Music Archives (47 posts)

The King Of Limbs

The new Radiohead album, The King Of Limbs is available from their website for just $9. I’m listening to it now and like what I hear so far.

Posted in Music at 1:50 PM

The 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Samples Of All Time

Be prepared to give up at least an hour if you visit Kon + Amir Present: The 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Samples Of All Time

Posted in Music at 3:29 PM

Free iTunes Holiday Sampler

iTunes Holiday Sampler

Apple is offering a free iTunes Holiday Sampler - 20 tracks of holiday music from Aretha Franklin, Sarah McLachlan and more. This offer is only available from the US iTunes Store.

If you live closer to the north pole and use the Canadian iTunes Store you can also take advantage of a free iTunes Holiday Sampler. Instead of 20 tracks you’ll only get 7 free tracks of music.

I’m guessing that the Canadian store only offers 7 tracks because of licensing issues. Having an account at the US iTunes store, even though I’m a Canadian is a bonus - more free music and access to iPhone Apps that aren’t available in Canada (Amazon US, IMDB and Dragon Dictation).

Posted in Music at 9:23 PM

Maximum 40 Garage Band Concert

On Sunday October 18, 2009, Maximum 40 had their first concert. It took place in my garage and it consisted of two covers, 1 drum solo, and a guitar solo/duet/duel.

The band, which got their name from a speed limit sign, played Green Day’s Know Your Enemy and AC/DC’s Thunderstruck to a standing room only crowd (of about 20 people). The band members, Daniel (age 10), Chris (age 11) and David (age 12) have been practicing for 4 weeks, which means they rehearsed about 4 times.

My son plays drums for the band. He’s had 6 drum lessons and wanted a shot at the big time. This band is fearless! To perform in front of anyone after being together for so little time takes a lot of guts. Once you hear them, you’ll know that their audience is just as fearless.

Sadly, the band has decided to put a tour on hold. Instead, they will continue to jam and work on tuning their instruments. If the Green Day cover wasn’t enough for you then you can enjoy their second song, Thunderstruck.

If you still can’t get enough of this band then check out Daniel’s drum solo.

Posted in Music at 5:32 PM

MediaboyMusings Reviews KISS’ Sonic Boom

Drew has a great review of KISS’ latest album, Sonic Boom. He takes you through each song and tells you why it’s good or downright awful.

I laughed out loud when I read this bit about songwriting:

One could never accuse KISS of high minded word craft…lest we forget the band’s gem from 1984’s Animalize album titled “Burn Bitch Burn” with the classic line, “Oh babe, I wanna put my log in your fireplace”.

I guess there is a reason that the band wears face paint, costumes and includes a lot of pyro in their live shows. They don’t want you listening to their lyrics, because it’s the weakest part of their act.

Posted in Music at 7:58 PM

Caught By The F.B.I.

Caught By The F.B.I.

I found these lyrics stuck to the basement wall where my 10-year-old son and his band mates practice. Their first song is called Caught By The F.B.I.. The lyrics that were written by his friend are little harsh but I think they’re awesome. I had a good chuckle when I read them. Call me crazy if you like.

After being to the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame on the weekend and seeing some of Springsteen’s original lyrics, I had to share this.

View the large version.

Posted in Humour and Music at 7:58 PM

Sister Gertrude Morgan

True Blood is one of those television shows that does an outstanding job of finding incredible music for each episode.

At the end of episode 10 (season 2) the music selection is New World In My View by Sister Gertrude Morgan & King Britt and it is a fabulous track. As soon as the show was over I was on iTunes, downloading a copy.

Like Moby, King Britt sampled old gospel tracks and mixed it with his own music to create a sound that I really like. Precious Lord Lead Me On is another great track that you’ll want to hear if you like this type of music.

For more information on the music used in True Blood take a look at True-Blood.net.

Posted in Music and Television at 1:42 AM

No Indy Or Chickenfoot On Display At Best Buy

Yesterday I was at Best Buy to pick up the latest Indianna Jones game for Wii. They advertised that it would be released on June 9. The store I went to didn’t have any copies on display.

I asked one of the salespeople if they had the game. He didn’t know. He asked another salesperson who said the game came in earlier but they were still in the shipping boxes at the back of the store. This was at 5:30 PM!

My son and I looked at these two salespeople. They looked at us with blank stares. I started laughing in disbelief, shook my head and said, “I need one copy”. Why do they call these guys in blue shirts, salespeople?

Five minutes later this salesperson wandered back with one copy in his hand. I guess it was too much work to bring back a few copies of the game and put them on display for the other customers.

I walked over to the music section looking for the new Chickenfoot CD (also advertised). I gave up looking after a few minutes and realized that it was probably hidden in the back of the store.

I went home and bought the Chickenfoot album on iTunes. Now I know why bricks and mortar stores are doomed when it comes to selling music.

Posted in Music and Observations at 9:26 PM

WILCO (the album)

Wilco’s new album titled, WILCO (the album) is now streaming on their website. The album will be in stores on June 30.

Posted in Music at 11:02 PM

Mr. West Has Style

altText

Kanye West and his entourage are a stylin’ bunch. View larger photo.
(Via kottke).

Posted in Music and Photography at 3:31 PM

Chinese Democracy

Album review by Drew Kerr.

Chinese Democracy
Almost 15 years in the making and at a reported cost of $13 million, Chinese Democracy couldn’t possibly carry the weight of expectations which accompanied the album’s release last month, self-imposed as they were by singer Axl Rose’s reluctance to stop tinkering with and tweaking the songs. The man has always been an incredibly talented musician and fascinating personality, which has earned him a significant amount of patience and leeway from fans and critics over the years for his erratic behavior, probably more than he deserved. Chinese Democracy finally seeing the light of day marks the end of what surely must be the longest, strangest arc a music release has ever taken.

With all of the original GNR members long since departed (and plenty of acrimony between the two camps still lingering) the group now is pretty much the Axl Rose Project. An apt equivalent is that Rose is to GNR what Trent Reznor is to Nine Inch Nails — all aspects of the sound and vision of the band begin and end with these individuals. This certainly suits Rose’s narcissistic personality. Interestingly, Rose has been a Reznor fans for years (there are definite NIN influences all over Chinese Democracy) and it’s almost as if the evolution of GNR into an autocratic dictatorship (and no longer, ahem, a democracy) became a self-fulfilling prophecy as soon as the “classic” GNR lineup began to fracture in the early 90’s.

Axl Rose
A number of these songs have been played live by the current GNR incarnation for several years. Combine that with the fact that earlier this year a much publicized online leak of seemingly finished studio versions surfaced and the element of surprise has certainly been somewhat diminished. But a proper beginning-to-end listen of the final product reveals a tremendous artistic accomplishment that evokes many strong reactions, not least of which is how much of a shame it is that someone this gifted can deprive the music world of his talent for so long.

Initial attempts at getting the album proved frustrating, although in an amusing way. A couple of weeks before the official release date the “final retail” version started showing up on file sharing sites. I did plan on buying the CD but my curiosity couldn’t wait any longer and the first few attempts at downloading the album resulted in mp3s where the first track played fine and followed with the rest of the songs “Rickrolling” me about 20 seconds in. Wonderful.

After getting hold of a listenable version it quickly became clear as to some of the reasons for the album’s delay. There are so many nuances and layers to each song that one can envision Axl the perfectionist agonizing over the most minute of details. There is a lot going on here sonically - some might (and have) call it over-production. To fully grasp the complete scope one needs to strap on a good pair of headphones, where the jigsaw arrangements of multi-layered guitars and orchestral flourishes work on most levels. Nearly everything has an epic feel to it. Yes, it’s excessive (would we expect anything less from Rose?)…but it’s brilliant.

The album is bookended by the two strongest songs. The first track (“Chinese Democracy”) is probably the most straightforward rock tune, anchored by a buzzsaw guitar riff and Axl’s unique vocal style (including double layered vocals sung at different octaves). The closing song (“Prostitute”) kicks along on a hip-hop drumbeat and follows a quiet-loud dynamic that eventually dissolves into the last 90 seconds of the track, a beautiful instrumental section that brings the album to a fitting conclusion. It may be the best thing Rose has ever recorded. Other standout tracks include “Better”, “Madagascar” and “Catcher In The Rye”. “Scraped”, “Shackler’s Revenge” and “Riad N’ The Bedouins” showcase Guns at their most aggressive and possibly best illustrates the difference between the old and the new GNR. Techno and industrial elements share space with heavily processed guitar sounds that Slash would never have gone anywhere near. “Street Of Dreams” and “This I Love” follow in the tradition of piano-driven GNR ballads like “November Rain”, with Axl’s Elton John and Freddie Mercury influences on full display. Overall there isn’t one truly bad song in the bunch, which isn’t too much to ask considering how long it took to release this. A curious oddity: Rose gives possibly the oddest vocal delivery of a line I’ve ever heard at :37 of the song “Sorry”, where he affects a foreign accent for some reason.

Chinese Democracy was not worth waiting almost 15 years for (no album is) but it’s probably the next best thing. So much has changed on the music landscape over that time and this album might have been immediately rendered irrelevant or obsolete due to the slow, painful birthing process. But just as the polished Use Your Illusion albums were a forward step from the gritty Appetite For Destruction, so too does this feel like the next logical step in the band’s evolution. The music sounds fresh, exciting and anything but dated.

Posted in Music at 12:05 AM

Let’s give it to ‘em in black and white

I love this clip of Satchmo from the Johnny Cash Show. Oct., 28, 1970. (Via kottke.org)


Posted in Music at 9:29 PM

In Rainbows - From the Basement

Radiohead’s video album In Rainbows - From the Basement is incredible. About an hour ago I downloaded their album from iTunes and I’ve been watching/listening to it ever since. I’m amazed at how many instruments lead singer Thom Yorke plays on various tracks — guitar, piano, drums.

