24 March 2008

Melody Day by Caribou

I've been so out of touch with the scene lately that I didn't even realise that the sublime intro music to Louise Bourgoin's weather report on Canal+ is actually a Canadian indie song. La preuve en images:

This impossibly lush song is in fact Melody Day by Vancouver's Caribou. Before this Dick threatened him with legal action, Caribou used to be called Manitoba, which is where I come from, and last night he played Montreal, which is where I live. Et voilà, la boucle est bouclée.

23 March 2008

Long Blondes Promo Videos For 'Couples'

Couples, the new LP from The Long Blondes, is coming out over here on 8 April, as announced by these somewhat cryptic promo videos:

Video n° 1

Video n° 2

A perfect representation of what I like to call une certaine idée de l'Angleterre, that is to say, that appealing quality of Englishness.

And then there's this one, which just rocks my socks:

You can hear the first single from the aforementioned new record here:

The Long Blondes will be in Montreal on 20 May 2008 at the Cabaret du Musée, 2111 St-Laurent. Not to be missed!

Common People

If you're like me and grew up with Archie comics, and thought that the answer to Blur v Oasis was Pulp, then this is for you.

This synchronisation to music is based on the original work of comic strip détournement published by Chris at his Invincible Super-Blog.

Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ

Happy Easter to one and all!

Chocolate bunnies are all well and good, but in my old age I've reached the point where I would rather sit back and have a listen to Bach's Easter Cantatas. Below, I've compiled pour vous an mp3 sample of Easter cantatas from Deutsche Grammophon catalogue no. 463 580-2. This recording was part of the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, during which Sir John Eliot Gardiner, together with the musicians of the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists, performed all the surviving church cantatas by Bach, on the liturgical days for which they were composed, in different churches around Europe.

In terms of the Bach Werke Verzeichnis (Bach Works Catalogue), tracks 1 to 6 are taken from BWV 6 (Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden), and 7 to 12 from BWV 66 (Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen).

Click on the first track to commence playback, and enjoy!

PS - What is it with Easter, anyway? Seriously, can anyone explain to me why it's never on the same date?

22 March 2008

The Best Indie Record Store in Canada

CBC Radio 3 has initiated a contest to indentify Canada's Best Indie Record Store. My submission to the nomination committee went as follows:

Located at River & Osborne, the hipster equivalent of Portage & Main, Music Trader has got to be the best record store in Winnipeg. They have EVERYTHING (new & used, tons of indie), they host live, in-store performances of local and touring bands all the time, and they're open until midnight!

They've got knowledgeable staff, a kooky mascot and, of course, the famous wall of customer polaroids. Plus, their long 'bar' of listening stations in front of windows facing out onto Osbrone Street is perhaps the best spot in the city for people watching.

For a kid from the suburbs, the plan was simple. Listen to RadioSonic (the predecessor of Radio3 for you kids out there) on CBC Radio 2, then go to Music Trader and buy the records. What could be easier? My taste in music is due in large part to the existence of this store.

I've been in Montreal for about year and a half now, I haven't really found anything that compares, so I'll be curious to check out the recommendations posted here.

Music Trader
97 Osborne Street

On that note, I await your recommendations for a good indie record store in Montreal, preferably one with a fun atmosphere and all the week's new releases.

By the way, we also have an annual contest to designate the best independent English-language bookstore in this country. But no one cares.

Germans and the French language

A hundred years after it was written, Robert Walser's »Der Gehülfe« (The Assistant) is finally available in English. Susan Bernofsky's translation was first published by New Directions in July 2007, but I held off because I already had a copy of Bernard Lortholary's masterly French translation first published in 1985. But then this month Penguin UK had to go and release a gorgeous edition of Bernofsky's translation in the newly redesigned Penguin Modern Classics series, and so I was forced to import the book from the UK, at great personal expense I might add. Les salauds!

Here's an amusing passage, pertaining to the prestige enjoyed by the French language in foreign lands:

"Une jolie petite française", the conductor's wife said, evidently overjoyed at having an occasion to recite a few French words she knew by heart. This is always the case in Germanic lands, people love to be able to show that they understand French.

"Frau Tobler," Joseph thought, "knows no French at all, the poor thing!"
Robert Walser, »Der Gehülfe« (The Assistant), 1907, translation Susan Bernofsky (2007)

« Une jolie petite française », dit en français la femme du contrôleur, manifestement ravie d'avoir l'occasion de débiter de mémoire quelques mots en français. C'est toujours ainsi dans les pays de langue allemande : les gens sont contents de pouvoir montrer qu'ils comprennent le français.

« Ma patronne, pensa Joseph, ne comprend pas un mot de français. La pauvre! »
Robert Walser, »Der Gehülfe« (Le commis), 1907, traduction Bernard Lortholary (1985)

... and we're back

After a brief hiatus of nine months — brought about by the new version of Blogger that not only linked my Blogger account to the wrong Google account and then wouldn't allow me to de-link it, but also completely messed up my template and sidebar — I'm finally back. Let's see if I can keep it up for more than a couple of months this time, shall we?