What of the healing power of Half Baked?

Well, before I saw them play at Esco Bar on Friday, I was coming down with an atrocious spring flu, green gunk and all.

Ill, tired, and a little sad and weak, unable to enjoy a cigarette without that awful smell caused by having a blocked nose (and yes, I need to smoke when I’m sick because it makes me fell better!); I was in desperate need of a shaman; someone to bring the energy back into my life.

Instead, I got the lead singer/bassist from Half Baked throttling himself around, kind of  like a madman–but it was good enough for me. In a matter of minutes my energy was restored. I was healed!

Formed as a high school project in Sherbrooke in the late nineties, Half Baked have produced six albums since their inception in 2001. Now based in Montreal, they’re an ever changing line-up, a band that has evolved into what can only be called a mixing of brilliance and stupidity in off-kilter punk melodies.

Half Baked‘s music live is like listening to a swirling, downward spiral, of out of control ocean ideas, that never seems to be at the right place, or at the right time. “An oddity”, “a never ending work in progress”, “a good time”, these are just a few short sentences you could say if you see them live in concert. Especially if you rare convalescing from a serious ailment!

Before they took the stage, Half Baked left the crowd waiting because their bassist, Yann Godbout, had not yet arrived. He eventually showed up with a reasonable explanation–perhaps, the last bit of reasonable thought for the rest of the evening–he was detained by cops, or so he said. Quickly, he grabbed his six string bass and headed for the stage, and started screaming, moving and gyrating to his sometimes funky– sometimes punk music–sometimes electronic sound.

With there kind of wild punk style, it wasn’t a surprise to find them late, or drunk, or falling apart on stage, because that is their act. The “Shtick” as we call it in the business. But it’s a good one. It works well for them.

They played a few songs I recognized off their last album the Century Of Foam for your pleasure (2008), and a few I didn’t, like the song about experimental states of intoxication or as Godbout called it “I am Drunk” which made the crowd swarm to the front.

The opening band, Right By Midnight was a trip back to the nineties (oh, how I miss it!), and if you have a chance please check out their new record on their website.

For more pictures from the show visit us on Facebook. Don’t forget to “Like” us for chances at ticket giveaways, merch and other fun stuff!

Photos by Chris Zacchia

David Byrne of the Talking Heads once said, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.” I’ve recently been thinking of how strange a phenomenon dancing is. Yet all cultures seem to have some form of it, and it is almost always set to music. It seems there is something inherent in music that just makes us want to move.

So, when I go out to a concert, I am hoping to hear good music, but also need to see and feel energy, and movement. Indeed, the live performance is about aural and visual stimulus, but it’s also very much about a two-way exchange of energy between the performer(s) and the audience.

Excuse this roundabout entry into my experience with Tame Impala, but on Sunday night, I caught their set at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto and couldn’t help but feel this void afterwards. It’s a shame; musically, the concert was excellent. The boys opened with a solid performance of Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind, a sleepy tune with some really cool guitar textures (my friend and I were shocked that these sounds we heard on the record were not synthesizers, but guitars!).

They powered through three or four songs without saying a word in between. I do feel that more bands should adopt this practice if I had the choice between banter or another song, I’d always choose the latter. That said though, this is perhaps only safe if the band develops a connection with the audience during the songs. Tame Impala failed to do this. They didn’t move! There was little to no “rocking out”, and I felt no connection with the band as a result, nor any desire at all to move myself. From the balcony, I could see maybe ten people dancing on the main level. Aside from a trippy visual projection behind the band, there was little for the rest of us to do but listen.

Halfway through the set though, the band began to show a little more gusto. The rhythm section emitted greater energy during the quicker cut-tempo of Expectation, the most exciting performance of the night by far. They did an amped-up version of Massive Attack’s eerie track, Angel, and finally ended the night off with an uber-extended jam of their Cream homage, Half Glass Full of Wine.

I came out of the theatre a little confused about how I felt. In terms of a musical performance, Tame Impala was very good my ears were quite pleased. However, in terms of a concert experience, I was left unsatisfied. I don’t mean to say that a band must dance around like James Brown in order for me to have a good time; I just need more proof that what I am experiencing is indeed “live”.

Tame Impala – Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind by pcagx

To see more Tame Impala photos by Hannah Jor visit us on Facebook.

This  Friday Night get ready for one very strange trip to the realm of Half-Baked. They’ll be playing live, live, live! For one night, and for one night only!

Are you sick of your parents not letting you eat your breakfast with a fork? Are you tired of the government telling you to pull up your pants?

Then it’s time to come down to St. Denis and listen to a great bands at the always rebellious Esco. Half baked is a francophone band that brings back the fun to strange, and warped music. Hopefully, they will be paying many tunes of their aurally challenging albumn the Century Of Foam for your pleasure (2008).

Are they the rock terrorists that they claim to be? With influences like the Residents, Melvins, Primus, Mr.Bungle, Les Georges Leningrad, Laibach, they are definitely listening to the right type of music to be considered ‘on the margins’.

Their music mixes the genres of punk, rock and power pop music that will make you move to their experimental groove.

Hailing from Sherebrook, Quebec, Half Baked formed in 1998 as a project for high school. Now based in Montreal, they are known for being highly experimental, but with a twist of   loose fun pop, delivering some of the weirdest auditory experiences with their wild and erratic drum solos.

Right by midnight will also be bringing their soothing driving tunes and nineties rock to the mix. Their musicsounds slightly like early Tragically Hip, especially the reaspy voice fo singer/guitarist Charles Downey.   Having just released their Debut self titled album, I am really looking forward to seeing them perform.

Show starts 8:30 pm on Friday, May 6th
@ Esco Bar 4467 St, Denis

Bring your pants!

Advanced tickets are $6 or 4-for-$19 at indiemontreal.ca  or $8 @ the door.

Today is Election Day in Canada and tomorrow the Canadian political landscape may be drastically different. What seemed like an ordinary campaign at the start with predictable results similar to those attained the last time around has been flipped on its head and might just take a sharp turn to the left before the dust settles. It’s a bit cliché to say that every vote counts, but this time, it looks like that’s actually going to be the case.

It seems, for once, people are excited to go out and vote and more than two million of them did just that in the advance polling. Even though it was a holiday weekend, advance polling numbers were up 34% from the 2008 election.

For those of you who didn’t go out last weekend, you now have twelve hours (9:30am 9:30pm) to let your opinion be counted. All you need is the voter card you got in the mail with your name on it or a proof of address (a driver’s license or a bill addressed to you at your address) and a photo ID. If you’re not sure where to vote, check the Elections Canada website.

Changing Tides
Last time around, there was a growing resentment of Stephen Harper and what he was doing to the country. Unfortunately the political left, and quite a bit of the center as well, were divided between the Liberals, the NDP, the Bloc (in Quebec only, of course) and the Greens.

Strategic voting sites sprung up, telling people which party to vote for in which riding in an attempt to defeat the Conservatives. For the most part, it involved people having to hold their noses and vote Liberal.

Fast-forward to now, past the G20 and other scandals, and people have even more reason to dislike Harper. This time though, the left is uniting and according to pretty much every poll done over the past two weeks it is uniting behind Jack Layton and the NDP.

This orange wave started in Quebec and could very well wipe the Bloc off the map or push it back to its hardcore sovereignist base while bringing the Liberals down to third-party status, something that has never happened before, ever.

The most recent polls see the NDP neck and neck with the Conservatives. This has scared pretty much everyone in the other parties who launched some last-minute attack ads and even a very ineffective smear campaign.

If enough Liberal and other voters switch, we may have Prime Minister Jack Layton and Harper can go back to whatever it was he did before.

Vote Internet and Culture
Elections always bring out special interest groups trying to push a particular policy they champion to the forefront of the discourse. This is sometimes done in a backroom wheeling and dealing way but when it comes to issues that affect all of us such as the environment, it’s usually quite public.

Sometimes they poll the parties on the issue and make the results public, issuing “checkups” or “report cards” on their stances. Sometimes they throw together entire parties dedicated to the singular issue. Now, one special interest that is of interest to us all, really, is doing a little from column A and a little from column B. Yes, The Internet is running for Prime Minister of Canada.

This candidate, known more simply as Net, is already off to a great start. Not only does Net connect millions of Canadians together from coast to coast, 35 000 people have signed an online pledge to vote for the Internet and this only a month after half a million people signed OpenMedia.ca’s Stop the Meter petition against Usage-Based Billing (UBB).

The threat of UBB is why the web is such an important issue this election. A few months ago, giant telecom companies like Bell, Rodgers and Shaw convinced the CRTC to allow them to put a cap on the amount of online content their customers, and the customers of smaller ISPs using their lines, can access and charge more for anything beyond that point. Not only is this a cash grab not based on what it actually costs the big boys to provide the service, but it’s a threat to the free flow of information online in Canada as we know it.

And just how do you vote for the Internet? Well, since Net doesn’t have a party and is only looking for the top job, OpenMedia.ca has prepared a list of local candidates that support a free and open Internet. If one of them is running in your riding, then a vote for them is a vote for the Internet and a fair and open media future in Canada. They’ve also published the results of a quiz sent to all the main and some not-so-main parties running. Pretty much all except for the conservatives responded. No big surprise there.

The Net isn’t the only thing to consider. Culture is also very important. Having successfully won (for the moment) against the City of Montreal and developper Angus, the coalition to save Cafe Cleopatre hope that you vote with culture in mind. They’ve issued their own report card on the parties and even released an attack-ad style video on the candidates.

Photos courtesy metormedia.ca and cbc.ca

 

When I was about 5, my mom knitted me a beautiful white fisherman’s sweater that I wore with pride right into a mud puddle.I was devastated.

My mom tried to console me by taking me to the park to ride the “big kids” slide. I was too small to ride alone so she found a kid who would take me and I said, “But mommy, he’s dirty”. The irony of my statement was completely lost on me because I knew I didn’t start the day dirty, and he looked as if he’d started life that way. But I was young.

I have since learned to judge people not by the cleaniliess of their skin, but by the content of their character. Therefore my snobbery now covers geography, the arts, politics and anything else that other people hold dear.

My friend once wrote an article about being a New Yorker despite having only lived there for a few years. I promptly fired off a polite refusal of her application. Being born there it is my birthright to claim that I am a New Yorker and to refuse to acknowledge the honorary citizenship of foreigners, no matter how nobly they will wear their new title.

Interestingly, New York is one of the few places in the world where this is even moderately debatable. The Chinese who come to New York are still Chinese 30 years later, the Italians are Italians generations later. Yet, some yokel falls off the turnip truck in Queens and suddenly they are New Yorkers. The French who come to New York will spit at you if you call them New Yorkers or Americans- they are French, of course they are snobs, and they are right.

One would be horribly mistaken were one to believe that if left alone with one’s music collection, I would not form an opinion about them. I may not even be there when one returned, having deemed one’s music unfit for my company. I refused to return the phone calls of one man who tried to defend Hootie‘s right to exist. I have banned the playing of certain music in other people’s cars and have asked to have my food wrapped to go in restaurants that should have been shut down for their music violations.

While I may know Conservatives and Republicans, I regard them as I would those little trained dogs from the old hospital clown shows. Their ability to perform the tricks is quite impressive but it doesn’t take long to realize that they are only doing it for the treats, and that they could care less whether or not they are helping the little girls and boys watching. Plus they piss on everything and are perfectly happy to lick their own balls. This is why I have no Conservative or Republican friends.

People who call whatever they put on their walls “art” are boors! The Budweiser girls in bathing suits that recreate the Budweiser label is not art! Neither is a poster of a Lamborghini or Michael Jordan; they are decoration, and not really much of that either. I think its fair to say that Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup cans aren’t much more than free advertising for Campbell’s paid for by people who would never lower themselves to actually consuming the soup. And Jackson Pollock paintings are also a waste; lucky the person who tries to defend his “discipline”, upon whom I will fling my poo, thus they will be wearing my art.

“SNOB” is not a badge I wear with honour. Generally, I keep it pretty well hidden until someone raises an issue that I feel strongly about or speaks in my general vicinity. But it is my belief that if you’re going to be a snob, at least have the wherewithal to back it up. Can’t be a snob about politics if you don’t know who your delegates are. Can’t be a snob about music if the answer to “what do you like” is largely Top 40.

Can’t call someone else dirty when you’re covered in mud; for this reason I never leave home without a change of shirt!



There was a feeling in the overcast air at the Bell Centre last night. It was elimination time for the Montreal Canadiens, and if they lose then the season is done. A win, meanwhile, would mean the final showdown the next day (today). This series has seen stats being thrown at these teams, and then thrown away when the opposite happens. The odds were against Montreal. Could they beat them one more time?

Though this doubt was looming, it didn’t stop the fans from having a good time. I trekked to the Bell Centre to check out the Fan Zone. There was a smell of confidence over at Centennial Plaza, along with the scent of french fries. Everyone in their red shirts with beers in hand, having a good time meeting fellow fans. Kids taking a shot at the Bruins dunk tank, trying to get the Boston fan all soaking wet.

The best I saw were a group of girls with water guns, toting a stuffed bear with a sign that read “hunting season,” and carrying an inflatable Stanley Cup. It was bear season over at the Bell Centre. We hoped Montreal could bag us a bear (and a win).

I ventured over to Brutopia for game 6, since the rest of the bars were already packed. The basement floor alone had room, while the other two were full. A guy got off work early and dropped a $20 tip for the waitress: a preview of many beer purchases to come.

The key to this game was to shut down the top line of Ryder-Peverley-Kelly and catch Boston on the power play. Boston had been notorious for bad penalties, and last night, it happened again. Mike Cammalleri tic tac scored on the five on three and the Bell Centre instantly came to life.

Boston tied it, however, and it was Brian Gionta to light one up. Man, I love it when he scores. His smile right after can light up any room.

Meanwhile, Boston’s Milan Lucic nearly knocked the lights out on Spacek. Not to worry though, he’s alright. The refs got it right at least, and gave Lucic a game misconduct.

Carey Price was in another goalie duel with Tim Thomas, but it was another busy night for his “triple low five” partner PK Subban with 27 minutes of being all over Chara and company. There was a last minute scramble, where at least five guys were vying to stop the puck. Nevertheless, it was going Montreal’s way tonight. There was a light coming out of the overcast sky. Things were looking up for Montreal.

The guys did have someone looking over them tonight, and it surely wasn’t any hockey ghosts in the rafters. This would be the first time we got to see Max Pacioretty, playoff beard and all. We hope he can play again soon. I figure he got a kick out of the win.

So here we are, game 7. We’re ready to take this the next level. Montreal will have the riot cops on the streets again tonight, just in case. We’ll always riot for something.

The key to game 7 is to take advantage of Boston penalties. Their penalty killing has been a disaster, as well as their power play. Special teams are key.   We need to shut the top line and try to get the first goal. Everything else will build up. In the meantime, we all have a short time before the inevitable build up to one hell of a game 7.

Shout out of game 6: the girls who went hunting for Bruins at the Bell Centre.

The Montreal Canadiens had a extra couple of days to regroup and return to the form they played in the first two games. Even Carey Price called out his peers for playing loose and unprepared. The Habs did look good for game four, it must have been the Fruit Loops they ate for breakfast (thank you Hal Gill). There was no room for more mistakes, just ask Benoit Pouliot in the press box, replaced by Jeff Halpern.

I returned to the beating pulse of the action downtown. I went to McLean’s pub, a packed house of fans pre-drinking and rocking out to Radio Radio before heading to the Bell Centre.   Meanwhile the rest of the fans were pumped to soak in as much chicken wings and beer as possible. I never had to play defence before in order to reserve a table for six people. Take a page out of my playbook, Jaroslav Spacek!

Fans were hoping the theory of the first goal would take effect and Montreal would feel comfortable with a 3-1 series lead. New Hab Brent Sopel scored his first of the series and fans felt at ease that game 4 was going to go Montreal’s way.

