Category Archives: Music

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YouTube Takes On Myspace

Image from hkham.wordpress.com

MySpace hasn’t been doing too well lately, which might be why News Corp chairman Ruper Murdoch has reportedly put it up for sale for $700 million, but it can still claim itself to be the leading social networking site for music. We’ll see how long that lasts.

YouTube is expected to announce on Wednesday March 17, 2010 that it will be diving head first into the music game with a new program dubbed Musicians Wanted.

The Google-owned video site currently has an ad revenue-sharing program, but up until now it has only been with artists who are already signed to a major label. With the introduction of this new program, Youtube will offer revenue-sharing to any and all independent artists.

For an already struggling Myspace, this is not good news.

For any of the many struggling musicians, this is great.

– Alexa P Gray

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Born Ruffians, meet me by the ocean?

In an attempt to salvage my Canadian Music Week experience, I decided to venture out on a Sunday night to see the Born Ruffians play at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto. I crossed my fingers that this time the rain would hold off and there wouldn’t be a line. Eager to end the five-day festival off in a good mood, I was off.

Luckily, the Phoenix is a cavernous space, able to hold a much larger crowd then the previous venues I’d been to. The front half was crammed with the all-ages kids who were evidently much more familiar with the Born Ruffians than I. As soon as the second opening band, the Young Rival, had finished their set, they started chanting, “Ruffians, Ruffians, Ruffians!”

Image from MySpace.com

What’s so great about these guys, anyway? I’d only just tuned into their MySpace page earlier that day and they seemed like your typical indie band. Then the lead singer stepped out into the spotlight. Oh, okay, I get it. So Luke LaLonde is good looking (and one of the first clean-shaven musicians I’d seen all festival). He can make his voice do a lot of fun, tricky little things reminding me of a mix between Vampire Weekend and Bedouin Soundclash. A good thing, in my books, but as a friend pointed out, it’s not new.

Image from Born Ruffians fan page, Facebook

Sure, the Born Ruffians might not be breaking new sound, but they definitely got the Sunday night crowd rocking; the kids at the front jumping and clapping in unison, the older folk in the back nodding appreciatively while sipping beer.

Their music does start to get repetitive, however. After awhile it all seemed to blend into one long continuous song rather than many separate ones. But once I closed my eyes, all I could think was, the Born Ruffians are made to be on a summer playlist.

I look forward to meeting them again somewhere, hopefully next time, it’ll be near the ocean.

-Otiena Ellwand

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New LCD Soundsystem song

Image from pitchfork.com

Impatiently waiting for the new LCD Soundsystem album to come out? Then we have some temporary relief. The group released a new song in partnership with YSL used during the debut of the YSL Fall/Winter 2010 collection. A weird mix? Surely. A good song? You decide.The song, “Beginning of the Heartbreak,” is a re-incarnation and LCD interpretation of a ‘70s track by Peter Gordon & Love of Life Orchestra.

The track fits undeniably well the sway of the models hips as they trot down the runway in their motif–a modern take on ’50s women’s fashion.

Take a listen a few times, get excited, the full album will be released May 18, 2010.

– Tim Morse

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Canadian artists ‘wave a flag’ for Haiti

When a group of artists like Avril Lavigne, DRAKE, Justin Bieber, Broken Social Scene and K’Naan get together to collaborate, you’re never quite sure what the outcome will be. Especially when those artists music happens to range from pop, rap, to experimental jamming.

But when you hear those artists and more than 50 other of Canada’s most talented young musicians singing “Wavin’ Flag”, a song written by Somali-Canadian hip-hop artist, K’Naan, the result is a goose-bump inducing anthem. The song’s lyrics were adapted for good reason— all of the proceeds raised from the song, sold digitally for $1.29, will be going to recovery efforts in Haiti. It is currently the top selling track on iTunes.

“With the wealth of young artists coming out of Canada, it was obvious that this is something we had to do,” wrote Bob Ezrin, the song’s producer on the Young Artists for Haiti Facebook page. “K’Naan’s lyrics in Wavin’ Flag embody the pain, passion and determination of the Haitian people and lend the hope of a brighter future. The response from the artists has been sensational, and I am so proud that together we may help to make a difference.”

Image from: youngartistsforhaiti.net

-Otiena Ellwand

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Ok Go, the viral video music machine!

In Grade 6 science class we built a Rube Goldberg machine. The trick was to achieve a simple task, like getting a ball from Point A to Point B, in a very complex way, using mostly chain reactions.

The band Ok Go, famous for their Grammy award-winning treadmill video “Here it Goes Again”, has spawned another viral video for their new song, “This Too Shall Pass”. This time, the band got help from the engineering company, Syyn Labs, to assist them in twisting their upbeat music with technology to create the ultimate Rube Goldberg music machine.

As the tempo picks up, a piano is dropped and shatters, a shopping cart spills all of its contents, rainbow flags make you think of Feist’s hit music video 1,2,3,4 for all it’s colourful cheer. It’s a winning science fair project turned wacky art experiment, using every possible garage and attic item found. Then, SMASH, a hammer hits a T.V. playing their famous treadmill video, in tune with the lyrics, “Let go of the old, this too shall pass” (Ok Go, what are you trying to tell us?). It even includes a car, and one of the band members flying into a stack of cardboard boxes as one part of the chain reaction. Black umbrellas are raining from the sky, yellow balls are bouncing all over the place, colourful paper airplanes are zooming from the ceiling and a bunch of silver garbage bins have toppled over. It’s chaotic, but somehow systematic, it’s brilliant. It ends with the band members being splattered with more paint and all of the engineers who worked on the project cheering from the loft above. Woah! I click ‘replay’, there were a few things I missed.

It took several months to build the machine that is featured in their four-minute long music video. To make the project even more challenging, the machine had to be built on a shoestring budget, span two floors of an old warehouse in Los Angeles, and, of course, be in sync with the song’s beats and lyrics.

The video had its world premiere on YouTube on March 1st and has already had well over 2 million views. More awards to come? We think so.

-Otiena Ellwand

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Gorillaz pre-release album

Image from gorillaz.com

The cartoon video masters have come back after five long years away with an album that’s mind blowing.

Plastic Beach is set to release on March 8, 2010, but rather than make fans wait, Gorillaz decided to pre-release it on The Guardian. That’s right, the whole album.

Start to finish, this album’s a gem. They really outdid themselves with a new sound, both creative and modern, and of course there are big name collaborations.

They brought back De La Soul and added in Mos Def, Kano, Snoop Dogg, classic rock moguls Mick Jones and Paul Simonon from the Clash and Lou Reed.

It would be hard to imagine Jones, Simonon and Reed in a Gorillaz setting, but the collab somehow works.

What Plastic Beach does is take the Gorillaz sound to a new level by taking influence from the many genres that have surfaced in the past few years and giving it their spin. They bring back the funky, spacey, electro and British sound they’ve become known for and make it into a new and vibrant entity.

This album is the perfect lead-up to their upcoming Coachella performance and hopefully a world tour.

By the way, they just made a music video with Bruce Willis.

Click here to watch it.

– Tim Morse

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