La Sera - Break My Heart

Sic Alps - Glyphs

This is Pop Download-o-rama

Monday, September 29, 2008

Caribou Win 2008 Polaris Prize

The Polaris Music Prize and $20,000 was awarded to Caribou (Dan Snaith) tonight. The Dundas, Ontario native was awarded the prestigious prize for his stellar 2007 release Andorra, on Merge Records.

A jury of 185 music writers, broadcasters and bloggers drew up a short list of 10 of the best Canadian albums released between June 1, 2007, and May 31, 2008.

The prize is meant to honour, celebrate and reward creativity and diversity in Canadian music, without any consideration given to sales figures.

This year's nominees include Basia Bulat, Black Mountain, Caribou, Holy Fuck, Plants and Animals, Kathleen Edwards, Shad, Stars, Two Hours Traffic and the Weakerthans.

The gala event was held at the Phoenix in downtown Toronto. In 2006, Final Fantasy's album was selected over records by Broken Social Scene, Sarah Harmer, Metric and the New Pornographers and in 2007 Patrick Watson’s debut album Close to Paradise took top honours.

It was a hard fought race with all of the nominated albums being serious contenders for this coveted prize. I sure didn’t envy the jury on this one.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

PLAYLIST 21 - Bye Bye Baby Blues

The world has lost a true talent and consummate gentleman. Paul Newman died Friday after a long battle with cancer. He was 83.

This playlist is for him.

Bye Bye Baby Blues

The Happy Blues (Let Me In Your Life Outtake) - Aretha Franklin
The Blues Are Still Blue - Belle & Sebastian
Blue Moon - Big Star
Tangled Up In Blue - Bob Dylan
Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain - Carla Bozulich
I Love You Golden Blue - Sonic Youth
Blue Hawaii - David Byrne
Deep Blue Sea (Daniel Rossen Home Recording) - Grizzly Bear
Blue Clouds - Daniel Johnston
Weary Blues From Waitin' [Non-Session Demo] - Hank Williams
Blue Eyes - The International Submarine Band
The Bluest Blues - Jimmy Scott
Ridin' With The Blues - Ry Cooder
Blue Orchids - Sun Kil Moon
Heron King Blues Califone
Fare Thee Well Blues - Joe Calicott
Way To Blue - Nick Drake
The Blue Route - The Walkmen
From Black To Blue - Yo La Tengo
Bye Bye Baby Blues - Little Hat Jones

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fleet Tweedies? Wilcoxes? Fleeco? Whatever... It’s a Free Download

But You Have to Promise to Vote

It’s so nice when inspired collaborations result in a little musical magic. Such is the case this week for your ‘mini’ download lowdown’. The super fantastic Fleet Foxes and Wilco covered Bob Dylan's classic "I Shall be Released" at a recent live show, and they're giving it away online if you promise to vote. Go here to make a pledge and get a free download. It’s a goodie too!

Such tumultuous times. And in the spirit of giveaways that seem to be sweeping the nation, we've got something free for you. No it's not a pile of cash (sorry) but rather an audio postcard of sorts from a summer's night in Oregon with our friends the Fleet Foxes & a lovely Bob Dylan tune. All we ask is you check the "I pledge to vote in the 2008 Election" button below. If you can spare it, we also encourage you to consider a donation to Feeding America . (and please feel free to pass this link along to friends, family members, etc.).

Monday, September 22, 2008

LOLA Fest 2008 – Notes from a Festival

It was great to be a Londoner this past weekend as the latest version of the London Ontario Live Arts (LOLA) Festival once again captured the hearts and minds of an entire city. Now in its third incarnation the (roughly) seventy two hour festival celebrating ‘everything’ arts was by all indications a huge success.

For the uninitiated LOLA is a festival dedicated to shining a light on artists from all disciplines. It was founded three years ago by Andrew Francis, who endeavoured to spread awareness about London's cultural scene. The festival now attracts artists and performers from all over the globe highlighting some of the most creative minds and works Canada has to offer.

Of course it was the music that had me captivated and this year’s lineup was a stellar one. I arrived at Victoria Park (LOLA central) early Friday evening to find the place transformed in a sea of red tents, blinking monitors and a wonderfully adorned bandshell stage. (But more on that later.) The music portion had started earlier in the afternoon. (Officially, it started the evening before at Call the Office with a kickoff from Jokers of the Scene and Thunderheist.) But that night, Waterloo’s Bocce had the smallish crowd moving early with their fun brand of electronic music. Next up was the Drift, (pictured) an instrumental four piece from San Francisco whose cool jazzy demeanour and dub infused sound was a perfect counterpart as dusk settled on the park.

Victoria Park is considered the hub of the festival but other locations feature equally terrific fare. LOLA’s visual artists have major work exhibited on sites around downtown London, including billboards, projections on buildings and smaller advertising spaces. My personal favourites were a huge billboard on York St. with a Minor Threat Family Tree (pictured) splashed across its expanse. The other was the artwork of Taylor McKimens at the Victoria Park bandshell. The detailed work functioned as the backdrop on the stage for all of the musical performances. Cartoony, colourful and completely perfect it featured an oozing cassette/car radio, garden hose and an unidentified pile of pink goo (replete with flies) shrouding the rear projection screen. The piece accentuated the music and lights very well and fit in with the LOLA aesthetic completely. My six year old nephew remarked happily that “…it must have been painted by children.” Testimony, I suppose to the reach and freeform bravery of the artwork.

Back at the park, Toronto’s Do Make Say Think (pictured) capped the evening off with their entirely unique brand of post rock. Mostly instrumental, the band used traditional instruments and electronic sounds mixed with terrific visuals displayed on the large screen behind them. The sound was near perfect at the band shell with a dynamic range that covered the spectrum of gentle string plucking to epic squalls of sound. The evening concluded down the street at Call the Office with Woodhands and We are Wolves.

Regretfully on Saturday I missed show openers Muskox, but friends indicated their set was inspired. I know I was certainly impressed with the three inch cd’s the band was selling at the Grooves Records tent. There remains something to be said about a band still pushing the limits on digital packaging, the music equally compelling.

I arrived at the park as Feuermusik (pictured) from Toronto were taking the stage. The avant garde jazz duo (Saturday a full ensemble) was perfect for an afternoon of music in the park. The experimental band was an absolute delight to watch. Accomplished and very full sounding, the drummer’s plastic and metal oil can buckets took a fair beating and was a most unusual highlight.

Toronto musician Sandro Perri (pictured) was up next and for me at least was one of the show’s true highlights. I missed Sandro’s appearance at last year’s festival and his encore appearance was a welcome announcement. Perri’s brand of music covers a lot of territory, from post rock to gentle folk. Again most suited to the perfect environs of the park his set was inspired. He handled guitar and kick drum percussion duties admirably. He is a truly talented musician. His song Family Tree was played to perfection and was a real treat for me. (It was one of my favourite songs of last year.) I first became familiar with him through his electronic persona Polmo Polpo and now love all of his recorded output. I spoke with Sandro briefly afterwards and found him to be warm and gracious. He is definitely a Canadian musical treasure.

Next on the bill was Toronto's Laura Barrett (pictured) . I was vaguely familiar with her music and expected her to be playing a piano of some sort. With nary a regular piano in sight Barrett picked up a kalimba (a pint-sized African thumb piano) and with accompaniment from various Hylozoists proceeded to play some of the most endearing and beautiful music of the day. Of course Barrett’s on stage banter was equally engaging eliciting lots of laughter and smiles from the crowd. She also had more children dancing than any other performer that day. She has a new cd out tomorrow that I would definitely recommend. (Festival goers were lucky to get it a couple days early.)

The previously mentioned Hylozoists followed Laura Barrett with their full set. I must say, if you have never witnessed this band, led by vibes player Paul Aucoin you are truly missing something. Their music, mostly instrumental, is like a poppier, more playful version of Chicago’s post rocker’s Tortoise. Their early promise to play several new songs met with audience approval. One point of trivia - The Hylozoists have the unique distinction of now being the only band to play all three versions of LOLAFest.

As the sun began to set, Off the International Radar took the stage. This band played a passionate set that ranged from experimental sounds to rhythms informed by the Kraut rock sounds of CAN. The drummer’s choice to wear a Stephen Harper t-shirt the only political reference I witnessed all weekend.

Montreal’s Plants and Animals followed with a spirited set that really got the audience going. Their sound although self proclaimed as “post-classic-rock” or “folk-prog” was very well received and the band was clearly having a lot of fun. With energy to spare hirsute vocalist Warren Spicer even got into the true LOLA spirit with a pair of bright red pants. (Definitely a more inspired fashion statement than the Stephen Harper shirt, don’t you think?) They played the majority of their Polaris Prize nominated Parc Avenue. The Montreal trio a true hit with the crowd.

Lastly, Toronto outfit Holy Fuck would close this portion of music at Victoria Park. Playing to a crowd that in best estimates was between 7000 and 8000 people, the bands distinctive ‘punky’ electronic blend was a huge crowd pleaser. (The band performed a club date last year as part of LOLA 2007, so this was a step up for the Toronto quartet.) Group front men, Graham Walsh and Brian Borcherdt played some seriously feverish beats and synthesizer variants that were incredibly compelling to watch. (The 35 mm film playback head was pure genius.) Their enthusiastic drummer furiously provided an “organic” counterpoint to their technical output. It was an exciting way to end a perfect day of creative music, and left us all feeling gloriously spent.

So nine new cd’s later, some great free coffee and a plethora of the most amazing music I have heard this year; LOLA you’ve done it again and I can not say enough good things about you! So much great feeling, unbelievable creativity and incredible music and art in the city; people just soaking it in and loving it all. A more perfect farewell to summer I can not imagine. A huge thank you to the many organizers and army of volunteers at LOLAFest 2008, I am grateful for your efforts and your achievement this year is a grand one. Special thanks to CHRW (Radio Western)for the terrific live broadcasts as well. LOLA you’re not only getting bigger, you’re getting better. I for one can not wait for what lies ahead for LOLAFest 2009.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mauricio Kagel Has Died

One of the world’s leading composers in avant-garde classical music, film, and theater has passed away. Mauricio Kagel died on September 19th at the age of 76. His list of fans in contemporary music is a long one and includes the likes of Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) and John Zorn. I recall very well the first time I heard his seminal piece “Der Schall” and the stunning effect it had on my musical sensibilities. The inventive piece remains one of my all time favourite recordings.

Download the entire recording here if you are so inclined.

Its been a sad week in music. Read Tom Service's erudite tribute to Mauricio Kagel from the Guardian here:

Mauricio Kagel's death yesterday, at the age of 76, is a huge blow for contemporary music. First of all, there's the shock of the news – Kagel was hugely active as composer, teacher, and inspirational figurehead for generations of musicians, and he was due to take part in a major retrospective of his music in Frankfurt this weekend – and the knowledge that music has lost one of its most important and ironic consciences. Growing up in Argentina, where he studied with Borges, he moved to Cologne in 1957, and spent the rest of his life in Germany. He was both an essential part of the avant-garde and a knight's move away from it, both in terms of his identity and his compositional priorities. But it's precisely that lateral gaze on the conventions of music, theatre, film, and politics that gives Kagel's music its lasting power and ability to communicate. He had a reputation as musical humorist and absurdist in the 1950s and 60s, in pieces like Match, scored for two cellists and a percussionist-cum-referee who polices their musical battle, or Antithese, a piece he filmed in which a studio technician fights a losing battle with the mechanics of the music technology, ending up mummified by a nightmarish web of magnetic tape. But there's more than parody going on his music, whether of the serial techniques of Stockhausen or Boulez, or of the monuments of classical music history, paradigmatically in his film, Ludwig Van, his scurrilous contribution to Beethoven's double centenary in 1970.

Friday, September 19, 2008

LOLAFest 2008 is On

Can't make it to London this weekend? This is a nice alternative. LOLAfest 2008 streaming.

Click here for other media options.

(You may have to refresh your screen to view the streaming portion. Bands and schedules are listed fully two posts below. Your commentary is appreciated.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Your Weekly Download Lowdown

Ponderous Odes To Friendship And Uncertain Futures

Over the past few months I have purchased a few records* I could not immediately get my head around. Wherein, certain aspects of the music resonated with me but for the most part the content could best be termed as ‘difficult’. But, as is so often is the case, time has remedied these ‘difficulties’ and my opinions have been tempered, in some cases significantly. Thus emerging a common theme of this week’s Download Lowdown. - The Difficult Ones That Now Make a Great Deal of Sense (TDOTNMGDS).

First up, Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit deliver a passionate session on Daytrotter. Combining unique songwriting with distinctive delivery and the results will leave you hooked. Their brand of quirky folk/ rock so very suited to the Daytrotter mystique. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry and just about everything in between.

Next up from Syracuse, New York -Ra Ra Riot. You will love the rousing vocals of Wes Miles on this session, the music just as uplifting, at times even magnetic. What seemed contradictory at first now makes complete sense. This band is quickly becoming a favourite this year. This energetic Daytrotter set, a must.

Lastly, and the one that doesn’t quite fit the theme this week is a live concert recording from Radioheads recent North American jaunt. The Santa Barbara concert is the final show of the “In Rainbows” tour from August 28th (and was previously webcast by the band.) With more than a few pleasant surprises this one is well worth your bandwidth. Radiohead fire on every creative cylinder in concert and this is a pleasant reminder of that. Superb. Register with our friends at NPR to allow a permanent download to your favourite digital listening device.

* For the record, all of my music purchases are generally referred to as ‘records’. This is a throwback to the gentle days of my youth as an ardent consumer of vinyl. Today my medium of choice is still the compact disc however music in any format is eagerly collected.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

LOLAFest This Weekend in London

As promised the schedule of bands and musicians that will be appearing for the music portion of LOLAFest this weekend. From September 18th to the 21st my fair city will be playing host to a significant cultural happening. Plan to attend LOLAFest 2008, I can guarantee a splendid time. For the price of a small donation (your choosing) it might just be the music event of the year in this city.

Stay tuned here for full LOLAFest coverage.

Pink Floyd Member Richard Wright Dies at age 65

I was listening to the Thom Yorke and Mark Linkous' (Sparklehorse) cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” last week and I was struck with how perfectly their voices melded with the melancholy longing of the song. An inspired cover it remains an all-time favourite of mine.

I was reminded of the song yesterday when I heard that Richard Wright, a founding member of Pink Floyd, died Monday after losing a battle to cancer. He was 65. Wright met Pink Floyd members Roger Waters and Nick Mason in college and joined their early band, Sigma 6. Along with the late Syd Barrett, the four formed Pink Floyd in 1965.

Originally, the group's jazz-infused rock and legendary drug-laced multimedia "happenings" provided the template for the early UK psychedelic scene. The London-born musician wrote songs and played the keyboard. In the early days of the band, it was Wright, along with Barrett who was considered to be the group's dominant musical force. Their 1967 album, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn," is considered a classic of the genre.

The band released a series of commercially and critically successful albums including 1973's "The Dark Side of the Moon," which has sold more than 40 million copies. Wright wrote "The Great Gig in the Sky" and "Us and Them" for that album, and worked on the group's epic compositions such as "Atom Heart Mother," "Echoes" and "Shine on You Crazy Diamond."

David Gilmour spoke fondly of his bandmate on his website yesterday:

"In the welter of arguments about who or what was Pink Floyd, Rick's enormous input was frequently forgotten.

"He was gentle, unassuming and private but his soulful voice and playing were vital, magical components of our most recognised Pink Floyd sound."
Wright’s death is truly a loss for the global music community. His influence felt across so many countries by musicians and fans alike. He will be missed.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Everything is 'Pop Montreal'

As October approaches I’m kinda wishing I had hung onto some of my vacation time this year. Although not official quite yet, the lineup for the venerable Pop Montreal is beginning to make its way around the internets. Looks like Irma Thomas, Burt Bacharach, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Beach House, Dan Deacon, The Dodos, The Wedding Present, Wire, Women, The Deathset, Growing, Silver Apples, Japanther, Shugo Tokumara, Panther, Ratatat, Au and An Albatross so far and the list is growing.

Check their website tomorrow for confirmation and schedules. It looks like a tremendous bill.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Peter Buck’s Rickenbacker Stolen

It happened to Sonic Youth… I even blogged about it when the Stooges lost theirs, but this time it’s personal. From REMHQ -

As we reported late last night Peter's guitar went missing from the Finnair Stadium in Helsinki, Finland. Though the guitar has not yet been located, there is an active investigation and we are all hopeful that the guitar will eventually be returned. We still would like to hear from anyone with information which could assist us, which may be shared anonymously if desired:

Email information to or phone (001) 706 353-6689...

Finally, we are hopeful that the guitar will eventually be found. After all, one of band's most beloved bootlegs was from Boston in July of 1983 at The Paradise, called "Return of the Rickenbacker" (a few songs from which were included on the 2006 retrospective, "The Best of the IRS Years,")
Some of the most important music of my life was recorded using this instrument. I’ve even been lucky enough to hear it played live over eight times. (The last time pictured above.) Peter Buck must be absolutely devastated by this. So much of the group’s trademark sound is tied up in this prized Rickenbacker and for someone to foolishly make off with it is a real pisser.

Definitely not a fan.

Prominent French Musician and Composer Hector Zazou Dies at 60

Prominent French composer and renowned world music producer Hector Zazou died Monday morning in a French hospital. He had fallen seriously ill earlier this year and was forced to cancel several performances during the summer. Hector Zazou was 60 years old.

Zazou was a legendary figure in contemporary French music. He was born in Algeria, the son of a French father and a Spanish mother. Zazou was an open minded and gifted musician who was comfortable working with classical, ambient electronic, pop, and world music. Some of the musicians he collaborated with include Björk, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Laurie Anderson, John Hassell, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Carlos Núñez, Khaled, Lisa Gerrard, John Cale, Siouxsie, Bill Rieflin, Manu Dibango, David Sylvian, Suzanne Vega, Peter Buck, Robert Fripp, Jane Birkin, and Lisa Germano.

Zazou had recently worked with Peter Buck, Robert Fripp and others to form Slow Music. His most recently completed album, 'In The House Of Mirrors', is due for release imminently.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

UPDATE: Elbow Win Prestigious Mercury Prize

Weeeellllllll, my prediction for a Burial win did not transpire quite as planned and Radiohead pulled another Susan Lucci. Earlier this evening, UK rockers Elbow were named the winners of Britain’s 2008 Nationwide Mercury Prize for their album The Seldom Seen Kid. They won the revered prize ahead of a shortlist of 11 other acts at a ceremony in central London. Their victory sees them follow in the footsteps of last year's winner Klaxons.

Elbow received a £20,000 prize as winners of this year’s edition of the revered award. The Seldom Seen Kid is the band's fourth album and first Mercury Prize win. The band had been nominated for their first album Asleep In The Back in 2001, but they lost out to PJ Harvey for Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea.

Next up from Canada. The Polaris Music Prize on September 29th. Basia Bulat will win. This time I'm confident.

Oasis Postpone London Ontario TONIGHT Show Due to Noel's Injuries

The last time my fair city made it to the front page of Daily Rock News it involved a fake David Lee Roth and a peanut allergy. This time circumstances are far more nefarious. We’re talking stage attacks, YouTube, a unibrow and a cancelled rock n’ roll show people! (Trust me I am not laughing with him.)

The repercussions from Sunday night's Oasis assault/incident/bums-rush… (insert your preferred noun here). You know the one in which Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher was pushed over while performing at the Virgin Festival in Toronto by a man who rushed the stage continue.

No doubt you’ve seen the video.

Compelling stuff, this might actually be the first Oasis video that held my attention for its entirety. Alas, the sadness continues as earlier today Oasis announced that they have indeed cancelled tonight's (September 9th) show at John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario. The gig has already been rescheduled, and will now take place on December 15th.

Straight from Oasis Central,
"Noel fell heavily on to his monitor speakers when he was pushed suddenly from behind by his attacker and suffered bruising to his ribs and hip. He was examined in a local hospital after the band's performance and has been advised to rest. Unfortunately, despite resting up yesterday, the extent of his injuries mean[s] he will not be able to perform tonight."

The rest of Oasis' upcoming dates are still on as scheduled for now.

Lastly, as expected, the man who allegedly assaulted/bums-rushed/whammerjammered Gallagher was identified as 47 year old Daniel Sullivan. He has been charged with assault by Toronto police, according to a CBC report. Sullivan, who resides in Pickering, Ontario, has been released from police custody and is due in court October 24 th.

Oasis in Concert:

09/09 London, Ontario - John Labatt Centre POSTPONED
09/12 New York, NY - Terminal 5
09/27 Bodelva, England - Eden Project
10/07 Liverpool, England - Echo Arena
10/08 Liverpool, England - Echo Arena
10/10 Sheffield, England – Arena
10/11 Sheffield, England – Arena
10/13 Birmingham, England – NIA
10/14 Birmingham, England – NIA
10/16 London, England - Wembley Arena
10/17 London, England - Wembley Arena
10/20 Bournemouth, England – BIC
10/21 Bournemouth, England – BIC
10/23 Cardiff, Wales - International Arena
10/24 Cardiff, Wales - International Arena
10/29 Belfast, Northern Ireland - Odyssey Arena
10/30 Belfast, Northern Ireland - Odyssey Arena
11/01 Aberdeen, Scotland - Exhibition Centre
11/02 Aberdeen, Scotland - Exhibition Centre
11/04 Glasgow, Scotland – SECC
11/05 Glasgow, Scotland – SECC
11/26 Mexico City, Mexico - Sports Palace
11/28 Guadalajara, Mexico - VFG Arena
11/29 Monterrey, Mexico - Arena Monterrey
12/15 London, Ontario - John Labatt Centre

Monday, September 8, 2008

Showin' the Love

Tonight's post courtesy of number one son.

Can you feel the love?

CONCERT REVIEW – Tortoise at the 2008 Guelph Jazz Fest – River Run Centre 09/06/08

It didn’t surprise me when I learned that Tortoise would be headlining Saturday evenings’ presentation of the 2008 Guelph Jazz Festival. In fact, I thought it was an entirely appropriate choice. Make no mistake, this Chicago five-piece is not a jazz outfit, nor do they perform under this pretense. Rather, like the best jazz music ‘their’ craft is marked though by formidable precision playing and a certain sense of improvisation. For that reason I found them to be the perfect fit for this year’s edition of the festival. Their unique brand of ‘post-rock’ fitting in very well with the avant-garde nature of so many performers billed this year.

I have seen Tortoise in concert over ten years ago at a small club in London and although the experience was a good one Saturday’s performance was easily distinguished by the location of the event itself. Instead of a small cramped, club stage the band set up on the expansive River Run Centre stage. The acoustics therein were nothing short of phenomenal and the band was clearly much better able to stretch out and play. Ten years has also afforded them ample time to hone their musicians’ craft. The setlist accurately reflecting their diverse canon with a couple new numbers thrown in for good measure. Still largely a percussive outfit, the band were a perfect counterpart for the splendid acoustics of the River Run Centre.

The ninety minute performance including well deserved encores was punctuated by the effective use of on screen visuals as the band performed. I had never attended an event at the River Run Centre and I have to admit I was really blown away by its expansive and extremely relaxed nature. Trust me, legroom and a comfortable chair can go a long way in one’s enjoyment of a concert. Even the band members (particularly the normally stoic John McEntire) seemed to really enjoy themselves in this presentation. Festival organizers deserve kudos for this extraordinarily fine show. An impeccable band selection to say the least, I could not have enjoyed it more.

Earlier in the day I was able to also take in the music of New York’s Burnt Sugar in the festival tent in downtown Guelph. Band leader Greg Tate miraculously managed to cram a dozen musicians onto the tent's tiny stage to conduct a diverse set that ranged from free-form improvisation to old-school funk jam. And man, it could not have sounded better!

All in all a very pleasant Saturday of terrific music; I’ll certainly be looking forward to next year’s edition of the Guelph Jazz Festival. From even my limited, single day perspective this one was a great success.

Tortoise - John Herndon (Left), Jeff Parker, Doug McCombs, John McEntire and Dan Bitney

Hmmmm, Tell Me About Your Childhood

British Psychological Study Reveals Link Between Musical Taste and Personality

You know that friend of yours who absolutely loves the speed metal music of Napalm Death? Ahhh yes… And then there is that other acquaintance who loves Eastern European country rap. Not to mention your sister’s unhealthy obsession with Norah Jones… Well, it seems that after an extensive psychological survey of more than 35,000 music lovers, British researchers have done it at last. They've proven our music tastes reflect our personality.

The Department of Psychology at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland asked people from around the world to describe their personality and then tell researchers their preferred musical genre. What the study discovered from the results was that people's personality traits are connected directly to their music of choice. The study of thousands of people from six different countries found that people had more in common with fans of their favourite music in other countries than they had with fellow citizens who preferred different styles of music.

For example, Jazz fans tend to be creative and outgoing, with high self-esteem, in keeping with the innovative and sociable nature of the music. Country western fans were found to be hard-working, but introverted, fitting with the blue-collar image of country music. Fans of Indie music were found to have low self-esteem and be under-motivated but described themselves as creative individuals. Rap lovers, however, think highly of themselves and are outgoing. Those people who lean towards dance music are also quite extroverted but are more likely to be cold towards others and be self-centred. The research concluded soul music lovers are a well-rounded bunch — creative, outgoing, gentle, at ease with themselves and with high self-esteem.

"What this research really tries to get at is why music is such an important part of people's identity. What is it about music that helps us to define who we are?” the study’s head researcher, Prof. Adrian North, told the Independent.

"People often define their sense of identity through their musical taste, wearing particular clothes, going to certain pubs, and using certain types of slang. It's not so surprising that personality should also be related to musical preference."

"One of the most surprising things is the similarities between fans of classical music and heavy metal. They're both creative and at ease but not outgoing.”

"Aside from their age difference, they're basically the same kind of person," he said. "Lots of heavy metal fans will tell you that they also like Wagner, because it's big, loud and brash. There's also a sense of theatre in both heavy rock and classical music, and I suspect that this is what they're really trying to get at when they listen."

The study is continuing and Prof North, who is head of the university's department of applied psychology, is still looking for participants to take part in a short online questionnaire.

Broken down by genre, here is what your musical tastes say about you:

Rock'n'roll: High self-esteem, creative, hard-working and at ease with themselves, but not very kind or generous.

Indie: Low self-esteem, not hard-working, kind or generous, but creative.

Rap: High self-esteem, outgoing.

Blues: High self-esteem, creative, outgoing and at ease with themselves.

Classical: High self-esteem, creative and at ease with themselves, but not outgoing.

Metal: Creative and at ease with themselves, but not very outgoing or hard-working.

Reggae: High self-esteem, creative, outgoing, kind, generous and at ease with themselves, but not very hard-working.

Country: Hard-working and outgoing.

Dance: Creative and outgoing, but not kind or generous.

This is your chance everyone. Does your favourite music accurately reflect your personality? My love for baroque-blue-eyed-indie-death metal used to pigeonhole me; its nice to see I am not alone in my tribe. I may however have a wicked personality disorder.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Where It’s At, Eh

Beck Announces North American Tour including Canadian Dates

Did you realize Odelay is twelve years old now? Time
certainly does fly but I think that one has aged particularly well. Heck it still makes me dance recklessly in my office chair. News today that the perpetually youthful and mononym”ed” popster, Beck has announced a slew of additional dates for his North American tour this fall. The funky loser will be spreading the Modern Guilt throughout the continent with two stops In America’s hat, including one in Toronto on October 5th and one in Montreal the following day.

Beck has also announced that his father David Campbell (and Canadian musician extraordinaire) will be joining him onstage at an upcoming Hollywood Bowl show in Los Angeles. This will mark the first time the father-son pair has performed together live.

For those unaware, Beck’s father has a long and storied career in the music business as a composer/arranger. In the senior Campbell’s time, he has racked up credits on more than four hundred recordings and worked on sessions with everyone from Marvin Gaye to Johnny Cash. Campbell will take on the conductor duties for his son and lead the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra String section. (No word if he’ll be pulling out jives or jamboree hand outs.)

Beck’s North American Tour Dates:

9.19 San Diego, CA - Street Scene Festival
9.20 Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
9.22 Phoenix, AZ - Dodge Theater
9.23 Albuquerque, NM - Kiva Auditorium
9.25 El Paso, TX - Abraham Chavez Theatre
9.27 Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Festival
9.28 Tulsa, OK - Cain's Ballroom
9.29 Kansas City, MO - Uptown Theatre
9.30 Minneapolis, MN - Wilkins Auditorium
10.02 Chicago, IL - Aragon Ballroom
10.03 Chicago, IL - Aragon Ballroom
10.05 Toronto, ON - Sound Academy
10.06 Montreal, QC - St. Denis Theatre
10.09 New York, NY - United Palace Theatre
10.10 New York, NY - United Palace Theatre

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

God-botherers and 3oclockreeps

I really loved Carl Wilson’s excellent interview featuring David Berman / Silver Jews in yesterday’s edition of the Globe and Mail. Even better Zoilus (Carl’s website) has posted the complete email transcript of his interview with Berman that went into Tuesday’s piece. David Berman is a talented artist with a lot of insight into a wide range of topics.

My generation doesn't have 'following' skills. The younger generations, growing up in a more enlightened world perhaps, are team thinkers. My belief is that the next twenty years will be the story of what the adults (us) and the young adults (people born after 1980) do to recover from the damage that this exceptionally stupid and selfish generation of Republicans, businessmen and God-botherers has inflicted.
Interesting stuff… I encourage all of you to head over to Zoilus for some compelling reading.

Silver Jews are currently on tour to promote their excellent Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea release on Drag City Records.

And it looks like Paul Westerberg’s recent prolific streak is continuing. Yet more new product has surfaced and its pretty great. 3oclockreep is a similar creation to the earlier 49:00 - Like the former his new release plays like bits of odds and ends with a few songs that do come through. But the real curious thing is the appearance of Tom Waits at about the halfway mark. The two of them banter back and forth a bit before settling in on an attempt to do the Replacements’ gorgeous b-side “We Know the Night". The results seem a little haphazard at first but end up with a stunning bluesy take to end it. This is exactly the stuff that made me fall in love with the music of Paul Westerberg. The fact that this time he brought Tom Waits along for the ride makes it even more engaging. It’s so nice to see Paul knocking them out of the park yet again.

A Sad Footnote: Former Replacements Drummer Steve Foley Has Died


Sad news... Steve Foley, who played drums with the Replacements at the tail end of their career, died last weekend in Minneapolis. He was 49. According to local media reports, Foley died after accidentally overdosing on prescription medication.

The 1990 selection of Foley, who played in such Minneapolis bands as Curtiss A, Wheelo and Snaps, as the substitute for original Replacements drummer Steve Foley has become the stuff of legend.

According to Jim Walsh's oral history "All Over But the Shouting," frontman Paul Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson bumped into Foley at a local bar and procured a ride from him to an audition. In the car was a copy of the brand new Replacements album "All Shook Down," prompting Westerberg and Stinson to look at each other and then exclaim to Foley, "You're already in."

Foley then toured with the band until its final show on July 4, 1991, in Chicago's Grant Park. Afterward, he and his brother Kevin joined Stinson's band Bash & Pop. Of late, he was working as a car salesman in Minneapolis.

I met Steve on the Replacements swan song tour and he was a very sweet guy. More than happy to oblige with an autograph and some friendly conversation. My condolences go out to Steve's family and friends.

Monday, September 1, 2008

PLAYLIST 20 – "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."

This compendium was created by special request for Jack who starts Grade Six tomorrow. We are ALL kindred ‘spirits of the halls’ on this occasion. A special playlist assembled to commemorate the beginning of the anticipatory month. Tomorrow is the first day back to school and even I am feeling that cold grey ball of nervousness rising in my gut. School so far off now it hardly makes sense but my soul stirs at once out of joy and sadness together.

Best of luck Jack, you’re in for the time of your life.

Albert Hammond, Jr. - Feed Me Jack Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Peter Sellers
Paul Westerberg - Baby Learns To Crawl
The Ramones - Rock 'N' Roll High School (Ed Stasium Version)
Dennis Wilson - School Girl
3 Simmons - You Are My Dream (School Time)
Guided By Voices - Do They Teach You The Chase?
The A Frames - My Teacher
McLusky - What We've Learned
Cornershop - Lessons Learned From Rocky I To Rocky III
Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna To Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You
Soulwax - Teachers
Hot Chip - And I Was A Boy From School
The Knife - High School Poem
Cindy & The Playmates - Now That School Is Through