Dino’s Picks: Alex G – DSU

Alex G has made an incredibly gorgeous and dreamy, indie rock album called DSU and it is his first full-length release with Orchid Tapes as well as his first album being pressed on vinyl and it’s beautiful. As an independent artist finding most of his following through the internet, Alex G dances around his songs evoking the sounds of Elliott Smith, Built To Spill, American Football, Guided by Voices even Youth Lagoon‘s debut. His guitar is mostly melodic, electric trails, acoustic shambles, both heavy and light at the same time, combined with tired sometimes pitch shifted vocals but confident nonetheless, recorded out of his bedroom, but without any hiss or messiness, while the drums sound as if they were recorded in a dark basement. Some watery keys throughout and grand piano on a few, taking the lead on the album’s last track “Boy”. DSU being his first-ever mastered full-length, is somewhat of a landmark for Brooklyn’s (formerly Toronto’s) Orchid Tapes as it is one of their first ever vinyl releases amongst other albums this year such as the emotion fuelled electronic dreamscapes of Ricky Eat Acid‘s Three Love Songs, along with a label compilation Boring Ecstasy: The Bedroom Pop of Orchid Tapes - those records are both responsible for getting me to Alex G’s work. From start to finish DSU shows promise for Alex G and is an impressive 13 song set that is not to be missed by any fans of ‘indie rock’. I’m not sure for how long, but ALL OF ORCHID TAPES’ ENTIRE CATALOG IS CURRENTLY FREE – don’t be a fool, get DSU and check out some other artists that catch your fancy – this label deserves some love!

Dino’s Picks: ”Serpent Is Lord”, “Harvey”, “Black Hair”, “Promise”

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Music In Motion: What I’ve Been Doing

Music blogger aside, I am a full time film student in Toronto, in the West-end, (cue Pet Shop Boys) specializing in sound, working freelance on small and large projects of all kinds. I have been building a portfolio of sorts containing several things – I started: building a ‘demo-reel’, compiling a sound library (collection of recordings), composing music for films, attempting foley and tackling sound design for short films as well as personal projects, to hopefully better my chances of transitioning into the workplace.

Music heavily influences how I live my life, how I go about my day and how I work. It’s comforting to know that it is there morning and night, at breakfast, when I’m out driving, everywhere. I know I’m not the only one who needs to use music in such a way – it’s a healing escape, a soundtrack and guide to life’s events. You can launch complete memories and moments from listening to a single song.  I like to approach my films in the same way I would an album. I almost like to imagine what my film sounds like before the rest comes in to the mix. Working on films my view is that “a project can have the most lovely and riveting picture, but that is all thrown away if it is overshadowed by poor audio, music choices and sound mixing. You can have an awful looking video, but the sound can be incredible and I guarantee that the viewers won’t walk out of the theatre. They will stay, as sound is comforting and it is something they already know and love so dearly.” Of course some cinematographers will tell you otherwise, but hey I’m just the sound guy. It is a magical thing, a definite bonus when the two worlds (audio and visual) correlate and create something that could not be achieved on their own. Working from the inside you witness its development and you see it as it happens. It’s quite amazing actually. The process of creating a film is time consuming, thought consuming and money consuming, but of course it is the idea that holds no price and it is the final product that makes it worth every hardship.

This brings me back to music and video working together. The music video is one of the greatest outlets to get your music heard and shared online. I find them to be the most fascinating, as you only have a short period of time to show and tell and there are little to no rules. Some of the greatest filmmakers started doing music videos. I’ll name a few:

Spike Jonze started off in the medium, making music videos – notably: Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage”, Ween’s “Freedom of ’76″, Daft Punk’s “Da Funk” and Björk’s “It’s Oh So Quiet”. He ended up making feature films like Being John Malkovich (1999) and his latest being the incredible Her (2013).

French filmmaker Michel Gondry has made some of the most original and creative body of work to date, doing videos for Björk’s “Hyper-Ballad”, The Chemical Brothers’ “Star Guitar” and recently Metronomy’s “Love Letters”. He’s made films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004).

David Fincher’s early work with Madonna was pretty groundbreaking. He did the videos for “Express Yourself” and “Vogue” before moving on to make beautifully dark films such as Seven (1995), Fight Club (1999) and Zodiac (2007).

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Anyways the point of this post was to show what I’ve been working on, and that I haven’t been completely neglecting my blog (on purpose). I’ve just been spending most of my time working on several projects as new ones seem to come up everyday. I study film production in Toronto and I made a couple of videos for school projects this year. They may not be anything near as special or ‘groundbreaking’ as the filmmakers’ early work above, but I’ve posted them with inspiration in mind. You have to start somewhere. Enjoy these two videos below and although they aren’t music videos I worked on one for a local band recently that will be finished closer to the end of Summer which I’ll post then. Thanks.

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Dino’s Picks: Currently Spinning

The year is flying by and already many great releases have given 2014 a promise that even more incredible albums are on their way. Some big shows and festivals are on the horizon for Toronto as well as most major cities. If you’re still trying to catch up on albums that you’ve missed from 2013, now’s the time to move on, go check out some local artists. If you’re possibly still listening to Vampire Weekend’s last cut it’s time to move on to 2014 and bury that record. Some of these are albums that are strong enough to be talked about all year long and others are just what I’ve been listening too awaiting the warm weather and better days. Stay strong and make it through your exams comrades. Better turn your headphones up.

Real Estate Atlas

Skaters Manhattan

Kool A.D Work O.K.

Black Atlass Young Bloods EP

St. Vincent St.Vincent

Freddie Gibbs and Madlib Piñata

Thee Oh Sees Drop Singles Collection 1 & 2

“Coma” – Thee Oh Sees [dwnld]

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Dino’s Picks: The Smiths’ Debut Turns 30

The Smiths‘ debut studio album is now 30 years old. Regarded as one of the greatest British debuts of all time The Smiths was released through Rough Trade on February 20th, 1984. Upon hearing the opening track “Reel Around the Fountain” it’s clear that the divine combination of Johnny Marr and Moz was unlike anything I had ever heard before. The album artwork is a still of actor Joe Dallesandro from Andy Warhol’s 1968 film Flesh and of course it was chosen by the film obsessed Morrissey. Although the production of the album was said to have fallen short with somewhat of a ‘tinny’ sound; undoubtedly it is an incredible album from start to finish that was well received by critics and listeners alike. It established The Smiths as a powerful addition to the 1980s Manchester scene and paved the way for four years of consecutive albums including some of the greatest releases of all time. Happy 30th to The Smiths from Dino’s Word!

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New Release: Youth Lagoon “Worms”

Lefse Records just announced a collection of songs from 14 artists who used unique sound recordings from space to create their very own soundscapes. It’s called The Space Project, and one of them was done by Trevor Powers of Youth Lagoon. “Worms,” features noises from the Rings of Uranus recorded by Voyager space probes:

FYI: although there’s no real sound in the vacuum of space, it’s possible to translate the electromagnetic radiation fluctuations and charged particles of these celestial bodies into conventional sound.

So now that you’re no better of a person at all for knowing that. A collection of artists have come together to take audio recordings of planets that were gathered by the Voyager 1 & 2 space probes and manipulate these frequencies in music. This is my piece.

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