Bat For Lashes

Still in love…

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The Afterlife

I know it’s a little premature to be planning for my inevitable funeral, and trust me when I say I’m not trying to be morbid here, but I was listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs today and realized that I want their song Skeletons to be number one on the ol’ funeral playlist. None of that tacky, elevator-esque, yet depressing music, no. My cousin passed away when I was 14 and of course there was an air of sadness, but what put a smile on my face was her choice of a funeral playlist. She was a huge Red Hot Chili Peppers fan so I was serenaded by Anthony Kiedis for most of the wake. So when I move onto whatever comes after death, plug in my trusty iPod and let the tunes from the playlist entitled ‘Funeral Tunes’ rip.

On a side note, this is a very lovely song to fall asleep to!

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2 Atoms In A Molecule

Last night, I had a dream
We were inseparably entwined
Like a piece of rope made out of two pieces of vine
Held together, holding each other
With no one else in mind
Like two atoms in a molecule
Inseparably combined

But then I woke from the dream
To realise I was alone
A tragic event, I must admit
But let’s not be overblown
I’m not trying to write a love song
Just a sad, pathetic moan
And maybe I just need change
Maybe I just need a new cologne

But now I look at love
Like being stabbed in the heart
You torture each other from day to day
And then one day you part
Most of the time it’s misery
But there’s some joy at the start
And for that, I’d say it’s worth it
Just use a blade that’s short and sharp on me

And if love is just a game
Then how come it’s no fun?
If love is just a game
How come I’ve never won?
I guess maybe it’s possible I might be playing it wrong
And that’s why every time I roll the dice
I always come undone

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A Year In Review; The Music That Had Me At Hello

Wow. 2009. Another year gone, another decade begun. This makes me feel unbelievably old despite my youth. Let’s not get too tangential though, let’s get straight to the meat of this here sandwich!

This year was a great year musically. My god this year was a good year of music. Some of my favourite artists released new material, and I also discovered some new acts. I thought of maybe creating a top ten list, but then immediately rejected this idea as I cannot choose favourites, for I like the music for different reasons. So in no particular order;


1. It’s Blitz! – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

This band never fails me. Never. This album is really great, and makes for one of those really good music ditties to just pop the headphones in and relax. I immediately took to the song Dull Life when I first started listening to It’s Blitz!, and if you’re looking for the more upbeat songs on the album, I would also suggest Zero and Heads Will Roll. However, my favourite song on the album by far is Hysteric. I would always skip over this song without really listening to it in it’s entirety until one day I listened to all 3:52 of the track and I was hooked. There’s a certain vulnerability to Karen O’s voice in this song that I think we can all appreciate and relate to, and being the hopeless romantic I am, it just makes me really happy in general. It’s Blitz! is a great album that is definitely worth your time.


2. To Lose My Life – White Lies

With the new wave of 80’s revivalist bands (think new wave and post-punk revival), I was a bit skeptical that the aforementioned (amazing) decade could be reproduced in a genuine and effective manner. White Lies however, has done a great job. Their songs are catchy and somewhat reminiscent of Joy Division, their lyrics are clever and overall the feel of the late 1970s/1980s is there in full force. If you’re looking for a softer ballad-esque song, I think Death is a great place to start. I especially like the lyric “I love the feeling when we lift off, watching the world so small below, I love the dreaming when I think of, the safety in the clouds out my window, I wonder what keeps us so high up, could there be love beneath these wings”. If you prefer a heavier, more guitar/drum driven song Farewell to the Fairground is great too. Finally my personal favourite from To Lose My Life is E.S.T. There’s something really dark and macabre about this song that I find appealing; it beckons to the darker side in all of us, and makes for a great moody post-punk anthem. Check out To Lose My Life if you haven’t done so already, it won’t disappoint.


3. Lungs – Florence & the Machine

Florence and her machine have done it; they successfully made my lungs run dry and gasp for a breath! This album is fantastic and I can say in earnest that I do not dislike, or have an apathetic feeling toward a single track. Considering this is their first album, they have done an amazing job. Although I have many favourite albums from 2009, I’d have to say this one is at the top of my list. Florence incorporates such an eclectic variety of musical stylings, along with a unique vocal storytelling that I get the impression that I’m listening to Kate Bush. Like the idiosyncratic Kate (trust me I know how cliched that sounds), Florence uses a wide variety instruments, (including a harp, how amazing is that?) and at times makes me want to cry, rejoice in euphoria, or get into a fight with someone at others. Cosmic Love and Between Two Lungs are definitely my favourite tracks from the album; both are very simple, but in their simplicity weave a magical sound that I cannot fully justify through words (so go check it out for yourself). Dog Days Are Over is another great song that really makes me happy and want to go out into the world and live life to the fullest. To Florence; I commend you on your album Lungs.


4. Fantasies – Metric

Metric has been a favourite of mine for some time now, and in my eyes, Emily Haines and the boys are gods. Fantasies is their fourth album and it is full of goodies. I’ve always admired Metric for their incorporation of indie rock/synthesizers/melodic tunes/Haine’s smooth-as-ice vocals, and this album is no different. The band really took their time writing this album and I think this is reflected in the lyrics, vocals and overall zest. Twilight Galaxy is a song for the dreamers among us, for the downtrodden who have been subjected to the ‘voice of capitalism’ telling them they should conform and do the typical (go to school, graduate, look for a job). I think Twilight Galaxy was the first song I fell in love with; its simplicity and lyrical magic are captivating and make me feel as though not all is lost… I can still follow my heart and dreams. Similarly, the song Gold Guns Girls is a great song which really condemns capitalistic society and really makes you question the Western Hemisphere’s manner of living- greed and overconsuption; I think the lyric “is it ever gonna be enough?” sums it up. On a completely different note, Satellite Mind is another great song; although the tempo is fast and the guitar riffs are heavy, you get the sense that this song is really about a loss, and yearning for someone. Basically, Metric has impressed me yet again, and I tip my hat off to Ms. Haines for sneaking in her advocacy on certain political issues.


5. La Roux – La Roux

As I blogged at an earlier date, La Roux is fantastic. Their self-titled debut makes me want to dance every time it comes on, regardless of how awkward I feel and subsequently everyone around me feel. This is another band that has mastered the 1980s synth/electropop revival. Of course, as with most people, my favourite track on the album is Bulletproof. The song has a certain universality about it that almost anyone can related to; the song doesn’t necessarily have to be interpreted as a relationship song, but can also be applied to almost anything from friendship, work, school, etc. It doesn’t hurt that the song has a great beat and makes me want to dance my arse off (I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s my favourite track, according to my official iTunes playlist, I’ve listened to it a total of 190 times make that 191 times). Although some people may not enjoy the falsetto in In For The Kill, it is in my opinion another great track. It’s simple and is a statement of what we all wish we could do with ease; seize the opportunity and just go out and get what we want. Also, on a more personal note, this band is great live; Elly (the frontwoman) is full of energy and gets the crowd riled up, and is also a pretty great dancer. I expect great things from this band, and so should you!


6. Music For Men – (The) Gossip

Here’s another great band that I think more people should know about. The Gossip has been at it (music scene) for some time now, and their latest album Music For Men is pretty great. I’m not sure whether it’s Beth Ditto’s gospel/soul/funk filled voice or the bands eclectic feel (and great drumming on Blilie’s part/ great guitar and bass playing on Paine’s part), but something about their music just clicks with me. Whenever I listen to a song like Dimestore Diamond, I get a little more swagger in my step and feel like I can conquer the world. Heavy Cross is another great, a harder edged love ballad perhaps? Finally, for me the song Spare Me From the Mold is a favourite… it’s sort of empowering. So what are you waiting for? Go get Music For Men!


7. Sainthood – Tegan and Sara

Finally, what kind of ‘Best of 2009′ music review would it be if I didn’t mention Tegan and Sara? Sainthood is the lovely ladies’ sixth studio release and is jam packed with some great tunes. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of the album (to all T&S fans, please don’t kill me for that statement), but with time I grew to fully enjoy the album. This album was the first time the sisters wrote together, and it produced a very unique feeling album. Sainthood’s dischordant yet melodic sound reels you in slowly and gets you hooked. The Ocean is by far my favourite on the album for it’s vulnerability and honesty; who hasn’t, in some point in their life, wished that certain someone hadn’t fallen out of love with you or vice versa? Second to The Ocean, for me is Alligator; the song is well written and composed and is made all that much better by Sara’s vocal sytlings- not only is she a great singer (pfft, like that even needed to be said) but her voice is very cute on this track. Overall, this album is another great addition from Tegan and Sara to add to my music collection. So yes, I do think Tegan and Sara need to be canonized so they finally get their Sainthood status!

Overall, 2009 was an amazing year musically; my ears have been listening to all the aforementioned albums on repeat and haven’t really grown tired of any of them. If you haven’t given a listen to these albums, or for that matter have not even heard of these bands, now is the time to check them out. On another note, I feel that Dragonette’s release of Fixin’ To Thrill deserves an honourable mention; the entire album is packed full of fun, dance-y songs that you would appreciate if you like electronica. So what am I looking forward to in 2010? I am anticipating the release of New Young Pony Club’s newest album which is due out sometime in March. Give a listen to their first track from the new album here.

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Tegan and Sara

I should be in bed. I have class in the morning. Alas, I am not tired.

The Super Twins

In just 8 short days, yes that is EIGHT days, I will be seeing something so amazing, so fantastic, so mind blowingly awesome that I might not recover (if I don’t recover, sell this house and find something lost outside your window, not forever). What could I possibly be referring to? Oh I don’t know, possibly one of my favourite bands ever? Oh yeah, that’s it. After a long 8 year relationship with the Quin Twins, I finally get to see them live. This has always been a dream of mine, seeing them live, but it never came to fruition until now.

So why exactly do I like them you ask? Well first of all, they write really good songs; lyrically they’re clever and creative, rhythmically/musically they’re naturals. Secondly, I relish the fact that they are a Canadian band. I like to throw my support behind good Canadian acts when I can, and so should you (while you’re at it check out Metric, Stars, Lights, Dragonette)! Thirdly, though I have never seen then in concert, like most of Tegan and Sara’s fans I am quite obsessed loyal and watch videos of them playing live, and their onstange banter is quite something. Basically, go listen to their stuff if you’ve never heard it before… or else!

Reppin' Australia

On a final note, the band An Horse will be supporting Tegan and Sara on their Canadian tour. I discovered them over the summer and have also quite enjoyed their music! I even bought their album off of iTunes so if you’re cute I can look into sending the songs to you.

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La Roux, La Roux, La Roux is on fire!

This past summer was a bust for me, but through all the dim and grim I managed to find a really great two-act electro pop band. I’m referring of course, to La Roux. The day before my birthday (a milestone of a birthday at that) I was strolling through the streets of Montreal when I heard some kickin’ tunes coming from the nearby Osheaga concert. Of course the sound was somewhat muffled seeing as how I was very far away from the source, but I definitely liked what I heard. I recognized one of the songs playing and after months of putting off my investigation I decided I would look into a little band called La Roux.

When I returned home I did all that I could to find information on these guys. Eventually I ended up downloading (legally, as in I bought it) the band’s self titled debut album and boy was I blown away. It was like music to my ears. Literally. The whole 80’s revivalist trend really kills it when it’s done right, and let’s just say it; La Roux goes in for the kill and nails it!! Do you like that awesome reference, do you? La Roux reference #6.

Not only is La Roux cranking out sweet tunes, but the front woman Elly Jackson also has an amazing sense of style (at least in my opinion). She knows how to do the 1980’s just right. From the Flock of Seagulls inspired hairdo to the bright, bold patterns she wears, this girl is stylin’.

In my quest for all things La Roux, I came across this blog;

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The Times They Are A-Changin’

New Media!

New Media!

Everyday I wake up, roll out of my comfy bed, and after a few moments of bumbling grogginess I make my way over to my computer desk. Once I’ve sat myself down, I start up my laptop and open iTunes. I’ll choose some music to listen to, and depending on what kind of mood I’m in I’ll listen to peppy or mellow songs, as I get ready for the day. After I’ve made and consumed some delicious breakfast in a gluttonous fashion, I then hit the shower.

After a magical transformation, I become all prettified and I’ll sit down at my computer yet again and sign into MSN and log onto my Hotmail and Facebook accounts. Score! Lots of friends are online, let’s start chatting. Awesome! I’ve got 2, 330, 876 e-mails from Facebook telling me people have written on my wall, poked me, and my friends statuses tell me Lacquisha and Angus have broken up. Rad! I can now see the millions of notifications of things people have done to me on Facebook, that I so needed to hear about through e-mail. Then I’ll reach for my cell phone and see if I have any missed calls or texts. Sweet! Meaghan has texted me to see if I’m going to be in class, since I’m already 45 minutes late. Woops. I then hurry up, I don’t want to disrupt class by walking in too late, so I switch into super-sonic, warp speed (think cheetah). As I’m putting on my coat, scarf and shoes in a hurry I nearly always forget my iPod. How silly, I can’t live without it- my iPod and I are practically symbiotic… except when I forget it… So I put my earbuds in and scroll through the list of artists and finally decide on… Bob Dylan! Ha you thought I was going to say Lady GaGa! With my iPod in my back pocket, my cell phone in my front pocket, and my computer in my bag, I make my way to the bus stop with a smile on my face, feeling fulfilled by all of my electronic gadgets which make up this thing called ‘new media’.

The point of my personal anecdote was to demonstrate how people of today, and more specifically youths, use of new media (I dare you to say that 10x fast). It is part of our every day lives, it surrounds us wherever we go. So what exactly is it, and what can it do for us?

Throughout the semester I have been reading about, using, analyzing and dissecting any form of new media that is readily available. I have learned a lot about new media; so in short, I’ll give you a recap.

BLOGGING:

Blogging gives everyone the opportunity to let their inner thoughts be heard, without the repercussions of being stigmatized for their beliefs. Celebrity blogs are entertaining and a good tool for procrastination, and have also been legitimized through their shift from TV and magazines to the web.

FILE SHARING:

With peer-to-peer file sharing, we can share everything as one collective. The idea of ownership and property is becoming almost inconsequential. In a way, the digital world/digital global village is a Communist playground.

IDENTITY:

Young adults who use the internet can experiment with their identities through the creation of a fake persona or alter egos, at a time when they are first just coming into their own. It has its positives and negatives.

CYBER BULLYING:

A major drawback to youths using the internet, cell phones, and new media in general… People can now be reached whenever, wherever and it makes it easier for jerks to bully others. There are a number of new ways in which one can be bullied thanks to new media.

KIDS USING NEW MEDIA:

Children are more often than not using computers. What computers offer is an educational distraction. So are children too young to use computers? Should children be allowed to use computers when they can’t even tie their shoes?

NORMALIZATION OF THE INTERNET:

Originally, many within the corporate sector believed that the internet would continue to crack the Capitalist whip, and that the mass audience would bow their heads and consume. Boy did that backfire on them… With the internet there has been a shift within the mass audience, no longer are we blindly consuming; we’re now the ones generating content. Anyone who has access to a computer can do it.

VIDEO GAMES:

Again, it was assumed that the mass audience was passive, but we’ve broken free from those chains and gone from passivity and moved into activity. The evolution of the video game demonstrates the collective’s thirst for interactive media. Plus, viva le Pac-Man.

MODERN DAY STUDENTS:

As with all things, new media technology has it’s pro’s and con’s. Since the introduction of things like cell phones, iPods and laptops, youths/students have become increasingly anti-social, distracted, and have a constant need to be entertained. This however is just another change, not something horrible- it can be overcome if the archaic structure of the teaching-learning system is re-evaluated and modified.

SOCIAL NETWORKING:

Social networks have drastically changed our concept of social activity and socializing. We are a society that seems to be more anti-social when dealing with face-to-face situations, but were are more social on cyber space. Is it then that we are anti-social or simply redefining the idea of socializing?

FAME:

In a fame-driven society where vanity, narcissism, and material wealth seems to be of utmost importance (I’m really not this cynical, honestly), is it really a surprise you can find millions of videos on YouTubes where people display their talents in hopes of becoming famous? Not really. However, what YouTube has given us is a chance to display our uniqueness and our sameness- we can all related to something or someone on YouTube, so it’s not all negative. We can very easily demonstrate our creative expression online.

I think Dr. Serajul I. Bhuiyan gives a nice summation of new media when he/she (I’m terribly sorry, I have no idea if that is a male or female name) says;

Maximizing free speech and the free flow of information in on-line and interactive media is emphasized in western democracy. Interactive media, unlike mass media, feature abundant bandwidth, diverse programming, and increased control by users over programming they receive and information with which they interact. These characteristics of new media increasingly undermine past rationales and future effectiveness of government speech content restrictions which have dominated the mass media. Interactive media requires alternative, less intrusive, means — often relying on technology rather than content regulation — for achieving public ends.”

So there you have it. New media in a nutshell… Overall, new media in my opinion seems to have more positive effects on the world than it does negative. Whatever the case, technological revolutions will undoubtedly come and go and in my lifetime there will be even further advancements in new media. The only thing we can do is hope for the best and acknowledge that we have to adapt. For it is as Bob Dylan says, ‘the times they are-a changin’.”

Just for fun, you can listen to the song ‘The Times They Are-A Chanin’ here:

The Times They Are-A Changin\’ by Bob Dylan

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