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2029-Mar-29th 03:29 am - pygmalion & sisyphus all at once
"The idea of telling one of these guys that smoking or drinking to excess was bad for his health was too ridiculously middle class to entertain. It bespoke a supreme ignorance of what their lives were really like - Hobbesian - not to put too fine a point on it. Nasty, brutish and short. The idea that you would try to prolong your grueling, dead-end life, and do it by taking away the few pleasures you had along the way, was just insulting."
~ Norah Vincent, Self-Made Man.

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2013-Apr-14th 09:40 pm - life is good(?)
I seriously never use LJ anymore. Should I keep making an effort or abandon it entirely?

Tumblr and Instagram appeal to me much more, because let's face it, I take pictures far more than I write words these days, and writing lyrics fulfills my writing needs. Meanwhile Facebook fulfills my social needs.

LJ, you are the buggy whip of the weblog world.
2013-Feb-10th 06:55 pm - NOW AN ADULT: car purchase
So, we bought a car!

We financed a pretty little turquoise 2013 Honda Fit. We pick it up in a few days. This is a big life decision for us. Like, the equivalent of having a baby. We got a lot of the fancy fixings, like cruise control, A/C, bluetooth, super warranty, etc. And we don't have to start paying for 90 days! Basically, we pampered ourselves. Happy valentine's / early birthdays / early anniversary to us!
2012-Nov-10th 06:56 am - the beauty of senses

i was just pondering how all the physical, hedonist pleasures that i'm able to enjoy make me feel, well . . . ableist. not in a guilt-complex way, but more just of genuine wonderment. and it gets me thinking about how different the experience would be if there were sensations removed or added. for people that cannot hear or cannot see (for instance), it seems like me more than anything a failing on my part at least equally, for not being able to grasp another means, another sensation, for communicating and interacting with them.

and then, on somewhat of a philosophical layer, what are chances that someone with no sight would understand what it is, just by explanation via some other sense? i really want to understand this. what if everyone else on the planet has nine senses, and i just don't understand those ones i'm "missing", so there is no possible way for anyone to communicate that to me(?) if so, i'm leading a vary different, ignorant life. i probably am. different from everybody else's, but no better or worse in any real defineable way. except, of course, that people get treated differently (read: worse) because of when differences are tangibly sensed by a majority of others. to create a pecking order.

ok, my ponderings are turning sad now, so i'll think more about this later . . .
2012-Aug-23rd 05:51 pm - adblocking is EVIL

yeah, i soooooo believe that OKC's parent company, match.com, is hurtin' financially every time i block their tasteless ads. way to be passive aggressive, OKC.
2012-Aug-22nd 10:18 am - Frightened Rabbit - "State Hospital"

i think that the video treatment here suggests an over-simplified encapsulation of mental health issues, and maybe they just shoulda gone in a totally different direction with it; but i'm really loving this poignant new tune by Frightened Rabbit. it will be difficult to follow up the grandeur of "The Winter of Mixed Drinks", but if the title track is any indication, the "State Hospital" EP is gonna be great.
ascent vs. sony by jacob earl
ascent vs. sony, a photo by jacob earl on Flickr.
friends and followers: if you read my posts even semi-regularly, you know that i am DIY engineer and producer, regularly recording my own music and releasing it on the internet. so obviously, i have a vested interest in analysing the relative worth of audio hardware and software. however, realistically, i try not to give it too much thought, because my basic modus operandi is to work within my budget, which has never been huge.

as well, aesthetically, i like to experiment with what i can achieve with minimalist, cheap, and lofi tools. thus, i don't own a large amount of music equipment, and the stuff i do own is mostly entry level or middle of the road at best, and some of it is secondhand.

that said, i'm an (amateur) audiophile, and i appreciate equipment (and software) that works, and works well. i'm sure my fellow audiophiles will agree that a decent (or, at least, not crappy) set of monitor headphones is a vital tool to the self-produced, bedroom recording artist.

keeping all that preamble in mind, i submit to you a comparison review of two sets of headphones that i own; one which i hope to soon return for a store credit. here we go:

both sets are specifically designed and marketed as monitor headphones.

the first set, pictured on the left, are Ascent dynamic digital headphones. that is all that i know about them. they do not have a model number, i can't find them on Google, and i purchased them over 4 years ago at Zellers for about $23 including tax.

the second set, pictured on the right, are Sony MDR-ZX100s. most places online list them for $15-$20. i think i paid $20 or $25 for them at the source, and they were on sale marked down from $30 i think. overpriced. online ratings give them four stars. i give them a generous 1.5 maybe.

