Friday, March 31, 2006

No, we don't get paid for this

Chicago's TENKI have been around since 2000, with their first album published in 2003. Their two upcoming EPs - both being released on Future Appletree Records - seem to demonstrate increasingly dense pop compositions. A big, impressive sound filled with subtle nuances and hooks. The old-world-inspired horns are wonderful.

"Kiss Of Millions" and "Do You Think" are older material, but both worth a listen. You can also visit the band on Myspace, of course.

TENKI - Etaples
TENKI - Big Bang
TENKI - Kiss Of Millions
TENKI - Do You Think


Jason from One Louder wrote a great post on the tendency of bloggers to champion certain causes in the name of self-interest. Titled, "Full Disclosure: Who's Being Promoted and Who's Promoting It," Jason manages to give the subject an objective and honest assessment. Check the comments for more dialogue.

For those who wonder where AYF? stands on this -- we take the free tickets and any additional mail-outs, and scalp it all on eBay. OK? So send more tickets please... this whole Mac & Cheese diet is getting kind of old. I'd love to step up to Queen Street veggie dogs just for a few days, and perhaps take a contributor out for dinner every so often (or maybe just be able to buy AYF? alumni Stuart a drink).

The Payola Reserve - Seasick On Shore Leave


Speaking of unsolicited advertising, would Lady Sov's marketing department please stop emailing me? Sometimes I wonder if people even read this site before sending shit: For all the bagging I did on the L-Sov, and my feelings on the transient nature of Grime as a genre, you'd think this stuff wouldn't end up in my inbox on a weekly basis. Or maybe they figure if I listen to it enough it'll grow on me (no).

Huge thank-you to everyone else who is more personal about sending material over; if it's going to be posted, you'll get an email letting you know.


My comments on the Village Voice vs. Nick Sylvester vs. Pitchfork Media mess are put off until I can provide some information which doesn't rely too heavily on conjecture.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Are we indie?

The Sunday Star featured a large - two page - feature on Canadian indie music. The premise? Canada is/is not the next Seattle (written by someone who has obviously never lived there). The article focused on trying to refute the comparison from both sides, and in doing so displayed an interesting lack of understanding regarding the sociological aspect of indie rock popularity. A key substantiating quote comes from some guy at Exclaim! who quipped, "the idea that you need someone with a lot of power to come along and dub you the next big thing with their magic wand is gone."

AYF? went out and found our own expert on the subject - the infamous Ian Worang of Uncut. His quote was better: "I understand the pride for the Canadian music and all, but I think we need to stop talking about it so much. Not specific to this article or anything, but I mean, fuck, if I have to hear about another band from Canada, with a review that says 'there must be something in the water up there' I'm going to shit through my mouth."


Wilderness' self-tited album on Jagjaguwar was one of the AYF? favorites of 2005. They're set to release their follow-up this year, which, from the sounds of it, continues with much of what made their first record so enjoyable. April 15th is their tour date in Toronto (with The Two Koreas and Parts and Labor), and I have an extra ticket. So who's gonna be my date?

Wilderness -


From favorite albums of last year, to a new favorite for 2006. The Weather's Stolen Billions is - as we've mentioned before - an amazing listen. Easily an 8.7+ on the AYF? scale, they capture the off-kilter circus-punk vibe perfectly, winding their pop hooks around all kinds of weirdness. Here is another exclusive from the album:

The Weather -
Hope And Maybe


The suspension of Nick Sylvester from the
Village Voice has meant the neglect of his Riff-Raff column. Sad and unnecessary. More on that, and some follow-ups regarding Nick's post on offering entire albums via MP3 blogs in the next update.


I finally bit the bullet and bought myself a copy of Serato. After taking an extended hiatus from my weekly DJ schedule of a couple years ago (catalyzed by the majority of my vinyl collection disappearing), my living room has again been transformed into the "DJ room," and I'll be recording mixes soon. This Friday, myself and some friends are doing it house party style in Bloor West Village. If you're in Toronto and you know me, drop me a line for info on this.

