Wednesday, February 24, 2010

when current pulls you under

(photo by matthew tammaro)

While I was procrastinating from doing school work via the internet, I said to my roommate (half-jokingly), "Facebook isn't fast enough!", referring to the lack of new things to 'creep', even though I had probably just checked it during my last procrastination break (which for someone with incessant, self-diagnosed ADD does quite often). My roommate and I had a chuckle, because I was clearly kidding. But was I?

On another evening, I was trying to show my friend a video of something on the internet. I kept searching and searching, and couldn't find it. Eventually we came to the (again half-joking) conclusion, that if you can't find something on the internet, it probably doesn't exist. But were we joking?

The internet is so damn fast with so much damn stuff on it it's pretty much its own universe or something. It's cool. But kind of creepy. You know how astronomers are always messed up because their brain is trying to comprehend the concept of infinity? (I don't actually know if that's true, but even if I think of space for a second I go nuts, so I think it's a fair assumption) Well, I feel like the internet is almost like star-gazing, you can be looking at websites that have technically been taken down but their 'traces' remain. Like looking at stars in the sky that actually don't exist anymore. The internet is like a massive reference library, that gets new stock, in every section, every second.

Here's a visualization of a portion of the internet. Looks like space to me.

People use the internet to connect with other people. But it seems really inefficient, and in a way it seems more isolating. You're now not just one in over 2.5 million people (if you live in Toronto), but you're one in however many billion people use the internet. It's like trying to communicate with a Martian rather than the person next door.

And yet just like a black hole the internet sucks you in and is ever so intriguing, especially to me. And I wish it wasn't. I envy those people who are more disconnected from it.

I'm not trying to harp on the internet. I clearly am fascinated by it. But I guess sometimes I scare myself when I think about my interaction with it. I've been really busy lately and haven't been able to be "current" with my blog postings and haven't had as much time to go through my daily reads online. And as I checked all of my favourite music blogs, I realized how behind I was, and what grosses me out, is that I was anxious about that.

In order to get people to stay intrigued in what you have to say on the internet, is being "current" the only way? I love how in a day I can 'discover' (the internet can also make you feel like an archaeologist) band after band that I had never heard of but I almost never have the time to listen to all of these bands' albums from start to end in that same day. The internet is too fast for music.

So dear readers, for those of you who haven't gone to another website by now (which has probably been updated 20 times already) I hereby vow that I will fall behind. But what I do post will be music that I've absolutely fallen for.

So in the spirit of posting things that aren't current, I'm posting a video from an Australian band called The Middle East, and this song "Blood" was released way back in 2009.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Morning Benders, "Excuses"

I realize I haven't posted in what feels like ages. And I also realize that most, if not all of you have probably already seen this video.

But for those of you who might have lives outside of the internet (good on you!) and haven't seen this, you're in for a treat.

So here is the infamous Yours Truly video. It's an amazing Phil Spector-inspired recording of "Excuses" by The Morning Benders from their upcoming EP Big Echo.

Make sure to catch them at The Drake on April 14.

Yours Truly Presents: The Morning Benders "Excuses" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

isn't it pretty to think so?

I refuse to be cynical about Valentine's Day. And frankly, I don't get why people are. I mean sure, ya there's the whole overdone bullshit consumerism argument. But I want to know what hasn't been somehow tainted by consumerism? The greeting card industry thrives off of every human experience possible. Even death is profitable.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's complete crap that restaurants charge more for a meal on Valentine's Day, and that girls have probably broken up with their boyfriends if they didn't do something cute enough. And that the whole day is (likely) really focused on heterosexual love. I've got my qualms with it. But, when you shave it down, what's wrong with a day devoted to love?

I believe in love. I love my parents. I love my friends. And ya, I've been "in love" before...I think. At least what I've been taught what love is based on various resources (my parents, chick flicks, The Cure). I'm sure my idea of love is totally skewed. But I think that's why people want to believe in it. When people believe in stuff, like when you believe in God or the tooth fairy or Santa, you're believing in something a little bit magical, something with superpowers. More powerful than you.

People don't kill one another for tangible things (except oil and other icky things). They kill for ideas. For freedom, nationalism, liberty...You can't touch any of these things. They aren't matter. (scientifically speaking) But does it matter? (figuratively speaking) People believe in these things whether they are "real" or not. And their reality, and what they live for is based entirely on these ideas.

So maybe the kind of love that I and all you other suckers believe in may be kinda like believing in unicorns. Everyone else thinks it's unrealistic, and maybe in a narrow way of thinking it is. But dreams are real. When I'm having a dream, it's so real to me at that moment. And I'd rather see unicorns and love in my dreams than any of the shit happening in the world right now.

So believing in "the one" is kind of like believing in God or Freedom. It's kind of a way of life. Maybe it's not tangible, maybe it's too idealistic, but it's something worth living for. The thought of not dying alone. Knowing that someone loves you for everything you are.

So, maybe I'm a sucker that bought into Valentine's Day, and maybe I'm silly for hoping that there is such thing as "the one", but heck, I can't help it, blame it on The Notebook.

Here's an excerpt from one of my favourite books, Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises:

“Oh, Jake,” Brett said, “we could have had such a damned good time together.”
Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.
“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

Jake realizes that him and Brett's relationship was nothing more than a dream. But it sure was pretty.

So for those of you who've read all of this. Here's a reward. A lovely little playlist.

I made these CDs for my roommates, note the shoddy artwork.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Laura Marling at Lee's Palace

A bunch of my friends and I battled through the falling snow last night and made our way to Lee's Palace to see Laura Marling.

Her first album, Alas I Cannot Swim was a collection of beautiful, frail and harmonic songs with strong folk underpinnings. Despite its playfulness, it did have some dark, and at times eerie undertones. Which made it all the more intriguing.

Last night, Laura Marling played songs from her upcoming album I Speak Because I Can, which will be released on April 6 in North America. Her performance was deliberate and mature. Her voice was strong, yet never sounded forced. Her new songs are darker, deeper and even more satisfying. One of her new songs "Devil's Spoke" (check out the video below) is less acoustic with more expansive arrangements, including some by Mumford & Sons. It also has a distinct Celtic feel to it.

Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to her new album.

This video was filmed in India while Marling and Mumford & Sons were on tour.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Two Door Cinema Club

If Ronald Weasley were in a band...this would be it! Right, right?!?

In all seriousness though...actually forget seriousness, this song, "Undercover Martyn" by Two Door Cinema Club is just fun and catchy and kind of makes me feel like a kid again. It's a no-shame upbeat, foot tapping kinda song, and would go great if taken with Pop Rocks candy.

From their Wikipedia: "Two Door Cinema Club started to ensemble when Trimble and Baird met at scouts, but they didn't get to know each other. Later Trimble and Halliday got to know each other early in high school, they met Baird when he was trying to get with girls they knew." Two things stand out in this blurb: "SCOUTS" and "GET WITH GIRLS". Now this is a real boy band!

I really just want them to come play a show in Toronto so me and my girlfriends can go scream and dance and hold out our arms to the band at the front of the stage. With pigtails.

Just watch the video, kids. Their debut album Tourist History will be released on March 1.


TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB | MySpace Music Videos

NOTE: I realize that this blog entry may lie in direct opposition to my last entry. But, just like anything, music can't always be inspiring and important. So if it's neither, it should at least be fun. And I think it's important to have fun, don't you?

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one

"Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'." - Bob Dylan.

The "Times They Are A-Changin'" is just one example of the many protest songs out there. In North America since the 1800s music has often been the voice for social movements and social change.

My roommates and I sometimes have conversations about today's youth (cliche, I know). I think I mentioned something about the 60s, and how it seemed like people gave more of a shit than they do now. One my roommates responded that it's so typical for people to look back nostalgically on the 60s. And this is definitely true. But we also can't disregard the social change that did go on in the Sixties. There was the sexual revolution, anti-war movement, counterculture movement, and the feminist movement, to name a few.

The heartbeat behind some of these movements was music. Woodstock exemplifies the hippie movement in a lot of ways. And although I'm not suggesting that us young folk should experiment with LSD and try to get in touch with other states of consciousness, I'm just suggesting that we are at least a little bit more conscious.

I feel like the internet becomes the ultimate tool to hide behind our fears. So much time is spent trying to find funny stuff on the internet (and I'm totally a part of this) and create internet personalities that are oozing with irony and nihilistic attitudes. And I know I shouldn't generalize, there are a lot of people out there who care. But in 40 years from now, no historian is going to look back on our generation and call us something rad like the Beat Generation, we're more like the Dead Beat Generation. What's ironic though, is how aware people my age are of the counterculture icons of the past. For a generation that supposedly seems to not care, it's amazing how many of us have read Jack Kerouac and idolize artists like Bob Dylan. It's like we can see the importance of those movements but we're just too afraid to get On The Road ourselves. And I am my own worst enemy. I passively give money to causes I care about and read about unfair foreign policies that Canada and our neighbour to the south are partaking in, yet I find myself doing nothing active about it. Maybe it's because doing stuff on the internet gives us the illusion that we are active. (like writing this post...)

Maybe music can help inspire us once again.

So check out this stuff and see how you feel:

Listen to this.

and watch this:

La Blogotheque / Invisible Children from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.

And buy this . It's called, Amchitka. It's an amazing recording of Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs and James Taylor performing live in 1970 in Vancouver for a concert in support of Greenpeace. Light up some incense (or something) and get in touch with your activist side. Facebook will still be around when you're back.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Princeton released their album Calypso Gold on January 18. Remember when I talked about siblings doing good things? Here's another example. Twin brothers Jesse and Matt Kivel along with Ben Usen and David Kitz make up this band from California.

Sounds like: dreamy, whimsical, stringy, percussiony and a little bit like the Kinks from the Something Else era (which the band cites as one of their musical influences).

Check out the music video for the single "Calypso Gold".

Princeton 'Calypso Gold' from kay kanine on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Frightened Rabbit

From Scotland, with love and angst comes Frightened Rabbit's latest music videos from their upcoming album Winter of Mixed Drinks. Although one music video is more recent than the other, I've decided to post both so you'll be twice as excited for their new album.

Frightened Rabbit on MUZU

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Winter in Toronto can be rough. There is always excitement leading up the holiday season, and your salt stained jeans and bad hair days don't seem to matter so much because if you sludge through the ice and slush for a couple more weeks you'll have fun holiday parties, presents, and the anticipation of a new year.

Come the new year though, it seems like there isn't much to look forward to except spring, which seems so very far away when the cold wind keeps smacking you in the face. I feel like wind is like the hand of winter, it comes down just when you think that the sun might feel warm on your face, just when you dare to expose your skin from underneath your hood and thick wool scarf. Just then, the hand of winter (wind!) comes out, slaps you on the face and painfully reminds you that winter is still very much here.

Sometimes I wonder why I can't just be a bear and hibernate for the season. Either way, winter is my excuse for my general lack of motivation, productivity, and malaise. I've got the brrr brrr blues.

It just totally blows my mind then, when any life can spring from this permafrosted city.

Somehow, in Canada's apocalyptic-like winter (ok, I know it hasn't been that bad this year) Novels managed to form. This band, comprised of Graham Wright of Tokyo Police Club, Luke Lalonde of Born Ruffians , Will Currie of Will Currie & The Country French, Dean Marino, and Jason Sadlowski is a little taste of spring.

The EP, which you can get for free (!) on their website, is a nice little sampling of five tracks to lead up to the apparent full-length album coming out later this year. It was fully written, arranged and recorded in one studio session (probably to reduce frost bite), and sounds a lot more like summer than winter. In fact the track "Big Run" reminds me a lot of Mungo Jerry's "In The Summertime." And a hint of the 70s is never a bad thing.

From their website, "NOVELS won't be sold in CD stores, on the internet, or anywhere else. Instead, we'll give them away, or put them places. Maybe you'll find a copy sitting on a park bench. Maybe a masked man will hand you one as he passes you on the street. Maybe none of these things will happen. But we'll make sure that everyone gets a chance to listen if they want to."

So brave the cold and get outside, you might find yourself a little pocket of sunshine. (Forgive the cliches, I've got brainfreeze.)

Check out this video and see how the music was written.

NOVELS - Big Run (Chapter 3 of 5) from Wade Vroom on Vimeo.

Sharing is Caring

My darling friend Kendra co-hosts a show called "In Kindergarten We Share Everything" on St. Francis Xavier University's college radio station, CFXU 93.3 FM. Besides sharing her and her co-host Doug's favourite new music, she also shares the link to this blog to their listeners. I started this blog up in January and promised myself to post often, but I've found myself not doing it as much as I would like. So now that Kendra has shared my link, I will promise to keep sharing more of the music I like on here.

With that said, next Tuesday at 8pm (Atlantic Time), tune in here. You won't be disappointed.