La Sera - Break My Heart

Sic Alps - Glyphs

This is Pop Download-o-rama

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Random Post of the Day

Sometimes it’s important to sit back and laugh at the little things. The goofy things...

Sometimes it takes an eleven year old to remind us of those things.

Juvenile and perfect, you keep me laughing. You make my day, every day.

Thank you Jack, for reminding me to stop and laugh. Now quit kicking my ass in Guitar Hero III. Everyone else? Be 11 for a while today.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Hit the Road

This one is for you Record Store Hank; “Festivus” comes early this year. Fresh on the heels of his most excellent Dig! Lazarus. Dig! release Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds have announced an international tour in support:

04-29 Paris, France - Casino du Paris
05-01 Brussels, Belgium - Forest National
05-03 Dublin, Ireland - Castle
05-04 Glasgow, Scotland - Academy
05-06 Birmingham, England - Academy
05-07 London, England - Hammersmith Apollo
05-08 London, England - Hammersmith Apollo
05-16 Oslo, Norway - Spektrum
05-17 Stockholm, Sweden - Annexe
05-19 Copenhagen, Denmark - KB Halle
05-21 Berlin, Germany - Tempodrom
05-24 Prague, Czech Republic - Sazka Arena
05-25 Vienna, Austria - Gasometer
06-03 Zagreb, Croatia - IN Music Festival
06-04 Belgrade, Serbia - Arena
06-06 Salonika, Greece - Moni Lazariston
06-07 Athens, Greece - Lycabetus Theatre
09-16 San Diego, CA - 4th & B
09-17 Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl *
09-20 San Francisco, CA - Warfield Theatre
09-22 Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
09-23 Seattle, WA - Showbox SoDo
09-26 Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre
09-29 Chicago, IL - Riviera Theatre
10-01 Toronto, Ontario - Kool Haus
10-02 Montreal, Quebec - Metropolis
10-04 New York, NY - WaMu Theater at MSG
10-05 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club

* with Cat Power, Spiritualized

If you have never had the pleasure of seeing Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds I would highly recommend it. Nick is a tremendously engaging performer and the band are truly talented musicians. This is a terrific opportunity to see a proficient musician truly at the top of his game. I highly recommend your attendance.

Monday, April 28, 2008

REVIEW - The Stars 'For Which all Evenings Wait'

Stars of the Lid Play MuseumLondon

Over the years I have been fortunate to see a wide variety of live performances in several venues around the Forest City (London, ON). Last night’s presentation by Adam Wiltzie and Brian McBride (the Stars of the Lid) at Museum London was one of the best in memory. Despite a late start (due to typical US Canada border rigmarole) and a ‘slightly’ awkward room, the music was magnificent. Smart and highly technical, the American duo ceded center stage to their formidable string players and projected images 'kind of' behind'. (The room was not entirely conducive to a large ensemble nor was the lighting particularly ambient.) But in the end this felt like an artistic event that only a place like MuseumLondon could house and by all measures succeeded on every front.

If you are unfamiliar with the band, their work stands as some of the most original and evocative music being produced today. Their stellar 2007 Kranky Records release, And Their Refinement of the Decline was a critical and artistic realization quite unlike any other. This is music that pushes the edge and is capable of taking listeners to another place. Singular and uncompromising, their huge swells of ambient guitar drone and impeccable string playing was ‘sonically perfect’ for the London audience. Fitting then, Stars of the Lid once described their name as referring to the private images generated between the eye and closed eyelid; the outfit’s precise blend of texture and classical minimalism captivated and transported a room full of eager Museum London listeners.

The show, sponsored in large part by LOLA (London Ontario Live Arts) was done right on all levels. Despite some minor technical limitations of the room it really felt like an event of import and as such treated the audience very well. (The food and atmosphere, most wonderful accompaniments.) Perhaps organizers will consider the band for their next LOLA outing at Victoria Park in the fall- under the stars would be near perfect.

The evening also saw terrific and lengthy opening performances from guitarist Christopher Willits and London’s own the Riderless. (I'll definitely be exploring both further. I'll be sure to share that through this blog.)

These Stars fall next in Toronto (tonight), and continue their outing through late May.

04-28 Toronto, Ontario - Music Gallery *
04-29 Montreal, Quebec - Memorial Masonic Temple *
05-01 Boston, MA - Museum of Fine Arts *
05-02 New York, NY - Good Shepherd Church (Wordless Music Series)
05-03 Philadelphia, PA - St. Mary's Episcopal Church *
05-04 Washington, DC - Iota Club & Café *
05-05 Asheville, NC - Fine Arts Theatre *
05-07 Austin, TX - Ritz Theatre *
05-08 Dallas, TX - Granada Theater
05-17 Minehead, England - Butlins Holiday Ctr (ATP)
05-19 Bristol, England - Cube Microplex Cinema
05-20 London, England - St Giles-in-the-Fields Church
05-21 Birmingham, England - Hare & Hounds
05-22 Glasgow, Scotland - Stereo
05-23 Aberdeen, Scotland - The Tunnels
05-24 Newcastle, England - Church of St. Thomas the Martyr
05-25 Leeds, England - Holy Trinity Church

* with Christopher Willits

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Purple Rainbows

A friend of mine emailed me today to say the highlight of her Coachella weekend was Prince's show and his cover of Radiohead's "Creep". With some minor lyrical adjustments and an unforgettable guitar solo, Prince's "Creep" had the crowd in the palm of his hand with a smile firmly planted on every tired face.

Let's hope Radiohead reciprocate. Thom just might be the only falsetto that could handle "Dirty Mind". (I'll accept other suggestions in the comments field. I'm looking at you BB.)

Prince never fails to amaze me in his most excellent choice of cover songs. His performance of Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You" truly one of my own favourites.

Glad he didn't trot out the Shania Twain cover this time though...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Guelph’s Hillside Festival 2008 Lineup Announced

As sure as the mercury has started to rise in this province so too has the frequency of music festival announcements. One of my favourites, Guelph’s Hillside Festival will take place on the weekend of July 25 through 27 and the first batch of acts that will be performing has just been announced. Those heading to the Guelph Lake Conservation Area (on an island) include The Sadies, Harry Manx, Hawksley Workman, Plants and Animals, Hayden and Cowboy Junkies. Not to mention lots of yummy food and a myriad of interesting workshops. Early bird tickets go on sale May 3 at 10AM and you are well advised to get your tickets as soon as you are able. This one is popular, a whole lot of fun, and will most surely sell out. I assure you, music under the sun and stars in this most pristine setting will be the musical highlight of your summer. Twenty five years in now, this one will be hard to beat.


Hillside Festival Tickets on sale Saturday May 3rd, 10am!

The 25th annual Hillside Festival will take place July 25, 26, 27, 2008 on Guelph Lake Island, Guelph Lake Conservation Area. All tickets go on sale Saturday May 3rd at 10am.

There will be a very limited number of Early Bird discounted weekend passes only available by walk-in at the Hillside Office and designated outlets. The remaining regular priced weekend passes and day and evening tickets will be available by walk-in at the Hillside office and designated outlets and on-line and by phone. All sales start Saturday May 3rd, 10am.

Early Bird priced weekend passes are $75.00 and Regular priced weekend passes are $95.00. There is a limit of four weekend passes person and no limit on day and evening tickets. Day and evening tickets range from $40.00 - $60.00. All tickets include GST and park admission. Tickets will be available for purchase on-line at or, by phone at 1.866.598.4455, the Hillside office and designated outlets. Children 12 and under and seniors 65 and over are admitted free and do not require a ticket.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Radiohead to Go Green on Conan

In just two weeks (Monday May 5th) Radiohead will embark upon the first leg of their “carbon footprint friendly” North American tour in West Palm Beach, FL. News today though that the 'lads from Oxford' will make an exclusive appearance on NBC's "Late Night with Conan O'Brien", Wednesday April 23 (12:35-1:35am ET).

This time though a deviation from the standard 'Late Night' presentation. Radiohead's performance of "House of Cards," was recorded live, in the "other London" and represents an ongoing effort by the socially conscious band to act in the greenest manner possible. The presentation coincides with NBC's "Green Week" of environmentally conscious programming.

For the trivial among you, Radiohead made their US network television debut on "Late Night" and were O'Brien's first-ever musical guest in 1993. (Bonus points if you can tell me which song they played. More bonus points if you can tell me what colour Thom's hair was.)

My apologies too for the inevitable bleary eyes on Thursday morning. It'll be worth it though.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Record Store Day is Here

Folks who work here are professors
Don't replace all the knowers with guessors
Keep'em open
they're the ears of the town
-Tom Waits

Today is Record Store Day. Go to your favourite independent record store and buy a cd or two or three for yourself. These guys need your support and this is a great way to keep the music playing.

I will update with my 'Record Store Day' finds later today.

Happy Hunting


What a great sight to see a record store full of people today. I picked up the new M83, Robyn Hitchcock and Fuck Buttons cds'. I also found that snazzy Record Store Day only 7" by Vampire Weekend. I trust and hope this will be the first of many Record Store Days.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Brian Eno and David Byrne Collaborating Again

There are certain cd’s that need to be in everyone’s collection. Sure Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way is a given and so too is Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan. Unfortunately that leaves about 21 437 others that should also be included. One of these recordings is the 1981 collaborative effort between David Byrne and Brian Eno entitled My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. The enigmatic recording remains on my list of essentials largely because of its unbelievable breadth and its uncanny ability to stand the tests of time. This hugely influential recording covers a lot of musical territory that to this day I am still trying to get my head around.

Drowned in Sound noted yesterday, David Byrne announced this week that his long-rumored return to the studio with Brian Eno is nearly complete:Speaking at an event in New York, Byrne revealed that the duo had rekindled the relationship they formed in the late 70s/early 80s which resulted in three Talking Heads records and the Ghosts record.

“I’m finishing up a record with Brian Eno, a musician that I worked with 30 years ago,” Byrne said following an appearance with Paul Simon at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on the 9th of April. “We did a record together of songs, and that’ll come out… Brian had written a lot of music, but needed some words, which I know how to do. What’s it sound like? Electronic gospel. That’s all I’m saying.”

Extraordinary news too that David Byrne’s booking agent has been soliciting offers from a number of different promoters around the United States for Byrne/Eno live shows, promising the set list will consist of at least 40% Eno-era Talking Heads material. Amazing news if you were lucky enough to see the Talking Heads in their heyday to see this music performed live.

The album will likely be released via Nonesuch Records, but probably not until 2009 before the end of the year.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Museum | London to Host Stars of the Lid

And Their Refinement of the Decline by Austin, Texas duo, Stars of the Lid was one of my favourite cd’s last year. Appealing to my inner Brian Eno and Arvo Part fanboy soul, their unique brand of drone-based ambient music is quite extraordinary. Couple that with the fact that they are also David Lynch fans and I’m completely sold. (And I thought I was the only one who loved Big Ed Hurley). This is music for the inner cinema if you will and I am very much looking forward to their live presentation.

Embarking on their first North American tour in some six years, the Stars will shine over North America with opener Christopher Willits*. With a stop scheduled at
Museum London on April 27th the pair then head to the UK in mid-May for fellow Texans, Explosions in the Sky-curated ATP (All Tomorrow’s Parties) and a handful of dates beyond.

Stars of the Lid:

04-14 Los Angeles, CA - Echoplex *
04-15 San Francisco, CA - The Independent *
04-17 Portland, OR - Holocene (Wordless Music Series) *
04-18 Seattle, WA - Triple Door *
04-21 Minneapolis, MN - Southern Theater (Wordless Music Series) *
04-22 Champaign, IL - Staerkel Planetarium *
04-23 Grinnell, IA - Sebring-Lewis Concert Hall *
04-24 Louisville, KY - 9:30 Listening Room *
04-25 Pittsburgh, PA - Warhol Museum *
04-26 Chicago, IL - Lakeshore Theater *
04-27 London, Ontario - Museum London *
04-28 Toronto, Ontario - Music Gallery *
04-29 Montreal, Quebec - Memorial Masonic Temple *
05-01 Boston, MA - Museum of Fine Arts *
05-02 New York, NY - Good Shepherd Church (Wordless Music Series)
05-03 Philadelphia, PA - St. Mary's Episcopal Church *
05-04 Washington, DC - Iota Club & Café *
05-05 Asheville, NC - Fine Arts Theatre *
05-07 Austin, TX - Ritz Theatre *
05-08 Dallas, TX - Granada Theater
05-17 Minehead, England - Butlins Holiday Ctr (Explosions in the Sky ATP)
05-19 Bristol, England - Cube Microplex Cinema
05-20 London, England - St Giles-in-the-Fields Church
05-21 Birmingham, England - Hare & Hounds
05-22 Glasgow, Scotland - Stereo
05-23 Aberdeen, Scotland - The Tunnels
05-24 Newcastle, England - Church of St. Thomas the Martyr
05-25 Leeds, England - Holy Trinity Church

* with Christopher Willits

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Not Your Mom’s Duet - Uh-huh, Uh-huh...

The praise of all things vinyl continues with this item in your favourite neighbourhood record store today. Now this may be one thing you’d least expect to hear, but Constantines and Feist have teamed up to record a cover of the Bee Gee’s penned “Islands In The Stream”. This one has been released as a seven-inch single by Arts and Crafts in Canada on cool beige, marble vinyl.

Made famous in 1983 as a duet by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton and a favourite of Constantines, Feist and my Mom, the song was recorded together in Toronto one chilly day in early February following a game of ice hockey and a round of hot chocolates. Their “decelerated and intimate” version of “Islands in the Stream” was produced by Jeff McMurrich, who also worked with Constantines on their new album, Kensington Heights, due for release on April 15, 2008.

No word yet though if the Cons will be opening any chicken roaster restaurants anytime soon.

Monday, April 7, 2008

‘The Journey is the Destination’

Death Cab, R.E.M., Built to Spill, Stephen Malkmus, Vampire Weekend and Black Keys Celebrate Record Store Day with Exclusive Singles

You might recall a couple months back I had written about Record Store Day on April 19th. Despite my dogged efforts I have not been able to secure the day as an international holiday. However, the whole event is growing exponentially cooler as the day approaches. The April 19th celebration of independent music retail now includes the release of exclusive limited edition vinyl releases by Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Vampire Weekend, Built to Spill, R.E.M., Death Cab for Cutie, and the Black Keys.

The tracklist for each one is listed below.

Vampire Weekend
A) A-Punk
B) Oxford Comma [rehearsal version]

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
A) Cold Son (10" Mix)
B) Trio of Unreleased Jams

The Black Keys
A) Strange Times
B) Something on Your Mind [previously unreleased]

Built to Spill
A) Don't Try [live, previously unreleased]
B) The Source [live, previously unreleased]

Death Cab for Cutie
A) I Will Possess Your Heart (10" Mix)
B) I Will Possess Your Heart (7" Mix)

A) Supernatural Superserious
B) Airliner [non-LP B-side]

So go out and support Record Store Day at your favourite independent music retailer and pick up some cool vinyl in the process.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Colour of 'Snirt'

At long last it appears Winter has given up its icy cold clasp on this area to make way for Spring. Recently though, I was struck at the amount of snow that remains in dirty piles at various road sides and parking lots thoughout the city. As you can see from the picture we still have a while to go before any kind of "May flower" will raise its head through the snow and dirt; "snirt" to the unitiated...

So for now, here's to that eventual day - a toast! A Happy 'Snirt' to everyone!

Webkinz for Adults? - Radiohead Launch Social Networking Site

Two days ago Radiohead, quite surreptitiously, launched its own social-networking site, W.A.S.T.E. Central. A move that marked yet another developmental foray into music promotion in this, our 'Digital age 2.0.'

So, just like
Facebook, MySpace and that kid-friendly Webkinz, W.A.S.T.E. - Central comes packed with all the usual features: a main site area, your own private space, blog and message board options, and the ability to upload content like songs, photos, videos and various ephemera. The site also contains an up-to-date tour listings area. And above all, you can add - or delete - all your other ‘Radiamigos’. And that is where the social-networking aspect happens. Fanclub 2.0 if you will for all you old “Ten Clubbers” out there. No word either as to the availability of fuzzy, loveable and furry versions of your favourite ‘Radiohead’ to further the levels of interactivity. While so far it appears even Thom, Johnny and Colin, all have site profiles,
they haven’t addressed their burgeoning community. W.A.S.T.E.
administrators have posted this welcome message:
“Thanks very much for joining up! It'd be very quiet in here indeed otherwise. For those who are interested and want to stick around, we'll be adding plenty more bits and pieces in the coming weeks and ironing out any wrinkles or annoyances the best we can. Hope you find something interesting to play with.”
So the year of Radiohead continues, I'm curious to see just how far this goes. I am sure NINkinz won't be too far behind...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Elvis and Elton Create a Spectacle

One of my favourite musician’s that has not received a lot of coverage on “Everything is Pop” is Elvis Costello. Now this hardly seems fair considering the fact that he is practically a Canadian now (he lives on Vancouver Island with spouse Diana Krall and baby twins Dexter and Frank):

Seems Big E is doing a series on CTV. It's a talk show of sorts, co-produced by this other English fellow named Elton John. The selection of Costello as host isn’t entirely surprising when one considers his renown as an astute musicologist, and a very successful guest-hosting stint on the Late Show in 2003. Tentatively titled "Spectacle" (methinks Elton may have played a big role in naming of that one), the show will feature all variety of guests, for performance and in-depth chat.

James Lipton may be safe for now but I don’t think it'll be long before the bespectacled, undisputed King of New Wave will be giving him a run for his money.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My Sidewalk, My Psychiatrist

I love to walk. Aside from the obvious health benefits it also provides contemplation time, music listening time and even photography time. Late last year I was particularly struck with the inventiveness of one pedestrian along my familiar route. Someone had taken it upon themselves to paint the entire solar system on a sidewalk arc to scale and in proper order; so as you walked along basically you would stumble upon another planet. They must have been old school too because they included Pluto. Insignificant in the grand scheme of things yes, but it struck me as a particularly clever idea. I actually grew to like the familiarity of it.

Yesterday I came across this wonderful sidewalk concept and was reminded of the 'celestial' artist in my own neighbourhood. Link

One mystery does remain though... Why do I keep finding playing cards along my familiar route?


Welcome back!

Recommended PPPP