post ironic dance moves before he seemed to tire out. He had three background singers and a bongo player. The interpretive dance was awful. The crowd broke into more hip swaying hand claps than could be counted. Which, by the way, is way worse than the fist pump. And the crowd remained seated throughout the entire show. The only thing that the entire night had going for it was the great sound at Massey Hall. Yet Byrne seemed quite fine with wasting this great sound playing horribly arranged Talking Heads songs, only a few, and way too short, versions of Byrne/Eno collaborations, and way too many adult contemporaryish new solo Byrne songs. Oh, and no "Psycho Killer".

The show left me shaking my head in disappointment, and really made me wonder if I'd ever again pay to see an aging musician past their prime...or at the very least never go into a show like this with any sort of expectations.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Spectacle That Is Of Montreal

Skeletal Lamping has been getting some bad press since being released on 21 October. Many critics have compared Skeletal Lamping to the worst selections from The Fiery Furnaces catalogue, which means that they think Skeletal Lamping is muddled and too schizophrenic to be enjoyed as an album. To an extent I can see where these critiques are coming from, Barnes does throw a lot at his listeners in each one of his songs. However, after seeing these songs performed live, I not only feel assured that Barnes knows exactly what he is doing, but also that he has made one of the more interesting and dense records of the year.

The show consisted mostly of new jams off of Skeletal Lamping with a few old songs of Hissing Fauna Are You The Destroyer? thrown in as well, and the whole show played as a sort of avant garde type play. Although I hesitate to use avant garde because I think that is a phrase thrown around when people generally don't understand something and last night's theatrics were not confusing at all. In fact, the theatrics as well as the lighting and other visual images used throughout the show, made Skeletal Lamping's many thematic layers become almost decipherable, even understandable. The show was filled with multiple costume changes, several dancers or 'interpretists', a large ever changing centre stage piece and a number of short plays involving Barnes and the dancers. Each one of these changes was coupled with a very specific part of a song and were linked together in a way that made the songs seem more like a 'real' song, and less like a schizophrenic collage of interesting music. Upon first listen of Skeletal Lamping I knew that it was an album that was challenging the role of gender in art and life as well as a sort of vessel for multiple rebirths for Barnes and his band, but these themes only became more evident through the show last night. The gender theme was obvious, with Barnes wearing skimpy costumes and traditional women's wear throughout most of the show, as well a number of mini plays that seemed to question our understanding of gender and at once turn it on its head. Rebirth was portrayed throughout the show with the culmination coming when Barnes was hung at centre stage and soon reappeared in a new costume for a new song. I know this sounds cliched, but it was a powerful moment in the show, and it really got the theme of rebirth across to the audience in a way that a simple listen to the LP may never have.

I could go on for paragraphs about the visual stimulation of last night's show, but instead, I'll try to keep this show review under 1000 words and talk about the sound. The show was staged at the Queen Elizabeth's Theatre on the CNE grounds, which, yes, is a really weird place to have a show. The venue had seats, which thankfully no one used, and no beer was allowed in. You would think that this would make for an awkward concert experience at best, but whatever the venue lacked in convenience, it easily made up for in sound. The bass was loud and helped make each track even more danceable, and the vocals were clear and up front in the mix. The whole show just sounded absolutely fantastic, and each song was fully fleshed out with a large backing band that included two drummers, a keyboardist, two guitarists, a bass player
and Barnes, who also shredded some axe when needed.

The show was great, and I would say that it helped to push Skeletal Lamping into the running for my favourite record of the year. Who knows, that may be just the hangover of a great show talking, but for now I'm sticking to my story: Of Montreal and Skeletal Lamping are the motherfucking headliner, bitch.

Oh, and did I mention that they finished the show with an encore performance of "Smells Like Teen Spirit"?

Certified Banger #4

Much has been made about the title of Gang Gang Dance's follow up of 2003's remarkable God's Money. Saint Dymphna refers to the Catholic Saint of mental illness, and therefore much has been said about the themes present in the new LP. Fans and critics have pointed to the sometimes nervous and alienating feeling that underscores much of this rhythmic and very danceable record. Gang Gang Dance has been compared to fellow experimental pop act Animal Collective since the release of God's Money, but it is on this album that the comparison becomes clearly evident. It's not the actual sound of the music that brings about this comparision, although it does share some striking similarities, but, rather, it is more the ability of Gang Gang Dance to make a record that is so clearly a pop record while still remaining pointedly experimental. The album is built on a number of different musical influences, including shoegaze, raggaeton, different aspects of hip hop and grime and experimental electronics. What is striking about this album is how Gang Gang Dance is able to reinterpret these influences and build songs around these reinterpretations layered on top of each other which in turn simultaneously creates a beautiful drone like structure to the entire album with flourishes of playful and interesting guitar riffs, piercing synths, raps, found sound, and a variety of genre jumping beats throughout.

The standout track on the album comes in the form of a 4:13 instrumental track entitled "Vacuum". The track starts off slowly, building on gorgeous and churning Loveless-era guitar work, interrupted only sporadically by throbbing lazer-like synths. A minute into the track the heavy percussion really kicks in, with tumbling cymbal crashes and machine gun style drumming that help to create a sense of constant building and the subsequent collapsing in on itself. The throbbing lazer-like synths and other menacing and ominous sounds found near the half way mark of the track help to break up the drone of the track and create a clear song arc. I don't know what else can be said about this track; it's just a beautiful and engulfing song that demands repeated listens to pick up on all of the subtlety placed sounds and rhythms.

As always, check the side bar for the track. ----------------->

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Island Party Recap

I know it has been a week and I promised an Island Party recap... so here it is.

