Friday, February 24, 2006

Hyper Cardioid

Haven't yet had a chance to dive into the amazon delivery yet, but a couple online tutorials have caught my eye: iCompositions is a Mac/Garageband based community with a few basic guitar tutorial videos and MusicPlayers has a nice paper on recording electric guitar.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Musicians Weblogs

Just Found a Metafilter thread for musicians weblogs, and immediately went to Radiohead. Note startled Johnny and his early era Tele Plus (mini-toggle is the giveaway). Is the Honda wing decal past the bridge a nod to McCartney's acoustics Detroit Red Wings decal? I think so.

Update: There's a sweet entry by Johnny Greenwood: "There is loads of great music out there that you’ll never have time to find out about. I’m always saying this - boring the arse off someone about this. Partly to make me sound like I know loads of great music that they don’t, and partly to justify why I’ve never heard a note of, say, the Stooges (though I really must, I know, I can I claim to be a an Iggy Pop fan if I've never even heard 'I wanna be your dog'? etc. etc.)"

Wasn't "I wanna be your dog" just on the National Playlist?


Pretty cool music (and now movie) search engine allows you to graphically navigate like genre'd bands. I'm not sure if sphere size represents influence or popularity though.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Coming to a (Canadian) City Near You

Grant Lawrence of CBC Radio 3 is on tour. I'm not sure what that entails exactly other than local bands playing local gigs in local venues, locally. But still, Rhume and Fiftymen at Barrymore's next Tuesday Feb. 28.

"Only in Canada? Pity."

The Stars rocked Winterlude Saturday night. It was something to behold. Fur rimmed parka hood bopping in time - on the guitarist. Maybe sound travels better through crisp air, or snowy embankments dampen unwanted reverberations, but the mix was near perfect. Only the trumpet was a hard to pinpoint.

And the bands admiration of the fans gave us warm glow, plus the thermos' of rye. Twenty below? Concert in the park.

No Title Required:

Toronto rocker Danko Jones has his own radio show, syndicated out of Stockholm. Whole shows dedicated to Sabbath, Preist, Maiden or Danzig. Yeah, I said OR. Raise your devil horns high. (Not for the faint of heart.)

Django Reinhardt Video

via Boing-Boing:
Here's a great short film of the great Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and his Quintet of the Hot Club of France performing J'Attenndrai ("I Will Wait" - download video, 12 meg, Quicktime file) A newsreel-style announcer introduces the band as they lounge around a room, smoking and playing cards while a young Django and Stephane Grappelli lightly jam.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Rant

So you hear a catchy song somewhere, but don't know what it is. Could be on the radio (its possible - there's that live reggae song on 88.5 that I never catch who its by - I want to say King Cobb Steelie, but that can't be right), or in a tv advert (pray to remember some lyrics - Galaxie 500's "Instrumental" & Nissan's "Driven by Passion" was torturous for me) or in that fresh new show on the WB, except they don't have a soundtrack list on the website (first season OC was similarly painful - try googling band name "South").

So you google the lyrics - except all those lyric sites are facing copyright infringement suits now - and if you're lucky you find the band. If the band is smart it'll have a googlable name and a decent website with a couple of downloads or streaming audio.

Now you could steal the music, but the band is small and you want to do the right thing - besides they hardly have a P2P presence anyway. So now you call the local shops but they're useless. Inde labels crossing the border must be problematic. But you just want the music anyway, so you could go to iTunes and download it for a buck or the album for $10, right? But why there? If you know the artist, why not from their website? Paypal and secure download (to a universal format that would allow you to play it on both iPod and PSP). Most every decent band already allows you to buy the CD from their site. What does iTunes offer to the customer except a central repository of not everything, and standard download/purchase method? What does it offer to the artist except for visibility and access - oops, except no visibility for the inde artist. You'll never be able to browse randomly to an inde artists music on iTunes. So if you don't know what you're looking for you wouldn't find it - and wouldn't you try google before an iTunes search?

This is the same basic question Wilco, in a roundabout way, asked of its label: what good are you? The band does recording and production on its own with a small bonus in its own studio. So the label just does promotion and distribution. But never did in the way of promotion except tell the band to go on tour. Then they didn't want to bother with distribution either. Enter the interwebs, and the band found a way to distribute Yankee Hotel Foxtrot themselves.

But iTunes is just like the delinquent label in this case. Its merely a venue for distribution, but need not be the de facto online standard. There is some smart competition (note universal mp3's with no DRM). The standard should be from the bands own site, which could become like LP cover art or music videos as the dominant visible representation of the band, giving access to purchase of goodies, CDs Ts and downloads, the bulk of the money going to the band, instead of 14 cents on the dollar through iTunes.

Further reading:
Washington Post
Analog Industries

Arrr, Matey!

"Y'know, I've said it before I'll say it again: one of the most criminally underated performers in Canada; one of my favorite singers for his natural ability. You just believe what he's singing. That is Andrew Vincent from Ottawa, with a brand new song called Dianne" Grant Lawrence on CBC Radio 3 Podcast #38

Just before "Dianne" played on the podcast Grant does the first ever 90 second egg with a listener, ending with "What's your favorite Canadian band" and she replies Tegan & Sara, but narcissist that I am I think what would I reply given no chance to think about it. Hellsyeah, the AV (who was sadly sold out Monday - well sad for me), and as if he heard my thoughts (a week ago when it was recorded) AV's new track comes on, just for me.

You can take a listen here, too.

Book Club

Just place a big order to Amazon. A couple guitar recording/digital audio technical books, but I'm also pretty excited about this one. I was sold when Andy Battaglia wrote "it addresses nothing short of the history of the universe through the scattered stories that pop music tells without even meaning to."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Robert Clothier in a Toque

Capsule is selling Nash relics.

I first read about these in ToneQuest Report. Billed as "Vintage goes affordable" they're new guitars which've undergone a considerable aging process, and still play and sound, well not like new, but like the classic its modelled on.

Nash explains that great care is taken to keep them completely operable, despite appearance, unlike the Fender custom shop. Still, it sorta reminds me of the designer ripped jeans fad which was just Macy's clerks with a pair of scissors. Aw, who'm I kidding, pre-aged jeans kick ass. And I can't keep from salivating over these Tele's. Although I think I'd opt for a less brazenly worked over model than the one shown here.

Empress Effects

Since Mayfly threw in the towel and Lee Pattman hasn't ramped up amp production, Ottawa hasn't seen much in gear manufacturing. But there is a new effects company here in town.

At the moment just an A/B/Y switcher and some interesting custom mods, but tremolo and delay are in the works.

There's even a couple at Songbird now, but I wonder if it makes that nasty popping most passive mechanical switches make. Or could it be comparable to the noiseless Lehle switches at a bargain?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

eMail Alert: Bishop Allen

Got the best email solicitation this morning: Bishop Allen has a new CD EP. A year ago I was raving to all my friends how this little Ivy League coed quartet was gonna take over the world with their hooky jangle blues pop stylings, brilliant harmonies and especially literate lyrics. Didn't quite happen, although they did get on a Mandy Moore film soundtrack.

Anywho, they have some new material - a whole plan to release new material actually: one EP a month for a year. And you can download Carcasonne, er sorry I mean Corazon.

Update: Alright, the Britney Effect is toying with my perceptions of free will and the authenticity of my taste (via boing-boing). But damnit, I broke this story first.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

My greatest fear

I'm not very comfortable performing, which anyone who's craned in and concentrated to hear me sing (read: mumble along to a tune) can attest. In December I got a couple leads on a few groups of guys that get together to jam - but still haven't followed it up - instead just rocking out with the Jamman - safe, insular, masterbatory. Jeph Jaques has distilled my concerns.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Daniel Lanois

He's interviewed in Guitar Player, and one quote jumped out at me: Because what we love about records is that they get us out of our skins and provide an opportunity to be elevated. Everyday life is sweet but humdrum, and what we love about art is that it gives us a chance to look at life in a different way.

He'll be playing Winterlude February 17 as well.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


It's been a quiet few months. Capitol Music Hall closed its doors, but I never thought much of that venue anyways. The other night Scott at Songbird (inset, drinking) mentioned how he hadn't gigged in 3 months, too busy working and recording.

But it seems thats all about to change. Besides The Stars at Winterlude and NIN at months end, there's a couple more little shows that could be good:

Saturday Feb. 11 Rhume & Flecton @ Avant Garde Bar
Monday Feb. 13 Andrew Vincent (solo) and The Recoilers @ Whalesbone
Friday Feb. 17 As The Poets Affirm & the Hi Lo Trons

C'mon. You know you want to see Jon Bartlett freak out in his blue velvet fleur de lis jumper.

Friday, February 03, 2006

"One was named Laurie, that’s what the story said next week in the Guardian."

Robot Mark recently posted about Okkervil River and damn if For Real ain't a catchy tune, even if I'm sure I've heard it before recently (Radio 3 or Zoe Radio?).

But it was good enough to send me to their site, digging through the sample singles they've offered up, and one of the older ones really caught my attention. Westfall is a first person narrative of a young murderer, imprisoned, recalling the events that lead to his incarceration. So it begs to be compared to Springsteen's Nebraska, but it stands on its own, starts spare and dark with an acoustic guitar then the mandolin, oh yeah, and evokes its own sense of pathos. Yeah, I dig the dark country ballad.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Canadian Shoegazing

Been meaning to post these bands for a bit. Some pretty good introspective melody driven inde-rock. In-Flight Safety just had a CD release at Zaphods, and October Guard and Raised by Swans were both just on CBC Radio 3.

You can stream each on New Music Canada as well: In-flight Safety, October Guard, Raised by Swans

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

It's a HEMI!

This is pretty interesting but I suspect using a traditional guitar amp would blow the speakers, as they were designed for car stereo not guitar amps. (And I've recently learned something about blowing up your kit, as I fried my Fulltone Fulldrive II last night. Verdict: it sucks.)

If you were to use it as a monitor for a software amp modeller, however, I'd be interested in checking it out. Especially if you had those piezo electric pickups to do that acoustic modelling, then this speaker would eminate radially just like the real thing.

Or you could just play an acoustic guitar.

(via createdigitalmusic)