Thursday, April 26, 2007

White Stripes in Edmonton? Hell yes!

I should be sleeping right now, but The White Stripes just had to go ahead and announce their tour! True to their promise, they're crossing Canada full-on. Woohoo, here are the dates and Edmonton's confirmed!

Sun 06/24/07 Burnaby, BC Deer Lake Park
Mon 06/25/07 Whitehorse, YT Yukon Arts Centre
Tue 06/26/07 Yellowknife, NW Yellowknife Multiplex
Wed 06/27/07 Iqaluit, NUN Arctic Winter Games Arena
Fri 06/29/07 Calgary, AB Pengrowth Saddledome
Sat 06/30/07 Edmonton, AB Shaw Conference Centre
Sun 07/01/07 Saskatoon, SK TCU Place
Mon 07/02/07 Winnipeg, MB MTS Centre
Tue 07/03/07 Thunder Bay, ON Thunder Bay Community Auditorium
Thu 07/05/07 Toronto, ON The Molson Amphitheatre
Fri 07/06/07 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
Sat 07/07/07 London, ON The John Labatt Centre
Sun 07/08/07 Ottawa, ON Cisco Systems Ottawa Bluesfest
Tue 07/10/07 Moncton, NB Moncton Coliseum
Wed 07/11/07 Charlottetown, PEI Charlottetown Civic Centre
Fri 07/13/07 Halifax, NS Cunard Event Centre
Sat 07/14/07 Glace Bay, NS Savoy Theatre
Mon 07/16/07 Saint John's, NF Mile One Centre

This is my bank account's worst nightmare. That is until next year's Ben Folds rock vacation... let's celebrate!

White Stripes covers:
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - The Hardest Button to Button
The Flaming Lips - Seven Nation Army (Harry Potter and George Bush's Severed Head Army Mix)
Bree Sharp - We're Going to Be Friends
Nina Persson - Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground

Random Jack White stuff:
Blanche with Jack White - Who's to Say
Jack White - Love is the Truth [Coke ad]
Electric Six feat. Jack White - Danger! High Voltage
The Flaming Lips - Thank You Jack White (For The Fiber-Optic Jesus That You Gave Me)

Bonus Mash-up
Mountain Con - Variations on Outkast, The White Stripes, and John Lennon

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

White Stripes in Canada update

Latest tidbit is The White Stripes in Whitehorse, Yukon on June 25th at the Yukon Arts Centre, which only seats 424 people. As awesome as that show would be, the plane tix are a bit much so I'll opt out of that one!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Danny Michel & Emm Gryner CBC Cover Show!


I just read that one of my favourite artists Danny Michel will be hosting a new CBC radio show exploring the world of COVER SONGS! Ha ha, that's brilliant! He and fellow Canadian artist Emm Gryner (no stranger to covers herself) will be co-hosting Under the Covers, a weekly show that will air... who knows? On his site, Danny says they just got approval last week from the CBC execs and they'll record shows when his and Emm's schedules permit. They'll have weekly musical guests who may play a cover or talk about people covering their songs-- for better or worse. Sounds great! Just my cup o' tea. From the sounds of things, they recorded a pilot in February with Luther Wright, whom you may recall covered Pink Floyd's The Wall in its entirety. According to Danny, "Between [his and Emm's] Rock n' Roll-adex's we're aiming for some pretty serious names as guests." Can't wait for this to surface! And I imagine it can't help but have a Canadian slant to it as well, heh heh.

Danny Michel - Lady Stardust [originally by David Bowie]
Danny's contribution to the world of covers is an entire David Bowie cover album in his own unique voice, which features an AMAZING cover of Young Americans, which I like to tout as possibly my favourite all-time cover (at least somewhere in the top 5). That album introduced me to Danny Michel, but it's his original material that's got me hooked. You can grab that Bowie album and Danny's original stuff over at Maple Music, probably our biggest online exclusively Canadian music retailer (also good for Moxy Fruvous merch!).

Danny Michel - In a Belly of a Whale
This song starts off with solo ukelele-ish strums and emerges into a poppy jaunt with some groovy horns, yet remains deceptively haunting and slightly sinister with bittersweet lyrics. That's a piss-poor description, but that's what immediately comes to mind when I think about this song and try to put it into words. I think it's brilliant and you should maybe give it a listen (and comment, if you're so inclined).

Emm Gryner - I'll Stick Around [originally by the Foo Fighters]
I have to admit I'm not familiar at all with Emm Gryner's original work, though she has a plentiful catalogue over at Maple Music as well. She seems to have taken a page from the book of Tori Amos in her cover songs (i.e. stripped down piano covers of alternative rock songs). She's got a cover album of her own called Girl Versions with an eclectic choice of cover songs including Crazy Train, Pour Some Sugar on Me, Song 2, and even Stone Temple Pilot's Big Bang Baby.

Luther Wright & The Wrongs - Young Lust [originally by Pink Floyd]
Even if you're well-familiar with the original, I think you'd be hard-pressed to recognize this cover.

Danny's got a new Live DVD/acoustic CD combo coming out at the beginning of May and a cross-Canada tour, which I've already got my ticket for when he passes through E-Town on the 17th. Coincidentally, he'll also be at the Ottawa Blues Fest in July with The White Stripes and a bajillion other artists. Still waiting on that White Stripes full Canadian tour announcement.... any day now. Latest from the ever-churning rumour mill is that they'll play the Shoreline festival in Prince Edward Island (for international readers, that'd be our mini island province). In fact, a couple days ago a PEI radio station said The White Stripes are committed to playing the fest, which runs July 21-23. Woohoo!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Classic Rock Revival

About 8 years ago I went into full-on classic rock mode for a few years. It was a semi-unconscious reactionary move against the perceived decline in radio airplay content, which was jammed with boy bands, girl bands, and Lou Bega. The state of rock music could be summed up in two words: Limp Bizkit. Around the same time I "discovered" Led Zeppelin for myself, started to actually like AC/DC, and listened non-stop to The Guess Who (and The Who too). Queen had always been a favourite band since elementary, but David Bowie was a new treat. Actually, that's not entirely accurate. Like most of the classic rock canon, I had been exposed to Bowie and a lot of this music through my parents on long car rides to go camping when I was small. So listening to the classic rock radio station was like re-discovering old friends and finding new ones-- Pink Floyd, Rush, The Band, Elton John, Supertramp, Boston, Jimi Hendrix, The Eagles, Cream, Jethro Tull, ELO, CCR, the list goes on and on . . .

Anyway, here's a handful of classic rock covers that I particularly enjoy, which stray a fair bit from the originals.

Starlit - Modern Love [originally by David Bowie]
I've been meaning to post this one for a while. Kinda like Tim Burton's "re-imagining" of Planet of the Apes, but actually effective. Best described as gothic-cabaret/industrial-jazz? I honestly had no idea what I was listening to until I looked down at my iPod halfway through the song. This is from the double-disc 34 song Bowie tribute album .2 Contamination.

Choro Azul - Paint it Black [originally by the Rolling Stones]
Here's a longtime favourite with Japanese band Choro Azul doing a Brazilian-flavoured (!) take on the oft-covered Stones classic.

Soul Hooligan (feat. Diana King) - Evil Woman [originally by Electric Light Orchestra]
Movie soundtracks are havens (or wastelands) of random cover songs. This snazzy electro cover unexpectedly hails from the Austin Powers in Goldmember soundtrack, which I found at the library booksale on the weekend.

Angélique Kidjo - Voodoo Child (Slight Return) [originally by The Jimi Hendrix Experience]
This has a cool a cappella intro in place of the distinctive wah-wah original. The whole cover is pretty sweet and is a complete departure from any other Hendrix cover.

Jun Jun Clinic - Oh! You Pretty Things [originally by David Bowie]
This one is deceptively simple yet effective. Though I've heard this many a time, it just occured to me that it only uses the original's chorus. Strange.

Killing Heidi - I Was Made for Loving You [originally by Kiss]
I'm not much of a Kiss fan. In fact, I can't stand Rock and Roll All Nite, which almost gives me a headache just thinking about it. This song's okay though.

Doro - Barracuda [originally by Heart]
Some people mistakingly think Rush did the original due to the Geddy Lee-like vocals. Oddly enough, the female vocalist of the German metal band Doro sounds even more like Geddy Lee.

Ella Fitzgerald - Sunshine of Your Love [originally by Cream]
Rockers Hi-Fi Meet Ella Fitzgerald - Sunshine of Your Love [originally by Cream]
I love Ella Fitzgerald's take on this Cream classic. Just wicked horns and electrifying vocals to match. The Rockers Hi-Fi remix is a super slowed down groove using Ella's vocal track.

Kurt Hoffman's Band of Weeds - The Ocean [originally by Led Zeppelin]
You probably haven't heard a Zeppelin cover quite like this one.

