Tag Archives: Music

100 Letterkenny-Inspired Band Names

F.A.K.U. (Freaks Acting Krazy United)

F.A.K.U. (Freaks Acting Krazy United)

There are a lot of stupid band names.

That’s why when I watched season three of the hilarious show Letterkenny awhile back I realized much of the dialogue could be converted into rippin’ band names.

So I made a list of the best of these potential band names for A.Side.

To read the whole list click here.

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David Bowie & Doctor Who: Proof That The Thin White Duke Is A Time Lord

David Bowie and David Tennant

David Bowie and David Tennant

David Bowie likes to flash back into relevance once a decade. Like a passing TARDIS, he enters deep space to cobble together fresh art before swinging by earth once again, delivering shiny new singles.

“Where Are We Now,” the singer’s first release in 10 years is quite a curious tune. It represents a softer phase for a man who has put down the saxophones and the sex, and begun looking back.

Which is odd because there is no past for David Bowie. That is because he lives forever… or at least until his alien organs give out. You see, the Thin White Duke is a Time Lord.

What’s a Time Lord you ask? Well, it’s a humanoid creature from the planet Gallifrey made popular on the BBC show Doctor Who. We’re pretty sure Bowie has been trying to tell us this for about four decades now, so we went ahead and put together some striking evidence. There’s also some SPOILERS below, so if you haven’t seen the most recent season, don’t read this.

Let’s Dematerialize!

The Sound of Time Travel

“Then the loud sound did seem to fade/Came back like a slow voice on a wave of phase/That weren’t no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive,” Bowie sings on 1972’s “Starman,” pretty much describing the very whooshing noise of the TARDIS.

Watch “Starman”

“This ain’t rock ‘n’ roll. This is genocide!”

The Doctor hates nothing more than when an entire race of aliens are blown to smithereens or killed by superior beings. He wouldn’t even wish total annihilation on his mortal enemies, the Daleks. Bowie’s intro to Diamond Dogs called “Future Legend” speaks of a distant dystopia, filled with “fleas the size of rats [sucking] on rats the size of cats.” He didn’t make it up. Bowie’s been there, and it’s called New New York.

Cosmic Connection to Billie Piper

Billie Piper

Billie Piper

The greatest — and most tragic — love story in the Doctor Who canon is undoubtedly between “Number Ten” (David Tennant) and Rose Tyler, better known as pop singer and star of the lurid show Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Billie Piper. Thing is, 10 wasn’t the only one with a connection to Piper. Piper and Bowie share a heat as intense as a thousand Cybermen x-ray lasers.

Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey

Changes & Regenerations

If ever there was a song that thinly disguised the existential angst of a Time Lord it would be “Changes” from David Bowie’s 1971 album Hunky Dory. Bowie’s chameleon-like shifts in appearance and personality are all summed up in four simple lines:

Ch-ch-Changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time

Indeed, you can’t trace time. In fact, another Time Lord confirmed that (see above video).

David Bowie in a scarf

David Bowie in a scarf

Love of Scarves

If “Fourth Doctor” Tom Baker proved anything during his time in the TARDIS between 1974-81 it’s that Time Lords love scarves. The fourth Doctor had a signature extra long number that would drag on the ground and need constant adjusting. Not coincidentally, David Bowie loves scarves, too. He’s been photographed wearing an assortment of neck-cessories with a higher-than-normal frequency over the years.

“Still Not Ginger!”

David Bowie

David Bowie

Ginger-Obsessive

Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust era saw the spacey singer as a fiery redhead, a regeneration trait that many a Doctor has sought after, especially “Number Eleven.”

Back in Time With Bowie

The John Simm Connection

John Simm, the actor who played the Doctor’s arch nemesis the Master, also starred as Sam Tyler in BBC’s Life on Mars, a crime drama featuring a policeman who travels back in time. Bowie has a song called “Life on Mars.” And a sequel to the television series was called “Ashes to Ashes.” There’s a cosmic connection here that’s no accident.

This story was originally published January 9, 2013 on AOL Spinner and was co-written with Cameron Matthews.

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Neil Young Cuts Through Le Noise At Massey Hall

Neil Young at Massey. (Copped this pic from Toronto Star.)

Neil Young at Massey. (Copped this pic from Toronto Star.)

LIVE: Neil Young
May 10, 2011
Massey Hall
Toronto, Ontario

Neil Young’s sold out Tuesday night show at Toronto’s Massey Hall was billed as a solo performance, but there was another pair of invisible guiding hands at work as well — those of Ancaster-born, U2 king-maker/super-producer Daniel Lanois.

While Young fell short of recreating the dizzy loops, echoes and fades that make his Lanois-produced latest album Le Noise such intoxicating headphone fodder, there was a barely sublimated sonic adventurousness — a hint of musical mischief and menace — that elevated the evening’s set into something more than just Neil. On a stool. At Massey.

Young’s experiencing a bit of a next-gen renaissance thanks to Le Noise, so it wasn’t particularly surprising the 65-year-old grunge godfather leaned heavily on the new album. Six of the 17 songs Young played were from the new record, but it was just as often what he did to his “classic” songs that revealed what his goal for the set was.

House-warmers “My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue),” “Tell Me Why” and “Helpless” were played reasonably straight. The crowd — more sport-jacket and recently trimmed hair than hippie burnout (no doubt the result of a more evolved ability to navigate the minefield that is modern ticket purchasing) — was particularly moved by “Helpless,” going so far as to sing along to the chorus with about the same volume and self-consciousness as Leafs fans doing the first verse of “O Canada” at the ACC.

Rapt silence was the more appropriate response for Le Noise track “Peaceful Valley Boulevard.” A gauzy, sprawling number on record, it was equally haunting live and could fairly match melancholy Young masterpieces like “On The Beach” and “Expecting To Fly.”

The next two songs — Le Noise‘s confessional “Love And War,” and all-timer “Down By The River” — started to reveal the outline of the Lanois impact on Young’s performance. It wasn’t so much about Young copping signature Lanois sounds as it was about watching Young wandering across the stage, coaxing bits of feedback from his amps, or impishly turning the chorus of “Down By The River” into a five-second primer on My Bloody Valentine.

It was this casual tinkering while strolling about the various guitars, pianos and organs which was what making Le Noise must have looked like. Except instead of Young, guitar slung over his shoulder, all poking around Lanois’ house for an audience of one, here he was doing so in front of 2,800 people.

Young’s re-imagining of “Cortez The Killer” was a particularly good example. Its intro disguised by a brief squalling shock, Young eventually emerged from his soundcloud to lay down a version you just knew was exactly like one Lanois might have coaxed him to play while the two were defining the identity of the latest album.

That’s when it became clear what Young was doing. He wasn’t just rote recreating the sounds of Le Noise for the audience last night, he was trying to recreate “the vibe,” as he experienced it, of his own adventure in le noise.

And when he closed the show with the single encore “Walk With Me” and its opened-armed plea “I’m on this journey/I don’t want to walk alone,” he managed to bring a lot of people with him.

Neil Young setlist for May 10, 2011:

“My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)”
“Tell Me Why”
“Helpless”
“You Never Call”
“Peaceful Valley Boulevard”
“Love And War”
“Down By The River”
“Hitchhiker”
“Ohio”
“Sign Of Love”
“Leia”
“After The Goldrush”
“I Believe In You”
“Rumblin’”
“Cortez The Killer”
“Cinnamon Girl”

encore:
“Walk With Me”

This live review originally appeared in The Grid (RIP) in May 2011.

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Polaris Podcast vs The 2017 Short List

Polaris Podcast EP7 was live from Ottawa.

Polaris Podcast EP7 was live from Ottawa.

When the Polaris Music Prize released its ten album 2017 Short List it also enlisted CBC Music and a batch of jurors to talk about what made the list, and what didn’t.

The Polaris folks then turned the result of that conversation into episode eight of the Polaris Podcast.

The most helpful way people can listen to the podcast would be by subscribing to it in iTunes. But those craving convenience can listen to it below on Soundcloud.

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GWAR — The Blood Of Gods (Album Review)

GWAR - The Blood Of Gods

GWAR – The Blood Of Gods

The last thing I expected to find when I listened to a new GWAR album in 2017 was… humanity. And yet, here we are. In an age where Insane Clown Posse have become civil rights activists, where Jimmy Kimmel, a person’s whose old show used to do a side-business selling Girls on Trampolines DVDs, is now our nightly voice of the resistance, and where Eminem has become a woke protest singer, GWAR’s enlightenment (of a sort) doesn’t feel so weird.

To be fair, you still have to squint a fair amount to find said humanity from these alien invader/heavy metal cartoon warriors. After all, there’s still lots of in-the-pocket GWAR to be found on The Blood Of Gods. “I’ll Be Your Monster” is like a flip on Alice Cooper shock rock with an actual hint of menace, “Viking Death Machine” is a free wheel burnin’ highway anthem, and the band’s cover of AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You Got It)” is so obvious it’s stunning they hadn’t thought to do it before now.

But then there’s the anti-overpopulation screed “Swarm,” the let’s-kill-the-president shanty “El Presidente” and the cathartically universal “Fuck This Place.” If sometimes feeling like our need to conquer and explore has irreparably messed up the planet, or worrying that the world is teetering on the brink of destruction because of a mentally damaged world leader aren’t absolutely human concerns then I don’t know what are. Throw in “Phantom Limb,” a fitting tribute to deceased former band leader Oderus Urungus, and these songs are a fair argument for a surprisingly tender GWAR. At least in their way.

Either that, or the world is going to such shit that I’ve started to look to GWAR for morality tales. In which case, fuck this place.

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Leonard Cohen’s Tribute Show In Montreal Was Heavy

Lana Del Rey and Adam Cohen. Photo by Claude Dufresne.

Lana Del Rey and Adam Cohen. Photo by Claude Dufresne.

Last Monday the Risky Fuel team made a pilgrimage to Montreal to pay our respects to the late, great musical poet, Leonard Cohen.

Titled, Tower of Song: A Memorial Tribute to Leonard Cohen, the Bell Centre event organized by Leonard’s son Adam Cohen featured big names like Elvis Costello, Sting, Courtney Love and Lana Del Rey to cover Lenny’s classic songs.

Those marquee names were fine, but it was the “singer songwriters” who really shone. Damien Rice and Patrick Watson were beautifully heavy and Adam, who seems to have fully embraced the family legacy, was uncanny (and unsettling) in his renditions of his father’s songs.

Sarah wrote about all this in a live review for Consequence of Sound.

To read it go here.

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When Polaris Podcast Went To Ottawa

Polaris Podcast EP7 was live from Ottawa.

Polaris Podcast EP7 was live from Ottawa.

This past June the Polaris Music Prize went to Ottawa, Ontario to unveil the 40-album 2017 Polaris Music Prize Long List.

This also meant it brought along my baby, the Polaris Podcast.

We did a live taping where Polaris jurors Ryan Bresee (CKCU), Erin Flynn (CHUO 89.1 FM), Valerie Lessard (Le Droit) and Fateema Sayani (Ottawa Magazine) analyzed the Long List.

To find out what they said listen to the episode here:

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