I’m not one to watch music videos but I found myself glued to my screen as Radiohead played 10 tracks from their last album, In Rainbows. The performances are flawless and show how tight the band is when they play live.

It is also interesting to see how the band creates their sound — you get to see who is playing a xylophone or guitar or singing during each song. Very few elements of the music are sampled and most of it is performed live.

At the bargain basement price of $7.99, Radiohead has one of the best video albums I’ve seen to date.

Posted in Music at 11:41 PM

It was the freshest move I’ve ever seen

I think I’ve watched this video about 10 times in the last couple of days. Old school. Cool. Watch it.

Posted in Music at 10:50 PM

It’s been a good week for music releases

I’ve been buried in work and forgot about some major music releases this week. After a visit to iTunes Store I picked up:

  1. Keep It Simple — Van Morrison
  2. Accelerate — R.E.M.
  3. Last Night — Moby

Van, is, sounding, a lot, older, these, days. Nice bluesy album to relax to. R.E.M.’s new album is a bit pricey at $13.99 (16 tracks) when most albums are $9.99 on iTunes. I’ve listened to it once and think it will grow on me the more I play it.

Moby’s latest album is an old school, 80s, toe-tapping, head bopping, club sounding disc that makes me feel old. Despite that I like the album.

Who would have thought that Apple’s iTunes Store would become the top music retailer in the US in under five years? I prefer to shop at iTunes Store because I listen to most of my music on my computer while I work.

I have a large CD collection but they take up a lot of space. Just ask my wife. CDs get dusty. The jewel cases break. The discs scratch sometimes go missing when you lend them to friends. My digital music collection is easy to find, takes up very little physical space and costs less.

Posted in Music at 11:07 PM

Amusing Keith Richards Interview

GQ magaznine has an amusing interview with Keith Richards — THE GQ&A: KEITH RICHARDS.

I love that interviewer Michael Hainey includes this tidbit at the beginning of his interview:

Excuse me, reader, but I’d be remiss if I did not interrupt here to tell you briefly about how Keith speaks. It’s not speaking, actually. Or at least not what you think of as speaking. It’s more of a slur-mumble. Words run together and then get coated in cigarette smoke and that thick accent. It makes you wish he provided his own subtitles. I mean, when I transcribed the tapes from this interview, I had to listen to each sentence maybe three times to decode it.

The interview is conducted at Keith’s office in Soho where a lot of bizarre stories and bits of information are revealed — Richards and Jagger used to steal each other’s “bitches”, Keith uses a knife to hold his pants up, cuts his own hair and wears women’s clothing. (Via kottke.org)

Posted in Music at 9:32 PM

Music industry needs to get creative

Last week I wrote about the struggling music industry in Canada. Today, the top executives in the industry met in New York for Digital Music Forum East where everyone is trying to figure where things are heading.

The music industry has changed a lot in the last 10 years and nobody seems to know where it is going except that Music 1.0 is dead. Sales are down and DRM on purchased music isn’t working so what’s next?

Flat rate pricing might be the way to go but forcing ISPs to tax their customers as The Songwriters Association of Canada suggested is not the way to go. The music industry needs to get “wildly creative with new business models”.

My guess is that whatever solution the industry comes up with, it will probably be used by other digital mediums — television, film and possibly books. The distribution of entertainment has been turned on its head the more digital it becomes. It will be interesting to see how things get resolved. I think that some variant of DRM on purchased music and video is the answer. Time will tell.

Posted in Music at 4:46 PM

Canadian music industry wants a handout

The Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) wants Canadian ISPs to tax their customer an additional $5/month to save the failing music industry. The SAC wants to make it legal to share music on peer-to-peer file sharing networks so long as they can tax us. The estimated $500 - $900 million they would collect every year would go to Canadian songwriters, music publishers, record labels and artists.

Does anyone think this proposal is ridiculous?

The SAC argues that:

  • CD sales are down 35 per cent in Canada
  • Torrents represent about $1.6 billion in lost revenue
  • Only 2% of downloads are actually purchased via iTunes or other online services

I don’t doubt any of this information but is taxing Canadians $5 per month going to solve anything? The SAC is dreaming and needs and needs a dose of reality.

The iPod Tax

Canadians already pay an additional tax on rewritable CDs and cassettes. Just last month, the Canadian Copyright Board tried to push through an iPod tax that was rejected by the Federal Court of Appeal. Opponents to the proposed tax argued that it assumed all Canadian consumers were guilty of breaking copyright laws if they were purchasing an iPod or removable storage.

CTV.ca reported on the ruling back in January:

The proposed levies included a $2 tax on 1 GB removable electronic memory cards, $5 tax on digital audio players no more than 1 GB and an extra $75 on digital audio players more than 30 GBs.

What about the people that still pay for their music? Not to sound self-righteous but I actually purchase all of my music from iTunes unless they don’t sell the song I’m looking for. Is it fair to penalize a senior citizen like my father that pays for Internet service and doesn’t download music?

Movies and software

What about illegal movie downloads? I wonder if the SAC thinks the Canadian film industry should get a $5/month from every Canadian home. Should the Canadian software industry be allowed to collect $5/month off my ISP bill? What about American songwriters

The SAC are a bunch of morons to think their proposal would ever be taken seriously. There are too many groups that would be looking for a $5 handout if the SAC received one. Thankfully, our government isn’t dumb enough to fall for this scam.

Instead of begging for money and feeling sorry for itself, the music industry should work on a new revenue model. For years they ignored the online distribution model when they should have embraced it. Now they’re paying the price.

Posted in Music at 3:14 PM

Flashing Lights

Film Junk has the music video for Kanye West’s latest single, Flashing Lights. At 2 minutes 47 seconds it’s short. The whole thing consists of 3 shots.

Spike Jonze co-directed this video which means that it is a little, different. I didn’t care much for the song Flashing Lights but having watched the video a few times, I can’t get the song out of my head.

There is a lot of buzz about the video. It ends abruptly. People want to know what it means. They want to know why Kanye is in the trunk of Mustang. A lot of questions and a lot of buzz add up to a great video in my books.

Posted in Movies and Music at 9:33 PM

Amy Winehouse should get her act together

Yesterday Keith Richards had some advice for singer Amy Winehouse who recently entered rehab:

She should get her act together… Apart from that, I have got nothing to say to the b****.

It must be nice, being a senior citizen and saying whatever you like. Seriously, I never listened to any of Amy Winehouse’s music until last Friday and I was impressed.

She’s only 24 years old and has a killer voice. If she can clean up her act and stay off the crack cocaine then she’s got a promising career ahead of her. A few hours ago she won five Grammy awards.

Get your act together Amy and stay off the crack!

Posted in Music at 2:52 AM

The Jack

The family was in the car listening to a local radio station. The song that was playing was The Jack by AC/DC.

I don’t think anybody was listening too closely to the lyrics (which was a good thing). As Bon Scott sang the chorus,

She’s got the Jack
She’s got the Jack…

8-year-old Daniel decided to add his own lyrics,

She’s got the Jack-pot
She’s got the Jack-pot…

This led to all of us singing,

She’s got the Jack-pot
She’s got the Jack Frost
She’s got the Jack and the beanstalk
She’s got the Jack Black…

Sometimes it’s better when you don’t know what a song like The Jack is really about when you start adding your own lyrics with your children. Ignorance is bliss.

Posted in Music at 10:41 PM

Top 100 Albums of 2007

The year end lists have started. Paste Magazine has published their Top 100 Albums of 2007. Here are the top 10:

  1. The National - Boxer
  2. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
  3. Bruce Springsteen - Magic
  4. The White Stripes - Icky Thump
  5. Feist - The Reminder
  6. M.I.A. - Kala
  7. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
  8. Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
  9. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
  10. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd’s Dog

I purchased 4 of the albums in the top 10 and have to say that Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky is my favourite of the year. Every track on the disc is solid — their best album to date.

Posted in Music at 8:04 PM

Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll (1987)

Taylor Hackford directed the Ray Charles biopic, Ray (2004) but have you seen his 1987 film Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll (1987)? I’m not a huge fan of Chuck Berry but I couldn’t resist watching this documentary when I learned that Keith Richards put together a group of musicians (Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Julian Lennon and Etta James) to celebrate Chuck Berry’s 60th birthday.

The film leads up to a celebratory concert at St. Louis’ Fox Theatre. The rehearsals leading up to this concert are great. One of the best scenes has Berry insisting that Ketih Richards play a note correctly. Richards keeps flubbing the note and Berry makes him play it again and again.

The film shows why Berry is credited with being the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. He’s a musical genius, an innovator and a very savvy businessman. His musical creativity and playing ability is incredible. Even at the age of 60 he was doing his trademark ‘duck walk’ around Linda Ronstadt.

He can be very unpredictable — changing the key of a song at the last minute, or going on stage without a set list and just going for it. Don’t turn the tables on him though. When Taylor Hackford tried to ask him about his time in jail, Berry got angry and refused to answer the question. It wasn’t one of the scripted questions that he prepared for.

I was surprised to see Berry driving himself to and from his own shows. He insists on taking care of business before playing and always fulfills a contract. If he gets paid to play 12 songs, he plays 12 songs. Nothing more, nothing less.

Hackford does an excellent job at helping the viewer appreciate what Chuck Berry has done for American music and how important he is when it comes to the origins of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

I couldn’t help noticing the physical similarities between Snoop Dogg and Chuck Berry but that’s another blog entry.

Chuck Berry turned 81 on October 18 and is still performing around the world.

Posted in DVD Reviews and Music at 2:08 AM

Factory: Manchester from Joy Division to Happy Mondays (2007)

All of a sudden, Joy Division and Manchester are popular again. With the release of 2 films about Joy Division and a fabulous documentary from BBC Four, Manchester From Joy Division to Happy Mondays provides a great history lesson of an interesting period in British music.

If you’ve seen 24 Hour Party People (2002) then you have some idea of what all the fuss is about. Steve Coogan does an incredible job of portraying Tony Wilson — founder/manager of The Haçienda nightclub and one of the founders of Factory Records. In the BBC Four documentary he is featured prominently. I was surprised to read that he died on August 10, 2007 of renal cancer.

Manchester from Joy Division to Happy Mondays has some incredible interviews with Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Vini Reilly (who looks worse than Phil Spector) of The Durutti Column and more. There is some great footage of Joy Division and the early days at Factory Records. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t get enough of this film.

Posted in Movie Reviews and Music at 1:43 AM

Springsteen concert at the ACC in Toronto

I go to maybe one concert a year. For the second time in less than a week I was back at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. This time, it was to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

The concert was amazing—better than the Van Halen reunion I saw a few nights before. The crowd was much more enthusiastic and the atmosphere was electric. Not many bands can release a new album and have an entire arena singing the new songs, word for word.

The show was a sonic barrage of E Street sound that was thundering but balanced enough that it didn’t wash out the harmonies of Little Steven or Patti Scialfa. The music lasted about 140 minutes and just kept coming. Max Weinberg would play drum rolls between songs while Springsteen and other band members quickly changed guitars before launching into another song.

The band was dressed in black which I didn’t really notice until they took a bow at the end. Maybe this was a reflection of America’s ‘dark times’ that Springsteen keeps referring to in recent interviews. His latest album, Magic is anti-war and has been called unpatriotic by a lot of critics. In a recent interview on 60 Minutes, Bruce had this say in response to the negative press:

When people think of the American identity, they don’t think of torture. They don’t think of illegal wiretapping. They don’t think of voter suppression. They don’t think of no habeas corpus. No right to a lawyer … you know. Those are things that are anti-American.

Politics aside, the concert was fabulous. 58-year-old Springsteen didn’t do his famous knee slide across the stage and sax player Clarence Clemons rested on a chair between songs but the music was excellent. Springsteen’s voice sounded pitch-perfect. The band sounded crisp and even managed to create some dynamics in the songs—not everything was played with the sound turned up to 11 on the amps.

Drew

The complete set list for the Toronto show is on brucespringsteen.net and there is some video of the Ottawa show from Sunday night. Oh, and if you look closely on the left side of the screen you’ll see my brother Drew in the front row. I don’t how he does it but he always has great seats.

Posted in Music at 9:37 AM

Ice Cream Man

My ears are ringing and I can’t get the song Ice Cream Man, out of my head. I just got back from the Van Halen concert at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto and loved it.

I wished I’d seen David Lee Roth with Van Halen when I was in grade 11. Who’d have thought that I’d get a chance to see Diamond Dave perform with Van Halen, 20 years later? Dave doesn’t jump as high as he did 20 years ago and if he did the splits, they’d probably have to end the tour but the concert was still great.

16-year-old Wolfgang Van Halen was solid on the bass, replacing Michael Anthony. Alex Van Halen is still doing drum solos. Someone should tell him that nobody does drum a solos any more, that they’re un-cool. And Eddie is still doing the same ol’ guitar solos that he’s always done. Some things never change.

I got good lemonade, ah, dixie cups
All flavors and push ups too
I’m your ice cream man, stop me when Im passin by
See now all my flavors are guaranteed to satisfy…

Posted in Music at 12:05 AM

HMV UNDERGROUND

HMV UNDERGROUND has a viral marketing campaign/contest on right now where you can win some great prizes. One of them is Gibson Les Paul signed by Slash from Velvet Revolver.

To enter the contest you need to go to hmvunderground.ca and enter the password below:

Cat Scratch

Good luck and let me know if you win anything.

Posted in Music at 12:51 PM

Libertad

Libertad
Somehow I missed the July release of Libertad, the second album from Velvet Revolver. Great album. It’s nice to hear Slash playing again

Favourite track: Gravedancer

Does anyone know why the band did a cover of ELO’s Can’t Get It Out of My Head or the Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer? Odd choices, otherwise the album is pretty solid and will fill a void for old Guns N’ Roses fans that are waiting for Axl Rose to find his marbles.

Posted in Music at 3:32 AM

Sky Blue Sky

Sky Chase
I’m enjoying the latest Wilco album/disc (or iTunes download in my case) — Sky Blue Sky. I also like that the band chose to use Manuel Presti’s photograph Sky Chase for the album cover of Sky Blue Sky.

The peregrine falcon swooping into a flock of starlings over Rome was chosen as the best photo out of 17,000 and gave Presti the 2005 Wildlife Photographer of the Year award.

Posted in Music and Photography at 3:32 PM

Bloody Chickentown

If you watched The Sopranos on Sunday night then you might be wondering who performed the song that played over the last scene and the credits. Evidently Chickentown is the name of the song and it was performed by punk-poet John Cooper Clarke.

Evidently Chickentown is from Clarke’s 1980 album Snap, Crackle & Bop. Clarke raps over some drums to create a dark, haunting song that was ahead of its time. The music works perfectly with the tone of the latest Sopranos episode.

I’m always amazed how David Chase and the show’s producers manage to come up with some obscure piece of music that blends perfectly with a particular scene. Reuters says that the show “will be remembered as the series that had the best music in the history of TV”.

More info on John Cooper Clarke:

johncooperclarke.com
myspace.com/johncooperclarke

Posted in Music and Television at 10:29 AM

Apple iPod Hi-Fi

My brother Drew recently purchased an Apple iPod Hi-Fi. Below is his review of the product.

Apple iPod Hi-Fi

The iPod Hi-Fi is pretty impressive. I’m not sure if you’ve seen one up close but it’s about the size of a small toolbox, pretty heavy and similar to a Bose system in that the only real buttons on it are for volume.

The remote control is pretty cool… it’s slightly smaller than the actual iPod Nano and it lets you adjust the volume, skip or fast forward tracks and pause. One neat thing is that there’s a Speaker option added to the iPod’s main menu when you put it in the dock, letting you boost the bass (or minimize it). It’s just a little more accessible than going to the iPod’s EQ menu via the Settings selection.

Interestingly, the dock adapter for the Nano that came in the box didn’t seem to work. There are about 8 or 9 different adapters but the Nano one won’t let me put the player in the dock because it seems a little off centre. I went online to check this out and read feedback from a couple other people who had the same problem. I ended up having to use the adapter that came in the Nano box and it works fine.

The sound on this thing is awesome. Amazing bass and really loud.

One thing that Future Shop screwed me on was not including the $20 iTunes card that was supposed to be part of the deal. Guess I’ll have to follow up with them on it.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the purchase.

Posted in Apple and Home Theatre and Music at 11:04 AM

Web Guitar Wizard Revealed at Last

Earlier in the year, somebody posted a video to YouTube called guitar. It’s an incredible cover of Pachelbel’s Canon by an unknown guitarist. The New York Times tracked down the guy in the video and did a story on him called Web Guitar Wizard Revealed at Last.

Posted in Music at 11:10 AM

50 Cent Mac

Steve Jobs is trying to work out a deal with rap star 50 Cent to produce a line of affordable Macs. The target audience would be inner-city residents. I thought this affordable machine was called the Mac mini?

I’d love to know how Apple is going to brand this machine. 50 Cent Mac? Mac Daddy? Ghetto Mac? Fully story here.

Posted in Apple and Music at 11:20 AM

Why are concert ticket prices so high?

In the last 10 years, concert ticket prices have skyrocketed. If you want to see Eric Clapton in Toronto it will cost you $125. Elton John in Vancouver? $149.50. Even a ticket to see Tom Jones will set you back $140 (although you would need your head examined if you paid this). So what happened?

In 2002, David Bowie was quoted in the NY Times saying that music downloading has cut into the revenue stream of musicians. No surprise there but it has forced musicians to find other ways to make money. The solution? Tour like crazy and charge as much as the market will bear.

I would be surprised if Elton John made any money on his last album — Peachtree Road (2004). I would be even more surprised if he was losing money from illegal downloads of this album. The point is, Elton John is always on tour. Tom Jones is always on tour. The Rolling Stones tour, tour, tour.

If people are going to pay over $100 for a concert ticket then these bands and musicians will continue to perform live, even if they don’t have any new material to play. The ticket prices will continue to rise until people get fed up and stop coming to shows. Then the music industry will blame poor attendance on concert DVDs and home theatres.

Posted in Music at 10:53 AM

80s music videos

YouTube has 80s music videos. Lots of them.

A website called Milinkito has a huge list of links to these videos. Bored? Take a break and check out some videos you probably haven’t seen in 20 years.

Posted in Music and Web at 10:38 AM

Let’s impeach the President

Aging Canadian rocker, Neil Young, lives in America the beautiful but he’s not very happy there these days. It seems as though Dubya’s bumbling has upset Neil a little bit.

How do I know all of this? Just a guess after listening to his latest song, Let’s impeach the President.

Let’s impeach the President for lyin’
And misleading our country into war
Abusing all the power that we gave him
And shipping all our money out the door

Who’s the man who hired all the criminals?
The White House shadows who hide behind closed doors
They bend the facts to fit with their new story
Of why we had to send our men to war

Let’s impeach the President for spyin’
On citizens inside their own homes
Breaking every law in the country
Tapping our computers and telephones

What if Al-Qaeda blew up the levees
Would New Orleans have been safer that way
Sheltered by our government’s protection
Or was someone just not home that day?

Flip…Flop
Flip…Flop
Flip…Flop
Flip…Flop
Flip…Flop
Flip…Flop
Flip…Flop
Flip…Flop

Let’s impeach the President for hijacking
Our religion and using it to get elected
Dividing our country into colors
And still leaving black people neglected

Thank God he’s cracking down on steroids
Since he sold his old baseball team
There’s lots of people looking at big trouble
But of course our President is clean

Thank God

Posted in Music at 11:21 PM

Revolver (Original Soundtrack)

A couple of days ago I purchased the soundtrack to Thumbsucker from iTunes. This morning I was poking around the Soundtrack section on iTunes and noticed that Revolver was released over a week ago.

Revolver is Guy Ritchie’s latest film that I saw at the Toronto International Film Festival. It doesn’t get a North American release until next January but you can enjoy the original soundtrack from iTunes.

Posted in Movies and Music at 9:48 AM

SABADABADA

SABADABADA is a site full of Bossa Nova, Balanco and Samba music from the 1960s. Music can be downloaded in MP3 format. There is some cool stuff in here.

There is also a tonne of cover art from this period which I find inspiring when it comes to a lot of design projects. I often look at cover art and ads from the 1960s for inspiration in my design projects.

Posted in Music at 9:13 PM

My Doorbell

I can’t get My Doorbell out of my head. I heard this song from The White Stripes’ new album on the radio yesterday, downloaded a copy from iTunes and have been playing it ever since.

I’m not really a fan of the band but this song is great. Give it a listen.

Posted in Music at 2:16 PM

X & Y

I downloaded the latest Coldplay disc from iTunes this morning and have been listening to it on and off throughout the day at work. I feel like a 36-year-old yuppy that only listens to British pop for posting about this but the album is good. Pretty much what I would expect.

This is the first disc I’ve downloaded from iTunes that has a digital booklet and video interview that is part of the album download. My only complaint is that it would be nicer if the booklet actually printed out smaller so that it fit into a CD jewel case.

Posted in Music at 11:14 PM

They Sold Me Out

Sold me out for a few shekels and divided up my robes
They sold me out
It’s the oldest story that’s ever been told
They sold me out
Didn’t even give it no shred of doubt, no, no
They sold me out
Didn’t even sit down and try to figure it out
They just sold me out

For the few shekels more, they didn’t even think twice
For a few shekels more, another minute in the spotlight

My own people did it to me just ‘cos they could
They sold me out
So beware brother it could happen to you
For the few shekels more, they didn’t even think twice
Just for a few shekels more, another minute of two in the spotlight

My own people did it to me just ‘cos they could
They sold me out
Got to beware brother it just might happen to you
They sold me out
Sold me out for a few shekels and they divided up my robes
They sold me out
It’s the oldest story that’s ever been told
They sold me out
Sold me out for a few shekels and divided out my robes
They sold me out
It’s the oldest story that’s ever been known
They sold me out
They sold me out
They sold me out
They sold me out

— Van Morrison

I’m listening to this song off the new Van Morrison album—Magic Time. The simplicity of the music reminds me of U2’s “In A Little While”. The spriritual tone of the lyrics is pretty clear. It’s the type of song that I can play 10 times in a row and never tire of it.

Posted in Music at 10:45 AM

New music

A lot of great CDs have been released in the last couple of months. Lately, I’ve been purchasing my music through iTunes Music Store. Yeah, I actually prefer to buy my music rather than steal it. I must be getting old.

I listen to 90% of my music at my desk while I work. iTunes is constantly shuffling through the 19 GB of songs on my G5. So what new music have I been listening to lately?

Magic Time—Van Morrison

I picked this up today at Future Shop. I’m listening to it now and think its great. Van is my favourite musician—a true artist. I started really listening to him in 1990 when he released the album Enlightenment.

The Forgotten Arm—Aimee Mann

I listened to The Forgotten Arm via QuickTime about three times in a row then I went out and bought it. The album is catchy with no filler. The artwork on the CD is beautifully done. I’m glad I bought the disc instead of downloading it.

Guero—Beck

Beck is back. His last album, Sea Change was pretty depressing. This album is a lot of fun, innovative and addictive. Beck refuses to conform to a popstar mold that is predictable and ultimately boring. This is easily the best album of the year in my opinion.

Devils & Dust—Bruce Springsteen

Just Bruce and a guitar. Mellow, great songwriting and moody. The lyrics in “Reno” through me for a loop. I’ll let you figure it out if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Solid album. I never cared much for Springsteen until the last five years. I think the guy is a genius.

Make Believe—Weezer

Catchy. Fun. I wouldn’t say this album is stellar but if you like any of their earlier stuff, you’ll enjoy their latest disc.

Martha Wainwright—Martha Wainwright

I purchased this one on iTunes for Lissa. It grows on you after you listen to a few times. On the mellow side and nice to work to. Track 9 is my favourite.

Hotel—Moby

Not as good as Play but still a good album. The cover of New Order’s “Temptation” is nice. The second disc of instrumental music doesn’t do much for me. I watched the video for “Beautiful” on iTunes the other day and I think the little man with funky glasses has lost it. I still like his music.

Posted in Music at 3:17 PM

Guero on iTunes

I’ve been reading all of the reviews of Beck’s latest CD and they’re all good. I’ve been looking forward to getting his latest disc for a while now but wait! There are two.

The regular CD costs $12.99 and then there is a deluxe DVD version that has a second bonus disc of remixes, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, videos , a book and on and on. Do I reall want to spend $31.99 for an audio CD?

I never listen to audio only CDs in my home theatre. I spend most of my time listening to music at my computer or on my iPod. It would be nice to have the jewel case with liner notes but I have hundreds of CDs crowding my house and office.

iTunes. I can download Guero for $9.99. I could download 3 albums or 3 songs for the cost of one deluxe Beck DVD.

I downloaded Guero, saved a bunch of money and have listened to the album about 3 times today.

Posted in Music at 5:17 PM

How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

Below is a mini-review of U2’s latest album from my brother Drew:

I think it has the potential to rank on par (with me anyway) with ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’, which I loved. And after I hear this stuff live and accumulate as many bootlegs as I did from their last tour, getting repeated exposure to the songs, it might even surpass ‘ATYCLB’. One of the lingering impressions from seeing the band a couple times on the last tour and hearing a lot of boots was how well the new material translated live and was received by the fans. I can’t think of many other bands 20+ years into their career who would do 7 or 8 new songs every show. And I guarantee they’ll be doing at least that many this upcoming tour.
Of the 11 songs on the album it’s the one track which every review seems to praise that I don’t care for that much - “Love And Peace Or Else”. Of the other 10 tracks I’d say about 3 blow me away (“Vertigo”, “Miracle Drug”, Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own”), 6 are excellent (“City Of Blinding Lights”, “All Because Of You”, “A Man And A Woman”, “Crumbs From Your Table”, “Original Of The Species” and “Yahweh”) and the other one is merely good (“One Step Closer”).
I think it’s cool that a veteran band like them can get played on top 40 radio and (although I hate the expression) be relevant to a younger generation.

Posted in Music at 8:09 PM

How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

I’ve been listening to the latest U2 album and my intitial reaction is disappointment. There was a lot of hype surrounding this latest disc, that it was going to be their best album to date, blah, blah, blah.

I’m sure that with time that I’ll like this album a little more. I picked it up for $13.99 at Future Shop and noticed that there was a special edition package for $40 that included a small book and DVD with the album. Huh? I received the DVD with my $14 disc. Am I missing something here or is that tiny book really worth $26?

Posted in Music at 7:24 PM

Sammy And Dave Have Left The Tour

How is this for comical. Yesterday my brother, myself, and his friend drove 3.5 hours from Toronto to Six Flags Darien Lake, just outside of Buffalo. We were looking forward to seeing David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, former lead singers of Van Halen perform. This could be our last chance to see any semblance of Van Halen perform again (the band is currently looking for a lead singer and it’s doubtful that they’ll ever put out a new album). Our tickets were 13 rows from the stage—my brother Drew scored some great seats.

We went to the guest services window to pick up our tickets when I noticed a sign that read SHOW CANCELLED. I started to laugh in disbelief. It turns out that Sammy Hagar was ‘sick’ and the rest of the tour has been cancelled. That’s funny, Sammy and Dave were at the MTV Video Awards as presenters. Sammy looked and sounded fine. My brother Drew, was not amused. To top it off he forgot his sandals in the parking lot at Darien Lake.

On the way back to Canada, the customs officer asked if we purchased anything while in the US. We honestly declared a package of cigars ($2.49 USD) and a bottle of wine from the Duty-Free Shop ($10 USD). I know, we don’t sound like your typical Van Halen fans. We were told to pull over and visit the customs office.

You have to be in the US for more than 48 hours before you can bring anything back into Canada, duty-free (Americans only have to be in Canada for more than 24 hours before they can bring back items duty-free). What a drag. The little punk behind the counter declared that the duty on my $3 package of cigars was $10 CDN. The duty on the bottle of wine was $20 CDN. I asked him if he was kidding. Twice. He sort of smirked and said we could return the items for a refund or abandon them and be on our way. We already wasted a day and a tank of gas. We opted for the refund

Posted in Music at 12:28 AM

Gene Simmons and Drew

Oh brother. My brother Drew went to see Gene Simmons of KISS at his recent book signing, here in Toronto. Simmons’ autobiography is titled, KISS and Make-up.

Gene Simmons and Drew Kerr

Gene is the guy who looks thrilled to be having his picture taken on the left. Drew is the guy on the right who looks like he just met the ‘God of Thunder’.

Posted in Music at 8:40 PM