Random music news for Thursday, November 15, 2018

Here’s how Matt Bellamy trolled his bandmates on the new Muse album. Now you can! Pusha-T claims his latest Drake diss is the result of a sound and lighting guy gone rogue. Well, that didn’t take long. About 10,000. As in barbeque. It’ll be interesting to watch what kind of impact this will have on the culture both at home and abroad. Here’s one musical way they hope to do that. If you’re looking for some blue vinyl Bowie that will aid a good cause, go here. Jennifer Lopez got $2 million for a 20-minute set in Qatar. Will we ever be able to make sense of the Bataclan massacre? On the other hand, a new study says that social media use increases depression and loneliness. I’m thinking about it. That would have worked, no? Right. The lead in the new A Star is Born almost went to…Jack White? Nice work if you can get it. Meanwhile, here’s some music news for Thursday, November 15, 2018. One of the new services offered is past life regression. Any guesses about how many employees Amazon has working on Alexa and Echo? Need to make music on your phone? Read this. My guess is “no.”
How many more dumb wardrobe moves can BTS make? If you’re driving, PUT THE TRUMPET DOWN! Once again, prescribing playlists for dementia patients is a powerful and good thing. Dave Grohl cooked for some exhausted California wildfires. Facebook needs to appeal to more teens. Spotify has launched in the Middle East. Here’s something about the sound capabilities of Windows 10 that has escaped me until now. Meanwhile, Lady Gaga visited a shelter for people affected by the fires. Sneaky. Wanna be buried in a coffin shaped like a guitar? The latest NFL PR nightmare is building: There’s a petition demanding that Maroon 5 drop out of the Super Bowl halftime show. I’m still at a health resort in Thailand.
Random music news for Thursday, November 15, 2018

My interview with The Pursuit of Happiness’ Moe Berg on the 30th anniversary of Love Junk

I recently had a chance to sit down with frontman Moe Berg to talk about those days as well as the 30th-anniversary re-release of their debut album, Love Junk. One of those bands was Toronto’s The Pursuit of Happiness. Before the CanRock explosion of the 1990s, a few— very few–Canadian indie bands of the 80s dig an incredible amount of heavy lifting to create the foundations for the wave of musical nationalism that was to come.
My interview with The Pursuit of Happiness’ Moe Berg on the 30th anniversary of Love Junk

Rock My World Canada, Chapter 21: The Headstones

Rock My World Canada, Chapter 21: The Headstones
– AC]
The Headstones are a punk-influenced alt-rock band formed in 1987 in Kingston, Ontario, and remained continuously active until 2003 before a hiatus and subsequent reunion in 2001. Follow on Facebook and Twitter, too. (Dillion was especially fascinating to watch.) In 1996, The Headstones received Juno Award nominations for Best Group and Best Rock Album. It’s an incredible discography of hundreds of bands. Get your copy here.  
Find out more about this artist and hundreds of other Canadian artists in the softcover edition of Canadian Alternative & Indie Reference and Collector’s Guide. They frequently sold out small- and mid-sized venues and were known for their high-energy live shows. The band consists of vocalist Hugh Dillion, guitarist Trent Carr, and bassist Tim White. This is the latest excerpt from his book. [Mike Carr has put together a massive volume on Canadian music history entitled Canadian Alternative & Indie Reference and Collector’s Guide.

