Tuesday, September 30, 2008

jesus is my friend.

These are troubling times we are living in. For those of you that are feeling depressed or confused about things like the sad state of the economy, wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, genocide in Darfur, or rampant, deadly diseases with no cure in sight like cancer or AIDS , I implore you to watch the following video. Even if you don't buy into the nauseatingly positive religious message, you should be able to appreciate it on a more subversive, ironic level, which will distract you momentarily from all that other bad stuff.

Now I hope you were paying particular attention to what's going on around 1:40 into the song...I'm talking, of course, about the line where the singer describes how "Jesus came and found me / and he touched me down inside." I mean, even if you were a really naive, positive religious person, how could you write that line and not realize that there was potential for that to be misinterpreted? Also, what's with the line where he threatens that Jesus will "zap you any way he can?" What does that even mean? That he is going to zap you with his magic Jesus love powers? The Jesus that these people worship seems like a frightening guy who I do not want to be associated with.

Still, I gotta say that although the guitar player is probably not a person that I would enjoy hanging out with on a Friday night (or any night really,) he does have some pretty sweet stage moves.

Friday, September 26, 2008

new Killers single.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Brandon Flowers. I do think the Killers are a great band and I actively enjoy their first two records (though I think Sam's Town was straining a little bit too hard for rock critic credibility.) But that's just the problem that I have with Flowers: it seems the success of his band has given him a vastly overinflated sense of artistic worth. Its frustrating to hear him in interviews talking down to other bands, as if he, who penned the brilliant opus "Somebody Told Me," is some bastion of creative integrity. What he needs to understand is that the Killers are a pop band - a really good pop band - but just because in between making Hot Fuss and Sam's Town he listened to a few Bruce Springsteen records and grew a beard, doesn't mean that he is now some great American songwriter.

That being said, I absolutely love the new Killers single, Human. It's a bit of mix stylistically between their first two records, with a definite synth-pop dance element, but with a little bit of the folksy Americana vibe that Flowers tried too hard to create with Sam's Town. It seems that he is finally finding his own voice instead of just trying to imitate Morrisey, or Springsteen, or whoever, which is a step in the right direction for him. I think it was a great choice to work with Stuart Price (who produced Madonna's Confessions on a Dance Floor,) as the song just seems like more of a pop hit than anything they've done for quite a while.

Lyrically, I was fascinated when at first I thought the hook in the chorus was "Are we human / or are we dancer?" which makes no fucking sense at all, but upon closer inspection I believe he is actually saying "are we human / or are we denser," which is still dumb but strangely compelling.

In any case, its a great song, but I still think Brandon Flowers needs to get over himself a little bit.

I keep posting the song only to have it get taken down. I guess if you are the Killers its much better if no one listens to your new song. Good strategy guys. Just go and listen to it on their Myspace, but whatever you do, don't download it for free because that would be a horrible travesty.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Let me go on record as saying that I find it extremely annoying when self-righteous celebrities with massive egos go on about their political opinions, as if they believe that somehow they are more enlightened about world issues because they make a living by reading words off a page and playing make believe all day, or because they are capable of singing songs and/or playing an instrument.

Case in point: Madonna recently stirred up controversy when she showed photos during one of her concerts that compared John McCain to Hitler. Now, I happen to be a huge fan of Madonna's music but I can't even fully comprehend the stupidity of this. It is clear that she will do or say just about anything in order to generate media attention or pretend that she is still somehow culturally relevant, even if it is with completely ignorant and uninformed ideas like that.

Listen, I would prefer that John McCain didn't win the upcoming US presidential election. Yes, the United States have some serious problems. Yes, George W. Bush has spent the last 8 years going full retard. But neither McCain nor George Bush are Hitler, and the United States isn't Nazi Germany, and anyone who will rationally attempt to make that argument really needs to relax a little bit. That type of insane rhetoric doesn't really further political discussion in any meaningful way, it's just a vague way of saying "this person = bad" and it ultimately does more harm than good.

It's this sort of ridiculous behaviour that feeds into the notion of the out-of-touch, celebrity based cult of Obama that doesn't know or understand anything about the problems faced by real, not ridiculously wealthy, decidedly unfamous regular people. Personally, if I want to form a political opinion, I will try my best to read about the issues being discussed, I'll find out as much as I can about a candidate, I will watch speeches and debates and try to formulate a logical opinion on my own. I don't need Madonna to break things down for me in terms that are so black and white it's completely insulting, I really could not care less who Scarlett Johansson's heart belongs to, and I wouldn't listen to advice from Will.I.Am or Puff Daddy about something completely inane like interior decorating, let alone complex sociopolitical issues.

