Ongoing History of New Music

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Ongoing History of New Music looks at things from the alt-rock universe to hip hop, from artist profiles to various thematic explorations. It is Canada’s most well known music documentary hosted by the legendary Alan Cross. Whatever the episode, you’re definitely going to learn something that you m…


    • Dec 1, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekly NEW EPISODES
    • 25m AVG DURATION
    • 302 EPISODES

    Listeners of Ongoing History of New Music that love the show mention: alternative music, music history, toronto, scroll, music podcast, journalism, access, sunday, songs, moved, fantastic podcast, rock, radio, available, interesting, check, favorite, incredible, stories, tell.

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    Latest episodes from Ongoing History of New Music

    The Strokes

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2021 25:46

    I remember being in London in the summer of 2001…I made my usual pilgrimage up to the original Rough Trade records store on Talbot Street, off Portobello Road in Notting Hill… I was a little bummed out with music at the time, so I was hoping for some inspiration…the mainstream was awash in pop music…spice girls, backstreet boys, Britney Spears… And alt-rock had kinda lost its way after grunge burned out…the big acts were searching for direction…there were far too many one-hit wonders…and nu-metal, the biggest thing at the time, was very, very polarizing…you either were really into it or you hated it… It also seemed that this new genre dubbed “electronica” was siphoning off a lot of rock fans…music made the old-school way with guitars, bass, drums, and vocals seemed old-fashioned, out of date, and played out… But that couldn't be true, could it? the past, every time rock was declared dead, someone or something came along and breathed new life into everything… I told this story to Nigel, the guy at the desk of the tiny shop… “Give me something that is exciting, new, and fresh,” I said… “Give me hope”… Nigel reached under the counter and pulled out a cd single… “Here, mate,” he said, “This should cure all your ills”…it was a song from The Strokes. Turns out he was right…The Strokes were one of the very, very first new bands behind the indie-rock revival that began at the tail end of the 90s and blew up over the next couple of years…nice one, Nigel… But why The Strokes?...where did they come from?...and why was this guy in London telling me about a band from New York?...this requires some explanation… See for privacy information.

    Album Artwork

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2021 24:07

    This time we go deep into the vaults for an episode about the now seemingly long lost concept of "Album Artwork". We'll look at some of the most famous of all time, and look into why this concept has all but faded away.   See for privacy information.

    23 Points About Streaming: Part 2

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2021 31:44

    Once upon a time many centuries ago, someone came up with the idea of taking all the world's available knowledge and storing it one place…that way everyone who had questions had somewhere to go to get the answers…and thus the concept of the library was born… Considerably later, this same concept was applied to recorded music and governments, public broadcasters and companies began collecting together as much of humankind's recorded audio as they could… The BBC famously has hundreds of kilometers of shelving for physical media…there's a guy in Brazil named Zero Freitas who is on a quest to create a private collection of all the records ever made…he has at least 8 million records and more than 100,000 compact discs… Nice…but this still doesn't cover everything… In the 80s, some people started to conceive of a giant computer somewhere that could hold humanity's music in digital form…if you needed a song—any song—it would be available from that computer instantly… In 1994, a law professor named Paul Goldstein popularized the term “celestial jukebox”…in his mind, this would be networked database available to anyone with a connection or this thing called the “internet”… Five years later, napster went online...suddenly, it seemed that you could download any song you wanted—however illegal that might be… Then, in 2003, came the iTunes music store…starting with several hundred thousand songs, it has since expanded to about 60 million tracks that are all for sale…but that still doesn't quite cut it because it still involved buying this music… Today, we have streaming…all the platforms draw from a digital music library that contains at least 75 million songs—and more are being added every day…and we can access this music anytime we want, from wherever we are, using whatever device we happen to have…and the price?...given what we're able to do, it's negligible…in fact, it can even be totally free… Think about that: we can listen to virtually any song ever recorded in seconds and pay nothing…we now have theoretical celestial jukebox, something that was considered science fiction not that long ago…question: how well do you know how all this works?...this is 23 points you might not know about streaming, part 2”… See for privacy information.

    23 Points About Streaming: Part 1

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2021 29:46

    Once upon a time, all music was sold to us on pieces of plastic…we had to travel through time and space to hand over hard-earned money to purchase those pieces of plastic…and there was a financial limit to the amount of plastic we could buy…bloody things were expensive… Part the reason they were expensive was because baked into the purchase price was our ability to listen to that music an infinite number of times without ever having to pay for it again—unless of course you wore it out, damaged it, or somehow lost it… It was hard to share this music, too…you could make a copy on tape, which took a long time…later, you could burn a cd, which was quicker but still took effort…and the ring of people with which you could share something was fairly limited…again, we're dealing with issues of time and space… What else can we say about the old days?...cost aside, our access to music was limited…we could only buy what was available in the store…and the store only stocked what it could acquire from a limited number of record labels…and only a very tiny percentage of people who made music had deals with record labels… In other words, the supply of music was severely constrained…that's another reason for the expense…there were many, many filters a song had to pass through before it even had a chance to landing in a record store…this created an artificial scarcity of music and the channels through which you could access the little that was available was limited and tightly controlled… Wow….from where we are today, that sounds positively medieval, doesn't it? it's all about streaming, the ability access virtually any song ever recorded from everywhere on earth with just a few poke at your phone…and the price?—or something very close to it… That's all that most people know about how streaming works…but if you're listening to this program, you probably need to know more about what we've all got ourselves into…here's a deep dive into the whole business of streaming music, part 1.. See for privacy information.

    People Who (Almost) Died

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2021 21:27

    Being a rock star comes with all sorts of privileges: money, fame, plenty of sex, drugs…but those things can also be very dangerous. Take the case of slash…in September 1992, Guns N' Roses was on tour with Metallica…Slash and the band were staying in San Francisco ahead of a show across the bay in Oakland…and after the gig, Slash died… Some drug dealers showed up at his hotel room at 5 am with all kinds of stuff… Slash took everything, including a powerful speedball, which is a combination of heroin and cocaine… He wandered out into the hallway where he encountered a maid…he tried to ask her where the elevator was—and wham!...he was out…she freaked out and called for help…meanwhile, Slash lay there on the floor… Paramedics arrived and gave him the old adrenalin-needle-to-the-heart trick and he was saved…when he came to, he was told that he'd been technically dead for eight minutes due to cardiac arrest…that seems like a long time, but that's his story… He was transported to the hospital but quickly signed himself out and was onstage for the next gig in L.A. two days later…about a decade later, though, he was diagnosed with heart disease and ended up with a pacemaker in 2004… Slash is far from the only person who came back from the dead—or, at the very least, came awfully close to going into the light…here are some examples of rock stars who very nearly checked out long before their time… See for privacy information.

    Key Alt-Rock Movie Soundtracks

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 27:16

    There was a time when movie soundtracks were the lifeblood of the recorded music industry…the lp record, which was introduced in June 1948, was developed at least partially at the behest of movie studios and Broadway show producers looking a better listening experience. The first movie soundtrack to be released as a record seems to have been “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1938…but the problem was that everything was divided up over multiple 10-inch 78 rpm records…every four minutes, you had to get up and either flip the record over or change it entirely…the same thing happened with “The Jungle Book” in 1942. That all changed in the summer of 1948 when the 33 1/3 rpm lp allowed up to 22 minutes of audio per side…movie studios bought in and the marketplace was flooded with not only movie soundtracks but original cast recordings of Broadway shows throughout the late 40s, all through the 50s and into the 1960s. Movie soundtracks were seen as “serious” music for adults…the kids and their rock'n'roll had their 7-inch singles…even as late as the middle 60s, movie soundtracks often did the biggest business. Take “The Sound of Music”…it was a top 10 record in the U.S. for 109 weeks between May 1, 1965 and July 16, 1967…it was the best-selling album in the UK in 1965, 1966, and 1968…for years, the Guinness Book of World Records listed it as the best-selling album of all time…the best guess we have is that it sold 20 million copies—a very big number, especially back in the day. As the years passed, it became standard practice to release a soundtrack album with your movie…in many cases, it was just the score, the incidental music written for the title credits, the closing credits and scenes in between. In others, the records featured songs from the movie, some original, some licensed for the purpose…and some of these soundtracks went on to sell very, very well. Prince's “Purple Rain,” 25 million copies…“Titanic,” 30 million copies…“Dirty Dancing, “ 32 million…“Grease,” 38 million…“Saturday Night Fever,” 40 million…“The Bodyguard,” 45 million…even “Space Jam” from 1996 sold six million. By the 90s, every movie had a soundtrack as part of its business plan…they were cheap to compile and the margins were fantastic…they even launched a career or two. Let's take a look at some of the key alt-rock-based movie soundtracks of all time… See for privacy information.

