Tuesday, May 31, 2005

In Harmer's Way

mel

Most of the Tulip Festival concerts that I attended, I was only really interested in seeing one of the acts that hit the stage on a given night. Showing up in time for the opening acts had been either an accident, or just didn't happen. These outdoor concerts had a curfew to deal with (must be off stage by 11:00pm) so they got started pretty early, and someone I'd never heard of playing at 6:00pm was never enough of a draw to get me out of my apartment before the headliners. Saturday, May 21, was the exception.

Wiley and Hay

Local PEI boy, Nathan Wiley, was set to play at 7:00, followed by Jeremy Fisher, then Sarah Harmer. I was very interested in getting to see all three of them, and tried hard to make it to the grounds in time for Wiley. Like so many other nights though, we walked onto the grounds just as he was finishing up his last number. In my defense, it was a pretty short set, but I was disappointed I missed him.

Jeremy Fisher

Jeremy Fisher was up next. His sound is catchy and enjoyable, although lacking originality in many respects. I'd been listening to some of his stuff for a couple months, after a friend had introduced his music to me on a long drive back to Ottawa from Windsor, Ontario in April. The car full of hung-over university students all found his mellow songs enjoyable for passing the time, and I think we probably all fell asleep to it, but that was exactly what we wanted at the time.

He is good at what he does, which is write catchy pop folk songs about how boy meets girl, and how oh-so special that can be, but this type of singer/song writer has become almost dime-a-dozen, with all of the Jack Johnson/John Mayer/Elliot Smith/and so on and so forths out there. You have to be able to do more than just sing cute songs to stand out in this saturated genre. So, yes, I do listen to his stuff on my iTunes, but his live show lacked the passion and originality that it takes to make me really fall for this type of artist and potentially buy their CD. Fisher needs to acquire a little more depth as an artist before he's more than just good music to fall asleep to while hung-over.

Sarah Harmer

Sarah Harmer, meanwhile, is a good example to look to for an example of a folky singer/song writer who sings catchy songs with depth and a unique sound. Since parting ways with Weeping Tile, which over six years later is still being toted as a "break," she's released three solo albums, most recently, All of Our Names. Her song writing is complex, melodic and dripping with emotion. Her voice can demonstrate pain, love, irony, friendship, playfulness -- all to an unmistakable T, and it's absolutely mesmerizing.

On stage Harmer strikes a balance between groovy hippie chick and Canadian folk rock goddess. Her presence is laid back and comfortable, while still full of energy. You get completely swept away in her tunes and it's a fun ride. I remember seeing Weeping Tile play an outdoor festival at the ripe old age of twelve, and absolutely loving Harmer's sound. I bought their CD, Cold Snap, and waiting in line, all bright eyed and inspired, to get it autographed by the band. Eight years later, and given the chance, I'd probably do it again.

Downloads:
Nathan Wiley - High/Low
Nathan Wiley - Patiently Blue
Nathan Wiley - Renegade
Sarah Harmer - Basement Apartment

Related Posts:
Tulips, Tea, and Other Alliterations
Truthfully, Truthfully, a Great Show

When Mel's not busy comparing singing frogs to Elliot Smith, she can be found on her own blog,
"me, myself, and mel"
24 comments

Monday, May 30, 2005

New Music Casey

Casey Dorrell

Last night I undertook an exercise in sheer unadulterated brilliance. I was supposed to go out after work - but having gotten up about 6 hours earlier than I'm used that day and Friday, I was tired. I'll just lie down for a minute and read, I thought, but I won't go to sleep. Then it was almost 12. Brilliant. This did, however, allow me to listen to CBC Radio 3. Below are some of the more interesting groups that were on yesterday.

New Music Casey Logo

People For Audio
Jazz-influenced Instrumental Indie Rock - God Speed! You Black Emperor with more layered less crescendo-reliant song structures, and minus the samples. Reverb-Heavy Jam music for people who hate jam music.

Threat From Outerspace
I know nothing about rap so I'm not going to try to describe this. Except that it's good, and maybe you'll like it.

P:ano
Clever. Polyphonic Spree's less silly and less sincere cousins. Group twee pop harmonies that might put some off.

Enon
One part lesser New Pornographers, one part "len for people too cool to listen to len".

South San Gabriel
When Sufjan Stevens is just folking out too hard, play this group. Somewhat boring folk-rock, but damn pretty.

Chad VanGaalen
Bedroom recording above the rest. The best O.C. band you never heard on the O.C. My favorite of the bunch.

Download:
People For Audio - And This Will Be Our Homecoming
Threat From Outerspace - Walking on the Width of a Blade
P:ano - Light to Love
Enon - Shave
South San Gabriel - The Dark of Garage
Chad VanGaalen - Somewhere, I Know There's Nothing
3 comments

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Shoreline Festival

Geoff Trainor

Emily Haines' Sexy SilhouetteEverywhere I go people on PEI always complain about the music scene here or the lack thereof (Casey note: scene kids will tell you that there's lots of amazing local bands - there are a couple decent ones). You see, we are largely ignored as a potential stop in almost any tour a band does. But recently things have been looking up. This July is no exception.

July 8th, 9th, and 10th are the dates for the Shoreline Festival. Best described by the Shoreline website,

"Aided by wind power from Atlantic Canada's largest wind energy site, The Shoreline Festival is dedicated to the promotion of artists from the East Coast and around the world. Discover the natural beauty of the eastern shore of Prince Edward Island, Canada, and enjoy a weekend of music and art at the beach."

