Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Edgefest 2009

I made the trek to Toronto for 102.1 The Edge's "Edgefest 2009".

Sadly, it rained throughout the day, and it was a miserable event in terms of weather. Wind/cold/rain created a fairly unpleasant atmosphere, with a LOT of mud and dirt. As much as I'd like to say that the event was good enough to prevent the weather from ruining it, but sadly, the weather was just too unpleasant. That being said, here's my thoughts:

The Arkells - I haven't heard any of their album, and that's going to change quickly. They were really tight live, and despite the weather, created a really fun atmosphere for the people there. They're only going to get bigger and better from here on out.

The Stills - I love the Stills, but I love their debut album, Logic Will Break Your Heart, even more. Sadly, they only played one song off the album (Still in Love Song), and chose to focus on their newer songs. I really dig the new album, but a couple more cuts from their debut would have made for a better set. I think they fealt the need to play their heavier songs to fit into with the rest of the bill, and left off their slower/softer songs, which is a shame. That being said, Snake Charming the Masses sounded huge, while Being Here was suitably epic.

K-Os - I like KOS enough, but I'm not a big hip-hop fan, and don't really know many of his songs. It was exciting, as he's got a good stage prescence, but it's not really my cup of tea. Led Zeppelin sampling was cool though.

Metric - In one word? Wow. AT this point, Metric made it clear they were a much bigger band then any of the other artists, with their suitably huge and shimmering sound. They played a bunch of songs off all three albums, and it really made me appreciate them more as a band to see them live. Great songs, great set, great band.

Cancer Bats - Despite having a southern drawl despite being Canadian, they were awesome live. REally hard, really rocking, and they got a lot of people into it. They were the hardest band on the bill, and it added some nice diversity to see a band rock with so much force.

Alexisonfire - In terms of getting the crowd into it, no one could beat AOF. They rocked the place hard, and everyone loved it. Part of their live appeal is the fact that their lead screamer, George, acts as a hypeman so well. You want to love it when he's ranting on stage about anything. At this point, with their fourth album coming out, they've got a really great set, with a lot of hits.

Moneen - My favourite band was pretty decent. They played a few new songs (cannot wait for that album), but they seemed to be missing something. Maybe it's the fact that I'm used to seeing them in an intimate setting, but they didn't seem to accept the larger setting that well. That being said, with AFI blaring in the back ground and it raining, it couldn't have been easy. They're still the most underrated band in the world, and I can't wait to see them next.

After a day's worth of rain and mud, we'd had enough, so we bailed on seeing AFI and Billy Talent. I've never seen AFI, but Billy Talent is great live, so I'm sure they lived up to their headliner status.

All and all, not a bad day, that could have been way better with decent weather.


Link to Edge's Page About the Event, Including Video, Pictures and More:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Music Sales

I'm pretty fascinated by the sale of music. Specifically, I enjoy looking at the raw data of how much CDs sell on a certain basis. Which CDs sell huge their first week, which ones stick around selling for awhile.

Sadly, there doesn't appear to be much raw data on the internet for CD sales. This is because companies pay for that data, and if you can get it online for free, why bother paying for it? It's easy to find the weekly charts like Billboard, but they don't really contain much data.

A few years back I found the "Global Track Chart" which somehow manages to keep data for the top selling albums on a world wide level each week. I have no clue how accurate it is (seems silly to lie?), but the trends seem to matchup with the trends on legitimate charts. I follow it each week, and from time to time, I'm hoping to type up some thoughts about it. Here's my first crack.

Last Week's World Wide Album Sales

Dave Matthews Band debuted at number one this week. I'm not a fan of DMB, but it was pretty obvious this would debut at number one, as they're huge in North America. I am surprised to hear it's been 4 years since the last album. Seems like a long time for a band that could drop a new CD and have massive sales.

Eminem and Green Day are numbers 2 and 3, obviously.

Lady Gaga at number 4, based on the strength of her first two singles I'd have to think, as any other song I've heard off the album is garbage. But, in this era two legitimately great songs is enough to
have a "Great" record, so I'll give her credit.

Nana Mizuki - Ultimate Diamond is at number 7. No clue, but I notice Japanese acts tend to have one huge first week, and then die off. It's rare to see a Japanese artist stick on that chart for more then one or two weeks.

Since it is world wide, it's fascinating for me to see artists in the top 40 who I've never heard of before.
Eros Ramazzotti, Paul Potts, Wisin & Yandel, Christophe Williem, and Escala are all acts I've never heard of, but apparently are doing well, interesting.

Kings of Leon at 11 is amazing. That album's been on the charts for 37 weeks, and has sold easily over 2 million albums, yet it's still selling 60K a week world wide. Good for them, as they flew under the radar in North America for a long time, but their rise from obscurity to being one of the biggest bands in the world is amazing. I wonder if their next disc will be able to live up to the hype? Like Lady Gaga, they had two amazing songs (Sex on Fire and Use Somebody), and the album's lived off those two songs. Kings of Leon's future is really interesting right now - what comes next?

Rock and Roll debuts take up the second quarter! Rancid at number 10, 311 at 12, Taking Back Sunday at 14, and Chickenfoot at 15. I wouldn't have predicted that order. The thing is, 311 and Rancid have devoted fanbases, and after they've exhausted that, they'll drop off huge. Taking Back Sunday will get a lot more radio play and attention for their album, so I'd expect that disc to have more legs then 311 and Rancid. All three are really good discs from really good bands who have managed to carve out strong niches for themselves. The Chickenfoot thing is odd, that's a good number for a band that's only market seems to be people who cannot wait for new Van Halen music, but I'd expect it to die within a month. Has anyone heard a song off that disc?

311 and Rancid both outsold The Black Eyed Peas. I know that won't last, as BEP will sell more overall, but that really makes me love the world. Odd that a new BEP disc did so poorly. Weren't they one of the biggest pop acts in the world at one point?

Pink and Beyonce have really gotten good mileage out of their new discs, but not as good as Kings of Leon, which is amazing to me.

Elvis Costello had a new album out and it debuted at 30. Seems odd, but probably not. I think Elvis was always a bit more of a cool/edgy artist compared to a lot of the people who seem to be his peers as he gets older.

If Beyonce, Pink and Lady Gaga are her peers (pop females), then Kelly Clarkson's disc has to be a disapointment. Despite being out for a third of the time, its selling way less. Sucks for Kelly.

Number 1, DMB sold almost 440 000 copies. Number 40, Phoenix (a supeb album) sold 23000. That discrepancy seems huge to me, and is really indicative of how poor album sales are. Only four discs sold over a 100K this week, and only 15 could sell over 50K.

I know this is all useless, but my brain's shot and can't think of anything better.


Monday, June 8, 2009

10 Things to be Happy About New Music Right Now

I'm in a bit of a pissy mood right now, so I'll take a cue from some other blogs I've seen in an effort to pick myself up a bit. Here are the ten things about new music that are making me very happy right now.

Ten Things About New Music to be Happy About!
(no real order)

10. Passion Pit's "Little Secrets" - The entire album is great, but this song is just about the sunniest and happiest song I've ever heard.

9. Patrick Wolf's "Hard Times" - While I prefer 2007's "The Magic Position" to this year's "The Bachelor", the first real song off the album is awesome. Wolf's one of the most unique and interesting people in music right now, and this song's an eclectic mix of sounds.

8. Taking Back Sunday - New Again - It's a really interesting album for a lot of reasons. It sounds like TBS, but at the same time, feels different. There's a bunch of great songs (Swing is my favourite) and it's a real evolution for the band in a lot of ways.

7. The Sounds - "Dorchester Hotel" - Off of one of the best CDs of 2009 (Crossing the Rubicon), this endlessly catchy single will blow up later this summer, when it gets a proper release, it's amazing.

6. Tommy Tutone - Jenny/867-5309 - One of the greatest one hit wonders ever; who doesn't love a chorus that is also a phone number?

5. cky's return to form on "Carver City" - After a dissapointing album in An Answer Can't Be Found, and a few years of near breakups, Philly's CKY fired back with an awesome album (Carver City), that recalls the sound that made them so original/great to begin with, yet adding some new elements to make it seem new and fresh.

4. Edgefest - Billy Talent! Moneen! AFI! Metric! The Stills! Alexisonfire! - I don't go to many concerts anymore, and go to even less festivals, but I'm thoroughly excited for this one.

3. Free music! - As the last post indicated, more and more free tunes are showing up online, as a lot of bands are finally realizing how useful giving away music can be.

2. Moneen's new EP "Hold That Sound" - After a lengthy wait for new material, one of my favourite bands is coming back, and the EP is just the appetite for the impending new album!

1. The return of Muse - After releasing the best album of 2006 (the epic Black Holes and Revelations), Muse finally returns with a new album this September. Entitled "The Resistance", there's not much information available right now, but I'm still ridiculously excited thinking about it.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Free Music!

Finch recently put up their 2008 return EP (featuring the awesome Chinese Organ Thieves) and its worth a download if you haven't heard it yet. It was a really good return to form for one of my formerly favourite bands. Below is the link to the EP, as well as some other free music goodness that I've stumbled upon recently.

Finch - Finch EP (mp3 format)
- For other formats (AAC, WAV LOSSLESS) click HERE

Spinner.com Free MP3 of the Day Archive - A free mp3 a day, legally, from a variety of awesome bands. Worth book marking. Some highlights:

Andrew Bird - Oh No
Iron and Wine - Belated Promise Ring
Gnarls Barkley - Mystery Man
The Sounds - Dorchester Hotel (one of my favourite songs right now)
Kevin Devine - Brother's Blood
Japandroids - Young Hearts Spark Fire (Great song!)
Rancid - Last One to Die
Thermals - Now We Can See (Great Song!)
Maximo Park - Wraithlike
Miike Snow - Animal (Song I'm currently obsessed with)

Last.FM Free MP3 Download Archive (Some great songs from artists like Late of the Pier, NIN, and many more)

Moneen, one of my favourite bands, recently put their new EP up for streaming. I've embedded the player below, and as always with Moneen, it's worth your time.

Moneen are probably the most underrated band of the last five years, so give them a chance! It's FREE!


MGMT - Kids

MGMT takes 2008's sunniest and most upbeat song and turned it into one of the weirdest and most disturbing videos of 2009. Creepy stuff.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Best Songs of May 2009

---Top 20 Songs for May 2009---
(No Order)

1. The Sounds - Nobody Sleeps When I’m Awake – The Sounds first album was a wonderful debut surprise, and with this powerful and instantly catchy first single, their second album is looking to be just as good as their first.
From the Album “Crossing the Rubicon”

2. Maximo Park - the Kids Are Sick Again – Usually good for one or two great songs per CD, Quicken the Heart is no exception, with this slow burning, but explosive-ending song. The last minute of the song is an excellent piece of music, especially after building slowly for the first two minutes of the song.
From the Album “Quicken the Heart”

3. Taking Back Sunday - Sink Into Me – Snappier then their previous stuff, it looks like TBS is going to break the mold on their new disc, thankfully, it’s instantly recognizable as TBS, yet new enough to be fresh.
From the Album “New Again”

4. Evermore – Everybody’s Doing It – Truth of the World is by far the biggest surprise this year, as it’s a nearly perfect album from start to finish. This is my favourite song on the album, from the starting synth intro, through the explosive ending, and the quiet outro, all about political propaganda.
From the Album “Truth of the World”

5. Evermore – Hey Boys and Girls (Truth of the World Part 2) – More instantly likeable then the previous song, its also really diverse, with hand claps, Muse-like guitars, and a great choral sing-along breakdown and ending.
From the Album “Truth of the World”

6. The Thermals – Now We Can See – Despite being very upbeat and summer-y, this song’s also got a real edge to it, with the lyrics sounding almost angry. It’s contradictory, but it makes for a great song, with an easily catchy chorus.
From the Album “Now We Can See

7. Phoenix – 1901 – One of my favourite songs of the year, it’s just a simply great upbeat song; it all comes down to great songwriting in the end, and Phoenix nailed it with 1901.
From the Album “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix”

8. Phoenix – Rome – From start to finish, this is another startling good album, with every song a pop rock gem, as Rome further illustrates.
From the Album “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix”

9. Sonny Moore – Gypsyhook – From the former singer of screamo band From First to Last, Gypsyhook is the weirdest pop song that you’ll ever here, despite the absolutely filthy lyrics.
From the album “Gypsyhook EP”

10. Silverstein – Apologize (One Republic Cover) – One of the few songs worth hearing off the abysmal Punk Goes Pop 2 album (most of the bands are more pop then punk), Silverstein knock this cover out of the park, making the song their own, yet keeping it recognizable.
From the album “Punk Goes Pop 2”

11. The Tragically Hip – Coffee Girl – We Are the Same is a great album, but it’s very moody and sad, with a lot of droning and down-beat songs. Coffee Girl is my favourite off a great album from a band that shouldn’t be making such great music this far into their career.
From the album “We Are the Same”

12. Japandroids – The Boys Are Leaving Town – Despite being sludgy and lo-fi, Post-Nothing is really vibrant through its simplicity and cranked up guitars. Hard to describe, but it’s worth more then one listen, as it’s a real grower.
From the album “Post-Nothing”

13. The Streets – David Hassles – I’m pretty sure the beast is from the “People Getting Punched” digital short from SNL. What more could you want?
From the album “Twitter EP”

14. Tinted Windows – Kind of Girl – What do the bands Cheap Trick, The Smashing Pumpkins, Foutains of Wayne, and Hanson have in common? Members of the Tinted Windows all came from those bands, to create the weirdest supergroup in awhile. The album’s too repetitive and too over sugary pop to be good, but this first single is a fun listen.
From the album “Tinted Windows”

15. NOFX – We Called it America – Taking a cure from Bad Religion, NOFX crank up the straight forward political punk, for a quick yet intense song.
From the album “Coaster”

16. NOFX – Creeping Out Sara – The funniest non-parody song I’ve heard in awhile. If you know who Tegan and Sara are, this song will make you laugh and cringe at the same time.
From the album “Coaster”

17. The Audition – Sign. Steal. Deliver – Fun little pop-punk song that’s only punk in its genre’s name.
From the album “Self-Titled Album”

18. Gallows – Death Voices – 90% of people won’t like Gallows, but the 10% who do will adore them. Grey Britain is the angriest and darkest album I’ve heard in a long time. Apparently Britain’s a cesspool, and Gallows are letting out their aggression on this amazing album.
From the album “Grey Britain”

19. Gallows – The Vulture (Acts 1 and 2) – More instrumental then Death Voices, it documents the diversity of the album, as its not just all screaming and hard guitars. The haunted singing and acoustic guitar is just as dark as the enraged screaming and thrashing guitars that follow it up.
From the album “Grey Britain”

20. Attack in Black – Leaving Your Death in a Flowerbed – AIB dropped all of their hardcore influences for this album, and it turns out those influences were the only thing making AIB interesting. This is the best of the bunch off a really boring album, and its decent at best.
From the album “Years By One Thousand Fingertips”

21. Flo Rida – Gotta Get It (Dancer) – To cleanse to pallet, how about yet another song about strippers from the master of writing about strippers.
From the album “ROOTS”