Random music news for Thursday, August 23, 2018

Random music news for Thursday, August 23, 2018
How to grow old gracefully in music. Fox News is getting slammed for using this song in a report about bulletproof backpacks. Watch for some changes in the coming days. What’s this new podcast app called Shortwave that Google is working on? Apparently, there are #MeToo issues in the world of classical music. Just like Prince, it appears that Aretha Franklin didn’t leave a will. More here. Here are five reasons why. That means I can bring you music news for August 23, 2018. Do you have a social media habit you’re trying to break? JJ Abrams is launching a record label. Hardware. (Via Tom)
Is your band still struggling? So Liam Gallagher walks into a pub…
Aerosmith to Donald Trump: “CUT IT OUT!”
Drake has invested in a high school sports channel. Bad Robot has begat Loud Robot. Spotify and the Guinness Book of World Records have launched a “world record playlist.”
Use Chrome as your browser? The next target for artificial intelligence in the music business? AC/DC is annoyed that they’ve been spotted in Vancouver recording a new album. The reason you’re reading this is because on this day in 1991, the World Wide Web was open to the public for the first time. Then try Brizzly. This court ruling will have interesting implications for the copyright of songs recorded before 1972. Oh, dear. Why the world owes an apology to Sinead O’Connor. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that a song called “F**k the Police” is not protected by free speech. There are now more than 800 million Internet users in China. Weird Al’s new film will be a VR thing, which promises weirdness. The New York Jets have teamed up with Def Jam Recordings for this NFL season. This will be messy.

New Music From The Inbox: LP, Marshmello, Say Lou Lou, and more!

These sisters say that the song “Implores [young women] to free themselves from the invisible shackles of expected ideas of young womanhood and see the world and life that lie ahead of them ‘on the other side’ – kind of like an empowering lullaby.”
Listen: Watch/Listen: 

Artist: The Spencer Lee Band
Song: River Water
This song is gorgeous in its simplicity. This is super fun in a low key way. Listen:

Artist: Say Lou Lou
Album: Immortelle
Song: Golden Child
This song has a charming faded vibe and a flawless mix of synths and acoustic guitar which are just so delightful! Just melodic guitar plucking and striking, powerful vocals that will give you chills. Bastille
Song: Happier
Happier is a classic exhilarating dance track that is painted with Dan Smith’s distinctly soft yet powerful vocals and creative lyrics. Listen: 

Artist: Stasney Mav
Song: Bullet
This upbeat, fun electro-pop anthem tells a contrasting story of loss and heartbreak. The lyrics acknowledge the uncomfortable truth that loving someone sometimes requires we step aside so they can find happiness. Artist: LP
Song: Girls Go Wild
I love LP’s unique voice and the rocking bass line. Watch/Listen: 

Artist: Marshmello ft.
New Music From The Inbox: LP, Marshmello, Say Lou Lou, and more!

The estate of Ronnie James Dio is auctioning off some of his stuff. You won’t believe what’s up for sale.

The estate of Ronnie James Dio is auctioning off some of his stuff. You won’t believe what’s up for sale.
Glad you asked. The official catalogue (which runs 288 pages!) features some amazing and unusual items. Like what? Along with plenty of clothes, costumes, and a surprising number of sports jerseys from all sports and leagues (remember, kids, Ronnie was just 5’4″), there’s musical gear (guitars, amps, a mellotron, microphones), memorabilia from his time with Black Sabbath, Rainbow and other bands, album awards and…well, just look. (Thanks to Tom for the tip.)
  A 19th-century bible

An autographed Pete Rose baseball

A “stage-used animatronic sphinx”

This. A collection of medieval weapons. A robotic spider

A crossbow

A dragon’s head

And a garden gnome, the placement of which resulted in “a severed thumb.”

Feel free to browse through the whole catalogue here. Now that some time has passed, his estate is planning an auction of property from RJD’s estate. One of the great rock voices of all time was taken when Ronnie James Dio died of stomach cancer in 2010.

Check out these pictures from the Breaking Benjamin/Five Finger Death Punch/Nothing More/Bad Wolves show in Toronto

6:00 PM:  A medium-sized yet excited group of fans crowded the floor area in front of the stage to see Bad Wolves start their set with “Officer Down” and “Learn to Live”. How often do you get to hear four amazing bands in one evening? His choice of Keith Wallen (rhythm guitar/vocals), Jasen Rauch (lead guitar), Aaron Bruch (bass) and Shaun Foist (drums) is truly musical artistry. 9:45 PM: Breaking Benjamin watched over by the great eye and by the crowd that had patiently waited for their arrival, thundered in with “Red Cold River”, the lead single from their sixth studio album Ember (2018). Each artist entered and exited the stage with exact timing. This is the totally reformed band that Benjamin Burnley (lead vocals/rhythm guitarist) put together in 2014 as a rebirthing of the original group. Vocalist Ivan L. Burney is not the only amazing vocalist in this band. Benny Sanders and Mayerling Rivera. The amazing energy, sound, lights and pyrotechnics of each band created a cohesive show that benefited the Shiner’s Children’s Hospitals via a draw for a guitar signed by band members. Wallen impeccably sang lead on a number of tunes and Bruch was in all accounts, two separate people/voices in the tune “Believe”. Their sixteen song set (including a medley of the “Imperial March” from Star Wars, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Tool’s “Schism”) was a journey of genre, colour and harmonies. “BB” featured other tunes from the new album, “Psycho” and “Torn in Two” but did not miss the standards that the crowd was dying to hear like “Diary of Jane”, “Breath” and “Blow Me Away” along with “Never Again”, the very first song that the whole band collaborated on.  
 
  Lead vocalist Tommy Vext asks the masses “Are you awake?” With all fists in the air, they launch it “No Masters” (mirroring the first three cuts on their CD Disobey) after which Vext thanks the audience for coming early and supporting Wolves. – AC]
Monday Music Madness! He gives a nod to Montreal (the previous night’s concert) and after three more tunes from the CD tells us it’s only their second Canadian appearance. Moody’s voice was clear and punched out through massive guitar jams by Jason Hook (a Torontonian), and Zoltan Bathory. The production went like clockwork. Text supplied by L. With skeleton clad Jeremy Spencer (Golden Gods best drummer – 2012) providing the beats under a giant skull and cross bats, and Chris Kael (Golden Gods best bassist – 2014) on bass, the crowd was in the palm of their hands. Even though the band tends to be known as a heavy, thrash and groove metal band, their acoustic set captured us all and Moody had a group of kids join them to sing the ballad “Remember Everything” (which made this review tear up).  
 
6:50 PM: Nothing More drummer Ben Anderson captivated the crowd first, then was joined by the rest of the band including vocalist Jonny Hawkins on his personal percussion kit for “Do You Really Want It?” Their nine-song set included the lead-off single from the band’s debut album This Is the Time during which Hawkins mounted the Scorpion Tail, a huge synthesizer tower construction from where he performed a monster call-and-response with guitarist Mark Vollelunge. They close with a cover of The Cranberries’ “Zombie” and the audience sings like a heavenly choir in memory of Dolores O’Riordan. All eyes and ears satisfied. The set ended with “Salem (Burn the Witch)” in which the crowd on the floor entangled in a giant scrum and the entire band joined in using various drums. These are from the night of August 20. Everyone left with a ‘bigger heart’ than they arrived with for so many reasons. Many of the songs included three members playing guitar (a difficult feat even for those who know it well) and often three, or even four voices. Seated in the front row of the 200 level was the ideal location to live this event. 8:00 PM: After a brief bit of “I Love You,” Five Finger Death Punch ruled the crowd from the opening note of “Lift Me Up” which earned the band Best Song of 2014 – Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards. [Once again, Andrei Chlytchkov was hustled into the photographer’s pit at the Budweiser Stage to capture some live rock shots. Jamming favourites such as “Under and Over”, “Wrong Side of Heaven”, they had the whole assemblage singing with them on their cover of “Bad Company”.
Check out these pictures from the Breaking Benjamin/Five Finger Death Punch/Nothing More/Bad Wolves show in Toronto

Because everyone loves awful album cover art, here’s another gallery of some of the worst

Because everyone loves awful album cover art, here’s another gallery of some of the worst
These are all very, very real. There is plenty of album art that is so terrible, it should never, ever be seen again. Today, though, artwork is almost extinct, thanks to digital files. Here are some very illustrative examples (via Bored Panda where you’ll find the full gallery). Someone was quite serious about these projects, too. That real estate shrunk to about 6 x 6 with the CD (although you could expand things throughout the enclosed booklet). Ordinarily, this is where I’d say this a bad thing, a step backwards when it comes to our enjoyment of music and how things were better in the old days. Not this time. Back when vinyl ruled the earth, art directors had a 12 x 12-inch canvas to work with for each album.

