While its been a good few years since the French Valerie electro disco scene threatened (and failed) to take over the indie music world, the memories of that moment has remained in the minds of many. It’s certainly remained in Nicolas Winding Refn’s mind as the director chose to soundtrack his movie Drive with a strong sampling of this genre of music.
One of the tracks from that movie was the opening of the movie, where the Kavinsky track Nightcall is featured prominently as Ryan Gosling drives his car around night time LA. Given French electros tendency to sound like it should be played after midnight, the combination of this track, the neon retro style lettering of the opening credits and the stunning night time cinematography (LA at night is really dramatic for some reason) makes this a memorable movie moment in a rather memorable movie.
It’s Friday, it’s the end of the week. Can’t think, can’t analyze, can’t absorb new music. Am I getting old? Hell Yes. So I’ve decided that I’m doing a Top 10 list every Friday. How long will this last? Probably until February. Regardless, what matters right now is this: I’m about to start my first top 10 list, and you might be wondering why do this, Ricky? Well, here is why.
It’s easy – no story required, no in depth research and no need to think about how to frame something. Just 10 things – BAM!
It allows me to go through my music playlist, and then listen to songs I haven’t listen to in a while. Let’s say I want to make a “Top 10 Songs that have a Gospel singer” list. How am I going to find this out? I’ll have to navigate my albums folder and pick them out. along the way, you realize things like “holy crap, I haven’t listened to Shed Seven in a while” and then you queue it up.
Makes you think about music differently. I must not be the only one who listens to a track like Suede’s We Are The Pigs and think “I wonder what other songs have a child choir singing in it”. Then you compile a list of these songs, then you have a top 10 list!
Despite what real journalists think, People like top 10 lists. It’s moderately entertaining, light-hearted and finished by the time you are done taking a crap. Much like a sandwich.
It’s really the only way an indie blog can write about mainstream artists like Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Black Eye Peas and other mainstream bands without losing indie cred. This doesn’t really work for the Panic Manual, since we have any indie cred to begin with. I just wrote that so Google spiders will index this article with those artists as keywords anyway.
Maybe one day the Letterman writers will stumble upon one of our lists and invite us to go read it on their show. Then Wade can fulfill his life long dream and go on Letterman.
All the other music sites do it, so it must be kind of cool. We want to be cool.
If I put each part of the top 10 on a different page, then you have to go through 10 pages to go see what’s number 1. That’s 10 page views AND 10 (or more) ad views. More money to us! (0.0001 cents instead of 0.00099)
Because sometimes, just sometimes, trying to come up with a new way to describe another chillwave or singer-songwriter song is just boring.
So next time you stumble upon a top 10 list of ____ and wonder why, those are the reasons.
Speaking of Top 10 lists, here is my friend’s website http://top10r.com/ it allows you to democratically decide a top 10 amongst your friends. It’s great.
Can’t believe 2011 was 4 days ago. Missing it already.
In 2011, Winters were warm. In 2012, winters are cold. That’s enough for me to want to go back.
I fancy myself to be a concert photographer. More specifically, I fancy myself to be an Iphone concert photographer. It’s a rare breed. Sure, a lot of people take snapshots of concerts with their phones during a show, but how many of them use them for their music blog? Not many. Those other people just look through their albums one day, wonder ‘what is this?’ and then delete the picture. I however, put it on this site for the world/12 people who visit this blog to see.
Here are some of my favorite iphone concert photos from last year, in the interest of nostalgia. As an artist, I have given each picture an appropriate title.
“What Did You Expect From My Iphone?”
It’s a play on the title of the debut Vaccines album. I had carefully framed this picture to only expose half of lead singer Justin Young’s body, because it represented the half-hearted effort they put in their debut. They would later redeem themselves at SXSW and prove to be one of my favorite new acts of the year.
“Dye It Small”
I intentionally went thirty feet back from the front of the stage at this Smith Western gig to carefully frame this shot. The smallness of the band within the picture represented my tiny expectations of this Chicago trio upon entering the Horseshoe Tavern. I only went to this show because my friend Josh was going by himself and I didn’t want the rock and rock hipsters to eat him up. The band did exceed my low expectations with a solid set of guitar riffs lifted from various 70s rock bands.
Foals is a band that, underneath their massively kick ass tunes, are quite nerdy. They sing about singularity, for god’s sake. Given their penchant for writing about singularity, I tried to capture lead singer Yannis Philippakis descending onto the darkness. In this shot, half of him is human, and the other half – darkness. This image is a reflection on our increasing dependence on technology and how we are becoming less human because of it.
The bright light featured in this picture (taken at a Shad concert) represents a rising sun. For a long time, the Canadian hip hop scene has been in the dark, but now, thanks to the popularity of artists such as Shad, Drake, The Weeknd and K’naan, Canadian Hip Hop has never been hotter. This picture shows the light/sun penetrating the darkness, much like how this hip hop scene has penetrated our world.
“The Beat but no Pulse”
It looks like I am really far away from the stage at this Austra show but really, it’s just a solid depiction of how far away I felt emotionally from the show. Despite really liking their debut record, I felt strangely disconnected from the band at their recent homecoming at the Phoenix. I needed to take this picture to convey my feelings.
There you have it, some secrets of the trade. Look for more deep Iphone concert photos this year.
What an exhausting two weeks. Most of my vacations consist of traveling to some world class city, gorging on their gastronomical delights and taking in the various shops and clubs that the place has to offer.
Not this trip.
As I wrote in my preview, this vacation was more of an outdoor adventure kind of trip. Having survived two weeks, here are some thoughts about my trip.
- First time sleeping in a mosquito net. Sleeping in a bed that was surrounded by a mosquito net, I felt a bit like a prisoner. It only takes one stroll through the Amazon at night to realize that the alternative is a lot worse.
- First time not taking a swimming opportunity. If you know me, you will know that I love to swim. The guides in the Amazon said we would be able to swim in a designated area in Lake Sandoval if we wanted but had to sign a waiver because of the poisonous sting rays, piranhas and caiman that inhabit the same lake. No thanks.
- First time I wore a sun hat or bandana. The sun was so intense sometimes in the Andes that I got a sunburn on a cloudy, rainy day
- First time I ever hitch hiked: while in the Cordillera Blanca (aka the home of the highest tropical peaks on Earth), we had to hitch hike from locals to various drop off points for hiking.. which led to:
- First time I sat in the trunk of a hatchback. After a particularly exhausting hike to Lake 69 (altitude 4600m, picture above) we were desperate to hitch a ride back to the area our lodge was. Fortunately, these Dutch teachers had extra spots in their taxi for us. Sadly, it was in the trunk part of the hatchback. A 40 minute ride on a gravel road going down a mountain is not pleasant when folded up like accordion. I took a pretty average video of the experience:
- First time in an overnight bus. Peru has overnight buses covered. They are amazing. Super comfortable, goes back all the way to 170 degrees, foot rest and a server on the bus who gives you food and coffee. All for 30 bucks or something. Why don’t they have these to New York city?
Machu Picchu: What can you say? It’s an astonishing sight to see this ancient Incan city at the Sun Gate after a grueling four day hike that involved some crazy up and downhill hikes. Doing it any other way would be cheating, in my mind. Pretty good weight loss program too. No picture can really describe it’s magnificence, which I guess is why I hiked there in the first place.
Amazon Rainforest: Amazing. five minutes into our hike to reach our lodge, we encountered one of many monkeys living in the area. Tarantulas were everywhere, as were all kinds of birds (including parrots) and various other animals. Even the flora in the Amazon were interesting. it’s a shame it’s all getting destroyed.
All in all, Peru is an amazing place that I would highly recommend to anyone. The natural diversity the country has to offered is unparalleled for the countries’ size and I honestly felt two weeks isn’t enough.