Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

I’m Moving!

May 21, 2013

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Under The Pink will be moving to a new home pretty soon!

I want to bring this blog back after getting all inspired by writing blogs at work, producing two podcasts, and generally missing writing for you guys!

The new home will be at http://underthepink.ca! ¬†Book mark it, or whatever people do now ūüėČ

You can also sign up for the Under The Pink Letter. ¬†It’ll keep you up to date (once a week, maybe twice if exciting things are happening) on the haps of the new site, and after it launches you’ll receive some favourite links, snippets from blogs, and giveaways when they come along!

Hope to see you at my new home soon!

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LEGAL! SAGAZ!

February 27, 2013
Me posing horribly in an amazing shirt that shows just how far we've come in Canada-Brazil relations...since I went to Brazil.

Me posing horribly in an amazing shirt that shows just how far we’ve come in Canada-Brazil relations…since I went to Brazil.

Hey all!

Soooo…I was totally out of the loop for a month and a half or so there due to finding myself in South America. ¬†I kinda wish I had something exciting to say…like I was kidnapped and flown down as collateral in some kind of crazy gang turf war, but instead I was attending a furry convention in a rain forest.

…oh, shit, that does sound pretty exciting! ¬†Here’s a snail I saw.

Broken record time: I want to get back into the swing of things here, you know, the whole ‘music’ blog thing. ¬†I am thinking of making it a two to three times a week thing, even if I’m writing about random shit on my mond…that’s cool, right?

Musically I have quite a bit coming up: I’m recording my first live podcast and helping run an open mic in early March, and hitting up Canadian Music Week at the end of March, so I should have SOMETHING to talk about.

I may try to do the whole album review thing as well, though I worry I’m FAR too positive. ¬†I mean, I love listening to the Shaggs…who the hell am I?

So…yah…down the pipe, stuff comes…says Yoda Roo.

New Years Songs

December 31, 2012

Some songs to get you through New Years!

What Are You Doing New Years Eve – performed by Zooey Deschannel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

I ‚̧ JGL, and didn’t know he had such a nice voice!

New Years Song – Josh Pyke

I also ‚̧ Josh Pyke and consider him one of the best songwriters in the world today. ¬†I covered this in the most recent episode of ‘Fuzzy Notes,’ click here if you wanna check it out, it’s Track #3 starting at 9:27!

What Are You Doing New Years Eve – the Rufus Wainwright Gap Commercial

It put Rufus on the map, and is an awesome track…30 seconds…bite sized!

What is your favourite New Years song?  Let me know in the comments or by contacting me on twitter @Potoroo!

My Favourite Podcasts 2012

December 12, 2012

Podcast Headphones

I love podcasts. ¬†I spend most of my free time listening to them, and now the rest of that time is spent making podcasts…yup!

I’m going to start with a caveat: I am not including This American Life, RadioLab, Planet Money or On The Media in this list…because they collectively would hold the #1 spot, and many people regularly include them in their own lists…so recognize that I like these shows. Freakonomics and The Moth also sit at a close tie for 1.5…again…you know these…so…

In no specific order:

No-Budget Nightmares

On Podomatic and iTunes. ¬†Consistently the show I most look forward to. ¬†I LOVE low-budget flicks, and so do these guys. ¬†Even if the movie is awful, the episode ABOUT the movie is amazing (Hip-Hop Locos and Barely Legal Lesbian Vampires is still among my favourites). ¬†Moe and Doug have a great rapport, reminding me a bit of the chemistry between Hometown Tales’ Gene and Bryan.

Here’s The Thing

On iTunes¬†and WNYC. ¬†Alec Baldwin…talking to interesting people. ¬†How could you NOT love them. ¬†The Fred Armisen, Billy Joel and David Letterman episodes are especially amazing.

Lexicon Valley

On iTunes and Slate. ¬†Bob Garfield from On The Media joins Mike Vuolo of Slate to discuss words, grammar and the english language. ¬†Bob gets to let his hair down MUCH lower than he can on OTM, and Mike is a perfect foil for Bob’s oft-times cynical repartee. ¬†You are entertained, and learn. ¬†What I like most is that there is often an attempt to bring the subject matter some history, which many of us forget language has!

Jay and Silent Bob Get Old

On Smodcast and iTunes. ¬†OK…I admit it…I’m a Kevin Smith fan. ¬†I was obsessed with Clerks when it first came out. ¬†I have a Clerks hockey jersey from the original video release promo (the local video store knew I was obsessed). ¬†This is an intervention podcast, where Kevin helps keep Jason Mewes on the straight and narrow…by telling dirty sex stories, cautionary tales, and going on hilariously filthy tangents. ¬†NOT for the weak of heart, or spirit. ¬†Definitely for the Gen-X and Why’ers who grew up loving the foul mouthed Jay and silently-wise Silent Bob.

99% Invisible

Web and iTunes. ¬†Genius. ¬†Seriously. ¬†This show has the capacity to change not just podcasts but radio as we know it. ¬†Roman Mars talks design and architecture. ¬†If I describe episode by episode you will probably think I’m crazy (the rules of flag design, giving names to all the areas in an urban space that have none, a big purple building) but I’ve never been so hypnotized by a show before. ¬†RadioLab meets University Lecture after taking gentle hallucinogens.

Honorary Mention: Hometown Tales

Website and iTunes. ¬†I love this podcast, but they’ve updated two or three times in the last year. ¬†I’m SO glad I chose to write in when I did…one of the last ‘proper’ episodes they did (#350, possibly that last ‘proper’ episode actually) they read my hometown tales and I had a mention on the show. ¬†I listened to this show backwards, from newest to oldest, which was an amazing experience I should write about in another blog. ¬†If there were two guys I would want to have a beer with and talk about ‘everything’ it would be Gene and Bryan. ¬†I’m not sure if the show is dead or just ‘temporarily inactive’ so I include it here…a show I would listen to as often as they post…so hopefully they post again!

I guess here I’ll drop in a quick note about the podcasts I do myself! ¬†I in NO way compare mine with these, but the shows above are partly the reason I got into podcasting (and in the case of No-Budget Nightmares, the door I used to get in!)

FUZZY NOTES: My most popular show, about the music made by furries. ¬†If you don’t know what furries are, they’re the lovable oft-misunderstood fandom of people who associate themselves with animals. ¬†Some like to dress in costumes (most people do not, despite what the media likes to say!) and some draw art…and some do music! ¬†I felt that there was a need for a hub for furry music, so I made one! ¬†Over 500 downloads a week and growing, it seems to be working!

SOMETHING WEIRD THIS WAY COMES: It’s irregularly updated at this point, but I’d like to change that in the new year. ¬†Originally a podcast about low-budget films…now about the music of low-budget films. ¬†Here’s a link to the inaugural episode of the ‘music’ format where I play songs from the various films Moe and I had discussed in the first eight episodes of the original ‘series.’

DALE SPEAKING PODCAST: My work podcast, a show about music, musicians and the music industry from what we hope is a unique perspective!  We talk about the music industry and artists in Canada and try to identify tips, tricks and trends!

What do you think?  Any opinions on these shows?  Hate my shows and blog?  Talk to me!  Either here or in Twitter @Potoroo.

The Ghosts That Haunt Me

December 4, 2012

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In 1991, I spent a lot of time listening to the Crash Test Dummies album ‘The Ghosts That Haunt Me.’ ¬†I know this because it’s probably been at least 18 years since I last listened to the album, but I know all the lyrics to the title track (despite forgetting it existed until it started playing).

I also know I spent a lot of time listening to it because I have a nearly perfect Brad Roberts impression down when I sing along. ¬†Perhaps because I honed it during those years in the early 90s, trying to impress my friends while imitating the unique voice of CTD’s lead vocalist.

Something that came to mind upon rediscovering this album: they were pretty ahead of their time. ¬†At a point in my life when I was just passing my NKOTB and Tiffany phase (…don’t mock me…) and was listening to Public Enemy and the emerging hip hop scene, I became obsessed with what would today be called an alt-folk or alt-country. ¬†There were banjos, mandolins, catchy tunes…essentially, what you hear sneaking onto rock radio today.

In fact, some of these tracks would sound quite at home sandwiched between Mumford and Sons and Of Monsters and Men.

