Thursday, December 4, 2008

Friday Diversion - Musical Edition

Here's the thing: I don't have satellite radio installed in my new car yet, so I've been forced to listen to terrestrial radio for the past two months. And just let me say that the quality of music coming across the free airwaves seems to be at an all-time low point. Maybe I'm just getting older and more out of touch with what the kids today are listening to, but for with the exception of a few choice tunes (M.I.A.'s Paper Planes is a killer track, and anything by the Kings of Leon that manages to find it's way to top-40 radio will make the world a better place), popular music today strikes me as abysmal. Honestly, the two radio stations I've been listening to the most in my car have been CBC Radio (Jian Ghomeshi is the man, his days with Moxy Fruvous notwithstanding), and CBC Radio 2 (the Radio 2 Drive might be the best 3 hours of radio in Toronto). There isn't even a punch line. That's just a fact.

There was a time when I lived and died by what 102.1 The Edge told me was cool, but these days I find it almost impossible to listen to that station for more than ten consecutive minutes without wanting to smash my face through my windshield. Such a sad fall from grace.

I sincerely hope you aren't as uninspired by today's "popular" music to the disheartening extent that I am, but in the event that you are, rest assured that there is ample great music out there to be heard. The only problem is, you probably won't be hearing it on your local "new rock" conglomerate.

Here are a few of my favourite newish tunes getting reps in on satellite radio (Sirius XMU 26) that you probably aren't likely to hear on the free airwaves.

(One quick read for the Diversion: Elizabeth Kolbert's Car Talk is an exemplary piece which highlights the Big-Three automakers absurd shortsightedness and blind stupidity with regards to the way the market was inevitably headed. Personally, I love the idea of offering each of the CEOs federal assistance only if they agree to reduce their salaries to one dollar a year. That would be poetic justice at its absolute finest.)

Nada Surf - "Whose Authority"

Everything off of this Brooklyn based trio's "Lucky" album is gold.

Jenny Lewis - "Acid Tongue"

The odds-on favourite for "greatest song in the world this week". Still no official video, but this track is magic.

To be lonely is a habit
Like smoking or taking drugs
And I've quit them both
But man, was it rough

Okkervil River - "Lost Coastlines"

Pop music needs more banjo. No doubt.

Deerhunter - "Agoraphobia"

This video scares me a little.

My buddy Tim Perlich at NOW describes the new Deerhunter disc (Microcastle/Weird Era Continued) as follows:

The Microcastle half of the double-disc set focuses on fuzz-enhanced indie rock with off-kilter changes and nomenclature that may suggest a Pavement inspiration to some, but it’s more likely Cox has been listening to the mid-80s Kiwi pop of the Clean, Tall Dwarfs and the Chills. If you’re not up on that stuff, Microcastle may seem like a more impressive creative breakthrough than it actually is, which could explain the gushy reviews.

The entrancing dronescapes of Weird Era Continued should be appealing to Atlas Sound fans but as with Microcastle, Weird Era Continued will sound much more awesome If you’ve never heard anything by My Bloody Valentine.

Ummm... That's why he reviews music for a living and I'm doing this for free... Let's move on.

Broken Social Scene - "Cause = Time"

And this video scares me a lot.

I know that this song is 6 years old, but it never really got the airplay it deserved. It is one of the best songs from one of the most influential Canadian indie bands, who just happen to appear on Canada's finest record label.

Vampire Weekend - "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"

Great video.

Is your bed made?
Is your sweater on?
Do you want to
Like you know I do

But this feels so unnatural
Peter Gabriel too

Chairlift - "Bruises"

I was wondering why this catchy pop tune sounded so familiar... and then I turned on the T.V. So yeah, you've probably heard this one before.

Lori McKenna - "Make Every Word Hurt"

I have no idea how Lori McKenna isn't a household name by now.

Arcade Fire - "Wake Up"

Arguably the greatest Canadian indie band, playing arguably the best song they will ever write, at arguably the most important music festival in the world. In the comments section of this YouTube clip, someone simply wrote: "Best. Thing. Ever." It's tough to argue with this performance.

The line that goes: "I guess we'll just have to adjust..." It gets me every time.


Anonymous said...

Hey Seanny,

Great list.

it is really sad about the edge - how did that happen?

i like the kings of leon shout out.

happy days,

oh! - a sick track that always seems to be left on your mix-tape of any kind. enjoy.

Sean McCallum said...

There's nothing better than cutting and pasting a mystery YouTube link and coming across something more offensive than bestiality-riddled porn.

Flats... I'm still laughing

Anonymous said...

That song never gets old.

You could always turn on Q107 and listen to Kim Mitchell talk about how great he is for 6 hours.


Anonymous said...

CBC radio 2 has given me hope for the "forgotten demographic" of which I am a member. Commercial radio sickens me. Trite, formulaic, and boy, does it ever insult my intelligence. Leave it to the media whipping boy of the right to save "terrestrial radio"...
Hey, where else can you hear Stephen Fearing?

Anonymous said...

AMAZING!! Lori McKenna made the cut! Or as I like to refer to her... "my Lori." Brings a tear to my eye. For those of you who live in the Nashville area, I highly recommend you check out Lightning 100 - "Nashville's Independent Radio". Today's recent playlist - Tom Petty, Ryan Adams, Fleetwood Mac, Counting Crows, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, Green Day. I mean, does it get any better?!

So, what's the answer, you say?

Move to Nashville, of course!

Best. Station. Ever.

Lisa M.