Skip to Content

Tag Archives: elliott smith

TGIF – Saddest Songs, Prism Prize and Music Festival Tragedy

Tibet house benefit iggy pop patti smith new order


Happy Friday, and Happy Spring everyone!!!! Hope you are as excited as I am that it’s FINALLY HERE (even though we might be in for more snow this weekend… …… ugh).

As for fun weekend plans, I will be attending the Prism Prize Music Video Awards on Sunday, so I am saving most of my energy this weekend for that (especially if it snows, as I can’t be outside in that shit for much longer without going completely batshit insane).  What fun are you getting into? I have some suggestions as per usual over at Dose! I also heard Foster The People (remember that song about uncool poor kids shooting up cool rich kids at school… ughhh) are playing the Horseshoe tonight, so if you’re into that kinda one hit wonder-y mainstream posing as indie band, it’s a chance to see one of those “big” bands in a tiny venue – but it’s sold out so good luck with that. You’re much better off seeing The Dirty Nil at Silver Dollar or The Big Sound at Adelaide Hall tonight.

Now, for the links:


Another Unheard Elliott Smith Song Leaked

There has been so many Elliott Smith songs leaking this year, I feel spoiled. His music has had such a huge impact on my life since I first heard him in Good Will Hunting all those years ago. I have ‘XO’ tattooed on me because of him, I named this blog after one of his unreleased songs, and at one point I seriously considered moving to Portland thinking I would fit in better there, so that might tell you a bit about how much his work means to me if you’re not already aware.

Please enjoy this download of a song of his that I’ve never heard before until just now, titled Misery Let Me Down (as far as we know). It is under the first track (Division Day Take 1) about 1.5 mins in, and it’s beautiful. It is live and he doesn’t play the whole thing (he plays it after asking for a minute to warm up) but it is just as evocative and beautiful as anything he ever wrote.

The download includes the entire WMUC recording session with a lot of stopping and starting and requests on his part. It’s very endearing.


TGIF: Movember, Rob Ford and Too Many People


Another Friday, another bunch of links to blow your time til you can get out there and drink the night away. By the way, if you’re in Toronto you should probably spend your night at The Horseshoe seeing Fast Romantics and Teenage Kicks – they will even have cute tees (yes, by that I mean ones for girl bodies too!) for sale for $10. Also, it’s my dad’s birthday today – he doesn’t read this because he doesn’t understand the internet, but happy birthday anyway dad! Love you.

  • You’re A Start-Up – Best advice for musicians I’ve read in a long time, and it’s applicable to anyone in a creative field as well.
  • Long Live the Pixies – Sounds like they’re still killing it on the reunion tour I caught and reviewed back in May!

That’s it! So what are you up to this weekend? Share some links you found this week with me in the comments, thx.


TGIF: Steve’s Expanding, Alan Cross’ New Gig and Miss Representation

It’s Friday! The weekend is here and I am so looking forward to it. Lots of good shows happening, but mostly I’m just happy to have a weekend off where I’m actually home to do laundry and dishes. My apartment is a disaster area right now. Hope your week was great – but if it wasn’t, here is some reading/listening material to distract you.

  • Since you read this blog, you would probably agree that it’s easy to get consumed in our own little world of good taste and assume that everyone everywhere listens to Arcade Fire and no one actually likes Creed or Fallout Boy, but that’s not really the case, a point this article makes – A Rock-Radio Reality Check.
  • Hollerado talks about their awesome Meet the Mayor Tour.
  • Chart is back – we all wondered wtf happened when they abruptly decided to stop, turns out it was just a change of hands, and now things are back on track.
  • In Defence of Toronto. There was once a time when I thought I was over Toronto and wanted to move to San Francisco or New York, but lately (despite Rob Ford) I love the city more than I ever have before, so it was awesome to read this article on all the reasons there are to love it here, defending it from a New Yorker who lived here for less than a year and wrote an article about how Toronto doesn’t measure up.
  • Zeus is back with their new single from the upcoming album, called “Are You Gonna Waste My Time?” and it rules, so hard. Listen Here
  • In 24 Days or Less, Apple Will Change Music, Again …
  • And last but not least, here’s the trailer for an awesome doc about media’s treatment of women, airing October 20th on OWN, can’t wait to see this:



Holy Sons’ Emil Amos

This interview comes to us via my lovely friend Natalie Simons, who was kind enough to take my place at this show when I was dealing with the worst of the cold that’s been going around the city.

Quietly prolific and determinedly raw, Emil Amos – singer-songwriter behind Portland’s most withheld secret Holy Sons sits with me on a rainy Wednesday at the Phoenix Concert Theatre, mere moments before his band takes the stage to open for long-time friends Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks.

Those familiar with the early Portland music scene likely remain unsurprised by this musical pairing, as the city is famed for its history of incestuously collaborative musicians. This night, of course, is a delightful display of the tradition, as it is revealed that drummer Jake Morris, Emil and Malkmus have worked together in various avenues for over a decade.

Amos speaks of how they met: “Jake, [Malkmus’s] new drummer, played in my other band Grails.  We’ve been friends for maybe 11 years, when the Portland music scene was super sleepy. Back then, it was kind of a dead period—a rebuilding period—after Elliott Smith left Portland. There were hardly any venues, but we helped open this venue called The Blackbird; [Jake] worked there and I lived with people who did it.

“We met one night when a cop, who was off duty, drove his truck super wasted into the club. We virtually met taking 4x4s up the stairs, patching up the damages.”

Though Emil modestly goes on to deem his presence on the tour as a fluke made possible by years of musical collaborations and the, at times, excruciatingly small and familiar waters in which most local music scenes seem to inhabit, he does admit in small part to the fact that his early fanaticism for bands like Pavement and Sebadoh have proven to be a huge influence on his music and the way he performs. “I was a super, super early fan of Pavement. I have memories of when the Trigger Cut 7” came out back in ’91 or ’92, and I remember being so young and listening to it, picking it apart and thinking about what I really wanted to do with my life. It helped me decide what kind of stuff I wanted to record. So yes, there’s definitely a full circle element to that.”

Further, the more emotionally dry, erratic, and ultimately vulnerable these indie acts appeared on stage before him in his early years, the more Emil was enthralled. “It trained me,” he admits. “So, by the time I started playing shows, I realized ‘oh my god, I’ve become this thing that most people don’t even like to watch.’”

Granted, on a grander scale, this statement rings true more often than not; however, Wednesday night, the Phoenix fortunately housed fans of all ages, standing eager to participate in a communal nostalgia for a kind of onstage honesty indicative of the late eighties and early nineties underground.

Once he hits the stage, I soon realize about three songs in that there is little to no difference between Emil’s onstage presence and the 30something man who sat in front of me moments before. Both his work and his performance are guided by a desire to be comfortable, raw, uninhibited and accepting of an inevitable criticism that awaits his unwillingness to abide by traditional rules of musical entertainment. “I know a lot of people play music and are excited to be in front of a lot of people, and excited to get a girlfriend or whatever—it’s just all never worked for me… Something in my brain won’t let me feel like things are working out or that I’m allowed to enjoy it, which I think, is probably connected to my compulsion to just make stuff.”

When asked for wacky tour stories thus far, Emil boasts that while he has tons—a quirk of spending so many of his years touring with other Portland-hailed bands such as Grails and Om—they are all hilariously haphazard and ultimately proof that he’s never been quite good at taking control and ensuring things go smoothly. “I’m just drunk,” he laughs. “It’s not my natural habitat… I’m sort of a mess. I’m not like, a typical tour manager kind of guy. I never grew up thinking that I’d be doing this part. I imagined as a kid, like 10 years old, that the world would just let me make music and be like, a weird drugged out dude in my basement.”

Amongst a number of stories involving drug-induced forgetfulness and loss of equipment, Emil recalls a particularly favourited tour tale in which he was, rather violently, dragged into a lover’s spat. He jokingly insists that it’s incredibly complex, requiring at least three hours to unravel all the sub-plots but as his set time approaches, Emil gives me the cliff notes:

“One of my favourite tour stories that I’ve never told is that I got strangled by the side of the stage once by a girl’s boyfriend. I had gotten off stage and was watching my friend’s band when he just came up behind me! And I was just laughing the whole time because I thought it was just so crazy. I don’t know, I think she had told him that she liked me and she had just broken up with him, or something, and he just decided that… I… needed to die, I guess (laughs).”

While Emil eagerly accepts that he is not the best at smoothly conserving and managing himself on tour, he does seem to find great comfort and enjoyment in the sort of chaotic spontaneity these experiences seem to afford. Much like the bands he once watched in his early twenties, Emil strives to live through something interesting, clumsy and fundamentally human on stage and on tour; an effort that inevitably makes him both a fascinating person and musician to watch.