Before I go on, let me fully acknowledge that this rant is intensely hypocritical, but I assure you: I am aware that I am an out-of-touch, lazy musician and that my political opinions are just as worthless as anyone I am complaining about here. Maybe even more so, seeing as I am also Canadian and can't even vote in the upcoming US election. But at least I am upfront about the fact that my opinion means absolutely nothing; to be honest, I am absolutely enthralled by this election, but this is why I have limited my political writings to discussing fist bumps or talking about how hot Michelle Obama is. Also, I am not a celebrity, so it's different.

Anyways, this culture of self-important egomaniacs trying to enlighten the world by sharing their political beliefs was brilliantly parodied in Team America: World Police, and it's ironic to me that Team America's infamous MATT DAMON has come out with one of my favourite political soundbites so far. As I've said before, I thought McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate was a shamelessly transparent political move, and I have some serious concerns about the fact that this lady could potentially become the leader of the free world, but I haven't heard that opinion echoed on too many mainstream media outlets (although this also could be because I don't have cable.) So in spite of my intense dislike of famous actors and musicians talking about their political opinions, I definitely enjoyed Damon's analysis of Sarah Palin and the state of the Presidential race, he really sums up the ridiculousness of the whole situation with a refreshing frankness:

It's like that scene in Good Will Hunting when he eviscerates that snobby Harvard student in the campus bar! MATT DAMON indeed. What an epic burn. What do you have to say to that Sarah??

Yeah, that's actually quite scary. I'll be going now.

two crazy bastards.

So its 1 am and I am watching Abel Ferrera's Bad Lieutenant on television, and I am getting some major kicks out of Harvey Keitel's delightfully unhinged performance as the out-of-control drug and gambling addicted Lieutenant. As Keitel descends further and further into crazytown, I can't help but be reminded of probably the most fucking insane movie character ever, Dennis Hopper's crazed, mysterious gas-huffing, sociopathic pimp from Blue Velvet, Frank Booth:

So I'm starting to wonder which character is more crazy: the Lieutenant or Frank Booth? Lets start by examining their mutual behaviour at arguably their most batshit-insane moments.

the Lieutenant

Frank Booth

Wow. Those are two deeply, deeply troubled individuals.

Now, the two characters share many similarities, like a nagging chemical dependency and the ability to fly off the handle in mad fits of rage at a moment's notice. But at least there is a method to Keitel's madness: the baseball team that he has bet money on loses, and since he has been drinking and snorting cocaine all day, he shoots out the radio in his car before falling into a deep existential despair. Hopper, on the other hand, goes on a completely "what the fuck?" psychosexual rampage, complete with a serious insanity-inducing mystery gas, and for no real discernible reason other than the fact that he seems to enjoy being a complete lunatic and punching Isabella Rossellini in the face.

So based on the pure empirical evidence, my heart is telling me to go with Hopper on this one, but right now I have to say I'm leaning towards the Lieutenant. Although I will admit that this decision is more than a little biased by the fact that at this exact moment, Harvey Keitel is holding two men at gunpoint and smoking crack while watching a baseball game. It's hard not to be influenced by that.

No matter which character is technically more of a psychopath, I've got to commend both actors for helping to redefine what it means to be an insane person in the world of cinema. Can you imagine if these two characters ever met and hung out in real life? I actually think the universe would explode. Or possible implode. Or maybe nothing at all would happen but in any case, there would be two very angry, very crazy, drug-addicted old guys roaming the streets together who I would be avoiding at all costs.

Monday, September 22, 2008

the future sucks.

If you're like me, you are probably more than a little disappointed in the technology and scientific advancements that we have seen leading up to this foul year of our Lord, 2008. I mean, the internet, iPhones, GPS, and Playstation 3 are great and everything, but when I was growing up, I was convinced that by 2008 we would have flying cars, robot slaves, interstellar exploration, time machines, and advanced laser weapons that we would eventually have to use to fight off the robot slaves that would obviously rebel and attempt to destroy all humanity. Instead, we have a vague plan to get back to the moon by 2020 and maybe send some people to Mars eventually. Fuck. That.

Anyways, things are quite literally looking up, and I am starting to get excited about what the future holds once more. That's right. Motherfucking space elevators, bitches. God bless the Japanese.

its gonna be a showdown.

I was first introduced to ELO's brilliant song Showdown via the hilarious 1996 Farrelly Brothers bowling comedy, Kingpin (which is the second greatest bowling comedy ever made next to the Big Lebowski.) Its funny, I've loved this song for a long time, but I've never really sought out any more music from the Electric Light Orchestra. I guess in my head nothing else they could ever do would ever be as good as Showdown. Its also surpirising that I had never checked out what Youtube had to offer in ELO content, but now that I have, I get the impression that there is a whole world of crazy 70's disco art rock just waiting to be discovered. Not only did they release a staggering number of hit songs, but I didn't realize it before today, but a big part of ELO's stage show and general aesthetic was their reliance on "spaceship imagery," which, of course, is right up my alley. Also, I had never seen a photo of the group, and its amusing to me how much rock star fashion has changed since the 70's. Its definitely much more difficult in today's musical climate to rock the "crazy homeless man that may or may not have a knife" look that ELO frontman Jeff Lynne sported in the bands heyday.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Synecdoche, New York

This is one of my most anticipated upcoming releases. Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,) is one of my favourite writers, and Synecdoche, New York is his feature directorial debut. It stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and it looks to be another postmodern, wonderfully acted mindfuck from Kaufman. From what little I know of it, it reminds me the most of Adaptation, which I think was one of the best films of the last decade or more.

here is a link to the trailer which I can't embed in the page because of the annoying Variety flash player. Also, here is a lengthy audio interview with Kaufman, and here is a video of Kaufman on the Charlie Rose show.

this is all via Ain't it Cool.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

sherry fraser.

Marcy Playground was one of the more memorable one-hit wonder bands of the 90's. In 1997, their smash hit single Sex and Candy was absolutely everywhere, and like so many other like-minded, vaguely angsty teenagers, I bought their album. Although they never put out another single that was anywhere near as big, I always loved this song, Sherry Fraser. No particular reason, I just think its a beautiful song, and it makes me kind of sad that it never became popular. Although I highly doubt Marcy Playground frontman John Wozniak is that upset about it, as he probably goes to sleep on a bed of money and has beautiful women fanning him and washing him at all times like Eddie Murphy in Coming to America.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

buy u a drank.

My recent fascination with the Talk Box led me to this following video of a cover of T-Pain's massive single from last year, Buy U A Drank. Now even though T-Pain doesn't actually use the Talk Box to achieve the effect on his voice that he is known for (he uses Auto-Tune,) this is still really well done. This kid is pretty talented, I imagine it can't be easy to sing all these lyrics with a tube sticking out of your mouth while playing all the vocal melodies on a keyboard. And this song in general is just amazing.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I would go gay for RDJ

Now let me preface this by saying that I am generally as straight a guy as they come. Having said that, I have become a pretty big fan of Robert Downey Jr in the last few years. His work in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, A Scanner Darkly, Iron Man, Good Night and Good Luck, and Zodiac have, in my mind at least, cemented him as one of the most talented actors working today. He has a unique ability to make the most inane, pointless dialogue seem witty and entertaining, and though I haven't seen Tropic Thunder yet, his performance in that looks to be the stuff of comic legend. It's a testament to his skills that he was able to play such a controversial part that in the hands of a lesser actor would have most likely been vulgar and offensive, and have it be greeted with almost no outrage or disdain upon the movie's release (except for those that were offended by the gratuitous use of the word retard.) He has also been cast as the title role in Guy Ritchie's upcoming Sherlock Holmes and I am dying to see what he comes up with for that.

Anyways, my love of moustaches has been well documented, and recently, while doing promotions for Tropic Thunder, when RDJ showed up looking like this, my mind was pretty much blown:

Now, let me reiterate that I am most definitely not gay. But, if I was forced at gunpoint to have a sweaty, passionate, sexual tryst with another man, I mean...I could do a lot worse right??

when driving a car off a cliff goes wrong starring Dennis Rodman.

This is another of my all-time favourite videos that I've come across on the internet. I mean, there's nothing that funny about someone tied to a bungee chord smashing into a cliff at a high velocity, but the fact that it's Dennis Rodman, along with his and the announcers reaction makes it just about the funniest thing ever. Rodman was one of the all-time great NBA roleplayers and probably made an insane amount of money - he really should have saved some of it so he wouldn't be forced to appear on these degrading Fox stunt shows where he puts himself in mortal danger for our amusement.

how can you slap?

I'm a little late to the party on this one, as this video has been floating around out there for the last week or so...but I am completely obsessed with it so here it is. I won't say too much about it as you really need to witness it for yourself, but the basic rundown is that it took place on an Indian reality show where grown men must endure the taunting of this sort of dominatrix-like female host. Anyways it rapidly spirals out of control, and before long, one unfortunate soul dares to ask the question that has been plaguing mankind since the dawn of time: How can you slap??

get the full story here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the Large Hadron Collider is scary.

This is the Large Hadron Collider. For those of you who are unfamliar, the LHC is the world's largest particle accellerator, a 27 km tube that has been constructed underground near Switzerland for the purpose of accelerating protons to nearly the speed of light and then smashing them together. Most physicists are hoping that the reactions that result from these collisions are going to lead to important discoveries about the nature of the universe. Oh yeah, and there is also a small group of scientists who believe that the LHC is going to create an artificial black hole that will destroy the Earth.

Today, for the very first time after many years and several billion dollars, they turned it on.

So while the fact that I am here writing this at the moment is a good indication that the world, as of yet, has not been destroyed, I will provide a handy website here that lets us know if any black hole, world-ending funny business is going on. While the general scientific consensus indicates that we are probably going to be fine, I am not going to be making any long-term plans just to be sure. In fact, I believe I'll use the Large Hadron Collider's potential apocalyptic capabilities as a further excuse not to clean my room. So unless we are all swallowed by a black hole later today, everyone wins.

show me the way.

First of all, I hope you enjoy the brand new header at the top of the page. I spent all day making it instead of doing something productive like cleaning my room or painting my apartment. Or playing Aerobie.

In Wayne's World 2, Wayne reminds us that "everybody has Frampton Comes Alive, if you live in the suburbs it was issued to you," or something along those lines. Well I grew up in the suburbs and I was and still am a big classic rock nerd, but up until very recently, I had still never heard any of Frampton Comes Alive. In fact, I was first introduced to this song via the brilliant cover version of it on Dinosaur Jr's Your Living All Over Me, which is another incredible record that I didn't start listening to until very recently. Besides, Frampton's signature sound, the Talk Box, is generally regarded as a pretty cheesy gimmick amongst most guitar players. Although there is also a chance that that's not true at all and that was just a vague, unresearched blanket statement. My point is that I finally checked out the Frampton version, and it is pretty cool. And while I still find the talk box cheesy, somehow at the same time its...pretty fucking awesome.

Monday, September 8, 2008

the world's best flying ring.

Those of you that came of age in the 1990's might remember the Aerobie, the astonishing flying ring. I never understood why it never dominated the outdoor flying disc market - in my humble opinion it is somewhere between 100 and 9 million times more fun to throw around than a frisbee. Since I've been back in Canada I've become obsessed with playing with my Aerobie again as part of my natural routine of going outside and excercising and enjoying the beautiful summer weather only in the days before the temperature begins to drop, ominously signalling the icy hellscape that Montreal becomes in the winter. Throwing it and watching it glide through the air just gives me this odd sense of boyish wonder, which I thought was just another of my many charming personality quirks, but then I watched the following Aerobie video on YouTube where the creator of the Aerobie pretty much describes that exact same feeling, before a professional frisbee thrower throws one out of a football stadium. So basically I have come to the conclusion that Aerobies could potentially bring about world peace, cure AIDS, eliminate poverty, and launch the human race, like a spinning fluorescent-pink disc, into a Gene Roddenberry-esque social utopia.

leave me alone, I'm a family man.

Everyone knows that Hall & Oates is one of the greatest bands of all time, and recently I was turned onto this ongoing internet series, Live From Daryl's House, where the legendary Daryl Hall invites different musical acts over to his house to jam on songs from the massive Hall & Oates hits catalogue, as well as other songs. He's had Finger 11, Gym Class Heroes, and K.T. Tunstall, but the best thing I've seen by far is when he invites Montreal electro-pop outfit Chromeo into his living room to play a version of Family Man.

I want to hang out at Daryl's house.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

officially worried.

I can't imagine that its a pure coincidence that only a few days after I officially endorsed Michelle Obama over Cindy McCain in the politically volatile "who is the hotter potential first lady" race, effectively dooming McCain in the upcoming election, he then picked this lady as his running mate:

John McCain, you are a sly old dog.

Seriously though, to me this seems like a pretty shamelessly transparent political move on McCain's part to both regain his image as a maverick, political revolutionary, distract voters from the issues that actually matter to the country, and win some of the votes of disenfranchised Hillary Clinton supporters...which makes total sense because after all, Sarah Palin is, like Hillary, a woman. Anyways, I want to think that most reasonable people would see through this political bullshit, but then after her speech at the RNC, where she won over America by reading a speech that was written and prepared for her by a Bush speechwriter, I am officially nervous about the upcoming US election. I need some words of encouragement from Barack:

Yeah...that'll do nicely.