Well, no one can fault the Vancouver Canucks for not performing when the proverbial gun is cocked, loaded and set against their temples. I’m writing this in anticipation of my beloved team winning Saturday night’s game against the Calgary Flames, thus shattering the illusion that Miika Kiprusoff is some sort of Ubermensch goaltender sent from the Planet of the Netminders. Hey, the Canucks were down and out 10 years ago against the Calgary Flames in the series going 3-1, so I wouldn’t write them off just yet. The series ain’t over til it’s over, and I’m saying that it won’t be over til there’s a Game 7.
If you’re not a hockey fan and thus, couldn’t care about which team heads where, do me a favor and cross your fingers for me and hope the Canucks beat the Flames tonight. If you are a hockey fan, you should be cheering the Canucks on anyways and shame on you for not being a Canucks supporter in the first place!
Here we go again, me using my special status as a 411 Music Zone writer to support my hockey team in their time of trouble and strife. I’m sorry, I’m Canadian and this sort of crap is hardwired into my blood. Besides, what else am I supposed to write in here as a lead for this? It’s playoff time and a hot blooded, young Canadian male like myself lives and breathes for the playoffs. 3 televised hockey games a night on the telly, all on basic cable. It’s awesome, I tells ya!
The rest of this week went by pretty quickly, actually. Working a full time schedule leaves me with less time for cruising around on websites to pick up tidbits of information and those little nuggets that I know all of y’all crave oh so much for me. Speaking of those morsels I dole out that are high on information and low on carbs, I bring you…
– RIP: Ray Condo. Canadian Rockabilly-er, dead at 53. I’d do a Sound Advice on him in tribute, but I unfortunately am not that intimately accquainted with his discography.
– In news that isn’t so much ‘news’ as it was a matter of time, the industry folks are looking at trying to jack up the prices of tracks available through pay-per-download services such as iTunes. Some are suggesting to higher the prices as much as $1.50, which more or less works out to being the same price as a regular CD single, but with no packaging, extra b-sides/remixes or anything of the sort. Complete idiocy and greed from the record industry, and really, I’m not surprised that they’re trying something like this.
“Yippee!” they undoubtedly chanted when news of iTunes’ success came hurtling onto their elephant tusk ivory carved desks. “We can actually charge these suckers money to do something that they are already able to do so for free! We didn’t go broke doing this, so let’s try and milk these idiots for all they’re worth! Daddy needs a new diamond collection!”
Of course, on the flip side, you could argue that the labels are jacking up prices due to a decline from downloaders, despite a MASSIVE media blitzing of iTunes, Napster, et al, and are trying to rake in what they deem to be an acceptable level of profit to cover their ‘operating costs’. Neverminding the fact that as it stands right now with the current .99 cent cost to download per tune, it’s working out to cost more to get a whole album online than it is to go and buy one in the store. Hmm, did I mention that Soulseek was a pretty darn good file sharing program and it might just be what you’re looking for if you’re jonesing for some music to download? I didn’t? Well, now you all know.
– Michael Stipe and Mandy Moore are teaming up to do a cover of the Beach Boys tune, ‘God Only Knows [Why]’. I think my little addition at the end of that handles my own problems with this particular pairing and I’m thankful that at least it’s Mandy Moore, who is probably the most inoffensive pop singer that emerged from the same time period as Britney and Co. and not say a braindead wastrel such as Jessica ‘Oh my God! The sky has oxygen!’ Simpson.
– Blah blah blah, Courtney Love, blah blah blah, sued. Blah blah blah, criminal charges. Blah blah blah, doing drugs. Blah, blah, blah money, blah, blah blah lawsuit. Blah, blah, blah untalented, gold digging tramp.
And that was your weekly Courtney Love update!
– So ‘metal’ group Slipknot, the band that loves it’s home state of Iowa oh-so-much and is home to one of the crappiest nu-metal ballads in ‘Bother’, which was a band that featured the leadman of Slipknot, Corey Taylor, on vocals, is unveiling a new mask for the group’s tenth member. The tenth member? Their fans.
In another one of those hypocritical ‘creativity/innovation’ moments that’s disguised very cleverly as a marketing ploy, the band will be selling the mask while the group is on tour this summer. The mask will also be the focus of the cover art for the band’s upcoming third disc. To this, I have to ask, why does anyone LIKE Slipknot anymore? They’re mundane as far as metal groups go. If you want something loud, angry and TRULY repulsive, you go into far heavier shit like Necrophagia, Cannibal Corpse or whatever. If you want something easier on the ears, you tune into garbage like Staind or Linkin Park. Really, why try to half ass things either way? Remember kids, straddling the fence between offensiveness/inoffensiveness doesn’t make you a rebel, it makes you an idiot.
Which brings me to this whole idea of the mask. Does no one else find the irony inherent with this whole mask concept? Let’s create an entire arena full of people who look, act, dress and behave in EXACTLY THE SAME MANNER…RIGHT DOWN TO THEIR FACES! It’s pathetic that a Three Days Grace video is the ‘art’ that is imitating life.
The sad thing is that these stupid masks will sell like gangbusters while Slipknot’s greedy little fanbase will lap the stupid thing up like the ignorant, purile little shitheads that they are. Get a clue or go home.
– William Hung cracked the Billboard Hot 100 by debuting at #34. There is no God, I am now certain, for even the most cruelest of Gods wouldn’t even think of being such an asshole and letting a boil like Mr. Hung FESTER on the asshole of humanity.
We’re going to get controversial here, but it’s guys like William Hung that make people want to fly airplanes into buildings. It’s this celebration of idiocy, laziness, and FAILURE that grates on the nerves of the rest of the free-thinking world. Buying a William f*cking Hung CD means that Osama wins. REMEMBER THAT.
Also, this William Hung fiasco, despite being an embarassment to art, the music industry, and smart people the world over, doesn’t have me worried. I seem to remember a Turkish dude by the name of Mahir a couple of years ago who scored the same sort of notoriety as Hung is now, and look at where he’s at now.
I’m just f*cking fed up with having to deal with being Hung Over. I mean, it’s all good to be Well Hung and all, but…okay, okay, I’ll cut it with the lame-ass jokes.
– Canadian singer/songwriter Matthew Good is looking to be going back to a more ‘harder’ sound on his forthcoming record, White Light Rock & Roll Review CD, which has a set release date of June 15th. Sources say that the record will be more of a ‘return to form’ for Mr. Good, whose debut release, Avalanche, didn’t measure up sales-wise to the previous efforts of Audio Of Being and Beautiful Midnight. This is interesting information to be chewing on, as, despite what my sources have maintained, the material that’s been released on Matt Good’s website have been more in the ‘folky’ vein that Avalanche was in. Very quiet, slow and moody acoustic numbers. If Matt is going to be going back to his former MGB-era sound, it should be interesting to see what the record sounds like without former bandmate, and songwriter, Dave Genn to help him out. Personally, I didn’t mind Avalanche, but I found that the record got a little too meandering at some points, which isn’t too bad because, hey, you’re a successful musician who has been able to shake free of your band and convince your label to let you make the record you’ve ‘always wanted to make’, so I guess a little navel gazing is in order. Anywho, should prove to be interesting what White Light Rock & Roll Review CD sounds like come June 15th.
– It’s going to be a busy year for those At The Drive In guys. With a Sparta disc coming out in June, and talk of both a Mars Volta disc, as well as a solo disc from one of the Volta boys supposedly coming out in the fall, economically challenged diehard fans of the two groups that came from the demise of ADI might be looking to bust out even more cash to support the artists they love. See, At The Drive In’s label, Fearless Records, is looking to put out a rarities disc sometime soon of the group, which will be an enhanced disc and feature b-sides, rarities, videos, etc, etc. In addition to this, the two of the group’s discs, Relationship Of Command and Acrobatic Tenement, will be getting the rereleasement treatment.
– More good news! Blur, one of my favorite bands ‘EVAR’, are going back into the studio to record an EP, with producer Ben Hillier. The material that the band is going to be working on are going to be the very rough tracks that came from lead singer Damon Albarn’s Democrazy album that was recorded while the band was on tour in the States last year. I’ve had a copy of this ten inch on order for AGES at work so I’ve no idea what this might possibly sound like or what we could be expecting to hear on this EP.
Rumours are also continuing to circulate that Albarn is very eager to try and get ex-guitarist Graham Coxon back into the fold and work on new material with him. When asked about the possibility of getting back together with Blur, Coxon more or less laughed and pointed at his forthcoming CD, Happiness In Magazines which is set to drop in May.
Albarn himself is also starting to work on a new Gorillaz album which, depending on your interpretation of the first Gorillaz disc, is either cause for celebration or cause for gouging out the eyeballs of innocent passersby. In addition to this, Albarn is looking to do collaborations with DJ Danger Mouse and UK group The Bees and, depending on if he has any time left in the day, will also be going out to Nigeria to work with the remaining members of Fela Kuti’s Africa 70 and then might work in some stage work if he hasn’t totally worn himself into the ground with his work schedule.
I really, really liked Albarn and ended up naming Think Tank the album of 2003, which, you know, ranks right up there with winning the Nobel Peace Prize or getting the Head Music Zone Writer nod from the chaps here at 411. Blur are an incredibly varied group and I suggest picking up their Best Of to see if there might be anything you’d enjoy from them beyond the insanely overplayed ‘Song 2’.
– Wilco have had to cancel a number of dates for their upcoming tour in order to allow frontman Jeff Tweedy more time to spend time in rehab to treat an addiction to painkillers. The following dates have been cancelled, so if you’re a Wilcoite, you might want to head to your local Ticketmaster and get a refund:
04-21 Columbia, MO – Blue Note
04-23 New Orleans, LA – Orpheum
04-24 Austin, TX – Stubb’s BBQ
04-25 Austin, TX – Stubb’s BBQ
04-27 Santa Fe, NM – Lensic Theatre
04-28 Flagstaff, AZ – Orpheum
04-29 Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre
05-01 Indio, CA – Coachella Festival
As well, 24 dates have been added to Wilco’s touring schedule:
05-28 Barcelona, Spain – Primavera Sound Festival
06-06 Pittsburgh, PA – Three Rivers Arts Festival
06-07 Poughkeepsie, NY – The Chance
06-09 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
06-11 Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo Festival
06-20 Oslo, Norway – Norwegian Wood Festival
06-22 Birmingham, UK – Academy
06-23 Portsmouth, UK – Wedgewood Rooms
06-25 Somerset, UK – Glastonbury Festival
06-26 Hamburg, Germany – Hurricane Festival
06-27 Stuttgart, Germany – Southside Festival
06-29 Brescia, Italy – San Barnadinon Institute
06-30 Zurich, Switzerland – Volkshaus
07-01 Paris, France – La Maroquinerie
07-03 Bonn, Germany – Rheinkultur Festival
07-04 Werchter, Belgium – Rock Werchter Festival
07-06 Copenhagen, Denmark – Klub Vega
07-07 Gothenburg, Sweden – Tradgar Accelerator Festival
07-08 Stockholm, Sweden – Munchen Brewery Accelerator Festival
07-10 Weert, Holland – Bospop Festival
07-11 Dublin, Ireland – Oxegen Festival
07-13 Glasgow, Scotland – Queen Margaret Union
07-14 Manchester, UK – Academy
07-15 London, UK – Astoria
Finally, if you head over to Wilco’s site, you can listen to their upcoming album, A Ghost Is Born in it’s entirety on an audio stream. And you all say Papa Trevor doesn’t hook you up with anything! For shame, sez I!
– No books this week. Get outside and enjoy the weather, instead. Seriously, it’s SPRING, which means it’s the beginning of….patio season! That’s right. Get down to your favorite local watering hole, grab a brew and soak in the rays and scantily clad females who’ll be floating by. If watching girls isn’t your thing, go and pick up Girlfriend In A Coma by Douglas Coupland. Local Vancouver based writer who I happen to particularly enjoy and who will be getting a BRIEF tie-in to this week’s Sound Advice.
Anti-Pop: Your Eyes Are Little Windows, I Get Closer Til I See…
– Jeff is here this week and I can completely understand him this week, as well! No broken Spanish in there, but there are TERRORISTS! Does that mean Jeff is a William Hung fan? I’m confused, so go and see if you can clear things up for me.
– Mr. Aaron is back this week from his one week hiatus. To showcase the American in him, The Multi-Platinum 411 Music Zone Award Winning Writer talks baseball and delves into the illicit world of SCALPING. Also, he squares off against an old favorite of his who, in my opinion, deserves to be scalped, but that’s neither here nor there.
