Old Fellas New Music Episode 12 Notes

First, I want to thank Doug Peterson for giving us a shoutout on his blog. Thanks Doug, it is great to know you are listening! Here is his write-up.

So, for this week, we have two versions of the show. A 60-minute version that is already up on Mixcloud and an extended version for Saturday night on VoicEd Radio. So to make these easier to find – we will archive the 90-minute version on Spreaker and keep the recording of the live Mixcloud show archived there.

Here is the extended play version

Playing this Saturday at 7:30 PM on VoicEd Radio

Here is the 60-minute version we uploaded to Mixcloud earlier this week.

And here is our Spotify Playlist with all the tracks we have played on our show plus a few extras!

This week’s playlist!

Mother Mother – I Got Love 

The Linda Lindas – Racist Sexist Boy

Lido Pimienta – Eso Que Tu Haces

Mountain Goats – Clemency for the Wizard King

Pokey Lafarge – End of my rope

Plants and Animals – House on Fire

William Prince – The Spark from 2020 Reliever

Holly GoLightly – Satan is His Name

Real Estate – White Light


Mother Mother I Got Love

Mother Mother released two songs in March 2021 – I Got Love and Stay behind. The band has been producing great music on the west Coast of canada for years, but now seem to be best known for having a Tik Tok hit. Canadian Beats Media continues:

Mother Mother, the Vancouver-based alt-rockers have released two new songs; “I Got Love” and “Stay Behind.” The brand new music is Mother Mother’s first offering on the heels of their recent explosion on the platform TikTok. 

After over a decade of releasing music and touring, a new global audience discovered and organically began using the band’s catalogue on the platform, resulting in rapid growth in the millions across all streaming and social platforms, and a Rolling Stone feature on this unique artist development story.

The new music was written during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and was produced by frontman Ryan Guldemond and Howard Redekopp, who produced much of the older music that is connecting with the global audience today. Both “I Got Love” and “Stay Behind” are available now. The release of “I Got Love” and “Stay Behind” also marks the first under the band’s deal with their new label Warner Music Canada.

Canadian Beats March 2021

A little about Mother Mother’s song Hayloft – In November 2020, Hayloft (10 years old) was the most searched set of lyrics in the US and the second most searched in the world. They were even featured in Rolling Stone Magazine!

The Linda Lindas – Racist Sexist Boy

The Linda Lindas are a group of LA youngsters playing punk rock.  In May 2021, the Los Angeles Public Library posted a video of the Linda Lindas playing “Racist, Sexist Boy” at a “TEENtastic Tuesdays” event. In the video, 10 year old Mila explains  the song’s origins. 


The band first came to Bob’s attention in Amy Poehler’s teen comedy Moxie.  Here, they perform a cover of Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl”

The Linda Lindas Perform REBEL GIRL (Official Video) | Moxie

Lido Pimienta – from Miss Columbia song Eso Que Tu Haces

I have loved her music and her style ever since she started out winning the Polaris for her first album.

From Pitchfork Magazine

“She is still an extreme rarity in Canadian music: an Afro-Colombian queer woman with indigenous Wayuu heritage, a single mother, a Spanish speaker. The great promise of Miss Colombia, and of her new leadership in a predominantly white scene, is that brown girls will hear it and be inspired to surge to the front.”

Pitchfork Magazine

Here is her video from the Emmys.

LIDO PIMIENTA: “ESO QUE TU HACES” | 63rd GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony

Lyrics from the song

Today I understood, sitting in your sand

That it was because of you, that I stopped being me

You are not to blame for being like this

And don’t give me anything if you don’t want

You can read more about this great musician and rebel here


Mountain Goats – Clemency for the Wizard King


The Mountain Goats are an American band formed in Claremont, California, by singer-songwriter John Darnielle. The song selected was “Clemency for the Wizard King” In this Vanity Fair article, Darnielle gives some background to how Dungeons and Dragons inspired the album.

Anyone who has kept a project going for more than a quarter century has a right to be a little set in his ways. Which is why it might come as a bit of a surprise to hear that John Darnielle, songwriter and front man of the Mountain Goats, was willing to entirely change his attitude in the recording studio when he started to record his 17th album, In League with Dragons, out next month.

Vanity Fair March 2019

Here’s a video of The Mountain Goats performing their ode to reggae great Dennis Brown. 

The Mountain Goats “Song for Dennis Brown”

Pokey Lafarge – End of my rope

Pokey Lafarge is a discovery I made this week while listening to a great show on Mixcloud by David the Worm – his taste in music is amazing and I listen whenever I can. He is usually on at 2;00 PM Monday to Friday plus an extra show with his partner on Sundays.

David the Worm

More about Pokey Lafarge from his Bandcamp page

Pokey LaFarge is a musician, songwriter, bandleader, entertainer, innovator and preservationist, whose well-rounded arsenal of talents has placed him at the forefront of American music. His music transcends the confines of genre, continually challenging the notion that tradition-bearers fail to push musical boundaries.

Bandcamp

Here is a great ‘unplugged’ version on Youtube of this week’s song End of My Rope

POKEY LAFARGE END OF MY ROPE Round Chapel London 14th December 2018

If you want another great song by Pokey Lafarge, you have to listen to Something in the Water


Plants and Animals – House on Fire

Plants and Animals are a 3 piece band from Montreal. This the  video for their latest. “House on Fire”.  As one YouTuber put it, “ LCD Soundsystem meets Talking Heads. Love it.”

Plants and Animals – House on Fire (Official Video)

More on Plants and Animals, another Montreal band here from Under the Radar Magazine

“House on Fire” was inspired by Spicer’s concern for a friend of his. The band collectively further explain in more detail in a press release: “We started working on this a couple of years ago. Warren was afraid for a friend’s health. He thought he was self-medicating too much and not taking care of himself. He couldn’t let go of this image of an overworked dude swallowing too many sleeping pills and falling asleep with the stove on. So it began as the place next door, sometime before Greta Thunberg turned the expression into a rallying cry, where Earth is the house and the people are sleeping. It’s terrifying, and on the whole we’re not unlike this friend, are we?”

Under the Radar June 2020

William Prince – The Spark from 2020 Reliever

My last track is by William Prince who I saw on the underwhelming Juno production last week. His performance of this song was certainly the highlight on a show that could have done so much more.

William Prince The Spark

Holly GoLightly – Satan is His Name

Holly Golightly (born Holly Golightly Smith  is a British singer-songwriter. Her mother christened her after the main character of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  She’s been performing her brand of garage rock for years.Perhaps she is best known for contributing the song “There is an End” to the movie Broken Flowers starring Bill Murray.

Holly Golightly & The Greenhornes – There Is An End

We featured the tempting little number “Satan is His Name” from 2018’s “Do the Get Along”

Satan is His Name

It’s a cover of an obscure  1962 single by Steve King

Steve King – Satan Is Her Name

If you like Holly,  this is the album to grab if you can find it.


Real Estate – White Light

We closed with a great indie band from New Jersey, “Real Estate”  

Real Estate – White Light (In Mind 2017)

Old Fellas new Music – Episode 10 Show Notes

Music This Week

Art D’Ecco – Desires

Sadies – Riverview Fog

Austra – Messiah

Kathleen Edwards – Options Open

Pierre Kwenders and Clément Bazin –  Ego 

Sloan – The Day Will Be Mine

Rae Spoon – There’s No End

John K Samson – Fantasy Baseball at the End of the World 

Rural Alberta Advantage – Beacon Hill

Our updated playlist
Our shows on MixCloud – you can follow us here!!

Art D’Ecco – Desires from the album In Standard Definition, May 19th 2021

Art d’Ecco – Full Performance (LIve on KEXP) – on 2019 album release  Trespasser 

I am the dancefloor from Art D’Ecco’s latest album

Reference – Grant Lawrence on CBC Radio 3 did a great feature on him.

CBC’s Grant Lawrence

There is more on Art D’Ecco in the article from the Georgia Straight

After years of self-doubt and spinning his wheels, Art d’Ecco is now on a mission to make his own fantastical myths (2018)

Consider this the latest page in a story he’s spent the past few years writing. His back story includes fleeing Vancouver years ago to hole up in a sprawling island home to care for an ailing grandmother, the relative solitude giving him ample time to invent the character that would become analogue-obsessed rocker Art d’Ecco. And what a great character that creation is, all pageboy hair, greasepaint-and-rouge makeup, and Rodney Bingenheimer fashion cues—right down to the retina-searing flares and platform shoes.

More on how he came up with his unique look:

I was getting my keys cut, and kind of stewing while I waiting,” the singer recalls with laugh. “Out of the corner of my eye I saw a wig store that had this $300 human-hair bob wig. I was like ‘I’ve never been more excited in my entire life.’ I was walking through the Bay on the way back to my car at after getting my keys cut, and figured I might as well go whole hog and buy some makeup. I had no idea what I was doing. I was just freewheeling.

Bob picked his selections from groups that he saw over the last five years at the wonderful Beau’s Oktoberfest in Vankleek Hill, Ontario.

Bob and Karen

Sadies – Riverview Fog

A group never fails to put on a great show, The Sadies.  Here performing this Riverview Fog

Bob mentioned on the show this very cool trick that the Sadies can do. Hard to imagine doing this!

Austra – Messiah Album Hirudin 2020

Austra is a singer I have liked for a long time. I first heard her on CBC with her 2011 song Lose It. Pretty amazing display. You can see a 2017 version of the song on CBC here. The voice is something very different.

This Pitchfork article explains the power of her voice better than I ever can:

Katie Stelmanis has a voice like a beacon, a sound that can shear through any accompaniment, no matter how drab. She shares this power with ANOHNI and Zola Jesus, singers who enchant their surroundings with the depth and richness of their timbres, who are instantly recognizable in any setting. Her voice comprises the central pillar of her synthpop project Austra, the feature around which her music crystallizes. The Canadian artist’s previous album, 2017’s Future Politics, shifted deeper into the icy trappings of club music, laminating Stelmanis’ voice inside the production styles of deep house and trance. On HiRUDiN, Austra’s fourth LP, the project breaks from that rut, swinging for big, embodied pop moments that let the warmth of Stelmanis’ voice shine through.

Pitchfork May 6 2020

Kathleen Edwards – Options Open

Kathleen Edwards is represented here this week with a song from her “return from exile” album, ” Total Freedom”. The song is “Options Open” and it looks like she hasn’t missed a beat.

Kathleen Edwards – Options Open (LIVE from her home)

A David Lettermen fave, Edwards was a frequent guest on The Late Show.  Dave discards his  usual sarcastic goof persona here as shows is a genuine fan.

Kathleen Edwards – “Change the Sheets” on Letterman 01-17-12

Ego by Pierre Kwenders and Clément Bazin

album – Classe Tendresse 2020 – on Bandcamp 

This is another artist heard first on CBC Frequencies, my go to place to hear new and exciting music.

From the bandcamp bio:

Born in Kinshasa and settled in Montréal since 2001, Pierre Kwenders learned music and found his voice in a catholic choir in the city. With his two EPs and two full-length records, the singer-songwriter has earned multiple awards. Passionate about offering music without borders, he’s also one of the founders of Moonshine, a collective that throws some of the best parties around the world.  

Bandcamp

Here is the great video we are playing from his most recent release, the song is Ego

Clément Bazin & Pierre Kwenders – Ego (Official Music Video)

From Exclaim MagazinePublished Oct 21, 2020

Pierre Kwenders has been known to allow every style of music he hears to influence his own. This is even more remarkable given the diversity of influence that would have entered his realm; he emigrated from Kinshasa to Montreal at the age of 16. French-Acadian, hip-hop and Congolese Catholic church music are just some of the many influences in his path. His latest project, Classe Tendresse, is a collaboration with Parisian musician Clément Bazin, who is equally in love with technology and the steelpan.

The blending of traditional African melodies with post-human electronica is complete and seamless. In a sense, this is nothing new. All popular music is influenced by traditional African music and is impacted by advances in musical technology. What is interesting here is that it is not really a blend at all, as one cannot tease out traditional and electronic elements; this is traditional African music as heard through digital technology.

Sloan – The Day Will Be Mine

Sloan perform “The Day Will Be Mine” as part of the East Coast Music Awards (ECMA’s) at the Marquee in Halifax, NS on May 3, 2018.  The Marquee is a legendary club in Halifax  which is one of the 2 bars immortalized in  the song, “ Marquee and the Moon” from the 1999 album “Between Two Bridges.” The Misty Moon closed down a number of years ago, but the Marquee lives on.   

Sloan – Live at the Marquee – The Day Will Be Mine

A clip advertising their upcoming 2018 appearance at Oktoberfest.  The concert clips were taken from the June 28 show at Ottawa’s 27 Club.  We were lucky to see both performances.

Rae Spoon There’s No End, album Mental Health 2019

Another feature heard on CBC Radio 3 Grant Lawrence. Very happy I heard this one. Rae Spoon is an artist I was totally unfamiliar with (I say that a lot).

A wonderful musician and author Rae Spoon is versatile and prolific with albums and books stretching back tp 2000

again from Georgia Straight:

Trailblazers 2021: Rae Spoon’s Green Glass Ghosts reflects Vancouver through lens of young trans adult

Georgia Straight – Apr 28 2021

The narrator is a queer, guitar-wielding musician who arrives in Vancouver in 2000 at the age of 19. Written in Spoon’s usual highly accessible style, the story of youthful exuberance, excessive drinking, and emotional angst plays out across Vancouver—on the bus system, at the beaches, and in various neighbourhoods.

It’s astonishing to consider how far the trailblazing Spoon has come from being a poor couch-surfing, sometimes homeless trans youth living on the East Side. In addition to four books, including the Lambda Award finalist collection of short stories that kicked off their career, Spoon has created a dozen albums. In addition, they achieved their dream of touring extensively.

Here is the trailer from the NFB film made about Rae Spoon. All the music in the film was composed and performed by them.

