Saturday, May 12, 2012


 If you've developed a short attention span since summer is currently showering us with its shine, take a breather and listen to a sharply short song. Sample an early self-titled Beastie Boys morsel or get pumped up with Battles' Dominican Fade, a breviloquent blast of audio excellence. These selections are all under two minutes in length.

 Our first entry holds the world record for the shortest song ever, lasting under two seconds; 1.316 seconds to be exact. You Suffer by English grindcore band Naplam Death was released in 1987 and Justin Broadrick has said the band never intended to set a Guinness record. 

"You Suffer was largely a comedy thing, one-second song. Utterly retarded. It's ridiculous, but it was hilarious. We played that song in front of 30 local kids, like, every weekend. We played that song 30 times. It was a laugh," Broadrick is quoted as saying in Albert Mudrian's book Precious Metals: Decibel Presents the Stories Behind 25 Extreme Metal Masterpieces.

Scroll on down and you will see short songs don't have to suck.

You Suffer
Naplam Death

Dominican Fade

Flying Lotus

The Vaccines

Bad Time
The Vibrators

Dirty Needles
Screeching Weasel


Abra Cadaver
The Hives

New Radio
Bikini Kill

Little Room
White Stripes

Koka Cola
The Clash

Reno Dakota
Magnetic Fields

The Three Shadows Part III

A Struggle Like No Other

#1 Is Number Two
The Soviettes

One Chance

Water Boy
Imperial Teen

Pull Out
Death From Above 1979

Beastie Boys
Beastie Boys

Bon Iver

Short Attention Span
Fizzy Bangers

Friday, May 4, 2012


 If you were to scroll through my iPod, you would see the artist or group I have the most songs by are the Beastie Boys with 68 tracks total. I was very saddened to receive a text from my friend detailing MCA's passing. Adam Yauch and the boys provided an essential soundtrack for my teenage years. To this day Beastie Boys songs never fail to brighten up my mood when I'm feeling dark and dreary. If the seas of society are pulling you under, the Beastie's music can be the buoyancy you need. The group's output spans seven albums over 20 years. Along side Ad Rock and Mike D, MCA meandered from punk to hip hop. There were massive hits and overshot misses, yet the BBs never failed to electrify my ears like a live wire.

 I'm thinking about putting the super sized Beastie Boys poster I took down from my bedroom wall back up. Years ago I deemed it too immature and removed it. But now in MCA's honour, I may have to locate some thumb-tacks.

Photo version of my pubescent poster

 Of course there are Beastie Boys classics no one can deny. Sabotage, Slow and Low and Intergalactic, to name a few. I personally tended to gravitate towards the more obscure tracks. Aside from Hello Nasty, their recent releases found the trio at peak performance level. To The Five Burroughs and Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 are funky and magically modern respectively. In addition, if you haven't heard their Grammy-winning instrumental album The Mix Up, give it a listen. I can't count how many articles I hammered out with that lyric-less masterpiece encouraging my keystrokes.

 MCA will live on forever in the ears of appreciative music fans. He delighted us with his rapid fire rhymes and made the outcasts feel welcome thanks to Beastie Boys' non-judgemental philosophy. For the decades of artful entertainment; I feel gratitude.

Twenty Questions

I Want Some

Here's A Little Something For Ya

Dub The Mic

3 MCs and 1 DJ (Live video take)

Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win (Extended video)

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Pop Goes the World

Big Yellow Taxi
Joni Mitchell

Monkey Gone to Heaven

I Remember California

Red Tide
Neko Case

Monday, April 9, 2012


 Many associate this time of year with pastels and poultry peeps. Yet Christian chronicles say that Jesus was crucified for our sins and resurrected on Easter Sunday. If you've consumed too many ultra-rich rabbits or remained a comatose couch potato this past weekend, don't crawl up on the cross just yet. All Ears prescribes music therapy to help you overcome the guilt of your misdeeds.


 Of course there are hundreds of thousands of love songs that would make good bed fellows for the sin of lust. However a song about strippers, or rather comparing politicians to dollar hungry whores, is my pick. Is there anything more awkward and lustful than being a spectator at a strip club?



 Modern thinkers usually view gluttony as one of the least severe sins. St. Gregory the Great had a different view of gastro-centric gobblers, writing that gluttony isn't just about eating too much. Gregory, a doctor of the church, considered adding spices to food or seeking out delicacies to be gluttonous actions in addition to over eating. 
 Bjork is an artist who has devoured the world music scene, selling over 15 million albums. Her style and musical ascetic are a literal smorgasbord of sounds; spanning rock, electronic and experimental. If you're craving a great track to tide you over, nibble on this alt-rock hors d'oeuvre from one of Bjork's early Icelandic outfits. 

I'm Hungry
The Sugarcubes


 Besides the obvious subject matter of this song, who better to represent the sin of greed than spotlight seeking, Taylor Swift-usurping, self-aggrandizing sample stealer Kanye West?

Gold Digger
Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx


 Easily the most accessible sin, If I had the ambition I'd wager most Westernised readers indulge in sloth daily. According to the gospel sloth isn't only about inactivity. Loving sleep, resting on your laurels or simply squandering your gifts are all described as sloth in the Bible.
 The Clash's Should I Stay or Should I Go speaks of indifference but the track wasn't squandered on the music listening public. The song remains the band's only #1 UK single and was ranked at #228 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Should I Stay or Should I Go
The Clash


 Anger, or wrath, is right up there with sloth as the most frequently indulged sin. Hopefully most individuals will never become so enraged they commit familicide as the character in Violent Femmes' Country Death Song does.
 Country Death Song was penned by Femmes leader Gordon Gano while stewing in tenth grade study hall and this tale of offspring offing is reportedly based on a documented murder-suicide from 1862. Fittingly this song appeared on the band's 1984 album Hallowed Grounds which relies heavily on Christian concepts.

Country Death Song
Violent Femmes


 The Muffs are an unremarkable band, although I may have mislead you judging by how much I blog about them. They'll never win a Grammy or score a surprising opus but Kim Shattuck and company's music is perfectly peppy pop-punk. It's usually direct with straight-to-the-point lyrics. Example: I Wish That I Could Be You succinctly embodies the essence of envy.

I Wish That I Could Be You
The Muffs


 Pride isn't really a sin. From gays and lesbians to the psychotically patriotic, in many views pride is a positive asset to posses. However vanity and self-inflation are where pride can turn pitch black, sending the sinner into a self-congratulatory shame spiral.
 Veruca Salt may not be as relevant today but their pleasant 1994 album American Thighs mixes '90s alt-rock with cushy coffee house chick cool. Nina Gordon and Louise Post should be proud.

All Hail Me
Veruca Salt

Friday, April 6, 2012


Patti Smith

Red Rabbits
The Shins

Cosmic Egg

Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits
The Magnetic Fields

Tori Amos

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


 If you misplaced your invitation to join the mortally misanthropic staff at Party Down you wouldn't be the only TV viewer who missed the party.

 Created by Paul Rudd, Dan Etheridge, John Enbom and Rob Thomas, the Starz original series ran for two seasons and was cancelled in 2010. Partially improvised with delicious deadpan delivery, the show failed to find an audience and star Adam Scott estimates the series finale garnered just 15 000 viewers; abysmal ratings even by cable channel standards.

 Although couch potatoes failed to RSVP, critics praised the show for its irreverent style and inspired performances. Party Down follows the staff at the titular Hollywood catering service as they float from one tedious event to the next.

 Ron Donald (Ken Marino) leads the troubled team and is overly earnest at first. Yet Ron's failures cause him to crash and burn as the series progresses. Henry Pollard (Scott, who you can now see on NBC's Parks & Recreation) is a has-been actor who can't shake being associated with a catch phrase he uttered years ago. Casey Kline (Mean Girl's Lizzy Caplan) and Kyle Bradway (Ryan Hansen, better known as Arrow-in-the-head guy from the terrible Friday the 13th reboot) are struggling actors while Roman DeBeers (Martin Starr) is an aspiring, nihilistic writer. Jane Lynch steals scenes as Constance Carmell, a past her prime actress who doles out advice to Kyle and anyone else who will listen. Lynch left the series mid-way through the first season to join Glee and was initially replaced by Jennifer Coolidge. In season two Megan Mullally took over Lynch's spot full time as Lydia Dunfee, a dim witted stage mom.

 The spark that critics saw in the show will hopefully set the big screen ablaze as Mullally and Scott have independently confirmed that Party Down will be resurrected for theaters. Shooting is expected to commence this summer.

"We're like 90% there... If everyone's schedules work out and the guys get time to write a script. They have kind of a skeleton of a story worked out so we know where it's going to go but we just have to kind of cross the Ts and dot the Is, or something. But Starz are being super cool and they're going to let us do it, and we're all excited, we all want to do it," Scott said in an interview with Christopher Schobert for The Playlist.

Casey should be more discreet

Willow Canyon Homeowners Annual Party part 1

Willow Canyon Homeowners Annual Party part 2

Friday, March 23, 2012


Photo courtesy of the artist

 means to conquer. With their debut release this Toronto-based quintet strive to vanquish preconceived notions of popular music. However's choral crusade on the Young Love EP isn't heavy handed like the Ottoman Empire's invasion of Egypt. Instead Nate Daniels, Dante Berardi Jr., Matt Sullivan, Caitlin Grieve and Wooyoung Kim wage an audio assault with an arsenal of folk-pop and orchestral opulence.  Frequently described as an orchestral folk ensemble, straddle enemy lines with diverse songs exploring themes of love, addiction and self-discovery.

All These Colours

 All Ears recently spoke with lead singer and guitarist Daniels and guitarist Berardi Jr. to gain insight into's plan of attack.

 Before joining's ranks Daniels and Berardri Jr. were each part of separate musical armies.

 Daniels floated around several bands offering his vocal talents. The material created with one nameless Montreal band Daniels fronted found its way to's play list, however Daniels left that outfit opting instead to have more control over his musical output.

"I realized later that it's not about control but about sharing a common vision with people who support me and would extrapolate on that vision," Daniels said.

 Across the trenches, Berardi Jr. comes from a prolific industry family. His father was a musical marvel, mastering many instruments. Berardi Sr. was the composer, arranger and band leader for Rockabilly Hall of Fame inductee Godfather Bobby Curtola. In addition his maternal grandfather worked with acclaimed record producer Donald K. Donald.

"I think having a musical family helped push me in the direction of playing and more importantly loving music," Berardi Jr. explained. "I've definitely gone my own way and found my own sound and process along the way. Music is in my blood so I can't deny my family played a part. There's no way I could stop playing and writing. Even if it ends up not being my career down the road. I'm going to cop out and say it was nature and nurture and a little stubbornness as well."

 That stubbornness landed Beradri Jr. with Sound23, a collaborative project, and then with the alternative-influenced group Goodbye Glory before being drafted into

 "[We] did some small scale touring and traveled to Europe and played in a festival. [It was a] great learning experience. It definitely laid the ground works for who I am and how I play now," Berardi Jr. said of his time with Goodbye Glory.

 Now that the two are comrades with their mutual battle has just begun. The Young Love EP is sublimely stunning with moments of malleable melodies and instances of alt-rock awesomeness. Daniels describes their effort as "a penetrative scoring to any given circumstance in your life. Dramatic and sometimes anthemic." However even with the obvious talent this EP exudes, the Canadian music industry remains a minefield for any symphonic solider who to dares to tread on its grounds.

 "The quest for notoriety in the music industry has always been a struggle for anyone who attempts it. Thankfully that is not the only reason we play music. In regards to our opinion of the Toronto and Canadian music industry; it has a lot of catching up to do." Daniels said.

 "That's why we're here though. Trying to move forward with the momentum of great bands before us like Arcade Fire. They completely re-shaped the formula and format of what it means to be a Canadian artist; even if their roots were in Texas. A little American injection has done us good." will appear in an episode of Canadian indie music chronicle From Far and Wide this May and took to the stage at this year's Canadian Music Week. In addition look for some DIY music videos to accompany songs off Young Love to be posted soon.

 To help increase's rations visit or check out the band's myspace.



Balcony TV shoot & interview

Friday, February 24, 2012


 Since my first post on duplicated ditties proved to be so popular, here are 15 additional interpreted archetypes. Most of the replicants on this list are reletively new; from caustic electro-clasher Peaches covering Scots Franz Ferdinand to Karen O and Trent Reznor playing around with heavy metals from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo remake. Take cover and check out part 1 here

Turn It On
Originally recorded by Franz Ferdinand

Detroit Cobras
Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly

Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses

Territorial Pissings
Surfer Blood

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Dum Dum Girls
The Smiths

The Muffs
The Amps

If You Leave
Nada Surf
Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark

Immigrant Song
Trent Reznor & Karen O
Led Zeppelin

Calm Down
Sahara Hotnights

Skinny Love
Bon Iver

Handle With Care
Jenny Lewis w/ the Watson Twins, Ben Gibbard, M. Ward & Connor Oberst
The Travelling Wilburys

Bloodbuzz Ohio
Oh Land
The National

Lykke Li
The Big Pink

kd lang
Leonard Cohen

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Future This
The Big Pink
released Jan 16

  English electro-rock duo The Big Pink recently released their sophomore effort Future This, following up the indie success of their 2009 debut A Brief History of Love. While I question the selection of the title track (Future This isn't the most engaging song on this album and sounds like it could easily be a b-side from their last disc) the album as a whole is innovative and intriguing. Filled with lofty lyrics, meddlesome guitar noise and subdued synths, Milo Cordell and Robbie Furze deliver an LP that shows the duo has outgrown the drone kings label and risen to queen bee status in the hive of experimental rock. 

Stay Gold

Hit The Ground (Superman)

Paralytic Stalks
of Montreal
Feb 7

 Aside from being the second biggest band from Athens, Georgia, of Montreal are known for their neo-psychedelic, theatrical music. of Montreal have always been a schizophrenic band and the music on Paralytic Stalks explores reconfigured elements of classical music while the lyrics are flush with self loathing and religious overtones.
"On some level, it's thinking about spiritual crisis, crying out for guidance and not hearing a voice in return, or hearing a nefarious voice," of Montreal founder Kevin Barnes told Spin last month about the marvelously uneven track We Will Commit Wolf Murder (listen below.)

We Will Commit Wolf Murder

Go Fly A Kite
Ben Kweller
Feb 12

  It's been nearly a decade since Kweller's biggest hit, Wasted and Ready, and since then Kweller has branched out to country music, married, had a child and created a popular web music series One Minute Pop Song. An accomplished guitarist from an early age, Kweller has said Go Fly A Kite's release date was delayed not only because of label issues but also because he wanted the album to be "just right." He's also stated the new album is eclectic, energetic and touches on darker topics than he has explored in the past. You can listen to Go Fly A Kite in its entirety courtesy of Rolling Stone here.

Mean To Me

Reign of Terror
Sleigh Bells
Feb 21

 Back with their second full length LP after the blusterous and booming collection that was 2010's Treats, Sleigh Bells' Reign of Terror is like a piece of tarnished silver. It's shiny and stunning but it doesn't need any polish- they are a noise band after all. The band's press release promoting Reign of Terror states the album is "the sonic equivalent of a beautiful shotgun to the head," and that's not far from the truth. The first single Born To Lose and the second release Comeback Kid (below) demonstrate that Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss will continue to deliver dark electric rock music that stings like shrapnel and challenges the present day idea of popular music.

Comeback Kid

Port of Morrow
The Shins
Mar 20

 The first new release from New Mexico's The Shins in five years, Port of Morrow promises to be just what I had hoped for; another solid collection of classic guitar rock. Their last album, Wincing The Night Away, proved to be the largest success The Shins had ever had (and it was the biggest hit for Sub Pop as well) so the five year break was to be expected as expectations are ridiculously high. Now that they've left that label and replaced many of their members, Port of Morrow may have a different taste but judging from the first single (Simple Song, listen below) the ingredients are the same. A dash of indie pop and a pinch of punk makes Port of Morrow a potent rock recipe.

Simple Song

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


 Santigold (formerly Santogold) have released the first single off of their anticipated sophomore album Master Of My Make Believe due out this spring. The Philadelphia duo of Santi White and John Hill became known for melding grime, rock and electronic sounds with tracks like Lights Out and Say Aha on their self-titled 2008 debut. This new offering, Big Mouth, is a high energy cut with tribal techno influences. Watch the peculiar partially animated video below. You can download Big Mouth for free by entering your email or cell number on Santigold's official site.

Monday, January 16, 2012


 Woodpigeon's new EP is more of what we've come to expect from Mark Hamilton and company; masterfully composed rock music that is as pristine and soft as freshly harvested cotton. 

 Following up 2010's Die Stadt Muzikanten and my personal favourite 2008's Treasury Library Canada, this six track collection would be a great introduction to the Calgary ensemble for those who have yet to take flight with Woodpigeon.

The track Are You There God? It's Me Mark is an indelible song. An ambivalent arrangement, it's lush with softly psychotic strings and heavenly harmonizing set against harsh guitar feedback. One To Many is also memorable with it's echoing guitar riff. Hamilton's delicate voice is frequently the star on For Paolo and it's easy to see why Woodpigeon are quickly ascending the ladder of Canadian indie cred. For Paolo has left me wanting more and I'm looking forward to hearing Woodpigeon's next full length release.

For Paolo

Below is my interview with Hamilton from 2010. This article originally appeared on

In addition a condensed version was published in 24 Hours Calgary.

 German speakers be damned—Mark Hamilton has purposely misspelled the title of Woodpigeon's new album, because he finds his spelling more visually pleasing. 

 Die Stadt Muzikanten, their third album—after 2006's Songbook and 2008's self-released Treasury Library Canada—dropped earlier this year and lead singer and guitarist Hamilton says he has always had a fondness for the written word. 

 "I get hung up on words a lot," Hamilton explains. "I love the way that words look. Someone once asked me why I would call a band Woodpigeon. To me it's beautiful to write down." 

 The songs found on Treasury Library Canada are also nothing less than beautiful. Hamilton says he chose to self-release the album because he'd grown tired of dealing with record labels. 

 "We were without a label, and I'd had it with labels," he explains. "I wanted to try doing something entirely on my own and we got signed up pretty fast for our first record so we never had the experience of self-releasing something. I think that's really important." 

 Reluctant to call Woodpigeon a band, Hamilton says he views it as more of a collective with over 50 members contributing since inception. Current band members include Michael Gratton, Annalea Sordi, Daren Powell, Peter Moersch, Foon Yap and AJ Benoit. 

 Another band member, Kenna Burima, annually organizes the Midway festival, adjacent to Calgary's High Performance Rodeo. A cross-format event, the festival features live music as well as visual art. Last year Woodpigeon attempted to perform Björk songs exclusively. 

 "We decided we would do Björk's Vespertine, then realized how frickin' hard that album is," Hamilton laughs. "So we just made a selection of Björk songs where she plays more than one chord. That was probably the most challenging thing we've ever done." 

 Getting noticed by high-profile bands, however, wasn't as much of a challenge. Woodpigeon has gone on tour supporting Grizzly Bear, Calexico and Broken Social Scene. 

 "The phone would ring and it was Grizzly Bear or Broken Social Scene. The first couple of times I kind of thought it was a joke, then a few weeks later we were playing a big theatre with them. It's really cool when people you like take notice. Like Calexico for example, they are the favourite band of three members of Woodpigeon." 

 As for the future, Hamilton admits that many Woodpigeon members have begun taking flight in their own right and he couldn't be more pleased for them. 

 "We are kind of in the phase where everybody in the band is taking on different projects. We are all growing up and everybody is spreading their wings a little bit. Woodpigeon is what we all collectively come back to and we also go out to pasture a bit more than we used to and that's really exciting and cool. I'm happy to be in the audience to see my friends that I play music with do their own thing."

Friday, January 13, 2012


  2011 was a good year for music; keyword being good. There were a lot of good albums last year but I struggled to choose great albums to include on this list. These eight collections are albums I know I will be listening to for years to come. Additional good albums with questionable staying power have been included as honourable mentions.


 New Yorkers Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion have elaborated on the under the radar popularity of their debut EP with this self-titled full length release. Cults is pretty pop music punctuated with the right amount of punk imperfection on tracks like Abducted (below), creating an album that manages to be modern while throwing back to the sweet sounds of the '60s. Other tracks like Go Outside, You Know What I Mean and Walk At Night are strictly pop and just might usher the use of keyboards and xylophones back into indie fashion.


What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
The Vaccines 

 I didn't know what to expect from The Vaccines and it was very surprising to learn that this is the English band's debut. It may be their first album but this Justin Young-fronted quartet already sound like well rounded veterans. The Vaccines have drawn comparisons to The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Ramones but I'd say they are more accurately described as a more industrious incarnation of Interpol. The Vaccines themselves say they are inspired by "'50s rock 'n' roll, '60s garage, girl groups, '70s punk, '80s American hardcore, C86 [a compilation released by UK music mag NME] and good pop music." Just like most good pop music, the majority of their debut effort is incredibly catchy. From the short and striking If You Wanna to the melodic Blow It Up, The Vaccines haven't exactly reinvented rock but they've interpreted it with such clarity that it will inevitably catch on.

Post Break Up Sex

The Hot Sauce Committee Part 2
Beastie Boys 

 It's bewildering to me that The Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 isn't on more critics' best of 2011 lists. Less serious than To The 5 Boroughs and more entertaining than Hello Nasty, this album is some of the most fun the trio has had in decades. Whether they're challenging Santigold (Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win), telling off their wives (OK), encouraging fellow artists (Say It) or rapping along side Nas (Too Many Rappers) The Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 is a sample heavy, smile inducing LP.

Make Some Noise

Wild Flag
Wild Flag

 I did not enjoy Wild Flag at first listen. Maybe it's because as two Wild Flag members are Sleater-Kinney vets I was expecting something else or because Carrie Brownstein's voice is a very acquired taste. Subsequent listens later, I can't deny that Wild Flag's hooks are rock perfection and Brownstein and Mary Timony's guitar work is some of the best fingering my ears have had all year. Making Wild Flag easily the best guitar record of 2011.
 Wild Flag isn't dissimilar from the Sleater-Kinney sound but the absence of Corin Tucker is immediately obvious. What's missing is the softer pop edge Tucker provided. In its place Brownstein, Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss, former Helium member Timony and The Minders' Rebbecca Cole deliver neoteric, psychedelic, keyboard infused rock. Standout tracks include Future Crimes, Boom, Glass Tambourine, and Something Came Over Me, which has Timony taking to the mic. Look for a not so subtle dig at Arcade Fire in the video for Romance (below.)


David Comes To Life
Fucked Up

 I never thought I'd adore a hardcore punk record described as a "a rock opera love story between a boy named David and a girl named Veronica." Then I listened to David Comes to Life by Toronto's Fucked Up and found myself engrossed in their nihilistic narrative. If you can appreciate Damian Abraham's scream-o vocals you too will learn to love Fucked Up's symphonic and sometimes sick story. As a bit of serendipity the track Queen of Hearts (below) features guest vocals by another entry on my best of 2011 list, Cults' Madeline Follin.

Queen of Hearts (listen to the album version here.)

The Other Shoe

Sound Kapital
Handsome Furs

 Sound Kapital is another record I thought didn't get the attention it deserved last year. Montreal's Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry continue to be inspired by Eastern Europe on their third album but have traded largely guitar based sounds for '80s keyboard kitsch. This amalgamation of the rocky and the retro has become the duo's signature sound. Tracks like Repatriated, What About Us, Damage and Bury Me Standing demonstrate that Handsome Furs are one of the most underrated and inventive Canadian acts creating music today.

No Feelings

El Camino
The Black Keys

 Much like Arcade Fire last year, The Black Keys have been rightfully dubbed the "it" band of 2011. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have cited iconic '70s rockers like T. Rex and The Cramps as influences for the music of El Camino. These references are spot on as El Camino is full of glam heavy, glitzy riffs, making for an album that is much catchier and livelier than their last record, the amazing Grammy-winning, Brothers. I challenge any listener not to have hooks from songs like Lonely Boy or Run Right Back imprinted on their brain after an earful of this album.

Dead & Gone

Let England Shake
PJ Harvey

 Since I blogged extensively about Ms. Harvey late last year, I'll direct you my post titled 20 Years of PJ Harvey. As I embedded my four favourite tracks off Let England Shake in that post, here's my fifth fav song from PJ's arresting, Mercury Prize-winning album. 

In Dark Places

Honourable mentions:

Mirror Traffic, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

Suck It & See, Arctic Monkeys

Endless Now, Male Bonding

Gloss Drop, Battles

Nine Types of Light, TV On The Radio

More Monsters & Sprites, Skrillex

Undun, The Roots

Kaputt, Destroyer

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Creep On Creepin' On, Timber Timbre

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


 Unless you've been cavorting with yetis in Mongolia, you have probably heard the underwhelming news. Billy Crystal will host the Oscars for the ninth time on Feb 26.

 The big yawn reveal came in the form of a Funny or Die trailer (watch below) co-starring Robin Williams, Megan Fox and Josh Duhamel. The sweeping and overblown mini-movie is indeed engaging and some pundits see the production value as an attempt to reel in younger viewers. However this observation raises a problem. Could there be anyone less hip than Crystal? (more after the trailer.)

 Just look at how hip he is, he mentioned texting! Many regard Crystal as a comic genius but I'd wager the majority of those people are of baby boomer age. Crystal's appointment (as mentioned this will be his ninth after hosting from '89 to '92, then again in '96, '97, '99 and '03) is undoubtedly due to last year's generally panned hosting performances by Anne Hathaway and James Franco. Although Franco looked like he blazed with Aaron Sorkin just before the show, I thought Hathaway did an adequate job (with the exception of  quipping "This is the young, hip Oscars" after 94 year-old Kirk Douglas' slurred speech.)

 If the Academy was looking to appeal to the youth demographic, I think they missed the mark by tapping Crystal. There are several other veterans who, aside from being funnier, have performed exceptionally as the master of ceremonies in the past. I would have preferred another year of Whoopi or giving Ellen a second turn. Let's take a look at former Oscar hosts who have passed away or were passed over this year.

Whoopi Goldberg ('93, '95, '98, '01)

Watch Whoopi's memorable opening monologue at the 71st Academy Awards here

Bob Hope (11 solo in '40, '41, '43, '60-'62, '65-'68, '78 and 7 with co-hosts in '45, '46, '53, '55, '58, '59, '75)

Watch Jack Lemmon and Arthur Freed surprise Hope with an Oscar gold medal at the 1966 awards here.

Johnny Carson ('78-'81, '83)

Watch the arrivals and Carson's opening monologue at the 1980 Awards here

Steve Martin ('00, '02, '09 with Alec Baldwin)

Watch Martin and Baldwin's opening monologue at the 2009 Awards here.

Ellen DeGeneres ('06)

Watch part of DeGeneres' opening monologue here

Jon Stewart ('05, '07)

Stewart watches Lawrence of Arabia on his iPhone