Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mumblecore Montréal


The image is the front of Wilensky's Light Lunch {34 Ave Fairmount W./O.}, not far from where I'm staying, which was made famous by Mordecai Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Here's a 1990 gastronomical look at Montréal through a Richler lens. In that article, I found out Saul Bellow spent his early childhood in this part of Montréal and that Wilensky was a Communist.. Also, some Kravitz film trivia...Yvette, played by Micheline Lanctôt was born in Frelighsburg, QC, which is near the part of the Eastern Townships I love visiting.

The French immersion continues. Watching the Word Series on RDS en français.

Twitterversion:: [video+blog] Mumblecore Montréal & other hyperlinks including Wilensky's, Mordecai Richler, & Michiline Lanctôt. @Prof_K

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Night Videos:: Efterklang

Three from 4AD's Efterklang. The first two feature the Efterkids {from the Special Music School in NYC}::

I rediscovered "Mirador" with an animated video directed by Hvass & Hannibal & UFEX and animated by Jens Christian, Høgni Larsen, and Nan Na Hvass.

MP3 downloads & social media links are here.

Twitterversion:: [blog+videos] #FridayNightVideos Three from 4AD's @Efterklang @Prof_K

DDoS Attack on RIAA

I've been following the Limewire court saga that's prompted a scheduled attack on RIAA at 4PM EDT  by's /b/ or "anonymous". I've noticed thar it's been the RIAA site has been slow or the connection has been timed out, but that may be due to my WiFi hotspot connection here at UQAT.

The murky areas of "hacktivism" bring up interesting issues of free speech and civil disobedience. It will be interesting to see if corporations and organizations seek tougher penalties for involving hacking and tresspassing versus the more passive virtual "sit-in".

The larger legal issue of the nature of intellectual property and piracy reflects how media models need to shift in terms of value-creation. Protecting IP in this era of infinite reproduction is a losing battle. The consumer/user wants to pay amounts approaching $0, signalling their perceptions of value and piracy activity reveals attitudes towards risk in terms of breaking the law. I think it's time to lower price and redetermine symbolic value {and meaning} of IP content, which is nothing new or even controvertial, unless you're the RIAA and the courts.

Twitterversion:: [tweet] DDoS attack on #RIAA slated at 4EDT by 4chan's /b/. Whose #fail or #facepalm will this turn out to be? @Prof_K

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This XTC Song Is Perfect for Post-Election Toronto

Twitterversion:: [blog+video] #Toronto has a new theme song! @Prof_K

Thursday, October 21, 2010

newmusicmonday #65:: Elsiane

image:: Elsiane, by Joshua Jones, via MySpaceMusic

Genredowntempo electronica
MembersElisieanne Caplette (Vocals, Keyboard)
Stephane Sotto (Drums)
CityMontréal, QC, Canada
LabelVega Musique

Last Friday, I was hoping to catch Elsiane at La Sala Rossa in Montréal, but due to the rain I got into town late and missed the show. The band is playing this minute up in Shawinigan, QC.

Here's an interview of the band from the 2007 Montréal Jazz Festival::

and another one from 2008::

The band creates ethereal soundscapes fusing jazz, classical, and electronica elements, also drawing upon Elsianne's Perivian and Chinese lineage. Elsieanne and Stephane state that they are influenced not just by music, but by art and film. Their interest is in creating music that touches the listener, creating emotional linkages.

"Vaporous", from the album 'Hybrid', creates a crafted sound that has cinematic qualities::

Here's a player with a few songs. I really like "Across the Stream", which has a bit of a Hooverphonic vibe.

Twitterversion:: [blog+video+♫streams] belated #newmusicmonday features @elsiane—#Montreal duo fusing jazz, classical, world & electronica. @Prof_K

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thoughts on Bike Lanes:: The Path in Montréal Along Blvd. de Maisonneuve

image:: Boulevard de Maisonneuve O. at Rue City Councillors

This past weekend, I was in Québec, visiting Montréal and the Eastern Townships {Sutton and St. Armand/Pigeon Hill}. I had a chance to see The Claire Morrissette bike path, the dedicated two-way bike lane along Blvd. de Maisonneuve in Montréal {3.4 km from Atwater to Berri} and extends into Westmount. I thought it was an interesting approach, given Toronto's recent decommissioning of the switchable centre lane on Jarvis for cars in order to create bike lanes. The Path isn't perfect, as evident in this Gazette article, but the idea of creating a physical barrier {curb} between cars and cyclists is an idea with merit. The author of the article cites his issues with The Path, as he cycles from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce to The Gazette offices on Peel::
"...Pedestrians moving at one speed, cyclists at another and cars at still another, and each of the performers moving to a different set of rules and in different directions.
Not that I didn't enjoy some of the thrill. But sometimes I just want to get from Point A to Point B without the high drama. That means without riding on the de Maisonneuve bike path downtown. One of my colleagues was hit by a car last year while cycling on The Path. The inherent danger, or inherent extra danger, on The Path is that the two cycling lanes in the centre of the city are headed in opposite directions, she pointed out. So a driver turning left from de Maisonneuve has to watch out for cyclists coming from the west and from the east. And watch out for pedestrians, of course, and other cars."
I was also heartened to read that Westmount is keeping its portion of the bike lane open this winter, albeit on a trial basis, forgoing $70,000 in parking fees.

I've blogged about Berkeley's "bicycle boulevards" earlier in the year and I'm still thinking that a network of dedicated bike lanes/routes off of arterial streets is a good idea.

Twitterversion:: [blog] Thoughts on bike lanes after seeing The Path on Blvd. de Maisonneuve in Montreal @Prof_K

Monday, October 11, 2010

newmusicmonday #64:: The Notes

image:: The Notes, via MySpace Music

Genreshoegaze twee pop
MembersAaron, Sam, & Lauren
CityLondon & London SE, UK
Recent Release 'Introducing The Notes', avail for free download on Bandcamp.
It's Thanksgiving here in Canada, which seems a bit strange for me. Although the 20ºC weather in Toronto yesterday reminded me of many a Thanksgiving in California.

Every so often I get an invite on MySpace from a band and last week I received one from The Notes. The band is an interesting mix of styles, merging elements of twee pop, post punk, and goth, so, while there can be a uptempo sunny side to their music, there's often more than a hint of darker undercurrents. I'm also a fan of how many of their songs clock in at the two minute mark—there's something to be said of a song that gets to the point. The sweet vocals aren't cloying and while the songs are often maudlin, the music isn't about wallowing in a pity party. In my mind, this music speaks to the inner-twentysomething that earnestly yearns with an artistic and literary sensibility.

"Lighthouse, "Summer Love", and "Nineteen" showcase the band's chops with pop sensibilities::

"The Cult of Hopelessness" and "Bourgeois" {video on BleedingGold} evoke early-80s post punk::

Finally, here's a recent song, "Awake", that grew on me after a few listens::

Twitterversion:: [blog+videos] #newmusicmonday features The Notes {@thenotesband}— indie shoegaze pop w/postpunk influences @Prof_K

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cee Lo Green Viral "F*ck You"

I'm a little late to this, which went viral last month. It's Cee Lo Green's "Fuck You" and I saw the radio edit called "Forget You" on AUX. The song was co-written and co-produced with Bruno Mars, who was just on SNL last night.

I think the song is brilliant. It's an expletive-laden kiss off song wrapped with a funky and infectious Motown pop sound [lyrics]::
"I see you driving 'round town
With the girl I love and I'm like, Fuck you!
Oo, oo, ooo 
I guess the change in my pocket
Wasn't enough I'm like, Fuck you! 
And fuck her too!..." 

Here's a version of the 50 Cent remix video. I'm not usually a fan of video with animated text karaoke style, but this works and the remix is tight::

Here's a very recent live and uncensored version from the BBC's "Live with Jools Holland"::

and the video has spawned a ton of other mashups, including this violin remix by the extremely talented Eric Stanley::

This spoof of the song by DeStorm transforms the song into a middle finger towards YouTube trolls. On Cee Lo's YouTube channel, there are translations of the song lyrics, including German and Spanish, and a "making of" video for the "Fuck You" video. Cee Lo has a forthcoming album, The Lady Killer, due out on 9 November and available for pre-order.

Twitterversion:: [videos+blog] on Cee Lo Green's neo soul "F*ck You" seen on @AUXTV. Plus, a violin remix featuring Eric Stanley @estan247 @Prof_K

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Seven Days Ago...Tales of a Hard {Drive} Recovery

My partition map on my Seagate 500Gb harddrive {installed in winter/spring 2009} was shredded {before it gave up the ghost, there was an invalid sibling link error}, but backups saved the day. It's funny how utter catastrophe helps to force one to get organized. I actually know where stuff is after I recovered files and created some method to the gigabytes and gigabytes of madness.

So, I went about {needlessly} a convoluted and time consuming recovery route {makes me sound like Lindsay Lohan} due to my running Windows XP in VMWare Fusion, but it caused me to learn a few things.
  • Partitioning is my friend. I read that my Macbook {3,1} from late 2007 can only officially handle 250Gb drives and above that people might have problems with partition maps and catalogue b-tree. I didn't bookmark these findings, but I will insert them here if I come across them again. [link to blog post citing that errors may start occurring as a HD fills to 250GB level & counterarguments. My experience was a steady stream of wonky catalogue b-tree issues as the HD filled past the 250 GB mark. I should also say that my system runs hot, particularly if I have a bunch of browser tabs open, running XP, and running SPSS/PASW—a statistics package]. I now have a 500Gb with 3 partitions. One for the system, one for storage, and one with a bootable Snow Leopard install.
  • Tech Tools Deluxe is my friend. It found a bad block on my new drive, so I reformatted and wrote with 0s to isolate it and Tech Tools gave it the green light.
  • Firewire is my friend. Firewire and bootable partitions {one with an archived full system with various software tools like Tech Tools and Data Rescue 2 {which I used to I recover some pics from my digicam that were uploaded after my last backup}.
I think the worst part of this experience, other than waiting for data to transfer, was walking from Yonge/Wellesley to Spadina/College during a downpour. The walk back through U of T wasn't so damp...

Twitterversion:: [blog] notes on a hard {drive} recovery from a  Macbook hd partition map #fail @Prof_K

Monday, October 04, 2010

newmusicmonday #63:: Dilly Dally

Genrealt pop
MembersKatie Monks is Vocals and Guitar.
Liz Ball is Guitar and Vocals.
Mike Giuliani is Bass.
Corey Marshall is Drums.
CityToronto, ON, Canada
Recent Release Forthcoming EP.

Dilly Dally drew me in with their guitarwork and a raw quality to both lyrics and vocals that don't pull any punches. This might seem odd, but when I hear the guitars, I hear a bit of Paul Weller circa 1982-84. Definitely check out the four tracks on CBCr3 or MySpace. This is music stripped of pretense and posturing. Part of what I like the most about the songs are how they tell these stories wrought with emotion integrated with the arrangements.

I don't know the title of this live track from last summer, but it's one of my favourites::

Here's a live version of "Green" shot in Trinity Bellwoods Park::

Also check out The Humble Empire's YouTube channel for the Live in Bellwoods series [also, here's the Live in Bellwoods site].

Finally, here's a live version of "Albatross", showing off the band's stage presence::

Twitterversion:: [blog+video] #newmusicmonday features #Toronto's Dilly Dally, including three live tracks. @Prof_K

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Globe & Mail's "It's Our Time to Lead" Commercial

My computer is on the blink and will need a new hard drive, but luckily I have stuff backed up and it will only set me back a day or so. Until I get my backup up and running, several blog posts will have to wait.

