Four-Letter Word (Holy Fuck, Congrats review)

Blasphemous or obscene language. That’s what I read when I looked up profanity in the dictionary.

Apparently it bothers some, offends others, and it irreverent to many. We could put attention on the Internet, loosening morals, higher education or any number of subjects, but the point is this. When you use a swear word, people will pay attention.

At least for a minute or two. Holy Fuck.

 

 

 

Holy Fuck – Congrats
released May 27, 2016
******** 8/10

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Holy Fuck is a Canadian electronica band currently on the Young Turks label. The band uses live instruments and several non instruments to create their unique sound, which sounds electronic but is not created with laptops or tracks. For example, they’ve been known to use toy phaser guns in their songs. Seriously.

A good instrumental act is hard to find, but once you do, you better hold on tight because their sound will be a snowflake in the summer, beautiful and unique, but fleeting. You can capture it and put it under glass, but it won’t function the same way. That’s probably why the best instrumental acts are often on independent labels, untapped and underexposed potential.

Suffice it to say Holy Fuck are a good indie instrumental act, though you are probably wondering how Congrats fares as an album overall, right dear readers?

I personally really like House of Glass, that opener uses a really cool baseline and what sounds to be sirens to evoke darkness without ever being explicit, and wait for the build up – it’ll give you goosebumps. Tom Tom and Sabbatics are also some kind of wonderful. Tom Tom with it’s glitchy soundscape and haunting vocals and Sabbatics with it’s ever-rising climb of rhythm.

This is the kind of dance album that we could have used 4 or 5 years ago, but which the band wasn’t around to make. Likely because they were recharging after 3 strong album efforts and an end of the dance-rock heavy era of the oughts.

And with that consideration, the true question remains – are Holy Fuck still relevant? Or were they ever?

Holy Fuck is both my electronic dream and electric nightmare. Their capacity to produce non-electronic sounds that actually sound better than the real thing is simply fantastic and proof that au naturel is how I like it.

The supposed problem though, is that dance rock doesn’t have a lasting impression with the masses, at least not one that helps you remember it as a good experience. And unfortunately Holy Fuck is also something of an exercise in construction. They figure out a way to make a track and piece together the disparate elements, but never take a real risk to produce higher level sonic bliss. Kind of like that friend which you know will make you laugh and you feel perfectly comfortable with at the party, but isn’t going to floor you with philosophy later on.

It’s hard to fault them though, when the beats are so bumpin. To quite Anthony Fantano, I’m feeling a solid 7.5 to an 8 on this one… And transition.

 

 

 

Holy Fuck aren’t a gimmick band, despite what moments of this write-up might tell you. If anything, I suspect they are subversive little dance-rock enthusiasts and they wanted a way to play music while poking holes in some of the weaker genre elements.

With Congrats they’ve successfully done that, but the question remains. Are they still relevant?

Tim!

The End of The Rainbow (Evaluate Life)

Well, we have arrived dear readers. It happens today.

Today you make the decision. The important one. The one that will change your life.

Don’t be scared, making decisions comes naturally to all of us. You made the decision to click on the link that led you here in the first place, didn’t you?

And that, my friends, is what life is all about. Making decisions.

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But you’ve been putting one of those decisions off haven’t you? That’s right, I know you know which one. It’s okay though, we’ve all been there. But YOU do need to admit to yourself that you’ve been delaying action, and haven’t been addressing the problem at hand. Once you do that, then we can begin the process of changing your life. Now, depending on how much of a delay you’ve made with this decision, you may need to act immediately or spend some time in thought and in evaluation.

Which leads us to the wisest topic o’the day.

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It’s time for you to evaluate your life my friends. The last preliminary topic in the Life Hacks series, and a great one at that. But I’m going to give you a summary of this key life skill before we go into more detail.

You need to start a proper life evaluation by making major decisions in the morning and then divvy up your day based on your productivity habits. Assess your passions at the end of each year, each month, each week, and before you go to bed. If you can do that you’ll focus and delegate out the unnecessary. Flexibility is important too, but if you get stuck try this – pretend you are away from work and/or home for a week, and you only have a few hours to accomplish your tasks.

Now that we’ve got a roadmap, let’s plot the journey rather carefully you creative cuties.