John K Samson – Fantasy Baseball at the End of the World 

“I manage my fantasy baseball team better than I manage my anger these days,” Samson sings. “And I’d trade my best pitcher for a draft-pick and picture of the president writhing in pain.” John K. Samson.  Great video from Manitoba’s finest that combines his love of baseball with his loathing of Trump.

Here he is at Beau’s Oktoberfest performing his classic “One Great City”

Rural Alberta Advantage – Beacon Hill

Bob asked during the show which Beacon Hill the Rural Alberta Advantage is singing about. This is another band that he saw at Oktoberfest.

I think if you look at the video below you may get a clue.

Old Fellas New Music – Episode 9

You can always find us here

Week 9

Soccer Mommy – Up the Walls

Kiwi Jr – Waiting in Line or Maid Marian’s Toastv  

Beach Slang – Future Mixtape For the Art Kids

Nick Ferrio – The Dam

Car Seat Headrest – Fill in the Blanks

Aviva Chernick – Ti Espanya 

Angel Olsen – Intern

Jon and Roy – Runner

James Clarke Institute – Should I Tell Her

Allison Russell – Persephone 

This is the Kit – Coming to get you nowhere

Our updated Spotify Playlist for Week 9
You can find Episode 9 and all our shows (from Episode 5) here on MixCloud

Also live here on VoicEd Radio at 7:30 PM Saturdays

This week’s notes

Soccer Mommy

 A nice slice of pop perfection.

Here in a performance on KEXP 

Kiwi Jr – Maid Marian’s Toast

Kiwi Jr. is from the PEI North Shore – CBC Grant Lawrence recommends this as his new favourite band. Album Cooler returns – was released January 2021

Kiwi Jr. is Jeremy Gaudet (mic, guitar), Brohan Moore (drums), Mike Walker (bass), and Brian Murphy (guitar). 

This is a very cool video that I watched as I prepared the show this week.

Directed by Sean Egerton Foreman, who also shot Kiwi Jr videos for “Cooler Returns”, “Maid Marion’s Toast” and “Gimme More”,No Trace Evidence is a short mini-documentary of Kiwi Jr’s recording process during the Summer of Covid 19, a candid peak into the recording studio as well as al fresco out-door mixing, isolation booths, temperature checks and black cats crossing their path.

No Trace Evidence

Here is the Pitchfork review of their latest album.


Beach Slang – Future Mixtape For the Art Kids

Beach Slang formed in 2013 as a vehicle for Alex James’  noisy teen anthems.  We featured his song “Future Mixtape For The Art Kids.” In 2017 he did an offshoot called “Quiet Slang “ where he rerecorded his songs as chamberpop using just vocals, piano and cello.

Nick Ferrio – The Dam

2021 single Sutton Ontario  album Television of  Roses  releases  June 18, 2021 heard first on CBC Radio 3

Performed by:

Nick Ferrio Tanner Paré Lewis Parker Nathan Truax

With: Jonas Bonnetta Evangeline Gentle Caylie Runciman

The album was recorded and co-produced by Evening HymnsJonas Bonnetta and features contributions by Said the Whale‘s Nathan Truax, Heaps‘ Tanner Paré, Boyhood‘s Caylie Runciman, Evangeline Gentle and For Esmé‘s Lewis Parker.

From an Exclaim! Magazine article – March 21, 2021 – this is a pretty incredible story

Georgina, ON-based folkster Nick Ferrio has shared plans for a new record titled Television of Roses. The artist will deliver the goods on June 18, but today he’s offering up a glimpse of what’s to come with a new single titled “The Dam.”

The new track is a response to a letter sent to Ferrio by his late mother, in which she asked if he remembered her from “before her struggles with alcohol began.”

“It explores those early years of my life, the poverty we experienced, but also my mother’s resilience and strength,” Ferrio explained of the track. “We were estranged from each other at times in our lives and she passed away a year ago after being diagnosed with leukemia. But, I played it for her before she passed and we made amends.”

Ferrio said: “When I grew up there were a lot of people in my household and not everyone was a fan of my constant singing and guitar playing, so I would go to the cliff in the woods near our house and sing out to the lake. We recreated that in the video. It was cool to go back there and explore. Brought back a lot of memories.

Here is the video – watch this.

There is also a good article on his indigenous roots and advocacy for local music in Peterborough 


Car Seat Headrest – Fill in the Blanks

Car Seat Headrest have been around since 2010. We featured a song from 2016’s Teens of Denial but they are still making waves as seen in this NY Times article from April discussing their latest release..

Will Toledo, the founder and principal songwriter of Car Seat Headrest, sat in his Seattle apartment, looking into his iPhone camera through the eyes of a modified gas mask.

His face wasn’t visible, but somehow he still seemed a little sheepish. Months ago, Toledo made up his mind to wear a costume, including the mask, while promoting his indie-rock band’s first album of new material since 2016, an atypically concise and beat-driven collection of songs called “Making a Door Less Open.”

NY Times By Alex Pappademas April 23, 2020

Here they are on The Tonight show in 2016 performing Drunk Driver/Killer Whale

Aviva Chernick A Ti Espanya –Album 2019 La Serena

This is a beautiful singer who has collaborated with a range of artists. From the Bandcamp page:

On Bandcamp

Singing in Hebrew, Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) Yiddish and English, she has had the pleasure of making music with many wonderful musicians including Frank London, Yair Dalal, Jackie Richardson and Flory Jagoda. Aviva’s collaborative recordings have garnered several nominations and awards, including Juno nominations for Jaffa Road’s albums Sun Place (2010) and Where The Light Gets In (2013), a Canadian Folk Music Award for Where The Light Gets In(2013), a Canadian Folk Music Award Nomination for When I Arrived You Were Already There(2012)as well as for Under the Canopy (2008). for her albums La Serena (2020) Aviva and her co-writers from Jaffa Road won the John Lennon International Songwriting Grand Prize for their rendition of “Lo Yisa Goy”, a prayer for peace.

Pocket Performance: Aviva Chernick with Joel Schwartz

Another incredible performance on the Aga Khan Museum YouTube site

Video of A Ti Espanya  

For you, Spain, my dear one.

Our mother, we love you

and throughout our whole lives 

your sweet language we will never let go of.


Angel Olsen – Intern

Angel Olsen performing “Intern”.  In her words, “A sarcastic take on synthpop.” 


Jon and Roy 2017 Runner

from 2017 The Road Ahead is Golden

Yet another band I have never heard before, but out west they are popular and well known. After 8 albums, this makes sense.

From an article Five things to know about Here by Jon and Roy in the Vancouver Sun

Jon Middleton is blessed with one of those perfect old-timey folk voices which quavers with just the right amount of blues, croons like a classic country singer, and can flow like lubricant over quiet fingerpicking (That Is You) or uptempo horn riffs (Headstrong) alike. It’s a pretty special sound, and brings all the material a sense of spirit that it might not otherwise possess.

