Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gustav Holst - Jupiter

Since we're on the topic of covers, there is one glaring exception to the rule. Orchestral music has a depth of sound and emotion that is matched by no other form of auditory expression. There is a reason why the likes of Brahms, Beethoven, and Mozart are known to this day as clear examples of musical genius more than a century after their earthly departure. I have been lucky enough to have performed in symphony orchestras, and to have performed this piece before. Gustav Holst's "The Planets" is probably the most recent of the truly great orchestral suite masterpieces, though Holst himself preferred some of his other works. This particular performance is by the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the wonderfully charismatic Eiji Oue.

Timeless magic.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easy Star All-Stars - Let Down

You've all heard or seen them, some loathe them, some love them, some want to be them. Cover bands. Because some songs are just so good, you have to hear them over and over and over again, done by as many different people as humanly possible...

I am not a fan of the cover band, as it were, but I do appreciate the art of reproducing the exceptional work of another with a twist. Adding that little something to it making it different, fresh, and most importantly able to stand on its own as a quality track, is a tricky task. The acoustic rendition, the metal manipulation, and the re-re-remix all have a place in the world, provided they're done well. There's not much worse than a really bad cover.

Luckily today we have a good cover. The Easy Star All-Stars have done three albums covering songs by Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and The Beatles. Not every song has been a resounding success, but this reggae interpretation is spot on. Radiohead is probably my all-time favorite band and I love the original, but I think I might actually enjoy this version a little more.

It's as if it was meant to be reggae all along.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mylo - In My Arms

It's 2004 and a guy named Myles MacInnes is going to college to study all kinds of weird stuff, and in the meantime finding the time to make one of my top 10 albums of the decade. The first track I heard, of course, was "Drop The Pressure". Say no more. Mylo, as he is known, combines funk, disco, and all kinds of crazy loops to make ridiculous grooving party house. He has a new single, of sorts, that's unreleased but was played on BBC Radio 1 in January. It's pretty slick and hopefully he gets a new album out some time in the next decade. I hope my hearing is still good enough to make sense of it.


The Killers - Somebody Told Me [Mylo Remix]


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Smokey Robinson - The Tracks Of My Tears

I was watching the second episode of the new HBO series "The Pacific" the other day. I can't wait for the next one. It's by the same producers of "Band Of Brothers". I'm a big fan of war movies, I used to watch shows like "MASH" and "Tour Of Duty", and one of my favourite comics was "The 'Nam". All of them have a common theme - the loss of humanity through the machine that is war. "Platoon" was another great movie, I've watched it at least a dozen times and one thing that really stands out for me is the absolutely brilliant soundtrack. I remember searching all over to finally buy a copy of it on CD, and then listening to it over and over and over again. This is one of the songs you can find on it, by one of the great soul artists of the 20th century.

What style!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Coldplay - Don't Panic

This just in, from the one-time biggest band in the world: Don't panic!

Cause everything's not lost.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Format - Dog Problems

Who calls themselves The Format? What a weird name. These guys have problems.

Strange. I like it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Stone Temple Pilots - Plush

STP have a new single out. It kinda sucks actually. A big letdown considering their mostly awesome stuff in their early days. At one time they were one of my favourite bands. Oh how the mighty have fallen. This is from their stunning 1993 appearance on the MTV Unplugged series. It wasn't released in audio version, but if you look around the interweb for a couple minutes you can probably find it.

Where did it go Scott?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Metric - Gimme Sympathy

Ever feel like you're really close to getting something or somewhere you've wanted for a long, long time? So close that you're almost scared to take that final step because you really don't have any idea what you're going to do once you get there? Like that anxiety before a big performance, or a championship game, or a last exam. You're prepared, ready, confident, and yet still scared to death of taking the final step. For whatever reason, I've been feeling that way for a few days. Time to step through the door I guess.

Anyway this song could be interpreted in many different ways, but for me it's about living life in the moment, on the edge, and stepping into the unknown. I'm sure you've all heard of Metric right now, so I won't bother saying anything except they're pretty cool. I like this song better acoustically than in its original version. Check 'er out.

Sympathy given.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

John Butler Trio - Ocean

Some artists are best seen in person, on a little stage, in as intimate a setting as you can get, with as few other people as possible. Others are best seen on cd...

John Butler started his music career as a busker in Perth, Australia, while studying to be an art teacher. Thankfully enough people on the street stopped to listen that it convinced him to try being a full-time musician. He has a fast finger picking style, similar to Tony Cox, whom I saw live with about 15 other people here in Fredericton a couple years ago. His ensemble, the John Butler Trio, is on a North American tour starting May 20th, and if you get a chance to go, you might be lucky enough to see something a little like this.

Did you hear that little mistake right at the beginning? Sometimes even the greatest performances aren't perfect.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gossip - Heavy Cross

Got some juicy Gossip. Sweet band from Washington state. Funky grooves with soulful vocals from Beth Ditto. Time is short. Listen up.

Some people talk too much.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Gandharvas - The First Day Of Spring

ru·mi·nate   /ˈruməˌneɪt/ [roo-muh-neyt]
verb,-nat·ed, -nat·ing. –verb (used without object)

1. to chew the cud, as a ruminant.
2. to meditate or muse; ponder.
–verb (used with object)
3. to chew again or over and over.
4. to meditate on; ponder.

The Gandharvas are spirits. They make magical, mystical music, connecting the gods to mere mortals. They also happened to put together a few nifty tunes for you and me, particularly this one, that won Song of the Year in 1994 from The Edge. It's the first day of spring. So don't just sit there and ruminate. It's a beautiful day outside, and there's no way of knowing how long it will last.

Rich says spring started yesterday afternoon. Whatever. Today is the first full day. I'll take the technical decision victory on this one.

Wintersleep - Fog

It's a double offering today, and this is part one. It's been spring-like conditions for the most part of the week, but today is finally the day when we can officially put winter to bed. Wintersleep. Sounds good to me. The band too. If you haven't heard of them, I'm sorry, but the only help I can offer is a suggestion... nay!... I implore you to go out and get your hands on "Welcome To The Night Sky". This isn't happy-go-lucky brit-pop or la la lalala gagaland rubbish, it's brainfood in a cellophane wrapper. Buy it, and listen to the whole album start to finish. This song is not from that album. But it's short, it's real good, and it's going to help lift us from the fog of winter. Their new album coming out May 17th will probably help too...

On to part two...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Junkhouse - Out Of My Head

This is a tribute of sorts. Credits to my fellow Woburn-ite Matt Blair for the skinny on the passing of Don Achen this past Monday. Don was the lead guitarist of Junkhouse, and also ran the highly regarded Catherine North recording studio in Hamilton, Ontario. Junkhouse was one of my favourite rock bands growing up. The growling voice of Tom Wilson combined with Achen's gritty guitar gave them a sort of delta blues kind of feel behind their hard rock exterior. This was their first single from the fantastic 1993 album "Strays".

Thanks for the memories Don.

Friday, March 19, 2010

!!! - Hello? Is This Thing On?

!!!! In case you missed that, that's !!! with an exclamation mark after it. These guys are a little bit bonkers. Apparently you pronounce their name 'Chik Chik Chik'. Or 'Chek Chek Chek'. Or just 'Chk Chk Chk'. Or whatever. This is the song that I heard ages ago somewhere, might have been on The Wedge, but either way I went 'whoa' and had to find more. In summer 2008 I went to the Evolve Festival and saw them live, and while their albums are cool, they are by some distance more exciting live. Trippy lights, people jumping around, loud noises, blips, bloops, trumpets, and assorted sparkly things all adorn their on-stage productions. Best to be seen and experienced, not just heard. This is a fan-made video, it's low in the production quality but high in the cheap amusement factor.


Antranig - Whores


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dizzee Rascal - Bonkers

Grime. It gets under your fingernails. It builds up in the corner of your living room. It trots into the trunk of your car, and has a picnic lunch in your sink. It's a little overwhelming sometimes, can make you a little dizzee, and can even drive you a little bit bonkers.

Armand van Helden with the production creds.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition

What up! Today is St. Patrick's day. In honour of this, I have chosen a song that was recommended to me by my man Patrick, aka The Franchise. I don't really know much about The Temper Trap, but this song is pretty addicting and uplifting. Good morning music. I'd actually heard this song before, but in checking it out again I happened to find an awesome remix by Evil Nine that I can't get enough of right now. You can check that one out too, sans video.

Tonight I'm DJing at the Phoenix. Come and listen to me play some Irish stuff, some weird stuff, and some other stuff. A lot of stuff. Dub Antenna will be playing Irish reggae music down in the Capital. See you there.


The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition [Evil Nine Remix]


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rox - My Baby Left Me

Ahhhh... sooo much to do, so little time. FYI I'm DJing tomorrow night at the Phoenix for St. Paddy's day. First club session in a while so it should be fun!

This track is brand spankin' new from someone I've never heard of before. Rox is her stage name, and she's just come out with a new single that's pretty sweet. Reminds me of Lauryn Hill. I dig it. Great vocals. I've also got an awesome remix of it that I'm gonna play tomorrow night. Check it out yo!

Great tune.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lupe Fiasco - Daydreamin'

Lupe Fiasco is a name you've probably heard, but if not you should probably go get yourself a copy of his 2006 album "Food & Liquor". Don't expect to find trailer park references here, instead you'll find top rate soulful production and nicely chilled lyrics. Thankfully you also won't find any of those inane 'interludes' that are littered throughout so many hip hop albums these days, taking up valuable cd space where instead more music or even dead air would be a better choice.

This is a 'must have' hip hop album. When I first heard it I couldn't wait to hear more from this guy. Sadly I felt that his 2007 follow up effort fell a bit short, though there were a couple cool tracks on it. He's releasing a massive three-disc effort soon, though, and since he's taken his time getting it done, I'm expecting something pretty solid.

This particular track is one of the highlights of his first album, and features the outstanding R&B vocalist Jill Scott in the big-money chorus. You may have heard this song in an AT&T commercial. It's much better when you listen to the whole thing.

Another great one here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Béla Fleck & The Flecktones - Throwdown At The Hoedown

These guys probably aren't an everyday listen type of group, but if you need a sharp reminder of what REAL talent is, look no further than Béla Fleck & The Flecktones. Their style is probably best labelled as jazz fusion with a twist of bluegrass, but I would simply call them awe-inspiring. Any time you think you're pretty good at what you do, and you don't need any more practice, just turn them on. They'll make you feel small really quickly.

Featuring Béla on the banjo, Jeff Coffin on saxophone, the irrepressible Victor Wooten on bass, and Vic's older brother Roy (aka Futureman) on something insane called the synthaxe drumitar, these guys are basically the best in the world on their respective instruments. In Roy's case, he's the only one in the world who plays it, but since he made it himself you just have to let it slide. Who needs a drummer when you have a guy dressed as a pirate playing something that looks like a junkyard guitar that makes percussion sounds? Madness. Their 1996 album "Live Art" is required listening for anyone into jazz or musical genius.

Bonus Vic solo. Find me a better bass player in the world. Ya. Good luck with that.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bryan Raydio - Oscilliscape

First entry into YouTube! Sweet. It's an old one, but I want to get as much of my stuff on there as possible so I made a quick little music video of sorts to get it online. Just something I made up in about an hour, but I figure it's better than just having a picture or a cd cover there. I like looking at things that move.

I'm not sure why I'm not in the search engines yet, maybe my account and the track is too new, but if anyone has any insight into how to make me show up in the search engines, drop me a line.

And oh, wait, I've revamped the blog! As you can see, it looks different now. A little neater maybe? Hope you like it.

If anyone is interested in me doing something similar for one of their tracks, I'm a lot cheaper than big production companies...

Peter Gabriel - Digging In The Dirt

Today is special. It's Saturday, which is always a special day, but it's also the last day of winter. Yes, I know, technically this doesn't happen until next weekend, but tonight the time changes and the daylight sticks around an hour longer each day, which for me means that it's time for spring. Thankfully the universe has been listening to my pleas for warmth and has appropriately shifted the world's climate so that our winter has been milder, and it appears the end is nigh. Apologies to the parts of the world where the winter has been worse than usual, but them's the breaks. To that oversized rodent who keeps popping out and telling us we're doomed for a few more weeks: get stuffed.

Digging us out of the winter is a groovy tune from someone you may have heard of before. Peter Gabriel entered the music world as the lead singer of a tiny little outfit out of England, whose name I can't remember. Oh wait... Genesis? Something like that. I don't think they sold many records or stuck around for very long. Maybe they should have booked a show at the Capital? In any event, Peter clearly recognized that Genesis weren't up to much and decided to leave and do his own thing. After failing miserably to achieve success with some weird songs about a hill and a hammer, Peter finally found his footing with this catchy little ditty circa 1992. Turns out hard work and persistence pays off sometimes.

Note that this is, in fact, a remix. Now you might say that it sounds something like the original, but that, for me, is the beauty of it. So often songs are twisted and thrashed about just for the sake of change, but Richard Evans has done a very nice job of staying true to the original and just adding little bits here and there to give it a little extra shine. I actually prefer it to the original. Enough talk, here's music.

EDIT: There used to be a video for this. Now it's gone. These things happen.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Supermax - It Ain't Easy

There's a discontinued series of concept albums out there called "Back To Mine" that basically asked DJs to compile an album of tracks that they would play at their house after a big night out at the club to chill out and wind down. Amongst these somewhat obscure gems is one done by Röyksopp in 2007 that featured some really sweet tunes, one of which I just had to feature on here at some point. Today is the lucky day. Supermax is an Austrian group that is probably more well known for their politically charged tour through South Africa in 1981 than their music, but this track is pure gold. This video is slightly out of sync, but it was the best quality audio I could find so I'm posting it anyway. Sit back, relax with some wine and a cigar, and enjoy this masterpiece from 1979. What a good year that was indeed...

Did you see the guy holding a keyboard like a guitar? Superwack.

Mr. Scruff - Get A Move On

A friend of mine recently asked me who my favourite DJ was. It's a pretty difficult question given how varied my musical interests are and how much amazing talent is out there. There's also a huge variance in what people look for in DJs. Some people want scratch DJs, some people want pumping electro, some just want funky beats without too much static in the middle. Given that it's hard to pick someone who is better than another when their skills are different, but if I had to pick one DJ to come play a house party for me and all my friends tomorrow I would pick Mr. Scruff.


His real name is Andy Carthy, and he's an amazingly talented artist from England who plays just about everything. From hip-hop to trip-hop, from funk to crunk, this guy is on the beat and packed with heat. His 2004 album "Keep It Solid Steel" was hugely influential for me, taking listeners on a journey from dub reggae to old school rap to nu jazz to stuff I can't even describe. This guy's the biz, and he's a dope producer too. Inspiring stuff. Check this classic you've probably heard before.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Deftones - Rocket Skates

When it comes to heavy rock with a dash of thrash and two bites of a metal sandwich, nobody does it quite like Deftones. These guys were really loud when they first came out, then absolutely ripped the music scene to pieces with White Pony ten long years ago. After fading a little into obscurity and releasing two cool but generally less awesome albums, and having their star bass player Chi Cheng badly injured in a car accident, they have pushed through the adversity and finished a new album, Diamond Eyes, tentatively scheduled for a May 18 release. Can't wait for this one. This song is the first release from the album, and I have to say it's pretty cool, sounds very White Pony-ish on first listen. Chino's unique vocal talents are, as usual, a focal point.

Teeth-gritting awesome.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chromeo - Night By Night

What do you get when you mix soul, funk, disco, and bad '80s synth pop? Only the most awesome musical magicians to come out of Montreal since Oscar Peterson (with respect to A-Trak and Godspeed You Black Emperor). CHROMEO! These guys might sound like cheese, but it's actually new wave grood grod grats grawesome greasy gravy boat cheese. Seriously, these guys are ridiculous fun. You just can't help but get up and boogie with a smile on your face when you hear their tunes. It's been a while since their last album, but they're finally coming out with some new stuff this summer, and this is the first single from the album.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Bill Withers - Use Me

Even though this musical genius hasn't recorded anything officially in over twenty years, you have heard his music many, many times, regardless of your age. Probably best known for "Lean On Me" and "Ain't No Sunshine", but Bill Withers has so many other strings in his bow. Quentin Tarantino used "Who Is He" in the Jackie Brown soundtrack, and no doubt his 1972 album "Still Bill" influenced the title of another well known movie. An homage to a great, great artist who started his working days first as an enlisted man in the navy and then as a general assembler before finally conceding to being a full time musician. This track is from that '72 album and reached #2 in the Billboard Charts. This particular live cut is a perfect example of soulful awesome.

James Gadson on drums. Brilliant.

Sweatshop Union - Don't Be Afraid

**Have been experiencing technical difficulties, hence the inconsistency in posting. That combined with the finally fading effects of an ear infection have put a serious damper on the production side of things, but they should be back in full effect this week. Note to self, water and computers do not mix. Lesson learned.**

And so we come to the end of Canadian Hip Hop week here on the blog, and tomorrow we will start with something new, exactly what I do not know, but whatever it is it'll be awesome, that's for sure. Rounding off our cross Canada vacation is some more sweetness out of Vancouver, the soothing soulful sounds of Sweatshop Union. These guys are seriously dope. Great lyrics, and some of the illest production going around to back them up. Hugely recommend seeing these guys, and picking up one of their albums. The newest one, "Water Street", is awesome. Pick it up tomorrow, you won't be disappointed. This track is an older one, but I like the video so I thought I'd throw 'er up here. There's quite a bit of their stuff on the ol' YouTube if you like what you hear.

Oh, Canada!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Three Sheet - Loungin'

Yeaahhh! East coast baby! This is Three Sheet from the 902 in Hali. Nominated for an ECMA and puttin' on a great show every time. These guys rocked it out at the massive Feels Good Christmas Party at the Capital and are definitely worth a night out for some sweet rhymes and good times. Good people too, a pleasure to talk to, which isn't always the case in an industry where ego dominates.

Much respect.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Big Black Lincoln - Pimpin' Life

Stickin' around Toronto we find Big Black Lincoln, featuring one Karl Amani Wailoo, aka Saukrates, in this dope track from 2006. I went to band camp with Amani waaaay back in the day, that's right, band camp. He was a pretty talented violin player back then, and he's a pretty talented producer and rapper these days. He's most recently been spotted in a video with K-Os, but hopefully we'll hear some fresh new cuts from him in the near future.

SMC reprazent!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Shad - I Don't Like To

Moving on into Ontario we come to Shadrach Kabango, aka Shad. Born in Kenya, but raised in London, Ontario. He's now out west studying a masters degree, but still finds time to pop out albums and do some occasional touring around. This dude's been compared to K-Os and Common, but he reminds me of Kanye West. He performed at last year's Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival here in Fredericton, and he's the next contestant on Canadian Hip Hop week here on the blog.

Another good one here. You'll like it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Grand Analog - Social Butterfly

Moving us accross the country are Grand Analog, who started in Winnipeg but moved to Toronto to big it up. These guys sacrifice edge for soul, not so much junk but a little more funk. If you like K-Os you'll probably dig these guys.


Team Rezofficial - Lonely

Representing the west side and the Aboriginal hip hop scene are Team Rezofficial, a group formed after the breakup of War Party, who I saw live in Yellowknife a couple years back. Never mind their "status" though, these guys are tight, and have some serious production going on in the background. This track made it to #1 on the Much Rap City charts, and it's not hard to tell why. Wicked groove, have a listen.

Who knew Alberta could rap?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Infinite - Take A Look

Let the madness begin! It's Monday, March 1st and that means it's time for Canadian Hip-Hop week to start. We start in Toronto, 1998, and a little-known rapper named Infinite released an EP called "360°". He had originally been a member of Ghetto Concept, but after the death of his brother he went solo. He won a Muchmusic Award for this badass video, a choice bit of Jap-Anime that was a pretty original concept in the world of music vids back then. It definitely caught my eye, and my ears as well. Sadly Infinite has faded from the scene, but this is still an EP worth getting your hands on if you can.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Marco Polo - Nostalgia

Well tomorrow is the official start of Canadian Hip-Hop (to dash or not to dash?) week here on the blog, but I figured I'd cheat a little. Marco Polo is a sweet producer from Toronto who put out a kickin' album in 2007 called "Port Authority". This is the most popular track from the album, featuring the one and only Masta Ace throwin' down some lyrical majesty. The Masta is from Brooklyn, but at least the beat's Canadian. Check it!

Almost there...