Naked ‘n’ Exposed

I have been spending a majority of my morning applying, again, to Literary Agents.

It is a very small niche in the greater “agent” circle. I have more connection with reps in the music industry which, most of my musician friends will point out, are impossible to get contact with. Yet, somehow, I have steady (if not friendly) contact with at least 6 or 7 A&R reps. but no Literary Agents.

Also, interesting to probably only me: most Literary Agents are much older. That is not a bad thing, but it does speak to how difficult that world is to survive in. I have lost the video to time, but I watched this “day-in-the-life”-eque video. Apparently, or in this case anyway, Literary Agents make roughly 10% signing bonus for every successful sales pitch they make to a publisher? I found that incredibly humbling, and it also explained better in one stat why there are not more agents out there. There is no bloody money in it, and one agent could be stuck reading for days to just decide that person is not worth pursuing.

I’m already jaded due to years in the music industry to the idea of middle-men. Positions that simply exist to funnel the masses away from the big-wigs to “save time”. I understand the allure, but this kind of structure leads to nepotism and gatekeeping in the worst way.

I am starting to see the appeal in Vanity labels. If I was not so horrible at marketing, I would stay independent.

The ironic thing is that this post is me admitting that I need help looking for a literary agent. I mostly want to talk, but I can bring great things to the table!*

*might be a collection of uncooked meat.

Disgusted

I was explaining to a friend of mine recently how my latest work-in-process has a very anti-police angle in one chapter. When I showed it to her, she claimed that I didn’t go far enough. To paraphrase what she replied with: ‘Your message is weak. The absence of opinion is a political stance.’

I wish I had kept the conversation so I could put what she said exactly, but basically she thought that my fears were unwarranted because I never actually stated clearly that ACAB (All Cops Are Bad). Due to this, she thought that my fears of offending some people were extreme, at best.

When I wrote the chapter, I felt that it was a necessary commentary on the police culture in modern western society. I also feared that my opinions were too radical, and subsequently wondered if I showed the wrong person for an opinion. I say that not because of a negative view on her opinion, but because she has a greater and more warranted opinion on the police in this country.

Then: Wednesday happened.

I am not going to give a detailed breakdown of my feelings towards the events. I am not educated enough, nor am I American. For me to weigh in feels disingenuous and judgmental.

I do, however, need to say something. Her words ring true: not giving an opinion is taking a political stance, and when you leave silence, your lack of words can lead to the wrong opinion. So, I will make my stance on the topic clear, concise, and if you do NOT agree, I can promise that I am not going to fight you. I realize that I might be deafening myself to an opposing opinion, and that is something I normally never do. I feel that the only way to remain educated and accepting is to hear opposing arguments.

THE STORMING OF THE WHITE HOUSE WAS A TERRORIST ACT. THE PEOPLE INVOLVED WERE TERRORISTS. THE CAUSE WAS WEAK, AT BEST. YOUR FEARS ARE UNFOUNDED.

I have never been so disgusted with a country. If this was a “third world” nation who went through the same attempted coup, American forces would be deployed and the sitting government would be dismantled by the Army.

The lack of response, or inappropriate response by the police on hand was deplorable.

Feel shame, United States of America. The world watched. We could not believe what you did.

If you did not take part in the “systematic” dismantling of parliament, you should still be embarrassed by proxy.

…now for step two…

The results of the election are out. I am happy T*mp lost, but I feel that some people don’t share my sentiment for why.

I wanted T*mp out, but not to see a huge change in American policy. I think we’ll see one, but it will be mostly superficial. So many of the issues noticed by the populace have been things in place for over a century. Biden, though I honestly do think there will be huge changes, needed to take over T*mp because T*mp was the issue. The way he conducted himself just made it socially acceptable to be a bigot and a liar.

I would love to be proven wrong. Obviously, it is still way too soon to tell exactly what is going to happen. The racist and homophobic moron needed to be ousted. He was dangerous, stupid, buffoon-like, and fascist. I am not even pointing anything new out, and I was very isolated from a majority of his decisions because I don’t even live in the States.

That brings me heavy handed to my next point: well, it’s more a question. Do the States not realize just how poorly the world viewed his policies? Yes, he was just a figurehead, but his actions made that very clear to the rest of the world for the first time in my life. Even Bush Jr. seemed a better leader, and that’s saying something. He decisions were dangerous, he could be pointed at for the deaths that shadow 9/11, and he made stupid allegations when he lost the election that threatened democracy.

I’m not even a huge fan of democracy, but he challenged the populace on their voting tattics, questioned their validity, and seemed geared to make himself a “leader” for another term. The fact that the vote was so close just amplifies how stupid all of this is.

Okay, I’ve lost my point in the midst of my angry rants.

Oh, right! I wanted to say that Biden probably will not illicit huge changes on the ground floor, but his respect on the world stage is already making the difference. T*mp made politics a spectator sport, for lack of a better term. We, internationally, would read headlines to mock the States and the backwards bullshit that came to the forefront. Biden has become immediately famous because his VP is a black woman. Seriously: this is a fact that should not matter. Since it does, we see just how backward the American view on, not just race, but gender really and truly is.

Goddamn, I cannot even finish my paragraph about how I have reclaimed my opinion without going on another angry tangent about how archaic the American system is.

Okay, that’s it. I will now concede my rants and leave my American readers with this:
Your emotional support Canadians are still here, and fuck knows that people from other countries feel the same. Things will change. Kamila sounds amazing on paper, and we have great hopes for the upcoming year. T*mp was a dictator, and Biden sounds like he is going to be much better. The bar for improvement is very low, however. Things will not change overnight. We are here for you.

(Image in regards to Spec Ops: The Line. Fantastic commentary on war, the human psyche, and video games in general.)

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.

Classic Album Review :: Jill Barber — Chances

How’s this review for whiplash? Jill Barber is the opposite of Mudvayne, but also just as good.

Think 40’s jazz but modern. She has the cutest voice, and the most simple symphony behind her. I love the way the record sounds. I already mentioned the fact that it is a 40’s inspired voyage, but there is something comforting about the lyrics.

Yes: they can come off as petty and juvenile. They can also be endearing and alluring. Her narratives are cliché, but that is what makes them so great.

The track “Oh, My My” will always be one of my favourite tracks. It really reminds me of a Blossom Dearie song, but up-to-date and grittier.

The ONLY complaint that I have about this record is Jill Barber wears her country origins on her sleeve at times. Not so much in the orchestration, but in her voice. She does runs that you only hear in country music. The saving grace, in this instance, is that she is doing them in a different medium. It keeps things bearable.

Wow. I put a bow on my love for this album with that last line didn’t I?

I digress: this album will probably remain in my top ten for all time just because it is both beautiful and safe. I know that if I put it on, I will listen to the whole thing and thoroughly enjoy every second of it.

Music Review :: Adam Evers — Moments

Adam is a talented musician who lives in Toronto, Canada. He is stupid talented, and his voice is amazing. I am getting ahead of myself.

Adam recorded an EP called Moments a few months ago. It blew me away. I’m not normally interested in acoustic jams, but this is exactly what I wanted. Somber, warm, and new yet familiar. I really dig it.

I hate to make comparisons when it is independent music, but it really reminds me of A Perfect Circle‘s acoustic stuff mixed with mild Arab Strap. Beautiful and haunting. I cannot help but feel that this EP is important when I listen to it. The whole adventure last just under fifteen minutes, but the impact it had on me was significant. I have listened to this simple set of recordings dozens of times.

It wouldn’t be a review from me if I didn’t talk, at length, about the instrumentation. The first track is a perfect example of how to do acoustic music right: tasteful violins, huge percussion, wispy vocals, beautiful bass, and minimal (yet poignant) guitar riffs.

I don’t really have a favourite on the album, but I am partial to the song Bodies. I don’t have reason to say any song above another, but maybe because it’s just a beautiful song and a perfect example of what I enjoy about music. Maybe because I am just listening through the EP for the fifth time since I started writing this review and the song just came up again.

Know what? I can sit here all day and talk about how music this EP touches me, or you can listen to it yourself and understand where I am coming from. It’s available on every possible outlet for sale, but YouTube has the whole thing up for stream.

Enjoy!

Classic Album Review :: The Stills — Logic Will Break Your Heart

This is one of those albums that I forget about for a couple of months, then I binge it like I just found it for the first time again. Haunting, beautiful, etherial, other adjectives… I truly love everything about this album. To emphasize: I have been trying to write this for the last hour, and I keep getting distracted by singing and dancing to this amazing bit of auditory bliss.

This album opens with and absolute crushing cacophony of drums, then the bass kicks in giving a sample of what’s to come. On the fifth bar, there is a snare flourish. You are then greeted by a slap of tremolo guitar emphasizing how beautiful the next 49 minutes are going to be.

I’m not going to lie, I have been holding back doing any writing on this album because it holds as one of my favourite albums of all time. Only three albums (Cursive’s Domestica, Sparta’s Wiretap Scars, The Stills’ Oceans Will Rise) have even gotten close to overtaking it in the pantheon of amazing, but they are still miles away. There is something both timeless and time-capturing about this album. It perfectly encapsulates what was going on in music in the early nauts, but can be enjoyed by anyone at the same time.

Lyrically, this album is a powerhouse. The most nihilistic and honest lyrics you will find in the Canadian pop scene. It did come out at a time where there seemed to be a nineties revival where that subject matter is concerned. You had Modest Mouse telling you how beautiful and horrible life is, Bloc Party expressing confusion in the sexual scene, and The Strokes trying their best to describe how life goes when you’re messed up on every drug. The Stills fit nicely by putting way too much description in the mundane: describing things in a situation where you would not be paying attention to them whatsoever.

Musically, this album is strange for me to sing its praises. The bass is cool and driving, keeping the beat and being the main melody next to the voice. Why I say it’s strange for me to love everything about this album musically is because there is nothing incredible or mind-blowing going on. All of the songs are in 4/4. The guitar is primarily being tremolo’d. The bass, though the driving force, is very basic. The singer sounds like he has had five or six beers and a joint while awaiting for his turn to perform on the recording.

There is something absolutely beautiful happening. It’s just perfect in its simplicity. Due to it being easy to follow, it becomes a joy to sing along to.

So, in closing: listen to this album. No, I don’t have a song to recommend. There is a music video I will place at the end of this review, but it is not my favourite. I only have to say that because none of the songs are my favourite. This album is just amazing through and through.