Friday, June 30, 2006

Oh, Canada...You Don't Look A Day Past 30.

I received the first of two summer burns CD's in the mail this week. I want to listen to it a little more before I give a full review, but so far it is really good. If features tons of UK artists that I had never heard of until now. I will go into more detail another time. This is the time to honour Canada as it celebrates its 139th birthday (July 1). As a present, the Harbourfront Centre is hosting three full days of concerts (The Dears, Jason Collett, The Refugee All Stars, etc...), movies (City of God, etc...), and events (kids zone, etc...). The best part is everything is completely free!!! The festivities start tomorrow with Jason Collett opening for The Dears. Needless to say I know where I plan to be tomorrow night.

Random Song 1: The New Pornographers - Letter From An Occupant

The Dears

After taking a year off to write and record the new album Gang of Losers, The Dears are ready to get back to business. Although it appears that the business model is in a state of change. Early word is that the band has moved away somewhat from their dark orchestral sound. I also read one report that said Dears have crafted a more upbeat album. This may have something to due with the fact that lead singer Murray Lightburn and keyboardist Natalia Yanchak welcomed their first child into the world last year. Still, don't think the Dears have gone soft on us just yet. New songs such as Fear Made The World Go Round and You And I Are A Gang Of Losers prove that The Dears have not lost a single beat. Of course, I am a huge Dears fan so my view might be a tad bias. Regardless Gang of Losers hits stores in August.

Dating is tough in general, but it seems worst when you are a 22 year-old drunken teddy bear. Where are the Care Bears when you need them? Oh don't act like you never watched the Care Bears when you were a kid! Anyways, here is Murray and Natalia sharing singing duties on "22 The Death Of All The Romance" from the No Cities Left album:

Random Song 2: Jim Guthrie - Hands In My Pocket

Jason Collett

It makes sense that Jason Collett is playing tomorrow, as his music is a perfect fit for the summer. Collett's style of folk music is great for the lazy summer days. Despite being known more for his work with Broken Social Scene, Collett has been making a name for himself with his solo albums. The most recent one, Idols of Exile, was released last year to critical acclaim. Although the album feature some of his fellow Scenester (Feist, Kevin Drew, and Emily Haines), they did not overshadow Collett for one minute. If you have never heard Collett's music before, I highly recommend you check out songs like "Fire" and "Hangover Days". If you are looking for good summer music you can't go wrong with Idols of Exile.

Want to know why cabin fever and politics don't mix? Look no further then "I'll Bring The Sun" from Idols of Exile:

Random Song 3: Arcade Fire - Laika


Although not playing in Toronto this weekend, K'naan will be part of the Canada celebrations in Ottawa this year. A few months ago K'naan won a Juno (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) for best Rap Recording. Say what you will about the Juno's, but every now and then they do something right. I finally got around to picking up his Dusty Foot Philosopher album earlier this year and felt like a fool for waiting for so long. Born in Somalia, K'naan's music is a hybrid of traditional rap mixed with African storytelling. This is evident in songs like Soobax. Instead of focusing on "gangsta living" he discusses what life is like in war-torn countries. After talking about hospitals being shot at, and the senseless killing of civilians at militant road blocks, K'naan poses this simple question to all the gangster rappers: "What is hardcore?" He even goes as far as saying "If I rhymed about home and got descriptive/I would make 50 Cent look like Limp Bizkit". Truer words have never been spoken. It is a shame that K'naan is not a bigger name in hip-hop music. For more on K'naan check out his website.

Here is a brief clip from a live performance of "Smile" from The Dusty Foot Philosopher (sadly the audio quality is poor):

Ipod Workout Plan: K-os - Love Song from the Joyful Rebellion album

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