Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Random MySpace discoveries are my favourite. This one in particular, mostly because they are Canadian and that tickles my fancy.

Here's a brief bio, but I'm going to rush through this because I want you to hurry up and click on their MySpace to have a listen. They are called Faunts (a name that spellcheck desperately wants to spell Fonts), they hail from Edmonton, AB and have been around since the turn of the century (that makes them sound epic, no?). Their sound is ethereal, buttery post-rock with breathy vocals - don't miss the remixes. The new album 'Feel.Love.Thinking.Of.' drops on February 17, and I'm crossing my fingers that a Toronto show is in the cards at some point.

Now have a listen. Please and thank you.

New Music Tuesday: Shuttle feat. Cadence Weapon

This track arrived in the BTA email today and I was pretty stoked on it upon first listen. It comes from Shuttle, one of the the latest additions to the Ninja tune label, and features the vocals of Canada's own Cadence Weapon. Shuttle has released a number of remixes in the past of artists including Crystal Castles, Caribou, and Justice. As well as other tracks under his other alias, Etan. The title track to his upcoming EP entitled "Tunnel", opens itself up to RJD2 comparisons. But it's the "Rotten Guts" original track with it's stuterring bass and vocal sample accompanied by Cadence's flow that caught my attention.

His first EP "Tunnel" is out on Ninja Tune on 16/03/09

Shuttle - Rotten Guts (Feat. Cadence Weapon)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Franz Ferdinand Live @ The Internet

I think 'The Internet' would be a sweet club name... Just a quick note for fans of Franz Ferdinand all throughout the interweb, The Glasgow quartet will be performing in Hollywood on January 30th at 7:00 pm PST. Since science has really been letting me down lately, what with the lack of teleportation devices or affordable flying cars, the friendly people at Amoeba music will be streaming the performance live via web cast for Franz fans to enjoy near and far. You can go here for more info.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

bn... favourites of 2008

After much consideration (and procrastination), i've compiled my favourite songs of this past year. what follows is my 'best of two thousand and eight' compilation, in no particular order. Special mention to Chad VanGaalen (whose art illustrates this post), the man behind my pick for best album of the year - Soft Airplane.

1. Happens To Us All Otherwise -Bound Stems
2. Bare Feet On Wet Griptape - Chad VanGaalen
3. Casscade Kisses - François Virot
4. Give a Little Love - Noah and the Whale
5. Last Day of Magic - The Kills
6. Ships and Clouds - Jim Noir
7. Language City - Wolf Parade
8. Buildings and Mountains - The Republic Tigers
9. Buriedfed - Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
10. Some Are Lakes - Land of Talk
11. Furr - Blitzen Trapper
12. Le Compteur - Karkwa
13. Life Like - Rosebuds
14. Dream Cars - Neon Neon
15. Blind - Hercules & Love Affair
16. Rat is Dead (Rage) - CSS
17. Torn Blue Foam Couch - Grand Archives
18. re: stacks - Bon Iver
19. Metal Heart - Cat Power

Here it is, for your downloading pleasure!
Part 1
Part 2

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Remix Sunday: Christian Vorbau versus Franz Ferdinand

Cripes. Franz Ferdinand's much anticipated third album isn't even out yet (first single 'Ulysses' will be officially released tomorrow) but the obligatory remixes have already begun. Fortunately, this one is a solid effort. King Kong DJ Christian Vorbau stays fairly true to the original and adds some nice tweaks; the modified version features as the first track on Vorbau's December King Kong Mix, available in full here.

Franz Ferdinand - No You Girls (Christian Vorbau Remix)
Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Five

Trying to maintain some order, here are five dope tracks that are on high rotation at the moment.

North America South America (aka N.A.S.A.) are just two guys: a DJ and a skateboarder but they have tonnes of great hook-ups. Like how the one guy is Spike Jonze's brother. And how they have some of the most insane guest features on their forthcoming debut, The Spirit of Apollo.

N.A.S.A. feat. Kanye West, Lykke Li and Santogold - Gifted

It's way to early to call any new album 'Record of the Year', but I'll be damned if this isn't one of Animal Collective's best songs to date.

