Music Notes June 2009

June 29, 2009 at 12:14 pm (Uncategorized)

June’s notes on the world of music.

1. Michael Jackson

Of course, Michael Jackson. What can I say that hasn’t been written elsewhere? Most of the commentaries on his death have neatly drawn a line between his phenomenal talents as a musician and performer, and his increasingly bizarre public and unfortunately not-so-private life. I’m certainly not a fan of Jackson, not even Off the Wall, but listen to those Jackson 5 hits like ABC, and they are amazing.

And if shows like So You Think You Can Dance have taught us anything, [pause for brief reflection here], it’s that not everyone can dance. Look at Jackson’s moves. Now, try to copy them. Not so easy is it? 

But yes, the train wreck that was his off-stage life is unfortunately the one that destroyed him and overshadowed his accomplishments. Bill Wyman’s piece in Salon says it better than I could.

 2. The Horrors – Primary Colours

I was really excited about the Horrors opening for the Kills last month. Unfortunately, the sound mix was like mud. Everything was at the same level, and the vocals were completely inaudible. Happily, the new record Primary Colours is a swirling masterpiece of sound. Hey, sign up for their mailing list and get ‘Sea within a Sea’ for free.

 3. Fairuz

My Arabic is non-existent. I don’t know what Fairuz is singing or even the song titles mean, but it doesn’t matter. The voice is gold. Do yourself a favour and get some.

4. Hunters and Collectors  – Throw your Arms Around me

Ooh, eighties nostalgia. Stop and listen to this record. It is perfectly romantic.  Hunters and Collectors leader Mark Seymour recently recorded an acoustic version of the song. Doesn’t quite have the same kick, but still lovely.

 5. Sky Saxon.

The former lead singer with the Seeds, the band that recorded ‘Can’t Seem to Make you Mine’ and ‘Pushin’ too Hard’,  died June 25.  After the Seeds broke up, Saxon was  part of a religious commune, but later reformed the Seeds several times, though often with different members. He worked with Billy Corrigan of Smashing Pumpkins and appears in their video Superchrist.

6. UK Subs – Crash Course

Came across this gem in a used CD store last week, and had to have it. I bought this record when it came out almost thirty years ago. 20 tracks (plus a bonus 4-song 12 inch on blue vinyl) and everything’s wrapped up in 45 minutes. A great account of a Subs live show. Charlie Harper played Toronto about a month back (I only heard about it after the show); still playing those old tunes. Old punks never die…

7. The Raveonettes

Clicked on their web page to see what was happening with them. Web site is under re-construction while they record a new album, but if you journey to Vice Records , you can download demos from the record.

8. Pete Molinari

Good news: Pete is recording a new EP.

Bad news: It won’t be released until August.

Check his web site and join the mailing list.

9. The Stone Roses – Blood on the Turntables

Wow! It’s been 20 years since the Stone Roses debut, and time dulls the memory. Dig it out. Enjoy again. Happened across this documentary on You tube

10 You Should Have Been There!

Story from Saturday’s Toronto Globe and Mail on cool gigs. You’ve got until July 11 to read it for Free, then the Globe charges. (but contact me and I’ll get it to you…)

 Here’s a sample…

Concerts survive in part because they can’t be copied and leaked on the Internet. But that’s just the seller’s reasoning. It doesn’t explain why we still want to line up and buy pricey tickets, and get fleeced for parking, and pay too much for watery beer, and spend the whole evening on our feet because no one else will sit down. We do all that because concerts give us things that no recording can. They restore actual presence to an experience that has become more and more dematerialized.

There’s something magically immediate about witnessing a musical event, as compared with letting your iPod shuffle through your stored playlists. Part of the thrill of being present at a great concert is knowing that it’s happening in this place and time, among these people, and can never be experienced the same way again. It’s both a celebration of singularity and a reminder that life is finite and lived in one direction only.

Jay Reatard review on Tuesday.

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