Archive for October, 2011

Walk Off The Earth

October 28, 2011

A friend at work introduced me to these guys.  Now, if there’s a band that understands how music and video work together to showcase awesome performance ideas, it’s Walk Off The Earth…watch this:

Granted, that vid is more of a ‘side projecty’ thing, but still…if HALF of that music skill and performance translates to a live show then I’m sold.  They have done everything right…they have the musical skill and took it to the next level.  Take one part busker, one part magic show, one part comedian, and ten parts musical talent, and you have these guys.  It can even just be a subtle twist on a recognizable song blended with awesome some simple video trickery, as with…

How fun is that???  And before you say “Oh god, another cover band…” here’s an original:

So, we know they’re good in front of a camera…and we know they’re good in front of a microphone…but I still have to ask: how are they live?

Live performance is where you truly connect with your audience.  The internet has been great at breaking down the walls between artist and fan…it’s conversation, it’s a connection…you can take a picture of yourself on stage, post it on Facebook, and fans who couldn’t be at the show can feel a part of the experience.

But the REAL experience is live.  And, lets face it…unless people are paying you for your videos, you can’t sustain a career without live performance.  When I go to a live show I ‘ALWAYS’ leave with a shirt, a CD, a sticker…something.  My favourite artists who I’ve never seen live…it’s rare that I’ll actually push ‘Buy.’

And if the performance is amazing I’m even more inspired to help them out.  At the John Butler show in Toronto we bought three CDs and spent about $20 on a raffle to win a guitar (the proceeds going to a good cause).  I’ll be honest…I’d heard all of Butler’s music before the show…but had never bought a CD.

But he inspired me to buy everything I could.  Just like Aimee Mann does every time she comes to town.  And The Middle East.  And Tunng.  If it wasn’t for the horrendous line-up, I would’ve bought at Mumford swag as well.

I kinda went all…moneybags there…but the point is I’m REALLY into this band right now.  But I’m witholding judgement on their overall amazingness until I see them live.  Do they switch instruments?  Do they energize the room?  Or do they stand there, strum, and sing.

…or is that enough, is strumming and singing all they need because their talent shines through?  Is their banter hilarious?  Do they engage the audience?

Anyone can make a fun video…very few people can make amazing videos (OK Go comes to mind).  But can they take the fun and throw it at us live?

In my humble opinion, that’s the challenge.  I’ll letcha know if I catch their show!

(and if they’re monitoring blogs…hi guys!)

John Butler Trio – Better Than

October 27, 2011

Been listening to this song WAY too much recently…want to learn how to play it on my guit-jo!

Potoroo’s Bazaar Returns to CFRU…One Day Only…

October 25, 2011

This past Sunday was a blast, revisiting the old CFRU station where I had a radio show for close to four years!  The show was called ‘Potoroo’s Bazaar’ and showcased oddball, offbeat, quirky and fun songs…the stuff I listened to college radio to catch!

The booth was different – instead of the blue beast it was more of a mangeable silver beast for the board – but the vinyl library hasn’t changed, nor has the CD library, and the happy on-air feeling came back pretty quickly!  I went through some classics in the first hour, and got into some new greats in the second…at least, that’s what I planned!  The show went by quickly!

I haven’t listened to it yet, but the show is available online…if you’d like to check it out, here’s how!

Head to CFRU.ca, go to the archive and click October 23rd’s 3:00 and 4:00 shows…

…or otherwise…click the following two links to go directly to the hour-long slots:

Potoroo’s Bazaar from 3 to 4

Potoroo’s Bazaar from 4 to 5

Roo On Air: This Sunday, 3-5pm, CFRU 93.3 FM in Guelph, ON!

October 21, 2011

Heyas!  Just a heads up, I’m returning to my roots this Sunday!  I’ve been offered a two hour slot during Alumni Week at good ol’ University of Guelph!  During that slot you’ll get to hear weird, eclectic, offbeat, upbeat, out of place, very much in place, and all sorts of music as well as stories and ramblings from da Roo!

Backstory: in the last 90s I had a show on CFRU called ‘Potoroo’s Bazaar.’  I would play strange music, talk about it, and do whatever for a couple of hours once a week.  I did that for about…four years.  I covered everything from 1 am – 3 am slots, afternoon, early morning, and even prime time! LUCKY!

I will probably be live tweeting and intend to record the show and post it later.  If I find out anything about live streaming audio, I’ll post it here!

Woot woot!  It’s gonna be fun!

Soda Pop Graveyard

October 20, 2011

All my favourite drinks go away…and if you’ll forgive going a touch Lefsetzy for a moment, I feel this has a correlation with music as well.  You see…a lot of artists are loved HARDCORE by a few people.  If you’re indie that can be fine (though I have NO clue how an indie artist deals with popularity in some place they can’t drive to!) but if you’re on a label…it’s probably the shelf for you (or the garbage can).

And these soft drinks…they were my favourites, and they were on a ‘major label’ (ie. corporation) so they were destined for destruction early on.

