La Sera - Break My Heart

Sic Alps - Glyphs

This is Pop Download-o-rama

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Life's Little Pleasures

“All good things which exist are the fruits of originality.”

Once again the stars have aligned, the clouds have parted and good things have come to me over the past couple of days. Quite literally too… And as many of you know, anything that touches the “blogger soul” will most likely become post fodder. This is no exception. Allow me to share…

I can say unequivocally that receiving mail is truly one of my life’s pleasures. Mind you, I really don’t get too excited when I receive my Bell telephone bill or that umpteenth credit card offer; it’s the tangible stuff that really gets me going and this week this fellow has been particularly fortunate. (Haaaaaaarrrrr mateys the booty be good!)

(Insert Price is Right showcase music here)

On Wednesday I received a copy of Tessa Brunton’s latest mini comic, In the Tall Grass – Number 04. You may have noted Tessa’s blog is linked on this one and for good reason. The woman is hugely talented and I urge all of you to check out her work. Even better, send a nice email or note, a few shekels her way and she’ll even send you one! Highly recommended, Tessa’s work is absolutely delightful. And won’t you feel special when she is a rich and famous and you can say you knew her when! (Thanks again Tessa!)

A big thank you as well to “Tenacious” Tim Turner and the good people at Grooves Records for their endless promotion of fine, indie music; Regularly hosting in-store performances of some of the best music out there today. Yesterday’s performance of Rock Plaza Central was such a treat for all of us. Hearing about song origins and rock star water bottle opening etiquette is near and dear to this bloggers heart and made for a terrific presentation. A big thank you to the band as well; a nicer bunch of rock star types would be hard to find.

Lastly, but not leastly a big thank you to Barbara Bruederlin, fellow blogger and music journalista extraordinaire; Yesterday my mail box overflowed with her creative greatness. Let’s see, via the Bad Tempered Zombie, I received a copy Lynn Coady’s wonderful story collection Play the Monster Blind as well as copies of the new Jon Rae Fletcher and NQ Arbuckle CD’s. Also included in the package and my personal highlight was the original artwork and card that so wonderfully and literally tied the whole package together. I’m very much looking forward to delving further into this package over the weekend. Good, good stuff, these riches most appreciated.

Friends, it is a privilege to know you and I thank all of you for your generosity.

I leave you with the words of poet and philosopher, one Alexander Chilton.

Thank you, friends
Wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you
I'm so grateful for all the things you helped me do.

All the ladies and gentlemen
Who made this all so probable

Thank you, friends
I rejoice to the skies
Dear ones like you do the best i do
As far as can see my eyes

All the ladies and gentlemen
Who made this all so probable

Without my friends i got chaos
I'm often a bead of light.
Without my friends i'd be swept up high by the wind

I am very grateful to have such talented and creative friends.



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Glastonbury 2009 Line-up Announced

The Glastonbury Festival, the world's largest green field arts and music festival has returned to its guitar-based roots and chosen Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Blur as its headline acts this year. Tickets are apparently all ready sold out.

It was last year that hip-hop superstar Jay-Z headlined the festival in an effort to attract a younger crowd. Ticket sales dragged and critics bemoaned the abandonment of festival origins but the rapper was widely judged a success, by mud soaked attendees. (One notable hip-hop exception on the main stage is British rapper Dizzee Rascal, who was topping the UK singles charts on Monday and has rocked British festivals this year.)

This year, old favourites dominate with Tom Jones, Status Quo and Madness playing the main stage and hip-hop artists Q-Tip, Roots Manuva and Black Eyed Peas relegated to the smaller areas. Metric, Fucked Up, Deadmou5 and Peaches will be there representing the Canuck contingent.

Musical diversity appears to be key this year.

"We know that there will be objections to whatever we do but if last year taught us anything, it was that we have to follow our gut instinct," festival organiser Emily Eavis told Britain's Guardian newspaper. "Risks pay off, and featuring Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen in one weekend was a choice ... and we had to take it," the paper quoted her as saying.

Other artists likely to appeal to a younger crowd include indie pop group The Wombats, Animal Collective Australia's Gabriella Cilmi, electro-pop musician Little Boots, and pop artist Lady Gaga.

Pete Doherty will play Glastonbury's second-largest stage, and there is great speculation he will be joined by his former group, the Libertines, after he performed earlier this month with two of its members for the first time since the band split in 2004.

The festival is held on the farm of founder Michael Eavis, who started the event in 1970 when entrance cost one pound and included free milk. This year's almost 200,000 tickets went for 175 pounds each. Free milk however is not included.

Not just about music, the June 24-28 festival also has performing arts, theatre, dance, spiritual-healing, circus events and funny hats. But the best feature of all, the people watching. This one makes Burning Man look like a puppet show!

Check out the full line up here. It’s huge! Anyone up for a roadtrip?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Oh Canada! You Do Make the Best Music

Some exciting news today for fans of Canadian music and blogger types with list making and awards gala following proclivities. The 2009 Polaris Music Prize will be handed out at a Sept. 21st soiree at a Toronto location that has yet to be announced and will be hosted by CBC Radio 3’s Grant Lawrence.

The long list of 40 contending titles will be revealed on June 15th, whilst the short list of 10 final nominees will be announced at a July 7th press conference at Toronto's Drake Hotel. (Curiously, the long list was revealed for the first time, only last year.)

SIRIUS Satellite Radio Canada will be the presenting sponsor for the Polaris Music Prize of $20,000, which will be awarded to the Canadian artist who creates what's judged to be the year's best album. Discs released between June 1, 2008 and May 31, 2009 are eligible for this year's prize. The winner is judged based on artistic merit, not sales.

The long list and short list are determined by a jury of 190 Canadian music journalists, bloggers and broadcasters. Eleven jury members will be selected to vote on the grand jury, which convenes the night of the gala to determine the winner.

Caribou's Andorra won last year's Polaris Music Prize. Final Fantasy's He Poos Clouds won the inaugural prize in 2006, and Patrick Watson's Close To Paradise won in 2007.

So this is your chance to do some lobbying folks… My lobbying efforts would strongly favour Bruce Peninsula's fine recording – A Mountain is a Mouth. What efforts would you champion?

And speaking of fine Canadian music, Rock Plaza Central is in town this Thursday night (May 28th) for a show at Call the Office. Rock Plaza Central have been around for a few years now and has released three full-length CDs, including the critically acclaimed Are We Not Horses, a song cycle “about robotic horses who think they are real horses, and a handful of other things”. A new CD, called the Moment of our Most Needing, or If Only They Could Turn Around, They Would Know They Weren't Alone, is slated for release on May 26th.

Also scheduled on May 28th is a free in-store concert at London’s finest record shop, Grooves Records starting at 4:00 pm and running until 5. Thank you once again Tim Turner for the heads-up on that one. Grooves Records is located at 353 Clarence Street. Please plan to attend! If you happen to be available at that time I would highly recommend your attendance at this event and the performance later that evening at Call the Office. And just to make the evening a can't miss event, local London Album of the Year winners (and personal favourites) Olenka and the Autumn Lovers will be openers at the CTO event. (Come to think of it, add them to the lobbying for the 2009 Polaris Music Prize.)

Jay Bennett R.I.P. - (November 15, 1963 - May 24, 2009)

I came home last night after the stunning Leonard Cohen show at the John Labatt Centre to the terribly sad news that former Wilco guitarist and songwriter Jay Bennett passed away this weekend at his home in Urbana, Illinois. Bennett was only 45 years of age. So far no cause of death has been announced for the talented singer songwriter.

It’s an unfortunate footnote that Bennett is mostly remembered for the way he departed the Wilco camp. If you’ve seen the I Am Trying To Break Your Heart film that chapter makes for some high drama in the band’s history. Bennett and Jeff Tweedy memorably lock horns over the mixing of "Heavy Metal Drummer" before Bennett is later unceremoniously kicked out of the band. What a shame though he is not remembered more for the great artistry he brought to the band via production and songwriting from Being There, Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot – a trifecta of recording brilliance.

Only last month Bennett launched a legal suit asking for $50,000 in damages from frontman Jeff Tweedy, claiming he never received compensation for appearing in the local band's 2002 documentary.

Bennett had released a number of solo records post-Wilco, the latest of which - Whatever Happened I Apologize - came out last year and is available for free download here. He was working on his sixth, Kicking At the Perfumed Air, at the time of his death.

Rest in peace, Jay… You gave us some fine music.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

“Where Your Treasure is, There Will Your Heart Be Also”

We all have our small treasures… Those things that make our hearts swell and evoke knowing smiles with only a mere glance. Ah those trinkets, baubles, reminders, mementos, souvenirs, and collectibles that fill our desk drawers and line our bookshelves. They are the physical reminders of our lives lived. They symbolize our very experiences, our reminiscences and special occasions. Oh what vivid stories these ornaments can and do evoke. That is their magic.

It is specifically those stories that I am compelled to tell and hopefully so will some of you that read this- Now, considering the numbers of personal treasures I have currently lining my bookshelves et al, I might just turn this into a semi-regular feature. A brief preface is in order though. This whole concept came about after a recent “blipping” session on Blip.FM. (That being the social networking DJ/ VJ phenom that is currently ‘a sweepin’ the nations. (I posted about it earlier.)) One of the curious outcomes about said site is the users desire to share the music that they love; sometimes very obscure music. This is precisely what I did. I blipped a John Oswald (Plunderphonics) song, “O’Hell” and a short confession to fellow ‘Blipeur’ Barb the Bad Tempered Zombie spoke of my love for the avant garde musician/ artist. And thus the kernel for this post was born. His music is one of my treasures.

John Oswald is one of those artist/ musicians that truly speaks to the music lover in me. For the uninitiated John Oswald is a Canadian composer, saxophonist and media artist. His best known project is Plunderphonics, the practice of making new music out of previously existing recordings using “electroquotes”; (not unlike sound collage and musical montage). Inspired by William S. Burroughs' cut-up technique, Oswald had been devising plunderphonic-style compositions since the late '60s.

As a result of using music on these terms you can imagine this music is not without controversy The greatest of which was the 1988 release of the Plunderphonics EP, which he distributed to the press and to radio stations. It contained four plundered tracks: "Don't" by Elvis Presley, "Pocket" by Count Basie, "Pretender" featured Dolly Parton singing "The Great Pretender" but progressively slowed down so that she sounds like a man by the end, and "Spring", a version of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. In 1989, Oswald released an expanded version of the Plunderphonics album containing twenty-five tracks, each using material from a different artist. In 1990, notice was given to Oswald by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) on behalf of several of their clients (notably Michael Jackson, whose song "Bad" had been cut up, layered, and rearranged as "Dab") that all undistributed copies of Plunderphonics be destroyed under threat of legal action. An excerpt from a press release on the plunderphonics website is repeated below:

"I wasn't selling the disc in the stores, so I let listeners tape it off the radio for free," explains Oswald, who paid for the production and manufacture of the CD out of his own pocket. He receives no royalties or financial compensation for airplay. Brian Robertson, president of CRIA says, ``What this demonstrates is the vulnerability of the recording industry to new technology...All we see is just another example of theft." Oswald received notice from CRIA's lawyers demanding that he cease distributing Plunderphonic as of Xmas eve '89. "They insisted I quit playing Santa Claus," Oswald observes.
His body of work is one of the jewels of my music collection and I have gone to great lengths to track down his recorded output. To say that his CD’s and LP’s are rare is a huge understatement. He is not a traditional artist in any sense whatsoever and therefore distribution methods are often unorthodox. As a result, all of his CD’s have come to me from diverse areas of the world. (And yes, I have a copy of the famous aforementioned disc.) I have acquired most by luck, by fortuitousness and by sheer determination. From Paris, Vancouver, Seattle, London, San Francisco, Tokyo to Toronto these discs have seen more of the world than I have. All have a back story and each made me love music a little more. It is the stuff that enthralls me and totally captures my imagination. Consequently they constitute some of my greatest treasures.

I have also had the great fortune to have corresponded with Mr. Oswald on a couple of occasions although I have never met him in person. He has patiently answered my fanboy questions and even signed a number of my favourite discs. Admittedly, the art of John Oswald may not be for everyone but it is for me. Indeed my heart does swell when I see that section in my collection dedicated to him.

So that’s Volume I of this little segment. I’ll definitely do this again but I know that you have your own treasures to write about. Allison, Barbara, Amity and Matthew, tell us about your bookshelf treasures sometime. No deadlines though, when inspiration strikes...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

“Artists Are Just Children who Refuse to Put Down Their Crayons.”

I have to admit, I am a bit of a sucker for tribute albums. For some they represent an opportunistic attempt to resurrect careers of much loved artists and usually feature rote remakes of better known hits and crowd pleasers. Imagination free, artistically safe, and ultimately destined for the cut-out bin- Those I generally try to avoid. Conversely, other compilations pay homage to the greatness of a particular musician’s craft and allow artists to reinterpret a particular canon on their own terms and styles. Ratcheting it up a notch, said compilation will also feature new and current artists tackling influential musicians that many people have barely heard of. Then you can definitely count me in! It’s all about the discovery folks.

Sooo, next up for rediscovery is Judee Sill. Judee was a California singer-songwriter who released two amazing records chock full of religious overtones, alcoholic reveries, and Graham Nash collaborations before dying of a drug overdose in 1979. In 2005, Asylum Records lovingly reissued both of her albums. And on September 22nd, the American Dust label will release Crayon Angel: A Tribute to the Music of Judee Sill. Final Fantasy, Marissa Nadler, and Grizzly Bear/ Department of Eagles mainman Daniel Rossen all contribute Sill covers. (I am a little disappointed Andy Partridge of XTC fame did not participate. It was his interview a few years back that pointed me in the direction of Ms. Sills’ most wonderful art. ed)

Curiously, the album also features versions of two unheard Sill songs. Sill wrote the music for both tracks, but no recordings of either one have yet been discovered. Beth Orton takes on one song, "Reach for the Sky", and Bill Callahan ((the (SMOG) genius)) handles the other, "Like a Rainbow".


Crayon Angel: A Tribute to the Music of Judee Sill:

01 Ron Sexsmith: "Crayon Angel"
02 Beth Orton: "Reach for the Sky"
03 Daniel Rossen: "Waterfall"
04 Frida Hyvönen: "Jesus Was a Cross Maker"
05 Shalants: "Lopin' Along Thru the Cosmos"
06 Final Fantasy: "The Donor"
07 Nicolai Dunger: "Soldier of the Heart"
08 Trembling Blue Stars: "Lady-O"
09 Colossal Yes: "The Phoenix"
10 Marissa Nadler & Black Hole Infinity: "The Kiss"
11 Princeton: "Down Where the Valleys Are Low"
12 The Bye Bye Blackbirds: "There's a Rugged Road"
13 Meg Baird: "When the Bridegroom Comes"
14 Bill Callahan: "For a Rainbow"
15 P.G. Six: "Til Dreams Come True"

Friday, May 15, 2009

How You Found Me – Part Deux

I’ve posted about this ‘Google-acular’ phenomenon before and my latest assessment begs to be shared with you. Yes, it’s the ubiquitous Keyword Search results segment I now like to call, How You Found Me.

Once again, I considered commentary for each but I think I’ll let the actual keyword searches speak for themselves. The question this time though… Just what is “booty poping”? Apparently at least one Everything is Pop reader wants to know.

1 0.61% xx shoot blogspot
1 0.61% sexy +London +blogspot
1 0.61% childrens songs about the gold rush
1 0.61% thom yorke red pants buy
1 0.61% phil selway listening too in entaglement
1 0.61% booty poping
1 0.61% "So, where's the Cannes Film Festival being held this year?"
1 0.61% best music blogs canada
1 0.61% Merge XX, wouldn't it?
1 0.61% how old are The Pixies
1 0.61% patchouli stink store out
1 0.61% "It's Made Me Cry" blogspot
1 0.61% jimmy neutron's dog pictures
1 0.61% dust for vomit
1 0.61% wheres is cannes

Your explanations and confessions are, as always welcome in the Comments section.

Dark Night of the Soul Streaming at NPR

The latest installment in NPR's Exclusive First Listen series, where they offer streaming versions of albums before they're released, is the mysterious new collaboration between Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous. Could this be any more brilliant? I would swear dear reader that projects like this one were tailor made for me. I can not tell you how much this one appeals to me in every way. In a perfect world, this is exactly the kind of thing I would love to be doing myself…

Personal aspirations aside, until very recently, there wasn’t a lot known about Dark Night of the Soul besides its portentous title. Details have emerged that the mysterious record accompaniment includes contributions from the likes of Frank Black, Iggy Pop, the Flaming Lips and the Shins' James Mercer. Danger Mouse and Linkous apparently wrote and recorded the material, with plenty of help from all those guest musicians, to be packaged with a book of photography by visionary director David Lynch.

Regretfully a dispute with EMI Music has delayed the release of the audio component of this package. (Details to come.) Whether the album sees the official release or not, get over to NPR and listen to it while you can, because this is great stuff and demands your attentions.

The Dark Night of the Soul book is now available here and apparently limited to 5000 copies. No tunes as of yet but you will get a nifty cd-r for now, to do as you see fit.

Fingers crossed that this thing gets released.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Burning Circle

I received a note recently from a fellow blogger with a most creative proposition. At his request I am including a post linking to his idea to solicit your participation. If you enjoy sharing and listening to great music I urge you to check out the idea here.

If this does not appeal to you I bet this will.

Thanks Ted I’m looking forward to participating myself.

Circle (the first)

As I may have mentioned elsewhere, I want to start up
my own Burning Circle.

The guidelines are few, and open to negotiation. What I am interested in (and which complements my other interests) is a multicultural, global perspective on music. I’d love to be able to connect with other music snobs as far away from me as possible.

Which, specifically, would be Calgary, Alberta. Canada.

And so, if you’re interested in discovering new musical stuffs, feel free to read a
page or two. And then leave some comments, here, and let’s see if we can’t put something together. All I need is eleven good women. Or men. Or combination thereof.

Hmm? Awesome!

I Am Trying to Break Your Bandwidth

This one might be akin to opening your Christmas presents before the big day, but June 30th is just so far off! This is your chance to hear the new Wilco album (imaginatively) titled Wilco (The Album) streaming on their website. Sure the sound quality is a little hinky and you’ll have to put up with some jerky audio but this is new Wilco and that’s just plain exciting. It’s also very good.

Soooo, what can be found on this disc, their seventh? Eleven tracks, including “Wilco (The Song)”, as heard on The Colbert Report, and “You and I”, a duet between Tweedy and Feist. And the rest:

1. Wilco (the Song)
2. Deeper Down
3. One Wing
4. Bull Black Nova
5. You and I (feat. Feist)
6. You Never Know
7. Country Disappeared
8. Solitaire
9. I'll Fight
10. Sunny Feeling
11. Everlasting

Go here to listen and gaze at the lovely album art below.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

"Children by the Millions, Sing for Alex Chilton"

Big Star Reissues Due

Paul Westerberg once triumphantly exclaimed in song, “(he) never traveled far without a little Big Star” and now circumstance will dictate the same for music fans everywhere. Pitchfork is reporting that Big Star, one of the greatest bands ever in the known universe and the pride of west Tennessee, will have their first two albums re-issued by Ardent/Stax on June 16th. 'Ardent' fans will note that both albums, #1 Record and Radio City, are currently available on a single disc collection, and yes I’ve railed about these reissue opportunities previously. But this time, its different. What's really cool about this news item is that the label will also be releasing both sets individually on vinyl once again. As a music fan I must wholeheartedly endorse this format for the discerning listener. These are perfect pop records that should be in everyone’s collection. Vinyl the perfect medium for this very perfect pop music.

Be first in line for these people. You will not be disappointed.

Monday, May 4, 2009

“You Can't Really Dust For Vomit”

This Is Spinal Tap Gets 25th Anniversary Deluxe Reissue

The motion picture that started the ‘rockumentary’ genre is a quarter-century old this year. The good news, it still wears its spandex trousers well and this one my friends goes to 11! This Is Spinal Tap, the Rob Reiner music film classic chronicles the world’s "loudest British hard rock band" through a dreadful U.S. tour. The film has now become ‘de rigeur’ for any musician or music fan. (It is said to have even fooled a certain UK brother duo into thinking they were the real deal.)

