Thursday, December 23, 2010

St. Isidore Sound Experience

As promised, a link to a Cool Album.  For today, I've got the St. Isidore Sound Experience, who are from St. Isidore, Alberta.  I had never heard of St. Isidore before - either the city or the band.  Their album is called 1966.

Here's their description of the album:
Music inspired by the soul of the 1960s.

I would have preferred some lyrics to go with the instrumentals, but as it stands, they definitely met their goal of producing soul-inspired music.  Very enjoyable.  You can get it from Jamendo here:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

#17 - Slightly Less Embarassing

Last Saturday night I made myself a nice cup of coffee with eggnog (I swear, there was no rum involved) and settled in to do what looks to be my last podcast of 2010.  Things are just going to be too busy in the next couple of weeks, though I MAY end up doing a surprise 'cast next week if I get the free time.  You just never know!

I have an announcement to make about a podcast coming up in January 2011, but I'll save that for a separate blog post.

 There were some nice highlights this episode, including a really cool MJ cover.  Here's the playlist.

  1. HoboTwang - Alone in the House
  2. She Swings, She Sways - What I Wouldn't Do [NOTE: I learned just now that this band broke up]
  3. Paper Tiger - Sandy
  4. Josh Woodward - Revolution Now
  5. Joey Kneiser - Bruised Ribs
  6. The Transisters - JB is Dead
  7. Loudspeaker Alliance - Revolt
  8. Jens Wennberg - Tux
  9. InAshton - Will You Be There
And backing music was provided by James Edwards.

I said I would do a "Creative Commons News" recap on the blog, but that feature is really quickly turning into new CC releases (which is OKAY).  Here are some quick stuff I pulled from various sources.

  • XYZ by DJ Leq - It's just a single, consisting of the original mix and a shorter version.  Kinda catchy!  Just released today.
  • 2010 by Hypnotic Crow - Another dance album, this one is also just plain catchy.  It's a full-length album that consists of mainly electronic-based music.  While it was released today, it is apparently a compilation of older unreleased tracks by Hypnotic Crow.
  • Intercontinental Music Lab Goes to War - Intercontinental Music Lab - The name's a mouthful, but the music from this UK outfit is pretty good.  I'm not sure how I'd tag it - it's a mix between pop, punk, rock, and alternative rock.  I guess "alternative rock" is the best fit here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Upcoming Podcast - #17

My last post was December 1st?  Really?  I'm very sorry about that, but I have been busy getting new music for the next podcast.  I have a cool track lined up for you - it's a cover and it's by InAshton.  That's all I'll say for now.

I was thinking of possibly breaking out the saxaphone for another Christmas tune, but I don't think I have enough time for that.  Also, this way if I do end up finding time to do it, it'll be an awesome surprise for everybody!

I will probably start working on the podcast tonight, though I don't know if I'll be able to finish it or if it'll have to be a two-night thing.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

#16 - Never Again

I recorded episode 16 of the podcast last night, but only got around to uploading it this morning.  So, that's also why the blog post is late.  Anyway, the title thankfully does not refer to "I'm never again doing this podcast" but more so "I'm never again singing on the podcast" but you know what they say in An American Tale, never say never!

Side note: I got to 50k this year in NaNoWriMo!  Read about it on my other blog, here.

  Running time is I think 27:40.  A bit short because one of the songs wouldn't play.

Track listing
  1. NanowaR - Stormlord of Power
  2. Convicted Killer Scientists - Mas Hypochondria
  3. Ghune- First Project / Wanderings
  4. Girl Talk - Make Me Wanna
  5. The Dead Rocks - Nicotine (played during Creative Commons News segment)
  6. Liam Stewart - Sixteen Words (did not play due to unknown error, but thought I'd link to it anyway)
  7. The Very Sexuals - Wrecked This Century
  8. Fatblueman - Fat Blue Christmas Swing Medley
  9. Stephen Gower - Jingle Bells (Horrible Version)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Upcoming Podcast - #16

I thought I might get into a habit of posting pre-podcast updates, as the last couple of them have led to me doing a podcast shortly thereafter.  I'm still plugging away at NaNoWriMo but I think I'm going to need a break this weekend just to rest my hand (I'm handwriting, you see).

I have a few tracks in particular I want to play - specifically, some new Girl Talk.  I also plan on getting into a festive spirit, so you can look forward to some Holiday-themed music.  There's also a special track that I would love to play for you, but I have to check to see if I still have it (or if it is lost forever - I hope not).

There is a possibility I'll have this done on Friday as I have a day off and will probably procrastinate from writing.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

#15 - 20lb Sounds

Finally, another episode of Alternative Airwaves!  I've been pretty busy with NaNoWriMo this month, but I found time this evening to get a podcast recorded.  I even did some writing while I was putting the show together!  All in all, a successful evening.

Track listing:
  1. Bella Ruse - Complicated Rhythm (from their upcoming album out December 13)
  2. Sonic Real Estate - Rocking in a Free World (live acoustic track)
  3. Dan Lynch - Nano Song
  4. 20lb Sounds - Redemption Song (excellent Bob Marley cover)
  5. The Moose Jaw Twins - Fly
  6. Jens Wennberg - Welcome to 1984 (from the album of the same name)
  7. Chuck D - No Meaning No
And here are some links from the headlines...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Quick Update

Still working away on podcast #15.  Sort of working, anyway; the concept I had originally planned is not going to work out, as there is audio I need that I cannot find at the moment.  I will keep trying to track down what I'm looking for, and hopefully I can get that concept off the ground!

In the meantime, I have a lot of other music to choose from, so as soon as I get a spare moment (I am currently participating in National Novel Writing Month, so most of my creative energy is going toward writing.  I would probably welcome a break from writing though!), I'll put something together.

There's another "feature" of sorts I'm going to try incorporating, and I think because of its nature it will work a lot better than any of the other hair-brained ideas I've tried so far.

See you in a little bit!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Upcoming Podcast #15

I haven't posted since the last podcast so I thought I would update everyone on the next podcast, which should be done..."soon".  For the record, I'm NOT doing a Halloween-related podcast, because I haven't got the time to track down CC-licensed Halloween tunes.  I do have a few though, so I'll link them at the end of this post later.

Anyway a couple notes after listening back to the last podcast - obviously the "topic of discussion" thing didn't work too well.  I may or may not revisit that.  Maybe if I can get a co-host it might be better.  I think I'm also going to just stop soliciting comments because no one leaves 'em anyway.  A call out to the blog URL and e-mail address will do from here on.

Here's some Halloween-related music (and, it turns out, I could find enough to make a whole podcast):

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

#14 - Beards

My apologies for the very delayed Blog post for the latest podcast.  You see, I've been quite busy at work, and there was a wedding I went to, and...well I was busy.  But it's been up on iTunes for just under a week now, so maybe you might like some links to the artists I mentioned?

That's about it!  Don't forget to leave a comment about BEARDS.  Because they're awesome.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Oh, Technology. So Imperfect.

I mentioned two things on Twitter recently.  The first was that I found some awesome music for the next podcast, which I will have to wait to record until next week (too busy this week + will be away from the Alternative Airwaves studios this weekend).  The second was that I wanted to listen to some new music (I did another inbox purge and downloaded a LOT of new stuff) but iTunes was giving me the old "unknown error" and wouldn't sync my iPod before I left for work this morning.

Oh technology, you're so imperfect.  But I view that as a good thing, because it prevents you from taking over the world and enslaving the human race (or outright killing us).

I was sent details of a new initiative from Creative Commons - this time the folks over at CC are asking you to become a CC Superhero.  You might have noticed the button at the side of the blog, which takes you to a donation link.


I still have a few more unread items in the inbox to go through, so I thought that instead of hiding them away for the podcast I'd share one or two.
That about clears out my inbox for sure.  Now I must avoid finding any more links before I listen to the new stuff I downloaded.  Watch me shake my fist Galvatron-style at iTunes.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Circa Vitae

I was thinking of doing a podcast this week but a cold has put those plans aside.  I don't think I can even breathe right let alone put on my "radio voice".  So here's a pretty cool album I found while browsing through the Pop tag on

Band/Artist: Circa Vitae
Album: Circa Vitae EP (2008)

Quick Profile of the band
The band hails from Eugene (I assume that's in Oregon?), in the USA.  The name "Circa Vitae" apparently translates to "About Life", according to the band's biography.  Circa Vitae is made up of Britt Brady and Wesley Curtis on guitar, Thaddeus Moore (great name!) on drums, Nate Beveridge on bass, and Anna Ponto on vocals.  Brady also lends vocals to the songs.

What's it like?
Pretty cool!  As you might imagine from finding it with a "Pop" tag, it is a lighter-toned album.  It has that "indie" sound characterstic to a lot of younger bands, but with a streak of experimentation as well.  It's not catchy in the sense that I don't find myself wanting to hum along to it like a good pop album should, but it still sounds good.

I recommend it if you're looking for something light, but still want to dabble in a little music experimentation.  This album has all of that, plus the vocals are really good (they've definitely done well with the male/female lead vocal pairing).

Friday, September 17, 2010

#13 - Canadians

I finally did a podcast on time!  It's been a while since I've done that.  Note that by "on time" I mean "I announced publicly I was going it Friday night, and I completed it."  So here it is!  The theme this time around was "Canadians" - all artists featured in the podcast are Canadian.

  1. The Rest - The Short Night-Strangers on a Train
  2. The Rest - A New Pair of Jeans [Acid Wash Mix]
  3. Going Commando - Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots
  4. Joey and the Instapunks - Zoombie
  5. ARCTIC - War of Ideas (Live at Zaphod's)
  6. Sweet Mother Logic - David Copperfield
  7. The Pop Winds - Owl Eyes

Podcast tonight + Live Radio Stream

Just thought I'd write up a little note here.  I've got Alternative Airwaves #13 lined up, I am planning on recording in the Alternative Airwaves Studio (read: my house) tonight.  The delay really has been just getting around to downloading the music from the various sources (Jamendo,, etc.).  Everything is ready to go now!

Also, I'm toying with the idea of setting up a radio stream.  I'm looking into several options, including hosting it myself, and the idea would basically be that I would broadcast all the free, legal music I've acquired over the months I've been doing this blog/podcast.  Occasionally I would interject with a live show, which would become the podcast.

I've looked into a few options for accomplishing this, but maybe somebody has specific suggestions?  Let me know!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sweet, Sweet Logic

I'm not normally one for instrumental music, but Sweet Mother Logic has coloured me impressed.

I discovered them thanks to a Jamendo user's excellent Canadian artist playlist (over 200 tracks!  Browse through it, you will have fun); they seemed like they had some cool looking cover art, so I clicked out of curiosity.  What a great group!

They mix everything under the sun: string instruments, guitar, drums...any instrument you can think of, it's probably there.  Well, maybe there's no kazoo.  It's not in a classical style either - the songs are pretty rocking for the most part.  I first listened to their EP, The Ascension Island EP, to see if I could stomach what was tagged an experimental styled album.

I really liked it, so took the plunge into their self-titled album Sweet Mother Logic and had a lot of fun listening while I worked.  Whoever is behind SML, they are really talented.  The only reason I'm not devoting a podcast to these guys is because the tracks are a little too long for a 30-45 minute episode.

But I definitely recommend checking out Sweet Mother Logic.  You won't be disappointed.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Emptying the Inbox

I frequently send myself links to music to listen to and then never get around to listening to it.  This leads to a ton of music piling up in the it's time to empty it!  I've got at least 25 things to go through, which I've pared down to 4 artists that I think really make the cut (i.e. I would play them in my podcast).

  1. Duck - Logical Fallacy - I would classify this as hip hop / dance.  I'm not entirely sure, but one thing is certain: the music has a fun beat.  I probably would save this for a night at the gym.  Or if you like this kind of music, you could probably enjoy it any time.
  2. The Pop Winds - Understory EP and The Turquiose - Now this is music more up my alley.  A little bit of rock tinge to an otherwise pop group.  If you were to describe something as having an "indie" sound, this would be it.  The group hails from Montreal as well, so they're obviously taking a lot from the Canadian Indie scene.  They most definitely sound like a lot of other indie bands out there, but that's not a bad thing because I found it enjoyable.  There's a bit of an 80s feel because of the heavy synth use, too.
  3. I Am the Devil - Killers, Thieves and Liars - At a couple points this group reminded me of Japandroids, where they had a bit of a grungy sound on the guitars.  Cool EP to listen to.
  4. The Choosy Beggars - Choosy Beggars - This album has some sweet, blues-y soul sounds.  I can see myself listening to this out in the shade on a hammock reading a good book.  From the album art it looks like it should be some sort of country or southern rock album, but it's nothing of the sort.  Great great great album.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Neat Playlist

This isn't about free music (well, some of it may be free somewhere, I don't know), but I crafted a playlist that turned out quite well!  So I wanted to share it.  In the interest of full disclosure, though, I should mention that it was actually Apple's Genius Playlist feature on my iPod that crafted this playlist.  But I picked the first song, and the songs on the ipod - doesn't that count for anything??

1. Tragically Hip - Blow at High Dough
2. Sam Roberts - Where Have All The Good People Gone?
3. Metric - Poster of a Girl
4. Joel Plaskett Emergency - Fashionable People
5. Barenaked Ladies - Call and Answer
6. Hawksley Workman - Striptease
7. Stars - Take Me To the Riot
8. Joel Plaskett - Nowhere With You (CBC 3 session)
9. Kreesha Turner - Bounce With Me
10. Sam Roberts - Them Kids
11. TragicallY Hip - New Orleans is Sinking
12. Metric - Dead Disco
13. White Stripes - Rag and Bone
14. Barenaked Ladies - Falling for the First Time
15. Hawksley Workman - We Will Still Need a Song
16. David Bowie - Blue Jean
17. Weezer - Hash Pipe
18. Joel Plaskett Emergency - Drunk Teenagers
19. Sam Roberts - Brother Down
20. The Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)
21. Stars - My Favourite Book
22. Metric-  Gimme Sympathy
23. Tragically Hip - Courage (for Hugh Maclennan)
24. Barenaked Ladies-  Too Little Too Late
25. Kreesha Turner - Don't Call Me Baby

I would probably take out the Kreesha Turner songs, and Bowie, as those tracks seem to be the odd ones out.  But overall I think it's a pretty good playlist!  What do you think?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

#12 - Hip Hop Show

I probably could have come up with a more clever name, but I didn't.  Here's the track listing along with links to applicable download pages.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Quick Update

I've been a bit quiet lately - sorry about that!  This is really just an update to say that I have a podcast complete (just needs slight editing), but I've been delayed in releasing it due to my computers at home being majorly uncooperative.

I'm working on all that tonight though.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Some More Good Hip Hop

I was going to put together a podcast last night of some great hip hop music, but I ran out of time (I biked home and got stuck in the rain, so I also wasn't really in the mood).  I thought I'd find some more hip hop music to fill up the podcast for when I actually get to it - here's one of the artists I found on

TabLiv: The Vermont Tapes by Tab

Here's the description straight from Jamendo:
TabLiv is a semi-concept album created by Tab {Dead Poets} & Tone Liv {Green Llamas}. The album is focused around a road trip to Vermont, but it also has a very nostalgic feel to it. Tab handled most of the production with a few beats from {Dibiase,Vincent Price & A.U.R.C} sprinkled in to keep it interesting. The Vermont Tapes is definately a feel good summer record but it still has that raw 90's underground NY hip-hop vibe. Influences from everywhere {Sublime,Wu-Tang, A Tribe Called Quest} can be heard throughout these 13 tracks.
My favourite so far is Morning Star, because of the awesome Ghost Busters rap in the middle.  The beats are also quite good throughout the album, and the raps are solid.  I would definitely listen to this again.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Screamo

Fight Your Evil Side, by To Leave a Trace

Instead of creating a Friday Playlist, I decided to see if I could find someone else’s playlist to highlight. Instead I checked out the featured artist for today, the aforementioned Fight Your Evil Side. Here are my thoughts.

First impressions: Before I even hit “play”, I was impressed by the album art. It looks professionally done, and is kind of neat. It features some demon-skeleton-type things from the ground pulling what I guess is an angelic figure by the leg. The tags for this album are: “rock, emocore, alternative, screamo, metalcore”. So already I’m picturing a less refined Alexisonfire.

Actual impressions: Screamo is definitely the most appropriate tag for this group – not my favourite genre of music, but the instrumentation behind it is really good. I appreciated the quieter moments of this Ukraine group when the singer actually sang “properly”. Going back to my first impressions, they do remind me quite a bit of Alexisonfire, my only previous experience in screamo listening.

There are some quieter songs too, that aren’t full of screaming. I appreciate these ones a lot more, because it’s easier to listen to (for me, anyway). Did I mention I don’t generally enjoy screamo?

The thing about this kind of music is I don’t know what they’re singing about, so I’m not sure if there are any messages in the songs beyond reading into the titles of the songs. And in this case, I don’t glean too much from them.

Overall: If you can get past the screaming, or if you enjoy the screaming, you’ll find a band that is quite talented and sound really good.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Acoustic Indie Folk

While browsing Twitter I noticed that @BellaRuse said their song, "The Heart of Everyone", is going to be on a new TV show in the fall called Next Stop for Charlie.  I couldn't find any info about that show but I think that's great news for a great band :)

I thought of a similar Canadian band that I found on Jamendo that I enjoy, The Wind Whistles.  I went looking to see if there was anything new online, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that they have a second album out entitled Animals Are People Too.  You can buy that for any price between $6 and $9 (the price model on their store is kind of neat, actually).

Currently I'm listening to an interesting album: Fo(u)r Colors by Abscondo.  So far, it sounds good and right up my alley.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Unofficial Hiatus

Sorry for the long delay since the last post - and subsequently, for a lack of a podcast - but I've been busy and in need of doing some thinking about this blog.  It's a long story but the short version is: I was going to stop doing it, but now I'm going to continue in a limited capacity.

Here, to make up for going so long without giving you any free music, I offer this:

Alphatier by The Jimmy Hofer Band

It's some hard rock from Linz, Austria.  It's pretty intense!  Not hardcore, though.

Next podcast is still going to feature hip hop, especially considering the new release from Just Plain Ant.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Solutions for Streaming Jamendo on the Blackberry?

I used to be able to stream Jamendo albums on my Blackberry, but since upgrading the operating system to v5, I haven't been able to.

I know that there isn't a Jamendo application for the Blackberry (there is one for the iPhone - which makes it even more tempting...), but I was wondering if anyone knew of any workarounds to get Jamendo working again?  I have no problems streaming stuff like CBC Radio 3 or even the local campus station, CKCU.

I've had this problem for a while, I just haven't found a solution yet.  Any help would be fantastic!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Technology is Awesome

This isn't really a music post, I just wanted to reflect on how great we have it with technology.

Think back to the 80s and 90s.  And I mean early 90s.  The future was still far away; sure we had cell phones, but they looked more like bricks than today's phones, which are visibly similar to TNG's PADD devices.  We were all still dreaming about flying cars and information at our fingertips.

Fast forward to today: we have portable devices that not only allow us to talk to one another, but ostensibly replace the desktop (and even laptop) computer.  Information - while sometimes unreliable - IS at our fingertips, mere seconds away.  The only thing we're missing from living in The Next Generation are combination touch-screen & voice activated controls - and even those aren't far off.

I think what's really cool is that we can so easily take one of these devices and stream virtually any music we want, whenever we want.  It's just really awesome.

Friday, August 6, 2010

No Playlist

I haven't done up a proper playlist this week, and I'm going to go with the easy out: it's an experimental feature that I was trying out.  So there ;)

Uh let's I have anything else?  Not really, other than next week's podcast will likely be hip-hop heavy, so there might be some explicit language.  Just a warning for those who don't like that kind of stuff.

What do you think of the Friday Playlist anyway?  Did you like it?  Find cool music you didn't know about before?  Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Storm Means Time For Southern Rock?

I put up a link to Glossary before, so you may recognize the name.  A Truer Sound has a bootleg of a live show they did.  The caution here is that the sound quality is low, but the showmanship is high.  Check it out - I haven't had the chance, but will do so when I can.  They're a great band, so it's probably worth a listen.

Glossary via A Truer Sound

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Episode 11 has a funky soul groove going for it - thanks to the featured artist, SOULED OUT and their No Name Funk EP.  It is currently available on iTunes but you can also download it directly here if you don't use that particular program.

Track Listing:
SOULED OUT - No Name Funk EP
JAMES JR - Let's Stay Together

Here's the translated portion from Souled Out's website that I read (and I stress it's improperly translated from German):
Ingredients, such as the tight rhythm section, horns, and fat are to be understood by itself is refined the whole thing with a strong vocal part and surprising arrangements and interpretations.  Detailed recipe follows.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Long Weekend Playlist

It's a long weekend in Canada!  Most of Canada, anyway.  It's known as the Civic Holiday here in Ontario; it's also known as "We Just Wanted Another Long Weekend in the Summer".  Personally I'll be heading to a friends' cottage and relaxing.

Here's a playlist for the long weekend - it's a little short, because I didn't have as much time this week to work on it.  I started it off with some reggae/ska music, and it eventually turned into some really nice soul.  Enjoy!

Long Weekend Tunes

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ASCAP: We Misinform

Perhaps that title is a little mean-spirited.  Just by a smidgen.  I think it's well-deserved though, especially considering the latest letter that makes this debate seem like an argument on a web forum.  I was going to post a follow-up to my own opinion pieces to help clarify the position of Creative Commons / Free Culture, but I felt Lawrence Lessig did that just fine on his own.  And now we have this to contend with.

Here's a quick summary:
  • ASCAP said that "copyleft" advocates are trying to undermine copyright, and asked for donations to eliminate the Free Culture Movement
  • The Free Culture Movement collectively fired back and pointed out that the purpose of most Creative Commons Licenses is to allow people to use other works without mountains of red tape.  Case in point, this podcast is only alive because of music deemed "podsafe"; if I were to shoot a documentary, I would be able to use music by a wide variety of artists because of their generosity without having to get permission from some corporation.
  • Lawrence Lessig challeneged ASCAP's President Paul Williams to an open debate, in part to try and clear the air.
  • Williams has now said that attempts are being made to silence him by "copyleft" proponents.
This situation is just downright nutty.  Anyway my stance is now this: I respect ASCAP's position in that it simply wants to protect its artists and members.  However, the organization is grossly misinformed when it comes to the core purpose behind the Free Culture movement, and is acting accordingly (read: like a big baby).  I think a healthy debate would have saved Paul Williams from looking like an absolute dick.  Maybe he should talk to Wil Wheaton?

Monday, July 26, 2010


Sometimes I ask myself why I even have an Internet connection at home.  I find I'm usually completely disconnected from it: on weekends, I barely touch my computers, and that's usually the same after work on weeknights.  I have my Blackberry for e-mails, facebook, and twitter, so when you break it down, there's really no need for me to hang on to the Internet at home.  But then I wouldn't have any way of uploading my podcast, would I?

As a result of this disconnection though, I usually am scrambling Monday mornings to catch up on a few missed e-mails, emptying out my Google Reader (which can have hundreds of new articles show up in one day, let alone a whole weekend), so on and so forth.  It makes it difficult to keep posting new music!  So I decided today that I'd do a lazy search and find something self-referential.  Or at least, perform a self-referential search: I plugged in "Jamendo" in the search box on

I came up with this: Jamendo 4 the World: Free Music.  I have no idea what it is, or who is responsible for it.  I'm just listening to it now, and it just looks like a mix tape thrown up on Jamendo.  It actually sounds pretty neat, from the first track.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Playlist: I Like to Dance

Today marks the first "official" Friday Playlist!  I decided to put together a little electro/dance playlist for your listening pleasure - be sure to crank it up on the way to the club!

