Author Archives: Alan Cross

A New Ramones Cover EP

February 18th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

The band is Black Tambourine, a group in the Jesus and Mary Chain fuzz-pop vein.  The EP, OneTwoThreeFour, features four

Microsoft Thinks About a New Music Service

February 18th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Although the Zune got a bad rap--remember the brown one?--it was actually a very good personal music player.  The problem was that it wasn't as good as the iPod.

The Xbox, on the other hand, is an exceptional game console and it's very, very popular.  Microsoft has been slowly working at making the Xbox the centre of the living room experience.  And with 40 million subscribers to Xbox Live, there's a pretty decent community of users out there.

Word has leaked out that Microsoft is talking with record labels about creating some kind of new music service beyond what they're already doing with the Zune Music Pass.  

MIXTAPE, the Digital (and Musical) Comic Book

February 17th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

I've been corresponding with Brad Abraham, a New York City comic book dude who has come up with a pretty cool thing that's light-years ahead of the old Superman comics I used to buy.  

Mixtape is the story of five teens growing up in the early 90s and united by a mutal love of music.  For maximum effect, the digital version of the comic book comes with a playlist.  Each subsequent issue will have its own unique playlist, too.

And it's good stuff.  The first soundtrack features Bowie, Pixies, Sonic Youth, Joy Division and Depeche Mode.  Jeezus, if you were growing up in the 90s and remotely alt-rock-ish, this is the stuff that you listened to.

CMW Preview: FRED

February 17th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

I’ve been following this Irish band for a couple of years now and I quite like them.  Their new album,

This Week’s Top 11 Playlist: 17 February 2012

February 17th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

It was a crazy week.  TWO trips to NYC in five days, one of which included the airline losing an ENTIRE PLANE'S WORTH OF LUGGAGE upon arrival in Toronto.  Amazing.

Still, I managed to do a lot of listening to new music.  Here's what I've come up for this week's Top 11 list. Click on the player below to listen now or use the link on the right hand side of the page anytime.  As always, thanks to Mediazoic for the help.  You should check them out.

And don't forget that you can see the whole playlist after the jump.

William Shatner Returns to Broadway After 50 Years

February 17th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

It's considered bad form for critics to review a Broadway show while it's still in previews.  After all, the kinks in the production are still being worked out, so it's unfair to offer an objective opinion on what is still a work in progress.

However, since I am neither a theatre critic or objective, I absolve myself from the whole idea of this post being in bad form.

As you may know, I toured with The Shat on a cross-Canada jaunt last year called How Time Flies.  The format was celebrity interview style; I was Ron MacLean to Shatner's Don Cherry.  Each night, we sat on stage with him telling stories and be providing the segues.  It was the most fun I'd ever had in my life.

Alter-Egos of Rock

February 17th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Q magazine has a cool little column on their favourite rock’n’roll alter egos.  Everyone knows about Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, but

New Music This Week on Squish

February 17th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Squish is the new online alternative rock station I program for Astral Radio.  Nothin' but music and no commercials.  

New this week on the playlist:


  1. RHCP/"All Around" - Have you seen the new interactive video?  Cool!
  2. Teenage Kicks/"Setting Son" - New stuff from high-energy Toronto indie band
  3. Fanfarlo/"Shiny Things" - First single from their second album, Room Filled With Light, which is due on the 28th.
  4. Memoryhouse/"Walk With Me" - A Guelph band signed to Sub Pop (!!!)

Has Radio Lost the Music Discovery Battle?

February 17th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Here's a quote from Dan Halyburton, a consultant at McVay Cook and Associates.  It's an interesting perspective for a radio consultant because for years, any that I've ever dealt with has advocated tight playlists with familiar artists with little room for chance.

The amount of musical talent out there today is stunning. The discovery process on TV is running full tilt. If every radio station found just a couple of artists that they truly thought would speak to their audience and committed to make them ”important” to their audience, Radio could make a difference and our time honored role as a musical discovery medium could be be preserved.

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