If You Ain´t First, You´re Last

Fri Mar 27
Peter Åstedt

Why do everything just halfway? What’s the point of going to a just one day on a four-day conference? Why just write a perfect song and then record it on an 8 track recorder with the worst possible sound? Or not having an ok song and then enter Abbey Road and think they will fix the problem.

If you can’t afford the whole thing. Either don’t do it or put everything on the same level. I don’t  know how many times I have had an artist approaching me with a recording for 10,000 dollars and I ask how much you will spend on PR? And they have spent all their budget on their recording.

Or artists that take all their money going on a showcase festival and can only stay there the one night they play with no one else to pick up the contacts. And they spent all their money so they can’t even follow up any opportunity the festival actually gives them.

Too many don’t really get things done in full. They cut corners and think it will work. And, it’s actually doing the full job is the things that actually get you somewhere, the half-done job is just a waste of money.

BTW-Soraia, The Pack AD, Black Absinthe, Caravan Of Jazz Unison Benefit, Good Lovelies, Donna Lugassy, Kendal Thompson

Fri Mar 20
Soraia Photo Credit Andrew Saeh

This week Talking Heads sets the tone with ‘Life During Wartime’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jShMQw2H2cM

Here’s some fresh material, mostly of a sturdy, we-will-not-be moved sensibility, ideal for keeping self-isolated spirits up. Leading the charge, Philadelphia rock quartet Soraia with just out new album 'Dig Your Roots' via Steven Van Zandt's label Wicked Cool Records.

Stream 'Dig Your Roots' here: https://orcd.co/digyourroots.

Stream/download the latest single "Superman Is Gone" here: https://orcd.co/supermanisgone.

Cancellations and Compassion

Fri Mar 20
Cancellations and Compassion

The Corona Virus aka Covid-19 is now officially a pandemic causing panic and pandemonium around the globe. Every facet of life and business is affected by this virus including the music and entertainment industry.

We have survived 9/11 and SARS in the past twenty years but this Corona Virus seems to be much more intense. Perhaps because it’s global and mostly because it’s so fluid and unpredictable. Every day we wake up to the ground and ground rules shifting under our feet.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It – Not the End of the World

Fri Mar 20
Peter Åstedt

For all of us, the news and writing around the Corona Virus (Covid-19)  seems overwhelming right now. And yes, I wrote about it when SXSW closed. The truth is that no one really knows what is going to happen. And it might not be as bad as you think.

This will be like 9/11 - ‘a before and after’ Covid-19.  9/11 affected a lot of security and border issues, Covid-19 will directly affect the music industry like nothing really before.  Record labels, studios, and publishers will be fine. Here it is the live industry that will get hit the hardest. The live sector is still the biggest part of the music industry, over fifty percent in most parts of the world. Also, this sector hasn’t had problems like this ever before. Just that we closed smaller gig places. That hasn’t affected the big companies, Covid-19  has now just affected everyone big time.

Sultans Of String Release New Video Asi Soy

Fri Mar 20
Yasmin Levy Photo Credit Ali Taskiran

Internationally awarded and honoured Canadian quintet Sultans of String collaborates with over 30 musicians on Refuge, including Yasmin Levy, Béla Fleck, Robi Botos, Ifrah Mansour, Demetrios Petsalakis, Imad Al Taha, Amir Amiri, Sammy Figueroa, Twin Flames, and many others on the wide-ranging treatise on displaced peoples, Refuge.

On this visionary seventh album, Sultans of String bring their unique brand of musical synergy and collaboration to bear on 13 songs that speak to the challenges facing the world’s displaced peoples--their stories, their songs, their persistence and their humanity.

On track #11, Asi Soy (This is Me), the band combined songwriting with Yasmin Levy, an acclaimed Israeli artist known for her twist on Sephardic songs. The musical tradition came from her father who recorded and preserved folk songs in Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish language that emerged in the territories of the ancient Ottoman Empire after Jews were exiled from Spain in 1492.

BTW -Dan MacDonald, Rory Block, Young Thieves, Girl Pow-R, Rose Cousins, Sarah Harmer, Becky Bowe

Fri Mar 13
Dan MacDonald

This week’s my fave format, the mixed bag. First outta the bag, Dan MacDonald. Dude’s from a family of musicians from the small village of Ironville, Cape Breton and began fiddling around at a very early age. His fiddle education came mostly from his father, Lloyd MacDonald, who is a well-schooled fiddler, and from the surrounding musical culture of Cape Breton Island. In the late 1980s, MacDonald, and his family formed Scumalash, a traditional Cape Breton band, with whom he toured throughout the United Kingdom between 1988 and 1992, culminating in the release of a self-titled album. Scumalash recently returned from a reunion tour of England.

MacDonald moved to Toronto in 2003, where he became a co-host at the Irish music session at Dora Keogh Irish pub, which is where I became acquainted with his stellar skills and amiable perso. He hooked up with the traditional Irish group, Spraoi. Spraoi.In 2006, MacDonald became music director of The Magic of Ireland, an Irish dance and music show, with which he toured the UK, Canada, the USA and Europe.

Juno-Nominated Girl Pow-R Releases Medley of Single Of The Year

Fri Mar 13
Girl Pow-R

Chart-topping and touring powerhouse Toronto-based all-girl teen pop band Girl Pow-R are once again inspiring young women across the country as they receive their first JUNO Award nomination for 2020 Children’s Album of the Year! And to celebrate, they continue to put the spotlight on others: This year’s JUNO nominees for Single Of The Year featuring songs from the Single Of The Year category - Alyssa Cara, Bulow, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, Lennon Stella, and Scott Helman. 

The ceiling-shattering nod as one of the youngest acts to ever receive a nomination lands for their debut release, This Is Us — available now.

Hot on the heels of the album’s critically acclaimed hits “Never Let Go” — which debuted on the iTunes Canada Children’s chart at #2 (second only to cultural force “Baby Shark” but ahead of genre mainstays such as Sharon, Lois & Bram, The Wiggles, and Raffi), and #15 in the U.S. — the album’s title track “This Is Us” has received more than 500,000 streams across all available platforms.

Don't Bail Out Too Soon

Fri Mar 13
Peter Åstedt

We have done so many free gigs we really need to get paid for this tour.

I was talking to a manager. She had asked me to give some advice on festivals this summer and I had asked for the conditions on the tour. This was a hard-working project. Both the band and the manager had put up both money and time to get things going. But in so many ways, they had spread the cost in different ways and now the shortage of cash was stopping them to get on the tour they needed.

The problem, in this case, was that they had spent money on things they really didn’t need to spend that much on. Early in a career you really must be a cheap bastard that no one likes and actually save it for the future. The hard part is to be able to tell when you should spend and when you should not?

BTW- Ibrahim Ferrer, Tony Allen/Hugh Masakela, Busty and the Bass, Sour Widows, Small Town Artillery, Madison Violet, Banjofest Guelph 2020

Fri Mar 06
Ibrahim Ferrer

Yeah, I know I’m always on about the live music but there are those albums that must not go unnoticed. World Circuit Records’ special edition reissue of Buena Vista Social Club vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer’s Grammy-winning second solo album Buenos Hermanos is out and available to stream and purchase at http://worldcircuit.lnk.to/BHSpecialEdition.

In celebration of the newly reimagined reissue, WBGO is premiering the never-before-heard track “Me Voy Pa’ Sibanicú;” stream the track at https://www.wbgo.org/post/behold-radiant-ibrahim-ferrer-newly-unearthed… and share it at https://youtu.be/NBjKxYxxyOY.

Self-Sabotage and the Damager

Fri Mar 06
Peter Åstedt

“We had a discussion and feel that posting on social media is not our thing.”

“We like more to be a secret band and then people will post more about us!”

The band I worked with had one of these famous meetings. The ones where they sit in the rehearsal room picking up things from some random dude, like the clerk at the local music store, gave them some tipoff that is totally insane.

Yes, it sounds like a cool idea to be this secret band. In reality, it’s career suicide. Why is it attractive? The main reason is that the band is lazy and really doesn't have the stamina to keep things up and alive. Then this stupid idea sounds really attractive.

As a manager, I can fight this idea. Then, of course, I'm the idiot that doesn't get this new cool thing. Or I can let them try it and slow down their career by a couple of years. And then it’s always a possibility that they quit.

BTW - Ka Fu, Jonathan Emile, Beauty in Chaos, Sass Jordan, Woodhawk, Big Groove, Neil Young

Fri Feb 28
Ka Fu

Born and raised in a closed military city in Russia,  a global nomad currently resident in Milan, Italy, experimental electronic producer Ka Fu has joined forces with Lama’s Dream on ‘Rain Catcher (Ka Fu Remix)’ released on the 14th of February, via Alae Records. Ka Fu’s interpretation of the title track from Lama’s Dream’s new EP Rain Catcher appears alongside remixes by Tuba Twooz and Alae Records founder Ivan Latyshev. In 2019, he burst onto the scene with his album Encoding: Master, an eclectic collection of tracks characterized by Ka Fu’s well-paced production and ability to convey a sense of unyielding forward motion through his sound. The album boasts mixing credits by Klas-HenrikLindblad (Anja Schneider, Rodriguez Jr., The Presets) from Berlin BlackHead Studios and received support from Data Transmission, XS Noize, Child Of House and Progressive Dreamers amongst others.

What You Need is Stamina

Fri Feb 28
Peter Åstedt

You really don't need to be the best to make it in the music industry. It's not like running 100 meters in the Olympics where it only counts if you are the fastest. Even better,  if you break the record to be the fastest in the world. In the music industry, it's not like that.

It's not to be the smartest either. You surround yourself with inspiration and you steal things in a nice way and you will be fine. You really don't have to invent a new instrument. Here you just take things and elevate them a bit and make them your own.

The big issue is that nothing goes fast in the music industry, nothing. It's always delayed. At the same time, it moves so fast so if you leave it for a year you are totally out. In the whole equation, you need to have stamina. Stick to your guns, and do it well.

BTW--Bif Naked, Aloe Blacc, Orchid Ensemble, Yasi, Natalie MacMaster, Gail Bowen, Adam Ndaro Solomon, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Tanya Tagaq, Fergus Hambleton

Fri Feb 21
Bif Naked

Multi-Gold and Platinum-selling Canadian rock star, author, songwriter, manager, producer, human and animal rights activist Bif Naked is packing the pain in her new single, “JIM” — available now!

“This is a song about loss, really,” she shares. “It’s the quintessential story of discovering a betrayal, and “JIM” is that villain. “It’s totally about pain, and facing it head-on. It’s about that disillusionment we all feel when someone turns into an imposter.”

Accompanying the release is “JIM”s official video which reveals Canada’s ‘Princess of Everything’ in her rightful throne, reigning rock supreme and as strong as ever. The track lands ahead of her forthcoming album, Champion— her eleventh studio release.

I’m still fighting, still swinging as a legacy artist, an O.G. At this stage of the game- I am a Champion” Bif says. “I have never allowed myself to be limited, and the direction of this new album was from experimenting and being fearless. I’m excited by it, and fiercely proud of these tracks.”

All-Girl Teen Pop Supergroup Girl Pow-R Land First JUNO Award Nomination for “This Is Us”

Fri Feb 21
Girl Pow-R

Chart-topping and touring powerhouse Canadian all-girl teen pop band Girl Pow-R are once again inspiring young women across the country as they receive their first JUNO Award nomination for 2020 Children’s Album of the Year! 

The ceiling-shattering nod as one of the youngest acts to ever receive a nomination lands for their debut release, This Is Us — available now. 

Hot on the heels of the album’s critically acclaimed hits “Never Let Go” — which debuted on the iTunes Canada Children’s chart at #2 (second only to cultural force “Baby Shark” but ahead of genre mainstays such as Sharon, Lois & Bram, The Wiggles, and Raffi), and #15 in the U.S. — the album’s title track “This Is Us” has received more than 500,000 streams across all available platforms. 

Watch Girl Pow-R: This Is Us (Official Music Video):
https://youtu.be/pWmNaK3tlsM

Finding Dory In an Artist!

Fri Feb 21
Peter Åstedt

I can just assume you have seen the movie “Finding Nemo”? Well in it you have the fish called Dory has a very short memory and can easily be distracted by something shiny. I was in a meeting with some industry people the other day and they compared artists with Dory. Not so nice, but unfortunately very accurate.

We were talking about some artist that was not very active. And the solution was to distract them with something shiny. But it must be something not harmful and shiny, they added. The thing is that the artist is always looking for the next thing. If they’re on a label and it’s not moving in full speed (it seldom does, and when it does they complain that it is going too fast) another label comes around and that label works like shiny things for Dory, gets the artist full attention for a little while. So, the dangerous part is that they would possibly go with the new label, but they need a shiny thing to keep going with the old label.

‘Princess of Everything’ Bif Naked Spares No Punch With New Single & Video “JIM”

Fri Feb 21
‘Princess of Everything’ Bif Naked Spares No Punch With New Single & Video “JIM”

Bif Naked, the multi-Gold and Platinum-selling Canadian rock star, author, songwriter, manager, producer, human and animal rights activist is packing a punch towards pain in her new single, “JIM”.

“This is a song about loss, really,” she shares. “It’s the quintessential story of discovering a betrayal, and “JIM” is that villain. “It’s totally about pain, and facing it head-on. It’s about that disillusionment we all feel when someone turns into an imposter.”

Accompanying the release is “JIM”s official video which reveals Canada’s ‘Princess of Everything’ in her rightful throne, reigning rock supreme and as strong as ever. The track lands ahead of her forthcoming album, CHAMPION — her eleventh studio release.

Watch “JIM” here:
https://youtu.be/t0SKqhAKQy0

BTW-Wes Carroll & Confabulation, PUP, Lexxicon, Jim Beard & John Herington, Sarah Slean & Hawksley Workman, DJ Ten, Taylor Abrahamse, Maja Bannerman, Die Antwood, Destroyer

Fri Feb 14
Wes Carroll

Must be the season, but this week we’re awash in heartfelt love songs and social evaluations. A BC artist now based in Toronto, Wes Carroll and his band Confabulation have released their second studio album Elephant in the Sea. Much like their critically liked debut Off Empire, this one features five vocal tunes and five instrumentals. Genre-wise it messes with modern jazz, hip hop, soul and balladry.

Guitarist, vocalist, rapper and songwriter Carroll honed his craft at Vancouver Island University’s jazz studies program (2014) and is currently doing a master's in jazz performance at the University of Toronto. He walks a virtual tight-rope delicately balancing detailed arrangements with the power of spontaneity. He creates topical songs about issues including social justice, surveillance, mental health, climate change and the requisite love songs. In five years, while maintaining its jazz base, the band has stretched out to include hip-hop grooves, soul and electronica.

A Festival Needs Curation! Bigger Is Not Better!

Fri Feb 14
Peter Åstedt

I just got an email from a band that has played one of the bigger showcase festivals in Europe. Before playing at that festival it was a mark that this artist was going somewhere. I met the booker from that festival last year at another festival who was talking about an act that really does well all over Europe and should easily make the lineup. The booker had a problem though that only around 20% was curated, the rest was bought up by export offices. So, it was hard to even get a band that should be on there.

And when I got the link of this artist today, I can really see it. This artist has no value right now. It is not interesting in any way for the festivals. And has no real leverage right now. A typical buy-in from an export office.

BTW-John Borra, Honey Harper, Nature Of, Marc Bolan, Tiny Fighter, Union Duke, Two Car Train, Ian Maksin & Zaria Band, Peter Hill and Pat Smith, Jessica Stuart w/ Andrea Kuzmich, Reuben & The Dark

Fri Feb 07
John Borra

Terrible thing to say about a punk icon I know but John Borra really has matured like a fine wine. Toronto singer/songwriter Borra releases Blue Wine, his first solo album since 2002, which finds the long-time pillar of the city's alternative music scene shifting back to recording under his own name after three albums with his band Rattlesnake Choir. The album's 11 tracks show strong form with his writing and performing powers; on one hand, it’s exactly the kind of album you’d expect from one of the most influential figures within Toronto’s roots-rock scene – raw, melodic, and bursting with heart and soul. On the other hand, Blue Wine displays maturity and lyrical sophistication of an experienced artist.