Mike Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn   with goals a minute apart got the bar going crazy. Fans dancing, waving their hands in the air and believing that the Habs were back in the series. “Break out the 3-litre pitcher, we’re going to win tonight!” Or so we thought.

Knowing that Hab fans are hardcore for their team, Andrew Ference flipped the finger to the crowd after Boston got back in the game. Sometimes I want to do that to the bandwagon “fans” but not cool. It was an expensive goal, $2500 in league fines.

It was a game of cat and mouse where Boston kept taking Montreal’s lead, Carey Price was busy that night.   PK Subban brought the city and bar back to life. This was going Montreal’s…wait, Boston just scored. A collective AUGH hits the bar. Welcome to overtime.

Time to text and twitter my favorite playoff game: “Guess the Overtime winner, win a beer.” Simple game: pick who you want to score and I will buy the winner a beer. It was a tie between Subban and Kostitsyn when ex Hab Michael Ryder decided to play spoiler giving his version of the finger by notching his second goal of the night. Now, why couldn’t he play like that when he was playing in Montreal?

So now, the lead is gone, series is tied. No team has had any luck on home ice. You’ll be thinking that game 5 looks like a sure win. Remember that one goal theory: think again.

What the Habs have to do in game 5: Carey Price has to refocus and forget he let in five goals. Tim Thomas is now in the zone, it’s been a different scorer each time, however the good news is that the Habs have been scoring. The advantage for Montreal is the penalty kill, Bruins   have had no luck on their power play. It’s going to be barn burner hockey, winner take all for the next couple of games. This is going to be fun.

Shout out of game 4: Shout out to the staff at McLeans and all the bars downtown. It’s a busy time and it’s great that everyone wants to watch games downtown, however understand that there’s a lot of people so be patient and always tip your waitress or bartender and don’t forget “please” & “thank you.” Game time should always be a good time.

Google, Bing, Yahoo…what do they all have in common? They are all trying to finish the race in enriching their search results to include a user’s Social Circle.  Well, guess what? Wajam beat them to the race! Wajam is a cool start up out of the Montreal Tech Scene. I’ve been a Wajam user for some time now [yes, I got ubercool early access].

We all use the internet to search for information, but when we’re looking we have to rely on some authority that dictates to us what we want to see. Since we’re human and social, we want to know what our friends think of things, or see if they have posted information on a topic we are looking for. I’m sure that you just like me would rather see search results from your friends since we put more faith in them than some anonymous server.

Let’s take a look at a search for the Android Homecoming, an event coming up in September for Android enthusiasts, evangelists and app builders (I will be there with start up Band Tracker), this one is done on Bing:

Now here is another search done with Yahoo for one of my classes, ECO310 a computational methods in economics class:

And here is one from my AMS 210 Applied Linear Algebra class on Google:

 

So, as we can see from all the results posted from the Generic Search Engines, I get what I want.

Now, let’s take a look at what I get when I go straight to Wajam and do a Social Information Search – something I’ll most likely start defaulting to in the future. This is what shows up for a search query for Scilab, a program I use for my AMS class:

Even though Wajam is in its infancy, as you can see it has already proved its usefulness. The more you use your Twitter and Facebook and the more your friends share information on those sites it becomes increasingly easy to find what you’re looking for without having Google, Bing or Yahoo decide for you.

In short, I’m giving Wajam major thumbs up for a solid beginning to a great product. As the world continues to evolve and become more and more social digitally, products like Wajam are going to succeed and replace those that cannot keep up with the rapid changes in the tech realm.

Wajam from Wajam on Vimeo.

About Steven P Sanderson…

Steven is a student at State University of New York at Stony Brook, currently completing a major in Economics and also studying Applied Math and Statistics. He loves computers and new technology. You can check out his own start-up www.MyBandTrackr.com and follow its progress on twitter @bandtrackr or on Facebook.com/bandtrackr.

If you like what Steven has to say, encourage him by leaving a comment below or even  by following him on twitter @stevepsanderson or on FB or drop him a line!

In less than 48 hours, the long weekend will be raring to go, like your overly impatient father circa 1994, who just wants to get the road trip started and doesn’t care that you left behind your favourite teddy bear. So tape your fragmented freedom back together, because you’ve got at least three days to enjoy the fact that Monday morning is a foggy blur at the other end of the Canal. You have all day Friday to sleep in, rest up and re-fuel on Redbull because you’ll definitely want to be at Cabaret Playhouse Friday night to party with Four Minutes To Midnight, as they celebrate the launch of their eleventh issue.

Four Minutes To Midnight’s eleventh issue is a dual publication, featuring  Happy Hour, the final collection of work by American Poet F.A. Nettelbeck (1950-2011), illustrated by Sophie Jodoin; and  Fugue XI, an epic typographic cut-up poem edited by John W. Stuart, Kevin Lo, Hillary Rexe and Sara McCulloch.

The launch gets underway this Friday, April 22 at Cabaret Playhouse (5656 Ave. du Parc) at 9 pm. Spoken word artists  Moe Clark and Vincent Tinguely will kick things off by reading a selection of Nettelbeck’s poems, as well as performing their own work. Once the crowd is buzzing with the power of poetry, Montreal rock trios  Nightwood and  The Lindbergh Line will electrify the room with riveting riffs and blood-pumping vigor.

Founded in 2004 by Kevin Yuen-Kit Lo and John Stuart, Four Minutes To Midnight is a Montreal-based literary arts zine that publishes a spectrum of works bridging poetics and politics. Now, if overwhelmed with ambition, one could probably build a cloud grazing tower constructed solely out of Montreal-based zines, but Four Minutes To Midnight undoubtedly stands apart from the rest with its art-strewn pages, innovative typography, creative graphic design, experimental format and social awareness.  The press release states: “Based in the firm belief that the personal is political, the zine explores the possibility for small stories, ‘bad’ poetry, vast dreams and private pains as a means of advancing social change.”

Four Minutes to Midnight also acts as a platform firmly rooted in Montreal’s community arts scene. Come out Friday and celebrate the life and poetry of F.A. Nettelbeck, while supporting the local independent art and publishing community.

Party-party-party!

Cover is $8 at the door, or $15 with a copy of the issue.

“I’m pretty burned out on meat poetry or street poetry or poetry of the down-and-out, whatever you want to call it, because so much of it is bullshit; bogus motherfuckers who never shed blood… but Happy Hour is the real thing. Stark precision. It’s stripped down, bare bones authentic.”
— JOHN BENNETT

“if Jesus wouldn’t do it /there must be something to it”
—
F.A. NETTELBECK

The night could best be summed up by two sentences overheard between the stage and the audience during the Acid Mothers Temple (AMT) set.

After the first jam, better classified as an eruption of noise (or chaos ignoring any traditional song structure or melody), guitarist Kawabata Makoto looked across the mostly hallucinogenic experimenting audience and asked in broken English, “By the way, have you seen a flying saucer?”

His question was met with a divergent mixture of poor attempts at laughter and adamant confirmations.
The response was a microcosm of the disparity between crowd members, split half-and-half between drugged-out diehards and bar patrons, who stumbled into the strangest set of their lives.

Of the drunken party-goers from the latter group, a few successfully made the transition into fan; potentially assisted by the merchandise of one of the several trench coat and sunglasses adorned gentlemen standing on the outskirts of the audience.

One of the converted spoke for the rest when he yelled, after AMT returned for an encore, “YOU ARE EXPERIMENTAL!” and then mustered a revering banshee howl generating pleased smiles from the stage.

Those smiles   led to a well-deserved encore;   a monstrous set-closer of epic proportions, composed of a steady half an hour build-up that somehow managed to be breathtaking the whole way through. The length was not unusual, no song clocked in at less than ten minutes during their jam-heavy set, but what was notable was the careful patience and powerful utilization of dynamics. Engaged the whole way through, the crowd was sent into hysteria, begging for an encore upon the conclusion of the set’s trance-inducing highlight.

The most consistent attributes to each song during AMT’s live performance were the metal-influenced guitar solos representing pure insanity let loose on an instrument. Makoto‘s fury of sporadic notes exploding from his heavily reverbed and distorted amp audibly recreated Jimi Hendrix’s most daring improvisations (e.g., the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock). Visually, he wasn’t far off either, with his solos climaxing to his unstrapped white Fender being thrown and spun in every possible direction: upside down, backwards, or above his long curly hair and beard. At times, I couldn’t help but wonder if Hendrix had been reincarnated in 1970’s Japan and given the opportunity to grow up in a more progressive music scene.

On the opposite side of the stage was Tsuyama Atsushi, bassist and occasional lead singer, who with the aid of an always entertaining loop pedal, layered endless eastern chants, murmurs, and sounds into avant-garde foundations for jams.

The portions of the set that focused on a mostly instrumental approach to psychedelic dark metal brought to mind the Flaming Lips latest album, Embryonic, even though AMT has been perfecting the craft of that genre for decades before the Lips even begin to dabble with it.

But that’s just the nature of experimental music, especially when instrumental—overlooked and under-appreciated, claiming only a cult status as the group that did it first.

Something about the playful banter and the intimate setting seemed to suggest that AMT couldn’t be more content with their current situation—becoming a household name was never a priority for any of them.

Thanks to the select few fanatics, AMT fed off their energy and summoned an intensity level that carried the music to the next level. The intensity was the most apparent similarity between them and their opening act, Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers. Each member of both groups managed to produce more sweat than a Pollock paintbrush splatters paint, causing me to stand back a few inches from my prime location against the stage.

It was a night of relentless noise, causing me and my New York friends to lose a good level of hearing ability over the next few days. But then again, maybe it was a blessing to help block out some of New York City’s endless horns and sirens.

Either way, an outsider’s enjoyment of the show comes down to a simple matter of point of view.
For some, AMT sounds like your new neighbor’s garage band, who you could’ve sworn moved into the neighborhood straight from the depths of Hell just to torture you.

And for some, that’s a good thing.

For more photos from the show visit us on facebook.

Photos by Alexander Fonseca


Eatliz (Hebrew for “butcher shop”) is a six-piece progressive art-rock band from Tel Aviv, Israel. On Wednesday, I had the chance to check out their act at Toronto’s Rivoli. It was the last stop of a four-week North American tour, which included Canadian Music Week and SXSW dates. I was expecting to see a very tired, worn-out band. But that band didn’t show up on the other hand, Eatliz did!

Despite being the end of their tour and playing to a sparser-than-usual room, the band played with high-energy and conviction. They opened the evening with Hey, a frantic and sweet oldie from their 2005 album Violently Delicate and those in attendance were undoubtedly digging it.

