The Arkells Live From the Vancouver Olympics

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The Arkells were one of the bands I was really looking forward to checking out during the Olympics.  The band was just nominated for a Juno award for best new group.  (If you're not familiar with the Junos, they're like the Grammies, but for Canadians.)  Busy little beavers, the Arkells played 4 different shows during the Olympics.  I saw them the Friday night they were opening for the Sam Roberts Band at the Surrey Celebration Site.
Full of energy and smiles, the band didn't disappoint. The Arkells are a fun band to see live. A rock band with quirky songs and great stage presence.  I think they played pretty much every song on their album "Jackson Square".  If you're not familiar with these guys, I definitely suggest you check them out.  It's a fun listen.  They're one of those bands that grow on you the more you listen to their music.  It's good right off the bat, but after a few more listens, you really realize how great they are.  Yeah, the songs have fun names like "Oh, the Boss is Coming!"and "No Champagne Socialist", but isn't that just another reason to like them?

Lead vocalist Max Kerman definitely seemed to be enjoying the interaction with the audience during the show.  He's one of those guys that adds some fun banter to between songs.  I don't know about you, but I tend to like that.  For me, it makes for a closer experience between the band and the audience.  Kerman shared some fun anecdotes about the songs.  Did you know that the album is named after the Jackson Square Mall in their hometown of Hamilton, Ontario?  A couple of the songs also draw inspiration from said mall.

Reaching the end of "John Lennon", the Arkells led the audience in a chorus from the Beatles "With a Little Help From My Friends".   How fun!  During Sam Roberts's set, he brought the Arkells back on stage to help with his song, "Brother Down".  (More on that in an upcoming post.)  I didn't really want the show to end. It was so much fun.

Never heard the Arkells, but want to?  Check out this nifty video for "Oh, The Boss is Coming!":

Dan Mangan Live From the Vancouver Olympics

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I know I've said this before, but free concerts are awesome. Just awesome. I saw 4 great bands back to back one night at one of the Olympic celebration sites. For free. Insanity, I tell you. After doing this a few times, you get really good at figuring out what time to get in line so you don't have to stand there for more than a few minutes. It's an art, almost. We kept trying to take pictures of the lines the first night we went out for a show, but they all ended up blurry. Even so, it's still beautiful in this city, even standing in line for two hours in the rain.


I'd heard of Dan Mangan, but I'd never seen his show.  He seemed so excited and almost disbelieving that he was playing in his hometown of Vancouver at the Olympics.  He was charming, bashful, friendly and just fantastic.  If you've never heard of Dan Mangan, I highly recommend you go in search of his music and give it a chance.  Here, let me help you.

Being at the show was like having "one of those" late night conversations with your best friend.  You've had a few drinks maybe, or you're just feeling a bit vulnerable.  Everything is said with such candor, you immediately feel closer.  You're getting a little peak into Mangan's soul, most definitely.  It's touching and moving and gives you the hunger for more.  Here's a snippet of "You Silly Git" to give you an idea:

i’m mr. charming without the charming
and i can hear the eyebrows raise when i start singing
’cause the songs i sing are all about myself.
you can read me like a book, i’m not as clever as i look.
i’ve got a sneaky kind of selfish that i keep up on the shelf
with jars of double-sided comments for people who’ve done nothing wrong.
preparing for the lights and always practicing my sha-na-na’s

After the show, I bought Mangan's newest album, "Nice, Nice, Very Nice".  For a guy with a guitar, the sound is quite full.  The feeling in the songs resonates.  It's a bit of a voyeuristic feeling to really examine what's being said.  Each lyric is dripping with sincerity and raw honesty.  I can't stop listening to it. It's also really fun to hear songs that mention Vancouver here and there.  My favorite on the album, "Tina's Glorious Comeback" starts with a bit about this city.  I think it makes me like that song even more.

Go listen, and if you're lucky enough to find him playing in your town, by all means go!  There aren't many shows you'll go to where the guy behind you might yell "I love robots!" randomly during the show.

I'm going to write about each of the bands we saw during the Olympics.  You can look forward to more posts about Sam Roberts, the Arkells, Jully Black, Tambura Rasa, Chocolat, the Stereophonics and Damian Marley

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For all of you Twitter folks, you can now follow Mix Tape = Love over there.  Yay for the 140 character update!

Matisyahu Live from the Vancouver Olympics

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IMG_0500One of the great things about the Olympics being in the city where I live is the free concerts.  Every night there's a staggering amount of free shows all over Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, Whistler and West Vancouver.  It's difficult to decide which show to see some nights.  The shows average 45-60 minutes, which isn't bad for a free show.  For me, it's a great chance to check out some artists that I might now have otherwise gone to see.

The night of the Matisyahu show we arrived around 7:30 for the 10pm show.  The line was almost two blocks long at this point.  I should also mention that there are 3-4 bands playing in a row each night, with the 10:00 being the last.  After waiting an hour and a half in the Vancouver rain, we were ushered through the security checks and finally into the space where the outdoor show was about to start.  Mental note:  arrive before 7pm to avoid the lines!  No matter, the vibe inside was amazing.  Everyone seemed to be smiling and excited for the upcoming show.

I've always liked Matisyahu, but I've never seen him live.  It was definitely an great experience.  The rebbe certainly puts on a great show.  One of the things that really struck me was how genuinely happy he seemed to be here.  With a smile that stretched from ear to ear between songs, he seemed to warm up the cold, soggy crowd with energy alone.  It's always nice to get warm fuzzies from a show.

The live songs were definitely a more stripped down version of the songs on his albums.  The sound was much more raw.  For me, that added to the experience.  Matisyahu's songs are largely about faith and love and hope.  All of these things are greatly lacking in the world these days and it seems quite fitting to be hearing during a world event like this.

NBC has been using Matisyahu's "One Day" as a backdrop to many of its advertising before and during the games.  Such a beautiful message to send.  I hope it brings more people to his music.  I know that I, for one, bought his new album the day after the show and now I can't stop listening to it.  It's just been on repeat on my iPod.

One of the coolest parts of the show was Matisyahu beat boxing.  Thankfully for you guys, someone recorded it and tossed it up on YouTube.  Check it out.  :)

Radiolab Does It Again

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I've been listening to some old Radiolab podcasts lately. There was quite a bit of great feedback when I shared the podcast about Juana Molina a few months ago so I thought I'd share a few more. (If you haven't checked out Juana Molina's music, I highly recommend it, by the way.)  

You can always get the Radiolab podcasts from iTunes if you like to listen to things on your iPod or Zune or whatever. You can also stream or download the podcast episodes directly from their Radiolab pages if you'd rather. Here are 4 that I think you'll especially like:  

Musical Language This is an old one, but I think it's my absolute favorite of all the Radiolab podcasts. It discusses the music in everyday language. You'll never hear language the same way again.  

Pop Music: Why do songs get stuck in your head? This episode also features an amusing story about the Elvis of Afghanistan.  

It Might Be Science: They Might Be Giants do a record about Science. Funny, great music and educational.  

Radiolab Shorts - In C: This one is a short. I was completely lost in the music as I was listening to this episode. If nothing else, it's a great look at how different musical styles and approaches can make the same piece of music sound vastly different.  

Happy listening!

Bad Google, Bad

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Reposted from Paste Magazine's article here:

Google's Blogger Deletes Music Blogs to Widespread Outrage

This week, Google’s Blogger began a systematic take-down of music blogs such as Living Ears and I Rock Cleveland, claiming that repeated copyright violations regarding songs posted to the blogs had moved them to action. The trouble, as many angry bloggers are pointing out, is that many of the songs in question weren’t in violation of copyright in the first place. Even so, Digital Millennium Copyright Act claims filed against the bloggers resulted this week in Google’s removal of their content from the Blogger host.

Gorilla Vs. Bear is one prominent music blog that has survived the take-down tempest. Although the blog’s bread-and-butter posts come in the form of streaming MP3s, founder and editor Chris Cantalini says he’s never received a DMCA take-down notice. “I make every effort to be respectful of copyrights, and work closely with bands and labels to obtain permission for every MP3 I post,” he tellsPaste. “But then again, I’m sure some of the deleted blogs did that as well.”

Google responded in a post yesterday, explaining, “Last summer, we updated our enforcement of the DMCA. Our current policy is that when we receive a DMCA complaint, we notify the blogger about the complaint by e-mail and on the Blogger dashboard; reset the offending post to ‘draft’ status, allowing the blogger to remove the offending content; [and] send a copy of the complaint to”
The statement went on to say that if a DMCA claim has been filed in error, it is “imperative that you file a DMCA counter-claim so we know you have the right to the music in question.” However, it doesn’t appear that Google passed that information (or instructions for filing a counter-claim) to bloggers before removing their sites.

Many of the DMCA claims have been filed by the International Federation of Phonographic Industry, which represents over 1,400 members (including major record labels such as Columbia and Capitol) in 72 countries. And while there have indeed been real violations of copyright, many of the deleted bloggers report having received DMCAcomplaints in error. As Bill Lipold of I Rock Cleveland said in a bloggers’ discussion on, every DMCA complaint he’s received in two years was for a label-approved MP3 posting.

The take-downs are bad news not just for bloggers, but for artist promotions as well. “Music blogging is a big part of music PR these days,” Candice Jones of Team Clermont Publicity tells Paste. “There are companies out there who solely promote to blogs and focus on social networking for bands as well. The take down of these blogs for allegedly violating copyright laws and Blogger’s terms of service is ridiculous.”

It’s unclear why Google chose to take such sweeping, drastic action, but Jones has a theory: “I think it’s just a way for Google to cover their own butt.”

Breakup Songs: A Not So Valentine's Day Mix

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From NPR's All Songs Considered is a fun alternative to the sappy Valentine's music out there right now.

This is a great mix of artists.  Each song is full of sadness, angst and/or frustration.  Kick love in the teeth and give this great podcast a listen.

You can stream all of the songs in the mix directly from the story page or you can download the podcast by clicking here.

Also nifty - All Songs Considered will allow you to download the mp3s used in the podcast if you really like it. Cool, huh? Just click on that url that says something about a podcasting tool and it'll take you to a page with links for each mp3 individually.