Watch (and throw up): Young Rival’s optical illusion video for Black Is Good

Black Is Good is one of my favourite songs from Young Rival’s 2012 album Stay Young. It reminds me of nights spent loitering on Hamilton streetcorners breathing in damp autumn air with my best friend sitting on the cold curb beside me. I didn’t have as many wrinkles then, but I certainly give fewer fucks now.

I’ve seen Young Rival perform live many times and they will always remain one of my favourite local bands. The sound quality (both live and recorded) that they produce is consistently high, and their energy on stage is palpable. Yesterday, they released a video that employs a random dot autostereogram generated to produce the illusion of depth perception when viewed with a relaxed, unfocused gaze.

The band explains:

This is where it gets technical. To make your own autostereogram, one must first create a thing called a “depth map” which is a 2D representation of 3D depth information. We collected real-time depth data of Young Rival performing the song using an X-Box Kinect hooked up to a computer. The computer was running software called RGBD toolkit, designed for capturing the depth information from the Kinect using its built-in infrared system. Once we had our depth information, we unpacked it into image sequences and edited these sequences as if they were regular video. The only difference in the editing process was that depth was represented by luminosity. For fun, you can view the black and white depth-map version HERE. With much trial and error, we then ran the data through an algorithm which took each frame of depth information, converted it into a random dot stereogram image, and repacked it into the final video. Lastly, there was one more colour pass at the end, and voila.

Personally, it made me feel pleasantly nauseated. But that could have easily been the coffee and two cake pops I had for dinner. I am an adult.

Watch it fullscreen if you dare. And please, do yourself a favour and check out the equally entertaining video for Better Things To Do because it features rad Hamilton artists.

The Dirty Nil’s Summer Mixtape + New Video for Zombie Eyed

The Dirty Nil Summer Mixtape

I’m a slut for the music of The Dirty Nil – I’ll share it with everyone and listen with my pants down. They just released a short summer mixtape (4 covers of The Misfits, Iggy Pop, Guided By Voices, and Merle Haggard). I’m particularly fond of their version of Merle Haggard’s Mama Tried.

But the mixtape dies with the last warm breath of summer, so catch it while you can.

Also, check out the new video for Zombie Eyed below, released from their 7″ split with Northern Primitive on January 7th.

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Supercrawl: The Day After

Supercrawl 2012

From Left: Felt Ball Necklace (Citizen Kid), Colour Swatches (Hansen and Lubbers), Seed Paper (CBC Hamilton), Gold necklace by Sew a Song, Flower studs by primrose, leather clutch by Erin Templeton (all from White Elephant), In Fine Feather Postcard (HCA), The Ten Spot Coupon, CBC Hamilton Postcard, Downtown Bike Hounds, Works of Lesley Cordero, Print by Group of 7 Billion. AGH World Film Festival

As expected, Supercrawl was amazing. Here’s a breakdown of what I saw, did, and ate.

1. Owen PallettMP3: Lewis Takes Off His Shirt
2. Born Ruffians

3. Young Rival

4. Great Lake Swimmers

5. Turbo Street Funk (my personal favourite)

1. Homegrown Hamilton
2. My Thai
3. Willy Dog
4. Cake & Loaf (courtesy of CBC Hamilton)
5. Hamilton Farmer’s Market
6. The Ship

1. Walked until my calves resembled Jane Fonda’s
2. Promoted MBF and Indie-licious on the air w/ Jamie and Gunner, live broadcasting 93.3 CFMU out of Homegrown Hamilton
3. Admired art I can’t afford
4. Petted some kittens waiting for Forever Homes
5. Almost stepped in horse manure
6. Watched in awe as a man called “One-Eyed Ron” ran his fingers through another man’s thick ponytail while breathing heavily through a harmonica… until the cops took him back to the Portuguese Men’s Centre. Note: all of this took place three feet from Great Lake Swimmers street performance, and Ron liberally praised himself for doing such a great job of accompanying the band.
7. Shivered off about 10,000 kCal worth of street meat as the temperature plummeted down to 9 degrees Celsius.

Thanks for the lovely time Hamilton! I’ll be sure to come back again and again, because there’s nothing better than supporting a community that has put you through four years of education and left you with a smile on your face.

Trying to find my way back home

Hey gang, it’s me.

I’m back from my week in Hamilton spent with my freshly-imported boyfriend, who has returned home from a year abroad in Switzerland.

It seems that many people disregard Hamilton as a dirty, sketchy, blue-collared steel worker standing in the shadow of The Great Toronto. Perhaps this is because their exposure has been limited to chemically polluted bays and desolate grey smokestacks tipped with flames as they speed across the bridge to Niagara Falls (and the so-called mecca of Across The Border Shopping)

But to us, Hamilton is our home.

Adam Torres is a gifted songwriter from Austin, Texas. His self-titled album is currently a free download on DZ Tapes. This is an album to tell your kids about. It begs you to make memories, make love, break bread, break down, find meaning, find yourself. 

There are plenty of hidden gems to be found in Hamilton, and I’d like to share some of them with you. I have three favourite neighbourhoods – Westdale, Locke St., and James St. North. Whenever I visit the city, I visit as many of these places as possible. They have retained the essence of free-spirited DIY, small-batch, homemade, artisanal culture that has been paved over by condos in Toronto.


White Elephant is owned by two lovely girls who have delightful taste in heirloom Canadiana, vintage women’s clothes, and one-of-a-kind jewellery.

Parker got the world’s most adorable bow tie for factor[e] Design‘s upcoming charity event for literacy.

I got the cutest soft leather clutch in a dark brick red.


Parker’s bowtie, which I taught him how to tie


Re-imagined vintage furniture, local prints, paintings, and pretty little clothes that would make Zooey Deschanel swoon.

I got a lovely lamp painted with a floral bouquet and a jean romper from the Spring/Summer 2011 collection from Allison Wonderland.

NEEDLEWORK, James St. North

From two of the ladies behind the Beehive Craft Collective. Grade 9 Home Economics has really come full circle, and now it’s cool to learn to sew.

I’m hoping that this trip has jump started my creative side again. Parker and I spent a little time improvising pieces on the violin and piano, which felt so much like Win and Regine of Arcade Fire that I could puke. Hopefully, I can dig into the backlog of kind reader emails and feature more incredibly talented musicians like Adam Torres. If you enjoyed his album above, I encourage you to check out more artists featured by DZ Tapes. If there’s one person in the Internet music industry who’s doing it right, it’s Brett Isaacoff.

Lo-fi husband and wife duo bring back the basics as Halifax’s Dog Day

Projection art is better than regular art

As the oft-cited birthplace of the Canadian indie music scene, Halifax has been pretty good about providing the rest of Canada with indie rock. Joel Plaskett anyone? Halifaxian lovebirds Dog Day are no exception. Check them out and see what I mean:

MP3: Part GirlDog Day from Deformer (Pigeon Row, 2011)

They’re coming to Ontario to bring their fuzzy, minimalist, slowcore sound to a new crop of listeners. Normally, Music Between Friends sticks to Toronto concerts, but I thought it might be nice to update my Steeltown friends to let ’em know Dog Day is playing both in Toronto AND Hamilton in two weeks:

Dog Day w/ Sports @ Lee’s Palace, 19+
Saturday October 7th, 2011 – $10.00

Dog Day @ Homegrown Hamilton, 19+
Hamilton, ON
Saturday October 8th, 2011