One of the great characters of modern cinema has left us. Dennis Hopper was a brilliant actor and a legendary bastion of the psychedelic '60s. I will remember him for three great films in particular. Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, and Blue Velvet all left indelible marks on the film industry and for that I send out this majestic performance by The Doors to Mr. Hopper.
I was going to post the new Gord Downie video here but after listening to it I just couldn't help but think that it's just watered down Tragically Hip with a weird movie playing. So I picked these guys instead.
The National is probably something you should be listening to again in the relatively near future. They're talented musicians and tend to put thought into their lyrics. The song "Fake Empire" is one of my top songs of the decade. I haven't been able to give the new album much of a listen yet, but the two songs I did listen to, "Little Faith" and this one below, were both super cool. This particular performance isn't their best, but it does a good job of showing them off as passionate troubadours.
It's been a little while since I had some crazy electro stuff on here. I have no idea who Proper Villains are but this is a lovely little ditty that reminds me of an old Mr. Oizo classic. I love the video too. I'll probably throw some bonus beats on the end of this post to. Yup, I'm gonna do it.
Funkagenda & Big Ed - Afterclub [Riva Starr Remix]
This has a kind of Spanish rock feel to it, which is sorta loosely mariachi-ish... ya there's no real connection but whatever, this is Urge Overkill performing their five minutes (three in this case) of fame with this sweet tune from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. You might have to turn the volume up on this one.
Wow. It was Metal Monday last night at El Capitale, and after hearing Skull Fist rock out huge... no, hold on. Those guys kicked ass and took names. Think Fubar crossed with Iron Maiden. Epic insanity. Top show.
So Jarrett was playing some awesome hardcore stuff that I'd never heard before, and it was some guys from California called The Bronx. They sounded like Henry Rollins on speed. Awesome. So then he tells me that they have a side project called Mariachi El Bronx. That's right. Their side project is a freakin' mariachi band. How have I never heard of these guys?
This is what they sound like as The Bronx... awesome.
So yesterday was pretty awesome. It was Lawn Fest take one here at the stronghold. Good turnout, but we'll have to kick it up a notch next time. Here's some Santana from the most ridiculous festival ever, Woodstock '69. Note the ridiculous drum solo from Michael Shrieve, who was just 20 at the time. And that Carlos fella on the gee-tar isn't half bad either.
The Pleiades is a cluster of stars found in the constellation of Taurus. It's been rumoured that sentient beings from this star system have visited Earth already. Who knows how legit that is but I tried to imagine the journey through the stars from there to here, and how that journey might sound. This is what I came up with. It's probably the quickest song I've ever done from start to finish, only took about a week. This is another upbeat tune, a little more deep and spacey that the others.
This is the first of the tracks that I recovered off my failed hard drive, and I'm glad that I did, cause I'd been working on it for many long hours and there's just no way I could have re-created it. The working title was "Mostly Awesome" because I came up with a couple cool little percussion lines and then I couldn't think of another name for it, so I'm just gonna leave it as it is. This is considerably more upbeat than the other stuff I've released so far.
So here's the first original release in this day of threes. This is a concept piece, I wanted to make something in FL Studio using only the generic plugins that come with the program, no additional samples or VSTs, with the exception of George Yohng's W1 Limiter, which is a nice little free limiter that gets a really nice sound with very little CPU expenditure.
For those technically inclined, I used DrumSynth for all the percussion, a simple 3x Oscillator for the bass, Sytrus for some chords, FL Keys, FL Slayer, and the DX10 for a couple extra percs. The rest is just some EQing, some reverb, chorus, etc. I just wanted to show that you can make a decent sounding track using the basic materials.
Anyway this is my least exciting release of the three, but check it out anyway. You can't download it yet, but you can give it a listen thanks to SoundCloud.
It's the long weekend here, that means three days off. These 3 Cities played at the Capital last night, and they were great. Three Sheet plays there tonight. It's going to be 30 degrees out today, and I have three new songs I'm going to post later on. It seems all good things come in threes.
This is Green Jellÿ (pronounced jell-o). It's a little rock story about some pigs that you may have heard of before. Coincidentally, these guys put out an album called "333". This is not from that album.
