Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

Hi, How Are You?

NxNE and CMW have the fancy acronyms, but it’s the grassroots Over The Top Festival (which you could call OTT if you really wanted but it hardly rolls off the tongue) that’s arguably the best or at least most interesting week of music in Toronto every year. Now in its sixth year, the festival has always brought in interesting, unexpected and eclectic lineups, from both Toronto and abroad, and making a point of catering to all-ages crowds – in other words, a fest that’s for the fans first, not the industry.

While this year will see incorporate for the first time film, theatre and art components, the meat of it is still music and the first batch of performers who’ll be in town from May 3 to 6 has just been announced. The big name would be Austin singer-songwriter legend Daniel Johnston who closes things out on the 6th with Mount Eerie, but also coming to town (or already here) that week will be Michael Gira, Matt & Kim, Japanther, The Explorer’s Club, Julie Doiron,The Hylozoists, The Meligrove Band, Clipd Beaks, Ecstatic Sunshine and Peter & The Wolf with more, as well as the actual schedule, still to come.

The official launch party for this year’s festival goes down on March 8 at the Tranzac – performing will be Harry & The Potters, Germans and Brent Randall & The Pinecones. Tickets are $10.

The Los Angeles Times talks to Peter Moren of Peter, Bjorn & John. The domestic edition of Writer’s Block is out today with a bonus disc to punish the import buyers and AOL has got the whole thing up to stream. Not sure if that includes the bonus stuff, though.

Stream: Peter Bjorn & John / Writer’s Block

They’re also streaming the new Bloc Party, if that’s more your speed. It’s also in store today.

Stream: Bloc Party / A Weekend in the City

So Billboard is reporting that Apple and Apple have buried the hatchet and are making nice, possibly paving the way for the Beatles catalog to find its way into the iTunes store. I have a question. Who cares? I mean, all respect to The Beatles – the best band I never listen to – but is there really a market for the Beatles catalog online? Surely everyone who wants Revolver on their iPod could have found a CD copy to rip sometime in the past five years, probably at higher quality than the 128kbps version that Steve Jobs would like to sell them at a buck a pop. The bitrate, by the way, is why I laugh when I hear that the digital versions will be remastered versions of the original albums – that’s all well and good, but if you’re going to compress it that much before you sell it, why even bother? I’m not saying they’re not going to sell, surely they will. I’m just wondering who the hell is buying it.

And speaking of reissues, Pitchfork reports that Okkervil River will be putting out a double-disc “definitive edition” of 2005’s Black Sheep Boy which will contain both the original album, the Appendix EP, a b-side from the “For Real” single and a couple of videos, one of an alternate version of “No Key No Plan”. I’ve got all this material in various formats but the promise of an expanded liner note booklet and a fancy-pants gold-embossed sleeve has my attention. I like shiny objects. Look for it in stores March 6. The band are currently working on their new album, due out later this year, but are taking a break while Will Sheff re-finds his voice. They’ve also confirmed a couple of SxSW appearances, one day show on March 15 at Bourbon Rocks and that night at Mohawk.

So the Concert Photography Show at the Embassy on Sunday night went off really well, if you discount the subarctic temperatures. The kids still came out and all the photos really looked great, though I kind of wish I’d gotten some nicer frames for mine. But anyways, they’re up so if you’re in Kensington in the next couple months, stop by and have a look – The Embassy is on Augusta just south of Baldwin. You can buy the prints as well – either the ones on display or I can make prints of anything I’ve got in my own galleries. Never done that before a couple weeks ago and dang if they don’t look nice in physical form. And oh – I got photos of the musical performances from Woodhands, The Rural Alberta Advantage and dd/mm/yyyy because what’s a concert photography show without some concert photography? The Rural Alberta Advantage really impressed me – will definitely be investigating them further in the future.

Photos: ddmmyyyy, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Woodhands @ The Embassy – February 4, 2007

24: I’m noting a pattern here in regards to the fates of the men who get involved with CTU women – Kim’s boyfriends lost limbs, Chloe’s have relatives die of radiation poisoning. But this week was all about the Bauers. “Josh doesn’t know anything and he doesn’t need to know” – methinks Marilyn wasn’t talking about what Graem has been up to… nudge nudge, wink wink. It amuses me that people still get aken back to CTU for protection because as history has shown, it’s pretty much the least safe person in Los Angeles for, well, anyone. But really, all the familial subtext in the dialogue is a bit thick – I’m rather doubting that Jack and Graem’s childhood was as interesting as they hope to make it sound, though it was nice to see Dad stop Jack’s torture session with a stern, “go to your room” glare. But really, who was surprised that Papa Bauer would be the big bad? And that it would be revealed through an awkward, overly expository exchange between he and Lobot? Yeah, me neither.

np – Bloc Party / A Weekend In The City

By : Frank Yang at 8:25 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. matthew says:

    The RAA album is great…not very long, but definitely worth picking up!

  2. Thierry says:

    That episode of 24 was downright Shakespearean, with all the family intrigue, lies and deception! Plus, can’t Chloe get a break? She seriously has the worse luck when it comes to men – you know this one’s going to die too before the season is over…

  3. Bill Koch says:

    I imagine what Apple (and Apple) is doing is gearing up (or headging what they’ve already lost in profits) for future generations of digital downloaders. They probably figure that the current general music buying population is a loss so they’re opening the doors for the kids who’ll start acquiring an interest in music in the next 3 to 5 plus years who won’t have any idea whatsoever about CDs, vinyl, etc…kids who will only be familiar with downloading a file. Not to mention that it’s the Beatles…they’ll always sell.

  4. Frank says:

    bill – excellent point. but when (not if) they announce the agreement to sell the beatles tunes in the iTunes store and make a big to-do about it, I’d be very curious to see what sorts of sales they ring up in the short term.

  5. Frank says:

    and re: 24 – I don’t know about dead, but I’m perfectly content with morris being tortured for a while.

    Okay, i think I’m officially way too jaded.

  6. Thierry says:

    Speaking of Morris, am I the only one who thought it was weird to see him heading to the hospital to see his dying brother in a convertible? I mean, I’m all for getting a bit of a tan whenever I can, but this might not be the best time for a little relaxed stroll with the top down…

  7. Chris says:

    I love how they got the most evil looking man in the world (powers booth) to play the vice president.

  8. Sara says:

    Aah!! The Explorers Club are my boys from Charleston (South Carolina)!!! This is fantastic news, that they’re playing a festival in TORONTO with DANIEL JOHNSTON as the headliner! (Sorry for the yelling, I’m pretty excited…obviously.)

  9. Saturna says:

    Me too. The Explorers Club rock! That’s so cool that they get to play the festival.

  10. mike says:

    are the daniel johnston tix for sale yet?
    if so, info plz


  11. Jon says:

    I fucking love the raa.

  12. satisfied75 says:

    daniel johnston sure is looking good !