Satisfying New Editions - Remember, Remember, 2008's November

>> Sunday, 30 November 2008

• Flights of the Conchords – Flight of the Conchords
• Plants and Animals – Parc Avenue

So a couple years back, me and two friends, let’s call them Kid A and Kid B, would get together once a week and jam in Kid A’s dank, cavernous basement. I would strut around wielding a sleek, jet-black Ibanez. Kid A would spastically thump away on his patchwork drum kit a la Animal from The Muppets, while good ol’ Kid B would tow us along with his steady bass playing.

It was endless fun.

One night I proposed “This is the Girl” as our band name. Kids A and B enthusiastically accepted. Collectively, we envisioned a legion of female fans wondering who the lucky girl we named our band after was. Oh, the enigmatic aura we’d have! (Confession: I stole the phrase from David Lynch’s surreal masterpiece Mulholland Drive). Anyways, we adored the name. That was, until I discovered several other bands with the same name (Realization: Google can be a fucking wet blanket sometimes).

We were crestfallen. This infinite sadness combined with my delirious new aesthetic vision for us - a Smashing Pumpkins cover band called “Mellon Iscariot & the Siamese Gish” - led to our ultimate demise. That was that. End of jam sessions.

Flight of the Conchords is a fantastic band name. It’s Google-friendly. Go ahead. Try. I’ll wait. You back? Ok, so like I was saying it’s Google-friendly, a little tongue-in-cheek, and certainly has cadence. Now admittedly their risible, contagious debut isn’t a brand new edition to my sonic palette, but a hard copy of the album is. And since it arrived in the mail I’ve listened to it over and over, and even rewatched season one. I particularly love the packaging: when folded open, a cardboard pop-up of Jemaine and Bret greet you, plus they threw in a colorful two-sided poster, currently on display in my hallway. While the jokes aren’t as fresh 10th time around, the songs themselves certainly endure. My biggest complaint is the omission of one of my favs, the choral sing-a-long “Sello Tape” (see Appendix). Hopefully they’ll include it on their sophomore release.

Plants and Animals also have a great band name, a wide-ranging moniker that seems to match their artistic ambitions. I think, though, they should be “Plants & Animals” not “Plants and Animals”. You know how when screenwriters work closely together, “&” is used between their names, and when the collaboration is a little more distant, “and” is used? The same should apply to musicians: Parc Avenue sounds like three close friends working side-by-side trying to reach a shared sonic vision. The result is 11 accessible indie-rockers brought to life through innovative arrangement and genre-pureeing. Out of curiousity, I retrieved the cd case from my car and, sure enough, my theory was confirmed: “All songs written by Plants and Animals.” Who wrote the lyrics for which song, or invented the riff on which part is unknown. Individual egos do not matter to this band. Plants and Animals, then, encompass the significance of the symbol above the 7 on your keyboard…in the screenwriting sense anyways.

Unlike the Smashing Pumpkins say, whose entire catalogue was written by Billy Corgan (99% anyways). I assure you that if “Mellon Iscariot & the Siamese Gish” ever get together, we’ll work together in respectful harmony, worthy of that ampersand.

Pretty sure anyways.

Note: I heard a lot of solid new music this month but didn't have enough time to weave those records in. With school wrapping up, I'm a little stretched at the moment. Props to:

  • Mr Pine - Rewilding
  • Human Highway - Moody Motorcycle
  • The Dears - Missiles


We Like To Rock The Party

>> Friday, 28 November 2008

Toronto indie-popper Lights is at the Pyramid on January 9th. Her cute, saccharine vocals sung over warm synths warrant comparison with Norwegian bubble-gum popper Annie, an admitted guilty pleasure of mine. "My Heartbeat" still rules.

And she (Lights) is managed by the guy from Q. Cool.

Local folk-heroes Nathan are playing at the U of W on December 11th. I think it's a benefit of sorts.

Luke Doucet & The White Falcon are at the Park Theatre on March 10th.

Theory of a Deadman are scheduled to rock the Burt on January 20th.

Ted's Warren Commission jazz it up at the Park Theatre on January 24th.

Infinite Playlist: Annie - Anniemal


Who Likes To Rock The Party?

>> Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Forbidden Dimension play the Albert on December 6th w/ The Gorgon and Angry Dragons. Tix @ Music Trader.

Rotting Christ are there on January 19th w/ Novembers Doom and Epicurean. Tix @ Music Trader.

On February 24th, Soilwork, Darkane, Warbinger, and Swallow The Sun will melt faces at the Albert for $25. Tix @ Music Trader.

Oh, and, er, Nickelback is at the MTS Centre on April 5th. Tix @ Ticketmaster.

Infinite Playlist - Flight of the Conchords - S/T


11 Questions with Mr. Pine

>> Monday, 24 November 2008

Standing L to R - Richard Caners, Matt McLennan, Ken Phillips, and Matt Hildebrand (who isn't in the band, but is one of the drummers they use)
Sitting L to R - Kevin Scott, Leslie Oldham
Missing - Guitarist Jason Peters

Mr. Pine is one of Winnipeg’s most compelling musical acts. Their recent cd, Rewilding, is an eclectic collection of chamber folk with elements of pop, rock, prog, post-rock, and (most surprisingly) metal woven throughout. Since the release of the dazzling recording, the band has garnered significant buzz across the city, and just this week topped the charts on UMFM.

While comprised of six members, the band’s chief songwriters are the adroit duo of Kevin Scott (piano, harpsichord, organ, guitar, string/woodwind arrangements) and Matt McLennan (lyrics, vocals, guitar). I had the pleasure of posing 11 informative, at times inane questions to Kevin (KS) and Matt (MM), and learned neither are closet New Kids fans, neither have seen The Dark Knight (a puzzling 0 for 4 on that question), and, oh, neither much care for Jon Stewart!

1. Where are you right now?

KS: In my basement, attempting to recline and type at the same time (not working too well).

MM: On a mattress with my heavily tattooed, mostly naked wife. The room is completely destroyed. Hundreds of scattered, unsorted and mostly unlabeled CD-Rs. I keep finding random pieces of fruit and bulbs of garlic amongst them. Surprisingly, I am not a cocaine addict. I am simply in the midst of moving to a new apartment.

2. Where is the best venue in Winnipeg to play a show?

KS: I like the Pyramid, if you can get a good sound man. I imagine the West End was great but I never played there. I always had fun playing The Albert, but is it the "best"? Well…

MM: Gas Station has a nice stage. Actually I have no idea. Things have changed since I've been out east.

3. Who is the best Winnipeg-based band (other than your own, of course)?

KS: Past or present? I liked Grand Theft Canoe a lot. In terms of the present, I better abstain from this one since I know so many good ones, and don't like to play favourites in public…

MM: Best back in the day band: the Blasphenaut. Current: Matterhorn.

4. What is your favourite Radiohead record?

KS: OK Computer. I still wonder at how lots of those songs were constructed. At the time it came out I wondered how they were going to top The Bends.

MM: Kid A

5. Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert?

KS: Stephen Colbert. Jon Stewart's OK but I think he likes himself a little too much.

MM: Wilford Brimley

6. What is your favourite local restaurant?

KS: Massawa. Good old mush and sponge! I'm a great fan of Café Carlo too.

MM: Sukhothai

7. What was the last great concert you saw?

KS: Great isn't a word I throw around lightly, so I'll say The Arcade Fire.

MM: I have a hard time organizing my experiences.

8. Is The Dark Knight Best Picture worthy?

KS: I haven't seen it yet! But if they can give the big prize to elves, dwarves, and hobbitses, then they can surely give it to bat people too.

MM: Haven't seen it. Yes.

9. What are your top three all-time favourite records?

STEREOLAB – Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements
10,000 MANIACS – The Wishing Chair
PROLAPSE – The Italian Flag

MM: Too hard to decide, but somewhere in the neighborhood of:

Joanna Newsom - Ys
Angels of Light - New Mother
Black Sabbath - Never Say Die!

10. What book(s) are you currently reading?

KS: JD Salinger – the Zooey part of Franny & Zooey, a harpsichord owner's guide, and a bunch of old Asterix comics.

MM: Against Method by Paul Feyerabend.

11. And finally…who's your favourite New Kid on the Block (Donnie, Danny, Joey, Jordan, or Jonathan)?

KS: I couldn't tell any of them apart if you held a gun to my head.

MM: The paraplegic


“Streets of York”, the album’s poppiest track, is available for download
here. If you like what you hear, check out the band’s MySpace page for more or, better yet, catch them live on January 2nd.

Infinite Playlist: The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots


Library Voices - Live At The Lo Pub

>> Friday, 21 November 2008

Last night, Regina's Library Voices answered the pressing question: how many musicians can you fit on stage at the Lo Pub?

The answer: ten...barely.

When your band has as many members as a squid has arms, space at smaller venues is an inevitable issue. While spacial problems did materialize last night (one band member chortled "gimme some space" or something like that), for the most part, the tightly packed musicians were able to feed off being in such close proximity to each other's impassioned energy and put on a fantastic show.

A notably brand-spanking new band, this tentet (neologicism!) were tight, exuberant and collective believers in their unique brand of indie-pop. The vocal harmonies were spine tingling, the melodies indelible, and the overall energy was warm and contagious. And the show's finale, a near a capella cover of Neil Young's "Unknown Legend" (8/10 did not play their instruments), was one the best endings to a show I've ever seen.

Next time, I hope they try and cram in an even dozen. Perhaps I'll volunteer my services. After all, I play a mean vibraslap.


Presented by UMFM, local folksters Mr. Pine are releasing there newest record Rewilding on January 2nd. Venue TBA.

Harry Manx is at the Park Theatre on February 12th.

Anberlin promise to rock the same joint on January 23rd w/ Madina Lake and Between The Trees

The 4th annual JP Hoe Hoe Hoe Holiday Show takes place there on December 21st.

Bryce Pallister is releasing a cd at the Park Theatre on December 5th w/ Heather Longstaffe, Chris Goertzen, and The Hazy Pilgrims.

Rio De Janeiro's favourite electronic wizards The Twelves are at the Pyramid on December 16th w/ Better Swimmers.

The Civil Disobedients are there on December 5th w/ Amid Valhalla, Coda, and The Downfall.

Infinite Playlist: Mr Pine - Rewilding


Show Preview - 11 Questions With Library Voices

>> Monday, 17 November 2008

Library Voices are a ten piece hyper-literate indie conglomerate from Regina who make cosmopolitan pop that is undeniably fresh and catchy. Sort of Canada’s answer to I’m From Barcelona, but, well, probably better. The band has recently been featured in Spin magazine’s “Three Undiscovered Bands You Need To Hear Now!”, have played a CBC Radio 3 showcase with Chad VanGaalen (arguably Canada’s hottest indie act), and, oh, are stopping by the Lo Pub on Thursday.

I'm going. You should too, before these promising and talented folks are elevated to indie-pop superstar status with tickets costing more than $10 (at least I think that's the cost).

Anyways, I had the extreme pleasure of asking Library Voices’ Michael Dawson (MD) and Amanda Scandrett (AS) a series of fun, character revealing, at times silly questions. In the process, I learned they are the only two people in the world who haven’t seen The Dark Knight, are ardent Okkervil River fans, and are people who definitely know their New Kids on the Block.

(Thanks to both of them for this).

1. Where are you right now?

MD: I'm actually just sitting on my sofa watching old reruns of the Cosby Show. Claire is training so she can fit into a dress for a big gala event. I just got home from the studio where we are working on a new record.

AS: I’m sitting in my studio, watching paint dry. It’s an old brownstone built in the 20’s but the interior is completely 70’s—like orange fabric wallpaper and wood panelling. The kitsch factor in this place is through the roof, which makes me love the space even more.

2. Where's the best venue in Regina to play a show?

MD: I have to say The Exchange. We've played a handful of shows there and it's always so much fun.

AS: Definitely the Exchange, but I’m a little biased. I’ve worked there for years, so playing there is as comfortable as playing in my living room.

3. Who's the best Regina-based band (other than your own, of course)?

MD: Rah Rah. They have a new record out called Going Steady. Everyone should check it out.

AS: There’s a few. Regina has tons of great bands kicking around right now. My all-time favourite is Rah Rah, but Sylvie and Molten Lava are close seconds for me. Both Rah Rah and Sylvie just released new albums, and Molten Lava will be releasing one real soon.

4. What's your favourite Radiohead record?

MD: This is sort of a loaded question. I'm going to go with Ok Computer.

AS: Oh. By Radiohead you mean Paul Simon, right? Graceland. (I haven’t really got into Radiohead at this point. I guess there’s a time and place for everything.)

5. Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert?

MD: Colbert

AS: Colbert

6. PC or Mac?

MD: I have a PC at home and a Mac at work. So I suppose both? Although to be fair I've had 2 desktop and 3 laptops die in the last 18months at home.

AS: Mac, but they both do the job.

7. What was the last great concert you saw?

MD: Either Okkervil River @ The Legion in Calgary this past summer or M Ward at Bumbershoot.

AS: Okkervil River at the Sled Island Fest in Calgary this summer. They played in an old gorgeous church, and Mother Mother opened. That one was really good, and also TV on the Radio a couple years ago at the Commodore in Vancouver.

8. Is The Dark Knight best picture worthy?

MD: I honestly haven't seen it. I'm not much of a movie guy. Although I did really enjoy Burn After Reading...but I fear I might be lynched by armies of nerds if I suggest it might be superior to The Dark Knight.

AS: Ummm never seen it? I have a personal policy—no stressful movies, so I think that rules out Dark Knight . I am aware that this makes me a damn wiener. I’m ok with that.

