December 31, 2011

Happy New Year from

"So everybody put your best suit or dress on
Let's make believe that we are wealthy for just this once
Lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn
As thirty dialogs bleed into one"

Happy new year, everyone!

This is "The New Year" by Death Cab for Cutie from their 2003 album, Transatlaticism.

December 29, 2011

Cool new artist: Jamie N Commons

I was checking out the BBC Sounds of 2012 list and discovered Jamie N Commons (this web site was down at the time of writing).  He's got a very soulful bluesy way about his delivery.  Dark and brooding songs with a really timeless quality.  And what a great voice.

Here are some tracks to check out.

"The Preacher"

"Nina", and

"Now Is Not The Time".

December 28, 2011

Great acoustic version of Sick by The Twilight Sad

I really love when The Twilight Sad do acoustic versions of their songs.  Take the version of "I Became a Prostitute" I posted in 2009, or this tender version of "Sick" from their forthcoming album No One Can Ever Know.

Twilight Sad Music Video from Mallard Productions on Vimeo.

December 27, 2011

New Los Campesinos!

Los Campesinos! have a new album out called Hello Sadness.  Here's a video for "By Your Hand".

For my money, they've never re-created the magic of "You! Me! Dancing!" but they are incredibly consistent.  For better or for worse.

In case you don't know it, here's "You! Me! Dancing!" from 2008's Hold On Now, Youngster and 2007's Sticking Fingers Into Sockets.

December 26, 2011

Fun new song from Fun.

The fun guys in Fun. have a new album coming out.  It's called Some Nights and it will be out February 21.  The first video release is for the song "We Are Young".  Check it out.

Who knew peeling an apple could be so captivating.

If you're interested in checking them out live, they've got tour dates up on their site.  They're at the Mod Club in Toronto on April 25.

December 25, 2011

One in Ten Words - the song!

At some point I had to write the post about the name of the blog. It's "One in Ten Words" by the great Canadian new romantic band The Spoons. It's from their amazing Arias and Symphonies album. You may know songs like "Nova Heart", or the title track, or songs from later albums like "Tell No Lies", "Romantic Traffic" or "Old Emotions".

For some reason, "One in Ten Words" was always a special song for me. Maybe it was because Sandy, the bass player, sang lead on it, and I always rather liked Sandy. I remember hearing the song, among others of course, on one of those CHUM/CITY simulcast shows of The New Music.

For those of you not as old as me, or those so old you can't remember, this was how we got stereo sound on the TV back then. They'd play the audio on an FM radio station and you'd see the picture on your TV. But you tell the kids of today that, and they don't believe it.

Well, anyway, here's the song. Enjoy. Merry Christmas.

Photo from Facebook.

December 22, 2011

My favourite songs: Awesome and cool songs of 2010-2011: my best of list: #1: "Whirring" by The Joy Formidable

And at long last here is number one, numero uno, le premiere tune. It's The Joy Formidable with "Whirring" from their album The Big Roar. Big Roar indeed!

And just because, here are the other Joy Formidable songs that turned up on my Top 70 of 2010-2011.

"A Heavy Abacus" at number 26,

and "Cradle" at number 39.

Check out the rest of my best of posts, including my favourite albums of 2010-2011 and the rest of my favourite songs of 2010-2011.

Photo from Pretty Much Amazing.

December 21, 2011

My favourite songs: Awesome and cool songs of 2010-2011: my best of list: #2: Blood Red Shoes with "Heartsink"

I absolutely love this band. I love their thick sound and vocal interplay. I love the energy that they put into their fantastic songs. Number 2 is "Heartsink" by Blood Red Shoes from their incredible album Fire Like This.

Check out the rest of my best of posts, including my favourite albums of 2010-2011 and the rest of my favourite songs of 2010-2011.

December 20, 2011

My favourite songs: Awesome and cool songs of 2010-2011: my best of list: #3: "Kill Me Carolyne" by The Whigs

The Whigs rock in a big way. Their album In The Dark is a solid piece of rock and "Kill Me Carolyne" is a fantastic tune. So good, that I think it deserves number 3.

Check out the rest of my best of posts, including my favourite albums of 2010-2011 and the rest of my favourite songs of 2010-2011.

December 19, 2011

My favourite songs: Awesome and cool songs of 2010-2011: my best of list: #4: The National with "Conversation 16"

I've never been shy about my affection for the music of The National. They're easily one of my favourite artists to come out in the past decade or so. The album High Violet is another masterpiece and this song, "Conversation 16" is a piece of amazing. Even if I still don't like the video.

Number 4:

Check out the rest of my best of posts, including my favourite albums of 2010-2011 and the rest of my favourite songs of 2010-2011.

December 18, 2011

My favourite songs: Awesome and cool songs of 2010-2011: my best of list: #5: "Lonely Boy" by The Black Keys

This amazing song with a fun video is the highest placing recent song on the list. The Black Keys have come from indie obscurity to being one of the top bands in the world in the past few years, mostly with the release of Brothers. How big are they? Well, they're playing the Air Canada Centre here in Toronto this coming March. And they're not resting on their laurels, they're moving forward quickly with their newest album El Camino and the first single is a prime example of how to write a hook. "Lonely Boy" comes in at number 5.

Check out the rest of my best of posts, including my favourite albums of 2010-2011 and the rest of my favourite songs of 2010-2011.

December 15, 2011

My favourite songs: Awesome and cool songs of 2010-2011: my best of list: #6, The Hold Steady with "The Smidge"

The Hold Steady just keep releasing awesome albums. The track "The Smidge" from Heaven is Whenever comes in at number 6.

Check out the rest of my best of posts, including my favourite albums of 2010-2011 and the rest of my favourite songs of 2010-2011.

December 14, 2011

My favourite songs: Awesome and cool songs of 2010-2011: my best of list: #7: "Let's Get Out Of Here" with Les Savy Fav

Cool band. Cool song. What else can I say? Les Savy Fav with "Let's Get Out Of Here" at number 7.

Check out the rest of my best of posts, including my favourite albums of 2010-2011 and the rest of my favourite songs of 2010-2011.

December 13, 2011

My favourite songs: Awesome and cool songs of 2010-2011: my best of list: #8: Sleigh Bells ring with "Rill Rill"

Like many of the songs on this list, Sleigh Bell's fantastically catchy "Rill Rill" from their album Treats, is a song that I've posted on the blog before. And since then, I discovered that the guitar riff is sampled from Funkadelic's "Can You Get to That" off of Maggot Brain. Overall, it's good enough to be called number 8.

Check out the rest of my best of posts, including my favourite albums of 2010-2011 and the rest of my favourite songs of 2010-2011.

December 12, 2011

My favourite songs: Awesome and cool songs of 2010-2011: my best of list: #9: "Old Fangs" by Black Mountain

Black Mountain are from BC in my wonderful home of Canada. They make instantly classic music that is reminiscent of many great rockers of days go by without being derivative. An awesome entry into the single-digits at number 9. Here's "Old Fangs" from the album Wilderness Heart.

Check out the rest of my best of posts, including my favourite albums of 2010-2011 and the rest of my favourite songs of 2010-2011.

December 11, 2011

My favourite songs: Awesome and cool songs of 2010-2011: my best of list: #10: Cee Lo Green says "Fuck You"

I loved "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley and put it on my best of list for the decade 2000-2009 which happens to be the most-visited post on the site. Well, right here, just inside the top 10, is Cee Lo Green with his dis anthem, "Fuck You", from his album The Lady Killer. Killer track indeed.

And here's a live performance from Later with Jools Holland that I love, if only because their drummer has more cymbals than the drummer in my band.

Check out the rest of my best of posts, including my favourite albums of 2010-2011 and the rest of my favourite songs of 2010-2011.

December 8, 2011

My favourite songs: Awesome and cool songs of 2010-2011: My best of list: Top 70 songs

Since I didn't put up a post for my favourite tunes and albums of 2010, and since it takes me a while for things to grow on me, I'm going to be a little different than other music writers. I'm going to do "best of" posts for 2 year periods. This will allow me to be late to the party, and give songs extra time to germinate in my little brain. So this set of posts will cover 2010 and 2011.

  1. "Whirring" - The Joy Formidable

  1. "Heartsink" - Blood Red Shoes

  1. "Kill Me Carolyne" - The Whigs

  1. "Conversation 16" - The National

  1. "Lonely Boy" - The Black Keys

  1. "The Smidge" - The Hold Steady

  1. "Let's Get Out Of Here" - Les Savy Fav

  1. "Rill Rill" - Sleigh Bells

  1. "Old Fangs" - Black Mountain

  1. "Fuck You" - Cee Lo Green

  1. "Tighten Up" - The Black Keys
  2. "Not At All" - Emily Warren & The Betters
  3. "Punching In A Dream" - The Naked And Famous
  4. "Hang With Me" - Robyn
  5. "Good for Nothing" - Hard-Fi
  6. "Swim Until You Can't See Land" - Frightened Rabbit
  7. "Belong" - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
  8. "Pumped Up Kicks" - Foster the People
  9. "Crash Years" - The New Pornographers
  10. "The Glitter Prize (Feat. Kay Hanley)" - The Posies
  11. "Hit The Ground Running" - These Electric Lives
  12. "Medicine" - We Were Promised Jetpacks
  13. "Anyone’s Ghost" - The National
  14. "Dancing On My Own" - Robyn
  15. "Please Ask for Help" - Telekinesis
  16. "A Heavy Abacus" - The Joy Formidable
  17. "Dear Rosemary" - Foo Fighters
  18. "Terrible Love" - The National
  19. "Satellite" - The Kills
  20. "Naked Kids" - Grouplove
  21. "Forced To Love" - Broken Social Scene
  22. "Our Whole Lives" - The Hold Steady
  23. "Light It Up" - Blood Red Shoes
  24. "The Body" - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
  25. "Chicken Bones" - John Grant
  26. "Cruel" - St. Vincent
  27. "Future Starts Slow" - The Kills
  28. "The Spirit of Jazz" - The Gaslight Anthem
  29. "Cradle" - The Joy Formidable
  30. "Romance" - Wild Flag
  31. "Love Song" - Hard-Fi
  32. "Called It Off" - These Electric Lives
  33. "Rock Problems" - The Hold Steady
  34. "So Lonely" - The Whigs
  35. "Crossed Wires" - Superchunk
  36. "Fixed" - Stars
  37. "Abducted" - Cults
  38. "It Is Happening Again" - Blood Red Shoes
  39. "Young Blood" - The Naked And Famous
  40. "Year Dot" - Sky Larkin
  41. "Helena Beat" - Foster the People
  42. "Country Lane" - Telekinesis
  43. "Heart In Your Heartbreak" - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
  44. "Don't Ask" - Blood Red Shoes
  45. "Heaven's Gonna Happen Now" - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
  46. "Blue Cassette" - Friendly Fires
  47. "Under Cover of Darkness" - The Strokes
  48. "Behold the Hurricane" - The Horrible Crowes
  49. "Lights" - Ellie Goulding
  50. "Tired" - Chikita Violenta
  51. "Euphoria, Take My Hand" - Glasvegas
  52. "Colours" - Grouplove
  53. "Get Away" - Yuck
  54. "Dirty Thing" - Telekinesis
  55. "World Sick" - Broken Social Scene
  56. "DNA" - The Kills
  57. "Dressed Sharply" - An Horse
  58. "Holing Out" - Yuck
  59. "Get Some" - Lykke Li
  60. "Lotus Flower" - Radiohead
I'm going to tease out my Top 10 by posting a song a day over the next couple of weeks!

I've decided to update this post with my top 10 so my full list is in one place.

Check out the rest of my best of posts, including my favourite albums of 2010-2011.

December 7, 2011

My favourite albums: Awesome and cool albums of 2010-2011: Top 30 Albums: My best of list

Since I didn't put up a post for my favourite tunes and albums of 2010, and since it takes me a while for things to grow on me, I'm going to be a little different than other music writers. I'm going to do "best of" posts for 2 year periods. This will allow me to be late to the party, and give albums extra time to germinate in my little brain. So this set of posts will cover 2010 and 2011.

One side effect of iTunes, smart playlists and listening to songs over albums is that I've really become a lot more of a "songs guy" over being an "album guy". I was more of an album guy back when I was buying vinyl and CDs in the 80s and 90s and I'd throw them on the turntable or in the CD player and listen to the whole things end to end.

That's my explanation for why my best albums list is so much shorter than my best songs list, anyway.

  1. The National - High Violet
  2. The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar
  3. Blood Red Shoes - Fire Like This
  4. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Belong
  5. The Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever
  6. The Whigs - In The Dark
  7. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
  8. The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
  9. The New Pornographers - Together
  10. Les Savy Fav - Root For Ruin
  11. Robyn - Body Talk
  12. Hard Fi - Killer Sounds
  13. John Grant - The Queen of Denmark
  14. The Black Keys - Brothers
  15. Army Navy - The Last Place
  16. The Posies - Blood/Candy
  17. The Kills - Blood Pressures
  18. Black Mountain - Wilderness Heart
  19. Telekinesis - 12 Desparate Straight Lines
  20. Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record
  21. Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks
  22. Stars - The Five Ghosts
  23. Superchunk - Majesty Shredding
  24. We Were Promised Jetpacks - In the Pit of the Stomach
  25. Kasabian - Velociraptor!
  26. The Naked and Famous - Passive Me, Aggressive You
  27. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
  28. Sky Larkin - Kaleide
  29. The Thermals - Personal Life
  30. Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes
Check out the rest of my best of posts.

December 6, 2011

New track from Band of Skulls

I came across Band of Skulls after they released 2009's Baby Darling Doll Face Honey. They've got a new tune out called "The Devil Takes Care of His Own". It's from their forthcoming album Sweet Sour which is coming out on February 21.

You can also check out the track "Sweet Sour" at Spin.

And if you haven't heard their previous stuff, here's "Death by Diamonds and Pearls",

and "I Know What I Am".

They're at the Phoenix on March 30. Maybe I'll be there...

December 5, 2011

The Naked and Famous are Punching in a Dream

I recently discovered the New Zealand band The Naked and Famous. They put out groovy, instantly likeable pop tunes and their latest release is Passive Me, Aggressive You.

Stay tuned to the blog to see if their songs end up on my year end lists, which are coming out later this week.

December 4, 2011

Farourites: Lime Spiders' Slave Girl

I remember listening to a hardcore show on Ryerson University radio CKLN back in the late 80's. It introduced me to a number of great bands and I heard some fantastic songs. One that immediately caught my ear and hasn't let go since is "Slave Girl" by Lime Spiders. Many years later it was covered by Goo Goo Dolls (when they were a rock band - before "Name" became a big hit).

This sounds like the original version.

This one looks like it was from a relatively recent performance.

Here are the Goo Goo Dolls doing it at Red Rocks. I felt that the studio version from A Boy Named Goo was closer to the original.

Still a great and powerful song.

December 1, 2011

The Thermals

The Thermals have been around for quite a while. Since 2002. And they've had quite a close association with Death Cab for Cutie, with Chris Walla producing a number of their albums. I picked up their 2009 album Now We Can See and their 2010 album Personal Life. Both are pretty solid power pop albums.

"I Don't Believe You". Love that Sleater-Kinney/Wild Flag cameo.

"Not Like Any Other Feeling"

"Never Listen to Me"

and "Now We Can See".

November 30, 2011

Listen to five tracks from El Camino by The Black Keys

I've been pretty hyped about the new album from The Black Keys called El Camino that's out next Tuesday, December 6. So far the hype's been driven by the fantastic tune "Lonely Boy" that I posted a while ago.

Head over to the El Camino web site to trade some of your vital information for track access. Fair trade, as far as I'm concerned.

By the way, does anyone else remember that an El Camino is not a van?

November 29, 2011

Wild tunes from Wild Flag

Definite elements of Sleater-Kinney remain in Wild Flag's music. There are staccato, fragmented riffs alongside poppy melodies and strong hooks. Gone are the yelping volcals. Overall, it's a more immediately likeable package. Hand claps and all.

Enjoy "Romance",

and "Electric Band".

November 28, 2011

Ting Tings Live in Paris

Those lovelies in The Ting Tings posted this video of them live in Paris performing their latest track "Hang it Up". I posted the official video in a previous post.

November 27, 2011

New Telekinesis video for Country Lane

It looks like the fun-loving guys in Telekinesis have released a new video, this time for "Country Lane" from their most recent release, 12 Desperate Straight Lines.

November 24, 2011

Robyn on the Tonight Show

I've never been shy about my fondness for Robyn tunes. Here she is on the Tonight Show performing "Call Your Girlfriend" from Body Talk. Awesome! Don't you just love a pop performer who really sings and dances like she means it!

And here's the video for one of my absolute faves, "Hang with Me".

November 23, 2011

Favourites: Sonic Youth

I'll admit up front that I'm not a huge fan of Sonic Youth overall. But a few tunes really do it for me. The top one has to be "Kool Thing" from their album Goo.

I guess it's fitting that I post about this band now that they've decided to divorce / break-up / whatever.

November 22, 2011

Great hook from M83

The album is called Hurry Up We're Dreaming and it's the latest release from M83. I've checked out these guys before and didn't really get into their stuff. However, the first single "Midnight City" has got a hell of a good hook.

And it's been featured in a Victoria's Secret ad, if you're into that type of thing.

November 21, 2011

Tom Green re-releases "Check the O.R."

At a time when we're celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of such classic albums as Nirvana's Nevermind, Pearl Jam's Ten and U2's Achtung Baby, fellow Canadian and the lucky guy who got to be married to Drew Barrymore, Tom Green, has re-released Organized Rhyme's tune "Check the O.R."

You can check it here:

It's a video mash up of new footage and the original video footage. It's a fun blast from the past!

Gorgeous pic of Drew from celebrityscoops.

November 20, 2011

Does Of Montreal remind you at all of Prince?

I think it must be the falsetto singing on "I know she's kinda fug, she's just my party drug", but the latest tunes from Of Montreal seem to remind me of Prince. You can judge for yourself. No matter how you slice it, it's groovy, sexy cool.

Here's "L'age D'or" from thecontrollersphere,

and "Famine Affair" from the album False Priest.

I love the lyric, "wish we weren't so complicated, wish you weren't so medicated".

I think I might have seen some nipples in the first video. Some of them might have been female, Which I guess obliges me to tell you that it's NSFW. Why exactly does everyone have to warn others that something is Not Safe For Work. I mean, if you're hanging around the office watching videos and perusing blogs when you're supposed to be working, how much trouble can you get into by having a few boobies appear on the screen. If you're that worried about it, maybe you should get back to work!

November 17, 2011

New Jane's Addiction on David Letterman

To promote the release of The Great Escape Artist, the boys in Jane's Addiction put on a performance for David Letterman. He loved it.

November 16, 2011

Katy B's bouncin' toon "Movement"

I've been hearing some buzz about Katy B. and from a quick listen, I can hear what it's all about. Cool bouncing beats with fun hooky sounds that somehow remind me a little bit of a more uptempo Esthero.

Here's the video for "Movement" from her On A Mission album.

Pic from the Guardian.

November 15, 2011

Getting Feist-y on Jools

Feist recently released her new album Metals. She also recently appeared on Jools to perform some songs from that album.

Here's "The Bad In Each Other",

And "Bittersweet Melodies".

November 14, 2011

Favourites: Warren Zevon covers Prince

We used to do "Werewolves of London" in the old band. It was a really easy song to learn when we were back in high school, it had a cool lyric, and was an overall fun song. Years later the singer from my band introduced me to Warren Zevon's / Hindu Love Gods version of Prince's "Rasberry Beret". It rocks.

November 13, 2011

New R.E.M. videos

As everyone knows by now, R.E.M. are no more. They've broken up. And they've got a career-spanning greatest hits package called Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982- 2011 coming out on November 15. It will feature three new R.E.M. songs including "We All Go Back To Where We Belong" which has not one but two videos. Check them out!

November 10, 2011

The Kills

The Kills are a pretty cool band. Roots-y, garage-y, blues-y guitars with dark harmonies and just enough catchiness to reel you in.

Their most recent album is called Blood Pressures and here are a few tunes.

The new video for "Baby Says",


and "Future Starts Slow"

I have all their albums, but 2008's Midnight Boom is probably my favourite. Here are a few from that album.

"Cheep and Cheerful",

"Black Balloon",

and "Tape Song"

They're playing Toronto on February 7th at Kool Haus.

November 9, 2011

New tune from Nada Surf

Nada Surf are giving away a new tune. It's called "When I Was Young" and it's from their album The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy that's coming out January 24. It's starts off as a nice acoustic tune then builds to a mid tempo burner. Download it!

Here's "Always Love" from their previous release, 2005's The Weight is a Gift. Highly recommended album.

And "See the Bones",

(I had one of those old Motorola phones!)

And "Weightless" from 2008's Lucky.

Album cover from Rolling Stone.

November 8, 2011

Free Frightened Rabbit EP

Yup, it's a new, three-track Frightened Rabbit EP, and it's free. Just head over here and trade your personal details for a download. Seems fair, right? Let me tell you, it's worth it. Great songs! Stream it here if you don't believe me, and while you're there, read about the writing of the songs and the special guests that appear on them.

November 7, 2011

New tune from Field Music

Field Music have a new album called Plumb coming out on Valentine's Day 2012. Here's the first tune "(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing".

Field Music - (I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing by memphisindustries

And here's a tune from (Measure), their 2010 release. The song's called "Them That Do Nothing".

November 6, 2011

Pete Townshend on the music industry

Pete Townshend recently gave a talk in which he touched on his opinions on the music industry. While I certainly don't agree with everything he said, it's well worth reading for anyone interested in the industry of the art that we love so much.


Firstly I'm honoured to have been asked to do this first lecture in the name of John Peel. John and I were never close friends, and I know he was not always an unconditional Who fan, but through his long-time producer John Walters – who was a great friend to me and to Who drummer Keith Moon – I followed John Peel's career with the sense of a family insider. I don't want to kick off this series of annual lectures with any po-faced intellectualism. Nor do I want to talk about pop music as art (hard for me because music as art is my favourite subject). Neither do I wish to try to make this lecture amusing, or light-hearted or even ironic in the tradition of the sixties and post sixties pop era Peely and I shared. I don't want to try to celebrate John Peel, nor make this into any kind of memorial. That's all been done. So what do I want to do?

I have limited time. Looking at what John Peel did with his show on radio for many years is worth looking at. But I must assume that most listeners will know what he did. Annie Nightingale once told me that John was one of the few deejays at Radio 1 who would take home everything left in the in-tray cubbyholes at the end of each week. More than that, he listened to it all. Sometimes he played some records that no one else would ever have played, and that would never be played on radio again. But he listened, and he played a selection of records in the course of each week that his listeners knew (partly because the selection was sometimes so insane) proved he was genuinely engaged in his work as an almost unconditional conduit between creative musicians to the radio audience.

So he listened.

And he took chances with what he played.

And he is gone.

Why was John Peel's system important? Why is listening important? Why is being ready to give space to less polished music important? Will John Peelism survive the internet? Or is John Peelism thriving on the internet without many of us realising it?

So we have John Peel. The BBC. And – for the purposes of this lecture iTunes. All enormous icons in music.

Let me introduce you briefly to my inner artist, then I will put him back in his box.

I don't give a shit about making money. I think rock music is junk. I am a genius. The Who were OK but without me they would have all ended up working in the flower market, or worse - in Led Zeppelin. John Peel played some records that were so bad that I thought he was taking the piss sometimes. The BBC only gave us Pop Radio 1 in the 60s five years after the pirates had proved there was an audience for it. Sadly, unlike the pirates, they didn't accept payola.

I really should put this inner artist guy back in his box yes? Have we got our newspaper headlines yet?

This inner artist really doesn't give a shit about any of this lecture. Just give him a piano and a guitar and some decent way to record the music, a pleasant room to work in, and a few free hours, and he is happy. When he's done he hands me the end product and says – there, a work of genius, try and live off it for a while you philistine. It seems to me that a conversation between my inner artist with the late Steve Jobs would have been impossible. I seem to remember that once in an interview I let my artist out of the box for a minute too long and he said he wanted to cut Jobs's balls off. As I force my artist back in the box again, I hear him say that in fact he really likes his iPad and loves to noodle with GarageBand. My inner artist is a bit of an ageing Mod you see. He really thinks the late Steve Jobs was one of the coolest guys on the planet: loved his black outfits, cut his balls off, look at my red Vespa …etc. Irrational.

So there was pirate radio, then Radio 1, then a music shop. There were record companies and music publishers. Was it good, what the God of pop music had created?

Music publishing has always been a form of banking in many ways, but – in cooperation with record labels – active artists have always received from the music industry banking system more than banking. They've gotten…

1. editorial guidance

2. financial support

3. creative nurture

4. manufacturing

5. publishing

6. marketing

7. distribution

8. payment of royalties (the banking)

Today, if we look solely at iTunes, we see a publishing model that offers only the last two items as a guarantee, distribution and banking, with some marketing thrown in sometimes at the whim of the folks at Apple. It's a fantastic piece of software, I use it all the time and I was honoured once to meet the woman who wrote the software. But iTunes is not like radio.

Radio is less driven by cash flow, a little more driven by secondary income streams (like advertising, subscriptions or in the case of the BBC license fees), and thus needs its pop music to be cool, look hip, cover a wide array of bases and satisfy a broad market.

Let me quickly go over this list again. (do so). Now is there really any good reason why, just because iTunes exists in the wild west internet land of FaceBook and Twitter, it can't provide some aspect of these services to the artists whose work it bleeds like a digital vampire Northern Rock for its enormous commission?

Let's talk it through……

Item 1. Editorial guidance. A&R. Employ 20 A&R people from the dying record business. Have them respond to tracks sent in from new artists. If they feel the artists are bad, or aren't ready, say so. But have them tell the truth, kindly and constructively. Guide them to other helpful resources, don't just send them to the wolves of Blogland where it seems to me a lot of the vilest bile comes from people who could be drunk, or just nuts. A fledging musician at the start of a career is a delicate thing – even a rapper. (You'll just have to take my word for that.) (Apple do already have back-room people assessing what's hot, but they don't have this kind of power. I'll bet they'd love it. 20 John Peels inside Apple – imagine it).

Item 2. Financial support. Subsequently provide free computers with music software to 500 artists a year who the 20 A&R people feel merit it. Provide some basic training.

Item 3. Creative Nurture. Follow the work of these 500 artists very carefully. Help where you can. Keep out of the way if necessary.

Item 4. Manufacturing. (This should be called 'posting' today I suppose.) Provide a place on iTunes where these artists can share their music. It should be a like a local radio station. Yes Apple, give artists some streaming bandwidth. It will sting, but do it. You will get even more aluminum solid state LURVE for doing so.

Item 5. Publishing. Help artists protect their copyrights, don't just exploit the loopholes of Grand Theft. This is a minefield today. The internet is destroying copyright as we know it. So they will lose the battle, but guide them to hang on to what they can. Otherwise they might only ever make one album.

Item 6. Marketing. Select a number of the artists on the free shared space local radio station and sell their work on iTunes with some helpful advertising within the Apple software machine. Show that you get behind them.

Item 7. Distribution. Go further. License the best selling artists to other organisations (like record companies, bookshops and highstreet and Mall-based retailers for example) who are willing to make packages, goods you can hold in your hands and give for birthdays, Christmas and Diwali. Share revenue with Amazon. I'm not sure why that notion is so repellent to the Aluminums.

Item 8. Payment. Stop insisting on aggregators to deal with small artists (because you can't be bothered with the expense of accounting for the numerous small amounts of money you've collected on their behalf) and pay direct. Why should an artist pay even more commission to an aggregator merely to get paid? (For the uninformed, an aggregator in the iTunes world is a company who stand between the artist and iTunes and thus prevent Apple having to deal with artists directly. Some of these aggregators provide some of the resources I've pleaded for above, but they are really just another form of punitive banking).

So what does my inner artist think of all that? Doesn't he give a shit? I can tell you now, he thinks all that sounds really amazing. He wants to cry. If Apple do even one of the things on my wish-list he will offer to cut off his own balls (they've only ever been a distraction after all). Etc.

What creative people want is to know their music has been heard. They would prefer a response that was constructive than a positive or negative review. They would prefer expertise to opinion. They would like to know the public if they had a chance to hear the music, also had a chance to make up their own minds. They would prefer that in the long term the public were willing to pay for their music. But looking at the John Peel model what is clear is that just knowing there was a chance the great man would listen, react and offer the music on air, for whatever reason, was enough for budding musicians and bands.

That is where we must be going. Musicians need to be heard, to be judged, if possible to be paid, but also allowed to believe they had more than a single chance to get a hit. Software systems that offer this model will survive and prevail – loved and embraced by musicians of every sort – whatever happens financially.

Whether the public listen or not, creative writers and musicians should get paid if their work generates money by virtue of its mere existence on radio, television, YouTube, Facebook or SoundCloud. It's tricky to argue for the innate value of copyright from a position of good fortune (as I do). I once suggested on a forum that people who download my music without paying for it may as well come and steal my son's bike while they're at it. One woman was so incensed that she tried to argue that she was still supporting me as an artist by 'sharing' (my parentheses) music with others who would eventually filter down some cash in some form or other to me, that would pay for my son's bike – and she was not, in any sense, a thief or a criminal. I think she was in a kind of denial. Cutting the body to fit the cloth rather than the correct way around.

We now live in a digital world in which the only absolute is work by the hour. Lawyers, accountants, doctors, nurses, plumbers, painters, truck drivers, farmers, pilots, cleaners, actors, musicians – they all get paid for work done as a clock ticks.

Creative work is not like that. Any one of the people listed above could create a method that would help other people to do their job in their place. This could be digitised, and made available on the internet. I have given away dozens of my trade secrets in this way, knowing that I could afford to do so, but also knowing that my trade secrets are also trademarks in a way – I have become known for a particular style of creativity that belongs to me, because I am its principal practitioner.

However, if someone pretends to be me, or pretends that something I have created should be available to them free (because creativity has less value than an hour's work by me as a musician in a pub) I wonder what has gone wrong with human morality and social justice.

When we look at wars we often find ourselves reverting to simple epithets: why can't people just get along? Vivre les differénces!!! So it would be better if music lovers treated music like food, and paid for every helping, rather than only when it suited them. Why can't music lovers just pay for music rather than steal it?

Would a return to John Peelism be better? There must have been music lovers who recorded his shows to tape and shared copies with friends. But it was never that easy, and was very time-consuming. You had to be really passionate about some music to share it in this way. Yes I think it would be better if music lovers had to work a little harder to find what they like best, and it was not quite so easy to knock out a digital copy to one's friends. The word 'sharing' surely means giving away something you have earned, or made, or paid for? At least you should have searched for it, and not simply happened on it by chance (or apparent chance…… the newly intelligent internet is now capable of sending you things that you never thought you wanted). It would be better if these 'sharers' had to set aside time to listen, and to work at listening, and thereby do honour to the creative work of musicians even if their final judgement was that the music they heard was not for them – not worth stealing, not worth sharing.

Now I'm being facetious, but some things are really worth stealing. A creative person would prefer their music to be stolen and enjoyed than ignored. This is the dilemma for every creative soul: he or she would prefer to starve and be heard, than to eat well and be ignored.

Radio is not like internet radio, or torrent sites. Radio pays musicians a fee when music is aired. Radio does not take the position that the public has a right to decide after hearing the music played whether to pay for it or not. Radio stations pay, and the public pay directly or indirectly in order to listen and make the judgement.

Suppose you asked a painter to paint your house on condition that if you didn't like the colour you had chosen, thinking it would work, you wouldn't pay him?

Peel was not a musician. He was a listener, a patron of the arts, a broadcaster with almost no censorial mandate or agenda. He only played what he thought deserved to be played. I don't think it always mattered that he himself liked it. In China in Chairman Mao's day he might have been sent to prison if only for being the first to play Jesus and Mary Chain, the Undertones or the Proclaimers – all of them were a little bit political, but also radical and outspoken. When I first heard them on John's show I thought they were a bit dangerous.

So if we assume that musicians want more than anything to be heard, and that there is now a massive audience wanting to hear new music every day, what is next?

What's next is already here. The BBC will not be thankful to me for saying this but if you have a decent computer and some internet bandwidth there are dozens of amazing internet portals where you can hear new music, and see new videos. SoundCloud, HypeRadio, Cull.TV, Spotify and Last.Fm all offer to take you on an extraordinary journey if you log in. Today, the 'era' and scope of modern music stretches broadly over a range of music styles, nationalities and age-ranges that might threaten to obfuscate the artistic achievements of individual musicians. (Sorry, I mentioned the art word). We might be overwhelmed by the amount of variation. (Especially without a John Peel to bring us up to speed every week). But a quick look at the way the internet has enriched the investigation of any particular musician's work can be proved by the expediency of searching – just to suggest a deliberately quirky example – 'Bjork' in Last.FM or Spotify. Along with all of Bjork's many bands and collaborations, we find the band Garbage, Tori Amos, mùm, Planning To Rock, Sigur Ros, Bat For Lashes and Fever Ray. They all line up to confuse and entice. Even iTunes might take you off on a strange, inspiring or disturbing journey if you search the appropriately left-field artist.

If you search my name you're likely to be spoon-fed tracks by Dave Dee, Dozy, Mick & Tich. This is the cross that Dave Dee etc has to bear, being compared with the Who on internet search engines.

What the BBC has to rise to is the challenge of using some its resources to sidestep editorial censorship, and give the listeners the kind of license they got when they tuned into John Peel. That license is offered free or almost free on dozens of amazing music blogs, sharing websites and video sites. There is more music being made today, and made ready for broadcasting, webcasting, podcasting and sharing, than ever before. I mean by this, finished, well-produced, good sounding music. And if it doesn't sound good you can be fairly sure it isn't meant to. There is a lot of talk about live music, and it is great that it's seen to be so important – but it's never gone away. In fact The Who shared the bill with John Peel once or twice, he took his radio show on the road regularly in the sixties and seventies. If the BBC were to start a website like Spotify, one thing would be certain, the musicians who were featured would get paid.

Speaking of which: my £6 fee for this lecture is being passed to the Musicians Union Benevolent Fund.

Thank you.

Text copied from The Guardian.

November 3, 2011

New music from Kate Jackson (not Charlie's Angel)

If you liked The Long Blondes then you were probably sad when their guitar player suffered a stroke and the band called it a day. I know I was.

Now their singer, Kate Jackson, has put out some new music. At first listen, it sounds great. Lots of energy and melody, with that familiar voice. The single is out December 5. Enjoy.

Kate Jackson - Wonder Feeling / The Atlantic by KateJackson

And if you don't know The Long Blondes, here are a few of my favourite songs.

"Giddy Stratospheres", and

"Once and Never Again" from 2006's Someone to Drive You Home, and

"Century" from 2008's Couples.

Pic from nme.

November 1, 2011

Another new We Were Promised Jetpacks song!

As I posted recently, We Were Promised Jetpacks have just released a new album called In The Pit of the Stomach. Here's the video for "Human Error".

We Were Promised Jetpacks - "Human Error" from stereogum on Vimeo.

And here they are performing "It's Thunder and It's Lightning", which was on their previous album These Four Walls, on KEXP.

And my favourite of their songs (so far), "Quiet Little Voices".

October 30, 2011

New Black Keys!

The Black Keys have a new album, El Camino, coming out on December 6th. They've just put out this video for "Lonely Boy". Fun video, great song!

And click here for the story of how they found the star of the vid.

And if you haven't seen the album trailer yet, you can see it here.

October 27, 2011

Favourites: L7

Their name comes from that symbol you make with your thumbs and forefingers to refer to someone who's not too hip. You know. a "square". Picture it. L7.

They make some awesome, hard rocking music. You may have heard it in Natural Born Killers.

Here's "Pretend We're Dead"

And "Shitlist"

October 25, 2011

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

So I guess that Oasis broke up.

Yeah, I know that was a long, long time ago. And that brother Liam has already released an album.

But Noel was always the songwriter. And it's all about the songs. Right?

Noel's released his début solo album under the Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds moniker and what I've heard is good. The kind of good that's probably going to grow on me in a big way.

And I guess I'm not alone in this opinion, since the album's gone straight to #1 in the UK. Anyone want to bet whether Oasis is actually going to re-form?

This is the latest, "If I had a Gun",

and "The Death of You and Me".

October 23, 2011

Is there something wrong with my musical tastebuds?

I have a blogger confession. A really big, bad one. One I may not be forgiven for. I guess I'll just rip the band aid off quickly and say it.

I don't like any of the albums that have won the Polaris Prize. No, not Karkwa, not the Arcade Fire, not Patrick Watson, not Caribou, not Final Fantasy, not even Fucked Up.

There. Its out there. I can't take it back now. Wow. That feels so much better.

Now it's not all music prizes that I dislike. I have liked several of the Mercury Prize winners including The xx, Arctic Monkeys, Portishead, Pulp, Gomez, Klaxons and Franz Ferdinand, as well as way to many nominees to list.

I'm not sure what it is about bands that have won that particular prize. Am I alone in this?

October 20, 2011

Tangy new tune from The Ting Tings

Just the other day I was thinking, "Aren't we due for some new Ting Tings?", and then a new tune is released. I don't know if it's as instantly classic as "Shut Up and Let Me Go", "That's Not My Name" and "Great DJ", but we'll see after a few more listens.

October 18, 2011

New Stars video for Dead Hearts

Stars have released a new video from their latest album The Five Ghosts. It's for the tune "Dead Hearts" and it's quite a pretty video, with dead hearts... everywhere.

And they've also got a video for "We Don't Want Your Body" from the same album.

And "Changes". The uncensored version is on Stars' web site if you want to see it in all it's glory.

I just wonder why they haven't released any of my favourite songs from the album as singles. So much for my taste, I guess.

October 16, 2011

Hank's daughter's band on Californication has great taste

"I got something to say, I raped your mother today".  Classic track.  "Last Caress" by Misfits.  I first heard it via Metallica.  Then it was in season four of Californication when Hank's daughter's band, Queens of Dogtown, played it in Marcy's living room.  Cool!  Then they did an acoustic version of "I Remember You" by Skid Row at a gig.  Skid Row!  Do kids today know who Skid Row is?  They did "Would?" by Alice In Chains, too.

Here's the original Misfits version of "Last Caress"

And the Metallica version

And the Queens of Dogtown version

And Queens of Dogtown doing "I Remember You"

And "Would?"

And if you're interested, the singer character on Californication - Pearl - is Zoë Kravitz.  Yeah, that Kravitz, and she sings for a band called Elevator Fight who sound really good.

While I'm at it, why don't I just put in the original Skid Row version of "I Remember You".  That Canadian boy can scream!

And Alice In Chains' "Would?"

Wow.  Who knew what a wormhole I'd end up going down with this post.

October 13, 2011

Favourites: Spoon me

Spoon are a great indie rock band. They've been putting out consistently solid albums since 2000. This track, "The Underdog" from 2007's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, is one of my all time favourites.

October 11, 2011

The Horrible Crowes: I just can't go cheesy with this title

Gaslight Anthem are a cool band. Good, crunchy, straight-ahead rock with a bit of Springsteen and punk thrown in. And they put on an energetic live show. Their singer has a new venture with their guitar tech (if I remember correctly) called The Horrible Crowes. Their album, Elsie, is out now and this is the first single called "Behold the Hurricane". It sounds like a darker and more laid-back affair than Gaslight Anthem, but I like it.

And in other Gaslight Anthem news, they've recently signed to major label Mercury and we can expect a new album from them in 2012.

October 9, 2011

Army Navy take things into their own hands

Here's a cute video from Army Navy. Sometimes, you've just got to take things into your own hands. Did the male lead do this before or after the TV show The Event?

I've really enjoyed the music these guys are putting out. Fun, guitar-based pop music. They put out their self-titled album in 2008 and released The Last Place earlier this year.

Here are videos for "My Thin Sides",

"Saints", and

"Silvery Sleds" for your listening and dancing pleasure.

October 6, 2011

The Twilight Sad have a new album on the way

I was lucky enough to see The Twilight Sad live at the Elmo here in Toronto in 2009. They have a new album coming out in February 2012 called No One Can Ever Know. They're giving away a track from the album called "Kill It In The Morning" in exchange for your email address.

Check out the tune and see what you think. It's much more keyboard focused, but it doesn't sound like they're doing what some bands that embrace keyboards do and let it take the soul out of their music. Bits of it sound a bit like what Nine Inch Nails might sound like if Trent Reznor was Scottish. I like what I'm hearing and look forward to the new album. I think it will add a cool dynamic shift to their live shows, too.

You can also check out the album trailer.

The Twilight Sad - Trailer 2 from FatCat Records on Vimeo.

October 5, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs. Thanks for the iPod!

Today, Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, passed away. Steve had a profound impact on the world of consumer technology. For me, none so great as the iPod and iTunes. It helped re-invigorate my love of music at a time when I wasn't listening to enough music. It changed the way I listen and improved the overall experience. Today, I'm rarely without my iPod and therefore I'm rarely without one of my life's greatest passions. Music.

Thanks, Steve! Rest in peace.

October 4, 2011

Favourites: Turin Brakes

What a great song! "Pain Killer" by Turin Brakes. Don't worry parents, I'm sure it can't be about what people say it's about.

October 2, 2011

Warpaint: Soundtrack to assault

I ride the subway in Toronto to and from work each day. It's usually pretty uneventful. There are certainly some delays, including one I think is complete bullshit. "Smell of smoke at track level." Does that mean the subway driver wanted to have a smoke? That's what I think. And there's the occasional stinking street person or beggar. But overall, it's time to listen to some tunes and read the news.

One day it got a bit more interesting. There was a large group of teenagers at the far end of the car I was on. And then at Jane subway station, a commotion broke out. At first, I thought the teenagers were being goofy and pushing each other as they got off the train. Then I saw the fists swinging. It was pandemonium on the subway platform as these teens thrashed the shit out of each other. This included blood hitting the wall. All the while my iPod played Warpaint for me.

Here are two videos from Warpaint's 2010 début The Fool.



September 29, 2011

New We Were Promised Jetpacks

I had the pleasure of seeing We Were Promised Jetpacks live with Brakes and The Twilight Sad at a Fat Cat Records tour stop at the Elmo here in Toronto.  I was duly impressed.  They've got a new album called In the Pit of the Stomach coming out on October 4.  Here's the video for the first single, "Medicine".  Love it!

Looks like you can also trade your email address for a download of "Act on Impulse" at their web site.

September 27, 2011

The Big Pink

It seems to be new release season after a slow summer season.  The Big Pink can be added to the list of cool bands with a new album on the way.  They've recently released a video for "Stay Gold".  Apparently, the new album is due out in January.  Which is quite a ways away, now that I think about it.  By then, Thanksgiving will be over, Christmas will be over, New Year's Eve will have come and gone and I'll have shovelled a lot of snow.  Well, now that I'm thoroughly depressed, I can enjoy this new tune.

September 25, 2011

Telekinesis' music can bend my spoon

Telekinesis are a great power pop band.  I thoroughly enjoy the tunes and would love to see these guys live.  They could really get a venue like The Mod Club bouncing.  I hear bits of all kinds of bands, but you can listen for yourself.  Then pick up great albums like 12 Desperate Straight Lines, Parallel Seismic Conspiracies EP, and Telekinesis!

They were on Jimmy Fallon a few nights ago - here they are doing "Please Ask For Help".

And here's the video for the same tune, "Please Ask for Help"

"Look to the East" Why have they never released this tune as a single? It's the best!


"Dirty Thing"

"Awkward Kisser"

September 22, 2011

Kasabian's new album Velociraptor! on the way

I've been listening to Kasabian since their first album came out in 2004.  Their sound nicely oscilates between rock and dancey beats.  The first vid from the new album, Velociraptor!, is called "Days are Forgotten".  Nice one!

September 21, 2011

R.E.M. Break Up

After 31 years, R.E.M. have decided to call it a day.

Thanks for all the great tunes!

September 20, 2011

Kooks have a new album out - Junk of the Heart

The Kooks are a great pop rock band from the UK.  Their first album, Inside In Inside Out, was awesome, their second album, Konk,  was really good and they've just released a new album, Junk of the Heart, that I haven't spent much time with yet.  Here's the video for the first single, oddly titled "Junk of the Heart".  It sounds cool and laid back.  Easy sounds for the end of summer.

September 18, 2011

Foos with Bob Mould on Conan

Last week, Foo Fighters appeared on Conan with special guest Bob Mould.  Awesome performance of "Dear Rosemary" from the Foos latest, Wasting Light.  Love the front line of 4, count 'em, 4 freaking guitar players!