It is really difficult to pinpoint Eatliz’s sound as it explores a variety of musical interests, composed of mainly complex metal guitar riffs, paired with reggae upstrokes, porno wahs, and the occasional surf sound. The changes in songs are also impressive: heavy, gothic motifs give way to poppy, pretty verses; fast, math-metal cords are followed by ballads.

Just when you understand what you’re hearing, Eatliz seems to abandon it for its opposite. Vocalist, Lee Triffon, is especially ambiguous. Her voice just has so many colours; soft Lilith Fair falsetto, sustained sultry textures, punchy and abrasive utters, insanely high squeals and screams the list goes on. In fact, their amped-up cover of Bjork’s Army of Me rivals the original as Triffon has such a great handle on emoting eeriness and the boys were able to give it a bolder metallic feel.

Eatliz’s art is not only their music. The band invests a lot in the visual.

When they are not off shredding their own respective riffs, the boys would all break into a choreography of jumping up and down together, or freezing still on suspended parts of a song. Triffon performed interpretive dances while wearing an outlandishly puffy, Swiffer-sweeper-style dress (her costuming is all designed by young fashion students as, according to Triffon, they take more risks).

But, what I find most interesting about Eatliz’s visual artistry and why I imagine they label themselves “art-rock” is their music videos. Though an understated live presence, guitarist Guy Ben Shetrit is the group’s originator and the brains behind these highly artistic video pieces. Among others, Guy directed and wrote the beautifully animated video for Hey, which has won several international awards and has been applauded best animated “joint” by Spike Lee himself at a Tribeca Film Festival.

Despite the thin attendance, it was refreshing to see and hear a band put so much thought and love into their art. The attention to detail makes Eatliz a classic case of not making art for art’s sake. Each move is calculated and weighed-out, communicating as much as possible in each gesture, insane guitar solo, or animation. Though you will not find Eatliz on my turntable at home, they are a compelling and truly expressive band. Mazal Tov!

Click here to download Berlin by Eatliz

Click here to downlaod Sunshine By Eatliz

Where do you even start with a band like The Black Angels?

I caught their show in October, 2010 when they opened for Black Mountain and the whole thing simply melted my face. Why? And how will you know when your face is melted?

Well, let’s see here…

Take a song like Bad Vibrations, the first song off their newest album Phosphene Dream. Close your eyes. Turn it up. Loud. The wailing guitar, those vocals from Alex Maas, timeless, insistent and trembling, steeped in a far off echo, the hectic tempo change at the end…It’s total unmodern madness.

The Black Angels’ music could be a real 60’s flashback; luckily it’s not and that means there’s hope for the joke that has become the crumbling “popular” music industry. The Black Angels are instead, a mix of revival and experimentation. And you’ll get to see them live this Tuesday at Sala Rossa.

Listening to a catchy number like Telephone from their new album proves to be a thrashing thrill. It starts off crackling and distantly quiet, before breaking into frantic organ and retro melodies, and all you can picture is kids in purple and gold polyester trying to do the twist on acid or something.

The track calls to mind the boppy offerings from the British Invasion, even though the band is actually from Texas. Go figure. They prove that time and place are irrelevant when measured in the context of truly mind-rearranging jams.

Going back a bit further in their discography, their singles and EP’s match up to a solid style that didn’t necessarily improve over time, however, The Black Angels have always had the talent to create thought- provoking, trippy and total blast-to-the-brain kind of music.

Taking their name from a Velvet Underground song, the five piece band was formed in 2004. The band is associated with six different side projects, releasing three albums, Phosphene Dream being their third that dropped in September of 2010.

Touring with bands like the Black Keys, Wolfmother, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and The Ravonettes, and being described by Passover as “Walking in the shadows cast by Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized mastermind Jason Pierce,” hasn’t hurt the growth of fascinated fans, either.

With Suuns opening, The Black Angels will be creating another wild experience tomorrow night, April 12th at La Sala Rossa. Tickets are 17$ in advance or twenty bucks at the door, and worth every dirty cent.

“What a long, strange trip it’s been” sang the The Grateful Dead. Little did they know that the iconic song Truckin’ would perfectly described my trip to Toronto for Canadian Music Week. There were some disappointments, and there were some eventful surprises, and then, there were the not so “eventful” things that happened–shameful, very shameful drunken shirtless, pants-less things, that I’ve decided to keep in the vault.

Now to rock out the way I did, you will need a mix of a few items; shaken not stirred. Please use the following ingredients to make rock n’ roll happened:

guitars,

sex,

drugs,

cigarettes,

and rubbing alcohol…

Okay, well, maybe not the rubbing alcohol!– I swear, your honour, I only used one, maybe two, of these substances at a time!

Now, I’m ready to self-destruct faster than a whiskey bottle in a shattered hotel room. So here is my overview from Canadian Music Week before I burn out faster than a rock star!

Instead of focusing on the negative―and there were a few negatives, i.e. the”Indie awards” (the event where the word “indie” went to die–what’s so “indie” about indie music at the Indies when the Indies are sponsored by major corporations? Can I say indie one more time? Indie!)―I will instead try to focus on the successes of the week.

Best venue

In the last day I was more reckless that usual. I went randomly searching for the right venue, but by the end of the night I was usually picking venues and shows out of a hat. I consider myself, a very, very unlucky person. And that is why I think I ended up at Hard Luck. Hard Luck is a “dive” bar- but you will find Pabst there at least. And for that reason and for resembling the very narrow and homey Barfly of Montreal I give them the Venue of the week award! Congratulations!

And now it’s time of the big prizes. Drum roll please! It’s time for the top 5 performances from Canadian Music Week:

5) Lunic. Yes, this luscious Manhattan duet are extremely pleasing on the eye. There performance was very electrorock oriented but sounded pretty distinct. I couldn’t help swaying my head back and forth to their beats. Beautiful and dark, there songs offered a lot of promise especially the song hypnotized- I kept playing it over and over again on myspace. The experience reminded me of finding a   great article of clothing at at thrift. You know if you look hard enough you will find something special.

 

4) Cuff the Duke.There was so much to expect. I anticipated and I really wasn’t let down. The show went on great although the venue was hot and humid with human sweat. The boys played an excellent set. Plus, I got to hoe down. Need I say more?

3) Bachman Turner. The shock and surprise of seeing Sammy Hagar play with these guys was truly aorta straining. Watching them jam out was an exultingly early 80’s experience. I wish I wore my spandex pants!

2) The Barr Brothers. They were a pick out of a hat. But what   n delightful evening, my first evening seem to go negative, this group of harpist seraphic angels that came in to save the day! The harp made me believe in a   heaven. Thank you guys! Please check out their music they ill bring positivity to your day.

1) Kurt Vile and the Violators. This show was not a surprise. You can feel something special while I was there, like it was only a matter of time before Kurt Vile was making it big―kind of the way I felt when I saw Wilco many years ago. The event itself was cerebral and touching. The audience reaction was kind of like my own reaction–in a state of trance. The Great Hall, the venue he played at, was also was very cool. and memorable. Overall, it was one of the best shows I saw that week.

See more CMW photos on Facebook.

1. INT. JESSICA KLEIN’S APARTMENT. NIGHT.

JESSICA: (in a sultry, low voice) Stephanie’s coming over tonight to work on our article on Cinema L’Amour. Thinking about it is getting me a little excited.   The pizza’s in the oven, the salad’s made… ding dong… oops! I forgot to put on a shirt! I hope she likes black lace, wink wink.


While it’s never hard to come up with topics every week   for Friday Film Review, I’ve often made the vow that I would go out more on the town to cover things like the other writers for the site do. After a few failed attempts, this past week I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience a night out with Sex Columnist Jess Klein to go to the historic Montreal porn theater Cinema L’Amour.

The woman at the ticket counter seemed perplexed when a “lesbian couple” (Tuesday night was free for couples) entered the theater. “There’s no women here” she said with her head slightly cocked.

“But there’s women in the movie right?” Jess giggled as she leaned her head into my shoulder.

We were then ushered into the empty couples only section, a roped off portion directly in the middle of the theater. As a couple it seems, you are also part of the show.

The sparsely populated theater was already dark when we walked in. There was a countdown on the screen set to operatic music, and it immediately set the tone for the weird evening that was to come.

At first, you can’t help but look around. From outside it really doesn’t look like anything special. You’ve probably walked passed Cinema L’Amour a thousand times yourself on St-Laurent and not thought twice about it.   Once you pass the florescent lights of the lobby the theater, which was built in 1914, is absolutely gorgeous. The gilded detailing, the balcony (which we debated the entire evening about attempting to sneak up to) makes you dream of what it was like to see movies there in the twenties.

Our  gaze immediately became glued to the screen the moment we started noticing the other patrons. In the age of internet porn, it’s not surprising that the majority of the audience was older men of the balding variety. It felt like every creepy mailman and janitor you’ve ever met in your entire life decided to get together and have a party.

Four minutes before the end of the countdown, the movie started. The movie was a parody of Seinfeld,  a television show from the nineties you may have heard of. This is the film review section of the article after all, and so it must be noted that the production value of the movie was surprisingly excellent.

The sex was so uninteresting that I kept thinking to myself wow, this really looks like Jerry’s apartment. Wow, that guy does a really good soup Nazi impression. I was so bored with the sex honestly that the actors had me more engaged when they were making fun of Seinfeld then when they were having sex with each other.

About half an hour into the movie, our tenure as the sole residents of the couples only section ended. A man lifted the velvet rope, and ushered his girlfriend in. They sat at the end of the same row as us. And that’s when the night really started to get weird.

Intrigued? For part two of Steph and Jess’s Cinema L’Amour adventure, read The Morning After with Jessica Klein.

Love it? Well, come like us on Facebook. More to come tomorrow!

Photo from loyalkng.com

First things first: I believe in paying a fair price for
things of value to me. Most good-hearted or even just habitual capitalists do. What I consider a fair price for value and what others consider a fair price for value may differ (for the purpose of simplicity let’s agree to
the assumption that “I” includes people who had the Internet in high school and various other early
adopters. “Others” includes people who had to learn
the internet when they were well into their professional lives). As someone who has had virtually unlimited access to a wealth of high quality, virtually free information since I got my first period I’m not willing to pay a heck of a lot for it. So the new York times offering subscription levels from $15-$30 a month strikes me as, well, a little off.

There has been some buzz on the internet lately about the New York Times new “revenue stream” otherwise known as paid subscriptions. Some people applaud the move. Some people are shocked. I find the whole thing rather silly and sad. I feel for the New York Times. I can imagine the shareholder panic, the long strategy meanings, learning whole new vocabularies and the knowledge that your industry is changing radically for the first time in over a hundred years. It’s scary and confusing. But none of that is any excuse for acting like an idiot.

In a note to subscribers NTY publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzburger, Jr says the following:

“It’s an important step that we hope you will see as an investment in The Times, one that will strengthen our ability to provide high-quality journalism to readers around the world and on any platform,”

So let me get this straight, Mr. Sulzburger; you want your readers, your consumers, the people for whom you produce your content to become uncompensated investors? And this when there are thousands of credible, easy to access, up-to-the-minute news sources out there completely free. Your subscribers should not only stay loyal but pay a price that is more than twice that of your competition for the privilege?


Chart courtesy of Chart of the Day

Fun Fact: Canada gets to try out this new pay-model first. Honestly, is there a content provider other than Netflix out there who doesn’t want us to bend over and grab our ankles?

Not everyone agrees with me here. That’s fair. Mr Lance Ulanoff over at PCMag predicted over two years ago that the free internet is taking its leave, suggesting that the free-expecting public were being unreasonable. He now lauds the New York Times’ decision, and does make the excellent point that the paywall is so poorly instituted as to render itself moot. However, I think Mr. Ulanoff is missing the point, then and now. The point is that the NYT is ignoring some really important market forces at work here. Obvious things. The same things the record industry can’t seem to wrap its head around: that what they’re creating just isn’t worth that much anymore.

This whole deal reminds me of an article I read a few years ago, by Wired’s Chris Anderson. It was called: Free! Why $0.00 is the Future of Business. This article has informed pretty much every business decision I’ve made since. He posits that:

“Once a marketing gimmick, free has emerged as a full-fledged economy. Offering free music proved successful for Radiohead, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, and a swarm of other bands on MySpace that grasped the audience-building merits of zero. The fastest-growing parts of the gaming industry are ad-supported casual games online and free-to-try massively multiplayer online games. Virtually everything Google does is free to consumers, from Gmail to Picasa to GOOG-411.”

He’s right, and it’s even truer for written content. Any
writer will tell you that as a skill it’s not valued highly when it comes to dollars and cents, even though the argument can be made that it should be.

As consumers of content on the web, our place in the scheme of things has shifted. For many content
providers, we are the product that generates revenue.
This works because there are some things we still pay money for: personal services, physical goods, and even some information. When it comes to content words, video and music many of us are willing to pay something but the price had better be as close to free
as possible. Articles and news stories are no longer things we really buy they’re lures to get us onto a webspace so that we in turn can be sold to advertisers who have something that might really tempt our wallets.

The New York Times, being populated by a whole gaggle of smart, talented people, one has to assume that they’re just trying to shift people back into hard copy subscriptions which just reeks of desperation. It’s a gamble that consumers won’t forgo the New York Times all together in favour of a news source providing the real perceived value for price.
Is that so hard to understand?

Spring is finally here, and to raise our spirits comes Michou making their second stop on a five show tour, at the CFC (18+) with Sunfields and A Is For Animal.

The Windsor folk rock group are fresh from winning a$25,0000 prize for Artist Of The Year at this year’s Verge Music Awards. Along with the release of their new EP  Celebrate love, they have much to celebrate!

Since the release of their first EP Medea in 2007, Michou has been gaining ground with their sweet and fresh melodies. It’s hard not to smile, or feel a little more youthful, when listening to their single Growing Younger. Using beautiful and cheerful sounding instruments like xylophones and trumpets, and sweetly picked guitars with marching band drum rolls that magically flow together for a happy uplifting pleasant sound; It’s sure to put a smile on your face and brighten up your day.

Michou‘s first studio album  Mishkin was released in 2008, followed by a collection of three limited edition acoustic songs for their EP Roseships with indie label Empire Recordings (Winnipeg, MB). Their Sophomore album  Cardona was released Feb. 16, 2010 through itunes Canada. A perfect way to let old man winter know he’s out of season, and remind Summer know how much we Michou.

Sunfields‘ bob your head relaxed sound is a talented blend of psychedelic acoustic guitar, choppy piano, jazzy organs, harmonica and some good ol’ soft rock beats, and a nice smooth rhythm coated with singer Jason Kent’s serene vocals and heartwarming lyrics. Their first album, which began as a solo-project by singer Jason Kent started in the fall of 2007 in a small cottage some sixty miles north of London, England. It was then completed in their own home studio in Montreal and released in the spring of 2010 by Field Recordings. A great way for those looking to relax, have a good time, and ‘’forget the box” of the city.

Honheehonhee‘s buzzy synth sound is eager for affection, drawing their roots from their favourite local bands. This five man band goes for more of a pop filled sound with variety and catchy riffs, using raucous, sometimes shrill sounding guitars, punchy pounding drums, a throbbing base, clean synths and high clear vocals, for a genuinely unique sound. Their fans are greatly anticipating their forthcoming record  shouts, set to be released in June. This is a great opportunity to see an exciting blooming band in their early stages and encourage them to flourish.

The kick off to this spring event is Thursday, March 31, at the CFC (18+), at 6388 St. Hubert

Show starts at 8:30
Tickets are 8$ in advance 10$ at the door
Come enjoy yourselves and support some great rising indie bands. A fun time and smiles are sure for everyone.

Photo Coutesy of The Take media By Matt Barnes.