La Sera - Break My Heart

Sic Alps - Glyphs

This is Pop Download-o-rama

Friday, February 29, 2008

Reed to Induct Cohen Into Hall

Singer-songwriter and all round loveable grump, Lou Reed will induct Canadian poet/ folk legend and grumpable love Leonard Cohen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Cohen will be among those honoured March 10th at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. Other inductees include Madonna, John Mellencamp, the Dave Clark Five, the Ventures and Little Walter. Justin Timberlake will induct Madonna, while Tom Hanks will induct the Dave Clark Five. Billy Joel will pay tribute to Mellencamp.

Diversity is a great thing but I’m having visions now of that "all Cohen medley" featuring the aforementioned glitterati. Maybe Justin can teach Leonard a few smooth moves before showtime.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wilco on Saturday Night Live

If you perused my Best Music of 2007 compendium you would have seen I included Wilco’s sublime, Sky Blue Sky in the list. Since it’s release last Spring I have grown to love the album from start to finish. A true rarity for “Gen -I’ers”* with bi-shuffle disorder. (But I digress, we’ll save that for another days blog topic…) Dear readers, please set your PVR’s; the band are going to be on Saturday Night Live this Saturday night (March 1st) playing live of course- with guest host and Canadian “it” girl, Ellen Page.

I guarantee a stellar performance, Jeff Tweedy and Company have never let me down performing in a live environment. This is where they truly shine. Who know’s, perhaps they'll work Monsieur Tweedy into a sketch a la Michael Stipe’s appearance as a silvery Christmas sprite several years back.

We sure do miss you Mango!

*My apologies to Douglas Coupland but every generation deserves its own letter now.

Monday, February 25, 2008

"Wow, That Guy Is Soooo Arrogant."

Did you happen to watch the 80th annual Academy Awards ceremony last night? The show I just can't seem to miss provided some wonderful "moments" that absolutely transcended the usual mundanities. Jon Stewart's retort to Glen Hansard's heartfelt Oscar speech last night was one such moment and was one of the funniest comments of the evening. The surprise win however, by Hansard and Marketa Irglova was one of the evening's magical moments; their performance of "Falling Slowly" perhaps even moreso. And how classy was that when Marketa Irglova was brought back to say a few words after being curtly edited to commercial. That must have been a first.

Once is a magical film that I can not recommend enough. Last night's Oscar win for best Original Song, truly the icing on the cake. I urge anyone to seek out and buy this DVD. Buy the soundtrack too, you will understand exactly what I mean.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

PLAYLIST 13 - Every Good Painter Paints What He Is

This compilation is a concerted attempt to recreate the feeling of reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road for the first time. The songs were selected not as overt references but rather a converyance of the book’s well developed themes. A soundtrack for reading if you will. The book remains a pivotal creative influence on me.

Every Good Painter Paints What He Is

01. Amon Tobin – The Killer’s Vanilla
02. LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends
03. Talking Heads – Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)
04. Matmos – Solo Buttons For Joe Meek
05. Arthur Russell - A Little Lost
06. Jack Kerouac - The Subterraneans
07. John Fahey - America
08. Wilco - Either Way
09. Townes Van Zandt And Willie Nelson - Marie
10. Bettye LaVette - Joy
11. Dusty Springfield - Natchez Trace
12. Shearwater - Red Sea, Black Sea (Original Mix)
13. Sufjan Stevens – The Witch Mistress From McClure
14. Jack Kerouac – Ain’t We Got Fun
15. M Ward – One More Goodbye

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Want to Fill Up that Ipod?

How about filling up a whole room of ipods? Ebay has always been a source of enlightenment to me for just what ends up for sale on the very popular web auction site. This music collection is now exception. To quote the description:

“From Thomas Edison to American Idol, this is the complete history of the music that shaped and defined five generations. 3 million records and 300,000 CDs containing more than 6 million song titles. It's the undisputed largest collection of recorded music in the world. About half of the recordings are new and never played, and every genre of 20th century music is represented. There are countless rare recordings worth hundreds, or even thousands of dollars each on the collectibles market. Organized and cataloged, the collection is meticulously maintained and housed in a climate-controlled warehouse. The estimated value of this amazing collection is more than $50 million.

Every recording in the collection was purchased by the collection's owner over the past fifty years and represents a lifetime of work and his desire to see the music preserved for future generations. Advancing age and health concerns are forcing the owner to sell.The history of 20th century music belongs in a museum (existing or new), or a music library. The collection's owner is seeking a private collector or a philanthropist willing to buy and donate the collection. A donation would qualify as a tax-deductible event. The collection contains many thousands of duplicate copies, which could be sold individually on the collectibles market to recoup a substantial part of the purchase price.”

A little jealous, a little sad but darned glad I’m not moving this collection to someone’s apartment. The days of the physical record/ cd collection are waning but in case you wanted to start one you might want to check out the link below. For three million bucks its quite the bargain!

Friday, February 15, 2008

No-o-o-o-o, No Surprises - Amplive Releases His Radiohead Remix Project At Long Last

Remember in December when the news dropped that a possible hip hop interpretation of Radiohead’s In Rainbows would soon be released? Then the lawyers got involved, someone got their nose out of joint, knickers in a twist, (insert your favourite colloquialism here) and the whole thing seemed like it would just disappear. Turns out that the two artists (or, more likely, their respective management and legal teams) have established an agreement which gives Amplive permission to release his In Rainbows remixes entitled Raindayz Remixes for free to everyone.

Good news indeed. The album is available by clicking on the handy artwork or the link below.

Trust me though, even if this were not free, it would be worth your time to download and ipodize it. It is really good, or perhaps more correctly, "sick" as my ten year old urban leet speaker would enthuse. Heck, he might even like some of “Dad’s” music now.

So, word to your mother!
(I am such a dork...)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Teenage Kicks Right Through the Night

Legendary British DJ John Peel has finally had his gravestone erected after more than three years since his passing. The storied BBC DJ was buried at St Andrew's Church in the village of Great Finborough. His stone is engraved with inscriptions from the two areas of his life he was most passionate about: music and football. The tombstone features lyrics to his all-time favourite song, "Teenage Kicks" by the Undertones, and the Liver Bird, the iconic emblem of the historic Merseyside team Liverpool FC. So very classy and well suited to this influential icon; I sincerely miss the man's huge presence. He influenced greatly the listening habits of many a music fan, myself proudly included. John Peel passed away on October 25, 2004 at the age of 65.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Replacements Rerereissues On the Way

My favourite band ever, The Replacements' first three albums and an EP will be reissued yet again this spring. This time though, the good people at Rhino Records are doing it right. Remastered and finally expanded these releases mark a long awaited upgrade of the seminal band's early works, "Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out the Trash," "Stink," "Hootenanny" and "Let It Be".

Originally released on the band's hometown label, Minneapolis’
Twin/Tone Records , the albums were prepped for reissue by former Replacements manager Peter Jesperson, with involvement from the surviving band members.

The goods will arrive April 22nd and I know I can’t hardly wait. (Let it Be, one of my top five of all time.) Later this year, Rhino will continue the reissue campaign with expanded editions of the Replacements' Sire catalog: "Tim," "Pleased To Meet Me," "Don't Tell a Soul" and "All Shook Down."

While you’re listening to your fancy pants remasters go read
All Over But the Shouting by Jim Walsh for an insider look at one of the most important bands of this generation.

Here is the bonus material for the Replacements reissues (previously unissued tracks marked with a letter p.)

"Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out the Trash":

"Raised in the City," live, 1980 – demo p
"Shutup," live, 1980 - demo p
"Don't Turn Me Down," live, 1980 - demo p
"Shape Up," live, 1980 – demo p
"You Ain't Gotta Dance," studio demo p
"Get on the Stick," studio demo p
"Oh Baby," studio demo p
"Like You," outtake p
"Get Lost," outtake p
"A Toe Needs a Shoe," outtake p
"Customer," alternate take p
"Basement Jam," rehearsal p
"If Only You Were Lonely"


"Staples in Her Stomach," outtake p
"Hey, Good Lookin'," outtake p
"(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock," outtake p
"You're Getting Married," solo home demo p


"Lookin' for Ya"
"Junior's Got a Gun," outtake - rough mix p
"Ain't No Crime," outtake p
"Johnny Fast," outtake - rough mix p
"Treatment Bound," alternate version p
"Lovelines," alternate vocal p
"Bad Worker," solo home demo p

"Let It Be":

"20th Century Boy"
"Perfectly Lethal," outtake p
"Temptation Eyes," outtake p
"Answering Machine," solo home demo p
"Heartbeat -- It's a Lovebeat," outtake - rough mix p
"Sixteen Blue," outtake - alternate vocal p

North American Radiohead Tour Details

At long last, the North American Radiohead tour is slowly taking shape. Eight dates have now been announced for May. Venues and dates for West Palm Beach, Tampa, Atlanta, Charlotte, Bristow, St. Louis, Houston and Dallas are now available. (Don’t miss this one Beth!) Click the link for all the deets.

W.A.S.T.E. will be doing a pre-sales offer for those shows on February 14 through The general sale date is on February 16 through Ticketmaster. It has now been confirmed that the shows in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver will all take place in August 2008. Dates and venues for these cities will be announced later on.

Don’t miss out on this one. Radiohead are obviously at the top of their game right now. With R.E.M. out on the road at the same time perhaps we’ll see some "old schooly" concert guest cameos. Looks like the Summer 2008 concert schedule is shaping up nicely.

Happy 25th Birthday "Thriller"

On shelves today Michael Jackson releases a 25th-anniversary edition of his career defining album Thriller. The expanded CD/DVD package will include the original nine-song album and one unreleased track from the original sessions. As well, (working the renewed street cred angle) five song reworkings with contributions from, Fergie, Akon and Kanye West. (No sign however of Paul McCartney for that Girl is Mine 08 Remix.)

Not exactly my style but there’s no denying the powerful impact this one had on the pop community. And don’t try to tell me you didn’t have this in your collection at least once…

Friday, February 8, 2008

REVIEW - Bob Mould - District Line

REVIEW - Bob Mould - District Line
Anti Records

The 1980’s are seldom remembered as a particularly creative musical decade. Shift the focus though, from the nouveau pop of the Thompson Twins or Phil Collins’ solo career and that assessment might just change. It was, in reality a tremendously vital era that yielded the likes of the Replacements, R.E.M. and Husker Du. College radio was king and people like me were spending more on records every week than on food. (Music was our food man!) I remember that wet, grey day I found my vinyl copy of
Zen Arcade in the new release bin at Records on Wheels. It was heavy, gorgeous, heartbreaking and very loud. Its four sides drew me into a particularly dark place that was entirely new. After repeated listening I realized I could disappear in its grooves in the same way as reading a good book or seeing an amazing film.

Zen Arcade was an album that informed my musical sensibilities even to this day. It was a little bit of music magic and I loved it. Much like the Replacements Let It Be, the Huskers album engaged me and quite literally changed the way I listen to music. In the twenty plus years since then, Bob Mould, the principle creator of the former elpee has explored a myriad of musical styles and creative outlets with varying degrees of success. Along the way I have followed his lead but only occasionally did it touch consistent genius. This is not so much a case of “they don’t make music like they used to” but rather a lament to see the brilliance continue. (Affect me like you did twenty years ago and I’ll be there.)

Flash ahead to February 2008 and I am there. The songwriter is back with a brand new record called District Line. This one however, melds perfectly the punk, pop, and even techno of the past to formulate a terrifically cohesive set of songs. Right from the start this one had me in its clutches. Occasionally nostalgic, songs like “Old Highs, New Lows” and “Return to Dust” do indeed take me right back to that affecting place, it just feels like the walls are newly painted and the room not quite so dark. Its an evolution that works. Fugazi drummer, Brendan Canty is back and his distinctive drumming style provides a terrific counterpoint to Mould’s familiar “grungy” guitar. As well, Amy Domingues again adds beautifully bittersweet cello to the set to remarkable effect.

So everything old is truly new again and it’s refreshing as hell. Mould gets the creative blend just right this time and as an active listener I couldn’t be happier. I just hope I'm as vital and relevant twenty years on.

Recommended PPPP

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Record Store Day, April 19th 2008

Remember the olden days when you couldn't download every song known to man via the interweb? You actually had to go to a store to purchase your music. It was a place to behold and we all had our favourite haunts. News today that celebrates that hallowed ground that was once so important in all of our lives.

From the organizer's

On Saturday, April 19, 2008, hundreds of independently owned music stores across the country will celebrate Record Store Day. On this day, all of these stores will simultaneously link and act as one with the purpose of celebrating the culture and unique place that they occupy both in their local communities and nationally.

Now if everyone had access to a store like
Grooves the world would be a better place. Go today and support your favourite record store. Tell me about your favourites in the comments section.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Juno Award Nominations Announced

The Award Season continues with Canada’s answer to the Grammy Awards. The list of nominees for the 2008 Juno Awards was announced this morning and Celine Dion leads the pack wth six nominations. Not a lot of surprises this year but it is nice to see nods for Arcade Fire and Feist.

Pop-punk princess Avril Lavigne and opera star Measha Brueggergosman have been added as performers to the Juno Awards in Calgary April 6. The two artists join previously announced acts Feist, Finger Eleven and Michael Buble.

The show will be broadcast live from the Pengrowth Saddledome on CTV.

A partial list of the nominations is listed below.

Juno Fan Choice Award:

Avril Lavigne
Celine Dion
Claude Dubois
Michael Buble
Nelly Furtado

Single Of The Year:

"Girlfriend," Avril Lavigne
"1234," Feist
"Paralyzer," Finger Eleven
"Seven Day Fool," Jully Black
"Everything," Michael Buble

International Album Of The Year

"Lost Highway," Bon Jovi
"The Dutchess," Fergie
"Noel," Josh Groban
"Good Girl Gone Bad," Rihanna
"Timbaland Presents Shock Value," Timbaland

Album Of The Year (Sponsored By Cria)

"The Best Damn Thing," Avril Lavigne
"D'elles," Celine Dion
"Taking Chances," Celine Dion
"The Reminder," Feist
"Call Me Irresponsible," Michael Buble

Artist Of The Year

Avril Lavigne
Celine Dion
Michael Buble
Pascale Picard

Group Of The Year

Arcade Fire
Blue Rodeo
Finger Eleven
Kain Disques

New Artist Of The Year (Sponsored By Factor And Canada's Private Radio Broadcasters)

Jeremy Fisher
Justin Nozuka
Serena Ryder
Suzie McNeil

New Group Of The Year (Sponsored By Factor And Canada's Private Radio Broadcasters)

Faber Drive
State of Shock

Adult Alternative Album Of The Year

"Small Miracles," Blue Rodeo
"Goodbye Blue Monday," Jeremy Fisher
"Chrome Dreams II," Neil Young
"Release The Stars," Rufus Wainwright
"No Stranger," Tom Cochrane

Pop Album Of The Year

"Duets: Friends & Legends," Anne Murray
"Street Gospels," Bedouin Soundclash
"Taking Chances," Celine Dion
"The Reminder," Feist
"Call Me Irresponsible," Michael Buble

Rock Album Of The Year

"Them Vs. You Vs. Me," Finger Eleven
"Hospital Music," Matthew Good
"The Lucky Ones," Pride
"Underclass Hero," Sum 41
"The Saint Alvia Cartel," The Saint Alvia Cartel

Friday, February 1, 2008

Joe Strummer - The Future is Unwritten

I’ll never forget that December morning I learned that Joe Strummer had died. It seemed impossible to me that death would fell this mighty punk rock icon at such an early age. He had survived it all and his invincibility was quite secure with me; Congenital heart defects seldom emerge with warning though. To this day, I still miss this man’s huge musical and philosophical presence. Born John Graham Mellor in Ankara, Turkey in 1952 to British diplomat parents, he transformed without much forethought from a self-described "mouthy little git" into a formidable musician and activist. He profoundly influenced me in many ways and helped set the course for my future musical inclinations. Sure I’ve got my fancy pants remasters, boxed sets and dvd’s to remind me of him but the discovery of music because of him happens less and less because he is gone. I can honestly say I was breathless the first time I saw the London Calling cover in the import bin of my favourite record shop. The cover (and music therein) still gives me goosebumps. To that end I am not alone. Countless musicians, actors, politicians, bloggers, misfits and thieves count him as a personal hero. Right up there with Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.

I was very pleased then to hear then that Julien Temple’s documentary Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten will make an appearance in limited release on Canadian screens. A more worthy musical subject I can not think of. Temple’s film covers the gambit of Strummer’s life with style and heartfelt repect. A host of eloquent testimonials from the likes of Bono to John Cusack explain the singer's incredible mystique. Oddly, but effectively too, David Lee Roth (at 83's US Festival) is also included. Sprinkled throughout, his own words and a host of songs that have now become his legacy are featured. Still as fiery and passionate as ever, his performances quite singular.

So if you are looking for something to do this weekend and love the only music that matters, you might want to seek out this amazing film. I’ll be doing that. Listen to the playlist composed above as well for a reminder of the greatness of Joe Strummer.