My starting point was Kellee Maize's Future Remix from her album Aligned Archetype, available on Jamendo.  I had avoided her for a long time - I'm not sure why - but my buddy Mike recommended her, so I thought I'd give it a chance.  It's some great stuff, so if you like my selection check out the entire album.

Check out this week's playlist!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bi-Polar Bear - Today I Found Happy

Bi-Polar Bear - Today I Found Happy posts a lot of great free music - some of it I've already discovered on my own, but usually they find some cool stuff before I do.  Read the full review on FrostClick for more details about this Hip-Hop duo, but be sure to listen.  The lyrics are explicit though, so shield any innocent ears necessary.

The album is really good - and it's not just because I've been in the mood for some good Hip-Hop lately.  There are numerous samples on this album and many of them feature some strong brass sounds.  For some reason this really appeals to me; I guess it gives it a more soulful sound, which I tend to enjoy.

You'll probably be hearing a little from them in upcoming podcasts.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Playlist: Test Edition

I believe that I've fixed the iTunes RSS feed - I haven't been able to test it, however.  I also ran it through an RSS validator, which highlighted new errors, but none that seem to affect the iTunes feed.  Critically, anyway.

So I mentioned earlier this week that I wanted to try a new feature, the Friday Playlist.  I set up a test playlist over at Jamendo, which means that if you like what you hear you can download it all!  Easy and convenient.  What I couldn't figure out is how to get a player linked on the blog, so you'll have to follow the direct link.

Listen and enjoy - The Test Playlist!

Woops! iTunes Feed Incorrect

Looks like I messed something up with my iTunes RSS feed.  I will fix it ASAP...hopefully before I go out this morning.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

#10 - Creative Commons Sampler Part 2

#10?? Really?  That's really good!  Well, this is the promised Part 2 of the Creative Commons Sampler.  There are a few rough edges in the show this time around, because I was distracted while reading about ASCAP vs Free Culture.  Yeah I think I've said enough about it, and I don't want to go there right now.

  Here's this week's playlist:

  1. The Dead Rocks - My Nurse Wanna Dance With Me
  2. This Co. - Figure it Out
  3. The Dixie Flyers - The Auctioneer
  4. Ray Wylie Hubbard - Portales
  5. Ray Wylie Hubbard with The Cowboy Twinkies - Portales
  6. The A.G.'s - Jesse's Girl
  7. Mountain Mirrors - Immortal Deadbeats
  8. Holy Cobras - Drug Store
  9. Duwende - Electrify
  10. Sean Wright - Johnny the Boxer
  11. This Co. - XX
  12. Seamen - Bullet
  13. The Dada Weatherman - My Summer Sin

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

LarG Productions - I Suck at Titles

Who: LarG Productions
What: I Suck at Titles

This album is slightly confusing in that LarG Productions is actually a record label, not the artist.  It sounds as though I Suck at Titles - a title to which I can relate - is a collaborative effort from this label based in Calgary, Alberta.  This particular album is mostly an Alt-Indie effort, though there are hints of punk in there as well.

This was just released on Jamendo just today, so it is quite fresh.  The music is interesting and easy to listen to (though it is not "easy-listening"), and the album is just 10 tracks long.  There's some cool stuff going on in the songs, and a few of the tracks remind me of the scope of bands such as Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire, or Rural Alberta Advantage.  The sound of the album probably reminds me more of BSS out of any of those three.

Check it out - it's just 30 minutes long, good for your commute to or from work.

Some More Creative Commons Reading

Remember all that kerfuffle about ASCAP claiming Creative Commons is undermining Copyright?  Well, there have been a few statements from the other side since then.  These links were forwarded to me by Jane Park, communications coordinator for Creative Commons.

Creative Commons released an official response last week: "Creative Commons Licenses are copyright licenses - plain and simple."  They go on further in the article to highlight some points about established artists still making profits while releasing their work under a Creative Commons license:

Many musicians, including acts like Nine Inch Nails, Beastie Boys, Youssou N’Dour, Tone, Curt Smith, David Byrne, Radiohead, Yunyu, Kristin Hersh, and Snoop Dogg, have used Creative Commons licenses to share with the public. These musicians aren’t looking to stop making money from their music. In fact, many of the artists who use CC licenses are also members of collecting societies, including ASCAP.

Lawrence Lessig also challenged members of ASCAP to a public debate while responding to their claims.  There are several good links in that article, and is definitely recommended reading.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Blog Feature

Hello all!  I'm back from my vacation today!  However this post was still written back on Wednesday July 7th, because the idea was fresh in my head.

I'm thinking of throwing together a new feature for the blog - the Weekly Playlist.  This is separate from the podcast, and my thinking is that it will make use of Jamendo's playlist features.  I may try it out this Friday, and see how things go.

The podcast will be up Thursday - it's produced and ready to go.  If you're resourceful enough, you can probably figure out where to find it for download before then. ;)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Brad Sucks Live

I'm on a short vacation from Thursday July 8th until Monday July 12th. I've prepared some posts in advance so that you don't miss out on the blog :)

Brad Sucks recently announced a live gig in Ottawa; check out the details on his website and a really cool looking poster.

It's at Cafe Deckuf on July 31st, at 8pm.  Cover is $10.  Unfortunately I'm going to be away on vacation on that day as well, otherwise I would check it out.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Creative Fundraising

I'm on a short vacation from Thursday July 8th until Monday July 12th. I've prepared some posts in advance so that you don't miss out on the blog :)

One of the things I really like about the Creative Commons "universe" is that artists are often really creative - both in what they produce and in how they promote their work.  Part of it is necessity, because these artists have to work extra hard to get their voice heard above mainstream music.

I Am Not Lefthanded is a band that is doing something really cool.  They're trying to raise £15,000 in order to record and release a full-length studio album.  They've been doing some neat things to raise money but this is one of the most interesting concepts I've ever seen that they just announced: "Investment Incentives".  Here are the details from their press release:

Every £1 invested gets you two tracks of the album and a share in the album sales (think stock-market) and for £5, you're pre-ordering a full copy of the album, with your name in the credits!
But for more serious investors, I Am Not Lefthanded are offering a list of thoughtful and intriguing incentives to tempt the music mogul inside you that's just itching to get out.

They've made a video pitch to persuade you to open your hearts and your wallets that you can view here:

And here's the full incentive list:

£1 - Two tracks from the album
£5 - Download copy of the album, plus your name in the credits
£10 - CD + Download
£25 - I Am Not Lefthanded T-shirt and Socks
£50 - Special Edition Box Set, including bonus acoustic CD
£100 - Signed Box Set + Live DVD + Personal Thank-you letter/video
£250 - They'll come cook you dinner, or bake you 3 different kinds of cake
£500 - They'll write a song for you, or record a cover of your favourite song
£750 - They'll play a private show for you & your friends
£1,000 - You get to sing or play on one of the album tracks, or star in one of their videos
£2,500 - You'll be involved in all decisions regarding song choice, artwork, early mixes, studio visits, merchandise etc.
£10,000 - They'll name you Executive Producer and give you 10% of all royalties, including record sales, publishing rights, soundtrack placements, comic-book adaptations and more for two years from the
date of the album launch.

If you like what you see, go support these hard-working indie-popsters:

As well as these incentives, the band are posting a Thing A Week on their website and facebook page - these range from live tracks, videos, covers, new material and other oddities.

Find out more here:

I don't think they're going to come cook for you if you don't live in the UK, but you never know - this band seems like a fun, spontaneous group.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How You Can Help Support Creative Commons

I'm on a short vacation from Thursday July 8th until Monday July 12th.  I've prepared some posts in advance so that you don't miss out on the blog :)

I just checked out the Jamendo newsletter, and they had a good little reader about the recent ASCAP vs Creative Commons thing.  Here's what they wrote (and there's a link to donate to Creative Commons at the end).

Precisions about ASCAP and Creative Commons

Recently, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) sent a fundraising letter to its members calling on them to fight “opponents” such as Creative Commons, falsely claiming that we work to undermine copyright.

In their last newsletter, Creative Commons stated that their licenses are copyright licenses -- plain and simple. CC licenses are legal tools that creators can use to offer certain usage rights to the public, while reserving other rights. Without copyright, these tools don’t work. Artists and record labels that want to make their music available to the public for certain uses, like noncommercial sharing and remixing, should consider using CC licenses. Artists and labels that want to reserve all of their copyright rights should absolutely not use CC licenses.

On Jamendo, thousands of artists use Creative Commons licenses to share their work. These musicians aren’t giving up their copyright; they’re refining their copyright’s terms, so that copyright works better for them.

You can help Creative Commons by making a donation or sending a message to support their work.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Postmen

The Postmen - The Postmen

Their name, for no reason other than similarity, reminds me of the Kevin Costner epic; they are The Postmen.  I've picked this group to write a bit about in honour of the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest, which kicked off with headliner Iron Maiden last night.

The Postmen are a blues group from Switzerland, but their style is probably closer to Blues Rock.  On some of the vocals I was reminded of The Guess Who - the lead singer's voice can be a little raspy.  This is not a bad thing, simply an observation.

Their self-titled album sounds really good, and worth the 20 minute listen.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Jens Wennberg - Welcome to 1984

Jens Wennberg - Welcome to 1984

What a hot day today!  At 7:30 it was already at least 30 degress (celsius)!  For Americans, that's 86 F.  All the news agencies are saying that with the humidity, it feels like 40-something.  I learned yesterday though that they mean that it is actually 30 degrees, but the humidity makes it feel like if it were 40 in a desert or something like that.

Anyway all that is to say that I went to Jamendo for some music to go along with this heat wave.  I wanted something light and fun, with a little summery feel.  Jamendo suggested I check out Jens Wennberg, without really telling me anything about him.  So I checked him out, and found that he was exactly what I was looking for!  The music is a little indie-rock, though I'm not entirely sure what he is singing about. I  listened to this at work, so I was concentrating mostly on doing my job rather than the lyrics.

My favourite track is Tux, though the title track, Welcome to 1984 is kind of catchy as well.  I like the cover art too, pictured above.  It has an '80s look to it, and perhaps is in part an homage to Aha's Take On Me video.  He has another album that I'm going to listen to, but Jens Wennberg has definitely earned himself a spot in my music library with this album.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Copyright Primer

On Monday I wrote a rant about ASCAP's claims that Creative Commons should be shut down.  This is a follow-up to that post; this one is a rant on copyright in general.  All sources consulted will have direct links somewhere within this post (as in the previous sentence).

There are honestly some very good things about current copyright legislation.  The number one strength of copyright is that any work put to paper/computer/canvas/wherever is automatically subjected to copyright law (provided your country is a member of the Berne Convention).  There's no need to pay for protection, nor do you need to put the little copyright symbol at the end of your work.  It's fully protected by law, and no one can touch it without your permission.

Under this free basic protection, your copyright will expire after a certain amount of time, allowing other people to build upon your original work to create something else without asking permission.  That's fantastic, except that the current term is far too long: the length of the author's life plus an additional 70 years!

Why is this significant?  Well, consider how copyright term has evolved in the US.  In 1790, a copyright would last you jusy shy of 30 years.  It was changed in 1831 to over 40 years, up to 50 in 1909, and kept on getting amended until we sit at copyright terms that can last as long as 100 years!

The biggest proponent to get these laws amended was Disney.  They needed to protect Mickey Mouse, and all their other original creations.  I will admit that it's fair that they want to protect the rights of their work so that nobody can profit from Mickey's image, or use him in inappropriate settings.  But how is this fair, when Disney's early movies were all based on public domain fairy tales?

Disney has made enormous profits by taking an existing story and making something original out of it.  Rather than returning the favour, they would rather lock down copyrights and prevent anyone from using their material - forever, if they have their way.  I'm not trying to say that everyone should have the right to create their own original Mickey Mouse cartoons.  I'm instead trying to suggest that the original intent of copyright has been blurred and distorted.

I don't have a problem with a copyright term that lasts for the life of the author - I'm even flexible enough to say that the life of the author plus 10 to 20 years is reasonable.  I think that the author definitely should be able to protect their creations and prevent others from profiting off their creativity - but after the author is dead, what use is the protection?  The current ridiculously long protection really only serves corporations like Disney, and not the individual creator.

I just have a short story to tell in conclusion, related to my post earlier this week.

My brother, a musician with an album on the way, made a comment on my post the other day about ASCAP vs Free Culture.  He said that he prefers the ability to protect his music and maintain creative control over what other people do with it (if he allows other people to use it).  His argument was that by using Creative Commons, he has no such control.  I pointed out to him that there are licenses under Creative Commons that allow you to keep control and protect your rights just the same as a copyright. 

I wasn't trying to convince him to shuck his record label and conventional copyrights, but merely to illustrate that there IS a choice and that it's important to keep that choice available.  While I have strong beliefs about all that's wrong about copyright, I recognize that in its current form it works for some people, and others not. 

Free Culture is NOT evil - it's the corporations that push to protect their copyrights solely to keep making money.  While that is their number one priority (making money), it should be everyone's focus to continue to create new and interesting things and be able to build on other people's work if necessary.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

#9 - Canada Day Podcast

Good morning everyone, and Happy Canada Day!  So far mine's been pretty great - I went to bed sick and woke up feeling fine this morning, and to discover I have some juice in the fridge that I didn't remember making.

I've had this podcast waiting in the wings for a week now, and I've been very excited to release it.  It is 100% Canadian, and features some really great artists that I found mostly on  Here's the playlist - now go out and enjoy the day!  I might find myself in downtown Ottawa today, which depends entirely on whether I feel up for biking down there.  If you're looking for some things to do today, check out this Canada Day Guide from

Monday, June 28, 2010

ASCAP vs Free Culture

I read a nasty story about ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), the American counterpart to SOCAN (The Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada).  They are claiming that Creative Commons does not believe in Artist Freedom.  I was browsing Twitter on Friday night when I read it from @blocsonic, and I was recording Part 2 of my CC Sampler at the time.  It threw me so hard that it caused some "technical difficulties" during the recording.

Before I dive into this, let me just preface my article by saying that this is a largely opinionated rant.  Any facts in the article are sourced, but it is primarily a reaction to a nutty situation.

Ever since my first year university Mass Communications class, I've been into the whole copyright debate.  My professor - who I will grant was probably a bit biased - explained how the current copyright laws have been amended over the years to actually stifle creativity under the guise of protecting artist rights.  The short of it is that because so many works are protected under copyright, artists can't build on pre-existing works and create new things.  Some would argue that just means that artists are free to create original works, but I say that you should look at a movie like Star Wars and explain to me what's original beyond the setting and names.  Everything is recycled in one form or another, it's just the packaging that is original.

So when something like Creative Commons exists, which actively promotes the free and legal sharing of creative works to create new and innovative things, I see that as a Very Good Thing.  People like Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow have the same mindset.  This blog/podcast exists on the foundation of Creative Commons sharing.  I absolutely love the "copyleft" free culture.

ASCAP, on the other hand, does not.  They see the rise of free culture as a direct threat to their business model.  And like any good corporation focused on keeping their profits healthy, they are bending facts to show that their rights and their artists' rights are being trampled on.  Let me summarize: an artist using a Creative Commons license immediately has more options at their disposal for distributing their work, and ASCAP says this is a Very Bad Thing.

Wait.  That can't be right, can it?  Actually...yes, it can.  Here's a quote from the letter from the article I linked above ("ASCAP Claiming That Creative Commons Must Be Stopped"):

At this moment, we are facing our biggest challenge ever.  Many forces including Creative Commons, Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation and technology companies with deep pockets are mobilizing to promote "Copyleft" in order to undermine our "Copyright."  They say they are advocates of consumer rights, but the truth is these groups simply do not want to pay for the use of our music.  Their mission is to spread the word that our music should be free.

Take a minute to read over that paragraph, and you'll realize just how crazy ASCAP is being.  It's a prime example of how they are bending the truth to get financial support to stop Creative Commons.  They're misrepresenting the true goal of Free Culture, which is not "to spread the word that our music should be free."  It's not about free in the literal sense of the word, it's about being free of limitations.

Just because you release your work under a Creative Commons license doesn't mean that you're not able to sell it.  While most people do give it away for free, they also provide their work for sale.  Cory Doctorow sells his novels in book stores, but also gives them away in various formats and encourages people to "remix" them.  And wasn't there a news story about how most fans paid for Radiohead's In Rainbows album, even though they could enter "$0" as the price they wanted to pay? (Edit: Yes, there was; according to, 2 out of 5 downloaders paid for the album and the band "netted $2,736,000 in digital sales."  Hardly chicken scratch.) Let's not forget about the deluxe album set they made available to purchase.  I'm sorry ASCAP, but your arguments hold no ground here.

One positive I take out of all this - which is hard, considering a major organization with a lot of power in congress is behind this ludicrousness - is that they view Free Culture as a threat.  This means that the movement has grown a lot, and more people are realizing that they don't need to put their artistry under stupidly restrictive licenses in order to protect their work.

It means that people are starting to listen to what advocates are saying about the awfulness of current copyright laws - and proposed bills too.  We have quite a ways to go yet, as evidenced by the thickness of ASCAP, but we're getting there.

What would be awesome is for those who support Creative Commons and free culture to speak up, and let everyone know that we won't stand for this kind of treatment.  Write to whomever you need, but whatever you do, make yourself heard.

Edit: I will be writing a follow-up to this.  There are a lot of thoughts I didn't put in here that I should have.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ahead of Schedule

I finished recording the Canada Day podcast on Wednesday night - a full 8 days in advance of when I wanted to release it.  It's actually uploaded -right now-, I just need to write up the blog post for it and update the RSS feed.  And then it's all ready to go!

It's really taking all my willpower not to put it out right now, because I'm really excited about it.  For the first time in a while it sounds really good, by my standards anyway.  I think part of that is because I've got my audio set up the way I want it, with keyboard shortcuts to do everything from muting the microphone to playing the next song.  I barely have to use the mouse while I have the mic on, which is more freeing than it sounds.

Also, I have plans in my head to add a second sound card to my PC - not sure how that would be beneficial to the set up of the podcast, but it sounds like a good idea in my head.  So, next podcast for me to work on will be Part 2 of the Creative Commons Sampler, which as I said is all laid out as far as what music I'm going to play.  After that we should be back to business as usual as far as featuring a particular artist is concerned.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I'm sure everyone between Toronto and Montreal knows of the Earthquake that was centered just North of Ottawa this afternoon - I'm pretty sure no one is doing any productive work anymore as a result.  I'm surprised Twitter hasn't crashed.

Anyway here's an album in celebration of the Earthquake:
The Dada Weatherman - EarthQuakes and Failed Mutations

Cool folk/rock/blues music from an artist who has a ton of albums up on Jamendo.

Lillith Fair

I thought you might be interested to know more about Lilith Fair.  You know, the fair that's all about female musicians front and centre, raising money for women's charities.  It hasn't been around since 1999, but is making a comeback this year.

Well hey, do you remember Bella Ruse?  They are one of my favourite discoveries in this journey of finding free music online, and I was pleased to read on their Twitter/Facebook stream that they are a part of Lilith Fair this year!  I think it's really awesome, especially when you consider who else is playing the festival.  There are a lot of big names on that list.

I'm not sure what dates or cities Bella Ruse is playing, but check out the Lilith Fair website for cities near you to find out who is playing when and where.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Native Folk Rock from Sean Wright

Don't tell anyone, but one of the artists I'm playing in Part 2 of my Creative Commons Sampler is Sean Wright, who has some cool stuff that seems at least partially modelled after Bob Dylan.  I don't want to give away too much about the track I'm going to play for now, but I do want to highlight a new single he's released on Jamendo.

The single, called You're Calling Mgesso Watsowsen, is a fusion of Wright's folk stylings and Makwabid, a member of the Abenaki Nation.  Makwabid is responsible for passing on the knowledge and traditions of the Abenaki language to Seven Generations.  At least, that's what Wright sent out in a private message on Jamendo.

The song is really cool, and has real power behind it.  It's available to download free, as always.

Blog Role

Haha, see what I did there?  I made a pun based on Blogger's Blog Roll :P  I grant that it wasn't a very good one.

I thought about this post for a long time before posting it; about whether I wanted to even put it up.  In the end - I made some changes to what I originally wrote.  I hate these type of posts but sometimes I need to put them out there for myself.

Here's the deal: I realize that I've been taking on way too many things since I started the podcast.  No need to list them all, but I think that's happened in part because I've been pretty good about keeping schedule with regular updates, up until recently.  Shortly after putting the podcast out I started this blog, as a companion.  The reasoning was pretty simple - I needed a place to post any notes to go along with the show, playlists, etc.

But then I wanted to add more to it to try and entice people whom I didn't know to check out the podcast.  I wanted to write up music reviews, and links, and what not.  That's a great idea - except that I am a terrible music writer.  I have tried to review a lot of different artists, and I just can't do it.  It is a limitation, and I accept it.

So what is the blog's new role in Interweb life?  In short, it's going to be about the same, but simplified.  I'm going to let it be more of a companion blog to the podcast, without trying to push it.  You'll continue to find podcast show notes when an episode is released, and occasional links to CC-licensed music I think is exceptionally good.  The only difference is that this way, I won't feel the need to continually update it and feel horrible for not doing so.  It will be in my best interests to update it on a regular basis, but the primary focus is the podcast.

I'd also like a place to put up my own random thoughts, and I'd rather throw them on this blog rather than start yet another new site (I've probably created enough websites to provide one for a small country's population).  I'm going to try some new things along the way.  One of them is writing Flash Fiction (which are stories shorter than 1000 words, not fan fiction about The Flash) on Fridays.  I don't know what else yet.

Here is the tl;dr version: I'm cutting back on my need to write regular blog updates so that I can just work on my podcast without worry.  While music and links to good music will dominate blog entries, I plan on writing about other stuff too.  I really like writing about artists and hearing back from them, so I plan to continue doing that.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Stretching Myself Too Thin

Hey all, looks like I missed my opportunities this week to get a podcast done.  I was too busy, once again.  Rest assurred the music is all lined up and ready to go, I just need to find the time to sit down and do it.

I really hope I can get it done soon, because one of the things I'd like to do is a special Canada Day podcast.  Whether or not I can do that depends on time constraints; I may skip my planned #9 podcast, save it for another week, and focus on the Canada Day podcast.

To be honest, that sounds like a spectacular plan.  Thank goodness for writing things down!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More Cover Songs? Not Quite.

I think it was a few weeks back now that I wrote a post about free cover songs.  After finding the gems that I did on Jamendo for episodes 8 and 9 (yes...there is one more coming!), I wanted to find more.  Unfortunately there is no "cover" tag, and searching for "cover song" doesn't really yield anything helpful.

With that in mind, I turned to Google.  What is the most covered song?  According to one database, it's Yesterday by The Beatles.  I plugged that word into Jamendo's search bar, hoping to find some really cool covers hanging about, waiting for someone to listen.  What I unearthed was not cover songs, but instead albums or artists containing words from the song I was looking for.  And they're not bad - here's the short list.

  • Yesterday Evening (Single) by The Wagner Logic - This pair of songs are quiet and fairly laid back.  They barely qualify as rock, as the Jamendo tags suggest, but lie more in the genre of indie folk, maybe pop.  Actually, the tone of Yesterday Evening is quite close to that of Yesterday, so I'm just a little short of shouting "Success!" on this one.  Good for quiet-time listening.
  • Yesterday by The Fumes - This one tricked me off the bat.  It almost sounded like the singer was going to launch into that iconic tune.  Still a good track though.  It's an acoustic track, and the audio quality is a little low - but it is a pretty positive tune and worth a listen.
  • Permanent Crisis by Dust River - I got this album from a search for Cry Me a River.  I think you can tell why that came up.  They're labelled as "grunge" and "garage" alternative, and that is pretty accurate.  They seem to be trying to sound like Nirvana - if that's the case, then they're doing a good job.  What's unique about them is that occasionally the singer's voice picks up a little "countrified" twang in some tracks.

Monday, June 14, 2010

#8 - CC Sampler Part 1

I finally got to do the podcast this weekend!  Life has been very busy: sudden funeral 8 hours away, a softball tourney this afternoon (B Pool Champs!!), hockey tonight...well there was a lot.  I finally finished the final mix tonight, which required very little effort thankfully.  I stumbled in a couple of places but I felt the podcast fit together well, and there was some very cool music played.  Speaking of which, here's the playlist with artist info

  1. The Dead Rocks - One Million Dollar Theme 
  2. Brad Sucks and The Hip Cola - SOS
  3. Brittani Louise Taylor - Everything's Gonna be Okay 
  4. Carbon/Silicon - Make it Alright 
  5. No, Really - Molten 
  6. Jamie Rumley - Anywhere But Here 
  7. InAshton - It's Ok...It's Ok 
  8. I Am Not Lefthanded - Boats (Swept Away) 
  9. Julandrew - It's Easy 
Part two should be coming this week - most likely to be done again on the weekend when I have some more time.  I was going to record it at the same time as Part 1, but I wasn't able to get to it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More Reviews

I would space these out, but I am taking a last minute trip up north for a funeral so I figured I'd get these posted before I go away.  Wait a sec - I'm writing this on Wednesday...maybe I will conveniently release these on Thursday!  Oh, the magic of blogging.  Incidentally, if I do a podcast this week it'll likely be on the weekend.

Mister Jingle – Et si la jeunesse…
Genre: Ska / Punk

In searching for some new music for the blog, I quickly remembered why I only occasionally listen to ska: all the bands playing the music tend to sound similar to each other. It’s really only when a band does it wrong in some way (see my last review) that puts me right off the music. Ska should make me feel simply satisfied, and pumped up.

Mister Jingle does that with their EP Et si la jeunesse…. From the title, you can tell they’re French. I am bilingual, but I usually have difficulty understanding French lyrics (especially when it’s at such a frenetic pace). So, throw lyrics right out the window when listening to this EP. They have a tight sound in place, and it doesn’t seem overdone to my ears. In short, they’re not doing anything really wrong. I will note that they have some hints of scream-o in there, but it’s not distracting. As I mentioned, there’s enough in the EP to keep me satisfied, so they get a recommendation in my book. If I had a book.

The A.G.’s – This Earth Sucks
Genre: Punk

This is one massive album up on Jamendo – it has a grand total of 34 tracks (why not 35?). It only runs 57 minutes though, so it reminded me of Sloan’s Never Hear the End of It. Oh, The A.G.’s album is called This Earth Sucks. The title kind of makes me wonder – is there another Earth they prefer? Who knows…and I thought I might gain some kind of insight from their songs, but they don’t seem to have a unified theme, other than perhaps This Earth Sucks.

The subject matter of this group varies quite a bit – from the eloquent I Like Boobs and Taking a Shit to – well, that’s about as deep as they seem to get, to be honest. Those songs are about exactly what you think they’re about. The album is sort of like a trainwreck – I felt compelled to keep listening, no matter how horrible it seems.

I’m not sure that I necessarily recommend this music – it sounds like it’s a bunch of high school kids trying to shock their Principal at the talent show. On the other hand, there is one redeeming track: a pretty good cover of Jesse’s Girl. I guess I can recommend it, after all. Pop it in the CD player in your car (if you still have one), and go on a road trip; or listen to it at the cottage. That’s the kind of album this is to me.

Trick Seventeen – Spot On
Genre: Pop/Punk

I’ll be honest – I didn’t listen to The A.G.’s album in full. I pretty much got the whole picture after listening to a small handful of their 34 tracks. So when I listened to Trick Seventeen’s EP Spot On, a very tangible wave of relief washed over me. I’m really not kidding you – the difference in quality of content was enough to make me really excited.

I’ll stop there, though, because this EP isn’t necessarily Excellent. It’s really good, but I’m starting to give it a little too much high praise because I’m listening to it in contrast to something mediocre. So here’s the real scoop about Trick Seventeen: they have a solid pop-punk EP on their hands here. From the first two tracks, it’s clear they know how to hook you in with their music.

It’s well-balanced, too. While the pop elements take the main focus, their punk roots show through underneath the surface. They are primarily a pop group though, but they don’t let themselves get carried away trying to create a “sellable radio sound”. What I mean to say is that they sound as good as any pop band on the radio, but it doesn’t sound “fake”.

I’ll stop trying to get people to understand what I mean, because I find it really hard to describe it myself. The short version is: Trick Seventeen is a really cool pop-punk band from Germany, and you should download their EP Spot On from Jamendo.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday Reviews

I didn't know what else to title this post, so Tuesday Reviews seemed to fit.  Not sure yet if I'll make it a regular feature, but I'm considering it.  Just a quick note before I get into the reviews: I wasn't able to make a podcast this weekend, because life is increasingly busy (I've been working two jobs for a month now, but I was still able to get 2 May 'casts out).  I'm going to aim to get something out this week as well as next week.  Worst case scenario I'll release two next week.

The Sovereigns – Pick It Up!
Genre: Ska / Punk
The Sovereigns are an interesting ska/punk band from Hamburg, Germany. Their short, 9-track album - Pick It Up! - was released in January, 2010. When I say it’s short, I really mean it: it’s only 20 minutes long, with most songs clocking in at two to three minutes. I just did a rough calculation of the average track length, and it’s something like 2:11.

The album is standard ska/punk fare. You’ll find fast-paced songs with a strong mix of guitars and brass instruments. Supposedly, the songs are about politics or something, but I honestly can’t understand the lyrics. That didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the music though, as I like some good fast-paced music to pump me up on various occasions. I definitely recommend checking them out at Jamendo. My favourite track has to be No One Can Win This Fight, followed by Sunday Jam.

The Rising Hope – Have a Rise Day

Genre: Punk / Ska

Released June 25, 2008, Have a Rise Day is a little disappointing. I was searching for bands similar to Streetlight Manifesto, Boxing Fox, and illScarlett, and my search led me to The Rising Hope. On the surface, they have all the “requirements” to fall under the Ska banner, but I didn’t get anything out of the album.

The musicians definitely fit together cohesively, but I feel like their sound is a sort of “been there, done that” with poor audio quality. 90% of the artists I’ve listened to on Jamendo have been able to put up music of excellent quality, and I think that’s my main beef with The Rising Hope. They may be talented musicians, but I can’t get past the audio problems. I do not recommend them.

That's it for today - I have a couple of other reviews waiting in the wing, but I'll save them for another day this week.  I seem to get a lot accomplished when Blogger is temporarily unavailable!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

InAshton - Videos of their NYC Live Debut!

I got an e-mail from InAshton the other day telling me about a couple of videos they have up on YouTube of their recent live debut at Arlene's Grocery in New York City.  I'm personally not familiar with New York City (despite having been to Manhattan once when I was in high school), so I immediately thought that Arlene's Grocery was actually a grocery store.  Good thing I looked it up!

Anyway it looks like InAshton had a pretty good set that night, and they have videos up of two of their songs (which happen to be two of my favourite tracks from their free album, which you can get it at, by the way).

InAshton - It's Ok... It's Ok (Live)

InAshton - Waitin' (Live)

If you're interested in checking out InAshton live, you can see them at the following locations...
  • Thursday June 3rd @ Rox Box in Philadelphia, PA (would there be a Stanley Cup Final game that night? I hope not)
  • Friday June 25th @ Sully's in Hartford, CT
Take a look at their MySpace page for more details.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Teeth of Tomorrow

I couldn't fit this one in to my playlist but I thought it was decent enough to be worth mentioning on the blog.  This Canadian group is known as The Silence Industry, and their EP - their 5th release - is The Teeth of Tomorrow.  The band describes the sound as "Layers of cold guitars and driving bass riffs dominate the band's sound in these songs of alienation and industrial decay" - personally it sounded like somebody mixed a hair metal band with Nine Inch Nails.  It's tagged as gothic rock, but I'm not sure I have a frame of reference to verify the correctness of that tag.

