jar album

I’ve been thinking a lot about Harry related discourse lately, including some suggestions that the way his statements get scrutinised is unbalanced in comparison to the way the other 1D boys are treated when it comes to song lyrics, statements they make in interviews and the general bar we set for them.

I get that it’s annoying that Harry appears to meet more political challenges in relation to the stuff he puts out there, but I’m going to put a positive flip side to that observation. I think Harry attracts particular scrutiny because he’s been more vocal and nuanced about issues which have a social justice lean, such as women’s rights and LGBT activism and that he’s even thinking about this stuff is a very good thing. I know that’s one of the reasons why, as a solo artist, he’s held particular appeal for me and I’ve been so excited to hear more from him as an individual. I think the reason he attracts more extensive critique is because he has consciously positioned himself as someone who gives thought to these issues, as someone who cares about, as he puts it himself, fundamental equality. He comes across in his marketing as someone who thinks about things like gender, women’s rights and LGBT identity and that’s a very, very inspiring thing to see in a 20-something popstar who could frankly choose to be a ‘rich kid of instagram’ and enjoy wealth and privilege without giving a fuck about anything or anyone.

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30 years of songs - age 9

Liquid - Jars of Clay

When I was around 8 or 9, a family friend who may have sensed a bit of the rebel in me gave me two tapes that had Christian rock albums on them I’d treasure forever: the self-titled Jars of Clay album and dc Talk: Jesus Freak. Having mostly grown up with Celtic/folk/traditional music and classical music, rock (and pop) music felt a bit like waking up; becoming my own person. I would dance on my bed to these albums until my knees gave out. 

At one point, I choreographed a dance to this song, determined to perform it for my peers during show-and-tell at the homeschool co-op we went to every Friday. My mom expressed some reservation, but I was undaunted right up until I was laying on the floor at “Friday school,” leg extended in a way I hoped was sassily into the air, and the music refused to start. My mom, who was teaching the class that day, was all too quick to shrug her shoulders and move on, and I was bitterly disappointed (and also probably saved from future embarrassment — what I remember of that dance was frankly ridiculous).

Jars of Clay’s beautiful blend of rock and folk music and their profound, soul-searching lyrics stood the test of time for me. This is still one of my favorite albums and bands.

age 0 | age 1 | age 2 | age 3 | age 4 | age 5 | age 6 | age 7 | age 8

Arcade Fire on their new film and 2017’s ‘Reflektor’ follow-up

Arcade Fire’s new documentary, The Reflektor Tapes, doesn’t overshare the world tour for their 2013 double album, the Haitian rhythms-meets-disco inspired release Reflektor.

That’s because acclaimed hip-hop video director Kahlil Joseph (FKA twigs, Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar) decided to go the more experimental, non-linear route with his first feature about the Montreal indie-rock group’s Reflektor trek.

“We assumed it would be more of a concert film,” admitted band member Will Butler, seated beside bandmate Richard Reed Parry.

“But he was like, ‘Give me everything!’ And then he made the film he wanted to make and we were like, ‘Okay.’ Kahlil had heard our songs before but he didn’t know our band. He didn’t really know our albums. And so this was his first impression as an artist of the art we were making… And that’s partly why the making of the album is in there (too) because it was really fascinating to him. ‘Oh, what’s this album? Who are you people? What’s going on?’”

Added Parry: “I see it like this montage that is partially documentary and partially live film and partially just kind of impressionist, interpretive fly on the wall remix really… That’s what’s kind of a first for us. This is really someone else’s dragonfly lens on a big, sprawling process of the band and time period. This reflects little to none of my personal experience on the tour.”

We caught up with Butler and Parry in Toronto recently, where the duo attended the TIFF premiere of the film along with the rest of the band before its release in theatres this Wednesday and an encore showing on Monday, Sept. 28.

This would appear to be the end of Reflektor’s cycle. So does that mean you’re working on new music?

Richard: We’re playing for the first time in a while. We’ve all been taking time away. We are getting together and playing music as we do.

Will: We’re always demo-ing. And demos always end up on the album. But we don’t think of it as making an album currently. Based on how our albums come out I’m going to guess that it comes out in February 2017. But it’ll probably be like a surprise midnight thing. But that’s literally my prediction. That’s how many beans I think are in the jelly jar. I’ll bet the album will come out in February 2017.

So why document this particular tour?

Will: We knew it would be slightly bigger as a tour and probably worth documenting. We never fully and properly documented any process. I don’t think this is fully and properly documented either but it is more so.

Richard : The scale of the production was bigger and it had other people doing things, other than the band.

How did you choose your director?

Will: Jeremy (Gara), our drummer, sent around a clip of the stuff he did with Flying Lotus like, ‘Just flagging this. I know we’re not touring yet but let’s see if this guy will do things ‘cause he’s amazing.’

How soon did Kahlil get involved?

Will: Before we did any shows I think. Cause I think Kahlil came to the very first shows at the Salsathèque (in Montreal), which were kind of pre-warmup shows.

So where did the footage from recording sessions in Jamaica and Montreal come from?

Will: We shot some ourselves and some our engineer shot. At a certain point we had a video guy, sort of our house film man, came in towards the end of the process. But there was just a lot of (shooting) ourselves and Korey, our engineer (shooting us).

Did the cameras ever get annoying?

Richard: At first it was only Korey like during the intimate part of it. But once you’re on tour and playing shows, it’s a zoo anyway.

Will: Though having Kahlil with a giant steadicam in a tiny venue for 200 people made a difference.