Month: March 2017

2017, Music

At the Drive-In Live at Rebel, Toronto, March 29, 2017

When I was young, band reunions were thought of as really awful: just a bunch of washed up musicians trying to make money. But times have changed: reunions are now viewed as normal and often something to be cherished. I think I’ve changed too, I’ve grown up a bit. When I was young, I had …

1949, 1950, 1955

Subconcious-Lee (1955) by Lee Konitz

Because it was released half a decade after it was recorded, this album’s revolutionary status gets overlooked or ignored. Instead it’s Birth of the Cool this and Miles Davis’ Nonet that. And that praise is deserved. Those sides went a long way to establishing cool jazz, but this band was doing remarkably similar things at …

1992, Music

Honey’s Dead (1992) by The Jesus and Mary Chain

I should never read anything before I listen to a record, especially a record by a band I don’t love. I heard why they called it Honey’s Dead and suddenly my head was filled of dreams of reinvention. But no, it’s still very obviously The Jesus and Mary Chain. Only this time they’ve gone Madchester …

1992, Music

Going Blank Again (1992) by Ride

I thought I was getting shoegaze, and I do.. But there’s a lot of other stuff going on here that isn’t strict shoegaze. One of the things that I don’t love about some shoegaze is the relentless commitment to one particular style. But there’s enough variety here that I’m kept interested. Also, the songs are …

1987, Music

Sign O the Times (1987) by Prince

Someone described this record as Prince’s White Album. This is only the second Prince album I’ve ever heard (I know, I know) but I still think that’s pretty apt. There’s a range of music here that is kind of incredible, especially given how much of the record he made himself.

2017, Music, RIP

RIP Chuck Berry

With guitar-based rock music decidedly out of fashion it is possible – probable? – that many people don’t understand how important Chuck Berry was to the music of the second half of the 20th century. But just because the electric guitar isn’t currently popular doesn’t mean it wasn’t the central vehicle for musical expression of …

2008, Movies

Bronson (2008, Nicholas Winding Refn)

There are probably two types of people: people who think Winding Refn is a genius and people who think he is ponderous, boring and way too interested in style over substance. You can count me among the latter. Despite all the praise over Valhalla Rising and Drive, I found both movies to be flawed. I …

1973, 1983, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, Music

Knussen: Horn Concerto, Whitman Settings, The Way to Castle Yonder, Flourish with Fireworks (1996) by Various Artists

This is a collection of Knussen’s orchestral music.

1967, Music

Mellow Yellow (1967) by Donovan

This feels like a transitional effort for Donovan. On the one hand there’s still some songs that feel like they could have been on Sunshine Superman (though they feel like outtakes to me) on the other and there are some more subdued singer-songwriter things that feel nearly completely at odds with his sort of “Swinging …

1957, Music

Here’s Little Richard (1957)

Little Richard’s debut makes Elvis’ records of the previous year look tame in comparison. Some of this is me listening to the remaster (I must have not listened to remasters of Elvis) but most of it just comes down to Little Richard himself. Though Elvis was far more adventurous in the music he covered (including …

1982, Music

Hex Enduction Hour (1982) by The Fall

There is so much post punk that sounds like other post punk (specifically, like Joy Division) that it can get exhausting. The Fall are one of the few British post punk bands to have charted a truly unique course. This is the earliest record of theirs I’ve heard and so, as far as I’m concerned, …

1982, Music

The Golden Age of Wireless (1982) by Thomas Dolby

I kind of dreaded listening to this record; I don’t love “She Blinded Me with Science” and always thought it was a gimmicky novelty number. So maybe it’s because my expectations were so damn low as to why I really like this.

1977, Music

Trans Europa Express (1977) by Kraftwerk

Electronic pop music already existed (thanks to Kraftwerk) by the time this record came out, but this album still feels like the beginning of something, to my ears. Though a number of the tracks are quite long, (most of) the music feels like it could have made it onto the radio in the 80s at …

1977, Music

The Idiot (1977) by Iggy Pop

Recorded before Low but released afterwards, The Idiot feels in many ways like the missing link between “The Berlin Trilogy” and Station to Station. Though it’s Iggy’s solo debut, it is the least Iggy Pop album he recorded, as far as I know. I do think the criticism that Bowie hijacked Iggy for his own …

1903, Books, Fiction

The Ambassadors (1903) by Henry James

I hate giving up on a book – I just hate it. I have a really strong completist streak in me that has helped me endure through things I’ve really disliked. Since I graduated university I can count the number of books I’ve given up on, on one hand. Usually, it’s non-fiction (such as The …