Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Decompressed and Nostalgic

So much for keeping up while I was on vacation, but I am finally decompressed and back to writing.

There has been and air of nostalgia around my apartment, and here is part of the soundtrack.


As of this summer, it's over three years since my last weekly DJ residency (out in Vancouver). Back in those days, it was all about fitting 100 people into a bar made for 60 on a Sunday night. Back alley entrance, and noise complaints from the apartment buildings across the street. Our playlists were dominated by DFA releases, indie rock, disco-punk, italo-disco, '80s new wave, the No New York, Anti-NY, and Young New York compilations, Playgroup, Kitsune, Gomma, and the rest.

Munk was one of my favorite artists at the time, and when he remixed Vivien Goldman for the Anti-NY compilation, it was magical. Not a dancefloor filler, but one you could put on as the crowd arrived. I still play the original from time to time.

Vivien Goldman - Launderette (Munk Version)
Vivien Goldman - Launderette


So what about that crazy '80s new wave revival? Bands with names I don't even want to mention on here. But there were some good ones, like I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness -- who finally released their album a few months back, after teasing us with their debut EP three years prior. Ah the summer days of '03 reliving the summer days of '83 when I wasn't old enough to give a shit.

Danse Society are a criminally underrated product of the early '80s, and listening to their back catalogue, one wonders why a re-release of their 2001 compilation hasn't come about over the last year or two.

Danse Society - Somewhere


On to the summer of '04 when Lansing-Dreiden released their first album, a patchy but enjoyable mix of '80s and '90s cliches sewn together with threads of '60s psych. Now, with their latest album, they've managed to pull it together into a well-conceived whole that transcends the cliches; one of my favorites this year. The Mili-Vanilli look-alikes in their latest video (for "A Line You Can Cross") were a master-stroke.

Lansing-Dreiden - Part Of The Promise
VIDEO: Lansing-Dreiden - A Line You Can Cross (MOV)


The Fever (Lansing-Dreiden label-mates) will be playing at The Reverb tonight (May 30th) in Toronto. Hope to see some of you there.


Nice to meet you last weekend, Merckeda and friends.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Lukas from Fighting just finished off the poster for the NO FORMAT/ATG presentation of Man Man (in Toronto at The Silver Dollar on June 5th). Another brilliant piece. Thanks Lukas.


The Ghost Is Dancing will be opening for Man Man at the NO FORMAT/ATG show. Their quirky, tightly wound indie-pop hints at The Shins, with roots extending to their Canadian brethren -- The Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, et al. With one EP already completed (and desperately awaiting a wider re-release this fall), the band plan to put out a full-length early next year; one AYF? is highly anticipating. The tracks here were produced by Tyler DeWitt at Skylight Studios, and they sound great.

The Ghost Is Dancing - People
The Ghost Is Dancing - Running Song

People are asking if Ghost is the new Wolf -- and to that, I answer: I don't really care.


This is a short post today, as I'm heading to England in four hours (at 6am) for a week. There should be a mid-week update -- plenty of wandering, Tate Modern, Camden Town, and a few shows are on the agenda.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


My friend Julie sent me a link to a band out of Edmonton, Alberta -- The Wet Secrets. Featuring plenty of handclaps, keys, and percussion through their songs, they stir it up with a wickedly warped sense of humor, and will no doubt find a receptive audience amongst fans of, say, Sunset Rubdown. There is no shortage of talent here; the brooding, 7-plus minute "Karate Space Tiger..." is a testament to this, as it never fails to hold your attention from start to finish.

I'm pretty taken with these guys and girls. Their independently released CD can be found through Blackbyrd, and I urge you all to pick it up.

The Wet Secrets - Boat Gas Death Train
The Wet Secrets - Mr. Rimjob 1999
The Wet Secrets - Karate Space Tiger Vs. The Humpin' Jumpmaster (Swordfighting in the Jungle)

If you found this post by searching for "rimjob" on Google, you're a sucker. Sucker.


Top 5 songs (downloaded) from AYF? over the last seven days:

1. (433) GoGoGo Airheart - So Good
2. (283) Joy Divison - Isolation
3. (276) Cocteau Twins - Iceblink Luck
4. (206) The Rolling Stones - Too Much Blood
5. (192) Slowdive - Dagger

Dragons of Zynth
and The Embassy just missed the top 5 after their recent coverage. Wyrd Visions and The Teardrop Explodes continue to get much love, as do New Young Pony Club.


and I had the pleasure of checking out Sound Team last night (now with Capitol Records). They put on a good set, although I was a bit surprised by the relatively benign sound inherent in a few of their new songs. The band was opening for early Kemado signing, Elefant, who showed absolutely no progress since they first appeared in New York -- over three years ago. Diego Garcia's excessive posturing came off as a cheap impersonation of Peter Murphy (thanks, Michelle), and any energy existent between himself and his backing band was not immediately apparent. Stop practicing in the mirror, guy, and start practicing with your band. We left part way into their second song.

Speaking of Kemado, make sure and check out The Fever's latest. More on that soon.


