Random music news for Tuesday, November 13, 2018

And Snoop smoked a joint outside the White House as an anti-Trump protest. Send an email to alan@alancross.ca and see if you can figure it out. This is why the singer of Imagine Dragons is fighting so hard for LGBTQ rights. Weekly Canadian music sales and streaming figures vs. this time last year: Total albums, -21.6%; digital album, -19.6%; CDs, -22.8%; vinyl LPs, + 26.5%; streamings, +48.5% (1.552 billion streams in Canada last week.)
Add Neil Young to the list of stars slamming Donald Trump over the California wildfire crisis. This is how Muse became one of the biggest rock bands in the world. This is nice: Bruno Mars is going to provide 24,000 Thanksgiving dinners for the underprivileged people of Hawaii. That’ll show ’em. A good sign: overall artist revenues are rising. Joe Perry is “alert and responsive” after collapsing backstage at Madison Square Garden after a Billy Joel guest appearance. Lorde to Kanye: “YOU RIPPED ME OFF!”
Apple’s new patent for headphones sure looks interesting. People love the idea of owning Aretha Franklin’s used clothes. Here’s a simple tip bands can use to get more people out to gigs. I had no idea there was such a thing. An Amazon Echo is now a witness in a murder case. One more: Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top fired his opening act for wearing a Trump hat. Let’s find out. You’re not alone. Where? What’s the ideal length for a podcast? Mariah Carey does good business in China in an interesting way. How times have changed…
Does background music in stores drive you nuts? As you may have determined from my out-of-office note, I’m AWOL for the next bit. More and more people are willing to watch hour-long YouTube videos. Meanwhile, Kim and Kanye used private firefighters to deal with their situation. The legal version of Napster appears to be the only streaming music service that’s turning a profit. Meanwhile, I’m still working on things like music news for Tuesday, November 13, 2018.
Random music news for Tuesday, November 13, 2018

New Music from the Inbox for November 13, 2018: Memphis May Fire, The Stolen Moans, Zolton, & More!

Watch: The Stolen Moans’ debut single and accompanying video was made in collaboration with comic book and digital artist Trevor Von Klueg of Metalocalypse, Black Dynamite, and Teen Titans GO. Watch:

Artist: Lightfoils
Song: “This Time Is Up”
Album: Single

Chicago band Lightfoils plays music that blends shoegaze and dream pop. Watch: 

Artist: Vök
Song: “Night and Day”
Album: Single

In preparation for the release of their sophomore album in the spring, this Icelandic trio wanted to give listeners a feel for what their band is about with the music video for this single. They have a new album coming out on Friday. Listen:

Artist: Lost In Stereo
Song: “Gold”
Album: Single

This Glasgow pop-punk band is gearing up to embark on a tour alongside Flogging Molly, The Bronx, and Face To Face. Watch:

Artist: The Stolen Moans
Song: “The King of Claws”
Album: Single

What began as a love song to a feisty rescued black cat turned into a darkly comedic song and video. This is his debut as a solo artist. Their new album is out on Friday. Artist: Memphis May Fire
Song: “The Old Me”
Album: Single

Currently on tour with Atreyu and Ice Nine Kills, Memphis May Fire just released the video for the first single from their upcoming album. Watch:

Artist: Zolton
Song: “When the Lights Come Up on New York City”
Album: Single

Sydney-based musician Zolton has been in the music business for a while, playing in various bands and running a music and culture website. Since their debut in 2017, Vök has gained success through streaming platforms. They’re all about having fun and playing catchy music.
New Music from the Inbox for November 13, 2018: Memphis May Fire, The Stolen Moans, Zolton, & More!

Douglas Rain, the Canadian voice (Winnipeg-born!) of 2001’s HAL 9000, has died.

— edgarwright (@edgarwright) November 12, 2018

BONUS: Cartman as HAL

Read more at Variety. Conflicted by his orders, HAL killed most of crew, leaving it up to David Bowie to disconnect him in this iconic scene.   Why did Rain/HAL sing “A Bicycle Built for Two?” Because in 1961, the IBM 7094 became the first computer to sing and that was the song engineers taught it. One of the best performances in film, with just his voice. The Winnipeg-born Canadian who provided the voice for the universe’s most conflicted computer has died. Douglas Rain, who co-founded the Stratford Music Festival in 1952, was cast by Stanley Kubrick to be the dispassionate voice of the HAL 9000 computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey. RIP Douglas Rain, the chillingly calm tones of HAL 9000 in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.
Douglas Rain, the Canadian voice (Winnipeg-born!) of 2001’s HAL 9000, has died.

Are you buggering up your hearing? Better read this.

Better read this. Are you buggering up your hearing?
And once you do damage your hearing, it can be irreversible. Try it. That’s when you need to pull out the earplugs–or leave. And for giggles, give the same test to your kid. People with certain types of speaking voices may be harder to hear. I keep a bunch in my glove compartment at all times for those times I forget my good pair at home. Earplugs not only protect you from loud noises, but they can also make a concert sound better by filtering out echo and nasty harmonics created by the venue. (1) Earplugs: You won’t find me at a gig without a pair. Hearing loss can be a natural function of aging. Hint: Things start to get gnarly for your ears after about 85 dB. This isn’t some screed warning about the perils of loud music. The first things that tend to go are the high frequencies. This may seem like I’m harping on like some old man, but ask anything with tinnitus or other hearing issues how much they’re enjoying life. Why hurry it along by abusing your ears when you’re younger? You can buy a package of foam earplugs at virtually any drugstore. (2) Get an SPL metre for your phone: There are a bunch of sound pressure metres available for free in app stores. It’s handy to have one around just to see how loud the band is actually playing. For maximum accuracy, use a good pair of headphones.  
  Because I spend a lot of time at shows, I went big, buying a custom molded set for around $200, but that’s overkill for most people. Chances are they’ll be able to hear higher frequencies than you. But there are ways you can protect yourself from music that’s too loud. Test your personal high-frequency response here. Once those go, sounds (and music, of course) begin to sound muddy and indistinct.

Need to really FEEL the music? Well, there’s his new gadget called “BodyRocks”…

Need to really FEEL the music? Well, there’s his new gadget called “BodyRocks”…
Read more here. If listening to music isn’t a physical enough experience for you, a company called BodyRocks Audio has created a new full-frequency haptic gadget that allows using to–well, just take a look. How long before someone puts all them in their pants?

Looking back at headliners for Toronto music festivals since 2001

In another edition of Completely Ignored, Cameron Gordon has created a graphic featuring artists who have headlined Toronto music festivals since 2001. Click on the image to see the whole thing. This offers a gauge of what performers have had staying power in Toronto.
Looking back at headliners for Toronto music festivals since 2001

Canadian Metal Bands Can Now Apply for Wacken Metal Battle

Canadian Metal Bands Can Now Apply for Wacken Metal Battle
4th Place
– 2000€ from the Wacken Foundation and more! The Canadian champion also has the opportunity to win monetary and gear prizes from the international Wacken Metal Battle. John’s
Winners of the International Wacken Metal Battle receive:
1st Place
– Slot to play at the Full Metal Holiday Festival in Mallorca including flight and accommodation 
– 5000€ from the Wacken Foundation and more! Here’s the full list of participating regions for Wacken Metal Battle Canada:
BC – Island
BC – Vancouver/Lower Mainland
BC – Interior
AB – Edmonton
AB – Calgary
SK – Saskatoon
ON – Hamilton
ON – Toronto
ON – Ottawa
QC – Montreal
QC – Quebec City
NS – Halifax
NL – St. The winner of this year’s Wacken Metal Battle Canada national final will receive $2000CAD towards airfare to travel and perform at the 30th Wacken Open Air in Wacken, Germany taking place from August 1st – 3rd, 2019. 3rd Place
– 3000€ from the company Pohl-Boskamp and more! This is the sixth year of the battles and for the first time, Wacken Metal Battle Canada will be expanding to the east coast. Bands can apply here. The deadline to submit is December 21. 5th Place
– 1000€ from the Wacken Foundation and more! 2nd Place
– 4000€ from the Wacken Foundation and more! Check out the promo video here. Canadian metal bands are now able to apply to Wacken Metal Battle for the chance to play Wacken Open Air 2019. Additionally, the national final this year will be held in Calgary instead of Toronto, where the final was held for the past five years.

Random music news for Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Random music news for Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Then again, so are headphones. (Via Tom)
Where is this strange music coming from? And so is this article, especially if you’re looking to boost listening of your podcast. Here’s how one guy created a music video for $300. As vehicle entertainment systems go, this one from Fiat-Chrysler is next-level stuff. Be it resolved that 1972-74 was the golden age of pop music. Celine Dion has a new line of children’s clothing, which is fine. The hottest tech gifts of the year are smart speakers. Meanwhile, Spotify’s relationships with the major labels are at a delicate point right now. As rumoured, Spotify has launched an app for Apple Watch. Harvey Weinstein’s dream team features a lawyer that both got Diddy and Michael Jackson to walk free. Greg “Fritz” Hinz, drummer for Canadian metal band Helix, has been placed in a medically-induced coma after fracturing his skull when he fell off his roof. It’s the video that’s bizarre. Fast-forwarding to November 14, 2018, here’s what’s making music news. In a band and on a budget? France is wary about the possibilities of another Bataclan concert massacre. The El Mocambo’s neon palm tree sign is once again hanging above Spadina Avenue in Toronto. If you’re into podcasting, this article is definitely worth reading. Listen to some behind-the-scenes radio communications between NASA and Apollo 11. As to when the club will reopen…
The UK is getting a global Music Walk of Fame in 2019. On this day in 1952, The New Musical Express published the first-ever UK singles chart. Jarvis Cocker is working on a Brexit book. Here’s a touching interview with Freddie Mercury’s mom. It’s really pissing off some people in New Jersey.

More Music From The Inbox 14 Nov 2018 Ken Tizzard, O Emperor, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and More!

Sounds like:  memories shared, full of emotion

Artist: O Emperor, “Girl”  
Album: N/A

This Irish band is always catching my attention
Sounds like:  thoughts, winding and wondering

Artist: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, “Hanoi 2”
Album: IC-01 Hanoi

Their instrumental album, recorded in Vietnam, is worth your time
Sounds like:  Jazz soul amid the chaos

Artist: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, “Cappuccino City”
Album: Hope Downs

Love the sound of this Melbourne, Australia band
Sounds like:  something light and a little foamy

Artist: Viza, “Pinches”
Album: Unorthodox Revival II

This Los Angeles band is into melding cultures
Sounds like:  a definite SOAD vibe

Artist: City of Tyrants, “Astral Projection”  
Album: Revelations

This New Jersey metal band is killing it
Sounds like:  something beyond the veil
Link/Listen/Watch: Artist: Ken Tizzard, “1962”
Album: A Good Dog Is Lost: A Collection of Ron Hynes Songs

Great solo work from this The Watchmen alum!
More Music From The Inbox 14 Nov 2018 Ken Tizzard, O Emperor, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and More!

Chris Cornell Tribute Announced

Tickets go on sale Friday, November 16th at 10 AM PT, and “very good” round trip flights to LAX from Toronto are currently going for $368 CDN on Expedia. What’s going on, you might ask? Feel free to add your input in the comments below. It’s taken 20 months since his unfortunate death to put an event of this magnitude together, so you know it’s going to be big. Aside from the foundation his widow Vicky Cornell established, proceeds from what will be an incredible night of music from the last 30 or so years will also go towards research for epidermolysis bullosa, a cureless genetic disorder that was near and dear to Chris’ heart. I know, whoa, what a lineup. Oh, only #IAmTheHighway, maybe the most star-studded tribute concert ever, all in the memory of Chris Cornell. Rage Against the Machine. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near Los Angeles these days, even if Dave Grohl has started his own BBQ company called Backbeat that generously fed hungry firefighters battling the California blazes that have already claimed the houses of Neil Young and Miley Cyrus. Who wants to help curate a playlist with me? Hopefully things will have smouldered out by January 16th, 2019 so I can plan a visit out there. It would be an honour just to attend this celebration of someone who made such a profound impact on so many people’s lives; I know I’m not alone in saying how it’s been difficult to listen to his songs since May 18th of 2017, but I’m ready to start thinking of what should be performed in two months’ time. And highly emotional, no doubt. The aforementioned Grohl’s Foo Fighters will be among the heavy hitters performing at LA’s legendary Forum, along with Metallica, Ryan Adams, and members of the bands Cornell amazingly fronted – Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog (essentially Pearl Jam) and Audioslave i.e.
Chris Cornell Tribute Announced

Carrie Underwood has a new songwriting partner: a computer program

When Carrie Underwood takes the stage at the Country Music Association Awards Wednesday and belts out her new song, the audience will likely jump to their feet and applaud wildly her latest hit. “The neural network produced hundreds of lines of music, which we then cleaned up and reformatted to make Carrie Underwood’s next song (as predicted by a bot).”
Among the song’s lyrics:
“Every horizon holds a storm for sirens”
“The days were whiskey.”
“I’m praying I’m fearless.”
“I need tears for miles.”
Considering this is a woman who counts among her first, uh, hits a song about beating the snot out of a cheating lover’s car, and another one in which she implores Jesus to steer her car through life’s storms, it’s fitting. The country music world, that of songwriting teams and tales of broken hearts, redemption, faith and family, is turning to artificial technology to write songs. “With a recurrent neural network (RNN), the output (i.e. “We took the lyrics from Carrie Underwood’s six studio albums, excluding verses sung by guest artists, and used them to train a recurrent neural network,” US Direct says. The CMAs are Wednesday night — If you watch the ceremony, let us know what you think of the song. That didn’t work for predicting song lyrics because the output produced by traditional neural networks aren’t based on the original text input,” the company explains. US Direct employed lyric-predicting technology to write “Whiskey Storm.”
“Traditional neural networks assume that all inputs, and therefore outputs, are independent of each other. Can you tell it wasn’t written by a person? If we input Carrie Underwood lyrics, our RNN will ‘look back’ to those lyrics and the output will take them into account.”
In other words, by studying other songs written or performed by the Grammy-winning artist, US Direct’s AI will write a song that “sounds” like Carrie, learning her phrasing, style and word-choice patterns to create something that feels authentic to listeners. The thing is, she had nothing to do with it. the words generated) are all dependent on the previous input.
Carrie Underwood has a new songwriting partner: a computer program

Isn’t it about time that the theme from Seinfeld be given the death metal treatment? The Internet thought so.

The boops and pops and plunks of the theme from Seinfeld (made with a Yamaha DX-7 synth, not a bass guitar) have made it one of the most famous TV themes ever. (Via Tom through Revolver)
5 Songs About Nothing by Grindfeld One thing was missing, though: a death metal version. And there would be rioting in the streets if at least one song wasn’t inspired by the Soup Nazi. And yes, “The Contest” is here (it leads off the EP). Behold Grindfeld and their imminent EP, Five Songs About Nothing, which features five songs based on some of the show’s most famous episodes.
The Internet thought so. Isn’t it about time that the theme from Seinfeld be given the death metal treatment?

Gift idea: A musical history map of London

Gift idea: A musical history map of London
A company called Dex spent a year drawing this map, painstakingly locating landmarks of musical importance and then plotting them in a graphic way. The more you examine it, the more fascinating it becomes. While you could take a formal tour (and there are a bunch on offer), you might want to consider this new musical map. Buy it here. Any music fan who’s ever traveled to the capital of the UK has some interest in some famous musical landmarks. Might make a good Christmas present. (Via TimeOut)

This documentary on rock’n’roll concert promoters looks fascinating

This documentary on rock’n’roll concert promoters looks fascinating
A couple of years back, I was involved as a script editor in a documentary called Who the F**k in Arthur Fogel? And here are details of its premiere. So, how did a guy who, some might think, simply booked talent, earn such a lofty distinction? In 2005, Frank Barsalona, a concert promoter, received a “lifetime achievement” distinction at the Cleveland-based institution. Gotta see this one. There’s now a new doc that explores the history of concert promotion. Yet, somehow, one of the least-known inductees managed to receive one of the hall’s highest honors. The answers lie in an informative new documentary, The Show’s The Thing: The Legendary Promoters of Rock. In colorful detail, the film lays out how Barsalona blueprinted the modern concert business (now a $10bn industry), along the way changing how audiences relate to the music, while also providing crucial support for some of its greatest stars. This is from The Guardian:
To date, more than 600 people have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, most of whom are fantastically famous. “No act becomes huge without a key promoter doing his work,” says Bob Geldof in the film. Read more here. This gave me a chance to get deep into the world of the concert promoter, the people who make it possible for gigs to happen.

U2 fans are panicked the the band may be calling it a career

I guarantee it. 51 gigs played between May and October 2017. Here’s why everything is all right. There are still many cities to hit on the Experience + Innocence Tour which cannot be confused with the Innocence + Experience Tour, which ended on December 15, 2015. Bono always makes some kind of farewell statement at the end of a touring leg. Such sentiments are not new. Is there something about Bono’s health we don’t know about? Bottom line, U2 fans, is that you stand down from DefCon 1. Calm down. We’re going away now…” #U2eiTour
— U2gigs (@u2gigs) November 13, 2018

To some, there is a scary sense of finality to these words. U2 finished up their 2018 touring commitments with a gig in Berlin on Tuesday night (November 13), making good on a show that had to be canceled earlier in the fall when Bono lost his voice a few songs into the performance. Was Bono signaling that the band was packing it in? When U2 tours, they always take an extended break through the Christmas months before going back on the road in February/March/April of the following year. Many of the stops on that tour were not included in the North American legs of Experience + Innocence. Are they finally tired of the grind? Chickenfeed for U2 and Live Nation, the worldwide promoters of the tour. Your band will be back on the road in 2019. For example, they’ve yet to play Toronto this time around and they never miss the city. That deal still has a couple of years to go. Speaking of which, U2 is still under contract to Live Nation, having signed a 12-year recording and touring commitment back in 2010. E+I has only featured 60 dates (a mere 27 in North America; see Toronto note above), generating a box office of around $106 million USD. It was then followed by The Joshua Tree 30 Tour. The show ended with this statement from Bono:

Bono: “we’ve been on the road for quite some time, just going on 40 years, and this last 4 years have been really something very special for us. (With info from The NME) They just needed to put space between a JT30 stop and a return with E+I
Plus U2 has promised to play some markets to which they’ve never been before, including Manila and Singapore.
U2 fans are panicked the the band may be calling it a career