In These Words We Drown

>> Wednesday 28 October 2009

Legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy pays a visit to the Burt on April 12th w/ Jonny Lang.

Hamilton-based singer-songwriter Matthew de Zoete is playing the Edge Gallery on November 15 w/ Katie Murphy.

Tiësto (formerly known as DJ Tiësto) is laying down some tracks off his latest longplayer Kaleidoscope at the U of W's Duckworth centre on Remembrance Day. Zounds! I just learned Jonsi from Sigur Ros guests on Kaleidoscope. Bloc Party Captain Kele Okereke, too. I highly doubt they'll be with him, though.

Speaking of Iceland...a reminder to those attending múm on Friday night at the Pyramid: the gig is an early one. Doors @ 7; Show @ 8; Over by 10:30. This is, of course, unprecedented for the Pyramid, especially on a weekend.

See you there!

Infinite Playlist:
múm - Sing Along To Songs You Don't Know


11 Questions With...Todd Hunter

>> Friday 23 October 2009

With his devastatingly personal debut solo cd Star earning rave reviews – the Winnipeg Sun recently awarded it four stars – and national university radio stations inserting the highly cathartic record into their rotation, local singer-songwriter Todd Hunter easily qualifies as “one to watch.” The accolades are well-deserved. Star is intimate, wholly realized and smartly produced (by both Todd and ’09 Western Canadian Music Awards Nominee Mike Petkau).

I recently had the pleasure of firing 11 questions at Todd. His responses are fun and thoughtful: he gives a shout out to Winnipeg fav Greg MacPherson, notes why the West End is the premier venue in the Peg, and admits to be a bit obsessed with Evil Dead: 2 at one point in his life.

1. Where are you right now?

In front of a computer, thinking of answers.

2. Where is the best venue in Winnipeg to play a gig?

There are several, but I’ve always enjoyed playing at the West End Cultural Centre the most – great stage, great sound, great audience.

3. What is the worst bus route in the city?

I haven’t taken that many, but I remember loathing the bus I had to transfer to from the Transcona (47?) route to get to the U of M. I think it was route 75? The wait always seemed interminable, and the ride seemed to take even longer…

4. Who is your favourite local band/musician?

Greg MacPherson. Besides being a great guy and a good friend, he’s got more raw talent and conviction in his bones than anyone else.

5. What are your top three, all-time, desert-island records?

I’m going to cheat by choosing compilations: THE STORY OF SLADE, 50000 FALL FANS CAN’T BE WRONG, and ROLLING STONES: THE LONDON YEARS.

6. Who is one producer, alive or dead, that you’d just love to work with?

John Leckie. He’s produced more music I fell in love with than any other producer. Through a music forum, I was fortunate enough recently to have him respond to a query I sent him regarding Cowboy Junkies’ Miles From Our Home.

7. Of the albums you own, which has the best cover art?

TOOL’s Aenima.

8. If Winnipeg were awarded an NHL team, what name would you propose?

The Winnipeg Supercuddlysnugglebumpkins. THEN hockey will be great family entertainment!

9. PC or Mac?
Gentlemen prefer Mac (and so do I).

10. What’s one film you watch over and over again?

I used to watch Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn over and over again, but after about 30 viewings or so, I think I’ve finally outgrown it.

11. And finally…who’s your favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, or Raphael)?


Infinite Playlist: Flight of the Conchords - I Told You I Was Freaky


He Came To Life. Good For Him.

>> Tuesday 20 October 2009

Long time no update. Been a bit hectic and stressful around these parts lately what with looming school assignments/busyness at work/girlfriend’s birthday/extensive hockey watching (Oilers are 5-2-1 to start the season…unreal!).

Fortunately, the tumult has lessened significantly, so there shouldn’t be extended gaps between posts anymore.

Rock ‘n Roll Ain’t Dead. Just ask Guns N’ Roses who’ll proudly blow the roof off the MTS Centre on January 13th. My buddy went last time and said it was “fucking loud and awesome.”

dd/mm/yyyy will be at Mondragon on 24/10/2009.

Stereos, The Midway State, Artist Life, and The Envy are at the Garrick on December 1st.

Affable popsters Mother Mother have landed the opening spot for Matthew Good’s November 21st show at the Burt.

11 Questions” alumni / fiddling sensation Sierra Noble opens for George Canyon on November 4th and 5th at Club Regent.

Death By Stereo rock the Albert on November 14th w/ Nations Afire and Chaser.

Alexisonfire (are still active?) and are playing the MTS Centre on March 20th with headliner Billy Talent and co-opener Against Me.

And finally, I read earlier who the opener for Steve Earle is. I have characteristically forgotten. Help anyone?

Infinite Playlist: Times New Viking – Born Again Revisited


Faraway Swimmingpool

>> Wednesday 14 October 2009

Couple of quickies...

Due to mega demand, those delectable pop-making twins Tegan and Sara have added a January 15th show at the Burt.

We Are The City's gig tomorrow night at Sam's has been moved to the friendly neighbourhood Lo Pub.

Oh, and speaking of We Are The City, the winners of the "In A Quiet Place cd giveaway extravaganza" were Sarah and Rick. I'll get those off to you asap.

Infinite Playlist: Mum - Finally We Are No One


This Love Is Unbearably Harmful Tonight

>> Sunday 11 October 2009

The hardcore troubadour Steve Earle returns to the Burton Cummings Theatre on January 29th. Tickets this Friday.

MAdM (aka ex-Hole/Pumpkin bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur) is part of this year’s Jingle Bell Rock bill at the Convention Centre w/ the previously mentioned AFI and Cage The Elephant. The wholly festive event goes down December 15th.

Torngat are at the Lo on the 23rd of October w/ Soholyheadcase and Mike Petkau.

Whilst on the topic of upcoming shows at the Lo, Halloween Eve (aka gate night…is that still ‘celebrated’?) sees Haunter, The Playing Cards and Victoria's Fuji Hakayito rock the joint.

Jumping over to the Pyramid, local fav Matt Epp is releasing his latest disc Safe or Free there on November 3rd w/ resident hip-hoppers The Lytics.

Sunparlour Players are at the Park Theatre on November 21st.

Infinite Playlist: The Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns


11 Questions With...We Are The City

>> Saturday 10 October 2009

We Are The City are a young and up-and-coming experimental indie-rock trio from Kelowna who, back in May, dropped their debut disc In A Quiet Place, an album earning the unaffected guys some serious praise. The band is currently in the midst of a cross country swoop across this geographically vast nation, which naturally includes a pip-stop in Peg City on October 15th. So on Wednesday the guys’ll be playing twice around town. First, a short in-store gig at Music Trader (@ 3) followed by a lenghtier evening show at Sam’s Place.

I’ve got two copies of the sprawling and instantly engaging In A Quiet Place available for give away to anyone intrigued. Simply fire me an email (on the side) by 4 p.m. Tuesday with the subject line “We Are The City – Giveaway” and I’ll select the winner out of a hat (or more likely a touque). Include your name in the body of the email.

Plus, the promising lads all took part in my 11 question schtick. In doing so, they revealed their effusive love for all things Radiohead, their dislike of South Park and the Family Guy, and their deep interest in one day recording an album with famed producer Brian Eno.

1. Where are you right now?

All: Ontario

2. Who is the best Kelowna-based band (other than your own, of course)?

All: We're not going to pick one. Fields of Green, Kingdom Cloud, Secret & Whisper, Treelines, & Split The Silence to name a few. And Treelight Room & Yukon Blonde who recently moved from Kelowna to Vancouver are also very awesome.

3. What are your top three, all-time, desert-island records?

Cayne: Coldplay’s "A Rush of Blood to the Head", Pink Floyd’s "Wish You Were Here", and Radiohead’s "OK Computer"
David: Paul Simon’s "Graceland", Norah Jones’ "Come Away With Me", and Radiohead’s "OK Computer"
Andy: MeWithoutYou’s "Brother Sister", U2’s "Joshua Tree", and Radiohead’s "In Rainbows"

4. What’s one song you love, but regularly dismiss as a “guilty pleasure”?

Cayne: My Chemical Romance’s "Helena"
David: Fall Out Boy’s "Sugar We're Going Down"
Andy: Natasha Bedingfield’s "These Words"

5. What was the last great concert you saw?

All: Radiohead at Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver

6. Who is one producer, alive or dead, that you’d just love to work with?

David: Rick Rubin, just for the fun of it.
Andy: Brian Eno
Cayne: Brian Eno

7. Simpsons, South Park, or Family Guy?

All: Simpsons
Andy: I can't stand the other two.

8. What is your favourite “Flight of the Conchords” song?

Cayne: Most Beautiful Girl In the Room
Andy: The one where Jemaine talks about dressing up Brett in a wig and stuff.
David: I don't know any. The only one I've heard is that one about sex and I don't know if I like it.

9. Would you rather have invisibility or flight?

All: Flight

10. What book(s) are you currently reading?

Cayne : Started Life of Pi three weeks ago because I was bored. Read 2 pages of it, and haven't read it anymore since.
David: Tried to get through a book called Deadline, couldn't handle it and threw it to the ground in 2007.
Andy: Star Wars Tales from Mos Eisley Cantina

11. And finally…who’s your favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, or Raphael?

Cayne: Donatello. Although, I don't care for his purple headband.
David: Can I do Power Rangers instead? If so, the red one.
Andy: My parents never let me watch that show.

Infinite Playlist: The Beatles - Abbey Road


A Drop Of Blood On A Sugarcube - A 10,000th Day Playlist

>> Wednesday 7 October 2009

So last month I celebrated a unique sorta birthday - I lauded the day I turned the big 10,000. Days old, that is. This monumental date happened to fall on Wednesday, September 16th, so I threw a bash on the 19th and subsequently shattered the old record for most people in my apartment (whilst drinking one, maybe two, too many brews).

I intended on making a 10,000th day playlist for my party, a definitive, 27-song set of indispensable songs in my life (27 was chosen since it's how many years old I was at the time of turning 10,000 days). The list did not happen in time for my party since constructing it proved painfully difficult, incredibly time-consuming, and frequently futile. Finally, I've settled on the 27 tunes below, although I should qualify my selections by stating these are my choices at this exact moment in time. I'll probably change them tomorrow. A couple times.

It's been a great 10,000 days for my ears.

Postal Service - 'The District Sleeps Alone Tonight'
Yo La Tengo - 'Sugarcube'
My Bloody Valentine - 'I Only Said'
Radiohead - 'Fake Plastic Trees'
Erasure - 'A Little Respect'
The Smashing Pumpkins - 'Glynis' (video below)
Portishead - 'Wandering Star'
Pinback - 'Loro'
New Order - 'Temptation'
Kings of Convenience - 'Winning A Battle, Losing A War' (video below)
The Chemical Brothers - 'Where Do I Begin?'
Sigur Rós - '1' aka 'Vaka'
Interpol - 'Obstacle 1'
M83 - 'Run Into Flowers' (video below)
Califone - 'Trick Bird'
Jenny Lewis - 'Acid Tongue'
Nick Drake - 'One of these Things First'
Stereolab - 'Tomorrow Is Already Here'
Beck - 'Que Onda Guero'
Manitoba - 'Brandon'
The Cure - 'Pictures of You'
Iron & Wine - 'Naked As We Came'
Mum - 'I'm 9 Today'
Depeche Mode - 'Blasphemous Rumours'
Goldfrapp - 'A & E'
Peter Bjorn and John - 'Up Against The Wall'
Sufjan Stevens - 'In The Devil's Territory'

Infinite Playlist - The above playlist


"I'm Gonna Play A Bunch Of New Songs. Sorry!" Final Fantasy - Live At The West End

>> Sunday 4 October 2009

Did the back-to-back-Final-Fantasy-shows-at-the-West-End thing this weekend, and after a string of disappointing concerts, seeing Owen Pallet live cured what ailed me both figuratively and literally (I had an unshakable, at-times-immobilizing cold all week which finally improved on Friday and was nearly gone by Saturday night). Coincidence? I think not.

Pallett continued his remarkable streak of bringing along ridiculously great opening acts with him, this time touring with Polaris long-lister Timber Timbre (previous evening starters included the endlessly entertaining Bob Wiseman and the lovely and talented Basia Bulat). Timber Timbre's stark, intimate, and kinda creepy chamber folk record is one of my favourite albums of 2009, and his live performance reinforced this. Timber Timbre, aka Taylor Kirk, has this big and arresting ghost-storyteller voice that is equally enchanting and menacing. What an experience.

Friday night was the third time I've seen the wiry, violin-wielding Mr. Pallett live at the West End, and this was probably the best set I've seen. I qualify that statement with "probably" since I'm still kinda high on the whole FF live experience and need a few days to calm down before I can honestly compare it with past performances.

Gone: The Dungeons & Dragons overhead projector show & assistant.
In: A band member!

Joining Pallett onstage was a guitarist/drummer who added some much-needed texture to the live show and the new material. The majority of the set was comprised of new entries to Pallett's Palette (sorry, couldn't resist), so Friday night quite possibly marked the first time in music history that an audience didn't care about an artist playing mostly green stuff.

Unfortunately, Timber Timbre was only around for the Friday show, so that was a bit of a bummer on Saturday, but local and eclectic singer-songwriter Ingrid Gatin opened up, and I thought she was pretty great. Certainly one to have on the radar. Final Fantasy's set on Saturday was shorter than Friday's and changed up a bit. He removed a few numbers from Has A Good Home and inserted a delectable cover of Lykke Li's "Dance Dance Dance", which was almost as fun as his take on Mariah Carey's "Sweet Fantasy."

Truth be told, I was perfectly okay with the slightly shorter set length, since I desperately wanted to check out this year's Edmonton Oilers squad for the first time on HNIC. They ended up losing in the final minute. The lone glitch of the weekend.

Infinite Playlist: Volcano Choir - Unmap


11 Questions With...ARCTIC

>> Thursday 1 October 2009

A band that has buzz trailing behind them like a, well, persistent swarm of bees, Vancouver’s ARCTIC (that’s all caps, folks) paint lush sonic backdrops that are austere, dreamy and more than a little chilling. Pretty much what one would expect of a band named after the Great White North. The up-and-coming trio is currently in the middle of a criss-cross jaunt of Canada, and is stopping by town on October 8th to play a intimate show at the Standard Tavern (formerly known as Hooligan’s).

I asked 11 questions to the band – frontman/guitarist Marcus Martin, bassist/keyboardist Kirsten Starcher, and drummer Rob Sheldrick – and judging by their playful and thoughtful answers, they had some fun with it. Those mentioned include: William Gibson, Rush, Beast, and the inimitable Master Splinter.

1. Where are you right now?

Windsor. We've just pulled into a hotel after a relatively short drive from Guelph and have a little time to kill before playing the Phog Lounge tonight. The decor here is a little trippy.

2. Who is the best Vancouver-based band (other than your own, of course)?

Marcus: Mongoose.
Rob: Three Inches of Blood.
Kirsten: Adaline.

3. What are your top three, all-time, desert-island records?

Marcus: Gabor Szabo, "The Sorceror".
Rob: Rush, "Grace Under Pressure".
Kirsten: Bjork, "Post".

4. What’s one song you love, but regularly dismiss as a “guilty pleasure”?

Rob: Anything off Rush's "Grace Under Pressure".
Marcus: Club hits.
Kirsten: It's got to be some 80s hit. Something like "Take On Me" or "Tainted Love"... you kind of can't help singing along even if you never owned the album.

5. What was the last great concert you saw?

Marcus: ZZ Top.
Kirsten: I was absolutely floored by Beast last year. Wow.
Rob: Kool Keith. With a K.

6. Of the albums you own, which has the best cover art?

Marcus: I don't know. That's a good one. I really like the Roxy Music one... Avalon.
Kirsten: Pink Floyd had the best ones.
Rob: Hum, "Downward is Heavenward". Sweetest record jacket ever.

7. PC or Mac?

Kirsten: Two of us on Mac, one PC.
Rob: Actually, I'd convert to Mac if I could.

8. Simpsons, South Park, or Family Guy?

Rob: Family Guy.
Marcus: Simpsons.
Kirsten: I suppose I should pick South Park just to keep things balanced. I think it depends on the day, though, and your state of mind. I'd watch any of 'em if I still had a TV.

9. Would you rather have invisibility or flight?

Marcus: Invisibility.
Kirsten: Would you just spy on girls?
Marcus: I would spy on the G8 summit. See what's going on there.
Rob: Flight. I would frequent the moon often.
Kirsten: Yeah, but you couldn't breathe there.
Rob: Shhhhh.
Marcus: Let the boy dream.
Kirsten: I gotta go with flight. I feel invisible enough days, I think I get the idea.

10. What book(s) are you currently reading?

Marcus: "Art and Physics" by Leonard Shlain.
Rob: "Modern Drummer". Lots and lots of "Modern Drummer."
Kirsten: I finished Kurt Vonnegut "Breakfast of Champions" before we left on tour and haven't really gotten started on another one. I've got a William Gibson book waiting for me when I'm ready though.

11. And finally…who’s your favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, or Raphael?

Kirsten: I got nothing.
Rob: I'm more of a Master Splinter fan.
Marcus: Rob IS Master Splinter and he can't pick favourites because they might try to kill each other. End of question.

Infinite Playlist: mum - Sing Along To Songs You Don't Know


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