After a long cycle of touring their last album, Big Eye Little Eye, with the likes of Sloan and Feist, Toronto’s Golden Dogs seemed to be at the end of the line. The band was exhausted and their bass player, Stew Heyduk, left the group. Main man Dave Azzolini and Jessica Grassia headed back to Canada to recharge their creative juices and began crafting new material in a small garage studio in Toronto owned by their pals, Carlin Nicholson and Mike O’Brien, otherwise known as Zeus. Soon other musician friends began to join in and the band was on a roll. As Azzolini descibes, “It was very much a ‘best idea wins’ situation and the songwriter always had final veto power. It made for a very comfortable environment to make music. It was just musicians getting together to bounce ideas off each other.” The result of the creative ferment is the new album, Coat of Arms, releasing 26 April. First up is the latest single, the uber catchy “Long As You Like”, which has a brand new video that we are premiering today.
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Austin’s Britrock-esque quartet Sounds Under Radio channels the anthemic melodicism of Coldplay and Muse on their latest single “Sing”. The song is so instantly memorable and catchy that it was just selected by American Idol for use in their latest promo spots. That means Sounds Under Radio is going to be getting some major league exposure really soon and will likely be playing those larger venues that their expansive sound is designed for. The band’s latest album is Where My Communist Heart Meets My Capitalist Mind, releasing 3 May, and is described by the group as “a record about people and the internal governing of the self”. Lofty stuff, but it’s good to aim high. The video for “Sing” was directed by Jeff Ray.
Harry Nilsson allegedly wrote the song “One” after unsuccessfully trying to reach the object of his affection. The beep beep beep rhythms at the beginning of the song are meant to mimic the busy signal he heard on the telephone. “One” went on to become a big hit for Three Dog Night, but never was the song more effective than when movie director Paul Thomas Anderson used an Aimee Mann cover version of it over the credit sequence and as the trailer to Magnolia. The 1999 film concerns a day in the life of some seemingly random characters living in the San Fernando Valley. The people, played by such great performers as Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jason Robards, John C. Reilly, William Macy, Julianne Moore, and Tom Cruise, weave in out of each other’s stories in a series of chance encounters. Mann annunciates every word in a clear and somewhat vulnerable voice. She never falters, but always seems a little on the edge. Anderson plays it over shots of the characters who frequently can be seen speaking, yet cannot be heard. This simultaneously expresses their inability to communicate and their profound isolation. They and we are all “One” so to speak, separate but still together in our loneliness.
This playlist sat empty before hearing the buzz bands of SXSW and a few key releases of fave groups (Moby, the Strokes, Radiohead). It began filling up so fast, I’ve already started another. This is a good omen for another great year of new music. The list includes many band members who have grown up together, either in the same family or as childhood friends, which can only reinforce the notion that it’s a good thing not to burn any bridges in your teens or otherwise. After the miserable winter in many parts of the country and heavy snows still pounding some areas, it’s time to celebrate spring with a bevy of new bands and new tunes of some veterans.
1. Smith Westerns/Weekend
I heard plenty about this young trio from Chicago before this song got stuck in my head. The band was formed by brothers Cullen Omori and Cameron Omori with Max Kakacek when they were still in high school. Now just a few years later, this single off their second release provides incredibly catchy psychedelic pop to the indie rock scene.
The Tony-winning stage adaptation of the classic Green Day album, American Idiot is in its final weeks on the Broadway stage. You can still catch the show from April 5 - 24 with the Green Day frontman starring as St. Jimmy.
About the show: The smash-hit, Tony Award®-winning American Idiot is Broadway’s most exciting new musical. The New York Times calls it, “thrilling and emotionally charged, as moving as anything on Broadway!” Based on Green Day’s Grammy® Award-winning multi-platinum album and featuring the smash hits “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, “Holiday” and “21 Guns”, American Idiot is the story of three lifelong friends, forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia. Their search for meaning in a post 9-11 world leads them on the most exhilarating journey of the Broadway season.