Search Results from Toronto Mike's Blog
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The second last episode of "Six Feet Under" aired last night. It was yet another gem, setting up this Sunday's finale nicely. Damn I'm going to miss this show.
The climatic, closing scene last night was set to Arcade Fire's "Cold Wind". "Six Feet Under" has used the sweet sounds of Arcade Fire effectively in the past, and there's little question why. The theme of death is prominent in Arcade Fire music, and with an album called "Funeral", there's no other artist up to the "Six Feet Under" challenge. "Six Feet Under" and Arcade Fire on their own are amazing entities but are enriched together.
AF + 6FU = !!!
The latest single from Arcade Fire is "No Cars Go" from their Neon Bible album. It's a great single, and I'll probably throw it on SLS18, but any fan of Arcade Fire has heard this song before. Arcade Fire has covered themselves.
Before Funeral, Arcade Fire had a self titled EP that contained "No Cars Go". The two versions aren't that different. Arcade Fire has essentially covered themselves, and they're doing it on their second full album. I'm wondering if it's too early for a band to cover their own work.
Of course, I don't think they call it a cover when it's your own work. They'll tell you they re-recorded the song. I'm not judging Arcade Fire, a band I totally dig, but was it necessary to re-record a song at this early stage of their career? And it's not like this EP is obscure and difficult to get. After Funeral, it was remastered and rereleased and it quickly found it's way into my collection.
I expect this from a band like Aerosmith who felt “Sweet Emotion” needed another crack at the charts, but Arcade Fire are not Aerosmith. That's what we love about them.
At the end of 2005, I ranked my 10 favourite songs of the calendar year. At the top of that list was "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire.
Here's what I wrote about the tune back then:
1. Arcade Fire's Wake Up
I'm not sure this song qualifies for this list, but it's my site and I'll do as I please! From an album that was released in 2004, this was my favourite song of 2005. I've rambled on about it before. It's a perfect single and still a delight to hear. I see it's finally cracked the top ten of the Thursday 30 at
CFNYEdge 102. Reaching #1 is only a matter of time.
I just watched the trailer for Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are, based on the Maurice Sendak children's book of the same name. I was pleased to hear a slowed down version of Arcade Fire's "Wake Up" playing overtop the scenes.
Here's the Where the Wild Things Are trailer, featuring Arcade Fire's "Wake Up."
Late last night, Arcade Fire upset Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, Eminem and Katy Perry to win the most prestigious Grammy Award, for album of the year. Most people, it seems, hadn't heard of Arcade Fire.
In fact, a website is collecting America's response to Arcade Fire's big win. You've got to check out http://whoisarcadefire.tumblr.com/.
If my memory serves correct, and the archives of this blog back it up, we started going nutso for Arcade Fire back in 2004 when Funeral was released. Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) made SLS13 back in July 2005 and Wake Up was recorded as my favourite song of that entire year.
I loved Funeral, in fact, I still do. It was a pleasant surprise to see them pull off the upset last night. Even better is reading the angry reaction from folks who didn't know they existed.
But it seems as if our little secret is out.
I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have seven days to grab this week's MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save Link As..." or "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.
Arcade Fire - Wake Up
I listen to Arcade Fire's "Funeral" all the damn time. It's a play through, but my favourite cut on the disc is "Wake Up". This one's going to blow your mind.
If you've got Google Chrome, you can get a pretty cool taste of HTML5 right now thanks to a cool partnership between Arcade Fire and Google.
Google took Arcade Fire's "We Used To Wait" and let director Chris Milk do this thing, and by harnessing the power of HTML5 they've created a wicked little experience they call The Wilderness Downtown.
Make sure you enter the address of the home you grew up in when prompted. It really makes this video.
I just read that Montreal's Arcade Fire trail only Of Montreal and Battles in nominations for the 2008 PLUG Independent Music Awards, which recognize the best indie acts from around the world. Canadians Emily Haines, Sunset Rubdown, The New Pornographers, Caribou, Chromeo, A-Trak and the profanely named Toronto acts Fucked Up and Holy Fuck received one nomination each.
That's great, because I really like Neon Bible and Arcade Fire in general, but what does indie really mean these days? Neon Bible was released by Merge Records here in North America, and Merge Records is an independent record label. According to Wikipedia, "an independent record label (or indie record label) is a record label operating without the funding of or outside the organizations of the major record labels". Maybe I'm a little dim, but I'm not sure I fully grasp the difference between an indie record label and a major record label, but maybe you can help me.
Here are the nominations for best album.
- Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
- Band Of Horses - Cease To Begin
- Battles - Mirrored
- Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
- El-P - I'll Sleep When You're Dead
- Justice - †
- Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
- Panda Bear - Person Pitch
- Radiohead - In Rainbows
- Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
- Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
- The National - Boxer
I want to thank The Mars Volta for making the radio a better place these days. "The Widow" is finally getting the heavy airplay it deserves and I'm grateful every time I catch it. What an awesome tune.
While I'm thanking bands for improving my radio listening experience these days, I'd like to thank Canada's own The Arcade Fire for "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)". Coupling that track with "The Widow" makes for a sweet set and I heard them together at about 11:50 this morning on CFNY Edge 102.
I'm actually listening to The Mars Volta's new album "Francis the Mute" right now and it's tremendous. The Arcade Fire's "Funeral" is even more impressive. Good times in tune land.
- Arcade Fire “Ready To Start”
- MGMT “Electric Feel”
- July Talk “Paper Girl”
- Pixies “Where Is My Mind”
- Broken Social Scene “7/4 Shoreline”
I dig all five songs. Arcade Fire, MGMT and Broken Social Scene are artists you might also hear on Edge 102, in fact I suspect Arcade Fire and BSS form the Cancon base of this indie style of programming. 102.1 no longer plays older alternative acts like the Pixies, so it'll be refreshing to hear them with Sonic Youth and The Smiths again on Toronto radio.
July Talk is a new Toronto-based band and "Paper Girl" sounded great. Coincidentally enough, they're opening the mainstage at Edgefest today.
You can hear the new 88.1 online at http://indie.streamon.fm/. They're playing Sloan's "Underwhelmed" right now.... damn I love that song.
Last week, I posted my 200 favourite songs of the decade, thus far. Today, I'm going to reveal my favourite song of the decade. That would be Arcade Fire's Wake Up from their excellent Funeral album.
I first shared this song back in August 2005, calling it "my favourite cut on the disc" while promising it would "blow your mind". Admit it, I was right. I would later crown it my favourite song of 2005.
Today I crown it my favourite song of the decade. Here it is used masterfully in the new high def trailer for Where the Wild Things Are.
I've added 26 new CDs to my MP3 collection. Here they are, divided into two convenient categories.
- Death From Above 1979 - You're A Woman, I'm A Machine
- Arcade Fire - The Arcade Fire
- Stars - Set Yourself On Fire
- NOFX - The Greatest Songs Ever Written
- K-OS - Exit
- Dr. Dre - 2001
- Dr. Dre - The Chronic
- Jakalope - It Dreams
- Van Halen - The Best Of Both Worlds (Discs 1 & 2)
- Various Artists - Dr. Dre Presents... The Aftermath
- Lo Fidelity Allstars - Don't Be Afraid of Love
- Dire Straits - The Very Best of Dire Straits
- Tony Bennett - The Essential Tony Bennett (Discs 1 & 2)
- Dean Martin - The Very Best Of Dean Martin
- The Jackson 5 - Anthology (Discs 1 & 2)
- Harry Belafonte - Very Best of Harry Belafonte
- Nina Simone - Anthology (Discs 1 & 2)
- Café Del Mar - The Best Of (Discs 1 & 2)
- Avril Lavigne - Let Go
- Avril Lavigne - Under My Skin
- Pink - Missundaztood
That's 905 complete albums, 13,244 songs and 35.4 days of tunage. Check it out.
If you want to peak behind the curtain and see how I do it, read this detailed account as to how you can rip your CD collection to MP3 like me.
My favourite songs entitled "Wake Up"
- Arcade Fire - Wake Up
- Rage Against The Machine - Wake Up
- Korn - Wake Up
- Alanis Morissette - Wake Up
- Bob Marley & the Wailers - Wake Up (and Live)
Every Monday I shuffle my entire MP3 collection in iTunes and list the first ten songs that play. Here are the ten tunes I heard today with a personal story about one of them.
- Promised Land - Elvis Presley
- Sittin' On Top Of The World - Jack White
- Gouge Away - The Pixies
- Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) - Arcade Fire
- Not The Same - Bodyjar
- Minstrel of the Dawn - Gordon Lightfoot
- Neon Crossing - Our Lady Peace
- Everything I've Known - Korn
- Exit - U2
- Eternal Life - Jeff Buckley
The Arcade Fire are a Canadian success story, a Montreal band who recorded Funeral at the Hotel 2 Tango in their home town. It has always bothered me that a Canadian born and bred band would spell their "neighbourhood" trilogy n-e-i-g-h-b-o-r-h-o-o-d.
I realize we're talking about one lousy "u" here, but why Americanize the spelling of such words if you're a Canadian band? Were they afraid the American CD-buying public would be frightened by the funny spelling? I just wish it was "Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)", "Neighbourhood #2 (Laika)", "Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)" and "Neighbourhood #4 (7 Kettles)".
Even without the "u", It's a fantastic album. My favourite of 2005, I recall.
Now that SLS18 is in the bag, it's time to deconstruct the 20 tunes that made the final cut. How much of SLS18 is CanCon? How many artists are making their first appearance on SLS? Find out the answers to these questions and more below.
- Canadian Content - 6 (Arcade Fire, Kevin Drew, Matthew Good, illScarlett, Stars & The Weakerthans)
- Making Their SLS Debut - 9 (Against Me!, Band of Horses, Kevin Drew, Matthew Good, Interpol, The Raveonettes, Serj Tankian, Eddie Vedder & The Weakerthans) (of course, we've heard from Kevin, Matt, Serj and Eddie on SLS before...)
- Artists That Also Appeared On SLS17 - 7 (Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, IllScarlett, Linkin Park, Queens of the Stone Age, Silversun Pickups & The White Stripes)
- Providing a Female Voice - 2 (Stars & The Raveonettes)
- Longest Current SLS Streak - 4 (Arctic Monkeys)
- Longest SLS Drought Ended - 9 (Radiohead)
Before we proceed, have you read the guide to SLS? If you haven't, reading it's a prerequisite to continue.
Although there are about six weeks to go before SLS13 is released, I've got a great looking playlist that comes in at a whisker under the 80 minute maximum. I suspect a song or two will arise in the next month to supplant one of these, but if SLS13 was released today and I had my say, these are the tracks that would make the cut.
- The Mars Volta - The Widow
- The Arcade Fire - Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
- The White Stripes - Blue Orchid
- Louis XIV - Finding Out True Love Is Blind
- System of a Down - B.Y.O.B.
- Queens of the Stone Age - Little Sister
- Foo Fighters - Best Of You
- Audioslave - Be Yourself
- Custom - USA
- Hot Hot Heat - Goodnight Goodnight
- Franz Ferdinand - The Dark Of The Matinee
- Modest Mouse - The World At Large
- Beck - E-PRO
- Weezer - Beverly Hills
- Metric - Dead Disco
- Billy Talent - Nothing To Lose
- Jakalope - Feel It
- Kasabian - Club Foot
- The Marble Index - Not So Bright
- Doctor - What Makes You Think He's Lucky?
- Garbage - Why Do You Love Me?