Get to know Once a Tree, others in new JUNO TV series

– he decided to meet her in real life to work on a song together. They grew up on opposite ends of British Columbia but were both raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses, a strict faith that prohibits, among other things tattoos, blood transfusions and celebrating most holidays. Next up will be Night Lovell, which the JUNO’s describes as “one of Canada’s best kept secrets in rap.” Neither of them remain in the practice, but they’ve had other things to bond over, including the hats Hayden made. Are you familiar with the Toronto-based duo Once a Tree? After helping her with a shoot and doing some visuals for her, I ended up staying three weeks,” he said. “I was like, if you can give me a place to crash I’ll come and make music with you. Each episode features a different band or musician and explore the journey they take to make a new song or work out a piece of music. She reached out to him via Facebook and they got to talking about their interest in music – ain’t that always the way? “Back in the day, he used to make these toques, and I saw this girl and I asked her where she got it from, and she told me it was this guy named Hayden,” Jayli told Noisey. “The series will give viewers a deeper look at artists’ profound connection to their music, what they’ve learned about themselves throughout their journey and the sacrifices they make to follow their dreams,” said Allan Reid, president and CEO of The JUNO Awards and MusiCounts in a statement. “The debut episode follows Once a Tree: two strangers living fascinating parallel lives who bonded through music.”
How parallel were the lives of Jayli and Hayden Wolf? The rest, as they say, is the fodder for Once a Tree’s episode of Rising, which can be watched now on the JUNO’s  YouTube channel. The husband-wife electro-R&B band is the focus of the first episode of Rising, a new show from JUNO TV that features bands explaining their relationships with music, their songwriting process and their releases. You’re about to be.
Get to know Once a Tree, others in new JUNO TV series

How is streaming altering the very nature of music? These stats bear repeating.

Vinyl’s limitations helped shape the traditional album length. Because storage is so cheap and the price of bandwidth keeps dropping, even worries about file size is a thing of the past. Since the recording industry’s inception, formats have dictated—and inspired—art. Before the 78 could hold no more than 4 minutes of music per side, composers and consumers adapted.   Keep reading. The pressure’s on to attract & retain earshare: A ‘stream’ on Spotify equates to at least 30 seconds played—the minimum time needed to trigger a royalty payment. Several years ago, Inc reported the following average skip rates on Spotify, calculated with data from millions of listeners. But these are all physical media. Why stop at 44 minutes when a CD could hold 74 (and later up to 80)? Same thing when the CD came along in 1982. These stats (gathered at AWAL.com) offer some insight on what this newest tech is doing to music. There has always been a symbiotic relationship between music and technology. Cassettes kicked off the bootlegging craze (and hip-hop dominance). We need to be thinking about these things. When the long-playing vinyl album came along in 1948 with its maximum playing time of 22 minutes per side, artists began to create musical works that took advantage of that space. Digital musical works aren’t constrained by anything. There are, however, some new and unforeseen consequences of streaming. Average song intro lengths dropped more than 70 percent between 1986 (20 seconds) and 2015 (5 seconds). That’s why we’re so used to the idea of pop songs being less than four minutes long. 10 seconds: 29%
30 seconds: 35%
Pre-completion: 48%

Last year, BBC reported correlated findings from an Ohio State University study. (It’s important to note that skip rates vary between each DSP and within each DSP ecosystem.)

Within 5 seconds of playing: 24% likelihood of skipping to the next song. When the 78 RPM record became the standard for the music industry, popular songs were also standardized. The human ear has limitless choice in the streaming era, and behavioral playlisting—music as accessory, not main attraction—plays a role in how more and more tracks are structured. Because streaming feeds into our need for instant gratification and our short attention spans, the very nature of music itself is changing.
These stats bear repeating. How is streaming altering the very nature of music?

Sure, we’ve heard of 3D audio. Grab some headphones because this is 8D audio.

