Posts Tagged ‘canada’

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Off-topic: Cross-Canada road trip #6

July 30, 2009

1369 bldg

Day 6 of the road trip: Toronto, ON to Cambridge, MA!

Okay, so now it’s your turn. What songs remind you of Boston? I wrote about several when I was in town last December, but I’m sure that, if you’re reading this, you have some great suggestions to make. Please respond in the comments!

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Off-topic: Cross-Canada road trip #5

July 29, 2009

Day 5: Sault Ste Marie, ON to Toronto, ON

Okay, after the fourteen-hour  Kenora-Sault Ste Marie drive, I’m a bit too braindead to say anything clever about my hometown of Toronto. The video is for “Songtario,” by Henry & Clare (thanks, @kimblem!). And Broken Social Scene is a pretty good representation of the Toronto indie music scene, since the collective contains practically everyone anyway, and I imagine my choice of BSS song is pretty self-explanatory.

MP3: Broken Social Scene – Canada vs. America [buy]

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Off-topic: Cross-Canada road trip #4

July 28, 2009

Lake of the Woods

Day 4 of the road trip: Kenora, ON to Sault Ste Marie, ON

Going even further afield than is usual for z=z for a brief lesson in physical geography, try this: Go to Google Maps and centre the map around the eastern half of Canada (Hudson Bay should be in the middle). Notice that Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, the northern half of Saskatchewan and Nunavut are all liberally laced with blue? Now switch to ‘terrain’ view – see how all of this is a darker green than the south? This is the Canadian Shield, created during the Pleistocene when glaciation scraped it down to the 4.5 billion year old bedrock. Pockets in the newly-exposed granite filled up with rainwater to create hundreds of thousands of lakes; so many that when you fly over it, you can’t tell whether you are looking at lakes or islands. Today’s drive, along the north shore of Lake Superior, is in the heart of this geological region.

All of this is really by way of preamble to introduce Montreal’s Besnard Lakes, which is named after one of these glacial bodies of water.

MP3: The Besnard Lakes – Devastation [buy]

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Off-topic: Cross-Canada road trip #3

July 27, 2009

the hip

Day 3 of the road trip: Swift Current, SK to Kenora, ON

…which means crossing the Hundredth Meridian and heading through Winnipeg, the hometown of z=z fave The Weakerthans, who played a great set at Neumos in Seattle last Saturday night. The MP3 below is their backhanded paean to that city, from 2003’s Reconstruction Site. The picture above is of The Tragically Hip; if you click through it, you’ll get to the video of their classic track “At the Hundredth Meridian.”

MP3:The Weakerthans – One Great City! [buy]

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Off-topic: Cross-Canada road trip #1

July 25, 2009

Day 1 of the road trip: Seattle, WA to Revelstoke, BC

Despite heading inland and therefore bypassing Vancouver, I thought I would share this track from Lotusland’s The Awkward Stage. Frontman Shane Nelken is part of the extended New Pornographers collective, having played piano on AC Newman’s The Slow Wonder and collaborated on Dan Bejar and Blaine Thurier side project. The Awkward Stage has a brand-new album out, Slimming Mirrors, Flattering Lights, but this is the title (and my favourite) track from their 2006 debut. But the video above is for a new track, “Mini Skirt of Xmas Lights.”

MP3: The Awkward Stage – Heaven Is For Easy Girls [buy]

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….aaaand, we’re back! (kind of)

July 24, 2009

Apologies to our loyal readerszed equals zee‘s crack blogging team got kind of hammered by work responsibilities (and I am now increasingly in awe of Michael Epstein of The Motion Sick).

We won’t be back to our full schedule until August, but we will be posting over the coming week as z=z headquarters relocate back to Boston – if you’re a longtime reader, you may recall our move out west. As we’ll be doing it as an epic cross-Canada trek, stay tuned for a special week focusing on independent Canadian music. Finally, I’ve been sitting on this great bio of Sonic Youth and I have a copy of it to give away, so keep an eye out for that (and I’ll do my best to mail it from some hamlet in the middle of the Great White North).

Finally, we’re planning another  zed equals zee happy hour in August, and we look forward to seeing you there!

Not enough z=z for you? You can  follow debcha on Twitter for tidbits of music news, as well as snapshots from across Canada and assorted nerdiness.

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Threesome: Defending CanCon (sort of)

June 25, 2009

mountie

Last week, CBC Radio 3‘s online radio broadcast and their Sirius Satellite radio station merged their playlists and schedules as a cost-saving measure. As part of the merger, they solicited input on whether the joint entity should play 100% Canadian music (as the online radio did) or 85% Canadian music, as was the case for Sirius 86. Scores of people sent in comments, and in the end they decided to play only Canadian music, but to also reserve the right to make exceptions: for example, covers of Canadian artists by non-Canadians, or for Neko Case, “who is American, but is widely considered an ‘honourary Canadian.'”

But the whole issue of CanCon in the age of the Internet probably deserves to be reconsidered. If you’re not familiar with this, the basic premise is that Canadian broadcasters are required to play a certain fraction of Canadian content, as a way of supporting Canadian artists who might otherwise be drowned out by the bigger and better-funded American industry (or as cultural protectionism, take your pick). Many Canadian artists have gotten airplay via this support, and there are some artists (like Sloan and The Tragically Hip) that are superstars north of the border but who’ve never really made it big in the US.  When broadcast was the primary means of disseminating music and video, the CanCon requirements made a certain amount of sense (remember, something like 90% of Canadians live within 100 mi – ie within broadcast range – of the US border). But it’s not clear how it’s going to shake down these days. On the one hand, the global playing field is increasingly leveled by the existence of Internet. On the other hand, it makes it easier to follow, see, and support local bands. Tellingly, one of the reasons why CBC Radio 3 decided to go with the 100% (give or take) Canadian approach in the merger is because, in a crowded online marketplace,  it differentiates the station from the rest of the world.

MP3: The Flaming Lips – After the Goldrush (Neil Young cover) [more]

MP3: Ben Gibbard – Complicated (Avril Lavigne cover)

MP3: Neko Case – If You Knew [more]

Image: Ride On by Flickr user eskimo_jo, reposted here under its Creative Commons license.