August 2011

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Artist SpotlightsMusic

All About: Simple Plan


Montreal, Quebec-based pop-punk outfit Simple Plan aren’t just kids anymore—they’re a double-platinum-selling quintet with more than 800,000 records sold in Canada, and a decade’s worth of experience under their belts. In June they put an end to a three-year wait for their new record by releasing Get Your Heart On!, their fourth official full-length. To celebrate the new release, we heard from guitarist Sebastien Lefebvre, and asked him a few questions. They’ve also contributed an Rdio playlist of songs they like to listen to on tour. Listen to it below and follow along with the Playlist Notes.

Playlist Notes

1. Tom Petty - There Goes my Girl (driving song)
2. Lykke Li - Love out of Lust (after show chill song)
3. Goldfinger - Going Home (End of tour song)
4. Unwritten Law - Nevermind (We were on tour together song)
5. Passion Pit - Little Secrets (After show dance party song)
6. Rise Against - Architects (Pre-show energy song)
7. Neon Trees - Animal (Put us in the mood to play song)
8. Bon Iver – Holocene (Flying or after show wind down song).

Five Questions with Simple Plan

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Sebastien Lefebvre: I feel like most important or influential people in the world of music have been heard before. But, to name a few of the artists I always go back to, and might not be the most popular/obvious: Bjork, Bon Iver, Joey Cape. Actually, I pick Joey Cape. He's the singer for a band called Lagwagon that I used to listen to growing up. Everything he's done since or touches, I'm a fan of. Whether it's Bad Astronaut, The Playing Favorites, or Joey Cape's Bad Loud, I'm a fan of his voice and his writing.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    SL: The new Bjork, Biophilia. It's not out yet, that's why I would like to hear it.  Same sentiment towards the new Blink-182 album.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    SL: There's a few. But the Offspring is the band that really got me into punk rock and playing music. So it would have to be them. My teen years also had a weak spot for Bush-X. Big fan growing up.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    SL: We just want our music to make you feel something, hopefully forget about the bad stuff and have a good time.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    SL: This record is about having fun. We wanted to make a record that had a little bit of every record in it. An album that had everything that Simple Plan is good at. The fun and energy, a few deeper songs that the fans like to connect to, and also trying a few new things here and there. I think we achieved that.

You can listen to all of Simple Plan’s music on Rdio now. For more info about them, check their official website and follow them on Twitter.

Influencer SpotlightsMusicRecommended By Rdio

The Alan Cross Recommendation Project on Rdio


Involved in a number of interesting projects over the years, veteran Canadian music broadcaster and writer Alan Cross doesn't show any signs of quitting. Take, for instance, his Recommendation Project: using Rdio, Cross created a number of playlists, each with a different theme, on which users can collaborate and add their own suggested music. The ultimate goal? To share as much music as possible between fans, without resorting to “robots like Apple's Genius,, Pandora or any number of algorithmic recommendation engines.”

The project started with the The Recommendation Project Part 1: Summer Song 2011 playlist, which asked users to contribute their favourite new musical discovery from this summer, old or new. Since then, the project branched out to include playlists with themes such as Canadian music, cover songs, cars, and more.

Have you contributed yet? Add to any of the Recommendation Project playlists on Alan's Rdio page (and don't forget to follow him!)—you could find your new favourite song of 2011.

∞  August 18, 2011 — 10:26AM

MusicNew Music Weekly

New Music Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Yellow OstrichBlue octWatch the thron

TGI...T? Thanks goodness it’s Tuesday and why not—New Music Tuesday means a fresh batch of songs for your Rdio enjoyment. Up for grabs this week is some fun and lighthearted indie rock, rockabilly country, and new dance music. Throw in an exciting mix of new singles from Lil Wayne, St. Vincent, M83, LIGHTS and Mastadon, and you’ve got a solid, eclectic blend of music with something for everyone. Hear tracks from these musicians and many more on our weekly Playlist, below.

Playlist Notes

  • Evanescence - What You Want
    Five years since their last release, Evanescence is back with a freedom-themed single off their upcoming third album—this self-titled release is scheduled for October.
  • Yellow Ostrich - The Mistress
    Fans rejoice! Yellow Ostrich's wildly popular debut album is available again on Rdio. The Mistress' re-release features three new songs and that new car smell—look for the band on tour with their label-mates Ra Ra Riot this fall.
  • Maria Taylor - Overlook
    While known for her tenure in dream-duo Azure Ray, Maria Taylor as a solo artist is a capable and seasoned songstress. Her delicate yet robust sound traverses lightly over many styles and musical textures.
  • Hercules & Love Affair - Blue Songs
    Three years after an excellent 2008 debut, Hercules & Love Affair and mastermind DJ Andy Butler took time to perfect this followup album. Featuring a mostly new lineup of vocalists and guest perfomers, their songs are more mellow than you'd expect. 
  • Mister Heavenly - Out Of Love
    This indie supergroup is members of Man Man, Islands and Modest Mouse. While you'll hear strains of their other bands, this is a wholly unique venture and vision for this band of gentlemen. 
  • Lil Wayne - She Will
    Continuing his recent album series, Lil Wayne shares a track off Tha Carter IV, featuring Drake. It's five minutes of Weezy's trademark stream of consciousness flow, which most fans will find incredibly satisfying.
Artist SpotlightsMusic

