Tuned In

27 Mar

Aside from food, one of the other things we’re passionate about is music. And really, what goes better with good food than good music? With that in mind, here’s the first installment of Tuned In, through which we’ll bring you periodic hits of cool music news, new album streams and other aural delights.

Up this week:

  • Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie put out two solo albums way back around the turn of the century (2001’s Coke Machine Glow and 2003’s Battle of the Nudes), both very good and quite different sonically from the music of his full-time band. It’s been a long wait for Hip fans eager for more solo Gord, but that wait is apparently coming to an end. His website is promoting a new disc with a June 8 release date, as well as an announcement of tour dates.
  • In my mind, Beck has been a musician without a plan for a while now. I totally got him around the time of “Loser” and “Devil’s Haircut,” but he lost me sometime after channeling Bootsy Collins and Prince on Midnite Vultures.  But his latest project seems to have marked a return to the hip, loose Beck vibe of old. Record Club, which he started in 2009, sees Beck periodically call upon random musician friends to get together and re-record a chosen album. The sessions are unrehearsed and recorded over the span of a day, then the songs are subsequently released onto his website. So far, contributors including members of Wilco and MGMT, Feist and Devendra Banhart have covered albums by Velvet Underground, Leonard Cohen and Skip Spence. The latest Club release is INXS’ Kick, and the first tune from that album “Guns in the Sky” is now posted. (Though the video on the Record Club site seems to be wonky, so here it is on Youtube).
  • Rush are still going strong almost 40 years after releasing their debut album, which as far as I’m concerned proves that there’s no accounting for taste. Despite my personal disdain for prog-rock tunes about Middle Earth sung by Geddy Lee, after four decades of success I have to concede that Rush is deserving of its accolades. The band is set to be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame tomorrow (March 28), a day a month ahead of the opening of Toronto’s Hot Docs Festival where the doc Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage will have its Canadian premiere.
  • Finally, a couple of new discs are currently available as free online streams for your listening pleasure. Check ‘em out while you can, since these things are only up for so long: MGMT, Congratulations; Broken Bells, Broken Bells (A collaboration between The Shins’ James Mercer and Danger Mouse, most recently of Gnarls Barkley); She and Him, Volume Two (featuring M. Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel)

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