>CBC and Earth Day!

>Happy Earth Day!

Quite appropriately I’m writing a paper on the environmental relations between Canada and the US. To accompany my painful studies I decided to listen to the CBC Radio program Shift.

It’s really nice to hear three songs in a row that I love and in conjunction with the environment:

Reduce: Eric Clapton’s stripped down “Layla” live unplugged on MTV, however very plugged!
Reuse: Aimee Mann and Michael Penn’s cover of “Two of Us” – I like how Michael Penn is keeping the melody! Aimee’s got the perfect voice to support that.
Recycle: Feist’s reivision tune “Gatekeeper (One room one hour)”

I would also like to take this opportunity to rave about Feist’s album Open Season. I will admit I hated it when it first came out, but since then I have grown to love it – or at least the first five songs through and through. Hereyago:

  1. “One Evening” (Gonzales solo piano)
  2. Inside + Out” (Apostle of Hustle unmix live at the BBC)
  3. Mushaboom” (Mocky mix)
  4. “Gatekeeper” (One Room One Hour mix)
  5. “Lonely Lonely” (Frisbee’d mix)

>Ten Films, Ten Stories, countless songs

>Igby Goes Down
This film started my obsession with Kieran Culkin, which I have long since dropped. I spent a great deal of my high school understanding the complexity of Igby and contemplating how my life could get anywhere as interesting as his. This was also the film that turned me onto Coldplay – as they use “Don’t Panic” in the score. And for some reason they chose to use a Travis cover of “The Weight”… Real version circa 1978 (the Last Waltz)… Check out Levon Helm!

Paranoid Park
I saw this at the film festival three years ago. I insisted to seeing it again at the Royal just to hear Elliott Smith’s “Angeles”. Thank goodness Van Sant is preserving Elliott Smith.

Romeo and Juliet (Baz Luhrmann)
Truth be told I hated this movie when it came out. I was extremely young and I remembered that my brother had seen it with his class for a field trip. Similarly, when I was also in the ninth grade and reading Romeo and Juliet, we watched the Zeffirelli version. We were equally as shocked that a teacher would allow nudity to be shown in class. It’s been nearly fifteen years and when I listen to the Radiohead tune “Talk Show Host” it still gives me the chills.

Year of the Carnivore
I was absolutely elated when I saw this film for a few reasons. First – the opening short shown before the film titled Big Head had the very eerie Andrew Bird tune played throughout it – “A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left.” The film itself’s lead character was named Eugene and they played the Walkmen song “Seven Years of Holidays” right at the end, very appropriately.

In Good Company
I watched this movie at least two times through without taking notice to the song “The Trapeze Swinger” by Iron and Wine. I knew well enough that Iron and Wine was used throughout but only until I bought the soundtrack in a sale bin at my work did I come across the beautiful marathon of a song.

The Hottest State
I had so much hype built up before I actually saw this film. I had come across the soundtrack about a year or so before I actually watched it. Upon seeing the film, I was sorely let down. The film written and directed (and likely produced) by Ethan Hawk. Hawk also wrote the book too. I still however think this is a beautifully assembled mixed CD. It was put together by Jesse Harris – all songs written by him and other artists perform the tunes. I especially loved “Somewhere down the road” by Leslie Feist – I had a million song orgasms to the first word that left her mouth in the song.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
There’s a scene where Kate Hudson is making out with Matthew Mccoughney and Rilo Kiley’s “I Never” pops on. I was amazed.

Dan in Real Life
I like Steve Carrel. I know a lot of people don’t but I do. He plays sad characters that make you feel bad for them. This movie made me feel all sorts of things, but my heart really felt the Sondre Lerche score throughout. I love that movies are now doing this – artist driven scores.

Away We Go
As soon as I saw the trailer for this I knew I would adore the film. This was the only DVD in the last five or so years that I have purchased full price. I HAD TO HAVE THIS FILM. I hate that feeling but it came over me and I made sure I watched the film three times afterwards… Although I had already seen it at the cinema. The soundtrack is a mish-mash of really great artists – like the Velvet Underground, George Harrison and eight or nine songs by Alexi Murdoch. I was watching the credits roll by and the couple next to me asked out loud – I wonder who made the music. My heart fluttered with excitement.

The Last Kiss
Before seeing this film I was sure it would be the next Garden State. It wasn’t, but I loved it just the same. Caught in the excitement I had the soundtrack a month or so before the film actually came out…. This strung on a series of wonderful moments I had because of this film. The soundtrack was assembled and hand chosen by Zach Braff, cashing in on his fame after making the beautiful mix in Garden State. The soundtrack for the film has a great mix of contemporary pop and indie artists. I particularly was moved towards the Schuyler Fisk (Sissy Spacek’s daughter and Christie from the Baby Sitters Club) and Joshua Radin song “Paperweight”. I eventually saw them later at the El Mocambo – they’ve since broke up – sad to report. What i love about this mix is some songs are fresh fresh others are ten years old. Brilliant. I however was significantly less impressed in not hearing all of the songs in the film… The horrible mess of having “tunes inspired by…” yikes.

plus one: The Virgin Suicides
This movie meant so much to me. So did the songs in it. Everytime I put the soundtrack in (the non-Air one)…. I feel like i’ve been transported to the ’70s, I feel cool.

plus two: A Gun to the Head
I had the opportunity to write a TIFF blog for Canadian screenings in 2009. A Gun to the Head was a film I had to write about – Blaine Thurrier of the New Pornographer’s new film. I loved hearing Okkervil River’s “For Real” in a scene. I don’t know a song that packs more emotion than taht song.

plus three: Cole
A Canadian film I hope gets some serious release at least in Toronto. Throughout the entire film I was using my iphone to check which songs were playing by the artists I knew… Jason Collett, Great Lake Swimmers, Chad VanGaalen – a truly Canadian score.

>The Tallest Man on Earth with Nurses at the El Mocambo; Saturday April 18, 2010.

>I stumbled in on the second last song of Nurses. They were full of energy and were having fun with what they were doing. It was super difficult to see what was going on because the place was packed. I gathered from their myspace page that they are a quirky three piece from Portland, Oregon. I’d be interested in seeing them again.

Kristian Matsson took the stage around eleven. I had a really crummy view standing about ten rows back, but I didn’t really care to see. I felt I was too close, because Matsson’s voice amplified is almost too much. He’s the type of artist that i’d like to see unplugged. I have never heard a voice like his before that comes effortlessly. It however sounds nothing like his speaking voice. By the end of the show he started to chit chat with the audience and I couldn’t hear what he was saying at hte back of the venue. I however had no problem hearing his very well-projected voice in song.

Matsson plays with only an acoustic guitar. It was something to see because he really lights up a room with his music. I can’t help but think of the different tone he let off compared to Rocky Votolato at the Drake. Matsson is a tremendously strong lyricist, Votolato slips into the typical, I love you, I miss you, don’t leave framework. Votolato is simple, where as Matsson challenges things both musically and lyrically. Matsson traverses the stage while Votolato stands frozen still in the middle of the stage.

Matsson would often finish a song pacing from one side of the stage to another, which really threw me off because he did none of that at his NPR’s Tiny Desk Show. However, much like his tiny desk show he played his three best songs clunked together. Starting with “I Won’t Be Found,” followed by “The Gardener” and two songs later “Pistol Dreams.” The guitar intro for “Pistol Dreams” is absolutely lovely, he plays it well in the NPR video, you’ll feel like you were there with me. It has a bluesy sound to it.

I was amazed by how many people knew of Matsson and were familiar with the words. Matsson often pulled away from the mic and let the audience fill in his words.

>Sondre Lerche’s ‘Phantom Punch’

>When this album came out in 2007, I immediately fell in love. With the art work, with the lyrics on the inside, with the music on the CD. When I saw him live in early April 2007, I fell in love with this album. This album for me, is a core shaker because it is extremely rare that you truly love an album through and through… With the exception of one song – “Phantom Punch,” an overly upbeat tune that touches on too many grounds.

What kills me is how overly produced this album is. It has been cut to perfection, and for some odd reason that’s completely fine with me.

>So aside from a few cds I bought at a show a week or so back, I bought my first two new records of the year (I think…).

The big choice was Bahamas – Pink Strat and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang – The Wonder Show of the World.
I really, really love the Bahamas album. I was holding off buying it since I heard Jason Collett’s podcast for CBC Radio 3 back in November of last year. Collett played the song “Hockey Teeth” and I couldn’t get enough. I’m absolutely charmed by Afie Jurvanen, who exposes all on the front of his album featuring his real name, date of birth, height and weight. I don’t know a single woman who would want to give all of that away in one picture.

This album is perfect through and through.

>Elliott Smith Pt.1

>I don’t think too much about Elliott Smith, but I sure do listen to his music a lot. I think my lack of thought for the man is because I got into him a year or so after his death. When listening to his material – I know he’s not around, I know he’s not touring … So I just enjoy it for what it is, really great music.

This very second I am listening to “Whatever (Folk Song In C)”. It was released on his collection of b-sides titled New Moon. I feel like I bought this album forever ago. I think it was released in 2006, after From a Basement on a Hill.

From a Basement was the first Elliott Smith album I listened to. It was on a listening post at my old work – he had a little tab describing who he was and why this album was worth buying. It’s sort of ironic that such a wallflower like Elliott Smith would appear on a rave listening rack. I’m not sure if it helped him in sales at all, but he definitely got me.

This album is absolutely flawless, it’s lush like Figure 8 before it, but it’s minimal when it needs to be. It takes a step further from the Beatles sound that he mastered before and moved into something out of his niche. He touches on weird sounds and builds up in the tune “King’s Crossing” but still maintains clever piano noodles in “A Distorted Reality is Now a Necessity to Be Free”.

This isn’t enough to say about this album, be prepared for another blurb about it soon. Stay tuned!