When I heard that Jane’s Addiction was touring again, and playing Toronto’s Massey Hall (one of my all-time favorite venues), I was totally into it. But then I kind of dropped the ball on getting tickets, so I had resigned myself to the fact that I would miss the chance yet again to see Perry Farrell in action, which was a shame because I have heard many accounts of what an excellent front man he is. Plus I love the band. I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard them. It was the summer after grade 9 and I was in San Francisco visiting family. I met up with a bunch of my high school buddies who were also in town. We were hanging out down at Pier 39 doing the touristy thing, and it was one of those perfect San Fran days where it’s sunny and kind of cool but the air is crisp and the sky is unbelievably blue. My friend Matt turned to me and said “Spencer, check this out,” shoving a pair of earphones into my ears. ‘Been Caught Stealing’. That was my first taste of Jane’s Addiction.
Monthly Archives: February 2012
A humbling question for any self-avowed music fetishist to ask, but there was no denying it – I had lost touch with today’s music. Foster the People? All over it – but so is anyone who watches Conan O’Brien. I have an opinion not only on Lana Del Ray, but her SNL appearance too (positive, thank you). And while I can sing Party Rock Anthem from memory, find me a housewife in Kansas who can’t.
Every music fan knows there is no sweeter joy than being ‘the first’ to direct their friends towards an awesome new album, song or artist, and I can claim ‘Slanted and Enchanted’, ‘Since I Left You’ and ‘The Soft Bulletin’ as my ‘discoveries’. Problem is, none of these are from the last 10 years. Hard swallow.
At one time, knee-deep in Spin magazine and hosting my own campus Radio Show at Western (‘The Fever’) I could go toe-to-toe with anyone on music and emerge relatively unscathed. These days, however, I have to admit I have exhausted nearly all of my avenues into new music – the stuff just below the surface – stuff you probably won’t hear on radio, see on TV, or maybe even read about in magazines.
So, cue the cuz. Trevor Burns, aka T-Rev, music freak, accomplished pianist, and host of his own show at Cornell called Throwdown Thursdays. I asked him to assemble a playlist of the furthest-forward music he knew. Not weird shit nobody likes that’s purposefully obtuse, but good shit. Stuff that — sigh — the kids are listening to.
Cornell is not South Central, so there’s an economic, cultural and sociological bias to the selections – as there would be if I were to ask someone from South Central. And I’m fine with that because frankly, after 20 miserable years of rap dominating popular music, I can go the rest of my life without needing to be told to ‘throw my hands in the air, and wave them like I just don’t care’.
If you can hear Van Morrison’s ‘Blue Money’ in the Sesame Street theme song, and can hear the Sesame Street theme song in Wilco’s ‘Outta Mind/Outta Sight’, we might have something in common. So herewith, forthwith, the best of ‘What the Kids are Listening to Today’, + 2 stinkers for the curmudgeons and misanthropes out there.
Good morning dear readers, and welcome to the Most Romantic Day of the Year! Can you feel the love? I sure hope so. Hallmark Industries needs your support, you know. Those cards don’t just write themselves. Every dollar you spend goes directly towards raises for their copywriters. I mean, that’s where the profit goes, right? Right? Of course it does.
Anyway, we marked Valentine’s Day last year by celebrating famous musical couples throughout the ages. This year, we decided to throw together a playlist of our favorite love songs for your enjoyment. Songs about love tend to be rather sappy and maudlin by nature, but we feel that these selections have the cheese factor dialed back (as much as possible, anyway) and the music level set to awesome.
I hope you are sitting down, because I am about to blow your mind.
Somehow — and I truly, for the life of me cannot fathom how this happened — I managed to make it through the past 22 years without ever having seen this music video:
I know what you’re thinking — how did an oversight of such magnitude occur? The situation is nothing short of tragic. I mean, the song was released in 1990, so for 22 years I could have been reveling in the supreme awesomeness that is this video. And it’s not like I haven’t seen the cinematic gem Cool As Ice (which I will delve into further at a later date, as it obviously deserves it’s own post). Or the live performance of this song on Saturday Night Live, during which Vanilla Ice sported a truly magnificent jacket with ‘WORD TO YOUR MOTHA’ spelled out in diamond studs on the back — possibly the best piece of clothing worn by anyone, anywhere, in the history of time. Sadly, this is the only picture I could find of it:
Seriously, I don’t understand why there aren’t multiple web sites devoted to this jacket. If ever there was a garment of clothing deserving of it’s own tumblr, surely it is this one.
Anyway…clearly I am familiar with the man’s oeuvre, is what I’m trying to say. So how the viewing of this video managed to elude me until now is truly a mystery for the ages. Now that I have seen it, it feels like a piece of me that had always been missing has fallen into place.
Also, I have come to an important conclusion. You know how people always daydream about what they would ask for if they could have one wish magically granted? I have decided what mine would be — I would wish for the dance skills necessary to perform the routine in this video from start to finish. Think of how often that ability would come in handy! Like, for example, if you found yourself in the middle of an impromptu dance-off. It is important to be prepared for such things. As a bonus, if you were ever feeling blue you could bust out these moves and instantly cheer yourself up.
As for my love of this video…will it ever stop? Yo, I don’t know. But I certainly hope not, because it is making me pretty happy.
You know what’s funny? When two very different songs share the same name. Especially when it leads to confusing/embarrasing conversations like this one:
Spencer’s (much cooler) friend: “‘Good Vibrations’ is such a great tune…”
Spencer: “Oh ya, I love Marky Mark!”
Spencer’s friend: “Um…I was talking about the Beach Boys song…”
Awkward silence as both parties realize the extent of Spencer’s lameness.
Don’t get me wrong, the Beach Boys’ version is also awesome, but how can you not love the Funky Bunch’s ridiculous ’90s dance moves? And Marky Mark’s shirtless posing. Not to mention that gold glitter hat…
Here are the two songs, side by side:
Oh man! I’m just gonna say it: they are both great. That’s the beauty of two songs with one name — unlike your typical classic vs. cover scenario, you don’t really have to measure how they stack up to one another, or choose between them. You can instead just enjoy each song for what it is. And although these two couldn’t be more different in some ways, when it comes down to it they are both songs about the thrill of hitting that sweet spot, where everything is just waves and waves and waves of good times.
You guys! It’s our birthday!!!! One year ago today we posted our very first article, and we couldn’t be happier to have reached such an important milestone! In honour of this very excellent date, we are declaring February 4th to be a national holiday, effective immediately, and giving you all permission to take the day off work. You’re welcome!!*
*What’s that you say? Today is Saturday, and you already have the day off work? Well then. Instead, we give you permission to go out and get drunk tonight, and when you do, please raise a glass and toast yourselves for being the BEST READERS OF ALL TIME!! ‘Cause you are! We love you!
Let Them Eat Vinyl
Awwww…look who dropped in to wish us a Happy Birthday! They must have liked our article.
A couple of weeks ago I went to see a friend’s band play. Their name: More Cowbell.
I hadn’t seen a cover band in a long time and I had forgotten how good it feels to know song after song and be reminded of old favorites. There is a real pleasure in the experience of hearing the soundtrack of your life and sharing it with other people. The Cars, the Cult, Areosmith, Blondie, U2, No Doubt, the Foo Fighters, the Ramones… More Cowbell ripped things up for the duration of three satisfying sets. They didn’t play any Rush songs (it’s not often that you hear a band cover Rush), but my buddy on the kit was doing his best to sneak in fills when he could. I found myself singing along and grinning all night.
Weirdly, it felt like a vacation — a vacation from all the new stuff out there, and I don’t only mean new releases. I mean anything new to you – bands your friends suggest, albums that critics write about, music you hear on TV or in movies…There is so much out there and I really do want to give it all a try, but sometimes I just want to listen to the Cars’ first album for days and not feel like I’m missing out on something.
Seeing More Cowbell, and the happiness I experienced that night, made me realize that maybe I’m reaching my cut off point. I might be full, no more room for new stuff. I have assembled my musical cannon and I’m happy with it. I don’t like to believe this. I like to think that I will always be open to new music, but something inside me smirks and says stop foolin’ (immediately thought of Def Leppard) yourself. I remember when it began for me: in 1979, buying 45s at records stores with my allowance money…and now I’m buying my music on the internet with my credit card — innocence lost!
Am I really ready to end my search for new music? No, of course not…but I believe I have learned a valuable lesson: take a vacation, have fun, go out and see a cover band.