June 26, 2009

Annie Clark (a.k.a. St. Vincent) presented "Marrow" on the Late Show with David Letterman the other night. This standout track from Actor is performed to perfection with a sizzling horn section, full of urgency. There's no denying it now. Clark is ridiculously talented. Even her seizured guitar-playing is adorably badass.

June 25, 2009

Click HERE for a recent article by Slavoj Zizek on the Iranian revolution, brought to you by Infinite Thought.

June 19, 2009

alone at the microphone

I woke up late and had, of course, neglected to prepare a lunch to bring with me to work, so I cranked up CBC radio and lo and behold, the host of the Current was discussing the so-called "New Atheism." My ears perked and the next thing I heard, Terry Eagleton was being introduced. What followed was a frustrating, if not unfortunately executed interview that did little to help Eagleton's cause or promote his new book. Obviously, national radio isn't necessarily a comfortable place for someone like Eagleton, and his argument did come through in fragments, but for the most part (and although I largely agree with Eagleton) I tended to sympathize with the host, who tried his damnedest to keep his guest on track and get something relatively straightforward out of him. Simple questions like "do you pray" or "do you believe" were continuously sidestepped and, though Eagleton is right to point out that such questions unfairly presume reductive "yes" or "no" responses he could have at least been a bit more courteous and resisted drawing attention to the "ignorance" of basically everyone who is not a theologian. Seriously man, after making such a huge deal about the "smugness" and "arrogance" people like Hitchins and Dawkins employ, you might want to tone down your own intellectual elitism - and for the love of God, lose the witty analogies. Here's a link to the interview if you're interested. Go to part three.

Things, however, did improve. The program ended with a song by Guelph's folk heroes, Royal City. And to my surprise, the reason for there presence had to do with a certain "theological" development in their story. Their leader, Aaron Riches, broke up the band in 2004 when he left to purse a Ph D. in theology under the supervision of John Milbank at the University of Virgina. Here's an interview with Riches on his intellectual life and the life of Royal City. The band was signed to the now dismantled Three Gut Records which also housed Cuff the Duke and my personal favourites, the Constantines. Asthmatic Kitty will be releasing a collection of b-sides by Royal City in the very near future.

June 16, 2009

The Polaris Prize long-list has just been posted. Could this be Chad VanGaalen's year?

Come with me if you want to live

I’m not quoting from the Gospels, but I probably should be. I made the wise decision to devote last Monday (rain and all) to the pinnacle of ‘90s sci-fi/action movies: Terminator 2: Judgment Day. How did I let it slip by me all these years? I'll never watch a movie the same way again. “No fate but what you make. The future’s not set.” See K-Punk for further ruminations on the franchise's latest manifestation, Terminator 4: Salvation. I've heard T3 is worth bypassing.

Sky Net, Judgment Day, the future of things to come. I apologize for the Russian overdubbing, but this scene is hilarious and heartwarming, sort of.

If machines can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too. Then we'll all look like idiots together.

I’ve been converted.

June 11, 2009


Though his debut EP, Curtain Speech, left me skeptical, DM Stith's mammoth full length, Heavy Ghost, is forcing me to eat my words. It's definitely worth your time and patience. Trust me. First active as a visual artist, Stith recently found his place in Brooklyn, where he became friends with Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond who later introduced him to labelmate Sufjan Stevens. After hearing Stith’s material, Worden and Stevens convinced him to begin recording and the rest was history. Asthmatic Kitty lucks out again.

Unlike the all too short Curtain Speech EP, Heavy Ghost finds Stith stretching his sound into a frenetic ebb and flow of strings and keys. Tribal pounding meets choral swirls on “Creekmouth," while “Pigs” finds Stith’s falsetto full of versatility. There's a hallowed atmosphere on Heavy Ghost, and, conceptually, Stith couldn’t have done a better job aligning his aesthetic approach with his subject matter. “Spirit Parade” is a case in point. It's exactly the unstructured mess it ought to be. Heavy Ghost is, without question, a harrowing trek, not least for Stith himself, who you can hear exorcising his demons and coming to terms with the strangeness of his spiritual homecoming. Check him out. He even has a blog and he's way more regular than I am.

June 9, 2009

stop making sense

The new issue of Stylus has finally arrived. Be sure to check out Jeff Friesen's write-up on Grizzly Bear and their new album Veckatimest (which, apart from the new Dirty Projectors album, is practically all I'm listening to) and his interview with the Sea and Cake, who will be hitting Winnipeg later this month to headline Jazz Fest.

There's plenty of new music to get excited about these days and one album that I fear may be unfairly overlooked is Here We Go Magic's eponymous debut, which came out a few months back. It's a richly textured album that rewards repeated listens, but one song in particular is an absolute stunner. "Tunnelvision" starts out humbly (perhaps around a campfire), but before you know it the song envelopes you. Part stream-of-consciousness, part trance, "Tunnelvision's" pulsating rhythm and the chaos it conjures are hard to get out of your head. The song begins innocently and evolves into something totally dangerously closed off, even schizophrenic. "Tunnelvision" follows a process of estrangement: from the familiar to the frightening. Memory can be so disorienting.

June 5, 2009

June 3, 2009

View from the East, no. II

My roommate and I find are always finding new ways to pass the time. The image above is the second installment of our collaborative (semi-autobiographical) comic series entitled View from the East. We split the writing and drawing fifty-fifty because we love equality. Here's the link to our first issue.