Interview in SAD Mag’s Grit & Gristle Issue | Fish & Bird

In a fit of frustration with my body feeling wrecked, sick, and sore today, I decided that I’d still make the To Do Today list, but make it markedly shorter. 2 items felt like lots.

Item 1 was responding to an email that could lead to PR work with a festival this summer. Done. *takes victory nap; wakes up in drool puddle*

Item 2 was to post my most recently published band interview from SAD Mag’s Grit & Gristle issue, which hit stands in mid-March. While I do indeed dig the mag’s commitment to good old fashioned print values, it means that they don’t post the issue in its entirety on the website. If you want these well-crafted words and exclusively non-digital photos in your paws, you have to pick up a hard copy (it’s worth it).

So to share my contribution—an interview with local indie folk quintet Fish & Bird—you have to get your own goddamned copy or I simply had to figure out how to hyperlink words on this blog to the PDF file they sent me. I’ve been a combination of busy with other stuff and lazy over the past month and so, yeah, it did take me that long to just sit down and figure out this simple feature of the site. (Semi-pro tip to self: next time, go straight to YouTube.)

Done. Here’s my Q&A with the band. Let me know what you think. Or don’t.

*ticks all two boxes on phone’s To Do Today Reminders list; falls asleep on victory couch; drools*

Semi-Pro Tip: Just Remember It

I’ve been praising, criticizing, listening to, writing about, talking about, going to, buying, and selling all types of music my whole life for work and for fun. The majority of my friends are musicians in bands that I adore. Most of my social activities involve live music in some way. But aside from the half-assed one-year stint playing the saxophone in my grade 4 elementary school band where the height of my success culminated at the Winter Assembly performing Claire de Lune for a gymnasium of bored parents, I’ve never actually played music.

19 years later, a very thoughtful human named Ian heard my pathetic passive cries pining to become more hands-on with the craft and got me the perfect gateway instrument for Christmas 2012 to accommodate an anxious wannabe like me: a glockenspiel.

Glockenspiel

Contrary to popular belief, a glockenspiel is not a large twisty brass instrument played by the citizens of Whoville. Myth, dispelled.

It collected dust until September 2013 when Adam’s (my good friend who drums in basically every band in Vancouver) friend Natasha (a singer/songwriter whose band is called Catlow) was looking to fill a song for a video out with two extra instruments: violin and glockenspiel. Emily (soul-roommate) plays violin and I own a glockenspiel. You do the math.

My dialogue with Natasha began with a disclaimer. “I don’t know much about how to play music, but I like it a lot, I learn quickly, and I’m quite keen.” At our first practice, I sweated heaps and my hands shook and I asked an annoyingly large number of questions about whether I’m hitting the right note or if I’m sucking or if I am on time and what the heck “hitting it on the one” means and so on. But listen, Natasha was stoked, and we’re all gelling so well together, and who knows what comes next but I’m kiiind of in a band now!

I played my first show evaaar on January 4 to a lively crowd at the Media Club. We hung out in the green room before and had witty onstage banter and sweated so much and barely breathed and it was SO FUN. Then we got contacted to play another show and we decided I should give keys a try because glock keys are black and white and so are synth keys, so Natasha taught me some songs on a Juno-6 (it arpeggiates!) and I played my second show evaaar with the band at the Astoria on January 31 for Discorder mag’s annual fundraiser. It was packed and people danced and drank and went “WOOOOOO!” and I sweated at least twice as much and breathed half as much but I didn’t mess up and I didn’t make the band sound worse. I finally see why all my pals in bands are all uppity and ecstatic about being in a band because being in a band is like being in the best top secret club ever but you play instruments and people want to come watch you and listen to you do it and it’s SO FUN!

Playing the glock/Juno-6 combo with Catlow, January 31. Not breathing much.

Playing the glock/Juno-6 combo with Catlow, January 31. Not breathing much. Thanks for the shot, Rommy.

Taking the step from pre-band to in-band is pretty logical on paper, given my involvement in so many other areas of the musical sphere. But I’m also saying to myself, “Self, you went from not playing an instrument to playing shows in a band on two instruments within the span of a few months, and it wasn’t that hard. How did that happen?” What happened is I learned these two things:

1. Own an instrument that nobody else plays and understand how it makes sounds.

You don’t even know how to play it at first. By having an instrument nobody else does, you have no competition and a unique sound. Kids these days like that.

2. Just remember it.

The music, that is. When the band leader teaches you a part to play in a song, listen very carefully, record it, make up whatever shorthand or pneumonic or annotation or acronym or rhyme you need to make up to remember the song and then remember how to play it.

That’s it, gang. Play on.

I’ll shut up in a minute #1: 1075’s Top 9 Albums of 2013. Context, people.

2013. A year of a lot of things, but we are focussing on the music realm here. Most notably? I got over myself and fell in love with a ton of pop music. I’m not sure if that means I’m maturing or the opposite, but who cares.  At the least, I hope some interesting conversation can be generated from what follows.

I love year-end music lists, whether I think their contents are great or awful. Even with the Internet’s tendency now to publish almost everything in list format all year, I still love year-end music lists. And now that the Pitchforks and Faders and Exclaims have all saturated your ears with their lists and the best-of dust has settled, here’s the 2013 musical conclusions from laurelborrowman.com in collaboration with the humble dwelling and home of the affectionately named Club 1075, aka 1075. We are two discerning roommates, BFFs, and music players/performers/critiquers/writers/lovers who are immersed in the music community, and we don’t let a day pass without the aforementioned being the centrifugal force in our lives. In short, we music all the time. We’ve debated and discussed this past year in music and have come up with this list.

While most of these albums came out in 2013, this isn’t a list of 2013’s best albums. Why? Because sometimes an album doesn’t resonate unless the context for it to resonate in is there. I listened to Yeezus twice and to me, it was less than meh, but more importantly probably one of the most polarizing albums of the year. Thank goodness for people still expressing emotions over music! While it didn’t hit home for me this year, but maybe it will in 2023. The conditions in 2013 were perfect for these albums to be perfect, no matter how new or old.

This is a list of albums that were in heavy rotation on our turntable, iPods, car stereo, and computers all year because they fit. Sure, some criteria of an album’s list-rank can be its production value, its place on other year-end lists, the star-studded collaborations, the songwriting prowess, or its ranking on Billboard’s Top 100—or intentional lack thereof of all those things. But here at 1075 we’ve decided that the best indicator of  an album’s quality is  how many times you listen to it in a specified time frame. It’s about context, people.

And so, here are our top nine albums of 2013, with few details on each intentionally not provided. Listen and decide for yourself. The key with each of these is that the entire album is solid from first to last track, and with each listen something new emerged that made it richer and more interesting. The links take you to highlights from each. They’re listed in no particular order. A few honourable mentions follow.

Random Access Memories, Daft Punk (2013)

Overgrown, James Blake (2013)

The 20/20 Experience – 1 of 2, Justin Timberlake (2013)

Hot Rocks 1964-1971, Rolling Stones (1971)

Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, Godspeed You! Black Emperor (2012)

Push the Sky Away, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2013)

Astral Weeks, Van Morrison (1968)

Nothing Was the Same, Drake (2013)

Milky Disco 2: Let’s Go Freak Out, Hatchback (2009)

Honourable Mentions

Long. Live. A$AP., A$AP Rocky (2013)

The Courtneys, The Courtneys (2013)

Local Natives, Hummingbird (2013)

2, Mac DeMarco (2012)

An Awesome Wave, Alt-J (2012)

Mixed Emotions, Tanlines (2012)

Internet Botox

Oh hi there! Thanks for stopping by my portfolio website. It’s undergoing some maintenance.

Turns out I haven’t updated it since ICQ was booming. I don’t want you to visit, find it useless, and say to yourself, “Self? Why waste another minute here? Back to Facebook, we go!” because it will be worth your time soon. Also, I’d rather not subject you to a buncha stale material that you’re going to flee from, clicking and screaming. Hence, there isn’t a ton of content here at the moment.

So for now, here’s a brief disclaimer, and no further excuses, that me-dot-com is getting a facelift. In the meantime , you can read smatterings of creative fodder on my Twitter feed to your right, and links to some editing and writing samples under Editing and Writing.

And if you’re feeling antsy pants and would like to contact me about editing and writing work and whatnot and just simply cannot wait any longer at all no sir, then contact me. Okay?

Thanks and see you soon,
LB