Can you use Spotify’s algorithm to find the saddest pop songs of all time?

Maybe. “Tracks with high valence sound more positive (eg happy, cheerful, euphoric), while tracks with low valence sound more negative (eg sad, depressed, angry)”, according to Spotify. I know this because one of the most-viewed posts in the history of this site is one from April 2012 entitled The Top Ten Most Depressing Alternative Rock Songs with 116,000, third on the all-time list behind the home page and site archives. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face – Roberta Flack (number 1 in 1972)
2. SPOILER: If you can’t be arsed to read the full article (although you really should because it’s cool), here are the five saddest songs to make it to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100:
1. – Elvis Presley (1960)
4. Mr Custer – Larry Verne (1960)
5. Are You Lonesome Tonight? But it was Morrissey’s unique style of being miserable – coquettish and laced with Northern English humour, flipping between self-pity and irony – that appealed to my teenage self. I’m still not sure why the last one had such an effect. There are similar scores for other parameters including energy (how “fast, loud and noisy” a track is) and danceability, which is exactly what it sounds like. The streaming service has collected metadata on each of 35 million songs in their database, accessible through their web API, that includes a valence score for every track, from 0 to 1. Three Times a Lady – Commodores (1978)
3. This is from the BBC. Still – Commodores (1979)
 
 
  That and the grandiose but intricately layered sweeps of Johnny Marr’s guitar. Keep reading. All we need are mathematics tuned to the right emotional frequency–or something like that. When I was 15 I discovered The Smiths, a band whose name had by then long been synonymous with misery. But how sad is sad? Is there a selection of data points one could use to determine degrees of sadness in a song? Miriam Quick is a data journalist. I’d always cry at the same points in each song: the end of Hand in Glove, the chord changes before the chorus of Girl Afraid, the line in The Queen is Dead where he sings “we can go for a walk where it’s quiet and dry”. So where does all this lead? She looked at Spotify’s new algorithm and used it to analyze a thousand tracks in order to determine the saddest pop songs to ever grace the charts. People have a thing for sad songs. Two decades later, Spotify has built an algorithm that aims to quantify the amount of sadness in a music track.
Can you use Spotify’s algorithm to find the saddest pop songs of all time?

Snoop Dogg: The Cookbook. This is not a drill.

Just in time for Christmas shopping, right? Given his long association with Martha Stewart, it’s not surprising that Snoop Dogg–who has turned into a real serial entrepreneur–would decide to get into the cookbook game. I’m takin’ the cookbook game higher with a dipped and whipped collection of my favorite recipes, ya dig? So what culinary lessons will the Doggfather have for us? His first-ever book of recipes, From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen is set for release on October 23. Among the 50 in the book are:

Fried bologna sandwiches with chips
Baked mac and cheese
Chicken and waffles, Snoop-style
Baby back ribs
Lobster Thermador(!!!)

Snoop says “You know it’s blazin’ up in my kitchen.
Snoop Dogg: The Cookbook. This is not a drill.

Could this Ticketmaster experiment kill ticket-buying bots for good?

The only way you can get a ticket is through an app your mobile phone. With their ability to hammer Ticketmaster’s systems thousands of times a second, there’s no way us poor meatbags can compete. And while the company continues to spend millions on AI and machine learning to outwit the bots–and billions of attempts have been blocked–somewhere between 10-20% of them still get through. Tickets are on sale for £5–but that’s not the story. But now there’s an interested concert ticket experiment happening the UK surrounding for London shows by electronic musician Four Tet. I like this. They need to be exterminated. In other words, no tickets are being sold through a browser. Concert ticket-buying bots are evil things. This won’t stop all scalpers, of course, and doesn’t deal with gouging on the secondary market, but when it comes to automated ticket-buying, it should work, right? Thoughts? Ticketmaster hates bots as much as we do. At this point, ticket-buying bots can’t crack these kinds of sales, so theoretically, these gigs should be bot-free. Another company called Dice has been experimenting with the same process. No doubt someone will come up with some kind of hack and this is a barrier to people who don’t have smartphones, but at this point is seems like an elegant solution to bots. It’s been working well enough that Ticketmaster has jumped into the space and might end up buying Dice outright. Holes to poke in the idea? There are not traditional online sales.
Could this Ticketmaster experiment kill ticket-buying bots for good?

Random music news for Friday, August 24, 2018

Get ready for 8K. Spotify is talking about direct deals with artists. Then you need Google Assistant’s good news feature. A Kanye tweet has led to a class action lawsuit. It looks like Apple’s $400 million buyout of Shazam will go ahead in Europe. Here’s music news for August 24, 2018. Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Ed King has died at age 68. Got a 4K TV? A sign? Might as well have a look. Wouldn’t that make them a record label? A lost Mick Jagger/Carly Simon duet? Apparently. Some interesting guests, too. This. Pretty healthy, no? Turns out teens are concerned about how much they’re tied to their mobile phones, too. Here’s a big, big problem was automated radio: What does a station like this do when a big star dies? There’s a big tribute to Courtney Love coming up in New York in October. Is this why you wear headphones in public? Here’s your link. Tired of bad news all the time? The major record labels are turning over $1 billion a month. The Smashing Pumpkins are live streaming their gig from Seattle tonight through Twitter. A rainbow was seen over Comerica Park during a moment of silence for Aretha Franklin before a Detroit Tigers-Chicago Cubs game. Is it time to declare a winner in the Song of the Summer Sweepstakes? I don’t want to be an alarmist, but next weekend is Labour Day. (Via Tom)
What happened to Johnny Depp’s Biggie Smalls movie? Check out this Montreal guy who did all the music for the new Tomb Raider video game. Billy Joel stands to make a killing with this real estate sale. Yes, already.
Random music news for Friday, August 24, 2018

And in John Lennon news, there’s previously unknown version of “Imagine.” Oh, and his killer is staying in jail.

And in John Lennon news, there’s previously unknown version of “Imagine.” Oh, and his killer is staying in jail.
Read more about the Imagine reissue here. The box–with 140 remixed and remastered tracks–will include “scores of previously unheard demos, rare outtakes and isolated track elements.” Cool, right? Among the treasures to be found on an upcoming six-disc John Lennon box set devoted just to his most famous solo album, is a never-before-released version of the title track. In other John Lennon news, his assassin. Mark David Chapman, has been denied parole for the tenth time.

What is an “ethical” streaming music app? Introducing Humbolt

What is an “ethical” streaming music app? Introducing Humbolt
The New York-based app offers fans streaming subscriptions that start at $2.99 a month. Humbolt has signed up about two dozen labels and claims that they can expose you to thousands of tracks you’ll have otherwise missed. Twist 3: You can pay monthly or annually. They call it “the ultimate ‘record of the month’ club’ but for everything.” And yes, it’s available in Canada. If you’re on the artist side, there can be a lot not to like about the streaming giants like Spotify and Apple music, starting with the low payouts. (“We like the weird stuff!”) And that’s the focus: indie music. Twist 2: You can create playlists and follow artists/labels beyond your subscription parameters. Twist 1: you can subscribe to individual artists or to any number of indie labels. This is where Humbolt would like to insert itself into the conversation.

“In defense of the cowbell”

It’s my favourite idiophone. I feel like the cowbell has edged on being a cliché, something that should only be associated with one genre, but the importance of the ‘bell came to me quite recently, at a Car Seat Headrest gig at the Invisible Wind Factory. From Drive My Car by The Beatles to Hey Ladies by Beastie Boys, the cowbell is renowned for giving a tune, just a bit more bite. Not everyone shares this sentiment, of course. I like the cowbell. I can picture an artist searching through his dusty cupboard of unused instruments searching for the ‘new sound’ like he’s artiste-cum-Goldilocks. Keep reading. “Oh, the subtle cowbell, you can sneak onto any track, if it tries hard enough.” So he attaches it to his drum kit and gives it a good clonk. More-Cowbell from pepe conde on Vimeo. I like the cowbell a lot. At the back though, he see’s the cowbell placed behind the theremin and smiles. He picks up the sitar and gives it a little noodle, but decides it’s not right; he doesn’t feel like writing a raga today. In my drumming days, I had one as part of my kit. Joe Gleiss offers some cowbell love (in appropriate amounts) at GetIntoThis.com. He picks up the accordion and gives it a blast, but again, it’s just not right. Without the decisiveness of a cowbell, The Beatles ended up in a muddy ocean of a 1000 thousand overdubs and Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. But in moderation, the cowbell is just fine. I’ve never really had a problem with cowbell, although I do believe there’s such a thing as too much cowbell.
“In defense of the cowbell”

Want a sweet classic car? Billie Joe Armstrong is selling his ’63 Nova SS convertible

It also comes with a signed guitar and was “primarily used at his Newport Beach House.”

 
Read more at Car and Driver. I’m not sure where this love of automobiles came from. Maybe it was because as a kid I was consigned to the back seat of a parade of bland Chevys, Oldsmobiles and Chrysler products. Loads and loads of cars. I failed, of course.)
While my tastes lean far towards modern production sports cars (Porsche, Jaguar, Lamborghini, McLaren, Pagini, Ferrari and super-exotics like RIMAC and Koenigsegg), given enough money, I’d probably consider bulking up on some class cars, too. This is where the serious collector will find a 1963 Chevrolet Nova SS convertible currently owned by Billie Joe Armstrong. That means it should return a fairly sensible selling price. If I were a rock star, I’d be like Brian Johnson of AC/DC, Coldplay’s Guy Berryman, John Kay of Jamiroquai, and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and buy cars. If the Nova isn’t your thing, Billie Joe is also auctioning away a 1969 Fiat 500 Soft Top. Or maybe because the first car I got to drive was my mom’s ’73 Pinto. That would mean a trip to the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach. And to sweeten the deal, the buyer will also get an autographed Fender Strat. With a 194 CU inline six producing 120 BHP, the car won’t break any speed records, but it would certainly be a cool cruiser. (I put pinstriping all over the thing to make it look cooler. The car isn’t particularly rare, although there aren’t that many ’63 Nova convertibles still on the road.
Want a sweet classic car? Billie Joe Armstrong is selling his ’63 Nova SS convertible

What are the all-time best-selling albums in Canada? Let’s take a look.

That vaulted The Eagles back into first place over Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which officially sits at 33 million. The Recording Industry Association of America did an accounting of sales–the first time it looked at this particular album–and determined that it has sold 38 million units. That means the numbers of any album released in Canada before 1995 should be taken with a grain of salt. Shania Twain – Up (2004)
Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (2003)
Shania Twain – Come On Over (2000)
Shania Twain – The Woman In Me (1999)
Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill (1996)
Pink Floyd – The Wall (1995)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell (1995)
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin 1V (1995)
Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (1995)
Eagles – Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 (1987)
Michael Jackson – Thriller (1984) As I pointed out in the Eagles article, determining overall album sales is fraught with all kinds of issues. Note that they’re not ranked by overall sales by the year in which they received their double diamond certification. David Farrell goes through these issues and more at FYIMusicNews.ca (read it; it’s good). The article starts with eleven albums we can be assured of having sold more than 2 million copies in Canada (known as “double diamond”) but that’s as accurate as we can get. While SoundScan–the point-of-sale counting system that’s more accurate than the old easily-corruptible methods of estimates and guesses that it replaced–rolled out in the US in 1991, we didn’t get it until 1995. Once the RIAA gets around to looking at MJ’s sales, Thriller will be back in on top.)
That’s fine, but what about the all-time best-selling album in Canada? Earlier this week, there was a story about how The Eagles Greatest Hits: 1971-1975 was once again certified as the best-selling album in the US. (Just wait, though.
What are the all-time best-selling albums in Canada? Let’s take a look.