La Sera - Break My Heart

Sic Alps - Glyphs

This is Pop Download-o-rama

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Get Out of Hibernation for $100

It’s been a very long winter up here above the 49th parallel. That goes some way in explaining those cranky tirades about major record label exploitations and only sporadic blogging over the last month. Spring has sprung though my friends and it’s high time to break those hibernating ways and enjoy some music.

This weekend of course, the long awaited Rolling Tundra Review makes its way through this town to the London Music Hall. Now as much as I am a fan of the Weakerthans and Constantines I’m even more excited to see show openers $100. I’ve really been enjoying this Toronto band’s very fine release Forest of Tears for the last month or two and I’m really looking forward to hearing these perfect hurtin’ songs live. After all, it was these very rootsy sounding original numbers that provided the perfect soundtack for this all too bleak winter. Simone Schmidt’s powerful voice and emotive lyrics commiserating perfectly with my all too real cabin fever. I have a feeling though my favourite little musical secret won't be a secret any longer. (Hear them here and judge for yourselves.)

Now if by chance you didn’t get a ticket for the big show on Friday night you can still catch $100 at their instore at Grooves Records on Friday afternoon. The band will be there at 4pm (or so) in a warm up for the evening show. Be sure to pick up their CD (Forest of Tears)too at either event, you will not be disappointed. The entire release is solid and I’m really looking forward to hearing the songs expanded in a live setting. This is the one that should have been on my Best of 2008 list had I found it in time.

And Tim… No need to buy me a beer. Just get $100 to play one extra song on Friday. Maybe a Hank Williams cover. After all, I really need to forget this past winter of discontent...

Do not miss this one people.

Get there here.

RE: To Buy, Or Not to Buy: That Is the Question:

Tuesdays have always held a certain degree of affection for me as a music lover. It is that day after all, at least in North America when new CD’s and DVD’s are released for consumption by the masses. And consume I do, my appetite for all things shiny and new could best be quantified as healthy. (Just ask my financial planner…) Apparently though, I am a quickly vanishing breed; Sales of new, physical media, save for various gaming platforms and software has seen a huge decline for several years now. Hardly new news as they say, but today as I perused the shelves of a local record store I was struck by a phenomenon that has clearly gotten way out of hand. Dear reader, I’m talking about the ubiquitous “remaster”- That beloved disc(s) which has been dutifully reconstituted, re-recorded, reproduced, re-imagined, reinvented, recycled, rejuvenated in one form or another and all packaged for immediate re-consumption. Two recent examples that underscore my point; the first three Radiohead CD’s and Pearl Jam’s debut Ten all being sold in spiffy new multidisc, vari-formats to replace those sadly inferior discs that we all purchased so many years ago. But what started as mild curiosity on my Tuesday lunch sojourn quickly grew into resentment. This just didn't feel like musical 'comfort food' anymore. It felt more like someone was trying to pick my pocket.

When is this going to end though? Is the record industry really offering us anything special or just selling us the same thing time and time again? (They’re sure not giving them away either. Pricey would be an understatement.)

I was reminded of U2’s strategy last Fall. The band had just launched new remastered versions of their first three classic albums: Boy, October and War.

The albums are available in basic one-disc editions priced at €12.99, a "deluxe" two-disc set with "b-sides, live tracks and rarities" for €29.99, and a 'Boy' box set, which contains a "deluxe" CD and a t-shirt and costs €49.99.

The three re-released U2 albums are also available on vinyl. And some of the "rarities" on the deluxe, second CDs are re-worked versions of old fan favourites.
Yikes! Beginning to see my point? Ooooh, a t-shirt! Have large record companies simply lost a creative vision and are so devoid of fresh ideas? This is not new stuff at all. If you are a fan you have it. You bought it on those pricey imports the first time around. Have the major labels and artists simply lost their direction? Frankly, I just feel insulted when I see this stuff now. Such obvious cash grabs for an industry all but floundering to stay alive. Perhaps, thats the point. Maybe it is all about survival. I just think its wrongheaded and greedy.

