Archive for February, 2011

My Musical Week So Far – Happy Edition!

February 16, 2011

A quick recap of music I’ve been listening to this week.  I apologize…these entries are excessively happy:

HAPPY!  …too happy?

Almost too uplifting and happy, but it convinced me to check out the album.  It is as happy-feeling as this song.  I tweeted this morning that Jonsi makes me want to change the world and help babies cross the street.  I still do.

This song is so much fun for some reason…it brings me back to my ravey, dancey, clubby days even though it’s not really like any of the music they would play.  I love the fact that one line is ‘All my friends, in the loop.’  I like being in the loop!

Fun use of MGMT’s Kids and a throwback to an old school rap sound.  I want to like it but I think my hipster friends would beat me for doing so…so I’ll just have to carry a big stick I guess.

Watcha think of these songs?  Do you have any other happy happy songs you’re listening to these days?  Let me know in the comments! :D

…yes…happy smiley is happy…

Not to discourage you…

February 14, 2011

It takes a LOT of work to achieve anything in any business.  I worked hard for several years before I can honestly say I mastered the espresso machine…I know, I’m pathetic.

I recognize that my lack of practice is ‘probably’ the reason I’m nowhere near the skill on my guitar as I feel I should be.  Probably…it might also be a curse, bad luck, or the will of the gods.  Part of that problem is that I picked up the bass so quickly, and before that, the piano.  In my brain-meats I can’t figure out why I’m not doing the same with the guitar, but it’s very different…the patterns are different…so I need more practise, more work.

And the work can’t stop.  If you get on a roll, you gotta roll with it.  Don’t sit back and enjoy the sudden success.  That’s my ‘other’ problem…I step back too often, observe how things are going, and slow down.  When things start picking up, run faster…sure, you might wipe out, but that’s better than going no further than you’ve already gotten.

Case in point: an artist I work with has achieved what many rockstars dream of.  Her song was accepted by our national music station and is in heavy rotation.  It has already charted overseas, reaching #3 on her national chart.  A new album is being mixed and mastered.  Some blogs have actually picked it up to do reviews on the song.  A popular television show uses the song as a ‘theme’ for two of the characters.

Despite all this, I have to send follow up after follow up email and phone call to small & medium websites just to get her video featured, if I get a reply at all.  So far there has been success, but only because I’m checking in every day to see if it has been added, if I have received a reply, if anyone is listening.

There is a great story behind the artist (a huge plus), there is already success overseas (bonus), and the major network is devoted to music is playing the song almost 20 times a week (fricken awesome).  Normally I would hear about these three things and think ‘GANGBUSTERS!’ (I would…I’d think that exact word…)

…but the ball is just rollling.  This isn’t the time to stop running on it, it’s time to start sprinting faster!

And that’s my advice for the week…run on balls even if you think it’s time to stop, ’cause that’s the only way to achieve success.

Something New Sunday!

February 13, 2011

Find any kind of  music list from today, like Billboard or a local radio station you don’t normally listen to.

Find an artist or band and a song you don’t recognize.

Head to their website, or to YouTube, and search for the song. Give it a listen.

What did you find and what did you think?  I think this should be a Sunday tradition… I mean, what else are you going to do with your day!

I went all-out: going to an Alberta country station’s playlist and listening to the live stream of the next available song, which happened to be Ronnie Dunn’s Bleed Red: a pretty little song I wouldn’t have listened to otherwise…honestly, probably won’t seek out again, but I think  I’m better for checking it out!

Did you do this little experiment?  What did you find??!

Awesome Album Cover Friday: Animals!

February 11, 2011

It’s no secret that I’m a furry.  If you don’t know what that is…or do and are confused why I would announce it publicly…fire me an email or something, I’m happy to explain.  As a furry…I think animals and cartoon animals are kick ass.  Sometimes my life as a furry and a musician cross paths, and not just when I discover another ‘furry musician’ or am on stage performing my music to others of my kind, but when album covers have animals on them!  So, today’s album cover theme is ANIMALS!