An Introduction to: Justin Hines

Justin Hines

Newmarket, Ontario-born Justin Hines knew what he wanted to do with his life when he was just 14 years old. After singing at a Toronto Raptors game, he knew that both his heart and his voice belonged in music, and that’s where he’s been since. That Hines is bound to his wheelchair (he has Larsen Syndrome, a condition affecting his joints) has made nary a difference in his life—he taught himself to play piano—and has since played on bigger and bigger stages, including those at the Beijing and Vancouver Olympics. Hines’ third album, Days to Recall, is the followup to his 2009 effort, Chasing Silver, and is now available on Rdio. You can listen to some of Justin’s favourite songs on his playlist below:

While you listen, check out Hines’ official site, follow him on his blog, and check out our Five Questions with Hines.

Five Questions with Justin Hines

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Justin Hines: I often find myself telling people about Ron Sexsmith. His lyrics are poetic and meaningful and his melodies are unbelievably beautiful. I'm a big fan. 
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    JH: I haven't heard all of Mumford and Sons' material yet, but I'd sure like to soon! Their sound is fresh and new, and I'm thrilled for their success!
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    JH: My family often speaks of my childhood fascination with Willie Nelson. "On the Road Again" was probably the first song I ever sang in public and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I even had a long red-haired wig and miniature acoustic guitar (haha). I still love him to this day. 
  4. I hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    JH: I hope people are feeling something, anything really, when they listen to our music. 
  5. I was thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    JH: I was thinking about the amazing journey this last little while has been as well as being inspired by other peoples' journeys when we wrote music for the new album. 

Playlist Notes

1. Ron Sexsmith - Former Glory: A beautifully poetic song about finding the light at the end of the tunnel by my favorite Canadian singer/songwriter.

2. James Taylor - Copperline: Basically every James Taylor song would be on my playlist so I picked the one I woke up singing this morning.

3. Eva Cassidy - Fields Of Gold: Love the original Sting version as well but this cover really is a spiritual experience by an artist taken from us too soon.

4. Iron and Wine - Naked As We Came: Probably the most unique and vulnerable love song I've ever heard. Love that guitar part as well.  

5. Gordon Lightfoot - Song For A Winter's Night: Who doesn't want to be by a fire drinking hot chocolate while listening to this song?  

6. Chocolate Genius - My Mom: I'm not sure how to describe how I feel after listening to this song but I'm pretty sure it's one of the most honest and raw expressions of pain that music has ever known.  

7. Coldplay - Fix You: Really nice melody that seems to compliment the comforting sentiment of the song. Moving and majestic. 

8. Johnny Cash - Hurt: I'll never forget hearing this song and seeing the video for the first time. Talk about an impactful and meaningful way to leave this world.  

9. Alison Krauss And Union Station - The Lucky One: In my opinion, Alison has one of the most pure voices in the world and supported by this great song with amazing musicianship make this one of my favorite tracks in recent memory.  

10. Jim Croce - Photographs And Memories: Another artist where every one of his songs could make this playlist. I'm not at the point in life where I reminisce of days gone by but if I was, this song would be playing in the background. 

11. Ray Lamontagne - Hannah: His voice alone tells a story and his songs give him an outlet to share it. 

12. Kings Of Leon - Notion: Can't help but move my head to this song. Great album by a great modern day rock band.  

13. Adele - Rumor Has It: Truly a shining star in music right now. She's breaking down some barriers with her unbelievable talent and this song is just plain cool.  

14. Janis Ian - At Seventeen: What an incredible take on the awkward years of life. One of my favorites from that era of song.  

15. John Martyn - May You Never: A very underrated writer and guitar player in my opinion. It's always hard to wish someone well in a heartfelt way and I think this song does it beautifully.

Influencer SpotlightsMusic

Influencer Spotlight: Last Gang Records

Last gang

More than just a record label and promotional outfit, Last Gang Records has been shaping musical taste in Canada and abroad since 2002. Last Gang began when music industry lawyer Chris Taylor was unable to find a label to release Metric’s landmark debut, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?—their second release was Death From Above’s seminal 2004 debut I’m a Woman, You’re a Machine.

Since then, they've dedicated themselves to finding Toronto and Montreal’s most forward-thinking electronic acts, such as MSTRKRFT, Crystal Castles and Tiga. They also pride themselves on nurturing relationships with their impressive array of artists. Want to know what’s ticking over at Last Gang? Follow them on Rdio and check out their playlist below, Us Against the World.

For a more in-depth taste of Last Gang, check out their Spring 2011 mix or indulge in their “Festive Afternoon Hangover Cure” playlist, curated for Toronto’s week-long festival earlier this year.

MusicRecommended By Rdio

Listen to Kanye West and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne

Watch the Throne

What is exciting? That two of hip-hop's biggest names joined forces to collaborate on a new album. From Kanye West and Jay-Z, Watch the Throne is now available on Rdio.

∞  August 12, 2011 — 12:00PM


Now on Rdio: The Civil Wars

Civil wars

It’s no surprise that there were many requests to hear the alt-folk duo The Civil Wars on Rdio—this band already has a debut effort that hit the top of Billboard’s Digital Album chart, and also fervent praise from artists like Adele

We’re happy to announce that you can listen to this captivating pair on Rdio. Don't miss their break-out album, Barton Hallow, available now for streaming.


Toronto's Summerworks Music Series


Wake up, Toronto! You’re in the midst of the Summerworks music series, the musical branch of the city’s annual, multi-day theatre-based arts festival. The festival might have started August 4, but there’s plenty of excellence left to rumble your eardrums before the festival wraps up for another year on August 14.

On Wednesday, August 10, folk-tinged college rockers Great Bloomers will take the The Lower Ossington Theatre stage with Toronto-based supergroup House League, a band composed of members of Canadian indie peers Evening Hymns, Forest City Lovers, Matters, and The Magic. The next day, Jennifer Castle will play her haunting ditties before Bruce Peninsula let loose their multi-instrumental prog-folk thunder. On Friday, indie-poppers Ruby Coast will open for Graham Van Pelt’s Miracle Fortress, while synth-driven newcomers Powers and Guelph dance punks Green Go will close the fest out on Saturday, August 14.

Haven’t heard these excellent groups before? Head to the festival and find your new favourite band, or do it the convenient way—check out any of the bands on their Rdio pages, listed above. For more festival info, check out the Summerworks official site.

MusicNew Music Weekly

New Music Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Michael ian blackCloser to ClosedRoye

Rap, metal and comedy fans should find this week's New Releases quite satisfying. There's a hoard of new hip-hop and rap-styled albums and singles from big names like NasT.I. and Royce Da 5'9". Adding to that focused intensity, we have new albums from metal and hard rock bands like TriviumGreeley Estates and Anthrax. Too heavy? Lighten up with comedy albums like Comedy Central's Michael Ian Black and Marc Maron.

Playlist Notes

  • Drake - Headlines
    Toronto-bred emcee Drake has taken back to the headlines with gusto this week after he dropped another track from his forthcoming sophomore full-length, Take Care, scheduled for release on October 24, 2011 — Drizzy’s Birthday.
  • Marc Maron - This Has To Be Funny
    Stand-up comedian Marc Maron’s podcast, WTF? With Marc Maron, earned him a reputation for being as brainy as he is entertaining. His latest album, This Has To Be Funny, is wry, dark and absolutely hilarious.
  • Michael Ian Black - Very Famous
    The deadpan title of Michael Ian Black’s new stand-up album may poke fun at his career, but don’t let his self-deprecation dissuade you from believing he has a legion of loyal fans. Whether you’ve seen him live or never heard of the guy, Very Famous will persuade you to laugh (maybe even until you're shaking).
  • Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka Flame - 1017 Bricksquad Presents...Ferrari Boyz
    Gucci Mane and protege, Waka Flocka Flame, teamed up with Mane’s rap super-group, the 1017 Bricksquad to create Ferrari Boyz. It’s a study in two very different Atlanta-based rappers combining their distinct styles. Teamwork!
  • Chromeo - Breakbox Remix
    Electrofunk duo Chromeo wooed listeners for years, especially with last year’s sexy Business Casual. Their single “When the Night Falls” got the EP treatment this week with remixes featuring Beyonce’s sister, Solange Knowles.

An Rdio Pre-Release: Listen to Braid's EP Closer to Closed


Some fans waited a long time for this. After an 11-year recording hiatus, seminal 90’s band Braid is back together. Their new EP, Closer to Closed, is available a week early, only on Rdio. While you’re basking in their new music, read Five Questions with the Band by vocalists/guitarists Bob Nanna and Chris Broach, and listen to a playlist of their favorite songs later.

Five Questions with Braid

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Bob Nanna: Nathan Larson (Mind Science of the Mind, Shudder To Think, Hot One)
    Chris Broach: 
    Hoover (you should know em, but if you don't, get to know them).
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    BN: The Lemonheads, It's a Shame About Ray
    The Doors. Excellent musicianship.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    BN: The Rolling Stones - specifically Emotional Rescue / Tattoo You era.
    Huey Lewis
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    BN: Cooking
    Enjoying themselves
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    BN: Our house in Champaign
    Our own lives

∞  August 9, 2011 — 12:31PM