Langkow trade

Categories: 2011, Hockey, and Sports.

Though I understand the Langkow trade is a salary dump, and though I understand he has injury woes now, I still worry about this for the Flames for the very simple reason that a healthy Damon Langkow (even one in his mid 30s) is a much better player than a healthy Stempniak. But when you have cap trouble, what can you do? Read More

Holy Wood by Marilyn Manson (2000 Nothing)

Categories: 2000 and Music.

This is definitely rawer than Mechanical Animals and so it’s easier to take. But there are more ballads, a disturbing trend. And his lyrics are getting worse and worse (or maybe the music is becoming less interesting and I am paying too much attention to the lyrics). But I still prefer it to Mechanical Animals and everything else post-Antichrist Superstar. 6/10 Read More

Eat Me, Drink Me by Marilyn Manson (2007 Interscope)

Categories: 2007 and Music.

So I guess this is sort of a solo album since apparently there is no band any more. The guitarist is actually pretty good. It’s too bad he writes music that sounds like HIM gone new new wave. This is one of the more crass attempts I have seen to change up a sound to stay commercially relevant. It is pretty terrible except for that guitarist. He fucking sings about vampires. Jesus. 3/10 Read More

The Golden Age of the Grotesque (Nothing 2003) by Marilyn Manson

Categories: 2003 and Music.

When an artist resorts to cheerleaders its hard to know what to think. Occasionally it can work and be funny. Most of the time it is ridiculous. The same might be said for nonsense lyrics. If you are going to scat, you should be able to sing. Singing was never Manson’s strength but he used to be able to overcome that with a least somewhat interesting music. I have seen “Freaks” too, but I don’t feel the need to sing about it. 5/10 Read More

The Campaign to Fire Brian Burke: Matt Lashoff for Alex Berry and Stefano Giliati

Categories: 2011, Hockey, Sports, and The Campaign to Fire Brian Burke.

Leafs acquire Matt Lashoff for Alex Berry and Stefano Giliati Here we have an insignificant trade that still tells us wonders about the thinking going on in the Leafs’ “brain trust.” Lashoff was a first round pick… in 2005. Since then he has been a depth defenceman for the Bruins and Lightning, never playing more than 18 games in a season and spending most of his time in the AHL. In the AHL he has been… inconsistent to say the least (last year with the Marlies: 28 points and +4 in 69 games, the year before in Norfolk – the Read More

The Campaign to Fire Brian Burke: Clarke MacAthur

Categories: 2011, Hockey, Sports, and The Campaign to Fire Brian Burke.

As I said last year, signing MacArthur was a great risk. The contract was low, because MacArthur had just won an arbitration award which was then declined. He had everything to prove as he had come in to the NHL after a pretty great WJC but then amounted to not all the much with the Sabres and then the Thrashers. It was a win-win as the Leafs got a potential top 6 forward on the cheap and MacArthur pretty much knew he was finally going to get the opportunity to play top 6 minutes in a year which he had Read More

Mooniture by Anna Atkinson (2011)

Categories: 2011 and Music.

Atkinson is like a less-quirky, far more accessible, Canadian Joanna Newsom, at least the early Joanna Newsom. Her voice is a lot more traditional, but there is a similar sense of humour and ear for melody on sometimes nontraditional folk instruments. Her songs are decent and the instrumentation makes them far more interesting. The only problem really is the length: this is almost an EP. 7/10 Read More

The Larry Sanders Show

Categories: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and TV.

Having recently (re)watched The Larry Sanders Show: I think The Larry Sanders Show is one of the great American television programs and one of the great comedy programs of all time. Though it was certainly not the first TV show to parody TV, nor was it the first show to be about talk shows, it was the first laugh-track-less American comedy I know of (setting the stage for the numerous laugh-track-less comedies we have now) and it was about as dark and outrageous as anything then on television. The acting is so good that you sort of forget it’s a Read More

Portrait of an American Family by Marilyn Manson (Interscope 1994)

Categories: 1994 and Music.

Manson is often compared to Cooper but listening to this album I think that’s not particularly fair. Manson is significantly scarier than Cooper (even if he isn’t scary) but, more importantly, the band is more musically interesting than Cooper’s. Cooper was just doing arena rock with a spooky stage show. Here, at least, the music (and the vocals) sound vaguely spooky too. In fact, at some points the guitarist sounds like he’s channeling a poor man’s Adrian Belew, which is at least interesting, if nothing else. So yeah I was pleasantly surprised by the overall musicality of this and the Read More

Smells Like Children by Marilyn Manson (Nothing 1995)

Categories: 1995 and Music.

First of all, this is not an “EP” though it is regarded by many (fortunately not Rateyourmusic) as such. EPs were specific things back in the days of vinyl and they had less time than a LP. I wish this was an EP. It might actually be good if it was an actual EP. But it’s not. Instead it is a mix of three or four separate things: some remixes (which are inferior to – and seemingly longer than – the original songs in most of the cases), a bunch of covers (most of which are good and one of Read More

Genius: the Ultimate Collection by Ray Charles (Concord 2009)

Categories: 2009 and Music.

Ray Charles was a very important musician in the history of soul music but you don’t really get that here. Instead you get many of his hits, some of which are in an altogether different genre (which is fine). But it’s really hard to tell he’s a great innovator from this selection. He sounds rather old-timey actually. Certainly it does a poor job of living up to its title. I’m sure there are better compilations out there. 7/10 Read More

Mr. Tambourine Man by the Byrds (Columbia, 1965)

Categories: 1965 and Music.

Mr. Tambourine man isn’t really the first folk rock album ever – as the Beatles had been dabbling in somewhat similar sounds on their past two albums and Dylan had done the same on his last – and it’s not the greatest ever – that could go to other Byrds albums or some Fairport Convention records – but it is the most important, and as such, it is great in its influence, if not quite in its actual content. The term was coined for this album (even if the style of music already existed). The album launched the brief folk Read More

Telephone Free Landslide Victory by Camper Van Beethoven (IRS 1985)

Categories: 1985 and Music.

Imagine Kaleidoscope, if they were ’80s college kids (and so liked the Velvets), had far more interest in ska, far less interest in learning to play foreign instruments, and with a sense of humour, and you maybe sort of get the idea of these guys. The instrumentals tackle a variety of styles but many of them have a vaguely ska-ish feel underlying them (sort of like ska world fusion or something). The songs with lyrics are pretty much all parodies of either contemporary music styles, scenes or subcultures but given enough of an ’80s college radio feel that the album Read More

Invitation Songs by the Cave Singers (Matador 2007)

Categories: 2007 and Music.

So it took me a while to get into this. The lead singer sounds a little bit like he is trying to be a country-ish young Lou Reed (you know, the guy you hear on those early Velvets demos). And the affectation (can I really believe he sound like this when he speaks?) is fucking annoying. Honestly, I wish they had a better singer (or at least a different one). And, at their loudest, which isn’t very loud, they sound like a poor person’s Elliott Brood, but of course since this band is American and Elliott Brood is Canadian, this Read More

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] (Maverick 1998)

Categories: 1998 and Music.

It is befitting of a Tarantino knock off (albeit a very good one) that its soundtrack is also a Tarantino knock off. The problem is that it’s a transparent Tarantino knock off and, more importantly, that it lacks the main quality of most Tarantino soundtracks: the obscurity. Yes, there is some relatively obscure stuff here, but on most Tarantino soundtracks most if not all of the music (save usually for one old-timey radio hit) is obscure. This isn’t the case here. It’s also a little more stylistically coherent which, again, is something that a Tarantino soundtrack usually isn’t. So it’s Read More

Marie Antoinette [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] (Verve 2006)

Categories: 2006 and Music.

I must say, first off, that I did not like this movie. It is one thing to use non-period music for your soundtrack when you are making a film (if the film has some meta quality to it, it makes sense), but when this film is a docudrama, it is hard to justify the decision. I know why she claimed it worked, but it didn’t…in any way. So I must look at this soundtrack as music on its own, otherwise I won’t like it. The first CD is a pretty good mixtape, all things considered, of (mostly) British post-punk / Read More

Fox Confessor Brings the Flood by Neko Case (Mint 2006)

Categories: 2006 and Music.

The songs take some time to grow on you, but this is because they’re not exactly conventional in structure. And the hooks are subtle. I like subtle. Her voice is fantastic and the backing musicians are uniformly good. I haven’t yet come to the point where I would regard this as any kind of masterpiece, but it’s a good album despite its length. 8/10 Read More

Vintage Violence by John Cale (1970 Columbia)

Categories: 1970 and Music.

I like Cale. I think he is often a great lyricist (except on Slow Dazzle, where he is lazy) and I think he was certainly the most musically interesting member of the Velvets. But he is not a great songwriter. He lacks a bit of an ear for melody. The only record of his that I really notice any strong melodies is 1919 (which has become my favourite of his) and even then it took me forever to get into that. I have this problem on everything I hear by him, he just doesn’t write compelling songs to back up Read More

The Music Master by Benny Carter (Proper 2004)

Categories: 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1948, 1952, 2004, and Music.

First, a disclaimer: my library only has the last three discs so I am not reviewing the first disc. Though this music (at least the music on the second and third discs) is not really my thing, I find myself becoming a big admirer of Mr. Carter. He appears to have mastered three separate instruments as whether he is playing sax, trumpet or clarinet one beli3ves they are hearing a definitive soloist of his era. The music on the final disc is slightly more my style and here Carter is more middle of the road as there were so many Read More

Live at Bourbon St. by Lenny Breau (True Noth 1995, recorded 1982)

Categories: 1982 and Music.

This is about as good as it gets for jazz guitar. Though it is fairly traditional (as opposed to anything free) given the era, that doesn’t matter as Breau’s technique is just absolutely amazing. He conquers both fairly traditional ballads and some relatively recent and more forward thinking (’60s) material. He manages to make it sound all of a piece, while constantly amazing with his abilities (like when he plays chords and lead at the same time). Young is no slouch either. Definitely one of the best jazz guitar albums I have ever heard. 10/10 Read More

The 50th Anniversary Collection by James Brown (Polydor 2003)

Categories: 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1988, 2003, and Music.

James Brown’s importance can not be understated. He is on The List of the most important musical figures of the twentieth century (along with Louis Armstrong, the Beatles, Miles Davis, Dylan, Duke Ellington, Schoenberg, Stockhausen, Frank Zappa and maybe a few others). This compilation of his hit singles gives a very good idea of his progression and how he turned gritty soul and R and B into funk and thus got sampled more than any other band leader ever. The one downside is that this compilation of his hit singles is missing one of his biggest hits. Hard to understand that Read More

WIMF: the Wolfe Island Music Festival 2011

Categories: 2011 and Music.

My friend recently noted that the acronym is confusing, making one think of the IMF, so I decided to spell it out. Just putting that out there. This was the 13th edition of the festival but my first. I must say I was unfamiliar with most of the bands, though I knew many of them by name (this is what happens when you read Exclaim! constantly but never actually get around to listening to what’s in the pages). So I welcomed the experience of seeing and hearing new things, even if the music wouldn’t necessarily be straight up my alley. Read More