"My Sharona" Fridays – An Essay Of Sorts

>> Saturday 28 February 2009

Favourite New Albums Heard But Not Necessarily Released Between Feb 1 - 28

• A.C. Newman – Get Guilty
• Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue
• Kate Steele – Curve of the Earth

My first ever job was at a small take-out/delivery joint that had the highest ratio of grease-atoms-per-square-centimeter-of-air that is legally safe to breathe. Within a couple weeks of starting I was elevated to the esteemed position of Friday night cook which meant three-four hours of non-stop, assembly line pizza making. Luckily, my assembly line co-worker was one of my fav cousins whose bubbly presence made the four highly monotonous hours, well, really really fun.

One night we discovered we shared a strong affinity for a popular SNL skit called “Janet Reno’s Dance Party”, a hilarious segment in which Reno, parodied by Will Ferrell, hosted a dance party in her basement, frequently and aggressively requesting The Knack’s “My Sharona”. The next week my cousin, in tribute, brought in a tape (remember tapes?) with “My Sharona” recorded over and over on both sides.

“My Sharona” Fridays were born.

For about two-and-a-half months worth of Fridays, we’d loop that godless song for three hours, much to the increasing annoyance of our poor co-workers. Finally, one frustrated fella couldn’t abide another night’s worth of The Knack’s pop sensation and snapped our tape in half. Infinite sadness ensued!

That was, until the following week when my cousin bought the cd single.

“The Heartbreak Rides”, off A.C. Newman’s sophomore release Get Guilty is, so far, my favourite song released in 2009, with Vegas offering up 3/2 odds on it appearing on my year-end best-song-of-2009 disc. I’m not sure I could tolerate hearing it for three hours every Friday for two months, but I probably wouldn’t want to shatter its current allure (to this day, I can’t stand hearing “My Sharona”). The track is acoustic power-pop at its finest. Its slow-building melody is brought to musical life by Newman’s wistful falsetto and thoughtful arrangements (not to mention the piratical “yo-hos!” peppered throughout the song). I pretty much love/heart/adore the whole of Get Guilty, and think, at this moment in time, that it easily rivals anything the New Pornographers have released. Well, okay, you caught me. NOT the sensational Twin Cinema.

Just like A.C. Newman, the uber-talented Jenny Lewis can rock the party solo. Now I completely missed her wonderfully countrified '08 release Acid Tongue and am a little embarrassed by that. The title track would’ve made my year-end best-songs disc for sure, replacing--actually forget it. I’d rather not devalue the illustrious 19 that did make the cut. The prolific and versatile Miss Lewis–whose other credits include acting (notably: star of the 1988 Nintendo vehicle The Wizard), and singing/songwriting (notably: vocals on The Postal Service’s electro-essential Give Up, intrepid leader of Rilo Kiley)–is a bona fide indie diva. Her vocal diversity is on display here with aplomb, particularly on the heartstrings-tugging “Godspeed” and “Carpetbeggers”, a bombastic country ditty.

If music genres were all part of a big extended family, then folk would easily be country’s closest and favourite cousin. Kate Steele, an up-and-coming singer-songwriter from Victoria, makes just that: smart, earnest, and deeply affecting folk. And, wow, does she ever have a disarmingly lovely voice. I wrote all about Kate for my Icelandic newspaper music columnist gig, so I’ll stop here and not self-plagiarize (did you know you can get the ol’ heave-ho from University for self-plagiarizing? I’ve actually heard of a few cases. Lazy oafs.). Anyway, available for download below is a punchy, upbeat folk-rocker by Kate called “Talking to Him”.

It’s no “My Sharona”, but, hey, few things are...

Download: Kate Steele - "Talking To Him"

Infinite Playlist: Beck - Guero


Fly Away To The Cayman Islands

>> Friday 27 February 2009

Happily perched on the wings of a ringing Pitchfork endorsement (deservedly so imo), the Vancouver-based indie-rock duo Japandroids will land in The Peg for an April 25th show at the Lo Pub. Sure looks like they're having a good time in that rainbowed photo.

The UK Subs return to the Albert on April 9th.

Murder By Death are there on April 23rd.

So are Sweden's The Haunted on April 11th.

Infinite Playlist: Kings of Convenience - Riot on an Empty Street


Walking In The Spiderwebs

>> Wednesday 25 February 2009

Not only are Californian ska-punk-poppers No Doubt still active (news to me), Gwen Stefani and the boys have announced a hugantic tour, an expansive list of dates that includes a July 13th Winnipeg date at the MTS Centre. Paramore open.

See No Doubt's website for presale info.

I have fond memories of listening to Tragic Kingdom over and over in grade eight and possibly even hugging the case. Regrettably, I sold it for a fin.

Infinite Playlist: Kanye West - 808s and Heartbreaks


TV On The Internet

>> Monday 23 February 2009

In surprising show news, critically acclaimed art-rockers TV On The Radio will show off their uncompromisingly experimental sounds at the Burt on May 30th. Tix this Friday.

Local favs Tele are at the Park Theatre on March 13th with AM Glory and The Upsides.

Infinite Playlist: TV On The Radio - Dear Science


What Dreams May Come

>> Sunday 22 February 2009

Toronto rap/dance/electro duo Thunderheist headline this year's Exclaim Tour which includes a stop in at the Pyramid on April 17th. Winter Gloves open.

Local metal act Dreadnaut will rock the Pyramid on April 24th.

Sleepy Sun, a psychedelic rock band from San Fran, are at the Albert on April 4th w/ The Lonely Vulcans.

Infinite Playlist: Library Voice - Hunting Voices EP


Guess I Should've Caught Your Call

>> Friday 20 February 2009

Zounds! The classy, legendary and prolific singer /songwriter /musician /poet /novelist Leonard Cohen is comin' to Winnipeg, playing The MTS Centre on April 30th. While he's getting on in years (74!), reports across the board say he's still an intoxicating performer. Now according to preliminary info on TM's site, tickets go on sale Monday, March 2nd with prices ranging from $89 - $249.50, but I'm sure there'll be presales galore. Stay tuned.

I just remembered I own his novel Beautiful Losers (unread) - might have to up it in the ol' reading queue.

Star of Austin Powers 3 (the weakest of the trio IMO) slash R&B songstress Beyonce will be at The MTS Centre on March 28th. Presale password is BOY.

Montreal indie-rockers The Stills play The Garrick on May 16th.

Songwriter/performer Geoff Berner is at the Ellice Theatre on March 14th with the always-entertaining Bob Wiseman.

Oh and as previously noted, I was the guest host on UMFM's "The Electric Tongue" last night. My personal global-trekking playlist was:
  • Kate Steele - 'Bus Stop' (Canada)
  • The Awkward Stage - 'Your Heart Serves Only You' (Canada)
  • The Books - 'Take Time' (US)
  • Mates of State - 'Get Better' (US)
  • Parachutes - 'Your Stories' (Iceland)
  • Foals - 'Big Big Love Fig. 2' (England)
  • Camera Obscura - 'Happy New Year' (Scotland)
  • Royksopp - 'Remind Me' (Norway)
  • Peter Bjorn and John - 'Up Against The Wall' (Sweden)
  • El Guincho - 'Kalise' (Spain)
  • Stereolab - 'Kyberneticka Babicka Pt. 1' (France)
  • Architecture in Helsinki - 'Neverevereverdid' (Australia)
  • Flight of the Conchords - 'Inner City Pressure' (New Zealand)
Other countries covered (not by me) included: Russia, Japan, Wales, Holland, and Germany.

Infinite Playlist: Peter Bjorn and John - Writer's Block


Surf Wax Canada

>> Monday 16 February 2009

Local prog-rock quartet Mahogany Frog (above photo) will headline MennoFolk Manitoba 2009 February 28th at the Park Theatre. Other acts on the bill include singer-songwriters Donovan Giesbrecht & Chris Neufeld, and songstress Cat Jahnke. Tix are $7 @ Music Trader or $10 at the door (thanks to Jonathan for the heads up) .

Winnipeg's favourite twee-poppers Paper Moon are slated to charm those at the Pyramid to pieces on May 1st (my birthday!) with The Liptonians.

We Were Lovers and Arkells are the opening acts for The Waking Eyes March 7th Pyramid gig.

Bad Flirt, indie rockers from Montreal, are at the Pyramid on April 16th.

Some self-indulgence...

Kevin from Mr. Pine kindly invited me to guest-co-host his radio show on UMFM this Thursday from 11 p.m til 1 a.m. and I happily accepted. As a guest host, I get to pick half the show's music, so I decided it would be kinda fun to play a song from as many countries as possible in two hours. Kevin liked the idea, so it'll be the show's theme of sorts with the exception of Canada (Canadian content rules must be adhered to). So tune your radio dial to 101.5 if you're still awake and wanna hear me ramble incoherently about songs I like from countries all over the globe.

Oh, and I just got tix for Peter Bjorn AND John's show in Toronto (the Swedish trio play TO three days after Flight of the Conchords). I'm already practicing my whistling.

Infinite Playlist: Weezer - Blue Album


Up Against The Wall

>> Friday 13 February 2009

UK Electro-sorcerer Max Tundra is touring with Canada's own Electronic wizards The Junior Boys, making April 4th's bill at the Pyramid a sorta 2-for-1 electro-pop-dance special. I'm listening to Tundra's stuff for the first time, and I am impressed, particularly by the playfully spastic "Orphaned".

Oh, and what a fine-looking right cheek he's got.

While on the topic of fleshing out shows: Pillars and Tongues open for Bonnie "Prince" Billy on March 21st.

New Shows:

The Marco Castillo Trio will be at the Folk Exchange tomorrow.

Plain White T's play the Garrick on March 19th and are scheduled to perform "Hey There Delilah" continuously for 90 minutes (just kidding about the latter).

The Blind Boys of Alabama are at Pantages Playhouse on June 17th with Ruthie Foster.

Vancouver's Bend Sinister will be at Silverado's on March 18th (thanks to Jordana for the heads up).

Infinite Playlist: Max Tundra's MySpace Page


A Pair Of Underwater Pearls

>> Monday 9 February 2009

So CKUW's annual FunDrive is well underway, and my pal Jenny - the host of the wonderful show The Book of Right On, which airs Thursday afternoons from 3-5 - is hoping to raise $600 during her two hours on air this upcoming Thursday.

She writes:
I would very much appreciate it if you would support me and independent music radio by pledging! I have made some special incentives, including the annual Book of Right-On Fundrive Mix featuring favourite artists and tracks from the show (every single pledge of $30 and up gets one!), as well as the famous Book of Right-On Fundrive pillow (Your $60 pledge gets you into the draw), and some other surprises still to be announced.

On top of Jenny's promised goodies, there are tiered rewards for those pledging $30, $60, $120 or more. For example, a minimum pledge of $30 earns you a slick discount card that entitles its bearer to great deals at Music Trader, Into The Music, Movie Village, The Folk Festival Store, and about 50 other local businesses.

If you can help her and The U of W's independent campus/community radio out, please do. For more details, check out her show's site.

Oh, and earlier, I personally pledged 30 bones to her show (forgetful and busy types, the former in my case, can advance pledge), so she only needs $570 now!


Old Seed, aka Craig Bjerring (ex-Vagiants, ex-Hummers), is playing The Folk Exchange on March 6th (thanks to Nigel for the heads up).

dd/mm/yyyy are playing a free in-store gig at Into The Music on February 23rd @ 5 p.m. Also, indie-rockers Sylvie are the opening act for dd/mm/yyyy's show later than evening at The Albert.

Old news: Propagandhi have added a second show and will now be at The Garrick on March 20th and 21st.

Hot Panda are at the Lo Pub on April 10th.

Infinite Playlist: Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog



>> Thursday 5 February 2009

Earlier, the good people at The Fork published a just plain fantastic live set by Spain’s El Guincho, a band whose debut Alegranza earned entry #8 on my coveted Top Albums of 2008 List.

I’ve been soaking up its warm, summery-rays all day long.

If you’re unfamiliar, El Guincho is the stage name of Pablo Díaz-Reixa, a talented Spaniard who fuses tropical vibes, spirited tribal chants, and jungle beats with gloriously irresistible pop. In other words, the ideal score for today’s unexpected winter reprieve.

“Palmitos Park” and “Kalise” are performed in the video below. I hope you like them as much as I do.


BC punk-rockers Nomeansno are at The Albert on April 13th.

Midnight Dawns are holding their CD release party at The Pyramid on February 27th.

Infinite Playlist: El Guincho - Alegranza!


Better Than Old Zealand

>> Monday 2 February 2009

All right, PoS blog-writer meeting.

First up, roll call.

Mykael? Present.

Ok, Item One (Electrifiers): Edmonton's Shout Out Out Out Out (above) will stir Pyramid denizens into a dancing frenzy on April 22nd.

Item Two (Singers): Toronto's Emma-Lee will show off her much-lauded pipes at the Pyramid on March 31st.

Item Three (Rumours): Scuttlebutt has it The Sea and The Cake will be playing The Jazz Fest this year. Stay tuned.

Item Four (Adventurers): Mykael (me) will be seeing The Flight of the Conchords in Toronto on April 22nd (scored 7th row tix earlier)!!

Can't wait!

Infinite Playlist: MGMT - Oracular Spectacular


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