Category Archives: music

The amazing “Get Your Head Around It” by the Headlights

This song is incredibly catchy, but wonderfully smart, too. I have listened to it many times all ready.

You can get it here: Get Your Head Around It (Cd): MP3 Downloads: Headlights

Thanks to!

The beautiful and sultry Corinne Bailey Rae has trouble sleeping

Great song, great singer. See

Wal-Mart and the Music Companies

It is interesting that there has been much discussion about conflict between Apple and the music companies. Well, Wal-Mart is only going to make life more difficult for them. According to this article, Wal-Mart stirs CD pricing pot with multi-tiered plan – Yahoo! News/Reuters

“The major music companies have been resistant to lowering their price on CDs, but now they may be dragged to that point: Wal-Mart, the largest retailer of music with an estimated 22 percent market share, has proposed a five-tiered pricing scheme that would allow the discounter to sell albums at even lower prices and require the labels to bear more of the costs.According to sources, the Wal-Mart proposal would allow for a promotional program that could comprise the top 15 to 20 hottest titles, each at $10. The rest of the pricing structure, according to several music executives who spoke with Billboard, would have hits and current titles retailing for $12, top catalog at $9, midline catalog at $7 and budget product at $5. The move would also shift the store’s pricing from its $9.88 and $13.88 model to rounder sales prices”

The music companies are caught between a rock (Wal-mart) and a hard place (Apple). This could be an opportunity to see them respond in a better manner than continuing to sue people for downloading free music. Let’s see if they can. Otherwise the future of recorded music will be decided by someone other than themselves.

Tuneage has great…tunes.

I came across Tuneage since I am a big fan of Bill Israel’s work, and he contributes to this music based tumblelog. There’s lots of food for your ears and your brain here.

I enjoyed The Jesus and Mary ChainHappy When It Rains (page 3) and The HeadlightsGet Your Head Around It (page 5).

If your music sucks, they’re here to help.

What Bill Gates listens to on his Zune

Thanks to Woody’s Lounge for the reference!

The first thing one learns on guitar

For her 12th birthday, my daughter got a guitar. I know she is using YouTube to learn music.* I assumed she would learn something contemporary. When I came home the other day, she said: Dad! My friend taught me a new song. And the first thing her friend’s taught her on the guitar was…Smoke on the Water!!! My first thought was: cool, she can play something. And then I thought: hey, 30 years ago when I was trying to learn how to play guitar, I ALSO learned SotW. And then I thought: Has no one written anything ELSE since then worth learning first!?!? It’s quite amazing how this song continues to be passed down to people learning how to play guitar (for better or worse).

Ah well…perhaps they should have put some Deep Purple on that disk they shipped out via Yoyageur, so alien kids all over the universe can learn the first few bars of Smoke on the Water, too. 🙂

* (In fact, I was surprised how many “hits” these tutorial videos get! A tutorial of how to learn how to play “Bubbly” gets way more hits than a classic from Lyle Lovett! Hmmm, maybe Lyle should give guitar lessons on YouTube on how to play Bubbly. Nah! Although I would be happy to watch Lyle singing the ingredients of the back of a cereal box.)

Music Mashup: smells like bootylicious!

Now THIS is a mashup!

See Smells Like Bootylicious!

Kurt C is rolling over in his grave.

How to sing the blues

(I’ve seen this in a number of places. It’s a classic. I am sad to say I own a computer, but I still aspire to sing the blues… )

1. Most Blues begin, “Woke up this morning.”

2. “I got a good woman,” is a bad way to begin the Blues, ‘less you stick something nasty in the next line: ” I got a good woman- with the meanest face in town.”

3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes…sort of: ” Got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher and she weigh 500 pound.”

4. The Blues are not about choice. You stuck in a ditch. You stuck in a ditch ain’t no way out.

5. Blues Cars: Chevy’s and Cadillac’s and broken down trucks. Blues don’t travel inVolvos, BMW’s, or SUV’s. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft and state-sponsored motor pools ain’t even in the running. Walkin’ plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does fixin’ to die.

6. Teenagers can’t sing the Blues. They ain’t fixin to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, “adulthood” means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. Blues can take place in New York City, but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in St. Paul or Tucson is just depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the Blues in any place that don’t get rain.

8. A man with male pattern baldness ain’t the Blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg cause you were skiing ain’t the Blues. Breaking your leg cause an alligator be chomping on it is.

9. You can’t have no Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.

10. Good places for the Blues:

1. Highway
2. Jailhouse
3. Empty bed
4. Bottom of a whiskey glass

11. Bad places for the Blues:

1. Malls
2. Gallery openings
3. Ivy league institutions
4. Golf courses

12. No one will believe it’s the Blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old black man, and you slept in it.

13. Do you have the right to sing the Blues: Yes, if:

1. You older than dirt
2. You blind
3. You shot a man in Memphis
4. You can’t be satisfied

Do you have the right to sing the Blues: No, if:

1. You have all your teeth
2. You were once blind but now you can see
3. You have a retirement plan or trust fund
4. You won the lottery
5. The man in Memphis lived

14. Blues is not a matter of color. It’s a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the Blues. Gary Coleman could. Ugly white people also get the Blues.

