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Monday, August 20th, 2007

The Turning Of The Leaves

Was out all yesterday so I shall dispense with preamble. Local faves The Airfields have been hard at work this Summer recording their first full-length record and took the opportunity last Thursday night at The Boat to stage-test some of the new material.

The new stuff sounded good and established that there’s a definite Airfields sound and songwriting style in place – classic-sounding pop built on gentle vocals, jangling fingerpicked electric guitar and whirring keyboards with a muscular rhythm section and occasional bursts of white noise to keep things from getting too comfortable. The execution was a little spotty – inter-song tuning breaks dragged into awkward silence territory and for having just recently committed the songs to tape, they sounded rather hesitant on the new stuff. They compensated by leaning extra-hard into the older material, which sounded great with the bonus energy. I’ve seen them play and sound better, but it did make me more anxious to hear the forthcoming record. Hopes are to have it out by the end of September.

Playing before the Airfields were Feed The Ghost, a three-piece from Montreal. On the down side, their bassist had a five-string bass and played barefoot (pure irrational distaste on my part) and the singer sounded like he was trying to blend Thom Yorke’s angst with Kurt Cobain’s rage and succeeded only in making it sound like he was trying. But on the plus side, their songs were surprisingly effective at creating a moody and evocative atmosphere. I think they could be onto something if they stop trying to ape obvious influences and be themselves a little more. And get some shoes.

Photos: The Airfields, Feed The Ghost @ The Boat – August 16, 2007
MP3: The Airfields – “Nowhere Left To Go”
MP3: The Airfields – “Lonely Halls”
Video: The Airfields – “Red Fox” (YouTube)
MySpace: The Airfields

Gothamist talks to John Vanderslice about Emerald City and his recent blog tour.

Jens Lekman discusses his forthcoming Night Falls Over Kortedala, out October 9, with Line Of Best Fit. No MP3s available yet but two of the tracks are streaming below. Both are wonderful. So is the record. If you were wondering.

Stream: Jens Lekman – “Friday Night At The Drive-In Bingo” (Flash)
Stream: Jens Lekman – “The Opposite Of Hallelujah” (Flash)

Those who like The Hives but don’t like Maroon 5, which is to say rational people, rejoice – the dapper Swedes will be playing their own headlining show at the Phoenix on October 3 the night before opening up for Maroon 5 at the ACC. The Black And White Album will be out October 9.

PopMatters interviews Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

My Brightest Diamond will be at the Drake Underground on September 11 November 9, Time Fite supports.

MusicOMH gets James Buckley, author of Celebrate Myself, billed as the first shoegazing/high finance novel (though you wouldn’t know it from the Amazon writeup), to pen a short essay on the shoegaze revival. Bankers Ball has an interview with Buckley about the book, which I simultaneously want to read and disavow the existence of. I’ll probably end up reading it. Seems like much less trouble.

And Under The Radar talks to Ulrich Schnauss, who will tour his new album Goodbye through the Rivoli on September 29.

MP3: Ulrich Schnauss – “Stars”

I wish there was some sort of search on Facebook that would allow me to see how many people, since Friday, have changed their status to “So and so is McLovin”. The zeitgeist is nothing if not predictable. Like many others, I went to see Superbad this weekend and it was pretty damn – if not super – good. It carries on the Judd Apatow MO (he produced) of mixing raunch and sweetness in turning out a worthy addition to the teen sex comedy film canon. Uber-dorks Michael Cera and Jonah Hill are determined to get some action before going to college and to that end, try to be the ones to score the booze for a year-end party. Hilarity, of course, ensues. Obviously, there’s nothing new here plot-wise but Hill and Cera (and Christopher Mintz-Plasse – he who is McLovin) are so excellent as the awkward, desperate but still endearing dorks that it rarely feels stale or cliched, even when it is. It does run a bit long as it insists on giving every character as much screen time as possible and dragging out every bit of comedic potential from a situation but again, you don’t mind too much. Films like this always make me nostalgic for high school, even though my high school experience was nothing like what they portray. I am a little irritated, however, that popular culture has now decided that geeks are cool and are allowed to get the girl, a decade too late to do me any good. Alas.

Trailer: Superbad (YouTube)

And speaking of dorks, I’m probably not doing myself any favours buying shirts like this one but I couldn’t resist.

Hey, I got a Last FM account. Not at all accurate in tracking my playlist – neither my iPod at work nor stereo at home, where I do the bulk of my listening – but it’s kind of interesting. Mostly it’s reporting what comes up in my iTunes random play.

And again hey to the photogeeks – Canon 40D. I’m not convinced to upgrade anytime soon – still want to see what’s next as far as full-frame goes but nine cross-type AF points and double-sensitive centre point and (allegedly) improved noise control from the Digic III… that’s some kinda tempting.

By : Frank Yang at 8:29 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. tom says:

    regarding your last fm account … I can’t remember how to do it, but you can set it up so that every time you update your iPod it will scrobble what you’ve listened since the last time you updated it.

  2. the2scoops says:

    LOL – I saw that dieselsweeties shirt at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival too, it was funny as hell. Did you pick anything interesting up there? i managed to meet Darwyn Cooke and have him sign the Absolute edition of New Frontier, and picked up some books like Scott Pilgrim (finally caved), Dr McNinja and Teen Boat.

  3. Frank says:

    tom – does that work even if I don’t synch my iPod? I don’t want (and can’t fit) everything on my hard drive on my iPod? I will investigate.

    2scoops – I didn’t pick up too much, i didn’t have long to spend there. Mostly admired the work and wished that I could draw. I did get one of Bryan Lee-O’Malley’s "Scott Pilgrim Annotations" books which is cute and makes me love Toronto like a puppy dog.

  4. distopian_dreamer says:

    I think it’ll still work if your ipod is synched manually.

    http://www.last.fm/group/iS

  5. kat says:

    I bought that very same shirt a few months ago, Frank! You’ll love it! It arrived within mere DAYS and people constantly comment on it :)

    K

  6. Dan says:

    I’m with Kat. I get tons of comments on the shirt, and for about 4 seconds I feel hip. And with it.

  7. Casey P. says:

    What a coincidence, I saw someone wearing that shirt at the SD Comic Con! Oh, how I love Venn Diagrams! And as for Last.fm, I highly recommend using iScrobbler, as mentioned above. I like how it runs in the background instead of having another application take up space on your dock or desktop.