Archive for January, 2009

Coachella 2009 Line-up + Playlist

It’s official, the line-up for this year’s Coachella festival has been posted. And no, David Bowie isn’t bringing back Ziggy Stardust, despite all the rumors floating around the internet. Coachella will again be taking place at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, CA and the dates have been confirmed for April 17, 18 and 19.

With the economy finding its way deeper into the shit, Paul Tollett (festival founder) announced another plan to bring in the masses. Tickets can be purchased via layaway plans with two methods of payment. Instead of dropping the full $269US for a three-day pass: pay half upfront and the rest April 1, or pay 10% followed by equal installments on March 1 and April 1 without any interest or additional costs. These plans are only available for online purchases and are not included with the $99 single-day admission. Check out the official Coachella website for more information, as well as a list of all the bands’ myspace pages and selected videos on youtube.

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the bands:

And, a selected playlist.

The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry

Morrissey – Irish Blood English Heart

K’naan – Strugglin

TV On The Radio – Family Tree

My Bloody Valentine – Soon

Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name

Noah and the Whale – Jocasta

Classified – While You Were Sleeping

On one of the coldest days in the G.T.A I was fortunate to get one of the hottest interviews of this year. Interviewing a man cemented in a decade of numerous hip hop albums and singles; Luke Boyd a.k.a Classified.

Classified is set to release his 12th album this winter and hopes to shed some of his life experiences with his fans. I had the pleasure to sit down with Classified to talk about his inspiration for this album and hiphop.

With a plethora of tracks; Royce Da 5’9, with such collaborations and an album filled with head bumping beats produced primarily by Classified one can only bite their finger nails until this album hits stores.
Classified flips the coin and states that’s his message is “be proud of who you are, togetherness and community is important”. That is the importance of hip hop and he claims that is what he learnt from hip hop. In view of this he tries to make sure his music does not aspire to the misogynistic, narcissistic world view of hip hop we hear and see on radio and T.V.

As every hard working artist Classified has slated a European tour with Royce Da 5’9 and D-12 all from Detroit. After his elaborate European tour he plans to start a Canadian tour where Canadians can embrace the MC/Producer.

Anybody Listening by Classified
Trouble by Classified

Venice Is Sinking – AZAR Review

Venice Is Sinking came to my attention some years ago with their first release, Sorry About the Flowers, a charming, symphonic gem of a pop album that, while slightly underdone and rough around the edges, showcased the band’s wealth of passion and potential.

Three years later, after a long and laborious recording process, that passion has been channeled and the potential realized. AZAR does the seemingly impossible: the band has created a lushly orchestrated and grandiose chamber pop opus without any bullshit. And for an album interspersed with four orchestral instrumental interludes and each bearing the album’s title, that is one hell of an accomplishment.

The most striking thing about AZAR is how from the first note of “Ryan’s Song,” each note is delicately and precisely placed; even the most minute wisps of music have each their own purpose, and the arrangements are grand and subtle, rewarding repeated listens. In a music world that bafflingly encourages bands like The Decemberists, this lack of pretension makes AZAR stand out further from the chamber pop crowd.

Perhaps the strongest aspect of AZAR is its textures. Guitarist Daniel Lawson’s and violinist Karolyn Troupe’s parts and melodies shine out against a murky backdrop, as if the two are a folk duo playing in front of a 20th century film revue. The melange is so lush and varied that the band seem to be pulling from hundreds of sources all at once. Too-easy comparisons like Low and Yo La Tengo come to mind at first, but the distant, implacable connections supply the album’s most affecting moments – “Iron Range” seems to be culled from every song ever recorded about strength in sadness, and its emotional pull is AZAR‘s caulk and balls.

In summary: an absolutely wonderful record.

Venice Is Sinking Official Site

Venice Is Sinking MySpace

Venice Is Sinking – Ryan’s Song
Venice Is Sinking – Iron Range

Woodpigeon – Houndstooth Europa Review

I gave Woodpigeon a half-hearted review with Treasury Library Canada with the sentiment of feeling lost and muddled within an orchestra. While the album was intricate and displayed a lot of talent, it was definitely lacking.

Whatever was lacking on Treasury Library Canada was made up for Houndstooth Europa. In a sense the second CD of the package is a polar opposite. It’s more Mark Andrew Hamilton’s solo efforts with much less contribution from band members. While songs are stripped down to more a singer-songwriter effort, it’s what was lacking on the previous album. Singer-songwriters have to connect with you from the start and Hamilton does a wonderful job on songs like Oberkampf and Ladybug Ladybird. Feelings, emotions or even song lyrics seemed rather irrelevant on Treasury Library Canada where more emphasis was on the music and instrumentals.

The songs are raw and at its very core. Still, I feel the need to appreciate these rough works compared to the actual release (Houndstooth Europa being an “extra” cd). At times it feels like it could be a live album with sections like “That’s not even the right words” in front of Thoughts on the One Who Got Away by the One He Left Behind or even sections where Mark Hamilton is speaking to get the song in tune with other band members. I think it’s a reminder at its core, Woodpigeon can do whatever they want and their talent is for real, not just another very big band that plays with classical influences.

Still both CDs being polar opposite, you would like to see a mixture of the two. The songs aren’t quite the complete package musically and it’s definitely something that Woodpigeon should look to work on for future releases.

Being a very short album with rough songs, it’s hard to say if I should count this as a “final” effort. Maybe we’ll get to see the songs turn/evolve into songs like on Treasury Library Canada. Maybe not.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Capped off with an electro/psychedelic remix. Definitely unnecessary but it doesn’t hurt. Maybe this album should’ve been it’s own release. Definitely well worth it.

Oberkampf by Woodpigeon
Ladybug Ladybird by Woodpigeon

Funeral For A Friend – Interview and Concert Review

The moment the house lights snap off, I’m a million miles away from earlier in the day. I completely forget about the hour and a half I spent standing out in front of the Opera House, my hands shoved in my pockets, clutching my phone and begging for it to ring, the chance to interview Funeral For A Friend slipping further and further away with each passing moment. There was an issue with phones not working, and I couldn’t get a hold of Richard, their tour manager, and as more time had passed between when I was supposed to interview the band, and where I stood shivering, my first interview was melting away.

I’d given up on the interview and decided to just kill some time before the start of the show. The battery in my blackberry was dead, I hadn’t eaten, and the interview had never materialized. I was pulling into a Wendy’s to grab something before the show, when miraculously, my once dead phone vibrated and it was an e-mail from Richard, saying that I could still get my interview.

I gunned it out of the parking lot and almost side swiped a delivery truck as I swerved into traffic and pointed the nose of my car back towards the Opera House. Traffic was light and I made it there quickly. Jumping out and telling my buddy to park the car for me, I half ran, half slid across Queen street and knocked on the door to the giant bus sitting outside.

I’d like to be able to describe down to the finest detail of the tour bus, but I honestly didn’t notice anything as Richard led me into the back room and introduced me to Matt Davies and Darren Smith.

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