Thursday, April 29, 2010

# 36 There is only one John Lennon

I know I have already done the Beatles but I just think that I also have to mention the enormous impact that this man has had on my life. This man was killed two years before I was born and yet he has influenced my life in countless ways with his humour, his music and his message. One of the things John Lennon taught me was that you can be a hero to others while still being a flawed individual. John was deeply troubled all of his life and towards the end he was finally beginning to rise above his own character flaws and you could see on his face that he was finally becoming at peace with himself.

From the earliest of my days, I can remember Beatles music and John in particular. This was possibly because he was the fave Beatle of our household. My parents also had his books of writing and as a small child I loved watching the Beatles movies, Yellow Submarine in particular. He has always seemed to me to be the max level of coolness. His music with the Beatles and his solo material afterward have remained my absolute favorite music of all time throughout my life. His message and life have inspired me throughout my own journey in this world.

Of his solo work I would have to say that Imagine is my fave. It is so consistent and has infinite listening pleasure to be derived from it. With songs such as 'Crippled Inside' and 'How Do You Sleep At Night', not to mention 'Imagine' you have to admit the brilliance of his work on this, his second solo album after splitting from the Beatles. It is so important in the history of rock and in the world of music in general that even 30 years after his death, people are buying his records by the millions.

For your listening pleasure I include some of my fave Lennon tracks of all time both in the Beatles and in his solo career. ENJOY!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

#35... Retrowaxing with Kid Koala

Whenever I start thinking to myself that there are no DJ's out there that I appreciate, I remind myself that there is always Kid Koala. After growing up in Vancouver, BC, Eric San moved to Montreal where he began to record under the name Kid Koala as a DJ and Turntabilist. He is well known for his enigmatic style of turntabilism which uses an unusual collection of samples. He has been known to frequently use samples of music from archaic television specials, old comedy sketch routines (including those which mock turntablism) and people reading a menu in Cantonese.

When Jon More (co-owner of famed UK record label Ninja Tune) came to visit Montreal in 1995, Eric's innovative and humourous mix tape "Scratchcratchratchatch" ended up playing on the car stereo. Shortly thereafter, Eric, now Kid Koala, became Ninja Tune's first North American signing.

A short time later, Kid Koala released a string of remixes and began touring his new material across North America with fellow Ninja Tune artists such as Coldcut, DJ Food and DJ Vadim. But it was not long before his skill, innovation, and performance style led him to attract attention from those outside the club community. In 1998, he received an invitation to join Money Mark's band, and then went on the road to open for the Beastie Boys on their "Hello Nasty" world tour.

In February of 2000, Ninja Tune released Kid Koala's first full album "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome". The album received great praise and was featured in the international press for having defied expectation. The album was accompanied by both a video game and 32-page comic illustrated by Kid Koala himself. A tour featuring 6 turntables and live musicians soon followed and took the young artist throughout North America and Europe.

But while he was on the road, new projects were brewing. Kid Koala continued to keep himself busy on his downtime with the help of pencil and paper. Many sketch books later, his first book Nufonia Must Fall was published in March of 2003 by ECW Press. This 350-page illustrated love story about an out-of-work robot and a workaholic girl was accompanied by a 'soundtrack' of short record of original, experimental piano-based compositions. The original music and his characters set the stage for a North American tour of intimate, sit-down venues, during which Kid Koala lay his fingers down not only on the turntables, but on the Wurlitzer- and on the remote control of an old slide projector.

Here is my fave album by Kid Koala! Enjoy

The Yukon Blonde

This trio of musicians from Kelowna, BC moved to Vancouver last year to write their new album. The change of scenery and the life changes that came along with the move to BC's big center have really shaken things up for these three rockers. The Yukon Blonde are Jeff Innes (Guitar, Vocals), Brandon Scott (Guitar, Vocals) and Graham Jones (Drums, Vocals). The sound they are crafting is a mix of harmonies, poetic lyrics and tight, rocking instrumentation. At first listen, they sound like a mix of Fleet Foxes, The Shins, and Oasis. In this golden age of indie rock, this seems to be a recipe for guaranteed success. Their vocal harmonies come quite close to those of the foxes and their songs definitely have catchy beats and memorable guitar hooks. The lyrics are focused and upbeat with a touch of sunday afternoon melancholy that touches everyone in Vancouver on a rainy spring day in that gorgeous city.

Their first full album (the self titled Yukon Blonde) just came out here in Canada in February and the boys have been out on the road since then. Tour plans are being formulated for a massive Canada wide tour as well as forays south to America over the next year. This album is quite good for a debut record. I first heard of them when I was over at my mum's house listening to the new Vancouver rock radio station The Shore (104.3fm). They played the song 'Wind Blows' and I was instantly caught by how I thought their sound was reminiscent of CSNY or the Byrds crossed with a more updated, indie rock sound. The comparison to the Shins is easily audible when you check out their stuff. Stand out tracks for me on this record are 'Loyal Man' (which I think is the most classic rock sounding track and has an awesome chorus is quite catchy) and 'Wind Blows', which is fantastic and has vocal harmonies that seek to rival the Fleet Foxes. Perhaps my overall fave track on the album is 'Babies don't like Blue any more'. It is a totally rocking track that hits you with a nostalgia rock feeling in a similar way to how the music of Sam Roberts gets you grooving. It is a rocking track and the instrumentation is fun and tightly put together. Included for your listening pleasure is the album! check their stuff out, I think this is going to be a new addition to the blog. We are adding playlists for every article so I can share more music because that is what this is all about really. Sorry I have been absent this last week I have been quite under the weather. I am back with a vengeance now though so look out for a ton more articles coming soon!


Thursday, April 8, 2010


Sorry all, I have been down with a truly awful case of the flu for the last week. Stay tuned for a ton more blogs asap

Thursday, April 1, 2010

This weeks playlist

Check out this weeks playlist!

Included is a live version of breakdown which I think is my fave version and shows how awesome Tom Petty is live!

#34 The Man In Black... Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash is a singer-songwriter,guitarist, actor and author who is known as one of the most influential forces upon music who have ever lived. In his career that spanned nearly fifty years, Cash has explored nearly every musical genre that there is. His music blurred the lines between early rock and roll and country and paved the way for later generations of musicians. Although his career has primarily been known for country and folk, he has written and performed material that expands into rockabilly and rock and roll in ways that no one before him had attempted and he was doing so right from the beginning.

With his deep baritone voice, his increasingly sombre and humble demeanour along with his reputation for giving free concerts in prisons and his choice to always perform in black created the mystique about Johnny Cash that eventually led him to become known as '
The Man In Black'. Johnny himself addressed the nick name in a song stating 'Ah I'd love to wear a rainbow every day, and tell the world everything's ok, but I'll try to carry off a little of the darkness on my back, Till things are brighter, I'm the man in black.' This persona continued throughout his career and in fact became more pronounced in later years. His music towards the end of his career echoed themes of sorrow, moral tribulation and redemption.

Over the years Johnny Cash has worked with a vast number of musicians which have resulted in some golden musical results. On December 4th, 1956 Cash was present for an event that music history remembers as 'The Million Dollar Quartet'. This session, which began totally by chance, included Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Sam Phillips the owner of sun records saw the opportunity and quickly started recording. The resulting session was one of the most unique recordings in music history. All of the participants were singing and playing to try and compliment the others and as a result you can hardly hear Cash as his trademark baritone vocals are gone as he tries to increase his vocal pitch to better match Elvis's. Later in his career, Cash was instrumental in forming the super group '
The Highway Men' with fellow country stars Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. In the ten years they were active (1985-1995) they released three albums and earned a number one hit with their single 'Highwayman'. As a group, they were pretty much responsible for the creation of the 'Outlaw Country' genre.

For me, Cash is the country outlaw, this mythical figure of music that is so prolific his career is almost unbelievable. Johnny Cash
IS country in my opinion and he does it with such style and class that most country acts never attain in my opinion. Songs like 'Folsom Prison Blues', and 'I Walk the Line' are fantastic examples of Cash's work. His musical rebel side comes out in songs like 'Cocaine Blues' and 'Man in Black'. This rebellious image helped him in later years to break through to the younger audiences and fans of indie and alt rock. This popularity increased with the release of his 'American' series of albums that he began releasing shortly before his death and have continued to be released posthumously. There is an awesome box set of his unreleased sessions from the American series called Cash Unearthed. I highly recommend that one as it is really awesome and incredibly well put together. The American series, produced by Rick Rubin is one of the finest collaborations I have head in recent memory and it really sparked a renewed interest in Cash for me. He is definitely more then just a country singer, and in fact he has been inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his genre blending music. Check him out if you haven't really given him much of a chance before, I think you will enjoy it.

This is a great video. It is Johnny Cash performing his cover of 'Hurt' by Nine Inch Nails. The video shows Cash mere months before his death and is shot to be a reflection of his life and career. I think its really awesome and would love to know what you think about it.