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Archive for April, 2004

Friday, April 30th, 2004

What Would We Be Without Wishful Thinking

You know how yesterday I was saying that day 2 of Lollapalooza would have been perfectly convenient for me to go to if only there more bands in the lineup that I wanted to see? Well the overpriced corporate music festival gods have heard my plea and responded – I will absolutely be hauling ass to Lollapalooza to attend the second day of the festival as Wilco has been added to the bill for the Toronto, Detroit and Cleveland shows. Damn right I’m going to see them and The Flaming Lips. Everyone else is just gravy. Assuming tickets are around $40-$50, that’s a deal, or at least reasonable. Hell, maybe I’ll even get a reserved seat. But if they think this gets them out of coming back this Fall for a proper show of their own, they’ve got another thing coming. Thanks to Morecowbell.net for the tip-off.

I may, however, need to get vaccinated before the show. The Center For Disease Control has confirmed what I’ve always suspected – jam band fans are dirty dirty hippies.

Slatch brings you details on the Daniel Johnston tribute album, Discovered, Covered – The Late Great Daniel Johnston. Even if you don’t quite “get” Mr Johnston, and I admit that includes me, you can’t argue with the lineup of contributers. Teenage Fanclub, Sparklehorse with The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Tom Waits, Death Cab For Cutie among others… It don’t get much better than that. Look for it in August.

The Cure’s new album, due out June 29, will be imaginatively titled The Cure. Sez Fat Bob: “I think it’s the best thing we’ve ever done… If you don’t like it, then you don’t like us.” Oh Fat Bob, you’re such a stitch. Billboard has specifics and a tracklisting.

Something Awful’s Top 10 Top 10 lists.

They were shooting an episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation on my street last night. They had a frat house dressed up as a, uh, frat house – A frat house hosting a KEG PARTY, no less. My goodness, one can only imagine what sort of invaluable life lessons those kids of Degrassi will be learning there.

np – Steve Earle & The Dukes / Shut Up And Die Like An Aviator

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

Carnival Of Sorts

Lollapalooza has a 2004 website and MTV.com has the schedule for the tour. There will indeed be Toronto dates this summer – pencil in August 5 and 6 at the Molson Amphitheatre. While the lineup is sure to shift as things progress city-to-city, the day-by-day breakdown for the moment looks like the following:

Day 1

MAIN STAGE: Morrissey, Sonic Youth, Le Tigre, Modest Mouse, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

2ND STAGE: Broken Social Scene, The Walkmen, Wolf Eyes, Danger Mouse, Datsuns, Sahara Hotnights

CHILL TENT: DJ Peretz

SOLAR STAGE: Bumblebeez, Secret Machines, The Killers

Day 2

MAIN STAGE: String Cheese Incident, Flaming Lips, Gomez, Polyphonic Spree

2ND STAGE: The Thrills, The Coup, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Elbow, Wheat

CHILL TENT: DJ Peretz

SOLAR STAGE: Dresden Dolls

I’m curious where they’re going to set up all the stages at the Amphitheatre – unless they commandeer parts of Ontario Place as well, I don’t think there’s enough room. As for the show days… Not mad about the Thursday and Friday. That measn that in addition to paying ticket prices, I’d have to work in the cost of a day off, though I have half days on Fridays in the Summer. Hmm hmm hmm. Upon further contemplation, I’ve worked out that for every band on the bill I’d want to see, there’s two more I could care less about. I’m now decidedly nonplussed about the whole thing. Unless a one-day admission is cheap enough that I can justify shelling out just to see The Flaming Lips and consider everything else just gravy, I’ll be at home napping those days.

Nude As The News gives Uncle Tupelo’s re-mastered Rockville catalog a critical appraisal. From Hold My Life.

Barsuk is dead. No, not the label, but the lovely dog that gave the label its name. Poor Barsuk.

Low are recording their next album in the wilds of upstate New York with Dave Fridmann. Still awaiting word on their box set. From Blogna.