Sure, we’ve heard of 3D audio. Grab some headphones because this is 8D audio.
I’ve even sat through a demo of a home theatre that promises 12.3. Actually, quad was stilborn. And quad-specific records. That is until someone thought that if two speakers (two stereo channels) were good, then four speakers had to be twice as awesome right? Formats such as 5.1 gave way to 6.1, 7.1 and so on. The vocalist down front. It required the purchase of not just two more speakers, but everything else, too. The guitarist off to the right. Stereo was just fine for the longest time. If you close your eyes, your brain reconstructs the performers in front of you in a 3D soundstage. A quad-capable stylus for the turntable. A quad amp/decoder. And here’s one more from Linkin Park. (twelve speakers and three subwoofers.)
Which brings me to Amber’s email with a link to something purporting to be an 8D recording of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Is this really a thing? Try some Arctic Monkeys in 8D. A fill across the toms moves through your mind from left to right. And sol, in the early 70s, quadrophonic sound was born. The drums spread out across the aural image: snare and high-hats slightly off-centre to the right with the ride cymbal to the left. Plug in some headphones and listen for yourself. The next development came with home theatre systems. Created and presented properly, a stereo recording gives the listening a send of space. Want more? It was the furthest from being backwards compatible.

The most complicated question people ask me: “What do you DO all day?”

The most complicated question people ask me: “What do you DO all day?”
The people at SOCAN were also curious for some reason, so they called me up. On Sept. We really wanted to bring rock back to ‘The Mighty Q,’ and who better to do it than Canada’s rock music expert?” It’s only slightly ironic that a man who’s become one of Canada’s most recognizable radio voices for introducing new music, will now be the voice of a station dedicated to a classic rock/greatest hits format. Alan Cross has been in the music business for the better part of four decades now, and to say he’s still keeping very busy would be an embarrassing understatement. Keep reading. He’s been a DJ, and an award-winning program director. He’s produced (to date) 833 hour-long episodes of The Ongoing History of New Music. And when it comes to listener email, this one is also near the top of the list. 24, 2018, Corus radio station Q107, in Toronto, introduced a familiar name as its new voice. On occasion, he even gets to watch some TV with his wife. He regularly posts on Facebook and Instagram, does voice work and audio books, and also gives speaking engagements, and consultations. Said Program Director Tammy Cole: “Alan has been telling the story of rock music’s evolution for decades now, and he’s the perfect voice for Q107. That’s an excellent question. Cross wears many hats, so an average day is generally jam-packed with hourly, daily, and weekly obligations. He volunteers for several mentoring programs, writes books, artist bios, daily blogs, and weekly reports for his own website (A Journal of Musical Things) and for several Corus radio stations. My parents have asked me this question for decades, fearing that it’s only a matter of time before I move back into my basement bedroom. Starting on radio in his native Manitoba, then arriving at Toronto’s CFNY in 1986, he’s pretty much stayed on the air for the next 32 years. So what does an average day look like?

Random music news for Friday, November 16, 2018

After Freddie Mercury, what’s the next big rock biopic subject? Black Sabbath will be honoured with a “metal bench” in their hometown of Birmingham. On the same topic, let’s guess who will be honoured on the new Camden Walk of Fame. Gee, thanks. Here’s a way to tell if you’ve been spending too much time on Instagram. Google’s plan is to put its virtual assistant in every room in the house. It looks like Brexit is really going to bugger up the UK music industry. The big question in the music industry: Will Taylor Swift go nuclear? It’s certainly worth contemplating. Just keep in mind that an oil change costs $21,000. Drake seems to be selling his Bugatti Veyron. “Bohemian Rhapsody”–the song–is back on the US singles charts as a result of the movie. What would be the reaction? It was on this day in 1990 when Milli Vanilli was stripped of their Grammys in the biggest musical fraud case of its day. Thoughts? Now that The Beatles’ reissue of the white album is out, we’re hearing more stories about how the record was made. Coldplay fans are wondering if the release of the new documentary Head Full of Dreams is a message that says “We’re done.”
Interesting headline: “Music Manager Jeff Jampol on Using His Yacht to Rescue People Stranded by Malibu Fire.” (Via Steve)
What if there was a worldwide outage of online music services? In current music news for November 16, 2018…

Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal was supposed to travel to Paris to commemorate the third anniversary of the Bataclan attack but was hit by a car. If you’re a Nirvana fan, read this: “Three Feet From God: An Oral History of Nirvana Unplugged.”
People with synesthesia say that this is among best music to listen to. Elton John.
Random music news for Friday, November 16, 2018

New Music from the Inbox: Amanda Tenfjord, Crewel Intentions, Corella, and more!

It’s low-key but still has a sense of grandeur, perhaps found in the droning organ and vocal delivery. Listen:

  Artist: Methyl Ethel
Song: Real Tight
Album: Triage
A lot dream-pop songs can sometimes feel passive, but this song is anything but. Listen: 

Artist: Crewel Intentions
Song: Cruel Intentions
Crewel Intentions is a new project from Chilli Jesson of dissolved London indie-rock group Palma Violets. Watch/Listen:

Artist: Amanda Tenfjord
Song: Let Me Think
EP: First Impression
Up and coming Norwegian Amanda Tenfjord’s newest synth-pop track is fun and hooky to the max, sprinkled with low horns, electric guitar, and playful vocal melodies. It’s not straight-forward, but still grounded in a sharp reoccurring guitar riff and a strong catch line of the song title. The synth rhythm which lands just before the beat gives this dream-pop track a sense of urgency and the honest, almost pleading lyrics evoke real emotion. You can catch Real Tight on Methyl Ethel’s forthcoming album out February 15th! It’s heavy on the guitar and drums, but has gentle harmonic vocals that you can melt into. As implied by the title, this one is about taking a minute to stop and evaluate how happy you are with a situation. Their second track released has a timeless, old western feeling. Listen:

Artist: Wooze
Song: Ladies Who Lunch With Me
This is a really interesting, fun, genre bending track. Listen:

Artist: Corella
Song: Island
This indie pop track starts with a bass line that will get you moving and builds to a rewardingly grand chorus with shimmering guitars and bold vocals.
New Music from the Inbox: Amanda Tenfjord, Crewel Intentions, Corella, and more!

Friday Weirdness 1: Taylor Swift travels IN a suitcase

Friday Weirdness 1: Taylor Swift travels IN a suitcase
Some kind of wheelie bin?)  and then be pushed undetected by roadies to wherever he needed to be. There was once a story about Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo and how he made it past fans to the stage at certain gigs. Not with. More at Stereogum. In. The site Splash captioned it this way: “Taylor Swift being transported in a huge suitcase from her Tribeca apartment into her truck, in the trunk. Lifestyles of the rich and famous, huh? Taylor Swift travels in a suitcase. The Internet had suck its teeth into the tale. The idea of Tay-Tay traveling as baggage just wouldn’t go away.  
  Now, though, her friend Zayn Malik says that it’s all true. That’s nothing. Back in the summer of 2017, a pap snapped a shot of two men carefully carrying a large and bulky suitcase out of Tay-Tay’s apartment in New York. He dropped this line in an interview with Vogue:
She was traveling around in a suitcase,” he says, eyes agog, of his pal Taylor Swift’s ability to avoid the paparazzi. Almost a dozen of Taylor Swift’s security guards were present to move this package carefully as Taylor Swift remains to be unseen for a long time.”

Taylor Swift has reportedly been carried out of her house in this massive suitcase https://t.co/iIeamTRfFM pic.twitter.com/bdmZyIKIsB
— SPIN 1038 (@spin1038) July 17, 2017

Splash later had to backtrack on their story, but it was too late. He’d exit the tour bus, climb into a wheeled container (A roadcase?

You gotta admit that this commercial Elton John made for a British department store is pretty sweet

This one featuring Elton John could be one of their all-time best. John Lewis, the British department store chain, has a reputation for creating some of the best Christmas-theme TV spots anywhere in the world.
You gotta admit that this commercial Elton John made for a British department store is pretty sweet

Friday Weirdness 2: This band is going to build a pyramid out of 34,592 dead people

It was a furious performance on the state of the music industry and how art had been perverted by the pursuit of cash. Makes a great Christmas present, right? Lest we forget, the band publicly burned £1 million–as in with actual fire–as part of an artistic statement on consumerism and capitalism.  
  No one is really sure what Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty–you do understand that this is The KLF, right?–but they promise “there may be other occurrences throughout the day and night.” Those who show up to watch will be served tea and mince pies. Construction is set to begin next Friday (November 23) in the Toxteth area of Liverpool. Given the short lead time, The KLF are offering a “buy now, die later” plan through their website. The KLF have always been one of the more, er, confrontational bands out of the UK. “Because it was fun,” they said. Each brick will contain the ashes of one person. Why? They call this “MuMuFication” after one of the band’s alter-egos, The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu. I once saw Bill Drummond speak at a music conference. Just £99 will secure your place in the pyramid. The group has announced plans to build a pyramid out of exactly 34,592 dead people who have bequeathed their cremated ashes so that they may be stored inside said pyramid. Now, though, the KLF would like your money. And your mortal remains. If you would like to see a couple of videos on the matter, they’re available at the same website.
Friday Weirdness 2: This band is going to build a pyramid out of 34,592 dead people

The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 835: Revisiting CanRock bands of the 90s, part 2

The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 835: Revisiting CanRock bands of the 90s, part 2
If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do. But then came the CRTC’s Canadian content laws in January 1871. More promoters and agents and managers. This created an artificial demand what a lot of people didn’t give a rat’s ass about. But the law was the law and this new demand needed to be serviced. Others have fallen off the radar. Sonic 102.9/Edmonton
The Zone/Victoria
The Fox/Vancouver
Live 105/Halifax
WAPS/WKTL The Summit/Arkon, Canton, Cleveland, Youngstown The show runs at 11 am Sunday. Sure, there were record labels, recording studios, promoters, and agents but overall, we lacked the resources to be a first-world music power. Homegrown record labels. Some of those acts from the 90s are still with us in one form or another. Before 1971, there really wasn’t much of a Canadian music industry. If you ever miss a show, you can always get the podcast edition available through iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your on-demand audio. Overnight, it became law that Canadian radio stations had to devote a minimum of 30% of their playlists to Canadian artists. Anyone who wanted to make it big in music had to leave the country, which usually meant bolting for the United States. People were mad for it. Slowly, a modern music industry infrastructure began to take shape. That’s when everything exploded. And some of the artists who would have normally given up or bolted for the US found themselves making a decent living staying Canada. Canadians started buying more music by Canadian artists. A domestic star system began to emerge. And by the time we got to the 1990s, there was a sense that our best could compete with anyone in the world. Canadian Generation Xers not only embraced the alt-rock that was rising from the US–grunge, industrial, many flavours of punk, whatever–but also the homegrown stuff. It took about 20 years for our music industry to reach something approaching maturity. More recording studios. But that doesn’t mean we can’t track them down. Songs from this show:
I Mother Earth, Not Quite Sonic
Doughboys, Shine
Rusty, Wake Me
Rymes with Orange, Toy Train
Pure, Blast
Grapes of Wrath, All the Things I Wasn’t
Econoline Crush, All That You Are
Rheostatics, Claire
Treble Charger, Red
Here’s a playlist of the above compiled by Eric Wilhite. Canada was a backwater, a place where the big labels had branch offices. Here is the second half of our remembrance of some great CanRock bands of the 90s. The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

102.1 The Edge/Toronto – Sunday night at 7
Live 88-5/Ottawa
107.5 Dave-FM/Kitchener
FM96/London – Sunday night at 7, Monday night at 11
Power 97/Winnipeg (Sunday nights at 11)
Rock 97.7/Grand Prairie – Sunday nights at 6. This, by the way, is a great option for American listeners who are prevented from listening to the show live because of geo-blocking,

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. There was much screaming, wailing and gnashing of teeth amongst broadcasters. Walking into a record store in, say, 1995, meant being confronted by racks and racks of CDs from Canadian artists right up front.

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!