Blog Archive

The Hybrid Record Store

November 28th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

A couple of years ago, I went to a Virgin Megastore in Dubai hoping to buy some local music.  The place was huge--tens of thousands of square feet--but I couldn't find any CDs.

There were displays of t-shirts, posters and other swag.  I wandered through the musical instruments section.  The book section.  The magazine racks.  Oh, look:  rows of computers for sale.  I actually had to ask a clerk where this Virgin kept their CDs.

"Way in the back," the woman said, "behind the DVDs."


The Flexi: The Next Resurrected Format

November 28th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

There was a time back in the day when we could obtain music on a host of different formats:  CD, vinyl, pre-recorded cassette, MiniDisc, even DAT.  And if you knew where to look, you could still find old 78s and 8-tracks.  

But there's one more format that has to be added to that list:  the flexi.

Flexi-discs were thin pieces of plastic that were often found in the pages of magazines and books.  It was the physical equivalent of today's "free download with this isssue" promotion.  You had to carefully remove it (so it wouldn't tear) and place it on your turntable.  Because they were so delicate, you might be able to get 25 plays out of the thing before it disintegrated.


Bowie’s Music to be Turned into Musical

November 27th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Do we blame Andrew Lloyd Webber?  Or Pete Townshend?  Actually, I can accept productions like Jesus Christ Superstar or Tommy because they were written for the stage in mind.  Both have a coherent libretto and songs that support the story in a sequential manner.

I can even understand something like American Idiot.  Turning a concept album into a stage production isn't that difficult.

Where I get lost is when someone tries to twist songs into a narrative.


The Recommendation Project Part 20: The Overlooked of 2011

November 27th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

As we get closer to the end of the year, I'm going to have to write my annual column for the Metro newspapers about the most overlooked acts of 2011.  Which artists deserve a second chance before we move on?

My #1 pick is EMA, the intense South Dakotan whose debut, Past Life of Martyred Saints, has been in my iPhone since it came out.  What about you?

I'm looking for any and all suggestions about singers, bands and albums that, in a perfect world, should have been HUGE.  Or, at the very released, received more attentio than they did.


So, About That Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Tour…

November 27th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Legend has it that Mick met Keef on a train platform in 1960.  By June of 1962, they were in a blues-inspired band called The Rolling Stones with Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Dick Taylor and Tony Chapman. History records that their first gig was at London's Marquee Club on July 12, 1962.  That would make 2012 the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones.

That alone would be reason enough for the surviving Stones (combined age:  269) to regroup one more time for a world tour.  The other would be to try to reclaim the title of World's Most Profitable Tour, although scaling U2's $736,000,000 mountain would be pretty tough.  Not that the Stones need the money, of course.

So what's really going on?


Fugazi in the New York Times? WTF?

November 27th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Few bands are more indie in attitude and practice than Fugazi, so it was a little odd to see them in the pages of the New York Times on Friday.  Check it out:

Fugazi, the single-mindedly independent post-punk band from Washington, was famous for how it operated in concert. From its first shows in 1987 until it went on indefinite hiatus 15 years later, the group kept ticket prices low — $5 or so — and, to the relief of some fans and the annoyance of others, often paused when things got too wild in the mosh pit.

Less known was that the band fastidiously recorded almost every concert. After letting audio tapes for more than 800 shows languish in a closet for years, Fugazi has begun putting them all on its Web site, with the first batch of 130 shows going up next Thursday.


Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson Wants to Save His Airline

November 27th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Good Maiden fans knows that Bruce's other job is as an airline pilot flying charters from a base in the UK to exotic places like the Middle East, the Mediterranean and, er, Winnipeg.

Unfortunately for Bruce and the rest of the employees of Astraeus, the airline went bankrupt while the 757 he was flying back from Saudi Arabia, a victim of the ugly monetary situation in Europe.

But Bruce is a fighter.  He's got a plan to save his airline.


I Swear This Is It for the Whole Nickelback Thing

November 27th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

The "why does everyone hate Nickelback" question was all over the media this past week.  Hell, I was asked to be on both CTV News Channel and CBC News Network talking about it.  And then the Ottawa Citizen asked for an op-ed piece.  

Read it below.  And please:  let us not speak of this for a while, okay?

Give props to Nickelback for toughing it at Ford Field in Detroit Thurs-day afternoon during the traditional Lions' Thanksgiving game. They probably would rather have been any-where else in the world at that moment despite having survived a massive non-confidence motion tabled via an "anybody but Nickelback" petition with 55,000 signatures.

They weren't even being paid. The band was there in support of an education campaign by the United Way, so it was important that they turn in a good performance. And they did, although having the stage located out of throwing range from the stands must have made them feel better.


Gift Idea: NIN Garage Sale

November 26th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Trent Reznor seems to be clearinng out the basement.  Some guitars and what he calls “Official Auction Bundles” are now


Need Some Different Xmas Music? Try This.

November 26th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

The Salads, the Canadian ska-punk band, decided to call in some favours to creat a digital album full of, um, festive spirit for 2011.  

Christmas with The Salads and Friends--catchy title, no?--will be released on December 6, right in the midst of the holiday spending shopping season.

Tracklisting and some teasers after the jump.


Been Caught Barkin’

November 26th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Back in 1990, Perry Farrell had dog that would go nuts every time Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro would play a certain riff.

The dog would kind of freak out, barking and yelping along with the music.  It just so happens that the dog was in the studio one day when someone joked that the dog should be enlisted to do some of the vocals.

Perry thought that was a great idea—so he took the dog into the voice booth while Dave started playing that guitar riff.


This Week’s Top 11 Playlist: 25 November 2011

November 25th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Each week I post a stream of eleven songs that I discovered this week.  You can listen to the whole thing--for free, of course--but clicking on the link in the right-hand column. And if you've missed any previous playlist, they're archived there, too.

As always, thanks to Mediazoic for the help!  And make sure you check out some of the other Feature Creatures on the site, too.  

The full playlist after the jump.


Billy Corgan: Pro Wrestling’s Best Friend

November 25th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Anyone who's watched any kind of pro wrestling over the last three decades know that rock music is a big part of the spectacle.  

Triple H and his Motorhead.  Junkyard Dog and "Another One Bites the Dust."  All of Hulk Hogan's entrance music plus his single with Green Jelly.  Cyndi Lauper and her connections with Lou Albano. 

Hell, Jimmy "The Mouth of the South" Hart was a member of the Gentrys, a band that a major Top 40 hit called "Keep on Dancing" in 1965. He's been an official composer for the WWE, WCW and other leagues for years.  Go deeper and you'll learn about court composers like Jim Johnson.

But the relationship between rock and wrestling goes even deeper that what we see and hear.



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