Most people remember Superman’s Song, but the title track and Comin’ Back Soon really grabbed me more. ¬†And who can forget that they released a single called Androgynous about…well, Androgyny…originally by The Replacements, an American punk band, on what is essentially a country album…and it got played on pop radio…

While discussing ‘Canadiana’ yesterday with recent BCCMA winning group The Matinee we went through a list of bands and artists we consider to be Canadiana – from Neil Young to Elliot Brood. ¬†The Dummies passed through my mind for a second, but I didn’t bring them up. ¬†Listening to ‘The Ghosts That Haunt Me’…I don’t know why I did that. ¬†This album is the epitome of Canadiana. ¬†And was widely successful.

Why is it that a band so huge in the early 90s doesn’t even get mentioned today in a conversation about the genre they really helped to develop for the modern times?

Maybe this blog will help change that!

Jeffery Straker Live at Revival, November 27th 2012

December 3, 2012

Calvin Fehr Photo    April 30 2012 455 crop 300DPI sm

I have seen Jeffery Straker before. ¬†And I can show you what I saw, because I also filmed that show and made two little ‘tour vlogs’ out of the performance and backstage antics. (Part One, Part Two) ¬†Needless to say, I love this guy as a performer and a songwriter, so the Toronto CD release party at Revival last week was a priority.

Here I must note that you can distinguish Jeffery now with the addition of a middle name: classic ‘Jeffery Straker’ and the new ‘Jeffery Michael Straker.’ ¬†Or JS and JMS for short. ¬†The former, a piano-cabaret riot. ¬†The latter, well…he’s still a riot, but there’s an alternative twist to his sound. ¬†And you could see the difference in the performance when we switched between JS and JMS.

Both were amazing to watch. ¬†I shouldn’t let what I just said confuse you. ¬†Just it was like the difference between…and I’m sure he’ll kill me for this…’Mmmm Bop’ Hanson and the alt-rock trio Hanson which emerged a couple of years later. ¬†Both are awesome…one is fun, the other is fun and refined.

Actually, better…the difference between Til Tuesday and Aimee Mann.

Starting off with the track Rosetta Stone from his new Danny Michel produced album ‘Vagabond‘ set the tone that this wasn’t going to be like last year’s Revival show, which came complete with Burlesque dancers. ¬†Following this up with his first single from the album, Birchbark Canoe was only outshone by the fact that beloved children’s entertainer Fred Penner joined him on stage to play harmonica (his mimed performance of Jeffery choking him on the streets of Toronto brought me straight back to Fred Penner’s Place…for some reason…I don’t know why, Fred never got choked on that show!)

Slings and Arrows and Gone, two tracks from ‘Under the Soles of my Shoes‘ were spot on and showed the similarities between JS and JMS: the songwriting is still there though the underlying mood has changed. ¬†You could tell this performance was honed from years of shows and this recent tour supporting ‘Vagabond.’

I must admit that the two songs that hit me the most were Burn the Boats with some extra help from some very talented vocalists, and the only cover of the night, Shiver Me Timbers originally by Tom Waits. ¬†Really…the Tom Waits track was the one that settled JMS into my mind. ¬†The sombre and pained tones of Waits’ piano from the album ‘The Heart of Saturday Night‘ (during his early blues piano days, like Ol’ 55 and Grapefruit Moon, not the Swordfishtrombonesiness of ‘Rain Dogs’…) was an interesting choice that would not have worked during the ‘…Soles of my Shoes‘ shows. ¬†It would have been like Lady Gaga breaking into Cats in the Cradle.

But it worked last Tuesday at Revival. ¬†Because I wasn’t watching JS…I was watching JMS…and it wasn’t jarring, or strange. ¬†It was actually quiet awesome, and I can’t wait to see more.

You can find Jeffery Straker tweeting away @jefferystraker and on Facebook too.  For all things informative and musical, head to his website!

The Set List:

Rosetta Stone
Birchbark Canoe (feat. Fred Penner)
Slings & Arrows (from 2011 album)
Fallin (from earlier repertoire)
Gone (2011 album)
Burn the Boats (guest vocalists)
Botanic Gardens
Shiver me Timbers (Tom Waits)
Raven
Myopia
Somewhere Between (earlier repertoire)
Sans Souci

Digital Marketing For Musicians – ReBlog from dalespeaking.com

November 29, 2012

Old Modem and Computer

Occasionally I’ll be writing a blog for my work website, dalespeaking.com, and occasionally I will reblog/link those posts here in case you’re interested in reading them!

