Friday, September 09, 2005

september girls do so much

So there was a hurricane. At this point there's no reason to add redundant commentary. As far as the 'blogosphere' (that word sounds like it should refer to a layer of the atmosphere composed entirely of noxious gases — hey, kind of appropriate) goes, Tony Pierce did some excellent work. And in an effort to prove that Jesus does not destroy your brain or sense of compassion, Sojourners Magazine has said some sensible things from a faith-based perspective (but you have to register to read them).

Since my area of expertise is more along the lines of "pretending to be a jerk," we'll move along. A Google image search for "frosh" yields the following pictures from several "reputable" universities:

Yale -


Stanford -


Queen's -


It's frosh week in Kingston again. On Sunday I "helped" my friend Caitlin DJ move-in day for CFRC. "Helping" pretty much consisted of lounging in a chair in the sun, listening to sweet tunes, and looking at inappropriately attractive 17-year olds carry their stuff into Victoria Hall (my former residence), have their first awkward conversations with their floormates, and walk in packs to their first awful cafeteria dinner. It was awesome.

A couple of songs for back-to-school (which sound great back-to-back):

The Flashing Lights - Aim To Please
Lyrically this is more an end-of-summer song, but it's got a warm golden slanting fall sunlight kind of sound, so it should carry you through right into October. "There were days, surely, days to remember, but I can't think which ones; they're all the same, all the same on reflection, and gone with the western sun." I associate this song and the entire Sweet Release album most strongly with laying on a sleeping bag under a tree in my backyard during late afternoons the summer before I went to university. Unlike their first album, which was very mod-pop revival, Sweet Release was more influenced by '70s rock, including bands like Big Star (see below). Matt Murphy (also of The Super Friendz) is one of my favourite songwriters ever, which I think I told him the time I met him and humiliated myself so badly I had to suddenly excuse myself from the conversation without getting my album signed. I did not mention my ongoing admiration for the line "her words are all loaded, even when she's shooting the breeze." He's also one of my favourite vocalists and has absolutely beautiful tone. This song sounds like a Canadian maple with the leaves turning red, the sweater you start bringing with you when the evenings get cold, squinting into a sunset that seems to have come a bit too early. Since The Super Friendz reunited and Murphy started playing guitar and singing back-up vocals in City Field, it looks like The Flashing Lights have broken up — which is too bad because I like them more than his other bands. But you can still stream a selection of songs from their EP and second album at their New Music Canada site.

Big Star - September Gurls
The first time I heard this song was on a campus radio show — I think it was in Waterloo, but it might have been in Kingston — and it was introduced by a truckload of hyperbole from the DJ about how it was one of the best power pop songs ever and a template for the guitar pop bands that would come after and blah blah blah. Then he actually played the song, and as far as I can tell, he was pretty much right. It's hard to imagine "Aim To Please" or songs like it without Big Star. But pretentious and possibly specious claims about Influence and Importance aside, this is just a really good song. It has lovely ringing guitars and a flawless melody, and it jangles along unstoppably but still feels very slightly sad, just a little bit, the way September kind of does. "I loved you — well, never mind," causes a little twinge in my heart every time. It's too bad most people's only familiarity with Big Star is the theme song from That '70s Show, Cheap Trick's cover of "In The Street," but otherwise "September Gurls" is an excellent place to start, or end up, or just be in. Like, I decided I'd give it a couple spins so I could write about it better and, despite the fact I didn't come up with anything that great to say, I played it eight times.