believe it or not, the Ascents are better in every way. here's how it breaks down:

tested both through my old Fisher integrated stereo amp, hooked up to my Tascam soundcard, listening to a new mix i'm working on in Sony Acid. kept volume on the amp around 20-25%. no discernible difference. in fact, if anything, the Ascents sounded brighter at some points, but i am willing to cede that to personal bias, as i have been working with the Ascents for years. in any case, both have a warm but slightly muffled quality, compared to the Panasonic earbuds i use when listening to mp3s on my phone. i suppose both the Ascents and the Sony headphones provide an equally decent enough baseline for listening comparisons when working on mixes.

the Ascents win, hands down. they are pliable, with well-placed hinge points, and fit my head nicely. the padding on the phones is comfy, and is only now starting to show signs of wear and tear after four and a half years. the Sony phones seem tight, press down on my head, are quite rigid (like they may snap if you pull them too far), and the lower positioning of the size-adjustment sliders makes them feel awkward and bulky, despite their diminutive size compared to many monitor phones.

like i said, the Ascents are only now showing wear and tear after over four years. i only just cracked open the Sony pair, but i've had a similar pair before, and the arm snapped, and the plastic cover over the foam pads (of course) ripped. the Ascents have a material mesh over the ear foams, which has not yet ripped.

let's face it, you want to be able to spin monitor phones around when you are doing a mix; this is a key function that i think most engineers and DJs appreciate. the Ascents' earpieces rotate more than 180 degrees. that is impressive, and very useful. in stark contrast, the Sony earpieces rotate maybe 95 degrees if i'm being generous. not a deal breaker on its own, but clumsy and poorly designed.

this is a big one. the Ascents boast a monitor standard 10' cord with a straight, gold-plated 1/8" adapter and accompanying, gold-plated 1/4" converter. the Sony phones have a 49" cord if i'm stretching it taught, with a 90 degree adapter. ugh. when sitting at my computer, my head is four feet away from my amp. i expect mobile headsets to have cords four feet or less; but monitor cords need to be longer.

on another usability note, it took me over a minute to figure out which Sony earphone was left and which was right! there is no L or R on the exterior plate of either phone, and i finally found a tiny, etched R on the inside of the phone arm, on the side that has the little red strip. aaaah, of course, red = R. uhm, that's an accessibility issue, Sony. not cool.

i don't know why i bothered to buy new headphones! my Ascents are working fine, and the Sony phones are sub par. i hope to return them for store credit, and perhaps invest in a higher pricepoint, maybe some sennheisers or m-audio monitor buds. but for now i will continue to mix with the Ascents, and hopefully they will do well enough to help me make good recordings.
2011-Dec-26th 06:47 am - 2011 was music heaven
argghh i hardly ever write a livejournal entry anymore. here are my top ten favourite albums of 2011:

10. krista muir, "between atoms" *
09. dream jefferson, "punch perm" *
08. jesse dangerously, "humble & brilliant" *
07. m83, "hurry up we're dreaming"
06. tapes 'n tapes, "outside"
05. okkervil river, "i am very far"
04. snow patrol, "fallen empires"
03. roddy woomble, "the impossible song & other songs"
02. john vanderslice, "white wilderness"
01. the mountain goats, "all eternals deck"

* Canadian

looking forward to 2012!
best three albums of 2011 so far:

john vanderslice - white wilderness
the mountain goats - all eternals deck
roddy woomble - the impossible song & other songs

all equally grand.
2011-Jul-29th 05:17 pm - hypothetical mix
according to my last.fm fav tracks of the last year, this would be an awesome double mix tape:

The Russian Futurists – Hoeing Weeds Sowing Seeds
White Rabbits – Percussion Gun
Band of Horses – Laredo
Songs: Ohia – Just Be Simple
The Knife – Heartbeats
Yeasayer – Ambling Alp
The Mountain Goats – Liza Forever Minnelli
The Knife – Girls' Night Out
Kid Cudi – Mojo So Dope
The Mountain Goats – The Autopsy Garland
The Mountain Goats – Birth of Serpents
Bishop Allen – Click, Click, Click, Click
White Rabbits – Company I Keep
The Mountain Goats – Damn These Vampires
Timber Timbre – Bad Ritual

