All Posts Tagged With: "music"
Some offended by Robin Thicke’s provocative lyrics
The Students’ Society of McGill University has opted not to ban the song Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, known for its refrain, “I know you want it.” The song has long been criticized for lyrics that some say encourage and trivialize sexual assault.
There were seven votes in favour of the ban, eight opposed and 11 abstentions, according to the McGill Tribune. The motion was put forward by student Sarah Southey, who said the lyrics could trigger bad memories for assault victims when played at the campus bar. Brian Farnan, a SSMU vice-president, was opposed to the proposed censorship. “This will set a frightening precedent, when we start to ban artistic content in a student building in a university,” he said.
Several student unions in the United Kingdom, including those at the universities of London, Kingston, Edinburgh, Leeds, Derby, West Scotland and Bolton, have banned the song. Durham University’s students voted against a ban after some argued it would trivialize feminism.
Student unions need to choose performers carefully
It is suddenly fashionable for student unions to cancel performers, often at great cost, after deciding they’ve done something reprehensible.
Student unions at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa dropped rapper Rick Ross this summer after complaints about lyrics that endorsed date-rape drugs. Ross, who was fired by Reebok over the same song, apologized.
Earlier this month, Western students cancelled Sean Kingston’s performance when they learned of a rape charge against him and then felt the need to apologize after his replacement Classified was accused of joking about rape on stage.
So it wasn’t surprising that the York Federation of Students cancelled A$AP Rocky last week after they learned he was charged with hitting a female fan at a Philadelphia concert. What might raise eyebrows is their choice of replacement. If you’re worried about misogyny—the message York’s Federation of Students is projecting by cancelling A$AP—Major Lazer might not be the best choice.
McGill student ran out of class to attend
When Eric Smith of Ottawa checked his favourite music blog Monday morning, he and his wife jumped in the car for a two-hour drive with a hastily organized destination: a Montreal salsa club.
The reason? A surprise concert by Arcade Fire.
On its website, the Salsatheque club showed the poster for a group called The Reflektors, whose faces were hidden.
By late Monday morning, social media was ablaze with word that a previously unknown band playing a gig in a relatively small salsa club was actually Grammy-award winning Arcade Fire. “Reflektor” happens to be the name of the single off their upcoming album.
Smith, 31, joined the line of people who rushed to get one of the 100 tickets that were going on sale just before the 9 p.m. show.
But there was a catch: Fans would only be allowed in if they were dressed formally, or wearing a costume.
Sponsors pulled out after pressure from activists
Four summer concerts in Canada featuring Chris Brown have been cancelled because of the R&B star’s personal and health problems, the promoter behind the events said Monday.
Brown was scheduled to perform in Winnipeg, Toronto, Halifax and Saint John, N.B., for a four-day swing beginning Aug. 29, but the owner of Drop Entertainment Group said the concert series was scrapped because they couldn’t proceed without a headliner.
“It was an ongoing consultation and conversation with Chris Brown and his management team,” Stephen Tobin said in an interview.
“We came to a mutual understanding and decision to simply cancel all four scheduled performances.”
Nicole Perna, Brown’s publicist, said the decision to cancel his concerts weren’t due to personal or health problems, but she declined to specify what prompted the cancellations.
They’re Batman and the Joker—no, Felix and Oscar
At 12:01 a.m. EST. on July 4, hip-hop fans and music insiders around the world were agog. Magna Carta Holy Grail, the new opus from rap titan Jay-Z, was moments away from becoming an instantaneous bestseller. The emcee had presold a million virtual copies to Samsung for a cool US$5 million; users of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones who downloaded an Android app would get the album, free of charge, five days before the release date. Commentators puzzled over this brave, branded world. How could Jay-Z guarantee chart success if his album was being given away for free? Was this the future of music releases? By 12:02 a.m., the app had crashed. By 3 a.m., Magna Carta Holy Grail was out there, its beats and lyrics breathlessly parsed by Twitter users. For all the sturm und drang, MCHG made its way into eardrums in the same manner as most other buzzy albums: illegally, on the Internet.
Losing control of your product is an occupational hazard for modern pop stars. The website Has It Leaked exists to keep track of whether unreleased albums have made it on to iTunes playlists. It takes a true businessman to parlay the inevitable into an opportunity to make major cash. And it takes a mogul to turn the entire exercise into an extension of his personal brand. Jay-Z’s approach to his Magna Carta-stravaganza—which included no one-on-one interviews but weeks of behind-the-scenes “trailers” for individual tracks, and lyric sheets that mysteriously made their way online—is a neat summation of how the man who calls himself “Hova” (after “Jehovah”) wants to be seen. In a 2012 profile in the New York Times, author Zadie Smith described his persona as “cool, calm, almost frustratingly self-controlled,” and quoted rapper Memphis Bleek, a long-time acquaintance, who said Jay’s self-contained confidence goes back decades: “This was Jay’s plan from day one: to take over. I guess that’s why he smiles and is so calm, ’cause he did exactly what he planned in the ’90s.”
We must engage the past even when it’s uncomfortable
Remember the end of the film Dead Poets Society? When the students all stand up on their desks and cry “O Captain, My Captain!” as a tribute to the wronged and noble teacher Mr. Keating?
The reference is, of course, to a famous poem by the American writer Walt Whitman. Whitman is one of the giants of American literature, and the poem is usually interpreted as an elegy to the recently assassinated president Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln, of course, was, much-hated in the South for, among other things, his opposition to slavery.
So it might have come as a surprise that the man who so eloquently eulogized the Great Emancipator is now at the centre of a controversy over racism. A graduate student at Northwestern University is, according to reports, willing to fail a class rather than perform a piece of music based on a Whitman work. The student insists that Whitman was an “historically racist” man, who denigrated African Americans and opposed their voting rights.
Socially conscious artists, Obama have helped the cause
Music preference on Canadian university campuses is traditionally as diverse as students themselves, but in the past year we all seemed to agree on one thing: Macklemore. The 29-year-old rapper, whose real name is Ben Haggerty, found international fame in late 2012 with his catchy-with-a-conscience song Thrift Shop, which asks why we don’t take the more environmentally friendly route to clothing. The song sparked theme parties at campus bars all across Canada and likely some thrift shopping.
Since then listeners have discovered Macklemore’s entire album of socially conscious songs. One that has particularly resonated with our generation is Same Love, a catchy and eloquent song about same-sex marriage equality.
Macklemore is based in Seattle, Washington, a state that legalized same-sex marriage in December 2012. Although this seems redundant to Canadians whose ‘gay marriage rights’ have simply been ‘marriage rights’ for nearly ten years now, the issue is ongoing for our southern neighbours. For those fighting for their rights in the U.S., Macklemore is a welcome voice, especially from the hip-hop industry which has been notoriously homophobic.
Same Love is about discrimination. The song condemns inappropriate use of the word gay and the perpetuation of stereotypes by “right-wing conservatives” who think a “predisposition is a choice.” Above all, it questions why people don’t stand up to fight for “humans that have had their rights stolen.”
What students are talking about today (March 12th)
1. The headliners of Montreal’s much-anticipated Osheaga Music and Arts festival in August will be the Cure and Mumford & Sons. If those two bands don’t impress you, at least a couple of these other acts probably will: Beach House, Diamond Rings, Azealia Banks, New Order, the Lumineers, Phoenix, Kendrick Lamar, Vampire Weekend, Alt-J, Hot Chip, Tegan and Sara, Ellie Goulding, We Are Wolves, A Tribe Called Red and Wild Belle. That variety makes the $235 general admission pass look a lot more affordable. I highly recommend all students go to at least one big show at Parc Jean-Drapeau while they’re still young enough to get away with it. It’s a special place.
2. Some strange people in Toronto are paying $40 each to attend “cuddle parties,” a trend that has also been reported in Calgary. They’re just like they sound. Strangers get together in big groups and then cuddle, spoon and hold hands. Everyone wears pajamas and they all hang out together on pillows on the floor. Clothes stay on and it’s apparently non-sexual. Jessica Maxwell, a doctoral student at U of T who researches relationships, tells The Grid newspaper that cuddling stimulates production of the chemical oxytocin, a sort of love drug that relaxes us when it’s released.
Working for ‘exposure’ is sometimes a raw deal
Like so many other starry-eyed hopefuls, I started a band in my freshman year.
Starved for music venues and promoters that would give us the time of day, we naively agreed to play a show for a production company. These were the terms we accepted: the band was responsible for selling tickets to the “showcase” concert at $10 a piece. Twenty or so artists were crammed onto the same bill and asked to compete against each other for the most ticket sales. The incentive? Set times (both length and placement) would be determined by which band sold the most tickets. It was unpaid. In exchange for our trouble, we were promised only exposure .
Japandroids, Hollerado, Rah Rah, Topanga & more
It’s that time of the year again. Not the mad dash to wrap everything… okay, that too. It’s ‘best of” lists season! From doom soul to dance-punk, here are 12 tracks that captivated campuses in 2012:
1. Japandroids “Younger us”
Continue reading 12 songs that captivated campuses in 2012
This week: Amos The Transparent, Rose Cousins & moreWith the end of the calendar year rapidly approaching, many indie bands are heading home for the holidays, taking much-needed breaks from PBR-filled nights on tour. This week’s can’t-miss gigs is round-up of the best of the rest.
Check out Amos the Transparent’s excellent single-take video for Sure As The Weather.
Where to catch Amelia Curran, Evening Hynms, The Zolas…
Is your Facebook feed crawling with essay complaints? Twitter full of 4 a.m. victory celebrations? If so, it must be the homestretch of another semester. Should you need a distraction to get you through, consider starting the weekend off early with one of this week’s can’t miss shows:
3. Spectral Dusk, the latest release from folk duo Evening Hymns, is a collection of deeply personal songs dealing with the death of frontman Jonas Bonnetta’s father. Hear them at Baba’s Lounge in Charlottetown, P.E.I. on Nov. 22. Ticket info here.
4. Liam Titcomb, known for his role on CBC’s Wild Roses, moonlights as a folk-rocker. Catch the singer-actor with opener Joshua Hyslop at Calgary’s The Gateway on Nov. 22. Ticket info here.
Here’s Amelia Curran Singing Black Bird on Fire on BalconyTV in beautiful St. John’s.
Did we miss a show? Let us know in the comments!
Where to catch Cookie Duster, Young Rival, Stars…
Music fans are talking about comedian Brian Ferenzi’s impression of an MTV news executive, who explains in a satirical video why the television station no longer plays music videos. But who needs MTV when you can take in the real thing? Here are five shows worth seeing this week.
1. Cookie Duster was a budding indie rock band in the early 2000s when frontman Brendan Canning’s other band, Broken Social Scene, exploded internationally. With BSS on hiatus, Cookie Duster is back on the front burner. They play Waterloo’s Startlight on Nov. 15. Ticket info.
2. Vancouver quintet Mother Mother have some of the catchiest and quirkiest songs in indie pop. The band is currently trekking across the country with Hannah Georgas, including a Nov. 17 stop at the Multi-Purpose Centre, a five minute stroll from Dalhousie University in Halifax. Ticket info.
Where to see: Darcys, John K. Samson, Julia McDougall…
With news last week that Cat Power is bankrupt and was forced to cancel a set of tour dates, the need to support independent artists—both large and small—is more apparent than ever. Here are five shows worth supporting this week:
1. Toronto’s art rockers The Darcys are ambitious. Their cover of Steely Dan’s Aja is a testament to that, as is their current tour which showcases their reinterpretation of that moody record. With only three Canadian dates, their Nov. 9 appearance at Zaphod Beeblebrox in Ottawa is a must-see. Info here.
2. After a break up, a make up, and a handful of international music festivals, Death from Above 1979 are back on the road with new songs. The dance-punk duo play Oxygen in Moncton, N.B. on Nov. 9. Ticket info here.
3. After gaining notoriety as the lead singer of The Weakerthans, John K. Samson branched out on his own with the record Provincial. The talk-singer, who is the current writer-in-residence at the University of British Columbia, plays the Chan Centre on campus on Nov. 9. More info here.
Where to catch Dan Griffin, The Wooden Sky, Loon Choir…
Halloween on a Wednesday begs the question: which weekend do you party? If you stayed in last week, there’s still plenty of time to cut eye holes out of an old white sheet, call it a costume, and take in a show. You may or may not be the only one dressed up. Here are this week’s five can’t miss shows. Costumes are optional.
1. Best known as the keyboardist for Arkells, Dan Griffin is a compelling solo artist too. The ‘Leave Your Love’ singer teams up with Zeus for a show at Queen’s University’s The Grad Club on Nov. 2. Ticket info here. (Click over to Griffin’s site for a free download.)
Dan Mangan, Rural Alberta Advantage, Poor Young Things…
Here at U. Ottawa, classes are in recess for the fall semester break, but those stuck in classrooms elsewhere in Canada also have something to look forward to this week—besides midterms. Indie bands have fanned out across the nation. Here are five of the week’s best musical distractions:
1. Little more than a year after Oh Fortune, his third full-length release, Dan Mangan is back with a fresh EP, Radicals. The tireless troubadour heads back out on tour with Toronto’s The Rural Alberta Advantage, playing the University of Guelph’s Peter Clark Hall on Oct. 26. Ticket info is here. Act quickly—this is guaranteed to sell out.
Why can’t we just enjoy the show?
Rock demigod Jack White recently left the stage unexpectedly early to the disdain of a New York City audience. No official reason has been given, but at the beginning of the show he had asked audiences to refrain from filming.
To ask this of an audience in 2012 is akin to asking them to refrain from using Facebook for a month. In all likelihood, the audience ignored that rare but understandable request and White was angered by their disobedience.
Either way, the smartphone is an now unavoidable vexation at virtually any major concert. The more prolific the song, the higher number of people reach for their phones to film the experience, rather than jump up and down like wild animals.
When did concert-goers become incapable of existing in the moment?
Where to catch the Balconies, Matt Mays, Basia Bulat…
This week, Canadian music fans will be treated to a collision of chamber and indie, a gig in a farmer’s market, a folk darling accompanied by a full orchestra, and much more. So tear yourself away from textbooks and Facebook and kick the weekend off early with one of these can’t-miss campus shows.
1. Toronto’s the Balconies are rock and roll through and through. Their powerful vocals and kicking riffs make for an ear-splitting experience, and they’re best heard live. The trio, brother and sister Stephen and Jacquie Neville plus Liam Jaeger, play Louis’ Pub at the University of Saskatchewan on Oct. 10. Ticket info is here.
3. London-based Basia Bulat’s brand of folk is at once breathless and big-voiced and accompanied by the uncommonly-heard autoharp. The singer-songwriter takes the stage at Hamilton Place, along with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra on Oct. 13. McMaster students, ticket info is here.
4. It’s not often that an indie rock band like Hey Rosetta! would appear live at a farmer’s market, but for this year’s TommyFest in Fredericton, attendees will see just that. The band will bring some iteration of their multilayer sound on Oct. 15. along with locals Redwood Fields. Ticket info here.
In the third installment of the Southern Souls-filmed Mojito sessions, the Balconies teamed up with fellow Torontonians Hands and Teeth to cover Justin Bieber’s mega hit Baby. Check it out:
Did we miss a show? Let us know in the comments!
Research could have implications for autism
If raw, unbridled emotion is behind some of the world’s best music, then researchers may be on to something with a musical performance drawn directly from nerve activity in the brain.
An artist at Montreal’s Concordia University and a neuroscientist in Australia have collaborated on a project that records emotional response in the body and turns it into music.
Vaughan Macefield, a professor at the University of Western Sydney, came up with a way to measure nerve activity through a single neuron, painting an electronic picture of a person’s emotions.
His research team injects a very fine microelectrode needle into a peripheral nerve in the body that allows researchers to record electrical signals emitted from the brain. Blood flow, heart rate, sweat release and respiration levels are also recorded.
“Of course we are not the first to have thought of this, but this is the first attempt to use direct recordings of sympathetic nerve activity,” Macefield said in an email.
These signals are compiled as data — and sent by email to Montreal as a raw collection of numbers.
That’s where the art comes in.
Where to catch METZ, Crystal Castles, Cuff the Duke…
It may be Thanksgiving long weekend, but that doesn’t mean musicians are taking a break. Grab a pumpkin beer and get your tickets for this week’s can’t miss campus gigs.
1. Rococode, the Vancouver three-piece of Laura Smith, Andrew Braun and ex-Tegan and Sara bassist Shaun Huberts, bring their perfectly pop sound to the The Gateway at SAIT in Calgary on Oct. 4. Opening the night are Winnipeg duo Cannon Bros. Ticket info here.