Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Best Website

Once in a while you stumble upon something that takes your breath away literally. This recently happened. I perchance came to the most amazing website I have ever seen. I was in awe. I just wish I had made it first, the design is amazing. BEHOLD (click here)! I'm not really sure if it has a name, but it appears to be made by some guy named Bjorn. Whose accomplishments include:
I have outlived many of my greatest enemies.
I have learned to cook the cuisines of several cultures from every continent except for south america.
In statistics class in college when we made the paper airplanes, mine stayed in the air the longest.
I have climbed a bunch of mountains.
I chased the children of zapatistas around dressed as a loonie and they fed me some food and I thought I was going to die for the next month after getting an infected fistula.

It includes content such as A Zardoz screening where:
Byob, there is borscht provided.
Come to 2320 Capitol Way,
oct. 18th, at 20:00 (8 pm).

Or, What are you doing this Autumnal Equinox? "Come to my birthday which happens to coincide with the Autumnal Equinox, and a celebration called Mabon, the second harvest party. The time when people begin looking with trepidation towards the coming darkness and the biting, ruthless cold that follows. We will feast on weenies and sup on fineries beyond your wildest dreams, all you must do is turn north on wilson st. off of state ave, follow it until 12th where you take a left and then an immediate right and then park at the end of the block by the dumpster, where there is also a trailhead leading into the unknown forest, its width unknown. Follow the trail for 100 yards or so, staying to the left. If you have the ruby glasses and a small amount of bravery you will be well rewarded. Bring a drinking horn and some goat leggings."

I highly suggest visiting this site, you won't be disappointed.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Photoblog- The Art in my house

So, I took a whole bunch of pictures today for a photoblog. To make some kind of coherent sense, I've decided that the theme of said photoblog will be 'the art in my house'. Give you a smattering of the visual glory I surround myself with. After each picture (or group) I'll just write a little bit of what it is. Enjoy!

Window (yeah there are a few windows that look into other windows... kind of weird) in my house decorated with various jelly sticker things. There's some flowers, and a bird and a whole bunch of nice shapes. Fun to look at!
Tacky picture that came with our old house. We would always put it in a closet or turn it down, but whenever we came back to the house in the summer it was displayed prominently on the mantle. Naturally we took it with us to this house. Also the artist now sells pictures for $8000.

Posters in my room. They're all silk-screened and awesome. You may recognize one of them from here!

Various surfaces (ie fridge and bulletin board) with fun images etc. on them. If you look closely you can see pins/magnets that I made.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Photoblogs- Camilla Engman

I've found a few photoblogs that I think are pretty neat. My favourite is Camilla Engman, she is an artist and illustrator from Sweden. She mixes media and her work often depicts people or animals. Her style is pretty unique, and she's done work for several large companies, "Once you’ve seen her work you won’t need to know this, but Camilla has been commissioned by the New York Times, Converse, Google – to name but a few".
Her photoblog is typically done in sets of three, with kind of a mini-journal entry. It's sometimes about her day, her work, observations, anything. They are really short and leave a lot to the imagination, but I think that's a good thing; they tell little stories, and you kind of get to make up the rest. Anyhow, I find it really quite interesting.

Tomorrow: photoblog. I'm going to take pictures of whatever strikes my fantasy (things that I think look cool) and post the best ones. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Islands Fold- residency and publishing house

I was recently introduced to Islands Fold, and it really intrigues me.
Islands Fold™ is an independent publisher and artist residency created and operated by Angela Conley and Luke Ramsey. It's about inviting artists into our home, supporting
creative identity, collaborating, promoting health and well being and producing unique art. Established on Pender Island B.C, Canada in the Spring of 2006.
It's housed over 25 artists and designers since it began. It's also a publishing house, you can buy art on the website, "Selling art online is the business side of Islands Fold. The residency is not a business, but a way to make friends and art". There are also associated exhibitions worldwide and workshops.
I think it's a really cool thing they have going on. It's a good opportunity for creativity, collaboration, and experimentation. Art communities are probably the coolest thing.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Oh! Bringing art and music home since 2009

Things happen where you make it happen. To anyone who has ever thought 'my town is boring' or 'this place isn't big enough for cool things to happen' OH! is proof that this is not true.
Open House Arts Collective (Oh!) "is a group of musicians, artists, and art enthusiasts based out of London Ontario Canada, working together to motivate, support, and inspire the London arts community and to promote the community's endeavours within the larger Canadian arts scene." Their mission is to promote "the London art community through music and art events. Oh! shares ideas and creates partnerships with the London community to raise awareness of local culture".
Recently Oh! participated in the Indie Media Fair held at the London Public Library. This also launched the Oh! Compilation One album.
The album has 12 tracks from 12 different artists (well, some overlap between acts), and since I procured this album from Grooves on Monday (for the too low price of $5.99), it has not left my ears. Well, ok that's not true, I bought Dark Was The Night at the same time, so I've been alternating. On first listen I was astonished. Astonished that this whole production came out of London, astonished because of how quickly this has all happened, and astonished because of how good all the music is.
Time for an anecdote: I was sitting in my living room with Andrew (roommate), playing every other track from Dark Was the Night (basically 31 songs from the most well known indie artists of our time), and every other track from Oh! 1, and during an Oh! song he asked "still dark was the night"? Every track is so well done, who knew all this talent existed in London?
Back to the music. There's a great range of styles on the album, folk, indie-rock, to more electronic music. Here's a little about some of my favourite tracks (sorry too hard to profile them all! Maybe later):
Sidewalks is by A horse and His Boy, a five piece band, it's layered with lots of different sounds and textures mainly by synth and vocals, with drums and guitar added. For some reason to me it's like what would happen if Wolf Parade and MGMT got together.

Tidal Wave is by The Whipping Wind. I actually... can't find anything about this band, but it's one of my favourite tracks. Maybe it's the horns, strings, the bells, the ukulele (or is it banjo?) and hand-clapping bridge, or the way the voices blend so beautifully together. It's a really well constructed song, with great lyrics.

The Decline is by Olenka and the autumn lovers, it's very melodic, the vocals blend really well together and has a great build up filled with horns. It's a really interesting and catchy song. Olenka and the Autumn lovers also put on a great show, they played at LOLA last year, go see them if you're lucky enough to be in an area where they're playing sometime. They also won CHRW album of the year.

There are so many more great tracks on this album, I wish I had time to profile them all (this has already taken me an hour and a half) but I urge to to check out the Oh! myspace to hear some of this incredible work. They truly are proof that you don't have to be signed, or even well known to make incredible music for people to hear (The album was also reviewed in London Free Press). It's really impressive, and if you like what you hear, support it! Without support things like this would never happen. Watch out for big things in the future from Oh! It's just a matter of time before you'll be hearing about them everywhere.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Could it be the End?!

A week ago today in my Blogging class we watched a three part mini-series about how new media is affecting more traditional media. I think this topic has been fairly widespread in recent news, classes, and even discussions (at least for me- then again, I am in MTP). The End aired on CBC (you can watch it online though), and discusses radio, TV, and print. Since watching I have been left with several questions to ask myself, especially since I participate in several of the media that have raised this issue (ie: blogging, watching TV online, downloading, research online, etc.). Over the past week I have monitored my mediaviour (haha get it?! media behaviour?! Clever, I know) to come to some kind of a conclusion.
Over the past week I have:
1. WATCHED ON TV- DVD of Wickerman (another Nick Cage MASTERPIECE haha), an episode of Oprah on cell regeneration (I'm not a big fan but this was actually fascinating, and a roommate was watching it), The Rick Mercer Report twice (because I love it), and of course, The Office (but it was recorded on our PVR).
WATCHED ON THE INTERNET- Scrubs, Some Youtube videos.
2. READ IN PRINT- 3 issues of the Gazette, Print Magazine, and Watchmen.
READ ON INTERNET- Several Webcomics, electronic sources for essays (normally I do books but not for this essay), COUNTLESS blogs, articles on things I think are fascinating.

3. LISTENED TO RADIO- Every morning I wake up and listen to about an hour of most beloved CHRW.
NOT ON RADIO- A podcast for a paper, music from cd's (dark was the night, and OH! compilation on heavy rotation right now), myspace songs (Fantasies by Metric available for streaming!), and downloaded music.
So now I come to the part where I discuss my views, opinions, and theories on the matter at hand in conjunction with the mini-series. I don't think any of these media are at risk of dying out provided they have supplement themselves with more accessible content. I know this can pose a problem for some smaller companies, they have to PAY for streaming. Who knew?! It's a fast paced world out there, everyone is looking for a way to be more efficient, they want things that are convenient, and these new forms of media (blogging, youtube, streaming, online news, etc.) are providing it. They are also acting as an alternative to main stream media, it's refreshing to hear new opinions and ideas. That being said, sometimes there is nothing nicer than sitting down with a cup of tea and the Globe and Mail, a good book, or watching Scrubs on TV, or waking up in the morning to the radio, not knowing what you'll get.
I like the system of new media supplementing more traditional media. Here are some reasons:
1. I think it's easier to hold onto an idea, or get attached to something more tangible, the internet is always changing, always evolving, always updating, it can be hard to keep up to date on things or even remember what you have or have not read (fun fact... every new site you go to there is a 2/3 chance you've already been there courtesy Spark podcast #28). I find it easier to remember or get into a song I stumble upon on the radio (I'll immediately go look it up), or a book I can hold and read (easier on the eyes too).
2. I feel like blogging and alternative news sources have too many opinions, I like that I can read news from papers (even though I can't read it right now as a poor student), and then read articles on the internet about the same thing to hear other opinions, but there are so many on the internet it's overwhelming.
3. Media, and communication technologies are ALWAYS being replaced by new and better ones. People think this is the first time it's happening, but it's not. Think of how much has changed over time: there used to be people that memorized stories and re-told them, then people wrote them by hand, then the printing press happened. It's just the fact that we are progressing so quickly now that is making people see this transfer.
So there you have it, my ideas based on observations from my life. I think if anything, these mediums will have to re-invent themselves, much like radio did with the advent of TV (a shift from stories and variety hours to news, music, and talk). Maybe they should become more publicly owned and operated with more independent programming (I would love more stations like CHRW). Look at the issues and the facts, what do you think? Do any of you think that print, tv, and radio are dying? What do your mediaviours tell you?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bands I sometimes forget exsist but are AWESOME #3- Rogue Wave