The line-up this year is excellent, including the likes of Metric, Buck 65, Joel Plaskett (see Mel's Plaskett review here), Kid Koala, and more. Which means I will be taking those three days off work . . . hopefully.

Ticket prices range from $55 (Online Only), or $65 (Advance) to $80 (Gate). Children under 10 get in free if accompanied by an adult so I may have to dress up Casey as my child.

Casey In Disguise
Casey disguised as my child - look at his pretty ribbon!

Check back at later dates for more on the Festival and our coverage. For information regarding warm-up shows, check PEILocals.

Download:
Buck 65 - 463 Remix (Streaming)
Metric - Dead Disco (6 Meg Video)
Kid Koala - Like Irregular Chickens
Kid Koala - Roboshuffle
17 comments

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Grohl Avoids Possible Keychain Injury

Geoff Trainor

In Your Honor Album CoverAs previously reported here at Mocking Music, Foo Fighters are releasing a two-disc album on June 13th, entitled In Your Honor. One disc featuring classic Foo Fighters rock, and the other an acoustic album.

To avoid bodily injury while touring, In Your Honor, Dave Grohl has decided that he won't be playing anything from the acoustic album. Instead, he will do a theatre tour featuring the songs from the side of the disc.

"I know that at some point we'll begin touring for the acoustic record. I'd like to play some little theatres with all our additional musicians. Do it live. I want to keep the acoustic stuff separate from the rock, just like they are on the album. The last thing you want to do it whip out an acoustic ballad and get some keychain in the face."
Tonight on Newstation 5...
Tonight: Ex-Nirvana Drummer Attacked While Performing Acoustic Piece.

What does that mean for fans? Well for me, nothing, I wouldn't likely get the chance to see Foo Fighters, period (the last time I had an opportunity to see them was the last time Our Lady Peace put on Summersault. I missed said opportunity). For others, it means having to see two shows to get the entire experience. Of course, that won't bother a lot of fans anyhow.

Download:
Foo Fighters - Best of You (First Single off In Your Honor)
Foo Fighters - Darling Nikki (Prince Cover)

Related Posts:
Grohl Suits Up To Fight Some Republicans
Jonesin' For Some Country
Grohl Suits Up To Fight Some Foo
10 comments

Friday, May 27, 2005

A Short Essay by Mr. Cuomo

Rivers Cuomo

Introduction to this post by Casey: There's been a lot of debate about the new Weezer album since it came out. The split seems to be about 50/50 on whether it's good or not. Of course, half of you are wrong, but I forgive you. Here to set the record straight is our very special guest mocker, Rivers Cuomo. The following is a short essay written by Cuomo upon completion of his Harvard writing course, originally entitled, "Why Make Believe is a Pretty Lousy Album" but it has since been set to music and renamed "Best Friend":

Exploding Robot

When everything is wrong
I come talk to you
you make things alright
when I'm feelin' blue

You are such a blessing
and I won't be messing
with the one thing that brings light
to all my darkness

You're my best friend
and I love you (love you)
and I love you (love you)
yes I do

The is no other one
who can take your place
I feel happy inside
when I see your face

I hope you believe me
'cause I speak sincerely
and I mean it when I tell you
that I need you

You're my best friend
and I love you (love you)
and I love you (love you)
yes I do

I'm here right beside you
I will never leave you
and I feel the pain you feel
when you start crying

You're my best friend
and I love you (love you)
and I love you (love you)
yes I do

You're my best friend
and I love you (love you)
and I love you (love you)
yes I do
yes I do
yes I do


If you're looking for an amusing exercise in imaginative writing and creative liscense read this review of Make Believe. Also if you download "Best Friend" to put in a mix, I suggest you add the equally ingenius song, Graduation, by the lyrical mastermind, Vitamin C.

When Cuomo isn't busy writing essays and touring, he can be found at his own blog, "1480919"

Download:
Weezer - Best Friend (From Make Believe)
Vitamin C - Graduation [Class of 200 Remix] [Instrumental]
Because I feel badly about the above downloads, here's a 30 song live Wilco set:
Wilco - May 20th, 2004

Related Posts:
Weezer, R.I.P.
7 comments

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Vines Bassist Wants To Get Free?

Geoff Trainor

Vines bassist, Patrick Matthews, out on his ownLast year Craig Nicholls, frontman for The Vines, was disagnosed with a neurobiological disorder called Aspergers Syndrome.

Now the band is in Sydney, in studio for the first time since the diagnosis, recording a follow-up to Winning Days with Wayne Connolly producing.

"Craig is in a great frame of mind and is healthier than he's ever been. The band will demo 13 new songs which are sounding brilliant - mainly heavy, poppy and melodic plus two amazing acoustic numbers. The band are genuinely excited about being back together in the studio and can't wait to see what comes out. Thanks so much to each every Vines fan who has been patient and understanding above and beyond the call of duty."

However, bassist Patrick Matthews is on tour with his other band, Youth Group. There is some confusion as to whether he is still part of the band. Drummer, Hamish Rosser, told Sydney's Sunday Telegraph that he didn't know if Matthews would take part in the recording sessions.

The Vines before Patrick's departure...or is it?
A quick photoshop job could replace Matthews with whatever bassist steps up

All I have to say is 'Who really cares about the bassist?' I mean, it's not like he's Nate from the Foo Fighters. White Stripes doesn't even have a bassist. Of course, I don't really know what I'm talking about....but that's okay. Either way, new Vines is always good.

Downloads:
The Vines - Get Free
The Vines - Ride Streaming (56) (100)

10 comments

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

CDs We Don't Own, But You Should

Casey Dorrell

A run-down of the more interesting new releases of this week:

Belle & Sebastian - Push Barman to Open Old Wounds
Belle & Sebastian - Push Barman To Open Old WoundsThis one I will be buying on thursday. It's not a greatest hits, rather it is a full collection of all the Jeepster singles and EPs. It's out via the ever-excellent Matador label. No new material but the 25 track, double CD is fairly priced and has all the songs everyone was too cheap to buy the first time around. While I'm on the subject of Belle & Sebastian, check out the front page to their website. Clearly it was designed by gap.

Gorillaz - Demon Days
Gorillaz - Demon DaysI haven't heard anything other than the single ("Feel Good Inc.") off this one yet. I wonder if it will be followed up by a b-sides and two remixes like the debut? Damon Albam (Blur) is joined by De La Soul, Ike Turner, Deborah Harry (Blondie), Shaun Ryder (Happy Mondays) and the London Community Gospel Choir, MF Doom, and, of course, Dennis Hopper. Jamie Hewlett (Tank Girl) is still drawing, but Dan the Automator is gone (replaced with Danger Mouse). If I'm not castrated for having a CD stolen last time I worked, this one will be going in the store player.

Stephen Malkmus - Face the Truth
Stephen Malkmus - Face the TruthTwo Matador offerings on one day. With a record label Matador's size, this is a bit unusual. I've heard absolutely nothing from the album yet, though I'm downloading a song now. Village Voice compares some of it to the Pavement album, Wowee Zowee, and Simon and Garfield . . . and INXS. I guess they've got their bases covered. I do plan on buying this, but do I buy the special edition pavement albums (the regular editions of which I already own) first?

Sleater-Kinney - The Woods
Ooooh, preeeettyI've always grouped Bikini Kill and Sleater Kinney together for some reason. Politically it makes some sense, but they don't sound very similar. With the current state of Le Tigre, I'm happy that Sleater Kinney is still around making great music. Apparently the store where I work will not be carrying it and has, furthermore, stopped carrying Sleater-Kinney all together. At least they're getting Malkmus I guess. Amazon's blurb includes the following line: "The results are startling and far and away the most collaborative, experimental and risky in the band's seven-record career." Also, check out the album cover - I'm a sucker for good graphic design.

At the Drive-In - Anthology: This Station Is Non-Operational
Geoff already told you about this one. He did it here. Also there you will find the first, and probably most amusing, photo-edit on Mocking Music.

Other May 24th Albums Of Note:
Violent Femmes - Freak Magnet (Remaster)
Violent Femmes - Viva Wisconsin (Remaster)
X-Ray Spex - Germ Free Adolescents: Anthology (Remaster/Rerelease)
The Get-Up Kids - Live @ Granada
Son Volt - A Retrospective: 1995-2000
Alkaline Trio - Crimson
Johnny Cash - The Original Sun Albums: Complete Collection

Download:
Stephen Malkmus - Baby, C'mon (From Face the Truth)
Sleater Kinney - Entertain (From Woods)
Sleater Kinney - Entire Woods Album (Stream)
Johnny Cash - Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart
Alkaline Trio - Time to Waste (Quicktime Video Stream)
Jay Farrar (Of Son Volt) - All Of Your Might
Belle & Sebastian - Seeing Other People
8 comments

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

U2 Plans To Fix Past Mistakes

Geoff Trainor

The Worst Album U2 ever put outAfter a bit of time to collect my thoughts on Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, I have returned to the land of Mocking Music with a little bit of U2 news.

Back in 1997, U2 released what many (mainly me) believe to be their worst album, Pop. It turns out Bono was hurt by my dislike of Pop and wanted to regain my faith. So, he plans on re-making the little album that couldn't.

Hiding like a Sith Lord
Bono trying to hide in shame, embarrased about my thoughts on Pop
In an interview with Chicago Tribune he had the following to say,

"There is still talk about the band going back in and fixing 'Pop', actually going in because the bones of a great album are there. It didn't communicate the way it was intended to. It became a niche record. That's not what it was intended to be. If we'd just had another month, we could have finished it. We did a really bad thing. We let the manager book the tour, known in this camp as the worst decision U2 ever made, and we had to wrap up the album sooner than we wanted. There were great ideas on that album . . . we didn't have the discipline to screw the thing down."

Going on to say, "It really hit home when discovery was made of Geoff's disapproval, which is what made me finally decide to go back and fix it. Geoff, I'd like to openly say I'm sorry. Please, forgive us."

Sounds like good news . . . next they can work on fixing 'How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb', which they are currently on tour supporting.

Download:
U2 - Sunday, Bloody Sunday (A great U2 song from a far superior album)

Related Posts:
Always Two There Is, a Rock Star And a Politician
3 comments

Monday, May 23, 2005

Dave Matthews Band Release More Crap

Casey Dorrell

I think the main thing that bothers me about Dave Matthews Band, other than the way they sound, is the fact that they seem to release another live album every 4 months. Yeah, yeah, they do it for the fans.

The adoring fans have said to Dave, "Mr. Matthews, could you please release 15 dollar live albums as often as possible? And please, don't release them for free via the internet - it just wouldn't be right, we love you so!"

But Matthews still was not happy. He released more and more live albums, but his disquiet grew unabated. Soon he stopped sleeping altogether. His bandmates tried to console him, but it was no use. Finally it came to a head while travelling on the tour bus one year ago. "My fans are so great! They deserve the best to make them elate. Which we do, of course, offer them but it's just not enough. We must give them more - more things, more stuff!"

DMB - Everyday with Suess Hat
It All Seemed Terribly Obvious in Retrospect

"What about an intimate live recording?" Boyd suggested.

"No, no! This will not do, we've been known for that since our very debut! We've done it already, again and again. We must give them something more, but what and when?"

His bandmates shifted uncomfortably - they were used to the rhyming, a result of his insomnia, but his ideas just didn't make sense. Without jamming, what else could Dave Matthew's Band do?

It was too much for Leroi, "All the kids today listen to bad rap, and if you're wrong if you think I'll stoop to making that crap."

"That's it, you've got it! That's just what we'll do - we'll give 'em shit, we'll give 'em pooh," squealed Matthews in delight.

"Um?"

"Don't you see?" Matthews gestured wildly, "We've got to appease the old and attract the young - and now I know just how it's got to be done. How will we attract the younger Jackass age-group? Why it's just so obvious, we'll give them all poop!"

With that, he leapt up to the bridge-travelling bus's feces controls, releasing a special present to the tourist boat below.

Matthews Sporting an ever larger hat
Each Successive Hat Was Larger Than the One Before . . .

If you've somehow somehow missed the story, DMB's bus driver dumped the band's sewage over the Kinzie street Bridge in Chicago last August. The sewage hit about 120 tourists that were right below on a boat. The driver was eventually fined $10, 000 while the band, who had donated $50,000 to Friends of the Chicago River and $50,000 to the Chicago Park District, settled the civil case out of court at an additional cost of $200, 000 a few weeks ago.

Despite this, the band continues unabatted, having just released more crap to the public in form of a studio album, "Stand Up".

Related:
WGAR - War by Generalissimo, Antimusic Revolution!

Download (If you really must):
Dave Matthews Band - Bartender (Live in Madison Square Garden, 2002)
Dave Matthews Band - What You Are (Live in Madison Square Garden, 2002)
Dave Matthews Band - Recently (Live, '95)
Dave Matthews Band - Riders on the Storm (Live Doors cover)
Dave Matthews Band - The Maker
The Grinch - Welcome Christmas
13 comments

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Truthfully, Truthfully, a Great Show

mel

This the second in Mel's Concert reviews of the 2005 Tulip Festival's Ottawa Citizen Concert Series:

The first time I heard of Joel Plaskett, I must have been about eleven, and my sister, three years older than I, was crazy about the local east coast rock scene, with a particular fondness for the Halfiax resident's first band, Thrush Hermit. It was a running joke in my family that my sister had tried to stalk him outside a hotel in Charlottetown when he was playing in the city (not actually true . . . we think). Oh, how far we've all come in the ten years that have passed.

Joel in picture taken my Melanie Wood
Joel Plaskett and the Lighting Crew From Jesus Christ, Superstar

In 1999 he released his first solo album, and he has recently released his fourth, La De Da. This past Monady night he brought his poppy indie-rock sound to headline on the Tulip Festival stage in Ottawa.

I think it's safe to say that Plaskett has played in Ottawa almost a half dozen times since I've moved to this city, and despite good intentions, I've never gotten the chance to take him in. With the concert pass bracelet on my wrist, and very little occupying my time other than listening to as much music as possible, I was not about to let this chance slip by. In fact, not only did I manage to see Plaskett but, in breaking my habit of showing up much later than I usually intend to, I also got to see the opening act, Lowest of the Low.

I arrived in time to see about a half an hour of their set and, from what I could gather, they seemed to be exactly the kind of band you'd imagine would open for the likes of Plaskett - a group of four shaggy haired Canadian boys strumming their guitars, singing about it being cold in the winter and girls breaking their hearts. It's funny how that can sum up so much of Canada's rock scene. Maybe I should release an album called, "It's fucking cold out, but not as cold as you." I think I'm onto something. (Ed Note: I [Casey] did some research and Mel's been beaten to the punch. The Band Vacancy on the song, Blue in the face, sings "it's freezing outside but it's not as cold as you, these dead trees are my only company")

Joel Plays Mel's Song
Plaskett Laments the Cold Weather and Frigid Company

The crowd seemed receptive to the band, though I don't know if many knew who they were, or maybe they had trouble remembering their hayday of the 1990s, since there was a seven year break after they released their second album in 1994. It was pretty apparent that everyone was waiting for Plaskett to come on, but they played good music and had decent interaction with the crowd. I was digging their sound that at times reminds me of fellow mid '90s rockers The Killjoys, and other times almost of Sam Roberts, with their solid Canadian rock sound that can be played while nursing a few (dozen) beers.

Just as the sun was almost completely set, and the crew had cleared off the stage chants of "We want Joel!" were starting to pop up in different spots amongst the crowd, which consisted almost exclusively of white university-type twenty-somethings such as myself. The atmosphere created was one of respectful anticipation and excitement. I don't doubt for a second that most of the audience had attained some level of intoxication, but it was far from rowdy.

When Plaskett did take the stage to great applause, it would quickly subside as he and The Emergency started playing. The stillness of the crowd throughout each song was hard to miss, as was the response as each song ended. It was a quiet group for the most part, but it was more out of awe than boredom.

Plaskett on MondayPlaskett stood centre stage, at least six feet tall, and I'm going to make an exaggerated estimate of about 80 lbs. The guy is all elbows and shoulder blades and he throws them in every direction when he gets going. The result is pretty powerful, you know he's not holding back, that he's putting everything he has into his performance. It's a whole lot of fun to watch. His style while playing and in between songs just oozed sincerity. By the end of the show, a number of inside jokes were held between the crowd and Plaskett. He latched onto mocking (a man after our own hearts) the "frozen cocktail" stand behind the crowd for the entire duration of the show, and it never got old.

A prime example of his laid back sincerity with the crowd was displayed when someone yelled, "I love you Joel!" and his reply was, "I love you too... wait, that's not true, but I probably respect you." Can't ask for much more then that.

But enough about the crowd and him talking, what about the music? To put it plainly, it was awesome. Plaskett has a unique voice that suits his style of rock perfectly. His lyrics are interesting, insightful at times, as well as fun. For an example of this combination, check out the lyrics to True Patriot Love, which at first glance could be a pop song about a relationship that went sour after infidelity, but try looking at it from the perspective of Canadian/US relations and you see the depth he can create in the upbeat song.

When you walk away from a Joel Plaskett concert, you're left with a feeling that what you witnessed that night was truely an original creation of the artist. Not something that he does every night from memory, but that he puts a little bit of himself in every show he performs so that the audience can eat it up like a frozen cocktail.

Related Posts:
Tulips, Tea, and Other Alliterations

Download:
Joel Plaskett - True Patriot Love (Live in Halifax) [Studio Version]
Joel Plaskett - Back of the Film (Live on Citadel Hill)
Joel Plaskett - Maybe We Should Go Home (Live in Halifax)
Joel Plaskett - I Love This Town
Joel Plaskett - Happen Now
Thrush Hermit - Hung Up On Me
Haply Medium - A Letter from BilBao (Lowest of the Low Cover)
Lowest of the Low - The Last Recidivist Video (Quicktime Movie)


When Mel's not busy cannibalizing performers, she can be found at her own blog,
"me, myself, and mel"
11 comments

Friday, May 20, 2005

Darwin Absent a Conversation in 2003

Casey Dorrell

Casey - Entertainment Associate Tag

This one might not be all that funny in retrospect, but it stands out in my mind as it was when I began working where I do almost two years ago, and was my first "memorable" customer interaction:

*Casey is putting away radiohead CDs next to a particularly destructive CD browser *


Customer:
Um, hi, where are your "R" CDs at?

*pause*

Casey: Sorry?

*Customer is, and has been, standing next to Casey throwing CDs about that mostly start with "S"*

Customer: Your "R" CDs, the ones that start with "R"?

Casey: Oh, right. They're just in front of me here . . . just before "S".

Customer: Thanks.

*slight pause*

Customer: And where's Red Hot Chilli Peppers?

Download:
Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Californication (or here) (and here)
Some French Kids - Californication (Instrumental)
Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Around the World (Live, Paris '99)
Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Around the World (Live, Tokyo '02)
Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Parallel Universe (Live, Tokyo '02)
- Full Live Tokyo Set Directory -

Related:
Arguing With Darwin
Darwin was a Fraud
Darwin: 0 Casey: 3
4 comments

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Anatomy of Tegan & Sara

Casey Dorrell

Tegan and SaraIn the last two years, life has been good to Canadian twin sisters, Tegan and Sara. The two started playing guitar at 15, creating the band PLUNK now self-described by the twins as "wussy punk (no drums or bass)" and "really bad." Apparently they began Sara and Tegan when some guy broke their P.A. system at a garage show they were putting on. The new band was a quiet acoustic affair and had less need for a P.A. When they made their first album they decided on a name change to Tegan and Sara, not wanting to be lost in the Sarah Harmer and Sarah Slean hype. Their biggest regret is not having gone with the name, Tegan vs. Sara, a later fan suggestion.

2003 saw them touring with Matt Sharp, Ben Folds, Ryan Adams, and Hot Hot Heat at different points throughout the year after releasing "If It Was You", their third album. On September 14th, 2004, They released their newest album, "So Jealous", which which marked a continued shift away from their Ani Difranco-style debut toward less wordy pop. They also took time out on their website to promote the hardcore punk band, The Reason, among other indie acts.

This year, though, the group's success began to really take on a momentum of its own. First they began recieving more notice from mainstream publications. Rolling Stone named "So Jealous" one of the top 50 albums of 2004 while Spin aired a live performance with the twins on their website. The press and sold-out performances got Tegan a little over-exciting, causing her to declare Canada's faux-capital city, Toronto, renamed to "Tegan and Sara Land". The group also had good company earlier this month at Coachella where they were sandwiched between indie favourites, the Arcade Fire and Fiery Furnaces.

Tegan and Sara
They Put Out Great Albums But Sometimes Have Trouble Singing in Key Live

On top of this, they've been opening for the Xbox loving band, The Killers, and will be doing some opening shows for Weezer later on. The pairings with both are fitting. Tegan and Sara began with a sound almost like an Ani Difranco tribute band with dirgy, folk-rock songs that favoured wordy, quasi-political lyrics over hooks and riffs. The Difranco comparisons weren't helped by the fact that they are twin females. And gay.

"We're proud to be gay. But I believe that our music does not have a sexuality. I don't think you have to be straight to identify with Bono or Chrissie Hynde," said Tegan last month.

Their 2003 release marked a pointed move away from their Difranco-esque beginnings toward pure pop, and their 2004 album, "So Jealous" completed the shift. Their new, almost power-pop sound fits in nicely with Weezer. As for their tour with new-wave revivalists, the Killers, Tegan and Sara do have a sort of 80s aesthetic to their sound. They grew up listening to 80s music, released a David Bowie cover, and named one of their tours, "Born in the 80s". Still, the 80s are more a musical influence or loose template for the group rather than a defining characteristic as it is for the Killers. Aside from touring with Weezer and the Killers, for most of March they were on tour with the Ditty Bops.

In early 2005, they made their first appearance on the second best late night show, "Late Night with Conan O'Brien". But their real television break hasn't yet been widely noted. Tegan and Sara are, apparently, the favorite band of someone working the new television show, "Grey's Anatomy". The show is yet another hospital drama that follows "five interns [as they] struggle to form friendships in this most stressful and competitive atmosphere". The competitive atmosphere being Grace Hospital where the interns are cut-throat . . . and sleeping with each other. And hot, as all doctors are, of course. Aside from the Canadian connection of actress, Sandra Oh (of movie fame, notably "Sideways" and "Last Night"), there's the Tegan and Sara favouritism.

Tegan and Sara and Grey's Anatomy
Tegan and Sara on Grey's Anatomy

The show's not particularly good, but the music is pretty great. On the second episode, I noticed a Tegan and Sara song playing, but didn't think too much of it. I saw it a few times since and every time, without fail, there has been a Tegan and Sara song on it. It turns out that in the show's eight episodes, they've played five of the fourteen tracks off "So Jealous". Tracks played are as follows:

  • Episode 2: "You Wouldn't Like Me"
  • Episode 3: "I Won't Be Left"
  • Episode 4: "Where Does the Good Go"
  • Episode 7: "Downtown"
  • Episode 8: "Fix You Up"

My theory is that whoever's responsible for the music on the show went to see a Ditty Bops and Tegan and Sara show in march (Ditty Bops have been played more than once too). Regardless of whether you're a fan of Weezer, the Killers, or Grey's Anatomy, Tegan and Sara are worth checking out. My favorite album of theirs is the 2003 release "If It Was You" which finds them halfway between folk-rock and power-pop.

For Fans Of: Ani Difranco (first two releases), Melissa Ferrick, Rilo Kiley
(To be fair, these are more folky groups that don't really accurately represent Tegan and Sara's latest release)

Tegan and Sara Discography:
Tegan and Sara - Under Feet Like Ours Under Feet Like Ours (99) Tegan and Sara - This Business of Art This Business of Art (00)
Tegan and Sara - If it Was You If it Was You (02) Tegan and Sara - So Jealous So Jealous (04)

Downloads:
Tegan and Sara - Empty in Between (B-Side)
Tegan and Sara - Come On Kids (B-Side)
Tegan and Sara - Love Type Thing (B-Side)
Tegan and Sara - Walking With a Ghost (Remix)
Tegan and Sara - I Ran (so Far Away) (Live Flock of Seagulls cover)
Tegan and Sara - Buried Alive (Unreleased)
Tegan and Sara - Morning Comes (Unreleased)
Party Ben - Tegan and Sara vs. Mylo (Mash Up)
Tegan and Sara- Monday Monday Monday (Video)
Tegan and Sara - Living Room (Video)
Tegan and Sara - I Know, I Know, I Know (Live Video)
Tegan and Sara - Full Edmonton Set (Live .rar Video)
Tegan and Sara - The First (Spin Video)
Tegan and Sara - Hype (Spin Video)
Plunk - They're Waiting For You
Rilo Kiley - The Execution
Rilo Kiley - Portions for Foxes
Ani Difranco - Not a Pretty Girl (or here)
Ani Difranco - Self Evident
Melissa Ferrick - Freedom
18 comments

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

What Do You Buy a Wookiee for Christmas?

Casey Dorrell

Yesterday I promised you a special blog - a document of our collective stupidity. As Promised, here it is.

I'm not sure who first suggested the idea, nor who first thought of making it a blog activity. But the idea developed from a joking idea into a real plan. And Geoff, well, he made a pretty damn cool looking site. Basically, the plan is to watch all the Star Wars movies, the clone wars cartoons, and spaceballs, in one marathon viewing. I'm not a huge fan of Star Wars myself, though the originals were good and the new one looks like it will be too. Still, I think this will be fun.

It's now 11am, since (as I tend to) I got to Geoff's late. Go here to keep up to date on the marathon.

2005 Star Wars Marathon Site

Related Posts:
Potter Out, Skywalker In

Downloads:
Revenge of the Sith - Battle of Heroes
Empire Strikes Back - Imperial March
Star Wars Christmas Album - What Do You Buy A Wookie For Christmas (Buy This Album)
5 comments

Monday, May 16, 2005

Tulips, Tea, and other Clever Alliterations

mel

Here in Ottawa, we sure do like our tulips, and from May 5-23, the fact is hard to miss, as the city is in the throngs of the world's largest tulip festival. I don't know what kind of competition we have over that claim, but the city seems pretty darn proud of being able to say it. After Canada helped liberate Holland at the end of the second world war, Dutch royalty was so happy about it, that they gave Canada a crap load of tulips, and since 1958, Ottawa's celebrated their blooming with a whole lot of hoopla. Yay tulips.

UK Tulips (L) and Canadian Tulips (R)

UK Tulips Ottawa Tulips
The Canadian Tulip Superiority is Pretty Darn Clear

So, what does this have to do with music, and in turn, mocking it, you may be asking? That's a valid question, and can be answered thusly; The Canadian Tulip Festival's Ottawa Citizen Concert Series. In a park with a view of Parliament Hill to the left and the massive American Embassy on the right, there is a week and a half long concert series which showcases Canadian talent of almost every genre. The concert series was kicked off this past Friday, May 13, headlined by Toronto's The Tea Party. I think the last time I'd heard of the Tea Party in a non-condescending tone was probably around 1999 when they released TRIPtych, the single Heaven Coming Down was getting heavy play on Much Music, and I used to give a damn about things like that. I'd never really been much of a fan of theirs - they seemed to take themselves too seriously. The lead singer Jeff Martin sounded/looked a little too much like a Jim Morrison impersonator and you just can't beat the real thing, as far as I'm concerned. Because of this, I initially wasn't overly excited about attending opening night.

I decided to take in the show when I found out the francophone indie rock duo Projet Orange would be taking the stage before The Tea Party. I'd heard good things about the brothers who have recently released their first English language album, Megaphobe, so I looked forward to the chance to see them live. I had also purchased a concert series pass, so I figured I might as well be in attendance to get my money's worth.

Jeff Martin is Jim Morrison
His Favourite Song is Radiohead's "Anyone Can Play Guitar"

Unfortunately for me, and perhaps you, the loyal Mocking Music reader, my attempt to make the 8:00 pm show time for Projet Orange proved futile, because, well, that's pretty freaking early to try and go out on a Friday night. By the time my room mate and I managed to eat and consume the proper amount of beers in order to "prepare" for the show, then hopped a bus to the concert grounds, it was shortly after 9:00, and the band was just finishing up their last number as I crossed the threshold into Major's Hill Park. Maybe this summer I'll buy their CD and review that here, until then, you'll have to check them out on your own, and I'd encourage it.

I wandered around the tent city of vendors until it was time to find a spot amidst the crowd for the headliners, and tried to maintain an open mind about the band about to try and rock my world.

There's no doubt in my mind right now that the members of the Tea Party are talented musicians. Drummer, Jeff Burrows consistently blew my mind. His style is different from what I generally hear in the music I listen to, relying more on the toms for rhythm than the snare/bass/high hat combo that's become almost cliched.

As the show went on, Martin continued to pull out multiple stringed instruments, from your basic array electric and acoustic guitars, to an electric cello, along with some Middle Eastern instruments I don't actually know the name of. It kept things interesting, as it provided different sounds throughout the set.

Tea Party at Tulip Festival
Mel in Back Hoping Not to be Mistaken For a Fan

Their stage presence was pretty typical and wasn't really the kind of thing that gets me excited at a live show. Martin told the kind of stories that can be summed up as the look at me, I'm a rock star type, alluding to drug use, international tours and hanging out with adoring fans. Some might find them interesting, but it didn't do much to sway my previous opinion that they may take themselves too seriously. Oh, and let's not forget the, "You know what? I think this is the best time we've ever had in Ottawa," speel. Perhaps I'm just too cynical, or maybe it has something to do with being lost in a huge crowd, lacking the perspective to really gauge how much the performers are enjoying themselves, but it didn't feel too sincere. Either way, it just seemed as though the band did the same thing they did every time they played live, substituting Ottawa in place of the city that preceded it on the tour.

They were ok... Pretty good, I guess, but I don't think I'd try and see them again if I got the chance.

Downloads:
Tea Party - Save Me (Live in Toronto)
Tea Party - Walking Wounded (Live in Toronto)
Tea Party - Psychopomp (Live in Montreal)
Tea Party - Mantra (Live in Montreal)
Tea Party - Full Montreal and Toronto Show Directory
Projet Orange - Tell All Your Friends (Streaming Audio)
Projet Orange - Tell All Your Friends
(Quicktime Movie)
Radiohead - Anyone Can Play Guitar
(Lyric: "Grow my Hair. I wanna be, wanna be Jim Morrison")

When Mel's not drowning her sorrows in cheap booze and tea she can be found at her own blog:
me, myself, and mel.
12 comments

Sunday, May 15, 2005

On Writing: Pretentious Self-Pity and Our Third Appology

Casey Dorrell

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WARNING: The following is only loosely related to music and is dangerously close to a personal blog entry with all the emo-esque banality that this implies.
(Great Music Download at Bottom)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Writing. I do it well.

It's one of very few positive, self-defining traits which I see in myself. Recently, my personal life collapsed, utterly (a product of my own chronic loathing of self and happiness). I failed to get a job I wanted, losing it to someone who I'd rather not have lost it to. My marks dropped a bit last semester in university. I'm out of shape again, having done little over the winter. I stopped, for a while, listening to music altogether.

