Blog Archive

Naming Your Band

October 3rd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

[Note:  This originally appeared as my Metro column on Friday, September 30th.  It serves as an introduction into History Television's What's in a Name? episode that talks about band names.--AC]

One of the most hideous tasks of being in a band is coming up with a name.  Consider: 

Good Commentary on the New Proposed Canadian Copyright Bill

October 2nd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

[It's called Bill C-11. This is why we all need to pay attention.  Read what Michael Geist wrote in the Toronto Star. - AC]

Last week, the government tabled Bill C-11, the latest attempt to reform Canadian copyright law. The bill mirrors its previous copyright bill and is expected to sail through the House of Commons with committee hearings that will pick up where they left off in March.

The Wife Says: Fall Rocks

October 2nd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

[Another missive from my wife.  She's got a lot to say.  Thanks for helping out. -AC]

Fall.  Not the calendar season. Apple picking. Apple cheeks. Cords and plaid and Hunter boots.

But Fall as in falling-temperatures, light levels, moods all plummet. Vitamin D supplements in overdrive.

Grey skies presage grey moods. Introspected introverts thrive. The music echoes. Rock is good for Fall. What is depression except anger turned inwards asks the self-taught expert? (One semester of Psych. Fifteen years of Oprah.)

More Music from the Inbox

October 2nd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

The unofficial mantra of this site is "Listening to bad music so you don't have to."  Because let's face it: you're busy.  There's just too much music out there and too little time.  

Here are a few songs to get you started.

Should Apple Cull the iPod Line?

October 2nd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

I won't bore you with any more iPhone 5 rumours.  Instead, though, I'd like to pose a question:  should Apple pare down its line of iPods?

If you read the tea leaves a certain way, it appears that they may be thinking this way.  In years past, Apple's fall event has been all about music and iPods.  Whatever is going to happen on Tuesday has been signaled as being focussed on a new iPhone and iOS 5.  No one has mentioned anything about iPods.  No new models.  No new features.  No new nothing.

I'm not suggesting for a moment that Apple is going to stop selling iPods--at least not the Touch.  But with iPod sales tracking down 6% year over year, someone inside the company must be thinking hard about the future of the iPod Classic, the nano and the Shuffle.  Consider:


October 2nd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Afghani rock band Kabul DreamsThis has to be taken as some kind of progress.  Afghanistan had its first rock festival in three decades and no one was blown up.  (I'm not being facetious.  The location of the show was kept secret until the last second lest any insurgents had any suicide bomber ideas.)

They calleded it Sound Central and featured local bands as well as artists from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Australian (the event was organized by an Australian photojournalist who invited some friends). The venue was Babur Gardens in Kabul.

The Most High-Security Recording Sessions Ever?

October 2nd, 2011 | by Alan Cross

[Note: I've seen this ship down in the Caribbean.  It has a helicopter pad and its own submarine, fer god's sake. Blofeld would kill for this boat.]

From Business Insider:

The recording session for the first album from Mick Jagger’s new supergroup SuperHeavy had to be top secret to foil music pirates and such, and apparently no recording studio on Earth was secure enough.

So the wrinkly Rolling Stone and friends took to the high seas, and laid down some tracks aboard Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen’s megayacht Octopus.

Flaming Lips Decide That a 6-Hour Song Is Too Short. Next Project: a 24-Hour Song Inside Human Skulls.

October 1st, 2011 | by Alan Cross

The last time I talked to head Lip Wayne Coyne, I asked him "Isn't it great to have a job where you get to be weird?"  He looked and me strange and asked "What's weird?"

Well, this might qualify.  After raising money from fans to record a 6-hour song, the Lips are prepping a song that will last 24 hours--a full day--which they will then release inside a real human skull.

Why Some of Us Should Never Sing. But It’s Not Our Fault.

October 1st, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Florence Foster Jenkins, history's most famous bad singer.Outside of "O Canada" when we win hockey gold at the Olympics, you will never, ever hear me sing.  Not only am I too self-conscious but I don't want to offend those around me.  

I have this feeling that I sound like a kid I used to stand next to in fourth grade assembly.  He was so tone deaf that I'm pretty sure his family had their own parking space at the mall.

I just used to chalk it up to a lack of talent.  But maybe it goes deeper than that.  Perhaps people like me and that kid from elementary school have a genetic defect.

More Music from the Inbox

October 1st, 2011 | by Alan Cross

I don't know about where you are, but the weather around here isn't great.  Perhaps it's best just to stay inside and explore some new tunes.  Here's what made it through the filters this round.

The Recommendation Project Part 12: Instrumentals

September 30th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

I'm a big fan of instrumentals.  Without lyrics to fall back on, the music has to bear all the weight of the composition.  What, in your opinion, are the best alt-rock instrumentals of all time?  

Better yet, do you know of an obscure alt-rock instrumental that everyone should really know about? (See my pick involving Isa and the Filthy Tongues.)

Here are the rules:

Music Piracy Drops As People Adopt Streaming Services

September 30th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Give people what they want when they want at a reasonable price and they'll stop stealing.  From Techcrunch:

The Swedish polling company, Media Vision, has released a study (in Swedish) about downloading habits in the country where Spotify was born. Their results? 23 percent of Swedes download music illegally, down 2 to 3 percent since 2010. In short, music piracy, at least in that market, is falling rapidly and much of that decline can be attributed to the popularity of services like Spotify.

Facebook Music: Why It Should Bug You

September 30th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Because Spotify remains verboten to Canadians, this isn't an issue for us yet.  But it should raise some serious red flags about how creepy the people who run Facebook are coming.  

According to what I've heard, new Spotify users couldn't sign in unless they signed in through their Facebook account.  Why?  So Facebook and slurp up even more data about you.  No Facebook account? Well, I guess you'll need one if you want to use Spotify.

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