Thursday, May 31, 2007

By coincidence I happened by Sams late last week for the first time in months maybe more. I went up to the jazz section looking for a particular Brad Meldeau cd and guess what i found.........They had ONE cd by meldeau, not the one I was looking for.... I mean if you have only 1 disc of one of the most important current jazz artists from huge back catalogue of god knows how many cds, its bloody rediculous....Christ, they couldnt even get it up to have multiple copies of the one disc they had...
Further to my post at the beginning of this month forecasting the demise of brick and mortar record stores most of you have probably heard by now that Sam the Record Man will be closing up shop on June 30th. The writing certainly seemed to be on the wall when I went up to the second floor several weeks back and the entire jazz and blues section had been squeezed down into the same space as country, international etc. This was hardly a surprise given how thin their jazz collection had become over the last 12 months. Where they used to have 10-20 records for the bigger names in jazz that had dwindled to in most cases a couple of discs. Very sad given how they used to be the standard bearer for finding jazz in this city.

According to Bobby Sniderman who seemed to be on every radio station yesterday the closure is a result of downloading and big box stores. The impact of iTunes, Limewire etc is understandable but how the crappy selection of music at places like Best Buy pushed Sams out is baffling. I think these days if you plan to sell music from a storefront you have to specialize in specific genres of music and work that angle harder and with more informed personnel that give you value for your buck. Just like the good old days when record stores sold records and not DVDs, magazines etc. Who wants to guess how long before we see HMV depart or at least reappear on a much smaller scale.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

sorry lads, since I hadnt heard anything at all from you guys I accepted invitations eleswhere for both the 15th and the 16th (just yesterday) ....bad luck ....
Hey gents, I'm likely not good for that weekend having been out twice already that week. I'd be better the week after or even the one after that but don't change your plans for me, since I know Stu will be looking to get his groove on.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I should be available for either June 15th or 16th. Preferably at a venue that has a no Chili Pepper policy.
though i've never been a red hot chili peppers fan, i have to give them props for their prophetic words 'What I've got you've got to get it put it in you'. given that i was single and on the prowl in 1991 when the song was released (requisite pithy double entendre acknowledgment), i really should have been paying more attention.

on what i cannot stress enough is a completely unrelated note, are we still up for a going out for beers/music night out the weekend of june 15th/16th? my preference is for the saturday night but i believe i am available for either.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

timely post, stu. i listened to a few of the tracks at emusic yesterday and was, to put it mildly, not impressesd. i'd heard the junior boys remix of 'sleep tonight' a few weeks ago on definitely not the opera and the only effect it had on me was to pine for the beauty of the original.
gotta say that i love, schaedenfraudically, the way the pitchfork dudes express their distaste for the whole project, in particular the dissing of owen pallet's contribution as an "audition to be Jon Brion's film-soundtrack intern".

i don't necessarily dismiss the remix in general. kcrw, for example, seemingly plays nothing but non-album versions of songs on their various shows, and their selections are usually quite stellar. but yeah, it's probably safe to say that the majority of remixes are garbage. for any one ep containing 6 or 7 remixes of a song, there may be 1 that is actually decent. and if you're not actively employed as a disc jockey, there's no excuse for owning such an ep.
The rant I gave a few weeks ago about remix albums, seems to be felt by more then just us...Check out this pitchfork rant on the stars remix album

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Actually Brian the weekend of the 15th and 16th Yvette will be out of town w the kids, so if you or anyone else are on for that weekend, I am in...
Good suggestions Kyle, but I'll likely be more up for something in the third week or after of June....I'll have just finished my exam and should spend some catch up time with the family for the first week or so. For my two cents worth, I think the National might be a little too droney in a live setting (variety is not what they do best), whereas I hacve a feeling that the Clientele will come to life a bit - I do enjoy them, but their deliberate emotional understatement eventually wears on me, perhaps less so on this new record where they have some really pretty music. Or, maybe it will be the other way around.

Finally got around to listening to the new Dino Jr record last night and it sounds pretty fantastic.

Friday, May 18, 2007

two upcoming concerts that i may be interested in are the national, who play the opera house on june 5th and the clientele/beach house show at lee's on june 4th. of course, these two days--tuesday and monday--are not always ideal for seeing a concert but there's also something to be said for spicing up an otherwise dreary first half of the week.

sunshine beckons. think i'm gonna head home, fix me a wry & ginger, and get my long weekend on.
apologies, Brian, your response must have vbeen in cyberspace somehow, while I was giving my typically rye comment below....looks like maybe a jazz cd club night theme may be in order at some time shortly...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Clearly , you are so stunned at my dynamic list Brian that you cannot respond, so I will move on to a solicitation to any out there to find a decent live show to see. I have been looking and nothing that really interests me has shown up, is there anything that interests you lot??
Power to the People is an amazing record - I picked it up after you blogged on it and have been listening to a steady diet of it. Despite my mixed feelings about the electric piano (which I can enjoy on occasion but the lack of pedaling makes it a very one-dimensional instrument for me) and particularly the electric bass, which I normally just despise in jazz, I think PttP may be Joe's best record (pardon the Stuart-like hyperbole). Gorgeous subtlety to the arrangements and the playing is outstanding.

Re similar early seventies electro-jazz, I figure the big name ones, which you may already know and own, are Chick Corea's band Return to Forever which I own few tracks by and quite enjoy, the first couple of Weather Report (Zawinul, Shorter, etc) records, and for a little more "rock" in your jazz-rock, maybe McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra stuff, particularly the first couple (based on my own limited experience). Of course all of the Miles stuff from that period was fusion-esque as well. I loathed this music with a white hot passion when I was growing seemed to represent everything that is ego-driven, flaccid, and meaningless about jazz (or what I thought jazz was at that point in my life...truth is jazz in 1975-80 was probably at its lowest creative/commercial point ever....remember Montreal based band UZEB....rrggghhghghg (me shuddering)), versus folk, pop, or punk. Interestingly, I've been re-visiting it carefully over the past few years and can stomach some of it, and even quite enjoy the really good. I think the key for me was coming at it through a more chronological process, learning about jazz's roots, through the bop and free periods, understanding the personalities and progression of the key players (Miles, Shorter, Corea, Zawinul etc) and then electric / fusion suddenly made sense.

Paul Bley did some early work with synths in the late sixties and is well worth tracking down. My man Bill Evans even made a record on which he played electric piano (hey, it was the seventies, elec piano just came along with the cocaine, blow jobs, and transcendental meditation) - not bad either (called The Bill Evans Album).

Segue into Chet Baker discussion, since the opening chords on "Alone Together" from Chet are heartbreakingly rendered by none other than Bill again. The man was everywhere. I agree with your comments about Chet as a trumpeter (I'm a huge fan so I'll lend some of my stuff over time and save you some dough), and about the album "Chet" - it's fantastic after hours music, featuring BE on paino and the great (but under-recognized) Pepper Adams on baritone sax. Chet the singer is also well worth lauding - he created a new sub-genre of jazz vocal in my view, which fit the same moods he captured on his horn so beautifully. I'll blog later on fave Chet B records.

Monday, May 14, 2007

bit of new , but mainly my old stuff, of which ,I am getting much more familiar thanks to my ipod....
henderson power to the people, ( great early 70's sound, I am trying to get more stuff from that era), tatum and ben webster classic 56 session, mellow , but I love websters understated but heartfelt easy style, Molvaer, Khmer, thanks to marc, modern cold , sort of the opposite to Webster, but good for late at night...
old stuff,
Alice Coltrane, Ptah, thanks to you Brian, i love the repeated grooves , it sort of errupts and then holds off , plus whoda thunk a harp would work, plus great band ( whoever they are...thats the drawback when listening on ipod, hard to quickly see whos playing what) and chet baker , 2 albums , Chet and New York.....I ve been thinking a lot about that talk we had last fall and how I dont really focus on the instrument playing, but rather on the somgs and albums as a whole, and in that light, he would be on my list of favorite trumpet players in that he can be sad and mournful like no other check out "alone together" from "Chet"my favorite Baker album...I think it equalls some of miles' game here, but I may be inciting some of you yobs now...
I'll bet the farm on it being a phase Stu....but since you mention it which jazz have you been listening to lately?
I think we are in agreement with much of that Brian, and thanks for the tips to all....I guess part of my problem is I am listening to 70% jazz 20 % classical and 10% pop i am not buying much of it, but I truly love pop still so it may just be a phase....I hope...
I feel relatively guilt free on this as well. My current fave new ones (may not be 07 but close enough) are The Broken West, Midlake, and also Besnard Lakes (thanks to Derek and Kyle for this one)'s all about the Lakes in 07. Broken West is a fantastic summer groovy power pop record for those of you who don't remember its unveiling at the last CD club.

I would argue that if anything there is a tendency to put too much emphasis on finding something "new", and therefore discount bands' second, third, or fourth releases. How much time do spend talking about the latest from The Shins, Arcade Fire, etc? Despite loving their previous releases.

Finding new music can be akin to a sugar high, where the latest is the greatest and nothing else matters. I defintiely play this game so mea culpa....but from another perspective (a) I think each generation produces only a few great artists (Bjork is one of them in my view - I can see a list question coming up), and a few times greater number of strong contributors (say, Built to Spill for ex) , and it makes perfect sense to chase down each artistic step from these few and/or check in on the others (b) Great bands get better over time, not worse, so I'm pretty comfortable with following their progress to see if they continue to grow (or not). (c) Great music is great music whether the artist is cool, young, and British, or 72, Jewish and has no teeth, or in the case of Elliot Smith, dead. To me it's always about finding the great music - or so I tell myself, and so try. And I know you believe this too Stuart so I'm not trying to convince anyone.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

agree with your observation, stu. like you, i am probably buying more from artists with whom i'm already quite familiar, like sea & cake, clientele, dino jr., arcade fire, shins, panda bear, the national to name a few. however, i am able to meet your challenge in coming up with three new bands that i've discovered in 2007 that i'm digging. these include:

-the previously blogged about The Besnard Lakes, whose "The Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse" continues to delight with each listen. The first couple of tracks are, as noted, airy and Beach Boys-like, but others seem to veer deeply into early 90s shoegazer territory, at times reminiscent of early Catherine Wheel and Ride but not as out and out derivative as the Mahogany disc that I brought to the last meeting

-the Comas "Spells" quite possibly the best pop/rock record i've heard this year, though jangly and rocking, the songs are all quite well structured, smart lyrics, and there's a layer to the sound; a little too produced at times but still a treat

-Explosions in the Sky "All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone" a band from Austin, TX are similar to bands like Tortoise and godspeed you black emperor!, and their album a collection slow-building instrumental epics

all of these were purchased from emusic, btw.

whether that means you are an old fart is for you to decide. or perhaps for the rest of us to decide, in a dramatic vote, with consequences/punishments should you be found guilty.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Guilty as charged unfortunately. I can only come up with one disc that falls under the guidelines that you set out Stuart and even though the disc came out in 2006 I didn't pick it up until a few months ago. The album is "Don't Let Stars Keep Us Tangled Up" and the artist is Cortney Tidwell who has a voice that reminds me very much of Harriet Wheeler of the Sundays. Tidwell's music however covers a lot more territory than the Sundays and I'm still discovering new things with each listen.
Reading through the last weks worth of email, it seems to me that we are all a little guilty (myself included) in not finding new pop artists. I too am a little tired of some of the new releases lately, but I too am looking more at artisit I am familiar with then fresh faces....could it be that we are all getting a little old and boring.....god forbid... but answer this one lads...What is the best 3 new pop discs bought in 2007 from artists you had no other previous music from .....downloading a handfull of tracks does not count as a new disc purchase
of course, if you have all done this then I am the only boring old fart (in terms of pop music)...
The few snippets that I've heard from the Elliot Smith disc are quite good, if similiar to the Either/Or disc. I do hope that this is the final release of his material, though, and not the first of a string of Tupac-like studio releases.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

And speaking of "everything old is new again", the "new" Elliott Smith is out and available on e-music. I have d/loaded it but haven't listened yet. I'll admit to being quite pleased to see he had some unreleased music coming up, but will leave it there until I hear it.
Despite suggesting that I would do so, I have not yet picked up the new Feist disc. I did 'acquire' the Bjork album earlier this week upon its release and three listens in, I'm wondering what the fuss is about. Of both discs, this review opines: Don't Believe the Hype.

Not sure if 'Volta' is as bad as DeRogatis and the folks at Pitchfork, who'd played a part in hyping it, suggest. And it's probably not possible to give a disc a fair assessment after only 2 full days in release. But still, wasn't expecting to be this underwhelmed.

Of course, it's possible I'm just getting nearing artist fatigue. I also downloaded the latest Clientele and Sea and the Cake discs this week, and while they seem to be up to their usual high standards, I can't help but think, I've heard all this before.

What say you on 'The Reminder', Deeman?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

aside from the eye-candy, marc, how was the performance? as is usually the case, when i find myself in the city for a week with no travel plans and start looking for things to do, the play or performance that seems most interesting is closing--their last performance was saturday, yes?

Monday, May 07, 2007

I think you missed one Derek.
I had the pleasure of attending Opera Atelier's staging of Orfeus and Eurydice on Friday and we had second row centre seats. I found the performance wonderful, but Tafelmusik's violinist, Julia Wedman, was to say the least, just a little distracting!
m.e. and i have set our travel plans for the end of May and will therefore be seeing youal at our next get together.

Friday, May 04, 2007

My initial impressions of the first disc were that it was too sweet, lacking some kind of edge, but that she had a pretty great voice. Kind of grew on me with repeated listens. I never bought the album but would hear it while dining at nicer restaurants and think, "This is nice".
Might be interesting to play some of this album and contrast it with the Lily Allen or Amy Winehouse discs. Alternately, we could just trade pictures of attractive female singers/musicians and see if they elicit the presumed pavolian response in herr watson.
Just watched the video and....well....not for me would be a nice way to say it. "yuck" would be another.
she has had a h=uge spread in the new york times that says just that Kyle, pitchfork and the toronto papers all did about the same....the hype machine is howling, but perhaps it will be good..the funny thing is that I was a huge early fan of the first disc and I find it gratingly sweet now and I have not been enjoying it for some time....
Feist song is catchy, in a Sesame Street kind of way. Thought she sounded a lot like Olivia Newton-John on the first album. Apparently, this time around she's going for visuals to match. According to my sources (ie. Reuben, who works at Six Shooter Records around the corner from my house) this new disc will be the one that launches her into the big time. Perhaps I'll pick up a copy as well.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Despite the comment previously about the death of brick & mortar record stores I will be venturing forth this weekend to pick up the new Feist disc. Have heard a few tracks now and looks like its a keeper. Still scared though to see it front and centre in Starbucks. Didn't seem to do much for Sean Lennon's career. Check out this video for the song 1234 which could be the song of the summer here in the big city.
right on, stuart! and should the friday hangover prove painful, a few laughs at some terrible album covers will get you through the day.

know that other sites have posted some truly awful covers and that we discussed the koolaid-influenced bjork record a few weeks back but these covers put all others to shame. or i should say, they hog all the shame for themselves.
thursday the 7th it is and in the words of the late Ray Curtis...." come on you can always get through a friday"...
thursday the 7th it is and in the words of the late Ray Curtis...." come on you can always get through a friday"...
Can somebody bring the Don Cherry to the cd club? Think it was a recent Peter Robinson novel where Banks was listening to Cherry while sipping his brother's fabulous wine stash that made me want to hear some of his stuff. Thursday is close enough to the weekend for all of us to bring our weekend game.
Should we go for the 7th then? What if I promise to bring my "weekend" game even though it's only a Thursday? eh?

Re Don Cherry, thanks for the recommendation. I've never explored Don Cherry's sessions as a leader - not in the sixties anyway....I really just know him as Ornette's pocket trumpet guy from that period. Looked up the Symphony on-line and it sounds pretty magnificent, as do a number of others from the same period. Cool.

Glad to hear the new National sounds good. I liked but didn't love their last release - something about the singer's approach to the lyric (oh so whiskey laden cigarettey gravel) sounds contrived, to me despite the apparent torturedness of the songs. Musically though I think they're pretty groovy.
hey kids. heavy travel week otherwise would have posted earlier.
thursday june 7th works for me. 8th, 9th and 10th are out as i'm away for the weekend for sarah's birthday (good memory d-man). the only other date that won't work would be the following june 14th, which will probably be the book club date.

as for soundscapes, i confess i haven't been in a long, long while, partly because i'm just not in that part of town as often as i used to be, and partly because, like derek, i get most of my stuff online. kind of sad because i do like supporting stores like soundscapes which, attitude aside, really seems to care about and promote good music, which i agree is increasingly rare in this day and age. there's a great little canadian music store around the corner from my house on queen, where i like to shop and talk with the staff but since i can get most of these releases on emusic for a few dollars, i seldom buy a lot anymore.

the last time I was in hmv, i got the similar impression that the cd business is headed for its last days. even when i'm at home, i find it just as convenient to plug in an ipod to the stereo as i do to throw in a disc into the changer and with the latter, i can create a multi-hour playlist that will last me well into the night. still like the cd but my buying preferences will likely help kill it.

speaking of new music that isn't available on emusic, i'm enjoying the new National disc, courtesy of Sarah's brother, who somehow snagged an advanced copy. Do grab a listen when it comes out...very carthartic drumming, which I quite enjoyed on their last disc.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

sorry for not responding stu, i've been tied up on a small reno job in Riverdale ...should be done by some time in July though, just kidding Bri. Any day is fine with me except for this Friday. M.E and i are talking about travelling in May or June but have not as of yet made any plans. Unfortunately vacation trumps cd club in my daytimer and i apologize for not being able to make a commitment at this time but holidays only come around once a year for me and cd club comes around 4x that's the way it is. btw, a very belated birthday to you Stuart.
I hate to keep speaking for other bloggites but I know that Sarah's birthday is June 9 and that would probably mean Kyle and sa femme would be heading out for dinner.

Back to the music for a moment does anyone else own "Symphony for Improvisers" by Don Cherry? It's just two extended tracks of about 20 minutes each and although it can get quite raucous at times it never loses complete control in the way that say an Albert Ayler session can. Just popped it on for the drive home from Hamilton and it is quite a gem of a record in its own meandering, loose limbed way. I think its available at a discount price and is well worth picking up if you want to check out some jamming free jazz from the mid 60's.
I would rather do a friday or about the 9th
May not work as we are likely having V's brother over for his birthday. I could do the 7th?
how about friday june 8 cd club date ...
Hey Stu - I definitely cannot do the 25th of May. Anytime after June 2 is better, though we have a book club on the 14th.
Thanks Derek, I will wait to hear from people before changing the date, just in case Brian and others can still make it....I can always shift it to june if its a bad date...So Brian? Kyle ? Marc? hellooooooooooo out there...
Re Soundscapes;
I was pondering that thought a little while back and my take on it is that they can still survive if
they maintain an edgy selection of music on the listening booths and in the store...
because many people cannot spend the time researching for the music they like as we do, and since commercial radio is getting so bad that even passive music fans are tired of it, stores like soundscapes fill a gap for people who walk in off the street and want a recommendation for a decent disc...granted younger people typically will go online, but as they age and you have kids and what not its still easy to drop by that store on a weeknight and pick somethibng up quickly... It will still be hard work for stores like this and I wouldnt plan on making millions if I was Greg....

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Sorry Stu I have been remiss in my postings of late. That date works plenty good for me but I know that Brian is writing his CFA exam on Saturday June 2 and would quite likely be m.i.a on that particular date. Can't speak for the rest of the crew so I will shut up now.

I paid a visit to Soundscapes 2 weekends ago for the first time since September 2006 and came out of the store with absolutely nada. Seems to me that the age of the brick and mortar record store has come and gone. Nearly every indie rock record I'm interested in is available on e-music and the hard to find classical or jazz is either on hand at Gregorian or is nowhere to be found in the city. Not sure what a hard working store like SS would need to do to earn back my hard earned money but their displays of new music a few weeks ago didn't inspire me in the least.
gosh metabeats really is struggling for respect these days....since no one has listed bad dates, I propose friday may 25 at my place for the next cd club...please let me know if this works for you, if you cant bring yourself to type a response on metabeats, just nod or give a wink...