Category Archives: music
Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favorite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.
I was 8 when Cyndi Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual” was released, and I discovered it on cassette tape. Before then there was Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Prince, so when Cyndi came along, bursting with immense confidence, talent and unapologetic decisions, it was hard not to notice. Yup, even at 8, drowning in the “Just Say No” marketing of the 80s. I feel lucky that it landed in my lap when it did. I can’t remember the source, it was very likely intended for my older sister, but with youthful sponge-like absorption, I inhaled that album, playing each side over and over until I could hear the notes of the next song in my head as the previous one was fading out.
Red Bull Sound Select at Tattoo Rock Parlour this past Thursday night was a pleasant wave of warmth on a cold Toronto night. Allie, River Tiber, and Jessy Lanza performed for 3 dollars a head. All you had to do was sign-up to the Red Bull Sound Select email list and RSVP that you were coming. The 3-band showcase featured a mostly-full house of patrons eager to distract themselves from the sudden change in weather.
Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favourite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.
Some time ago I took on the “just because” task of cataloging my hundred favorite songs. This was not an easy task. I found that no matter what I did, I was never entirely comfortable with calling the list definitive. One of the things I learned in the process is that favorite songs and favorite bands don’t necessarily go hand-in hand. I’d gotten pretty far into the list before I realized I had some glaring omissions. It was incredibly difficult to choose songs by one of my absolute favorite bands – Steely Dan. I found myself struggling to pick a few to include since their absence would make no sense at all.
Having to wonder why it was so hard to pick favorites brought me to a realization about this enigmatic Walter Becker and Donald Fagen duo that has become part of the fiber of my being over decades: It is the overarching concept-sound-imprint of Steely Dan that draws me in. Like their magnum opus, Aja (1977), Steely Dan is a unified experience. You can lift out individual songs, but a discussion of each one in turn is a very partial sum of the parts. I love this band from having absorbed their music whole cloth through time. This love has taken me on lots of adventures – an amusing and geeky one in 2008 when a friend and I took on our own “Steely Dan Drink Quest” to imbibe all drinks mentioned in SD songs and Becker and Fagen solo recordings (Drinking “kirschwasser from a shell” was not the soothing tropical experience I had expected.).
Here, I will share some tunes with which I resonate and bits of my personal experience. To explore the band with more depth, pick an album, relax, grab a beverage of choice, and listen start to finish. Try it old school style, lyrics in hand (or on screen).
Biff Bam Pop! presents The GAR! Podcast, the Glenn Walker and Ray Cornwall weekly podcast where they talk unrehearsed about whatever happens to come to mind. It’s an audio-zine for your mind, a nerd exploration of a nerd world. This week, Ray is too sick to talk, so I’ve recruited The Bride, Jenn Walker, to sub for him. We’re talking about the big “Saturday Night Live” anniversary special, the new Ghostbusters, and even comics, and television, along with a new spin on all the usual stuff. See and hear more after the jump.
One of the most anticipated releases among genre fans (including this kid of the 80s here) is LOST THEMES, the long-awaited musical project from “the master of horror”, John Carpenter. In essence, it’s a collection of music for movies that don’t exist, a bold experiment for Carpenter, but one he was excited to take on.
“Lost Themes was all about having fun… It can be both great and bad to score over images, which is what I’m used to. Here there were no pressures. No actors asking me what they’re supposed to do. No crew waiting. No cutting room to go to. No release pending. It’s just fun. And I couldn’t have a better set-up at my house, where I depended on (collaborators) Cody (Carpenter, of the band Ludrium) and Daniel (Davies, who wrote the songs for I, Frankenstein) to bring me ideas as we began improvising. The plan was to make my music more complete and fuller, because we had unlimited tracks. I wasn’t dealing with just analogue anymore. It’s a brand new world. And there was nothing in any of our heads when we started other than to make it moody.”
The album releases next week (February 3rd) through Sacred Bones Records, as well as digitally via iTunes and other networks. If you’re the kind who likes to try before they buy, though, NPR is streaming the album in its entirety right here.
For anyone who grew up on Carpenter’s films in the 80s ( as well as his soundtracks ), this is a certified blind-buy.
Biff Bam Pop! presents The GAR! Podcast, the Glenn Walker and Ray Cornwall weekly podcast where they talk unrehearsed about whatever happens to come to mind. It’s an audio-zine for your mind, a nerd exploration of a nerd world. This week, we’re talking about the great Meh/Groupon war, Scott Snyder’s Batman, and Eric Clapton, along with a half-dozen other topics. See and hear more after the jump.
In a year that might well be remembered for one of the worlds largest bands giving their album away for free – much to the chagrin of many music listeners, there’s was plenty of great music to get excited about.
Albums from Ryan Adams, U2, Taylor Swift, Beck, Foo Fighters and many others made the rounds on airwaves, speakers and ear buds in 2014. Still, some albums, some songs were more resilient, more beautiful, catchier and more…”top” than the others,
That’s what this list is for.
A list showcasing the Top 5 albums I heard this year, like I write every year. Here were the albums I played relentlessly. Are any of your favourites on it?
Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favorite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love. This week, BBP contributor Robin Renee talks about Gary Wilson’s You Think You Really Know Me, check it out after the jump.