Blog Archive

Biography Apps: The New Thing for Musicians?

November 16th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Musicians are always looking for new ways to engage their fans in meaningful ways.  Both Sting and Pink Floyd have just released what could best be described as "biography apps," which allow users a little bit of interaction whenever they want it.

In Sting's case, his iPad app features interviews, handwritten notes, lyrics, biographical notes and concerts from his career.  If judged by the size of the app (442 MB), it seems to be pretty comprehensive.

Pink Floyd's app is called This Day in Pink Floyd and delivers pretty much what you might expect:  a day-by-day breakdown of Floyd history including news, trivia and song notes.  It promises new content every day and costs $2.99.

Paul Simonon: Undercover Operative for Greenpeace

November 16th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

It was the Guardian who blew his cover.  Actually, the ex-Clash bass player and sometime Gorillaz member who came in from the cold.  

Clash bassist Paul Simonon has revealed he was arrested earlier this year, while working as an undercover Greenpeace activist on board one of their ships. Simonon spent several weeks on the MV Esperanza, masquerading as a cook.

Simonon was one of 18 activists arrested in June, after the Esperanza launched speedboats at the Leiv Eriksson oil rig off the coast of Greenland.

U2’s Biggest B-Side

November 16th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

The most popular non-album track U2 ever recorded was “The Sweetest Thing”—and there’s a story that goes along with it.  

Bono wrote the song in 1987 as a way to make up to his wife after he forgot her birthday.  It was his suck-up present.  He wanted to include it on
The Joshua Tree album, but it was too late.  The album and the artwork were done and there was no way to sneak it onto the record.  

No matter.  It ended up as a B-side for the single version of “Where the Streets Have No Name”—which is where it stayed.

I Like This: 1977

November 15th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

The Seaforth EP will be 1977‘s follow-up to Nineteen Seventy-Seven, a debut record that netted the band a Juno nomination.

New Releases This Week: 15 November 2011

November 15th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

With about six weeks to go until Christmas and ten days before Black Friday in the US, almost all the important albums for Q4 are in the stores.  Almost.  The final push comes next Tuesday.  

Here's what's new in stores today.

Eyewitness to History: The 1981 Teenage Head Ontario Place Riot

November 15th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

[Thanks to Mike for sending this to me! - AC]

It was the summer of 1981. NOW magazine became Toronto's 'other' voice, and a concert at Ontario Place became Toronto's Rock n' Roll statement to the world. It really started early in the day, three boys and a girl, sitting in the Downsview Dells Park up near the Keele Street and Sheppard Avenue intersection.

For all intensive purposes my name is 'Jupiter', and the others, well, lets call them John Doe, Harry Doe and Sue Doe. You have to understand, we're talking about the incitation of a full scale riot, nothing less. A Rock n' Roll riot. One that made front page news in over ninety North American newspapers.

More Music from the Inbox

November 15th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

One of my favourite lyrics comes from "The Beat Goes On/Switchin' to Glide" by the Kings:

Nothin' matters but the weekend/From a Tuesday point of view

Seriously.  How could anyone disagree with that?

With that in mind, let's try to forget that it's still three days from Friday night with a few new tunes from Evans Blue, 20 Amp Soundchild, The Foreign Films, Total Slacker and Midnight Conspiracy, all filtered through by correspondent Juliette Jagger.  

A Great Question: What Makes Music Boring?

November 15th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

For most people "boring music" is hard to define.  It's like defining porn:  you can't describe it but you know it when you see (hear) it.

I ran across this essay from the AV Club earlier today and after skimming it, I went back and read it again, thinking about that central question:  what makes music boring?

Any attempt to answer that will be necessarily loaded with subjectivity.  We are, after all, being asked to pass judgement on an artistic creation.

The First Picture Disc

November 15th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

These days when we open up a CD, we expect to see some kind of design covering the entire top of the disc.

If you have a special type of CD burner or ink-jet printer, you can print your own designs.  But back in the days of vinyl, we had to pay extra for what was known as a “picture disc”—a 12" LP that had a picture delicately spray-painted over the grooves in the vinyl.

iTunes Music Match Arrives

November 14th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Earlier today, Apple flipped the switch on iTunes Match, their version of a music streaming service.  By scanning and matching

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