Latest Blog Posts

by Matt White

20 Feb 2009

Brooklyn’s Vivian Girls have a new song called “Lake House” available to stream on their MySpace page. It’s a nice piece of reverb-drenched rock and is taken from the eighth instalment of Almost Ready’s The World’s Lousy With Ideas compilation. Check it out.

by C. T. Heaney

20 Feb 2009

Post-rock band Saxon Shore have announced plans to release their latest full-length through Japanese label & Records on April 15th. US and European release dates will follow shortly after. The group’s last four albums, three EPs and an LP, have all been issued through Philadelphia label Burnt Toast Vinyl.

Three songs from the new album are currently streaming on the band’s MySpace. The record is to be titled It Doesn’t Matter and features characteristically beautiful artwork, consisting of colorful lines in a geometric shape against a black background.

by L.B. Jeffries

19 Feb 2009

A professor of psychology at Grant MacEwan College, Jayne Gackenbach, has conducted several studies on the relationship that gamers have with their dreams. The basic observation is that gaming has a traceable impact on the unconscious and this can often be seen in the dreams of various gamers.

So far the studies have explored three different things: cognitive factors, emotional content, and bizarreness in dreams associated with video game play. The strongest link in the studies found that high-end gamers typically experience more lucid dreams where the subject was aware that they were dreaming and could control their activities. A two-part series of studies found that although gamers were more aggressive (based on interviews) than the average person in their dreams, they also experienced aggressive dreams overall less than the norm. This led to another study, whose data is still being analyzed, but Gackenbach hypothesizes that daytime video game play may serve as a rehearsal for threat function that dreams may serve. This is based on the theory that our nightmares are actually survival mechanisms in which we undergo traumatic events in our dreams to prepare for them in the real world. The surprising discovery during many of these long interviews was that the typical “Being Chased” and “Can’t Escape” scenario of many nightmares did not frighten gamers. As Gackenbach notes in her conclusion to one of the studies, what better way to prepare for a dream than by constantly engaging in an out-of-body virtual reality?

Speaking for myself, not all of this applies to my dreams but a few elements struck a chord. I don’t often dream about things from games but I rarely have anything I’d call a nightmare. I don’t experience anything along the lines of Waking Life, but my dreams rarely feel out of control. Whenever I’m being chased in a dream, I just go someplace safe, wonder why I’m dreaming this weird stuff, get chased again, go someplace else. It’s all instinct and reaction but I rarely find any of it frightening. You can find the PowerPoint presentations and hard data from the research here. What is extremely unusual about

all

of this data is that typically lucid and out-of-body dreams require a great deal of meditation. Nightmares, which are often the product of real-life trauma such as being assaulted or post-traumatic stress disorder, may be significantly less unpleasant for people who play games.

There were several other observation that need to be corroborated with further data. Gamers may have a higher average number of dreams that feature little to no actual people and instead involve animals or other fantasy creatures. They also might experience more out of body or third person dreams than the average dreamer. It would be extremely helpful to Gackenbach’s study if anyone with a remote interest would fill out the survey offered here.

by Sarah Zupko

19 Feb 2009

Laura Barrett follows up last year’s EP Earth Sciences with her first full-length on February 24th. Again she calls on her signature kalimba, creating warm atmospheres that have the feel of futuristic electronic music created with simple, old world tools. That comes across in spades on “Bluebird.”

Laura Barrett
“Bluebird” [MP3]
     

TRACK LIST
1. Wood Between Worlds
2. Consumption
3. Spoiler Alert
4. Chidiya
5. Bluebird
6. A Certain Major Vinylsky
7. Ferryland
8. The Sharper Side
9. Space Seed: The Musical
10. Escape To The Sun Dome
11. Rien a Declarer
12. To The Stars!

TOUR DATES
Apr. 8 - Salt Spring Island, BC - TBA+
Apr. 10 - Victoria, BC - 50/50 Collective+
Apr. 12 - Vancouver, BC - Little Mountain Studios+
Apr. 14 - Osoyoos, BC - TBA+
Apr. 17 - Calgary, AB - TBA+
Apr. 18 - Edmonton, AB - TBA+
Apr. 19 - Bruno, SK - All Citizens+
Apr. 21 - Regina, SK - The Exchange+
  + = w/ the Phonemes

by Thomas Britt

19 Feb 2009

Radiohead fans that call drummer Phil Selway their favorite member of the group, form a small but dedicated minority. As Tobias Fünke might say, “There are dozens of us. Dozens!” When I heard the news early last month that Selway was debuting some new material as part of Neil Finn’s Oxfam-supporting 7 Worlds Collide project, I was glad to hear that one of rock’s most reliable pacesetters would have a chance to do flex his creative muscles outside of the yeoman’s work at his world-famous day job.

Last year’s In Rainbows provided ample evidence that Selway is in many ways his band’s secret weapon, but his guitar playing and lead singing at this year’s 7 Worlds Collide reunion reveal that he might have more tricks up his sleeve than even his hardcore fans suspected.

Thankfully, YouTube user Schro23 uploaded a video of Selway’s original tune “Family Madness”, as performed in Auckland last month. The song—a slow number reminiscent of Radiohead’s “Follow Me Around”—manages to out(Fleet)fox the Fleet Foxes, as late-oughts harmony-laden folk tunes go. Not a bad start, Mr. Selway!

The song should appear on the upcoming 7 Worlds Collide album, which follows Finn’s 2001 live album of the same name.

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