    The Unsung Heroes of Music: Part 2

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 28:24

    In the winter of 1417, a young man named Poggio Braciolini was searching through a library when it found an odd manuscript sitting on a shelf…it was a thousand years old—the last surviving copy of a poem by a roman philosopher named Lucretius… What Lucretius said in this poem was radical—heretical, in fact…what it contained was against all the teachings of God and men…it was called “On The Nature of Things”… First, he posited that the universe operated without Gods and that matter was made of tiny, tiny, particles that were in constant motion… Despite the danger—this was explosive stuff in 1417—Bracciolini translated the poem…copies were carefully distributed over the next couple of hundred years…and the intellectual impact on Europe was incalculable… Lucretius' notions inspired new ways of thinking, leading to the renaissance, the enlightenment and all that followed…Bracciolini's translation of “On The Nature of Things” quite literally changed the course of humanity… Scholars have argued that because of him, the world became modern…that everything we take for granted today in terms of culture and thought happened because Bracciolini happened to find that one-and-only manuscript… Yet have you ever heard of Poggio Bracciolini?...probably not…he is one of the great unsung heroes of history… Now let's apply the same sort of thinking to the history of rock…are there similar such people—people who did something that altered the course of this music yet we don't know about them?...absolutely…and it's time to give them some credit…this is part two of great unsung heroes of rock… See for privacy information.

    The Unsung Heroes of Music: Part 1

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2021 27:41

    Not everyone who managed to change the world is famous…it is possible to do something absolutely, monumentally world-shaking and not receive any recognition for it… I'll give you a name: Vasyli Arkipov…it's possible that this guy is the only reason any of us are still alive…seriously… October 27, 1962…it's the height of the Cuban missile crisis…the soviets had nukes in Cuba aimed at the u.s. and more were on the way…John Kennedy responded by setting up a blockade around the island… The USS Randolph was one of the ships in charge of enforcing the blockade…they spotted a Soviet sub that was sent to protect the flotilla of Russian ships approaching the island with more missiles on board…this one particular sub—a Foxtrot class b-59—was armed with nuclear missiles…Arkhipov was the second in command… The Randolph began dropping depth charges in an effort to get the sub to surface…b-59 suffered damage…the crew couldn't breathe…they wanted to fight back…the sub commander tried to raise soviet command for permission to fire—but he couldn't reach them… Because they'd been cruising submerged for days, they hadn't heard anything from Soviet high command…but they had been monitoring American civil broadcasts which offered non-stop coverage of the crisis…and now they were under attack…maybe the war had finally begun…if that was the case, shouldn't they launch their missiles?... Captain Valentín Savitsky was in favour of an attack…so was political officer Ivan Maslennikov…but in order to launch the nukes, Stavisky and Maslennikov also needed agreement from Arkhipov…“what do you say, Vasyli? we engage the Americans with our special weapon?”… Vasyli took a breath and replied “nyet…we do not fire…we have no proof that we are at war…what if we're wrong?...if we launch, we risk starting an all-our nuclear war and  wipe out all life on the planet”… The commander wasn't happy with that, but rules were rules and he ordered that the crew stand down…no nuke would be fired that day…and when the sub did surface, it was confirmed that hostilities had not broken out…this is why Vasyli Arkipov is widely regarded as the man who single-handedly prevented a global nuclear war on October 27, 1962…yet how many people know his name?... Now let's take a big pivot into music…what kind of unsung heroes might we find there?... See for privacy information.

    Bond...James Bond...Music

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2021 27:26

    When a movie is successful, someone somewhere wants more…that's when we get a sequel…if that follow-up does well, then the sequel gets a sequel…and if that film has traction, well, then you reach the level of franchise… We've seen many movie franchises over the decades, Star Wars and Star Trek being among the most famous…but then we have all the Fast and the Furious films, Harry Potter, Rocky, Mission Impossible, Planet of the Apes, Toy Story, Lord of the Rings, and so on… And I haven't even mentioned the marvel cinematic universe, which has something like three dozen movies and the dc extended universe, which has almost 30… Studios and producers love movie franchises because they're reliable sources of revenue forever…fans will flock to any new release while they're still bingeing on all the older movies…and don't even get me started on things like merchandising… What's the oldest movie franchise?...that would probably be King Kong…the first Kong movie came out in 1933…the first Alice in Wonderland movie came out the same year… The Wizard of Oz fits our definition…there have been four films since 1939…that counts…Godzilla…first one was 1954…and then we finally get to James Bond… There have been 27 Bond films, starting with Dr. No in 1962…box office grosses are now around $14 billion U.S. dollars…that is just the movies… Then we have the music…there are few crossover points between music and film that are more prestigious than being tapped to do the theme for a James Bond movie… Every time a new chapter in the franchise is announced, tenders go out for someone to do the theme…and the competition is furious… Sounds like there's some interesting music history here—and there is… See for privacy information.

    The History of Portable Music: Part 2

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 29, 2021 33:24

    There are three moments when I remember looking at something in my hands and realizing that this was going to change my life… The first time was on my sixth birthday when my grandmother gave me a portable transistor radio…I was still awfully young, but I somehow knew that I could now control not only what I listened to but where and when… The second time was in 1999 when I was given a prototype of a device called an RCA Lyra…it was an early digital music player, capable of holding up to an hour's worth of music…no matter how hard I shook it, the music would not skip…for someone who liked to go running to music, that was a big deal… And the third time was when I searched for—and found! —an obscure song on my iPhone…I had just installed the long-gone Rdio app and was still very skeptical about this whole new streaming thing…the idea that you just paid for access and not to own the music?...rubbish—until that day when I figured it out… We've come such a long way when it comes to making music portable, especially in the 21st century…what was once science fiction is now reality…taking our music with us is so easy right now, we forget how long it took to get us to this point—and how much technology we had to go through to get here… This is the history of portable music, part 2… See for privacy information.

    The History of Portable Music: Part 1

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2021 35:39

    One of the many great things about music is that we can enjoy it anywhere…I'm talking about the recorded kind…everyone has a smartphone, and every smartphone has the capability of playing music, whether you're listening to tracks stored in its memory or streaming something from a service like Spotify or apple music…as long as your device has juice, you can enjoy listening to music anywhere you are… Take this program, for example…in its radio show form, it's being heard in homes, cars, offices, and workplaces either over the air or through a stream…if you're listening to the podcast, you might have downloaded it to a phone, a tablet or a laptop which you can fire up anywhere at your convenience… But imagine for moment that you couldn't take your music with you…if you wanted to listen to your favourite songs, you had to be present in a specific place and you couldn't move from it…and that usually meant music inside the home—or perhaps someplace with something like a jukebox… This might sound absolutely awful to you…I mean, we're so used to conjuring up music whenever we want and wherever we are…we take it with us everywhere…it's hard to imagine life without that ability… That's the way it was for most of human history, though…for centuries and centuries, the only way to make music portable was to bring a musical instrument with you and play it yourself… The idea of making recorded music portable—at least in a way that is convenient, cheap, and reliable—is more recent than you might think…and it went through way more incarnations than you may realize… What do you say we take a look at the history of portable music?... See for privacy information.

    Studio Stories with David Botrill

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2021 44:12

    Long before I started doing this for a living, I had the notion that I was going to be a record producer…after all, I loved music and the idea of being able to help record it would be a great job… So as high school wound down, I started to look around for schools that taught music production…and that's when reality set it…all of them asked for a portfolio of past work…I was 18 years old and from a small prairie town…how was I supposed to have a portfolio of past work?... They also made it clear that I had to be musically adept…I was a pretty good drummer, but that wasn't enough…and I had seven years of accordion lessons, but that didn't really cut it…I couldn't play guitar or any other type of keyboard… Long story short, I gave up on that dream after a few rejection letters and here we are…but I'm still fascinated by the talent and equipment that goes into making records—which is why anytime I get a chance to talk to anyone who does that, I'm in… David Botrill is one of those guys…he's a Canadian record producer who has worked with took, muse, peter Gabriel, the smashing pumpkins, rush, and a ton of others…he's got three Grammy's and has worked in some of the most famous recording studios from here to the UK. And I've got a chance to talk to him about being a record producer?...let's go… See for privacy information.

    uk canadian grammy studio stories
    The Amazing Year That Was 1991

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2021 24:19

    When it comes to music, not all years are created equal…listen, every year features some great new songs from great new bands…but over the long term, this music isn't equally distributed…sometimes—maybe once a decade, but usually less—we run into what can only be described as an embarrassment of riches… What i mean by that is that we go through a period where every week—even every day—seems to bring something amazing… Like when?...1955, maybe…Elvis…Chuck Berry…Little Richard….Bo Diddley…Bill Haley and the Comets…they all exploded into public consciousness…it was the birth of rock'n'roll… 1965…The Beatles and everything they were doing…the rise of The Rolling Stones with “Satisfaction”…Bob Dylan releases “Like A Rolling Stone” for “Highway 61 Revisited” after going electric… Actually, rock's most prolific years—at least when it came to being an agent for social change and a driver of western culture—were 65, 66, 67, 68 and 69… After that, we might consider 1977…punk, the beginning of new wave, the era of post-punk and all that came with it… But then there was a long fallow period…lots of disco, lots of pop, lots of hair metal—which was great if you were into that, but not exactly music that changed the world… But then came one particular year…if you look back on it, it's astounding at what happened, what was released and the music we're still talking about…by the time the calendar turned, everything—and i mean everything—was different… This is the amazing year that was 1991… See for privacy information.

    U2 and The Joshua Tree at 30 with Daniel Lanois Part 2

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2021 22:51

    Whenever an artist goes into the studio, they hope for the best but expect the worst…you want it the album to sell and turn you into a global superstar with all the rights and privileges thereto…but there is no way to predict how the public will react to what you release… You can throw all the money you want a song, an album, a band and there is zero guarantee that it will be successful…yet people will always try because every once in a while, something remarkable happens… An album is a critical success…it turns into a commercial smash…and every once in a long, long while, it turns into a cultural phenomenon with an impact that lasts years, maybe decades… This is what happened to U2 and “The Joshua Tree”…before the record came out, everyone expected that the band was going to deliver the goods on a very good album…they did that… But then the record went on to sell somewhere beyond 25 million albums and is now considered to be one of the most significant rock releases of all time… This is beyond just lightning in a did they do it?...for some of the answers, i turned to one of the people who co-produced the album…that would be Daniel Lanois…this is U2 and The Joshua Tree, thirty years later, part 2… Whenever an artist goes into the studio, they hope for the best but expect the worst…you want it the album to sell and turn you into a global superstar with all the rights and privileges thereto…but there is no way to predict how the public will react to what you release… You can throw all the money you want a song, an album, a band and there is zero guarantee that it will be successful…yet people will always try because every once in a while, something remarkable happens… An album is a critical success…it turns into a commercial smash…and every once in a long, long while, it turns into a cultural phenomenon with an impact that lasts years, maybe decades… This is what happened to U2 and “The Joshua Tree”…before the record came out, everyone expected that the band was going to deliver the goods on a very good album…they did that… But then the record went on to sell somewhere beyond 25 million albums and is now considered to be one of the most significant rock releases of all time… This is beyond just lightning in a did they do it?...for some of the answers, i turned to one of the people who co-produced the album…that would be Daniel Lanois…this is U2 and The Joshua Tree, thirty years later, part 2… See for privacy information.

    U2 and The Joshua Tree at 30 with Daniel Lanois Part 1

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2021 24:56

    On March 9, 1987—a little more than ten years after a bunch of kids met up in a Dublin kitchen—U2 released their fifth album…expectations were running pretty high…after establishing themselves with their first two albums, there was a leap ahead with the “War” album in 1983… But then came “The Unforgettable Fire” in 1984…that represented another leap forward…things seemed more sophisticated, stronger, bigger, better…much of the credit has to go to the new production team of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, guys who found new ways to bring new things from the band… The partnership worked so well that everyone agreed that they should work together on the next record, too…maybe they could take things even further, built up the band even bigger… The result was “The Joshua Tree”…it has sold somewhere north of 25 million copies, making one of best-selling albums of all time…it became a number one album in two dozen countries…five of the eleven songs were released as singles, several of which sold more than a million copies on their own… The tour in support of the record had to grow from arenas to stadiums…it resulted in a live record called “Live From Paris” and a documentary film called “Rattle and Hum”…and it earned U2 two Grammys: album of the year and group of the year… “The Joshua Tree” set the band up as one of the biggest in the world…and over the coming decade, they would become the biggest band in the world….the album has been studied at all levels of academia…its songs covered thousands of times…the material has even been adopted as hymns for modern church services… And later, in 2014, the album was added to the us library of congress as a recording considered to be “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant” … Wow…that's a lot stuff to think about when it comes to just one single album…. doesn't it make you curious about what went into making it?...that's how I felt…so I thought I'd talk to one of the guys who was there with the band the whole time…let's get his story on the making of “The Joshua Tree”…. See for privacy information.

    The Tragically Hip's Fully Completely Reissue With Rob Baker

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2021 21:15

    “Even though it was the middle of summer, it was cold and wet,” Rob Baker remembers, “and after a full day in the studio, there was nothing to do but go back to where we were staying and watch the Olympics that were happening in Barcelona…and they were still talking about Canada and what happened with Ben Johnson four years earlier.” The Tragically Hip were in the UK, recording what would be their third full studio album at Battery Studios, a facility protected from the rest of the surrounding grimy north west London neighborhood of Willesden Green by a big metal gate…after recording the last two albums away from home—Up To Here was done in Memphis and Road Apples required to move to New Orleans—a trip to London had seemed like a good idea, a chance to get away from all the distractions back home in Kingston, Ontario. It may have been dreary on the outside, but the building itself was full of history…Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Black Sabbath, Rod Stewart, The Cure, The Who and dozens more had all made classic albums here.  And when The Hip wrapped up the sessions for the album that would be called “Fully Completely,” they had an idea that they had created something extraordinary.  But what they didn't know is they were about to enter the imperial phase of their career, a time when almost everything went right…. The album would eventually sell a million copies in Canada alone…and here's how it happened. See for privacy information.

    Oasis At War: Part 2

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2021 19:23

    How well do you get along with your siblings?—assuming you have any, of course…brothers and sisters can be a pain, especially when you're always in close quarters…and when you have to work with them, too—gawd, that can be ugly… We've talked about musical feuds before… Madonna did not get along with her brother, Christopher Ciccone, especially after he published a memoir about growing up with her…things seem to be okay right now… The Everly brothers, Don and Phil, did not get along…after a speed-fueled breakup in 1973, the talked to each other just once in the following ten years…that was at their father's funeral… Ray and Dave Davies of The Kinks…that's a bad one…John vs. Tom Fogerty of Credence Clearwater Revival…Barry and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees…Chris and Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes…and then there was John and William reed of the Jesus and Mary Chain…they'd even fight onstage in the middle of a show… And I know they weren't really brothers, but joey and Johnny Ramone didn't talk to each other for years after Johnny stole and then married joey's girlfriend… But the most famous sibling rivalry in all of music has to be—has to be—Noel and Liam Gallagher…this is part 2 of “Oasis at war” … See for privacy information.

    Oasis at War: Part 1

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 11, 2021 17:53

    Siblings can be a pain in the butt…just because you're related to someone doesn't mean you're going to get along…not everyone can be Venus and Serena Williams…here: lemme give you some examples… Ann Landers and Dear Abbey were real people—and they were sisters: Eppie and Pauline Lederer…despite having newspaper columns were famous for dishing out all sorts of relationship advice to readers, they didn't apply that wisdom to themselves…they spent their lives antagonizing each other… Adolf and Rudolf Dassler were good young Nazis who owned a show company…but Rudolf was a little more into national socialism than Adolf…after World War II, their company split in two…they became Adidas and Puma… There are lot of family feuds in show business… Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine had a legendary ugly relationship… Julia and Eric Roberts… And there have been plenty of intense sibling rivalries in music…Ray and Dave Davies of The Kinks…that one has been going on forever…the weirdness that is the Jackson family…and it hasn't always been chocolate and unicorns for the Followills in Kings of Leon… But the champion brawlers have to be Liam and noel Gallagher…sure, these guys have always fought with each other—we all know that…but are you aware of the depth and scope of this war?...when it comes to dysfunctional brotherly relationships, it doesn't get much more intense than this… See for privacy information.

    Christian Rock

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 4, 2021 26:12

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    The Rock Snob

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 28, 2021 27:52

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    Alt-Rocks Great Bass Players

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 21, 2021 28:37

    This week we look at one of the most under appreciated and underrated members of any rock band...the bass player.  These are the most influential bass players in the history of alt-rock.   See for privacy information.

    The Kings of Quirk

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2021 31:59

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder—or in the case of music, the ear…what's pleasant to one person is nothing but noise to someone else… This is where it's good to have some patience…there are some forms of art whose beauty isn't obvious at first…you need to stick with it…and after you've given it a chance and you've decided that it's not for you, fine… But what about those times where something happens—suddenly or slowly and either on your own or with the prompting of someone else—and you realize that the weird music you're listening to is actually pretty good?... This is the payoff…yeah, you really had to work for it—but it was worth it…with me so far?.. “beauty” doesn't mean “perfect”—at least in the technical sense…sometimes imperfection makes something more beautiful…or at least more interesting… Which brings me to the topic of singing voices…this is a very subjective area…how many times have you said “listen to that guy!... I can't stand his voice! did he ever get a record deal?...i mean, listen to him!” But then others hear the same thing and go “wow…that's really different…really expressive…it's full of character and emotion…what a bold move giving this dude a chance to real millions of people…i love this guy!”… These are the kind of singers we're about to review:  guys with some of the most unusual voices in the history of alt-rock… See for privacy information.

    The Queens of Quirk

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 7, 2021 29:39

    For a very long time—too long—women were locked in very defined roles when it came to rock'n'roll…girls were expected to look pretty and do little more than sing…okay, maybe shake a tambourine or something…but that was about it… And when it came to singing, “just stick with conventional stuff, dear…don't get any crazy ideas in your head…this is a woman's role in rock and you should stick to it…that's a nice little lady”… But then along came punk rock in the 1970s…punk did many things for rock—including knocking down a lot of heretofore inviolable gender roles…the central tenet of punk was that anyone should have the right to say anything in any matter they want regardless of who they are…that included women and their right to self-expression… The result was fantastic…freed from all the old expectations, women were free to reinvent themselves as musicians in a million different ways…and that led to a wonderful array of female performers… Some of my favourites are the ones who decided to spit in the face of virtually ever rock'n'roll convention—women who (before punk came along and liberated everyone from the tyranny of “the way things ought to be”) developed styles that were different, unique and utterly unlike anything the world had ever heard before… Yes, some of them were an acquired taste and took a little getting used to…but once people figured out what they were trying to do and what they were all about, it was inevitable they became addicted, enchanted, inspired…  We're going to look at ten of these women…i call them “The Queens of Quirk”… See for privacy information.

    The Tribes of Alt-Rock

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 30, 2021 31:14

    One of the most useful things about music is that it can be used to tell the world who you are…we've all done it…it is a symbol of our individuality and belief in personal freedom…it proclaims our identity to the world… Once you start doing that, you inevitably find that there are people just like you…once you're drawn together by a love of a common sort of music, you find that you have other shared interests… You start hanging out, maybe at a specific place…maybe you begin to talk about other things, like politics, social issues, fashion…more people join in, some in the same physical space, others franchsing your ideas because they heard about it somewhere… It's comforting, this little club, this tribe…it sets you apart…maybe others want to join in, looking to fit in with something they admire and desire…that makes you feel kinda cool, right?... And if the circumstances are just right, you and your new friends—the ones you see and the ones you never met—find yourselves part of a musical subculture… This sort of thing has been happening for decades…and in the next hour, we'll visit a few of the more interesting, long-lasting and intense musical subcultures in rock… See for privacy information.

    9 Amazing Things About Your Brain and Music

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 23, 2021 30:29

    There is absolutely no need for music—speaking in terms of evolution, anyway… As far as scientists can tell, there's no compelling reason for humans to make and enjoy music…neurologically, we could get along quite well without it…sure, our world would be very dull, but we'd be fine as a species… Yet for some reason, the human brain seems to be hardwired for music…and it looks like even the non-human brain was constructed this way…archeologists found a flute made out of bone constructed by neanderthals that was almost 90,000 years old… why?... Here are a couple of theories…music was invented because humans (or neanderthals) wanted to imitate birdsong…music was invented as part of some kind of religious ritual or ceremony…or music began as vocalizations on the way to developing spoken language…. Whatever…the origins of music are a mystery—and so is much of what goes on in our brains when it comes to these sounds… Let's explore…here are nine things about your brain and music… See for privacy information.

    Music Questions People Almost Never Ask

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 16, 2021 30:16

    I think one of the greatest gifts humans have is a sense of curiosity…the ability to question things around to learn why things are the way they are pushes us forward… Here are my three favourite questions that i think everyone should ask…are we alone in the universe?...who really killed JFK?...and what do dogs dream about when they twitch in their sleep?... But there are plenty of questions we don't ask that we probably should…let me give you a few examples… When a prisoner about to be executed by lethal injection, why does the doctor swab the iv site with alcohol first?... Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?... And how about this: what's the size of a fart … But you see what I mean…these are questions that probably should have answers?...if you must know, it ranges between the size of a bottle of nail polish and a soft drink can…you're welcome After discussing important stuff like this with some friends, I got to thinking: can we find the same sorts of unasked questions in the world of music?...turns out we can…this is stuff we should be curious about…and are there answers to these questions?...let's find out… See for privacy information.

    The Beginners Guide to Vinyl

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 9, 2021 26:21

    So you've decided to go all retro and dive into vinyl…no more digital for you…you are going back to the future…it's all about analogue, baby… Buh-bye, mp3s and digital downloads—except maybe for the songs you want to load on your phone…but that's the one and only exception…other than the songs you want to play through your car's entertainment system…that's two exceptions and no more…unless we count the songs you want to send to friends…those three situations cover off everything—except for the digital tracks you'll stream… But other than those three—four!—specific needs, you're going to give up music encoded into zeroes and ones…binary is dead…no more pathetic sampling rates resulting in harsh-sounding square waves…not counting all the cds you own, of course…those are digital files, aren't they?...i mean, you aren't going to throw them out, are you?...probably just rip them into my computer… But beyond those five situations, you're done with digital…mostly…except when you can't avoid it…which will be 90% of the time… Still, you want to experience what everyone has been telling you about vinyl—and not only the sound but the whole experience of buying, unwrapping and playing it… If you're of a certain age or technology persuasion, getting back into vinyl is like riding a bike…the first time you try it again, you might be a bit wobbly…but what if you've never ridden that bike?... Gather ‘round, friends…let's get you started…this is your Ongoing History beginner's guide to vinyl… See for privacy information.

    RocknRoll Rehab

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 2, 2021 29:02

    Sometimes, the pressures of life become a little too much and the methods of escape you choose to cope with them aren’t exactly the best ones…over-indulgence with and reliance upon drugs and/or alcohol is never, ever a good thing…and once you get so far down this road, you need help… When you’re a musician, you have to deal with a whole new set of circumstances…long days, weird hours, bad food, poverty…or maybe you’ve struck it rich and you can’t handle the fame… Or maybe you love the fame a little too much…you like living in your bubble of unreality where people are afraid to tell you “no” and are only too happy to let you indulge in whatever you want, no matter how crazy… Sometimes people seek help on their own…sometimes they need a little, er, encouragement to get the help they need….what you’re about to hear are some rehab stories about artists who took their lives to the edge…some were able to step back….and some—well, you’ll see… See for privacy information.

    The Tragically Hip's "Saskadelphia"

    Play Episode Listen Later May 26, 2021 32:55

    On Saturday, August 20, 2016, tens of millions of Canadians watched and listened to the final Tragically Hip concert from Kingston…given Gord Downie’s illness, we knew that was the last time we’d see the band perform together live… That was followed by one of the saddest days in the history of Canadian music…. October 17, 2017, the day Gord Downie died…one tweet summed up everything: “Canada closed: death in the family”… So that was it, then…after more than 30 years, the most Canadian rock band of all time was done…all we had were the music and the memories… But what if we were wrong about that?...what if, somewhere, there was a trove of unreleased material that no one knew existed?...and what if a strange confluence of events led to that cache of music—songs that no one (even the band) had heard for decades—being found and released?...and what if those long-lost songs were really, really good?... To answer those questions: yes, there was a stash of unheard songs…yes, their rediscovery was the result of an accident…and yes, they are really, really good… The result was essentially a brand new Tragically Hip album that brings fans back to the band’s glory years of the early 90s…it’s like a time machine…the hip are together playing great—and Gord is back… The new record is called “Saskadelphia”…we’ll hear all these once-missing tragically hip songs: how they were made, what happened to them, and how they were finally found… See for privacy information.

    A Requiem for Daft Punk

    Play Episode Listen Later May 19, 2021 22:18

    It takes a special kind of band to obscure their appearance…but if you can do it right, then it moves from being a silly gimmick to an important piece of your identity, image, and brand.… When Kiss came along in the early 70s with their Japanese kabuki-inspired makeup, it wasn’t that far out…they came from New York where there was a glitter scene that had a lot of guys wearing make-up…kiss just took it to an extreme: The Demon, Star Child, Spaceman, and Catman… It worked--eventually…Kiss has sold 100 million albums…there was that period after 1983 when they wiped off the greasepaint and showed their faces to everyone, but that’s not what the fans wanted, and they eventually brought it all back… A more contemporary example is Slipknot…their masks have been an essential part of their identity since the band started up in 1995…it started with the clown wearing a clown mask for the band’s first gig shortly before Halloween that year…the rest of the guys thought it was dumb at first, but then they all joined in… Fans now keep close tabs on each member’s mask, parsing what each new iteration—and they can change or be updated almost yearly—might mean… There are other mask-wearing bands: the residents with their eyeball heads…any number of dark metal bands from Scandinavia like Ghost and Lordi…Pussy Riot (largely to keep their identity hidden from the authorities)…then there’s Gwar, who have taken it to a completely different level entirely with their alien costumes…and deadmaus has had his big mouse head for years…there are tons of others, but you get the idea… This brings me to Daft Punk…from 1993 until their breakup in February 2021, they acted like robots with elaborate helmets that completely obscured their identity…we knew they were French, and we knew their real names…but beyond that, they were a cool mystery that we played along with… Now that they’re done, though, it’s time to dig through their history…what the hell was Daft Punk all about?...and why did they matter so much? is their requiem… See for privacy information.

    The History of the Record Store

    Play Episode Listen Later May 12, 2021 29:55

    Before we begin, I am very aware that there are people listening to this program who have never, ever set foot in a record store…they came of age musical after the Internet changed everything about how we hear about, acquire, and consume music… But remember this: for over a hundred years, the only way you could hear music on-demand was to own it…you had to purchase a piece of plastic for x dollars and for that price, you could listen to that music an infinite number of times for no additional charge… You made not just an emotional investment in that music, but a financial one as well…and dammit, you were going to make sure you listened to that piece of plastic until you wrung out possible bit of enjoyment you could from it…otherwise, you’d have to come to terms with the fact that you wasted your money… There was another aspect to this emotional investment, too…in order to acquire this music, you had to leave your home, find your way to a record store, and search through all the shelves hoping the find something…if you were looking for something specific and it wasn’t in stock, you had to special-order it, which was a whole new level of emotional investment… And while you were at the record store, you interacted with records that you didn’t know about…just flipping through the racks looking at albums was an education in itself…maybe you’d go with a couple of friends, fan out across the store and then compare finds… Maybe you’d meet a stranger and strike up a conversation…and if you were a regular, it’s possible that the person behind the counter became a trusted source for recommendations…or maybe you’d go see an artist play live or for some kind of autograph session… Record stores are still with us, but there are fewer and fewer of them—certainly way less than the glory days of music shopping from the 60s through to the late 90s…and a lot of legendary stores and chains have disappeared forever… But while it lasted, it was pretty amazing…this is the story of the record store… See for privacy information.

    Hobbies of Musicians

    Play Episode Listen Later May 5, 2021 26:06

    What do you for fun?...hobbies, pastimes—things that you do just for you, away from your job and all your other responsibilities?... I’ve got my dogs…my wife and I like to travel…and I’ve always had this thing about the JFK assassination…I’ve read all the books, seen all the documentaries…I’ve even been to Dallas and the grassy knoll, and the book depository…I can’t explain it, but I just find it interesting… Maybe you’re into sports…collecting hockey cards or wine or rare scotches…video games, Japanese anime, beanie babies, souvenir spoons…no need to justify anything…it’s just something you enjoy doing…it fulfills you somehow… Now consider this….when we think of our favourite musicians, we probably imagine them being immersed in music all the time…I mean, 24 hours a day, seven days a week…all they do is think about music and make music… But the truth is, you can’t do that…no one can…everyone needs a break from whatever it is they do…you gotta rest the brain, recharge, and go on a search for new inspiration…put down the instruments and see what else is out there…become a more rounded person…that’s one aspect… Another is, “look…you’ve had some success in your career…you’ve made some money…enjoy it…indulge in those things that you’ve always dreamed of…you can’t take it with you, so spend some of that cash”… All right, so like what?...I think you may be surprised…let’s take a look at the hobbies and non-musical passions of some very famous musicians… See for privacy information.

    Big Bands from Small Towns

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 28, 2021 25:29

    Let me say from the outset that I have nothing against small towns…I grew up in one myself…population: 2000…it was in the middle of the Canadian prairies…the nearest big city was Winnipeg…after that, you had to go at least 500 miles before you hit any major population centre… I also want to make sure to let you know that I think living in a small town is a not bad idea…it’s not…it can be a wonderful, low-stress, low-cost secure existence…a lot of the people I went to school with still live in my small town… But there are those who want out, people who want to experience more of the world…they find their lot dull, a dead-end, too far from where the action is…but how to escape?...that’s the problem… One way would be to just buy a bus ticket and hit the highway…you could join the armed forces…or maybe you could form a band, write song songs and become world famous…yeah, that’ll never happen…or could it?... There’s this old saying that all you need to change the world—your world—is three chords and an attitude…and it doesn’t matter where you’re from…you can be from the smallest town the map—even a town too small to be on a map—but if you get in with the right bunch of people and manage to pull together some good songs, who knows what might happen?... Here…let me give you some concrete examples…you don’t have to be from L.A. or London or some other big city…you can be from—wherever…these are some big, big bands who actually came from small, small towns… See for privacy information.

    The Post-Punk Explosion Part 7: All the rest

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 21, 2021 20:33

    The original punk rock explosion of the 1970s was two things…first, it was a major reset for rock’n’roll…think of it as a great musical decluttering… Punk of the 70s wasn’t revolutionary…it was reactionary…the music was stripped back, and everyone went back to the basics…very important… Second, there was an attitude shift…one of the central tenets of punk was that if you had the guts to say something, then do it…and if no one wanted to help you, well, then do it on your own… Taken together, these two principles resulted in what can be described as the big bang for what would later be called “alternative music”…punk set off chain reactions of new ideas, new sounds, new attitudes, new fashion, new belief systems, and generally new ways of doing things… The gloves were off, rules were broken, concepts were explored, and unintended consequences happened…we now look back on this as the great post-punk explosion of the late 70s and early 80s, an era that created so many of the basic foundations of the music we hear today… There was new wave, technopop and all its subsets…industrial music, goth, and a revival of ska…those are the major post-punk genres…but there was more…a lot more…   See for privacy information.

    The Post-Punk Explosion Part 6: Ska

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 14, 2021 24:05

    Every once in a while, music enters a state of flux where the direction of everything is, shall we say, undefined…we see and hear change but we’re not quite sure what it all means just yet…something is coming—but what?... All bets are off, the rulebook has been declared invalid, and everyone is off doing their own thing… I’ll give you an example…in mid-to-late 1950s Britain, popular music was evolving and mutating very quickly…in the midst of imported American rock’n’roll records, the skiffle craze, and various flavours of folk music, some young people rejected contemporary sounds in favour of something known as “trad jazz”… This was a revival of something close to Dixieland jazz from New Orleans, which emerged around the same time as world war 1…that meant music made with trumpets, the trombone, clarinet, the banjo, upright bass, and drums…the new acts mined the more pure, more authentic sounds of the past, hoping to be inspired again… And for a while, it worked…trad jazz was a thing until sometime in the 60s…everyone from pop songs to nursery rhymes were fair game for trad jazz arrangements… I’ll give you another example—and it’s tangentially related to British trad jazz…it also has its roots in Dixieland but took a detour through the Caribbean before appearing in central Britain at the end of the 1970s… That was also a time when the direction of music seemed undefined…on the bright side, it also meant that nothing was off-limits or out of bounds…it was the post-punk era…popular music had been shaken up by punk so much that people were more willing than ever to find new paths… This is part 6 of the post-punk explosion…it’s the time of Ska… See for privacy information.

    The Post-Punk Explosion Part 5: Goth

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 7, 2021 22:52

    On April 10, 1815, a volcano erupted in the central part of the Indonesian archipelago…Mount Tambora blew up, ejecting nearly 200 cubic kilometres of debris into the atmosphere…all that dust circled the earth, blocking out a significant amount of sunlight… That blockage was so severe that the average temperature dropped almost a full degree…the result was that 1816 has gone down in history as “the year without a summer”… There were food shortages and famines and outbreaks of disease…and not only was it cold, but huge storms battered much of Europe… That summer, four artsy types were holed up at mansion called Villa Diodati near Geneva, Switzerland…to entertain themselves on through these dark, cold, wet, rainy days, these people drank, had sex, and took opium…and they tried to outdo each other by coming up with the best horror story… One of them, John William polidori, came up with “The Vampyre” about undead bloodsuckers 80 years before Bram Stoker wrote “Dracula”…meanwhile, 22-year-old Mary Shelley, conjured up the idea of a mad scientist who created a new being by sewing together the parts of dead people…she called her story “Frankenstein”… These two stories—imagined during the year without a summer, caused by the biggest volcanic eruption in 1300 years—created the foundation of gothic fiction, a type of horror that endures today…novels, movies, comic books, fashion styles, and yes, music… In fact, the music part of this equation has blown up to the both where Goth music culture is one of the biggest musical subcultures the planet has ever seen…and that explosion happened in the wake of the original punk era of the 1970s… This is the post-punk explosion part 5: Goth… See for privacy information.

    The Post-Punk Explosion Part 4: Alt-Dance

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 31, 2021 21:09

    Dancing is as old as the human race…not long after we started walking on two legs, we found a groove and have been moving to the music ever since… Fast-forward several million years and we find that wherever there’s music, there’s dancing that goes along with it…okay, maybe they didn’t exactly bust a move to medieval hymns in the gothic cathedrals, but there had to be at least some swaying going on… We can’t help but move to the music….scientists have documented connections between the aural cortex and the movement centres of our brain…the millisecond we hear music, the motor cortex lights up, indicating a relationship between music, emotion, and the need to move in time with the music…in other words, we seem to be pre-wired to dance…not dancing (or at least moving to music) is unnatural… This caused some problems with some rock fans in the 1970s…dancing was seen as uncool, unless you were pogoing or slam-dancing to a punk band…and when disco came along—the most uncool music and scene of all—dancing was almost a crime…what were you, some disco weirdo?... Fortunately, that moratorium on dancing did not last long…the music and music fans needed to evolve to another level…and when that happened, dancing became not just okay but it was cool once again… This is a look at how that happened in the years immediately following the punk rock of the 1970s…it’s part four of the post-punk explosion—and it’s all about alt-dance… See for privacy information.

    The Post-Punk Explosion Part 3: Industrial

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 24, 2021 23:40

    By the time we got to the mid-70s, rock had organized itself so that were rules…you did things this way and not that way…then came punk… One of the great gifts of punk rock was a reminder that you didn’t always have to follow the rules…once this attitude took hold, things began to fragment, metamorphosize and mutate at an increasingly rapid rate… The stratification and segmenting was astonishing…once punk began to cool, the environment it created coalesced into what became known as new wave, an approach that redefined what rock could sound like… Then new wave itself began to fragment, thanks to technology…the new cheaper, portable, and more powerful synthesizer was a godsend…you really didn’t have to know much about music to operate one…you just fiddled around until you found some cool sounds and then organized those sounds into a song… Like the original punks, attitude and a willingness to put your music out there was more important than musical ability—except this time, you did it with this new technology…synths instead of guitars…this was the foundation of what came to be known as techno-pop, which blew up at the end of the 70s… And it didn’t take long for techno-pop to separate into different strands which appealed to different people…some burned out quickly…new variants emerged for a while and then disappeared…and then there were the mutations that turned into something robust and enduring to the point where they still exist today… This episode is about one such strand that survived the post-punk explosion of the late 70s and early 80s…we call it “industrial music”…and word of warning: this show is going to be very intense, very loud, and very heavy… See for privacy information.

    The Post-Punk Explosion Part 2: Techno-Pop

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 17, 2021 20:46

    For the longest time, the sounds of rock were made with voice, guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards like piano and organ…there were plenty of ways to manipulate the sounds of those instruments: effects pedals, studio tricks, happy accidents that happened when you least expected them… And for a couple of decades, this was plenty to work with…we discovered all sorts of techniques to create sounds that no one had ever heard before… But when engineers started messing with electricity in new ways, it became possible for musicians to create sounds that not only we’d never heard before but never imagined hearing…this resulted in an explosion of new, amazing music that was based mostly (if not entirely) on electronic sounds… Experimentation started in the 60s…these sounds worked their way into prog-rock in the 70s…and at the very end of that decade, the technology had become cheap enough for young musicians in the last months of the original punk rock scene to adopt these music-making machines as their own… I’m talking about synthesizers, of course…and as bands in sharp suits and skinny ties released spikey new wave pop songs, another group went all-in with synths…and in the post-punk era—which is to say the late 70s and early 80s—we had the era of era of techno-pop…here’s how that happened… See for privacy information.

    The Post-Punk Explosion Part 1: New Wave

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 10, 2021 26:13

    If you’ve been around enough, you may remember those special times when you know  that you’re in a middle of music history being made… You might be old enough to remember the early 90s…so much new and cool music—led by grunge but supported by all manner of alternative music—came out in ’91, ’92, ’93, ’94, and ’95 that you just knew you were in the midst of a very special time… It felt that not a day went by without there being a new song, a new artist, a new sound, and a new scene worth checking out…it was the alternative revolution—and it was awesome… and so much of it seemed directed at and just perfect just for you… But that was hardly the first time something like this happened…those who were teenagers in the middle 50s knew they were part of something special during the birth of rock’n’roll… The history of the 1960s was largely written in the music of that decade…starting with the Beatles in 1964, every day seemed to bring something new, exciting, and groundbreaking… If you were tied in with punk in the 70s, there was a sense among you and your friends that it was a really special time for music… But what i want to talk about is the era that came immediately after punk…punk changed the way people looked at music, breaking down artistic, social, and demographic barriers…basically, a new generation of musicians ripped it rock and started again…that’s punk in a nutshell… But that attitude didn’t end with the original punk rock explosion…instead, we saw an unstoppable chain reaction with resulted in sounds and styles and scenes that could not have been possible without punk… These sounds weren’t punk, but you could tell by listening that something like punk had to have happened for this music to exist… We now call this the post-punk era…and this period of time—roughly from 1978 through to the middle 80s—created the foundations for the alternative revolution in the 90s and beyond… This is the post-punk explosion part 1…and we begin with this thing called “new wave”… See for privacy information.

    History of Nerd Rock

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 3, 2021 24:11

    Nerd…noun…a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious…definition 2: a single-minded expert in a particular technical field...example: a computer nerd… It’s an old word, too…the, er, nerds at google have a thing called “the ngram viewer” which scans the text of books going back to 1500…in other words, pretty much right back to the inventing of the printing press… According to these nerds, “nerd” (the word) shows up for the first time in an book called “a true discourse of the assault committed upon the most noble Prince, Prince William of Orange, County of Nassau, Marquesse De La Ver & C,” by John Jarequi Spaniarde: with the true copies of the writings, examinations, and letters for sundry offenders in that vile and diuelifh (i have no idea what that word is) attempt”… I can’t tell you what “nerd” referred to in that book because it’s written in old Spanish and i couldn’t be bothered to find a translation…I’d need a real etymological nerd for that… The word fell into disuse after about 1725 returning into the popular lexicon thanks to Dr. Suess in 1950…to him, a “nerd” was some kind of creature found in a zoo… But the following year, Newsweek magazine reported that “nerd” was being used in Detroit to describe an awkward sort of dude who wasn’t very cool…it kind of lingered in the slang world for the rest of the 50s and into the 60s before it really took off in 1974 with the TV series “Happy Days”…Fonzie was always calling Richie and Potsie “nerds” for being uncool dorks…so props to Henry Winkler… By the end of the 70s—and coinciding with the rise of the culture around the personal computer, consumer technology and “Star Wars” and other science fiction pursuits—the use of “nerd” became even more widespread…remember the “Revenge of the Nerds” movies in the 80s?... But now in our technological society, being called a nerd is a compliment…people aspire to be like Bill Gates and Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg…look at shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Silicon Valley”…we’re actually celebrating nerddom…people want to be nerds ‘cause—well, it’s kinda cool…the geeks have truly inherited the earth… This brings me to music…nerdishness is now so widespread that nerds even have their own genre of music…and as you might guess, it falls squarely in the world of alternative music… This, then, is a short history of what we unreservedly, unashamedly and unironically call “nerd rock”… See for privacy information.

    50 Years of CanCon

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 24, 2021 31:32

    Fifty years ago, there was no such thing as a Canadian music industry…well, at least not compared to the U.S. or the UK…we had bands that played gigs and recorded singles and albums…but there wasn’t much of an infrastructure to support a domestic scene… Too few recording studios…a lack of experienced promoters, managers, and producers…there was a tiny collection of domestic record labels…and there was a steady drain of talent to the united states…if you wanted to make it really big, you had to leave the country…that’s kind of discouraging, right? And Canadian radio stations weren’t helping…there was a perception that audiences did not want to hear much of this domestic music because, well, it wasn’t very good…it was inferior to all the music coming from America and England…this contributed to the overall opinion with the general public that Canadian music just wasn’t worth anyone’s time… At the same time, though, it didn’t seem right that our musical culture and our music scenes (such as they were) be overwhelmed by foreign powers…Canadian artists were getting smothered in the crib…something needed to be done…and five decades ago, something was done, beginning on January 18, 1971… It was difficult, expensive, and, in some quarters, wildly unpopular…but it turned Canada into a global musical powerhouse…this is fifty years of CanCon… See for privacy information.

    The Diversity Show 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 17, 2021 22:27

    Here is a truth that some people find very uncomfortable: rock, alt-rock and indie rock are predominantly white…why is that?...the answers—and there is more than one—are complicated…there has actually been a quite a lot of study on this question… Perhaps it’s because non-white people don’t choose this music as part of the way they project their identity to the world…culturally, they just don’t identify with these forms of music, so they naturally gravitate somewhere else… Others ask how this is different from someone choosing the music of their culture and ethnicity over that of another?...if you’re Italian, for example, the chances are you will have a greater affinity to Italian music than you would, say, gamelan music of bali… Here’s another truth: any form of music tends to reflect the shared sentiments of a particular community…. compare indie attitudes with hip hop…an indie band wouldn’t think of singing about drinking Cristal in the back of a Maybach while discussing the size of the diamonds in their new grillz…. neither would a hip hop artist rhapsodically describe their new pickup...neither would a rock band, for that matter… Each form of music has its own aesthetics…if they don’t mean anything to you on a cultural or emotional or personal level, then you’re not going to be into that music… Others don’t buy into this, seeing the non-whiteness of rock as a status quo barrier to people of colour who would like to participate but feel excluded, an outsider, unwelcome…they also see countless microaggressions, covert expressions of racism and continued cultural appropriation… We’re not going to solve any of these issues on this program…but I would like to acknowledge the contribution people of colour have made to the evolution of alt-rock…alt-rock is pretty white, yes—but not always… See for privacy information.

    Digital Debris Part 3: Liner Notes

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 10, 2021 27:34

    When you listen to music through a streaming music service, how aware are you of what you’re listening to?...sure, you can look at the screen, but what does that tell you?...the name of the artist, the name of the song, maybe the name of the album…how much time has elapsed, how much is left in the song… But say you’re intrigued by what you’re hearing, and you want to know more…that means you’ve got to search the internet…Wikipedia is usually surprisingly accurate when it comes to learning more about a song or an album…who produced it, the engineer, the name of the studio, the supporting players, and so worth… I mean, it does the job, but it feels kinda lacking…a bit antiseptic… And then if you want lyrics, you have to search other sites…and again, these sites do a decent job, but…*sigh*… Okay, I’ll just say it…I miss liner notes…I miss being able to sort through all the printing in a cd booklet or on a vinyl record…there’s something mysteriously cool about learning something about the artist or the music by finding something buried in the liner notes… Writing and compiling this text used to be a big deal…people were paid good money and even won awards for writing liner notes…the industry has specialists for this sort of thing… But as we get deeper and deeper into the digital era, liner notes are disappearing along with the concept of B-sides and bonus tracks, and album artwork…it’s all part of the evolution of music culture… This is final part a series marking these changes…this is digital debris 3: liner notes See for privacy information.

    Digital Debris Part 2: Album Artwork

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 3, 2021 25:56

    A little while ago, I carved out some time to finally file some records and CD’s…I’d been procrastinating, but I finally summoned up the discipline to get it done…and honestly, it was a task that should have taken all of fifteen minutes… But it ended up taking longer than that because I kept stopping to examine the artwork and the liner notes of almost each and every compact disc and vinyl album… I’d forgotten how much I was into looking at my music collection…what was the artist trying to get across with the artwork on the front?...on the back?...on the inside?... Unless you’re still buying physical product, this is an experience that has been largely expunged from music culture…yes, there are digital liner notes and digital artwork and maybe you’re curious enough to check out the fields in the metadata after a right click on the file…but it’s just not the same… If you’re of a more recent generation, there’s a chance that you’ve never bothered with artwork and liner notes because you’ve always lived a digital life—and you have no idea what I’m going on about…but if you’re into vinyl and CD’s, you’ll understand how much things have changed… Yes, we must roll with the times, but the disappearance of old-school album artwork and liner notes has somehow diminished the music experience, just like how we’ve moved away from things like actual B-sides and bonus tracks…let me show you what I mean…this is digital debris part 2… See for privacy information.

    Digital Debris Part 1: B-Sides and Bonus Tracks

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 27, 2021 22:47

    We are very, very deep into the digital world when it comes to music…virtually every song we could ever want is available to us instantly no matter where we are…all we need is an internet connection and we’re good to go… The music industry loves this…in the old days, they had no choice but to manufacture, warehouse, transport, and distribute physical product by the ton, sometimes across vast distances…once these CD’s and records and tapes made it into the stores, then the labels had to collect the money from the stores plus deal with the return of unsold product…it was all very complicated and expensive… Now with streaming, there’s no physical product…all the expensive overhead and those big fixed costs are gone…digital distribution is so much more efficient and profitable on every single level… And for music fans, this way of obtaining and consuming music is not just convenient, but intoxicating… Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Soundcloud, Bandcamp…tens and tens of millions of songs… for older people, this still feels like science fiction… And there are also generations who have never, ever set foot inside a record store…they’ve never, ever handled something like a record or a cd or a cassette…for them, music has always delivered without any kinds of container…it’s completely ephemeral, unseen zeroes and ones that beam from somewhere… While there will always probably be a market for music on physical formats, it’s going to shrink and shrink until it’s just a very niche-y thing…so be it…there’s no stopping progress… But we are losing something…there are certainly pleasures and advantages to CD’s and vinyl…it appears, though, that many of these pleasures and advantages are also heading towards near-extinction… I call this “Digital Debris”…here…let me show you what I mean… See for privacy information.

    Unfortunate Sonic Coincidences: The Lawsuits

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 20, 2021 36:19

    Okay…let’s go over this one more time…there are just twelve notes in the western scale…the ways they can be combined to form pleasing sounds are finite in number…it’s a big number, but it’s still finite… If we look at chords—which are combinations of three or more single notes played simultaneously—the number is smaller still…and there are only so many ways in which chords may be played in a sequence that makes any sense to the ear and the soul… For example, there are dozens and dozens of hit songs with the same four chords at their root…e, b, c#, and a, played in that order… If I haven’t lost you to music theory yet, all these songs are constructed on those chords… “With or Without You” from U2, Green Day’s “When I Come Around” and “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” from the Smashing Pumpkins, and The Offspring’s “Self-Esteem”…plus “Don’t Stop Believin'’” by Journey, “Barbie Girl” by Aqua, and John Denver, “Take Me Home Country Roads”… In fact, there’s a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to what’s know as the “i-v-vi-iv progression”…it can be played in different keys (for example, “bullet with butterfly wings” is in b-flat while “self-esteem” is in c-major) and the chords can be ordered differently, but the common dna is there…this is just how our scale works and how songs are constructed… Now listen to me: this is not a sign that any of these artists lack in creativity… no one is breaking any rules…and no one is ripping off anyone because no one can have exclusive ownership over a chord progression… However, there is a subset of people—lawyers, mostly—who believe that they should be able to sue artists for plagiarism if there’s any perceived similarity between two songs…the original composer needs to be compensated for this alleged theft…even the threat of a lawsuit and jury trial might be enough to scare up some settlement money… This is insane…and the situation has been getting worse and worse…I think it’s time we deconstructed what’s happening with these crazy lawsuits that threaten to cripple all of music… See for privacy information.

    Theories, Thoughts, and Half-Baked Ideas

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 13, 2021 31:46

    One of the byproducts of doing a show like this for as long as I’ve been doing it is that it’s really hard to shut off your brain… I’m always thinking about topic ideas, ways to link facts and trivia together, reading lots of books, talking to lots of people, and otherwise trying to come up with a constant stream of things we can talk about… The result of all this researching and thinking and writing are some ideas and perspectives on music, music history, how music is made, how it’s consumed and distributed, and how seemingly small things have led to big changes…that’s one thing… Another is the opinions formed by observing the opinions of others…why do people like some things and hate others?...and another is a list of ideas that aren’t quite fully formed…it seems like I’ve almost grasped a concept but it doesn’t feel right yet—but I feel that there’s a germ of truth in there somewhere… I’ve also learned that when you’re not sure about something, source the crowd…you might like the answers, but it’s better than living in your own head… So lemme bounce a few of these things off you and you can tell me if I’m onto something or if I’m off-base—or if I’ve completely lost the plot… I call this episode “theories, thoughts, and half-baked ideas”… See for privacy information.

    Sid Vicious

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 6, 2021 38:34

    Every once in a while we come across someone who is famous and iconic for being...well let's be honest...nothing more than a monumental eff-up. There is nothing about them we should admire...but for some reason we find them intriguing...fascinating...compelling. This is the story of one monumental eff-up. Books have be written about him...movies done....his image has graces more T-shirts than you can imagine. And he was one of the least musically talented punk rockers of all time.  This is the story of Sid Vicious.  See for privacy information.

    Indigenous Alternative

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 30, 2020 19:31

    Over the last decade, there has been some very, very long overdue attempts at reconciliation with the First Nations and Indigenous Peoples of North America…there’s still a long, long way to go, but at least the process as begun… The treatment of Indigenous people makes for ugly history…but it has also been enlightening in positive ways… For example, we’ve been learning more about First Nations music and the role people who identify as Native Canadians and Americans have played in the world of rock…some are full-fledged First Nations people…others have at least some Native blood… Some are well-known…others have been hiding in plain sight…and I think it’s time that we go through some of these contributions… See for privacy information.

    The 2020 Xmas Show

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 23, 2020 17:57

    This the 23rd annual ongoing Christmas show…and yeah, I know that 2020 has been a challenging year, but let’s look at some of the good things that happened… Many of us learned to bake bread…drive-in theatres made a comeback for both movies and concerts…sweatpants are now accepted work attire… “Tiger King” was fun, wasn’t it?...and—uh…well, i’m sure there were many other nice things about 2020… Oh!..oh!...less pollution because of less traffic…dog shelters were emptied out because so many people were adopting…we got out for more walks…oh—here’s a good one: Africa was declared free of polio in 2020…that’s definitely brilliant… 2021 will be a transition year…vaccines have to be administered, COVID cases will come down, and by this time next year, we’ll in a much better place…optimism is the best cure for anxiety… So with that...let's dive into some our annual not-so-traditional Christmas show. See for privacy information.

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