A Christmas Present for You

In celebration of the birth of our Lord (AKA the Christian Church declaring the birth of Jesus on a day that coincided with the pagan festival of midwinter in order to take it over), I am gifting you, my precious readers, a "mixtape" filled with songs that make me very happy and thus will make you happy as well.

free music

The list is as follows:
1. Comfy in Nautica by Panda Bear (my favourite song at the moment).
2. Lover by Devendra Banhart (listen to the lyrics. They're HILARIOUS).
3. Idle Songs by Frog Eyes (possibly the only song by Frog Eyes that's particularly good. Whatever).
4. The Ice Storm by The Go! Team (I can't describe to you how much I love this song).
5. Grounds for Divorce by Wolf Parade (a favourite of mine for some years now).
6. Unsolved Mysteries by Animal Collective (off their amazing new album that I've already talked up lots).
7. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Daft Punk (duh. Best song ever).
8. Up on Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days by Sunset Rubdown (Spencer Krug + Me = babies).
9. Galang by M.I.A. (hahahahaha).
10. Plasticities by Andrew Bird (there's no bad mood this song can't fix).

So, there you are, my loves. I suppose this is not really a real update, but you can expect a few in the coming week and a bit as I will be on vacation from my real job and thus will have lots of time for my fake job.

Happy Christmas!

(I mean that in the most secular way possible)



The End of The World

This technically qualifies as music, I guess. Really I just think it's very clever.



The Best and Worst of 2007

As 2007 grinds to a close, it's time to look back and reflect on the wonderful things/crimes against music that were committed this year. So, without further delay, the rundown is as follows:

Best Myspace Find:
Obviously, this award goes to The Last Dinosaur, who friended me on Myspace and quickly became my new favourite unsigned band from Cambridge. These lovely boys have amazing chemistry and impressive songwriting skills. I expect wonderful things from them in the future. Download there song "Home" here.

Worst Myspace Find:
The title of Worst Myspace Find goes to the most annoying band of all time, Science Ninja Team. I actually didn't make it through all four of their songs on Myspace, because they were so bad I was considering flushing my computer down the toilet. I can't even imagine why these guys think what they are doing is a good idea. It's not. Science Ninja Team, for the sake of the world, please stop.

Most Exciting Albums:
5. Kala - M.I.A.

I was surfing the two for $10 bin at HMV when this album came on and I ended up staying in the store just to hear the whole thing. I have been a mild fan of M.I.A. since "Galang" but her new album is really something to talk about. It's refreshing to see someone who is both commercially successful and really good. Keep it up, M.I.A.

4. Alive - Daft Punk

Oh man oh man oh man. I have not heard this entire album yet (come on, Mum! Christmas Present!!!), but what I have heard is enough to make me vomit happiness all over the place. It's pretty messy.

3. Person Pitch - Panda Bear

For those of you who do not know (that includes you, Panda Bear), Panda Bear and I are in love. I'm sure his wife and child will be upset to learn this, but hey, you can't stand in the way of soul mates. It's just not done. Anyway, Person Pitch is amazing. "Comfy in Nautica" is actually possibly the best song I've ever heard, outseating "We Tigers" by Animal Collective. Clearly I only like one kind of music.

2. Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon - Devendra Banhart

I bought Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon on a whim, and three songs in I was (no kidding) jumping up and down and screaming to my roommate that this album was "sooooooo good." It got panned by Pitchfork and was completely missing from their "Top 50 Albums of 2007" list, but they suck and I rule. This album is great. Seriously.

1. Strawberry Jam - Animal Collective

Strawberry Jam is by far Animal Collective's best album yet, which is saying a lot. It's super short, but makes up for it by not having one second of filler. Also, it features my boyfriend, Panda Bear, which is a major plus. I have yet to get tired of listening to this album over and over again. If I didn't have to listen to other music for research purposes, I'm not sure I would. It's just that awesome. Excellent Work, Animal Collective. I can't wait to see what you come up with in 2008.

Most Disappointing Albums:
(It speaks highly of 2007 that I could only come up with four.)
4. Night Falls Over Kortedala - Jens Lekman

Night Falls Over Kortedala is one of those albums that EVERYBODY talks about. Naturally, I assumed that they were talking about it for a reason, like maybe it was good. Not so. Sure, Jens Lekman is original, and his lyrics really are phenomenal. But I really do think he sounds like a bad lounge singer. I guess some people consider that a good thing. Those people are wrong.

3. New Magnetic Wonder - The Apples in Stereo

The Apples in Stereo had FIVE YEARS to come up with some good music and they blew it. Enough said.

2. Places Like This - Architecture in Helsinki

"Heart It Races" spent a whopping three weeks as my favourite song. Those three weeks ended when I went out and bought Places Like This only to discover the rest of the album was crap. Now I'm super pissed at Architecture in Helsinki and can't even listen to "Heart It Races" without hearing "Money You Wasted."

1. Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? - Of Montreal

Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?... Of Montreal was my favourite band until I heard this album and now I barely think about them. From what I've read, this ultra-poppy meaningless garbage with dark, miserable lyrics is the new direction they're going in now, so I doubt I'll be thinking about them much in the future. I don't think there could have been a worse follow-up to The Sunlandic Twins. Seriously, there is one good song ("Suffer for Fashion"). Pitchfork put this album at number five on their "Top Albums of 2007" list, right above Strawberry Jam. I'm not sure how anyone can rank Of Montreal's worst album above Animal Collective's best, but whatever. As I said before, Pitchfork sucks. So does Hissing Fauna.

Best Music Video:
"Heart It Races" by Architecture in Helsinki (misleading! Don't buy the album!)

Worst Music Video:
"Peacebone" by Animal Collective (misleading! Do buy the album!)

Best News:
Ike Turner dies. What an asshole. Have fun in Hell (I picture some Dante-style poetic justice with him getting the shit beaten out of him by Tina Turner. You go girl!).

Worst News:
The Blood Brothers break up. I talk about this in like every other update, that's how upset I am. It's only because I could have seen them this summer and I DIDN'T GO! I never dreamed I would NEVER have another chance. Tragic. Totally.

So that's it for now, I think. Here's to 2008!



Check it Out!

My new official BFF, Mike Ramsey, made the new heading for this page as well as the following images:

Pretty much Mike is the greatest person ever. Props to him.

Also, check out his blog here.

That is all.


Free Download: Golden Opportunities Mixtape by Okkervil River

Okkervil River is great. Don't take my word for it, Lou Reed Agrees. Don't just take Lou Reed's word for it, here is evidence: Okkervil River has decided that they would post an entire album online for FREE DOWNLOAD. Best Christmas present ever? Yes.

Anyway, the Golden Opportunities Mixtape is a very nice listen. Consisting of eight covers and one original tune ("Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas"), it's mellow and cute, much like the boys of Okkervil River themselves.

Really, though, why would you sit here and listen to me talk about an album when you can go download it yourself for free? I mean, even if it sucked, it's free. Go download it! Seriously, go.


Christmas Wishlist

So I had this brilliant idea for an update.* I tell everybody what to get their friends and family for Christmas, in what may turn out to be shameless product plugs. So, thus ends the confusion of what to do for Christmas gifts, guys. Check it out:


The White Stripes - Icky Thump
It is a commonly known fact that dads love Led Zeppelin. Most dads, however, have already listened to everything by Led Zeppelin so many times in their 50-odd years of existence that they're sick of it. Enter the White Stripes. While not nearly as epic, Jack White (the only member of the White Stripes who matters) has a vaguely Led Zeppelin-esque quality about him. His music is usually, if not always, a throw-back to the straight-up Rock and Roll of our dads' youth. Thus, dads love the White Stripes. Haven't you noticed?


Antony & The Johnsons - I Am a Bird Now
I don't know about your mum, but my mum loves gay men and singing black women. Thus, I couldn't think of a better album to get my mum for Christmas than I Am a Bird Now by a singing gay man who sounds like a black woman (note to mum: I am not actually getting you this, as you asked for olives and coctail napkins). This album, I'm sure, would please mothers other than my own. I mean, mums love it when bluesy-sounding dudes sing bluesy-sounding songs. It touches their soul or something.


