Posts Tagged ‘ted leo’


Musicians to follow on Twitter

April 2, 2009


Following musicians on Twitter is a fun way to get a peek into the life and minds of some of my favorite artists. If you haven’t seen it  yet, there is a gigantic spreadsheet of musicians on Twitter. But it’s (increasingly) hard to find artists who are interesting to follow.

In general, my criteria for who to follow are: i) it’s an artist that I like and respect, ii) their Twitter postings do not come via a PR firm, iii) they are more than just lists of upcoming gigs, iv) their posts are reasonably literate and grammatical, and (most importantly, and also most subjectively), they have interesting things to say.

Here are my three favourite artists that I’m following on Twitter:

@tedleo (Ted Leo, he of the Pharmacists): Not surprisingly, the hyper-articulate songwriter writes interesting Twitter posts, mostly a mix of the musical, political and the quotidian.

@trentreznor (Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails): I think one of my favorite tweets ever is Trent Reznor’s plaintive and clueless (and entirely leg-pulling) query about his screen going blue and freezing up, which I imagine elicited much sympathy and helpful advice.

@senatorcain (Chris Cain of We Are Scientists): Chris Cain’s Twitter postings are exactly as random as you would expect from him. They add a dash of surrealism to my day.

And the top three people I’d love to see on Twitter:

David Bowie. The real one, not the fake one with one update and nearly 12,000 followers.

John Darnielle, of the Mountain Goats. Although I’m not sure that the notably verbose Darnielle could say anything in less than 140 characters.

John K. Samson, of the Weakerthans. An excellent contender for the laurel of Canada’s Poet-Laureate, once Leonard Cohen decides he no longer wants the job.

Your turn – who do you follow, and why? And who would you like to see on Twitter?

MP3: Ted Leo – Since U Been Gone (Kelly Clarkson cover) [buy]


Threesome: Alt-rock continuity

January 5, 2009

[embedded YouTube video; if you can’t watch it, click here]

I was at the Ted Leo concert with someone who was much younger than me, and she didn’t really know who The Waterboys were. With the Clear Channel-ization of commercial radio, the dearth of good independent and alternative stations, and the general decline of radio listening, it occurs to me that we are losing a certain musical continuity. I grew up with Toronto’s The Edge, and it exposed me to a lot of music that came out before I was too young to hear or appreciate it, but was still in occasional rotation. It meant that everything new that I listened to fit into a context of decades of college and indie radio. If you’re mostly listening to bands from their Myspace pages, you might not be getting exposed to these bands or sounds of yesteryear.

So here are  three songs that are all lost classics from the 1980s – brilliant, emotionally-moving songs. As well as the Waterboys, here’s Australia’s Hunters and Collectors (a live track is below; you can hear the canonical version in the video above). I heard Squeeze‘s “Tempted” coming out of a car parked on my street a few days ago and it reminded me how much I loved it (thank you, whoever you are!).

MP3: The Waterboys – The Whole of the Moon (1985)

MP3: Hunters and Collectors – Throw Your Arms Around Me (live) (1986)

MP3: Squeeze – Tempted (1981)


Concert notes: Ted Leo

December 8, 2008

[embedded YouTube video; if you can’t view it, click here]

[TT the Bear’s, Cambridge, MA; Saturday, December 6, 2008]

I really love Ted Leo. So it was terrific to seem him do a solo gig at the tiny TT the Bear’s in Cambridge, MA (capacity: about 300), even if it was utterly jammed. The setlist focused on his earlier albums and a succession of wonderful covers, including Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” as a set closer. He also reprised his cover of “Fisherman’s Blues” by the Waterboys; you can hear his version during this NPR interview, and the original is below. The Cambridge gig is the start of the tour, and the rest of the dates are here.

MP3: The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues [amazon]


Pre-election playlist

November 1, 2008

Like most progressives in the US, I’m rapidly oscillating between giddy optimism and fear. Naturally, I had to find a set of songs that reflects this. For best effect, set your iTunes playlist to ‘shuffle.’


MP3: The National – Mr November (National/Obama t-shirt, more National)

MP3: Bad Religion – You Are (the Government) (more Bad Religion, Overeducated musicians)

MP3: Billy Bragg – Waiting for the Great Leap Forward (more Billy Bragg, Concert notes)

MP3: Ted Leo – Keep on Pushing (Curtis Mayfield cover) (more Ted Leo, on z=z)


MP3: Bishop Allen – The Bullet and Big D (more Bishop Allen, Listen local)

MP3: Jarvis Cocker – Running the World (NSFW) (more Jarvis Cocker, on z=z)

MP3: The Awkward Stage – The Morons are Winning (more The Awkward Stage)

MP3: The Weakerthans – Pamphleteer (more Weakerthans, on z=z)

And what I really need:

MP3: The Ramones – I Wanna Be Sedated (more Ramones)


Coverage: Ted Leo, “Since U Been Gone”

September 26, 2008

Speaking of Ted Leo, here’s his cover of Kelly Clarkson‘s “Since You Been Gone,” with a bonus bit of the Yeah Yeah Yeah‘s “Maps” thrown in. Enjoy!

MP3: Ted Leo – Since U Been Gone (Kelly Clarkson cover)


Coverage: Ted Leo, “The Spirit of Radio”

July 17, 2008

In honour of Rush’s appearance yesterday on the Colbert Report, and Ted Leo’s appearance this morning on the soon-to-be-defunct Bryant Park Project on NPR, here’s Ted Leo’s cover of Rush’s “The Spirit of Radio.” The story is that this song was inspired by CFNY, Toronto’s independent/alternative radio station, which was a formative musical influence on me as a kid growing up in the city (it’s now 102.1 The Edge). Three things I love in one neat package.

MP3: Ted Leo – The Spirit of Radio (Rush cover; recorded live at WFMU)