Downhill, Bike, First Person
An Entirely Unrelated Picture of Someone Speeding Downhill

But I can write, I still have that. Sort of.

I've long prided myself in the general ease of my prose - a sort of pseudo-conversational style of written academia. The problem is, when I leave the academic, I seem to also leave my skill with the written word (having never had much skill for the verbal variety - favoring social awkwardness over enunciation). In this blog my writing, produced with full sincerity, more often than not sounds like advertising copy. I think this is, in part, an audience issue. In university, my reader is trapped - already inherently "interested" in the given topic. Or at least committed to feigning interest. Here I have to try to entice you to read on (something I haven't bothered to do in this post).

Then there's the additional problem that I'm trying to convince you of something. Of course, all writing is arguably persuasive in nature. Here, though, it's overt: like this song, dislike this group, agree with me. Only, the subject matter doesn't come of any logical construct, it's about as subjective as you can get. There's no real tangible reason why Weezer's new CD sucks (though it does). Persuasion in the midst of defendable relativism means there's no logical backing to any argument I make. In effect, I have to convince you of my opinion's validity through language alone. Hence, we get "advertising copy".

Advertising Copy Paper
The Warning Signs Were There as Early as 1st Year University

This combined with our attempted faux-authoritative style completes the poor writing. I'm not sure what I'm saying here. I guess that I realize the writing isn't always what it should be and that, as our site has evolved and gotten better, the human quality to the writing (the reason to visit us over any other impersonal but more complete music mag) has suffered. For this, I appologize. Not because I care about you, but because I care about me. After all, my real purpose here (as clever readers will have inferred from the opneing paragraph) is to convince you that despite all evidence to the contrary (and by you, I really mean myself), I can write.

Just not here and not now.

On that note, tomorrow we'll be bringing you another concert review from our sole freelancer, Mel (of "me, myself, and mel" fame). And, rest-assured, it's well-written.

Related Posts:
Dear Firefox User,
Dear Firefox User (PT. II),


Downloads:
GoHome Productions - Paperback Believer
(Beatles, 'Paperback Writer' vs. Monkees, 'I'm a Believer)
NPR Radio - On Becoming a Writer (Stream)
6 comments

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Grohl Suits Up To Fight Some Republicans

Geoff Trainor

I've been waiting, oh so long, for some Foo Fighters news. After what seems like months, news about Foo Fighters' In Your Honor has arrived.

During last year's presidential election, President Bush had been using Foo Fighters material, such as "My Hero' as part of his election rallies. Dave Grohl, known for being anti-Bush (he joined the ranks of Anti-Flag, NOFX, and Rancid on last year's Rock Against Bush Vol. II), was upset by this move. So what did he do? Joined forces with "the other guy."

Dave Grohl and John Kerry, brought together by mutual dislike of Bush
Dave Rocks Against Bush

"I don't give a shit if President Bush likes my band. I just don't want him using my music at his campaign rallies. So rather than sit back and watch, I took action . . . not as Mr. Foo Fighter, not as Mr. Nirvana, not as Mr. Rock Star . . . just an American citizen from Springfield, VA, who wrote those songs with an acoustic guitar and a notebook and a pen in his basement. Sing those songs, which are supposed to represent love, and hope, and compassion, and inspiration, and truth for a person that I 'personally' believe represents all of those things."

Grohl joined Democrat John Kerry on the election trail playing, live for his campaign, the very songs that Bush had been using in his own campaign. The Foo Fighters frontman has recently revealed that his time on the road with Kerry a was sort of inspiration behind the bands upcoming release, In Your Honor, due to his stores June 13th (I'll be sure to sign that day off of work to get it).

Dave Grohl + John Kerry = An Invincible Bush Wrecking Machine
If Math 101 Were Like This More Students Might Attend Class

"I went out and supported John Kerry on his campaign trail, only really because George W. Bush was using one of our songs at his political rallies. It just goes to show how out of touch that man is if he's using our songs at his rallies. There's no way of stopping the president playing your songs, so I went out and played it for John Kerry's people instead, where I thought the message would kinda make more sense.

So I spent quite a lot of time on the trail. When I'd play at these things I'd play acoustic, so it wasn't like a Foo Fighters show, and the first 20 rows of the audience would all be people in wheelchairs, then farmers, then schoolteachers and blue collar factory workers, but it was really cool.

And I got to see how all these people came together, really strong people, passionate and devoted to this honourable cause. The strength of community and human will, it was inspiring. The album, although it isn't a political record, I was really, really inspired by how passionate people were last year to make a change."

I wonder if Bush will take any songs off In Your Honor for any sort of campaign. That would definately be amusing. Maybe he can use it for an army recruitment video. I do seem to remember hearing Disturbed in some sort of Army video. Possibly at the theatres . . . mmm . . . Revenge of the Sith.

Downloads:
Anti-Flag - Turncoat
Foo Fighters - Gas Chamber Live at Quart Festival 96 (song on the Anti-Bush compilation)
Foo Fighters - I'll Stick Around Live at Quart Festival 96
Foo Fighters - Wind Up Live at Manchester Apollo 97


Related Posts:
4 Punks + 3 Politicians = 7 Bush Protesters
Jonesin' For Some Country
Grohl Suits Up To Fight Some Foo

4 comments