I first heard Beirut at a street festival
- by admin
I was standing in a back lane eating the tiniest radishes that I'd bought from a girl who grew them in her backyard and looking at hand-made soaps and someone started playing it on a boombox that they were carrying around with them like it was the 90's.
That summer I was living in my tiny one-bedroom apartment in Roslyn Manor and the next time I heard it was while drinking sangria in my claw-foot tub trying to fight off the sticky summer air.
My apartment overlooked a narrow courtyard and the apartment across the way was playing it with the windows open.
We all had our windows open that summer.
In the still-warm days of early fall I went camping at Grand Beach with a huge group of girls that I barely knew and in the evening we made spaghetti squash over the campfire and drank wine out of a bag and the next day we went to the nude beach and danced with nothing but sand on our bodies.
While we were dancing it came on the iPhone playlist we were listening to and I sang along through my wine-induced haze and ate cherries from the a picnic basket that also got covered in sand once the wind began to pick up.
I was single, then, and the autumn days were long and beautiful and the nights were longer and even more beautiful and as the winter came and I found myself in love and at the start of something new I heard it one last time at a bakery sharing a slice of key lime pie and drinking coffee.
We watched scattered snowflakes and I felt as though I was closing one book and opening another.
Hearing this song again today for the first time in years it's hard not to feel that way again.
Funny what music can stir in yr heart.
- by Alyson Shane
A few weeks ago John and I performed an original song we wrote at the Rainbow Trout Music Festival open mic.
It's called "Manitobae" and it's about a particular kind of Manitoban man
many of whom were clearly sitting around Carpet Beach listening to us sing, by the sound of the cheers and clapping.
I don't have a great singing voice, and I sounded raspy af, but I'm really proud of our song and of our little band. This is Big Trouble in Little Wolseley's 3rd year performing!
I've experienced a few losses recently and I haven't been feeling the same connection to my community as I typically do.
But this video is a good reminder that there are like-minded folks out there, and instead of focusing on the weird, negative feelings still swirling around inside of me.
I'd like to share this moment in time with you because it makes me happy.
I hope it makes you happy, too.
Yesterday was Matt Good's birthday
- by Alyson Shane
Happy belated birthday, Matt Good. Thanks for writing so many songs that somehow resonated with me even though we've never really met
(signing a CD on a tour bus after a show doesn't count, I don't think)
and for being the first musician to say something that moved me.
Matthew Good Band (MGB) played a lot on Much Music when I was a kid and like any good Canadian kid I owned and wore out the CDs for Beautiful Midnight, The Audio of Being (and the Raygun EP which is still a personal favourite.)
But as good as the alt-rock stylings of MGB were they didn't hit you. Never washed over you and made you go
In 2003 Avalanche, his first solo album, was released and though everyone went nuts for Weapon and In a World Called Catastrophe (a great song) I'd go nuts for Lullaby for the New World Order and While We Were Hunting Rabbits (which still gives me goosebumps every time I listen)
and, predictably, Avalanche.
Oh my god that song.
I self-harmed as a teenager and I'd sit in my bedroom and feel hopeless and cry and cut and silently scream along to that song. I was sad and I didn't understand why and there was something about that song that said
I know. I know. I know.
and I thought he knew. I felt like, in some abstract, messed-up way, Matt Good understood what it was like to feel alone and not understand how or why you felt so hopeless. So miserable.
And then Hospital Music came out.
This was in 2007 when I was living in Hamilton and was a hot, hot mess. I was in the wrong relationship and didn't feel like I had any supports and didn't know how to cope so I drank and got fat and would daydream about coming home to Winnipeg and getting wasted with my party crew because everything felt horrible and out of control and getting messed-up felt like the only way to smother those feelings.
And then this musician I'd admired and respected for years came out with an album he wrote as the result of a mental breakdown, suicide attempt, and his subsequent time in a psychiatric ward and I realized that he actually did know those hopeless feelings.
Someone else out there knew the profound, isolating sadness I'd been carrying around and didn't have the words to convey.
And of course that didn't magically make things better.
My bad relationship still fell apart.
I still had to move back to Winnipeg.
My home life was still a mess.
I was still miserable and confused.
But at least I could turn on my iPod and listen to songs like Champions of Nothing and 99% of Us Is Failure and lose myself in someone else's explorations of their own misery and confusion.
And this weird and foreign feeling that I wouldn't really discover or understand for another several years would wash over me. And for a few minutes, sometimes even just a few seconds
I'd feel like maybe things would eventually be okay.
In years to come I'd fall in love with the music of Leonard Cohen, John K. Samson, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, and others, but Hospital Music stuck with me, even though I rarely listen to it these days.
Some albums are like that. They're for a specific time. Place. Feeling.
But sometimes, when no one's around, I'll pull out the Hospital Music vinyl and look at the familiar cover: blue with the orange and red and brown. Colours I've stared at so many times before.
I'll put it on the turntable
and I'll have a good cry to the soundtrack of my many heartbreaks.
Crowdfunding Crash Course: Steve Meier aka Khan Vikshyn - Normal People
- by Alyson Shane
Steve Meier, aka Khan Vikshyn, is a Winnipeg-based poet and hip hop musician. He used Indiegogo to fund his debut album, Normal People.
Can you briefly talk about your album?
My album is called Normal People. I describe it as being inspired by everyday situations I face as a young man trying to find my way in life while working a dead end job and moonlighting as a rapper hoping to someday “make it” in the music industry. It’s available at khanvikshyn.bandcamp.com and in Winnipeg at Into the Music, Music Trader and HMV in Portage Place.
Why did you feel that the crowdfunding model was the best way to promote your album?
I felt that crowdfunding was the best way for me to promote my album because it allowed me to build excitement and a buzz around my project that I wouldn’t have been able to build otherwise. The people who donated to my campaign are still engaged and excited to see what I do next with my album.
Why and how did you choose Indiegogo over other crowdfunding options available?
I chose Indiegogo because it looked like one of the most legitimate and widely known platforms I could find and it didn’t seem to have many barriers in the way of getting started. It seemed more geared towards what I was planning to do and had a lot of projects by independent artists with smaller budgets and networks. It also offered the flexible funding option, meaning I would get whatever funds I raised regardless if I reached my fundraising goal or not.
How big was your budget before you launched your crowdfunding campaign?
I didn’t really have much of a budget before launching my campaign. Crowdfunding forced me to really look at what I was doing and set a budget and a direction. If I didn’t raise money this way I would probably still be in the position I was before I launched my campaign – an artist with a dream but no clear path – and it’d be years before I’d get a project out.
How far along was your project before you felt ready to launch a crowdfunding campaign? In hindsight, would you have preferred to be farther along, or to have crowdfunded earlier?
I had two songs recorded and mixed before launching my campaign. I think I was at the right point in creating my album when I decided to launch my campaign and ask for people’s help with the rest of it.
Can you explain how you prepared for and managed your campaign?
I prepared for my campaign by spending about 6 months absorbing as much information as I could on successful crowdfunding campaigns by reading articles and watching videos on other people’s experiences. I managed my campaign by creating a 45 day plan so I’d stay on track and would know what I should be doing each day and how far along I expected to be. I knew that once I kicked things off I’d be too busy doing things to research and plan so I had to be as prepared as possible.
What tools did you use to market your campaign? Do you feel like you did so successfully, and if not, what could you have done differently?
I marketed my campaign online and offline. I contacted people by phone and email and through Facebook and Twitter to ask if they’d consider donating towards my campaign. I also posted up flyers around Winnipeg and held a series of busking concerts with friends/artists of mine that I filmed and uploaded to YouTube and shared on Facebook.
In retrospect what were your best assets for running this successful campaign? On the other hand, what would you do differently?
I think my best assets for running my successful campaign were being open and transparent about what I planned to do with the funds I raised so people felt more comfortable about giving me money toward my project. If I could do something differently I would have spent more time researching ways to get picked up by media and blogs because I didn’t have much media coverage. I sent a press release to the [Winnipeg] Metro, CBC Radio and Winnipeg Alternative Media, and WAM posted it on their Facebook page.
What was your biggest challenge during your campaign?
The biggest challenge I faced during my campaign was overcoming negativity I sensed from those who didn’t understand what I was doing and didn’t take it seriously. Some people thought it was charity or that I was being lazy but I came to realise that not everyone is going to “get it” but you just need to do it anyway. It allowed me to really focus on the people showing me support and positivity because they’re the fans and the ones that matter.
What’s the most valuable advice you could share with aspiring crowdfunders?
The most valuable advice that I could share with aspiring crowdfunders is to not get discouraged and give up. Also, be prepared. Put in the necessary time to research how to run a successful campaign and have a plan in place for what you’re going to do before you kick things off. Once you launch you should be confident that you know what you’re going to do to accomplish your goal.
This post is part of the #CrowdfundingCrashCourse series. You can find the entire series of interviews and summary posts here.
- by Alyson Shane
Woke up feeling like a million bucks. I’ve been reading A Tale of Two Cities before bed and it’s been nice to be delving back into some fiction on my own time. John and I snuggled extra hard this morning and after wolfing back some eggs and a cup of coffee I booked it to the bus. Originally I thought I’d hate using transit for my commute but it’s been giving me a lot of time to think and mentally organize my plans for the day.
This song came on my Songza playlist while I was en route to the office. Love it.
John’s company, The Campfire Union, was featured in this spiffy video about the future of virtual reality that New Media Manitoba put together. It’s so exciting to be surrounded by such positive and driven people!
The weekend is here and this is basically all I want to do:
(Okay, maybe not alone. But you get the idea)
- by admin
is a song by Jaguar Knight that plays on CBC Radio 3 approximately every hour and a half
which I love despite how often I hear it and the weird video that reminds me of the visuals my ex used to make.
Because how could you not love an artist that describes themselves thusly:
For ten years, I was known as "A\V" and toured around Canada with a shopping cart full of synthesizers.
Then I got abducted by a horse flying a UFO and the horse made me change my name to "Jaguar Knight"
and posts YouTube videos of their tracks with artwork like this:
- by admin
We already loved yr booty
you didn't need to write a song about it
or make a tacky softcore porn-esque video (plus teaser) about it.
But, look, I get it.
We live in a time of Miley Cyruses and Taylor Swifts trying to cash in on a T&A obsessed culture
and you've got the OG booty, girl.
But you didn't have to sink this low, I promise.
I've always been a fan of your killer sideboob, anyway.
Today is Elvis Costello's birthday
- by admin
he's 60 which means that he was the age of the guy that I'm dating when I was born. Wrap yr head around that.
I didn't grow up listening to Costello as my parents (bless their hearts) had questionable taste in music besides blasting Elton John during Sunday morning house cleanings.
The first time I really heard Costello was sitting in a coffee shop downtown drinking a London Fog with a boy I was dating who was into photography and had just finished taking my picture in the December snow in a dress that was far too short for the wind chill that night.
We were talking about who knows what when Little Palaces came on and he started to sing along and I said
I don't know this song
and he said
that's unbelievable! I'm taking you home and we're going to listen to all of his greatest hits and then some because it is a travesty if you don't know Costello.
He took my hand and we ran through the snowbanks and suddenly my legs didn't feel so cold
and he made me hot chocolate and sang Alison
which isn't spelled right but whatever
I'll take it.
Happy birthday, Mr. Costello.
Hip Hop Sunday: The Lytics - Ring My Alarm
- by admin
Finally around on a Sunday to take care of this 'ol blog tradition.
Today's feature are the Winnipeg-based, super talented, The Lytics
who yr girl had the pleasure of seeing last Saturday night at Rainbow Trout
who put on a stellar performance
despite some ongoing technical difficulties
and were super nice about it
and wished everyone a great weekend when their set was done
just like I'm wishing to you:
hope you had a great weekend!
yr girl Shaner
I know this isn't a very good song
- by admin
by a band that isn't all that great, really.
But sometimes I get it in my head and can't get it out no matter how hard I shake it or listen to Royal Canoe.
The first time I really listened to it
I mean really listened
was while walking down the street in Hamilton when I lived there.
It was spring but still cold and I was walking around puddles and I was sad because I missed Winnipeg and everyone in it, even though I would have never admitted it at the time -to myself or to anyone.
I walked around and was thinking about my boyfriend and my life and how lonely I was even though I'd left on what was supposed to be this grand, life-changing adventure
it didn't really change me at all
at least, not until after it was over, anyway.
This song was on a playlist that my then-boyfriend had put together for me and as I walked through the weird, kinda-scary tunnel under the train track hill to pick up my sushi and sashimi Saturday night dinner for one I realized
you hold me down.
Which is never a good feeling
because things got complicated after that.