Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Creative Commons Christmas - Day Three

Ho Ho Ho!  Another round of Creative Commons Christmas music.  I've been a bit busy with work (who knew the Christmas season would be so busy?), but luckily I had this saved for a rainy (or snowy) day.

https://www.jamendo.com/album/170343/my-favorite-christmas-guitar-songs

This album is full of guitar instrumentals of Christmas songs.  If you're looking for some non-vocal music to fill the air, this is a good place to start!

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

#110 - Battle For The Net


This is a short episode today - one that comes to you on "Break The Internet Day".  There's only one song in the show - the rest is me talking very briefly about protecting Net Neutrality.

As a Canadian I don't have a direct voice in this fight, but if you're in the US, you might!  Instead of listening to me talk about it, there are a couple of podcasts on the issue that say it much better.

Almost Educational - Episode 147 - "FCC Me"

Plus Two Comedy - "Break the Internet and Save Net Neutrality"

Track you heard today:
Louis Lingg and the Bombs - Occupy Everything

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Creative Commons Christmas - Day Two

Hope you're having a good week!  From US artist Explosive Ear Candy, I bring you this poppy single "Christmas All The Time". 

It was a real treat to listen to - it fits right in there with some of the bouncier holiday songs out there. 

Here's a little bit about Explosive Ear Candy:

Explosive Ear Candy is the brainchild of the muse-infested mind of L.A based songwriter Tal More. It features explosively infectious Rock, Pop and other furry animals- ranging from the purely fun to the more artistic and deep. If you enjoy the music, please support EEC and help it record more songs by buying the music at: ExplosiveEarCandy.bandcamp.com. If you're interested in licensing a song please shoot an e-mail to ExplosiveEarCandy (at) gmail.com with the details and your budget. If you're into artistic, moody and "singer-songwritery" type material, be sure to also check out Tal's other project- The Quiet Revolution (TheQuietRevolution.com).

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Creative Commons Christmas - Day One

Welcome to "A Creative Commons Christmas"!  By now (and probably even earlier) you've been listening to plenty of Christmas music as you go about your daily lives - we're outside of the ratings periods so there are many stations that just go all out and switch to 100% Christmas music.  I know of a couple near where I live, anyway. 

So how about some Christmas music from the Creative Commons world?  That's where A Creative Commons Christmas comes in.  I don't have anything grand planned - I will just share some of the cool Christmas or Holiday-themed songs that I find licensed under Creative Commons. 

First up is "The Xmas Split", a 2016 single released on Blocsonic from Donnie Ozone and The Impossebuls.  It features "Christmas Shopping at the Dollar Store" by Donnie Ozone, and "Do You Know...?" by The Impossebulls. 

Check it out and add it to your holiday playlists!

The Xmas Split

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Figures In Motion - Confusion Will Pass

Figures In Motion - Confusion Will Pass
Searching for a new album to write about, I tuned into Jamendo's Indie radio station.  I'm not sure how exactly they put this thing together - from what I can tell, it plays songs tagged as "indie" back-to-back like a radio station; you can't skip ahead or go back to hear previous songs.  So if you hear something you like, you'd better click on it.

One of the songs that came up was Curled Up by French indie band Figures In Motion.  It's off of their debut album Confusion Will Pass, which was released in 2014.

Confusion Will Pass is the first full-length album of Figures in Motion. It was entirely written, recorded and produced at home. Mastered by Jeff Ferrand (WooDBox Studio).
 This album was a treat to listen to.  It truly lives up to the "indie" tag, though touches down into pop and alternative on a few tracks.  Overall, I heard some heavy Coldplay influences - the lead vocalist Mickaël Menu sounds a lot like Chris Martin - mixed with Radiohead.  Not surprisingly, Radiohead is listed first among their main influences (others include Sigur Rós and Aphex Twin).  The sound of the band is predominantly electronic, but there are some acoustic touches as well, with a lot of piano.