Daft Punk - Alive
Not that you have to be a geek to like Daft Punk, just that geeks almost definitely do like Daft Punk. Anyway, Alive is an absolutely incredible live (duh) album from these French agoraphobes that anyone who likes Daft Punk even a little bit would probably pee themselves listening to. I'm not a geek (duh), but I definitely want this one for Christmas. Hi Mum!

Really Really Pretentious People:

Sigur Ros - Heima
Really really pretentious people are more apt than the average bear to like Sigur Ros. One can conclude, then, that really really pretentious people are more apt than the average bear to want this super-special DVD recording of various free concerts Sigur Ros played in Iceland in 2006. Whatever floats your boat and finds your lost remote, guys.

Teenage Girls:

Band of Horses - Everything All The Time
Unfortunately for the world, the whole emo thing hasn't really gone out of style with the teenage girls yet. Fortunately for teenage girls, Band of Horses is still doing the whole emo thing. I chose 2006's Everything All the Time over 2007's Cease to Begin because Cease to Begin is like Everything All The Time only not as good. Plus I feel that all teenage girls really just want to subject horny teenage boys to "The Funeral" and then ask them how it makes them feel.**

Teenage Boys:

The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
Point #1: Teenage boys have a higher tolerance for hardcore than the general population. The Blood Brothers are a way for them to piss off their parents while actually listening to good music.
Point #2: It may seem cruel to give these boys an album by a band that no longer exists, but if there's anybody who's going to go on to bigger and better things, it's the dudes from the Blood Brothers. And, as teenage boys sometimes grow into cool people, they will be better able to appreciate these bigger and better things if they know where they came from.

Emo Kids:

Rivers Cuomo - Alone
Sure, it'll be late (the release date is January 8th), but that will just give your beloved emo kid another reason to be emo. Emo kids love that stuff. They also love Weezer (though nearly always specify OLD Weezer). Thus, they will definitely love this undoubtedly super-emo release from the king of emo himself, Weezer front-man Rivers Cuomo. I mean really, what could be a more emo album title than "Alone?" Alone is what emo kids are (possibly because they're so infuriatingly emo), so they'll definitely love this album.


Bob Marley and the Wailers - Exodus (30th Anniversary Edition)
I'm not sure if you're familiar with the clothing store Roots, but up here in Canada, it's like the best store ever... for tourists (and expats). I used to work there. Anyway, the owners (who are American), spent some time dodging the Vietnam draft down in Jamaica before they came up to Canada instead (I think they heard the pot was better). As a result, the playlist in the stores consists of A LOT of reggae. As a result, I do now and forever will hate reggae. Sorry, reggae. I know it's not your fault, but I just can't listen to you ever again without getting irrationally angry. But there are people who can, and for those people this is a pretty great album.

People With No Taste In Music:

Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala
Possibly I'm going to be torn a new asshole for recommending Jens Lekman to people with no taste in music, but I just think his music sucks. His lyrics are great though. This album is definitely for people who are really into lyrics. That's my justification.


Sufjan Stevens - Songs for Christmas
I can't think of anyone making really good music today who is more kid-friendly than Sufjan Stevens. And really, there's no reason kids can't learn to love good music at an early age. You COULD get them the Spice Girls Greatest Hits album, but you'd be running the risk that they, like me, would still fall victim to the Spice Girls' brilliant marketing schemes at age 20. Don't be like me, kids! Like good music!


Pink Floyd - Oh, By The Way
You'd have to really love this person/be ridiculously wealthy/go in together on this gift with 19 of this person's closest friends to pay $270 for their Christmas gift, but I can't think of a music collector who wouldn't want a boxed set of ALL of Pink Floyd's albums ever, packaged as mini replicas of their records right down to the tiny album sleeves. That's just really cool.

People Whose Taste In Music Transcends What Others Tell Them Is Cool:

U2 - The Joshua Tree Deluxe Edition
For those people willing to admit that U2 was once a great band (despite the obvious fact that they no longer are), The Joshua Tree Deluxe edition is pretty much the best gift ever. Because (duh) The Joshua Tree is pretty much the best album ever. You can't say that in public without running a serious risk of being punched in the face. Anyway, this two disc edition of the BEST ALBUM EVER features all sorts of b-sides and liner notes and anything a fan of THE BEST ALBUM EVER could want. I'll be locking my doors tonight.***

So that's it, guys. Happy Shopping!


* - When I say I came up with this idea, what I mean is my mum emailed me to suggest I do a Christmas Wishlist for my blog.
** - Answer: horny. Everything makes teenage boys feel horny. This is a scientific fact.
*** - Yes, mum. I lock my doors EVERY night.


Interview: The Last Dinosaur (FEAT. CAPITAL LETTERS)

Welcome, friends, to a very special update of this very special blog. Today marks a momentous occasion in the history of Pretending to be Japanese. A very lovely couple of blokes, Jamie Cameron and Luke Hayden (better known as The Last Dinosaur), agreed to let me interview them, in what turned out to be an interview cherry-popping for all of us. Surprisingly, it went quite well.

So, without further delay, The Interview:

Jocelyn: It seems like you guys have a lot of projects going on musically. How did The Last Dinosaur start? What sets it apart from the other things you're doing?

Jamie: Basically, Luke and I met at college (when we were 17) and have been friends ever since. I'd been recording my own songs since i was 16 by myself. We got in a band together at college but didn't actually write or record together for a while.

I started another band called Since I Was A Little Girl which attracted a small label from the UK. We agreed to release a CD in 2003, but we were in a bad car accident and James (my friend, the other guy in the band) passed away. We still released the CD though and I had a good relationship with the guy who owned the label.

Luke and I were still friends throughout all of this and eventually we started to record a mix of guitar and piano with a friend rapping over the top and the same label wanted to release our EP. That band was called Lostboy, which sort of fizzled out and there was a while where I was just recording on my own, but randomly one day late last year we decided to record something together late at night. That became the beginning of "The First Last Dinosaur Song."

And then it seemed to fall into place, and we didn't understand why we hadn't recorded together properly before! So, we would meet up and stay up late into the night when the magic seemed to be there and just record whatever we came up with. It's different from the other things we do because of what inspires it and how we approach it I think.

Jocelyn: So is that what you mean when you call Luke your "musical life partner?"

Jamie: Yeah. That's because he's always been there throughout what I've been doing and now I can't imagine doing anything in the future without him being involved somehow.

Jocelyn: How did you come up with "The Last Dinosaur" as your name?

Luke: Luke.

Jamie: Which is sort of true. When we were coming up with a name Luke randomly said "The Last Dinosaur," which he decided would be better as "Our Last Dinosaur," which became "Your Last Dinosaur." This carried on for a while until I suggested the first idea was the best (which is usually the case).

We both loved Denver The Last Dinosaur when we were younger. I guess, strange as it might sound, the name reflects certain feelings I'd have when I was younger and trying to relive those feelings that have been lost due to age.

Jocelyn: When you were kids, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Luke: I wanted to be a Thundercat.

Jamie: Did you actually?

Luke: Yeah, I had the sword. But it turns out I'm actually He-Man.

Jamie: I wanted to be a musician, which is sort of painfully boring and obvious compared to Luke's answer.

Jocelyn: You've done a better job of realizing your goal though.

Jamie: Ahah! Yes!

Jocelyn: So where do you see yourselves in five years?

Luke: Uh... I dunno... I guess... 27.

Jamie: Five years? Wow that's so far away, I wouldn't even like to hazard a guess. But there will definitely be a lot of music involved. As long as I can carry on doing music and not have to work a job that makes me horribly depressed then I'll be happy.

Jocelyn: What's your favourite Last Dinosaur song?

Luke: I have a real problem picking favourites. I like "The Song Playing At The End Of The Film Of My Life." I've listened to that the most probably, but I'm too indecisive to pick!"

Jamie: It's really hard for me too, "Home" is such a personal subject for me, but then there's "The First Last Dinosaur Song," which has a sax solo by our friend James Slade which just blows me away every time I hear it.

They were each born from such different situations and thoughts that I guess it depends on the feeling I had at the time. I think perhaps if I had to choose it would be "Home" for me though, just because I put so much into it.

Jocelyn: When you're not playing music, what do you do?

Jamie: Luke works for his dad and gets paid a lot and I work for Blockbuster and get paid very little.

Luke: PS3. I skateboard. I love my movies too. I love Donnie Darko. Not the movie, just him. Although, I do love the movie.

Jocelyn: The movie would have been better if they'd use the original version of "Mad World" instead of that sappy cover. Imagine looking at Donnie's destroyed room/dead body while listening to straight up new wave.

Jamie: Yeah, we love Tears for Fears, so agreed. And the way they used "Head Over Heels" in that film is amazing. I used to listen to that song a lot when I was younger. On a stolen mix cassette that my dad made my sister for her 10th birthday.

Some 80's bands are amazing, despite the popular opinion that they are all rubbish (except from the hipsters). Talk Talk and The Blue Nile are two of my favourite bands. Talk Talk especially. For Me, no band inspires what The Last Dinosaur do as much as Talk Talk.

Jocelyn: How do you feel about Gwen Stefani covering "It's My Life?"

Jamie: I really ony listen to the latter three Talk Talk albums, so I never felt protective over the earlier stuff.

Jocelyn: Well, you already possibly said two of them, but I wanted to know what your top five favourite bands of all time are.

Luke: Inlets, Sparklehorse, The Constantines, Elliott Smith, Kidsaredead.

Jamie: I couldn't possibly pick a top five, because I'm a geek, but here are a few people I love: Inlets, Sparklehorse, The Constantines, Kidsaredead, Broken Social Scene, Karl Blau, Atronauti, The Tupolev Ghost, Jenny Hall, Animal Collective, The Delgados, Explosions in the Sky, David Crosby, Stina Nordenstam, Savath & Savalas, Jim O'Rourke...

I could go on forever probably, so it's better I stop now!

...Jeniferever! We forgot them! We love them!

Jocelyn: Well, I think that's it. Unless you guys have anything else you'd like to say.

Jamie: Yes! Please draw us a dinosaur, befriend us on Myspace, and watch our pretty video!

Thus ends our first interview. As a special gift to you, my loyal readers, Jamie sent me "Home" in mp3 form. Here it is, available for your listening/downloading pleasure.

Good luck with the dinosaur drawings!



RIP: bands who are no longer with us

i was going to do an update on deerhunter, but they decided to go on "hiatus" (sounds like a break-up to me). so in honour of their departure from the world (as of yesterday), i have decided to do a very special update on great bands who are no longer with us. starting, of course, with the offending party themselves.

for those of you who are familiar with deerhunter, the break-up (excuse me, "hiatus") can come as no surprise, seeing as they're all crazy. evidence follows:

1. they kicked out their first drummer, dan walton
2. their first bassist, justin bosworth, was a heroine addict, got clean, then promptly died of a head injury while skateboarding
3. at a recording session in new york, deerhunter actually managed to accomplish nothing due to their lead singer, Bradford Cox's "mental and physical state at the time" and disagreements with their engineer
4. in august of 2007, they parted ways with guitarist Colin Mee because he didn't show up to some shows
5. they like to post things like porn and descriptions of poop on their blog

despite this (or perhaps because of it), deerhunter was a pretty great band and they will be sorely missed. not that they won't be back, of course. i mean, it's just a "hiatus" after all.

next on the list is the blood brothers, whose death i am still mourning. the blood brothers, at least, had a legitimate reason to part ways. the band formed when the members were still in high school and stayed in existance for 10 years. while i am devastated at their departure, i think if they had stayed together any longer it would have been the equivalent of marrying your highschool sweetheart, which is just wrong. that said, they are sorely missed as they were possibly the only hardcore band i could ever have liked and they lent the genre some much-needed talent.

now for something a little older, my favourite no longer existant band, neutral milk hotel. formed in the early 90's, these guys are pretty much the reason the independent music scene is what it is today. they made it all the way to 1998 and then went on an indefinite "hiatus" (see what i mean?). to make matters worse, jeff magnum himself pretty much disappeared after doing his last live show in new zealand in 2001. he now lives in a cave or something with osama bin laden and doesn't see fit to grace the world with his presence. it's really too bad the great ones are all crazy.

and now for something completely different, let's talk about ugly casanova. no, they haven't officially broken up (although i'm not sure they ever officially existed either), but as they'll probably never make another record, i feel safe talking about them in this update. for those of you who don't know, ugly casanova features edgar graham (aka isaac brock from modest mouse pulling an andy kaufman). isaac brock, it seems, made up an alter-ego for himself, formed a side-project, signed a record contract (with sub-pop), released an album and promptly got in deep shit with the record company with which he was already signed (epic). thus the likelyhood of another album from these guys, who are like modest mouse only sillier, is slim to nil. i think we can safely say RIP, ugly casanova, you were highly entertaining while you lasted.

the unicorns. they were born unicorns and they died unicorns. this adorable band lead a short life (2000 to 2004), but what more can you expect from a band that is little more than a novelty act? they missed the ark, i suppose, which is really too bad because they were funny and cute in a way that nobody is anymore. the good news (sort of) is that the members are still active (sort of) in other projects (sort of). at least they haven't pulled a jeff magnum and dropped off the face of the earth. still, we can all mourn the death of this endangered species.

and that's it, i suppose. for your listening pleasure i have compiled a playlist featuring songs by these five bands. and try not to be too sad, guys. it's not like the death of these great bands means you can't listen to their music anymore. i mean, if that were true, classic rock fans would be super SOL.


album review: strawberry jam by animal collective

once upon a time (the summer of 2006) my friend will robinson, who was already responsible for introducing me to of montreal, made me a mix cd. this mix cd was the best mix cd in the world, featuring such bands as wolf parade, devotchka, built to spill, tilly and the wall, the blood brothers, and various other bands i now adore (actually, we can pretty much give will credit for the crazy music lover i am today). the best song on this wonderful mix, however, was a little ditty called "we tigers" by animal collective.

free music

from this point on, i was hooked. i downloaded every animal collective song i could get my hands on, bought their album feels and played it almost constantly (much to the dismay of my roommate at the time), and checked their concert listings pretty much daily to see when and if they would get their asses to vancouver. there was actually a point where i was trying to convince my parents to fly me back to chicago to see them there. strangely, they didn't go for it.

i finally got a chance to see them this fall, which was phenomenal, but that's not what i'm here to talk about. i'm here to talk about strawberry jam, which is probably their best album ever, and i DON'T use that term lightly.

animal collective (avey tare, panda bear, geologist, and deakin) started out as one of those bands that existed, i suspect, for their own amusement. their music, while good, was difficult to listen to at best. by the time they made it to feels they had discovered a little thing i like to call melody, which worked out well for them. then, in september 2007, they released strawberry jam, which is so melodic it's almost poppy (you know, for animal collective). they've managed to create an album that is easy to listen to and nothing short of delightful without losing any of their character or weirdness. it's quite an achievement.

normally when discussing an album, i would pick a couple of tracks that i thought were really better than the rest. this time, i can't do it. "for reverend green" is my favourite, but really the entire album is so good that there's really no point in me choosing tracks for you. you should choose them for yourself.

free music

after seeing them live, i remember despairing that there weren't more bands like animal collective in the world. that, actually was what sent me on the music discovery track i've been on recently. i haven't found any bands like animal collective, but i have found great music, and perhaps it's better that way. nobody i know is like these guys and if they were, it wouldn't be as good.

animal collective, keep up the good work. and panda bear, please marry me.

that is all.



artist spotlight: the apples in stereo

they're fun! they're formulaic! they're... the apples in stereo!

but one has to ask, why are they the apples in stereo? what made them feel that the plethora of '60s-esque pop available these days to music listeners was not enough? why, apples in stereo, why?

sure, they're by no means a bad band. they know how to play their instruments, they know how to write a catchy melody... what they don't know, however, is how to be creative. with so many artists these days doing their own thing, the apples in stereo decided to break from the norm and create something so wholly unoriginal it's really no wonder that in their fifteen years of existence they've never achieved mainstream success, even with such career highlights as contributing to the powerpuff girls soundtrack.

their february 2007 release, new magnetic wonder (available in its entirety for your listening... pleasure? on the band's official website) is more of the same. one might assume that with five years between new magnetic wonder and their former most recent album, velocity of sound, the apples in stereo might have had enough time to think of something new. this is clearly not the case.

it's difficult for me to listen to such music coming from artists who are so obviously capable of more. apples in stereo, i believe in you. may i suggest dropping some acid, picking up your instruments, and playing all your old songs while totally high off your asses? record that. i guarantee it would be a better album.


who do you think you are?

until recently (today), it has been the policy of this blog to discuss musicians/musical artists. this seems unfair to me. there are talentless hacks out there who are not getting the attention they deserve within this blog. it is for this reason i would like to discuss my favourite bunch of talentless hacks, the spice girls.

they can't sing, they can't dance, and they certainly can't act, but i was a ten year old girl living in the UK when they rose to fame. thus, the spice girls will be in my heart until the end of time. viva forever.

as a special nod to me and my love for them, the spice girls opened their world tour here in vancouver on december 2nd, 2007. as a special nod to me and my love for them, my aunt bought me an ourageously expensive ticket and i was there. i almost got trampled to death in the merch line (it was like a mosh pit only scarier), i saw a man in a union jack dress and go-go boots, and i heard the sound of 20,000 drunk girls about my age (the other 8,000 in attendance were a couple of kids and a bunch of gay men) screaming their heads off for the greatest band of all time (i use that term loosely).

the concert opened with a video of some spice-like girl children playing dress up. blah blah blah. bring on the spice girls. the audience was possibly about to explode by the time they came out. the build-up was unbelieveable.

then, there they were (in their fabulous roberto cavalli costumes). rising up from the floor, my spice girls. singing (i use that term loosely), "spice up your life." i'm not kidding, i started crying. racing through my mind was, "i wish i could go back in time and tell my 10 year old self about this!"

the girls continued with "stop" and "say you'll be there," with 28,000 mostly female people screaming along. it was pretty great. then they sang one of their new songs ("headlines") so we could all give our lungs a rest.

the concert was pretty all over the place from there. it was great and exciting and bright and loud, but there was sort of a lull between the opening and the encore. it's worth mentioning, however, that each of the girls had a little solo act, starting with posh. as she is the least talented of all of them, she did not sing during her act and simply walked around the stage and struck poses. actually, that's what she did throughout the entire concert. it was pretty funny.

the next act was scary, who did an s&m themed rendition of lenny kravitz's "are you gonna go my way?" featuring a very long whip. then baby performed her song "maybe," and it was back to the classics with "viva forever" (my favourite spice girls song ever. as decided when i was 12). for those of you who don't know, this was their last single before ginger (my favourite spice girl) jumped ship and therefore gave me no cause to care about the spice girls anymore. at the end of the song, she sank into the floor and the other four were left to perform one of their songs from after gerri left, "holler." this was pretty funny as well.

then, for gerri's triumphant return, she walked out and performed "it's raining men" in what was basically a bright red one-piece swim suit with a big white belt and some white go-go boots. it was fantastic. then for the dramatic anti-climax, sporty performed her solo "hit," "i turn to you."

after that there were a few more songs, a crazy medley of tacky 70's songs, and the girls performed "goodbye" and left us to wait about four seconds for the encore.

five seconds later, in new outfits of course (there were a lot of costume changes. at one point ginger was in an incredibly sparkly version of her union jack dress. it was great) the girls were back singing "if u can't dance." for those of you gentle readers who are familiar with the spice girls, you may have noticed that "wannabe" had yet to be performed at this point. so did the girls, in their incredibly scripted onstage banter. "i feel like we've forgotten something," said scary.

they all pondered this and then broke in to "wannabe" to which i replied "it's about damn time" (actually, i replied "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! SPICE GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRLS! WANNABEEEEEEEEE!!!!!"). oh, it was so good. it was so so good. i almost died. it was so good. then an alternative version of "spice up your life" and they were gone.

i can't think of anything redeeming about the spice girls. they exist to make money, not music. few of them actually even understand music (i except mel b and possibly mel c from this, but only somewhat). they exploited a generation of little girls with their shitty albums and their shitty merchandise.

but dammit, i love them. they exploited me then and they exploited me again ($75 for a t-shirt and a pack of buttons?!) and they can exploit me any damn time they want. girl power.



artist spotlight: fujiya & miyagi

lest you get the wrong impression, allow me to state once and for all that while i have been recently excited about certain folk and folk-like artists, this is not my preferred genre of music. until recently i was of the camp that if there's no synthesizer involved, the music isn't worth my time. while i have been proven very wrong, i still loves me some synth.

hence today's featured artist, fujiya & miyagi. these guys know their way around a synth, and for that i love them. it's worth noting, too, that the name for this blog comes from their song "photocopier."

f & m formed in Brighton, UK in 2000. drawn together by a mutual love of "early nineties electronica" and wrestling, steve lewis (fujiya) and david best (miyagi) ventured forward into the realm of musical obscurity. it wasn't until 2005, with the addition of matt hainsby (&) that the band really started to take off. with their 2006 release, transparent things, they catapulted themselves into the public eye and into my heart.

transparent things is smooth and enjoyable, with songs that are well-constructed, catchy, and often quite funny. the record opens with "ankle injuries," which is enough to make anyone a fan. the rest of the album doesn't disappoint. even with stand-out tracks, such as "collarbone" and "in one ear and out the other," there is no filler. it's honestly a good, solid album from start to finish.

free music

the video for "ankle injuries" too, is nothing short of cool. it's exciting to see a video that is truly original, while being so distinctively british (it's reminiscent, i think, of the video for "move your feet" by junior senior).

in october, i saw these guys live at (the soon to be torn down) richards on richards. i was concerned that they wouldn't live up to the idea i had of them, as i had seen live videos of them on youtube and was less than impressed. their performance was, however, enchanting and delightful. though the turnout was small, the energy in the croud was palpable, and the energy on stage was contagious. they delivered a brilliant performance, delivered me the set list, and went on their merry way.

there are better bands in the world. there are more talented musicians. still, it is refreshing to see a group who puts such care into the construction of their music, and the effort shows in the end result. i truly look forward to hearing more from these guys in the future.

over and out.


album review: smokey rolls down thunder canyon by devendra banhart

it may seem to you, gentle readers, that devendra banhart is all i talk about. you're pretty much correct, but there is reason beyond his attractiveness.

you see, devendra banhart is truly a unique voice in modern music. unlike so many of his contemporaries, he doesn't seem to be trying to be anyone else. he is simply himself (himself being a hippie child on acid, more or less). in this goal, he succeeds admirably, particularly in smokey rolls down thunder canyon which is, for lack of a better word, pretty fucking great (ok, that's three words. whatever).

there are those who have criticized this album for being too all over the place (you know who you are, pitchfork). these are the same people who criticized cripple crow for being too long. i understand that, as an actual music journalist, one may be trying to get through an album in order to review it. but i also know, as a lover of music, that 22 songs is not so much too long as getting your damn money's worth. raise your hand if you're tired of paying $16.99 for 12 songs. that's what i thought.

anyway, back to smokey. all over the place? maybe. but then, that's devendra. if you've ever seen/heard/read him interviewed, you'd realize that hippie children on acid don't really have the attention span to stay on one subject for too long. this could be seen as a character flaw, but in devendra banhart's case, it's actually quite refreshing. he's branched out from his much-loathed "freak folk" niche to create a truly international album. from what i can tell, there are at least three languages used in his songs. not to mention a gospel choir (or part of one, anyway).

to talk about the songs individually would only detract from the work of art this album is (particularly the special edition, featuring a book of drawings, photographs, and lyrics). despite the variety, there is a certain flow to the album. the connection is there, for those willing to listen well enough to hear it. this is not an album of background music.

for your listening pleasure, here is smokey rolls down thunder canyon in its entirety. deezer, i cannot thank you enough.

free music

enjoy, my friends. you won't be disappointed.