Tag Archives: Hey Rosetta!

Oh, Canada!

A Canada Day weekend wouldn’t be complete without a list. As expected, you have all radio stations pulling out your favourite Canadian bands. All highly predictable and you have a veritable buffet of Canadiana classic – Tragically Hip, Barenaked Ladies, Alanis, Avril, Celine, Shania… all successful in their own right and, since I’m feeling patriotic, worthy of being on a list of notable Canadian music. (Side note – notice I said “notable”, not “good”).

But I’d rather share something you may not have heard. Songs by Canadian bands that, to those of you that share music regularly, probably have either introduced me to, discussed with me or have already heard. This list shouldn’t be a huge surprise to any of you. To others, this is a list of 10 Canadian Bands You May Not Have Heard, But Should.

As I often do, I’ll let the music do the talking.

10. The New Pornographers – Moves

Yep, they’ve been around since ’99. They’ve gained notoriety. And yet they’re still pretty great.

9. Hey Rosetta! – Red Heart

One of those songs from last summer I still love – it was the song that introduced me to the band. Welcome. It would be far too predictable to share it again here. So, I’m sharing something a bit older from them that I discovered. Their next big thing? Lollapalooza in August.

8. Japandroids – The House that Heaven Built

A newer discovery for me – BC Rock at its finest.

7. Fucked Up – Queen of Hearts

Classic Canadian punk at its very, very best. All I can possibly say.

6. Final Fantasy (or, Owen Pallett if you prefer) – This is the Dream of Win and Regime

Dude. He once put out an album called “He Poos Clouds”. ‘Nuff said.

5. Death From Above 1979 – Romantic Rights

They were together, they broke up, they reunited. A good Canadian thing. Even better – they have only ever released one album. In 2006. And yet, we still love them.

4. Hollerado – Got to Lose

I was going to share Good Day at the Races – mostly because ostrich races crack me up and it’s a fun video. However, I am not without nostalgic leanings and this song is still on my iPod on regular rotation.

3. City and Colour – Fragile Bird

What Canadian list would be complete without a bit of Dallas Green thrown in? A Canadian musical genius. In whatever form you prefer him (the classic “which is better, Alexisonfire or City and Colour”). And it’s always fun to watch our US pals misspell the band name. Damn our Canadiana spelling quirks.

2. Metric – Youth Without Youth

A bit of a current obsession for me – I have listened to more Metric in the last few months than I should probably admit.

1. Broken Social Scene – Anthems for a 17-year Old Girl

Not to be clichéd, but as Canadians, we get along. Okay, a stereotype wrapped up in a cliché perhaps. But BSS is classic Canadiana. A music collective that shows Kevin Drew’s genius. Which is why BSS got top billing on this list – the idea that Canadian Indie music is all, really, kind of a collective anyway. It’s always changing, always different and never uninteresting. Show me another band that does what BSS does.

Well played, Canada!

What’s Up With That? Juno Edition

The Junos. The watered down version of the US’ Grammy Awards.  I had fairly high hopes for this year, what with Shatner hosting (does this guy ever slow down?!) and some great performances.  And I wasn’t disappointed. Much.

However, the Album of the Year was awarded to Michael Buble. For his Christmas album.

What. The. Fuck?

A truly worthy What’s Up With That?! moment.

Although, it could have been worse… Nickelback could have won it.

And thanks to Biebs, Sheepdogs and Buble for dialing it in with their acceptance speeches. Biebs was short and indifferent; Sheepdogs were so badly dubbed it was hysterical and Buble.. he loves Christmas. Goody.

High points included Deadmau5, Dallas Green’s performance, Feist’s performance and even Hey Rosetta performing Welcome (so many memories of that song…). Shatner was classic. Low points included Nickelback’s entire performance. And Sarah M. destroying Blue Rodeo.

Well played Canada. Mostly.

What 2011 Sounds Like

I like lists. I list everything – from things I have to do, to music I want to check out (a never-ending list), items that need to be remembered. I’m certain my list-making has been noted with interest on here over the course of the last year. Top Five lists in particular. I wonder if that means I’m somewhat indecisive – I can never pick just one. So I make a list.

I got an email notification the other night after Lila posted her song list for 2011. Imagine my delight at having a new list to read. The best part of reading lists created by others (especially those that hold music to the same standard I do) is that they make you think and consider what you would put on your own list of similar making.

I’ve spent the last couple of nights reveling in thoughts of the last year. Remembering the songs that stick out. Highlights of memories.. Perhaps it’s too early yet for this kind of reflection – don’t most people save that for a New Year? Regardless of timing, this is my counter to Lila’s 2011 list. My Top 13 songs of 2011. It should be 12. I’d say I’m being rebellious, but the fact is, I couldn’t cut any more out. I whittled it down so much already, I couldn’t bear to take another out. Every song is tied to a memory from the past year. Every song has been shared in some way with those closest to me. Some given to me, like small gifts. Some shared with those I hold in the highest regard. Each and every one part of the essential makeup of who I am, what I’ve done and where I’m going. They have shaped my year. Have a listen.

Ryan Star, Start a Fire

My year both started and ended with Ryan Star. A January NYC adventure with Lila to see Ryan, Hesta Prynn, Gambit and Hot Chelle Rae at Webster Hall. This was the show that began my year. Ryan Star opening for Goo Goo Dolls in Erie was the last concert I saw this year, again, with my favourite travel companion – Lila. Truly amazing that Ryan began and ended my soundtrack of the year.

Even better is that I have managed to influence others to his musical fortitude. My rides to work are laden with his music (shout out to Melissa, who I maintain will be in tow should Ryan Star ever announce a Canada concert date… she was an immediate fan).

Despite the changes the last year have brought, the ability to listen to Ryan’s music, sing along loudly, dance wildly when alone and run faster when it’s on my iPod has not wavered.

Pretty Girls Make Graves, The Teeth Collector

This is where Sean B. gets a huge shout out. The scene: At work. New guy sitting in the room, reading his books diligently. Until my phone alarm goes off and I’m begged to go turn it off. I walk in, do so and am faced with the question: “Hey, is that Florence + the Machine?” Instant musical friend. Sean B. has shared a great deal of musical talk and influence over the last year. A quintessential musical snob (never ever trash Depeche Mode to him and never ask him to listen to the Foo Fighters), he never fails to share music and thoughts. And even when we don’t agree, he is still one of my first go-to guys for musial knowledge.

Pretty Girls Make Graves was one of the bands shared with me almost one year ago. Hundreds of songs given all at once. And while Pretty Girls are no longer making music together, they were an instant favourite. Retro-90s-girl-grunge. The guy knows good music.

Girl Talk, Jump on Stage

Another Sean B. recommendation. Girl Talk gets on the list since it is my at-home pilates work out music. An eclectic mix of classics and modern pop. It is the only way I can remotely tolerate current “pop” music – all part of a great mix. Girl Talk was shared freely (literally – the music is free) with so many people over the last year. I’ve yet to meet anyone who hasn’t loved it instantly. The album All Day became an ice breaker at parties, the music I sweat to and a constant friend of my iPod.

Jump on Stage was chosen since it features sampling from Portishead.  ‘Nuff said.  I had to.

Grab Girl Talk here: http://illegal-art.net/allday/

Beastie Boys, Don’t Play No Game I Can’t Win

Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. It was the album that revived my love of the Beastie Boys. Not that it ever really waned, but they became a part of my past soundtrack. Now, as part of my current soundtrack, I have shared my love of this album with many. A great return. Add in DJ Z-Trip’s phenomenal mix of past and present Beasties and it was music love.

The video for Don’t Play No Game? Classic. Who couldn’t love it?

Find DJ Z-Trip’s remix here: http://ztrip.bandcamp.com/album/z-trip-presents-all-access-a-beastie-boys-megamix

Hollerado, Got to Lose

Summer of 2011. I had held tightly a sense of musical snobbery, ignorant of much of the current Canadian indie scene. Got to Lose was shared with me and launched months of great music shared. With lyrics like “we sipped red wine with our lips upon the vine and our bodies got tangled in the night”, my interest was piqued. Maybe I was due for a change. It was likely a challenge of super hero-ish proportion to get me to pay attention.

Even now, their current release, “Good Day at the Races” makes me smile and sing. They are eclectic and fun.

Hey Rosetta, Welcome

A song that makes you pay attention to the detail. Whether it is how bright the stars are in the sky (something I’ve noted with increasing frequency this year – all because of those late night/early morning runs) or the guitar riff that plays two-thirds of the way through the song, the song became a reminder to appreciate the small things. And then to share them with those that will appreciate them with you.

Yoav and Emily Browning, Where is My Mind

The Pixies did it first. The Sucker Punch soundtrack reminded me of it. The soundtrack that played throughout my summer. The movie that played and reminded me how to be at my strongest. And when I heard the oldest of my “Little Beats” singing along to the Pixies version, my pride was strong.

This was a song played during nights of solitude. A bottle of wine, my thoughts and anticipation. A song just for me.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Paris

Summer 2011 ended with a tour of Toronto with Lila and a meet-up with my favourite French Mafia member, Sophie and her cousin Jill. Sound Academy. Packed house and being blown away by the sheer power that is Grace Potter. I’ve loved her music for ages, but seeing her live was a great ending to my summer. Warm winds at the waterfrong, Ben Harper’s crooning voice after the electric energy of Grace Potter, fried dill pickles and amazing company. A stellar combination.

Young the Giant, My Body

My Body started it. I have to properly thank the superhero who shared this first. I had no idea. This was the song that made me run harder, run faster, run happier. At work, it came on the radios and the mood changed on the entire line. People smiled. Volume increased. Tapped toes. Bobbed heads and sang along. Watching a song change people this way and charge the atmosphere made me realize Young the Giant were something great.

Followed by the release of Cough Syrup, they have maintained their status as a favourite of the year’s soundtrack. Every time I hear Cough Syrup, I share that I’ve heard it and welcome the fact that there are people who listen for me when I can’t hear it. It makes me smile and remember and think of excellent things.

Even better will be to share Young the Giant at Sound Academy with Sophie in March. Continuing their inclusion in my daily soundtrack is a great thing.

Company of Thieves, Won’t Go Quietly

This is where I thank Lila. She has been my musical partner in crime for ages, but we have had an amazing 2011 together. We have shared great music (even when we disagree on it). She has been a truly amazing friend and I’m eternally grateful for her.

Lila shared Company of Thieves with me when Death of Communication came out. Then when Running for a Gamble dropped, she made sure I had it in my hands. Of course, it was immediately shared with those that influenced me the most this year. My gift back to them.

Florence + the Machine, Shake it Out

2010 had Flo on the soundtrack as well. Which means that when Ceremonials was released, it was immediately downloaded and reflected upon. And while there are some who claimed Shake it Out sounded like an 80s sitcom montage (I’m taking that as a compliment.. it means it’s a memorable song.. ha!), I instantly loved much of the album. The acoustic version of Shake it Out is what gets sung to the loudest. The lyrics resonate, Florence Welch’s voice gives me shivers and I dance wildly. A great vision.

Although Shake it Out and What the Water Gave me were both pre-released the remainder of Ceremonials didn’t disappoint. No Light, No Light has shown up on my running list countless times. An album that will likely show up on next year’s list as well.

Foo Fighters, Walk/These Days

I think if I was going to choose a single album of 2011, Foo Fighters’ Waking Light has to be it. Which is extremely surprising for me. Perhaps a sign of good influence showing me that not all great music is not “popular”.

It started with Randy Scott Slavin (of Hesta Prynn video fame) and his directing of a White Limo video. Parquay and crazy monkey business.

It finished with These Days being a near constant thought in my head. Music shared with those that are like-minded sounds better. Proof that old dogs (so to speak) can learn new tricks. Which is to say, I learned something this year. To listen better. To leave behind my snobbery and be open to new ideas.

Even Walk was a near constant shared listen. Even after it was noted to me that the video was based loosely on the movie Falling Down (one enjoyed ages ago and completely forgotten).

I took a poll of which song to pick. It was decided we couldn’t pick just one. Walk and These Days.

Foos have always been sort of background music (save for Everlong.. a truly great song). Never has a Foos song been so prevalent in my soundtrack. They’ve always been there – steadfast and good – to be sure. But not overtly current. Waking Light was a great album, at a great time, to have them at the forefront. Here is my appreciation to those that shared it with me and reminded me that, even I, could appreciate “popular” music. When it’s great.

I’ll take all that with a side dish of Cheese Whiz, please.

The Black Keys, Lonely Boy

Howlin’ For You was another one of those summer songs that made people smile and rock out while checking cars. Not that the Black Keys were off my radar before this song (Tighten Up was enjoyed), but it was the one I heard most this summer.

When El Camino was released, I had to have it. The pre-released Lonely Boy was another one of those shared songs. Even better was when I shared the video. Shared laughter. Was that really it? Best video ever. Followed by catching up on the SNL performance. Lonely Boy is one of those songs that makes me smile every time I hear it. Both because of its shared value and because it’s just a damn good song. It’s a song that makes me jump up to share it when I hear it. And I’m calling it now – Gold on the Ceiling from El Camino (which was performed at SNL) will be one of the songs to start my 2012 soundtrack.

Stay tuned.

Canadian Content

Canadian content rules on radio stations in our country are the source of a lot of speculation during my work hours. Mostly because every other song seems to be Nickleback (ugh) or some other variation of over-played, over-done Canadian artists.

Now, of course, I don’t like to generalize. It’s not every station. Unfortunately when you work in the equivalent of a steel box, radio reception is sketchy at best. So the stations we get are limited. And, despite the inherent gratitude I have for working in a job that allows me to sit in a car and turn on every radio (sorry potential customers, I like to think I’m checking the sound quality in your cars), I lament a lack of good Canadian talent being played. These stations seem to choose only a handful of Canadian artists to play to adhere to those pesky CRTC content rules.

Side point of interest: The CRTC rules state that any commercial/campus radio station must play 35% Canadian content in a week. CBC, conversely, must play 50% Canadian content when it airs popular music. Of course, what makes it Canadian has to do with MAPL (music, artist, performance, artist) rules, but we won’t delve into that today… 

So, I’ve been considering my own Canadian content rules. I tend to gravitate toward smaller, unsigned bands. Which means a fair bit of local talent and Canadian artists. Call it patriotic if you wish. Really, it’s a bit selfish – I mean, the more local talent I check out, the better the chance I’ll see a live show and by now, most of you know my penchant for small venue live performances.

Which brought me to another Top 5 list. But a two-parter. My Top 5 Canadian Artist Picks (past) and my Top 5 Canadian Artist Picks (present). Some have been introduced to me by good people with great music taste. Some I found on my own. I’m sure that weeks from now, the lists will change as I hear more and remember more. But for now, this is it.

Top 5 Canadian Artists (Past Tense)

1. Weeping Tile

Before Sarah Harmer had a solo career, she started a band called Weeping Tile. This band was a huge influence on my late teens. I had moved out of my parent’s house, was living on my own. And the CD played constantly thanks to the influences of the company I kept. The company left eventually (as it does so often when you’re 19 and still finding your way), but the music stayed. Both the Eepee and Cold Snap albums are still stored with all my CDs. I still listen to them from time to time, pulling them out like old memories. The song Basement Apartment (which Harmer went on to record as a solo artist) so perfectly illustrates my story at this point in my life.

 2. Gandharvas

Gandharvas, as I’ve stated before, was my first experience with obsession with a local band. My brother took guitar lessons from Jud Ruhl. Pictures of these guys are in my yearbooks. Friends in highschool introduced me to them when they were The Droogs, playing the Embassy in London. When First Day of Spring was released and the video shown on Much Music, it was a moment of small-town pride to see them “make it”.

 3. High Holy Days

Much like the Gandharvas, it was all about the local band. The guys you know. That I went on dates with the band’s past drummer and had a friend that dated the lead singer. Something about “hanging with the band” and watching performances by people you know. It’s heady stuff. And, of course, the music was good. Really good. It started with River of Styx (memories of slow dances in empty bars) and continued through to All my Real Friends. Even the new stuff Marc Arcand has posted on his website – they continue to impress, even now.

4. Jakalope

We’ll call this my “industrial rock” phase. Strong music, sung by female artists. A theme that stared as a teen and continues today. I noticed the band when Katie B. was heading the vocals and stuck through with them through a lead change when Chrystal Leigh took over.

 5. Kittie

Heavier than their Jakalope counterparts, Brackish became an album anthem of a particular year in my life. Noted by some as my “pots and pans” music, it was music that made me feel better, when I wanted to yell and revelled in angst. In retrospect, I’m well aware I may be a bit of a drama princess from time to time. But music often soothes. And Kittie did. Founded close to home (London, however, I was living northward at the time), the band had the benefit of being both a link to my hometown and an outlet for emotion.

 Top Five (Present Company)

 1. Metric

Formed out of Toronto, Metric is fairly indicative of where I am musically right now. Emily Haines’ amazing vocals, good lyrics, hell, I’m even okay that they are noteworthy and award-winning. Maybe that’s maturity. Letting go a bit of my musical snobbery and recognizing that real talent should beget good recognition.

 2. Hollerado

This? Is a new one. It’s like a Canadian Weezer. And that they were introduced to me by someone who has great musical taste and a lot in common with me, especially when it comes to anything music, makes me like them even more. Kind of like that Young the Giant song – influence is a good thing. And, again, they’re getting an awful lot of radio play. Something I’ve never been quite fond of. Maybe I really am growing up.

3. Hey Rosetta!

It’s East Coast goodness. Layers and interest. I still don’t know a lot about them yet, but what I’m hearing, I’m liking.

4. Broken Social Scene

I don’t think I can have Metric on my list and not include Broken Social Scene. Go ask my good friend Dino about how she hangs out with certain people from BSS and doesn’t realize it, making me and Lila question her sanity.

Broken Social Scene is Canadian Indie at its finest. Ubiquitous and eclectic. Members changing, taking chances and not being anything that resembles a norm. I had to like them. Kudos to Sean B. for the original reminder recommendation of them. As always, he’s played well.

5. Skag Barons

Getting back to my predilection for local music, Skag Barons fits nicely. Based out of London (which seems to produce some great bands), they are still really new. Even to me. But their 3 song EP has really grown on me. At first, I wondered if they were heavily influenced by 90s grunge. They have a very Chris Cornell kind of vibe. But, then I realized, it doesn’t matter. It’s a genre that fits well with my taste and I like it.

%d bloggers like this: