Bend Sinister Is One of Vancouver’s Best Bands

On my way home from a grocery run tonight I heard Bend Sinister’s song Things Will Get Better on The Peak. I saw Bend Sinister a few months back when they played at UBC with the Paper Lions (another of my favorites who I discovered last year) and was totally hooked. Their sound is something like an updated Supertramp. Before you think I’ve lost my mind, realize that I don’t like Supertramp at all but Bend Sinister takes their sound and makes it amazing.

There’s a video of them on Edmonton’s Breakfast Television show where they play that same song. Skip forward to the 5:00 minute mark if you want to get straight there, otherwise enjoy their opening song, Change Your Mind, that I quite like too.

Tomorrow Dave rolls in to give me a hand putting new shelves and such into my closets. I’ll be able to hang stuff up in my place! Pandemonium! Dogs and cats living together!

Wedding Shows, Vegan Cupcakes, and Underground Jazz Venues

Lots of stuff happened yesterday. It started out with me skipping a workout (again! need to stop doing that) and monkeying with some Ruby on Rails (geek stuff). I pulled it together in time to go see Chris Guillebeau talk at Chapters about his recently-published book The Art of Non Conformity. He’s a cool guy and I liked his message. I’m all about making your own decisions and not being worried about what everyone else does so it was inspiring to see what he had to say and hear how he’s crafted his life. He’s working towards his goal of travelling to every country in the world which is incredibly cool. I have different goals but it’s always fun to see someone else kick ass and do what they want.

After Chapters I snuck in to the Indie I Do show that Reilly and Miranda and their friends in Lotus Events put on every year at Heritage Hall on Main Street. There’s always cool stuff to check out there even if you’re not in the market for getting married and it’s fun to check it out every year. I met up with Dave there too and we went down to Zigz for a rice bowl before I headed towards Krista and Patrick’s for their housewarming.

Met some new people at Krista and Patricks and had fun there. They’re friends of Sharon so I don’t know many people in their social circle. I did manage to alert a couple of Pixies fans to the tickets going on sale on Friday for the May 3 show at the Orpheum.

Then I went down to Shanman’s where there was a group of friends watching the hockey game. We abandoned that after the third period started and went down to the Factory on Granville to watch the rest of the game and listen to my high school soundtrack being spun by the DJ afterwards. Seriously, Pantera, Iron Maiden, Guns n’ Roses, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers were in heavy rotation once the game ended. Guys who run the bar must be in their mid-30’s.

Finally we wheeled over to this communal art space on Granville that hosts jazz shows to help cover their monthly lease payments. You have to find a backdoor in an alcove off the alleyway and then ring a buzzer that’s been mounted on the roof above your head. The whole thing felt very speakeasy-like which is what I enjoy most about the place. It’s $5 to get in and $5 for cans of Bowen Island beer sold out of a fridge in the back. The space is set up with an assortment of 70’s-era couches and chairs that looked as though they’d been liberated from a consignment store and all the furniture is arranged in a semicircle around the small stage where some of Vancouver’s most talented improvised jazz musicians play. I love going there and the band that played last night was very, very good.

Shanman also gave me a copy of the book Girls To the Front – The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution, which documents the feminist punk movement of the 1990s, many bands from which have remained my all-time favorites (Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, and Bratmobile in particular). I’ve been reading obsessively ever since I got home last night and it’s getting me thinking about making music again.

Also, on Friday, I got lucky and managed to get Pixies tickets from their presale after they had to reschedule the presale twice because the volume of traffic from eager fans stampeding to their website kept overloading their servers. Tickets sold out in minutes and out of everyone that I know who tried to get some I was the only one who was lucky enough to be able to purchase any before they were sold out.  Fortunately it was only the first 20 rows that were being sold so I imagine most people will be able to pick them up when the rest are sold on Friday at 10am.

Rdio.com is my new music hookup

I finally jumped on to rdio.com with a $5 a month subscription which lets me stream whatever music I want from their site. What I like most is you can see what your friends are listening to and discover new music that way. In the past week I’ve been turned on to the new Dead Weather album (so awesome!) and some new bands: Slartybarfast, Blood Red Shoes, and a shoegazer/wall-of-sound band called Darker My Love. There are some albums by Mercury Rev and Gang of Four that I’ve finally listened to as well. I should’ve been listening to both those bands years ago but didn’t bother for whatever reason.

The biggest win with rdio is I can listen to new music immediately. So the other day I was thinking, “I should check out Mercury Rev.” Normally I’d go to their myspace page and give them a listen and maybe download an album to see if I like it. Now I just hop onto rdio, do a search, and satisfy my curiosity right away. No more messing around trying to find albums on torrent sites or digging though a disjointed pile of songs on a myspace playlist.

There are some albums that aren’t on rdio. Tegan and Sara albums before The Con are all missing and there’s no Paper Lions to speak of. Paper Lions I can understand, but really, So Jealous isn’t on your music list? Let’s hope they fix that soon. These omissions aren’t terrible though. I still have my iTunes with my favorite albums and I use that when I’m at home. Rdio is more a tool of discovery for me.

It’s Been One Year

Today marks Sharon and my first anniversary of being a couple! We’re going to go out for dinner tonight and spend the evening together.

So much has happened in the last year. Looking back on 2010 I hit a number of significant life changes. I started work with a new company, got a new girlfriend, spent the first year in my newly-purchased condo, quit playing drums (and quit the excellent band known as My Friend Lisa), embraced a vegetarian diet, and made the first moves towards a more minimalist lifestyle. Oh and I quit biting my nails too. That’s a habit I’ve had ever since I can remember and it’s finally been broken.

Not much has happened in the meantime. I’ve been feeling a little blah so I haven’t got up to much outside of the eat/sleep/work routine.

Listening to the Paper Lions EP from last year, Trophies. I think it was one of the best releases of 2010 and it remains in heavy rotation in my playlist. What other bands put out great albums last year?  Hannah Georgas, Paper Lions, Bend Sinister, Quasi, and the Corin Tucker Band.

Most anticipated album for 2011: Wild Flag, Janet and Carrie from Sleater-Kinney with friends. Should be amazing. Strange trivia: Mary Timony and Carrie, both in Wild Flag, where once in a Priceline commercial starring William Shatner. They were Bill’s backing band while he covered Two Tickets to Paradise.

I’m Totally Wired!

I haven’t updated in about a month so this will be a grab-bag of stuff that happened. Was in Vernon over Christmas, had good times there. Saw cool people, hung out with my Mom, and took it easy. I came back with Dave and Joy, who flew in from Japan to visit her family in Vernon and then to Vancouver to run around with everyone down here. Lots of fun. New Years at Ben and Michaels for an interesting night. Black Frog the next night to send Joy back off to Tokyo.

Changes for the new year? Well, I’m rocking solid on the vegetarian thing. I did chow a bit of meat over the break and I expect I’ll do so from time to time in the future, but I’m basically off meat. This week I’ve been eating lots of quinoa, beans, and rice. Am feeling much more energetic for it too. Probably because I have 1000% more vegetables and fruits than I normally do. I’m back in the gym too. Once that routine is in place again I intend to get back into running once more. The theme this year is health and fitness.

I had said that I would be cutting back on shows and I am, except for 2 upcoming: Wire at the Rickshaw in April and Quasi opening for Sebadoh on Feb 11. Can’t miss Quasi and definitely can’t miss Wire! I recently discovered Wire’s Read and Burn 01 album which has one of the greatest punk songs of all time (my opinion) on it. Song’s called “I Don’t Understand” and builds nicely into a frenzy.

For learning, I’m going to keep ripping through Rex Barks, my English grammar text. Then I have my Ruby and Rails to keep my busy.

Still not planning on any music for the time being. It may be a year or two before I jump back into those waters, but I’m not thinking that far ahead so who knows.