  1. Make major decisions in the morning – Start your day the same way every morning by determining what that first/second/third important task of the day is. Simplify and clarify the actions needed to complete said task(s) and also ask yourself why it’s important to accomplish. If you can figure out how and why to eat the frog, you can get there on your terms.
  2. Assess you passions – How do you feel? What is important to you? Prioritize them accordingly, and then determine if your friends are valuable (supportive or troublemaking), your identity is self-created or defined for you, your emotional output towards life is solid, if your sense of wonder is intact, you make mistakes AND acknowledge them, you take care of your health, have a good family life, and you are truly putting your best foot forward.
  3. Delegate out the unnecessary – Surround yourself with people who are happy, and step back from habits of inaction and uncertainty. When you take on too much, just because, you are limiting yourself. You can share tasks with others and make your own load a little lighter.  Life is full of uncertainty, but it’s up to you to go outside the lines in life’s colouring book.
  4. Flexibility is important – This might seem counter-intuitive at first, but if you truly know your life’s purpose and you have the volition to stick to it, then you must learn to adjust the course as often as necessary to assure your success.
  5. Imagine you have a few precious hours – If time is money, then truly, money is only as good as the time spent. Fortunes can be earned and lost many times over in a lifetime, but life itself is fleeting, so consider that age old problem: what if you only had a day to live, how would you spend it? Then you can decide if that task is leading you towards or away from the point.

Does this seem foreboding and like work. Well I hate to break it to you my dear readers, but if you’ve been following along in the last few months, you’d know that none of the 10 skills I asked you to invest in were going to be simple, but I know you have it in you, because you have a life purpose and a creative fire that needs fuel.

I’m out of theories for now, but be sure to check back tomorrow when I examine something timely and get you thinking about another kind of hidden treasure.

Tim!

Lollipop (Grimes Art Angels review)

I’m gonna tell you a little secret dear readers, while I don’t own any of their albums, I’m a pretty big fan of CSS.

This is probably because when I was in my early 20’s they were “cool” and “weird” and something hipsters were into, but I think my favourite thing about them was that they had a song called Art Bitch and another called Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above.

I’ve always been a fan of pop music, and if the music and lyrics were engaging, you had my money.

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Which is why today’s review is kind of awesome, because this feels like a throwback and something completely original at the same time. Also, anything with the word art in the title has to be good, right?

 

 

 

Grimes – Art Angels
released December 11, 2015
********* 9/10

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Claire Elise Boucher, better known as Grimes, is a Canadian singer/songwriter, music video director and record producer. This is her 4th studio album release and the most chart-topping example of her unique vision to date.

I have had a lot of fun listening to this album. It changes dramatically throughout, and even varies inside of specific tracks. I think some the most euphoric experiences with it have been listening to the CD in the car on my way to and fro.

But while this album is incredibly well crafted, I’m not entirely sure it qualifies as easy-listening for the more timid listener.

For instance, while I gravitated to the content almost immediately, both my girlfriend and one of my brothers couldn’t quite place the music the first time listening through themselves and as a consequence they both wanted to move on quickly.

It’s the kind of album that perfectly encapsulates the era we are living in, it pulls from a plethora of influences and captures them in fantastical and dreamlike ways. There are celtic parts, dreampop moments, psychobilly screams, spoken word in other languages, horror-movie inspired progressions, and audio samples that I’d swear came out of a video game from the 64 bit days or earlier.

Wikipedia has tried to summarize her identity by taking other summaries and mashing them together, which I find hilarious, by the way. And oh so relevant to what Grimes represents.

This quote from The Guardian says it well –

By sounding a little like everything you’ve ever heard, the whole sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard.

I’m gonna tell you something that might seem crazy, but really shouldn’t be. The reason why Grimes’ music is so awesome is not because she is a trendsetter in a sea of pop music, and as a result her music is as high of a caliber as the likes of Lorde, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Adele, and Ellie Goulding, among others, but because she sets trends by controlling her oeuvre and making music that is interesting and has intent. This is what pop music should sound like. Authentic music by artists that suit their personalities and tastes.

Claire Elise Boucher is inviting us into her reality, as opposed to trying to work in the reverse.

Kill V. Maim is a song from the perspective of Al Pacino in The Godfather pt II, California addresses her new hometown (a play off of Taylor Swift’s Welcome to New York?), REALiTi a love song that features insanity, and Butterfly is a send-up to Mariah Carrey and environmentalism.

If you don’t believe she is electic, and seeing is your truth, check out these music videos for Flesh without Blood/ Life in the Vivid Dream and REALiTi for a visual treat and a sample of her music directing skillz.

It is an incredibly rich and diverse offering, and I like it. But my major complaint is that it doesn’t dovetail with the same explosive and powerful quality that it opens with in the first track, laughing and not being normal. But if you are looking to shake up your pop roots, this is the one for you.

 

 

 

Art Angels is a fantastic entry from a really great artist who is embracing her weirdness and producing something original. Like CSS, she has made a fan of me, but unlike CSS, I’m gonna keep to my word and continue to buy her records. You should too.

See you tomorrow for a movie review, have a good night folks!

Tim!

Old School (timotheories presents: Cross Talk)

Do you ever look at all of people who wear shirts with the statement “old school” emblazoned across the front, and shake your head?

I remember a stretch of time when it was a very popular type of slang, especially with people in my generation. It was used to refer to gaming, music, and fashion especially. But pretty much anything that came from another era was subject to the old school moniker when brought up in conversation.

There was even a movie about this idea. And it was conveniently called Old School. At the time that this movie came out, I had just turned 18 years old. And in a fury of wanting to be an adult, participate in adult culture and do adult things, I went to see Old School in the theatre.

At the time, I thought I had hit comedy gold. It was quotable, it was rude, it had nudity, and I was finally part of a club I had wished I was a part of for years. 18 year old Tim was stupid, and I hated his motivations.

Hate is a strong word, and I really really really dislike using it. But it’s true.

I wanted to like old school things, and convey my taste, my wisdom, and my virtue. And I thought that watching a movie about men in their 40s who go back to college to start a fraternity, get drunk and sleep with coeds, was a pathway to this wisdom.

Appropriating without contributing, participating without earning anything.

Hence, I dislike the term “old school.” But that’s just the surface reason, let’s go deeper.

It also seemed to me to be a lazy way of contributing to a conversation without actually offering anything up. Equivalent to when people throw the word fuck around haphazardly or follow every other sentence with it.

The height of the “old school” slang for me was in 2003, when trucker hats were cool.

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But Coolio and LL Cool J were not. Cry me a river right?

B-Real - Hit Em High (ft. Busta Rhymes,Method Man & Coolio) [TV]

Sorry I thought of a quip and wanted to share it.

Anyway, as I mentioned, 2003 was a fun time. With lots of gentrification and appropriation going on in popular culture. We were just starting to define this trend and eventually landed the plane with a term called the hipster.

In this period of time, everyone wanted to address this overwhelming issue of postmodernism embodied in fashion. The hipsters took from every era possible and somehow managed to upset every niche culture in the process.

It was a fashionable form of nihilism and it stuck around for a quite a while.

Nihilism, subversion, and anti-establishment anti-hero types have always existed, but we needed to re-define and send this out into the world ourselves.

And because of the post-modernist movement, hipsterdom moved with the contemporary ideas of the day.

But as we hit the 2010’s, hipsters and attacking everything became faux pas. Or at least I stopped worrying about it myself. You see, I realized, and I think most artists are started to as well, that we need to move past post-modernism if we really want to create anything worthwhile.

Sure it can be fun to deconstruct something and take details away from it, but real joy can only be found in embracing and sharing your vision with the world.

Which is why I think that modern craft is the next big thing in the art world, in the arts, and in popular culture. You see, I have this theory. My theory is that every generation needs to separate itself from the one previous, but because life works in cycles, and we reference what comes before us, children are often the spiritual successors of their grandparents ideas and belief systems.

My parents (and the parents of all generation x and generation y kids) represent ideas of deconstruction, excess, and dichotomies that exist in the  extreme. That’s not to say that they are extremists, but it was a period of carving out and making broad strokes to deal with the world. In anticipation of globalization, the internet, and major issues of human rights.

I think that the next generations focus will be on nuanced issues, on craft, on communication, and on socialization. This is why more and more people are turning to small businesses again, why artwork is becoming about skillfulness again, and why we are tackling social media.

I’m going to end today’s post by offering a promise to you dear readers.

A promise in anticipation of a new year and new challenges! Next year, I am going to unveil a new component of the timotheories mantle called Cross Talk. On Cross Talk, myself and my co-host will be addressing themes we see in film (and eventually other realms)and using those themes to offer you up much needed insights.

It can be a lot of fun to learn about production details, fan theories, and celebrity gossip, but that is not the intent of Cross Talk. Cross Talk promises to be the kind of discussion you would have in a bar or on a couch with your close friends about a topic and provide you with a fresh perspective on a universal storytelling medium!

So stay tuned because we aren’t going to appropriate we are going to celebrate and bring something new to the table!

And that’s all of the theories I have today.

Tim!