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Tag: Things That Are Canadian (61-70 of 76)

Arcade Fire's live webcast to be directed by Terry Gilliam

Aracde-Fire-Terry-GilliamImage Credit: Kevin Westenberg; Inset: Tony Lowe/PR PhotosThe Arcade Fire’s August 5 webcast from Madison Square Gardens will be directed by legendary auteur Terry Gilliam, according to the AP. The Canadian band’s show is being broadcast via Vevo.

I could point out that, given Gilliam’s rep for overseeing cinematic disasters, there is a high chance the band’s set will in fact be abandoned halfway through because of bad weather—despite MSG being an indoor venue. But as I’m a big TG fan I instead suggest you check out the clip I’ve embedded after the jump, which features a musical interlude from the director’s first movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and a rare onscreen utterance from the man himself.


More new Arcade Fire tunes surface: Excited yet?

arcade-fireArcade Fire‘s The Suburbs is a mere seven weeks from arrival. Can you believe it? You ought to, now that two more songs from the album that was once just a shadowy rumor have appeared online.

Reports have pegged “Ready to Start” as Arcade Fire’s next single, though band reps’ lips remain sealed. It certainly sounds like a strong contender. Some arresting imagery in this one: “Businessmen drink my blood,” Win Butler sighs in Robert Smithly tones. (True Blood music supervisors, are you listening?) Behind him, the band broods and builds, then fades in a sudden way that keeps making me want to hit “play” again ASAP.

“We Used to Wait,” which BBC DJ Zane Lowe premiered across the pond, opens on a brighter note, with plinking pianos and crisp drums that wouldn’t be out of place on, oh, a Hall and Oates song. A nervous edge that’s more typically Arcade Fire creeps in as Butler begins to sing. “I hope that something pure can last,” he repeats, sounding unsure of himself.

Both songs feel thematically and musically linked to the double-A-side single that Arcade Fire surprised us with last month. Taken together, the four tunes we’ve now heard have me more psyched than ever for The Suburbs‘s Aug. 3 arrival. How about you?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Two new Arcade Fire songs surface online: Like 'em?

arcade_fireImage Credit: Kevin WestenbergHints and rumors about Arcade Fire’s next move have been replaced by something a little more tangible thanks to an eagle-eyed shopper in Glasgow. That record-store patron recently stumbled across what certainly looks like a new double-A-side, white-label 12″ vinyl single from the Canadian band. (Check out a pic at Pitchfork.) The two tracks therein, “The Suburbs” and “Month of May,” swiftly made it to BBC Radio 1 today, after which they were ripped and posted online. You can stream low-quality versions of both new songs over at Vulture.

So how are they? Pretty good! I like the way “The Suburbs” combines lyrics about ranch-house ennui with jangly guitars and honky-tonk piano. “Sometimes I can’t believe it/I’m moving past the feeling,” Win Butler sings — at least, I think that’s what he’s saying. These instant radio rips can be hard to follow. For that reason, I’m suspending judgment on “Month of May,” a jittery rocker whose fuzzed-out production could be energizing or annoying in the final mix. Until we get a higher-quality version, there’s no way to know.

When a band is as beloved as Arcade Fire, though, even early listens like this will inevitably be memorized and parsed over by fans. Give “The Suburbs” and “Month of May” a spin and let us know if you like Arcade Fire’s latest — and whether this makes you more or less excited for their next album, details of which have yet to be announced.

MAY 27 UPDATE: Arcade Fire announced today via press release that its third studio full-length, also titled The Suburbs, will arrive Aug. 3. The band also has a higher-quality stream of both tracks on its official website. Still not entirely sold on “Month of May,” but “The Suburbs” sounds even more awesome now. Whee!

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Michael Jackson to get his own Cirque du Soleil shows: Dream? Nightmare? Or BOTH?

Michael-Jackson-240.jpgImage Credit: Tim Whitby/Getty Images According to Reuters, Cirque du Soleil is creating a series of projects honoring Michael Jackson, including an arena touring show starting in 2011 and a Las Vegas nightclub. Proceeds will be split by Jackson’s estate and the Cirque crew — the late King of Pop was apparently a big fan — and according to a statement from Katherine Jackson, the family is “thrilled that Cirque du Soleil will pay tribute to my son in such an important way.”

This isn’t the first time Cirque du Soleil has taken on a pop icon: Both Love (Beatles) and Viva Elvis (uh, Elvis) are up and running in Vegas, and Ka was once featured in a particularly horrifying episode of CSI. All things considered — like Neverland Ranches, affections for monkeys, and the millions of Jackson fans who took to the worldwide streets after his death — a Jacko Jackson [sorry, irate fans; you’re right, my bad] Cirque seems like a no-brainer.

What do you think, Mixers? Who’s excited? I for one am not, as these projects will now be added to the list of things I really really want to see but cannot because I am utterly terrified of all things Cirque du Soleil-related. Carny folk! Small hands! I couldn’t even make it through the trailer embedded below! Please tell me I am not alone! READ FULL STORY

Justin Bieber's performance on 'SNL': how did he do?

Justin-BieberImage Credit: Kevin Mazur/KCA2010/WireImage.comHaving already devoured QVC, the Billboard charts, and American Idol, Justin Bieber woke up Saturday morning and thought to himself, “Hmm, Saturday Night Live is ripe for the picking!” The 16-year-old singer was SNL‘s musical guest last night, but I’m not quite sure I get the objective. Was SNL hoping the Bieb’s presence would get tween girls to tune in, or was this a step toward gradually expanding his appeal to, I don’t know, people who like music? Ultimately, the majority of SNL‘s audience has probably never seen Bieber perform, so at least everyone got to find out what this “dreamy Christmas elf,” as host Tina Fey described him, was all about. And luckily, the Bieb didn’t have to worry about there being much comedy on the show to overshadow his two musical acts (sorry, Tina, but they gave you precious little to work with this time). READ FULL STORY

Justin Bieber: Five reasons watching him on 'SNL' may not be as painful as you think

justin_bieberImage Credit: Pamela LittkeyJustin Bieber is the musical guest on Saturday Night Live this week. This you know. This you cannot change. Here are five reasons it might turn out to be okay: READ FULL STORY

Broken Social Scene: Hear two awesome new songs from 'Forgiveness Rock Record'

Broken Social Scene‘s headlining set last Thursday in the open-air backyard of Stubb’s was one of the most fun concerts I saw at this year’s SXSW. The Toronto indie rockers were even tighter and more exuberant when I caught part of their set the following night at the Parish, a much more intimate club space. Suffice it to say their Forgiveness Rock Record, out May 4, has shot to the top of my 2010 anticipation list.

The band already released the excellent “World Sick” as a free MP3; now they’ve posted two more new tunes, which you can stream right here. “Forced to Love” pairs earnest lyrics with a twisty guitar jam that sounds like it’s about to fly to pieces at any moment, not far from the mode of BSS’ previous, fantastic album. “All to All” is more of a departure, and I like it even better: Stuttering drum machines and string-section sighs are the backdrop for newly official band member Lisa Lobsinger’s magnificently searching vocals. Just wonderful.

Check out Broken Social Scene’s new songs after the jump and let us know if you’re looking forward to Forgiveness Rock Record as much as I am.


Broken Social Scene brings 'Forgiveness' to SXSW

“We are human beings,” Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew told the crowd at Stubb’s shortly after 1 A.M. last night, “and we’re still figuring our s— out.” It was an atypically humble sentiment coming from the headliner at a choice outdoor SXSW showcase like this. Then again, Drew isn’t your average swaggering rock frontman. The sprawling Toronto band’s first album together in five years (due May 4) is called Forgiveness Rock Record, after all, and seeking forgiveness, compassion, understanding from the world seemed one of the key themes in the new material they played at Stubb’s.

Yet aside from a few early moments of mic and monitor trouble, no apologies were needed last night. The seven main band members on stage — Drew plus Brendan Canning, Charles Spearin, Sam Goldberg, Justin Peroff, Lisa Lobsinger, and Andrew Whiteman, often assisted by a six-piece brass section — threw themselves into the music with abandon, building up crescendo after crashing crescendo of melody and noise. Epic grandeur is a quality that many of the artists at SXSW strive for; I haven’t seen anyone get there more convincingly than BSS did at Stubb’s. While they are indeed still working out how to perform some of their new tunes, they nailed quite a few, including show-opener “World Sick” (studio version below), the spacious, thudding “Sweetest Kill,” and several others whose titles I didn’t catch.


Barenaked Ladies frontman Ed Robertson talks about their first album without Steven Page; plus, watch new video 'You Run Away'

barenaked-ladies_320.jpg Image Credit: James Minchin Barenaked Ladies — everyone’s favorite band of macaroni-dodging, occasionally-rapping, old-apartment-visiting Canadians — haven’t had the most cheerful time of it lately. The string of misfortune began with original co-frontman Steven Page’s arrest on drug charges in 2008, which were later dismissed. That same year, other co-frontman Ed Robertson crashed his single-engine plane with his wife on board; luckily, everyone walked away. In December of 2008, Robertson’s mother passed away. And in February of 2009, Page officially left the band “by mutual agreement,” and has since gone solo.

With four men now left standing on their pirate ship, the Barenaked Ladies are sailing on, releasing their 11th studio album, All In Good Time, on March 30th in the U.S. (Canada, you get yours a week earlier.) They’ve just debuted the video for first single, “You Run Away,” which you Mixers can watch embedded right here after this Q&A with Robertson, in which we discuss everything from Page’s departure and the challenges it presents to his country’s much-maligned-in-these-parts Juno Awards, with a special shout-out to Nickelback. He was, quite honestly, one of the most pleasant conversationalists we’ve encountered via phone in a long while. Enjoy.

Entertainment Weekly: We are here to talk about this new album, and the horribly traumatic times that led up to it. Would that be a mischaracterization, or was it really as bad as it all reads?
Ed Robertson: You know, the last year has been amazing. But the year previous to that kinda sucked.

The more you talk about it, are you realizing, Oh man, this sucked worse than I thought when I was in it? Or were you aware the whole time it was sucking?
Oh, I was fully inside of it at the time. I was noticing all of the suck.

In what order did these three major events occur, with Steve leaving the band, and your mom passing away, and your plane crash?
Well. I would include Steve’s arrest in the events. So it went arrest, plane crash, mom passing away, and then parting ways with Steve.

First of all, I’m really sorry. But was there a point in there where you thought about just chucking the whole thing?
For 20 minutes, yeah, kind of right around the new year of 2009. It just seemed like there was a lot of negativity swirling around. But it was about kinda taking stock and going, Man, we’ve done a lot of really great things with this band. We’ve gotta find a way to do it and enjoy it again. READ FULL STORY

Jimmy Fallon does Neil Young doing the 'Fresh Prince' theme song: If you enjoy any of those three things, you must watch this clip

So, Late Night personality Jimmy Fallon does an amazing Neil Young impression. I mean, really uncanny. Dude sounds exactly like north Ontario‘s finest. This is a cool talent to have, if perhaps not a hugely useful one in most situations. Last night, though, Fallon entered transcendent comedic territory by going into character as Neil Young…and covering the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

No, I don’t know why Neil Young would be covering the Fresh Prince theme song, either. But I am very glad that this completely random idea suggested itself to Fallon. Turns out the old “Innnnn West Philadelphia born and raised…” works pretty well as a haunting falsetto folk song! Watch the clip after the jump. You will not be sorry. Then let us know if there are any other classic sitcom themes you’d like to see Fallon-as-Young cover. (Full House, anyone?)


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