I know we can’t all be Steve Earle or Bob Dylan, but I expect and demand a certain level of poetic skill from anyone who makes a living putting music around words. If you can’t meet my minimum standard – if you think rhyming ‘soul’ with ‘whole’ is deep, for example – I’m going to make fun of you.
I’m a writer, and I can’t let bad poetry go even if you can shred the fretboard into little maple splinters.
That said, a pretty cool song can cover up bad lyrics for a hell of a long time. For instance, take the opening two lines from War Pigs by Black Sabbath:
“Generals gathered in their masses,
Just like witches at black masses.”
Ozzy Osbourne has earned the right to be as twisted as a four-inch wood screw, but Ozzy, dude, you just rhymed ‘masses’ with ‘masses.’ I know it’s a homonym, but come on, man.
Or how about this little diamond from Army of One on the new Annihilator album Metal:
“Just one big family
Been around since the 1980s
Old school, we're livin’ in the past
They said it would never last.”
I know Jeff Waters is trying to say metal rules, which it does, but I think there are better ways to say it. And the rest...
FOLK : Adele Wilding | RyeLee | Julie Marinelli
HIP-HOP: Bubba B "The MC" | Fenom | Newschool Media
ROCK: Kathy Kennedy | Trophy Wife | The Don Jacks Band | Sit Down Tracy
SINGER/SONGWRITER: Evan Reeve | Christine Wollmann
COUNTRY: Mike Blair
COMPOSERS: The White Light Machine
plus... Barbara Siemens | S.M. Hrushovetz
MERCHANDISING: Special T Shirt Company
RECORD PRODUCERS/EGINEERS: Paul Katsnelson
RECORDING STUDIOS: Prairie Recording Company
STYLISTS: Lori Stefaniuk
VIDEO SERVICES: Goldrayne Media
Paul McGuinness, manager for U2, delivered a keynote address at MIDEM on Monday which has bloggers and industry pundits buzzing. In a speech that included practical ideas, emotional pleas, and amateur sociology, McGuinness took aim squarely at internet service providers and silicon valley for creating the infrastructure that has allowed music exchanges to become de-monetized.
From the Guardian: U2's manager yesterday called on artists to join him in forcing the "hippy" technology and internet executives he blames for the collapse of the music industry to help save it.
Paul McGuinness, who has plotted the rise of the Irish group over 30 years, said technology gurus in Silicon Valley such as Apple's Steve Jobs and Microsoft's Bill Gates had profited from rampant online piracy without doing anything to stop it.
"I suggest we shift the focus of moral pressure away from the individual P2P [peer to peer] thief and on to the multibillion dollar industries that benefit from these tiny crimes," he said.While his proposal to stick a fee on ISP subscription that would cover the losses of copyright holders in the music industry isn't new (SOCAN Tariff 22 was first proposed like...
Back in June, Canada.com reported that the Hillary Clinton campaign was going to use a song by Canadian pop diva Celine Dion.
The New York senator's run for the Democratic presidential nomination took on a distinctly Canadian flavour Tuesday when her campaign announced it had chosen Quebec songstress Celine Dion's 'You and I' as the candidate's official campaign song.
The selection of Dion's tune followed a month-long online contest that rejected somewhat nastier suggestions like Elton John's 'The Bitch is Back' and the Rolling Stones' 'Sympathy for the Devil.'Globe and Mail columnists and Zoilus blogger Carl Wilson took special interest, since we was working on a book about Dion. In examining the relationship between the two women, he suggests, for example, a Lettermanesque "10 Ways that Hillary Clinton is Like Air Canada" list.
Wilson's book came out in December. In it, he examines how the top selling Canadian pop star can be so loved by so many, and at the same time so hated by the critics and taste makers.
But now Celine's presence in the US presidential campaign might be expanding. According to Wilson, someone in Barack Obama's campaign left the book out on...
