Sunday, December 30, 2007
Not my favourite cd of the year but very close, the band certainly captured my heart for innovative marketing and pure creative genius.
This information from Thom Yorke himself as captured below from http://radiohead.com
Hope you are having a peaceful christmas.
As you may now have heard we will be broadcasting a pre-recording of some songs and other bits on New Years Eve..
you will be able to view it online from here at midnight new years eve, uk time that is...
as well as other places that i am not sure about.this is a wee celebration of the release of the physical manifestation of 'in rainbows'.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Installation Three - At last I've worked my way to number one. I reviewed the Lightning Bug Situation cd earlier this year and its impact its still resonating with me; for that reason I have chosen it to be my favourite music of 2007. I would urge you to seek out finding this disc as it is a captivating listen from start to finish. Be sure to check out this link for information on how to get one. Their Myspace page features several preview tracks.
20. Julie Doiron – Woke Myself Up
19. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
18. The Acorn – Glory Hope Mountain
17. Yeasayer – All Hour Cymbals
16. Caribou – Melody Day
15. Panda Bear – Person Pitch
14. Pop Levi – The Return to Form Black Majick Party
13. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna: Are You the Destroyer?
12. The White Stripes – Icky Thump
11. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
10. Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
09. Future of the Left - Curses
08. Stars of the Lid - And Their Refinement Of The Decline
07. Burial - Untrue
06. Radiohead - In Rainbows
05. LCD Soundsystem – The Sound of Silver
04. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
03. Okkervil River – The Stage Names
02. The National - Boxer
01. The Lightning Bug Situation - A Leaf; A Stream
Thursday, December 13, 2007
This time Madonna, Leonard Cohen, John Mellencamp, Dave Clark Five, and the Ventures make up the 2008 class. According to the Associated Press, Little Walter will also be honored for his work as a sideman, and Gamble & Huff will be honored for their production work.
Many of these artists and others will no doubt be in attendance at the March 10, 2008 induction ceremony at New York City's Waldorf Hotel.
The dubious hall of fame distinction was arrived at by an "international voting body of more than 500 rock experts". I guess that that explains why Beastie Boys, Donna Summer, Chic, and Afrika Bambaataa didn’t make the cut this year? (Insert sighing sound here) Maybe I’ll start my Replacements petition tonight.
Congratulations also to the following local bands who made the shortlist:
Cailen Dye – OBLQ
Catherine McInnes – Exposed
Shad – The Old Prince
Sonja Gustafson – Sonja Gustafson
Square Root of Margaret – Teragram Photeur
The English Premiership – P and Not P
The Riderless – Hand Carving Hand
The Rizdales – Radio Country
Two Minute Miracles – Volume IV: Lions of Love
**LOCAL ALBUM OF 2007 - Basia Bulat - Oh, My Darling**
Background: A group of London music journalists and broadcasters have voted based on a short list of 10 exceptional London albums from dozens submitted to UWO radio station 94.9 CHRW. The jury voted again on that shortlist and the winning album (Basia Bulat's Oh, My Darling) was announced on Dec. 10, on Clang Boom Steam (3:30 p.m.-6 p.m.), hosted by 94.9 CHRW's program director, Michael Brown. In addition, Basia will be awarded $500 and a live-in-studio performance on 94.9 CHRW.
For details, check http://www.chrwradio.com/
40. Low – Drums and Guns
39. Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam
38. Menomena – Friend and Foe
37. Grizzly Bear – Friends EP
36. Marissa Nadler - Songs III: Bird on the Water
35. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
34. Feist – The Reminder
33. Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew – Spirit If
32. The Besnard Lakes – Are the Dark Horse
31. The New Pornographers - Challengers
30. Field Music – Tones of Town
29. The Broken West - I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On
28. Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter - Like, Love, Lust and the Open Halls of the Soul
27. Band of Horses – Cease to Begin
26. The Sadies – New Seasons
25. Basia Bulat – Oh, My Darling
24. Two-Minute Miracles – Volume IV: The Lions of Love
23. Jim Bryson – Where the Bungalows Roam
22. Iron and Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog
21. Sunset Rubdown – Random Spirit Lover
Installation three coming soon.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
For nearly fifteen years now I have compiled my list of the best music of the year. This year is no exception, the audience only slightly more broad now. Presented in three installations, I give you my Seasonal Sixty for 2007. (Thank you John Peel for the inspiration.) The picks are the result of my completely biased listening opinion and I welcome your counter opinions.
