Sunday, November 12, 2017

Video Of The Week: Walk The Moon

What do you get when you mix the worst haircuts of all time, the visual style of 1980s Red Hot Chili Peppers crossed with Aladdin Sane-era David Bowie and ten-year-olds trying their hands at KISS make-up, the musical stylings of Crazy Town, Fun., Imagine Dragons, The Lumineers, and the worst of Walk Off The Earth's originals, and the lyrical genius qualities of Black Eyed Peas?

Apart from a total lack of originality and a dumbed-down version of sub-par imitators, you get Walk The Moon, who recently released their new album, What If Nothing, which is exactly the kind of empty pretend-deep title you thought their record would have.

These assholes have the nerve to call their musical style "new wave", which is an insult to Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Devo, Nick Lowe, Joe Jackson, The B-52s, The Go-Gos, Adam And The Ants, The Romantics, The Jam, The (English) Beat, XTC, Roxy Music and the like.

Walk The Moon's sound is actually much closer to that of New Romantic acts such as Spandau Ballet, Squeeze, Duran Duran, Simply Red and Thompson Twins, i.e. "shitty male-dominated synth-pop".

Director Robert Hales (Nine Inch Nails, Imagine Dragons, Jack White's Would You Fight For My Love) should have left them to die in the Joshua Tree National Park:

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Poppy Fields Forever

As usual, my friend Mark was on point by sending me this awesome image today:
Poppy fields forever.

Now, Canada, Justin Trudeau and other politicians, make this a paid Holiday all over the country. Our soldiers from WWI, WWII, Blue Berets and the soldiers that we lent to the Crown for wars such as the Korean War deserve the respect.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Top 10s Of The Week

Top 10 Songs:

10. I WAS A FOOL, Sunflower Bean (2017)
9. IT GETS MORE BLUE, Girlpool (2017)
8. NOTHING FEELS NATURAL, Priests (2017)
7. LEGEND HAS IT, Run The Jewels (2016)
6. JUSTEÇAYINQUE, KNLO (2016)
5. PA'LANTE, Hurray For The Riff Raff (2017)
4. DUM SURFER, King Krule (2017)
3. CREATURE COMFORT, Arcade Fire (2017)
2. GOOD COP, BAD COP, Ice Cube (2017)
1. WRECKING BALL (Miley Cyrus Cover), William Patrick Corgan (2017)

Top 10 Most Overrated Movies Of The 1980s:

10. AKIRA, Katsuhiro Otomo (1988)
9. ROAD HOUSE, Rowdy Herrington (1989)
8. A FISH CALLED WANDA, Charles Crichton (1988)
7. DIRTY DANCING, Emile Ardolino (1987)
6. TRON, Steven Lisberger (1982)
5. TOP GUN, Tony Scott (1986)
4. FOOTLOOSE, Herbert Ross (1984)
3. SIXTEEN CANDLES, John Hughes (1984)
2. THE BREAKFAST CLUBJohn Hughes (1985)
1. FERRIS BUELER'S DAY OFF, John Hughes (1986)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Video Of The Week: Alex Lahey

Alex Lahey is an independent singer-songwriter from Melbourne, Australia who is on her way to make a junior Jack White of herself, owning all of her art, her image, and in charge of her entire career. She's won a couple of prizes and prestige festival slots in Australia, and is now set on conquering the rest of the world with her fun, smart, poppy indie-rock debut, I Love You Like A Brother.

When I first heard the lead single, Every Day's The Weekend, my first thought was "oh, cool, the generation that grew up listening to The Strokes and that one good song by The Killers is ready to take its place at the podium", and there's nothing wrong with that, although the song does have that very 2017 lack of guitars and overuse of empty-sounding space:

Callum Preston directed the video and made the sets, while co-director Jam Nawaz was also its cinematographer. It stars Lahey's entourage: James & Lloyd, Boo Johnson, Barry Morgan, Megan Quigley and Vicki Lahey.

Friday, November 3, 2017

In Drugs News

What quantity is "too much drugs"? Depends on the drug.

How much is four and a half pounds of drugs? Again, depends on the drug.

Four and a half pounds of marijuana will fill four garbage bags and will last one "real" stoner  two and a half years.

Four and a half pounds of fentanyl could kill the entire city of Columbus, Ohio. You do not want that in the trunk of your car.
From Kaya Pharmacy
Then again, last August, authorities seized enough to kill half of New York City. That's 20 pounds, worth roughly $3M on the market, although I'm unsure if that's wholesale or whether it represents the street-level value that low-level dealers sell at.

And even that's nothing compared to the September bust which confiscated an amount enough to kill 32M people. That's 195 pounds.

That's what the War On Drugs should be after.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

This Week In Unnecessary Censorship

When I was in film school, I mostly made my mark as writer-director and editor. The film I submitted as my final project was called Le King, and it was a mockumentary about myself featuring real actors, friends from my real life, and stolen clips from TV interviews and other forms of lost footage put out of context to either show me in a positive or very negative light.

Before settling on that idea, though, I toyed around with other concepts, including cutting/mixing clips from one person to make them say something else (still planning on creating a YouTube channel dedicated to just that), or taking words out to give the impression that someone was saying something other than what they were really saying.

And so I really enjoy when Jimmy Kimmel has his "This Week In Unnecessary Censorship" segments, because his crack-team of researchers can find the best clips to do that with, as seen in last Thursday's show:

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Monday, October 23, 2017

Thank You, Keith Olbermann

I was going to post about Donald Trump's bullshit regarding the death of American troops in Niger, General John Kelly's bullshit in defending Trump, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders' bullshit in defending Kelly - and how it was all hypocritical.

I had a lot to say, but not only did Keith Olbermann beat me to it, he's so passionate about it that he spits when he talks a couple of times, so I thought I should share his rant instead:

Weird, tough times.

Video Of The Week: CLARA-NOVA

CLARA-NOVA is Sydney Wayser's current electro-pop musical project. I hate 1980s-inspired electro-pop, and I hated it just as much back then. There are bits of this piece that make me want to throw up - this is not a metaphor, the only nostalgia I have for what the '80s were or stood for makes me physically ill. For real.

In this case, specifically, it's the chorus' bass line mixed with the atmospheric keyboards.

But I like the vocal melodies. And I feel like not enough people are aware of this project, that it warrants looking at the bigger picture.

So here's her new video, for The Illusionist, directed by Mimi Cave and starring dancer/choreographer Toogie Barcelo:

It was smart to use drones to film on location in an abandoned warehouse, at night. Indie innovation thinking, right there.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Video Of The Week: The Tragically Hip

Well, it had to happen, and so it has: The Tragically Hip's lead singer and central figure, Gord Downie, has passed away from his incurable brain cancer.

My own personal history with the Hip began with their 1989 "true" debut Up To Here's second single, New Orleans Is Sinking, the first (Blow At High Dough) not making a dent in what I was listening to at the time at 10-11 years old (Guns N' Roses' Appetite For Destruction and GNR Lies, Kiss' Crazy Nights, N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton, Def Leppard's Hysteria, Michael Jackson's Thriller and Bad, Prince's Batman soundtrack, Queen's The Miracle, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Mother's Milk, and Bon Jovi's New Jersey). But New Orleans had something, a feel, a groove that I could deal with. I say "true" debut, by the way, because I'd seen their self-titled Tragically Hip 1987 EP release in stores at that point, but didn't buy it until 1992 or 1993; Up To Here was their first full-length endeavour. I didn't really think much of the rest of that record, so I waited for the second one, 1991's Road Apples, to be very discounted (under $10) to give it a go, and I loved Little Bones, Twist My Arm, and Cordelia right away. I liked the rest of it, too, but not as much as the one-two-three punch at the beginning of the record, which I still go to in order from time to time.

1992's Fully Completely was a whole new ballgame. All killer, no filler. This was what cemented the band as a force to be reckoned with on the Canadian mainstream rock stage, with reason. Out of the 12 songs on the album, only four do not qualify as "hits". They're great nonetheless, but the Big Eight just pack so much: Courage (for Hugh MacLennan), Looking for a Place to Happen, At the Hundredth Meridian, Locked in the Trunk of a Car, Fully Completely, Fifty Mission Cap and Wheat Kings all became staples of their live shows until the very end, and remain in full rotation on Canadian rock radio to this day.

1994's Day For Night was even better, with such classics as Grace, Too, Greasy Jungle, So Hard Done By, the tear-inducing Nautical Disaster, Inevitability of Death, Scared and An Inch an Hour. With sleeker production, this was a band at the height of songwriting genius made to sound like early R.E.M. - and it worked. It felt real, honest, and raw.

1996's Trouble At The Henhouse might be their finest work, with standouts Gift Shop, Springtime In Vienna, and the masterpiece Ahead by a Century. It has a more acoustic feel to it, it seems warmer and softer then their preceding works.

They released Live Between Us, a live album recorded in Detroit, in 1997, containing most hits, then went in the studio to make 1998's Phantom Power, with standout tracks Poets, Bobcaygeon, Something On, and Fireworks. It was a fine record, but nothing original; it was The Hip sounding like The Hip - not as generic as future releases, but there was a comfort level setting, there wasn't much surprise.

The same can be said of 2000's Music @ Work. If anything, even the four singles (My Music At Work, Lake Fever, The Completists and Freak Turbulence) sound almost sarcastically like keeping with the band's signature sound. And titles like Tiger The Lion do nothing to dispel that notion. This is where I moved on from the Hip a bit, so I bought 2002's In Violet Light because I'd bought all the others, but I played it twice in its entirety and never really went back to it. They made videos for It's a Good Life If You Don't Weaken and The Darkest One, and that was my lone contact with this album.

2004's In Between Evolution, however, struck a major chord in me. Perhaps it's the fact that unlike others, it's politically-charged, in the midst of George W. Bush's Iraq War, or maybe they just started trying again, but songs like Heaven Is a Better Place Today, Summer's Killing Us, Gus: The Polar Bear from Central Park, Vaccination Scar, It Can't Be Nashville Every Night, As Makeshift as We Are, One Night in Copenhagen and Goodnight Josephine really resonated. The album was produced by engineer extraordinaire Adam Kasper (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Queens Of The Stone Age, R.E.M., winner of two Grammys for his work with the Foo Fighters), which probably helped.

2006 brought World Container, which I remember liking, but The Kids Don't Get It is the only song from that album that's made its way into my Permanent Playlist. It's pretty much the same for 2009's We Are The Same: Coffee Girl, Now the Struggle Has a Name, The Depression Suite, and Love Is a First are all fine tunes, but Queen of the Furrows is the only song off that record that I still listen to on a regular basis.

Then there was the two-album conclusion, Now For Plan A and Man Machine Poem, the latter of which is named after a song from the former. Confused? Good. These are good records, introspective, deep in thought, with dark yet groovy pieces of music. Not what I would recommend for someone who has never heard the band (the 1992-96 output would be a better starting point, in my opinion), but for a casual fan or radio listener who was curious to find out how their 1990s sound evovled with age and technical skill, I'd recommend these two ahead of the previous two.

Pretty much as soon as the cancer diagnosis was confirmed, the band embarked on what doubled as the Man Machine Poem tour and its farewell tour, playing 15 shows in 10 cities - it was originally 10, but controversy surrounding ticket scalpers getting the bulk of the tickets (promoter Live Nation estimates upwards of two-thirds of tickets were purchased by bots, not people) forced the band to add a show apiece in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary, and two in Toronto; the tour did not go farther East than Ottawa, meaning Québec (specifically the rather large Montréal market) and the Maritimes drew blanks. The final concert was held at Kingston's Rogers K-Rock Center, in the heart of the group's hometown.

I bring this post home with the song that first caught my ear, New Orleans Is Sinking:

I don't know who directed it, but if I come by it, I will update this post.