– Mathan makes an appearance this week, showing why being deaf can have both positive and negative aspects.
– Mr. YOU is back with a vengeance , having the last laugh on those of you who bought into his April Fiz-ooles prank. He’s also got some more of his Wayback Machines running, so check those out, as well.
Alright, so I mentioned Douglas Coupland, a Vancouver based writer in the book hump part of Da News. For those of you who read Q Magazine, he was featured about 2 months back in a feature talking about Columbine. Once again, he’s a really great author and someone I think you guys should get into. He’s also from VANCOUVER , which is home to the mighty Canucks, who I am going to be giving mad props to in this column in the hope that some sort of superstitious magical powers will emanate from this column and give them the winning edge needed to win Game 6 tonight and NOT be eliminated. With that said, I am going to introduce you all to a rather ‘big’ Canadian artist who also happens to hail from Vancouver and who also is a fan of Douglas Coupland. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to Coquitlam’s finest: Matthew Good.
Matthew Good, ever volatile, always a much talked about topic of conversation within the confines of music journalists that he despises, is quite the character. Starting his career off as a folk singer while still in art school, the multi-Juno award winning singer did that for a number of years before suffering what’s been more or less described as a nervous breakdown at a cafe in Edmonton. Regrouping, Matt disbanded the first incarnation of the group that bore his name, and made his way back home to recoup and figure out his next move.
That move entailed him forming up a new rock group with drummer Ian Browne, bassist Geoff Lyold, and guitarist Dave Genn. Together, they formed the second incarnation of the Matthew Good Band and went on to release Last Of The Ghetto Astronauts, which went on to become one of the best selling independent albums in Western Canada. Add some critical acclaim and a video starring one of my future ex-wives (Holly McNarland), and the MGB was on to something fierce.
Following up the success of LOTGA, the group released a small EP entitled Raygun which has one of my favorite songs of all time on it, that being ‘Generation X-Wing’. Any tune that can combine teenage angst and my favorite Star Wars Rebel snubfighter in a tongue-in-cheek way earns about a MILLION points from me. Following that, the band began to be courted by a couple of major labels, one of them going so far as to sign them to a deal, giving them a rather hefty advance.
Unfortunately, restructuring problems occurred and the label the group was signed to turned into an Adult Contemporary label and ended up dropping the band. However, the group still had the advance money from being signed and decided to invest it into what is called, ‘the most expensive indie-rock album of all time’. Thus was Underdogs, one of THE best albums to have come out of the 90s, was borne and unleashed unto an unsuspecting Canadian public.
Tunes like ‘Apparitions’ and ‘Everything Is Automatic’ became staples in Canadian radio during 1997. The Matthew Good Band garnered more attention from the major labels, eventually signing to Universal, and began making a huge name for themselves, touring on Edgefest (Canada’s version of Lollapalooza) and getting headlining status on the Pepsi Taste Tour, and a spot on Muchmusic’s Snowjam program.
Somewhere around this time bassist Geoff decided to leave the band and Richard ‘Rock’ Priske was brought in to handle the 4-string duties for what can be considered in my opinion to be the group’s defining moment, in Beautiful Midnight. This album, while being far more darker than previous MGB efforts, was absolutely mind blowing and set a LOT of people on their heads seeing and hearing the band perform these tunes. ‘Hello Time Bomb’ will most likely forever be the tune that will be associated with the group, much to the dismay of the perfectionist Good.
After the release of BM, we saw Loser Anthems, a limited edition EP that started to showcase Matt’s desire to escape the ‘chugga, chugga’ rock band that the group was getting pigeon holed into. ‘The Fine Art Of Falling Apart’ and ‘Life Beyond The Minimum Safe Distance’ were tracks that Matt was distinctly proud of, and were quite different than the normal offerings the band produced. In fact, the majority of the EP was quite different from what you’d normally expect from the group and was a sign of things to come. This period also saw the release of At Last There Is Nothing Left To Say, which was a collection of Matt’s online manifestos that he used to write on a semi-regular basis, but were now collected in book form.
The MGB’s final release, Audio Of Being was puncuated with the demise of the Matthew Good Band. Citing creative differences, like every other band before them, the group disbanded as Matt was not wanting to be 40 years old and have been doing ‘Hello Time Bomb’ for the past 15-20 years. Audio Of Being, as an album, was pretty flat, although there were some interesting moments from the band’s last offering. All in all, it didn’t really catch on and probably ranks as my least favorite MGB release.
Following the break up of the MGB, Matt went right back into the studio and recorded his first solo effort, Avalanche. The disc was an interesting affair, showcasing the softer sided aspect of Matt, although not entirely escaping the beer garden rock mentality of previous MGB efforts. All in all, not a bad release at all from him, and while BM and Underdogs have stood the test of time and are near and dear to my heart, Avalanche wasn’t as good, in my opinion. Perhaps I’m looking back in nostalgia, who knows?
All in all, Matt Good the performer has a very strong voice and stage prescence. Back in the MGB days, he was very good at spicing things up and making his shows interesting, if nothing else. Performing in hockey masks, storm trooper helmets (from STAR WARS), or a monkey mask (made famous from Beautiful Midnight), Matt always seemed to have a number of tricks up his sleeve. On one show that I went to, the show’s date happened to fall on his birthday. Using that to his advantage, he was able to bilk the promoters/his label for some extra frills for his performance, in a mad parody of how to make artists ‘interactive’ to one another. A taxidermied bull was brought on stage for people to ‘ride’ (because a mechanical bull was deemed too unsafe for a rock concert), video games and refreshments were served by two very buxom young women (anything for his fans), and so on and so forth. A similar stunt was pulled at a particularly hot Edgefest back in 2000, when he had Swedish masseuses bring fans up on stage to get a massage and ice cream bars while listening to the group’s set.
Musically, he’s very tight and he loves to experiment whilst onstage performing live. ‘Hello Time Bomb’, a track that’s rather fast paced, gets slowed down to a jarring crawl midways through, almost becoming a ballad of some kind. Vocal tracks get mixed up a bit and he’s always worth the price of admission. MG(B) has/have also delved down into the States on a couple of occasions, so the chances of checking him out, while minimal, do exist.
Matt’s website, again as mentioned above, is www.matthewgood.org, and his material should be available for purchase somewhere on there, although lately his site has been going through so many renovations that it’s hard to keep up.
As for your downloading pleasure? There’s a number of tracks I could recommend for you, but I’ll try to keep the list short, if possible:
– Generation X-Wing
– Hello Time Bomb
– Symbolistic White Walls
– Prime Time Deliverance
– Inescapable Us
– I Miss New Wave
– Born To Kill
– Near Fantastica
– My Life As A Circus Clown
– Look Happy, It’s The End Of The World
And that should close out the virtual rimjob I did for one Mr. Matthew Good. In case you haven’t figured it out, he happens to be QUITE the favorite of mine. Totally worth checking out, and his stuff shouldn’t be that hard to find on your p2p program of choice.
If you want to see someone here get the Sound Advice treatment, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or get me on AIM at: flinch311. I’ll be willing to take a non-Canadian group if you’re able to make a decent case for them! We’re certainly not discriminatory in these here parts!
Other Artists Featured In Sound Advice: Joel Kroeker, The Dears.
The End Is The Beginning Is The End
Hmm, well, this has been a rather soft week, so without making myself redundant with the hockey talk, I’ll spice things up with the recommendation to check out MUSE. A couple of guys in the 411 Forums have been creaming their pants over these guys for quite awhile and after FINALLY getting Absolution in at my store earlier this week, I can see why. The comparisons to Radiohead, for once, are valid, as the lead singer sounds an AWFUL lot like Thom Yorke in terms of singing style, although beyond that, there’s not much to go on. If you’re not a fan of British ROCK in general, then avoid this disc at all costs, but man, you’re going to be missing out if you don’t.
Also, I don’t think this needs to be said, but go and check out Kill Bill Volume 2 if you haven’t already. Tarantino’s created a f*cking masterpiece and I cannot WAIT until the Super-Ultimo-Deluxo-Happy Meal Edition of Vol’s 1 & 2 make their way out onto the DVD market.
Errm, excuse me while I go get a napkin to wipe up the fanboy drool that’s making it’s way down my shirt. Until next week….
GO CANUCKS GO!!!! CANUCKS IN SEVEN, I BELIEVE!!!