Monday, December 30, 2013

My 2013 Music Highlights

Songs (links to Rdio)
Get Lucky feat. Pharrell WilliamsRoyals - Lorde - Daft Punk
Stoned and Starving - Parquet Courts
Walk Us UPTOWN - Elvis Costello And The Roots
Your Life Is a Lie - MGMT
Avant Gardener - Courtney Barnett

Dawes - Stories Don't End
David Bowie - The Next Day
Daft Punk - Get Lucky
Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork
Arctic Monkeys - FM

Live Shows (no particular order)

  • Coachella (esp. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds)
  • Calgary Folk Music Festival (bonus - talked to John Fullbright about his Emmylou and Friends appearance)
  • Dawes - Lee's Palace, Toronto (bonus - chat and photo with Craig Finn of the Hold Steady)
  • Nick Waterhouse/Lee Fields - The Bowery Ballroom, New York
  • Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell and friends (Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt, the Zac Brown Band, J.D. Souther, Damien Rice, Joan Osborne, Shannon McNally, John Fullbright and Shawn Camp.) - Troubadour, Los Angeles
  • Dave Stewart and Friends - Troubadour, Los Angeles
  • The Hives - House of Blues, Anaheim
  • Palma Violets (opening for Franz Ferdinand) - Pappy and Harriet's
  • The International Swingers - The Date Shed, Indio (Clem Burke hammers the drums)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Rolling Stone's 100 Best Songs of 2013

I made a playlist of Rolling Stone's 100 Best Songs of 2013. A few are missing because... well they just weren't on Rdio but I'm sure you can track those ones down if your a completion freak. I know I did.

So far I'm liking 100% of the female artists who are from south of the Equator.

I'm sure the compilers were biased and out of touch and that someone has a better list out there but I'm starting with this one. If someone has a competing list I'd be happy to check it out.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Soul Revival - Myles Sanko

I've been using Songza pretty regularly for background music at dinner and for parties. They use human curated playlists based on a variety of themes. When you login you'll get a statement like this. It's Wednesday NightPlay music for...  Depending on time of day, a variety of mood/activity options appears with multiple playlists suitable for each. I love music but don't always have the musical IQ to find music that might fit a specific situation. I tend to force my tastes on others but in my defence, the bands I liked in High School have had long careers and some now have satellite radio channels.

I have a weakness. If I see a band with a Hammond B3 and or 3 piece plus horn section, I'm gonna take a long listen.  I've been seeking out the Songza Sweet Soul Revival playlist on a regular basis. Songza uses a Facebook plugin for people to make comments. People are throwing out the names of similar bands and so far it hasn't gotten spammy. That's how I came across UK based singer Myles Sanko. High on You has fantastic vocals, horns, and keys. Hooks aplenty.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nick Waterhouse - Some Place

Nick Waterhouse is gaining a large following. I recently saw him open for Lee Fields and The Expressions in New York. I did it based on this video and his appearance on LFDH.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Maximum Cowbell - Your Life is a Lie - MGMT

MGMT uses an oversize cowbell on their Letterman appearance. Pretty cool.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Get Off This - David Lowery Challenges Status Quo

Cracker's lead singer, David Lowery, put together the  300 Songs blog provides an extremely thorough overview of his career with Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. More importantly, Lowery's grasp of the music business has put him at the forefront of the battle between artists and corporations. His influential work on that subject is available on The Trichordist (Artists For An Ethical and Sustainable Internet). Its pretty common for his posts to make ripples in the music press and beyond.
If you're curious to find out how Lowery (described as a temperamental and tenacious talent) manages to run two bands and make a living in the music business, check out "Get Off This" | A Film About Music + Perseverance'' and the associated Facebook Page.

Get off this
Get on with it
If you wanna change the world
Shut your mouth and start this minute

Note: I am a Cracker fan. 10CDs worth to date (in my personal collection that ranks them with Hiatt, Costello, and Springsteen) I've even attended a Cracker Campout at Pappy and Harriet's Palace in Pioneertown.  It is one of the best venues in North America to hunker down with your favourite band. There aren't many barriers between the band and the audience out there. I personally love streaming music services for the convenience. However, if bands can't afford to make music, something needs to give. 

Nickelback Didn't Fumble at McMahon Stadium

I've never really hated Nickelback but there is a large group of detractors out there. The band went to tremendous expense to perform at the Alberta Flood Aid concert according to reports (none of the other performers seemed to need to make this fact known - but none of them are filling arenas either, bigger shows, bigger budgets).

Unfortunately for Chad Kroeger and his bandmates, much of that goodwill was lost because the band didn't allow live streaming of their performance. Artists are free to exercise control of their creative work but it does interrupt the flow of a show when the ending gets cut off.

Read - Update: Fans vent anger at Nickelback for refusing to allow flood aid concert to be broadcast

The only time I've experienced this was at the Calgary Folk Music Festival where in rare instances, performers demanded that the video feed for the big screens be turned off.  I don't know how to put this nicely but both times were with performers who struggle with mental illness (I believe Michelle Shocked in 2004 and Jeff Mangum in 2012 but I'm a bit hazy on the details).

No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness. - Aristotle

Unlike travelling folk singers, Nickelback is lucky enough to have "people" look after the details. Clearly "Nickelback Inc." didn't want their live show broadcast to the masses. A statement to that effect would clear things up but the circus has left town. An international tour starts shortly. One that will allow the band to make some Do-Re-Me. Weddings to pay for etc.

You can have your personal reasons to hate Nickelback but expecting them to provide a free performance beyond the confines of the Flood Aid concert isn't one of them. If you're a fan, you'll pay to see them. If you're not, nothing much has changed. 

Lorde in the USA

Lorde has been doing some travelling! All the way to KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic studios. I don't think Taylor Swift would sound this good in a minimalist setting.

M&Ms... No wait! Eminem!!!

I'm not a rapper, I'm an adapter.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Headstones are not dead

Jian Ghomeshi interviews with Hugh Dillon of the Headstones. Unlike that Boxcutters guy, Hugh doesn't mind talking about acting and music in the same interview. It's been 11 years since the last Headstones album. They used PledgeMusic to fund the project. I'm glad I don't work in the music industry. There's not much friction between the artist and fan anymore.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Some Kids - LORDE-Royals

Some kids like New Zealand's Ella Yelich-O'Connor aka Lorde may not have seen much of the world (a recent article said she'd never been on a plane) but her catchy "Royals" song is capturing the ears of people all over the globe. A simple and real song from a 16 year old with amazing talent.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Dawes at Lee's Palace

The Toronto Urban Roots Festival featured some club gigs which is a great idea. I love seeing bands in small clubs as opposed to a festival setting. Dawes has 3 albums out and there's been a steady progression with each offering. If you like the Asylum Records sound (Jackson Brown, Warren Zevon) you'll probably like Dawes. Taylor Goldsmith is a great songwriter and the combination of warm Laurel Canyon sounds with clever lyrics makes for a solid body of work. Not much filler. They put on a great show. The opening act was the Felice Brothers and a very nice surprise was seeing Craig Finn of the Hold Steady join them during their encore. Craig watched the Dawes show with James Felice at the back of the club.

I pestered Craig for a photo and he was very gracious.

Enhanced by Zemanta Logos Generator does a good job of tracking my listening habits. Here's a graphic generated by the Logos Generator Interesting to see the White Stripes and Jack Black so close the the Black Keys. Mr. Black has a hate on for Dan Auerbach at the moment.

Super Furry Animals - White Socks/Flip Flops

Happy surprise of the day...