Sing Along

Do you ever find lyrics that you just want to share with someone?

I have been listening to New Design and Kennedy on loop. They both create the same affliction to me: I want to sing with someone. I know very few people who have heard of these bands, let alone know them well enough to belt along with someone.

When I say “sing along”, I am only half meaning that on a literal level. I just want to be able to type the lyrics in a window and have someone respond with the next line. I want someone to appreciate the deft use of language as much as I do.

I was having a fantastic conversation with my friend Corey, and we both came to the conclusion that we’re the same with lyrics usually. They play little rolls in our appreciation for music, which can be detrimental when we enjoy something degrading or offensive. I, myself, only realized recently how important the lyrics of the band I was in during high school were. So, Kev: you deserve more credit for being a poetic genius.

I understand the cognitive dissonance in me saying how I do not comprehend lyrics right after talking about how two albums have some of the best lyrics ever. If anything, it should illustrate how impressive the words are. They permeated the barrier that I didn’t mean to install. All said: I think only 10% of my music I actually get what they are trying to say. I hear the words, I just cannot always connect what is being said with actual messages.

Thus, the me realizing how misogyny some of the words that bands I am affiliated with have been.

For that, I am very sorry. Especially if you gave me a heads-up at the time and I blew you off.

Are We Friends…?

The title of the piece is the eternal question for someone who spends all of their time online. I am constantly fighting with myself, trying to decide whether or not someone is a friend or just an entity online. It raises the question: can someone who you never meet or talk to on a regular basis be a friend? I would argue yes.

Most likely the person is in your feed because you appreciate their input or you enjoy what they produce. Where it gets dicey is having too many people in your feeds that just agree with everything you post, causing your opinion to never be pushed or strained. This causes an almost utopian existence.

Tell me my opinion is shit. Well, only if you can back up why with evidence or statistics. I will always hear out alternate opinions that are not just trolling for trolling sake. The idea of never having my opinion tested is actually a fear of mine. I make sure to read something that goes in the face of what I believe pretty close to daily. Worst case: I learn how right I am to have that view.

Do I always do this? Is my mind truly open and accepting of every view, even if it contradicts my own views?
Hell no. I do try incredibly hard to keep my mind open, but some topics I have a very hard time challenging my opinion. That only doubles if I think an alternate way of thinking is detrimental to the human race.

Religion is one place that I am steadfast even if it is easy to disprove my opinion on a matter. I believe that the end is the end, and there is no further existence outside of what we have right now. I will fully admit, a big part of that is a fear that my actions will have further repercussions down the line that I never intended. I need to think that when I die, I no longer have any attachment to this mortal coil because I cannot fathom hurting those in my life. Even if I die a natural death and there is no immediacy in my passing, I do not want to dwell on the people who might be negatively affected by my passing. Not that I put much emphasis on my importance in others lives, but I worry about how my parents would deal if I went before them. I worry how my wife will cope, if anyone will help her out, and what happens to my dogs.

Thankfully, in my mind, we die and nothing that happens after matters. The book I have been writing for months? Lost in the files of this computer I am currently sitting at. If I worried about every facet of my life, I would be a wreck. I actually take comfort the most of my friends live far away from me: if I die, they might never know.

I digress.

What is a friend? Someone who you are happy to know that they are still alive. Someone who’s words matter in your day to day. Someone who you can honestly say you love.

Total Collapse

I have been ruminating on writing this for literal weeks. Not because I am afraid of offending people, the people who would be offended somewhat need to be offended. No, simply because there is too much that has been going on in my head.

I hate the culture of ignorance around this pandemic. It feels like there is willful ignorance and too many fake professionals giving their two cents. If I hear how horrible it is that Canada hasn’t opened its borders to the US again, I think I will actually lose my voice screaming at the screen. Same goes for letting kids back to school, or how the vaccine has a microchip, and the most egregious: how the mask is inconvenient.

I get the allure of having kids go back to school. “Free” daycare so parents can go to work. There are so many things wrong with these sediments, but the easiest rebbutle is that this will cause the pandemic to spring back up in numbers. Kids are gross and needy. They will touch each other, no matter the precautions that are put in place. This puts teachers lives in danger. This puts families lives in danger. I cannot even express how blind and arrogant this whole idea is. Again, I understand the want. I just have a hard time accepting that we (as a society) are ready when we just have quintuple digits worth of new cases spring up in some places in the states.

Do you have a license? Do you have pets? Do you notify the government when you move? Do you collect mail? Do you have a cellphone? Do you belong to a country with universal healthcare? Do you have a bank account?
If you answered yes to any of the above: THE GOVERNMENT DOESN’T NEED TO MICROCHIP YOU.
There is nothing that they cannot access already that they could learn from checking your blood. Health records are accessible to government agencies, so they know everything from your blood type to your diet.
And no: you cannot figure out sexual orientation or physical disability from blood. I HATE THAT I HAVE TO WRITE THAT.

The states have literally created an Orwellian police state. Here is a video showing and explaining much better than I could.

Wear your fucking mask. Just, wear the fuking thing. Yes, it can be uncomfortable, but there is no excuse whatsoever. If you think there is, then doctors shouldn’t wear one when they do surgery. Wear your fucking mask.

I am not an expert. I am just sick of being assaulted constantly with so much misinformation that I don’t know where to start my tyrades.

Classic Album Review :: The Flaming Lips — Embryonic

Little text explaining why I am doing so many reviews right now. The world, or at least North America, is fucked. Everything is breaking (because it needed to) and there is little happy that I can find to be exposed to. So, I focus on coffee and music. Since it would be boring to just keep reading about how great my black coffee is, I hope that you aren’t too sick of the music!

Interesting bit of information: I have almost exactly 38 days worth of music on my computer. I deleted about 3 days worth of stuff I either will never or have never listened to: so, biased as the claim may be, I only have the best the world has to offer!

I had my full collection on random yesterday, and was reminded of this album. It could be argued that this album isn’t old enough to be placed in the ‘classic’ category yet, but 2009 is a while ago. In my broken mind, I can justify it being two decades old. I can do simple math, I know it’s not. Shut up.

ANYWAY: This album borrows greatly from the ’60s psychedelic sound that the Flaming Lips have always used. I actually watched a video compilation using a song from this album over footage from the original Woodstock, and it fit rather nicely. I cannot decide if the Flaming Lips are in the wrong decade, or if they are just really good at appropriating sounds of the past. They fuse old sounds and ways of composing with new technologies and methods. It creates this almost timeless kakophonie. The sounds leave the listener in the middle of a miasma of ideas.

Of course, I am a huge fan of the drums on the album. They are really kinetic and almost lure the listener into a kind of trance. Most songs sport a simple 4/4 pattern, but there are deviations. The song ‘Your Bats‘ comes to mind, where it adopts a 6/8 in a way that isn’t noticeable at the start. Or, at the very least, I didn’t notice it. Maybe my mind is simple, I’ll let you be the judge.

The vocalist takes some getting used to. If you can accept his very high voice, it becomes impossible to consider any other style over the band. If someone cannot get over how shrill his voice is, however: it can render the album almost unlistenable. I could never fault anyone for being unable to get over it. I would pity them, however. It is far from a slight to point out how every instrument being played is being done so by a deft hand.

I mean, if I wanted to do a full career retrospective, I would be writing forever. This band has been producing albums in some capacity since 1983. The band has been through 16 members, with only the bass player staying absolutely consistent in his role. Even the individual who is now the lead singer didn’t start off that way. I really recommend reading the Wikipedia page about them, it’s fascinating!

this post is not depressing

The idea that “things will always get better” is a lie.

Hear me out.

It’s not a bad thing that things change. Yes, at times it can seem, or even be, daunting. To wallow in a mindset where things could be better is just as debilitating as the event could be.

Take me being in a wheelchair. Yes, it sucks. Yes, the healthcare system has all but failed me. Yes, I do make attempts to get my body back to where it once was. I never think that things could be better, because the idea of better is so damned subjective.

Will I walk again? No one has been able to give me a conclusive reason why not, so I’m going with a softy ‘probably’ for now. Do I want to? Of course I do. That’s why I try to walk everyday, only held back by the brain damaged I sustained that left me epileptic and has caused my muscles to react strangely to stimulus.

Do I really want things to be better?

Better than what? I have gone on rants discussing how I think the term “better” is bloody horrible. To paraphrase: Better than what? If your response was my current condition, then I have good news for you! I have gotten a lot further in some form of recovery! I mean: I still have brain damage and cannot walk on my own, but to dwell on that fact is futile. I’ll walk when I walk, and I won’t stop doing things until it starts to happen. Then, I’m planning on taking a four week nap and punching cute things endlessly.

I play. Of course there is no end to “improvement.” I do prefer that word over ‘better’ because improvement in quantifiable, but I digress.

So, why make the claim that things don’t get better over time? There is a chance that the person wants help instead of just sweeping proclamations. Instead of basically saying “stop bitching for now”, offer a hand. Even just the offer is all people want some times. If they turn it away, calmly and quietly leave the situation. There is a good chance they just need to vent in a semi-public fashion. Like screaming into the night and your neighbour accidentally hears you. FaceBook is just a way that the police will not get involved for public disturbances.

In eventual conclusion: no. I do not think things will get better. You just get used to the situation around you and learn to cope with it. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it means you’re learning! You’re adapting! Just know who you can turn to. There is no shame in asking for help.

Once more for the people in the back:

THERE IS NO SHAME IN ASKING FOR HELP.

Classic Album Review :: Broken Social Scene — You Forgot It In People

I have no idea what inspired me to tackle this album. This is one of my favourite albums of all time, and it will be very hard for me not to say “just listen to it because”, but I will write something more substantial because you should listen to it.

You Forgot It In People came out of nowhere on the Canadian music scene. The early 2000’s were an amazing time in Canadian Indi and pop rock, and this album helped cement that statement as true in multiple ways.

First off, and most importantly, is the pedigree of musicians on this album is amazing. Though this band does not hold the record for the most performers, it still holds 18 credited actors. I say credited only because I would not be surprised if someone did clapping on the song “Stars & Sons” and they just forgot to give them a shout-out.

The part of this album I love the most is the flow. The album starts with an ethereal string portion, track two begins with roughly ten seconds of simple guitar mixed with violin then launches with a kinetic energy from the percussion that I have never found prior or since. Track three is very subdued compared to track two, and this album continues this tug-and-pull between being calm and chaotic.

The lyrics are this strange combination of being incredibly important and highschool poetry by that guy who thinks he’s deep. It works beautifully. The reflective nature brings to mind someone who has finally identified the last parts of their sexuallity.

Standout track has to be “Looks Just Like the Sun” simply because it’s the sore-thumb track: it doesn’t quite belong in the mix, but dares you to not pay attention. It relies on almost jazz chord progressions and a very laid-back drum track. Again, not a great example for the album as a whole, but easily my favourite track in the mix.

I usually drop hints on my person FaceBook as to what album I am going to write about next, so I posted KC Accidental on my wall. My friend pointed out how “Cause = Time” is his favourite, so as I write this, I am listening to that song over and over again. The song is kind of great at accentuating the overall message of Kevin Drew’s collection of lyrics which are sexual exploration and a dower look at law enforcement. Far from police bashing (unfortunate choice of words, but I’m going to leave it there), but does belittle the institution while expressing the potential for an abuse of power.

In summary: just listen to it because.
It’s amazing,

They uploaded the whole album, so you don’t have to spend the money. Do so anyway.

Music Comparison :: Pretty Girls Make Gaves v. Mars Volta

I am not saying these two albums are one-for-one. In fact, I am not even saying that they are remotely the same. I am claiming that fans of one can find something to appreciate about the other.

The Mars Volta seemed to come out of nowhere. Unless you were a fan of Sparta, these two seemed that they came from a cave and released probably one of the most original albums of that time. De-Loused in the Comatorium was a force to be reckoned with from the ambient track one right through until the end of track ten. It is kinetic with how involved every instrument is placed. Nothing feels like an accident. The mix is beautifully orchestrated. It’s hard to discuss this album without diving headfirst into individual tracks and dissecting the music theory knowledge involved. I mean, the ending of track one (bleeding into track two) changes time signature nine times on top of simple standard time time. The album then launches into a chaotic 3/8 and then does not let up until track nine.

Pretty Girls Make Graves (hearbye known as PGMG because I’m lazy) evolved out of the emo scene in the early 2000’s. They take elements of punk and mix it with almost art-house/ambient rock. This album stays pretty well in the same energy level through most of it. None of the instrumentation sticks out, particularly. What makes this album so incredibly important is how much it impacts the listener. I know very few people who have heard this album that have not loved some part of it. The vocalist sings over a calamity of orchestrated noise that has a purpose to lull the listener into a sense of pure bliss. Though Èlan Vital is not their first, or last, album, it remains one of my favourite albums of all time.

De Louced in the Comatorium is the Mars Vota’s first full length, though they had a very decent EP prior to that. There is not a lacking member on the record. Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers is on bass and he is (arguably) the weakest member of the crew. This album feels like you are listening to a performance instead of listening to an album.

Èlan Vital is, in comparison, very simple. They share aspects of the same ethereal plain, but they do not have much more in common where instrumentation comes into play, except for their use of onenote progression used several times in both recordings.

Now, I am positive there is a music theory reason for this progression. It probably dates all the way back to songs of olde. Back when the progression was far from news and, instead, was used by every minstral from here to Eden.

However, this is not the time of olde. This progression is not used often any longer, and I hate that I don’t know enough to give a name to it. It’s a huge part of Bullet Charm (which is the PGMG song I am going to link below) and is very prominent in the song “Eria Tarka” from The Mars Volta. This note progression, plus the emphasis on ethereal soundscapes, makes the comparison between the two bands more apt.

I made a big deal about track nine on De Loused in the Comatorium then dropped it! The song is Televators, and was the first song I had heard from the band. It is also acoustic and has little to do with the rest of the album. Even though it has little to do with the rest of the album, it will still be the track I place for Mars Volta below.

I’m not going to lie, a big part of why I wrote this is just to have an excuse to listen to these two albums over and over again for “research”. Also, I feel like PGMG have vanished from the collective consciousness, and any excuse I can find to talk about them feels important.

I’m posting this being well aware that I am going to get a bunch of shit from people saying how I’m wrong.

Song Review :: Yeah Yeah Yeahs — Maps

I have this song in my head. It just loops over and over and I have never been happier to have such a beautiful melody stuck in the recesses of my mind than I am right now. So, instead of reviewing the gem of an album, I thought I would just focus on this song.

Why? This album is amazing all the way through, but this song stands out. Not because it is the best song, that is arguable. No, it stands alone as almost a lullaby on an almost-punk album. It’s peaceful, it’s beautiful, it’s haunting. It stands as a kind of slap-in-the-face transition from the rest of the mix.

I have a slight tendency to prefer music from the early 2000’s. A large part of it is because I came to my auditory maturity in that time, a lot of it is because there was such a revolution in sounds not seen since the ’60s. Sure, it could be argued that most of it actually started in the ’90s, and I cannot argue that. Regardless of when the experimentation started, it got popular around the turn of the century, and we were all better for it.

Anyway, back to the song. It opens with a simple tremolo on one note, then thunderous drums kick in. After a swell, Karen O adds her voice to the ensemble as a type of whisper. The tones all mix together in an almost ethereal medley until the end of the first verse.

At just shy of 2 min. in, a Pixies like blast resonates from the guitar. This song is the perfect example of the quiet-loud-quiet formula invented by the Pixies back in the ’80s. The formula is simple, but the almost juvenile writing adds to how beautiful the song is. There is nothing to cloud the almost dream like state that this song creates.

