Friday, April 30, 2010

Farewell to the Fratellis

Last week, The Fratellis made a low key announcement in their fan forums that the band has found themselves making music "but just not together". And with that, The Fratellis confirmed that the band members had moved on to other projects with no plans to get back together anytime in the foreseeable future.

The Fratellis - Ooh La Hot Love [Ooh La La originally by Goldfrapp, Hot Love by T. Rex]
The Fratellis - Solid Gold Easy Action [originally by T. Rex]
The Fratellis - Hotel Yorba [originally by The White Stripes]

The Billy Rubin Trio - Chelsea Dagger (feat. Lady S) [originally by The Fratellis]

. . . meanwhile Jon Lawler (AKA Jon Fratelli) has been making sweet, sweet music with Lou Hickey as Codeine Velvet Club, my favourite new band (as seen as here). Incidentally, their album just came out last week in Canada.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Kudos to K'naan!

[EDIT: reposted minus the offending mp3 links.]

Junos were last weekend and I was completely oblivious to the fact they were even happening until I saw the newspaper the next day with Juno juggernaut Michael Bublé brandishing wins in four of the six categories that he was nominated for. The two he did lose were both to K'naan who won Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. Just a couple months ago, some friends and I saw him do a phenomenal show at the Orpheum as part of the Cultural Olympiad (2nd row seats!). He's definitely a must-see if you get the opportunity to see him live. He's such a powerful and moving performer, I can guarantee even the uninitiated would come away impressed.

I'm not really sure how the "Songwriter of the Year" category works, but his nomination specifically mentions three tracks from his Troubadour album: Wavin' Flag (co-written with Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, and Jean Daval), Take a Minute, and If Rap Gets Jealous (co-written with Gerald Eaton and Brian West). As I'm sure you may know by now, Wavin' Flag was chosen by Coca-Cola as the official song of the 2010 World Cup. Amusingly, K'naan chose to alter the lyrics for this "Celebration Mix" of the song and it was actually Coke that was worried about messing with the original song. I learned this from his in-depth interview yesterday on Q with Jian Ghomeshi, in which he discussed Wavin' Flag, his aversion to being labelled "political", his arrival in Canada from war-torn Somalia, and his life as a teenager in a Toronto gang where he arrested 15 times and spent time in jail(!). Listen to the full hour-long interview uncut on the Q website. [EDIT: you can watch it on Q's youtube channel too]

Wavin' Flag was also re-recorded as a charity single for Haiti relief efforts with a supergroup of Canadian performers (billed as Young Artists for Haiti) including K'naan himself, Nelly Furtado, Sam Roberts, Avril Lavigne, Emily Haines, Serena Ryder, Hawksley Workman, Broken Social Scene, and tons more. Receiving a plum role with the final line of the song is this Justin Bieber character I keep hearing about these days, though I'm not so sure we'll be calling him freedom when he gets older. I'll admit I find it hard to be too cynical while listening to this all-star version even though it shares all the trappings of an overproduced charity single. Another guest on the single with a featured rap solo was Drake who actually won the Juno for Rap Recording of the Year over K'naan while also taking New Artist of the Year (over Bieber, natch). Of course, you can find this single on iTunes where it's been number one on the Canadian charts since its release last month.

Eric Ayotte - Wavin' Flag [originally K'naan]
Eric Ayotte offers up soothing acoustic guitar rendition on his free self-titled album, which is available from the music site If You Make It.

Bedouin Soundclash - Fire in Freetown
Fellow Canadian artists Bedouin Soundclash covered this Troubadour track for The Voice Project, in support of women in Northern Uganda who have banded together in song as part of a peace movement in a country that has been ravaged by war for over two decades. Read more about The Voice Project here. Incidentally, Bedouin Soundclash's Jay Malinowski was also part of the chorus of singers on the Wavin' Flag Haiti re-recording.

Jarvis Church - One [featuring K'naan] [originally by U2]
Seems like so long ago when I first heard K'naan rapping on the tail-end of this U2 cover (one of my all-time faves) from the War Child compilation Peace Songs released in 2003. Jarvis Church (AKA Gerald Eaton of The Philosopher Kings) went on to produce K'naan's 2005 debut The Dusty Foot Philosopher and parts of Troubadour.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Record Store Day '10!

Record Store Day 2010 is imminent, so it's time to make plans to head on over to your local indie record store(s) and celebrate! Live band performances, giveaways, and general merriment will take place over the course of the day. Be sure to check out the Official Record Store Day website to see if there are any happenings going on in your city/town. Tons of limited and exclusive Record Store Day releases will be available too including a Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings/The Budos Band split 7" vinyl with covers of Daytripper and Money. Me want so bad! I'll be celebrating in spirit... at work. :(

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A small serving of BBC covers

A few random covers collected from Dermot O'Leary's BBC Radio 2 show including one with Dermot himself joining Mika on a laughably bad Journey cover that doesn't even make it to the chorus.

Ben's Brother - Love [originally by John Lennon]
Kill It Kid - Black Horse and the Cherry Tree [originally by KT Tunstall]
Goldheart Assembly - Way Out West [originally by Big Star]
Local Natives - Cecilia [originally by Simon & Garfunkel]
Ellie Goulding - Jolene [originally by Dolly Parton]
Mika - Don't Stop Believing [feat. Dermot O'Leary] [originally by Journey]

Friday, April 09, 2010

Corinne Bailey Rae Live Tonight in Vancouver!

I'm super excited to go in a couple hours to see Corinne Bailey Rae perform tonight at the Commodore Ballroom in support of her excellent sophomore album, The Sea. As one might expect, my initial exposure to her music was through a cover song, specifically a smokin' jazz version of Led Zeppelin's Since I've Been Loving You. Of course, she once again popped up on my music radar a year later when she covered The Raconteurs' Steady As She Goes for a BBC covers compilation. Since then she's emerged into one of my favourite voices to listen to and fortunately she's quite prolific on the covers front too, ranging from Björk to Editors to Jimi Hendrix to John Lennon. Not only does she have impeccable cover choices, Rae never fails completely nail them and make them worthwhile to listen to. She also provided guest vocals on Joni Mitchell's River for Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters, which won Album of the Year Grammy for 2007.

Corinne Bailey Rae - Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) [originally by Doris Day]
Rae and her band performed this incredible showstopping cover of Que Sera Sera (by way of Sly & The Family Stone) at Tuesday's tour kick off at the Virbiana Cathedral in Los Angeles, a benefit concert for KCRW, which was partially recorded for today's airing of Morning Becomes Eclectic. Listen/watch to the rest of the show here, which includes her cover of Jimi Hendrix's Little Wing.

Corinne Bailey Rae - Since I've Been Loving You [originally by Led Zeppelin]
Corinne Bailey Rae - Steady As She Goes [originally by The Raconteurs]
Corinne Bailey Rae - Creepin' [originally by Stevie Wonder]
Corinne Bailey Rae - Sexyback [originally by Justin Timberlake]
Corinne Bailey Rae & John Legend - Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) [originally by Marvin Gaye]
Corinne Bailey Rae - I'm Losing You [originally by John Lennon]

Opening for Rae is Daniel Merriweather, probably most known (at least to me) from his contribution to Mark Ronson's Version covers album, performing The Smiths' Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before. He also recorded this oddly delightful White Stripes cover, seemingly filtered through Sweet Home Alabama.
Daniel Merriweather - You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told) [originally by The White Stripes]

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Spirit of CBC Radio 2

I've occasionally alluded to and raved about CBC Radio 2's Concerts on Demand archives and I'm about to again. I keep on close eye on the site because they are constantly recording great concerts across Canada and post at least a few every week. Just in the past couple days they've posted Metric Live at Massey Hall in Toronto (recorded in October) and a recent gig with Gordon Lightfoot and The Tragically Hip's Gord Downie singing songs and telling stories. Here are some other highlights from the archives:

  • Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame 2010
    The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame gala took place just over a week ago, honouring and celebrating Canadian songwriters. One of this year's "Modern Era Inductees" was Rush. In tribute, The Spirit of Radio was performed by Primus singer/bassist Les Claypool, a disappointing cover (out of sync AND out of tune?) that is overshadowed by an excellent rendition of Subdivisions by Jacob Moon, who was actually recruited from his youtube cover.
      Les Claypool - The Spirit of Radio [originally by Rush]

      Jacob Moon - Subdivisions [originally by Rush]

  • The Art of Time Ensemble: Abbey Road
    To celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Beatles' Abbey Road last year, The Art of Time Ensemble performed the entire album in order with their own unique stylings, joined by guest singers including Sarah Slean, Steven Page, and John Southworth. Speaking of which, Steven Page's cover album with The Art of Time Ensemble, A Singer Must Die was released in February featuring covers of Radiohead, Elvis Costello, The Magnetic Fields and others (buy it from Maple Music or his official site).
      Steven Page - Oh! Darling [originally by The Beatles]

      Kevin Hearn & Steven Page - You Never Give Me Your Money [originally by The Beatles]

      Sarah Slean - Something [originally by The Beatles]
  • Owen Pallett with Symphony Nova Scotia
    Having recently shed his Final Fantasy moniker, Owen Pallett is currently touring in support of his most recent album Heartland. After playing in Toronto tomorrow, his tour continues throughout the States including a stop at Coachella, eventually winding his way back up to Vancouver in early May where I'll be seeing him at the Vogue Theatre. During the 2009 Halifax Pop Explosion, Pallett teamed up with Symphony Nova Scotia to perform some of his newest tracks and this delightful cover of Van Dyke Parks.
      Owen Pallett - Palm Desert [originally by Van Dyke Parks]

  • Thursday, April 01, 2010

    First post: you go, me.

    Ok, here's my blog. Since one of my favourite hobbies is imposing my musical tastes on others, I decided it was about time I jumped on the proverbial bandwagon and started an mp3 blog. As I understand it, sharing music on a blog is sketchy in terms of copyright/fair use policies, but most blogs have an average audience of 12 people and the record companies don't really care because it's free advertising. So, it's not a big deal as long as I encourage you to buy music, which you do. Yeah, support your favourite bands... I do.

    As my friends found out on a winter roadtrip, I have a disturbing amount of cover songs on my iPod. Until this was pointed out to me (and I was mocked), I did not think of it as being particularly odd... collecting covers, that is. I only have a few hundred, but apparently that's more than the average schmuck.
    [EDIT: upon further review of my itunes collection and some re-labelling, it's actually closer to 12000+ covers... yikes!]. So the main focus of my mp3 blog shall be (drum roll please) cover songs! Now there are already a number of cover blogs, which i'll talk about in another post sometime. I'll try not to rip them off too much (or cover them, ho ho). But in addition to cover songs, I'll post whatever I so fancy.

    For instance, I recently had the insane pleasure of attending back-to-back White Stripes shows in Vancouver. These are some photos I took from my 6th row seat (rock!).

    Today's mp3 is of Boll Weevil, a White Stripes cover of a Ledbelly song, which typically closes out the night at their concerts (including both shows I went to). The highlight of this version from the Roseland Ballroom (NYC, 11-19-2003) is Jack stops mid-song twice to rant and swear at the moshers in the crowd. I think this is awesome because I find moshers are pretty annoying at concerts. I guess it's fine at punk shows and stuff, but I find it weird that people go to concerts specifically to get drunk and shove people around. So Jack gives them a little piece of his mind... I also think it's funny because he sounds a bit like Steve Buscemi when he's mad.

    Jack's Boll Weevil Rant

    That's all for now. Let's see how often I update this blog...

    "Everybody got their teen angst out over here?!?"