Author Archives: Aaron Brophy

99 Things Found In Prince’s Secret Vault

When Prince passed away on April 21, 2016 it not only left a giant purple hole in the hearts of music fans worldwide, it also launched a fascinating new mystery: What’s going to happen with Prince’s vault?

It’s been long known to Prince fans and music insiders that The Purple One maintained a massive secretive vault containing copious amounts of unreleased music, movies, videos, and as we’re coming to learn, memorabilia, and items of personal significance.

In the absence of a formal will, Bremer Trust, the executors of Prince’s estate, had to drill into Prince’s vault so they could properly assess its content. Though Bremer has not made its findings public, lists containing some of the items in the vault have already been leaking to the media.

Though many of these items are already familiar to Prince devotees, there’s a fascinating array of previously unknown recordings and projects that span Prince’s career and interests.

Here’s list of what we know the vault contains, so far:

The Rebels — A collection of rock songs done with members of The Time in 1979.

The Second Coming — Documentary film and live album from 1982.

Apollonia 6 film — A cinematic attempt to do for Apollonia 6 what Purple Rain did for Prince.

Sexy Drummrfunkr — Collection of drum solos by Sheila E.

The Flesh — Live jam sessions from late 1985.

Untitled Stevie Nicks duet project.

Prince and the Revolution: Dream Factory — Double LP project from 1986.

Camille — Fast-paced funk album from 1986.

Late Night Train — Shelved project with Sheena Easton who was contemplating a Rated-R image change at the time.

Crystal Ball — Triple LP that eventually got reduced to double LP Sign o’ the Times for commercial release.

Madhouse: 24 — Jazz fusion album recorded in 1988.

Sheila E.: Untitled 1989 album.

Replica Batsuit — Michael Keaton era design, built to scale, matte purple finish.

Untitled Apollonia house album.

Batdance Project — Remixes and expanded versions featuring Roxette as Catwoman.

The Time: Corporate World — Original version of what eventually became The Time’s Pandemonium album.

Untitled Chaka Khan project.

Rave unto the Joy Fantastic — Different than Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic.

BMX motocross bicycles (4) — Painted purple. Unused.

Flash — Band featuring Margie Cox as lead singer.

Under The Apple Tree — Script for Under The Cherry Moon sequel.

“Take A Bite Of My Apple” — From Under The Apple Tree soundtrack. Sung by Kristen Scott Thomas.

Catsuit — Sexy saxophone slow jam concept album inspired by Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman from Batman Returns.

In Living Color Special — Pre-taped performance for In Living Color featuring Cat Glover on lead vocals. Never aired.

Untitled EP with Kim Basinger, Ween, and Ozzy Osbourne.

Teal — Shelved album/image overhaul created before Prince adopted O(+>) in 1993.

“Teal Snow” — 19-minute extended music video directed by Tim Burton.

Teal Angels — Collection of six bedazzled stage outfits, complete with angel wings, designed for shelved stage show.

Teal backdrop — Eight foot neon light letters T, E, A, and L, with rejection letter from Neon Museum Las Vegas.

The Tora Tora Experience — Tora Tora was a pseudonym Prince used to create some unreleased music in 1994.

Two boxes of correspondence between Prince and Sinead O’Connor — O’Connor’s contributions are mostly lurid cartoons about Saturday Night Live cast members.

The Undertaker — Frequently bootlegged live-in-the-studio performance notable for a Rolling Stones cover.

Bockwinkel — Unreleased hard rock project with Bob Mould.

Morris Day-narrated Koko B. Ware documentary film.

Heart — Acoustic album recorded in 1994.

“Live” — Multiple disc live album set featuring songs recorded on tours between 1987 and 1993: the Sign o’ the Times Tour, the Lovesexy Tour, the Nude Tour, the Diamonds and Pearls Tour, and the Act I and Act II.

The Live Experience — Live album recorded on June 8, 1995 at Glam Slam, Miami Beach, FL, USA to celebrate Prince’s 37th birthday; his second as O(+>).

Custom BMX Motocross Bicycle Racing gloves — All purple, with the O(+>) symbol on each finger.

Pure Energon — Transformers-themed concept album with the Information Society.

New World — Unreleased techno album from 1995.

T.C. Bear outfit — Built to scale.

The Vault: Volumes I, II, and III — This project is believed to include parts of the Chaos and Disorder and The Vault… Old Friends 4 Sale albums as well as a mysterious third record.

Ingrid Chavez — Four hours of spoken word poetry by Ingrid Chavez set to beatnik jazz.

Prince and Mayte: Happy Tears — Children’s music album. Unreleased, likely due to the death of Prince’s infant son.

The Dawn — Unreleased album from 1997.

Purple Blue — Alt.country EP with The Jayhawks.

PxP — Hardcore project with Dave Pirner from Soul Asylum.

Robin — Concept album dedicated to Robin to coincide with the Batman And Robin film release.

“Mr. Freeze” — Concept maxi-single Batman And Robin/Arnold Schwarzenegger tie-in for a promotion with Dairy Queen.

“It’s Morris Time” — Morris Day and Jason Mewes rap track intended for the Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back soundtrack. Never released.

P2P — Slow jam project with Dave Pirner from Soul Asylum.

Mayte: Scorpio — Album likely shelved due to Prince and Mayte’s marital issues.

Martika’s Kitchen: The Cookbook — Rough draft of planned co-authored cookbook and album project.

Beautiful Strange — Album from 1998 to accompany the Beautiful Strange television special.

PnP 242 — Industrial project with Dave Pirner from Soul Asylum.

Prince and the Revolution: Roadhouse Garden — Album from 1998 which remains unreleased likely due to Prince feuding with The Revolution over money.

Funk Yr Re Vol Ution: Wendy — Themed funk album dedicated to empowering women.

Funk Yr Re Vol Ution: Lisa — Themed rock album dedicated to empowering women.

PP — Chuck Berry tribute album with Dave Pirner from Soul Asylum.

New Funk Sampling Series — Seven-CD box set full of samples and loops designed to be licensed and royalty free to whoever purchased it.

Crystal Ball 2 — Outtakes to 1998 album Crystal Ball.

Crystal Ball DVD Project — Music videos for Crystal Ball albums.

Crystal Ball 3 — Outtakes to the Crystal Ball 2 album.

Crystal Ball 4 — Outtakes to the Crystal Ball 3 album.

A Celebration — Re-recordings of past hits from 2001.

When 2 R in Love: The Ballads of Prince — A collection of slow jams and romantic ballads.

Neil Young’s Homegrown album.

“Unity 4 The People” — Unreleased charity single with Michael Jackson. Shelved because Prince disapproved of Jackson’s intent to buy the Elephant Man’s bones.

The Hot X-perience — Club tracks featuring Eve.

High — Unreleased album from 2000 with contributions from Angie Stone.

NPG: Peace — Unreleased album from 2001.

Untitled Kevin Smith-directed documentary.

S.L.U.T. — Unreleased Carmen Electra project.

Madrid 2 Chicago — Unreleased album from 2001.

In All My Dreams — Unreleased album from 2002.

Last December — Unreleased album from 2002.

Purple Rain 2: The Purpling.

“Minnesota Hockey Hair” — Rejected commission for the Minnesota School Boards Association.

47 pairs of high heel ankle boots — Tagged “For Bata Museum.”

The Very Best of O(+> — Hits record of songs from 1993 to 2000.

Purple — Coffee table book curated by Prince featuring photos of purple outfits.

Bike Helmet — Union Cycliste Internationale-approved competition level Motocross bicycle helmet, painted matte purple with the inscription “2 Fast, 2 Furious” on back in sparkling gold letters.

The Chocolate Invasion — 7CD box set intended for members of the NPG music club.

“Batdance” 20th Anniversary Nike+ Remix For Runners.

David Bowie’s Toy album.

2999: What’s Going On — Climate change party album inspired by Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology).”

Nu Revolution In Society — Promotional EP for Tower Records.

3121 film — Purple Rain-style film project featuring Liza Hernandez.

Willy Kanis — Autographed, framed photo with Prince and Willy Kanis, 2004 women’s world BMX Motocross champion from the Netherlands.

Joker — Tribute album to Heath Ledger.

Támar: Milk & Honey — Another shelved protege album project.

“Betrayer” — Unreleased single apparently inspired by Vince Carter’s time as a Toronto Raptor.

Lizzie Grant Started In The Trailer Park Now We Here album.

The L/C — 2011 project featuring Prince and Andy Allo.

“Jupiter Ascending” — Shelved theme song for accompanying movie featuring Mila Kunis on saxophone.

“Jupiter Ascending” — Shelved video for accompanying movie featuring Channing Tatum in character as a breakdancing, space rollerskating werewolf.

“Jupiter Ascending” — Shelved soundtrack to accompany the video game to accompany the Jupiter Ascending film.

Purple Rain 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition — Remastered and expanded version of Purple Rain.

Joker 2 — A collection of songs written for Jared Leto, including the focus track “Thirsty.”

This piece was originally published via AUX TV on May 3, 2016.

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Samaritan News 15 Pack: Michael Stipe, Greta Thunberg, More

I continue to contribute pieces to the charitably-minded entertainment site Samaritanmag.

Here are 15 pieces I did recently:

Dalai Lama Contributes to Four Songs on Charity Album to Provide Musical Instruments for Kids

Gronkowski Family Ice Shaker Bottles Being Sold To Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month

WE Day Alberta To Feature Brett Kissel, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, More In Edmonton Oct. 22

Oak Ridge Boys Team With AARP, Department Of Justice To Combat Elder Fraud

Michael Stipe’s New Single To Support Extinction Rebellion

Slaight Family Foundation Announce $15 Million Towards Multipronged Seniors Initiative

Billie Eilish And Woody Harrelson Team Up For Climate Emergency Video

Greta Thunberg And 15 Youth Activists Sue Five Countries For Failing To Protect Children From Climate Change

169 Climate Strike Events Planned Across Canada For Sept. 27

David Clayton-Thomas’ New Song Supports March For Our Lives

March For Our Lives Has Unveiled “A Peace Plan For A Safer America”

Metallica’s James Hetfield Donates Cars To Petersen Automotive Museum

Joshua Radin’s New Song “Here, Right Now” To Support The North Shore Animal League America

WATCH: Three Days Grace Release Kenya Project Video on World Humanitarian Day

Members Of Blue Rodeo, Billy Talent, Sum 41, Three Days Grace, More Cover “Sunday Bloody Sunday” For Human Rights Watch

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10 Asian World Of Martial Arts Stories: Kung Fu Reboot, Laila Ali, More

Sarah continues to contribute useful and entertaining pieces to the Asian World Of Martial Arts site.

Here are some stories:

Women’s Boxing Stars Laila Ali and Claressa Shields Tease A Possible Superfight Against Each Other

How to Properly Recover from Injury

Martial Arts Hygiene: How To Protect Yourself And Show Courtesy To Your Training Partners

A New Kung Fu Reboot Might Be Coming To TV Soon!

How to Properly Care for Your Gi

Getting Ready For Karate At the 2020 Olympics

How Actor and Martial Artist Scott Adkins Prepared for Ip Man 4: The Finale

Budo vs Bushido

How to Adjust Your Training for Upcoming Competition

5 New Years Resolutions to Expand Your Martial Arts Training in the 2020s

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Julia Jacklin’s ‘Crushing’ Is Aaron’s Top Album Of 2019

Julia Jacklin Crushing

Julia Jacklin Crushing

Doing an annual top albums list for as long as I have one starts to see the true value in the exercise. It’s not the ranking, codifying or picking the “best” things so much as it’s about stitching together a tapestry of one’s year and seeing the patterns that emerged.

Much like in 2018, a lot of my personal music listening energy was devoted to my Before They Die list — a meticulously curated list of musical acts I need to see before, well, y’know — and I ended up catching 12 on-the-list and 17 list-adjacent acts on top of whatever other concert-going I did.

That meant a little less energy spent on discovery. It also meant if one pattern emerged it was that there was lots of leaning on the past. I don’t mean that in the Rolling Stone Magazine-will-always-give-Dylan/Springsteen/Stones-perfect-reviews leaning on the past kinda way. What it did mean, though, was there were a lot of albums that could be argued represent new forms of things I’ve enjoyed in the past.

Read below to see the patterns that emerged.

Bubbling under for 2019: Abjects, Geoff Berner, Sondra Sun-Odeon, Mimico, Jacques Greene, King Gizzard, De la Noche, PUP, Wargirl. (Also, Thus Owls’ The Mountain That We Live Upon probably would have been my #3 but it came out in Sept. 2018 and that was just too 2018.)

10) Mercury Rev — Bobbie Gentry’s The Delta Sweete Revisited

The best part of an album isn’t always the album itself, so much as the sense of discovery around the album. Mercury Rev redoing Bobbie Gentry’s The Delta Sweete with a cast of guest vocalists not only serves as a wonderful intro to Gentry, but also makes a wonderful entry point for contributors like Margo Price, Carice van Houten (Melisandre from Game of Thrones can sing?) and Phoebe Bridgers.

Hear “Sermon” ft Margo Price

9) Angel Olsen — All Mirrors

Sometimes when I play Fantasy A&R Man the best idea I can come up with is “a new Connie Francis… but goth.” There are points on Angel Olsen’s All Mirrors where she comes this close.

Watch “All Mirrors”

8) Murray Lightburn — Hear Me Out

I’m a firm Dears loyalist and might consider them my favourite Canadian band. However, my acceptance of their transition from an early days chaotic bombast machine to something with more dignity and refinement has been hard won. So it was a touch surprising that Lightburn lead singer Murray Lightburn’s bombast-free second solo album would strike so deep. What Lightburn gives us — “I Give Up” is a soul ballad from another time, “I’m Not Broken” has knowing gospel touches — paints with just enough different colours to enthrall.

Watch “Changed My Ways”

7) Rustin Man — Drift Code

This record is quite literally the output of a wobbly old weirdo who spent two decades building a science project in his back shed. Read my full review here.

Watch “Judgement Train”

6) Tallies — Tallies

It’s been a slow and not absolute process, but I’m on my way to divesting from Morrissey because of his terrible politics and worldview and middling late-period music. Having an act like Tallies and songs like the jangle gem “Midnight” help soften this transition.

Watch “Midnight”

5) Deadbeat Beat — How Far

If you like Sloan’s Jay songs you’ll love Deadbeat Beat’s How Far. I’m particularly partial to “Dim Bulbs.”

Watch “You Lift Me Up”

4) Michael Kiwanuka — Kiwanuka

This new Kiwanuka album is exquisite — a majestic, soaring, hands-held-high sermon from Mt. Soul. The brilliance of the individual bits of this record are only half the story, though. The other half comes from basking in the glow of the brilliant craftsmanship. Kiwanuka is a master of his domain and to be able to witness such excellence is its own type of reward.

Watch “You Ain’t The Problem”

3) Moonface — This One’s for the Dancer & This One’s for the Dancer’s Bouquet

Technically, this was a late 2018 release, but I didn’t really tweak to it until well into 2019. And yes, I realize that it’s near hypocritical to endorse Moonface while disqualifying Thus Owls, but it’s my list and my rules, so suck it.

This One’s for the Dancer & This One’s for the Dancer’s Bouquet is a fascinator. It’s two separate projects — half a delayed keyboard treatment audio experiment, and half songs sung from the perspective of the Minotaur of Greek mythology — woven together to create something otherworldly and unique. The Minotaur songs strike particularly deeply. For a giant, blood-thirsty, bull-headed beast, the Minotaur’s journey forgiving all those who’ve hurt it is one of the most genuine, better and human set of stories I’ve heard put to song.

Watch “Minotaur Forgiving Knossos”

2) Hawksley Workman — Median Age Wasteland

In the year 2019 I was not expecting to a) rate a Hawksley Workman album so highly, and b) to feel it so deeply. And yet here we are.

To be fair, I’ve always been casually fond of Workman’s dandy woodsman idiosyncrasy, but with Median Age Wasteland he seems optimized. Having the above-mentioned Murray Lightburn on production probably helped. Certainly Workman’s vocals are both torqued up and focused in ways they may not have been in the past. Where Median Age Wasteland truly stands out, though, is in the storytelling. Whether it’s the mythologizing of a snowmobile (“Snowmobile”), the joyful BMX bike gang journeying (“Battlefords”), the tributes to forgotten figure skaters (“Oksana”) or even the outwardly ludicrous (“Stoners Never Dream”), Workman takes us to fantastical places with each and every song.

Watch “Italy”

1) Julia Jacklin — Crushing

At the 4:27 mark of Jacklin’s “Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You” she delivers a series of repeated “don’t. know. how. to. keep. loving. you” lines so charged, so gut-wrenching you can’t help but worry if Jacklin will ever find her way. The entire Crushing album is filled with these emotion-charged bombs as Jacklin explores unraveling relationships, personal agency, hurt and self-healing in an unflinchingly beautiful way.

Watch “Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You”

Other album lists…

2018 Top Ten — Idles’ Joy As An Act Of Resistance. is #1
2017 Top Ten — Land Of Talk’s Life After Youth is #1
2016 Top Ten — Daniel Romano‘s Mosey is #1
2015 Top Ten — SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart’s SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart is #1
2014 Top Ten — Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There is #1
2013 Top Ten — M.I.A.’s Matangi is #1
2012 Top Ten — Dirty Ghosts’ Metal Moon is #1
2011 Top Ten — Timber Timbre’s Creep On Creepin’ On is #1
2010 Top Ten — The Black Angels’ Phosphene Dream is #1
2009 Top Ten — Gallows’ Grey Britain is #1
2008 Top Ten — Portishead’s Third is #1
2007 Top Ten — Joel Plaskett Emergency’s Ashtray Rock is #1
2006 Top Ten — My Brightest Diamond’s Bring Me The Workhorse is #1
2005 Top Ten — Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Howl is #1
2004 Top Ten — Morrissey’s You Are The Quarry is #1
2003 Top Ten — The Dears’ No Cities Left is #1
2002 Top Ten — Archive’s You All Look The Same To Me is #1
2001 Top Ten — Gord Downie’s Coke Machine Glow is #1
2000 Top Ten — Songs: Ohia’s The Lioness is #1
1999 Top Ten — The Boo Radleys’ Kingsize is #1
1998 Top Ten — Baxter’s Baxter is #1
1996 Top Ten — Tricky’s Maxinquaye is #1

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Antonio Honda Is The Wrestler Of The Year

Antonio Honda vs. a magazine

He fought a magazine. He lost a match by reading his own erotic fiction. He broke his knee at least 100 times. And he fought Kenny Omega in Omega’s high-profile return to Japan.

For these, and many other reasons, Antonio Honda is the 2019 professional wrestler of the year.

Sarah explained why in a piece for Fanbyte.

To read it go here.

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