Listen Up World: Music is Our Hot Hot Fix #1

Hello! It’s been a while since we’ve done a music round up, and so I thought I’d jump in and do the honours this week because there’s so much to tell you! I found my new favourite band, pondered the merit of porn bass, created a playlist worthy of Lilith Fair and got schooled by my lovely co-worker Kate on the early works of Tegan & Sara. Where did all the trees go? I don’t know.




The Grates

From here on in this music round up will be a re-occuring feature – but only monthly, as Stef’s Beat on the Street so reliably satisfies our regular musical desires. Given the Intern Army has great musical taste, I’ve asked Intern Emily to join me in the musical madness this month. Emily came to mind first because she’s from Canada, and Canadian music rocks, e.g. Raine Maida, Our Lady Peace, Finger Eleven, Leonard Cohen etc. And I guess it would be remiss if I did not mention k.d. lang and Tegan & Sara. We just won’t speak of Nickelback. [Intern Emily: “Nickelback = shame of Canada”]

The good news is:

Muse announced that their new album, The Resistance, will be released mid-September. I predict this will be a serious contender for album of the year, even with my doubts about their decision to use slap bass. Seinfeld called…

– Beck has launched Irrelevant Topics, a segment based on random conversations with legendary musicians, actors, writers and others. Xenu was unavailable, so first up Beck sat down and shot the breeze with Tom Waits.


Andrew Bird

– Throughout July, Aussie lady-fronted band The Grates are doing a residency at Pianos in NYC. They’re talented, hot, fun, quirky and hugely successful in Australia. If you’re in the area, the details are here. Not convinced? Watch this.

Intern Emily:
Andrew Bird recently announced new fall tour dates supporting his latest album Noble Beast. Obvs the tour is in the US, no one comes to Canada, not even Tegan and Sara. JK I’m not bitter.

The Bad News Is:

Vibe magazine closed its doors. While I’m not really a hip hop fan, it’s always sad to see a music rag get shut down.

– The annual Popkomm conference in Berlin was cancelled due to low attendance, which hopefully isn’t a sign of the times. Too bad for those independent artists who now have non-refundable airfares to Berlin that they couldn’t afford in the first place.

– Triple J, Australia’s youth broadcaster, delivered it’s anticipated ‘Hottest 100 Of All Time’ countdown on the weekend. The most notable exclusion from the list? Women. Clem Bastow wrote a great opinion piece about it here.

On high rotation:

Lately I’ve become obsessed with increasing my awareness of music created by girls, particularly girls who like girls, because it has come to my attention that I have no idea what the lesbians are listening to these days. Is it because I’m 90% hetero? Maybe. Given that I date a female musician and manage a queer female rock band, I should be able to take ‘What Is Lesbian Music’ for $500. So to expand my girl music repertoire, I searched our archives for suggestions and am now currently enjoying The Clik’s Dirty King and Girl In A Coma‘s Trio B.C.

I’m listening to Love & War by Australian Daniel Merriweather, who is not a girl but is endorsed by Sam Ronson’s twitter feed. I’m also listening to Passion Pit‘s Manners, which makes me feel like Sunday morning. And lastly! I’ve been listening to Phoenix‘s ‘It’s Never Been Like That’ and ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ on high rotation because Phoenix is my new favourite band. Sorry Green Day.

Intern Emily:


Iron and Wine

I’m also listening to Passion Pit, thanks to Autostraddle’s “The Future is Bright” mixtape. Autostraddle’s good for so many things!

Right now I’m going through a huge Iron & Wine phase. Sam Beam released a two disc compilation of covers and previously unheard originals and I am obsessed! Though I have to admit the album gets a little long and I prefer his 2004 album Our Endless Numbered Days.

I’m also a little late, but I just got into Regina Spektor. Her voice is so good! But I’m sure this is old news to many people.

paramoreOn the way:

In the lead up to their new album, the wonderfully consistent Paramore have released Ignorance, which sounds remarkably similar to Fences dishes up another generous serving of pop-punk powerchords fated for the next Twilight soundtrack. If you haven’t already heard it, it’s here.

Jack White (The Raconteurs) and Alison Mosshart (The Kills) formed The Dead Weather a while back and stopped fist-fighting long enough to finish their album, Horehouse. When I wrote this post last week, pre-#wordpressfail, this really was ‘on the way’. Now it’s ‘on the shelves’.  The video for Treat Me Like Your Mother is weird. Check it.

Intern Emily:

Right, well everyone knows Tegan and Sara are getting ready to release a new album in the fall. It’s called Sainthood, and it drops late October. This means new tour dates, hopefully in Canada.

Stars are also in the recording studio, and word is their new album is going to be called “The Black House, The Blue Sky”. Um, I’m really excited.

On stage:

P!nk is touring Australia and I’ve attended an embarrassing number of concerts. Last week the lovely slash talented photographer slash writer Stef Mitchell accompanied me to a concert, and we’ll hopefully have a recap up for you shortly.

– Over the weekend I caught one of my favourite Aussie bands, The Butterfly Effect. I also caught Karnivool, who I think are the most exciting rock band on the Australian scene right now.

artist of the year

artist of the year

Intern Emily:

– I went to see aRTIST oF tHE yEAR (yes they spell it in that ridiculous fashion) completely by chance at the Montreal Jazz Festival. My friend and I showed up never having heard of this band at all and with no expectations. We were not let down – these guys came out in flared pants, sombrero’s and sunglasses. Their backup guitarist wore a nightgown and snowboarding goggles. We only meant to stay for 20 minutes but the band’s high energy and the fact that we somehow got right at the front of the stage meant that we stayed the whole time. It was probably one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen and to top it off; it was absolutely free.


I love keeping on top of innovations that just may change the way we make, release and consume music. Let me share:

– David Bowie is releasing a digital Space Oddity EP to coincide with the 40th anniversary of man walking on the moon. The EP includes the original eight multitracks so that fans can remix the track using their own software or iKlax.

– Australian band Children Collide have released the world’s first interactive music video clip for ‘Chosen Armies’, which allows fans to control camera angles using their mouse. The execution isn’t flawless (neither is the music), but it’s progress and it’s exciting.

– Jack White’s label, Third Man Records, has launched a new subscription service called ‘The Vault’, which offers fans exclusive access to record releases, pre-sale tickets and all that jazz. It isn’t an original idea, but as far as I’m aware it hasn’t been done well yet. My fingers are crossed.

Intern Emily:

This isn’t “new” time-wise but I’ve never seen this before.

Sigur Ros is a band from Iceland (the lead singer is gay) and they make some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard (though it’s not for everyone). Take note that he is playing the guitar like a violin and at one point sings into the guitar pickups.

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Founding member. Former writer. Still loves Autostraddle with her whole heart.

Crystal has written 320 articles for us.


  1. As another gay Canadian, I should throw out Dance Yourself to Death. They’re music is catchy and addictive, you won’t be able to listen just once. And everyone in the band is gay.

    While their lead singer isn’t gay (at least I don’t think she is) Metric is also worth a listen. Their latest release, Fantasies, is fantastic.

    • Great recommendations, thanks! I enjoyed what I just heard of Dance Yourself to Death, I’ll have to pick up their record on iTunes. Metric are coming to Australia in October and I really want to check them out.

    • Another good gay band is My Dear Disco. They get bonus points for having a singer that looks like Tina Fey and the ability to turn an r&b hit into a dykey lovesong.

  2. I have two things to comment on.

    First of all: I started listening to Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus album around mid May and I LOVE IT. SO MUCH. Crystal – I 100% support your choice to declare them your favorite band. Also, the song Rome makes me happyhappyhappy.

    Second: Emily, this concerns you. From what I’ve heard Tegan and Sara WILL be touring in Canada [as well as Europe and the US obvs]. They’re finalizing the schedule now. Also, Sainthood drops on October 27th. Just in case you were looking for an exact date. –
    Wheeeeee! I love music!

    • Yeah, I expect them to play in canada. I just want them to play a lot. Actually i just want them to play in Montreal night after night, like a little private concert just me and them and autostraddle.

    • Have you listened to Phoenix’s ‘It’s Never Been Like That’? It is my favourite album out of the two, particularly the song ‘Rally’. I regret not discovering them sooner, their concert tickets have all sold out.

  3. Obvs I’m peeing my pants in anticipation for the new T&S but BUT… new Stars, too? Yay :) (although I do have to say I wasn’t as impressed with their last album…)

  4. glad this feature is going to happen every month! and glad there are several (many?) other Canadian gay girls Autostraddling! yay! Young Galaxy is another awesome catchy Canadian band, though not gay I think. Just good. mmm, music.

  5. Sigur Ros is unbelievably fantastic. They don’t sing in english or in any language sometimes but Vaka and Takk are brillant albums nonetheless

    • from their website: hopelandic (vonlenska in icelandic) is the ‘invented language’ in which jónsi sings before lyrics are written to the vocals. it’s of course not an actual language by definition (no vocabulary, grammar, etc.), it’s rather a form of gibberish vocals that fits to the music and acts as another instrument.

      whatever it is they sing it, it’s incredibly beautiful.

  6. +my head has already started exploding for tegan and sara.
    +stars? yessss!
    +miss emily, you should watch this:
    +emily squared: i am always though an iron and wine phase. off this one, i like ‘the trapeze swinger’. what do you like?
    +crystal: thank you for all the beautiful recomendations. i’ve been looking for something new because i’ve been listening to enrique iglesias all week [for realz] and it’s bad for my health.

    • thanks laura, i’ll look into that dvd. as for iron & wine i’m really into ‘kingdom of the animals’ except whenever he says jenny i think of jenny schecter.

  7. so…i wasn’t sure how i felt about paramore until i saw them open up (with the sounds) for no doubt. i decided i like.

  8. I caught Paramore with No Doubt tonight in Edmonton and was pleasantly surprised. Not sure if I’ll pick up their album, but they put on a pretty good show. Better than Bedouin Soundclash (who rock the shit out of smaller venues but aren’t a stadium band) but nowhere near No Doubt.

    And while they aren’t gay I strongly recommend everyone check out Pomplamoose for something a little different. Beat the Horse gets stuck in my head at least once a week even if I haven’t listened to the song.

    • Yes, Paramore plays a kickass show, although I just barely missed them at No Doubt, but they are good in smaller venues as well.
      I think people don’t give them a chance because they don’t fit squarely into target demo. I’d recommend All We Know Is Falling over Riot, though.

  9. passion pit is in my ears right now.

    new T&S means maybe ill finallyyyy go to my first show :)

  10. I, too, got into Passion Pit via the awesomeness that was the Autostraddle Mixtape. How is it that I had never, ever heard of them before?

    Aaaaand now I’m off to listen to Phoenix and Iron & Wine!! Double whammy!

    • I was asking myself the same thing about Passion Pit, I feel like I was the last person to jump on that bandwagon.

  11. When Tegan and Sara toured in ’07, I went to both Edmonton shows and got a (still partially unpaid) speeding ticket en route to the red deer show. Great 3 days! Highlights were security asking people to sit down at the first show and Sara asking when standing became illegal in Edmonton and getting everyone (lame security guards included) to stand up. Besides the crazy T/S banter at the second show the highlight was watching three girls fight it out over an already ripped tour poster.

    Anyone listen to ‘Gentleman Reg’? The frontman, Reg, had a cameo in Shortbus and their music was in the movie and some Queer as eps.

    • Thanks for the link to Gentleman Reg, sounds interesting, I’ll check it out as soon as I’m on something with speakers.
      I’ve always wondered if T&S get a lot of girls smacking down at their shows… battling it out for a ripped tour poster is intense.

    • Good to hear. I’ve been meaning to buy the new album because a few people have told me that – as soon as my credit card recovers from music consumed this month then I’ll be on it!

  12. Just to start with the obvious: new Tegan and Sara! Yay!

    I’ve also been obsessed with the new St. Vincent. Actor Out of Work and Marrow have been on loop for me since the album came out.

    FYI: If you ever get a chance to see Andrew Bird live, DO IT. He totally recreates his songs on stage and it’s super amazing to see him shift from instrument to instrument.

    • Thanks for the tip, I’ve never heard St. Vincent before and so I’ll have to look into it. I love the title, Actor Out of Work.

  13. Rachael Yamagata is my new obsession, I have a couple of her albums and the newest one, Elephants (Teeth Sinking Into Heart) is always playing on my ipod at work. She’s the straight girl that all the lesbians go see in hopes that she may reconsider who she dates. No luck yet.

    I need to get into T&S. I know I know I’m super late on this, but I’m also super late on the lesbian front,too. (29 y.o., been with my first gf for 2 years now after a semi slew of guys). ANyway, I do hope to see them in concert if they come this way (SEattle? They have to right? We love music AND Canada).

    I am going to pass on this music to my gf. I am not one of those people that can take an album from someone and just listen blindly. I wish I was, but it makes me anxious and bored. My gf will love the new music, and then she’ll pass on to me the songs she knows I’ll like (she makes me playlists and that’s where I discover new stuff.)

    Great post.

    • You’re in Seattle? Tegan and Sara *just* played there on the 3rd. Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll be there again for the actual tour.

  14. i heart the grates. alana drew a crocodile on a helium balloon for me, and it was the most amazing day of my life.

  15. I’m obsessed with the dead weather album…still think I prefer the kills though. also I thought I was so over metric, but their new album is impressive got me hooked again

  16. Well I’m obsessed with this song: “Stress” from Tough Love!

    If you have the time, to listen to them, they sound like Scissor Sisters on speed! They are on myspace (, they are unsigned: what a shame! Go get them. Enjoy!

    Get funky and rock the world.
    peace and be wild.

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