Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Interpol - Antics

What should I have expected out of Interpol’s second album? A change in direction? A complete re-invention of their sound? Antics opens with promise; Next Exit gives us a recap of how we know the band to sound, and leads into Evil: full of variation and momentum and indicative of their solid songwriting skills. But there the momentum ends. The album blurs together – not unpleasantly, but with little excitement – until Slow Hands, the first single, and Interpol’s attempt to show that they weren’t asleep when someone started calling this sort of stuff dancepunk. Unfortunately, the song stutters and starts and begs for a remix before being ready to kill the floor the way it could (Arthur Baker, please). From there we glide along, typically, on a wash of guitars and self-loathing, pausing for moments of brilliance, but otherwise just treading the same ground as Turn On The Bright Lights, Interpol’s debut. A Time To Be So Small is tearfully pretty, but I keep wishing this whole album could be as good as Evil

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Things change

I am going to have to start eating my words.

Saturday, August 28, 2004


I don't know what it is about Toronto that makes me dislike it. I used to love this city; I used to love the Maple Leafs, and the CN Tower, and Yonge Street. Hitting Spadina and Queen on a Saturday was one of my favorite things -- the head shops, and the punks, and used music stores. It was all so big, and it was all in my city; the place where I spent so much of my youth. But then, around the time I turned 18, it changed, and I wanted nothing more than to leave.

The people irriated me, and everything wasn't big, so much as trying to be big. I'd been to New York and LA and Chicago. Those cities WERE big -- it was effortless. No pretenses; no attitude. Just cities with a lot to offer and nothing to prove.

Coming back here is always a weird experience for me. It feels at once foreign and comfortable -- for example, I know all the streets, but I don't remember what order they're in, or where one ends and another begins. The problem is, not a lot has changed in any way I'd consider positive. I arrive and I want to leave. If my parents weren't here, I probably wouldn't come back at all.

Over the past year, a few of my friends have moved out here. Some of them seem to enjoy it, but a lot of people who I meet here still want out. There is evidently a lot of money to be made in Toronto, but that isn't the kind of thing to drive me to be somewhere. I live in Vancouver because I love the people and the physical beauty. So different. I want to move to New York because there is so much going on, and there is so much opportunity to both make money and enjoy yourself while you're doing it.

Why would I want to live here again? Because I can't live in New York? Because someone will pay me more money to do what I do, even though I don't like where I'm doing it? The fake Gucci wallet for $10, please. Because I will never afford the real one.

There is so much going on out there that I'm into right now, I want to be surrounded by it. I want to suffocate myself in it. I want the movies and the music and the lights and the people pounded into my brain until I can't take it anymore. I want to be somewhere that doesn't have to sell itself on being cosmopolitan or multicultural -- I want to be somewhere that talks less and does more.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Long flight

Even though the notion of going out, getting drunk, and then not sleeping before your 6am flight might sound like a romantic proposition, I don't suggest it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Forked tongues and tricks of the light

Sometimes, in social conflict, it's hard to resist the temptation to choose your favorites, pick a side, and involve yourself in what's going on. As the cliche goes, it's the game of he-said, she-said, and it gets ugly, fast.

If you lack the ability to stay out of someone else's bullshit, delete them from your Friendster list. Contrary to what some feel, this isn't a popularity game, nor is it a breeding ground for those who want to plant the seeds of drama.

Remember -- if you can't say it to someone's face, don't say it at all. If you're going to play the game of forwarding-the-email, be open about it. Whispering in the corner does nothing to solve a problem. Brandishing that knife behind your back does nothing to brighten your smile.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The Faint - Wet From Birth

What the fuck happened to The Faint? Blank Wave Arcade rocked. Danse Macabre was pretty good... not amazing, and a bit cliche, but it was solid.


Their new album is a sad spiral into something of a self-parody which manages to try take itself seriously. If I hear another song about getting tickets to a show and seeing some girl there I will kill the person who wrote it. And no more references to club nights please!

"I knew you knew I liked you" / "but I figured desperate guys never had a chance with you"

Their attempt to re-create their previous energy with the first single (I Disappear) turns into an embarrassing mess.

Pitchfork is already poking fun at the single and accompanying video as a self-involved example of immature artistic masturbation (and yeah, they have a song all about erections called... Erection!). If that happens BEFORE the release, prospects are not good.

I thought that remix album was just a one-off mistake. I guess it was an indication of where things were going.

Hey, I'm happy cause I'm listening to Belle and Sebastian's Your Cover's Blown over and over and over again...

[EDIT] You can now find the Pitchfork review here: PITCHFORK REVIEW - The Faint - Wet From Birth

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


Lisa asked me what I was listening to right now.

34 tracks in playlist, average track length: 3:59
Playlist length: 2 hours 15 minutes 49 seconds

Playlist files:

1. The Public - The Initiative (4:32)
2. Ambulance LTD - Stay Where You Are (5:52)
3. Ashbury - Blood On Stone (5:19)
4. Ashbury - This Doubt Remains (4:58)
5. Asobi Seksu - Walk on the Moon (4:35)
6. Azure Ray - Trees Keep Growing (3:16)
7. Belle and Sebastian - Your Cover's Blown (6:01)
8. Elefant - Eleanor (3:40)
9. Experimental Aircraft - Electric Surgery (5:38)
10. Experimental Aircraft - Symphony (3:11)
11. Giant Drag - Blunt Picket Fence (2:37)
12. Giant Drag - Drugs (2:17)
13. Giant Drag - This Isn't It (3:07)
14. Interpol - Slow Hands (3:04)
15. Magnet - Heaviest Heart (4:42)
16. Magnet - Little Miss More Or Less (3:41)
17. My Dad Is Dead - For Lack Of A Better Word (5:10)
18. My Dad Is Dead - My Dad is Dead - I Had A Dream (3:46)
19. My Dad Is Dead - Nothing Special (4:49)
20. My Dad Is Dead - The Big Picture (6:24)
21. Namelessnumberheadman - Every Fiber (3:20)
22. Octopus Project - What They Found (3:04)
23. Piano Magic - Saint Marie (5:40)
24. Sex Sells - Sushi (2:08)
25. Sex Sells - We Had Our Time (2:34)
26. The Bravery - Fearless (3:08)
27. The Bravery - Honest Mistake (3:41)
28. The Bravery - No Breaks (3:05)
29. Intelligence - Telephone Wires (2:12)
30. The Natural History - Dance Steps (3:41)
31. The Occasion - Smoke and Mirrors (5:42)
32. The Pleased - About Me (2:20)
33. The Pleased - Already Gone (4:09)
34. The Public - I Hate My Radio (4:26)

Monday, August 02, 2004

Franz Ferdinand interview

Franz Ferdinand Interview
Vancouver, Canada - April 2004 – COLOR MAGAZINE

Popularity has a way of sucking the passion out of some bands; turning them into jaded artists with nothing to prove, and everything to lose. Walking onto Franz Ferdinand’s tour bus with Nick Mccarthy and Alex Kapranos, I couldn’t help but wonder what to expect. Here was a band that, over the last six months, had gone from playing gigs in an abandoned warehouse in Glasgow, to releasing a single (Take Me Out), which peaked in the UK Top 5. When Nick offered me a piece of carrot cake and it became apparent just how relaxed and likeable the guys were, I knew popularity had not phased them. They seem to have succeeded in a way in which few bands do: by producing music they love, and letting the fans come to them. With their infectious blend of dance rhythms, angular post-punk guitar attack, and hook-oriented song writing, it’s no surprise they have the following they do.

