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Thursday, September 30, 2004

Postcard From Montreal Numero Une: Au Revoir Les Expos
Well that was about as good an ending as the Expos could have hoped for. Most everyone in the press box was expecting - selfishly? - a riot. Or at least a lot more mayhem than we got.

We probably under-estimate how much the players actually cared about the whole messy affair. While one Expos pitcher was overheard saying, "It's a shithole. A shithole I'm going to miss, but a shithole," Brad Wilkerson was doubled over with his head buried in his locker. Next year, if Major League Baseball has any class left, he'll be a Washington Gray.

So pop music. Ah yes. That. Tonight we're thinking maybe some Black Keys, Andre Ethier with a side of Q and not U.

Full report to follow.

... Woah. MusiMax is playing the new U2 single, Vertigo. Hmmm. Dunno what I think of that. It's alright. But it's not going to cure any diseases. And that's what we expect of Bono and the boys at this point, isn't it? Ah well. MuchMusic is playing Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise. That's more like it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Time Gentlemen, Please
The lack of weekend posting is due to a last minute rush ahead of the long-awaited event of the late summer/early fall - PopWherry Does PopMontreal!

When we next post we'll be there. Current itinerary calls for two nights of Les Expos, followed by four nights of La Rock N Roll. Regular, if not frequent, dispatches throughout.

Will you be there? Drop us a line and we'll exchange co-ordinates.

(Things we would've liked to have posted about in the last few days if we'd had the time: Nellie in China, Billy Talent, Locabazooka, Idol v. Anti-Idol and the meta-crappy new Eminem single)

Monday, September 27, 2004

Blind item
If I told you that a "a respected visionary of his generation" was coming to Toronto for a poetry reading, who do you suppose I'd be refering to?

Friday, September 24, 2004

And We Didn't Even Know It Had Been Leaked
This should make for some uncomfortable comparisons.

-----Original Message-----
From: XXXXX.XXXXX@bmg.com
To: XXXX
Sent: 9/24/04 5:42 PM



An unauthorized copy of Jacob Hoggard’s version of the Canadian Idol Kalan Porter’s single “Awake In A Dream” has ended up in the wrong hands. Mr. Hoggard’s version of the song was recorded as a practice piece, in the event that he would be required to perform the song as a winner. The practice material was stolen from his possession. It is a recording that was never intended for release to the public.

Jacob says "I had no intention of releasing this song and it is my hope the fans will respect my wishes of stopping further distribution."

It violates Canadian law to post, distribute or broadcast this song in any manner. Mr. Hoggard and BMG Canada hope the public, especially the fans of Canadian Idol, will respect their wishes. Please do not distribute this material any further and please destroy the copies you have.

Thank you for your co-operation.
Sooner Or Later We're Going To Have To Grow Up And Get A Real Job
Just as a general reminder to ourselves and anyone else of how regularly ridiculous this thing we do can be... Today we got a call from Brian Wilson. Seriously. Dude is like Rain Man with a nose full of Coca-Cola. Conversation lasted all of about ten minutes. Bewildering stuff. And then we went back to writing about baseball.
Two Triangles? Man, Apostle of Hustle Is Like The New Rush
If the editors of Esquire magazine (a periodical we generally enjoy) gained the power to create rock stars from pulp, paper and bits of string, it might end up something like Andrew Whiteman. Or at least dress like him. Though we must know how he keeps those pants on. They seem to be forever hanging about 8/10ths of the way down his indie ass. Suspenders? Belt? Double-sided tape? The world may never know.

And, as a general rule, we've determined that for the best concert experience, those on stage must be having exactly 1.3 times as much fun as those in the audience. And, for this equation to work, those in the audience must be having, at the very least, the most fun they've had all week. By that standard, this evening was... "heartwarming."

All the usual suspects. But no Liss. What gives? You got some splainin' to do.

See also...
Sarah Liss: Latest Hustle
Mike Doherty: Hustle Rose

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Pants On Fire
How good is Britney Spears? She doesn't just fake her marriage, she fake fakes her marriage.
For Sofia
This is old news, but you can never have enough Pop Stars In Japanese Commercials!

Britney Spears, Madonna, David Bowie, Lauryn Hill, Sean Lennon, Jamiroquai, Sheena Easton, Faith Hill, Whitney Houston, Rick Astley, Harry Connick Jr., Ringo Starr, Rod Stewart, Vanessa Williams and ZZ Top
Broken Does Austin
Broken Social Scene play City Limits; implore Americans to change the world, receive assistance from Franz Ferdinand and Sloan.
And you know they'd do the same to Natalie Maines if they could...
Cat Stevens: National Security Threat

See also, Ibrahim Ferrer: National Security Threat

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

When There's Nothing Left To Burn
So Theresa lost, Avril got her tits out and Nellie McKay's little white lies were revealed (good to see the Buffalo News has its crack investigative team working on only the important stuff). If this is what happens when we crawl under our desk and refuse to come out for a few days, we're never doing that again. Promise.

(The professorial commentary in that Nellie piece would be hilarious if it weren't so sad in its distinct lack of irony.)

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Goodnight Johnny
Ramones co-founder dead at 55

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Avril Down The Aisle: Deny! Deny! Deny!
It was all a joke. About a crack pipe. Or something.

Says the Sums:
"Deryck Whibley of Sum 41 is not engaged. Deryck and his friends are constantly followed by paparazzi. The recent 'breaking news' that has been misconstrued around the world exemplifies the media's constant invasion of people's personal lives and reporting of unsubstantiated rumours and/or appearances. If there was a picture that captured Deryck kneeling, it was more likely him bending over to pick up the crack pipe that fell out of the paparazzi's pocket than him making a proposal — looks like the joke's on them."

Update... 12:53am EST....
MTV with the contradictory photo evidence.
Avril Down The Aisle: UPDATE!
The London Sun gets in on the party and CP is willing to repeat it. The official denial can't be far off now.

Update Update... 12:53pm EST...
The original report from jolly old England, complete with pictures and yet more family friends:

“Avril has had a grin on her face ever since. She’s really excited. People tag her as this miserable teenager but she couldn’t be happier right now. She told her mum straight away and she has been totally buzzing. They haven’t set a date yet but they want to walk up the aisle next year.”

Update Update Update... 1:36pm EST...
Label says: "We do not comment on the personal lives of our artists."
Management says: "We do not comment on the personal lives of our artists."
Hide Your Eyes Child
Haylie's little sister is suddenly all growed up. But still so much a girl.

P.S. Avril's ENGAGED?! To Sum 41 guy? A family friend (as family friends tend to do these days) tells all:

"They know they're young, but Avril has been completely swept off her feet. They both come from similar backgrounds and have been drawn together amongst the false celebrity world. They are both fiercely private and want to keep their love behind closed doors. Both families are very pleased, but have advised them to have a long engagement, due to Avril's age."

She's 19. He's 24. And they have a US$15 million love nest in Santa Monica. Sweet.

Official denials to come.
Hold On
Beastie Boys - So Whatcha Want (Green Lantern Remix) (buy)

Still waiting for the mash up to get mushy? Keep waiting. It might be a bit. You Can Hate Me Now v. So Whatcha Want v. Run. Jesus Christ.

(This is only a test. Somebody drop a comment when that gets gone.)
For Those Keeping Score At Home
On the Slate sliding scale of Sui Generis, Dizzee Rascal is Most Definitely, Bjork is Not Entirely.
Fuckin Eh: Who Needs An Effective Health Care System?
Canada 3. Finland 2.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

All Over But The Crying
The latest line has Kalan Porter the favourite at, rather ridiculous, odds of 1/10. Theresa Sokyrka comes in at 9/2. Place your bets.

Even the kids involved seemed to know what comes next, as reported by CP:

Kalan: "It's been so much fun. At the same time it's gong to be exciting to see what happens after this and what my life is going to do after this."

Theresa: "It's been so hard to keep in touch with people during this busy time. I'm looking forward to feeling a little bit more normal with my life."

Which seems strangely fitting. Kalan stands to benefit from CI success much more than might Theresa - who should probably disappear to Saskatoon, master the piano, write some songs and re-appear a year or two from now, free of the CI albatross.

PopWherry will be in the audience Thursday night. A suitably snarky report to follow, we're sure (dude is such a dick).
Get To Know Your Neighbours
Catching up on random Broken Social Scene bits and pieces. Deathcock lands. Drew appeals for an end to the hate. New album name: Windsurfing Nation. Release date: Feb. 14, 2005.

(The Big Ticket has two tracks from the Apostle of Hustle record.)

(Sam Roberts was on Leno tonight. Looking sorta nervous.)

(Chiu likes the new Tegan & Sara a lot more than we do.)
While The Nation's Radio Programmers Slept
Desperate wannabe rock stars should skip Karen Bliss' Rock N Roll for Dummies boot camp and pay close attention to her story about the continued rise of Alexisonfire - a tale that is all the more smirk-worthy given Brian Robertson's apocalyptic tale in today's Star. Could it be that the kids are rushing to the Internet because radio refuses to play the music they like (largely because the major labels and radio programmers are such comfy bedtime buddies)? Nah, couldn't be...

Monday, September 13, 2004

A 9.7 from the skinny, pasty judge
And so it begins. If you don't already love the Arcade Fire, you'd better start. Pitchfork gives them a 9.7. World domination to follow.
Weekend Reading II
Ben Rayner on heavy metal.
Warren Kinsella on political rock.
Tony Clement on same.
CRIA's Brian Robertson states his case.
Robert Everett-Green on Apostle of Hustle.
Marc Weisblott on The Globe's pay for play ploy.
Toronto-born Reggie Benjamin is the world's first Indian-American pop star.
k-os is contradictory.
And Nellie McKay is paying her own way on her next record.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Weekend Reading
Jon Parales on U2
Ben Ratliff on the New History of Jazz
Kelefa Sanneh on Eminem
Vit Wagner on Kings of Convenience
Stuart Berman on Deep Dark United
Sarah Liss on Polly Paulusma
Jim DeRogatis on Usher
Steve Morse on Jimmy Buffett
Alexis Petridis on Fatboy Slim
Sharon Lerner goes to Rock n' Roll Camp for Girls
Jamie Foxx pretends to be Ray Charles
Brian Wilson pretends to be the old Brian Wilson
Rush prove unrepentantly ridiculous at Wembley
Johnny Cash remembered by the greats (and Al Gore)
Robbie Williams: Whatever happened to him?
Interpol want to make people feel
Dido attempts to unpick the myths
Embrace: Whatever happened to them?
Nellie McKay avoids eye contact
***
SFJ sees Franz... Paul Wells (with guest blogger Branford Marsalis!)... Stereogum (with new Britney!)... Jay Smooth mocks Benzino... Chang on Prince... Alex Ross on Requiems... Defamer on Fucking Frankie Muniz...

Saturday, September 11, 2004

And It Goes On And On
Legal Downloading is the new Illegal Downloading. And so, following Dan's recommendations (see below), here's some assorted tracks from some of the less obvious playing Pop Montreal's first sleepless night. We'll get to the other four soon enough.

Pop Montreal - Wednesday, September 29
+The No No Spots
Defeat
Disorder of the Week
See You Around

+Eye 2 Eye (ICM Records)
The Eye
Goin' Fishin
Bring The Smoke In

+Pawa Up First
Despite The Short Term
Introduction To New Details

+Mia Verko
Refrain From A Chorus
Beautiful Youth
Minding The Minutia

+The Champagne Kiss (Troubleman Unlimited)
Stereo Relapse

+The Firebird Band
The City and Driving
Kiss Yourself

Friday, September 10, 2004

Give It Away II
So here's the deal. Anxious for Pop Montreal, we dropped Dan Seligman (organizer and manager of these guys) a note and kindly asked him to point us in the direction of some stuff we probably hadn't heard before. Ever gracious he sent us back a nice long list of links to the cool, new, now and wonderful. Below is a mere sampling. As we're hearing most of them for the first time as this is written, we won't bother with previews/reviews/snarks/quips/kudos/etc and leave these for you to discover. Enjoy. Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves/ourselves (and ask away if something inspires and you require further links).

Zombi - Orion
Michael Yonkers Band - Sold America
Malajube - Le Robot Sexy (demo)
The Hold Steady - Swish
Blakkar Noir - Flowers Suite
An Albatross - The Revolutionary Politics of Dance
The Mohawk Lodge - This Is What It's For (unmastered)
Matisyahu - Chop 'Em Down
Give It Away Now
So here's the deal. I realized the other day that I have 6 Gmail invitations burning a hole in my virtual pocket. If there's anyone out there who wants one - and doesn't already have one - here's what we'll do. First 6 people to e-mail me a song* (send it to my gmail account, at right, of course), will get a golden ticket. And.... go.

*Please make the song good. Please make the song not the one where Dubya sings Bloody Sunday. Thank you.

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Shilling For The Man
Yeah, yeah. Independence. Autonomy. Etc. Etc. And never forget what Warner did. But the man from the record company comes with goodies - including Streets remixes and b-sides and The Stills en francais. And who are we to resist. To wit:

----------
From: Adam Shore
Sent: Thursday, September 9, 2004 16:08 PM
To:
Subject: VICE Records mp3s


Dear esteemed members of the blogosphere-

At some point or another I have downloaded tracks that I really love from your site. You guys have turned us on to a lot of cool music, so we wanted to return the favor.

http://www.vice-recordings.com/blogpage/

These are all rare tracks from VICE artists. I will update this page with new tracks often, and send out very infrequent emails like this letting you know what's there. If you do not want to get emails like this from us, please let me know and I will delete you immediately.

Thanks-
Adam Shore
VICE Records

Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Behold The Awesome Power Of The New York Times
Remember that Tegan & Sara profile in the vaunted NYT we were talking about not so long ago? In a rare double play, it inspired not only snark from Gawker, but also some deep introspection from ilXor. That about covers the Internet. At least the cool parts.
Hey Ultragrrrl, Make Yourself Useful
Since it worked so well for Alexisonfire, why not? Controller.Controller's Scott asks all those with e-mail accounts, an appreciation for death disco and far too much time on their hands to help make some, er, History. He explains:

"Our music video for History has been added to MuchMusic's playlist! Please help us get it played by requesting it at the links below:

(Important: please put controller.controller - HISTORY in the subject line. Your requests actually make a difference!)

MuchOnDemand - ondemand@muchmusic.com
Much Loud - loud@muchmusic.com
The Punk Show - thepunkshow@muchmusic.com
The Wedge - wedge@muchmusic.com
Dedications - dedications@muchmusic.com
MusiquePlus - www.musiqueplus.com
Much Music Board - www.muchmusic.com/connect/messageboards
Much on Demand LIVE! - www.muchmusic.com/tv/mod/interact
"

You have your marching orders. Get busy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

What It Is Good For
Satisfied that it has won the daily newspaper war, The Globe and Mail has decided to throw its forces into the alt. weekly war. At least here in Toronto. Sort of.

This Friday the gang at 444 Front St. will launch 7 (we'd heard about it, but Better Living found the thrilling press release) - a weekly tabloid, to replace the Friday Review section, that will offer "an essential, critical guide to arts and entertainment in the city - with reviews, listings, features on celebrities both international and local, plus insider's tips on how to make the most of a week well planned."

Grief counselors, we're told, are being dispatched to the offices of Eye and NOW to soothe the local hipsters' fears. In advance of their arrival, we will now attempt to answer 7 (get it?!) of your more pressing questions.

1. So hold on. We've already got Eye and NOW, why do we need 7?

Good question. Since you're asking, we can safely assume you're under the age of 35. So it might help here to think of your parents (just this once). You see, your average alt. weekly scares the crap out of your average old person - what with all the rock n' roll, homosexuality and graphic discussions of both socialist health care policy and Santorum. Plus, old people are senile. So listings, like the Internet, bewilder them. Globe Editor-in-Chief Edward Greenspon explains: "People need a guide, not just an endless list. 7 offers the recommendations and advice of our crack team of writers and reviewers - what not to miss and what to skip. With so much choice in arts and entertainment options in Toronto, 7 will help Globe readers make the most of their time."

2. So who will be telling all these middle-aged, boring suburbanites what to do with their lives?

The crack team includes John Doyle, Robert Everett-Green, Rick Groen, Johanna Schneller, Leah McLaren and Liam Lacey.

3. What about Carl Wilson?

Curiously, Carl is not mentioned. We assume this to be an oversight. But, should Carl prove to be excluded from 7, we'd suggest his loyal fans chain themselves to the revolving door down on Front St. until Zoilus is served. Suggested chants: "No Wilson! No Peace!" and/or "7 won't be heaven without Carl's Scene!"

4. So why the name 7?

Maybe because there are seven days in a week. Or maybe because it went with The Globe's new marketing campaign/explicit threat: "You've got 7 days to live."

5. What will this mean for my favourite NOW and Eye writers like Sarah Liss and Stuart Berman?

Emboldened by this attack upon their native soil they will rise up and write with such fury, pride and ambition that all previous standards of alt. weekly writing are smashed and a new kingdom arises, leading Toronto alt. weekly journalism into a new golden age. Or, disinterested, they will light up a fatty, watch some Family Guy and silently judge us all.

6. Are these FAQs-as-high-comedy bits becoming a little tired?

Most definitely.

7. Before you go though, is it true that Amanda Walsh has left MuchMusic?

Indeed. As Much itself so aptly puts it "Amanda sez bye bye." Our favourite cute-as-a-button-blonde is leaving the nation's music station to pursue acting. And get away from all you screamy kids. On the bright side, this can only mean more Devon! (Though, if this does mean more Sarah, we certainly wouldn't complain...)
You Know Your Hockey Team Is Evil When...
Midway through thoroughly, and justifiably, dressing down the under-achieving and altogether rude U.S. World Cup hockey team, my esteemed colleague Mark Spector sets his phaser to kill and goes after gangsta rap (specifically American goalie Rick DiPietro's fascination with same). To wit:

...It is also DiPietro's habit to crank up a CD by his favourite gangsta' rap artist on the dressing room boom box, disregarding the presence of children in the room, or electronic media who use microphones to conduct their player interviews. So this was the scene yesterday inside the Team USA dressing room, not long after Hull had sullied the outer hallway with his profanity:

While a relatively small media contingent went about its work, a handful of children of Team USA players -- none over the age of six or seven -- played on the dressing room floor. That cuddly family scene was suddenly interrupted by master DiPietro, whose choice of rap music includes explicit lyrics and frequently used profanities that -- even in the context of a hockey dressing room -- go far beyond the boundaries of good taste. His gangsta' rap has become a staple of this room, a stream of street-level profanity seemingly condoned by those in charge.

There seems to be no one with the authority to demand the music be stopped...


Explicit lyrics? Frequently used profanities? Sheesh. Remember the good ole days when young children were able to hang around a dressing room full of naked men, who, for a living, play a game that encourages - nay, requires - them to inflict serious injury upon the other for the entertainment of drunken mobs, free of such immoral rubbish as gangsta rap?

See. This is why music writers should stick to music and sports writers should stick to sports. Err... hold on...
The Matthew Good/Fashionable Self-Hate Quote of the Millenium
From an interview with the Artist Formerly Known As The Angry Matt Good in the latest Chart:

"I'm the kind of guy that worries about owning a car... A friend of mine owns a car dealership so I bought a car. It's not a cheap car, it's not a totally expensive car at the same time - but I feel guilty about it. It's like, how can I go preach about human rights and people in beleagured parts of the world and I don't even drive the damn thing? My wife drives most of the time. But how can I wake up in the morning and justify it? It's a very difficult thing to do. It's a struggle every day. But what people have got to understand is that because of human fallability we're all in the same boat. And we all have to confront that every day of our lives."
You Can Never, etc
Indeed it probably isn't where you're from, but where you're at. Still, it's sometimes good to check up on the first. Namely, in our case, here. Where the dealers kill hookers, except when they're booby-trapping their grow-op. Oh, and we wouldn't go for a swim. Nor would we suggest a day at the park.

Monday, September 6, 2004

It's New To Us
The lovely Gentleman Reg has a lovely new song from what we assume to be a lovely new album - It's Not Safe.

Also, we just found out that Winnipeg's Endearing Records has a blog - and its artists love Canadian Idol, Nellie McKay and the O.C. (just like us!). And keeping with today's loose themes of free music and Pop Montreal, here are tracks from the Parkas (see Sloan) and Paper Moon (see something precious and poppy) - two Endearing acts we squeezed past on the way to the water closet at some hole in the wall during last year's fest.

The Parkas - Scam the Tram
Paper Moon - Mercury is Clearly Opposing Neptune
The Waiting, etc
Full schedule is up for Pop Montreal, complete, at least to these eyes, with beaucoup de nouveau bands, including the aforementioned Wonder Twins and the Mark Inside, a perfectly sloppy outfit from Whitby who won the PopWherry staff's collective hearts when, during a show two years ago, their possibly intoxicated bassist kindly asked those of us at the back of the bar to "Get the fuck up here and fuck us up!" The lead singer/guitarist then started his own mosh pit. Sweet.

The Mark Inside - Carousel
The Mark Inside - Sweet Little Sister

(P.S. Ahh... So that's what it sounds like when you can reasonably cite Kurt Cobain and Julian Stroke as influences.)
Local Lesbians Make Good
The NY Times has crazy love for Tegan & Sara and their new album So Jealous:

... the winsome "So Jealous" delivers even more confident pop songwriting complemented by Mr. Caswell and Mr. Collins's warm retro tones. The timing is right for this kind of girl-rock manifesto. As emo has recently given young boys a chance to explore their deeper feelings, this multilayered record is aimed at young women, gay and straight, looking for smart songs that explore the fun side of taking yourself very seriously. "I Won't Be Left" finds the slightly more guttural-voiced Tegan insisting, "I won't mistake you for problems with me/ And I won't let my moods ruin this you'll see." There's a humor in the twins' frequent references to self doubt, especially in light of the fact that they have met with virtually nothing but success since the moment they picked up their guitars.

Hear Walking With a Ghost, I Bet It Stung, and I Know I Know I Know here.

Friday, September 3, 2004

Buck 65 bitch slaps hip-hop UPDATE
Disturbed by Buck's comments, Mark brought the case before the ilXor judges, jurors and executioners. Here is the verdict he received (thanks for the kind words Huck).

More importantly, here is the response Buck, or someone claiming to be he, posted on the Exclaim message board:

Hello. This is Buck 65 writing in a pre-emptive attempt to address the little controversy brewing over my recent Kerrang! interview. If you haven't heard about it yet, you might soon. Basically, in the interview I said that hip hop people are ignorant, have no appreciation for other genres of music and that I'd be surprised if anyone could show me an example of a rapper that could read music. I'm apologizing for all that. I lost my cool on tape which is never good. The journalist was provoking me, calling me a sell-out and a whore. I was trying to make a point by playing devil's advocate, but I went way overboard. No hint of irony or roll-playing or intelligence came across in the story. Now I just look like an idiot. I take it back. I don't really believe any of that. I don't think being able to read music is a concern. Most of my favorite music was made by non-educated musicians. It doesn't matter. I still have heavy criticisms of most hip hop, but I really didn't make them well on this particular day. I put my foot in my mouth and I'm apologizing for that.

Also: Jay with the apology and a review of the rage.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Show him the money. So to speak.
Evan Newman, a publicist with V2 in Canada and manager of Jill Barber and the Tangiers among others, has his Jerry Maguire moment in this e-mail, sent earlier today, to about six dozen Canadian music industry types (including Bernie Finkelstein, Denise Donlon, Deane Cameron, etc).

----------
From: Evan.Newman@v2music.com
Sent: Thursday, September 2, 2004 12:20 PM
Cc: (recipients)
Subject: My Fellow Members of Canadian Music


I am writing to you as a music fan and as a person  who makes his living in the music industry as both an artist manager and an  employee of a record label.
 
The hope is that the following words will spark  discussion and debate amongst all people at all levels of the music business, from music journalists, to club owners, to labels and managers.
 
I believe that we, as a whole, have the ability to  establish Canada as innovators and trend setters in the global music industry.  Over the past 2 years, we've had some of our finest talents achieve success  on a global level; Broken Social Scene, Hot Hot Heat, The  Hidden Cameras, The New Pornographers and many others. The  common thread that connects these artists is that they are Canadian  independent artists who are signed here to indies or signed in the US or Europe, achieved success elsewhere before gaining notoriety in Canada.
 
Our common practice over these years  seems to be an attempt at duplicating what other territories have imported to  us. We have bands currently in Canada who could be classified as the  next Jet, or next Franz Ferdinand, or Strokes and the list can go on. It seems  as though the major labels pass on the innovative talent that we have for the  sake of an imitation of an already existing international artist. We've begun to  see some of the majors take the initiative and take risks as indicated  in the recent international success or recognition of Buck 65, K-OS  and Billy Talent. But for these 3 acts, there are artists like Death  From Above 1979, Feist and Metric who must go elsewhere to make a  living.
 
We have to set trends rather then follow them,  begin investing in our unique and diverse talent rather then leaving them no  choice but to look elsewhere for deals. Our current radio climate has to change  as programmers and music directors must start taking risks as well. There is to  much of a reliance on US stations and radio is constantly looking for Canadian  equivalents to successful American radio artists or support "core" Canadian  acts who have passed their prime long ago. We as a music industry, owe it to  consumers to provide them with innovative new music. If independent labels and  artists had major label funding and marketing ability then more people would be  buying records and not just downloading songs.
 
There seems to be  a sense of urgency to cash  in on the latest trend and artist development has become nonexistent.  Independent bands seem to grow with every record as opposed to major label  artists who are pushed down the consumers throat and then seemingly disappear by  the time their second record rolls around, if it ever does.
 
Managers are also a culprit of what has become a  disposable music scene. As both a manager and A&R, I see an all too common  scenario where management companies or individuals will pit labels against  each other in an effort to secure the most money for their artist forsaking any  attempts at developing the artist. We (labels) are our own worst enemy  when it comes to signing bands way before their ready and throwing them out to  the masses with sub-par efforts. While we're out trying to sign and release the  next Jet who have played 4 shows in Toronto, a band like Despistado are playing  100 shows a year and developing their sound and abilities and signing to a US  label.
 
Most majors are getting involved by having P&D  deals with indies and this should be applauded. However, our Canadian  independent bands have become our biggest musical export and should be  cultivated and exploited here rather then having to sign elsewhere and be  exported back to us.
 
The advice I hear bandied about most to young bands  is sign with an international territory before you sign with a Canadian label,  if you sign here at all. This is not a phenomenon that is not solely Canadian,  the Strokes signed with Rough Trade and broke in the UK before the US, same with  the White Stripes and XL. I think it's time that major labels start investing in  our unique talent, radio begins taking risks with their programming and we begin  challenging music consumers. Sure there will be a tough transition and  everything is easier said then done.
 
There are plenty of great young managers and great  young talent being developed in this country right under our noses. I  firmly believe that labels and artists will thrive once we are able to commit to  the establishment and development of career artists rather then the flash in the  pans.
 
Thank you and I hope we can open the forum with  this. I don't mean to be Jerry Maguire here I just think that we as industry and culture, have so much potential . I've only been in this industry for a short while and I'm guilty of this as well, I just wanted to bring it out there for people to chat about.


Thanks
Evan

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

v3.0
Having turned Dizzee Rascal and the Junior Boys into massive, multi-platinum, global superstars, the Blog has set its sights on Montreal's Arcade Fire. And the ringleader of this revolution is, of course, Sean.

Today he offers another love letter, plus two new tracks (Tunnels and 7 Kettles) from their impending triumph, Funeral.

Meanwhile, Teaching the Indie Kids to Dance Again gets in on the fun with more love, plus two more tracks - Crown of Love and Laika.

Download. Enjoy. Then, in a couple of weeks, spend the cash for the other six tracks.

You won't (can't!) possibly love them as much as Sean. Or at least we don't. It's sinking in though. We saw them a year ago for a few songs in Montreal. We were only mildly moved. But now... well... give us another week and we'll be handing over our first born son (don't hold your breath). For now, we're getting there. Save us a spot in the receiving line. And forgive us when, in say November, we're hailing Une Annee Sans Lumiere as the most staggering work of the most heartbreaking of geniuses - a bilingual ballad of such basic beauty it might just be enough to bring us all back together again (even if we never were to begin with). Bless.

And don't get us started on Power Out...
Better Living Thru Blogging
Marc Weisblott has a dream. An entire city united under the banner of one blog. Or something to that effect.

Check it out. Offer your compliments, complaints, suggestions or, better still, services.
Buck 65 bitch slaps hip-hop: 'I'm as elitist a bastard as you could possibly find.'
Excerpt of a Kerrang interview posted at HipHopMusicDotCom (via Okayplayer). To wit:

"I now hate hip hop, the more I've educated myself about music, the more I've grown to hate it. I don’t use that word lightly, either."

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