Archive for the ‘Hometown Heroes’ Category

Rufus Wainwright

You gotta love Rufus. He makes some of the most amazing music out there and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Recently, Rufus made some interesting and kind of funny comments about Propositions 8 and whether homosexuals should be allowed to marry. Take a look:

(from NME)

Rufus Wainwright has revealed he is not a supporter of gay marriage, and says that amendments to the constitution relating to sex and love should be banned.

The singer, who is currently gearing up for the annual ‘McGarrigle Christmas Hour featuring Rufus and Martha Wainwright’ at Carnegie Hall in New York, was responding to a question about the ban on gay marriage in California that went through last month.

“Oddly enough, I’m actually not a huge gay marriage supporter” Wainwright told the NY Press. “I personally don’t want to get married but I think that any law or amendment to the constitution that deals with sex and love should just be banned in general. I don’t think any government should encroach on what goes on in the bedroom at all. Frankly, if you want to marry a dog, why don’t you go ahead and marry a dog, I don’t care. I’m a complete libertarian and so I really disagree with it.”

Wainwright revealed that he will premiere a new song entitled ‘Christmas Is For Kids’ at the show, which takes place December 10. Lou Reed is also scheduled to perform on the night.

Ooooh Rufus…

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I’m kind of loving this guy right now. I have always had this affinity for Nintendo music, or as most people call it nowadays, 8-bit. I guess it just reminds me of my youth. I used to love the music on my Nintendo and gameboy. I remember, while playing Tetris, turning the little volume wheel all the way up so i could listen to the 8-bit version of Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”. Or the soundtrack’s to the Castlevania games were just brilliant. If you want to be brought back to those magical days when the only things that mattered were high scores, take a listen:

PDF Format’s Myspace (listen to “Female Glee”)

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From The Yellow Bird Project written by me:
September 21st, 2008 by themiddledistancerunner

So I saw Stars last night at Terminal 5 in New York City. This was my second time seeing Stars and my first time at Terminal 5. When we got there, the opening band was still on the stage. They were called Bell X1, and since I only heard them play a couple of songs I can’t really judge whether they were something I would want to listen to on a regular basis. The crowd seemed really into them though, so you may want to check them out.

Before Stars’ set they had guys putting red roses all over the stage. The flower theme went really well with the music that was being played, which was like sad piano music, reminding me of Erik Satie. If anyone knows what it was please let me know because it was lovely. When Stars finally took the stage I knew that I was in for a much different experience than when I saw Stars the first time in Montreal. When I saw them in Montreal it was this secret show at an art gallery in Old Montreal, in which there were only 150 tickets for sale. I managed to get one of them and was treated to one of the best shows I have ever seen. There was no stage, no crazy lighting, no banner, nothing fancy. Just the band and their instruments. Last night at Terminal 5 in NYC was a much different sort of party. Besides the thousands of people in attendance, this show was not just a concert, it was like a show on steroids. This show had huge projections and an insane light show, that went along to the music. It was pretty insane, I have to say. Especially for me who is used to shows with minimal lighting effects. The lighting was almost too bright at times, making it impossible to even see the band. But overall it was pretty amazing.

Lead singer Torquil Campbell got the crowd on his side right away when he said that the first Stars song ever written was in New York City on 58th and 10th. And before launching into “Window Bird” he said, “here’s to Hell’s Kitchen”. The love affair with the fans didn’t end there. The crowd went crazy when Torq had a few thoughts about how Barack Obama should be the new President of the United-States. And if that wasn’t enough, the band continuously threw bundles of red roses into the crowd throughout the set.

As for the set list, I couldn’t have asked for a better one. It was expected that they would play a lot of new songs, but they surprised me by playing more old songs than new ones. We were lucky enough to hear them play “Look Up”, “Elevator Love Letter”, “Your Ex-Lover is Dead”, “Ageless Beauty”, “Soft Revolution” and “Reunion”. For the encore they played “Take Me To The Riot” and then went back to the old stuff, finishing off the night with “One More Night”, “Calendar Girl” and “Heart”. I was more than happy with this set list, a tribute to the Stars fans who have been there since the beginning. They also played two songs off of their new EP, entitled Sad Robots. Before playing these songs, Torq said that you could either buy the album here, buy it online or steal it off of your friends. He said he didn’t care how you got it as long as you listened to it. It’s nice to hear bands that care more about people hearing their music than hearing about how much money they made.

In the end it was an excellent set, by an amazing band, at a pretty mediocre venue. Terminal 5 is far from my favourite venue, but it didn’t ruin my night. Any night with Stars is a night to remember.

Stars – 14 Forever (from Sad Robots EP)

Stars – Undertow (from Sad Robots EP)

Until next week…

-The Middle Distance Runner

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This weekend just keeps getting better. I saw Noah and the Whale Thursday night, and last night I saw one of my favourite Canadian singer/songwriters, Basia Bulat. The venue itself was kind of crappy. Table seating, 10 dollar minimum per person for food or beverages. If you didn’t want to eat or drink you had to stand at the bar at the back of the venue. Not to mention the waitress asking you mid-song if you would like anything else. But I guess they don’t care about the show, they just want to make money. Besides the venue’s unpleasantness, the show itself was excellent. The sound was great and Basia was incredible! There was no opener planned for the show, so Basia’s sound guy came out and played 4 or 5 songs to get the night started, and was actually really good. Then after waiting for about 20 minutes to a half an hour (probably the venue’s idea to get people to buy more food and drinks) Basia took the stage with her band, comprised of a keyboardist, a violinist, a flutist and a drummer, who was in fact Basia’s brother. They played pretty much every song off of her excellent debut album, Oh, My Darling, Basia switching effortlessly between her acoustic guitar, autoharp and even ukelele when playing the song “Before I Knew”. She even played a couple of her songs that I have never heard before along with an excellent cover of Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”. What I loved most about Basia’s performance was how appreciative she was of the fans in attendance. She didn’t stop thanking the crowd who cheered rapturously after every song. She just seemed genuinely happy to be there and happy to be playing in front of all of those in attendance. I chatted with Basia for a few minutes after the show, and she told me that she was headed to Montreal to do some recording. Hopefully this means a new album is in the works! I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t wait to hear it, whatever it is.

And finally I would like to wish Basia luck in winning the 2008 Polaris Music Prize. She has made it to the top 10 finalists, and I really hope she gets it…I’m rooting for ya Basia!

Here are some pics from the show:

And some videos:

“You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” (Bob Dylan Cover):

“Little Waltz” (sorry about the guy who keeps coughing):

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This is truly sad news! The beloved Dears are no more. I have been a huge Dears fan for a long time and have salivated at the mouth in anticipation of new music from them. Unfortunately those days are over. According to a message posted on the bands Myspace page by Murray and Natalia, the band is calling it quits after they release their already finished new album, MISSILES. Take a look at that sad sad message:

Meltdown in A Major

This could have been a message saying that The Dears is over.


Almost 10 years ago, The Dears made a ghetto little record called “End of A Hollywood Bedtime Story.” We were a four piece back then until two dudes split right after we finished making it, leaving just me and Natalia. I called up a few people and within a month we were resurrected as a six piece. We were brand new, with a new record in hand that the others adopted as their own. We went on to make two more records, a couple of EPs and tour the world many times. Plenty of laughs. We had a couple of exits in that time but the last four years saw the same line up.

I’m not going to lie to you kids: The new Dears album has been completed since April. It is called MISSILES. We have been wandering around the music industry wilderness the whole time, trying to secure a release date for the Fall. It’s getting pretty f***ed out there. We thought very seriously about doing it ourselves. But that just wasn’t realistic at all. Not in the least. And our relationships with Bella Union and Arts & Crafts had run their course. So at the 11th hour, in walked Dangerbird. Our beloved MapleMusic Recordings is still there for us and will release the record in Canada while Dangerbird Records will release it everywhere else. Should be an interesting/entertaining journey.

We want to bring you this record whole and still warm. It’s beautiful; that is the only way to describe it. A blues album, essentially. It’s also long and kind of paced for love making, because that really makes everything better. 58 minutes, 16 seconds, 10 songs. One song is over 11 minutes, just like the old days. Come October, we encourage you to seek it out; it is worth every penny and all the dough just goes back into making more records, not buying solid gold houses. Thanks, in advance.

We had quite an experience making it and by the end, only Natalia and I were left. The band line up as you’ve known has come to a close and now it’s just as it was when we began: Natalia and I, looking after every aspect ourselves. Trust us when we say it is for the best. The music, philosophy — the art has been preserved with fervency. The Dears not are but is. In our mind it always has been that way, the sum of parts to create one vision. Or something like that. Personally, we feel fortunate to have a role in the birthing of every tune, in its arrival from the cosmos.

Anyway, there is a little nugget on our website, one of our faves, a soul-crushing classic: thedears.org

We are moving to organize some live concerts for October with an almost completely new line up, as a seven piece. We’ve been rehearsing a couple times a week. It’s a bit weird, to be honest, looking around at all the new faces. But it’s incredibly exciting to hear the sounds come alive again, and for all the right reasons with all the right intentions. Be excited. It is a new beginning.

Eternal Love,
Murray + Natalia P/K/A THE DEARS

This news has truly saddened me. Montreal is losing one of it’s best indie rock bands. I consider myself lucky to have seen them live at least once and I only hope that Murray and Natalia continue to make music together, because I’m sure whatever they do will be amazing.

Here is a taste of their new album:

The Dears – Meltown in A Major (from MISSILES):

(You can also listen to the song here.)


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Wolf Parade are back! Their new album is called At Mount Zoomer and they have a whole slew of dates in July all over North America, so chances are you can get a live sample of the new album in the very near future. Upon first listen, I like it. I’ve always had this negative association with Wolf Parade as the band that threw shit at G. Love & Special Sauce at the Osheaga Festival in the summer of 2006 in Montreal (My hometown). But once I get passed that, the truth is that they make some pretty good music. My song of the week is my immediate favourite off of the new album. It may just be the catchiest song on the album, and I may come to have many other favourites (or none at all), but for right now, it’s California Dreamer. Enjoy!

Wolf Parade – California Dreamer

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I came across this pretty cool video on Stillepost, so i did a little research. Turns out it is by a band called Plajia, they are from Montreal and have one album out called Beautiful Explosion, which you can find on Itunes. I don’t really know much more than that, and I’ve only seen this one video, but i think there’s something there. Check it out for yourself…

For more info:

Plajia’s Official Site

Plajia’s Myspace

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