15. If you ask for water and Baby give you gasoline, it’s the Blues. Other acceptable drinks are:

1. Cheap Wine
2. Whiskey or bourbon
3. Muddy water
4. Nasty Black coffee

16. The following are not Blues beverages:

1. Mixed drinks
2. Kosher wine
3. Snapple
4. Sparking water
5. Diet Coke

17. If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it’s a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, and dying lonely in a broken down cot. You can’t have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or getting liposuction.

18. Some Blues names for women:

1. Sadie
2. Big Mama
3. Bessie
4. Fat River Dumping
5. Caledonia

19. Some Blues names for men:

1. Joe
2. Willie
3. Little Willie
4. Big Willie
5. Leroy

20. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Jennifer, Tiffany, Brooke and Heather can’t sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

21. Make your own Blues name (starter kit):

1. Name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
2. First name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi, etc.)
3. Last name of president (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)

For example: Blind Lime Jefferson, or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc.

22. I don’t care how tragic your life; if you own a computer, you cannot sing the Blues.

The greatness of Billie Holliday as she sings Strange Fruit

Many artists who are called “incomparable” or “inimitable” are not. Billie Holliday is, especially when she sings this.

P.S. Note the audience response: they are overwhelmed.

So what? Hardly.

Miles Davis. John Coltrane. Brilliant.

P.S. It’s inconceivable that an artist could step back and have a smoke like Davis does here while Coltrane plays. Times have changed.

Friday music – Joanna Newsom

The brilliant Joanna Newsom with “sprout and the bean”

The John Coltrane web site

I love John Coltrane’s music. Learn more about the man and his music at ::: JOHNCOLTRANE.COM :::

Bonus: you go to the site, it pops up with “A Love Supreme”. Enjoy.

Canadian Opera Company’s Opera for a New Age Tickets On-Sale Saturday

Under 30? Live in or around Toronto? Love or interesting in opera? Then mark this date on your calendar:

On Saturday
January 19, the Canadian Opera Company’s Opera for a New Age
tickets go on sale. You get tickets at $20 a seat (as opposed to $60 or more.) for performances of Tosca by Puccini and From the House of the Dead by Janácek.

See Canadian Opera Company’s Opera for a New Age Tickets On-Sale Saturday

(Credit to

One Giant Leap – Maxi Jazz & Robby Wiliams – My Culture

One Giant Leap is very innovative musically, and My Culture is a very rich example of this. A fine piece of work….

The great Anna Netrebko, singing O Mio Babbino Caro

What can I say? Just watch and listen…

David Byrne explains the music industry

There is alot said about the state of the music industry. Much of that is dire. Then I read this article

David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists — and Megastars

by David Byrne in WiReD. His knowledge of the industry and his insights make for a fascinating article. If you are musician, or if you love music, it’s a great read.

I hear the Mermaids / IBM 1401 singing.

What is this?

YouTube – IBM 1401, a User’s Manual Part I – IBM 1401 Processing Unit

(Reply) The IBM 1401 was an mainframe computer back in the 60’s. It was this huge beast of a machine that had a small flaw in which it leaked electromagnetic radiation in a frequency that AM radios could pick up. It didn’t take long for the geeks of the day to figure out how to make music out of it! That wierd instrument you hear at the start that sounds kinda like a claironet but isn’t… that the 1401!

Small side note: I have a mint condition hard cover manual on how to program the IBM 1401.

Kate Nash and Foundations

The music is poppy, the lyrics are anything but. Transbuddha has Kate Nash singing Foundations here

Jim Jaramusch, Iggy Pop and Tom Waits

Jim Jaramusch’s “Coffee an Cigarettes” has alot of great scenes, but this one of Iggy Pop and Tom Waits is my favourite. It helps to know something of the two singers, but it is still funny.

Transbuddha » Archive » When Iggy Met Tom

YouTube and Music: Pavorotti and James Brown

I really enjoy Pavorotti and James Brown’s singing. While not everyone will like the idea of singing together, I do, and if you do too, check this out:

An Appraisal of the great Luciano Pavorotti

Sadly, Luciano Pavorotti died today. A fine appraisal can be found in at, including this quote (I added the bold):

By natural endowment Mr. Pavarotti was essentially a lyric tenor, ideally suited to lighter roles in Donizetti, Bellini and Verdi requiring lyrical grace and agile passagework. Yet his voice, like everything about him, was uncommonly large. With that big throbbing sound, he was tempted into weightier repertory requiring dramatic power and heft, like Calaf in Puccini’s “Turandot.” Some opera purists maintain that Mr. Pavarotti erred by straying from the lyric terrain. Don’t tell that to anyone lucky enough to have heard him sing “Nessun dorma” in his prime, not just as a signature aria for televised stadium concerts, but in the context of a full production of “Turandot.” Wow!

See: Italian Operatic Artistry at Its Finest – New York Times

Man of Constant Sorrow, from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

I love this movie: great direction, story, actors, and without a doubt, great music.

As the actor says: that’s some mighty fine pickin’ and a singin’!

You can find out more about the movie here

Doo Wop / Hip Hop – Lauren Hill / Amy Winehouse

The incredibly beautiful and talented Lauren Hill juxtaposes Doo Wop and Hip Hop wonderfully in “Doo Wop (That Thing)”, and the video drives that point home. (Great tune – great video). See: YouTube – Doo Wop

P.S. It’s not that old a song, but already it is shaping up to be classic, as can be seen in this live version performed by Amy Winehouse:

P.S.S. I know, I post alot on Amy W…..what can I say…she’s great.

Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington Take the A Train

Why is YouTube freakin’ great?! Because you can see Billy Strayhorn play his “Take the A Train” with Duke Ellington and his orchestra anytime you please.

Amy Winehouse – again!

Ok, I posted on Amy W before, but I love her music, so here is her big hit, the very timely, Rehab

Timbaland, Jay-Z, and the construction of Pop Music

I have always been impressed by the construction of Justin Timberlake’s/Timbaland’s Sexyback. I figure a DJ could spin that song any of a thousand of ways and have people dancing to the same song for an hour. It’s really well made in that sense, which is no surprise, given the involvement of Timbaland.

I was thinking something similar tonight when listening to Rihanna/Jay-Z’s Umbrella and the massive hooks in it. (Think: “ella-ella” and anything else you can’t get out of your head after listening to it.) It too is really well constructed, which is also no surprise, given Jay-Z’s involvement. You could watch the video, but it will distract you from the very taut vocals. Check out Rhianna singing Umbrella.

ok, here’s the (so-so) video of the anything but so-so Rhianna 🙂

and here’s Sexyback

The Great Roy Orbinson

How great was Roy Orbinson? Great musician, great music, and great partners too (George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and k.d. lang). See here: the incomparable Roy Orbison @

New Music and David Byrne

David Byrne has a great web site jam packed with interesting information and ideas.

One thing I really like is his “radio” portion of the site. If you are bored with what you are currently listening too or are in a rut in some other way, check out Radio – Archived Playlists: 2007

Prince: Genius

There was lots of derogatory comments awhile back about Prince, when his name was a symbol. Nevermind that in a stadium of popular musicians, he would be one of if not the smartest. (Not to mention the best guitar player.)

Proof of how smart he is can be found in this article:

The Once and Future Prince – New York Times

He and Steve Jobs should hook up: they could decide the near future of music in the 21st Century.

The maps of our world that we live in

My friend Alina sent this very intriguing video, which manages to capture the interconnectiveness of the world. It ‘s related to DaDa, but without the irrationalism (perhaps).

Check out:

YouTube – Royksopp – “Remind Me”

More G.B.

Gnarls Barkley – Crazy

Who is Gnarls Barkley?

Well, this mockumentary explains it all.

Early 70s music comes back

If you need any proof that (good) 70s music is coming back, check out Amy Winehouse

Or the superb Gnarls Barkley, who not only have great videos, but one of the best albums in a long time in St. Elsewhere.

Such Great Heights or The Genius of the Postal Service

I have been impressed by this song and the video that goes with it (there is a yearning in the woman’s eyes, and a symbolic Victorian suppressed sexuality to it, I think): YouTube – the postal service – such great height

How great is the video? Well, Apple, who has known to make pretty good commercials, thought it was good enough to steal. The proof is here:

YouTube – Apple – Intel vs. Postal Service

While the video is great, the song is superb too. Here are too very different versions, showing the potential of the song:

Iron and Wine’s Version

Ben Fold’s Version

Jonathan Coulton

It’s a small world. I came across the Code Monkey video at the Web 2.0 expo and posted it here on my blog which was read by my friend Leta who mentioned Jonathan’s web site,, which I pointed out to some people a few months ago based on an article I read in the!

So….check out his site. He’s got a great story, and lots of good music as well! Leta recommends: the acoustic version of ‘Baby Got Back’ is a treat

You’ve got a face with a view

I have a tremendous personal fondness for this song in this movie. But it is a great video nonetheless. From the great Jonathan Demme / Talking Heads film, Stop Making Sense, here is
The Talking Heads with This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody) Live

Hang in there for the wonderfully dance part with David Byrne and the lamp. I have a lamp like this, and I think of him whenever I see it.

Code Monkey AND WoW

There is almost a genre of small films based around World of Warcraft! LOL. This was shown at a conference I attended recently. It is a song that will have appeal to software developers everywhere:

World of warcraft – Code Monkey song

Cape Breton or Good dear good!

I was listening to Le Lys Vert tonight from the the great album, Fire in the Kitchenand I had a desire to search out some Cape Breton music. Here’s a selection, from the more traditional Mairi’s Wedding by the Rankins to Sleepy Maggie by Ashley MacIsaac:

Finally, here is the great Bette MacDonald doing Mary Morrison

Ella or the wonders of YouTube

Now that American Idol is over 😉 perhaps I can interest you in Ella singing “Stomping at the Savoy”, in the UK in 1961. (With Oscar Peterson on piano!!) My favourite version is her singing it with Louis, but this version is a scorcher.


Lady Madonna

Last bit of music from the …well, you know…