Monday, January 08, 2007

It's like Soul, man.

Guided By Voices - Don't Stop Now
Jeff Mangum - Engine
Yo La Tengo - Tom Courtenay

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Once...they Danced

Monday, August 28, 2006

By Which We Should Live

A suburb of Brugge, Belgium.

Walking from the Bauhaus, past the windmills, over the drawbridge and
under the fortified walls; my surroundings change. Our guide, whose
mother was once Robert Plant's lover, leads us out of the medieval village
and into the vast expanse of suburban Belgium. A labyrinth of forested
walkways and curving sidewalks, my bearings are hazy at best; shot-gunning
those 12% Dubuisson Bush might not have been the best idea. My friend and I came across our strange guide outside the hostel and were persuaded to follow him home after promises of top-notch 'green'.

So we follow, all inhibitions set aside [by the windmill] to be gathered again at dawn. We arrive at a tall house settled on the corner of a deserted street. As we approach the door I glance over at my friend, the moonlight glints off my eyes as he smiles and shrugs; we enter. Inside, our guide leads us upstairs to a room brimming with memorabilia. Countless records fill shelves and books collect dust in every corner. I sit back and sip on a beer; talk ranges from the progression of soul music to 9/11 and its impacts this side of the Atlantic. We share our pasts; tales of exploits and excesses are reborn in the small living room of that corner house: past the windmills, over the drawbridge - and just down the path.

"...DJ Jeannie Hopper never misses with liquid love...Mark Farina at Cafe D'Anvers (Dream Machine)...The 'In Crowd'? Yeah, the story of
Northern Soul has a real groove to it..."

Night is the time when all this seemingly unimportant thought comes together to form an unexpected revelation of who you are and how you got that way. I guess that's why night hawks and street rats stick together.
Talk stops.
"I want to show you guys something."
"Follow me."
"Why don't you just tell us?"
"Follow Me."
I look at my friend and use my eyes to ask, "What is he on about?"
Standing, we exit the comfortable room and enter a colder hallway.
He jumps up and grabs a rope on the ceiling, an attic staircase slides
noisily to the carpet and stops with a bang. Now I'm really sweating,
is it his machete that he wants to show us? Am I going to end up in
8 pieces? All of a sudden the rashness of my actions slaps me in the
face, I don't even know this dude, he could be a veritable Belgian
psychopath! Why am I not back at the Bauhaus speaking broken Dutch
to sexy Belgian girls? FUCK. He slowly climbs the staircase, it creaks
with every step, I stand at the bottom alongside my friend. I nudge him
to go first but he steps back and begrudgingly glares at me in the dark
-NOT A CHANCE. I see two eyes peering down, mischievously beckoning,
"Follow me." The staircase disappears in the gloom above; I take the first
step. Is this the end? Probably not, but I'm terrified nonetheless. A light
seers my eyes, this is the brightest attic I've ever come across. I take two
more steps and the odour hits me. Turning back I grin at my friend
behind me, "Come On!"
Groove Armada - Hands of Time
This music starts playing. It emerges out of the attic, beckoning us
to listen. We all groove amongst the vegetation, slowly grasping that
we are hearing a song potent enough to change life's course.
The music becomes its own lifeforce, yet it remains in pace with my own. The
lights glare, the fans blow, the leaves brush my face. The wind in the attic
swirls that Voice through the plants and into my ears. I perspire in time with
the baseline, every note as crisp as it is natural. This green, attic world
moves in slow-motion; everything is hazy in that happy-glowing kind of way. The
scent intoxicates me as I jive through my organic surroundings, I can only
smile. I could write pages about that moment, about how I was soulful and
complete; but when it comes down to it, you had to be there. It was all in the song, and in the attic of course.

Never had my emotional range teetered so completely in such a short time. Opposite ends of the spectrum: mortal terror and utter joy arising within moments of each other. When contrasting feelings hit so close that they overlap, a rare thing transpires and an abnormal capacity to 'feel' can emerge. This must be what happened, because I'll never forget that night, it somehow meant so much more than it should have.

You know how people fall victim to their own uncertainties? They question every action and decision; always wondering how things 'could've been'. Lost in a downward spiral of hesitation and distrust, life can become a meager, paltry fixation. "If only I'd...I wish I hadn't...Why didn't I just...?" In that attic my past was given unconditional merit; it was clear that all of my prior choices and impulses had culminated in my arrival here: halfway across the world, beside a stranger and a friend, hearing that beautiful song and feeling that soulful bliss.
At that second all of my regrets were annulled.
Later, sitting by the windmill, inhibitions renewed but noticeably diminished, I knew something big had come to pass. My life had changed course; I had made it so, or was it the song?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Smoggy Smog Smog Smog

Music videos? Most are just half-ass attempts at weakly choreographed soft-porn. With the current state of Muchmusic/MTV, music (ironically) seems to be getting shafted on its own "music" television; while unutterably terrible reality TV has taken over. Pimp My Ride? Suck my dick X-Zibitch. How come the Wedge on Much gets 30 min. on Friday nights and "Yo Mama" seems to be airing 24/7? I don't even care anymore, Youtube is the new Music Television [well, sorta], so here are a few videos I thought people should see. Question is, do they hold a match to the new Paris Hilton video?

Smog - I feel like the mother of the world

Beck - Deadweight (Michel Gondry)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Why? Cause Everything is Great That's Why.

So you're outside, and your reading the most wonderful story (the kind that just goes on and on and becomes your own secret to be forever shared with the people you love), and the hot hot sun is shining on your warm skin. Your sweat beads and hits the sand just before you canonball into the lake. Your head submerged, you see millions of tiny bubbles swimming around your body. The light catches them and it seems that all your thought is bathed in sparkly goodness. Rising, you break the surface of the water and hear in the distance some sweet soul yell - "Don't you just love it all?" Yes, I fucking do my brother. And then it dawns on your once-deemed meager mind that is now only full of sparkling, crackling brightness - Art is not merely a decoration placed upon human life, it's an expression; and your life is beautiful cause the whole thing is art at its most basic - its most Real. Greatness isn't just for the elite, cause its often the simple ones who fathom what the 'smart' people falsify. Yeah, of course...How come I didn't think of that before? You dive backwards into the water, clasping the ball hurled from a mile off with a spectacular left-handed catch. WHOA! Then the drum comes in at 3:13 and you know it all, every last bit. Life's not worth shit without that beat, and you're confident now cause you know it'll always be pulsing inside of you.
Peace the fuck out.
Lenola - Jet Row
Sugarboom - Rock Star

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Moving on...

A lonely place for a lonely man.
This song is by Kid Koala who is definitly worth your time.
Why not check out his myspace?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Perfect Day for Bananafish

Read this story written by J.D. Salinger for The New Yorker in 1948, and later published in his 1953 collection: Nine Stories. Read it not just for the captivating ending, but also for the perfection achieved so rarely in short story writing. Seymour Glass and his young friend Sybil come alive through Salinger's words; every word spoken is so natural that it is almost expected by the reader. Real life can't be described with words you say? Well Salinger gets pretty damn close here. The interactions between an old sick man and a young child at the beach are written so sincerely that it is hard to look away from the text; their casual conversation drawing you in with its utter realism.
" From the late 60's he [Salinger] has avoided publicity. Journalists have assumed, that because he doesn't give interviews, he has something to hide. In 1961 Time Magazine sent a team of reporters to investigate his private life. "I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure," said Salinger in 1974 to a New York Times correspondent. However, according to Joyce Maynard, who was close to the author for a long time from the 1970s, Salinger still writes, but nobody is allowed to see the work." (read more)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Smoke and Mirrors.

As the curtains parted and the countless rows of bloodthirsty self-righteous onlookers were unleashed upon me, my small, startled form shook with uncontrollable fear. My whole being was up for judgment; placed high on a platform under a spotlight, sentenced to be dissected to death. But as I stood there, preparing myself for the inevitable last release of breath, I realized the TRUTH. I felt the flow, the rhythm: my path was clear. Joy spiralled in from all directions; tears poured forth with vigour as some unknown force siphoned into my being. My eyes set forward, seeing with an unfamiliar confidence that had nearly been lost forever. Cold as crystal and warm as a lover's hand, my soul was re-united with the elements it had sprung from at the beginning of time. My limbs seethed with control, sinews clenched with newfound strength. Jaw opening I found myself screaming with a passion so foreign it was a re-birth of all that was once good inside of me. My feet left the floor, I soared over all the meaningless, lifeless, uninteresting fools who had done the least they could to help. I will never ease up, and I will not be fooled again.

RJD2 - Smoke and Mirrors

I don't know what they're saying?

A very busy weekend, friday night brought me to Wallace Film Studios at Bloor and Lansdowne for an oldskool event: Dillinja, Skream and Lemon D. I will post more about friday night soon; 'cause today I felt like writing about some foreign music. Have you ever met someone who hates music without lyrics? They just can't see the skill in crafting a song without words, assuming that no lyrics=no message. To these people I try and explain that music is sound, and that music lacking lyrics can deliver beautiful melodies regardless. When listening to music in another language, the musical barriers that normally divide us are removed. No longer are we worrying if the lyrics are too preachy, too lame or too trivial. When I hear a song in Spanish, I can only think about how that language is a song: every sentence music to my ears. I'm going to post a few songs, great ones for those summer mixes everyone makes. The first couple are by Manu Chao, a truly multi-national singer, he was born in Paris to Spanish parents and offers a unique blend of French/Latin folk music. The other song is by French acoustic band Tryo, who were introduced to me by some Belgian friends a few years ago.

Manu Chao- Clandestino
Manu Chao - Desparecido

Manu Chao - Lagrimas de Oro

Tryo - L'hyme de nos Campagnes

I was in France at La Route du Rock festival in St. Malo - 2005. I had just spent three days camping alongside thousands of other festival-goers and watching such bands as Sonic Youth, the Cure, Yo La Tengo and Animal Collecitve. At the end of it all I packed my bag and sat on a country road waiting for a bus to the train station. Hundreds of people sitting in the sun, all looking out over the serene french countryside, and some kid from Jersey UK had Manu Chao playing on his ghetto blaster. This was the first time I had heard his music and at that perfect moment I knew it would not be my last.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Today: Wolf Parade!

A quick post to see if my server is working... looks like... It is!
Great band Wolf Parade, i'm sure most have heard of them, if not, then take a listen... This particular song is an epic one to say the least. If you're in need of something to remind you of music's awesomeness then listen UP! Sounding like a balladesque war cry/indie rock anthem/timeless musical statement all rolled into one, I'm sure it won't dissapoint.
My tickets for their August 5th show at the Phoenix arrived in the mail today. They're playing with the Frog Eyes who I'll save for a later post.

Wolf Parade - I'll Believe in Anything

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

In the beginning...

So there's a new blog in town, and not just any blog either. "Sweetest Belief" will one day reign as the greatest blog on the web! (as if) But I am anticipating the site's slow progression from nothingness into...somethingness. There will be a group of contributors, each offering their own insights into music (primarily), art, film and life; but at the moment it's just me: Charles from Toronto. Please check back frequently, as posts will soon appear that are more interesting than this one.