I say, give me something special, something I have not purchased before in another form. Show me something new! Do fans really need to purchase the same product time and time again whenever some record company or artist decides that its time to make a buck? In fairness, my previous example, Radiohead have come out recently in the press as being against these opportunistic endeavours and publicly admonished their former record company.

Maybe that’s what it going to take. Maybe its time we all just stopped catering to these unoriginal forays and simply supported independent music artists, producers and distributors. I don't think I want to help Bono pay for another castle.

Is it just me? I know I felt a lot better paying for that WAVVES CD today and putting down the deluxe edition of OK Computer.

What are your thoughts? Comments are very welcome.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Begin the Begin (Again)

R.E.M. Releasing Dublin Rehearsals and Deluxe Reckoning

I honestly didn’t think I would still be talking about a band I fell in love with over twenty seven years ago let alone getting excited about the prospect of more additions to my music library. But a certain Athens band does have a certain effect on me. After what could be best be described as a “stellar” 2008, R.E.M. have a couple of releases planned for the current year. Although no new music is planned they'll release a live album culled from their 2007 Dublin, Ireland working rehearsals and a deluxe version of 1984's pivotal album Reckoning.

According to a recent posting on R.E.M.’s website REMHQ- “…the Dublin package will be something very special including more than 'just the music,' although 'just the music' those five nights at the Olympia was pretty incredible itself".

R.E.M. played a string of shows in Dublin in July 2007 to warm up for their tour and test new material that ended up on last year's Accelerate.

Also planned this year is a deluxe version of the band’s seminal 1984 album Reckoning. Let’s hope it maintains the same artistic integrity and creative vision their deluxe version of Murmur had late last year. No word yet on what bonus material will be included. Personally I’m hoping for nicely remastered cover versions the "Velvet’s Pale Blue Eyes" and "Femme Fatale".

Lastly, in a recent REMHQ interview Peter Buck has said R.E.M. plan to regroup in the next few months to begin work on "exploratory demos" for a new album for likely release in 2010.

R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, drummer Bill Rieflin and multi-instrumentalist Scott McCaughey are touring Australia as part of Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 in support of last month's release of the band's second album, Goodnight Oslo. The band will play 13 U.S. shows and an April 16 gig at Toronto's Mod Club next month and will also perform at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee on June 13th.

Tortoise vs. Eagle

A Couple Notable Forthcoming Releases

It's been five years since Tortoise's last full-length studio recording, It’s All Around You hit store shelves. Good things do however come to those who wait and a brand new release from Chicago’s finest is just around the corner. Beacons of Ancestorship , Tortoise's sixth LP, is set to be released June 23rd via Thrill Jockey. And as a small taste of things to come, the first track off the album will be released as part of Thrill Jockey's Records Toreism comp on Record Store Day, April 18th.

Track Listing: Beacons of Ancestorship

01. High Class Slim Came Floatin' In
02. Prepare Your Coffin
03. Northern Something
04. Gigantes
05. Penumbra
06. Yinxianghechengqi
07. The Fall Of Seven Diamonds Plus One
08. Minors
09. Monument Six One Thousand
10. de Chelly
11. Charteroak Foundation

What’s up next is the new wistfully titled release from Bill Callahan (indeed he is the Smog guy) called Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle. Definitely one of the finest singer songwriters of this era, the pre-release songs I have heard so far are outstanding. Each possesses a real emotive beauty that further underscores Callahan’s singular talent. There is no doubt in my mind the longer song cycle will be making my best of list at the end of the year. This is definitely one to make room for in the collection. Break out the hankies, the album is set to be released on April 14th, 2009 on Drag City.

Download "Eid Ma Clack Shaw" here.

Track Listing: Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle

1. Jim Cain
2. Eid Ma Clack Shaw
3. The Wind and The Dove
4. Rococo Zephyr
5. Too Many Birds
6. My Friend
7. All Thoughts Are Prey to Some Beast
8. Invocation of Ratiocination
9. Faith/Void

Monday, March 23, 2009

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

Neil Young's Archives Due June 2nd

At long last, Guns n’ Roses er, check that Neil Young has set a firm date for his oft-delayed and highly anticipated Archives box set. After having an original release date of summer 2007, on June 2 we will now get Archives Vol. 1 1963-1972. The package will be available in a number of formats, the most novel of which is a ten disc Blu-Ray edition. Standard DVD and CD editions will also be available. (No word yet on vinyl and eight track editions.) Either way, the impressive set boasts 128 tracks, 43 unreleased recordings, three live concerts, a 236-page full-color hardcover book and Young’s debut feature film, Journey Through the Past.

The box set charts Young’s early career, collecting material from his band the Squires, Buffalo Springfield, his early solo works and lastly his 1972 full-length, Harvest. Pre-orders for the set have already begun over at Young’s website, where you can choose from the three aforementioned options: a $299.99 Blu-Ray set; a $199.99 standard DVD package; and a $99 eight-disc CD set. As well, each disc will also be sold separately, and if you order a box set now you get a bonus seven-inch featuring two Squires tracks (“Mustang” and “Aurora”) and a preview disc of the box set sent out before the June 2 release date. The Blu-Ray version looks very promising with a host of accompanying downloads accompanying.

If you want to check out the massive Archives tracklisting, you can have drool and ogle at the Warner Reprise/ Neil Young website.

As previously reported, Neil’s new album, Fork in the Road will be released on April 7th. Shakey will be performing in London at the John Labatt Centre on April 15th.

“Oh(!) that those lips had language!”

It’s quite thrilling when one sees a well executed and imaginative idea come to life, especially when it’s literally in one’s own backyard. Such is the case with London, Ontario’s Oh! - The brief, exclamatory moniker for The Open House Arts Collective. (Oh!) is a dedicated group of musicians, artists and art enthusiasts with a clear mission. Working together to motivate, support and inspire the local arts community and to promote the community's endeavours within the Canadian arts scene. By encouraging open membership with active participation and involvement is precisely what makes this venture so exciting. It's also what ultimately renders their inspired charge a stroke of organizational genius. Yes, it’s certainly something this city has seen in it’s not to recent past. The community for instance, had an exceptionally vibrant arts community in the 1960’s. Not to mention extraordinary musical talent in every decade since! The difference this time out pure organization and dedication. And Oh! is all of that.

An ambitious plan? Yes. Lofty goals? Yes. Achieveable? ABSOLUTELY!

All ready the fruits of their collective labours are taking shape. Oh! has begun in earnest, organizing local music and art shows in a variety of traditional and non-traditional spaces. The difference this time out though is clearly the well planned organization and the huge amount of goodwill that is surrounding this enterprise. Good times ahead for the London arts community. Indeed, something that in these times we need more than ever. My hat is definitely off to the organizers and members of Oh! You’re doing an amazing job and really making a difference. I am but one voice, but you are making a difference in this city. People are getting excited about music again. What a novel concept.

Want some tangilble proof? A most incredible CD (near and dear to this bloggers heart,) the release of Oh! Compilation One - this past Saturday at the Fourth Annual London Indie Media Fair at the London Public Library, central location. Oh! Compilation One is a dozen song sampling of some of the best locally produced music. Everyone involved in the project waived fees on the new recording to help promote the Open House Recording Co. projects and collective events.

The idea behind this compilation began to take shape in November of last year at the London Music Club after a multi-artist salute to The Beatles' White Album on the 40th anniversary of its release. One of those artists and Oh! member, Blair Whatmore is credited with compiling and developing the compendium. Whatmore is a member of Olenka & the Autumn Lovers, (recent CHRW local album of the year recipients). His own outfit, (a solo outing this time) For Love or Money also appears on the compilation.

The complete artist listing:

Aaron Lozynsky, A Horse and His Boy, Bryan Pole, Davita G, For Love or Money, Handsome Dan and His Gallimaufry, Olenka and the Autumn Lovers, The Late Miss Mary Kingsley, The Lava Lamps, The Samuel Musical, The State Bird of Idaho, The Whipping Wind.

After a weekend of listening to the CD I am pleased to report this compilation is a great one. A release that offers that measured combination of amazing musicianship, lyrical excellence and fantastic artwork. In simple terms, a mix CD from the true heart of the Forest City- its artists. It succeeds on every level and is a brilliant lead off to a venture that will shine a positive light on this city’s vibrant music and arts community.

