Hello, and welcome to my new weekly column! I’m excited to bring you the top stories in Canadian music news on a week-to-week basis, and hope I can consistently engage some of you in the comments section below. Given that we are in the midst of a federal election campaign, the first few pieces are especially topical. Hope you enjoy!
• YOKO ONO vs. @pmharper •
For the third time in five years, Canadians are heading back to the polls. This means we can expect to see an abundance of politricks which hope to engage, and potentially sway, specific voting demographics.
In one of the more transparent attempts as of late, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is appealing for the youth vote, having met with Maria Aragon (@rojuanearagon) on a recent Winnipeg tour stop.
For those unfamiliar, Aragon is a 10-year-old Canadian girl who garnered worldwide acclaim after her video rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” became an unexpected viral sensation.
The height of their visit came when Harper clumsily sat down behind a Korg synthesizer, coaxing Aragon into a duet of the John Lennon signature piece, “Imagine”.
If you just let out an audible groan, you are not alone. Yoko Ono (@yokoono), widow of Lennon and owner of Lenono Publishing, was so incensed that she submitted a copyright claim to YouTube, forcing the company to remove the video reproduction from their servers.
In her defence, Ono has the following to offer: “Harper would like to put all the gay, lesbian, activist female, abortionist, and left thinking Canadians back in a box. Then Harper and his right wing cronies can buy more fighter jets. They will have cleaned up Canada with missionary zeal.”
Yoko has always been a polarizing figure, but it’s tough to argue a lack of hypocrisy on Harper’s part here.
At press time, Bill Clinton’s rendition of “Imagine” remains unscathed.
Taking to their official blog, multi-instrumentalist Richard Reed Parry says, “our current leader has taken on some very destructive initiatives on everyone’s behalf”, pointing to the Kyoto Protocol, the Athabasca Oil Sands, and the G-20 Toronto Summit as examples.
Stressing the importance of voting, Reed closes the post by stating that, “Canada is still a pretty good country, and worth fighting for”.
The position can be viewed as one that is in solidarity with that of the Broken Social Scene (@bssmusic), whose guitarist Andrew Whiteman, had “VOTE HARPER OUT NOW” prominently displayed across the face of his instrument during their March 27th performance at the Juno Awards.
View the Arcade Fire blog post here.
• DRIZZY & THE TEFLON DON •
Rick Ross (@rickyrozay) has a huge claim to fame: he is the only rapper to survive the verbal wrath of 50 Cent (@50cent). Going from making the claims of his prison-guard past irrelevant, to being regarded as the best beat selector in the game, Rozay has defied odds and looks to come stronger than ever in 2011.
Last year’s commercial and critical darling, Teflon Don, firmly cemented Ross within the upper elite of rap. The feature credits alone go a long way in showing how much credibility he has restored since the days of his previous beefs. One of the biggest collaborations of his last album was a pairing with Drake (@drakkardnoir) on the song, “Aston Martin Music”. The J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League production was the last official single, peaking at #30 on the Billboard Hot 100 – the highest charting single from the album.
Looking to replicate some of that success, Ross does not break formula and enlists Drake on this year’s street anthem, “Made Men”. Although the song leaked in late 2010, the video debuted on April 11 of this year and looks to serve as the early single for the upcoming Ross LP, God Forgives, I Don’t.
View the exclusive video here.
• OFWGKTA in TO •
If you have yet to hear of this Californian hip-hop collective, you are likely living underneath a rock. Or you lack an internet connection. Either way, you will be hearing a lot from them soon.
OFWGKTA (fully known as Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All) consist of a multitude of members whose ages range from 16 to 23. The past year has seen them transition from an underground hype group to an outright pop culture phenomenon, which by the end of 2011, will have conquered the likes of the Jimmy Fallon Show, MTV, Adult Swim, Coachella, Reading, and the Leeds Festival, to name a few.
After show-stopping performances at SXSW in Austin, Texas, Odd Future, as they are known for short, have even been rumoured to have been courted by the likes of Jay-Z (@S_C_) and Diddy (@iamdiddy). The future is odd and it’s now… coming to Toronto!
Tickets for the New York date sold out in less than an hour. Be sure to get them while you can!
OFWGKTA (@ofwgkta) plays at the Mod Club, Toronto ON, May 15th/11. Tickets go on sale this Friday, April 15th.
To see Tyler, the Creator’s acclaimed video (co-signed by Kanye West – @kanyewest) for “Yonkers”, click here.
To see OFWGKTA members Tyler, the Creator (@fucktyler) & Hodgy Beats (@KILLHodgy) on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, click here.
• GY!BE SOLO!LP •
After a lengthy 7-year hiatus, Canadian post-rock legends, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, thrilled fans by announcing they will be embarking upon full tours of the North American and European circuits throughout 2011. Although their lifespan beyond that remains unknown, the news should be enough to satiate those who have yet to experience them live.
In terms of future musical output, one thing we can count on is the debut solo LP from co-founder and guitarist, Efrim Manuel Menuck. Entitled, Plays “High Gospel”, it is said to serve as, “a powerful and personal album that serves as an ode to his adopted hometown of Montreal (where he has now lived for two decades), the passing of great friends (Vic Chesnutt, Emma), and new fatherhood.”
Constellation Records will be releasing the album on May 24th in a variety of formats.
For more information and audio streams, click here.
That’s it for now! Tune in next Wednesday, April 20th, for the latest and greatest in Canadian music news.
Follow me on Twitter, @wreckedangle!!