I couldn't really key in on the lyrics - it was hard for me to figure out what they were singing about.  Granted, I was working while listening, but Menu's singing style made it hard to pick out distinct words and I found it hard to decipher any meaning behind the music.  That said, the instrumentation is fantastic and was what drew me to the album in the first place.  I just wish I could have picked out more of the words.

Figures In Motion - Cycle EP
From what I can see, there aren't any new albums from Figures In Motion available on Jamendo.  I checked out their website and was disappointed to find that they have a "farewell" message posted; I'm not sure when they disbanded, but it looks like it might have been a while now, and "Confusion Will Pass" is their only full-length album.  If you want to check out some of their other work, you'll have to make do with their 2011 EP, Cycle.  That one opens with a track that just screams "Radiohead".

Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday Roundup

Hope Americans are having a great Thanksgiving week, and everyone else is having an all-around great Friday.  Keeping things simple this week; I've got a list of tracks for you to check out.  In no particular order, here they are!

  • Serena Foster - "Show Me The Way" - This was another submission by email; Serena Foster apparently had a bit of a re-invention in 2016, leading her to this EDM-influenced pop sound.  She's had music featured in American Horror Story, Ink Master, and The Flash.  This track has a nice catchy beat - this was released as a new single this past Tuesday.  Have a look at her other stuff at http://www.serenafoster.com!
  • Ralph Castelli - "Good Morning" - If you're playing "One of these things is not like the other", you're a winner if you picked "Good Morning".  Very light indie track - the title matches the feel of the song quite well.
  • Wordsmith - "The Statement" - Wordsmith is right.  Great hip hop track with mind-bendingly fast lyrics.  I still haven't caught everything in the song after several listens.  Very talented artist.
  • The Madpix Project - "Moments" - Title track of one of their recent releases, this one is more good pop.  It's actually somewhat similar to Serena Foster's track, just slightly more beat-oriented.  They have many more albums on Jamendo if you're interested.
  • Duo Teslar - "Universal Funk" - Pretty much as advertised.  This is some solid funk music and is fun to listen to. 
  • We Were Cheerleaders - "Alchemy" - I find it hard to go wrong with a little bit of hard rock.  This is heavily blues-influenced, mixed with a little bit of metal.  Mostly blues.  I love that these guys are from France but sound so rooted in the southern rock scene.
  • Scream Inc - "Higher And Higher" and "I'll Be The One" - No - that second track is NOT a Backstreet Boys cover.  From the name I would have expected a "Scream-o" band but that's not quite what they are.  About as hard rock as We Were Cheerleaders, but they have some sort of weird sound combination of Rush and Avenged Sevenfold.  I probably wouldn't listen to these guys a lot but interesting enough for the weekend.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

SIDDHI KID - Savage

My taste in music must be in a state of flux; lately I've been really tuned into electronic / dance songs with a good beat.  Enter SIDDHI KID (http://www.siddhikid.com), an electronic group fronted by Brayden Pierce.

From the press kit:
Unleashing a wild blend of electronica/dance and ghost-pop, SIDDHI KID peers into the duality between man’s emotions and primal urges that define our very nature. Perceivably human, but not so far from animalistic. Conjuring a wild and free infectious dance groove, Siddhi Kid delves into the deepest recesses of our mind with “Savage” where we have the urge to go wild and savage, but forced to remain within the constraints of society.

SIDDHI KID, fronted by Brayden Pierce, derives from the ancient Sanskrit word “siddhi,” meaning “supernatural powers attained from spiritual enlightenment through meditation” and “Kid,” a Felini-inspired reminder to “never lose your childish enthusiasm.” His upcoming album, Animalism, is a visual and aural journey playing on the question of what defines us as humans? With influences and blends from artists such as Daft Punk, Chromeo and Prince, SIDDHI KID delivers an infectious production that pulls from Dance/Electronic and Future Rn’B, peppered with house influences throughout.