Vancouver Sun

James Clarke Institute – Should I Tell Her

A single from the the just released album “The Colour of Happy” This wonderful melodic powerpop. Like Big Star, Badfinger and the Beatles?  This is right up your alley then. James is also a talented artist as ably demonstrated in his “Clartoons”


Allison Russell – Persephone 

“Bigotry and abuse are intergenerational traumas,” Russell said. “It’s not just my story.”
Credit…
Bethany Mollenkof for The New York Times

 Album – Outside Child release May 21 2021 

Really, for me this week, the stories are just as important as the music – this is another example. I learned about Allison Russell through the New York Times feature about her last Sunday:

Her solo debut, “Outside Child,” speaks bluntly about sexual abuse by her adoptive father. She spells it out, over a steadfast Memphis soul beat, in the first song she wrote for the album, “4th Day Prayer”: “Father used me like a wife/Mother turned the blindest eye/Stole my body, spirit, pride/He did, he did each night.”

The singer, songwriter and folklore explorer Rhiannon Giddens invited Russell to join Our Native Daughters along with Amythyst Kiah and Leyla McCalla — all four of them Black female banjo players — to make a 2019 album, “Songs of Our Native Daughters,” for Smithsonian Folkways that celebrated the banjo’s West African origins and encompassed narratives of slavery, perseverance and resistance.

The article is really worth reading and speaks to her Montreal roots and how she has overcome the terrible legacy of abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother’s partner and also how she was able to eventually get him arrested and put in jail.

Like always, the NY Times version of the article adds lots of great video material.

This is the Kit -Coming to get You Nowhere 

album 2020 – Off Off On – (found on BBC playlist on Spotify)

This Is the Kit is the alias of Paris-based British musician Kate Stables, as well as the band she fronts

This Is The Kit were a long-time favourite among various BBC Radio 6 Music DJs, which is where the musician and presenter Guy Garvey discovered them, playing their music frequently. Fellow 6 Music DJs Lauren Laverne, Radcliffe & Maconie, Cerys Matthews, and Mary Anne Hobbs have also been major supporters; DJ Marc Riley has hosted the band for three BBC live sessions to date.[2] BBC Radio 1 has offered the band spot plays via DJs Huw Stephens, Jen & Ally, and Phil Taggart.

Next week we will be going to an 8-song format to get the show down to 60 minutes. We will still be working to broadcast the show live on SoundCloud, Wednesday at 7:00 PM and it will be broadcasted on VoicEd Radio at 7:30 PM on Saturdays. We really appreciate the support of both of these great organizations for encouraging and supporting our weekly efforts!

Old Fellas New Music Episode 7 Notes

The promised video by Boy Wonder

Why this video? From Exclaim magazine:

As is Faist’s trademark, the new single comes with an accompanying video, shot on his trusty 16mm film camera. The “Hoodwink” clip features the dancing stylings of cowboy hat-clad Lee Kennedy, who busts some moves outside Toronto’s Dufferin Mall with her trusty scooter by her side. 

Said Faist about the video’s star, “The video features Lee Kennedy, who I met in Kensington Market on her scooter one day. She was dressed in pink head-to-toe, and I took her photo while we drank coffee. I remembered her enthusiasm and tracked her down because I wanted to put her in a video. She showed up to Dufferin Mall on her scooter, danced for a minute and a half, and then we went home.”

Songs this week

Bob’s songs

Dinosaur Jr. – I Ain’t 

Guided By Voices – Trust Them Now 

Yo Le Tengo – Shades of Blue 

Teenage Fanclub – The Sun Won’t Shine On Me

Paul McCartney – Winterbird /When Winter Comes

Paul’s songs

Alvvays – In Undertow

Groupie – Thick As Glue

Du Blonde – I’m Glad We Broke Up

Kobo Town – Scarborough Girl

Boy Wonder – Hoodwink

Our Spotify Playlist for this week
Here is this week’s episode!

Before we get started, we have to put in a note about John Peel, the legendary DJ we talk about at the beginning of the broadcast. If you want to listen to some, or many of his broadcasts your can download them off this great blog – The Perfumed Garden.

More about John Peel here:

Mairi McGuire has been asking for the Alvvays for a few weeks, so here they are! A great band with deep Maritime roots. I am including a full KEXP session here so you can listen to more of their great music.

Alvvays – Full Performance (Live on KEXP)

The band consists of Molly Rankin (vocals and guitar), Kerri MacLellan (keyboards), Alec O’Hanley (guitars), Brian Murphy (bass) and Sheridan Riley (drums). Their second studio album, Antisocialites, was released on September 8, 2017 and would go on to win the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year. Both albums have been short listed for the Polaris Music Prize.

From Wikipedia

I have to give a nod this week to Pitchfork for some of my stories this week. What a great resource for new music!

Yo La Tengo

Bob tells an mazing story about how the band got it’s name – you really need to listen to this on the show.

This is an excellent interview with Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo

This video from 2013 shows the band’s more heavy guitar “skronk”approach

Groupie

I like this song and the story from Pitchfork is really interesting. The song is Thick as Glue and you can read more about this new band below:

Groupie began when Ashley Kossakowski put out a call for bandmates on Craigslist, which was answered by guitarist Johanna Healy. Now a quartet, the Brooklyn band recently released a full-length debut, Ephemeral, an invigorating collection of post-punk leaning tracks about identity, nostalgia, and female empowerment. On the dreamy centerpiece, “Thick As Glue,” they interrogate the myth of the male artistic genius: “Young woman idolizing heroic men singing about heroin/Tried to keep it cool, now it’s my turn too. Who you think you’re looking up to?” –Quinn Moreland – Pitchfork

Guided By Voices

This best of Guided By Voices album is the best way for the uninitiated to approach the band.  Solid from beginning to end.

Ever the contrarian, Robert Pollard left their most “radio-friendly” and well known song off this collection. From the TV show Scrubs:

Du Blonde

Song: I’m Glad That We Broke Up from the album Homecoming

I really had to add this video – this really defines who Beth Jeans Houghton is all about.

More about Du Blonde from the Guardian:

If you want something done right, do it yourself: so Newcastle’s Beth Jeans Houghton resolved for her third record as Du Blonde. Tired of feeling limited by the industry, she wrote, recorded, produced and released Homecoming herself, right down to tie-dying her own merch. Despite this bravura show of self-reliance, she still makes space, in a record bursting and bouncing with fuzzy, pop-grunge hooks, for guests from Garbage’s Shirley Manson (on the heat-hazed, delirious Medicated) to Ezra Furman (the glam-punk scrap of I’m Glad That We Broke Up) and Andy Bell of Ride (the alternately dreamy and hard-rock-anthemic All the Way). Houghton is always centre stage, though, right from opener Pull the Plug, whose sweet, surfy melody and low, scuzzy riffs recall early Frank Black, as does the divinely nonchalant I Can’t Help You There.

The whole album conjures the catchiest moments of 90s Boston indie rock – Pixies, Belly, the Breeders. It’s a style appropriated by many, but invoked by a genuine, dedicated kook like Houghton, those dynamics live and breathe. Smoking Me Out, in particular, is a riot – a campy, monstrously distorted vocal on the verse contrasted with a blissfully sweet, sharp powerpop chorus: DIY at its wilful, weird finest.

Guardian

Teenage Fanclub

Here’s Teenage Fanclub playing at Reading 1992.  This was gig Nirvana blew open their popularity. Kurt Cobain is sometimes credited as calling Teenage Fanclub “the best band in the world”

The “Fannies” were often compared to 70’s cult heroes Big Star.  There is an excellent film on Netflix documenting Big Star’s unlucky foray into the music business .

Kobo Town

Scarborough Girl album – Where the Galleon Sank

Kobo Town was played on Frequencies on May 4th. A great song and an amazing episode!

Again from Exclaim Magazine:

Founded and fronted by émigré Trinidadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves, Kobo Town’s music has been variously described as “an intoxicating blend of lilting calypsonian wit, dancehall reggae and trombone-heavy brass” (Guardian) and a “unique, transnational composite of rhythm, poetry and activist journalism.”(Exclaim!) From their home in Toronto, the JUNO-nominated group has brought their distinct calypso-inspired sound to audiences across the world, from Port-of-Spain to Paris and from Montreal to Malaysia.

The wonderful Errol Nazareth from CBC Frequencies

Boy Wonder – Toronto

Song – Hoodwink – it was hard to get information on Boy Wonder, I went to Exclaim magazine to get this information. You can also go to Revibe Toronto to see a live version of his song – Smile Moma off his 2019 EP

And from Exclaim’s article by Matt Bobkin

Published Apr 30, 2021

Talented Torontonian Ryan Faist is a filmmaker by day, boy wonder by night. The garage rock project is set to drop a new album, Kinda Blue Too, on June 4 via his own Rainbow Land label, alongside a live concert film, Fear In Public. A month ahead of the album’s release, Faist has released new single “Hoodwink.”

The 95-second blast pairs sturdy rock chords with Faist’s reverbed-to-hell vocals, as he raspily howls about a mutually destructive relationship: “Would ya sell your soul for a buck or two? / ‘Cause if you’ve got me, then I’ve got you.”

In a statement, Faist told Exclaim!:”Hoodwink” is about the beginning of the end of compassion and kindness between us. It’s about the ugly parts of the world, the people who benefit off of people’s misery. I feel like that their wave is gonna rip-curl soon though. Kindness will shine.

The song is an ode to my dad’s old Brit garage rock records that I grew up listening to. Three chords. Less than two minutes. No bridge or breakdown. I love how those songs always trimmed the fat. In and out, like your favourite drive-thru.

This week we played an extra track to get us to 90 minutes

I read about Yasmin Williams first in the New York Times.

Yasmin Williams has described her approach to acoustic guitar as a kind of creative problem-solving. Drawn to the instrument after mastering Guitar Hero 2, she dreamed of tapping along the fretboard like rock virtuosos before her. Unable to replicate their style, she laid the guitar on her lap, tuned the strings in harmony with each other, and played it like a keyboard. Drawing from a love of hip-hop, she sought an underlying rhythm throughout her wordless, melodic compositions. Without an accompanist, she attached a kalimba—a type of thumb piano—at the bottom of her instrument, plucking it with her right hand while her left navigated the strings.

New York Times May 2

“I don’t want my music to be limited by being the ‘Black guitarist,’ but somebody had to start doing something,” Williams said. “With all the horrible stuff in 2020, it seemed like it was time.”

Credit…

Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

COVID Journal # 5 Breaking up is hard to do

Today has been an interesting day. Earlier I had an incredible conversation with a colleague of mine on how to teach online in the fall. I am still digesting this, but what struck me the most was the notion that when we teach online, the first thing we need to do is consider the emotional health of our audience.

We need to find new ways to draw everyone in, make sure in our isolated spaces that everyone is part of the conversation. This will mean, among other things, that I will need to have a one-on-one conversation with every student I work with in the fall. If I don’t do this I will lose them and it will be my fault.

Today’s conversation was an eye-opener to me. I don’t know if many of us have figured this out yet – apart from teachers who have been working through this since the middle of March.

For the rest of us, I don’t think we understand yet that most social media is unidirectional. It is designed for conversations between two people. Three becomes a crowd.

In the old pre-COVID days, conversations could become organic, especially when one or two people monopolized the conversation. In the classroom, you could redirect. In the living room, you could start a side conversation and effectively move things along. People could pick up on cues, they could usually use their social skills to sense the room.

Now, this isn’t happening. A few days ago I saw a tweet from someone who has become part of a podcast I used to really enjoy. They were asking for feedback on how the show was going. In the past, the music had been great, there had been room for many voices and lots of music suggestions.

The same show now has become a conversation between two, or maybe three people. It has lost the ability to be inclusive –  it is misreading the room. This is part of my response for feedback on the show:

The show now seems a little like a conversation for two or sometimes three people. It used to be more inclusive, more of a community – not any longer. Maybe this is what the pandemic has done.

Our current communication systems can’t allow for more than one or two voices. We haven’t figured out yet how to be inclusive and allow relationships to grow online. This will be a challenge for all of us.

This kind of pushback usually doesn’t turn out well, but after mulling this over for a few days, I felt I needed to write something. More than ever before, people need to reach out and build community.

What spurred me onto this was my last meeting with my book club. We have been meeting online since the pandemic and for me, this hasn’t worked out too well. We have been together for more than fifteen years, but I don’t know if we will survive the pandemic.

Tonight I sat through a conversation that was almost exclusively between three people. It was sad to be there. I had actually looked forward to our conversation, but there was no way to become part of what was going on. No one took the social cues, the conversation was not inclusive. I left the meeting abruptly, but I did tell the group that the conversation no longer worked.

As a group, we are not adept at creating a community online. The radio show I commented on has also lost its ability to do this. We seem now to only be able to connect in groups of two or three. More than that seems to be beyond us and our grasp of the current technology.

We can no longer retreat to the classroom or the livingroom to restore community. These options are out of reach for the foreseeable future. We will have to become much more mindful of the importance of inclusiveness in a world dominated by unidirectional communication.

I am breaking up with my book club. It is not their fault, but I need real community, real human relations. The challenge for the fall will be to make sure none of my students end up feeling as I did tonight. Everything I do will have to be about building community and trust with the imperfect tools we have at our disposal.

We all need to be doing this. We are responsible for building and sustaining important positive relationships. Look around you, think again, we need to do much better to sustain each other for the times to come.

The Urban Communities Cohort – What is the Urban School?

the necessary changes in urban and suburban schools will have to appropriate adequate space for a re-examination of leadership that is collaborative,
transformative, socially just, and moves beyond the hierarchical construction of the individual leader role.

Beverly-Jean Daniel, Reimagining the Urban: A Canadian Perspective

What is the urban school? What does it look like in Canada? How is it studied and what should educators learn about before working in an urban school? This year, I am working with the Urban Communities Cohort at the University of Ottawa and I am asking myself these and many other questions.

As part of our learning, teacher candidates need to develop a digital hub or, in other words, some platform where they can reflect on what they are learning. I figure that if I am working this year with these students the least I can do is add this blog to the collection of reflective pieces that will accumulate as the year progresses.

St. Anthony School, where I learned most of what I know about urban schools

I have said this before but it certainly bears repeating. Reflection is an essential component of learning. We all need somewhere to record our thoughts and insights especially when we are on a steep learning curve. The students here at the University of Ottawa are on about as steep a curve as possible, so it is really encouraging to see them put out some of their ideas and wonderings on a blog or wiki or some other platform.

I think it would be really cool if some of these students decided they wanted to start a podcast about what they are experiencing as new teachers. VoicEd Radio would be a great platform for recording these experiences it has been done before, it makes for great radio!

Sarah Lalonde started her podcast while she was a student at the University of Ottawa

One of the foundational readings students have been asked to take a look at is an article by Beverly-Jean Daniel, Reimagining the Urban: A Canadian Perspective. There is a good deal to digest in this article and I am just starting this process.  What an urban school is? Is there really one definition of an urban school?

I am not an academic, but I had the privilege of working in one urban school and have had many experiences of working with poverty in schools. One idea that is really interesting has to do with the whole idea of an urban school. Is there really a precise divide between urban and suburban schools here in Ontario?

There are characteristics of have and have-not schools, but I don’t think they separate out along urban and suburban schools. It might be easier to look at what you might find in have-not schools:

  • a clear lack of resources outside what is granted by the school district or province
  • a higher percentage of children without resources at home to support learning
  • a higher percentage of parents who work several jobs to make ends meet, who have less energy and time for school
  • a higher percentage of health concerns, for example, dental health issues with many students
  • a more transient school population

There is, in my opinion, a real danger when I start to write down characteristics like this. Someone could easily read this and point out that this is stereotyping. One could also point out that my list is incomplete, that it focuses on the elementary panel (it does) and that it is missing so many things. Most of these criticisms would be correct, but I don’t think I am painted with a brush that is too broad. Yes, my list has more to do with elementary, but I am sure you could come up with a secondary list without too much trouble.

What would be much more useful and this is something I brought up in class this morning when I talked about the Daniel article is a careful look at the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study. The ONS is an incredible resource that really tells the story of the places we live in here in Ottawa. From their opening page, the ONS states that it is presenting this data to help people understand our current living spaces and plan for better futures:

Evidence is mounting that the neighbourhoods and communities in which we live affect not only our health but also the gap in health between rich and poor. The purpose of the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study (ONS) is twofold: to better understand the physical and social pathways by which neighbourhoods in Ottawa affect our health and well-being, and to provide citizens in Ottawa with facts that support evidence-based decision-making.

Ottawa Neighbourhood Study

As I rambled this morning, I did say something that might be helpful – I really think that all educators need to carefully read the ONS before they start teaching in a community that is new to them. We all need to realize that we do not teach in a bubble. We teach in a living community and if we teach in a hard to serve or low-income community, we need to know what services are there to help our families, then we need to see how we can best fit in and make a substantial difference for the students we work with.

There is a great deal here to examine and to think about. When we work in a low-income school, do we need to develop a different mindset? Do we need to think even more out of the box than other teachers need to do? Do we need to question our models of leadership and collaboration with the wider community? Does our role as the teacher change?

I started this reflection piece with one of the conclusions from the Daniel article. Yes, I think we do need to re-examine how we do leadership and we also need to re-examine how we teach in low-income neighbourhoods. No, there is not a definitive split between urban and suburban schools here in Ottawa. Yes, there is true poverty and inequality in this city.

So, how do we best prepare our new teachers to enter this world and make a true difference? Can we as educators level this playing field?

Education Bloggers and Podcasters in Ontario – Make Your Voices Heard

If you are not an educator or healthcare worker, you might things are OK here in Ontario. We now have buck a beer and tailgating is not far behind. We have a government in Ontario that is catering to the base interests of many people in the province. The government for the ‘people’ is reducing class sizes, getting rid of thousands of teachers, diverting money away from repairing schools and delving dangerously into the math curriculum. They say the system is broken and they are here to fix it.

The situation will remain grim and we are probably heading towards a political showdown between the teacher federations and this government. This will not go well and a chill will descend over education in Ontario that will not be lifted for years to come.

It is very sad and frustrating that every 15 years or so we need to go into one of these destructive cycles. There still exists in this society a belief that educators make too much and that we lavish our children with an education system that is too rich for the collective blood. The system needs to be culled every decade or so to make sure money is being spent in a ‘responsible’ way.

If this were not the case, we would not have a government who says with impunity that student protests were controlled by union bosses and that teachers are engaging in political protest using their bulletin boards. The public, by and large, is accepting this.

Over the weekend, thousands of teachers travelled to Toronto to protest against this assault on our public education system. This is a good thing, but it is not nearly enough. In a world of the 24-hour news cycle, more must be done.

So, I have a proposal. While there are a number of great bloggers and podcasters who have made their voices heard, more of the province’s education opinion-makers need to weigh in. It is very possible to look at a day of podcasts and blog posts and see people writing about the same thing. This is OK up to a point, but I would argue that all writers and broadcasters need to dedicate at least 15% of their time to political protest.

Will this turn the tide? No, but that is not a strong enough argument for not doing this. When an excellent education is under attack by politicians who simply want to save tax dollars everyone has a role to play on a regular basis to speak out against this injustice.

Let’s make no mistake here. This is an injustice. Yes, this involves the loss of teacher jobs, but much more importantly, one of the best education systems in the world is being hijacked by politicians who are catering to society’s base economic interest.

So writers and broadcasters, let’s not beat around the bush. Come out and call this an injustice. Write more about how these changes have nothing to do with improving the education of our children and everything to do with leaving a few more dollars in the pockets of voters.  Call this what it truly is – an assault against the learning environment of children and young people in this province.

Please stop worrying about how this will look or what your followers might think. If you are able to put together a post on any other educational topic, this one really should top your list.

The Podcast Broadcast – a Week of Rich Listening and Learning

 

It has been a while since I did one of these posts, but time is available right now, so I am excited to jump right back in with a review of a few new podcasts – all available on VoicEd Radio.

There is no real theme this week, just podcasts that I find interesting as I scroll through the new material that gets uploaded daily to our Radio.co site. I will add them all to a playlist that I will put up on VoicEd Radio today – Friday, March 29th.

This week, we are starting off with a great student podcast – Books R Us.

Books R Us is a 6th-grade student podcast featuring new books that others will want to read. These students are from Hopewell Elementary School in Bettendorf, IA and believe in the power of sharing great books with others to help foster A Culture of Readers. Each podcast reviews a new book and features a contest for a book.

The students are terrific and I think this would be a great project for other classes to get involved in. It is obvious that the students and their teachers have worked very hard to make this a smooth production. You can hear a part of an episode on The Third Mushroom here:

I don’t know much about this series, but this really animated conversation about books and authors that seems to have been going on for several years. Really well laid out book reviews by these students. No hesitation, full of life and energy!

 

The second podcast I listened to this week is Chris Nesi’s House of Edtech. As always, Chris talks about a number of subjects involving education technology. The segment that drew my attention was about online learning. Certainly, people in Ontario could benefit from listening to this right now. The conclusion of this discussion is important – studies show that students do not do as well in online learning situations. Chris Nesi is a very thoughtful educator and his summary of the findings of this study are worth listening to. The main point that I find important at this time in Ontario are the findings of an academic study on online learning. Basically, students do not like to learn exclusively online and they tend to do poorly. You can listen to the clip here.