Again, this song stands completely alone in it’s execution. The album is stuck somewhere between punk and almost dance pop. Songs like “Date With the Night” are incredibly violent (but still fun) compared to Maps.

Do I recommend this album? Whole heartedly.
Do I acknowledge that it came be disarming in how skattared the tone can be? Absolutely.
Is Maps a good example of the overall feel for the album? Fuck no. I will say that if you are intrigued, I recommend this album with every fiber of my being.

Sorry for the inevitable ads.

Classic Album Review :: The Breeders — Last Splash

There are two different ways to describe this album:
that fantastic first jam session you have with a new band that just seems to work perfectly.
OR
The embodiment of the pre-Nirvana ’90s.

For the first definition, this album always illicents that feeling for me. It’s just loose enough to give it that improvisational feel, but just tight enough to know that it isn’t the case. Everything is very simple in the best way possible.

The second description is a little more in depth, and shares being easier and harder to define.

When you find out that it’s Kim Deal from The Pixies, it all starts to make sense. They have the same sort of “quiet-loud-quiet” song structure that The Pixies made famous. The biggest difference is that The Pixies always felt like they were trying to revolutionize music and change the pop landscape. The Breeders feel like the accept the way music is going and is just trying to produce a perfect album.

I almost feel as if this band would have been absolutely huge if not for the existence of Nirvana. This album has little to do with that bordering on metal sound that came from the Nirvana camp. Again, when you know that it’s Kim Deal on guitar, the comparison is easy.

The Breeders focus a little more on the pop angle of the music, and that’s far from a bad thing in this case. Really bass focused, and non-intrusive drum patterns; the emphasis becomes more vocal-centric as opposed to Nirvana’s and their contemporaries “lyrics are important but listen to how cool this riff is” style of doing things.

I know I just went on a rant about how this band puts more emphasis on lyrics, but songs like Roi are very easy to get lost in. The effects on the strings and the dreamy definition of the vocals almost lull the listener into a trance.

I am reviewing this album because it’s the only one by this band that I know. The Breeders have eight studio albums, and this album (though I love it very much) doesn’t inspire me to check out the rest. It’s a perfect encapsle of the time, but I’m afraid to spoil the perfect image in my head of this band. Seriously, listen to this album. It should be easy to find at your local second-hand music store, if nowhere else. The band is touring again, at least as of 2018.

Music Review :: The Light in the Ocean — The Pseudo​-​Scientific Study of Oceanic Neo​-​Cryptid Zoology

So, it appears that this week is the week of silly long names for albums. I like it! It’s a fun way to explore the many facets of english.

TLITO is a band that I know very little about. My friend Jacob is the drummer, and they are experimenting with Djent and Jazz in a new way.

Well, I say new, but I promise that someone somewhere has done this kind of combination before. The question arises, however: is it as good?

This album is a beautiful combination of everything that you can do with music. It is complicated, but not unattainable. It is silly, but not cringe worthy. Parts are the ’80s power metal progression without the cheese.

Okay, what do I mean by “silly but not cringe worthy” you may be asking? There is a song that the lyrics are using He-Man and The Masters of The Universe as the bases. I pointed out how silly that was to Jacob, and he replied with an explanation of how the video will have 4 unicorn costumes.

AM ALOUD TO EXCLAIM HOW AWESOME THAT IS?

I think my favourite part of the instumentation is that the drums feel “floaty” but never off. It’s a weird thing to point out, but I feel it is important to point out.

What do I mean by Floaty? Everything is on beat, don’t worry about that. Where you would find very exact drums in such elaborate compositions, the drums sit at the back of the “pocket.” Thus, they are not (even remotely) off, but they give this very relaxed feel. Thus, my descriptor as floaty.

I will try not to gush too much. This is quite the expression of musical exploration. I am so happy that this exists.

Bandcamp || Spotify