When 21 songs come in at under 80 minutes, you know you're in an era of short songs. In fact, four songs are under three minutes and another seven are under four minutes long. Only The Mars Volta and The Arcade Fire creep over the five minute mark coming in at 5:52 and 5:13 respectively.
Now that SLS14 is in the bag, it's time to deconstruct the 19 tunes that made the final cut. How much of SLS14 is CanCon? How many artists are making their first appearance on SLS? Find out the answers to these questions and more below.
- Canadian Content - 7 (Arcade Fire, Death From Above 1979, Metric, Custom, Stars, Matthew Good & Hot Hot Heat)
- Making Their SLS Debut - 4 (Death From Above 1979, Death Cab For Cutie, Stars & Gorillaz)
- Artists That Also Appeared On SLS13 - 10 (Arcade Fire, Audioslave, Custom, Foo Fighters, Franz Ferdinand, Hot Hot Heat, Metric, Nine Inch Nails, System of a Down & The White Stripes)
- Providing a Female Voice - 2 (Metric & Stars)
- Songs In My MP3 Collection - 16 (Everything except The Strokes and Custom which are not yet released and Disturbed.)
- Longest Current SLS Streak - 4 (Franz Ferdinand)
- Longest SLS Drought Ended - 6 (Matthew Good)
Admittedly, I tend to gravitate towards a Canadian artist simply because they are Canadian. I seek out Canadian artists, give their material additional spins if I don't instantly like it and promote good Canadian artists more heavily than artists from other nations.
Now that's I've fully disclosed the above, I feel comfortable sharing the fact my five favourite discs these days are all by Canadian artists. I didn't consciously pursue this, it just sort of happened. Perhaps my subconscious made it so, but I didn't actually realize it until moments ago. The five discs I'm totally digging these days are:
- Death From Above 1979 - You're A Woman, I'm A Machine
- Stars - Set Yourself On Fire
- Arcade Fire - Funeral
- K-OS - Joyful Rebellion
- Hot Hot Heat - Elevator
Canuck rock is as strong as ever.
On Saturday, BBC Radio2 is is airing part two of their documentary "The Maple Music Revolution". Here's their description of the feature: "A major two-part series where Bob Harris looks beneath the surface to discover the reasons for the emergence of a unique, creative and dynamic government-funded Canadian music scene." "From Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen to Sarah McLachlan, the Dears and Arcade Fire, Canada has had a massive impact on the way the world listens to music," says Harris.
A happening scene finally gets some international cred. The vast majority of what I'm listening to these days seems to derive from The Great White North. There's Feist, Metric, Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Death From Above 1979, The Hip, Sam Roberts, Sarah Harmer, Billy Talent, Hot Hot Heat, Our Lady Peace, Sloan, Custom, Hayden, Sarah McLachlan, K-OS, Stars, and old school leaders like Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Rush, The Guess Who, Joni Mitchell and The Band.
Check out all 180 artists I've tagged as Canadian on my Last.fm page. We've got a revolution goin' on in our own backyard.
My brother Ryan just sent me the following email and asked me to share it with you all.
During the Christmas Season I met with my two brothers and had Mike burn a disc full of some nice tunes. I have always been a big Music/Sports Fan. But over the last 5 years I have clearly spent the majority of my time on sports and fantasy websites, leaving my music knowledge a distant 3rd among my brothers. After transferring a great majority of this music to my MP3 player I have the following thoughts:
- Arcade Fire is over-rated. I liked a couple of their songs that were released but after listening to most of their stuff I can say that it is not for me.
- The Strokes are phenomenal. I can’t get enough of their sound and I continue to add more Strokes songs to my player as I remove other songs to make room.
- Pearl Jam is Pearl Jam. I love almost every single tune from Life Wasted to World Wide Suicide to Gone.. God Bless Pearl Jam!
- The Beatles. The Beatles. The Beatles. I can honestly say that I am truly discovering them for the first time right now. I knew a lot of their hits and like many people I just figured that music has changed so much that The Beatles would not do it for me in this day and age. I was wrong. We Can Work It Out, Norwegian Wood and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band are among my favorites.
