Music Biz Headlines, Oct. 26, 2020

Mother Mother (pictured) gets a TikTok boost, Win Butler has written multiple Arcade Fire albums in lockdown, and Patrick Downie reflects on Gord’s last work. Others in the headlines include Super Duty Tough Work, Peter Katz, Ezra Schabas, Glenn Gould, Tory Lanez, UIC, Spencer Davis, Angie C, Diamond Rings, Mat Vlasic, Ariana Grande, Jack White, Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon, Stevie Nicks, and Tom Lehrer.

Music Biz Headlines, Oct. 26, 2020

By FYI Staff

TikTok is giving a niche Canadian indie band’s 2008 music millions of new streams

Music business executives told Mother Mother to fit in a box when the band started out more than a decade ago. In 2020, they finally don’t have to. – Samantha Hissong, Rolling Stone

Win Butler says he's written multiple Arcade Fire albums in lockdown

It some uncharacteristically exciting 2020 news, Win Butler of Arcade Fire has said he's been writing new material feverishly since the beginning of coronavirus quarantine, enough to record "two or three" albums in the coming months. He revealed the news while speaking with producer Rick Rubin for the "Broken Record" podcast. – Allie Gregory, Exclaim

Gord Downie’s brother Patrick on the ‘peace’ he hears on new album ‘Away is Mine’

When Patrick Downie listens to the final songs recorded by his late brother, he hears a man who’s found peace. He says Gord Downie always wrote songs to “figure out life’s puzzle,” but as the iconic Canadian troubadour faced an incurable form of brain cancer, his younger sibling believes he was sending a goodbye through his music.“Away is Mine,” released earlier this month, captures that moment in time unlike any of Gord’s earlier work. – David Friend, CP


Making hip hop in the Prairies may be tough, but Super Duty Tough Work is ready for their breakout

‘No one is really checking for the hip hop music that’s coming out of Winnipeg,’ says frontman Brendan Kinley. – Megan Mast, CBC Radio

Painful fall from cliff leads Toronto musician to more energetic songs and a path for getting through Covid-19

Toronto singer and songwriter Peter Katz may like living on the edge, but even he never expected to literally fall off a cliff to reinvent himself. Actually, according to the Juno Award-nominated Katz, he was in Alberta conducting a class when he accidentally walked off the ledge, fell approximately 100 feet and landed squarely on the soles of his feet. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

Royal Conservatory head Ezra Schabas helped build key musical institutions in Canada

Ezra Schabas, a clarinetist, educator and principal of the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) who became an authoritative biographer and historian, died on Oct. 12 in Toronto. He was 96. – Arthur Kaptainis, The Globe and Mail

Whitney Rose teams up with The Next Waltz for an exclusive live webcast

Tune in for a live performance of the new album “We Still Go To Rodeos” from front to back, delivered by the Canadian honky-tonk heroine. It airs Nov. 15. – Medium


A new Glenn Gould remix album hips, hops and isn’t altogether welcome

There are variations, and then there are variations. A new Canadian album in Glenn Gould’s name is occasioning a furor among fans of the revered pianist. It’s called Uninvited Guests, an adventurous compilation of nine tracks using Gould samples in pop, electronic and hip-hop settings. Would Gould approve? Opinions differ strongly. –  Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

Tory Lanez promises a "flood of new music" coming soon

After Tory Lanez’s self-imposed exile from the music industry over the summer, the Canadian rapper re-emerged last month and apparently feels empowered to speak even more. Lanez has frequently posted on social media since the release of his DAYSTAR album on Sept. 25, including a controversial Instagram Live session where he discussed the Megan Thee Stallion shooting incident. Now, he’s alerting fans he’s not slowing down anytime soon. – Brandon Caldwell, HipHopDX

A Canadian friend remembers Spencer Davis

Although his legal name was Spencer David Nelson Davies (he dropped the ‘e’ from his last name early on), those of us who were fortunate enough to be his friend knew him as Spence. When my friend died last Monday, the news hit me like the grill of a Mack truck going 200. Spence was 81 but I always thought he’d live into his 90’s. – Doug Thompson, DBAWIS


UIC kicks out the jams on the new FM Hill album out now

The Ontario garage rock band's long-awaited new studio album FM Hill captures the group at their raw rockin' best. Of course, with anytime a band returns to the studio after a lengthy hiatus, there are naturally going to be questions, number one being, "have they still got it?" The answer is yes. – Tim Perlich, The Perlich Post

What ever happened to Diamond Rings?

A decade ago, John O'Regan's career was on the rise. Two albums later, he disappeared. – Melody Lau, CBC Music 


From a Young Galaxy to Riches to a Fantasy Chapel

The well-known electropop ace who is Young Galaxy's Catherine McCandless has conjured up a new project called Riches and released the album Fantasy Chapel, an alternative electronic work of sorts. It is, for lack of a better word, excellent. –  Canadian Music Blog

Pop culture gets its due in new books

New books on Leonard Cohen, Peter Frampton, and Wes Anderson head our list. – Deborah Dundas, Toronto Star

Canadian artist Angie C made music on the TONTO synthesizer using only her brainwaves

A Canadian artist named Angie Coombes has programmed a 52-year-old synthesizer using only her brainwaves. As Music Radar reports, Angie Coombes programmed the gigantic TONTO synth—at its current home at Calgary's National Music Centre—and described the process in detail to the CBC in a podcast. Andrew Ryce, Resident Advisor

On Our Radar: Jody Glenham's "War On This World" a tribute to the power of modern dance and positive thinking

It took the veteran Vancouver alt-pop survivor a while to follow up her last full-length, Focus Pull. And by that, we’re talking a little over 10 years. Think about that. That's an eternity in a world where every day seems to bring a fresh outrage that's forgotten the next. – Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight


The Bravado CEO exits Universal Music Group

There's been a big shake-up at UMG's merch operation. Mat Vlasic, the CEO of UMG's central merch division Bravado, last week exited the company four years after he joined from rival Sony Music. A UMG spokesperson confirmed the news, adding "John Habbouch, Bravado’s General Manager and CFO, will assume interim leadership until a successor CEO is named." That successor will be tasked with turning around UMG's financial fortunes in the merch world in 2020. – MBW

Pianist Keith Jarrett unlikely to perform again after two strokes

A pair of strokes in 2018 have partially paralysed the American musician, who can now only play with one hand. – Ben Beaumont-Thomas, The Guardian

Ariana Grande’s new album includes collabs with Doja Cat, Ty Dolla $ign and The Weeknd

Ariana Grande will have a new album out in less than a week. Grande took the less-is-more approach when abruptly announcing her new album in the most nonchalant manner possible. She took to Twitter and simply announced: “I can’t wait to give you my new album this month.” – ET Canada


Carrie Underwood continues winning streak as most awarded artist in CMT Music Awards history at the 2020 Show

She’s the champion! Carrie Underwood took home more trophies at the 2020 CMT Music Awards on October 21, continuing her streak as the winningest artist in the show’s history. Underwood won Female Video of the Year and Video of the Year for “Drinking Alone,” bringing her CMT Music Awards total wins to 22. – Johnni Macke, US Mag

After a drunk smashed a busker’s guitar, Jack White bought him a gorgeous replacement

White purchased 26-year-old busker Matt Grant a $4,700 custom Fender Stratocaster. – Wren Graves, CoS

Netflix’s Blackpink documentary offers a surprisingly intimate look behind the K-pop curtain

Blackpink’s debut album has only been out for two weeks, and already the members of this K-pop girl group have the end in mind. In fact, Jennie, Jisoo, Rose and Lisa were pondering their own obsolescence more than a year ago, as we learn in “Light Up the Sky,” a new Netflix documentary about the quartet that started streaming Wednesday. – Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times

David Crosby apologises for his distasteful dismissal of Eddie Van Halen

Within one week of Eddie Van Halen's death, folk icon David Crosby (of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young fame) dismissed the guitarist's legacy in one word, "Meh," and later backtracked, issuing an apology that came with another slight of sorts. After coming under fire for his insensitivity, Crosby has confessed he is "an old idiot" and has finally acknowledged the late Van Halen's immense talent. – Loudwire


Critic’s notebook: The career of Stevie Nicks is the stuff of dreams

For a woman who famously keeps her visions to herself, she’s rather chatty. Nicks, 72, is having a bit of a moment these days. One of her signature songs, Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams, is enjoying a renaissance. A TikTok video of a middle-aged man riding a skateboard and swigging Ocean Spray product while chilling to the 1977 hit has gone viral. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

The rise and fall of Thin Lizzy: ‘No one was going to be sitting in the shadows with this band’

They were the quintessential rock band, captured in their prime on a new box set. Former members recall the magic and druggy descent of Thin Lizzy – even if they can’t agree on it. – Michael Hann, The Guardian

A look back: Steely Dan live at the Record Plant in 1974

A nod to the home folks with this early 70s in-studio radio concert from the legendary Steely Dan, as broadcast over equally legendary (and sadly gone) L.A. FM rock station KMET,  on March 20, 1974. This is actually a milestone gig, as it was part of a promotion ABC-Dunhill Records did in connection with the release of Countdown To Ecstasy, and the string of hits that album spawned. The energy is pretty high and the renditions are pretty fresh. – Gordon Skene, Past Daily

Tom Lehrer releases his catchy yet savage musical satire into the public domain

If the age of American musical satire is behind us, Tom Lehrer may have ended it simply by being unsurpassably good at it. No less a comedy-song master than Weird Al Yankovic still walks among us, of course, but he specializes in broad parody rather than biting irony. Despite having retired from public life, Lehrer too lives on, and at 92 has taken action to assure his work a longer existence by releasing it into the public domain. – Open Culture

Bruce Springsteen's Letter to You: Turns out The Boss is better, or at least cheaper, seen than heard

Letter to You, the documentary about the making of Bruce Springsteen’s 20th album, dropped on Thursday on Apple TV + to coincide with the album’s release. The film is directed by Springsteen’s go-to videographer, Thom Zimny,, and it plays like a combination of a “making of” promotional video, as well as a kind of luxurious illustrated extra, with Springsteen’s own voice-over taking the place of liner notes. – Liam Lacey, Original Cin

Bruce Springsteen and the art of aging well

What the happiest Springsteen album in decades can teach us about Joe Biden, the wisdom of maturity, and the meaning of life. –  David BrooksThe Atlantic 

Berklee appoints first woman to lead music college

The Berklee College of Music has chosen Erica Muhl to serve as the school’s next president, making her the first woman to lead the institution in its 75-year history, officials at the Boston school announced last week. Muhl, a composer and conductor, previously led music and arts schools at USC, where she spent 30 years. She begins at Berklee in July, replacing Roger Brown, who is stepping down after 17 years as president. – Associated Press

Twisted Sister's lawsuit against an Australian politician has hit court 

Band frontman Dee Snider took aim at Clive Palmer when fronting court today in the band’s lawsuit against the Australian politician. Snider told a Sydney court the re-written version of their hit We're Not Gonna Take It used by Palmer in a TV campaign for the United Australia Party back in 2019 was “awful" and "misrepresented" the song. Snider also said that Palmer’s use of the track was “not good” for his heavy metal image.  – The Music

Inside the ‘abandonment’ that rocked Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova’s marriage

The Cars' frontman cut his supermodel wife out of his will just prior to his death. – Merle Ginsberg and Michael Kaplan, Page Six

The great song explosion of 2020: Why Paul McCartney and other artists are dropping albums at a pace we haven’t since the 1960s.

One of the biggest magical mysteries of the 1960s for me — as someone who experienced the era not in the moment, but as history — is how much music the marquee acts of the decade made, and the rate at which they made it.  – Dan DeLuca, The Inquirer

John Lennon’s song for the Beatles to defend Brian Epstein’s sexuality

There are a few moments in the Beatles history when members of the band stand up for the social injustices they see in the world. Whether it was their refusal to play to segregated audiences or indeed their pursuit of gender equality, sometimes the Fab Four knew what they were doing. One such case can be seen in their song ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’, a song which many have said was written in defence of the band’s manager Brian Epstein’s sexuality.  – FarOut

Charlotte Day Wilson
Emily Lipson

Charlotte Day Wilson


Fresh Sounds Canada: Charlotte Day Wilson, Ikky & More

This week's must-hear Canadian songs of the week also includes Quebec rapper Rymz, Montreal R&B singer Néhémie and Maritime singer-songwriter David Myles.

In Fresh Sounds Canada, Billboard Canada puts you on to the must-hear songs of the week by artists on the rise and those about to break. Here's what's out this week.

Charlotte Day Wilson, “I Don’t Love You”

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