So, the future may not be as dark as it sounds. Speaking at MIDEM, Vivendi's Jean-Bernard Levy says industry troubles are exaggerated. As reported by Reuters this morning:
Vivendi Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy has no plans to spin off the music unit Universal and he said on Saturday he believed the gloom surrounding the industry had been over done. Levy said the music industry was going through a huge transition at the moment, with new business models for mobile and Internet services appearing all the time. But he predicted there would still be a viable market for physical products like CDs for many years to come and he said the industry's future lay, as always, in spotting the right creative talent. "I think altogether today there is an exaggeration in the industry," he told the conference.
Responses to Jean-Bernard's comments paint him either as a brave face in the major label world, willing to admit that the doom and gloom message coming from the industry is more propaganda than reality. Or, conversely, as a dinosaur wanting to justify his business' slow response to new music distribution realities.
The Vancouver 2010 Games has a series of music, culture and arts festivals planned for the next three years. The series is dubbed the Cultural Olympiad and it begins with a slate of 300 performances set for February 1 – March 21 of 2008.
The Wailin' Jennys will be participating in this year’s Olympiad. Their performance is set for February 9 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts in Vancouver.
Other notable acts for 2008 include Feist, Ron Sexsmith, Leela Gilday and Sal Ferreras (AMP Camp 2008 instructor).
Indie U.S. film Frozen River picked up the Grand Jury Prize for drama at the Sundance Film Festival this month. According to the BBC, jury member Quentin Tarantino said the film, written and directed by Courtney Hunt, "was one of the most exciting thrillers I am going to see this year."
The film features music by Winnipeg's own Keri Latimer, of Juno-nominated roots quartet Nathan. Latimer was in Utah for a portion of Sundance.
Winnipeg rock outfit The Nods broke the coveted CMJ 200 Chart in the U.S. at #177 (CMJ Radio 200 chart #1041) .
Now being played on over 175 college stations in the U.S,. The Nods latest album release, Static Pop, has become a college favourite from San Marcos Texas to Bowling Green Kentucky as well over 175 other stations across the U.S.
As another milestone for the bands Static Pop album, it was in the CMJ Top 20 Adds in the first week of their campaign at #14 (CMJ Radio 200 Adds chart #1073). In the first 3 weeks of there college music take-over, the band was added to 115 stations, in rotation at 59 and charting in the top 30 at 17.
Now in its sixth week tracking, the band is charting on 28 stations and in full rotation on 178. The band is hoping to break 200 stations in the next few weeks.
Static Pop is the second release by the five-year-old band, formerly known as Castrati.. They have toured throughout Canada a number of times in as well as shared the stage with the likes of Danko Jones, Buckcherry, Thornley, and Default. The Nods are currently planning their Canadian album release to retail in early April. This will coincide with a new tour and plans to...
This morning, I attended a press conference at MIDEM for the launch of QTRAX - the world's first legal peer-to-peer (P2P) download service. It boasts an impressive 25-30 million legally licensed songs that will be made available free to the public tonight at midnight EST. Making the announcement was President and CEO of QTRAX, Allan Klepfisz, backed by a panel including Brit songster James Blunt, and what seemed to be most of the Sugar Hill Gang (both of whom played the reception that followed). The champagne was flowing and the mood was definately celebratory.
Th QTRAX model is fully ad-supported through various types of advertising and
sponsorship agreements with multi-nationals such as McDonalds and Nintendo, along with others. Apparently the ads are in the form of banners etc - no more obtrusive than what we already see everyday.
An undisclosed revenue-sharing model has been agreed to by all the major labels, the bigger indies, publishers, and artists. Though the divvying of the cash was left vague, and I imagine varies deal by deal, all the rights holders will get paid, and the public neededn't lay down a credit card, lifeblood, or anything else to get the...
Call me a purist, but I'm usually not cool with an artist giving a finished product over to some dude with a Casio organ and a heavy drug problem.
My first run-in with a remix disc came in 1993 at the Polo Park Record Baron, when I bought an album featuring several knob-twiddlers having a run at The Cult's "She Sells Sanctuary." I'll defend my inexplicable love of The Cult even in the face of scathing criticism from cooler-than-me industry types, but that album was a piece of shit.
