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Editorial: Marketing and Music

posted July 31st, 2015 by madelainej | Filed under: Editorial | 0

Listening to the radio on a leisurely drive quickly turned into a distressingly long drive being bombarded with music that sounded unremittingly similar. It was on this drive I realized music is packaged with as much marketing force as a Barbie, perhaps more. Music should be an art. You should have to be talented, you need to play an instrument, often write music and tell a story. Music use to be a way to pass on culture, tradition and caution children. Oral stories were a kind of music. Then it became a pastime for the aristocracy. It became conservative and regulated. After many revolutions in music and culture, music has become commodified. Artists, like Hilary Duff and Miley Cyrus, can begin their career as an innocent, fun and captivating starlets. They are plastered on the Disney channel, given their own show, a full length movie and then launched into a music career. Once they are too old for Disney they can reinvent themselves. Miley’s 180 certainly accrued new interest in her career and she was able to monopolize tabloids and magazine covers for a little longer. Pink has made a career marketing herself as the “bad girl” of music, Taylor Swift as the innocent girl next door.

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Jazz Street: Horace Silver

posted July 30th, 2015 by Nathaniel Lathy | Filed under: Jazz Street, Throwback Thursday | 0

horace silverI was at an art gallery, and there was a jazz group playing a song with a recognizable bass riff. I commented to one of the musicians how I enjoyed hearing the Steely Dan song. He told me they didn’t play Steely Dan. They were playing Horace Silver (1928-2014). Turns out Steely Dan’s “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” was inspired by Silver’s “Song For My Father.” This was my introduction to Silver, an accomplished piano player and band leader. Listening to the song, I’m still amazed by the various changes in the music. And it all comes back to Silver’s playing. He considered Thelonious Monk (my favorite bebop and hard bop artist) one of his influences. There’s a refined quality to Horace’s playing. And he sure could play with a lot of passion, as well.

The comparatively shorter tracks on Silver’s first 12″ album, “Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers,” makes for an enjoyable set. It included “The Preacher” which is one of his better tracks. The other seven cuts work well, too. The disc winds up in 43 minutes and works for repeated listens. For a while, I admired Horace for his legacy, influencing Steely Dan on a cut from a great album. I see more and more it’s worth listening to Silver for the recordings he made. They can be enjoyed, because they’s so well played and melodic. It makes me glad, when jazz is played with a nod to the masters of the past. It’s also good to just go back and play their music. Silver was one of the best.

Press Release Roundup: July 27

posted July 29th, 2015 by Carlita | Filed under: Editorial, Music News, Press Release Roundup, Releases | 0

Music journalists get hit with a steady helping of press releases every day. For the music fan without that kind of sensory overload, a lot of music news can pass by without being seen. Every Monday, we will weed through and compile a list of some of the most intriguing press releases to come across our virtual desk.

Lynyrd Skynyrd

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‘Lynyrd Skynyrd One More For The Fans’ is available now on Loud & Proud Records in partnership with Blackbird Presents. The two CD/DVD set was filmed during one special night last November as an extraordinary collection of artists came together at the historic Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA to perform and celebrate the songs of Lynyrd Skynyrd, one of the most influential bands of our time. This unique concert event centered around performances by Lynyrd Skynyrd and features performances by music legends and young talent, culled from multiple genres including Classic Rock, Country and Americana with Trace Adkins, Alabama, Gregg Allman, Blackberry Smoke, Cheap Trick, Charlie Daniels, Peter Frampton, Gov’t Mule, Warren Haynes, John Hiatt, Randy Houser, Jason Isbell, Jamey Johnson, Aaron Lewis, moe., O.A.R., Robert Randolph and Donnie Van Zant all coming together to perform songs from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s extensive catalog of music. Highlights include a special rendition of “Travelin’ Man” with Johnny Van Zant singing along with an archival video of his late brother, Ronnie performing, as well as a rousing rendition of “Sweet Home Alabama” with Skynyrd inviting the entire star-studded line-up up on stage to perform along side them.

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Review: Juanes in Milan

posted July 23rd, 2015 by Colasanti Chiara | Filed under: Music News | 0

Juanes Live Loco de Amor One of the most appreciated Latin artists of all-time arrived in Milan with his “Loco de Amor” Tour, conquering his fans’ hearts along the way. It’s been a hot summer here in Italy, but on the 14th of July, at Fabrique in Milan, we felt like we were in a different world and the city in which we live everyday was far, far away. The amazing concert made his audience fall completely in love with him and with his music.

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In Praise of Billy Talent

posted July 22nd, 2015 by madelainej | Filed under: Editorial, Music News | 0

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While walking downtown, a car passed me blaring the songs of Billy Talent. At first I thought this quite odd, since the band’s popularity has been waning since their debut album in 2003. But this incident also forced me to reflect on the band itself. Billy Talent has never struck me as exceedingly musically challenging, nor have their lyrics struck me as incredibly deep or shallow. They seemed decidedly middle of the pack in most aspects but one. Their sense of social responsibility is prolific. They have consistently drawn attention to social issues addressing most Western societies without being too political, like Rage Against The Machine. From their debut album (as Billy Talent) in 2003 they have taken the side of the underdog with songs like “Nothing to Lose.” This song brought attention to bullying, gained attention from the general public and the music video even donated money to Kids Help Phone. This song encapsulated the desperation forced on by isolation and bullying. “River Below” disturbingly got inside the head of a person who felt ignored and wanted to gain attention by detonating a bomb. The character in the song believes “[They]’ll take all the blame, the front page and the fame.” “Standing in the Rain” similarly brought attention to missing persons (“milk carton mug-shot baby, missing since 1983”) who fall victim to the streets: “20 years of dirty needles,” and are left waiting on street corners in the rain.

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Introducing: Barry Myers

posted July 21st, 2015 by JasonHillenburg | Filed under: Bio | 0

Music as communication, as a means of finding ourselves in others, is a foundational strength of it doesn’t end there however. Barry’s music takes another step beyond by bravely grappling with heady, perhaps unanswerable, questions that follow us all of our lives. Barry Myers’ artistic vision.bmyersbiopicWhy are any of us here? Where have we come from as a species and where are we going? Can we survive? If you think his songs deal with science fiction or disagree with his thoughts is, in the end, immaterial. If you engage his songs and listen to his voice, you have some sense of the man and know that the tropes and glitz are mere window dressing for the intelligent, questioning spirit guiding the music.

For Barry Myers, it’s a spirit born early on. His parents were both music devotees – Myers’ father sang with jazz bands while his pianist mother served as a church soloist. This environment first steered Myers to the drums, but quickly moved on to piano and violin. The foundation laid by his parents and early musical study doesn’t complete the picture however. Other family members soon introduced Myers to popular acts like James Taylor. Read more…

Press Release Roundup- July 20

posted July 21st, 2015 by Carlita | Filed under: Editorial, Music News, Press Release Roundup, Releases, Tour | 0

Music journalists get hit with a steady helping of press releases every day. For the music fan without that kind of sensory overload, a lot of music news can pass by without being seen. Every Monday, we will weed through and compile a list of some of the most intriguing press releases to come across our virtual desk.

Lamb of God

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American heavy rock band LAMB OF GOD have just revealed a fourth track from their upcoming VII: Sturm Und Drang, hitting stores and digital retailers on July 24, 2015 via Epic Records. The highly-anticipated new track “Embers” featuring Chino Moreno, lead singer of platinum group Deftones, is available for streaming BELOW on YouTube. You can stream “Embers” on Spotify now, in addition to receiving the track as an instant-grat with your VII: Sturm Und Drang pre-order via iTunes and Amazon. “Erase This”, “Overlord”, “512” and “Still Echoes” are also available as instant-grat tracks. Additionally, several exclusive pre-order bundles are available via http://smarturl.it/vii-preorder.

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Editorial: Musicians In The Political Realm

posted July 1st, 2015 by madelainej | Filed under: Editorial | 1

What right do popular musicians have in the political realm? And why should we give their opinion credence? In answer to the first question, I suppose they have just as much right as anyone else. But why does it seem the opinion of celebrities matters more than the average person? Why should politicians care what Bono thinks or Lady Gaga? To be honest I don’t think politicians care for much beyond public opinion and the almighty dollar. But they put on a good show, don’t they? Recently, Bono met Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa about maternal and child health aid in Africa and elsewhere.

Part of me is happy celebrities like Bono aren’t spending their time swimming in a vault full of hundred dollar bills, but another part of me wonders how informed musicians are on world affairs and how much we should trust their opinions. I feel it is an old world mind set to believe other countries require help from the western world, and shows the remnants of colonial endeavours. I think it presumptuous to offer help where it has not been asked for, and until the question has been put forward, countries, politicians and celebrities should not try to ‘fix’ so called ‘problems’ in other countries. But if the call for aid has been sent, why should musicians bare arms answering such a call?

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Review: K. Flay’s Album Launch Bummer Picnic Picnic

posted June 29th, 2015 by madelainej | Filed under: Live Show Reviews | 0

K. Flay's latest album,

K. Flay’s latest album

It is always heartening to leave the comfort of your room listening to studio albums to venture outside, to the city, the T.Dot, the big TO, for an album launch and find a community of musicians and music fans still exists. After driving two and a half hours on the 401 and through summer construction and endless signs reminding me of the imminent Pan AM games (as if the commercials on TV weren’t enough), I walked in the breezy sun to the Cloak and Dagger Irish pub. It was as all Irish pubs should be, a hole in the wall that had that permanent aroma of spilt beer mingled with piss and vomit. It wasn’t overwhelming, it was like a pleasant reminder that this was an authentic Irish pub in the middle of Toronto.

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