Archive for August 21st, 2009

Fruity Friday: Diamond Rings do a glam bait-and-switch with ‘All Yr Songs’

Imagine your traditional indie rock singer. Stringy, too-long hair. A white Hanes t-shirt or Western-style outfit. The beginnings of an ill-considered beard. A lean build with perhaps the hint of a belly (because, if you haven’t heard, that’s how Brooklynites are rebelling against President Obama).

Basically, think of the dude from The Album Leaf (although his beard is quite lovely).

This is what you may picture when you listen to Diamond Rings’ track “All Yr Songs” — a sunny bit of lo-fi pop whose electronic handclaps have left me merrily bobbing my head all day. It’s clearly a loving work of bedroomy dance music, created with an inexpensive, motley array of instruments and a sung with a deadpan rasp.

But Diamond Rings pulls a bait-and-switch when it comes to image. Instead of the scruffy indie dude you may have pictured, we’re presented with a porcelain-faced Canadian — brushed with dramatic eye make-up and dressed in the finest clothes 1984’s Sears catalog has to offer. It’s Ziggy Stardust meets Kelly Kapowski. And the video itself is no less wacky — a playful and ridiculous collection of campy theatrics inspired in equal parts by Boy George and In Living Color.

I just wanted to prepare you for what lies ahead, so you can enjoy it on its own merits when you listen. And then maybe you can try to figure out what’s going on with the styling situation.

Here’s the clip:

If you’re interested in learning more, here’s an article about him. Fun fact: he’s assisted in his solo project by the drummer for one of my current favorite groups — Ohbijou.

2 comments August 21st, 2009

Whatever It Takes

To conclude Degrassi week, here are two definitive lists of the best and worst the Degrassiverse has to offer.

The Five Best Characters on Degrassi: The Next Generation


ellie1. Ellie. At its best, you can watch characters on Degrassi grow and change the way real kids do throughout middle school, high school, and college. Granted, sometimes Degrassi puts them through changes at a whiplash-inducing pace, but sometimes it’s more gradual. Look at Ellie, who started out as sort of a baby goth. We eventually found out about her mom’s alcoholism and her own self-mutilation issues; she dabbled in music and art, and eventually turned to serious journalism in college. She’s also unlucky in love in classic Degrassi fashion: let’s see, she liked Marco before he came out to everyone (seemingly one at a time); she lived with Sean for awhile before he returned to his parents; she liked Jimmy and turned him on to art, but he didn’t feel the same way; she liked Craig, so many times, always at the wrong moment, like when he was really into Manny and/or cocaine. She even fooled around with Marco after he came out to everyone! Girl cannot catch a break. Which sort of makes sense; how many kids meet their soulmate when they’re sixteen? You can always count on an Ellie plotline to fall more on the serious, smart end of the Degrassi ludicrousness spectrum. And I’m not just saying this because she’d be the one I’d have a crush on if I went to Degrassi.

This is just how I roll. Into fences in the woods.

This is just how I roll. Into fences in the woods.


2. Craig. Craig was probably Degrassi’s one shot at a male heartthrob; the other candidates rock that unfortunate combination of troubled and brooding yet Canadian that renders their sex appeal a little muddled (or so I would imagine). But Craig’s got the soulful-troubled-nerd thing going on, which better fits the Canadian teen show profile. Did you see the ones where Craig confronted his bipolar disorder by trashing a hotel and beating the living shit out of his stepfather? That. Was. Intense. Did you see the one where he tells Manny “it’s not the locker I don’t like… it’s you.” Even. Better. Also, no matter how hard the poor bastard tries, no matter what kind of English he’d like to put into it or sophisticated funk or plaintive singer-songwriter angst he’d like to spin on it, his music still sounds like Jason Mraz.

3. Manny. Manny represents Degrassi’s soapier side, as she’s swung through many of the show’s soapiest operas: she was the other woman who came between Craig and Ashley; she had Craig’s abortion (now who’s worse than a locker, Craig? Huh?!); she is somehow, in the show’s universe, on her way to international superstardom entirely from an only slightly unwholesome friendship with Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes. The Emma-Manny relationship has been a backbone of the series from the earliest days, and unlike fellow founding young’ns JT and Toby, no one in that friendship was stabbed to death.  Manny gets the spot over Emma because she whines less, and because that abortion episode went there so hard that The N didn’t air it in the U.S. for like a year. Also, she’s like ice cream, but, like, hot.

Manny: sometimes available with bangs.

Manny: sometimes available with bangs.

4. Spinner. One of the most fun things about a Degrassi marathon is tracking the horribleness of Spinner’s hair on a scale ranging from somewhat horrible to unspeakably horrible.

This is probably about an 8 on the Spinner horrible-hair-o-meter.

This is probably about an 8 on the Spinner horrible-hair-o-meter.

Spinner began as a young man of primitive tastes (favorite film franchise: the Clown Academy series!) and now stands tall and proud as, uh, the manager of a greasy-spoon eatery that is, by most estimates, no more than fifteen feet from the high school he barely graduated from. And a part-time drummer. But like an unkillable strain of part-time-drumming bacteria, Spinner survives, and his resilience has become weirdly heroic. Give him ball cancer, shoot him in the shoulder, call him “honeybee,” whatevs: Spinner flourishes, by which I mean, gets absolutely no better at drumming. Also, no mention of Spinner is complete without a link to Boycott the Caf, the only Spinner-loving Degrassi fansite you’ll ever need.

Holly J. Sinclair; not pictured ever: Heather Sinclair.

Holly J. Sinclair; not pictured ever: Heather Sinclair.



5. Holly J. One of the most awesome things about Holly J. Sinclair is her genesis: for the first bunch of seasons of Degrassi: TNG, there was a running gag about the unseen Heather Sinclair, usually mentioned by Paige (“I saw better dancing at Heather Sinclair’s grade three sock hop”) and implied to be sort of like Paige, but even meaner. Heather Sinclair is sort of the Tino of this show, though because the show has lasted far longer than My So-Called Life, they’ve had more pointed references to Heather’s almost Keyser Soze-like existence. To wit, this “Degrassi Mini” from a few years back:

Anyway, Holly J. Sinclair was introduced as Heather’s younger sister, and equally popular slash mean. At first she mainly just bossed around her underlings, but over the past few seasons she’s had the most interesting story arc of the new kids: getting exiled for her nasty behavior, losing status when her family became poor, and now working at the Dot under the tutelage of one Mr. Spinner Mason. She’s somehow become one of the show’s most likable characters, sort of like Paige but less of a mess.

Don’t forget the worst!

Click to continue reading “Whatever It Takes”

4 comments August 21st, 2009


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