Check out their official website here.
Join their Facebook Group here.
Listen to a few samples on Radioh here.

Sooooo, want to own a copy of this CD? Head down to Grooves on Clarence St. in London and pick up your copy today. Affordably priced at $5.00, it will make a welcome addition to anyone’s music collection.


As well, dear reader I have two copies of this terrific CD to give away. Just email me at sean dot thisispop at gmail dot com and tell me that you would like a copy and I’ll select two winners randomly this Friday March 27th.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Like Christmas for Record Store Geeks

It’s less than a month away now and the excitement level is building. Not quite a fever pitch but things are definitely warming up… Yes folks, Record Store Day is really turning into a bona fide event this year and the special releases and artist specials are coming fast and furious now. In an effort to do my part to turn this into an actual frenzy I’ve compiled some of the confirmed indie exclusive and special CDs, DVDs, and LPs headed our way on April 18th:

Akron/Family Everyone Is Guilty B/W Total Destruction 7″
Bad Religion The Original Ep 7″
Blitzen Trapper War Is Placebo B/W Booksmart Baby 7″
Booker T. Warped Sister/Reunion Time 7″
Camera Obscura French Navy [RSD Exclusive] 7″
Color Fred, The The Intervention Compact Disc
Cursive/ Ladyfinger (Ne) Record Store Day Split 10″ (Picture Disc) Album
Dr. Dog / Floating Action Don’t Stop (Loving Me Now)/The Breeze Split 7″
Elvis Perkins In Dearland Lorraine, Lookout/I’ll Be Arriving [RSD 2009 Exclusive] 7″
Flight Of The Conchords Pencils In The Wind B/W Albi The Racist Dragon 7″
Gaslight Anthem, The Live At Park Ave. Album
Iron And Wine Norfolk 6/20/05 Compact Disc
Loney Dear / Andrew Bird Loney Dear / Andrew Bird 7″
Magnolia Electric Co. It’s Made Me Cry 7″
Obits I Can’t Lose B/W Military Madness 7″
Pavement Live In Germany (RSD Limited Exclusive) Album
Pretenders, The Break Up The Concrete B/W Love’s A Mystery 7″
Reatard, Jay / Sonic Youth Hang Them All/ No Garage(RSD Limited Exclusive) 7″
Russell, Arthur Love Is Overtaking Me [RSD Exclusive] Album
Silversun Pickups Pikul Album
Sonic Youth / Beck Pay No Mind / Green Light (RSD Limited Exclusive) 7″
• Various Artists Records Toreism Album
Vetiver Wishing Well B/W Pay No Mind 7″
Waits, Tom Live From The Glitter And Doom Tour 7″
Ben Harper Shimmer & Shine [RSD Exclusive] 10″
Charles Spearin The Happiness Project LP
Dandy Warhols Earth to the Remix EP [RSD Exclusive] CD
Dave Barnes You, The Night & Candlelight [RSD Exclusive] CD
Guided By Voices Hold On Hope [RSD Exclusive] LP

The Ears of the Town: Plugd records from John Callaghan on Vimeo

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rory Riding You Raw? Good News…

New Vaselines Collection Due From Sub Pop

The Vaselines have long been celebrated by musicians and music enthusiasts across genres and across the globe. In fact, their greatest spokesperson may have been super-fan Kurt Cobain. (You remember that guy from Aberdeen, WA right?) When Cobain eloquently proclaimed them to be his “most favorite songwriters in the whole world” interest in the band skyrocketed. That little band he used to be a part of actually famously covered their songs, “Molly’s Lips”,“Son of a Gun” and “Jesus Don’t Want Me For a Sunbeam”. As a dutiful music nerd I for one knew I had to jump into the collective fan tub of Vaselines at that point. Luckily, at about the same time Sub Pop Records further exposed the erstwhile Scots to music fans everywhere with the super cool anthology The Way of the Vaselines. Now, seventeen years on, the label is set to unleash the ultimate Vaselines collection. Enter the Vaselines, due out on May 5th which includes everything from the former disc, plus a tonne of additional material. A double-disc (or triple-LP!) set, It includes new mixes and remastered versions of everything by The Vaselines, plus never-before-heard demos, and live UK recordings from 1986 in Bristol and 1988 in London.

So do yourself a favour and pick this up and you can experience firsthand why so many hold them in such high regard. Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee (The Vaselines) continue to be highly influential on the indie music community and this release justly documents their musical genius

Friday, March 13, 2009

Plan to Attend London's Local Album of the Year Fundraiser!

In December 2008, 10 artists made the short list for CHRW's 2008 Local Album of the Year. Observant readers might even remember a post I wrote to commemorate this accolade. Great news then that on Friday March 20th, CHRW (Radio Western) are presenting winners Olenka and The Autumn Lovers along with nominees James Cummins and his Bloom Band, and Fraser in concert at the Aeolian Hall in London.

Only one week left to get pre-sale tickets for this show: Cost is $15 ($20 @ the door) and available at a number of locations:

CHRW Studios, Room 250, University Community Centre OR online at the CHRW store (after purchasing tickets, simply print the receipt and bring it to the show for entry)
InfoSource in the University Community Centre
Aeolian Hall (or online at their website)
Grooves Records, 353 Clarence Street,
The Village Idiot, 135, Wortley, Wortley Village
L'Atelier Grigorian, 620 Richmond Street

This event is also a fundraiser for CHRW to help subsidize several worthy projects that include: Revamping their production studio with a Mac Pro and an Allen & Heath mixer, replacing their tube transmitter with a new solid state one, hiring a full-time News, Sports & Spoken Word Director, and the development of a new website. All of these projects are being undertaken to ensure CHRW hosts can continue to promote London & Western events and artists.

Be sure to come out to support these great local artists and enjoy one of London's best live venues, the Aeolian Hall, Friday March 20th. The event is licensed and all ages, doors open at 7:30pm and the show gets underway at 8:30pm!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Elvis is Everywhere

UPDATE - Season Premiere - Spectacle on CTV
Friday, April 3 at 10 p.m. ET - Elvis Costello with...Elton John

I’ve received a few emails about this recently and now I can answer them unequivocally. At long last, Elvis Costello’s acclaimed new television foray, Spectacle will be broadcast on Canadian Network television. Elton John joins Declan McDynamite Krall for the show’s premiere on April 3rd and the combination is a good one. The two Rock and Roll Hall of Famers prove that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery as the artists discuss each other's work and give the viewer priceless insight into their collective creative genius. Executive Producer Sir Elton John, an admitted Costello fan, discusses his love and passion for many of the musicians who have had an impact on his life and career. In a television first, Elvis and Elton perform together, and Elvis covers some of Elton John's most beloved songs. Special musical guests include Allen Toussaint and James Burton, who join Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher of Elvis Costello's band The Imposters.

Encore presentations of CTV's Friday night broadcast airing on Bravo! Saturdays at 8 p.m. ET and Sundays at 6 p.m. ET, beginning April 4th.

Additional musical special guests confirmed for this season include musicians Davey Faragher, Pete Thomas and Steve Nieve of The Imposters; guitarist James Burton, who played with Elvis Presley; legendary producer, pianist, writer, arranger and singer Allen Toussaint; three-time Grammy Award-winning jazz bassist Charlie Haden; jazz guitarist and composer Pat Metheny, winner of 17 Grammy Awards; jazz pianist Bill Charlap; Larry Campbell and Tony Garnier of Bob Dylan's touring band; keyboard player Kevin Hearn, of Barenaked Ladies; and violinist/vocalist Jenny Scheinman.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gentleman Reg Kindly Requests Your Assistance

Gentleman Reg (Reg Vermue) has been performing in Canada for nearly a decade and has garnered deserved attention for his two acclaimed full-lengths, 2002's Make Me Pretty and 2004's Darby & Joan. As well, Gentleman Reg has made fans of some of Canada's best talent, performing and touring with such acts as Tegan and Sara, Broken Social Scene, Stars and The Hidden Cameras. In the U.S., Gentleman Reg is best known for being featured in the 2006 John Cameron Mitchell movie, "Short Bus", in which he made a brief cameo and contributed to the films soundtrack.

With a voice near ethereal and a look to match, Gentleman Reg’s latest album, Jet Black was just released last week - and now he wants your production assistance. Seems the tall pale one (Gentleman Reg) and Arts & Crafts (his Record Company) is giving fans the chance to remix his dance track "We're In A Thunderstorm". All you have to do is go here, download the pieces (available as AIFF or MP3), then morph them into your very own creation. "We invite you to mutate, warp, extend and crumple, add instrumentation or vocals," encourages the site, "or take it all away and leave the track stripped bare."

Then simply upload your remix creation, and people will be able to listen to it and give it a rating. The winner will have their track featured on an Arts & Crafts 2009 Summer Sampler.

Sounds like fun huh? Put those musical and creative skills to work and create something to make Gentleman Reg proud.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

PLAYLIST 26 - Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down

One of those days indeed... Then again, if I'm not bitching about the cold, I'll surely be whining about the rain. Oh, and then there's the heat. Don't get me started. Tis' my Canadian perogative, where weather rules supreme and singularly keeps my bloodstream "a coursin'" with Extra Strength Tylenol.

Never one to pass up an opportunity for the perfect precipitation playlist. (With apologies to Karen Carpenter.)

"Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down"

Moist Side

Rainydayz –
And It Rained All Night (Burial Remix) - Thom Yorke
The Dumb In The Rain – Liars
Rain On Tin - Sonic Youth
So. Central Rain - R.E.M.
Just Like The Rain - Richard Hawley
Right As Rain – Adele
Last Years Rain Didn't Fall Quite So Hard - The Twilight Sad
Just A Little Bit Of Rain – Mick Harvey
Come Wind, Come Rain - Vashti Bunyan
I Wish It Would Rain -
Wreckless Eric
Ballet For A Rainy Day -
Happy When It Rains (Demo) - The Jesus & Mary Chain

Migraine Side

Little Rain - Jimmy Reed
See The Sky About To Rain - Neil Young
Early Morning Rain - Ian & Sylvia
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 - Bob Dylan
Little Bit Of Rain - Karen Dalton
I Think It's Going To Rain Today - Nina Simone
Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain - Carla Bozulich
Raining In Darling - Bonnie "Prince" Billy
Famous Blue Raincoat - The Handsome Family
I Wish It Would Rain -
If It Smells Like A Rain Cloud -
It's A Rainy Day Sunshine Girl - Pavement
Cryin' Like The Rain - David Vandervelde
Weeks Of Rain -
See You On Monday -
Come On Rain Or Shine -
Jack Kerouac

"Thinkers" Not Stinkers

This grey and rainy weekend has proven a good one to catch up on some movies I missed the first time around. Both of them were entirely different but both proved to be hugely compelling. “Thinkers”, as my son likes to call them. These "not so new releases" featured young people as the main protagonist. Each one however, had very, very different stories to tell. The first, My Kid Could Paint That is a documentary about Marla Olmstead, a four year old artist who rocketed from total obscurity into international renown, selling over $300,000 dollars worth of abstract paintings along the way. The pint sized Picasso was even compared to Wassily Kandinsky and Jackson Pollock. Inside Edition, The Jane Pauley Show, and NPR did extended pieces, and The Today Show and Good Morning America got in a bidding war over an appearance by the talented toddler. There was talk of corporate sponsorship from even The Gap and Crayola. Ultimately though, not all of the attention was positive. From the beginning, detractors faulted her parents for exposing young Marla to the glare of the media and accused the couple of exploiting their daughter for financial gain.

At the height of the frenzy, director Amir Bar-Lev entered the picture at the behest of the parents; Bar-Lev stayed for a year, and taped the subsequent fallout. The story shifted gears dramatically when five months into Marla’s new life as a celebrity and just short of her fifth birthday, a bombshell dropped. CBS' 60 Minutes aired an exposé suggesting strongly that the paintings were painted by her father, himself an amateur painter. Just the right turn a documentarian needs to derail a project. But not this one.

Though intending to raise the thorny issues at the center of abstract art, Bar-Lev instead began monitoring and questioning a dark but growing subtext: whether Marla painted all the pieces herself, unassisted. Be assured, this is compelling stuff; the whole family seemed to have differing opinions on the thematic core of that one. Strangely, it would't be the first time this weekend the family would have film content to discuss.