I've been noticing this commercial for the Globe and Mail, meant to stir up discussion on the issue of the Canadian identity and the future of Canada::

The idea here is for Canadians to look to the future. The execution towards the end seemed a bit derivative of JFK's "We Choose to Go to the Moon" speech at Rice University in September of 1962::

The Globe and Mail accompanied the video on youtube with this description of what this is all about::
"On the first of October, The Globe and mail will reveal a new look.
This change coincides with the launch of a discussion that begins in our pages, but ultimately lives beyond them.
We hope, and intend, for this discussion to strike at the heart of how Canadians define ourselves, and our nation. It is meant to go beyond words. We hope it will become a turning point.
We need to re-examine Canadian institutions, and conceits, that we hold dear. Instead of locking ourselves in celebrations of the past, we want to explore our future -- and all we can do to make it brilliant.   But what really can eight discussions over two months achieve? We hope they ignite a million great Canadian debates, at breakfast tables and board tables.
Start with The Globe and Mail. From there, it's up to you."
Canada, it's our time to lead."
I think this is an interesting time in Canada and while earlier in the year I thought that the future was ripe with opportunity, now I'm not so sure. I will say that the institutions in Canada will make the future brighter than in the US, at least in the near term. All of this is fodder for a series of blogs on the future of Canada, particularly as it pertains to the economics and institutions that shape it.

Back to the ad.

The precocious girl on the bike is, ironically, speaking in a manner, which to me at least is decidedly un-Canadian. There's a smug, know-it-all quality to the whole execution that's "off code" and just plain off. It's all very postmodern in that it distills much of the discourse on the Canadian identity question and reflects upon the past while in the same breath derides such reflection. There is a subtext here. That something's amiss in Canada and it's time to shrug that off and shine, much like an episode of Glee.

There are things that are relatively right in Canada, but these things are threatened from time to time. Health care and the regulated financial sector spring to mind.

Is the ad effective? Well, I think it will strike a chord with some and put off others, which is evident with the YouTube comments. Will it drive traffic for G&M? I think it will, but I don't feel this was the best execution for doing so.

Twitterversion:: [blog+video] Globe & Mail's "It's Our Time to Lead" Commercial

Friday, October 01, 2010

newmusicmonday #62:: Grimes

image :: Claire Boucher, via MySpaceMusic

Genregoth pop
MemberClaire Boucher
CityMontréal, QC, Canada
Recent Release

'Geidi Primes' on Arbutus {ABT 007}. Sold out, but free download is available.

I've been insanely busy this week and behind on my blogging, so newmusicmonday is on Friday. There will be blogs on various topics occupying my time, including GIS mapping and Malcolm Gladwell's FTL bomb on social media and social activism. There are two interesting blogs by my colleagues on ThickCulture, José and Don, on Obama and Colbert's congressional débâcle, respectively.

Grimes is Claire Boucher and like last week's Blue Hawaii, Grimes is on Arbutus, hails from la ville marie, and was at Pop Montréal {which goes through the weekend} at the Arbutus showcase. Grimes occupies a dreamy dark goth pop territory that like other descriptions have states is unpretentious, but at the same time has a confidence of identity. Her bio blurb on CBCr3 says she draws upon mediæval chorale and synthpop, which is an accurate description, but do check out the tracks on 'Geidi Primes' and the songs streamed on MySpace, as her songs don't all sound the same.

"Caladon", which is on 'Geidi Primes', quickly grew on me::

 Grimes - Caladan by Arbutus Records 

Here's a video of a live performance at The Bus Stop Theatre in Halifax in June::

Grimes has upcoming tourdates, including an interesting pairing tomorrow in Montréal of local indie artists and "The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari" {1920} by Cinequanon at Studio Off Interarts 5143 St Laurent [Laurier Metro]. Later in the month Grimes will be in NYC and Halifax, as well as a 9 November date in Montréal.

Live at The Bus Stop Theatre June 24th 2010

Twitterversion:: [blog+video+audio stream] belated #newmusicmonday features goth pop of #Montreal's Grimes. Playing Cinequanon event @POPMontréal @Prof_K