Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Blog done moved...

...somewhere where people actually read it.

Go to WWW.Ohword.com for all new bloggy goodness. My articles are under the creative pseudonym of Sacha Orenstein.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Wired in Vancouver: 24 hours without sleep

Author’s note: I think it best to warn a small minority of my readership (which is small in and of itself) which is ambiguous to my more wordy and shall we say “gonzo” style of writing that the following manuscript may go in that direction. Strange times require strange language and the previous few days out in Vancouver and the night which I’m currently experiencing certainly qualify as queer by any standard (pause). You have been warned, but I apologize for nothing.

12:27 AM…

Only, seven and a half more hours to go until I can get my ass on a Greyhound speeding towards Whitehorse and finally get some sleep. Thank god for the Asian infatuation with video gaming because without this 24 hour internet Café, I’d certainly be at a loss for how to spend the time. I have no intention of recapping the previous 72 hours of my life but some of the many events that took place during that time period include in a completely random order:

Seeing an extremely violent Australian western, purportedly going to a rave, bailing out of an agreement to sleep on a random woman’s floor after taking the piss out of her the entire night previous, failing to call a kiwi to party on Friday night, having my passport inspected and criticized by a liquor store cashier who sold me a bottle of Maudite, smoking in a park and unknowingly losing my cell phone, walking around town with a humorous Scotsman, having said Scotsman call my phone expecting to find it in my bag only to have what was described as a raccoon pick up in some undisclosed location, meeting said raccoon only to find out he’s an aged alcoholic who asked for a six pack in exchange for returning my lost property, a night with a Japanese girl, far too much Cannabis, hanging out in Posh apartments and swank beaches with Canadian rappers, a long period of research into the effects, risks, value and legal status of the Peruvian Torch Cactus, the second best natural source of mescaline in the world after Peyote, the completion of one collection of writings by a man who I’ll only refer to as The Good Doctor and the acquisition of vintage pornography.

I guess that wouldn’t impress too many people. Not enough sex to titillate the men and I’ve realized long ago that my interests rarely converge with that of the fairer sex. Nonetheless, I don’t think I can be blamed since Vancouver is a poor city for boozing in bars. St-Laurent alone probably contains more quality drinking establishments than this entire settlement. Sure, the dick-eating, coke snorting staff at Vice Magazine may try to convince its readers that opportunity abounds for those willing to brave the lawless streets of East Hastings, but that’s only because they’d be willing to suck semen for the kick of escaping their middle class suburban upbringing in a dirty bar populated by junkies coming down from their fix. No, Vancouver isn’t a city for nightlife: the place is too healthy, too hip for such a self-destructive act as imbibing a bottle of Vodka whole and fucking a random German or Aussie girl. Instead the locals lazily head to the beach at 3:00, eat at 7:00, catch a show and head home. Their insanely powerful marijuana, the best I’ve tasted, keeps them sedated and while their police have proven to be truly ineffective, they sure keep the whip cracked for public boozers.

Fuck. I just read that Shohei Imamura, one of my favorite directors of all time died a few days ago. I just wrote to Phil about it.

WTFMAN.

No man should have to hear about the death of one of his top 5 directors while homeless in Vancouver waiting for his bus to the Yukon on a 24 hour coffee binge.

R.I.P. Artists of his caliber are always truly missed, but this one hits me particularly hard. Hopefully more of his films will be distributed in the west now so people can appreciate his talent because as it stands he is severely underrated by people who gush over Mizoguci, Ozu, Kurosawa and even Naruse. What was misunderstood about a man who so passionately rejected the traditional view of Japan that these filmmakers strived for is that the far grittier, raw version of the country and its people he presented was as interesting a cinematic space ever created. Sad news indeed.

Some bastard spammed the hell out of my blog. I hope the f***** catches syphilis and dies. I’m mad, Imamura deserved far more fame than he received, although the two Cannes wins and the admiration of his own country far eclipse the lack of petty compliments of us western film critics.

Anyways, returning to the subject at hand, it’s 1:00 AM and I’m still in Vancouver, writing. The only sounds in the room are that of a first person shooter in the background: machine gun rounds going off and the disembodied voices of NPC’s speaking through walky-talkies. There’s also the occasional car racing through the streets of Yaletown. Hmm, I head street racing was a major problem around here; Harper was huffing and puffing about putting an end to it with his retarded crime bill. That moron just got 17 terror suspects in Toronto. Making a prediction as to how this’ll affect his poll ratings would be moot, it seems like the entire country is being lead down a road to hell by this pied piper and all of my bellyaching won’t stop it. It’s hard to blame them: as benign as the liberals were, they were still crooks and this country doesn’t take well to having their funds stolen, least of all when it involves French separatist politics. Speaking of my beloved ethnic group/culture/race/people, the idea that French women are hotter than the rest of the birds in Canada is as ludicrous as an Atlanta rapper. Nothing but a cruel hoax perpetuated by the whores and pimps of Montreal to lure unwitting Anglo tourists to town, rob them of their money and leave them with diseases. The fact is the very exoticism of the French language seems to turn descendants of the British Empire to mush, but as an objective observer, their faux-bohemian look has nothing on the sly Indy rock attitude of the women around here. It is extremely interesting to spy on them though; I caught a few commenting on me in the lunch room a few nights back and proceeded to make it known that their comments weren’t appreciated and that they were skanks of the lowest level who’d be lucky not to leave the province with a severe meth habit and bloody noses. Well, perhaps not in such words but the intent was there and the result was similarly shocking.

My high is wearing off, I don’t want to smoke anymore out of fear that it’ll knock me out. No, not until 3:00 AM at the earliest and preferably 5:00 AM. Even then, just a bowl at most, enough to give me some motivation in the final hours. Christ, it’s not even near then. I need to find something to entertain myself other than this article or you (the poor reader) will be subjected to every insane rambling thought that passes through my head early this Sunday morning. Yes, it’s Sunday now. It’s 4:20 in Montreal right now actually. An excellent reason to smoke but I’ll hold back. I need the current bowl to fade completely, hopefully along with that Sapporo I downed. Sobering up is no fun.

Here’s an interesting comment…

Beyoncé is too pretty to be doing all of this hard work. She should just be a model. Brittany, 19 Oklahoma City, OK

When I started this blog I wanted to dedicate a section to all the retarded bullshit spat out by lobotomized American kids at MTV.com. I really should have pursued that avenue and built the site into an internet brand like that guy who translates bad Asian tattoos. Lord knows there are enough stupid bitches (both male and female) in the tween to twenty category spewing out thoughts so frustratingly embarrassing that they’d rarely if ever be seen emanating out of the mind of even the basest of primates. The youth of America could never win in a war against the apes. For all of his insane right wing anger, Charlton Heston could at least be trusted in this situation unlike those kids. Hell, I just saw a fat 12 year old running around the mall today dressed (and acting) like Paris Hilton. It’ll be a brutal reality when she realizes that there’s no multimillion dollar trust fund in her name and no amount of surgery that’ll fix her up. Of course, she could get smart, exercise, study and find a good if low paying job but the odds are against it. And would it be really worth it anyways? Hilton is proof that hard work is shit compared with luck of the draw. The woman is talented at nothing but being an annoyance and somehow will make millions out of it because she was born with a publicist. A woman of similar character in any other situation would have probably ended up coked up and in the streets by now.

Whoa, Adult Swim just released a new Dangerdoom EP for free over the internet. This will definitely entertain me for 30 minutes or so. The intro is nice, would be better high but all I got next to me is a Starbucks drink. This whole cot damned city is addicted to cheap coffee in the worst way. The two most popular Starbucks’ in Canada are literally across from each other on the same street corner. You’d think they’d develop well…some taste and import stuff from France but no, the American chains somehow manage to attract otherwise left-leaning Vancouverites by the droves. I like this EP, it’s looser and funkier than the album which seemed lazy on Doom’s part and boring on Danger’s. It was still good, but this is better.

I’d rather write all night until the early show – MF Doom

1:49…I’ll earn myself another swig of coffee by 2:00. SHIT, there’s a giant picture of a corndog in this file. Never mind that…just concentrate on the music and the task at hand: staying awake for another 6 hours. Half a clock cycle. A quarter day. I am sofa king we todd ed. DJ Shadow’s album is apparently Hyphy and dancy which will either give the movement some credibility or sink DJ Shadow’s standing. I guess Pink Floyd did ok with Another brick in the wall but that doesn’t mean I think the people who did Darkside of the Moon would have succeeded at new-wave or hair metal and Shadow’s new direction is as ridiculous a shift in direction on paper. It’s sad that the man who was so vocal about the purity of art in 96 now finds himself going in the exact other direction. Honestly, I don’t doubt that he honestly likes what he’s doing now but it leaves cats like me with little hope that honest, un-dancy music will ever make a comeback. The alternative revolution of the early 90’s and the early promise of Hiphop’s first few decades show little influence over the funkless post-disco strut of what’s going on now. A few indy kids are doing some nice things but to be honest, good music is fleeing further and further underground.

It also occurs to me that I’m going to be hungry very soon. That pineapple chicken I had for supper wasn’t enough. Even if I leave here at 5:00ish I don’t think the McDonalds at the train station will be open and I hate eating that crap. It won’t be so bad if I smoke though.

Back to dance music and artistic compromise, the first DJ Premier produced Christina Aguilera track has hit the net and the results are…whoa, actually nice! Premo has NOT gone the Shadow root and instead stays very true to his gritty roots. In fact, he actually goes back…way back with this one, delivering a mix between a Stax stomper and a breakbeat record. As for Christina, well she’s always had a voice and thankfully the record forgoes the sluttiness of her last attempt. The whole thing comes off as a tribute to Motown with a little Marley Marl thrown in which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. If Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy is this year’s Feel Good Inc this could easily act as a suitable follow up to Amerie’s One thing. I guess I shouldn’t complain about music too quickly, I may just hear something I like from unusual places. Then again, I should have trusted DJ Premier from the get go: he’s always delivered when paired with the right vocalist and he’s always handled left-of-center assignments with creativity and innovation.