Rogue Wave was one of my first true musical loves. It started in grade 11, but back then you couldn't find their music in Canada (I have no clue how I found them, back then I was a machine because I had just realized all the good music there is out there). Anyhow, I had probably 5 of their songs from various locations (limewire probably...) and in grade 12 I went on a trip to Memphis with my high school band (yep... but really like 2/3 of the school was in band (maybe that's because of awesome trips like Memphis (where we went to a music festival that had acts such as: James Brown, B.B. King, 3 6 mafia, Bryan Adams, Jerry Lee Lewis, Train, basically the most random assortment) and an 11 day cruise to the Bahamas where we played once for 30 minutes), plus I really loved making music... still do) and I found my heaven. Tower records gave me access to millions of c.d.'s I had never seen in Canada. I spent at LEAST an hour in that store, had a stack of 20 albums I wanted to buy all for very reasonable prices. However, I decided to tone it down, and choose three. The results were: Sufjan Stevens, Matt Pond PA, and Rogue Wave.

Some (matching... although not on purpose) friends and I in 2006 in Memphis after riding the 'duck' in the Mississippi River

All of these were instant love. I still love all three of these bands. I rediscovered old Rogue Wave music yesterday when I realized that I hadn't uploaded 4 cd's to my computer, one being Out of The Shadow, Rogue Wave's first cd. I am listening to it now, and it inspired this blog (listen to End Game, Man-Revolutionary! (listen here from my music player to the right!), Falcon Settles Me, and Endless Shovel). Their second album Descend Like Vultures is also awesome (Catform, Love's Lost Guarantee , and Temporary is my claim to guitar tabbing, It was the first and only solo I've ever tabbed on the internet). Their third album, Asleep at Heaven's Gate, was released in 2007 and took on a much darker feel (due to several issues members were dealing with: organ failures and surgeries, deaths of close family members... it was to them what Funeral was to Arcade Fire). It was also a change in labels from Subpop to Brushfire.

Rogue Wave is a great band, and if you haven't heard them, they're worth a listen. They're kind of similar to The Shins with a little more... edge? They bring me back to high school in a good way. Simpler times, nostalgia, and the like.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sexy People

Sorry to deviate a little (photography counts as art right?!), but a friend told me (she found out from another friend) about this blog. It's called Sexy People, and it is... fantastic.It takes portraits through the ages, and posts them. There are families, singular people, and general tackiness. Some of them are typical for the time period and some are just, well, tragic. Needless to say, it's entertaining. Each post lists year taken, and what country it's from. Happy hunting.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Looking for the perfect... gift, accessory, household item, piece of art, anything else?

So I found this site a few weeks ago, and I'm astounded at the stuff you can get off of it. It's called Etsy, and it is a place where various artisans sell their work which includes: Accessories, Art, Bags and Purses, Bath and Beauty, Books and Zines, Candles, Ceramics and Pottery, Clothing, Furniture, Geekery, Glass, Jewelry, I think you get the idea (there's a lot more I haven't mentioned like stuff for Weddings, Annie). The awesome thing is most stuff is so cheap! So much cheaper than it woudl be in the store. It's almost too good...
For example, "This handcrafted necklace is made with Freshwater pearl and Swarovski crystal on on hand-knotted silk thread.
The closure is a Silver plated lobster clasp.
The length of the necklace 16" extendible to 18" with a Silver
plated chain" How much would this normally be? I'm guessing at least $70, but no, it's $12.80 plus shipping from Thailand makes it $16.30.
I think I've found a new online addiction.
The Jewelry and Art sections are my favourite, everything you find on here is original so you know you're getting something unique. There are prints, photography, paintings, anything you could want. If you see something you like, you can also browse by store, which means you see one person's whole store.

