Archive | July 2015

Old New Borrowed Blue #5

This past Tuesday I went to Sonic Boom, a local Toronto based Record Store, and the vinyl I bought has been fairly indicative of what I’ve been listening since.  So this blog might seem fairly random, but it’s organized to me.

Something Old: “Dress You Up” was my theme song of the week.  Although it was hot, and I hardly wanted to dress up in anything, our niece was here, and I found myself routinely singing this with her, whether when she was getting dressed (gonna dress you up in diapers) or getting sun-screened before heading to the splash parks (all o-ver your bo-dy).  Then, the day her family flew back home, I bought Like A Virgin – the album “Dress You Up” appears on – used from Sonic Boom.  Happy 1984 pop explosion!

Something New:  I didn’t buy any new-to-me vinyl on this most recent record-shop, but one of my favourite finds of the past month have been the twin sisters that make up Ibeyi.  The video for their song, “River” (embedded below) is beautiful, mesmerizing, and slightly disturbing.  I highly recommend it.  Also, if you have a bit more time to check them out (25 mins), they appeared on the Q last month for a lovely convo with Shad, plus a couple performances.  Check it out here:  http://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/schedule-for-monday-june-22-2015-1.3122387/ibeyi-s-self-titled-debut-is-one-you-need-to-hear-1.3122392

Something Borrowed: Another exciting find the other day was Hip Hop for Respect,a collaboration project put together by Talib Kweli and Mos Def in order to address police brutality in the US, reacting in particular to the 1999 case of Amadou Diallo, a man shot and killed in the Bronx by 4 officers in plainclothes.  The album itself only contains 4 tracks plus instrumentals, but  brings together more than 35 different hip hop artists to create a tight, exciting vibe.  Certainly check the whole thing out, but for something borrowed, we’ll concentrate on the second track, “Protective Custody” which is laid over a sample from KRS-One’s obviously relevant anti-police track, “Who Protects Us From You?”.

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Something Blue:  Until a friend shared this video with me about a week ago, I was unaware of this phenomenal Montreal-dwelling blues guitarist named Cécile Doo-Kingue.  I think that you, like me, will be ever grateful.

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Old New Borrowed Blue #4: FemBosses

Today is all about a few of my favourite women in music.  Enjoy!

Something Old:  Because there may not be another artist that was as influential on my tastes growing up than Ms. Jackson (if you’re nasty).  And because I am already counting down the days (54) until I see her live for the first time (finally).  I’m hoping she performs some career-defining throwbacks like this, with or without the keytars.  Song starts around the three minute mark, but you might want to watch the whole thing, because this video from 1987 is EVERYTHING.

Something New:  The inspiration for today’s femboss theme is without question this short film released by MIA a couple weeks ago.  Over the years she has become one of my favourite women in music with her catchy dance tunes and her bold statements through music videos like “Bad Girls” and “Born Free”.  Matahdatah Scroll 01: Broader than a Border features two songs, “Swords” and “Warriors”, and footage of people doing fabulous and ordinary things in India.

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Something Borrowed:  #SorryNotSorry to those who are not big fans of MIA, but this is too fun not to post.  Here is MIA’s tribute to Beyonce.  Though it’s called a remix of “Flawless”, “Baddygirl 2” borrows from other Yoncé tracks such as “Diva”, “Drunk in Love” and “Run the World (Girls)”.  Let me know if you notice any other references or samples that I missed!

Something Blue:  So many of my favourite women in music have made some incredibly beautiful, blue music, but possibly my all-time favourite sad songs is Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”.  Originally written in 1930 as a poem, Holiday’s recording has become one of the most popular racism protest songs of the century.  It’s imagery is dark and haunting, and elicits a fairly physical reaction in me every time I hear it, so it’s a less-frequently-played favourite, but favourite just the same.

Old New Borrowed Blue #3

MondayConsidering that I began this “Old New Borrowed Blue” project as a motivational tool, I’ll take it as a positive sign that I’m posting more frequently than I was hoping.  So here we are on a Monday, with a new ONBB.

Something Old:  Not only is it Monday, but today’s date is July 20th, 2015, which makes it the 75th anniversary of Billboard’s first ever top-ten list.  I’m not often a big Billboard fan, but this indeed marks a milestone for measuring the popularity of music, and thereby creating the concept/genre of pop music, for better or worse.  So in celebration/memorial, here’s the very first #1 Billboard song ever, from Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra (featuring vocals from Frank Sinatra .

Something New:  2015 has already been an amazing year for new music, and the truth is that this is the category that most pushes me to post. I’ve got a page worth of fantastic new-to-me tracks just waiting to be shared, and this week alone I’ve added a handful, but first, I’ve got some catching up to do.  If you have spent any in-person time with me over the past few months, you have no doubt heard/seen this joyfully addictive video from Chance the Rapper.  I am obsessed, and it would feel dishonest not to share it here earlier rather than later.  Comparisons to Kanye’s “Family Business” are ripe, and if that isn’t enough to convince you, I don’t know what to say.