Three hoes just walked in. I mean, they’re literally whores. They bought a pepsi and left. Nothing strange here apparently, I guess that not many places are actually open at this time of night. Now I’ve got some dusty Large Pro beats going on from his instrumental album, just catching up on some of the music I’ve missed in the past few months on Spine. I like these, perfect for the late night atmosphere. The other good news is that I’m officially at the half-way mark of my internet time.

Sadly, I’m not even remotely near 8:00 AM. Maybe I should stay here until 6 instead of 5. The extra hour would mean less waiting around at the station. I’ll decide later, what I really need to do is think of something else to type. I wonder what the hell my friends from MTL are doing. Hong apparently won something at Concordia and has proven that Chris Doyle is indeed the drunken lush that the rumors say he is. Phil is probably dealing with some god forsaken Chinese wedding assignment by now, I must remember to call that sumbitch once I get to Dawson City, preferably at some obscene time of night drunk with a dead man’s toe in my drink for good measure. As for Stephane, no blog updates since the Indonesia Earthquake. Considering he was going to Asia for charity work, it wouldn’t surprise me if the crazy mufucka actually flew to Jakarta to make his way to the disaster zone. Or maybe I’m giving him too much credit and he’s on a beach sipping drinks with some transsexual Thai prostitute. Either way he’ll have a strong case for a libel suit should he pursue it should I ever publish this (which I will, I don’t spend 5 hours typing on a god forsaken morning for naught). I’d keep shooting outlandish hypotheses on the actions of my acquaintances but it’s probably bad for my relationships so I’ll stick to the 3 least offendable ones.

J-Dilla’s beat on the new Busta Rhymes album is off the HOOK. Q-Tip and Busta over Dilla? I don’t care what anyone says, the results are going to be that hot fire. This sounds like it could have come out exactly 10 years ago and that’s nothing but goodness. Sadat X has a new J-Zone produced record but by now it’s just sound coming in my ear, too tired to really be critical, all of this is too random. Raekwon and Busta Rhymes collaboration from Busta’s album is nice too. Produced by Erick Sermon and Dr Dre…nicer than recent typical Dre. Kinda laid back but with that dark live piano that typifies his post George Clinton sound. Some nice synth flourishes on the hook too. This column is turning into a disjointed record review. Some spastic girl is at the next computer but I may have to remove this if she tries to talk to me and I have to explain my frantic typing. Why the hell won’t she stop moving? Insanity’s getting the best of me now. Getting reeeal genuinely late with no proper excuse to not have been asleep since 8:00 AM yesterday. 24 hours without sleep is not a fun prospect. Jack Bauer makes it look easy. Then again, Jack Bauer can kill terrorists with his bare hands so a little insomnia probably wouldn’t stop him. Now Busta Rhymes is rapping with Stevie Wonder and this song is good too…I think Dr Dre must have made a pact with the devil because there’s no other explanation for him pulling out this kind of album out of Busta or The Game.

FUCK. Money is much worse than I thought…what did I spend my cash on today that would warrant such a ridiculous expenses…40$ minus five bucks at dinner, ten bucks at the movies, nine bucks internet and a coffee…another 4 dollars for extending the internet…there should be more left. Something’s not adding up, probably with the small change. Ah yeah…the red bull(shit). I saved 32$ by not getting a hostel bed though so I guess I’m technically still on budget…and technically we’re not even Saturday anymore. The bathroom in the place stinks, ah well…it’s better than being out in the streets of Amsterdam lemme tell ya, THAT place sucked. E-concordia refuses to recognize me as a student, I need to go to the real site to try and figure out my grades…straight A’s, Peter actually gave me my lowest grade of the year in action cinema (I think) which kind of hurts because I genuinely liked the paper I gave him. Ironically, I’m in the top 6 people in Chinese History but at LEAST a few people beat me in every other subject including FFAR which is total bullshit considering how much I sucked up to that teacher (wouldasuckedondemtittaysifIhadthechance). Anyways, everyone knows I’m going to leave that University with a worthless diploma anyways so this is meaningless. AND WHY IS THAT GIRL MOVING SO DAMN MUCH. This ain’t no disco. Almost 3:30…I don’t get her presence, there’s no excuse for a grinning girl in club wear to be constantly jittering at a computer at this time of night. 3000 words done too…quite an accomplishment. I may even stave off fatigue by staying around here…once I leave out into the real world though…

Oh god, fatigue just hit…it’s 3:28 NOW and I got 4:30 hours to go before I can sleep, 4 if they let me on early and I crash instantly. Shit, what the hell man, I really can’t afford this now. I need to heightened boost of adrenaline or something. Anything less could spell absolute doom. Just focus, keep your eyes awake and your mind on something. Turn on some music again, wasn’t there a new Rae song that leaked? I haven’t heard that yet. Aaaaaaaah…yeah. Raekwon is god again and there’s no one happier than I am. My favorite album is getting a sequel and even if this is a little more laidback than the intense cocaine paranoia last time around, it’s still flyer than anything else I’ve heard recently except OTHER songs that feature Rae. Damn, it’s only a snippet. I’m reading Shadow’s blog now… it’s really weird…a lot of people are going to be pissed and I don’t want to sound like a sour bastard but I’m going to include myself in that category. Then again, I’ll probably start off by hating it and move on to liking it eventually. Hell, maybe Shadow will even become the next Lil Jon. What a strange affair that would be. Weird, the guy must be in his thirties but he sounds like the nerd who got a new haircut and suddenly fits in with the cool kids in highschool. Then again considering the amount of depression dude was apparently going through, maybe he deserves his fun. The following quote is still hilarious though.

Long live the backlash bitches! – DJ Shadow (?!?!!?)

5 to 4:00…eyes starting to hurt. I may take some aspirin. I’ll stay till 5:15 or 5:30…whenever this internet croaks out on me. I’m not paying the guy in front another cent though.

The Roots have a new single out. It sounds better than anything I’ve heard from them recently. It’s not Clones but it’s probably as close as they’re going to come to it this millennium.

I think I should publish this as is and just update it. Just in case something goes haywire…damn I forgot to do it though, after this article.

HOLY SHIZZLE. This FULL new Rae song has got me bugging. This Rza shit reminds me of that RAGU song that Pete Rock did on Ghost's album except that Rae's flow is even iller. None of that sleepy shit, full on energetic crazy chorus spittin Rae.

Ok, I just published this mutherfucker. I’ll just keep on updating it from now on and add it to my MSN space at the end. It’s not like anyone’s going to read this far anyways. Impossible. If they did they might call the police or something. Officer help! This crazy man is headed towards the Yukon, I think he may be CRAZY. 4:30 now, only one hour until I gotta leave.

Sun ain’t up but its ever so slightly less dark…

I’m really really hungry. There better be some food at that station. And no junkies on the way. Vancouver is full of junkies. I meant to talk about them but I’m too tired to do it now. Some random guy on a bike tried to GIVE me weed today. That’s how saturated this place is. 10 minutes till 5:00…

Alright, it’s 5:00, I’m going to quick writing. Such a let down conclusion. I wonder if people expected some grand revelation at the end of a tired man’s exercise in sanity. Probably not. Either way, I’m catching a bus to the Yukon in 3 hours and I’ll finally get some sleep. And you can bet I’ll be having breakfast and probably some weed before then. Getting light out there now…Time to finish up on the internet, insanity must really be kicking in since I just started randomly googling the names of girls I’ve been associated with to see what comes up. That’s a bad sign.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Beat the Clock in Whistler

Internet is expensive in Whistler. must type fast.

In fact, everything is despite the fact that I got me a private room with den in the best hostel I've seen for only 25$ a night. I've been having a damn good time hiking, drinking and smoking up here, generally living the life on my own. As some of you may know, my compadre (aka: US enemy #1) has gone back to the safe confines of Montreal leaving me to troll around until next sunday when I depart to the great expanses of the Yukon. I've been spending the time reading (Hunter S Thomson), writing (a great idea for a feature that I'll never make without Hollywood money) and causing general chaos amidst the population. The family run place where I'm staying with is definitely an awesome hostel with plenty of Ausies, Kiwis, South-Koreans and more to have fun with plus the cutest little 2 year old kid who goes nuts for Telus commercials with Parots.

Next week is back to Vancouver to stock up on assorted substances, do some laundry and maybe figure out a cheap way to get to Tofino for a couple of days. I'll write if I get a chance.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I'm not quite dead yet! - Monty Pithon

NO, Homeland security didn't abduct me and send me to Gitmo after that last post, I've just been enjoying my vacation throughout Canada. Toronto was great: got to visit their wide variety of eateries and meet the legendary Mindbender, overlord of the Toronto Rap scene. I got a whole bunch of mainstream Chinese DVDs in Pacific mall and generally had a good time. Fun city, even if it lacked a bit in terms of culture. At least it made up for it in with a truly multicultural environment (authentic Jerk Chicken=good).

After a strenuous three day bus ride through Canada including the hostile North of Ontario, the looooooooonnnng plains and the magnificent Rockies, we were in Vancouver. Phil didn't take to the trip quite as much as I did and won't be repeating it the other way back. Oh well. Van-City is officially the place in Canada I want to move whenever all of this crazy school/teaching/travelling business is done. Laid back locals, the best weed I've ever smoked, a TON of coffee and 10$ Sushi that's actually VERY good. Oh, and it has'nt rained yet, all the junkies are on Skid Row and out of the way and I saw more Chinese people in Toronto. Even the rent wasn't THAT bad so this is clearly a trap to keep us away. Lots to do in the city as we went to Stanley Park (incredible), Wreck Beach (Clothing optional+hot college girls=yay!), record stores, the Marijuana Party store, a movie (Art School confidential) and tons of pubs. The hostel we were at also had the best breakfast I've had in years for the low low price of nothing.

Since then, we've been to Victoria (slightly odd...) and Nanaimo (small but this hostel is a lot of fun). Phil is heading back to Montreal by plane next week whereas I'll be hanging around here for another 2 weeks until June 3rd. What's on June third? My bus ticket to the Yukon opens up and I get to head there and back for the truly adventurous part of this trip! I'm looking forward to it so much I kind of dread loitering around Kelowna valley until then, but whatever, it should be all in good fun. Once I'm back from the Yukon (think June 11-14ish), I'll take a day or 2 to recover from all the bussing (ugh. long) and with fully stocked supplies I'll head back to our fair city of Montreal and make plans for St-Jean (Quebec City anyone?), Fantasia (beer anyone?) and August (either Eastern Canada or a job depending on my wallet).

And so goes life on the road. Leave comments if you read this since I'm wondering how you're all doing.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

FUCK Homeland security.

Note: the following is a rough copy of an on going novella of which much will be hand written and then transcribed to this blog. All events depicted are full of truthiness but should be considered fiction unless otherwise mentioned.

CHAOS.

That’s what it must have looked like to the casual observer as I raced down the gates of Montreal’s Dorval International Airport in a frenzied attempt to get my compatriot Philip *** out of American customs and onto his scheduled flight to Los Angeles. I was extremely nervous when I saw US border agents lead him into a small room for questioning while I was sent on my way. “Can I wait for my friend?” I asked a skinny be-speckled immigration cop, the kind that was too frail for actual work and was reduced to rubber stamping Canadians on their trips to Florida rather than accomplishing anything productive in life. The answer was obviously no and I was sent on my way past customs towards my flight without any knowledge of the well being of the only other person I needed to take care of. Miraculously, I managed to establish contact via cell phone 10 minutes later: Phil had been taken to a room with 2 Arab men and an old confused Chinese lady and hadn’t moved an inch. I was worried but also confidant: surely we were upstanding citizens, students of the arts that wanted to patronize their country and contribute to its economic viability. I saw no reason why they’d deny him access and the grilling was probably the result of some unlucky quota of foreign people whom the tough on crime pigs in Washington decided to grill in an attempt to appease the hawkish gas guzzling imperialists into a lull of imaginary safety and very real fear. Sadly I was wrong.

The trip had begun relatively well several hours ago. After completing a final examination on Chairman Mao’s victory in China over the Nationalist GMD government, I headed home in a hurry to find Phil had already arrived and was packed and ready for departure. After some careful planning and packing, things were declared ready for the morning and we rolled a cigarette sized joint in an effort to get to sleep. All preparations had been taken and a few hours later at the ungodly time of 6 AM we got up and made our way to the airport. At the Air Canada booth, no attendants made any sign that anything was wrong and we were told to proceed to US customs as was usual for travelers headed to the United States. Now my views on the Imperial Republican Nation are well known and my hatred for their domination of world affairs is legendary, but it should be said that I do not hold a large part of its ordinary citizens responsible for this as clearly they have been hijacked by the same madmen who are ruining the world as we speak. These US agents were however, clearly the profiteers of the US agenda of fear, using it to latch on to their cushy government jobs while making a mockery of the idea of small government. Shortly into the interview, my friend became incommunicado as they restricted his ability to speak to any form of representation as they asked him a series of unrelated and odd questions: had he ever had trouble at the border? What school was he from? What was the exact address he was staying at in the US? For a country advertising itself as the land of the free, I doubt anyone could have faced more strenuous interrogation in a 1 party communist dictatorship. Ultimately, after 20 minutes of anxiously sipping an orange juice and playing around with the processed garbage I’d bought for breakfast (fuck Burger King), I managed to reach Phil who greeted me with some strikingly bad news:

“I was denied entry to the US by immigration on account of low funds in my account. And they got my citizenship wrong.”

“WHAT!?”

“They say if you vouch for me with your bank statement they’ll let me through.”

From there, my worldview was reduced to chaos.

I ran frantically in an effort to backtrack through US customs only to be met with snarling agents uninterested in seeing me through. Apparently there was no back-rushing the border, an understandable scenario but one that didn’t help me at the time since it involved me running another 500 meter dash in the opposite direction. When I arrived at my gate, I was told there was no chance in hell I’d ever make the plane with Phil and my current options were to take it alone or to get my baggage off the plane and take care of the ensuing ramifications. I thought about it for a minute contacting anyone who I believed might help in such a situation but this was definitely a question to be taken with my gut, not my mind.

“Get my bags off the plane! I can’t make this flight with him!” I yelled in a way that frightened nearby passengers wondering who the unruly Canadian demanding his things were. The flight attendants in charge were sympathetic to my cause but it they made it known that nothing could be done immediately and I’d have to wait until they got my luggage before I could get through Canadian customs and enter a sensible country. Twenty minutes later I did just that and as I chatted with the woman escorting me back to Canadian soil, I was made aware that this was probably a case of an overzealous prick having a bad day and taking it out on a random Asian person. I was not only furious but also incredibly disillusioned about visiting America. They didn’t deserve my money! I vowed not to get another flight on the same day only to repeat the frustrating experience but rather to rearrange my plans and head west on Canadian soil surrounded by peoples who respect both the rule of the law AND values of common courtesy and decency. By the time I made it back to Philip through a series of agents and officials, a pattern became clear: every Canadian was sympathetic and bemused at the sheer randomness of the situation while every American was a growling, bloodthirsty dog of war wanting only the word to throttle us in the name of their crumbling empire. Reunited with Phil, we had our tickets fully credited (baring a slight indemnity) and the arranged to have the money put in a file valid for flights within a year. From then, it was a question of returning home to plan a trip to Toronto to be taken later that night. We had been stopped at the border by overzealous pricks but this would not stop our departure, rather, we’d make our move west directly and avoid any contact with the barbarian scum that lay to the south. Ultimately, our goal was north to the Yukon and any detour to our southern neighbor was simply to enjoy their weather, NOT their culture or lack of it. If anything, we both learned something that day: we saw first hand how the paranoid insecurity of a nation of millions could lead to the slow but steady social isolation of an entire people. Certainly within my lifetime, that country would collapse under its own weight. And if not that, under the weight of its Mexican immigrants, the very ones who jumped the border while the pig in Montreal interrogated my friend on his place of birth.

Friday, May 05, 2006

See y’all

This will be my last blog post from Montreal for a couple months as I’ll be hitting up the West Coast until early July with Siu Fung. Expect beer, weed and shrooms to be consumed (in Canada for the last two mind you) and much chaos to ensue as we work our way up from San Diego California to the frigid north of the Yukon. Shit will be real

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Good Experimentation, Bad Experimentation

I gotta admit, I’m addicted to XXL’s blogs. Sure I hate what they have to say but like rap Rush Limbaugh’s they know how to maintain their audience. Recently Bol decided to take a couple of shots at a couple of ambitious is terrible rap records that veered to the left. Fair enough, but ultimately a little easy. So here are 5 absolute experimental duds that fail because they’re all out WACK (not because of rap reviewer’s fear of a singing planet) and 5 records that actually do succeed at whatever the hell they were trying to do.

Terrible rap that tried to do it different.

5) Foreign Exchange – Connected
J-Dilla may have brought in lazy offbeat handclaps but at least he had the good sense to give them room to breathe in order to create a sparse sound for his collaborators to rap on.. These guys took those same drums and overloaded the rest of the tracks with cheesy synths and whining vocals about how life is tough when you’re a responsible underground rapper with bills to pay. If ever an album defined middle-of-the-road-alterna-rap, this is it.

4) Dangermouse and Jay-Z – The Grey album
If we’re going to diss a Dangermouse album, let it be this shitty claim to fame which senselessly mashes up 2 albums based on album titles alone. His glitchy take on Dirt off your shoulder is cool, but the rest resulted in terribly cliché irony which inspired half a dozen more of these things. Stick to The Gorillaz and singing rappers.

3) K-OS – Joyful rebellion
Canada’s best selling rapper isn’t much of a rapper at all and his half-baked Wyclef imitation really ain’t that special either. I think my metal head little brother defined it best when he mentioned that this is one of the few rappers he enjoys: this is clearly rap for rap haters.

2) Cage – Hell’s Winter
I could have picked a number of Def Jux releases here seeing as the quality of their output took a stupendous drop sometime around 2003, but this highly disappointing follow up from Cage continues to be my favorite personal punching bag as the former master of Kubrick-hop jumped on the My Chemical Romance bandwagon and gheyed up his entire career. For shame.

1) The Roots – Phrenology/The Tipping point
Rap Jam Bands get no love. Sure Illadelph Halflife and Things fall apart were dope and they’re mighty good at being Jay-Z’s backing band, but the last two albums managed to be both alienating experimental flops and disastrous crossover attempts at once. They’re Rap’s Grateful Dead… because they’ll never capture their live show in the studio.

Dope rap that will have you going WTF

5) Edan – Beauty and the Beat
The sixties and early seventies made the best rock music. The eighties made the best rap music. Combine the two with one of the few white rappers who doesn’t make your ears bleed and you get a fantastic, bizarre free association of Sp12 beats and crazy drug influenced melodies. Awesome dude.

4) Kool Keith – Dr Octagon
Sure he’s coasting on it 10 years later since nearly all of his subsequent releases have been terribly confounding treaties on doodoo and Outkast biting him, but once upon a time Kool Keith bounced back from the Ultramag breakup to record a classic record about a space age gynecologist. Entirely produced by Dan the Automator and with scratches by DJ Q-Bert, this thing is as nerdy as rap gets and its still doper than anything involving the word trap. Quite an achievement.

3) The Pharcyde – Bizarre Ride to the Pharcyde
Before their Dilla assisted re-up, these guys unleashed a weird funhouse record full of Public Enemy spoofs, your mama jokes, Hendrix loops and all around goofiness. While they later joined De La Soul in becoming crusty old coots (they named their album plain rap for god’s sake!), this is one for the ages.

2) Wu-Tang Clan – Wu-Tang Forever
Wu-Tang were on the verge of prog-rap with this one. There’s no other way to explain a double disc rap album about 5% ideology combined with Kung-fu samples, no hooks and a dark depressing vibe that could kill any dancefloor in seconds. In retrospect, it’s a miracle that this record sold anything at all and the Wu-Tang downfall was pretty much inevitable. Still, one has got to admire the balls it took to actually record something so insular only to have it go platinum in a week. Best performances go to Rae and Ghost for their back and forth banter on MGM Grand.

1) Outkast – Aquemini/Stankonia
The ultimate experimental rappers, at least until their last record. Aquemini featured live instrumentation, singing (Liberation is probably the best song by rappers without any rapping), a running theme about technology killing the environment and some of the best rap performances ever put to record. Stankonia meanwhile put the gloom and doom aside in favor of a funky pimp record with drum and bass beats, spaghetti western guitars and Andre-as-Quasimoto rapping. These two records are proof that we need a strong reunited Outkast.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

snitch on a stoner, make 50$


See, this stuff is exactly why I won’t be smoking any/much weed in the US of A and why I believe that country to be an imperialistic bastion of rule crazy fear-mongering cops unseen since the fall of the Iron curtain. There’s a twisted big brother aspect to filming peaceful civil disobedience to punish people later when they can’t defend themselves instead of having the balls to stop it straight out. Surreptitious indeed.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The top 3 things that have kept me from blogging recently

Been busy, hasn’t been writing. I’m sure everyone’s all saddened about it. The truth is I’m leaving for 2 months this Saturday and while I plan to write extensively during my second annual Holiday, most of it will be on primitive media such as paper. I’ll put a major post announcing my destination and route within the week, but until then here’s what I’ve been feeling recently.

3) Brick, Inside Man: Two excellent Hollywood movies that deserve your dollar at the box office. Newcomer Rian Johnson directs his like a classic film noir but wisely makes the most of the highschool milieu by adding just enough quirks so that the whole thing feels real and becomes more than a simple style exercise. Spike Lee meanwhile delivers his most focused and noteworthy film since The 25th Hour with an excellent heist caper which entertains from beginning to end. If you haven’t, go see them.

2) Dragonforce: I never thought I’d get into power metal, but I downloaded their debut Valley Of The Damned on a whim and fell in love with their combination of virtuosity and over the top execution to pl. The attitude is key here: everyone knows that this stuff is over the top but instead of just acting ironic about it like every other group of Pitchforkesque retro douchebags, Dragonforce actually have the balls ay it straight and let the laughs come naturally instead of getting all cool about it. These guys are fun, talented and way more original than half of these hipster bands out there. Plus according to my brother they’re swell people and put on a hell of a good show.

1) My attempt to make peace with the 80’s: No, I haven’t started listening to Duran Duran, Whitesnake, Madonna or any of the other stuff I hate with a passion, but my collection of 80’s music has grown by leaps and bounds recently. All things considered, the alternative movement that made the 90’s so great started Underground back in the decade of decadence and while the radio fare may be musical diarrhea, there’s more than enough gems hidden just bellow the surface. A recent sampling: The Violent Femmes, Cocteau Twins, Tom Waits, The Stone Roses, Sade, The Police. A weird lineup for certain but what the hell.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Mobb Deep – Blood Money review (it sucks.)

There comes a time in a recording artist’s career when they need to reassess exactly what the hell they’re doing. Maybe their sound is hopelessly out of date. On the contrary, perhaps they tried to update their style and the results were laughable. Maybe their lyrics or vocals have gone downhill from years of use and abuse leaving them shells of their former glory. Or perhaps unwise associations and poor records have reduced their hardcore fan base to the bare minimum leaving zero interest in their releases. In Mobb Deep’s case, it’s pretty much all of the above as they continue the trend of releasing another record worse than their last with the laughable yet tragic Blood Money.

In the interest of fairness, there are a few songs on Blood Money that manage to be mildly entertaining on account of the production. Speakin so Freely, Pearly Gates, day dreamin, the album highlight It’s Alright and a few others feature dope beats that should find a happy home on a Clipse or Juelz Santana mixtape. Unfortunately, they all involve absolutely forgettable performances from the Mobb who seem ill suited for the glossy thug-chick style. The throwaway nature of the lyrics is the saddest aspect of the album: where 1995’s The Infamous featured an insular QB-centric worldview, presenting the two young killers as the protagonists of a kill-or-be-killed reality, Blood Money finds two lazy assembly line thugs acting like b-grade security in Emperor Fiddy’s posse. They stumble and mumble through thug-clichés, never presenting an original idea and never trying to raise the bar beyond the lowest common denominator. It’s depressing really, Prodigy used to be one of New York’s most admirable lyricists and Havoc’s individual style built on Q-Tip’s jazz to form the stark sounds of the drug addled streets. Now the album’s single remotely interesting line (We don’t give a fuck about that religious Bullshit) is censored and half the beats were chosen by executive producer Curtis Jackson. So much for lyricism and integrity.

It doesn’t help matters that despite the few highlights, the majority of the beats are boring examples of the factory-clean G-Unit sound. Backstage Pass sounds like a ripoff of 2002’s What happened to that boy, Stole Something features one of the most annoying sonic-elements of recent memory and Give it to me and Click Click are laughably contrived and melodramatic respectively. Perhaps a few of these could have found homes with more suitable artists, but hearing Havoc, Prodigy and their direct descendants mumble over these keyboard stabs will inspire guaranteed laughter rather than the intended emotion and leave anyone with sense wondering just how did things get this bad for the Emo-b-b. (Shitty pun intended).

Ultimately, even when Havoc and “Capital P” find modern production that meshes with their style, their tired, repetitive lyrics usually sink the songs. A judicious fan could probably pull 6 or 7 of his favorites off of here and get a decent if lyrically lacking EP, but interlaced with half an album’s worth of filler, it hardly seems worth it. Ironically, while internet critics frowned on 50 Cent’s involvement, Mr. G-Unit hardly ruins the project, acting reverent and playing the back even on his numerous guest verses. Sure he picked some awful tracks, but that’s expected and it’s not as if anyone had the backbone to speak up against them. No, the blame for this album lands squarely on Mobb Deep’s shoulders: poor rapping, sycophantic crew shout outs, lazy lyrics and a general sense that these guys have been reduced to b-team members in the yawn inspiring machine that is Interscope. Mobb Deep aren’t threatening anymore; they’re diminutive 30 year old art school dropouts who got jobs as paid backup for rap’s unclothed emperor. Time to put up the mic guys.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Gnarls Barkley: St-Elsewhere review

In the internet-approved pastime of categorizing artists into genres, people might have jumped the gun on Dangermouse. Turning heads with mid 90’s merger casualty Jemini on Lex records, critics were quick to lump him with the indie-rap crowd, a notion reinforced once his work with Prince Po and his Jay-Z/Beatles mashup hit the net. Luckily that last record blew up his spot and earned him production duties with The Gorillaz, resulting in the 05’s single best pop record and breaking him away from the increasingly stale realm of minor-label rap towards artists more suited to his alt-pop stylings. Enter Cee-Lo Green and Gnarls Barkley.

While DM’s work with straight ahead emcees has never been all that impressive and his Jay-Z and MF Doom projects turned out to be all hype, few producers can do more with the thin line between pop and rap than the mouse. Beginning where Demon Days ended, St-Elsewhere blends Hiphop rhythm with pure pop melody giving Cee-Lo’s expressive yelps the perfect home. Fans that saw the potential in Mr. Green’s interesting yet unfocused solo work can breathe a sigh of relief as the tight 40 minute excursion finally delivers on the soul man’s pop promise with a batch of big, hooky songs that defy practically every trend above the radar. While the RIAA continues to whine about people downloading and the labels keep pumping out vapid idol-music that doesn’t connect to anyone with an IQ higher than 12, Gnarls Barkley deliver songs about love, loss, loneliness, proper karmic balance, necrophilia, suicide, transformers and dancing. No wonder the record kicks ass.

Of course, it’s not perfect: the beat on Boogie Monster is another one of the DM-does-Dr-Dre space funk pastiches that ruined Dangerdoom and the misguided Violent Femmes cover Gone Daddy Gone lacks the punchy production truly needed to rock, but as a whole the record is a shockingly confident and refreshing affair. Without a Daman Albarn sized budget, DM wisely goes the lap-pop route giving Cee-Lo backing tracks closer to fellow Georgia popsters Of Montreal than anything MTV approved. The singles Crazy and Smiley Faces are propulsive summer jams, Feng Shui and Transformer poopoo on the notion that 2005 rap has to be drug related and songs like St-Elsewhere, Who cares and On-line just groove. For his part, Cee-Lo goes the extra-mile to add the pysch to psychedelic-soul with insular personal topics missing from the new-millennium booty-shake landscape. With introspective cryptic lyrics out of vogue in today’s landscape, it’s a testament to those in charge that the album never sounds like anything less than a jubilant pop album, balancing the somber content with over the top beats.

While it may not be the best record these guys ever made (Gorillaz and Goodie Mob in case you were wondering), it’s certainly their most fun, accessible and head-turnign, hopefully helping to bridge the gap between meaningful quirkiness and dance-floor ready hedonism. Cee-Lo has a bunch of projects on tap with strip-club maestro Jazzy Pha and funksters Plantlife, but hopefully we can get another one of these Gnarls Barkley records, because as much as the world needs booty club music, it needs whatever the hell this is even more. Rock on.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Some quick reviews

T.I – King

     T.I’s on the receiving end of a whole heap of buzz for King and it’s pretty easy to see why. The record’s a big boastful sonovabitch that just screams I’m an important rapper. Coming off somewhere between a Vol1 and a Vol2 on the Jigga scale, Tip manages to balance commercial aspirations and the hardcore material pretty deftly. While I’m not really a fan of rappers with overly exaggerated drawl (whitey can’t understand shit! But at least I’ll admit to it) the self proclaimed King of the south has got a quality vocal presence and he switches up his flow lovely on a couple of tracks, making as good a claim for the “best-southern rapper” title as anyone else. Highlights include the berserk synth-based single What you know, the clever house-n-tribe flip of Why you wanna, the couple of Just Blaze and Swizz bangers and the UGK tribute front-back. It drags on a little too long and there’s some generic material thrown in the midst but if I have to chose between Tip’s swagger and Jeezy’s ignant adlibbing for current go-to southerner, I’ll take T.I.

Dudley Perkins – Expressions 2012 AU

     I’m sorry to say it, but Dudley is a Madlib vehicle no more no less. Which is kind of sad considering the amount of vocalists that could benefit from Mad’s beats and who’d do them better than Declaime’s smoked out alter-ego. That said, like all Stones Throw projects, this has to be taken on its own terms and viewed through that lens (and heard when really high) it doesn’t sound too bad. Much like the previous record the duo unleashed on the public, its best to let the filler pass you by and focus on the highlights. In the case, Testin Me is the obvious standout with a beat so ill that it’s a cot damn shame that it didn’t find its way to Nas and Doom or just about anybody who raps. Dudley doesn’t do it bad though. Other ill tracks include Come here my dear featuring the typically reliable MED, the chill Cali vibe of Separate Ways, the spacy Last Stand and the 8 minute crazy-psych-epic Dear God. But is there anything as catchy as Flowers? Well, this album’s gem Inside comes close but it’s still no cigar. On a whole it’s a better batch of songs than the last one and it’s still better than anything Ne-Yo will ever put out.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The second annual Jewish reggae Passover post!

     I feel really smug now that this blog is approaching its 2 year mark. However, thanks to the wacky Jewish calendar, before I even get to celebrate that I get to repeat last year’s well received Jewish reggae post. Obviously I’m not talking about Matisyahu or any drivel of the sort, but rather Rastafarian songs that deal with Israelites or Israel (which I guess that Rastas have also pegged as the Holy Land). A couple of you might even remember that I went ahead and uploaded some of these during the high holidays which would make this the 3rd over all installment. But that would make you nerds.

This year’s pick comes in the form of Augustus Pablo’s Zion High instrumental from his King David’s Melody. Obviously there’s no lyrical shoutouts to the war plagued country, but the song and album title alone combined with the Spaghetti-western-klezmer-dub music that makes up the track totals for a more than worthy addition to the series. The entire album is a great listen and some of the tracks should definitely find their way onto film soundtracks if anyone has half an ear for suitably dramatic material.

Augustus Pablo – Zion High

Saturday, April 08, 2006

XXL is a size too small...

Blame it on the swagger, but XXLmags.com has their heads up their asses a decent part of the time. Whether it’s getting sonned by Bun B or predicting Ghostface will flop only to back out when he hit top 5, these guys deserve their card pulled. Actually that’s just ONE of their writers. DAMN.

Now I’m no fan of Southern Hiphop by a long shot, but blaming Atlanta for New York’s problems when their most viable rap group is wearing purple long tee’s is ridiculous. So without further ado, I present the definitive retort to XXLmag.com’s 21 Reasons Why The South Is, Indeed, Ruining Hip-Hop.

21 Reasons Why New York is calling the Kettle Black

1. Fat Joe: Two Words: Remi Martin

2. Q-Tip: He turned his back on one of the greatest rap groups of all time. In fact he hasn’t delivered a proper album since the 90’s. Unforgivable. That goes double for Rakim and Big Daddy Kane.

3. No one copped…let’s see…Monkey Bars, Long hot Summer, Purple Haze, The Pretty Toney album, Streets Disciple… nuff said.

4. Ja Rule: Solely responsible for half the crap on the airwaves for the three first years of the millennium.

5. G-G-G-G-UNIT: Except for…ah fuck it, these guys haven’t released a decent CD since the mixtape before Fiddy’s first album. Admit it.

6. Swizz Beats: Casio jackin, rat faced, hypeman motherfucker. Fuck stoning me even the kush won’t help.

7. Fight Klub: A bunch of wack rappers calling each other wack rappers does not a decent artist make.

8. P Puffington of Diddy: The OG annoying rap impresario (peace to Russell) who’s still milking his dead friend for all he’s worth with terrible remixes and worst clones. Fuck a Shyne.

9. Pharaohe Monch: For not knowing better than to sign with the Steve “not-so-Loud” Rifkind. (doh!)

10. Dipset’s stylists: Yes homo. MAD homo.

11. Insincere New York Hip-Hop fans: If the city was pumping out De La Soul’s, LONS’, Wu-Tang’s, Mobb Deep’s and Biggies on the regular no one would even care about this whole regional rap thing. You know the city sucks right now.

12. Whoever tried to make Ghost look like an R&B singer at Def Jam: Should have stuck with the rawness.

13. MF Doom: The cartoon mouse thing was a bit too much. Bring back the style about leaving your rhymes up under the top bunk in C-Block.

14. Because the current best rappers out of New York are out of VA: Hell Hath no Fury coming soon.

15. You bastids broke up the Roc: That was the one decent label New York had going for it. Now Jay’s busy pushing Ne-Yo cds and Dame is on the back of a milk carton.

16. Saigon: Your unsigned hype was half a decade ago, even Nas didn’t take that long to drop.

17. The Roots: Stop acting so damn bougie just because you got a bunch of instruments on stage. Black Thought has the charisma of a cardboard box.

18. Ruff Ryder Records: After they got lucky with DMX, they subjected us to bullshit albums from Eve, Drag-On and Jadakiss, none which were worth the disc they were printed on.

19. Canibus: Homey switched up to go mainstream. Then went on some crazy space shit to add insult to injury.

20. Matisyahu: The Beasties were one thing but this guy ain’t no too live Jew.

21. The Source and XXL Magazine: Because like the Democrats and Republicans, they’re both running and ruining shit.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Cuban Linx II news update

I spent all this time hyping up Fishscale and when it came out I didn’t even bother to review it, probably because everyone and their mother were reiterating how hot it was and I didn’t feel the need to add another blog review to the cluttered mess that has become “Ghostface appreciation month”. That said, I loved the album and went and bought it last week (contributing to crucial second week sales) and I honestly believe the stage is set for a genuine return to form for Wu-Tang after the excellent Grandmasters and Fishscale projects. The crown juel however is undoubtedly Raekwon’s Cuban Linx II project and this update from Rza makes it very clear that Wu-Tang Clan…well… they ain’t nuthin to fuck with.


RZA released some exclusive information on Cuban Linx II to Wu-Tang Corp today. RZA promises the fans it will be a real classic, Raekwon is said to be in his most murderous vibe of writing and the songs are coming along lovely. The whole Clan (minus the late ODB) is confirmed to appear on the album. The next street single after the well accepted "State Of Grace" will probably be the RZA produced "Secret Inditement". Although RZA is sceptical about outside producers making the final cut, there are a few that have a good chance of getting on there. With respect to the late J.Dilla, the song "House Of The Flying Daggers" is a candidate for the album. Scram Jones has also shopped his beats to Raekwon and RZA. The one producer everyone is wondering about however is Dr.Dre. RZA and Dre were in the studio last week together going through a mass amount of beats. So far, according to RZA there are 3 songs produced by Dre that both Raekwon and RZA are feeling heavily. These three songs are recorded, mixed and done! One of the songs features Raekwon, Busta Rhymes and RZA together over a booming Dre beat! Whether this song will make the album is still uncertain. Raekwon however is confirmed for the Busta Rhymes album and RZA says the new Busta album is absolutely crazy. The song featuring Stevie Wonder is his absolute favorite and he urges all Wu fans to cop that album and support Busta who is also a very close and loved brother to the Clan. Furthermore RZA said hes very happy for Ghost to get the respect and first week sales he received for "Fishscale". He added that "if people liked the Ghostface album, they are gonna LOVE the Cuban Linx part II album." The Wu-Tang is getting ready to strike again

J Dilla did the beat to House of Flying Daggers? That NEEDS to be on there. In case you haven’t heard, that’s one of the earliest songs that Raekwon mentioned in the recording and rumors are it’s along the lines of an early Wu posse cut. As for the Dr Dre stuff, I’m rather ambivalent. Dre beats are never bad but they’re generally too clean for this kind of album and 3 of them sound like a bit much. Hopefully they make the Busta Rhymes album instead, an album that could benefit from that sort of thing. As for Scram Jones…sure, whatever as long as Rza mixes it down. The man’s beats always came off as something from Alchemist’s little brother but they aren’t bad per say. With Rza involved to such a large extent anyways, it simply a question of making the album fit together.