Starstruck $22.00 Photograph print by urbandesign

So check it out if you're looking for something unique for yourself, or someone else. You won't be disappointed. They've got something for every event, style, thing, person.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It is Saturday... (or best music for a Sunday doing work)

It is Saturday, but it feels like a Sunday. Sunday's are my least favourite day, so you can imagine I'm not super pleased (although, I guess it's what you get when you haven't had class since Wednesday night). I guess I've had my fun for the weekend, actually, I've had my fun for the rest of the semester I think. It's time to get serious, time to get work done, time to finish on a strong note. In order to do this, however, I am going to need to finish: 3 essays, 3 projects, 1 quiz, presentation, and 2 take home tests. This makes me a little nervous because there are 18 days until I am done school (yeah, for the YEAR).

I know I can get it done, I've been doing some work today, I think I've been pretty productive so far. This is partly due to the fact that I find it hard to do work with nothing else going on, but I also don't like to multi-task like CRAZY when I have this much work. I've found my best method is working, but also having some music on. Here are my 10 best artists for when you need just a little.
1. The Album Leaf- Signed to Subpop, they've got the ambient, orchestral thing nailed down. The music is beautiful, and it makes great background music.
2. Explosions in the Sky- Similar to Album Leaf (ambient, usually no lyrics), Explosions is a little more epic. Their songs are typically long, and have a bit more of an edge to them, quite a bit darker. They were also heavily influenced by Mogwai (always a good thing).
3. American Analog Set- They've got 6 albums out, and sometimes I like consistency in music when I'm working, that way you don't get distracted by changes (makes sense to me...). Though they have lyrics, their music is really mellow indie-rock, mixed with lo-fi, so it's perfect.
4. Bon Iver- Bon Iver is mellow, acoustic, and soulful. It's beautiful but can be pretty heavy. Nevertheless, it works when you want to (ahahahah.)
5. Do Make Say Think- DMST is awesome for when you need a little more upbeat music to work to that still isn't distracting. It's experimental, post-rock, infused with jazz and usually there are no lyrics. For a job well done (I need to stop).
6. Feist- Feist is great no matter what you need, mellow, upbeat, jazz, acoustic, she's done it all. I like it because of this diversity and her voice is beautiful.
7. Once Soundtrack- Once is a fantastic movie based around music (if you haven't seen it, you're missing out). It's stirringly beautiful and maybe that's why I like it when I work.
8. Iron and Wine- Sam Beam makes the most wonderful folk music today. It's acoustic, simple, and lovely.
9. Simon and Garfunkel- One word. Classic. That's really all you need to know.
10. Young Galaxy- They're fairly new, and only have one album (maybe 2009 will bring more?) but it's pretty awesome, even though it's more assertive than any other artist listed here, I still find them easy to listen to whilst writing. Maybe it's the dream-pop element, puts me in kind of a good mood.

Anyhow... that's the list. Good luck with the rest of the term everyone.
What is your favourite music to do work to?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Abducted By Design: It's got EVERYTHING

Prepare to be Abducted by Design. I found this site a while ago, and I keep going back. It's got everything: image bookmarks, designer interviews, tutorials, articles, and more. It's great because it showcases a variety of work from a variety of designers. There are so many styles and graphics which makes it accessible to a large demographic. The downside is sometimes you have to hunt for things you like (I've seen a lot of things on it I think are tacky, heck, I'm not even a big fan of the site's design). As a result of this, I've also seen many styles I haven't, and can appreciate it more. There are great examples of typography, drawings, photography, collages, design in general. The tutorials also seem to be pretty cool. It's a great site for inspiration, entertainment, or if you want to learn about styles.

My favourite thing is the daily inspiration. I've seen some great images (both shown on this post are from this section). It's also cool because you can not only follow this community, but join it. So check it out, you may be pleasently suprised.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Another Great Designer- Andy J. Miller

He was recently featured on BOOM, and I have been looking at his stuff like it's an addiction. According to his website bio "Andy J. Miller is an illustrator, art director, designer, and musician" from Indiana now living in the UK. Miller has had clients such as: Sony, Converse, Nike, Howies, Woot T-Shirts, Chalk Apparel, NYLON, The Big Chill Festival, ActionAid, Science Council, Palmercash T-Shirts, The Yellow Bird Project, Beck's, Kitsune Noir, Bon Bon Kakku, Infectious Art. The Yellow Bird project, in case you haven't heard is a Montreal based charity organization where musicians design a T-shirt, we print and sell them on their website, and all of the profit goes to charity. Each of the artists gets to choose their own. Miller is making a colouring book for Yellow Bird Project called "The Indie Rock Coloring Book featuring coloring book pages in tribute to bands such as Bon Iver, The Shins, Broken Social Scene, MGMT and more". Colouring, design, music and charity. What's NOT to love?!Anyhow, his stuff is great (yeah, he's kind of similar to Damien Correll and Mike Perry, I guess it's just a style I really like), so check it out. Maybe get yourself a colouring book later this year.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Canadian Music Week- Saturday at Lee's Palace

