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8.31.2006

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

8.27.2006

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

Thizzled
gets all excited

Bonnie "Prince" Billy at Rotate This

Bonnie


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

8.26.2006

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.

8.19.2006

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)

8.16.2006

'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.
FIFTY TWO TIMES IN FOUR MINTUES.

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

8.12.2006

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

8.10.2006

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:

Mentos?



Yes, it's Hurley!



Larry names a baby



Krazee Eyez Killah



Finally, holy crap it's Larry David in 1980

8.09.2006

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.

8.07.2006

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

8.04.2006

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.