I promise I’ll keep it to semi-interesting industry or music stuff, not posts on our artist’s tour dates or what radio stations are playing what singles.

Also, if anyone can tell me how to properly re-blog something, I’d appreciate it. ¬†I’ve never had to before, so I’m not quite sure how!

Anywhoo, here’s a snippet to whet your whistle (link to the blog):

“Today, the concept of a fan club seems alien, but I‚Äôve felt as though ‚ÄėFan Clubs‚Äô and ‚ÄėMailing Lists‚Äô are right under our noses, we just don‚Äôt see it that way.”

Fuzzy Notes Podcast – Music By Furries!

November 26, 2012

It’s done! ¬†It’s finally done! ¬†After a series of weeks with second-guessing, procrastination, starts and stops and restarts, it’s finished!

I had been wanting to record a podcast featuring music by furries for awhile, mainly since there’s a void when it comes to furry music. ¬†Well, not a total void. ¬†There are groups here, a site or two there, individual indie labels and artist sites. ¬†But overall there is no well-known central hub where artists are featured, discussed, interviewed, and showcased. ¬†So, I wanted to change that!

I guess it was a good idea, since there have been almost 300 listens in about 72 hours since the podcast was uploaded!

Featured in this particular episode are Matthew Ebel, TheBlackParrot, The Dead Pixel, Look Left, Colson and Kwipper and a lot of rambling from me…sorry, first episode! ¬†Here are links with more info and the episode!

Podomatic: http://fuzzynotes.podomatic.com

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/fuzzy-notes!/id581600769

Let me know what you think, and if you like it, please rate and leave a comment wherever you listen ūüėÄ

Jeffery Straker – Botanic Gardens video

November 13, 2012

Must admit, I already had a soft spot for Jeffery Straker…in part, because I’ve had the chance to work with him on a couple of occasions, but mainly because of his awesome songwriting that bounces between piano pop and cabaret. ¬†His latest album, ‘Vagabond,’ was produced by Kitchener-Waterloo songwriter and producer Danny Michel…another soft-spotty artist o’ mine.

The Botanic Gardens video softens me up even more…probably because of its unapologetic and tongue-in-cheek queerness! ¬†Very fun, very cute, and a great song to boot!

There aren’t very many gay-themed videos – whether they be subtle or over the top – in general. ¬†I mean, Carly Rae went ‘gay’ in her Song Of The Summer smash ‘Call Me Maybe‘ (at least, the object of her affections did) but that was the traditional usage of homos in music videos – comic relief.

In Botanic Gardens, as in Bronski Beat’s ‘Smalltown Boy‘ or Macklemore’s ‘Same Love,’ it’s just a natural part of the story of the video. ¬†Though comparing the three isn’t really fair: Smalltown Boy was an early success at telling the story of rejected gay youth, and Same Love is a modern-day protest song…where Botanic Garden¬†could never be mistaken for ‘political.’

It’s a pretty, well-written song and a pretty, well-filmed video where the main character just happens to be gay…as are several of the passers-by.

Though Jeffery…why you gotta scoot away from the poor bear! ¬†It’s clear he’s into you!!!

…I’m gonna pay for that one…

Monday Morning Quickie – November 12th, 2012

November 12, 2012

If you’re an artist…or a manager…or a label owner…or even not in music, hell, maybe you’re an IT Specialist! ¬†I have one quick piece of advice for you:

Don’t spread your ‘name’ too thin.

Don’t muddy the waters by trying to do too much at once. ¬†More specifically, if you’re an artist with your own ‘promotions’ company, and ‘publishing’ and ‘label’ and all that stuff, try to keep everything separate. ¬†Don’t confuse matters by pushing too many ‘names’ at once, especially if you’re still new.

Writing songs and performing them?  Then promote yourself as an artist.  Let people figure the rest out on their own.

If you have three names (artist, label, promotions, for example) then you have three things people are trying to get a handle on, and all three are going to be diminished.  Focus on the most important one, build it, and then contemplate adding another.

That is all!