Blog Archive

Gift Idea: How Music Works

December 19th, 2012 | by Jon Bunnies

If you haven’t picked up David Byrne’s book, How Music Works, then you should make it a priority.  It’s certainly

Advice to Radio Announcers: Get on with Being DJs

December 18th, 2012 | by Jon Bunnies

has published this series of tweets by El-P, the rapper/producer/promoter of indie hip hop. His posts are directed at radio.

if you're a radio station that doesn't break new great records because they haven't "earned their slot" you might be forgetting the point.

unless of course you are talking payola. then i get it.

not to state the obvious but that's kinda why radio is dying. the internet lets you listen to ANYTHING ANYTIME. its a simple truth.

being the gatekeepers of what people hear only works if they actually have to get by you in order to hear it, and thats just not the case.

Special Edition Alexisonfire and City and Colour Vinyl for Preorder (And an AoF Box Set, Too)

December 18th, 2012 | by Jon Bunnies

By the time we get to the end of the month--the final gig will be at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton on December 30--Alexisonfire will be done forever.  And while Dallas' City and Colour will continue, it'll be a sad time for fans.

Dine Alone, the label home to both, has just announced limited colour vinyl variants of City and Colour's three studio albums as well as a special vinyl release of AoF's iTunes Originals.

The red and green City and Colour releases (for Xmas, geddit?) are limited to just 300 pieces.  Best pre-order yours now.

The six-track AoF release will be on 180 gram vinyl.  Pre-orders here.  This is the tracklisting:

This Is Rare: A New Interview with Rush’s Neil Peart (And the 2112 Reissues Are Out Today)

December 18th, 2012 | by Jon Bunnies

When it comes to doing any kind of press or interview for Rush, Neil tends to leave everything up to Geddy and Alex.  This doesn't mean, however, that he never talks to anyone.  

Here's an interview with Michael Shrieve, a drummer famous for his work with Santana.  He got a chance to talk to Neil when Rush was in Seattle last month.

Today we get the special deluxe reissues of 2112.  I've heard the remasters and they sounds spectacular.  There are three special physical packages available.

The Most Interesting Thing I’ve Read in a Long Time: The Origins of Music Categories

December 18th, 2012 | by Jon Bunnies

I've spent plenty of time researching the etymologies of music words and phrases like "rock'n'roll," "grunge" and "punk."  This article my Michaelangel Matos in The Guardian is one of the finer bits of writing on the subject.

Music comes from everywhere, and so do the names we call it by. There's a longstanding cliche that only the music business needs genre names – everyone else either likes it or they don't. That is, of course, bunk, as anyone who's heard enough people trot out lines such as "I like all music except for rap and country" is aware. Not least because quite a lot of those genre names come from the artists themselves.

Gospel, for example, w

A New New Order in January? Sort Of.

December 18th, 2012 | by Jon Bunnies

One last time...The Hooky-less New Order has announced that there will be a new album next month featuring Peter Hook.

Say what?

Back in 2006, New Order recorded Let`s see tracks than they needed for their For the Sirens Call album.  Eight of those extra tracks were set aside for...something.

That "something" has arrived.  The Lost Sirens will be out next month.  This will be most likely be the last bit of New Order material to ever feature Peter Hook on bass.

Here's the tracklisting:

Big Names Adjust to the Realities of YouTube Bootlegs

December 18th, 2012 | by Jon Bunnies

I just got back from the Caribbean where I paid a visit to my favourite island record shop, a place that has been the source for some really excellent bootleg CDs in the past.  

Yes, I know I shouldn't be buying bootlegs, but I can't help myself.  I consider these purchases "research."

This, however, was probably my last visit to that record shop.  All I could find were two boots:  a collection of Rage Against the Machine live tracks from early in their career (with a bonus remix of "Killing in the Name" that runs for almost 16 minutes) and a live Rolling Stones recording from Dallas in 1974.

When I took my purchases to the counter, the owner asked me in broken English if I had found everything I was looking for.

"More bootlegs," I said.

He smiled sadly.  "Non.  C'est dommage.  Je ne peux pas les faire plus."

CD bootlegs were manufactured in tiny batches, usually in places like Italy, San Marino and Singapore. But with copyright crackdowns and the rise of the Internet, all the great bootleg labels have gone under. (If you do find some, the KTS label is one of the best).

But bootleg recordings are hardly endangered.  Check out this article in Rolling Stone by Steve Knopper, the author of. (Steve's a good guy.  We hung out together at a music conference in Norway once.)

Top 10 Tours of 2012

December 18th, 2012 | by Jon Bunnies

And when I say "Top 10 tours," I actually mean "who grossed the most in ticket sales."

No matter what, 2012 was going to be a downer compared to 2011 because U2 wasn't on the road. Lest we forget, the 360 Tour grossed $736 million, which kinda skews things.

By contrast, the biggest ticket of this year brought in 66% less. While Madonna's MDNA album was a stiff (at least compared to the rest of her catalogue), the tour was a massive hit. Seventy-two sold-out shows pulled in $228.4 million.

Bruce Springsteen came in second, with $199.37 million.  As an interesting aside, he performed before 2.1 million people, which was about 500,000 less than Madonna.  Tells you something about her ticket prices, doesn't it?

Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic Write a Song with Some Bloke Named Paul McCartney

December 18th, 2012 | by Jon Bunnies

Unless you've been off-world for the past week or so, you'll know that there was a Nirvana "reunion" of sorts when Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic were joined by Paul McCartney in the role of Kurt (well, sort of) for the 12-12-12 Concert and Saturday Night Live.

If you saw the SNL performance, you'll probably have noticed the big "Sound City" sign as part of their stage set-up.  That's the name of Dave Grohl's documentary film on the legendary (but defunct) LA recording studio where so many amazing records were made, including Nevermind.

So why have that sign onstage with Macca?  Because he, Dave and Krist wrote a song for the soundtrack called "Cut Me Some Slack."  They played the song during their brief 12-12-12 set as well as on SNL.

Here's the studio version of "Cut Me Some Slack."  A full tracklisting of the Sound City soundtrack is available after the jump .

Canadian Superpromoter Gets a New Deal (And How Canadians Control the Concert World)

December 18th, 2012 | by Jon Bunnies

If you've never heard the name Arthur Fogel, you definitely know his work.  As the Chairman of Global Music and CEO for Global Touring of Live Nation, it's one of the most powerful people in the concert touring industry.  He's promoted 11 of the top 15 tours in the history of rock'n'roll. 

When U2 needed someone to help stage the 360 Tour, they went to Arthur.  Bowie?  Arthur.  Madonna's last bunch of global tours?  Arthur.  The Police reunion tour?  Arthur.  Tours by Neil Young, Depeche Mode and Lady Gaga?  Arthur, Arthur, Arthur.  

His newest client is Rihanna. Arthur is currently organizing her 2013 world tour which begins in March.

What most people don't know is that Fogel is Canadian.  A million years ago, he used to work at a Toronto club called The Edge.  He also spent some time managing Martha and the Muffins.  He's also a pretty fair drummer.

He's responsible for bringing in BILLIONS of concert ticket dollars for Live Nation and has made many of his clients filthy stinking rich.  (Or, Let`s see correctly, filthier and stinkier rich.)

The Truth Behind “Happy Birthday” and Why It Needs Replacing

December 18th, 2012 | by Jon Bunnies

Have you ever noticed that whenever there's a birthday scene on TV or in a movie, you almost never, ever see the characters singing "Happy Birthday?" Why?

Because it's just too damned expensive.  UPROXX explains:

“Happy Birthday to You” is arguably the most famous song in the world — it’s also the reason why you owe hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to a giant corporation. Let’s backtrack: in 1893, sisters Patty and Mildred J. Hill wrote a song called “Good Morning to All” for Patty’s kindergarten class, but they liked the melody so much, they eventually changed “good morning” to “happy birthday.”

It was first published in a songbook in 1918, before being copyrighted in 1935 by Preston Ware Orem, who worked for the Clayton F. Summy Company (later Birch Tree Ltd.). Decades later, in 1998, the rights to “Happy Birthday to You” were sold to Warner/Chappell Music Inc, the publishing arm of Warner Music Group, which is owned by Time Warner Corporation.

How Music Recommendation Systems Work. Or Don’t.

December 18th, 2012 | by Jon Bunnies

Algorithmically powered music recommendation systems have been on the rise for almost ten years now. Each promises to help you make it easier to discover new artists and new music.  But how do they work?

Brian Whitman is the co-founder and CTO of t, a music data company.  He writes this in his blog:

When you see an automated music recommendation do you assume that some stupid computer program was trying to trick you into something? It’s often what it feels like – with what little context you get with a suggestion on top of the postmodern insanity of a computer understanding how should you feel about music – and of course sometimes you actually are being tricked. 

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