Nesi includes the article in his show notes here.

Again, the conclusion in the report regarding online learning is important in the current Ontario context:

Though online learning courses have exploded in popularity over the last decade, we found that relative to courses with some degree of face-to-face teaching, students taking online-only courses may experience negative learning outcomes.

Will technology transform education for the better? (Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab)

A few hours of listening produces lots of gems. Next, I listened to Teaching Tales with elementary principal Brent Coley. This is one of those podcasts you can dip into at any point. If it fits any genre, this would be one of those ‘around the staffroom’ conversations, this time between two elementary principals. When I saw the title – Overcoming Fear in the Classroom – I thought they would be discussing students and their fear. I quickly realized that they were discussing teacher fear in the classroom.

Brent’s guest is Craig Badura – his blog, A Teacher, Coach and Dad can be found here.

 

                        Craig Badura

This is a great free-ranging conversation on how to deal with failure in the classroom. Teachers don’t like to fail no matter what they say about the importance of failure. Risk taking is hard to do, especially when you are in front of a classroom full of kids. What makes all the difference is an understanding administrator who makes the effort to support teachers as they experiment with new ideas. I am convinced that one of the greatest engines for innovation in education would be supportive principals like these two who are clearly all about serving others.

Failure is a lot easier if you have people like Brent Coley and Craig Badura working with you. What a great conversation about enabling teachers and kids and getting out of the way. New principals really need to listen to this podcast. Important point – never focus on what went wrong – focus instead on the relationship you are developing with a fellow educator. To make mistakes is a human quality.

The next podcast features two of my favourite broadcasters, Derek Rhodenizer and Jon Harper. For this one, Derek is the host, but he mentions that he has already been on Jon’s – I will have to go back and listen to that one for sure. The show is Beyond the Staff Room and it is always great.

Again, these podcasts are done by school administrators and I am partial to these being a former administrator. Listening to stories of administrators fail is very instructive and it would be great to hear more of this. Failure is not only for teachers and students but administrators can also fail too and we would all be the wiser if we heard more about their stories of failure.

Wouldn’t it be great to hear the failure stories of a superintendent? Would they ever do that? Would our system be a little more humane if they admitted failure from time to time? I think that might be a topic for another post. But listening to Jon and Derek is instructive, and I would encourage you to listen to the entire broadcast.

Just like Brent Coley’s podcast, Beyond The Class Room is another great conversation around the table. This makes lots of sense, Derek is someone who really enjoys connecting to others and he is a wonderful conversationalist. Taking time for conversation seems to be a lost art, but people like Derek and Jon are keeping it alive. Like Brent Coley’s broadcast, you can basically pick a clip anywhere from the podcast and it will be interesting. It is a conversation about failure and interestingly it is very empowering because they do a great job normalizing failure. Again, this is a lesson more educators need to learn, especially those in senior positions in our school boards!

Here’s the clip:

In this clip, Jon uses a personal story – one that we could all tell – about misjudging a situation. It is reflective and honest. Not included here is Derek’s return which is another story that fits well into the title of Jon Harper’s show My Bad. I don’t include this clip here, but Derek’s show is easy to find on VoicEd Radio and I really suggest you take a listen, especially if you are in a leadership position or want to be someday. Being a good leader means being incredibly humble. Sadly, this is not something we see very much in our leaders these days.

This is all that I will write about these podcasts – go out and give them a full listen – you will learn lots!

Has inclusive education gone too far? – The Globe and Mail debate

When I started this series of articles for the Class Struggle Podcast, I wrote that public debate on important public issues is sustained and encouraged through our media. A strong public press is essential in a healthy democracy and we are very fortunate here in Canada to have a vital and responsive media.

On Saturday, the Globe and Mail’s education reporter Caroline Alphonso wrote an important feature on the problems surrounding inclusion in Canada’s schools – Educating Grayson: Are inclusive classrooms failing students?

The article is an intelligent and sensitive report on the problems that take place every day in Canada’s schools surrounding inclusion. As a former elementary principal, I am well aware of these issues. Although I have not been in schools in the last two years, the problem obviously persists and the solutions remain elusive.

The Globe and Mail is sustaining this debate by publishing some of the comments to Saturday’s article. I have included two of them here:

From the comments: Has inclusive education gone too far? Educators and parents share their experiences

In 2018, I retired after 17+ years as an Educational Assistant (EA) in elementary schools. Over those years my job changed dramatically; from helping students (with varying needs) achieve their potential in class, to keeping students with often volatile behaviours from being a threat to others while in a “regular” classroom. Most, if not all, children want to belong and succeed at school. Teachers and EAs also want to make this happen. Too often, I have seen principals and parents put their own interests and opinions ahead of the best interests of the student. It becomes a fight about which adult is right, and the student’s true needs get overlooked. It is a terrible waste, made even greater when “experts” are brought in to observe briefly, and then chime in on what is best.

Please, parents and administration, gather and listen to the student, and the teacher and the Educational Assistant together. Set a few goals, be consistent at home and at school, and be kind and respectful of each other. You will see improvements almost immediately. Unfortunately this rarely happens. – MacKenzie96

Ms. Kahn is not wrong to want better services for Grayson. It is sad that services for children like Grayson are so limited. Underfunding special education programs pits parents against teachers and administrators. This undermines an education system that is the envy of the world (we rank #5 internationally according to the OECD). Please keep in mind that funding for education has been frozen for the last few years and special education in most boards has been cut. There are fewer Educational Assistants in my classroom than ever before. My fear is Mr Ford’s austerity measures aimed at health care system, social assistance and education will only make things worse. – Daysofmiracle

I don’t know if I have anything useful to add to these comments, but I do know that educators need to be part of this discussion.

This Thursday for this week’s Class Struggle on VoicEd Radio we will weigh in on this issue. As I have been saying, educators need to be heard on this issue and it would be great to see more writing from those who are active in the profession. We know there is a lack of resources when it comes to education and there are real human consequences to the underfunding that has been going on for years.

the next Class Struggle podcast will be this Thursday (January 10) at 8:00PM

The problems with inclusion are well known. Principals, especially in elementary school have been excluding special needs students from their buildings for years. These exclusions are hard to trace because they were never documented and were never part of any formal process. I remember many times as an administrator asking parents just to keep their child at home. They weren’t suspended, we just didn’t have the resources to keep them and others safe in our school.

These actions are taken by principals every day. When I excluded I always did this on my own authority. No one above me was willing to take any responsibility for these actions and when things went badly, I was the one who suffered the consequences.

Here is the problem. There are nowhere near the resources in the schools to deal with many special needs cases. As Caroline Alphonso mentions in her article, there are situations where a gifted teacher may be able to accommodate a special needs child, but such a situation is not sustainable, and not all schools have the talent to work successfully with challenging children.

More often the lack of adequate resources leads to disruptions and sometimes violence in the classroom.

In most cases, it is the educational assistant that suffers the direct consequences for the emotional outbursts of the child, but I know the results of poorly thought-out inclusion affects the entire school community, including children and parents.

The solution calls for a rebuilding of the inclusion model. Generally, the practices in Ontario at least are haphazard. Inclusion needs to be rebuilt from the ground up with a sharp focus on how best to accommodate the special needs child, their parents and the wider school community. Inserting the student into a regular classroom with some support and hoping for the best is just not good enough.

Such a rebuild will be expensive and I really don’t think we are there yet as a society to make the financial investment that it will take. Patching is cheap, rebuilding takes lots of resources and intelligent design.

I hope we have a good debate on Thursday. This is a problem that will just get worse until we face it head-on. Again, good for the Globe and Mail for keeping this important issue in the public eye. As educators, we need to do our part to make sure it stays there.

The Podcast Broadcast – This week, it’s all about music!

I took a little break from podcasting and blogging in November. There are lots of things going on here that kept me away from my computer and it didn’t hurt to be away in Italy with our son Liam for two weeks.

Now I have a great reason for getting back to writing. I am preparing for another episode of the Podcast Broadcast with Stephen Hurley that will be on VoicEd Radio later this week. I have spent a few days combing through tracks and I think I am ready to go. This week, I am trying the thematic approach and we are focusing on podcasts about music.

artwork for The Gav Session, a new podcast coming out of Belleville all about teaching music at the elementary level.

So, I tried something different. I went into VoicEd Radio and did a search on music. I also sent a note to Stephen and asked him for podcasts on music. Together, we came up with some really interesting material. This shows that the ever-evolving database of VoicEd Radio podcasts is a great resource for educators no matter what you are teaching. Making the podcasts more searchable is something we will continue to work on.

So this week we will be looking at work by Gavin Foster, a music teacher from Belleville, the  Bedley Brothers, Shane Lawrence, and Mark Carbone. They are all talking about music and education. Pretty ambitious for one podcast, but I have been away for around a month now, so I need to do some catching up.

When I moved to elementary, I found that one of the most important subjects was music. Generally, there was only one music teacher in the school and they had the responsibility to teach everyone in the building about music. In many cases, by grade 7 and 8, this might be the last formal music instruction students would get – ever.

When you think about this, it is a pretty immense responsibility.

We talk and write lots about math these days, especially in Ontario where math scores on EQAO have become a regional obsession. It would be great to step away for a while from the imbalance this is creating and look instead at how we are developing an appreciation for art in our schools.

I have to throw in at least one reference to our Roman holiday here. What endures now in the Eternal City is not so much the math that was done by ancient scholars but the beautiful artwork that still graces the city. Art is universal and it speaks to all of us at some level.

art endures

Back to podcasts – Gavin Foster is new to podcasting and he is doing some really interesting reflections on his current teaching practices. This is important work – I think we need more teachers broadcasting about what is working and sometimes not working in their classrooms.

He starts out in a podcast entitled ‘Tech Fail’ by talking about a new program called BandLab and relates how he tries to set up one of his classes almost as they walk into the room. I can certainly relate to that, this is easily something I would do!

Although this first attempt doesn’t work too well, he persists and by the next podcast, Bandlab has become one of his teaching tools.

You can hear him here as he discusses how to develop a great reflection on the iconic Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot.

I like how Gavin flips his classroom, it must be really great to be a student in his class. He is willing to try new types of technology and he readily shares what he is learning with others.

The next podcast is from the Bedley Brothers. Apart from the fact that they have the best intro for an education podcast, the brothers always have interesting guests and topics on their eclectic broadcast. In this one, the main topic is all about using music to engage students. The interviewee here is not a music teacher but uses music to keep his social studies students engaged.

Tal Thompson uses songs like Hall of Fame, by Script a song about confidence and being the best you can be. A pretty important message for kids to hear every day. He also uses current pop songs and changes the lyrics to fit the content. For example, what is the greatest break-up song ever?  Taylor Swift, ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ – sings America to King George. There must be a Canadian equivalent!

I never did this as a history teacher but as a principal, we always played a song over the PA at the end of the day on Fridays. This was a pretty cool thing to do – the kids loved it!

Music engages.

Shane Lawrence always does great interviews about the teaching life. This one is called  – ‘Music for Rebels’ with Emily Langerholc. This is a great conversation and Emily is really entertaining. She has so much to say about teaching music, I could really listen to more from her. She has a great attitude and a terrific sense of humour!

This is from her blog masthead

Welcome! My name is Emily and I teach music. If you’re looking for teachable moments in popular music, you’re in the right place. Commentary and free teaching goodies are also included.

Content is available on the blog, which you can read here!

Teachable pop songs are listed & organized here!

I teach traditional ensemble music classes (band & chorus), but my after-school class materials are sponsored by Little Kids Rock.

To find out more about people all around the country (and world!) who are involved in Popular Music Education, I urge you to look into and join the Association of Popular Music Education, aka APME.

If you are so moved, you can support my writing/conference travel/etc. by buying me a coffee!

 

 

This blog is an amazing resource. If you are reading this and you know a music teacher please share this with them. I did already.

The podcast ranges all over the landscape of teaching music in elementary school. One part I found particularly interesting has to do with using pop music in the classroom. Her question is interesting – why would you not use the tool of popular music in the classroom. If you are teaching time signatures for example, why not challenge your students by betting if any song on the radio is in 4:4 time (she does this).

Finally, Stephen Hurley put me on to this podcast. It is by Mark Carbone and it can be found here on his blog. Soon it will be on VoicEd Radio and I will be certain to tag it under ‘music’.

This one really blew me away. It is an interview with former CBC broadcaster and Peabody Award Winner Jowi Taylor. We used to listen to Jowi Taylor on Saturday nights on CBC. He hosted a ground-breaking show called Global Village that was all about international music. It was a weekly tour around the world that actually encouraged travellers to record their own features that were later broadcast on the show. The show was cancelled in 2007 and there has been nothing like it since.

The interview with Mark is all about a current project by Jowi called ‘Six String Nation‘. It started while he was still hosting Global Village and it continues to this day.

The idea has a real nation-building quality to it. A guitar called Voyageur was constructed from 64 pieces of bone, metal, wood, stone and horn. It was constructed to act as a symbol of national unity and its contains pieces come from across the country.

Jowi describes the project here

This is pretty exciting stuff and it is really wonderful to hear the entirety of Mark’s interview. I took four clips from the 26-minute broadcast and I don’t know if I will get them all in, it is that good of a segment.

I will get in a short clip at the end of Mark’s podcast. Near the conclusion, Jowi’s challenges the audience (you) to help him come up with focused, coherent workshops for students in different grades. This is a great challenge and I hope this is something that VoicEd Radio will be involved in starting in 2019.

Here is the final clip

This would be a great way to truly integrate music, story-telling, art and country into a workshop – what a great opportunity!

This is lots for one podcast. We will see how far we get. Writing all this down is a sort of pledge to get it all done. I hope you listen to us – let’s see (or hear) how it goes!