Elton John - Honky Tonk Woman [originally by the Rolling Stones]
From his early album, 11-17-70. You should really check this album out, it's definitely one of my favourite live albums with an unbelievable 18-minute piano jam medley on Burn Down the Mission.

Krank - I Looked at You [originally by The Doors]
From the all-female Doors cover album Love Her Madly, which you can still buy at a bargain basement price from Skipping Discs (ditto for the all-female Bowie cover album too!).

Widespread Panic - Chest Fever [originally by The Band]
From the fairly recent tribute album Endless Highway.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Jason Forrest Daytrotter Sessions (and a cheap laugh)

Just some linkage for you... I'll do a real post for tomorrow.

Jason Forrest left a note on my blog the other day with an interesting tidbit: his track War Photographer, for which I go out of my way to rave about time and time again, uses Queen's Sheer Heart Attack as its "backbone". That's crazy! Honestly, I still can't really hear it.

Queen - Sheer Heart Attack

Go over to Daytrotter and read an interesting interview with Jason from last year. Curious how one performs "live" music with a laptop? Don't miss his Daytrotter Sessions with 7 free live tracks including War Photographer. Daytrotter itself is fascinating music site with an aesthetic akin to a Wes Anderson film and an impressive archive of indie band sessions.

On a completely unrelated note, this exchange in the comments section of the Onion AV Club's review of Redline made me laugh. The film stars Angus Macfadyen, whom you may remember as Robert the Bruce from Braveheart, as an evil millionaire.

Angus Macfadyen
by Jen3
Worst name for a movie character ever. (Mainly because i can't think of worse right now).
3:27 PM Mon April 16, 2007

Dude, that's my REAL LIFE name...
by Angus Macfadyen
Jen3 is the worst name for an AVClub commenter ever. Like, ever...seriously.
4:13 PM Mon April 16, 2007

by shnoodles
That's the actors name... the characters name was Joey Jo Jo Junior Shabadoo.
4:30 PM Mon April 16, 2007

Joey Jo Jo
by the late dent
Haha. Ha. Ha. I hope to god you are not being serious.
5:24 PM Mon April 16, 2007

Oh God
by Joey Jo Jo Junior Shabadoo
*Runs out of bar, crying*
5:28 PM Mon April 16, 2007

Ah, good ol' Simpsons references can crop up anytime, anywhere, and still be funny.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

White Stripes in Edmonton? pt. II

Just a quick follow-up to a White Stripes in Edmonton? post I made last month. Sorry, no mp3s today-- I'm just so excited about this White Stripes thing I had to post right away!

A friend saw Jack White being interviewed last night on MuchMusic (our Canadian music channel) and he re-iterated that The White Stripes intend to tour in all 10 provinces and 3 territories.

"We're not going to leave any stone unturned. And if any new provinces or territories get made up during the tour we promise to play the new ones as well." says Jack. [via]

So now it seems as though it's no longer a matter of if they're coming, but rather when and where. Speculation is rampant on the Little Room forums as to which stops they'll make. If the rumour is true that they'll hit the Ottawa Blues Festival, expect an announcement on April 25th when the festival line-up is unveiled. I imagine a full tour announcement would come around the same time.

[EDIT: 4/18/2007 It's confirmed. The White Stripes will be taking the stage at the Ottawa Blues Festival July 8th! Press release here. That didn't take long! Let's hope full Canadian dates are on their way.]

Yesterday brought word that they'll be touring in July in a bunch of states they haven't visited before, so their story is checking out so far.

My own plans for a Western Canadian roadtrip are already underway...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Everybody Digs a Swingin' Cat

In the past month, a couple people have actually taken up my half-hearted request for charming cat stories (see sidebar). At first I was a little baffled since I had written up that sidebar note back when I started the blog and kinda forgot about it. But hey, it's a pleasant surprise to find charming cat stories in my inbox so I'm not complaining. Fittingly, one of my favourite Disney songs is from The Aristocats and luckily there have been a few covers of it, though none matching the back alley cat energy of the original, mind you.

The Original
Ev'rybody Wants To Be a Cat

The Covers
Michelle Shocked
Michelle Nicastro
Steve Tyrell
Brian Setzer

[EDIT: 4/15/07 9:03pm] I just got my hands on this awesome live big band cover by the Claude Bolling Big Band. Check it out!

Anyone who'd rather be a dog can get their cover fix over here (think: The Stooges).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ben Folds + Amanda Palmer = Pure Gold (coming soon...)

It's been confirmed by Amanda Palmer (of the Dresden Dolls) that Ben Folds is producing and playing on her upcoming solo album being recorded at Ben's Nashville studio. Awesome, awesome news. For those out of the loop, Ben's my favourite artist/band and The Dresden Dolls are up there too. Ever since Ben randomly called up Amanda last year, which lead to the Dresden Dolls opening for a couple of Ben's gigs in Australia, I've been waiting for some sort of collaboration to come of this new musical relationship. And for the project to be Amanda's debut solo album after a hiatus of sorts from the Dolls is absolutely brilliant. Ben's own solo album should be coming out this year too. With Andrew Bird's latest already out, The Polyphonic Spree's coming up, The White Stripes back in action... it's shaping up to be a great year in music (for me at least!).

[edit: link fixed] Amanda Palmer - Night Reconnaissance
Ben Folds - Side of the Road [originally by Lucinda Williams]
Amanda Palmer - Material Girl (feat. Meredith Yayanos) [originally by Madonna]
Ben Folds - Them That Got (live) [originally by Ray Charles]

By the way, if you want to check out Amanda covering The Rolling Stones' Satisfaction with a puppet, you should go here.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Brought to you by the Gap

Let's all travel back to the late 90's for a moment. A time when Gap proved with a series of Khakis ads that some good music, dance moves, and a little style can go a long way in marketing. While I wasn't exactly leaping off the couch to jump into some khakis, they were a nice diversion in the wasteland of television advertising. These days we can just skip commercials, heh heh. I think of them as a pre-cursor to Apple's iPod ads, which basically took a similar concept and made everyone silhouettes. If you need to jog your memory, these are (of course) all on youTube, so click the title to check'em out:

Khakis Swing.
This is the one that kicked it off. This was the first time most people were exposed to the "Matrix bullet-time effect," which actually predated The Matrix. Though if you peruse this wiki article, you can trace the history of the effect back to animation, the opening of Speed Racer being an early example (neato!). In any case, this commercial coupled with the release of The Matrix soon after definitely jumpstarted an inundation of bullet-time effects in film and media, of which we can still feel the ripples to this day. Depending who you listen to, this ad also marked the death of the swing revival.
Louis Prima - Jump, Jive, An' Wail
Louis Prima - Jump, Jive, An' Wail [Remix]
Brian Setzer Orchestra - Jump, Jive, An' Wail [originally by Louis Prima]

Khakis Rock.
Not sure sure how exactly this got classified as "rock". I guess Gap Electronica got vetoed.
The Crystal Method - Busy Child

Khakis Groove.
This entire post is just an excuse to share this next song. This was my favourite of all the Gap ads, starting with the music, Fuzzy Haskin's Gettin' it Off. And the moves. I love that whole "step-through-the arm-hoop" dealie. In fact, I used to repeatedly watch that part frame by frame, completely dumbfounded. Finding the name of this song was a pain back in the day, since Google hadn't quite taken over the world at that point. Actually, even now it's a bit of a slog through various sites to determine what song was used in the ad. Getting a hold of it was another matter altogether. But luckily this mp3 has survived a harddrive crash or two, so now you can hear it too.
Fuzzy Haskins - Gettin' it Off

Khaki A-Go-Go.
If you take some ridiculous dance moves and get a group of people to perform them in synch, it somehow seems less ridiculous-- in fact, I daresay cool.
James Clarke - Blow Up a Go-Go!

Khaki Soul.
I get the impression that Bill Withers' songs are shockingly more well known than the guy himself.
Bill Withers - Lovely Day

Khaki Country.
As of a couple days ago, this may have been one of the only videos NOT on YouTube. Someone seems to have rectified that glaring hole in YouTube programming...
Dwight Yoakam - Crazy Little Thing Called Love [originally by Queen]

A couple years ago, Gap released a CD of "Gap Favourites" of various artists performing cover songs. Here are a couple from that CD:
Alanis Morrisette - Crazy [originally by Seal]
Joss Stone - God Only Knows [originally by The Beach Boys]

A quick rant: for two nights in a row on the national news broadcast they've shown clips from youTube videos. First "two otters holding hands" (yes, it's cute) and then Alanis Morrisette's My Humps. With SportsNet devoting a whole little sequence to random youTube videos and even George Stroumboulopoulos getting in on the internet video action, it's starting to get a little out of hand. Most YouTube videos are barely watchable as it is, let alone blown up for chunky TV viewing. My eyes hurt, please stop. Thank you.