Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Man in the Mirror

Hi there,

This past week saw the passing of some entertainment legends. From Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon to The King of Pop - Michael Jackson. Wow - what a stinger for the business as a whole.

It was pretty amazing on Friday as I walked home from work. Every store had his music playing and loads of stores had posters and even 'Thriller' albums in their windows. I was proud that the company I work for did it's part to pay respect and got to play a small role in pushing through some memorial/homage to the man. I work for MTV and between MJ and Madonna - this channel was built and established.

From a life that nobody will ever be able to comprehend - to a career that surpassed all others before and there-after...he will be importalized as simply the best.

His music is and will always be relevant in this world. He may have been a flawed man in his day to day - but onstage and in the studio this was the greatest entertainer ever.

The best way to remember him is to listen to his music, watch his videos and remember what it was that grabbed you when you first heard it. Was it early Jackson 5? Was it 'Off the Wall' or was it the first time you saw the music video to 'Thriller'? Whatever it was - remember it - relive it and enjoy it!

Here's a quick top 5 MJ tunes that I know I will always cherish.

  • Rock with You (1979)

  • Human Nature (1983)

  • Billy Jean (1983)

  • Man in the Mirror (1988)

  • You Rock My World (2001)

The single greatest on stage perfromance of all time. Watch it now!

In Memory of Michael Jackson 1958 - 2009

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Tunes and Rock Shows

Hello Friends,

It's been a very busy few weeks in Toronto for music and pop culture. Last week started with French favs Phoenix playing at the Phoenix (I never went but hear it was a love-in). Tuesday saw Passion Pit land at Lee's Palace to a sold out crowd and rocked the place (don't actually think rock is the right word here - maybe danced?)

NXNE kicked of on Wednesday and was a mainstay throughout the city for the rest of the week. Then came Canada's premiere music awards show (not knocking the Junos - this one's just better). I was working in the background on these ones and it was a great show to be a part of and see come full circle. From Alexisonfire, Billy Talent, Lady Gaga, Jobros, Black Eyed Peas and Nickelback - this show was amazing. I even saw the shit go down between Perez and Will.I.Am. Toronto is the mecca for Canadian music - like it or not.

On to a quick list of new tunes I am in love with now...

1. It Don't Move Me - Peter Bjorn & John VIDEO HERE

2. Heavy Cross - The Gossip *the album version is far better than the video edit.

3. Fire - Kasabian

4. Geraldine - Glasvegas *Acoustic version - haunting is the only word to describe this!

5. Throw it in the Bag - Fabolous feat. The Dream *a banger

Special shout-out to the 90s as there seems to be a strange comeback happening right now in that loads of lost names/artist are coming back - be it in concert or releases. I for one am loving it - as I see those days as the most important of my life thus far. Here's a few to make mention of ...with a special shout out to Cracker - to whom I will be seeing in concert tonight at Lee's Palace.

  • Happy Mondays - touring this fall and stopping in Toronto in October

  • Charlatans coming this Sept. to Toronto

  • Stone Roses set to release some un-release materials in the coming months

  • Cracker aka Camper van Beethoven in Toronto tonight

  • Lastly - I've been listening to The Counting Crows, The Killers & older Oasis recently :)

have a wonderful day - speak soon!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Keep it coming.

Hello Everyone,
Alright - it's happening again...there's new music coming out each and everyday that is making me happy. I was sent the latest single by Beth Ditto's group Gossip and it's a blinder. Anthemic and uplifting is exactly what the doctor has ordered. The single is called 'Heavy Cross' and it's near perfect for this exact moment in music. I had heard and read all the hype on Beth last year as she took over SXSW and NME wrote about her each and everyday...but for me it was the theme of SKINS (UK tv series) that sold me. Check this out!!!

Here's a fewmore gems that have made me smile of late...

1. Cuddle Fuddle - Passion Pit (saw them at Lee's Palace this week) this beat is awesome

2. Geraldine - Glasvegas (acoustic version - haunting and beautiful)

3. I Know What I Am - Band of Skulls

4. Hey Now - Oasis (there's always gotta be a bit of these boys in your life)

5. Ballad of Hugo Chavez - Arkells

Fingers crossed that this stuff keeps coming - as it's simply a great time in music.

If you're in the Toronto area this weekend get out and support Canadian music at NXNE's always a great time!


Sunday, June 14, 2009


Hello friends,

I chose the subject 'lyrics' after seeing a friend's facebook update using some today. I've done it - and I think many of us have. Is it people trying to look profound and smart or literally repeating these lyrics to show their love of just that. Maybe it's a bit of both - who knows. This particular update was by 1990's favourites The Counting Crows. I loved this band and at this very moment am listening to 'August and Everything After'. When this album came out in 1993 - people were into albums. Not that people aren't into albums now - but I bet you people knew more album tracks in this era than they do today. It's natural based on the progression in technology - but it's also sad when you think about it. This album had so many amazing tracks that never made it as singles and I like them far more than I do the actual singles. I'm certain that most would agree as I remember seeing the crowds at the Molson amphitheatre sing along to "Sullivan Street". I digress - I was here to write about lyrics today. Here's a quick top 5 list of lyrics that have moved me in my days...

  1. "Noone's interested in something you didn't do" - Tragically Hip's - 'Wheat Kings' (very true)

  2. "Just because I'm losing doens't mean I'm Lost" - 'Coldplay's - 'Lost' (nice pick-me up lyric)

  3. "Trying to make ends meet - you're a slave to the money then you die" - The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony (greatest song ever recorded)

  4. "If we're lost - then we are lost together" - Blue Rodeo - 'Lost Together' (beautiful)

  5. "We have agreed with which we have a greed" Eddie Veddor - 'Society' (love plays on words like this)

  6. "The sadest thing that I've ever seen was smokers outside the hostpital doors" The Editors - 'Smokers outside the hospital doors' (I was quitting smoking when I first heard this)

  7. "Ride our bikes into town, for some hockey cards and whatever trouble may be found" Sam Roberts - 'Every Part of Me (reminds me of childhood - beautiful track)

There's clearly a million lyrics out there to quote and reflect upon day in and day out...and these are just a couple quick fixes from looking at my library. I take my hat off to songwriters as it may seem an easy thing to do - but I dare you to try and write a tune. It's tough and bets left for the artists themselves. I will stick to writing mty feelings in cards and perhaps stealing the odd quote from them.

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hip Hop Hooray

Hello Friends,

I was looking at Toronto concert lisitings today, in some Toronto publications, and was suprised to see that Ice Cube was perfroming this summer at The Sound Academy. I was in there looking to see who was at this year's North by Northeast Music Festival which kicks off next week. It's the festival in which I can proudly say gave me my start in this business. It's good people that come out each year and even better people that run it. An Englishman and a Welsh lass. It's a fun little festival and really is about the music. They stay true to what the festival is each year and this year proves to be the same. Check out the schedules here.

Based on my concert finding today - here's a little Hip Hop list of tunes I'm digging up as I type this...

  1. Ice Cube - You Know How We Do It

  2. Das Efx - They Want Efx

  3. LL Cool J - Boomin System (one of the nicest guys and total pioneer in the game)

  4. Redhead Kingpin - Do The Right Thing

  5. Maestro Fresh Wes - Let Your Backbone Slide *CANADIAN

*Do you remember how big this song actually was in 1989?

Maestro did it and is still making waves today (check his wiki page) and so will many more Canadian's to come - be it Hip Hop or Punk - we make some great music up here.

NXNE Music Festival starts next Wednesday - get out there and support our troops.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Perfect Pop Song


I have found that in the last week I got a little bored with what my playlists had to offer and needed a bit of an old school flavour to get me through the day. It all started when we were sitting in the office playing a youtube "remember this old song" with a few collegues. I then found myself on iTunes buying a few tracks by artists like TLC, Rob Base and DJ Easy Rock and even re-investigating a few NKOTB songs. I'm big enough to admit that I love a good pop song from time to time.

I found myself on the subway platform today, my iPod was on shuffle, and "Rock your Body" by Justin Timberlake came on. It's a great song...but as I entered the cart I found myself turning the volume down as it was packed and I feared what the people around me might think. Stupid I know.

Here's a quick list of pure candy pop songs I have loved listening to in the past week...

  1. TLC - "What about your friends"

  2. NKOTB - "Summertime"

  3. Joey Scarbury - "Greatest American Hero" (theme song)

  4. Justin Timberlake - "What Goes Around Comes Around"

  5. Toto - "Africa"

Greatest Amercian hero brings me right back to my childhood hurrying to have a bath, grab a snack (usually some wicked cereal like captain crunch) and sitting with my brother and Dad as this song kicked in to start the show!

alright - gotta work.

speak soon.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009



Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand said it best when he said "Just because Britney Spears didn't write the song Womanazier - it doesnt make it a bad song". This was in reference to his band covering exactly that RADIO CLIP ". In fact that's the point to this blog I started entitled "Good Music Is Good Music".

Perhaps it's the Scottish that are best at covering Britney in general Travis cover if Brit .

The fact remains that a good pop-song is a good pop-song and the word 'Pop Music' is literal. Pop music means just that, 'Popular Music', and anything can fit into this grouping. If the most underground of underground artists becomes commercially successful and a house hold name - then it too becomes pop music. And NO they did not sell-out in doing so.

Covers are a tricky thing in my opinion because they arean homage to an artist that you like and it's your take on the track. Many artists became big by doing a cover off the top of their careers. Do you remember the Barenaked Ladies cover of 'Lovers in a Dangerous Time' .

I've not done a list for a few posts so here's my list of great covers...

  1. Dancing in the moonlight - by King Harvest - covered by Toploader

  2. Run - by Snow Patrol - covered by Leona Lewis

  3. Landslide - by Fleetwood Mac - covered by Smashing Pumpkins

  4. Headmaster's Ritual - by The Smiths - covered by Radiohead

  5. Hurt - by N.I.N. - covered by Johnny Cash

There are obviously many more amazing covers - but these are nice standouts in my player.

Have a good day!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tom Petty

Hello Friends,

Now everyone knows Tom Petty's music and could likely sing along to at least one of his tunes from start to finish (probably 'Free Fallin') - but man has he written some amazing music over the years. I recently watched a documentary, put out by Warner Music, called 'Runnin' Down a Dream'. It's 4 hours of pure amazingness. The man is a legend and really set the bar for bands and artists to come after him.

Here's a link to the trailer watch it!

I had the pleasure of seeing Tom Petty on tour when he released 'Into the Great Wide Open'. It was at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens and the set was a human heart that he walked down the stairs of. It was truly an amazing musical experience for me and was only the second concert I had ever seen live.

Tom Petty is always best heard when sitting up north on a hot summers day whilst the sun beats down and you lounge on a dock. He is rock n roll and a rebel none the less.

Check this movie out if you want to know about starting a band or what it takes to be a rock star!

"Even the losers - get lucky sometimes"

Thanks for reading