Saturday at Lee's Palace was incredible. The night was full of awesome musicians playing awesome sets. Beginning the show was Jon-Rae Fletcher, previously known as Jon-Rae and the River. Jon-Rae has come a long way from his first band. His act is cleaned up, music is polished, but he still has the same kind of cheeky attitude. He's kind of like a modern day Johnny Cash with nostalgic, sometimes dark lyrics with a hint of humour. He, however, was very humble- you could see he was happy to be there and was really having a good time.

Next was Herman Dune who are an antifolk duo from France. I have never even heard of them, but they were really good, there were some parts when the chatty audience went completely silent to listen to the music- which is something I don't think I've ever experienced for this kind of music. Rightly so, the song 'I Wish That I Could See You Soon' was #89 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2007. I'd say that's pretty impressive.

Third on the bill was London's own Basia Bulat. Bulat played a great set filled with new and old songs, lookout for a new album to be released later this year. Despite a few technical difficulties with a ukulele she was happy, energetic, and really sweet. Her melodic songs were filled with powerful vocals, diverse instrumentation to make a fantastic performance. The audience was very receptive to Bulat's show, and you could tell she was appreciated by everyone there.

Finally, Elliott BROOD is a three piece folk-rock band from Toronto. Their energy was palpable, seeing them live is not even comparable to just listening to their music. The experience was heightened when they threw various pans and sticks in the audience to bang to the music. They really interacted with the audience (every band had great interaction last night) and everyone was at least tapping along to the music.
My favourite was when the played 'The Valley Town', because it's about my hometown Dundas, Ontario (that makes 2 that I know of, the other being by Caribou when he was Manitoba). This kind of confuses me too because the lyrics say 'my home sweet home' but aren't they from Toronto? Regardless, it was fun to listen to.

The night was a great success, probably the best of all the night of Canadian Music Week performance wise. Overall it was a fantastic weekend full of awesome music. My highlights from each night were: Women, Human Highway, and Elliott BROOD.

Photos courtesy of Mr. Andrew Weir. Thanks guy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Canadian Music Week- Friday at the Horseshoe Tavern

Last night was another great night at the Horseshoe Tavern. We got there before the opening band went on so that we could get a table because the only band that I listen to that played last night was Bicycles, so we didn't care too much to stand at the front which is crowded and hot. Dinosaur Bones was the first band, they were pretty good. A typical opening band, not anything too special, but definitely enjoyable. There were a few highlights, and being a young band I think you can expect to hear more of them, greater things from them in the future.

The second band should have been the first band. Daniel Wesley was confusing. They were confusing because they didn't fit the bill for the night or the venue. They were confusing because they're style was all over the map. The first song was undeniably country, and then there were a few that were trying to be reggae, a few trying to be a Jack Johnson acoustic style band. Overall you could compare them to a bad Sublime tribute band trying to make their own way.

Next were The Bicycles, they played a good set, and it is rumoured to possibly be their last show ever. Bicycles are kind of a twee-indie band with some sweet melodies and youthful lyrics, their style is like Islands mixed with Bell and Sebastien. The audience responded well, and I think most people who hadn't heard them before enjoyed it.

Next on the bill was Human Highway, who I was pleasantly surprised by. I had heard of them before but never really listened to them, but that's changed now. If you haven't heard...
Human Highway is the new collaboration from two of Canada’s most-loved troubadours: Jim Guthrie and Nick Thorburn. Both Guthrie and Thorburn have been long-time fixtures of Canadian pop music. Jim is best-known for his releases on Three Gut Records, both with Royal City and as a solo artist, when he received a Juno nomination for 2004’s Now, More Than Ever. Thorburn first gained international exposure with the Unicorns in 2003, and now fronts the super-pop group Islands. (Last.fm)
So it's easy to see why they're pretty good. They played a great set, and had great energy. Their songs ranged from poppy to mellow, each was equally as good as the last.