Animal Collective - My Girls

Baltimore's mad scientist of batshit electronic music, Dan Deacon, has his second full-length set to drop in March. "Get Older" the closer to his forthcoming Bromst, takes it's time to build up to his recognizable layered beats. You might even call it an epic soundscape.

Dan Deacon - Get Older

I don't have cable television, so I miss out on what's being killed over and over again through commericals and Top 40 nonsense. Then I went home at Christmas to find everyone and their mother keeping this one on steady rotation.

Passion Pit - Sleepy Head

Handsome Furs, the husband-wife duo of Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry, return with their sophomore disc, Face Control, in March. This first track reminds me of Apologies...-era Wolf Parade but without so much going on.

Handsome Furs - I'm Confused

Stay fly.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

a.m.p.m.'s favourite albums of 2008

Aside from the obvious quartet of MGMT, Bon Iver, Vampire Weekend and TV on the Radio, here are 10 albums (in no particular order) that knocked my socks off in 2008:

1. Born Ruffians - Red Yellow and Blue
Born Ruffians - Badonkadonkey

2. Why? - Alopecia
Why? - These Few Presidents

3. Titus Andronicus - The Airing of Grievances
Titus Andronicus - Arms Against Atrophy

4. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes - Tiger Mountain Peasant Song

5. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles - Air War

6. Grand Archives - The Grand Archives
Grand Archives - The Crime Window

7. Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight
Frightened Rabbit - Old Old Fashioned

8. Lindstrom - Where You Go I Go Too
Lindstrom - Grand Ideas

9. Chad VanGaalen - Soft Airplane
Chad VanGaalen - Cries of the Dead

10. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
The Hold Steady - Constructive Summer

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Wrens (Finally) Release New Song

Yes, you read that correctly. The Wrens kicked the new year off by releasing a new track titled 'Pulled Fences', recorded in early 2008 at Abbey Road studios . This is the group's first release of new material in the 5 years since their 2003 masterpiece The Meadowlands and according to a statement posted yesterday on the band's fancy new website marks "the first time in 10 years that the four of us were in one room working on new music together". Read all about it and grab 'Pulled Fences' here.

And as if that wasn't enough, a new album is scheduled for release this spring.

The Wrens - Everyone Choose Sides

Monday, January 12, 2009

Overlooked in '08: Baltic Fleet

Baltic Fleet's self titled debut was released way back in March but it wasn't until late November that I unwittingly stumbled across it while listening to random albums at the Rough Trade store on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I was instantly hooked on the album's first proper track, 'Black Lounge', which begs comparison to vintage Joy Division (even with its total lack of vocals). Staggeringly good follow-up piece '3 Dollar Dress' continues this trend, but things soon move in a decidedly post rock direction (think Godspeed You! Black Emperor teaming up with Sigur Rós). A few tracks are more in the vein of gentle Eno-esque electronic compositions while others are almost industrial, such as 'Double Door' with its thick layers of chugging guitars over what sounds like dialogue sampled from a B movie. You'd assume the album would be all over the place, but it actually works as a cohesive whole.

Baltic Fleet - 3 Dollar Dress

Baltic Fleet - Black Lounge

'3 Dollar Dress' live at Paradiso Amsterdam:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Remix Sunday: The Next Generation...

So, you're the star of an 80's remake-edu-drama series centred around high school years and your character is closing in on graduation, what do you do?  Apparently, you start a music career.  That is what Degrassi: The Next Generation star, Aubrey Graham has done.  So far, he's caught the attention of Lil' Wayne's label Young Money Records.  Word is that he has signed and currently in the middle of recording.  Maybe it will be out in time for graduation.  In all seriousness, good for him and his remix of Lykke Li's "A little bit" is solid.
Lykke Li is definitely one of the most unique and interesting artists out there and here's a video of her "lo-fi" version of "I'm Good, I'm Gone".  I'm hoping to catch Lykke in Montreal on February 4th at Club Soda.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

casiotone for the painfully alone.

What led me to this video was an odd series of occurrences, and since I've now become slightly obsessed with it, it is essential that I share it.

To make a long story short, I received a phone call (complete with interpreter) from Brazil, which led me to hunt down a missing parcel from a man submitting a show idea to my work. Not having the proper resources to help him, I then had to write him an email to point him in another direction. So I googled the CFTPA (Canadian Film & Television Production Association) to provide him with their contact information...

Lucky for me, this website is kind of hard to find and another title got my attention: casiotone for the painfully alone's journal. I was then drawn to this:

Was this post a longwinded story about nothing? Maybe. Does this video include zebra-unicorns and dancing cats? Absolutely. This is the CFTPA MySpace. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Overlooked in '08: Quiet Village

Besides the problems of overlap and obligatory cool picks on year end lists, sifting through many great (and newly discovered) music blogs and online publications has led to a wealth of missed material from '08. One act I regrettably missed was Quiet Village, a self-proclaimed pair of sample enthusiasts forging "Italian film soundtracks, BBC library music, disco edits, acid rock, vintage soul and easy listening." I read the description before hearing anything, thought it a bit much, and was then pleasantly surprised. Each track on the debut Silent Movie sounds like a thick collage of orchestral arrangements, lazy rhythms and diegetic film sounds (bird squawking, for example) patched together pretty seamlessly. Mining lists for overlooked artists from the past year isn't always worth the trouble, but in the case of Quiet Village, I'm glad their name popped up in many of the places I happened to look.

Quiet Village - Circus of Horror
Quiet Village - Keep On Rolling

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Music Monday: The Racoons

For many of us, The Raccoons have always been that classic Canadian cartoon about, well a bunch of raccoons. But I believe they too used to thoroughly enjoy rocking out. Not to be confused with Victoria's The Racoons, a band that has been creating a steady following on the West coast with sold out live shows and some great tracks which hint at nothing but good things to come from these guys in the future. For all you readers, I strongly suggest you check out their stuff. I had a chance to talk with singer / guitarist Matthew Lyall about being a band on the West Coast, their other projects, and what is in store for 2009.

January 3rd, 2009

BTA: Maybe to start off, if you could just introduce yourself and your band.

Matthew: Allo, my name is Matthew Lyall and I play guitar and sing in The Racoons.

BTA: How was the show last night?

Matthew: Really fun show last night. We played with Aidan Knight (from Maurice) and Bloody Wilma who are an unreal Drum and Bass 2 piece. I'm sure they hate DFA 1979 comparisons but they absolutely killed it. The show sold out pretty quickly and we had a bunch of friends get turned away at the door which was a little lame, so we had to sneak a few through the back alley. Despite a record breaking five broken strings and a snapped guitar strap the show was pretty smooth. We usually prefer to play uninterupted sets with zero transition time to keep the crowd going, but it was a little more laid back last night since we we're debuting some new songs and playing for about an hour and half. You can be a little self-indulgent with a packed hometown crowd I guess.

BTA: Since you guys have been playing together as The Racoons, would you say your sound has changed alot between now and when you started out? If so, what do you think the reason for that is?

Matthew: Well we've really only been together for about seven months with this lineup so it's tough to really compare what we're doing now to earlier stuff. I mean, three of us played together before in another group that was kind of a Whiskeytown era Ryan Adams meets Brian Jonestown Massacre thing. It was just a weird concept though because although it drew on some collective influences it ended up as this strange pastiche that none of us we're really thrilled about. So as inorganic as it sounds, we literally sat down one day and defined the parameters of what kind of project this was going to be and how it was going to work. Basically I come to Murray (Guitar/Synths) with these simple new wavey numbers that are basically Springsteen anthems and he draws them back from being completely over the top with some faux-vintage micro-korg, which apparently adds instant credibility. He's the poor man's Krug to my equally poor man's Boeckner if you will, (it's hard coming from Victoria and fighting the Wolf Parade comparisons so you might as take it as a compliment).

BTA: Two of the guys in the band are also members of The Paper Cranes. Has this ever caused any kind of issues with The Racoons in terms of progress or any kind of touring conflict?

Matthew: Yeah, we're all involved in side projects which can make operating as a unit pretty difficult. Murray and myself play together in another group (Digital Buffalo) and Alex (bass) and Jeff (drums) play together in The Paper Cranes. We haven't really had any major issues so far in terms of commitments, maybe except for Alex and Jeff pulling overtime at a Racoons/Paper Cranes double bill. The Cranes are doing a European tour in a couple months so we'll take a little break as a band and maybe play a few Digital Buffalo shows. Then in the summer we're planning a cross-Canada tour with a few American dates if we can work out the visa issues.

BTA: You're most recent set of recordings actually originated from recording in a garage? What was the problem with what had been laid down in the studio?

Matthew: We spent most of July and August of last year in a studio with a management company footing the bill. We had some creative differences with the producer and things didn't really work out as planned so we all just kind of walked away from the initial recording process. So we shelved the whole "album" idea but we still wanted an E.P. so we could prove to our grandparents we aren't complete frauds. So we ended up laying down some really rough mixes with our friend Jean-Paul from the band Maurice. He's made this great recording space in his house with basically a computer and a couple grand worth of equipment and we ended up making an E.P. in a couple weeks. I still don't know if it's a great facsimile of what we sound like live since it was impossible to record off the floor, but it definitely conveys what we're about for the most part.

BTA: You guys have had several sold out shows in Victoria, BC. And theres also been some recent radio play. What do you think of the reception The Racoons have gotten? Do you think it's more difficult being based on the West coast as opposed to say, Montreal?

Matthew: It's been great for sure, we've been very lucky. It's a little easier putting off real life decisions when you get to play packed shows or have your parents hear you on the radio ha. I mean, I don't know if we're a product of our environment because no one really associates our style of music with our hometown. Victoria is a funny city in that sense though, because no one really ever gives it credit for Frog Eyes, Immaculate Machine, Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown etc. It's not music that immediately brings the west coast to mind at first listen, but if you peel away all the shitty hardcore and ska music and Jack Johnson cover bands there's this small but thriving scene. However, there's a rule that as soon as you start selling out you've gotta move to Montreal and erase your Island alter-ego. That's kind of the general joke behind the title of our E.P. (Islomania) since it's this basically irrelevant little island that we all have this funny little love-hate relationship with. We want to be left alone, but we're also really scared that we're missing out.

BTA: Happy New Year! What does 2009 have in store for The Racoons? There's been some label interest floating around?

Matthew: Yeah, we've had some discussions with labels, but we're still sticking it to the man ha. It seems like it's going to be a long song and dance before anything gets hammered out but that's just as well since we're just as freaked out about signing a deal as we are about never getting one. We're lucky since we're late bloomers in our class and some of our friends have been fucked over well ahead of time by record labels so we've been handed a how-to guide about avoiding complete disaster. Inshallah.

The Racoons - Islomania

The Racoons - Be my Television

Friday, January 02, 2009

Friday Five!

Young Fathers - Straight Back On It
I'm by no means a connoisseur of the genre but when I saw these guys recently I was blown away by their polished orgasmo-pop-funk-hip-hop and awesome synchronised body popping. If OutKast came from Edinburgh...

Chew Lips - Solo
I only heard this yesterday on Lamacqs tips for 09 but I'm already totally infatuated with it, primarily as it sounds like James Murphy recording the little sister to Yeah Yeah Yeah's "Maps".

The Molotovs - Flowers
"I bought you some flowers; was that not enough?" laments the male lead singer crystallising the sentiments of indie kids throughout the country confounded by the XX chromosome. As instant a fix as Vampire Weekend but given a decidedly British flavour by the Alex Turner influenced vocals.

SoKo - I Will Never Love You More
Charming and disarming anti-folk along the lines of Kimya Dawson with quaint and touching lyrics which are given additional emphasis by the embryonic song structure.

Fan Death - Veronica's Veil
Probably the most interesting of the army of femme fronted electro-pop acts who've set up early residence in 2009 due to their sinister, gothic vocals which fit adeptly layered over the repetitive New Orderesque beats.