If you are a fan of music though, this one belongs in your collection and this anniversary edition would be a welcome addition. The band's official website notes that this is an “aggressively-priced” CD/DVD package that boasts the 19 original Tap songs as well as an exclusive hour-long DVD featuring track-by-track video commentary by the band and a unique pop-up diorama package that unveils three 12-inch action figures (courtesy of Sideshow Collectibles) of the band along with a proportionally sized Stonehenge. (I know what I’ll be asking for, for my birthday! ed.)

For the real 'Tap-heads', there is now a free download of the previously-unreleased “Saucy Jack” tune referenced in the film as well as exclusive digital versions of “Sex Farm” and “(Listen to the) Flower People.” Vinyl junkies will be treated to limited-edition eleven-inch version of the album. (Will the witty nostalgia never end?)

Now I know you've been curious... So what has the ponderous, pipe-huffing rocker (Derek Smalls) been doing all these years? According to Harry Shearer.
"Derek was in therapy for Internet addiction at a small therapy centre in rural England," Shearer said over the telephone from Houston. "He has kicked that,
that was very successful therapy."
Spinal Tap David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean), Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) and bassist Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer) — will also be releasing their first new album since 1992's Break Like The Wind. Called Back From the Dead, the album will hit store shelves on June 16th. It features studio versions of songs featured in the film accompanied by six new tracks.

Back From The Dead tracklisting:

"Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight"
"Back From The Dead"
"(Funky) Sex Farm"
"Rock 'n' Roll Creation"
"Jazz Oddyssey I"
"Gimme Some Money"
"Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare"
"Heavy Duty"
"America "
"Jazz Oddyssey II"
"(Listen to the) Flower People (Reggae Stylee)"
"Hell Hole"
"Big Bottom"
"Celtics Blues"
"Jazz Oddyssey III"
"Warmer Than Hell"
"Short and Sweet"
"Cups and Cakes"

Oh, and my favourite line from the film?

“Yeah, well, it's part of a trilogy, a musical trilogy that I'm doing in D... minor, which I always find is really the saddest of all keys, really, I don't know why. It makes people weep instantly to play.”

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Coolest City in Canada?

Hopefully the snow will have melted by the time THIS rolls around. Go HERE * for unparalleled event coverage.

(I think I want to move to Alberta this summer.)

* Thanks for the tip Barb.

Guelph Hillside Festival 2009

One of Ontario’s best annual music festivals has announced a tentative line-up and ticket information. The 26th annual Hillside Festival will take place July 24-26, 2009 at Guelph Lake Island, Guelph Lake Conservation Area.

Confired Performers to date:
Loreena McKennitt (Friday)
Xavier Rudd (Friday)
Tokyo Police Club
Buffy Sainte Marie (Saturday)
Final Fantasy
David Francey

I will update this information as more acts are announced.

All tickets will go on sale Saturday May 2nd, 10am. Please see their tickets page for complete info.

All camping is booked directly through the Guelph Lake Conservation Area contact them at:
Guelph Lake Park: 519.824.5061
Reservations Line: 1.866.668.2267

All tickets will go on sale THIS Saturday May 2nd, 2009 at 10am
Tickets will be available:

On-line - Bookmark this page now to allow for easy navigation tomorrow!

By Phone

Hillside Office
123 Woolwich Street East, Guelph

Encore Records
54 Queen Street South, Kitchener

572 College Street, Toronto

For additional information on box office policy, visit their website.

This Machine Kills iPods

New Wilco Download Available

This week’s abbreviated Download Lowdown is a goodie; mind you a small donation may be in order. (Providing JPEG proof of your barrel only wardrobe will also suffice.) A new Wilco performance of Woody Guthrie's once-again-timely "The Jolly Banker" is available now on the site by going to with suggested donation to the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives. Listen to Jeff Tweedy talk about it on Public Radio's "Marketplace" at

…In the gentle reminder portion of this post. The Wilco tour is on and dates/tickets for the summer portion are available now. The highly recommended and entirely excellent Ashes of American Flags DVD is available pretty much everywhere now as well. Wilco (the album) is out June 30th. Info at

Isn't it great to be a Wilco fan?