La Sera - Break My Heart

Sic Alps - Glyphs

This is Pop Download-o-rama

Saturday, July 28, 2007

REVIEW - Cheap Trick Harris Park London - 07/27/2007

One of the first concerts I ever attended was a Cheap Trick show at London Gardens in June of 1979. To say that it changed my life would be flirting with hyperbolic posturing, and maybe just a little too cliched for my own good.

But you know something, it did change my life.

That early summer night concert was the show that would initiate me into a whole new world of live music. The energy level, the excess decibels, and all those electric guitars... Sure that old arena sounded awful that night but that didn't much matter. Rockford, Illinois' own were in the building and they had us all in the palm of their collective hand. Only well after the fact have I discovered my wife, brother in law and countless other musical partners in crime also attended the show. And yes, it had the same effect on them.

Flash forward 28 years later and Cheap Trick were in town to Rock the Park at the forks of the Thames in London. Sure, there were a few more wrinkles and the hats might be covering a little less hair but Cheap Trick remain an inspiration and damn fine entertainment. Called the "hardest working band in rock n' roll" (still performing up to 200 shows a year); Cheap Trick delivered a show to young and old and won Londoners in attendance over yet again. From Rick's guitar theatrics, to Bun's solid percussive foundation their performance was amazing. The best part of all, they are still having fun doing it. The smiles on their faces belied that. This was no by the numbers performance either. (See the setlist below) New songs like Welcome to the World and Come On, Come On, Come On from last years Rockford release melded well with standards Surrender and I Want You to Want Me.

One small difference at this show was the impromptu mosh pit that periodically formed throughout the set. A little annoying at times for an old fart trying to live out his former glories but Daddy's all right, he's just weird about these things. But I quibble, the show was plain rock n' roll fun. (Special thanks to my son Jack for getting 18 of Rick's Neilsen's guitar picks. They'll fit in my music room nicely.)

If Cheap Trick does play near you, I implore you to go see them now. They embody rock n' roll and truly deliver the goods. Twenty eight years from now I suspect the energy level might be a little less than what we got last night.

And one last note. This band belongs in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. We need to start petitioning now!

Hello There
Big Eyes
Oh Candy
Welcome to the World
If You Want My Love
Come On, Come On, Come On
Best Friend
I Want You To Want Me
I Know What I Want
If It Takes A Lifetime
The Flame
That 70's Song

Dream Police
Auf Wiedersehen
Goodnight Now

Monday, July 23, 2007

iPod Levy Approved by Canadian Copyright Board

The Copyright Board of Canada has released its decision on the application of a private copying levy to iPods and removable memory storage cards, including the popular SD format. Backing the levy is the Canadian Private Copyright Collective (CPCC), while the Canadian Storage Media Alliance and Retail Council of Canada are both against it, arguing that the Federal Court has struck down a previous levy on digital audio recorders as being outside the Copyright Act. Despite this earlier ruling, the Copyright Board has sided with the CPCC, and in fact stated that the levy might possibly expand to cover items such as cell phones and computers as well.

"CSMA expressed misgivings about the possibility that cellular phones and computers might end up being leviable," the decision states. "We see no inherent problem with this scenario. A thing that is ordinarily used by individual consumers to make private copies should not be excluded from the private copying regime for the sole reason that it has other uses. Indeed, all media that are currently subject to the levy can be used for purposes other than private copying." The entire 41-page decision is available online.

Friday, July 20, 2007

PLAYLIST 3 - You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio

One of my best and earliest memories is that of my Deltek transistor radio playing under my pillow as I drifted off to sleep so many years ago. Wouldn’t it be something if it was Led Zeppelin or the Velvet Underground that I discovered when I was eight years old? No such luck… But I do remember The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia. There's been no looking back since. In honour of that "radio" discovery, a brand new playlist.

Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio? [Demo Version] - The Ramones

This Is Radio Clash - The Clash
Video Killed the Radio Star (live) - The Wrong Trousers
Listen To the Radio - Sloan
The Radio's Hot Sun - Handsome Furs
Radio Attack - Prefuse 73
Radio Ballet - Eluvium
Radio Spiricom - Tim Hecker
Radio War - Iron & Wine
Radio Campaign - M. Ward
Radio Cure - Wilco
Radio Head [Tito Larriva Vocal Version] - Talking Heads
Radio On - Tandemoro
Mexican Radio - Wall Of Voodoo
Radio Prague - This Heat
Radio Drill Time - Josef K
In a Radio Song - Okkervil River
Static On The Radio - Jim White
Ultra-Powerful Short Wave Radio Picks Up Music From Venus - Yo La Tengo

File Under: The huge and overwhelming influence of Vicki Lawrence

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Free and Funky in the UK

It's time to forgive him for Under a Cherry Moon.

Last Sunday, Prince fans and funky grandmothers in the United Kingdom got their hands on the new 10-song CD, Planet Earth, simply by buying a newspaper. The Mail on Sunday has bundled CDs several times before, and they usually sell about 2.5 million papers with these promotions. This latest foray de funk was no exception. By way of comparison, the top-selling album this year reached sales of only 1.7 million copies in the U.S. as of July 4.* The promotion is believed to be worth slightly more than $500,000 to the musician, whose hits include Purple Rain, Raspberry Beret and Kiss.

This was pretty much a no-brainer then for Minneapolis’ second favourite son . This is how it worked. He immediately got his music into the hands of 2.5 million people, some of whom might then buy concert tickets, which earn far more money for artists than record sales. (Prince is also giving Planet Earth away to anybody who buys a ticket to his current tour, exactly like he did when he toured his 2004 release Musicology). Pure genius if you're keeping track. Today its all about getting the music into the hands of the people, and if that musician is lucky enough fans will like your new music enough to buy tickets to see your concerts. Heck they'll even know some of the new songs you are playing and not just the classic back catalogue. In 2007, this is what it’s all about. But no, no, no physical music stores, already hurt by the decline of the CD, are not pleased. The CEO of one music retailer, HMV, said it would be "absolutely nuts" to carry the CD for free. Then HMV changed course, and was promptly denounced by rival Virgin Megastores. Are they forgetting at least it would get Prince fans into their store, where they might buy something else? Wise up music retailers; music innovation and creative marketing are exactly what you need, right now. And all it took was some guy from Minnesota to figure it out.

Those who miss the newspaper promotion--including all of us living in North America will have to wait until July 24 to buy the record when it is released on Columbia records.

* American idol Chris Daughtry holds this current title.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

PLAYLIST 2 - No Fan is an Island

By special request for Ben; who reminds us all that some of the best music out there might just be in our own backyards.

Be sure to check the embedded links.

I Don't Know Why - Square Root of Margaret
Down from Above - The Canons
Leave Today - Sewing with Nancie
Promise - Tristan Psionic
Thank You for Sending me an Angel - Constantines
Dundas, Ontario - Manitoba (Caribou)
Mississauga Goddam - Hidden Cameras
Change of Seasons - Sweet Thing
Words of Simon - Duotang
Any Sense of Time - The Inbreds
Take My Money and Run - Cuff the Duke
Wonderful Towers of Watts - The Golden Seals
Frequencies of You - Two Minute Miracles
Bring it On - The Weekend
Problem with Solutions - Jim Guthrie
I Was a Daughter - Basia Bulat
I Will Never See the Sun - Great Lakes Swimmers
Rain, Rain, Rain - Rheostatics
Lady Toronto - King Cobb Steelie
Cherry Beach Express - The Pukka Orchestra
The Ballad of Hugo -

File Under: 401, 403 Corridor Rocks

Friday, July 13, 2007

THE LIST NO. 1 - Discovery, Catharsis and Devotion

I will follow this up from time to time with a brief story about each of these recordings and the importance each has in my life.
  • Revolver – The Beatles
  • Between the Buttons - The Rolling Stones

  • The Village Green Society – The Kinks

  • The Ramones – The Ramones

  • The Clash – The Clash

  • Low – David Bowie

  • Remain in Light - Talking Heads

  • Kind of Blue – Miles Davis

  • Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (The Historic 1955 Debut Recording) - Glenn Gould

  • Murmur – R.E.M.

