A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘popular music

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at the SPECULOOS red dwarf observation program.
  • The Crux examines VX nerve agent, the chemical apparently used to assassinate the half-brother of North Korea’s ruler.
  • Dangerous Minds shares photos of the inhabitants of the Tokyo night, like gangsters and prostitutes and drag queens.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money examines Donald Trump’s tepid and belated denunciation of anti-Semitism.
  • Language Log looks at the story of the Wenzhounese, a Chinese group notable for its diaspora in Italy.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the by-elections in the British ridings of Stoke and Copeland and notes the problems of labour.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a post-Brexit map of the European Union with an independent Scotland.
  • Marginal Revolution reports that a border tax would be a poor idea for the United States and Mexico.
  • The NYRB Daily looks at the art of the medieval Tibetan kingdom of Guge.
  • Otto Pohl notes the 73rd anniversary of Stalin’s deportation of the Chechens and the Ingush.
  • Supernova Condensate points out that Venus is actually the most Earth-like planet we know of. Why do we not explore it more?
  • Towleroad notes Depeche Mode’s denunciation of the alt-right and Richard Spencer.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi considers the question of feeling empathy for horrible people.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the thousands of Russian citizens involved with ISIS and examines the militarization of Kaliningrad.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • At Antipope, Charlie Stross wonders–among other things–what the Trump Administration is getting done behind its public scandals.
  • blogTO notes a protest in Toronto aiming to get the HBC to drop Ivanka Trump’s line of fashion.
  • Dangerous Minds reflects on a Talking Heads video compilation from the 1980s.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reflects on a murderous attack against Indian immigrants in Kansas.
  • The LRB Blog looks at “post-Internet art”.
  • Lovesick Cyborg notes an attack by a suicide robot against a Saudi warship.
  • Strange Maps links to a map of corruption reports in France.
  • Torontoist reports on Winter Stations.
  • Understanding Society engages in a sociological examination of American polarization, tracing it to divides in race and income.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes the many good reasons behind the reluctance of cities around the world to host the Olympics.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that where the Ingush have mourned their deportation under Stalin the unfree Chechens have not, reports that Latvians report their willingness to fight for their country, looks at what the spouses of the presidents of post-Soviet states are doing, and notes the widespread opposition in Belarus to paying a tax on “vagrancy.”
  • Arnold Zwicky looks at the linguistic markers of the British class system.

[MUSIC] “Don’t let Toronto’s buzz bands become bubble bands”

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NOW Toronto‘s Jonathan Bruce offers advise as to what Toronto’s up-and-coming bands can do to avoid getting burned by overexposure.

I saw a band the other day and it wasn’t great. On a bill of five acts, they played the weakest set to the smallest crowd of the night. Forgettable songs, negligible stage presence. The visiting team was outclassed in terms of talent and originality by the hometown Toronto bands on the bill. But somehow, according to my insider intel, they got paid more than the other four combined.

This is how a buzz band becomes a bubble band.

The buzz band is the great hope in an industry plagued by falling record sales. Buzz bands are young, hungry and up for anything. The music biz is eager to sign them and send them on the road, and promoters love them because they sell tickets.

Like the overblown real estate market, buzz bands are out of hand. These acts often come with agents and managers that make dollar demands that are out of whack with reality. Do-it-yourself schlepping is out, and the pop factory is back in. But how much longer can the buzz band factory keep churning them out?

As long as streaming pays out fractions of pennies in royalties, artists will rely on performing live for the bulk of their income. This situation puts major economic pressure on promoters to pay big fees to bands in an increasingly competitive marketplace. And if the artist fails to attract audiences, they flame out and the bubble bursts. Pop!

Having booked close to 2,000 emerging bands for local music series Wavelength over 17 years, I have watched many buzz bubbles burst. We were lucky to see some alumni go on to international fame. We were in the right place at the right time to host early gigs by Broken Social Scene, Constantines, Owen Pallett and Grimes. Many others crashed and burned, but I’m too nice to name-check those acts.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 22, 2017 at 5:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • blogTO looks at deserted Mirvish Village.
  • Crooked Timber reenages with the Rachel Carson and DDT myth.
  • The Crux looks at the Mandela Effect, exploring false memories.
  • Dangerous Minds makes the case for the musical genius of Bobbie Gentry.
  • From the Heart of Europe’s Nicholas Whyte recounts his visit to Albania’s bunker museum.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Brazil’s retirement of its only aircraft carrier.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the extent and speed of events in the Trump Administration.
  • Marginal Revolution engages with a book examining France’s carving out a “cultural exception” in international trade agreements.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reports on the passing of rulership of the Australian micronation of Hutt River.
  • Peter Rukavina shares good advice for visiting museums: visit only what you can take in.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at Russian Orthodox Church opposition to a certain kind of Russian civic nationality, and argues Russia is losing even its regional superpower status.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell reports on how local councils in the United Kingdom are speculating on commercial property.

[MUSIC] Blondie, “Fun”

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Blondie’s new single “Fun” came out on the 1st of this month, but Towleroad noted yesterday that their outer space-themed video had come out just then.

I really like it. This song is one of the things, incidentally, that made me decide to buy tickets for Blondie’s show this July here in Toronto. (Garbage will be touring with them, too!)

Written by Randy McDonald

February 16, 2017 at 11:34 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Fanfare for Hugh’s Room fundraiser upsets unpaid staff”

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CBC News’ Stephanie Matteis reports on the employees of beleaguered Toronto music venue Hugh’s Room, upset that while their employers will benefit from a fundraiser their back wages are likely to be left unpaid. Surely they, too, deserve something from the music community?

The fanfare about a potential reopening of Hugh’s pub and entertainment lounge, better known as “Hugh’s Room” has many music lovers excited. But it’s upsetting some former staff members, who are still owed wages from the music venue.

The bar closed at the beginning of January, with owner Richard Carson facing insurmountable but undisclosed debt. Supporters have since stepped in to rebrand it as a not-for-profit entity through fundraising.

A GoFundMe campaign started Jan. 27 and has already raised more than $55,000 — more than a third of its goal.

Meanwhile, many who made about $12 an hour are left without compensation they’re owed.

Lisa Fullerton called Hugh’s Room “family,” which is partly why it felt like such a blow to her and others to feel “strung along” about being paid outstanding wages.

The single mom was a cook at the Dundas Street West establishment. She worked there on and off starting in 2010 and had cheques bounce twice in the last half year.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 15, 2017 at 5:45 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes that a Toronto family known for its Christmas lights display may be forced to ratchet back by city inspectors.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the apparent discovery of Kuiper Belt objects around white dwarf WD 1425+540.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper examining the possible orbital inclination of Proxima Centauri b, and points to another one speculating about upper limits to the masses of other exoplanets orbiting P_roxima Centauri.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money links to interviews with different historians noting how close the United States is to a scenario from 1930s Germany.
  • The LRB Blog notes that the actions of the American deep state to undermine elements of the Trump Administration seen as potentially threatening will certainly also undermine American democracy.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw looks at reasons for the continuing gap in life outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer links to a paper looking at the effect of Huey Long’s populism on Louisiana’s economy, noting that he had little effect on the markets. This suggests that counting on the markets to reign in populists before the crash may be a mistake.
  • Strange Maps links to a map and history of the Gagauz of Moldova.
  • Torontoist looks at the continuing decline of live music venues in Toronto.
  • Towleroad notes the origins of Der Spiegel‘s cover art showing Trump with the severed head of lady liberty in a Cuban exile’s work.
  • Window on Eurasia notes differences between how Russians and Americans think about ethnicity and citizenship in their diverse societies.