PODCAST

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.


The History of Nerd Rock
Hace 6 días
The History of Nerd Rock
Nerd…noun…a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious…definition 2: a single-minded expert in a particular technical field...example: a computer nerd… It’s an old word, too…the, er, nerds at google have a thing called “the ngram viewer” which scans the text of books going back to 1500…in other words, pretty much right back to the inventing of the printing press… According to these nerds, “nerd” (the word) shows up for the first time in an book called “a true discourse of the assault committed upon the most noble Prince, Prince William of Orange, County of Nassau, Marquesse De La Ver & C,” by John Jarequi Spaniarde: with the true copies of the writings, examinations, and letters for sundry offenders in that vile and diuelifh (i have no idea what that word is) attempt”… I can’t tell you what “nerd” referred to in that book because it’s written in old Spanish and i couldn’t be bothered to find a translation…I’d need a real etymological nerd for that… The word fell into disuse after about 1725 returning into the popular lexicon thanks to Dr. Suess in 1950…to him, a “nerd” was some kind of creature found in a zoo… But the following year, Newsweek magazine reported that “nerd” was being used in Detroit to describe an awkward sort of dude who wasn’t very cool…it kind of lingered in the slang world for the rest of the 50s and into the 60s before it really took off in 1974 with the TV series “Happy Days”…Fonzie was always calling Richie and Potsie “nerds” for being uncool dorks…so props to Henry Winkler… By the end of the 70s—and coinciding with the rise of the culture around the personal computer, consumer technology and “Star Wars” and other science fiction pursuits—the use of “nerd” became even more widespread…remember the “Revenge of the Nerds” movies in the 80s?... But now in our technological society, being called a nerd is a compliment…people aspire to be like Bill Gates and Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg…look at shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Silicon Valley”…we’re actually celebrating nerddom…people want to be nerds ‘cause—well, it’s kinda cool…the geeks have truly inherited the earth… This brings me to music…nerdishness is now so widespread that nerds even have their own genre of music…and as you might guess, it falls squarely in the world of alternative music… This, then, is a short history of what we unreservedly, unashamedly and unironically call “nerd rock”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The History of Alt-Rock: Chapter 2
12-06-2022
The History of Alt-Rock: Chapter 2
As rock’n’roll approached its sweet 16 birthday in the early 1970s, it was obvious that it had grown up quite a bit...with each passing year, rock was becoming more sophisticated in both sound and execution...the first wave of rockers from the 50s and 60s had grown up.....they were now better musicians and could do more than play simple three-chord songs.... Rock was also becoming more complicated because it had the tools...by the early 70s, a four-track recording studio was hideously antiquated...people wanted to use studios with 16- and 24-track consoles and big tape recorders and racks of machines that could add cool effects to music... Guitar amplifiers were bigger and more powerful, allowing for fatter chords and longer sustains and cooler feedback...and guitarists now had a huge array of foot pedals and other gear to help them create individual signature sounds... And let’s not forget about everyone at home...home stereo systems began to improve... “hi-fi” wasn’t just for electronics geeks anymore...everyone was looking to get big amps with huge speakers... You could even listen in the car...yeah, 8-tracks were clunky, but for the first time, you didn’t have to depend on the radio for music when you were on the road... But then again, your city might have been lucky enough to have a progressive FM rock station.....imagine: music on the radio that was in stereo... But for some, things were getting a little too sophisticated, the musicianship a little too accomplished, the recording a little too slick......there were those who felt that the road to technical perfection was not a good one.... something had been lost...it was time to get primal again...this is the complete history of alt-rock, chapter 2... See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Gorillaz - A History
08-06-2022
Gorillaz - A History
Everything is virtual these days…outside of the stuff you’ve got in your pocket, money is nothing but a bunch of zeroes and ones…we shop online at virtual stores…we read virtual books on our tablets… Even our relationships have gone that way because of Facebook and twitter and Instagram… A lot of our music is virtual, too…it’s been that way since we started ripping our cds and trading mp3s online...then came stores like iTunes with its digital tracks and albums and metadata… So it stands to reason, that we should have virtual artists, performers that don’t exist in real life…sure, there’s some human component, but the stay in the background where we rarely (if ever) see them… Back in the 60s, we had the Archie’s, who were followed by Josie and the Pussycats…then Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem on “The Muppets” … Dethklok, The Chipmunks, Prozzak, Crazy Frog, The Banana Splits….Mistula is from the Philippines and represented by a bunch of female dools…the bots are all cg creations…Hatsune Miku is a Japanese hologram…then there’s Jen and the Holograms… They all have their appeal, but there is one virtual group that eclipses them all…not only have they had hit singles and multi-platinum albums, but they also tour…they’re even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most-successful virtual band of all time… This is the story of The Gorillaz… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Late Bloomers
27-04-2022
Late Bloomers
It’s never too late to follow your dreams…here are a few inspiration examples… Anna Mary Robertson was born in New York in 1860…for years, she worked as a housekeeper before moving to farm work with her husband, Thomas Moses…they had ten children… When Thomas died, Anna needed something to occupy her time, so she took up painting…she was 78 years old…Anna became known as “Grandma Moses” and is one of the most celebrated American painters of the 20th century…she’s also held up as an example of never being too old to follow your dreams… Then, early in 2022, I ran across the story of Ruth Slenczynska…she was the last surviving pupil of classical legend Sergei Rachmaninov…Ruth first met him when she was declared a child prodigy many, many, many decades ago, back in the 1920s… She recorded some classical records for Decca in the 50s and very early 60s, but that was it…the contract lapsed and wasn’t renewed—that is until early 2022 when she signed a brand new record deal with Decca for a solo album entitled “my life in music”…Ruth Slenczynska got this record deal at the age of 97… This got me thinking…rock is supposed to be for the young…new artists are almost always in their teens or early 20s…but not always…sometimes it takes a little longer and a lot more work before certain artists were able to get their big break…some had to wait until their 30s—ancient by any measure when it comes to the contemporary music business… And given the ageism that persists throughout contemporary music, these accomplishments are all that more impressive… Let’s take a look at the late bloomers of rock’n’roll… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
18 Bands Who Changed Lead Singers
20-04-2022
18 Bands Who Changed Lead Singers
When someone in your band decides to leave, gets fired, or heaven forbid, dies, you have a problem…this is an issue if any member leaves, but if we’re talking about your singer, that’s a hurt on an entirely different level… Your front person is an integral part of your sound…it’s the voice of your music…and there is nothing important to your music than its voice… It gets worse, too…your front person often provides the central image of your band…that person is the one out front…that person takes centre stage live…that person is the one the camera follows in a video…that person is the one photographers focus on…and chances are, it’s that person’s name that comes to mind first with fans… So what do you do when that person bails?...you have two choices…fold your tent and go home and maybe come back in a different form with a different name…or you suck it up and risk replacing that singer with someone else… That is hard on so many levels…again, I go back to the notion of “voice”…you could find a sound-alike like we’ve seen with journey, a period of time with Judas Priest, and perhaps Queen…but the fans know you’ve just plugged that whole with a reasonable facsimile at best or a out-and-out fake at worst… Instead, it’s probably best to focus on skills and chemistry…so maybe the new person does sound like the old one…but maybe they bring something new to the table, some intangible talent that not only dressed the wound but makes the body as a whole stronger?... That’s really, really, hard…but it can be done…and here are 18 examples of bands who have done just that… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Imagine Dragons
13-04-2022
Imagine Dragons
I get a lot of email from young musicians looking for advice…they all ask pretty much the same questions: how to do I get more people to know about my music?...how do I get them to listen to my music?...how do I get my songs on the radio?...how do I get a record deal?...listen, if I had the definitive “silver bullet” answers to any of these questions, I’d not only be rich, I’d be worshipped as a God—which, come to think of it, would be kinda cool… It has always been hard to make it in the music business…you need to not just be good but great…and—never discount this—you have to be lucky, to be in the right place in the right time with the right sound and image and attitude… And since the internet disrupted everything, it’s become even harder…at the moment, there’s a split when it comes to artists…the majority of them made their bones and established their reputations before the internet hit the music industry around 2000—and everyone else… The internet—free-flowing digital files, streaming, social media, YouTube, and all that ilk—has not only made music more accessible to everyone, but it’s also increased competition amongst musicians exponentially…it has never been harder for a new act to be heard about the noise of everyone else… Here’s an exercise: name all the rock bands who have emerged since 2000 who are capable of filling an area as a headliner today…Arcade Fire, for sure…Muse, is another…Linkin Park, although they’re no longer with us…White Stripes and Jack White…and after that, you start to run out of names… Here’s one more: Imagine Dragons…they were formed in 2008 and have since become a major alt-rock band…and yes, they can fill an arena…how did they do that?...let’s investigate…. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Remembering Taylor Hawkins
06-04-2022
Remembering Taylor Hawkins
Back in 2014, I was invited to the foo fighters headquarters...this is 606 studios, the band’s hangout and nerve centre in Van Nuys, California...I was there to talk about the new album and TV series, “Sonic Highways”... I got there before anyone from the band arrived...first to roll up was Taylor Hawkins...he was driving the same beat-up 1986 Toyota 4 x 4 pick-up truck that he bought for $400 when he was in high school...he could have taken his other truck, which was a 2005 Subaru Baja... “not a very rock star ride,” I said when he got out...Taylor smiled—of course, he smiled—and said “it gets the job done”...Taylor was never much for the trappings of rock stardom... Here’s a quote: if you want to play music, play because you want to play music, not because you want to be rich and famous”.... We went inside where I noticed a poster on the wall for an obscure solo album by Queen drummer, Roger Taylor...it was a 1981 release called “Fun in Space”...what was that doing here?... Taylor came alive... “Roger Taylor, man!...my favourite drummer ever!...Queen was my first concert and I’ve always been a fan of the guy...I mean, just the way he plays”... And that’s how the conversation went until everyone else arrived and we had to start the interview...but during those 15 or 20 minutes, Taylor made me feel at home, a welcome guest in this sacred and very private Foo Fighters space... I forgot that was talking to the drummer of one of the biggest bands on the planet...he was just this goofy, fun surfer dude who wanted to talk about music...I think he even made me an espresso... That’s what I thought of when I heard that Taylor had died...he wasn’t just the Foos’ drummer and a beloved member of the band, he was a nice, normal guy, who wanted to do nothing more than be a dad and play rock’n’roll... Let’s spend some time remembering Taylor Hawkins... See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The Rock Explainer
30-03-2022
The Rock Explainer
I’m going to explain why you might get frustrated at spellcheck on your phone or computer…and the answer has to do with a guy named Noah… no, not that Noah from the bible with the ark…another one… Noah was annoyed…as a proud new American, he believed that his new country needed to set itself apart from its former colonial masters in every way possible so they new nation could truly be different and independent and separate… By 1828, there was no need to take up arms anymore, so Noah picked up his pen…as an author of schoolbooks, his annoyance had to do with the way the British spelled some of their words…why could “colour” have that extra “u?”…the proper way to spell “centre” was “c-e-n-t-e-r,” not “r-e”…everywhere he looked, he saw what he believed to be nonsensical spellings… He made a list of such annoyances…and in 1828, at the age of 70, Noah Webster published his “American dictionary of the English language”…and it was a hit—largely because Noah was already that guy with all the spelling books being used in school… And so came to pass that Noah’s preferred spellings—again, modifications to the original British versions of these words—became adopted by America…and these spellings are what’s accepted today as correct in the U.S… That means if you have a computer or a phone or whatever and you have your default language set to “English,” it’s most often means “American English” by default…and that means if you try to spell certain words the British or the Canadian or Australian way, you get a squiggly line underneath… That really annoys me (and maybe you, too)—almost as much as when my iPhone insists that I mean to spell “ducking”…but that’s another story…but this story does explain why your device seems to hate your spelling skills…it goes back to grumpy Noah Webster and his nationalistic demands on language… Rock music has been with us since the early 1950s…that’s long enough for many things to become entrenched, familiar, and basically just part of the scenery…there are so many things about rock that we just accept and don’t really question or wonder about… But just like the spellcheck on your phone, if you start thinking about some of these things, you might wonder where they came from, why we do it, or who came up with the idea in the first place…let’s see if I can help…I call this episode “the rock explainer”… See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.