Thursday, May 28, 2009

Musical updates!

Firstly, "Everything sounds better autotuned"

Indeed we are on very thin ice, since it's...

Summer! Bright lights, warm breezes, long days. That means a couple of things...

Festival season -- In Vancouver, we have the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. It's happening July 17-19 at Jericho Beach. After a long string of years of being really boring and mundane with the performers' lineup, this year we're seeing a change after a change in I believe the musical director. A short sample of artists I'm excited about:
Basia Bulat, The Weakerthans, Dan Mangan, Great Lake Swimmers, Rock Plaza Central, Steven Page (of ex-BNL fame), Iron & Wine, The Proclaimers...
Early bird tickets are available until June 12th.

In Edmonton, their folk fest has an incredibly enviably awesome lineup. If anyone reading this from the Metro Vancouver region is interested in going, holler at your girl!
Short list: Jill Barber, Neko Case, Joel Plaskett, Kathleen Edwards, Danny Michel..., also many of the artists from the VanFolkFest. Complete list here. Tickets go on sale June 1st.

And in Calgary, it's just nuts. Sled Island Festival is selling out before the schedule is even announced. Now that's good reputation.

In other news,

the wonderful Arkells got banned FOR LIFE (4 lyfe?!) from a club from their hometown Hamilton for trying to get in through the back door. Related news, club in Hamilton has bad business sense.

also, they would like you to know that "Unlike Billy Bob, we were very polite when we went on CBC radio program Q with Jian Ghomeshi."

"I've yet to witness much forgiveness in this business" -- indeed.

Joel Plaskett and Peter Elkas make beautiful music together. Sigh. Dreamy. The single is called "Poor Young Things." To be fair, I haven't heard it yet and cannot yet vouch for its degree of dreaminess.

Speaking of Joel Plaskett, three reviews of his Three tour on NxEW. Mine, Amanda Putz's, and Rockstar Aimz's. Overwhelmingly positive.

Hey Ocean! wants you to design a T-shirt for them!

Shad, Brasstronaut and Twin Castles play benefit show for funding community arts programs in East Vancouver. $1 parking lot BBQ!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Who Should Win Polaris?

RE: NxEW's poll!

I'm always tentative to answer these questions, especially since I feel like I have to listen to every single Canadian album released before I can put forward an opinion. And gosh, win? I'm still trying to establish a short list. But I'm just going to put myself out there and vouch for a couple of albums that I've loved this past year. If you've even scanned briefly through this blog, you'll notice that most of these choices have already been mentioned to death, so I'll keep my nominations short.

Metric "Fantasies"
I agree they don't need the recognition, but the album is astounding and deserves any that goes its way.

Joel Plaskett "Three"
IMO it doesn't take even his live performances to hear his skills in stringing concepts and themes throughout his ambitious, thoroughly enjoyable and consistent triple (!!!) record. But, his show definitely sealed the deal for me.

Mother Mother "O My Heart"
Vancouver love!

K'naan "Troubadour"
Generally not a huge fan of hip hop. This was an excellent album though.

Arkells "Jackson Square"
Although I love this album, it wasn't as consistently strong as the others I've mentioned...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Polaris Music Prize 2009

i.e. Some damn worthy recognition, unlike some awards.

The Polaris Music Prize is a not-for-profit organization that annually honours, celebrates and rewards creativity and diversity in Canadian recorded music by recognizing, then marketing the albums of the highest artistic integrity, without regard to musical genre, professional affiliation, or sales history, as judged by a panel of selected music critics.

The Long List of 40 titles will be announced June 15.
The Short List of 10 nominees will be revealed at a July 7 media conference in Toronto.
This year’s gala will be held on Monday, September 21 at a Toronto location to be announced.

The Long List and Short List are determined by an independent jury of 190 Canadian music journalists, broadcasters and music bloggers from across Canada. Eleven people are selected from the larger jury pool to serve on the grand jury. The grand jury will convene the night of the 21st during the gala to select the 2009 Polaris Music Prize winner.

The eligibility period for the 2009 Polaris Music Prize runs from June 1, 2008 to May 31, 2009.

Follow Polaris Music Prize on Twitter and MySpace.
For more details, go to my blog post on NxEW.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Emily Haines dissects Fantasies track by track

From Drowned In Sound

Some of my favorite exerpts:

'Satellite Mind'
This song was inspired by some paranormal events in my life. Jimmy sent me the track when I was in Los Angeles for the funeral of a friend, an occasion that was filled with eerie David Lynch moments. I found myself asking the question, "How can you protect your privacy from invasive ghosts?"

'Stadium Love'
Imagine an apocalyptic Noah's Ark transplanted to the Thunderdome, with animals of every stripe fighting for their lives for the entertainment of the human race. We are at the point on this planet where the line between spectator and participant is not just blurred, it has disappeared completely. Everything we do is part of the "show", none of us have the option of sitting out a round. The natural world used to be something we thought we could exploit for our pleasure forever but those days are gone. The natural world is fighting back, and the natural world will win.

Fantasies, on an aside, is also a fantastic album to listen (and mock perform) to in the shower. Just putting it out there.

Thank God for CBC Radio 3

And their technologies on the internets, which makes this possible:

Joel Plaskett live in Moncton, NB at the Capitol Theatre

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mother Mother in studio

Until the Peak posts this video up on Youtube, I'll have to just link it for you. Mother Mother performs Wrecking Ball and Arms Tonite from their latest album O My Heart in studio for Mother Mothers' day.

Here's a little bet: if you're still not in love with their music after these 9 minutes of quirky compositions, playful lyrics and tight harmonies, give me your address and I'll Fedex a box of Q-tips to you. For Free. So you can clean your ears thoroughly and try again ;)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Music to look into

to get (albums):
K'naan - the dusty foot philosopher (C)

started (own album/several songs):
Matt Mays (C)
Mother Mother (C)
Metric (C)
Howie Beck (C)

own one or two singles:
Jason Collett (C)
Charles Spearin (C)
Corb Lund (C)
Franz Ferdinand (catchier than herpes)
Royal Wood (C)
Doug Paisley (C)
Dan Mangan (C)
New Pornographers (C)
Shad (C)

have on podcast/heard on peak/CBC R3:
Two Hours Traffic (C)
Sloan (C)
The Handsome Furs (/Wolf Parade) (C)
The Bicycles (C)
Julie Doiron (C)
Peter Elkas (C)

minimal knowledge/contact:
Thrush Hermit (C)
Plants and Animals (C)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

This entry is all about Joel Plaskett

Last night is now the standard; any shows that come after this point have a hell of a high bar to reach. Each musician was distinguished in their own right and each shared the spotlight. There was no ego, just a lot of laughs (some during songs), a lot of singing and impromptu clapping from the audience, a lot of talent, and a lot of love and mutual admiration.

Highlights-- there were so many, here's an incomplete list:
Work Out Fine: "Help me out here--" crowd: "WHAT THE FUCK?!" "They're trying to turn me into a patsy!"
Bill Plaskett's Places: A lovely song written while Papa Plaskett was living in Vancouver about his life here. I never knew that he was the one harmonizing on a couple of the tracks. His voice is more baritone to Joel's tenor. His voice is deep, thick and lovely. I sincerely wish that this song will one day be released.
All The Way Down The Line: Joel and Ana had amazing chemistry and seeing it live made an amazing song simple ineffibly lovely.
Fashionable People: for encore-- I didn't think they could pull it off acoustically but it was a heck of a lot of fun!
A 3 set show: well, it was technically only 2 sets with an intermission in between, but the encore was 4 songs long so it was practically a mini-set. Much better than the "3 more!!!" that I yelled :)
2 standing ovations!

Grabbed the chicken-scratched custom Vancouver lyrics:

" Staring at a western sky
Rolling down the Rockies road
After a 14 hour drive
I only wanna be in vogue
Thinkin' bout my love back home
Thinkin' bout my country
Think I'll sing a little song "

Ana Egge
Rose Cousins
Bill Plaskett
More pics from the show (as well as a couple of Immaculate Machine's CD release the night before)

This entry is all about Sam Roberts

Interview at NPR : in 2006
The Sam Roberts Sessions on World Cafe

What I learned from meeting him:
you can only objectify someone when you've some distance from them.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Drowning in it

A brief update on what my musical life is like right now: a bit overwhelming.

1) I have not been able to fit all my music on my iPod (my poor little 2G first gen nano) since February 15, according to iTunes. This doesn't include the backlog of CBC Radio 3 sessions and various other podcasts. That's over 50 podcasts and 10 hours of music that I haven't even heard once. Especially since the beginning of concert season and writing for NxEW, I've been bombarded with new CDs and free promotional tracks. I'm dedicating days at a time listening to my playlist of solely new music when at home.

2) Speaking of concert season. Although bummed that I can't make it out to Lollapalooza, Ottawa Bluefest, or even Salmon Arm, I am anticipating seeing (and have seen) some of my favorite artists in smaller, more intimate venues which don't involve fear of trampling. A fellow CBCR3 blogger mentioned that the Joel Plaskett concert is well over 2 hours long (3 hours, hours, hours? Please?) and involves a great deal of comfortable, hilarious banter, so I'm just grasping my tickets and waiting breathlessly until Saturday!

3) Got new earphones today which don't rape my ears then leave me with a migrane. Unlike my last boyfriend. Jokinggggg. They're Sennheisers and cost me $50.

4) Got "The Old Prince" stickers from Shad the other day. Normal mail with delightful contents. Now to decide where to vandalize...

O my bad

I can't believe it took me so long to get Vancouver's own Mother Mother's O My Heart. I've had it saved in iTunes' shopping cart for months, then Zunior's, and passed by its physical copy in the mall and always had some reason to not buy it at that moment in time. How silly of me!

I've been in love with the title track for a couple of months now, as well as Body of Years. I've also heard Hayloft on CBCR3 and been impressed with its twisty inventiveness. I just now heard Wrecking Ball on the way to work after finally making my (first!) purchase off Zunior last night. And wow. Four addictive tracks with tight and unique harmonies and driving rhythm /12. I can't wait to hear the rest.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Rolling Tundra Review

Here are some photos from Rolling Tundra Revue pt. 2 at the Commodore Ballroom on Saturday night. (Man, the Commodore is beautiful. If I ever get married I want to throw the reception there. Anyway, I digress.) The opening act was Lightning Dust from East Van, followed by The Constantines and The Weakerthans wrapped up the night.

I was pleasantly surprised by the complementary The Waking Eyes Holding On To Whatever It Is CD (and Weaks Cons-erve button) that they gave out for those who carpooled or took transit to the show. I ended up bringing home quite the haul of music!

More pictures on my Flickr.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Rely a bit too heavily on alcohol and irony
Get clobbered on by courtesy
In love with love and lousy poetry
And I'm leaning on this broken fence between past and present tense
And I'm losing all those stupid games that I swore I'd never play

Seeing the Weakerthans and the Constantines tonight with fellow blogger Alex(ofAnders). Looking forward to discovering more of the W.'s back stock as I only own Reunion Tour and a couple of previous singles. And the Cons are pretty much new to me.

It seems that people have strong opinions for only one of the bands versus the other. Or perhaps this is just a fake dichotomy stirred up on NxEW to encourage banter :) Either way, having only heard one song by the Cons (and unreleased, FYI) I'm firmly planted in the Weakerthans' camp. I'm looking to be challenged however, and would happily sit upon this particular musical fence.

Who knows, maybe I'll eventually dub this tour the Constanthans. (which is not a typo on Blogger, FYI)

Edit: day after concert
Weakerthans' Aside is officially more awesome than it already was.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Weekly-ish recommendations #2

My iPod is overflowing with musical goodness! My 2G hasn't had any spare space for over a month. Which means I haven't nearly enough time to catch up with the back stock of podcasts and free MP3s that artists have been offering up. Perhaps I'll need to upgrade to a 4G next time.

1. Metric - gosh, any off their latest. Entire CD streaming here. Emily Haines of Metric and Ashleigh Ball of Hey Ocean! have singlehandedly changed my mind about frontwomen in bands being dull.

2. Revival Dear - new band I discovered by them offering their album for free off their website. (That was for their birthday and is no longer available.) Folksy, country twang, beautiful harmonies between the 2 singers; totally unexpected due to how badass those 2 look in their leather jacket and vest. Hot damn, I want my badass leather jacket.

3. Dan Mangan - Robots
I first heard this song months ago on The Peak and finally found out the name (pretty duh) and artist a little while ago on CBC Radio 3. Loved it since the first time it hit my ear drums. I dare you to try not singing along near the end of the song.
"Robots need love too, they want to be loved by you, they want to be loved by you." Everybody now!

4. Andre Ethier - Infant King
If this is a song about Jesus, which I'd be darned if it wasn't, it'd be among my favorite Canadian secular Christian songs (is that an oxymoron? yes, yes it is) along with Wintersleep's version of We Three Kings.

5. Mother Mother - Body of Years
I might have found you a free download of this amazing song by a Vancouver band that's been getting critical acclaim up the wazoo. They were the darlings at SxSW. The only downside to seeing Joel Plaskett next weekend is having to miss their show, which is on the same night.