The Russian Futurists – Hurtin' 4 Certain
James – Crazy
Wintersleep – Dead Letter & The Infinite Yes
White Rabbits – Right Where They Left
James – It's Hot
Tired Pony – Point Me at Lost Islands
B.A. Johnston – I Am Doing Better in a Parallel Universe
Kid Cudi – The Mood
Kid Cudi – Scott Mescudi Vs. The World
Kid Cudi – Ashin' Kusher
The Mountain Goats – Age of Kings
The Mountain Goats – Beautiful Gas Mask
The Mountain Goats – Estate Sale Sign
The Mountain Goats – High Hawk Season
Bran Van 3000 – Drinking In L.A.
2011-Apr-1st 06:00 pm - "seconds later i saw you..."
enjoying my honeymoon vacation so far. lots of relaxing. shopping for fun stuff at mrs tiggy winkles. going for bike rides. balmy enough to walk around in a hoodie. i love married life so far.

we're gonna roadtrip to boston in a little over a week; can't wait to see the aquarium and zoos, and get some awesome photos of salem and newburyport.

who wants to hang out this coming week?
2011-Mar-28th 08:05 am - i'm married, yo!
as most of you probably know by now, seamonkey_mags and i got married on saturday, in a civil ceremony at ottawa city hall. it was all the awe in awesome. i love my wife so much!

of course, in true jacob fashion, i had to go and get sick! i always get sick for special events, vacations, etc. i'm so stuffed up and gross-feeling right now! argghh!

i want to thank everyone who came out to dinner on saturday night, and helped us celebrate this super happy time in our life together! i felt a lot of love, and that feels so damn good.

don't be strangers. xo.
2011-Feb-22nd 04:56 pm - the big blast
oh man it's been forever and a half since i last posted an entry here. i think this may be my first entry of 2011?

it's not as though i have nothing to say, or that nothing is new. quite the opposite, in fact. my life is so full to the brim it could burst (and yet i think i could contain a bit more; in fact i would like to). so much new awesomeness. let's see... maybe a bulleted list for simplicity:

  • been at my current senior editor role for over 8 months now. hopefully they will renew the acting appointment before june, and/or make me a permanent at the level i'm acting at. folks, this is a great thing. for the first time in my life, i feel content with my job. i feel like i fit in. this is my thing. i am excellent at what i do, and i enjoy doing it. i mean, i still don't like the notion of having to work, but who does? the point is that i like being proficient, productive, useful, meticulous, and appreciated; i am all of those things in my current work position.

  • omg seamonkey_mags and i are getting married, amirite?! you knew that already. well all the details are ironed out. we got our marriage license, and booked our civil service for march 26th. friends, i am such a happy man. you have no idea. it's like, KABLOWIE in my head. seriously.

  • after the marriaging, we are on "honeymoon" vacation for three whole weeks! mofo yeah! that is going to be so fun and relaxing. i think we are going to go on some last minute deal type trip. maybe costa rica or cuba, or something like that. and we are going to hang around a lot, and relax, and visit with friends. basically, NOT work. yes!

  • we have decided to adopt a bunny! bun bun bun bun bun. we are currently looking to adopt a little boy bunny named smudge. hopefully we will be successful applicants. he is cutey who loves cats.

  • speaking of cats, aggie is doing much better. his insulin has been reduced to half the dosage he was taking a couple of months ago. he's gained weight. he's much more active. whew! stupid diabetes. my heart goes out to all humans and animals who have diabetes.

  • i've been listening to a lot of great music, as usual. just don't have time for in depth reviews or critiques. so far, the highlights of 2011 are the new albums by the streets, iron & wine, radiohead, tapes 'n tapes, and mogwai.

oh there are tonnes of other things i'm sure, but i can't think of them right now. life is busy and awesome! but never so busy that i don't want to take time to hang out with my friends [hint, hint].
2010-Dec-31st 05:24 pm - the year and stuff
i think that 2010 went by pretty darn fast. and by and large, i had a really fun year. i have felt good lately, living each awesome day with plenty of awesomeness... just enjoying life in general. i spent lots of time this year on making music and taking photography. and i moved into a great new home, and got a new job, which i have been thoroughly enjoying for the past six months. also, i beat cholesterol. i beat it to a bloody pulp. jacob: 1, cholesterol: 0. i WIN. yay for awesome lifestyle changes.

i do wish that i had more time... one of the things i basically all but stopped doing is music critiques. i just don't sit down with as many albums lately. my music listening time is when i am on the bus, going to or from work.

also, 2010... the year in music was not as interesting as, say 2009, 2008, or 2007. and it was certainly no 1997. i'm not even going to bother to make a best of... list this year. in no particular order, my five favourite albums of 2010 are:
  • shearwater, the golden archipelago

  • frightened rabbit, the winter of mixed drinks

  • the russian futurists, the weight's on the wheels

  • kid cudi, man on the moon II: the legend of mr. rager

  • yeasayer, odd blood

honourable mentions for 2010 new releases include john vanderslice, b.a. johnson, the war on drugs, her name is calla, and eels. check 'em all out!