The night started off with an extended pre-load and a game of dominoes. I had been talking smack all night about how sick my d-no game was. I told my two friends from the Bahamas that I was about to serve them up a Six-Love (in dominoes, that means an ass whooping). My mouth got the better of me that night as I had thought I had won the match with a strategic game block. I was left with the one-two in my hand, unfortunately Razor Ramon to my left had other ideas... as I was slamming my last domino in his face, he revealed the two-blank. My dignity had been stolen and it was only 10:30pm.

With that ostentatious ass whooping in the books we hit the town for a night of bangin' ass dancehall bullets and reggae classics... or so we thought.

Dion the Butcha was cutting it up rather nicely all night. He threw in some fav's of mine ... Leftside - She Wah (Workout Riddim), Collie Buddz - Mamacita and a real banging classic, Shy Guy by Diana King (Oh Lawd have mercy, mercy, mercy). The crowd was big and seemed to be into it but there was somthing missing. The authentic Island Party vibe wasn't there, it might have had something to do with all the hip hop he mixed in... although the tracks were pure bangers. The vibe wasn't there... no lightas inna di air, no gunfingas, nothing. Even the hypeman wasn't feeling it.. there were no interruptions in the tracks calling for some sort of ridiculous behaviour, no real dancing tunes (Elephant Man style). It was really just like a regular club night that was heavy on the dancehall. The night was fun ... but it wasn't what I had expected.

In the morning I conferred with my friends from the Bahamas and Bermuda and they also agreed that the crowd and DJ just weren't on point that night. The Island Party vibe is crucial to an Island Party ... this jam was too ... commercialized perhaps. It didn't suck by any means but it wasn't like the last jam I was at either. Overall 2.78/5 night ... sorta weak.

Here are some pics of Dion Da Butcha and his hypeman and pics of the crowd.

Take a look at bottom left hand corner ... see the guy with the redick jacket on (bright green and red)? That is Razor Ramon, the guy who whooped my ass in dominos.

For your pleasure: Bone Thugs N Harmony - Tha Crossroads

Fresh off a screening of Pineapple Express, I couldn't help but appreciate the inclusion of Bone Thug N Harmony's 'Tha Crossroads' in the film. Apart from the film, this song was the centerpiece of shitty underage basement parties way back in 1996. I remember how great it was then, and I urge you to take a trip down the lane of memories and get Boned one more time. Now, if this is your first time, sit back and prepare yourself for glorious harmonies, guys with Bone in their name and one hell of a chorus.

My personal favourite verse is Wish Bone's and I have included the lyrics below:

Lil Eazy's long gone
Really wish he would come home
But when it's time to die
Gotta go bye bye
All a lil thug could do is cry, cry
Why they kill my dog and man
I miss my uncle Charles y'all
and he shoudn't be gone, in front of his home
What they did to Boo was wrong
Oh so wrong, oh so wrong
Gotta hold on gotta stay strong
When the day comes
Better believe Bone got a shoulder you can lean on (lean on)

Hey and we pray, and we pray, and we pray, and we pray
everyday, everyday, everyday, everyday
and we pray, and we pray, and we pray, and we pray
everyday, everyday, everyday, everyday

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blast from the Past: Cool It Now - New Edition

Instead of posting the original video for this song, which is actually pretty good, I decided to post the newish video of NBAer Baron Davis rollerskating to New Edition's "Cool It Now" in Emmanuelle Chriqui's short, One Shot. Baron's got some solid moves on the skates, and the one continuous shot of the video is pretty cool too.

If you have the urge to watch the original video now, click on the link below. For some reason Geffen Records don't allow videos to be embeded on sites...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Certified Banger #3

Ok so I will admit right off the bat, I'm a little late to the whole Vivian Girls party. I don't know what it was, maybe it was the overwhelming amount of good music that has been released over the past two months or it could be the automatic backlash attached to any band coming out of Brooklyn these days, but I kept putting off a thorough listen of the Vivian Girls recently released self titled LP. I finally found the time and desire to sit down and give the album a listen and what I found was quite pleasing. The entire album consists of a set of very short and interesting songs built around a story arc about love found and lost, and the emotions that come along with the whole process. I wouldn't go as far as to call the album a concept album, that is a term that is thrown around way too often these days, but it definitely has a broader over arching theme that ties the entire album together. The album progresses from girl meets boy, girl falls in love, boy hurts girl, boy runs away, boy returns and finally girl rejects boy. This is the point in the album where we reach this week's certified banger, "I Believe In Nothing".

"I Believe In Nothing" has all of the DIY punk aesthetic including, jangling percussion, poorly played guitar riffs and repetitive bass lines, but it also contains, hidden beneath layers of reverb and poor production qualities, striking vocals and beautiful harmonies. The track plays as a sort of nihilistic anthem for the emotionally unattached. Following the story arc of the album, we can take this song as an attempt by the protagonist to shut herself out of her feelings and make herself emotionally unavailable to the entire situation, something that many of us can relate to. What makes this song so interesting to me is the entire arrangement and tone of this song. One would think that the final song, at the height of the drama which has unfolded over the entire album, would sound more angry or intense. Instead, the Vivian Girls show extreme restraint and never allow the listener the release that is expected, and most definitely yearned for. The song plays along at a mid tempo, with nearly no emotion coming from the beautifully sung anthem. These elements work together so well to create a real nihilistic drone throughout the entire 2:26 of the track that you almost start to believe that, maybe, she doesn't care. Maybe she does, maybe she doesn't, who knows. All I know is that this is one of the more enrapturing songs that I have heard in a long time.

As always, check the side bar for the track.------------------->

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Kanye live at Arena Monterrey

Kanye slid into Monterrey on Saturday night and I must say that the first thing that caught my attention when I arrived at the show was that it was not sold out. All the prime seats were full, but the shittier seats were widely free of fans. I was almost worried that ol' Kanye would react to this by playing a short set or seemed detached from the show but boy was I was wrong. To put it simply, Kanye came out and tore the damn roof off the place. Before I go into detail about the things that I liked about his set, I might as well start with the shit I didn't, because there really wasn't a lot I disliked. First, for a GLOW IN THE DARK tour, I really wasn't blown away by the stage or lights. His backing band came out clad in dark, black clothing and they seemed to vanish into the backdrop, leaving ol' Yeezy as the prime focus. I'm sure this attention is exactly what Kanye wanted, as we all know that he is an egomaniac. But honestly, I couldn't give less of a shit what type of guy Kanye is, we all know he is a little crazy, but I mean come on, the guy is on mother dying, breakup tilt, if that doesn't give you some license to be nuts, nothing does. There also were no video screens and the light show was not really that impressive, but man, his set was tight. The show really played like a Kanye greatest hits show and it clocked in around 2 hours, which granted I've only been to a few Hip Hop shows, but it was by far the longest performance I've witnessed by a rapper. Kanye came out guns blazing and he never let up from opener 'Good Morning' to the encore of 'Stronger'. There wasn't a song I wanted to hear that he didn't play and the crowd, well not a sellout, was banging along to every beat. He even threw in a few covers and songs that he is featured on, including T.I's 'Swagger Like Us' and some ol' Young Jeezy. The only new joints we heard were 'Love Lockdown' and 'Heartless,' which was not really a surprise to me. They sounded solid live, nothing really too different about them then the latest versions currently available. Overall, Kanye rocked the shit out of Monterrey and it was a great night. Below, you will find the video to 'Can't tell me nothing,' a song that I have to admit I was a fan of before the show, but have even more love for it after he killed it live and direct. Enjoy...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

MGMT live at Escenica

Now, I must be fair to Brooklyn's MGMT, we got to the show a little later and the crowd was huge, so my review must keep that in mind. I did not expect the crowd to be as large as it was and it definitely affected my experience a bit, as I was unable to secure a beverage(which I really wanted) and Mexi's were bumping into me left, right and center, which never increases your love for a show. As for the show, I would have to say that seeing the band in a more intimate venue has really strengthened my opinion that their
Oracular Spectacular is really a single driven album. Now, I will also say that MGMT are stupid by no means, as they played they show as any single driven band should do. And that is to play your weaker, slightly shitty songs at the beginning of your set (Pieces of What, 4th Dimensional Transition), while interest is high and close with your tighter, more accessible tracks, all the while slipping in the decent ones (The Youth, Of Moons, Birds and Monsters) when interest lingers. I also feel that the undeniable hero of this band is Ben Goldwasser, whose keyboard riffs really are the glue to any of their bangers. Song highlights of course were 'Time to Pretend,' 'Electric Feel' and the encore of 'Kids.' It also became clear that while overall the band fits comfortably into a psychedelic pop world, it is interesting that their singles have more of a electro pop feel to them. I have to admit though that I was guilty of throwing up the ol' dukes during some tunes and when I looked around there was about as many Mexi fist pumps as you would expect to see during an encore at a Hip concert. One question I have though to anyone who attended the show is "what the hell was in that goblet the band was drinking out from?" Overall, a good show, no surprises and the sound was a little shitty. Enjoy the non-offical, yet pretty rad video for their excellent single 'Kids' below.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oliver Stone's W.

Film: W. (2008, Lionsgate)

Director: Oliver Stone

Cast: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, Richard Dreyfuss, Jeffery Wright, Thandie Newton, James Cromwell, Scott Glen, Toby Jones, Rob Corddry, Dennis Boutsikaris, Jason Ritter, Randall Newsome

Rating: 71%

Oliver Stone's latest film, W., is somewhat a mess. Not an all together unwatchable mess, but one that fails to say anything of much importance. No doubt this movie will attract a number of people interested in the upcoming election, and it may even sway some of the swing votes towards Obama, yet it's insights into the motives of Bush and his administration are still muddled and unclear. The film is centred around the lead up to the Iraq War and the subsequent inability of the administration to produce any WMDs in war torn Iraq. As well, spliced throughout the film are incidents and important moments of Bush's past that are intended to help the film goer understand the 43rd president better. Trouble is, they don't.

Stone has been quoted as saying that he approaches these type of biopic movies in a non-bias, even empathetic way. This would most certainly explain the over blown 'daddy issues' throughout W. We are constantly hit over the head throughout this entire movie with how hard the elder Bush was on 'poor' W., and how everything Bush Jr. did was an attempt to win over his father. Now this angle would have been interesting if it would have been more tied into the fact that family bickering was being played out on the world stage through a massive assault on Iraq, but this was not the angle that Stone played up most in this sub plot of W.. Instead, we are subjected to scenes of jealousy and petty arguments. Therefore, we are left with a picture of Bush as a sniveling, whiny, spoiled rich kid with daddy issues. This may be a spot on characterization, but it does little to explain why he has done certain things such as, signing off on the Patriot Act, agreeing to the continued use of torture or his complete and utter disregard for the UN.

The other main thread that runs throughout the movie is the issue of religion in W's life. Unlike most of the other stories surrounding the Christian rebirth of George W., Stone hints toward a more complex reason for his rebirth. In W., we see that Bush Jr. does not give up booze and his irresponsible days because he was hurting his family or spiraling out of control, rather he did it because he came to a realization that a Christian rebirth was a way in which he could garner more support in his bid to run for the position of Texas Governor. As he tells his wife in one of the more intimate and personal scenes of the movie, "I will not be out Texased again in this election". Therefore, through this approach by Stone, or maybe just through my over analyzing of this movie, we come to see George W. in a different light, a more conniving and sinister light. Is he really a born again Christian, or is this all an act in order to increase his political relevance in Texas? I would have to say it was the latter of the two. Not only did Bush Jr.'s born again Christian schtick work magic for him in the Republican primaries in 2000, but there is also a telling scene in W., where Bush Jr. tries to have his father come out as a born again in order to help in his bid for election and re-election. Not only was he okay with using rebirth to further his own career, but he also saw it as a legitimate tool for his father to gain and retain the presidency. A very conniving, and some would even say brilliant political move. Maybe Bush Jr. isn't a complete idiot. Wait, that might be going a bit too far, he definitely is still an idiot.

As for the cast, Stone and his casting director did a terrific job selecting actors who not only shared a striking resemblance to their real life characters, but who also had the acting chops to pull off performances that were not simply comedic parodies. Josh Brolin does a good job in the lead role, playing up the simplicity of his character. He is also helped by Stone, who utilizes a number of tight close ups on Brolin in order to really give a sense of confusion and bumbling when Brolin is on the screen. Other standouts included Jeffery Wright, as Gen. Colin Powell, who was able to bring tension to the scenes involving the cabinet, and Toby Jones, as Karl Rove, who was hideously ugly and frighteningly controlling behind the scenes throughout this film. There was no cast member who seemed out of place, and with a better script, who knows what this cast might have been able to accomplish.

For those looking for reassurance or further proof that Bush is an idiot or a poor leader there is lots of material in this movie including, the infamous pretzel choking incident, many bumbling speeches and a number of drunken moments. But for those looking for a more intimate look at George W., one with exacting insights into major decisions made by the president and his administration, W. comes up short. I would say it is a film worth checking out, just go into it knowing what you are going to get; a somewhat dark comedy with little or no real political or personal substance.

Pull It Up My Selectah

There is a large Caribbean population in Halifax, NS, mostly students from: The Bahamas, Bermuda and Trinidad (although there are representatives from other islands). With the diaspora of Caribbean students coming to study in one of Halifax's 4 Universities or 3 community colleges, this leads to one of a kind super parties. Island Parties! I attended my first Island Party last year at a small bar called Coconut Grove. The DJ was a Bermudian, and with many of my colleagues being from Bermuda, needless to say the night was amazing. I can probably say, without question, it was one of the best nights I had out in Halifax.

For those who have never been to an Island Party, it really is out of this world. The music played is dancehall/reggae/roots and is often referred to as Passa Passa. At Passa Passa, girls dance with men in a manner that is more likely suited for an urban burlesque show. The men... well the men also have choreographed dances. Popular dances include "Signal Di Plane", "Dutty Wine", and "Nuh Linga", a dance that was seen by the entire world this summer as performed by Usain Bolt after breaking the 100 metre world record (he also did the "Gully Creepa"). Check out YouTube for exclusive dance tips.

This leads me to tonight. CLIMAX 4 ... The Island Party of the Year. I will be attending this party this evening with my friends from Halifax, Bermuda and the Bahamas. We have got V.I.P. tickets which gets us a free Heineken and V.I.P. access in the club. The bar hosting the island party this year is named the The Palace or as bar stars refer to it "Pa la che." The DJ? One of the Bahamas top DJ's and most popular, Dion Da Butcha. I promise to come back with a supplimentary analysis of the evening as well as pictures of (hopefully) ridiculous dances and DJ pics. Although this party won't be a Passa Passa with all the crazy sex stuff, there is sure to be some incredible ridiculousness transpiring.

For more information on island parties... GO TO ONE.
or check out some of these hot ass DJ's

Chinese Assassin
Black Chiney
DJ Kenny
DJ Samurai
DJ L (from New York)

Here is a vid of MY fav DJ's Black Chiney at Kardinal's party in T.O.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Hey, do you smell the Apocalypse?"

There is no secret as to how fucked up the American economy is right now. And while we sit and wait to see what result this economic tilt will have on the rest of the world, I have to admit that another world issue has grabbed my attention. I help run a UN club at my school and I have not been able to ignore the issue of the World Food Crisis that is looming over our society. As noted on the Oxfam website, the World Food Crisis is the result of a number of complex and interlocking causes. Most notably, biofuel policies, high fuel prices, growing global demand (particularly from large, emerging economies of China and India), unfair world trade rules, and climate change. One comment I read today in an article entitled "8 ways to fix the Global Food Crisis" by Kent Garber really made me stop and think. In the article he writes, "the world food crisis has two faces, here in the United States, shoppers stare in disbelief at the rising price of milk, meat, and eggs, but elsewhere on the globe, anguish spills into the streets, as in Somalia last week when tens of thousands of rioters converged on the capital to protest for food." I really think Garber does a nice job of raising awareness of how bad things are in the world outside of the United States. When you consider that around 2.7 billion people live on less than a $1 a day, with 80 percent of that money being spent on food or that price of basic foods have gone up as much as 300 percent over the last few years, it
becomes radically clear that we have major problems on the rise. The video below, while not full of laughs, does provide some information on the issue. As for a solution? Well, lets hope that familiar smell of apocalypse fades away like a bad dream from the night before because someone has actually stepped up and done something about it.

Guess Who's Back...

Eminem, who's been on the down low for a minute now, has revealed that he has in fact ended his self imposed exile from the rap world, and has a record finished, entitled The Relapse, and it is ready to be released. He didn't give an exact release date, but he hinted that it could be released by the end of this calendar year. It seems like everyone is dropping albums quickly these days with little or no press build up. I don't know if they are doing this in order to stop early leaks, build their own hype, or because the record industry is in such bad shape that they can't afford any promotion, but I like this quick turn around. Waiting months for an album's release date or the eventual week early leak was always a bitch for albums I really wanted to hear.

