You need to record the music you make. Not because you'll make money by releasing it. You won't. You record because it's part of the process of getting better, of finding how you really sound. I've been blinded with love for my riff, it's not until I listen to the playback that I realize that it was all wrong. I wasn't listening to the rest of the band.
And since you are going to record your music, you might as well make it sound the best, and you might as well do it yourself. Unless you have a sweet record deal, you're recording this on the laptop you already have, potentially using a free program like Audacity, using mostly SM58's. Are you really going to pay someone else to fiddle with your music? Don't get me wrong, you probably should, but then you wouldn't learn how it's done.
Record yourself to get better at playing. Mix yourself to get better at recording. Click here for a guide to EQing every common instrument.
I fucking love Arthur Erickson and just about everything he's done. His home is a national treasure, and if it's not saved for future generations to see, then Vancouver deserves the shitty glass condos. All of the shitty glass condos.
Car Seat Headrest is a curious band, and I like them. You should probalby take a listen, if only because you may not have heard a single new thing in a long time. Which probably makes me sound like that annoying know-it-all-guy at the party parked at the stereo imploring - no demanding - that you concede that Pod is a better album than Last Splash*. But it's not true. If not for this blog I would probably never have the motivation to find a new peice of music, which is also why I have this blog. I'm just saying that it's easy to put on the same old records, and I know this, because I'm guilty of it like everyone else. Of all the things to do when you finally get off your lazy ass, this is what I did. I found something kind of neat. That's all.
Fun fact: these guys are playing in Vancouver, BC Sunday January 24, 2016 at the Colbalt.
*Pod is totally better than Last Splash.
Everything old is new again. Which is a little like nostalgia, but without all that "unable to reconcile the glory days receding in the rear view mirror" connotations. I was there in the 90's, but because it's obviously the greatest decade of music known to humanity, there was just simply too much music to take in. Back in those days you'd just trip over amazing songs while sneaking to the back of the coffee shop to use the bathroom without buying coffee (and before Starbucks ruined everthing). Of course I knew about Mudhoney, but a month ago I honestly couldn't have whistled a tune by them. So this may be their greatest acheivement: Writing a song 25 years ago that still makes people want to cover it. It's good to be remembered, isn't it?
When it comes to music, I usual stick to the rock and/or roll. But here's an article about noise. What I thought was interesting is that this very mainstream national newspaper, with a reporter that can often be found writting about cufflinks and ascots, is here covering grotty noise artists in Halifax. I happen to like grotty noise art. Russell Smith does talk about the art, but he spends a good amount of time talking about the art's affect on himself. Dispite that navel gazing, it's all a good read, and Smith sounds like someone who's knowledgeable about the scene.
Just wanted to point out that there is some old guy from Germany that has decided to make strange noise art for the better part of his life, which has led him to a gotty box of a venue in the little city of Halifax. He might be on Twitter. There is some facebooking, but no desperetely posting 10 times about the show. It's just him, doing his thing, and if anyone else wants to check it out, that's cool. Should we all be so self assured.
There has been some ink spilt on the new Vancouver Art Gallery. I am a fan of concrete and wood. I'm thankful that it's not another glass tower. I'm almost a fan of the building. But it's just not quite right.
If the board is hoping for public backing on it, they're going to be challenged to get it. I don't think the new VAG has to change a lot to be amazing, so I'm hopeful that a little sober second thoughts will prevail.
This may shock, but I’ve set up google notifications to let me know when specific things are happening on the internets. I don’t manually scour for new bands, sites, things or books. This time a link to a review came up, and I thought I would take a look. The review actually started off with “Every now and then a band comes along and . . .” but before I closed that tab in the browser I took note of the band. After all, I’m here to look for new things that please me, not make fun of 17 year old reviewers. We were all 17 once.
Let’s give Annabel credit - these songs are well crafted. They are worthy of praise (but deserve better than cliche). The music is both driving and intricate. It’s complex without getting prog. Trust me, just listen to it.
Every now and then a GIF comes along and changes everything, it puts your life into perspective and shakes you to the very core of your being.
Check out spacing.ca - and it’s a wonderful hub of all things city. And not just the vast and nameless “city” but also very specific Canadian cities. So much of this site is fantastic, but this article is about two of my favourite buildings in Vancouver, the Macmillan Bloedel and the BC Hydro building. Also known to me as Waffles and Honeycomb. It’s not a weird food thing, the Macmillan Bloedel really looks like a waffle standing on edge, and the BC hydro building has a six sided floor plate. And in case anyone is reading, they also sell these t-shirts.
Astute readers will note that this monthly list of three thing failed to come up with anything for two months. Maybe everything just sucked? Maybe things got more busy than usual. Since most of this is written during hours when I should be sleeping, maybe the last two months have been really, really great. And after a nice long rest, I can come back, and get tired.
The question: how to get people to buy condos way the fuck out there. The answer: put an advertorial on a site that has slightly more traffic than the community listserve. First, I get that the folks that run this site have to pay the bills somehow, but if you’re going to host advertorial, well, make them good, not like this poorly thought out argument. I can’t even imagine how this brainstorming session played out: “Let’s think of some things, for people who value safety and predictability, think are super and cool. Like Starbucks! And a really bland restaurant chain! And people like Brooklyn, right? Jay-Z is from there? We should work Brooklyn in.” That’s when the director of marketing (at least 5 years of experience) calls an end to the meeting and declares Tequila as the official beer chaser for the night. If you’re going to get the insecure intern to write this, don’t get them stink drunk the night before. Because you get shit headlines like “Is Sapperton the new Brooklyn?”
I am here to tell you one, really important, fact: Sapperton is not the new Brooklyn.
Brooklyn is the largest of the 5 boroughs, at 250 sq km and 2.5 million people. If Sapperton were an entire third of the city it is a part of, which it is not, it would be just a bit over 5 sq km with maybe 22,000 people. A couple of things should be self-evident here. First, this categorically makes Sapperton nothing like Brooklyn. Not remotely comparable when looking at population, size, density, diversity, industry, geography, weather, cultural amenities, or sport and recreation. For example, I haven't noticed any music venues in Sapperton. As I understand it, Brooklyn has something of a music scene. Brooklyn also has a professional NHL hockey team as well as a Pro basketball team. New Westminster, which is the city that Sapperton is a part of, does have the Salmon Bellies lacrosse team, but that's for the whole city, not Sapperton, so I don't think that counts. Have I missed anything? Seriously, if there's a house in Sapperton that hosts noise rock shows, let me know. That could be pretty cool.
It's not that I think Sapperton is a terrible place. But it's just not a world-influencing epicentre of culture.
Seriously, guys, have you ever really thought about the Sony Sports Walkman? I wanted this pretty badly when I was a kid. And cassette tapes are the new vinyl (so Brooklyn).
Three things. Every month.
If you’re in Vancouver, BC, or the surrounding area, Charles Montgomery’s Happy City should be mandatory reading before voting on measure to increase taxes for an ambitious and massive transportation plan for the entire region. Sadly, this little book will not make it to the book shelves of the Canadian Taxpayer’s Association library. Which is too bad. I’m not sure if Happy City argument would fully endorse this transportation plan, but a little thoughtful nuance would be a welcome break to the Yes and No sides yelling at eachother.
The Canadian Taxpayer’s Association (read: all government is bad, all taxes are bad, unless it’s personally enriching to corporate interests) is hell bent on derailing any attempt by the Greater Vancouver Area’s regional transportation authority from building more transit, bike lanes, and yes, even roads. Strangely, I don’t remember the CTA mounting a campaign against the new Port Mann Bridge. Of course, I don’t remember the new Port Mann bridge becoming ballot issue, either. Thanks Christy Clark.
But let that old Port Mann bridge crumbling in disrepair bring comfort. Remember, a road can be torn up. A Bridge’s life ends. And when we’re living here with 1 million more people and we’re all of a sudden feeling more L.A. than we ought to, someone might come along and remember that we once had a plan to get ourselves out of this mess.
Sometimes you just need a thoughtful little pop jem to make it through the day. And maybe a 10k run. This track is called Detriot, by Gaz Coombes. It sure is nice. Also, I've always wanted to start a movement to get everyone, I mean even the mayor of Detriot to pronounce it as a the original French colonialists would have called it, something more like "Deh-twah".
This is the toaster my parents bought when we moved to Canada, and almost 40 years later it still works. It’s got a classic 70’s modern pallet - black, white, silver, wood (er . . . remind you of any amplifiers?) The enamel has worn off. The sound of the mechanical arm and lock used to drop and hold the bread into the cavity is straight up horror-flick-rusty-bolt-unshackling.
But despite these superficial deficiencies, it works very well. It consistently toasts perfectly. The slots are too small for bagels, you have no choice but to heat up all four slots every time you use it regardless of your slice count, and it cannot fit a small cornish hen. Do not attempt to slice a cornish hen to fit into the toaster. Because it’s for bread. Regular sliced bread.
It does one thing really well: toasts between 1 and 4 slices of bread. It will not connect to the internet, you will never toast bread from your iphone. Certainly not from your connected watch.
Sometimes when the peanut butter is a little cold, I put the jar really close to the toaster, and that little side warms up a bit. So there’s that.
But otherwise, it’s a device for making bread just a little crispy, but not yet cracker like. And it is perfect.
This is The Pick - three things that I'm into a month. Why only three things? Why once a month? Because we're all busy people, that's why. Now stop slacking, and get reading.
The shoulder strap bag. You can man it up by referring to Indiana Jones, or mock it with a dismissive “murse”. But it’s a bag that’s best for a light load, and has a dash of urban adventure. And the single strap is a lot like wearing a guitar.
I bought this rather expensive bag as one of the few indulgences I have allowed myself (other than guitar equipment, of course). It’s big enough to carry my office (laptop, phone, notepad, book) or the dad kit - change pad, plastic bag, diaper, wipes, some food, spoon, burp cloth.
It’s been worn down, torn apart, and lovingly repaired by my partner. It’s been re-waxed a few times and probably needs another treatment. I love it because it looks better with age, it wears its scars well. Sometimes I’ve looked to see if I can replace it, but they don’t make this version anymore, and everything else just isn’t as interesting.
When Torres howls “happens all the time” she might remind you of Nico, but the effect amplifies the fact that you don’t give a shit about how you sound when you’re hurtin’. You’re listening to the equivalent of looking at someone ugly cry. Like Bjork, I love that she doesn’t always sound beautiful. Unlike Bjork, Torres is someone you imagine at the local dive bar, alone in the corner, nursing a beer and slowly peeling the label off.
The track builds, the drums get louder, the bass comes in, the guitars get get completely saturated, and Torres releases whatever demon has possessed her larynx. If this track by Torres doesn’t make you believe that you’ll always feel better if you get louder, I’m not sure I can help you. Next time you’re down - really down - don’t whisper it.
A collection of the best new buildings of 2015? This was an easy choice. It's like I'm not even trying here.