They’re Barking In The Wrong Key (AFI, AFI (The Blood Album) review)

When a band has been around for over 25 years, you probably should stand up when they enter the room and definitely stop talking out of respect when they say something, unless you’re a dick. If you’re a dick, you can just close your ears and pretend it never happened. Probably to your detriment.

This week we explore an album which I personally think deserves your attention. An early entry that might make my top 10 for 2017, but we’ll just have to dig in for now.

 

 

 

AFI – Self-titled (The Blood Album)
released January 20, 2017
********** 10/10

afi-the-blood-album

A Fire Inside, better known as AFI, are an American rock group that focuses on punk, alternative and emo music. The lineup hasn’t changed in almost twenty years, but only features two of the original four members – Davey Havok on vocals and drummer Adam Carson. Hunter Burgan provides bass support and Jade Puget is the guitarist, but all three instrumentalists share backup vocals. Having released tend studio-length albums now, AFI is the first self-titled album that AFI has completed.

Affectionately called “the blood album,” this record has been released on vinyl in four limited edition color variants matching the four blood types (A | O | B | AB). But is it any good, you ask?

Well, yeah.

I’ve been a fan of AFI since Sing The Sorrow hit the ground running, earning the band mainstream attention and Billboard attention for almost a year, just shy of a week. Then Decemberunderground came out and I was hooked, I picked up their back catalogue and haven’t looked back since. Granted, I don’t think Crash Love or Burials had quite the same visceral impact as AFI’s sixth and seventh efforts, but dammit if this self-titled album doesn’t remind me of Sing The Sorrow. And well, everything else they’ve ever done.

You see dear readers, at this point in their career AFI don’t have to take any real risks, but they are more than capable of revisiting genres they’ve already explored and giving a tempered reflection of what preceded, this even application of sonics is what reminds me of Sing The Sorrow – it’s intentional subdued but infinitely more thoughtful and considered.

Some of my favourite tracks include Aurelia, Hidden Knives, So Beneath You, Dumb Kids, Pink Eyes, and The Wind That Carries Me Away. None of these tracks are much like the other one, but each are familiar because AFI has been down these roads before.

Now before you accuse me of accepting this as a middle-of-the-road AFI and not A Fire Inside, you should know that Havok and Puget wrote over 60 songs before they got to this 14 track offering. And you need to listen to the whole album more than once, it gets better on subsequent viewings, like any good piece of art.

This is AFI committed to their art, and it’s a beautiful thing to witness.

 

 

 

 

As I sit with the realization that one of the last mega-stores of music and film is dying off and that I’ll have to change my own tactics going forward (read: goodbye HMV), it’s satisfying to know that music will still find a way. AFI are still relevant and that means more to me than cheap prices and the convenience of online shopping. But maybe I’ll learn to embrace that too. No harm in checking out a new theory.

Tim!

Building Bridges, Forging Families (Community)

A new year, a new theme.

And while I’m not going to unleash that theme on you just yet, mostly because I’m saving it for the timotheories January post that’ll be released tomorrow, let’s just agree that this first Wisdom Wednesday post of the year is significant. Heck, I’ve even layered this post into an existing series on health and wellness, and influenced by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Let’s consider that statement one more time “new year, new theme.” We could pretty easily replace the words “year” and “theme” with almost anything really.

It’s one of those catch-all-modify-it-as-you-like phrases that I often like to say, and which many of us are guilty of sharing too. It’s such a North American thing to embrace newness. Except that you can’t hear me saying it, so looking at it through the lens of my writing will have to do, dear readers. And if you really want to see me speak you can always head over to the YouTube channel. Lots of theories over there.

You know what else? It’s been an excellent Christmas break. For me especially.

Break In The New Year

An opportunity for both reflection and decompression with a strong mix of socialization thrown in for good measure. As is the tradition, but odd for me to written as a staunch non-traditionalist, we had our typical Christmas eve Secret Santa gift exchange, then a full day of Christmas activities, Boxing Day shopping and movie watching, my annual Fast and Furious marathon, a roommate holiday party, New Years Eve, and New Years Day dinner. It was a full docket to be sure.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, I insist on taking the last week of the year off because Christmas and New Years are big holidays in my family. We always seem to have at least three or four days dedicated to the holiday season and so the preceding weeks and afterglow take both a physical and emotional toll on me. It ain’t easy being green, as the once Kermit the Frog once said.

kermit

Communication Breakdown

The feedback I often get from more vocal friends who only want a cursory view of my break is “why do you even take holidays if you aren’t going anywhere?” Well my friends, I think it’s important to spend time with family and friends and I want to be in the best state possible to partake in these festivities. But honestly it’s just not simple drop in and drop out situation. I have to absorb it all and then filter the experiences. That, and I often catch some sort of seasonal illness around this time of year.

