2010-03-31miquelrius flexible notebooks in preparation for my easter weekend trip to nyc with some friends, i was tempted to get a moleskine city notebook. but the $24 pricetag kind of dissuaded me.
instead, i got a miquelrius flexible notebook:
i got the pocket-sized notebook that measures 7x12 cm, with 64 plain sheets. it is the perfect size for carrying around in my purse all the time. it is so small, compared to an average fountain pen:
there were several cover options. i chose the textured silver:
i am also planning a month-long trip to europe (spain, france, italy) with roxanne in may. i got another miquelrius notebook:
i went for the small size notebook measuring 10.4x15 cm, with 96 blank sheets, which is still compact enough to carry around:
the notebook is of the joshua davis line. the cover is made of a rubbery fake leather material. i love the graphic print on it:
2010-03-22dear god, i hate myself it's funny how clearly i remember first finding out about xiu xiu: one of their tracks appeared on a punk rock sampler i bought for $1 at vans warped tour many years ago. at the time, i was struck by how it was different from anything i'd heard before; i didn't know what to make of it, but that track eventually grew on me.
since then, i've had this love/hate thing for xiu xiu's material: sometimes, i think their stuff is different and intriguing, and i love all the subtle sounds embedded within; other times, i find their stuff weird and art-school pretentious, and i don't understand it at all.
singer jamie stewart contributed some vocals on the most recent los campesinos album. i think i can hear some of his haunting shouting (at around 1:29) on the track "the sea is a good place to think of the future", one of my favourites on that disc.
los campesinos - the sea is a good place to think of the future
i went back to listening to some xiu xiu. meh, i still found it weird.
last month, they released their seventh album "dear god, i hate myself". i was tempted to buy that album for the title alone. i checked it out, and the first two tracks instantly hooked me; i knew i had to get this. but hmv megastore and cheap thrills didn't stock it (yet?), and i was too lazy to search for it at other shops.
earlier this week, on my way to my parents' place, i made a short detour to hmv fairview and bought their one copy.
i must say, this is one of the more minimal (i.e. cheap) packaging i've seen. a simple digipak, no booklet, no label on the disc itself:
but it did come with a code for some bonus tracks, and a somewhat inappropriate sticker.
so i've been listening to this for the past couple of days. my favourite track is the opener, "gray death", which sounds almost like a pop song, compared to their usual experimental stuff.
xiu xiu - gray death
the second track is another highlight.
xiu xiu - chocolate makes you happy
by the third track, the album goes back into weird, experimental territory. but the title track is also not bad.
xiu xiu - dear god, i hate myself
edit: i just saw their videos for the new songs, and they're kind of messed up [not safe for work]. actually, i am not so surprised by those videos. after all, xiu xiu did sell a super deluxe version of this album that included a t-shirt printed with their blood.
2010-03-19the brutalist bricks last week, ted leo & the pharmacists released their sixth album "the brutalist bricks". need i repeat that i am a fangirl? of course i got this cd.
the band is pretty consistent, so this sounds a lot like their previous material. simple, unpretentious, fun.
oh, and they recently did a cover of "everybody wants to rule the world" by tears for fears. awesome.
2010-03-06north of america @ il motore [oops, been a little behind on my blogging...]
last week, blue skies turn black celebrated their 10-year anniversary with three nights at il motore. the gazette did a story on them.
i went to the third show, on saturday (february 27), with ryan. it was my first time at il motore. i liked the place; small and warm, it has a similar feel to the sala rossa.
there were four bands on the lineup, three of which were playing a reunion show that night. we got there early, as the doors were opening. during the wait time, they spinned mostly punk rock, stuff i used to listen to back in cegep (i recognized some propagandhi and fugazi). ah, memories.
unsurprisingly, the show started a half-hour later than listed. the first band to play were thundrah. it was a mix of indie/experimental/jazzy/electro rock. i liked it. i'd never seen anyone use a telephone like that before.
the second band to play was spengler. it was good, but more of the standard guitar-bass-drums kind of sound. after a while, i found it a bit boring...
the only reason i was there was to see north of america's reunion show. i first heard about them when they opened for ted leo back in 2005, where i had bought their last album, and ended up loving it. i hadn't listened to that album in a long time, until giving it a spin a few days before the show. ah, good memories.
i never use flash at shows because the flash on point-and-shoot cameras give a weird glow. but i happened to take this shot just as some guy's high-end flash went off, and the picture turned out good:
as expected, north of america gave an energetic performance. from the response, the crowd obviously loved them. stage banter was good; they made a joke about "the next one's from the new album!" and about being older. also, i found this youtube video where they mentioned that someone flew in from los angeles and from japan to see this show:
i only recognized a few songs, the ones from the last album. i was right in front of the stage, close enough to see the intended setlist:
wet to dance
cities and plans
let's get sick to our stomachs
now you've got your doctorate
keep it on the download
revolt on revolution
the fix is in
route of sorts
central port of...
speech is an...
rough draft korea
killed in the ratings
but after "the fix is in", they realized they only had 15 minutes left, so they cut out a couple of songs. out of those five last songs, they only played three, but i didn't recognize any of them, as they were all from the first album. still they ended up playing an hour-long set.
i would have liked for them to play a bit longer, but there was one last band on the lineup: rockets red glare. unfortunately, this show coincided with the nuit blanche events, so i had to miss the last band to meet up with friends downtown.
before leaving, i checked out the merch table. north of america had some cassette tapes on sale. i guess there's still a demand for tapes in the diy scene?
hearing damage: thundrah and spengler were loud. i had cheap foam earplugs that were not sufficient to block out the low bass vibrations. surprisingly, north of america's set was not as loud as i expected, so i was able to enjoy their set without earplugs.
2010-03-01vitalic @ sat last thursday (february 25), i met with rox to see vitalic, live at sat. this was my first electro show, and i wondered if the audience would be more raver or more hipster; it turned out to be the latter.
we got there early, but it did not matter since they did not open the doors until 10:00pm. i'd only been there once before, and i kind of liked the place: open, spacious, minimal modern design. we sat through the first set (dj mini) even though the music was good; it was relatively early in the show and we wanted to keep our energy. by the second set (jordan dare), i was bored, so we started dancing.
finally, vitalic was on at 1:00am, which i found late, compared to the usual indie rock shows i attend. to be honest, i am not familiar enough with his material to recognize the songs; the tracks were mixed and it all sounded more or less the same to me. still, i had a pretty good time dancing, sweating, and getting my workout for the week. i was disappointed at the poor ventilation in the venue; it was super crowded and stuffy.
the highlight for me was near the end of the set, when he played my favourite track "second lives" and "my friend dario", back-to-back.
vitalic ended at 2:15am. mini and dare returned for an additional set, supposedly until 3:00am. but we were feeling pretty tired at that point, so we left. since the metros were not running anymore, we went searching for a 24-hour café; we found the presse-café on saint-denis, corner of ontario. we chilled there for a while, until cabbing it home at around 4:00am. so sleepy...
there are some videos of the show posted on youtube:
yeah, it was loud. but my ears didn't ring afterwards.
i also found this amazing photoset on flickr:
as my first electro show, i'd say it was a good experience. it was fun!