Archive for December, 2003

Wednesday, December 31st, 2003

It's Getting Better All The Time

10 ads America won’t see. There’s no link for the “US actors in Japan” entry, but you can see a slew of those here.

Broken Social Scene release a new EP of material entitled Death Is A B-Side this coming March.

Watched the extended The Two Towers last night – a far superior film to the theatrical version. All the weird plot holes and character inconsistencies were addressed and explained in the extra footage. No, it doesn’t adhere to the original text any more, but it does make more sense. And now I’m right chuffed to see Return Of The King either tonight or tomorrow.

The LA coroner’s office cannot be certain Elliott Smith’s death was a suicide. I find the idea that he may not have killed himself more upsetting than the idea that he had.

End of the year. No grand ‘state of the union’-type speeches. Just want to say I’m good, thanks for asking. ’03 was better than ’02, and we’re hoping it’s a trend that continues through the next twelve months. Have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve, thanks for reading and see you in the ’04.

np – Teenage Fanclub / Songs From Northern Britain

Tuesday, December 30th, 2003

Ticket To Ride

I bought my plane ticket for Las Vegas a couple nights ago. I haven’t actually been on a commercial flight since January 1999, and am assuming there’s all sorts of crazy heightened security measures to contend with. My trip will actually take me on a sort of all-around tour of America’s airways – on the flight there I get a stopover in Chicago and on the way back I get to see Dallas’ airport for an hour or so. This is all rather exciting though it just occurred to me that I bought my ticket online and have no idea when/how I’m supposed to get the physical plane ticket. Is there a physical plane ticket? I am going to get so lost.

It looks like Steve Earle’s Just An American Boy documentary will be released on DVD April 20.

Papa M (nee David Pajo from Slint) is opening for the Super Furry Animals February 5 at the Phoenix.

John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats loves his new iPod but hates trying to categorize his music.

Last full workday of the year. 10:15 and I’m already twiddling the thumbs.

np – Rilo Kiley / Take Offs And Landings

Monday, December 29th, 2003

Here And Now

It’s Monday and I’m at work. I’m still not 100% convinced I’m supposed to be here today. But I am. Alas. Who else is working today? LAME.

Steve Kado of The Hidden Cameras and The Barcelona Pavilion has whipped up an interesting and abraisive cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya” under the monicker of The Blankket. Give it a listen here (sample mp3 under the third catalog item – THE BLANKKET – “SONGS OF LOVE”).

Stephin Merrit dropped some hints on what to expect on the new Magnetic Fields album in an interview with TapeOp. “…the new Magnetic Fields record is soft rock. A little light jazz, mostly soft rock… …with no programming, no synthesizers so far, actually. A Fender Rhodes electric piano, a Wurlitzer, I’m going to be doing Farfisa this week but no synthesizers. Clavinet”. The new album is scheduled for an April release, their debut record for Nonesuch.

For anyone not familiar with the majesty of Ride, Firesideometer has a critical analysis of their entire catalog. And speaking of Ride, top fansite Ticket 2 Ride has a slew of live Mark Gardener mp3s, including a show from Stockholm in Novemeber with former Ride co-conspirator and current Oasis bass-boy Andy Bell opening. Thanks to Gary for the tip-off.

Grab a live Rilo Kiley show from Austin this past August here. Link from LHB.

Attention comic book geeks – online store Dynamic Forces has a honey of a deal right now – buy $25 worth of goodies, and they give you a $25 gift certificate to use on that order. Yeah. The shipping is a little steep, but you still come out comfortably ahead. I’ve got the second League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen hardcover and a Hellblazer paperback en route.

Five Seventeen has his little birthday party last night and got right royally toasted with his good buddy Jose Cuervo. And I was reminded quite emphatically that I am allergic to cats.

np – Ride / Waves

Sunday, December 28th, 2003

"That is perverse. Do not tell anyone you don't own fucking Blonde on Blonde. What about Television?"

Ever since Jack Black uttered those words in High Fidelity, I’ve felt a twinge of record geek shame every time I looked at my collection. Well no longer – I now own Blonde On Blonde, the super-duper remaster/reissue, no less. I’m curious to hear the 5.1 SACD mix – That’ll require someone with a far superior stereo than I, though.

And I’ve had Television for years, thanks.

Metric’s Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? was the somewhat surprising unanimous choice as album of the year by both of The Toronto Star‘s music critics, Vit Wagner and Ben Rayner.

Check it out – Bubba Ho-Tep finally has a Toronto premiere! February 27 to March 3 at the Royal. Anyone tries to get ahead of me in line, I will cut you. I swear I will.

Happy birthday to Five Seventeen, celebrating the big three-oh today.

I am currently reading Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco at the urging of Vic, and damn it’s some heavy stuff. Joe Sacco was a journalist working out of the so-called UN safe zone around the Bosnian town of Gorazde during the Bosnian-Serb War of the mid 1990s, and he recounts the stories of the people there in unflinching and deeply unsettling detail. Oh yeah, it’s a comic book. Similar in tone to Art Spiegelman’s Maus, but without the animal allegory – everything in Sacco’s work is very much done by and to human beings. I admit I knew next to nothing of the conflict in the Balkans before reading this, and really – now that I do know something of it… God, humanity can suck so hard sometimes. We really should just give it up and let the squirrels take over. Read a review of the book here.

np – Son Volt / Wide Swing Tremolo

Saturday, December 27th, 2003

Boxing's Been Good To Me

Yesterday’s orgy of Boxing Day consumerism yielded the following, complete with brief one-listen impressions:

The Flaming Lips / Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell – A lot of new songs, though nothing immediately stands out. The Postal Service remix of “Do You Realize” is nice.

Bruce Springsteen / The Essential Bruce Springsteen – I had thought I knew more songs by The Boss, but I don’t.

Ryan Adams / Love Is Hell Pt 2 – Not as immediate as part 1, and the ode to Beth Orton is sorta weak. Will take some more listens.

Doves / Lost Sides – Sort of a gyp – of the dozen songs, seven are the bonus tracks on the domestic versions of Lost Souls and The Last Broadcast. Surely they had more b-sides they could have added?

Centro-Matic / Love You Just The Same – I took a flyer on this one – never heard a note by them, but the reviews make it sound like something I’d like. First impression is that that reasoning is correct.

Rilo Kiley / Take Offs And Landings – Not nearly as strong as Execution, but still tuneful and Jenny Lewis’ voice is always a treat.

Ride / Waves – A revelation. The BBC-recorded versions of the old Ride tunes are often drastically different from the album versions – fewer shoegazey effects, more thundering rock. In a good way. Essential pick-up for Ride fans.

Johnny Cash / The Essential Johnny Cash – Hardly complete, but far better than my other Cash comp. I will have to start tackling the American Recordings stuff soon.

Also got a couple Bone paperbacks and the Sandman: Endless Nights hardcover. Yay for discounted comic books.

And I finished Knights Of The Old Republic. Sigh. Damn fine game. Maybe I should play it again and go all Dark Side. That might be more fun.

Big-ass Brainwashed year-end poll. From Lonetreepoint.

np – The Flaming Lips / Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell