Friday, October 03, 2003


In a blaze of mediocre downloading-speed and regular trips to my local CD shoppe, I have rejoined the world of new music. New music is a very precious thing. It's so easy to slip into a pattern of complacency and sleepy closed-mindedness. And the next thing you know, you're more out of style than moustaches. Let's be honest, here. Once you reach your mid-twenties, you're one step away from some future equivalent of that guy who you see on street corners today, rocking out to David Lee Roth with ratty, hair-sprayed mullet to match.

I'm still torn between two major sides of my music-listening persona. On one hand, I like my music hard, fast, a little rough around the edges, but full of heart and energy. On the other, I like stuff that's intricate, polished, melodic, and catchy, the kind of stuff that normally would make the other side of me cringe. So is it a problem that I'll go from listening to something like The Strokes or The Hives and then calmly switch over to Radiohead or Coldplay? I'm sure it has confused a lot of people over the years.

Another great thing is that I have friends who also have diverse tastes in music. Doesn't mean we always agree, of course. But every once in a while, I get a recommendation that I can't help but love. And being the nice guy that I am, I pass it on when I can.

So what's been gracing my various music-listening devices in the last little while?

Mike and Matt have been raving about a Vancouver-based band called Metric for months now, but I haven't had much luck finding their music up until recently. And believe it or not, it came to me. My girlfriend Stacey brought it home after falling in love with a b-side track on the newest Delerium album, starring the vocal talents of a certain Emily Haines. And Metric's album, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? is every bit as good as they said it was. I can't wait to see them live (and anyone who knows about a show happening close-by had better call to let me know!). Metric grabs you right from the beginning. Emily's voice is one of the best I've heard in a while and the music is so melodic and rhythmic that you can't keep yourself from dancing. It's sugary and treads that thin line between pop and art that defies you to classify it as either one. Support your Canadian music scene and check them out next time they're in town. And if you're interested in the CD, I've seen it as low as $13. HIGHLY recommended at any price.

Matt also turned me on to a new band called Athlete, which I managed to sample for the first time today. I have already fallen for a song called "You Got the Style," and judging by the little bit I've heard so far, it's by far some of the very best music to come out of the UK in the past year. It's not straight-ahead brit-pop fare, it's a bit catchier and a bit edgier, a young sound from and up-and-coming band. Good luck finding the CD in Canada, though. The cheapest I've seen it for so far has been $30+, but I'm going to keep looking.

On the edgier side, I recently picked up A Perfect Circle's new disc, The Thirteenth Step and in many respects it's much stronger than their last, possibly thanks to the recent addition of former Smashing Pumpkins guitar-guru James Iha to the line-up (or so I'd like to think). Maynard's vocals are strong and introspective like always, and although many people miss (ex-ZWAN) Paz Lenchantin's feminine touch on bass, the rest of the line-up compensates, including Danny Lohner (aka Twiggy Ramirez, Ex-Marilyn Manson) on guitar. I find the tracks a bit more accessible, way more melodic, and overall, it's a more unified album as a whole. It's also softer, making it a bit less engaging. But hey, it's hard to find fault with their first single, "Weak and Powerless". Go ahead, you can find this one anywhere. Even Wal-Mart, if you're that unimaginative.

Oh yeah, speaking of ZWAN, they're finished. Billy Corgan pulled the plug on the project just recently and vows to do some solo stuff. Personally, I'm not holding my breath anymore.

And just today, we found out that Muse has a new album called Absolution, released in late September. We're having some trouble tracking this one down in Canada. Special-order only and over $36 so far. Check out "Time is Running Out" and "Stockholm Syndrome" to get a taste on where they're going with this one, or see their official site for an online version of "Apocalypse Please" (Flash required). And according to Mike, Travis has a new disc AND a concert on the 31st of October in Toronto (spooky). Of course, I found out too late again and it's sold out. One of these days I'm gonna find someone who'll keep me in the loop with Toronto concerts so that I actually have time to get some tickets. If anyone hears even a WHISPER of a Jamiroquai or Muse show in Toronto or elsewhere nearby, I'd better be the first to know. Or else!

Ahhhhh, empty threats, does a body good!


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