That wasn't all the news coming from the Eminem camp. He also premiered a track off The Relapse called "I'm Having A Relapse". Not really sure what to think of this track right off the bat. His nhilistic flow sounds tight, and his references, alliteration, and metaphors are on point, but I can't help but notice how juvenile it all sounds. I don't know if that is a reflection of my increasing age, or if it is more a reflection of the times that we are now living in. Since Em left the rap scene the world has transformed greatly. With an increased presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, growing racial and political tensions and now with the world economy tittering on the brink of collapse, I just don't know if now is the right time for an Eminem album. The rap albums that have hit home most with me this year have been from artists dealing with personal struggle during our bleak times so I just don't know how this new Em album will resonate with me. But I digress. The track is quite short at only two minutes, but Eminem packs in a lot by skipping a chorus, and instead just rapping straight through. At the half way point, he switches his flow up, and takes on a sort of Jamaican accent-flow. Sounds strange, but it works quite well. The beat is somewhat of a standard Em beat, with lots of hand claps and drums that seem to build around the rhyme patterns of Em. It's also backed throughout with some sort of "eastern" flute, which sounds pretty cool. Standout line of the track has to be "I get these panic attacks, pop a Xanax relax, trying to stick my fucking dick inside a mannequin's ass". I'm not gonna lie, I am really intrigued to see what this album sounds like and it's critical and popular reception in our current times.

Check the youtube clip below.

In other news, Em's also got a coffee table book out entitled, The Way I Am. Looks kinda shitty.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Does anybody else miss this guy?

Now I won't say that season 3 of Dexter has been totally shitty, but I will say that the show is clearly missing Sgt. Doakes. I think ol' Doakes was a crucial element to the show and his exit was far too early. The banter and tension between Doakes and Dexter was money in the bank and it is a shame that he had to be written out. I realized that the show was fucked for a script and went another direction, but I sure as hell hope that this new detective Joey Quinn can step up and make me interested because right now he is about as interesting as Sconew in a bar shirt. Below you'll find "Darkly Interesting Scotty" about ready to throw on a bar shirt and some classic Dexter vs. Doakes banter.

Canada Votes 2008

Polls Close tonight at 930 pm est, one of the longer polling days in recent memory, and thus none of the ridings have been decided yet. Although this is an overtly political post, as was discussed earlier, politics do have a serious effect on the arts and culture in Canada. Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to make a few predictions tonight about the outcome of the election. Keep in mind, the magic number for a majority government is 155. Here goes:

Conservatives: 132 seats - up from 124 in 2006

Liberals: 70 - down from 103 in 2006

NDP: 53 - up from 29 in 2006

Bloc: 50 - down from 51 in 2006

Green: 2 - up from 0 in 2006

Independent: 1 - same as 2006

As you can see, I think that the Conservatives will retain their minority government. Although their campaign looked very strong in the early stages, Harper did not seem to provide any clear answers or plans regarding the downturn in the economy and this will ultimately hinder him from achieving a majority. You can also see that I think that the Liberals will take a huge beating at the polls this election, losing over 30 ridings, and this has to do with Dion's weak leadership and horrible showings at debates and nearly all press conferences. This corresponds directly with a huge jump in support for the NDP. This may be personal bias here or even just a pipe dream, but I think that the working class virtues, saefty net approach, and strongly environmental platform presented by Layton is going to connect with a lot of voters who will be affected by the upcoming economic downturn (by the way, are we ready to call this a recession yet or what?). The Bloc will remain steady, as they always do, taking a large portion of the Quebec votes, and the Green party will shock a few people and win their first two seats ever. The environment has just become too big of a fad for this party not to win a few seats. Finally, I think that one riding will be won by an independent, seems to be the trend in recent elections.

As for this government, I don't think it will last too long. The upcoming economic problems, our continued presence in Afghanistan, and the failure of Harper to respond quickly to problems will spell doom for this minority government. I see another election happening within a year, year and a half max, and hopefully then an NDP led minority government can return Canada to welfare state that cares for all of its citizens. We, errr, I can only hope.

Check the link below for up to the minute election results.

Certified Banger #2

This week's C.B. is more of your typical banger than last weeks more laid back, melancholy track. The track, entitled "Gallery Piece", is off Of Montreal's upcoming new full length LP, Skeletal Lamping. Continuing in a similar musical vein as last year's excellent Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?, the tracks that have leaked thus far are up tempo, danceable songs with interesting and convuluted lyrics. Lead singer Kevin Barnes has claimed that his inspiration for this album has been delving into a "black she-male" character. I'm not sure exactly what the fuck that means, and really it could just be some ridiculously pretentious shit coming from yet another musician taking themselves too seriously. But judging from past albums and live performances that I have gotten to check out, I would say that "black she-male" is code for glam as fuck. "Gallery Piece" starts off with a nice little guitar riff and pounding drums, and quickly turns into a banger with the addition of a glam-heavy bass line, some nifty keys and layered vocals. It is the layered vocals and crazy percussion that has allowed them to continue to be referred to as psych-pop and continued to garner them comparisons to the Beach Boys and Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles, and "Gallery Piece" is heavy on both of these elements, with an added dose of Prince style funk as well.