Finally was the Handsome Furs who are a husband and wife duo consisting of Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Alexei Perry. One thing is clear when you do listen to this popular duo: they are not what they seem. Don't let them fool you by the cover of a wife/husband duo. These songs are dark as much as they can get you dancing. Boeckner's voice doesn't change a bit in the midst of over driving synth beats and buzzing keys; he plays his guitar in direct transgression of the electronic backbone. There is no conflict though: he is serious, and Perry stands beside him in the same position. There is nothing to really say that was surprising about them. They have been part of other projects for so long that they are solid, just as anyone would expect. I can't say that any one song jumped out at me as being fantastic, but they were noticably composed for enjoyment, and meticulously engineered so that the crowd could not object to any of it. I couldn't cut it down anymore than this: even if you don't care for the textures you can at least appreciate one of the most interesting voices in canadian music today.

Another good night, leaving only one left.
Jon-Rae Fletcher 9:00 PM
Herman Dune 9:45 PM
Basia Bulat 10:45 PM
Elliott Brood 11:45 PM
Cuff The Duke 12:45 AM

Friday, March 13, 2009

Canadian Music Week-Thursday at Horshoe Tavern

As previously mentioned, I am at Canadian Music Week this weekend in Toronto. Last night I went to the Horseshoe Tavern and it was loud, packed, and awesome. Unfortunately we got there a little too late for The Lovely Feathers,only seeing the last song, Photocorners, which kind of sucks because I've never seen them but the rest of the night made up for it.
$100 was next, and they put on a great performance. I actually saw them play a double set the night before in London at The Alex P. Keaton, which was also pretty damn good. They're a folk band leaning more towards the side of country. The crowd enjoyed them, and they seemed to be having a good time.

$100 at The Horseshoe Tavern on Canadian Music Week

Next up was Women, who were by far the noisiest. This band has come a long way from playing shows in basements of the wilderness that is the Alberta suburbs. Their set last night was a sound collage of their past self titled album along with a few noisy jams that were made on the road. Their set was melodic, sporadic, it ebbed and flowed into hybrids of their previous work. They were so low-fi that my confidence was crushed completely and then rebuilt again in the laysers of telecaster squeals. They were abrasively loud, and in the next moment, sweetly quiet. It was a bit disappointing that neither the crowd (or sound guy) could keep up. Many times they would finish a song, unbeknownst to the crowd, other times the crowd would cheer when they were only halfway done. It was caos. Overall their preformance was a trip through a sound they are so delicously good at playing and it was done in a way only Women could accomplish. They were good and i'm not sure if too many people would agree. In a strange twist of events, we met the lead singer at the grocery store on our way home. He seemed surprised that I shook his hand and thanked him for what i heard.

Women at Horseshoe Tavern

Next up was Gentleman Reg, who I've never heard, but I knew he was signed to Arts and Crafts (Brendan Canning was in the audience). It was easy to see why, his music is easy to get into, very pleasant to listen to, and he had the best interaction with the audience. His music is indie-rock of the usual type, some softer ballad songs, and some more poppy upbeat songs. Gentleman Reg had a few intense fans dancing, lighting up their jackets (yeah, there was a middle aged guy with a light up jacket), and screaming his name at people(same guy). He's pretty decent, check him out if you like most Arts and Crafts artists.

Gentleman Reg at Horsehoe Tavern

Finally, closing the set was Chad Vangaalen. I really like Chad Vangaalen, but his set was kind of disappointing. He only played 6 songs, got in there and got out. I can understand why, as it was a very long night (I was so tired by this point), and he had already played with Women. But most of the crowd came there to see him, and I feel like most of them left a little unhappy, especuially because after the short set list, he didn't have an encore (he may not have been allowed to, but his set seemed shorter than any other, and as a closing act there is usually an encore). Regardless, the songs he did play were pretty good, and everyone enjoyed it.

Chad VanGaalen at Horseshoe Tavern

Overall, the night was a success. Earlier in the Horseshoe won best live music venue in the CMW awards, and it was the first Thursday they have ever filled to capacity. Tonight I'm going back for
The Bicycles 10 : 10 PM
Human Highway 11 : 10 PM
Handsome Furs 12 : 10 AM
Hot Panda 1 : 10 AM

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Least Favourite Artist Ever

I'm in a class called 'Limits of the Avant-Garde' and it's amazing. If you're into various kind of crazy art movements and you like making creative projects rather than writing essays and you're in MIT take it next year. Anyhow, in said class we discuss why some art movements came to be; what fueled them (my favourite is the Situationists). Today we discussed post-modern art movements, and aggregator art. This got me thinking about meaning behind certain artists that are not necessarily Avant-garde. Immediately I thought of my least favourite artist ever. Norman Rockwell.Norman Rockwell, terrible art, douche bag
Why do I dislike him? Maybe it's things like this, “If a picture wasn't going very well, I'd put a puppy in it.” That's a direct quote. From what I have gathered from his website and work I have seen what drives him is innocence. He wants to portray an innocent America that is pure and whimsical. He paints the world as he would like it to be. I guess sure, fine, that's meaning... but I don't think it's very bold, or even original. I have no clue how the man became an icon. I don't really like the meaning behind it, and I really don't like the aesthetic appearance of his art. Forgive me for being rash or harsh, but it's just plain TACKY.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Canadian Music Week is coming

