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Archive for August, 2013

Long Weekend Playlist

Posted on: August 29th, 2013 by Ripple Creative Strategy No Comments

By James Sandham

Well, folks, it seems like it’s already that time again: Labour Day is just around the corner, which means another beautiful summer is sadly winding down. On the other hand, this means we’ve got another long weekend to enjoy. As the evenings start to cool and the sun starts to set a little bit sooner, I can’t think of a better time to sit back with some mellow tunes and maybe a glass of wine, and to just wind down with the season. Here are a few tracks to help you set the mood.

 

Kurt Vile – “Wakin On a Pretty Day”

This was the first track released from Kurt Vile’s latest opus, Wakin On a Pretty Daze, which came out earlier this year, and like almost all of his work, I immediately fell in love with it. He’s got this dreamy, wandering and kind of worn-out quality to his songs that makes them feel so comfortable. It’s like the musical equivalent of putting on your favourite pair of old jeans. Vile really is one of the most under-appreciated current American troubadours. His music is the perfect stuff for closing off the summer.

 

World Party – “Always”

This is the final track from World Party’s 1997 LP Egyptology (later re-released in 2006), and it doesn’t really sound like anything else on the album. It’s got filtered vocals and a much more introspective feel to it, and it almost sounds like it’s by another band altogether. I really like the weary, sort of pseudo-mystic vibe it’s got going on. Good stuff for some contemplative self-reflection as things wind down.

 

Blood Orange – “Champagne Coast”

I was introduced to Blood Orange by a friend of mine. It’s one of the many musical projects of Devonté Hynes, a New York City–based composer (formerly from England) who’s worked with groups such as The Chemical Brothers and Florence and the Machine. He’s also known as Lightspeed Champion and is a former member of the now defunct Test Icicles. His work as Blood Orange has a mellow R&B kind of feel to it, and this track in particular seems perfectly suited to an easygoing, early autumn mood.

 

Lou Reed – “Satellite of Love”

This track comes from Lou Reed’s second album, Transformer, which was released in 1972; although, a more up-tempo version was first demoed by his band, The Velvet Underground, in 1970 (that version was later included on their five-disc box set Peel Slowly and See). It’s one of the many tracks that makes Transformer an epic, awesome album. There’s a sort of threadbare beauty to it, a certain melancholy that’s perfect for the playlist.

 

The Tragically Hip – “Ahead by a Century”

Last but not least, this is one of my favourite tunes by the Canadian Music Hall of Fame’s 2005 inductees, The Tragically Hip. This was the Hip’s first single from their 1996 album, Trouble at the Henhouse, which won them the 1997 JUNO Award for Album of the Year. It would go five times platinum in Canada (with tracks like this one, it’s not hard to see why). It’s the perfect tune for watching the sun set on your Labour Day weekend. Hope you have a good one.

This Week in Music History: August 26 to September 1

Posted on: August 22nd, 2013 by Ripple Creative Strategy

By Adam Bunch

THE PAUPERS CALL IT QUITS

They were supposed to be one of the most successful Canadian bands of all time. The Paupers built all kinds of buzz in the 1960s, having made a name for themselves in the dingy, smoke-filled rock clubs of Toronto’s Yorkville scene. Two full-length albums and nearly a dozen singles hit the airwaves, showcasing the band’s psychedelic sound. They opened for legends like Cream, The MC5 and The Lovin’ Spoonful. When Jefferson Airplane played their first-ever show in New York City, it was The Paupers’ powerful opening set that grabbed all of the headlines the next day. Bob Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman, was in the crowd. A few days later he signed them. It seemed as if The Paupers were poised to become the next big thing.

Their breakthrough was scheduled for 1967. That summer they were included in the lineup for Monterey Pop, a three-day music festival in California that rivalled Woodstock. Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and Ravi Shankar would all be there to play in front of a crowd of thousands of fans. Filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker would turn it into a documentary seen by millions more.

But by all accounts, The Paupers delivered a lacklustre set – thanks in part to technical difficulties and some ill-timed LSD. They didn’t even make the cut for the documentary. Their momentum sputtered over the course of the following year and, finally, after a three-day stand at the Electric Circus in New York City during this week in 1968, the band decided to call it quits.

It wasn’t the end of their musical careers, though: drummer Skip Prokop would go on to form Lighthouse; their most recent bassist, Brad Campbell, joined Janis Joplin’s Kozmic Blues Band; and guitarist Adam Mitchell would go on to produce records for artists like Linda Ronstadt and write hits for KISS, Olivia Newton-John and Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Paul Anka.

 

THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS DROP THEIR DEBUT

The Paupers weren’t the only Canadians gracing the stage at Monterey Pop during that weekend in the summer of 1967. They weren’t even the only graduates of the Yorkville scene. Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Papa Denny Doherty was there, too, singing with The Mamas & The Papas.

Doherty had been born and raised in Halifax, where he formed his first folk groups before heading west to Toronto. There he met another future Hall of Famer: Zal Yanovksy (who was living in a dryer in a Yorkville laundromat at the time). The two would soon move to New York, where they formed a new band – The Mugwumps – with an up-and-coming young folk singer by the name of Cass Elliot. She wasn’t their only new friend: they spent lots of time hanging out with John Phillips, his model wife Michelle, and the dealer with the best drugs in Greenwich Village, John Sebastian.

After dropping acid and throwing a dart at a map, four of them headed off to the Virgin Islands. Yanovsky and Sebastian stayed behind and would form The Lovin’ Spoonful while the others spent their time in the tropics doing drugs, having sex and writing songs. When the governor finally kicked the quartet off of the island and they returned north to California, they were calling themselves The Mamas & The Papas. The songs they wrote in the Virgin Islands would turn into their debut album, released during this week in 1966. Tracks such as “California Dreamin’” and “Monday, Monday” would make it one of the most popular records of the 1960s, generally regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time.

Let’s Go to the Ex!

Posted on: August 22nd, 2013 by Ripple Creative Strategy No Comments

By James Sandham

Well folks, the Canadian National Exhibition – better known as the Ex – is back again. Now in its 135th year, the Ex opened last weekend and that can only mean one thing: summer is winding down. But don’t fret yet – there’s still plenty of fun in the sun to be had, and the Ex is a great place to have it, not only because of the mouthwatering calorie bombs they infamously serve, but also because they’ve got a great schedule of live music to check out. So if carnival rides and midway games aren’t your bag, then why not check out some of the great Canadian musical talent performing at this year’s CNE.

Dragonette with Dirty Radio – August 25 – CNE Bandshell

JUNO Award-winning electro trio (and hometown heroes) Dragonette will be pumping up the CNE Bandshell on Sunday night, along with Vancouver’s Dirty Radio, who, incidentally, started out as a passion project by Dragonette’s production team. They’ll be joining forces to blast the crowd with their addictive, synth-heavy sounds. The track below comes from Dragonette’s third LP, 2012’s Bodyparts.

Dragonette – “Let it Go”

 

Jane’s Party – August 26 – Molson Canadian Midway Stage

You might recognize Jane’s Party from Toronto’s Cameron House, the iconic Queen Street bar and music venue that launched the careers of local luminaries including Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees Blue Rodeo. They’ll be laying down their brand of blues-infused rock on Monday night, likely drawing heavily from their new sophomore release, Hot Noise. Perfect tunes for these lazy late summer nights.

Jane’s Party – “’Til You Got Yours”

 

Danny Fernandes, Massari and Mia Martina – August 27 – CNE Bandshell

OK, but maybe you want something a little more pumping – as in fist pumping. Well, if that’s your thing, then why not swing by the Ex on Tuesday for Danny Fernandes, Massari and Mia Martina, clubland’s kings (and queen) of Canadian content. Fernandes is the younger brother of Toronto R&B star Shawn Desman; the JUNO Award-nominated Massari is a Montrealer via Beirut who mixes Middle Eastern sounds with contemporary western club beats; and Mia Martina, of course, is probably best known for the song below, an international club hit that also happens to feature some great shots of good ol’ T.O. in its music vid.

Edward Maya and Mia Martina – “Stereo Love”

 

Walk Off the Earth – August 30 – CNE Bandshell

Walk Off the Earth are insane, and I mean that in the best possible way. As one YouTube commenter put it (and YouTube is certainly where WOTE built its fan base, sans aide from record labels), WOTE have been making mediocre songs incredible since 2006. This is a reference to the band’s particular talent for covering other people’s music in unique and unforgettable ways (and then, of course, posting videos of them on YouTube). The track that really brought them to attention is the one below, their cover of Gotye’s international smash hit “Somebody That I Used to Know.” People then realized that WOTE had, like, five years worth of similar videos floating around the Internet. Subsequently, many hours of people’s time were then lost as they sat transfixed to their computer screens. Take a break from online and see ’em live next Friday.

Walk Off the Earth – “Somebody That I Used to Know” (Gotye cover)

 

Devin Cuddy – August 30 – Molson Canadian Midway Stage

Last but not least, Devin Cuddy. It’s gonna be a tough one if you’re at the Ex next Friday: you’ll have to decide between Cuddy on the Molson Canadian Midway Stage and WOTE on the Bandshell stage. I guess that’s a good dilemma to be faced with though – too much good music to take in at once. Cuddy’s set is scheduled to run longer than WOTE’s, however (from 7:30 to 11:00 p.m.), so maybe you can see both. In the meantime, check him out below, performing with his famous father (Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo) on CBC. And enjoy these last few weeks of August!

Blue Rodeo and Devin Cuddy – “Rain Down on Me”

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