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Kanye West’s ‘setlist’ released with rant rundown

- July 10th, 2014

Oh, Funny or Die, you just made our day.

After Kanye West’s epic Bonnaroo rant-fest which had the festival crowd turning on the rapper, and then his U.K. Wireless Festival grumblings about racism in the fashion industry, the comedy site decided to reveal a faux setlist with his rant prompts – with a handful of songs placed in between.

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Check out the hilarious document below (click for full view):

setlist

Death From Above 1979 unveil new single

- July 7th, 2014

Toronto’s biggest dance-punk duo is back after being on hiatus for eight years.

Death From Above 1979, famous for releasing a debut album and nothing else, unveiled their new track “Train Wreck 1979” on Zane Lowe’s BBC One radio program (which you can listen to here).

The debut single is the first track off of their upcoming album “The Physical World,” which is due out September 9 in Canada and the U.S.

From the first opening drum kit bop, it’s clear that even an eight year hiatus from being band mates hasn’t driven away the classic sound created by Sebastian Grainger and Jesse F. Keeler.

Nostalgia buffs will sigh, hearts full of content, when the tambourine cymbals first pick up and the guttural guitar riffs course through the track.

“Train Wreck 1979” is chalk full of standard Death From Above 1979 heart thumping drum kicks and angst sounding vocals, but it also manages to pull off a slightly more mature sound than the band’s previous album.

If this is what the rest of the album is going to sound like, fans of the movement Death From Above 1979 started back in 2004 may be in for a real treat.

Mosh pits are still a thing, right?

Journey/Steve Miller talk touring, recording, audiences & San Fran scene

- June 18th, 2014

During a recent two hour teleconference interview, Journey’s guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain and Steve Miller of Steve Miller band spoke about their first tour together which hits three Canadian cities this summer, beginning with Toronto’s Molson Canadian Amphitheatre on June 19. (The other two dates are Ottawa’s Lebreton Flats, July 4, and Quebec City’s The Plains of Abraham, July 6.
Both veteran groups rose out of the vibrant late ’60s, early ’70s San Francisco music scene so they feel a real kinship.
Here’s the best of the rest of what they had to say.

Q. What do you remember about the San Francisco scene?

Miller: Well, San Francisco was the most vibrant music scene of the 20th Century. So, let’s start right there. It was a complete change of how things worked in the world and when you’re in something like that, you think it’s great, you think it’s going to last forever. You wake up one morning and it’s gone. It was really magic. Compared to the rest of the musical world that I was involved in, the rest of it was a bunch of gangsters running night clubs and stealing stuff from musicians and you worked in bars or you worked for Dick Clark. It was very goofy. San Francisco was extremely real. As soon as I understood what was going on in San Francisco, which was in 1965 and ’66, I immediately left Chicago where I was working in a night club that was being shaken down by the mafia and the police for payments. I mean it was a real thug world. I immediately got in my Volkswagen Bus and drove to San Francisco. When I got there what I realized was it was much, much more than just bands and music. It was a true social phenomena. I didn’t really understand that for a while because the bands when I first got to San Francisco really weren’t very good. They were guys who were folk musicians who decided they wanted to be rock stars and they bought Beatle boots and let their hair grown long and got an electric guitar and started a band. I was kind of going, ‘What’s going on here? They’re doing a bad version of In the Midnight Hour. What is this? ‘ Then, I’d come from Chicago where Junior Wells would steal your gig if you didn’t hold your own. So, I came from a different musical discipline of jazz and blues and night clubs. I got out there and it was a psychedelic experience. There were a lot of drugs. There were people coming from all over the world. There’d be a film crew from Japan one day, a film crew from France the next day. They were just coming in to see what was going on. The light shows were being developed and it became a much bigger social phenomena than a musical phenomenon and they just kind of latched onto the fact that pop music was a way to spread this new culture. …That was really exciting and it was really art and culture and literature and music and new newspapers, new ways of doing everything. And now that I’ve lived as long as I have, I’m 70-years-old now, so when I was doing that I was 20 and I’m looking at it all and I’m going, “That was one of the most vibrant periods in history for a cultural revolution. That stuff that started in San Francisco and came out of San Francisco changed the whole world.’

Q. What has changed about your industry since you guys started?

Schon: The whole music industry has sort of faded except for live performances. There’s no more music stores and really it’s just like downloads if you want a new CD and I sort of miss being able to walk into a music store and look at albums and CDs and see who’s on it and what’s going on and everything is so digital and it’s just the way of the world right now. But I think the one thing that remains the same is live performances. So that’s why we’re still here doing this, I mean, it’s like one thing that can’t be hacked and one thing that you absolutely have to show up live to be able to do. And so I still love it. I love performing.

Q. What do you think about current rock and rollers?

Schon: You know, I really do like Jack White. I like him because he pushes the envelope, and he’s got quite a spirit about him on stage and in the studio and I definitely appreciate that. I mean he’s bold. Wherever he goes, he’s bold. And I think that’s the coolest thing about him and he’s got really cool like blues roots with a modern edge. Black Keys I think are very modern too and very cool. I love some of their records as well, and Foo Fighters too, you know.

Q. What do you think about the resurgence of vinyl? Do you guys think it’s a nostalgic fad, or something that’s here to stay?

Cain: I think it’s here to stay. I think the kids have plugged in their turntables and heard for themselves what we love so much about the sound of vinyl, and I can vouch for that because my son made me hook up him a turntable and he goes back up into his music room and digs on vinyl. It’s a niche market and it started about 10 years ago and I think it’s still a great way to listen to music. It’s smooth on the ears and it’s a wonderful departure from CDs.

Miller: I agree. I prefer to listen to music in vinyl and when digital first showed up, I thought it was really great because it was cleaner and there wasn’t tape hiss and there was the crackly sound of the vinyl records. I think for myself, I was over at a musicologist’s house, a guy who had 10,000 singles and we sat around for about two hours listening to old 45s, the worst vinyl there is. We were listening songs and then we were looking for one song and he said, ‘Well, I don’t have it on vinyl. I’ve got it on CD,’ and we put the CD on and it was like thin and transparent compared to the vinyl. So, vinyl’s like a really juicy steak compared to like a kind of tough steak.

Q. What’s recording like for you now?

Cain: I just built a brand new recording studio in Nashville. It’s world-class and I’ve got guys like John Oates in there and some of the Nashville people have been using it. I’m sort of a Gear Head. So, I have a lot of vintage gear, including an analogue tape machine and an old board from The Record Plant. That’s the heart and soul of the place. So, I’d really love to get Journey into the room and I’ve got a live chamber underneath the parking like the old days and it’s really an eclectic beautiful sanctuary to make music. So, that would be a dream for me to have Journey come and make a record here.

Miller: I’m recording all the time. … I’ve been listening to Prince and Ray Charles and we’ve been going into the studio with the guys and just goofing around and cutting rhythm tracks. I just recorded One Mint Julep for fun. It’s mainly for fun now. There is no record business. You can’t give it away. You can’t afford to spend $200,000 in the studio and then give it away. It doesn’t work. So, I have my own studio. I’m in in it all the time. I’m constantly recording and I’ve been in an argument with my record companies and law suits against them for years and giving a record company an album is like giving a gangster your baby or something. So, all of that tends to make the creative moment not as much as fun as it used to be, but I’m constantly recording.

Q. How do you come up with a set list?

Miller: Our audiences are so conservative now and so strangely addicted to (the fact that) they’ve paid their money. They want to hear the greatest hits. We’ll go out and we’ll be playing in front of 15,000 people and say, “Hey, we’re going to do three new songs from something we just recorded” and 5,000 people get up and go get a hot dog and a beer and they don’t come back until they hear the opening strings of The Joker or Fly Like an Eagle. That to me has really bothered me about audiences. … I mean this is unprecedented. I mean people are playing music that I recorded 40 years ago on the radio all over the world. I’ve played myself into a box in one way in that—I mean I see it all the time. I generally do a two hour show. I do about 23-24 songs. There’s 14 greatest hits. So, that gives me 9-10 songs to play with. I feel like I have to sneak them into my set. I feel like when the critics come to see my show, they go, ‘Well, then they went into this jazz/blues thing for a while and the energy went out of the audience until they came back and played this other song.’ So, it’s a very strange kind of world that I occupy.

Q. How do you respond to the fact that some people feel Journey without singer Steve Perry isn’t the same? (He left in 1998.)

Schon: What I suggest to them is that they just move on. I mean, if you don’t like us for whom we are right now, then just don’t bother, you know. Find your new love and take it as you will, you know, I mean we’re completely fine where we’re at.

Q. What are your thoughts on the modern concert experience where many of the 15,000 people watching you are holding up phones and videotaping or taking pictures so not maybe being present for watching you guys live?

Miller: It’s real interesting because I play all over the world and the audiences are different all over the world. In the United States is self-absorbed, is totally fascinated by shooting video and taking pictures and recording things. And so, when they’ve come to an event, they’re there to get high, to get drunk, to party, to take pictures of themselves in front of the band and put it on Facebook and to show themselves at an event. When you go to play in Europe, it’s totally different. You’re an artist. They’re there to hear the music. They’re there to enjoy the experience of being in a room where actual live music is being played. A lot of times when we play in the States, our audience—and we have an audience that ranges literally from 10 to 70-years-old. It’s amazing. A lot of times, you can see the audience is shocked when they actually understand that what they’re involved with is actually happening in front of them and that there’s something really happening on stage. hat it’s not a recording and it’s not 20 dancers in a Las Vegas Review with some lasers and prerecorded tape loops and that kind of thing. So, you can break through that. When we go to Canada, we just finished a tour in Canada and our audiences there were so much more interesting to us because they were really into the music. …For me, we’re just going through a phase. This technology has taken over everything and look, I’m like everybody else. I walk around with a digital camera and I shoot a thousand pictures a week. I love it. So, you get used to it, you accept it, but when I play, I’m really there to connect with my audience. Fortunately, because they sing all the lyrics to my songs and my songs mean something to them in different romantic parts of their life, they’re pretty happy to be there. So, it’s fun, but it’s a different kind of experience than it is if you’re going to really go sing from your heart and play from your heart and really move people. That’s kind of what it’s all about for me is connecting with an audience. So, my challenge is to kick that guy who’s standing there with his girlfriend with his back to me, leaning against the front of the stage taking a picture of himself in front of me, right smack in the middle of his ass.

What defines a good audience?
Miller: For me, what makes a good crowd is when you can hear a pin drop in the building. That’s when—I think the magic part of a set for us is when there’s this kind of silence and we’re all listening and performing and we’re sort of all in this kind of magical moment together as opposed to like when everybody’s screaming at the end of the show and they’re going crazy and nuts. My goal when I play is to bring joy to my audience. I’m trying to create a joyous event. Music is a way of communicating that’s very ethereal. It goes forwards. It goes backwards in time. You’re taking people to the future and to the past and you’re creating this event that’s very emotional and I think it’s best when—I’ve watched Journey shows when Jonathan was playing a piano piece by himself, or there’s this moment where everybody is—it’s a very emotional moment, and I think those are the high parts of a concert.

MMVAs: 5 things to watch out for

- June 15th, 2014

The biggest night in music (for Toronto, that is) has finally arrived and the stars are about to descend upon Queen St. W for Much Music’s annual MMVA’s.

The award show that celebrates and highlights Canadian artists, lumping some of the bigger name international stars into the show for viewers sake, has been talked about for weeks.

To say people are hyping themselves up for performances from stars like Lorde and Imagine Dragons and watching the youngest “Kardashian” sisters host their first big event would be an understatement.

Often times with massive spectacles like the MMVA’s, however, it’s hard to keep track of everything going on. Blink and you might just miss one artist diss another during an impromptu performance.

Here are a couple of things you’re going to want to keep an eye out for tonight:

1.)    Kendall Jenner messing up an artist…again

Twitter has allowed one simple mistake, broadcasted for millions, to live forever. During the Billboard Music Awards in May, Kendall was set up with one task: introduce the new hot boy band 5 Seconds of Summer as performers.

Looks like all those “acting” classes Jenner enrolled in didn’t help with her memorization –or reading- abilities. Instead, Jenner introduced One Direction…who wasn’t even there that night. Keep an eye out, folks. This may just happen again.

2.)    Iggy Azalea surprise appearance

Iggy Azalea went from being a D-list celebrity to one of the hottest stars in the hip-hop/pop world, flooded with collaboration requests from some of the biggest musicians.

A large part of her success is due to Ariana Grande, one of the performer’s at the awards show tonight, and their hit song, “Problem.” Azalea hasn’t said or tweeted anything to imply she’ll show up at the show tonight, but you never know.

3.)    Joint performance by Drake and the Weeknd

Not only is this plausible, it’ll be a bit of a waste if this performance doesn’t happen. Drake and the Weeknd aren’t just on the same label, they’re also great friends in real life.

WARNING: THESE VIDEOS CONTAIN COARSE LANGUAGE. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

Recently, Drake and the Weeknd staged a surprise performance for some lucky club goers in Toronto, playing some of their top hits and testing out new material. My bet? A mix up of “Crew Love” and “Live For” will be performed at some point tonight.

4.)    Jazzy performance from Lorde

 

Lorde is a pop star through and through, but earlier this week the singer tweeted how her fondness of jazz covers had grown since she’s been in T-Dot. From what I can gather, Lorde’s been trying out different styles of her songs at rehearsal, so keep an ear open for a fresh new take on an overplayed track.

5.)    Award shocks

The nominees this year are as diverse as they’ve ever been, with talents ranging across multiple genres of music. Rookie artists and veterans of the industry are, in many cases, up for the same award.

Although you might think Hedley’s got it in the bag, there’s a pretty big chance it’ll be swiped from their hands before they can say, “Thank you Toronto.”

Deadmau5 unveils new track after winning Gumball 3000

- June 14th, 2014

Deadmau5 is back and better than ever.

His most recent single from his upcoming album while (1 <2), “Phantoms Can’t Hang”, is a throwback to classic trance DJ’s like Armin Van Burren.

It’s ominous undertones, however, are unique to the odd genius. The track, which runs just over nine minutes, transcends traditional dance music and feels like it wouldn’t be out of place if played at a house party one Friday night or used as the background score in a dystopian science-fiction film.

It’s refreshing to hear Deadmau5 back with an entirely different sound than what we’ve come to expect as an audience.

The small vacation he recently took from the scene, disappearing entirely off the map to pursue other interests, seems to have worked in his favour.

Most recently, Joel “Deadmau5” Zimmerman has poured all of his focus into the annual Gumball 300 event.

A collection of misfit gear heads who congregate and travel across America showing off their assorted technicolour vehicles for amused passerbys.

 

The traveling car circus tends to attract an assortment of celebrities who purchase extravagant vehicles and tweak every available inch to create a work of art.

For example, Zimmerman’s take on a Ferrari 458 Italia, a car that starts selling at $275,900, was to paint it a vibrant blue and plaster the famous internet meme “Nyan cat” all around it.

The result? A dedicated fan base devoted to capturing and sharing images of Zimmeran’s car wherever it turned up.

Despite Zimmerman’s A.D.D. interests, the DJ’s new album is ready to drop.

Expect to hear more songs like “Phantoms Can’t Hang” on June 17.