Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Slight Return

If I were to try explain exactly why the last two weeks were exceptionally shitty, I'd end up sounding - well - whiney. So whatever. AYF? is back.


The xxJFG have already shown Crystal Castles their love (and thanks for the well-wishes, guys), as have The Daughters. The concept behind Crystal Castles' music interests me at least partially because of the obvious focus on video game sounds -- after all, making games is what allows me to afford everything else I do (that, and my mysterious financial backers, who I need to take some time to thank again).

Are we at a point where "video game music" in the most literal sense (sounds and samples from the 8-bit/16-bit eras) has enough respect to actually gain some kind of audience? Nerdy freaks have been putting out weird shit via their Gameboys for years now, and groups like 8-Bit Peoples have been pushing the conventions established against critical acceptance of the genre. Indeed, in the last few years, bands like Tree Wave and Mixel Pixel have brought some of the ethos towards the mainstream, but Crystal Castles is the most literal interpretation of the sound yet to find a receptive audience.

No, I don't think this is the next big thing. It's not gonna wipe grime off the map, nor will it supplant the constant deluge of perky post-punk being shovelled off English shores. But it's really cool, and it's mining such a marginalized sound that - when searching for descriptors - rattling off the typical sonic references is next to impossible.

Listen with an open mind, and enjoy the music, not just the image. Because I am pretty sure the image associated with guys like Crystal Castles is enough to attract the attention of fashion conscious followers.

Thanks to CC for providing some original MP3s for AYF? to post. He will be playing this Saturday (February 18th) at The Boat (as part of Mikey Apples' new Lipp Service monthly).

Crystal Castles - Mother Knows Best
Crystal Castles - xxzxczx
Crystal Castles - Bitter Hearts
Crystal Castles - Dolls
Crystal Castles - No Skin
Crystal Castles - Air War


More from Toronto with 100% Wool, a two-piece electro-punk outfit who are on the verge of releasing their first album (at a party on March 31st at The Boat). Serge and Vivi are both really nice and surprised the hell out of me with their music -- it's damn good.

100% Wool - About Time


A single interesting track from DC Recordings' Stromba. While the horns and the wah in this tune sometimes conspire to derail the groove - to push it into the martini lounge - the percussion holds it together, and the results are hot. Unfortunately, the rest of their material left me non-plussed.

Stromba - Giddy Up


Lots more to post this weekend in the rock'n'roll vein. I will also have to check my log files and see where hits have been coming from so I can send some traffic back. Thanks to everyone who has continued to visit the site during this short break.


NeXT has been announced.

Dan Burke, Dan Seligman (Pop Montreal), Greg Ipp (NO FORMAT), Emerge, and other commotional rock vets present a three-night, LIVE! offensive during Canadian Music Week (CMW).

All shows at THE COMFORT ZONE -- 484 Spadina Ave. (n. of College)

The Adam Brown (Montreal) 11:00pm
Magnet (Norway) 10:00pm
Frontier Index (Toronto) 9:00pm
Basia Bulat (London, Ont.) 8:00pm

The Donkeys (Montreal) 12:45am
Rock Plaza Central (Toronto) 11:45pm
The Paper Cranes (Victoria) 10:50pm
Sweet Thing (Toronto/Ottawa) 10:00pm
Permafrown (Toronto) 9:15pm

The Sunday Sinners (Montreal) 12:50am
Horsey Craze feat. members of The Constantines (Cambridge, Ont.) 12:00am
Rick Of The Skins (Halifax) 11:00pm
The Brown Hornets (Newcastle, Ont.) 10:00pm

$8 Advance
$9 Door
$5 With CMW wristbands/laminates