Thursday, December 10, 2009

Vancouver Kitchen Merchandise

Well. I finally saw some of the Vancouver merchandise based off my i ride here shirt design out in the wild. I missed the Whole Foods display by a few days, but I saw this stuff at The Kettle Black (or whatever it's called) on 4th.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jandek is a once in a lifetime experience

I would imagine that the first rap shows generated a whole lot of critics complaining that the music made no sense and was unlistenable. A similar thing probably happened when people first heard punk, or even rock'n roll. I'm sure that Jackson Pollock and Picasso probably had a lot of naysayers who didn't understand what it was that they were trying to create. So, there's a definite history of people being before their time with art, but I'm more than confident that 30 years from now I won't be eating my words about Jandek.

Imagine that you've taken several instruments and hung them from a tree in a windstorm. Or, you stuck five musicians in a room, gave them all really, really expensive earplugs and told them to play whatever the hell they wanted. I think your chances are pretty good that you would be able to create something more musical than the typical Jandek song.

The oddest thing about the whole Jandek thing, is the ridiculous fan worship that he generates from the people that "get it". Take a look at this website. Read about this guy. It's crazy. It makes absolutely no sense.

But...I think I've made sense of it all. I think that there isn't actually anything to get. I think this is just a colossal joke played on the rest of the world. I think that Jandek, sorry, the Representative from Corwood Industries, is actually John Malkovich acting out an elaborate performance art routine. There's absolutely no other explanation for this.

So, with that, I'll leave you with my guide for creating a Jandek song.

1) Slowly pick and strum random notes on your guitar. Be careful not to address the audience or even to look in their direction.

2) Have the drummer build a drum beat completely unrelated to any note played on the guitar, without any discernable rhythm.

3) As the noise slowly builds, have everybody else on stage create noises at inconsistent intervals.

4) Build to a crescendo.

5) With your haunting, monotone voice, add lyrics written for a second year poetry class.

6) Continue for several minutes.

7) Abruptly taper off noise making.

8) End song.

Update - I had a lot to say about this show. Payback Time.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Best of 2009

I feel like this has been a pretty fantastic year for recorded music, but a little bit boring for live music. I don't know. Maybe it's just that I'm getting old, I just have a hard time getting excited about shows these days. Anyhow, here it goes.

Maddening Disappointments

White Rabbits - It's Frightening - Hooray! Britt Daniel made another Spoon album using a different band! That's what we need. More Spoon!

The Twilight Sad - Forget the Night Ahead - I don't really understand what happened here.

Rancid - Let the Dominoes Fall - Rancid are such a guilty pleasure for me. This was a sad, sad joke. The worst, really.

Islands - Vapours - I think if I had seen this show I would feel differently about this album. But I didn't. So now I'm convinced that maybe he only had one good album in him. Or, judging from the Clues album, he needs somebody with manic energy to calculate whatever it is he has going on.

AC Newman - Get Guilty - What's wrong with JVC and iPods? If I don't have something already playing on my iPod, this album comes up when I plug it in to the stereo. It's maddening because this album kind of sucks.

It could go on, really. Trail of Dead...what? I didn't even know that NOFX put out a new album this year. That's crazy. I hope it's better than the Rancid album.

Good Songs That Weren't on Albums Good Enough to Make the List

Real Estate - Beach Comber
Jay Reatard - It Ain't Gonna Save Me
Girls - Lust For Life

Stuff That Was Quite Good but That I'm not Ready to Put a Number On

The XX - XX - I'm torn on this one. As JD says, it all sort of sounds like one song. But it's usually a pretty good song.

M. Ward - Hold Time - I like M. Ward. He cranked out a pretty good one here.

Atlas Sound - Logos - Good stuff. Nothing else to say. How does he write so many songs?

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion + Fall Be Kind EP - I was close to throwing this down below. I think they will be on enough year end best of's that I'm keeping them off mine.

Dan Deacon - Bromst - It's no Spiderman of the Rings, but it's a good album. His addition of a band to his live show also puts that whole experience in a whole new league.

The Antlers - Hospice - I went a bit back and forth on this guy. I stick it here though. Rather than down below.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz! This almost, almost got put down below. Not quite though. It doesn't seem like this is the same band that made Fever to Tell.

Update - The Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns - Doy! This was in iTunes as a 2008 album and I missed it. Oops.

The Best Albums - 3 of Them to be Exact

3 - The Harlem Shakes - Technicolor Health - I really can't put my finger on why I like this band so much. Pitchfork hated this album. I don't think that is reason enough though.

2 - Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer - This is the definition of a grower. I don't think this tops the last one, but it's pretty close.

1 - The Thermals - Now We Can See - I have to admit that this one really turned me around. I always liked it, but when I first heard it I really thought they could have done something better if they hadn't polished it so shiny-like. I mean, I still think that might be true, but it doesn't really matter.

There we go. Three albums made by skinny white guys with guitars.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Music Industry

There was a great article on Gizmodo today from a guy in some old British band detailing the screwing that he is receiving from Warner Music. He references the same Alibini article I linked to a while back.

They're both great reads that highlight why I don't give a shit about the music industry and why "buying music to support the artist" is a load of crap.

A friend of a friend works in the music industry. Universal I believe. He's a great guy. I enjoy hanging out with him even though it's just one of those see-you-around-in-six-months kinds of things, so I don't want this to sound like I'm dumping on him or he's an idiot or anything like that. Anyhow, I first met him a year or two back when the Conservatives had proposed copyright reform and it was all over the news and stuff. I just had to bring it up and ask him what he thought.

The very first thing he said was the same"Did you know that 98% of the bands we sign cost us money?"as handed out in the article. It was the big "we're subsidising music for everybody" argument as to why they're allowed to be such a bunch of assholes. Like it's my fault that they sign a dozen Nickelback wannabees and nobody gives a shit about them.

Well. A bit of beating a dead horse. But I love to pile on the music industry.

Update - Oh man. I love it. There's a class action lawsuit against a bunch of the majors for making and distributing compilation CD's without the permission of the artists, or compensation paid to them. So, based on the precedent that the music industry has set by suing fans ($20,000 per song, per infringement), we're talking 60 BILLION DOLLARS. Which is all kinds of awesome. How is this not a bigger story?

Further Update - The CRIA acts as a hired gun and convinces the crown to charge a small independent record store for selling 100 imported CD's in his record store. Good points made by boingboing.