Oh and am I the only one who found that Ghost compliment slightly backhanded? Ghost and Rza need to make amends and get to collaborating, stat.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Art Brut in Montreal at La Sala Rossa




Art Brut’s strange brew of honesty-through-sarcasm could come off as snotty juvenilia for the art-school set but it surprisingly transcends the latter part of the equation though its lack of pretension. In plain English: it’s nice to see a bunch of people on stage playing music without pretending they’re cool, weird, dangerous or any other marketable adjective. Instead of those things, Art Brut play a hilarious take on classic punk while examining the little things that make life both worth living and worth ending. A few topics include moving to LA, disconnecting oneself from pop culture, getting into fights, getting into the sack with a new girlfriend, obsessing over an old one and failing to get it up. That’s right, someone made a rock song about erectile dysfunction before the Rolling Stones (zing!).

The opening act for the night was the local all girl indie pop group Pony Up! And surprisingly, I really dug their set. Sure any one of their songs could fit comfortably in the soundtrack to “Chasing Amy 2” but being a child of the 90’s, I have a soft spot for post-grunge alt-pop with female vocals and Pony Up! delivered with enthusiasm. Although I may have weirded them out during the obligatory “audience participation” part by suggesting that they play Jimi Hendrix on Acid.

Once Art Brut walked on stage and tore into We formed a Band however, everything else was forgotten. It’s tremendously enjoyable to be able to rock out to a current band as opposed to the cold critical appreciation that most new music inspires. Singer Eddie Argos’ rants about life prove to be intensely relatable and with a little luck these guys could hit it big Nirvana style: the world is ripe for a REAL punk band to knock the current crop of mall-rats off the charts. While the set was short and sweet, there’s only so much one can do with a 42 minute album and even I was admittedly drained from bouncing to the music the whole time. Too bad there wasn’t a mosh pit but the indie rock kids didn’t want to mess up their faux-80’s gear.

All in all, an incredible show and a highly recommended one. Five stars.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Concordia Student Election organizers and their shitty commercials

Stop pushing your democratic process during the Daily Show. I think I saw your god damned shitty commercial 3 times in 30 minutes. Did you know you guys actually have a film school? I’m sure there’s SOMEONE in there wouldn’t mind spending a couple of hours making sure your commercial doesn’t look like utter ass. Then again, sure is such a strong word, the film students don’t actually have time to waste on useless crap like this which is probably why I can’t find a single person who gives a shit about the election.

Internet thugs

XXLMags’ bloggers take themselves too damned seriously. What’s with the e- ice grilling guys? Afraid people will realize you’re nerds like the every other music writer? It’s pretty funny to read the vague threats at the bottom of their posts, if only for the fact that you know half of those guys were bumping Mos Def singles in 98. Then again, Elliot Wilson’s Ghostface sample report was cool. Still, even if the guy’s behind the biggest rap rag out there (say hi to Fiddy!) it still doesn’t make his online stuff any better than a glorified audioblog. Meanwhile DJ Sickamore’s assertion that he represents everyone born in the 80’s is highly dubious: we’re not all talentless douchebags latching on to other people’s trends and talent.

Southern Hiphop albums

I enjoy southern rap singles but I have zero interest in sitting through T.I’s album. Unless the on wax drug dealer expresses remorse (Ghostface) or some sign of pathological nihilism (The Clipse), I’m probably tired of it. Speaking of which, I should have a long delayed Ghostface review up tomorrow and perhaps a little commentary on the new Clipse single. But until then, I’ll stick with jazz loops and boasts and leave this generation’s hair-metal to da kids.

Hipsters

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about all urban white people, just those with studded belts, asymmetrical haircuts, tight jeans and a blind obedience to whatever the trend of the moment is. Typically these people have zero personality and zero taste in anything but you’ll inevitably find some of them at every interesting event by sheer coincidence that they found a worthwhile band to latch on too. Fuckin tools.

The Mission Impossible III trailers

My god what a shitty looking movie. Tom Cruise has slowly but surely morphed from that annoying midget that women inexplicably liked to the single most puncheable face in the western hemisphere. I wish the man really WAS blown back first into a car door by an explosion.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Marc Emery at Concordia – Report

There is irony at work.

It’s fair to describe me as a Cannabis aficionado. I smoke almost daily (though almost never before 10:00 PM in order to keep my productivity up…not that you would know it from my infrequent blog updates) and I’m significantly concerned with its legalization since I feel it’ll change humanity for the better rather than for the worse. That said, I’m pragmatic and I don’t blind myself to the downsides of the plant: it’s almost certainly bad for the lungs (all smoke is), it can render people lethargic and like anything, a small percentage of humanity will overdo it and fuck it up for the rest of us.

With this position in mind, I went to see Marc Emery at Concordia University last Friday. For those who are unaware of Marc’s plight here’s the abridged version. He’s sold a fuckton of marijuana seeds across the world via mail order and used the proceeds to finance the legalization of the plant since he believes that the persecution of cannabis smokers is wrong. He was never charged with much jail time by Canadian authorities and has always acted in the open and paid his taxes. Unfortunately, the American DEA hates his guts because of this and is demanding his extradition to the US where he would face 30 years to life in prison as the number 1 drug kingpin in the world. That’s a lot for selling seeds considering he’s given all the money away. His court hearing is expected to come very soon and fearing for the worst under Harper (scumbag) he’s been traveling across Canada on a farewell tour to speak about this injustice as well as Marijuana in general.

He had a lot to say on that later subject…much of it dubious unfortunately.

Like I stated earlier, I’m pragmatic about Cannabis. Emery however is a cheerleader in every sense of the word which is sad because he has some very thought provoking arguments that get lost amid the more questionable comments. His assertion that weed smokers are a culture (Marijuana people) seems particularly dubious (not doobie-us) because outside of a small radical minority, Cannabis is a minor part of a smoker’s life. I don’t define myself through pot smoking anymore than I do through alcohol and it’d be quite a stretch to call me a “beer person”. Emery also quoted biblical reasons for smoking pot and you guys already know how I feel about biblical justification for ANYTHING (if you don’t, the Bible as a literal text is bullshit) Then he mentioned how weed would cure cancer, make me drive better, improve my sex life and  that no one had ever shot a cop over weed. These were just some of the things that left me scratching my head going man what the hell is he smoking?

If you need me to answer that question you should probably be smoking less.

On the other hand, Emery was a very active speaker (think of a Tarentino style motor mouth going on about the wonders of weed) and stated some very valid points: marijuana itself doesn’t make anyone violent and we desperately need to get it out of the hands of organized crime. Practically all of the great artists of the past 50 years have smoked weed regularly and it’s an incredible tool to open the mind. Also, as much as his cultural talk was mumbo jumbo he did speak a fundamental truth: the moment you smoke weed is the moment you realize that everything you’ve ever been told about anything is total bull. Now it’s very possible to find this out without weed but in my case it helped a lot and as a person who very much disagrees with how the people in charge are running this planet, I’m glad I can piss them off by smoking even if I hope I can do it legally (which would still piss them off). He also proposed a fun game, take your CD collection and divide it up with the artists who smoke weed on one side and those who don’t on the other. Then decide which pile you want to be on a desert island with. Thought so.

I didn’t get to stay until the end of the conference due to time constraints and the fact I can only listen about weed for so long, but all in all it was an interesting speech if not one I totally agreed with. I guess the world needs determined zealots like Marc Emery to change things because there’s a hell of a lot of zealots on the other side who are claiming even more lies to keep weed illegal. I wish he’d spoken more about his pending legal case but I guess there’s not much to be said and that he wants to keep the details under wraps. All in all, an interesting time and I urge you to find out more at www.cannabisculture.com.

Oh and the irony of this post? I’m taking a week off weed to save money and flush my system clean.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Gnarls Barkley is CRAZY

No, I haven’t heard the album yet but everything I HAVE heard from it is certifiably bananas.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Dangerdoom last year despite the hype. I felt it was a good/decent/fun record despite itself but was quick to point out that Doom’s scratchy, mushmouthed drawl was much better suited to Madlib’s esoteric lo-fi weirdness than Dangermouse’s pop instincts. Not that DM wasn’t weird, but where Doom and Madlib traded in the sonic simplicity of scratchy samples, the Mouse could only really let loose with Vocalists like The Gorillaz or Jemini whose melodies gave him something to work around. I went so far as to say that Dangermouse might be a better pop producer than Hiphop producer.

Turns out I was right.

With the single Crazy expected to hit #1 in the UK, it’s not too late to jump on the Gnarls Barkley bandwagon and say you heard it first,: a good thing because this record could be huge. As you can hear on the band’s *shudder* Myspace page there’s quite a lot to be excited about. Cee-lo’s vocals soar and Danger’s countermelodies err…counter and everything comes out like some sort of crazy Elephant Six meets Dungeon Family rock-soul-dance music. I tend to be relatively jaded about new acts *cough*Arctic Monkeys*cough* or new music in general (except for Ghostface) but this is some crazy music right here and might just be the project that’ll send theses guys to the Top of the Pops. Either way, between this and Demon Days, I must say that Dangermouse has a pop music on lock even if his rap collaborations aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Oh, and read that band description on the Myspace page. Pretty damn weird.

Friday, March 17, 2006

V for Vendetta

I don’t take comic book movies seriously.

I mean, honestly comics CAN be intelligent engaging works of art but I fear their adaptations never (or to be fair, rarely) reach that peak and instead end up as simple kid ready action movies. With that out of the way, I fully enjoyed V for Vendetta even as I immediately knew this wasn’t going to anything high minded. I applaud Alan Moore for having the courage to say this is not my work and separate himself from the project. Consequentially, I’m going to read his comic book with an open mind and believe the story has the potential to be rich, nuanced and thought provoking. The previous adjectives rarely described anything associated with the Watchowskis however, who attract descriptions like 15-year-old-pot-smoker-fake-deep-philosophy. And that’s exactly what their interpretation of V for Vendetta is.

When I was 15, I totally loved the Matrix. The ideas presented in that film were incredibly inspiring to my teenaged brain and the action sequences simply kicked ass. Minus the action (which is downplayed here) I’m sure this generation of 15 year olds will find this film to suitably reproduce that experience with the added benefit of a concrete real-world enemy they can blame (Bush). Sure it’s a bastardization of the original work, but it’s entertaining for what it is and there were only TWO genuinely cringe-worthy moments in the entire thing and for Larry and Andrea (snicker) that’s pretty good.

Go see V for Vendetta if you want some fun fluffy pop-aganda disguised as something deep. Don’t see it expecting anything above Jr High philosophy.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Lot’s to touch upon...


SAFER=stupid

I hate bullshit, even when it ostentatiously comes from my side. It’s the reason that Michael Moore looks like a fat-ass loser and that the Democrats can’t get ahead no matter how much the Republicans fuck up: these guys are getting so swarmy you can’t tell them apart from the right wing they’re opposing. That’s why SAFER’s St-Patrick’s day plan has me shaking my head. In case you didn’t know, SAFER is an organization which has decided to prove that Marijuana is a safe alternative to alchohol by repeating the same argument over and over like a brain deficient…err…pothead. Sure that’s the exact thing the Republican party does to much success (stay on message!) but I expect more from the left, not an if you can’t beat em, join em attitude. The sad part is that their truth through assertion method actually works and they’ve run better legalization campaigns than anyone else. I blame the stupidity of the American people.

So now they want me to smoke on ST-Patty’s instead of having a drink. Well fuck those guys and fuck the man who doesn’t want me to smoke. I’m going to get smashed on both. That’ll teach em. And probably teach a few of my filter-organs as well.

I hate anime fans

I rather like reading manga once in a while but is it even remotely possible to not hate these people? I enjoy the well drawn graphics and engaging storylines offered, but every time I have to deal with an anime fan the conversation inevitably turns into this weird zone between socialization and attempted strangulation. The males are obviously the worst with personalities landing somewhere between emo fanboy and prep-school jerk. Listen kids, back when I read manga it was all about fuck the man rocking Hawaiian shirts and afros and watching South Park on the side. None of this Megatokemo bullshit. As for the girls, they come in 2 flavors: ugly as sin and hot but socially inept. Obviously harping on the ineptitude of geeks is a no-brainer but as a fairly geeky person myself I’m still puzzled at the sheer revenge-of-the-nerds style social incompetence displayed by these people. They need to drink some beer and smoke some weed or something…

The new Dudley Perkins album is…

Produced by Madlib! Actually, that’s more or less the best thing I can say about Expressions, Dudley’s newest opus. Let’s be fair, as entertaining as some of his stuff is, the man is basically a front for Madlib to get into crazy stoned Hiphop soul and much more. What this means is that when Madlib (and I guess Dudley) get a good idea like Testin Me or Inside things are great but when they come up with boring or stupid material…ugh. Still, I love the lo-fi sound and the good stuff is really good, but you may want to buy some of the highlights off Itunes (yeah right) and leave the album alone.

Monday, March 13, 2006

No...not Isaac...it’s not true!

Dammit, they (the wacko couch jumping scientologists) got to Isaac Hayes who’s not quitting South Park over the fact that Trey Parker and Matt Stone dissed his religion. Now I’m a much bigger Isaac Hayes fan than I am a Southpark fan but I gotta go with the white guys on this one: that religion is coocoo for Cocoa puffs and deserves to be dissed. It was bad enough when the action stars of the 80’s converted but when credible musicians like Beck and Isaac Hayes and all around cool people like Jason Lee are being recruited, it becomes clear that this movement must be stopped. Too long have our couches been jumped. On the other hand the really cool people like Leonard Cohen and William S Boroughs denounced it so it’s not all that bad.

Incidentally, turns out Paul Haggis is a member too. That explains why Crash was so cot damn batshit INSANE.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

2 urgent letters to the world

Dear Teenagers of America

Stop posting your stupid ass lyp-sync videos on Youtube. You’re wasting the internets.

Insincerely yours

Sach

Dear Natalie Portman

Bitch shut the fuck up

Not so cordially yours

Sach

PS: tell SNL the white rap thing was funny once. It’s just stupid now.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Thoughts on Syriana and Of Montreal

Thoughts on Syriana

I’m really tired of network narratives, hyperlink cinema or any other fads which make for films which have a dozen underdeveloped main characters. That said, Syriana isn’t a bad film, but it’s certainly a confusing one considering fictional Middle-Eastern policy is just as befuddling as the real deal. If a Middle-Eastern country pisses off the US by granting energy rights to China while another company bribed an Emir which leads to a CIA operative being double crossed…who committed what crime and should I be pissed? That’s not exactly what happens in the movie but it’s a demonstration of the kind of head-scratching plot development which explains why Crash reduced its entire cast to stereotypes and anti-stereotypes: because it’s hard to keep track of people if you can’t refer to them as “the Arab guy” or “the black wife”. There’s a lot of good in the film though: the viewer will leave somewhat educated about the energy crisis and George Clooney and Matt Damon get to act together (kind of) in a movie that doesn’t involve Danny Ocean. As for Clooney’s Oscar winning performance, it’s ok but he put on 20 pounds and a beard PLUS there was a torture scene so you know the academy loved that.

All in all, an ok film but nothing unbelievable. Still, it’s better than Crash anyway you slice it and both of those films are in the same batsuit, as Clooney might say.

Of Montreal in Montreal part 3

Kevin Barnes is the only man I’m willing to see walk onstage in a wedding gown and strip down half-naked in tight pants. That’s a testament to the rocking good time one gets at an Of Montreal show, officially the band I’ve seen the most (3rd time in a year!). Interestingly enough, the band was a little more talkative than usual, playing up the crowd and making jokes whereas they usually let the music do all the talking. This was partly necessary to introduce the new songs which the band was testing throughout the night but it also showed a growing report with the audience which is always a good thing. Barnes and co may not be the Decemberists yet, but I’ll be damned if they’re not trying as hard as possible to get there.

Besides, any band that can segue into Europe’s The final countdown deserves props.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The good the bad and the ugly at the Oscars

The Good

  • George Clooney winning something and delivering a great speech. I have a hard time anyone on earth can hate George Clooney. The man pretty much lives out his Danny Ocean character 24/7 now.

  • Wallace and Gromit wins! Suck it you 12 year old emo-goth Corpse Bride fans!

  • David Letterman’s appearance in the opening montage

  • Jon Stewart referring to Martin Scorcese not having a fucking shelf full of these things yet.

  • Three 6 Mafia bay-bee!!!!! I can’t believe that these guys won and I couldn’t be happier. I’m not even a huge fan but the last time an underground style of music got exposed on the Oscars was Oh Brother where art thou and you saw the kind of sales that thing got off the exposure. Now I’m sure middle aged white folks won’t be out bumping so fly but it’s still great for them.

  • Will Smith, Queen Latifah, Ludacris, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard, Three Six Mafia, Morgan Freeman, Samuel L Jackson. That’s a big night for Hiphop and black people in general. Good to see the Oscars move away from being whitey’s night, if only because all of the above deserve the spotlight.

  • Brokeback Mountain winning for best score. That thing is catchy as hell, admit it.

  • Ang Lee dedicating a movie about gay cowboys to his traditional Taiwanese dad.

  • Jack Nicholson, as always.

  • The Altman tribute

  • Those spoof voter ads. Cordry at the Oscars!

  • Rachel Weisz’ dignified acceptance speech.

  • The South African director shouting viva and delivering the night’s non-rap related exhuberance.

  • Three 6 Mafia won…I mean HOLY SHIT! Their speech was great too.

The Bad

  • Memoires of a Geisha winning repeatedly? What the fuck man? That movie is shit in a reel-can.

  • Memoires of a Geisha winning best costume and the designer having the audacity to thank Japan.

  • Crash wins best picture. Although I don’t hate it as much as some of my friends, there really were better films this year.

  • Jon Stewart’s monologue falling flat. It’s their fault not yours Johnny.

  • Did I mention that Geisha movie?

  • Reese Witherspoon’s vapid rambling acceptance speech.

The Ugly

  • Well…it’s the Oscars. Everyone’s looking good.

  • Lauren Bacall messing up the film noir intro.

  • The repeated plees to get people into the theaters. It just came off as desperate. Make good movies and people will go see them. Make Dukes of Hazard and I’ll stay home thank you.

  • Paul Haggis’ continuing domination of the Oscars.

  • Ben Stiller’s stupid green screen shtick.

  • Will Ferrel and Steve Carell’s stupid makeup shtick.

  • Carell should have referenced Jon or something. Jeez.

  • People trying to convince us this was a great year in film because the stuff was heavy and serious. Meanwhile I’m enjoying incredible innovative stuff out of Asia that’s simultaneously innovative, entertaining, thought provoking…and not featured here.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

That’s not a knife...THIS is a knife...err Kirkpan!


*Warning: socio-political rant ahead*

Much ado about nothing since the Supreme Court decided that Sikhs could wear their traditional kirkpan (knife) to school on grounds that it’s a religious symbol and this is a free country. It’s been tremendously amusing watch the intolerance grow as the entire province of Quebec threw a hissy-fit at the idea that they’d have to accommodate other’s beliefs and ideas. It’s also been pretty ugly.

     Now I’m no fan of religion or religious symbols (cue Colbert voice) but I love it when the closed-minded hypocrisy of the people around me gets exposed for what it is. I guarantee you that 90% of the people complaining about this ruling in Quebec have never even spoken to a Sikh and never will considering how closed the community is. Thus, what you end up with is a majority of people fear-mongering over something they don’t even know jack about. Does Sikh related violent crime in schools even exist? I’ve certainly never heard of it. Hell the only time I’ve ever seen one of the guys is on the bus and I commend them for their fashion sense: the colorful turbans really set them off as opposed to the Hindus and Muslims.

No, this isn’t about violence at all. It’s about Quebec’s dirty little secret. As progressive as the place is about the environment, gay and women’s rights and other issues there’s one particular category where it’s lagging behind and threatens to mentioned in the same category as France and *GASP* the US of A. I’m speaking of cultural relations of course. Now don’t get me wrong, Quebec has a right to have a chip on it’s shoulder: no one wants to see their culture assimilated and no one with any common sense is protesting the language laws (which isn’t to say there aren’t protests, just that the people mad have no common sense). If Quebec wants to allow more immigrants from French speaking nations than elsewhere in the world, that’s its prerogative as well. In fact, it should be allowed to pick immigrants any way it damn well pleases. It’s being the generous host isn’t it?

Well it is. Until they and their children get citizenship that is. Then these people are equal to any French or English speaking 5th generation white-bread Canadian you can find. They pay taxes to the same government and are subject to the same laws. So you really have zero right to tell him how to act or adapt. Sorry, if they want to fight for something and the law says they’re right, you can’t just shut it down.

It’s been said that Quebec views itself as a cultural melting pot (ala France and USA) as opposed to a “cultural mosaic” (ala English Canada). Well I’ve got news for you: France and the US have major racism problems and I see hints of the future direction Quebec could take in the attitudes seen over this debate. These people are citizens of the same land and have all the rights that white secular people have in terms of beliefs and freedoms. Just because you prefer a secular society doesn’t mean you can boss around other people on the basis that you think this place is “yours” due to your skin color and ancestry. You could curb personal freedom by banning religious expression in public altogether, but I think you know what my thoughts are on curbed freedoms.

The hilarious thing is how a lack of religion has been “religionised”. Isn’t imposing a total lack of public religion the same god damned thing as imposing one particular religion? I mean it’s declaring only one set of beliefs acceptable in public and making all others hidden. I’m no religious expert, but that’s a good way to foster hostility and ill will, violence even.

Someone may even pull out a knife.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tropicalia INVASION!

Gal Costa – Nao Identificado
Caetano Veloso – Nao Identificado

Gal Costa – Lost in Paradise
Caetano Veloso – Lost in Paradise

I’m really glad that I got into Brazilian music before it became the realm of the trendy revitalists at Pitchfork media. In fact, I really wish they hadn’t reviewed that re-issue and given it such a high score: this is going to drive a million hipsters into a record buying frenzy and will definitely raise the prices on this shit. Once again the indie crowd proves to be a thorn in my side. Anger against an easy target aside, Tropicalia has been ripe for a revival ever since Kurt Cobain (and later Of Montreal and Cunninlynguists) name dropped Os Mutantes. Hell, even MF Doom has jumped on the Brazilian bandwagon if his recent beats are of any indication and let’s not forget Madlib and Diplo’s regular trips to the land of all things booty: they brought back lost grooves and bad bass-house respectively. With names like that, don’t you want to get in on the fun?

Luckily, I’ve got y’all covered with an interesting MP3 update as we take a look at two songs covered by two of Tropicalia’s most important artists: Caetano Veloso and Gal Costa. I could spend a whole day writing about the historical and musical importance of this guy and this gal (no pun intended) but that’s what Allmusic is for. Suffice to say that they were an item and created some of the best music of the 60’s t never reach your parents ears. Unless your prarents were Brazilian I guess. Oh, and they also recorded it in jail while being harassed by their country’s military government: and those British and US hippies thought they had it hard…

But enough back story, what’s up with the songs? Written by Veloso, these were used on their early albums in radically different ways. Nao Identificado for example is a rocking, psychedelic guitar driven affair with low-key vocals in the hands of Veloso. Costa on the other hands flips it into an organ driven balad thanks to her sweet delivery and soulful instrumentation. Lost in Paradise’s versions don’t quite differ as much as the previous song in mood but the subtle differences in instrumentation and vocal switches make for interesting distinctions, not to mention a great listening experience no matter which one you prefer.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ghostface Killah – Fishscale Bootleg

I’m not going to even pretend that I’m remotely objective about this release as it pretty much features my single favorite currently active artist collaborating with what I consider to be the most interesting musicians in Hiphop today. There’s a certain amount of personal taste at play here which means I won’t be able to make any objective statements on this until several months down the line once I’ve digested the official version numerous times. Until then, here are my thoughts on the bootleg that leaked last night based on 5 or 6 back to back, incredibly giddy listens.

  • It’s much better than the Pretty Toney album which suffered in the middle. Although it’s not sequenced and there are a couple of tracks missing and some mixing issues, it’s already devoid of the filler and sample clearance issues that marred Starks’ last attempt. The only questionable track at this point is 3 Bricks featuring Biggie, a joint that wasn’t recorded for this project and that isn’t on the bootleg (so it might not make it).

  • J-Dilla really gave Ghostface some incredible tracks. Whip me with a Strap is an incredibly touching song about Ghost’s bitter childhood and Hi (for lack of a better track title) has an ending that’ll make even the most jaded smile. The beats fit on Donuts, but they fit just as well here.

  • Speaking of older beats, Doom’s Monsta Island Czars must be livid that the man basically resold half the beats he gave them on their projects. I can’t really complain as frankly, Doom was at his absolute weirdest in that era and Wu-Tang sound much better over these than those guys ever did. Still, my favorite beat (and song) on the album has got to be Clips of Doom featuring Raekwon (the one with the Kung fu dialogue). Incredible Rza-esque beat and crime discussions that just brought me 10 years back.

  • Cappadonna actually rips his verses. Let’s hope this return to form is permanent as he sounds really good with Trife and Ghost. All we need now is Lord Superb and I’m hyped for a real Theodore non-compilation of collaborations. The Wu-Tang Clan meanwhile reconvenes on Wu Joint but the version on here sounds unmixed and unfinished. If not, it’s still good enough but it’ll be filed under coulda been even better which is the most negative thing that can be said about anything on here.

  • The dirty version of Back like That is hilarious when you’re used to the radio one. Most simultaneously useless and hilarious use of the word nigga in recent memory though with the focus on useless. The song has really grown on me regardless.

  • The Just Blaze produced Champions is dynamite with Rocky 3 dialogue samples and Laffy Taffy disses flowing freely. I’m glad SOMEONE is calling out those D4L guys because that song really is terrible to the point of annoyance.

  • Raekwon’s rhymes have me EAGERLY anticipating Fishscale. Also, Masta Killa is rapidly moving up from “that dude who can pick ill beats and rhymes aiight” to “Wu member whose stuff I’m really looking forward to”. His verse on Wu-joint is smooth all hell.

The other tracks are great ranging from the cinematic “Crackspot” and “Barbershop” which paint short portraits of these areas to the 70’s R&B inspired “Family Affair”. The album has got a particular nostalgic storytelling bent that really suits the older Ghost well and it works better than the puzzlingly clean Pretty Toney attempt. I’ll undoubtedly be filling the gap in my Ghostface collection come March 28th, most likely via physical CD even if I’m I-pod equipped now. Support Ghost!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Tammi Terrel - All I do is think about you

Tammi Terrel – All I do is think about you

There isn’t much to say except I love this song and wanted to share it with my ever increasing readership (no seriously! We’re on the upswing!). I was searching for a Jackson Five track of the same name that Dilla sampled last week when I came across this interesting slice of soul. I assumed it was a different version of the same song since Motown artists were notorious in competing for the best version of their material, but it turns out that I was wrong: this is a cutting-room floor leftover that just happened to share the same name and that never got any shine.

I don’t know if I should be shaking my head at this bone-headed mistake or incredibly impressed that the quality control was so tight that a gem like this wasn’t even worth a b-side.

Thankfully for us though, a compilation’s worth of these things came out (A Cellar full of Motown) and now we get to hear it in all its heavenly glory. It’s actually hard to think of material like this as “old” music considering how school-girly Tammy sounds crooning about it’d be nice if the guy she has a crush on would reciprocate as the sound bounces to the beat of those giant cavernous Motown drums we know in love. The instrumentation is all vibes and strings and has a certain mournful quality to it which helps any love song: she knows that this dude has zero interest but all she can do is think about him. I was actually tempted to make a montage of this song to images from Kill Bill but that’ll probably be filed under “projects I’ll never have time for”, so until then a simple mp3 link on this blog will have to satisfy my urge to let the world hear this song.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I fell off the wagon... videogame style


Videogames pretty much consumed my entire life ages 6 to 16. That’s an exaggeration of course as comic books, the internet, pornography and at least 2 girls at the local catholic school also had my attention in later years, but it’s not unfair to claim that nothing else mattered until I was 12. Luckily for my social life, I didn’t really latch on to the whole 128bit war since most of the games generally stopped being fun. While the occasional title grabbed my attention (read: Final Fantasy X and Dragon Quest 7) I honestly believed I was done for good with videogames.

And now Shadow of the Colossus fucked me up.

I mean WOW; the fights in this game are EPIC. It took me about an hour to get through the trickiest of the first 10 bosses and the game occasionally gets frustrating, but the rush you get when you finally find a Colossus’ weak spot and get to killing it? Priceless. The boss battles in most games really aren’t that special considering you’ve plowed through 200-300 skeletons/soldiers/grunts to get to em. Every fight in this game feels like a war though, the kind of hard fought cinematic struggle that makes it worth it. In other words, by the time it’s over you’re damned satisfied.

I’ve got to go finish it. I’m really addicted. God help me if I buy the next Dragon Quest game.