i listened to a lot of other stuff this year. some of it impressed me, some of it not so much so. for the past few years i've been posting the "biggest disappointment of the year" (imo, essentially the worst album of the year, without it being not even worth mentioning). this year nothing disappointed me so much. i mean, some albums failed to take it up a notch (band of horses' infinite arms comes to mind). but disappointed? that's probably strong. however, at least two albums of note (of note due to overwhelming mainstream popularity as a result of these newest releases) left me feeling completely underwhelmed: the national's high violet and the arcade fire's the suburbs. oh well. i'm still a fan. no biggy.

as far as live concerts, highlights for 2010 were sage francis, the flaming lips, and the russian futurists.
2010-Dec-23rd 09:38 pm - 12 days meme
LOL this is actually FUNNY!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, a_clear_job sent to me...
Twelve tattoos drumming
Eleven james piping
Ten longpigs a-leaping
Nine eels cooking
Eight lyrics a-recording
Seven concerts eating
Six cats a-painting
Five ste-e-e-ephen malkmus
Four black crowes
Three abandoned pools
Two white rabbits
...and a hood in a grandaddy.
Get your own Twelve Days:
2010-Nov-30th 06:16 pm - music memememememe
(1) Go to your music library, be it mp3 player, cell phone, or computer media player.
(2) Go to SHUFFLE songs mode.
(3) Write down the first 15 songs that come up--song title and artist--NO editing/cheating, please.
(4) Choose 15 people to be tagged. It is generally considered to be in good taste to tag the person who tagged you.

  1. neil young - are you ready for the country?
  2. scott weiland - big black monster
  3. girl talk - cleveland shake
  4. cadence weapon - roland pemberton III - rupture vers le haut
  5. sebadoh - together or alone
  6. eels - i like birds (live)
  7. okkervil river - john allyn smith sails [demo]
  8. broken social scene - feel good lost reprise
  9. jean leloup - cookie
  10. lou barlow and his sentridoh - option
  11. danny michel - red sails
  12. aesop rock feat. blueprint - alchemy
  13. blue rodeo - rena
  14. better than ezra - heaven
  15. gin blossoms - allison road

my winamp decides on a very odd random selection. certainly not the stuff i listen to on a regular basis. i suppose that's what happens when you're picking a random selection of 0.1% of your music collection.
2010-Nov-26th 09:49 pm - blah, one of those stupid "15" memes
Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen fictional characters (television, films, plays, books) who've influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

1) billy madison (adam sandler in billy madison)
2) rob gordon / rob fleming (high fidelity: both john cusack in the movie as gordon, and the original fleming from the nick hornby book)
3) spiderman (particularly '90s era, when todd mcfarlane was illustrating)
4) prince corwin (roger zelazny's amber series)
5) james t. kirk (the shatner, star trek, of course)
6) barney stinson (actually, any fictional character played by NPH)
7) bender bending rodriguez (both best robot ever and best animated character ever)
8) the crow girls, maida and zia (from charles de lint newford stories; i know, technically two characters, but you can't split them up)
9) derek zoolander (ben stiller in zoolander)
10) indiana jones (yeah, he's a has-been now, but he was cool when i was growing up)
11) emmanuel goldstein aka cereal killer (mathew lillard in hackers)
12) winnie the pooh
13) rodimus prime
14) jokey smurf
15) doc savage
from cbc.ca:

i'm not even sure i know where to begin about what’s wrong with this whole stance ontario is taking, regarding craigslist erotic services ads. basically, EVERYTHING. they are following suit of the misguided US attorneys general, who are railing against craigslist.

Craigslist asked to meet with provincial officials to discuss the situation, said Ontario Children's Services Minister Laurel Broten.

why is the ontario minister for children's services speaking to this issue?! what does this have to do with children's services? there is an immediate implication there that we’re talking about child prostitution (and by proxy, human trafficking). in fact, the cbc quotes the ontario NDP:

The New Democrats said prostitution and human trafficking were serious problems and Craigslist should quickly remove its prostitution-related ads under its erotic services section.

hello fallacy of equivocation.

here's some news for you, ontario politicians: PROSTITUTION DOES NOT EQUAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

The Liberal government is developing a "sexual violence action plan"

say what?! aside from being the most poorly named plan ever, why does prostitution automatically have anything to do with sexual violence? again, fallacy of equivocation.

"I, for one, look very forward to sitting down with them very quickly and having an opportunity to talk about why this is an important part of the steps that Ontario is taking to protect women."

laurel broten, you are so misguided. if you take away classified ads, you are taking away part of that protection. you are taking away one of the screening tools that women have, to solicit clients safely from their own homes. you are forcing them - if they want to continue doing the lucrative (and i remind you, legal) work they are doing - to leave their homes and work on the street corners, and that is where the violence happens (also where they get arrested based on this country's draconian laws regarding the solicitation of prostitution). you are part of the problem; you are facilitating the violence you are supposedly trying so hard to protect them from.

and sadly, even the ontario NDP are backing the liberals on this one, evidenced by andrea horwath's equally misguided statements. so much for a forward-thinking society. this smells of little more than electioneering, and grandstanding in the face of the recent ontario supreme court ruling.


the Tories are appealing the ontario supreme court prostitution ruling. a suggestion: if the people at large and the court of justice is saying that the current laws don't work, instead of appealing the removal of those draconian laws, why not spend all that legal money on new policies that actually work for today's society?!

i just love their rhetoric:

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says that Ottawa will "fight to ensure that the criminal law continues to address the significant harms that flow from prostitution to both communities and the prostitutes themselves."

uhm... the significant harm happens BECAUSE of those very same criminal laws he is talking about. and I love how he gets in a dig there at the end, implying that prostitutes are harming themselves, and that it is by nature a harmful act (which it is not; this is simply indicative of the prudish attitudes that social conservatives feel towards sex and female empowerment).

it’s also a joke that his parliamentary secretary says "the ruling was the decision of one court only, and should be tested in other courts." really? tell that to the families of Pickton’s victims.

women are murdered, raped, abused, villified, and victimized every day, and these women don't enjoy the luxury of police protection because what they are doing is considered criminal.

lazy relic
Originally uploaded by jacob earl
see how lazy relic is in this picture? that's how lazy i have been when it comes to reviewing music this year. two thirds of the way through 2010, and i have yet to write anything significant about any new albums that came out this year. i am about to remedy this near-tragedy right now.

first let me say, in my defense, that there have been several mitigating factors.

i have actually not been very lazy at all this year, but in fact quite busy. this left me less time than i would like to listen to music, and virtually know time to reflect upon it critically, and commit those reflections to the internet, as i am usually so wont to do.

also, by and large, 2010 has been relatively scarce on great music releases (as compared with 2007 through 2009, in which there was a glut of great albums released; i think this happens approximately every ten years, and then everything goes generic again). this is not to say that there are not any good 2010 albums. it's just that there aren't as many of them (in my not-so-humble opinion) as last year, or the year before, or the year before that.

but anyway... without further ado, here are a bunch of album reviews i have been meaning to write up. hopefully this will lead you to listen to some awesome music. or else just argue with me about music; i like that too...

first i want to start with an honourable mention of a couple of 2009 albums that should have made my best of... list, except i didn't get to listen to them in time. idlewild's post electric blues and blockhead's the music scene.

so, obviously i have a bias; i love scottish music. idlewild is a great scottish band, and post electric blues is their most challenging and evocative album yet. even for a band known for ripping up their genre with each new album, this great gem goes that extra mile. it's unapologetically rife with autobiographical-esque moments, driving home a real story, daring you to pay attention more. the overall effect - when the album is listened to start to finish - is a truly realized concept, with the "title track" plaintively and self-referentially explaining, "we've gone post-electric / i've written down the concept / it's casual to deny / along sentimental lines..." and this is no mea culpa ballad. no. rather, it builds from an angular guitar riff into a five minute driving anthem explosion, taking you back to the days when songs like stone roses' "love spreads" and stone temple pilots' "interstate love song" ruled the radio airwaves. the rest of the album gratifyingly compliments "post-electric" with numerous catchy hooks, nods to '90s grunge, and even a steinbeck reference. for roddy woomble and company, getting it done with class... after so many years and albums, they've still got it.

the music scene - for those who don't know blockhead, this is his fourth album, following uncle tony's coloring book (2007), downtown science (2005), and music by cavelight (2004). they are all amazing albums. notably, they all lack vocals/lyrics (excepting samples). blockhead is an instrumental soundscaper, and a very good one at that. though you may not be familiar with his solo material, you have likely heard his beats and samples. he has produced many well known tracks for rapper aesop rock. as with idlewild's latest, blockhead's the music scene is his best collection to date. it is groovealicious. a little more upbeat than the eastern-inspired uncle tony's...; a little funkier, a little booty-shakier. the sample use and beat flow are superb, especially on the title track. one of the things i like about blockhead's production is the relative ease with which he flows from one sample to the next, interspersing synthy sounds throughout. his pieces are very chill, moody tunes, while at the same time catchy and head-nodding. you could easily dance, or chillax, or make out, or drive, sit on the bus, whatever... it's always right for the mood. i highly recommend this album. there is very little music i purchase these days, but i purchased blockhead's last cd, and i would very much like to purchase this one on vinyl. totally worth it.

ok, phew. on to 2010! gonna do it in alphabetical order by band, just for the sake of simplicity:

band of horses, infinite arms - i think everyone expected a lot from this album, as a majorly-backed follow-up to two very successful and critically-acclaimed "indie" releases. and with good reason; everything all the time and cease to begin were amazing albums, both worthy of vinyl purchase. as noted on wikipedia, bridwell's vocals are compared to jim james and neil young. i concur with this sentiment, and it's a big plus in band of horses' favour. add to that their ability to make catchy, alt-countryesque / pop songs, and it's pretty much a winning combination. but i think in terms of the production of infinite arms, something got lost in the translation. it is true, "laredo" is a great track, instantly catchy, a good lead-off single. but it's annoyingly similar to "weed party" off their first album, everything all the time. "weed party" wasn't even a single, but it highlights a characteristic of band of horses; they have a particular sound that is immediately theirs, and that can work to their benefit or their detriment. and in the case of "laredo" - coupled with extreme over-production of bridwell's vox (and if anyone's vox don't need over-production, it's his!) - and you've got a recipe for an infectious song that quickly loses its potency after three or four listens. i saw them play the track on letterman - boy did bridwell's vox sound so much different when he actually had to project them! lo and behold... emotion! sadly, this is exactly what is missing from infinite arms. my advice is give this album a fair full listen or two, but then go back to everything all the time for the classics.

black rebel motorcycle club - beat the devil's tattoo. this seems to be a day of title tracks. because again, in this case, the title track is the best part about this album. i've always been on and off with BRMC. i like some of their stuff; other stuff i'm like "meh". in this case, that's how i felt about much of the new album. the lead off title-track however, immediately made me remenisce fondly of primal scream. it's a great rawk guttural track, wet-hook-laden, full of great licks. my hunch is that if you are already a BRMC fan, you may take a few listens to like this album, but then you will love it. if you're not already a fan, i don't think this one is gonna win you over.

broken bells - s/t. everyone's like "ooh, aah, omg, it's danger mouse and that shins singer together at last!!!" i listened. i tried. i even like the shins, and love danger mouse. but this didn't do it for me. "the high road", "vaporize", "trap doors"; all good songs. but not wow. i expected more i guess? and like, why is this not just the new shins album? wasn't there supposed to be one of those this year? a danger mouse - produced shins album would probably be pretty righteous.

broken social scene - forgiveness rock record. oh bss, you are boring me now. nothing remotely remarkable about this new offering. please bring back the awesomeness of the s/t album.

cocorosie - grey oceans. i know it's a copout, but i won't even attempt an articulate deconstruction of this excellent concept piece. it's been done many times over now, much better than i could have written. go seek out some of the excellent critique on this album, and listen to it! listen to the album! personally i don't find it as musically appealing as the adventures of ghosthorse and stillborn, but it is every bit as innovative and challenging, musically and culturally.

eels - end times. mr. e writes way too much music. end times may be his most dark and broody work since electro-shock blues. again, the title track sticks out. which isn't to say the rest is filler. from start to finish, this is a great composition for eels. "a line in the dirt" has some great plodding piano moments, and lyrics like "she locked herself in the bathroom again / so i am pissing in the yard..." sung, of course, in his ever-warbly, about-to-cry falsetto... this call-and-answer ballad is mr. e at his almost-best.

frightened rabbit - the winter of mixed drinks. this is probably my favourite album of 2010. i know, i'm biased towards scottish music, but really people, this album takes the cake. it's a perfect mix of angry self-reflection, defiance, denial, realization, and actualization. from the lead-off track "things", you know this is going to be a doozy of a ride: "...like a new skin made from old skin that had barely been lived in / i didn't need these things..." especially when singer scott hutchison later on the same track, bemoans suffering in the company of christian men! and indeed, things ARE only things, scott. indeed. the album just builds perfectly from there, ebbing and flowing like a tide (the album seem thematic to this point), it just carries the listener along. single "swim until you can't see land" is a great little ditty, totally sing-along-able. "footshooter" is probably my personal fav, musically and lyrically. if you haven't checked out frightened rabbit yet, do yourself a favour and do so. some critics have said of this album (their third) that it is too over-produced. i believe i read somewhere that even hutchison felt that way about the recording process. apparently they recorded their second album, the midnight organ fight, in only three weeks. that said, there's something to be said for a third-party view, and i personally think this album is their best.

i'm gonna stop now. that's nine albums reviewed! more to come before the end of the year, i promise!

what are you listening to lately?
2010-Jul-24th 06:47 am - halifax rap legend

jesse d @ SAW
Originally uploaded by jacob earl
see this badass mofo? that's littlegirltoast, aka jesse dangerously, aka halifax rap legend! i've known jesse for about three years, and in that time he has become a brother to me. jesse is one of those rare folks who is the real deal: the whole package; intelligent, articulate, compassionate, generous, witty, funny, and of course talented! AND he is currently on a mini living room tour, and may be coming your way (depending where you are)!

ALSO, accompanying him are talented and wonderful folks like audrawilliams and loopfrog.

ALSO playing this mini living room tour is the awesome catriona sturton. if you are not aware that catriona was bassist for this little band called plumtree, whose song inspired the cult comic book-turned-edgar-wright movie scott pilgrim (vs the world), you've probably been living under a rock for the past fifteen years.

and guess what? i get the privilege of opening for these cool cats on monday, july 26th @ 160 primrose. if you live in (or are in the area of) ottawa, be sure to (come early and) check this show out. it's going to be a raucous fun night of folksy-hippy-hoppy-rappy fun fun fun!

facebook event page.

in other important news, i am moving today! to westboro! so this will likely be my last internetting for a couple of days; hopefully the tubes will get reconnected at the new place on monday, and i will be able to upload pics of our wonderful new home.

until then, adieu. hope to see you come out on monday (i know my performance will probably pale in comparison to jesse dangerously and catriona sturton, but i'm gonna give it all anyway)!
2010-Jul-11th 12:22 am - the flaming lips @ bluesfest 2010
best concert ever? quite possibly!

the flaming lips sure know how to put on an awesome live show. great set including favs like she don't use jelly, yoshimi..., do you realize?, and the yeah yeah yeah song.

lots of confetti and giant balloons. lots of awesome rockin' music and love. :)
2010-Jul-6th 10:07 am - this is not the end
last week, my awesome grandma died. i went to the memorial service on saturday. i have been sad for the past week, but i suppose not super-sad, because i realize what a great, long life she lived, and she was always happy and loving.

i heard great stories at the memorial service... from family and friends and her co-workers, about how giving and non-judgemental she was. my aunt had some of the best stories, recalling about how my grandma was a self-described "sexy broad" (and had six kids to prove it!); how she was a gifted pianist; a generous soul who always gave money to and talked to street people; and about her early career as a flight attendant, back in the day when flight attendants had to also be nurses and weren't allowed to be married! well, she was also a nurse! and she concealed her marriage status by wearing her ring on a chain under her dress. what an awesome, fearless woman.

i wish i had more memories of my grandma. i do remember that she was a great crib player, and could also kick my ass in scrabble. she was fiercely competitive, in the best kind of way.

most important of all, she treated everyone as an equal.

i love you, grandma!

at the memorial service, my aunt gave me a whole bunch of old photos of me, from when i was a wee little boy. they are hilarious. i am going to scan them and put them online.
2010-Jun-19th 01:22 pm - horizontals

Originally uploaded by jacob earl
after the crazy ride that was the compositions and recordings of my Incarnations and had we met in another life projects, i originally thought that i would take a break for a bit. but as usual, a new idea for a music project pops into my head, and i cannot ignore it. it's definitely compulsive.

this new one is a big, long extended serial project. it is called horizontals. it is about communication, normalization, socializing, language, words... it is about the building of a cultural lexicon. i am using the alphabet as a method of indexing and chronologically arranging the chapters. i've crafted many of the tracks already, and i will start releasing them soon. i think these songs bring my sound to a whole new realm of weirdscape, and i'm really enjoying it. check 'em out!
2010-Jun-13th 10:16 pm - biodome!

Originally uploaded by jacob earl
some weeks back, seamonkey_mags and i decided to plan a mini-vacation weekend trip to the biodome in montréal. we hadn't been to montréal since last november, and we've been meaning to go to the biodome together pretty much ever since we met. we had intended to go earlier this year, but the biodome workers were on strike... well now it's re-opened, and that meant penguin fun for all!

little did we know when we booked the VIA train tickets (which we got a really good deal on) that this weekend in montréal was F1 weekend! hey, what the fuck do i care about racing cars??? my cousin clued me in that it was going on, and my aunt indicated that he would probably be at the track drinking all weekend... well, yeah... i figure you'd have to be drunk to enjoy watching cars go around in a circle all day. seriously people, why is this a big deal?

well obviously it's a big enough deal to warrant all the hotels in the city to jack up their prices about ten fold! no joke! the cheapest places were around $300/night, and ALL the hotels were pretty much booked solid.

but guess what?! seamonkey_mags found an awesome bed & breakfast called le lit au carré - just a stone's throw from sherbrooke station - for only $140/night for a schwank room with a private bathroom. i swear, you could eat off the floor of this place. immaculate. and the breakfast was DEE-LISH! i'd both recommend it, and go back there! F1 can suck it! we foiled you, F1!!!

so when we arrived in montréal yesterday afternoon, we went clothes shopping at simon's. i bought a new longsleeve pink shirt, and two new pairs of snazzy underwear. one of them has an owl on it! i love simon's; i wish there was one in ottawa.

then, after checking in at the b&b, we were off to the biodome. it was a little pricey ($16.50 each), and only took us about an hour to see the whole thing, but some of those animals are soooo cute! especially the penguins! i got lots of great video, and i love my new lumix ZS7 camera; the GPS function is really cool, the manual settings are great, and it takes awesome pics. see that great shot of the biodome with the olympic stadium behind it, and the exhilerating cloud formations in the background? i took that! and i didn't even need to lug around my SLR.

after a delicious breakfast this morning involving fresh bread with marmalade, fried egg on top of sautéed vegetables, fruit compote with blueberries, and almond cake, we strolled down to old montréal and took in the sites. then we went to soup & noodles for lunch (a great pan-asian place just west of concordia, that has awesome peanut tofu). then we meandered back to the train station, got on the train, and slept practically the whole way home. what a great weekend.

too bad i have to go to work tomorrow. :P

anyway, in case you haven't already heard, on friday evening we signed a lease for a new apartment! we're moving to westboro on august 01st! i'm gonna have a backyard with a garden! i can grow vegetables and stuff! let us know if you want to help us move! there will be beer and pizza, and whatever else you like! even better if you have a vehicle! even if you don't want to assist us in the moving-in, we will most certainly have an apartment-warming party soon after, so stay tuned for details!
2010-Jun-9th 06:31 am - good morning to you
quick life update:

done two days on the new job so far. i think i will enjoy the challenge. i also thing it will involve a lot of analysing, reading, and writing. brain work, yay.

apartment hunt is going good. seamonkey_mags and i have looked at three apartments so far. put in an application for one in westboro that was nice and big and bright. waiting to hear back; going to check out another one near lees tomorrow evening.

we are heading to montréal on saturday morning for a mini-vacation to go shopping and visit the biodome! little did we know when we planned it that it was F1 weekend! who cares about car-racing anyway?! that's not a sport! so it was a bit of a scramble to find a hotel that wasn't $500 - $1000 for one night, but we did it! awesome B&B in great location for only $140 for the night. montreal fun, here we come!

also, i'm likely to cave and buy a fancy new p&s camera today. it's been too long since my last camera purchase. it will likely be the lumix ZS7.

what's new with y'all? xo.
2010-May-25th 06:25 am - it pays off
so i got a new job. just an acting position for now. but it could turn into a new substantive position.

currently i am an SP-05 systems testing officer. as of june 07th i will be an acting SP-07 senior project officer. bouyah!

moving up the civil service ladder. :P
2010-May-14th 07:29 am - moving on up
it occurs to me that i haven't really posted any music reviews this year, and it's already may! life has been so busy. i will do it soon. i've been listening to some great albums this year.

but that's not what this post is about.

this post is about moving! seamonkey_mags and i have decided to move into a new apartment, august 01st.

our goal is to find a place (preferably 2 bedroom but we'd settle for large 1 bedroom) that is still in the centretown ottawa area, that doesn't cost more than a couple hundred more than we're paying now, that has lots of window light, is near convenient transit, and that has a balcony (ok, the balcony is negotiable, but it would be nice).

if you would like to assist us in finding and securing such a place, and/or if you would like to help us move on saturday, july 31st (in exchange for pizza and other such similar sundries), then you are truly a better friend than i deserve, and i will subsequently reward you handsomely by lavishing you with praise and attention. love, me.
2010-Apr-21st 05:18 pm - bluesfest, whattup!!!

john vanderslice @ bluesfest
Originally uploaded by jacob earl
here is a picture from badass bluesfest last year, and this year will be just as badass, i guarantee you!

bluesfest 2010 lineup has been announced, y'all! who's coming out this year?! seamonkey_mags and i are definitely going!

just a few of the awesome acts announced:

the flaming lips
matt good
arcade fire
iron maiden
crowded house
the b-52s
joan jett
the moody blues
that's the spirit
blonde redhead
basia bulat
the budos band
timber timbre

i mean, yeah, they should obviously add someone like pavement or radiohead to the bill. :P

but seriously, that is a sick lineup. flaming lips gonna rock my world.
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