Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

You might want to be careful about how you express your love for John Denver, Mike, at least when it comes to karaoke. It can cost you dearly in Bangkok, apparently.

You're right. Billy Joel does think he's a badass, and he has several totalled automobiles to prove it. And yes, the correct answer to the question, "Don't you just love/hate him?" is a quick shrug of the shoulders.

Giant ads featuring inexplicably popular musical acts at Yonge and Dundas? Say it ain't so! Thanks for the suggestion, D. I've added the link at the side right to beemp3, which I'll second as to its usefulness in finding popular mp3 songs you just can't bring yourself to purchase from itunes.

I've also added a link to iLike, which I discovered yesterday in my wanderings and seems to be a combination muxtape/pandora (with the benefit of actually working in canada, screw you and your us-based servers bri), with additional functionality with itunes, social networking sites, sharing of music, etc. There are some frustrating limitations but also some interesting features. Will continue to play around with it and post my discoveries here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My 2 cents on the Billy Joel thing - he's never been a favorite, but he's a very long way from the worst thing in popular music. In fact, I'm surprised that his music would engender such a passionate dislike - I would have thought that offhand dismissal would be more appropriate. He's written some good songs and a lot of junk. I've always thought that the amusing thing about Mr. Joel is the difference between his own self-image and the way the rest of the world sees him. The article touched on this - he describes himself as a rock and roll badass, but he is pretty much universally seen as an adult soft-rock crooner.

Taking up Stuart's challenge to admit some musical guilty pleasures, I was a Neil Diamond fan long before it became cool. To be precise, I like the early ND - not "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" and beyond. I started with "Hot August Night" and went backwards from there. I've also been a John Denver fan since way back - still waiting for that one to become cool.
To keep it brief, Bob Pollard is an idiot, Neko is a goddess and there are at least a handful of Billy Joel songs that I like so far be it from me to slag him.

Speaking of slagworthy there's a huge billboard above the Eaton Centre touting what must be Celine's latest release and it is titled "Taking Chances" and I almost dropped Ciaran as I laughed so hard as we passed by there yesterday afternoon.

Sites worth listing:

http://beemp3.com/ (better than Limewire or Kazaa and no software to download, if you're only looking for single tracks this is the place to go)
Clearly, this hasn't been the busiest day at work. As such, I've taken to looking at ways to update the blog, including (shock) writing in it as well as updating some of the links on the right side of the screen. If you have any suggestions for cool sites you think should be here, let me know. I'll be adding a couple of ones that I think you all would like in the coming days.

In the meantime, for your downloading pleasure, here is the new Neko Case single, from her forthcoming March 3rd release. Apparently, by simply posting this song for you folks on this blog, Neko will be making a $5 donation to an animal rescue society. Did I really need another reason to love her?
You knew that the ex-GBV frontman, was good for at least two albums per year but apparently in 2009 he's really gonna get off his ass. (I direct your attention to the line of text above the label and release date info). I hereby suggest a new category for 2009's end of year list making: Top 5 Robert Pollard Albums of the Year.
re: the Piano Man. I tend to like these types of 'shot-across-the-bow' articles where the writer takes on popular artists and knocks them down a peg, though one could argue that, given the unhip status of Mr. Joel, that it's more of the 'fish in barrel' type of shooting. And I didn't mind the Gram Parsons aside or the snide tone overall. I'm just not sure I buy his thesis that most Billy Joel songs are about contempt.

"Piano Man" seems more of a lamentation about failure and isolation in the modern world and which paints a mostly empathetic portrait of its sad sack characters rather than a derisive one. "She's Always a Woman" may contain a whole rash of cliches but does the writer really think that the point of this song is Joel expressing his contempt for women? The delivery of the lines he condemns ('hides like a child' and 'carelessly cuts you and laughs') and musical arrangement suggest quite the opposite.

Do I like "She's Always a Woman"? Not particularly. Do songs like 'We Didn't Start the Fire' or one containing line 'Heart attack ack ack ack' provoke a reaction in me akin to the discovery of a cockroach crawling up my leg? Hell yes. But I'd agree with Stuart that there's something to be said for great pop hooks and even in cases where I don't dig all those hooks, I can at least acknowledge them or understand why others do.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The only thing worse then music of the likes of Joel is santimonious smug art critics who like to promote how hip they are by putting down obvious targets.... I read his article for 5 minutes and felt that he was unlikely to add anything of interest to the debate....His obvious self laudatory aside about scooping the Gram Parsons cd is a stong indicator of this type of critic who looks to promote his uber coolness while mocking obvious targets...

Granted I am a big Backarach fan and he fits the catagory of someone who was laughed at but is now considered worthy of praise ( of varying degrees) , so i am biased towards overt pop, but I try to be fair about admitting i like something even if it is the opposite of uber cool...I would be curious to see your own guilty pleasures if you could bring yourself to blog them here...

He also mentions some pop music ( he dont like) gets unfairly reappraised as hip, but cant something be admired because it is a purly irresistable pop hook , why does it have to be cool to be liked? I have to believe it is much more difficult to write an indelable pop hook, then a generic ( read any Nickelback song or the like ) song by an unoriginal band , the likes of which populate the commercial radio dial constantly.,.. come on Piano Man ain't that bad.....

Monday, January 26, 2009

While you're contemplating the merits of the article trashing William Joel, an update and background on the Muxtape, that neat little website that was up and running for a few months last year. Apart from outlining his motivation for creating the site, he also outlines his experience with the major record labels, which is far more illuminating than any article on declining sales or lawsuits in capturing the desperation, pomposity, and overall confusion that reigns amongst the majors.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thought this might generate some thoughts/discussion: Billy Joel yay or nay?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Big Dipper? Wasn't that your nickname in college, Bri?

Sorry I don't have much else right now. Just started my travels and don't have a lot of new music to talk about. Also, I don't want to spoil what is bound to be an exciting cd club meeting at Stuart's in less than 2 weeks time.

You voiced your disappointment with 80s music, and though I've blogged about this podcast previously, thought I'd repost for those of you who haven't had a chance to listen to it. Mostly funny, though I do take umbrage with the fact that they ignore some of the more interesting bands from that decade (i.e. The Cure, The Smiths) and focus on crappy top 40 stuff.

Given the inauguration today, Carrie Brownstein's (former Sleater Kinney member) blog post and musical suggestions are timely. I particularly like the inclusion of the Wilco track, 'Ashes of American Flags'.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I was more than a little pleased in surfing through allmusic's best re-issues of 2008 to see that a Big Dipper anthology had been released. I was even more (than a little) pleased when I found the anthology on emusic. Though fairly short-lived, they were a fantastic Boston-based band who had one outstanding album and a few other really great songs. The album is "Heavens" from 1987, and it's among my favourite indy pop records of all time. On the anthology, "Heavens'" songs begin with "She's Fetching" and end with "Mr Woods". My favourite tracks are the two above, plus "All Going Out Together", "Easter Eve", and "Wet Weekend".

Whenever I think the eighties were a weak decade of music (and I do) I fall back on a few records to convince me otherwise, and this is right at the top of the list. Interesting historical note, I played a couple of tracks at our first CD club at Kyle's apartment all those years ago (ten? twelve?). Anyway, if you've got a few free downloads at the end of the month, give it a listen.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Apologies for not having my cds ready for you but thanks much for yours...I have only listened to kyles thus far and it is fantastic...in fact so much so that for my year end cd simply make a copy of kyles and right in a (blue) sharpie "all the best from Stuart 2008" on it... Ditto for my year end favorite cd list....

hopefully I will get my siot together shortly but no time just now...