Tyrone Warner, Microblog: no links, just updates -- join me on Twitter!



Light shines in the darkness

By the way, I finally did it. Marched down to Lucky 13 at Bathurst and Bloor two Saturdays ago and finally got myself a tattoo. I have no idea why I waited so long... I'm glad I did it, and I can't wait for the next one. Any ideas?

New Years Eve - Welcome to Western Country

I think Steve puts it best.


Liberal Leadership Blogging

Hey Canadians, if you haven't noticed, the Liberal party is trying to pick a new leader and has gathered in Montreal to vote on their top 4, well, 8 choices. Now you may be asking yourself, "Should I care?" And invariably, yes. Simply because every leader of the Liberal party has eventually become Prime Minister.

Anyways, we're all over it at CTV.ca, including the great politics blog we have going, featuring CTV reporter David Akin, Bill Doskoch, columnist Peter Donolo, and our own Phil Hahn, who is blogging from the convention floor. And me.

A few others personal favorites that you should be checking out include; Aaron Wherry's live blog for MacLeans, the engaging Warren Kinsella, The Calgary Grit, and a Tory doing vidblogging from the floor Stephen Taylor. If you have any other blog suggestions, please post them up in the comments!


ETAOIN SHRDLU plays Song 6 with mp3

(Image via Aperture Enzyme)

I've been meaning to get around to writing about Etaoin Shrdlu, a powerful instrumental rock ensemble, for a while now... and considering I've haven't put up much of anything lately, I figured an MP3 of these guys might make due.

I first saw the band at their debut performance at Wavelength (my first night also DJing at WL), and I was blown away. If you're like me, the only instrumental rock bands you'll actually listen to probably include Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed. So if you're a casual consumer of the instrumental rock sounds, you'll dig this band and their jagged sonic attacks. There's no way you can't love this band if you really, really love instrumental rock, because these guys are close to declaring complete dominance of the entire scene.

The band is composed of members of I can put my arm back on, you can't, Rockets Red Glare. Read the first interview with the band ever here.

So I don't have much more for you except for an MP3 scraped from their Myspace page. Enjoy!

MP3: Song 6 - Etaoin Shrdlu


Hottest Canadian bands in 2006

Matthew from I Heart Music, one of Canada's hardest working bloggers for sure, recently polled a few of his colleagues to come up with a list of Canadian bands who have had an amazing 2006. Around 40 or so responded (including myself) and came up with a pretty hefty list.

Critical favs like Final Fantasy, Destroyer and Sunset Rubdown obviously top the list, of which I can only say I'm really a fan of Owen Pallet. Other high ranking bands, Broken Social Scene, Wolf Parade and Arcade fire, are bands which I would argue didn't really do much in 2006, only riding the hype they created the year before.

Swan Lake? I think it's too early to include them on a list like this.

In retrospect, I would have added a few more entries to my list... Ninja High School, just because, and maybe the wonderful group from B.C., The Paper Cranes.

Anyways, here's my list, which I chose purely because these are groups I've really been into all year long, and I think they deserve your utmost attention.

  1. The Diableros

    Last year somewhere around this time, there was buzz around Toronto's former Jesus and Mary Chain cover band The Diableros, who had self-released their debut album? ep? "You Can't Break The Strings On Our Olympic Hearts." Then in 2006, they played a pile of high-profile gigs, put out an amazing video for "Sugar Laced Soul," signed to
    UK label Wi45 and put out a 7inch of "Working out Words." And did I mention they are awesome? Yeah, Muchmusic is next, for sure.
My Diableros live review with We Are Scientists, My review of their EP

The Diableros on Myspace

MP3: Working Out Words by The Diableros

  1. Shout Out Out Out Out

    Have you heard "Not Saying/Just Saying" by
    Edmonton's Shout Out Out Out Out? If you haven't here's the jist: two drummers, four bass players/synthesizerers. These guys made Edmonton cool, an uneasy feat for sure.
My live review after first seeing Shout Out Out Out Out

Shout Out Out Out on Myspace

MP3: Forever Indebted by Shout Out Out Out Out

  1. Tokyo Police Club

    I love the way Tokyo Police Club can cram seven minutes of song into about one and a half. Their debut EP "A Lesson in Crime" was released on Paper Bag, and they've signed to UK label Memphis Industries, who are about to release a 7 inch of "Nature of the Experiment," release the EP and put out another 7 inch of "Cheer it On" in February. Pitchfork loves these guys, bloggers love these guys, and the live shows are amazing. I only see things on the up and up for this band.
My review of "A Lesson in Crime" (one of my most popular pages).

Tokyo Police Club on Myspace

MP3: Cheer it On by Tokyo Police Club

  1. Gastric Female Reflex

    This year Gastric Female Reflex, Toronto's destructive screaming noisemakers, slimmed down to a duo, tightened up their live performance, put out an awesome vinyl LP of cracked-out atmospherics, went to Europe, dominated, and now have come back to destroy Hogtown. Even if you hate noise, check out this band. Incidentally, Jacob is one of the nicest guys ever, and deserves your interest.
My live review of Gastric Female Reflex

Gastric Female Reflex on Myspace

MP3: Tough Crowd Device by Gastric Female Reflex


The Hold Steady and Cold War Kids

I figured it was about time I weighed in on a couple of bands making bloggers go crazy... I usually try to hold back on these things, just to be sure not to be caught up in the wave of obsession. Lately two bands that have held up to critical thinking include The Hold Steady, who are keeping the classic rock sound alive, and the Cold War Kids, an anti-loud, ragged kind of group.

First off, the Hold Steady really appealed to me, considering I'm already such a huge fan of the Boss. Their slice of life Americana is really detailed and makes you feel like you are partying alongside the hopeless delinquents in "Boys and Girls in America." Hold Steady also bumps up the appeal by basing the entire album around a quote from a Jack Kerouac novel.

I would definitely recommend this group to anyone who loves Costello, Springsteen or even the Replacements. Go here to buy their CD and support the band!

MP3: Stuck Between Stations by The Hold Steady.

MP3: Party Pit by The Hold Steady

The other band I've really been into is Cold War Kids, who have a slinky, sexy yet somewhat ragged of a sound. The drums and bass really propel their music forward, while the guitar kind of inhabits a weird, echoey kind of space. Pianos bang around in the background, and the lyrics are smart and thought-provoking, which I suppose proves as a good antidote to the boy meets girl themes of The Hold Steady. They have a new album coming out this fall called "Robbers & Cowards," which I plan on picking up the vinyl edition as soon as I lay eyes on it. Right now Cold War Kids are pushing their last EP "Up in Rags" (which is amazing), which feature my favourite songs, "Hang Me Up to Dry" and "We Used to Vacation." The band also has a live acoustic album of covers available from their website here. Try to buy something that's not sold out from Monarchy Music here, or look to buy something here at their new label, Downtown Recordings.

MP3: Hang Me Up to Dry by Cold War Kids

MP3: We Used to Vacation by Cold War Kids

MP3: I Don't Want to Grow Up (cover) by Cold War Kids

Further watching required: (Youtube while you can, before the golden era is over!)

The Hold Steady: Chips Ahoy!

The Hold Steady: Stuck Between Stations live

Cold War Kids: Hang Me Up to Dry

Cold War Kids cover State Trooper by Springsteen


Unfamiliar Records -- free album of amazing artists

Around these parts, there's nothing I love more than local and Canadian musicians, excelling at whatever form of distinctive rock and roll they have going on.

One of those people that seem to innately find the most interesting and passionate of musicians would be Greg over at Are You Familiar, who launched his own record label, Unfamiliar Records, putting out The Paper Cranes' Veins EP as their first release (read my review of their amazing work here).

Now, after the Pop Montreal music festival is weekend, Greg is offering up a mini-album/sampler of the best tracks from his amazing Unfamiliar roster, including The Paper Cranes, The Weather, The Two Koreas and No Dynamics. Download the whole thing for free at Unfamiliar Records right now!

I could go on at length about how amazing the Paper Cranes are, but I won't... if you listen to "I'll love you until my veins explode" just once, you'll understand.

The Two Koreas is a perfect mix of fuzzed out guitar and laid-back punk rock. Don't miss "Cloth Coat Revolution".

If you've read a handful of Toronto weeklies, or heard their first amazing EP, then you already know No Dynamics and their heavy, hypnotic rock sound. Check out "I Got You on My Mind."

I never listened to The Weather before this free offering, but I have to say I'm really into their Talking Headsish angular dance rock style. Listen to "Hope and Maybe."

Again all links to MP3s are courtesy of Unfamliar Records, so go to their website to get the rest, and while you are at it, buy the Paper Cranes EP at Insound.


Today is ANTI-DRM Day

So what's DRM? Basically, its a form of "locking" your music files on your computer, so if you ever wanted to burn it, share it, or whatever, you basically can't. Failed versions of DRM have installed crippling spyware on people's computers secretly, while others backfire... meaning you can't back up any music and if you computer crashes, you're screwed.

I'm no expert, so I'll point you towards different places to find more info... as a "blogger" (perhaps not for much longer) or a music fan in the digital age, DRM could destroy our wonderful music experience.

Defective by Design wants digital freedom

DRMfree is a search engine for non-chained music

Wikipedia entry about DRM

And because everyone wants MP3s, here's a couple... if you like it, buy the album!

MP3: The Lemonheads - Rule of Three

MP3: The Killers - When You Were Young


New Mars Volta MP3 - Viscera Eyes

Mars Volta always held such potential, and I don't think they've ever attained it. Obviously they proved that they were the most important members of At the Drive-In, but that hasn't translated into the Led Zeppelin-like levels of popularity they surely deserve. It actually seems like Mars Volta are turning into a jam-band of sorts, which is just plain wrong.

If people can get behind Tool, and their last album made by hippies, "10000 Days," then surely rock radio can embrace Mars Volta's own monster epics.

Sure, while the band released their most radio friendly song "The Widow," for their last album, they also put the song smack in the middle of a 20 minute long drone, followed by a half hour song. Frances the Mute made several improvements over Deloused in the Comatorium, but it seriously derailed this band.

Thank goodness that they found their way back on track with Amputechture, and yes they continue to use their trademark "made up/obscure/foreign/classical" language, it now sounds like the Mars Volta are actually singing about something, and not strung-together out of a thesaurus nonsense.

And yes, it rocks. I'll admit that this band is the reason I'm going to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers two nights in a row here in Toronto, just because Mars Volta is opening up and John Frusciante will probably play guitar with them!

Anyways, odds are you are looking for an MP3, so here it is. Enjoy!

MP3: Viscera Eyes

Mars Volta talk about the inspiration for the new album

Rolling Stone reviews the album


Live TV on the Radio Mp3 - Wolf Like Me

I've been listening to the new TV on the Radio album, Return to Cookie Mountain for the last couple weeks, listening to the album end to end at least once a day... I can't even write a review yet, I'm so intimidated by the material.

The one thing I've been wondering is how they are going to pull off the amazing studio trickery, but after hearing this live MP3 (found via FoeWeel!!!???) of "Wolf Like Me," I all of a sudden have discovered that these songs really are just straight up rock songs... they rock, at times like the Stooges, or hell, even Led Zeppelin! I never even realized it, and it was there all along. Do yourself a favour and fall in love with this band, now.

MP3: Wolf Like Me (Live)


First Person Shooter won't lay down their guns

First Person Shooter are one of the first Toronto bands I've found for a while that sounds truly genuine in what they do... with no concern about how "cool" they sound or what trend is worth chasing... I can imagine that these people are all normal, and have real friends not inside a "music scene." And these days, I find that a really important, grounding quality. In a way, bands like that are more "indie" than these polished "not-polished" acts who are getting by on their friends and mutual "cred contests."

But with that said, First Person Shooter all out rocks... this is a band that will be more comfortable on the Edge than slumming it at Sneaky Dees. If they keep up with it, polish up their sound and beef up their guitars, then I think they'll really have something. Also, it's really refreshing to have some girls join the all-boy club that rock and roll gets like in this city.

MP3: Green Grass of Toronto

MP3: The Age of Hope and Avarice

New Beck mp3 - Elevator Music and Nausea

To tell you the truth, I don't think I'd call this one hip-hop, as Beck Hansen has been calling it lately. Sure, it's got a pretty slick groove, but this is almost way too complex and experimental to just be called "hip hop." It's more along the lines of super freaky nu-Prince kind of stuff. Also, dig the phone tone rocking out a mini solo! And for anyone speculation about if this song about the music played in elevators -- think of it instead as a Beckified response to U2's "Elevation."

But this so-so track begs the question -- is Beck over? Sure Guero was kind of cool and all, but nothing that makes you want to run out and scream to the world Beck's mindboggling greatness. As for the new album, "The Information," which is due out in October, I'm going to reserve judgement.

MP3: Elevator Music

MP3: Nausea

Shots Ring Out has the video for download

I'm Just Saying has more album details

Culture Bully is all over the single

BONUS: "A Soundtrack" blast from the past: Guero vs. Guerolito


Kevin Federline performs "Lose Control" LIVE

Am I going overboard with the whole Kevin Federline thing? Well, back on December 31 of 2005 I declared 2006 the year of K.Fed, so I feel like I have to live up to it. Anyways, here's the man performing LIVE on Ellen. Surprisingly AMAZING. I like the heavy guitars, but for somebody who made his living as a back-up dancer, he seems uncomfortable on stage. Where's the swagger K.Fed.


Possible new Postal Service MP3 - The Importance of Being

Good Weather for Airstrikes
has a pretty good rundown of this brewing controversy. He claims that this new MP3 (or at least his "source" asserts) that this is indeed a Postal Service demo, and features Jimmy Tamberello singing. Apparently the new album, possibly scheduled to be released in early 2007, is going to be divided in thirds, with Jimmy, Ben and Jenny all singing a third.

My take? The song is definately a fake. If so, the Postal Service are "selling out" in a big way (if it's really possible for them to sell out at all at this point). The song is just too straight forward, and at times almost like a Postal Service parody. Just too sugary, not enough heartbreak and salt. Also, no real guitars or live drums that would indicate someone like Ben Gibbard would have left his marks on the track either... sham!

But on the other hand, you never know. So download it anyways... what do you have to lose?

MP3: The Importance of Being

I've uploaded the MP3 so to spread the bandwidth cost around... I'm not taking any credit here for "finding" the track at all. And here's a couple sanctioned tracks to enjoy...

MP3: Such Great Heights

MP3: The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

Mercurial Sound doesn't know what to make of it

Complacent P endorses the track

Just Pretend is pretty psyched

Mad Mad Media doesn't question it either


Fire Hydrant pour out their melodies

Toronto's own Fire Hydrant are growing into their own skin as one of the city's latest grunge powerhouses. Still uncommited to a particular sound, Fire Hydrant explores textures familiar to bands like Radiohead and Pink Floyd. Strumming guitars sound like waves slowly crashing upon a sandy beach as the boyant attitude of the band keeps the music from getting too waterlogged. Vocals surface and echo off shimmering rock faces, the band's moody midnight sky atmosphere undisturbed. But it's not all serious... check out "Robots for Dinner" to ensure that the band still has a sense of humour.

Yeah, I mentioned the new grunge thing before... so here's my take, you'll find that Fire Hydrant fall more on the side of punkless-Nirvana than Pearl Jam riffage, but their similarity to the moodiness of Soundgarden's later tracks emphasize Fire Hydrant's musical relevance to this mid-90s sound.

With time I hope that the band can grow into more mature songwriting, showcasing songs that can better reflect their obvious enthusiasm and creativity. If the drums were stepped up a level or two, this group could inherit a totally bombastic sound.

MP3 - Robots for Dinner

MP3 - Cassie

MP3 - Fractured Minds

MP3 - Riding Bears

Fire Hydrant's official page

Fire Hydrant on Myspace

It's not the band I hate reviews the album

Torontoindie reviews the band's live show


Sufjan Stevens releasing Christmas box set - MP3 available!

Any self-respecting mix-tape maker would have already heard a few tracks from Sufjan's large body of Christmas songs while assembling their own "holiday" mix, so the emergence of this album should come as no surprise. I don't blame Asthmatic Kitty for cashing in, considering that a) These tracks are downloaded like crazy every year and b) Sufjan Stevens is still insanely popular, backlash be damned. You can read about all the details of the five-disc set, which includes stickers, essays, lyrics sheets and chord charts, and oh yeah, the music, right here. But, if you're the Grinch who wants to steal Christmas from Sufjan, you can download 3 of the EPs here at Irresponsible Journalism.

Personally, I'm pretty excited about the release of this set. Besides the annual Pedro the Lion 7 inch releases, no one is really doing interesting, heartfelt holiday songs. So as they say, the more the merrier.

MP3: That was the worst Christmas ever!

MP3: Sister Winter

Stereogum says "Get behind me, Santa"

Sufjanfans claim its going to cost around 20 bucks

Blogsarefordogs thinks he's over exposed

Gorilla vs. Bear pretty much has the same info as myself


To Live and Shave in LA at Sneaky Dees

Even though noise legends To Live and Shave in LA were the headliners Saturday night at Sneaky Dees, they felt like strangers intruding into a celebration of the best in Toronto's experimental noise scene.

The first band of the night started with local Bad Bands Revolution stalwarts Dollarama, who if you haven't heard, perform exclusively with instruments purchased for a dollar or less. At first, it felt a little silly, with one of the band members seemingly really smug in their self-aware cleverness, but after a few songs set in and Eric Warner's natural charisma took over, making the performance more joyous, like kids banging on pots and pans.

Following Dollarama was Polmo Polpo, a solo project by Sandro Perri, who is all over the Toronto music scene, between collaborating with Great Lake Swimmers and Glissandro 70. Perri's 45 long set, which was one long continuous drone was a standout performance of the night... there was no "banter" or jokes, just the start of the sound with lots of manipulation and bone shaking bass. I didn't pick up a CD that night, but I plan on searching for it at local record stores, and would definitely check out another Polmo Polpo show in the future. A definite do not miss artist.

Next up was the somewhat homecoming of Gastric Female Reflex, returning from a European tour and making a triumphant return home. Last time I was able to catch GFR was last winter at the Horseshoe opening for Wolf Eyes, which really sparked my enthusiasm for their brand of distorted crackle and burn. The band apparently now only features two members, Andrew and Jacob, and now have a stripped now approach, leaving behind the clutter and relying on samplers and tape machines. But judging from the band's performance, they possess more bombast and out-of-control firepower than ever before... it seems their time overseas has purified the band's sound and turned it into a dark and twisted treasure. The way these guys rock out, it's only a matter of time before they break out in a big way.

By the time To Live and Shave and LA went on stage around one am, most of the crowd had been enduring noise for over 4 hours, thanks to the amazing DJ work of Andrew from GFR. You could say that some enthusiasm had waned, and mine certainly waned. It was cool to see Andrew W-K dress like my uncle, incognito with ball cap, sunglasses and shorn (yes!), shaved face. Unfortunately, while the audience seemed to crave more noise, TLASILA only really presented a passionate form of industrial alternative music, that was way more melodic than anyone expected. While it was awesome to watch Andrew WK rock out the keyboard, hypnotically thrusting back in forth, his instrument and the lead vocals from a very impassioned front man were just way too high in the mix for my taste. It was just too.... musical. Mind you, I picked up Wigmakers anyway, their ten years in the making epic, and that album is simply amazing.... unlike what I heard on Saturday night.

I suppose if I was a bigger fan, or a TLASILA nostalgia craver, then I'm sure I would have been into it more as well. But the opening bands came through and made the night really special.

Check out pictures from the show at my Flickr account

Follow the action at the Stillepost thread

Carcass Grinder was there just for Andrew WK


Classic clip: Dead Presidents play "Hip Hop"

Yeah, this is a pretty amazing song that I figured should be brought to your attention. If you recognize the riff, you'd know that Dave Chapelle used the song for his "intro" music that he came out to on his show, and if you saw his "block party," you'd have seen their cameo. I heard these guys were 5-percenters but I don't know how true that rumour is. Anyways, I've been meaning to check this one out for a while, and I was inspired to dig this one up after a quiet night checking out the "Black Howard Dean" sketch. I know that doesn't really make sense, but it makes sense in my world. Also, if you have any idea how they made they great bass riff, drop me aline. By the way, XXL has a great YouTube based feature about banned rap videos. Check it out here.

Dead Presidents - Hip Hop

Black Howard Dean.



Kevin Federline's video for "Lose Control"

Yes. Today is a good day. (Hat tip to Pink is the new Blog) Mind you, why is the crappy fake-horn sound invading pop music? I'm looking at YOU Shakira!

A little bit of K.Fed round up...

IllHill reports that Kevin Federline signed a deal with Sony/BMG! KFED will drop his new album on HALLOWEEN. YES!

K.Fed is doing a Entourage cameo? Maybe he'll battle Saigon.

Glitterati gives K.Fed a reality check

Staralicious says it's a milestone

Ficken Chingers has their ears assaulted

And here's a bonus K.Fed classic for y'all

Danko Jones: underrated Toronto legend

Face it, you either love or hate Danko Jones. Very rarely does someone have a lukewarm reaction to this hard rocking trio, because Danko's rock and roll motivational speaker attitude can easily polarize. I personally fall on the side of all out loving Danko Jones, and it's truly a shame that he doesn't get more respect in Canada or Toronto, while he's able to find massive success in Europe. One day he's going to leave and never come back. I happened to catch a few Danko Jones clips on YouTube and I thought that as the summer winds down, you got to get some hard rock in before it cools down too much.

Danko just released "Sleep is the Enemy" this year, and here's a couple tracks from that album.

MP3: Baby Hates Me by Danko Jones

MP3: First Date by Danko Jones

And from what I've heard, the Raconteurs have been covering this Danko Jones classic:

MP3: Samuel Sin by Danko Jones

And here's a couple more great MP3s if you can't get enough.

MP3: Cadillac by Danko Jones

MP3: Play the Blues by Danko Jones

MP3: Lovercall by Danko Jones

Now for the YouTube:

White Cadillac


Baby Hates Me

I Love Living In The City

We Sweat Blood Documentary, part one

We Sweat Blood Documentary, part two

MTV Cribs (Parody)


Finally digging 'The Raconteurs'

I don't know why I never latched onto this band yet... I'm an unashamed White Stripes fan, and I've been relucant to see who Jack White is standing behind now. After watching the band on the VMAs last night, they really, really impressed me and I've spent the morning checking out more YouTube clips from the band. If you haven't listened to them yet, they are suprisingly awesome.

Steady as She Goes - First version of the video

The second single - "Hands"

They cover "Crazy" live

They cover "Bang Bang" live

They cover "Teenage Kicks"

"Steady as she Goes" on Conan

Bruce Springsteen vs. The Killers

When the Killers have been talking about their new album, Brandon Flowers said how Springsteen influenced their new album.... and after finally hearing "When You Were Young," I'd say my verdict is that it's a fair statement. Really, the key similar "sounds" are fairly obvious, from the use of Springsteen's short delay on his vocals to their melodic keyboard lines that rise above propulsive drums. The way Flowers even phrases his lines sounds like Springsteen.

But, with that being said, I still think that the track is more or less that same Killers sound they had on their first album... the glam, chime guitar parts, explosive drums and dramatic, yet radio friendly, showmanship.

This is the Killers "When You Were Young"

For a close approximation, here's Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark," which is stylistically similar... the vocal urgency and echo and propulsive drums.

A good example of the epic bombast that the Killers can be found in Springsteen's "Saint in the City"

Again, another great example of what the Killers seem to be going for.... "Jackson Cage"

So why post on the Killers anyways? As my co-worker Michael says, they're everybody's guilty pleasure.

They have a big old debate about the Killers on Stereogum

Music glob analyzes the promo pics

Byron Crawford loves himself the Killers

Harmonium Music just thinks it sounds weird

Dreams of Horses loves the video, and thinks it makes the song better


Wolf Parade - I'll Believe in Anything, You'll Believe in Anything

So what do you think of the new video, hate it or love it?

Good Weather for Airstrikes likes it

Pitchfork didn't
(I think)

Stereogum readers are a vicious bunch

Catbirdseat approves

Download the video here


Damien Jurado, new album, audio blogs

"And Now That I'm In Your Shadow" is the next forthcoming lament from Americana folk singer Damien Jurado, who has built a name for himself with his dark tales of desolation in forgotten country towns.

I've just noticed that Jurado has put a new song up on his website, and really, it's more of the same from Jurado. He again has embraced a laid-back, almost "adult alternative" kind of sound, perfect for a sad Saturday night.

Another interesting thing to note it that he has been Audioblogging for the tour, which has only really consisted of one actual "audioblog" and what I assume are acoustic performances of new songs... check it out for the extra lo-fi goodness.

Jurado's on tour for the rest of the fall, doing a prep tour for "Shadow."

MP3: "What Were the Chances" by Damien Jurado from "Shadow." (Can also be heard on his website too)

The following MP3's are from Jurado's audioblog, and I've just taken a blind guess at the song titles.

MP3: "Give it back to Me" by Damien Jurado (from the audio blog)

MP3: "Going through your closet" by Damien Jurado (from the audio blog)

MP3: "Maybe" by Damien Jurado (from the audio blog)

Jesus loves Damien Jurado

gets all excited

Bonnie "Prince" Billy at Rotate This


Walking into Rotate This on a wet, humid Saturday afternoon, I knew that something special was about to happen in my favourite record store in my favourite city on the planet.

The first question, of course, was how they were going to fit everyone into the store, and where were they going to put the stage? Well, as you can see from the photo above, they built a little stage above the staff-only stairwell, and moved the "new vinyl" box off to the side. This actually ended up being a great spot for the stage, because he was up above the crowd, and wherever you were in the store, you had a great view.

I'll admit that I'm not a hard-core Will Oldham fan... I can't rattle off endless fact/stories/lyrics etc like a rabid fan can (I'll admit I'm this kind of fan when it comes to Dave Bazan). But I do recognize how powerful and enigmatic a songwriter and performer Oldham can be, especially in his Bonnie "Prince" Billy mode. I've read endless interviews and reviews of all kinds of shows, that suggest his performances are all over the map, ranging from quiet and brilliant to loud and off-key.

So in the packed, sweaty record store, BPB came up to the tiny stage and just started right into the music. There were a few, anxious laughs, but overall, hushed silence. Everyone there was there for the music, and nothing else... it was amazing. Fans were able to request songs, helped out with lyrics and quietly (very, very quietly) sang along.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy was spectacular. Whatever you wanted to hear from someone on their own, just their acoustic guitar and voice, BPB delievered. It was haunting, majestic and vibrant... the minimal amplification meant you could hear his voice jumping from his throat, the guitar strings vibrating the wood under his hand... just spectacular.

Overall, it was an amazing experience, and I hope in the future Rotate This plans on putting on more in-store performances.

Here's a live recording of the show that was linked to here @ Stillepost, but I've zipped and added a megaupload link so it doesn't drain this guy's bandwidth.

MP3: Ignition (remix) by Bonnie "Prince" Billy via Great Waves

Here's a picture of Will Oldham's car.

Eardrums reviews The Letting Go

Superelectric links to a Youtube video of the single "Cursed Sleep"

Nausea links to a few MP3s from the Dearborn, MI record store show.

Drag City has all your BPB video and album info


Don't download this song

Just a quick one here.... I was going to ignore this all together, but my inner teenager, who owes Weird Al a massive musical debt for introducing me to all the American pop music that I'd been missing out on (never really listened to the radio) in all his monster "accordian" jams.

Anyways, David. J. Bell, the Digital Marketing Director at Zomba (BMG), sent me this MP3 of Weird Al's new song "Don't Download this Song," and told me to basically, well, download it.

So here I am, passing it on to you. It's not a parody of any song in particular that I can tell, just sounds like a Christian gospel song, or something like that. You'll probably enjoy it for a few listens, but isn't exactly "Amish Paradise" or "Eat It" by any means. Even if it seems like insincere mockery, you have to love a little RIAA bashing, right?

MP3: Don't Download This Song - Weird Al (Yes, you can download it).

Check out Weird Al on Myspace

Boing Boing blogged it

Josh Reviews Everything linked to it

Musical Ramblings has the lowdown on Weird Al's new album

And this is for Tyrone in 1996

100 Strong Arm bangs around Toronto

This a pretty cool track I found on Youtube. The track is called "100 Strong Arm," and it's another one of those "this is what it's like in Toronto" ghettos kind of thing, like a music video for "Real Toronto."

Check out Aristo's Myspace, one of the featured rappers in the video. His myspace features a few tracks that are probably a few of the hottest I've ever heard from a T.dot rapper. He's also a member of "The Offense," which actually has a pretty hot mixtape coming out... preview some of it here.

You can also read a decent interview with DJ Wikked, who produced the track.

By the way, I found a pretty awesome Canadian rap music website, HipHopCanada.com... so if you're looking for some Toronto hip-hop info, it looks like a good place to turn.


A Soundtrack for My Life

This is a subject I've been giving alot of thought to lately... I find whenever I have this kind of question presented to me, I always draw a blank and never really put together an accurate list. And figuring out something like this, for anyone, is a really important way to establish and identify what kind of music fan you are. It's the albums that go beyond just being amazing from start to finish and powerful in that life-changing kind of way... its got to stick to your bones, and remind you of somewhere you were or something you did to really stand out. You should also be able to toss it on at anytime and have all those feelings come rushing back to you... its the things that make special in the first place. In all this blogging business and today's music scene that it's so easy to get caught up with what's "current," and there's not much time to look back and reflect. So on the eve of a "blogging/computer vacation," here's my list, and if you blog, write up your own personal top ten and send me a link (I'll see it in a couple weeks) or post your own top ten in the comments! Here goes. It's not best to least, because they are all so amazing.

Beggar's Banquet by The Rolling Stones

During my last year of university, I spent a summer living in Kingston. I had one job working at a music library, and another cleaning residence rooms. I remember one day at the library I was looking for "contemporary" CDs and found this one by the Stones... it was an album I never really gave a second look, but I anyways copied it down to a cassette tape and I listened to that album 4 times a day the entire summer. It's really a perfect album. The Stones get a bad name these days because their songs are either over-played, or they are portrayed as geriatric rockers. The reality is, people would feel the same way about the Beatles, if the Beatles were still alive and performing. I mean, does anyone actually like Paul McCartney albums anymore?

And like any music fan, I love all the "popular" songs on this album, which includes "Sympathy for the Devil," "Parachute Woman," "Street Fighting Man," and "Stray Cat Blues." But the songs I find make the album worthwhile is the quiet, sensitive second track "No Expectations," the hilarious song about marriage "Dear Doctor" and the obsessively cool "Jigsaw Puzzle."

No Expectations (live)

Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppelin

This is another cassette-tape favorite, and I remember long night drives in the dark around the country, just listening to the epic walls of sound. For some reason the car was the perfect place to listen to the album... maybe it's because in a car, the sound really locks you in, and it fills every inch inside.

So what's there to love on this album? Jimmy Page really started pushing the envelope with what he was doing on the guitar, the whole band was really into changing time signatures on a time, which was thrilling and impressive, and all the flowing waves of strings and organ tones just caps everything off. Every single song on the album is classic... I won't even bother listing them, because every single song is amazing. You cannot be a fan of rock and roll in any form and not love this album. This showed people what the form can do.

Song Remains the Same (live)

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

If you wanted to showcase how amazing Bruce Springsteen is as a song writer, you couldn't find a better album than "Born to Run." But what makes the album amazing is the rampant hope and desperation and urgency that invigorates listeners. It's perfect for a late-night, laid back listening session, or a middle of the afternoon party. And if you've never seen the Boss live, and stood with thousands of people singing along with "Born to Run," you just haven't lived. "Thunder Road" is probably one of those "life" songs, that always seemed so true to who I was and who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. And I think that's why Springsteen is so great, because he makes everybody feel that way, and they feel like they connect with him because of that. It's absolutely amazing. And "Jungleland" is probably the most amazing "last song" on a record, period.

Jungleland (live)

The Queen is Dead by The Smiths

The Smiths are one of those bands that either unite people or drive them away. In a big city like Toronto, no one cares if you like the Smiths, but in a small town where I come from, you realize you have a special kinship with the other people that find solace within the smart, sad songs. Who hasn't wanted to tell off an annoying ex-boss like Mr. Shankley, or felt the same depressing lows in "Had no one ever." The songs always felt so unfamiliar, but so comforting at the same time. I think living in a small town where nothing is happening informs a Smiths fan in a way that no other experience can. Another personal "life" song is here for me as well, "There is a light that never goes out." I cannot stress enough how much I love this song.

There is a light that never goes out (live)

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by the Smashing Pumpkins

This is probably the first album I ever bought the day it came out (a process I was bound to repeat again and again, probably for the rest of my life). I pretty sure I was in grade 9 or 10, and I remember going to the mall, and immediately sitting down on a bench, ripping the CD open and just looking at those pink and blue discs. For some reason I always lost one, and had to borrow someone else's for instant gratification. Then when I finally put it on, to hear that album start with that simple piano instrumental before blowing into "Tonight, Tonight." The best singles were from that first disc, "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" and "Zero," but there were more potential singles from that disc as well... my favs were "Here is no Why," "Porcelina" and "Muzzle." At first I was attracted to the second disc more... I think I loved the rawness of it, along with the whole scatter-shot nature of the songs. But later on I definitely moved back to that first, classic disc. They could've released just that first half and it would have been enough. But then of course, we wouldn't have had "1979," a perfect teen anthem.

Jellybelly (live)

Superunknown by Soundgarden

When I was in grade 8, I met a couple of guys, Gabriel and Scott, and we eventually formed our first band. We didn't have a name, but Gabriel and Scott had some pretty dumb and fun songs. I still couldn't actually play the guitar at the time either. But this was our one favorite album... and in a way, I was peer pressured into buying it. And you won't believe this, but I actually bought the CD at Canadian Tire. At first I was a little freaked out by the art work, and my real favorite song, besides "Black Hole Sun," was "Kickstand." But so many of these songs, despite sounding real grown up and depressing, remind me of that time in my life just before high school. Later on, my guitar playing style was highly influence by this band... I fell in love with the weird tunings, the heavy riffs and metaphysical observations about life.

Fell on Black Days

Everything I Long For by Hayden

When "Bad as they seem" was in heavy rotation at Muchmusic, I really connected with that song... the solemn peacefulness and loneliness combined together, along with regular grass cutting (yes, I did a life's worth of grass cutting at my parents house). Just the idea of seeing a hot girl at the grocery store was so real to me, because there really wasn't anywhere else to go and see people besides the mall or at school. Ok, that doesn't really make sense, so I'll move on. In university I reconnected with this album, because I found I was really feeling the bitter, nasty emotions that come to the surface after repeated listenings, like "In September." Just a truly heartbreaking album, I can't count the number of times I've listened to "My Parents House." Looking back at the video now, for "Bad as it seems," I remember so many days I've spent just sitting on my bed, playing the acoustic guitar for hours.

Bad as it seems

Things We Lost in the Fire by LOW

I was turned into an instant LOW fan when I saw them perform in Lee's Palace in Toronto. A group of us had driven up from Kingston just to see opening band "Pedro the Lion," who I also love and will get to shortly, but I had to get to this one first. LOW had actually just released this album, so we were treated to some amazing songs like "Sunflowers," "Dinosaur Act" and "Laserbeam." Seeing them live was a revelation, so a week later I picked up the vinyl copy of this album at ZAP records, and being in school, went to the music library to use their record players to listen to it. I'd get up extra early when the library was quiet, put it on and set my head down on a desk, getting sucked into the music, or admire the etched lyrics on the fourth side of vinyl. LOW was probably the first really artsy, really "slow and quiet" band that I really liked, and I always seem to come back to this album.

Dinosaur Act

Control by Pedro the Lion

Really, any Pedro album could have made this list, but I picked this album to make the list because overall, it's the Pedro album I still listen to most. Dave Bazan, as a song writer, has personally changed the way I look at the world and the way I understand my own belief system. On "Control" he pushes the boundaries of his songwriting even more, constructing fuller stories about really down and out people. You know its good when you hear a song like "Penetration" and think about how clever and so simple the concept is. But then you get a song like "Priests and Paramedics," and you hear the range of powerful emotions Bazan can effortlessly call from a listener. I think my personal fav song here is "Second Best." It still gives me shivers.

Options (live)


'Vans' by The Pack, banned by MTV?

I got an email today from David J. Bell, the Director of Digital Marketing for Zomba, a label under the Sony-BMG umbrella, about how MTV in the states has refused to play "Vans" by The Pack (aka The Wolf Pack).

If you haven't heard, the track is a hyphy tribute to the always-cool Vans sneaker (they sponsored a punk-rock tour, if you haven't heard). And oh yes, Jack Bauer wears Vans.

My first reaction was "MTV actually plays music videos?" And secondly, "Rappers like Vans?"

According to Bell, MTV refused to play the video because it seems too much like a commercial for Vans. As for the "Coke White" part, I'm sure it would have been shushed out.

Now, if you know your rap lineage, this isn't the first time a rap group has sung about sneakers. In fact, there is one song which towers above the rest in it's mainstream shoe worship. "Air Force Ones" by Nelly. Ok, not really, but Run DMC's song "My Adidas" put the sneaker on the map and changed both their careers and the careers of many a shoe executive.

But after giving "Vans" a solid listen, I can understand where MTV is coming from. Let me break down the numbers.

  • Nelly mentions "Air Force Ones" (his own brand of sneakers, BTW) 14 times.
  • Run DMC mentions the Adidas brand 24 times.
  • The Pack mentions "Vans" by my count a whopping 52 times.

That's like, 13 times a minute. Or, once every five seconds. That's probably more than your average TV commercial.

But you know what? The song is cool, and it makes me want to slip on a pair of my own vans.

But they look like sneakers.

MP3: Vans by The Pack

If anything, this whole fiasco has really opened my ears to this "hyphy" sound. Where should I turn next? Bol, help me out with this one!

Stereogum blogged about this song a while ago

Jozen Cummings at XXL talked to the rappers

Prohiphop tries to find out if it's marketing or not

Murketing looks at the anti-vans response

Fear of a Brown Blogger says its on the Lupe tip


9/11 was a bad day

One more post for the weekend... so it looks like I've uncovered another Rhea Music recording artist (possibly)... they are the music group responsible for putting out DJ Cyber Rap's new album Funeral.

So I was poking around YouTube after my last post, and noticed the user who posted the "Stylin" video, also had another video they had uploaded, a "World Trade Center soundtrack" ad. So what the heck, I checked it out.

The video is more or less a trailer for Oliver Stone's conspiracy-free WTC film, but about half-way through, a Nickelback style grunge jam kicks in... the chorus being "9/11 was a bad day." On one hand, the song seems sincere, but at the same time, it's kind of hilarious.

Could this mystery band, STEELFORGE be the next Rhea release? Could it be more Toronto hipsters? Who knows?

DJ Cyber Rap -- the mystery continues

Have you heard yet that Toronto's hottest rapper is DJ Cyber Rap? Aka 59-year-old hipster Ronald "Robert" Marie MacDougall? Well, you better surf over to his Myspace page and give him a listen.

A character more akin to Santa Claus than Snoop Dog, DJ Cyber Rap first appeared on the internet landscape a few years ago with some strange, rambling posts out on 20hz. Torontoist did a little bit of investigation on who DJ Cyber Rap really is, but didn't find out much.

Some people swear that Ronald MacDougall is a real person -- but skeptics insist that it's a Toronto scenester posing as an old man for jokes. It doesn't help that all of his "guest stars" are all proud members of Toronto's "Bad Band Revolution." Who could it be? Some poeple have suggested Gord Downie from the Tragically Hip, or somebody from the Tangiers.

Personally, I think it's a member of Ninja High School. Either Matt or Greg Collins, just because the cadence and flow of the rap is just too similar to that of NHS. It's the same classic NHS rap sound, it covers more-or-less the same jokes mixed with sad tales style... and they are essential to the BBR.

But now, a revelation; Zoilus aka The Globe's Carl Wilson, has posted a video for "Stylin 06 (Profile of a Mac)."

This has blown my mind.

DJ Cyber Rap tries to get Pitchfork's attention (I emailed them a suggestion BTW)

DJ Cyber Rap writes a review of "Party Girl" on IMDB

A 20hz posting from early 2005

DJ Cyber Rap's New Music Canada page

DJ Cyber Rap's Canadiana Blog

Little Green Footballs doesn't like DJ Cyber Rap


Don't curb your enthusiasm for Curb Your Enthusiam

If you were a big fan of Seinfeld, and you haven't been paying attention to "Curb Your Enthusiasm," then you need to rectify that situation right away by marching down to your DVD rental shop and grabbing season one (start with the documentary) then work your way up to the just released season five.

Seinfeld creator/main writer Larry David stars in "Curb," and carries on the legacy of George Costanza (a character which was originally based on him), by playing "Larry David," a hyper-reality version of his own life, with actors mirroring his real-life family and friends, with his famous friends also making appearances.

I don't even want to tell you jokes, just as to not spoil the show for you in any way... just go for it.

The reason for my current enthusiasm? Season five was just released on DVD, and the show was still as amazing as ever. Even better news? Season six is on it's way, which from the way they ended season five, didn't seem like a possibility. This October, there's even a Curb book coming, so it's a good time to be a fan, to say the least.

And because I need to ground this in music somehow:

MP3 : Frolic - Luciano Michelini

Finally, let's YouTube it up before you go:


Yes, it's Hurley!

Larry names a baby

Krazee Eyez Killah

Finally, holy crap it's Larry David in 1980


Tracking down the Track Dirtayz

I'm into my fair share of hip-hop.... I wouldn't say I grew up with it (outside of your typical mainstream radio/Muchmusic pop rap game), but over the last few years I've really searched out "classic" rap albums that I never really gave a chance to before. At the same time, I've been trying lately to really discover Toronto rap music, but there isn't the same kind of cohesive online community that can be found like the indie-rock scene.

I ran into this problem again when I tried to find some music by Track Dirtayz, who I was first alerted to in this interview with Eye magazine. What can I say? When Slay said his two CDs in current rotation were the Mars Volta and Chronic 2001, how can I resist?

So anyways, I googled the name... a good place to start, right? Wrong. I got all of six results. Usually, having a tricked out name like the Dirtayz is really effective, because odds are no one else has spelt their name like that, and I won't find the "track dirties" from Baltimore. But really, no info, just some old 20hz concert listings.

I turned to Yahoo. Even less results. Tried searching "Track Dirt Az." Still nothing. Technorati. Nothing. Myspace. Nothing. Soundclick (good for unsigned rap music), nada.

So there you go.... looks like I might actually haul ass down to Play De Record to track something down, but the prognosis doesn't look good.

This whole search really just reveals how the Toronto rap game really needs to step up, and at least put together a Myspace group or something. Even the worst indie-band can put a song on Myspace, so please, do something so the word can spread.

And if you have any info about "TRACK DIRTAYZ," hook me up! Send me an MP3, anything!


Good place to find info on Toronto's rap game: jane-finch.com, which mostly focuses on Jane-Finch artists... go figure.


New Swan Lake MP3 - "All Fires"

"Swan Lake" is a new indie-rock supergroup, composed of Spencer Krung, keyboardplayer and singer for Wolf Parade, Dan Bejar of Destroyer and Carey Mercer of Frog Eyes. Above is the cover art slated for their album, set to drop on November 21. According to the Jagjagowar press release, the album was all self-produced, which from the sounds of this new MP3 is good news... the music is raw, dramatic and lacks any shine. This track in particular sounds like a Spencer-led acoustic guitar track, with Carey and Dan doing to backup duties on the lamentful dirge. Something tells me this is going to be an amazing album to enjoy during the winter months.

MP3 - All Fires by Swan Lake

Force Field PR's press release on the background of the band

Said the Gramophone has a very wordy description of the track

Myselfmyself links to all the seperate bands in one cohesive place

The Rawking Refuses to Stop commits blasphemy

Sunset Rubdown performing at the Pitchfork festival launch party

Wolf Parade's Modern Word video

Frog Eyes plays "I like dot dot dot"

Destroyer at the Pitchfork festival this year


Total Eclipse of the Heart - on appliances

Check out this strange band, Hurra Torpedo, who bash kitchen appliances as percussion instruments... actually pretty great. So if you don't mind a little moon-man action, check this one out.


Release details for 'Gang of Losers'

Just to correct an earlier post and to let fans in on where/when/how they can get a hold of the new dears record, via the band's email list.

Message from Bella Union to you guys in the UK:

"Murray - in your mailout could you pls include the following links to let people know that they
can pre-order your new album and single now

HMV have set a special price of £8.99 for both the standard and limited edition version - offer
ends Sunday 13th August 2006


"Ticket to Immortality" is also available to pre-order now on both cd single and 7" vinyl - both
formats for £2.99


Would appreciate it a lot.



Out of the blue, it seems that we are now linked to Art & Crafts; they are putting out Gang of
Losers in the U! S! A! Thank Heaven.

I know it's hard to keep track of who puts out what with us. We've shuffled things around so
many times. We consider them lessons learned. And The Dears don't really do worldwide major
label deals, though God knows we've had a few drinks together. So it's taken awhile, but the
relationships we now have with each of our labels around the world are utterly special --
written in the stars, even. Our labels work very hard at something that may or may not give them
any return and they work hard to get it right. The pain in the ass that they bring to us and us
to them, we think, is totally worth it. The Dears' music is delivered to you intact, handpicked,
and with much, much love.

So allow us to recap and clear up any confusion. Apart from the standard jewel case version,
there are many different packaging things going on, depending on where you are in the world:

AUGUST 23 ON BELLA UNION LABEL (JAPAN) - two bonus tracks

TURKEY) - limited edition "special" packaging and vinyl


AUGUST 29 ON MAPLEMUSIC RECORDINGS LABEL (CANADA) - limited edition Digipak + bonus track

OCTOBER 3 ON ARTS AND CRAFTS LABEL (USA) - extra tracks and vinyl

The first single is "Ticket To Immortality." It's a song inspired by birth, legend, reality and
fate. It's coming out in the UK on Bella Union with b-sides on AUGUST 14.
ON CD: w/ Raise The Dead
We've also done a video for it, just us playing the song, in a grand way. The ending is pretty
hilarious. Look out for it. It's out there somewhere...

09 - Oslo, NORWAY John Dee
11 - Gothenburg, SWEDEN Kalaset
12 - Stockholm, SWEDEN Debaser
14 - Copenhagen, DENMARK Jorcks Passage
16 - Utrecht, NETHERLANDS De Helling
18 - Kempische steenweg, Kiewet (Hasselt) BELGIUM Pukkelpop Festival
19 - Stafford UNITED KINGDOM V Festival
20 - Chelmsford UNITED KINGDOM V Festival
21 - Edinburgh, UNITED KINGDOM Corn Exchange
22 - Dublin, IRELAND Marlay Park

We'll keep you posted...


There you go!


My first time as a DJ -- tonight!

Tonight I'm DJing for the first time at Sneaky Dee's, for the weekly music night known as "Wavelength" -- the cover charge is pay what you can. There's going to be three awesome bands playing, and I'll be spinning some awesome tracks in between. Some of the artists I'll be playing include:

Hudson Bell, Superchunk, Tokyo Police Club, Maximo Park,Clothes Make the Man, The Most Serene Republic, Strike the Set, The Soft Drugs, The Paper Cranes, Wolf Parade, The Strokes w/ Eddie Vedder, David Bazan, Radical Dudez, Guided by Voices, Fine Young Cannibals, Sweet Thing, Fjord Rowboat, TV on the Radio, Diableros, Sufjan Stevens, Flaming Lips, Gin Blossoms, Huey Lewis and the News, Justin Timberlake, Phil Collins, Shout Out Out Out Out, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Oasis, We Are Scientists, Outkast, Dinosaur Jr.

So now that I've made my first official foray into the DJ world, if you ever need somebody to play some tunes at your party/dj night/whatever, let me know!

Here's the bands that are playing tonight -- all of them are awesome!

12am - ETAOIN SHRDLU - Featuring members of ICPMABOYC, ex-Rockets Red Glare, ex-Weights and Measures/Kepler. - Seriously. – www.myspace.com/etaoinshrdlu

11pm - AMERICAN GEOGRAPHY - And you thought that mathy, post-hardcore sound had disappeared. It was just hiding on an island. - www.myspace.com/americangeography

10pm – HOTKID - Cambridge country grunge rock – www.myspace.com/ilovehotkid

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