Song Of The Day: The Beths – Dying To Believe

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day | Leave a comment

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It’s important these days to cling to whatever it is that might bring a little joy to your day. And since the release of their debut album Future Me Hates Me back in August of 2018, The Beths have brought me a fair bit of joy with their music.

The New Zealand based four piece write songs that could best be described (as I did in our coverage of the band for SXSW 2019) as “feel good jams about feeling bad.” The band’s blend of poppy, upbeat melodies with more introspective lyrics is a winning combo, and one which has kept me coming back for more – at last year’s SXSW, I caught the band live on three separate occasions and would have gladly seen them even more over the course of the week if given the chance.

Future Me Hates Me has definitely been one of my most listened to albums of the last couple of years, so to hear that The Beths have a new album on the horizon was very welcome news. That album, Jump Rope Gazers, is out July 10 on Carpark Records. Check out the video for lead single “Dying To Believe” below.

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

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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

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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

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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
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Unknown Venue – April 12, 2011

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Sailor Jerry House, SXSW – March 13, 2014

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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

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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:


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