Posted tagged ‘independent music’

Short of Able proves that winning takes time

2011/04/28

These days, a lot of importance is put on “the instant.” For inst…example, Twitter gives you instant access to Charlie Sheen. Facebook gives you up-to-date status updates from that kid you went to junior high school with…Even though you didn’t really like him and haven’t talked to him in about ten years. And of course, you’ve also got the instant music celebrities – and all that really takes is singing a song about the order the days of the week come in.

It’s getting rather rare to see musicians take their time, but that’s exactly what the gang from Short of Able have done. Their new album, Far Away and Out of Sight, was written and recorded over a ten month period. Coincidentally, it has ten songs. Just by using basic math, it is evident this LP wasn’t done in a hurry; the band was taking their time to do things right, and to learn.

Short of Able

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Happy Birthday to Sub Pop – April Fools to Everyone Else!

2011/04/01

So they did it on April 1st so it could be called a joke if they failed, but really they were serious. Today is the anniversary of the day Sub Pop Records officially opened its office doors, way back in 1988. With a knack for self-deprecation, the independent label also had a talent for combining innovation, timing, and marketability – not only for its bands, but for the label itself.

Sub Pop developed a unique image based around hype that became the straw that broke the camel’s back – that is, if you can call the wall that was blocking underground musicians from having mainstream success in the United States a camel – and thereby caused a major shift in American glamour. Nevermind the make-up and leather outfits, here’s the flannel.

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Here Comes the Sun, part II

2010/12/19

You know, you’re right to say that Sam Phillips sure recorded a lot of good black and white artists down in Memphis in the 1950s.

The Fantastic Four

BUT – how the heck did he do it? What happened to musicians having to go to major music industry centres like Los Angeles or New York to get a start on their recording careers? For example, didn’t Ray Charles have to leave Seattle in just 1950 for California to get going on what would eventually culminate in Jamie Foxx getting famous and Kayne West shamelessly ripping him off?

The thing of it was, there were big changes to recording technology following World War II. And when an innovator like Sam Phillips came along to seize on untapped talent that was the Memphis region’s musicians, well, the rest is history.

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F&M wear their hearts on their album sleeve

2010/11/16

When people finish graduate work in history, they usually get a job at a university…or a library…or heck,  they could just write a blog. But every so often, or at least this once – a history graduate will use the topic of their thesis to help inform their own songwriting and performing. It helps, of course, when the subject of your thesis was a Soviet rockstar.

It’s New Album Release Day again, and F&M are back with a new album today called Sincerely, F&M. I know what you’re wondering and yes – it comes with its very own winelist.

I sat down in Internetland with F&M frontlady (and history graduate) Rebecca Anderson to ask her about the new album, touring across Canada, and a guy that she learned about back in the USSR.

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Making the World Safe for Punk Rock

2010/11/11

doa_talk_action_=_0Before Blink 182, Nirvana, Rancid, Green Day, Pennywise, NOFX,  or the Offspring, there was D.O.A.

Before bands and the wider independent music community created a network that enabled bands to survive on the road and (almost) make money, there was D.O.A.

Before it was trendy for musicians to support environmental causes because it could increase their own popularity, there was D.O.A.

Before the Iron Curtain fell and bands didn’t play in Eastern Europe, there was D.O.A.

Joey “Shithead” Keithley

On the frontlines of punk rock since the late 1970s, the Vancouver band D.O.A. has been playing music, touring the world, supporting political causes, and developing alternative cultural institutions….mostly all out of a broken down van. D.O.A. has gone through many changes over the years, but the one person that has stayed steadfast, loyal and true is Joey “Shithead” Keithley. Not only that, but he’s written a book.

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Choose Your Own Wool on Wolves Adventure!

2010/11/09

To begin, please sing the following words to the tune of “Sweet Jane” by the Velvet Underground.

Tom, he is a family man, and Kevin…he’s a Jack of all Trades. Brody, he’s a really good question, and Gord, he’s a geophysi…cist. Huh. Eric, well he’s satisfied…and, you know, overprescribed…

[skip a few bars of the song here]

…and when they come home from work…

…They’re Wool on Wolves. And they’ve got a new album out. Today. Tuesday 9 November 2010. Oh, and if you haven’t already – you can stop singing the song now, cheers.

I sat down with Wool on Wolves in the real world to ask ’em about what it’s like being part of the Edmonton music milieu, finding a fine balance, and of course…what they like about music… 

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Innovative Research Methods 101

2010/11/06

When you’re doing historical research, you can be pretty rest assured of a few things:

1) You’re going to have to read a lot of books.
2) You’re going to have to spend a lot of time in the library.
3) You’re going to have to spend a lot of time in the archive (this is different from the library, but only slightly).
4) You’re going to have to forgo any sort of social interaction for long periods of time.  

 Sometimes, though, depending on your topic, you have to get creative with your methodology. Such was the case when Joey “Shithead” Keithley played an afternoon gig at the Black Dog in Edmonton. The frontman for the seminal Vancouver punk band D.O.A., Keithley was a major part of the punk milieu during the 1980s (and ever since). So in the name of historical understanding, I had to put down my book, venture out of the library, and walk past the archive and head to the pub. Once there I had to order a pint from the barman, sit down in front of the stage, and utilize the handy coasters on the table to carry out my important research.

This was the result:

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Live at the Hattery, with Will Fournier & Friends

2010/10/28

So as we’ve already discussed, Tuesday is New Album Release Day. Since today is Thursday, that means all the new albums for the week should have been out for two days then…right?

Well let me go ahead and change everything you ever thought you knew with one word: NO.

Today, Thursday 28 October 2010, is the official release day of Will Fournier & Friends’ new album, Live at the Hattery. 

(…that being the case, the album actually went up on itunes yesterday, but that still isn’t Tuesday, now is it?)

 Will Fournier himself sat down with me in Internetland to answer some questions about music, making the album, and what the heck a hattery is.

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After the Goldrush, the August Arrival

2010/10/27

Before you read any further go look at a globe. First, lock your eyes on the world’s belt, the equator. Now, look up – waaaayyy up. Past Drugwarland. Past Canada’s Bow-tie and into America’s Hat. Keep going up – a little left…wait…no, don’t go all the way into Alaska…you don’t have the eyesight necessary to see the Russians coming…ok stop! Look around, you should be in the Yukon, in or near the city of Whitehorse.

If you aren’t in Whitehorse, sorry I think you’re lost – but don’t worry cause somebody should find you before the abominable snowman does. If you are in Whitehorse, you’re in luck because the place seems to have quite the thriving music milieu. I sat down in Internetland with members of the band the August Arrival to find out more about the music, people, and of course the weather in the Great White North.

The story of the August Arrival began in the usual, normal way bands get together: In a tent.  

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Down at the Crossroads

2010/10/21

Ian Stewart

Growing up in Red Deer Alberta you can be certain of 3 things:

1– Anywhere you stand in town you can see three liquor stores. 

2– Anywhere you stand in town you can see three huge trucks. 

3– Anywhere you stand in town you can see three people Ian Stewart taught how to play guitar.

An immensely important and influential musician and teacher in the Red Deer music milieu, Ian Stewart picked up his guitar and headed down to Michigan – the land of Motown, the MC5 and Iggy Pop and the Stooges. I sat down with Stewart in Internetland to discuss what it was like changing locations after being a regional fixture in Alberta for so long, and of course from there the conversation naturally goes from Eric Clapton to the heart of the economic recession.  

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