Motion Pictures: “20,000 Days On Earth”

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The rock biography is a tough form to work with these days. With the expansion of the documentary form and the rise of the “mockumentary”, the format is rife with expectations and clichés. “20,000 Days On Earth” manages to avoid all of this by sidestepping any concept of straightforward documentary. Instead, the film functions as a sort of biography of the myth, rather than the man. Continue reading

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Will Gillespie: “Learning How To Let Go”

"Learning How To let Go" by Will Gillespie

“Learning How To let Go” by Will Gillespie

“Move as quickly as you can/ you’ll never be this young again.”- Never Be This Young

Will Gillespie’s latest album “Learning How to Let Go” is intimate in the extreme. You can hear fingers touching guitar strings. You can hear the air in the studio. You can practically hear the dust floating around the room. Gillespie’s voice is completely unadorned and closely recorded, like he’s singing into your ear without any amplification. The percussion is simple and unobtrusive, letting the guitar and the odd instrumental solo take centre stage, along with the voice. Then there are otherworldly touches of analogue drum machine, which places the album firmly in the present musical climate. It’s an electro-jazz-folk-rock album by a fidgety songwriter who is looking within to find the guidance he needs to navigate the external world. Continue reading

Mozart Masterworks Concert, Toronto Symphony Orchestra

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January 22nd, 2014, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto ON

Program:

Featured Performers:

There’s a particular flavor to Mozart’s work. He never walks anywhere if he can cartwheel, if you get my meaning. The man was an inveterate showoff, and an indisputable genius. Continue reading

Things That I Forgot to Write About (2013 Edition)

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During my prolonged writing hiatus of mid-2013, I had a few mind-blowing musical experiences that I didn’t write about at the time. As a wrap up to the past year, I’d like to briefly recap these events, as they were each great in their own unique way. Continue reading

Interview: The Huaraches

The Huaraches

Behold, The Huaraches (L to R): Chris “Cuz” Wood, Steve Sottile, Adam Weaver, Dylan Carquez

A little while back, I reviewed the debut album from Canada’s finest instrumental band, The Huaraches. The record is excellent, but I wanted to dig into their story a bit more. Their bassist Steve Sottile and I chatted over email about the genesis of the group, tobogganing into recording sessions, how the president of Queen’s University reacted to their bizarre video shoot, and the dangers of playing guitar with a sausage. Continue reading

The Huaraches- “Ride”

The Huaraches, "Ride"

The Huaraches, “Ride”

The Huaraches exist in a strange, dark, wonderful place in the space-time continuum. The band was born in Kingston, ON, and now they have blessed us with a recording to sharpen our teeth with. Their debut album “Ride” is just that: a thrilling, mysterious, spaced-out ride into the unknown. Continue reading

Page Tuner: “Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove”

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Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson likes music criticism. A lot. Throughout the length of his impressively arch, anti-formulaic pseudo-autobiography, he nearly spends more words on the subject of music criticism than the art form itself. As a kid, he grew up worshipping not just records, but the reviews of those records. Basically, he was part of the first generation of omnivorous music nerds, the kind of which now rule the insanely divergent cultural mass that we call the internet. As a musician, writer, and curator, he was made for these times. Continue reading

Interview: Dave Marsh

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Dave Marsh is a man of many colours. Besides his main gig as the drummer for the Joel Plaskett Emergency, he’s also a member of cult-status rockers The Super Friendz. He’s a guitarist and singer/songwriter: he makes his own records with his own band, known as Dave Marsh and The True Love Rules. Besides being a gentlemanly percussionist with a distinct stylistic flair, he’s also an entertaining raconteur. He speaks easily and seems to enjoy the art of conversation. You can imagine him socializing easily in any setting. He could swing with Gene Krupa or drink with Sinatra. He could cover himself in glitter and hang with Bowie at Ian Hunter’s place. He could chew some straw and help Roy Rogers saddle his horse. He could chill on the dock at your cottage, with a cold drink and some hot licks. Continue reading

Meshuggah @ Sound Academy, February 19th

Devils horns and bone-rattling tunes. Meshuggah at Sound Academy, February 19th, 2013

Devils horns and bone-rattling tunes. Meshuggah at Sound Academy, February 19th, 2013

Note: this post is entirely my own observations, not an objective review. Also the dialogues are fictionalized renderings of actual conversations. 

After bypassing the draconian security gauntlet at Sound Academy, my friends and I finally made it inside. Continue reading

Sound City Players- “You Can’t Fix This”

We finally have a glimpse into what is sure to be one of the greatest rock soundtracks ever. “Sound City- Real to Reel”, from the film, will be out on March 12th. Until then, we must subside on brief clips and live performances, like this superb performance of “You Can’t Fix This”, by Stevie Nicks and the Sound City Players. Continue reading