I don't know what I was expecting to hear when I hit play, but I was certainly not prepared for the kind of music you might expect to find in a robot porno co-directed by Isaac Asimov and The Chemical Brothers.
Where were the big fat guitars? Where was the melody? Where was the talent? Well, some might argue that the talent was never really there with The Cult, but I maintain that Billy Duffy could crank out a ripped-off riff like nobody's business, and I think it was pretty rockin' at times.
And then Butch Vig and Youth decided it was time to go Blade Runner on the thing...
I bring this up because right now I'm listening to Year Zero Remixed by Nine Inch...
Electronic act Solidaze is enjoying palm trees in Cannes, France with vocalist Sarah Michaelson (a.k.a. Mama Cutsworth), showcasing at the 42nd annual MIDEM conference. Snag your free mp3 of Solidaze's "Lost Touch" off Pleasure from Precision, courtesy of our friends at Balanced Records, available until January 31 in The Loudspeaker on manitobamusic.com.
Plenty of music happening on this weekend; MARIA folks will hit various stages all over Winnipeg and beyond. Here are just a few of the shows you can catch while enjoying the slightly less frigid weather...
Greg Lowe @ Academy Food, Drinks & Music
The Hazy Pilgrims @ Cavern
Kathy Kennedy @ Royal George (playing Thur - Sat)
campfire night @ Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club
Allison DeGroot & Kevin Bones @ Tryst Eatery and Liquid Room
SPF 90 @ Academy Food, Drinks & Music
Highway 373 @ Aseneskak Casino (The Pas - performing Fri-Sat))
Ray St. Germain @ Candor Shop
Alan Gillies @ City Centre (Brandon)
Hundredfold @ Garrick Conference and Entertainment Centre
Jacob and Lily @ Lady of the Lake Shop, Cafe and Pub (Brandon)
Rock, Paper, Scissors @ Pyramid Cabaret
b.u.m.p. @ Shannon's Irish Pub
Jaw @ The Zoo - Osborne Village
Paul Bergman, Jakebrakes @ Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club
Unity: A Tribute to Desmond Dekker @ West End Cultural Centre
Canzona performs choral music by Robert Turner @ 107 Osborne Street
Where's the Funk @ Academy Food, Drinks & Music
Sean Brown @ Degrees; University of Manitoba
X-Status @ Garrick...
Now all music lovers have a chance to peek inside the invite-only gala and see why the Polaris Music Prize gala has fast become one of the hottest tickets in Canadian music. On September 24 this past year, our friends at CHUM TV mounted a shoot of the gala and have been busy interviewing the artists and behind-the-scenes people and come up with an hour of performance and interviews that encapsulate why Polaris has captured the imagination of serious music lovers across the country. The special will feature exclusive live performances from 2007 nominees The Besnard Lakes, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Miracle Fortress, Julie Doiron and the eventual winner, Patrick Watson.
The Polaris Music Prize tv broadcast was financially supported by Standard Broadcasting.
“Wanna know why Polaris matters? The live performances – particularly draw-dropping debuts of new material by a newly Neil Young-struck Chad VanGaalen and deserving winners the Patrick Watson band – during the ceremony at the Phoenix were so unrelentingly high-calibre that the artists might have actually wanted to be there and cared about making a good impression on industry...
With the increase in digital downloads, some companies and artists are looking at how they can make digital sales at shows or in stores. One method is download cards. Like gift cards, the consumer pays for the card at the time of purchase and it contains a code that they use to access a digital download when they get back to their computer.
Sony/BMG has a program called Platinum MusicPass which is suppose to debut at five retailers across Canada in late January.
Meanwhile, a bunch of smaller companies are offering this type of service directly to artists and indie labels. One company, Dropcards, now has their digital download sales recognized by Soundscan. Disc Revolt makes the case that the cards are a greener option than CDs. Fizz Kicks lets you print out your own cards.
Thanks to Dylan Cash and Digital Music News for some of this info.
The Manitoban music community is sending some of its prairie spirit to Cannes, France. Nine local industry professionals and one artist will head overseas on January 26 for the 42nd edition of MIDEM, the world’s biggest music business conference.