I don't have much to say except that they definitely seem to have a good, consistent sound throughout the EP.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Best Cover Songs

Okay, the title may be slightly misleading; the songs I'm going to mention are probably not "THE BEST" cover songs in the world.  But what makes a good cover song anyway?  I think it depends on the material.  For me, my absolute favourites are when an artist covers a song from a different genre.  Here I'm thinking Rebuilding the Wall by Luther Wright and the Wrongs, Cake's I Will Survive or Yael Naim's cover of Britney Spears' Toxic.

As long as whoever is doing the cover brings something of their own to the song, and it's not just a straight play (like you'd hear of any generic band in a pub), it's probably good.  So here are some of the newer tracks I've discovered (and don't forget Allison Crowe's cover of Creep I played a few podcasts ago!):

  • A.C. Newman - Take On Me - Listening to this, you could swear that this was an original New Pornographers tune.  At the same time, you can recognize the iconic a-ha song in there.
  • Library Voices - Help - This is a very good cover of a Beatles tune by a very good Canadian band.  There's also some background to this track: Library Voices recently lost the bulk of their instruments in a flood, and this song was released for free (or a donation) to support the band.  Also of note: not a cover, but they have a free track of the week up on iTunes called Drinking Games that is also very good.
  • Gord Downie & The Sadies - Search & Destroy - This one I haven't listened to, but it has the potential to be the best of this list in my view.  Famous Canadian artsit + great bluegrass band + covering Iggy & The Stoogest = awesomeness; it can't be anything but!
  • Cover Lay Down - This isn't a particular song, but a blog.  A very good blog.  The basic premise?  Folk artists playing cover songs.  Usually there are some really great gems - the specific post I'm linking to features some cool hip hop covers by folk artists.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Singletons

As I mentioned the other day, I have about 30 unread messages in my inbox for Alternative Airwaves.  All of it is music I've forwarded to myself (which is somewhat unfortunate, because I'd love to hear from readers/listeners), and I just haven't found the time to listen to them.  Most of the music is creative commons licensed stuff, while other bits are just free tracks from various artists that I may or may not mention.  Anyway.  First up we have The Singletons and their self-titled album, The Singletons.

FrostClick calls them "British Mod Influenced Spanish Scenesters".  I'm not exactly sure what they mean by that, because I'm not the most versed in the music scene; but I do hear the British influence in their music.  If you weren't listening to the Spanish lyrics, you could probably easily mistake them for a British punkish kind of band.  Oh yeah, about the Spanish bit - they're from Barcelona, apparently.  That would not have been my first guess (I would have figured South America or something).

There's a little bit of everything too, including some surf influences.  Overall, I really liked the guitar work on most of the tracks - these guys are definitely very talented, there's no doubt about that.  However, I agree with FrostClick's assessment: this album isn't going to blow your mind, but it's a good listen.  Check them out if you get the chance.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

#7 - Long Weekend Party Tunes

Or the title is something like that.  Anyway, I uploaded my podcast to iTunes over the weekend and never did a blog post to go along with it; shame on me!

So, here are the notes:
  • I recorded the show while trying out some new software, Virtual DJ.  You can download the program free for 30 days (and I think the basic version is like $50).  There are some moments where it is a little awkward, but I think overall it sounds great!
  • Oh, in addition to that comment - if there is an  open source program that does what VDJ does, let me know - I feel it would fit better with the spirit of the podcast.
  • I featured two bands: Houdini Roadshow and The Liquid Kitchen.  They both rocked the house during the recording process.  Well they would have, if they were playing live.
  • That's it I think?
You can download the podcast via iTunes, or this direct link here:  This show runs approximately 33 minutes.

Also - I mentioned that my next podcast won't have a feature artist exactly, but will be more of a "trying to catch up on the emails in my inbox" show.  Well, at this time I have at least 30 unread notes about various free music.  I'm going to write about some of them and include the rest in a two-part podcast.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Jamie Rumley Covers Tom Petty

Quite a while back, I wrote a little post about Jamie Rumley and her EP, "Insert Title Here".  I really liked her music, and was pleased to see this little post on Twitter:

Tom Petty - You Don't Know How It Feels (Cover)

12:54 PM May 1st via web 
Yeah, I realize I'm about 20 days late, but I think I did establish I'm very behind with my music updates.  Here is said cover:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This Week's Podcast + Upcoming Episode

I've got some really good music planned for this week's podcast, which should be coming Friday night.  But I didn't want to talk about that right now - I wanted to mention that I've got a different type of show planned in a couple of weeks.

Basically, I'm way behind in the music I want to feature so I'm going to do a little bit of a "music dump" show, where I play a bunch of different artists rather than feature a single album.  I'm going to do this once every few months from now on to prevent getting too far behind again.

So look for that approximately June 3rd!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Podcasts available once again

In case you only follow the blog, but don't follow me on Twitter, I thought I should mention that the host site I use is back up and podcasts are now available for download again.

Things have been pretty busy the past two weeks - I hope to get back on a regular posting schedule quite soon.  Look for a podcast next week!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Podcast Temporarily Unavailable

Just thought I should give people a head's up that previous episodes of the podcast are temporarily unavailable; my gracious host (which gives me web space for free - awesome!) is down for the moment, and I don't have any back-up storage for the episodes.

So if you're trying to get the episodes and it's not working, just hang tight; hopefully the problem will be fixed soon enough.  If you really want to get the episode, just send me an e-mail and I can try to get a copy to you.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

#6 - Not South American Banjo Ska

Here it is, episode #6!  Unfortunately, it is not the "South American Banjo Ska" genre my brother wanted, but instead is Celtic Hip Hop - coming from Oakland, California, no less!  Here are the show notes:

  • The opening theme is as always a modification of Brad Sucks' song Making Me Nervous
  • The opening track was called Drunken Kitchen Kisses, by The Destroyed Room, which I heard about thanks to FrostClick.
  • Wikipedia movie summaries really are awesome; check out the one for Twister
  • Today's feature artist: Beltaine's Fire; their album is The Weapon of the Future
  • Tomorrow I have a meeting with the prosecutor about a bylaw ticket concerning my dog, Hank.
  • The last band was one I mentioned last week - Glossary.  Their album is called The Better Angels of Our Nature

Monday, May 3, 2010

This Week's Podcast

According to my calendar, I've got a podcast to put together this week.  I haven't decided on a particular band - or even genre - to focus on, so I thought I might get some input from any readers and listeners out there.  What kind of music do you want to hear this week?

Some things I'm considering doing is finding some music conductive to writing, as I am trying to start up a writing project or two.  I'm trying to get into the habit of writing on a regular basis again.  Also, this way I can say I have two interesting hobbies - podcasting and writing!

Anyway, please feel free to leave some suggestions.  I have a short list of albums that I am considering, but I'd like to play somebody I haven't written about yet.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Golden Bones

I find it really hard to believe that there is no Southern Rock tag on Jamendo!  However, here we are - without any southern rock from my favourite free music website.  I didn't want to give up without a fight though; luckily, the blog A Truer Sound put out a "Free Album Alert" on a really great album.

That album is a self-titled effort put forth by Golden Bones.  It's not exactly southern rock, but it's not pure country either.  It is, however, very good.  It's your standard Americana-type music, complete with typical songs about girls (see Laureline and Adeline), and other things related to the south / the country (see Beatin' a Dead Horse and Bearskin Rug).

I don't have a favourite track for this album, but I am really liking My Kind.  Overall, I find that the lead singer's voice sounds a lot like James Taylor, and the music sounds like something Taylor might play as well.  A Truer Sound likened Golden Bones to groups like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, America, and older country rock in general.  I would have to wholeheartedly agree!

Check out the above link to stream or download Golden Bones.