a log of cd's purchased + shows attended + other stuff.
amiina @ le national

i knew nothing about amiina, except that they opened for sigur rós during one of their tours. then, rox sent me some song samples, and asked if i would go to the show tonight, and i just said okay. when we entered the venue this evening, we knew that this would be a quiet comfortable intimate show, as rows of seats were set up, and the balcony was off-access.

the opener was tom brosseau, a somewhat strange, peculiar, soft-sopken funny guy; alone with his acoustic guitar. it was folk-ish and bare. it would not have been a memorable performance, except that he stopped in the middle of his set to chat. he expressed how nervous he felt, and how that made him talk. he said a few words in french ("ouvrez la porte. fermez la porte."). he asked if the audience had any questions. when no one asked, he mentioned the article in the hour, and explained the part about the red river in his blood. during one of his songs, he even busted out a harmonica. he ended his set with a murder ballad, during which he played one verse before putting away his guitar, and just sang the rest of the song, then quietly exited the stage.

next was amiina. four lovely ladies producing lovely music. it was mostly stringed instruments, with a laptop for sample and sound effects. the band members moved around on stage, switching among a variety of instruments. there were the standard: violin, cello, keyboard, guitar. there were some lesser-seen: a mini-harp. there were some non-instruments: saw, wine glass. then, there were some that i had no clue about.

the music was very nice: delicate, gentle, calm. what i loved most were the stringed instruments. my favourite part was when the four sat together and just played violins and cello, with nothing else. it was beautiful.

most of the set was dark, with a few soft spotlights on the band members. it made for an intimate show. during one of the songs, the sample sounded like the craking of fire; the stage lights flickered and glowed an orange-red hue.

they even played one song that is so new, it's not on the album. apparently, it was their first time playing it live. that's nice.

they ended their set with an all-saw encore:

saw action!


cd purchase: i got their self-released debut album "kurr" and an earlier ep "animamina", which two band members sold themselves, at their merch table. i got the album signed. they are so nice!

hearing damage: none at all, of course.


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explosions in the sky @ le national

friday night, rox and i went to a show, the first since november, so we were both a little starved to see some live acts.

the first opener was eluvium, a one-guy band. during the set, my view was obscured, so i had no idea what he was doing; i think he was playing keyboards. anyway, he ended up making some stunningly beautiful music. most of his songs were the same few notes played over and over again; but at each repetition, there is a subtle change; the songs builds and builds and builds until... release. i spent most of time with my eyes closed, my head rested on my arms, letting the music sink in.

after eluvium's achingly beautiful music, i wondered how the next openers, the paper chase, could even match that. i got my answer as soon as their bass player hit the first note, a very loud sound that took me by total surprise. the paper chase killed. there were amazing live, infinitely better than their sound on disc. i only really recognised one song, "what i'd be without me", from the album "god bless your black heart".

they gave a very energetic performance. the singer was hyperactive, jumping everywhere all over the place; i couldn't get a still photo of him. he stared and pointed intensely at audience members; he mimed out certain lyrics, stabbing his heart, slitting his throat; he wiped his face with a hankerchief (how quaint). the singing sounded tortured, and he looked like he felt it. the music was loud; strong drumming, discordant wailing guitars, mixed in with some gentle notes from a keyboard. it sounded like a lovely musical box, breaking apart as it tumbles down a long flight of stairs; in a good way, of course. i was just a little disappointed that they did not play my favourite song "said the spider to the fly"; it would have been awesome to see performed live.

a fact unknown to me: it was the paper chase's first time in canada. well, i hope they will come again. they put on such a great show, i was really impressed.

finally, explosions in the sky came on stage. before starting, they said some words, and in french. he must have practiced, because he said quite a few sentences, and it was pretty good too. it's so nice when non-franco bands come to montreal, and try to say things in french.

well, i am not good with words, and so it would be pointless for me to try to comment on their performance, since i cannot find a way to fully describe how truly awesome it was. one has to really experience an explosions in the sky show to know what it is like. those guys give everything, and really exhaust themselves. i left the show feeling all giddy inside.

in short, this was one of the best shows i've been too, where i enjoyed the opening acts as much as the main performance. and there was a bit of everything to. eluvium was music to cuddle to. the paper chase was perfect for moments when you want to slit your wrist with a jagged piece of glass. and explosions in the sky is just music to feel content about; that's all.


cd purchases:
-- eluvium "copia". i had heard "prelude for time feelers" and it is stunning.
-- explosions in the sky "all of a sudden i miss everyone". yes, i bought this again, just because it is the limited edition, with the extra disc of remixes.
-- the paper chase "young bodies heal quickly, you know" and "hide the kitchen knives" and "now you are one of us". i went to the show just wanting to get the most recent album. but i was so impressed by their live performance that i got a couple of their older material too.

hearing damage: i expected my ears to get blasted during explosions, but i was pre-deafened by the paperchase's very loud set. it did not help that i had a slight headache during the show.


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ted leo

as a ted leo fangirl, i got his new album "living with the living" released today.i had heard only one of the new tracks, but needed no convincing at all, as i will gladly buy anything the guy releases. he just seems so hard-working and genuine, and his live shows are great.

it's a lot of what i expected in a ted leo album. the smart lyrics, as he shout-sings like he means each and every word. there is the obvious hit single (or if it isn't a single, it should be) "the sons of cain", with a pause in the middle consisting of dance-y drumbeats and handclaps, sure to get everyone hyped up; a great opening song for the album, and will surely be a crowd pleaser at the live shows. that is followed by the mod-ish "army bound"; i quite like the last verse, and hope they play it live. then, "who do you love?" is another mod-ish track, very fun; i hope they play this live too! then, there is "a bottle of buckie", with the irish-ispired element, which, of course, means that it is one of my favourite tracks of the album. that is followed by the angry anti-war "bomb.repeat.bomb". there is also the slow (reggae-inspired?) "the unwanted things". and the almost-ballad "the toro and the toreador".

the last time i saw ted leo play was as an opener, in a larger venue, where i ended up having more fun during his half-hour than during the main act. i cannot wait to see a full set, as he plays the smaller sala rossa in may.


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iron ring

i got it yesterday!



amon tobin

just a week ago, i was listening to amon tobin's "bricolage", not knowing that he was releasing new material. i found out when i was in the store last week, saw a cd with cool album art, approached to see what it was, and oh, it was tobin's new album, "foley room". i hesitated to get it, not knowing if it was new material, or live recordings, or a compilation of whatever.

the past week, i checked it out, and heard some samples. the opening track "bloodstone" alone is worth the album. i did not bother hearing the rest before getting the cd today.

in "bloodstone", i love the slight dissonance in the screeching of the stringed instruments. strangely, that track makes me want to dance; i find that it sounds like an evil waltz. when my brother heard the song, he asked: "who died?"

from the album cover, i found out that this track features the kronos quartet (the same people who played on the "requiem for a dream" soundtrack, cool!).

to me, this album is a break from the usual indie rock stuff i listen to. i find there to be something unsettling about the sounds. (it may be because my first exposure to amon tobin's music is through this video that still scares me to this day.)

the album comes with a dvd, on how the album was created. this album is different in that rather than sample from old records, tobin went out to record various sounds. some are kinf of unusual: automated machinery in a factory, roaring tigers and other animals at parc safari, even ants and other insects. on the album, he combined this "found foutage" with recordings of musicians playing and experimenting with their instruments. quite interesting.


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wd my book essential

i got some gift cards as a housewarming gift, and so i decided to splurge, and get myself an external hard drive. i'll be needing the space to store the massive mp3 collection that i am trying to build.

my brother being a western digital fan had an effect on me. and so i got the 500gb my book essential.

i love it! it's quiet and compact, and sits nicely on my desk, next to my laptop.

action shots:



jay chou

i just gave cousin e the link to this blog. if she's reading this, "hi cousin e! leave a message."

it was cousin e who introduced me to music, back in grade 4, when she passed me a tape of ace of base "the sign" (thanks!). it was also her who planted the seed to my semi-addiction, when she gave me my first cd, a funfactory greatest hits compilation, as a christmas gift (more thanks!).

but over the years, our musical tastes diverged. she went chinese rock/pop; i went indie/alt. and shame on me, i never developed an interest in chinese rock/pop.

recently, i am trying to be more open-minded. last week, cousin e re-introduced me to the music of jay chou 周杰倫, with his most recent album "依然范特西" ("still fantasy"). i already began to like the album after seeing its pretty packaging (cd+dvd digipak with picture album booklet).

surprisingly, i found myself enjoying this album, despite the hip-hop influences. the songs are quite varied, even mixing in some traditional chinese music and classical sounds with the modern. i like that the guest vocalists add something extra to the songs, especially on "夜的第七章" ("twilight's chapter seven"). it's great. the downside is that i don't understand mandarin, but i can still follow along with the lyrics booklet.

i watched the accompanying dvd, featuring two music videos directed by jay chou himself, and in which he stars. they're quite elaborate, for a music video: mini-movies, with a full storyline, and nice period costumes.

i am slightly surprised that i am so receptive to this music. i guess my ears were so bored and jaded, they needed something new. and mandarin hip-hop is definitely new to me.



summer project

i found out this week that i will be working on a research project, this summer. hurray! and relief. i won't need to job-hunt, not yet (the thought of working back as a customer service cashier at canadian tire, ugh...!).

and i will be paid while working on this project, which makes my bank account happy.

but here i am, spending money that i have not made yet...




just for the fun of it, since i am buying new cd's anyway, i added klaxons' "xan valleys" ep. dance-punk goodness from the uk.

i found out about them after hearing "the bouncer" in an episode of the nyub podcast, and laughing my ass off at the single line "your name's not down, you're not coming in. not tonight, no, not tonight. you're not on the list!" repeated throughout the song, in that cute brit accent. finally, that song ends with "listen mate, i told you once, i told you twice. you're not on the list, alright?"


(i've heard the album too. it's not as humourous nor as interesting.)


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bright eyes

another new release today is the bright eyes ep "four winds". i've all his albums, but this is actually the first bright eyes ep i've gotten. there was a period when i was a conor oberst fangirl, after discovering the near-perfect "lifted", but i am less obsessed now. i haven't listened to much bright eyes since the double release of "wide awake" and "digital ash" (except for that week when i got the b-sides compilation "noise floor"). it's good to hear some new material.

the "four winds" ep continues from "wide awake", in that country-ish, folk-ish kind of sound. as can be expected, smart, clever, quotable lyrics; conor oberst is a storyteller (lyrical genius). i love how his songs rarely have a chorus, and are just lines and lines of poetry. and that unmistakeable voice, with the slight quiver.

this ep is good enough to satisfy my craving/addiction, as i wait for the full-length. i hope he plays a show here eventually...

(oh, this cd also contains mp3's from a bunch of saddle creek bands. sweet!)


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arcade fire

since the move, i get to pass by hmv megastore every tuesday (new release day), which is not a good thing for my credit card...

today is the release of the super-anticipated "neon bible" from the arcade fire, the "it" band of 2004, whose previous album "funeral" made it to the top of every year-end list of that year.

i must admit, i love/hate this band. i love this band because everyone loves them, and it's been hard to get tickets to their shows in montreal. i hate this band because of the overhype, and scalpers sell tickets to their shows at ten times the price. well, at least, i've seen them live once, before they were huge, back in september 2003, when they opened for hawksley workman at club soda. i still remember that show, when arcade fire played, the crowd was chatting throughout the set. at one point, as régine started to sing a quiet song, the crowd's chattering was so loud that win got upset, and actually interrupted régine mid-song to tell the audience to just shut up and listen. i guess no one could predict that this band would because super massive.

at the store, there was the regular version of "neon bible" and a special edition. i asked the clerk what the difference was. she told me that the discs are the same, just the packaging is different: the special edition comes in a box, and includes two flip-books. i thought it stupid to charge $10 more just for packaging. but i guess it works, because i ended up getting suckered into buying the special edition anyway.

a couple of people have told me that this album sounds different from the previous, which i find partly true; they sound happier, somehow, but there's a bit of darkness to it. still, the new songs sound very arcade fire; for example, i easily guessed that "intervention" was an arcade fire song when i first heard a part of it on the radio.

i find it a bit weird that they've included "no cars go" on this album because it is an old song. but it is an old song that i like.

they had played a secret show back in january. but since it was "secret" and i am not connected in any way, i did not find out about it until it was over and everyone was talking about it. they also sold out five nights in february whithin an hour or so, and again, i was slow in receiving the news, so i could not get tickets to that. and now, they've announced two nights in may, and i've finally got tickets to that. technically, rox got tickets to that, and got one for me (thanks rox! i owe you.).


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looking back at old entries, i noticed that i haven't made that many cd purchases, in the last few months. no wonder i am starving for new music.

well, not new music, but music that is new to my ears. i have gone on a 80's nostalgia trip, listening to the discographies of indochine, the cure, cocteau twins, depeche mode, and the like. hurray for new wave and dream pop.

i've also been listning to some amon tobin: creepy electro music. creepy because i discovered his music after watching the "4-ton mantis" video that completely freaked me out...




i am spending the weekend alone at home, with no distractions. this should be the perfect time to get things done: work on the school projects, think about grad school, apply for jobs, set some life goals, anything productive.

but no, i did none of those things. i am the queen of procrastination. instead, i re-organised my blog, adding labels to all my old posts. it's a nitpicky thing to do, and a complete waste of time.

while i was at it, i also re-organised my entire mp3 collection.

i've also decided to write about other things too, just so that i can update more often.