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It’s that time of year, when a ton of amazing new music seems to come out of the woodwork… and I recently discovered Ray Lamontagne’s new album, Gossip in the Grain. There’s something about having it grey and rainy outside and listening to Ray’s raspy, soulful voice that really work well together.

If you haven’t already heard his song Trouble or his cover of Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy, then you really are… crazy! Check them out now. Here, let me help you:

Crazy:

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A couple of new singer-songwriters I’ve come across are Jason Isbell (thanks to my good friend, Patrick, in KC) and Jakob Dylan, formerly of the Wallflowers. Both have a southern vibe to their music reminiscent of Ryan Adams, one of my favourite artists of the past years. Read the rest of this entry »

Everybody wants
ippaisa
mou
itai dake de
understand

No, not really… but somehow mixing English and Japanese lyrics to Sheryl Crow-inspired pop-rock guitar riffs sounds really, really good… I’m sure the Japanese lyrics are about as clever and insightful as the English ones: Read the rest of this entry »

I’m in T.O. On pleasure. It’s hot and it’s muggy. I’m missing the coolness of Vancouver, but hey, while I’m hot and sticky I might as well go check out a show. And lo and behold, Hey Ocean! is playing at the Rivoli tonight. So I’m going to check them out tonight. What a way to kick off Eastbynortheast, which starts tomorrow (though HO! is not part of the music conference, just good timing).

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I’m back from a great week in Palm Springs and though I see grey skies outside my window here in Vancouver, my disposition is still 100 degrees and sunny, thanks to the awesome show that is Coachella.

Unfortunately my plan to review every band playing the festival before I went down there never happened. There was just too much good music (and I easily get distracted). So instead I’ve decided to offer up my review on Coachella 2008, my take on the good, the bad and the ugly, and my recommendations on who you should definitely check out and who you should leave alone.

I saw an amazing amount of music: 32 bands over 3 days, however I didn’t see everything so I will (in fact, I hope) offend, annoy, infuriate and piss some of you off. If you think I’ve got it wrong, let me know… tell me your favourites or ones you hated. On to the review:

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By now you probably know I’m pretty big on our local boys Current Swell. Not only were the boys nice enough to be mediaWEST’s inaugural interview but they flat out know how to rock out and entertain a crowd. Here’s a little slice of Swell from last year’s CD release party at the Media Club:

I also saw the boys play the Pirate Party at Richards on Richards last August and if anything, they’re even better in a bigger room… so I can’t wait to see them rock the crowd at the Commodore.

This will be an epic show, don’t miss it. Thursday night, February 28th, at the Commodore.

Bummer, I just saw the show is sold out… so you better get on Craigslist and find yourself some tickets. Current Swell is opening for recent Fox Seeds winner, Daniel Wesley (they’re not bad either).

Word is that the Swell boys are in the studio working on some new material, too… so if we’re lucky we might get to check out some new material at this show. See ya there.

And if you’re anywhere near downtown Vancouver and you appreciate good music, then you’ll want to check them out. Groovy, southern and definitely soulful, check out this single of their first album… Wooo Wooo

Apostle of Hustle’s Cheap like Sebastien:

Booked my flight. Ticket’s on its way. House is rented.

92 days and counting.

So I’m embarking on a project. There’s 3 days full of artists playing, some big, some small, some very well-known, some whose own mother might not pick them out of a line-up.

To take in the whole experience, I’ve decided to spend the next 92 days researching each band, listening to as much of their music as I can and putting together ‘mixed tapes’ for each day of the best of the best.

Which bands will surprise, which will disappoint, which will positively frighten? I can’t wait… this is gonna be great 🙂

In case anyone has any insights, here’s the line-up broken down by day. I’m currently working my way through Day 1.

Day 1: Jack Johnson, The Verve, The Raconteurs, The Breeders, Fatboy Slim, Tegan and Sara, Madness, The Swell Season, The National, Slightly Stoopid, Mum, Pendulum, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Stars, Battles, Aesop Rock, Les Savy Fav, Midnight Juggernauts, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, Minus the Bear, Spank Rock, dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip, Diplo, Adam  Freeland, Santogold, Jens  Lekman, John Butler Trio, Vampire Weekend, Dan Deacon, Architecture in Helsinki, Sandra Collins, Busy P, Cut Copy, Black Lips, Datarock, Professor Murder, Reverend and the Makers, The Bees, Porter, Rogue Wave, Modeselektor, American Bang, Luckyiam.

Day 2: Portishead, Kraftwerk, Death Cab for Cutie, Cafe Tacuba, Sasha & John Digweed, Rilo Kiley, Dwight Yoakam, M.I.A., Hot Chip, Cold War Kids, Animal Collective, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, DeVotchKa, Flogging Molly, Mark Ronson, Turbonegro, Scars on Broadway, Islands, Enter Shikari, Calvin Harris, Boys Noize, Junkie XL, Cinematic  Orchestra, Jamie T, The Teenagers, VHS or Beta, Carbon/Silicon, Erol Alkan, Yo! Majesty, Little Brother, Bonde  Do Role, St. Vincent, Akron/Family, MGMT, Institubes Paris Terror Club – Surkin, Para One and Orgasmic, James  Zabiela, SebastiAn, Kavinsky, Dredg, The Bird and the Bee, Grand Ole Party, Man Man, New Young Pony Club, 120 Days, Yoav, Electric Touch, Yelle, Uffie.

Day 3: Roger Waters (“Dark Side of the Moon”), Love And Rockets, My Morning Jacket, Spiritualized, Justice, Gogol Bordello, Chromeo, The Streets, Metric, Danny Tenaglia, Simian Mobile Disco, Booka Shade, Murs, Dimitri From Paris, Autolux, The Field, Linton Kwesi Johnson, The Cool Kids, Sons & Daughters, Sia, Holy Fuck, Black Kids, Black Mountain, Annuals, Kid Sister w/A-Trak, Duffy, I’m from Barcelona, Manchester Orchestra, Deadmau5, The Horrors, AUSTIN TV, Shout Out Louds, Plastiscines, Brett Dennen.

I’ve put in an official request for my media pass so I can bring all my ‘pro’ photography gear inside the festival with me. We’ll see if I get approval or if I’ll be posting some generic festival shots, like this one:

Generic Coachella shot!

Wow! This comes from someone who wasn’t very impressed with last year’s line-up, but this year’s line-up is pretty damn impressive.

Where do you start? How about The Verve getting back together? Or Portishead touring again after years off the road? Or maybe it’s Roger Waters headlining the last night?

From well-known acts like Fatboy Slim, the Breeders or Love & Rockets to brand new stars like Calvin Harris, M.I.A. and the National, this year’s line-up has something for everyone’s tastes.

Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing Jack Johnson (after so many near-misses), the Verve (natch!), Justice, Death Cab, and Metric (2nd time, Emily Haines rules the stage) the most.

Let me know if you’re going, our house will likely host a few Coachella parties 😉

Coachella Lineup 2008