Next up was Boy A, a film inspired by the controversial case of two 10-year-old killers who murdered a younger boy in England in 1993. The film asks the question, is a 10-year-old "evil?" If so, does he remain evil or is it something he can leave behind as an adult? Boy A is a thought-provoking and powerfully sad film with an amazing central performance by young actor Andrew Garfield (The Other Boleyn Girl). The performance actually won a BAFTA (British Oscar) for the film’s star.

When we first meet Eric (Garfield), one of two infamous "killer-children," he's being released at age 24 – (14 years later, to a new life and a new identity –Jack Burridge). The entire world seems foreign to him now though. He doesn't know how to order a meal at a restaurant. He has trouble relating to a world he barely knows. To complicate matters further, accompanying his release is a widespread, media frenzy which reignites public indignation. The crime and trial are covered as current news and feed a hunger for revenge. Although Jack bears little resemblance to the young Boy A, it becomes increasingly clear that the past may be impossible to escape.

Boy A has a certain melancholy inevitability but director John Crowley’s deft amalgam of the present "new life" and the flashbacks of Eric's past life offer a vivid duality, that is affecting and ultimately decisive. It this insight though that forces the viewer to process the films dark themes, often with vastly different results.

This one will make you think (likely debate) and it asks more questions than it answers. I can guarantee though, this one will stick with you for days.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Early Bird Gets the Rock

Just yesterday, my favourite New York band – Sonic Youth made me feel a little long in the tooth. (Rearranging the record collection always does that from mind you.) But I digress... You see it was almost twenty five years ago I purchased my first Sonic Youth record. It got me thinking there are not a lot of bands out there I follow so keenly a quarter century after the fact. Needless to say Sonic Youth record release news is always good news in my books.

As announced previously, the new Sonic Youth double LP/CD/digital album, ‘The Eternal’ is coming out on June 9th. However, the album will be available to those taking part in Matador Record’s Buy Early Get Now campaign on April 28th.

Along with your preorder of ‘The Eternal’ on LP or CD, you’ll get an instant stream of the album, and later (either picking it up at your fave local record store or through the auspices of the U.S. Postal Service) a bonus limited edition live LP* culled from Sonic Youth’s July 4th, 2008 show in Battery Park, which will contain an exclusive poster. Additional MP3’s will be delivered via the BEGN site before or after the album’s physical release date (June 9th).

The album can be preordered from a trusted local retailer starting March 24 or directly from Matador on April 28th.

Though the full list of participating record stores will be available on March 24th. A separate but equally thrilling variation on Buy Early Get Now those in the United Kingdom and other territories will be announced soon.

God I hope I’m still buying Sonic Youth records twenty five years from now.

*- while supplies last

Monday, March 2, 2009

Forkin’ Up

Neil Young’s New, Electric Car-Inspired Release Fork in the Road Due April 7th

Neil Young has been extraordinarily prolific throughout his storied career often exploring themes and subject matters most unusual. Today it was confirmed that Fork in the Road, a record about Young’s Linc Volt electric car project, will see release on April 7th. Most of the songs have been debuted on Young's latest World Tour. The only previously unheard song is Johnny Magic, an affectionate tribute to Jonathan Goodwin, who is Young’s developmental partner in the Linc Volt project. Young has spent significant amounts of time working with Goodwin at his Wichita, Kansas garage over the past year. Goodwin, known as the “motorhead messiah,” is one of the worlds preeminent electric car experts, and with Shakey’s penchant for automobiles and the environment it was a match made in automobile heaven.

The album was recorded with Young’s touring band, which includes Ben Keith (pedal steel guitar, keyboards), Chad Cromwell (drums), Rick Rosas (bass), Pegi Young (vocals) and Anthony Crawford (vocals, guitar).

Young plays the John Labatt Centre in London, ON on April 15th. Additional dates here.

Fork in the Road track listing:

When Worlds Collide
Fuel Line
Just Singing A Song
Johnny Magic
Cough Up The Bucks
Get Behind The Wheel
Off The Road
Hit The Road
Light A Candle
Fork In The Road