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Missing My Music

15 Nov

One of the saddest things about our lack of blogging lately has been the distinct lack of music sites I’ve been able to access. He was always so good at finding SoundCloud or BandCamp pages where I could happily sit and listen to awesome tracks by one of my favourite artists for ages on end. Now, I have to resort back to the wonderful world of YouTube.

Unless He’s the one sending me the link, I’m pretty brutal at finding them on my own. I’d much rather (for some inane reason), sift through “Related To” videos that are not, in any way, related. Or if they are, they’re live versions, where I get shitty people screaming and clapping, instead of listening to the soulful sounds of the Avett Brothers.

With Spotify coming to Canada soon, I hope that this problem will be solved. I, for one, would love an account, as it will solve all my at-work musical problems.

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Music at Work: Takénobu – Exposition

18 May

Music at Work is a periodically published segment on HisHersandTheirs.  He writes about music that you can listen to online while at work.  The criteria is that: (1) a full album must be available to listen to; and (2) it can’t suck.  Here is the latest edition of Music at Work:

 Exposition Cover Art

I came across Takénobu’s bandcamp page a while ago.  I think it was one of the suggestions that is on the side of the bandcamp homepage.  Anyways, it’s nice.

He’s a guy from Atlanta who plays the cello.  and sings.  and writes songs.  It’s good music.  I like it.

I gather he’s also got plans to do an album made up almost exclusively of cello played covers to pop songs.  That should be good.  Take a listen to the first one that he posted on his webpage.

Electric Feel by Takenobu

Anyways.  Take a listen if you want something kind of chill to listen to you while you update your spreadsheets.

Don’t Miss: Jigsaw, Method and the Masses, Black Stallion

Music at Work: Freedom or Death

6 May

Music at Work is a periodically published segment on HisHersandTheirs.  He writes about music that you can listen to online while at work.  The criteria is that: (1) a full album must be available to listen to; and (2) it can’t suck.  Here is the latest edition of Music at Work:

Him and her went to the Steam Whistle unsigned show last Friday. The two bands who we saw were both good, in my opinion, and the venue is pretty historic.  The brewery is housed in the old steam engine train repair building in downtown Toronto.  While it certainly is a neat place to visit (super old with a new hip sheen to it), the acoustics weren’t very good.  I guess it’s just too much brick as the sound seemed to just be bouncing everywhere.  Oh well, beggars can’t be choosers.

First up was a local Toronto band called Freedom or Death.  Their genre is listed as electronic-folk.  Really, that’s about as accurate as it’s going to get.  These guys aren’t rock or electro, but kind of a fuzzy middle which you might as well call electronic-folk.

The band’s sound is helped greatly by their lead singer.  The guy has got great pipes and some good stage presence to boot.  He was having a ball playing with the crowd as well as getting his fellow band members to groove a little bit.  He started off without a guitar, but then pulled one out for a few songs.  To my untrained guitar eye, it didn’t look like he was doing anything other than simple chords.  But his singing was quite something, really strong.

The rest of the band provided the electro backup and I thought the show was good.  They’ve kind of got a Kenna sound to them.  That’s probably the best/only comparison that I can think of.

I really like their music on bandcamp, too.  They’ve got two albums up that you can listen to.  The first is a 5 song EP that they made last year.  Pretty good, one song in particular that got stuck in my head at work today (see the “Don’t miss” section).  The second is an LP that came out last month, Ego.  It has a lot of great tracks on it.  Definitely something to keep on my bookmarks to listen to in the future.

Also, if you’re into checking them out live, they’ve got a show coming up on June 9th at the Drake in Toronto.  I probably won’t be there, but you never know…

Don’t miss: Soldier (FoD EP); This Crowded Room, Elefant, Human, Virgina Woolf (Ego)

Music at Work: Ben Walker – This Is Not An Album

28 Apr

Music at Work is a periodically published segment on HisHersandTheirs.  He writes about music that you can listen to online while at work.  The criteria is that: (1) a full album must be available to listen to; and (2) it can’t suck.  Here is the latest edition of Music at Work:

My goodness, Bancamp.com has got to be one of my favourite websites. It’s a music sharing website where Indie (or semi-indie) artists create a personalized page and upload music for anyone to listen to via a very simple and clean streaming interface. Now that sounds a lot like Myspace music, but it’s not. It’s better, for three reasons: (1) The music is uploaded in full album format (see Music at Work rule #1); (2) The listener can buy said full albums easily on the artist’s Bandcamp page; and (3) The above-mentioned streaming interface doesn’t take up many resources and is very simple to use.

The only issue that I have with it is that it can be difficult to find good music on it.* I’m not sure if indie artists are unaware of it or if there’s some other reason for bands to not sign up, but it can be difficult to find anyone you might have heard of before on the website.

*There’s an obscene amount of video game inspired music, lots of 8bit bleeps and bloops. And not in a good way like Crystal Castles.

Anyways, I’m always looking for new music to listen to at work and one day I decided to Google “good music on soundcloud or bandcamp” to try and find something new to listen to. After a couple of jumps, I made my way to Ben Walker’s Bandcamp page.

The Englishman looks a little strange with his teased out hair, but he’s written some pretty clever songs on his album “This is Not an Album.” Playing either a piano or acoustic guitar, Ben sings along to songs about sitting in a traffic jam or the imaginary life of an IT professional. Another one, Make a Difference, he imitates a Mexican trumpet player pretty convincingly in between verses about trying to make a difference to the world as a consumer.  He also as some serious sounding songs, but they aren’t as memorable as the silly ones.

Another thing about Ben Walker is that he really has figured out how to use Bandcamp to its fullest. He has a number albums up for listening and purchasing on his Bandcamp site that is a collection of 12 songs that are each only 12 seconds long. They’re basically 2 lines each with a short fore or aft accompaniment. Just one of those things that Bandcamp makes possible. An album like that could never be even close to commercially successful, but because of the artist’s ability to easily upload in it’s full format to the internet, he’s able to share it with everyone. Another album is one which is a bunch of songs that didn’t make it onto the This is Not an Album album. Which is great. He had songs on his hard drive that hadn’t been used and would have gone on sitting unlistened to if he hadn’t uploaded them for everyone on the interweb to listen to.

Don’t miss: Beaten up, Box Junction Heart, Make a Difference,Turn It Off And Turn It On Again (Ballad of the I.T. Guy)

Music at Work: Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

15 Apr

Music at Work is a periodically published segment on HisHersandTheirs.  He writes about music that you can listen to online while at work.  The criteria is that: (1) a full album must be available to listen to; and (2) it can’t suck.  Here is the latest edition of Music at Work:

Foo Fighters.  My first experience with this band was some point back in the late 90s.  Their music video for Learn to Fly was a high rotation play on Much Music at that point and I can remember talking about the video with a friend of mine.
 
Now, for those of you who don’t remember it, the video was a take off (pun spoiler) on the movie Airplane!.  Someone* stashes their…uh…stash in the coffee on a plane that the Foo Fighters are on, everyone except the band drinks some coffee and keels over and during the flight, so the band takes over the controls and land the plane safely.  Ha.
*The cleaning crew, which I’d forgotten about until just rewatching the video now,  is played by a much younger-than-they-are-at-the-present Tenacious D.
Anyways, so my friend was telling me about how funny the video was* and I was telling him that it didn’t make any sense.  I knew it was a copy of Airplane!, but the only time I had caught the video I’d missed the first 15 seconds or so.  Hence, I hadn’t seen the poison go in the coffee machine, but I pieced it together and got the gist of it.  However, I thought it was funny to egg on this friend of mine by arguing that the video was poorly made and all that.  Kind of entertaining for me, the S-disturber, but maybe an indication of why I didn’t have many friends in middle school…
 
*to be fair, the video is pretty funny. It features Dave Grohl playing the pilot, the un-masculine steward, a Foo Fighter obsessed teenie-bopper, and himself.  Pretty funny.
 
And now, over 10 years later, the Foo Fighters have a new album out.  Wasting Light, the band’s 7th studio album, was released on April 12th.  The band decided to upload the whole album to Soundcloud for our free listening pleasure before the drop of the album and have kept it up despite the album being available for purchase.
This is another attempt by the music industry to use the internet as a method of product delivery.  Although it’s usually lower label and indie bands give their music away for free, this move has been done before by bands who are comparable in stature to the Foo Fighters.  Anyways, now that the whole album is up for us to stream, it can be included on a Music at Work blog entry.
I must say, the album isn’t my favourite.  There are one too many “I’ll just scream and the music will be loud and fast and that’s the song” songs (White Limo being the worst offender), but I guess that’s a part of the Foo’s repertoire.  However, none of their really well known songs have been in that vein, so maybe they should just stick more to their successful formula.  But who am I to give advice to the drummer from Nirvana.
 
That being said, there are still a number of songs that I like.  None that I really see as reaching the same heights as Times Like These, My Hero, Best of You or Everlong, but still some solid songs.  And it’s free to listen to, which is great, but I just can’t shake the feeling that the album isn’t their best effort.  Maybe they’ve just been in the game too long, but I don’t think this will go down as one of their classic albums.  Hopefully I’m wrong.
Don’t Miss: Dear Rosemary, These Days, I Should Have Known

Music at Work: We are the City – High School

25 Mar

Music at Work is a periodically published segment on HisHersandTheirs.  He writes about music that you can listen to online while at work.  The criteria is that: (1) a full album must be available to listen to; and (2) it can’t suck.  Here is the latest edition of Music at Work:

So.  We are the City played twice during Canadian Music Week.  I got to see them for their first show.  Well, I got to see the last 2.5 songs of the first show they played.  Wish I had a chance to see more.
Two Fridays ago a friend and I went down to Tortilla Flats.  Home of the $3 tequila shot at all hours of the day.  It was pretty good.  It’s one of those dirty places along Queen West that is pretty good and really cheap.  We left happy.
Anyways, the show was at Criminal Records which is basically across the street from the restaurant.  Oh yeah.  Something that I learned about shows that are held in record stores: they actually start when they say they are going to.  That’s the reason why we only caught the tail end of their set.  Kind of a neat venue.  Probably not functionally ideal, we were in the back and couldn’t really see much, but a cool atmosphere.
First thing I noticed is that they’ve got a new guitarist.  The guy with the hipster moustache is out and the guy with the glasses and hipster haircut is in.  Not sure the reason behind the switch, but I hope it was for the best for both parties.
We caught half a song from their first album, can’t remember which though.  Then the drummer pulled a Phil Collins and grabbed the mic.  He starts singing “Dark/Warm Air”, a song from “High School” which is their EP that was released on March 22nd.  Oh man, I thought was going to pass out.  The veins in his face were all bulging out and he was going red.  Then he books it and climbs over his drum set in time to start up with the drum part.  Good song. Some of it reminded me of that mid 90’s alternative song where the singer says “wake up my airplane” or something like that.  Misheard lyrics for sure on my part.
Then they finished off their set with “April” from their first album, “In a Quiet World.”  This is probably my favourite song of theirs, so I was glad to hear live again.  Afterwards, my friend was asking what the song was called.  He really liked it.
Anyways, I was sad that we missed their (presumably) longer set at The Garrison the next night, but sometimes you can’t be everywhere at once.  Check out their new EP. You can listen to it on their bandcamp page for free while you’re at work.

Music at Work – Weak Size Fish

28 Feb

Music at Work is a periodically published segment on HisHersandTheirs.  He writes about music that you can listen to online while at work.  The criteria is that: (1) a full album must be available to listen to; and (2) it can’t suck.  Here is the latest edition of Music at Work:

Weak Size Fish is a band that I found a while back.  This wasn’t a happenstance finding though.  In fact, I went to high school with 2 of the band’s members.  So I think it was after about a million event invitations to shows in Fredericton and Saint John that I couldn’t go to before I decided to check out their myspace.  I’m glad I did.

Their myspace labels their genre as “reggae/rock” and I’d have to agree with that.  It’s the kind of music that makes you want to just chill out an relax (so maybe I shouldn’t be listening to it at work?) and really belongs on at a cottage.  Or “camp” as they call them in New Brunswick.

Their myspace page has every song from “Off We Go”, their 2009 album.  Please, go give them a listen.  It’s some good music and, as of this blog post, some of their songs only have around 150 listens.  10% I’m certain are solely from me while at work…

They toured to Ontario twice last year and I missed them both times.  I hope they’re coming to Toronto this year.  Both so that I can hear them live and to say hi to the two guys who I know in the band.  Oh, and also so that Her can get a drumstick from the drummer.  She has a collection.

Anyways.  Give them a listen and let me know what you think by leaving a comment.  She and I will definitely be going to see them if they come to Toronto.  So be on the lookout for a concert review and pictures when that happens!

Don’t Miss: Night of Tequila, Burning End, Swim in the Ocean, Off We Go

Music at Work – We are the City

8 Feb

Last spring, I was at school in Kingston when a peer was frantically trying to get people from our program to go see one of her favourite bands, The Zolas.  I’d never heard of them, but didn’t have too much work to do (relatively speaking, of course) and said that I’d go if it wasn’t too much money.  Sure enough, my friend gave me a call later that afternoon and said that the show was at The Merchant and it was free.  So I went.

Now, before I go see a band, I usually check out their myspace page and listen to a few songs, just to get the gist of their music and so that I might recognize a few songs at the show.  Following my routine, I listened to The Zolas’ myspace and, to be honest, wasn’t really blown away.  I mean, it’s not that I don’t like them at all, but they’re just okay in my eyes.  So I checked out The Merchant’s website to see if there were any other bands playing.  Sure enough there was another one playing, We are the City.

To me it actually looked like We are the City were the top billing at the bar that night, I think their name was at the top of the advert.  So I went in with that mindset.  I listened to their myspace and really dug it.  There was just something that attracted me to their music, even just through the few songs that they put on their myspace.

So my roommate and I went down to meet this Zola fan friend of ours at The Merch.  Our friend had gone down a bit early with a group.  I guess they had dinner, but I think she just REALLY didn’t want to miss The Zolas, who we still thought were opening.  Anyways, We are the City went on first (to our surprise) and killed.  Well, at least in the my eyes and the eyes of my roommate.  The (very) young trio played their entire first album and the two of us were just standing almost in awe.  These guys were SO good.  Their progressive rock sound is polished, yet unique.  And all three members of the band are strong musicians who fill their individual roles in the band’s overall sound magnificently.   Their debut album (In a Quiet World) has a whimsical quality that persits from track to track.  Just great.

After their set, my roommate and I went back to the table where the other people from our program had watched the band from and were waiting for The Zolas.  Roomie and I were flabbergasted that none of them had enjoyed the show.  Like, at all.  They all thought it was crap.  In my opinion, the four of them couldn’t have been more wrong.  I’d later find out that they had recently beat out 450 other BC artists to win a $150,000 prize towards career development. So…I was right.

Anyways, my roommate went to go buy their cd and I talked to the guitarist in the band.  He thanked me for being the first person in the bar to get up and stand in front of the stage for their set.  I then tried to communicate to him how great I thought the band was, but I was bit drunk at the time and he quickly lost interest in our conversation.

They’ve got their whole first album, In a Quiet World, up on their band camp site here.  The only issue I have with this player is that there’s too long of a gap in between each track.  The album really should be listened to as a whole and this minor aggravation takes a bit away from the experience (most notably between the first and second songs).  Regardless, give it a listen and go see them if their around.  Apparently they are playing in Kingston on March 4th and in Toronto, for Canadian Music Week, on March 12th.  They’ve also got a new EP coming out on March 22nd.  All the tour dates are listed here.

Don’t miss: The whole album, it really should be listened to in its entirety.

p.s. A few months later I was having a birthday party at Her’s old apartment in Toronto and decided to play the album.  Two people separately came up to me to ask who the great band was that was on the stereo.  These two people were at that show at The Merchant.

p.p.s The Zolas were alright.

Music at Work – Mother Mother

28 Jan

One thing that She and I both agree on is that work is made much more enjoyable when you have some music to listen to.  Luckily, we both work jobs where listening to music on headphones, while plugging away on your laptop, isn’t frowned upon.

So there has been some time spent at my workplace looking for for good music to listen to on the internet.  Personally, I prefer to listen to whole albums.  However, this can make it difficult when trying to find something to listen to.  Most well known bands only put a few songs on their myspace pages, oftentimes only as samples of their songs.

Luckily, through the ease of information sharing since the advent of internet, many artists that are trying to get their sound heard by as many ears as possible share their whole albums online.  I will try to uncover a few of these on this blog in a segment titled: Music at Work.

First up, is a band that I only found out about in the fall.  She was promoting a concert through work.  The headliner of that show was a band from Vancouver called Mother Mother.  Before going to the show I managed to find both of their albums online and in their entirety on their Soundcloud page.  Both albums are there along with a new single from their forthcoming album.  The music player plays really well and even goes seamlessly from their first album (Touch Up) to their second (O My Heart) without any user interference necessary.

After listening to them live, I was just dumbfounded as to what genre of music I would categorize them as. Really.  The best I can do is indie rock.  The lead singer sings very well and is backed up by two talented females.  They just seem to rock out, in a very, very good way. They’ve got an interesting and infectious sound and I can’t think of more than one song that I don’t care for out of all of the tracks from both albums.

Anyways, give them a listen at work and, if you like what you hear, try to see them live when they come to a town near you.  After all, that’s the reason why these bands upload their entire albums online, isn’t it?

If you have any suggestions for future music that can be featured in Music at Work, leave a comment or send me a tweet (@mulliganl).  Remember, I like full albums for my music at work.

Don’t miss: Touch Up, Polynesia, Body of Yours, Ghosting

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