This is a musicblog. Every weekday we post a couple of mp3s and write about them. Songs are only kept online for a short time. This is a page from our archives and thus the mp3s linked to may not longer be available. Visit our front page for new songs and words.

September 25, 2003

boy have i been neglecting this

as it reads above, in bold type: boy have i been neglecting this. school, work and tangmonkey headaches conspired to keep me away from writing here as i intended. and now i'm going away for a few days, so expect no further updates till next week. at that time, however, i promise to write about a) outkast, b) lost in translation, c) the deadly snakes record that pitchfork loves, d) the turgid arcade fire/wolf parade show of a couple of weeks ago.

tonight's mates of state show did not leave me in the mood to write about music, it's 1:24 am, and i still need to pack. i know i know, my life is so hard.

Posted by Sean at 1:25 AM | Comments (1)

September 15, 2003

on the next day

So today the chalkmarks are almost completely gone, wiped out by several smatterings of rain. I don't think I've ever looked at a patio-filled stretch of street with so much melancholy. (talk about a rapid transformation from exuberance to regret: maybe flashmobs should be called 'flashregrets,' or 'flashnostalgia'.)

i've been listening to the new(ish) Long Winters record on most of my commutes back and forth to Downtown. it's an astoundingly great poprock record, and my review is percolating nicely. i keep skipping a couple of the tracks, though - not because they're bad songs, but because i know the lyrics too well. this is a new experience: the words in the chorus (not the music, or the way the words are sung) are grating on my nerves. the songs in question are the ones about being "stupid," and the opening "gang-signs" track.

when i get home, i almost always throw on "Unhappy," from the upcoming Outkast record. There's something chill and familiar about it - a domestic party. plus, the lyrics: i'm confident i might be mishearing things, but doesn't big boi say that as a child he "found out that santa claus was nothing more than vanilli"? vanilli? as in Milli thereof? as synonym for "inauthentic"? I love it.

i've been looking at the pop montreal lineup, and between my trip to toronto that weekend, and a growing dissatisfaction with live music, i'm tempted to forego any and all shows, instead spending that money on CDs. on the other hand, this Melon Galia mp3 has me itching for some jaunty twee french pop...

another revelation these days is the limited-edition demo record that came with the first x copies of Songs:Ohia's Magnolia Electric Company. my promo lacked the bonus CD, so I've only now managed to download these lowkey acoustic-strummed roughs. they're in stark contrast to the big, bold, shining things that emerged on the album - but listening to each i hear different things, and put together, this is jostling with Four Tet, the Clientele and the Microphones for album of the year...

two recent additions to the blogroll on the side of this page: tangmonkey's Kevin has started a film-music-pop-culture blog, widescreen and stereo sound, which is full of insight, and PopMatters' David introduces a fantastic blog called Damaged in Transit. both made recent posts about The Strokes' preview single, "12:51", so I shan't.

Posted by Sean at 6:23 PM | Comments (0)

Montreal Mob

Today, the second Montreal Flash Mob. It was absolutely great fun, a break from the every-day, an opportunity to live life differently. Transcendent? No. Silly? Surely! Arty? I guess. Elitist? Perhaps. But probably the most fun twenty-five minutes I've had this week.

Julian, Neale and I arrived at Else's early, in time to sip upon $3.50 cranberry juices and speculate about the other mobbers lurking in the shadows. At five, Julian noticed the appropriate party wearing "two hats" (as our emailed instructions had indicated), and we obtained our orders. Make our way to Prince Arthur and De Buillon, drawing chalk arrows to point towards the destination. Arrive at 5:25. Spend three minutes drawing twisty crazy point arrows like madmen. Then disperse. Ta-da!

The mobleader handed us each a stick of sidewalk chalk, and we were on our way. Loop-the-loop arrows, straightforward ones, dashed arrows on the sides of buildings. It looked like we were going to arrive too early, so we rounded a couple of extra blocks. We noticed others drawing their arrows, and soon there were swarms of brightly-coloured markers traced all over the pavement, all pointing to a single (still-empty) spot.

And then at 5:25 an explosion of activity as suddenly there were 30? 50? 80? people dashing about on their hands-and-knees, making a madchaotic mess of lines and arrows and circles and smiley faces. Prince Arthur is full of patio-sitters on Sunday afternoons, so we pointed arrows at them, we pointed arrows at their feet, we pointed arrows at other arrows, at pot-holes, at nothingness. When asked questions ("WHAT ARE YOU DOING AND WHY?" was the popular one), people either ignored the questions or acted ambiguous. Onlookers were bemused. Waiters wondered what to do. We simply drew.

At 5:28, poof, we dispersed. Sauntered non-chalante back home, leaving backward-pointing arrows in our wake, till our chalk ran out. Hopefully it'll not rain over night, and I'll go back tomorrow to see what we wrought (and how well it survived). A glorious bit of insanity.

The best part, of course, is that there will inevitably have been men who went to get another drink, women who visited the bathroom, and who were absent during those three minutes when 75 chalkers went crazy on the sidewalk. I imagine them emerging from the greek cafes and upscale ice-cream joints, unable to conceptualize what they see before them, the changes that the street has undergone in merely a few minutes. [photo, not mine.]

There are some things that could be improved upon: we were asked to each bring a dime (presumably to help pay the organizers back for the chalk), but no one collected ours; it also would have been handy to have some lines of scripted dialogue to use if asked about what we were doing - all of the answers I came up with were either awkward, contrived, cruel or stupid. Finally: no one was smiling! Everyone was so committed to drawing their feverish arrows that there was very little giggling, grinning, or collectivity. It was solo work. And I would have loved to feel more laughter. Next time I'll smile enough for ten: I promise.

Posted by Sean at 1:13 AM | Comments (5)

September 12, 2003

a sigh of relief

whew! we're back! and comments are working. hooray!

i'll write more later, on: the new Outkast record, the Books, an Arcade Fire concert, and Varttina. also: i will miss johnny cash very much.

Posted by Sean at 6:57 PM | Comments (0)

September 2, 2003

it's not springtime but it feels like it

it's hard to listen to music when you forgot the power-cord for your stereo in the nation's capital.

went to see american splendor tonight with dan, neale, andrea and monica. a small, excellent film: they didn't push it too hard. amazing character acting by the guy who played howard stern's anal program manager in private parts: he played it straight, and yet was fascinating to watch. dan says the original comics aren't as good as the film, but I'm curious to learn about the crumb/pekar underground comic canon. fortuitously, dan says he can lend me some books. soon i may be educated!

the belle and sebastian record (in toto) seems to be a disappointment. lacks the wit and electricity of the opening cut. still (much) better than their last two records, though, so it may yet grow on me.

the new Do Make Say Think album is outstanding, at least on first listen. breadth and vision - oh my! i love it when a genre I've grown bored with (eg: post-rock) suddenly becomes interesting again, thanks to a just-plain-terrific new release. also see: Four Tet.

september concert listings are up, so I'm able to start drafting my show-going schedule for the month. here goes, since dan was bugging me earlier:

Fri - 09.05 The Diskettes @ Kyla and Dave's house
Tue - 09.09 The Arcade Fire, guests @ La Sala Rossa
Fri - 09.12 Greg Macpherson, guests @ Cafe La Petite Gaule (2525 rue Centre)
Thu - 09.25 Moondata @ O Patrovys (with Neale on background visuals)
Fri - 09.26 Broken Social Scene, The Sharp Things, The Besnard Lakes @ Cabaret
And then The Frames in October (two nights? Do I dare? [Probably not.])!

Posted by Sean at 1:57 AM | Comments (2)