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Thursday, March 31st, 2005

Nothing But The Sky

When Ivy announced that their new album, In The Clear, would be a return to the more organic, guitar-based sound of Apartment Life rather than the slicked-up synths of Long Distance, I was happy to hear it. I’m a big fan of their first two records, but found the third release to be overproduced and overly stiff. Alas, In The Clear is not the album I was hoping for. Yes, there are more guitars – it actually sounds a fair bit like the Andy Chase/Dominique Durand side-project Paco – but the production is still fairly shellac-like. And I mean that like the varnish, not the band.

Ivy’s sophisticated pop has always been distinctly urban, so perhaps the best analogy is that while the first records were the sound of a wide-eyed newcomer to the city, the last couple of releases have been the soundtracks to the lifestyle of the posh sophisticate. Still quite lovely, but comparatively slight and superficial. I’m certainly not going to turn the socialite, but all things being equal, I’d rather hang out with the ingenue without all the make-up. Reviews for the disc have been generally favourable, though, making me think that maybe I had greater expectations for this record than most.

Still, I remain a fan and live in hope that they will recapture the spontenaity of their youth and still look forward to the eventual release of their rarities compilation (maybe even moreso now) either later this year or early next year. In the meantime, the band is touring the new record and currently have dates scheduled up the west coast through May. I’m expecting east coast appearances later this Summer. It’s also good to see that they’ve made all their old videos available on their website in decent quality.

Ryan Adams sure knows how to drive a hard bargain. In favour of going to his May 3 show at the Kool Haus (there was a conflict with another show at the Phoenix that night, hence the venue change), his support act will be Rachael Yamagata, who also contributed vocals to his new one Cold Roses. On the nay side, the $30 price tag. For me, the nays have it, but it’ll be a good show nonetheless. Tix on sale Friday.

It will be interesting to see what sort of crowd turns out to see Loretta Lynn at Massey Hall on July 22 – the old-school country fans or the hipster-come-latelys who own Van Lear Rose and are really just hoping that Jack White makes an appearance? I personally hope for both. And that they fight. In the streets.

The Opera House threatens to collapse under the weight of all the hype on May 21 when LCD Soundsystem and MIA entertain the hipsters. And non-hipsters can get their rawk on at the Phoenix on May 11 with The Stereophonics and Augustana.

So, like the comics fanboy I am, I dashed out and bought Countdown To Infinite Crisis yesterday, it being the latest in DC’s unverse-altering ultra-mega crossovers. I’ll put my thoughts in spoilers just in case someone hasn’t read it yet and intends to: Man, I LIKED Blue Beetle. Like, a lot. I was all about the Giffen/DeMatties JLA and am genuinely sad by how much DC is messing with it. Killing Sue Dibney, killing Blue Beetle, evil Maxwell Lord… I mean, from the previews it was obvious that Teddy-boy bought the farm, but still. I am genuinely saddened by that, more than I thought I’d be. All this makes the publication of Formerly Known As The Justice League last year and the I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League storyline currently running in JLA Classified seem exceptionally cruel. I swear, the payoff for all this better be worthwhile.

np – Pulp / We Love Life

By : Frank Yang at 9:18 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. el chavo del ocho says:

    hipster scene or not, I highly recomend the LCD gig. they’re killer live. M.I.A., on the other hand, has a long, long way to go.

  2. Frank says:

    nah, I had the album and it didn’t do much for me. I’ve got way too many shows on the calendar as is, anyway.

  3. [ j ] says:

    It think it sucks for Countdown to be happening just when Giffen/DeMatties JLA’s had made sort of a comeback. There’s no excuse. They would of released "I Can’t Believe Believe It’s Not The Justice League" last year. blah

  4. graig says:

    As my favourite series of all time the messing up of the JLI is hitting me pretty hard, but at the same time… GODDAMN!

    Countdown was a damn good read. Damn good.

    I do find it interesting though that the brightest light in DC’s recent history is what they’re using to cast the darkest shadow. It confounds me that they’re not releasing trades of the old JLI/JLE series’ rapid fire to capitalize off all this…

  5. Frank says:

    I hear ya Graig – every ish of "I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League" is gonna feel like a slap in the face now. Sadists!

  6. graig says:

    oh, as a follow up to your post the other day about AF on the cover of Time Canada, CBC radio did a similar story this morning on the Current relating how the Juno’s are all mass market and the indie scene is where it’s at…

    the segment is located here

    http://…/

    It’s very much a light primer for those who know nothing about this stuff, but it’s always interesting to see how the "outside" looks in.

  7. Rachel says:

    The Decemberists tonight! Hurray! Good music back in North Texas after a long-ass drought.

  8. Popular Frontiersman says:

    The payoff will not be worth it. I guarantee. I mean, this is the company that brought us Identity Crisis, a series whose payoff defined not-being-worth-it. No more DC for me for *years* now, aside from the rest of the Giffen JLA:C and the Seven Soldiers stuff. Feh.

  9. j.xcel says:

    I’m gonna have to side with Chavo on this one. LCD Soundsystem kicks some serious ass live, better than any other show you’re gonna see this month, buck-o.

  10. Rachel says:

    Oh my God, if you ever get to go see the Decemberists, GO. What a show!!!!!

  11. Frank says:

    re LCD: But… but I don’t like the music. Ass kickage notwithstanding, that’s sort of an issue, isn’t it? I’m sure there’ll be lots of other folks who want to go, I’ll graciously allow them to take my spot.

    re Decemberists: hell yes, I saw them last year and they were fantastic. Got my ticket for their show next month as well.