From the category archives:

Wednesday Wadio

This is one of the best tunes I’ve ever heard. Period. I absolutely love it. It has been on my “must blog” list since the first time I came across it 6 months ago. Lack of the baseline for more than a week sends me into a sweaty withdrawal and the late-arriving chorus is sung aloud in my house on a daily basis. My appreciation is so all-encompassing that I almost feel like further explanation isn’t necessary. Get the picture? I’ll put my pants back on. Just listen…

It’s Not Meant to Be, the opening track, has son-of-Stone Roses written over its sun-dappled, almost drawling psychedelia that lolls about and lets the whammy-bar guitar prod its warm form. This is an afternoon song. – Sydney Morning Herald

Quite possibly the best Australian song, ever.

Tame Impala hail from Perth, Australia. They’re a brash young bunch of longhairs and the remarkable music they produce in between fish bowling studio booths is commonly called “psychedelic” or “trippy”. People used to say that the Madchester music scene of the late eighties/early nineties was trippy, but that was largely due to the Everest-sized mountain of drugs everyone was taking. This is a different animal. This is… an Impala.

Were you alone in a dark room with lead singer Kevin Parker, and you asked him to sing, and he could actually oblige because a ballgag wasn’t also part of your weird little fantasy – you’d think you were sitting beside… Let me start over: he sounds exactly like John Lennon. He’s not trying to, so it shouldn’t ruin the experience… Just be forewarned. It’s really just a pleasant coincidence considering the Beatles’ own hallucinogenic get-the-spiders-off-me phase produced their best work.

imageEmo Hoodoo Gurus

Their debut album, Innerspeaker, is full of gems and was apparently recorded in a shed several hours outside of Perth. Although “It’s Not Meant to Be” is still my favorite, it was also a gateway to “I Don’t Really Mind”, “Solitude is Bliss” and “Make Up Your Mind”. Do these boys ever love singing about minds. And using contractions.

"Innerspeaker" is what The Beatles would sound like if they took EVEN MORE drugs with a dash of Led Zeppelin and Cream. The albums nostalgic lo-fi spaced out psychedelia, while nothing groundbreaking, does a lot of things pitch-perfectly right. – SputnikMusic.com

I have linked the aforementioned songs to YouTube videos for your easy and free listening. I’ll be in attendance when they play Toronto on May 1st and I can’t say enough good things about this record. Let’s hope they stick around a little longer than Silverchair.

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nickandmaryMost reviews I’ve read of Don Lennon albums, or articles about the man himself, begin the same way – by comparing his sound to someone else. I get the Jonathan Richman references and I understand the inevitable likening to Stephin Merritt. I refute, however, the notion that Jens Lekman is an influence on Lennon – I’m quite certain it’s the other way around.

Maniac came out in 1997, 6 years before Lekman’s first EP. Don has maintained a strong Swedish following for over a decade. It doesn’t take Sam Spade to connect those dots. Where am I going with this… Released last week, Nick and Mary is Don’s 6th studio album and I pray the day will soon come when the music press stop obsessing over peripheral similarities and inaccurate influencers because they’re doing their readers a disservice. They’re denying them some Don.

More specifically, the incessant comparisons do little but downplay 15 years of consistently outstanding and unique output. You’re no longer coming off clever by discussing parallels to other musicians which have already been done to death. With a new album will come a new crop of reviews/articles and I pray this time around Don’s exceptional new album is judged on its merits and not its Merritts. See what I did there?

Nick and Mary is a double album featuring 24 songs in total. Although I’ve listened to it 4 times all the way through as of this writing, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. One of my early favorites is “Months”, and I put together a YouTube clip so you can enjoy it easily below. I do want to share amazing music with my readers. I do not wish to go to jail for hosting MP3s or have Don pissed at me. This seemed like a good compromise:

”The months, they freak us out.”

Fat-sounding guitar chords kick the song off rather suddenly and were what first caught my ear, helping me make the difficult choice of which of the 24 tunes to feature on Wadio. I could just have easily gone with Rats!, Naked in Public, Bedbugs or Kids at Pearl River Mart – the album is rich with Don’s amazing knack for the catchy, subtle humor, blissfully-jangly guitars and superior songcraft. This LP will be with me for a good long while.

Don’s equally impressive back catalogue is available on iTunes, and you can purchase Nick and Mary from DonLennon.com. Let me know what you think about this song and all things DL related in the comments.

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I’ve been hearing about how good Deerhunter is for a couple of years now. Admittedly, a lot of the kudos was from Pitchfork, who routinely give 8/10s to dime-a-dozen Southern rappers and the side projects of hipster side projects – so I have learned to take their enthusiasm with a grain of obscure salt. My biggest reaction prior to finally listening to their latest album, Halcyon Digest, a week ago was to giggle and shout, “Mau!” I was ignorant, folks. Ignorant and so very, very wrong. Pass the revolver and make sure Mikey hasn’t drowned or been eaten by rats yet. How’s that for obscure?

The whole record is great. Standouts include “Helicopter”, “Revival” and “Coranado” – but the tune that has kept me completely obsessed, for a variety of reasons I’m about to get into (and for at least 50 listens to date), is the remarkable “Desire Lines”. Get stuck into it right now…

Homage or not, this song’s been added to my all-time favorites list.

It’s a beautiful, catchy song. Bradford Cox and company know how to write themselves a tune. And after you get through the first 4 lovely minutes, it shifts gear into another 4 minutes of equally listenable, lyric-less jamming. Here’s where I get especially turned on – the similarities of said 4-minute jam to the last 4 minutes of my favorite Pixies tune, also sans lyrics after a completely different sounding first half, are so striking that it absolutely has to be some sort of homage. That or an accident perpetrated by the Gods especially for me. You be the judge…

This Monkey’s Been to Heaven. And most likely Atlanta, Georgia.

Any way you slice it, “Desire Lines” uncanny resemblance to “No. 13 Baby” in no way detracts from my enjoyment of Deerhunter’s new classic. It is so rare that a song, let alone an entire LP, reaches out and grabs me like this that it absolutely had to be the first Wadio of 2011. I hope you like it and look forward to your comments. It’s gonna be a good year for music.

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Crazy Heart is a bit schmaltzy. A bit sappy. The May-September romance between Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal is tough to buy into. Colin Farrell as the biggest country star in the world (and the hideous accompanying ponytail) is even tougher. Someone slap that casting agent on the back of the hand and make them work at the WB for a year as punishment. But the film’s music, oh the music.

I am a fan of “Classic” country but don’t give the time of day to “New” country. My opinions have been solidified in this respect having lived the last 2.5 years in rural Canada where I cringe every time one of the local 20-something girls stumble towards the jukebox at Duck’s Roadhouse. The songs on the Crazy Heart Soundtrack are new in the real world, but are meant to be the protagonist’s old standards in the realm of the film. And they sound old, and they’re awesome.

Leonard Cohen meets George Jones meets The Dude.

My favorite is “Brand New Angel”, a very sad, mournful song as you would probably expect after contemplating the title for a split-second. Someone has died, hence… right. The chord progression, minor/major back-and-forth coupled with Bridges’ own solid, booze-soaked vocals make for a real unexpected treat. It could just as well been called “The Whiskey Waltz” and kicked off a 30-year-old Kris Kristofferson record. Written by Greg Brown, the song accurately reflects the musical influences producer T-Bone Burnett suggested Jeff Bridges draw from when developing the character:

“In fleshing out Bad’s background, it was decided that his influences should extend beyond the country genre and that he should have an eclectic taste in music. T-Bone made a wonderful graph for me of the music that Bad might have listened to. Leonard Cohen was one of the guys we thought of.” – Jeff Bridges

jeff-bridges-crazy-heart Have a listen, see what you think and then seek out the movie. It gets a solid ‘B’ from little old me. The quality of the toe-tappers, coupled with Bridges’ convincing turn as the wedding and world weary Bad Blake, ensure you’ll be glad you did, partner. The soundtrack also features performances by Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall – and you can purchase an MP3 of "Brand New Angel” or the whole shebang right here: Crazy Heart: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Deluxe Edition) .

I wouldn’t be upset if Jeff beat out Jeremy Renner for best actor, and it’s definitely going to come down to the two of them. Morgan Freeman did little more than a great Nelson Mandela impression, Colin Firth is Colin Firth. Clooney’s performance in Up in the Air is as inexplicably overrated as the film itself. If Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett, who produced the soundtrack and composed “Weary Heart”, (the official theme from Crazy Heart and another solid tune), lose out to Randy Newman – I’m liable to swig back a fifth of Wild Turkey and find a truck stop waitress to impregnate/beat mercilessly. No one wants to see that happen, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, so do the right thing.

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I professed my love of the Magnetic Fields in a post about a different song a couple of years ago, and I don’t care to repeat that level of gushingment. I am prepared, however, to make up words. Click the link above for my analysis of Mr. Merritt and his team as today I’m just going to get right into their song Fear of Trains which is probably my favorite. I also chose the MagFields today as they recently played Boston and I was shocked to see this particular ditty on the setlists of both their shows at the Wilbur Theater.

Fear of trains, railroads or anything related to train travel is clinically referred to as Diderodromophobia and must be a real bummer for anyone living in West Yorkshire. My quick explication is that the song describes a Native American woman who has developed a literal fear of trains because they’ve been harbingers of unfortunate events throughout her entire life.

Cover version. By Lisa Loeb’s Stalker. A for Effort.

It was the army train that took her daddy from her
It was the bible train that took her momma too
And that high loud whistle made her horse run away
But the straw the broke the camel’s back was you
It was the government train that took away her childhood
It was the KKK that took away her past
It was the white man’s will that hers be broken
But that barefoot girl could run too fast

I don’t have time today to dig into Wild West history references, but the theme is pretty clear. “The straw that broke the camel’s back was you”, is obviously a veiled reference to Thomas the Tank Engine. And is there some hidden chapter of the KKK’s evil past that we don’t know about? Maybe they were originally train spotting hobbyists whose club rules got a little out of hand? Intrigued, I looked for more information on several “song meaning” sites and found the same basic conjecture as my own. No one caught on to my TTTE theory though, so you heard that here first.

Live with Claudia on lead. Please seek out the original recording!

It’s my habit on Wadio to embed several easy-to-watch/listen to videos so you can see what all the my fuss is about. An original version of Fear of Trains is sadly absent from any of the big vid sites, so we’ll have to take what we can get. I’ve featured a reasonable cover of the song by some enthusiastic emo chick with a mini-harp. There’s also a live video above but the female “field”, Claudia Gonson, is the one belting it out and effectively ruining the… effect for me – you have to hear it with the original recording’s guitar picking and Merritt’s deep, dead pan vocals bemoaning the tragedy. What to do, what to do?

Well, if you’re a user you can listen to Fear of Trains on Last FM. You can also shell out the wisest $0.99 of your young life and Download Fear Of Trains from Amazon. I promise you – it’s extremely unlikely you’ll be sorry unless you’re also deaf. If you know the song, or seek it out as a result of this post, please share your thoughts and comments. Until next week, Wadioheads.

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“They say hip hop is dead, nah it’s up North with me. I can do this all day cause it’s part of my routine, but suppers almost done and tonight – POUTINE!” – Classified

This was sent to me today by a Canadian friend of mine – as I’ve been way out of the loop for a month and a half down here in Boston – and when I realized what I was about to watch I cringed. Probably visually. A pro-Canada song, by a white rapper from the East coast, just in time for the Winter Olympics… I mean, surely it must suck polar bear sack, right?

Classified’s tribute to Canada… Kinda fuckin’ rules, buddy.

I love the fact that he’s not standing around with a bunch of black guys and wearing a ton of tacky jewellery for “street cred”. I love the fact that he only mentions pot to remind the rest of the world that it’s legal. I love his line referencing “90’s hip hop” and subsequently the song sounds a heck of a lot like just that. He doesn’t refute the stereotypes – he embraces them. Was that Mr. Lahey? Did he just give SCTV a shout out? What the frig is this?

Anybody else think maybe Maestro Fresh Wes, Snow or the Swollen Members are feeling a little left out right now? This kid is good and I’m going to hit the nearest record store (wink) and get myself acclimated. It’s probably, like, my friggin’ duty or something too, eh?

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Florence and the Machine's Lovely Bottom As the credits rolled and the highlight reel spun at the conclusion of Friday’s 10th and final series of the UK’s Celebrity Big Brother, a song which played overtop really, really caught my attention. After some research that song turned out to be Florence + the Machine’s You’ve got the Love, as I’m sure you’ve already surmised. I have enjoyed BB and CBB (The Davina McCall created Channel 4 versions only) for at least half of the decade during which they’ve helped define British television and the moment was a sad one for me. Perhaps that’s why I was susceptible to this particular ditty, but susceptible I was. Nearly a week later I am still so enamoured that, in the first instalment of Wadio since early August, I’d like to share.

A quick note to my readers who don’t usually share my taste in music – do yourself a favor and watch the video anyway, as Florence has a truly breathtaking hiney. If spectacular buttocks are what it takes to convert a new F+TM fan, then so be it. She put them on full display for a reason.

Florence has the love. And a legendary rump.

“I want my music to sound like throwing yourself out of a tree, or off a tall building, or as if you’re being sucked down into the ocean and you can’t breathe,” – Florence Welch.

florence-youve-got-the-love-ass-video-bum Florence says she writes her best music when drunk or hungover because that’s when she finds herself “most lucid”. As she’s from South London, I’m sure there were lots of opportunities to be lucid whilst growing up. The “+ the Machine” half of her stage name stems from the fact she’s backed by a revolving door of musicians and DJs, the focus remaining on her alone. Likely as a result the music press frequently compare her to Kate Bush. Regardless of how she got here, Miss Welch is making a huge dent on the music scene and I’m glad I finally noticed the bandwagon careening past. Did I mention how absolutely enraptured I am with her hindquarters?

There’s also a great “Live from Ibiza” version fans of the song should check out. Her stage presence is impressive. As this year’s 3rd place CBB winner, the almighty Vinnie Jones, was prone to say in the house: “It’s been emotional”. So, yeah, my initial reaction to the tune was inspired by a bit of sad melancholy – but the song fits the mood. Praise and thanks be to Davina and Florence.

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Holy mother bird – have I ever grown to love this band over the last 2 years. I mean it. Their name is meant to be ironic. It isn’t death metal. It’s incredibly catchy, guitar-driven, sometimes campy, heavily and unapologetically Rolling Stone-influenced, audio magic. Watch the video, read on and put on some tight pants. Yes, the almighty EODM came to the nation’s capital Friday night July 31, 2009.

Megan, Seamus and I drove 3 hours total to Ottawa and back to behold Eagles of Death Metal. I took a lot of HD video throughout the show (with my excellent new camera which I’ll mention in more detail another time) that I’ll be editing together and posting eventually, but I got the YouTube ball rolling with a tune which was definitely a welcome surprise for all in attendance. After the band left the stage for 10 minutes concluding the first half of one of the best shows I’ve ever seen – and I’ve seen a lot of them – Jesse Hughes returned to the stage solo. He proceeded to mention Atomic Dog, paid the audience yet another of many compliments and then broke into the BTO classic “Taking Care of Business”. I’ve never heard it sound better.


Jesse takes the 8:15 into the city. Of Ottawa?

If you’re unfamiliar with EODM, they are the close friends and protogees of QOTSA, right down to the long, ironic band name and cool-ass acronym. Although they already had a huge “underground” following, they got some major radio play earlier this year when the incredibly catchy WannaBe in L.A. became the first single off their latest – and incredibly solid throughout – record, Heart On. Have a look at the video below and you may find you’re not as unfamiliar with them as previously thought.


EODM sells their soul for rock n’ roll.

Prior to Friday’s Ottawa date, EODM played Toronto, Kitchener and a few other Canadian dates and Saturday they played in Montreal. I don’t know what my Northern brethren had been doing to the band, but Jesse said early in their set that the Ottawa crowd was amazing (watch the video for blatant proof) and that they “really needed tonight”. Perhaps their Canadian foray had been a bummer up until that point? Do you have any insight into Hughes’ constant compliments to us Ottawans? Were you at the show or any of the other Canadian dates? Do chime in and introduce yourself, babies.

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This isn’t my list of all-time “golden age” favorites. That collection would include at least a few timeless gems that you probably have on your own iPods. What I’m doing here today is some serious brain-wracking and crate digging. I was massively into hip hop during this period and my references run deep. Here are 10 rap tunes from the art form’s greatest era which will hopefully bring a smile to your face – and possibly have you doing the running man down memory lane.

10. Fu-Schnickens – “La Schmoove


I far prefer their song Ring the Alarm, but had to choose this video for two reasons – First, Phife Dawg is in it. Second, the light skin guy who raps at the end’s dancing used to crack me up whenever I’d watch this back in the day. Chip-Fu, on the other hand was an amazing MC and I’d definitely like to know what happened to him. Hopefully he still has nuttin’ to prove.

9. ATCQ and LONS – “Scenario Remix


This B-side never had a video but someone’s taken the time to put it on YT and I’m obviously not the only person who thought this song was as good or better than anything on The Low-End Theory (which everyone knows is a classic record). I remember the first rapper on the track, Hood, was supposed to be A Tribe Called Quest’s hot new protege but was shot to death shortly after this was recorded. Too bad because the kid was good.

8. Leaders of the New School – “What’s Next?”


I remember this grossly underrated song had an actual video (I had it recorded on a well-worn Yo! MTV Raps VHS) but could only find this live performance from Arsenio. It’s fun to watch, but the intricate funkiness of the backing track is lost. Have a listen to it here to get a better idea – amazing production. I only had said video tape when I started my second year at Guelph University in 1994 as the CD wasn’t released before my usual summer in Boston was over. I was obsessed with this song, and bombarded my dorm mates with it for the entire month of September that year. You’re welcome.

7. Souls of Mischief – “Make Your Mind Up


I used to consider the album this song is from, 93 Till Infinity, to be the Sergeant Pepper or Pet Sounds of hip hop. Although in retrospect that vanguard obviously has to go to Paul’s Boutique. Regardless, every song on this record was amazing and I still listen to it frequently. It was hard to select a favorite track, but I finally settled on this one. A rare example of a hip hop record which is comprehensively solid from beginning to end – rap fans know what I’m talking about. If you like this tune watch the video for That’s When Ya Lost and the title track.

6. Organized Konfusion – “Who Stole my Last Piece of Chicken?”


From the Richard Pryor samples to the “days of wayback” lyrical reminisces to the ridiculously funky drum beat – this song is definitely a 90’s sleeper worthy of rediscovery. Most rappers with 2 or more albums have a “this is what I did when I was a kid” song in their repertoire, but this is by far the best of them. The video is as humorous as the song, and I’ve never forgotten the animated chicken dancing on the record label or the fat kid sucking on the chicken bone. It still makes me hungry, too.

God how I miss you, 1990’s hip hop. You were very, very good to us and I’m confident that the reason I think rap today is putrid gutter-slime covered in rat shit is not because I’m old, but because it’s putrid gutter-slime covered in rat shit. This was my own personal list of forgotten 90’s rap songs and I’d love to hear about some of yours in the comments below. Stay tuned for part 2 coming next week, homies.

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From soft, delicate songs that smell of peace and conjure haze to excellent rock numbers that straddle the line between convention and invention, this is a dynamic first record with wide appeal. – Hour.ca

A friend of mine shared this video and song via Facebook with me today, and it immediately caught my attention. Let me rephrase that – the keyboards immediately caught my attention. Since the demise of the Manchester scene in the early 90’s you don’t hear them nearly enough in my opinion. David Martel is about as far away from the Inspiral Carpets or Charlatans as you can get, but someone in that band is definitely tickling some serious ivory/plastic. He’s also strapped with a female backup singer and an instrument collection that might even impress The Doves.

david-martel
“Sure I’ll sign the CD for you – as long as you promise never to break into my apartment again.”

So who is David Martel? Well, my friend went to high school with him and didn’t have a clue that he was quickly becoming a reasonably successful Canadian musician until earlier today. Might have something to do with the collection of Whitesnake cassettes in her truck. The music press up here have definitely heard of him though, and they likey.


David Martel’s “End of Self”

You don’t often hear banjo and accordion placed within a Brit rock-style setting, but they are used effectively. Strings, trumpet, glockenspiel, flute and harmonium further contribute to the widescreen orch pop sound of many of the tracks. This is certainly a promising beginning. – Exclaim.ca

I’ve seen him compared to Coldplay and Snow Patrol several times during my research today, but don’t let that dissuede you. Have a listen to “End of Self” and tell me what you think. It really stood out for me, and unfortunately that’s a rare thing these days. Then again, I might just need a hearing aid.

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Since I wrote my January piece on the first single, Jetstream, the Doves’ latest album, Kingdom of Rust, has enjoyed a long and glorious reign on my car stereo. I’ve had a huge soft spot for the band since their inception in the mid-nineties, and unlike many of their “Brit Pop” contemporaries they’ve managed both a longevity and musical evolution that has surprised many critics and fans. I doubt they’ll ever be able to write another song as special to me as 2002’s There Goes the Fear that’s not a bad thing because I doubt any band ever will (it’s my favorite song, evah). But I got’s to tell you – House of Mirrors comes pretty gosh darn close. Have a listen…

“If you don’t move to this song I would suggest seeing a doctor right away.” – YouTube Comment

Although KOR is their 4th album in 9 years, it’s been 48 long months since Some Cities and I have wondered more than once if it might be Doves‘ final output. I finally got to see them in Boston on that tour and watching them close with ‘Fear‘ mere feet from the stage was a crowning moment in my extensive concert-going history. Here are some photos from the evening which took place in 2005 at Avalon (now House of Blues) on Landsdowne Street. My worries were, thank goodness, unfounded as the boys from Manchester have quietly returned to surprise us all.

Vagrant-stomping drums, a Spectoresque wall of sound, rockabilly guitar riffs and a chorus that makes me want to roll down my windows at a red light in a busy intersection and embarass myself. How’s that for a testimonial? In skimming reviews of the record as a whole last night I discovered quite a few others.

“House Of Mirrors effortlessly puts one over on the Last Of The Shadow Puppets’ 60s throwbacks with a crashing burst of Ennio Morricone-influenced fingersnaps and Goodwin bellowing like Scott Walker over the top – it’s one of the finest songs they’ve ever recorded.” – MusicOMH.com

“House Of Mirrors shatters along like some unearthed gem from Joe Meek’s record box.” – BBC

Doves-band-manchester

D’ya like our new beards, geezer?”

“… the more euphoric the music gets; the more miserable everyone in the songs becomes. “Home feels like a place I’ve never been,” protests Goodwin as a preposterously uplifting psychedelic soul stomp called House of Mirrors achieves vertical takeoff.” – Guardian

“Perhaps this restlessness is indicative of certain frustration on Doves’ part in seeing their efforts eclipsed by less imaginative, more mawkish Britpop bands, and in turn, a desire to distance themselves from the sad-sack pack; it’s hard to imagine the likes of Elbow turning in something quite as fierce and paranoid as “House of Mirrors”, a fuzz-soaked stomper punctuated by jarring, bump-in-the-night sound effects.” – Pitchfork

See? I told you it was good. I told ya! Placing these quotes in my own personal testament isn’t as much an effort to back up my own opinion – which I was tremendously confident in the very first time I heard the tune while zipping along the Mass Pike – as they are a desire to point out the way in which the fickle industry is welcoming the band back with open arms. This is a very difficult feat to accomplish (ask Travis, for example), and restores my faith in music being able to get along on its merits alone. For the record, I thought the last Travis record was really good, Pitchfork. You guys vivisected it.

Although there is no shortage of stand-out tracks on Kingdom Of Rust – ‘Winter Hill’ and ‘Birds Flying Backwards’ in particular – House of Mirrors is the one that really grabbed me by the short and curlies. You can grab the record by clicking the album cover above or even just the one song when you get there. This is one to own, kids.

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I come from downtown
Born ready for you
Armed with will and determination – and grace, too

Since they’re gearing up to launch their 11th studio album, “We Are the Same” on April 7th – I thought it would be beyond appropriate to re-boot Wednesday Wadio with a delicious slice of the Tragically Hip. When they were invited, at Dan Aykroyd’s insistence, to play an episode of Saturday Night Live which he hosted in 1996 it was a big night for Kingston, Ontario’s favorite sons. Dan even represents the Limestone City as he introduces the first song – my all-time favorite “Grace, Too“.

Dan’s friends, the Tragically Hip

The song’s lovely bass intro was the first feature that grabbed me way back in my University days, 1994 to be exact. I remember my friend Steve Barry had all of his friends (of which I was one,) over to his house as soon as he got back from the record store with the comprehensively classic album “Day for Night” on CD. We sat scrunched in his room as it kicked off with Grace, Too – and I remember the boys were all suitably impressed. In fact it’s amazing we even got to the bars that night. The record also contains Hips canon classics like “Thugs”, “Nautical Disaster”, “Scared” and “Inevitability of Death” – and little did I know we were in for long afternoon of many repeated listenings and a lot of Molson Canadian. It’s a great, solid record from start to finish which I can admit now – although in 1994 my epiphany had not yet come and I friggin’ hated the Hip.

There was a website I loved devoted to explicating and deciphering Tragically Hip lyrics. It was called the “burning schoolhouse” or something and it may be ancient history as I can’t find it. I once read there that the song was about a pimp attempting to convince a young girl, straight off the bus, to come and work for him. “The appearance of conflict meeting the appearance of force” line would be especially meaningful under that interpretation. I know now from personal experience that lead singer, Gord Downie, saw no shortage of hookers growing up in Kingston. Did that come out wrong? That came out wrong.

That same night on SNL we were treated to the performance of another confirmed Hip classic, “Nautical Disaster“, which is a little easier to translate than Grace, Too. Primarily because it’s about a nautical disaster. If you’re a Hip rookie and you enjoyed what you saw and heard above – be sure to check this tune out before you leave me today.

I ask you – What kind of a frigtard designs a lifeboat for only 10 people?

It’s true – if nothing else, Canada is rich in lumber, fresh water and songs about people dying violent deaths at sea. I hope you enjoyed the return of Wadio today and of Pye in the Face in general. You can order the Hip’s classic, “Day for Night“, from Amazon MP3 by clicking the title and their upcoming tour dates have also been released.

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doves-kingdomofrustOne of my favorite bands of all time write a song dedicated to my favorite movie of all time. How could I not take 5 minutes out of my busiest week in years to comment on this?

Being fans of the Vangelis film score, Blade Runner, we always wanted to write an imaginary song for the closing credits on Ridley Scott’s classic… It’s called Jetstream… Cheers.

If you’re a fan of The Doves you can download “Jetstream” as an MP3 for free off their official website – right this instant. The forthcoming album is titled “Kingdom of Rust and will be available in early April.

And obviously the Kingdom of Nerds couldn’t contain themselves long before actually setting the new song over the flick’s end titles and uploading it to YouTube. Well, sorta. From the YouTube page:

Blade Runner closing images don’t last long enough to enjoy the whole song. So there it is: Doves’ Jetstream song combined with the (fake) Blade Runner end titles reconstructed… using shots from The Shining, Koyaanisqatsi, Mar Adentro & other movies.

I knew that in 1981 Ridley Scott contacted Stanley Kubrick and asked him for extra footage that was originally filmed for The Shining when asked by the studio to make Blade Runner’s ending more upbeat. The scenes in question consisted of forests filmed from a helicopter which I assume were originally slated for helping create the Overlook Hotel’s sense of isolation.


“I’ve seen things you Mancurians wouldn’t believe.”

Does the tune work when played over this cobbled-together series of Runner-esque clips? Regardless, I think it’s a cool premise to admit to on the eve of your first album release in four years. I have high hopes for the record but I highly doubt Jetstream will end up being my favorite track. Having a new Doves record right around the corner, however, makes me happier than a Nexus 6 with no incept date.

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Q-Tip's - The RenaissanceQ-Tip has one of the most undeniably distinctive voices in hip hop. That’s been mighty helpful recently because I was sure he’d been abducted by aliens shortly after the release of the wholly under appreciated “Amplified” and its killer single, “Vivrant Thing“, back in 1999. The first time I listened to his brand new album “The Renaissance”, and first release in 8 years, my response was a resounding “meh”. During a long drive yesterday I listened to the record twice more and am now subsequently hooked. I rarely end up liking albums that really impress me the first time I listen to them. And let me tell you, kids – I’m already across the street and down the road from ‘impressed’. This record isn’t a Renaissance for rap – it may end up being its savior. Sufficiently over dramatic enough for you? I’ll explain.

A Tribe Called Quest was a group of monumental importance to music in general (I am deadly serious) and probably my very favorite crew from what many now refer to as the Golden Age of rap. This era isn’t to be confused with “Old School” which predates it by a good 3-5 years. No, the Golden Age is generally considered to be from 1990-95 and includes such acts as De La Soul, Biggie, Gang Starr, Leaders of the New School, Craig Mack, Black Moon and other personal favorites of mine. I’m glad timing was on my side and that I was the age I was in the midst of it all. Fore t’was a special time in the history of hip hop music – before bitches and bling completely took over the ‘subject matter’. Before previously lost, rich and creative samples found by people like Pete Rock and Diamond D during hours spent digging through ancient record crates were replaced by modern rap production that sounds like a challenged 4-year-old banging away on a rundown Yamaha Port-a-Sound.

Q-Tip “Gettin’ Up”

“Gettin’ Up” takes an old early 1970s Black Ivory single, makes it gleam with modern sheen and lets Tip loose on the kind of love jones you’d expect from a man with 15 years’ worth of relationship experience and maturation since “Electric Relaxation”.Pitchfork

I could feature the whole of The Renaissance on Wadio today – it’s comprehensively the best rap long play to rear its head in a very, very long time. I’m always asking myself: does rap suck now or am I just old? I’ll never know the real answer (Yes I will. I’m 35 as opposed to 19), but am still so delighted it has come down the pike when it did. I’d given up on the musical genre I once loved.

The name (The Renaissance for anyone not paying attention) is perfectly appropriate as upon listening one almost feels as though they’re looking back through a musical time warp, complete with quick glimpses of Arsenio and the Philly Blunt logo. Harkening back to an age where, you know, rap wasn’t… embarrassingly awful. Yet all the while Q-Tip stays relevant talking about Blackberrys, web pages and email – via the sort of smooth verbal gymnastics only he can effectively vocalize. I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but you’ll see what I’m getting at the first time you hear “Dance on Glass”. More on that in a second.

My favorite song is the awesome “Won’t Trade which you can click to download or listen to below. It features amazing delivery, sharp lyrics and a beat which samples real drums (gasp!) while lifting a catchy snippet from “You Made A Believer Out Of Me” by Ruby Andrews.

Q-Tip’s “Won’t Trade”. Welcome back sir!

Tip’s beyond-welcome return to form doesn’t end there. “Dance On Glass” sees him rapping acapella for a full minute before a snare drum finally busts in and reminds you that you were listening to… acapella. That’s the power of the man’s voice and delivery which is as strong on The Renaissance as it ever was rapping alongside Phife Dawg – who recently had a kidney transplant and whom I wish all the luck in the world. “Move” features two completely different sounding halves which are both amazing nods back in the direction of the golden age, even borrowing Black Sheep’s “here we come yo, here we come” chant from 1991’s The Choice is Yours. Come to think of it, I haven’t once skipped over any of the record’s 12 tracks. It’s a solid piece of work to put it mildly.

Little Malik Taylor and Jonathan Davis have brought me a lot of joy over the years and I am thrilled that Q-Tip has pulled off such a stunning comeback LP. Do yourself a favor and I really mean that. If you’ve ever misplaced your wallet in El Segundo, gotten lost during an award tour or simply walked down Linden Boulevard – Buy “The Renaissance” on CD or download the MP3 version – right frigging immediately now.

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The 4 weddings (but hopefully not a funeral) I am attending in September have got me thinking about ways to possibly inject a little bit of fun into the proceedings. I’m lying – I am compiling a viral piece for a client and am looking for input. So I’ll put the question to you like this:

What is the most inappropriate song you can think of to be played during a wedding ceremony or reception?

So if you could request and possibly sneak one song past the filter of a wedding DJ, what’s the most cringe-worthy tune you can think of? A few pop into my mind immediately.




I’m not talking about 2 Live Crew inappropriate. I’m looking for songs that might seem to jinx or doom the happy couple specifically. Have some fun with this, and I look forward to your suggestions and comments. Update: Here is the list I’m going to run with.

  • Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now – The Smiths
  • Separate Ways – Journey
  • Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division
  • I Don’t Love Anyone – Belle and Sebastian
  • A Man Needs A Maid – Neil Young
  • A Quick One, While He’s Away – The Who
  • I Am Trying To Break Your Heart – Wilco
  • 50 Ways to Leave your Lover – Paul Simon
  • Suspicious Minds – Elvis Presley
  • D-I-V-O-R-C-E – Tammy Wynette
  • I Hate Everything About You – Ugly Kid Joe
  • Run for Your Life – The Beatles
  • All my Exes Live in Texas – George Strait
  • You Give Love A Bad Name – Bon Jovi
  • Better Man – Pearl Jam
  • Wicked Game – Chris Issac
  • It’s the End of the World as we Know it – REM
  • She’s Having My Baby – Paul Anka
  • Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
  • If you Want to be Happy for the Rest of Your Life – Jimmy Soul

Thank you all for your suggestions, and I will let you know when the finished piece is live. The final version will have funny write-ups about each song, YouTube Videos and lyric snippets.

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