My perpetually rainy weather widget is finally right. Yay for technology.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


I'd like to thank everyone who comes to AYF? on a regular basis. The site is approaching it's two year anniversary next month, and in that time it's progressed from being nothing but a few plaintive words to -- a bunch of words and some music.

This continues to be a personal space, and will remain so. If I, or anyone else writing for AYF? want to share our strange experiences between posting songs, videos, and art, that's all part of the fun. We are in a public forum here, in which even ex-girlfriends and overly competitive peers are free to participate. If you don't like it, don't read it.

If you want to read something sponsored by magazines and surreptitiously funded by advertising dollars, go check out Stereogum or subscribe to Tripwire.


Today, two bands that have already been hit up elsewhere, but are worth the extra coverage.


Palo Santo is the first Shearwater album I've had the chance to get into. Recently released on Misra, Palo Santo marks a departure from their previous material, and acts to distance Shearwater from that other band with whom they are associated. Obvious Jeff Buckley comparisons aside, Jonathan Meiburg builds a complex musical landscape with his songs, swinging from a newfound drum-heavy aggression, to gentle guitars and quiet melodies. This album is thick with mood, and has been a great companion late at night with the lights low.

A Pitchfork review showed up yesterday.

Shearwater - Red Sea, Black Sea
Shearwater - White Waves
Shearwater - Red Sea, Black Sea (demo)

I owe thanks to Phil at Misra for this one.


A few weeks ago, a friend brought The Embassy to my attention, by way of Jay at Goldkixx. Since then, I've found myself listening to a few of their songs over and over -- compulsively at times. While their albums are hit and miss - falling victim early/mid '90s dance references - each has at least one or two great tunes. Scandinavian indie pop bands are big on my personal charts right now, and The Embassy have clear markings of their Swedish heritage. I suppose if The Legends and Electronic got together, this is what their kids might sound like (and it accounts for the occasional big miss factor).

The Embassy - Time's Tight
The Embassy - Some Indulgence

Video: The Embassy - Stage Persona (MOV)


The Diableros' video for "Sugar Laced Soul" is finally done, and it looks great. This is the second video from Toronto's Sara St. Onge -- her first being for Final Fantasy. The animation was done by Jay White.

Nice work to everyone involved.

Video: The Diableros - Sugar Laced Soul (MOV)

Friday, May 05, 2006

Awesome Dragon Man

Everyone in Toronto needs to check out the line-up for the Over The Top festival, which takes place this week. Put together by Eric Warner, Over The Top is easily the best indie music festival we have in this city -- quality over quantity. Previous AYF? favorites Measles-Mumps-Rubella will be in town this year, as are The Lovely Feathers, Pas/Cal, Asobi Seksu, Saturday Looks Good To Me, Telefauna, Wyrd Visions, and more. Ticket prices are reasonable, and I'm even going to swallow my negative attitude towards The Drake for a few shows there.

Great job Eric. Thank you.


Three from New York today. AYF? has been away for a while; gotta catch up.


As part of Over The Top, Awesome Color will be playing a late show at Sneaky Dee's on Saturday May 6th (1am). How many awesome colors are there? Two guys wielding axes, and a girl on skins. The three of them collectively moved themselves to NYC from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and recently signed to Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label.

Their music cruises along -- psych-garage-rock like an open-top muscle car. Awesome Color revel in heavy riffs and solos, the drums and basslines laying a deep undercurrent. The energy is distinctly blues, and it's infectious.

Exclusive MP3 styles:

Awesome Color - Free Man


The members of Dragons of Zynth all have names I can't figure out how to pronounce: Aku, Akwetey, and Gbatokai. Produced by David Sitek and Kyp Malone (both of TV On The Radio), the sound is like riding on a train through a tunnel with two sets of speakers mounted just outside the windows -- one set is belting you with hip-hop, and the other indie rock. Somewhere in the distance you can hear a punk band and the sounds of the bayou, and there is a drum circle in the next car over. You're trying to figure it all out, and you think you've got it, but then the speakers get sheared off, the lights go out, the amps die, and you're just in a dark train in a tunnel.


Check the Biggie Smalls on Afro Spliffs. That one is for Brian Kim.

Dragons of Zynth - Abithia
Dragons of Zynth - Afro Spliffs


I will be covering Mirror Mirror soon. In the meantime, visit their Myspace page.


NO FORMAT and ATG present

MAN MAN (Ace-Fu)
plus guests

Monday June 5th
at The Silver Dollar (Toronto)

Doors 9pm
$10.50 adv (available next week) $12 door

For those who made it to The Bagel the last time NO FORMAT introduced Man Man to Toronto, this will bring back happy memories. The place was well sold out, Lenin i Shumov (RIP) opened, and we all danced and had fun. Man Man always put on an amazing live show, and their new album (Six Demon Bag) is damn good.

Openers are TBA -- we'll let you know as soon as it's official.

ATG (Craig Laskey) is behind this one as well, so there will be classy stuff like advanced tickets, which you can get from Rotate, Soundscapes, The Horseshoe, or Ticketmaster (as of next week).

A poster courtesy of Fighting is coming soon.