This is a different approach to the bass guitar

This is a different approach to the bass guitar
The bass provides that crucial link between rhythm and melody and while four strings seem to be enough for most people, there’s always room for experimentation.   Take a look this FM Synth bass. It’s not for sale, but it gives you an idea of what can be done with a little technology.

Madonna, the most influential female singer of the last half century, turns 60 today

Madonna, the most influential female singer of the last half century, turns 60 today
Here are some facts. Is that Madonna dancing in the background of Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way” video? Here are a few more fun things about Madge via Popbitch (you really should get their newsletter. I could go on and on, but CMU has this list of retrospective lists on Madonna’s career. Another Popbitch quote: An anagram of “Madonna Louise Ciccone” is “Occasional Nude Income”. When he died in 2000, he was buried with a shirt autographed by Madonna. And just for fun, here are a couple of videos done with much love. It’s delicious.)

She’s not a fan of Gwen Stefani. They were an item at the time the clip was made. Her DNA and influence in music, fashion, female empowerment are felt in every corner of the industry today. Whatever anyone says, she doesn’t give a f**k. Concert ticket grosses are $1,4 billion and counting
Along with Michael Jackson, she was the biggest artist of the MTV era. Greg Gostanian was a 325-pound Madonna impersonator. Whether you like her music or not, you must give Madonna respect. It read “Keep telling people you slept with me.”

  ‘That c***’s been stealing from me for the last ten years, so I thought it was about time I paid her back.’”
And watch her throw shade at Lady Gaga over the similarities between “Express Yourself” and “Born This Way.” Ouch. (Three of the top five most expensive music videos of all time were made by her.)
She’s always set her own agenda and has insisted on 100% control over her music and image from the beginning. A quote:  “When she first played her ABBA-sampling single Hung Up to a friend, they noted that it sounded ‘quite Gwen Stefani.’ Madonna’s reply? She’s sold 300 million records.

Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul, is dead at 76

Unclear as to what her contributions to music were? And now, the version we will remember forever. “If a song’s about something I’ve experienced or that could’ve happened to me, it’s good. Although she fought gamely for years, her health declined to the point where she was sent home in hospice care, her weight down to less than 85 pounds. Bill and Hillary Clinton tweeted well wishes; Beyonce and Jay-Z dedicated their concert in Detroit on Monday night to Franklin as she was released from a hospital and taken home in hospice care. Her representative told the AP Franklin had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, an illness she denied having in recent years despite a history of cancer in her family. Oh, and a biopic is already in the work. Go here and here to read some of them. Stacks of 100-dollar bills would be provided to her dressing room, which she would stuff in her purse. Here’s her obituary from The Detroit News and a nice look at her career from CNN. When I go into the studio, I put everything into it. Read more here. Even the kitchen sink.”
In her last days, she was visited by Stevie Wonder and Rev. (Via Cameron)
Here’s me talking with Matt Gurney on Global News Radio AM 640 today. Period.”
In her biography, written by Mark Bego, she talked about a song’s relatability as an important entry point for her. When you’re diagnosed, you’re automatically placed at Stage 4. A couple of my favourite Aretha stories. But after years–decades, really–of health issues, she finally passed away this morning at the age of 76. A singer’s singer and a soul musicians’ soul musician, she earned praise and admiration from her fellow performers throughout her career. Written by Otis Redding for a group called Speedo Slim and The Singing Demons, the song was not only slower but was also written from the perspective of a man who, after a long day at work, was demanding respect from his woman. But if it’s alien to me, I couldn’t lend anything to it… I look for something meaningful. This piece is from Amber Healey over at brother site, GeeksAndBeats.com. David Bowie presents Aretha Franklin with a Grammy Award in 1975. Flipping “Respect” Around
“Repect,” Aretha’s greatest song (released on April 29, 1967) is a cover. Reactions, as you might guess, have been coming in fast. Earlier this week, Clive Davis, who signed Franklin to Arista Records in 1980, announced a November tribute concert to Franklin at Madison Square Garden. Aretha Franklin, the queen of soul and all hearts, has died at the age of 76, the Associated Press and other outlets reported Thursday morning. “Nobody. Jessie Jackson, while countless tributes poured in. Bowie was a Fan, Too
Bowie presented her with a Grammy in 1975. (Here’s a picture of her from 2017. It will star Jennifer Hudson. Here’s the original Otis version. “I don’t know anybody that can sing a song like Aretha Franklin,” Ray Charles once said. She was still able to perform back then, so you might imagine how her health deteriorated since then)
Aretha was said to be alert, chatty and laughing almost to the end as she spoke, texted and tweeted to friends and family from her bed. While it never worked out for Speedo Slim, the song eventually made it to Aretha who completely flipped the song around, turning it into an anthem of female empowerment. In the end, it was pancreatic cancer. Aretha’s Trip into the Alternative World
While Aretha will always be associated with soul and R&B, there was that time when she joined Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics for this alt-rock single in 1985. That purse would then follow her onstage where she could keep an eye on it. There were rumours as far back as 2011 that she’s been suffering from one of the most horrible of all the cancers. I Gotta Get Paid
Aretha was from a generation where performers were often ripped off by unscrupulous promoters. Like Chuck Berry who wouldn’t go onstage unless his fee was delivered in cash in a brown paper back to his dressing room in advance, Aretha insisted on cash up front. Read this. pic.twitter.com/h98EjfJTsz
— Consequence of Sound (@consequence) August 16, 2018

Here are some Canadian reactions to Aretha’s passing. ‘
Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul, is dead at 76

Toronto stays strong at Danforth fundraiser with Billy Talent, City and Colour and special guests. Here’s what happened.

Toronto stays strong at Danforth fundraiser with Billy Talent, City and Colour and special guests. Here’s what happened.
For whatever reason, tracks off of the 20-year-old Phantom Power don’t seem to be available on Soundsgood, so I included the newest cover version of it by Reuben and the Dark, who are donating all proceeds to the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. Fans and Danforth supporters were treated to a night of great music that included appearances from Finger Eleven, Maestro Fresh-Wes, Hayden, PUP and City and Colour in addition to a full set by Billy Talent that contained its own share of surprises in the form of Serena Ryder and Sum 41’s Dave Baksh and Jason McCaslin guesting on a few songs. The double-digit Canadian award-winning band wanted to show support for the area where they call their recording studio home, which is still recovering from the tragic shooting that happened less than a month earlier. Stream away to help some good causes! Toronto definitely came together on August 11th, raising at least $75,000 for the #TorontoStrong fund while rocking out to Billy Talent and friends at a jam-packed Danforth Music Hall. The big finale saw everyone come out – and come together – for a rousing, tearjerking rendition of The Tragically Hip’s “Bobcaygeon”.

Random music news for Monday, August 13, 2018

Random music news for Monday, August 13, 2018
So how did HBO’s Sharp Objects get the rights to all those Led Zeppelin songs? (Via The Mayor)
Why do collectors pay so much for these guitars? Aretha Franklin is deathly ill with cancer. And look! Yep, you read that right. It doesn’t look good. Here’s some music news for August 13, 2018. Too soon, Starbucks, too soon. (Via Amber)
Are there downsides to releasing an EP? Kanye would like us to know about his PornHub preferences. Now that you mention it, yes. Pearl Jam raised $11 million for the homeless with their recent Seattle shows. Mr. Oz Fox, the guitarist for Stryper, suffered a medical emergency onstage in Las Vegas involving a seizure. Some good history here: The stories behind 11 classic punk songs. What’s better for you? It’s pumpkin spice latte time already. Like this. Distract yourself from Monday with The Singing Farmer and these hypnotizing livestock auctioneers. Snoop Dogg: the musical. If you’re a fan of Elton John, this article on his relationship with Bernie Taupin is worth a read. A platform at a music event in northern Spain collapsed, injuring hundreds. She’s not wrong, of course. There’s a new musical based on the 1993 movie Dave which incorporates some new Donald Trump references. For musicians: Wedges are in-ear monitors. Things might change. Peanut, dancer. Back to work after the staycation. Hate the ads on the free version of Spotify? Madonna thinks that too much of today’s music sounds the same. Doctors are now running planning a biopsy on his brain after an MRI.

New Music from the Inbox for August 13, 2018: Sextile, Death and the Penguin, Steven Page, & More!

New Music from the Inbox for August 13, 2018: Sextile, Death and the Penguin, Steven Page, & More!
This song comes from their upcoming EP, set for release next month. Watch: Watch:

Artist: Death and the Penguin
Song: “Leatherface”
Album: Single

From their recently released debut, Death and the Penguin describe this song as “simultaneously one of the weirdest and catchiest songs [they’ve] written”. His latest song, and the entire upcoming album that it comes from, Discipline: Heal Thyself, Pt. Artist: Sextile
Song: “Paradox”
Album: Single

Since 2015, Sextile has gained a devout following due to non-stop touring and energetic live shows. Watch:

Artist: Sophia Scott
Song: “White Fence”
Album: Single

LA-based musician Sophia Scott combines country twang, catchy pop melodies, and soulful R&B vocals. Watch:

Artist:  Bellatrix
Song: “Wish I Could”
Album: Single

London-based and Bristol born musician Bellatrix has been described as forward thinking and socially conscious. This stripped back version of her latest single really emphasizes the power of her pipes. This track, with a message of self-empowerment, gives listeners an idea of what to expect. Watch:

Artist: Transviolet
Song: “Undo”
Album: Single

Transviolet’s latest EP is due for release next month. She makes modern pop music and her distinctive vocals intertwine with hook-laden melodies. II, are incredibly politically charged. The London avant-garde alt rock band is currently touring the UK. Watch:

Artist: Steven Page
Song: “White Noise”
Album: Single

Having learned the power of music and activism in his youth, former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page was inspired by some of the events in the US.

Missed the Smashing Pumpkins/Metric show in Toronto? Here are some pics.

Missed the Smashing Pumpkins/Metric show in Toronto? Here are some pics.
Here’s what he captured when the Smashing Pumpkins played the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on August 8. Once again Andrei Chlytchkov was dispatched to cover another big show as an official photographer. New album coming next month, too. They tore through nine songs. Nice hometown appearance, no? Billy entered from between the curtains to play a solo acoustic version of “Disarm.” Then the whole band joined him to run through a ton of Pumpkins hits along with covers of “Space Oddity” and “Stairway to Heaven.” The full set featured 31 songs. Wow. Then came the Pumpkins. First up was Metric.  
 
 
 
 

Here’s something to do with cassettes that I can get behind

Here’s something to do with cassettes that I can get behind
Want something for a coffee table? Anyone championing fetishizing cassettes doesn’t remember how awful they were when they were our only choice. A guy by the name of Gerald Lauze makes oversized (VERY oversized) custom cassette-themed objects that actually look pretty cool. Or what about something to hang on the wall? That being said, I do appreciate this sort of cassette-inspired art passed on by Johnny the Sasquatch Hunter. Sure! His site can be found here. They were a great technology for their day–hey, it was our only format for truly portable music–but their time is over. Readers of these pages know well of my hatred for cassettes.

No, it’s not your imagination: All summer songs DO sound the same!

No, it’s not your imagination: All summer songs DO sound the same!
If you reduce pop songs to their sonic fingerprints, there has been a strange convergence of sound involving attributes like loudness/volume, valence (how happy the song sounds), energy (tempo, mainly), danceability, and something called “acousticness” (the likelihood that the song uses acoustic instruments).   The song appeared on July 29 of that year, right when I was hosting a series of alt-rock nights at a Toronto dance club called La Vie. If I were ever moved to create a playlist featuring my personal songs of the summer, it would right near the top, along with “Cherub Rock” from the Smashing Pumpkins (1993), Sum 41’s “Fat Lip” (2001) and “Dani California” by the Chili Peppers (2006). At some point during the five minutes and 34 seconds of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” I’m transported back to the summer of 1991. Was it my imagination or have they been sounding more and more the same? Lately, though, I’ve had a nagging feeling about summer pop songs. But since 2009, a strange homogeneity has set in. The New York Times has the story here along with some really interesting charts like this. Researchers looked at music between 1988 and 1997 and found that the sounds were wide-ranging and diverse. Apparently not.

