Sunday, June 30, 2013

Africa, Unite!

Why do I always get myself in these situations?

I cut down my Facebook friends' list from 5000 to 3500, and still I'm left with idiots strangers I usually completely disagree with.

Case in point:

Like, how is sympathizing enough when they are fucking staving to death? Are you eating popcorn while watching them die as entertainment?

In any event, here's what I wrote as a retort - honestly, I thought I was just going for one paragraph, didn't think it'd get this long:

I know I was wrong to use what I perceived was racism on their part to reverse-argue with them using false-racist analogies. And I didn't go any further on there because it already seemed like a long blog post.

This is what I was alluding to in my last post. Well, not really, but it's fuel to the fire. People are cruel, insensitive, self-centered assholes who care about no one but themselves. If it doesn't affect their own little fucking world, the want nothing of it; but when it does hit home, then everyone should come knocking, and there better be a fucking telethon on every TV station in the world, broadcast live on fucking YouTube, 'cause shit is BAD and they need help!

This is what governments should do: take part of your money to offer services which wouldn't make sense for you to take care of on your own, shit they have a better system in place to assemble and get going: emergency relief, streets and infrastructures, schools and education in general, hospitals and health systems, police and national defense and prisons, fireworkers - anyone covered by 9-1-1 - and helping folks like you live their fucking lives - on your street, in your neighbourhood, in your city, your State/province, the whole country. And making mutually beneficial deals with other countries, and helping some of them out when they're in trouble so they can help you out when you're in trouble.

The minute it stops working and your money goes to shit (or corruption), what should happen, is the system should come to a complete halt, and folks should get to decide whether it's time for a re-haul, a reboot, a new philosophy, or none at all. If it's ''none'', then you shouldn't have to pay a penny more in taxes, and there should just be two laws: 1. don't steal; 2. don't kill. Everything else should be free game. Sounds like a Republican wet dream, a Libertarian manifesto? Think again - it's from every  anarchist handbook. Funny how it makes more sense than the shit we're living in every day, doesn't it?

''Why don't we take care of our own problems first?''

Yeah, every time we try, we're either screwed by politicians or by some of the folks we're trying to defend:


Hiding their identification numbers


Occupy (Oakland and Wall Street):

Once again, Yan (and countless others) is right: this world isn't worth saving. The minute you're out of line, they will break you away from their system, and shove you into the correctional system, which no longer corrects prisoner's behaviour in order to rehabilitate him back into society; no, it corrects the statistics, protects the status quo by eliminating dissidence, so that they end up getting what they want - their opinion to be the majority and the de facto Rule Of Law - even if they need to remove the actual majority to get there. Louis C.K. has this great line:
I read something in the paper that really confused me the other day. It said that 80 percent of the people in New York are minorities... Shouldn't you not call them minorities when they get to be 80 percent of the population? That's a very white attitude, don't you think? I mean, you could take a white guy to Africa and he'd be like "Look at all the minorities around here! I'm the only majority."
And we're back to Africa. Which Barack Obama said we should help feed. What a world-weary socialist.

Sure, I digressed, but I came back, didn't I? And I found a way to put colourful pictures in the post...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fear And Loathing In Montréal

I've told you before of my friend Yan, a brilliant if at times insecure human being. Brilliant because every single one of his thoughts - be they about social issues or cute cats - seem like they were thought out for years, and are usually irrefutable.

But I don't mean 'insecure' in the 'afraid to speak his mind' way - heck no, he'll give complete strangers a piece of his mind if needed - but more in the 'I hope my friends remain friends after what I just said' way. Yet all of his friends are there precisely because we want to hear what he has to say.

That being said, he's changed the name of his blog to Une Haine Incommensurable, a French title, though he'll keep writing in English. Here's the explanation:
Even the title of my blog says a lot about my outlook on social interactions online - ''une haine incommensurable" translates to ''a hate so great it can't be measured." I changed my blog title to that recently because it’s a pretty accurate description of what I feel most of the time.
I think the problem is that I'm so overwhelmed by the shittiness of the world that I no longer believe it’s possible to reverse it. I've given up hope. All I see is willful ignorance and smug privilege and a complete refusal to even admit that there might be a problem or two with the way the world runs. And the same stupidity and cruelty demonstrated over and over and over again by countless anonymous dudebros and I just can’t take it anymore. I want all you people to burn. You're not worth saving. 
 And though I don't always see eye-to-eye with him, that is precisely how I feel about where I live (city, province, country, continent, even fucking planet) these days. And for the past year or two, as a matter of fact. The extent to which the world is a decaying, infected, all-kinds-of-wrong hellhole and the people are rotten, puss-filled, lying, twisted cancers makes me sick.

Fear And Loathing indeed.

Last Week Of June Top 10s

Top 10 Songs:

10. DON'T PLAY WITH GUNS, The Black Angels (2013)
9. SACRILEGE, Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2013)
8. BROKEN PROMISE (feat. Michael Stipe), Placebo (2006)
7. THE BALLAD OF JAYNE, L.A. Guns (1989)
6. LIL WAYNE (feat. Ludacris), Eminem (2013)
5. BAD MOTHERFUCKER, Biting Elbows (2013)
4. THE CONSTANT LOVER, Magneta Lane (2004)
3. KARMACOMA, Massive Attack (1995)
2. DOOM AND GLOOM, The Rolling Stones (2012)
1. WICKED AND WEIRD, Buck 65 (2003)

Top 10 Songs I'm Listening To While Unpacking/Moving This Year:

10. SOUS UN CIEL ÉCARLATE, Banlieue Rouge (1996)
9. NO WOW, The Kills (2005)
7. KARMACOMA, Massive Attack (1995)
6. LEVEL, The Raconteurs (2008)
5. LE VENT NOUS PORTERA, Noir Désir, (2001)
4. I DON'T WANNA GROW UP (Tom Waits cover), The Ramones (1995)
3. HOW I COULD JUST KILL A MAN (Cypress Hill cover), Rage Against The Machine (2000)
2. THE END'S NOT NEAR, The New Year (2004)
1. CHANGES, Black Sabbath (1972)

Video Of The Week: Buck 65

This week, settling in a new apartment, I reverted back to a familiar soundtrack to keep my mind focused: Pearl Jam, Cedell Davis, Bran Van 3000, Sahara Hotnights, and Buck 65. With that in mind, I decided to stick with it come time for the Video Of The Week and so, from his 20 Odd Years record, comes Buck 65 featuring Jenn Grant.

For this particular song, the ultimate Canadian baseball fan enlisted director Sophie Levy and actress Roxane Mesquida from Paris to concoct this simple-yet-effective story of lost, unrequited love, featuring the classic hobo-on-the-train-tracks seen in every band shoot and every teenage angst film of the past 100 years.

He's like that, our man Buck - turning Americana into Canadiana with a touch all his own, though I thought his Talkin' Honky Blues and Situation albums seemed more like they were from an original voice, whereas his more recent works - while superbly written - lean a tad more towards the generic.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tonight: USA Out Of Vietnam

Picture courtesy of Meet You At The Show
Still in the midst of unpacking after a Monday move, I'm missing a show I wish I could attend, at my favourite venue in town - Casa Del Popolo. The act? None other than the mighty USA Out Of Vietnam.

For some idea on what you're missing, I'll refer you to my friend Triangles' blog right here. And he's right - $7 nets you this 60-minute opus and is a steal. Jonathan 'Johnson' Cummins always finds a way to make his projects special and different from anything he's touched previously; this one is closest to what The Besnard Lakes are doing, in that it is more atmospheric, rehearsed, structured and, well, longer in song duration than anything Doughboys or Bionic could throw at you, but its energy is no less primal. If anything, it's a lot more from the gut than the music he released in the 1980s and 1990s.

The plethora of collaborators in the studio give way to a mere 4-pice onstage, but don't let the sheer numbers fool you, this rock machine packs a heck of a punch. On a heaviness scale of Warrant to Darkthrone (or Poison to Entombed), it's a hard Kyuss. Yet, it can make a grown man cry more than watching his favourite sports team lose a championship in the final minute of a deciding game.

If you can make it, I advise you do.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Taking Matters To Heart

It's Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight, as the Chicago Blackhawks host the Boston Bruins, but one person who'll have to keep his emotions in check is Dave Thomas, who suffered a heart attack during the last game in which the Hawks lost 3 leads before winning in overtime.

(A) west suburban Oswego native and die-hard Blackhawks fan, Thomas suffered a heart attack during Game 3 and was forced to watch the Game 4 overtime thriller from Edward Hospital in Naperville.
But the scare he suffered Monday didn't stop him from getting back to his old ways when the Blackhawks took the ice last night, as he told NBC Chicago in an email.
"My heart monitor was off the charts and I was yelling like I was in a bar!" he wrote. "The whole cardio floor had the game on! I love my Hawks but guys your (sic) killing me for real!!"
So, at least one guy in Chicago has his heart racing as much as Corey Crawford...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Video Of The Week: Sleater-Kinney

With their slots opening for Pearl Jam and their own tours, I must have seen Sleater-Kinney live more than 10 times. The Portland, Oregon indie band is a bizarre beast, both over-hyped (Rolling Stone magazine would usually put their every release on the year's top-10 best, and when it came time to rank the top 90 albums of the 1990s, I think S-K had three in the top-20...) and devoid of mainstream (read: radio) commercial success, with my opinion of them ranking somewhere in the middle, closer to the top: they're a very good band.

Active 1994-2006, it will soon have been twenty years that they've made it into the regular rotation of bands I listen to on a regular basis, but when I have my fill, I do put them aside for a bit, unlike, say, Queens Of The Stone Age, who remain in my Ipod despite periods where I just skip them when they come up.

This video if from their final record, The Woods, their lone record on Seattle label Sub Pop after associations with Kill Rock Stars and Chainsaw Records. It was made on the cheap, is imaginative and fun, and is a pretty good representation of Sleater-Kinney's sound, at times dirty, riff-heavy, melodic and quirky:

The video was directed by Matt McCormick, who also directed a couple for The Shins. If you didn't know Sleater-Kinney but think you recognize lead singer Carrie Brownstein for someplace, you probably do: she is co-creator and lead actress in Portlandia with Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen, which lead to a few SNL cameos of her own.

Like QOTSA and Pearl Jam (and The Ramones, Spinal Tap as well as my own band...), S-K have gone through a good number of drummers over the years, four of them full-time, with the longest-serving (and final) one being Janet Weiss, who was born in 1965 and was therefore not named after the Rocky Horror Picture Show character of the same name.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mid-June's Top 10s

Top 10 Songs:

10. MOZART'S SISTER, Mozart's Sister (2013)
9. WHO YOU ARE, Pearl Jam (1996)
8. WILD HORSES (Rolling Stones cover), Charlotte Martin (2004)
7. BAD MOTHERFUCKER, Biting Elbows (2013)
6. DOOM AND GLOOM, The Rolling Stones (2012)
5. SACRILEGE, Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2013)
4. DON'T PLAY WITH GUNS, The Black Angels (2013)
3. THE END'S NOT NEAR (The New Year cover), Band Of Horses (2006)
2. WHOLE WIDE WORLD, Wreckless Eric (1977)
1. BEAT THE DEVIL'S TATTOO, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (2010)

Top 10 Songs I'm Listening To While Packing/Moving This Year:

10. ROAD TO NOWHERE, Ozzy Osbourne (1991)
9. WHOLE WIDE WORLD, Wreckless Eric (1977)
7. JACKSON (Billy Edd Wheeler cover), Johnny Cash and June Carter (1967)
5. THE END'S NOT NEAR, The New Year (2004)
4. I DON'T WANNA GROW UP (Tom Waits cover), The Ramones (1995)
3. LANDSLIDE (Fleetwood Mac cover), The Smashing Pumpkins (1994)
2. OUR HOUSE, Madness (1982)
1. CHANGES, Black Sabbath (1972)

Amusement Cube

It's called ''Once'', and was made by the arts collective known as The Glue Society. It is currently on display in Denmark, at the Sculpture by the Sea, Aarhus festival...

 It is made of the entire remains of a former amusement park, crushed into a 13-foot cube.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Better Than Walmart?

By now, the vast majority of you have heard of People Of Walmart... if not, here's a sample:

Showing it off
Oh, we're halfway there...

Most of those are from Red States, although it's pretty obvious, I'm not sure why I even pointed it out.

That being said, the Bible Belt (for some, the only belt they know of) and The South aren't the only trashy places people do their best to look ridiculous in. Unfortunately, my hometown of Montréal has a public transit system so thoroughly inefficient and yet so much less expensive than the as-inefficient and less-taken-care-of mental institutions that somehow, sometimes, it leads to the same type of spectacle:

Dressing down for a night out?
Truth? Or dare?

I think she killed a Cougar
Elvis' youngest boy lives here
There was room to sit away from her vomit...
Not only do the trains NEVER get cleaned, but...
every day, we are but a thin layer away from privates and/or germs, if that
And so I give you: Spotted: STM.

Because the best way to get discouraged about people is to be around them, or at the very least, look at them through your computer screen, which could be safer. Unless you're doing it from your smart phone on a bus, in which case this is but a different view of what's around you.

The restoration of my faith in humanity will have to wait one more day.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Can You Quack Like A Duck?

This isn't new at all, I've had this in my drafts for at least 3 months, and every time I sneak another peak at it, the song gets stuck in my head for a full day. What song? G.O.A.T. And Your M.O.M.'s greatest hit...

Now repeat after me: ''Can you quack? Can you quack like a duck when you suck?''

Sunday, June 16, 2013

New Ooze

 People got a bit of a scare last week when what looked like radioactive ooze rose from a sewer in Philadelphia:

Unlike the Chinese ooze from last May, though, this one had an official explanation:
This sinkhole, which has reportedly now been boarded over, is filled with water tinged with some fluorescent dye that official-agency types apparently use to trace water flow. That kind of thing is useful in studying sinkholes, since they can be much larger than they initially seem.
I just find it odd that sinkholes are just now appearing out of nowhere, remain largely unexplained, and yet no one is putting forth the proposition that it could have something to do with how fallible, profit-hungry human beings may have built shit over land that couldn't sustain it without having previously tested said ground sufficiently.

Of course, I'm saying that after having predicted that building 120 stories of fucking condos over downtown Montréal ground that passes over two separate underground subway lines won't last a decade, so it's kind of in my interest of ''winning'' that it all goes to shit. Though I wish no one any harm. But folks have been cutting corners in all walks of life since the 1950s (and probably earlier too, but the gangrene has been systemic in North America only relatively recently compared to, say, History).

Or maybe I'm just a cynical asshole.

Friday, June 14, 2013

This Week's Top 10s

Top 10 Songs:

10. TWO-FACED MOTHERFUCKER, Chix And Dix (2010)
9. IMMORTALITY, Pearl Jam (1994)
8. DOOM AND GLOOM, The Rolling Stones (2012)
7. MOZART'S SISTER, Mozart's Sister (2013)
6. BAD MOTHERFUCKER, Biting Elbows (2013)
5. SACRILEGE, Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2013)
4. WHOLE WIDE WORLD, Wreckless Eric (1977)
3. WILD HORSES (Rolling Stones cover), Charlotte Martin (2004)
2. DON'T PLAY WITH GUNS, The Black Angels (2013)
1. BEAT THE DEVIL'S TATTOO, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (2010)

Top 10 Rolling Stones Cover Songs:

10. Susie Q, (Dale Hawkins, 12 X 5, 1964)
9. Little Red Rooster, (Willie Dixon, The Rolling Stones, Now!, 1964)
8. I've Been Loving You Too Long, (Otis Redding, Got Live If You Want It!, 1966)
7. I Just Wanna Make Love To You, (Willie Dixon, England's Newest Hit Makers, 1964)
6. Can I Get A Witness, (Marvin Gaye, The Rolling Stones, 1964)
5. Money (That's What I Want), (Barret Strong, The Rolling Stones, 1964)
4. Love In Vain, (Robert Johnson, Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out, 1970)
3. Like A Rolling Stone, (Bod Dylan, Stripped, 1995)
2. Not Fade Away, (Buddy Holly, England's Newest Hit Makers, 1964)
1. Time Is On My Side, (Norman Meade composition, 12 X 5, 1964)

Top 10 Rolling Stones Original Songs:

10. Doom And Gloom, (GRRR!, 2012)
9. Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker), (Goats Head Soup, 1973)
8. It's Only Rock'n'Roll (But I Like It), (It's Only Rock'n'Roll, 1974)
7. Fool To Cry, (Black And Blue, 1976)
6. Rock And A Hard Place, (Steel Wheels, 1989)
5. Wild Horses, (Sticky Fingers, 1971)
4. Paint It Black, (Aftermath, 1966)
3. You Can't Always Get What You Want, (Let It Bleed, 1973)
2. Beast Of Burden, (Some Girls, 1978)
1. Play With Fire, (Out Of Our Heads, 1965)

almost made the cut: Dead Flowers, Sympathy For The Devil, and a slew of others...

Video Of The Week: The Rolling Stones

In honour of The Rolling Stones' performance to start the week off last Sunday - and because I've listened to them a lot lately - I've decided to feature their most recent video this week, one I almost showed a few months back, but opted not to because YouTube were being dicks and censored the clip.

Reviews of the show went from the tepid (from The Gazette) to the ecstatic (La Presse), but all in all, factoring in my friends' thoughts, the conclusion was this: these guys still rock like they did at half their age, Mick Jagger is a force of nature, they have terrific songs and provide the audience with an astounding rock show, but no show can be worth the $650 price tag for the higher-end tickets. Which seems fair. Considering the lack of high-end jobs in Montréal, $650 represents almost two full weeks' work before taxes at minimum wage - or two weeks' worth of a decent job's pay after taxes - or a month's rent, for two hours of entertainment. The discrepancy is huge.

And considering they film all their tours and often release the result on Imax screens at $20 a pop, I figured I'd save and go see it in a theater later. But I'll still want to see it, and likely buy the Blu-Ray, because at the end of the day, they're still an amazing rock'n'roll machine with tremendous songs. And Doom And Gloom is a worthy addition to their catalogue of hits:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

NHL Playoffs Predictions: The Stanley Cup Finals

I was wrong in both semi-finals predictions two weeks ago yet still found a way to say this:
In any event, even if the Hawks won, there's still a 50/50 chance they'd face the Bruins next - and that'd be even worse.
And here we are.

Chicago Blackhawks vs Boston Bruins:

 These two Original Six teams meet in the Finals for the first time in NHL history. The Bruins pounded their way through the powerhouse Pittsburgh Penguins, shutting down Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, James Neal and Jarome Iginla all at once. Their goalie Tuuka Rask is on fire, and they seemed like the healthiest team from the beginning. Also, on a team struggling to find the back of the net more than twice per game, Jaromir Jagr at 42 years old is looking like Eric Lindros did at 25.

The Hawks faced adversity for the first time of the season in Round 2 against the Detroit Red Wings, but had fun at the expense of the banged-up reigning champion Los Angeles Kings, and solved Jonathan Quick - the best goalie still standing. Corey Crawford proved to be no pushover himself, while Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane woke up, and captain Jonathan Toews also started producing. The defensive pairing of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook has become so steady it could be mistaken for one of the Bruins'.

If one team can beat Boston, it's Chicago - and vice versa. But because the Hawks skated through the Kings, who resembled the Bruins, I'll give them the slightest advantage.

Chicago in 6

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Video Of The (Past) Week: The Donnas

People who hold punk rock in too high an esteem often forget that The Ramones were mostly about putting the fun back in rock'n'roll, and that most of their songs were about parties, teenage rebellion and self-medication for a reason: most of them disagreed about everything in real life, Johnny and Joey the most politically. And yet, their songs - consisting mostly of a beginning that went ''1-2-3-4'!', used three chords and ended two and a half minutes later - got them to the Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame, where they were inducted by none other than Eddie Vedder in... a 15-minute monologue.