Currently, after leaving Mike’s house with music from about 30 musicians/bands, I have my MP3 Player full of The Beatles, The Strokes and Pearl Jam. And I could not be happier. Thanks Mike!!! Thanks Steve!!
Hey Ry, I agree with your Strokes and Beatles analysis, but we'll have to agree to disagree about Arcade Fire. In fact, as highly regarded as Funeral is, I still think it's under rated.
Neon Bible should be out soon and I can't wait to hear it.
Move over Jack. There's a new station in town playing what they want, and you can bet their playlist is waaaay bigger than yours. Tuning into CBC Radio One this afternoon, 99.1 on my FM dial, I was hit with an eclectic mix of tunes. They were playing a little classical, some Dylan, a taste of the blues, Arcade Fire, rap, you name it.
You see, the broadcasters at the CBC are locked out and they're filling the day with songs. Other than an hourly national news and weather forecast, it's all tunes all the time. You never know what you'll hear next.
Now this is a Jack I could get into.
Anyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following entry earlier today.
Totally Awesome, thank you for the music video link. Half of this stuff i didn't even know had a video. This is a late Christmas gift. Don't you wish Much Music could get a clue and actually show some of theses! Sadly MM is dead to me. This Rules
I agree on all counts. I too couldn't believe how good that link is. When your only source for music videos is MuchMusic, you're missing so damn much it's frightening. MuchMusic, sadly, is pretty much dead to me too. Other than the odd Green Day or Arcade Fire video, it pretty much ignores the music I'm listening to these days. I'm too old for them, unfortunately.
On Christmas Day I got into a big discussion with my brothers about all the wicked music coming out of Canada lately. What boggles my mind is how CFNY Edge 102, the local alternative station here in Toronto, seems more content to fulfill their CanCon quota playing the hell out of Nickelback's "Photograph" or Sum 41's "Some Say" when they could try some Elliott Brood, The New Pornographers or Broken Social Scene. At least they play lots of Metric, Arcade Fire and that first Stars single. Here's hoping CFNY Edge 102 discovers Twin Cinema in 2006.
Tracking ones favourite bands used to be a far easier practice. As a teen, I could ring off my ten favourite bands of all-time without hesitation or doubt. In my 30s, it seems to change by the hour or mood.
Here is my current top ten:
- The Tragically Hip
- Pearl Jam
- Public Enemy
- Alice in Chains
- System of a Down
- Foo Fighters
- The White Stripes
- Arcade Fire
Agree or disagree, just keep in mind how completely subjective this practice is.
Arcade Fire's Funeral is one of my favourite albums of all time. That's right, I love it that much. Every tune hits home for me, and after thousands of listens I still love every note.
When I first heard Neon Bible, I was ready for a let down. I'm happy to report there is no let down. I can't get enough of this new album. It's a great follow up that cements this band in an elite class. Is there a band producing better music than this right now? I don't believe so.
Somebody has actually posted to YouTube the great new tune "Intervention" set to footage from Rumblefish. It somehow works, and it's an awesome song, so enjoy...
It took one spin of Arcade Fire's Funeral to hook me. "Wake Up" quickly became my favourite cut on the disc and I couldn't wait to share it with my brothers and buddies. I shared it with all of you on August 3.
This afternoon I heard "Wake Up" on CFNY Edge 102. No longer merely an album track, "Wake Up" is about to be unleashed upon an unexpecting public. Minds will be blown and ears will be delighted.
Here's to 40 consecutive mornings of "Wake Up", God please.
I try and write an entry here every time I submit a song there, but I've been neglectful of late. To catch up, here's what I've submitted for SLS14 thus far...
- Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)
- Beck - Girl
- Audioslave - Doesn't Remind Me
- Stars - Ageless Beauty
- Death From Above 1979 - Romantic Rights
- Our Lady Peace - Where Are You
- The White Stripes - My Doorbell
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