Bonus tune:

Tubeway Army -
Are Friends Electric?

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Gang Of Four, ESG, James Chance and The Contortions, Liquid Liquid, Wire, PiL. Look at the typical indie rock DJ's record bag (or CD case) and you'll find it stocked with at least a few key tracks from these bands. After twenty years, '80s post-punk in all it's variations made a huge comeback, and music fans were scouring used bins (and P2P directories) to track down the latest cool old shit.

While there aren't many stones left unturned, AYF? has a couple old tricks you might not have caught onto yet.


Smiling to myself at the Love Is All show last night, it struck me that there were some real similarities between what they're doing now, and what Pylon did back in 1980. Coming off like a mix of ESG and Gang Of Four, Pylon bring the quirky guitar hooks and the pop bass-lines. Add predominantly throw-away lyrical interjections ("2-4-6-8 why do we Gyrate!?") and the solid kick/snare(open hi-hat) drum patterns, and you have a nice mix for the dancefloor, with just enough left over to keep them interesting in your bedroom.

R.E.M. are often mentioned as being heavily influenced by Pylon.

Pylon - Gyrate
Pylon - Gravity
Pylon - Working Is No Problem


The Woodentops almost didn't make today's post because - for the most part - they produced some marginal music and they're definitely not seminal. Worse than their original tracks in some cases, were the myriad (Balearic) remixes which began to crop up towards the end of their career. Sure, they were championed by the legendary DJ Kid Batchelor, but time has not been kind to songs like "Tainted World" and "Why Why Why." At their best, however, they have a unique and up-beat pop demeanor, exploring plenty of obscure instrumentation, and benefiting from excellent production values.

This is one of those bands who were big in Japan. Unfortunately, that didn't pay the bills.

The Woodentops - Get It On
The Woodentops - Special Friend


Julian Cope was the primary creative behind The Teardrop Explodes. Of his work, The Teardrop's Kilimanjaro stands above all else as a pop masterpiece (and it's one of my top albums of all time). From "Ha Ha I'm Drowning" on, there is not a sour note -- and indeed, the band managed to crack the UK top 10 with this one ("Reward" being a popular favorite). To me, the standout is "Treason," a majestic, hook-driven tune that hasn't lost a thing over the years.

Stories of Cope chasing band members across the English countryside with a shotgun only make the whole thing that much more interesting.

The Teardrop Explodes - Ha Ha I'm Drowning
The Teardrop Explodes - Treason
The Teardrop Explodes - Reward


The AYF? update this weekend will include new exclusive tracks from The Weather.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Two exclusive MP3 offerings today. Thanks to Jason from The Christa Min, and Jeremy Warmsley for handing off these (excellent) pre-release tunes.


The Christa Min were one of the first bands posted on AYF?. Their sound sits somewhere between The Jesus & Mary Chain (JAMC) and Spacemen 3 -- and yes, you could easily compare them to contemporaries like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC).

However, with BRMC faultering after their first album, no band has filled that post-JAMC hole the way The Christa Min do. While potential candidates like Austin's The Black Angels and The Black are both solid bands in their own right, it's the seven (musically experienced) Vancouverites of the 'Min who manage to pull the sound off best -- effortlessly and consistently.

Almost a year since we first heard their initial studio work, this is the lead track from The Christa Mins' self-produced demo; unmastered, but already sounding polished. There is no label attached to this yet, so A&R guys/girls listen up.

The Christa Min - Stockholm


Last week I posted the video for Jeremy Warmsley's most recent single, "Dirty Blue Jeans." A mix of fey pop (C86?) influences, coupled with introspective - and occasionally angst-driven - lyrics, Warmsley's latest 5-song EP (
Other People's Secrets) is a bit like England's answer to The Legends.

This has been in rotation for me since picking it up; dense, interesting, and with some great hooks. If Jens can succeed amidst the European post-punk frenzy, why not Jeremy?

Jeremy Warmsley - Modern Children


Coming Wednesday, coverage of three seminal '80s post-punk bands who's names have managed to remain surprisingly unchecked over the last four years -- one of them even produced an album which would slot into the AYF? top ten of all time. Strange how popular culture can have such a selective historical memory.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Surf, Poni!

Tigersushi just coughed up a couple new Poni Hoax tracks for download. Solid stuff in the vein of the current indie/electro/dance flow. They make a good go of it with the clean '80s production and hook-driven nature of the "She's On The Radio" Radio Mix, backed up by the ice-tinged horror remix of "LA Murder Motel". Nice percussion.

Poni Hoax - She's On The Radio (Radio Mix)
Poni Hoax - LA Murder Motel (Letom Redrum Remix By Principle Of Geometry)


Ungdomskulen were on Datarock's last tour. This track is indescribable and great -- like, what the fuck??

Ungdomskulen - Surf's Up


Heavy vitriolic cynicism. Read at your own risk (and you have to select it to view it):

This world feels way too small, and I am questioning my direction.

Too many people are plugged into the same antiquated line. All this indie bullshit -- it's not real anymore. When certain people - people with what I consider to be suspect agendas - front and influence and are involved, I have to question what it's about, and I wish there were a real alternative.

I'm not interested in it being cool and popular. I just want something different, and I want people who are trend-followers, or scenesters to be ostracized and excluded.

I want the vultures who prey on the popularity of others to be shown up, and eliminated. I don't like it when someone comes in and wants a piece of the action only after they can confirm that others think it's cool. No risk. No progress; just picking up on someone else's work and using it to make cash.

And I hate the lack of critical assessment between all those people, and the way they just big up their pals without batting an eyelid, even when the work they're giving props to doesn't necessarily deserve it.

I hate the money involved and the way the product is marketed and packaged and sold via glossy magazines and trendy festivals -- purely style over substance.

I wish there were an artistic and musical revolution which rebelled against that kind of shit.

This one goes out to the artists and musicians and directors and stylists riding in the train. This one goes out to your pretentious friends, your bullshit interviews, and your boring dance music and your underwhelming parties. I know I'm far from perfect, and I may be an idealistic asshole -- but fuck you.

For those who weren't offended - for those who know the score - you have my respect.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Audio/Visual Expression

Last week I covered Bobby Birdman, and briefly mentioned both States Rights Records and YACHT. With connections to LA's Copy and E*Rock of Audio Dregs, YACHT (Jona Bechtolt) is part of an interesting music scene out in Portland, Oregon. Pushing the 8-bit sounds and a cool visual aesthetic, he fits in neatly with contemporaries like Crystal Castles, although with a less aggressive feel. You can find his CDs through States Rights' site.

Check out the video game-based promo for SHTML by E*Rock, along with some photos from a show at The Boat in Toronto (thanks to Kidwithcamera).

YACHT - Remember What This Feels Like

Bobby Birdman - I Will Come Again (YACHT Remix)
Bobby Birdman - And Then It Begins (YACHT Remix)

(Oh, and I should mention he plays with Devendra Banhart, is half of The Blow, and part of Little Wings. Nice credentials.)

(VIDEO: MOV) - The Blow - Knowing The Things That I Know


London's Ben Rollason (of Fink-Base) directed two of the videos which made it into my Top 5 Videos of 2005 list (both sharing the #5 spot). He recently completed a new promo for Jeremy Warmsley, and has succeeded in completely out-doing himself. Combining some great in-camera and post-effects with a well-timed set of disconnected narratives, this is my favorite video of the year so far. Highly polished and engaging.

(VIDEO: MOV) - Jeremy Warmsley - Dirty Blue Jeans


I walked with Jesus and he would say, "oh you poor child, you ain't comin' to me no way. You've found heaven on earth, you're gonna burn for your sins." Well, I think I'll be in good company down there with all my friends.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Weather

My bedroom has dark blue (almost black) curtains to block all traces of light. This is good for waking up after 1pm, but bad for figuring out what it's like outside -- and who the fuck leaves their computer to check the weather these days anyway? So, according to my computer it was raining last Saturday; I was really surprised when I left the building and entered blinding sunlight with no sunglasses. And, according to my computer it's been raining for the last week, but I don't think it's been nearly that bad. Maybe one or two days of rain.

I feel all confused. My computer is lying to me, so I will listen to Suede assist Tom Waits in trying to squeeze the corpse of Joy Division through a spaghetti-western-shaped tube. From Vancouver.

The Weather
- How
The Weather - Unloveable
The Weather - Wherever There Is


Unsolicited emails from bands sometimes turn up gems. My guess is that Australia's Gotye will be popping up on blogs again, as others take a chance and give him a listen on his latest mail-out. Pronounce it Gaultier. Rhymes with really fey. But this is actually pretty soul (as in Motown).

Gotye - Thanks For Your Time
Gotye - Learnalilgivinanlovin


If you really want to piss me off, go ahead and ignore someone until they become useful to you. Then, when you notice their worth, make a valiant effort to extract their usefulness and exploit their naivité.


Check out the guys at Fighting.

The new Fields video for "If You Fail We All Fail" is excellent. By Minivegas.

Yes I was supposed to be at SxSW. No, I will not be at SxSW.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Two Weeks (Repeat)

News on Unfamiliar and The Paper Cranes, which has been taking up a good deal of my time lately. The NeXT showcase last Friday night was interesting, to say the least. Ryan (lead singer) was sick, and by the end of the set, had no voice left. The 'Cranes had to cancel the Montreal show as a result.

Sorry to everyone in Montreal who was looking forward to it, and thanks to those who wrote in wishing Ryan better. The Paper Cranes will be back out here before their Pop Montreal date.

Insound recently updated their newsletter, which included a write-up on The Paper Cranes debut EP. Zulu Records in Vancouver did the same, and have the band featured on their website.

The first review for the CD was from NOW Magazine. 4/4 and Pick Of The Week.

Veins EP is on Insound's Top Sellers list. Thanks to everyone who has purchased the CD, and for those who haven't, we'd love it if you did.


CMW was a shit-show as usual. Drama included.


Bobby Birdman is from Los Angeles, California. Signed to the quirky States Rights Records, and with ties to soon-to-be-featured Yacht, he produces catchy electro-pop that will likely find it's way into your iTunes playlists on a regular basis.

See also: Fryk Beat Records, who AYF? enjoy checking out regularly.

Back in 2004, Bobby had a solid video put together by the outspoken Terri Timely crew.

Bobby Birdman - I Will Come Again
Bobby Birdman - I Said "OK." The Wind Said "No!"


I ditched Winamp on my PC at work and am now completely tied to Apple and iTunes. Good or bad, at least my music databases are consistent -- now if only I could share music between iTunes libraries on different machines without resorting to third party software.


More of the wickedly catchy electro-pop here, which has been dominating my listening time lately. Back out east we have Plane, from Chicago. They write and produce all their material in their own studio, and are signed to -- well, check this out from their Myspace page:

"So we have a distribution deal through Future Farmer. They've disappeared with all our product. Dirigeable, our label, has disappeared with our record and our licensing deals. 2K Sports is using our song Heart and Soul on their NHL 2k6 video game without acknowledging that they owe the band any money. Now Planetary Group is charging us for radio promotion, which they never did, and for which Dirigeable never paid for."

Yeah, the music industry can really suck sometimes.

Plane - Western Avenue
Plane - Heart And Soul
Plane - Please Save My Body From The Modern World
Plane - Rope


Linking back to Ryan at Catbirdseat: thanks for all the support. Thanks also to Tyrone at A Soundtrack For Everyone.

Make sure and check out Guy's Eclectic Sound Basement, which is the blog behind his radio show on CIUT FM (12pm Fridays). If you're in Toronto and you want to hear music from AYF? on the radio, this is the place to tune in.

The Prettiest Pony now have a links section, and AYF? is in it.

Unfortunately, it looks like Adele has left her radio show in New Zealand, which was previously giving airplay to bands featured here. Hey Adele, are you going to turn up somewhere else?


No more promising from me that updates will increase in frequency, but I will try. Burn-out has obviously taken it's toll.