Music Biz Headlines, March 22, 2021

Jonathan Roy (pictured) discusses his hit song, jingle king Syd Kessler is remembered, and this year’s Juno-nominated comedy records are reviewed. Also in the headlines are Daniel Lanois, cover songs, Orbit Room, Tina Turner, Spotify, Rhye, Shaw Festival, Black Sabbath, Guy Clark, Lee Mavers, and James Levine.

Music Biz Headlines, March 22, 2021

By Kerry Doole

Reviews of this year’s Juno-nominated comedy albums

Matt Wright and Nick Nemeroff head up a strong list of hilarious, but not very diverse, comedy albums. – Glenn Sumi, NOW

A maverick, an amateur magician and a member of the Marketing Hall of Legends, he was a burly force of nature and a twinkle-eyed master persuader who did not stand on ceremony. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

‘We feel left out, neglected’

Sydney Blu urges Junos to recognize underground DJs. – David Friend, CP

Toronto’s Orbit Room closed last year after 25 years. Now its owner is seeking help to reopen it

For more than 25 years, the Orbit Room was the go-to club for live music seven nights a week in the heart of Toronto’s Little Italy. It closed last March, but Tim Notter is seeking to put it back in orbit.  – Bruce DeMara, Toronto Star


How the song happened: Jonathan Roy's Keeping Me Alive

The song – co-written with Brian Howes (Hedley, Hinder, Mother Mother) and Jason Van Poederooyen (Boys Like Girls, Hinder, Hedley) – shows an honesty, self-reflection, and vulnerability that some people wouldn’t be comfortable exposing. – Karen Bliss, Words & Music

From k-os doing The Cars to other recent covers, new spins on old tunes might be just what we needed

When it comes to a songwriter reimagining the work of one of their peers, the conventional thinking is that it is an homage, or an acknowledgment of one’s own musical roots. It might be a creative exercise, or perhaps an artistic outreach to a perceived kindred spirit. A cynic might see it as a calculated play to gain attention by covering an already recognizable song. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

More than 100 musicians declare a climate emergency in Canada

Music Declares Emergency, a global movement pushing the music industry to address climate change head-on, has landed in Canada. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

Rhye's Michael Milosh accused of grooming & abuse by ex-wife Alexa Nikolas, denies allegations

Rhye's Michael Milosh is denying the allegations of grooming and sexual abuse ex-wife Alexa Nikolas recently made against him on social media. "Regarding my ex-wife's recent Instagram post and its list of serious and demonstratable untrue accusations, it's simply a piece of revisionist fiction. These are absurd and outrageous false claims," he says in a statement. – Billboard 


Choir director Johnny Shepherd brings gospel-infused soul to Daniel Lanois project ‘Heavy Sun’

For his new, brilliant gospel-flavoured album “Heavy Sun,” seven-time Grammy winner Daniel Lanois had to convince a Shepherd to leave his flock. The Hull, Quebec-born artist says he was sitting in when he discovered the church’s choir director, organist and singer Johnny Shepherd. “We call him our ‘hymnologist,’” says Lanois. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

Canada’s largest municipal arts councils ask for a basic income guarantee for artists

As we come to terms with the one-year anniversary of covid lockdowns, Canada’s arts community is focused on creating a brighter and more sustainable future. To be effective, this repair will include provision of a Basic Income Guarantee. – The Globe and Mail

I can’t stop thinking about this giant pipe organ 

Maybe I’ll get rid of my couch to make room for this 20 by 35 foot beaut from a Dartmouth Church. It was recently given away to a good home. – Morgan Mullin, The Coast

The arts are not a ‘frill,’ say groups frustrated with lack of official communication

BC officials plan to meet this week with arts organizations who’ve felt shut out of conversations about reopening plans during the pandemic. Donna Spencer, artistic producer of Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver, says she’ll be meeting with Melanie Mark, B.C.’s minister of tourism, arts, culture and sport, as well as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and/or her deputy, Dr. Brian Emerson. – Victoria Ahearn, CP


Mashed Sabbath 50 features eight spoken-word artists riffing on Black Sabbath's Paranoid album 

As part of the Verses Festival of Words on April 27,  the 50th edition of Mashed Poetics will feature Black Sabbath’s classic 1970 album Paranoid. Spoken-word artists and a Sabbath cover band will perform. – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight

Next week in music | March 22-28 • New Books

Nipsey, Labelle, Kate and the rest of the names on your latest reading list. – Darryl Sterdan, Tinnitist

How the Shaw Festival made it through 2020 keeping artists employed, and without going into the red

The Shaw Festival carved a unique course through a difficult 2020 – keeping the vast majority of its artists and artisans employed without going into the red.At its annual general meeting on Friday, the Niagara-on-the-Lake repertory theatre reported gross revenues of $24.1-million for the year – and an operating surplus of $185,000. – JK Nestruck, The Globe and Mail



Spotify launches “Loud & Clear” transparency initiative

Months in the making, the web portal presents data about the economics of Spotify streaming payouts. – Noah Yoo and Jazz Monroe, Pitchfork

Disc-go: Should you get rid of your CDs?

They’re ugly and they clog up your cupboards. But just like vinyl spun back into fashion, the compact disc could too. – Matt Charlton, The Guardian

The story of Guy and Susanna Clark unfolds in new nocumentary—‘Without Getting Killed or Caught’

The documentary movie, Without Getting Killed or Caught, is as much about Susanna Clark as it is about her husband Guy. Which makes sense, because you can’t tell the story of one without the other. – Geoffrey Himes, American Songwriter

The mystery of 'lost' rock genius Lee Mavers

Just over 30 years ago, band The La's released their sole LP – a masterpiece that shaped guitar music. But its brilliant frontman has been elusive ever since. – Shaun Curran, BBC

Why bands are disappearing: 'Young people aren’t excited by them'

Maroon 5’s Adam Levine was scoffed at for suggesting there ‘aren’t any bands any more’ – but if you look at the numbers, he’s right. Wolf Alice, Maximo Park and industry insiders ask why. – Dorian Lynskey, The Guardian

Geezer Butler is working on his memoir

Geezer Butler is working on his autobiography. The Black Sabbath bassist has revealed he is halfway through his memoir, which he has penned for his grandkids. The tell-all tome will no doubt be filled with tales about Ozzy Osbourne and cocaine-fuelled antics. – MusicNews

The era of genius worship must end with James Levine

Until his death, Levine was perhaps the music world’s most staggering living testament to the dangers of genius-worship culture. That culture nourished his ascent and enabled his alleged serial sexual abuse of young men, whom he had the power to make or break. – A.Z. Madonna, Boston Globe

Rock-star journalist Lisa Robinson has lived in her apartment for 45 years

She and her late husband, Richard, a radio host turned music producer turned magician, rented this two-bedroom on the Upper East Side in 1976, and it has stayed pretty much the same ever since. Even her sofa has an interesting backstory. – Wendy Goodman, New York


Tina Turner says goodbye to fans with doc amid PTSD, stroke, cancer

Tina Turner bids a final farewell to her fans in a touching new film that shows how she has overcome her painful past and finally found happiness. – Rod McPhee, New York Post

Tina Turner documentary tells a familiar story with a sense of finality

Music icon Tina Turner recounts her life story one more time in this sometimes thrilling, often conventional HBO documentary. – Kevin Ritchie, NOW

The 10 biggest douchebags in classic rock

Frank Zappa tops the list, besting Lennon, Springsteen, Garcia, Crosby and more. – LA Weekly

Charli XCX at Billboard Women In Music 2024 held at YouTube Theater on March 6, 2024 in Inglewood, Calif.
Christopher Polk

Charli XCX at Billboard Women In Music 2024 held at YouTube Theater on March 6, 2024 in Inglewood, Calif.

Chart Beat

Charli XCX Dominates Dance Charts With ‘Brat’

It's No. 1 on Top Dance/Electronic Albums, and its tracks take up more than a third of the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.

Charli XCX blankets Billboard’s June 22-dated dance charts following the release of her sixth studio LP, Brat. The set opens at No. 1 on Top Dance/Electronic Albums (her first leader there), while all 15 of its standard-edition tracks – plus two bonus cuts – cover Hot Dance/Electronic Songs.

Brat debuts with 77,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending June 13, according to Luminate. That marks the biggest week of Charli’s career, by units. It also earns her highest rank on the all-genre Billboard 200, where it starts at No. 3.

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