Monday, March 12, 2012

TotW: The Kids Were Wrong

This is totally one of those songs that just crept up on me. I heard it, kinda liked it... then heard it a few more times, still enjoying it... then found myself singing/humming it... then I had to hunt it down and buy the album.

Memoryhouse are art-/space-pop duo, composer Evan Abeele and photographer Denise Nouvion, from Guelph, Ontario. According to the band's bio, the project started out as a creative outlet for the two of them; more of a multimedia music+imagery project than a 'proper' band.

Given their background, it's not surprising that they've crafted this wonderful, ethereal look and feel to everything they do. All of the album art, the photos on the new website, etc., all have this fantastic otherworldly feel to them; this haze that just makes it look dreamy. It's also a perfect companion to their music. This isn't rock 'n roll by any means.

Simple drum beats sit behind layers of synth and reverb- and chorus- drenched guitars, all supporting Denise's bright, simple, honest vocals. It's certainly not as slow as some dream-pop out there, which is nice. It's not rushing anywhere, but it's not simply floating along either. There is a lofty, positive vibe to everything going on here, which is great. As I said off-the-top, this was a band who I've been floating along with for a year or more, but this new stuff just got under my skin, in a good way. For comparison, sound-wise, I would put these guys in the company of M83 and/or B.C.'s Teen Daze, if that's any help.

» Listen: Memoryhouse - The Kids Were Wrong

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I've been using an Android -based phone for a few months now; I finally upgraded from my old QWERTY phone that had treated me so well for 3+ years as part of a family-wide phone update. However, it occurred to me that I had yet to feature an app here, of any sort. So, let's change that...

...introducing: Pixlr-o-matic, part of the Pixlr family of photo editors by Autodesk Inc. (makers of AutoCAD, 3DS Max and Maya). Although recent reports of Instagram coming to the Android platform seem more believable than all the previous reports, I stopped holding my breath a long time ago. So, in my search for a similar app, I found this one.

Unlike Instagram or other popular camera apps, this one is based on post-production of an image, rather than in-camera, on-the-fly editing or manipulation. At first, I wasn't really sold on this idea, but in hindsight, I'd much rather have a 'true/clean' copy of the image that I can later layer effects on, than only having the one distressed, bordered image that I can never clean-up or apply different effects to.

It's a simple enough application to use, having three layers of effects that you can choose to apply to any photo in your gallery: colour overlays, lighting effects and borders. Each one of these layers has a number of selections from which to choose; the app has also recently added a large number of additional layer sets (e.g., soft colour overlays, fire lighting effects) that you can install, from within the app, for free. When you've decided on how you want your image to look, you can save it back to your gallery as a seperate file. This app does lack the dedicated on-line social media community that Instagram has, however, you can choose to share your finished photographs through a number of existing services.

Furthermore, if you were a fan of Picnik (on the web) previously, you've no doubt heard that it's being closed down (on April 19, 2012, and absorbed into Google+ somehow); if you like what you see in this Android app, Pixlr is on the web too and includes many more features that you can enjoy and experiment with.

It's a free, ad-free, download on the Android Market (and is also available for iOS). Go check it out!

» Found at: Android Market - Pixlr-o-matic

Monday, March 5, 2012

TotW: What Have I Done

I'm a little surprised that it's taken someone this long to call their band Portage & Main, after the (unoffically) coldest street intersection in Canada, but I'm glad these guys did. Not only is it a great band name, but these guys are putting out some really great stuff.

From Vancouver, this band has put together a really full, classic, rock sound on this track, What Have I Done. Combined with clean instrumentation and wonderful backing vocals, little guitar riffs between verses and choruses, this sound is so timeless... yet so hard to get right. It's certainly a song that stands on it's own as an original, but it carries that feeling that you've heard it somewhere before as well; that familiar, welcome feeling.

On the band's website, their bio says, in part, this:
So sit by the light of Portage & Main’s fire and listen to alluring tales of the human experience as your weary travelers traverse the peaks of the misty mountains and wade through the depths of the rivers below.
At first blush, this sounds like it says a whole lot of nothing... but then once you've heard a few songs by these guys, it somehow seems to make more and more sense. If nothing else, it's a very apt description of their sound and vision.

The band is on tour now, but you can also catch them doing a Green Couch Session on the web anytime.

» Listen: Portage & Main - What Have I Done