Music


The 1989 Skid Row Trifecta

musicI'll admit it, I was digging the hair bands in the late 80s. One band I enjoyed in 1989 was Skid Row, fronted by Torontonian Sebastian Bach.

Skid Row's self titled debut spawned a trifecta of mega hits that received a wealth of radio play in this city. It was only in the days before Nevermind and Ten that such a trifecta was even possible.

Today, for no particularly good reason, we revisit these three hit singles from Skid Row. It's '89 y'all, not Beethoven's fifth or sixth.

18 and Life

I Remember You

Youth Gone Wild

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Kendel Carson

musicIn my review of the Blue Rodeo concert at Massey Hall, I mentioned the opening act Dustin Bentall. He was great, but he was best when joined by Kendel Carson. This entry is about Kendel.

I'm not really a country music fan, but I like folksy country rock and ol' bluegrass stuff, like you heard in O Brother Where Art Thou?. I like Blue Rodeo, I hate Keith Urban. I like Johnny Cash, I hate Kenny Chesney. You get the idea...

I loved Kendel Carson last night. Maybe it's because I've always had a thing for the fiddle, but I couldn't get over how good she was. He she was earlier in this tour performing "Oh Baby Lie Down".

Her fiddle solos were outstanding, and she complemented the country rock tones of Dustin Bentall perfectly. You can see her here that same night helping out with "Draft Dodger".

I really knew nothing about Kendel, so I'm catching up.

Although classically trained (and eventually a performer in the National Youth Orchestra and a featured soloist with the Victoria Symphony), Carson’s musical passion lied in the folk, country and rock scenes – especially after her family moved out West. “There’s an amazing roots scene out in Victoria,” she says. “That became my primary influence. It’s a really community-minded spirit out there. It’s inspiring.”

Give this chick a fiddle and a little room, and the world's her oyster.

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Blue Rodeo at Massey Hall

musicLast night, I was at Massey Hall to see Blue Rodeo. I've been a Blue Rodeo fan since 1987 when the DJ we hired for our grade school dance told us he was going to spin us a new one and I heard "Try" for the first time. And if you're going to see a band you like, there really is no better forum in the city of Toronto than Massey Hall. The acoustics are perfect.

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I was having a blast before Blue Rodeo even hit the stage. Dustin Bentall opened, and he was joined by Kendel Carson. I wasn't familiar with either artist before I heard them last night, but together they were absolutely amazing. I'm giving Kendel an entry all to herself because she blew my little mind. Stay tuned for that one.

Here's a little of Dustin Bentall and Kendel Carson (she's the blond playing the violin) warming us up last night.

When it comes to Blue Rodeo, you're either a Cuddy or a Keelor guy. Sure, many love both, but everyone has a preference. I've always been a Keelor guy, and last night reminded me why. This is no knock against Cuddy, who has sang the national anthem at 2 out of the last 3 Leafs games I've seen live, but Keelor's worth the price of admission on his own. He's got the cool voice and the cool parts, and if he wants to extend "Diamond Mine" another 20 minutes, I'm perfectly okay with that.

Here he is instructing the Massey Hall crowd before Cuddy came in to order us on our feet.

That leads nicely to my only criticism of the night. This is the first concert I've attended where we all sat on our seats until the encore, and I've been to many, many concerts. Was it because it's Massey Hall? Was it because it's Blue Rodeo? I'm not sure, but nobody stood and it didn't feel natural. I believe I've ranted on this subject before...

Here's the finale, Blue Rodeo joined by Dustin Bentall and Kendel Carson for "Lost Together".

A big thanks to my mom, who responded brilliantly to my request to receive no stuff this Christmas. She bought me the perfect gift, a ticket to see a great band at Massey Hall. This was the third concert I had ever seen with my mom, joining Kid Rock at the Molson Amp and The Tragically Hip at Fort York.

Thanks, Ma!

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That Horrible, Horrible Auto-Tune

grammyLike a sucker, I watched the Grammy Awards last night. I PVR'd the show and started it about 45 minutes in, so I could skip the commercials. I never like the Grammies, but I always feel compelled to watch them for some reason.

The music was once again mediocre. Actually, this year I felt the music was worse than usual, and that's saying something. As bad as the bulk of the performances were, nothing was as horrible as the performance by Jamie Foxx and T-Pain. The song, entitled "Blame It", was just about the most awful thing my ears have ever had the displeasure of hearing, and I like rap.

What did you think? I couldn't believe how bad it was (Slash's solo excepted - Slash performing the solo from November Rain almost saved this steaming pile of shite) and my second time through it, it's even worse than I remembered. I blame Auto-Tune.

Auto-Tune is horrible. It should be reserved for the news. I blame Cher for starting the Auto-Tune fad, and it's gotten completely out of control. Jamie Foxx and T-Pain (if that's his real name - I suspect it's not) should be ashamed. Auto-Tune isn't just cheating, it's killing popular music.

Death to Auto-Tune.

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Dead Teen Songs: My Favourites

MusicIn my travels the other night, I stumbled upon Dead Teen Songs or Teenage Death Music or the teen death song or teen tragedy. In addition to being quite the title, it's quite the list.

You've got to love songs about teenage death. Here are my ten favourite dead teen songs.

  • Last Kiss - Pearl Jam
  • Leader of the Pack - The Shangri-las
  • I Don't Like Mondays - Boomtown Rats
  • Delia's Gone - Johnny Cash
  • The Legend Of Tom Dooley - The Kingston Trio
  • Freddie's Dead - Curtis Mayfield
  • 19 - Paul Hardcastle
  • Adam's Song - Blink 182
  • Jeremy - Pearl Jam
  • People Who Died - Jim Carroll

But my favourite teen tragedy song didn't even get a mention on this web page. That would be Big League by Tom Cochrane and Red Rider. Hit a truck doing seventy in the wrong lane to the big league.

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Uptime / Downtime from The Kleptones

CDThe Kleptones "released" one of my favourite albums of all time. I almost wrote "favourite mash-up albums", but that's not true. A Night at the Hip-Hopera is one of my favourite albums overall, just like Girl Talk's Feed the Animals was my favourite album of 2008.

The Kleptones have a new album available for download here. It's called Uptime / Downtime and I'm downloading it as I type.

Here's the cover art. Do you recognize the city?

updown_cover

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Sweet Tweet from Chris Cornell

TwitterChris Cornell wrote a very sweet tweet that excites this Soundgarden fan. "The 12 year break is over & school is back in session. Sign up now. Knights of the Soundtable ride again!"

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Back in October, Soundgarden appeared on stage together for the first time since '97 during a Pearl Jam show at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, CA. And now I'm getting my New Year's wish and a true reunion. It's time for new damage.

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K-Dot-O-Dot's The Life & Times of Lucha Lonely

musicMy brother works with a guy who raps as K-Dot-O-Dot. He sent me this guy's latest album, produced by The Arkeologists, and called The Life & Times of Lucha Lonely.

My brother is friends with K-Dot-O-Dot, but that alone wouldn't get me to share these tracks. I listened to the album and sincerely dug the tunes. It's a moody, plodding style that belongs on the iPod for long walks and dark days.

Download the entire album for free right here

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Mashup of Top 25 Billboard Hits

musicDJ Earworm did this last year. He calls it "United State of Pop 2009 (Blame It on the Pop)". It's a mashup of the Top 25 Hits of 2009, according to Billboard.

Pop sure does rule the day in the USA. Except for the Kings of Leon track, it's all dancy pop. Here are the tunes you'll hear in the video.

The Black Eyed Peas - BOOM BOOM POW
Lady Gaga - POKER FACE
Lady Gaga Featuring Colby O'Donis - JUST DANCE
The Black Eyed Peas - I GOTTA FEELING
Taylor Swift - LOVE STORY
Flo Rida - RIGHT ROUND
Jason Mraz - I'M YOURS
Beyonce - SINGLE LADIES (PUT A RING ON IT)
Kanye West - HEARTLESS
The All-American Rejects - GIVES YOU HELL
Taylor Swift - YOU BELONG WITH ME
T.I. Featuring Justin Timberlake - DEAD AND GONE
The Fray - YOU FOUND ME
Kings Of Leon - USE SOMEBODY
Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo - KNOCK YOU DOWN
Jamie Foxx Featuring T-Pain - BLAME IT
Pitbull - I KNOW YOU WANT ME (CALLE OCHO)
T.I. Featuring Rihanna - LIVE YOUR LIFE
Soulja Boy Tell 'em Featuring Sammie - KISS ME THRU THE PHONE
Jay Sean Featuring Lil Wayne - DOWN
Miley Cyrus - THE CLIMB
Drake - BEST I EVER HAD
Kelly Clarkson - MY LIFE WOULD SUCK WITHOUT YOU
Beyonce - HALO
Katy Perry - HOT N COLD

Download the MP3 here.

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Rage Against The Machine vs Simon Cowell

musicI love this story out of the UK.

A Simon Cowell act has topped the United Kingdom pop chart at Christmas four years in a row. X-Factor artist Joe McElderry's Christmas song "The Climb" was a virtual shoe-in to top the charts this year, which would give Cowell an impressive five year win streak.

A grass-roots campaign started on Facebook sought to make a statement by getting Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name" to the top of the UK chart this Christmas. "Killing in the Name" has that awesome line "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me."

Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello took note, joined the cause and pledged to donate all proceeds to charity.

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I'm happy to report that "Killing in the Name" sold more than 500,000 copies this past week, while McElderry's song fell short of the top spot, with 450,000.

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It is indeed the anarchy Christmas miracle of 2009!

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