9. What are your top three all-time favourite records?

MD: Just three? That's impossible!
The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
Archers Of Loaf - Icky Mettle
Dear You - Jawbreaker
Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show - Dr. Hook's Greatest Hits
John K Samson - Slips & Tangles
The National - The Boxer
Although I have to confess that if you ask me this same question 5 times you would likely get 5 different answers.

AS: Okkervil River - The Stage Names
Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
Cursive - The Ugly Organ

10. What's one song you love, but probably shouldn't?

MD: "Teenland" by The Northern Pikes

AS: Architecture in Helsinki’s "Heart it Races"…it’s not that I shouldn’t listen to it, it’s just that I probably shouldn’t listen to it 10 times in a row. Every day. For like a year…

11. And finally…who's your favourite New Kid on the Block (Donnie, Danny, Joey, Jordan, or Jonathan)?

MD: Little Joey McIntyre. No one ever votes for the good guy. Although I have to admit Donnie did go through a stage briefly in the Hangin' Tough era where he was wearing black ball caps with a metal name plate on it that nearly swayed my vote. Any points he won for the had though he lost ten-fold though by making Ransom with Mel Gibson.

AS: well when I was younger I always liked Donnie best because I thought he was the most attainable (grotesque)…which may say something about my self esteem as a child…but there will always be a special place in my heart for Mr. Jordan Knight. Well maybe not always. Like not now. But once.


Turn Me On With Your Electric Feel

>> Saturday, 15 November 2008

Local indie-poppers Paper Moon are playing the Park Theatre on December 4th w/ Playing Cards and Ann Walton.

The Jeff Presslaff Trio's CD release party is there on December 11th.

Lindsay Jane plays the Folk Exchange on December 14th.

Cara Luft will be at the Park Theatre on December 17th w/ Ann Walton and Crooked Brothers.

Infinite Playlist: MGMT - Oracular Spectacular


I'll Close My Eyes And Bite Your Tongue

>> Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Presale for Gordon Lightfoot's April 16th MTS Centre show is currently underway, if you have the presale password. And fortunately I do!

*drumroll please*...I give you: LEGEND.

What a let down eh? You probably could've guessed that one.

The Ex-Girlfriends are slated to rock The Albert on December 5th w/ 77 Guns and The Clap.

Hide Your Daughters
are there on December 19th w/ Hot Live Guys (which is oddly fitting) and Velodrome.

Infinite Playlist: Mum - Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today Was Ok


Sigur Ros - Live In Minneapolis Redux

>> Sunday, 9 November 2008

If you're interested, I wrote up a full, detailed review of the September 25th Sigur Ros show in Minneapolis for the Logberg, a local Icelandic paper that generously pays me to be their music columnist.

The article can be found here (for now).

It's been nearly two months since the concert, and I'm still glowing from the whole experience.

Infinite Playlist: Peter Bjorn and John - Writer's Block


Go Bombers!

>> Saturday, 8 November 2008

The fourth annual Quinzmas celebration featuring local favs Quinzy is taking place at the Park Theatre on December 12th and 13th with a plethora of still-to-be-confirmed guests. The entire show will be recorded for broadcast on CBC Radio 2's Canada Live. And it's a weekend too, so you can get rip roaring drunk on egg nog (if that's your thing) and not have to worry about operating at half-speed while at work the next day.

K, maybe that's only appealing to me...

Rise Against is at the MTS Centre w/ Thursday and Sage Francis on December 5th.

The Midway State stop by the Albert on November 17th.

For those looking for New Year's Eve plans, here you go: archaic rockers Chilliwack are at Club Regent that night.

Local folk artist Romi Mayes is holding an album fund raiser at Times Change(d) on December 12th.

Infinite Playlist: Plants and Animals - Parc Avenue


West Of The Valley You Left

>> Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Show news:

The parade of legendary sexagenarians at the MTS Centre continues with Gordon Lightfoot
playing there April 16th.

Jon Lajoie
is at the Pyramid on December 2nd. His website rules.

Giv'R play the Academy on November 27th with Justin Van Damme and In Context.

Heather Blush & The Uppercuts play there in two days as well.

Infinite Playlist: Memphis - A Place In The Wilderness


Load Playlist - Hornby Ishiguro Mitchell

>> Monday, 3 November 2008

I've been reading, writing, and studying an awful lot these days. While doing so, I listen to carefully chosen music - usually some down tempo songs that cozy up nicely in the background. Like Mum or Sigur Ros, say.

However, I realized on the weekend that I am tired of exclusively listening to their stuff and made a playlist specifically meant to be played while reading, writing, and studying.

I call it Hornby Ishiguro Mitchell, named after the surnames of three of my fav authors: Nick Hornby, Kazuo Ishiguro, and David Mitchell.

Since it's creation, I've been playing it in an eternal loop, and under its hypnotic spell have produced unparalled works of literary genius. Just kidding.


  1. Stars - Write What You Know
  2. Sigur Ros - Agaetis Byrjun (Acoustic)
  3. Parachutes - Your Stories
  4. Goldfrapp - Some People
  5. Valgeir Sigurdsson - Focal Point
  6. Yo La Tengo - Last Days Of Disco
  7. Iron & Wine - Naked As We Came
  8. Broken Social Scene - Shampoo Suicide
  9. Air - La Femme D'Argent
  10. Sparklehorse - It's A Wonderful Life
  11. Kings Of Convenience - Cayman Islands
  12. Yo La Tengo - Don't Have To Be So Sad
  13. Mum - We Have A Map Of The Piano
Oh, and yes, I am aware the above playlist has both Mum and Sigur Ros on it. I couldn't completely exclude them.

Any suggestions for the next one I'm making?

Infinite Playlist - Hornby Ishiguro Mitchell


Bob Dylan - Live At The MTS Centre

>> Sunday, 2 November 2008

Ok, so. I saw Bob Dylan earlier, and, well, I didn't particularly enjoy myself. The songs were reimagined and essentially unrecognizable, had a disagreeable (to me) rockabilly swagger to them, and sounded the same.

I'm tired and could continue listing reasons why I didn't enjoy myself. But I respect Bob Dylan immensely, and I think it's cool that he's still out there I look at it this way: I paid $93 to see the seminal icon up close.

I just wouldn't do it again.

Infinite playlist: Yo La Tengo - Summer Sun


Don't Get Offended If I Seem Absent Minded

My pal Phil just sent me this gorgeous, intimate video of an ad hoc Bloc Party performance of "This Modern Love" off Silent Alarm.

Basically some guys at a Pub convince lead singer Kele to sing a song outside for just a handful of people, accompanied only by one of BP's guitarists on the acoustic.

Check it out. It is magical.

Bloc Party, 'This Modern Love' - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.


Bob Dylan tonight! If you wanna see the set lists he's been playing on this tour, you can find them here. I looked which, according to a friend, is the equivalent of finding out all your gifts before Christmas.

Oh well.

Infinite Playlist: The Dears - Missles


Hottest Bands In Canada

>> Saturday, 1 November 2008

So Matthew over at the indispensable I Heart Music kindly invited me to take part in his annual list of Canada's Hottest Bands this year. I was asked to submit a list of 10 acts whom I deemed had particularly successful 2008s - however I wanted to define that - and include a brief write up.

My list was composed rather extemporaneously since I've been absolutely swamped these past two weeks with school and work; but, overall, I'm happy with it except for one glaring, shameful omission: the ultra-talented Chad VanGaalen. My apologizes to Chad.

Anyways, Matthew has tabulated the results and posted it on his site, and I highly recommend checking it out (thanks to Matthew for the honoured invite).

My list was:

1. Caribou

A Dan Snaith worthy math equation:

A much-deserved Polaris + subsequent media exposure = Increased Popularity / Record Sales.

2. Tokyo Police Club

Few things are more fortuitous for a young career than opening for indie-pop deities Weezer.

3. Basia Bulat

Had she won the Polaris, she’d have been #1. She charmed me to pieces during her opening gig for Final Fantasy round these parts last year and continues to charm other Canadians at a reported exponential rate.

4. Weakerthans

Winnipeg represent! These hyper-literate lads have scored accolade after accolade for Reunion Tour. And they deserve it.

5. Feist

Was a recent clue on Jeopardy (and I got it!) as well as a guest on Sesame Street. Hmm. Maybe she should be #1?

6. Plants and Animals

I’m embarrassed to admit this: my first exposure to these guys was last month when they opened for The Born Ruffians at the Pyramid. I was so impressed I repeatedly exclaimed #7 followed by “are these guys ever good!”

7. Holy Fuck

Should thank the conservative party for the unanticipated exposure. Little did that “progressive” party know, these guys have a great sound.

8. Born Ruffians

I couldn’t tell if more people were at their concert to see Plants & Animals or them, so that hurt their ranking.

9. Ohbijou

Should be higher, but aren’t. Maybe next year.

10. Two Hours Traffic

See #9.


The Stills
are opening for Sam Roberts' January 22nd show at the Burt.

Brian Borcherdt is opening for Martha Wainwright next month at the Pyramid.

Infinite Playlist: The Dears - Missiles


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