The high school spirit of The Ramones so far has shined through brightly the most on The Donnas, who as a tribute opted to all have their rock personas share the same first name. Starting in 1993, they developed a rabid following, probably as much for their looks than their music, yet it worked. It got them signed to Lookout! Records (home of the first three Green Day albums), then to Atlantic (the house that Led Zeppelin built).

And it was a steady climb all the way to 2005, where sales of their less-Ramones, more-Kiss-inspired album Bitchin' stagnated compared to the previous one, their best-selling Spend The Night. This song is the catchiest, and perhaps poppiest one in their catalog, from Spend The Night:

Now all in their mid-30s, and not having released new material since 2007 (though they were reported to be working on a new record in 2012), I don't know if they'll keep their adolescent high school energy or just try to make a good rock record, but things will have changed on the back end for sure, as drummer Donna C. (Torry Castellano) officially left the band in 2009 due to shoulder problems including tendonitis. Then again, the Ramones went through 5 drummers and made it out alright, and so have Pearl Jam.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Amanda Bynes Fiasco

Just when you thought it couldn't get any more entertaining/sad than Lindsay Lohan... another former child-star, Amanda Bynes, goes and puts herself in a situation where she gets in trouble.

Ultimately, it'll be up to a judge to decide to not treat her as he would a regular person because she is rich and famous and and rule her innocent, but for now, let us compare her mugshot her court picture, and her words:

Making Courtney Love look 'normal'
''I'm sotally tober, officer!''

And these pearls of wisdom:
“I'm suing NYPD for illegally entering my apartment, lying about drugs on me and lying about me tampering with non existent drug paraphernalia, then I'm suing for being put into a mental hospital against my will, then locked up overnight for coming home after a facial and working out with my trainer like the good girl that I am. I’m allergic to alcohol and drugs and don’t partake in any of the above. I’m so offended by all of this but so proud to not be a drug or alcohol user”.
“The judge saw that there was no drugs on me or proof of any type of bong or mental illness. I was so offended to even be taken to a mental hospital and they would not let me call my lawyer until the next day after being in jail all night, then I went to court and was immediately released because the judge saw that I was wrongly arrested.”
 Overlooking the fact that a judge cannot ''see'' something missing in the past in his absence, I take offense at her offense over the mental illness thing, as if it were something to be ashamed of, it shows a deep misunderstanding of people, and life in general. It's a pretty ignorant statement.

But the best part is still coming up:
“I'm also suing my apartment complex for lying about me smoking in my building. I'm free forever! You can't lock up an innocent person! Thanks for caring! Look forward to seeing me in music videos! I'm getting in shape and getting a nose job! I'm looking forward to a long and wonderful career as a singer/rapper!”
Uh, first of all, tons of innocent people are locked up - a few of them even made it to Death Row. Usually just because they are poor nobodies who suffer from mental illness. But you're clearly none of those, Amanda, so carry on.

So, uh, singer/rapper, eh? Are you so talented that you can be an actress - something that most 'actual' actresses devote decades to without ever earning a living from, and you've been doing on and off in a mediocre way for 10 years or so - and a singer at the same time - another job most professionals perfect for decades before even attempting public performance, then countless years honing their craft?

And rapper? You have a mastery of words and poetry beyond the scope that others do? Your grammar isn't all that awesome -although that could be the booze and/or drugs, but no, you're allergic to those -
and I'm guessing your improv (i.e. ''freestyle'') skills aren't that great if they couldn't get you out of getting arrested.

Unless... oh, did you mean as part of the Star System, with auto-tune, part of the big money-making machine, not in the real world? You wanna make a record, like Paris Hilton? A song featuring a young, hot rapper you can bone while filming a video over a weekend at a Hawaii resort? No need to go through the whole process, then, dear - just call up Pitbull. Everybody else already did. Except Miley Cyrus, she went to Snoop Dogg Lion.