June 2007

Let me present to you a pretty great summertime album. It’s an electro pop number from a band called Misha. It is full of warm synths, plucky guitars and breezy vocals. It’s pleasant enough to throw on at the next bbq without too many harumphs from the crowd. A couple of standout tracks:

“Anaconda” – has all the breeziness of thatched hut on some Caribbean beach. It comes complete with a whistling and synthesizer solo in the middle. Wait, I guess that’s not a solo anymore. Don’t blame me, I’m using the singers words.

Then there is “Summersend” which goes so far as to actually include the word summer in the title. This song’s chorus contains sparkling guitar that sounds like it was played by that happy sun from the box of Raisin Bran. Yes it’s that summery.

Add it to your summer playlist.

Misha – Teardrop Sweetheart


Browsing around over at You Aint No Picasso today and ran into this video for a song called “What’s a girl to do?”  I didn’t know anything about Bat for Lashes before I saw this and am too lazy right now to really look into it. I found this quote from Thom Yorke though which sums it up enough for this post:

“This song seems to come from the world of Grimm’s fairytales, and I feel like a wolf.”

It’s a great video with excellent choreographed BMXing. Rad! You get it? See what I did there?

Good Copy Bad Copy is an hour long documentary from Denmark that examines remix culture and copyright around the world. It would be too easy with this kind of film to cut it to make the big guys like the MPAA and RIAA seem like the jerks. Everyone already knows that so there is no need to go down that road anymore. While the film does take a few cheap shots at the suits for the most part it avoids that and instead examines how different cultures and businesses are dealing with the copyright issu.

They have some celebs the likes of Danger Mouse and Girl Talk but the most interesting parts of the film are when they travel around the world to examine how other countries deal with creation and distribution of movies and music. They go to Africa and show how the Nigerian Film Industry, known as Nollywood of course, has come up with a business model on the opposite end of the spectrum from it’s Hollywood counterparts. Other stops on the copyright tour include Russia, Sweden, the UK and Brazil.

The film is available as a free download over The Pirate Bay. Download the torrent, watch the film and maybe even Paypal some money to them. Oh and as for the title of this entry? Yes you should definitely watch this film before the woeful bi lingual canadian movie with the similar title. Maybe you had to be Quebecois to get some of the jokes and having read the wikipedia page on the movie I think you do.

So to sum up: Good Copy Bad Copy good. Bon Cop, Bad Copy bad or mal if you prefer.

In these days of downloading and free free free music the music industry is doing everything it can to make people buy cds. They are packaged with all kinds of extras. Just plunk a cd into your computer and there may be videos, lyrics or even games digitally added to it. This practice isn’t unique to just cds though. Back in the early 80’s some Vinyl records were also packed with computer content.

In order to play the games you would record the right track from the record onto a cassette tape. Then load the tape into the computer. Most of the games were made for a computer that was popular in the 1980’s in the UK called a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. My Vic-20 used cassette tapes to load games too, I remember.

At first most of the files were just text files displaying lyrics, tour schedules and band descriptions. Then came the Thompson Twins. Their 1984 release, The Thompson Twins Adventure Game included a text based adventure game that had graphic display as well.

It’s a bizarre game that is pretty boring to play by today’s standards as it harkens back to the days of entering N,S,E,W and guessing whatever verbs the games designers used to get things done. Pick up? Get? Obtain? Look? Inventory? How am I supposed to guess Inventory? You lead the 80’s British Pop superstars around an island full of beaches and caves. Here’s a tip: Don’t go North right away! You can play the game in your browser if you have Java (and who doesn’t) here.

There is little debate that weather affects mood and mood can influence listening habits. I am not going to win any Pulitzers pointing this out. I don’t even think they have a Pulitzer for blogs thank christ. What I do want to say is that when it’s hot and it’s summertime a female vocal strikes a chord with me.

I am not the biggest fan of pop music. However every summer the sun comes out and apparently lightens my mood enough to somehow open my ear to the easy flow of la las and ba bas of pop music. This is especially the case for female pop. Examples from the past include Amerie’s 1 thing – the summer jam from ’05 and and Beyonce’s Crazy in Love from prior to that.

So let me introduce the front runners from this year:

1) Kinnie Starr – La Le La La

Okay so it might actually be from last year if you want to get technical. I had never really paid much attention to Kinnie Starr who gets a lot of local press in Vancouver and so can therefore be pretty easily over saturated while being completely unknown. I always thought of her as a poor (wo)man’s Ani Difranco. I realize that any time some solo female artist with a guitar and mind of her own comes around she is automatically compared to the Righteous Babe herself but I would take it as a compliment.

Anyways , this song sounds nothing like the female righteousnes of Ms. Difranco. Instead out comes a funky pop gem that is full of, as the title would suggest, la las and le les. With a bright tone and sing a long chorus it works wonders on a warm summer afternoon.

2) I Get Around – Dragonette

Summer Jam you say? Fuck yes. An electropop tune from a formerly Toronto now London based quartet. There is a video on YouTube that looks like American Apparel supplied the wardrobe for. Lots of bad eighties unitard outfits. So I wont link directly to it.

But back to the song. Starts with crunching synths which never really get me going but by the time the chorus kicks in it’s over. Then there is the breakdown at the 2:20 mark which just makes me lose my shit every time. Hopefully nobody is watching me when i listen to this part when I’m driving my dorky minivan.

Click on the picture for a bigger, higher res version. It’s worth it trust me.

After staring at this picture for too long i decided to look into it a little more. First I found out it was the cover of a greatest hits album put out in 1986 on Island Records called ‘Island Life’ (get it?). The album itself is a decent introduction to what Grace Jones did as a singer but is too full of 70’s european disco schlock to listen all the way through.

Next thing I found out was that the position she is in is a ballet move called an Arabesque and that while it certainly looks impressive it is also impossible.

The picture was taken by a photographer named Jean Paul Goude who saw an intriguing subject in the model/ actress/ singer. He notes about that picture that “…unless you are extraordinarily supple, you cannot do this arabesque. The main point is that Grace couldn’t do it, and that’s the basis of my entire work: creating a credible illusion.”

Goude photographed Jones in a variety of positions using boxes to hold up parts of her body and then combined the images in a montage that eventually became the amazing image that you see above. Here is the mock up:

Do I feel duped? Not at all. I think Goude did an amazing job especially considering it was all done before the Photoshop times of today when, with every amazing image, someone asks “Is that photoshopped?”.

Everyone’s favourite indie folk rockstar & college cinema instructor is back. The man listed as Sam Bean in the phone book but Iron & Wine in our hearts has a new album for everyone. Later this year, September 25th to be exact, Iron & Wine is releasing his third full length album entitled Shepherd’s Dog.

The internet being what it is these days a copy of the album has been leaked already. (oof!) Not as quiet as Creek that Drank the Cradle, the new album veers into some bulkier production. It’s more than the man and his guitar. ‘Carousel’ even features some slight vocal distortions. Don’t worry it’s not like Peter Frampton. Plus it leads to some nice male/ female harmonies. I’m assuming his sister, Sarah provides the female vocals again.

One of the highlights is the album closer,  Flightless Bird, American Mouth.  Starting out with an almost nursery rhyme cadence it moves into swoon territory as Sam’s whispering voice soars over an accordion, piano and more of the aforementioned harmonies.

Here’s the track listing:

1. Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car
2. White Tooth Man
3. Lovesong of the Buzzard
4. Carousel
5. House by the Sea
6. Innocent Bones
7. Wolves (Song of the Shepherd’s Dog)
8. Resurrection Fern
9. Boy With a Coin
10. The Devil Never Sleeps
11. Peace Beneath the City
12. Flightless Bird, American Mouth

Iron & Wine – Shepherd’s Dog

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