Random Indie Tournament: THE FINAL FOUR

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

20110317 The Strokes

Here we are, the Final Four

I would say 3/4 of the bands were heavy favorites, with Interpol benefiting from a weak bracket. Are they the underdog? can Carlos D and Paul Banks pull off the upset? Probably not. Still, here we are.

Let’s take a look at the favorites – in doing so, I’ve asked a person to vouch for each band

The Strokes

“Easily the most influential band of our time, The Strokes set the tone for indie rock’s sound of the 2000s, so much that they’ve often felt like a foundational part of our lives – we all have memories of dance parties, road trips, and backyard barbecues soundtracked by their iconic tunes. As a result, they’ve become the only indie rock band that transcends matters of taste. If you’re voting in this poll, odds are there’s at least one or two (or five, or ten) Strokes songs that hold a very special place in your heart. No other band from this era of rock is anywhere close to being as universal.”
– Anonymous

LCD Soundsystem


“In 2011, I was there. Sort of. I went to New York City and attended a Strokes concert at Madison Square Garden, a show that was scheduled the night before LCD Soundsystem’s big farewell show at the same venue. At the time, I wasn’t an LCD Soundsystem fan so I didn’t bother trying to get tickets to that show (which I would later experienced on the big screen in their documentary, Shut Up and Play the Hits). That may be one of my biggest regrets in hindsight: seeing the Strokes during their Angles era while missing out on LCD Soundsystem at their peak. (I say this as a relatively big fan of the Strokes, by the way.) Years later, LCD reunited and I ended up catching them twice, both times among the best concerts I’ve ever been to. In a time when New York City’s music scene was overtaken by skinny jeans-wearing hipsters, James Murphy (a man who declared that he was losing his edge on his debut single) dared people to dance — skinny jeans be damned! LCD songs are classic rock anthems, dance numbers that will always get people excited on the dancefloor and the embodiment of a 2000s sound that they absolutely dominated while every other act in this bracket was busy vying to become the next breakthrough rock act.”
– Anonymous

Arcade Fire


Here’s Gary’s take
“As usual, I was late to the party. 2005 was no different. It was after I had moved to Toronto, on my way to a weekend tour in Montreal, when I first heard Arcade Fire’s debut album Funeral, released in 2004. I think my ears must have exploded 50 times over as Neighborhood #1 Tunnels sound-tracked that Greyhound ride. As they weaved their melancholy and defiant brand, I keep thinking about Zorba the Greek, and how wonderful it is to hold these two in the same thought congruently, never skipping a beat. All the while that fucking bus skip over potholes like some dead gopher that failed to find cover from rifle bullets in some no-name prairie. Big sounds, fast ideas, tempered anger, and universal nihilism. That is what I always find comforting about Arcade Fire. From Antichrist Television Blues (in “brackets”, no less!), Rococo, Keep the Car Running, or even Rebellion/Lies, you will never find a minute of khaki beigeness. Dressed in high-gothic musical styling (or was it Victorian?), they are always transportive even if you can’t make out the cutting social and domestic commentaries. And once you do… well, that’s going to need another whole new paragraph.”


We couldn’t find a human to vouch for Interpol, but our favorite celebrity dog BACON had something to say!


Can’t argue with that one.

Last but not least, what would a race be without a heart felt concession speech!

Franz Ferdinand


Here is our photographer, Elizabeth Isles, showing some Franz Love

“Ricky asked me to write him a paragraph about Franz Ferdinand, should they make it through to the next round of this attempt to amuse ourselves and pretend that any of our opinions matter within a universe hurtling toward its inevitably fiery end. I said I didn’t expect them to make it through, but that I would write him a paragraph anyway because I am that much of a disciple of the church of Franz Ferdinand. Like, I even own a copy of Blood – the dub remix of their third album – on vinyl. It’s unreasonable.

I could go down a rabbit hole of reasons for why they are my faithful number one band, but my biggest argument in the pro-Franz camp is their live show (which is a sad thing to think about given the current circumstances, but I digress). This owes a lot to their stage presence, but also to the fact that they write hits! hits! hits! for the dancefloor. Maybe not chart-topping hits, if we’re talking in technical terms, but by golly do they know how to maintain a tempo. An investigation of their catalogue over the last 16 years reveals an absolute bounty. May I point you in the (chronologically released from their five albums to-date) direction of: “Michael”, “The Fallen”, “Ulysses”, “Stand on the Horizon”, and “Always Ascending”. I remain endlessly thankful that they’re still making music, and I like to think that they’ve managed to influence the cultural atmosphere and musical direction, in their own understated way. They don’t take themselves too seriously and don’t stir up much controversy, but they’re still really good at what they do! What a nice story. My heart swells with pride.”


Locked-down SXSW Review: Homecoming -The Journey of Cardboard (Yuko Shiomaki/Anna Thorson Mayer)

Posted on by Gary in Everything, Reviews, South By Southwest | Leave a comment


With the cancellation of this year’s SXSW, many of the films scheduled to screen there were suddenly left without a platform. In lieu of a proper screening, several of the short films officially selected for the 2020 SXSW Episodic Pilot Competition have been made available to screen via Vimeo. Below we review one of those films, Homecoming – The Journey of Cardboard.

Unlike the Mona Lisa or those fucking shiny balloon dogs that look like the Bean multiplied itself while rollicking in its daughters’ metallic-colored piss, your overlooked life is just as important in the daily struggle of our planet. So, where you came from could theoretically matter. And if a lack of narration from Henry Louis Gates Jr. over your ancestry is the high-water mark of failure in your life, consider the trillions upon trillions of other inanimate objects that are similarly un-celebrated. Yes. You are as useless as I myself, and will be sorted right below CARDBOARD, of all things, in the grand Excel spreadsheet listed by decreasing importance.

Except that cardboard, unlike you and I, has a newfound voice. To honor the origins of something as profound as a grapefruit carton, a Japanese reclaimed-cardboard wallet maker tries to bring his material back to its Floridian hometown for a “blessing” of sorts. Replace Dr. Gates’ baritone with that of a contemporary graphics artist dosed with a penchant for ultra-specificity, and the transformation from Finding Your Roots to a very Japanese documentary short is complete. Fuyuki Shimazu’s celebration of the mundane is not unexpected in the age of sub-sub-sub-reddits. Enveloped by oceans of potential knowledge, we are almost encouraged to diversify and become passionately focused in one thing and make irrelevant everyone else’s interests. Only, when you dig further, you find that “someone else is ALSO and ALREADY interested in this shit!?” So we reach for combinatorial esotericism: “Only I am expert on the turquoise crane hawk in the cliffs north of Tonga AND the blue hawking crane of Eastern Seychelles”. This isn’t, of course, a commentary on this short, which is warm and reverent.

But on a facile reflection: should he switch to making cardboard face masks and ventilator bellows, will it make us appreciate the world even more? When the universal units of gravitas have changed, you quickly find everything soaring or crashing on a tornado of an Excel list, which is an indication of how important the list really was in the first place.

Random Indie Music Tournament – Round 3 Preview

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

Right this way

I already wrote all my shit about these bands in round 2, so for round 3, here is each band performing a song on a late night tv show.

Vote here

Arcade Fire on Letterman

What an introduction to the world. Imagine you had never heard them before and that was the performance. So good

White Strips on Letterman

So weird to see Jack White in his White Stripes outfit. Someone once told me Meg White playing drums reminded him of Pebbles from the Flintstones and ever since, I can’t get that image out of my head.

Interpol on Letterman

Interpol + bright lights don’t work, which is weird because their album was called Turn On The Bright Lights. Not the most excited performance, but I guess that’s Interpol’s MO

Arctic Monkeys on Jools Holland

Man, you forget the Arctic Monkeys were KIDS when they released their debut album.

The Strokes on Letterman

These guys, as always, look like they just came out from a marathon run at some dive bar and are about to go right back.

Franz Ferdinand on Conan

Some tidbits from me about Franz Ferdinand:

1. When I heard it for the first time ever, I immediately played it again just to be like, what the hell did I hear?
2. After I heard that song, I retroactively added it to my best of 2003 mp3 compilation and sent it out again to my friends. Why? I don’t know.

LCD Soundsystem on Letterman

I love how the rest of the band was clapping during this performance.

Flaming Lips on Letterman

Where are the mascots?

Music Venue Bathroom Graffiti: A Pictorial History

Posted on by Paul in Everything | Leave a comment

It’s now been over a month since I last saw a live concert and I’m missing it.

In fact I’m missing everything about going out to live music venues – even the overpriced beer and the tall people who decide they’re going to stand right in front of you at shows. All of this nostalgia for live music had me taking a dive into the archives of my (mostly terrible) music photography from over the years. One thing I noticed was that for awhile, I took photos of graffiti in the washrooms of many of theses venues over the years any time I saw something that amused me.

And since none of us will be going to any concerts or setting foot inside a bar any time too soon, I figured why not take a walk down memory lane, even if it’s to look at a part of the venue that we generally don’t tend to look back on all that fondly. At the very least, it should inspire you to wash your hands yet again.

So here it is, a bunch of random shots of graffiti from various venues, some of them long gone by now.

Hard Luck Bar – April 23, 2010

This was taken at the original location of Hard Luck Bar, a place I can barely even remember now. Clearly the author had some opinions on the venue and didn’t want to wait to express them in a Yelp review.

Unknown Venue – July 3, 2010

No idea where this one was taken and I don’t think it was even a music venue, but this pic serves as a reminder that Myspace was still a thing bands were using to promote themselves in 2010. I will also note the quote from Pulitzer prize winning author Annie Dillard, which certainly classes the place up a bit.

Annex Wreck Room – January 22, 2011

Unknown Venue – April 12, 2011


Sailor Jerry House, SXSW – March 13, 2014

sxsw2014 sailor jerry house
I found this scrawled on the wall at some pop up venue during SXSW. Was this in the original draft of The Force Awakens? Not sure what this was all about but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know.

Roskilde Festival – July 3, 2014

OK, this one is a legit mural and definitely not graffiti, but the message of “Please! Don’t piss … here!” is a clear indication that this spot was unofficially at least a potential toilet, so I’ll allow its inclusion on this list. I definitely miss music festivals too, but I do not miss the way that they become essentially one giant urinal.

People, whenever we are once again allowed to congregate in open spaces and listen to live music together (and it might be a while still), remember these words and please don’t piss there. Just don’t. But … if you must pee, at least wash your hands afterwards.

In the meantime, check out this video of The Cure performing live at last year’s Roskilde Festival: