Monday, March 23, 2015


I feel like this blog is going to come off as jaded and negative, but rest assured that I don't intend that at all.

Sometimes being in a band can be hard. When you are recording new songs or playing good shows and things are going reasonably well, being in a band is great. But to get to a point where those things happen requires a lot of work. A lot of work which doesn't immediately pay off and can seem like a waste. Sometimes being in a band seems like a completely Sisyphean task. Shows start to dry up. Shows are played to the same people. Money is paid to keep the and going and never comes back. Though the feeling you get from playing a good show never really fades and the benefits of putting your creative energy into something are innumerable, it can sometimes be hard to focus on those things instead of the negatives.

I say this because last night I saw my friends Shopping Cart and while they were playing, they reminded of how much fun being in a band really is. All I could think of while watching them was the feelings fun and youth that initially inspired me to want to start a band. Most people would agree that the most fun part of being in a band is hanging with your friends and creating something you're proud of and having fun in the process. Sometimes it's easy to forget that, but Shopping Cart was good at reminding me of it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Title in which I would write out all of Mike McGill's "I wonked this, I twerked that" dialogue from Animal Chin if I could remember it

Sean Bonnette- Skateboarding's Greatest Hits

I came across this album while finding the link for Jeff Rosenstock's new album for my last post. Sean Bonnette is the singer/songwriter of Andrew Jackson Jihad. My only experience with that band is seeing them at Bomb the Music Industry!'s last show and then listening to various songs of theirs on the drive back from said show. This is nothing against them at all, it's not like I dislike them or anything, but I find that I listen to and have so much music that there are just some bands I never get around to. Maybe I will someday! But for now, I am more or less completely ignorant to Andrew Jackson Jihad.

But this album intrigued me a lot, mainly because of its title. On this release, Sean covers songs from his favourite skate videos, which I think is amazing. As much as the skating obviously makes a part, sometimes a skater is paired with a song and the two inform each others styles and it creates this perfect synergy. I know some people don't "get" skate videos because it's just guys skating, but when one is done well it just becomes hypnotizing and draws you in. It inspires you, sure to go out and skate, but in reality that feeling is "I can do this if I work hard enough. I can push myself to learn this." It can be this amazing ethereal feeling that puts you on a high for the rest of the day. And the songs are instrumental to that.

That's why I think this EP (I guess?) is so awesome. I'm seeing somebody else's ties to skate parts through the songs and I love that. To me, skateboarding has always been a social activity that ties me to others. No matter who they are or what they like or what we have in common, we both skateboard and that is all that matters while we are both on skateboards.

The album was made to raise money for Skate After School, which is an organization to help teach kids skateboarding and get them involved with what can be a great social and physical activity. Skateboarding was absolutely crucial to my development as a person. It exposed me to new music, new art and always gave me something positive to do with my friends. The fact that I could return to Toronto at any time (barring this damn snow) and ask Paul, Damien or Pat "Hey, do you want to go skate?" and that they would most likely respond "Yes." gives me a ton of comfort.

I really like his choice of songs and think they turn out exceptionally well. Personal favourites are the Guided by Voices and Modern English covers, though the Slayer cover is particularly weird and awesome. I also like the songs because I love the videos they come from. Welcome to Hell and Sorry? Yes. Instantly, I can pull up Maldonado and Saari's parts and each video's aesthetic. His choice of skaters is also fucking primo.

If I had to pick 6 Skateboarding Greatest Hits?

1. Sweet Apple- "Do You Remember" (C1RCA, Thrasher King of the Road 2010)
2. Iron Maiden- "Hallowed Be Thy Name" (Jamie Thomas, Toy Machine Welcome to Hell)
3. AFI- "The Boy Who Destroyed the World" (Rodney Mullen, 411 I Love Skateboarding)
4. Lemmy- "Stand by Me" (Geoff Rowley, Flip Extremely Sorry)
5. The Jackson 5- "I Want You Back" (Guy Mariano, Blind Video Days)
6. Husker Du- "The Real World" (Jason Lee, Blind Video Days)

Monday, March 2, 2015

You are Wonderful

You are reading the preface to this blog post

Jeff Rosenstock put out a new album last week. In keeping with IMU tradition, I will write about that album here. As per usual, the album is available as a donation-download on his "record label"'s website here. I would recommend that you download it because I think it is good music.

You are now reading the main body of this blog post

I have a long and interesting relationship with Jeff Rosenstock. His music that is. I've only met him one time, but he was very nice to me that one time. As a result of that relationship, his music is by far, in my mind, the most written-about thing on this blog.

I started listening to him fairly early in my own musical life, but also his, discovering the Arrogant Sons of Bitches a little after they released All the Little Ones are Rotting when I was in 10th grade. Originally, I liked them because I liked ska and would listen to more or less anything that remotely resembled ska. I also liked them because they were very, very fast and had cool basslines and I thought the chorus to "So Let's Go Nowhere!" was just about the coolest thing ever. A little after that, my tender high school heart was broken for the first time and then I noticed that most of their songs dealt with that and I was "OOHHHH!"Three Cheers for Disappointment then came out and it took me forever to find it and I listened to it almost exclusively because I was a very, very emotional 16 year-old who was bad at expressing and speaking, but very good at attaching myself to music.

When I first discovered the music of ASOB and Bomb the Music Industry!, it seemed like I was the only person in Ontario who listened to those bands. I wore my ordered-online ASOB shirt at shows and it seemed like nobody knew who they were and I wore that with pride. I had friends on MySpace from the North-East United States because they listened to ASOB and BTMI! and that seemed cool to me.

Gradually BTMI! became more and more popular with punk fans, starting, in my mind at least, with 2007's Get Warmer. I got more people into the band and more people in general got into the band, to the point that they became downright popular.

I noticed with the last BTMI! shows, and also with the pre-release of tracks from We Cool?, that the crowd at shows seemed a little different from the feelings and experience that I shared with Jeff's music. I started to get a little (look how) jaded (I can be, when I turn 16)* and I started to think that I had maybe grown up and grown past Jeff's music.

But then I listened to We Cool? when it was streaming last week and I read along with the lyrics during my first listen, which is my own little personal tradition, and I was instantly reminded of why I love him and his music and it hit me in the chest and I can already tell there are many songs which resonate with me.

Never act like you are above things you like, just because other people like them too. Don't get too cool for your own life. Figure out what you need and stay near those things. Find things that move you and use those things.

*C'mon son.