  • Let it Be – The Replacements
  • Fun House – the Stooges

  • OK Computer – Radiohead

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

REVIEW Spoon - Ga,Ga,Ga,Ga,Ga

There is a reason why we order the same Tim Horton’s coffee every morning or drink the same beer when we go out. Familiarity is a decisive thing that is not to be taken lightly. It pretty much ensures that what we are going to get is dependable and good. Those two words sum up precisely my regard for the Austin, TX quartet, Spoon. The bands oddly titled sixth release, Ga, Ga, Ga, Ga, Ga is the result of leader Britt Daniel’s decade long, slowly refined musical recipe. Chef Daniel knows how to concoct a catchy, clever pop song and this LP is filled with them. Incorporating elements of soul, Motown and pop; it's all there. Just like the five records that came before this. Ga, Ga, Ga, Ga, Ga is rife with style, rhythm and a boatload of creativity. "Don't You Evah" grabbed me immediately with its catchy chorus and familiar Beatlesque harmonies. (I think it’s a rite of passage now for every lyricist to rewrite “Taxman”. ed) This is not meant as a criticism, moreso it enables me to put this release into some context. It’s no surprise the first time I heard Spoon I thought I was listening to some long lost Elvis Costello and the Attractions single.

One of the many highlights of this record, and could in fact be the quintessential Spoon song, is "The Underdog". It's an ostentatious track, not just for its lyrical accessibility and bright vibe but also because it successfully builds on the Spoon formula we have come to know and love. Producer Mike McCarthy long a fixture on the Spoon landscape is the unseen force who keeps Spoon's experimental side mostly in check and gives the song its true pop sheen. This song could be 2007's first bona fide classic. Maybe then I can dream a little and imagine that these might be what comprises the best part of Rhino Records Nuggets 2020 boxed set when that comes out. For now though, the highly addictive "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb," and Sixties garage rocker "Rhthm & Soul" will mix well as the highlights on your best friend’s next mix cd.

Seek this one out. I am off to replace the comma key on my notebook.

Recommended PPPP

File Under: Not only good, but good for you.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

REVIEW- The White Stripes at the John Labatt Centre London 07/07/2007

There was a time, not long ago that rock n’ roll was an enervating, hypersexual and even dangerous thing. Mick and Keith ruled the walk with a bad-ass attitude and a six string Gibson SG. To borrow from Oscar Wilde they were mad, bad and dangerous to know. It was outlaw stuff, the kind of thing your parents warned you about. Rather unfortunately, things were about to change. And change they did. Rock n’ roll would become a safe, if not somewhat bland
commodity. Pity too that the devil was no longer in the details, (at least not on stage). Last night though, a pair of untouchably cool musicians visited London for the first time and reminded us all of that true essence of rock n’ roll. (Second time if you count the secret gig at the Arva Flour Mill that afternoon.) The White Stripes came to town and literally blew us all away.

I love this band, as I have for more than a few years now. A small club date in Toronto in 2002 pretty much sealed that for me. Then, like last night Jack White was dressed in red, motor mouthed, and on fire with his 1964 JB Hutto Montgomery Airline guitar. With his coy grin and mop of black curls White was there to capture more than a few souls. He makes rock music look effortless, and to hear his razor sharp voice tackle a song like Icky Thump early on left me awe struck. I knew this would be a special evening when the belt he was wearing was launched into the audience. At last someone had remembered to put the devil back on the guest list!

Jack White is only one half of this dynamic crimson duo though. Meg, Jack’s “older sister” behind the peppermint/button drums was just as captivating. Keeping perfect time and matching Jack note for note with only the subtlest of cues Meg provided a solid percussive foundation . Not once was the crowd happier than when she came up front and sang In the Cold, Cold Night. Demure and oh so sexy, Meg had us in the palm of her hand at the first note.

Detractors will say the White’s strip mining of old blues formulas is what pigeon-holes them. This, at least in my opinion is what sets them apart. Their formula is their own, the resultant chemistry, pure magic. They play happily, recklessly and unaffected. White, simply put, can sing better than pretty much everyone else out there today. Who wasn’t touched last night when White, exposed under just a single dancehall disco ball dazzled with his acoustic take on We’re Going to Be Friends?