Without further adieu…
60. Battles - Mirrored
59. Deerhunter - Cryptograms, Fluorescent Grey
58. Boris With Michio Kurihara - Rainbow
57. Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
56. Deerhoof – Friend Opportunity
55. Marnie Stern – In Advance of the Broken Arm
54. Thurston Moore – Trees Outside the Academy
53. Various Artists - I’m Not There Original Soundtrack
52. Vic Chesnutt – North Star Deserter
51. Mirah and Spectratone International – Share This Place: Stories and Observations
50. The Hylozoists - La Fin Du Monde
49. Matthew Dear – Asa Breed
48. M.I.A. - Kala
47. Amon Tobin – The Foley Room
46. The Shins – Wincing the Night Away
45. Beirut - The Flying Cup Club
44. St. Vincent – Marry Me
43. Nina Nastasia and Jim White – You Follow Me
42. Grinderman - Grinderman
41. The Dirty Projectors – Rise Above
Installation Two coming soon.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Another highlight was the sublimely beauftiful visual projections that accompanied the music. Simple and so effective, they'd beat those solar powered laser beam guitars any day.
The mighty Great Lake Swimmers warmed up the crowd with their unique brand of countryfolkpopamericanada.
Friday, November 30, 2007
I am going to try this and I’ll post the results (if anything) here. I encourage all of you to try the same in this, the season of giving. Peace and good mixtapes to all.
The General Specific - Band of Horses
Weighty Ghost - Wintersleep
Dents - The Acorn
Get Your Own Apartment - The Wet Secrets
Young Mothers - Sebastian Grainger et les Montagnes
Caged Warning - Arrows
Dokkoise House - Anathallo
Castles - Forest City Lovers
Bedhead - Shotgun Jimmie
The Crash, The Wagons, The Dying Horses - The Craft Economy
Your Ex Lover is Dead - The Stars
Down to the Ground - Sweet Thing
Warm Worm - Subcollisions
Everyone Else - Wooly Leaves
War - Ladyhawk
Stars & Satellites - Dan Griffin
Black Thumbnail - Kings of Leon
Intervention - The Arcade Fire
What We Had - Handsome Furs
Knighthawks - Two Hours Traffic
Thank you for the great picture too Ben.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
For the record I scored a 45. Ranking me as expert and apparently I know my Bowie from my Bambaataa.This is great fun. Leave your scores in the comments section. I’d love to see how you fared and what you think.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
April Anne (Okkervil River) – unreleased John Phillips song
No Easy Way Down (Okkervil River) – unreleased Carole King song
Do What You Gotta Do (Okkervil River) – unreleased Jimmy Webb song
You Can't Hold The Hand Of A Rock And Roll Man (Okkervil River) (Skiffle Version) – original version appears on The Stage Names
Okkervil River Official Site
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Another cryptic Radiohead message. Follow the links and enjoy. I suspect it will be archived for a period if you miss it.
there will be something on the box tonight
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
He had for years been the front line host of the Grand Ole Opry, inheriting that post from the late Roy Acuff. His illness came after a comeback that saw him recording again and gaining new fans even as he reached his 80s.
In May, he celebrated his 50th year in the Opry and signed his first record contract in years. His new CD "Wagonmaster" earned rave reviews. Over the summer he opened for the White Stripes at a sold out concert at New York's Madison Square Garden, where young fans embraced his music wholeheartedly.
His many hits included "Green Green Grass of Home," but he is perhaps best known for hiring 21-year-old Dolly Parton in 1967 to be his duet partner. A playlist today then to honour Porter Wagoner, the subject Parton’s 1973 penned hit I Will Always Love You. Her partner and mentor for many years, love is the theme this time. I thought it most appropriate.
I Will Always Love Porter Wagoner
Crazy Love - Marianne Faithfull
The Desperate Kingdom Of Love - PJ Harvey
Fistful Of Love - Devendra Banhart
Big Love - Kevin Drew
I'm Not In Love - 10cc
Careless Love - Bonnie "Prince" Billy
Found Love - Jimmy Reed
I Can Feel Your Love - Felice Taylor
How Do You Keep Love Alive - Ryan Adams
How Will You Love Me - Nina Nastasia & Jim White
I'm Always In Love - Wilco
I Love You Golden Blue - Sonic Youth
Impossible Love - Daniel Johnston
In Love With A View - Mojave 3
It's True That We Love One Another - The White Stripes
I Love You More Than Words Can Say - Karen Dalton
Limit To Your Love - Feist
Love and Other Planets - Adem
It Was Love - The Elected
I Trained Her To Love Me - Nick Lowe
Love's Been Good To Me - Johnny Cash
The Lions Of Love - The Two-Minute Miracles
Love And Some Verses - Iron & Wine
I Will A Give Me Your Love - Curtis Mayfield
The Look Of Love - Nina Simone
Love And Happiness - Al Green
Uh-Oh, Love Comes To Town - Talking Heads
Our Love Will Still Be There - Dean & Britta
Sea Of Love - Tom Waits
Without Love - Elvis Perkins
Love Makes You Feel - Spoon
You Try To Find A Love - Bill Withers
I Will Always Love You - Dolly Parton
Monday, October 22, 2007
To arrive at his top 100, Mersereau polled nearly 600 music journalists, retailers, musicians and DJs — of all ages — from across the country. The list is based on a tally of their top ten selections.
This one is quite different from the usual fare of this ilk. In fact it’s surprisingly earnest and refreshing in its approach. For instance, many acts who enjoyed great record sales in their heyday aren't included. They might have sold, but as Mesereau explains, “they didn't make great records of impact or influence.” The book is successful because it achieves a balance between the monumental and the unexpected, records that have stood the test of time and those that might have staying power. He could have made this a lot easier for himself.
Neil Young has the number-one album, Joni Mitchell the number two. Bands such as The Guess Who, Rush and The Band, all of whom were true music pioneers in their way, are featured prominently.
Without further adieu… The top 100 albums, according to Bob Mersereau's book.
1. Harvest, Neil Young (1972)
2. Blue, Joni Mitchell (1970)
3. After the Gold Rush, Neil Young (1970)
4. Music From Big Pink, The Band (1968)
5. Fully Completely, The Tragically Hip (1992 )
6. Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morissette (1995)
7. The Band, The Band (1969)
8. Funeral, Arcade Fire (2004)
9. Moving Pictures, Rush (1981)
10. American Woman, The Guess Who (1970)
11. Songs of Leonard Cohen, Leonard Cohen (1967)
12. Reckless, Bryan Adams (1984)
13. Five Days in July, Blue Rodeo (1993)
14. Twice Removed, Sloan (1994)
15. Up to Here, The Tragically Hip (1989)
16. Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Neil Young with Crazy Horse (1969)
17. 2112, Rush (1976)
18. Court and Spark, Joni Mitchell (1974)
19. Whale Music, Rheostatics (1992)
20. Acadie, Daniel Lanois (1989)
21. Day for Night, The Tragically Hip (1994)
22. Rust Never Sleeps, Neil Young & Crazy Horse (1979)
23. Gord's Gold, Gordon Lightfoot (1975)
24. You Were Here, Sarah Harmer (2000)
25. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Sarah McLachlan (1993)
26. Road Apples, The Tragically Hip (1991)
27. Gordon, Barenaked Ladies (1992)
28. You Forgot it in People, Broken Social Scene (2002)
29. I'm Your Man, Leonard Cohen (1988)
30. Tonight's the Night, Neil Young (1975)
31. Decade, Neil Young (1977)
32. Miss America, Mary Margaret O'Hara (1988)
33. Surfacing, Sarah McLachlan (1997)
34. One Chord to Another, Sloan (1996)
35. Songs of Love and Hate, Leonard Cohen (1971)
36. Cyborgs Revisted, Simply Saucer (1979)
37. Ingenue, k.d. lang (1992)
38. Melville, Rheostatics (1991)
39. Love Tara, Eric's Trip (1993)
40. On the Beach, Neil Young (1974)
41. Not Fragile, Bachman-Turner Overdrive (1974)
42. The Best of the Guess Who, The Guess Who (1971)
43. Let it Die, Feist (2004)
44. The Last Waltz, The Band (1978)
45. Night Train, The Oscar Petersen Trio (1963)
46. Down at the Khyber, The Joel Plaskett Emergency (2001)
47. Harvest Moon, Neil Young (1992)
48. Cuts Like a Knife, Bryan Adams (1983)
49. L'heptade, Harmonium (1976)
50. Teenage Head, Teenage Head (1979)
51. High Class in Borrowed Shoes, Max Webster (1977)
52. Hejira, Joni Mitchell (1976)
53. The Goldberg Variations, Glenn Gould (1955 and 1982)
54. Forgarty's Cove, Stan Rogers (1977)
55. Wheatfield Soul, The Guess Who (1968)
56. Si on avait besoin d'une cinquieme saison, Harmonium (1974)
57. Dancing in the Dragon's Jaw, Bruce Cockburn (1979)
58. Frantic City, Teenage Head (1980)
59. Hymns of the 49th Parallel, k.d. lang (2004)
60. Hot Shots, Trooper (1979)
61. Robbie Robertson, Robbie Robertson (1987)
62. The Trinity Session, Cowboy Junkies (1988)
63. Ron Sexsmith, Ron Sexsmith (1995)
64. Nothingface, Voivod (1989)
65. Come on Over, Shania Twain (1997)
66. Everything I Long For, Hayden (1995)
67. Outskirts, Blue Rodeo (1987)
68. Joyful Rebellion, k-os (2004)
69. Sit Down Young Stranger/If You Could Read My Mind, Gordon Lightfoot (1970)
70. Love Junk, The Pursuit of Happiness (1988)
71. Jaune, Jean-Pierre Ferland (1970)
72. Somewhere Outside, The Ugly Ducklings (1966)
73. Electric Jewels, April Wine (1973)
74. Sundown, Gordon Lightfoot (1973)
75. Left and Leaving, The Weakerthans (2000)
76. Clumsy, Our Lady Peace (1997)
77. Harmonium, Harmonium (1974)
78. Share the Land, the Guess Who (1970)
79. Greatest Hits!, Ian & Sylvia (1970)
80. Steppenwolf, Steppenwolf (1968)
81. Ladies of the Canyon, Joni Mitchell (1970)
82. Bud the Spud and Other Favourites, Stompin' Tom Connors (1969)
83. Shine a Light, Constantines (2003)
84. Shakespeare My Butt, The Lowest of the Low (1991)
85. Clayton Park, Thrush Hermit (1998)
86. Smeared, Sloan (1992)
87. Living Under June, Jann Arden (1994)
88. The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Joni Mitchell (1975)
89. Bad Manors, Crowbar (1971)
90. Official Music, King Biscuit Boy With Crowbar (1970)
91. Lightfoot!, Gordon Lightfoot (1966)
92. Mad Mad World, Tom Cochrane (1991)
93. Rufus Wainwright, Rufus Wainwright (1998)
94. Face to the Gale, Ron Hynes (1997)
96. Hobo's Taunt, Willie P. Bennett (1977)
97. Cowboyography, Ian Tyson (1986)
98. Favourite Colours, The Sadies (2004)
99. The Way I Feel, Gordon Lightfoot (1967)
100. A Farewell to Kings, Rush (1977)
Disagree with Mr. Mersereau? I welcome your additions in the comments section.
Special Canadian Playlist due soon.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Unlike Radiohead and NIN with their massive followings, catchy songs, and built-in marketing, Bob has a long standing and well-known reputation of ingenious sound artistry and political writing. That is to say, he's not selling a lot of records, but he is paving the way for artists of the future. (Like Thom Yorke’s and Trent Reznor’s projects, remixes, of course, are encouraged! Bonus points if you can mash up all three.)
w00t was composed entirely from fragments of music from computer games. The names of the games are listed on the download page. The w00t art work is a collage of images from these same games, made by artist John Cooney.
Download it here.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Please visit these links.
Friday, October 12, 2007
By Scott Colothan on 11/10/2007 Gigwise has learnt that Radiohead have sold an amazing 1.2million copies of their seventh album ‘In Rainbows.’
The band and their long-term management company Courtyard Management have remained tight lipped about the exact sales figures, seemingly in a bid to add to keep a mysterious air around the album.
But speaking to a source close to the band last night, we’ve discovered that the Oxford band have achieved this monumental sales figure.
Even if every person who downloaded the album paid just 10 pence, the band will still rake in a massive £120,000. That figure is likely to be higher, with many speculating the average figure will even out at around the £1 mark.
With growing media hype around the release of ‘In Rainbows’, these unprecedented sales figures look certain to keep on rising. If they finally announce a world tour, audience figures are expected to be higher too.
Thom Yorke and co. will cash in again when the payments clear for the ‘In Rainbows’ box set which are on sale for £40 a go.
As expected, Radiohead are the clear victors of this radical way of releasing their album. Their success should prompt other big names to follow suit.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Next up is “Reckoner”. Certainly recognizable at least in title to the song originally debuted in very different form on their 2006 tour. A notable rocker back then, the number now devoid of the rocking spirit that made it a real concert highlight. Not entirely disappointing, just unexpected.
The laid back "House of Cards" appears next and has a very isolated feeling to it. Very much in keeping with the overall feel of the record. What surely will be a potential highlight of their upcoming 2008 tour, the presentation possibilities with this song are numerous.
“Jigsaw Falling into Place” and “Videotape” fittingly end the record with Thom Yorke at his most vocally astute and lyrically passionate. Definitely more sedate than first group of songs I discussed but entirely appropriate in the most awe inspiring sense. I recall hearing Kid A for the first time and feeling similarly enthused.