The Chateau

When Franz Ferdinand first came together in Glasgow. Part of what pushed them to perform and do something different was the attitude they saw in the common club scene. “Established venues could be a bit of a drag,” says Alex. “Gigs were really male dominated. The guys would come down and stroke their chins and it would be a bit boring.” What Franz Ferdinand wanted was an atmosphere more like that in the early acid house days; dark warehouses filled with people interested in a good time; less of a standoffish attitude and more of a party. There wasn’t much live music being played in a warehouse environment in Glasgow so the band created something that was their own: The Chateau.

The reaction to The Chateau was amazing. Not only was it about bands playing music, but also focused on art and a sense of community. With nothing but word of mouth to guide people to the space they managed to bring 400 people together for their first party. As advertising goes, the concept of word of mouth isn’t a new one, but it’s working well to promote underground movements. The guys were recently in LA, dj-ing a similar style of party along with Blood Arm, a live band. We have the same thing here in Vancouver and one can only suspect that it exists elsewhere. It brings together people who are interested in the music and want to experience something different from the typical club environment.


From playing to a few of their friends at The Chateau to festivals with thousands of fans, Franz Ferdinand enjoy it all. They are against “the elitism that comes along with many of the bands that come from the left field.” Alex is absolutely against keeping what you do as a musician to yourself. Once you’ve created your music and put it out there it doesn’t belong to you anymore and if music really moves you, you want to call all your friends up and tell them about it. Of course, this doesn’t mean they are willing to bend to the pressure of popular culture. “The best form of subversion takes ideas that are unconventional and brings them into the mainstream,” says Alex. He follows it by pointing out that, “everyone listens to music in their own way.” This is the kind of attitude which sets Franz Ferdinand apart from many of their contemporaries.

Dance Music To Dance To

Also unusual is their take on what makes their music so danceable. “We like the dynamic and techniques of dance music [ … ] the breakdowns and basing things around the kick drum [ … ] pulling back and making sure the rhythm is prominent.” When the band started, they said to themselves, “the weirdest thing that could happen at a gig is that the girls come down and start dancing.” People have been programmed to not dance when they listen to live music -- the guys at Franz Ferdinand’s LA show were amazed that all the hipsters came down and actually moved. Part of this comes from the energy the band have on stage. Of other artists who seem preoccupied with staring solemnly into space, Alex joked: “if you’re so fucking bored, get off the bloody stage.” “We’re into music that is full of energy and so full of passion it makes you feel alive; we’re not afraid to dance on stage.”

They love playing with The Rapture and bands who push their audience to move. Recently, they’ve been setting up gigs in London with a band called Park Attack (they have a split single with Liquid Liquid out shortly on ___) a band based more around rhythm than melody. To Franz Ferdinand it’s about the personality of the band and having that personality apparent when they’re on stage. They try to find the eyes of the audience. “We find as many sets of eyes as possible and don’t look away.” This creates a connection between the band and the audience which can help overcome the physical barriers of a stage performance.

When creating an album the band try to capture the same sort of energy that goes into their live shows. They don’t sequence and layer their tracks or play to click-tracks. This is evident in the raw feel of their debut CD, which conveys the tension and excitement in their music, and which you can’t help listening to at stupid loud volumes. It’s pop music based on a hook that you can’t get out of your head, combined with the unemotional basis of traditional dance music. Sitting over top there is also a focus on lyric and melody -- melodies which often border on being melancholy; lyrics based on both the ups and downs of life. All of this makes for music with a broad appeal.

So given this appeal who would the guys most like to see dancing to their music? For Nick it’s Debbie Harry (Blondie). A great choice, overshadowed only by the sexually charged moves of Margaret Thatcher, the woman Alex would most like to see dancing to Franz Ferdinand. When the band’s tour manager walked onto the bus, he couldn’t help but give us his own take on the question: “who would you rather [do]? Margaret Thatcher, or the Queen?”

As the guys’ put it, “at the end of the day it’s the music we love.”

Nick and Alex’s favorite records to DJ: Anti-NY, Pet Shop Boys, Gomma Recordings, Georgio Moroder, Kraftwerk, The Smiths, etc.

Color - - available internationally.