MIDEM allows for the opportunity for members of our local music industry to expand their presence across the globe, as they host over 10,000 international music industry bigwigs. Artists, labels, record companies attend the conference to wheel, deal, and get exposed the hottest, newest music, from January 26-31 through trade shows, networking events, and showcases.
Yet again, a strong strong Manitoba delegation of labels and industry professionals is attending MIDEM, including: Aboriginal production company Rising Sun Productions’ Vince Fontaine, Aboriginal label Arbor Records’ founder Brandon Friesen, Ukrainian folk label Olesia Records’ owner Alexis Kochan, Cafesonique.com’s Ron Lamoureux, and electronic record label Balanced Records’ co-founder, Adam Hannibal. Attendance is funded in part through Manitoba Trade and Investment, which allows for smaller Manitoban businesses to strengthen their visibility in international...
In the words of Times Change(d) president/janitor John Scoles... "Attention: Winnipeg, United States and Mexico!" The beloved club is celebrating its seventh anniversary this weekend. In conjunction with the four-night part, the club will launch its latest CD compilation, Winnipeg: The High & Lonesome Years Vol 4. The CD features local favourites Andrew Neville and The Poor Choices, Romi Mayes, Adrien Sala, The Swag, The Western States, The Wind-Ups, The Farrell Brothers, and The Perpetrators.
The release will happen throughout the anniversary weekend of January 17-20, 2008. Shows will be as follows:
Thursday, January 17: SongSwap featuring Romi Mayes, Rob Vaarmeyer, Chris Carmichael, Jaxon Haldane, Vince Andrushko, and Bobby Stahr
Friday, January 18: Litle Miss Higgins, Andrew Neville and the Poor Choices
Saturaday, January19: The Western States, Adrien Sala
Sunday, January 20: The "Whiskys" (the club's annual awards presentation) featuring Big Dave McLean and special guests
All shows will be $5.00 cover (except the 18th 0 $7 and the 20th - No Cover) or free with purchase of the CD.
Roots duo Twilight Hotel is gearing up to launch its sophomore release, Highway Prayer, on January 29 (the Winnipeg CD release party will take place on February 29 at the West End Cultural Centre). They'll be heading to Memphis next month for this year's Folk Alliance Conference where they'll showcase and await the results from the Folk Alliance Awards (they're up for the Emerging Artist trophy). Get your free mp3 of the title track from The Loudspeaker on manitobamusic.com until January 24! You can also catch Twilight Hotel at the Regal Beagle on Friday, January 18.
Another good weekend for music coming up. Plenty of MARIA members will hit various stages, so head out to a venue and catch some Manitoba music...
THURSDAY: Jazz guitarist Greg Lowe and his trio have their weekly gig at The Academy on Osborne. Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club plays host to a plethora of fantastic roots acts, including Romi Mayes, D.Rangers' Jaxon Haldane, and Chris Carmichael. Rock act Reverse Separation is at The Zoo. Kipp Kocay joins other Young Performers Program alums at The Folk Exchange. Highway 373 can be found at the Westbrook for the weekend. Tryst Eatery and and Liquid Room offers up Allison DeGroot and and Kevin Bones.
FRIDAY: Check out JD Edwards at The Academy. The Experiences will be at Brookland in Portage la Prairie. Head to Cowboys for some country courtesy of Four Mile Road. After All These Years will shake up Hooligan's. Lindsay White plays the King's Head Pub. Kathy Kennedy is at the Pony Corral at Grant Park. Blair Hordeski and his sandwich will serve up some music at Shannon's Irish Pub. Head over to the West End Cultural Centre for triple bill of Dream Quest, Scarlet Halo, and Seventeen69. The Zoo has its own juggernaut: Big...
The EMI Group -- which is home to over 1300 of major labeldom's biggest names -- is reportedly restructuring its Recorded Music Division. The Music Industry News Network summarizes the "wide-ranging initiatives" as a move to make EMI more artist and consumer-friendly.
EMI Group's chairman, Guy Hands, unveiled changes in a January 15 press release that include:
* Repositioning EMI’s labels to ensure they will be completely focussed on A&R and maximising the potential of all their artists
* Developing a new partnership with artists, based on transparency and trust, and helping all artists monetise the value of their work by opening new income streams such as enhanced digital services and corporate sponsorship arrangements
* Bringing together all the group’s key support activities including sales, marketing manufacturing and distribution into a single division with a unified global leadership
* The elimination of significant duplications within the group to simplify processes and reduce waste
EMI asserts that these changes will allow the group to start discovering talent again.
Hands goes on to say: "We have spent a long time looking intensely at EMI and the...
Everybody knows that mp3 audio is not high fidelity. To the masses, it doesn't seem to matter, but audiofiles have always had the option of giving the iPod a break and listening to their favourite new album on CD, or better yet vinyl, on their home Hi-Fi system. But what if the crappy compressed quality of mp3 audio causes record producers to stop making spacious, dynamic records, and to compress everying into various states of loud? Robert Levine explores the idea in a December issue of Rolling Stone.
Here are some promising signs that Hi-Fi may survive:
Some producers, like Daniel Lanois, are taking matters into their own hands, releasing digital wave files and mp3s for the same price.
Some online music stores, like the Toronto based zunior.com, are offering downloads of lossless FLAC audio files for an extra $2. The format is compressed enough to download effeciently, but boasts CD quality sound.
And perhaps the most interesting related trend is that vinyl seems to be making a comeback. Vinyl requires a separate mastering process which should mean that the compression techniques used for mp3-ready audio would not be used. In Canada, lots of indie pop and roots...
U2 is making a 3D concert footage from their 2005 Vertigo tour in South America.
This is the first 3D concert DVD ever made, using real time production methods and multi-cameras made by 3ality Digital. This project used over 100 hours of footage, using the largest amount of 3D camera technology ever used on a single project.
The movie will be available in imax theaters on January 23rd, 2008.
Check out http://www.u23dmovie.com/ for the trailer and more information. It's pretty dramatic, ie. words flying at your face, but looks pretty cool.
I got an article about Aboriginal hip-hop in Australia from my Google Alerts today. The piece speaks to some of the circumstances that inform this community and shines a light on some of the folks making moves Down Under.
I found it intersting to see that the community looks a lot like its Canadian counterpart. Up here we got acts like Dead Indians, Team Rezofficial, Da Skelpa Squad, Eekwol and Manik conducting business online and logging regular hours on stages throughout the Aboriginal community. Down there, acts like Tjimba & the Yung Warriors, Konect-a-Dot, and Indigenous Intrudaz seem to be at the same level and doing similar things with respect to branding their music.
Starting this month, the venerable Winnipeg Folk Festival will be leaking names of acts lined up for the 2008 event once a week. This week's announcement unveils two upcoming performers: Austin-based 11-piece Latin funk orchestra Grupo Fantasma and Baton Rouge Cajun/blues/jazz quintet The Red Stick Ramblers. Get your own Folk Fest updates by signing up to its newsletter.
Grupo Fantasma, called the "best band in Austin," was a definite favourite from some of the folks who were down at SXSW last year. One MARIA staffer was so impressed that he worked the word "fantasma" into the office lexicon.
In honour of its 35th birthday, Folk Fest is offering up a great online retrospective, including images from the last 35 years.
I've attended 28 festivals in the last 31 years, so this is some weird loop of nostalgia that has me remembering all sorts of Festival memorie. Best workshops, meeting icons, falling down repeatedly in mud, and attempting to negotiate with beer tent volunteers. Like a lot of people here, I can trace a lot of what I listen to back to Folk Fest, so in some way this is my birthday, too. So happy birthday to my musical development! And I'll see some of you...
A friend of mine likes to take a photo of someone and then press a couple buttons on his camera, claiming that the photo is instantly being posted to his website. Well, now it really is possible to do a wireless upload with the new Eye-fi wireless memory card.
Zune is Microsoft's competition for the iPod. The new edition looks great and features a wireless connection to your PC. The Zune is apparently launching in Canada this spring, although the accompanying music subscription service may not be available until later this year. That the ZuneCanada website "has been taken offline due to a lack of time to maintain the website," may be an indication that Microsoft isn't feeling too urgent about getting the product into Canada.
ScanLife is software for mobile camera phones that allows users to scan a 2D barcode and retrieve info, like a new music clip or a band's tour date info. I'm not sure if this is happening in Canada yet, please leave a comment if you know.
Avery Lipman (former VP) has been announced as the new co-president for Universal/Republic Records, says Mel Lewinter, Chairman, UMRG and Monte Lipman, President/CEO, Universal Republic.
Lewinter stated in the A&R Worldwide Music & Media newsletter, “Avery is among the very best in the new generation of true record executives.” And added, “His rare combination of leadership, creative sensibility and business acumen have been instrumental in helping Universal Republic achieve the success it has in such a short period of time. Over the years, it has been a pleasure to watch him grow into such a universally well-respected record man, known for his remarkable ability to identify and develop talent, while bringing innovative and refreshing ideas to well-established acts. He possesses the drive and vision necessary for success, and this expanded role will recognize and make even greater use of his many talents.”
Universal/Republic Records is a division of the Universal Motown Republic Group.
”Motorized vehicles in the United States represent approximately 25% of the country’s CO2 emissions, a figure that is rapidly rising despite recently raised awareness. A typical car can produce up to twice its weight in Carbon emission in only a year.”
With C02 emissions rising to alarming levels, The Small Hours are cleaning up their act. The Small Hours plan to offset all of their C02 emissions for their 2008 US Tour, taking a greener approach to life on the road.
The Small Hours have formed an alliance with Smith Electrical Vehicles, who will be donating their transportation for the tour. Smith Electrical Vehicles will be providing a vehicle which emits zero pollutants, made out of entirely recyclable materials.
Also working with The Small Hours is Terrapass, an organization that finances clean and efficient energy sources, such as wind farms. They will be financially contributing for every kilowatt of electricity, drop of fuel and therm of natural gas used on the tour.
Scandinavian-style home furnishers IKEA, as well as American Forests, are helping out by donating 100% of all proceeds from their Green Merchandise line, which will be sold at shows, as well...
One of the most interesting voices in the music industry wilderness right now is Bob Lefsetz, former major label consultant and entertainment business lawyer. Lefsetz has a lot to say about what's going on in the music industry and he doesn't hesitate to say it. He has strong and informed opinions on everything from iTunes to how much Justin Timberlake makes per stadium show. He also doesn't hesitate to publish his detractors, routinely sharing his inbox mailbag with his subscribers (including a pretty raunchy disagreement with one very angry Kid Rock back in November).
Anyone interested in reading is casual, lively, and sometimes lengthy musings can subscribe to The Lefsetz Letter.
Here's an example of Lefsetz at work in today's email about iTunes and Amazon:
"Remember when the labels held back online distribution to protect their brick and mortar retailers? You might ask WHAT brick and mortar retailers. Tower Records is history. Big boxes are shrinking floorspace. And the labels have ignored the indies, fucking them on price even though they're the last edifice standing. Look where this backward-looking strategy has gotten them. Endless decreases in sales this...
Isabella Rossellini, famed Italian actress and director, will be narrating Guy Maddin’s latest silent film, Brand upon the Brain, at this year’s WSO’s New Music Festival in February.
Maddin wrote this film to be accompanied by a live orchestra with a narrator, hence the lack of voice-over and musical score.
Rosselllini and Maddin have worked together on projects in the past, namely her film, My Dad is 100 Years Old, as well as his infamous The Saddest Music in the World.
Other highlights for this festival include the premier of Symphony No. 3., by Winnipeg composer and pianist Glenn Buhr, featuring Toronto’s Sarah Slean. Jesse Zubot, formerly of Zubot and Dawson, will also be performing a concerto he has written, featuring improvised violin.
The festival has recently received a boost in funding from surgical imaging company IMRIS, who have pledged to contribute $150,000 annually for the next four years. The festival has had trouble in the past with funding as a result of the federal legislation ban on cigarette advertising.