Can you tell I like this thing? I just wonder how I'll get Thom Yorke to sign my digital download next time we cross paths.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
One particularly hot August night ten years ago I had an unusual brush with celebrity behind London’s Centennial Hall. A small throng of fans had gathered for a chance meeting with Radiohead who were in town promoting OK Computer. As he left the building, head “Head” Thom Yorke wryly commented that I appeared to be, “…the only one at the show without pimples”. Marginalization by celebrity is such a capricious thing, (damn you greying temples for belying my age!) but what a story for the grandchildren.
Yes, my teenage days are quite behind me at this point but this morning I felt like I was 15 again. Today I, like so many others was downloading the new Radiohead release, In Rainbows; today, for the first time in a long time I was truly excited about a new music release. My excitement in fact was two-fold. First, that I finally have some new music from the most important band on the planet and second, that this brave step in music marketing was actually working. The new Radiohead distribution model is genius and record companies had better pay heed. The future is now.
Bleary eyes aside, it seems rather appropriate that I hear In Rainbows for the first time in the early morning. These are my initial impressions. The first two tracks "15 Step" and "Bodysnatchers" are like that time in the morning just before the sun begins to squash the darkness of the night before. Announcing its presence quickly and assuredly, the record feels like the calm ‘after’ a storm. It feels exceptionally bright and airy and lacks the compression of earlier recordings. No heavy chords and little to no guitar strumming, In Rainbows is a record full of empty space. For as much as Kid A revelled in its darker themes this one absolutely sparkles. That is not to say it is a cheery romp. The third song “Nude” makes that clear immediately. The fourth track Weird Fishes/Arpeggi was somewhat familiar since the demo showed up earlier this summer throughout the interweb. The results though, even more captivating this time as the song is fleshed out, the treatment exquisite.
To be continued.
Monday, October 8, 2007
Thanks for the Pepperoni
October Is Eternal - Of Montreal
Be Thankful For What You Got - Yo La Tengo
Thanksgiving Day - Ray Davies
I Thank You - Sam & Dave
I Thank the Lord - Mighty Voices Of Wonder
Thanks for the Killer Game of Crisco Twister – Minus the Bear
Thank You Branch - The Books
Thank You For Sending Me An Angel - Talking Heads
Thank You For Talkin' To Me Africa - Sly & The Family Stone
Cheer Me Up, Thank You - New Buffalo
Thank You Baby – Little Lois Barber
Thank You- McMaster and James
Thanks For The Pepperoni - George Harrison
Thank You Very Much - Kaiser Chiefs
Thanks, But No Thanks - Sparks
Thank You Friends - Big Star
The Thanks I Get - Wilco
You To Thank - Ben Folds
October In the Railroad Earth - Jack Kerouac
Friday, October 5, 2007
The woman, Jammie Thomas, was the first accused infringer to take the Recording Industry Association of America to trial. The association has sued more than 20,000 consumers since 2003, warning them they could face fines of up to $150,000 per song for downloading copyrighted music off the Internet without paying for it. The industry blames such file-sharing for a precipitous sales decline in recent years. Most of the cases have been settled with the consumers paying fines of about $3000 to avoid further litigation. But Thomas insisted she did not download copyrighted songs and make them available for sharing in a folder on the Kazaa peer-to-peer network.
A key ruling during the trial undercut the defendant’s case. U.S. District Judge Michael Davis ruled that the prosecution didn’t have to prove that other Kazaa users downloaded copyrighted files from Thomas’ file. The recording industry merely had to demonstrate that she made them available for sharing.
A 12-person jury deliberated four hours after two days of testimony and ruled that Thomas must pay $9,250 for each of the 24 songs named in the lawsuit, including tracks by Aerosmith, AFI, Green Day, Journey and Guns N’ Roses.
With its wave of lawsuits, the recording industry has taken the unprecedented step of suing its own customers to stem file-sharing. The RIAA says the lawsuits have mitigated illegal sharing, even though music file-sharing is rising overall. The group says the number of households that have used file-sharing programs to download music has risen from 6.9 million monthly in April 2003, before the lawsuits began, to 7.8 million in March 2007. Perhaps more telling though, Big Champagne, a media measurement company, finds that more than 9 million consumers are sharing files at any given moment, up from 3.8 million when the lawsuits began in 2003.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
As I have recently rediscovered, the unbridled anticipation of a ten year old can be a powerful if not affecting force. (Imagine if that energy could be contained. Small villages could be powered sufficiently for years.) But I digress… As was the practice every year, Santa would make an appearance minutes before noon on the last day of school before Christmas break. The paunchy red and white one would dutifully visit each classroom to hand out the aforesaid gifts. Wrestling with an almost “Shakepearian” sense of “to believe, or not to believe” that year I earnestly waited, along with my sugar fueled classmates for the big man to grace our classroom and dispense with the loot. The fact that Santa was wearing the school superintendent’s same gold rimmed metal glasses merely reinforced that sinking feeling tugging at my gut that morning. The usual squeals began as “Superinsanta” dug into his sack of presents and one by one drolly called our names. (Think Principal Skinner with less glitz.) That day, there would be no sitting on knees or long, wish list confessionals; we were in Grade Five after all. Rather, this year only seasonal greetings, a candy cane, and a single wrapped present would be the rule. Efficiency is always cruelest for the young folk, but in the end we all learn to adapt. This time though I was third in when my name called out. Third! Not bad considering the W’s usually suffer unendurable waits for everything otherwise. I made my way to the front of the class to collect my booty. I didn’t look at Santa too closely because I needed this to be real just one more time. “Gold Rims” handed me a small, red and green tissue paper carefully wrapped box shook my index finger and handed me a broken candy cane. The present, weighty in my estimation meant something good. I opened it to find a Hallmark Christmas card box. “Ahhhhhh, the old gift decoy diversion tactic “, I recalled. Without any hesitation I opened that package. I found, much to my ten year old minds delight, a toy revolver inside. This was not the orange plastic fluorescent tipped child-safe guns that you can buy today. This was the real deal; A metal beauty with enough caps to last me until Easter. My pulse quickened as I held the pearl grip and felt the weight of the toy in my hand. This was exciting and the kind of thing my mother wouldn’t let me buy in a million years. Some grade fiver and their mother had clearly done it right.
Agreed, that nothing says Christmas like toy weaponry but when I walked home that afternoon I remember the pure elation I felt from receiving a gift of such substance. Now, despite obvious contemporary violent associations the gift was by no means representative of that. Just the opposite in fact; I remember everything about that day because of that one secret Santa gift. I remember the cold, bracing air of that day and the sound of the snow under my boots; I remember the purplish colour of the sky as the sun began to set on my usual walk home. I remember the smell of smoke coming from the neighbours chimney. I remember it was a perfect day and it set my spirit sailing. A measuring stick by which I would measure the quality of twenty thousand days to come.
If you have stuck with me this long you will no doubt wonder what this has to do with a new cd I received from San Francisco last week. To cut a long review short, this is a “toy revolver in a box” cd. When I listened to this disc it took me back to that perfect day so many years ago. The atmospheric and intimate songs and dialogue that inhabit this recording reminded me of how a person’s intensely personal experiences always become a part of them and how they can resonate within for years and years. They affect you and they change you. Listening to the stories and songs on this disc remind you of your own stories (good or bad) and the listening experience becomes a truly palpable one. In the end the disc is almost entirely familiar because of the way it makes you feel. Listening to this disc is why I remembered my Christmas story and why it affects me to this day.
The Lightning Bug Situation is the nom de plume of San Francisco guitarist and songwriter Brian Miller. His latest album, A Leaf; A Stream is a intensely delicate collection of pop songs ranging in subject from the birth of his daughter (Message to Myself After Franny Was Born) to the death of a beloved family pet (Topher's Last Song). The tunes are interspersed with spoken heartfelt interstitials featuring the voices of his immediate family. A recent review likened the results to a Roger Waters recording were he an indie artist. Accurate to a thematic extent but this one is entirely unique. The results, quite unlike anything else you will hear this year.
A Leaf; A Stream is a well tempered sounding record about life events; things that change you and things that go awry. Miller digs deep to recount the stories of his life and others; sometimes he remembers to laugh and other times he offers only a fuck you. It is through these stories that you remember your own. The effect is wholly one of a kind. If you have followed my reviews you will know that I like to walk and listen to new music. That nights’ walk was profound. Almost in tears twice this recording is affecting and deeply personal.
When so many recordings merely move your feet, this one will move your soul. The songs and stories on A Leaf; A Stream are intensely personal and as a result they breathe life back into your own stories. With unlikely song titles like Iraqi Man and Baby Daughter, 2007 and The Unhappy Robot Version of Me vs. Coldplay, this disc offers a listening experience that is unique and most unforgettable.
I urge you to seek this cd out. It is highly original and deeply moving. High praise perhaps but once in a while one leaves you awestruck and reminds you of that purple sunset thirty years ago.
PPPPP Highly Recommended
Buy A Leaf; A Stream.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Chevalier is a wonderfully rich film, one its director intended to, “play out like a piece of short fiction while Darjeeling would unspool like a novel.” Like most Anderson works, it also features a memorable piece of music, Peter Sarstedt’s “Where Do You Go To My Lovely.” The memorable song leads off the Kinks-filled Darjeeling Limited soundtrack, which you should seek out at all costs. (You must remember how much you loved the Life Aquatic soundtrack.)
Sunday, September 30, 2007
1. As a DRM-free mp3 download, beginning October 10 (and available for preorder now), via www.inrainbows.com . This version contains the 10 tracks that comprise In Rainbows, and you can pay whatever the hell you want for it. This is basically the band leaking the album and asking you for a donation to access it.
2. As part of a deluxe "discbox", available for preorder now and shipping in December. In addition to the 10-track In Rainbows on CD, you also get the release on LP and as a digital download, plus an enhanced bonus CD packed with eight more tracks, photos, and artwork (and an LP of the bonus tracks), plus art and lyrics booklets and some nifty looking packaging. This thing costs £40.00/$81.00.
3. As a traditional CD, available in early 2008. This will presumably cost as much as traditional CDs tend to cost.
What Radiohead is doing here is actually pretty cool. Rather than preface their new album's release with the usual three months of press ballyhoo, only to have it leak at some random time before it comes out, they've kept it completely under wraps, then essentially gone and leaked it themselves. What's more, they've turned this into a moral question of sorts, by giving us the freedom to pay actual money for what amounts to an album leak.
New Radiohead October 10th? (soon).
Friday, September 28, 2007
Leaves Do Fall
Autumn Acid - Aphex Twin
Scatterbrain (As Dead As Leaves) - Radiohead
Spring And By Summer Fall - Blonde Redhead
If You Were Coming In The Fall - Carla Bruni
All the Fallen Leaves - Jim Bryson
Winter Spring Summer Fall - The Postmarks
Rose Hip November - Vashti Bunyan
Maple Leaves [7" Version] - Jens Lekman
Leaves Do Fall - The Rosebuds
Fallen Leaves - Teenage Fanclub
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground - White Stripes
September Gurls – Big Star
Autumn Almanac - The Kinks
Autumn Sweater - Yo La Tengo
Grey Sky Eyes - Carbon Leaf
September - Earth Wind and Fire
September Song - Frank Sinatra
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
London Ontario Live Arts Festival (LOLA) has its second wild and wonderful incarnation starting on Thursday. Over its four-day run, LOLA vows to transform downtown London into a massive public art gallery and concert space.
British artist Brian Eno's generative exhibition 77 Million Paintings is being unveiled Thursday at the Wolf Performance Hall. (Eno is said to be recording with Coldplay and won't be on hand.) Grizzly Bear, Constantines, Basia Bulat, Torngat, Hylozoists, the Acorn, Prefuse 73 and Akron/Family are among the free attractions at Victoria Park. There are also some admission-charging club shows.
(The title is borrowed from the Jim White song of the same name.)
The Long Road - Robert Creeley
Further Down The Road - Whiskeytown
Further On (Up The Road) - Johnny Cash
The Geese Of Beverly Road - The National
The High Road - Bettye LaVette
Road To Emmaus - Rickie Lee Jones
Roll Another Number (For The Road) - Neil Young
Tobacco Road - The Blues Magoos
The Road To Gila Bend - Los Lobos
Ease Down The Road - Bonnie "Prince" Billy
Obligatory Road Song - The Brunettes
Middle Of The Road - Teenage Fanclub
Roads Become Rivers (Rivers Become Oceans - Four Tet Remix) – Rothko
70 Rupies To Paradise Road - Tarwater
Lived On A Dirt Road All My Life – Manitoba (Caribou)
Rocky Road - Alabama Sacred Harp Singers
10 Miles To Go On A 9 Mile Road - Jim White
Six Days On The Road - The Long Ryders
Southwood Plantation Road - The Mountain Goats
Sweet Road - Animal Collective
Thunder Road - Tortoise & Bonnie "Prince" Billy
True Love Travels On A Gravel Road - The Afghan Whigs
Roads Girdle The Globe - XTC
Road To No Regret - Scritti Politti
Visionary Road Maps – Stereolab
Lady Weeping At The Crossroads - Carla Bruni
8 Days On The Road - Howard Tate
Yellow Brick Road - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
On The Road - Tom Waits
File Under: Hey Jack Kerouac, word to your mother!
Sunday, September 16, 2007
On the Road is a dazzling piece of writing for all of its rough edges, and, stripped of affectations that in the novel can sometimes verge on bathos. Gratuitous punctuation, supplied by editors more devoted to rules has made it easier to read but does not do justice to Kerouac’s lyrical bent. The book in all of its versions is the story of a series of cross-country trips made by Kerouac between 1948 and 1950 - "trips" rather than "travels," because they are all about covering ground, whether by hitchhiking, by bus or by car. Essential to the whole enterprise is Kerouac's relationship with Neal Cassady (Dean Moriarty), who is one of the greatest characters in American literature without any need for imaginative tinkering on the part of the author. Therein lies its true beauty. This is America's heart and soul laid bare, the results affecting and pure even fifty years later.
Timeless themes and highly creative, I urge everyone to read this book. It will become a part of you.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Eno, a pioneering musician has had a long career as a visual artist. He has worked with "generative" light compositions in the same way that he has worked with generative music for decades. His visual work has been exhibited in galleries across the world and installations of his latest generative artwork, “77 Million Paintings” will be showing for the first time at LOLA before travelling to the Biennales of both Venice and Milan this year.
Eno’s unique installation features customized software to create literally millions of visual combinations of “visual music”. The paintings are generated from handmade slides that are randomly combined by the computer. The software also processes Eno’s music that accompanies the paintings, in a similar way to the selection of elements and their duration in the piece. They are arbitrarily chosen, forming a virtually infinite number of variations. The result is that having created the seed of the work it becomes unpredictable even to the artist himself and every viewer has a singular experience of the painting.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Cohesive beyond reproach M.I.A.’s frenzied theme suits her lyrics. As well her distinctive vocalization is in top form; three of the album's standout tracks lay bare her creative intent. Songs like "Bird Flu" “Jimmy” and "Boyz”, are also the most aggressive and sonically distinct cuts on the album, and best represent both the album's true soul. These tracks, recorded in studios in the heart of India. "Bird Flu" is a melodic barrage of avian squawks, Pixies sampling and a chaotic ensemble of folk drums. “Jimmy” is straight from Bollywood soundtrack territory, albeit with a more energetic rhythm.
On her previous release Arular various press exploited M.I.A. familial ties as the daughter of a Tamil Tiger rebel. That certainly helped with the badass label, but in the end perhaps it rang a little hollow as an attempt to gain notoriety. Kala achieves this same end without the guns and violence. M.I.A. is the real deal.
File under: Badass and Bollywood
Recommended if you like: Bollywood Soundtracks, Dr. Dre, Diplo
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
The expansive 22-song set features some of R.E.M.'s best songs, including "The One I Love", "Man on the Moon", "Everybody Hurts", "Cuyahoga", "Orange Crush", and "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville". Also included is a previously unreleased cut called "I'm Gonna DJ". (Full set is included below.)
R.E.M. is currently recording a new album with producer Jacknife Lee (U2, Snow Patrol) in Dublin, Ireland. Their recently relaunched remdublin.com chronicles their time in the city.
01 I Took Your Name
02 So Fast, So Numb
03 Boy in the Well
05 Everybody Hurts
06 Electron Blue
07 Bad Day
08 Ascent of Man
09 Great Beyond
10 Leaving New York
11 Orange Crush
12 I Wanted to Be Wrong
13 Final Straw
14 Imitation of Life
15 The One I Love
16 Walk Unafraid
17 Losing My Religion
18 What's the Frequency, Kenneth?
20 (Don't Go Back to) Rockville
21 I'm Gonna DJ [previously unreleased]
22 Man on the Moon
Monday, August 20, 2007
We took the train to Halifax and experienced things we have never seen and done before. It’s all a big blur for now. I’ll leave it to my digital camera to remind me of the details. But for now, a small comfort. In honour of that 40 hour rail experience a new playlist.
Blame It On The Trains - Art Brut
Death Train - A Frames
Soul Train College Policeman - Robert Pollard and Doug Gillard
Trainwreck - The Dirtbombs
The Memphis Train - Rufus Thomas
Can't Ignore the Train - 10,000 Maniacs (For Beth) *Thank you for the suggestion
Happy-Go-Lucky Local (Night Train) - Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery
Blue Train - John Coltrane
It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry - Paul Westerberg
Slow Train - Bob Dylan
On The Evening Train - Johnny Cash
Train in Vain (Stand by Me) - The Clash
The Last Steam Engine Train - John Fahey
Train Song (from Basket of Light) - Pentangle
The Train Song - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Trainspotting - Primal Scream
Moving Like a Train - Herbert
Trains On Top Of The Game (Interlude) - Prefuse 73
I'm Taking The Train Home - The Twilight Sad
Individual Trains - Glenn Kotche
Trains and Boats and Planes - Dan Kibler
Last Of The Steam Powered Trains - The Kinks
Train Kept A Rollin' - Brave New World
Train On The Island - J. P. Nestor