Monday, December 29, 2008

The Two-Minute Miracles

Thanks to CBC Radio 2 and a December 20th trip to Costco with Steve Jones, I now know about the Toronto based band, Two-Minute Miracles. These guys are so under the radar but totally authentic and unwary roots rock.

The video above is of a live performance of "Stall Tactics", which I encourage people to purchase off iTunes, from the album Volume III The Silence of Animals. Weird title, but that's good. I purchased several songs from various recordings of theirs and then burned a CD for Steve for Christmas. This I hope, will push him to set up his iTunes account on his "new" iMac and buy the albums in full. So far, Steve loves these guys.

This video link is of a more polished production; an upbeat sort of tune, which I will also buy, from the album "Lions of Love". Title song from that album is also really good.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The state of the union post Christmas 2008

This morning after a truly lack luster Christmas spent virtually alone, snow bound, suffering with achey-flu-like symptoms, and then yesterday from 11:45 am to 2:10 pm, joining in the “fun” with six other homeowners up on the roof of our apartment building, heaving twelve-thousand pounds of snow off to the ground, well, I have awakened to the fact that I am a cynical and fearful person. Buddy's down to one last tin of Fancy Feast and it's the Salmon flavor one which he's not wild about.

And even worse, reading the NY Times online this morning, right there in black and whitish, “Billboard reported that three-quarters of Santogold’s (singer Santi White – whom I don’t know or listen to) excellent album has already been licensed for commercials, video games and soundtracks, and Ms White appears in advertisements for sneakers.”

Journalist Jon Pareles has it right, it’s a hard one to fathom at times. He goes on to state, “this is the reality of the 21st-century music business. Selling recordings to consumers as inexpensive artworks to be appreciated for their own sake is a much-diminished enterprise now that free copies multiply across the Web.”

Good grief. I love his description of the two types of music listeners – me being of the first collective – an apparent dying bread; “While people (I’d be one of these people) still love music enough to track it down, collect it, argue over it and judge their Facebook friends by it, many see no reason to pay for it.”

Jon Pareles’ full article was published December 24, 2008, entitled Songs From the Heart of a Marketing Plan.

And so far, I have only received and opened 2 Christmas presents. One from Richard - thank you dear for the multiple DVDs -they have come in handy these past few days; and one from Hartwick - a lovely collector book of Audrey Hepburn. I'm hoping to get a few new CDs - including Jill Barber's Oh Heart. That is, if this fricken snow would disappear!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt, January 17, 1927 - December 25, 2008

Sad to hear the news this afternoon that talented singer and actress Eartha Kitt has passed away from cancer. It's rather apropos that she passes away on Christmas day, as she made the song "Santa Baby" famous after recording the holiday hit in 1953 - Eartha was the original recording artist of the song.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Best of 2008 - the year in review for music

It's already been twelve months. It seems like only a few months ago when I was publishing Best of 2007, so when John Goodman emailed me to contribute the The North Shore News annual Year In Review Section, I thought, "You gotta be kidding me? Another December?" It really has flown by.

1. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
2. Ray LaMontagne – Gossip In The Grain (RCA)
3. The Smiths – The Sounds Of The Smiths (Rhino)
4. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Cardinology (Lost Highway)
5. Kings of Leon – Only By The Night (RCA)
6. Lucinda Williams – Little Honey (Lost Highway)
7. City And Colour – Bring Me Your Love (Vagrant)
8. Kathleen Edwards – Asking For Flowers (Universal)
9. James – Hey Ma (Decca)
10. KD Lang – Watershed (Nonsuch)

While this year was rather dry for publishing, I was able to push through my pieces on Kathleen Edwards' Asking For Flowers, KD Lang's Watershed, City and Colour's Bring Me Your Love and Morrissey's Greatest Hits. All great albums, with the exception of Morrissey's so-called Greatest Hits (I know, how can I slag my man?!). I have included them in this year's submission, appearing in this past Friday's paper (NSN December 12th edition, page A19).

The year 2008 can be described as eclectic, still filtering commonality in the collective Best-Of-2008. For more than one nomination The Kings of Leon, Fleet Foxes, Lucinda Williams, Block Party, Wolf Parade, Hey Rosetta!, and the most frequent nominee being Kathleen Edwards for her album, Asking For Flowers. Ottawa-born Kathleen Edwards is as confident and reflective as Lucinda Williams. Her debut album Failer is one of my "desert island pics". The Kings of Leon simply rock. Lead singer Caleb Followill's vocals are so striking to me. I'm in love with everything he utters. Further mention must be paid to Dallas Green and his solo work as City and Colour for the album "Bring Me Your Love", because as I described back in March, his voice is soft as silk, transporting lines to a diaphanous lullaby.

