Viva Mexico!

Mexico was totally amazing. I’ve been having trouble trying to put together a blog post for the trip. It was just an awesome vibe more than anything else. It’s almost like what I thought, how I felt every night about my performance, technical problems, personal critiques, didn’t (and still don’t) matter. Mexico City is incredible; we spent a lot of time walking around, eating, sightseeing, taking it in. Last week was exhausting and exhilarating, and right now I am at the studio to start work on our new album. Hopefully we’ll be bringing some of the intensity and vibes we collected in Mexico into the studio with us. I won’t try and say more, I’ll probably just start rambling. Instead I compiled tons and tons of stuff from the internet – posted by fans, writers, bloggers, photographers – a lot of it is here. If I missed something please add a link in the comments.


Limited edition poster by Trevore Valensuela

Blogs, photo galleries and reviews:
Chilango – live review and photos
Concetpo Radial – live review and photos
LifeBoxset.com – live review and photos
Me Hace Rudio – interview and photos
Warp.com.mx – show preview
Everything Live – live review and photos
Me Hace Rudio – live review and photos
Ana Tello Fotographia – photos
The Space Farm – live review and photos
AnnE!’s Photostream – photos from the press conference and live
Frames by Feynox – photos
Los Amaterus – live review and photos
MSN Mexico – photos
Dixo – podcast and interview
Arts & Crafts Mexico – photos

Tweeted images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

And there are a ton of ridiculous videos on YouTube. Actually, probably the only place where you can hear new songs at this moment…

How much of this do we need? Not this much, but I just got started on it and probably went too far. I just remember looking out into the audience on Saturday night during “Lost in the Plot” and seeing like 20 mobile phones and cameras being held up, recording. Awesome.

I, Teenager (Pt. 2)

OMG you guys. After rifling through university applications, essays on the feminist narrative, portfolios and letters of intent, 3.5″ floppy disk backups, zines and magazines, templates, sketches and notebooks, and everything related to my “photography phase,” nothing supported my claim that the questionable Wu-Tang review was ever published. I found newsprint copies of Vice from 1998, but nothing pre-dating that (save for the standard adolescent sketchbooks and diaries).

I avoided getting into any of that archival stuff too deeply, knowing that I could get sidetracked for hours, reading short stories and gasping at, well, myself. I’m certain that if I let myself go there, this post would be chock-full of endearingly embarrassing things. I’d still be scanning the stuff. So I’ll save that for another time, when there really is nothing left to say.

For now there remains marginally enough to share.

And the quick gumshoe work of reader Helenoe confirmed that it would have been impossible for Weird Al to have been in Toronto, since he was performing his own concert in Wilkes-Barre, PA, kicking off his Bad Hair Day tour.

Lucky for the rest of us, I initially forgot to type in “tour” after “Bad Hair Day” in my Google search box and the first thing that came up was this image, which left me quite speechless.

I, Teenager (Pt. 1)

My mom recently sent me home with a real-life photo album full of pictures of me. It basically starts when I was a baby and goes up until my university graduation, at which time everybody switched to digital cameras, and therefore no more printed photos exist.

I found some zingers in there: bad haircuts, bad clothes, bad glasses, good memories, great friends. The one piece that totally blew my mind was a live review of WU-TANG CLAN that I had WRITTEN BY HAND and then FAXED to Suroosh at the then titled Voice (presently Vice). Now, which of the items in that declaration was more shocking: that my submission was 100% analogue, or that I went to see the Wu-Tang? I choose the former.

I know, you’re thinking: Is this a joke? I read it last night and had the same reaction. Weird “Al” on stage with the Wu? Did I just make that up? As I recall I had taken some bad drugs before the show and spent most of the time barfing in the toilet and trying not to pass out (moral: don’t do drugs). Did this concert happen as I described it or is this some sort of first-gen mashup sarcasm?

Dated May 28, 1996, means I had just turned 19 when I wrote this. AND from the handwriting on the date, it also appears that I got my DAD to fax it for me. A quick note to my Mom and Dad: you are brave and the greatest parents EVER. You trusted me – just sent those vibes my way – and I ended up at a sketchy concert with a poster that promised SECURITY STRICTLY ENFORCED. And lived to tell. I love you.

So: was this teenaged drivel fit to print? Viceland.com does not have archived print editions on the internet earlier than December 2005. Luckily, I have mild OCD and, had they printed it, should have a copy in the garage.

So until I can dig that out, this post is to be continued

Do I ♥ Hype Machine?

When I first got into the Hype Machine, I thought it was genius. An aggregator of music blogs that generates a “Top Ten” list every week. Decentralised, not dependent on skewed radio air play or impossible record sales. I discovered new musicn on HypeM, listened to what everyone else was digging on, clicked on the little heart next to the songs and bands I wanted to support. One of my tweets adds 60 points to the chart! Why? I have no idea!

After the novelty wore off, something struck me: cleverness aside, I didn’t want to spend that much time listening to Madonna/The Who and Norotious B.I.G/Miley Cyrus mashups. I wanted to listen to songs the way songwriters created them: not a remix, mashup or basement redux. As musician in a band, I know how much time, effort and resource goes into writing and recording an album. Shouldn’t that effort be recognised, rather than someone else’s whimsy, territorially pissed all over a track?

I propose two lists: 1) original tracks, and 2) everything else. Call me old fashioned. But we, the people, have been ravaged enough by the downloading and file sharing and the like. Now some song feat. the vs. remix mashup edit club version gets more attention than the song itself. How do you split the mechanicals on something like that?

Just kidding. I’m being a raving old person. Stodgy, impatient, unwilling to accept the obvious change that is happening right before my eyes. I really don’t care: I still read the Hype Machine charts, and vote for my friends. As if the politics of high school never ended.

Art inspiring art. A lyric, a beat, a riff, encouraging someone else to keep going, to keep writing, to continue that piece of art. Non-monetized, positive vibes, good times. “Why should I listen to just one song when I can listen to two at the same time?” Ah, in the year 2000.

As an afterthought, I find it ironical (fake word that I use all the time -ed.) that Google recently shut down a bunch of music blogs that share MP3s, while the entire Hype Machine model is based on blogs that share MP3s. Google just didn’t want to deal with the digital mechanicals, I bet.

‘Best Of’ Brings Out The Worst Of…Me

The end of the year, end of the decade, time to compile a list of highs and lows. In past years, I haven’t cared, haven’t really bothered: I’ve read the lists, enjoyed them, agreed and disagreed verbally to printed matter. I don’t know why, this time around, I am so not interested.

I was asked to contribute to a handful of lists this year, picking my top artists, bands, albums, shows, etc. And I had to decline. When the requests came in, I considered them, and realised that the past year has been, well, totally beige. Especially in Canada. With the exception of Metric’s Fansaties and a handful of great songs/ideas from others, what could I remember? What was timeless? I didn’t know. I couldn’t think of anything. Was that my fault? Maybe I was lazy this year. Did I not keep up? No: I’ve been worn down by repetition, the references to the references, the derivativity, the lack of soul, a saturated milieu, churning out music devoid of spirit and purpose.

For example, could someone please explain this to me? It 100% boggles my mind.

Times have changed, I suppose. I’ve changed. I’ve changed quite a bit, and philosophically look at music and the music industry in a hyper-evolved way. In four dimensions. And once you achieve that fourth dimension, everything changes. Perspective is paramount, and there’s no going back to the way things were before.

Or the Battlestar Galactica marathon I’m on has clouded my memory.

SAVIOUR + EOHBS is 10

There are two things happening Murray and I wanted to share with you.

1) We’ve made lots of videos, and have never worked with a more PRO dude than director Christohper Mills. I think we get each other, so we’ll let him do the talking:

“We had 12 hours to shoot one video, and ended up shooting 2 videos in 10 hours. It was a near perfect day.

Everyone in the band was plugged in and slathered in baby oil, and a giant fan blew dust all over the room. Everyone was on point, we had our shit together, and got a ton of great performance in the can.

Then, as an afterthought, I pitched the idea of laying SAVIOUR down to tape – just because we could, and because it was my favourite song on the record.

MURRAY and THE DEARS very generously obliged, and, as always, MURRAY consumed himself with the song, and delivered what for me, was one of the most honest, most real music video performances I’ve been lucky enough to shoot in my 12+ years of making videos.

AUX.TV has been generous enough to pony up to help us get the very simple, post work done on this little nugget. I hope this song is as transformative for you as it has been for me.

Love, Christopher.”

Following SAVIOUR is DISCLAIMER or “the best video that nobody saw.” The “short film” premiers at 7PM ET on AUX.TV.

