Friday, March 30, 2007

The Rex actually. I meant Mahler's Fifth, but you knew that. I've got to get more sleep, and spend less time thinking about work.
Wagner's 5th? Did you just get back from Church and Richmond?

I was lucky enough to see Batiashvili in the afternoon and then later that evening see Hilary Hahn play with the Concertgebouw. Quite the fun filled day. I've been very lax on seeing anything in a classical vein lately. Any suggestions from you lot? Any interest in seeing something. I'm off for the next two weeks and wouldn't mind getting out a couple of nights.
Batiashvilli eh? Nice. She's the clear winner for me. Is she the one you saw play Wagner's fifth symphony a few years back at a matinee?
In some semblance of order they are Magdalena Kozena, Naida Cole, Nicole Benedetti, Shauna Rolston, Veronique Gens, Anna Netrebko, Danielle de Niese, Helene Grimaud, Janine Jansen and Elisabeth Batiashvili.

For those keeping track 4 vocalists, 2 pianists, 3 violinists and a cellist. Still looking for a good looking conductor or composer of music.
Freakin' hilarious....but now I'm curious who all of them are.
i'm pretty sure at least two of these women are pilates instructors and not musicians. sadly stu, i don't think any are your type.
ok......10 out of 10 for that, I actually laughed out loud at the office....
well done....

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Was trying to keep the level of conversation on this site at a bare minimum level of intelligence but why fight popular opinion. If it's babes you want it's babes you'll get. My top 10 in no particular order:
Why you want a list of household classical pianists , (when a list of best looking babes of classical music would be much more usefull), is a mystery to me.... but given that I would say your list is good Derek though I only know about 3/4's of them , but Radu Lupu , and Lief Ove Andsnes might be added , but frankly who Helene Grimaud, lets talk about that for a ten wines she likes, top ten cdclub members she wants.....
Clearly I have to start visiting more households in which classical musical is played and appreciated as well as listening to more classical music myself. At present, I'd only be able to come up with Anton Kuerti and Keith Jarrett on a list of classical pianists and the latter is probably as equally well known (if not more so) for his jazz recordings. Is is safe to assume, though, that Grimaud is the only one on Derek's list for whom Stuart pines (a much nicer verb than the obvious).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Far be it from me to comment on your jackassedness (I'll leave that for Stuart) but Kyle might be right when it comes to asking whether Ashkenazy is a household name in our mp3 age even though I agree Brian that he is probably the biggest name when it comes to the piano. Here's a list off the top of my head of 10 other still living and high profile pianists:

Angela Hewitt, Alfred Brendel, Yvgeny Kissin, Marc Andre Hamelin, Murray Perahia, Martha Argerich, Helene Grimaud, Mitsuko Uchida, Lang Lang and Emanuel Ax. There might be others who are better known that I have left off this list but is it possible to say that any of these are household names? Even mentioning the grand old man of classical music Rostropovich, who turned 80 the other day, would only pull quizzical looks from most people.

As for the poncy music played by Sharon Bezaly she is actually a flautist not a violinist and while we're on the topic of things poncy, a rock band named Bee and Flower?
Well I'd have to say, that, yes Vlad Ashkenazy is a household name, if you're into classical. He's been around for forty years, he conducts, plays piano beautifully and across many periods. etc. Probably made 100 recordings, yadda yadda. If not Ash, then who would qualify as a household name among contemporary pianists....Am I being a jackass?

Re downloads, I was going to suggest the new Bee and Flower disk, which is kind of cool, but looks like I missed out. Ayway I'm sure Derek's poncy Scandinavian violin music is lovely.
check on Field Music and Besnard Lakes, which I've got but have yet to play. As Bezaly's Nordic disc featuring Aho, Thomasson, and Lindberg auspiciously contains the exact number of tracks i had remaining this month (13), i've downloaded it as well. thanks for the suggestion.

on the topic of classical music, did anybody read REG's Globe column on Monday about boxed sets? apparently, canada is the cheapest place in the world to buy classical music. evidence in favour:

A complete Mozart set from Brilliant Classics has sold more than 300,000 copies worldwide since its launch last year. That 170-cd box sells for about $130, less than a buck a disc.

i take the point that discs featuring bigger name conductors and musicians may set them aside from the usual naxos recordings but is Vladimir Ashkenazy really a household name? i imagine that if i mentioned this name in any household that allows me to cross its threshold, i'd either receive blank stares or a tongue-in-cheek 'gezundheit' but perhaps i know too many philistines.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Don't know about the Apples in Stereo disc as I've heard nary a track but it's getting good reviews across the board. Still 24 tracks is a bit of a waste of your allottment especially compared to the Panda Bear disc. In the rock vein I would recommend the new Field Music, Rock Plaza Central or Besnard Lakes (the last two of which are Canadian outfits).

But if you want to veer off the rock path you should check out some pretty great classical discs that are now available on the e-music site. Some of these came to my attention via the emusic dozen which has a terrific selection of albums. I would suggest the Scarlatti keyboard sonatas with Yevgeny Sudbin on the piano or Debussy's Piano Music Vol.3 with Noriki Ogawa on piano. One of the artists mentioned in the emusic dozen is flautist Sharon Bezaly. They showcase her Mozart CD but I would go instead for her more modern collection of works by Nordic composers Aho, Tomasson and Lindberg. Modern music in a very good vein.
has anybody downloaded/bought/stolen or at least listened to the latest Apples in Stereo? If so, is it worth getting? At 24 tracks, if it's crap i don't want to waste my monthly allotment of mp3s from emusic.

i'm experiencing my monthly nearing billing with downloads remaining dilemna and am spending far too much time mulling over my options for 13 tracks, which i realize only works out to $2.50 but's the principle that counts. i don't want crap.

just grabbed the new panda bear disc, which at 7 tracks and 45 minutes, certainly offers bang for the buck. not sure how i feel about it yet.

any suggestions for an album with a dozen or so tracks?

Monday, March 26, 2007

re: joe cocker. link is fixed so you can read more about it. interesting list of songs but why does grace slick adorn the cover?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

coda to the covers discussion;
I was just listening to a freshly remastered version of Joe Cockers 1st album ( which sounds much better then my old vinyl) and it has that version of "with a little help from my friends " that I had included on my list and I must say there are so many fantastic covers on this record that it must be the definative and final statement on the covers "album" Not all songs are covers , but most are and it really is a fantastic record , if some of you are not familiar with it....
in particular check out Dylans jjust like a woman and traffics feeling all right.....also note the whos who of musicians on the disc...

Friday, March 16, 2007

Inspired by last night's jazz performance, I vow to learn to play the key-tar. Good call on the resto, Marc and, um, nice legs. Music at the Rivoli was fantastic as usual....some followup notes:

The song I was trying to identify and incorrectly pegged as a Goo Goo Dolls song is 'Shimmer' by Fuel ("She calls me from the cold/ Just when I was low/feeling short of stable....chorus: too far away for me to hold/too far away"). Also, for those who give a crap, the band whose name I recalled as having the word 'Poppies' in it was actually 'The Lilac Time', who were around in the late 80s, early 90s and fronted by Stephen 'Tin Tin' Duffy who had a bigger solo hit in the mid-80s with 'Kiss Me' ("...with your mouth/your love is better than wine..."). Oh, and they never did a version of 'Love Vigilantes' by New Order. The correct answer there was: Radiogram.

The compilation series I was thinking of was titled, Indie Top 20, an example of which can be seen here. The discs I had are listed here and here but there are sadly no photos of the covers, which were cool.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

PS ....Kyle I am with you on the Junkies.....though i also love the original....
Ok I admit it.....Vanilla Fudge you keep me hanging on .....I really love it....I think it is the most baroque of all 60's tunes, but somehow it really works, great call Brian.. Also the red house painters , much better then the original, Kozalik also does a cover of John Denvers - Im sorry -which is also pretty good to0....but I may be leaving myself exposed to ridicule on this...
OK last one. For now. The Pretenders "Stop Your Sobbing". Love the Kinks but this is somehow better.