My Top 10 Albums were in no way prioritized. They were submitted in random order because I find it dreadful to remark on art in terms of rating. The absolute worst part of submitting an article for an album is the dreaded numbering out of 10. Holding my breath, I type it in last thing before clicking the Send Button on my email. But that is what we do as humans. It's unfortunate, but it's safe to say society is competitive in virtually all aspects, including art, of existence. What is better or worse, what is fastest, most expensive, you name it, we'll rate it. With rating, measuring, ranking, assessing, gauging, grading or estimating, we limit art - we stifle, regulate and limit it. But Music is really very simple. Above all of the temperament, Music is for enjoying.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Snow Patrol's "A Hundred Million Suns"

Album: A Hundred Million Suns
Artist: Snow Patrol
Label: Polydor/A & M
Released: October 28, 2008
Rating: 7 out of 10
Review by: Stephanie Kiernan

Don’t expect to fall in love upon the first go around of “A Hundred Million Suns” – I’ve personally renamed Snow Patrol’s fifth album “A hundred million Starts” since that’s about how many plays it took for me to warm up to it and wipe off its monochromatic veneer.

Nevertheless, despite the repeated starts of the album in my car and on my iPod, it eventually wedged itself into my psyche. Irish-Scottish ensemble Snow Patrol resumes their clean-cut, soft-alternative sound, while lead-singer-lyricist Gary Lightbody fortifies the band’s tried and true post-Coldplay formula for a perfectly pleasant offering without any surprises.

And while surprises might be vital in satiating the iPod generation, Snow Patrol’s music is nevertheless cheerfully alternative, in addition to having the underpinning of distinguished Irish Producer, Garret “Jacknife” Lee; who’s pixie dust has illuminated other alternatives like Weezer, Kasabian, The Hives, and Bloc Party.

“A Hundred Millions Suns” stamps out 11 sashaying originals, including sixteen marathon-minute “The Lightning Strike” which swoons and flares with echoing high-tempo. Snow Patrol has mastered mellowness with extractions like track 7, “Set Down Your Glass” and track 8 “The Planets Bend Between Us” and yet plodded optimism strikes through “Engines” – a highlight of the release.

This Snow Patrol offering would make a decent Christmas stocking stuffer; just add this review disclaimer to the wrapping.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Greg Laswell Linked and Liked

It's early Saturday morning and I've logged on to Facebook to pick up some messages. Although I resisted Facebook at the onset last year, I must admit it has its advantages.

First it's about people. I've been able to connect with friends and family that I would otherwise not be able to. There just wouldn't have been that opportunity. The other of course, is the iLike application. I'd like to say that I'm turning friends on to new music by 'publishing' my iLike selections, but also, there are friends like Terrie, Jennifer and of course Marni, who are doing the same for me. So while many folks like to blame Book-Visage for everything from break-ups to gossip machinery, there's something to be said for the connection that a song or music can make between people.

With that said, thanks to Terrie and Jennifer for being very cool and selecting and publishing your pick for the multi-talented artist, Greg Laswell - hailing from San Diego, California. Besides being a producer and engineer, the guy clearly knows how to write and record good music. From his album, "Three Flights from Alto Nido", this song is entitled "How The Day Sounds" and it is my pick of the week.

Now I have to finish - actually start - my review for the new Snow Patrol. It's not doing it for me so far. Looks like another bleak 6 out of Tener.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Snow Patrol to Ryan Adams and back to Lucinda Williams

After receiving a brief email last week, the new Snow Patrol album is coming my way for review. The problem is, I wouldn't consider myself a big Snow Patrol fan. I mean, they're alright for soft edged pop. They're kind of like Coldplay's little brother aren't they? But I suppose I should save my reservations until I actually get the CD and hear it. Who knows, maybe I'll love it. It's much easier to write with love or hate. It's dreary if your feelings are grey or lukewarm. In writing, nothing could be more boring than indifference. In any case, my starting point before receiving the CD is research and I've found a few tricks for comprehending a band and an album. This morning my iTunes Store was my first stop. There's a few songs on it which might be palpable. But I was immediately uninterested and moved on to the new Ryan Adams and The Cardinals - now that's more my speed. I could sing my teeth into that one.

iTunes beguiles you in with one purchase and then thoughtfully recommends other artists and albums with their subtle "Listeners Also Bought" tool. Which naturally lead me to the newest Lucinda Williams' CD, "Little Honey". Steve said that Lucinda Williams was having a relationship with the wee Ryan Adams. I don't know about a romantic relationship. He's 34 and she's past 50. That would be rather Oedipus Rex-ish. I don't doubt they've observed in one another a strong sense of symmetry as artists.

The iTunes review of "Little Honey" was stirringly perfect; clearly the writer understands what it means to hear Lucinda Williams. The final paragraph of the review was irresistible, surmising

"the cover of AC/DC's "It's a Long Way To The Top" is at once bizarre and absolutely perfect, a blues lament coming from the mouth of a woman who has spent decades trying to get her point across."

Yes, that's exactly her.

It seems that most people are fairly flagrant with their music tastes and sadly, again, indifferent towards it. Hawksley Workman asserts "The poets let a generation down and modern music could be a healing sound" in his "We Will Still Need A Song". It's true, modern songwriters - real singer-songwriters - are vessels of poetry today; dispensing their stories and truths and harnessing them to harmonies; a double feat.

I guess my point is, I personally can't waste my precious time trying to assimilate monochromatic, common pop music. I know; pretty elitist.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I worked on Saturday to help out at one of the showhomes in Heritage Woods. On the way home in the dark just after 6pm, driving along the quiet Barnet Hwy that hugs the inlet from Port Moody to Burnaby, I was listening to CBC Radio 2 and this catchy song came on. It was Sunny Day by local Vancouver music project Phontaine. Before the song ended I took note of the time and thought once I got home I'd check the CBC Playlist Web Site and find out what it was - there was no need because Tim Tamashiro, Tonic's host, plugged it immediately 'If you don't have any Phontaine, go out and buy an album - it's great music to have..." I was rummaging into my purse, nearly driving off the road for my ballpoint and note pad to scribble it down. Once home on Saturday night I purchased the album in which Sunny Day appears, Bibliotec. I wouldn't declare myself as a fan of electronic music, but I have to say, this got my attention.

This unofficial Phontaine video is of the final song on that album. I can't seem to find Sunny Day, but this entire album is pretty addictive at the moment. The track "Fin" is also fantastic.

Grant Baldwin is Phontaine and the music is grade A.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Home By The Sea - A Genesis forgotten classic

Tonight at the Cross, I scammed a few dollars off Steve Jones to throw into the "Juke Box". I punched in a few classics, but one surprised me - a Genesis song. I was a Genesis person in the eighth grade but this was post 1982. This is a great song. Post Genesis fan or not. The pub was filled and they liked it - but they didn't remember why.

"as we live relive our lives in what we tell you"

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ah Morrissey, we love you

Even though I "closed" my Airborne Confessions Blog down in August, I still receive the odd comment here and there. This morning I discovered this one left on a Morrissey post.

Morrissey is a rock ikon the world over as far as real people are concerned.
He refuses to conform to the commercialised and fake music scene. For this reason he is left out in the cold when his immense talent should be respected and idolised by true music fans.
Top bands such as The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Ordinary Boys, Wombats, Coldplay and many more all nod to his influence in their respective careers.
Morrissey is indeed the Last of The Famous International Playboys!

Vive la Moz!

PS. you are very pretty Stephanie. I will see you in far off places! Daz Manchester UK

Also, the photo above is most likely the confirmed artwork for his new album "Years of Refusal", due out February 3, 2009.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"Still On Fire" by First Aid Kit

Jason Collett you have my vote

I've been rather obsessed lately with bad politics, the crap Canadian election, the shite economy and the end of the world, so it was a little shining music that got me back on track. Although our election doesn't give us much hope, here in Canada we have great singer-songwriter talent to keep us from killing ourselves. I must say I just love this young cracking-folkish voice of Jason Collett's. He's just the perfect thing to get my mind off the negatives. I especially enjoy his song "Through The Night These Days". Jason Collett is signed to Arts & Crafts at the moment and they've done him a nice web-page, but other than that, I think you'd have to check out iTunes to get his album.

"Through The Night These Days" is from his latest release.

Finally something new!

While driving home over the Lions Gate Bridge, CBC Radio 2 played a track from a band I hadn't come across. The Fleet Foxes. I love their sound so I will leave you to their MySpace Page to see for yourselves. I say it's great Fall driving music. I like the tracks "English House" from the MySpace collection, but CBC played "Ragged Wood", which got me as far to blog this.

David Letterman appearance video

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bravo New York, Bravo!

While on the NY Times website this morning, an image caught my eye. Did I see carpet and chair and people sitting in the middle of Times Square? Yes - this image is just a sparkling component of what the essence of New York is about.

An audience in Times Square had a free treat on Monday evening: projections of the Metropolitan Opera’s opening night, with Renée Fleming in excerpts from “La Traviata,” “Manon” and “Capriccio.

I don't know who's in charge over there in New York, NY, but whoever it is, to come up with such an extraordinary idea - and perhaps this is a regular occurrence, I don't know - but they deserve a raise.

God bless New York and those exceptional people who understand the cultural splendor something like this event brings. Bravo!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Music in the Mail

For the cool photo above, I thank Flickr Photographer Elsie Cake. For my Bjork DVD, I thank my dear nephew...packaged and delivered all the way from California. I look forward to watching it. Alone - as directed.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Back to black indeed

In the past I have been unduly hard and embittered on the topic of Amy Winehouse. I wish to retract the past comments and negative review of her. This afternoon I came across an early interview she had on the Jonathan Ross show on YouTube. She so endearing, I urge you to stay with it and watch her acoustic performance of "I Heard Love Is Blind".

A few years after her debut album Frank, she released an even greater album, Back To Black. In thinking about what is so depressing about her situation with addiction is that she is undeniably super talented and she may be making like a shooting star across the sky - brief beauty soon to be erased as if it never existed at all.

Morrissey the cat

the song's name is "Stephanie" by Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham

Monday, September 15, 2008

Trees Lounge

Not only was Trees Lounge a great flick with great acting performances from Steve Buscemi, Michael Buscemi, Elizabeth Bracco and Carol Kane, it had a great title track by Hayden.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

There Are Bad Times Just Around The Corner & the outlook is absolutely vile

One of the best online radio shows is "Morning Becomes Eclectic" on LA's KCRW.  Morrissey was the guest on August 29th and yes, bugger, I missed it live.  But here's the good news.  You can listen to the interview Here. LINK
Here are His Majesty's recommendations: 

1. The Courteenas - A new Manchester Band

2. The Buzzcocks "You Say You Don't Love Me" (boy, do I  relate)

3. Sparks - who "crashed" into Morrissey's life when he was only 14 - the single "Moon Over Kentucky"

4. The Cockney Rejects "The Greatest Cockney Ripoff"

5. The New York Dolls - "There's Gonna Be A Showdown".

"If you've ever seen footage of Steve Jones he's completely mimicking Johnny Thunders"

6. Jobriath - "Morning Starship"

7. The Single by Mr Bloe, "Groovin"

8. Noel Coward, 1940's England, "There Are Bad Times Just Around The Corner"

And as Morrissey says, Noel Coward is simply an amazing lyricist.

And by the way, Morrissey mentions that his first single he purchased was Marianne Faithful - "Come and Stay With Me".

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Everywhere Music Won't Take You...the CBC Radio 2 Fiasco

It is day two for the remodeled national FM station, CBC Radio 2, which Canadians have come to rely upon for steadfast classical music programming and I’m wondering what to think and where to stand on these changes. I will never hear again the radio's slogan, "Everywhere music takes you." What a shame. Somehow the new slogan "Music Lives Here" is a little lame for my liking. I mean, when they stated "everywhere music takes you" it was all encompassing, suggesting that something more than just music was going to happen here on the national station.

Several months back the entire country was in an uproar over the CBC’s heavy-handed change orders. I remember reading a National Post article where even the “young” listeners were in complete disapproving mode over the prospect of losing the Nation’s classical culture dose. There was even a Facebook Group called “Save Classical Music at the CBC.” Pathetically there were only 16,000 people to join.

Now according to CBC Executive Director of Programming, Chris Boyce, the new Radio 2 “will be more relevant to more Canadians.” When I first read this statement I thought – great, now CBC can be as mainstream, dull, boring, unintelligent, monotonous and characterless as the rest of radio programming in the Country – just what Canada needs.

As I drove down Taylor Way and approached the Lions Gate bridge this morning, I crinkled my brow and listened to dear old Tom Allen almost struggle to introduce discs and albums of alternative groups like Broken Social Scene, (a band I dearly love by the way), and I thought what a shame it was to mute all of his amazing knowledge for classical music and its composers. Now we’ll get nothing out of our dear Tom Allen, because this genre of music is simply not his thing.

I for one will long for the mornings where I can relax and listen to Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Chopin – and true disc-jockeys like Tom Allen and Peter Togni, as they would enlighten and account for the lost golden age of music. Thanks to the bind-folded executives at the CBC, the shovels are heaving the last piles of soil over the crypt of symphony, chamber and choral music in Canada.

Well, at least I still have my iTunes Radio where Public Radio reigns supreme on a Sunday morning.

Classical Facts:
Since we won't be hearing from our beloved CBC Radio 2 for this relevancy

Classical Music describes the specific period from 1750 – 1820 and the music of major composers such as Johann Christian Bach, Mozart and Haydn when music was modeled after the ideals of the philosophy and art of Ancient Greece and Rome – balance, proportion and disciplined expression.
There are many styles of music within classical music, including symphony, opera, choral works, chamber music, Gregorian chant, the madrigal, and the Mass.

Classical music is broken down into historical periods: Medieval (including Gregorian chant and all monophonic music before 1400); Renaissance (1400 – 1600, music that was related to the church and expression of piety); Baroque (1600 – 1750, including the music of Bach and Handel. This was the period during which opera began and music became more ornate and textured); Classical (1750 – 1820, including the music of Johann Christian Bach, Mozart and Haydn during which music became an expression of balance, and discipline and the structure of its harmonies were transformed. Public concerts became very popular.); Romantic (1820 – 1915, including the music of Johannes Brahms, Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky. Music became more centered on ideas of fantasy, spontaneity and sensuality); Modern (1915 – present day, including Copland, Gershwin, Stravinsky, Barber. During this period older forms have been revisited and reinvented and technology has played an increasingly important role).

The term classical music was not used until the early 19th century in order to canonize the period from Bach to Beethoven as an impressive, "golden" era of music.
Many studies have proven that early experience with music provides the basis for more serious study later, so many parents expose their children to classical music at an early age and introduce them to instrumental lessons. The 1990s showed an interest in research papers and popular books on the so-called Mozart effect: a temporary, small elevation of scores on certain tests as a result of listening to Mozart. Other similar studies of different composers have produced positive effects on academic studies and child development.

Classical music is often associated with communication of transcendent emotion and universal ideas about the human condition. Many times composers will express inspiration from folklore, poems, paintings or other pieces of fine art and culture.

The Symphony is revered as one of the largest and most impressive fixtures in classical music. The following symphonies are some of the most perfectly representative of the structure: Mahler Symphony No. 9 in D Major; Haydn Symphony No. 34 in d minor; Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in c minor; Mozart Syphony No. 25 in g minor; Barber Symphony No. 1 in G Major; Haydn Symphony No. 94 in G Major; Dvorak Symphony No. 9 in e minor; Ives Symphony No. 1 in d minor; Brahms Symphony No. 2 in D Major; Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in d minor.

The contemporary classical American composer Samuel Barber and his brilliantly moving Adagio For Strings...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's 1994 again

Driving back from the grocery store today, I was reminded of this song. A favorite from grade 9 or 10.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Band of Horse is great driving music

The first Band of Horses' song I heard was The Funeral, around the time John's dad passed away. I bought the album, got hooked and became an instant fan. I love this South Carolina indie rock sound - though BOH is completely unique. Ben Bridwell's vocals are hard to miss. It's music that I love to put in the car and just drive to.

If you like Sparklehorse or Built To Spill, you'll adore this band. I play both albums "Everything All The Time" and "Cease To Begin" a lot. It's just music I never tire of. The other day I went in to a local women's clothing store and there was that unmistakable sound playing. I asked the store manager if it was Band of Horses. She wasn't sure so she went over to the counter to collect their playlist, saying they never play top 40 (top 40 being a swear word in my presence). Sure enough, it was. It was a song I hadn't listened to yet. The moment I arrived back at my apartment, I got on my iTunes and just reveled in it's soaking guitar churns and Ben's brilliant phrasing. Love these guys.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I have forgiven Morrissey

Another "Walking" video - strange how many there are. That latest one, "All You Need Is Me" actually made me chuckle. There's a blog who's author has listed all these "Morrissey Walks". Check out their very valid point HERE.

I love this one though. I cannot resist the lyrics: "Monday - humiliation, Tuesday - suffocation, Wednesday - condescension, Thursday - is pathetic, By Friday life has killed me, By Friday life has killed me, Oh pretty one, Oh pretty one"....

and then this line "And why did you stick me in self deprecating bones and skin?"

I think I found another funeral song.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Kathleen Edwards' article

So this past Friday, May 16th, 2008, my article for Kathleen Edwards' latest release Asking For Flowers, was published in The News. I'll publish the full review here and make one thing clear: I would NEVER write or describe anything as "genuine gems". That's editing for ya.

Couple of things before the article. First, her official website is really quite lovely. Check out

I found a great photo shoot collection of KE on Flickr here.
Then I found what just may be Kathleen Edwards' own Flickr Site HERE.

This is the unedited, unprofessional version.

Artist: Kathleen Edwards
Album: Asking For Flowers
Label: MapleMusic Recordings
Rating: 8 out of 10

Kathleen Edwards is a musician with a flair for thrashing the monotony of modern-day, anesthetized country music. She’s young, she’s severely talented, and she’s the exact opposite of music’s mainstream. She’s proved herself for a third time with “Asking For Flowers”, a jagged country-alternative album laden with slide guitar, pedal steel, harmonica and piano, all christened by Edwards’ not so perfect but ever provocative voice.

Born only a blink of an eye ago in 1978 in Ottawa, yet Edwards is as confident and reflective as Lucinda Williams. Her radiant 2003 debut album “Failer” wildly transcended the country and folk genres like a bucking bronco. Five years on and still wise beyond her years, these eleven new songs are genuine; heavy with murky, poetic lyrics, all delivered hard with plaintive, true-grit intent.

In the studio she’s taken on co-producer role along with Jim Scott and extolled a pioneer posse of backing musicians. These include Keyboardist Benmont Tench (from Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers), pedal steel ace Greg Liesz (feature musician for Wilco, The Jayhawks and Lucinda Williams), Don Heffington (Bob Dylan’s lineage) and of course her husband, guitarist Colin Cripps, all contribute to this wonderful creation.

From the very first line on the very first track, Edwards establishes certain sentimentality as she wisps “The summer months left me alone/But the fall rolled in on the back of a storm”. With a pesky beat, “The Cheapest Key” is in second position; an alphabetized litany of complaints and objections to perhaps an old boyfriend. But the unquestionable stunner of the album is its unyielding coda, “Goodnight, California”, where Edwards has never sounded so good.

-Stephanie Kiernan, 5/16/08

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"He Looks Like an Allman Brother"

I turn on MSNBC and see that Paul Davis has died at the age of 60. Back in the day I loved this song and I used to dart back and forth from CKLG and CFUN just to see if I could catch it playing. I know. Brutal days before having iTunes and playing music on demand.

This song is about the suckiest song you're gonna hear on this blog - so indulge me. No hate mail please. And by the way, had I'd known what a horrific lid he had (God bless his soul), I probably wouldn't have loved the song as much as I did.

Don't even get me started - I'll be posting Ambrosia and Player videos soon.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"Hungry for Change"

Echobelly - so if you don't have any Echobelly, go to HMV and seek out your copy of their 1995 album "ON". It's fantastic front to back, but I have to say "Pantyhose and Roses" and "Something Hot in a Cold Country" are my favorite singles. Oh yes, and "Four Letter Word" is also very good. But then there's "Nobody Like You". It totally reminds me of something Morrissey himself would love.

Now that's something for Morrissey to go do. Team up with Sonya Aurora. What a duo they would make!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Honest Roots Rock: The Jayhawks

One of my musics greatest disappointments is the disappearance of The Jayhawks. Rainy Day Music was the album I first bought of theirs and I played it to death. Jayhawks' frontman, is Gary Louris who reminds me in his looks, of Paul Westerberg. What crazy hair eh? I don't know what it is about them - whether you call it folk or roots rock - they ain't country-western - but they just have an easy-going and such a harmony. You can't find actual Videos of their songs on YouTube, just a bunch of badly recorded live set stuff.

Jayhawks' lyrics are fantastic and most of their stuff I listen to and think "Hey, does that guy know me?" Particularly with "Save It For A Rainy Day" or "Stumbling In The Dark". You can check out their website on Lost Highway HERE, where better quality recordings can be heard.

That's the Jayhawks. Nothing fancy, honest just roots rock.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Blue Merle...

Besides the new Morrissey Greatest Hits completely breaking my heart, so is the fact that the little band that could, Blue Merle, is no longer. They've got a collection of cool roots rock songs that'll please anyone. Except if you're missing your cool bone. If you have the need to do some grave digging, get on the bandwagon. They're fantastic.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Inside The Smiths: They're never getting back together - get over it.

In the crowded downtown HMV store, the pulsating guitar intro of “Irish Blood, English Heart” is amplified over the sound system and with immediate detection I’m grinning to myself. Besides the tattooed and pierced twenty-something employee spinning today’s new CD picks, I am perfectly alone in recognizing Morrissey’s renaissance single from 2004’s You Are The Quarry. Today the single plays as the fourth song on his latest recording, yet another Greatest Hits album.

Considering his solo career has spanned twenty years now, Steven Patrick Morrissey is still far from being a North American household name; typically identified as the former lead singer for The Smiths. Under a veil of uncommonness, Morrissey languishes in the safekeeping of his devotees, sanctioned by ex-Smiths’ patriots and a fierce brigade of Latinos. He has become an icon among the survivors of the by-gone 1980’s rave culture and indeed the most successful out of the former Manchester quartette.

Picking up the pieces immediately following the 1987 demise of The Smiths, issuing his first solo album “Viva Hate” in March of the following year, Morrissey contrives a formula of releasing original albums with B-side compilations and best-ofs in between. Now, several record labels later, he still finds it reasonable to pander an eighth compilation – this one under London’s imperial Decca Music Group. The packaging is gorgeous and features a heavenly black and white close up photograph of Moz with eyes wistfully closed – from about ten years ago albeit. But sadly, the song selection here is quite dumbfounding, too cumbersome with material from his last two studio recordings which aren’t the definitive of Morrissey for anyone. When it finally whirls its way through to track 7, we revive the faithful standby “Everyday Is Like Sunday” and three other interchangeable best-knowns. Thank God for the bonus CD, Live At The Hollywood Bowl and that gorgeous packaging. I ached over his oversight of Piccadilly Palare, At Amber, Boxers and my treasured Late Night, Maudlin Street. It’s simply puritanical of him to omit those and include his cover of Patti Smith’s Redondo Beach on a Greatest Hits.

And as if this were all not enough to make me completely despondent, I then subjected myself to watching the lop-sided documentary film Inside The Smiths, Through the Eyes of Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke, which seemed more like an attempt at time travel for the neglected “rhythm section” of the band than an upright documentary. Curiously devoid of any Smiths soundtrack (more royalty quibbling), the most poignant tangible is that Rourke and Joyce come out as the most devoted of Smiths fans. Yet this doesn’t stop me from wincing at their raw refusal to move on with their careers and lives.

The same cannot be said for Morrissey, who may routinely toss in classic Smiths’ songs at live concerts, he emphatically revolts the idea of reuniting. As for his latest and greatest; this Greatest Hits is a pulverization that shows little of his brilliance and proves his contentment in being the commander-in-chief of his own eccentric musical machine. I love him but I’d never recommend this album-I’d stick with the 2001 The Best of Morrissey.
- Stephanie Kiernan

Friday, March 21, 2008

Birthday wishes to Mr Bach

Today we should all try to improve ourselves by listening to Johann Sebastian Bach, for today is his birthday. Happy birthday old chap.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

"I don't know much about erotic art" says he

My God - look how cute he is...Oh Morrissey - where have you gone?!

I never stole one happy hour around here....

I'm trying to get my review started for Morrissey's "Greatest Hits". Unfortunately I'm truly crushed with this 'retrospective' so I'm forced to go back to Morrissey's beginnings - from his first solo album, Viva Hate, I've found this amazing live version of one of my FAVORITE Morrissey songs, "Late Night On Maudlin Street". I'm restored when I absorb this creation - pure Morrissey lyrics and pure melancholy.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The The, a gem in the old iTunes library...

I was playing an old mixed CD in the car tonight on the way home and came across this old favorite - THE THE "Love Is Stronger Than Death". THE THE is the English band Johnny Marr joined post Smiths. The album that this video belongs to is "Dusk" - Great Album and I happen to have the Re-master Edition in my iTunes, thanks of course to my George Harvey - gatekeeper of all 80's alternative UK CDs. The song is blaring in the apartment as I type this.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

New City And Colour - an acoustic folk reverie

Artist: City & Colour (Dallas Green)
Album: Bring Me Your Love
Label: Dine Alone Records
Release Date: February 12, 2008
Rating: 8 out of 10

In the complete opposite vane of Dallas Green’s Alexisonfire incarnation, City And Colour releases a second solo album, Bring Me Your Love.

This album is radiating of velvety acoustic authenticity, exceeding the 2005 effort of “Sometimes”, Dallas Green delivers an acoustic-folk reverie that’s bursting with his heartfelt narratives of love, loss and the human condition.

Along with that, the instrumentation is more sophisticated - burrowing down and lifting off with echoing string the odd whiff of Bob Dylan inspired harmonica and banjo. Bring Me Your Love is unpretentious, trustworthy folk-roots based and without a song to dislike. The immediate loves would include “Waiting”, “Constant Knot” and “Sleeping Sickness”, which begins inconspicuously before the tempo is carried up by a hand-clapping chorus, then the recognizable vocal of Gord Downey swaggers through the third verse. Downey’s cameo demonstrates stirring approval of this young Saint Catherine’s talent.

Listening to the City And Colour recordings I feel as though I’m back in the open air of the Malkin Bowl amphitheatre, beguiled by the purity of Dallas Green’s voice and washed away by gentle sashaying guitar. The 2-minute opening track Forgive Me immediately gives that off and as un-commercial as City And Colour is, Jack Johnson might aspire to cover “Against The Grain” or “The Girl” in a live set.

The order of the album is part of Green’s great intuitiveness. Songs fall into place effortlessly and the final track “As Much As I Ever Could” is as soft as silk, transporting the line taken for the album title, bring me your love, to a diaphanous lullaby - until that is, its abrupt end and your iTunes library barrels in The Clash’s Combat Rock.

-- Stephanie Kiernan

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Whino-house, July, Julie, and throw-backs

A weird topic keeps popping up. It's name is Amy Winehouse. Let me just say this: I don't get it. Thank God for one of my favorite people, who totally NEVER got the attraction from the beginning, I can roll around in a common mind set around this thing.

Let me point you in the direction of people much more talented.

First - if you like blues/jazz, try Jully Black instead. She's like 20x the artist and talent of the winehouse variety and she doesn't have to be crane lifted into a concert hall half conscious. I heard her this morning on the way in - the song was 7-day fool.

(love this photo by the way)

Second, Neko Case. Formerly of Vancouver-based The New Pornographers (that's a band not career title by the way), she's totally cool and a definite throw back. Check out "Hold On" and you'll see what I mean.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sleeveface me

I'm much more sedate this morning...After my blast/post on Airborne Confessions, I'm busying myself at lunchtime to navigate around some oddball sites and arming myself with novelty. I think I'm in need of some cheering up - same with the New Yorker because of her little pet mouse went to Heaven last week :(

So here it is: something called "Sleeveface". Flickr's got an entire Pool on the matter and I've sourced the best of them here with this guy.

I just may have to rethink my profile picture and exchange it for this one:

You can tell who's got it going on and who aint but their sleeveface, so be prepared to be terrorfied and impressed by a few of them. I couldn't find Tom Waits or Lee Hazelwood. Email me if need be.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

k.d. lang's latest recording, Watershed

Watershed Review (published February 15, 2008 North Shore News)
- Stephanie Kiernan \Rating: 7 out of 10

It’s two years short of a decade since k.d. lang gave way to writing and recording her own music, she now comes to us at the age of 46 without frills, props or stunts, pouring forth Watershed – a collection of 11 original songs.
Whether a case of artistic drought or a self-imposed retreat, there is something more innate and profound yet to be unearthed within her mellow scale and tune. Perhaps it’s her found spiritualism as a Buddhist that accentuates the sincerity of these pieces.
Watershed gently trickles through restrained, tolerant and mild sounds that leave little trace of our Prairie prancing cowgirl. Kathy Lang emerges soulful from her quiet L.A. existence to write, perform and even produce her latest endeavor that will take her on full tour of North American dates including an impressive three-night stand in New York – not too shabby.

From the frisk and frolic of Invincible Summer to the honour of reminiscing Canadian classics on Hymns of the 49th Parallel, not to mention the duets with the iconic Tony Bennett, k.d. lang still reminds us of a throw-back of sorts.

What seems to make this album tick is an inconspicuous blend of all her incarnations – but all softening of edges. Tender jazz influences like the bossa nova reverberation gelling with steel guitar and rustic banjo, plush piano and string congealing magically with her distinguished vocals. From the push off of track one, I Dream of Spring (her confessed personal favorite) melding into Je Fais Le Planche and Coming Home, it’s subdued delivery that is uncomplicated and natural; just as our homespun chanteuse has become - at ease and comfortable in her own skin, unpretentious and ever humble.
Whatever her secret in maintaining such strong appeal, Watershed melds and drifts across a Sunday morning playlist like a meditation, easily absorbed through the most brittle of senses.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Finally - break the dullness and the silence!

Thanks to Dan Johnson who gifted me this iTunes video! Bless your heart for understanding me. Especially after a week where THEY KNOW NOTHING OF ME.
I was confused with their name "Pilot Speed" because I immediately thought of Pilate, a Canadian band, which is in my iTunes (album called "Caught by the Window"). Ah ha! Pilot Speed IS formerly Pilate. Okay. That makes sense. Jared needs to go to their MySpace site - check out the song Into Your Hideout - that's the one I knew them by. I love this little video. It reminds me of that Blur video "Good Song" - a sad little cartoon critter - reminding me more of myself these days :( Anyways, these guys are good and I wish I wasn't working on the Watershed review now - I mean, yeah Watershed's okay, but it's just okay - it's exactly what to expect. A mellow little album for Sunday morning coffee. But that's not what makes me tick. I need guts pouring out on the floor - like this song. Real sad. I need REAL SAD dammit! Don't come to me with your drool. I have enough drool at work. Oh no - that's not drool - those are Drips. Right.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Moz remembers Heath

Apparently Morrissey dedicated "Life Is A Pigsty" to Heath Ledger. I always knew that would be great for an ode or funeral.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Andy Stochansky

I don't know what's going on with this artist - he's absolutely fantastic but incredibly invisible. Dude, get a website! Put your own music on your MySpace!!! Get a video on YouTube for Stutter!!

His voice reminds me of Ryan Adams, kinda rough and yet pliable. I love the song "Stutter", which gets on the radio once in a blue moon. I'm going to do some promotion of my own on this guy. About the only thing you can try is his wikipedia page and purchase his albums on iTunes.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Oncoming Morrissey

With everything that I write or post on this music site, you'd think I should change the name to MozChords or something. Well, here I go again. For the first time in a while, I visited Morrissey's official website which I found a revised home page, an old black and white of Morrissey floating in a swimming pool with the notation COMING SOON: February 11th - Greatest Hits. Being that I purchase anything and everything Morrissey, it won't bother me that I already have all his albums and I'll buy this one as well. I'm Deeee-voted folks - and a little Demented about it. And besides, I think that a new release justifies a new Review for the NSN doesn't it? I'm sure Goodman will publish it. "Write it and they will come."

In other Morrissey related stories, last night after working with my horrendous back pain all day, all I could manage was a thin crust mozzella pizza and a glass (okay three) of champagne then plunk down on the sofa. Before I knew it, I was out; so I didn't go down to Garvey's. He was having a few folks from work over which included Dubliner, Adrian. About 10 minutes after midnight I get awoken by the phone only to hear that I missed out on how much a Morrissey fan Adrian is. Of course he is. Bugger. And think of all the wonderful things we could have hashed over, and over and over? Somehow a guy from Ireland or England talking about mutual love of Morrissey and The Smiths just makes me feel a bit closer to...God. Anyway, in the haze I think John said that Adrian was talking about the film or video where they follow Morrissey around LA. Well, that would be from "The Importance of Being Morrissey".