Another reminder, like last week: awesome is subjective, and my opinion can sway from ‘Awesome-Good’ to ‘Awesome-SoBadItsGood’ to ‘Awesome-WTF!?’ and beyond.  Comments and discussion is encouraged!

 

Awesome Doggy!

...for fox sake...genius

 

 

 

One of my favourite album titles of all times: Fangless Wolf Facing Winter...

 

And…because it just seems wrong to avoid the opportunity to be shameless…

There you have it!  Have a suggestion for next week’s theme?  Think I made a major mistake?  Let me know!

Tempted to go on a search…

February 10, 2011

Weird things have happened today.  While writing a blog for another site (…knock on wood…no jinxes…) I unearthed a memory of the PRECISE moment that I made the jump from seeing songwriting and live performance as something ‘they’ do to something ‘I’ do.  And, upon googling this momentous occasion, I initially found that it was ungooglable.  In other words: the milestone event that changed my entire perspective on music, according to the internet, never happened.

You see, it happened in 1993…the internet was still just something Hollywood hearthrobs used to download military secrets to build better women or launch missiles to Russia.  It also happened in Erin, Ontario.  And although the event eventually became more of a ‘touring showcase’ and found it’s way to the University of Guelph, it still was an Erin creation.  And you don’t hear much about those…this is what we do in Erin…listen to the announcer at the end, my non-Canadian friends.  That is what we all sound like.

I wrote and wrote, remembering the artists who performed at crazy independent event in my hometown…and decided to dig deeper.

I found some strange things…a link to a 1995 entry to a website about one of my favourite hometown bands (kinda sad, since it talked about them going to the studio…which I don’t think ever happened.)  I also found a MySpace account for a young musician and songwriter currently in Erin (…again, my hometown) named Kyle Collins.  If he ever Googles his name, I’m sure he’ll be surprised to find he was linked to this blog!  Not just linked…mentioned twice!  Read on!

And then I delved deeper…and I found it.  An account of the event!  I contacted the author of the article and found he has live recordings, poster art, and plenty more goodies from this momentous occasion in my life.

…sadly…I’m writing about all this in my other blog…so you may have to wait to hear the whole story when it’s published.

But one thing did come out of this…and that’s good ol’ Kyle Collins.  It’s been a long time since I went searching for music, and I mean REAL indie music.  I wouldn’t say Kyle’s singing or songs are radio-worthy, but I sat and listened to everything he’d written because ‘he’ took the time to sit down and write them.  It sounds like he put a lot into it, so in my opinion it was a good listen.

…I’ve done that too…I have sat down and written and recorded and put my music up on the internet.  And aside from friends or people I goad into checking it out, I doubt anyone’s stumbled across it and listened to a track.

So I think I’m going to make it a project to go out there and seek music.  If you’re reading this and have a band, link me!  If you have a friend who has a friend who has a band…link me!  Otherwise, I’m going to start scanning Bandcamp and MySpace and trying to find as much as I can absorb.  And I’ll try to bring the best to you here.

Meet bELA!

February 8, 2011

bELA...she rocks!

At work I get to interact with lots of talented musicians…well, so I’ve been told.  I’m an intern, so what I  mostly do is some really cool and interesting work, but at arm’s length.  There’s really no need for me to be on the phone with management, or passing emails back and forth with artists.

Of course, there are exceptions.  I’ve had some Twitter dialogue with members of Tokyo Police Club, got a really cool thank you from Dinosaur Bones and I’ve chatted with managers here and there.  Oh, I also got to eat some of Tara Lyn Hart’s tasty Christmas cookies!

And then there’s bELA.  We had a phone call a few weeks back (she was originally driving on the streets of Lisbon…it was decided to wait until she wasn’t in harms way to continue the conversation.)  We’ve had countless emails back and forth.  In each she’s bubbly, thankful, friendly…fun!  All leading up to last week’s premiere of her new video, Do You Care?, on MuchMusic.

I’m in charge of spreading her video through the blogs…you know, to get her face and her music in front of people so that when she starts playing shows in Canada, and getting played on the radio…or gracing the covers of  magazines, or whatever else fame brings, it won’t be shocking.  She’s in rotation on MuchMoreMusic, she’ll be played on music-afficionado’s revered ‘The Wedge.’  And now she’s here, Under the Pink!

I asked bELA a few questions, fun stuff about music, and here are her answers!  Note: she’s got a fun way of writing: her answers are unedited and as she originally replied:

What is ‘your song.’?  That song that you hear and it makes you feel all warm inside, or nostalgic, or otherwise defines who you are and how you grew up?

Machinehead..Bush

Do you have any songwriting tips or tricks?  What is your process?

aLL the songs i wRite aRe chaPters to oNe huge bOok of life..lIfe experiences, hOpes, dreams,fEars. i dOn’t think things oUt too much and iT is not a process that can bE forced. When it cOmes, it cOmes anD i jUst have to maKe sure i am able to write it aLL ouT quick enOugh cause when tHe moment passes, it’s gOne..i have a rEal bad memory. Really bad. sO i have to constantly haVe the camcorder on as i dOodle on the piano cause something might just hiT me and if i try to rEcreate it later, it’s forgoTTen tHat kinda sucks.

Are there any new musicians or bands that you are a big fan of?

Amalia rOdrigues cauSe she gave a nEw meaning to Fado music. Soulfly cause they cOuld control any stadium. eLvis..no expLanation needed.

What is the funnest thing that’s ever happened while you were performing live?

i dOn’t normallY eat right before a show cause of this one experience wheRe i did and birPed throughouT the whole set..it was in LA where the cRowds have seen it all..weLL they didn’t see that coming!

Thanks bELA! :)  Oh, and here’s her video!!  EDIT: You can vote for this video to be on MuchMusic’s #Trending this Friday at this link, AND you can vote for four other vids at the same time!  win-win-win-win-win: http://www.muchmusic.com/tv/trending/

Find bELA online: http://belamusic.net

Find bELA on Twitter @bELABand

Find bELA on Facebook

Music Monday: Broadcast

February 7, 2011

Broadcast is one of those odd bands I discovered by chance and am always excited to hear, but I haven’t sat down to listen to an album since their first release.  For all I know they’ve gotten amazing over the years, but I stuck myself at the beginning of the millenium…mainly because the album is a big ol’ pile of nostalgic memories.

The first time I heard Broadcast was in an HMV.  I wanted to browse and purchase CDs…yup, even as late as 2000 I still did that!  You could tell that it was a different time, because instead of blaring the latest U2 or ‘Band of the Day’ album the staff had chosen to put in an awesome yet unknown band.  I heard it, wandered the store as long as I could to give the album a good listen, then asked them for a copy.  I bought it…and played it non-stop for months.

Such strange synthetic throwbacks!  I feel like I’m go-go dancing, but to the mellow tones of ‘Nothing to Lose,’ sung by Claudiene Longet in Peter Seller’s The Party.  Hell, I feel like I’m at The Party…but it’s being thrown for Y2K.

The album reminds me of the awesome days, school was just over and I was free!  I spent part of the summer in Oklahoma, playing Crono Trigger and listening to this album for hours on end.  It’s weird wondering ‘whatever happened to those days’ AND ‘whatever happened to that band?’

I was reminded of Broadcast when one of their instrumentals appeared at the start of a recent This American Life episode.  My friend, Pouch (…yes…he thinks he’s a kangaroo too!) contacted me to let me know he’d heard it, and the funny thing was I was thinking of contacting him to say the same thing.

It doesn’t need to be a huge radio hit, or some popular band, or even the latest ‘underground sensation’ to be an important musical milestone in your life.  Sometimes it’s just the obscure album you heard in a store and just had to have.

Awesome Album Cover Friday: Faces!

February 4, 2011

…gonna try something new…consistency!  Every Friday (unless I get REALLY drunk Thursday night and go to an awesome bar and hear this CRAZY remix of a song that takes, like, an Underworld song and a Taj Mahal song and mashes them and it’s so cool I can’t help but dance and I need to write about it) I’ll try to collect some cool album covers.  Let the pics speak for themselves rather than bore you words…words…words!

I should note…the first cover, Vyto B’s ‘Tricentennial 2076,’ is probably one of my favourite albums of all time…I’m tempted to try to do a live performance of the album in Toronto this summer…any takers? ;)

And lastly, I should note that the definition of ‘Awesome’ may change from time to time, and being subjective, may not match yours.  Comment, let me know what you think!

 

 

Jandek...once I get my hands on some of his albums I'll probably be talking about this guy

This...just rocks...

There we go!  I’ll try to do this weekly…if you have a ‘theme’ you’d like to see, lemme know!  Also, you can follow me on Twitter @Potoroo and see what I have to say through the day.  You know you wanna!  And of course, there’s my podcast poll if you wanna take it :)

Podcastery?

February 3, 2011

Just checkin…I’m a fan o’ podcasts…soooo…

Why do I hate… Coldplay!

February 3, 2011

While listening to his latest single, Chris Martin takes an unexpected nap.

Hate is a strong word, but this is a blog and I need to find some way to be sensational!  SCANDAL! I said I hate Coldplay which probably got you to read more!  I win!! Are you on my side?  Do you want to hang me upside down, sending a rush of blood to the head before bashing my face in?  Do you even care??!

If you’re still reading…I beg you to read through to the end.  You probably know me to be a positive kinda guy, and I am going somewhere with this.  I’m not being a snarky hipster, trust me.

I’ve disliked Coldplay since the early days, when I first heard the song Yellow in a gym in Norman, Oklahoma.  And then heard the song again.  And again.  And again.  WE GET IT!  It was all YELLOW!

I began to refer to Coldplay as ‘Radio-Play Radiohead.’  Every song I heard sounded like an attempt to recreate The Bends for an audience confused by the route Radiohead was taking (keep in mind…Amnesiac was their latest release).  This alone made Coldplay seem cheap and lame to me.

Over-cynical?  Big time, but I was listening to a LOT of music and something about Coldplay seemed off…as though Maurice Starr had decided to branch out and create a rock boyband.  It felt fabricated…I had the image so many music fans probably do: a band trembling in a studio while a bunch of men in suits stand around debating what chord they should play next.  THAT was how I pictured Coldplay.

Yet, in the back of my head, I had the strange feeling that I was wrong.  I do that a lot: see both sides of the picture and effectively ‘take’ both sides.  I wasn’t a fan of the music, so I was public with that perspective.  But in my brain-meats…I questioned.  I even defended them once when a friend and co-worker suggested that Chris Martin was trying to copy Thom Yorke, specifically as an activist.  I noted that it’s very likely that Chris Martin is passionate about his causes, and that it’s kinda weird to think he’s doing it to be like Thom.

Just Do It

 

But how do I explain The Scientist?

 

 

Awesome song.  Even better video.  It’s made me cry.  My hero Aimee Mann even recorded a cover.  How can you hate a band that pulls that off??

Have you ever had a movie, or episode in a TV show, be SOOO bad that working backwards from it you begin to see flaws in the rest of the show?  The Matrix sequels did that for me…I stopped liking the original after seeing the sequels.  I liked where my imagination took me through the world more than the actual storyline.

The Scientist is the reverse of that.  Although I still have this general dislike of the band, I’m more likely to give a song a chance now…that private brain half that can see what the band is getting at.  It’s another example of ‘singles aren’t the whole story.’  Although singles are taking over the pop market, with rock there still is something to be said for the album and the non-single tracks by Coldplay are usually pretty good.  I actually give props.

So maybe I don’t hate Coldplay after all…I just think I do!

Funny thing is…this all came to mind when someone noted that the opening theme song to the TV show ‘Lie To Me’ was by Coldplay, and I thought to myself “Damn…I kinda like that song…”

…turns out it isn’t…it’s by Ryan Star…and apparently this isn’t a freak error.  The YouTube vid I found of the song was put up by a person named coldplayrockss.

I guess we’ve found our next generation…Radio-Play Coldplay?


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