Seattle’s Showbox in danger of being demolished —UPDATED

Seattle’s Showbox in danger of being demolished —UPDATED
This is a great step forward toward saving the building from being torn down and turned into luxury apartments, but it’s only a temporary protection, lasting just 10 months. The unanimous vote buys more time to put through official paperwork that could officially and for all time save the theatre. 10, some 150 musicians signed an open letter, written by Pearl Jam, Death Cab for Cutie, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and Duff McKagan, calling on the city to come to its senses and save the theatre. The Showbox at the Market has been active as a music hall since 1939 and has legends like Duke Ellington to grunge heroes Pearl Jam. At least not today. On Aug. In the interim, however, any and all changes proposed to the building would have to be approved by the Pike Place Market Historical Commission and its processes and procedures. The apartments in this building would be luxury units.)
There’s the obligatory Change.org petition, started by Jay Middleton, who calls the proposed destruction of the theatre “tragic and heartbreaking to every single musician and concertgoer in Seattle. The next meeting with the developer is set for October. There’s housing issue and part of that is due to sky-high rents, but this is not about that. A Vancouver-based developer, Onni Group, wants to tear down the Showbox and replace it with (gah) a 44-story condo and apartment building. Read more. Stay tuned…
(Original article below)
If you were part of a band in Seattle in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was a really big deal when you booked your first gig at the Showbox. (Yes, there’s an influx of people moving into Seattle and they need a place to live, as do the rising number of homeless at the heart of Pearl Jam’s recent pair of sold-out shows that brought some 100,000 people to the city and helped raise more than $11.5 million. On Monday night, the Seattle City Council voted to extend the historic district protections near Pike Place Market to include the Showbox. Along with the nearly 100-year-old Paramount, The Showbox is a legend among grunge enthusiasts, music fans and people whose sounds filled the 79-year-old, 1,100-seat theatre. Some of Seattle’s finest, and the new generations following in their footsteps, are doing their best to save it, mounting an incredible effort and a fantastic noise to banish the thought of losing the theatre. Progress is great and all, but not at the cost of the soul of the city,” says Duff McKagan of Guns ‘n’ Roses. The Showbox doesn’t have official historical landmark status yet, but that’s in the works. Music groups that signed an ad in today's Seattle Times to save the Showbox from becoming an apartment tower include Pearl Jam, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Dave Grohl, Dave Matthews, Katy Perry, Black Keys and dozens more
More on the issue: https://t.co/zXdlmYs6Zo pic.twitter.com/OzoMGqGuYw
— Mike Rosenberg (@ByRosenberg) August 10, 2018

The city council will have an initial vote on a proposal to extend the historic district that includes and protects the iconic Pike Place Market to also incorporate and safeguard the Showbox on Monday night. 12, more than 92,700 people have signed on. “This place (has) musically favored what Seattle IS at its core. This is a big win, but, again, a temporary one. And it’s in danger of being wiped from existence. Let’s make this venue a historical landmark to preserve Seattle’s rich culture of music and various arts that have graced this venue and keep it going.”
As of Sunday night, Aug. Great news, everyone!

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, is gravely ill. It doesn’t look good.

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, is gravely ill. It doesn’t look good.
Her last public performance was at an Elton John AIDS benefit in New York last November 2. She secretly underwent surgery in 2010 to remove a tumour of some sort which eventually led to rumours that she had died of pancreatic cancer. Earlier in life, she battled with alcoholism and was a chainsmoker. She recovered enough to resume touring. There were attempts to schedule some shows earlier this year, but she was told by her doctor that she needed at least two months’ rest. All three of her siblings have died from various cancers. She’s won 20 Grammys along with three special achievement awards: The Legend Award in 1991, the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, and the MusiCares Person of the Year in 2008. We’ve been hearing stories of Aretha Franklin’s heath for years now. Family and friends have gathered around her bedside fearing the worst. Aretha has had 112 singles on the Billboard charts, including 77 which made it into the Hot 100. That makes her the most-charted woman in history. A couple of things about Aretha:

She was the first female performer to be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Aretha is 76 and is apparently gravely ill in Detroit. That ended in early 2017 when she announced her retirement from the road. We know of canceled shows, unknown medical procedures, and rumours of cancer and obesity-related ailments.

Weekly Survey: What is your best CNE musical memory?

Apologies to readers outside Southern Ontario, but this week’s question is focused on folks in the Greater Toronto Area and its environs. When it starts this Friday for its 18-day run (despite the IATSE picket lines that might slow things down), there will be the usual lineup of concerts both at the CNE Bandshell and the Budweiser Stage across Lake Shore Boulevard. And we can add in any CNE-related gigs at the Molson Amphitheatre (now the Budweiser Stage). A simple question, then: What are your favourite CNE-related (i.e. Music has always been a big part of the CNE. People of a certain age will remember the gigs at Exhibition Stadium that began decades ago and only stopped when it was demolished to make way for BMO Field (which holds almost zero music events for a variety of reasons, including, I’m told, the high cost of union labour). The Canadian National Exhibition has been a thing since 1879 and has gained a reputation as the summer’s last big blow-out. late-August) concert memories? Some big names have played over the years: Ozzy, Elton, Diana Ross, Cher, Van Morrison, Billy Idol, Fleetwood Mac. Then there are all the CNE Bandshell shows.
Weekly Survey: What is your best CNE musical memory?

Jack White Renews Passport for New Canadian Tour

Jack White Renews Passport for New Canadian Tour
From there White and the four instrumentalists he’s been performing with in 2018 will move eastward through Calgary, Winnipeg, London, Ottawa, Laval, Quebec City and Moncton before wrapping things up in Halifax on the 14th. I’ll make up for it in my mind by getting a ticket for Budweiser Gardens on November 8th, even if I just saw White in June at Toronto’s Budweiser Stage. Further details and on sale dates can be found here. These shows will be the first time Jack has stepped foot in the Maritimes since he and “big sister” Meg unforgettably barnstormed across the country from the North to Newfoundland and literally everywhere in between, all chronicled as part of the 2009 documentary Under Great White Northern Lights. Photos by David James Swanson, Rogers Arena Vancouver, August 12, 2018

Fear not, music fans who don’t live in Toronto or Vancouver – Jack White hasn’t forgot about you! It’s a little surprising he never paid a return visit that we know of as a member of The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, or as a solo artist during his previous two album cycles – Legend has it the man born John Anthony Gillis’ two grandparents left Nova Scotia to start a new life and family in southwest Detroit. For no other reason, I want to get my grubby hands on my own copy of the kick-ass, Wizard of Oz-inspired artwork courtesy of Hamilton, Ontario’s Matt Ryan Tobin. And while no opening act has been announced yet, how cool would it be if it was Kandle Osborne? The one of a kind rocker is bringing his Boarding House Reach tour back over the border for an exclusively Canadian leg starting November 2nd at Rogers Place in Edmonton. This isn’t just any old tour, but a Grand Canadian Tour as the poster says! Eleven years later, I still regret having missed The White Stripes play a secret show at Avra Flour Mill just outside of London.

Random music news for Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Been to a festival and seen a pot company with a sponsorship or display? The iHeartRadio app is experimenting with something that should make the listening experience smoother. John Mayer’s house was robbed. Is it acceptable to use the term “urban music” these days? Interesting move. It’s only August 14, 2018. Someone is collecting them and could use some help. Too soon, people. Too soon. Why? Oh, and here’s some music news. Work in radio? How legal is that right now? Once again, it all starts with writing bloody great songs. Want to make it as a musician? Anyone seen Christmas displays yet? Know of any radio bloopers? And still on the subject, here are some suggestions about what radio should do with podcasting. Remembering Led Zeppelin’s first rehearsal 50 years ago this week. Here’s a demo. Apparently not. Old-school floppy discs: Not quite dead yet. Could this be why? Let’s find out. Ticketmaster has moved to shut down two European ticket resellers that they own. New Order has announced a feature-length film called Decades. Does anything in this survey strike a chord? My neighbourhood drugstore is already stocking Halloween supplies. Why is so much of the radio industry still struggling with podcasting? I think we’d start preparing ourselves for a “Netflix tax.” And it’s a tax we probably should pay, too. Thieves made off with $200K worth of stuff.
Random music news for Tuesday, August 14, 2018