Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best (And Worst) Of 2013 In Music

I'll be up-front about it: there were no game changers this year. And that, in itself, is a major disappointment. When I grew up, there was at least one per year:

1987: Guns N' Roses, Appetite For Destruction
1988: N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton
1989: The Cure, Disintegration
1990: Jane's Addiction, Ritual De Lo Habitual
1991: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blood Sugar Sex Magik
          Metallica, Metallica
          Pearl Jam, Ten
1992: Dr. Dre, The Chronic
          Rage Against The Machine, Rage Against The Machine
          Megadeth, Countdown To Extinction
          Pantera, Vulgar Display Of Power
          Alice In Chains, Dirt
1993: Snoop Doggy Dogg, Doggystyle
          Nirvana, In Utero
          Pearl Jam, Vs
          the Judgment Night soundtrack
1994: Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral
1995: Smashing Pumpkins, Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness
1996: Jean Leloup, Le Dôme
          The Chemical Brothers, Dig Your Own Hole
1997: Radiohead, OK Computer
          Buena Vista Social Club, Buena Vista Social Club
2001: The White Stripes, White Blood Cells
2004: Arcade Fire, Funeral

If that list doesn't ramp your brain up with possibilities (and the countless acts that tried to rip them off), I don't know what will.

That being said, here are my tops in music this year:

Top 20 Albums:

20. TRIXIE WHITLEY, Fourth Corner
19. LORDE, Pure Heroine
17. PORTUGAL. THE MAN, Evil Friend
16. MONSTER MAGNET, Last Patrol
15. CHVRCHES, The Bones Of What You Believe
14. LAURA MARLING, Once I Was An Eagle
13. NINE INCH NAILS, Hesitation Marks
12. EMILY JANE WHITE, Blood / Lines
11. TRICKY, False Idols
10. EMINEM, The Marshall Mathers LP 2
9. SUUNS, Images Du Futur
8. CHELSEA WOLFE, Pain Is Beauty
7. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, ... Like Clockwork
6. GHOSTPOET, Some Say I So I Say Light
5. YEAH YEAH YEAHS, Mosquito
4. THEE SILVER Mt. ZION MEMORIAL ORCHESTRA, Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything
3. THE BESNARD LAKES, Until In Excess Imperceptible UFO
2. NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS, Push The Sky Away
1. ARCADE FIRE, Reflektor

There are many there whose positions I could switch around depending on my mood, such as NIN's - at times I find it immature and self--centered, at others its standout tracks take me back to the band's heyday. And Lorde, well, some days I can listen to it from start to finish, others I can't stand the electro-pop bullshit. Tricky could have been higher, were it not that GhostPoet made the perfect Tricky record... I almost put Moonface's Julia With Blue Jeans On on there,but I remembered I wasn't into sad piano songs this year. Also, past the dazzle and the tears, it's a shallow record.

And I really like Beyoncé's record so far, but it came out so late in the year, it's too fresh, it's unfair to compare it to the rest.

As for the songs, well that's another story. Most of the songs I listened to this year were from the past. On the other hand, I think I could manage a Top 10 where 5 of the songs are from Arcade Fire's latest...

Top 15 Songs:

15. BLOOD ON THE CURTAINS, Melted Faces (Blood On The Curtains)
14. MOZART'S SISTER, Mozart's Sister (Mozart's Sister)
13. COPY OF A, Nine Inch Nails (Hesitation Marks)
12. CAN'T HELP MYSELF, Dead Messenger (Recharger)
10. SIRENS, Pearl Jam (Lightning Bolt)
9. ROYALS, Lorde (Pure Heroine)
8. BIG SHOT, The Pack A.D. (Do Not Engage)
7. RHYME OR REASON, Eminem (The Marshall Mathers LP 2)
6. FOR IT ALL NOW, Outernational (single)
5. HIGGS BOSON BLUES, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (Push The Sky Away)
4. GAMES WITHOUT FRONTIERS (Peter Gabriel cover), Arcade Fire (And I'll Scratch Yours)
3. DESPAIR, Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Mosquito)
2. HIGH ROAD, Cults (Static)
1. REFLEKTOR, Arcade Fire (with David Bowie) (Reflektor)

Honorable mention to Biting Elbow's Bad Motherfucker, surely the Video Of The Year.

And, of course, there are the utter disappointments...

Top 5 Failures:

5. JULIA HOLTER, Loud City Song
4. PEARL JAM, Lightning Bolt
3. DAFT PUNK, Random Access Memories
2. KANYE WEST, Yeesus
1. JAY-Z, Magna Carta... Holy Grail

Ok, three of these are actual disappointments, because I always expect Pearl Jam to deliver top-notch rock, and Jay-Z should have at least one monster track per record; Kanye West, well, if he were 10% as good as he thinks he is, he'd be at the list up-top. Un-huh, honey. As for Julia Holter, well, my knowledgeable friends recommended this one way too highly and it just didn't match up.

I wasn't disappointed in Daft Punk per se, seeing as I never liked them, but this fucking piece of shit of a record was overplayed and booooooooooring. I hope we Get Lucky enough that they Lose (Themselves) To Dance and never come back. Seriously, there's a reason disco ended: 4 years was enough, and there was little else to do with it - I, of course, exclude funk from disco just like I exclude Kenny G and Pat Metheny from jazz.

Also, please note I didn't include Beyoncé's record because it JUST CAME OUT and is too fresh in my mind for me to properly position. But it's good!

Drugs And Christmas. Elf Edition

Sam Briggs is at it again.

He'd taken drugs then gone to work as a public servant before, and this time he's back as a gift-wrapping shopping mall elf, high on cocaine, LSD and Ketamine:

The Ketamine skit is both the longest-seeming and funniest, a dichotomy that represents the whole ''experiment'' very well.

Monday, December 30, 2013

1992 In Film

While everybody else is busy making their ''Best of 2013'' lists, I decided to go way back to 1992 for my year in film. Sign of the times (grunge rock, the final year of a long run of Conservatives in power in the U.S., Canada and England), a lot of them are of the depressing variety, though, so not films you'd want to watch over and over again.

Previous posts: 1994, 1995, 1996, 2001, 2005.

Top 25 Films:

25. STAY TUNED, Peter Hyams (USA)
24. DEATH BECOMES HER, Robert Zemeckis (USA)
23. GAS FOOD LODGING, Allison Anders (USA)
22. TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME, David Lynch (USA/France)
21. RAISE THE RED LANTERN, Zhang Yimou (China/Hong Kong/Taiwan)
20. C'EST ARRIVÉ PRÈS DE CHEZ VOUS, Rémy Belvaux & André Bonzel & Benoît Poelvoorde (Belgique)
19. EL MARIACHI, Robert Rodriguez (USA)
18. CHAPLIN, Richard Attenborough (USA/Japan/Italy/France)
17. ALADDIN, Ron Clements & John Musker (USA)
16. HARD BOILED, John Woo (Hong Kong)
15. BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA, Francis Ford Coppola (USA)
14. BARAKA, Ron Fricke (USA)
12. HOFFA, Danny DeVito (France/USA)
11. EL VIAJE, Fernando Solanas (Argentina)
9. OF MICE AND MEN, Gary Sinise (USA)
8. LÉOLO, Jean-Claude Lauzon (Québec)
7. MALCOLM X, Spike Lee (USA)
6. THE CRYING GAME, Neil Jordan (UK)
4. UNFORGIVEN, Clint Eastwood (USA/Canada)
3. NAKED KILLER, Clarence Fok Yiu-leung (Hong Kong)
2. RESERVOIR DOGS, Quentin Tarantino (USA)
1. RAISING CAIN, Brian De Palma (USA)

Top 20 Directors:

19. ROBERT ALTMAN, The Player
17. DAVID LYNCH, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
15. LOUIS MALLE, Damage
14. JOHN WOO, Hard Boiled
13. GARY SINISE, Of Mice And Men
12. NEIL JORDAN, The Crying Game
11. FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA, Bram Stoker's Dracula
10. RON FRICKE, Baraka
9. TIM BURTON, Batman Returns
8. SPIKE LEE, Malcolm X
6. CLINT EASTWOOD, Unforgiven
5. ROBERT ZEMECKIS, Death Becomes Her
3. QUENTIN TARANTINO, Reservoir Dogs
2. BRIAN DE PALMA, Raising Cain
1. ZHANG YIMOU, Raise The Red Lantern

Top 20 Lead Actors:

20. WESLEY SNIPES, White Men Can't Jump
18. CHOW YUN-FAT, Hard Boiled
17. JAMES WOODS, Straight Talk
16. JOHN RITTER, Stay Tuned
15. GARY OLDMAN, Bram Stoker's Dracula
14. WILLEM DAFOE, Light Sleeper
13. JEREMY IRONS, Damage
12. JOE PESCI, My Cousin Vinny
11. CLINT EASTWOOD, Unforgiven
10. STEPHEN REA, The Crying Game
8. HARVEY KEITEL, Bad Lieutenant
7. DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, The Last Of The Mohicans
5. AL PACINO, Glengarry Glen Ross
4. GARY SINISE, Of Mice And Men
3. JOHN LITHGOW, Raising Cain

Top 20 Lead Actresses:

20. PENELOPE ANN MILLER, The Gun In Betty Lou's Handbag
19. ANÉMONE, Le Petit Prince A Dit
18. DOLLY PARTON, Straight Talk
16. EDIE FALCO, Laws Of Gravity
14. DEMI MOORE, A Few Good Men
13. SHARON STONE, Basic Instinct
12. JANE MARCH, L'Amant
10. ROMANE BOHRINGER, Les Nuits Fauves
9. CYNDA WILLIAMS, One False Move
8. CHINGMY YAU, Naked Killer
7. JENNIFER RUBIN, A Woman, Her Men, And Her Futon
5. JOHANNA TER STEEGE, Sweet Emma, Dear Bobe
1. SUSAN SARANDON, Lorenzo's Oil

Top 20 Supporting Actors:

20. ERIC ROBERTS, Final Analysis
19. ALAN KING, Night And The City
18. JEFF GOLDBLUM, Deep Cover
17. WOODY HARRELSON, White Men Can't Jump
16. MICKEY ROURKE, White Sands
15. ROBERTO BENIGNI, Night On Earth
14. GÉRARD DEPARDIEU, Tous Les Matins Du Monde
13. DELROY LINDO, Malcolm X
11. MORGAN FREEMAN, Unforgiven
10. CHRIS PENN, Reservoir Dogs
9. STEVE BUSCEMI, Reservoir Dogs
8. JAYE DAVIDSON, The Crying Game
7. JACK LEMMON, Glengarry Glen Ross
6. WILL SMITH, Where The Day Takes You
5. ALAN ARKIN, Glengarry Glen Ross
4. MICHAEL MADSEN, Reservoir Dogs
2. FOREST WHITAKER, The Crying Game
1. JOHN MALKOVICH, Of Mice And Men

Top 20 Supporting Actresses:

20. JEANNE TRIPPLEHORN, Basic Instinct
19. WINONA RYDER, Bram Stoker's Dracula
18. ROSIE PEREZ, White Men Can't Jump
17. RICKI LAKE, Inside Monkey Zetterland
16. MADELEINE STOWE, The Last Of The Mohicans
15. RICKI LAKE, Where The Day Takes You
13. FRANKIE THORN, Bad Lieutenant
12. IONE SKYE, Gas Food Lodging
11. FAIRUZA BALK, Gas Food Lodging
10. CARRIE NG, Naked Killer
9. JULIANNE MOORE, The Gun In Betty Lou's Handbag
8. BÉATRICE DALLE, Night On Earth
7. MARISA TOMEI, My Cousin Vinny
2. SHERILYN FENN, Of Mice And Men
1. REBECCA DE MORNAY, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle

Top 20 Screenplays:

20. WHITE MEN CAN'T JUMP, Ron Shelton
18. HOFFA, David Mamet
17. NAKED KILLER, Wong Jing
15. NIGHT ON EARTH, Jim Jarmusch
14. EL VIAJE, Fernando Solanas
13. UNFORGIVEN, David Webb Peoples
12. GAS FOOD LODGING, Allison Anders
10. A FEW GOOD MEN, Aaron Sorkin
7. C'EST ARRIVÉ PRÈS DE CHEZ VOUS, Rémy Belvaux & André Bonzel & Benoît Poelvoorde
6. ONE FALSE MOVE, Billy Bob Thornton & Tom Epperson
4. LÉOLO, Jean-Claude Lauzon
3. THE CRYING GAME, Neil Jordan
2. RAISING CAIN, Brian De Palma
1. RESERVOIR DOGS, Quentin Tarantino

Top 20 Cinematographers:

20. WANG WING-HENG, Hard Boiled
19. ANDRZEJ SEKULA, Reservoir Dogs
17. IAN WILSON, The Crying Game
15. STEPHEN H. BURUM, Raising Cain
13. MICHAEL BALLHAUS, Bram Stoker's Dracula
12. DONALD MCALPINE, Patriot Games
11. PETER PAU & WILLIAM YIM, Naked Killer
10. ZHAO FEI, Raise The Red Lantern
8. JAN DE BONT, Basic Instinct
7. STEFAN CZAPSKY, Batman Returns
6. JACK N. GREEN, Unforgiven
5. ARTHUR WONG, Once Upon A Time In China II
2. ANDRÉ BONZEL, C'est Arrivé Près De Chez Vous
1. RON FRICKE, Baraka

Top 10 Villains:

10. DANNY DEVITO, Batman Returns
8. TONY TODD, Candyman
7. TOMMY LEE JONES, Under Siege
6. MERYL STREEP, Death Becomes Her
5. HARVEY KEITEL, Bad Lieutenant
4. GILDOR ROY, Requiem Pour Un Beau Sans-Coeur
3. JENNIFER JASON LEIGH, Single White Female
2. MICHAEL MADSEN, Reservoir Dogs
1. JOHN LITHGOW, Raising Cain

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Top 10 Songs This Week

Top 10 Songs:

10. MOTHER, Danzig (1988, 1993, 1994)
9. ALL THINGS BREAK THROUGH, Freelove Fenner (2013)
8. I'M SHAKIN' (Little Willie John cover), Jack White (2012)
7. BLOOD ON THE CURTAINS, Melted Faces (2013)
6. INSTANT CRUSH, Daft Punk (feat. Julian Casablancas) (2013)
5. HIGGS BOSON BLUES, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2013)
4. HIGH ROAD, Cults (2013)
3. THE LORD IS OUT OF CONTROL, Mogwai (2013)
2. FOR IT ALL NOW, Outernational (2013)
1. BIG SHOT, The Pack A.D. (2013)

Video Of The Week: Danzig

I spent the week in Ohio (Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Green, Springfield) visiting my mom for Christmas, and had a decent time. But because I'm a night owl and insomniac - and there's little to do over there at night if you don't have a valid driver's license - I resorted to watch a lot of late-night TV, mostly on Adult Swim, which means I got a healthy dose of Family Guy and American Dad.