The lyrics are also intriguing, however, as with most Of Montreal songs it is hard to tell exactly what Barnes is talking about. If I had to guess, I would say it is Barnes coming to terms with the duality of relationships. He speaks of both, the loving nature of relationships and the hurtful things that we do to each other. On Hissing Fauna, Barnes was coming to terms with the seperation from his wife, and Skeletal Lamping could be dealing with his subsequent reconciliation with his wife. More specifically, it may be Barnes dealing with the ups and downs that are associated with an intense relationship. Who knows, I may be reading way too much into this, he could just be having a good time. Either way, the simple arrangement of the lyrics as well as their polarity, mesh well with the musical arranement making for a great song. I don't know if "Gallery Piece" is the standout track on Skeletal Lamping, but it is definitely one of the better ones, and it really took hold of me lyrically and musically upon first listen.

I have a feeling that Skeletal Lamping is going to be a motherfucking headliner, bitch, you dont even know it...PROCESS IT.

Skeletal Lamping drops on 21 October.

As always. check the track in the side bar.----------->

***NOTE: Imeem seems to be having some problems today, so the track will be up in the certified bangers side bar later tonight or tomorrow. For now, check the youtube link below. Audio is a little shit, but deal with it. Maybe Imeem players aren't pretty fucking great.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Blaxploitation Flicks You Need To See

Talk about an underrated movie genres. Blaxploitation flicks have hilariously underdeveloped (and just plain bad) plots, the funkiest tunes, tons of profanity and sex and some seriously bad ass motha motha's. Even with the shittiest acting some real legendary flicks have come out of this genre.

Here are some sweet blaxploitation flicks that don't suck.

1. Dolemite (The Motion Picture) 1975

Starring: Rudy Ray Moore as Dolemite
D'Urville Martin as Willie Green
Lady Reed as Queen Bee
Musical Score By: Authur Wright and The Filmore Street Soul Rebellion
Special Appearances by Revelation Funk and Miss Mary Love

Dolemite Theme By: Ben Taylor with Revelation Funk and Different Bag

Dolemite was framed and jailed by police who are working in cahoots with a bad motha named Willie Green (The baddest motha you know the world had ever seen). The warden of the jail summons Dolemite from his cell to inform him that he has a chance regain his freedom. If he can successfully whoop Willie Green's ass and stop the dirty cops who are aiding him he will be freed.
Dolemite agrees and takes back what is truly his ... all the big bad booty bitches

Don't get it twisted... Dolemite is a classic for a reason.

2. The Spook Who Sat By The Door - 1973

Starring: Lawerence Cook as Dan Freeman

All Music By: Herbie Hancock

Adapted from the novel with the same title by Sam Greenlee. This story is really quite awesome. Cook plays Dan Freeman, a bright, tough and athletic young man who has been selected to try out for the C.I.A. However this plan leads to darker consequences as Freeman uses his training to train young poor black men on the streets of Chicago, preparing them for a war against the police and the army.

This has Black Power all through it, I say this is the best movie I have seen for this genre. Classic, 100% recommended.

3. Soul Vengeance (Welcome Home Brother Charles) - 1975

Starring: Marlo Monte as Charles Murphy
Retha Grey as Carmen

Music By: William Anderson

This film has the most ridiculous plot ever contrived on the face of the planet, hands down (6:30). Charles Murphy is a pimpin' ass drug dealer who gets assaulted by some dirty, racist cops. The cut his dick off and send him to jail. While in jail Charles is subjected to weird nuclear testing. All of this trauma results in Brother Charles growing a nuclear bomb sized penis which hold magical powers of suggestion over women. Upon his release, the vengeful Brother Charles plots his revenge against the dirty cops and judges that screwed him over and took his manhood from him. What does Charles do? He bangs the wives of the all the white men who screwed him over, puts them under his spell and waits as the wives seduce their husbands. Once the men are vulnerable out jumps Brother Charles with his nuclear dick and he kills them .... with his dick.

No Joke... strangles them with his piece.

These movies are just a sample of the culturally vibrant works of the blaxploitation genre.

If you have seen any of these, have any or know any cool blaxploitation flicks. Drop us a Top Five list in the "Comment Section"


Cola de Caballo: Nature...Goulet!

This weekend I made a trip out to see Cola de Caballo, a place I had been trying to see for a while now. Cola de Caballo (Spanish for "Horse Tail") is a waterfall about 40 km (25 mi) from Monterrey, Mexico, in the town of Villa de Santiago, Nuevo León. It is a public area and I was quite surprised at how many people were there for a relatively early Saturday morning. The waterfall is pretty gorgeous and it was good to go and take it all in. If you make the trip to Monterrey, I recommend taking a trip to see it. Now, like many other public nature areas I've visited down here in Mexico, there are some business elements to the area. Meaning that you can stop and buy drinks or eat some food (Elote, Tacos, Chips) and of course you have to pay a small fee to enter the park. Every time I pay an entrance fee or see a plastic water bottle floating in the natural springs, I can't help but think, "Man, this is great and all, but I wonder what this place would have been like before all these bridges were added or if it would feel different without cokes for sale along the path..." Maybe I'm just an asshole, but commercialism can really suck the beauty out of things, much like the ol' Suck Cut does to Garth's mop in the first Wayne's World.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Name is emjay and I'm a PC

More cool viral videos/commercials that need a little more attention.

It is my position that the Apple Campaign has the Kanye Complex. At first the the jabs WERE creative and WERE tolerable when they happened spontaeneously but now they are predictable and old just like Kanye's behaviour. Now they have just been shit on by Fiddy aka Microsoft.

Here is the trackback:

Here is the vid... Enjoy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Blast from the Past: Nobody Does it Better - Nate Dogg feat. Warren G

Why this video? Why a blast from the past? Well the answer is easy, because it is a damn classic. Enjoy...

The Virus

I have a love hate realtionship with viral videos. Some are bloody brilliant and others are the shits. This post is going to applaud one of my favorite viral videos entitled, "Where the Hell is Matt?"

This video was put out by Stride. You know, the ridiculously long-lasting gum.

I applaud this video because:

1. There's no advertising
2. The music is great
3. It made me want to share it with people. (even most videos I do like, I don't share)
4. It didn't suck.
5. Matt's dance moves are sick

Great video, this is the 2008 version which was sponsored by Stride, check out the his orginal one as well, shot back in 2005.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Film Wisdom: Reality Bites

Long before her days of ripping off clothing stores, little ol' Winona Ryder starred in the Ben Stiller's Reality Bites. Her character Lelaina opens the film by giving her Valedictorian speech to the graduating class. While doing so, shes ushers these words, "And they wonder why those of us in our twenties refuse to work an eighty hour week. Just so we can afford to buy their BMW's. Or why we aren't interested in the counter-culture that they invented, as if we did not see them disembowel their revolution for a pair of running shoes. But the question remains, what are we going to do now? How can we repair all the damage inherited? Fellow graduates, the answer is simple. The answer is...the answer is...I don't know."
Just over fourteen years later, I'm not sure that I could give you a better answer. I'm not sure if this mess that is under discussion has become any better at all. But, I can ask you to take a look around and ask yourself, am I one of them, working eighty hours a week for shit that I don't need? Or am I someone who is 'still trying to figure it all out'? Either way, its good just to think about who they are for awhile.
While I could not find a video with the speech, I did find a clip, to make you think...Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Certified Banger #1

Certified Banger is a new weekly feature that we will be trying out over the next few weeks. As the title suggests, Certified Banger will be a new track that we can't stop spinning because of its awesomeness.

The track that gets the honours of being the first certified banger is Department of Eagles "In Ear Park" off of their new record In Ear Park. In Ear Park is getting lots of press since its release this week, with great reviews coming from Pitchfork, KevChino, and Slant. It looks like In Ear Park will find its way onto a number of year end lists, and "In Ear Park" is easily the stand out track on the record. The song, like most of the record, begins in a hushed tone and builds throughout, with samples, found sound, orchestration added to the sparse acoustic guitar that starts off the track. Lead singer, Daniel Rossen's voice remains hazy and somewhat buried in the mix throughout the duration of the song, as he sings ominously about the all encompassing nature of loneliness. "In Ear Park" is astonishing in its arrangement and execution and acts as an accessible segue for someone looking to get into a Department of Eagles record.

Check out the song on the side bar where all of the certified bangers will be availabe. Imeem Players are pretty fucking great. ------------------->

Dry those eyes Jack...I mean Johnny.

Johnny Depp has around 60 million reasons not to cry anymore. As he has just landed the highest upfront salary in history from Disney to reprise his role as Captain Jack in the 4th Pirates of the Caribbean movie. I mean granted that he is a great actor and Disney is literally fucked for a movie without him, but that sure is a shit load of cash. We can only hope that the film is more like the first one and nothing like the last one, or last two for that matter. It is no secret that Depp is a great actor and from what I've read he is also a decent fellow as well. If you did not know, last year Depp apparently donated one million dollars to London's Great Ormond Street Hospital after they helped his daughter Lily Rose win her battle with E.Coli poisoning. He even visited the doctors and nurses personally to thank them for their work. Cheers to that Johnny! Now, do us a favor and go help Disney redeem the series and steal the show. Savvy? I mean, statistics like this one really just make you stop and smile at where the wealth of our world is distributed and how great our priorities have become. At least we can hope that we will get a good film from it. My prediction...We don't.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dracula's Lament

Mexico, for all that it is, is not up to date with their theatrical releases, as I just watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall in theaters tonight. Now, I thought it was a decent film. A little too much overbearing Jonah Hill and a thinner plot than Sconew's hairline at times, but there were a few parts that killed me. Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) was a scene stealer and Mila Kunis is always easy on the eyes (How the fuck did Macaulay snag her?). The highlight though for me was easily Peter's (Jason Segel) performance of 'Dracula's Lament' at the bar. It was just hysterical. I can only hope that Segel actually wrote and sung this gem. I've included the video and the lyrics. Beware though, this shit is deep...Die...Die...Die...I can't.

Dracula's Lament

It's getting kind of hard to believe things are going to get better
I've been drowning too long to believe that the tide's going to turn
And I've been living too hard to believe things are going to get easier now
I'm still trying to shake off the pain of the lessons I've learned

And if I see Van Helsing, I swear to the Lord I will slay him
He'd take you from me, but I swear, I won't let it be so
Blood will run down his face when he is decapitated
His head on my mantle is how I will let this world know, how much I love you

Die, die, die
I can't

Kanye Confirms New Release Date

For what it's worth, Kanye West confirmed last night that 808s and Heartbreaks is in fact his new album and that it is apparently due on 25 November 2008.  West was in L.A. attending T.I.'s Paper Trails (which was a pretty disappointing record by the way) release party when he both confirmed the existence of the album and its very eminent release date.  West took the stage with T.I to perform his verse on "Swagger Like Us" and stayed around long enough to perform another live version of "Love Lockdown" and to debut another possible 808s and Heartbreaks song, "Heartless".  I'm sure none of this was planned as part of another shameless attempt at self promotion or spotlight stealing, rather it was just Kanye having a good time with T.I.  

Forgive me if that sounded a little sarcastic, but Kanye has been almost insufferable since Lil' Wayne's Tha Carter III dropped to critical and commercial acclaim bumping Kanye from the number 1 spot in rap.  It seems as though Kanye's fragile ego took quite a beating from Wayne's overwhelming success, and this could be a reason why we are seeing such a short break between albums from Mr. West.  I'm not quite sure what to make out of either of the songs that Kanye has debuted from 808s. "Love Lockdown" is nice enough, but this whole auto tune thing that is pushing actual rap out of popular hip hop is getting a little old and played out. "Heartless", not surprisingly has auto tune on it as well and is pretty good too.  It will be interesting to hear the actual recorded version of this track.  Who knows though, although I have absolutely no reason to doubt Kanye, I mean his 3 records are all pretty tight, this whole 808s and Heartbreaks all seems just a little too rushed.  There's no doubt that 808s and Heartbreaks will debut at #1 on the billboard charts and make Kanye and Jay-Z a ton of money, but lets hope the new album is just as infectious and entertaining as the last three and not just a rushed mess.

Check the link below for a short version of "Swagger Like Us", "Love Lockdown" and "Heartless". You have to sit through some backstage ridiculousness before the songs actually start, but be patient, it's worth it. I'll be shocked if this thing actually comes out on 25 November.  Hip hop release dates are pretty shitty like that.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pop Montreal - Saturday

Saturday night I found myself in one of the more obscure venues I have ever been to, and it easily turned into the best experience of the weekend.  Leave it to Dan Deacon to choose a venue, Eastern Bloc, miles away from any other Pop Montreal venue, and resembling nothing more than an abandoned warehouse, to stage his experimental and unique approach to live music.  Deacon, and nearly 25 other musicians, recently set out on a North American tour to try out a new approach to live music known as the 'Baltimore round robin' tour. They scheduled a stop for Pop Montreal, and I made sure to make it there early to check out how this whole tour was going to go down. What I found was interesting and a lot of fucking fun.

The show worked as a huge party, bringing into question and challenging the traditional relationship between artist and audience. All of the artists set up their gear around the perimeter of the venue, with the audience in the middle. Each artist played one of their songs and the spotlight then moved onto another artist with no break in between.  I don't know if it was because I had chugged half a bottle of wine on the walk to the show, but watching the crowd move from band to band, genre to genre, enjoying vastly different styles of music was almost overwhelming.  It is definitely an interesting way to see music, and it is something that I would like to revisit again in the near future.  It would even be interesting to see a whole festival set up like this, although I don't know how realistic that would be.  But definitely something to think about.  Who knows, if this tour ends up being a success, which I'm sure it will, maybe Deacon will curate a festival in his hometown Baltimore centered around the round robin concept.

The round robin show is usually a two night event, but I only got to check out the first night which featured Beach House, Jana Hunter, Wzt Hearts, Nautical Almanac, Lexie Mountain Boys, Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez, Ed Schrader, Teeth Mountain, Santa Dads, and Creepers.  Beach House, Jana Hunter, Teeth Mountain and Santa Dads were highlights.  As well, the cheap mix drinks and beers were also a pleasant surprise.  Can you believe that you could get 5 drinks for $20? Unbelievable.

Pitchfork hype finally reared its ugly head on Saturday night as the Dodos show was completely sold out when I got there.  I actually can't believe it took all the way until Saturday for this to happen.  If it wasn't for the overwhelmingly great experience of the round robin show I would have been greatly disappointed.  Instead, I walked home satisfied, had a slice of pizza and drifted into a drunken slumber. 

Pretty great weekend.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pop Montreal - Friday

Friday was a much busier day. Tons of good bands playing and only a finite amount of time. The night began by trying to get into the Ratatat show, but it was at capacity (which I have no idea why because Ratatat is only borderline decent to begin with), ended up missing Great Lake Swimmers, instead opting to eat some Indian Buffet, and finally made it to the Wintersleep show.

The Wintersleep show was disappointing for a number of different reasons.  First, the venue, Le Nationale, only allowed drinking in the main bar area, and therefore in order to get a beer you had to wait in a huge crowd and you were unable to bring the beer with you into the concert area.  Needless to say, I was not impressed by this.  Second, Wintersleep didn't go on in time, which in a normal show setting is completely normal and expected, but at a festival where you are trying to jump from venue to venue it was a tad bit vexing.  Not only that, I was forced to listen to some shit French alt-rock opening band, who tried to make the audience sit down on the dirty bar floor during their closing song.  Not only was this annoying, but it's been done by countless other bands.  If you are going to inconvenience people at least be fucking original. Finally, Wintersleep went on so late that I was unable to stay for more than two songs before having to hop into a $20 cab up town, making the entire Wintersleep show a complete waste of time and money. Pretty much fuck Wintersleep.

Akron/Family was a much better experience. The band pretty much rocked the shit out of the room with a mix of tribal drumming, dirty, 1970s Neil Young guitar playing, and an assortment of call and answer crowd interaction. Not only that, but beers were only $4, which helped to create one of the more lively shows I've been to in awhile (Toronto crowds suck). I ended up leaving the Akron/Family show before the set was over in order to make it to a few more shows, but I was left thoroughly satisfied by the band's set. 

Saw a few other shows but none were interesting enough to write about.  I'll have some more reviews tomorrow.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Film Wisdom Volume One: The Stranger

"Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes, well, he eats you."

These words belong to 'The Stranger' from The Big Lebowski. Who in hopes to cure The Dude from what ails him, offers up this life nugget. After all, The Stranger is a wiser man than most and is dead on in recognizing that The Dude has darkness washing over him 'darker'n a black steer's tookus on a moonless prairie night.'

We dig your style Stranger, take it easy with the ol' Sarsaparilla.

Pop Montreal - Thursday

Only made it to one show yesterday, but definitely was not disappointed. Silver Apples were awesome. Dude can definitely rock the fuck out for a 70 year old. Check the video.

Gonna try and make it to 3 or 4 shows tonight.  I'll post some show reviews tomorrow.