And early nominee for worst cover ever, thinking ahead now - how about Vanilla Fudge's incredibly pretentious and ponderous cover of "You Keep Me Hanging On"? Strangely I quite like it but I'm sure to be in the minority. If that one really works for you they also tackle "Eleanor Rigby", "She's Not There", and "Ticket to Ride" on the same record (their eponymous first from 1967 or so). Over 25 minutes of downer-inspired trippy sludge for those four songs alone. Available in delete bins across the city.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Great choices. I meant to put the Cash one down but forgot - it's unbelievable. Another fantastic one (perhaps my favourite of all) is Red House Painter's "All Mixed Up". Goygeous.

The Hendrix is amazing, but in fairness was on the list. Black Magic Woman and I Fought the Law are are your other choices (Little Help...fer sure). The only one I would argue is the CCR - give me the Marvin Gaye version.
Cool picks, both of you. Particularly like 'I Fought the Law','Hurt', and 'Superman'. And good for calling out KD's version of 'Hallelujah' for derision. CBC djs seem to love this recording, out of a misguided loyalty to all things kd, but it completely sucks. And other than Joe Cocker's 'With a Little Help...' surely there cannot be another Beatles song that is done better by another artist? And no tongue-in cheek references to 'Lucy in the Sky' by Captain Kirk.

I also prefer your version of 'Ricki...' Bri. My friend Daniel sang in a band in the late 90s and I enjoyed his version of 'Better Man' by Pearl Jam far better than the original, mostly because his version sounded grittier whereas Eddie V. always seemed lacadaisical on that one.

To the list of better than the original, I'd add Mehldau's cover of Everything in its right place', Coltrane's 'My Favourite Things' (take that Julie Andrews) the Pogues' 'Dirty Old Town', 'Alabama Song' by the Doors (more of a Kurt Veil standard so not sure if this counts), Jimi's version of the Leaves 'Hey Joe', 'Don't Leave Me this Way', the Communards, 'Step On' by Happy Mondays, 'Sweet Jane' by the Cowboy Junkies (sense a fight about to break out), 'Tainted Love' by Soft Cell....can't come up with anymore.

Some covers which come close by can't quite top the original include Nouvelle Vague's version of Depeche Mode's 'Just Can't Get Enough', Yo La Tengo's take on William DeVaughn's 'Be Thankful for What You've Got', and Siouxsie's version of 'Dear Prudence' (I said close).

Worst covers ever go to :
-Van Halen's cover of the Kinks' 'You Really Got Me', which takes a song that is brilliant in its original delivery and adds a series of annoying guitar solos and grunts
-Gun's and Roses 'Knocking on Heaven's Door', like most songs sung by Axel Rose, make me want to bash his head in with a rock, if only to shut him up
-Orgy's cover of New Order's 'Blue Monday', which does nothing to distinguish itself from the original--why both?
-Mick Jagger and David Bowie covering 'Dancing in the Streets', the video for which premiered at Live Aid in 1985 and was supposed to help raise $$ for the cause. Don't remember it? I envy you.
-No Doubt's butchery of 'It's My Life' by Talk Talk

See ya'll tomorrow night.
I am with you on Hey Jude Brian, and most of your choices, and I always thought Time is on my side was a stones original...shocking... i dont like their choices at all ( of course) for me
there are 2 songs that tie for first for me
1) All along the watchtower - Dylan says he feels he is doing a hendrix cover when he plays it...and Hurt - Johnny Cash version....actually brings tears to my eyes , but i always was a wuss...
then in no particular order are
- Black magic woman -Santana
-heard it thru the grapevine -CCR
-me and Bobby McGee- janice
-I fought the law - the clash
-Wonderwall- Ryan Adams ( you should check this out)
- With a little help from my friends - Joe Cocker
-Halleluhjah- jeff Buckley ( definately not the kd lang version)
Thanks - fun article and they hit on some really good ones, though I take exception to ANYone's version of Hey Jude (I know the much ballyhooed Wilson Pickett version but not Elvis', which simply cannot be better than the Beatles', I'm sorry, which to my ears is still truly extraordinary).

Having spent a lunch discussing it, though I would have benefited from having one or more of you there to spur on the convo, I would add a few (interestingly in each case the original is a fine performance as well) The Byrds' Mr. Tambourine Man, REM's Superman, possibly Manfred Mann's Blinded by the Light, possibly the Pixies' Winterlong, possibly Egolillys' Ricki Don't Lose That Number (OK, OK), Blondie's Hanging on the Telephone, The Beatles Twist and Shout, The Stones Time is on my Side (haven't heard the original by Irma Thomas, but am hoping/trusting it's not as good); and Nina Simone's To Love Somebody.

And Stu, I was hoping to join you for a a bite tomorrow but V has a doctor's appointment at the end of the day so I am on kiddy pick up etc. See y'all at The Rex at 8:30 or so.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Don't think that I linked to the avclub article it is.
Hey Kyle, like the list-making exercise re covers, and spent most of my lunch at McV's today coming up with possibilities. Can't link into your list though...can you re-attach?

Monday, March 12, 2007

the 'new deluxe' editions are great for people who give a shit about these types of things, which i believe represents a very small percentage of music consumers. all i really care about is the music; the prospect of being able to watch a tiny music video in a windows media player on my computer holds no appeal at all. i'm guessing that most artists are out of the loop on this extra pitch by the record labels, so i wouldn't take it out on them. in the case of the remixes, 90% of which are either complete crap or are designed soley for the dancefloor and don't make for great listening when one is not shaking one's booty, most are still available for download somewhere so again, no great incentive to shell out for a disc that contains them. needless to say, i avoid these like i'd avoid a deluxe edition of, say, the bible.

now if disc had higher-quality file formats....okay, i'll spare you this discussion, of which i'm not particularly all that fond either.

will probably just meet you all at the rex at 8:30 but will email you, stu, if my plans change and i can make it for a pre-jazz meal fix.

now for a more interesting discussion thread, an avclub list of cover songs that are better than the original. to this list, i'd have to add Travis' live version of Britney's 'One More Time' and perhaps the Pixies cover of Jesus and Mary Chain's 'Head On'. Any other glaring examples that i'm overlooking or problems with the onion's list?
I dont know, maybe Im just having a bad day, but this new "deluxe edition" version of Becks latest (the information) with remixes and videos and all the bull... annoys the hell out of me. ..
Feist has done this recently amongst others, and it stikes me as a) disengenious on the part of the record companies because most people are downloading a lot of their music and would likely only be interested in a few items of the disc, thus I cant see this sort of thing being a real monymaker and
b) a trend towards artists (albeit maybe thru the record companies) milking every release for the minor extra profit I suspect they get , while alienating the fan base....That feist remix album had that effect on me...

as I say maybe Im just having a bad day....
I like that Dean Wareham, Britta Phillips disc too....quite a range of songs even though they are all pretty quiet..
I guess the Rex it is then. I will probably get a bite elsewhere beforehand...anyone else interested in joining in that? Otherwise I guess we meet at the rex around 8:30pm if that works for you lot..

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Rex would be my preference too. Looking forward to it.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Count me in as leaning more towards the Rex. The Lulu Lounge might as well be in downtown Prince Albert given how far it is from the centre of my universe.

Big day this past Tuesday with the release of both the Arcade Fire and new Dean Wareham/Britta Phillips (ex-Luna) discs. Picked them both up on Tuesday night, my first purchase of actual compact discs in 2007, and gave them a good spin while driving in the back and beyond of Brampton yesterday.

Not sure that the Arcade Fire disc is up to snuff and so far I'm liking more the Wareham/Phillips disc with it's mellow groove. Perhaps the overall gloom of the Arcade Fire disc just doesn't fit in with my desire to see winter get it's ass out of dodge and let spring move in. The disc that really fit in with my more spring like optimistic self was last years Band of Horses disc which gets better with every listen.
'keys' could mean so many things. he could be jangling a set of house keys, playing a laptop, or using one of those little electronic casio machines that play a nice steady bossa nova.

i prefer the rex, b/c it's closer to home and is pretty laid back but i'm up for either venue. speaking of venues, has anybody been to the courthouse yet? if so, any good?
I am not at all apposed to going to the rex's so easy, ....i sometimes feel guilty about being the guy in the back who is talking over the mediocre music at a club ...but i guess, after all, it is better than talking over good music!
well i was thinking more of just getting my fix of the rex vibe ( but that might be an 80's reference...damn it Brian are not all jazz expressions dated??, but i digress) i dont really care who plays there, but if this is great show at the lulu , marc , and all are into it I am game....up to youse guys ...
this is Stu's night and the decision is up to him but i will just throw this out there ???
All right, never heard of them but sounds fine, a sax quartet. I will admit to a smidge of nervousness when I see the pianist listing his instrument as "keys". Very 1980's terminology, which in jazz is NOT a good thing. Let's hope for the best.
sorry this is the link for the calander...
Mr mercer is available that thursday too, so we are set.....This is who is playing that night
Thursday night looks pretty good for me Stu. Any idea who's playing that night?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

How about thursday night then, since that works for you Brian and Kyle and marc are flexable...Thursday night used to be my evening of choice for this sort of thing wat back in my days of youth....Mr Mercer ???
Me too. I might try to tag it onto a business "goodbye" drinks night that I'm arranging, likely for Wednesday or Thursday next week, though it's still vague.
I'm good for any weeknight at this point.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

i'd be up for the rex next week as, improbable as it sounds, i'll actually be home all week. pick a date...k
I feel a need for the rex......anyone available and interested say next week or two?
Kylie, I've always loved the Bukowski song. It's one of the tunes on the "Good News" album that stretches away from the (really great) formula of rocky-hip-hop.

So today's BD morning shuffle was a pretty good one I thought, and worth laying out for y'all. It included Ella singing "Love is Here to Stay" (for the record, I really don't love Ella, despite the gorgeous, round voice, she totally lacks soul for me), the Five Americans with their great mid-sixties pop song "Western Union"; jazz pianist Don Friedman's "Extension" from his fantastic later-sixties album, Metamorphosis - lovely sombre, modal in style with some out elements in the solo-ing, well worth picking up; John Cunningham's "Losing Myself Too" from his excellent Beatlesque release "Happy Go Unlucky" in the early 00's, and the first movement from Nikolay Myaskovsky's seventh symphony - a twentieth century Russian composer, buddy of Prokofiev's who studied with him, and at times there are similarities.

Stu - thanks for the update on Damien. Figured I was the last to the party on him.....I read that his earlier stuff is very strong and will definitely pursue it. I can say that the current release is good too (though it might dredge up a Strokes debate that I would be loathe to enter into, so I won't bring it up).

Monday, March 05, 2007

Brian , Derek introduced Jurado to me a few years ago with his Rehersals for Departure cd from around 2000....I really love it, it is basic singer songwritter stuff , but his lyrics are killer, see Ohio from that album in particular...His later albums I have reviewed but nothing really stuck, but that doesnt mean they are growers on you if you get them.....

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Derek, your post on Joyce Hatto is timely, as I read an article about the similiarity b/w her recorded works and those of others but hadn't had a chance to listen to the comparisons until hearing a story on NPR this week while driving. Sounds like fraud to my ears.

Morning Becomes Eclectic has been big into Damien Jurado for years and I'd heard the odd song while listening to it streamed or when in LA but have never really listened to an entire album. Given that I'm more into musicians like Jose Gonzalez these days (a sign of mellowing with age, peut-etre?) perhaps I'll download his latest.

In the vein of digging up old vinyl, for those with ipods out there who use the 'shuffle songs' version...have you done so lately and has anything older, interesting been brought to your attention that you'd hadn't heard in awhile. while shuffling yesterday, 'bukowski' from modest mouse's 2004 disc came on and i think it's one that i hadn't listened to much in the past but is a definite gem, witty lyrics, staccato rhythm to their delivery...equal to their 'hits' methinks. bri, i recall you mentioning an elmo hope (or was it andrew hill) recording that shuffled in as you stood on the subway and how enjoyable the experience was...anyone have similar experiences lately.

re: podcats vs. live radio--agree that the latter is preferable, more exciting, forces you to listen but unfortunately, i either don't have the opportunity to listen to these programs live due to their scheduling or forget that they are on. thus, i love them podcasts.
I've been listening to Damien Jurado a bit recently, and think he's very good. I've downloaded a couple of records form e-music inlcuding his most recent (Now That I'm In Your Shadow). Great touch with a lyric, simple unaffected voice, nice folk arrangements with a touch of chamber. He's been around a while, so I'm sure a bunch of y'all are already familiar with him - just thought I'd mention it if not.