Archive for March, 2005

Saturday, March 26th, 2005

Booze, Broads And Bullets

It’s interesting how after a decade of successfully (for the most part) adapting comics to movies, they’ve for the most part run out of populist, A-list all-ages properties and begun putting the more critically acclaimed but not-for-everyone titles into production at the same time. For example, Sin City, which is out next week, Watchmen (in pre-production), V For Vendetta (currently shooting), Death: The High Cost Of Living (Gaiman is directing, but we will reserve judgement) and a reportedly very dark, very Year One-esque Batman (out in June – check out the revamped website). Yeah, okay, they’re also still making Ghost Rider and they botched Hellblazer, but my point is still valid. It’s time for grown-up comic movies.

For starters, Sin City is looking to be fantastic. Bradley’s Almanac was lucky enough to attend an advance screening and gives it great praise – I know Brad’s an old-school comic book geek like myself, so that endorsement carries some weight. has a couple interviews with the women and the men of the film, while Comic Book Resources expresses no gender bias with their coverage. iFilm has some interview video clips with the cast while Coming Soon! has an interview with director Robert Rodriguez. Achtung Baby! has compiled a bunch more related links as well. I don’t know if I’ll be there opening night, but I would certainly expect I’ll be seeing it sometime next weekend, though maybe I should catch up on reading the original graphic novels in the interim – you know, so I can be suitably impressed with how well they stuck to the source material.

Meanwhile, has an extensive three-part interview with Paul Greengrass, director of Watchmen. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) where he talks about his plans for the film, his history with the novel (he has one!), how it’s still relevant today, and how they’re going to manage Dr Manhattan’s, um, package. Gotta say, after reading this, I’m very impressed with Greengrass’ attitude towards the source material and have pretty high hopes for the film. And while he has no involvement with the film, Comic Book Resources talked to Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons and he said that the script, “was excellent; a better script than I could have imagined being written”. Again, another good sign.

And decidedly non-comic booky or highbrow, I watched 13 Going On 30 yesterday – shut up – and as lightweight trifles go, it wasn’t bad at all – shut up. I think I prefer Jennifer Garner in the goofy comedic role rather than the ass-kicking ninja ones. It seems more natural for her. Shut up. However, one thing about the whole time shift thing was kinda weird to me. Instead of instantly growing up, a la Big, which to my mind would have been the logical response to a wish to be 30, Jennifer Garner was instead fast-forwarded 17 years through a life she’d have lived anyways, essentially turning a 30-year old mind back into a 13-year old one. Meaning that instead of wishing dust, all she really would have needed to accomplish this would have been some moderate head trauma.

Some music bits – Laura Cantrell’s Humming by the Flowered Vine will be out on June 21 on Matador (see the fancy cover art?) and Billboard has some info on Ryan Adams’ Cold Roses, due out May 3 – the same day that he’s scheduled to play the Phoenix here in Toronto, despite there being another show also booked there the same day… Nice to see that Rachael Yamagata makes an appearance on the new record.

Check out this Doves electronic press kit, featuring interviews and making-of footage from the Some Cities sessions (Quicktime: 300k / 100k / 56k).

np – The Oktober People / The Oktober People

Friday, March 25th, 2005

First You Look So Strong, Then You Fade Away

File under very cool: A quite good quality version of the video for Ride’s “Vapour Trail”, circa 1990, courtesy of This has found it’s way to the internet in advance of the forthcoming Ride DVD, details of which are still skimpy. BUT. As far as content goes, they at least have this one video. And if you have a basic understanding of how streaming .ram files work, you can have it too… hint hint.

Oh, and does anyone have the Divine Comedy cover of this song that they could, uh, leave lying around in my inbox for me to conveniently find? UPDATE: Mystical Beast has posted it! Thanks! Hmm, it’s a very straight cover. Kinda pub band-ish (save Neil Hannon’s vox). I definitely prefer the Trespassers William version.

The Feist invasion of America has begun. She played a couple of very impressive solo shows at SxSW parties (private ones, so as a member of the great unwashed, I can’t offer a first-hand account, but that’s what I heard), and Brooklynvegan reports back from a recent show in New York City with great praise (and pictures, of course), while Tofuhut offers up a frighteningly comprehensive career overview of the wonder that is Leslie Feist, including a goodly number of rare and live mp3s. It’s interesting that for her Canadian shows, she was dressed all in white and now for the US, it’s black. Maybe this is like some kinda freaky Jedi thing.