While I knew that Prince loves Toronto, I didn’t know that he recorded his new album Musicology here. One line of the article in particular jumped out at me: “The CD jacket features the diminutive Prince in front of the gleaming Toronto skyline at night, and includes at least one veiled reference to the street where he lives that he asked not be pointed out “in case any crazies show up at my door””. Hmm, I hope that wasn’t directed at me. Don’t worry Prince, I won’t tell anyone else where you live or what was in your garbage, but your recycling is FAIR GAME.

np – Iron & Wine / Our Endless Numbered Days

Wednesday, April 28th, 2004

New Adventures In Hi-Fi

So I have my new speakers, and they sound lovely. It’s amazing how much weight everything has now that I have boxes capable of generating some respectable low end. Considering that my living room is probably an acoustic nightmare, they’re not nearly broken in and I’m using basic Radio Shack speaker wire, I figure it can only get better when I tweak bits of my setup or move into a room that doesn’t suck. But hey – sounds great to me for now, and that’s really all that matters. I expect that I will now spend the next while re-listening to everything I own, or at least a lot of it. First album to get spun through these puppies? Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, of course. I can really make out all the scratchy, bleepy background noises now. Why would I want to? I don’t know. And what demanding piece of cinema did I use to see how they handled soundtracks? Lord Of The Rings? The Matrix? Yentl? Nope – the second Family Guy box set. Hey, it may not be THX-certified, but there’s poop jokes and Adam West.

Oh, and if you missed the Osama Bin Laden joke that they excised from the DVD edition of Family Guy, you can see it, and other ‘forbidden’ scenes, here.

So this year’s Lollapalooza lineup seems to have finally taken shape. Check it out (I’m not linking all these): Morrissey, Sonic Youth, Le Tigre, PJ Harvey, Modest Mouse, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, String Cheese Incident, Gomez, Flaming Lips, the Thrills, the Polyphonic Spree, the Coup, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Elbow, Wheat, Dresden Dolls, Broken Social Scene, the Walkmen, the Killers, the Von Bondies, Secret Machines, Bumblebeez, Sahara Hotnights, Danger Mouse and the Datsuns. Not bad, even spread out over two days. Now I just need to see if they’re coming up here, how much tickets are and what acts are playing which day. Though just the thought of spending two days out standing in a field makes me tired. Me so old. Billboard has more details.

On July 2, the Trinity St-Paul’s United Church will be transformed into the House of Tomorrow as The Magnetic Fields will be in town to promote i. Trinity St-Paul’s is not even a ten minute walk from my house, which is ironic since I was planning to be on the other side of the continent that weekend. I was thinking about heading out west the last week of June (Canada Day long weekend), but if that means missing Nellie McKay, The Magnetic Fields and possibly Sea Ray, I may have to postpone. I had been hoping to be over there in time to catch Steve Earle in Seattle on the 30th of June, but that may no longer be compelling enough to get me over there that week. And people always wonder why I never go anywhere.

A second Pixies show has been added for Arrow Hall in Mississauge, November 25. On sale tomorrow.

Sweet Adeline gets an update on the release of Elliott Smith’s final album from his father. In brief, look for it in September or October. From Donewaiting.

24I think those 24 writers are having a little fun nudging against the fourth wall. “Oh, bet you think we’re gonna have Kim kidnapped again! Smarty pants, we’ll show you!” Har har. I don’t understand why they gave Michelle her test results like they were SAT scores. And how would Saunders have known to have a team in position at the hotel? Not terribly credible, sorry. And while I have this sneaking suspicion Tony is going to regret his decision at the end of the episode, he still gets full points for “Chloe, I’m getting real sick of your personality.” Zing! Four hours to go. Tick tick tick. Honestly, I love May for shows hitting their season finales – not for seeing the cliffhangers/stunt casting/crazy plot resolutions, but because it means I don’t have to schedule my evenings around bloody television shows.

Oh, I can’t believe Montreal coughed it up last night. I changed the channel with them ahead by one and only 45 seconds remaining. Tampa hadn’t even managed to pull Khabibulin. Poor Habs. Hope the Leafs fare a little better tonight. If they go down 3-0, it’s over. I can, however, believe the Jays coughed up a 1-run lead in the bottom of the ninth against Minnesota, though. How very disappointing the start of this season has been.

np – Sea Ray / Stars At Noon

Tuesday, April 27th, 2004

You Were Here

I worked out that I’ve been going to see Sarah Harmer either solo or with Weeping Tile for almost seven years now, and though it’s been about two and a half years since I last saw Sarah live – too long by far – she’s/they’ve always put on a great show, last night being no exception.

Local tunesmith Hayden was tapped for the opening slot and he filled it with 45 minutes of his understated, gravelly folk music. I’ve seen Hayden a couple times and he’s usually been pretty engaging but last night he had it dialed down just a little too low for my liking – not two or three songs in and I was already nodding off. Not entirely his fault – warm dark theatres will do that to a fellow who has been having recent bouts of narcolepsy – but he certainly didn’t do much to keep me up.

Sarah was on the first leg of her tour to promote All Of Our Names and this was the first of a sold-out two-night stand at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto. I’d never been to this theatre before, being more a creature of the dingy club, but this was certainly a beautiful venue. Watercolour murals on the walls, artificial foliage all around the stage and ceiling and low-slung mezzanines creating a cozy but not cramped feel. I was in the sixth row, orchestra level, so I had a pretty good view of everything though the sound was unnecessarily bass-heavy, a consequence of sitting in direct line of the PA, I guess. Sarah had assembled a fine band for this tour, including Mike O’Neill on guitar and Julie MacDonald of Flux AD on keys, flute and backing vocals. MacDonald was a fine choice for the band as her voice blends exceptionally well with Sarah’s pure, crisp, emotive voice. Sarah Harmer’s voice is a happy place for me.

The show itself was terrific, I was especially pleased to see her strap on the old Telecaster for a few of the more rocking songs – let’s not get TOO acoustically adult contemporary, thanks. Highlights were her graciously fulfilling requests for old Weeping Tile numbers (which sounded so good and sat quite nicely alongside the newer stuff) and her being taken by surprise by her neice and nephew onstage with a bouquet of flowers during the encore.

The pic above comes from the Sarah Harmer website, and was taken from a show at the start of this month in the Netherlands. I didn’t take any pictures last night, I wouldn’t have gotten anything usable from the sixth row anyway.

JAM! also has a review of last night’s show, as does The Toronto Star.

Pop Culture Press gives you the condensed yet still massive Big Star story. From Catbirdseat.

Some interview links from GPC: Splendid talks to The Wrens, who will be back at the Horseshoe June 5, and The Advocate talks to Stephin Merritt about the new Magnetic Fields album i, out next Tuesday.

Dilbert looks at the silent victims of music downloading.

The mailman brought me much postal happiness yesterday. In no particular order:

  • The New Year / The End Is Near – New album not out until May 18, and I have a copy. The Kadanes are branching out their sound – the first instrument you hear is… piano?!? Whoa.

  • Sea Ray / Stars At Noon – Haven’t listened to it yet.

  • Franz Ferdinand / Franz Ferdinand – Had this album in mp3 for ages, never really listened to it. The album should get more proper rotation. I hadn’t noticed how much some of this sounded like old XTC. You heard it here first – XTC are the new Velvet Underground. Or not, I just wanted to be the first to call something.

  • Iron & Wine / Our Endless Numbered Days – limited edition double disc, haven’t listened to it yet.

  • A full-size theatrical poster for I Am Trying To Break Your Heart. What is the best/most cost-effective way to mount/frame/preserve a movie poster?

np – The New Year / The End Is Near

Monday, April 26th, 2004

Lovesongs On The Radio

If you’re in an online radio kinda mood, check out BBC 1’s 4AD special. Pay particular attention to the end of the show when you can get a first listen to clips of Rachel Goswell’s “Plucked” from Waves Are Universal and Tanya Donelly’s “Whiskey Tango” from Whiskey Tango Ghost (fast forward to around 20:44 for these tracks). Mmm, lovely stuff.

I’m going to stop trying to keep up with release dates for Rachel’s album, by the way. That catalog listing I posted earlier for the North American release on June 22 looked pretty official, but Rachel herself says both the EP and album have been pushed back a week to May 17 and (in the UK) June 14, respectively, and that she has no idea about the North American dates. So, to sum up: EP in May, album in June. Gah.

And as a blast from the past, Under The Radar talks to Rachel about Slowdive and Mojave 3.

The new Luna record is done, look for it late Summer, touring to follow.

The big news today everywhere else is the GBV breakup. Geez, that is so yesterday. Matador will be issuing a formal press release on the split today, I’ll post it when it hits the cables. For now, here’s a requiem from GBV fan #1 LHB along with his own personal soundtrack for the wake.

We have overhauled the Lake Holiday website. Take a look if you’re so inclined.

np – Tanya Donelly / Lovesongs For Underdogs