I should also mention that “Sunday Candy” has been released on The Social Experiment’s Surf, an album offered for free on American iTunes.  Unfortunately that has made it harder to find outside of the USA, but you can download it for free with a clear conscience here.

Something Borrowed:  For those of you who are already planning on googling Jamila Woods from the last video, I’ll save you a bit of trouble.  She’s awesome, and she makes music with her duo by the name of M&O (Milo & Otis), and you should definitely watch their creative, mellow cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya”, if not everything else of theirs you can find on the interwebs.

Something Blue:  We’ve already had our fair share of sadder songs today, so I’ll leave you with John Lee Hooker performing the fun “Boom Boom” in the original Blues Brothers movie.

Old New Borrowed Blue #2: Can Con

CanLeafFlagThis instalment of Old New Borrowed Blue is brought to you by (drumroll please)… Canadian Content!  The Polaris Prize just released their shortlist earlier today (check it out here), and I’ve been inspired to share some music from particularly Canadian artists.  Hope you enjoy these old, new, borrowed, and blue tracks as much as I do!  And if you’re not a fan, please keep with the theme and be polite about it.  😉

Something Old:  I had completely forgotten about Bass is Base – a jazzy R&B group that a decent CanCon radio run in the 90’s – until I saw former member, Chin Injeti open for Erykah Badu last month in Vancouver.  I recognize that only a few people will experience a similar nostalgic rush, but I think it’s worth it.  Also, I promise that I will eventually venture outside the 90’s for this category – I do realize that there is far more to “old” music than the decade of my personal coming-of-age.  For now though, it’s all about 1994 Much Music!

Something New: You may know Sarah Neufeld as that fierce violinist from Arcade Fire, and Colin Stetson from that what-is-that-amazing-and-massive-saxophone? moment at a Bon Iver concert.  Although their collaboration, Never Were The Way She Was, did not actually make the shortlist, I thought their album was one of the biggest longlist standouts.  And there will be enough people writing about the ten Polaris nominees, so I don’t need to talk about who I’m rooting for… just yet, anyway.

Something Borrowed:  In order to make this as Canadian as possible, I’ve decided to go with a K-Os track built on a sample from yet another Canadian artist, Sarah Slean.  I am generally a pretty big fan of hip hop artists sampling unexpected genres, and Joyful Rebellion’s“Love Song” is one of my favourites.

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Something Blue:  I’m going to go super obvious with this one.  Prairie girl, Joni Mitchell is very likely my favourite Canadian singer-songwriter of all time (Sorry, Leonard), and the album, Blue, is nothing short of a classic.  If you have time for a whole record, go check it out.  For now I’ll leave you with the last song on the album which is especially blue and not quite as well known as heavy hitters like the title track, “River” or “A Case of You”. 

Old New Borrowed Blue #1

Writing about albums – especially great ones – can be intimidating and overwhelming. It may be a poor excuse, but it’s because of this that I have become a terribly sparse and inconsistent blogger.  I still hope to write longer posts on albums sometimes, but for the next while, I’m planning to focus on tackling a little less content a little more frequently (on a weekly basis).  It’s called “Old New Borrowed Blue”, because like the bridal superstition, I’ll make sure each post has one thing that fits into each category.  Here’s how I’ll break it down.

Something Old: A throwback track, whatever I happen to be listening to that week.

This week, for example, after catching up on the 2015 BET awards performances I was on a 90’s Bad Boy kick.  Here’s a track I would have loved to hear in their 20th anniversary medley:

Something New: A new-to-me music discovery.  Like this relatively new Icona Pop single that puts a twist in my hips.

Something Borrowed: I’ll pick a song that heavily borrows (using samples, quotes, or style) from another specific song, and post them both.  Kendrick Lamar was successful in introducing me to the Denmark Electronica collective, The Boom Clap Bachelors with this sample.  You can listen to both songs on WhoSampled.com.

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Something Blue might be up for some interpretive freedom.  I know that I am likely to share a lot of fun, danceable stuff in the first couple of categories, so this will help me balance them off with some music with more serious themes.  I’m going to stick with King Kendrick a bit longer and post his video for “Alright”.  The song is not completely blue – it’s actually one of the most hopeful tracks from To Pimp A Butterfly.  The music video/short film directed by Colin Tilley however, tackles more than just the single, and faces a whole lot of truth about racism, violence and police brutality.  The images are stunning, and if you haven’t seen this yet, I’m depriving you of your last excuse.

DJBooth systematically breaks down the imagery in the video if you can’t get enough of it.

Check back here Thursdays for the next Old New Borrowed Blue post!