So I thought this track was really good.  The beat is catchy and the accompanying video (which you can see on Youtube) is pretty fun to watch.  It features what looks like archival footage of monkeys playing various music instruments with some trippy transitions.  I particularly like the monkey wearing the sombrero and glasses, by the way.

I consider "Savage" to be a fairly short track, compared to similar songs in the genre.  I appreciate that, because if there's one thing that I generally don't like, it's a 10 minute track.  That's not to say that ALL 10+ minute songs are bad, but there's only so much repetition I can handle.  There's not much repetition going on in this song; that is, it feels fairly fresh for the entire 4 minutes.  I didn't feel tired listening to it - in fact, the opposite.

I wouldn't say that the song is "energetic", exactly, but I really love the driving beats behind it.  I feel like it would fit very well on a playlist to help me make a night time drive and keep me alert and motivated.  That's where I see this song playing for me - in the car, at night, driving a long-ish distance.

A quick note about the accompanying artwork (at the top of the blog post) - it completely matches the sound of the song.  You can see the "savage" animals in the picture, at the same time it's kind of trippy and funky looking.  That's the best way I can describe it.  Either way, it's a piece of artwork that would entice me to have a listen!

Definitely recommend it, and you can check it out in a few places:


There are no affiliate links in this post.  The track & video came from a submission to altairwaves@gmail.com.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Urban Canals - Night Walks

Colour me surprised today!  I wasn't planning on posting anything (poor planning, there are tons of things to write about when it comes to music and Halloween!), but I got a surprise Bandcamp notification email letting me know that Urban Canals has a new EP out today!

For me, Urban Canals was last seen 2 years ago on podcast episode #85, where I played their track "Generations".  Urban Canals is also Alex Hindriks, who I wrote about a few weeks ago.



This new album - called Night Walks - is not exactly Halloween themed except for name alone.  There are a couple of tracks that you could probably stretch into that theme: "Harmless Monster" and "Sabretooth".  The EP itself has a light pop / indie vibe.

It's a short but enjoyable listen - I think the standout track for me is "City Breaks".  It's a great musical arrangement, and the vocals are fantastic too.  "Down the Street" is great as well - it slows you down from the more upbeat "City Breaks" and sort of guides you through the song.  I don't think I'm explaining it very well, so I'll stop rambling there.  Can you tell I didn't plan this out ahead of time?

The album closes out with a heavier track, "House of Cards".  So I think the Night Walks EP gives you a wide array of musical styles and you can walk away from the experience satisfied. 

Hope you enjoy it!  Happy Halloween!


Monday, October 30, 2017

Mainstream Monday: What are you streaming?

Rather than putting the spotlight on a specific artist, I figured I would write a little about where I listen to mainstream music.  Simply put, pretty much everywhere. 

I tend to listen to SiriusXM's Alt Nation the most.  More often than not I find that Alt Nation has new music well ahead of most radio stations that play the same type of music.  I really like the personalities on Alt Nation too.  They don't usually say very much - they're very generic when they have talking breaks - but they have good voices and every now and then they have some entertaining stories.  Mostly though I come back for the music - though I find extended listening periods tend to mean a lot of repetition in music, which has turned me off several songs now. 

I used to listen to an Ottawa station, Live 88.5, with the Radio Player app.  However lately I've been enjoying Sonic out of Edmonton, Alberta.  Sonic seems to play more of the newer songs that Alt Nation plays, but also sprinkles in older alternative songs.  The personalities on Sonic are much better than on Alt Nation.  I wish I had this station on a local preset but at least now with RadioPlayer it's convenient enough to tune in. 

After that, I play individual songs via Spotify.  Sometimes it's music based on what I've heard on the above sources, but Spotify does a really good job of curating playlists (the Daily Mixes, New Release Radar, and Your Discover Weekly are pretty great).  Generally though, if I'm on Spotify, I'm probably playing music I've listened to before and re-discovering old favourites.  Sometimes I will throw Spotify's algorithms a wild card and play something like Johnny Cash live from San Quentin. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Madelyniris - Adventures (2014)

I found this indie / electronic / pop album while researching music for episode 109 of the podcast.  I first heard her track, "Leave and Never Look Back", and thought it was a fantastic synth-based pop track.  I listened to it WAY more than the other tracks on the podcast. 