I'm also a huge fan of The Cleveland Show, and the ad promoting it was from the episode where Rallo's band sings Danzig's Mother, which means I heard it at least 200 times. And considering my brother and I were there to see our mom, it actually represents my Holidays better than any Christmas song would, which explains this:

Danzig is fronted and was founded by Glenn Danzig, who also founded then-punk band The Misfits and horror-metal band Samhaim. Though not an artist I listen to every day (apart from maybe his duet/collaboration with Melissa Auf Der Maur), I'd say he's a pretty big deal and would probably make my top-25 list of influential metal musicians, which makes me feel bad every time I laugh at him getting his pretentious ass kicked by Danny Marianino backstage on YouTube.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Going Through Changes

I know I'm at a crossroads. It's not just about the signs, which are abundant, but also everything else. There is no choice but change.

Some people worry about stagnating, others about boredom; I'm not even there: the status quo could literally be the end of me. Figuratively, too, but, uh, duh.

And I know one step will inevitably lead to many more; it's a slippery slope going downhill with a couple of bumps that could either stop me in my tracks or just propel me even further. And I think I'm fine with that.

Of course, the conditions aren't ideal, and my attempts at normalcy have usually failed miserably. And predictably. But I trust the future and what it'll put in my path. I'm surrounded by more good people than I remember on most days.

Like Mick Jagger said, I'm probably not going to get what I want, but I'll try for some time, so maybe I'll get what I need.

Loaded Aftermath

I've been asked how our show went, last Thursday. I've got to say, it was our best show as Loaded, and everyone in the crowd and the band seemed to have a great time.

Here are a few of the comments I gathered, first from the performers themselves:

Patrick Hutchinson (guitar, vocals):

Well, that was a blast & a half...what a gas to be part of that huge throbbing wall of sound! Mighty kudos to Loaded co-conspirators Dave Lines (keys/vox) Luca Fantigrossi (guit/vox) Jordi Rosen (accordion/vox) Caroline Glass (cor anglais/oboe/vox) Sébastian Hell (guit/vox - completely nailed that Heroin!) JW Triangles Stuart (bass/vox) Allan Lento (guit/vox) all anchored, grounded & mainlined into the 220v by the incomparable rock'n'roll queen of la batterie, Jackie Gallant (drums/vox) !!!!!

Luca Fantigrossi:
"What goes on in your mind?" well, thanks for asking... I'd like to say that I'm still reeling with joy from last night's festivities! It's such an honor to play with such wonderful musicians... 
Mr. Hutchinson put it perfectly by saying "what a gas to be part of that huge throbbing wall of sound!" Thanks to Dave for bringing us all together last night, and his awesome band A Devil's Din, to Jackie for making our hearts throb with your drumming, to Jordi for your always inspiring presence and lovely vocals, to JW Triangles for rocking that bass and providing us all with a space to rehearse, to Allan for getting this whole thing started a few years ago and for allowing us to keep it going - also you sure can rock those songs! Thanks to Caroline for giving that special extra sound to the band, and to Sébastian for rocking the house as always as well, and to Patrick for all those wonderful leads that sore the band real high! 
Also, much thanks to L'esco, and all you wonderful people who came down to experience it with us! Much love, and happy holidays!

JW Stuart :
You think the last thing one would want to do after playing a Velvets tribute show would be to listen to them the next day. But the song below really moved me this morning. Partially because it represents Lou's love of 50's music... but mainly it got me thinking about the dear people I shared the stage with last night. 
Allan who started the whole shebang years ago. His Waiting For The Man and Venus are really mind-blowing. He is a truly kind and loving soul who has the gift of seeing joy and beauty in small things.
Dave - whose musical prowess still astonishes me. His calm admist the chaos, his sly sense of humour and contagious love of music.
Jackie - well what can you say about her. Humble, brilliant, and always spot-on. I loved last night so much because I turned away from the audience and watched/fed off her the whole night.
Jordi brings light and beauty to everything she does, and her voice at once innocent and wise gives me shivers.
Patrick - again where do I start with this madman. He's been plucking on stages across the city for decades, and his positive/giddy/talky- talky personality is a rare and beautiful thing. The moment I met him (for a slide lesson) I wished I had known him my whole life. A real treasure.
Sébastian Hell - he's quiet, wickedly opinionated, and a brilliant interpreter of songs. I can think of countless Sake Of the Songs performances that really should go down in local music history.
Caroline - a stunning and brilliant musician. And holy shit that Femme Fatale... again shiiiiivers... Keep your ears attuned to her, brilliant.
Luca - well you just want to hug that guy. He's an inspired and deep soul.
& yes I missed Will too.