Salon’s Audiofile has an interview with Spoon’s Britt Daniel about Gimme Fiction, out May 10, and what he thinks about New York Spoon-a-likes Robbers On High Street.

Billboard has details of the the wonderfully named Paul Westerberg best-of comp, Besterberg, out May 17.

The new Longwave album seems to have been pushed back yet again. Look for There’s A Fire on June 28, if not later. Stupid RCA.

Another great show added to this year’s Over The Top FestAmy Millan, Jon-Rae & The River and The Most Serene Republic are at the Poor Alex on May 6. That’ll be three shows in three nights for me… Again…

Bad news good news for the Rilo Kiley show on May 19. The bad news is that it has been moved to the Opera House. The good news is that Nada Surf is opening.

And some ticket bitching – I went by Rotate to get a variety of tickets yesterday and unfortunately, they were sold out of Doves tix. Okay, a minor setback, but I’m willing to swing by Ticketmaster online – service charges for the last few shows have been sorta reasonable, so I figure a couple bucks extra won’t be so bad. Uh, try $12.25 on a $24 ticket. A $7.50 “service” charge? FUCK THAT SHIT. I am counting on Rotate getting another allottment soon, but if they don’t and I don’t go? No big deal, I’ll live. 50% markup. Shit, man.

A belated 24 recap: I dunno, watching 24 on a Thursday night? Just not the same. Know what would have ruled? If the chick who was shagging the pilot guy was MANDY. Oh well. Five – I figured why you thought this was a good episode as soon as you said it. What, does Chloe live next door to CTU or something? She was there in 10 minutes, if even. The look on Dina Araz’s face as Jack knifes himself? “This guy is badass”. Too bad he’s too dumb to come up with a good plan. That was a bad plan. A bad, bad plan.

Happy Good Friday. In the spirit of inclusiveness, I encourage everyone to nail the deity of their choice to a tree.

np – Sparklehorse / It’s A Wonderful Life

Thursday, March 24th, 2005


Yeah, everyone’s linking to it now but thanks to Achtung Baby! for pointing me to this comic strip illustrating Pulp’s “Common People”, done by Tank Girl/Gorrilaz artist Jamie Hewlett. Pity about the resolution, but it’s still readable and great. It originally appeared in a French promo booklet put out by Island Records.

The new Six By Seven album has a title – Artists Cannibals Poets Thieves – and the band promises it’ll be a much darker affair than :04 was. Dedicated to the memory of a band friend who committed suicide, they say it’s a return to high-tension, tightly-wound The Things We Make-era compositions like “Brilliantly cute” and “Something Wild”, quite an about-face from the almost pop, relatively positive sounds of last year’s :04. They also boast that it’ll be the first Six By Seven album to feature no bass guitar, so expect this one to be in-your-face abrasive. And no one does abrasive quite like Chris Olley – it oughta be a good one. It’s out May 23 in the UK though there’ll be early orders available through their partially functional website. I don’t think the band has ever had a website that actually worked, come to think of it.

The phone conversation between Ryan Adams and the Lost Highway execs (click on the bottom right corner of the bundle of worms on his website) has increased my estimation of the man immeasurably. Yeah, I know it’s a joke but it’s still hilarious. If he doesn’t use it, Mechrobioticon is my new band name.

Steve Earle is blogging again! Let’s hope he keeps it up this time.

Popmatters talks to The Futureheads. Via Largehearted Boy.

Elvis Costello talks to Billboard a bit about the re-release of King Of America on April 26.

Toronto weeklies eye and NOW both report on their respective SxSW experiences.

The late Spring/early Summer concert season is definitely heating up – I don’t remember an April/May quite this chock full, like, ever. Last year, I went to five shows total in April and May. This year, the calendar has got twelve and counting, and that doesn’t include shows I’ve passed on which during less-saturated times I’d almost certainly have gone to. Sheee-it. Anyways.

The Radar Bros are at the Horseshoe on April 18 with the Postage Stamps as support, and Sam Prekop rolls in May 28.

Hankies will be at the ready on May 18 when Bright Eyes come back to town on their second tour of the year, this one for Digital Ash In A Digital Urn. It will be at the decidedly awful Docks, however, so the kids will have one more thing to cry about. The Faint will be both Conor’s backing band and opening act.

Rilo Kiley tour More Adventurous around a second time, stopping at Lee’s Palace on May 19, tickets $13.50. YAY. I was so disappointed in the sound at their show at the Horseshoe last year, here’s hoping this one more than makes up for it.

No 24 today… know why? Cause I downloaded the wrong bloody episode. No I don’t know what time it is.

I spent all of yesterday on a train to Windsor, a rental car to Detroit, in Detroit, a rental car back to Windsor and on a train back from Windsor, all for a meeting in Detroit. On the way back, traffic was backed up from the Ambassador Bridge so badly that I very nearly missed my train… and this was after giving myself an hour and a half to traverse the 25 km or so from client site to train station. It was insane. If I hadn’t taken that Ford Focus up on a couple curbs to get around the tractor trailers, broken several traffic laws or if I had caught one less light (though that doesn’t seem like it’d have been possible – stupid goddamn advanced greens in the WRONG DIRECTION), I would likely still be in Windsor curled up on a train station bench. And that’s not even mentioning the fact that when I got over the border, I had NO idea where the train station in Windsor was. I honestly just drove in what I thought was the right direction, making random turns whenever it felt right. I still can’t believe I found the place. Quite probably the most stressful two hour span of my life. This is why I try not to leave the house if at all possible.

np – M Ward / Transistor Radio

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

All Hail West Texas – SxSW 2005 Recap

This is it for the Texas-titled posts, I swear. And I know Austin isn’t in West Texas, bear with me. So here’s the final, formal SxSW post-mortem. I’ll recap the stuff I’ve already covered in brief and get into the other stuff a little more, and then some general thoughts on the festival experience. Some new discoveries I will cover more in-depth at a later date. These are just the capsule reviews, but I warn you – this post will be long. We will return you to regularly scheduled gossip, half-truths and outright lies tomorrow.

Thursday, March 17 (click for photos):

Wrens @ Emo’s Outside – First show of the fest for me, though I only caught maybe four songs. Absurdly high energy, they seemed beyond thrilled to be playing. Excellent way to start things off.

Stars @ Emo’s Outside – Their first of three shows on the weekend, and the start of something big. More on that later, but a typically excellent and fun performance from the band.

Shout Out Louds @ Cedar Street Courtyard – These Swedes were filling in for the no-show Rob Dickinson at the Filter party, and their retro-60s pop was alright, though the singer’s voice was getting to me. I left after four songs.

Midnight Movies @ Emo’s – I like it when they put the drummer up front. I like it more when it’s a hot chick. The music was a little difficult to absorb on first listen, I suspect it translates better on record. In a dark room. Worth further investigation, though.

American Analog Set @ Emo’s Outside – A nice hometown show for the band who were playing all over SxSW. Low-key and laid back with just enough groove the get you bobbing in time. Always a treat. It’s sad that they’re currently label-less, but I’m sure someone will have the wisdom to release their new album this Fall. Bonus marks to Andrew Kenney for giving a shout-out to his mom.

Aaron Booth @ Sake On Sixth – Hooray for the hometown boy making his first SxSW appearance. Some pleasant solo singer-songwriter pop to whet the appetite before setting out to indulge in the rock.

Ulrich Schnauss @ Blender Bar at The Ritz – I dunno, pudgy balding dude sitting at a laptop in really harsh, bright lighting making deafeningly loud noise just wasn’t doing it for me. Maybe I’ll be more in the mood when he comes through town next month, but I somehow doubt it. Perhaps his recorded output is more compelling?

Dirty On Purpose @ Co-Op Bar – The first great new discovery of the festival (for me). A great mish-mash of indie, synth and space rock with just the right proportions of sweetness and grit, they impressed even with a horribly unfavourable mix (though the soundguy made up for it somewhat by changing a broken string for the band). They thankfully had CDs of their debut EP for sale and while it’s good, their live stuff was even better. I’m expecting great things from these New Yorkers.

EPO-555 @ The Drink – Danes with a weird name, EPO-555 brought some pretty rocking yet still undeniably pop tunage that was enjoyable but didn’t floor me. Probably worth investigating at a later date, though. Frontman Mr. Baron von Max Hansen (presumably a stage name) really has some rock star moves down, though.

The Salteens @ Sake On Sixth – Cheers to Vancouver’s finest power-pop band to wrap up my first day at SxSW. Even though I was quite utterly wrecked by this point, I still greatly enjoyed their high-energy set which had people coming in off the street to see where the great tuneage was coming from.

Random Thursday notes – Also saw bits of Pedro The Lion, Bloom, Halley and Run Chico Run. I was up for over 24 hours straight. Combined with cross-continental travel, it makes for one wacky-ass day.

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2005

The Legionnaire's Lament

A pox on whoever stole The Decemberists’ gear. There’s a special place in Hell reserved for people who steal band’s gear. It’s downwind from the excessively flatulant. Colin Meloy talks about the theft to Oregon Live (via LHB) while Magnet has an interview with Meloy conducted in happier times, back when the band still had equipment.

But onwards and forward! The band has made a high-res version of the new video for “16 Military Wives” available via bit torrent. Very nice, I hope other bands take their cue. The song is the first single from Picaresque, which is out today. The band also play’s Lee’s Palace (with new gear!) on May 21. Largehearted Boy also points us at mp3s of their radio session with KEXP last week.

And speaking of Magnet, they finally respond to complaints that their cover artists for the last few years have been rather exclusively a sausage-fest by putting Sleater-Kinney on the cover. It’s sort of a valid complaint – the last time someone without a y-chromosone was on the cover was issue 34, with Sonic Youth (they’re on issue 67 now). That’s over five years. Anyway, the interview with the band was conducted by Pearl Jam’s Ed Vedder (you’re too old to still be called Eddie). SK’s new album The Woods is out May 24. Update: Correction – SK were Magnet’s cover models for issue 39, a mere four years ago. Regardless, that’s a lot of sausage in the interim. Thanks to satellite for doing the leg work.

I am thrilled that Belle & Sebastian have decided to collect all the tracks from their EPs onto a single-volume, double-disc collection. Really, I am. Because I didn’t really need to feel special for having gone to the trouble and expense of collecting all the individual EPs over the years… Ah well, I suppose it makes sense. Some of the bands very best songs – “Lazy Line Painter Jane”, I’m looking in your direction – appear on these EPs. Push Barman To Open Old Wounds will be out on May 24. From Donewaiting.

Some new show announcements of note: Clem Snide are at the Horseshoe on April 27, Ryan Adams is at the Phoenix May 3 and Spoon are at Lee’s Palace June 5 with The Clientele as support. See? I didn’t go see them in Austin – I’m making them come to ME.

NME has a typically Brit-boosting and rumour-mongering take on SxSW. And one of the bands who apparently conquered Austin last week, Kasabian, will return to Toronto on May 20 at the Phoenix with Mad Action as support. Tix $20, on sale Thursday.

More SxSW pics. These ones are from Friday, day and night shows. In order – Asobi Seksu at Emo’s Outside, Experimental Aircraft at Trophy’s, The Frames at Emo’s Outside, Calexico at Emo’s Outside, Kaiser Chiefs at Cedar Street Courtyard, Giant Drag at Blender Bar at the Ritz, Zykos at Blender Bar at the Ritz, Decibully at Friends, Saturday Looks Good To Me at Friends, Centro-Matic at Maggie Mae’s. Yes, there’s a lot of SLGTM pics of Ms Betty Marie Barnes. Duh.

While they haven’t announced WHO the villain in Spider-Man 3 will be, they have announced who will be playing the part… Lowell. Assuming that Venom is all CGI, he could be a passable Eddie Brock…? From Comic Book Resources

I am mildly ashamed that I didn’t pick up on the fact that the evil defence contractors in 24 – McLennan-Forster – were named for the two principals in The Go-Betweens. Stereogum, however, was on the ball. Or more accurately, Stereogum read Entertainment Weekly, who were on the ball. And shock! That’s all the 24 for today… I forgot to tape it last night and am still downloading the ep. I told you this week would be all discombobulated! Come back Thursday.

np – Ivy / In The Clear