Do you have your wristband? CMW taking place in Toronto, from the 11th-15th. That's five nights with 500 artists and 50 venues. Wristbands are $50 and give you no cover to any participating show during that time.
With 500 artists there something for everyone. There are also films, and award shows. The lineups are looking pretty decent. Heres's one I'm looking forward to on Thursday at Horseshoe Tavern

The Lovely Feathers 8:30 PM
$100 9:20 PM
Women 10:10 PM
Gentlemen Reg 11:10 PM
Chad VanGaalen 12:10 AM

Other awesome artists playign that weekend include: Arkells, Basia Bulat, Bicycles, Cuff the Duke, D'Ubervilles, Elliott Brood, Ghost is Dancing, Handsome Furs, Hoodinternet, Hot Panda, Matt Mays & El Torpedo, Ting Tings, Young Galaxy, and so many more. For info on any of the bands or when they're playing just check out the website.

Expect a lot of reviews this coming weekend.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Design Interviews, articles, and more

Looking for a site with interviews with designers, features, and awesome contests? Just interested in Graphic Design? Check out Grain Edit. It's been my new favourite site for a few weeks now and it's due time I let you all in on it. It's a great resource for anyone interested in design: "Grain edit is focused on classic design work from the 1950s-1970s and contemporary designers that draw inspiration from that time period. Site content includes interviews, articles, designers’ libraries as well as examples of rare design annuals, type specimens, Ephemera, posters and vintage kids books from our bookshelves." So much delicious design can be found in this one site.

Note to anyone interested in design... there's giveaway on Monday. Why not try your luck? After seeing the last give away... I'm sure you won't want to miss it (stuff from Small Stakes, You Work For Them, Field Notes and more)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dark Was the Night

Dark Was the Night is a compilation album released on February 17, 2009. Now, I'm not usually one for compilation albums, if I like an artist I'll get the whole thing. I don't want bits and pieces, thats why I use hype machine, to see if it's worth listening to (I'll also go on friend recommendations). I have only heard a few songs off of Dark Was the Night, but I already know I have to go buy it. Why?
Well here's a little background info. Dark Was the Night was assembled by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National for the Red Hot Organization (an organization fighting HIV/AIDS through pop culture and raising awareness) so you already know it's a worthwhile cause. Furthermore, it's been two years in the making because, and here's the kicker, it features new (and a few covers) songs by (here are SOME of the artists):
Andrew Bird
Antony + Bryce Dessner
Arcade Fire
Beach House
Beirutdark was the night, album, indie music
Blonde Redhead + Devastations
Bon Iver
Buck 65 Remix (featuring Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti)
Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues
The Decemberists
Dirty Projectors + David Byrne
Kevin Drew
Feist + Ben Gibbard
Grizzly Bear + Feist
Iron & Wine
My Brightest Diamond
My Morning Jacket
The National
The New Pornographers
Sufjan Stevens
Yo La Tengo
All I can say is... nothing. It is bound to be 2 cd's of gold. In particular some of these collaborations are looking pretty good, Feist alone is good, but with Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie, and The Postal Service) or Grizzly Bear, amazing. There are so many reasons to buy this album, I don't think it's avoidable.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dear Lovely Feathers- Where have you Gone?

2006, I was in grade 12, it was a year of fun, friends, discovery, and The Lovely Feathers released Hind Hind Legs. That was truly a great album. I was supposed to go see them on December 8th, 2006 (also known as the worst day of my life) but if any of you remember that was the craziest snowstorm I have ever seen. As a result of all the snow, my comp sci exam was moved, I couldn't get home until much much later, missing the concert (also that day I ripped my favourite pair of jeans, and there was no italian grilled cheese). That was also the last I heard of The Lovely Feathers.the lovely feathers
They seemed to just disappear, and that's not easy for a band on Spin's Top 5 up and coming Montreal Bands. Earlier this school year I heard they were back! But... that's about all I've heard. In the INFO section of their website it states, "And so it goes to where they are today: The Lovely Feathers, several years finer, are pleased to announce the imminent release of their new completed album, ‘Scherezadian’. It will be followed by a respectful and pleasant tour of North America." On their myspace it even says Fall 2008! Well... where is this album?! I checked the last.fm page to see if there was any news, or if there were any new songs on ANYONES account... but nothing. In the Shoutbox- written in December- is, " haven't heard anything about scherezadian for a while now :(". So I guess I am not the only one who is confused.
However, the band is back to playing shows in Montreal tomorrow, and later for Canadian Music week in Toronto. I guess they haven't ceased to exist. They're just so cryptic, does anyone know whats going on with 'Scherezadian'?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Youtube is the new Public Sphere

Youtube was started in February 2005, since then it has been bought by Google, grown in popularity, and started a user-generated content revolution. Youtube has created a community of people all over the world who can post videos of anything: animations, vlogs (video blog), music videos, home videos, parts of tv shows or ads, virtually any kind of clip. The uses are endless. In An anthropological introduction to YouTube some of these trends are tracked.

This video explains the growing phenomenon, how Youtube has connected people, created stars (soulja boy anyone?), started drama, and allowed people to express themselves in so many more ways. The slogan for Youtube is 'Broadcast yourself', and that seems to be it's main purpose.It seems to me that Youtube is probably the closest thing in today's society that we have to Habermas' idea of the ideal public sphere. Because Youtube is comprised of user generated content people can express themselves in whatever way they want; it's astounding how many people are not camera shy or afraid of talking about anything. It's also impressive the amount of responses a video can get, people will respond to vlogs by making their own vlog (how many numa numa videos have you seen?). I enjoy the free hugs movement started by Juan Mann, I think it sends a great message about connectivity with others in today's society, it's even been on Oprah! It truly is a community where people can get together, it's open to everyone, where private people form a public, and have critical (or not so critical) discussion.
This isn't to say there aren't problems with it, spam gets in, advertisers use it to promote things, people make up fake stories, and there is a lot of sex and hate. However, the majority of users are using it to share something: experiences, stories, funny things, feelings, a message. They enjoy the playfulness of Youtube, they realize it is a great way to be heard.
Youtube is an asset to our media saturated world. Similar to blogs, it can be used to supplement mainstream media, hear opinions and voices that may never be heard otherwise. So I encourage you to become part of this phenomenon and start youtubing.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dave Dyment: guest blog by Meagan Kashty

Dave Dyment is a Canadian artist who has gained a lot of popularity for his "pop art." I was first privy to his work while writing an article on the LOLA festival in London, and was instantly hooked.
Dyment is based in Toronto, but has had is work exhibited all across Canada as well as Dublin and Varna, Bulgaria and Philadelphia.
He specializes in taking ready made material (like records, posters, and other "pop culture" related things) and transforming them or manipulating them to send a different message.
However, what really intrigued me about Dyment was how he uses The Beatles as a source of inspiration.
In "Life and Death", Dyment takes an advertising lightbox to illuminate a reproduction of LIFE magazine with Paul McCartney on the cover. The article inside was meant to reassure fans that Paul was alive and well, but the advertisement on the back of the front page reveals a car "crashing into" Paul. This is a cool, subtle play on the "Paul is Dead" theory that plagued so many Beatle's fans.
There are also several pieces where Dyment combines several top 25 records into 1 single record.
I think it's some pretty interesting stuff, and you should definately check out www.davedyment.com to see more.

( Check out www.maybeimamazedmaybenot.blogspot.com if you liked this post, and want to see more)

Guest post

I did a guest post on friend, roommate, blogger-extraordinare, Meagan Kashty's blog: Maybe I'm Amazed. Check it out.
I'll give you a hint: it's about web comics.

Monday, March 2, 2009

If everything I could see...

darkleavesfromathread by yyellowbird on flickr

looked like these photographs then would anything be beautiful again? I was originally going to write something more like 'then life would be even more enjoyable' or 'then everything would be amazing' but then I realized, if everything looked like this beauty could become so commonplace that it wouldn't be beautiful.

Fear not for the future, weep not for the past by i.anton on flickr (amazing photostream)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

MGMT Music Videos

What doesMGMT have to do with the most ridiculous show on tv? It's simple, short and bizarre videos. Do you like MGMT's ridiculous music videos (always so ridiculous!)? Have you seen The Youth? If not, you should. So I am posting it here.
This little gem is directed by Eric Wareheim of The Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job. If you've never seen the show MGMT's music video is kind of a good indication of the style of the show. There probably is no meaning, they love low production values (possibly so low they're even high?), and the humour is really obscure. It's a sketch show, just little random bits that are sometimes repeated (Steve Brule is the best) and some are just totally arbitrary. Regardless... amazing. Here's a clip. So naturally Eric and MGMT go hand in hand. Sometimes I just don't know how to deal with it. If you have seen or enjoyed one, check out the other, you'll probably like it. Or if you've heard MGMT and check out Tim and Eric you may just be confused. I've seen a lot of it but it still confuses me.