2) In the Fall of 1999, Murray, Roberto, John Tod and I holed up in Andy from The Nul Set’s house in Westmount. We drank all his parent’s booze (even the peppermint schnapps), moved their dining room table into the kitchen and put mattresses up against their century-old windows. Then we made an album: End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story. We made an album and had no idea what we were going to do with it. No label wanted to release it because, at the time, it was too out there. Now Magazine described it simply: “Expect riots.”

So to celebrate our first album’s tenth birthday, we’ve decided to give the album to you; no remix or remaster, no extra tracks or a tacky badge. If you haven’t heard it, then you should: it’s the original hot mess.

Visit our online store and get a free, high quality digital download of End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story with any t-shirt order.

OK, OK. Enough of the sales pitch.

Just a huge thank you to you, for your support over the years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds. However long it’s been. We’ll always love you back.

Natalia

P.S. Murray pledges that The Dears will deliver the greatest rock album ever made, sometime next year.

Tour Recovery

I am in a state of mild shock: being home from a six-week tour is disorientating. Not to mention catching a cold, which is a classic way for my body to react. Like I gotta keep it together for the shows (despite the conditions: never enough sleep, eating badly, boozing out of boredom, dehydrated, breathing nasty bus air) and as soon as tour’s done my body crashes hard. Invariably.

Anyhow, I do have a lot to say. I’ve been working on a tour wrap-up blog with lots of thoughts, photos and memories I wanted to share. But I’m barely able to stay awake so will need a few more days of post-tour recovery.

Until then see what the blogosphere had to say about it:

Photos from Winnipeg by Stephanie Willer

Poetry review and photos of Winnipeg by Eugene Osudar

Painting over silence (Winnipeg) show review

Pics from San Francisco by Andria Lo

Show review ans pics from Where The Sidewalk Ends blog (Vancouver)

Impressions by My Favourite Adventure blog (Vancouver)

A photo by John Carlow (Victoria, I think)

Review from 3AM Revelations blog (Vancouver)

Review in NME.com (Los Angeles)

Anyway, there are tons more…these are just the last few that came up. Feel free to post links in the comments section below. Thanks to all who came out and shared the love with us. There was lots of it going around on this tour. Massive love first of all to my band mates and crew: Benvie, Tanya, Renaud, Laura, Jason, Yann (rhymes with “done”), Chris, Maya, Neptune and of course my personal fave, Murray. Also thanks to new touring BFFs Eulogies, Great Northern, Jets Overhead and Black Diamond Bay for the great times. And for drinking our rider. LOL indeed.

Nice Words are Nice.

Here’s a rad little review-ish thing about our last album, Gang of Losers, from the Whale In A Cubicle blog. I appreciate the sincerity!

CD-R, Plus.

So this piece of CD-R was sitting in the flower box outside the fire station for days, but I’ve always been too freaked about taking a picture of it because I’m intimidated by the firemen. Like what do I tell them if they asked me what I was doing? How could I possibly explain this project in a coherent way? Do I just give them a scrap of paper with a URL written on it? Then they would be in on it and heaven forbid anyone in my neighbourhood be in on it because that would sabotage the whole thing. Say goodbye to serindipitious randomosity (two words I’m not sure really exist).

img_0863.jpg

I also saw a piece of CD-R at the playgroud today, but I thought it was too far outside the radius to be included in my data. See the real predecessors here.

And while on the topic of CDs, I love this blurb about GOL from the Superb Live Blog. It makes my day.

Torquil Campbell is a Genius

If you haven’t already, you absolutely must read it here: Torq’s Blog. It is mainly a retort to Pitchfork’s review of Stars’ latest album, “In Our Bedroom After the War.” It’s a classic Pitchfork review, where they pretend to like something, and Torq calls them out. He actually nails down the accidental effect the blogosphere has had on music, which I admire.

I had wanted to review the Stars album but couldn’t. I started jotting down my thoughts, then came to the realisation: “Really, who cares what I think, except me?” It’s like this lame dialogue I had with the editor of The Torontoist: I criticised one of their reviews, then the editor posted a totally bogus: “It’s us but it’s not us,” comment, to which I retorted and he probably never saw, because why would he come back here unless he got a Google Blog Alert about it? Our world is becoming so careless, with no sense of craft, thought or dedication. There will be no creation of Masterpieces anymore, our culture prevents it. So can we just try and be optimistic about the absolute best of the mediocre?