Awesome Canadians honored on Polaris Music Prize 2011 shortlist

Awesome Canadians honored on Polaris Music Prize 2011 shortlist

You heard it here first: Canada is the new Portland/Williamsburg/Milton Bradley’s Candyland. You go to Canada and the place is just swimming with super-talented musicians. For real (NOTE: absolutely none of this is real), once I went to Toronto and there was one of those crazy McDonald’s where you can put vinegar on your fries and even order pizza, and it was literally staffed entirely by members of Arcade Fire. I was so amazed that I walked outside to breathe in their clean, northern air and savor my vinegar pizza™ and as I was sitting there, I was approached by a BLUEJAY who had been in a band with LESLIE FEIST. This was so astounding that I decided to see more of this beautiful country. I got on the highway and was halfway to Montreal before I realized that THE HIGHWAY CONSISTED OF A STRANGE CANADIAN MIXTURE OF ASPHALT AND HAIR FROM THE MEMBERS OF BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE. So, everything in Canada is musical. And magical. It is a magical, musical land.

At least that’s the impression one might get from the shortlist for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize, set to be awarded on September 19. These people are puttin’ birds on EVERYTHING, and they’re making genre-bending or just straight up supremely well-rounded music while they’re at it. Now, it’s no surprise that Arcade Fire’s album The Suburbs did extremely well at the Grammys, but check out some of these other honorees. Colin Stetson? Austra? The Weeknd? Braids? Destroyer? It really says something awesome about a nation when not only does it have a cool, supportive award like Polaris, but also a varied group of largely indie artists to choose from. You can catch live performances from the nominated artists during the awards gala via SiriusXM Satellite Radio 152 (North America), CBC Radio 3 (worldwide), or by streaming the webcast on

Polaris Music Prize shortlist:

• Arcade Fire, The Suburbs
• Austra, Feel It Break
• Braids, Native Speaker
• Destroyer, Kaputt
• Galaxie, Tigre et diesel
• Hey Rosetta!, Seeds
• Ron Sexsmith, Long Player Late Bloomer
• Colin Stetson, New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges
• Timbre Timbre, Creep On Creepin’ On and
• The Weeknd, House of Balloons

• Polaris Music Prize:

Hercules and Love Affair bring Blue Songs and pink dresses to America on tour this summer

Much like Justin Timberlake brought sexy back, New York house group Hercules and Love Affair brought disco back. A mere three years ago, producer Andy Butler dusted off the ol’ glitterball and debuted the outfit’s first, self-titled album, a glistening house creation with sultry guest vocalists, lush dance grooves, and nostalgia-tinged hedonism galore. Now Hercules and Love Affair are back, with a brand new album, a brand new tour and a brand new direction. In a step away from the first album’s NY club feel, the new album Blue Songs was conceived by Butler in Denver, recorded in Vienna with techno producer Patrick Pulsinger, and will be performed LIVE in concert venues from Dallas to Philly.

So, with all these crazy new places incorporated into the H&LA sound, what’s it gonna sound like when you’re sipping a $12 Bud Lite Lime at Washington, DC’s famed Jiffy Lube Live? Some kind of over-the-top hybrid of Slim Cessna’s Auto Club as fronted by Derrick May? Okay, so maybe it’s not that extreme, or even that “BRAND NEW.” According to Butler, the new album — which has already come out overseas — will still have those essential disco and house elements, but will stand apart from its predecessor because of the inclusion of “more experimental, softer music.” Vocalist Kim Ann Foxman returns, and new guest vocalists like Venezuelan singer Aerea Negrot, Kele Okereke (Bloc Party), Mark Pistel (Meat Beat Manifesto), and Shaun Wright also appear on the album — although no word yet who’ll be swinging by on tour. Blue Songs comes out in the US on August 16 via Moshi Moshi. And to celebrate, two days later (August 18) Hercules and Love Affair head out to a concert hall near you, bringing glamour, hot beats, and cool times to fans of music venues with corporate names all across America.


08.18.11 - Washington DC - Jiffy Lube Live
08.19.11 - Philadelphia, PA - Susquehanna Bank Center
08.20.11 - Boston, MA - Comcast or Jiffy Lube Live
08.21.11 - New York, NY - Nikon at Jones Beach
08.23.11 - Atlanta, GA - LakeWood
08.24.11 -Tampa, FL - 1-800 Ask Gary Amphitheater
08.25.11 - Miami, FL - BayFront
08.27.11 - Houston, TX - Cynthia Wood Mitchel Pavilion
08.28.11 - Dallas, TX - Gexa Energy Pavilion
08.30.11 - Alburquerque, NM - The Pavilion
09.02.11 - San Diego, CA - Cricket Wireless Amphitheater
09.03.11 - San Francisco, CA - Shoreline Amphitheater
09.04.11 - Irvine Meadows, CA - Verizon Wireless

• Hercules and Love Affair:
• Moshi Moshi:

Guided by Voices confirm an end to the reunion; could a re-reunion be next?

After a year of being back together, Guided by Voices have announced their last show as a reunited act. If you haven’t been lucky enough to see see GBV on one of their many (all too brief) reunion shows, you better start planning because Hopscotch Music Festival is reporting that the band’s set there, on September 9, will be the last for the band’s reunited “classic” lineup.

What this means is that the lineup of Robert Pollard on vocals, Tobin Sprout and Charles “Mitch” Mitchell on dueling guitars, Kevin Fennel on drums, and Greg Demos on bass will no longer be playing highly entertaining shows under the Guided by Voices banner with setlists that focus on fucking-awesome albums like Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes. Which is really sad, because now I’ve lost one more desperate and nostalgic link to the 90s that will surely never be returned or sated by Roseanne DVDs or “Stone Cold” Steve Austin movies. But at least I can hope for Robert Pollard reuniting himself and some random other dudes as Guided by Voices, even if it’s not as “classic.”

Anyway, check out one of the shows below and revel in dated, scratchy, and pixelated memories of a decade long-lost to the unwavering march of time.

The Last Fucking Guided by Voices Tourdates Ever:

08.11.11 - Oslo, Norway - Oya Festival
08.13.11 - Omaha, NE - Maha Music Festival
09.03.11 - Los Angeles, CA - FYF Fest
09.09.11 - Raleigh, NC - Hopscotch Music Festival

• Guided by Voices:

Earth take a break from dooming the West Coast to doom the Southeast in equal measure

Earth, Seattle-based metal giants (and the last frontier), have announced that their seemingly endless tour will be extended further still. While currently on tour in the West Coast, the band took a moment to reveal a series of dates out-and-about in America’s Southeastern states. Furthermore, in very exciting news, Earth announced that they will be accompanied by Mount Eerie(!!!).

If you’re one of the remaining nerds that hasn’t yet heard about Earth, then I recommend that you sell all your possessions, buy a car, drive to the South by September 8 and watch Earth play a show. Or you could just check out our recently published Favorite 25 Albums So Far and let us tell you why Earth rocks our world.

Earth Southern tour (all dates w/ Mount Eerie):

09.08.11 - Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle
09.09.11 - Raleigh, NC - Hopscotch Music Festival
09.10.11 - Atlanta, GA - Caledonia
09.11.11 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl
09.12.11 - Huntsville, AL - Flying Monkey Arts
09.13.11 - Birmingham, AL - Bottletree
09.14.11 - New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
09.16.11 - Memphis, TN - Hi Tone Café
09.17.11 - Nashville, TN - The End

• Earth:

RIP: Jerry Ragovoy, songwriter of hits by The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Diana Ross

From The New York Times:

Jerry Ragovoy, who wrote or collaborated on some of the most soulful ballads of the 1960s, including the Rolling Stones hit “Time Is on My Side” and the Janis Joplin signatures “Piece of My Heart,” “Cry Baby” and “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder),” died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 80.

The cause was complications of a stroke, his wife, Beverly Matson Ragovoy, said.

• Jerry Ragovoy:

Ottawa Bluesfest cut short after stage collapses during severe storm

It was the final day of Ottawa Bluesfest on Sunday. Cheap Trick had just finished trudging their way through their eight billionth performance of “I Want You” when we festivalgoers saw a flock of birds above the main stage suddenly lose control of their flight path and were whisked away like garbage. A black cloud was fast approaching, looking like something straight out of a shitty disaster movie and initially treated as such: “Hey, look at that horrifying sky approaching us. Let’s watch what happens.”

Moments later, we were all collectively shitting our pants when that black cloud descended on Bluesfest like a precursor to the apocalypse, whipping fans with 120 km/h winds and littering the festival grounds with flying branches, garbage, beer cups, and Robin Zander’s comically over-sized hat.

We weren’t really panicking, though, until a huge crack was heard near the main stage, and thousands of festival attendees watched their dreams of seeing Death Cab for Cutie literally collapse into a heap of stage material, lights, and corporate sponsorship banners, as the main stage could not bear the force of the winds. Thankfully, the stage collapsed away from the audience. You can see both the collapsed stage above and the video of it happening below.

There are conflicting reports right now, but anywhere from two to five people were injured, including one in critical condition. However, Bluesfest’s official statement is that there were “no serious injuries on site.” Expect my review of the festival soon.

• Ottawa Bluesfest: