Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lost Grooves

It's hard to believe that things have changed so much, and yet at the same time, not enough. Below is a story about Paul Mawhinney, a former record store owner who is trying to part with his record collection, spanning decades of collecting. The collection, valued at $50 million US, is being offered for $3 million, and has no takers. Surely some univeristy, like Bowling Green, home to prestigious popular studies programme would be interested.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Suburbs are bad, m'okay.

We've long held that suburbs are bad, poorly designed, wasteful, and divisive, but now it seems that the suburbs will make you fat to boot.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More two cents worth

Other albums from the 1990s that might deserve a space somewhere would be Becks "Mellow Gold" or perhaps "Odelay". To a lesser extent, Stereolab's "Emperor Tomato Ketchup Soup".

And of course, hard to beleive, but it was so of the 1990s, Pavement's "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain".

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Few More Candidates

Here's some more candidates for our list of Top Ten albums:

R.E.M.: Automatic For the People
Beck: Take your pick, Mellow Gold or Odelay (though everyone wants to say One Foot In The Grave)
My Bloody Valentine: Loveless - this one perhaps shows the difficulty of picking such a list, phenomenally popular in the early 1990s, it signaled the end of My Bloody Valentine, and one has to wonder whether "shoegazing" had any lasting impact. Putting this one on such a list could be like putting Frampton Comes Alive on a similar list of bygone era - sure it sold a lot of records, but did it go anywhere (other than crashing into a tree, high on coke)?

An interesting point was raised regarding the debate on which Red Hot Chilli Peppers album would be more deserving: Blood Sugar Sex Magic for sheer shock and funk, a kind of harbinger of what the 1990s might have been, or Californication as an album that mourned the reality of what the 1990s actually were and convinced a whole new generation of fans to lament something (that hazy period circa 1982 - 1992) that they never knew they had lost.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Flotsam and Jetsam on the Web

Here's a little something that we found on YouTube last night, a duet with Beck and Jane Birkin, perhaps for French TV. Beck is charming and appears happy to be there, even though it is clear he doesn't know all the French lyrics.

Watching Jane Birkin made us realize how much we missed her partner in crime, Serge Gainsbourg, so if you're wondering what all the fuss was about, here you go:

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Top Ten Albums of the 1990s

The Olympics are being projected on a wall in the other room and several of us are taking a break and having a break. Allan Parker, the latest addition to our fold, has just finished reading Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, the film version of which is something of an annual kino classic. Parker, in honour of Hornby, has challenged us to come up with a Top Ten list of the best albums of the 1990s. We're not even sure such a thing can be done, but Parker argues that it's almost been twenty years, surely allowing enough time to have past.

So, at any rate, in no particular order, we assembled a list of albums that would challenge for a position on such a list:

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
2. Ok Computer - Radiohead
3. Twice Removed - Sloan
4. Trouble in the Henhouse - Tragically Hip
5. The Lonesome Crowded West - Modest Mouse
6. Fear of a Black Planet - Public Enemy
7. Blue Lines - Massive Attack
8. Repeater - Fugazi
9. Post - Bjork
10. Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic/Californication - Red Hot Chilli Peppers (vicious argument over which gets the nod)
11. (Something) - Blur
12. O.G. Original Gangster - Ice T (though really, we want to suggest 1989's Iceberg)
13. Blow Your Headphones - The Herbaliser

This conversation sort of grounded out in the realization that no one in the room could credibly talk about the development of post-NWA hiphop or pre-Chemical Brothers dance music.



Reality Still Bites

The problem with taking a holiday is that there is often lots of things to catch up on when you come back. For example, we are trying to find the time go see The Wackness, a coming of age story set in 1994's New York, with Ben Kingsley in a supporting role (who we recently enjoyed as an alcoholic hitman attempting to dry out in You Kill Me). As something of a hold over, we did re-visist 1993's Ben Stiller flick, Reality Bites. At the time, we felt the movie was a little too-cliched (or perhaps that the cliches struck a little too close to home). However, fifteen years has given us enough perspective to look past some of those cliches, such as the GAP working alterna-girl, the angst-ridden indie rock slacker, etc.

So this time around, what strikes us is the prevalence of divorce, and it was something that other movies, such as the phenomenal The Squid and The Whale have also done, as well as, surprisingly, Bobby. Details' columnist Jeff Gordiner has recently suggested that the Baby Boomers have done Gen X'ers much wrong in his book X Saves The World. If Tom Brokaw and company can affectionately refer to a "Greatest Generation" one is tempted to subtitle the Baby Boomers as "The Most Self-Absorbed Generation". Tempting. What other generation has proen to be so afraid of growing old that they invented Viagra?

We digress.

In many ways, the United States is still dealing with the repercussions of the 1960s and the sky-high divorce rates of the 1980s are perhaps indicative of this. The scene from Bobby that gives us pause, is the one in which the audience discovers that Lindsay Lohan and Elijah Wood are getting married, not because they are in love, but rather because she likes him enough to not want him to get killed in Vietnam. What happens to these marriages down the road, as these people realizes that fear of Vietnam is not enough to build a marriage around?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

More Mountain Goats

One of the things our sojourn in the Rockies allowed us to do was catch up on some music. Despite being released months ago (February), and highly recommended by many of our friends, we finally got around to giving the new Mountain Goats album a spin. Heretic Pride is full of lush instrumentation, cellos and violins, coupled with guitairs and such - it's a wonderful sound, and the songs are filled with complex, literate lyrics (really, how else could you describe a song about H.P. Lovecraft's experience living in Brooklyn?), it's unfortunate that John Darnielle's vocal's aren't up to the challenge. Instead he's distinctly at odds with the music, whose depth makes his voice sound quite nasal and flat.

Monday, August 04, 2008

All of Our Problems Should Be So Sweet

From mountain retreat to shore leave, all of our problems should be so sweet.

An aunt of one of our office mates recently dropped off a package of Kimbo coffee for us to consume. It's an intriguing package, as it is all silver, without the usual Kimbo branding. There's an Italian note the coffee is not for individual sale, which as some wondering if it is industrial (commercial) coffee, but the package is just average size so others consider it a part of some corporate offer.

Regardless, we are all eager to have some (Kimbo being a summer favourite around these parts). However, we've yet to finish our delightful Kicking Horse Coffee, and everyone knows it's bad form to open to packs of coffee at a time (since they'll both start to lose their freshness). What to do? Drink more coffee.

Thus, it is late in the evening at we are at the office goofing around and drinking coffee. Some are watching The Mummy in the main room, while offers our surfing YouTube with the overhead LCD hooked up. Fan favourite so far: clips from Zidane: 21st Century Portrait, with Mogwai providing the soundtrack, something we've meant to order online for some time now.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Espresso Fuel

As if to squeeze every last ounce of pun, simile, allegory, and metaphor out of our sojourn in the Rockies, the last few weeks we have been especially enjoying local (well, Invermere, BC anyways) Fair-Trade roasters Kicking Horse Coffee's Cliffhanger Espresso beans. Curiously mellow for espresso, without any of the chocolately hints that we sometimes find.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Mountain Battles For Mountain Goats

We've been listening to a lot of music over the last month, and one of our favourites (perhaps befitting our mountainous retreat) has been The Breeders' Mountain Battles. At first we were a little apprehensive, afraid that Kim Deal was just participating in a little lifestyle maintenance. We admit that this was based on our understanding of her reluctance to re-join the Pixies, as reported in Josh Frank's Pixies biography, Fool The World, and Frank's insinuation that she had no financial need for such a tour. The Twitter comments proved otherwise though, and we found ourselves in agreement as sound as the album hit the stereo.

Happily, Mountain Battles is no attempt to relive the fanciful magic of Last Splash, and certainly doesn't have the same eclectic pop whimsy but it does stand head and shoulders above Pod. The childish innocence of "Istanbul" or the seductive ease of "Regalame Esta Noche" perhaps hearkening back to the early days of the Deal sisters' genre-spanning home-recording (again as noted in Fool The World). Yes, songs like "Walk It Off" or "We're Gonna Rise" re-capture the tension of Last Splash, but without the screaming guitars. In fact, despite it's title, Mountain Battles is an album full of mature restraint, as if Kim Deal wasn't trying to one up Frank Black or The Pixies.