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Ongoing History of New Music

Curiouscast

Ongoing History of New Music looks at things from the alt-rock universe to hip hop, from artist profiles to various thematic explorations. It is Canada’s most well known music documentary hosted by the legendary Alan Cross. Whatever the episode, you’re definitely going to learn something that you might not find anywhere else. Trust us on this. read less
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Episodios

Rock Stars Who Were Murdered
29-05-2024
Rock Stars Who Were Murdered
You would think that being a musician would be a very safe existence…I mean, your job is to write and perform music…yeah, you might get into the odd altercation and fight, but it’s not like you’re going to war, right?...yet every once in a while, we hear about a musician being murdered… The earliest example I can find is Alessandro Stradella, an Italian composer of classical music…back in his day—which was the mid-1600s—he was quite the star and was very influential with his six operas, 170 cantatas, and a long list of instrumental compositions… But then on February 25, 1682, he was found stabbed to death in a public square in Genoa…no one was ever convicted although the story is that he was murdered by one of three brothers who accused Stradella of seducing their sister… The first musician I know of who got shot was Pinetop Smith, a boogie-woogie piano player from Chicago…in 1929, just as he was about to go into a recording session, he was shot during a fight at a dance hall…he might not have been the intended victim, but he died all the same… And the first musician of the rock’n’roll era to be murdered was probably Sam Cooke on December 11, 1964…fantastic soul singer…he took a gunshot wound to the chest when Bertha Franklin, the manager of the Hacienda Motel in South Central L.A.…she said it was in self-defence but even today, there are a lot of questions about the case…How many other rock musicians have been murdered since then?...fortunately, not a lot…but there is a tragic list…let’s go through it… Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
StarsNCarsNRockNRoll
22-05-2024
StarsNCarsNRockNRoll
Next to music and my dogs, my biggest obsession is cars…I’ve always been a car nut…i’m one of those people with a list of cars I’ll buy when I win the lottery… I’ll start with production sports cars…a Porsche 911 Turbo 4 will be my daily driver, although there will be a Lamborghini Uris SUV for those times I need to haul people and stuff…for those summer days, I think a McLaren 750s Spider would be cool… I’ll need a car for track days, of course…no one else in the neighbourhood would have a Koenigsegg…I’d probably order the Jekso Absolute…1600 horsepower sounds about right… And just to show everyone that I’m not out to completely destroy the planet, there will be at least one EV…right now, that would be a Rimac Nevera… That’s what? Four million dollars worth of vehicles?...not including insurance and maintenance, of course…I’m never going to win that kind of lottery, but it’s nice to dream… For other people, though, this is the kind of machinery sitting in their air-conditioned, highly secure underground garages…that includes a lot of rock stars… Eric Clapton is so well-known at Ferrari that the company built him a custom one-of-a-kind model that probably cost him upwards of five million…Neil Peart had a selection of very collectible sports cars from the 1960s, all in silver… Brian Johnson of AC/DC has a bunch of Bentleys, Ferraris, and some classic race cars…same with Nick Mason of Pink Floyd…he’s even written a book about this collection… Then there’s everything we use in the car to listen to music…radio, car audio, satellite radio, infotainment systems and all that… All this got me thinking about the relationship between cars and rock…the two things go hand-in-hand…I think we should look at this history, don’t you? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Surprising History of Surf Music
15-05-2024
The Surprising History of Surf Music
Every once in a long while, a new genre of popular music emerges, evolves a little bit and then stays almost exactly the same with only the slightest of variations…not that there’s anything wrong with that…a formula is discovered…it seems to work…so why change it?... Old-school 12-bar blues is an example…it features one of the most common chord progressions in Western music…the style of lyrics, phrasing, structure, and duration have been pretty much standard since the days of gospel and spirituals and African-based oral traditions…an Alabama musician named W.C. Handy was the first to codify 12-bar blues playing around 1905… Ska might be an example…it has many different flavours, but there are common components under the hood, rooted in playing on the off-beat—the “one” and “three” instead of the “two” and “four”… You might say the same about Reggae and its foundations in the debow beat, although you’ll probably get a little pushback from fans… Lemme throw this into the mix: garage rock…two or three chords played on guitar, bass, and drums with a loose, rebellious vibe…nothing too complicated…it’s just gotta feel good… And here’s one more that might not spring to mind right away: surf music…it, too, can come in different forms…as a type of garage rock…it can be punky…it can be hardcore…it’s great for skateboarding or snowboarding…and yes, it’s also about the beach, the boards, and the swells… But it’s also more than that…it’s about guitars, amps, pedals, amps, cars, girls, beer, and parties…it can feature vocals but it might be best experienced as instrumentals…. There’s a lot more to surf music than you might think…and its importance and influence and legacy goes far beyond the beach...…here…let me show you. Show contact info: X (formerly Twitter): @AlanCross Website: curiouscast.ca Email: Alan@alancross.ca Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
More and More Medical Mysteries of Music
08-05-2024
More and More Medical Mysteries of Music
I want you to take a deep breath… It’s only when we focus on our breathing that we realize how important it is that 21% of our atmosphere is made up of oxygen…that is the ideal amount… Drop too, say 15%, and it would cause all sorts of mental and physical impairment…if the oxygen levels were to increase suddenly, we’d suffer “oxygen toxicity,” meaning that our cells would oxidize, leading to exhaustion and death… Meanwhile, spiders, roaches, and other crawly things would grow bigger and bigger because of their biology… if you think we have a wildfire problem now, imagine if those fires had more oxygen as fuel… So, unless you’re hoping for a burning planet covered in spiders the size of a compact car, 21% it is… Music is such an integral of our lives that we have no idea how important it is…I can even tell you…a study by Deezer, the French streaming service, says that to maintain a healthy lifestyle, we should listen to 78 minutes of music per day… The study broke things down even further…that 78 minutes should be portioned this way for maximum benefit… ·      14 minutes of uplifting music to exercise your happiness. ·      16 minutes of calming music ·      16 minutes of music that counteracts sadness. ·      15 minutes of motivational music to help with concentration. ·      And 17 minutes of music that will help you deal with anger. A few suggestions come with the study, too. Abba’s “Dancing Queen” is an example of the sort of happy music we should appreciate…when it comes to anger management, AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” is about perfect, although certain tracks from Rammstein and Metallica are good, too—and Mozart for some reason… This stuff fascinates me…and whenever I run across a study or some research that connects music and the brain and our overall mental and physical help, I bookmark it…and I’ve bookmarked so much that we can now do a full program on it… This is another instalment of “The Medical Mysteries of Music” Show contact info: X (formerly Twitter): @AlanCross Website: curiouscast.ca Email: Alan@alancross.ca Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Most Dangerous Artists in Rock
01-05-2024
The Most Dangerous Artists in Rock
One of the most attractive things about rock is that it’s often dangerous…from the very beginning, rock has been about rebellion, a disregard for the rules, and thumbing its nose at the status quo…rage against the machine summed it up nicely with their song “killing in the name… f-you, I won’t do what you tell me… There’s an edginess to rock that’s addictive…most of us live pretty normal lives, so there’s something cathartic seeing rock stars live out our wildest, most reckless impulses and fantasies…rock stars get to do what we wish we could… When we go to a show, there’s always that hope we’re going to see and experience something a little unhinged, unpredictable, and primal…between gigs, we like to soak up the gossip and stories of bad behaviour from books, biopics, and social media… The music is fine…but we also want spectacle on and off stage… It’s all in good fun—until it’s not…there are limits to what we think is okay…legal lines can be crossed…and there are aesthetic, ethical, and moral areas that are just off limits… But here’s the thing about some artists…they don’t care…they live in their own reality where the normal rules of society just don’t hold…we might see behaviours that are thoughtless, selfish, overly audacious, negligent, self-destructive, incredibly violent, and downright criminal… For some, this is a lifestyle…for others, their dangerousness relates to illness, out-of-control passions, and, in some cases negligence and misadventure… In short, there’s a subset of rock stars who are genuinely dangerous, not to themselves but others…and once we start seeking out these people and examining their actions, what we find can be terrifying on a series of different levels. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
A History of Anonymous Bands
17-04-2024
A History of Anonymous Bands
Usually, the whole idea of being famous is to be, well, famous…you’re known by everyone…your face is everywhere…you’re a celebrity…and you get invited to the best parties, you get endorsements, you get free stuff… Sure, there’s a trade-off…your right to privacy is greatly diminished…your every move is scrutinized…it might become harder to maintain meaningful relationships…and then there’s the constant pressure to live up to this thing you’ve become…this is emotionally draining… After a while, you may start to resent this fame thing…the challenges and pitfalls can overshadow all the perks… But you can also be famous and not famous at the same time…you just have to be very, very careful about revealing who you are… There’s the story of Comte de Saint-German…he was some kind of adventurer in the 1700s who popped up throughout Europe…he spoke almost every language on the continent, knew a lot about chemistry, and was quite the musician….he was so mysterious and amazing that he acquired the nickname “the wonderman”… Remember tank man?... He’s the guy who held up that row of tanks during the crackdown on Tiananmen square in China…no clue who this dude is… Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?...is he the creator of bitcoin?...he disappeared from the internet around 2014 and stayed hidden…there are theories but nothing concrete… Let’s riff on that a little bit more…can you be a famous musician and still be able to walk through the mall without anyone knowing you are?...yes…it’s difficult and comes with its own tradeoffs, but it can be done…plus you have to work very hard to maintain the art of hiding in plain site… This is the history of anonymous artists from the world of rock… Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Uncharted: The Ever-Popular Kurt-Cobain-Was-Murdered Conspiracy
10-04-2024
Uncharted: The Ever-Popular Kurt-Cobain-Was-Murdered Conspiracy
When something bad happens, we want to know why…the weirder and badder the event, the more we need to know… It can’t possibly be random…someone needs to be responsible and held accountable…someone needs to be blamed…and there had better not be any loose ends… Certain segments of the population have always been suspicious of the official story…forget the simplest of most logical explanation…these awful events or phenomenon’s are the work of some kind of secret cabal or organization pulling the strings of life on earth…it was a conspiracy… For example, the most famous murder of modern times was the assassination of JFK on November 22, 1963…more than sixty years later, it seems like no one believes that lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman… To be fair, they might be right…there’s been a lot of investigation into the JFK case over the decades…i’m one of those nuts who reads, watches, and listens to everything involved with the assassination…and I gotta tell you that i’m convinced this was the result of a loose need-to-know operation involving the CIA, the deep stage, Cuban exiles, and American mobsters… There’s also something called “Occam’s razor” which dates back to the 14th century…this Monk—William of Occam—was annoyed at how people blamed supernatural forces when even the simplest thing went wrong…his answer to that was “look, the simplest and most obvious explanation is usually the correct one”… But try that approach with people who believe the earth is flat and that we never went to the moon…Covid-19 was engineered by the media…and the Illuminati live beneath the Denver airport… The world of conspiracy theories is a bottomless pit of weirdness…and when it comes to music, one of the deepest and strangest of these theories has to do with what happened above a greenhouse in Seattle on April 5, 1994… Boy, have I got stories—multiple stories, in fact—about this one…in fact, it might be the most compressive study you’ve ever heard on the subject…this is uncharted: music and mayhem in the music industry, episode 12: it’s the ever-popular Kurt-Cobain-was-murdered theory… Show contact info: X (formerly Twitter): @AlanCross Website: curiouscast.ca Email: Alan@alancross.ca Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Connections 2
10-04-2024
Connections 2
Historians love to investigate causes and effects…it’s possible for a teeny-tiny seemingly inconsequential thing to set off a cascading series of events…and before you know it, the universe has changed forever… Let me give you an example…a bunch of inept anarchists in Sarajevo were out to make a statement about the liberation of Bosnia and Herzegovina under occupation of the Austro-Hungarian empire… When the Archduke Franz Ferdinand visited Sarajevo on June 28, 1914…two guys were set to toss a bomb at his six-vehicle motorcade, but they chickened out…then a guy named Nedeljko Cabrinovic threw a second bomb, but it bounced off the back of one of the cars… The archduke, his wife, and the governor of Bosnia sped off—although the governor suggested that they take a slightly different route…the driver—Leopold Lojka—got confused and turned right instead of left into a very narrow street…  When he tried to back up, the car stalled—and it stalled right in front of another member of the anarchist group named Gavril Princip…up until that second, he’d been discouraged that the assassination plot had failed and had allegedly slinked off to schiller’s delicatessen to get a sandwich and sulk about the afternoon’s failures… (that’s not true, by the way…it just makes for a better story)… Anyway, Princip’s target sitting directly in front of him, trapped…he pulled out his pistol and fired two shots…one hit the Archduke’s wife, killing her instantly…the other hit Ferdinand in the jugular…he died within half an hour… This created a series of crises involving a web of alliances across Europe and within a few months, the great war had begun, resulting in the deaths of 20 million people and injured 21 million more…it led to the Treaty of Versailles , the humiliation of Germany, the rise of Adolf Hitler, the carnage of World War Two, the spread of Communism, the arms race, the cold war, and the world order as we know it… If Leopold hadn’t hung a right instead of a left—or if you like the myth of Princip going for a sandwich—how would the 20th century have been different?... Why am I recounting this?...because there are ways we can make connections like this in the world of rock….here…let me show you… Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Lo-Fi: A History
03-04-2024
Lo-Fi: A History
For the first 60 years of the recorded music industry, things sounded awful…the quality of the recordings people had to put up with were terrible…the old 78 rpm records played on gramophones were no match when it came to hearing music live…we just didn’t have the technology to capture audio so that when we listened back, it sounded real… That began to change in the late 1940s with the introduction of vinyl records: the 33 1/3 rpm vinyl album and the 7-inch 45 rpm single…it changed further with the switch to magnetic recording tape in the early 1950s… New microphones, better tape machines, and further understanding of acoustics when it came to building recording studios…then came better turntables, amplifiers, and speakers…recorded audio started to sound more and more like the real thing… In the middle 50s, people started to hear about something called “high-fidelity”…it was a marketing term invented by the audio industry to describe equipment capable of producing music properly… Once stereo recordings came along in the late 50s, music fans went wild and started buying hi-fi gear for their homes…then their cars…and then for going mobile… It was an endless pursuit for perfect sound, music that was loud, clean, clear, and accurate…meanwhile, recording studios were constantly in a state of retrofitting and refurbishment because artists demanded the best for their music… That was the 1970s…in the 1980s, there was a reaction, a backlash, an artistic regression, after the introduction of the compact disc…for some, this music was too perfect, too shiny, too unreal… They felt it contained none of the imperfections that made it human…beauty, they thought, was in the mistakes…that’s what made music authentic…audio quality mattered less than being able to listen to music that obviously came from the heart… These music fans even had a name for this approach…if the best-sounding audio was high-fidelity, then what they wanted was the opposite: low-fidelity…and that aesthetic continues today…this is the history of Lo-Fi music… Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Songs Based On Real Events
27-03-2024
Songs Based On Real Events
Streaming is a very cool way to access tens of millions of songs with a few pokes on your phone…the idea of being able to listen to virtually any song from any era of human history with such ease is something akin to magic… The downside of streaming is that it doesn’t provide any context to what we’re hearing…a continuous stream of music tells us nothing about the artist or the song…it’s just music, standing alone with nothing to anchor it to anything… It was different in the old days…if you bought an album, dammit, that was an investment…you paid money for it, which created a fiscal relationship with the artist…that meant you were more likely to stick with an album and get deeper into the artist and the songs…otherwise, you had this nagging feeling you had wasted your money… Context means so much to the enjoyment of music—which is probably a reason you’re listening to me right now…you want more than the notes that make up a song… Yeah, sometimes a song is just a song…you know, it’s got a good beat, you can dance to it and maybe sing along…it doesn’t really mean anything more than that… But some songs are very deep…they actually form some part of a historical record…they tell the story of real people, real events and the things that came after… That’s where we’re going with this show: everything we’re about to hear is based on fact, on history, on actual events…and you may be shocked by the truth beyond songs that you’ve been digging all your life…this isn’t anything you’re gonna get from a stream…trust me… Songs in this episode: The Clash - White Riot Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Monday's U2 - Sunday Bloody Sunday REM - What's the Frequency Kenneth? Pearl Jam - Jeremy Nirvana - Polly The Tragically Hip - Wheat Kings Filter - Hey Man, Nice Shot! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Rock Explainer 4
13-03-2024
Rock Explainer 4
A boy cannot become a man in the Satere-Mawe tribe of the Amazon Rain Forest until he can stand being stung by a swarm of Bullet ants…they’re called that because it’s said their sting is as painful as being hit by an actual bullet…if the kid can handle it without shedding a single tear, then he is officially a man…I can’t explain it…and I’ll bet that no one in this tribe can, either…it’s just always been their thing, something that has always been done… Let’s try something more modern…have you ever noticed that any depiction of an iPhone or iPad, the time on the device used to be 9:42 am?...now, it’s 9:41…why?... We need to go back to when Steve Jobs’ unveiled the iPhone in 2007… the first image of the iPhone appeared behind jobs at 9:42 am…and for a while, that was the time shown in all ads…but when the iPad came out, the reveal happed at 9:41 am…from then on, it became a rule that time displayed must be at 9:41… The Apple Watch is an exception…the standard advertisement display time is 10:09 am…not one is sure why, although that’s the old Timex watch commercials always had the time as 1:51…10:09 is the mirror image of that… Now think about your car on the driver’s side…if your car is a standard, the pedals from left to right go clutch, brake and accelerator…if it’s an automatic, it’s brake then the accelerator…and that’s the way it is in every car made in the world today…doesn’t matter which side the steering wheel is on…the pedals are always laid out the same from left to right…. But in the early days of the automobile, it wasn’t always this way…sometimes the accelerator was in the middle…sometimes it was on the left…sometimes it was on the steering wheel… The first car with the pedal layout we have today was probably a 1912 Cadillac…that spread throughout the company and then on through Chevrolet and other gm cars…from there, everyone eventually adopted that arrangement…. And since we’re in the car, let me explain your automatic transmission lever…it goes park, reverse, neutral, drive, and low…R,R,N,D,L…that order was laid out in “U.S. department of transportation standard no. 102” which stated the order of gears on automatic transmissions must always be park-reverse-neutral-drive-low…and since America called the shots with the auto industry back then, this law became our universal standard… There are so many things in this world that we just accept without bothering to look for an explanation…they’re there, it’s everywhere, it’s a simple truth of life…but why?... The world of music is filled with things, too… for example, why do we call a certain genre of music “heavy metal?”…who came up with the idea for paying to see a concert?...why would anyone use a toilet plunger together with a trumpet or a beer bottle on a guitar?...why is there music on the phone when we’re put on hold?... Let’s figure this all out…welcome to another edition of “the rock explainer”… Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The History and Future of AI in Music
06-03-2024
The History and Future of AI in Music
The biggest tech story of recent years has been the rise of artificial intelligence…the subject of ai is everywhere… it’s been “AI this” and “AI that”… The Wikipedia article on ChatGPT, the company that really got things rolling in this area, was the most popular Wikipedia article in all of 2023…50 million visits… That made it more popular than even Christian Ronaldo, the world’s most famous athlete…that’s more than “Barbie” or “Oppenheimer” put together… This tech is being adopted everywhere, mostly for good…just look at the medical field…. Ai is being used to sort through chains of molecules to come up with the next generation of breakthrough drugs, including those that will work on antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the misfolded proteins behind Alzheimer’s…ai is being trained to quickly find things in scans and x-rays that a human technician might miss… AI can be used to make better decisions in real time…for example, it can learn traffic and pedestrian patterns and synchronize lights for more efficient movement of everyone… AI should even have an impact on fighting climate change by creating better models…and when it comes to world hunger, ai can analyze zillions of data points to help determine what crops, seeds, fertilizers, soil, and so on for maximum efficiency in any area of the world… AI is growing at an exponential rate…it’s predicted that the industry will grow by 250% over the next five years… by 2031, the market for generative ai will be at least one trillion U.S. dollars… But yes, AI can also be used for evil…deep fakes and fake news, copyright infringement and forgery, cybersecurity breaches, manipulation of financial markets… AI is inevitably going to replace humans in a lot of different jobs…there’s a lot to be concerned about… If you’re listening to me, you’ve probably wondered about artificial intelligence and music…that’s good because there’s going to be an impact…best we know where this intersection of music and tech came from so that we can maybe figure out where it’s going…. This is the history and future of AI in music… Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Another Look At Bootlegging: Part 2
28-02-2024
Another Look At Bootlegging: Part 2
Once upon a time, I was deep into collecting bootleg recordings of my favourite bands…and this obsession came from a really good place…at least I thought so… I’d already bought all the albums and singles, collected a bunch of memorabilia, snapped up the t-shirts, and gone to all the shows…but I wanted more…the only place let to go was unofficial—read: illegal—releases… Almost everything I accurate was on cd…some were burned discs that I traded for with other hardcore fans…I might go to eBay once in a while…there were a few stores I knew that stocked these discs for special customers…and whenever I went overseas to certain countries were copyright laws were lax—Russia, Indonesia, a few places in the Caribbean—I’d be sure to visit the market stalls to see what they had…I honestly wasn’t trying to rip off or hurt anyone…I just loved these bands so much that I needed to own a copy of everything they did…once, when I talked about my bootlegs on the radio—probably not a smart idea—I got a letter from the head of a recorded industry organization calling me “morally reprehensible” … But over the years, these hardcopy bootlegs became harder and harder to find, thanks to crackdowns on illegal exploitation of intellectual property, the disappearance of these record stores, and, most importantly, the rise of online file-sharing…by 2008 or so, the physical bootleg market had all but collapsed…I haven’t acquired anything new for my collection for almost a couple of decades now… But I’ve never lost my fascination for this recordings…where did they come from?...how were they made?...who distributed them?...did they really hurt artists and the industry?...and what kind of legacy did old-school bootlegs leave behind?... I’ve found some answers to those questions and more…this is another look at bootlegging, part 2… Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices