Friday, October 28th, 2005

Secret Meeting

It’s quite nice to see The National get some press that talks about the greatness of the band itself and not whether or not half the audience left after the opening act played… Check out features and interviews with frontman Matt Berninger at Pitch, Pittsburgh Live and The Tallahassee Democrat. I also can’t help noticing these tour dates with Bell Orchestre… They’re playing with them on November 10 in Montreal and November 12 in Burlington, Vermont, but are skipping the Toronto show on November 11. WTF? You’re already on the good side of the border, why not make the trek down the 401? Is an extra day in maple syrup country really that important? Le sigh.

Oh, I got a copy of Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers (the album before Alligator) on vinyl via eBay last week. A wonderful HEAVY pressing. So pretty. And on the topic of vinyl, I got my copy of Ride’s Going Blank Again back from the record store after having it cleaned. HOLY SMOKE. If anyone ever has a piece of vinyl that needs to be cleaned, find someone with the Nitty Gritty record cleaning system and have them do it. You cannot believe the amount of crap they got off of these records. Seriously. Compared to how it was before, the noise floor now is almost non-existant. I mean, there’s still a little noise, but relatively speaking it’s negligable. And it just cost me $2 a record to get done! Around Again on Baldwin rules.

So following up on Lucas’ comment yesterday that Low were planning on playing a New Year’s Eve show at the Underground in Hamilton – this Stille Post thread certainly makes it sound like a done deal, but if that were the case, why has there been no further updates on the matter since October 6? I personally hope that it’s not happening, because I’d really like to see Low but I don’t want to have to haul my ass to Hamilton on New Year’s Eve to do so. ‘Cause even if it weren’t a logistical hassle, Low isn’t really what I’d call “ring in the new year music”… “This one’s called ‘Whore’. Happy New Year, everyone!” Update: Show not happening. Thanks to Sean for the update.

The AV Club ran an interview with now-departed Low bassist Zak Sally last month, talking about his cartooning and acting projects which he is now presumably going to be concentrating more time on.

There’s some live Okkervil River material available for download here – unfortunately, neither of the two TT The Bears shows are of very good quality, but the Emo’s show in their hometown of Austin is, and of course the KEXP session sounds great as well. Okkervil’s “No Plan, No Key” tour is off to a bit of a rough start as they’ve had to cancel a couple west coast shows on account of singer Will Sheff coming down with strep throat and being unable to sing. Best wishes for a quick recovery.

The Washington Post profiles Death Cab For Cutie (via Coolfer) and I Heart Music has an interview with drummer Jason McGerr.

Mirrormask is finally getting a release in Toronto today! It’s playing at Canada Square up at Yonge and Eglinton, and Canada Square only. Despite the middling reviews, I am going to endeavour to see it this weekend.

So get this – I installed iTunes last night in anticipation of my iPod’s arrival today (hopefully, anyway. It’s in Missisauga!). I allow it to “organize” my My Music folder, and it does a fine job of it – too fine. I had a special folder of covers for the blog set aside, containing all past and pending covers of the week in one convenient location. Note the use of the past tense. iTunes has taken every one of those files and moved them into the folders for each respective artist. This, of course, is a disaster. Well, not really, but a real pain in the ass. I’ve begun the arduous process of moving them all back into their special folder… I have my posting schedule pretty much set for the rest of the year, however, so it’s no big deal to go find the needed tracks, but still. Stupid iTunes, thinks it’s so smart. I also have to go and tag a LOT of random MP3s so as to display in the browser properly. I bet I end up deleting most of them rather than try to figure out exactly what the hell song it is.

np – My Bloody Valentine / Isn’t Anything

By : Frank Yang at 8:54 am
Category: Uncategorized
RSS Feed for this post27 Responses.
  1. torr says:

    I can’t believe itunes still does that without asking. I installed it years ago and it did that to me, messing with tags I had been altering for years. After that, I swore never to install itunes again. Its just unacceptable, I can’t believe it still doesn’t ask you.

  2. Sarah says:

    I noticed the absence of Bell Orchestre Toronto gig on The National’s schedule too, but was hoping it was an error of omission. Do you have confirmation that they’re skipping Toronto?

  3. Frank says:

    iTunes asked me if I wanted to do something with organizing files and whatnot, but I didn’t know that this maelstrom of housecleaning was what it meant. Actually, the net outcome has been pretty good – you’ve no idea what a mess my MP3 folder was in previously, and at least now I have a tidy structure for sorting the remaining untagged stuff into. I just wish that it hadn’t sent all my covers into exile. It’s going to take some time to get that reorganized.

  4. Frank says:

    Sarah – the fact that it’s not listed on their website while the Montreal and Burlington shows are seems pretty official, unfortunately.

    What really would have gotten in my craw was if that was Burlington Ontario, and not Vermont. That would just be cruel.

  5. Sean says:

    According to the Hamilton Stillepost forum, it looks like LOW is not playing Hamilton on New Years Eve now — http://…/

    I too thought it may be a little weird to see LOW on NYE, but I definitely would have been there had it happened.

  6. information leafblower says:

    I feel your pain. The National haven’t played DC either. I emailed their manager asking why they hate DC, but they never got back to me.

  7. Neil says:

    I used to be really anal about how my music files were organized, but then I just said "screw it" and let iTunes handle them all.

    Look at it this way – iTunes has the best way to access your music (artist, genre, smart playlist, etc., etc.), so why not use that to manage your music files instead the FInder / Windows Explorer?

    If I need to pull a file out to move it somewhere, I just drag it out of the iTunes window. I don’t know if this works on Windows or not, but it works on the Mac.

    The problem you had with your covers folder getting sucked in is unfortunate, though… but once you start allowing iTunes to organize things (hint: use the comments field), it’s much easier. I have over 12,000 tracks in iTunes and it’s much easier than dealing with the file manager.

  8. matthew says:

    Is Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers as good as Alligator? I’ve been debating whether to buy it for months now.

    RE: your iPod, one thing to consider is that Apple’s format (AAC/M4A) takes up less room than MP3s do. I don’t know about sound quality, since it doesn’t sound like a big difference to me, but as far as cramming songs on, it’s definitely paid off for me to convert them all to AAC.

    (And thanks for mentioning my DCFC interview!)

  9. Gary Campbell says:

    I totally agree with Neil (and I think you’re already thinking this way…) the moving of the files is a bit of short term pain for long-term gain. Plus, once you start managing files through iTunes, you’ll find whole new ways to be anal about your music. :)

    And when you start considering ripping your own CDs, I heartily recommend the new AAC 256 VBR rate (you’ll have to custom set this). It’s SOOOO much better than the default AAC 128, and songs don’t take up too much extra room.

  10. Skilly B. says:

    In terms of cataloging covers, I simply write the word "cover" in the comment field of each song’s tag in iTunes, and then I set up a smart playlist to pull all those songs into one file.

  11. Ryan Waddell says:

    I hate iTunes. Every time I would plug in my iPod at work, iTunes would ask me "Hey, this iPod was connected to a different iTunes library! Want to connect it to this one?" – of course, "connect it to this one" also means "Wipe out all songs on your iPod because we can’t let you copy songs from two different iTunes libraries onto one iPod". So I just started using Winamp with the ml_ipod plugin. 10000000x better, seriously. I never use the iTunes store, so iTunes got the boot off my PC.

  12. sam says:

    best note of advice about iTunes – don’t let it organize anything. do it yourself and save yourself some pain.

    and congrats on the iPod :)

  13. Thom says:

    You can tell iTunes that they’re a compilation, and it will stick them all in the same folder.

  14. kathryn says:

    okkervil river are so wonderful live, as are the national. <i>sad songs for dirty lovers</i> is very good but the <i>cherry tree</i> EP is definitely closer to the sound that they have on <i>alligator</i>.

    also, some of those okkervil river shows are in FLAC, which might need mentioning….

  15. Frank says:

    thanks for the advice, everyone. I’m not unhappy with itunes, so I may run with it to start. But it’s good to know I have options…

    Oh yeah – the ipod has arrived! It’s in my lobby. Happy day.

  16. Hunter says:

    The National aren’t playing with Belle Orchestra, its the guitarist’s side project Clogs: http://…/

  17. Frank says:

    Clogs? Really? I can’t access the National’s website from work for whatever reason, but I could have sworn the listings said "The National". They really could have made that clearer.

    And they should still come back to Toronto and play me a show.

  18. daniel says:

    AAC files (Apple’s version of the MP3) is smaller than an MP3, and sounds better. I encode all my music at 192kps and it sounds great.

  19. Sarah says:

    I agree that the National v. Clogs thing was unclear. I also agree that they should come back and play you a show, Frank. The Horseshoe gig that you missed while you were on the high seas was so, so good.

    Matthew: It’s definitely worth picking up Cherry Tree as well as Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers, as mentioned above. "All Dolled-up in Straps," for example, is a fantastic song. (Which they didn’t play at the Horseshoe. Damn.)

  20. Five Seventeen says:

    I’m with Gary on the high encoding. AAC 256 VBR rate is pretty great.

    What are you doing about the white headphones?

  21. Frank says:

    Totally ditching the ipod phones. I love my Sony MDR-G73s (http://…/) but am dismayed to see that they’ve been discontinued. Hopefully one of the current Sony offerings will be as comfortable and sound as good if/when I need to replace my current pair.

    still on the fence about the encoding. minimum 192 is a no-brainer, but I don’t know if I have the space for 256 rips. And I have to research the mp3 vs AAC thing more.

  22. Distopian_Dreamer says:

    Regarding the Okkervil River gig in Toronto, will there be tickets available at the door, or should reserve one through will call? I was undecided, but now I really want to make the 8 hour trip out from Winnipeg. Hope you enjoy the ipod Frank, but seriously dude, should you really be splurging right now?

  23. Frank says:

    I would be surprised if Okkervil sold out, so there should be tickets at the door. I don’t think there’s any reserving tickets, though you could always ask the promoter – who knows.


    shoot, coming out from winnipeg for the show? That’s some dedication.

    And thanks for the concern for my fiscal situation, but I’m good.

  24. Dan says:


    I will get my first National show tomorrow in Norman, OK…I first heard about this magical band on this site…thanks!

  25. Neil says:

    The <a href="http://…/ Portapro</a> (not an affiliate link) are incredible headphones for the price, if you’re not an earbud man. I’ve had mine for about 2 years and they’re just incredible.

  26. gerald` says:

    if you don’t want to retag stuff by hand, give musicbrainz a try – it "listens" to your music and using that plus whatever tag info is already there, figures out title/album/artist/etc.

    you can get it at (and it’s free).

    on headphones: before you pick up another pair of cans, ask yourself three questions:

    – what do I mostly listen to?

    – how much do I want to spend?

    – am I a headphone or earbud kind of guy?

    and then head over to, where the collection of headphone nerds will find the best headphone for your needs and budget. I’ve done it before and it works great. Just don’t stick around there for too long, or you’ll find yourself buying headphone amps and professional-grade in ear monitors… like I did.

    also: hi. I’ve been reading this since Quinn from From Blown Speakers called yours the best music blog in Canada – I’m also the one who designed his template.

  27. gray says:

    wtf.. who r these ppl!?