Thursday, December 18, 2014

The IMU 2014 Musical Revue

I have a long (not really) and complicated (not at all) history with year-end music lists*. I used to look forward to writing a lot and considered them the marquee moment of the year here on IMU. Then I got a little jaded and tried to play off their importance and last year I didn't even do one^. You know what? Looking back on the year that was is fun, so here we fucking go. 2014 year-end music list. Hold on to your butts.

First off, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that my band Beat Noir put out our first full-length this year. It is free here. If you would like a physical copy or a t-shirt, they are here.

All right, here's all the stuff I liked from this year:

Riff Raff- Neon Icon
All hail RiFF RaFF. If you aren't down, you're just TOO BASiC TOO UNDERSTAND AND i CAN'T FIX THAT.

Hard Girls- A Thousand Surfaces
The song-writing on this album is fucking next level. The album's sound is coherent enough that you can immediately tell they are a part of the same collection of songs, but different enough to separate themselves. The riffs, oh lord the riffs. It's a guitar manifesto for the ages.

You Blew It!- Keep Doing What You're Doing
I've always just kind of dabbled in twinkle, but got real into this year. This release has all the riffs and all the angst you need, stuffed together in a poppy package that I've been revisiting constantly this year.

Antartico Vespucci- Soulmate Stuff
I've always been a Fake Problems fan and obviously am devoted to the church of Rosenstock as well. This one has songs that make me feel things about the person I'm currently with ("100 Years", both parts) as well as people I used to be with ("I'm Giving Up On U2"). This was probably my most played release during the summer.

(It is free at that link.)

Hostage Calm- Die On Stage

I was a huge fan of Please Remain Calm, so I was pretty hyped on what Hostage Calm would do next. The band keeps going with the power-pop they started with on the last album and really go all-in here. This isn't big of an idea as PRC, but I won't complain about a great power-pop record in 2014.

YG- My Krazy Life

I love west coast rap. I love G-Funk. This record is pretty much all of my favourite parts of rap music in one place. A perfect balance of great beats, humour and to quote YG "mothafuckin' gangsta shit". This probably one of my favourite rap releases ever and it is hard for me to find a way to describe it without sounding like the whitest dude ever.

Wayfarer- Sleep Through To The Light

Don't tell Kyle I like his songs. He'll probably make fun of me.

The Hotel Year*- Home, Like No Place Is There

A damn good release. It didn't really hit me like their last one did, but a really well thought-out album and great collection of songs front to back.

The Both- The Both

I was confused why more of my friends weren't into this release, considering how many of them like Ted Leo. Here he collabs with Aimee Mann and the results are fucking stellar. A bunch of guitar-driven (obvi, it's fuckin' Ted Leo) pop songs. I like it as a substitute for a Pharmacists record because it's different enough to be something new, but also has enough guitar godding to tide you over until the next Ted Leo release. Also, Aimee Mann is really fucking good at writing songs.

Lights- Little Machines

I didn't expect to like a Lights record this much, but here we are. It's catchy and it's a great pop record.

Puig Destroyer- Puig Destroyer

Baseball-themed powerviolence/grindcore written by some stat-minded SABR nerds. Gimmick bands aren't supposed to work this well.

Moldmaker- Dark Chambers Demo

I'm really sad that more people will never get the chance to see this band because it's basically The Decay with two lead guitars and a wall of noise that somehow even bigger than The Decay's.

(Free at that link)

Junior Battles- Rally

A great followup to the wonderful Idle Ages. Different enough to set it apart from the album that came before it, but still sounds like Junior Battles. This definitely has some of their best songs.

Joyce Manor-Never Hungover Again

One of my favourite parts of Joyce Manor was they were able to take the harshest parts of 80's hardcore and combine them with pop-punk in a way that doesn't diminish either. Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired was an extremely ballsy second album and is something that I didn't really get until this year. Never Hungover Again is by far their poppiest album, but the change in sound pays off, as I love all the songs on this release.

The Bruce Lee Band- Everything Will Be Alright, My Friend

Being a huge ska, it really sucks that the amount of relevant releases per year is pretty minimal. B ut when a band who puts something out roughly once every ten years returns out of nowhere to put out a rock-solid ska-punk release I get so giddy that I can't even deal. Why can't this happen more? Also, JESSE MICHAELS SINGS ON ONE OF THE TRACKS!

The Canyon Rays- West Coast Babes

This one came out of nowhere. They were described on bandcamp as equal parts Beach Boys and Katy Perry and while that isn't the perfect description, it's pretty close. Full band pop music that's as heavy on dreamy synths as it is hooks. Great bass playing too.

Alvvays- Alvvays

I was listening to this while skateboarding to work one day this summer. A woman drove through an intersection when she wasn't supposed and almost destroyed me, as I was going full-tilt. I gave her the finger and yelled "What the fuck?!" When I got to work I told the kids what happened and they asked if I swore and I said no, but winked to some of the older kids so they would know that I did and think I'm cool. This has been a story from my life that involves the Alvvays album in some way.

It was a great year for music.

*I use cliches (damn my lack of shortcut knowledge) a lot. I like to think that they are a signature aspect of writing, even in school. But I also like to think that I use them in more of a Dan Harmon way, than a US remake of Lol way. Do you hate my cliches? Too bee-ad, because I love 'em.

^IMU: On Music. The Essential Year-End Lists of I, Musical Genius. 2008. 2009. 2010. 2011. 2012 I thought I had previous ones up on here as well. Know that 2006 and 2007's respective #1's were The Arrogant Sons of Bitches' Three Cheers for Disappointment and We Are The Union's Who We Are. Two big time jammers.

*Yeah, I'm gonna be that dick who reinforces that he liked the band when they had their original name.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I'd Be Sure Not To Change At All

Last night I went to go see Less Than Jake on their current Canadian tour. Given their recent full-length See the Light, which I wasn't impressed with, I went into the show with a few reservations. It had been a long time since I had been to a ska show, let alone one in Toronto (the last ones I can remember going to were some lackluster Big D and the Kids Table and Streetlight Manifesto ones), so I was really unsure about how the show would be.

The Interrupters were the first opening band and the extent of my knowledge of them was that they recently signed to Hellcat. As soon as they started the entire crowd rushed down and immediately started skanking then didn't stop for the entire set, which really warmed my heart. The band was super tight and all great at their instruments, but they did leave a little to be desired. And their lyrics were super bad. But seeing all of the kids go nuts for them immediately brought me back to when I was that kid and dancing for the entire set.

The rest of the bands were amazing and the energy in the building was fucking stupid (Big D played "Myself", "Checklist" and "LAX" all in a row!) (I crossed three more songs off of my "Songs I Need To See Less Than Jake Play Live" checklist! Including "Anchor"!), but what really got to me was being back in the Toronto ska scene and thinking about the effect that it's had on my life.

In  Kitchener the music scene is directed much more towards hardcore, in all of its forms, than anything else and the only ska band in the area is The Bosswich. As a result, there isn't much of a ska scene there at all and no bigger bands ever tour through the town (Not that bigger bands of any genre ever really tour through the area to begin with). Because of this, I've felt like an anomaly and a bit of an outsider in the town, being the only ska fan there. It's not like I'm the only person there who listens to ska bands, lots of people listen to a select few (You really gonna front that Operation Ivy isn't one of the best bands of all-time? What do you think about The Clash's ska songs?), but I'm certainly the only person whose main identifier is "ska fan".

Because of this, I've noticed certain differences between hardcore and ska scenes and also those who grew up participating in each. Something I've certainly noticed is that there is an innate sense of elitism in hardcore. Everybody listens to something better than you, more obscure than you and everybody looks down on you for something, whatever it may be. Case in point is everyone in Kitchener looking down their nose at me for listening to ska . Sure, I know that they are mostly doing it in jest and I know that it's not at all a sign of them not liking me, but it certainly is based in a very real feeling of how much the music I like sucks.

This is something that I never encountered in ska. Sure, last night I saw a guy in a fedora and a bow tie, but for the most part it's just people like me and they have always proved to be much more accepting than other music scene I've been a part of.

For example, last night I wore my mu330 shirt that I purchased during their run of shows in Canada for the first time in while in 2013.  My thinking was having a rarer shirt from a more obscure band at the show would prompt people to compliment me on it, or at least notice it. You know how many people did? 0. Nobody gave a fuck what I was wearing.

Because of this, I think that the ska scene was really instrumental in me becoming the person I am and also my outlook on life. Earlier yesterday, my dad was talking about how he and his friends used to go downtown on weekends to roam around Yonge St, similar to what my friends and I did, with his mom worrying loads about him. I'm sure the same thing happened with my mom, actually definitely happened with my mom. But while she probably thought I was getting drunk at shows and staying out late, in reality I was in a very safe environment and had something really productive to go and do. Also, it directly led to me playing bass more and playing in bands, which has been a huge creative outlet in my life.

Mostly, I find that everyone who gives ska a bad rap are people who have never been exposed or involved in a scene in any way.

And fuck that. It's been real important to me.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Things That I Really Like, But It Seems Like Most Other People Don't Like And I Think If People Just Gave It A Shot They Would Also Really Like Or At Least Appreciate: Harvey Danger

A lot of the time, I look back through my writing on this blog and very pleased with how I've written things, or at least think I did a good job and can appreciate where I was in my life at that point. But sometimes I look back and think "Tim, you were trying a little hard there dude." One such instance of that was my "Under The Radar" series I started writing last year*, which I now realize is a dumb name. Maybe I'm being too critical? It seems dumb to me right now, so that's why I gave the above title instead. I'M TRYING TO BE FUNNY AND PURPOSEFULLY LONG-WINDED! We can call it TTIRLBISLMOPDLAITIPJGIASTWARLI for short!

Anyways, yesterday I posted a live video of Harvey Danger performing "Pike St/Park Slope" (the camera actually just stays on frontman Sean Nelson the entire time) because I just randomly came across it. As soon as I saw I was (plaindrome!) immediately compelled to share it on, which doesn't happen often, because it is just that good. That song has really become one of my all-time favourites since I heard King James Version for the first time last year.

That video sent me into a pretty big Harvey Danger youtube hole and the first thing I thought was "Man, it's been awhile since I've listen to Where have all the merrymakers gone? I should re-visit it soon." So I did just that today on my bus trip back to Guelph from Toronto.

This fucking album.

Like pretty most people who are familiar with Harvey Danger, my introduction to the band was their breakthrough hit single "Flagpole Sitta", which I heard through various 90's and "One-Hit Wonder" TV specials^. I was familiar with the song in my youth and I found that when I re-visited the material later on, I found that it was WAY better than I remember it being. This is starting to happen to me more and more. See: Mac, Fleetwood. Blind, Third Eye. Browne, Jackson.

On their 1994 Demo and merrymakers the band delivers the poppy alt-rock that was so huge in the 1990's, but their punk take on it, combined with little intricacies and a hell of a lot of intelligence completely separate the band from their peers. One description I've always found interesting was someone describing The Hold Steady as "the perfect bar band" and that was meant in the most complimentary sense possible. They're tight, the songs have riffs but never get too mathy and they have a charismatic storytelling frontman. I think that description works well here. But, in this case (and with the Hold Steady), it doesn't capture how totally the band was at the top of their game. The songs on merrymakers are pretty simple, never going much beyond 4 chords and a general verse/chorus plan, but it's really the little things.

A big thing for me is the bass, which I swear is really a big deal and not just me making a fuss because that's the instrument I play. The guitar on the record is pretty low in the mix compared to most rock releases and there isn't much in the way of leads (exception being the pre-verse solo on "Carlotta Valdez") sticking instead to overdriven open chords that, in my opinion, are absolutely essential to the sound. With the guitar taking a big of a backseat, the bass is HUGE. His tone is amazingly fuzzy and is constantly buzzing and filling out the sound. Since the band was always just a four piece and Nelson mostly stuck to just vocals, the bass fills up a whole bunch of room and plays SO MANY LEADS  and SO MANY CHORDS. The verse riff on "Private Helicopter"? The chords in "Problems and Bigger Ones"? Hell, even the minor little lick be plays at the end of every verse and chorus in "Flagpole Sitta" fucking makes the song. Lead bass can be a really tricky thing to handle correctly and it works absolutely perfectly here.

I've never been able to play the drums, so I often feel like I'm not an authority when discussing the instrument, but I will say that the focus on the snare on merrymakers really drives the album.

It's pretty much impossible to talk about Harvey Danger and not mention Sean Nelson's impact on the band. His voice, how he looks and his lyrics are certainly what everyone ties most to the band. For me, he represents a dying breed of frontman, whose own ideas and identity are pretty indistinguishable from those of the band. Nelson is Harvey Danger and Harvey Danger is Nelson. I know I went a pretty big rant about the bass playing up there, but the lyrics are absolutely the best part of this band and it's defining factor. On all of their releases you get the sense that Nelson is way too smart to be singing in a rock band and he is also aware of that fact. A lot of the songs on merrymakers communicate how much smarter Nelson is than every moron he has to deal with, but it manages to come off in a way that makes it relatable rather than detestable and he always equally critical of himself. Think of it as High Fidelity with Sean Nelson being a sharper Rob Gordon. Kind of dick, but a very relatable dick how you can't help but like and be drawn to.

Example from the one everybody knows, "Flagpole Sitta":

"I was looking into the mirror, to see a little bit clearer, the rottenness and evil in me."

"Been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding. The cretins cloning and feeding and I don't even own a TV."

"Hear the voices in my head, I swear to God it sounds like they're snoring. But if you're bored then you're boring. The agony and the irony: They're killing me."

I don't know about you, but I certainly didn't notice how self-loathing the song was the first time I heard it. I heard it described as a "ultimate hockey anthem" on muchmoremusic when I was younger and that seems comical now.

After "Flagpole Sitta", "Private Helicopter" was released as the second single and completely flopped, which is funny because I was thinking how huge that song should have been while listening to the album today. When I saw Mikey Erg last year, he covered the song and I was the only person who knew it. Everybody looked at me like I was weird when I screamed the "But all told, I hold on to my anger far too long, until it's a joke, the night is cold, the joke is old and poorly told" bit.

So even though "Flagpole Sitta" propelled Where have all the merrymakers gone? to success, the follow-up King James Version suffered from getting lost in the shuffle at their record label and a few delays. Which sucks because the album is basically a bigger and more realized version of their debut. The band does what every band hopes to do, but so few actually succeed at: Make a second album that is different from the first but still keeps all of it's defining characteristics. The deceivingly simple riffs are still there, but they amp up the sound with a ton of piano (holy fuck does it work so well on "Meetings With Remarkable Men (Show Me the Hero)") and Nelson ups his game on the lyrics tenfold. It's chocked-full of allusions to everything and whereas merrymakers thrived on its angst-ridden tirades, this one sounds like you're being told to know better.

Example from the song I posted yesterday, "Pike St./Park Slope"

"Well, when you like something, it's an opinion. But when I like something, it's a manifesto. Pomposity is when you always think you're right. Arrogance is when you know."

Hot damn!

I think my favourite part of this band is that on the surface they seem like a rock band, but underneath they secretly presented counterculture ideas that are much more radical than what your typical punk band presents you with today. If most bands are the kid in a university class who puts up their hand to show off their knowledge, Harvey Danger are the kid at the back who silently picks apart everything they say in his head because they know better.

*In that I wrote one entry about The Stereo.

^It's happened to a whole lot of musicians, but if there was ever band who didn't deserved to be given this label, it is Harvey Danger.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


An all-time jam.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wake Up Dead

On Idolatry:

Building a person up and putting them on a pedastal can be very troubling, but it's also a bit of an inevitability. When you truly appreciate what a person does, especially creatively, it becomes impossible to separate their person from your own personal love of their creations. However, that love also creates a completely unrealistic expectation of what that person is like and when you find out they are not that person, your whole view of them comes crashing down. Worse is when that person does some awful and you are forced to reevaluate your relationship with them*. This happens to me in music, in sports, in television, in lots of things.

No, this is not what I think about Joyce Manor and stagedives.

I often write down blog ideas in a text note on my phone when I'm unable or too lazy to write them all out. Since I very rarely write blogs anymore, they start to pile up and I feel guilty about that. Also, I often have a huge idea for a blog, but forget the specific circumstance and context in which I got that idea and the prospective blog loses a lot of its steam as a result. One of these notes was about heavy metal fans and their relationship with Dave Mustaine. Well after the fact, I think that was about this idea of misplaced idolatry.

For the purpose of this blog I'm going to stick to music, because idolatry in sports is a whole fucking other thing. 

Everybody has their reasons and ways of liking who and what they do and why. For me personally, I try to separate the creator from their product, so that the created is something that I can still enjoy on its own. In the case I mentioned of Dave Mustaine/Megadeth it's because I love thrash metal. I love thrash and I love it mainly for the riffs. It is extremely rare you find a thrash song with good lyrics (The intro riff and solo there. Hoo-eee) and when they are good it often tends towards comedy/satire, so it is something that I don't stress too much about. I just want to hear fast music and a guitar player that plays real fast and then song does a chug part and I wave my head forwards and backwards. That's it!

With that reasoning, I kind of have to like Megadeth. They play really fast. The riffs are hard. The riffs are heavy. The (musical) songwriting is interesting. They are part of the "Big 4" and as a result influenced other thrash bands that I enjoy. But, they lyrics are so dumb that I often end up laughing at them. And the lyrics are supposed to be serious...

I mean, yo:

My amigo Duff once asked me if I liked the lyrics of Megadeth songs (lyrics are often the most important part of a band for me) and I said no. He said "Then why don't you listen to instrumental thrash?" and I said "Because it wouldn't be the same." I don't care about the content, but I just kind of need it there.

This is because this friend only listens to bands in which he can appreciate the individual behind the performance. I shouldn't say "only" because that's not the complete case, but I feel like that has more emphasis and what is closest to the truth. I don't think this is a bad thing at all. That is his way of approaching this issue and who am I to argue? Why do I care? Does it affect me?

No. In fact I appreciate Duff's stick-to-itiveness. It's a fine characteristic and most wouldn't do that.

But it's just different for me, I don't know why. I just really don't care that much.

So, in being a fan of Megadeth, I have to accept that all of the band's music is written by a tremendous asshole, because Dave Mustaine really is an asshole.

A good illustration of that is the band's "Behind the Music". I know that's a long video and most won't care, but I promise that it is a way better watch than it sounds. Up until the Rust in Peace part, that video is vintage Dave Mustaine.

What I'm trying to get at is that liking Megadeth, or any other band where the braintrust isn't necessarily an angel, can troublesome. If you're a heavy metal fan, and especially if you're a thrash fan, you pretty much have to like Megadeth because the music is really good, despite being written by one of music's all-time dillholes and this creates an interesting fan-artist relationship.

On one hand the stereotype of metal being drunk and high and stupid and only at the show to be angry and mosh is 100% true. When I was at Heavy T.O. in 2011, the crowd watching was actually one of my favourite parts (apart from Anthrax and Motorhead KILLING EVERYTHING), because it was amazing/hilarious to see that your typical meathead-metalhead is still alive and well. Obviously these type of people don't give a fuck about what Dave is saying. Hell, they probably think it's cool/intelligent/informed.

The title track from Megadeth first album, Killing is my Business...And Business is Good!

I am a snyper (?)
Always hit the mark
Paid assassin
Working after dark
Looking through the night
Using infra-red
My target on you
Aimed at your head
$10.000 up front
$10.000 when I'm through
And I know just what to do
And ya know I'll do it too
Then I'm coming back for you
Back for you!
I do the "getting rid of"
Don't tell me why
Don't need to hear the truth
Don't need the lies
Now pay me quickly
And now we're through
It brings me great pleasure
To say my next job is you
Don't you know that
Killing is my business
And business is good [repeat]
You'd better believe it

Is it critical? Is it satirical? Does Dave just think calling himself a "snyper" is cool? Is it all three? Only Dave knows!

On the other hand, there are obviously metal fans who are a little smarter and know Dave is a tool, but like him anyway. At that same Heavy T.O., Mustaine brought out the plaque for the band's most recent album at that time, Endgame, going gold. As he was walking out an audience member beside me yelled "Is that the ten commandments Dave?!", referencing the sudden and drastic conversion to Christianity by Mustaine in 2003. I laughed a lot.

Quote from Mustaine after his conversion: "To be the No. 1 rated guitar player in the world is a gift from God and I'm stoked about it, but I think Christ is better than I am, anyway,"     

What a guy!

I guess all I can give for the reason that myself and other people still like bands like this is that we're here for the riffs.

And Anthrax was way better live anyways.

*Relationship used very vaguely here. Ex. Me listening to an album is my "relationship" with that person.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pow, Suck On That. You Know?

I do not think it would be stretch for me to say that almost all of my friends think of me as the biggest Toronto Blue Jays fan that they know. The issue of my Jays fandom has been explored previously on this blog*, but it's been a little different this year and I haven't written about it in awhile.

This season has been different because it is the first season that I can remember when the Jays have been in contention. The Jays were at the top of the American League heap when I was born and I was only 5 during their historic 1994 collapse. I have very vague memories of them being great and in fact, the excitement of Joe Carter hitting his home run is one of my earliest memories (Did I just watch that entire video? You know I did. "Touch 'em all Joe! You'll never hit a bigger home run in your life!" is bar-none, the greatest game call ever.). Since then it has been a very long history of disappointing seasons. A winning campaign here and there, but never coming within sniffing distance of the playoffs.

However, this season was entirely different. The club posted the best record in all of baseball during the month of May, due in large part to Edwin Encarnacion's month for the ages. They sat atop the American League East for a large chunk of the season and though they've since relinquished that spot to the Baltimore Orioles, they've still been within striking distance of the second wild card playoff spot. So if you were to measure a season's success in terms of the playoffs, this is by far the most successful Blue Jays season since 1993 when they last won the World Series.

Even you were to measure it in other regards, it's still the most fun I've had being a fan that I can remember. Both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion have had incredibly successful campaigns and have proved that they are arguably the best 3-4 power combination in the league when healthy. The starting rotation, previously the team's main weakness, has been surprisingly consistent and effective. Two of the club's marquee prospects, Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, were both called up mid-season and have been nothing short of spectacular and just the most fun to watch.

Look at that shit! He catches it a few inches off the ground!

Even just this past week the Blue Jays overcame a huge obstacle by sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays at home. They hadn't won a road series in Tampa Bay since 2007, which is especially saddening because both teams play in the same division and as a result play significantly more games against each other than other opponents. That losing streak was bad that I didn't even have to look up any of the specifics just now! They're burned into my brain!

Despite all of this, it can still be difficult to be a Blue Jays fan in Toronto^. Toronto is a hockey town, always has been and always will be and as a result, the Blue Jays have to play second fiddle to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Growing up in Toronto made it really difficult for me to be a Leafs fan, because most of the ones in the city are absolutely insufferable and the worst type of sports fan. They all turned me off caring about the team forever and I don't think I'll ever really be able to care about them.

All of that is inconsequential to the Blue Jays, but the Leafs do affect them in a variety of ways. \

A big one is that Toronto is major market but is forced to operate like a small one. It is the fourth biggest city in North America, making it the third largest market in Major League Baseball, behind New York and Los Angeles and just ahead of Chicago. Those other three cities all have two baseball teams. Their market can support 6 successful teams!* And yet Toronto still struggles to support one.

Earlier this year I was running school tours for CAFKA and a child started talking to me about baseball. I was excited, as the Jays were well in first place in their division and were easily the hottest team in baseball at the time. I asked if he had watched the game the night before and his response was "No, I stopped paying attention once they lost their winning streak." This was in reference to a 10 game winning streak the Jays went on during May. But there is 162 games in a baseball season! Do they have to go on a 130 game winning streak to end the season then? It's long! This kid has it hammered into his mind that he can only pay attention to the Jays when they are winning because of hockey and that kills me. It's not just that he isn't fan, because let's face it, baseball isn't for everyone, but it's that he, and tons of kids like him, are never going to be fans. And that's all because of the sports environment they're raised in.

Another aspect of the Jays having to compete with the Leafs is the way that fans behave at games. It's going to be hard to not sound pretentious and self-righteous here, but I really don't care. The majority of people who come to watch the Blue Jays at the 'Dome are fucking clowns. They're all hockey fans who pretend to care about the Jays because it's the summer and there's no other sports on. Nobody pays attention to what is going on on the field because they're used to the non-stop nature of hockey and they can't be bother to pay attention to something slower paced and more nuanced. Everyone gets way too drunk and does the wave and it creates an absolutely terrible atmosphere at the park. The rest of the league thinks that Toronto fans are a joke and it's really disheartening to go the park to watch something you care deeply about and have the experience be ruined by a bunch of fucking morons.






Y'know I've read books like The Summer Game by Roger Angell and the way he describes how intimate the atmosphere of the ballpark was and how tuned into the ebb and flow of the game the fans were before they were force-fed everything by a giant flashing TV. I feel like the old idea of going to take in a baseball game on an afternoon is really starting to die. Hell, it's been dead in Toronto for as long as I can remember.

Anyways, the season is now drawing to a close with a still slight chance at the playoffs. Even if they aren't in the hunt over the last two weeks, they will still be playing teams who are and will serve an important role in how the American League plays out.

*And hell, I barely post anymore so you could probably just go back a page or two and find one of those.

^Or Kitchener/Guelph in my case. But fuck that shit, I'll always be a Toronto boy.

*Well, the Cubs, White Sox and Mets suck, BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hit The Streets

The art gallery I work at, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds.


It's hard to compete with other institutions who receive a lot more funding than us. We try to run great programs and we try to allow as much access as we can to our permanent collection, which is pretty dynamite. Help us out if you can. I hate to beg, but we need it.

Lok Bild

As part of my job at KW|AG this summer, I've been researching a ton of stuff about Kitchener architecture and the history behind specific sites and the town itself. This is really right up my alley, as one of my favourite parts about living in Toronto was* living in a city that I had a lot of history. I love walking through old neighborhoods in the central core and seeing old houses, recognizing their distinctive features and thinking about how many things happened in those areas and how many lives were lived. Not just major events that everyone has heard of, but just thinking about much stuff has happened to people in the city over time. There's actually very few things I enjoy more than being able to stroll through the sidestreets of Toronto with music on. I'm lucky because Toronto is pretty rich with history and I try to take advantage and learn the history of my favourite parts of the city as much as I can.

Can you tell my mom was a history teacher?

This is one of the things I love most about my (sentimental) second hometown, Guelph. The downtown of the city is very old and has very distinctive Victorian architecture. They also have a giant, remarkable Neo-Gothic cathedral that towers over the town. The city has legislature in place that doesn't allow for the alteration of the Victorian buildings and also prevents any building being built to stand higher than the cathedral. THAT IS HOW YOU PRESERVE A CITY. It looks amazing and you really feel the history of the city while you walk through it. At least I do.

So because of all that, me liking the history of my area and whathaveyou, researching the history of Kitchener buildings has been a cool learning experience. I'm still feeling out my place in this town, so learning interesting things that nobody seems to acknowledge about it has helped me with that. Before living here, I spent pretty significant amounts of time in Guelph and Toronto and grew really comfortable in Guelph. I've lived in Kitchener-Waterloo for about a year and a half and still haven't gotten comfortable here, but being able to walk by a building on the street and then thinking about all of this history I know about it makes me feel a little more comfortable.

However, one thing I have also learned through this research is that the city of Kitchener treats its buildings like dogshit. The most obvious example of this is the destruction of the second iteration of City Hall. It was a giant Neo-Renaissance building that existed on one of the city's most prominent blocks and is certainly what most people would think of when they think of a "city centre". In 1973 that building was voted to be torn down by city council so that a mall could be built in its place. It wasn't that the city was planning to build a new building in another location or anything, they just seemingly randomly decided to tear down the building. Market Square, the building that replaced City Hall, is currently a glorified food court that has about a half dozen fast food places while the bottom has only several failing businesses and many vacant store spaces. As soon as I read about that decision, I had to scratch my head. I'm sure that there is a lot more to it, but none of that information is available. But why would you tear down this for this? Everybody that I've mentioned this too is equally as confused and pissed about it as I am.

Another example is the Former TD Bank Headquarters, which happens to be across the street from Market Square. It's a picture perfect example of mid-century Modern architectural styles, especially in regards to how banks were designed. The solid looking walls! The scalloped roof! Fuck, is that ever a solid, nice looking building! On top of that, it was designed by Bruce Etherington, who was TD's in-house architect during the middle of the 20th century. After that, he taught architecture at the University of Hawai'i for almost 40 years and was a huge part of them establishing an architecture school. ADDITIONALLY, while on a trip to the Philippines, he saw the awful state of villages destroyed by weather and poverty and then invented the "Lok Bild" system, which is a brick system that is incredibly easy to put together and requires minimal training, is cheap and is also very strong and withstand the intense tropical storms of the region. ON TOP OF THAT, he didn't even patent his system so that everyone in developing countries steal it and not have to pay him. WHAT AN INTERESTING AND GREAT PERSON!

The tricky thing about bank buildings is that the technology and demands inside of them is constantly changing and the buildings have to keep up with that. You know what that TD Bank is now? A fucking bar and grill restaurant chain. That's what.

The way that the "face" of a city changes over time is pretty interesting and a neat evolution, but for some reason Kitchener is hell-bent on just destroying the whole city and starting it over every 50 years^. I think that that is fucking stupid.

*It pains me to say was, but I've been living in Kitchener a year and a half. I will always be a Toronto boy and my parents still live there. No matter where I go, Toronto will always be home.

^They also tore down and tried to re-invent the city in 1916 because of anti-German sentiment during the First World War. Kitchener was originally called Berlin. They are currently in the process of "re-inventing" downtown Kitchener by commissioning tons of huge buildings. While their hearts are in the right place and the downtown is desperately in need of renovations, it seems like it's more of what I've just described.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Main Branch

There was a little Japanese boy walking in front of me when I left the library today. It was early evening and the sun had just set. He quickened his pace as soon as my footsteps opened the automatic door behind him. I feel bad for scaring him, but I also remember that age, when 25 year-olds were so intimidating. Because of that guilt, I crossed the street so as not to force him to look over his shoulder at me and worry him. He can't be older than 10 and he's all by himself, which I find offsetting. Though I grew up in the city and was fairly independent, my parents never let me walk through an area this busy by myself. Is he neglected, or just well-adjusted? I honestly can't tell.

Seeing him walk down Queen Street instantly reminds me of walking east on Kingston in my own youth and how fondly I look back on my childhood. On one hand, I miss being that young and carefree dearly, but on the other I have still maintained some of that outlook today, I think.

I look both ways at Duke Street and begin to cross, having seen that there is no traffic. The little boy looks at me anxiously. I can see that he understands he will be able to cross safely and wants to show me that he is cool enough to jay-walk, but I can also see his mother's voice in the back of his head reminding him "Wait until the light changes to walk!" The look kind of breaks my heart because I can still remember the time of being young and wanting to impress the older kids.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jody Husky Sandals

Because I write so rarely in this blog anymore, whenever I do I feel like I have to write some huge entry that I put a ton of thought into and spend a lot of time on. This is some type of penance, where I have to do a whole lot of work on something to make up for the fact that I neglect it so much. This can be counterproductive though, because I end up putting off writing just because I don't feel like spending 2 hours on something*.

Anyways, what I was getting at is that there used to be a ton of posts on here where I would just throw up a bunch of stuff because that's what I was doing or listening to at that moment. Like seriously, if you go back and read all of that, there's so many posts about nothing. YOU SEEN THIS SHIT? I think I kind of need to do that still sometimes, because it keeps me in the habit of putting up stuff and staying involved.


My friend Jay started a new podcast. I fuxxxx with it. I recommend it if you enjoy rap music and hangin' with your homies:

A hip-hop album I have been waiting for for a long time leaked. It is very good.

This June I'm working with the Contemporary Art Forum,  Kitchener and Area (abbreviated and referred to as CAFKA). They put up a ton of public artworks in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. It's SIQ.



We played the worst show ever in Hamilton last week. It was truly awful!

Lastly, here's 90's skate footy of a dude in Timberlands. Hell yeah.

*Spending two hours on something productive and creative is not a bad thing. I should suck it up.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lying Awake Intent On Tuning In On You

You know what I really hate? "Ironic" pop song covers by punk/metal/hardcore/whatever bands. Hell, I am going to expand that to include "ironic" covers of any kind.

Whenever a band covers song for any reason other than "I like this song and would like to play it myself because I like it so much" that performer places themselves above the original performer, even if they're doing it subconsciously. I think that is outrageously pretentious and also incredibly disrespectful. Even if it is just the most simple, dumb pop song ever released, it still involved a very long and arduous process in its production. Making music and then releasing it is REALLY HARD and REALLY STRESSFUL. Demeaning another person's effort in that process seems like a real shitty thing to do, in my opinion.

On that note, that also implies that your own music taste is so superior to other peoples that you'll just be condescending about it. If you do that, FUCK YOU.

Like any capable writer I should give examples to illustrate my point.

One of the worst offenders in the "ironic" pop cover category is Fearless Records and their "Punk Goes..." series of cover compilations. The first iteration was a bit of a mixed bag because it seems like some of the covers were completely genuine and featured bands cover metal bands who you could tell influenced them in some way, such as Bigwig's Slayer cover and the RX Bandits Megadeth cover. On the other hand, there were completely awful contributions by Less Than Jake and New Found Glory (See! I'm not biased, I'm being critical about bands I like too!), so who knows. "...Goes Acoustic" which was acoustic versions of songs, so again not that bad.

After these though, everything went to shit. "...Goes Pop", "...Goes 80's" and the worst offender of all "...Goes Crunk" followed and were filled with the type of covers that I started this post putting down.

For example:

At the time, Katy Perry was figured by most to be on the fast track to becoming a one-hit wonder because of "I Kissed A Girl", so I'm sure Attack Attack! was looking to capitalize on her moment of popularity to benefit themselves. Jokes on you shitheads, she followed that with an amazing single and then put out one of the best pop albums ever, while all you're known for is this and being the soup du jour on Warped Tour one year.

These types of covers are also really popular with local bands because they can be a really easy way to gain cheap popularity for a bit, which is something else that really bugs about these. People should like you because of the art you make, not because they recognize a popular song at your shows.

Now, this is not all to suggest that there is something wrong with covering pop songs, just in the fashion that most bands approach it. In fact, I downright love me some pop covers. When the band Joyce Manor (who are very good, this is one of my favourite songs) announced that they would include a cover of The Buggles' "Video Killed The Radio Star" on their second album, most people rolled their eyes because it seemed exactly like the kind of music bullshit that I have been describing so far. However, Barry Johnson was quick to point out that he's always wanted to cover the song and was a genuine fan of it. What a novel idea! Being a genuine fan? Who even does that anymore?! The first time I listened to Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired I didn't even notice the song was a cover the first time it came on. A funny thing happens when you actually like the song you are playing: Quality increases!

Now compare that to:

Another great example is the power-pop band First Base's cover of Abba's "Mamma Mia"

First Base covered this song because it is a GOOD POP SONG AND THEY LIKE IT. NOTHING IS WRONG WITH THAT.

I know that irony can be funny, by hell is it ever a slippery slope.

Also, a few years ago, Blogger totally revamped its platform. I've said it a few times, but to reiterate, I am completely committed to this site as a writing platform over Tumblr or other options because it is much more of a word processor and less of a "here's something to read for 1 singular minute before you scroll down and then forget it". One of the features they changed was that when you were embedding a video, for example from Youtube, instead of just throwing the whole code into the raw text of your post, you click a button that says "HTML" and put it there. I like this because it reminds me of my days on MySpace when I had to learn rudimentary coding to spruce up my amazing page. Because of that experience I have a kind of nostalgia for HTML. I thought of this wild-ass tangent because of how many videos I just had to put into this post.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"When we look out the cottage window at say, a sunset smouldering over the sparkling waves, exactly what are we seeing? Is it nature redolent with raw primordial power? Or are we seeing a scene so subtly colonized by our experience of landscape painting, that we can't tell the difference any more? Is it really a glorious sunset? Or did we learn the meaning of 'glorious' from a painting by some member of the Group of Seven."

God, Please Save These Troubled States

As I get older, I find that it is a lot harder to keep up with music than it used to be. Whereas I used to be on top of everything that came out and listen intently and instantly be able to form an opinion on it, I just don't have the energy or time to do that anymore. It could be that as a person, when you get older you just start to settle into the things you like or it could be that I don't have those commutes on the bus to school anymore, where I used to listen to music constantly and accordingly needed an always refreshing supply. Then again, I'm only 24, so making those types of statements seems pretty silly.

Another thing is that I constantly forget about releases and always find myself listening to something and thinking "Holy fuck! How did I forget how good this album is!" This is certainly a result of that period of finding and listening to everything I could find, as only so many things can stick you, y'know. It's weird, I almost feel guilty because I've been ignoring it.

There's a select few artists who this happens to more often than not: Jawbreaker, The Makeshift Heroes, Bayside, The Impossibles, among others.

Recently somebody this happened with is Crime In Stereo. I was fucking all about this band for a few years, but they gradually fell out of rotation for no reason that I can think of. Their last show in Toronto before they broke up (before reforming last year) was one of my favourite shows I've ever been to. They had a great career and each album was sufficiently different from the preceding one that it was distinct, but also still sounded like it was natural for the band.

This song is probably their best one. Everything about it is fucking perfect. Huge sing-a-long chorus, bridge/guitar solo, giant ending breakdown. Fuckin' great.

Go Out With A Bang, Or Until They All Know Your Name

Something that will surprise absolutely no one at all is that I am super into the new Antartigo Vespucci EP. It's the brainchild of Jeff Rosenstock (My fav since I heard "Nowhere"*, also Bomb The Music Industry!) and Chris Farren (Fake Problems, who I haven't listened to nearly enough lately and put out a shitload of great music), so it's pretty much right up my alley. In terms of the actual music, it's in the same vein as the poppier numbers from the end of BtMI!, like "Vocal Coach" or "Can't Complain". Chris Farren does essentially all of the singing, save for one brief appearance by Jeff on lead. Both of them wrote the stuff, though it does seem to lean more towards Jeff's style. Hey, Benny Horowitz from the Gaslight Anthem played drums too!

The whole thing is pretty ace, is perfect for summer and will certainly be one of my favourite things released this year. Poppy bangers like "I'm Giving Up On U2" are what will draw you in (dat chorus doe), but the ending line of "All I wanna do is fade out with you" on "Bang!" is what sealed the deal for me.

This is my favourite song off of it, I think:


*Hey Matt, since I know you're one of two people actually read this, look for John Ryan in that video. I assure you that he is there. My Long Island ska knowledge runs deep.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sell Both Our Tickets And Sit On The Lawn

Initially, I planned to include this entry as part of that "Under The Radar" series I started writing and then promptly forgot about*, but then it dawned on me that it would be a little silly to have an entry on one of the most successful rock bands in Canadian history be titled "Under The Radar".

But then again, Sloan have a weird type of reception and are sort simultaneously liked and ignored for similar reasons. At least by my perception, that is. On one hand, they are indie rock darlings that encompassed everything about Canadian alternative rock in the 90's, while on the other they are Can-Rock giants, whose singles have dominated radio for about 20 years.

 On that first note, they came from our then-indie Mecca Halifax (it could be argued they created it), they had the angst and they had the sound. Their first two records, Smeared and Twice Removed, are absolute classics and should really be considered the stuff put out by their concurrent American coutnerparts like Sonic Youth and Archers of Loaf. This is all referenced in the video below (Sidenote: Huge Eric's Trip sweater and a Jaguar! Remember the 90's?! This is who all the emo kids want to be right now, but they don't even realize it and that makes me laugh.)

Did I watch that entire video before posting it? Yes, I did.

The weird thing about Sloan is what happens to them after their first two albums. Though there is a definite progression in sound between Smeared  and Twice Removed, they are both firmly within the realm of indie-rock. Those two albums were also very successful and released on the band's own label, Murderrecords. After some courting by a major, Sloan put out One Chord To Another, again on their own label, but there was a far greater progression in sound this time around. The hooks were still there, but there was a strong move towards more mature pop-rock that had it's foot much more in the mainstream than the band's previous output.

This is where the other side of the band's identity comes in. Though One Chord To Another is considered by many to be a classic, it does mark the beginning of the band's radio success and identity as a "singles band". Whereas before people praised Sloan's ability to put out classic after classic^, the band now started to be defined by songs like "Money City Maniacs", "If It Feels Good, Do It" and "The Rest Of My Life". That's not to say that those songs are bad, I love them, it's just that they became that band whose song you heard on The Edge or MuchMusic, not the band whose album you listened to in your room because you just got broken up with.

And hell, I guess that's just a result of those damn Can-Con laws, ain't it?

The problem with this entry is that I thought of it last week when I was in the middle of a giant, week-long Sloan binge, and have kind of forgotten what I wanted to get at. Duality or identity or some shit, I guess?* What I want to say is that you should probably go back and visit all the Sloan albums you forgot about, like Navy Blues, Never Hear the End of It or The Double-Cross, because they are filled with interesting forays into pop music on the deep cuts and gigantic pop hooks on the bangers.

For example, "HFXNSHC" is off of Never Hear the End of It and is the band trying to make a silly punk, but it doesn't work because THEY ARE WAY TOO GOOD AT HARMONIZING.

"Who Taught You To Live Like That" is off of the same album and is a picture-perfect example of Canadian roots-rock. SERIOUSLY, HOW IS THIS BAND SO GOOD AT HARMONIZING. CHRIST.

And hell, even after all these years, Sloan can still whip out an absolute gem of an indie-rock song, like this one (the song I'm referring to starts at 2:56, but all three are pretty fucking amazing together):

Really, I just wanted to write out a post as an excuse to include that last song. Hey Rebecca, I think about you when I listen to it. I AM THE KING OF THE SAPS.

*Sometimes when I have an idea for a blog, but not the time to write it, I start an entry by just writing out the title and maybe a short point-form description of my ideas and then leaving it. These typically turn into nothing, though on occasion I have actually gone back and written it out. I swear that when I came up with the idea of that "Under The Radar" thing, I immediately wrote down like six or seven bands I would want to do one on. Nope.

Also, I often come up with ideas that I think would work really well as a series, but also necessitate me writing and making entries in this blog often enough to have a series. That don't happen no mo'.

^Seriously though, their first three albums were Smeared, Twice Removed and One Chord To Another. That is a FUCKED amount of amazing output to start your career.

*Look at me go, I write like I don't care and am blasé, but I'm the one putting the effort into writing it! This is what you call "voice" or, more accurately, "being a poseur".

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Write Me A Cheque

Something that's been really popular on my facebook feed recently has been friends of mine posting lists of "12 (or 13 or 14) Albums That Changed You (or Stayed With You)". Basically, the idea is that you post a list of a few of your favourite albums with not very much thought being put into it, as the focus is more on the first thing that pops into your head, rather than a meticulous, thought-out process. Of course, as most people aren't huge music nerds like the people who originally started doing this, it eventually just turned into "Post Your Favourite Music".

I do want to state that I'm a fan of the original intention though. I think about music as much as the next guy, but there's something very refreshing about someone just posting something because it's the first thing they thought of, rather than mapping out why one album is better than another or constructing some type of elaborate argument to prove your point. Music is art and our response is generally emotional, so it's cool to base your thought process off of that in this case. And hell, it says something if you think of one release right away and then have to dig deep to  remember another, doesn't it?

It has already been documented on this blog that I am TOO PUNK and TOO COOL to participate in trends on facebook, but as was the case last time, I'm actually kind of interested in this one and it seems neat. So here you go, these are 13 albums that have stuck with me over the years (or this is my list of favourite albums without racking my brain over shit that I'm forgetting). I have them in order, but it's pretty arbitrary; again, I'm not spending a ton of time on this.

The Arrogant Sons of Bitches- Three Cheers For Disappointment
I have realized that having a "favourite album ever" is difficult because it's always changing, based on how your taste changes. This one is "mine" though and as is about as close as anything will get.

Bomb The Music Industry!- To Leave Or Die In Long Island
I used to time my walk home from high school so that I could scream all of the words to "Syke, Life Is Awesome!" to myself and that helped me deal with things more than you could possibly imagine.

The Suicide Machines- Destruction By Definition
This one made an instant impact and it hasn't gotten old since. In fact, I'm wearing a Suicide Machines shirt right now.

Less Than Jake- Hello Rockview
I have to pick just one LTJ album?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

We Are The Union- Who We Are
This is one that if I sat down and thought about the list might not have made it, but really has stayed with me over the years.

blink-182- Dude Ranch
Blink was one of the first bands I got into and this album still fucking rules.

Lifetime- Jersey's Best Dancers
I probably don't listen to Lifetime enough. They're the best. FEELINGS.

The Ergs!- Dorkrockcorkrod
There was a time in my life when I listened to The Ergs! and not much else. Riffs for days and cute lyrics for days.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones- Let's Face It
Again, probably wouldn't have included it on a best albums ever list, but I started listening to this band early in high school and haven't stopped since. Also, at one time I wanted to get "Let's Face It" tattooed on my chest like Travis Barker's Dag Nasty tattoo. I have since reconsidered that idea.

Saves The Day- Stay What You Are
Everything about this album is perfect. It has everything about a "favourite record"; a sound that captures a point in your music taste, relatability, being tied to a specific/important/nostalgic time in your life. Christ, I love it so much.

Set Your Goals- Mutiny!
Yeah, I'm  a poseur. Whatever. I love SYG and have been listening to this since it came out.

Descendents- Everything Sucks
One of my favourites ever. "Thank You" is probably my favourite song of all-time.

Operation Ivy- Energy
Fucking timeless and if anything, I've started to love it more since I heard it in ninth grade.

BUT, I think that doesn't really capture me lately, so I have made this additional list of "Albums That Have Stuck With Me From The Last Few Years":

The Sidekicks- Weight of Air

The Swellers- Good For Me

John K Samson- Provincial

House Boat- The Thorns of Life

The Copyrights- North Sentinal Island

The Hotel Year- It Never Goes Out

Bomb The Music Industry!- Vacation

The Wonder Years- The Upsides

I Am The Avalanche- Avalanche United

Classics Of Love- Self-Titled

Sometimes I feel like I'm going through some huge musical transformation and my taste isn't even close to what it used to be. Looking at the lists above, I'm still the same dude, there's just not as many ska bands as there used to be.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Today I gave a lecture about Painters Eleven at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. This was a really huge event in my life for a variety of reasons. Obviously me being able to give a talk about a subject I went to school for, in an institution that is directly involved in that field is a pretty big deal, but it also held a lot of personal significance for me.

At this point last year, I was unemployed and living in a shitty basement apartment with Mark. I had just moved to Waterloo and had been out of school for almost a year. Since graduating, I didn't really do much of anything and had a lot of trouble finding ways to apply myself to anything and even more trouble finding a job. I was in the worst mental state I've ever been in and was averaging an anxious breakdown per week. What's interesting to me is that today it is almost a year to the day that I emailed the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery about volunteering with them, so this seems like a good jumping off point.

Volunteering at the gallery seemed like a good idea to me because it was a good way for me to get my foot in the door at an institution and get some valuable experience. Once I started, I tried to be there as much as I could, whether it be helping with day camps, the Family Sunday program or even just cleaning up stuff in the classrooms. One program of particular importance was a week I spent helping out with the gallery's March Break Camp. The kids took to me, I got amazing experience, but most importantly, I actually felt like something I was doing mattered for once. The kids looked up to me and listened to what I had to say about art and I got to teach them, but the real crutch was how much having things that actually matter in my life turned me around.

The gallery posted summer jobs and obviously I knew that I should get one of the positions. However, one stipulation of the position was the applicant had to be returning to school. Up to this point, I had been asked by my parents if I would ever consider a graduate degree, but never taking it seriously. Upon seeing that if I wanted a job at a gallery, I would have to return to school, I knew it was something I would have to do. I written about my experience applying to school on here already, so I'll spare you the details. Long story short is that applying to the MAAHVC program at the University of Guelph is probably the best decision I've ever made.

One great part about my program is that for one of my courses I've been able to work as an intern at KW|AG in return for a credit. The end result of that internship is the talk that I gave today, at the gallery as part of their "Contemporary Art 101" lecture series.

On top of this, Beat Noir has since released an EP (that not many people liked) and a full-length (that it seems like most people liked!) and played a ton of shows that really beat the shit out of what we were doing before. And hell, now I'm also in the most serious relationship I've ever been in and that girl makes me happy every day.

What I'm writing all of this up for is that I really hate talking about myself and can be really self-critical and depreciating, so I often look down on what I'm doing. I just wanted to say "Congratulations Tim. You really kicked the shit out of this last year of your life man."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

That Glove Was So Worn Out

Something that has always really irked me is when music journalists and reviewers say things like "Oh man the new ______, just wait until you hear it!" because it always comes off like they're bragging about the fact the fact that they have a release before you do. This irking is doubled when it's done by someone who writes for an online music news site or a blog. In that case the person comes off as a tremendous douche, because bands (especially small ones) really have to throw themselves out there and rely on those types of publications in order to make any kind of impact as a band. Oh, you like a release? Cool man, write a review about it.

I remember that there was a particularly bad offender on when I used to paruse the forums there a few years ago. Whenever there was a release that people were excited for and were speculating about, he would come in and say something like "Oh, it's amazing." as if to rub his connections in our faces. It really bugged me and came off as very smug.

I say all of this because I want the following to come off as sincere and not just me bragging that I have something before it's release date:

I was having a real moment with the new Wayfarer yesterday and "Worn Out" is now the song for every other band to beat this year. This thing is really something special.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Shows, shows, shows

Beat Noir is playing a show that I'm really excited about. It has a ton of great bands from Southern Ontario and promises to be a rager.

The facebook event can be found here.


Ecotone Mark II

While I certainly would like to write up a big post about the release of Beat Noir's new album Ecotone (I guess I sort of already did that), I'm really busy with my extremely hard grad class Proseminar II, my internship at Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery and organizing my trip to see Bomb the Music Industry!'s final two shows in Brooklyn. Rest assured that there is a 45% chance that it will come eventually.

Instead, I offer the following copy-and-pasted post from my tumblr:

(It pains me to type that, but you know you will always be #1 in my heart blogspot.)

Yesterday my band Beat Noir ( put out our first full-length album, titled Ecotone. We’ve worked very long and very hard on this release, as some of the songs are more than two years old and are the first songs I learned when I joined the band!
So you say “Well frig Tim, how the fudge are we supposed to hear this incredibly hype and saucy album?” and to that I respond “Why, on our bandcamp page of course!”
So yes, if you go to you can hear the whole album and download it for whatever price you like! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO THAT, IN MY COMPLETELY UNBIASED IN ANY WAY OPINION.
Some would say that we are for fans of The Weakerthans, or Attack In Black, or The Clash or Thrush Hermit. I would say that we are for fans of RiFF RaFF and Birdman, as they are my greatest musical influences.
That was the speech device known as “sarcasm”.
Now you say “Well, that’s great, but I’m the type of person that prefers a hard, tangible copy of a release to all this digital, mp3 nonsense. N’AM SAYIN’?” To that I respond “You are in luck! We have preorders (because pressing vinyl records is expensive) of our album on our bigcartel page!”
So mosey on over to and there you can pick up a vinyl copy of the new album. There is also a shirt with a black sheep on it that was thought of by my dad when I was talking to him about band stuff like two years ago on our back patio. I guess that’s cooler for me than other people, BUT WHATEVER. FUCK IT. IT’S REALLY FUCKING COOL.
So now you say to me “Okay, this is all wonderful Timothy, but in my opinion there is nothing greater than going to a live musical event where I may see songs performed live by a musical group.” My response to this is “Ha-ha! I win again! We are playing a bunch of shows in Southern Ontario over the next month or two (some still in the process of being booked), so you can come see us at those!
The best way to keep up to date on our shows would be to check out our facebook page ( or, since you are obviously reading this on tumblr, our tumblr page (
And hell, I post about our shows all the time on here too, so if you give me a follow, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll be in the loop on our performances.
Thanks for bearing with me and my terrible sense of humour. I sincerely hope that you enjoy this release. I really mean that. Since I started getting into punk and playing bass in grade 7, I’ve always dreamed of being able to say “This is my full-length record.” Today, I can say that and it is a really big deal to me personally.