Musicians I love (and my own creative existential crisis)

Lately I’ve been struggling with creative inspiration.

I’ve been late to reply to emails, shoddy at fulfilling writing commitments, sluggish to decide on music submissions, and absent on my own podcast. I haven’t written a song in months, my journal pages have been blank since January, my mixed media project is 75% complete, and I have a stack of unread library books by the front door. The other day, I couldn’t decide on a movie so I just watched an hour and a half worth of trailers, most of which were from the 80’s and 90’s (I came this close to watching Working Girl).

Basically, I feel mentally bankrupt and the only thing that I can muster up the energy to do is put on my blank, anonymous artist’s glaze and sketch strangers on the subway. At least in crowded café and clustered streetcars, I feel like no one is expecting anything, no one is judging, no one is watching with a critical eye.  I am finally free in an outlet all my own.

As many of you know, Sasha and I celebrated our blog’s fourth birthday this month, and with that came the realization that with much potential comes missed opportunity. I was reviewing past posts and wondering, “Could you have tried harder here? Could you have written more, explored this discography in greater depth? Could you have done a custom illustration for this feature? Could you have agreed to that interview?” A more ambitious version of myself is kicking the sandwich out of my current’s self’s hands.

Sometimes I wonder how other bloggers & journos do it. How does one wrap 1000+ neat words into a pithy post complete with a pleasantly drôle yet incisive b&w sketch? I feel like I need to learn Adobe Illustrator and a billion other complex design programs (as well as five coding languages) just to stay relevant.

What can I offer at the party? A side-scrolling verbal wrap-up of current events? A dumb and erratic dance sequence? Crumbs on my tits?

At this point, I’m looking for something to inject me with a sense of purpose. But for now, since this is a music blog, I want to clean out the inbox. That’s mainly the point of these Grab Bag Posts – it’s my effort to stay on top of things (failing miserably). One day, I will find the right balance of posting exactly what I want and honouring our obligation to undiscovered musicians. I am searching for it every day.

Sometimes I consider yanking down our blog email address, but then I wouldn’t have met the absolutely LOVELY GEMS of First Rate People, Delta Will, Walrus, Sheepman, High Diner, The Planes, The Blank Tapes, Ketamines, Jay Arner, Faux Fur, Michael Rault, The Dirty Nil, Yoofs, Lost On Purpose, Adam Torres, plus people like Leaning Trees RecordsGraveyard Orbit, Mike of My Boy The Riot Girl, Jason of Astral Travelling, ect.

So this post goes out all of you who have connected with me as a human idiot, or with Music Between Friends. I think of all the genuinely cool people that I’ve had the chance to meet, and I am glad.

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Indie-licious Tues Feb 25th 2014

Cheyenne by Amanda Jas

Cheyenne by Amanda Jas

1. Flashlight – The Amazing
2. All The While – Barzin
3. Sun To Rise – Black Walls
4. Health & Safety – Liz Lawrence
5. Bulash – Walrus
6. Alternate World – Son Lux
7. Stay With Us – Seoul
8. Maze1 – Rioux
9. Camarilla – School Of Seven Bells
10. Love This Time – Guantanamo Baywatch
11. An Instant – Each Other
12. The Riddle – Imaginary Family
13. Nothing You Could Say – Big Eyes
14. Wrestle Yü To Hüsker Dü – The Dirty Nil

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Indie-licious Tues July 2nd 2013

1. I Feel Dizzy – RCRDS
2. Phone Call – Jon Brion
3. Pairs – Daphni
4. Dark Age – First Rate People
5. In The Future – Architecture In Helsinki
6. When Will You Go – The Dodos
7. Sandy – Jackson Scott
8. Chameleon – Ruby Pins
9. Zombie Eyed – The Dirty Nil
10. l’Ocean – Javelin
11. Woof Woof – Dan Deacon
12. Mute – Youth Lagoon
13. Planet – Anamanaguchi
14. Terminally Chill – Neon Indian

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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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Canadian Music Fest 2013 – Katie’s Picks

CMF 2013 Lineup

Find the full list of artists here.

If you’re like me, and have anything whatsoever to do with the Toronto media, music, and arts scene, you’ve probably been pelted with press releases for Canadian Music Fest for the last few months. Finally, it’s March and I can peel the electronic whitesheets from my virtual windshield and attend some fine concerts.

What are my picks? Great question. Because there’s nothing that gives a pretentious twenty-something more sickeningly satisfying pleasure than telling other people what to like. These are great bands and you should definitely check them out. Or, wait until you hear them at Urban Outfitters and pretend you knew about them all along while you’re shopping for shredded Sesame Street t-shirts and pink-bleached jeans with three types of non-functional zipper. It’s really your choice.

These bands have been vetted for quality. They’re “sure things.” All that’s left is for you to go out and enjoy them.

WEDNESDAY
Yukon Blonde (Kelowna, BC)
Wed March 20 @ 8pm, The Danforth Music Hall
RIYL: The Sheepdogs, Zeus

CHVRCHES (Glasgow, Scotland)
Wed March 20 @ 10pm, Mod Club
RIYL: Purity Ring, The Knife, The Good Natured

THURSDAY
Chloe Charles (Toronto, ON)
Thurs March 21 @ 8pm, Tattoo Rock Parlour
Sat March 23 @ 10pm, El Mocambo (Upstairs)
RIYL:  Regina Spektor, Coffee shop pleasantries

Turtle Giant (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Thurs March 21 @ 8pm, Rancho Relaxo
RIYL: Vacationer

The Breezes (Montreal, QC)
Thurs March 21 @ 8:30pm, Horseshoe Tavern
RIYL: Luscious beach rock

First Rate People (Toronto, ON)
Thurs March 21 @ 9pm, Annex Live
RIYL: Teenage dreams

Efterklang (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Thurs March 21, 10pm, Virgin Mobile Mod Club
RIYL: Grizzly Bear, Tunng

Raleigh Moncrief (Sacramento, California)
Thurs March 21, 11:30pm, Parts & Labour
RIYL: The sound of a thousand exploding suns

Wildlife (Toronto, ON)
Thurs March 21 @ 12am, The Great Hall
RIYL: Collegiate life

Javelin (Providence, NY)
Thurs March 21, 1:00am, Parts & Labour
RIYL: Bibio, TV Girl, Toro Y Moi
***KATIE’S TOP PICK FOR MAXIMUM CONCERT ENJOYMENT***

FRIDAY
Cold Specks (London, UK)
Fri March 22 @ 9:20pm, Kool Haus
RIYL: Macy Gray without the smoker’s throat

Diamond Rings (Toronto, ON)
Fri March 22 @ 10:00pm, Kool Haus
RIYL: The eyeshadow counter at Sephora and drum machines

Young Rival (Hamilton, ON)
Fri March 22 @ 10:10pm, Horseshoe Tavern
RIYL: Smith Westerns, Black Lips, Dirty Fences

The Dirty Nil (Hamilton, ON)
Fri March 22 @ 11pm, Bovine Sex Club
RIYL: Cracking beer bottles over your friends’ heads

SATURDAY
Cookie Duster (Toronto, ON)
Sat March 23 @ 11:10pm, Horseshoe Tavern
RIYL: Broken Social Scene, the “original” Toronto music scene

The Dirty Nil (Hamilton, ON)
Sat March 23 @ 2:30am, Horseshoe Tavern
RIYL: Public urination, leftover pizza

Sharon Van Etten (Brooklyn, NY)
Sat March 23 @ 8pm, Massey Hall
RIYL: First Aid Kit