At the end of the show, joking about their red and white colours being, nationally, ours, (the maple leaves on the Fender amplifiers were a great touch). - Jack paraded around a huge Province of Ontario flag. At that moment the White Stripes were ours to claim, they certainly captured our hearts for the evening. You can't get much more rock n' roll than that.

Opener, Alabama upstart
Dan Sartain got the ball rolling with his distinctive blend of rockabilly numbers.

White Stripes set list. Thank you Jonathon Kade for your much better power of recall.

Dead Leaves And the Dirty Ground
Icky Thump
Medley: Cannon/I'm Slowly Turning Into You
Medley: Astro/Jack the Ripper
Death Letter
Hotel Yorba
The Union Forever
We're Going To Be Friends (introduced as "What's your problem? Why can't we be friends?")
Medley: The Big Three Killed My Baby/Little Cream Soda (interpolating lyrics from Big Three)/Astro reprise/I Think I Smell a Rat
You Don't Know What Love Is
Hardest Button to Button
Second set:Blue Orchid
Medley: I'm Finding it Harder to be a Gentleman/Party of Special Things to Do
Apple Blossom (+ announcement that someone in the audience had something to ask someone else - probably a marriage proposal)
Seven Nation Army
I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself
In The Cold, Cold Night
A Martyr For My Love For You
Catch Hell Blues
Boll Weevil

Friday, July 6, 2007

Painting the Country Red (and White)

Over the past couple of weeks the White Stripes have been traversing the Great White North to promote their fine new Warner Bros. release Icky Thump. Not ones to settle for ordinary promotion, Jack and Meg will have visited every province and territory by the time this leg of the tour ends in mid-July. In addition to their official shows though, a number of secret performances have taken in nearly all of their stops. From a youth centre in Burnaby, to a city bus in Winnipeg , to a bowling alley in Saskatoon, and just yesterday the YMCA in Toronto; the Stripes have been leaving their musical mark across the nation. That leaves London… Let’s hope they keep up this tradition of special shows on Saturday. I’ll certainly be all over it if I hear about it in time. The show that night at the John Labatt Centre will definitely be featured, smuggled camera and all.

One last note, for true fans of Jack and Meg, it's probably a long-standing dream of yours to purchase the Icky Thump album on limited edition thumb drives complete with cartoon renditions of the rockers, but even if it that understandably bizarre scenario never actually crossed your mind, you can still make it a reality. The White Stripes are offering up their latest album on two fairly rare USB drives, each sporting 512MB of internal space, an artistic rendition of one of the band mates, and thirteen rockin' tracks in Apple Lossless format. Only 3,333 of each "Stripe" will be created, and while just one will run you a whopping $57.50 US, you may as well grab the duo for a discounted $99 US.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

PLAYLIST 1- My Endless Summer

Perfectly themed for patio weather and starlight sojourns.

Here Comes The Summer - The Undertones
Here Comes The Summer - The Fiery Furnaces
Another Sweet Summer's Night On Hammer Hill - Jens Lekman
I Know Where The Summer Goes - Belle & Sebastian
It's Summertime - The Flaming Lips
Jogging Gorgeous Summer - Islands
Knives Of Summertime - Sparklehorse

The New Cobweb Summer - Lambchop
Summerteeth - Jeff Tweedy
Some Summer Day - John Fahey
His Last Summer - The Barracudas
Bummer In The Summer - Love
Summer's Kiss - The Afghan Whigs
Spring And By Summer Fall - Blonde Redhead
Midnight Summer Dream - Stranglers
Summer's Cauldron - XTC
The Summer Song (Feat. Claire L. Evans) - YACHT
Summer Smoke - Girl Talk
Oslo In The Summertime - Of Montreal
Summers Never Seem To Last - The Postmarks
Summersong - The Decemberists
Summer Song - James Yorkston
That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy - The Twilight Sad
Will The Summer Make Good For All Our Sins? - Múm
Endless Summer - Fennesz

File under: Sunshine Goodness