October 2011

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Artist SpotlightsMusic

Getting to Know: Arkells

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Arkells are living the dream. Just a few years ago they were a bunch of friends playing softball together, but once they began playing music, it was just a matter of time before they were playing show after show and opening for their heroes — Pearl Jam, Tokyo Police Club, Metric, and Them Crooked Vultures. Their new album, Michigan Left, is catching on across Canada with its addictive choruses and exuberant guitar lines.

The Hamilton, Ontario quintet are about to embark on a cross-nation tour, starting November 2nd. We got in touch with them to ask a few questions — read their answers while you listen to Arkells' hand-picked playlist below.


Five Questions with Arkells

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Arkells: Joel Plaskett.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    Arkells: Wilco’s The Whole Love.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    Arkells: The Beatles - Help!
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    Arkells: At a pre-drink.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    Arkells: Kanye West's “All of the Lights” music video.

Playlist Notes

  • Taylor Swift - Speak Now: The music we listen to on tour.
  • Fleetwood Mac - “Everywhere”: Our favourite song right now.
  • Spoon - Gimme Fiction: Our pre-show jams.
  • The National - “Start a War”: A song that inspires us.
  • Tokyo Police Club - Champ: Music by an artist we've toured with.
  • Kanye West - “Homecoming”: A song that reminds us of home.
  • Jay-Z - “Lost One”
  • Katy Perry - “Teenage Dream”
  • Rihanna - “Only Girl (In The World)”
MusicNew Music Weekly

New Music Tuesday, October 25, 2011

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Musical trailblazers are at the forefront of this week’s New Music Tuesday as new albums from former Beach Boy Brian Wilson, R&B icons Boyz II Men, and country vet Toby Keith are released. And don't miss the reissue of Dntel’s touchstone album that spawned the Postal Service's formation with Ben Gibbard. Hot on the heels of these releases are new ones from Vince Gill, French electronic duo Justice, former Savage Garden crooner Darren Hayes, and indie rockers the The Beets and Surfer Blood.

Playlist Notes

  • Dirty Projectors + Bjork - Mount Wittenberg Orca
    Two names known for melding pop melodies with experimental rhythms and electronics join forces on Mount Wittenberg Orca, an EP that was born out of a collaborative charity show played by the Dirty Projectors and Bjork. They recorded these songs shortly thereafter, which are now ready for you to experience.

  • Justice - Audio, Video, Disco
    After the smash success of their explosive debut Cross, French duo Justice took a few years off. Now they’re back with an album that spans more of their influences than ever before. Soft-rock, pop, country and flutes — it’s all here, on a hugely ambitious new album.

  • Kelly Clarkson - Stronger
    American Idol original Kelly Clarkson took a brief hiatus from her music career when it started to take a toll on her vocal cords. The break rejuvenated her all-powerful voice, which shows on the aptly-named Stronger, Clarkson’s self-admitted best album to date.

  • Surfer Blood - Tarot Classics
    Florida indie rock quartet Surfer Blood turned more than a few heads with their surf-tinged, energetic debut, Astro Coast. They’ve followed it up with a four-song EP that should whet appetites for album number two, and remind music listeners why they are so beloved in the first place.

  • Mumford & Sons - Live from Shepherd’s Bush Empire
    Americana-invoking UK folk-rock act Mumford & Sons have taken the world by storm since releasing their debut album, so it’s no wonder the band scooped two of this year’s Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist. They're on tour now, but if you can’t make it to one of their shows, they’ve released this live LP to fill the gap.

ExclusivesMusic

Exclusive: Hear Kelly Clarkson’s Commentary Along with New Album, Stronger

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In a matter of months, Fort Worth, Texas native Kelly Clarkson turned from a normal southern girl into an American Idol. Clarkson’s first season victory won her a hardcore fanbase that has remained solid throughout her nearly decade-long career. This month she'll be releasing Stronger, her fifth studio album to date. You can stream it on Rdio now, along with an exclusive Commentary Version where you’ll hear Kelly discuss the process of creating her newest work.

Clarkson’s raw, emotional and natural voice is in full effect on a new single, “Mr. Know It All”, which could be attributed to a six-month break she took in 2010 to restore her health and vocal chords. Clarkson has never felt or sounded better.

Check out Stronger now, and don’t miss Kelly herself explaining the album on our exclusive Commentary Version.

MusicNew Music Weekly

New Music Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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This week’s new releases feature a few solo ventures — one from Fall Out Boy singer Patrick Stump, and another from prolific former House of Pain frontman Everlast. There are also a number of tantalizing albums from a few unsung greats: electronic innovator M83, bombastic rockers Joy Formidable, psych-poppers Real Estate, and dreamy sample-chopping electronic artist Jonti. Big names Jane’s Addiction and singer Shelby Lynne round out this list, but there’s plenty more to hear on this week's New Music Tuesday playlist.

Playlist Notes

  • Fanfarlo - “Deconstruction”
    Although the Swedish pop troupe hasn’t named their second album yet, they're offering this new track as a preview. If the song is any indication, we’re wagering that the album will be stylish indie pop that catches your ear and moves your feet.

  • Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa - “Young, Wild & Free” (feat. Bruno Mars)
    California hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg and rap wunderkind Wiz Khalifa team up to deliver a breezy track that features Bruno Mars on the hook. Summer might be over, but this one’s sure to bring some sunshine.

  • R.E.M. - “We All Go Back to Where We Belong”
    Last week, a world of music fans were disappointed to hear that pioneering college-rockers R.E.M. were breaking up. The sad and aptly-titled “We All Go Back to Where We Belong” is the new single from their forthcoming Greatest Hits compilation, so enjoy — it could be the last new song we’ll get from them.

  • Jane’s Addiction - The Great Escape Artist
    Rock ‘n roll heroes Jane’s Addiction return this week with their new album, The Great Escape Artist, their first full-length since 2003’s Strays. It's reportedly darker than their last, and features TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek on bass guitar.

  • M83 - Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
    French electronic artist M83 is known for making big records, but Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is surely his biggest. This double-album of his epic, electronic soundscapes, punctuated by his atmospheric voice, is getting rave reviews everywhere. Check it out to hear what the fuss is all about.

Artist SpotlightsExclusives

Getting To Know: Peggy Sue

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Having an album already under their belt made it easier for Brighton, England indie-folk trio Peggy Sue to more fully express themselves on their second full-length, Acrobats. The band felt better at their instruments after doing more touring (which they did with Kate Nash and Mumford and Sons), and were ready to channel their influences in a more nuanced way. Acrobats is the band’s most focused album, but it’s also louder and more ferocious than their debut.

The album isn’t out yet in North America, but you can stream Acrobats exclusively on Rdio now. Get to know Peggy Sue better by reading our interview with Peggy Sue's own Katy Klaw:

Five Questions with Peggy Sue

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Katy Klaw: Lindsay Powell (formerly know as Cake Bake Betty currently known as Fielded).
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    KK: The new Two Gallants album that they are making at the moment.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    KK: Motown Chartbusters Volumes 1-5.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    KK: Patient.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    KK: Whether choruses were completely necessary.
Influencer Spotlights

Influencer Spotlight: MTV News Canada

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Everybody knows the tremendous influence MTV wielded over the musical landscape since its inception in 1981, but it has infiltrated popular culture far beyond the original channel. Today MTV influences music in a myriad of more subtle ways, and MTV News Canada is one of them.

This half-hour program is a curatorial news show reflecting daily pop-cultural events and trends, so they're a natural fit as an Rdio Influencer. Their finger is firmly on the pulse of music culture, whether it's about Internet phenoms like Kreayshawn or more established news-makers like Kanye West. They also interview deserving Canadian artists such as Arcade Fire, Hollerado, and Shad.

The show’s Rdio page is constantly updated with playlists reflecting headlines from noteworthy news days, as is their collection with the hottest new artists. “Artists on the Show Oct 11-16” showcases the kind of talent you can expect to hear about, and is a good indication of the music music you will discover by following MTV News Canada on Rdio.

EventsGiveaways

Win A Pair of Tickets to Halifax Pop Explosion

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From October 18-22 the annual Halifax Pop Explosion will hit Nova Scotia’s capital, bringing bands like The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Rural Alberta Advantage, The Thermals, Chad VanGaalen, and Titus Andronicus, to the city’s many venues. For these party-packed days, the city will play host to many more folk, country, rock, and pop artists.

To celebrate, Rdio is giving away three pairs of tickets to the festivities. All you have to do is RT this tweet and add the band you're most excited to see at the Halifax Pop Explosion and you’re automatically entered to win. For more information, read the Official Rules.

Follow the festival on Rdio to discover the latest bands, both Canadian and abroad, and be sure to check out their “HPX 2011” playlist for an exciting preview of this year’s festival.

MusicNew Music Weekly

New Music Tuesday, October 11, 2011

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Along with the usual array of established superstars — Ben Folds, Britney Spears, and Joe Jonas all have new music out today — are a host of exciting new albums from unsung musical heroes. Heart-on-sleeve ‘80s-channellers Future Islands, soul maestro Mayer Hawthorne, Swell Season vocalist Marketa Irglova, post-dubstep wunderkind James Blake, and eternal innovator Björk all have new releases available today, so there’s something for everybody this week.

Playlist Notes

  • Björk - Biophilia
    Iceland’s top musical export and experimentalist returns this week with her ambitious album, Biophilia, which started as a series of Apps for Apple devices. Seven albums in, Björk shows no signs of slowing down her innovative approach to music, and Biophilia is proof.

  • Evanescence - Evanescence
    Melodic hard-rock troupe Evanescence return this week with their third album, a self-titled testament to their longevity and perseverance as a band. Amy Lee and co. have added the harp to their musical arsenal, and they’ve split songwriting duties to make their most unified album to date.

  • James Blake - Enough Thunder
    UK post-dubstep crooner James Blake turned a lot of heads with his full-length debut earlier this year, and he’s reminding us just how well he fuses melody and beats with his studio experimentation on his new EP, Enough Thunder.

  • Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire
    Prolific singer-songwriter Ryan Adams returns with yet another gem this week, in the form of 13th album Ashes & Fire. The collection marks a return to the folk-rock roots he explored on his stunning debut, Heartbreaker, so this one is not to be overlooked.

  • William Shatner - Seeking Major Tom
    Funny-man William Shatner returns to the music world today with Seeking Major Tom, an album of covers from artists including David Bowie, Queen, and Pink Floyd. If you liked “Common People” there’s no reason to skip this one.

ExclusivesMusic

Exclusive: Listen to The Great Escape Artist by Jane’s Addiction

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In their long career, Los Angeles alt-rock quartet Jane’s Addiction have had a massive influence on the music world — lead singer Perry Farrell started Lollapalooza after all — but they’ve created curiously few albums. The band debuts their fourth studio album next week, and on Rdio you can hear its exclusive stream right now.

Despite being titled The Great Escape Artist, the making of the album was reportedly enjoyable for the band, and represents a slightly darker direction than Strays, their last album. Listen to The Great Escape Artist, only on Rdio.

EventsMusic

Now on Rdio: Sarah McLachlan

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Sarah McLachlan is a Canadian music legend. The Halifax-born singer-songwriter has received eight Junos, three Grammys, and the Order of Canada for her musical achievements, and also co-founded the legendary Lilith Fair music festival. Now McLachlan’s entire catalog is available to Canadian listeners on Rdio, from her 1988 debut, Touch, to last year’s Laws of Illusion, as well as specialties like Rarities and Remixed. Listen to them all and enjoy.