It's summer. Really. For good this time. I'm sure of it. I'd like to see these guys at a summertime festival show some time. I don't really know much about them except that they're weird and probably fun to watch. Any band called Animal Collective just has to be. They make kooky videos too. Go put on your summer clothes and rock out.
The Franchise went to see Coheed & Cambria last night at the Sound Academy in Toronto. He had a ticket for me and sadly I still couldn't make it to Ontario to see it. This has been a recurring theme for me, I've previously had tickets for ridiculous bands I won't even mention (Tool was one) only having to miss out for various reasons. As I'm currently vigorously planning my overtaking of the world, I'm hoping that this will never happen again.
The good news is that after three months of work and waiting for parts, I have finally successfully repaired my old failed hard drive and restored countless hours of awesomeness that will soon be released upon the electronic universe to change everything. The anticipation is killing me.
I digress. Coheed & Cambria are awesome. One of my favourite bands ever, easily top 10, and this song might be my favourite of theirs. This is from their DVD "The Last Supper" which was taken from the Hammerstein Ballroom, and it's awesome.
Suresh let me know that Hank Jones passed away on Sunday. Hank was nearly 92 so this wasn't a big shock, but he's gone elsewhere just the same. For those into jazz, the man was a piano legend who played with all of the greats of the 20th century. Still performing at Monterey as recently as 2006, he had smooth, almost magical, style. For those not into jazz, sit down with a glass of your favourite vino and give this a listen, it just might change your mind.
One of the classic hard rock / metal singers has left us. Ronnie James Dio took over where Ozzy left off in Black Sabbath, and then rocked on in his own band Dio. Memorable tracks like "Die Young" and "Holy Diver" kick ass and take names even to this day. We also have him to thank for everyone and their dog (me included) doing the devil's horns thing with our hands any time there is a camera in our face. One of the bigger fans of Ronnie is Jack Black, half of the great Tenacious D. I therefore see it as appropriate to say goodbye to the man with this stirring tribute from the D.
For some reason I just started singing this song in the car last night. Haven't heard it in ages and at one time it was among my favourite tunes. Not really sure what happened to Alien Ant Farm, but at some point later on I'll take a look see.
These guys are super cool. Kinda like Curtis Mayfield on steroids. Soul flavour with funky horns and just enough grunt. The Heavy is a pretty bad-ass name too. I'd like to do a big beat remix of this one.
Heading out on a road trip for a few days, so I'm in a bit of a rush right now. Don't worry, the blog will continue as normal! It was Stevie Wonder's birthday yesterday, so here's my favourite from the man himself.
Funky percussive rhythms, chilled out vocals and some reggae grooves are what you'll find when you check out the Wassabi Collective. They're coming to town next Wednesday at Nicky Zee's. This is a pretty sweet track from them, but I do find the video a bit campy. Great festival music, or just for a good night of dancing and romancing.
Lena Horne passed away on Sunday. Best known for her part in "Stormy Weather", she was a talented singer with unique facial expression and a sultry style. She was also one of the early "left-wing" activists, partly due to her mix of African, Native, and European blood. It's fun to look back and see where popular music came from and wonder where it will be in 50 years time. This song is from 1957 and I dare say she doesn't use auto-tune.
I've been back at 'er for a few days and put together this video yesterday. I did a video capture of the Milkdrop plugin in Winamp, faded in a picture I took of the moon at the beginning and end, and it turned out ok. This is one of my more intricate and detailed productions, with lots of different rhythms and vibes going through it. I wanted to encompass the journey that the mind goes through when dreaming, but also the awakening of the mind to reality. I'm pretty interested in existentialism and globalism so I wanted to find a way to represent the evolution of cognition that occurs when you are "awakened" to the behind the scenes, so to speak, of society. So this is my techno-ish interpretation of that idea. I'll post a download link of the full EP again later today or tomorrow, but in the meantime check out the video.
I recommend watching it in HD on fullscreen for best effect.
I stumbled upon this set the other day completely by random. I was looking for some new Chromeo stuff and found this beauty. Daryl Hall, of Hall & Oates fame, has a pretty cool little series called "Live From Daryl's House", where he brings in contemporary artists to jam with him at his house. It's a little hit and miss for me, but his collaboration with Chromeo is freakin' bang on. P-Thugg on the talkbox sounds so dope with Hall's soul harmonies... it's just awesome. You can check out the whole performance here. Anyone going to see them live together at Bonnaroo are in for a treat.
By the way that's the late Tom Wolk next to Dave 1. A great musician has left the world's stage.
It's Mother's Day. This is special for lots of people out there, because everyone has a mother. I love my mom and hope she has a wonderful day, but I have little interest in Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, or any of those sorts of days. I'm not trying to be a downer, I just don't see why we can't appreciate our loved ones on any given day just for the sake of doing so. Maybe some people just need reminders every now and then.
So no sappy music today, just something different. This is Simon Green, aka Bonobo, who is a trip hop producer from England. Lately he's been touring around with a live band as well, which is very cool and something I've been machinating recently. All in due course, I suppose. I have some new experiments that are almost finished, and hope to have something to show soon. In the meantime, enjoy.
Damian Marley needs no introduction. Which is good because I don't have time to write one right now. He's much more than just "Welcome To Jamrock", believe me. This is one of my favourites, shout outs to Harry.
It's raining and I watched some pretty disturbing video today so I'm a little put off. Thankfully I have some Mantler to help chill out a little. This guy isn't a great singer, or a concert pianist, has a terrible haircut, and doesn't sound like 90% of the same old indie rock that's popular right now, but that's what makes him cool. He's got honest lyrics and a chilled out 70's style that just makes you want to sit and listen. Thanks to Matt for this find, and you can read his review of the new album "Monody" here.
Juan and Camilo played some cool tunes last night at Open Mic, and one of them was a nice little tune by Manu Chao called "Bongo Bong". You've probably heard it before somewhere, but might not know that the lyrics actually came from a Mano Negra song called "King Of The Bongo". This is definitely one instance where the sequel was better than the original. Another thing to note is that the instrumental to this track is also used in other Manu Chao songs like "Mr. Bobby", so it's no surprise then to hear him mesh the two songs together in this nice little performance from the Abbey Road studios in 2008.
The sun is shining, the grass needs to be cut, and it's a good day for some funk. Matthew Herbert is an interesting guy who's done all kinds of wacky musical production concepts, and under all kinds of different names. This has a nice light groovy disco feel to it, great for a little summer patio soirée. The bonus beats today come from L'Aroye, who has done a very nice remix of People Movin' by The Shoes. Play one right after the other and keep that vibe goin'.
"Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth..." - Ecclesiastes 11:9
A big high five for whoever can tell me what movie that line preceded.
Even though some Jay-Z guy keeps telling me that 30 is the new 20, and I like to think that I'm still "living the dream", every now and then I can't help but think that I've lost the best part already. Thankfully, I know that this is patently ridiculous. Why in blazes should the first 30 years of your life be the best when, in most cases, you're not even half way through the course yet? If that was really the truth, then what the hell are we doing wrong, and why should we even bother with the second half? No, I think this is nonsense.
I'm not an Oprah fan by any stretch of any imagination, but I did happen to catch this particular episode with Jerry Seinfeld and there's a nice little story that starts around the 6:10 mark that has some useful advice. Give it a listen and think about it for a bit.
Anyway this song goes out to the big P.W., to me, to all of you who think the best days are past, and to Rivers Cuomo, because Jesus is fighting for Weezer too. Even he knows I'm nothing at all without my mojo.
Was listening to my man Jason do an interview yesterday, and one of the things he talked about was the value of community. That's probably why I've enjoyed Fredericton for so long, is because of its very strong links to each other, particularly amongst the artists and musicians of this city. Certainly things like the Capital and the Market and even the more recent emergence of Feels Good have helped this, but I think it's mostly attributable to the good people who live here.
I also think it's a tribute to the community that so many local artists and musicians seem to be branching out and thriving these days, and Owen Steel is no exception. Tall, quiet, unassuming, and a bit on the thin side of things, he's an exceptional songwriter and performer and I'm sure the best is yet to come. Thanks to Christine for sending me this link, it's a great performance from the Streaming Cafe in Kelowna, BC. That's Mike Humble, aka Mumble, on the box.
Check out Fergus' moose video featuring the studio cut here.