All Posts Tagged With: "music"
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.
3. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is proposing to bury a tunnel between Commercial Drive and the University of British Columbia to make way for a $2.8-billion subway line to the far-flung campus. According to CBC News, Broadway is North America’s busiest bus corridor with 110,000 riders traveling through it daily. Certain businesses say they would prefer trams, but I bet students would prefer to get to school without buses passing them by. Here’s hoping the subway prevails.
4. The Ryerson University campus bookstore is no longer selling a type of padlocks after a Ryersonian student newspaper investigation showed how easy they are to pry open with a tool made from an aluminum drink can. Check out their video showing just how easy here. Ryerson security officials told the student journalists that more than 30 lockers were broken into already this semester. The lesson here is that students should never really trust lockers, even when locked.
5. The University of Prince Edward Island is holding its first Mental Health Week. The events include workshops, a health fair, yoga and puppy therapy. The school has also managed to make the #upeimentalhealth Twitter handle catch on. It makes sense. Reading that our colleagues are stressed, anxious or sad is a simple way to help us realize we’re not alone. Here are some examples:
— Megan MacKenzie (@mfmackenzie) March 12, 2013
On that note, today I’m feeling a little bit anxious.Class presentation tonight, prep work all day.#UPEIMentalhealth Pic to follow.
— Travis Gordon (@GordonPEI) March 12, 2013
— Lindsay Handren (@lindsaydawnn) March 12, 2013
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.
Video goes viral
David Kim, a biology student at York University, has been watched nearly 200,000 times on YouTube doing his impersonation of Korean pop star Psy’s Gangnam Style dance. Kim crisscrossed the Toronto campus earlier this week dancing through lectures, getting down atop a Tim Hortons counter and at one point bouncing around a police car. “I really like the dance,” Kim told the Toronto Star, explaining that he played the song from his iPhone during the shoot. Check it out:
Where to hear Austra, Propagandhi, You Say Party…
Over the weekend, Sam The Record Man founder Sam Sniderman passed away. But it’s not all sad news this week in music. There are celebrations too. On Monday, Feist took home the Polaris Prize for her record Metals and the parties will continue when Toronto-based Paper Bag Records, notable for breakthrough records by Broken Social Scene, Stars and countless others, celebrates its 10th year with a three-day concert series (see #5.)
1. With a signature synth-pop sound that builds around front woman Katie Stelmanis’ classically trained voice, Austra quickly rose to critical acclaim in 2011, even getting a Polaris nod. The Toronto three-piece play Starlight in university-town Waterloo on Thurs. Sept. 27. Ticket info here.
2. Ontario’s Great Lake Swimmers have got quintessentially Canadian folk rock down a science, underscored by thoughtful lyrics on their fifth album, New Wild Everywhere. They play Cochrane Street United Church in St. John’s, a short drive from Memorial University, on Sept. 29. Ticket info.
3. Back with their first album in three years, the politics-infused punk rockers Propagandhi will take ‘Failed States’ on the road to Montreal’s Metropolis on Sept. 28. Winnipeg’s hardcore rockers Comeback Kid open for the legendary group. Ticket info here.
4. Five members of the Western Canadian Music Alliance will join forces for the BreakOut West festival on Sept. 28 and 29 in Regina. The festival features a conference, awards and more than 50 artists including Rococode, Shuyler Jansen and Slow Down, Molasses. Ticket info here.
5. Paper Bag Records kicks off its anniversary celebrations with three nights of live music at Toronto’s Great Hall starting on Sept. 27. Acts include Luke Lalonde of Born Ruffians, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan and a one-night-only reunion of You Say Party, among others. Ticket info here.
Flying futons, Carly Rae Jepsen & where students want to work
1. We knew futons were bad for your back, but apparently they can be even more dangerous than that. A New York City college student was walking to class when he was hit by a flying futon mattress that fell 30 floors from an apartment building. It rendered him briefly unconscious and injured his neck. Worst of all, the poor schmuck says he can’t afford both tuition and medical bills.
2. Yesterday, we learned that 42 per cent of 20- to 29-year-old Canadians live with their parents—higher than ever. Today, the Edmonton Journal points out that booming Alberta is bucking the trend. In Lloydminster, just 20 per cent live at home. In Fort McMurray, it’s 22 per cent. Compare that to economically-depressed Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. and Cornerbrook, N.L., where the number of 20-somethings at home is—yikes—52 per cent.
3. Universum asked 7,234 Canadian post-secondary students where they want to work after graduation. In the top 100 list, Apple is #1 (duh), Google is #2 (obviously), the Government of Canada is #3 (not surprising if you know anything about their pensions), #4 is the Bank of Canada, #5 is Microsoft and #6 is Royal Bank. My benevolent employer, Rogers, is a respectable #40.
See who’s rocking Queen’s, SAIT, Montreal, Dal and The Peg
Next week music snobs from across the country will gather to decide which of five shortlisted Canadian albums deserves the prestigious Polaris Prize, an award that honours musical achievement regardless of genre or sales. While the gala is limited to jurors, media, and the bands themselves, there’s no shortage of gigs across the country for the average campus music snob to celebrate with. Here are five shows students won’t want to miss this week, including one from a two-time Polaris nominee, The Weeknd.
1. Fresh off the release of their Siren Spell EP, east coast pop-rockers Two Hours Traffic are teaming up with Toronto’s Great Bloomers, who just released their second full-length, Distant Fires. They play Queen’s Sept. 27. Ticket info here.
Before he was a pop star, he was student at Guelph
Young Canadians everywhere have butterflies in their stomachs as they pack to head off to university for the first time. If they’re at all normal, they’re scared to mess up the opportunity.
That’s why First Year Survivor is gathering advice from Canadians who were in that same boat not long ago, but who swallowed their fears, went to their classes, graduated and then thrived.
Earlier, Megan Leslie shared her list of five things she wishes she’d known in first year. Today, John O’Regan, the basketball and Bowie-influenced singer known as Diamond Rings, offers five things he wishes he’d known before starting his Studio Art degree at the University of Guelph in 2003.
1. Join a club or team. It’s not cool to do nothing. Pick something you’re interested in and get involved. You’ll meet tons of new people and just might find you’ve got some hidden talent.
An angry model, Prof. Bambaataa, Quebec football politics
1. A burglar broke into Steve Jobs’ house in California and stole the late Apple co-founder’s wallet, jewelry and computers. The thief was tracked down after he turned on a stolen iPad which broadcast his location. Not too smart.
2. A recent Columbia University graduate and model in New York is suing Volvo, Hertz and the Ford Models agency for $23-million because of a photo she didn’t want used. “It looks like something you’d see in the old yellow pages directories under escort services,” said her lawyer.
3. Pop star Rich Aucoin is shooting a video on August 20 and 21 at the Halifax CBC building. It will tell the story of Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. Aucoin’s Facebook page says they’re looking for extras to play “stewardesses, California girls and a ton on background for crowd scenes.”