Now granted, I have been told on more than one occasion that I push myself to the limit at this time of year, but recognizing  the deadline oriented nature of the holiday and my own needs working retail (which doesn’t matter if at a store or head office), have led me towards this solution.

This is important to realize. Community is vital for a creative person, so we each need to find a way to inject it into our set of priorities.

You see creative cuties, community and communication often go hand in hand. The people who attend these events with me all bring their own unique perspective to each party, but the desire to be there and connect is important to each of us. Whether it’s bonding over a film series. the act of handmade gifts or sharing in a homemade meal that celebrates culture, there requirements for participating in these events are clear.

Advanced Community Studies

But is this really the life we should be living?

Of course, I have this theory that it all comes back to values. In fact, I call it the campfire theory. Which I’ll likely elaborate upon int’s own post sometime this year…

We all need to be in alignment with the people we spend time with, and a great shared valued is much like a campfire, we gather around it for warmth, share stories around it hours, and struggle to leave it in the wee hours of morning, even when we know we could be sleeping. This is passionate living, and one of the most important things we can do in life is find community with like-minded individuals. The world challenges us to do it on our own, but this is a fallacy, because studies have proven time and time again that giving back to others is good for us and after a certain point of success we want to give away what we have.

We need to make the time for community. Life lessons and experiences are often reverberated through the friends and family in our lives.

Once each of us realizes that we must actively work with a community, then we can begin to determine how often we engage with our communities (daily, weekly, monthly) and the best way to structure said community. It could be a Facebook group, a What’sApp groupchat, a dinner party or a campfire. But knowing what you want to offer the group(s) and receive back is essential.

I’m ecstatic to see what 2017 brings for you creative cuties, so hit me up with your own learnings and let me know what you thought of this wisdom. I’m out of theories for now, but I’ll share some more tomorrow.

Tim!

Maybe, This Christmas (Christmas 2016)

It’s been quite the year for me, dear readers.

As I reflect back on what has been accomplished this year at timotheories, I’m proud of all the new theories we’ve been able to bring to you, the friendships strengthened through opportunities of collaboration whether in monthly interviews, Cross Talk film discussion or the much anticipated Just ‘n Time Games (I swear it’s coming), and of course so much curating I can’t even believe it.

2017 looks to be even brighter, and as I personally wind down for a week of reflection, timed perfectly with the Christmas season, I can’t help but be inspired by the holidays friends.

Normally, I like to tell people that I’m not a large fan of Christmas, after all, it is a lot of effort for very little physical pay-off. But upon the start of my reflection, the mistake I make in writing and believing that, is that Christmas really is a SEASON of giving and goodwill, and I believe that most of us use this time to set aside our desires for recognition to share ourselves and provide something special to those we care about.

With that in mind, I’ve rewritten some Christmas lyrics into a little poem, capturing the intent of this realization for me. I can thank my girlfriend Mysticque for a lot of this inspiration, because she is a dedicated and giving individual, perhaps a bit sentimental too, which I use in a positive light as a robot coming off of his programming.

So this one is for you baby.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, all is calm. All is bright.

I don’t want a lot this Christmas. Just, like, the ones I used to know… You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear, voices singing “And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun. The near and the dear ones, the old and the young.” Way up in the sky, little lamb, do you see what I see? A star, a star, dancing in the night. O holy night! The stars are brightly shining.

Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?

Please have snow and mistletoe. And presents by the tree… Won’t be the same dear, if you’re not here with me.Oh, there’ll be no more sorrow, no grief and pain. and I’ll be happy, Christmas once again. This year, to save me from tears, I’ll give it to someone special.

I really do believe in you, let’s see if you believe in me. And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows.

With that shared, timotheories always has been and always will be digital curating at heart, and you can’t have heart without art, creative cuties. I ask you to take some time, whether Christmas inspired or not, to reflect on your own year, consider what you’ve achieved, and set the bar a little higher for yourselves, never measuring against others, but against you, because you CAN achieve your dreams, and Christmas is a great reminder of why sharing with others is vital.

Happy holidays and I’ll see you in the new year, with a new plan, some new theories, and lots of he(art).

Tim!

Explore Some More (Megan Warkentin preview interview)

 

Exploration is important, it allows you to learn things about yourself, to make friends, find lovers, to live life in a more productive and harmonious state. And in the most obvious of ways, to experience that which you did not even know about – gaining in wisdom and knowledge.

Cameras, laptops, smart tech, mobile phones, all of these things are the result of exploration. The same can be said of conceptual exploration. If we don’t stay active with our thoughts, we stagnate and we die. Metaphorically or sometimes quite literally. That’s one of the many reasons for timotheories, a way for me (and the ever-expanding timotheories squad) to communicate ideas and activities to you which are obscure and not readily available.

As you know, I meet with artists on the regular in the hopes of communicating key principles of business, creativity, and social skills we all need, yes myself included dear readers, in order to function properly as an artist, also emphasizing that exploration never ends. We have to embrace that uncertainty and exploration in order to continue along our merry way.

Which is what this month’s featured artist has her eyes keenly tuned toward. In fact, she thinks exploration is vital, so much so that she’s made it part of her artistic practice to paint individuals risking life and limb in order to test their own mettle. But more on that later, I still have to release the complete interview folks.

Using metaphor and the literal, Megan Warkentin is a graduate student at the University of Alberta who is the final chapter of her degree, preparing for her graduate exhibition this fall semester. A born and raised Edmontonian, Megan has been involved in the art scene for quite some time, but her major contribution has always been in the arena of painting. I’m incredibly proud to have the opportunity to share a sneak peek of our interview with you today, because she has some great ideas on how explore as an artist.

I’m jumping off the walls in anticipation, I can’t wait anymore, so here is a preview of episode 12 of timotheories interviews, enjoy.

I must be a fan of long weekends, because I did the same thing last month. Releasing a preview over the long weekend is a great way to explore my own timing, but I got it to you didn’t I?

I’m out of theories for now, dear readers! Have a fantastic night, I’ll be back tomorrow with a review on the new Bon Iver album. It sound be a good one.

Tim!

That Old Familiar Feeling (Art School)

There was a time not too long ago when September would roll around and my thoughts turned towards school and a year full of promise.

Ever the optimist, but a little slow on the realism, somehow every school year start felt like it was going to be the year that would make my life all the better and thrust my person into a new and more adventurous lifestyle. In this fantasy world everyone of my pursuits went right and all of my experiences were opportunities realized.

I never got to that place at any point, dear readers. It was a child’s dream.

Not during elementary school, not during junior high school, not during high school, and also not during post-secondary.

The closest I ever felt to that point of arrival was in post-secondary, but I think it was mostly due to limited contact with the general public and maximum contact with substance abuse AKA critical thinking and alcohol. I blame that line of thinking on my lack of experience at the time and my stubbornness in not seeing things as they were, but rather as I wanted them to be. You see, I spent a lot of effort thinking about things, and considerably less time trying things.

I should clarify myself here.

I had a great many experiences that were very positive, some that were less positive but which yielded good lessons, but ultimately I did not push myself nearly as hard as I could have in order to become a functioning member of society as quickly as I should have. I realized this in my third year of university and made great efforts to land volunteer work that I could use to get myself a “day job”  after I was finished. But what about friendships, industry contacts, and meeting someone who I could be in a fantastic relationship with.

You see friends, life is a series of events that should be viewed at much like school, we all need to learn lessons, but some lessons come easier than others. And so you need to look inward to determine what skills you are lacking in.

Whether it’s home and personal care, life-management/organization, education, professionalism, transportation, and finally conscientiousness which is the area I admittedly still need to spend some time on.

With that said – let’s agree that September should always be a time for self-reflection, and for that reason alone I feel that it should replace New Years Eve as a time of making resolutions.

As creative professionals, we should resolve to work on ourselves always, because creativity is needed in this world and no one teaches you how to nurture that quality, but I definitely have some theories about how to do so.

Tim!