I love you guys, look forward to the next time.

And a few choice words from folks in attendance:

Bill Gould:

Thanks! for a real swell time!,everybody got along so really well, I can hardly wait until the next time!
Mikhail Doborvlianski, who taped the show and whose footage is all over YouTube and Facebook:

It was a great show! Thanks to everybody!!!

Victoria Smutova:
Absolutely agree awesome guys, awesome performance! Thanks to everyone!

 And now, a few short videos from my friend Anne-Marie Martino:


We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together:

Who Loves The Sun:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Very Megadeth Christmas

Despite becoming ultra-conservative (and a joke), Dave Mustaine has other things going for him these days, including poking fun at himself and his band:

Kudos to Jenny Lewis (The Postal Service, Rilo Kiley) for a quick cameo (and kidnapping a kid).

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mutually Assured Disdain

What I love about the internet is having a discussion/debate/argument with someone, and knowing for a fact you both think you're talking to the dumbest person on the face of the planet.

Video Of The Week: Daft Punk Featuring Julian Casablancas

No, it's not one of the year's best albums; it's a collection of rehashed 1980s keyboard riffs you can't put your finger on but know you've vomited to hundreds of times, like a Giorgio Moroder-penned soundtrack to your worst hangover.

But a Julian Casablancas vocal is better than one by Pharrell, and though it doesn't sound like a disco hit as much as Get Lucky or Lose Yourself To Dance, Instant Crush is a much better track as a whole, more subtle (as subtle as Daft Punk can be), yet still miles away from the ''smart dance music'' it claims to be. Which is also a metaphor for The Strokes' career, fittingly - the harder they try, the less they're appreciated by most (though I like all their records).

The video shows off a toy soldier molded after Casablancas and its pursuit of true love, interspersed with footage of the actual Srokes singer dancing on a platform and wearing an outfit that would get him kicked out of The Outsiders - leather jacket, tight pants, bandana at the thigh, and the cheesiest sports shoes this side of an awful 1983 breakdancing video.

When I think about the 1980s - particularly the middle part, but even as a whole, and even up to 1990 itself - or when I hear certain songs that were hits in my childhood, I usually start feeling sick and literally want to puke my brains out. Even songs I kind of like (and at times cover myself), such as Edie Brickell's What I Am, but just about any New Kids On The Block, Milli Vanilli or Bobby Brown song will do. This song here (and this group) also have that effect on me, which must mean it's the real deal.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Top 10s This Week

Top 10 Songs:

10. INSTANT CRUSH, Daft Punk (feat. Julian Casablancas) (2013)
9. ALL THINGS BREAK THROUGH, Freelove Fenner (2013)
8. RED EYES, The War On Drugs (2013)
7. BLOOD ON THE CURTAINS, Melted Faces (2013)
6. THE LORD IS OUT OF CONTROL, Mogwai (2013)
5. BIG SHOT, The Pack A.D. (2013)
4. HIGGS BOSON BLUES, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2013)
3. HIGH ROAD, Cults (2013)
2. FOR IT ALL NOW, Outernational (2013)
1. I'M SHAKIN' (Little Willie John cover), Jack White (2012)

Top 10 Hockey Players Of 2013-14 So Far:

10. TUKKA RASK, Boston Bruins
9. BEN SCRIVENS, Los Angeles Kings
8. EVGENI MALKIN, Pittsburgh Penguins
7. JOSH HARDING, Minnesota Wild
6. ALEXANDER STEEN, St. Louis Blues
5. SIDNEY CROSBY, Pittsburgh Penguins
4. ALEXANDER OVECHKIN, Washington Capitals
3. P.K. SUBBAN, Montréal Canadiens
2. PATRICK KANE, Chicago Blackhawks
1. JONATHAN TOEWS, Chicago Blackhawks

Sure, Crosby leads the NHL in points, but he's Sidney Crosby, which means no one's going to deliver the dangerous hit on him intentionally, because no one wants to be the guy who'll end his career, which means he has more room and freedom out there to make plays than anyone else. If anything, having him be only 2 points ahead of his competition as of tonight is kind of disappointing.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Video Of The Week: Jack White

I had a ton of options to go with this week, but I opted for this Jack White number because it was just nominated for a Grammy or an American Music Award or one of those things. It's the only track off his debut solo record that's a cover, as it was originally sung by Little Willie John and written by Rudy Toombs.

The video showcases both bands White toured with for his album, the all-female The Peacocks (in light blue), and the all-male The Buzzards (in black) in a battle-of-the-bands setting, preceded by a breakdancer.

And it's a riff I've had in my head all week, so that's that.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Re-Plug: Loaded Sings The Velvet Underground, December 19th At L'Esco

It had to happen, and it will. Lou Reed left us, and left a huge void countless musicians are vying to fill, and tributes to the man's work came left and right.

In my neck of the woods, there is one collective that has attracted hundreds of people to their shows, specializing in his Velvet Underground era, the one I'm in, Loaded.

There will be absentees (Ingrid Wissink, Will Austin, Zuzu Knew, Cassie Doubleday), but enough will be around to make it worthwhile: grandmaster Allan Lento, maestro Dave Lines (also in A Devil's Din, who will close out the evening), Patrick Hutchinson, Jackie Gallant, Jordy Rosen, Caroline Glass, John Stuart, Luca Fantigrossi and myself, playing all the songs you'll want to hear, from Sister Ray to After Hours, from Heroin to Femme Fatale, from Pale Blue Eyes to White Light, White Heat.

The only ones we're forgoing are those usually sung by absentees and those off Squeeze, because, let's face it, it's not a real VU album.

Each musician will sing at least one, as usual.

Five bucks gets you in, on December 19th (2013), at L'Escogriffe, corner St-Denis and Mont-Royal.

This Week's Top 10s

Top 10 Songs:

10. RED EYES, The War On Drugs (2013)
9. INSTANT CRUSH, Daft Punk (feat. Julian Casablancas) (2013)
7. BLOOD ON THE CURTAINS, Melted Faces (2013)
6. ALL THINGS BREAK THROUGH, Freelove Fenner (2013)
5. HIGGS BOSON BLUES, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2013)
4. THE LORD IS OUT OF CONTROL, Mogwai (2013)
3. BIG SHOT, The Pack A.D. (2013)
2. FOR IT ALL NOW, Outernational (2013)
1. HIGH ROAD, Cults (2013)

Top 10 Ben Stiller Parts/Performances:

10. THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, Peter Farrelly & Robert Farelly (1997)
9. REALITY BITES, Ben Stiller (1994)
8. STARSKY & HUTCH, Todd Phillips (2004)
7. FLIRTING WITH DISASTER, David O. Russell (1996)
6. ZERO EFFECT, Jake Kasdan (1998)
5. THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, Wes Anderson (2001)
4. KEEPING THE FAITH, Edward Norton (2000)
3. GREENBERG, Noah Baumbach (2010)
2. ZOOLANDER, Ben Stiller (2001)
1. YOUR FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS, Neil LaBute (1998)

I juggled with the idea of having his memorable cameos fill out the 5-10 positions but decided against it, so all in all, it makes for a pretty unimpressive list.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Video Of The Week: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Sometimes, simple is better. So is playing to your strengths, something Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are experts at.

This song, Higgs Boson Blues, from their terrific (though not as catchy as previous releases) album Push The Sky Away is built around one simple groove, but layered and textured with multiple levels of restraint and taste captured brilliantly by directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, and cinematographer Lol Crawley.

The hirsute men comprising The Bad Seeds (currently Warren Ellis - not the comic book writer - Martin P. Casey, Conway Savage, Thomas Wylder and Jim Sclavunos) are capable of rocking out with the best of them - they are, in fact, among the best of them - but they are just as adept at holding back and letting Nick Cave unroll his storylines where they need to go.

In this case, from Robert Johnson's selling his soul to the Devil (for better guitar skills) through to current-day Geneva, home of CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) where the so-called ''God-particle'' (Higgs-Boson) was discovered, he weaves a cautionary tale that the only certainty we have about the future is death, and we will get there anyhow, no matter the path taken, and that everything in between is at best a discovery, at worst trivial (death of a pop icon, hereby represented by Miley Cyrus, pre-VMAs/naked meltdown, ironically), and the middle just tragic (the fatal shooting of Martin Luther King at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis).

All told through a golden voice meant to lure nubile young females into dark places.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Life Is A Thrill-Kill

Life. It's bigger. It's bigger than you, but you are not me. (from R.E.M.'s Losing My Religion)

Meaningless words to some, words to live by for others. To me, words that pop up in my head when I'm going through confusing, exciting, or troubling times. Words that entered my mind again as I sit in the wee hours of the morning, nary a whimper of light in the night sky.

Today will be Wednesday. Hump Day - as if the road we travel meets a hill, and we're curious to see what's on the other side. More often than not, though, our measly excuses for an existence is just looking to bypass any surprise and satisfy itself with the mundane for the little rest we'll get to forget what we've become. In the words of Loverboy, ''Everybody's working for the weekend''. But the second part of that chorus also rings true to the vast majority: ''Everybody's going off the deep end''. Like they require extreme behaviour to justify their week-long confinement to a cubicle.

Our ancestors made the most sense. They actually journeyed from one place to another, and over that actual hump was an actual event waiting to happen.

I was already tired of the weekly drag, but playing Grant Theft Auto 5 (GTA V) of late, the latest installment from my favourite video games series that doesn't compare to some of the better titles, has made me hate the world we live in even more: spend 70 bucks to end up pretend-driving cars in traffic, and execute jaw-dropping tasks and missions such as parachute diving, jogging, riding bikes, manning a tow-truck and carrying cars from their location to the impound, driving a garbage truck... or just driving around listening to an annoying, poorly-scripted character whose sole use is to get you to your next ''mission''.

Ha, ''mission''. Might as well resort to spreading the word of Jesus door-to-door and only have sex in one position. If there was sex to be had.

My Life was on the upswing. Seems like it's stalling now. No time available, yet no time to waste. Something's got to give.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Idiot Of The Month

I've been sitting on this one for a few weeks now, because it's really graphic. Horrific, really, and even more stupid than it is violent.

It's a fuck-up, dancing at a wedding, with his AK-47, getting so excited he kills 3 people.

And, no, it's not a Christian Conservative at a gay wedding... just an over-excited idiot going Gangnam Style...


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Too Soon?

By now you all know Paul Walker (the undercover-cop-turned-car-thief in the Fast & Furious series) died this weekend. In a car crash.

Some nut jobs are comparing it to James Dean's, because both crashed a Porsche. That's where the comparisons end, though, because Dean died at 24, with three masterpieces behind his belt (well, two, plus one that people changed their minds about post-mortem, Cobain-style). Walker died at 40 (though I hear it's the new 30), with a film resume that wouldn't even make Ice Cube blush.

That being said, here's the funniest picture found online yesterday: