Blog Archive

I Survived the Happy Mondays’ Tour Bus

May 12th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

That headline would have been most impressive in 1992.  In 2012, though, not so much.  

Hold on.  Back up.

A couple of years ago, Mondays drummer Gaz Whelan was fed up with Manchester and England in general.  His wife, having seen a real estate show on the telly about homes in Canada, declared "We're moving."  So the family ended up in northeast Burlington.

Gaz formed a band called The Hippie Mafia, gigged around southern Ontario (opening shows for Liam Gallagher's Beady Eye) and recording some very good music along the way.  "The Mondays?" he told me.  "Done.  Finished. I want no part of that lot."

And he seemed serious.  The Hippie Mafia was gaining momentum and secured some high-powered management.  But then the Stone Roses got back together, recpitating offers for a Mondays reunion.  Eventually, the opportunity became too lucrative and for the first time in 18 years, the original Mondays lineup reconvened for a tour.

As a longtime fan, I made arrangements with Gaz to fly here to London for one of the shows at the Brixton Academy.  This, I thought, could be mad.  

11 Problems Music Can Solve

May 12th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Another contribution from Rupinder, our special medical correspondent:

Music is a splendid thing. It can cheer you up when you’re sad, make you dance like a fool, and allow you to drown out the world when you need to. But music has its scientific uses, too.

The new documentary Alive Inside details how dementia patients react positively when given iPods filled with their old favorite songs. The music seems to help them “come alive” again. While listening to familiar songs, many of the documentary’s patients can sing along, answer questions about their past, and even carry on brief conversations with others.

“Music imprints itself on the brain deeper than any other human experience,” says neurologist Oliver Sacks, who appears in the film. “Music evokes emotion, and emotion can bring with it memory.”

This Week’s Top 11 Playlist – 11 May 2012

May 11th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Another week, another series of long-distance plane trips.  I'm currently in London, about to leave to watch the Happy Mondays soundcheck before their gig tonight at Brixton Academy.  This should be interesting.

Like I've said before, the long hours aloft have allowed me time to listen to plenty of new music.  Here's this week's round of recommendations.  A full playlist is available following the jump.

Mediazoic helps me with this.  You can listen using the player below or anytime using the player in the right-hand column.

Using Sound for Massage

May 11th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

From a ping from Rupinder:

A sultry blues riff may cause some listeners to swoon, while a hypnotic techno-beat can give others a drug-like high, but can low frequency sounds actually treat disease?

According to a study from the University of Toronto in Canada, research suggests that Vibroacoustic Therapy (VAT), which uses vibrations produced by low frequency sounds to “massage” deep parts of the body, could help patients with neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s.

The study involved two groups of 20 Parkinson’s patients being treated with five minutes of 30 Hz vibrations. Results showed marked improvement of all symptoms in both groups, including less rigidity, better walking speed, and less tremor.

How Weird Is It In Greece? THIS Weird

May 11th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

His name is Gerorge Germenis and he's a member of the Greek Parliament representing the extremist Golden Dawn Party, perhaps the most extreme of the far-right parties in all of Europe.  Comparisons are made to Germany's neo-Nazi National Democratic Party.  Violence is part of their plan and they hate immigrants.  

This is their logo.  Look familiar?

Germenis also leads another life.  As well as being a Satanist, he's the frontman and bass player of a Greek/Norwegian black metal band outfit called Naer Mataron, whose next album, Long Live Death, will be out shortly.  Germenis' stage name is Kaiadas, which he took from the chasm where the ancient Spartans tossed the toss babies no one wanted.

The Scoop on David Bowie’s Long-Awaited Autobiography

May 11th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

It was at least three years ago that I first heard that Bowie was plundering his archives for some kind of expansive,glossy autobiography.  There were rumours, false announcements and even a fake or two.  

Now, though, everything seems to be almost ready. And the special edition will only cost you around $3,000.

Here's the press release via Music-News:

Genesis is proud to announce SPEED OF LIFE, the new publication born out of a 40-year collaboration between musician, actor and producer, David Bowie, and photographer and designer, Masayoshi Sukita.

In their fine bound edition, the authors have opened up Sukita's archives to assemble a 300-page photo essay which, captioned with their own recollections and memories, traces the development of Bowie's remarkable career from 1972 to the present day.

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