So I followed the trail - clicked through Jamendo and found her EP, "Adventures".  Leave and Never Look Back was the opening track, but I was slightly disappointed to find that the rest of the album didn't have quite the same feel.  Don't get me wrong - I still liked the album as a whole. 

It's a little slow moving, but that's not something I hold against it.  All of the songs apart from the opening track have the same sort of sound design to it, but they all share a driving base rhythm that move the songs forward.  Madelyniris' voice sounds really good too, and you can tell that there isn't much, if any, processing on her voice. 

I wish I could find something more recent to share, but "Adventures" appears to be the only album of any length.  You can check out her other work on her Bandcamp page if you're interested.  Here's hoping that she is working on something new as I type!

Friday, October 20, 2017

#109 - New Tracks + Gord Downie

Brand new episode!  Featuring many Canadians, a few new tracks, and I forgot what episode I was recording.  It's definitely 109.  The songs picked in today's show were picked somewhat with Tragically Hip music in mind, in honour of Gord Downie's passing Wednesday October 18th.



Track list:
1. Plastic Light Factory - Robyn
2. The Ladies Of - Deep Possession
3. Not From Georgia - Highway 84
4. Plants - Luminance
5. Madelyniris - Never Look Back
6. Arrow & Olive - Whiskey Woman
7. Mercury and the Architects - The Wolf
8. Stunts - Tragically Hip Hop 
9. Ralph Castelli - Good Morning
10. Lower Loveday - I'd Do Anything You Wanted
11. Rogerthat - Lucky Day
12. Alex Cohen - Good Old Times
13. The Happy Somethings - Happy On My Own


Interested in a good representation of the Tragically Hip's music?  Consider getting a copy of Yer Favourites, a best-of as voted by fans of the band.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Live Show Alert: The Split

I love The Split - such a great band, from my local area too.  This is just a quick post to let you know that they have a concert coming up, in Wakefield, QC!  Check out the details via Facebook.  The concert is Friday, November 10th.

If you want to hear their music, go to their website!  http://www.thesplitsoulmusic.com.  I played one of their songs on episode #90.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mainstream Monday - Beck "Colors"

Welcome to the first edition of "Mainstream Monday"!  While the blog focuses primarily on music released under a Creative Commons license, I also don't live under a rock.  Mainstream Monday is just a quick listing of what I'm listening to in the world of popular music.

Right now it is most definitely NOT Portugal. The Man.  Well, not "Feel It Still" anyway.  I loved that song when it first came out on the Alternative radio stations (for the record, the station I listen to the most lately is Sirius XM's Alt Nation), but it's almost everywhere now.  I hear it on the local KiSS FM station here, which is basically Top 40.  I'm still liking Live In the Moment.

Do you ever feel like you can't listen to some songs anymore because they cross over?  Luckily I'm not there yet with Imagine Dragons, though they're not getting near as much airplay as Feel It Still.

What I'm most excited is a new album from Beck, "Colors".  I'm listening to it right now, as I type it.  I like it a lot.  It's got a good alternative feel, but is also somewhat light.  The one downside is that it sounds like a lot of his previous work of late.  That's not really a bad thing I guess, just that it doesn't feel like it's entirely new.  More like a continuation.  My least favourite track though is "Wow", which I heard last year...not really a fan.



What's got your attention?


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ghosts of Invention - Galactic Shadows



Ghosts of Invention - Galactic Shadows Release date: October 5, 2017

"Synthwave" is not exactly the most-listened-to category of music in my playback history, nor am I big fan of electronic music in general.  But friend of the blog/podcast Alex Hindriks (you might remember him from Alternative Airwaves #94) sent along a link to a new 7-track concept album featuring some cool, spacey electronic music.  I found myself liking it a lot!

Hindriks, creating the music as Ghosts of Invention, describes the album on his BandCamp page:

This record is a collection of sounds and tunes that remind me of what it would be like to travel through space. In a way, this is a concept album; with most songs having a constant, non-melodic soundscape filling in the space behind them. I started writing this record shortly after David Bowie passed away; which was also around the time I was watching a lot of films based in space.

I happened to read the description first before listening, and I'm glad I did, because I found that it informed my listening experience quite a bit.  I think GoI does a great job re-creating that "travelling through space" feel and you can easily lose yourself in the music.  I was actually recently listening to a few other 80's-inspired synth music (the Stranger Things soundtrack chiefly among others) and this lines up quite well with them. 

I first listened through the album while at work, and I thought it did a great job at moving me through the work I was doing. 

I highly recommend checking out "Galactic Shadows", especially if spacey synth music is your thing.

Note: there is a link to the Stranger Things soundtrack on Amazon; at the moment, there are no affiliate links on this blog.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Return of the Blog

Hey everyone!  Hope you are all well.  As mentioned earlier this week, I've been making some background changes that affect mostly the podcast feed, but also some minor tweaks to previous posts.

The background changes were that I switched podcast hosts; this past Wednesday I fixed ALL of the links (except for Episode 7 - that one is missing!  If you have a downloaded version, get in touch with me!), so everything should be working.  This also means that finally, ALL regular episodes are back on the feed.  I didn't re-upload any Weekly Airwaves, if those links are broken, they're staying broken.

I also have some exciting changes in the FOREGROUND for you!  I used to blog regularly about creative commons music (and other CC topics, too) but faded away in favour of just doing the podcast.  Well, I'm starting to find I have less time to produce a show all the time, but I'm re-gaining my interest in blogging.

Starting next week, you'll start to see a return of regular blog posts on www.alternativeairwaves.com.  I no longer send my podcast feed through the blog - I use Pinecast for that now.  You can find that feed at https://pinecast.com/feed/alternative-airwaves (I'll make a more friendly link for that soon).  But since my feed isn't exactly complete - you can only find episodes 79 through 107 right now, plus a handful of earlier shows from 6+ years ago - I'm not going to leave you without podcasts entirely!

I still plan on recording new shows - hopefully that will become easier with various changes on my end that I plan on doing for curating.  But I will likely be recording less often.  My original plan was to pick out some of the shows not available on the feed anymore, but since I fixed that, I've pooched my own plans already.  I'll come up with something good, I'm sure.

I might start things a little slow - at least once a week - but you never know what kind of groove I might fall into.  Thanks for listening & reading!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Background Changes

Hi everyone,

I'm going to be making some background changes to the website & podcast in the next little while.  You shouldn't see any changes on the RSS feed - though that likely will be changing - but for a short while the streaming links on the individual blog posts might be broken. 

There are also other changes on the horizon - more on that soon!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Gord Downie's Secret Path

This review originally appeared on my personal blog.  You can read it there: http://noformatblog.ca/2017/04/13/gord-downies-secret-path/ 


Gord Downie's Secret Path
Secret Path is an adult alternative album from Gord Downie (lead singer of The Tragically Hip), released in October 2016.  It was released with an accompanying graphic novel, as well as an animated made-for-TV film that aired on CBC in the same month.  You can read more about the production background of the album on Wikipedia.
Secret Path tells the story of an Anishnaabe boy named Chanie Wenjack, from Marten Falls First Nation, who died in 1966 while trying to return home.  He was escaping from an Indian Residential School.  All of the proceeds from this album and book are being donated to the University of Manitoba's National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation project.
* - Note - the above paragraph was paraphrased slightly and partially copied verbatim from the Wikipedia article I linked to.
As a preface to this review, I want to say that I'm not a "strong" music reviewer.  When it comes to music, I don't dive deep.  I know what sounds I like, and occasionally lyrics stand out to me.  Usually when I listen to an album, I don't really look into the details about it beforehand.
However going into Secret Path, I was at least peripherally aware of the subject matter.  I knew that it dealt with an aboriginal boy who died in the 1960s, but didn't really explore it much further than that.  It was always one of those "Oh I'd like to listen / read that, but maybe later" kind of things.
That really influenced my listening to this album.  I tried to focus on the lyrics when I listened to the album, but personally I have a hard time doing that.  For me, music is more about the overall sound and like I said, I don't normally pinpoint on what's being said (with a few exceptions here and there).
Knowing the subject matter, the album gave me a distinct atmospheric feeling.  Overall, the album gave me a feeling of being alone.  The first couple of tracks start out on a bit of a positive note - Chanie sets out to escape the residential school, and looking forward to going home.  But the rest of the album gradually descends into a gloomy tone, as Chanie faces increasing hardships.
Most of the instruments on the album are guitar and piano.  I think what really helps create this mental image is Downie's voice, which is best described on this album as strained at times and haunting.  Everything fits together so well to tell this story.
In a way though, I think I should have listened to this album while reading the accompanying graphic novel.  I definitely will still pick it up and read it, but I think it would have helped me even more in understanding what was going on in the music.
Still, the album is technically very well done.  And I think that it does exactly what it sets out to do: tell the story of Chanie Wenjack and his ill-fated journey home.  You're not going to hear these songs on the radio, and that's OK.  That's not what this is meant to be.  In one sense, it's a bit of a disappointment that it might not get widespread mainstream attention (though I contend that since its release, it's received a LOT of mainstream reviews, so it has received attention); but on the other hand, I appreciate that this project wasn't undertaken with commercial success as the first thought.
I read a Pitchfork review of the album that Downie was approached by Broken Social Scene member Kevin Drew to record an album, and that Downie didn't have any material - but he was writing about Chanie.  I don't know why, but I get the idea of this tragedy nagging away at Gord Downie until he could get it out to the world.
I definitely recommend listening to the album, and I hope you follow my example by picking up the graphic novel and read that, too.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

#104 - Wingin' It 2017 Edition

Every now and then I like to just throw a podcast together without putting a ton of work into it.  I already had the playlist, but I decided I didn't want to do the research today.  So here you go!  A very eclectic mix of tracks, grouped in no particular order.  Hope you enjoy it!  If you like the podcast, consider supporting it by joining the Patreon campaign!



Track List

  1. Derwald - Berlino
  2. Nuns of the Tundra - Robot Love (Single Verison)
  3. Mickey Blue - Give Yourself Away (Produced by Benstar)
  4. Strangezero - Burnin Star
  5. Brady Harris - Welcome Me Back
  6. The Madpix Project - When the Sun Goes Down
  7. Matt Confusion - Pride
  8. The Artisans Beats - Finally Find
  9. Jekk - Survive
  10. Nicolas Falcon - My Island
  11. The Green Duck - On the Rise
  12. Doc Aquatic - All Timer
  13. Alexander Mack - Sharp Dressed (Prod. Alex Mack)

Friday, February 3, 2017

#FridayPlaylist - Alt-Rock Country-Ish

You may or may not have seen some of my tweets last night; I was able to see Brad Paisley in concert.  His band really likes Star Wars, I discovered.  I can get behind that.

I've been hearing some good rock tunes as well on Alt Nation (Sirius XM).

With that in mind.  I put together a playlist that was going to be more of a mix between indie rock and country, but ended up being more country-leaning.  You can listen to it via Spotify, here: https://play.spotify.com/user/wlgrs/playlist/3p1fNzQ3WQD8VliUcmkymp


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

#103 - Songs You Missed in 2016

Back to the "grind" - I've had a long time off from the podcast and work, but settling back into routine.  As per usual, this is the yearly look back at the tracks I overlooked from the previous year.  Some good stuff to be found!  Additional links below.  Also be sure to check out Brickabrack's album Irrelevant Thoughts on Band Camp!


Playlist


Links: