Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

The New Pornographers :: Commodore Ballroom


When I saw the New Pornographers in Seattle opening for Belle & Sebastian at the Paramount Theater, I was quite disapointed by the fact that the show was basically A.C. Newman [wp] and backing band. Their set was still good, and while many of my favorite TNP songs are from Newman, it was just missing a few key elements. Key elements like the rest of the supergroup. I was reluctant to shell out the money to see them again, this time at the Commodore, even with the knowledge that Newman would be joined by the full The New Pornographer’s cast.


Thankfully Lydia ignored my reluctance and bought tickets anyway, because The New Pornographers live with their (mostly) full lineup is a sight to behold. Sure not having been back home to Vancouver in awhile their stage patter was a bit out of date, I think we as a city are more concerned with the strike then the mayoral elections being rigged, and unusually for the Commodore the mix on the music levels were kind of treble-riffic but it was a great show.

The New Pornographers are by birth, if not by domicile, a local band with all of the major members having spent some significant time in the city of glass. If you’re not familiar with their sound they’re a power pop/rock group who according to the Wikipedia [wp] are:

highly influenced by such power pop bands as The Cars and Cheap Trick, although their songs are generally of a greater melodic and harmonic complexity.

After the jump there’s more on the show, more pictures and even video. Crappy video.

Eleanor Roosevelt has died again: They Might Be Giants in Vancouver


Though there are still a few months left in 2007 we can all safely stay at home and not attend any more concerts until the New Year, because the best show of this one has already happened. They Might Be Giants may have had their swaggy merch seized by Canadian Customs but they managed to bring the noise and prompt me to dive deep into the rock and roll cliché box of tricks. Though perhaps too whimsical for some people, they had an extended dialog with Eleanor Roosevelt from beyond the grave (video from another show after the jump) and performed a song from one of their children’s albums, they are in fact far beyond some simple parody band or novelty act.

While playing hide the camera with the Commodore’s security staff the entire night, I was warned once about taking pictures with my small digital camera and was trying to get some bloggable shots without being ejected, I enjoyed myself quite a bit more than usual. The crowd lacked the usual idiots that end up thrashing about on the Commodore’s dance floor more intent on hurting those around them than enjoying the music, and the venue itself was a perfect fit for the band who I last saw a few years ago at Seattle’s Paramount. Rebecca has a really good post about the Commodore, if anyone’s interested [m604] in the building’s history.

Five songs about Vancouver

The Wheatpool

Originally uploaded by ‘daisies.

Five songs about Vancouver worth checking out:

– “Emily Carr” by The Wheat Pool [twp]: Just up on iTunes “Emily Carr” [itms], like most of the album, is a nice blend of alternative rock and prairie country music. It is perhaps the least Vancouver sounding of all of the songs that will follow in this list, owing more to the Edmonton birthplace of the band, but it’s subject matter holds true to anyone whose ever found themselves in Vancouver running away from the middle of the country.

– “Let the Ass Bray” by Spirit of the West [wp]: What’s more Vancouver than being miffed at an indie band refusing to enjoy their fame and just shutting up and playing their hit song? Years before Matthew Good was told to shut up and play guitar Vancouver band Spirit of the West was using a symphony orchestra to record a song about Thom Yorke being spoiled by Radiohead’s early “Creep” fame. One wonders what they thought of the Radiohead movie Meeting People Is Easy.

– “Vancouver Divorce” by Gordon Downie [gd]: Gordon Downie’s first solo album sort of got lost in the fact that he was also releasing a book of poetry to go with it, which is about as far away from the hockey arena venues of his day job in the Tragically Hip as you can get. When it stays on track though Coke Machine Glow is a really good album, or rather it has good songs.

– “Suburbia” by The Matthew Good Band [wp]: It might not say Vancouver anywhere in the lyrics, but one can’t help but feel that Matthew Good must have been writing these lyrics while riding the Skytrain, or taking public transit around Coquitlam. Still one of my favorite songs by the defunct group, “Suburbia” [itms] is really about pretty much everywhere these days.

– “Expo ’86” by Death Cab For Cutie [wp]: Though its hard to see how the lyrics directly relate to either Vancouver, or Expo ’86 the band is from Bellingham and the song is titled after our moment of pre-Olympic world fame. Though more about a failing relationship it’s title sets Vancouver as the backdrop said failing relationship. One imagines a music video complete with Science World and that robot.

Edit: The bonus number five song is after the jump. It was a terrible selection, and once I came up with Death Cab For Cutie I knew I had to move it away. However just so you can see how foolish I was the entry is saved in its original form after the jump.


I’m ashamed of the whole lot of you

Facebook on Music

Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

According to Facebook this city’s taste in music is really awful. I mean okay I’ve got the Coldplay and Radiohead on my iPod and I can stand Jack Johnson but come on. This is middle of the road light FM shit. We can’t all get together as a city and come up with a more interesting musical icon than Jack Johnson?

At least when we’re not being lulled to sleep by strummy acoustic guitars we like to rock with a capital ‘R’. And we like our smooth sounding R&B, presumably for sex or maybe because everyone really likes the JT now that he’s left the boy band scene.

Matthew Good: new record, new fight with the media

Vancouver singer-songwriter Matthew Good’s [mg] new album Hospital Music hit stores, the iTunes and the Amazons yesterday just in time for a scuffle with the media. Sun Media coumnist Jeremy Loome wrote a column on July 30th disagreeing with Good’s outspoken position calling for the federal government to withdraw troops from Afghanistan [es]. Loome disagreed with his position, but otherwise was rather complimentary towards Good noting, “Rock star Matthew Good has good intentions, and a well-expressed argument on Afghanistan. That alone puts him well above the maddening crowd of big-mouth celebrities.”

In response Good suggested that Sun Media (a Quebecor Media Company), which owns Vancouver’s 24 Hours but not the Vancouver Sun, was trying to hurt sales of his new record by timing the editorial on the eve of its release [mg]. Then when Sun Media ran a poll suggesting that he should shut up and just play the guitar Good cut off all interviews with their entertainment journalists around the nation. Loome himself has said that there was no editorial mandate for the article, and that he was not even aware Good had a new album coming out. He also said the poll was silly and that he didn’t agree with the inflamatory headline that ran above the article in most papers “Rocker not fighting Good fight”.

Sadly anyone with a word for a name who achieves any sort of fame is going to be the brunt of lazy headlines for the rest of their lives. I think my own interview with Good back in 2005 [teow] ran under a headline along the lines of “The Good words” or something like that. Most writers don’t get to pick their own headlines unless they’re also an editor, and so I do buy the notion that Loome had no knowledge of what was going to run above the article.

Regardless of the controversy, or possibly because of it, the album has gone to number one on Canada’s iTunes. After one listen to during my lunch hour I’m enjoying it, and have to say that “Black Helicopters” is probably one of Good’s best songs yet. “Born Losers” (the song in the included video) is a good single and hopefully will help the album’s continued sales.

The new Matthew Good single hits iTunes

Matthew Good’s new single “Born Losers” is now up on the iTunes music store [iT]. It’s worth checking out, come on it’s only 99 cents, though it’s not quite the radical departure he was talking about taking back when he released the best of collection In A Coma. The rest of the album, titled Hospital Music, will be out on July 31st and streaming from Good’s website from June 29th [mg].

As regular readers know I’m a big fan of the MG, so much so that even Billy Corgan’s dragging the Smashing Pumpkins out of retirement and releasing their first new single in years this week was not enough to beat “Born Losers” as my first Tuesday download from the iTunes.

The White Stripes in Vancouver

I am not a big fan of the outdoors, and not a big fan of outdoor shows. There’s nothing about watching a good show that makes me think, “This would be twice as awesome if I was standing in a puddle.” I suppose then it was a good thing that I did not put a few facts together in my head and realize that the White Stripes show at Deer Lake was going to be in the actual outside, because if I had I would probably have passed on a great show.

Now I’d still contend that seeing the White Stripes at the Commodore or a small indoors venue would have been much more awesome, but it was still a good show. The music was actually mixed incredibly well, not only for an outdoors show but for a live show period. The Jack and Meg White combination of the two person band works just as well live as it does on the albums.


Goodbye Z95.3! Thanks for the great memories.

I just got an email from Z95.3 saying that as of Tuesday, the Z as we know it will be no more. It will be replaced by an all-new format.

I remember when Z95.3 came out. It was originally billed as a dance music station and was the first top 40 FM station in the Lower Mainland. LG73 tried to compete but didn’t last long due to the difference in stereo sound. I still miss the Morning Zoo crew. Anyway, the first song to officially hit the airwaves was “Everybody Dance now” by C&C music factory. Once LG73 died, they changed into a top40 station and was successful for many years. By the time I left UBC, Z95 changed to Z and focussed on playing “Adult hits” to prevent us 20-something yuppies from jumping ship to the Beat 94.5. Since then, I’ve been listening to nothing but Podcasts and CKNW for the political stuff.

Thanks for the memories Z95.3. I hope you become a jazz station the way the Beat 94.5 was supposed to be!

Snoop Dog joke to start the day

Snoop Dog

Originally uploaded by pic-chic.

Overheard at the Modest Mouse concert:

Q: “Why did Snoop Dog bring an umbrella when he came to Vancouver?

A: “Fo’ drizzle.”

Fuzzcat: Impact is Imminent will be performing at 10 pm on March 15 at the most conveniently located show lounge that I’ve never been to, the Media Lounge. I’m always hearing about cool gigs happening there, but something always came up to prevent me going. But when you’ve got to ska, you’ve got to ska…

Fuzzcat is well on it’s way to stardom with it’s official CD release party. It’s been interesting for me, a musically talentless person, to get an inside scoop on how the local music industry works from the guys I know in the band. For starters, this is the proper way to advertise your music: “Assembling like the five lions of Voltron, Fuzzcat unified into a tight music-making machine bringing thick beats and ass-shakin’ rawk.” That, my friends, is inspired.

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