And if you haven't done so, I recommend reading Bob Mould's autobiography, See a Little Light.  It's a cool read.  Very insightful into the life of one of modern rock's most influential artists.

September 15, 2011

Take Drugs release EP

So what if their name is up there with "Free Beer" on the top 20 list of cheesy/jokey band names? They're a great, relatively new band from Toronto called Take Drugs. They've got a solid rock/punk sound on their four-song EP Got Destruction. Check it out and if you like it, buy it. If you have the urge to check out their live show, you can get show dates, etc. from their Facebook page.

September 13, 2011

Summer, Grouplove wants you back, and so do I

I don't know what the weather's like where you are, but here in Toronto all the signs are pointing to the end of the summer. With this tune, "Naked Kids", by Grouplove, you can pretend it's still a hot, hot, day in June. Their new album, Never Trust a Happy Song, is out now.


September 11, 2011

Patience, young Jedi, one day you will love these songs

I wrote before about how I'm sometimes late to the party, either in hearing about an artist entirely, or in hearing a band, rejecting them and then re-discovering them later. Now that I know this about myself, I will often give a band that's hyped a second or even a third chance.

Now sometimes this just doesn't work out and I never really see the brilliance in a band that everyone else falls head over heels in love with. Like Arcade Fire. They're okay, but I don't see them as the most brilliant artist to come along in the last 20 years.

And sometimes I hear a band and I think, they have a cool sound, but the songs aren't grabbing me. And after a number of listens, the brilliance starts to show through. This is what happened to me in a big way with The National and Interpol. They have taught me that patience is a virtue, and reminded me of the fact that songs don't always show their brilliance with one listen. Sometimes songs take a while to show you their wonder. Their melodies unravel, layered musical parts show their beauty and lyrics reveal their imagery and meaning.

Here's a video from The National for "Conversation 16". I had previously posted a clip of them doing this song on Letterman. I love the song. And I really like the show Mad Men. Great TV show. And this video has the guy who plays Roger Sterling in it. So why do I hate this video? Who knows. Maybe it's brilliance will shine through after a number of listens.

I haven't been shy about my love of the song "Games for Days" from Paul Bank's solo project Julian Plenti. "This is how we learn."

September 8, 2011

Husker Du and Dead or Alive: Combinations of the iPod

I posted previously about some odd combinations that my randomized smart playlists will serve up on my iPod. Here's an intersting one:

It went from "Hardly Getting Over It" by Husker Du from their major label debut Candy Apple Grey

To Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)"


September 6, 2011

Favourites: Von Bondies

I just LOVE these two tracks from The Von Bondies.

"Pale Bride"

"C'mon C'mon"

(So it looks like I'll continue doing "favourites" posts. Just not on a regular schedule. Whatevs)

September 4, 2011

Video from The Black Keys - Next Girl

I just happened to be surfing around and found this video from The Black Keys. It's for the song "Next Girl" from their most recent album Brothers.

September 1, 2011

The Whigs are one of my favourite bands

Several years ago, a friend of mine recommended that I check out Kings of Leon. At first, I couldn't get past the singer's drawl, but after some time, I really liked what I heard from their first few albums. Then I saw an announcement for a show they were playing in Toronto with We Are Scientists and The Whigs. Well I thought that We Are Scientist's début album was absolutely awesome. But I hadn't heard of The Whigs, so I set off to investigate. While investigating, I hesitated in ordering tickets and the show sold out on me, but at least I ended up discovering The Whigs.

This seems to be their latest release. "So Lonely" from their 2010 album In the Dark.

And Here's "Kill Me Carolyne", also from In the Dark.

Here's "Right Hand on My Heart" from their 2008 album, Mission Control

I can't find any good videos to post, but their first album, Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip, has some great tunes as well.

And so I'm not accused of being a tease, here are some vids from We Are Scientists. I absolutely loved their first album, 2006's With Love and Squalor. I've been disappointed that their other albums have not had the same level of energy and consistency.

"Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt"

"The Great Escape"

and "It's a Hit".

And one from Kings of Leon. Do you think that they got a stylist at some point after this?

August 30, 2011

Dinosaur, Jr.

The tune "Almost Ready" from Dinosaur Jr.'s most recent album, Farm, came up on the iPod the other day. What a great song. I just love the loud guitars, the raspy, sometimes strained vocals, with the great melodies and hooks. This guy has been making great music for decades and he just keeps on getting better! I love seeing great artists evolve over the years.

The guy behing Dino Jr. - J. Mascis - has recently released an acoustic album called Several Shades of Why. Here are a couple of videos.

And here are some classic Dino Jr. vids.

August 28, 2011

Howling Bells have a new album on the way

Howling Bells from Sydney have a new album coming out. It's release date is September 12 and it's called The Loudest Engine. The first single is called "Into the Sky" and here's the video. The tune sounds great!

Here's "City Burning Down" from their 2009 release, Radio Wars.

And a couple from their 2006 self-titled release. "Low Happening" and my personal favourite "Wishing Stone".

August 25, 2011

Guilty Pleasure or Just Pleasure? I like Lily Allen

Here's another post I wrote about two years ago and never published...

I've said before that I like a good pop song. Lily Allen delivers great pop songs. She's got a great mixture of sass, beauty, cutesy delivery, and unbridled honesty. A number of similar artists came out after Lily, such as Kate Nash, but they never matched the playfulness in the sometimes harsh delivery. The backing music on many of the tracks on Alright, Still added to the fun, too. Her second album It's Not Me, It's You came out on February 10.

Her new video for "Not Fair" looks like it was pulled right from an old episode of Hee Haw.

As always, George Stroumboulopoulos does a fantastic interview. I've been listening and watching George since he was on Edge 102 and MuchMusic. He's got an amazing way with an interview whether he's talking to a Nobel Prize winner or a rock star. Here he is with Lily on The Hour. A sample exchange:

George: Were you a Clash fan?
Lily: Yeah, of course, who isn't?
George: Dumb people.


And her "encore" story right at the end. Nicer!

Here's a version of Lily performing the first single from It's Not Me, It's You, "The Fear" accompanied only by piano and guitar, from Studio Q

"The Fear" on Later with Jools Holland

"He Wasn't There" on Sirius/XM - her singing is awesome on this take!

And finally, "LDN" on Jools

August 24, 2011

Everything Everything: This year's Mercury Prize Winners?

What do you think? Will Everything Everything take home this year's Mercury Prize?

I think they've got a solid chance.