TAHITI TREAT:

Oh my lord did I love this beverage.  As a kid I would guzzle it…it was my ‘Coke’ or ‘Pepsi.’  I wouldn’t even have to think about what to drink when I got to the Beckers downtown (…yes…there was really only one convenience store…well, Jug City, but it was on the other side of town, like…two minutes walk from Beckers!)

For those who don’t remember or were never lucky enough to try it…Tahiti Treat was like a carbonated fruit punch, and when it was ice cold it was like carbonated CRACK!  It was sweet…a reddish hue…and delicious.

And it quietly disappeared…unlike most other drinks, I didn’t even notice it was going away.  Wikipedia says it’s still around but I haven’t seen one in a decade.

This, alas…was the first soft drink that I ever loved and lost… *sniff*

SURGE:

Surge was a beverage I associate with my independence.  WHAAA? you say?  It’s a long story…the short of it is I drove to Maryland in 1997 to visit a friend I’d made on the net, and he introduced me to Surge…also to Sparklehorse, but that’s another story!

Like a citrusy shot of speed straight to the main vain: it was refreshing, delicious, and full of caffeine.  I would actually honestly say I became brand loyal the second I sipped it and still am to this day.

Surge is a strange beast…an internet campaign actually brought it back, as Vault, but…it just wasn’t the same.  I used to drive to New York State to buy Surge…I didn’t even walk to the dollar store to buy Vault.

C2:

C2 was like Classic Coke cut with soda water so it wasn’t so sweet that you could feel the sugar converting to grain in your teeth and grinding them away slowly.  It was like Coke but…not.

It was C2 that taught me that my favourite drinks would never be around for long. Immense soda-joy is fleeting.  I would buy four cases at a time if I ever found it, which we did for my summer camp the last year it was sold.

It was C2 that showed me that things change, become new, and go away much faster than I realized before.  It was around for about two years…Surge was around for six…and this next one…it lasted a summer…

 

 

THROWBACK PEPSI:

I called this ‘Retro Pepsi’ for the longest time because that’s the name in French!  I never liked Pepsi that much…until I tried this version.  I’ve been drinking it all summer, because I knew it was a ‘limited’ thing before I even saw that written on the can…I knew it because I liked it, and nothing I like to drink was made to stick around.

Throwback Pepsi is to Pepsi as C2 was to Coke…they are just better tasting versions of the original.  They don’t have the over-sweet taste that the ‘classics’ do.

Just last night I found a shop that still has some…and I’ve been mentally cataloguing other shops that do so I know where to go if I am craving it.  I can go downtown, or way up north, or…well, that’s it…I’ve found two places that still carry it.

I have a bottle in my fridge right now.

What is all this about?  I dunno…I thought it would be neat to look at all the soft drinks that have come and gone in my life…it’s strange that something mass produced and released can find a niche audience, just in time for it to get pulled from the shelves.

I also find it interesting ‘why’ they release these drinks.  Honestly, think of anything other than a ‘diet’ version that’s lasted?  Cherry and Vanilla flavours come and go, Lemon and Lime were popular for a little bit there, making a dark drink clear or adding a bonus flavour will stick around for a  year before it’s quietly taken away.

The companies want to keep us interested…but don’t want to keep making specialty flavours.  And it happens with everything: my favourite fabric softener was a special edition that lasted a month or two then was gone!

And it’s not like music…you can’t really keep it around like an album.  Sure, it’s sad the band isn’t playing live anymore, but you may have a recording or video to watch.  You can’t drink a ten year old can of Surge (…which I have at home, by the way)

I guess what I’m getting at is…things can be fleeting.  Don’t miss opportunities if you KNOW you like something.  Drink that C2, catch that act live, write that story…

…yah, I just tried to turn a blog about discontinued pop into a motivational message…yah…

Vanity Post!

October 19, 2011

I’ve been busy recently working on various projects, from music based to getting started on a history of the Toronto Furry community (…shut up…) and more!!  To be randomly and uncharacteristically vain, here are a few things I’ve been doing over the last 12 months to help musicians get a bit of exposure.

THE BASICS OF SINGING:

Micah Barnes is a singer, performer, and coach.  He recently released a new album and was looking for ways to draw attention…I thought it would be fun to draw from his vocal coaching experience and do a short series of videos with warm up exercises for singers!  And every class needs a sidekick…sooooo…

Take Me To The Pilot – Show Vid:

I have officially seen TMTTP more often than any other band, except maybe Wendal, in my life.  The guys are great, they put on a fun show, and they let me annoy them backstage with my camera!  Here’s the vid I made for their show in Hamilton earlier this year:

Lynzie Kent’s ‘Tune Talk Tuesday’:

I can’t take credit for the name, but I held the camera, put it together, and helped give it ‘Spahhhhh-kle.’  An ongoing series of videos describing the songs on her recent album release and giving a short sample of the song:

Najuah VPK:

A VPK is a ‘Video Press Kit’ or basically an introduction to the band through visuals, hearing some music, and getting an idea of the background.  I filmed the interview sequences and edited this baby…probably the most complicated thing I’ve done thus far!

Dale Speaking Guitar Contest and Moving Vlogs:

I like having fun, so when we decided to do some video blogs for the company, I wanted in on the action!  Here are the two I’ve done so far, the first for a guitar contest we ran, the second to document our recent move and office!

There you have it!  My first, and hopefully last, vanity post!  Now…to get back to stuff that has nothing to do with me 😉

Futurecop! – Is It A Crime!

October 14, 2011

EPIC! FUTURECOP!

I ❤ Futurecop!  A lot!  And they have a new track out, so please give it a listen, especially if you love joy!  Their music is at once a throwback and modern, totally feels like they were picked up by aliens in the 80s, schooled in the ways of the future, and dropped down in modern day!!

Futurecop! – Is It A Crime (feat. Captain Capa)

Rule #1

October 13, 2011

Proof read your stuff.  Edit…fact check…go over…email to yourself to read at work before you email anyone else…sleep on it…re-read…pass around to friends…ask for suggestions…re-write…spell check then re-read and re-write…

It’s easy to click send, to give an OK, to check mark, to approve, to say YES…it’s a lot harder to make sure that’s the right decision.

It’s the different between easy communication and backtracking, of a press release and a retraction…of a lie and an apology.

Everything today is about communication…try to make sure you’re doing it right.  I try every day, I screw up a lot, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that I’d prefer to get in trouble for voicing an opinion based on experience rather than say something incorrect when I should’ve known better.

Rant done!!

I <3 you, Aimee Mann

October 12, 2011

Aimee Mann…singing a song written by Tim Heidecker…about a guy who wrote a bitchy tweet.  I love it!  Click here to give it a listen!

 

Warning, there are swears!

PS. I love Aimee Mann…and Tim Heidecker…so life is good here 😉

When you pay for Facebook Fans…

October 7, 2011

Here’s some insight…HAH HAH!  It’s funny, ’cause Facebook calls the thing that gives you the stats that lets you know how you’re doing ‘Insights!’  Enough humour, LET’S BEGIN…EXHIBIT #1: The Pitch

What’s this you say?  I give you money, you give me real, targeted fans???  I guess these people are persuasive…imagine if 300 artists paid them $200…the team must get moving, contacting prospective fans and persuading them to ArtistX, click like.  Not just that…they find people who are relevant!  1,000 people who TRULY want to like you, and for only $200!

That’s money in the bank, right?  I mean, if they’re REAL and TARGETED odds are they’ll watch your videos, buy your albums, and go to your shows.

…it is money in the bank…their bank.

How could anyone possibly find fans, and exactly 1,000 of them, who are truly interested in an artist’s music.  Shouldn’t these fans be coming from shows, from people who found a video on a blog, or who were directed by a friend?  What’s going on here?

EXHIBIT #2: The Results!

Blurred to protect the artist: here are the Facebook Insights of someone who bought lots and lots of fans.  I didn’t even have to know in advance to guess these fans were paid for.  Look at that JUMP in a fanbase, over such a short period of time!  There could be reasons for this: maybe the video was shown on MuchMusic, or Gaga and Biebs got together to endorse ArtistX?  It’s ‘possible’ so many fans could join all at once.

It’s not likely, however, that so many fans joined, and so few got around to commenting on the page.  The second graph shows interactions, that is the comments and likes of fans over that period of time.  Notice the huge spike reaches around…30+?  But, on average, very few people are talking, even afterwards.

If 3,000 people joined your page, you think they’d be excited…you know, talking, interacting, engaged!  New fans, the ones who just clicked ‘Like,’ are normally the ones who talk the most.  Where are they?

If you see a page with 1,000 or more people, but only one or two ever talk (and usually the same one or two) odds are pretty high that the fans were all paid for.  That means…they aren’t real.  Which has NO benefit to the artist.

What is the point?  High numbers.  I guess you could claim that it ‘appears’ more legitimate to have 2,000 fans rather than 150.  I dunno…if I see a page with 150 fans and tons of engagement I’m more impressed than someone with 4,000 but no one cares.

The sad thing…the graph starts dropping.  Real fans are leaving the page.  Not just that…the ‘fake’ fans are leaving too, because you see these weren’t real fans at all but (for lack of a better word) bots.  Maybe it’s a trick…so you can buy a few more in two months.

There’s more…

Hell…look at this… Exhibit #3: You’ve Been Had

So, 891 people clicked like through a box somewhere in the net.  39 people clicked it straight on the User Profile.  5,033, the people who were paid for…’Unknown.’

Think about that for a second.  Facebook, the evil conglomerate that has tabs on everyone in the world, is tracking your every move…

THEY HAVE NO CLUE WHERE THE LIKES CAME FROM!

They’re just there.  There are 5,000 new people on this page and Facebook can’t trace their source.

My thoughts…it’s not even just a bot creating fake people and having them ‘Like’ your page, someone gamed the system and found a way to increase numbers without even having to FAKE PROFILES!!  These are just numbers.

They aren’t real…

They aren’t targeted…

They’re just paid for.

PS. I’d like to note that the example of a company that does this above is NOT the company who the person used…I can’t be 100% sure if that company sources from real people or uses some kind of trick to do it, so PLEASE don’t sue me.